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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for February, 2008

Old School Game, Old School Annoyances…..

Posted by captainbeaky on February 28, 2008

tr1frame.jpgRoutine kind of day today. Woke up, went to work, came home. Nothing really of note to talk about in depth. Oh, except Becca made a fantastic croissant/cream/wild turkey desert thingy. Kind of like bread and butter pudding, but with croissants, and wild turkey, strangely! Bloody gorgeous!

My major talking point to day settles with Tomb Raider: Anniversary for the 360, but it could just as well be any platform I suppose. If you dont know, this is a remake of the original Tomb Raider for the original Playstation (and about a million other formats), and I find myself getting extremely frustrated with it. Whereas the last Lara Croft game (Tomb Raider: Legend) had a pretty decent story, and had some good puzzles, this game kills you. Lots of times. Lots….. It does have puzzles, but theyre so dumb the answer practically beats you over the head (king midas statue turns stuff to gold. you collect lead ingots…..slots on the wall only accept GOLD ingots….hmmmmm?!?!) Its not the puzzles that frustrate, its the perfectly reproduced spectacle of pixel perfect jumps. I know I have to jump from here to there. I know what to do, but I dont have the willpower, or patience to watch onscreen Lara plummet to her inevitable doom every 20 seconds or so. It really isnt conducive to my improving the longevity of the game, and I just end up switching it off. Collision detection is also a another area where there are problems. Trying to navigate a room with spikes that pop up from the floor with a constantly moving camera is damn hard. If Lara grazes the edge of spikes that are already raised from the floor, which are a good foot or 2 above your head, then you warp 2 feet into the air and “onto” the spikes and its instant death.What also isnt helping is that according to the in game stats, Im 43% of the way through the main game, and if you check out my gamercard on the right, you’ll see that this feat has earned me a whopping 10 achievement points. Wow. So now I have FIFA 08 which I dont play as it gets me mad, Tomb Raider which gets me mad and a couple of 1st class FPS multiplayer games that Im generally too tired to play. Oh well, I’ll have to re-learn the story and controls for Mass Effect. Thats the only problem with RPG’s…..if for whatever reason you stop playing htem half way through, youre screwed when you go back to them .Not a clue what to do, who to see and where to go. I may just crack open the Wii this weekend and buy Mario Galaxy. I feel as though I need my faith restoring in gaming at the moment, and from what I read, even in the most fickle of gaming magazines, this is hailed as a revelation. Getting games back to being fun, and not hyper realistic, hyper challenging anger sessions. 


Posted in Food, Games | 1 Comment »

Alarm Clock from Hell!

Posted by captainbeaky on February 27, 2008

getimageaspx.jpegSo I managed to wake up 30 minutes before my 5:30am alarm this morning. Great you might think, he’s getting used to early starts. Wrong! While I am getting used to early starts, I have no plans on getting used sitting bolt upright at 5am with searing cramps all down my calf. God damn it hurt. Ive had cramps before but this was shocking. Its stayed with me pretty much all day, threatening another attack when I sit still for too long, and I can still feel it now. 

Anyway, its been a pretty routine day. Work was good, and Im already starting to get a bit of responsibility within the area, which after weeks of training is brilliant. For those still interested in the sausages of australia, we tried organic lamb, rosemary and mint today, which while tasting fairly nice, had a horrid consistency. I cant really describe it, as it just felt, kind of mushy. Proper nasty! 

In other news, a sentence or 2 for my Mom. Im sorry Mom, but you wont be getting a Mothers Day card next week. Not because Ive forgot, not because of the postal system, and not because I couldnt be bothered. The upshot of it is that, its not Mothers Day in Australia next week. For whatever reason, it is the same day as America’s Mothers Day which falls in the middle of May, so even though I wanted to send you a card, there arent any in the shops. Sorry! 

I see Apple updated their MacBooks Pro’s this morning, and I was hopeful of a CPU update, multi-touch trackpad a case redesign and the alteration of that god awful keyboard. Unfortunately, I find myself disappointed to find theyve only done the CPU and trackpad. So while its an extremely powerful and versatile notebook, it still looks like it belongs in the mid 90’s. In my opinion anyway. Oh well, MacBook Air, here I come! 

Oh, and before I forget, Becca has started a blog! Im not sure how often she intends to update it, but check it out every now and then. I dont think she’s going to do it everyday, but keep an eye open and pester her to post more often.  Anyway, here’s the link, and I’ll put a permalink in my favourite sits on the right.  

