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Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

Ears, meerkats and buying stuff

Posted by captainbeaky on September 14, 2008

This week has been a pretty mixed bag. As a follow up to my “ear” comment last week, I woke on Monday morning with shocking pain from my right ear, and mucus leaking from it. Cutting a long story short, I went to see a specialist and a doctor, diagnosed it as an ear infection (which effects me worse as I have holes in my ear drums) and signed me off work until Friday. So I didnt really get to do much during the week as I was constantly on nurofen and blotting the puss from my ears. Nice! However, on Friday, the pain eased off and I went back to work. As for the situation now, well Ive still got hearing loss in my right ear, but Im no longer in pain with it and the leaking has stopped so the antibiotics must be doing their thing. However, its been annoying staying off the beer, what with the weather being glorious over the past 3 days. 25 degrees and sunny. Wind has been high in places but its been proper t-shirt weather….in the UK equivalent of March!

Anyway, on to housey stuff. We’ve got a burglar alarm company sorted and hopefully coming to install it next week, we’ve bought a half price slimline dishwasher and had it delivered too. All the services should be sorted out next week, our bed is made and we just have to sort delivery out, and today we went to The Good Guys (like a cheaper, better Dixons) and bought a fridge, freezer, tv, stereo, surround sound system, washing machine, microwave and a super cute and super cheap mini-dyson. Its the really small upright, thats just been released here. Managed to negotiate a really good discount on the lot too, although the woman who sold us the Dyson got things totally messed up. SHe said it usually sold for $599, and would give us a discount price of $540. However, on the way out, we found it had an instore price of $650 so we got a proper bargain! The grand plan is to hire a car late next week, and move stuff over the period of 2 or 3 days. Theres no pressure on us to be out until the following Thusday so we can take our time. Plus Ive managed to move quite a lot of stuff over in my car already. 

In other news, cos the weather was forecast to be nice on Saturday, we planed, and went to Melbourne Zoo for the day and we were both impressed. Lots of stuff to see and do and most of the animals had a big enclosure with a lot of stuff to do. The aviary was a fantastic, Jurassic Park style walk through affair and was really presented well. Thankfully, no Pterodactyls to molest us on our way through! Meerkats were also great, as were the wombats. GOt back home and rounded the day off with some tasty ice-cream down on the beach. Summer is here…….and its only Spring!

Anyway, time to go now as stuff is coming on TV. More updates to come, maybe during the week. OH, Ive just forgotten we went to see Tropic Thunder on Friday, and it was hella good. Really funny, and a nice pastiche on war movies without stooping to Scary Movie levels of dumbass “comedy”. Robert Downey Junior stole the show with his black dude actor. Well worth a look. 8/10

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Pictures say a thousand words so……

Posted by captainbeaky on September 7, 2008

…….have a look at this link instead

NEW HOME CLICK ME!!!!

So there you have it. Lovely house and a lovely day. The weather here is really turning around now. Gone are the crisp Winter mornings, and hello to the sunny, convertible-tastic days! Some of the not so interesting details are that the mortgage went through fine (obviously), and er….thats pretty much it. Weve got a lot to sort this week with burglar alarms, change of address notices, FINALLY getting our belongings from the relocation company, and annoyingly, sorting my ears out as Ive lost some volume from my right ear. Odds on its wax covering the hole in my ear drum, but Id like it checked out non-the-less. 

We spent most of today strolling around electrical shops finding equipment for us to buy. We found the following out……slimline dishwashers are rare and expensive (but it doesnt matter – we’re getting one!), double door fridge/freezers are shockingly deep in dimension, so “pigeon pair” is the way to go, 32″ TV’s are too small (In my opinion anyway!), and 42″ are too big for the room so 37″ is the way to go, stainless steel cookers look better than poohy white ones, it pays to be cheeky as we managed to get an $88 toaster for $60 by deceiving the sales person! wooo hooooo! 

Anyway, its getting late so its time to sit here and let the 3 course monster lunch we had slowly digest! Ive never eaten a steak so big! Let me know if the video thing is any good, and I might do a few more. Saying stuff and uploading it takes a lot less time than writing all this out.

