29 July 2004

Received Visa and passport this morning!

Nuff said I think. Now, the back of the Express Post envelope says "If we do not deliver as promised, you will receive another C5 Express Post envelope free". Wicked man, wicked.

In all honesty, this sort of thing (having an express post not arrive the next day) hasn't happened to many people at all - it's certainly the first time it's ever happened to me. That's why I firmly believe that someone is using voodoo powers against me.

Please, put that voodoo doll away

Do not believe Australia Post's "Guaranteed next day delivery" service. It didn't work for me when I most needed it. I was keeping track of the progress of the posting of my Visa and passport using the express post tracking number. The US consulate posted the Visa/passport package out a day later than expected. That's ok - I planned for this and had delayed the outgoing flight by a day. Actually, that plan would have worked quite well if Australia Post could have delivered the package in time (or to the right place). I called up Australia Post five times throughout the day and they said varying things like "It'll probably arrive at 5 or 6pm" to "It was scanned in this morning at 7:30am" to "It's been delivered already". I interpret this as "We don't actually know where it is". Actually, a lot of the times they asked "Have you checked your mail?" Well, yes I had. I couldn't find it because it hadn't been delivered yet. That's why I called you. Then I started thinking "Maybe I put the wrong address on the express post envelope" and "Maybe I put my address on the wrong side". Well, no, I'm pretty darn sure I put the right info down. I can remember checking once, checking again, and checking a third time to be sure. Anyway, the package had made it to my state and to the closest post office sorting facility to my workplace. I don't know of any other addresses out that side of town either.

Now everything has been re-booked for a day later. I'm tired, generally unwell, exhausted, and no doubt am looking like crap. I've been working overtime on my project as it is because Florida was the light at the end of the tunnel. Ok, fair enough, assuming I receive the package tomorrow then heya! I'm going overseas so I should be happy about that and I will seem like a massive whinger. But bloody hell Australia Post, if you have lost my Visa and passport...

27 July 2004

Am I really in Melbourne?

The reason I ask this question is that the news' weather on the plane trip over predicted it to be rainy and 14, but it's been sunny the whole day. I absolutely love this city, and I still reckon it rocks just as much as the Coldplay concert did here a year ago.

So, the whole point of me being in Melbourne was to visit the consulate to apply for my Visa - and the darn thing has been approved! What a trial. Anyway, I should receive it tomorrow and then I can move on with the rest of the process. I can't believe I'm leaving this Friday! My feet are absolutely killing me at the moment. I walked from the Spencer St station to the consulate which is located way, way down St Kilda road. I think that was about a 4km walk or something crazy like that. I heard some guys at work mentioning how long the walk was, and I was thinking of cheating and taking the tram, but not when it's sunny in Melbourne!

Something I found difficult was actually trying to find somewhere to eat. This is heaps easy when you have someone else with you - but when you're by yourself it's a whole different challenge. If I was paying for my own meal I'd probably just go somewhere like Subway, but hey, the company is paying for this one so I think I'll go the $17 pasta for lunch thanks!

What else did I do... ooh, I bought some Armani jeans (reduced in price mind you) which will replace the other jeans I wear almost constantly. I tried looking for an album by a group called "Way out west". No, it's not a James Reyne and James Blundell collaboration. It's a group consisting of Nick Warren and ... some other guy. Anyway, they're signed to the same record label as Hybrid is (Distinctive Records), and I've heard some of their stuff and it's well wicked. It's music you could still be listening to in a couple of years' time - and I'm trying to find more of that sort of music that is new sounding, but here for the long run. Speaking of Hybrid, their fan website (http://www.hybrid-group.com) has been down recently. Bugger.

Well, I'm currently running on 4 hours of sleep and 3 coffees. Until I started work for this Florida trip the most coffees I'd ever have was one coffee a fortnight. Now I'm having 2 or 3 a day. This ain't good, and it has to stop! People have seen what coffee does to me, and I don't want to permanently act like that lest I be taken to a mental institution.

