25 January 2006


Have been made to this post. I somehow got my iPod working again and another third of the pictures have been processed and the ones I like uploaded.

Pics from the phone

Ok, here are some other weirdness pics I've taken with my crapola RAZR camera...

This fish looks like it's dead, but it's just got an airbubble in it's tail so has to spend most of its day upside down. Poor bugger.

Nice car, eh? Take a look at what is hanging near the rear view mirror - a disabled parking permit. Ok, so maybe the driver really is disabled... ya.

This is from a dart game (called "F#%cker", or at that stage it could equally have been pirate darts) I was playing down at the "local" with some mates. Look at the dart that has lodged itself in the other dart - the spider strikes again.

24 January 2006

Debut album out

Santos Renuentes have finally released their self titled debut album! It's in stores now all around the US, but in short supply as there were only 5000 initial albums pressed. Here is a link that contains their first single and music video, "Marcha". This video is on rotation on local latin MTV-like station "Mun2" alongside Coldplay and the Darkness to name a few. For me the great thing is that the CD sleeve contains all the words to the songs which will help in my learning of Spanish. I can't wait until the CD release party next Wednesday night at Macarenas in SoBe. Awesome.

21 January 2006


I could not stop laughing when I came into work last week and found that someone had modified a Spiderman poster in photoshop by replacing Peter Parker with an image of myself. Hats off Mark!

More photos uploaded

Slowly yet surely I'm returning to normal, so here are some photos! None of them have any comments yet, but whatever (update: some do). This is the result of me going through a third of the photos I've taken. There is still another third I cannot get off my iPod (unknown device problems which I just can't solve - update: I've fixed my iPod and have uploaded those photos) and the other third is in Wagga. God knows when I'll be able to get stuck into them.

This is the Australiana photo set which will have a lot more added to it in the future.
Here are some from the Boxing Day party.

09 January 2006

Revenge of the redbacks

I had the absolute, without a doubt, worst flight back from Australia ever. There were times - and I say this with all honesty - that I thought I wasn't going to make it. Allow me to explain.

Whilst watching "King Kong" with a couple of mates I noticed that the inside of my left leg just above my ankle was hurting a little. My sock had folded over a couple of times but I thought it extremely wussy of my body to be complaining about that so I ignored it at the time. Later on that night at Garage club whilst playing some fussball I noticed the pain had increased and the left side of my groin was also starting to hurt. Standing in the line for the Vodka bar I felt my left leg go extremely numb and more of a general numbness over my whole body. My teeth started chattering, my pulse was racing and I was finding it difficult to stand up. I pretty much said "I have to go... to the hospital"

In the hospital I was put on a drip and given pain killers. By that stage my temperature was 38.5 Celsius (not that high really), my heart rate was 110 bpm (or thereabouts) and I was generally not feeling nor looking the best. Here is evidence:

I was diagnosed with SVT (superficial vein thrombosis) ... somehow. In hindsight such a diagnosis completely ignored all my other symptoms and only focused on the red patch, about 3cm diameter, just above my left ankle. I spent about 4 hours in the emergency ward before being discharged and by that stage I was feeling pretty good, in comparison to when I was admitted anyway.

I spent the next day generally laying about watching my left foot to make sure it never got too swollen. I was still fairly red though so that night on my mum's insistence I checked back in to the hospital to see if I could fly the next day. This doctor was different and was more or less scratching their head about the previous night's diagnosis. She was leaning towards more of some sort of bite, since the swelling on my upper leg was my lymph node. She drew an outline around the bite area and said if the redness exceeded that line in the morning that I do not fly.

Morning came, I thought I was feeling well enough to fly, the redness was contained within the line, I still have a little trouble walking but I caught the flight back to the US anyway.

Biggest mistake I have ever made. But there was still some stupidity on my part.

The flight from Adelaide to Sydney was fine. My foot was still a bit swollen but other than that I could not really complain about much.

Sydney to LA flight: the absolute worst flight experience I have ever had. Period. I had been doing my regular exercises and walking around the plane but around half way through the flight I suddenly felt lightheaded. My left leg was really swollen now and my left foot was bulging out of my shoe. I told an attendant that I didn't feel too well so I got up and lied down at the back of the plane for a while, did some walking around and got a lot of air onto me. I must admit though I really did play down how I was feeling. I felt worse than I stated. I sat down again and that's when it really happened. I had massive difficulty breathing and I was nearly falling unconscious. Every time a "wave" hit I tried meditating to pull myself through. I nearly called for more attendant attention but thought I could pull myself through it. I'm a bit stubborn like that sometimes. I got over the waves and was able to enjoy a viewing of "40 year old virgin" until I started getting them again. Not as bad as the first time but still pretty bad.

In the end I made it to LAX, of course, and I was deciding whether I would check myself into hospital or continue the flight to Fort Lauderdale. I had a 4 hour lay-over and decided to sleep a while and see how I felt. I chose a nice corner at my gate and once I woke up I felt ok again. The plane lifting off was a little horrific, and I spent a little time fighting the waves again, but I was able to get to sleep and I felt good again after that.

I'm convinced now I was bitten by a redback spider. The symptoms I had both on and off the ground are absolutely consistent with such a bite. That day I had been working in the garage and had been moseying about a bit, so the potential for a bite was there. Oh, here is what a redback looks like (image from Victorian museum website)

I've felt relatively well since. I have had a light headed feeling and my arms and legs don't really feel like they're there. The swelling in my foot has gone down quite a bit and the redness of the bite area is nearly gone. I was in the emergency room last night at a hospital here in Florida getting more blood tests done as well as some ultrasounds. My blood tests indicate normality everywhere as did the ultrasound. The doctor compared my symptoms with that of a redback spider bite and agreed that they matched, but without actual venom tests there is still some uncertainty. Plus, they don't have any antivenom for such a bite over here anyway.

Right now as I type this I'm high on antibiotics, pain killers and anti inflammatories. Every night I still wake up with my bed soaked from sweat but I'm not sure if that's from the antibiotics or not. Here is a pic of my little pill collection:

If it was a redback spider bite, and I'm pretty convinced it was (the symptoms just matched up perfectly from the intense pain at the bite site to the swollen lymph node to the numbness, difficulty in breathing, fever, high heart rate... everything) then I'm just plain curious as to why I got bitten visiting Australia rather than when I actually lived there for my whole life. Weird. If I had known it was a redback spider bite before leaving Oz I would never have left, since the symptoms can be recurring, as I experienced. But I was also feeling ok on the morning I left. Next time anything goes wrong on a plane I'm not going to be so quiet about it, that is for sure. I also remember thinking at the time that I just wanted to get back to Florida.

There are two people I have to really thank who looked after me when I first got the symptoms: Mary (not Mazza) and Ben (the guy with the girly smile here. Hehe). Thanks! I owe you. And of course my Mum, but she already knows that.

Anyway, it's 9pm and not surprisingly, I'm tired. Time to look forward to another 12+ hours of sleep :-)