A magical place

Wizards and witches may have heard in the muggle media of the opening of Quizzic Alley. Today my husband and I ventured there to see what the wizarding world’s addition to Canberra has to offer.

Quizzic Alley is a Harry Potter store with a style reminiscent of the stores in Diagon Alley, and proclaims its policy of ‘wizards welcome and muggles tolerated’.  Any wizard or witch visiting the shop in Pirie Street will note there is convenient broom parking outside the establishment.

Quizzic Alley has a great deal of merchandise and, while a lot of it focuses on The Boy Who Lived, there is merchandise available for wizards and witches from all Hogwarts Houses and even some items relating to He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Muggles will find the wizarding world atmosphere educational, and can choose to visit it as an exhibit.  Potions and alchemy classes are available for witches and wizards and perhaps very adventurous muggles, or the science and alchemy room can be booked for parties catered by Quizzic Alley.

On our visit we sampled the QBrew, the local wizarding drink, and found it quite tasty. We also spent half an hour looking through the shop and admiring the atmosphere, And, yes, we did buy some items that we hadn’t seen before.

Highly recommended for Harry Potter fans and anyone who enjoys themed stores and fantasy.

Quizzic Alley is at 5 Pirie Street in Fyshwick and is open Wednesday to Sunday.

 

Advertisements

Science Fiction related school holiday events in Canberra

For anyone with children or grandchildren, or those of us with an enjoyment of science fiction aimed at a younger audience, the following events are happening in Canberra through the current school holidays.

Jurassic World Exhibit – model dinosaurs and related items from the Jurassic World movies. This exhibition is on now and closes Wednesday 17th October, in the Centre Court at South Point Tuggeranong (formerly Tuggeranong Hyperdome). There are also children’s craft events at 11am to 2pm each day up to Friday 12th October – which may be a good time each day to avoid the exhibit if you’re child-free.

The National Film and Sound Archives are screening “action, adventure and gaming” movies at 10am on the following days, with the entry price of $5 a person.

Tuesday October 2 Queen of Katwe
Wednesday October 3 Zathura: A Space Adventure
Thursday October 4 Jumanji
Friday October 5 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Monday October 8 War Games
Tuesday October 9 Tron
Wednesday October 10 Tron: Legacy
Thursday October 11 Dungeons and Dragons
Friday October 12 Ready Player One

See NFAS.gov.au/events

Dining out in July and August

Our resident restaurant reviewer provided the following review of the July and August meeting venues.

July’s choice was Chinese/Malay cuisine. We gathered at the Iron Chef Chinese & Malaysian Restaurant at U11/ 93 Mawson Pl, Mawson.

We had dined there several times and were looking forward to an excellent meal again. And we were not disappointed. They have a wonderful menu range – you can check for yourself on their website. Their menu includes hot or cold drinks and alcohol is available.

You should see their large Malaysian menu; it alone is worth a visit. So, as usual, the group looked forward to the Banquet. There are two banquets.

All of us selected the banquet for $38.00. A small cost for an excellent meal of:-
Entrée – Spring roll ((Vietnamese so no pork in them), and Curry puffs
Mains – Honey prawns, Stir fried fish fillets with ginger, Shan Tung lamb, Fried bean curd, mushrooms and vegetables. Special Fried rice and Steamed rice.
And for dessert, Lychees with ice cream followed by tea or coffee.

No dish descriptions this time – I can’t think of enough compliments to describe them. What a meal! After the feast I don’t think anyone could eat any more. The staff are wonderful and so friendly and helpful.

The comments were all the usual compliments. Fantastic! Not too spicy! Great, Satisfying, Excellent and so forth.

We all had an excellent time and very much enjoyed the food. We will definitely be back there again, the sooner the better.

August’s choice was Turkish cuisine. We gathered at Turkish Grill at 20 Gartside St, Wanniassa.

We had dined there several times and were looking forward to an excellent meal again. And we were not disappointed.

This restaurant also offers take away. They may not be a large restaurant, but with their service and cooking levels I am sure they will need to move to larger premises sometime. To put it mildly, the service and food is fantastic.

An example of their service – I had booked for seven people and we had two more people turn up at the last minute. No problem as far as the staff were concerned; another table appeared, was set and chairs provided.

Our group nearly always goes for the banquet. Once again that was the choice of the night. Their banquets are designed to satisfy as few as two persons. The more persons, the more food is offered, with choices regarding individual selections. There are six different banquets or options you can choose from. We chose option 6 which has is good for 8 persons. With more than 8, extra dishes were included (for example with the dips). (How did they know our group loves dips so much, especially the beetroot of which we had two separate dishes.)

What a meal! I am not going into details of everything they have, other than broadly as I don’t have the space. Dips with Turkish Bread, Zucchini Balls, Potato Balls, Chicken, Skewers, Lamb, and Pide. No Turkish meal is complete without the Pide. Please go to their website and check for yourself. You can order any sort of a meal from their wide selection in the menu. Please go online and check out the good tastes awaiting you.