Posted in Apple, Blog, Oz | 2 Comments »

Is this gonna be a standup fight, sir, or another bughunt?

Posted by captainbeaky on February 26, 2008

them_giant_ant.jpgSo, not much has happened between now and yesterday, so here are the highlights. I did indeed have a shower last night, but no shave. Becca enjoyed Knit Club, and was back early, thanks to a super fast tram. I went to bed, got up, went to work, had a good day, and came home ok. See…..uneventful. So to while away the time, I’ll post one of those good piccies I promised last week. But first…..a story to accompany it.

Last week, we noticed that we started gettting the odd ant in our kitchen, which we werent really surprised about thanks to the lack of double glazing, no windows that actually fit properly in their frames and the fact that were on the ground floor! So I started dustbustering them up. However, this soon became tiresome, so off to Safeway we went to buy some hardcore ant annihilator. We decided on some spray that you put on the floor, and if they cross it, they die, and a kind of poison trap thing that the ants eat, take back to the nest, and whole nest gets nuked. We did a quick test of the spray and it worked a treat – it was like the ants were walking “out of the play area” in Halo or something – a slow sapping of the health until death ensues. On reflection though, we’d prefer to wipeout the nest so we put a poison trap down, and god damn if it wasnt like tasty magical ant-elixir to the little shits. They were swarming all over it, lapping it up and scurrying back to their home. We got slightly alarmed as it attracted more, and more and more ants so we put a ring of insta-kill spray around it, to stop any greedy, poison-high ants having a wander around our kitchen to see what else they could eat. The following day, we noticed our ant visitors had reduced significantly, and the day after they had stopped. Nest successfully nuked! My only 2 regrets are that we didnt have an Attenburrugh style ant-cam showing Barry, the happy little ant taking back his pickings to the grateful Queen only to see the lot of them keel over and peg it! Muhahahahaaaaa! My only other regret is that the actual Queen death wasnt as dramatic as the box made out…..

I wanted to see a large bulbous red ant, lying on its back, being continually struck by vicious looking red lighting bolts from the heavens.  Maybe if Id had ant-cam, I could have witnessed this spectacle. Oh, and 10 points to anyone who got the Aliens quote in the post title. Minus 10 points to Andy if you DIDNT get it!

Posted in animals, Work | 2 Comments »

The Transvestite & Sheep Post……

Posted by captainbeaky on February 25, 2008

campstan.jpgOK, a proper post today, so lets start with yesterday. Driving was uneventful at best. Slow speed manouvres are still a bit of a pin, but other than that everything is going swimmingly . Got 4 weeks to my test so not really that long considering Im only having 1 lesson a week. After driving, we went to see Priscilla, which if Im perfectly honest, I wasnt really looking forward to. I thought the film was a 7/10, I dont like theatre, and I like musicals even less, but a promise is a promise so I had to go. However, I soon changed my tune when it started. It was a good laugh, faithful to the movie, had great sets and outfits, the musical numbers were (mostly) out straight out of the film so were at least memorable and the performances were great. I dont think even the most cold hearted people could have failed to love it – was thoroughly enjoyable! Thinking about going to see Spamalot now, but I think my brief venture into theatrical hijinks will end there.

Today, has been a pretty routine day. Up early for work, had another enjoyable day ACTUALLY getting stuff done and completing jobs that I started. So unlike all of my previous experiences in engineering. 

Oh, I promised a review of Black Sheep too, so here it goes. Its fairly good. Next….! The whole film has a similar feel to Peter Jacksons early films in the sense that its humourous, gory and preposterous…so all good then! My only criticism is that it bogs down in a few places, whereas Jacksons films were relentless non stop affairs. Saying that though, if youre a fan of B-movie schlock horror its worth watching. Id give it a 6.5 out of 10.  
Beccas gone to Knit Club tonight so got the place all to myself. So far Ive done crazy things like….eat food! Watch Primeval! Do the washing up! And shortly……..I will be……..having a shave……..and….a…..shower!!!! oooooooooooooooooo! In other news, have you heard australian magpies – theyre great – nowt like UK magpies – have a listen.  And you can check it out anywhere if you dont believe me – Becca thought I was mad when I told her I heard that noise come from a  magpie!
And finally…..thanks to the B3ta newsletter for this awesome find. A great website dedicated to Camp Records, purveyor of groovy 60’s gay pop records! My favourites include “Mixed Nuts” (check out the lyrics), “Im so wet”, “Leather Jacket Lovers” and “Florence of Arabia”. However for sheer jaw dropping excellence, feast your ears on “Homer, the happy little homo”. I kid you not! Quite a catchy tune too!

