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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for September, 2007

Part 2

Posted by captainbeaky on September 28, 2007

So today we went over to the Vicroads building to sort out our driving things, where there was bad news and good news. Bad news is my UK theory test counts for nothing over here so I have to take the Australian Theory test too! Poo! Good news is that because I have held a provisional license for many moons, the compulsory 3 months of having your learner permit before applying for your test has been waived. SOOO one one hand I have to take the tests again (but Ive already learnt the basics from the UK test, and you can take entire mock tests for free on the Vicroads website), but I can have as many lessons as I want per week, and take my practical test whenever Im ready. I dont have to wait 3 months. To be honest, Id rather have it this way. Another theory test should be a cinch and , and should I get a job miles away, I can sort out my test straight away, without having to wait until Christmas time. Got myself Sega Rally today too. Traded in Colin McRae: Dirt for it. In the end, it only cost me $40! Thats £17 for you not in the know! Also we found a shop for Becca  – a bloody huge 2nd book shop which she’s already found a ton of books to buy for subsequent visits. She already bought 3 on this visit!Been a pretty crappy day here weather wise. Full of spring showers, sun and a really nasty strong, cold wind. Supposed to brighten up after the weekend though. 


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Oh baby…!

Posted by captainbeaky on September 27, 2007

Joy of joys, my ipod touch arrived today, and damn its good! Music player, video player, photo viewer and web surfing all in one. The interface is sublime and seamless to use. Best ipod ever! Really is a lovely piece of gadgetry.  More Halo 3 action today, but not a huge amount. Im scared Im breezing through the game quickly, and not savouring it. Like wolfing a meal down rather than eating it slowly and tasting all of the flavours. So, I’ll be easing off for a bit. Couple of hours a day or so. Went back to docs today as my ears are still crap. He’s wrote me a letter of referral to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. Rang them up and got me an appointment for October 10th. Bit of a long way off (well, not really, its only just under 2 weeks, but it seems like a long way away!). But I’ll keep on taking the decongestant pills until then. Who knows, they may do some good. Didnt go to the car license place today as the Doctors appointment wasnt until 2.30 so was too late to go. Probably go tomorrow. FINALLY got Becca up and running on the Mac Mini too, so she should be online a lot more, so feel free to pester her as much as you want! 

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Go on…..

Posted by captainbeaky on September 26, 2007

….guess what Ive been doing? Give in? HALO 3!!!! It really is good though! I dont know whether its because Im playing it on a bigger screen, or whether its because Im using headphones ( its more immersive….and it doesnt drive Becca mad!) but its REALLY is like crack – so addictive! Just need faster internet before I attempt online play.Not been up to anything else really. Applied for a job, but they rang back and told me its only for 3 months. Becca is still flu’d up to the eyeballs so hasnt got out of her pyjamas in 2 days! We were planning to go to town tomorrow to get a cable for Becca to use the main TV as a monitor for the mac mini, then gt our drivers licenses sorted, but my ipod touch is saying its due for delivery, so will have to wait in, or I will get charged for postage AGAIN if I miss it! Swines!Hearing is still rubbish too. Religiously taking decongestant pills, nasal spray and trying to pop my ears constantly (to the point where I feel like Im actually popping my eyes out instead!) If it hasnt cleared up Im gonna have to go back to the docs – its doing my head in! No photo’s to post as we havent really been out, and the weather is a cooler here at the mo. We promise to do stuff soon……just as doon as i finish Halo 3……… ;o)

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 25, 2007

Well, I warned that I would probably be going on an don about Halo 3 today, but Im going to limit it, as most folks reading this wont be into games, and the more time Im typing this, the less time Im playing Halo! Got it no problem (the limited edition) and the chatpad (and they threw in a free Halo 3 fleece which is nowhere near as hideous as it sounds – its actually quite nice). Both the chatpad and the game are fantastic, brilliant, superb etc….. I really am surprised. Halo 2 was good but it never really grabbed me, but this is SOOOO good. To anyone who fancies buying it, play it on heroic (one up from normal) as it provides a much better challenge. The set piece battles are more frenetic, and the big old Brute Chieftans really are a force to be reckoned with. I wont spoil it y saying anything specific but the new weapons are great. If you are reading this and have a 360, ignore the hype and just buy this game. I literally spent an hour sorting out my controls, character, emblem etc…..! Reckon I wont be going multiplayer with this for a few days. Give the really good players a chance to rank up above the noobs (me included) so hopefully wont get mullered when I first jump in. Should also give me chance to find the subtler sides of the new weapons and equipment. In other news, our money came threw into our oz bank account today! Yay! and they gave us $120 as I sent them a snotty email to compensate us for the cock up. Dunno what we are up to tomorrow, but Im guessing it involves a lot of Halo 3 play! wooo hoooooo!

