Thursday, May 31, 2007

I've finally landed in the Outback and it's been a tremendous journey. I left Melbourne on Tuesday morning on the Overland train to Adelaide. It was a 12 hour ride. I noticed as I boarded the train that nearly everyone in the car was in their 60s and 70s, and I worried that I might at some point be asked to render some sort of assistance I might not know how to offer...such as CPR. There were only maybe 3-4 of us who were under 50. The 12 hour ride went relatively quickly considering the length of the journey. I'll tell you that 12 hours on a train beats 12 hours on a train any day. You only have the people in your own car to deal with which is not nearly as many as is on a plane, and you have more space and can move around easily. The woman next to me was old and very drunk by the end of the ride, and happy to keep asking me questions about my trip even though I had my headphones on.

The hostel I was staying at offered a free ride from the train station, but I didn't see anyone waiting after I'd gotten my luggage. I went inside to use the pay phone, but it was broken, so I had to figure out how to make an international call on my cell phone all to ring a place that was less than 5 minutes from where I was. They informed me someone had blocked their van in and to take the shuttle, but the shuttle had already left. She said to take a cab and I would be reimbursed. It was dark, cold and wet in Adelaide and I was already not off to a good start.

While standing in line for a non-existant taxi, a young guy behind me who I recognized as being one of the other unrder-50s on the train asked if my hostel had not picked me up either. As it turned out, we were staying at the same place, and he would also be joining me on the Ghan the next day. His name is Matthew and he's a 24 year old from Newcastle, England who is in Oz working on his PhD for the year. He's on vacation and traveling on his own, as well. He's a good kid and has his head on straight, unlike all of the young, drunk brits I have seen all over Australia.

We shared a cab to the hostel and got booked into our rooms. We took a walk into town which was not very impressive. Aside from being dark, wet and cold, we had some kids yell things at us from their cars, saw several drunk Aboriginees, and couldn't find a decent place to eat. We were both happy to not be spending more than 24 hours in Adelaide. This was my first stay in a hostel, and though I had my own ensuite room, may of the other travelers stayed in tradional dorm rooms which are much cheaper. I'm just not up to it, being in my mid-30s. My room was clean enough but COLD and with no heater. I was exhausted from the train ride, and was happy to find that the loud music that had been playing when I arrived was turned off when I got back from dinner. After putting on flannel pants and socks, a long sleeve AND short sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt and a beanie on my head, I was ready for bed. It was so cold, but quiet enough, and I got a decent nights sleep.

The next morning, I went to look at Adelaide again but found it no more impressive in the daylight. I found a place where I could get some sandwiches for the train, and at 11:30, we headed off for the train station. I knew our trip on the Ghan to Alice Springs was overnight, but for some reason, I thought it was only 12 hours. Not so - it was actually 25. And not all quiet senior citizens this time, but several children who ran up and down the aisles yelling, and two babies who cried nearly the entire night. It was horrible, but Matthew and I, who had gotten seats together for the trip, were happy to arrive in Alice Springs finally around 2 this afternoon. It's nice to have met someone to travel with a bit - it made the train ride go so much faster with someone to talk to. We're also staying at the same place in Alice Springs, and are driving out to see Ayers Rock together tomorrow. Cross your fingers - this will be my first chance driving on the wrong side of the road. I'm hoping not to hit a kangaroo or something worse.

I don't have any pictures of anything for the time being, as there was absolutely nothing to take photos of in Adelaide or in Port Augusta where we stopped briefly. Alice Springs is not much to speak of, either, but at least it has character. I notice there is a lot of work available here. The hostel itself is looking for three people and you can stay there for free. I imagine that's pretty attractive for backpackers touring the world, looking for a way to make a dollar so they can travel even further. At any rate, I will post some photos after my visit to Ayers, or Uluru as they call it now (pronounced ooh-loo-roo). Hopefully, they will not be pictures of my car wreck, or of Matthew and I being chased by natives.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The last couple of days I've been doing a lot of just hanging out in Melbourne. Truthfully, I probably could have done Melbourne in 5 days, but I wanted to spend more time here considering Jim and I have never been able to hang out, despite being pen pals for 20 years! It's awesome to be in a place where you don't have to drive a car and you can just hop on or off a train or tram to get wherever you want to go. It's been really wonderful to be able to explore the city like that. It's also gotten warmer in Melbourne, and I was actually able to wear shorts today, which is a good thing since the rest of my clothes are all dirty.

Friday, Jim took me to the Melbourne Zoo. It was a really nice day, despite the screaming school kids who were yelling at animals. There was a big elephant exhibit, and I saw some cool animals that I never get to see in the states. Sadly, those photos are already on my iPod so none for you to see right now. That same day, I went to the Old Melbourne Gaol which was interesting. Jim didn't want to go since he'd been there as a kid and, I imagine, would find it pretty boring. But I got to hear all about Ned Kelly and his gang, very similar to Jesse James or something, I suppose. Oddly, though Kelly was a robber and had killed many people in the proces (which he was ultimately put to death for), he's somewhat of a national hero here in Oz. The time between his trial and his hanging was 2 weeks. Imagine that happening now.

Yesterday, Jim and I went to an Aussie Rules Football game with his sister, Anna, and his brother-in-law, George. I was happy to be watching the game with George, as he's a huge footie fan and was able to explain the game so that I could understand and follow along. The game was played at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, the biggest stadium in all of Australia, which holds about 100,000 fans. The pitch is the same size for Crickett and AFL which is convenient for them. Out of the 20-some AFL teams in Australia, something like 9 of them are from Melbourne. It would be like having the Lakers, the Clippers, and then a team in Venice, one in Burbank, one in Long Beach, and Santa Clarita, Chatsworth, Hollywood, etc. Everyone seems to support one team or another.

