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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

Aussies = Shit Drivers. Confirmed!!!

Posted by captainbeaky on May 18, 2008

So we’ve spent anther weekend loking at more houses, except we’ve widened our horizons and are now looking a bit further inland, to a place called Prahran. Its kind of like St Kilda, but bigger. No beach, but a LOT bigger. We saw 3 houses there yesterday, some of which were nice but werent spot on for one reason or another, and went over again today to have a look at a couple more. Only to return to the courtesey car and see that someone has opened the door on us and scratched down the side! What the fuck is wrong with these people? Are all Aussies totally inept when behind the wheel? It certainly looks like it. Ive now just got to hope that the repair shop dont notice the scratch or I can say it was there beforehand (there is already a big scratch down the side when I got it, so I might just try to say it was a continuation of that). But for crying out loud….1 month into owning a car and Ive got 1 car int the garage thanks to someone smacking it, and another with scratches down it . Bloody Holden owning bunch of dickheads!

Saw another nice house in Brighton, a very nice house indeed, but…..its in Brighton. Dont get me wrong, its a very lucrative area. Its where all the gAy.F.L. players live and several celbreties, but as a place, its kind of dead. Lots of nice big houses, but the shops are all pretensious and middle of the road. its all very sanitised and fake, so despite the fact that was lovely, I dont think we’ll be putting an offer in. Oh well, the search goes on….

Thats been the top and bottom of it really. Oh, we met up with a bunch of Brits on Friday evening from the forums that helped us out with or visa application, and had a really good night. Nice to know its not only us that think Oz TV is terrible! But mostly, we’ve spent our time on real estate websites, hence the lack of updates. I mean, I get home and spent 2 – 3 hours looking at different areas, different prices, different number of bedrooms etc…. so by the time Im done, the last thing I want to do is spend more time on my computer writing a post.

So there you go. I dont know what it is about Sundays and stupid pricks hitting my car, but its getting to be a very unwanted habit. Looks like I’ll be going everywhere on public transport after-all!

Posted in Cars, House, Oz | Leave a Comment »

You expect me to drive THAT!?!?

Posted by captainbeaky on May 14, 2008

Who’d have imagined that after only 6 weeks with a license, Id become a car snob. Dont get me wrong, Im grateful that Ive at least GOT a courtesy car, but damn….compared to my MX5 this Hyundai Getz (pictured) is terrible. I feel like Im driving a van Im so high up. The steering wheel feels like its been stolen from a bus, the brakes are spongy, and the thing handles like a slug. In mud. The only thing I like about it is its rear wiper. The heated screen on my MX5 takes an age in the morning to demist, so Im going to get a wiper thingy so I can see out the back. However, I suppose beggars cant be choosers so I’ll grin and bear it.Only got it for a week so I shouldnt moan.

Im now starting to have doubts at the longevity of GTA IV too. After youve got past the gloss of the new things and explored the city, essentially, its the same old “go there, kill someone” missions, and no amount of fancy stuff can hide that. Im 23 hours in and its starting to grate a bit. Maybe its just backlash from the overkill of the game, I dunno.

Went to a nice house viewing yesterday. Nice big top floor property, equi-distance from Elwood (Elwood is like St Kilda’s more sensible, more posh and less slutty  older brother) and St Kilda, with great size rooms and a good kitchen. However, the only downside is its location – its right on a main road, so traffic noise is apparent. Its not loud or anything, it just never goes silent. The sound in the bedroom is quiet as its off to the side, but Im not 100% sure. Going back tomorrow with Becca for a second opinion. Will let you know how it goes. We’ve about a squillion other properties to see this weekend too. A lot of them look nice, but nothing stands out and screams buy me. Maybe we’re being unrealistic, and looking for a big place with character for cheap. Lots of folks have said WE can inject character to an uninspiring building, but Id like the building itself to come across as interesting. Far too many places are just square rooms, which feels clinical and cold. I like boggles sticking out of walls, and funny corners. Not good for furniture, but it makes things more interesting.

I’ll let you know how it goes……

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

Where does time go….?