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 24, 2007

….until I will have a copy of Halo 3 in my hands!!! And judging by the early reviews (most of which Ive avoided but looked at the score anyway) it will be worth the wait! Everything is falling into place. At 11.00 today, I received our air freight package, at 2.30 I received my TV. Hooked up my 360, and it works a charm. Even the wireless on the 360 is working perfectly – downed the Sega Rally demo which I intend to try out in a bit. I’ll post a some pics on facebook of my new setup too – its fantastic!The plan for tomorrow is, get up early, get in town for about 8am, get a copy of Halo 3, and chatpad to ease my messaging woes, get home then make my eyes bleed by playing Halo all day! I apologise in advance for anyone who doesnt like videogames for tomorrows post. I expect it to be mostly about Halo 3 and how damn fine it is, but who knows, something exciting might happen (but not today kind of exciting – 2 trams and a car crashed just up the road but no one killed). Speaking of which, amusing piece in the paper today about a tram driver that is in court for crashing his late night tram, cos he was too busy watching 2 teenagers having sex behind him! His excuse in court was “but it was incredible your honour, they were in all kinds of silly positions”! Class!

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Lughole Update…..

Posted by captainbeaky on September 24, 2007

….primarily for my parents. Just got back from the doc’s, and he says it doesnt sound like its serious. Just keep on taking decongestants, and get some nasal decongestant too. He said the fact that my hearing came back when I got back on the 2nd flight suggests it IS just a mucus problem. That tube in the bottom right of the picture above, is probably gummed shut with muck. So Im gonna pop down to the pharmacy and get some more stuff. If it hasnt cleared up by this time next week, Ive got to back and he will refer me to an ear specialist. But lets hope it doesnt come to that, MOM! I know thats what youre thinking! Dont you get bloody worrying! Or the next webchat will be you speaking to my arse on screen!

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 22, 2007

My xbox arrives on Monday morning!!!!!!!!!! greuinoasbduwqgdnoijnngeyfgu!!!!I managed to buy a toshiba 32″ HD LCD TV for less than the price of a 26″ Samsung!!!! fbijfbnisbfisgywbdqpncbvbvdioinw!!!!!!!!Halo 3 is out on tuesday! fndjsnviodsnvdmcpmpcmcqciqcgbscvgugcgnjkdjnuhdisahnjpoajnhfi!Im so excited Im going to be sick!

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Poorly Hickinbottom :o(

Posted by captainbeaky on September 20, 2007

Im going to keep this short as Im not enjoying looking at the screen. I’ll post more tomorrow on what we got up to today, as I dont feel well. Since the flight, my hearing has been all messed up, which I thought was probably due to flying combined with having a cold. You know, pressure messing up ears, sinus stuff blah blah blah. But Ive been to the pharmacy, got halfway through a pack of flu remedy tablets, and had an entire course of sudafed decongestant tablets, with no effect at all. Its like someone has their ears permanently over my ears. Its horrible – like I only have 80% of my hearing.  Keep having to repeat myself and I have no idea how loud Im being when I talk, but according to Becca Im whispering everything.  So today (amongst other things) I went and signed up for Medicare (kind of like the Oz version of a Medical Card but you have to pay to see someone) so am going to Doctors tomorrow to get it sorted out. From what the pharmacist said, and from what I can see off the internet, its probably an ear infection. Just need some antibiotics to sort it out.  That and a stinking headache and sinus pains has pretty much taken the shine off today, so am going to veg in front of the TV and get an early night. WIll post more once Ive been to the docs.