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Weekend Hijinks….

Posted by captainbeaky on August 25, 2008

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

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

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

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

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In the “bleak” midwinter….

Posted by captainbeaky on July 14, 2008

HA!!! Its been a fantastic day here in Melbourne. Had the day off (as its a rostered day off at Boeing) and godamn have I been lucky with the weather. Woke up at 9 and it was lovely and sunny. After a brief bit of interneting, left the house with iPod in tow and got the tram into the CBD. As if by magic, my ipod was picking out songs on shuffle that I hadnt heard in months, and put an extra smile on my face. After arriving in town, had a brief wonder around then got my ticket to go see Hancock, and again, I was impressed.

Its been the only “blockbuster” Ive seen recently that I havent got bored with and started checking what time it was. Smith wasnt annoying, or big headed or too yehaw-yankee-doodle-dandy as he’s been in most of his other films. Not too sugary or predicable either. A solid 8/10 I reckon.

After the film, it was off home and a walk along the beach while the sun was still out. Got back around 4, and rolled straight into a nice session of Rock Band drums. Had a stroll outside again at 5, watched the cockatoo’s sqwuaking at me from their palm tree homes, observed the 14 dogs playing together in the park, and met Becca for coffee and a cake after her day at work. Now at home, looking over the menu for the posh pizza place and deciding what to have for tea, while watching last nights new Top Gear. The days dont come much better, so Im gonna scoot now before I ruin it! T’raaaaa!

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House/Game/Film

Posted by captainbeaky on July 13, 2008

Yesterday, we spent the day around Yarraville, looking at houses that were open for inspection. We had 5 to look at, all of which looked promising on paper…..which quickly changed once we saw them! 

House 1 was nice, but opposite a train line. House 2 was very nice, but is at the extreme end of our price range. House 3 had all the DIY done by Frank Spenser. Wonky floors, cracked plaster, pink bathroom suite, mismatched skirting boards – it was a joke! House 4 was ok but very dark inside, and house 5 was ok, but needed a lot of structural stuff doing to it. I left the day feeling somewhat disappointed, but it is only the 1st time we’ve looked around the place, and Ive already got some more properties earmarked for next weekend. One good thing to come from it, was that we had a wonder around inbetween inspections and found a load more nice shops. Just helped to seal the deal as to this definitely being an area we would like to live in. 

On the games front, Rock Band drums have been ruling most of my time. However, as they are quite noisy to play (even with sound softening pad) I dont play them when Becca is around….which is a pain! However, tomorrow is a flex day at work so I’ll get some quality time on them then. BF:BC is also taking up a lot of my time, as Im begining to think the gunplay is second only to Black, in terms of satisfaction. Battlefield has always been about on foot and vehicular combat, but I find myself avoiding the vehicles now as the first person stuff is so damn good. The guns feel and sound right, and like Black, have a tangible “weight” to them. Between these 2, Ive also managed to cram in some Katamari as a spot of light relief, and Ive tried the Topspin 2 demo, which at some point I will buy. Not now though, as Ive already got too much to be getting on with. 

Films wise, ive not really seen anything new, just been catching up on some stuff that we’ve had downloaded, so for the record….Spiderwick Chronicles – enjoyable family style entertainment. A good Sunday afternoon film 7/10. Porco Rosso – had it to watch for ages and really enjoyed it. Like a lot of Ghible films, it doesnt really go anywhere, but its captivating all the way through. 8/10. Futurama:The Beast with a Billion Backs – has some really funny moments, and has some really hard sci-fi moments where the story goes a bit poncy. Still, miles better than the Simpsons movie. And has some awesome Steven Hawking moments. 7/10. 

Thats really about it. The weeks are flying by and I cant believe we’re fast approaching a year out here. Its quite cold here now (well, about 10 degrees, but it feels relatively cold), but its the height of Winter so I guess its to be expected. 

Oh, and for the record, its well known Im an Apple fan, owning a couple of Macs and an iPod Touch, but its got to be said that Im sick to the back teeth with bloody iPhone iPhone iPhone everywhere! The hype is WAY too much and has saturated everywhere. I hope the world gets over the fact that  its just a phone quick smart!

