24 December 2004

Sightseeing California

Well, I have absolutely been having a blast in California so far. I arrived in LA a couple of days ago feeling pretty agitated because my flight was over 2 hours late, and the fact that we had to wait on the tarmac for over and hour. After that though things got pretty good pretty quickly. We went cruising around LA, seeing the sights and meeting a few friends around the place. I met one of my mate's friends who was a former baywatch babe and also appeared on "Jerry McGuire". That was cool. I also got my photo taken with a lot of the stars on the ground. I think my favourite was one taken with the "Kenny G" star. We also visited Venice Beach and Santa Monica Blvd (for which I played Sheryl Crow's song "All I wanna do").

I was pretty over the moon about seeing some hills around here. Hills - yes, you may think I'm going loopy and in fact I probably am but as I've said before Florida has no hills, but California has lots of them. We went cruising long the coast yesterday for a while to get up to San Francisco and I got a few good shots. We visited Santa Barbara for lunch and that place was just amazing. The scenery was just beautiful - mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. I was just in awe of it all. You'd think I'd never seen the ocean or hills before.

Anyway, so now I'm in San Francisco and I absolutely love this place. It's bloody fantastic! Anyway, got some cable cars to catch.


Merry Christmas to all!

To all who are reading this blog, I wish you a merry Christmas! I don't know where you'll be spending yours but I'm seeing what San Francisco has to offer in the way of Christmas festivities. Alright, it's been a hell of a ride so far and I have to go now for some sightseeing before I get called a nerd again.

Checkya later.

21 December 2004

Ready for the trip

I really should be getting some rest at the moment, but I have a problem with getting any sleep before I'm due to catch a plane the next morning. I have this fear that I'll sleep through my alarm so I'll spend most of tonight waking up every half an hour and checking the time - and that's even if I do get to sleep!

I got this SMS from one of my friends who I'm meeting up with in LA:
"Hey Gringo! Campfire tunes are going to crank. We just purchased a guitar, maracas, bongos and a flute from Mexico :-) Adios amigo!"

The next 2 weeks are going to be packed full of stuff. Tomorrow I fly into LA and whilst there am going to check out Venice Beach, Malibu, Beverley Hills and Hollywood. The next day we begin the drive to San Francisco which is about a 400 mile drive. We spend three nights in SF, doing such things as seeing Alcatraz and a whole bunch of other stuff. I've seen to it that the schedule for SF will be nice and busy. After SF we drive to Yosemite national park and spend two nights there. After that we go to Lake Tahoe for skiing and snowboarding, and perhaps snowmobiling. We spend New Years Eve in Tahoe which is supposed to go off! Looking forward to that. Then we drive to Phoenix and I spend a day hanging around there. I get back on Tuesday 4th Jan at 5am in the morning, and then I go straight to work. Hehe, I'm going to be stuffed.

Right, I better get to sleep... right after I transfer these Spanish lessons to my iPod. Hasta luego!

18 December 2004

Christmas gifts

I'm going to a Christmas party tonight and I'm trying to decide what to buy for a secret Santa gift for a woman who has a good sense of humour and a couple of kids. Three options are currently buzzing around in my head:

1) America: The Book

2) Heidi Klum's Body of Knowledge: 8 rules of model behaviour

3) "Has Been", by William Shatner

The Heidi Klum book is just up there for a laugh. I could just imagine a mother wanting to take life advice from a model.

I was thinking with the William Shatner CD that she may have had the hots for Shatner when she was younger. I dunno. Good for a laugh anyway. I know if anyone bought me that CD I'd be stoked (that's the well suppressed Star Trek fan part of me writing that). Plus, Ben Folds helped produce the CD so quality lingers.

I think I'm going to settle for "America: The book", just because I know it's damn good and I think it's a good gift for an American. If she hasn't already got the book it should go down well.

13 December 2004

Slow motion day

It seems that today is one of those days that just seems to drag on forever. I've been trying to get motivated to do my work but so far that's taken nearly 7 hours to do. My body just feels like it's a ragdoll.

I went to see Santos Renuentes play last night at a place called Broadway in Aventura. They were awesome again. They have a new lead guitarist who's only 24 but he added a whole new dimension to their sound. It was a really, really good performance. I was talking to the band members commenting on how good they sounded afterwards and everyone seemed pretty pumped from the performance. They're hoping to get a record contract in the near future. Good luck guys!

I recently changed my diet a bit. No I'm not getting fat, not even with the American diet, but I just felt that cow's milk didn't do it for me anymore. So now I'm having soy milk on my cereal in the mornings instead. I'd say that I've been feeling a bit better generally, but I'm not sure if that's a false perception I've set up for myself.