These Internet cafes are cool. Actually, nearly every cafe down this street has wireless Internet access which is something I haven't seen in even one cafe in Adelaide yet. Can anyone correct me???

Anyways, I gotta catch a flight back to good ol' Adelaide now. I'll be back in Melbourne again this Friday enroute to Los Angeles, so that's probably when the next post will be... unless I think of something dazzling. Unlikely.

25 July 2004

Just when you're about to leave

Ok, so the countdown to Friday begins and I decided to take a break from cleaning up and getting everything packed by updating my blog.

I couldn't help but find what was happening across the road as being a little ironic. You know when you leave primary school or high school and then they build better buildings and generally improve the place, and you're left thinking "hell, why didn't they do that while I was there?" Well, I thought my current abode had a pretty good location. There's a huge supermarket across the road, as well as a video store, chemist, doctor, dentist, chinese takeaway, Domino's pizza, Chicken takeaway, newsagency, hairdresser and post office/hardware store. This is all a 2 minute walk away. Ooh, not forgetting there is a huge reserve out the back of my place - sort of like a backyard that is maintained by the local council. Well, not being greedy or anything, but I always wished that there was some 24-hour store or something across the road. My wish has come true! A 24-hour servo has recently been built - with hold on - a 24-hour Subway! That is great, but if only they could have built it a little sooner then I could have gotten more use from it. To all those who have to drive anywhere to have such luxuries, I express my deepest sympathies :-)

I have recently discovered an excellent way to get up in the morning that is a lot less abrupt than the "beep! beep! beep!" on normal radio alarms. The morning shows on two of the local FM radio stations (Triple M and SAFM) are, IMHO, just downright annoying. I find that waking up to people talking is much more calming on the nerves - I don't think that the sky is falling in due to some cruel beeping alarm - and so I don't immediately reach for the sleep button. However, I also find that if I listen to what the radio announcers from these stations are saying for more than 10 minutes then I'll be out of bed ready to smash the radio against a wall. I've worked out the middle ground now so that when I start getting slightly annoyed that's when I get into the shower. It's worked perfectly so far. Hats off though to Adam Spencer from JJJ claiming the 22nd of July as "International Pi day" (22/7 approximates to the value of Pi). I don't listen to JJJ in the morning for my wakeup call. I tried that and I ended up lying in bed for nearly 2 hours.

I think I might take some more time off and get into some "light" reading - the 9-11 commission report sounds like a good start.

20 July 2004

I'm not anti-US

but if I'm anti-anything, it's people abusing power. There are likely many examples that do not involve the US, but hey, I couldn't let this one go by. This is a link to an unclassified document created by the US government in 1962. In it there are various suggestions on how the US Government could justify an invasion of Cuba - by setting up scenarios in where it seemed that Cuba was attacking the US. A snippet:

We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.

Okaaaaay. Anyway, I wonder if any documents created by the US Government may be released in the future with titles like "Justification for a US invasion of Iraq". Hmmmm...

And now for something completely different, you may have heard that DJ Sassy has claimed that her posterior is better than Kylie's. I've observed, and it's my belief that it's not. Nice publicity stunt however - I now know who you are.

That is all.

18 July 2004


You know how you get music that is so bad it's good again? Wesley Willis is one of those people who has created such music. I heard one of his songs when I was watching "Supersize Me" and thought "I know him!" The guy is dead now unfortunately, but he did leave a treasure-trove of interesting ramblings. This website has the "Chicken Cow" mp3 that you can download of Wesley's, as well as some other rather twisted, spaced out musak from other various "artists". Here are some of the lyrics for "The Chicken Cow"

This beast attacked my brother
It stabbed him in the ass while he was in the cold
His hands were frostbitten
His hands were also numb

The Chicken Cow
The Chicken Cow
The Chicken Cow
The Chicken Cow

Gold! Here is an excerpt from another of Wesley's songs, "I smoke weed"

I smoke my crack pipe every day
I have a good time at it
I jack my mother for dope money
I do it by threatening her life with a semi-automatic

I smoke weed
I smoke weed
I smoke weed
I smoke weed

Whoa, I better get some sleep. But before I go - I didn't know The Hansons were still around, let alone releasing another album!

