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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for January, 2008

Band of Brothers 2…..kinda

Posted by captainbeaky on January 31, 2008

brosintro.jpgNothing really spectacular happened today. It rained all morning, so it made driving a little more interesting than usual. 1st time pootling about in the rain, and it went ok. More of the same….just wetter! Didnt go to the gym afterwards though as the 1st visit is starting to take its toll. My stomach and arms are aching like a swine, so Ive put a repeat visit off until tomorrow morning, when I intend to go, no matter what! Played some more games, well…I say “some”, I actually just mean Forza 2 with my steering wheel again. Starting to remember why I played it so much. Its just so damn satisfying to buy a slow-ass car, upgrade it, tweak all its settings (and not in a chavvy install underlights, “phat” exhaust and a body kit kind of way) then prove it out on the track. Won some really tight races today and had plenty of smashes. Its ultimately more rewarding than Gotham Racing 4 as you can see the fruits of your labour pay off, you dont feel the desperate need to pass on the first lap, or bounce off the other cars. Just bought the extra track packs and more cars so I’ll give them a spin later.

In the papers today was news that Flinders St rail station, and the adjoining areas will be closed from tomorrow night until Sunday morning, to allow Spielberg/Hanks et al to film some material for his forthcoming WW2 miniseries “The Pacific”. By all accounts, its sounds like “Band of Brothers in the Pacific”, which should be prett-aaaaaay, prett-aaaaaaaay good as I loved  Band of Brothers. Might pop into Melbourne on Saturday to see if I can see anything going on. Exciting!

Plans for tomorrow include the aforementioned gym, then I think we’re going up to Boeing to have a mooch around the area, and see how long a walk it is to the nearest tram stop.  That is, if the rain holds off, which it should according to the forecast. Oh, and a bit more Forza 2. Might tackle some of the 1 hour long endurance races.

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BUY. THIS. NOW.

Posted by captainbeaky on January 30, 2008

1368494391_56378010e8.jpg….if you have an xbox 360 that is. Its called Rez HD, and is available from the Xbox Live Arcade. 800 points nets you a game like youve never played before. Ive never experienced anything like it. Its nuts and bolts lie in the form of an on rails shooter, like Panzer Dragoon for those who know it, but kinda crossed with Tron, and kinda crossed with a rhythm action game. Its so hard to explain what it plays like as its more of an experience than a game. You can download the free trial and play it for nowt as a sample, like I did. The demo was enough for me to purchase the full game – its sumptions. The graphics are, as Ive said Tron-like and also reminiscent of early 90’s dance videos and chilled at the same time. The music is superb – housey kind of electronica that suits the action perfectly. Im no big house music fan, but it complements the game so well, and works its way into your soul. Right, Im going to shut up now as I cant explain what this game is like. Just download it and try it – if youre a fan of gaming, you will love it. 

2 posts in 1 day – you lucky people! 

Posted in Games | 1 Comment »

Wheels, Cheese and Chairs

Posted by captainbeaky on January 30, 2008

Today, again has seemed quite busy without actually being busy at all. Started off with the delivery of some of our stuff from the UK. Some of which we wanted and picked correctly, some of which we didnt want, and some of which we wanted and unfortunately picked the wrong box. For instance, I wanted the rest of my 360 games, and instead got PS2 games, which isnt really surprising seeing as the boxes contents were listed as “Games”. All of the box descriptions were a bit vague, hence apart from the boxes like “Drum Kit”, or “Sewing Machine”, its a bit of a lucky dip. Anyway, we ended up with my comfy office chair, some DVD’s (but not all of them), PS2 games, PS2 guitars for Guitar Hero (which we didnt want), Sambe De Amigo for Dreamcast (again, which we didnt want), Becca’s sewing machine, some of our kitchenware, Beccas pic-er-nic basket and my Xbox 360 racing wheel, which annoyingly didnt have the wheel clamp in the same box. However, it sits on the desk ok and doesnt wiggle around too much when using it. Had to pop to the hardware shop (which I enjoyed tremendously – seeing what new stuff/hardware Australia has to offer!) to get some allen keys, cap heads and some washers to assemble my chair, which is all done now and a damn sight more comfortable than the hard wooden kitchen chair I was using to play games.

 Just got back from doing a “big” shop and saw some superb cheese, that we promptly bought. No, its not “coon cheese“, its ………

 

cheese2.jpg

 

Strong and Bitey!!! Sounds like the description of a police dog, not a cheese! Things here have such great names (and No Andy we have yet to find anything called a chuzwazza!) Bought all the ingredients to make my lovely chili to so Im looking forward to having that before I go to work. Was kind of strange having to do a shop for work stuff too, although for the short term, Im going to check out the works canteen and see what it has to offer. Fingers crossed its as good/bad as the legendary Denso curry, or the badboy breakfast!

No real plans for tomorrow. Got another driving lesson at 11.15, after which I’ll probably book my test. Gave Vic Roads a quick ring today and the tests are currently being booked in the region of March 17th, so a good 6 weeks lead time. So really the sooner I book a test the better. Anyway, after the lesson I’ll probably go for my 2nd punishment at the gym. Im not aching at all today, which is quite scary, although I seem to remember, the 2nd and 3rd days post gym were the worst after my last hiatus from working out. Making the most of these lazy days anyway, as Ive only got 2 more non-working weekdays left! Cant complain really though, as 2 remaining days form over a year off work aint bad at all!