The game we went to yesterday was part of a celebration for the Aboriginal players in the league. They had a bunch of performances and one of them was Shane Howard who sang for the Australian band, Goanna, who I recently used for the song of the day. I got to see him perform "Solid Rock" live, so that was a nice added bonus to the experience.
The teams playing were Essington and Richmond, which is sort of like watching the Kings play the Coyotes, from what I understand (neither team is very good). But the game was amazing to watch. Those of you who know me know I absolutely HATE American football. I don't like anything about it, and no matter how many times someone has tried to explain it, I just don't get the game and there's too much game stoppage. Australian Rules football on the other hand was easy to understand and I absolutely loved it. There is much more actual foot-balling going on (if you haven't noticed, not a lot of actual kicking happens in regular football). I found it to be quite graceful and fluid. It's an offshoot of Rugby. The playing field is enormous. There are 18 players on each team on the field at once. The ball is advanced through precise kicking and a powerful sort of forward pitch of the ball not dissimilar to un anderhanded volleyball serve. And like George pointed out to me, it seems to be the only sport that rewards a team for failure. Get the ball through the mail goalposts, and you score a 6 point goal. Get it through the neighboring posts, you get 1 point. But get this - if you try to score and the ball bounces off the post, even if it goes back into play, you get a point for that, too! Oh, how I wish my adult league hockey worked like that. Games can be won and lost on these extra points. Additionally, there is no game stoppage, much like soccer. So these guys called runners can be seen running through the field giving the players messages from teh coach - while the ball is in play! I think this is a sport I could get hooked on. I'll have to check the dish when I get home to see if it broadcasts in the states.

This morning, I got on a train and then a tram to go to a crafts market in St. Kilda, and then another one near the Arts Center at Southbank. I love these types of markets. Too bad my mom and sisters couldn't be here. It was SO hard not to buy a ton of stuff, but my budget is getting really tight, so I had to restrain myself.

I leave first thing Tuesday (day after tomorrow) for Adelaide, where I will spend one night, then get on an overnight train (The Ghan) headed for Alice Springs. You may not hear from me for a few days, so enjoy these few photos.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Yesterday was Phillip Island day. I didn't plan much ahead of time before I left for Australia, but that was one of the things I knew I definitely wanted to visit. Phillip Island is located about 2 hours south of Melbourne (by car) on the Bass Strait, which is the body of water which separates Australia from Tasmania (about 150 km out). I bought Jim and I a three parks pass, which meant we had access to three different parts of the island which come as part of their Penguins Parade package. The island was much bigger than I expected. It takes 30 minutes to drive across and has lots of surf beaches and a whole population of regular residents. If you want to see the local animals of Australia, Phillip Island is the place to go.

The first place we visited was the Churchill Island Heritage Farm. It was more interesting than I expected it would be. It was a really old farm house which had been restored. It belonged to one of the earlier settlers to the island and was built around the mid 1800s. You could walk through the house and see how they used to live back then. There was also a working farm there with lots of animals including a Clydesdale horse, some highland cows (so cute!), sheep, goats, and a guinea pig named Elvis. You could go in and pet everything and it was really great. There was even a peacock!

Our next stop was the Koala Conservation Centre. This was supposed to be the big place where you could see Koalas up close. I was hoping to be able to hold one because they look so cuddly, but as it turns out, you can't touch them. The only state you can do that in is Queensland, and I'm not headed in that direction. It's probably just as well because I've heard they can be quite vicious. They have this area with a raised walkway so when you walk though, you're more on the level of the Koalas. Sadly, they were all sleeping with their faces tucked into the trees. They sleep 20 hours a day, so it wasn't much of a surprise. It was still cool to see them so close up.

The next place we went was not part of our package, but it was only $11 to get in and promised a close look at many, many Australian animals. It was the Phillip Island Wildlife Park. It was by far one of the coolest places I have ever been. Most of the animals (the safe ones) just wander around free range on a huge property that is several acres. Right when we came through the door, three Wallabies hopped right up. They knew we had bags of food and wanted in on the action. They're so sweet and soft and you could pet them and feed them. I couldn't believe how tame and cuddly they were. And smart. I'd be feeding one, and the other would put his nose in my jacket pocket to try to get at the bag of food. We also saw Dingoes, which were not running free, as they're dangerous. I always thought they'd be ugly little angry dogs, but they looked like the kind of dog you'd like to take home, except that they might eat your baby.
There were Tasmanian Devils and Wombats, but we didn't see them because they were burrowed into the earth. Emus were running wild and I will say, they're a little creepy. For starters, they stand as tall as I do. Secondly, they sort of stalk you. I tried to feed them, but they opened up their giant beaks and I noticed my whole fist would fit in there. The pecks were not pleasant, but I couldn't get away from them. There would be one, then two, and then I'd turn around and 5 of them would be surrounding me. They're like the bird mafia.

Best of all, there were TONS of Kangaroos running (jumping) free. There were three or four different kinds. Jim was a bit afraid of them for some reason, so he sent me into the field on my own. It was just me and a whole community of Kangas. They were laying, lounging, some had Joeys in their pouches. They are such a friendly breed of animals. It was just me out there - no one else, no rangers - just me and 100 kangaroos. They were all very well behaved, except for one or two of the large grey ones. Those ones stand nearly as tall as me, and they have big claws on their hands. Most of them didn't use their hands and would just eat out of my palm, but a couple of them were a little more aggressive and would grab my hand with those claws and not let me go until they were done eating, as they pushed others out of the way. It was by far one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had, and I want to take one home!

