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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category


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 »

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

Posted by captainbeaky on March 27, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

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 ………




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 »

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 »

The Job & Phone (& Soup) Edition

Posted by captainbeaky on December 13, 2007

boeing-logo.jpgFurther to my previous update, Ive received my new phone, and Im really loving it. Compared to my old N73, its really fast, interface wise. The menu’s are slick, but dont have as many configurable items as the Nokia. The camera is really nice and is simple to use and quick to start up. One of the best thigns about this phone are the soft keys just under/on the screen. Unlike most phones which have a “Select” and “Back” keys just under the left and right corners of the screen, this phone has 3 little dots that are on the screen. So instead of actually pressing buttons for on screen prompts, you just touch the glass. It works really well and feels, like sort of futuristic! Only downside I can see so far is that the keypad will take some getting used to. 

Soup Update: It (Covent Gardens stilton, onion and white port Christmas Edition soup) was very nice! Better than the Broccoli and Stilton. Less stodgy and more creamy.

Also recieved some good news about the Boeing job I applied for in Australia many moons ago. Theyve completed their internal testing (which sounded pretty unsuccessful) and the agency guy Ive been talking to has informed them of my current situation, and “theyre more than happy to wait until next year to interview me”. Sounds like good news. If therye willing to wait, it must be an indication that they think Im suitable for the job. The only word I have at the moment is that they will probably be conducting interviews during the 2nd week of January. They’ll email me with specifics late his week/early next. Wooo Hooooooo!

 No updates after this until at least Sunday (16th) as we’re spending a bit of time visiting friends. Should be a good few days. Ciao for now, you big fat cow! 

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

New Toy….Confirmed!

Posted by captainbeaky on December 11, 2007

mobile-phone-with-camera.jpgNot much really happening here right now. Just trying to help my Mom with the healing process. Although Im finding it much harder than anticipated as we are both very different people, with different outlooks and beliefs, I havent lived at home for longer than a few days for close to 12 years and its so hard to try to analyse day to day routines and work out whether theyre normal or not. Its hard, but it will all work itself out, Im sure. 

However, I have made it out to Wolvo today and picked up a few things. Im surprised at how easy it is to just turn Christmas off in your head. I know Im looking at decorated tree’s and fairy lights but its like Im not actually taking it in. Ordinarily Id be getting excited and hyped up by it all , but it really is like Ive decided that Christmass isnt happening this year, and all of a sudden….its true. Its like Halloween for me. I know its going on, and the shops are full of cards and masks and all manner of tat, but because I choose to ignore it as a “holiday”, I dont see any of it.  

 Any how I managed to pick up a cheap (£22 new from Tesco) copy of the new Legend of Zelda game for DS, a very tasty dark minty Terrys chocolate orange, and the seasonal variety of Covent Garden Soup (white onion with stilton and white port). Im not sure about the soup but thought Id give it a try (results in teh next update!). Got myself a “Tipton Pasty” to eat too, which was a bit yuk. The detail: (mainly for Laura!). 

  •  It was completely made of puff pastry
  •  It had a side crust
  •  It had very small bits of steak in
  •  It had FAR too many peas in it
  •  It had sweetcorn in (WTF!?!)
  •  It tasted like a cheap chip-shop pie

So as you can guess I was less than enamoured with it. I would give it…..3/10 knockers!

On a more positive note, I managed to buy myself a new phone today (hence the photo above). Decided on the Sony K850i over the Nokia N82 for a number of reasons. I really dont like teh Symbian plaatform. My existing N73 was my first ever Nokia phone and I found it horrendously slow, far from intuitive. I know the N82 has sat nav and wifi (which the Sony doesnt) but the Symbian factor really turned me off it. So, I managed to pick up the phone on eBay for £250, and luckily the seller was really patient and heplful as paypal did some strange things with unconfirmed addresses and echeques. But everything panned out and I should be getting the phone by Wednesday. 

Weather is pretty crap. In fact, Enlgand is pretty much how we left it. Weather is shit. Its as dark as a cave. Its always grey and miserable. Public transport is fundamentally broken. The banks are total arseholes and its “service with a scowl” at all of the shops and cafe’s. However, it IS reaffirming to know we made the right decision to go to Australia. What IS good however is British TV. Dragons Den, Top Gear, Ramsays Nightmares, Peep Show, Father Ted, QI, Have I got News For You and the upcoming Extras Christmas Special.  Beats “The Chasers” in Australia – awful immature rubbish. 