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No Work Update Below….

Posted by captainbeaky on April 25, 2008

….as there is no significant change, so its just going to be a recap on non-work related stuff that ive been up to. The weather has been fantastic here over the past week, despite the fact that its the end of September, in northern hemisphere terms. Its been almost consistently 23/24 degrees, each day with the sun going down about 5.30, so it IS in fact close to UK sunrise/sunset times. But Ive been making the most of it, going along to St Kilda pier most afternoons, taking my book with me then having a cake and a cuppa at the cafe at its end. On Thursday, we even saw one of the often mentioned/never seen St Kilda penguins, that nest in the breakwater. I always thought that there were penguins there ONCE, but with the influx of tourists, they’d gone elsewhere. However, we’ve seen them now with our own eyes – it was great!

For the second day on the run, we’ve gone for a bit of a drive in my new car, roof down, soaking up the sun. Today we took a drive down to Sandringham, and had a quick look about. Its a very affluent area, with lots of posh cars and big houses and a huge, deserted beach. I have no idea why folks chose not to spend time here, as it was lovely – you couldnt hear anything other than the waves lapping against the shore. Ive added a few photos to my Photoshop Express page, which Ive put a permanent link to on the right……here——->

In other news (videogame haters, skip the next couple of paragraphs) Ive had a rethink on Mass Effect and got right stuck into it, with overall positive results, but with a small number of reservations. First the good points. The story line and character development is top notch, with me actually getting attached to certain members of my squad, having my favourites to accompany me on missions, based on nothing more than if I liked them or not as people! It sounds messed up but Bioware really did a great job of making these people actually seem real, with coherent individual agendas, without going down the cliched videogame route of hideously over-egged stereotypes. the games environment too deserves a mention, with it actually feeling like you were engaging in a large space opera spanning multiple systems, with each story mission having a distinct feel to it. However, there are down points, specifically to do with the environments too. The side quests arent too hot, with most of them being identikit versions of the last, the only difference being this ones on a snow planet, this ones on a desert planet, etc…. Right down to the space ships and buildings, all of them are the same, with just different crates inside. This really ruins the brilliant job that Bioware did with the rest of the games universe, as it takes you out of the realms of fantasy and the shoddy game design pokes through and ruins the illusion. The other area that Mass Effect isnt too good at is with the purchase/managing of weapons and items. I dont think I bought one single thing in the whole game, rendering the entire money system useless. You get far more powerful stuff by searching through enemy lockers and crates, but this has its own negative consequence. Your inventory can only hold 150 items, which include all your weapons, your armour, grenades and biotic amp, each of which have up to 3 upgrades on each item, making managing what you have a lengthy procedure. None of which is helped by there being no “convert all” button, and when you DO select an item from the list to get rid of, it resets the list and puts you back at the top. It really does sound like Im picking flies, but when you have to do as much inventory juggling as you do in ME, then it really does start to annoy. Other larger scale niggles include the games length. Im on the last mission now, and it didnt take me long to get there. I now this game is the first of a trilogy, but thats no excuse to shorten it deliberately. Compared to Oblivion, both in terms of game size and amount hours invested, ME is minuscule. It also sometimes feels like it holds your hand too much, telling you exactly where to go, what to do and what your next step is. A more open ended approach may have been better. However, thats not to say I didnt enjoy, I did. Im on the last mission now, as well as mopping up a few side quests and its been hugely enjoyable. The story really does hook you, especially me being a sci-fi nerd, and having just recently finished a great book (more later) I found I just couldnt put the controller down. I had to see what happened next. So far, the game gets a solid 8/10.

In other game type news, Im going to have a bit of a clear out. Out goes Assassins Creed (ace game but Ive done everything I wanted to do with it), Sega Tennis (again, god game, but multiplayer is borked and single player gets ridiculously difficult on the last “bonus stage”, and Frontlines (crap singleplayer, but brilliant multiplayer, ruined by lack of support and not many folks playing – plus Battlefield and Quake Wars are nearly out, both being similar and being part of already established franchises). In comes Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 (got it cheap off Ebay) and GTA 4, which Im really looking forward to now. The more I read about it, the more impressed I am with it. Opinions to come on Tuesday.