Managing to catch up some decent downloaded TV too. Ramsays Nightmares USA (what did we do pre-bit torrent?) is both fantastic and vile. Some of the states of the kitchens are unbelievable. Cockroaches and bugs living in the seals of fridge doors, green mouldy burgers,  layers of fat on the walls – its shocking. Also loving Monkey Dust too. Ivan Dobsky is a brilliant creation as well as the divorced dad. Shame it didnt get past 3 series though.

Oh and I almost forgot…..Scrub Turkey Update! The program was great. It was basically about these wild turkeys, which are on the endangered list, and only seem to live in a small populated region of Queensland. Seems nice. However, the turkeys are incredibly inquisitive and destructive, ripping up flowers, ruining crops, getting in folks houses through open windows and literally trashing the place like a burglar had given it a going over.  But because the turkeys are rare, youre not allowed to do anything to them. Even throwing stuff at them could get you in trouble. However, it didnt seem to stop folks. This old lady hated them, and spent nearly all her day on turkey patrol, setting up ghetto blasters connected to sensors to scare the bejesus out of them, throwing kitchen implements at them, and best of all, putting up signs around her veggie patch that simply said “Piss Off, Turkey!”. One guy finally cracked though and after one got in his house and broke and load of plates, ripped up all his sheet music and shit everywhere, he went out, found the nearest turkey, threw an avocado stone as hard as he could at it, which killed it and then honey roasted the bugger! Justice, Aussie style! Well worth a watch!

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“Hello, Jerry”……..”Hello, Newman”!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 29, 2008

seinfeld6.jpgIts felt like its been a busy day today, but in actual fact, its not! Started off with another driving lesson which again, went well. Did a 3 point turn right first time, not so hot with reverse parallel parking but parking in general is getting a lot better. Just gotta keep on plugging away at it and see about booking a test, as theres supposedly a 4-5 week lead time, by which time I should have got it all down. 

Then I decided to give the gym a ring and go in for my free 1 weeks pass thingy I got through the mail. Got straight on the treadmill and there was my first shock – the thing was like a bloody computer. About 10 different options to pick straight off which was  bit overwhelming, but I decided on one of the “Personal Trainer” options, which lets you do a simulated fitness test,  from the Army, Navy, Police etc…. or one tailored to you based on your age and weight.  I chose the latter as Im no bionic superman (yet!) but it still knackered me out. My legs felt like jelly afterwards, but then I noticed another nice feature of the treadmills – you can watch the TV on them, actually ON the machine! Even better than that, as well as all the terrestrial channels to flick through, they had a “DVD” channel which was showing back-to-back Seinfelds!!! Fantastic! So I endured a few more minutes on the treadmill and on the bikes, which had the same screen. It was great! Its also a bit more pleasant than the gym in Kings Heath, as the building is right on the sea front, so rather than the obligatory wall of mirrors to look at, youve got a lovely full length window to look out on the beach and the sea – bit of a change! Had a go on some of the weights machines too, but my arms started to give out after a while so called it a day and came home. Overall, though, the place is great and I think I’ll definitely be joining once my first paycheck comes in. All that remains is to sit here and wait for the inevitable aches and pains – joy!

Not sure what we’re up to tomorrow as some of our belongings are being delivered at 10am, so will have to sort them out – see how we feel after that. Its trying to drizzle here at the moment so I hope it doesnt continue. Still…..its a great smell outside – rain on hot tarmac is lovely!

More interesting though, is the name of a TV program on tonight and moreover its subject. Its possibly the funniest name (well I think) of a TV that I can think of. OK, ready….now say it in a voice-over man style voice…….

The chant…….of the scrub turkey!

Outstanding – Id like a dog, and Id like to call it “Scrub Turkey!” Awesome! You can check the program out here, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it was tomorrow!

Posted in driving, Health, TV | 1 Comment »

Bowl-a-rama!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 28, 2008

img1397845cba9814f077.jpgYes, thats what we got up to yesterday! Lawn Bowls. And before Im lambasted for being an old sod, let me just tell you this – I would say 90% of the folks there were aged 28 – 35. And when you think about it, its a damn fine way to spend a day. Met up with our mates at about 2.30, got a round in then went out for an intro to lawn bowls. Was really busy, with more folks turning up as the minutes went by. And as the beers flowed, the more interesting it got. It turned out to be a great afternoon, as it kinda felt like playing pool, or darts but outside in the sun. Its the kind of thing that is a side to beer and banter, not the primary focus, and Im sure if the UK had the weather for it, it would be just as popular. Seems most areas here have a lawn bowling club all, with a lot of young’uns there. Definitely like to do it again. Was a great day, rounded off with mexican food and huge margaritas. Hence the lack of update yesterday!