They also had Koalas there, and these ones were awake! I found these two that were not only awake and moving, but just a couple of feet from the raised boardwalk, and practically posing for the photo. I'd heard recently that there is some lesbianism among Koalas. For James - I don't know if this is two females or what, but this is the closest I came to girl on girl Koala action.
Next stop, The Nobbies. The Nobbies are some rock formations off the southern tip of the island, and it's where the Seals hang out. Not close enough to see them without binoculars, though, and I didn't want to pay money to use theirs. I've seen seals. We did have a nice lunch there, though, and took a walk around out in the cold wind - beautiful cliffs and surf pounding against rocks.

Our last stop of the day was the Penguin Parade. Just after sun set every night, Little Penguins (also known as Fairy Penguins) come up out of the ocean and march in groups up the sand and hill to their burrows. They are the smallest of all penguins, and are dark blue and white. Blue on top so preying birds can't tell them from the sea water, and white below so preying fish can not tell them from the white sunlight above. They stand maybe a foot tall and are the cutest thing you've ever seen. Right before sunset, we went down to the beach to this raised bleachers area and waited. Sure enough, right after darkness, the little penguins came out of the surf in the hundreds! They walked right past our platform for about 40 minutes. Jim and I had front row seats and they were literally 5 feet away from us. They are so very precious. Unfortunately, you couldn't take photos out there in the dark, which I totally understand. I bought some photos there, but will have to scan them to show you later. At any rate, it was one of the best days ever. So many experiences I will never be able to have anywhere else.

Today, I'm off wandering the city on my own. I hope you all enjoy the photos!

Monday, May 21, 2007

I had to wake up Monday at 5am to get showered and packed and take the train to the airport. I thought that would be easier, given the previous shuttle debacle. I made it to the station with plenty of time to spare, transferred to the airport line, and then...the train started to have problems. After shuffling along by 100 yards at a time, they finally had to shut the train down and end the service on that stop before my needed airport arrival. I had to rush upstairs and catch a taxi to the airport.

The flight from Sydney to Melbourne was only an hour and a half and a nice ride. My friend, Jim, picked me up at the airport. I'm staying at his house this week, so I dropped my stuff off there, and then we went down to the CBD (City Business District) and walked around all the stores and shops down there, walked through Chinatown (small), and over to Federation Square. It was built as a meeting place, town square sort of thing, but it's the ugliest building I have ever seen. I have a photo, but will have to find and post it later. For now, here's a photo of my down by the river and the city:

A few things about Melbourne. The first is that it is bloody colder here than it was in Sydney. In Sydney, other than one day of rain, it was 70 and sunny every day I was there. Melbourne is much colder, windier, and overcast. I think it was about 55 degrees out when we left the house this morning - another reminder to get a new coat! After dark, I went to a laundromat to clean my clothes and then walked back to Jim's house in the cold rain. Not his fault! I told him I needed the walk after being in the car.

Another thing about Melbourne is that it seems to be more a mixture of old and new. You'll see old churches back to back with skyscrapers, which gives the city a nice look. The Yarra River which runs through town is beautiful, and we're down exploring that area today. Earlier, we were at St. Kilda's area, which was honestly, a little disappointing, but still a neat trendy area full of shops. We were at this place in St. Kilda's where there were a ton of bakeries. It took a lot not to get tons of brownies and stuff.

As I said, we're now on the South Bank of the Yarra walking around. We went over to the Eureka Tower, a skyscraper that just opened recently. I mentioned earlier how I've been up in quite a few famous needles and skyscrapers and most have not been too impressive. I would say the CN Tower has been the best (in Toronto). But no longer - the Eureka Tower is it! It's very cool and brand new. The building is full of very expensive condos. But you buy a ticket and go to the top - 88 floors up at 9 metres a second or something. Really fast elevator. There's a fantastic lookout up top where you can see all over the city. The best part is The Edge. It's this additional thing you can do. You walk into this room with opaque glass walls that's maybe 10' X 10'. Then the door closes and the room moves outward until it's fully extended from the building, though you can't tell because it's opaque. Then, with the sound of breaking glass, the walls turn clear! I was terrified to do it, and Jim wouldn't because he was a big chicken. But it was a slow day up there and I told the girl I was afraid and she said I could stay out as long or short as I wanted to. Here's a photo Jim took of me out there. I have a better one, but will have to scan it when I get home so you can get the whole idea. I'm the one on the left.

Another cool thing from this afternoon. We went to a food court down on the river to grab lunch when I found the best place - a pancake bar! In a food court! This is what I had for lunch. Yumm...

Tomorrow, we're driving down to Phillip Island to see penguins, kangaroos and wallabies, and (wait for it) ........ Koalas! I know both my sisters are so jealous. I'm hoping to get hold of one of them to pet it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Just a quick blog for my 200th post. I figured out (I think) how to get some photos off my card, though not the ones I already transferred to my iPod. Here's some stuff from the last couple of days.

This is Bondi Beach (pronounced bon-die) where I'm wandering around today. Beautiful beach and lots of surfers. Tons of tourists out today since it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

This is the Sydney Opera House. I took this on my way back to the Circular Quay from the Blue Mountains via ferry last night.

Here are two Kangaroos I saw in the Blue Mountains National Park. They are so cute! They're sort of like deer here, just all over in the wild. When they bound, it's very graceful.

This is the three sisters rock formation in the Blue Mountains. There's a long aboriginal story that goes along with it. I'll give you the annotated. Some guys from a neighboring tribe were trying to marry girls from this tribe, but inter tribe relationships was a big no-no. There was going to be a battle over them. To protect them, the chief turned his three daughters to stone, then went off to battle. Sadly, he died in the battle and was never able to return to make them human again.

I know it's not much but I can't figure out on this computer how to make the photos smaller for the web and it's taking forever to upload them. Enjoy. Will try to get some up of Melbourne where I'm headed tomorrow.