Enough with the games, and onto books, which is pretty rare for me! I finished Iain M Banks new book, Matter recently (thanks to my St Kilda pier adventures!) and I was impressed with it. The last book I read of his was Inversions, which was too dull for my liking, and I missed The Algebraist, which seemed good, but not much to do with the Culture universe of its predecessors. However, Matter is right back into the Culture setting, but through clever use of technology, intertwines the fantastic futuristic setting, with a more medieval story line, which I initially was sceptical of, but the more I read it, the less of an issue it became, and eventually, both storylines meet and continue as one. Its typical Banks, with sprawling galaxies, battles, many distinct and interesting characters and all with his trademark attention to detail and descriptive nature. My only complaints are the books loss of purpose in its middle section, with it getting bogged down in the journeys of both sets of protagonists, and its abrupt ending, right when its hit its stride. On the strength of this, I started up Mass Effect (above) which isnt to dissimilar to Banks writing, and Ive got a Peter Hamilton book to get into now. This is a 1000 pager though, AND part of a trilogy so no reports anytime soon of how THIS book is!

Well, Im sorry for the long post, but I didnt think it woudl go on for this long. Future plans include going to an out of town shopping centre tomorrow, and then for a few drinks with a work colleauge. Oh, and probably nothing else too strenuous as Crooks coming down with a cold. Better not give it to me! Anyway, Im going to end this now before it gets any longer.

Posted in Books, Games, Oz, weather | 1 Comment »

Sorry…….

Posted by captainbeaky on April 7, 2008

…..but this post is just blantant nose rubbing. Salt in the wound. A kick when youre down. Add insult to injury. Piss in your crisps. Whatever you want to call it. SO you have been warned. If you dont want to wish me harm, or call me names, then please DONT look at the following photo link gallery. Or if your browser is borked, like the latest FIrefox Beta, go here and look at todays album. For For those unaware of proceedings, look here first, then see if you can put 2 and 2 together to find out why we “made the switch”.

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Friends, Food and Frontlines

Posted by captainbeaky on April 6, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birthday Post!

Posted by captainbeaky on April 3, 2008

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Posted in Cars, Games, weather | 2 Comments »

Car = Mine

Posted by captainbeaky on March 29, 2008

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Battlefield Bad Company

Posted by captainbeaky on March 28, 2008

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Posted in Cars, Games, weather | 2 Comments »

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

Posted by captainbeaky on March 27, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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I PASSED!!!!!!!!

Posted by captainbeaky on March 25, 2008

ripped-l-plates.jpgSo have you guessed what this post is about yet? As you may have gleaned, I did indeed pass my driving test. WOOOO HOOOOOOO! Was a bag of nerves all day, but the moment I got in the car, I became strangely calm. Drove for half of the journey to the test centre, as I didn’t want to be exhausted by the time I got there. Had a really nice female driving examiner, and started off great. I know I messed up on rushing a lane change, and I stopped at a light when it was on green, but it was  weird road layout thing that confused me. Did a 3 point turn no problem then drove back. Like I say, I knew I stuffed the lane change and the lights up, and my instructor, who was next to me during the test, said I would loose marks for taking my hands off the wheel while we were stopped at the lights ( they were icy cold from the air con!), so I went back into the test centre thinking I had already failed, so imagine my surprise when she handed me my test results and told me I had passed! Bearing in mind, youre marked out of 100 and are allowed to fail on 15 areas only. I was marked down 1 on lane change, 2 on road position (?) and 1 on leaving a safe gap, so I still managed to get myself in the top 90+ marks bracket – awesome!!! I am so pleased and relieved! Yet another thing crossed off my list of major accomplishments.

