25 December 2005

Xmas in Loxton

Ahh, good ol' Loxton. How can I describe this place? How about this...

Heart rate anywhere but Loxton: **********************
Heart rate in Loxton: .....*.........*.........*........

Well, something like that. Loxton has changed a little this time around. The high school has undergone a massive overhaul and a lot of the buildings I had classes in are gone. My primary school has also changed a bit in that "the mound" has been demolished. Ahh, the mound. Such fond memories of rolling down that thing and trying to stop from falling off.

I went to the Loxton Club on Christmas eve with my bro not expecting to catch up with that many people in my age group. How wrong could I be? I still can't believe that I met so many of my old classmates there. It was awesome.

Today I'm crusing to meet some family over in Barmera and then I'll be heading to the annual Boxing Day party in Adelaide. Awesome.

22 December 2005

Back in Adelaide

Cool. I am now back in Adelaide after spending a couple of days in Melbourne with my fantastic hosts Steve and Jen. I had an awesome time back there even though I was as sick as a dog (as in really bad cough, earaches) and still getting over jetlag.

But none of that matters as I am back home. I'm just waiting for my brother to finish the dishes (shock! horror!) and then I'm heading off for a walk down Rundle mall for old times sake. After that I'm going to head off to Loxton for Christmasy stuff, and I'll be returning to Adelaide on Boxing day at which point I'll catch up with all the Adelaideans.


11 December 2005

Knight rider

This is awesome. iTunes has picked up some classic NBC shows and one of them is Knight Rider. I couldn't really remember what happened in the episodes anymore - all I can remember is enjoying watching the show as a kid. It's so 80's, it's awesome, I love it.


Last Saturday (as in Dec 3rd) I had my birthday party and unfortunately, people got to see the bad side of me. Well that's if you call throwing water at people and cursing in German *bad* *things*. I also spent a bit of the night dancing around a sombrero and throwing packets of tim tams at people.

Problem with all the above is that I can't remember doing any of it. I can remember up to the short cricket game we played outside (short because we were hitting neighbours' cars with the tennis ball and decided to get back inside before the police got called), but after that the night is pretty much forgotten as far as I'm concerned. Forgotten that is if it were not for cameras. Some people got pictures of me doing these things and looking rather unwell and I'm scared. I haven't seen any of these pictures yet. God knows what I'm doing in them. I have a feeling that pretty soon I'm going to get some pictures in my inbox and I'm going to think "ha, what a dic.... hold on, that's me."

I'm scared. I'm really, really, scared.

08 December 2005

Christmas and New Year's in Oztralia

I'm going to be there ;-)

I'll be arriving in Melbourne on Tuesday 20th December. I have a Visa interview on the 22nd and then I'll be heading off to Adelaide on the 23rd, arriving some time around lunch. At some point along the way I'll be in Loxton, probably for Christmas but otherwise I'll be in Adelaide catching up with all you fine people back there. I'm going to try scheduling some golf, tennis, bowling and some other stuff with some of you guys back there I think. Also, Savvy is crying out for some attention, as is the Botanic and even Worldsend. Awesome. I can't wait to get back there!

Shameless plug for...

my birthday! Yay!

Good on ya December 8th.

01 December 2005

Hello Australia?

Some of you may know that I'm trying to get back to Australia for Christmas. To those of you who didn't know, now you do. There are some major complications that have arisen which may prevent me from doing so, but just to let you know I'm trying to work through those and I'm also trying to figure out a stack of alternative plans. I really, really want to catch up with y'all there.

Fingers crossed...

27 November 2005

Sunrise in Florida

I've just confirmed occurs at 6:45am, or thereabouts. This has been a pretty good thanksgiving weekend, and although I didn't originally plan on going out at many nights as I did it's always good when things work out for the better.

I'd like to thank Starsailor for getting me home this morning with their cranking new album. Guys, I didn't like the second album too much - couldn't get into the choones - but it's nice to see that you've fully redeemed yourself with this third album "On the outside".

I'd also like to thank South Florida for putting on some pretty awesome weather for the past few days. Thanks.

I'd also like to thank the cop for not picking me up for speeding on Wednesday night. I didn't know the police would really care that I was going 70 in a 65 zone, but apparently they do during thanksgiving. Actually, I should really thank the other driver who drove past me while I was being tailgated by a policeman, which of course resulted in them getting a speeding ticket and not me. Thankyou for helping me execute operation ticket evasion.

Javi and Glenda - thanks for putting on that awesome thanksgiving dinner. Scott and Matt (or whoever it was) thanks for starting the darts drinking game. I ended up drinking a heck of a lot of that rum (I'm pretty sure I had 1/2 bottle to myself) and I can confirm that thanksgiving dinner tastes better on the way down.

One thing that concerns me over here though is the number of people who drink (and I mean drink a LOT) and then drive. Don't do it. It's pretty dumb you know. They should really start random breath tests or something to act as a sort of deterrant at the very least.

Getting off my soap box now, going to bed.

21 November 2005

You might be a redneck if...

You go and watch NASCAR! Which is exactly what I did on Sunday.

I came away from NASCAR not really getting drawn into the whole thing that much. In fact, I left half way through because I was bored couldn't get into it. The tickets that we got were free, thank goodness, because at $90 a pop I really would have felt ripped off slightly disappointed had I actually payed for them.

I did enjoy the crashes though, they were fun to watch.

Of course we also had a flyover and the airplanes actually had weapons equipped!

I also enjoyed watching a redneck guy with bad teeth and a rat-tail calling out smart remarks to people as they walked past him. He was doing that for a while and then someone looking for their seat asked him if he was sitting in the correct seat. He was actually in the wrong section and had to move... nobody's perfect, right?

What I found amazing was the patriotism shown before the race started. Three trucks drove around the track with an American flag in tow and the crowd went absolutely mental with a deafening noise.

What was even more amazing happened after we had to stand for the American national anthem and remove our hats, which I expected of course. But then we were asked to bow our heads in prayer as Miss Florida read a prayer praising God about various things and asking for the protection of various people in faraway places. At the end of the prayer there was a resounding "Amen!" and people here and there followed that up with "Praise the Lord!" It was at that point I really felt like a foreigner and very, very out of place. It hit me I was in the company of real southerners at that time and I was very glad I had not worn my t-shirt that said "BORING" in the style of the NASCAR logo.

Anyway, I didn't really enjoy the whole NASCAR experience. I thought it paled in my comparison to the V8 Supercars in Australia or rally car driving. That's my opinion of course. It would probably have been much more enjoyable had I been wearing the headsets and listening to the commentators and had I actually chosen someone to go for and/or worked out what the hell was going on with people getting ahead and then losing their lead again. It's like that computer catchup thing on racing games they have for people behind the leader.

I did find this website which is a response to people who claim that NASCAR may not be that exciting. But, if you go read that site, you'll find that what they claim is great about NASCAR is pretty much in every other sporting event in existence so I don't see the 'that's special' part of the whole thing. Plus, the part about them seeming to make up rules as they go along... I'd find that downright annoying.

Something I heard about later was a pilot of one of the helicopters at the event was killed. Damn. We were long gone by that time though.

16 November 2005

Hot chicks

Now that I have the attention of half the people reading this, I will write hot *nerd* chicks. There is something about an attractive girl and maths equations that I find particularly alluring. I'd write a maths equation to describe the relationship but I think these equations are better.

15 November 2005

oZomatli pics

First off, BIG PROPS to Johanna, who was visiting from Puerto Rico, for taking these pictures at the Ozomatli concert in South Beach recently. BIG PROPS to Arlene for passing them on to me. BIG PROPS to me for posting other people's pictures!! But I know there are a couple of Ozomatli fans out there who read this little site-o-mine so I had to share them.

Asdru shouting it out to the crowd. Take particular note of the shirt he is wearing...
Yes, it says 'Womadelaide'. I get bagged for harping on about Australia and in particular Adelaide all the time, but anyone who bags me hasn't been to Australia yet and just doesn't understand...
Wil-dog on the bass.
Jabu - awesome vocals...

Shef with DJ Spinobi in the background...
Raul and Jabu...
This part was awesome: after the set had finished oZo came into the crowd and continued to play, battling with the DJ's at the nightclub who were trying to spin some musak...



Back in February I made this post about a picture I had located from a night out in South Beach. That night was excellent and I've had other good nights out with people in that group since then. I learnt today that Azadeh, the girl in the green top, died in a car accident last night. A person driving under the influence (in fact he had been convicted of DUI 3 times prior) was driving the wrong way on an interstate highway ramp and hit her car head on.

