Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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Set back on a steep hill overlooking the Christchurch valley is Cup with a View, easily the most scenic cafe I could find in the entire country. It was my last day with the Red Baron and after driving since early dawn I decided to take one last trip up into the hills before returning him back to the agency. I was taken on the same route a week earlier by Chris, a friendly Kiwi, when I spotted Cup with a View and added it to my mental databases of coffeeshops to investigate. Ever the diligent detective, I was very pleased to be rewarded with a fantastic experience with - as the name accurately implies - a great view. Furthermore, I was able to solve a pressing mystery facing me for some time: what is this strange "bubbles and squeak" that I see on all the breakfast menus? Well, it turns out that it's actually a mix of potatoes, onions, and I think ham, among other things, fried on a skillet and served like a diner's hash browns. Despite its entirely unmasculine name, it was a hearty breakfast for my manly appetite.

Despite having wandered about the city for many days and many nights, exploring what I thought was most every nook and cranny, I stumbled across another great coffeeshop on my final day in Christchurch. Yet another reason to call Christchurch a cafe-lover's paradise. The delightfully-understated Cafe is equipped with a somewhat standard tea selection but an unusually-welcoming sitting green on which to drink it. That, and it appears to be across from a film or art school, filling Cafe with a young, hip crowd of fashionable students that made me almost embarrassed to be wearing what I wear. Almost.

On a side note, the clothes I wore from the outset finally exceeded even my tolerance for the "worn in" look (large holes were appearing in exactly the wrong places). Thus, in a shopping binge I purchased a new pair of Levi's and a stylish (I think) beige short-sleeve British India collared shirt. I've found that it's a lot of fun to walk into a store wearing one outfit and walk out with ano... [more]
Long ago I was an avid fantasy-novel reader, and at that time Jim St. Onge (one of my longest-running and closest friends) recommended that I read "Pawn of Prophecy" by David Eddings. On a bookshelf in my hostel I noticed a copy available for book-exchange, and having finished my previous book (the terribly-disappointing "9/11" by Noam Chomsky), I made the switch. For days after that decision, my life was ruined due to my obsession with that book and the rest in its series. Now, it's really not that good of a book. But it was entertaining and gripping enough to trigger my "obsess until completion" gene, which makes virtually all other activity of zero interest until satisfied. Of course, the book is out of print, as is the rest of the series, so I could be found constantly scouring the library and used-bookstores for old copies as I clawed my way through the six-book series (there are more, but that's where I could finally break my addiction). The last three books I actually found at a new book store (... [more]

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