Ya Flamin’ Galah!!!

Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

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!

Advertisements

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

Less Ache. More Mario. More House.

Posted by captainbeaky on March 9, 2008

174926__hugh_l.jpgWell for once, a fair amount has happened since my last post. On Saturday, we spent most of the day in and around St Kilda, looking for houses, and going to inspections. Its all good practice for when we do come to buy a place, and it also gives us more of a feel for which areas are good, bad or indifferent. Went to a lovely place on the seafront that is within our price range, but it (and nearly all of the places we visited) all have their auction dates pretty soon, so we probably wont be able to bid. However, thats not the point of the exercise. What is heartening is that the sellers seem to be getting jittery about a the poor market conditions, and are knocking money off properties. Im sure when we looked a few weeks ago there was very little in our price range, but now theres a ton of stuff. All nice 2 bedroom properties in decent suburbs, and most of them would be up for consideration, had we the finances to bid. Its what we’ve sent most of today doing too, taking in 3 properties in the area. Very nice. Although its been 35 degrees hot so walking around has been energy sapping. 

Went round a mates house from work yesterday after our house hunting, for a few drinks and a meal. It was all very sophisti-ma-cated with high brow banter and everything. Very posh! Had some nice wine and some tasty beer and got to give his dog a fuss. Didnt drink too much though as I knew I had to be up early for my driving lesson this morning. All went well, which is good as I thought I may have been a bit rusty after no lessons for 2 weeks. To be brutally honest it was a bit boring. We just drove around for 90 minutes, not really learning anything. i shouldnt moan really, as its all good practice for my actual test. 

Played a  lot more Mario Galaxy today and it really is one of my favourite games of the past few years. Its just so much fun, its really addictive and you always want to see whats on the next level. Its unabashed merriment and I dont care if its seen as a bit childish. I think ive pretty much had it for now with realism in games. Fun is where its at, and as such, I’ll probably take my Brothers advice and buy Beautiful Katamari for 360 too. No bloody deaths, no “gritty urban environments”, no frustration, no “fiendishly clever A.I.” just pure unadulterated fun. 

Plans for the week…..I was going to go into work tomorrow but after looking at the bus timetables, I find that there is NO publice trasnport going anywhere near Boeing, so Im going to have to give it a miss. Maybe next public holiday, if they want me to work, they can pay for a taxi – we’ll see. Not sure what we will get up to tomorrow though. Becca goes to her volounteer work on Tuesday, Ive got more badminton on that day too, Wednesday we’re seeing Maximo Park, Thursday Ive got off, got a haircut and got my hazard perception test. Crook has a job interview (fingers crossed), then and Friday the chaps from work have a social thing going on in Port Melbourne so will get to meet some more people from work.  After that, its another solid weekend of inspections – should be really good. Ive thoroughly enjoyed this weekend, as its always good to look round other peoples places! 

As a parting shot, have a look at this video. Thanks to B3ta for bringing it to my attention, and for making me laugh my arse off at it! Enjoy! 

Posted in animals, driving, Friends, Games, House, Job, weather | Leave a Comment »

Bowl-a-rama!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 28, 2008

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

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

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

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

The “most stuff happened in least time ever” post!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 10, 2008

sculpture_wideweb__470x2800.jpgFirst post of 2008 too. OK. I dont really know where to begin. New Year has come and gone, (with the dull tediousness that it always does) and we’ve flown half way around the planet again. Should be doing wonders for my airmiles. In one year we’ve gone to Vegas and back, out to Australia, back to England, and then back to Australia again. Great for airmiles, crap for bank balance! 

I would like to say that this is the return of my daily updates, but the internet is down at our apartment. We dont even have our original phone number anymore. Its very frustrating. the telecoms companies out here seem even worse than the UK. Well, I say ALL telecoms companies, but its really Telstra’s infrastructure and inept service engineers that seem to be mucking up. The guys at Netspace (my isp) have been really helpful, but is still not fixed as its down physical phone line connections, which are rented from Telstra or so Im told. The upshot if it is that Im checking all my emails, making posts and doing a bit of surfing each day either from my phone (expensive) or going to a net cafe and using my Mac there.  Cheap rates and its got air con.

 Ok, so I’ll draw a line under whats gone before and just start from today. Went for my aptitude test at Boeing (well, actually at an aptitude test company, but its for the Boeing job) and it went really well. Well, at least I think it did. It was a lot shorter, and easier than the behemoth I did for Toyota. Im just waiting to hear when the actual interview for the job will be now. It better be soon as I was told they wouldnt be interviewing after this week! 