Anywho, today was quiet. Stayed in, only venturing out for a walk along the beach and a trip to the paper shop.  Played a ton of games on my 360, but it felt strangely unsatisfying. Maybe Im actually beginning to tire of gaming, and yearn for this job? Stranger things have happened. 

Tomorrow is driving lesson first off, waiting for the relocaition people to call to arrange a part delivery of our stuff, then maybe go to the gym for my 1 weeks free trial. Im looking forward to getting fit again, but Im equally dreading the first visit. Just the mild bending and rolling of bowls yesterday has got us both holding our legs every time we stand up – damn they ache! Right Im off to watch a download of the Man Utd/Spurs match now, so dont ruin it for me! Oh, and more pics (of bowling) added to my webspace/Facebook page. 

Posted in Drink, Friends, Games, Oz | Leave a Comment »

Maybe Tomorrow…

Posted by captainbeaky on January 27, 2008

28828.jpgJust a quick one to let you know there will be no in-depth post today. I’ll make one tomorrow on account of having a few too many sherberts today and not really feeling like typing and editing at the moment. Sooooooo…..give it a few hours and I’ll type up a proper description of what we got up to today. Needless to say it was fun and involved beer and friends and food. 

Posted in Drink, Oz | Leave a Comment »

Another Dull, Grey, Rainy Day in St Kilda…..YEAH RIGHT!!!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 26, 2008

dsc01077.jpgJesus its been hot today! Its only (ONLY!) been 35 degrees today but the wind has been warm too, like a hair dryer in your face. Heat, like its been today, just saps your energy, and as such we didnt leave the house until after 1 in the afternoon. Went around Fitzroy St for “breakfast” (which was damn tasty!) then got on a tram to Northcote, which took us via some really nice suburbs, with pretty old houses. Got to Northcote at about 3 and on the face of it, Northcote looked crap. Like if you put Kings Heath in Australia. However, we quickly found the big sports shop we went there for, and not only bagged a load of shirts and shorts, but also picked up some cheap trainers for the pair of us. And I mean CHEAP! So now weve got ne excuse for not going to the gym!

After that, we continued down the somewhat uninspiring High St, but found some great little antique/vintage shops. I got a nice vintage shirt, and Becca got some old glasses and a featherey hat. So from what looked like a rubbish visit to a rubbish town, turned out to be quite prosperous. 

Anyway, since coming back, Becca’s made a really nice tuna nicoise salad from Nigellas new book, which while not quite as tasty as the one I had in Myers a few weeks ago (well…it DID have quail eggs!), I definitely wouldnt have been upset if Id have had to pay money for it at a restaurant. Still got some left for tomorrow too.

Speaking of which, Im not sure what we’re up to. Might be off out with friends for beers and bbq, but not sure yet. Theyve forecast rain, but they forecast rain today and we had nothing so who knows.  I just hope its not as hot as today. Might pop down to the beach in a bit (its still over 30 degrees out at 8.36pm!) to see if there are any bbq’s going on, or if we can see the Australia Day fireworks from the city centre. Oh and there are a few more photo’s on my webspace for the Facebook-less people out there!

Posted in Food, Oz, weather | Leave a Comment »

Xbox Live-tastic!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 25, 2008

boxshot_us_large.jpgNot really done much today as I fancied a rest. Not going to be able to do it much in 10 days or so, therefore I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Lovely day today, although it got quite humid towards the end of the day. No rain as forecast though. Had a walk down the beach, along the pier, back up Acland st then back home. Ate some tasty sandwiches, drank some tasty beer and played some tasty games. Found a decent bunch of chaps online to play Gotham Racing against. Not rank whores, or always picking the fastest cars – far from it. Its just an anything goes kind of atmosphere with folks picking cars and bikes from all classes – really enjoyable as nobody cares if they win or loose – its the taking part that counts (man!). Starting to get back into Mass Effect too as the whole “ye olde fantasty adventure” style of Assassins Creed and Conan are starting to make me yearn for more Sci-fi. Taking me a while to get back into it though, as its pretty in depth and Ive forgotten all the controls!

Plan for tomorrow involves going to a place called Northcote and having a mooch around there. Saw an advert in the paper today for cheap trainers and running gear so gonna go check it out. Northcote sounds pretty nice too. Little shops, boutiques, and cafes, and despite being the other side of Melbourne, its just 1 tram, direct from St Kilda. Good job, as I dont fancy fighting the Australia Day masses in the city centre. Wouldnt mind rocking up on the beach a bit later on in the day for bbq and fireworks though. Ive just got to hope theyre cooking pork sausages and not those disgusting beef monstrosities!

Posted in Games, Oz | Leave a Comment »

Watch Monkey Dust Now!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 24, 2008

I dunno if anybody has heard of it (or maybe you have and I had my head in a paper bag for years), but ABC in Australia, have just started showing episodes of it here. Monkey Dust is an animated comedy show, that can be quite subversive, and focuses on the darker sides of British culture. Its fupping great though! It was superb, sitting here in St Kilda, thousands of miles away from the Black Country, watching this on TV (NSFW, contains “language” and is very funny!)

