For New Year's Eve 2006 / New Year 2007 my friends Joe, Cicely and Brian came out for a visit. I am not sure how, but somehow Joe managed to score tickets on one of the boats in the parade of ships which offer the best view of the fireworks.
...a three hour tour. This is the boat that we watched the fireworks from.( more )
It only took me 22 months to get around to processing these images.
Melbourne, Day 2
On the second day we toured around the city. Oh, and my camera broke, the day before we were doing the Great Ocean Road! I couldn’t believe the horrible luck. I managed to pick up a used Nikon FM body in perfect condition to replace my FE. The FM is the mechanical version of the FE from the same time period. I could have probably gotten an auto focus camera new for less, but I had been enjoying the feel of my manual Nikon which hasn’t been getting much of a work out since I moved to Australia.
I shot three rolls of 24 in my new camera around the centre of Melbourne, and I felt like for the first time in ages I had gotten my camera legs back. Whatever that means.
Melbourne, Day 3
The next day we did the Great Ocean Road. It’s pretty. There are lots of flies. If you go you should arm yourself with some bug spray.
Melbourne, Day 4
Our last day in Melbourne was only a half day, so we didn’t do much. First we went to the Melbourne museum, where they had a blue whale skeleton. Actually it was a pigmy blue whale, named on account of it being small for the species. This is kind of funny because it was still enormous. They also had a vast collection of bugs. Some of them still alive even. Cicely came into the bug section to tell us that she wasn’t going to look at the bugs because they creeped her out, but by the time she was in she started looking around and didn’t seem so bugged out.
The computer geek in me enjoyed the CSIRAC, Australia’s first digital computer, and the worlds fifth stored program computer, and the oldest intact computer of either type in the world. Joe commented that “your” calculator probably has more computing power, to which I responded, “your” phone definitely has more computing power.
They also had an IBM PC... the original which was simply called a PC, because that wasn’t a generic term when it was produced. I think the oldest PC I ever used was an XT, which came out about two years later in 1983. The XT’s major innovation was that it had a hard disk, whereas the PC had two low density 5¼” floppy disk drives. In Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, they have a TRS-80. There used to be a whole room full of them at my elementary school. Stuff I used to use is now showing up in museums. What are the museum curators trying to tell me?
For lunch we had Mongolian Barbecue. It was pretty good and all you can eat, so I wasn’t hungry again that day. After that we took a taxi to the airport and flew back to Sydney. When I looked out the window as we were landing, I saw a Tangara, which exists (I believe) only in Sydney and I started feeling oddly nostalgic being back in Sydney. It was really nice being back in Sydney after being away fro a week. It feels like home here.
I guess that brings me to today. Brian is off to Fiji. Joe and Cicely are climbing the bridge today and we are meeting later tonight for dinner, along with the girl that I met at Thanksgiving. Joe and Cicely fly back to the states tomorrow, and I’m back to work on Monday.
Cairns, Day 1
Day 1 of Cairns actually started at 4:00am in Sydney. We took the red-eye to Cairns, which required getting the very first train into the city from Artarmon. e can attest that flying makes me grumpy. Flying on no sleep doubly so.
btw- I would like to thank e for still being my friend after having to fly with me :P
After checking in and checking out the resort, we took a taxi into town and had over priced sea food. The view was nice, but I vowed that I would not spend $30 on bad food again this trip. I can eat five or six times for that much usually... and it’s better.
Cairns, Day 2
Quicksilver cruise to the Great Barrier Reef where we went snorkeling. This was, for me, the highlight of the Cairns trip, as I had not been snorkeling since the last time I was in Cairns which was about 15 years ago! Still the whole experience left me feeling that I had been hermetically sealed from reality. I think it would have been better to have gotten a smaller boat that didn’t go out so far and spent more time snorkeling.
Cairns, Day 3
The third day we did smallish bus tour around areas south of Cairns. Our tour guide was obviously a local bloke who was highly entertaining. I often wish I could sound Australian like that. We got to see some of the devastation which Cyclone Larry had brought in March of last year. We also got to see this crazy water soluble castle in the tropics, which I think I mentioned in a previous post.
