Results tagged “Aeroplanes” from Kazza the Blank One

Six Months

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I download photos from my Canon today.  For the first time since April.  And processed the photos.  For the first time since January.

In six months I've taken all of 155 photos on that camera.  Hrmmm.

I keep telling myself it would be different if I had a new camera.. that was still better in low light.. that could deal with difficult lighting as well as my phone.. 

The Canon 600D Dad got in about Feburary or March 2012.  I inherited it when he carked it.  So it's over eight years old now.  Still works fine, is just aging... 

I'd like to go back to mirrorless.. better idea of what you're going to get once you take the picture, and a lot quieter...  

I took this one morning at the end of January. 

Haunted sun

Got to see the DC-10 Air Tanker at the airport when I flew up for Ryan's birthday.

912 Air Tanker

Stikeez!!  This is all but two of the specials.  Kaibrya has a bagfull she'll send me if we ever go back to work, I might get lucky and get one of them in that.  I took this just before lockdown in March.

Stikeez

Rainbow in April

Rainbow

Happy tree in April

Happy tree

Black cockatoos in April.  Look at what the vandals are doing to this tree!!

Black cockatoo

Black cockatoo

Mess made by a black cockatoo

These were taken on a walk in late April

Red tree hill

Belco view

He was a dead end

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So last Tuesday after battling for two nights with Apple, and blogging, it got to 21:30 and I still needed to wash my hair.  Le sigh.

The lake was a little fuller after the hail storm.

Fuller lake

Thursday was a bit of a crazy day.  There was a bushfire near the airport, so people were distracted monitoring that (it originally started in trees that I'd noticed on the way to the club just last weekend were dead because of the drought).  And then it took out some good chunks of our network because an Optus location lost power and they didn't have generator backup there.  And there was a water bomber plane crash.  Sadly it was the same C-130 we saw taking off out of HMAS Albatross last year.  Sad times.  And then they closed the airport (well most flights were cancelled), stranding people in (and out) of Canberra for the evening.  I really couldn't concentrate very well on work that afternoon.  In the evening I was going to watch Coco by myself (finally caught up on all the Pixar movies I started watching a year ago, with just Toy Story 4 to go now - which is coming soon!) but the boys were ok for me to watch it on the main tv and they watched it too.  Was pretty good.  Well except for the whole I issue I had that photos have only existed for the past hundred or so years, so what did people do before that?  Paintings?  hrmm

Friday I went over to Chrissie's and we had some champagne for her birthday and had Chinese takeaway and just chatted which was really nice.  Her car was damaged in the hail.

Chrissie birthday

Hi google

Hail damaged bonnet

Hail damaged bonnet

Stampy

Saturday I did a bunch of research into how I was going to morph Ryan's donut photos.  One person said use "face movie" from Picasa.  My version of Picasa was pretty old and didn't seem to have it, so I downloaded the latest off the Wayback Machine.  And it was magic.  Saved me hours and hours and hours of effort.  Well, I still need to get some final photos from Luc to finish it off but I suddenly found myself free for the weekend.  

In the evening was a party for Aquila's 60th.  Stu wasn't feeling up to socialising but he came and stayed anyway which was nice.  And we didn't have a late night.  There was a lot of food.  Food spam to follow ;)  After the jigsaws!! OMFG!!

Oh hai friends

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th noms

Chris 60th birthday cake

Happy birthday Chris

Sunday.  OMFG I hate Apple.  Ever since I got my XS, it's never synced my Google calendar with the phone.  I've tried all sorts of suggestions but nothing ever worked.  So I gave up and downloaded the Google Calendar app which works just fine.  But it's also stopped syncing my contacts.  Which is more annoying because I often update my phone, but I want Google to be the master.  So I went hunting to see if I could try again to fix Google sycning.  Someone talked about using iCloud.  So I logged into iCloud to find my contacts aren't synced there at all!!!  Even though it's set to backup contacts.  What a retarded piece of crap.  I complained on Twitter, as you do, and they actually responded.  Not with anything useful of course.  I haven't tried the last thing they suggested, because I was completely over it.  I'm going to go back to my old 1999 perl/mysql database as my "master", making sure I have a full backup of everything, then try some more to hack away at it.  

We were originally going to go to the club Sunday afternoon but Stu wasn't feeling up to socialising, so we just stayed home.  Which suited me just fine as I was having fun geotagging my USA 2000 photos, and listening to the Classic 100 Music in the Movies, Rescreened, which I listened to the entire weekend which was awesome.  Did a bit of jigsaw as well.  We watched Quantum of Solace in the evening.  Man, that movie made me dizzy just looking at it.  Such a frenetic pace in the action sequences - editing of shots less than a second each.  Madness.

Monday I woke up at 3:30 and never got back to sleep (well I did for about half an hour at 6:30).  Hurrah.  Spent the day geotagging photos.  It was fun reliving my trip to New York from 2000, with more fresh memories to reinforce it all from a year ago.  I was sad geotagging the World Trade Centre photos though - I found it somewhat strange/disturbing that I could still geotag those photos with complete precision.  I was even able to geotag just about all the photos fairly accurately in Disneyland.  It's amazing how much has stayed the same over the past twenty years.  Managed to manually geotag the entire set of photos in one weekend.  Ok so there were only 727 of them, and about 70 I'd done the other week.  

On Monday afternoon a bushfire started near Orroral, where Stu, Kit and I did the Granite Tors walk a few years ago.  We could see the smoke from our place.

Orroral fire

We watched the first episode of Picard in the evening.  

Got a much better night's sleep on Monday night.   Tuesday the Orroral fire got much much worse.  We could see the pyrocumulus clouds from work.  I got some pretty insane timelapses of it.

Pyrocumulus

Tuesday night I backed up my phone.  It only took 32 minutes and about 8-10 reconnects of the phone to get the photos and the half dozen regular videos, not counting getting two timelapses I got via Google Drive earlier in the day.  Then another 15 minutes to process them (every single video had its timestamp changed), minus the few minutes I ran outside to see the sky on fire..