I went to a market in the Rocks this morning that is a lot like Saturday Market in Portland. Bought lots of souvenirs, but nothing for myself (typical). Am finishing up today at Bondi and fly out tomorrow morning.
Yesterday morning, I took the train out to Nikki's house in Warrawee. It was about a 40 minute train ride from the city, but was so much more relaxing than sitting in traffic in Los Angeles. She had a lot of outdoor plans for us to go "bush walking." From the name, I assumed bush walking meant going into the outback or someplace, way out in the middle of nowhere, but as it turns out, the phrase is pretty equivalent to "hiking." Just going out into anywhere that has no city and walking about. Sadly, though it has been nice the entire time I've been in Sydney, it was POURING when I got up, and continued to do so after I got to Nikki's place.

Despite the weather, we still headed into the bush by way of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park in an area called Westhead (I think I have that right). Although it was pouring rain and cold, it was really cool and a HUGE forest. Nikki used to volunteer there, so she knew her way around and took me to a place where she thought we might be able to see some Wallabies, but no such luck. We drove around to another area of the park where we walked into the bush. Because of the rain, the trail, which is usually hard packed red clay, was a squishy mess of red mud. I was really regretting only taking one pair of shoes with me (now coated in clay) and one jacket (a hoodie - no good for rain!). But the trek through the mud was well worth it. I was taken to a few different places where there were aboriginal carvings in the sandstone. Much of Australia is sandstone, which I believe is because much of it was once under water. Anyway, it's s soft rock, and easy to carve into. The carvings in the stone rock ground are equivalent to cave paintings, I guess. I took some photos which I'll post when I get around to it. (You may have to wait until I get home - the internet is so slow here I don't want to pay by the minute to upload anything, plus they're all stored on my iPod right now). ANYWAY...

Once we got done looking at the carvings, we drove into town to get a "sanbo" which is slang for sandwich. At first I thought she was saying "Sambo" which is totally NOT a sandwich. By the time we were done with lunch, the weather was clearing and the sun was showing itself in the sky. We drove over to Narrabeen Beach, which Nikki told me was a "real" beach. As a local, she doesn't think much of places like Bondi or Manly where all the tourists flock. Narrabeen is a place where real Sydneysiders go, beautiful and secluded. We then hiked up to nearby Collaroy Plateau where we watched the sun begin to go down over the water. We hiked down the side of the plateau back to the waterfront where a guy was fishing, and right there beside him, a whole group (gaggle?) of pelicans. Very friendly birds, or maybe they just wanted food from the fisherman. At any rate, I got lots of cool photos. In fact, I've taken more photos of birds here in Australia than I have at any other time in my life. The birds are all so different and unique here. I'd seen this beautiful black bird in the Botanical Gardens, and noticed when it lifted it's wings, it had a patch of bright teal feathers under one wing, and purle feathers under the other wing. I described it to Nikki who didn't know what I was talking about, then I found a photo of one of them on my camera, and she laughed saying, "That's just a duck!"

We then grabbed a pizza and went back to her place to watch an Aussie movie called "Kenny the Plumber" on DVD at her place and I took the train back home at night. It was a very fun, entertaining couple of days, and a testament to how nice Australians are that someone who doesn't even know me would go out of her way on her only day off to show me around, even in the pouring rain.

Today was finally the day of my day trip to the Blue Mountains. I'm not sure if I mentioned it in my previous post about this, but the Blue Mountains are neither blue nor mountains. They're a sandstone plateau that was "dissected" (causing a huge rift and cliffs). The blue tinge to the mountains comes from the oil given off by all the Eucalyptis trees that grow there. Because it's so dry in Australia, the area is prone to bush fires, and in fact, the Blue Mountains have the highest incidence of fires than anywhere else in the world! Also, the "mountains" aren't very high. Something like 80% of Australia is under 600 meters high, which also makes it the flattest continent. (Can't say I wasn't paying attention today!)

I got picked up by the bus at quarter to eight, and then we had to drive around the city picking up the other 19 people who would be joining us. We drove an hour to the base of the Blue Mountains and had a short morning tea. We then drove up to Kings Table, this big stone outcropping right to the edge of the cliff face. The wind was blowing HARD and it was super cold. There is also no guide rail, so we were warned not to get too close to the edge or we could be blown off. We then drove to Wentworth Falls, another place to view the mountains. This is where it was explained to us how the early settlers couldn't initially figure out how to get past the mountains. They tried to pass them they way you normally would a mountain - by following the low ground. But they went as far as they could, and then encountered this falls area which is surrounded by cliffs on all sides and no where to go. They had to turn around and go back to Sydney. It took them 25 years before someone figured out you have to follow the ridges, not the valleys, and that's how they got past.

After that, we went to Scenic World, which was a bit of a let down. Big trolley that goes down at a 55 degree drop - impressive. Short walk through the rainforest, and a view of the Three Sisters, a rock formation. Not too big of a deal. We then lunched in nearby Leura. BORING. Small town whose center reminded me of Big Bear's but without any of the...well without anything, really. We then drove to a place where there was a single aboriginal engraving in the sandstone. Not too impressive after all the ones I had seen the day before with Nikki. But then we went into the Blue Mountains National Park.

We'd been skirting the park, I guess, because there were towns and such. But the park itself is actually the size of Ireland. Yep - one park, the size of an entire country. I said to the guide, "Yeah, but there are towns and houses, right?" because I thought we had already been driving in the park. He shook his head. Just a huge park where you can drive in or bike in and go camping. And the best part is that kangaroos are wild in the environment there! We didn't get to see too many because it was Saturday and there were a lot of humans about, but we finally found two eating in a grassy area. It looked like a mother and her baby. They weren't very big. Maybe 3' standing. But so cool looking. You're not supposed to touch them...they ARE wild. But they look so cute! And when they bound off they are SO graceful. It's really a beautiful thing to watch. And then when we were driving out of the park, we came across 4 more crossing the road and they bounded over this fence and it was awesome. They were playing and chasing each other. Can you imagine camping in the forest, and instead of deer, there are kangaroos just hanging around? I must come back to this park someday to camp.