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 19, 2007

I’ll start with the good news…we sold our house!!!!! wooo hoooo!!! Sold it for  little bit less than what we wanted for it, but its gone to a guy, who from the sounds of it is desperate to move in. Got his mortgage pre-approved and the estate agents reckon it would have all gone through (hopefully) in 5-6 weeks!!! Fantastic!Good news No.2 – Bought myself a TV today. 26″ LG LCD HDTV (bloody acronyms!). Brand new AND delivered for £370! Bargain!Bad news No.1, – we STILL dont have the money we tried to transfer from the UK! Bloody pain in the arses – it should have gone through nearly 2 weeks ago. Why is it banks always seem to have “problems” when you are transferring money?! Something to do with them earning interest off it while its in no-mans land?!?! Bunch of low life ingrates. Ive alrady given them a piece of my mind, layed it on proper thick (is this the best australian banks have to offer, its a disgrace etc…). Bad news No.2, – it looks like i wont have my xbox for when Halo 3 comes out! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ………….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!Been told I should have for back end of next week so its still not that bad………heck who am I kidding! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!Anyway, now the elation and trauma are out of the way, you get to hear about our exciting lives! Change of plans today – we didnt go to ikea. We plan to go tomorrow so we can go to the Target homeware sale on the way through, and the market to get tasty food. So today we spent tidying, washing up, doing our shopping at Safeway, eating cakes at another fantastic cake shop! Yum! On another “how things are better ere than at home” note. Today I will include phones (nearly everything is 3G and cheap), broadband (ADSL2+ is rolling out here, so thats up to 24mb/s) and TV (ok so they dont have as many channels but a lot of the stuff here is out the day after it airs in America. Prison Break, and the new series of Heroes included!). 

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Izzy, wizzy, lets get busy!

Posted by captainbeaky on September 18, 2007

Sorry Gareth, but still nothing to moan about here! Its just fantastic. Decided to get out of the apartment later today as we wanted to eat tea in Melbourne. Gave me a chance to watch last Saturdays Match of the Day I downloaded – so good to see some PROPER football again! Anyway, we left about 1:30, on a fantastically sunny day, and got off the tram early to have a walk around the river and the casino bit. The casino was very posh (nothing like Vegas) and it had a huge cinema at the top (which we are going to see Ratatouille at this week – its been out ages here!). Had a stroll along the Yarra river (past the HUGE mcg – Melbourne Cricket Ground) then on to the botanical gardens. Botanical gardens were bloody fantastic. So quiet, sunny, palm trees – it was just great! And we managed to see a grey poodle knocking about that I thought looked funny, and had an alarming similarity to Sweep, from Sooty and Sweep! As soon as I said this Becca couldnt stop laughing. Which wasnt really helpful when we stopped for a cuppa a bit later on, and the guy with the poodles came and sat opposite us! I was trying to take a sneaky photo of Sweep, all the time Becca was chuckling to herself, and trying to stifle laughs! Anyway, I slyed a couple of shots of the dog, so it all went well!Had a walk back into town after that but Becca couldnt decide where to eat (what a bloody surprise – Becca….indecisive!), and neither of us were really hungry, so we went back to St Kilda. Then,  I remembered a really good burger place I had seen folks eating at a few days ago, so we ate there. God damn they were good burgers!!! And the chips…..awwwwww, god they were some the tastiest chips Ive ever eaten! Also saw a great linen shop called…. well, look at my facebook photo’s!Oh, and I bought the Zombie Chew I saw a couple of days ago! Apple-sour-tastic! Oh, and another myth to dispel – you CAN get HP sauce over here – its even made in the same state! You can even get Marmite in the supermarkets! And….praise the lord – Wild Turkey is available EVERYWHERE!!!! You can even buy pre-mixed bottles of the stuff with cola. Same with most other spirits. Very strange seeing a 6 can pack of JD + coke though!I just found out where Ikea is so probably going there tomorrow. Then Friday is the big one….The Royal Melbourne Show! Ive reluctantly agreed to go with Becca, seeing as she missed out on the equally (ha!) awesome Newbury Show this year. At least in Melbourne I get to see dogs, and a piglet race!!! Go piggies, go!!!! Looser gets barbecued!! 

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We Will Be Fat Pigs in a Few Weeks!

