29 October 2004

Key West, take 2

Key West has a massive festival called "Fantasy Fest" that finishes up this weekend, and I'm going to it today, Saturday and maybe a bit of Sunday. Now, my last time in Key West was pretty interesting so I'm a bit apprehensive about this one. The only place I could find accomodation was at a Bed and Breakfast place (that doesn't serve breakfast) located on Marathon Key, about 45 mins drive away from Key West. The guy who owns it is a Vietnam veteran and he was a fighter pilot who flew over 200 missions, so it should be interesting hearing what he has to say for himself. He's also a massive environmental activist who has had no small part in preventing a lot of Key Largo from being developed and subsequently destroyed. His name is "Captain EcoEd" but for some reason I keep on shortening that to "Captain Co-ed". Uhhh, yeah.

26 October 2004


During the time Florida was getting bombarded with hurricanes, there was one guy we all watched to give us the low down on what the hurricanes' plans were: Bill Kamal. Bill was the man! We watched him for hours on end coz basically that's all that was on TV at the time. He always wore a pin-stripe suit and was so precise in what he said I was thinking "now there is a guy who knows his hurricanes!" He was a fountain of hurricane knowledge.

Now read this: news story

Florida just isn't the same any more people.

Le weekend

Was pretty darn full-on. Like I said, I went to Swap Shop on the Friday night. I wouldn't say that the place was Florida's 2nd largest tourist attraction because of the drive in theatre part though. They're crap. We were watching "Team America" on some shoddy screen with a shoddy projector and shoddy sound. Oh hold on, people don't go to a drive-in to watch the movie anyway. Anyone who has watched "Grease" would know that. Doh! Ok, next time I go to a drive-in theatre you won't be hearing about it. Mwa haha. Unfortunately this time I was there with fellow nerds. You can find the best bits of "Team America" on the ads, I swear. I did laugh a couple of times but only at the fact the movie has freaking marionettes walking about, I didn't laugh at any of the actual dialogue much. Hearing South Park voices everywhere is sorta off-putting since I'm pretty much over South Park.

So, the best part of the night was finding that the Hooters 5 mins from my apartment is actually good. It's so good in fact that I've no need to go to the one in Ft Lauderdale. The quality is, IMHO, much better. The food is good too.

Saturday I was up at 5:30am (only after getting 2 hours of sleep) to go kayaking in the Keys. That was an absolutely FANTASTIC day! I was in a single kayak as was one other guy who is quite experienced. There were about 8 other people in double kayaks. We paddled about 8 miles that day visiting a few small islands around the place like Indian Key. It was just such a fantastic day weather-wise. At some points I was in the middle of the ocean, trying to paddle against the currents and when I stopped to rest and took in the sights I was just so damn relaxed. And then I paddled some more. It was hard to keep up with the rest of the group coz there were two people per kayak making for more paddling power, but I did Australia proud and kept up nonetheless. I did find it difficult at times trying to hold a beer and paddle at the same time though. One pretty funny incident was when we stopped at one of the keys for a swim. Two of the guys were standing on the edge of a jetty and had just jumped in when a park ranger came in on his speedboat *out of nowhere* and said "you're not supposed to swim within 100 feet of the jetty. There is a sign over there and a sign right under where you jumped from. Please go swim somewhere else". The amazing thing we didn't notice him coming, he just appeared and he would have seen everything! The guys were standing up on the railing of the jetty for at least half a minute whilst the ranger was speeding towards our general location.

That night I was in an awesome amount of pain. My shoulders hurt like they never have before and I had a really hard time trying to get to sleep. The pain pretty much disappeared Sunday night though and was completely gone Monday. I was expecting some muscle soreness either Monday or today but I haven't got any yet, which is really bloody weird. Something is wrong there. Anyway, I plan on doing the trip again so I'll grab some pictures next time I go.

22 October 2004

Swap Shop

(I've got the theme song to that ABC show from yonks back in my head now). No, that's where I've planned to go tonight, the world's largest drive-in complex to watch Team America. Of course, I'll be visiting Hooters in Fort Lauderdale first coz a man's gotta eat. I have to get a sorta early night tonight (anything before 1am) because I'm leaving at 5:30am tomorrow morning to go on a full day kayaking trip in the Florida Keys. Woo hoo! I plan on going to an Apple store after work tonight to get an iTrip so I can annoy the heck out of the people I'll be travelling with. What, you want more Roxette? No problemo! How about we follow that up with some 2 Unlimited and then to cap it off, the KLF. Hehe.

19 October 2004

Hats off Bro!

This post is for my little brother: CONGRATULATIONS for blitzing the technical test, the passing of which is one of the requirements for entrance into the Airforce. I knew you could do it! Good luck for the remaining tests that you will have to do.

From a very proud brother.

