Thursday, 31 March 2011

Farmers Market Byron Bay

The Farmers Market is an institution in the Shire and is one of the reasons why I consider the quality of life here unsurpassed anywhere on the planet that I have been. Having access to food directly from the farm grown without pesticides or fertilizers is priceless. Also it's educational.  I had never seen a Ginger plant before! Here they are.
I am still not eating, it is day nine of my fast and I don't feel sufficiently detoxed yet. I guess after eighteen months of toxing (that is how long it has been between fasts) it takes a bit longer. Well one can still window shop.
I wonder if the Simpsons can sue for copyright of the name "Rancho relaxo" :-)
Local Banana's were only a fraction of the price they were in the supermarket. Since the floods in Queensland fruit and vegetable prices have been a bit volatile. 

Organic meat can also be bought here including Goat but not my favourite, Roo! There is an organic butcher in Byron who sells all kinds of exotic game like Crocodile, Possum etc. We'll go there after my fast.
Ice blocks are of course popular with the Kids.
And locally grown Coffee for the adults.
At every market you will find music. Not only are there performers playing and selling their CD's like this chap here but quite often a whole crowd of locals gets out drums, flutes, tambourines etc and a wild witch-dance takes place. 
On the Health front, Wednesday I went to get "sliced" so now i have to wait until Tuesday for the results. One other nice thing about living in Australia. If you are Ill or need to see a Doctor for any reason you just go to your local medical center and show your Medicare card.
 Long live Universal Health Care!  

Monday, 28 March 2011

Sunday in the Shire

Byron Shire  hosts a lot of outdoor activities and this Sunday in Brunz we had Kites & Bikes 
This is exactly the same park as in my previous Brunswick post except this time with people, lots of colourful people flying colourful kites despite the slight intermittent drizzle. I was mesmerized by the
Sausage Sizzle!
 I stood downwind for ages just savouring the sweet smell of frying onions and sausage.  There were lots of stalls as well. Naturally some sold kites

I imagine if it had not been raining intermittently there would have been even more people here but the ones that did tough it out (was not so tough) seemed to be enjoying themselves.

On my way out of town I spotted the scary Bay Rollers who were having a get together as well. Check  out their website. 
This week the Sunday market was in Bangalow. It moves around depending on which Sunday it is but rest assured, I will bring you all of them because I am a big fan of markets. First the Candlemaker.

There are a lot of Artists and Craftsmen in the Shire and many sell their works at the markets. 
This fascinating fellow makes wonderful things out of different coins.
and when you get hungry from all the shopping you can have a dinkum spud. I have eaten them before and can tell you they are delicious.
And environmentally friendly clothing is also available although at a price. I ended up buying some Limes and Ginger. The Ginger was straight from the farm of a local grower and could be eaten straight! He demonstrated on a big chunk. I may have technically cheated on my fast by taking a nibble as well. 
I liked this Cow on the grounds of Bangalow Public School. The markets are held at the sports ground of the same school. Sunday ended with some blitz games and an early night. 
Monday afternoon I had an appointment with a Doctor at the Mullumbimby  Medical Centre to check out some spots that looked suspicious. Well the Doc told me it is probably not skin cancer but that I should come back on his "slice and dice" day so he can take a bit and send it to a lab. So my next appointment is Wednesday afternoon but I am now quietly optimistic. I must remember to post you some pics of Mullum. It is a jolly little town. 

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Doubleroo Fast

Fasting has been practiced by all religions since the beginning of time and the benefits of abstaining from food and/or drink have been noted in both religious and medical literature for millennia. There exist many different methods of fasting and I have tried a few of them. Much depends on what your goals are. Mine are detoxification and stopping smoking.
 Note that a fast is not a diet. There are many diets more effective than fasting for rapid weight loss. Just eating cabbage soup for a week works great.
 After a decade I have distilled my own fasting method from many influences. To start you will need the following.
1.Lemons or Limes  
3.Cayenne pepper
5.Herbal teas. Here I have Scullcap and Budda's tears green tea
6.Roasted Dandelion. This beverage is not easy to get outside of Australia but is a core ingredient of my variation
7. Implements for making and drinking tea and ginger-lemonade.

Phase one is slightly unpleasant but necessary. You need to eliminate all the waste in your intestines. There are several methods like taking a pill or drinking salt-water or Senna tea. Tea works well but the stomach cramps can be unpleasant. Drinking lots of salt water or epsom salt water also works but drinking a litre of it requires suppression of the gagging instinct. The easiest method and the one recommended by my Chemist in Munich is to take an elimination pill like "Dulcolax".

