Saturday, March 28, 2009

F1 Practice Session Two

Some video from the second practice session, as well as the (somewhat unimpressive) V8 Supercars. Too much like NASCAR? No obvious tech, just big mills.

Also, it seems that Australia has an Air Force.

Didn't go down today for Practice Session Three or Qualifying. I was tired of the cheap seats. But I read that Ferrari had some trouble in practice.

Friday, March 27, 2009

F1 Practice Session One

Today was the start of the practice sessions for the F1 GP this weekend. I went down and took a bit of video from the cheap cheap seats (read - outside the fence).

These guys were doing flyovers of Albert Park after the practice session. I snapped these from my porch.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Russian MiGs

Somebody call Iceman.

MiG factory pictures. This was pretty interesting to me, especially after going to the Boeing factory a couple times.


Today is the start of the F1 event in Melbourne, capped off by the main race on Sunday afternoon. It's being dubbed as historic because it's a twilight race.

It's held in Albert Park, which is right down the block from us. We've been watching them assemble the venue for months, putting up barriers, grandstands, tent cities, and the like. This morning, before the opening of the event, I could hear the cars being taken out for test runs. It sounds like the CART/Champ Car race that we once saw in San Jose, only bigger and badder.

Had I been on the ball, I would have been taking pictures of the setup as the months had gone by. I am not, however, on the ball, it seems. So, I'll try to get pictures this weekend and some of the teardown. I did notice last night that I can see the lights from my bedroom. It seems that starting last night they began leaving them on 24 hours a day. I guess for security?

I did get this picture out of my kitchen window yesterday morning, which I thought was pretty cool.

Monday, March 16, 2009


So I'm finally getting around to reading the annual report for my Visa (yes, I know it's March). They have listed the 21st Amendment Brewery under "services."

Frankly, I couldn't agree more.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Lovely Pint

I just paid A$8.90 for a pint of Newcastle in the sunshine.

It was so good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today In Conversation...

Adam used the word "commensurate" in casual conversation.

Well done, sir.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kangaroo Jackie Chan

I don't know what made me laugh more - that a kangaroo crashed through this guy's window, or that he thought it was a "lunatic ninja."

But I may just be bitter, after coming back from a nearly 1500 KM road trip and not seeing any living kangaroos.  Plenty of dead ones though.

Oh, while I'm ranting, we also missed an earthquake in Melbourne while we were gone?  What the hell?  I can't feel one in San Francisco, I can't feel one in Melbourne, where can I feel a stinking earthquake?

Gig Review - Of Montreal, The Hi-Fi, Melbourne

Last Thursday, Shannon and I went to see Of Montreal. I didn't get to write a review of it immediately, and I think I'm glad. Looking back, I had a lot more fun, and learned a lot more about this band than I realized.

The venue itself was pretty cool, with a balcony (where the acoustics were terrible), a main floor with a staircase that you could camp out on connecting the two, and a pit in the center of the main floor, where the hardcore groupies laid claim. The show was close to, but not, sold out. The acoustics weren't perfect, and there was some reverb, but all in all, not too bad. My biggest complaint was that it appeared that the vocals were intentionally mixed down on about half the songs, as the other half sounded much better. Either that, or the sound guy was just a knucklehead.

I've yet to find the setlist online, which is too bad, because I didn't recognize a lot of the music. It was mostly older stuff, and frankly, I'm not that hardcore into them. But I might shift that way. The band was far more rock and far less electronic than I was expecting, despite one full time keyboard/synth and two part time (one was half drummer half synth, the other was all bass, half Pro Tools on his MacBook Pro). The two guitarists were quite good, and gave a much rougher sound to the music.

The music was good, and that's great, but what might have made this the most interesting was the sideshow going on. This is probably the closest that I'll ever get to a B-52's show, what with dead band members and all. There was neon, and hair, and leg warmers, and on stage sideshows, and God, did I mention neon? The whole show was basically played together, with no tuning breaks, or breaks where the band was busy chatting with the crowd. They played through, unless there was some on stage shenanigans with the tiger in the white tux jacket (yes, with tails). Oh, he was also the video guy - those two things seemed to be his job - who did all the video going on behind the band, which was a mix of the acid induced drawings that is typical in their music videos and album art, and video from mic stand mounted cameras, that was being fed through something that seemed to have the effects of a synth for video.

All in all, and somewhat in retrospect, I really enjoyed this show, and I recommend that you check them out in a town near you. Go for the spectacle if nothing else - the fans are as enjoyable as the band in that regard. Oh, also, they are extremely loud. Earplugs recommended.

Update 1: Here are some photos from the night. Still looking for a setlist...

Update 2: Download a recording of the show.

I Am Not An SUV

Did you know? It turns out I'm actually more damaging. At least sort of.

Some of you readers may recall an incident in the spring of 2005, when I crashed my bike in a race on a dirt road, which ultimately led to the crash of my friend and teammate, Hannah. Hannah laid her knee open, requiring a multitude of stitches (I can't recall how many), and eventually, surgery on her wrist

Yesterday, Hannah was cut off by a turning SUV in New York City and then T-boned said vehicle. Despite not remembering the accident, where it occurred, or what she was doing leading up to it, it appears that she is actually less injured than the time that we hit the deck.

So there. I can kick an SUV's ass.

But in all seriousness, drivers are assholes, so keep your head up out there - I'm just glad that Hannah's all right.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rental Cars

Finally, a deal in Oz!

Rental cars, one way, MEL-SYD, for under $8AUD a day.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Mighty Hawks

... got their wings clipped this past Sunday. But hey, Shannon and I went to check out the game. It's preseason, tickets are cheap and available at the door, and it's the Hawks!

Man, they looked horrible.

Word is, Carlton played their A team against Hawthorne's B team. I sure hope so, or it's going to be a rough year. The Mighty Hawks looked like a bunch of children.

The game ended Carlton 2-13-16 and Hawthorne 2-10-10. For everyone that follows AFL closely (all of you loyal readers, right? how many people actually read this?), you'll probably be saying to yourself, "wow, I thought scores were usually indicated as x-y, total, not x-y-z, total." You're right.

I know that a lot of sports in the States have sponsors for certain unlikely events, like, say, a bank will give money to the Ronald McDonald House if a player does X things 14 times in 17 seconds or some such nonsense. Here in Oz, they change the rules for preseason games. That "x" in my example is a "supergoal," which only happens in the preseason, and it's only if you make a mark outside the 50 and kick it from there. Or something like that.

Makes sense, right? Different rules for different times of year?