Sky on fire

Sky on fire

Sky on fire

Sky on fire

Today I worked from home.  Last Friday David had gotten sick enough of our slow internet upload speeds that he called Internode to see if they could fix it.  Today an NBN dude turned up and went off to fix it.  Turns out there was a broken connector, resulting in exactly half the speed we should have had.  So he fixed that and our download speeds are now back up to 20mbit down, 4 up.  Not quite as fast as it was before, but still twice as good as recent times.  Hurrah!  So at least that was a win.  Smoke from the Orroral fire blew north and the sky got a really eerie green/brown/yellow colour for much of the day.  

Tonight was just going back into the photo labels I'd done for the USA 2000 trip, and giving them a bit more detail and tidying it up.  I also redid all the panoramas.  Back in the day I used a program (Panavue?) that you had to manually set linkage points for it to line them up.  It worked pretty well for fairly horizontal panoramas, but not so well if the camera was angled.  So I redid them in Microsoft Image Composite Editor.  Sometimes Microsoft comes up with amazing software, and this is one example.  Works like magic.  

Case in point:

National Mall panorama - old

National Mall panorama - new

In all the crazyness of the world right now I can't help but be inspired by these flowers growing in our front garden.  They've basically had no water all summer, except during the storm last week.  Yet here they are, in full bloom, smiling at the world.

Pretty pink flowers

Stay safe everyone!

Coast Weekend

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Three weekends ago we headed down the coast for Kit and Pete's wedding.  We left on the Thursday after lunch.  I was still sick and coughing and had been in bed all morning.  Hurrah.  

Driving down Smith's Gap we saw the fires over at Braidwood.

Braidwood fires

Braidwood fires

This was the last weekend we were to see blue skies this year.  As I write it's been three weeks since we saw properly blue sky (except maybe a day or two).

Pretty clouds

This C-130 water bomber (N134CG) had just left HMAS Albatross.  

BMBR134 C-130 over HMAS Albatross

We stayed at the Springs Shoalhaven, quite close to the wedding venue.  Pleasant enough place.  It had a pool although I didn't have a swim (Stu did).  Both those beds were *very* soft.  I took the single to give myself a bit of distance from the sweetie with my coughing.  

Our room at Springs Shoalhaven

We chilled out for a bit, then went next door to the Ex Serviceman's Club for dinner.  It had a lovely aspect, facing north over the golf course.  At the far northern end of the golf course was the venue for the wedding. 

View of the golf course from Shoalhaven Ex Servicemen's Club

Pasta I had for dinner

Dinner at Shoalhaven Exservicemen's Club

Stu looking out the window

Spent half the night coughing.  Of course.

Stu thought it might be nice to have room service breakfast on the Friday, so we ordered that the night before.  Unfortunately because I'd had so little sleep I really wasn't hungry when it turned up at the appointed time.  It was nice enough though and I would have enjoyed it on another day.  

Room service breakfast

I pretty much spent the morning in bed.  We were waiting for word from Kit to see if they needed our help transporting anything or setting anything up, but they were running late and a bit frazzled.  In the end the sweetie and I went into Nowra to get some supplies (I still wasn't very hungry) and stuff for the wedding.  Then we headed all the way down to the end of Greenwell Road to have a look at the water.  That was quite nice.

Crookhaven River at Greenwell Point

Stu at Greenwell Point

Pier at Greenwell Point

Crookhaven River at Greenwell Point

Pelican at Greenwell Point

Pelicans at Greenwell Point

Dropped the sweetie back to the motel, then met up with Chloe, Katie and Kit so we could all get our nails done.  I've never had my nails done professionally before.  

Kit and Katie getting their nails done

The result!

Chloe's, Katie's and my nails

Picked up the sweetie, then it was off to the rehearsal.  There were quite a lot of people there and it was a little bit chaotic, so took quite a while to get through.  

Dropped off the sweetie again, then to Kit and Pete's to load up the car with food.  Swung by the motel on the way back and got Stu to drop me at the venue with all the gear/food.  He'd had a rotten time at the Ex-Serviceman's club - it was super noisy and crowded and he had to wait *forever* for food and couldn't even go get another drink because otherwise he'd have lost his table.  Poor thing.  Then he headed back to the motel while I stayed at the venue.

At the venue four of us girls stayed in the "Bunk House", while Kit stayed by herself in her own room (at Chloe's recommendation to get a better night's sleep).  

Chloe got us some takeaway burgers for dinner (and very nicely got me a kids meal so it was a lot smaller ;) ).

Chloe and Audrey made up little bubble blowers.

Making up bubbles

And Katie and Kit made up decorations.

Making up decorations

I supervised ;)

I slept on my inflatable mattress.  Or rather, I *didn't* sleep on the mattress.  I was so stressed about my coughing/snoring keeping Katie awake, that I couldn't get to sleep til very very very late.  And then I woke up early.  I think I might have gotten about two hours sleep.  How to recover from a cold - get lots of rest.  Yeah right.  Vowed never to sleep in the same room as anyone else (aside from the sweetie) ever again in my life.

Anyways.  I'll leave the day of the wedding to the next post.

This magpie was hand raised by the owners of the venue, and hung around while we cleaned up.  Very cool.

Magpie helping

Stu and the magpie

After driving Pete's ute back to their place late morning, with everyone's cars full of *stuff* that we'd spent all morning packing up, we finally headed home.  

We couldn't even see Smith's Gap through all the smoke.

Smith's Gap

This was leftovers of a massive antipasto platter that we had at the wedding (I put it in the fridges overnight, everyone thought I was mad heh).  We didn't need to do any food shopping that week - we just ate this all week!

Leftover antipasto

In February 1968 my Mum flew on this little plane to Tasmania for a holiday with a group of friends, travelling around Youth Hostels on the island.