Documentaries rock

They're the only thing I can watch time and time again, and thank God, they have saved my arse many a time when the only other things to watch on television are those God-awful afternoon soapies (Passions being the worst of a very bad bunch). So I went to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Supersize Me" on Friday night. F9/11 was absolutely awesome! The cinema it was being shown at was packed, the first time I've ever seen it that full, and I swear the whole room was getting hotter as people in the audience were getting more fired up (me DEFINITELY included). I think one of my favourite parts was when Michael Moore was asking members of Congress whether they'd like to enlist their sons/daughters into the defence forces. Ooh, that, and all the parts where George W. Bush was looking like an idiot. Some people would no doubt disagree with the viewpoint that Moore put across, probably saying that it was polarised to being anti-Bush, but I think that we're in a better place now that doco was made. I was completely unaware of a lot of what was presented even though I thought I knew a bit about what was going on, and it's made me go and research it on the Internet. As an aside to all this corruption talk, a while back I found a de-classified document which described plans from the early 60's that the then American government had drawn up to make it appear that Cuba had attacked the US. It's a pretty amazing read - I'll put in a link when I find it again.

"Supersize me" was also pretty cool. If you're in Oz you may have seen the manager of McDonald's Australia on TV ads attempting to debunk Supersize Me. Obviously he's trying to save his arse, but I think seeing the ads first and then seeing the doco pointed out how the McDonald's guy was twisting things to save himself. In the doco there was a section in the case where two teenage girls were trying to sue McDonald's. The lawyers stated that the case could only hold water if they could prove that eating only McDonald's caused a deterioration in a person's physical well-being. I don't think there was any such information available at the time. So that's one of the reasons why Supersize Me exists as a doco today - to prove that exact point. Anyone, even wankerchops, know that eating only junk food for a month is going to be pretty unhealthy, but no-one's actually set out to prove that before. Again, in-your-face documentaries like this can only be a good thing I reckon. McDonald's have changed their tune since then, even though they insist it's not a reflex response to Supersize me.

15 July 2004

Tickets are booked!

Well, this is sort of weird. I've actually got to the point where I have now booked my flights to both the consulate in Melbourne for my visa and for the actual trip to the US. The visa interview is on the 27th July and the day I fly out is the 30th July. That doesn't leave a lot of time for all the stuff I want to get done, but we'll see how it goes. I've organised transport of my guitar, amp, computer and extra clothes via air freight to the US but I still have to organise a place to live as well as a rental car. Most of this is handled by other people though, so it should be ok.

Check this out though - when I was looking at the distance between Fort Lauderdale (where I will be landing) and Plantation (where I will be working), I saw something that was a little too close to home. This was from a mapquest map search:

Did you see it? Down near the bottom - Riverland! That's the same name of the area where I grew up in South Australia. Weird.

13 July 2004

Farewell pictures online

I've added all the (sort of) non-incriminating pics from my farewell to my webshots account, which you can find here. Yeah, I felt compelled to write comments for each photograph, and I really was running out of ideas.

10 July 2004

Farewell party postmortem

Holy crap I had a great time at my farewell party last night! Thanks to all of you who came along (you know who you are!) One of my mates got some pics from the night so when I get access to them I'll post some of them. My rollerskating party farewell was held at the St Clair recreation centre in Woodville - which turned out to be an awesome venue. Parking turned out to be a bit difficult because 500 or so nerds were also having a LAN party in another part of the building. Actually, calling them nerds is a bit tongue-in-cheek really because since I'm an engineer/programmer of sorts you could probably technically claim that I am a nerd as well. Ahh well. Put it this way though - I'd prefer to fall on my arse ten times more than I did at rollerskating last night than go to something like that. The whole LAN party thing just doesn't appeal to me.

