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.