Posted in animals, comedy, driving, Film, internet, Work | Leave a Comment »

I’ll keep it brief….

Posted by captainbeaky on February 24, 2008

Just got back from Priscilla…..

2 and a bit hours o go before bedtime….. 

Got Match of the Day and Harry Hill to watch…….

No time for normal blog post…….

Normal post tomorrow…….. 

Posted in Nothing | Leave a Comment »

You Thought I was Indecisive Yeterday……!

Posted by captainbeaky on February 23, 2008

rent.jpgYes, more indecision Im afraid. This time on the subject of houses. We’re having a real good think about buying right now. Interest rates are nearly 8% and due to rise at least another 2 times in the next few months, and the economy is kind of going crazy. Houses are about $500 000 and rising, and Becca doesnt have a job yet. All of this means that if we want a mortgage, 70% of my wage will be going towards its payment each week, and thats not taking into account the imminent interest rate hikes. There are already record numbers of houses being repossessed countrywide as folks cant keep up with the payments. So we’re thinking of maybe renting a place for a year to let the market settle. This way, we wont be so crippled by payments each week (renting means only spending 50% of my wage each week which means I can bung the rest in a savings account and benefit from the high interest rates), it means that if we buy in a years time, I will be working on afternoons, as discussed in previous posts and as such, have a premium loading on my wage. Becca will have a job, and we will have had a years of UK house sale money in an account too. However, it does mean that we run the risk of the housing market rising even more, but on the other hand, the bubble might burst and things may slow down. Everything is a risk at the moment and it feels like standing on a 100ft pole, and everywhere you turn has its pitfalls. Will have to give it some serious consideration over the next few weeks and actually have to do proper grown up things like keep track of interest rates and the like. We’re in no rush anyway as we’ve got this place until the end of June, so thats plenty of time to think. 

Anyway, enough of financial gubbins. Its been pretty poor here today weather wise. Last night it chucked it down and we had REALLY strong winds.  Bits of palm trees everywhere this morning. Never the less, we headed off into the CBD today to pick up some things for work, namely stationary and other sundry type things. Nothing spectacular to report. Oh, tell a lie, there is. Managed to get my first hands on with a MacBook Air today and was really impressed. I know all about how thin it is, fitting in an envelope and all the PR stuff, but to actually hold it and press its buttons its a truly differnet experience. Its SOOOO thin and extremely light too. Screen looks nice and the touchpad is huge. If youre near an Apple shop, you owe it to yourself to pop in and just look at the Air.

Thats about it Im afraid! We hired out Black Sheep to watch a bit later as its crap on the box (review to follow!), got a driving lesson first thing tomorrow, and then off to see Priscilla at the theatre. Ive posted the photos I took over the past few days at the usual places too. However, Ive omitted a couple of photos as theyre worthy of their own posts, so look out for them over the next few days!

Posted in Apple, House, weather | Leave a Comment »

Indecision, Clouds My Vision…..

Posted by captainbeaky on February 22, 2008

2028946.jpgno one listens…..because I’m somewhere in, between, my love and my ag….sorry – got carried away there. Ah…it takes me back to my college days with my walkman permanently attached to my ears. For the folks that are wondering what Im rambling on about its…well……just Google the post title. However, I digress. the indecision stems from a total lack on deciding what to do car wise. Cheap 2nd hand runabout? New swanky, “supermini”? 2nd hand coupe? New coupe? If I get 2nd hand cars I run the risk of poor reliability and poor fuel usage, but theyre cheap. New swanky runabout will use all my money and when I can get more powerful cars in 3 years time, I wont have the capital. If I buy a new coupe, I can still get a much nicer can than a “supermini” class car, but I dont think I have enough cold hard cash to get one outright, so part of it will be on finance. I just dont know! What do you think? Comments please!

Nothing really exciting to report today. Another good, satisfying day at work, and its been quite windy. Looking forward to a lie in tomorrow though, and going into the CBD for bits and bobs. Oh, and I forgot to do my camera stuff, so I’ll be sure to post them tomorrow. Got a few (slightly blurry) shots of the local cockatoo’s this morning too, while they were quiet and sleepy! 

