The new Coffee Table

So, what to do when your presented with a week off? You could spend time catching up on the InterWebs, you could try and reply to all those emails asking you to buy Viagra or rescue some Nigerian Prince from the global credit crunch… or you could do something rewarding and totally offline. I chose the latter (something I’m doing more and more these days when I can get away with it :) )

Coffee Table

Yup, nothing Ikea about this puppy – not a single allen key was harmed making this coffee table! Unfortunately I didn’t have the presence of mind to take shots as I was building it, so you’ll just have to take my word.

The top is actually an offcut from a solid-core fire rated maple door. Very heavy, but has an excellent grain. I (with some help from my step father Roger), had to repair one end of the offcut, filling it with a spare piece of maple trimming – because the internal cavety of the door is filled with particle board which looks butt ugly!

The shelf is another spare piece of MDF that Rog had lying around, with the rest of the table made out of pine (the legs were bought from Bunnings for 20 bucks each). Because of the design, each leg needed to have mortiose joints to accomodate the shelf, and rebates cut at the top for the tabletop brackets.

The bracket was attached to the top using liquid nails, and allowed to set. Then the legs were arranged, and the shelf supports carefully inserted into their mortises, and again everything was set with liquid nails – legs to brackets and top, shelf supports to mortoise joints. As everything was setting, the legs were then nailed to the bracket and top using a nail gun. The shelf was added last, much like a puzzle piece. It isn’t fixed to the supports, but is rather a snug fitting piece.

It still needs to be stained, but I’m just waiting for the timber colours to go off, but we are considering something dark with a hint of red. Maybe a Jarrah or similar.


  • Nail gun
  • Plane
  • Drop saw
  • Panel hacksaw
  • Clamps
  • Liquid Nails
  • Triton workbench
  • Chisel


  • Time -Approx 12 hours (including beer-stops)
  • Materials – Approx $50 plus offcuts

Oh, and for those interested, the wonderful fruit bowl shown on the top of the coffee table was given as a wedding present by the folks at Redant, and is by Italian designers Alessi.

Wedding Day Gallery

OK, so I’ve been a little slack of late (try the last 6 months!!) posting anything not related to my personal life… and indeed it’s something i’ll try and remedy, but in the mean time, here’s a link to some photos of my big day (can you believe it’s nearly 6 weeks ago?!). This is by no means a complete set of photos, and if anyone out there has more and would like to share them with me, please drop me a line.

October 6, 2007. Daniel & Ailin’s Wedding Day

Footnote, For those interested in the technology, I’ve used the awesomely simple Simple Viewer to handle the preview – I would have made my own, but time is a premium at the moment. If you plan on using it yourself, the only thing to remember is to not have too many photos in the one gallery. At least in the free version it will try and load them all up into memory.

That is all.

Kia Ora from (sometimes) sunny Paihia

Hey all, well we have been in NZ now for 4 days, and we are nearly completely relaxed!

We spent the first night in New Zealand in the Langham Hotel in Auckland – swanky to say the least. Bath robes were the order of the day, and later in the evening we headed out to High St for a beatiful dinner at Vivace. Prices were more expensive than we’d anticipated, but my lamb shanks were the envy of everyone! They practically melted in your mouth. Delicious!

We spent a third of the second day driving to Paihia, located in the Bay of Islands, along the top north east coast of the north island. The drive was at times windy and sub-tropical, but Ailin is a fantastic driver and we arrived (after a few detours) to our resort ready to relax.

And you know you are on holidays when the biggest decision of each day is what time you will head down to the restaurant for breakfast, whether lunch will include one wine or two, and where to have dinner :)

Today (thursday… we think) we went to a Glow Worm cave in Waiomio, just a half hour drive south of Paihia, which is home to about 12,000 tiny bright spots of light. At times they were so close you could touch them, although this of course is strictly forbidden :) We also went to the famouse Kawakawa toilet block designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. A very creative loo… it moved Ailin in very special ways!!!

Anyway, tomorrow is our spa treatment and then on Saturday we will head a bit further north to discover something else… who knows what, but it will be fun finding out!!

Photos to come when we get home.

