Thursday, December 28, 2006

CSI: Buderim

I learnt an important lesson about chopping boards on Christmas day to the detriment of my taste buds. More about that later.

Meanwhile, I made my 23rd CD purchase today. It’s my first 100% bona-fide skiphop CD. Skiphop? Yea, I was just as bemused. From what I’ve been able to determine it’s basically just hiphop from Australia, which apparently warrants it a whole separate section in the record store. It’s a fun, if tacky, moniker for the genre, and I’m assuming it’s got a light-hearted name since nobody can take a rapper with an Australian accent seriously. Especially when he’s spouting such corkers as ‘We ain’t sic, boy we just seem crook’ and ‘You’re best to believe in the Muph!’ (rock out mister Tom – you hear me!). I parted with my $25 at JB HiFi and came away clutching ‘Hunger Pains’ by Muph and Plutonic. I’d finally lost my skiphop virginity.

The cats have been treating us to a selection of local wildlife over the past few days, most notably the HUGE TARANTULA that turned up on Christmas Eve. Granted it’s not the largest I’ve seen in Australia, not by a long shot. But this one was IN MY HOUSE. Well, on the window. Forensic evidence suggests the following events led to the discovery of the spider: At some time between 4am (when the cats get let out of the house) and 8am (when the cats come in for food) one of them spotted the victim and initiated some kind of chase/battle during which the victim suffered the loss of three legs. This has been backed up by the lack of amputated legs visible around the crime scene. Cat X then brought the victim to the house, deposited it somewhere, and got bored. The victim managed to evade cat X and scampered up a wall and hid behind the massive thermometer that leans against the window. At approx 8.30am my mother discovered the victim. Apart from the amputated legs, the victim appeared to be of good health, and after a photo shoot for the records (from a very cautious distance, since these buggers can *move* when they want to) it was deposited into the forestland behind the house, and a swift retreat was made. Christ, I’ve managed to spin that out a bit. Here’s a shot of the beast. For reference purposes, that thermometer is about 8 inches long.

Exhibit A - the victim

Exhibit B - a suspect

So the chopping board lesson:

When you’re chopping the kiwifruit for a fruit pavlova, ensure you use a different side of the chopping board to the one that you’d used to chop the onions on the night before. That way, when you’re serving up your delicious desert on Christmas day, you don’t realise with abject horror when you take a bite along with the other family and friends that you’ve just dished up a strawberry, kiwi, onion and fresh cream pavlova for desert. The perfect way to round off Christmas dinner. Pass the gravy.

Some fungus

Some shoes

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well it wouldn’t be a holiday without a trip to the doctors

So, not to disappoint, I managed to mess up my foot somehow when I was in Sydney and now I’ve been advised to stay off it for the next three days, meaning I’m going to have to convince some other poor unsuspecting soul to take care of my Christmas shopping for me. (This is the part where I lean back and cackle menacingly). So it looks like Phil and Phil will be heading off to Sunshine Plaza on my behalf, armed with sufficiently vague advice as ‘get so-and-so something they’ll like’. Specifics are so last year.

And Phil I has Tonsillitis.

On the wedding...
Mamie got married to Les last week, and since Phil (brother) and I were giving her away we all flew down south for a long weekend. The ceremony was held in the garden and luckily it was a cloudy day so the temperature was comfortable enough to wear long sleeved shirts. The guy who performed the ceremony must’ve been, oh, about 600, and wore the thickest pair of glasses I’ve ever seen. It’s a good job the sun wasn’t out – he’d have had his eyes burnt away. It would have been like using a magnifying glass on ants.
The ceremony itself was beautiful and went without a hitch. I must admit I got a little teary eyed at a couple of points, but managed to cover that up with the camera!


Mamie and Les

On the new relatives...
The crazy thing that happens when your grandmother gets married is that your family tree suddenly explodes. As soon as their signatures hit the paper you’re instantly related to everyone at the ceremony. Before that, you’re only related to about 10%. So it’s even more embarrassing when one of them has too much to drink. Sure, they can make a fool of themselves *before* they’re related to you, but not after. Here’s a running tally of new relatives I know of:

1x step grandfather
2x step uncles (one pending)
3x step aunts
6x step cousins

There are probably more that I don’t even know exist. I know I haven’t met one or two of my new step cousins yet...

Here are some of my step cousins: Alana and her brother Alec, and Bronwyn and her sister Karyn.


Alana and Bronwyn


Turns out that Bronwyn will be moving to London in mid January, so we’ve swapped numbers in case we fancy grabbing a coffee sometime.