This photo was taken by her in Launceston.

VH-RMQ in Launceston

Ten months later the wing broke off due to metal fatigue caused by a maintenance error and it crashed near Port Headland killing all aboard.

That metal crack had been forming for several years.  My Mum could just as easily have been killed in a crash on that plane!

Quite a sobering moment really...

SQ291

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I couldn't help myself.  I had to go see it.  In the rain.

Yes I was there for the first international flights both arriving and departing from Canberra!

Boeing 777-212(ER) 9V-SRP

SQ 291

SQ 291

David said they missed the planes and got the whole airport
SQ 291

I know that 737 is a lot further away but *damn* the 777 is big in comparison - it's like twice the size!
SQ 291

Planespotters!  Not shown: the other guys with their SLRs
SQ 291

Lovely view up close on the taxi way
SQ 291

Going ..
SQ 291

Going ..
SQ 291

Gone!
SQ 291

And as an extra added bonus, the car park had free parking from 7am to 11am for the event!

A380

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I had a crap day today.  Epic fail.

So here's a photo of me at the controls of an A380

Kazza and A380

Wow, full on day today. 9:30pm and only just got back to our room..

So started with breakfast. It was pretty good, but a bit of a shamozzle. Another big tour group is staying here too, and they'd descended on the place just before us, which meant quite a few things had run out by the time we got there. They did eventually replenish things but it was a bit annoying.

Our first stop was the Longreach School of Distance Education (aka, school of the air). Radios are really not used anymore these days - everything is done over the internet or phone (or in print). Apparently 95% of station kids have access to the internet. It was school holidays so couldn't see any remote classes going on. They have a pretty good setup there and our tours help fund it.

Next up was the Stockman's Hall of Fame. You could easily spend all day there reading all the information that's there. We had an hour, because we're on a tour and all. There was also the horse/dog/sheep demo out the back which was a lot of fun. And I finally got to pat a brahman bull (after seeing them in the outback for the past week and a half). His name was Jigsaw and the dude rode in on him. So cool :)

Then a quick lunch in the park, and I submitted a few portals.

Then onto the whole (well, main) reason I came on this trip - the Qantas Founders Museum. We all did the plane tour, but sadly just the basic one, not the full "wing walk" and avionics tour the little brother did a few years ago. Oh well, I might just have to come back one day :) Then we had a nice chunk of time in the museum. Again you could easily spend a lot more time there if you read through all the info boards. I read some of them, but took photos of most of them to read later, since we were running out of time.

Raced back to the motel to do our hair, go to the loo etc, then out again. Our evening was a series of events put on by some locals (Kinnon & Co) to try and make ends meet. On account of farming being somewhat of a disaster at the moment, with the drought going on.

So there was a cruise in a paddle boat up and down the Thompson River for a while, with nibbles on board. And a possum and her baby in the toilet sink. Because that's where possums like to hang out apparently. Took entirely too many photos of the sunset. Because it was super pretty.

Then up for some hearty beef stew for dinner and entertainment provided by "Scottie" who recited some funny poems and told some jokes. It was all quite a lot of fun.

Then onto the river bank to watch a "sound and light" show (a dramatisation of Harry Readford and his infamous theft of some cattle).

And finally back up for some damper and billy tea (I didn't have any tea).

It was a fun night, and was good to support some of the locals who are doing it pretty tough here at the moment. They're probably making a lot more money out of us tourists than they would be on the land!

Had a pretty good night's sleep last night. Woke up about five past six and debated for about thirty seconds whether or not I should get up for the sunrise. In the end decided I would, and it was quite pretty.

Breakfast was pretty decent, but I restrained myself from eating too much of it.

After breakfast we headed south-west to the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument. Had a little walk around the place before going in for the 10am "tour". It's actually just a big shed protecting a large bed of dinosaur footprints. Very very cool thing to see.

Then back into town for lunch (it's an hour and half drive each way out to the stampede).

After lunch went to the Age of Dinosaurs museum. This is a "working" museum where they not only have some super cool original dinosaur bones, but also people working to extract the bones from the rock. Our guide, Kathrine, was super enthusiastic about the work going on there (and life in general actually).

Then onto Longreach. On the way we had another round of Bobs and Dollys, which we won rather convincingly. Also saw lots of emus.

Arrived at the motel in Longreach, raced to get our laundry put on, then went across the road to see the PLANES!! I might have squeed a lot. Seeing the planes was my main reason for even coming on this trip.

Back to the motel for a very yummy dinner of roast pork and lamb and veggies.

Then across to see the planes by night. Well, the 747 anyway.

And finally back to download everything and type this up.

So I always forget *something*. This time I forgot all the paperwork for the trip. Not super critical, but annoying. And the map. But mum brought hers. I also wish I'd brought a bottle opener. How is one meant to kick back with a beer at the end of the day, sitting overlooking the marina and typing up the day's blog entry? Unless one makes sure to get twist tops or cans. But I digress.

So I was up at 5am. The sweetie kindly took me to the airport.

The first flight was in a 717 (really a rebadged MD-95). I'd only ever been in a 717 at the Canberra Airport Open Day, and never flown in one before (I think I've been in other MD planes though). I had seat 22F, which is up near the back of the plane, as I prefer. However the wings on a 717 are *way* back. And the engines are *just there*. In fact if I'd been any further back all would have been able to see would have been the engines. Note to self: next time flying on a 717, get seats up the front, further forward than rows 13/14 which are the exit rows.

We didn't get much in the way of breakfast, just a slice of banana bread. Qantas have also relaxed the PED (Personal Electronic Device) rules. If they're switched to flight mode you can leave them on the entire trip (except laptops, they still want you turn those off for takeoff/landing). And they had these little iPad minis that you could play movies, music and tv on. Sadly no games, which was a bit of a downer. Also the home button was disabled so didn't take you home which was a bit of a poo. Anyway I watched a doco - the Twitter Revolution, which I didn't quite finish because we landed.

