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The Mega-post!!!

Posted by captainbeaky on March 2, 2008

hats.jpgRight – if you get bored easily, dont bother with this post. Ive got 2 days of catching up to do so its going to be a long slog until the end of the post. Firstly, the boring stuff. Work has been good, with it getting a little busier every day so I hope it doesnt reach melting point soon. Either way, at the moment, Im actually enjoying going to work. The weather is fantastic here at the moment too, with it being 28 degrees today and its due to peak tomorrow at 32 degrees. Mad when you think it is now the equivalent of being September in the northern hemisphere. I dont ever remember it being 32 in September in the UK. 

Right, now thats out of the way I can write about other things that we’ve been doing/mulling over. Yesterday, we went into Prahran to have a look about and just to get a change of scenery from Melbourne, and really enjoyed it. Popped into a great antique/vintage shop and saw many millions of dollars of stuff that we wanted, and things that bought a tear to the eye, as fond childhood memories came flooding back. They had a pristine, mint condition boxed Starbird, in all its sound-effect and lightshow glory. You remember that Andy? Even had the little detachable ships on each wing – awesome! On our way around, I picked up some HD leads for my Wii and 360, as well as Super Mario Galaxy, but more on that later. We managed to abstain from blowing  a small fortune in the Playboy shop, as Becca found some great looking baby-doll style heeled slippers, and I saw a great looking suit. Both far too expensive though. Settled for tapas on our way home from the restaurant just up the road, which was damn nice. I usually measure the quality of a tapas joint by the tastyness of its patatas bravas, and this place didnt disappoint – an 8/10! 

Before we visited “Pu-ran” yesterday, we decided to go and have a look at an inspection, pre-auction on a property thats next door to us, and in our price range. Thought it would be good to experience just what we’ll have to go through in a few months time.  This is the property (dont forget to click the links Mom!) we went to see, which looks huge on the photos, but seemed smaller in real life but the view was more spectacular in the flesh. We had a look at the penthouse suite in the same building as it was avaiable for rent (but quite pricey) and it was lovely. Built in robes, an even better view, big bedrooms and a nice bathroom. Trying to make an appointment to see another unit tomorrow too, just to have a “stickybeak”! Good to have a nose and see what we should be expecting even if we arent in the market right now. I went back to that place up for sale this morning to sit in on the actual auction. It was a pretty slow affair and seemed like trying to get blood from a stone for the auctioneer, as nobody really wanted to pay a lot. The opening bid was for the asking price of $510k, and it finally crept for $530k, which isnt too bad for a property with that view. We’ve spent a lot of today mulling over our options, trying to predict market conditions, should be rent for a year, how much is it going to cost us to get furniture, beds, appliances etc….. and we havent really got anywhere. Renting and buying right now, have so many pluses and minuses for and against each option, and as such its like hitting your head against a wall. In the end, we decided the best thing for us to do was…..wait. We’re in this place until July, we need exchange rates to improve, we need interest rates to drop and more properties to appear on the market. We can continue to monitor whats going on without making a rash decision that will end up costing us in the long run. The property market here, and the economy, cant carry on at the levels they are right now, so its got to slow down, or burst pretty soon. We just have to wait until then and jump in!

Right, onto games. Despite it being a bumper period for games in general, with a crapload of A+++ games being released, and another quality period around the corner, Ive been getting slightly sick of it all. Bored of killing people in Assassins Creed. Killing more folks in Halo 3. Killing more folks in COD4. Killing more folks in Mass Effect. Killing more folks in Tomb Raider Anniversary. I know theyre all very different games, but I cant help feeling theyre all quite generic when considered as a whole. All are very realistic, all are very tense games and all are fiercly competitive. I feel like Ive been playing them because theyre there, rather than playing them for enjoyment, or escape. Its been fun for a while, but that fun has turned into monotony, and Ive not looked forward to switching my 360 on for a week or so.  So that has ended now and after reading countless rave reviews I bought Super Mario Galaxy, and the found the reviews were not wong. Its bloody fantastic! Really does get back to the roots of what makes a good game. Its not realistic, its not gritty, its not got lifelike textures and environments. In its place is escapism, fun, colourful, no-stress adorable gaming at its best. Even the way Mario runs put a smile on my face! If youre sick of the whole generic real-world, shoot/stab-em-up style of gaming that infests every weeks release schedule, I urge you to try this. Its bloody amazing! As a result of this I intend to change my whole perspective on buying games. Ever since 360 was released, I tended to buy a game I was fairly interested in on its release day, rather than if I actually WANTED to buy it. For instance, in the coming weeks theres Army of Two, Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 and a couple of others that I acant remember which were orignally must buy games for me. On reflection, “post Mario”, I really cant be arsed with any of them. Theyre just more of the same generic gubbins I mentioned before, so I’ll be leaving them well alone. Hopefully, I’ll be able to hunt out some original, fun games to get on with instead. 

Ive also realised that I am far more into driving games than I thought. Forza 2,  PGR 4 and DIRT have all really got “my motor running” (pun intended) and I just want more of them, especially with the steering wheel setup. As a result of this, I may be about to commit a terrible, terrible sin. Well, at least in the eyes of UK Resistance (and possibly my Brother). Playstation 3. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Force Feedback Wheel. Three items which have me considering a purchase of Sony’s George Foreman grill. I knew I would end up getting one at some point, for God of War 3, maybe Singstar for Becca, and Little Big Planet also looks pretty special. However, I dont realy want to get one before the control pad has rumble reinstated so I wont be buying one immediately. I dare say I’ll be even  more keen to buy one in a few days as I intend to visit the Melbourne Motorshow on Tuesday evening, which is joint sponsored by GT5, and has demo units galore inside. If it actually plays half as good as the videos Im seeing, it will be very hard to try and persuade me not to buy one! 