Ailin & Dan

(ps, the Global Gossip here isn’t using our designs yet – at least not all of them!!)

We’re Married!




More pictures coming shortly!

Mexico, Day 16-19

Well, hello weary travellers! I write this post to you from the comfort of my office at home in Pyrmont… where I am desparately trying to remember all that happened in the last 4 days of our Mexican adventure. It’s now all begining to be a slight blur at the corner of my mind, so before it all disappears, let’s give it a go.

Day 16 started in Querétaro, but finished in a much smaller town called San Miguel de Allende. Now… HERE is a place that you can really relax in :) if Querétaro was small in comparison to Mexico DF, then San Miguel was tiny! It’s built on a hill… and is the quintessential Spaish-influenced Mexican village. Cobblestone streets, spanish villas, narrow alley ways, town square… all very traditional – and quite popular with european tourists. We didn’t do much there… basically just relaxed and soaked in the atmosphere. But we did get some great ideas for some spanish-inspired house decorating… stay tuned!

Day 17 we left San Miguel for Guanajuato. About an hour (?) from San Miguel, Guanajuato is the capital of the state Guanajuato, and is another village steeped in Mexican history and is also home to some awesome architecture, a million museums, and Diego Riviera’s childhood home. And we were there for a day…

Suffice it to say we didn’t get enough time to look around the entire place. We did, however get to experience some of it’s highlights, including the towns’ concert hall (stunning in detail and opulent in production), a museum telling the story of Guanajuato’s importance in the move for Mexican Independence (from the Spanish), and a place called Kissing Alley – where apparently a young man and woman lived (on opposite sides of the alley) and who’s hoses were close enough that they could lean out over their balconies and kiss each other. How romantic.

Another interesting thing about Guanajuato is that it is one of the main mining areas of old Mexico, and as such, the town has many old mining tunnels, which have been converted into streets! So now instead of driving around the hills to get to downtown, you simply take a tunnel through the hills!! Very cool – just don’t breath in the fumes whilst driving through…

Day 17, and we headed over to Leon – THE shoe capital of Mexico. And I mean that literally. Leon is in a flatter area of central Mexico, and is a city – bigger than Guanajuato.. it feels like the size of Wollongong I guess… anyway, as we are driving into it, Ailin tells me “This place has got lots of shoes”. I think, OK, a shopping complex that sells shoes…

No. Leon is a CITY that sells shoes!!! Imagine the sydney fish markets, then multiply it by 50, then swap all the fish with shoes, and you begin to get the picture. It is Ailin heaven :) We stayed there for a good 3 hours… and I didn’t find any shoes I liked!! Well, I found a few, but they either didn’t fit correctly, or weren’t in my size. But boy, were they cheap :)

If you like leather goods, especially shoes… make a beeline for this city – it’s about 4 hours out of Mexico DF by car, but you could fill a suitcase with stuff if you wanted to. Ailin did!

So, shoes, belts and bags bought, we hopped back in the car and headed for home – Mexico DF. Turns out Leon was about 30km from the dead center of Mexico, I really have to get a better handle on the geography of the place cause in the 17 days we’d been in Mexico we went through no less than 8 states, and swung around from far west to central north, central east, and dead center. It’s a big place (did I mention that?!)

We arrived at the outer limits of Mexico DF after a very scary 3 hour freeway trip. It’s not so much that the other drivers were bad – it was just that the sun was setting, and along much of the freeways there are capital works going on to increase road capactiy, and none of it is very well sign-posted, so at dusk it makes things very hard… especially when the work that is going on is in the fast lane!!!

Anyway, we made it to the outskirts… but then we hit rush hour (at 8:30pm), and we then had another 3 hour wait in a crush of traffic the likes of which I have never seen before in my life. It was just outrageous. Every street, every intersection, blocked.

So busy, that we arrived 1.5 hours late for our Last Supper with Ailin’s family. Was sooo glad to get there in the end. And we eventually got to have a very traditional Mexican christmas dinner, where we played silly games, drank, and ate a dish called Bacalau. It’s fish-based, and Ailin’s uncle, who had only just arrived back in Mexico the day before, put in a huge effort to prepare it for us the previous night, and it didn’t dissapoint!