I had not seen Azadeh for a couple of months so I wasn't a close friend but I'd always have a chat when I did see her. Ha, I remember well being in Voodoo lounge in downtown Ft Lauderdale for Sean's birthday party a few months ago. I offered her my shoes because her feet were sore from dancing in her shoes and she could not dance anymore. There I was standing on the dancefloor with no shoes on saying "c'mon! there is still dancing to be done! you can wear my shoes!" and she just stared back at me with those eyes. That will always be one thing I will remember about her: her eyes. They were just amazing.

I spent tonight talking to Sean who was a close friend of Azadeh. He's a bit overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation and things will take a while to sink in.

I have found that time and the comfort of family and friends will help you learn to live with such a loss. Eventually you learn to live for them, and every so often you do or say something that reminds you of that person and you smile to yourself and you say: "I hope you don't mind, but I borrowed that from you". And for them, you go on.

Seeya later Azadeh.

14 November 2005

A road safety notice for Floridian drivers and bicycle riders

Part 1: The flashing traffic lights.

This has really been getting to me recently and in a lot of cases is making driving more dangerous than just after Wilma when we had virtually no working traffic lights. Some lights at intersections are still not working properly and as such the lights flash yellow for one flow of traffic (eg northbound/southbound) and flash red for another flow (eg eastbound/westbound). If you are travelling and encounter a YELLOW FLASHING traffic light you may proceed with caution. If you are travelling and encounter a RED FLASHING traffic light you must treat it as a stop sign, hence, you must ALWAYS give way to those drivers who are encountering a YELLOW FLASHING traffic light, who by the way should be travelling through the intersection with caution.

What have I seen so far? Drivers have been stopping at the YELLOW FLASHING traffic lights and allowing the people who have RED FLASHING traffic lights to pass on through. However, there have been drivers in other lanes passing through a YELLOW FLASHING light who continue through and nearly hit a driver who shouldn't be in the intersection. Then again, they should be driving with caution anyway.

To sum up: people are treating the flashing traffic lights as a 4-way stop sign when they should not be. You only do that when they are not operating at all.

Part 2: People not wearing seatbelts.

It really pisses me off as a driver when people do not buckle up. Put your god damn seatbelt on and don't complain if I tell you to. Contrary to your own beliefs, you're not invincible. Your chances of proving that you're invincible pretty much fall to zero when you fly through the front windscreen.

Part 3: People not using their indicators.

I like to know what you're doing, fellow driver, so I can work out what action to take should something weird happen. You may think you own the roads but in fact you don't. Shock! Horror! Actually you only "own" a small fraction of the road and I'm pretty sure we passed that a while back.

Part 4: People on bicycles riding against the traffic.

ARE YOU FREAKING MORONS? Ride with the traffic you idiots.

Yes, it's Monday.

13 November 2005


I was browsing through my computer and found some pictures from what seems like another lifetime. Ok, it's actually only a couple of years ago and these pics are from one of the infamous social club nights my company had. This one had a blues brother theme and stars the Chief and CJB as my fellow fro-bros, da Boss, and Nav. I've only got a few pics and they are here.

CJB-1000 was created from one of these pics.

10 November 2005

An apology

I have an apology to post to this blog. It has been brought to my attention that I've been using "cell phone" instead of the correct term "mobile phone". I'm sorry.

I would like to point out though that I still like the letter U and I use it whenever possible to honoUr my upbringing in the proper spelling of words in English. I would like to apologiSe if I have accidentally left that little bugger out.

I would also like to point out that I still think it's a 350 ZED and not 350 Zeeee as is so often pronounced around here. It's just not catchy pronounced as the latter.

Furthermore, I still don't like how Nissan is pronounced (Nee-sahn), nor Mazda (Mars-da), nor Mitsubishi (Meet-su-bishi) nor Hyundai (Hunday). Maybe that's their proper pronounciation (although I'm pretty sure it's all day, every day, he-yun-dai at the very least). But anyway, whatever.

So that should wrap that up. When I come back to Australia next (more about that soon), if anyone points out from now on that I have misused and abused the English language (not by simple grammatical and sentence structure errors, which I'm sure are rife throughout this blog, but by using the Yank equivalent) I will buy them a pint of their choice of Cooper's beer. This offer is a once only per mistake thing so first in best dressed and most drunk. I may even put some intentional errors in just to check who's still reading this site. Jajajajaja. (that's Spanish and I count it as legit).

09 November 2005

Get to know your neighbours

This is what I was able to do during Wilma, and this was one of the conversations I had.

(I'm babbling to my flatmate about something)
Neighbour: Hi! Where are you from?
Me: Australia.
Neighbour: Where in Australia?
Me: South Australia
Neighbour: Where in South Australia?
(I'm starting to raise my left eyebrow at this point)
Me: Adelaide.
Neighbour: Adelaide? Really? I used to work there on the railway lines.
Me: What? You're kidding me!
Neighbour: I used to work there back in the 60's for a little while. I'm from England originally and moved to Australia for a while and then back home to England. I wanted to move back to Australia but they wouldn't let me back in so I moved here instead. I really want to go back there.
Me: Wow. I didn't think I'd be living next to anyone who knew where Adelaide was.
Neighbour: Yeah, yeah. Lleyton Hewitt comes from there, right? Tennis player?
Me: Yeah, that's right.
Neighbour: I also did some work for the railways out in the bush.
Me: Oh really? Where abouts?
Neighbour: I used to work in a town called Barmera. Lake Bonney.
Me: WHAT? You know about Barmera? My Grandma lives there.
(Barmera has a population of around 4000 people. It's not huge, so I'm amazed at this point this guy knows about Barmera).
Neighbour: I also used to work in this little town on the way to Barmera coming from Adelaide. You had to go past Kingston and then you had to turn off not far from there.
Me: You mean Moorook?!?
Neighbour: Yeah, that's it, Moorook.

It's at this point of the conversation I started to feel a little light headed. Moorook at most has a population of a couple of hundred people. People in Moorook who had to go to highschool went to the same one as I, Loxton High. What the hell were the chances that on the other side of the world I would meet someone who had lived/worked in Moorook? Diddly squat.

07 November 2005

Must stop, must stop...

The partying has taken its toll. I've been out every night since Wednesday now and I pretty much finished up on Saturday night by going to Voodoo lounge in downtown Ft Lauderdale. They were actually playing some pretty decent dance music, what I mean is, they played some Mylo which makes them about 7 or 8 months late. Well, whatever. Good vibes that night and good people.

I decided to finish the weekend by visiting a friend's place last night for an excellent BBQ. I was pretty stuffed and they decided to watch "Revenge of the Sith". They're real hardcore Star Wars fans, that's the only reason I could think of why they'd do that. Normally I'm complaining about the acting every 5 minutes and the only way to shut me up is to either gag me or promise to show me scene 14 from the movie "From dusk till dawn" afterwards. I was so tired and exhausted though that I only complained about the acting once; that part where the Stormtrooper hands back Obi Wan's lightsaber just before order 66 is executed. "Oh, here, I found this" or whatever the hell he says. That acting is primary school play quality but without the parental attachment that makes it watchable.

Stargazing in Fla

While the power was out during Wilma there were fantastic opportunities to do some stargazing as most of the street lights were out in the 'burbs. Although there is some overlap between the constellations I could see in Australia there are of course many new ones to look at. Below is a shot I took out the back of my apartment with my camera mounted on a tripod. This pic has notes so move your mouse over a box to read a description of the constellation. You can see the original without lines or notes here.

04 November 2005

Hurricane Wilma photos

Most of them are online here.

Calling all can't stoppers!

I'm going to take Annie Mac's "can't stopper" tag and run with it here for a bit. I've been going freaking crazy lately. After the whole hurricane business and getting cabin fever and so forth I've decided to make up for that. Wednesday night I went to see Youssou N'Dour with an Egyptian orchestra backing him. That was just simply amazing. Thursday night I went to see Depeche Mode. Might I add that they weren't playing in Fort Lauderdale - that concert got cancelled - but they were playing in Tampa which is over a 3 hour drive away. Not bad for a Thursday night. Big props to the driver for keeping us all awake with the cool music. Tonight is Ozomatli in South Beach. Tomorrow night I've been given a tip that "La Covacha" would be a good place to check out. It's a full-on Latin club and I'm wondering if they understand Australian there.

Could I do any of this stuff "when I'm sixty four"? Probably not, so I gotta do it now.