On charades...
After the food (of which there was masses), some fool suggested we play charades. To be fair, that’s a hell of a lot more entertaining than listening to Les explain how to do something, which is what usually happens whenever there’s a gap in conversation. But charades is still rubbish. Unless you’ve got a camera, at which point it becomes a whole lot more interesting. When else can you get candid shots of people pulling silly poses/faces? I must admit I did a little evil purr. I’m even looking forward to the inevitable charades at Christmas. I’m so gonna burn for this.

Phil (brother)

Phil (not brother)


Les (new step grandfather)

Theona (new step aunt)

On Christmas lights...
And we thought it was bad in Blackbird Lees. The Australians appear to take Christmas lights very seriously indeed. In fact, just yesterday my mum had to help one of our neighbours down from his roof after he became stranded putting his lights up. You should be able to see it from space now. Below are a few camera-shake stricken snaps from the streets surrounding Mamie’s house (and yes, that *is* Santa coming out of the blowhole of a whale):

On the Sunday Mum and Malcolm headed back to the Sunshine Coast, and back to the hot weather. It was raining when we arrived in Sydney and was unseasonably chilly but things were slowly starting to pick up. The two Phils and I had booked a couple of days in a hotel in Sydney to give us chance to have a good look around. We went to the Australian Museum on the Tuesday and had a good look around. TWO ENTIRE FLOORS were devoted to geology. Which is probably pretty interesting if, like my brother, you’re studying it at uni. But for the other Phil and I it wasn’t the most entertaining part of the whole experience. The bones exhibition was pretty cool though. Especially the ‘Bone Ranger’:

Bone Ranger

They also had two photographic competition exhibitions on; the ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ and ‘Up Close and Spineless’, a competition of photographs of invertebrates. I’d advise you to check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, there are some awesome shots in there, especially one of penguins having a slapping fight.

On brand names...
"BAM! And the dirt is gone!"

What’s going on there? Where’s Barry Scott? I’ll be having words.

It’s getting hotter. And hotter. And Phil and Phil are getting more and more burnt.

Oh, and I’ve just found out that my mate George staged a walk out at her work the other day after an arsey email from a director. How cool is that?! It might be giving me ideas...

Thanks for all your emails chaps, they’ve been making me chuckle every now and then. Nice to know that you’re all starting to unwind for Christmas. Must admit I got a pang of homesickness yesterday after watching some holiday special where it was all cold and snowy and Christmassy. This just doesn’t feel like Christmas. It was only yesterday I realised we didn’t even have a tree up. Things like that just don’t cross your mind when it’s in the thirties and takes a lot of effort to keep cool. So keep the emails and texts coming, especially as I’m gonna be housebound for the next three days!

And if I don’t say it before the day itself, have a happy Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You call that a moth? *This* is a moth!

My brother Phil and his mate Phil arrived from the UK on Monday night. The flight they took from Heathrow was overbooked, so they were offered 400 euro and a free upgrade to business class if they delayed their flights by 4 hours. They didn’t take it as they’d traveled down to London the night before and had about 4 hours of broken sleep at the check in desks and just wanted to get here. I blatantly would’ve done. But that’s just cos I’m cheap. Singapore even said that they’d cover food and hotel expenses should the flight be delayed further.

Monday I spent helping out at the family business. I stuffed 2 catalogues and 6 leaflets into 400 envelopes. One of them was to Humpty Doo, which is in the Northern Territories, of course.

And who says you’ve gotta travel around Europe to get random brand names when you can find crap that’s just as random as the best in Sweden in your local Woolworths? (See photos below)

Wow, only $1 for 200g of Tiny Bears?!

Can’t get enough of them Elbows

Phil shows off his Blood and Bone

Last night Oscar (one of the cats) caught a giant moth. And this ain’t no regular giant moth. This thing was the size of a small bird, so it’s understandable how a cat might have got confused.

Giant moth

A grasshopper thing

I bought more CDs in Brisbane today:

Tomorrow we’re heading off to Sydney for a few days – firstly there’s the wedding in Woolongong (where we’ll be staying on Fri and Sat night), then the two Phils and I have booked into a hotel in Sydney for two nights. It’ll be a nice opportunity to get to know Sydney a little better. I’ve been there about three or four times before, but I’ve only been able to spend a few hours there. Will be nice to explore the nightlife a little too…

Saturday, December 09, 2006

'Too messy'

The weather is still being odd.

Normally around this time of year it's impossible to move without sweating so much you leave a trail like a slug behind you. But this year things have been a little strange on the Sunshine Coast. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful weather. We've been getting a nice cooling breeze that has been taking the edge off the heat of the sun and the humidity has even been lower than 95%! It has actually been pleasant to be out in the sun (though you still can't go out barefoot unless you have a fetish for third degree burns on the soles of your feet). I'm hoping it's gonna last through to Christmas, but it's probably going to settle back to normal before long.