Posted in Food, Gadgets, TV, UK | 2 Comments »


Posted by captainbeaky on November 19, 2007

weather.jpgJebus Christ, it was hot today! 37 degrees hot!!! By comparison, it doesnt quite look (thanks for the photo Andy!) that hot back in the West Midlands! I cant believe its snowing there already, its obscene! On the flipside, everyone is quite surprised just how hot it is here. The only downside is that the hot weather, and Southern winds have blown in a load of Flies from New South Wales. Its not so bad when you first go out, as the insect repellant shoo’s ’em off, but that only lasts for 4 hours. Gets very annoying after that! However, 37 degrees with flies is preferable to snow and misery! Its meant to rain a little tomorrow and teh day after, but back up to 33 degrees by the weekend. 

Feeling better today too. Still fed up of not having a job, but just trying to be positive about it. Keep on looking, keep on waiting. Went into town today and braved the heat. Picked up a George Grill for cheap, and got a copy of Mass Effect for the 360, which I’ll be taking for a spin in a bit. Just let my tea go down. A VERY tasty tea I might add, of dim sum (which for whatever reason is called dim sim over here) but we got some separate gyoza (pork dumpling type things). Damn tasty, as I said. All washed down with an ice cold Magners! 

Not sure what are plans are for tomorrow, especially if its going to be wet. Our internet should, and I say SHOULD, be sorted tomorrow, so I will have chance to play online, and download the months worth of UK TV we’ve missed. But thats all assuming everything will be sorted, and based on my experience with telecoms companies here, I dont think it will be.  

Posted in Gadgets, Games, Oz, UK | Leave a Comment »


Posted by captainbeaky on November 15, 2007

1086278408_spoohhoney.jpgWell, I bet you cant guess what. We did nothing exciting today? What you say? Surprised?! er….no! Or at least you shouldnt be. Getting a bit fed up now with the lack of job. I guess I just have to carry on looking, and waiting for replies from the 2 positions Ive already applied for. Still….doesnt make it any less annoying. 

On a positive note, weve seen a couple of things that made us laugh on the TV. Firstly was a new program here, called National Bingo Night, which is equally as thrilling as my blog posts! It is what the title describes it to be – just some bingo show…but the thook is the funny indian guy who keep shouting “Noooooooooooooooooo Bingoooooooooooooooooooo!” in an amusing voice! The one redeeming feature in a show that would otherwise suck the life right out of you!

Second thing weve found amusing is the way politics is performed here. Its a bit of a mix of UK and USA styles. Each of the 2 main parties (Coalition and Labour) seems to have adverts that describe their policies etc…. as in the UK, but more alarmingly are the adverts that just slag off the other guy, like the States. The latest one is the best, and is from the existing Goverment, slagging off the opposition (Kevin Rudd), and it shows some country guy who used to be an MP being asked the question if he believed Kevin could handle the pressure of being Prime Minister, and he said, in a really thick Aussie accent, and I quote “I worked with the opposition and let me tell you Kevin Rudd couldnt go 3 rounds with Winnie the Pooh, let alone lead the Country”. Awesome! 

 STILL not got broadband, so rang Netspace today, and they told me its 14 WORKING days from the application, which means my connection date is the 20th, which is next Tuesday. Bit annoying but what are you gonna do. For whatever reason, the internet isnt too bad today so its fair news. Also, I received the modem we ordered off them too, so Im just waiting for them to turn the juice on. 

Tomorrow, I’ll be going to that Games Expo thing I mentioned before, and passing through town on the way. News is that Mass Effect is being released tomorrow here, a week ahead of schedule so I’ll get it and try it out. Is getting some great reviews, and should take me a LOT longer than a few days to complete! 

Posted in Gadgets, Games, Oz, TV | Leave a Comment »

New Toy?