*And I just can't get enough, I just can't get enough*

Anyway, gotta go, can't stop.

31 October 2005

Back at work

Most of this morning has been spent catching up with workmates and what their experience with the hurricane was. Although many have had their power restored, some haven't (including myself) and it actually shows. I made a fairly good effort to make it look like stuff was normal by shaving this morning and this has fooled people into thinking that I have power back. It is taking me a while to get any sort of intelligent thought back into my head though.

I've got drinkable water back now in the house but it looks like I'll be eating out for a while until power comes back. I must say though I don't mind not having electricity so much as I've been occupying myself with other things like playing guitar. The great plus with having electricity though is that I could edit and post pictures I've taken online, but in the interim you could always look at these pictures of destroyed major transmission lines from the Florida Power and Light website. Oh and it's not like I'm the only person who's taken pictures of Wilma's effects.

28 October 2005

In Orlando and out of south fla

I've just arrived in Orlando for a halloween festival and I must mention just how glad I am to be out of South Florida. Hurricane Wilma was the first real hurricane I've experienced. From watching amazingly stong winds blow down trees early Monday morning to living without electricity, phone or drinkable water until I left this afternoon, it is something I don't really want to experience again. The experience was worthwhile, yes, but that's enough thanks. One of the most dangerous things I've had to do is drive around without working traffic lights. The traffic lights weren't working not only because there was no electricity, but because in a lot of cases they just weren't there anymore. Trees everywhere were down. Powerlines were strewn across roads. The scenery changed so much that I drove past an entrance to a street because I didn't recognise it anymore - and of course a lot of the street signs had been blown down. There were massive lines for car fuel at the few pumping stations that were working (there was no power to pump the fuel so some stations had to get backup generators in). The only time I really bothered with a car was to visit friends and to find reception for and to charge my cell phone. All the other times I travelled about was on a mountain bike to pick up water or get cell phone service.

Forget all the rest of the hurricanes I've been through, they were nothing compared to Wilma's effects on South Florida. For the photo curious I have lots and lots of pictures but I don't have the tools to post any of them yet to my flickr account.

So now I'm looking forward to a hot shower, decent water, hot food, working traffic lights and no curfews... and hopefully when I return to Fort Lauderdale Sunday night I'll at least have some of those little conveniences back.


24 October 2005

Riding out the storm

Hopefully I'm able to hit "publish post" before the power goes out this time...

Wilma is nearly upon us (as in, the worst is yet to come) and not long ago I was woken by the howling winds outside my bedroom window. It's still pretty dark outside. I added another notch to my belt of experiences in the US, that of putting up hurricane shutters. I was able to convince my flatmate yesterday that this would be a good idea so we spent a few hours figuring out how the shutters got put up. That was a downright pain in the arse but we got the big windows on the bottom floor shuttered up as well as a top floor window that was pretty large.

This hurricane is also pretty interesting as it's the first strong hurricane that has come through these parts since I've completely moved to the US. So, my feelings about hurricanes are a little different this time. I'm not as excited about them this time around because I'm living in my own place (well, I rent) and I have my own car which I worry about.

I did get the opportunity to have a hurricane party with a couple of friends Saturday night. We had lots of good food and drank a few hurricanes. It was a fantastic night and I even learnt how to dance a bit of salsa and meringue as the host of the party was also a latin dance teacher.

Wow, it's getting really windy out there now. I can hear debris being blown about and when it was dark before you could see a massive flash of light as a transformer blew and the power cut out. The power always seems to come back on though.

This is the 6th time I've attempted to post this update due to power problems. I'm going to hit that "publish post" button quick smart as I think power around here ain't going to be on for much longer.

21 October 2005

Friday morning therapy

Ok, so I've just arrived at work and I'm feeling a little better this morning, but I think I need some music medicine to get the rest of the bad demons away. I'm going to see if this little concoction will work:

Writing to reach you - Travis (to match my mood)
Easy - Faith no more
I feel loved - Depeche Mode
Sweetness and light - Itchy and scratchy (classic track that one)
I still haven't found what I'm looking for - U2 (awesome, awesome song)
Last train to trancentral - KLF
Anything but you - Way out west (awesome dance track)
No leaf clover - Metallica
Hold your colour - Pendulum (wickedly awesome DnB from some Oz guys)
Feelings - Shy FX and T Power (nice DnB track)

Yeah, I reckon that'll do quite nicely.

20 October 2005

Florida Panthers, Hurricane Wilma and other stuff

I've just gotten back from another Panthers game, and this time they won! This doesn't happen that often when I go to watch a game. It seemed for a while there that I was not going to see a Florida team win in any of the baseball, basketball, college football or ice hockey games that I went to watch. One thing I was hoping to see was a bit of fighting action. Call it the neanderthal in me but there is a saying that goes: "I went to watch a fight and a hockey game broke out" - and a bit of a fist fight always adds a bit more to the game. Yes, how primitive of me. However I must let it be known that I do not enjoy watching boxing. Not in the slightest.

Onto other stuff, hurricane Wilma apparently has its sights set on Florida. There is a lot of talk around work about this one. Maybe Wilma won't amount to much but I can say this: I really hate the name Wilma. Anyone who names their child Wilma should get some therapy in my honest opinion. I can't take a hurricane with the name Wilma seriously. I'm really getting sick of the whole hurricane thing as well.

The whole blog thing. Originally this blog was created to update people back home with my journey to the US. This journey was only supposed to last 3 months but it of course ended up lasting a lot longer and now here I am living in the US. Newsflash: That was my original intent. At some points I really wanted this blog to be a venting spot for things that frustrated me. Relationship oriented. Work oriented. *whatever* oriented. But I have a fair idea of who reads this so I don't feel compelled to write down everything I want to because at the end of the day I'm a pretty secretive person and I really don't want people to know me that well. Maybe I want to keep up some sort of illusion that there really is more to me than it seems.

But you know, that's where music helps out because right now I'm going to go play the piano and then play the guitar and then perhaps I'll sing a song about an ex-girlfriend from a couple of years ago who really screwed me around. I've got like heaps of other songs in various stages of being completed at the moment. I just need more skills to get them to a point where I can say "I'm happy with that". The thing is, they range from classical to house and I don't really know how to finish them. Yet.

Now that I've been writing a while I feel compelled to hit "Save as draft" or maybe even just close the page to delete this whole post. But you know what? I'm just going to hit "Publish post" and let the chips fall where they may.

Whatever and ever, amen.

PK is still in da house

It's 12:20am, I'm in a writing mood. I actually went to see Santos Renuentes play at a place called Hoy Como Ayer in Miami. The section of Miami this place was located in is known as "Little Havana" and it lived up to its name as I was surrounded by Cubans and the place had a very Cuban-like atmosphere (well, that I could imagine anyway. I haven't actually been to Cuba yet). But hey, the DVDs they were playing before Santos Renuentes began sounded a lot like Buena Vista Social Club. Santos Renuentes were good again of course. So I won't elaborate any more on that.

I did get a bit tipsy at the start of the night before Santos Renuentes came on. They were supposed to start at 8:30pm sharp - that's exactly what the flyer said. I got there 8:30pm sharp, got let in at 8:45pm and then they didn't actually start until 9:30pm. I had to fill in the time with a couple of beers of course... on an empty stomach. Hello PK!

Anyway, Omar the bassist asked me to send a message to his girlfriend who could not make it to the gig. So I wrote this:

"¡Hola! ¿Como estas? Anyway, it's PK here. Not Kristian. Kristian left the building a couple of drinks ago. Truth be known, I ordered a presidente but they gave me two. Maybe they heard me say "duo presidente". They couldn't understand the accent or something. Hope your study is going well and all. Damn, Cubans have no concept of time. 830 sharp my arse."

But, it makes me a little sad. People actually prefer to see and talk to PK than Kristian. PK is more fun apparently. Whatever.

DISCLAIMER: I really don't have a split personality or anything else like that. I just use the alcohol as an excuse so I can act like I really want to without people raising their eyebrows *too* much. Really, it's true! :-p

13 October 2005

Coldplay in Adelaide?

Nah, just messing with ya. I think it unlikely that Coldplay would visit the fine city of Adelaide for one of their tours in the near future. I thought there was hope though when I received a Coldplay newsletter stating more shows in Australia, only to find that they were scheduling more shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.


