Results tagged “Flying” from Kazza the Blank One


| | Comments (1)

Twenty years ago today I went microlight flying with John Hales.  I put all the photos up on afterwards with this description:

A couple of months ago John, a friend of my boss's, had mentioned going microlight flying but never got around to actually going. I mentioned to him that I would like to go along too if he went. So he said if I booked us in, he'd drive us down. So I did. I booked in for Saturday the 17th, but Paul who runs Sydney Microlight Centre called me up in the morning and said the conditions were not good for flying and that he'd call Sunday. A change was forecast for Saturday night, so I did not fancy my chances of getting to fly Sunday either. Anyway, Paul called me up the Sunday morning and said the weather looked good. So John and I headed down there and arrived just on 12pm (with some rather ominous clouds looming in the south). There were not enough craft available for John and I to go up together so I went up first. It was amazing! It was a lot of fun, although very windy! We flew down to Kiama and round the lighthouse, then back again. I got to fly a couple of times (between taking photos). John had a flight after me. He took it more seriously and did a lot more flying. Below are some pictures from the day:

I didn't include all the photos for this blog entry.  If anyone wants to see the rest of the photos let me know and I'll reupload the original html page with all the pics.

The controls of the trike
Controls of the trike

Lake Illawarra
Lake Illawarra

Intersection of the Princes Highway and East-West Link (under construction)
Intersection on Princes Highway

One of the other trikes we flew down to Kiama with
Microlight aircraft

Jones Beach, Kiama Downs
Jones Beach

Bombo Quarry
Quarry at Bombo

Kiama Railway Station
Kiama railway station

Lighthouse and the Blow Hole at Kiama
Lighthouse and Blow Hole at Kiama



Returning to the airport.  There's a 747 parked in the middle of this photo nowadays, I really must go down and have a look at it some time.
Albion Park Airport

Final approach to the airport.  We actually landed on the grass rather than the runway, no idea why.  I had this feeling we were going to flip as soon as we hit the grass but it was fine.
Final approach to the airport

John Hales about to have his turn to fly
John about to fly

Andy, our pilot
Andy our pilot

I absolutely loved it.  And it's probably the cheapest and easiest way to be able fly.  I never did go again though.  And John's wife took one look at the photos I put up and vetoed him from ever going again either.  Oh well!!

No movies, no quotes

| | Comments (0)

Man the insomnia last week was horrendous.  I think I only got about one good night's sleep all week.

Tuesday night I woke up at ~3am for a couple of hours.  So Wednesday was an even worse zombie day than Tuesday.  On Wednesday evening I finished fully labelling my USA 2000 photos (everything had been labelled previously, but I wanted to flesh it out a little.

These things were so good!  Just like cheese kranskis.

Bacon and cheese sausages - awesomeness

Wednesday night I actually slept quite well.  I think I started culling down the USA 2000 photos for blogging on Thursday evening.  Note that all these photos have been online for nineteen years on conspiracy, but I've never put the photos and the blog together (actually I only digitised the blog a couple of years ago).  Rewatched first two episodes of Picard because David wanted to see it too.  Struggling to get stuff watched now cause noone's ever around at the same time.  Haven't even started the Mandalorian.

Friday morning I woke up at 1am and never got back to sleep.  Worst zombie day of the week.  I couldn't deal with people at work, you know the ones that don't actually understand basic networking, so they have no idea what they're even asking for.  My brain was just too mushy to deal.  So spent the day deleting old firewall rules which was a bit of fun.  Met up with the sweetie for a drink at Beirut Bunker Bar, then we had dinner at Kinn Thai.  Both the chili jam crispy pork and the papaya crispy chicken were "one chilli" rated, which you'd think would be mild, but it was at the upper limit of my tolerance.  I'd hate to try anything hotter there...