Cairns, Day 4
Our last day in Cairns involved a train ride up to Kuranda, which was lame, followed by some tourist shopping, a so-so meal and the “sky rail” back down the mountain. Sky rail is a fancy name for a gondola. The Gondola was pretty cool way to see the forest, especially since there were two stations to stop at and take a look around, but not worth the hefty price tag.
Then we went to Djabugay World (or whatever it was called), which was a little park dedicated to presenting local indigenous culture to tourists. There was nothing new here for me, except for actually being shown how to throw a boomerang by a true native. I was kind of nervous, but with all the other white people behind a net I made a pretty good throw and it did actually come back to my approximate vicinity.
For dinner we had really nice fish and chips. Actually I had prawn cutlets. There were of course too many chips. There seems to be a correlation between the quality of sea food and the amount of chips. The best fish and chip places seem to have way too many chips. They had fresh sea food in the window (which you can also buy to take home and cook), which also seems to be the mark of a good fish and chips place.
Melbourne, Day 1
After fish and chips we flew to Melbourne and arrived today at 12:30am. Slept in, then I went looking for film. I got to know Melbourne a little better. I haven’t been here since 1999. I have to say, for the whole Sydney/Melbourne rivalry, that Melbourne is a pretty cool city. This is definitely the sort of place that I could live if I knew anyone or if I landed an awesome job here.
All of this, despite the fact that I was born in Sydney and thusly should be biased in favour of Sydney. Sydney does, however, have much better beaches, the opera house and the bridge, so I think I will stick with Sydney for now.
Then the kids went down to see the penguin parade. I wasn’t much interested in seeing penguins so I stayed in the city to check out things here on my own.
I am a big fan of the city circle tram which is free and uses these really old looking trams. I don’t know why, but I really have a thing for old stuff. I have always been a big fan of the old Sydney ferries, even though newer ferries would probably be safer, despite not looking as cool.
So that is where we are so far. I still have three days in Melbourne, although the last day is only a half day. Then we are back in Sydney and my friends will be headed back for the states. It’s been really wonderful having them visit. I’ve done a bunch of things that I wouldn’t ordinarily do, and I’ve gotten to know Australia a little better.
I am ready for more visitors, so book your tickets today!
The Chrissy decorations are out already. In America don’t they usually wait until after Thanksgiving for that? Anyway, it’s not the timing that is unnerving for me, but the time of year. I know I will have to get over this, but this isn’t the time of year that you expect to see snowmen and fat guys in cold weather gear.( weekend and food stuffs... )
- Australian for Christmas
- the “Gong Ride” or Sydney to Wollongong bike ride
- Or for that matter, how I managed to get along without it when I was over there
This morning I was talking to e on the phone, and she told me that after seven months down under I “have a slight accent.” This made me happy, although I doubt I would fool any Australians. This and the call directly proceeding it to Joe (to plan Project NYE2006, wherein my friends are coming to visit), was the first time I had talked to anyone in America since I got here. I finally bought myself a calling card, and it costs me like 4¢ a minute, which is less than it used to cost me to make a long distance call in the US. That is shocking.
Australians no longer sound that odd to me. I expect when I go back to the states that Americans will be the ones to sound odd. Not my friends though. e and Joe don’t count because they just sound like e and Joe, not like Americans, since I know them well. It’s only American strangers that I expect to sound funny.
Today I went to the coast and took a walk along the ocean. It was nice, and it sort of reminded me of February 2005, when I came to Australia for a visit and had this strong desire to just stay after spending a few days in Sydney and Collaroy by the beach. Although now I have a bit of a sunburn, which is no good.
|The shoe is on the other foot|
Anyway, the party went off really well. Unfortunately, e couldn't make it because her dog got injured while frolicking in the snow, but before she left (and well before anyone else arrived) she got me started on the apple martinis. Kathy and Steve showed up bringing treats from the southern hemisphere. They were in New Zealand over Christmas, and apparently Kathy did what I do when in Australia, which is to buy up the sweets section of the grocery store.
