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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

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

Posted by captainbeaky on March 16, 2008


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! 


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Aching. Badminton. Houses. Mario.

Posted by captainbeaky on March 7, 2008

badminton.gifNo prizes for noticing I didnt post last night, because as anticipated I was VERY tired after badminton. Id forgotten how much of a physical workout playing is. I was sweating as much, if not more, then 30 mins on a treadmill, and this was a LOT more fun. The guy I played with was probably on an even footing with my skills, which made for a really enjoyable match. My past 2 badminton partners have been either poor or outstanding, so this was much better. The place where we went to play was huge, and mighty impressive. Custom built for when Melbourne hosted the commonwealth games. I felt really invigorated after our game, but that quickly turned to tiredness, and aching. I still feel achy, and I reckon it will be worse tomorrow, but you have to go through this every time you let exercise slip and start it up again. Hopefully next weeks game won be so bad. 

This weekend we’re starting the whole house search thing off, in a big way. Got almost full days of viewing for tomorrow, Sunday and even stretching into next weekend. There are a lot more properties to have a look at if you want to go for 1 bedroom places, and while the some of them may not be what we’re after, it gives us a good idea of what to expect. Sunday will be my penultimate driving lesson before my test (unless I am REALLY rusty after a 2 weeks away from it). Scary. Only 17 days to go. Booked my hazard perception test booked for this coming Thursday too.

I was going to have Monday off as its a public holiday here (Labour Day) but I dont really feel the need for a day off, and they need help getting stuff sorted (and overtime rates all day will be nice!) so Im going in, and having Thursday off instead. Got a late night at a gig on Wednesday night, and as I mentioned, my hazard perception test is on Thursday afternoon and I need a haircut too, so its going to be a useful day off. And Im looking forward to a lounge about the house too.

Still loving Super Mario Galaxy. It is so nice just to listen to jolly happy tunes, watching bright green grass and blue skies roll past the foreground. Its just so much fun and brings memories back of the first time we played Sonic the Hedgehog on the Megadrive. Who’d have thought I wouldnt even touch my 360 for a whole week!  

I may not post tomorrow night as we’ve been invited around the house of one of my colleagues at work. A very dry, and amusing Scot who lives just up the coast in Albert Park. Should be a good night, with beer consumed, so I’ll post on Sunday night instead. Have fun!

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Cars and Houses

Posted by captainbeaky on March 5, 2008

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

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

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

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

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Hatty, Hat, Hat, Hat!

Posted by captainbeaky on November 8, 2007

gh3a.jpgNot such a great match this morning. For the unknowing, it was 2-0 to Barcelona. Rangers were just eclipsed. They looked a difference class. But nevermind, its been another beautiful day. After the match, I took a stroll out, bought a paper, then went down to the beach to read it. Was fantastic. Another one of those “pinch me” moments! Mr Weatherman says solid sun for the foreseable future. Saturday will be 27, and next tuesday will be 30! Scorchio!!!!!!

After that, it was back home and onto games. Managed to finish Half Life 2: Episode 2. Overall, I thought it was good. Not great though. The last setpiece fight being particularly ominous and repetitive. Got fed up with it after while and was a relief when it was over. Not cos it was hard (it was pretty easy) but it just seemed like a very cheap, and unprofesional way of extending the longevity of the game.  Still….Im looking forward to Episode 3! 

Onto Guitar Hero 3 after that, and another mixed bag reaction. Some of the songs work very well, while others can be as crap, hard and tuneless as those in GH2 (Metallica, Slipknot and White Zombie…Im looking at you!).  I cant say I enjoyed the last 4 songs  in the game, which is a pity as on the hole it gets things just right. The last “encore” song is just a joke though. The most ridiculous, tuneless, strum-fest youve ever heard. I didnt even attempt to play half of it, and Id wager that anyone that does will have the wrists of an 80 year old if they do complete it. Im also a bit miffed you dont unlock ALL of the songs by completing singleplayer career. There are another 6 songs (including the Bloc Party, RHCP and Beastie Boys tracks) that can ONLY be unlocked by either completing co-op career, or by inputting a cheat! VERY annoying! Im not cheating, so will wait until we get a 2nd guitar next week, but for those who DONT have someone else to play this with locally, it stinks! 

 I still havent played Call of Duty 4, but will remedy that in the next half hour.  Will post my impressions tomorrow. 

Going to get my ears lowered tomorrow, as well as buying New Years Eve gig tickets to see Architecture in Helsinki (who we both love), as well as an aussie band who I like called Wolf and Cub. Ticket is a bargain – $45! And thats for about 11 bands in 3 rooms….on NYE! The pub/venue is 10 minutes walk away so its ideal. Beats UK ripoff (as most things over here do). Posted a few more pics on Facebook for anyone that way inclined, so knock yourself out!

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My Name is Jonas……

Posted by captainbeaky on November 7, 2007

gh3.jpg8-0 eh? Good result. Shame they couldnt have puled off a performance at least an eighth as good 2 weeks ago! Enjoyed the match though. Gonna get up early tomorrow to watch the Rangers vs Barcelona, which was a corker last time.