Finally, we stopped at Homebush Bay, the site of the huge olympic park they built for the olympics in 2000. After a quick look around, we went down and caught a ferry back to Circular Quay. I walked around with an English woman I met on the trip and had dinner with her. She is a newly retired grade school teacher who has given herself the gift of travel for her retirement. Started in San Francisco, then New Zealand, then ALL OVER Australia. She's off to Bali next, and then Thailand.

Sorry there are no photos and no links to anything. Australia is a bit behind us on the whole internet thing. The "broad" band is not so fast, and again, my Blogger page is in Chinese. When I went to Nikki's, she was still on dial up!

It's hard to believe it, but my stop in Sydney is coming to an end. Tomorrow is the last day I'll get here, as I have to be on a plane to Melbourne first thing Monday morning. Make sure you all say Happy Birthday to Wally on the 22nd. My little boy will be turning 7.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

After walking around all day yesterday, I didn't do much other than get home, take a shower, and then go out to see a movie. It's always relaxing to get to just go out to the theater like all the locals and go see a film. I saw "28 Weeks Later" which was entertaining, then went home and crashed.

This morning, I started off by walking to the Sydney Tower. Since I was able to see it, I figured it wasn't that far away, but it was further than I expected. The worst thing about trying to walk your way to a tower is that the closer you get, the harder it is to see the thing. I finally managed to find it. I don't know why I continue to visit towers when I'm in different cities, because they're usually a let down. Even if it's clear and you have a view, it's like, big deal - you can see the city. In about 10 minutes, you're done. The Sydney Tower was by far the least impressive one I have ever visited. For starters, it doesn't look like your typical needle. It's really ugly. Secondly, the elevators aren't even glass walled, so you can't see out when you're ascending. Thirdly, unlike the Space Needle in Seattle (and I believe the CN tower, too) you can't go outside and walk around. It's just a big vantage point. Again, most expensive elevator ride EVER. After I came back down, my ticket included a trip through the OZ Trek. The OZ Trek is in two parts. The first is a cool hologram presentation that is very well put together and quite impressive technologically speaking. It shows you different things you can do in OZ. The second part was one of those "rides" that's (I forget the correct term) like a flight simulator where you're in a seat with a big screen in front of you, but your seat moves around. It takes you all over OZ as well. I thought I was going to hurl.

From there, I rushed down to the Wharf. A friend had given me the number of a friend of hers in Sydney who said she would show me around a bit. I took the Ferry over to meet her at Manly Beach. Nikki was VERY nice and welcoming, like most Aussies. She showed me all over Manly Beach, and then we went to the Oceanworld aquarium there. I was thinking, "Good god, another aquarium." Those are another thing I don't know why I continue to visit. I always get bored with aquariums. It's like, "Oh - there's a fish, and another fish." So boring. But Nikki is a scuba diver, and in fact also makes money by taking people out diving. So when we were at the aquarium, it was like having a personal tour guide. At every tank, she was like, "Ooh! It's a blah-blah fish! Look how cute he is!" She seemed to know every fish there and could tell me everything about them. I asked if she had ever taken Marine Biology courses, but she said she just knew all that info from diving. We're scheduled to get together tomorrow on her day off to go somewhere a little farther out of Sydney. She has a car, so it will be nice to be able to go somewhere I can't get to on my own.

After she left me to go to work, I walked past a bar and saw hockey on the tv. It was game 4 of the Ottawa-Buffalo series so I got to watch the last two periods. It was on some sort of delay. I could tell because the period breaks had been taken out (nice!) but it looked like it was in slow motion because of the conversion from NTSC (American video) to PAL (which is a slower frame rate). Either way, it was good to be watching hockey.

I took the ferry back around 4:30 as the sun was beginning to set. It's weird that the sun goes down so early here in the summer, but really, even though it's been nice and warm, it's heading into fall for them. I suppose down here the winter days are the longest, instead of vice versa for us. It was rush hour on the subway when I got back and I didn't want to go that way. It was rush hour yesterday when I took the train to go to the movies and it was really crowded and hot down there. I decided to make my usual trek back through the Botanical Gardens. The sun was falling fast. I was worried the garden gates might already be closed, and I didn't know how to get back going around. It would have taken a long time. When I got to the gate, it said that it would close at 5:30. My watch read 5:20. I headed into the darkening park, wondering if I could make it across before the other gate closed. It's a huge park - I imagine it's similar to Central Park, though I've never been there. At any rate, it's more than a 10 minute walk through. Halfway through, out of nowhere, came a giant swarm of birds across the night sky. It took me a moment to realize it was actually BATS! I had heard there were fruit bats in the park, but had never seen them. It was really creepy, there was at least a thousand!

For dinner, I walked over to the Hard Rock which was also farther than I thought it was. The food was less than average and sort of disappointing. I've just walked back and have stopped at an internet cafe in Kings Cross that is full of backpackers. The internet is slow, and for some reason, Blogger is in Chinese and I can't figure out how to change it back to English, so hopefully, I'll push the right button and this will publish properly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I found another, better internet place on my walks about, but I still can't connect my camera here, so no photos yet, though I've already taken a ton!

