Thursday, June 25, 2009


Non sequitur?

Props to Shannon for pointing this out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


New Toy

Turns out, this...

gets you this...


Thursday, June 18, 2009

quote of the day

i feel like ralphy's about to pet the goat.

Sent from Gmail for mobile |

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Trip Report: Little Desert National Park - Backpacking

This week late trip report is brought to you by United Airlines, because if it wasn't for those guys, I would have written it last week!

Two weekends ago, Australia enjoyed a long weekend to celebrate the Queen's birthday. Despite having been asked a number of times how old the Queen is, I have till yet to look up if that day is actually QEII's birthday, or just some observed holiday. If anyone checks, report it in the comments.

I took that Monday off, since Shannon had it off already, and we had planned to go to the Little Desert National Park, about 375km northwest of Melbourne. We knew a few days before we went that there was a high likelihood of rain. So it goes. Finite visa and such.

After a mostly painless drive up on Friday, we pulled into a campground at the east edge of the park at about 21:00. There were some clouds, but also a lovely, nearly full moon. We awoke in the middle of the night to rain, and promptly rolled over.

Saturday morning, it was still raining, and would continue to do on and off (but mostly on) until about 15:00. We hit the trail with a planed distance of 21km. The trail started off next to what used to be a river and now is just a dry bed. But there was obviously still water underground, as this was the part of the park that had fairly sizable woods. We saw a few kangaroos from a few hundred meters through here.

By this point, I'm singing the praises of textile engineers everywhere. Gore Tex is amazing stuff. Shortly after the woods, we hit what was much more desert. The sand was deep. The vegetation was short and much sparser. Nothing was as green. Also, it seems that there had been a fire fairly recently in this section, as the regrowth was not nearly as substantial as in other parts of the park. This was actually sort of cool, because it allowed much more visibility (short trees) and let us see a number of kangaroos at a distance, as well as a pair of emu.

And on it went for a full day of hiking. Rolling, but mostly flat terrain with very cool views from the top of hills. Interesting plants all around, and some beautiful birds. After a while, we strolled into camp. There are two backcountry sites with emergency cabins, and most importantly, tanked drinking water off the roof of the shelter. The rain had stopped, and we got to dry out some gear a bit and relax.

We had hopped to get some solidarity in the middle of nowhere, but it wasn't to be. A group of 11 mostly friendly, if not overly amplified walkers joined us an hour or so later. We figured out that we had seen them in the morning back at the trailhead, and had done a car shuttle. We spent a bit of time chatting with them around the fire before going to bed.

We awoke Sunday to mostly blue skies, which was a welcome change. Despite the clouds rolling in midday, it never rained. We also figured out that the group was traveling the same way that we were. Naturally, this was disappointing, but we did manage to get ahead of them and stay ahead, so they didn't scare off all the wildlife. Our trip was a planned 13.5km.

We took a small side trip to what was marked on the map as ruins. It appears that there used to be a backcountry camp there once, with a water tank. This tank was concrete, and was the only thing that hadn't been burned down, probably in a bushfire a long time ago. I only speculate on the time because the regrowth was significant. Much like the dried lake from the GOR trip, there was a very new looking sign advertising the shelter. Made of wood.

The terrain was very different here, varying from open space to tall thick bush that somewhat resembled the vegetation in the dunes at a NC beach.

We were also lucky enough to sneak up on two grazing emu and follow them for a while. This is more or less the only picture that turned out because they blend in so well with the ground.

We know that there were emu near our camp on Sunday night sometime before we got there.

Sadly, the group of 11 did manage to find us again, and they weren't quite as respectful the second night. But, it wasn't the end of the world. Soft sand makes for a nice bed.

Monday morning we awoke to a great sunrise and clear blue skies. We let the horde run ahead, as for some reason they seemed motivated, I suppose since they had to get cars from the other end. We were planned for 13km for the day.

Monday was probably the most desert like terrain we saw. Naturally, it was also the day that every set of batteries for my camera died. New ones, straight out of the box, took like, 10 pictures. Bah.

I thought it was extremely cool. Until we looked back and saw some serious clouds coming our way. And making time in the sand isn't that much fun. The first set turned south of us and we were treated to a rainbow. Normally that might not be such a big deal, but since we were in such a flat, wide open space, we actually saw it end to end. I'm not sure I've ever seen such a big, complete one before. The visible spectrum was very well defined, too.

Within the last two km, we saw an amazingly black sky behind us. We got to the car, quickly tossed our gear in, and hit the already soupy dirt road (in the 2wd Focus). As I slung mud getting us out of there, we hit the pavement just in time for all hell to break loose from the heavens. It was really coming down, and I was pretty thrilled to be back on the sealed road.

Oh, and remember that loud group? Well, let's just say their cars weren't back yet.

LDNP was very cool, and I'm quite glad we walked it. Unfortunately, we've basically walked all you can in the park due to the lack of water. The central and western parts have no water available, which means they are only accessible by 4wd for more than a day trip. Maybe one day we'll get out in those parts too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The 'Hood

What a burb we live in.

The attendant told police he decided to strike a seal with the bandit
and asked the offender to take two packets of cigarettes rather than

The bandit was apparently pleased with the arrangement
as he took the cigarettes then kissed the shop attendant’s hand before


It's amazing that airlines can make any money.  Under $600 from the west coast.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tour de Beauce

First off, good luck to Team DLP Racing.

Second, I find it hilarious that the start list for the Tour de Beauce lists teams by nationality, with some from Canada, and some from Quebec. The Quebecois crack me up!

Monday, June 8, 2009


We kept seeing signs for Aerodromes today in the car. I had no idea what one is.

Wikipedia says that it is: "a legal term of art for any area of land or water used for aircraft operation, regardless of facilities."

Shannon decided it was: "where little planes fly around in circles and race."

I like her way better.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


This is an old commercial, but I saw it again today for the first time in a long time. San Francisco is so cool.


Amazing research from the University of New South Wales on rebuilding eye tissues with those evil liberal stem cells.

From Gizmodo.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nothing To Hide

Props to Air New Zealand for having some fun with a commercial, and having the CEO in on it.