At any rate, I'm not in Adelaide and I got to see Coldplay a month ago. They were pretty damn awesome of course and I don't know why I didn't mention that fact on my blog. Perhaps I did... I dunno. Here are some shoddy pictures from the concert taken with my phone camera:

and would you like to see a picture of a wankerchop? Here is one:

Pre-coldplay (during the Rilo Kiley set) this guy was more interested in playing a game on his phone than talking to his girlfriend. I award the "tosspot of the month" award to the wankerchop above.

09 October 2005

Congratulations Steven and Carrie!

My long, long, long time friend Steve W called me from Australia just before I was due to leave for New York to inform me that he was now engaged to Carrie. This didn't come as a shock to me at all of course. But heck, it does make me smile a bit when I think back a few years to a particular pub crawl... Steve did you really know what you were getting yourself into? Haha! I kid, I kid :-)

Again, congratulations!

Updated photo sets

I've been going along and updating photos in various photo sets, mainly because I've visited those places more than once and I've been hauling my trusty DSLR along with me. Sets that have been updated are:

Around Florida

The Keys
The Everglades

Oh, quick point about the Everglades, I noticed this story a couple of days ago about a python taking on an alligator. Wow.

Sailing boat along Key West waterfront
Originally uploaded by daecks.

Performer in Key West
Originally uploaded by daecks.

New York City roundup

All I can say about New York City is "wow". What a city. I found myself not wanting to return back to Florida after spending time in NYC. Here is a quick summary of what was accomplished:

- Helicopter flight around Manhattan
- Boat cruise around statue of Liberty
- Saw an off-broadway production "Slava's snowshow"
- Saw a lot of of the districts in Manhattan - Soho, Meatpacking district (nightclubs are big there), Harlem, Times Square, Chinatown, Financial district... the list goes on and on
- Walked across Brooklyn bridge
- Saw comedy acts at Dangerfield's club
- Jazz at a place called "Smalls"
- A funky salsa-like band at a place called "Cafe Wha"
- Museums including the Intrepid, Guggenheim and museum of modern design.
- Walked though Central Park
- Went up the Empire state building
- Tour through NBC studios
- Whilst travelling on the subway, saw the following: some guys doing flips in the middle of the car; some mexicans playing some mariachi-like music; a guy with a bass guitar playing "my girl"; a preacher woman telling us all to repent.

I did not in fact get to see any of the shows like Dave Letterman, the Daily Show nor in fact did we get our mugs on the Today show (that turned out to be way too early in the morning). The shows actually required a little more planning to see. There is always next time I guess, and there definitely will be a next time. Hopefully for an even longer time :-)

Photos have been uploaded here

30 September 2005

Start spreading the news...

Well, I actually leaving tomorrow, but *finally* I am heading off to New York. This ain't a real short trip either as a friend and I are going to be there for 6 straight days. This is also the most unprepared I've ever been for a trip as well, in terms of planning what things to see and do. But I really don't think too much preparation is needed, right? Apart from the obvious places to visit (statue of liberty, times square, empire state building, yadda yadda yadda) these are some of the other things I want to do:

1) Watch "The Daily Show".
2) Watch the David Letterman show.
3) Get our mugs on NBC morning news.

There are other things, can't remember them at the moment, maybe I should plan this better...

29 September 2005

Florida Panthers

The NHL ice hockey season is back and so I went to go watch the Florida Panthers play the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately the Panthers lost in penalty shoot outs 1-2 but it was still a pretty good game. There was even a fight where gloves came off, as did helmets, and some fists got thrown about. All in all, just what I expected :-)

28 September 2005

Pics from the phone

Errr, unusual welcome message:

How icecreams die:

How is this pronounced?

No comment required.

Takeaway Hooters

What's the freaking point?

26 September 2005

Old skool

I just learnt that Ministry of Sound have released a new album called "Back to the old skool" and it's got some wickedly old tracks on it. Saying that though must mean I'm getting old. Is 26 really that old?

Anyway, I think this album would be most appropriate for a rollerskating farewell party.

I now have my car

I finally picked up my car last Friday. Over the weekend I've been pinching myself because it really doesn't seem true. It took such a long time to get the car, mainly because the title to the car got lost for a while. Without that title I could not do a damn thing.

As it turned out even though the title arrived on Friday, I nearly didn't get the car that day because I forgot about state tax on the car and didn't have enough cashola on me. I had to go to an ATM and withdraw more cash. I had hit the limit for that day on my US bank card so I tried my Australian bank card. It did not work. I tried it in several more ATMs. Still no go. I had to go back to my bank at work and withdraw more cash from my US account. Over the weekend I found out why my Aussie card was not working. Apparently the bank had blocked the card because some wankers in Malaysia were fraudulently using my card details. Nice.

So to summarise, this is what I had to go through to get my car, starting from 5 weeks ago:

1) Inspect the car and shake hands with the previous owner to agree to buy the car.
2) Get a bill of sale signed by the previous owner, myself and a witness so I could get a loan through my bank.
3) Wait a couple of days for the bank cheque to be ready and then send it to the lien holder via USPS express.
4) Get a call from the previous owner a few days later that the lien holder had not yet cashed the cheque.
5) Find the tracking number for the bank cheque and verify that it had been received by the lien holder.
6) Verify with the bank that the cheque had been cashed. It took 2 weeks for the lien holder to cash the cheque.
7) Get my insurance ready and going as I was expecting the title any day.
8) Receive a call from the previous owner that he had received details about the transaction from the lien holder. I had not received anything. Waited a week (my bank insisted they would contact me if they received anything).
9) Check with my bank if they had received the title. Nothing had yet been received.
10) Had to put my insurance on hold for a while.
11) Check with previous owner what address the previous lien holder had sent the title to. Initially they said the wrong address. Check again. The second time around they stated the correct address.
12) Check with bank whether they had received the title. They had not.
13) Start a process for getting a duplicate title since the real title was considered lost.
14) Found out this process didn't need to be started, as the bank headquarters said they had received the title and had sent it to my local bank 2 weeks prior.
15) Check with local bank whether they had received the title. They said they hadn't, although in the next week it just turned up.
16) Got my title! Put my insurance back to previous levels.
17) Went into the county offices to get my car registered. Forgot about the state tax. One of my cards had been fraudulently used and was barred. Had to go back to the work bank to get more money out.
18) Went back to the county offices and got my new number plates.
19) Went and picked up my car that same day, last Friday.

And now I will have to post up a picture, so let me put in a reminder:


20 September 2005

Photos from Chicago

UPDATE: Doh! I forgot to set the proper viewing permissions on the photos. They should all be viewable now.

Are now online here

They include pictures from:
- a downtown Chicago river cruise (Chicago has some awesome architecture)
- a visit to a blues bar on the first night of my trip
- Northwestern University in the Evanston area (the monarch butterfly and squirrel pictures)
- A Baha'i faith house of worship
- Pictures taken from Sears tower
- Pictures of Millennium park
- Subway pictures

and I think that's about it.

There are no pictures of a chocolate milkshake from Wiener Circle, a place where at about 4am in the morning you can get a Chicago-style hotdog, verbally abused and shocked. There is no change from a $20 note for a hotdog and a "milkshake" that you can get from an African-American woman. The milkshake, by the way, is not listed on the menu.

12 September 2005


First off, I'd like to thank Su-Yin and Chi-Hoong for being fantastic hosts and laying the groundwork for an absolutely bloody awesome weekend in Chicago. I had a blast. I can't write about everything that happened because that would constitute a best-selling book, and this is but a blog. I'll post updates when I haven't got writer's block.

UPDATE: Before I hit the sack tonight, I must share the lack of luck I had when journeying back from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale. I was feeling pretty damn sleepy when I arrived at the airport and thought I could use the extra space afforded in Economy Plus class - a whole 5 inches of extra leg space! - to help me get to sleep. For the privilege I had to pay an extra $30.

However, when I got to my seat I could not believe the size of the guy sitting in the window seat next to me. He was massive. He was so big that his arms rested horizontally on his stomach. There was no way in the world that the arm rest that should have separated us could have been pulled down because a fair bit of his body was on my side of the seat. While I had some extra space to stretch my legs I had very little space width-wise. Fantastic. Not only was he big but he also seemed to be putting out a lot of body heat. I couldn't get enough air conditioning on myself to cool down.

Needless to say I did not get a lot of sleep on the flight back. I would have taken a picture of this "little" scenario with my phone but the field of view of the camera was too narrow.

08 September 2005

Farewell Robbie

This is somewhat of a sad post. I just learned that an old friend who I went to primary and high school back in Australia died in an motorcycle accident last night. Although I didn't keep in contact with Rob much since I started Univerisity, there are things that come to mind when his name is mentioned:

- Him not allowing me to play on the play equipment with the other people in my class back in early primary school. I don't know why he did that, but I remember standing up to him one day and saying something like "I will play with my other friends because I want to!" We got along fine after that.