Posted in Cars, Music | Leave a Comment »


Posted by captainbeaky on February 20, 2008

e4a_chalk_and_cheese_training.jpgI still cant get used to Melbourne weather. Fact – yesterday had a high of 35ºC, was sunny ALL day, and was even measuring 29ºC outside at midnight. Fact – today was around 17ºC and drizzling all day! Really hard to get used to but I think everywhere had retained the heat inside from yesterday, so it wasnt cold at all in the factory. Speaking of which, its been a good day today as we actually got to experience a full working day with NO training. However, it was kind of scary that the parts we were checking today are going to end up on the end of a wing of a plane! Been really enjoyable, and look forward to more non-training related days. 

Enjoyed watching the Liverpool match today earlier today too. It was a real wrench though, as it was just about to kick off when I left for work, but I recorded it and have just finished watching it. Good result, and I hope they get through in a fortnights time.  Got the Arsenal match set to record tomorrow and am really looking forward to it – should be a great match for neutrals. Been up to nowt other than that – oh, played a bit more Gotham racing and really enjoyed it. The 3 lap race around the Nurburgring, in an old BMW M3, in teh tipping down rain was fantastic. Renewed my interest in the track, as Ive been virtually driving around it for nearly 5 years now. However, trying to drive the bikes using the wheel peripheral is bloody impossible, so I’ll just have to use the controller. 

Still unsure as to what new Mac I should get. With each week that goes by I wonder whether to wait for the inevitable MacBook Pro update, but I doubt I would use all its power all of the time, or just go for a MacBook Air now. One thing I do know is that trying to type on my existing MacBook when its 35ºC is almost unbearable – like some sort of thermal leg torture.  Plus, Im never going ot get a better time than now. No mortgage, no bills, no rates, no water/gas/electric supply to pay for and quite a significant wage coming in each week. SPeaking of which I havent a clue when we’ll apply for a mortgage as the papers today said that another interest rate hike is on the cards in the next few weeks. I just wish the economy here would crumble like the rest of the worlds. Exchange rates are crap (UK to AU) and a mortgage would be crippling. Everything just needs to slow down, before we take the plunge. Nevermind…..I can wait!

Posted in Apple, Football, Games, House, Job, weather | Leave a Comment »

Heat and FIFA Frustrations

Posted by captainbeaky on February 19, 2008

sweat.gifJebus H Christ its been another hot day today. 35 degrees, and probably about 30 of those in the factory. Its nowhere near as bad as my old place on a hot day though – no “wet” machining here at all so no coolant hanging in the air and sticking to your lungs. Despite it being really hot, its felt quite changeable as we’ve had CAD training in a very cool, almost cold, air conditioned office. Its been odd going from cool 18 degree office to blazing 35 outside – hard to adjust! I hear its getting on for -10 degrees in the UK though, so I think I’ll stop whining on about the heat!

As I mentioned, today has mostly been computer training, which for once has been extrememly interesting. Learnt a lot as quite a lot of the training was practical, so it stays in your brain instead of in one ear and out the other. As far as I know, we have no more training of any great length booked from here on in, so maybe we’ll actually be let loose on the shop floor tomorrow – scary!Not much else to report really. Just tend to spend my home time watching TV, playing on 360, eating and drinking. Perfect! Im finding FIFA 08 still extremely frustrating. Every 50/50 ball goes to the opposition. They can perform sliding tackles perfectly, by my guys always get fouls.  My guys wont suport me when I break into the opponents half. they dont make any challenges unless I tell them to – I dont know if Im still just annoyed that I was so good at FIFA 07, and now its like I would  have been better not actually playing it, or whether the game has some serious misgivings. Either way, I’ll be playing it rarely as it puts me in a terrible mood afterwards if things dont go my way! Played a bit of Gotham racing after that, and was impressed. Firstly from the amount of new downloadable content and how good it is, and secondly cos its the first time Ive played it with the wheel. Its mighty good, especially in a fast car – the weather effects really pull the wheel from your hands – its fantastic. The only downside is that , as with Forza, accurate use of the wheel leads to accurate driving, which doesnt really fit with Gothams whole “Kudos” thing. However, the kudos system has never really sat right with me so its more a fault of me not liking “cool” driving. I much prefer to take a corner, fast,  perfectly than powerslide around it backwards. Oh, I downloaded (legally I might add) UNKLE’s new album, and I’m REALLY like it. Nothing at all like the last one, as its gone for a more guitar-influenced sound. Doubt it will please the hardcore fans, but for us that only dabble in the hipping and the hopping and the dancing and the dubbing, it’s a good listen.