My lemonade recipe differs from the original. I add ginger and prefer honey to maple syrup. Just combine lemon juice, ginger (grated or thinly sliced) honey, cayenne pepper and water. Drink whenever you feel thirsty. I start the day with a hot roasted dandelion root drink as my coffee substitute. The health benefits of this herb are hard to overstate. Blood cleansing is just one. During the day I like to drink green tea. Your taste buds will be receptive to very subtle differences so do shop for your tea carefully. Go to a specialty tea shop and buy the best. With all the money you are not spending on food and tobacco you can afford it. I bought "Budda's tears" yesterday. A small packet cost AUS$ 11.50! Taking the piss a bit but great tea :) 
The Scullcap I have for the evening. Scutellaria lateriflora is a Native American herb although references to it can be found in other cultures as well. It also has many reported benefits but the one that appeals to me most as an evening beverage is it's sedative properties. But just one word of caution. If you imbibe more than the recommended amount you can get quite high and we wouldn't want that :)

Finally there are two side-variations of the Doubleroo fast. The first is the "Naujac line". Here you add a glass of red wine every evening. This Variation was co-invented and trailed by Rike Wohlers-Armas and both of us survived the week with a broad "Medoc" grin.
The "Brunswick" method which I am testing now is to include a bottle of Ginger beer (alcoholic) a day. Results so far are positive.
Comments and feedback, positive or negative on this topic are encouraged :) I hope to hear from many of you soon.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Dawn in Brunswick

The time difference between Europe and Australia has helped me adjust my sleep cycle so that I can see the dawn from the right side :) Usually it is my cue to go to bed. Here you see the Brunswick River.
And this riverside path leads to the town, Brunswick Heads
Low tide has beached the Pirate Ship. During School Holidays the Pirates hire out Canoes and Ski's.
Even here there are rules. It is the first time I have seen a sign prohibiting Bombing! 
There were lots of stationary schools of fish in the river. This was taken from the bridge leading to the sea.
And here we are in the park next to the mouth of the river where many parents take their kids swimming. It is very safe. This is Nina two years ago.

and finally 
around the corner is a real beach

with a life guard tower. Next to the Tower is a path leading to the surf club and then to a walking bridge back to town. The sand dunes are well looked after by the local council. Here is a regeneration program in progress

And just before arriving back to town here is some holiday accommodation for you. Not too shabby aye?
Expect lots of pictures from the region in the next few weeks and little if any chess. I have now been  tobacco free since leaving Munich on Tuesday and am also fasting. It is amazing how hard it is to kill time without smoking or eating! So long walks, taking lots of pictures and inflicting them on the online community is a healthier option :) 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Back in beautiful Australia

Europeans were stunned to hear that the area flooded recently was the size of Germany and France combined! Well there are other things about Australia that Europeans may not be aware of.
This is my mate David mowing his lawn. This is a relatively small lawnmower by Australian standards but David has a tiny property. You can see all of it in one day!
and this is the bird-bath. 
While he was busy I stole his Dad's car and crossed the border into N.S.W. Queenslander's never leave their home state because they know it's not worth bothering so I am safe. 
Pictures of Brunswick tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Breakfast in Dubai

I did not expect to find a picture of Hikaru at Munich Airport but there it was! Since it was a night-flight I did not read a lot last night watching Emirates excellent movie selection instead. Some Wonton Western, I think it was called the way of the Warrior or the Warriors way. Quite entertaining but I digress.  
Four hours in Dubai is easy to kill, first you may have a shower (!!), something not available at all airports and then have a superb breakfast at Paul's Cafe. A few things stood out. First NIC is bigger than before so a bit easier to read but a bit harder to carry. Cancels out I guess. The annotations are as always mainly by the players themselves and this generation of youngsters are good writers, witty and interesting. Anish Giri and I both like the same Superhero it seems. Captain Hindsight!
Near the end of my Coffee I noticed a rant by Nigel Short. I always read Nigel's rants. He is a very entertaining writer, has a great turn of phrase and does not mind being unambiguous in his opinion. This particular one, though entertaining was a slight disappointment. It is advertised as being about the
  French Cheating Scandal   but without going into any juicy detail Nigel immediately turns to his favourite whipping dog Fido. I have to take issue with Nigel on two points, one, that corruption doesn't exist or is not so prevalent in other Sports and two, that another group of people would do a better job.
On point one just of the top of my head I can think of the Cricket match-fixing scandals in most Commonwealth Countries, the Italian Football Scandals which involved a lot of Clubs, officials, umpires etc. 
The second point I think is more a difference of approach. While I have strong Socialist leanings Nigel would prefer to "privatize". The structure of Fide is truly democratic and in theory should work well. If the Chess community (that's us) made an effort we could effect change. It is apathy that allows corruption to flourish.

One last comment about the French team. It was they themselves that blew the whistle, They deserve a lot of credit for their actions
  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Laurent Fressinet, Vladislav Tkachiev and Romain Edouard  brought the issue to the attention  of officials and then supported their federation 
Meanwhile Sebastian Feller is denying everything and intends to play the EU CH while his appeal is being heard.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Kasparov accuses German Hippie of cheating!

School holidays are over and I am back in Germany after a few weeks with Nina. She has changed my sleep schedule as instead of waking up around the crack of noon I am now getting up around 8am!
The first thing I saw on the kitchen table when I got back was a copy of the German chess magazine SCHACH.
This excellent magazine has just gotten even better due to the addition of a new :)
Well one can re-read ones own article ( report on Gibraltar) only so often so eventually I got around to looking at the rest of the magazine. The very next article was a tournament report by Ilja Schneider on the
 Nord-West-Cup in Bad Zwischenahn. Play through this game first, then I will tell you the story.