Also there were clouds most of the way, so the view was pretty boring for most of it.

Anyway. Arrived in Sydney then went in search of a bit more substantial breakfast. They don't have a Maccas inside T3 so I had to have Hungry Jacks hash browns :(

Then went and met up with mum. We also saw a couple that had Outback Spirit bags as well, so chatted to them a bit too. They were doing a Cape York tour.

Our next flight was on a 767. Up the back again, as per my preference. Mum was happy that she didn't have to sit in the middle seat next to a random because of the 767's 2-3-2 seat configuration.

We took off to the south, but again the clouds made the take off pretty boring.

They gave us a more substantial breakfast this time, but being at the back of the plane it was quite late arriving, so I was glad I'd had something else to eat earlier.

Watched The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (on full iPads this time) which I quite enjoyed. Mum watched The Other Woman, which looked like it might have been fun. Sadly they didn't have Frozen. They didn't even have the Lego Movie on the iPads, although they had it on the minis on the short flight. Go figure.

After our movies finished we began our descent. Came in from the north but clouds prevented us seeing Cairns before we arrived.

So picked up our bags, checked the price of the shuttle ($28 for two people), then went and took a cab ($26).

Our hotel is lovely. We have a nice view of the marina and the mountains to the south.

Now if the sweetie had been here he would have flopped onto the bed and declared it a day. But it was only about midday, so mum and I decided to go for a wander. We got changed out of our winter clothes and into something more appropriate for the tropics and off we went.

After checking out the pool we meandered past the jetty, lagoon, war memorial etc, then headed through town up to the station. Stopped in Cairns Central for a *very* late lunch at Surf and Thai. Which was more like surf and western Chinese, but whatevs.

Then meandered back to the hotel to get changed to go for a swim in the lagoon! Mum has been to Cairns a couple of times but for one reason or another has never managed a swim in the lagoon. It turned out to be quite pleasant. So stayed in there for a little while, then came back to the hotel again.

So this is where I went on a little expedition to get beer, and sat down outside to type up what we've done so far today :)

It's been quite windy today actually. Which in the tropics is quite a blessing. I'd have been dying otherwise!

Moving on. So after typing up what we'd done so far we went out for another wander. Took some photos of the trees and the lagoon by night - very pretty.

Then battled the crowds in town. It had been the Amateurs day at the races, so there were a *lot* of short skirts, crazy high heels and fascinators. We had a quick wander through the Night Markets, Cairns attempt at an Asian-style market to keep the tourists happy. Then we ended up at Coffee Club for some calamari and chocolate cake.

The back to the hotel to crash.

Because, Plane!

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Driving home from the club the other day and this plane was about to hit the ground .. so the little brother slammed on the brakes and we documented it.

VH-VYH

VH-VYH

My Dad turned 70 on Sunday.

So we trundled up to Sydney.

And I figured if I was going to be in Sydney, I'd try and catch up with some of my Sydney friends for part one of my birthday bash.

Stu wanted to fly (to get points so he can get Virgin lounge access).  So we spent obscene amounts of money on flights and a hotel.

But let me backtrack a minute.

I'd decided that we should go to the Löwenbräu Keller, as it was central for everyone, it had pork, and it had beer.  I thought that we could have a lunch, and people could stop in for a drink afterwards if they weren't able to make it to the lunch.  Except when I made the tentative booking they said that they were a restaurant and everyone had to be dining.  This they underlined.  Well actually they said that everyone who made a reservation had to be dining.  And they wanted a $20 deposit for everyone.  And we had to order off one of the very restrictive set menus.  So that was my drama last week.  Anyways.  I got my RSVPs and made the final booking and paid the deposit, and fortunately on the day everyone showed up who said they would, and no surprises.  But more on lunch later.

So Saturday morning we got up and got ready and headed to the airport.  And after complaining a couple of weeks ago about Stu getting to fly in one of Virgin Australia's ATR 72-600s, I got to go in one :)

Virgin Australia ATR 72-600 VH-FVP

Took off to the north, with a view of Canberra and the new Majura Parkway, but a lot of fog around still (delays all over the place because of heavy fog in the morning, and was a bit stressed that our plane would be late or cancelled).

Majura Parkway

Majura Parkway

Actually to say was a bit stressed was putting it very mildly.  I was totally stressed out all morning - about the lunch, who would/wouldn't turn up, the restaurant being bumheads, getting to the airport on time, the plane being on time and on and on.  Was feeling quite queasy until we got to the airport and our plane was going to be on time .. 

But carrying on ..

Because it's such a little plane, they don't have the full food service where they sell food/drinks.  Instead they have complimentary drinks and snackages for everyone!  So that was pretty nice of them.

Virgin Australia in flight snacks

Flew almost right over the top of River Island (it was on the other side of the plane)

Wollondilly River

Then up over Campbelltown and in from the south-west.

M7-M5 junction
M7-M5

Holsworthy
Holsworthy

Look Mum I can see your house from here.. and mine (under the clouds).  Looking into the sun, so not much more in the way of good shots for the rest of the flight.
Shire

Bate Bay looking very blue
Bate Bay

So off the plane and onto the Airport Train.  I've never actually taken this train before.  Reason being: it's a complete rip off!  $31 for the two of us to get to the city.  Absolutely ridiculous.  And of course, there was trackwork, so we had to change trains at Central.  At least there *was* a train to Circular Quay - when Stu went a couple of weeks ago, there were no trains at all in the CBD.

Carnival Spirit
Carnival Spirit

Walked up to our hotel, and were able to check in.  Fairly basic hotel room, but very nice and a pretty decent view.

Shangri La hotel

Shangri La hotel view

Then we wandered down to the Lowenbrau, and even though we were fifteen minutes early, we were only *just* the first ones there heh.