Posted in Games, Job, Music | 1 Comment »

Work Goodness and Another Funny Pic

Posted by captainbeaky on February 18, 2008

funnydogcostumes.jpgWell, you’ll be pleased to know that I am NOT the latter of the 2 options I mentioned in yesterdays post – I’m much happier. Got my stuff sorted out at work.
The big problem was that on Friday, I found that they wanted me and the other new engineer to work on permanent afternoons, and anyone who knows me well will tell you that just isnt keeping with my lifestyle. So, I spent the rest of Friday and some of Saturday brooding and thinking about leaving. Thankfully, Becca made me see sense and we came up with a compromise. At any one time, one of will work the late shift (not nights – but like an evening shift), while the other one will come in 4 hours early, and leave 4 hours early. Everyones happy. The shift is covered and one of us will get to leave early – on a week on/week off basis. Thankfully, went into work today and put it to our manager, who was more than happy for us to do that – which I am relieved about. I know it means working late everyother week, but there are financial incentives involved with that, and to be blunt its too good a job to just snub and go somewhere else. Pay, conditions and perks are fantastic and the work itself is interesting and something new, so its worth enduring every other week of poo hours for.
Not really much else to say, tother than its been another blisteringly hot day, but everyone seems happy for us to wear whatever so it will be jeans and tee tomorrow! Oh, and we got a phone call this evening from a random person saying that they had found a phone on Brighton beach and had called the number labeled “Home”. How nice – Becca hadnt even realised she had lost her phone (what a surprise!) but this lady has rang us to say we could go round and collect it – lovely. I could NEVER in a  million years imagine that happening in the UK!

Posted in weather, Work | 1 Comment »

Not much of anything….

Posted by captainbeaky on February 17, 2008

21.jpg…and before you ask (except you wont cos you either dont know how to use comments of none of you  read this blog!), the picture is just for comedic effect. I came across it randomly whilst on an internet wander, and it made us both laugh, so there!

Didnt do much at all today….which was extremely nice! First port of call was a driving lesson which went well. Not making so many little errors when pootling about, but still need to hone my slow maneuvering skills. After getting back, I took a walk up the paper shop to get the Herald Sun and some pop then got back ASAP as its been really hot today, probably getting on for about 34 degrees. I then spent most of the day watching the Man Utd/Arsenal FA Cup match, and all the rest of the games on Match of the Day. The Man Utd match was a really good 90 mins of entertainment. Aresenal just didnt turn up and it could have easily have been 8-0 to Man-U instead of just 4-0. I cant believe Liverpool got beat by Barnsely too – shocking. Having a rubbish season, considering the money theyve spent. Also, sad to see Wolves get knocked out by Cardiff, although they did deserve to get beaten. They played bloody terrible. Had a nice homemade steak and onion baguette for tea tonight – really hit the spot, and watched a bit more TV, and then remembered I hadnt made a post today – nearly forgot!

No plans for tomorrow except go to work and try to sort my predicament out, so the next post I make I will either be much happier, or angry and annoyed. I hope its not the latter.  

Posted in driving, Food, Football, Work | Leave a Comment »

Beach Huts…..but not like this…

Posted by captainbeaky on February 16, 2008

blue_beach_hut_takes_a_batt_400x300.jpgBeen a good day today. 28 degrees, and a nice breeze coming in so we went down to Brighton for a mooch around. Its a really nice place, with cafe’s and little shops and restaurants everywhere, although annoyingly, most were shut, or had half day opening – crazy! Anyway, we walked down to the beach and had a stroll up the coast. The whole beach was covered with British style beach huts (piccies on my webspace/facebook) and were painted all crazy – looked great when actually viewed in sunshine, as opposed to the overwhelming greyness of UK huts. Went for a paddle in the sea and was stunned at how warm it was. YES, warm….not ice cold – it was lovely. Like having your feet in a bowl of warm water – lovely! Lots of starfish, snails and fish swimming in the shallows (no jellyfsh or stinging poison fish, or sharks…you hear, Gathermole!). Was a great day, but after last weeks sun-fest we were both EXTREMELY careful about putting on suncreen – no messing about this week! However, I could do with a nap now as the pair of us are still tired – bloody idiots next door are building an extension and seem to love working on it at 8am, hammer and saw for an hour or so, then leave it. Swines!