Kinn Thai crispy pork

Kinn Thai crispy chicken

The sweetie dropped me off at the airport which was lovely of him, but when I arrived I found my flight had been delayed over an hour and a half - apparently due to the bad weather in Sydney.  I chatted to Rob and Fiona briefly who happened to be there.  Then I tried to see if I could get on the earlier Sydney flight, but apparently it was full.  Had to ask.  So went and bought some overpriced wine and sat and read my book.  The original indicator board said boarding was at 20:25.   So at a bit after 20:15 I went for a bit of a wander.  Saw the indicator boards that said my boarding time was 20:10, but there was nothing to say go to gate.  So that confused me a bit.  So I kept walking, and then finally heard the announcement for the final boarding call for my flight (I couldn't hear the announcements properly where I'd been sitting).  So then it's like crap.  I'm basically at the Qantas end of the terminal and I still need to pee.  So did that then basically had to run the entire way down the terminal to gate #3.  #grunt.  Turns out I wasn't the only one to get screwed over like that, we still had to wait for a few more people before we could take off.  Of course then I was coughing most of the flight from the exertion.  hrmmmmmm.  Still, I had the seat to myself, and got a few cool timelapses of the path out of Canberra and again in Sydney.

Obligatory fountain photo

Wine and a book

VH-FVZ at Canberra airport

So it's nearly 10pm by this point, and the buses don't run all that often, according to a timetable I found the next one was in half an hour.  So I thought it would be quicker to get the train, even though it costs about $15 more #grunt.  But there were no trains.  And the indicator boards had *nothing* to indicate how long to the next one.  In the end I waited over half an hour for a train to Wolli Creek.  Shoulda gone for the damned bus.  At Wolli Creek a Waterfall train pulled in as I got there, but it was 19 minutes til the next Cronulla train.  So was going to go to Sutherland and walk, but messaged Mum and she said she'd come get me which was lovely.  

Useless info board

So got to Mum's place and crashed in a heap.

Slept relatively well - and quite late - til 7:30!!

Had breakfast with Mum (cardboard flakes with liquid cardboard on top - yeuch), then we went for a wander (in the rain haha) to the shops for some supplies.  Came back and gave her computer a bit of a health check and uninstalled some crap and allowed Kaspersky to delete some dodgy toolbars.  After lunch I culled down Ryan's photos a bit.

Then headed off to the party.  I was pretty anxious to start with due to such a big crowd of people and not knowing so many, and the people I did know I hadn't seen in years and I was all a bit freaked out, until Luc saved me with some wine.  Then we got the morph video going and downloaded all my photos, so they got played through as well.  Lots of food and most everyone else seemed to have a good time heh. 

Ryan's 21st

Ryan's 21st

Ryan's 21st

Trained it back, just missed a Cronulla train so Mum picked me up from Sutherland again.  Isn't she a nice mother type person? :)

Slept reasonably well again, then got up, got ready and Mum nicely dropped me off at the station (it was *pouring* with rain heh).  Got to Central, went to the loo, then straight onto the coach which was waiting.  No announcements at all to confirm I was definitely on the right bus tho heh.  It was mostly full when I got there too, but someone was sitting on the aisle so I got a window seat yay!!  Not that there was much to see other than rain... Left fifteen minutes early, got into Canberra five minutes early.  I did finish my book an hour early though. Whoops.

Central station

Stu met me at Jolimont, then we had some lunch at Wild Panda which nice enough (some hot peanuts, tofu salad, and two sorts of dumplings).

Wild Panda

Wild Panda

Tried to do food shopping at the Spar in the city, but they had about three trays of meat and that was it.  So dropped into Coles on the way home.  In and out in ten minutes haha.

Didn't get home til mid afternoon, so then of course got depressed about not having any weekend.  And too late to start anything.  So just did a bit of Picasa tagging.  and cooked a pork roast.  But forgot to turn the oven down after half an hour, so the crackling was ruined (too hard).  Then I spilt most of the jelly everywhere.  I'm such a failure.  BBT, Fuller House, then bed.

Epic leftovers

Today I woke up thinking it was Saturday and got really sad that it was Monday.  But did a bit of planning which was good.  

A solid day of rain and the lake is full again!

Lake is full again

Panorama everything

Tonight I wanted to get the USA 2000 photos into the blog.  But at ~7:15 I started downloading and processing photos.  Two hours later and I'm still going, and still blogging (this has taken half an hour so far and I haven't even inserted any photos yet).  So much for getting anything else done tonight.  

Stop the world I want to get off.

Up Your Shaft!

| | Comments (0)

So where were we?  Oh yes, yet another week has passed..

Wednesday morning we hopped a flight to Melbourne for Kit's graduation.  


Her parents were overseas so couldn't make it, so we filled in.  

