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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Weekend Hijinks….

Posted by captainbeaky on August 25, 2008

So while I still remember, we went to a mates wedding this Saturday (as mentioned yesterday, photos on Facebook). The ceremony itself was a nice, non-religious affair being light hearted and brief. It was held out on Williamstown Bandstand and the weather stayed nice for it. Drinks and cake afterwards in nearby bars function room, then on to the Titanic Restaurant, which if you look here, you can see its a superb theme restaurant. We went first class, and loved every second of it. An amazing experience, helped along of course by lots of champagne and beer. Unfortunately, I didnt think champagne and beer were all that hot on Sunday! Ouch! Anyway, we had a lovely lazy Sunday which sorted us out a treat. 

On the house front, we got our actual mortgage loan sorted out on Saturday, and received solicitor documents today so things are moving along fine. Not sure if we’ll complete in 13 days as planned, due to the solicitors paperwork hold up, but we remain hopeful. 

Weather is starting to pickup here now, with it due to be 19 degrees and sunny by Friday, Bring on the summer! Its so nice to be able to KNOW we will have sun, rather than hope. 

Plans for this week….going to pickup Becca from Knit Club in a bit, maybe catching Tropic Thunder on Wednesday (dont ask why we didnt see it last week), going upstairs to a neighbours place Thursday for celebratory we-have-a-house drinks, and…er.. Im not sure. Updates will follow if anything exciting happens!

Posted in Drink, Film, Food, House, weather | Leave a Comment »

House, Drinks and Birthdays!

Posted by captainbeaky on August 11, 2008

So you probably already know by now, from the Twitter updates, or Facebook, or our families that we own a house! Cutting a very long story short, we went to the property auction, we won it, negotiated and bartered, and walked away with a house! For anybody that hasnt already seen the house, let me know and I’ll send you a link to the sale page.  We spent the hour after that going over the contract of sale with the agent and the vendor, then went and ate and tried to grasp what had just happened! To be honest, Im making it sounds more muted that it actually is – the excitement has wore off a bit now and has been replaced by eager enthusiasm to get everything sorted and moving along quickly. Anyway, Im jumping ahead. 

After food we came back home then arranged to meet friends in town to celebrate. Started off at a fantastic greek place called Stalactites which did superb meats and gyros. Then went to many, many bars nearly all of which were awesome. There is such a huge variety of bars here, with none of them being remotely like anything in the UK, or at least where Ive seen. The pick of the bunch being the container bar, which was just an outdoor space in between 2 buildings, with a shipping container with a hatch on it being the bar, lots of outdoor heaters, and candles everywhere as the lighting. It looked amazing and had a really good dj and atmosphere. Another place of note was the croft institute, which you would NEVER find if you werent looking for it. It was 3 floors of bar/club that was themed like an old hospital/science lab. Had medical and scientific equipment all over the shop and was like nothing Id seen before. The photo on this post is of the main bar.

Anyway, good food and drink was followed by a sever headache and horridness. Nevermind….its not everyday you buy a house! Today has been a regular day at work, except it wasnt really regular as I wasnt interested at all in doing anything but house stuff. At the end of the day we had payed the deposit, sorted out a tax return appointment, got a conveyoncer (a specialist solicitor in property) and a few other little niggles that we had to get done. Tomorrow is a meeting with the mortgage broker to get our loan finalised, and to sort out our $10,000 government grant. Later on in the week…I dont know – Im only taking it a day at a time as it all seems a bit overwhelming right now. 

Anyway, enough of me…HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY!!! Enjoying the British summer on your “special” day? Let me know how you want your “present” sent and if you got your card. Have a good one!

Posted in Drink, Food, House, Oz | Leave a Comment »

Nice….!