I've been walking my ass off here in Sydney. I figure, I've got plenty of time, might as well walk where I can without paying extra for a cab or train. I'll be 10 lbs lighter by the time I get home (if I can just stop eating chips with every meal, but they seem to come with everything). Here are my first impressions of Sydney:
  • Very, very clean.
  • Nice, friendly people.
  • Public toilets everywhere!
  • Everyone here seems to run.
The city of Sydney makes you feel at home right away. I walked all over yesterday and already feel like a local, except that I need to take the time to figure out how to pay with my new colorful money. (Also, note to self - need to remember to look RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT before crossing street instead of usual to avoid being run over). I saw a card up in the window of a shop yesterday looking for an employee. I thought it was quite feasable that I should just find a job and stay here forever.

I'm staying in Potts Point, an area that was once vert wealthy and is still very quaint and nice. And yet it's only blocks from Kings Cross which is full of adult clubs and prostitutes. I walked down to the harbour, through the Royal Botanical Gardens, and over to the Opera House yesterday. I still need to take a tour, but got to see it from the outside, and it's just as magnificent up close as it is on TV. You might want to know it's not actually white - it's sort of a light tan. I read that this was done specifically because the architect knew that making it bright white would blind sailors coming into the harbour. I also saw the Harbour Bridge and could see many people up on top, climbing away. It was a beautiful sunny day, clear with blue skies, much as it is today. I walked through the wharf area at the quay, where you can catch a ferry to go nearly anywhere. I then wandered over to The Rocks, the oldest neighborhood in Sydney. Eventually, I reversed my walk and found myself back in Potts Point.

I thought I'd done OK, since I'd slept on the plane, but I found myself starting to nod off around 5. I'm sure I could have woken up and tried to go find a bar to go to in Kings Cross, but I thought sleep might not be a bad idea. The downside was that I woke up this morning at 4:30. I sat in my quiet hotel room (B&B) and watched "Bobby" on my iPod and did some journaling. Then wandered out to Darlinghurst Street to dig up a muffin and a Diet Coke.

I started this morning off walking back down to the Harbour. I could have taken the subway, I guess, but I wasn't in any hurry and the walk through the Botanical Gardens is nice. I caught the ferry over to Darling Harbour and went to the Sydney Aquarium. I have to admit, it was sort of a letdown. I thought the Boston Aquarium was much nicer, but I did get to see a ton of sharks. Also, the penguins weren't out, so I felt gypped, but I know I'm going to see them up close and personal at Phillip Island in Melbourne, so I'm not too worried. I then walked over to the Harbourside, a big mall, walked through it and picked up some souvenirs for some family members. From there, I made my way over to the Chinese Friendship Gardens. The Gardens were built as a celebration of Australia's bicentennial in conjunction with the Guangdong government in China which has a close relationship to Australia. The gardens were beautiful, but compared to the gigantic and beautiful gardens in Panyu, China, sort of insignificant. Lovely, nonetheless.

Right now, I've just walked sort of through a bit of Chinatown on my way to the Queen Victoria Building. It's another mall, but I'm more interested in seeing its architecture. It's supposed to be a beautiful old arcade type building. Then I'll make my way back to the Aquarium to catch the ferry back to the wharf (did I mention I took the ferry over here?).

It's hard not to buy everything I see. I want to get souvenirs for everyone, mail them back home, and be done with looking for that stuff. But everything is expensive here, and I'm travelling light. I need to constantly remind myself that there will be plenty of koalas, digeridoos and t-shirts all over Australia.

This morning, while I was out looking for breakfast, I walked past a bar (open at 6:30 am by the way) and through the window, I saw some of the NHL playoffs. Must remind myself to get back there soon and see if I can sit in and watch a game.

Ok, my internet time is almost up, so I should finish this up and write a few e-mails.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm officially in Sydney! After only a 24 hour door to door trip. 12 1/2 hours to New Zealand, plus layover, nearly 4 hours to Sydney, customs, etc. And then I made the mistake of taking a shuttle from the airport to my hotel. I was walking out to look for a cab when I was overcome by someone selling shuttle tickets, and I've never been good at backing out of those situations. Must learn not to get conned! Since I know what a shuttle is, I asked the guy, "Alright - is this going to take me straight away to my hotel?" "Oh, yeah, sure." An hour and 13 smelly European backpackers later, we were finally on the road, where he managed to drop nearly everyone off before he found his way to my place. At least I saved $25 Au because it looks like the exchange rate is much worse than it was when I budgeted this trip out.

At any rate, I did get to sleep almost 8 hours on the plane, though not all at once, of course. It did help that I took some Valium, I'm sure. I've just been to the hotel, checked in, and taken a shower and now I'm off. I have no real plans for now, though I have been pointed toward the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge which is supposed to be a 30 minute walk from here. We shall see. Also, this internet cafe is SLOOOW and no connection for my camera, so no promises of any photos for now. :(

Madeline - give Wally a big belly rub!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

This is my official last blog entry before I leave the country. My plane doesn't leave until this evening, which leaves me (hopefully) plenty of time to finish the myriad of things that need to be done, including packing and having that little talk with Wally.

I'm going to try to hit some internet cafes while I'm out of the country and will try to blog as often as I can. I don't know how it works with public computers and trying to get photos off my camera, but I guess we'll see. I leave at 9:30 tonight, and will arrive in Sydney at 8am on Tuesday. I will completely miss May 14. It's a bit of time travel, I suppose, or at least as far as time zones are concerned. Hopefully, the 14th is not the day I was supposed to win the lottery.

A heads up - my last episode of the season, in which the Stanley Cup guest stars, will air on Tuesday the 15th.

The song of the day is "Addicted To Love" by Robert Palmer off his 1985 album Riptide. I'm sure you all remember the video - Palmer singing in shirt and tie against a backdrop of seemingly identical unsmiling models "playing" guitars and basses. Oh, so very 80s.