Posted by captainbeaky on May 12, 2008

So this has probably been the worst stint of blog keeping ever, and I have several good excuses lined up! First is the omni-present GTA IV. This is the first game in ages that Ive played where I dont really feel the need to progres through the main story. Im walking aorund, buying clothes, helping passers by, and beating the be-jesus out of folks that cuss at me. Its just so fascinating to hang around one spot for a a few hours, see the weather change, the sun drop in the sky, over hear all the different conversations that go on…..etc… you get the idea. You can litterally waste hours and not do anything – its like a black hole of time! So thats one excuse down.

Excuse 2 – Ive been busy trying to sort out my car getting fixed. After much hassling via phone and beating my head against a wall, it looks like my car is finally being sorted out by the guy that hit it, on his insurance. I actually got a call from the repair shop today that I may have to drop my car in to them as early as tomorrow, so thats a weight off my mind. Got a poo-ey Hyundai Getz as a courtesy car, but hey….at least I GET a courtesy car.

Excuse 3, and this is probably the most prevalent one. We’ve been hugely pre-occupied with house inspections, getting a mortgage sorted and spending an-holy amount of time on real estate websites. The last 2 weekends have just been frittered away on walking for miles, investigating the surrounding areas and attending house inspections around the clock. Its been both physically, and mentally exhausting. Every place we’ve seen so far fails to tick all of the right boxes. They either have no carspace, no outdoor area, have a poor kitchen, have no character, are too expensive or have all kinds of weird and wonderful rules and regulations that inhibit buying them. We saw 7 last weekend, saw 6 this weekend, already got 2 lined up for midweek and am waiting to see what crops up next weekend. Saying that, we’ve both got our heads screwed on and are not settling for anything less than…well…..what we want.

So there you have it, 3 perfectly reasonable, legitimate excuses. Its not just blogging that has suffered though. Weve got a crapload of downlaoded TV, and recorded TV that we just havent had time to see yet. Not been for a relax on teh beach in a while either. Im just thankful that excuse 1 serves as a bit of escapism from excuse 2 and 3, or I’d be going mad right now! Saying that Ive just watched Match of the Day, and its been some of the most thrilling TV Ive seen in a while. Been a great Premiership this season, with it going right down to the wire. I just wish some of the Aussies here could have seen it, to ween them off the crapness of gAy.F.L.

Posted in Cars, Games, House | 1 Comment »

Rubbish Australian Mongrels!

Posted by captainbeaky on May 5, 2008

So, Ive not been posting recently – due to GTA IV eating up a shocking amount of time, being back at work and being tired, and well, me being crap. SO I’ll give you the short versions of whats been going on.

1, – GTA IV and UEFA 2008 are both extremely good.

2, – The friend count is going up with me meeting up with a Manucunian to watch the PROPER footy.

3, – Some twat has hit my car while it was parked up on the street. Nice big dent in the front passenger side panel and in the door. They left a note thats scribble, and has a fake phone number on it. So its going through MY insurance, having to pay $450 excess for something that was nothing at all to do with me. Bloody marvellous! Be glad when we have our own place and off road parking. Im paranoid now at how many other shitty drivers are going to run into my car, but there not much I can do about it.

Thats the short version anyway, theres been so much more minutia, but the post would be several page long and would take me more time to type it than all the people that would read it. So, I’ll be more frequent, especially as I have annoying stuff to speak of.

Posted in Cars, Games | Leave a Comment »

Who needs racing games!?

Posted by captainbeaky on April 15, 2008

Jut a quick one today to let you guys know Ive got my new car! It was very scary having my first experience of driving alone, first experience in a new car, drivin back from an unfamiliar area! The car itself feels very different to my old one, and the one I learned to drive in. The Mazda is very quick, good at disguising speed, has fantastic handling and “feels” a lot more sporty than what Im used to. Got my parking permit sorted, as well as insurance so everything is pretty much done and dusted on the paperwork side. Scary-ness quickly turned into excitement that I was ACTUALLy driving on the roads at last! AND in a nice car – felt strangely liberating and exhilerating. Cant wait to get out on the open roads!

In other good news, things are on the move at work. Theres a meetig tomorrow in which I have an inkling that everything will be sorted out. However, I may be wrong so dont bank on it being done! I’ll keep you posted. Be exciting to drive to work too! To say Im thrilled by my new toy is an understatement!