No real plans for tomorrow other than a driving lesson early on. Maybe go down to the and just take it easy. Could do with a day of nothingness to be honest. I miss being able to take it easy! 

Posted in Oz, weather | Leave a Comment »

Dazed and ………

Posted by captainbeaky on February 15, 2008

confused.jpgShort post today on account of being a bit miffed. Found out some stuff today at work that Im not exactly happy about, to say the least. I dont really want to post it here in case there are reprisals, and I dont really think its the right thing to do…well at least not until Ive attempted to remedy the problem on Monday. Lets just say I have some thinking to do, and I’ll hopefully be able to fill you in more on Monday.

Plans for tomorrow include going to Brighton, and maybe popping into town to get some cheap work clothes from Target. Driving lesson has been moved to Sunday so it doesnt spilt the day up tomorrow. Sorry for the briefness of reply, and if I haven t responded to Facebook/emails, but I promise I’ll get round to it tomorrow.  

Posted in Work | Leave a Comment »

Cheeky and Naughty….

Posted by captainbeaky on February 14, 2008

cockatoo_3.jpgToday was yet another uneventful day at work, as it consisted of a full days worth of training. Ho hum. Should be on the home stretch now as we’ve only got 1 more unit (half a days worth) of this training subject to go, so hopefully that will be the end of it by 12 tomorrow. Been getting a bit twitchy on what Im hearing about our final work hours though. We’ve been hearing it may be fortnightly rotating shifts on evenings (3-10pm I think), and other folks saying we’ll be on permanent evenings. While I can stand rotating shifts (not ideal, but what are you gonna do) I dont like the sound of permanent afternoons. Will have to ask about clarification on this issue, as it may be a deal breaker. If Becca gets a regular day job, it means I wont get to see her until the weekend which considering she’s the only person I know here apart from work folk, is not great.  

Not much else happened. Amusing, story on the news today about cockatoo’s causing $70,ooo worth of damage to a building in town. There is a steel framed spire over the top of Melbourne Arts Centre that is covered in blue LED’s which illuminate the entire structure at night, but the cockies have been turning up at the tower en masse, taking off the all LED protective caps, and then crushing the lights! So to scare them off, some local falconry school has loaned a couple of massive eagles (bloody huge – 2.5m wingspan, and are the cockatoos natural predator apparently) which they have have trained to fly about the vicinity, putting the shits up all the cockies.   Bit different to plastic owls to scare of pigeons!

Not really got much else to report. Games wise, Im still really enjoying Rez HD, getting frustrated by FIFA 08 (I was really good at FIFA 07 but thats all gone out of the window with 08), and getting back into Forza 2, even though Ive had to drop the difficulty from hard to normal.  Im sure you CAN beat it on hard, but I have neither the skill, inclination, or patience. Exciting games news today that folks that made Gears of War, are set to release a game called “Aliens: Colonial Marines” and is supposedly a squad based FPS. All I can think of is Gears graphics, coupled with the Aliens universe and I soil myself with anticipation. However I hope its not as scary as Aliens Vs Predator 2 on PC from several years back. An absolutely brilliant FPS, but I didnt play it much on account of being too damn scary! My brain somehow couldnt fathom that it was just a bunch of grouped polygons charging me down, it WAS actually an Alien and it would kill me and spray acid at me if I shot it. Here’s hoping the license isnt wasted and we get another substandard Aliens game though. 

Posted in Games, In the News, Work | Leave a Comment »


Posted by captainbeaky on February 13, 2008

dollars.gifAnd this is what makes the early starts all worthwhile – my first paycheck! And how nice it is to have money going IN to my bank account, for the first time since January 2007. Its a fair old wedge too (well, compared to my old wage), as working it out, I can earn my monthly wage that I was on in the UK, in under 3 weeks here – as I say, its nice!

Its been a relatively tiring and exhausting day of training…again! Ordered my work clothes, and some protective footwear today too. Again, while I HAVE learnt more things than shoes, and polo shirts, I dont really feel I can write about them on here, which is REALLY frustrating. I usually cant wait to tell others when I learn something exciting or new, so this is killing me! And its also killing my blog too :o(

I still have no idea what Im going to fill these pages with from now on. I can talk for hours about games and TV, but Im guessing most of the people reading this blog dont care about games and while interested in TV, they are NOT interested in Australian TV. 