Posted by captainbeaky on July 27, 2008

Ah….its been such a different weekend. No houses, no rushing, no disappointment. It all started last Friday……

I managed to win an auction for a Macbook Air on Thursday night, and arranged to collect the thing in person from the seller on Friday night. Wasnt in a very nice area, and I was suspicious about his plan to “meet outside a shop”, but my fears werent warranted and the deal went without a hitch. Im typing this post now, from it. Its damn nice, light, doesnt run hot, and the new OS, Leopard has some great features. The biggest thing that impressed me was the migration assistant. I connected my old Macbook to the new one, ran this program, and it transferred all my files, fiolders, music, photos, applications, personal setting, and even passwords for interent sites without me doing anything. Brilliant! I used to hate the inevitable re-installs with PC’s and now I dont have to do one ever again. Mightily impressed. 

Saturday was a lazy day, as I spent most of the morning, well, ALL of the morning in bed playing with my new lappy! Went into town a bit later on to try to get a case but they were all pooh (should have trusted my gut instinct and gone for eBay!). Went out for some tasty hearty food last night and had the nicest bread pudding Ive had in ages for dessert. 

Today has again been lazy, well……not so much. Its been tidy up day so now we have a clean kitchen, and a clean-ER front room! Oh, and I’ll try to make Sunday night blogging a regular thing from now on. I know its been sporadic over the past few months, and it needs to be more structured and thats teh best I can do. If anything spectacular happens during the week, I’ll make a post, and I intend to keep my Facebook/Twitter status current at all times.

So there you go, I have a shiny new toy to play with, and we both feel de-stressed. Job done!

Posted in Food, Gadgets, House | Leave a Comment »

Fat & Happy

Posted by captainbeaky on July 7, 2008

I sit here quite content, with a belly full of home made onion soup with cheesy crouton, after watching download highlights of what was probably the best tennis match Ive seen (last nights Wimbledon final). Really pleased that Nadal one and really deserved it. However, I digress. Im also content because of our renewed interest and enthusiasm in houses. 

Saturday, after spending a criminally long time in bed, we drove over to Yarraville to meet up with one of my mates from work who lives over there. She promised to show us around and give us a tour of the area, and she delivered on every front. Yarraville seemed like just what we’re after, being charming, small and having none of the increasingly annoying hordes of visitors that come to St Kilda every weekend and inhibit your daily goings on. Lots of nice little coffee shops, a big pub on the corner, butchers and bakers, 2 supermarkets and an old art deco cinema. The surrounding areas were a mixed bag. Kingsville and Seddon are close enough to Yarraville to be a walk away, and are both nice too. Footscray seemed a bit run down, but no more so than the arse end of Wolverhampton or Birmingham. My mate took us to a couple of big parks in the area too, which were amazing. One park had a lovely little pond and stream running through the middle of it, and if it werent for the cockatoo’s screeching, you could almost imagine it being a summers day out in the country in the UK. The other park was massive! It was an old quarry which has now been partially filled and is a lake, while the rest is kinda forest-ey full of mad giant water fowl, that are probably venomous or something! Anway, overall, were totally sold on moving over there, and are looking at houses to book house inspections for on the weekend, nearly all of which are old weatherboard style houses with ornate ironmongery on the frontage, and picket fences around the front garden. Like our own little fairytale house! Cant wait!

As for stuff going on this week, theres not much really. Were off to see a doublebill at an old arthouse style little cinema on Thursday (Ironman & Spiderwick Chronicles) and Id like to see Hancock and Speed Racer at some point. Rock Band is still thrilling me with the download content, and it seems like Im finally starting to get the hang of that damn tricky 5th button! GTA is still keeping me going with stunt jumps and pigeons aplenty to be found, and BF: Bad Company is great, but its really intense, so I wont allow myself to play it too close to bed  time as Im wired afterwards! 

Macbook Air bargains on Ebay seem to have dried up, and Im toying with waiting a bit and holding out for a Macbook Pro. There are rumours of a case redesign floating around today, so Im hoping its not too far away. I dont really need the power of a Macbook Pro, but it would be good to compare the MBA against. We’ll see. Im spending more time having a lie in on the net rather than with a book, so a light mac would help. Speaking of net stuff, if youre an internet nerd like me, have a butchers at this and see how many your recognise. Good song too!

Anyway, thats it for now. Im gonna get off to watch the last Dr Who and Youve Been Framed. T’raaaaa a bit!