Wait, let me backtrack a minute.  On Tuesday morning the sweetie messaged me to say his ballot for a points upgrade to business class had gone through.  So I'm like.. friggen great.. now I could lose my left-side-of-the-plane window seat.  So I tried to check in online.  I was able to choose seats on the left side of the plane (yayy!!) but the screen hung after the declaration of dangerous goods.  I tried to reload the page but it just said I couldn't check in online.  Thinking it was me stuffing up the webpage loading I tried to call Qantas to reset the error.  None of the options on the phone menu matched anything I wanted so I just ###### in an attempt to talk to a human.  Well it did put me in a queue.  For the next forty five minutes.  In the end I tried the online webchat, and got through to a human pretty quickly.  They said because of our upgrade we couldn't check in online.  Well why didn't you fricken say that on the error on the webpage you buttplugs!!!!  Why make me waste fifty minutes on hold (before I evenutally hung up after talking to webchat person)?!?


So we got to the airport somewhat early, and sure enough did get the seats I requested which was a relief.  Had breakfast in the business lounge which is somewhat nicer than regular Qantas club, and I had bacon, eggs and mushrooms for breakfast and a croissant.

Ok so business class.  Never flown it before.  Ok the service was bit nicer/quicker.  They offered us still or sparkling water before take off.  And we got actual metal cutlery and didn't have to peel a cover off our quiche.  But the seats, while wider and more legroom, were more reclined than usual, and I couldn't actually reach the floor, even with my slight heels.  So somewhat uncomfortable.  I'd much rather business class on a long haul flight so I can lay down flat(ish).  It is somewhat more quieter in front of the engines though.

Qantas 737 business class seating

Qantas business class quiche

So on a Canberra to Melbourne flight you really want the left side of the plane.  You typically take off to the north from Canberra airport, then curl around to the west then south west over north Canberra.  Which means.. I can see my house from here!  Had a great view of Canberra, everything I hoped for.  At least that part of the flight was pretty awesome.

Mt Majura radar station

Gungahlin town centre

Northern Canberra

Gungahlin town centre


Belconnen town centre

Lower Molonglo Water Control Plant


Mt Hotham Airport

And then to Melbourne.

We got tickets for the Sky Bus, because it's like half to two thirds the price of taking taxis, and went pretty close to our hotel.  Funnily enough, we booked into Travelodge Docklands, where I've stayed twice in the past year for work.  When booking the hotel I asked for a room on the east end of the building, because it has a much nicer view.  But, like just about every other customer service experience I've had in the past couple of weeks, it was terrible, and they ignored my request, and we ended up on the west end of the building with a lovely view of the Channel 9 building.  Thanks Travelodge.  NOT!

Channel 9 building from Travelodge

We couldn't actually checkin when we arrived at 12pm, so dumped our stuff and headed over to the Convention Centre for the graduation.  We met up with Kit and Pete, and then we went to the pub across the way with Pete while Kit got a gown etc.  She met up with us just before it started and then left again.  We finished our drinks but even though we were only slightly later than the suggested time, the auditorium was almost completely full, and we had to sit way over on the side and couldn't sit with Pete, he was two rows in front.  The graduation ceremony was .. well it was a graduation ceremony.  Hadn't been to one since my own in 1996.  Was somewhat like I remembered.

Pete and Kit

Kit on graduation day

Pete and Stu

Kaz and Stu

Kit's graduation

Kit's graduation

Afterwards there was some pretty average "refreshments".  Kit got her degree framed and bought her stage photo, then we queued for the studio photos.  For like an hour.  We were getting pretty tired by then.  And they were all stoopidly fussy about anyone taking their own photos, which I thought was COMPLETELY ridiculous.  There was no way we were going to queue for an hour and then not buy any of their photos.  STUPIDITY, GFP!! I didn't even bother, but Pete got told off for trying to get a quick snap.  I hate that sort of attitude, GFP, JUST SAYIN!!

Afterwards we walked Kit and Pete back to their apartment and had a couple of quiet drinks (Kit's back was killing her and the sweetie was super exhausted so we didn't go out).  Then walked all the way back to our hotel, where we had thins and aero for dinner and watched the end of War Games.

Yarra River

Reflections in the Yarra River

Flame bursts outside the Convention Centre

In the morning...  well other than breakfast in the hotel which was ok .. but .. 