Got my 2 games this morning no problem.  Guitar Hero 3 is fantastic! It looks great, the setlist is superb, but I still dont think its got as many good songs as the 1st one. However, its a step in the right direction after the crap songs in the 2nd one. Its a LOT harder than previous guitar hero’s though. Well, I say that, its more like its difficulty is sporadic. I’ll play one of the early tracks, and get about 85% 1st time, but a couple of “levels” later, I’ll play a supposedly harder song and get 99%, only missing 2 notes after my 1st time playing it?! Puzzling. You also wont get anywhere if you cant nail hammer-ons and pull-offs. Some sections require over 10 notes without hitting the strum bar. The boss battles are a bit naff, as it kind of cheapens things. Makes it feel like youre actually playing a game rather than “being” a guitar hero. Ruins the immersion. Great to play along to Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Weezer and Muse (even if Knights of Cydonia is shockingly hard, even on medium). Got some good looking extra characters, and guitars to “buy” and some decent extra songs. The only problem is that the extra guitars werent on sale yet (this time next week) so we cant play together in the co-op career, but only got a week to wait until we can. Its tremendous fun! I havent touched Call of Duty 4 yet! Will have a play on that tomorrow. 

Gave the agency guy a phone call today about this Boeing job thingy, and from the sounds of it, its not as dead as I thought. The problem appears to be that the jobs werent advertised internally, and now the internal unions or whoever, are up in arms that they werent given the chance to apply blah blah blah. Threatening to call tribunals if they are given straight to external applicants. So its all political crap. Whats happening now, is that Boeing are advertising it internally, interviewing, then looking at the external applicants afterwards. So hopefully by the end of the month I should know more. The agency guy said Im still the best qualified applicant for the job so thats still positive. Just hope the unions sort their shit out so things progress.  Still, its better than what I thought. 

No plans for tomorrow yet, further than watching the footy, playing Call of Duty 4, and  Guitar hero 3. 

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A Damn Fine Day?…YES!

Posted by captainbeaky on November 7, 2007

6249882_36_2.gifI decided to get up early this morning to watch some REAL football, as the Liverpool/Besiktas game was on SBS. And its shaping up to be a damn fine match. At the time of typing, its half time and the ‘pool at 2-0 up. Just found out the Rangers/Barclona match is on tomorrow at the same time – excellent! That was a cracking match 2 weeks ago. 

Despite the fact that its only 7.30am here, its beaming sunshine outside, and I can hear the parrots chirping away. Compared to the red nosed, ice cold scousers in the crowd Im feeling pretty warm right now! Forecast of “sunny and 23 degree’s” just been on the box.  Woo hooooo!!!!

On top of this already good news, Guitar Hero 3 and Call of Duty 4 out today. I’ll be popping out right after this match to pick them up, seeing as Crook probably wont surface for another couple of hours at least.  Might get me some more bagels and another tasty ice cream on the way home. 

Watched The Host last night and was impressed. Very different to conventional, well, Western monster movies. No build up to when the beast makes its first appearance. Its eating folks within the first 10 minutes. But that doesnt really do it justice. Its not really the story of “monster appears – plan to kill the monster – kill it”, its more the (albeit same) story seen from through the eyes of ordinairy people. I dont want to give too much away but it really is a good film. Not cheesy (apart from a tiny bit at the end) and the monster design is fantastic. If you like sci-fi, or horror, or even a good action movie Id recommend it. Really good movie – Id give it an 8/10.

Another piece of good news is that because its the 7th of the 11th Month, 7-Eleven is having a “Happy 7-Eleven “Day. Go into any 7-Eleven and wish the person behind the counter a happy 7-Eleven day and you get a free Slurpee! This day just keeps on getting better! And YES – I am easily pleased! 

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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!  

Posted in Film, Gadgets, Games, Nothing, Sport | Leave a Comment »

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. 

Posted in Drink, Gadgets, Games, Job, Oz, Sport | Leave a Comment »


Posted by captainbeaky on September 16, 2007

Ive finally found a native aussie “sport” that I like….V8 supercars. Its kinda like touring cars in the UK (souped up saloon cars that bash each other around a track whilst racing) but with more powerful motors. Its also got a good engineering thingy that they bring up whenever anyone has a problem. They listen in on the team radio to see what the problem is, then bring up a CAD 3D computer model of the said part and show you whats wrong with it, and how it should work and what it does. Probably nobody but me will find that even the slightest bit interesting, but I dont care….I like it! Just to demonstrate how nuts everyone is about aussie rules (I refuse to call it football – speaking of which, got match of the day downloading as we speak!) they interrupted the race for a “newsflash” to tell you that…….one player had left a club to go to another….WHO CARES!!! I expected them to say he’d been killed, or something! They used the term “…he defected to …..”!!! Makes it sound so nefarious and evil!Been looking into a lot of tech stuff today. New LCD TV’s, wireless headphones, broadband packages etc…. so all the GOOD stuff! Broadband is a bit more expensive here, and theres no such thing as having unlimited downloads, but on the other hand, its all ADSL2+ too, so thats 24MB downloads and 2.5MB uploads. Nice! And before you moan about how selfish I am to spending money I dont have, Becca’s been doing it too! Found a place in Melbourne that has 40% off Kitchenaid mixers so going to have a look tomorrow. Been pretty subdued today. Went into St Kilda 1st thing to get the sunday papers (which are half the price, and double the amount of stuff you get with them) and got some brekky. After reading them we went down to the “Espy” (aussies have the strange habit of shortening EVERYTHING by either putting a “y” or an “o” halfway along the original word) or the Esplanade that runs along the coast to visit the St Kilda craft market that runs every Sunday. Becca got a new hat (can be seen in Facebook!) and we saw a lot of good dogs. Got my 1st “slab” of beers in too – fair dinkum!

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