Took a train to Canberra and read Lev Grossman's "Codex", which he wrote before the "Magicians" series, on the way. If you dig tales of scholars, libraries and mysterious books, you'll eat it on toast.
That Warhol-as-a-dog cushion was in my room at the QT, a trendy hotel I found out about from my well-travelled friend SC. There was also a cocktail set in the corner, a displeasingly asymmetrical wire sculpture on the wall and a host of wacky minibar items...
Common areas of the QT had a political theme, with portraits of famous leaders and other amusing artworks designed to make you feel like one, e.g. paparazzi lurked in the lifts!
A secret(ish) bar was accessible through a barber shop inside the hotel, but since I've been on the wagon for seven months, I gave it a miss. However, I can recommend the cauliflower "steak" from room service.
On Saturday morning, I attended Day 1 of the Gamma.con pop-culture convention at the AIS Arena. There were repeated reminders you were at the country's premier sports training institute - like this imposing half-statue you had to walk beneath to enter the con.
Because I was travelling light, I kept my purchases to a minimum. Four out of five of these art cards/fridge magnets will be future giftage.
Gamma.con's special guests were Bajo and Hex from TV's "Good Game", who each teamed up with a pair of volunteers, then competed in a challenge they dubbed "Extreme Super Game Rumble Fun". This involved picking which of two crappy videogames had the lowest Metacritic score, playing blind "Bomber Man", trying to remember the number and type of batteries in old handhelds, guessing the videogame from a few funny Steam reviews and playing blind "Pokemon Stadium". It was extreme super quite enjoyable.
Speaking of games, the convention featured a welcome display of upcoming Aussie indie titles. My fave, "Evergreen", saw you controlling a tree and growing the environment around you using your branches, roots and leaves. For instance, dropping a branch into the ocean to form a reef and attract fish. Here's an official screenshot.
On the bus back to the CBD, a stranger tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Is your name Joe, bro'?" I replied: "No."
In the arvo, I investigated the "Bigger On The Inside" exhibition at the Canberra Museum & Gallery - an attempt by a local teacher to establish a Guinness record for most "Doctor Who" memorabilia. While generously sharing it with the rest of us :-)
I'm not sure those pics do the size and completeness of the dude's collection justice. Mayhap you'll prefer these scenes from my various wanderings 'round the city centre over the weekend.
Sunday morning, armed with a disposable raincoat, I skirted Lake Burley Griffin to the National Museum for "A History Of The World In 100 Objects" (visiting from the British Museum). The trees were looking particularly cinematic.
The majority of the objects were awesome in the true sense and kinda magical even to be near, and I urge anyone who has the chance to see "A/H/O/T/W" to do so. I call this photo "Electric Egypt".
Following the exhibition, I retraced my steps then continued lakeside to the capital's annual outdoor flower show, Floriade. Remove the stalls and carnival rides and it was basically the same TRANSPLANTED bunch of blooms - tulips, pansies, violas, etc. - arranged in different patterns and colour combos.
The rain got heavier in the afternoon, so I went to the Dendy and watched Kate Beckinsale give the performance of her career in Austen adaptation "Love & Friendship". Her character's a totally manipulative and selfish bitch and you'll adore her.
BTW, my room at the QT had a complimentary on-demand movie service, so between footy finals I also caught -
Should have ignored unsurprisingly inferior sequel "Now You See Me 2" and gone with Cate Blanchett and Bob Redford in "Truth". What the fuck was I thinking?
Prior to jetting out on Monday...by train, I spent ~90 minutes at the National Portrait Gallery. There are some real gems in this joint. Here be Nick Cave, Professor Penny Sackett and Jack Brabham.
The only desired achievement I didn't unlock on the minibreak was gaming at Reload. I actually went there on the Friday evening. Unfortunately, it was closed to Joe Public due to a private function. Next time, Gadget! (Buried my head in Card's "Gatefather" on the return journey. Mythology + sci-fi + teen angst.)