31 January 2005

Christmas/NY 2004 Part 3 - San Francisco

What can I say about San Francisco? I absolutely, without a doubt, positively loved it. A-friggen-mazing place. We stayed in a hotel which was about a one minute walk from Union square, more or less the centre square for San Francisco and we had the cable cars going past our window down in the street. Did I do a lot of walking? Hell yes! I was absolutely buggered from walking around but loved every bit of it. A nice change from all the flatness here in Florida.

We went out one night for some sushi and then went to grab a drink. Who would've thought that the first place we went to grab a drink happened to be a gay bar? No matter, the people there were bloody friendly and I stored my camera there for a while when we went to check out some straight places, with a gay guy as our tour guide of course.

I got a bit freaked out on the way home. My friends had gone home much earlier in the night (as to why, refer to my post: "The woman") and it got to about the time where I had to leave the group I was hanging around with (read: nearly sunrise). Did I know my way around San Francisco well enough to find my way home? No. Was I a bit scared? Yes. Luckily I found Powell street after a bit of looping around and was just crossing at the lights across the road from our hotel when the lens cap from my camera fell off. A bum who happened to be walking alongside me picked up the lens cap and began looking at it quizzically. I said to him a couple of times "Mate, can I please have my lens cap back?" No response. I knew I had a $1 bill in my pocket and offered to swap it for my lens cap. We did the swap and by this stage I was out the front of my hotel and I absolutely bolted it upstairs. There were always a few people around the whole time I walked home, but I was still a bit freaked out in some points. Scary stuff.

We did the whole touristy thing, checking out Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf and took a bus tour of the city. After staying in San Francisco for a little over 3 days I did not want to leave there. It was such a cool city. Ah well.

It also happened to be the city where I lost my iPod charger. I believe we all heard a clunk sound as we were packing the car to leave San Francisco. Upon reflection, that did very much sound like an iPod charger hitting the ground, even though we couldn't find anything. I think that bum who tried taking my lens cap snapped up my iPod charger before we knew what the heck was going on.

To feel my pain, sing this to the tune of "San Francisco" as sung by Scott Mckenzie:
If you're leaving from San Francisco
Please do take care
To not leave belongings there
If you're leaving from San Francisco
A bum's got your charger
And he couldn't give a care

Bah! Screw writing anymore lyrics.

Pictures start here.

30 January 2005


Err, thought it would be time to update my blog. Well, I've started up tennis again. Yah! I haven't played a game since I got over here and now I plan to make it a weekly thing. I was missing it so, so much. The only sport I've been doing is the odd swim and I don't do it often enough to get anything out of it. Anyway, it's been good to get away from the computer for a while. I sit all day in front of one (which I hate doing... well, all day at least). I hate, hate, hate that part of my job.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool that someone had started researching Venus fly traps. I went on a rant about such stuff in this post a while back. The research discusses the mathematics of how the trap operates, but it still leaves open how the hell the plant *actually does it*. The research is here. I only hope I don't look like that guy when I'm talking about Venus fly traps. Actually, I probably look worse since I'm normally intoxicated at the time.

Could you imagine how happy I was when I found this site? Oops, did I just link directly to Salma Hayek? Oh. Heh, they do talk about the famous scene in "From Dusk till Dawn". Hats off. It takes quite a while to read through all the top 100 women (as voted by readers of askmen.com). I found it quite a good idea to have several pictures of each person. Noice. Enjoy guys.

26 January 2005

Australia Day

Heh, happy Australia Day by the way. Geez, I nearly forgot. I don't know how I could have, it was on the news constantly over here.

25 January 2005

Picture updates

Pictures from the Bahamas are here, featuring guest appearances from the "grass-weed" guy and my brother doing something useful: carrying beer.

24 January 2005

A close call

I was setting up my new computer on the weekend, and I nearly lost all my pictures that I've taken so far. Yeah, most of them are on the web but they're not the full resolution pics. Not all of them are backed up yet either. I couldn't find the pics after I did a re-install and I swear to God I was nearly in tears once I realised what I had done. So tonight, the first thing I'm doing is uploading all of the pictures I have to the web and doing massive amounts of backing up *and* creating an automatic backup plan. Geez, I don't want to ever feel like that again.

For the nerds, the computer is ok. AMD Athlon 64 socket 939 3200+ and appropriate motherboard, 1 GB PC3200 RAM (at the moment, more on the way), 160 GB seagate SATA drive, logitech wireless mouse and keyboard, antec sonata quiet case. All that for just over US $600. Not bad I thought. I didn't upgrade the video card - yet. I'll do that once I get an LCD monitor... which won't be for a while yet. Also might upgrade the sound card. We'll see how my current one goes for a little bit.