Right, Im off to look at the owners manual now! Sad……

Posted in Cars, Work | 5 Comments »

Work. Games. Car. (In that order)

Posted by captainbeaky on April 14, 2008

Howdy! Well this is another short update, as…well….we havent been up to much due to the turbulent work situation. No work = no money = no going out. Everything is the same as when I last posted, and after speaking to folks today, its still in full effect. Frustrating, but Im not upsetting anyone this early into my Boeing career. Anyway, i dont really want to say anymore about it on here so I’ll zip it!

This break in working life has let me catch up on my gaming hobby, allowing me to revisit Forza, Gotham Racing and Halo 3. Halo has actually finally got me hooked on its multiplayer component. Its just so well balanced and for want of a better word, fair. Compared to a few frustrating rounds I played of Frontlines (spawn, dead, spawn, dead, spawn, dead, sp….you get the idea) its simple to pick up but takes a long time to get good at. Ive had my ass handed to me on several occasions by people of a much higher skill, but Ive done my fair share of killing too. Strange, on some rounds Im just cooking on gas, then the next round Im as flat as a pancake. Still, I was the same with BF1942. Im continuing to plug my way through Sega Tennis and Burnout, with the former becoming quite frustrating. Not sure how much milage I’ll be able to squeeze out of it as online, as its bloody awful, suffering from terrible lag. Your opponent is able to return your strokes, even when theyre 6 foot away from the ball. I’l see how many achievements I can get out of it, then trade it in, probably for GTA IV, which Im increasingly looking forward to. Not long to go now…..

Finally, my money has FINALLY come through successfully, so I’ll be going to the Mazda garage tomorrow to pick up my car. Hopefully anyway. Last I heard the garage wanted a heads up on when Im collecting it, so it can be valeted and the guy Ive been speaking to wasnt in today. Also got to get my insurance sorted for tomorrow too, but that shouldnt be a problem. Im excited but its a bit scary. Ive never driven over there before, and Ive never driven on my own, let alone in a new car! Oh well, Ive got TomTom Jane to help me out, at least thats what I think she’s called! I’ll keep you updated on what happens anyway.

Right oh, must dash. My thai take out isnt going to choose iteself!

Posted in Cars, Games, Job | Leave a Comment »

Ups & Downs

Posted by captainbeaky on April 10, 2008

A quick update to let you know whats going on, and that all is NOT well. Im personally ok, but work isnt. I dont want to write anything huge about it on a public blog, but go here for details.

I had written a big speel about me buying Sega Superstars tennis, but WordPress screwed up and I lost the text, and Im not writing it all again. Short version – If you like tennis games, buy Virtua Tennis. If you like Sega, fun, or read UK Resistance, you owe it to yourself to buy this game. My opinion, 8/10.

I may also be able to pick my car up this weekend. Cutting a long story short, my money is due in my Australian account tomorrow, so if I do a same day transfer to the dealership, I could be quids in to pick it up. We’ll see.

Im sure more stuff has happened, but Im pretty tired so I’ll post more tomorrow, when hopefully I’ll have more to say. come to mention it, I think Im going to end the daily posting business. If Im honest, if i put myself in some of my friends/families positions, I wouldnt particularly be interested in reading about what other people had for tea, or the fact that they did nothing at the weekend. I can understand that folks may have been interested during our honeymoon period here, when everything was new, strange and exciting, but now day-to-day life has set in, it doenst make for a particularly thrilling read. So I will probably be posting every other day, or every 3 days from now on. I would say let me know your thoughts, but seeing as only my Mom comments/emails me about it, I wont bother as I know its a fruitless exercise.

Posted in Cars, Games, Work | Leave a Comment »

Friends, Food and Frontlines

Posted by captainbeaky on April 6, 2008

Firstly, yet again, sorry for the lack of posts. Been due to us actually having a social life, tiredness and well,,, lazyness I suppose. Will do my best to not let it happen again!

So a quick recap on days gone by. On Friday, we met a friend from work in a pub up the road for food and beers. After that we left to go to a local venue to see CSS. Once again, strange Australian band times were in effect with doors opening at 8.30 and the CSS not actually coming on stage until 11.30! Was a good sized venue and Im looking forward to seeing Architecture in Helsinki there. CSS were…well….they were OK. Nothing remarkable but fairly competent anyway.