Posted by captainbeaky on September 17, 2007

Bit of a lazy day today. Went into Melbourne again to have a look at TV’s, and housey stuff. Can get soem proper cheap stuff. 26″ HD LCD TV for £350! Fair enough its a non-heard of make, but even the Ssmsungs and LG’s are going for about £450. Ate the best sushi Ive ever had and stopped off in St Kilda later for afternoon tea and cakes. Found a great nik-nak shop in St Kilda too. You know, the kind of shop that sells Allesi stuff, posh bits and bobs, funky lights etc…. which is very dangerous, as we are now only minutes away from pointless crap to clutter up our place! Found that books here are quite expensive too -about £12 for a paperback. Maybe something to do with there being no Amazon. Also, Rice Krispies are called Rice Bubbles, and Weetabix is now called Weet-bix! Still think the stupidest Australianism is Manchester! For those who dont know Manchester (at least over here anyway) are bed spreads, sheets, duvets, linen etc….. Its just daft!And on teh recommendation of Andy, Ive changed the name of the blog. I dont know if this is temporary, or permanent, but it did seem a bit strange to have a blog called “grumpy grumblings” with me not having a bad word to say about the place. Nearly every post is a shining recommendation of Australian life, hence the name change. Whether my grumpiness was associated with England, or whether Im just in the honeymoon period, I dont know. At the moment, Im very happy, so the name sticks!

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 16, 2007

Ive finally found a native aussie “sport” that I like….V8 supercars. Its kinda like touring cars in the UK (souped up saloon cars that bash each other around a track whilst racing) but with more powerful motors. Its also got a good engineering thingy that they bring up whenever anyone has a problem. They listen in on the team radio to see what the problem is, then bring up a CAD 3D computer model of the said part and show you whats wrong with it, and how it should work and what it does. Probably nobody but me will find that even the slightest bit interesting, but I dont care….I like it! Just to demonstrate how nuts everyone is about aussie rules (I refuse to call it football – speaking of which, got match of the day downloading as we speak!) they interrupted the race for a “newsflash” to tell you that…….one player had left a club to go to another….WHO CARES!!! I expected them to say he’d been killed, or something! They used the term “…he defected to …..”!!! Makes it sound so nefarious and evil!Been looking into a lot of tech stuff today. New LCD TV’s, wireless headphones, broadband packages etc…. so all the GOOD stuff! Broadband is a bit more expensive here, and theres no such thing as having unlimited downloads, but on the other hand, its all ADSL2+ too, so thats 24MB downloads and 2.5MB uploads. Nice! And before you moan about how selfish I am to spending money I dont have, Becca’s been doing it too! Found a place in Melbourne that has 40% off Kitchenaid mixers so going to have a look tomorrow. Been pretty subdued today. Went into St Kilda 1st thing to get the sunday papers (which are half the price, and double the amount of stuff you get with them) and got some brekky. After reading them we went down to the “Espy” (aussies have the strange habit of shortening EVERYTHING by either putting a “y” or an “o” halfway along the original word) or the Esplanade that runs along the coast to visit the St Kilda craft market that runs every Sunday. Becca got a new hat (can be seen in Facebook!) and we saw a lot of good dogs. Got my 1st “slab” of beers in too – fair dinkum!

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Lovely Day!

Posted by captainbeaky on September 15, 2007

I feel i must apolagise to anyone who is reading this expecting this blog to be me ranting and raving about crap stuff thats annoyed me. But so far, nothing has really annoyed me since being here (well, apart from my cold, but how can you be annoyed at a virus!). It really is just fantastic here. Its been a fantastic idilic sunny day, Went into Melbourne again and up to the book market (not really that cheap to be honest) then around chinatown, which makes Birmingham’s chinese quarter look like a take-out. Ate several platefuls of various dumplings and dim-sum (or dimsim as it appears to be here) then strolled around Melbourne a bit more. Still got all of the docklands and the casino bit to have a look at, let alone all the surrounding suburbs. Got back quite late but had time to go and have a look around another rental place, which was a bit big, but got another one to see soon, which is in a good location so fingers crossed. Dunno if we are going to the pub later as Im shockingly tired. Combination of the cold, exhaustion from a day strolling about and the weirdness of going from 5.30am-9.30pm daylight in the UK to 6.45am-6.30pm daylight. Oh, and Andy, we even found an video-arcade today in the chinese quarter that had various taiko and mental japanese drumming games in it. 