Second Qantas drama in a row.  I tried to check in to the flight but we had been "upgraded" to exit row seats.  Which are like THE WORST SEATS ON THE PLANE.  Right over the wing, you can't see a damned thing.  This is an epic DOWNGRADE for me.  And I couldn't change the seats online.  Once again, we had to go to the airport to deal with it.  I told the sweetie he could keep the seat if he wanted, but he said he'd sit with me.  So I explained my situation to the checkin dude who was all cool and gave us seats further back.  Although row 22 which is still a bit close to the wing.  Not like the seats I actually reserved when I booked.  Completely pissed off with Qantas over all the drama they caused me.  The flight wasn't even full, and we could have had seats further back.  At least the sweetie didn't have to sit in the middle.

So work, drinks, etc.

Friday morning was optometrist appointment.  Honestly Specsavers are *completely* unorganised.  I first went two years ago and got a full eye check and new glasses.  They said they'd like to get a baseline for potential glaucoma (family history and all), and scheduled me in for a checkup in a year's time.  So last year I got the reminder notice, and booked an appointment.  When I got there the staff were all like.. "why are you here?  You just had a checkup..? and I'm like .. um, because you told me to.  They eventually figured out I was just there for the glaucoma tests.  Again they said come back in a year.  So I got my reminder recently and booked in an appointment, making it quite clear that it was just for the glaucoma tests.  So I get one of the tests, but then the one of the optometrists comes out and he's like "why are you here?" and I then had to explain the situation AGAIN, IN FRONT OF EVERYONE IN THE STORE!!  Don't these guys understand *anything* about patient confidentiality???  I was actually pretty annoyed with the guy.  Specsavers please get your act together!

For lunch Neil and I were planning "grease" at KFC, but the queue was a bit long, so he suggested Grill'd, which usually involves sharing wine.  Then hot chocolate at Max Brennar.  Whoops ;)

Last Sunday night we watched Star Trek Beyond, which I could barely remember anything about it was that.. memorable..  So I decided we should watch all the Star Trek movies from the beginning.  So on Friday night we watched The Motionless, sorry, Motion Picture.  Honestly nothing happens.  They get called on to intercept a thing.  So they do.  And that's all they do for the next two and a quarter hours.  Although I can imagine that trekkies after a ten year break would have wet themselves over seeing the Enterprise on the big screen.

Saturday was out to the club for yet another whole day wasted, this time for the AGM.  

Oh I should mention, since we got back, after Pete's sister left on Friday, I was feeding Kit's animals.  On Saturday morning I went out and collected twenty one eggs!!!  So Saturday night we used nine of them to cook a frittata for dinner.  Fun times.

Then we watched Khaaaaaaan.  

Today was just a quiet day doing all the things, although not all the things, cause I don't have time for all the things.  Did do some food shopping and cooked a lamb roast for dinner. 

And then we watched The Search for Spock.  There's a bunch of funny quotes, but the one that transported me back at least twenty five to thirty years was "Up your shaft" which Scotty mutters to the turbolift.  I first saw this movie in probably about 1990 with Chrissie.  I can't remember anymore if we hired it or if it was on tv, or if we watched it at her place (I think we did) or mine.  But I do remember we both absolutely cacked ourselves over that line.

And so ends another week.

Had a pretty quiet weekend.  Just plodding through the todo list and jigsaw.  Finished season six of Homeland (Quinn can't really be dead can he???).

Sunday evening headed down to Melbourne again for work. Took off to the south so the view from my left-side window was just of Queanbeyan, and nothing exciting from the northern approach to Melbourne.  Had dinner with Daniel, Ray and Tony at Platform 28.  

Travelodge by night

Then two days of discussions and some planning, although not as many decisions made as we would have liked.

Travelodge by day

This was pretty random.  I was just brushing my hair on the last morning and a hot air balloon drifted overhead..

Hot air balloon over Melbourne

Hot air balloon over Melbourne

Then home again.  Again I failed, due to a left-side seat on the plane but an approach all the way around Canberra and in from the north.  If I'd been on the other side I would have seen all the lights all the way around.  Le sigh.

Have finished labelling to the end of day two of New Zealand photos.  Getting there.. oh so slowly!


| | Comments (1)

The majority of my new team is in Melbourne, and this week we had a couple of day catchup with the whole team.

It was a pretty productive session but somewhat tiring.