I decided to change web browsers as well. Internet Explorer has not done it for me for a while now so I've been using something called Avant Browser which added tabbed browsing to IE. It was good for a while but I grew tired of it occasionally crashing. I've made the switch to Firefox and I'm so glad that I did. It's quick, hasn't crashed and there is a slew of plugins that can be used. I've added ones to show the weather, stock prices, google image previews, auto copy of text, and a Gmail mail present indicator. I find I need at least 6 tabs open at once when I'm trying to find solutions to problems. That's basically what I do actually. I am the solution guy. If there is a problem somewhere I program up a way to fix it. I wouldn't say I'm an ace engineer - far from it. I just know how to find stuff. Firefox makes my life easier :-)

God that was nerdy. I better sign off now before I do any more harm to my image!

Lincoln Mall

This mall is one of the most awesome malls I've ever been to. It's the premier mall in South Beach and it's as pretentious as hell. Everyone there looks and walks like a model. I'd probably be looking like a kid in a candy store or something like it coz there are just so many good things to look at. The girls are absolutely stunning! Hehe.

Everyone is always talking to someone on their mobile phones because they like to appear just so damn busy and important. When I went last week for my birthday I saw one girl walking around for about 1/2 hour with her mobile phone to her ear constantly. She didn't say a damn thing the whole time. It seems either a way of her avoiding being spoken to or a way of feeling important. Maybe I should set up a phone line that people can call and have some automated service dribble $hit to them (and not your typical phone sex service, that'd be just too plain expensive and, I'm assuming, not required for the ladies?) just so they feel important. Maybe I've already been beaten to that actually. Hmmm...

Dogs seem to be a fashion item. I don't know whether people are following Paris Hilton in that respect or what the deal is but I've never seen so many dogs in a mall. I saw some dogs dressed up as reindeer, some wearing a scarf, some dressed up as their owners, it's all pretty weird. I shall have to get some pictures.

It was pretty cold for Florida today with 19C being hit. I wasn't expecting to see so many scarves being worn though. It's like everyone should've been walking around in an esky. Not to be out done I bought myself a scarf plus some gloves and a couple of shirts and a beanie all for $85. Not bad I thought. Of course I'll be using these items when I go to the west coast coz I'll actually need them there.

One shop in Lincoln mall had me dumbfounded. I have quite literally never seen so much money in one store for items that were purely made for aesthetic purposes. I'm talking about sculptures. One sculpture had me nearly crying because it was so expensive. It was a 5 foot tall carving of a naked person made out of marble. It was worth (wait for it) US $495,000. You read that right. Half a million dollars. I seriously could not stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. Unfreakingbelievable. If I can, I shall try to get a picture of it.

10 December 2004

I... am... stuffed...

There are just so many things that are stuffing up at the moment. Things getting lost, things just not going to plan, it's hard keeping track of it all. I've been getting virtually no sleep in the past couple of weeks thanks in no small part to the air mattress I've been using at night. It's something I should have gotten rid of a long time ago because every time I move it makes a god awful rumbling plastic squealchy sound (Ed: pfft, nice explanation mate) that is freaking loud! I can't understand where all the sound comes from. Anyway, if I move during my sleep I'm woken up, guaranteed.

Ok, I dropped my parents off at Miami airport this morning after getting 2 hours of sleep. We got there at 6am and I ended up leaving the airport at around 8:30am. I got back to the short term car park and was wondering where the heck my parking ticket was. I couldn't find it so I ended up paying $25 for 2 hours of parking when I should have been paying $3.

What else? My brother lost his wallet yesterday. I only found this out because I went to collect my mail and they said "Do you know a Joshua Golding?" and I'm thinking "Shit... they found out I've been hiding my family in my apartment". Well, they've probably worked that out already but the fact of the matter was I was given a post-it note with the apartment number of the guy who had my brother's wallet, but they were only going to be there after 6 pm. Anyway, the apartment was empty, I don't know where that little slip that had the details has gone but I have to somehow find my brother's wallet now and send it back to Oz.

I've also gotten no work done this week. I've done absolutely nothing of value, but my stuff isn't high priority anymore so nobody cares. I'm thinking "you're paying for me to be over here... shouldn't you be trying to extract as much work out of me as possible?" I need some of those Mensa puzzles to keep me occupied.

Plus, organising this Christmas trip has been a pain but thank God most of it is out of the way. I couldn't believe how difficult it was to book flights over here. When I booked flights and trains for my family's trip to New York and Washington D.C. I had no problems whatsoever with using an Australian Visa, and these are those small el cheapo plane companies similar to Virgin Blue. However, and I can't believe this, I can't use my Australian Visa to book flights with either U.S. Airways or American Airlines. WTF!?!?!? That just has me scratching my head and is considerably inconvenient for a little Aussie like me. Anyway, it's forced me to open a bank account over here just so I can book those flights without bothering Americans for their credit cards, and as a bonus it allows me to buy the cheap stuff I want to buy off the net. Bah!