James and George

Liz and Luc

Chris and Stu

Fiona, Stu and Me

Peter

Sami and Cathy

Fi and Daniel

No good photos of Marc/Ryan and none at all of Emma/Charlotte.. doh!

So everyone arrived and they brought out meat.  So. Much. Meat.  This times four!

Lowenbrau meat

We got the "Schmankerlplatter" which was $39.50 and the cheapest of the options we were forced into having by the Lowenbrau.  I was really annoyed by this, as it meant people couldn't go for a lighter lunch if they wanted to.  One thing's for sure - I'll *never* be booking to go to the Lowenbrau again.  If opportunity arose I'd still go there, but I'd never organise an event there again.

*Fortunately* they were happy to package up all the leftovers, and Stuart R and my brother took them home.  So at least a quarter of all that food didn't end up going to waste.

And the pork was pretty damned good.  And there was other meat too.  For those that wanted it ;)

The band

So after lunch, since the Lowenbrau were being buttheads about not wanting people to drop by casually, we headed up to the Argyle for drinks.  Fiona, Stu, Chris, Daniel&Fi and me and the sweetie went, and were joined by Fran, Jake, Ric, David and Yvonne.  Where we stayed til early evening :)

The Argyle

The Argyle's unisex bathroom.  The funky pods at the far end are the urinals!
The Argyle's unisex bathroom

Fran

Jake

So all in all it was actually a wonderful afternoon.  I hadn't seen Chris in twenty years, and I'd never even met Stuart R (except online, and he had actually thought I was a boy which gave everyone a good laugh ;) ).  And all sorts of lengths of friendships in between.  The only sad part was not having enough time to catch up with everyone for as long as I'd have liked.  Oh well.. will have to make more effort on future trips!  And convince people to come visit ;)

Stumbled back to the hotel.

Argyle Cut

Picked up some snackages on the way back to the hotel, thinking we might get hungry later on.  But we never did.  Too much meat!

However the hotel had put out a little bit of cake and a macaron for my birthday - how sweet of them :) (when they asked at checkin if I was up for a special occasion I said I was :) )

Hotel cake

Enjoyed the view briefly before collapsing into (a very soft) bed.

Hotel view

So the last morning of our stay in South West Rocks and the sun comes out.  Hrmmm.

So we went up to the gaol again to get a few photos of it in the sun.

Trial Bay Gaol

Trial Bay Gaol

Trial Bay Gaol

View from Trial Bay Gaol car park

On the way back to the highway I got some photos of some of the houses and how they elevated them to keep off the flood plain.  

Some build their houses on a big mound

Flood plain houses

While others just go two stories

Flood plain houses

Had a maccas stop near Port Macquarie for lunch.  This is on the roundabout next to it.

Sculpture

Driving driving.

Saw some birds circling
Birds circling

The Rock!  It's still there!
The Rock

An F/A-18 near Williamtown
FA/18

And arrival at our motel on Lake Macquarie around 4:30pm.  It has a nice view of the lake.

Warner's Bay

Warner's Bay

Watched the storm roll in.  Read a book.  And just chilled out for a bit.  Stepping out of the airconned-to-cold motel room was like stepping into a sauna.  It was that hot/humid, even after the storm had passed.

So headed into Newcastle to meet up with Fiona.  Was a lovely night and great to catch up with her again.  

Went to Goldbergs on Darby Street.

There was cheesy olive bread
Cheesy olive bread

I had "black pepper marinated lamb fillet" on a smashed kipfler and apple rosti topped with sumac aioli.  It was delish!
Goldberg lamb

Stu had "lemon and thyme baked ricotta" with warm olive and pind nut salad, watercress, roasted capsicum and chilli jam
Goldbergs ricotta

Fiona had a pretty amazing platter of goodies.

The little lioness

Then back to the motel to crash.  The aircon worked super well and made the room lovely and cold to sleep!

Air Force One

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Snuck out of the office after lunch with Windy today to go see Air Force One!

They'd been landing from the north all morning, but the wind changed and all the flights started coming in from the south.  So we went to Tennant Street Fyshwick which afforded an awesome view of the plane in flight.  My brother made it in time to go to Brindabella Business Park.  We thought about going there too, but were too worried about crowded roads and closures, so decided not to fight the masses and stayed where we went.

We had about 3/4 hour to kill before the plane arrived so took photos of planes, flowers, birds, bugs, and helicopters.  And listened to the F/A-18s flying around somewhere way above the clouds.

Qantas Dash 8 400 (VH-QOC)
Flower
Pigeons
Bug
Helicopter
Windy was listening to the Air Traffic Control on his phone, and we heard the pilots of Air Force One!

Isaac was the first to spot Air Force One in the distance.

Air Force One in Canberra
Incoming..

Air Force One in Canberra Air Force One in Canberra
It got pretty close!

Air Force One in Canberra

Air Force One in Canberra
Air Force One in Canberra

Air Force One in Canberra
It's gonna hit the ground!

Air Force One in Canberra
So yeah.. super awesome!!

We decided to go up to the airport to see it on the ground.  Bit of a mistake.  We timed it badly and had to sit on the Monaro Highway for about fifteen minutes while the motorcade left the airport.  Doh.  Saw it from the Costco car park.  Not a great view but traffic was so bad we decided not to go down to the Brindabella Business Park, and went back to work the long way around via Majura Road.

Air Force One in Canberra
Delta press plane
Nanette and the kids were lucky enough to see the motorcade outside the Hyatt later on while we were stuck in traffic.

I can still hear the jets! :)

Syd-uh-nee!

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Went on a quick trip to Sydney on the weekend.  Mainly to see a John Williams concert, and chuck in a family and friends visit too.

The drive was quite pretty - all the wattles along the way are out in bloom at the moment.  Unfortunately I was driving on the way up and it was too dark on the way back, so you'll have to take my word for it ;)

I realised I've probably *never* taken a photo on Como station before...!

Como station
In the city, an A380 flew overhead.