The highlight of the whole thing was the flight down.  The back of our 737 was almost empty.  Connor and I were on the right side of the plane, and we took off to the north, and then banked around to the left.  So as soon as the seatbelt sign turned off, we jumped up and over to the other side of the plane.  We had the most spectacular view of Canberra I've ever seen!  Just amazing.  

Qantas Boeing 737-800 VH-VXB
Qantas Boeing 737-800 VH-VXB

Canberra from the air

Canberra from the air
Northern Canberra from the air

Canberra from the air
Canberra from the air

Belconnen from the air
Belconnen from the air

Belconnen Town Centre from the air
Belconnen Town Centre from the air

Canberra from the air
Canberra from the air

Canberra from the air

Canberra from the air


Tuggeranong from the air

After passing out of Canberra I went back to my seat and Connor went to the seat behind.  But we got up again to see the SNOW!

Snowy Mountains from the air

Snowy Mountains from the air

Snowy Mountains from the air

Mt Kosciuzsko is centre of frame
Mt Kosciuszko is centre of frame

Khancoban from the air

I stayed in my seat for the rest of the flight.  Usually when I fly into Melbourne it's on runway 27, which is a completely boring approach.  But this flight flew in over the Melbourne CBD before swinging north into 34.  I didn't realise how far south we'd come until I saw the Exhibition Building!  So awesome!

Exhibition Building, Melbourne



And what flight would be complete without going to say hi to the flight crew at the end :)

737 flight deck

Another highlight of the trip was catching up with David not once but twice!  Firstly for dinner on Monday night, and then again for breakfast on Wednesday morning.  That was super cool.

Pasta dinner

On the Tuesday night a bunch of us went out for dinner.  We ended up at Kollabo Kitchen for *lots* of fried chicken.  All this plus two bimimbaps for three people?  hrmmmm!!  Similar amounts of chicken were ordered by others.

Kollabo Kitchen chicken

We didn't finish it.

So I took all the leftovers back to the hotel.  Some of it David and I ate in the morning, and most of the rest of it we had for lunch later on.

Oh and also, had my first Uber rides.  They were pretty good.  The drivers were certainly a lot less aggressive on the road that taxi drivers!

It was nice to sleep in my own bed again at the end!

Airgaps in the flights are because A380s walls are so thick it's hard for the GPS to pick up the signal.

Europe 2016

Europe 2016

Europe 2016

Europe 2016

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.

Didn't sleep all that well on Saturday night.  The bed was definitely too soft.  And my mind was still going from the excitement of the day.  The curtains were pretty good and kept the light out really well, so we had a bit of a sleep-in.

Hotel view morning

Went to The Scottish Restaurant for breakfast after checking out, but they took forever and I was worried about missing the train we needed to catch.  I was thinking we'd have to catch a City Circle train to Central and change, but the train we caught at Circular Quay went to Hurstville!  How weird is that!?!?  So did that and changed there, as it was less far to walk than Central.  Although more than Sydenham, but I wanted to go as far as we could.  That, and the novelty factor of catching a train directly from Circular Quay to Hurstville!

So yeah arrived at the parents' then went out to Tradies for lunch.  I had a reasonably decent caesar salad for lunch, and then there was cake!  Two of them :)  One for dad and one for me.

Dad's 70th

Kazza's 40th

Lots of people came.  Around seventy!  Lots of people I haven't seen in years.  Lots that knew me but I had no idea who they were.  But quite a pleasant afternoon.  Dad's not doing so well at the moment - very unsteady on his feet because of all the zapping they're doing to his brain :(  But he did well and I think he had nice time.

Some of the family

After everyone left, we went back to my parents'.  Stayed there for a while, before dropping Dad back at the hospital and Mum dropped us off at the airport.

Virgin Australia ATR 72-600 VH-FVQ


Had a pretty good flight.  Took off from part way down 34L and banked round to the left, which gave a great view of my local neighbourhood.  In fact because the ATR planes are slower than the jets, got a really good long view.  Couldn't document it because it was too dark, but was able to locate heaps of things, so that was lots of fun.  Also got to see the Antonov that David saw yesterday.  It was just sitting at the international terminal.  I thought it had already left Sydney, but there was definitely a huge plane with wings on top and a blue tail, so what else could it have been?

Got home with a sore throat and exhausted.  Definitely feeling like I needed a weekend to recover from my weekend ..!

