Category Archives: Day to Day Life

Our day to day life.

Wow are we behind…

It’s been about six weeks since we’ve updated this thing and a lot has happened. Ill summarize in this post and I’ll elaborate in later posts. Or maybe we’ll just see how it goes.

Since the the last post on the Koala Sanctuary we’ve been pretty busy:

House Boat Extravaganza! Our nice friends Josh and Beck in Brisbane invited us on their house boat trip. I think it was four days and three nights on a boat off the Gold Coast. It was quite awesome. We putted around the water, jumped off the boat and swam, fished a little, sat in the sun, read, relaxed, partied, drank too much, etc, etc. Very nice time. Check out some pics here.

Frasure Island.  The weekend after the house boat trip, P and I went camping with our friends Loche and Rebi. We went to Frasure Island which is a large natural island off the coast and a bit north of Brisbane. The island can only be accessed via ferries and only 4x4s are worthy of traversing the wild-at-times terrain. There are no paved roads on the island so be the best way to get around is to wait for low tide and cruise down the shoreline. You can go quite fast, almost like a highway, but even at these speeds it takes several hours to get from the southern end to the northern tip. All access inland is via very soft and bumpy off road trails. They definitely require a proper four wheel drive and a little know-how. The beaches were fantastic, as long as the eye can see, bright blue, soft light sand everywhere. We were on the sea facing side of the island and the surfs were pretty intense at time. Inland is a rain forest with several fresh water lake. Lake McKenzie is a famous freshwater lake with crystal clear blue water. It was pretty crowded when we went, but fortunately we found another lesser known lake that was just as nice and we practically had it to ourselves. On the way out we had to travel for a few hours along the beach at low tide just like we came in. Except this time we somehow miscalculated beause the tide was coming in fast on us. Its very dangerous to get caugh in a tide because the water will wash the sand out from under the car very very fast and you’ll be sunk up to your bumps in seconds. So it was a pretty mad dash out of there, splashing through waves, driving as fast as we could, flying over bumps, etc. But luckily we made it just in time and lived to tell the tale. Another fun bit is that Rebi is Swiss so Priscilla got to jibber jabber in Swiss with her all trip long. P doesn’t get to practice to often with people other than her Mom so she had a lot of fun. I’m sure they’ll stay in touch. In fact, Rebi is in Melbourne now in school so we’ll get together if/when we move down there. Here are more pics from the trip.

Before we left Lizzi arranged a nice going away dinner for us at a Chinese place in the valley. It was great! Many thanks to Lizzi who’s been such a great friend to us.

Let’s see… So then we flew back to the US to see our families for the holidays. P and I flew together to LAX and then we each flew to our family’s cities to stay for xmas. I flew into RDU and stayed with my brother and his fiancee in Chapel Hill for a bit and then to Goldsboro where my folks live. P went to Ottawa with her family to see their relatives for xmas and then went home to Fairfax. P’s driving down to Goldsboro and should be here tomorrow to stay for the week so that’ll be nice. I have some excellent Goldsboro day trips planned for us. 🙂 Yes, one is going to the SuperWalmart at 2am.

Since we’re both unemployed, our plan now is to stay in the US until one of us lands a job somewhere. I’m still working on the Bosch job in Melbourne. Theyre on a hiring freeze and are trying to add head count to hire me. So have a tentative verbal offer from them, but that doesn’t really mean much. We’re hoping to work things out in mid Feb. If that goes as planned, P and I will then move to Melbourne which would be very awesome. However, we need plan Bs so we’re also applying for jobs in other places we’d like to live like Boston and maybe Colorado somewhere.

Speaking of Boston, I went up there for a week last week to visit PJ for New Year’s. It was awesome. I hadn’t been to Boston before and its a really cool city. I liked the hole-in-the-wall pubs, the history, the architecture, the people, etc. Really nice. While i was up we went to a few parties, went to a few bars (including a sing-a-long piano bar), toured the Science Museum, site saw, etc. We went to the oldest restaurant in the US, the Old Union Oyster Bar. It first opened in 1826 and is still going today famous for their chowder. I must say a beer and a nice clam chowder on a freezing cold day was perfect! I think that even though the cold sucks, it makes everything else better. Like coming home from the cold is better than just coming home. Eating a nice dinner after being out in the cold is even better. Drinking beer is twice as nice when its cold out. Here are some pics. I’m still adding more as i process them.

Thanksgiving!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving! one of the best holidays of all. Unfortunately, Priscilla and I are in Australia for this day where there are no pilgrims, indians, turkeys, cornucopias, or cut out paper hand turkeys. And its hot and sunny. But thats ok, we had our own Thanksgiving!