I forgot

to add this picture to the St Petersburg album. Oops.

18 October 2004

Is it really that difficult?

To send my bankcard to the right address?

Thankyou BankSA for sending my bankcard to my address back in Australia. This is after I called your hotline for people currently *overseas* who had their cards lost/stolen. I then explicitly gave details on where I was living in Florida so you could send it to *that* address. How the heck did you stuff that up, after I even had you repeat the address details to me? And where the heck would my PIN have gotten to? Somewhere in Mozambique perhaps?

You really piss me off.

17 October 2004

Lucky I like driving

Coz I drove nearly 800km today. The trip to St Petersburg was FANTASTIC. It's amazing how each town has it's own feel to it. The Salvador Dali museum of course was the highlight. I'll definitely be making a trip back there when the new exhibits roll in. After checking out some art I went to St Pete Beach to get an awesome view of a sunset over the gulf of Mexico (whilst drinking a Corona, of course :)

I had to laugh at myself on the way back home. I was getting a really cramped foot from pressing the accelerator all the time. Then some other part of my brain came up and said "dude, you've got cruise control". Shiiiiiiiit. Well, at least for the last 300km I could give my foot a rest.

I was supposed to go out to South Beach tonight. Of course, because I'm currently writing up my blog you can guess I didn't make it. The person whose contact number I had, well his phone wasn't working properly. So, he only just got back to me then. Given the fact that it's going to take me well over an hour to get to South Beach it just ain't worth it. Oh hold on, the guy said he was out with 4 girls. WTF am I doing??? Actually, the girls he was with said they couldn't guarantee they be able to get anyone else in (very exclusive club apparently) so that made it not worth the effort (or so he said... is he keeping them all to himself?? Why that selfish...). If I'd met up with them earlier in the night things may have been different. If only I'd driven home faster. Stupid wanky clubs that I always want to go to. End story is that I still haven't been to South Beach for a night out. That's pretty crap.

ANYWAY enough bitching, here are some pics from today's adventure.
Click me

15 October 2004

What to do, what to do

Tomorrow I've planned a bit of an adventure for myself. I'm hoping to make it to St Petersburg because there is a Dali art gallery there. That should be pretty cool. I've been informed that on the way I'll be going through real southern hick country, which should be even *more* cool. It's supposed to be a 4 hour drive there so I plan to leave around 8 in the morning. I have to check if my new Multiaccess card has come in as well. It's bloody inconvenient not being able to withdraw money out of my account you know, especially when I've just been paid.

Hopefully tomorrow night I'll head to South Beach for a night out on the town with a few friends. I haven't actually been there at night yet, so it'll be interesting to see what places we'll be able to get into. There were some really cool places on "Wild On" on channel E!, but of course they're all the really difficult places to get into. And no, having an Australian accent doesn't make it any easier to get past the bouncers.

More little chargers

These little chargers are everywhere, just like the other little chargers I previously posted about.

14 October 2004

Cool stuff

I see that the new Motorola Razor V3 (or for more info look here) is coming out very very soon and god dammit, I'm getting one. I've been reading a few forums and lots of people are complaining that it's too expensive and they're not going to buy it and Motorola made a bad business decision in pricing it the way they have. Note to those people who are complaining: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY IT! If you can't or don't want to afford it then don't get it! I think it's quite obvious which market segment Motorola is targeting this phone at, and whatever certain people would like to say about would be purchasers of this phone brings a big care factor zero from me :-)

Onto something which is nearly as cool, the Google Desktop search utility. I'm a big Google fanboy and I've been making use of this utility all day today. It's super quick and super useful. I suggest you download it and open your computer up to the wonderful world of Google search. Note that this program is only in beta, but that means that it should only get better as they add more features.

Ok, back to work for me peeps. check-ya.

12 October 2004

What an uninspiring day

It's one of those days where sticking a needle in your eye would almost be more entertaining. I obviously didn't get enough sleep last night so I'm in a super-fantastic sarcastic mood. I've actually discovered a few things about myself and others while I've been over here:

1) I really can't relate to full-on nerds all that well. They really don't like going out and partying, and they probably believe beer should only be consumed while participating in a LAN party. I only consider myself a *partial* nerd, and really, I only make nerdy comments "for a laugh". Honest.

2) Some people should smile more often. I don't mean smiling permanently, coz that probably shows some sign of dementia, but when you're walking past someone in a corridor and you know them just try smiling for crying out loud. Unless of course you've walked past them 10 times already today, in which case it's ok to make it look like you just got a phonecall or are checking your messages and you didn't happen to see them walking past.

3) I really really hate walking around public places by myself. It's ok if you're by yourself and you want to go to the sea or a forest something and find your moment of zen (I guess that's not really public anyway), or if you're going to meet someone, but generally I find it uncomfortable. Unless I'm listening to music on my iPod of course.