Just for fun, here's a funny video someone sent me last night:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I woke up at 6:30 this morning (yes - on a Saturday), to go for a mountain bike ride. A friend and I went out and met with a group from the Pasadena Mountain Biking Club. I'd never biked with them, but they were a fun group of people and we had a really enjoyable 9 mile ride. I'm not sure what I was thinking, because I have about a million things to do to get ready for my trip tomorrow. I'm home now, so it's time to start doing laundry and paying bills and all the things you have to do when you're leaving home for a month. I still haven't mentioned to Wally that I'll be gone - we'll have that talk later when the luggage comes out.

I was going to save this photo for Wednesday, but I'm not sure how well blogging on the road will go, so consider this an early Wally Wednesday. I took the little guy to the dub stage on Thursday to do some work on my show with the mixers. Here he is, like the Hollywood dog he is, down near the control board.

The song of the day is "Don't Mean Nothing" by Richard Marx off his 1987 self-titled debut album. I always thought this was a really good summer song and still enjoy listening to it. I saw him open for Night Ranger back in the day, and other than the good show, the thing I remember most is that he has a gigantic head which is totally out of proportion to the rest of his body.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Today is my last day at work. Wally and I are here to clean out the office and get some final work taken care of before we're done for the season. Tomorrow, I'm going mountain biking in the morning and have a hockey game at night, and Sunday evening, I get on a plane to Australia.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to is seeing the Red Centre of Australia. I've always been fascinated by the Australian Outback, which is also a pretty dangerous place to go with all the animals and such, but I'm dying to see it nonetheless. From Adelaide in Southern Australia, I'll board The Ghan, a train which goes north straight through the center of Australia to Darwin. I'm disembarking in Alice Springs in the very middle of the country, where I'll stay for 5 days. (I have to wait for The Ghan to come through again to take me north to Darwin). During my stay in Alice Springs, I have booked a 2-day trip to see Ayers Rock. It's about a 5 hour bus ride from Alice Springs, and we will visit Ayers Rock (locally called Uluru), The Olgas (another rock formation), and Kings Canyon (similar to the Grand Canyon). I hope to take a ton of very cool photos like these.

The song of the day is "Stone Cold" by Rainbow off their 1982 album Straight Between the Eyes. Rainbow is one of those bands that had a ton of people in and out of it over the years, but this run for them, in the early 80s, was their most commercially successful. While this song had marginal success on the charts, it got heavy airplay on MTV and I will always remember it as one of those essential videos from those early MTV days. Plus, my sister thought their lead singer was pretty dreamy. I think the word she probably would have used back then was a "fox." If you don't remember the song, check out the video:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Red Menace strikes again. We played our second game last night which was, granted, against a team that hasn't been that good in the past AND they were missing their ringer. But they seemed much stronger, even without their #1 guy, and we still beat them 7-1. The true test will be this Saturday when we play a team that we barely beat last season in the playoffs.

Tony Blair stepped down as England's Prime Minister today after 10 years in that position. I had dinner with some friends a few weeks ago, wherein someone who actually was British explained to me why someone like Blair would step down politically, but as with most things political, it slid right off my brain and I can't recall a thing about it. Blair, once a very popular leader, has lost support since 2003 when he followed the United States into the war against Iraq. If only our OWN leader would step down due to unpopularity.

The song of the day is "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes off his 1979 album Partners In Crime. As cheesy as it is, admit it - you still sing along to it when you hear it on the radio. Well, I do. Growing up, I always found this song to be rather corny, but when I worked in radio right out of high school, I worked for a station that played this song, and it sort of grew on me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

In honor of Wally Wednesday, here he is with his new friend, Bear.

When I left work around 2pm yesterday to go work at home, the first thing I noticed (other than the stifling heat – hello summer!) was the huge cloud of smoke in the air. I initially thought it was closer to the hills above West Hollywood, but once I got on the 110, I realized it looked more like Griffith Park. As it turns out, I was right. A blaze that seems to have been started by arson seems to have been lit around 1:20pm, and by dusk, the flames were only 1/4 contained. The park and the zoo there were evacuated of people, but the zoo animals were left behind with a skeleton crew of animal care staff and vets. I hope all the animals are OK. (Other than the obvious fact that they are caged up in a zoo).

On a higher note, Paris Hilton is going to jail for 45 days, it seems. I really don’t know anything about her except what I hear on the radio, but that doesn’t keep me from hating her and everything she stands for. I’m happy to see that someone is finally standing up and making sure one of these horribly behaved rich kids is accountable for their actions, instead of letting daddy talk their (or pay) their way out of it. As Bean said this morning on KROQ, I also hope she gets cut while in jail.

The song of the day is “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by The Scorpions off their 1984 album Love At First Sting. I never really collected any Scorpions albums, but I loved all their singles, and this was a great rock anthem. It was also one of the very first songs I taught myself how to play on the guitar. I didn’t realize until I looked them up that the German band has quite a history that stretches all the way back to the 60s. For good hard rock from the 80s, you can’t beat The Scorps.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

One of the things I'm hoping to do while in Australia is take a day trip to Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, which are about an hour's drive from Sydney. Despite the name, the Blue Mountains are actually a series of cliffs that surround a plateau. It is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Australia. There are numerous things to do there, including a visit to the three sisters, this rock formation, and tours of the Jenolan Caves. The "blue" name derives from the bluish tinge the range takes on when viewed at a distance, which is caused by the release of volatile oils from eucalyptus forests. In the Blue Mountains, there's an area called Scenic World which seems to be sort of like Universal Citywalk - lots of stores and restaurants, etc. The kicker is that it's at the top of the cliffs and you have to take a cable car to get up there - glass bottomed and at a steep incline. There are other cable cars and walk ways on the cliffs to take you to different scenic areas. It should be a fun day trip, and I'm really looking forward to it. (Except for the high glass bottomed cable car).

