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.