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


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.

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


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



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 Thursday we had a nice slow morning.  Saw Fiona off, then got ready and headed to the airport.

VH-YFI Boeing 737-800

Took a Virgin Australia flight because it was $20 each cheaper than Qantas.  Stu even got a spare seat next to him which was nice.  Got some snackages on the plane for lunch.

Canberra from the plane

Gulgong - the town on the $10 note.  Well it used to be.

Turns out I even got a couple of pics of Chay and David's suburb, and the reserve (middle) that we did a couple of walks around.

Had the nice approach into Brisbane, and I think pretty much the only time I've done this approach, in daylight, with a window seat.


Picked up our hire car and then headed into New Farm to have a look at the city, get something more to eat, and have a look at Stu's old house. (I took my jumper off after I got off the plane, and didn't put it back on again til we arrived back in Canberra!)


Then we headed out to Chay and David's.

We've driven past this pool a few times, but this was the first time I'd ever seen anyone in it.

For dinner we picked up some beer and pizza.  I had pepperoni and feta, with a couple of pieces leftover for breakfast.


We played a few games of Buzz and did some Singstar.


Fairly slow morning.  I'd had awful trouble sleeping because of the heat, and also the bed sagged in towards Stu so felt like I was lying on a slope all night.

After my pizza leftovers for breakfast, we eventually headed out to Orion, where we got the sweetie a coffee and had sushi for lunch.

Stu and Kailyn

In the afternoon I worked on a jigsaw Chay had picked up for me, and we all pretty much just chilled out.

Later in the afternoon we all went for a walk in the nearby reserve.

Family walk

We also had a look at the memorial to Jeremy Wackrow (spelt Jeremy Wacrow on the memorial), who had been found dead there in October 1995.  (The next day on the same walk we even ran into the guy that found him).

Jeremy Wackrow Memorial

Jeremy Wackrow Memorial

Camira walk


Had some very nice fish and cauliflower bake for dinner.  

Then we headed over to Storm's where we played quite a few games of Emporer-Scum, and then some Singstar til very late.



Better sleep last night!  I had leftover cauliflower bake for breakfast.  Continued to work on the jigsaw, where I had to defend the pieces against Ichi stealing them!


We were going to go to the cafe in Springfield Lakes for lunch, but it was closed!  How rude!

Springfield Lakes cafe

So we went back to Orion for sushi again.

After lunch we went for a drive to go see Helen's amazing new house.

Helen's house


Came home and finished the jigsaw.


David cooked up the rest of the fish, as well as a whole stack of yummy veggies.  Yum!

Watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was good, but it was very strange seeing Emma Watson try to do an American accent!  Then played a bit of Singstar.


Woke up at 5am, then couldn't get back to sleep :(:(:(  Got up and we headed off to Sizzler for breakfast.  All you can eat bacon FTW!  Except the bacon ran out, so it wasn't all you could eat, unless you wanted to wait.  So waited, but the bacon wasn't as nice in this batch.  Mushrooms were almost gone the first round, so had to wait for those too.  Didn't have a croissant cause they looked pretty doughy.  The potato gems were really nice though.  And had the added bonus of not needing to eat again til dinner time.

Sizzler breakfast

Picked up another small jigsaw at Crazy Clark's on the way home.

Did a bit of the jigsaw, then had a long afternoon siesta.  

Had another walk around the reserve, but it wasn't nearly as nice - heaps of trail bikes making a whole tonne of noise :(

Sunset grass

Had corned beef that had been in the slow cooker all day.

After dinner played a couple of games of Buzz, then watched Sherlock, then some Singstar.

David and I tied in "Who Wants to Live Forever"
Singstar tie


Quiet morning.  Had muffins for breakfast and finished the little jigsaw.

Stu and Ichi


Then we headed out to the airport and had some snackages in the Qantas club.

The flight back was also pretty good, and most of the back of the plane was empty, so Stu got a spare seat next to him again.  Flew right over the top of Sydney, then into Canberra from the south.

Plane shadow

Plane shadow

Gold Coast
Gold Coast

Cessnock (with the Crowne Plaza where we stayed at Christmas at the bottom left)

Lake Macquarie and some of Newcastle
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie

Tuggerah Lakes
Tuggerah Lake

Gosford and Brisbane Water

Eastern Suburbs of Sydney
Sydney Eastern Suburbs


So as always, a lovely weekend away!