Saturday we slept in real late, probably until gone 1pm. The week just caught up on us, plus we had a late night on Friday to contend with too. Popped into St Kilda for a mooch about, then just came back and read the papers/played games. Went out to meet more friends from work for post birthday drinks, and got invited to one of the guys, sisters birthday party in the CBD. So we went along to a nice bar, had some, or many drinks then left in time to get the last tram (1am). Was a real good night, as we met and talked to some nice folks. Hopefully the first of many get togethers.

Today we’ve been proper lazy. Clocks changed so we had an extra hour in bed, which also meant that we didnt wake up until 10 (doesnt sound so bad that way!). Did some food shopping and just “done stuff” during the day. Ive really enjoyed myself, as I had some Star Wars Lego for my birthday, so spent the afternoon watching the 1st episode of the new series of the Gadget Show, with a cuppa and a desk covered in Lego bits and instructions. Reminded me of how much we used to love building stuff out of it when we were kids. Unfortunately it could turn out to be a rather expensive hobby, as the latest Lego kits are pretty pricey. Theres a limited edition Millenium Falcon Lego model on Ebay for $800!!!! Ouch! But if you do a bit of research online, folks have made custom models for pretty much everything. From Aliens models, to tanks, to Johnny 5, all of which are fantastic and predictably, expensive to make. Oh well, I’ll keep my eye on Ebay for cheap kits – was a real treat to get back to it though!

As the picture in the post may suggest, we have struck veritable gold! You CAN get Marmite in supermarkets here!!!! And its not ridiculously expensive UK imported Marmite, its bonafide, produced over here, cheap Marmite. Except its called “Our Mate”. Woo Hoooo! On the subject of food, I had a good, tasty cumberland sausage with mash last night at the pub –  was a welcome change from horrific soapy australian beef sausages. Becca’s made a superb homemade pie this afternoon. Pickled onions, steak, lots of wine, puff pastry with a side of mash – god damn it was good! Cant wait to have it again, so we can both make pigs of ourselves…..again!

Games wise, its been more Burnout, more Forza, and Ive really got into Frontlines. I was all set to trade it in on Saturday, but gave it another bash online, and this time there were quite a few games in progress, so I joined the 1st one and had a blast! Lots of weapons, equipments and levels that arent in the singleplayer. The team and kit balance is brilliat with no uber-class that out performs everything else. Its kit structure is also pretty novel – youve got your standard, assault, sniper, anti-armour etc… but then you can pick a role to play. For example, I can pick anti-armour, with a ground support role. Now the more points I get, the more XP I earn towards 3 upgradable “perks” such as perk 1, a blow torch to repair vehicles, perk 2, a deplyable mini-gun and perk 3, a deployable automatic sentry gun. You can vary your role selection, as well as your kit selection each time you spawn so you can really tailor your loadout depending on how youre going. If youre doing some heavy defending, sentry guns, and EMP beacons are the way to go. Attacking you can go for air strikes and remote drones. It really adds a huge degree of depth to the proceedings, with the rock-paper-scissors style of balance contributing to an vast, open and ever changing battlefield. So, ultimately Ive changed my mind on trading it on (and Im sorry Andy, but Mass Effect is still going). Dont misunderstand me though the singleplayer component of Frontlines  is pretty poor, and boring. Its the multiplayer that keeps this game from sinking and should do me nicely until BF:BC comes out anyway.

So there you go – its been hectic, and lazy at the same time. Above everything else, its been fun. The weather has picked back up again too, although I hear the UK has gone the opposite way and has had a fair bit of snow! Haw……and indeed….haw!  It was hazy all day yesterday and been sunny all day today, with temperatures reaching about 22 degress. The week ahead looks good too, with it reaching a high of 28 next Friday. This all bodes well for me picking my car up next week. My money didnt trasfer from the UK in time for me to be able to get the car weekend just gone, but will definitely have cleared for next weeked. As for other plans, Im badminton-ing tomorrow, seeing a comedian on Tuesday (I forget who exactly!) and seeing another comedian on Friday, by the name of Ross Noble. Cant wait for this one!