Posted in Food, Games, House, Oz, TV | Leave a Comment »

Bush Tucker!

Posted by captainbeaky on June 8, 2008

So today we decided to get away from soul destroying property inspections and general stress, and take the advice of a few folks from work to get out and visit a few places in the “country”. This boiled down to driving for about an hour into the Yarra Glen, and around the Dandenong mountain ranges. Its all very green, and has HUGE and I mean HUGE forests of eucalypts and ash tree’s. It really did look ancient and prehistoric. 

First stop was a place called Sassafras, which is famous for its cream tea’s and Miss Marple’s tea rooms. First problem was finding a parking spot as it was heaving! It was a lovely day today, with sunshine and very few clouds and it seems everyone had the same idea. However, we persevered and found a spot then set out to have a mooch about. Lots of little gift shops, like you used to get in Cornwall etc…. selling bits and bobs and antiques. Sat down for a cream tea and a rest, then onto the next stop which was…..

,,,,,a place called Olinda. No problems finding a parking spot here so got straight into looking around. Couldnt get anywhere near the big Bavarian restaurant (the Cuckoo) but was nice to see what was about. Saw a huge bunch of parrots and cockatoo’s there, which I was excited to see. I still cant believe they just flap about outside!

Final port of call was a pub that had been recommended to me called the Pig and Whistle which was about 10 minutes up the road…and god damn was it worth it. A PROPER english pub, with beer garden outside, fireplace inside and a load of beers and ciders on tap, of which I got to taste none as I was driving! Damn probationary license! Anyway, it didnt stop us sampling the food so for starters we shared a warm crusty sourdough load with balsamic, oil and seasoning for dipping…and its was amazing. I would never have thought just bread could be so good! Then for main, Crook had huge game pie which looked great, and I had roast pork and mash, and the pork was the best pork I think I’ve tasted anywhere! It was so moist and had a real strong flavour. Still got some of it left in a box, as I couldnt polish it all off! We’ll probably go back there as theyre doing a Christmas in July thing where they are serving a traditional Christmas 3 course dinner for $35, and if the quality of todays food was anything to go by, it will be fantastic!

So after the last stop we made our way back, on a different road which had some absolutely stunning views and scenery. This forest really has to be seen to be believed. We got all excited when we saw road caution signs for “Wombats Crossing” and “Caution: Kangaroo’s Ahead”!!! However, we saw neither, but even the mention of their proximity was exciting! It really has felt like we’ve been on a mini-holiday today – we’ve both really enjoyed ourselves. Lets hope its the first of many trips into the country!

I did try to post some live updates via Twitter, but there was no phone reception in the mountains, unsurprisingly. For those that dont know, even if I dont make a full blog post, its worth checking back to see if my Twitter bit on the right has been updated. The main page will not change but more messages on the Twitter box will keep appearing. Also, dont worry if it doesnt work straight away – Ive noticed it takes up to an hour from when I make a Twitter post to when it appears on my blog. If the Twitter box on my blog is broken, or its not updated, you can still click on the Twitter title over the box and it will take you to the actual Twitter site, where you will see updates as they happen. Hope that clears things up – Im off to get changed into my “lounge suit” and make a cuppa! Have fun!

ps – Ive added some photo’s to Photoshop Express and Facebook, so click the links on the right to have a look!

Posted in animals, Food, Oz | 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 »

Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty…..

Posted by captainbeaky on March 23, 2008

burnpar.jpgHowdy. Firstly, apologies for the no post over the past few days. Thursday I was tired from badminton, Friday I was lazy and Saturday…well……we’ll come to that. Either way, I should have posted soemthing, but its beginning to dawn on me that I may not post everyday from now on. On a routine day, not a fat lot happens other than I go to work, and come home, which doesnt really make for good reading. As a consequence, If I dont post on a set day, I’ll post on the next one from now on. I dont want to let the blog slide, but I dont want to bore everyone (even more!) with talk of nothing. Anyway, I digress.

 So Thursday we played badminton, and I lost every game, mainly because of the lack of sleep the night before. My heart wasnt really in it so I hope for better results next week. Friday….I went to work despite it being a public holiday but got a shitload done so it was well worth it. The overtime loading will be nice in next weeks paycheck too!