This was actually our first turkey day away from our families. This is sad because a) we missed them and b) we don’t know how to cook very well. But we pushed on anyway.

Turkeys are hard to find here (a friend of ours special ordered one for $120!) so we had a chicken instead.

Yummmmm

Yummmmm

Priscilla had to work (no Thanksgiving holiday?!?) so i had to do a good bit of the cooking. Luckily she got off early so she saved the day at the end.  We had chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, peas, rolls, and pumpkin pie! Not bad at all. Priscilla also made some hot spiced wine which was pretty much hot sangria. It was pretty good, but it would have been a lot better if it was cold outside. Hot wine on a warm sunny day isn’t so good.

I couldn’t find any canned pumpkin here so i had to get some real pumpkin and cook it and use real pumpkin glop to make the pie. It turned out ok, but not too great. Our oven is a high tech piece of junk and nothing ever cooks right so it was kinda undercooked on the inside and half burned on the outside. Luckily i made a second pie and round 2 came out better.

So it was sad to be away from everyone, but we turned it into our own nice little holiday. 🙂

Party at Our Place!

This past weekend we had a little party at our apartment with all our new Aussie (and some American and German) friends. A lot of these guys had never played beer pong so we thought we’d bring that out. It was fun, but of course P and I failed by losing to the noobs. In our hayday we won NINE games in a row! Its all over now.

We listened to some music, some people danced, Dan (our friend, not me) dressed up as an impromptu pirate, and Priscilla had a different drink in each hand until she passed out. There were olives in noses, spilt beers, made up mixed drinks, goofy dancing, and the meeting of our neighbors. That sort of led to the management coming and busting our party for being too loud. Wups, not really used to apartment life I guess.

It was a great time and we’ll definitely miss our Brisbane friends if we move to Melbourne. But I’m sure we’ll keep in touch though. I have a lot of pics from the party on Flickr you can access by clicking the feed pics on the right. That’ll take you to the whole gallery. I’m still working on more elegant way of using flickr galleries in here, but that’ll work for now. But really, click em, because some are really funny.

Speaking of Melbourne it seems as though my application at Bosch is moving along. They’ve checked my references and now I have to have a Medical Assessment. This is because I’ll be driving cars in anger and such and need to be healthy. So I hope this means that I’m close. dum dum dum… I’m cautiously optimistic.

I can’t believe its mid November. P and I’s seasonal clocks are seriously screwed up. We moved here as the NC summer was ending just in time for the beginning of a new summer here. It really messes with your head. I almost surprised everytime i step outside that its hot out. It should be cold! At least we’ll have a cold Christmas when we go back home for a bit in December.

Its Been a Month!

So its been a bit, about a month actually.  I guess the novelty of blogging is wearing off. But we’ve done a few things since the last update so updated you shall become.

Lets see. The Thursday after the “Wild Weekend” we met our friends Whitney and Aaron for Sushi at South Bank. That’s a strip across the river from us that has some cafes on the river, a little beach, some forests to walk through, and an ampitheater. Further down is the QPAC which is the big theater in Brisbane. W&A are Americans who we met through Julie while she was here. They lived in Texas and San Francisco and are cool folks.

The next day our friend Lizzy (a real Australian, woot!) invited us to her house for a party. It was a lot of fun and we met a lot of her friends. They were all good folks and we had a fun time. We grilled some food, got fairly drunk, got into some friendly discussion on American politics, and all was merry. There was even some dancing that was unlikely to be remembered.

The following weekend we had dinner at Whitney and Aaron’s. Whitney made a baked chicken dinner that was good. It reminded us that we need to do something here for Thanksgiving. We’ll probably get together with some people and make our own Thanksgiving in Australia.  After dinner we played some pretty serious Wii. Easy its not, I lost most of the games. 😦

Last weekend we rented a car and drove up to Redcliffe which is basically a small beach/fishing town in Moreton Bay (home of the bay bug!).  It was kind of small and boring, but the weather was great and we just sort of hung around the beach and the piers. I took my camera and got some pretty good pics. I’ll add them to this post later.  We also had a really great dinner right on a fishing marina. I of course got the “bay bugs”.

Bay Bug!

Bay Bug!

Yum! Its basically a lobster with no claws. and yeh, those are the eyes on the far front outsides of the head. You just eat the tail like a lobster tail. They’re pretty good. I took a pic of my dinner plate and i’ll add it soon. Priscilla had a combo platter that was great as well. Everything was caught fresh that day.

Oh and renting the car was fun, too. So this is the second time i’ve driven a right hand drive car on the “wrong” side of the road. It got a lot easier this time and by the time we got home I was pretty used to it. Its crazy, but seeing US roads on TV now almost seems wrong!