I spoke to my Mamie (grandmother) yesterday. She lives in NSW near Woolongong and has the luxury of central air in the house. Apparently they've had a few 42 degree days that drop suddenly to 18 degrees come 7pm. It's not been that drastic here, but the past two nights I've had to put jeans and a jumper on. I wasn't expecting that. Only packed one jumper. Bugger. Not even taken a dip in the pool yet.

Went up to Point Cartwright this afternoon after spending $113 on CDs at JBHiFi. Love that shop. Well, apart from the searches that you get subjected to when entering or leaving the store. That bit I could do without. I grabbed (purchased legally) the following:

So why the trip to PC? To play with my new telephoto and catch some 'sic' surfing shots of course. Except there wasn't any surfing to be shot. Apparently the waves were too 'messy', which is a technical term for 'they all keep getting big but then breaking early so there's lots of the white bits and not much of the green-blue wave bits'. At least that's how I understand it. There were a couple of people bodyboarding but that just wasn't cool. I fired off a few shots but wasn't happy with them. Mainly because I was shaking like a be-atch and most of them suffered motion blur. Bloody telephotos.

Tonight we decided to order fish and chips from the local take away for dinner. This ain't yer usual battered cod and chips. You choose the fish and how you want it prepared, which is pretty sweet. I had breaded Tasmanian salmon.

I'm all bunged up.

I got an email from a mate last night telling me that things have been going pretty crazy weather-wise in the UK. I didn't think much of it till I saw a MSN story about how London got blown down last week. Tom says Telehouse is still standing, though he reckons that's cos he wasn't on call, and if he was then Telehouse would've probably been blown into the English Channel and sunk.

And my phone works! So send me stuff!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dave has landed

What do you do on a plane for twelve hours when you're pinned against the window by the overweight woman sat next to you? How are you gonna take your mind off the situation? Sleep? Not at 11am. Eat? No, for you are in the scummy economy and can't snap your fingers for food. Watch a movie on the entertainment system? No, as your handset controls the screen of the bloke sat two seats away, and vice-versa. Listen to some music on the entertainment system? No, as the sound for your screen is also coming out of the arm rest of the bloke sat two seats away.

Once you've explained the problem to the cabin crew, (who reckon rebooting the entertainment system for your seat three times will sort the issue), and they've told you that there aren't *any* seats on board that they can move you to, they'll recommend the ideal solution. A deck of cards and an Asian movie review magazine. Perfect. That'll keep me entertained for twelve hours. I'll just play cards with myself and read about the latest release from Binda Humgee Studios SEVENTEEN TIMES. Rurr.

Luckily I remembered I had my mac with me. It took a mixure of aerobatics, wit and cunning to extract myself from my seat, climb over two snoring fatties, and dig out my mac from the overhead locker. But I did it. And I felt like a Holywood stuntman. I realised I had to ration my usage of it so the battery would see me through this flight and the next, so I watched an episode of Heros (cheers mister Strath) and tried to get onto the free wireless network on board. Which wasn't working, obviously. It wasn't until I got over the Bay of Bengal that it started working, which was ten hours into my flight. I managed to send a couple of 'woo I've got broadband on a plane' emails before the system packed up.

At least the food was good though. Get this for a breakfast: selection of fruit, cereal, bread roll, spiced ginger pork noodles, and a cuppa. Perfect.

I've spent the past couple of days just settling in really. Took some photos with my lovely new lens - see below (you shut your face, mister Roy), and just tried to acclimatise.

Phil and Phil arrive on Monday night, so looking forward to that.

Oh yea, I've already started buying music. Just got 'Black Fingernails Red Wine' by Eskimo Joe who won the ARIA a couple of weeks ago. Is gud.

Here is a photo of the lovely George on her birthday that I found on a memory card:

And here are two shots of these tiny baby grasshopper things that I found by the pool. They are about 7mm in length.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wireless at 42,000 feet

Gah. Crappy Singapore video on demand service is knackered on my seat. Basically my remote changes the TV screen of the bloke two seats away, and vice-versa. Audio is also fooked.

Did I mention I'm actually on the plane at the moment? Turns out that wireless is free this month on board, and it even supports macs! So until I managed to get the wireless up and running (it took a while, believe me) I'd just been sitting in the dark whilst everyone around me is watching lovely on demand content. Rarr.

Still, only another 3 hours left on this flight, then it's on to Brisbane on a comparatively short 8 1/2 hour jaunt. Need to get there before I bore myself to death. Any why aren't any of you on messenger to entertain me, hmm?