A380
A380 and Sydney Harbour Bridge
And then onto the Opera House for the concert.

Heaps of people came dressed up. There were lots of Jedis and Leias and Supermen (and a Superwoman) and wizards.

Stormtroopers
The Opera House itself is a pretty funky place for photography.

Sydney Opera House interior
Sydney Opera House interior
Sydney Opera House interior
Sydney Opera House interior
Sydney Opera House interior
Sydney Opera House
So the concert.  Fantastic!!!  It was really really cool.  Unfortunately we had pretty crappy seats.  Right near the front, which gave us an awesome view of the first violinists and the harp and a few of the cellists, but other than that - nothing :(  Couldn't see any of the brass or woodwind or percussion *at all* :(:(:(  So that was pretty frustrating and disappointing.  Note to self: don't get seats there again.

Sydney Opera House interior

Shaun Micallef came out between each piece for a bit of light entertainment which was kinda fun.  Didn't get any photos of him unfortunately, even though we had an awesome view.. you know.. being so close and all!  And near the end, Darth Vader and some stormtroopers came onto the stage.  That's the second concert in recent months I've been to with Stormtroopers.  Pretty cool :)

ACT I 
Olympic Fanfare 
Theme from Lost in Space 
Theme from Jaws 
Highlights from Close Encounters of the Third Kind 
Adventures on Earth - Concert suite from E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) 
Theme from Schindler's List 
The Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark 
Theme from Jurassic Park 
Theme from Superman 

ACT II 
March from 1941 
Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter 
Sayuri's Theme from Memoirs of a Geisha 
Main Title from Star Wars 
Imperial March from Star Wars 
Princess Leia's Theme from Star Wars 
Cantina Band Theme from Star Wars 
Throne Room and End Titles from Star Wars 

So yeah.  Thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was far too short too - only two hours.. for once I could have sat still for hours just enjoying it heh.

Anyways.

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Manly ferry

So hopped on a train home, and D&Y came over and we all went out to the Tradies for dinner.

Lamb shank
And they played with Yvonne's polaroid

Polaroid playing
Sunday morning we had a bit of a sleep in.

I took a photo of the "Pigs and Chickens" bathroom tiles for posterity.

Pigs and Chickens bathroom tiles
We headed out to Miranda Fair next, so Stu could get a nice cup of tea, and to get my birthday present.  Stu got me a birthday cake too :):)

Cupcake
Then went home, packed up all our stuff and headed out to lunch - met up with James and George and Liz and Luc and all the kids and had Sizzler.  Ate too much as always.  In fact I completely skipped dinner last night and didn't even wake up hungry in the middle of the night heh.

Then home to Canberra.  The end.

And did confirm that my mother does indeed read this blog.  *sigh*  hi mum....  now you won't have to ask questions all the time when you talk to me, cause you get it all here?  m,kay?

Skyfire 2011

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I was debating whether I should go along to Skyfire last night.  I wanted to have a go at fireworks photography, but the weather wasn't great, and it takes me a lot of convincing to get myself out the door and go out.  But in the end I did go - met up with @CLBradley and his tribe and neighbours.

We got a spot just east of the gravel at the end of Anzac Parade.  Toilets were an issue.  One pair servicing a huge area had a queue with probably fifty people in it.  So wandered further east and found a group of eight with no queue.  Go figure (although later apparently the queue was massive, so wondering if I jumped a queue without realising it.. shrug..).  People on the RiotACT were complaining about the queues for toilets too, and lack of food outlets that were advertised. 

Anyways.  Was there just in time for an FA-18 Hornet to buzz the crowd.  Man those things are loud!  Then had a beer and tucked into a picnic dinner.  Dinner was hastily put away when it started to rain, but fortunately it didn't rain for too long.

Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011

Fireworks started at 8:30.  Played with the camera trying out different settings, and taking *lots* of photos :)

Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011
Skyfire 2011

Fun night, glad I went :)
Thursday morning (1st July) we had a bit of a sleep in. An hour before we had to leave I thought I'd better pack heh. Left on time and arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare.

We had an Embraer E190 which is one of the smallest commercial jets flying. Two seats each side of the aisle. And surrounded by screaming kids. Yay. So a very noisy trip. And no music to listen to either - no headphone sockets. There was cloud cover over Eastern Australia so didn't have much of a view so ended up just reading the Virgin Blue magazine which kept me occupied the whole trip.

Our Embraer E-190
Embraer E-190
This sticky tape on the wing tip was a little disturbing
Wingtip
Canberra
Over Canberra
Interior of the E-190
Interior of the E-190
Brisbane
Over Brisbane
Brisbane Air Traffic Control Tower
Brisbane Air Traffic Control Tower

Arrived just before 2pm and went and picked up our hire care. Took the scenic route through Brisbane so we could drive past Stu's old flat. There's so many new bridges and tunnels here now it was a little bit freaky!

New overpass being built near the airport
New freeway overpass
Stu's old flat
Stu's old flat
Go Between Bridge - opening the next Monday
Go Between Bridge about to be opened

Got to Chay and David's around 3pm and then we chatted for ages before going on a booze run. Had beer and ordered pizza and ended up watching V for Vendetta. Then the others went to bed and David and I stayed up til a bit after 1am Singstarring.

Friday had a huge sleep in (10:30!!) and got to up to find we'd kept everyone awake :( Decided to go out for coffee and shopping. Went down to the lake for coffee and other drinks. Then went to the Orion shopping centre. I got a couple of Singstars for $20 each. One of these days we'll have to get a Playstation...  Had a look in BigW at Lego prices and wandered round looking at other things too. Had a sushi snack. Looked in the Reject Shop. Then did some food shopping in Woollies. Got home at 15:45 oops :)

Boats being raced on the lake
Yachts on the lake
Kailyn on a mall ride
Kailyn on a mall ride
Feeding the guinea pigs
Feeding the guinea pigs on the way home

So David and Daemon cooked a roast chicken for dinner which was highly nom. Started watching The Backup Plan but lost interest in that and ended up just playing Mario Kart and then some Singstar til midnight.