Posted by captainbeaky on November 14, 2007

nokia-n82-ofc.jpgWell, to ward off any folks expecting exciting news today……we did nothing again! Nowt going on, and to be honest, it was a bit cloudy outside. Had a forecast of rain but none materialised.  I played more Guitar Hero 3, Becca spent a fair few hours on the net, although the “broadband” we are on at the moment with Unwired, is maddeningly slow. It took about 10 minutes for me to check my email today as it kept timing out from loading Gmail?!? It took 4 minutes for it to load my blog to even make this entry! I was close to just calling it a night and posting a short message. HOPEFULLY Telstra will have got off their sorry arses tomorrow and sorted my PROPER broadband out. I’ll be phoning them to speed things as this shit is doing nothing for my sanity. 

Just finished watching a great program here called Newstopia. Is a bit like the Day Today, only less strange. If you do choose to watch the stream, be aware that there are probably a lot of references to Australian news things that you might not get. However there are a fair share of fantastic moments too

 The above piccy is a photo of the new Nokia N82, which is probably my next new phone. I was going to go for the Sony Ericsson K850i, but the new Nokia has Wifi, a normal headphone jack, 5MP camera with flash and sat nav! Sounds like a winner – just have to wait until it makes its way over here. 

Posted in Gadgets | Leave a Comment »

Remember, Remember the 5th of November.

Posted by captainbeaky on November 6, 2007

fire_r3.gifExcept we didnt!!! It was only an email from my parents that reminded me it was yesterday! I havent heard one firework over here, so I guess its not a big thing over here. Suits me  – back in the UK I remember fireworks going off a month before and 2 weeks after 05/11. Plus its all kind of lost in the Spring Racing Festival gubbins here. Very busy today here – the queues for betting shops were out the doors and down the street! I dont particularly like horse racing but Id rather that be in the news than cricket or aussie rules. Nevermind, the Melbourne Cup should be over as Im typing this so I suppose its time for the papers and TV to get excited over the next big sporting event. I didnt really take in how VERY important sport is to everyone here. Makes sense I suppose with the weather being so nice. No fat kids stuck at home watching TV. And Macdonalds is seen pretty much as a joke here too. Starbucks isnt popular, either.  Anyway, I digress!

Been a really nice day here today. About 22 and sunny. Despite SOME others who shall remain nameless who havent even bothered getting dressed, I DID venture out the house today. Went and sorted out membership to a local video rental place. No membership card, you just tell them your phone number and give them a password – is a good idea. I always used to keep forgetting my Blockbuster card in Brum. Got me a tasty ice cream (peanuts and chocolate) and had a walk up the beach. Bit of a difference from last November 6th!  Rented “The Host” which isnt particularly new, but Ive heard good things about it. 

 Not sure what we are doing tomorrow. For sure one part of it will be going to JB Hifi to get games. Only just found out that Guitar Hero 3 is online enabled, so if anyone plans to get it, let me know and I’ll let you kick my arse online!

Also, as Im a nerd, Im going to pop along to this show in Melbourne in a couple of weeks.  Probably be crawling with kids, but if I dont go, I’ll never know. Should be exciting anyway – the first time Ive been to any kind of gaming expo, which is odd considering Ive been into games now for about 20 years or so! Mock me at your desire, I dont care!

Oh, and house news. Email from my parents stated that now our dumb arse solicitor failed to get council confirmation of some environmental letter! The completion date was meant to be this Friday, but I cant see that now. Why is it Solicitors, as a profession seem to be the most mistake prone group of people ever. Has anyone actually had a totally seamless experience when dealing with one of these reprobates? Useless! 

As for the exciting news I promised yesterday…er……as youve read, I dont have any of my own so I typed in “Exciting News” into Google and it threw up a web page, of which one of the stories was about how rural Chinese folk have been eating Dinosaur bones, boiling them to make soup and making them into paste to put on wounds as they believe the “Ancient Sky Dragon” bones have healing properties! So there you go…. EXCITING NEWS!  

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Worst. Post Title. Ever.

Posted by captainbeaky on November 5, 2007

bitey-dogs.jpgSorry, couldnt think of anything witty to say! We didnt really do much today, but it kinda feels like we did. Although Im going to have to start thinking of other things to type as Im sure for the majority of you, reading this must be completely boring! Anyway…..