- His brother Brian elbowed Steve in the stomach during a (was it 300m?) lap around the oval on sports day in primary school. I was asked if this ever occurred and I said "no". I could have said "I didn't see it" or I could have actually stood up for Steve but I didn't. I'm pretty sure I did see it happen, and told Steven I saw it happen, but I said the opposite anyway. What character I had back then!

- His ability to get on Damo's nerves in highschool. Rob knew exactly how to pi$$ him off. Awesome.

- Him playing in our hockey team in the early days. Yes, that fantastic 1987 grand final picture of me with the big head. I'm pretty damn sure Rob was there.

- Him working at the winery.

- His 21st birthday party. I recall watching a Marilyn Manson concert or something like that there.

- The fact that he rode a motorbike.

- And last, but most certainly not least, his obsession with video games. I remember Chad and I went to visit him at his place but pretty much the whole time he was playing the Playstation 2 while we were talking to him. He loved his video games.

- Did I mention he liked video games?

This is the one thing bites the most about being all the way over here. Whatever happens to someone back home I feel so completely displaced. I would love to be back in Australia right now and just be with my friends to chat about Rob.

RIP mate.


I've been looking forward to this afternoon for a while now, for it is this afternoon that I fly off to Chicago to visit "Choza" and "da Boss". I've got a list of places I want to see and a lot of things I want to do. Hopefully I can forget about the backlog of work I have to do at the moment. There is so much stuff I have to get done it's incredible. Ahh well, such is life.

06 September 2005

The return

This is the first post from my new apartment in the US. My flatmate and I just got the wireless network up and running and everything seems to be working a-ok.

From the gap in the blog postings you may have thought that I had run out of steam. Not so. I've just come back from a long weekend of partying in Key West, frolicking with alligators and having an awesome sing-a-long/play-a-long session at a friend's birthday party. Prior to that I very busy with work and trying to tie up loose ends over here in the US. To those of you I have promised things or have e-mails to reply to - you know who you are - you'll be hearing from me in the near future.

29 August 2005


I honestly could not think of anything more appropriate than the above title. Honestly.

Yes, Ft Lauderdale and surrounding areas got hit by hurricane Katrina last week, which meant we got Thursday and Friday off of work! Of course, that didn't really mean you could do anything... it was too dangerous to go outside not only because of what might be lying around, but because a lot of traffic lights were out and that's just scary.

Katrina grew up and is now going to turn New Orleans into the next Atlantis or something. I hope they hold out alright because that place is awesome.

Car. Stupid car. I still haven't got my car. I have insurance for the car, but no car. There is a hold up in getting the leasing company for the previous owner to get up off their arses and cash the damn cheque so I can receive the title to the car. That may take over another week yet!

Apart from that I am settling into my new apartment and finding the joy that is a couple of hundred TV channels. Actually, I really only like a couple of them, they being the independent film channel and comedy central. There are a couple of others that have the odd interesting thing on here and there. My flatmate knows the channels off by heart pretty much. Convenient yet scary.

Well, it seems this week I'm actually gaining some of my energy back. I've been utterly exhausted recently as has been shown by the lack of posting, but that's probably also in part due to the fact I have no internet connection at home yet.

Anyway this was just a quick post to prove that I am sort of still alive. And Goldberg, yes, at some point I will take a listen.

24 August 2005

Here we go again

Righty, another storm looks like it's going to hit here. Whether it will be a hurricane by the time it makes landfall is another story, however from the brief visit to the Target store I just made I could plainly see that some people were in a state of hysteria again. It was all "hurricane this... hurricane that" at the cash registers and people were stockpiling big time.

Onto other interesting things, there was a discussion with my lunch group regarding gay marriage and whether it should be allowed or not. The discussion got very heated but I didn't really join in as I have not formed an opinion on the issue yet. I don't think I ever will actually as I don't really care about it. Some people in the discussion were against it because it would indicate to people that being a homosexual was normal, when in fact they argued it was not. Others argued against that saying that it's their right to get married if they want to. The counter arguement to that was that the only real rights we have are to food, shelter and safety or something like that. This went on for a while and it sort of got into a "think about the children" case.

And this is something I've noticed here in the states. People spend their time discussing stuff that really doesn't make a f^*ken difference to anything, or they argue how it will make a difference when the effects will probably be quite minor.

But there is a war going on overseas that will make a heck of a difference in the future if it hasn't already now (but of course it has). People are either sick of talking about it or they just give up realising there isn't much they could do about it anyway. Meanwhile of course the conservative right seem to be taking over this country, just to add to the woes. There are two real points for discussion: an unjust war and how you solve the problems caused by it, and the extreme Christian right who can't see two inches in front of themselves who are taking control of the country. In the end, who gives a flying f@#k about gay marriage.

Think about the children.

19 August 2005

A tiring week

Right now I am completely and utterly exhausted. Hold on, I think I've written a post starting like that before. During the week I sealed the private purchase of my new car. I've sent the cheque off to the seller's financing company but I won't be actually picking up the car until next week. Once I get the existing title, but more importantly the insurance sorted out, then I can pick up the car.

And this is where stuff starts to bite. Because I have not been licensed in Florida for a year yet I will be paying through the nose for my insurance. Oh, the other factor is that insurance in Florida is crazy because people have too many accidents. From what I've seen lately: people reading books while they're driving; people driving with their sunshield reflector things still up; people driving and eating cereal; people constantly lane surfing; this doesn't surprise me at all. At the moment my insurance will cost me 8 times that of what it did in Australia. Freaking unbelieveable. I do have other things to try yet but I really have to have this sorted out by Tuesday next week.

In other news I've been preparing my move to a new apartment with a friend from work. This is going much better and the pricing is going to be much more reasonable, thank god. Luckily we're both experienced with living with other people so problems should be kept to a minimum.

15 August 2005

Attack of the drones

Today when I arrived at work I witnessed something quite amazing. What I saw could be best described as a sure-fire way of finding redundancy candidates.

At my work there are boom gates such that when an employee pulls up next to one, access into the facility is granted via waving an ID in front of the scanner to raise the boom gate. Sounds complex? No bloody way.

So what do you think would happen if there was no boom gate? What if the boom gate had been broken off by some fuel guzzling SUV earlier on in the morning? Do you think people would analyse the situation and not bother scanning their ID because it isn't fricken required? Some people would, BUT, statistical analysis showed over half the people wouldn't. If you want comedy that comes in the "I can't believe I'm seeing this" flava, all you have to do is watch this for 5 minutes to see that over half the people at your work are drones.

13 August 2005


This week has been absolutely insane, hence, no updates. I think I pissed off a lot of car salesmen last weekend when I went looking for cars. That tired me out a lot. I think for most of the day I was saying "no, I'm not interested in buying!" They are extremely persistent buggers over here, much more so than what I experienced in Australia. Once they actually realise you're not going to buy they turn into incredibly rude people. Mind you, I was looking at used car dealerships where they're not really interested in forming a relationship with the customer so maybe that had something to do with it.

As if purchasing a car, cancelling stuff over in Australia and initiating stuff over here wasn't enough, work has been an absolute hassle. Put it this way: people have gone well past their limits, including myself, and we're all a bit in the "care factor zero and rapidly falling" zone at the moment. I am completely and utterly exhausted.

This may be causing me to have the weirdest dreams ever and sleep quite irregularly. Case in point: I had a dream that I was back in Pata (in country Australia where I grew up as a kid) and I was lying down in some shade next to the shed enjoying the breeze. I then heard something say "Master... Master" and I turned my head and saw a kitten that was talking to me. It then said "Feed me". As if that wasn't scary enough, I also had some birds later on in my dream asking the same damn thing. It's like the scary movies that have the scary children playing - good example is "the ring".

Luckily though I've got Pendulum's debut album "Hold your colour" to get me through. I had to download a torrent of the album because my CD won't be arriving for at least another month! That was an insane time to wait and so I've been listening to the album for the last week. Highly recommended even if you don't listen to drum and bass very often or don't really know what it's all about.

07 August 2005

Crazy lightning

Crazy lightning
Originally uploaded by daecks.
Over the weekend there have been some massive thunderstorms here in South Florida. Today in fact there was a strike so close that it made my speakers squeal from all the interference. Here is one of the shots I was able to get. The lightning in this shot was striking ground somewhere behind the apartment. Still pretty damn close though.