 

 

I hope you like it. It kind of reminds me of an animated version of Viz. It has reoccurring characters (with Omar, Shafiq and Abdul being my favourites, along with Roy of the Roasters) and well worth a look. If it aint on TV, Im sure you know about Bit Torrent….

 So today was pretty busy. Started off with a driving lesson, which went well, again. More highway driving, low speed manouvres and general practice. What is good is that theres no such test as reversing around a corner. The instructor thought I was a mental for suggesting such a thing “Why would anyone reverse around a corner, its dangerous”?! I cant argue with that, only breathe a sigh of relief that its not tested. I was rubbish at it back when I had lessons in the UK.

After driving we caught the bus over to Chadstone, with the hope of buying all our gym equipment and trainers. Cutting a long story short, I came away with only 1 top, as it was litterally the only sports item in my size in any of the sales. Everything else was top dollar, including all the trainers. I dont know what we are going to do. There doesnt appear to be anywhere that sells cheapy trainers, I cant wait until we recieve all our belongings in a few months time and Im not buying trainers online as I want to try them on beforehand. Will have to see if there are any out of town sports centres, if not top dollar it (begrudgingly) is. However, I did manage to get some cheap sale Diesel trainers for everyday wear. Nice and lightweight, which is exactly what I was after. All the trainers I have with me here now are fine, and look great with jeans, but they look like boats on the end of my legs when I have shorts on. So these Diesel ones are perfect.  $220 reduced to $140 – bargain.

Another highlight of today was watching 2 guys in a lolly/rock shop make a bunch of special order “wedding” rock. You can order yours and someone else’s name in rock for special occasions! How great is that! I found it fascinating watching them mix, cut and roll it, and the consistency of “rock” when its being made is amazing – its like a huge viscous glassy blob – has to be seen to be believed. This had the knock on effect of making Becca buy a bag of rock and me buying a massive 1KG bag of offcuts from when they make it.  Yum yum. 

Whilst being at Chadstone, I decided to go and see Aliens vs Predator 2, as it was on its last day at the cinema. And….its….exactly the same as the last film really, adding only a small amount to the Aliens/Predator lore. Im sure to the impartial, its a terrible, predictable monster movie but seeing as its me, and I tend to love most things Aliens or Predator, its an OK film. Nothing really spectacular, no great acting performances (REALLY!?!?), special effects are run of the mill and nothing really to recommend about it. And for once, why cant the Aliens attack in the sunlight. Honestley, watching one black monster fight another black monster…..at night….in the rain is nigh on impossible, more-so with the camera cutting to different angles every 2 seconds.  I also found it shocking that its only a 15 certificate here. I mean, you get to see skinned people, Aliens bursting out of children and arms falling off due to acid exposure. How is this possible?!? However, if you like Aliens or Predator, Id say go see it, if not Id give it a wide berth. If youre a fan of the previous movies, Id give it a 7, if not, Id give it a 4. 

Phew – I didnt think this would be such a big update as it doesnt “feel” like we’ve done much today, so sorry if Ive wasted too much of your day.  So in summary…..watch Monkey Dust, eat rock and look at how its made, watch/avoid AvP 2 and er……take care of yourselves…..and each other!

Posted in Blog, driving, Film, Food, Oz | 1 Comment »

1 More Week of Being Dole Scum!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 23, 2008

bilde.jpegGot the official letter from Boeing today, offering me the position, but Im not going to mention anything specific as there is quite a detailed privacy section on the offer. Needless to say, its well paid, I can wear whatever (to an extent) and I start on February the 4th, as they want me to start on a full week, not like next week. So I get a week more of normal driving lessons and doing stuff before its nose to the grind stone time. Best make the most of it!

The weather was nice today so we decided to go over to Yarraville and have a mooch about.  Top and bottom of it is, that its a nice place, with lots of old period buildings, and it has a lovely little art deco theatre, that looks like the old Electric cinema in Birmingham (but newer and bigger). Yarraville also had quite a few nice little shops which sold antiquey type things. Didnt really float my boat but Becca thought it was good. As it was a small place, we spent the rest of the day in town, looking for a Sports Soccer style discount sportswear place for us to buy our gym equipment (yes we already have some but its in 1 of many unmarked boxes in storage and we cant go and open each one until we find what we want). However, Im not sure if its the time of year, or the fact that sport in general is taken a lot more seriously here than in the UK but nowhere wants to sell you stuff proper cheap. Most of the full price stuff, is cheaper than in the UK, but its still full price. I only wanted to pay $100 for trainers, but the cheapest we could find any was $150. Sooooooo…..we’re off to Chadstone tomorrow to see if we can pick stuff up there. 