[Event "Nord-West-Cup"]
[Site "Bad Zwischenahn"]
[Date "2011.01.29"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Sergei Kasparov"]
[Black "Torben Schulze"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2484"]
[BlackElo "2230"]
[ECO "B00n"]
[EventDate "2011.01.27"]

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5 d5 4.d4 Bxf5 5.Bb5 e6 6.Ne5 Ne7 7.Qh5+ g6 8.
Qe2 Bg7 9.Bg5 O-O 10.Bxc6 Nxc6!!  11.Bxd8 Nxd4 12.Qd2 Nxc2+ 13.Ke2 Bxe5
14.Nc3 Raxd8 15.Rac1 d4 16.Nd1 Be4 17.Qg5 d3+ 18.Kf1 d2 19.Rb1 Bf4


The brilliant queen sac 10....Nc6 was apparently preparation by Ilya and Torben. Around move 13...Be5 Kasparov first started muttering  "I don't want to play against a Computer" and a few moves later left the tournament hall without shaking hands or saying a word.
The next day Kasparov wrote a letter accusing his opponent of playing with a Bluetooth-Chip in his ear. Then Ilya tells us he spent the rest of the day following Torben around even to the Toilet and when it was Sergei's move he would send his wife. How that worked with the restroom Ilja doesn't tell us.
Why Hippie? The photo of Torben shows him with a mop of hair that could easily hide a small laptop but I was unable to find a picture on the net. I guess he is not really famous yet.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Rookies Cup Raider

The plan was hatched many years ago on an isolated Island off the Coast of Croatia. Only accessible by boat and known to only a few people.
 There a trio of chess grandmasters were training a young girl for a very special mission.
The mission was to sneak into New Zealand and steal the country's GDP,a massive NZ$55. She had a partner who posed as her father

 and they had to infiltrate Hamilton Chess club where the central depository was held by a fanatical clan of U1700's. They fought to the last but were no match for these supervillains.
Here is a photo of the young changeling. She goes by many names and is a master of disguise. If you spot her do not approach but immediately inform Steve Giddons
secret agent 000 who has a special licence to
blow anything out of all proportion. All of the worlds chess enforcement forces are now looking for the pair including Chessbase and Chessvibes. Even the Closetgrandmaster has mobilized his considerable resources to try apprehend her.

Whatever you do don't play the Slav against her. Below you can see what happened to the last agent sent to eliminate her.

So this monster and her accomplice are probably spending their ill gotten fortune in the lap of luxury leaving behind them a shattered nation and a legion of U1700's who have been so demoralized they may now never become grandmasters. A sad story.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Weekend in Naujac

What a glorious weekend! It seems that spring has come early this year. The Sun was shining and the temperature was around 20c. For those of you familiar with Fahrenheit....join the 21 century already will you! Although this time of year is low (very low) season the locals still find plenty of things to do.
Saturday we watched some Tennis a few klicks down the road. 
Stefan and Lucian paired up against
Vlad and Lara. All four play for Naujac...Chess club. Their strategic game was flawless but their execution still needed some work. The umpire kept leaving her chair in protest so we had to go home.
So today (Sunday) we decided to attend a Chess tournament instead. It was a regional U2000 tournament and Naujac was well in the race for qualification to...whatever comes next. Sorry, was all French to me.
 The Goats outside trumped Chess after a short time
and feeding them was especially interesting.
As you can see we are really in the Country.
Hopefully I will have my Car back tomorrow so Nina does not miss too much School.
Wishing you all a great week. Bye.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Le Pin Sec Bunker Art

Actually we were planning to leave this morning but since it was a beautiful day and we had not had one like this since we got here I thought it better to stay another day. Nina wanted to go to the beach again so we took a long walk along my favourite beach on this coastline, Le Pin Sec ( Dry Pine)
The dunes change the position of the bunkers every year. Last year they threatened to disappear in the sand but some storms seem to have uncovered them more than I have seen the last ten years.
Local artists have been using the ruins of German WW2 bunkers for many years and they do draw a lot of tourists in summertime.
Nina found a "bath" but decided to throw rocks into it instead luckily.
An Angel?
Since the Allies did not land here this is the only "Action" these bunkers ever got.
This one I had never seen before.
But not all was well with Le Pin Sec.
The beach had a stripe of plastic waste washed in from the Ocean from one end to the other. Bottles, packaging, plastic bags and everything else our society dumps into the Oceans. There is an island of garbage twice the size of Texas swirling around the Pacific. Often the packaging is bulkier and/or heavier than the junk food it holds. This is really worth a rant but I will have to curtail my ranting until a little girl goes back to school and Dad has some time. Also then I will get around to unanswered messages. (sorry all)
Meanwhile on our way back from the beach my timing belt went and so it looks like we will have to stay until Monday if we are lucky.