05 August 2005

Err, pick another consulate

A little while back I had to book a Visa renewal interview at a consulate outside of the US. This interview was set for early September at the consulate in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. I actually would have liked to have found one in Canada because that's further away and I can visit Mexico pretty easily from where I live, but I couldn't even find free slots in Canada before the end of the year for some weird reason. It seems I'll be trying Canada again though.

I got curious today and decided to find out what was is goin' down in that part of Mexico. According to this article: "The United States will close its consulate for one week to assess the security of its employees and consulate visitors in this Mexican border town [Nuevo Laredo] after a shootout between drug gangs using machine guns, grenades and a rocket launcher."

Right... I think I'm going to change some plans :-)

04 August 2005

Car purchasing

I'm now getting pretty excited about the whole car purchasing thing, and I'm finding it quite fun to go about looking for cars. I felt I was restricting myself to the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix thing too much because I really hadn't researched what else was out there.

So I went for a walk around in a caryard to see if I could find anything that I liked. What was the closest caryard? The one just outside. There are probably a couple of thousand cars in the parking lot and this gives me the perfect opportunity to go around and look for something that fits the above criteria. I found one that caught my eye: the Mazda Protege5. This is based upon the reliable Mazda Protege platform and from what I've been reading on the Internets is pretty good value for money and very reliable. I'm leaning towards a second hand version of whatever car I get because, believe it or not, I'm in money saving mode at the moment and I'm really tightening down the screws so I can afford to travel around.

Anyway this weekend I will be test driving the Mazda Protege5 plus anything else I notice. I think the only thing that will really be a thorn in my side will be car insurance, but with some advice I've received from friends I should be able combat that.

Ooh, and where am I going to be living? Not far from where I live now, which makes it about 10 minutes from work. This is good, because not only is it still close but it's also cheap and I can carpool to work. Thank god that was organised without too much hassle. Whatever the case, Aug 25th is approaching fast and I want to have this all sorted.

03 August 2005

Percentage of valid voice mails

To my work number: 0%

Every damn phone call I get is not addressed to me. It's either to someone who no longer exists (1% of the calls) at my number, or some damn telemarketing company (99%). I get about two of these calls a day and always have some on voicemail when I get to work. I actually ended up putting my work number on the "do not call" list. Fingers crossed that works, although I'm not holding my breath...

31 July 2005

One year in the US of A

Today marks exactly one year of me living in the US, up from the original 3 months I was supposed to spend here. By the end of August I will have officially severed the ties with my job in Australia and will be paid in US dollars. This also brings to an end the fantastic benefits of being an expat: free car, free accommodation and a daily spending allowance. I have already made plans to stay with a friend either as a flatmate or until I find somewhere else to live. I haven't decided yet, but that decision can wait.

Car wise I have been looking around but I've decided to go for a Pontiac Vibe which is what I've been driving here for the past 8 months. I've found it to be reliable, have good handling and good fuel economy and it's not an eyesore. It can also take a bashing as we loaded one up and drove it all over California. It the same as a Toyota Matrix and so is based on the reliable Corolla platform. By far it's the best of the five different rental cars I've had whilst I've been over here. Now I've just got to find one *in black* (very important to have it in black) for a reasonable price before the end of August. Thank god for sites like Kelley Blue book.

29 July 2005


I found this cool Flickr app that shows the social relationships between people at Flickr.
You just plug in the user name and off exploring you go. Mine is "daecks" (without quotes of course) and you'll see how much of a lamer I am with only 2 contacts (currently, of course!)

26 July 2005

How to nearly miss a shuttle launch viewing

1) Get up at 3:30 in the morning. Have a quick shower and then get the hell on the road because I've got to get to the Kennedy Space Center at 7am (3 hours is normally plenty of time. I've done this before. I'm a professional.)

2) Cruise north along the I-95. When going through West Palm Beach, get delayed for over 1/2 hour due to a traffic jam at ~5 in the morning!

3) Keep cruising. Know that last launch viewing attempt there wasn't very much of a line up with the route I took, so take it again.

4) Get in the line up of cars. Hit forehead several times as I realise every man and his dog is using the exact same route I chose, and that the line up is several miles long. At this point realise that I'm *not* really that professional and probably quite the amateur.

5) Move 3 miles in 2.5 hours.

6) Get past the Kennedy Space Center checkpoint. Arrive at Kennedy Space Center at 9:30am, 2.5 hours late.

7) Race through security and get on the VERY LAST BUS LEAVING FOR THE SHUTTLE VIEWING AREA.

8) Once on the bus find out that I got on with 15 seconds to spare.

9) Breathe a massive sigh of relief and get ready to watch some big firecrackers!

Shuttle pics

Some of them have been uploaded to Flickr.

There aren't heaps of them as I got a bit experimental when taking the shots and I botched some of them up. Plus, I was shaking like crazy when I was trying to take the pictures. Eh, nuff excuses. The Flickr folder is here.


Wow wow wow.

I saw the Discovery Shuttle launch just over 6 hours ago and my hands are still jumping around with excitement as I type this (or perhaps that's from the Jolly Rancher 'Screaming Sours' soft and chewy candy that I just ate). Whatever is causing this feeling, I know that what I saw today was just freaking amazing.

Cross another item off the "things I've always want to see and do" list. Pics coming later. I am f#%ken stoked.

24 July 2005

What the?

I was sifting though the documentation for a new power supply I had been given at work when I came across a gem of a cartoon regarding lightning protection, which is oh so appropriate for Florida. Note this piece of equipment is made by a reputable company so I'm wondering why they have an offbeat cartoon like this. Not that it's a bad thing of course.

Yes, "Unprotected power/control lines and antenna installations can be hazardous to equipment and personnel" (and your butt).

I need access to this when choosing movies

I'm a sucker for blurbs on movie rentals that I haven't really heard anything about. If something says "Fantastic! A wild ride" by even some anonymous John Doe sort of reviewer, I'm prone to being wooed in by the review snippet and I'll rent the movie. After I've watched some movies though using that method as a guideline however I tend to end up thinking "that reviewer must be on crack", but I don't end up changing my ways. There are two people who may be reading this blog (seriously people, get outside and get a breath of fresh air or something, it's much more beneficial) that I know of who are probably nodding their heads right now. Nav is one of them.

Enter Blurb Racket! This site takes the review snippets and puts them back into context. Now if I could access that site while choosing movies I would probably be a bit more careful in my movie choice. Or maybe I wouldn't. That Spanish flick had R all over it so perhaps I should just remember to *think*...

Pffft, yeah right!

20 July 2005

Shopping at Bal Harbour

Update: Google maps has been updated again. Now you can see the Bal Harbour shops from above hybrid stylie

I had to get a new Amex card recently which required me to travel to the Amex travel centre at Bal Harbour shopping centre. I only got a quick glimpse of what this place was like at the time, but hell, the fact that I had to pay to park and that everyone looked like millionaires made me want to check this place out some more. I did that recently and holy crap, I've never seen stuff cost so much before.

I walked into one store that had a nice white polo shirt that in place of buttons had a zipper, and under the zipper there was a small colourful section. Hard to describe but it looked pretty cool. I walked in and felt like I was severely underdressed but started looking for one in my size. The shop attendant came to help me and we couldn't find one in my size, thank god, because the bloody shirt cost US$400. By that time I knew I was completely out of my league in this store, so I faked disappointment at the fact they didn't have the shirt size I wanted and quickly exited. I paused to catch my breath once out of the shop and out of sight of the shop attendant. Once I had regained my composure I soldiered on. This happened at a few other stores - I saw really cool stuff that was just way too expensive. However all was not lost. GF Ferre were having an up to 70% off sale on selected items. There was one shirt there that was just fricken awesome. I tried it on and I felt like a million bucks. I had to buy it. I did. It was actually a sort of reasonable price, but I think that was because I was used to seeing jeans and so forth upwards of $300.

Anyway, that was a brief overview of my shopping experience. There is so much cool stuff there that is so far out of my price range it makes me want to cry, but oh well. I'm sure I'll get over it.

Right, that's the first and last metrosexual post I make to this blog :-)

14 July 2005

Ultrafest 2005

You wouldn't believe it, but I finally got the movies from Ultrafest from my friend. You need Apple Quicktime to view these files. The files are of a Drum and Bass tent, Moby, Oakenfold (I think it was anyway) and a quick location shot. Click on this link to get to the files. If you don't feel like waiting to download them (who would?), you can log in using the username "iwannalook" and the password "letmein" (without the quotes). Someday I'll find a hosting site that's a bit more friendly. Someday.