Games wise, Ive been playing some of the online games I never got a chance to when they were released (thanks to crappy internet). I must admit to liking Halo 3 a LOT more than I ever anticipated. Its just so damn addictive, and its real easy to mute annoying folks when they mouth off. Shame I only ever seem to get to play on the Guardian and Snowbound maps! I tried Team Fortress 2 and was horribly disappointed. I only managed 1 game as I couldnt find any others. Whether thats indicative of how many folks play it, or the timezone differences between here, Europe and America that were at fault, I dont know. However, I cant say I liked it when I did play it. Far too fast and unsatisfying for my liking. I also dont like the way you move. When playing Halo 3, or Call of Duty 4, theres a physical prescence of you in the gameworld. You feel the long drops, bumping into stuff and it seems tangible that youre running around a believable place. I didnt get that with TF2. It just left me cold and feeling isoilated from what was going on. Oh well, its one less game I have to put time into. Shame though. I also spent a fair amount of time playing Gotham Racing 4 online, which was a load of fun. I didnt make the mistake of playing a Ranked match (usually full of twats who all pick the right car and moan at you if they smash into you, or use you as a brake), so a social playlist it was. No rules, no car classes, just whatever you want and it made it hella fun. Beating Ferraris while being in a Delorean was a big thrill and having bikes whizz past while in my car was also good fun. Best mode was called Bulldog – basically its playing “Tag” with cars. When one of you is tagged, you join in the hunt to tag the remaining cars. Its tremendous fun when there are 5 of you all chasing the 1 remaining car, all frantically trying to catch him. 

Anyway, Ive waffled on for games far too much. On to tomorrow, which starts with an 8.30am driving lesson (I’ll still be asleep!) then we’ll probably nip over to Chadstone, as mentioned before. Fingers crossed we manage to pick up some stuff. 

Edit: Few new photos on my webspace 

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I like driving shocker!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 22, 2008

stuff-logo.jpg

Its true – I dont know if its the new instructor, the roads here or the lack of gears but Im really enjoying my lessons. Low speed maneuvers today, which I was crap at in the UK, and after 1 lesson with this guy, Im already better than what I was. Still not great, but its an improvement. Next lesson is on Thursday at 8.30, so we’ll see how I cope with rush hour traffic!

Other than that, I ve not really done much today. Sorted out a new bank account, played a fair bit of Xbox (Halo 3 online is really addictive!)  and watched a load of British TV (TV Burp, Primeval, Gordon Ramsay, Grand Designs). I know you folks in the UK often complain that TV is crap and theres nothing on, but seriously…..try Australian TV! Its shocking! Becca had her hair cut (looks much better) and thats about it. Off to Yarravile tomorrow as the weather is back to its sunny norm. Might see if I can pick our gym stuff up too. 

Posted in driving, Nothing, Oz | Leave a Comment »

780 days of joy, then this…

Posted by captainbeaky on January 21, 2008

aaba5c94b460.jpgOh dear! Yep – it finally struck me too. After having a fully working console from 9am on 2/12/2005, it finally gave up the ghost today. Its been a bit dodgy over the past few days, with games suddenly developing a strange yellow tinge when playing, which could only be remedied by powering off and on again. However, today, it appeared right from the turn on, so as normal I turned the thing off then on again, except nothing came on the TV. I could hear it booting up, but no video came on. Tried swapping TV’s, tried swapping cables, both with no luck. It was pointless trying to claim on the extended Microsoft 3 year warranty as it would have been for Microsoft UK, not Australia. So after a bit of research, several minutes of grumbling,  and a LOT of walking around Melbourne, I begrudgingly picked up another 360 (the Arcade version – seeing as I already had all the other bits from my busted 360). Just finished setting it all up and everything now works fine, as well as being a damn sight quieter than my original 360. After it was all done, I forgot to remove the Halo 3 disc from my old xbox, so powered it up to eject the disc and found I had the Red Ring of Death in all its full annoying glory. So now I have $400 less, but I have a working 360 again which is important because……

……I DEFINITELY have the Boeing job (so I need to get my gaming in this week! The agency called today to say that Boeing had offered me the position and would be sending me out the details, all ready to start next week on Tuesday (as Monday is a national holiday for Australia Day). This is good news as I’d been fretting that something would go wrong and the deal would turn sour, but now its all done and dusted!

I didnt manage to sort an update for yesterday as by the time Id remembered to make a post, it was late and 3 episodes of Peep Show were on TV so just had to let it go. We didnt do much anyway, as the weather didnt clear and it was drizzly all day. However to get us out of the house we had a wander around Albert Park (the town bit, not the actual park) which was small, but very nice. Lots of small bakeries and cafes with choice goods. We didnt do much today either until the 360 went tits up. Not sure what we’re up to tomorrow as I have a drivng lesson at 1pm so it kinda splits the day in half.  Either before next week, we want to go to Yarraville, have a wander over Prahran again to look at trainers and swimsuits for Becca, and get some gym gear from town. 

Posted in Games, Job, Oz, weather | Leave a Comment »

What? Moisture? Falling from the Sky?

Posted by captainbeaky on January 19, 2008

w-shower.jpgYes, it actually rained today? Well, it drizzled more like. Didnt need an umbrella, or a coat for that matter seeing as it was 26 degrees to go with it. Its still the first rain we’ve seen since being back. As such, we didnt do much today. Stayed inside, played games, went on the net, listened to music, watched some downloaded UK TV. Found this website that really made me laugh today too, for “What the Hell?!?” reasons. That dude REALLY doesnt like horses!

Plan to go to place called Yarraville tomororw as its sounds nice. Not really bothered if it drizzles (as forecasted) as today was still pleasant despite the weather. Stay tuned for (hopefully) another thrilling update!