07 December 2004

72 97 112 112 121 32 66 105 114 116 104 100 97 121 32 116 111 32 109 101 33

Yay! Well, it might not be quite that day over here but it is in Australia anyway and that's pretty much what counts for me. So what will I be doing? NOTHING! Actually, I'm going to celebrate by having lunch down at South Beach and then maybe I'm going to go do some shopping or something. Of course, I'll be having the typical Wednesday night happy hour drinks at the Davie Ale House so I'm looking forward to that too. Yay!

06 December 2004


I must admit, I didn't know much about Lil Jon until I saw Dave Chapelle do a skit about him on his show. That was a couple of months ago now, and it's weird to find that I'm actually seeking out Lil Jon's music just so I can hear him say "What?", "OK!", "Yeah!" in his or other people's songs. It's awesome. And yeah, my family has been getting an earful of it while they've been over here. You hear A LOT of him being played on the radio... partially because the rap/hip-hop/rnb stations here like to repeat a lot of the same music... partially because he's an East side artist. You could imagine my joy when I found this soundboard. The samples are of Dave Chapelle impersonating Lil Jon, but it's still cool.

Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay - Awesome!

I've driven about a total 500 miles today to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa. Why? Because there are some *awesome* roller coasters there. Oh, and the guy who came with me is going back to Australia tomorrow and I thought it would be a good send off. Here are the rides and here are the number of times we went on them:

Gwazi (old school wooden type) - 3 times
Kumba - 5 times
Montu - 4 times
Python - once
Scorpion - once

Here are some pictures of the rides someone has taken. I'm really looking forward to the Sheikra ride that will be finished in Spring next year!

About half-way through the day we started feeling a little sick because I suggested closing our eyes during the Montu ride (bad idea). Not to worry, a fairly healthy lunch and a quick ride on the airlift set things straight and we were able to continue on our roller coaster spree. I must admit though I'm actually a little shakey at the moment as I'm typing this even though the last ride I went on was quite a few hours ago. Lots and lots of adrenalin got used up today :-)

Update: How could I mention what rides I went on without giving a small review of each?

Gwazi is the first wooden roller coaster I've been on. This shouldn't be too surprising though - before I came to the US I'd only ever been on one roller coaster and that was "Lethal Weapon: The ride" on the Gold Coast. I was too wussy to go on it again all those years ago. How times change. Anyway, Gwazi was bloody fast and if you had a bad back before going on it you sure as hell would have to check in to the doctor afterwards. It was really, really rough. The first drop is what gets me. The first time I went on the ride I saw that first drop and some part of me started screaming a bit prematurely. I had to say to the people around me "Sorry - I'll try screaming at the right time". It's a heck of a drop. Pretty cool though.

Kumba reminds me of "The Hulk" in that it's big and it's fast. Being right at the front of the roller coaster (we got to do this on all the rides we rode on more than once) is something else as it's pretty freaky at the start just looking straight down before the rest of the carriages come over the rise. Very, very smooth ride at the front but a bit less smooth near the back. Nowhere near as bad as Gwazi though! I still say I prefer the Hulk to this. I think it has to do with the way you get launched out of a tunnel with the Hulk ride, rather than being pulled up and then let down as is done with Kumba (and all the other roller coaster rides at this park for that matter).

Montu is an inverted rollercoaster, and it's probably my favourite roller coaster so far. Really, really sharp turns and high G-forces make this a really cool ride. It broke down for a few minutes when we were being winched up on the 3rd ride. Luckily we were down near the ground still though. I think my fear of heights would have started to take effect otherwise!

Python and Scorpion were more lackluster. Python was just too damn short. Scorpion however was a little bit of a sleeper hit. It doesn't ever take you up that high but the turns are sharp and you come really close to the support structure of the coaster so there is a good sensation of speed. This is one coaster I'd like in my backyard.

So where to next on my rollercoaster quest? Well, I may go back to Islands of Adventure and Busch Gardens every now and then just to get a fix, but I think Cedar Point would be the ultimate destination for any roller coaster fan. This ride has my palms sweating just thinking about it. Top speed: approx 120 MPH (nearly 200 KPH). Acceleration: 0 -> 120 MPH in 4 seconds. Ride height: 420 feet (for people back in Adelaide, that's approximately the same height as the Santos building). Jeepers!

04 December 2004


To all the people who were going to enchanted this year back in good ol' SA: I HOPE YOU HAD FUN!!! I really wish I could have made it. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of my control I couldn't be back at this time. Nav, CJB, Ben, I spammed all your phones and Nav I left return phone numbers (the 75225533 number was "PKCALLED", the other number was my real number here in the US). I couldn't call from my Australian mobile phone as my family were using it in New York.