Miss Mog
Miss Mog

Saturday had another reasonable sleep in. Went out with Chay to a few garage sales so she could look for books, but they were all pretty crap. Mostly clothes.

Feeding the guinea pigs again
Guinea pigs again

Played through the 50cc Mario Kart cups to unlock all the locked ones for them then played a few rounds with the kids.

Chay made a fantastic lasagna for dinner - better than any of the lasagnas I've ever made.

Then we went out and saw Toy Story 3 which was pretty awesome but a bit dark for a G rating I thought. Came back then played some Buzz. First the general one which I was an epic loser at, then the music one which I was still a bit crap at but at least the scores were a lot closer. Then the others went to bed and David and I stayed up and did a couple of ten-course Mario Kart cups.

Sunday we got up at a more normal time, dropped Kailyn off at a friend's place and the four of us grown-ups went to breakfast at Ascot Provisions (Stu got random breath tested on the way which was a bit.. random). I tried the "breakfast pizza" because its toppings of cheese kransky, hashbrowns, cheese, egg and onion relish intrigued me. It was pretty good actually :) 

Clem 7 Tunnel
Clem 7 Tunnel
Breakfast pizza at Ascot provisions
Breakfast pizza


Next we headed to South Bank. Went on a bit if a scenic tour if Brisbane cause we didn't have a real GPS but even if we did, so much has changed recently it probably wouldn't have worked anyway. So we got there and managed to find parking in one of the parking stations. Unfortunately it's a flat rate $15 which is a bit rude if you only plan to be there for a couple of hours :(

Victoria Bridge, Brisbane
Victoria Bridge, Brisbane

Brisvegas!
Brisvegas

Anyway, wandered our way past a Scottish festival and up to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) to see the Ron Mueck exhibition. It was pretty awesome, I'll post pics in a separate post.

Kurilpa Bridge
Kurilpa Bridge
Scottish Festival
Scottish Festival
Scottish Festival

We were all pretty tired and peopled out at this point so headed for home (via a short detour past The Jazzy Cat Cafe where I first met Stu five years ago but it wasn't there anymore!)

David and I went and picked up Kailyn and then to Coles for supplies. Came back and reheated the leftover lasagne with some pan bread and we made up a salad too. Watched Merlin and then Waynes World (party time, excellent) which the kids didn't appreciate nearly enough ;) Played some Mario Kart then some Singstar Eighties.

Sunset
We dressed up Wallace in Kailyn's clothes
Wallace

Monday morning Chay cooked up a pretty awesome breakfast of bacon, tomatoes and cheese, spaghetti and toast. Then we played a little Mario Kart before packing up our stuff and saying goodbye.

Wallace enjoys breakfast

Gateway Bridge(s)  (didn't realise a second one had opened earlier this year)
Gateway Bridge(s)

Returned the rental car to the airport then caught the first of two planes of the afternoon. Was a bit bummed that our seats were over the wing (I couldn't get anything further back - looks like a young sporting team had already booked out most of the back of the plane). Then someone from my old job said "Karen" and then just stared at me. Most awkward. I of course was a bit thrown, and she wasn't any help reminding me who she was. Hrmmmmm. People. They suck sometimes.

Qantas 767
Qantas 767
View of a wing, and the Brisbane River
Brisbane River
Gold Coast
Gold Coast
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney CBD
Sydney CBD

Had a snack in the Qantas Lounge in Sydney but the creamy sauce I put on my salad was actually really really hot horseradish. Hurt my mouth :( Sigh.

Last plane home was a 737 and we were right near the back, but it was too dark for photos. And the flight was so short that they'd only just come round with snacks/drinks before we had to put up our tray tables. Oops. In the end I brought the little bottle of wine home unopened.

These beetroot chips were cool, but they make your poo purple - which is pretty darned freaky!
Beetroot chips

So had a really nice trip. It was very relaxing and *warm*!! Winter is definitely the time to visit Brisbane! Really not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow though.. The stress is a little bit ridiculous at the moment....

Longreach

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Me little brother and co were in Longreach today.  So friggen jealous.  Think might need to take a road trip or something next winter... 

Meanwhile... two years ago today we saw some of the remnants of the Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse, visted the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, wandered through the Tiergarten and up the Victory Column, looked at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church and Schloss Charlttenburg and took more photos of everything on the way back..
Woke up in the middle of the night from hurty, and was delirious enough to stress over the time - 2:43 but in what time zone?  Probably the first 2:43.

Aimed to leave the hotel at 9am this time (since it was "really" 10am), giving us an extra hour in Melbourne :)

Decided that we were going to go do the super duper expensive hotel restaurant.  Turns out it was an all you can eat buffet for $35 each.  I only managed to get two plates worth of food in (I never get good value out of all you can eats!)

Breakfast
Went back to our room and packed up, then checked out and left our bags with the concierge, and Nat and I did a quick photoshoot of the hotel.

Stamford hotel
Went for a wander up Exhibition St.  Saw sushi burgers and a sign saying nothing happened.

Nothing happened
Then wandered up through Exhibition gardens (Carlton Gardens) to the Exhibition Building.

Exhibition Building
Bird of paradise
Exhibition Building
Garden of Unity
I was most surprised when we got around to the north side of the building because there was a whole museum that wasn't there fifteen years ago!  Made taking photos from the north a little difficult heh.

Decided that we'd actually go into the museum and have a look.

Melbourne Museum
Pygmy blue whale skeleton
Whale
Dinosaur skeletons
Pterodactyl
Flutterbies?
Flutterbys
Big taxidermy room "Wild" .. at least a lot better organised than the one in Japan
Taxidermy
And we have a thylacine too!
Thylacine
Wolf
I had a long wander through the body exhibit, and then a quick run through the mind exhibit (would love to have spent longer there) before meeting up with the others to decide on a plan.  While everyone decided what we were doing next, I raced up to take some photos of Phar Lap (would liked to have looked through the whole Victoria exhibit there as well)....