Posted in internet, Nothing, weather | Leave a Comment »

…Now Cough Please….!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 18, 2008

medical_report.jpgTodays been a good day on the whole.  Started off with a double driving lesson, which went brilliantly! The instructor was nice, patient, informative, friendly and helpful. Got behind the wheel after he took me to a quieter area and did damn well, even if I do say so myself. The automatic gearshift makes SUCH a huge difference. You dont have to worry about the clutch, biting point, stalling, braking with/without clutch. In fact, your left leg just sits there, doing nothing – its great! I went from sitting in the car learning about the a/c controls to driving on quiet roads, to driving on busy roads to parking and reversing! Was really impressed, and so was the instructor. I cant imagine it will be very long before Im putting in for my test, providing I dont stink at reversing around corners or parallel parking. 

Second on my list was going for the medical for the Boeing job. It was pretty intensive, not in a running on a treadmill kind of way, but in its testing the complete range of motion of my body, hearing tests in a noise proof booth and testing my reflexes all over my arms and legs. It was crazy, but it all went with out a hitch. The only 2 things of note are the fact that I have lost a bit of hearing sensitivity on the high frequencies, which is to be expected after the operation and all. And also, I appear to have “hyper reflexes”, which sounds as if I should be able to catch flys with chopsticks, but all it means is that if someone’s testing my reflexes for my ankle, it makes my whole leg kick out. Very sensitive. 

Only other things of note that Ive done today are eat tasty churros here on the high street at a new shop, and eaten a tasty curry at the thai restaurant around the corner.  And I mean REALLY tasty!

Also been playing a lot of Assassins Creed, which seems to be a Marmite game. Personally, I love it. Its so damn immersive, and looks fantastic. I think a lot of folks that dont like it, are just blasting through it and not taking it all in. Half the fun of it is completing every task in every city, just to see the little nuggets of information that flesh the level out. Its that amount of freedom which I think the haters are missing. Because it gives you free opportunity to roam anywhere and assassinate bloke “a” at any time rather than forcing you down a tunnel, some people do just that, and thats missing out on half the game. Anyway, I love it!

Oh, and for anyone that didnt realise or that isnt part of Facebook, I regularly add photos to my webspace which you can get at by clicking the “My Webspace/photos” link on the right hand side of this page, under the Blogroll heading.  

Posted in Blog, Food, Games, Health, Job | Leave a Comment »

The St Kilda Roads Just Got More Dangerous….!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 17, 2008

l_plate.jpgThats right – Ive booked a double driving lesson for tomorrow morning! Think its about time I got myself behind the wheel, especially if Im going to be working lates, as the public transport kinda drops off as the day wears on. Im pretty excited, and a little scared – scared mainly of trams, but I guess its just a mater of confidence. Sounds like a good guy whos doing the teaching. I just hope he’s patient too!

Right – job news. Firstly, I havent officially got the job yet, or so Im told. Still in its candidacy phase so they cant really say if Ive definitely got it until all the other applicants have been informed too. Reading between the lines, though, with Boeing and the agency, its a dead cert – provided Im not a fat heffer! I have to have a pre-job medical for Boeing tomorrow, and the fact that Im having it is indicative of whether theyre serious about offering it to me. Fill out a questionnaire, water sample, lung capacity etc…. should be no problem. Then if thats ok, because of the closeness of everything, I will be starting Monday week. There is no way they can do a medical, get the results and send letters out to all the applicants in 1 day, and the agency recommended that the start date be put back a week so as not to rush any of the successful applicants. Fair enough I suppose. 

 Just got back from seeing Cloverfield today, and I must say Im a little disappointed. I wont post any spoilers so its safe to read on if youre going to see it. It does do a good job of teasing you with whats going on, and whats attacking the city. Only showing little glimpses of the “thing” until you see what it really is later on in the film. Reading that back, it sounds far more exciting than it is so dont blame me if it leaves you a bit cold. Both Becca and I couldnt care less about any of the main characters so its kind of irrelevant when they start dropping like flies. Maybe its just the sci-fi nerd in me that just wanted to see more of the “thing” stomping around, and less american half-wits being all heroic. Its also pretty short at only 1 hour 40, including ads and trailers, but I guess if it were any longer it would feel drawn out. It also has a pretty abrupt ending (which isnt really a shock considering the entire premise of the film) but it does leave you wanting a bit more. Even if its just a bit of text on the screen. However, nowt. Not even after the credits.  As a run of the mill film, its pretty good. Interesting way (if sometimes a little stomach churning with its manic camera movements) of taking on the traditional “monster flick” and it does succeed in some areas. However, it doesnt live up to the hype, and I dont think it ever could. I was hoping to come out and say it easily beat I Am Legend (the last film I saw) but I dont think it came close. 7/10

Nothing much else to report. Oh, we popped up to the gym/health spa on the sea front to see its facilities, as we’ll probably join once a wage is coming in. Its fantastic! A sea water pool, hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms and the gym itself is great. All the exercise bikes and treadmills have TV’s on the console in front of them, its all really clean, and has tons of specialist classes on. Head and shoulders above anything LA Fitness offered.  That was about it really. Driving and medical tomorrow and not much else. Wish me luck!