I’ll duno when I’ll post again, becasue of above committments, but I’m going to see how it goes making more frequent, short posts rather than infrequent mega-posts like this one. The time I spend doing links to stuff seems pretty pointless too as I can see from my admin page that nobody clocks them, so I can at least keep posts nice and simple. Let me know through comments what youre opinions are, as I either you guys dont know how to use them…or nobody can be arsed leaving comments. I can see I get a fair ammount of traffic per day, but no comments are left – what gives! Anywhow, Im off to watch the latest episode of Doctor Who. Nighty night!

Posted in Cars, comedy, Food, Friends, Games, Music, TV, weather | Leave a Comment »

Birthday Post!

Posted by captainbeaky on April 3, 2008

bdaycake.jpgAnother year older, and I dont think a year has gone by when I could have imagined so much change, both good and terrible. I can only be thankful that all the thing we have planned, or are planning have turned out,well, and just hope that the next year is….well…..less turbulent, at the very least and has no more sickening shocks around the corner.

 

Anyway, enough of the pensive, thoughtful stuff….its my birthday goddammit! Got up early so I could A, open my presents before work, and B, watch the Liverpool vs Arsenal match (I was hoping for a Gunners loss, but 1-1 is a pretty good result for the ‘pool). I got choccies, a t-shirt, book, toys, nick-nacks, a cap (yes it DOES fit Anne – cheers!), a DVD and a few cards. Id already had my main present off Becca (comedy festival gala tickets), and still have a  couple stuck in the post, winging their way to me as we speak. Considering we dont know many folks here, its not a bad haul for my first birthday away from friends and family.  Its also my first Birthday Ive ever worked, but it was better than moping about at home on my own. Plus I treated myself to a huge bacon and egg roll, and a lovely chocolate orange cake – fatty fat fat fat. Was meant to be going out for meal later, but the more I sit here, the more that takeout becomes a more attractive proposition. Im dead tired and just dont think I would appreciate the full meal “experience”. Got The Apprentice, the Gadget Show and Traffic Cops downloaded from UK TV so will probably watch those later, as well as a few games online…

 

…speaking of which – games. Had a bit of a mooch through my collection and can feel a clearout coming on. I bought Frontlines, mainly as a bit of a Battlefield substitute (I didnt have the BFBC beta when I bought it) so seeing as I had completed it, and wouldnt be ruining any new weapons or vehicles if I took it online I decided to try it on multiplayer. It was then I discovered that I could only find 2 games in progress, 1 with 1 player and the 2nd with 3 players. Out of 24 possible players. Hmmm! If this is the level of community around this game, its being traded in. On top of this, the BFBC beta makes it look like a NES game – so damn drab and dull. Dont get me wrong, its a competent game, its just completely un-spectacular. Next on my list was Mass Effect. I know some might object (you Andy!) but I just cant be arsed to get back into it. The inventory system is broken, the micromanagement of your squad/equipment is unnecessary,  and its one of those games that doesnt exactly do anything to help you understand its conventions or controls when you start from scratch, let alone when youre halfway through a mission. So thats added to the trade in list. In contrast, I had some enjoyable times online with Forza 2 last night, with some people of about equal skill. Made for some real tense races, and makes the game so much more interesting knowing that people stuff up sometimes, which the AI opponents never did. Burnout is still enjoying some of my attention too, as is, bizarrely, Pacman Championship Edition. I was never a fan of Pacman by any stretch of the imagination, but this remake, has lovely jazzed up visuals, and far more interesting play modes than just “eat stuff, get a high score”. I dont know whether to give Bully a shot, as Ive heard it is meant to be hugely enjoyable, but with the imminent release of GTA IV, I dont know if it will tire me out of sandbox games before Ive even played it. Who knows!

 

Weather here yesterday was crazy – super super strong winds – we had 95km/h in Melbourne, with other regions in Victoria getting up to 130km/h! The kind of wind that really did push you off your feet. Today has been more representative of typical Melbourne weather. Its been sunny, warm, windy, rainy and mild – makes life more interesting.

 

Plans for the next few days…..tomorrow were off to the pub with a fellow Boeing engineer, then off to see CSS, and Saturdays plans may have changed. Im still waiting to receive my trasnferred money from the UK so its unlikely I will be able to pay for my car this week, so will have to wait until next week. Annoying I know, but nowt I can do about it.  Saturday evening will be out in the CBD with work chums and we’ll see where that takes us. So there you go, not exactly an exciting, rollercoaster ride of a birthday, but an OK one non-the-less. Here’s to the year ahead……cheers!