More of the help staff provide – they can give you description of what is in what. For example, by husband has an allergic reaction to pork. One of the Pides filling is Salami. My brain goes into gear being wary. But there was no need for me to worry as our waiter assured us that Turkish Salami does not include pork. We did order this, and they were right. No pork and the Pide was lip-smacking good.

No-one got around to ordering a dessert, as we were all too full. A shame really because they have excellent desserts. See their menus online.

And if you are unable to finish a dish, they will supply carry-home containers so you can finish enjoying your meal the next day. Now that is Service!

The comments were all complimentary Wow! Not too spicy! Great, Satisfying, Excellent and “Do you think I could offer the chef free accommodation if he cooks me a meal once a week?”

We all had an excellent time and very, very much enjoyed the food. We will definitely be back there again. And in the meantime, I think I can convince my husband to take me back there for my birthday later in the year. Mmmmm!

The Canberra Science Fiction Club usually meets twice each month. The first Thursday is a General Meeting and on the third Thursday members, friends, family or guests can gather together to talk and eat at a restaurant. Each person pays for their own choice of meal. Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to belong to the club to join in. The only requirement is that you notify the Secretary at least two days before attending the dinner.

-SH

The Orville on the air and Doctor Who is arriving soon

With cable television, streaming services and many free-to-air television stations it can become easy to miss new series on free-to-air television stations.

The Orville is being broadcast on SBS Viceland (channel 32) on Monday nights at 9.00pm. This is ‘comedic tribute’ to Star Trek: The Next Generation and pokes fun at the Star Trek clichés while telling stories in the style of Star Trek.

Season 11 of Doctor Who will be broadcast on the ABC at 5.45pm on Monday nights, starting Monday 8th October, with the new Doctor and new production team.

If The Orville  makes you nostalgic for Star TrekStar Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek Voyager  they can all be found on One (channel 81) at 12.30pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm most days of the week.

Escape the Winter without leaving Canberra

Winter in Canberra is an excellent time to catch up on reading and watching Science Fiction. However, there are also two events at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) over the next month may tempt a Canberra fan out of the house and the cinema.

Wintercon, the Canberra Games Society’s Winter games event, is being held Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July in the Fitzroy Pavilion. This event is Cancon’s little sibling. Like Cancon, you can visit the event for free just to see the trading tables and watch the gaming. Or you can pay $10 per day to play the board games in the game library.

GammaCon is Canberra’s pop culture festival and the largest of it’s type in the ACT and Southern NSW region. GammaCon is being held on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August in the Budawang Conference Centre and Coorong Pavilions. The event is aimed at fans of cosplay, comics, computer gaming, tv, anime and collectables.

Tickets can be bought online, at the door, or at various shops around Canberra. This is an affordable convention with an adult ticket for the weekend costing $43.84 online.

GammaCon also has a competitions for creative fans. Both of the competitions below have $150 prizes in two categories, under 16 and over 16 years of age.

  • Science Fiction and Fantasy short story competition. Only one story per person, maximum 1,500 words, family friendly, and must be received by GammaCon by 5 August.
  • Art competition. Submitted as an image via email by 2 August, or in person on the first day of the convention.

Further details on the competitions are on the events page on the GammaCon site.

March Turkish delights

The Canberra Science Fiction Club usually meets twice each month.  The first Thursday is a General Meeting and on the third Thursday members, friends, family or guests can gather together to talk and eat at a restaurant.  Each person pays for their own choice of meal.  Everyone is welcome.  You don’t have to belong to the club to join in.  The only requirement is that you notify the Secretary at least two days before attending the dinner.

The Secretary has pre-selected the restaurants for this year and the cuisines are varied – Chinese, Ethiopian, Indian, Malaysian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Nepalese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese, just to name a few.  Most restaurants have a banquet as well as a normal menu.

March choice was Turkish cuisine. We gathered at the Turkish Delight at 5 Weedon Close Belconnen. Many attendees had dined there last year and were looking forward to an excellent meal again. We were not disappointed.

According to the sign outside, this restaurant is under new management. 10 of us attended. Leigh and I were the first to arrive and there seemed to be a little confusion at first. (We were not the only group booked.)

The quality of the food has not changed – it is still excellent. As far as we could tell, the menu was unchanged. They have a wonderful menu range – you can check for yourself on their website. Their menu includes hot or cold drinks and alcohol is available.

As usual, we looked forward to our the Banquet. All 10 of us selected the banquet for $35.00. A small cost for an excellent meal of:-

  • Turkish bread with the usual 4 dips (Beetroot, Carrot Cucumber and Hummus)
  • Cheese roll (Feta, parsley and dill) and Zucchini balls.
  • Pide (Turkish pizza)
  • Kofta (lamb and beef meatballs)
  • Iskander Kebab (Beef slices with tomato sauce, garlic and yoghurt)
  • Sis Tavuk (marinated chicken pieces on skewers)
  • All served with rice and salad.
  • A wonderful desert of Turkish Delight and Baklava.
  • And Hot Apple Tea served to complete the meal.