Secondly, its bloody roasting hot here today. 42ºC! Its not unbearable, but I guess it would be if you were out in it all day. As it is, this net cafe is wonderfully air conditioned so its lovely. Probably off to get an ice cream or something after this, to cool down once we’re outside. Its a shock to the system after the -8ºC-ness of Birmingham over Christmas. Still…..its a nice shock!

Had some tasty tea last night – on passing the fishmongers/chippy we spied stuffed (with rice, prawns and chilli’s) squid so decided to by a couple. $10 each. Thats about £4 for the uninitiated – and god damn were they nice! The standard of food out here, and the quality is superb. Popped into the offy at the end of the street and asked if they had anything like Kronenbeg Blanc (I developed quite a taste for it over Xmas) but they didnt stock it. However, they put me onto a couple of imported Belgium white beers they do have in, and if they arent tastier than Blanc! Bloody lovely! And they go down a treat in this hot weather. 

On the games front, I came back from the UK with Assassins Creed, Conan, and Tomb Raider Anniversary (as well as some DS games I mentioned in previous posts), the last 2 of which I picked up in the sales. Ive only played Conan so far, and Im mightily impressed. Its basically, God of War on 360. Quick Time Events, mythical beasts, different weapon techniques and combos etc…. Its actually pretty impressive. For £20 that is. I dont think I would ever buy it full price but its well worth a punt at half price. Recommended! 

Had a look through the local rag here yesterday and found The Wombats and Maximo Park are out here in March. Cant wait – next time we go into town we’ll definitely be getting tickets. Speaking of which, it may be tomorrow. Dependent upon the weather really – I wasnt at all tempted today to go strolling through the city today, in this heat, and in a suit! the forecast is for this hot snap to run into tomorrow as-well so may give it a miss until it cools down. It will be a decidedly cold 24ºC on Saturday so might pop in then. 

Anyway, I’ll keep you all posted on whats happening here. It may not be everyday (until my net access is fixed) but it will be more often than its been. Can I just thank everyone at this stage, for your messages of sympathy and support. I dont know how I would have coped with the turbulent past few months if it werent for your kind words, helping me, and my family get through a terrible time. Thanks again. 

 And for those that arent aware, you can leave me a message for me at any time by clicking on the “Comments” icon at the bottom right of any post. You may be telling me Im gay for buying Conan, or that  I should shutup about it being so hot. Either way, Im not fussed – just comment!. And dont worry, its secure, spam protected and every one has to go through me before its displayed. So get commenting! 

Posted in Drink, Food, Friends, Games, internet, Job, Music, Oz | 1 Comment »

Friends, Jobs, Rubbish Banks & Kettles!

Posted by captainbeaky on December 20, 2007

coffeemaker080607_468x545.jpgIts been a long time since my last post and a lots happened. Firstly, we had a great weekend with friends. Had a nice meal in, on thursday night (tasty croutons laura!) and a great curry on friday night. Hired out Sunshine from Blockbuster on saturday (very good film – recommended) and stayed around another friends for “super-sunday” and caught both of the big footy matches. Had a really good time just being around our friends again, chatting and catching up. Its certainly one thing we REALLY miss about being in Australia. Have such a great bunch of friends over here and it will be hard to leave them behind. Again!

Whilst spending time over our mates, we sat and lost our selves in the mind sapping gaze of QVC, the shopping channel. Shockingly, we saw something apparently great on there, called the Tefal Quick Cup. Basically, its a hot water boiler crossed with a kettle. You fill the back resevoir thingy with water, then whenever you want hot water, you press the button, and an element in the neck, heats the water there (as you can see from the diagram above!) and then and into your cup. I mean, for me, its completely revolutionary. No more waiting for kettles to boil. No more hanging around while it bubbles away. If you want a cuppa, its as quick as getting water from the tap. Well…….that was the plan! After finding it £15 cheaper than anywhere else at Argos, we bought one. And, it kinda doesnt work. It DOES boil water on demand. It DOES fill your cup up to a level of your setting. It DOES actually boil the water and not just leave it tepid, as some reviews have suggested. However it also DOES splatter boiling water in a 15cm radius all around the cup too. Not the most clean OR safe thing ever! Tried cleaning the nozzle, changing the filter, leaving it to cool down. Nope! So took it back to Argos today and got a replacement which while better than the 1st one, STILL splatters boiling water everywhere. So….the dream is over! Back to Argos for a refund and wait for Tefal Quick Cup 2.0!  The dreary monotony of conventional water heating awaits….