  • Get a job
  • Becca get a job
  • Learn to drive
  • Buy a house

3 down, 1 to go! Not done much else today, so am going for some tea and cakes in St Kilda, and hear about Becc’a first day at work, then back here for curry and beer! Weathers taken a turn for the worse here as its dropped to 23 degrees and last night was thunderstorms. Rain forecast on and off for the rest of the week too, but I cant complain. We NEED rain at the moment. Anyhow, Im off to do more driving, but on Burnout Paradise. The perfect way to get it out of my system – time to drive on the wrong side of the road, on the pavement and bash into other road users! I’ll just have to remember NOT to do that when Im on the actual road now! T’raaa-a-bit!

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

Posted by captainbeaky on March 16, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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Haircuts, Trainers, Tests, Gig’s & Games

Posted by captainbeaky on March 13, 2008

maximo-wenn.jpgPhew – a been a lovely hot day, full of nice things. I’ll start last night.

Went out late (about 9-ish) to see Maximo Park at the Billboard, which turned out to be a club, but with a stage and stuff for bands. The venue was pretty good for bands, as it had several raised levels as you went further back from the stage so you had a good view of the band no matter where you were. The atmosphere was brilliant and the crowd loved the band and the music, which surprised me as I didnt imagine they would have a big following over here. They played out of their skin and got a great reception, with the only downside of the night being the price of the beers. $16 for 2 pure blondes! So thats about £3.50 each for a bog standard bottled beer! Oh, well I’ll know for next time. We got back around 12.30am so Im glad I had booked the following day off, as Otherwise it would have meant only 4.5 hours sleep.

As it turned out, I got close to 12 hours kip and didnt wake up until 11.30am!  So aquick shower then down the new hairdressers. Im always wary of going to a new place, as its always a worry that theyre going to butcher you, and Ive had some bad cuts from some terrible scissor merchant before. However, I was really impressed with this place. the girl who did it was talkative and seemed to love bringing me tea. I was really pleased with the “do” and will definitely be going back.

On a high from a good haircut, I went into the trainer shop near our road, and had a squizz at a new pair of Adidas they had in, which were REALLY nice……so I bought them! The guy in there was a bit of a trainer nerd like me, and also a fan of Adidas like me, so we had a good chat, and a moan about horrible flouro trainers!  I’ll make sure my new babies have pride of place on my next post – my camera battery is on charge right now. 

Went straight from there to Carlton for my hazard perception test for driving. hte journey there was more of an ordeal than the test itself as the Grand Prix has slowed things right down. The tram goes right past the course and you can guarantee a shitload of euro-trash will get on it at Middle Park and be load and annoying. The Grand Prix, as it turns out, is both exciting, and annoying! Anyway, I digress.  The test itself seemed more like pot luck more than skill. YOu got presented with a picture, taken from the drivers perspective saying htat your driving forward, or whatever. You then got a prompt saying, “you want to slow down” or “you want to turn right” then the video plays and you have to click the mouse when you think its right to do so. Except that you only have about a 0.5-1 second window to do so safely. This led to it being rather sporadic, and you didnt really know if you should clock the mouse when you actually thought it was the correct time, or try to second guess the random computer time which judged you had selected correctly. Regardless of any of this, I passed with 71% (pass mark was 54%) so the next step is the practical test in just under 2 weeks time. 

On a second high from passing the test, I went into town, and met Becca, who informed me that her interview went well. Seemed like a good job, with decent prospects and only 4 other applicants. The place said they would let her know by Monday at the latest so keep your fingers crossed.  Went a got a lovely fresh made smoothy then on to JB Hifi where I got Frontlines for my 360 (I know its another kill-a-thon game, but its more BF1942 than Call of Duty, and it was on offer this week for $79) and got Metroid 3 on Wii second hand for only $69. Even better than that, the woman who served me at the till gave me a brand spanking new copy of the game instead of a pre-owned version. Bargain! Not played either of them yet and not sure if I’ll get chance tonight, but you can be sure I’ll post my thoughts on both. I wanted to get Zak and Wiki, as again it was on special, but its sold out. Hope they get some more in before the offer runs out.

So there you go, its been a thoroughly enjoyable day off, with a lot of things purchased, and accomplished. On to tomorrow, where they reckon we could be on for another 40 degrees celsius day, so I hope they got the air con on in the factory. I think Ive remembered everything thats gone on, but if not….tough!