Queensland 2012

| | Comments (0)
As is now a yearly tradition (slightly late this year), the sweetie and I headed up to Queensland to visit Chay and David.


We left work just after lunch on Thursday, as our flight was 4pm.  Two flights for the day - Canberra to Sydney, then Sydney to Brisbane.  So weren't scheduled to arrive in Brisbane til after 7pm.  Then our flight from Sydney to Brisbane was delayed for half an hour due to heavy traffic in Brisbane.  We did three big loops around the coast off Ballina/Tweed Heads.  But to keep us entertained, they announced that Cate Campbell and Emily Seebohm were on the plane, and they wandered down the aisle showing off their medals!  It was amazingly cool!  Got to touch Emily Seebohm's silver and gold medals!  They were very heavy!  But not as shiny as I thought they'd be! heh.  Finally arrived in Brisbane, picked up our hire car then headed out to Chay and David's.  Fairly quiet night.  Only stayed up til 12:30 drinking and chatting :)  But did get to meet their new bird - Ichy - an Indian Ringneck, who is amazingly cool :)

Have I ever mentioned how much I love flying? :)
Queensland 2012
Pretty clouds over NSW
Queensland 2012
Sydney shining
Queensland 2012
Look mum, I can see your house from here!
Queensland 2012
This dude is taking this plane for a walk
Queensland 2012
I was quite surprised by the *glass* bottles!
Queensland 2012
Cate Campbell and her gold medal
Queensland 2012
Emily Seebohm and her two silver and one gold medal
Queensland 2012
Cate Campbell and Emily Seebohm on our plane!
Queensland 2012
The girls had some cool "Australia" luggage
Queensland 2012
Brisbane Airport
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012


After a fairly slow morning, we headed out to Ipswich for lunch and went to the Hog's Breath Cafe for lunch.  I didn't feel like anything too heavy, so had a "side" of caesar salad, and a "side" of curly fries.  Because if you go to the Hog's Breath Cafe you *have* to do curly fries :)   Stu had a pretty awesome "finger food" platter.  On the way back, we stopped in at Dan's to pick up supplies for the rest of the weekend.  Dinner was lots of Eagle Boys pizza.  There was drinking.  There was Buzz.  There was Singstar.  And it was very good.

Finger food platter
Queensland 2012
Caesar salad and curly fries
Queensland 2012
Supplies for the weekend
Queensland 2012
Stu and Ichy
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012


Saturday after a bit of a sleepin (and the sweetie had headed out to meet a friend), C&D and I headed over to the markets next to Orion.  But they were pretty boring, not much there.  So headed into town to wander around South Bank and the markets there.  Was a very lovely wander.  Dinner that night was some roast chicken that we picked up from Chay's mum, along with the kids who were quite sick with the flu.  (David did his "best potatoes in the known universe" which were pretty decent :) ).  Their friend Storm came over after dinner too which was pretty cool.  There were mojitos.  There was drinking.  There was Buzz.  There was Singstar.  And it was very good.

Near Orion
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012
Brisbane from Southbank
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012
Southbank (taking after Japan, much?)
Queensland 2012
Bored lifesaver. The water looked lovely.  I'd have liked to have gone for a swim.  But I didn't have any swimmers.  And I think they'd have arrested me if I went skinny dipping!
Queensland 2012
Brisbane from Southbank
Queensland 2012
Lizard at Southbank
Queensland 2012
Nepalese pagoda at Southbank
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012


After a bit of a sleepin, we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Wivenhoe Dam.  We'd thought of this too late last year which was a bit sad as we would have seen it spilling over.  As it was this year, they'd closed off the viewing area so you couldn't even see the front of the dam.  But I did walk over most of it while the others took photos of me heh.  Dinner was roast pork, along with a stack of pork skin.  But after dinner I started feeling a bit off-colour.  Thought I was coming down with the flu the kids had.  But also felt quite queasy.  Didn't even feel like drinking!  Tragic I know!!  Storm came over again and we played a card game called "Frustration" which I think I'd like to play some more.  There was no Buzz.  There was no Singstar.  There was no more drinking.  And it was very sad.

Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Extra spillway at Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Blue-faced honeyeater
Queensland 2012
Isn't he a cutie? :)
Queensland 2012
Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Wivenhoe Dam
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012
We'd bought a big bag of purple carrots.  If you boil them, their water turns bright indigo!
Queensland 2012


The last day is always a quiet day.  Didn't really do anything before heading off with ten baby plecos and three baby guppies in tow at 11:30am.  Pretty uneventful trip home (two flights - Brisbane-Sydney then Sydney-Canberra, and Lake George looks very full!).  After a long weekend of entirely t-shirt weather it was a bit sad to get home to the freezing cold.  

Jaffas at the Brisbane Qantas club
Queensland 2012
Citrus lemon shortbread on the plane
Queensland 2012
Northern beaches of Sydney
Queensland 2012
Drinks with Libby Trickett at the Qantas Club in Sydney
Queensland 2012
A-380 taking off
Queensland 2012
Been to a couple of parties down there
Queensland 2012
Sunset over Botany Bay
Queensland 2012
I've never seen Lake George completely full!
Queensland 2012
Queensland 2012

I dumped all the fish into the two-foot tank.  The next morning (Tuesday) I couldn't see any of the new fish at all - alive or dead.  Wednesday morning I saw one of the plecos swimming around.  So who knows if any others have survived.

Also fought the infection for a couple of days, but I think I have beaten it and not really gotten sick.

As always, same time next year guys, it was fun :):):)
This morning I actually had a bit of a sleep in.  Which is incredibly rare for me.  Must have needed it after this week.

Went to Dickson for brunch with the sweetie, then to an Asian grocery store so Stu could get some rice flavouring.

And suddenly my entire morning is gone.  Hrmm :/

But I did have quite a productive afternoon, geotagging Eurasia photos (first six days are done), some bits and pieces around the house, getting all my RSS feeds read, and updating my FlightDiary.

Flight Diary

Flight Diary

| | Comments (1)
A few weeks ago I had the idea that I should digitise the flight log book my parents kept for me as a kid (after the Air New Zealand flight we got home from New Zealand in 1975 which gave me the log book).  

Flight Log Book

I entered all of those flights into an excel spreadsheet, and then kept going, digging out all my old boarding passes, photos and blog entries to figure out all the flights I've been on in my life.

As it turns out I've been on eighty flights in my life.  A few of those trips were on the same plane, so not eighty aircraft.  

I was telling Steve about all this and he showed me a magical site called flightdiary where you can enter all the details of all the flights you've been on, and it will show you all those flights on a map, as well as all sorts of statistics about your flights.  So awesome!  (and a total shock that Steve would have done anything that obsessive himself! :) )

So I went back to the boarding passes to get my seat numbers, and then entered everything into flightdiary (where I could - I didn't always get the registration of the plane all the time, mainly around that dark period around 2000 which was after I stopped using the log book and before I started recording things more obsessively).

It wouldn't count a flight on my uncle's plane because it didn't recognise the airport, so it only has 79 flights.

Some current stats:
79 flights (59 domestic, 20 international)
212272 km (5.3x around earth)
293 h 33 min (12.2 days or 1.7 weeks)
26.5 tons CO2 (1.44 kg methane, 1.18 kg nitrous oxide)
Top airport Sydney (obviously), followed by Brisbane, Canberra, LAX and Narita
Top airline Qantas, followed by Virgin Blue, then Ansett, Jetstar and TAA
Top aircraft - 737s, 747s, 727s and probably Dash 8s (but they get split up between the different sub series)
Top routes - Sydney to Brisbane and Brisbane to Sydney.  Pretty obvious with all the trips I did to visit Stu and later Chay and David.  Sydney-Canberra has had few goes now too.
2010 was my busiest year with 13 flights and it seems I've never flown in February!
Another funny thing I noticed was that in the first 32 flights of my life, not one of them was the same source/destination!  Some return trips, but never the same start/finish.  The first route ever to get repeated was the 2004 flight from Sydney to LAX.

Flight Diary

Flight Diary
Check out my full profile and stats on FlightDiary.

Tomorrow I get to add another flight to the list :)


| | Comments (0)
I finally FINALLY finished geotagging our UK trip photos this morning.  That only took about two months!!

I'll have a bit of fun with some maps at some point, but here's a starter to show why my last day took about a week to geotag.  This was about thirty hours of travelling, around 18000km (slight deviations around China).

Last day of UK trip

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.

Kazza the Blank One home