Here are some crappy snaps of some of the more interesting groups of acts for the festival. I didn't get to see all of them as we arrived later in the day.

Don't try this at home

For some reason, I had not eaten since last night when I had a red bull at 3pm today.


Although I was typing at a rate that seemed like 100 words per minute and thinking relatively clearly after consuming the Red Bull, at 5pm I can safely say I can no longer think straight nor can I even type. My mind is wandering off far from home base. I have all the symptoms of being drunk but I have not consumed any alcohol. This is fricken weird.

Yes, Red Bull gives you wings, but where the f?#k have I landed?

13 July 2005

12 July 2005

I am fricken stoked

I did not expect this at all, but the launch viewing tickets arrived in the mail today. That's fricken awesome.

The last straw

After a long day sometimes one just wants to retire for the night and do absolutely nothing. Firstly though, one must find a car park. This was the only car park "vacant" near my apartment:

Seriously, who "parks" their mountain bike in a car park?

At any rate, I bought the perfect thing to take my mind off the real world on the weekend and take part in a virtual one. 100 big ones got me a Nintendo Gamecube, controller, memory card and 2 games (Metroid and Zelda). This should keep my mind off of trashing people's mountain bikes, for a little while at least.

11 July 2005


I was really, really looking forward to seeing the shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Centre this Wednesday. I was going to tie an Australia flag around my shoulders and shout out
"Go Andy! Go you good thing go!"... and yeah, he'd hear that from 6 miles away. However as things go it seems I'll be observing the launch from somewhere else. Call it my stupid absent mindedness but the tickets I purchased way back when (beginning of April I think) were valid for that launch and the next rescheduled launch, if that happened. I know the launch has been rescheduled at least twice, but for some reason it never clicked with me I'd have to order more tickets. I think I just plain forgot at the time about the rescheduling terms.

Here is the part that bites. You don't get refunded for tickets. Period. It's sort of like paying $50 to go see a performer, the show gets cancelled, but they keep your money. I don't know what to think of this - there is a pain in my head where I think of how I just lost $100 for the satisfaction of... nothing. Yeah, this was all in their terms and conditions that tickets were not refundable and I bought the tickets *knowing* that but not really *thinking* about it. I feel like I've just given away money to some guy who claims he's selling Nikon D70s but is really based in Spain or somewhere else outside of the US and is trying to rip people off (I wonder if he did get any people's money...).

I don't really care about going to watch it offsite anymore because there are supposed to be other places to see the launch from. But you know, even an e-mail saying something like this would have been fantastic: "Your tickets for the original launch are now invalid. You can re-purchase tickets starting from such and such a date and time". Perhaps some tickets will just magically appear in the mail for me in the next day. Yeah - pigs, flying, stuff.

07 July 2005

Weird day

I don't know what other people were doing but I spent most of my day just watching the news regarding the terrorist attacks in London. I was extremely grateful to get e-mails from people who I knew were in the area, telling others that they were ok. So to those of you over in London, I hope you continue to remain safe.

It's times like these that Wikipedia (that free, online encyclopedia for those not in the know) really shines. They have an excellent summary of the situation as it stands, and I actually found myself wandering off to other parts of the wikipedia site to, for example, read about Pan Am Flight 103. I do this because I'm an information freak and I like to try to understand the reasons why people do things like this. Plus, the poet Sylvia Plath wrote some poetry about the macabre nature of humans and how we are in awe of tragedy. I guess I'm expressing that part of myself by monitoring the Internet.

In other news, it seems Florida is about to be bombarded with another hurricane. The season starts in June and ends in November, and we've already had a couple of tropical storms come through. Hurricane Dennis is poised to come past the west coast of Florida. This of course will also likely delay the lauch of the space shuttle Discovery on Wednesday which I am extremely keen on seeing. The space shuttle has delayed a lot of my visits to other cities in the US - I don't want to plan a trip and then find that the shuttle is going to launch the same time I was due to go on holiday. Oh yeah, my problems are just huge...

04 July 2005

July 4 Fireworks

I have to quickly blog on what is probably the most impressive fireworks display I've ever seen (well, the year 2000 fireworks display in Sydney was pretty good too). It's not impressive because of the fireworks themselves, it's impressive because from my lucky vantage point everywhere I look I see fireworks. Suburban South Florida is putting on a heck of a free show.

02 July 2005

Independence day weekend

Is already off to a good start. I woke up this morning with a painful feeling in my mouth that indicated the slice of pizza I had at 3:30am this morning was indeed hot. I spent last night in Fort Lauderdale with some friends mostly attempting to dance to RnB. I succeeded for quite a few hours and then I just got sick of it.

What was most surprising about last night, for me anyway, was that Karma lounge is in fact not dead. I spoke to one of the people behind the bar and they said "yeah, that person who wrote the article got it wrong... we don't know where she got that information from. She was actually here last week...". So, there you go. I think they've actually turned down the volume by a few decibels too, but there still weren't many people there.

It's pretty cool how fireworks can be purchased at the local supermarket for July 4 activities. What I found really funny though were the names of the fireworks, like "Freedom fireworks" and "Desert strike". Ok, so they're even trying to put subliminal messages through fireworks these days. I was wondering if when the fireworks exploded they said "Mission Accomplished" (or as the Daily Show put it in an anagram, "C'mon, I lied. So scampish"). I'll get back to you on that one. Seriously though, there are fireworks going off in quite a few areas when I was looking over my balcony before. There is a pretty cool vibe around the place at the moment.

I've worn my "Florida... stay awhile" shirt that has the drawings of graves on an island a few times now. I've had quite a few compliments about it so far from people who I think thought that I was being patriotic or something like that, so I've had to point out to them what the graves on the island mean and then I explain that I'm moving over here, and that the shirt is me having a go at myself. Ummm, a lot of people don't get that.

Well, I'm off to watch some more backyard fireworks before deciding what to do tonight. Adios!

A "what the heck is that person doing now"

I sometimes get curious and find out what people are doing today who I remember from my childhood. Can any of you remember the movie "The Wizard". I can remember loving this movie at the time because it had Super Mario Bros 3, a huge gaming screen, and a Nintendo Powerglove. Mind you, I haven't watched it since then... I didn't want to ruin the childhood memory of it being a great movie. Anyway, there was a girl in the movie, Jenny Lewis, who apart from the guy with the powerglove is one of the people who I remember most from the movie. I even forgot the movie had Fred Savage in it, but I only associate him with "The Wonder Years" and facial moles these days.

I digress. These days Jenny Lewis is actually the lead singer for a band called "Rilo Kiley". They're an indie rock band from California and after listening to some of the tunes on their website I thought they weren't too bad at all. I think their latest CD would be quite appropriate for cruising around on 2-lane American highways.

28 June 2005

Turtle power!

Allow me to introduce the hero in a half shell in my car today:

As I was turning into my apartment a guy was crossing the road with turtle in hand saying to me "dude, do you know where there are any sewers ponds around this area?" I did in fact, so I took the little charger under my wing and transported it to the closest one I knew of. As I was releasing him back into the "wild" I was able to take one final farewell shot:

I don't know why my arm was turning purple. Someone told me it may have to do with radioactive ooze in the area, although I was supposed to keep that a secret.

OMG this was the most non-funny lame-arse post ever. For real though, I did for about 5 minutes today have a turtle for a passenger. I hope your day was just as interesting.

- SplinterKristian

25 June 2005

Karma Lounge dead

I found out from this article that Karma lounge in Fort Lauderdale has shut down because I was thinking of going out to it last night. I haven't actually been there for a while but it was probably the coolest place to hang out at in Fort Lauderdale. It played pretty good music and on Wednesday nights even played Drum and Bass, which in Lauderdale made it stick out like a sore thumb. I've posted previously though that it couldn't work out what it wanted to be - with the volume the music played at you'd think you were supposed to be dancing, but there was nowhere to dance. So you had to stand around instead which led to talking, but you had to shout because the music was so loud. Good idea, a nice refreshing vibe which set it apart from the normal Ft Lauderdale commercial crap, but very poorly executed. I guess I'm not really surprised that it shut down.

24 June 2005

Bubble Tea

Recently the canteen at work has brought in sushi to the selection of foods available. This makes a nice change from the salads that I normally prepare from the salad bar and I now have another healthy eating option for lunch. Thankfully though all the sushi is made by an external company, as I'm sure those in similar corporate environments could attest, the food made in the corporate canteen isn't the best at times. I just wouldn't trust them with sushi.