Phar Lap
So went back to the others and we walked up to Lygon Street.  Although we didn't have time to sit down and eat, Nat got some take away pasta from one place.  Next time we'll organise ourselves better to actually eat here properly.

And then it was back to the hotel to pick up our bags, and hop in a taxi to head off to the airport. 

Our plane back - Virgin Blue 737-8Q8 (VH-VOU)
Virgin Blue 737
We didn't get much of a view during the flight because it was dark, but we did get a nice sunset from the plane on the tarmac
Sunset
So arrived back in Canberra and Andrew drove us home.

Totally great weekend away, lots of fun, and even a decent amount of exercise :)  
We want to come again next year and organise ourselves better to see some of the comedy festival and have a proper meal on Lygon Street :)

Good Friday morning we had a nice sleep in and relaxing morning.  Then a bit before 12 we were picked up by Nat and Andrew and headed off to the airport.

Watched our plane pull up, and took our seats up the back of the 737.  Fairly average lunch, and otherwise standard sort of flight.

Qantas 737-476 "Currawong" (VH-TJU)
Qantas 737
Lake Eucumbene
Lake Eucumbene
Khancoban Pondage
Khancoban Pondage
Lake Dartmouth
Lake Dartmouth
Last getting off the plane, but no wait at all for bags :)

Then hopped in a taxi (no queue!) and headed into the city.

The Giant Cheese Stick and Zipper (aka "Melbourne International Gateway")
Cheese stick and zipper
Our hotel (the Stamford on Little Collins) was very swishy for the cheap end of the swishy market.  Super cool glass elevators :)

Our room
Our room
View from our room window
View from our room window
We essentially just dumped all our stuff before heading out again for a wander.

Wandered past Hosier Lane and saw some people photographing the graffiti so went to see what they were looking at.  Found several adjoining lanes covered in lots of cool graffiti (there was even some being created while we were there!). 

Graffiti in Hosier Lane
Graffiti in Rutledge Lane
Graffiti artists in Rutledge Lane
Graffiti in Hosier Lane
Moving on, walked past Federation Square (which didn't exist last time I was in Melbourne)

Federation Square
.. and an Apple store ..

Stu gives the Apple store the thumbs down
.. and past Flinders Street station (with the new Eureka tower behind it - also not there last time I was in Melbourne)

Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station
Then headed across the Yarra River 

MCG from Princes Bridge
MCG
Lights on Princes Bridge
Lights on the bridge
Took photos of the Arts Centre
Victorian Arts Centre
.. and horse and carriages on St Kilda Road

stkildaroad
Then wandered through Southbank.  Stopped at this point for a snack to keep us going, as we thought we'd be having a late dinner.  

Melbourne from Southbank
This girl played short pieces from a stack of tunes.. a lot of movie soundtracks .. we were having a guessing game of what they were while we had our snacks.

Busker in Southbank
Next we headed for the Eureka Tower.  Fifteen years ago I went up the Rialto Tower.  This one is a fair bit bigger.

Eureka Tower
It has bugs on it!
Golden bugs
We headed up to the Eureka Skydeck 88 ($16.50 each).  Unfortunately it's a disaster for photography.  The windows are tinted blue and gold in different sections which screws up colour balances, the glass is *very* reflective, and the building is at all different angles.  We didn't even attempt to do any sort of panorama.  But we did spend ages up there taking photos and looking at stuff (and went outside to get blown away, but didn't do the Edge which was another $12 or so).  

South west Melbourne CBD, including the Rialto Towers, Spencer St, the stadium and Docklands.  
Melbourne from Eureka Tower

Tinted windows
Tinted windows on Eureka Tower
Flinders Street station and Federation Square
Federation Square from Eureka Tower
Spirit of Tasmania coming in to dock
Spirit of Tasmania coming in to dock
We hung around for about an hour waiting for the sun to set so we could see the place at night, but after an hour (when it was just starting to get dark) we gave up and headed back down.

The Yarra River is a lot prettier at night than during the day..
Southbank
Walked past Flinders Street station
Flinders Street Station at night
.. and wandered up Swanston Street and ended up at City BBQ Chinese Restaurant in China Town.  Dinner was ok.  We shoulda ordered less food.  Or made one of the dishes vegetables.  It was a very *brown* meal.

Wandered back down Russell Street.  

Was amused by the plastic food we saw in one place.
Plastic food
Dropped off the sweetie who had had enough, then went out again looking for ice cream.  Tried bottom of Swanston St and Federation Square without success.  Then went across to Elizabeth Street and walked all the way up it to La Trobe Street before heading back, eventually getting Magnums at a local minimart place.  I suppose we can't complain - it was Good Friday yet there was *heaps* of stuff open, and open til late too.  Don't think that'd happen in Canberra!

"The Public Purse" - sculpture we liked in the Bourke St Mall
The Public Purse
And so ended Good Friday.  It was a pretty good Friday :)  Lots of walking (really should replace the battery in the pedometer!) 
And this blog post only took fifty minutes to do.. no wonder I've been putting it off for days..

Epic fail continues

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One of my lesser favourite days in the past two years.  Debated on more than one occasion just leaving and not coming back :/   At least until well into next year anyway.

Got home and almost immediately went out again to do the shopping.  (via Dumpling Inn for shredded beef Peking style :) ).  At least Coles is relatively peaceful at eight pm, even three days before Christmas.  

Have got food organised for the next few days, although we didn't buy much in the way of "real" food tonight - just lots of snacks.  Roast pork will be had, but probably Christmas Eve since we have other plans for Christmas Day.  

And plane spotters should open this URL in Google Earth and go squeeee!!
Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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