What a meal! The comments were all complimentary (like A1! Great, Satisfying, Excellent and so forth) – except for one small note. The person who was last to take their share of salad found the salad have a little too much oil dressing for their liking. (This may have been only because the oil had settled in the bottom of the bowl by then.)

Everybody had a excellent time and very much enjoyed the food. We will definitely be back there again.

-SH

Incredibles 2 (2018)

Incredibles 2 is a rare thing – a sequel to a popular animated movie that captures much of what made the original movie such a success.

The story begins soon after The Incredibles movie finished with the Parr family living in a cheap motel room and surviving on takeaway. Having had a taste of using their superpowers, the Parrs are unsure of what to do with their powers and their futures in a world where its illegal to use superpowers.

The movie gives us more of the banter, sixties flair, and action of the original; with fun action scenes provided by the super-toddler Jack-Jack and a script with plenty of nuanced humour for adult viewers.

Highly recommended, especially for a Wintery matinee session.

Would you fly on that spaceship?

For a change at our general meeting in April we played a game in the form of a Crew Hiring Challenge.

The challenge was for each team to agree on a spaceship and its crew – the crew being the Captain, First Officer, Science Officer, Chief Engineer, Navigator, Medical Officer, Security Officer, Quarter Master, and the Sanitation Engineer.

The rules of the challenge were: everything must come from a fictional universe; the crew and its ship must all come from different fictional universes; and the same ship or character could not be chosen by more than one team.

There was a lot of discussion, some spying on other teams and some laughter before three possibly highly dysfunctional crews and their ships emerged.

In no particular order….

Would you travel on this spaceship?

Spaceship Helva (Anne McCaffrey’s novel The Ship Who Sang)

  • Captain John Sheridan (Babylon 5)
  • First Officer Chewbacca (Star Wars)
  • Science Officer Harry Seldon, (Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels)
  • Chief Engineer Conrad Stargard (Leo Frankowski’s Cross-Time Engineer novels)
  • Navigator Aelliana Caylon (Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden novels)
  • Medical Officer Doctor Conway (James White’s Sector General novels)
  • Security Officer Tasha Yar (Star Trek the Next Generation)
  • Quarter Master Elli Quinn (Lois McMaster-Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga novels)
  • Sanitation Engineer Adam Quark (Quark)

Or would you travel on this spaceship?

Spaceship Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

  • Captain Nemo (Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and other novels)
  • First Officer 7 of 9 (Star Trek Voyager)
  • Science Officer The Doctor (Doctor Who)
  • Chief Engineer Richard Ceason (Sky Layer)
  • Navigator Major West (Lost in Space, 1960s series)
  • Medical Officer Doctor Victor Frankenstein (Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein)
  • Security Officer Flash Gordon (originally from Alex Raymond’s 1934 comic strip Flash Gordon)
  • Quarter Master Alfred Pennyworth (Batman)
  • Sanitation Engineer Dave Lister (Red Dwarf)

Or would you travel on this spaceship?

Spaceship New York City (James Blish’s Cities in Flight novels). Yes, it is the actual city of New York.

  • Captain Aral Vorkosigan (Lois McMaster-Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga novels)
  • First Officer Hal (Arthur C Clarke’s novel 2001: A Space Odyssey)
  • Science Officer Ash (Alien
  • Chief Engineer Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye (Firefly)
  • Navigator A Navigator (Frank Herbert’s Dune novels)
  • Medical Officer Doctor Stephen Franklin (Babylon 5)
  • Security Officer Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess)
  • Quarter Master Vila Restal (Blake’s 7)
  • Sanitation Engineer Kryten (Red Dwarf)

Canberra celebrates Star Wars with bells on

May the 4th (be with you) is Star Wars day and one of Canberra’s institutions is celebrating loudly.

At 12.30pm on May the 4th, the National Carillion is hosting a Star Wars concert – with arrangements of new and original Star Wars themes composed by John Williams ringing out across Lake Burley Griffin until 1.30pm.

This is a free event and a rare chance for Star Wars fans to hear the themes played on the Carillion’s 55 bronze bells.

The full program is:

  • Main Theme (played by Peter Bray and Harrison Whalan, arranged by T Laue, P Bray and K Mahajan)
  • Imperial March (played by Lyn Fuller, arranged by A Bowler)
  • Princess Leia’s Theme (played by Lyn Fuller, arranged by A Bowler)
  • Cantina Theme (arranged & played by Julie Wright & Peter Bray)
  • Yoda’s theme (arranged & played by Anna Wong)
  • Throne Room (arranged & played by Leonard Weiss)
  • Finn’s Confession (arranged & played by Leonard Weiss)
  • Jedi Steps (arranged & played by Leonard Weiss)
  • Luke and Leia (arranged & played by Harrison Whalan)
  • Across the Stars (arranged & played by Peter Bray)
  • Rey’s Theme (arranged & played by Peter Bray)