Some people actually wore green and gold. I had a green "jumper" which my mum knitted with real Australian wool and a yellow T-shirt underneath which I got today for the occasion. Kathy had some beads and Mike had a tie-died T-shirt which included some green and gold and a basketball. When are Kathy and Mike going to go head to head on the basket ball court anyway? But I digress.
Joanna called to wish everyone a happy Australia Day, which was sweet.
The meat pies got devoured. I had like three and a half pies, and there is about half a pie left over. I should actually be able to finish it off before I leave on Thursday. I owe this to the indestructibility of the recipe, which I will be posting here at some point, because I am sure there is stuff that I got wrong.
Oh speaking of candid shots, here is one
|Cicely, Joe and Mike|
I really shouldn't have had that one glass of wine at Joe and Cicely's tonight at Action Tuesday (now scheduled weekly on Mondays). I really should have had two or three. Now it's making me tired and I have to submit some jobs to prove that Parallel Abstraction actually runs faster than Serial Abstraction. One would hope. I should really work on getting DoubleThink II up and running as well, but my mind isn't clear enough to focus on that right now.
They must have uploaded a trojan into our download stream to counteract the hexadecimal code rectifiers.
I was watching that trashy show 24 over at Joe and Cicely's and the bad guys were using massive amounts of bandwidth to hack into the nuclear power plants across the country. All these years I thought it took talent and knowledge to be a hacker, and here I found out all I need is a faster computer! I need to upgrade to a Pentium 4 so that I can hack into the CIA and download Adobe Acrobat and Micro$oft Word. At least they weren't abusing the term virus tonight. No, they instead decided to use trojan incorrectly instead. It really irks me when ever they start using computer techno babble on TV. Now I know how physicists feel when they have to listen to Data or Geordi drone on as they are oft to do.
They must have uploaded a worm into our download stream to counteract the hexadecimal code rectifiers.
I checked in a whole heap of code today. It's the first time in months. I am now hoping that I don't break the build. Lint is useless. It flagged a whole heap of non errors when I checked in my code. This for example is not a syntax error in ANSI C :
... for(int i=0; i<max; i ) ::printf("%d\n", i); for(int i=0; i<max; i ) ::printf("%d\n", i*2); ...because unlike earlier versions of C , each i is scoped for just its loop, not the entire code block.
Dude, my bastard child of Bill Gates and Debian burned this trojan virus to this cheesy media; have you checked it out yet?
Update: Sure enough, I broke the build.
|Mike, Mike's manager, and Mike's weed|
For some reason, iTunes "randomly" chose to play Born Slippy like three times during the course of the party. Granted, they were different versions of the same song, but still. The third time I swore vociferously and got up to advanced to the next song. My consternation made Steve laugh quite vocally, which is always fun, because he is usually so quiet.
I was so glad that Mike was able to meet all my friends. I love it when friends from different aspects of my life come together and get along well. It sort of affirms what I already know: my friends rock!
The movie we went to see was Team America : World Police. If you like Southpark you may feel the need to go see this movie out of devotion to its creators. I thought it was pretty terrible, although it did have me laughing at times. But anyway, I was watching this silly movie and it occurred to me that I have been taking life too seriously again. I have to get in touch with my humorous side.
Quick shower before she arrived and decided we would take Bull Hill trail which goes past some old ruins which I always find interesting to photograph. There was a large group (like 30 ) up ahead of us that we were eager to avoid, so we took evasive action onto a less trekked trail which took us to the top of Bull Hill and back around to her car. This actually worked out even better than the trail I had planed to take.
The whole time, of course, Jack was running up ahead and then running back to check on us. This helped tire him out, as by the end of the hike he was doing less of this. Jack, I should mention is e's German Shepard.
Then at four I was due to help a friend of mine unload her contents of her old home into her new home in Wappingers Falls, which not coincidentally is also her boyfriends home. We watched the SNL debate, which Joe had recorded from the night before. I thought it kind of sucked compared with what I remember of the SNL debates, and post election satire four years ago. Then again, they had more material to work with. We had a one sided political discussion. I have very strong opinions, but I prefer not to talk about politics, because I find it only affords me the opportunity to get me into trouble.
I'm tired, going to go to BED!