And on the subject of buying things, my mind is thrown into even more confusion by news of this game. Battlefield Heroes. While it may just seem like a WW2 Team Fortress ripoff, it looks superb. I can tell you I played Battlefield 1942 more than any other videogame before it, or since, so the prospect of a highly styled, great looking, FREE update of it sounds ace. Only problem is, its PC only. No Mac, no 360. If I buy a MacBook Air, it wont be powerful enough to run it. A MacBook Pro will easily powerful enough, but I aesthetically, it looks like a crock of shit, and has the ugliest keyboard Ive seen in a long time. I know aesthetics arent everything, but they are if youre me and use your laptop every day of the year.  However, there are distant rumours of the next MacBook Pro update in June, which will hopefully make it look prettier too. If this happens, Im quids in, but if they dont, I dont know where I stand. I guess, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it I suppose, but up until then, its yet another waiting game. 

So there ends the largest post Ive made yet. Its taken me over 45 minutes to type, and is currently at 1493 words. Jesus! I wrote University essays shorter than this! Dont fret though, normal service shall resume tomorrow.  Now, its time for Match of the Day, and a beer…….

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Posted in Apple, Blog, Food, Games, House, Oz, weather, Work | Leave a 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 »

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 »

Ch..Ch..Ch…Ch…Changes!

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 »

Last Day of “Nothing” + Decisions

Posted by captainbeaky on February 3, 2008

dole.jpgSo, todays been a pretty non-descript day, however its also been a lovely Sunday kind of Sunday. Went into Melbourne (and saw them setting stuff up for the Grand Prix in Albert Park) and had a walk up to a Fiat dealership (more on that later) but it was shut, so we went to the QV Market and had a walk about. Found plenty of places to get supplies from, which is definitely the way to go, as supermarket “fresh” produce is pretty poor. Got ourselves a couple of REALLY juicy peaches, a couple of smoked salmon bagels and a couple of smoothies – all for about the same price as a marks and sparks sandwhich meal. After that, we decided to call it a day as it was quite hot, and aching feet were taking their toll, so got the tram back to St Kilda. Had to get off early as it was the gay pride march up Fitzroy St (sounds like a euphemism!) and the road was closed off. We waited around a bit to see if it was going to start up, but seeing as I needed to fill in a load of forms and crap in before tomorrow, I came home after half an hour. Becca came back with me, then went back out to see the parade, which sounds like it was ok, but not great. So there you go, a pretty sedate day, but I figure, these are the kind of days Im going to miss – the “nothing” days. 

Anyway, back to the Fiat thing. We were going up to see what Becca had to do to get herself on the waiting list for a new Fiat 500. Wanted to treat herself to a new car and this one seems to tick all the right boxes. I was also going to have a look at the new(ish) Punto to see if it will suit me. Loks nice, but its stuff like legroom, and headroom that I wanted to check. The way I see it is that a Punto definitely ISNT the car that suits me, or that is ideal, but I gotta wait 3 years before I can do that. Once I pass my driving test, Im on “P” plates for 3 years which carries certain restrictions, one of which is not being able to drive/own a high powered car until 3 years have passed, and since a lot of the cars that I truly like fall into this category,  Ive just got to make do for 3 years. And since the Punto looks like one of the best cars in the “make do” category, I reckon Im going to get one of those, an ex-demo, or showroom model if I can. No point paying top whack for a car that I’ll probably be selling in 3 or 4 years time. 

Also came to another decision, on a slightly smaller, but more geeky scale. I reckon I WILL be buying a Macbook Air. Ive been mulling it over, on whether to take a punt on one, or get a Macbook Pro, as I want to treat myself to a new lappy, to get myself running Leopard, and to get myself a new toy! One thing that really surprised me is that all this time, I thought I was running with an 80GB hard drive in my Macbook, but as it turns out, its only 60GB! And Ive still got about 10GB spare (after running some nifty little apps for getting rid of junk such as foreign language support, sample files etc…) so the “restricted” 80GB hard drive in the Air is more than enough for me. As for the other spec limitations, none of them really fuss me – I dont do anything that taxes the cpu, I dont run Photoshop, I dont edit movies, I’ve never used Firewire, and I’ll be getting the external drive with it, as while I dont use it on my Macbook often, I do use it to rip music CD’s (which the wireless drive sharing thing cant do) and watch the occasional DVD. However, these are both once in a blue moon scenarios, and for that Im prepared to compromise, if it means Im getting something cutting edge, something small and light, something not so hot it burns my legs, and something up to date. Ive also found somewhere that will have them on the shelves in a fortnight, in St Kilda, and with a 6% discount, which effectively means, I’ll be getting the external drive for nowt, and STILL be cheaper than the rrp. And when you put it like that, its a bargain!

Oh and had some amusing videos sent to me on one of those round robin email things. Most of them were a cut above the usual internet gubbins so I thought Id share them with you. Theres this thing with THX for the eyes, this one with a very clever use of people and technology, and this one featuring the worlds best theme tune….LIVE! Hope you enjoy them, and dont forget to comment.  

Posted in Apple, Cars, Food, internet, Nothing | 1 Comment »

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 »

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! 

Posted in Apple, Health | Leave a Comment »

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!!

Posted in Apple | Leave a Comment »