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New Job = New Treat

Posted by captainbeaky on January 16, 2008

design_gal04_20080115.jpgOK – right off the bat – no job news today. Sent off emails and contact numbers yesterday to get references done, and not heard a jot today. I’ll be sure to email them tomorrow to send me written confirmation of the job offer. 

Now, onto the juicy stuff (well…for me anyway). Soon, the laptop you see on the left will be in my possession. Announced today, its called the Macbook Air (crumby name I know) and its stupidly thin, half the weight of my existing Macbook and has all manner of bells and whistles that I wont bore you with, but if youre interested, you can read about it here. Storage size is a bit of an issue but Apple are releasing a wireless hard drive around the same time, so all the macs in our place can speak to it and share files.  Been playing with another new toy today, one which we bought yesterday but reasons I wont bore you with, didnt work until this morning. A little stick that I plug into the usb port on the mac mini, an ariel into the other end, and you have yourself your own video recorder! Has a Sky style TV guide and its just as easy to record programs. Really am quite impressed. You can even stream existing recorded programs over wifi to your ipod touch! Its tech nirvana! 

Didnt do much today. Stayed in and messed with said TV thing for the mac and read as much info as I can about the Apple press briefing last night. Popped out of the house late on to go to the Suzuki Night Market, which turned out to be shockingly busy. The food parts were crazy with folks but the rest of it was a bit airy-fairy and hippyish so left early for food elsewhere. Walked past a ton of Japanese restaurants, Sake bars and Ramen houses, but wanted something spicy so went to a place that specialises in laksa’s (indonesian spicy seafood soup with noodles). Changed my mind at the last minute and ordered a curry, and god damn if it wasnt the hottest curry Ive ever had. It just made me cough and made my nose/eyes water. Shocking. Was in need of cooling down so popped over the road and found a lovely little rooftop bar. The whole place was done up like an English garden sort of thing. White wrought iron style chairs, pergolas, parasols, trellis’s – it was amazing! In keeping with the look of the place, we both shared a pitcher of Pimms! Table service for drinks (and I had a tasty cupcake). They also handed out blankets for anyone out on the roof terrace who was a bit cold (its was a frighteningly chilly 22 degrees today! Brrrrrr!). A real gem of a place that I dont think youre average joe would know about. 

Not sure of any plans for tomorrow. Id like to go see Cloverfield at the cinema but that isnt going to take all day. Oh well, we’ll just play it by ear. Have fun……

Posted in Apple, Drink, Film, Food, Job, TV | 2 Comments »

Watch Out if You Fly Boeing From Now On….

Posted by captainbeaky on January 15, 2008

675px-control_surfaces_at_the_wing_of_a_planesvg.png…cos I work for them now muhahahahahaaa!!! Really good news eh? Cutting out the waffle, I turned up for the interview late (I swear the agency guy said 1.30, but it was actually 1pm) but they understood and were nice folks. The interview went well and I felt strangely calm and it came across with my answers. The job sounds good – sounds like what I used to do, but more interesting, especially going from automotive to aerospace. The only bit of a downer is that I will be required to work the evening shift for chunks at a time (3pm – 11pm) which isnt great but theres a 15% pay loading on that for unsociable hours. It does mean social life will be tricky to manage, and spending time with Crook will cut down, but theres no saying Becca wont get a job on lates or something. Also, Ive never tried lates before and I’ll try anything once to see how it goes, and the job is such a great opportunity that I couldnt let it slide. The amount of holidays per year is pretty extensive, the potential for career growth is great, all training is provided, and the pay is awesome (without going into specifics, its almost double what I was on in the UK). I start on Monday 21st (next Monday) so no time to hang about. From what they told me, Boeing Melbourne makes the control surfaces on the wings of the new Boeing 787 plane, which the picture above is showing. 

I feel a strange mix of excited and upset. Excited that Ive managed to get hold of such a good job with great prospects and great pay. Upset that my non-working lifestyle has come to an end, but that was inevitable anyway. Its also really upsetting that Dad isnt around to see me get the job. I know he really wanted me to get it as Id hyped it up for so long. I wore one of his shirts and one of his ties to the interview so he was with me at the interview anyway. I know he’d be proud right now.

To celebrate we went out for food and got a HUUUUUGE seafood platter to share, some drinks and rounded the night off with ice cream! Now, Im sitting here thinking of the things that need/Id like to get done before work starts. You know, go to some of the touristy things during the week, do a bit of shopping, get work supplies in, couple more shirts/ties and on a geeky level, get excited about tomorrows Macworld announcement. Here’s hoping for an ultra-portable Macbook. If it IS announced, Im gonna get me one as a treat!

Right, Im off now to make a list of “stuff”. Oh, I forgot to mention that the internet is back in our home. Great stuff, already downloaded the new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and a couple of BBC programmes. Australian TV at the moment is crap, to say the least! Oh, and its still sunny for those that care. 31 degrees today. 