On Saturday we went to Chadstone shopping centre and came back with quite a lot of new stuff. Becca got a couple of tops and some girls stuff, while I came away with a portable mouse for my notebook (more later), an ipod speaker dock, a new ninja fast, ninja quiet kettle (sounds stupid but you could hardly hear yourself talk over our last kettle!) and I traded in 3 games (Rainbow 6, Conan and Command & Conquer) to get……..

……Burnout Paradise…..and while I was sceptical at the time, seeing that I was trading in so many quality games for “just another Burnout Game”, after several hours of play I feel totally justified in my choice. Burnout Paradise is one of THE best arcade style racing games Ive ever played. The sense of speed is incredible and when you crash it really does make you wince. There is great feeling of the kinetics of the world in the sense that you really do feel like you have a tangible physical prescence within the city. The new open world format, while annoying to some is pleasing to me. The fact that you cant just retry a race if youve just failed doesnt bother me as it was the same in Test Drive Unlimited. It feels like there is a huge amount of things to do, as well as the “main missions” within the game, there are a multitude of other sidelines to keep you busy. Each stretch of road has its own time trial and crash mode target to beat. You can find all of the car parks, ramps, jumps, and billboards to smash through all over the map. There really is a lot to get on with and Im only just scratching the surface with what I tell you here. Its also pretty tasty using the wheel instead of a controller too – I feel a lot more in touch with the car than I ever did with the pad. In short, if you like racing games of any variety , you owe it to yourself to check out Burnout. 

The only reason I got the mouse was to help me with Adobe Illustrator. Ive taken to having a play around with it on the strenght of a DIY t-shirt website. Ive not seen any purchase-worthy T shirts around for a few months and its been annoying me that all tee’s seem to be either flouro related, or crappy vintage prints, none of which I go for. So the website in question allows you to make your own tee, with your own designs, as long as you send them a decent image to put on it. And since you need a decent dpi jpeg file for it to appear unpixellated, a vector image is prefered. Now I wont go into the pro’s and cons of vector and raster images but Ive never produced any before, and today Ive had quite a bit of fun with Illustrator and got some pretty decent results. It was just impossible to get a decent amount of control with a trackpad, so this mouse was essential. I wont show you anything Ive done yet as it still work in progress, but I’ll let you know how it pans out. For all I know, that site may just print your picture onto a rubbish iron on transfer!

Today we’ve done nowt (well, ive played my game and messed around with Illustrator) and we’ve gone for a walk around as its been a nice 27 degrees kinda day. We went to a new ice cream place thats opened up on Fitzroy St and got some very ….different…ice creams. Its gimmick is to let you pick your ice cream of which there are all sorts of fancy flavours (peanut butter, ferrero roche, strawberry trifle, etc…) then you pick some bits and pieces to smush into your ice cream (smarties, gummi bears, bounty bars, M & M’s, etc…). I had a cone and it was fupping huge! I plummed for white chocolate ice cream, and had a snickers bar, and some peanut M & M’s mashed into it – bloody lovely. You leave with all kinds of crazy combinations and flavours popping around your mind and I cant wait to go back. In the evening we went to see Stephen K Amos as being part of the comedy festival – a very funny guy. We have a lot more tickets booked, but I cant remember all of their names for now, but I’ll post about them just before we see them. We also bought tickets today to see Architecture in Helsinki and CSS at a local venue in St Kilda – should be good!

 Right, thats more than enough typing/reading for 1 day. I’ll post next when something exciting happens. May not be tomorrow but I will DEFINITELY post on Tuesday, to let you know how my driving test went.  

Posted in Clothes, comedy, Food, Gadgets, Games | Leave a Comment »

My New Babies! Oh, and something about a Grand Prix-thing???

Posted by captainbeaky on March 16, 2008

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So, as you can see, Ive changed things around a bit. I was getting a bit bored of the old look, and it felt a bit “Windows-ey” so Ive gone with this theme. I think it looks more fresh, and clean, but post a comment if you think otherwise, or have problems with it. 

