Fellow SMPTE TC delegates: Welcome to day four of the TC meetings in Sydney. One day to go.
Top temperature predicted for today: 16C.
Entry to the building: for Saturday and Sunday, only the door near security is open for building access.
Security: don’t assume that there is less risk because the building is mostly deserted.
Photo opportunity. It would be good to get a proper photo of everyone, maybe in front of the UTS building. I am seeking a suitable time.
Really good guide book: Ask Ann Marie to show you her copy of Frommers “Sydney Free & dirt cheap” (so cheap, they couldn’t afford the word “and” or sentence case letters). When I checked just now, it is in stock at Kinokuniya in George Street: https://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp/guest/cgi-bin/bookseaohb.cgi?KEYWORD=Sydney+Free&AREA=06
Getting around Sydney CBD for free: the 555 (green) bus runs a loop around the city until 1530 on weekdays and 1800 on weekends. It has specific pickup/setdown stops – check the map here: http://www.131500.com.au/tickets/upload/docs/555map.pdf
Getting to the SMPTE11 conference and exhibition: SCEC (the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre) is in Darling Harbour area and it would take about 10 minutes to walk from UTS or the Citigate. You can’t miss it. SMPTE11 exhibition registration is in Hall 4, and the Conference registration and entry is in Hall 3. Your (free) entry will get you into the Entech Exhibition too (live performance technology show).
SMPTE11 starts on Tuesday 19 July.
Things to do in Sydney on the weekend:
Ask Franco or me about any of these.
* walk round Circular Quay (and toward the opera house. Look for buskers, street theatre, stalls, food, live jazz)
* walk round the day markets at The Rocks (near the Quay)
* visit Sydney Zoo (leave from the Quay)
* Ferry to Manly (from the Quay)
* take the Rivercat to Parramatta (from the (Quay). About 2 hours of relaxing round trip in which you will get a very good view of the inner harbour.
* Paddy’s Market (walk to Chinatown). Good for presents to take home, and the locals shop there so it’s not predatory pricing.
* walk round Darling Harbour (likely to be lots of buskers and street theatre)
The influence of man: we all understand how nature is relentless (think about how rocks become smooth and round in a stream – how long does that take?). But have you ever considered how many feet it would take to wear away a few millimetres of steel? Have a look at the floor of the two lifts near our rooms, and see what the passage of time – probably 30 years – has done to the area near the buttons. Since every pair of feet will have generated 1 to n button presses, it’s amazing that the buttons still work. Maybe they don’t.
What is Australian Food? I spent yesterday looking for places where you could go to eat food that might be regarded as “Australian”. It was a disappointing search, although I’m sure if Ann Marie had allowed me a little more time with her book I might have done better research.
Try a Pie: The meat pie is VERY Australian. We can’t take credit for inventing the meat pie (as anyone who has seen “Sweeney Todd” would tell you), but pie-and-sauce is strongly identified with casual activity, in the same way as you can’t go to a baseball game without eating a hotdog. If you are in a coffee shop, look for a glass warming oven, maybe 450mm x 450mm, with lots of trays, and typically located at eye height. Pies come in many varieties: meat (mince beef and gravy), egg and bacon (no meat), potato (the top is mashed potato rather than pastry, but the content will be mince, chunky beef (cubes of meat rather than mince), steak and kidney, curry, chicken, etc, etc. There are some franchise stores which specialise in pies: Pie Face would be one. But almost any hot bread shop (mini bakery) would have pies. Oh, and try a sausage roll: sausage meat with pastry rather than skin.
By the way, check the Pie Face website, which is (IMHO) truly creative use of the Web. http://www.pieface.com.au/
Fish and Chips: The British invented this, but we do it better. It’s going to be hard to find a really good fish and chip shop in the CBD. There are several spectacularly good fish-and-chipperies on The Corso at Manly (the pedestrian mall). If you take the ferry to Manly, then get your lunch when you arrive and eat the fish and chips from the paper while sitting near the beach. That’s a very Australian thing to do, as is trying to avoid the seagulls. DON’T FEED THE GULLS. You’ll be sorry.
Must try: “potato scallop” (as they are called in NSW) or “potato cake” (as they are called everywhere else in the country). They are the same thing: a large thick slice of potato, battered and fried. When I attended my first US State Fair in Minneapolis, so called “Australian Potato Pancakes” were the hit food, with a line 30 people deep. Are they really that good? Yes, provided they are cooked freshly. Like hash–browns, they are vile after sitting in a warmer for any length of time.
* yes, you can eat kangaroo. I like it, and it’s nice meat if it’s not cooked too long – because it has very low fat content. If you normally order your steak well done, don’t bother with Kangaroo. You’ll be disappointed…. unless you like eating tasty shoeleather.
* yes, you can eat emu. We don’t do that a lot, and the drumstick is a little too big to deal with even for a family of 200. Sometimes served smoked or dry-cured, in the style of prosciutto
* yes, you can eat camel. Australia now has a million or so wild camels running around the desert, as a result of allowing 20 camels to run loose some time in the 1800s. It turns out that camels multiply almost as fast as rabbits and facebook pages, and need a lot less water.
There are two other factoids that you’ll want:
1. Australia might be the only country which has food stock as its coat of arms.
2. I’ve been unable to find a nearby restaurant which serves kangaroo or emu.
Tim Tams: the Tim Tam is Australia’s largest-selling chocolate-covered biscuit. For those of you from the US, note the correct use of “biscuit” to mean something that you’d call a cookie or cracker (biscuit is a superset of both of those terms, and can be abbreviated to “bikkie”). I digress. The Tim Tam has many social uses, and is highly prized. It comes in many varieties, some of which you will find on my desk at this meeting, and you are welcome to try one.
The Tim Tam is so popular, that it is used as an economic indicator, in the same way that Big Mac pricing can tell you about an economy. Last Sunday when our Prime Minister announced our Carbon Tax (which will have GDP impact measured in $Billions), one of the economic measures was disclosure of the impact that the Carbon Tax will have on the price of a pack of Tim Tams. True.
More later or tomorrow.
Are there any questions?