First weekend in Sydney

Since I’m still waking up about 5 hours before I need to be at work, I’ve had time in the mornings for a leisurely breakfast and posting some photos I took during my first weekend exploring Sydney. It’s a beautiful city, polished and modern but with the occasional bit of history tucked in the corners. I’m very impressed so far, and combined with the sunny climate it’s definitely a place I could spend a lot more time.

Saturday I walked around Darling Harbour, my neighborhood for the next two weeks, exploring the waterfront and marina in between afternoon naps. Sunday I caught a ferry to Circular Quay, on the east side of Sydney City proper, which took me under the Sydney Harbour Bridge (aka “the coat hangar”) and past the iconic Sydney Opera House. I walked down the plaza to get up close and personal with Australia’s most famous building, and then through the Royal Botanic Gardens and briefly into The Rocks, Sydney’s historic neighborhood. The light haze in the sky had cleared by my afternoon cruise home and I caught an even better water-side view of the Opera House, which is a stunning structure both up close and from across the harbour.

I’ll keep posting more photos in here, but what I’ve got so far is uploaded for your vicarious-living pleasure:

Click here for the gallery

Monday I spent at work (obvs) which was great in its own right, as my mates in the office are a bonza crew, and set me up well for my visit. The office is in a building owned by Nokia with a sweeping view of the harbour from the top floor cafe, the walls of which are covered with Nokia promo posters and oversized mockup phones. The coffee there is excellent, and has been everywhere I’ve tried it – the Aussies definitely know good coffee.

Speaking of coffee, it’s 6:30 Tuesday morning here (I know, it’s so strange) and I need to work out, get dressed and head out into Pyrmont to find breakfast and coffee myself. So enjoy the pics!

I don’t feel very popular.

I was just poking around on Nokia’s site, helping Danielle shop for phones. Since – of course – the US site features few of the really interesting models, i usually switch regions and browse the UK portal (for simplicity) or the Italian or German ones (for practice).

When i flipped back to the US one today, i observed an interesting/disturbing trend that may or may not come as a surprise to you, gentle reader: Europeans don’t think very highly of Americans! Yes, i know, it’s too crazy to be true, but still… look at the subtle hints Finnish Nokia has worked into their international web presence:

Kevin, back me up on this? – i think it’s safe to assume that a skateboarding, sun-worshipping Canadian blond indicates someone from Nokia spent a really great semester abroad in Vancouver and thinks Canada is just swell.

I need a gadget. I mean, like *need*.

Okay, i’m going thru withdrawals here. I need something shiny, flash, beepy… with buttons and/or a screen… i need a new toy. My old toys just aren’t fun anymore! 🙁

I’m not saying my old toys aren’t any good. Although some of them are showing signs of wear. A year and half later, my iPod is down to 5 hours of play instead of eight. But that’s nothing serious… what’s serious is that i haven’t been able to put any new music on it or take the bad stuff off for like 9 months! So those same stupid tracks keep popping up when they’re not wanted. Argh! I really don’t have the $$ to buy a new one, and a shuffle just isn’t the same. :p

And then there’s the phone. I still really like my Nokia 7210… but man i wish it had bluetooth! Cause i have this nifty bluetooth headset, and bluetooth for the Powerbook… and the phone is soo out of the loop. Plus i somehow cracked the faceplate while i was home in MT… apparently the environmental extremes of my jeans pocket were too much for the high-quality plastic. Now i could just buy a new faceplate on ebay for 25 bucks (which would include a new keypad, too, to replace mine with the dangling 1-key)… but that’s no fun. I just want a new phone… something shiny and cool like a 6230. (Cause i don’t think i’m cool enough for a 7610. Sigh. How am i supposed to feel socially confident with a wireless clunker?

And speaking of clunkers… ooh, don’t get me started! The Z is doing this weird thing now where every time the driver seat shifts, the sub cuts in an out. Since the driver seat is missing a bolt (don’t ask) every curve, brake, bump and (especially in this car) hit to the gas makes the sub go “thub… thub thub” as it turns on and off. Sooo annoying.

Now i’m not so desperate for a cool new battery-sucking toy that i’ll take anything. I certainly have no use for a nail polishing kit powered by USB, or any of the weirdness that such a juxtaposition of tasks implies. I also have almost no desire for a hello kitty cellphone. But i don’t think the Koreans are completely crazy to build wireless phones that monitor your blood sugar, body fat, or who knows what all else via some undisclosed cyborg link. How cool would that be?

Well, enough linking you to weird electronic stuff. Screensavers is on, and according to Sage the lovely Morgan Webb has new photos up since yesterday (probably of Adam doing stupid things, but i still have to check… can’t dis on my dream girl). So I’m gonna go do that… and maybe do an ebay search for “3G ipod for parts.”

Even the dogs are on drugs.

Just when you thought using your cell in the car was dangerous… this guy’s phone saved his life. Literally. It took a bullet for him. I’ve always thought Nokia’s were good phones – i had no idea. See that, Dean – technology makes life better! 😉

And while technology is improving the world every day, stupid people (some with questionable morals) are constantly struggling to make things worse for everyone. I mean, wouldn’t the world be a better place if people in florida stopped racing greyhounds dogs that are high on cocaine? I mean, i know “winning is everything” and all, but do the dogs get to choose if they’d like to become addicted to illegal psychostimulants? I doubt anyone asked the greyhounds if they were interested in the seizures and heart attacks that go along with being a coke-head. And besides the obvious and disturbing abuse of these animals, i have to wonder… if they have enough money to buy cocaine for their dog, do they really need to win that badly? I mean, if i could afford enough coke to get a 60lb dog high… well, i wouldn’t be at work today, that’s for sure!