It was fantastic to catch up with her cousins and uncle and aunty, they are really great people, and very welcoming. Her siblings were there as well, and we were able to say our goodbyes and at last make our way back to Ailin’s friends’ house (Dari y Ceja) where we packed our bags and fell asleep (at 2am) for the last time on this trip. We woke at 4am (yes… 2 hours sleep) and headed off to the airport… and well, I won’t bore you with our next 34 hours… but lets just say we couldn’t have arrived soon enough!

So… that’s Mexico 2006. We enjoyed it, and hope you did too! Mery Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Mexico, Day 13-15

We have done soo much in the last 3 days it isn`t funny! Where to start? Hmmm… Saturday (day 13 for those playing at home).

We finally ventured into the heart of old Mexico DF on day 13… to Zócalo. For those that aren`t in the know… Zócalo is THE place for your traditional Mexican protest rally! Think Sydney new years eve, but in one central square. It`s quite impressive. This is where recent protests over the Mexican presidency have been held by Obrador supporters. There were still some semi-permanent protest tents but it was pretty good compared to 3 months ago when the entire area was taken over by protestors.

First thing we went and saw was the murals of Diego Rivera in the Palacio Nacional. They tell the history of Mexico from it`s beginnings to about 1929. Amazing in their scope and details. Enrique – because he knows everything about Mexico – took us through the entire history… it was absolutely fantastic! I especially love the subversive nature of the murals that show how passionate Diego was about his country, it’s people and what he thought of the Spanish history.

Next we took a look around the semi-buried ruins of Templo Mayor (the Spanish when they conquered just built their new city on top of sacred Aztec temples, and at times used the stones from them as well!!!), and then headed off to the posh area of Mexico DF – where we spent a pleasant afternoon browsing the markets (the posh markets) and drinking coffee (posh coffee).

We spent the evening at Ailin’s sisters (Carolina’s) house, but we had to get home early because Sunday – day 14 – was to be a very busy day.

Sunday, in the tradition of the real essence of Mexico, was a day of extremes. First off, we went to see a folkloric ballet… like Riverdance.. but a Mexican version. It was really excellent, and the mariachi were the best I’ve heard before. It was held in Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) Palace… and you thought the opera house was amazing! It is, but so is this place… it’s built almost entirely from marble (direct from the quarries of Italy where one of those famous Italian sculptors got his stuff – Michelangelo i think it was). But because it is soo heavy, and Mexico DF is on soft soil – the area was once a lake – the palace is sinking into the ground ever so slowly.

So… that was a great start to the day… and then things got interesting – because in the afternoon we went to Plaza de Toros. Translation: The bull fighting stadium. The biggest in the world. Capacity 70,000… and the ring is approx 45m in diameter, with rings encircling it. It is quite impressive – and very intimidating. And then the bull fighting began.

Let’s just say I don’t think – no… I KNOW that I won’t be going to see anymore bull fighting. I didn’t really have any pre-conceptions about it before going – except that the thought of killing a bull for sport was outrageous… but I wanted to see for myself what the spectacle was all about. I liken the bullfights to a boxing match… or a cock fight… something that you shouldn’t enjoy, but at times can’t help beeing swept up in the spectacle. Having said that… after seeing one of the Matadores get attacked (and quite viciously) by a rather angry bull, and also after seeing how the bull gets killed (and not just one bull, but 6 over the course of the afternoon), I can say without pause that I didn’t eat beef for dinner that night. I prefer to get my meat from a butcher and stay ignorant. The Matador is fine… thanks for asking… his only injory was a horn up his arse which required 6 hours of surgery. Nice job, if you can get it (some call it Karma).

Anyway, that was the Toros experience. Today we hit the road, travelling out of Mexico DF to the first location on our road trip РQuer̩taro. Along the way, we visited Tula which has some really great Tolteca ruins Рthe Toltecas were the influence for most of the more modern Mexican cultures like the Mayas and the Aztecas.