4) I can't really go out to the tourist spots by myself anymore. I nearly feel like I'm a local now and the tourist feeling I had at the start where I could go anywhere by myself has worn off (as per point 3). For some reason I'm no longer aware that I have an Australian accent so I'm sort of surprised when people say "ooh, where are you from?"

Hmmm, well, I gotta go and do some work now. Freaking Avis are bothering me again regarding my Floridian license. I wish they'd just leave me the hell alone! There's nothing else I can do at the moment...

10 October 2004

The seesaw

It really has been a seesaw while I've been over here. I've had some extremely high highs but some really low lows. If you've been reading this blog you'll know what some of them are. Whenever something good seems to happen something bad will happen just to even things out. I actually found some people who liked going out - much unlike a lot of the other people I've met here. I was so glad to meet some other people my age who were like this. A lot of other people at work are either married or in a steady relationship or just plain uninterested in going out. So Friday night was a really good night because I went out with some of the party people from work. Today I was planning on going to Key Biscayne for a swim and to get some pics because I really liked it last time I was there. There is a spot where I could get a really good shot of Miami at night. Anyway, I left at lunchtime today and I had to go fill up with fuel. I got to the bowser and couldn't find my credit card. It wasn't in my wallet anywhere. Ok, maybe it's somewhere in my car. Nope, not there either. I found this really curious because I don't carry my credit card around without it being in my wallet. I spent the whole afternoon looking for it and I can't find it anywhere. This is really bloody weird and also highly inconvenient. So, the seesaw strikes again - good Friday night but that's been overshadowed by losing this card. Bloody hell...

So I strummed my guitar a bit to get myself out of the mood I was in and I broke two strings. Well, I have a few books to read now so maybe I should go do that :-)

08 October 2004

How to dress like a nerd in Florida

and you don't even need a pocket protector. These notes are taken from my observations here at work.

1) Wear sporty sneakers. The whiter the better. Sneakers like Asics Gels will do fine.

2) Wear a pair of denim jeans. The lighter blue the better. Basically whatever your mother bought you for last Christmas from the bargin bin will do.

3) Wear a belt. This will not coordinate with your sneakers at all of course, so it can't be white. This basically leaves you with brown or black. It can be pink if you want to suggest something.

4) Have a mobile phone with a clip-on holster to attach to your belt. If you don't, you'll miss the call that no-one ever made to you.

5) Wear a collared short-sleeved shirt. Any colour will do. It is preferable that the colour of the collar will contrast with the rest of the shirt. For example, if the shirt is dark green the collar will be navy blue. It is VITALLY IMPORTANT that this shirt be tucked into your jeans. If it is not, you'll instantly lose your nerd cool status. Plus, you'll fumble around trying to find your mobile phone to answer the call that no-one ever made to you.

Koenigsegg is coming to Oz!

Firstly, props go to Frosty at http://tvrfreak.blogspot.com for alerting me to this. This is way cool. I've always looooved the Koenigsegg and I non-stop dribble about it. It's always been the desktop wallpaper of choice for my computer, and OMG, it's coming to Oztralia. I wish I could go see it at the Australia International Motor Show. If you live in Sydney or are even planning to go there for this, please go and appreciate this awesome supercar for me.

(ps - Nav, that means I expect you to go and take some pictures of this car and all the other cool cars that will be there, but especially this car).

07 October 2004

Little chargers

At night these little chargers can be found jumping around just outside my apartment. This one is about the size of a 20c coin.

I haven't stepped on any... yet.

I just blew up a power supply at work

Oops. Credit where credit is due though, that's normally a pretty hard thing to do.

I passed my driving test

Yay! I passed a Florida driving test today. All in all, both the written and practical exams only took 3 hours, which is supposed to be pretty good. I aced the written exam - that was pretty darn easy though. I got deducted 2 points in my practical exam however because I failed to indicate whilst reversing out of a car park. What the? Anyway, I receive my driver's licence in about 3 weeks, which will make for quite a nice souvenir I think.

04 October 2004

My dream job

If you're like me you'll be plodding along in your current job but in the back of your mind you're always wondering what it is you're going to do next, coz you sure as hell don't want to do this for the rest of your life. I was thinking about this today and I was reading my latest computer music mag (instead of doing work - I sent out an e-mail that will get me an hour of free time at least) and there was an article about a guy who wrote the music for the PC game "Far Cry". While I was reading it I thought "Eureka! That's it!". I have always loved music in computer games, even from the tinny, bass lacking sounds of the original NES. I remember I've been in conversations with people talking about such and such a game and I'd mention something about the music in that game being good or bad, but I mostly get raised eyebrows from them. I can remember feeling pretty disappointed if a game had bad music. In fact, the music is what I remember the most about any game I've ever played.