Posted in Cars, Games, weather | 2 Comments »

Car = Mine

Posted by captainbeaky on March 29, 2008

mazda.jpgYay! I own a new car. And this one, I will actually get to drive! Yes, I went to the Mazda garage today and bought an MX5. For those that arent aware, it a little 2 seater convertible mini-sports car type thing, as you can see in teh photo. Pretty tasty eh? Unfortunately I had to do the whole “how much can you do it for…no thats not enough….meet you halfway” haggling bullshit, but it was worth it. On the road price was knocking on $39k, but I managed to get the car for….well…I dont want to really be posting money stuff on a public blog, but lets say it was significantly cheaper than the advertised price. My old man would have been proud of my sheer bloody mindedness and refusal to accept the salesmans pleas of “well, I cant really go lower than that” talk. He DID go lower than that, and I got a bargain – jobs a good ‘un. Next step is an RACV check, which is just like an MOT, to see if its all in order. If that goes through with no hitches, then I will go back to the garage next Saturday and pick it up! Marvellous, eh? Kind of a late birthday present….to myself! Im so excited it makes me ill just thinking about it. I can drive, Ive got a damn nice car, and got a great deal on it. Ace!

 

While we were over the car dealership neck-of-the-woods, we popped into the Fiat garage to see about Becca’s new 500. Top and bottom of it is, that if she were to order one especially for her requirements now, it would be well into September before she would get it, so it looks like the best bet would be to reserve on the the 500’s already being delivered to the showroom in the next month or so, and just go with that. Comes with a few bells and whistles that she didnt really want, but for the sake of an extra $500, its worth getting one now and doing away with the bus and train combo she has to put up with to get to work now. 

 

Not really done much else. Weather is still rainy and the temperature is still about 17 degrees….so we’ve bought a little fan heater. Wimps eh? When I think of all the single figure temperatures we put up with in the UK, and now were in sweaters as soon as the sun goes in, Im pretty disgusted! But everyone else is the same so we’re not weird or anything.

 

No great plans for tomorrow, apart from maybe going to Target to buy some more Wintery clothes, and going to look at a nice house on the seafront (the one we thought was viewing last week). Other than that, we’ll probably be resting up and I for one will be playing a ton more of Battlefield Beta. And I’ll be thinking of where we can go for a drive in my new car! Ive put a few more pictures up on Facebook, and Im going to give Photoshop Express a go instead of my webspace for now. So for those without Facebook, or for those that just want a nose, go here instead. If there are any problems, or it doesnt work for you, let me know and I’ll do what I can to get it fixed. 

Posted in Cars, weather | Leave a Comment »

Battlefield Bad Company

Posted by captainbeaky on March 28, 2008

battlefield-bad-company-2.jpgSorry, but this post is mostly as the title says. Its all Ive been playing for 2 days now. I have probably put more hours into this beta than COD 4 and Halo 3 combined….and I have the full games of those! this is just a fantastic game – Im not sure if its just me, loving the Battlefield series as I do, but it just feels more of a team game than COD 4. Less snapshot kills, in the way that whoever see’s who first in COD is generally the winner. Its slower, more methodical, and you get rewarded well if you move in groups. A medic to heal, a support guy to drop ammo, a special ops guy to “paint” heavy targets, anda  recon guy to call in an airstrike. When it works, and people decide not to rambo it, but team up, its a joy to play. Got 2 knifey knifey kills too, with the nice touch being when you knife somebody, you collect their dogtags, which can be viewed like a trophy room in the awards section. Has some really good stats tracking and medals behind the scenes too, which sounds kind of corny, but it acts like achievements – you end up REALLY trying to get specific medals and rewards. 