On a general front, the economy here is a mess, which has 2 worrying fronts. Firstly, the exchange rate is bloody awful right now. When we moved across here, £1 = $2.42, but today £1 = $2.17 which doesnt sound much, but when youre transferring the proceeds from a house sale, it means the difference between $180,000 and $160,000. A huge margin, you’ll agree. Secondly the interest rates here keep going up and up. They received another rise this week which means the mortgage interest rates are now  around 8.5 – 9%, which really isnt good for trying to get on the mortgage ladder. I mean, it wont be a problem for us getting a mortgage but with rates that high, it will take that bit longer to pay off. The banks have also confirmed that they will rise again come April. Pain in the arse!

Posted in Money, Work | Leave a Comment »


Posted by captainbeaky on February 12, 2008

writersblock.jpgWell now I find myself in a bit of a pickle. What on earth do I write about when all Ive done is go to work, which I cant talk about, then come home? The bus journey? What Ive had for tea? What TV Ive watched? I dunno! Maybe I need to think about other things I want to write about on this page, becuase as time goes by, unless something spectacular happens, and barring the weekends, I cant really see this situation changing. Especially seeing as the next 2 days are just solid training from 7:30-4:30pm. 

But to answer my own questions, work was ok, half day training, half day on shop floor. The bus journey was uneventful and wonderfully short, I had tuna pasta bake for tea and Ive watched a new episode of Grand Designs, a program about Tescos in America (both programs downloaded) and the terrestrial premiere of “The Sarah Conner Chronicles“, which while poor and predictable, wasnt as dreadful as I anticipated.  Thats about it – probably watch a Monkey Dust in a bit then go to bed. I wish I had more interesting things to say, or at least could tell you some of the stuff Ive learnt at work, but hey ho, I’ll try to think of further things I can do with the blog to keep this interesting instead of sinking to a laborious “went to work, did nothing” bore-fest. So if YOU have any ideas on what you want to see, post a comment and let me know.  

Posted in Blog, Nothing, Work | Leave a Comment »

Attack of the Lobster-people!

Posted by captainbeaky on February 11, 2008

adult_red_lobster_costume.jpgThat would be me and Becca then. Honestly, I only said it got my ankles and neck yesterday, but on reflection, and after a bit of time, we soon found we are ALL red. Well….all of the bits that were exposed to the sun are red. It doesnt hurt or anything, it just looks ridiculous, but less so today for me. However, Becca looks even more red today for some reason, so Ive gone to great lengths to steer clear of the sun today.

Speaking of which its been a pretty run of the mill day. Got up for work ok, and made it on with no problems too. The day was more interesting than normal as we had a day to kill on the shop floor in our respective areas, as training doesnt start until tomorrow. Been interesting, and I feel like Ive learnt more useful stuff in one day than I did all of last week. Also learnt, that as quality engineers, we are on flexi-time, which means we can start anytime between 6am and 10am which is great. Especially if youre planning on having a late night, or need to get stuff done at the bank or something. The more I spend at work, the more Im pleased I got the job – should be great.

However….Im feeling the early start now. I had a little kip on the bus, and another one after watching Match of the Day 2 (Liverpool match was shockingly bad, but Man Utd match was good to watch). So now, Im gonna settle in to watch the new episodes of CSI and then get another early night, in preparation for more training tomorrow. Hopefully its payday tomorrow too – woo hooo!!!!!

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Red Hot (Litterally)

Posted by captainbeaky on February 10, 2008

sunburn.gifIm going to keep it short for this post, as Im tired and Im going to have to get an early night cos of work tomorrow. Anyway, its been a good day, but very hot. Strolled on down to the festival at about 1pm, and it was quite sedate. You know, enough people about but nothing like what the news had estimated. Saw a band (Expatriate – ok indie guitar band on a stage by the sea – lovely), had an ice cream, had a wonder about, saw some crazy somersaulting bike guys, watched some  jive/showgirl dancing group and got very hot. After a while in the blazing sun, we went inside the Pallais theatre to have a nose, and have a drink. Was really nice in there – still got all of the old 20’s features. Capacity wise too, its the biggest theatre in Australia – even bigger than Sydney Opera House, or so the guy told us. After that, it was back outside to catch another band (Operator Please – ok, but a bit like the Australian Gossip), then back home as the amount of folks there had exploded to about a million times more than there was a couple of hours earlier. Took 10 minutes to get from one place to another, that usually takes us about 40 seconds to do the same distance. That coupled with a bit of heat stroke made us run for home and lick our wounds, and god damn are we both red! I have red hands, ankles and neck, and Becca has a bright red chest – so now we both look like stereotypical Brits abroad – marvellous! 