I think this is what I'm going to aim for. I've freaked some of my friends out when I play them music from an old game that's been redone. I love it, but they just look at me weird. When a game has little or no music I'll play my own music to listen to while gaming. Have you ever tried playing Carmageddon to Mozart? It's sounds pretty weird, but it's strangely satisfying. Err, I don't think I'd go to that extreme if were to compose music though...

I think I've found the perfect combination of electronics, music, programming and games. To my highschool music teacher, Mrs Bond, I should have listened to you 10 years ago. Sorry it took that long.

EDIT: Ok, when I wrote this post, I'd just had a very strong cup of coffee on a fairly empty stomach. That's probably the equivalent of drinking a litre or so of straight red cordial, just to put things in perspective. I've come down from the clouds a bit since that original post... but gosh darn, that'd be an ok job.

A bit unusual

Did anyone see the debate between Kerry and Bush? I watched parts of it. I thought Kerry trounced Bush, which I thought was good. At least now people here may start thinking "that Bush guy, I ain't too sure about him..." if for some reason they weren't before. If you're even vaguely interested in politics, you should read this excellent article about the WMD that never were. Yeah, I'm fairly interested with what happens in this election. I think it's because Australia seems to align itself with the US so much that this election is more important than one back in Australia. The thing is, will Kerry do a better job? I really hope he has the balls to make some tough decisions coz he's got to fix up a lot of the Bush administration's "mistakes". It'd be good to see some heads roll in the "Intelligence" community too.

Now there is a conversation going on in the cubicle next to me about how Kerry talks like he has a silver spoon in his mouth, whereas Bush seems to relate to the common man. One of the guys is also talking about how Kerry dumped his first wife for a much richer second wife. He said the first wife was worth $300 million, whilst the second wife was worth billions. Heck, I don't know about those figures. Probably blown out of proportion to make a good Monday morning conversation though.

Speaking of a Monday morning conversation, I thought some interesting stuff happened to me on the weekend. Well, I was talking to my friend here at work, "da playa", about what he did on the weekend. He dumped 2 girls, hooked up with another girl, and attended a funeral. I'm sorry, I just can't beat that!

Friday night was a bit of a weird one. I went to the Bonefish Grill for some nice seafood for tea. Aside: I never ate that much seafood before coming over to the US. Now I'm eating it all the freaking time. I've always liked fish fingers but apparently that doesn't count... So anyway, I'm at the Bonefish and this woman comes over to me and asks me if I'd like to speak to her friend. I thought "yeah, this will be good for a laugh" and I went and sat next to them. Errr, her friend was in her late 40's!?! I travel around to the other side of the world and I still get hassled by older women (some people who know me well enough are cracking up laughing now, I just know it...) Anyway, I thought I'd humour myself and get into the conversation. I did get something out of this though, as I've been keen on going on a road trip to the Carolinas, one of the "ladies" was from North Carolina and she gave me a few tips on what to go see and when to go. So, I plan on going to the Carolinas in the next couple of weeks to catch the Autumn (I haven't allowed myself to get converted to saying "Fall") scenery.

Saturday was just one of those do-nothing days. I got back into playing my guitar on the weekend in a big way and my fingers are really hurting as I type this. I absolutely destroyed some songs by Coldplay, Travis, Nada Surf, Smashing Pumpkins and Steelers Wheels. For those of you who don't play instruments or at least don't attempt to sing when playing one, believe me when I say that when you first try singing and playing an instrument that it's a bloody hard thing to do. I'd like to take this opportunity to formally apologise to my neighbours :-|

Sunday I did a bit of shopping. Clothes are so damn cheap over here! I got a pair of Calvin Klein jeans for $40 and nice long sleeved shirt for $20. Unfreakingbelieveble. If you're so inclined, you can pick up brand name surf wear for like 10 bucks. God damn.

Sunday night I went to downtown Ft Lauderdale for some Margharita pizza at this place I know that makes it good. I was hungry and scoffed the pizza down fairly fast. The waiter came back and said "Oh Sir! Would you like another meal, perhaps another pizza?" Hehe. After that I went to Delray beach hoping to get some good moon-over-water shots. I don't know where the bloody moon got to, I thought it was supposed to be out but I couldn't see it anywhere. I did however snap a night shot that looks pretty damn freaky once you run it through Photoshop. I'll have to post it up (yeah, when I post up the baseball pics). I'm pretty unhappy with a lot of the shots I'm taking with the camera so far. I just can't seem to pick the right spot to stand to take a picture such that it conveys the essence and feeling of the location... ha!

I've been going on a full retro gaming binge recently, and was thinking how I could make my next flight that much more bearable. I think this would fit the bill perfectly.

Gotta go do some work now peeps, respecta!