Posted in Clothes, driving, Games, Music, weather | Leave a Comment »

Games, Games and er….Games!

Posted by captainbeaky on March 10, 2008

dsc00111.jpgBeen a very hot day today, with temperatures up to 37 degrees again, but it cooled off in the afternoon. The exchange rate is getting better minute by minute (was $2.12 per £, now $2.17 per £), and we’ve got some tasty stuff while at the supermarket. However the honey/soy sauce we bought to eat with out beef stir fry wasnt very nice – too vinegar-ey.

 Anyway, enough with frivolities. We decided to spend some of our day at the ACMI “Game On” exhibition, which was basically a history of videogaming.  They had over 120 playable demo stands inside ranging from old Game & Watch handhelds, through to Megadrives, right up to arcade games. Speaking of which, they had a free-play cabinet of Scud Race there so had a race or too on that, and to be perfectly honest….I wish I hadnt. Dont get me wrong, it still plays well, and the tracks are trademark Sega, but in my head, it looked like a dream, and had detail dripping from every pixel. In reality, it wasnt anything like that. If youve played any of the recent generation of racing games, Gotham Racing, Forza, Burnout etc….. they all look better than Scud Race. Shame – I’ll learn not to revisit past loved games unless I want to be disappointed. But thats not to say I had a crap time, on the contrary, it was great. Seeing some old consoles, playing on a few I never had, and got to have a quick go on Gran Turismo Prologue and well….meh! Looked pretty, but after getting used to Forza and Gothams handling, GT’s  felt a bit poo. It also felt lifeless as I played it on the non-rumble PS3 controllers, which really were poor, offering no kind of feedback when drifting, braking etc…. Ideally, Id like to give it another go on a force feedback wheel, but thats not going to be for a long time yet, so calm down. The track I played it on was also straight out of Forza so the challenge had already gone. Oh, I also got to see folks playing on Steel Battalion on the Xbox and I was mightily impressed. The custom controller was huge ,and had all manner of cool little switches, and buttons on while the game looked pretty neat too. Annoyed I missed out on it when I had my Xbox. 

I also, unfortunately finished Mario Galaxy last night. I say unfortunately as I just wanted it to go on forever. Its not a game that has awesome stand out set pieces, or specific high points, its quality runs through it from start to finish. Its 100% persistent smiles, and Im upset its over. Saying that, though, while the story mode is totally finished, the game itself still has a lot of life left in it. Ive finished 63 of the stages, and still have 57  more to go, so just over half way through!  

No more news other than that. Work and (hopefully) Badminton tomorrow so dependent on how late I finish, I may not get to post again. I also may be shockingly achy. However, I ahvent heard from my mate that was supposed to make the booking, so it may be postponed until Thursday. We’ll see!

Posted in Games, weather | 2 Comments »

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 »

From Mega Post to Mega-crap Post……

Posted by captainbeaky on March 3, 2008

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

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

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

Posted in Cars, Money, weather, Work | Leave a Comment »

The Mega-post!!!

Posted by captainbeaky on March 2, 2008

hats.jpgRight – if you get bored easily, dont bother with this post. Ive got 2 days of catching up to do so its going to be a long slog until the end of the post. Firstly, the boring stuff. Work has been good, with it getting a little busier every day so I hope it doesnt reach melting point soon. Either way, at the moment, Im actually enjoying going to work. The weather is fantastic here at the moment too, with it being 28 degrees today and its due to peak tomorrow at 32 degrees. Mad when you think it is now the equivalent of being September in the northern hemisphere. I dont ever remember it being 32 in September in the UK. 

Right, now thats out of the way I can write about other things that we’ve been doing/mulling over. Yesterday, we went into Prahran to have a look about and just to get a change of scenery from Melbourne, and really enjoyed it. Popped into a great antique/vintage shop and saw many millions of dollars of stuff that we wanted, and things that bought a tear to the eye, as fond childhood memories came flooding back. They had a pristine, mint condition boxed Starbird, in all its sound-effect and lightshow glory. You remember that Andy? Even had the little detachable ships on each wing – awesome! On our way around, I picked up some HD leads for my Wii and 360, as well as Super Mario Galaxy, but more on that later. We managed to abstain from blowing  a small fortune in the Playboy shop, as Becca found some great looking baby-doll style heeled slippers, and I saw a great looking suit. Both far too expensive though. Settled for tapas on our way home from the restaurant just up the road, which was damn nice. I usually measure the quality of a tapas joint by the tastyness of its patatas bravas, and this place didnt disappoint – an 8/10! 