 

Granted it doest look as slick as COD, but you can blow up buildings with your grenades in COD. Most other FPS’s are good, but once you try and play them after BFBC (as it shall henceforth be known) they seem static and rubbish. Like playing Half Life 2, then going to play, I dunno, something where everything is glued to the floor and you cant interact with the environment at all. It ends up feeling like half an experience. I had a great moment today, when I was trying to shoot a guy hiding in a building today, failing, so I dropped off my sniping point, bought out my nade launcher, fired a couple in the enemy buildings general direction, then ran towards his position with the nades still in the air. As I ran against the wall of the building he was hiding in, the nades hit and his corpse flew out of the building onto he floor in front of me, still with ragdoll limbs flailing. Cant wait to unlock some new weaponry and equipment. ANd I cant wait until June, when it should come out. 

 

Other things Ive been up to today……messing around with the recently released Photoshop Express, which is an entirely online photo album and editing package. I am mightily impressed with it, as it read Facebook albums, is quick at uploading your own and for a Flash program is quite adept and basic photo manipulation. Is all I will ever need anyway. If you use any image editing software, or subscribe to one of these online photo hosting sites, I would certainly give PSE a try. At the moment its in Beta (like most good things right now!) and is totally free, so what have you got to loose!

 

Plans for tomorrow – go over to Brighton to have a butchers at this car Im after. Scary as I am going to have to haggle, and take it out for a test drive, which is scary as it will be the first time Ive been out in a car without somebody shouting instructions at me. And I dont know the area! Shoudl be…….interesting. If I can get him down to the right price, I may even put a deposit down on it, until my money comes through from the UK. Is all very exciting, and scary at the same time.

 

Weather was still cold (18 degrees cold anyway) and Im sitting here with my fleece on and the aircon on “Heat” mode! We’ve turned intolerant of anything below 20 degrees since being here….wimps! Oh well, I see its about 10 degrees in Birmingham so we’re still warmer than the UK – god knows how I would be coming if we were still in Kings Heath!

Posted in Cars, Games, weather | 2 Comments »

Short and Sweet….Not at all like me then!

Posted by captainbeaky on March 27, 2008

15586_normal.jpgJust a short, brief post to let you know what Ive been up to, but not in much detail. Its 11.37pm, which means its precisely 17 minutes past my bedtime. But a promise is a promise and I said I wouldnt leave it more than a couple of days in between posts, so here I am.

 Been to see 2 comedians tonight – Reginald D Hunter, and Kristen Schaal, both of them excellent, and both with totally different styles of comedy. Hunter was a straight talking, very funny American dude with traditional observational comedy, whilst Schaal did a kind of geeky, nerd like performance and the humour was very odd. Definitely an acquired taste, and definitely to OUR taste!

Before that, I downloaded and was playing the hell out of the Battlefield Bad Company beta for Xbox 360. Damn….what a fantastic beta – its invites only, multiplayer only but it gives a really good impression of what the final product will be like. Best thing about the game……you actually can blow up, pretty much anything. No cover (bar the fortress on the 2nd map) is impenetrable. Pesky sniper in the barn? Blow a hole in the side wall or roof! Enemies the other side of a very large, very long wall? Punch a hole in it and stroll through. It adds SO much to a very crowded, tired genre. Plus the fact its classic Battlefield at its best. Helo’s, tanks, jeeps, boats…. Its also stolen some of the niceties from COD 4 such as the whole ranking and unlock system. Increases in score/rank allow you access to new weapons and equipment. I’ll post more details after I have a proper sit down with it tomorrow.

Oh, I bought a sat nav before going to the town hall tonight too – TomTom XL – got a good deal on it. Planing on going to see the car Im after this Saturday and dont want to get lost. Been getting tips at work, on how to handle the guys at car dealerships too, in order to get myself the best possible price. I dont particularly like or relish the thought of haggling, so its going to require a lot of effort on my behalf. Still….if its gets me a few $1k off the price, it will be worth the discomfort.

Not much else to say…in detail anyway. Except the worm has finally turned here and the weather is pants. Raining all day, and despite it being 18 degrees, it feels like its -10 – bloody freezing. You really do become accustomed to the heat. We’re both sitting here in thick jumpers and drinking lots of tea. Have to keep reminding ourselves that at least its not UK cold…….yet! I’ll do a more in depth post either tomorrow or on Saturday. Ciao for now, you big fat cow!

Posted in Cars, comedy, Gadgets, Games, weather | Leave a Comment »

Cars and Houses

Posted by captainbeaky on March 5, 2008

n867580483_2446433_28.jpgOk, work has been good and enjoyable. Weather has been hot and lovely. Done!