Sometime in the past few weeks we also went to the Power House a couple times and went to a BBQ that Whitney and Aaron had. They went to a brewery where you bottle you own beer and they got a batch of 150 beers. The BBQ was to help them drink it all. It wasn’t half bad!

Oh and I’m writing this on my spiffy new Macbook Pro. Yep, “I’m a Mac” now. A major new revision just came out so i picked up a clearanced old model. Luckily the new changes are mostly superficial so this baby still runs quite nicely. I just realized that this is the first computer i’ve ever bought in my life. Wow. I’ve always had either family computers or computers that I’ve built with random upgraded parts every couple years.

Well so the whole Mac thing is going pretty well. I can choose to boot up into Windows XP if i want so i can still access Windows if need be. But really, i haven’t found a good reason to yet. It runs great, is really stable, and has some really smart and useful features. I can run a Windows XP virtual machine (VMWare Fusion) inside of MacOSX that runs faster than our old native Windows laptop. muhaha.  Maybe I’ll make a post just on this later.

This coming Thursday I’m flying to Melbourne for a job interview at Bosch. Its for an Application Engineer job in the Vehicle Chassis Division. The job is working with ABS, Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Systems on new cars. Part of the job is test driving! The job description actually requires high performance driving experience. The job is PERFECT for me. I don’t want to get all excited and jinx myself so i’ll leave it at that for now.

We have friends from college in Melbourne so I’ll be checking in with them Friday night for Halloween. It’ll be good to see them again and it’ll be fun to see the city. I hear its really really nice.

-Dan

A Wild Weekend Update

Let’s see… On Friday Priscilla had a meeting at a hospital downtown and got out early so I walked down and met her there. We were planning on going camping this weekend so we went by BigW (Walmart) to grab a couple things and walk around. Unfortunately it turned out that this is a 3 day weekend for school kids and the rental car places were charging double. We were also advised it might not be the best weekend for camping due to the crowds so decided to postpone it. We have plans for this coming weekend so maybe we can go the weekend after. Hopefully it won’t be too hot, its starting to warm up here.

That night we went out to a nice fish and chips restaurant. It was all really good except i had a very strange salad. No joke it was pure cilantro and mint leaves. I couldn’t it eat it.  They had lots of different kinds of fresh fish and seafood though and you basically chose a fish, how to cook/fry it, a sauce, sides, etc.  

The next day was another Saturday of shopping. This time i had to go because P said i need new shirts cuz i wear the same one every day. gah. So i had to spend my increasingly scarse dollars on stupid shirts. 🙂

That evening we decided we’d go out so we made dinner at home to save money for beer. We went down the street to an outdoor market area where there are outdoor bars and cafes and a few clubs. We sat outside and proceeded to drink more than a few. Then Priscilla got all clubby on me and made me go clubbing with her. haha It wasn’t so bad i guess and we were having fun.

Things were a little hazing but i remember this dude giving me pissed off dirty looks. I have/had no idea what his deal was but he was angry about something. Priscilla said that she thinks she might have pushed him to get by and he thought it was me or something, but who knows. So he gets all up in my face and i just play along w/ the staredown thinking “is this dude for real?” in my head. He looks away, stare down victory! and off i go. But then somehow he got all worked up again and pushed me outta nowhere! I’m just like dude, wtf,  you need to get outta here. I’m like just walk, man.  So then he pushes and drives me back pretty hard into the crowd and people start to take notice. He comes rushing at me again so i guess its time to do something. WHAM! i punch him square in the nose. It was a beaut, blood everywhere. It crunched pretty good. He backs up and there is blood all over his face and shirt and on my pants and my arm.  Pretty gross. So he’s real pissed and rushes me again like a bull.  Fortunatley i watch a little UFC and have studied the fine art of watching take down defense on TV. I got my underhooks in and after a short struggle I flipped him over and threw him on the ground and put a knee in his gut to hold him down. I then put my hands up and got off him. I disctinctly remember one guy in the crowd giving me a thumbs up. hah it was so awesome. So then we’re like, we better run! So we took off, ran out and down the street. I didn’t look back, but P did and she said she saw the bouncers walking him outside holding his nose, etc. He was all bloody, i bet i broke his nose.

I didn’t get touched except for a couple scratches and blood on my clothes. Well i did sort of hurt my hand from punching him and it was swollen up the next day, but its fine today. So i sum it up as one of those hostile trouble maker types starting shit and then getting his ass wooped for it. Everybody who knows me knows i’m not a tough guy, but its all changed now.  I am now DAN THE ANNIHILATING BRINGER OF MAYEM!