Went into town, which was in a state of disarray as there was some Melbourne Cup procession thingy going on. It was really busy too, probably because tomorrow is a bank holiday and folks were having today off too. Becca went and got her Victorian Driving License and a ton more books, and I went to see if I could pick up Guitar Hero 3 and Call of Duty 4 early, but they werent budging this time. Will pick them up on Wednesday when theyre out officially.

On the way back through St Kilda, we popped into our local off license for the first time (god only knows why!) Its a really good one, you should see the amount of beers they have. I spied some Red Stripe that has my name on it, as well as some cheap Wild Turkey. We also spied those two dogs, above, tied up outside Safeways! They looked cheeky, but I wasnt going to get close enough to stroke them. The writing in red on the dog on the right says “I bite!”

No plans for tomorrow at the moment. Our broadband appears to be progressing nicely, which is good news as it took me 7 minutes for Facebook to load today. Pain in the arse. MIght just take it easy tomorrow and sort stuff out. But I promise to have SOMETHING interesting to say, even if its not my news, it WILL be exciting news! 

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Of Football and Chocolate…

Posted by captainbeaky on November 4, 2007

6348.jpgAs mentioned in my previous post – apologies for the lack of post yesterday. The day just ran away from me. I doubt I’ll be double posting today either as 1, – the internet is pathetically slow, and b, – i didnt get up until 1.05pm! Whoops! Speaking of internet, we managed to get the landlady to sort it so we can still keep this connection until we get our proper broadband line installed. Our existing contract was meant to be up this week, but the new one not installed for a week after that. so at least we can still get online. Crap broadband is better than NO broadband! Anyhow, best to start with yesterday,

 First off a job for a Quality Engineer at Holden cropped up which I quickly applied for. Still dont know if the Boeing jobs are available, but I’ll email tomorrow to find out either way. Sounds like a decent opportunity at Holden. Its at Port Melbourne again, so not far away. No mention of salary though. Anyway, Ive applied. 

We then decided to venture out our house and strolled up to the St Kilda farmers market, which is about 30 seconds walk away from our apartment block! Had some really good stalls with a ton of tasty food. Next time its on we’ll get up earlier to get some stuff as most of the choice food had already gone. Went into Melbourne after that to pick up more housey stuff, and have a look at some of the outfits being worn by all the folks off to the Melbourne Cup. Saturday was derby day so they were out inforce, and damn we saw some horrific efforts!

While there, I took my game in to hopefully get it buffed and polished, so it would hopefully work. I later discovered it didnt – my 360 didnt even recognise it as a game! Oh well, looks like I’ll have to buy it again. Should be able to pick it up cheap off ebay though.  Also, while in Melbourne we stopped off here and had what is probably the best hot chocolate Ive ever had. And Im quite aware that a lot of the things here are slowly becoming “the best…..Ive had/seen”. Im not exaggerating. They REALLY are all good! It was heavenly! We managed to come home with all the things we went in for anyway so it was a successful day!

We didnt end up going out with the girl across the hall. Probably cos it was just one of those things said in conversation that you later wish you hadnt said.  Not to worry, were here for 6 months so plenty of time left to get out. Anyway, I was mulling over whether to go and watch the Arsenal/Man Utd game up the pub. Time difference meant the kick off was at quarter to midnight, and it was raining. However, anticipation got the better for me and took a walk up to the Elephant and Wheelbarrow to watch it. A good mix of folks in there and some tasty Kronenburg (which sounds unremarkable but its the only place in Melbourne Ive so far found that sells it!). A very good match, and a fair result I thought, even thought the Arsenal fans acted as though theyd just won 6-0. London arseholes! Eventually got back home about 2.30am, after a few drinks, hence the late get-up today! 

Not really done much with myself today either. Been into St Kilda to get a paper and have a mooch about. Still raining so didnt want to spend too long outdoors. Tomorrow, I think we are going back into Melbourne, as Becca has to get her driving licence sorted out. I expect it to be really busy as its still the Spring Racing Carnival, and Tuesday is a state holiday as its the actual Melbourne Cup race, so a lot of folks have Monday off to make it a long weekend. Will see if I can get Guitar Hero 3 early too! Speaking of which, while I was waiting to get my game polished yesterday, Becca had a quick couple of go’s on a Guitar Hero 3 demo they had out in store, which was pretty good. the song list this time seems excellent. 