Querétaro is a really nice place (at night), and is much more relaxed than Mexico DF… more like a small (but very large) country town in comparison. But, even then, it is enormous. Traffic is constant, and getting here we passed more Wal-Marts (like Kmart but with food as well) than could fit in the entire Australian continent. We also passed some new towns, being constructed to de-gentrify Mexico DF… entire towns of identical rows of Mexican-style terraces… all empty and ready and waiting for people to move 2 hours out of the city. No public transport except for washing machines, and no space for trees or backyards. Just living.

Tomorrow we continue with the last 4 days of Mexico 2006.

(PS, Virus, you’re photo is coming!!!)
(PPS, if you are reading this post sans images, it’s because we haven’t had time to upload them yet… but we will, so make sure you come back and read this post in a day or so. )
(PPPS, if you CAN see images, it’s because my future self has travelled into the past and uploaded the images on my behalf. So enjoy…)

Mexico, Day 10-12

You don’t know what a flight delay is until you{ve travelled by plane in Mexico. We left Puerto Vallarta on day 10, and the flight was meant to be at 1pm. We left at 3:30pm. I know – not very long… but it’s kind of like the wait at a doctors surgery.. you have to get there at the right time… even though you know you won’t be seen for another 2 hours!!

Anyway, we made it back to Mexico DF and spent the evening with Dari’s family at her apartment. It was great to meet her family – Ailin spent quite a lot of time over at their place and I heard quite a few stories about my georgous new fiancé.. quite revealing :)

Day 11 we spent with another of Ailin’s friends, Vianey. She and Ailin go back to year 7… oldschool! We went to a great little village 1 hour drive out of Mexico DF – Tepozotlan. There we… you guessed it.. ate drank and swaped stories. Ailin is really enjoying seeing all her friends again – the last time she saw Vianey was about 6 years ago. Anyway, after lunch we walked (needed to after the Enchiladas de Mole), and we walked and we walked. When we were done, we found that we had hiked 2.5km up to an ancient Aztec temple, above the town. And when I say hiked, I mean literally. 3000 steps up up UP (I counted).

The view from the top was SPECTACULAR – just check out the photos.

On photos, we had a little heat accident with one of the CDs, so for the time beeing we don’t have any more photos from days 7-9.. I know thousands of people were waiting with anticipation for them… but sadly, unless someone can tell us how to recover a CD with a third of its face peeled off… it will just have to stay that way :(

Anyway, back to it. our legs are still a little sore from the climb, but today we ventured out into Mexico DF again… this time to hit the cinema for some traditinoal Mexican filmography… Casino Royale!!! Great movie.. go see it :)

Tonight we are meeting Viridiana, the last of Ailin’s long lost friends. More stories to hear, more things to learn!! My spanish is coming along. I’m understanding more than I can speak, but most peoples english is better than my spanish, so I can understand the conversation, adding bits in english, and all’s good.

Mexico, Day 7-9

I thought i was relaxed, when sipping my Pacifico on Mismoloya beach… but I was wrong. Now I know what it feels like to be truly relaxed…

Day 7 was spent with Ailin’s cousin Bernardo and his family : Leonor, Bernardo Jnr (4 years) and Alejandro (8 months). We travelled about 1.5 hours out of Puerto Vallarta, into the next state north called Nayarit, to a little town called Guayabitos. If you were a foreigner, you would miss this place entirely. It’s off the main road, with no more than one set of Mexican traffic lights pointing the way. But once you get there… it’s as long as Seven Mile Beach, and has the warmest water you’ve ever dipped your toe in. Although it’s hard to find, it does have bungalos and villas.. but it is in no way as overcrowded as Puerto Vallarta’s main beaches are.

We spent the day drinking and eating, and when we were done we skipped towards the sea with wild abandon! I even went in, and wait for it… boogey boarded! I know!. It was a great pleasure to spend time with a 4 year old spanish speaker. I nearly had someone who I could communicate with. (Bernadito tiene cuatro años, y su papá se llama Bernardo).

Day 8 was a great day for Ailin’s grandfather – he met up with a friend he hadn’t seen for 50 years! His name is Carlos, and he owns a Fonda (small set-meal restaurant aimed at families in the local area) in Puerto Vallarta. The two of them acted like they were twenty something again, swapping stories about the places they’d worked, what they used to get up to as waiters at the Hilton in Mexico City in 1956. It was a really great day.