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Quiet Day

Posted by captainbeaky on September 13, 2007

Fairly uneventful day today. had a stroll down to St Kilda and had a look around the shops this time. Bought 2 t shirts for $35! So thats about £15! Bargain. Spent most of our time looking for estate agents and seeing what nice apartments there are. The answer seems to be… “lots” ……but not for 6 months lease. Theyre all a years lease,  so still got to keep looking. However, am excited by the fact that we found 2 indie pub/bars, one of them just at the bottom of the road! We also found the bar where the “neighbours night” is on. Its in St Kilda and its on every Monday. Seems to be some of the cast go down there  and perform and you can hang out with them – exciting!!!Still got a cold up to the eye balls so feeling pretty miserable. Just feel like sleeping all day :o( On teh plus side we saw a pug today. And some cockatoos making a nest in a palm tree. Had to double take that this IS where we are living! 

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We toys see EVERYTHING!!!!

Posted by captainbeaky on September 12, 2007

Phew! Busy day today. Still not sleeping right so was up at 6.30am. Gave me chance to catch up on some reading and DS’ing though. Then got the tram into Melbourne…Took about 15 minutes, was cheap, comfortable and clean. Very impressed….but even more impressed with the city centre. Its bloody huge!!!! Got a ton of great shops, and even more nice places to eat. Managed to get some useful stuff sorted. Got myself an aussie mobile number now (so anyone reading this that has my old number, consider it dead now – I’ll email facebook you the new number), and got our bank account sorted….by the nicest man on earth!!!!! I was always under the impression that people who work in banks were filth of the highest calibre, but this guy was fantastic! Sorted out our banks account, internet banking, talked to us about mortgages, insurance, mobile phones, the fires in greece, and the best places to drink in St Kilda! After we’d got the boring (but important stuff sorted), we decided to mill around to get our bearings. Melbourne has so many great little shops…and from my perspective, it has possibly the greatest shop on earth!!! Its called JB Hifi  and its elss everything I love! Sat navs, computers, computer stuff, consoles, games, home entertainment setups, digital cameras, ipods and even has a fantastic collection of CD’s (brand new, retailing at the equivalent of just over £7!!!) I with held the overwhelming urge to spend a ton of cash until I have a job!Finally, we went to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (film museum to you and me!) as tehre was a Pixar exhibition on. There were a ton of early sketches from all their films, concept models, actual models they used to scan into the computers for animation, lods of screens interviewing the animators, storyboard stuff and the most amazing zoetrope Ive ever seen.Even this vid doesnt really do it justice – its amazing.  Caught teh tram back home after this as I was knackered from early start and this damn cold! No great plans for tomorrow. Going to have a mozy around St kilda to see if we can find a more long term rent. This place is booked up come the end of October, so going to look for something else, probably with 2 bedrooms so we have somewhere to put our stuff when it arrives. AND somewhere that has better internet. Im just about coping with it at the moment, but Im not goinng to be happy once my Xbox gets here!!! 

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 6, 2007

Its a sad day – my 360 is now unplugged, boxed and starting its journey to Australia. How am I going to cope with no Xbox for nearly 2 weeks?!?!? Fair do’s I’m starting a new life and all, but thats not the point….NO XBOX!!!! Lets hope everything has arrived and is in good nick for Halo 3. If the Call of Duty 4 demo has done anything for me, its rekindle my love of a good online shooter. And now I cant play any for 2 weeks! BWUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAA…… B B B B B…..BWUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAA!

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My Next Tech Purchase!

Posted by captainbeaky on September 6, 2007

I WantThisNow!!!!Go here for more info and tell me it doesnt look fantastic!!

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Party Shenanigans

Posted by captainbeaky on September 3, 2007

Was a weekend of parties just gone. Friday was my (ex)works leaving do, Beccas last day at work drinks, and Saturday was the big goodbye party around ours. And even if I do say so myself, it was damn good! Got to catch up with a ton of mates and say our farewells. Even the weather decided it was going to be kind and not rain on the bbq! What was even more surprising was the fact that I had beer, wine, cocktails, cider and bourbon……and had NO hangover. I only hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. But dont get me started on estate agents – bunch of fucktards. Despsite the fact theres only 3 of them in the office, NONE of them communicate with one another, and not one of them seems to want to show potential buyers around. Instead they ask if I can do it – fuck off! Dont you think I’ve got other things to worry about! What are we paying you money for? Fuck all by the sounds of it…..Had our last UK based Sunday roast at the local too – damn tasty! I can feel an afternoon nap coming on…….

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