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Annoyed, but Happy!

Posted by captainbeaky on November 2, 2007

25-scratchgoldoval.jpgDamn I feel tired! Earliest start yet today. 7.30! (god help me when I start work!) Had to be up early to sort out the Telstra guy scheduled to arrive, anytime between 8 and 12. Luckily, he came early, about 8.30 ish and cutting a long story short, he fixed it. Yay! So immediately rang Telstra and told them I was leaving! Ha! Strangely, the phone lady didnt seem surprised at all. Didnt even try to talk me out of it. Rang up broadband provider and sorted the phones with them, as well as internet. 60GB download limit, ADSL2+, so 24MB download and 1MB upload. Gonna take 10-14 days to sort it out so the countdown to proper broadband starts……NOW!

After Telstra guy left we went on over to Ikea to stock up on stuff. Baking trays, potato peelers, cheese grater etc….All boring stuff but necessary. Feel absolutely battered now though. Early night tonight. 

The crap news is (for me only) is that one of my Xbox games appears to to be scratched. Whenever I try to have a race in Gotham 4, I get the standard “disc unreadable, wipe with cloth” message, and no matter what I do, it always returns. Will take it to the city centre tomorrow to see if anyone can clean it or something. Got to go in to buy us a decent kettle (the one we have is noisy, has no water level thingy and takes forever) and a  dustbuster.  More exciting stuff eh?! 

On the exciting front, Guitar Hero 3 is out next week, and if any of the past street dates have been anything to go by, it will be on the shelves on Monday afternoon. Really looking forward to it. The tracklist looks like the best yet, and the 1st batch of downloads are pretty decent stuff too (the foo’s and velvet revolver). 

Been thinking a fair bit about Christmas today and I havent a clue what I’m going to do presents wise. Both for me and for others. Internet shopping here isnt as “big” as it is in the UK, so it makes things a lot harder. The tree’s and decorations have started going up in Melbourne, and “Santa” will be at Myers department store from next week. It just seems to close. Gonna be a bit of a damp squib this year seeing as at the moment, neither of us have jobs, we dont know anyone and now on our . Its exciting, being by the beach in the sun and stuff, but a massive change from christmas with friends and family. 

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Telstra Troubles!

Posted by captainbeaky on November 1, 2007

01112007365.jpgSo we started off today trying to get our phones sorted. Cutting a long story short, the body corporate guy came and traced our phone line back to a working line. The Telstra guy had looked in the wrong place. Dope! So had to ring and have a go at Telstra for not sorting it out the first time, and arrange a visit for tomorrow morning. Hopefully it will be the end of it!

After he’d done his thing and gone, we went over to Chadstone Shoping Centre, which is just a bus journey away. Firs time on a bus over here – and Im glad to report there were no chavs, smoking, talking in a brumy hip-hop stylee, or playing 50-cent on their crappy phones!  Its where I got the photo above. It amused me as it looked like it was saying the seat was for amputee’s, people with handbags, or fat women! Chadstone was real good. A ton of decent shops around. Picked me up some bagels and pastrami from a deli there for about £2.50! Becca got herself an aussie mobile (at last!) and I had a good look around a ton of electrical shops. Also, there was a great pt hops with puppies galore in the window. All kinds of strange crossbreeds. King Charles + japaneze spitz. Shitz hu + poodle. They looked great, and we would have loved them all!

We’ve decided to not get Foxtel (oz equivalent of Sky) just yet. Its just too much fiddling and hassle to set it up, in rented accommodation for only 6 months. Have to apply to the building owners to ahve it installed and thats before you have the annoyance of what happens when you leave halfway into your 12 months contract. So what we’re doing instead is getting a setop box with recording functions, and increasing the package we’ll be getting for the internet to allow us to download more good TV. Looking at this one at the moment.  Its not a make Ive heard of before but its top notch specialist AV stuff over here. Will get that sorted when we receive the house money, as its pretty pricey, but a hell of a lot cheaper than 12 months on Foxtel. 