Before we visited “Pu-ran” yesterday, we decided to go and have a look at an inspection, pre-auction on a property thats next door to us, and in our price range. Thought it would be good to experience just what we’ll have to go through in a few months time.  This is the property (dont forget to click the links Mom!) we went to see, which looks huge on the photos, but seemed smaller in real life but the view was more spectacular in the flesh. We had a look at the penthouse suite in the same building as it was avaiable for rent (but quite pricey) and it was lovely. Built in robes, an even better view, big bedrooms and a nice bathroom. Trying to make an appointment to see another unit tomorrow too, just to have a “stickybeak”! Good to have a nose and see what we should be expecting even if we arent in the market right now. I went back to that place up for sale this morning to sit in on the actual auction. It was a pretty slow affair and seemed like trying to get blood from a stone for the auctioneer, as nobody really wanted to pay a lot. The opening bid was for the asking price of $510k, and it finally crept for $530k, which isnt too bad for a property with that view. We’ve spent a lot of today mulling over our options, trying to predict market conditions, should be rent for a year, how much is it going to cost us to get furniture, beds, appliances etc….. and we havent really got anywhere. Renting and buying right now, have so many pluses and minuses for and against each option, and as such its like hitting your head against a wall. In the end, we decided the best thing for us to do was…..wait. We’re in this place until July, we need exchange rates to improve, we need interest rates to drop and more properties to appear on the market. We can continue to monitor whats going on without making a rash decision that will end up costing us in the long run. The property market here, and the economy, cant carry on at the levels they are right now, so its got to slow down, or burst pretty soon. We just have to wait until then and jump in!

Right, onto games. Despite it being a bumper period for games in general, with a crapload of A+++ games being released, and another quality period around the corner, Ive been getting slightly sick of it all. Bored of killing people in Assassins Creed. Killing more folks in Halo 3. Killing more folks in COD4. Killing more folks in Mass Effect. Killing more folks in Tomb Raider Anniversary. I know theyre all very different games, but I cant help feeling theyre all quite generic when considered as a whole. All are very realistic, all are very tense games and all are fiercly competitive. I feel like Ive been playing them because theyre there, rather than playing them for enjoyment, or escape. Its been fun for a while, but that fun has turned into monotony, and Ive not looked forward to switching my 360 on for a week or so.  So that has ended now and after reading countless rave reviews I bought Super Mario Galaxy, and the found the reviews were not wong. Its bloody fantastic! Really does get back to the roots of what makes a good game. Its not realistic, its not gritty, its not got lifelike textures and environments. In its place is escapism, fun, colourful, no-stress adorable gaming at its best. Even the way Mario runs put a smile on my face! If youre sick of the whole generic real-world, shoot/stab-em-up style of gaming that infests every weeks release schedule, I urge you to try this. Its bloody amazing! As a result of this I intend to change my whole perspective on buying games. Ever since 360 was released, I tended to buy a game I was fairly interested in on its release day, rather than if I actually WANTED to buy it. For instance, in the coming weeks theres Army of Two, Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 and a couple of others that I acant remember which were orignally must buy games for me. On reflection, “post Mario”, I really cant be arsed with any of them. Theyre just more of the same generic gubbins I mentioned before, so I’ll be leaving them well alone. Hopefully, I’ll be able to hunt out some original, fun games to get on with instead. 