I was playing Van Halen's "Jump" again last night and the computer is sooooo much more responsive. Hehe.

20 January 2005


I was in my third project meeting on Monday, having been on my new project for two weeks. Things weren't going so well. My computer was set up completely wrong for the sort of work I was required to do so I was working with the systems support group to get those problems resolved. Plus, as with any new project, there is a thing call ramp up time. Or, time taken trying to understand what the hell you're supposed to be doing. That takes a while. So, combine computer not working properly with ramp up and you've got a bad start.

Anyway, the reason I got put on the project was because someone said I was supposed to be a fast learner, that I was supposed to be what they call "smart". I can be a smart arse sometimes but that's about it I reckon. I gave my new project manager the low down on why I was a couple of days behind some of the other guys in the group. She just looked at me and said "I thought you were supposed to be smart?" My response? Nothing really. What the hell am I supposed to say to that??? I had a good laugh at it later on and it's the joke of the week with my friends and former technical lead (who I believe is the one who stated that I was "smart").

Needless to say, I'm not behind in my work anymore and if anything I'm even a little ahead - but it took a little unpaid overtime to get there. Now I'm thinking I'm actually not that smart and my manager was right. I think I walked right into this little trap that she set for me. And get that dangling carrot out of my face.

18 January 2005

When bad things happen

Well, here is the first one. The northern gate of my apartment block got taken out last night by someone trying to get out of the complex. This happened between midnight last night and 8 am this morning. Likelihood that it was someone from the party on the floor below me last night? Pretty high!

But this is even worse than what happened above. I've run out of milo.

Ok, yes, there is some still caught in the top and if I scrape hard enough I can get what's left in the bottom, but, hell...

17 January 2005

Things that go bump in the night. And then die.

Right, it's nearly 2:15 am and I'm pissed off. There is something in the exhaust duct of my clothes dryer that keeps on making a tap-thud sound. I heard this sound a few weeks ago but then it stopped. I thought it was the wind at the time and there was some sort of valve that was loose or something but it can't be that tonight because it's as calm as a Hindu cow... and don't get me started on Indians! There are a bunch of them having a party on the floor below me and they've got their freaking balcony door open. I think they work at my company, I'm not sure. It's bloody 2 am in the morning. Shouldn't they be programming or something!?! Bloody hell, I'm trying to get some sleep so I can do good work so I don't become a victim of outsourcing. Jesus!

Sorry, but they've been pissing me off just about as much as tap-thud sound. I've been trying to think of what it is. I'm wondering what stopped the sound last time. Perhaps it just died. It sounds awfully like a frog. But how the hell would a frog get up there? I'm on the top floor, 4 floors up. It could be a super frog or something like that, bred by Frenchies to have really good leg muscles. Maybe it somehow jumped in the exhaust vent for my dryer after having double dare/physical challenges with its Frenchie frog mates to see who could jump over my apartment building.

I can't check to see WTF is going on because there is no way I can look outside.

Maybe the people below sent it on a mission to piss me off.

I was thinking it could be a bird... but it's not chirping.

Oh shit it's really pissing me off now.

That's it. I'm going to wash some towels and dry them on high heat. I'll cook the f&*ker... and then I'm going to get a flamethrower and fry the people downstairs. Check the papers tomorrow.

Fair dinkum, good work NASA/ESA

Yeah, you can already tell this post is going to be full of all things nerdy. Well, I gotta say it, but hats off to the folks at NASA/ESA/Uni Arizona for getting a space probe to land on Titan. That's just freaking amazing when you consider what must be done to accomplish something like that. I had to laugh though when they only got half the pictures they wanted because someone missed a command. Hehe.

I actually think about that and then I can totally relate to my own programming screw-ups. Hell, I just spent 6 hours fixing up/improving some software I wrote ages ago. If I didn't do that though, I probably would have just sat in my bed watching "My cousin Vinny" followed by "Death to Smoochy". Instead, I feel like I've achieved something today... something I probably should have achieved last week but hey. I was spending too much time rediscovering the Monkees and so forth and when I get nostalgic everything else can go get stuffed.

I went to a really cool party on Saturday night. No rum barrels involved, thank God, but I had a smashingly fun time. It was a girl's 30th birthday and some gay ex-neighbours threw a party for her. Of course, the place was in immaculate condition. It was very, very clean and I have to say very tastefully furnished. My favourite thing though was an old rotary telephone that they actually use. I reckon I might try retrofitting one in my future home. A re-dial function would be pretty cool :-)

Everyone at the party was either married or engaged. Normally I don't mind being the third wheel - I mean a few of my mates back in Australia have girlfriends and so forth so I get pretty used to it. But shit, lately it's just been beyond a joke!