Anyway, I will love you and leave you to check out the photos on Facebook/webspace as I need to go and watch Match of the Day and TV Burp. Have fun, and put sunscreen on EVERY 2 HOURS!!! Doh!  

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Houses, Cars, and Bjorn the Unicorn!

Posted by captainbeaky on February 9, 2008

peggle.jpgBeen a pretty quiet, relaxed day today, which was lovely after my 1st week at work. I really do appreciate the weekends now Im earning a wage again. Woke up at 9.30am (bliss compared to 5:45am!), and had a mooch about until my driving lesson later on. Was a little rusty to start with after over a week away, but the prats on the roads didnt help. The amount of suicidal cyclists, cycling up the wrong side of the street in the road, and dopes not indicating when changing lanes were a pain, but whereas a few weeks back I would have panicked and flustered over them, I took it all in my stride and just got on with it. 

After that we popped into St Kilda to get the papers, have a wonder about, get some food in one of the cafes and just pootle around. Got back and spent the afternoon looking at houses (have a squizz at this one which I wish we could get in time – we could afford it but I need 3 payslips as proof of income and it will sell before then – boo hooo!), calculating what mortgage we could get, looking at cars, and seeing whether it could pay for me to lease a car through work rather than buying one. 

I also decided to dispell the hype and finally got round to playing Peggle today….and Im hooked. Its strange, cos you dont actually DO anything, but its both addictive and relaxing at the same time. Id recommend it to anyone as it can be played casually too. I was going to buy it but did a quick search and found that its coming to Xbox Live soon, so I will get it then. So there you go, for as much as I have a go at Becca for playing Jewel Quest on her phone when we have a Wii, PS2, 360, DS, etc…. I also  spent the afternoon playing a game thats basically pachinko!  Ach….I dont care – try it out and you’ll probably be as addicted as I am!

St Kilda Festival tomorrow, so will be V-E-R-Y busy here. The TV news reckons over 400,000 folks will be coming here to sample the comedy, music, theatreworks and general “activities”. We’ll go in and see how busy it is, and how long we can tolerate it for. I think it sounds like a great idea….but 400,000 people in a place thats probably as big as Kings Heath seems a bit crazy for my liking!  

Posted in Cars, driving, Games, House | Leave a Comment »

Danger Will Robinson! Beer and Sake Everywhere!

Posted by captainbeaky on February 8, 2008

lost_in_space_robot_body_1_2_2004.jpgT’was a good day today. Work was just more training, training, training but had a good natter with the other chaps there and had a good laugh. The bad news is that it seems we have at least another week and a half of training to go! I’ll have info coming out of every orifice by that point, but it was a late start thanks to the training so it wasnt all that bad. 

After work, I met Becca in town as I needed to get some more work shirts, but it turned out to be a much more lengthy visit than just shirt shopping. On the way down to the shops, we saw a good little bar caller “Bar Humbug”, which we thought was a great name and it looked pretty decent inside, so after I got a shirt or 2, we went back to the bar and had a drink. Nice bar, a little expensive but would be a nice place to take visitors. After that, we went along to another bar, which was really funky. A little Japanese, anime robot bar, simply called “Robot“. The decor was all robot-ey, with lots of anime pics everywhere and tons of little robot toys on the shelves. The bar was stocked with a wide variety of Japanese beers, had loads of sake, and they even sold pocky! You would have loved it Andy – they even showed anime on a Tuesdays and had drinks specials on. I definitely think we’ll be going back.

After that we went and got some food at Yoyogi sushi place, then home (again Andy, you would have liked it – yakitori chicken and katsu curry). Feel quite tired now though, which isnt surprising as Ive been on the go for 14 hours. Oh yeah, I also managed to pick up FIFA 08 for 360 in Electronics Boutique – 2nd hand but it looks ok and comes with a week long guarantee in case it plays up. Sensible Soccer rekindled my interest in footy games, but is just too damn hard, and doesnt have the depth of FIFA, hence, I got FIFA. 

Only plans we have for the weekend are me having a driving lesson tomorrow (first Saturday lesson so I hope the roads arent too busy), and then St Kilda Festival on Sunday, when about 400,000 people descend on St Kilda for music, comedy, and other gubbins – should be a good un, and I’ll be sure to post pictures, as I have today on my webspace/Facebook. Check em out!

Posted in Drink, Food, Games, Work | Leave a Comment »