Ive also realised that I am far more into driving games than I thought. Forza 2,  PGR 4 and DIRT have all really got “my motor running” (pun intended) and I just want more of them, especially with the steering wheel setup. As a result of this, I may be about to commit a terrible, terrible sin. Well, at least in the eyes of UK Resistance (and possibly my Brother). Playstation 3. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Force Feedback Wheel. Three items which have me considering a purchase of Sony’s George Foreman grill. I knew I would end up getting one at some point, for God of War 3, maybe Singstar for Becca, and Little Big Planet also looks pretty special. However, I dont realy want to get one before the control pad has rumble reinstated so I wont be buying one immediately. I dare say I’ll be even  more keen to buy one in a few days as I intend to visit the Melbourne Motorshow on Tuesday evening, which is joint sponsored by GT5, and has demo units galore inside. If it actually plays half as good as the videos Im seeing, it will be very hard to try and persuade me not to buy one! 

And on the subject of buying things, my mind is thrown into even more confusion by news of this game. Battlefield Heroes. While it may just seem like a WW2 Team Fortress ripoff, it looks superb. I can tell you I played Battlefield 1942 more than any other videogame before it, or since, so the prospect of a highly styled, great looking, FREE update of it sounds ace. Only problem is, its PC only. No Mac, no 360. If I buy a MacBook Air, it wont be powerful enough to run it. A MacBook Pro will easily powerful enough, but I aesthetically, it looks like a crock of shit, and has the ugliest keyboard Ive seen in a long time. I know aesthetics arent everything, but they are if youre me and use your laptop every day of the year.  However, there are distant rumours of the next MacBook Pro update in June, which will hopefully make it look prettier too. If this happens, Im quids in, but if they dont, I dont know where I stand. I guess, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it I suppose, but up until then, its yet another waiting game. 

So there ends the largest post Ive made yet. Its taken me over 45 minutes to type, and is currently at 1493 words. Jesus! I wrote University essays shorter than this! Dont fret though, normal service shall resume tomorrow.  Now, its time for Match of the Day, and a beer…….

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You Thought I was Indecisive Yeterday……!

Posted by captainbeaky on February 23, 2008

rent.jpgYes, more indecision Im afraid. This time on the subject of houses. We’re having a real good think about buying right now. Interest rates are nearly 8% and due to rise at least another 2 times in the next few months, and the economy is kind of going crazy. Houses are about $500 000 and rising, and Becca doesnt have a job yet. All of this means that if we want a mortgage, 70% of my wage will be going towards its payment each week, and thats not taking into account the imminent interest rate hikes. There are already record numbers of houses being repossessed countrywide as folks cant keep up with the payments. So we’re thinking of maybe renting a place for a year to let the market settle. This way, we wont be so crippled by payments each week (renting means only spending 50% of my wage each week which means I can bung the rest in a savings account and benefit from the high interest rates), it means that if we buy in a years time, I will be working on afternoons, as discussed in previous posts and as such, have a premium loading on my wage. Becca will have a job, and we will have had a years of UK house sale money in an account too. However, it does mean that we run the risk of the housing market rising even more, but on the other hand, the bubble might burst and things may slow down. Everything is a risk at the moment and it feels like standing on a 100ft pole, and everywhere you turn has its pitfalls. Will have to give it some serious consideration over the next few weeks and actually have to do proper grown up things like keep track of interest rates and the like. We’re in no rush anyway as we’ve got this place until the end of June, so thats plenty of time to think. 

Anyway, enough of financial gubbins. Its been pretty poor here today weather wise. Last night it chucked it down and we had REALLY strong winds.  Bits of palm trees everywhere this morning. Never the less, we headed off into the CBD today to pick up some things for work, namely stationary and other sundry type things. Nothing spectacular to report. Oh, tell a lie, there is. Managed to get my first hands on with a MacBook Air today and was really impressed. I know all about how thin it is, fitting in an envelope and all the PR stuff, but to actually hold it and press its buttons its a truly differnet experience. Its SOOOO thin and extremely light too. Screen looks nice and the touchpad is huge. If youre near an Apple shop, you owe it to yourself to pop in and just look at the Air.

Thats about it Im afraid! We hired out Black Sheep to watch a bit later as its crap on the box (review to follow!), got a driving lesson first thing tomorrow, and then off to see Priscilla at the theatre. Ive posted the photos I took over the past few days at the usual places too. However, Ive omitted a couple of photos as theyre worthy of their own posts, so look out for them over the next few days!

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