I did meet a nice couple who lived about an hour out of New York city. They were really cool and offered me a place to stay when I go up around that area. Excellent! I'm waiting on some availability for tickets to see the Daily Show. That will pretty much determine when I'll go up that way.

I have a stack more pics to put up yet, but I just can't be arsed using my current computer to do that. I've ordered a new beast which should be arriving this coming week and it'll be ideal for the music stuff I want to do. It's taking a bloody long time to get my music stuff sorted out with all this travelling that keeps getting in the way!

Hmmm, well I'm starting to dribble more than I do in person. I better go to sleep before I send you to sleep.

15 January 2005

Rum Barrels - aka Baby Elephant killers

Last night I cruised along to a 33rd birthday party at a Thai themed place called "Mai Kai". It used to be one of the biggest and best places to go to in Ft Lauderdale back in the 50s and 60s and today it still rocks. Apparently there was a deal going on that if you bought one rum barrel you'd get another one free. Awesome. So I bought two, giving me 2 free drinks later on. A couple of points must be made:

1) A rum barrel is $14 *each*. Ouch!
2) I don't know what the hell was in them, but they were effen strong! Someone said that each rum barrel was like 6 standard drinks. Kapow!
3) I had 4 of these buggers. Boom!
4) I also had a few sake bombs *and* a Heineken. Thud!

I quickly pointed out to everyone there why my nickname is PK. Let's just say that I was incredibly drunk but still maintained my composure and my stomach contents. I swear people were looking at me waiting for me to keel over and die. I did get the comment that I had enough alcohol in me to kill a baby elephant.

"Here's to PK he's true blue.
He's a piss-pot through and through.
He's a bastard so they say,
Tried to go to heaven but he went the other way"

Wasn't I supposed to stop binge drinking once I left Uni?

12 January 2005

Quote of the day

My friend said this to me whilst I was talking to him on the telephone. I didn't actually realise this myself...
It's not easy making lots of money

Damn. Damn. Damn. Oh well, I better save up some money for those lottery tickets.

10 January 2005

North Korean hairstyle guidelines

Found this link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4157121.stm whilst trawling the net, where North Korea has launched an ad campaign against long hair. My favourite part of the article, because it's just so stupid:

It stressed the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy.

How the hell does long hair consume any more nutrition when hair comes out of the scalp dead? I'm looking for some "gotcha" phrase. I can't find one. The mind boggles.

09 January 2005

A supercharged weekend

NOT! This has been the biggest weekend of nothing I've ever had. I was feeling like crap all of last week at work. I think it *may* have had something to do with my trip over to California. Hmmmm... So I spent the whole weekend recovering in bed. I also discovered cable TV this weekend. Normally, I'd only turn the TV on to watch "The Daily Show" on the Comedy channel (oh, and Reno 911 and Drawn Together). But this weekend I watched the History channel as well and I watched a 3-hour special on stealth technology in the armed forces. Fascinating stuff.

I also spent a lot of time mucking around with my new Razr V3 phone. I've completely Aussied it up. The background is the boxing kangaroo and my ring tone is an mp3 of "Land down under" by Men at Work. Americans just love that stuff, and since coming over here I've become more of a patriotic Aussie anyway. ESPECIALLY since Australia is donating all that money for relief in the Tsunami disaster. Oi! Oi! Oi! (believe it or not, once someone found I was from Australia that's all they would say to me).


Christmas/NY 2004 Part 2 - Los Angeles

This is where my journey started. Of course, I had the whole LA experience - touching down in the airplane and then being forced to wait on the tarmac for over 1/2 hour until a spot became free, leading to me being a total of 2 hours late.

Anyway, after meeting up with my touring crew we headed off to Venice beach. There was hardly anyone down there (it was the middle of winter after all) but it still had a pretty cool atmosphere. After checking out Venice beach we cruised down Santa Monica boulevard for a while and then went to Hollywood boulevard. Here I did the total tourist thing and got my pictures taken with whatever stars I could. I look back on it an think "what was I on?" - they were only names on the concrete after all, but anyway.