Job news is that interviews HAVE started back up again for the Boeing position. The agency guy is still hopeful that I will have a good chance of getting one of the jobs on offer on my return, and Boeing are willing to wait for me to get back for an interview. So weve spent a few stressful hours today trying to get a flight back home for a reasonable price. And failed. the resonable price that is – we did get a flight but at a ridiculously extortionate price. Managed to get one from Birmingham, with Emiriates again, on Sunday the 6th of Janurary. Pained me to give them my card details, but if it means I have a shot at this job, I suppose theres nothing I can do. Just a hard pill to swallow.

Went to see the doc a few days ago and he told me my blood test results are fine. Cholesterol, blood pressure, blood fats and sugars etc…. are all well within limits.  However, my family history for heart trouble is terrible so Im trying to see if he will refer me to a specialist. Thanks to a friend (cheers Mark!) a cardiologist is ready to go, but the GP is whinging on about having everyones medical records involved. Knowing how fast these people work, I dont hold out much hope of this happening until well into 2008, which is too late for me. Oh well, I sent the GP an email yesterday pleading for him to send the referral letter ASAP, but Ive had no reply yet. Nevermind, if I cant get it done here, I can always get it done in Melbourne. At a price though :o(

Im sure Ive probably forgotten a ton of other stuff thats gone on, but my mind is drawing a blank at the moment. If I think of anything exciting, I’ll be sure to post it.  Oh – I managed to pick up an awesome buy at HMV – 3 Ray Harryhausen, Sinbad films on DVD for £9! Superb – it isnt Christmas without a Harryhausen movie or 2!

And another thing I forgot. Barclays bank  – avoid. Ive recently had a terrible experience in the Wolverhampton Centre branch. Cutting a long story short, it took 45 minutes, £20 and much frustration just to give Becca some of MY money from MY account that Ive had for nearly 20 years. Who would have known that its common for Barclays to require you to queue in the Foreign Exchange area to transfer money from one UK account to another UK account!?! Backwards Bank more like! Bank transfer cost £20, but a bankers draft costs £10. Want one of those instead? “Sorry, you’ll have to see one of our personal bankers for that”! Of which there is only 1 present. And they already have 3 people in a queue waiting for them. Also, for whatever reason, they also decided that multiple passwords werent safe enough for their online banking service. No sirree! Now, theyve sent me out a stupid farty little calculator thing that I have to put my card in the top and it gives me a password. WHAT!?!? Is this the 1940’s? Is this the new Enigma Machine? Is this what 50 odd years of passowords/code making has come too. Pathetic little calculator bollocky things?!? Grow up! Barclays can stick it up their backwards arses – the accounts are closing. Get your money from some other sap so you can make more Enigma calculators.  They’ll be sending all my statements out by pigeons at this rate. 

See how the idiots in this country make me cross again! Grrrrrrrrrr!  

Posted in Film, Friends, Gadgets, Health, Job, UK | Leave a Comment »

Its all in the wrist.

Posted by captainbeaky on November 9, 2007

forearm-wrist-brace.jpgThis is what I’ll have to wear if I carry on playing Guitar Hero 3. My god – I downloaded the first 2 song packs today (Foo Fighters and Velvet Revolver), and “All My Life” by the Foo’s is insane! Not because its hard, but its constant strumming. It makes your wrist/hand hurt! I wonder why they put songs like this in. As good a song as it is, its just not fun to play. I wish they’d begin to understand that games like these are primarily party, or social games. They seem to be pitching them to hardcore gamers who’ve nailed every song of every previous game on expert. And dont even mention the Achievements – theyre ridiculous. I’ll stick with it, but the more I play this, the more I become disillusioned with the franchise. Going in the wrong direction for me. Still, I may just be  whining cos it takes practice to be good at it. 

 Call of Duty 4 however is fantastic. Even though I enjoy learning about the WWII period, I thought the last WWII inspired Call of Duty was good, but Id seen everything before. This modern day update, takes everything Call of Duty was good at, and put them in a modern day situation. It plays REALLY well, with varied locations, and its by far the most intense fps Ive played this year. Yes, MORE intense than Halo 3, Bioshock AND Orange Box. Is also a good challenge too, so far the difficulty is pitched just right, as Im playing it on a new “Hard” setting, in-between normal and veteran. It looks amazing too – theres a level where youre inside an AC130, in control of all the guns, looking down at a town via a heat sensitive camera. Everything just looks real, right down to the screen momentarily flickering when you see a huge explosion.  