The Motorshow yesterday was really good. Nowhere near as huge as the one that I used to go to at the NEC but pretty decent non-the-less. Lots of old antique cars from 100 years ago to modern day stuff, and of course the main hall with all the current/future range of cars. Cars of note (and you can see them on Facebook/webspace) include the Fiat 500 (which I had to forcibly remove Becca from!), the Lexus that reverse parks itself, the Hyundai concept coupe, Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, the Mazda MX-5 (but only cos it hopefully, going to be my new car) and my favourite car there, the Maserati Gran Turismo. It had that thing that thats pretty rare in car design, a sense of raw power coupled with elegance and sophistication. No footballer Ferrari nonsense, all brash and cock-like. If only money werent an object, it would be mine! I think Becca is now 100% convinced that the Fiat 500 is for her, and to be honest, it was a great little car. Surprisingly roomy inside and the interior is a lovely place to be. I had a nice time sitting in the Mazda MX-5 and pressing buttons and stuff. Plenty of headroom, and leg room which were the 2 things I was concious about but it really isnt an issue. Overall, it was a great evening, and we topped it all with gourmet fish and chips back in St Kilda. Yum!

Today, we made an appointment to speak to a mortgage advisor at the local estate agents just to run some ideas past him, get a feel for how things lie right now, and to find out about the mortgage application process. The short story on all 3 fronts is that the market on the whole IS slowing down, but the inner suburbs, like St Kilda are much less effected than rural sites. However, on my money alone, we cant afford to get a mortgage for any property around here, so we have no choice but to wait until Becca is employed. And as far as the process of application process goes, it all seems pretty straighforward. I  ran our idea of renting for a year past him and he advised agasint it. We would be spending over $25,000 a year on rent, which is effectively dead money, plus we would loose out on the natural increase in house prices which in St Kilda is about 15% per year, so after 1 year of renting we would be nearly $80,000 down, so its time to knock that idea on the head. The one option he mentioned is to try and get a large 1 bedroom place, preferably art deco design, as they retain their value more. Plus he said its pretty easy to pick up a place that has 1 bedroom, and has living space AND a seprate dining area, which could easily be turned into a study/office/games room. This would be ideal for us, as we wouldnt use the potential of a 2nd bedroom, and its really no bother for us to live as we are now, with 1 bedroom. At the end of the day, it comes down to a compromise. We can get a 2 bedroom place in a shit area, or have to live frugally to afford the mortgage payments in St Kilda, OR get a 1 bed place in St Kilda and live comfortably. We both agree that the latter suits our lifestyle much more than the 1st option. A decent 1 bed place is $400k maximum, compared to a decent 2 bed place which goes for $550k upwards, so we’re going to keep our eyes peeled. 

Again, there may not be another post tomorrow as Im going straight from work to have a game of badminton with one of the other new engineers that started the same time as me. Should be good, and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I havent played in over 14 months so Im expecting to be rusty, and very achy!  

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From Mega Post to Mega-crap Post……

Posted by captainbeaky on March 3, 2008

interest-rate.jpgNot really got anything to write today, as I pretty much exhausted myself yesterday. That coupled with the fact that its VERY hot here today will mean this is a relatively short post. Work was pretty good again, with it getting more interesting and insightful each day. So the work day came and went, and then I just came home. Simple as that. Becca is at Knit Club tonight so Ive got the palce to myself, which I will be using to watch TV and play more Mario Galaxy. 

In other joyous news, the interest rates are going to rise for the 10th time tomorrow by 0.25%, making housing even less affordable. Marvellous. However the positive news is that it seems that the housing market IS slowing down, and the economy is showing some initial signs of going tits up. I know its not usually a good thing to be willing the whole economy to collapse, but it has to for us to be able to get on the property ladder.

Ah, nevermind. Im getting tired of thinking about it. Motor Show time tomorrow, so I can have a squizz, and check out the leg room in those Mazda’s and Becca can have a look at her Fiat 500. As such , I may not make a post tomorrow as I have no idea when we’ll be back. We also have a plans to eat at a place called Beer De Luxe, a bar for the more discerning beer drinker. And it does good burgers too!

Posted in Cars, Money, weather, Work | 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 »

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 »

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 »