Getting back to the rollerskating farewell. The theme of the night was late 80s/early 90s which was about the time I went rollerskating when I was living in Loxton. A few people got dressed up for the event, but I didn't expect many people would since we were heading into town afterwards. I think I benefited from having another change of clothes because for the two hours of skating that I had scheduled I went hard the whole time, which showed up as gross sweat patches. Apologies peeps. I think I fell down over 10 times, partly because I couldn't see what I was doing with the Whoopi Goldberg-like hair piece I had on, mostly because I ain't the best skater. My right hand is absolutely killing me today, but, I'll consider all of it as practice for Florida :-)

So, with the theme I had to have some appropriate music. Here is what was played:

Aerosmith + Run DMC - Walk this way
MC Hammer - You can't touch this
N-trance - Stayin' alive '95
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give it away
De La Soul - Ring Ring Ring
Boogie Pimps - Sunny
Madonna - Material Girl
En Vogue - My Lovin'
Roxette - Dangerous
2 Unlimited - Tribal Dance
Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby
Michael Jackson - Beat it
Jon Bon Jovi - Living on a prayer
Belinda Carlisle - Leave a light on
Crystal Waters - 100% pure love
Deee Lite - Groove is in the heart
Dimples D - Sucker DJ
EMF - Unbelievable
C+C Music Factory - Gonna make you sweat
Heavy D - Now that we found love
Huey Lewis and the news - Hip to be square
Janet Jackson - Black Cat
The KLF - Last train to trancentral
Will Smith - Miami
PM Dawn - Movin' on up
Salt 'n' Pepa - Push it
Stevie Wonder - Superstition
Technotronic - Everybody dance now
Van Halen - Jump
Ab Logic - The Hitman
Eurythmics - When tomorrow comes

Ok! That's a bloody long list. Some songs I forgot to include were:
Survivor - Eye of the tiger
East 17 - House of love
The A-team theme song

Maybe I can include them in a 3-hour long rollerskating session?

After the rollerskating session I got changed out of my skanky clothes and headed to the Botanic (I just love that place!!!). I had a wicked night and I hope everyone who came along enjoyed themselves!

Check ya.

09 July 2004

That bites

It seems that yet again my application for an L-1 Visa has been delayed. I got my application package back just after lunch today with a big fat yellow Visa rejection slip on the front. The application was rejected because they could not fit me in for an interview before I was due to leave - I think I'm about to set a record for my company in that I'll have the longest Visa application time ever! My interview has been scheduled for the end of July now, which bites even more considering the interview is supposed to take all of a minute. Eh, I guess I should be happy enough that I will eventually get there.

In the previous post I was musing on how I was going to get everything done in time. Well, now I have more time to see people before I leave, but when things start happening Visa-wise I think that's always going to be a rush.

I think I'll just go watch SpiderMan 2 (Lego version) again.

08 July 2004

One small step...

What witty words will I write for my first weblog post? Hmmm, I can't think of anything now (nice alliteration for the first bit of that sentence though). Luckily I can come back later and edit it if I feel inspired.

I decided to start blogging because, well, maybe I like jumping on bandwagons. No. I have always wanted to do something like this but the thing is I seldom say what is really on my mind. I guess it's because the whole idea of letting everyone know what I am thinking was a bit, well, scary. It shouldn't be, but that's me. Also, my fingers are much better at getting wit out of my head than my mouth is (thanks to all that extra thinking time) so this seems the perfect forum to do it.

The main reason I thought that now was the time to start something like this is because my company is sending me overseas for half a year. I want to keep my family and any friends who give a damn updated on what I'm doing. It was imperative, I thought, that I create a blog - hence the name "sine qua non". The only reason I know of that word by the way is because of the well-wicked group Hybrid. I advise you go pick up one of their CDs and listen to that unique combination of breakbeats and strings. Diversion aside, I leave for Florida in about a week and it's going to be interesting to see how I get everything sorted out before then.

Anyways, I'm writing this during work time so I have to get back to it. Stay tuned!