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Dole Scum = Finished

Posted by captainbeaky on January 14, 2008

Just a quick one to let those know who I havent already spoken to/texted that I now have a  job with Boeing, starting next Monday! Good, eh?! I’ll post more details tomorrow as right now Im quite full of seafood, margaritas, beer and ice cream. Anyway…….JOBBY JOB JOB JOB!!!!

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Funniest Ice-Cream Ever!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 13, 2008

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Awesome, eh? Cant wait to have a Gaytime? “Hey mate, fancy a Gaytime?”. The possibilities are endless! Whats even better than that is the follow-up line underneath the main logo (dont squint and try to read it now!) – so good, it deserves another photo, that I’ll put at the end of the post – something to look forward to!

Anyway, its been a busy couple of days. Went into Melbourne yesterday to have a mooch about. Didnt buy much as the money we have in our oz bank account is a bit tight, and while we have plenty of cash in our UK accounts to transfer, the exchange rate is utter crap at the moment, so gonna hold off. I digress. We went in search of bargains, but neither of us bought anything in the sales. Got a couple of nice cups from the posh tea place, had some very tasty and super cheap sushi, and looked around plenty of shops.  We also popped into the big pub next to the train station for some refreshment. While in there, we noticed the bartender was something of a beer expert (and looking on the website its apparently so) and asked for a  few samples. Being a new found convert to wheat beers, I asked for some recommendations, and god damn they were good. Their own brew (found nowhere else) was really nice, but my pick of the bunch was a tipple called “Beez Neez” which has a lovely honey taste. Got me a 6 pack from the offy as soon as we got back, and their chilling in the fridge as we speak. Cant wait to crack on open later! Also hired out 28 Weeks Later from the DVD store, and I thought it was ok. Not great by any means, and nowhere near as good as 28 Weeks Later, or I Am Legend. Special effects were ropey at best and the story was predictable. Having troublesome kids as the main plot device is never a good idea. It just gets annoying and you just wish they would get eaten or something. 

On the health front I feel a ton better. Dont know which tablets are doing the trick, but Im carrying on with all of them. I dont want to feel like crap this time tomorrow. Speaking of which, Im getting nervous about already. I just hope I dont panic and give stupid answers to their questions. Regardless anyway, life here is good – I really do LOVE this place. I mean, I look forward to getting the paper so I can have a stroll about. Could you ever have imagined me saying that about Kings Heath?  The weather is a positively cool 23 degrees today, but ramping up again to 37 by the end of the week. Its strange, having coped with 42, and 38 degrees the day after, it actually DOES feel cold today. Mad, after living in the UK for so long. Its also strange to go into Melbourne and compared to Birmingham, or Wolverhampton the amount of people about is miniscule. Its nice walking around the shops, and never feels crowded, or claustrophobic. Like I say, I love it here!

So on to tomorrow. Expecting the telephone engineers around between 8am and 10am, so SHOULD have internet access soon, but Im not holding my breath. Either way, I’ll be sure to make a post, either from my house or from the net cafe about how the interview went. If they want people to start next week, I would expect them to inform any of the interviewees fairly quickly if they have been successful or not. So I may know either way in 24 hours. Exciting, but at the same time scary! 

Anyhow, youve read enough waffle and droning to get to the crowning glory of ice-cream namery, so here it is. Behold and enjoy…..

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Allergies and Interviews

Posted by captainbeaky on January 11, 2008

sneeze01.jpgThe post title says it all. I dont know what got into my nose yesterday but I started sneezing like a crazy fool in the evening, followed by itchy eyes and sinus pains. Something definitely doesnt agree with me anyway. I had an early night but slept really badly and woke up at various stages with face ache (no….not Becca!). Popped into St Kilda earlier and got me some alergy relief tablets which has eased whatever is effecting me, but Im still having ot stifle the urge to sneeze every now and again. Hopefully its just a passing thing and I’ll be ok in a bit. Either that or I will have itched my eyes out and wiped the nose from my face!

 Anyway, the BIG news is…..I have the Boeing interview on Monday! Got a phone call from the agency guy yesterday saying that Boeing had just received a huge order of something, I dunno…planes….and needed people to fill the 10 positions ASAP.  The agency guy said I was available for interview and could start whenever and said that I would be ideal so they offered me the interview for Monday, 1.30pm. They said if I get it, I could be working there in as little as a week! WOOO HOOOOO!!!! All Ive got to do now is not stuff the interview up, so I hope this allergy thing has piped down by then. Doing a bit of Boeing and interview homework here at the internet cafe now so I will have plenty of reading and practising over the weekend. 

As you may have guessed, we didnt go into Melbourne on account of my rotten-ness, and the heat. To be fair, its cooled down a bit in the past few hours. Only 30 or so now, so provided I feel a bit better tomorrow, we’ll go into Melbourne then. Internet is still down, but we’re expecting a service engineer around either today (unlikely seeing as there is only 90 mins left of “working” today) or Monday. Fingers crossed there are no more stuff ups after that!

 Anyway, Im off to carry on wiping my nose until its raw, so have fun and I’ll be sure to post again over the weekend.  I have good food updates but forgot to bring my camera with me to upload the photos.  Dope!

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