I’ll also have to apologise for the lack of posts over the past 2 days. On Friday (you may or may not be aware) we were celebrating Becca getting a job! Wooo hooo! Working at a lab over in Clayton (East Melbourne) doing science (though not with GLADOS – sorry nerd reference). She is starting next week I think, but will know more details soon. So, to toast this news, we went out to a fabulous restaurant, right on the sea front, and managed to get a seat on the balcony overlooking the setting sun – it was lovely. And Im not sorry to say that the food matched the view – it was bloody stunning, and I reckon we’ll be going there revisiting it extremely soon. Strawberry and apple crumble topped with macadamia nuts – yum!

Saturday was spent in and around St Kilda at house inspections. We visited some really nice places, and one, which was simply stunning. Right on Marine Parade (sea front) with huge rooms, walk in robes and a patio with doors from the front room AND the bedroom. However, it was a bit out our price range, but its not hurting anyone to have a nose around.Today was driving lesson (last one before my test!) and more house inspections. The one we went to today was a really nice unit, with a massive amount of storage a great bathroom and a really nice kitchen but wasnt really in a great area. Much further from the beach than Id like, but at least we know what else is around.  After that, I went down to the beach to catch the flypasts by several FA18’s fighter jets and a rather low flying Qantas 747 – was mighty impressive, but what the photos (on facebook and webspace, page “oz photos 4”) dont show is the noise, speed, and just how low these things were. Like I say, impressive. The Grand Prix itself has been pretty good from our pespective, although I dare say if I lived up in Albert park itself I probably wouldnt say the same. Lots of eurotrash hanging around, dressed in awful, ill fitting clothes and being brash and noisy. Despite us being about a mile from the circuit itself, the noise coming from there was pretty loud. We were both really surprised at just how much we could hear the cars bombing around. 

Finally, a quick game update. Metroid 3 is damn good, feeling atmospheric and tense. The control scheme takes some getting used to, but once you adapt to how unusual it is, it becomes second nature. Much more like using keyboard and mouse than a standard console controller. I just cant help wonder how much grander it would have felt if the Wii had a bit more grunt under the bonnet.  Some moments are just aching for more grandiose graphics and effects, but on the whole its a great game. More details to follow – Im only just off the 1st level. Frontlines again, is a good game. The presentation isnt anything spectacular but it has solid gameplay. The FPS aspect of it is never going to challenge COD4 or Halo 3, but there are a few aspects where it excels. The open ended levels are truly opened ended, with more than just 1 avenue of attack, and multiple choices on how to tackle the same objective. The other area that plays out well is the variety in the gameplay. You can run around on foot, get in a  tank, a helo, a plane, or just hide in a corner and control a plethora of RC tanks and helo’s to shoot, missile or just kamikaze the enemy.  Single player seems short, but I guess its just a warm up for the multiplayer, which I havent tried yet. I think I’ll get myself proficient with everything before taking it online. Oh, and Im still slugging through the rest of the levels in Mario Galaxy. I cant seem to put it down, despite having “finished” it. 

The week ahead is not shaping it too badly. Going to the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala on Wednesday night, Becca should start her new job next week, and its Easter weekend coming up. I think I’ll be working it, but only if the company want to pay for taxi’s there and back – no buses up there on public holidays.  Then its driving test next week – gulp! Been 40 degrees today, and the forecast for tomorrow is 39 – damn its hot – first time I’ll ever be going to work in shorts! 

Posted in driving, Food, Games, House, Job, Sport, weather | Leave a Comment »

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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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Wheels, Cheese and Chairs

Posted by captainbeaky on January 30, 2008

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

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

 

cheese2.jpg

 

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

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

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

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

Posted in driving, Food, Gadgets, Oz, TV | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by captainbeaky on January 26, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Watch Monkey Dust Now!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 24, 2008

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…Now Cough Please….!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 18, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Job = New Treat

Posted by captainbeaky on January 16, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Watch Out if You Fly Boeing From Now On….

Posted by captainbeaky on January 15, 2008

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

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

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

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

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Funniest Ice-Cream Ever!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 13, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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