Cartoon theme songs; short but persistent

Got a call from Mom at 8am this morning, they’re on the road! I’m down in burien working, but only until noon, then it’s home to straighten up the house and put another load of towels in the dryer, and otherwise get ready for them to be here! Incidentally, Mom called on the new phone which is super-duper cool. Found a sweet transformers pic for it, thanx Jhonny!

Put the new phone on silent last nite to catch Spike & Mike’s animation fest at the Varisty theatre up on the Ave with Josh and Kim. A couple very funny toons, and a bunch of really strange ones, and one that was kinda sad… pretty cool, overall. My fav was i think Happy Tree Friends. It looks cutsey but it’s not – it’s very much like Itchy & Scratchy of Simpsons fame, in fact i wonder whether one inspired the other. Really funny, and the high-pitched giggly theme song is still stuck in my head today… “La la la, lala la la, la la la, lala la la…” Augh! Make the madness stop!

Easter and UPS Tracking Numbers

I’m coming to you on this rainy tuesday from the breakfast table, racing against time to type something interesting and still eat my bowl of special K before it gets too soggy. According to ups tracking, my neato new phone is supposed to arrive today. I really just want to sit at home and play ssx tricky until it shows up, but i’ll probably go to work… ugh. I need to go visit the offices in burien (south seattle) this week, but i hate going down there almost as much as i hate driving to kent – it’s just a sucky drive, and when i get there nothing works like it’s supposed to. Plus i always seem to get in car accidents in that part of town. Well, ok, it only happened once, but i’m entirely creeped out down there now about it.

Mom, Dad and Danielle will be here thursday afternoon for a long weekend. It’ll be cool to have them here, hopefully the weather will be as nice as it was last weekend and we’ll be able to hit a bunch of the fun stuff. I already have tickets for a Mariners game saturday nite – my birthday present to myself. I still have two more nites to finish cleaning the house…

Haven’t been getting much done on the cleaning front so far cause i haven’t been home an evening since, like, march. Went to Dave’s last nite to help Matt finish up Ian’s transmission. At least, that was the plan, until we figured out a banjo bolt that connects the clutch master cylinder was missing. It’s a special order part, won’t be in for a few days, and none of the local places had anything similar enough. So it’s mostly put back together, other than the master cylinder (obviously) and a few under-hood parts (battery, supercharger piping) that would be in the way. But the pedals are all there, the tranny is in, and it shifts – although third is a little sketchy. I think it’s just stuck, nothing a running engine and moving car won’t fix. Fourth works just fine, and it’s on the same actuator. I keep telling Ian that, but he’s worried that it’s not going to work once we get it all together. In that case, i think Matt’s and my advice would be ‘take it to a transmission shop!’

Sunday was a lovely Easter lunch/dinner feast with Adam, Lindsey, Mike and Donna. My contribution was two bottles of wine, both with a story: a bottle of Rosemount shiraz that Tim and Carol introduced me to, and a Due Uve – an italian white – that my wine expert Michelle McL recommended. Both were great, i drank quite a bit of both of them…. 😉 I was up early that morning for Easter mass at a very beautiful cathedral that is only two blocks from my house – ‘so those are the church bells that keep waking me up!’ – and had breakfast with Josh downtown at the Cyclops. It was a beautiful, sunny, excellent Easter sunday!

Wednesday nite Josh, Kim and myself are headed to an animated film festival in the U district that’s supposed to be killer-funny. So that pretty much leaves tonite for me to finish my laundry and clean the house… but why do i suspect i’m going to spend all nite playing with the new phone…?

Or standing in line at the county administration building…

Got an email from Mom today saying she’d like to see a new entry… parents can be so demanding! 😉

DJ and i ordered a bunch of tuning parts for our mini RC cars, and they arrived yesterday, so i spent my evening working on a 2″ car (for a change). It’s so fast now! I have a bunch of pics i’ll throw up this weekend, if i get a chance. I’m really behind on the pic posting, apologies for that.

Picked up John at the naval station in everett yesterday morning, he appears to have survived his tour at sea, despite the general incompetence of a large number of his shipmates. Welcome back, man, and thanx for breakfast! He has a few weeks at home before it’s back-on-the-boat, so we’re going to try and make the most of it. Translation: we’re going to do some stuff to his car. 😉

I’m not in the habit of quoting someone else’s content, but i though this was funny and annoyingly true:

    The NEW open-source software business model:

      1) Write free stuff.

      2) ???

      3) Sell tech support to your family.

      4) Profit!

    As opposed to the previous open-source business model:

      1) Write free stuff.

      2) ???

      3) Get supported by your family.

      4) Profit!

So does this mean i’m adapting to the times? 😉 Speaking of the times, i’m finally going to join the world of high-tech mobile phone users… ordered a new wireless handset yesterday, a nokia 7210. At last, ringtones that i choose and a model series that hasn’t been discontinued! I’m feeling very high-tech and geekish, super excited for that to get here.

Working late tonite on a side project with a woman at work, a web site for the ceo. I get paid overtime for it, so i don’t mind doing it, but it has been a bit disorganized and that frustrates me, plus i’m just not very artistically inspired to make a website about someone else’s high school class reunion. I’ve been struggling with visual content, that and it’s supposed to talk with an access database and i royally despise micro$oft access in all its forms, not real jacked about getting that to work. Ugh. But i get paid for it. And i guess there’s about a million worse things i could be doing for money. (Ahem. Adjusting insurance claims!)