Thats enough of my games waffle anyway. Its been another sunny, warm day here. Went to get my ears lowered, and it turned out fine – even costs cheaper than Toni and Guy in the UK. Picked me up a pair of shorts from St Kilda, and just had a tasty “seafood pack” for supper.  Broadband status on the suppliers website has changed, so at least things appear to be moving along nicely. Oh, also got our tickets for the NYE do at the Espy.

Girl from across the hall popped her head in today, to apologies for not going out last week, which was good. Had a bit of a chat, and re-affirmed the plan to get out and have beers. Nothing specific, but probably best that way. Also arranged to meet up with a few folks from an AV Forum Im a member of here. All of them our age, and a couple actually living in St Kilda. Off out for a meal and drinks this time next week. Actual human contact! At last! Sad eh?!

Plan for tomorrow is to get the train to Brighton, have a mooch about, then have a slow walk back along the coast, like we did a few weeks back. Currently the weather forecast says its going to be 26 degrees.  Which is nice! 

Posted in Friends, Games | 2 Comments »

Phone/Ear/Job/Neighbour stuff

Posted by captainbeaky on October 30, 2007

telephone2.jpgBeen a day of news today. Some of it exciting, some of it not so exciting, whcih has the final result of making me feel “meh”. They cancel each other out. SO on with the news…. 

Phone – a Testra engineer came over at 3pm to try to find the line fault. Checked the main line in the street (ok), checked the main switchboard thingy (ok) and and checked our phone socket (not ok).  So this means that the problem is from the switchboard to our phone socket, which isnt Telstra’s responsibility, its the buildings owners responsibility. SO rang our landlord, to ring the owners to fix it. Top and bottom of it is they are getting a private telecoms guy to come over and fix it. Gonna give him a ring tomorrow to sort out a visiting time. Either way, I dont think it will be fixed anytime soon, but we’ll see. Was really good when we were trying to find the switchboard though. Just through kindness, we had 4 other folks from the apartment block helping us try to sort it out. Was great – couldnt have imagined that in the UK.  :o(

Ears – basically, they’re fine. There is no infection, it was just some leftover muck that was being discharged. He had a look down each ear, and the grommets are still intact, and everything looks normal. Next time he wants to see me is February. :o)

Got an email a hour ago basically saying that the positions at Boeing stand a chance of being put on hold, and possibly withdrawn completely. Not got any reason yet, but the agency guy said he’s trying to confirm this and see why.   :o(

The neighbour opposite introduced herself today (we tried yesterday but she had a facepack on so said she would contact us today!). Nice girl, about our age called Anneka, whos lived her for 5 months or so, but in St Kilda all her life. Anyhow, after a brief chat she invited us out with a bunch of her friends this weekend. Dont know if it was a genuine offer or just said a passing comment, but I’d like to get out and about and meet folks, so heres hoping. Will see on Saturday.  :o)

So there you have it. For every piece of good news, we have bad news. I suppose its better than all bad news though so cant be all that bad. I just feel really down if that job is gone. It would have been perfect. Real close to home, well paid, high profile company. Poohsticks!

Posted in Friends, Health, Nothing, Oz, Work | Leave a Comment »

Party Shenanigans

Posted by captainbeaky on September 3, 2007

Was a weekend of parties just gone. Friday was my (ex)works leaving do, Beccas last day at work drinks, and Saturday was the big goodbye party around ours. And even if I do say so myself, it was damn good! Got to catch up with a ton of mates and say our farewells. Even the weather decided it was going to be kind and not rain on the bbq! What was even more surprising was the fact that I had beer, wine, cocktails, cider and bourbon……and had NO hangover. I only hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. But dont get me started on estate agents – bunch of fucktards. Despsite the fact theres only 3 of them in the office, NONE of them communicate with one another, and not one of them seems to want to show potential buyers around. Instead they ask if I can do it – fuck off! Dont you think I’ve got other things to worry about! What are we paying you money for? Fuck all by the sounds of it…..Had our last UK based Sunday roast at the local too – damn tasty! I can feel an afternoon nap coming on…….

Posted in Drink, Food, Friends | Leave a Comment »