We spent the next day taking pictures of flowers in the park…

 

-Dan

Weekend Update

Friday we went across the street and had sushi at Sushi Station.  Its the kind of place where the conveyor belt (in this case a little toy train) with sushi on it goes around the bar and you grab what you want. Thats fun. Then we went downtown to Borders to try and find a cooking book. Not a recipe book, but a “how to cook, cooking technique” sort of book. I think I’m lacking in some fundamentals… I found the perfect book, but it turned out to be a $205 culinary textbook.  So the hunt continues.

Saturday day we didn’t do much. P went downtown shopping while I slaved away cleaning at home. Just kidding, I probably didn’t do anything of measurable importance. 🙂 She bought shoes.  Later on we went down to James St. (cool nicer/artsy/bistro/shoppy sort of place a block from our apartment) and ate dinner at a bistro there. My food was good, but P’s was kinda cold and not so good. Service really is hit or miss around here and more often than not a miss. So then we went next store to an indie film theater and saw a movie called Waltz with Bishar. It was an animated, but intense, movie about the Sabra and Shatila massacre during the Lebanese Civil War in the early ’80s.  I knew absolutely nothing about this before the movie, but the movie was effective I guess in that P and I went home and read up on the war. Feel free to click the links for more info. I just tried to write it all out, but it got pretty messy. It basically boils down to the same old story, Religion A attempting to erradicate Religion B. 

Sunday I bought a new digital SLR camera (little Nikon D40) thanks to a great sale, the exchange rate, and me selling the brand new camera that Canon was nice enough to give me for free. (When I sent in my five year old camera for a recall repair, they sent me a new better/newer model one.  Thanks, Canon!)  So now I have a basic, albeit real deal digital SLR. Let’s just say photography isn’t as easy as it looks, but I’m working on it. After picking it up and running a few errands in the morning we picked up some Subway (they don’t have chips at Subway here, wtf?) and headed to the gardens to have a picnic and take some pics. It was a perfect day and it was great to sit and relax outside like that. We need to do that more often.  Here are a few pics we took that day:

Definitely room for improvement! It’ll be fun to see how/if I can progress.

-Dan

Birthday!

So Sunday was my birthday and I’m now officially a quarter of a century.  I’m not going to say how depressing that is (because I think everyone who reads this is older than me, ha!) but it’s really freakin depressing. 

Went shopping in the morning to buy more shoes that I didn’t need and then when I came back Dan and I went to The Powerhouse, which is a little local music venue about 15 minutes from here.  We went a few weeks ago with my boss and his wife and saw 2 local bands.  One had a girl singer and the other was a punkier rock guy.  They were both OK but not very memorable since that’s all I remember about them.  This week we saw a band whose lead singer was reeeally similar to James Blunt (much to Dan’s dismay) but I thought he was pretty good.  Kinda sappy but nice.  The second band had a female singer who played keys and cello, as well as 2 other cello player.   It was pretty cool and was interesting to watch but it got kind of old after a while.  I guess I just lose interest in bands quickly.  I like to switch around and not listen to the same thing for very long.

Then it was present time.  But first a little backstory.  So there’s a department store downtown that’s pretty upscaple called David Jones.  It’s probably similar to a Saks or Lord and Taylor in the US.  Well they have lots of big designer labels and the first time I went there I saw these shoes…

and thought they were absolutely ridiculous but totally adorable at the same time.  I thought it might be funny to get them just for the hell of it.  Until I turned them over and saw the price.  $550.  Marc Jacobs.  Riiiiight.  So I put them down, gently, and backed away.  Next time Dan and I were in the store I showed them to him and said I really wanted them.  He just laughed.  And the next time we were in there I showed them to him again and said I really wanted them.  He laughed again.  Repeat probably about 8 times.

Ok back to the presents.  There were two and one of them was in a box that was very similar in shape to a shoe box.  Hmm.  I opened it and recognized the box as one I already had.  Bummer, they’re not the mouse shoes.  Then I opened it…

BAHAHAH! Dan made me mouse shoe knock-offs!  How impressive is that?!  He said he spent ages figuring out how to make the ears and getting the whiskers on right and glueing on the eyes.  Total price- $20.

Thanks babers.  Maybe one of these days I’ll be brave enough to wear them outside.  🙂

We had dinner at a fancy restaurant just on the corner of our street.  The menu was a bit…exotic.  It had a lot of things that I didn’t really want to eat (rabbit, quail, buffalo, venison, snails) but I finally decided on venison and Dan got buffalo.  They were both really good as long as you didn’t think about what you were eating.  This was probably the first really good meal we’ve had since moving here.  The food here is surprisingly bad and I don’t know if it’s that we’re just not used to it or what, but even our friends from the US agree.  We’ve probably been eating kangaroo without realizing it (another thing I don’t want to try).

-P