One question I have though: how the hell are you guys going to get home this year? ;-)


I'm completely cracking myself up at the moment. I just found a really cool synth sound that reminded me of Van Halen's "Jump", and I played along with the song for at least 1/2 hour. Cool.

What's cracking me up even more is the South Park episode that's on TV at the moment. Paris Hilton has opened a whore store in South Park, and the writers are taking the piss out of Paris really well. It is one of the funniest episodes I've ever seen. One really bad/sad thing I noticed during one of the breaks in South Park though - an advert for an electric jar opener. What are us guys going to do now? Our job is to open jars. Men are slowly being replaced by machines. I feel lost.

03 December 2004

The mind of a player

I've mentioned "the player" on this site before, and through discussions I've had with him recently we may as well be from different universes. First a background profile on "the player". He got divorced about a year ago after a 7 year marriage. He has 2 kids, aged 5 and 7 years old. He's in his early 30s.

"The player" for the past year has constantly dated women. He has a problem with being alone (as in, not dating) for more than 2 weeks at a time. He has no problem with dating more than one woman at a time, but he will will be honest with his date and tell them he is dating another woman if they ask (and if that is the case). His thoughts on dating are that it's ok to date more than one girl at once, so long as you are honest with them. Furthermore, he says his time is mostly spent on thinking about dating women, and he is completely and utterly absorbed in experimenting with chatting up women and finding that recipe of words that will make them his. He seems pretty confident that he's nailed most of that, and seems certain that for any given night he will pick some girl up. He also has no fear of being rejected, which would obviously help.

I know for certain I'm not that sort of person, but heck I'm going to try and find out what makes the mind of a person like "the player" tick. And I have other questions, the girls who date guys like this - why do they do it? Do they suffer from the same fear of being alone as "the player" does? Do they care/know that they in for a quick and dirty releationship that probably (and evidence has shown) won't last for more than a few weeks? Does it help prop up their self esteem that some guy is cracking onto them?

A nice sunny day

it's about 23C outside, nice and sunny but I also happened to notice the smog hanging about, and then the number of SUVs around with only one person driving. Which bothers me a little. I used to car pool a lot when working back in Adelaide. So if it's one thing I've noticed while I've been over here, it's how incredibly wasteful American society is. It's just downright amazing. The number of SUVs is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that I'm not even given the option of recycling paper and cardboard at my apartment is another ice crystal in that massive iceberg.

Anyway, enough of that. I'm currently planning my Christmas/New Year's trip to the west coast. So far a visit to San Francisco, LA, Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe is on the cards. I'm travelling with a couple of crew from that side of the US and I think this trip shall be nothing short of an absolute blast!

02 December 2004

Sports update

On Tuesday night I got to see another Miami Heat game. They lost again, and I'm beginning to think I'm some sort of jinx or something because at every sports game I've attended, the team I've been barracking for has lost. Heat went down to the Raptors 92-94. That was a pretty damn close game and the whole stadium was electric. Everybody was standing up and making a huge noise, and Heat nearly did win the game - a shot from the three point line in the last second hit the basketball rim.

Oh, the college football pics have been uploaded. You can find them here after the NBA pictures. I seem to have more shots of cheerleaders than those of the game though. Hmmm...

01 December 2004

Australian Music - pushing the boundaries

Don't ask me how the hell I found this site... today hasn't been the most productive work day. Anyway, here is the link to the site: http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/music.htm.
It only really gets interesting about half way down, but this is the part that really made me laugh:

"Australian men are renowned for having the dancing rhythm of Frankenstein...their lack of rhythm and stiff knees has many of them resembling a chicken or jack in the box bouncing from side to side."

Hehe. Plus, the site's got the words to "Bloke" and "Land down under". Can't go wrong there.

The day I nearly became a redneck

This post is already a little weird from the headline, but I was a little apprehensive when I walked into a barber yesterday to get a haircut. My view of the US and haircuts was not a good one. I don't know where I got that perception from, but it's been stuck in my mind for ages. The barber spoke very little English and I was trying to tell them step by step how to cut my hair, because it seemed the Spanish-speaking barber didn't understand "one-inch off the whole way round". Anyway, I finished with the ordeal and walked outside. I put my hand on the back of my neck and felt something weird... something I hadn't felt since the 80's. Something that I thought I'd put behind me a long time ago. I had a mullet. I looked at the reflection in the barber shop window and saw a redneck. I had an urge to smash my front teeth out and buy a check shirt and braces and call myself "Cletus". I fought the urge, raced back inside the barber shop and said "This won't do!" and got that mullet removed. Thank God for that.