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Posted by captainbeaky on October 29, 2007

114_1444_slow_street_in_london.jpgSorry for the lack of post yesterday. It was half becuase I forgot, and half because the net is bloody slow. And I mean BLOODY slow. 2 hours to download 52mb slow. I cant wait to get rid of it now! ANd I still cant cos our phone line isnt operational yet. Testra say theres a fault on the line which should hopefully be fixed tomorrow, then its all systems go for ADSL2+. 

Not done much at all over the past couple of days. Had a walk around the new area, done some shopping, got some better peanut butter and just off out to get some more beer.  Thats pretty much it! Off to the docs tomorrows for a post-op inspection. After the excitement of the past week, with moving house, automatic cars and hospital operations, everything seems very normal and boring at the moment (not that I want to go to hospital again!).

ps – its taken me 4 minutes to write this post, 5 minutes to find and resize the picture, and 25 minutes attempting to frickin post it to the web! Im pretty pissed off to say the least >:o/

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Eyes of the hawk! Strength of the bear! Speed of the snail….

Posted by captainbeaky on October 27, 2007

istockphoto_2113432_snail_s_slow_connection_2.jpgBloody internet is damn slow today. Tried webcam chat with my folks but it was really choppy. Not long now until I can ditch this shit and get a proper connection.

Anyway, been a nice day today. Was real hot, probably about 28 degrees or so. We went into Melbourne to do some shopping, and came back with all the things we went for! Netgear Skype phone (to make cheapo phone calls via the internet), new headphones for me and Crook (Crooks broke and mine sound like crap now with my “new” ears!) and some loose leaf tea that I had at a cafe a few weeks back thats super tasty, and some fruity bagels.  All I want now is a decent net connection! Its driving me mad!

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Posted by captainbeaky on October 8, 2007

Ive got internet problems, and am posting this by leeching off somebody elses open, unpassworded network, so I AM alive and well, but I’ll post more tomorrow when my own net connection is sorted. 

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 22, 2007

My xbox arrives on Monday morning!!!!!!!!!! greuinoasbduwqgdnoijnngeyfgu!!!!I managed to buy a toshiba 32″ HD LCD TV for less than the price of a 26″ Samsung!!!! fbijfbnisbfisgywbdqpncbvbvdioinw!!!!!!!!Halo 3 is out on tuesday! fndjsnviodsnvdmcpmpcmcqciqcgbscvgugcgnjkdjnuhdisahnjpoajnhfi!Im so excited Im going to be sick!

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Posted by captainbeaky on September 19, 2007

I’ll start with the good news…we sold our house!!!!! wooo hoooo!!! Sold it for  little bit less than what we wanted for it, but its gone to a guy, who from the sounds of it is desperate to move in. Got his mortgage pre-approved and the estate agents reckon it would have all gone through (hopefully) in 5-6 weeks!!! Fantastic!Good news No.2 – Bought myself a TV today. 26″ LG LCD HDTV (bloody acronyms!). Brand new AND delivered for £370! Bargain!Bad news No.1, – we STILL dont have the money we tried to transfer from the UK! Bloody pain in the arses – it should have gone through nearly 2 weeks ago. Why is it banks always seem to have “problems” when you are transferring money?! Something to do with them earning interest off it while its in no-mans land?!?! Bunch of low life ingrates. Ive alrady given them a piece of my mind, layed it on proper thick (is this the best australian banks have to offer, its a disgrace etc…). Bad news No.2, – it looks like i wont have my xbox for when Halo 3 comes out! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ………….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!Been told I should have for back end of next week so its still not that bad………heck who am I kidding! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!Anyway, now the elation and trauma are out of the way, you get to hear about our exciting lives! Change of plans today – we didnt go to ikea. We plan to go tomorrow so we can go to the Target homeware sale on the way through, and the market to get tasty food. So today we spent tidying, washing up, doing our shopping at Safeway, eating cakes at another fantastic cake shop! Yum! On another “how things are better ere than at home” note. Today I will include phones (nearly everything is 3G and cheap), broadband (ADSL2+ is rolling out here, so thats up to 24mb/s) and TV (ok so they dont have as many channels but a lot of the stuff here is out the day after it airs in America. Prison Break, and the new series of Heroes included!). 

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