I digress. I was munching away on the sushi which today was wrapped in tapioca. That got me thinking about something that I haven't had for a while - Bubble Tea! Ahh, delicious tea with the added texture of tapioca pearls. Now, you know my opinion of Ft Lauderdale foodstuff isn't the highest at the moment but I was thinking that somewhere should serve bubble tea given that there are like a million people living around the area. I actually found a search engine that specifically looks for Bubble Tea at www.bobafind.com. You know what? I had to broaden the search to include all of Florida to get any results. According to that search engine, there are 10 spots where you can buy bubble tea in all of Florida. Ten. I thought that was a bit low for 18 million people, so I looked towards Google local search. There is one place I could find in South Florida that serves bubble tea, and it's at a place called Lan Pan-Asian Cafe in Miami. I'm going to make a special trip there pretty soon - I have a craving that needs to be put to rest.

23 June 2005

Conquer the code

Finally stuff seems to be working out, but only after a lot of effort and a few tears here and there (joking about the tears part). I have conquered part of the code and the damn radio seems to be doing what I'm telling it to do! Amazing, yes. God damn engineering is frustrating. I'm also amazed how much taking a step back from the work can be in getting it completed. Example, I was up till midnight trying to get this code working and then I gave up in frustration. I came back this morning and *bam* I instantly saw what was going wrong.

I think my accent is slightly changing, but into what I don't know. I listen to BBC the whole day pretty much, and then I probably watch the latest Dr Who or Top Gear episodes when I get home. That's a lot of Brit accent. Then I'm hearing American accents at work - what's a real crack up is when a guy with a Brooklyn accent gets fired up and starts swearing. It's hilarious! If I end up sounding like that when I cursed I wouldn't care too much.

I got news yesterday that my Visa renewal petition had been approved, so at some point in the near future I'm to take a trip to Canada and go snowboarding or something. Oops, I mean, get my Visa renewed at the consulate there.

18 June 2005

Frenchie, please clean my shoes

So in my quest to find some good eatin' food in Ft Lauderdale (the past two times have been somewhat ordinary, IMHO) I went with some friends to a restaurant called "The French Quarter". Oh, quick disclaimer, I ain't going to review this place like Chi-Hoong could at his website. He knows quite a bit more about food than I do and can probably pronounce the food on the menu better than I could ever hope to. However even if I can't pronounce the damn food I at least know if it tastes good, because I eat a lot of food and have a good sample size to draw from.

Anyway, I digress. We went to this restaurant and I ended up ordering the Beef Wellington (I could pronounce that) with some wine. My mate got talked into ordering some more expensive wine but that didn't worry me in the slightest. At least he didn't go for top of the range on the wine list which was $15,000 a bottle (yes, you read that right).

My Beef Wellington was pretty good. I think the waiter originally screwed his nose up at me because I ordered it medium-well, rather than medium. Blasphemous, I know. The wine was so-so. I thought that a bottle of Saltram No.1 would beat it hands down but you can't win everything I guess. Anyway at the close of the dinner the hurt came out to be $210 between the three of us. French, expensive, but okayish I guess.

I was talking to a guy here at work about the French Quarter and he said the person who owns it is a millionaire who actually owns a few of the strip malls in downtown Ft Lauderdale. That's a lot of money, people. He said that the owner would most likely have been the one cleaning the floor. If I had known that I would have tried asking him to clean my shoes as well. I've never had a millionaire clean my shoes before. I would have tipped well.

14 June 2005

What to write about?

For those of you I'd call 'regulars' you may well have noticed that updates are not coming as often as they used to. I think I'm burned out from blogging. Well, not only that, I'm just burned out in general. 70 hours last week at work really took out any remaining energy I had. My energy levels have not been this low for quite a while. But maybe this is all just a short term thing that I'm going through because I'm so exhausted.

I did order, what I thought, were some pretty cool shirts the other day. They should be arriving before the end of the week. One of them has a drawing of an island at sunset and it has some little graves on it. The writing says "Florida... stay awhile". I was going to wear that one to work. The other is in the same style as the Nascar logo and says "B-O-R-I-N-G". If I ever go to watch a Nascar race then I reckon I'd wear that one. Hopefully the rednecks would see the funny side of it, because you know, I'm actually at the race so how can I think it is boring? Well, we've all seen Jerry Springer I'm sure, so maybe they wouldn't understand the humour, and maybe the last thing I'd see on this earth was a great bunch of toothless freaks wearing overalls bearing down on me with pitchforks. Was that too much of a cliche there?

I do like paying people out, just for a laugh of course, and I expect to get payed out in return. If I don't get payed out, or they don't see the funny side, then I assume there is a major lack of the humour gene and I'm guessing I won't find them too interesting to hang around with. However I think I may have overstepped it when I went to Crobar in South Beach Saturday night. A girl was visiting down from Chicago and a bunch of us went out partying. Well it seemed that one of the girls in the group didn't like the music, or was too tired, or something like that and she had her arms crossed whilst standing in the middle of the dancefloor. I saw this and immediately starting impersonating her. Then I thought "I'm dancing with my arms crossed... like Russians sort of do!" and so I started dancing like they "sort of" would. Admittedly, I was only going on what I remember from "Fiddler on the Roof". I don't think she appreciated it though because she called her friends to the toilets soon after that they left. I'd like to think it wasn't because of what I did, but perhaps it was.

Best thing I've heard today: "Don't work too hard... just get it done by tomorrow".

08 June 2005

New territory

Pfft, I really don't know what to write for this post. My mind is absolutely fried and I warn you I'll probably dribble on a bit. So far this week my shortest work day was 13 hours. I've been getting home just in time to watch the Daily Show and then I'll fall asleep until, say, 6 or 7 the next morning and then get up and get ready for work again because I'm worried that I'll get deported or something... well, not really. I just don't want to let the team down. But I was pretty chuffed that I got the private call functionality, which normally operates only on a trunking system, to operate in conventional mode too! Like anyone would know what that means! What I mean is, I HACKED code like I did in uni. Thing is, now that code has to be inspected by a group of people who know far more than I do and I reckon it will provide them with comedy for weeks and weeks to come.

So Saturday morning I was up early waiting outside the West Palm beach auditorium office thing-a-me-jig to get some Coldplay tickets. Ooh yeah, I can't wait until September now. The last time I saw them I was in Melbourne. That was an awesome show - sorta weird though coz I went to see them with my ex at the time and she'd only just given me the flick... but whatever.

So anyway I'm killing time now. I can't code any more today. I'm waiting for a colleague to finish an inspection with some guys in Penang so we can go play some foosball. I'm still really crap at it... but god damn, I will beat him someday!!!

*sigh* signing out. Time to listen to more Radio One. Actually feeling a little sick but I'll blame the Tim Tams for that. Now I'm trying to think of why I called this post "New territory". Whatever and ever amen.

06 June 2005

New Orleans pics

I've posted some of the pics from New Orleans up on flickr. You can check them out here.

At some point I'll post up what I got up to. Perhaps tonight.

02 June 2005

Ooh the Coldplay is good

I have been listening to BBC's Radio One today, like I do every other day when I'm at work now, and god damn the new Coldplay album sounds good. It's so good that I when I preordered the album on Amazon I got the fastest delivery method I could (in hindsight, I probably could have just gone to a CD store. It seems I'm so addicted to Amazon it's not funny). Tickets go on sale here this Friday and there is a growing group of people I'm going with. Hopefully we'll all be able to get tickets to the concert. That'd be just friggin' awesome, know what I mean?

There isn't a heck of a lot else going on at the moment. I'm probably comparing to Bourbon street in New Orleans though... I'm still trying to recover from the long weekend. Things that don't make this easy are getting the latest computer music magazine and finding some great tutorials on the various types of sound synthesis that exist (additive, subtractive, FM, granular, ooh, I'm going weak at the knees now) and then testing out some sounds on the computer till the wee hours of the morning. Some things I'm now stoked about are the fact that the right channel monitor for my home studio set up has mysteriously repaired itself. For a while there the treble wasn't working at all. Plus, the plugpack that I'd hacked into to get my Kawai digital piano to work over here went on strike a couple of weeks back, something to do with voltage shortages or whatever. A replacement arrived today that wasn't complaining about the voltage and other working conditions and I'm oh so happy about that. Stick that one up you, you power converter union you!

Right, anyway, I'm obviously suffering from bad coffee overdose with a combination of artifical sweetener overload and whatever is in the water over here.