Later in the evening we went for a tour of suburban Mexico at night. Either people were buying food, or selling food, or in church. I wasn’t aware of it when we landed, but the days from December 1 to December 12 are THE most religious of the Mexican calendar. Mexico is a Catholic society, and when it was coquered by the Spanish, they adopted the Virgin Mary, but gave her dark skin and the name Guadalupe. December 12 is the day that Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego – who then took the message to the bishop in Mexico City, and now he is the first Mexican Saint. Suffice it to say, Puerto Vallarta (like all of Mexico at this time) is revelling in religious ceremony.

Today (day 9) IS December 12. Did I say that everyone here was Catholic?! After relaxing again on the beach at Mismaloya, we headed back into town for a quick bite… and the place was absolutely chock-a-block with Catholics! The processions that lead into the main church in town were phenominal – and they have been going for the last 12 days. Each night… the same thing, again and again. Only tonight it was bigger, better, and much much louder than ever before. Did I say louder? I mean seriously loud. Imagine 5 police cars, 2 fire trucks and 3 police bikes all with their sirens on right outside the restaurant. No… seriously.

It’s been a really fascinating trip so far, and we’ve only been to 3 towns! Tomorrow we head back to Mexico City, and from there we start our road trip around several places near to the city. We’ll check back in soon.. but in the mean time, we’ve included (with twisted arms) a photo of the infamous ring… enjoy!

(NOTE: we ran out of credit at the net cafe, so you only get a few photos today. We promise you’ll see more… be patient and stop yelling!)

Mexico, Day 5-6

Today we went on a cruise from Puerto Vallarta to La Isla de las Animas. Because Ailin’s cousin is a tour reseller, we got the total cruise for 150 pesos each!! Bargain.

Well, we got our 150 pesos worth :) (just…) The boat took us from the port to 3 different destinations. The first was a mini 12 apostles – where you could snorkell. We were advised this activity was only for good swimmers… AND that the water would be very cold… so we didnt go in. Turns out the water was beautiful, and they gave everyone very good floatation devices. Oh well. But the view was incredible and at least worth a few pesos :)

After snorkelling was completed, the bar opened up – where I made good use of the time and worked on getting my 150 pesos of good times underway! Enrique had a few tequila sunrises, and Ailin kept a close eye on both of us!!

We were then taken (by fast boat) to La Isla, where we trekked for half an hour through jungle and donkey shit (I hope customs isnt reading this) to a waterfall deep in the Mexican jungle. The waterfall was worth the trek, but the trek back (in pouring jungle rain) was like the spin cycle of our day. Totally wet one minute, deep in god-knows-what, and totally dry the next – as rain was replaced with heat.

We then got taken to another beach (only accesible via boat) where we ate lunch before getting back on the boat for home. The trip back was an experience that we never want to have again – and not because of the swell, or the views, or the alcohol… but because by some strange twist of fate, we chose the cruise that likes to play sex games (in a family-oriented way) and loud music…. NON-STOP.

Suffice it to say, we were delighted to alight, and looked forward to day 6 – rest day!

Day 6 was spent on a beautiful, little beach called Mismoloya, 15 minutes by washine machine from downtown Puerto Vallarta. The trip is completely worth it, the beach was fantastic (on the southern side of the peninsula and with ample shade all day), and the service we got at the beach-side restaurant was second to none. The best this trip.

We had a sleep in today, the first this trip. I’m enjoying our little resort more and more – it’s in the older part of Puerto Vallarta, and as such, away from annoying tourists. When we arrived it seemed we were the only ones there – but since then more and more locals have come, and it gives the whole place a really great atmosphere. The only issue I have at the moment is the aircon, which at 4am decided to drip water INSIDE the room, instead of out. Pero, no importa.

Anyway, that’s enough for today, hope everyone is well and enjoying the first week of summer. We have had such demand for a close-up of Ailin’s ring that possibly, possibly you will get a shot in the not too distant future. In the meantime, use your imagination. It’s gold, got a .25c diamond, and fits like a glove :)

One last thing, please don’t email me at shiftperception, as I had to empty all emails out to upload these photos for you guys (Red, I hope you didn’t lose anything important…)