We then met one of the crew's friends. This is what I had been looking forward to all day. She was a former chick from Baywatch - not one of the main characters, but a background fill-in. But she was in Baywatch! She also played a small part in Jerry McGuire. Nowadays she seems to be obsessed with peace and scented oils. She also didn't look as young as I thought she would... but Baywatch was a while ago after all. We met up with her and her boyfried at a really cool bar in suburban LA. After that we went back to her place where we drank and where I attempted playing guitar whilst being drunk. Not advisable! Her boyfriend prepared us some appetizer that had Parmesan cheese and... cinnamon! What is it with Americans and cinnamon? They have it with everything! It actually tasted pretty good though. I spent a lot of the night trying to work out what the boyfriend actually did. He did a lot of things, but I think he was a cook but also trying to get into the acting scene. They (as in, actors trying to get a start) are apparently pretty secretive about that sort of stuff.

So anyway, the pictures from LA are here

08 January 2005

It's by the friggin' Monkees!

There have been a few songs bugging me my whole life coz I like them a lot but I don't know who the hell they're by (and I don't know enough of the lyrics to google them). One I don't think I'm ever going to figure out until I actually hear it on some CD coz it's some Spanish song from the mid 80's or something like that. I've just solved the identity of one of the others however. I used to listen to this one when I was in Year 1. Yeah, a long time ago. There was a tape player out in the shed and I used to play this song over and over and then sing it at school. The name of the song is "Listen to the band" by the Monkees. I got it wrong at the time, I used to say "Listen to the fan." It didn't make much sense back at the time, and last week I thought about it again and determined that it must have been "band" instead of "fan". A quick google and a download of the song and voila! Mystery solved.

Today is a good day.

04 January 2005

Christmas/NY part 1 - The woman

With any trip, you get highlights and lowlights. Highlights from my trip to California included sightseeing LA, San Francisco, camping in Yosemite and snowboarding Lake Tahoe. The low part of my trip was a constant hum in the background. That fly that won't let you get to sleep at night. The itch in the middle of your back that you just can't reach. It was... a woman.

No, it wasn't anyone I met people, but the one who was travelling with us. When I met up with my travelling group in LA it was all pot pourri. That sweet, sweet smell soon reeked of a sewage treatment plant. I have never met someone so neurotic in my life. I have never known anyone to take so long to get ready in my life (sometimes nearly 2 hours). Never have I met someone so insecure that they would blatently make their problem everyone else's.

Ok, let's set this straight: the girl was an ex of the other guy I was travelling with. But that relationship was over a long time ago. Actually, it was never even a serious relationship. He made it clear to her before she made her decision to come to the US: "we are all going to have a fun time, that is all. Don't expect anything else." This seemed all cool. We were all well into our 20's. Grown-up adults and all. However, she played the defenseless girl.

"Can you go get [some particular item] out of the car?" If you didn't, she'd be in a snoot for the next couple of hours.

When my mate and myself were having a laugh about something, and the attention was not directed at her: "This trip is supposed to be about me!" (I kid you not, she did say that)

Upon asking her if she'd like to do anything in particular, when no decision had been made: "I don't know"

Upon asking her if she'd like to do anything else once a decision had been made (because she couldn't make one): "Well you guys have made a decision already... what's the point?"

Upon suggesting food at reasonable prices other than the McDonald's which was always her first choice and was making me sick: "It's too expensive"

Upon learning that we may get snowed in at Lake Tahoe, something that we could do nothing about: "Well I have a plane to catch back!"

We needed to be somewhere, and somewhere early to get some sightseeing done. Not so! She had to spend over an hour putting make up on and doing her hair.

Obviously, this girl needed to grow up big time. Here she was, on the other side of the world, with the potential to have a fantastic time but she blatently chose not to. Her mood was constantly flipping between two extremes, spending most of it's time at the bad end of the scale. There is a major possibility that this will be the only time she'll ever be in the US. What a way to waste it.

On the trip back to Phoenix, which was the last part of the holiday, she was complaining about the music we were listening to. She claimed that we'd listened to far too much of our music (we were the ones driving). I decided I'd had enough. In a service station that we stopped at I saw a Cheech and Chong CD that looked really, really bad. I bought it and played it. She hated it so much that she forced herself to go to sleep so she wouldn't listen to it. Awesome.

The great thing is that I'm actually having difficultly remembering any more distinct examples of her being in a foul mood - let me say there were a LOT of them. I'm only really remembering the good stuff now... thank god the crap is being filtered out!

03 January 2005

Holiday nearing an end

I've been heaps out of touch with everyone lately, but my Christmas 2004 vacation is nearing an end. Most of the time I've been away from Internet access to update this website. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! I'll be updating this website with what I got up to over the break in the next few days and believe me that's going to take quite a few posts.

Right now I'm in Phoenix, Arizona and I'm due to fly back to Fort Lauderdale tonight. I gotta go now and see if I can find my iPod charger... I think I lost it in San Francisco though :-(