The song of the day is "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister off their 1985 album Welcome To The Real World. I loved this song the very first time I heard it and continue to enjoy it. In fact, for me, this is one of the best albums from the entire decade. I was watching a VH1 special once that was something like "Cheesiest Songs Ever" and this was one of their picks. Clearly, I have to totally disagree.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I tried to run yesterday for the first time in about 6 months, and maybe the second time in a year. I got about 2 miles in and my right knee began to lock up. Since it had been so long since I'd run, I'd forgotten that when my Crohn's is active my joints get really stiff, and when I run, it usually happens to my knee. I ended up having to walk the last mile, but I still think I beat Diane's 5K time! :) Today, my quads hurt and are really fatigued and my knee is still stiff. Oh, how I look forward to getting even older!

I was on a DVD spree this weekend. I finished watching Season 4 of The Shield (better than ever) and have Seasono 5 ripped to my iPod and ready for travel. I also watched Last King of Scotland, which I already mentioned, and last night, I watched The Prestige. Yet another movie that I knew absolutely nothing about. I wonder if the people from The Prestige and the people from The Illusionist were in battle to see who could get the first turn of the century magician movie out first? First off, I should say that I like Hugh Jackman, and that I've appreciated Christian Bale since the first time I saw him in Empire of the Sun. Together, they really made this film. (I also didn't find David Bowie creepy or horrible like I usually do when he acts). But the story was ingenious, too. In true Christopher Nolan style (he also wrote Memento), we get an interesting story that twists every which way and still manages to surprise you in the end.

The song of the day is "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar off his 1984 album VOA. The song was probably his most commercially successful record, and I can't tell you how many stickers I saw on cars in the mid-80s with the crossed out 55. During that period, his frequent appearance on stage in red clothing earned him the nickname "Red Rocker." I'm sure that was much more timely in the 80s when red and black were king. I think I still have this 45 somewhere - and it was printed on red vinyl.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Yesterday I went into Old Town looking for some final items for my trip and I spent an unnecessary amount of money. At least it was all on stuff I’ll use!

One thing I like to do with new movies is stay completely in the dark about what the film is about, which usually helps me to thoroughly enjoy it. I don’t like to be influenced by others opinions of it, and would rather forge my own. That being said, I thought this film was amazing. I’ve long been a fan of Forest Whitaker, and was glad to finally see him gain some serious appreciation for his role as the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Set in the 1970s, just as Amin has taken control of Uganda, the film follows the story of Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan. Garrigan, who has come to Africa to escape a relationship with his father, begins as a doctor at a mission to help the locals. He soon meets and becomes close with the new President Amin, and is whisked away to becoI finally had some real time to do nothing, so I ended up watching a DVD in the afternoon with a friend. It was The Last King of Scotland. One thing I love to do is to stayme his personal doctor and close advisor. James McAvoy is very believable and compelling as Nicholas Garrigan. I kept thinking the entire film that I thought I had seen him before but I couldn’t figure out where. When I looked him up, I realized that he played Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I guess I didn’t recognize him without his goat’s feet. The film is based on a book which is a fictional account of a fictional protagonist (Dr. Garrigan’s) travels, though the fictional account is surrounded by actual events. It makes me want to read the book. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I highly recommend it.

The song of the day is “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby off his 1982 album The Golden Age of Wireless. Dolby has been known for his synth-pop tech sound, though I understand he’s done many different genres over the years, along with showing up as a studio musician such albums as Def Leppard’s Pyromania. “She Blinded Me” was the perfect song for early MTV. At a time when everything seemed so new and technological and we were seeing so many things we had never seen before, along came Thomas Dolby with this catchy sampled song and a rather odd video. You can’t say no one was doing drugs in 1982!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Damnit. I was almost done writing my post and my browser crashed. Stupid browser. Now let's see if I can remember what I wrote earlier.

I had to go into Hollywood for some work early yesterday afternoon. On the way home, I found myself driving through Burbank, quite hungry. I decided to stop and eat at Poquito Mas. First off, let me just say that I love me the Poquito Mas. When I lived in Burbank, I used to eat there probably 2-3 times a week. They have great food, and it's a small, cozy place to eat. Because of the popularity of the place, and it's close proximity to all the studios in the area, you can often find a celebrity of some sort chowing down on a burrito there with everyone else. I noticed when I went in yesterday that on all the entry doors, they had posted signs that read, "No Autographs! No Photographs! No taping, filming, or recording devices of any kind allowed on premises!" It's sad that they had to go to the trouble of even putting the sign up, but I appreciated that they did it. Now actors and directors and other famous people can at least eat a meal in peace in ONE place.

I've been thinking about getting another tattoo while I'm Down Under. My friend in Melbourne and I have been talking about going to get one together. He knows exactly what he wants to get - he doesn't have any tattoos yet, and he's thought long and hard about what he wants. I, on the other hand, already have two small tattoos, and while I know I want to get a third one, I'm not sure what I want to get or where I want it to go. I did a Google search for tattoo art last night and stumbled across a web page with a gallery of tattoos that you look at and can only wonder WHY someone would put that on their body. Like the one pictured. That's right, that's Clay Aiken's face ON SOMEONE'S BODY!!! You can view the other images here.

The song of the day is "Goodbye To You" by Scandal off their 1982 self-titled debut EP. I always thought this was a cool, catchy song, and the video is so totally 80s. It's simple and basic, and yet totally exemplifies so many videos from that early MTV era - band mock plays with nothing plugged in. I looked up the band on Wikipedia because I didn't know much about them. They had another hit in 1984 with "The Warrior" but I always liked this early song so much better. The band struggled a lot with discord between members and broke up shortly after the Warrior tour. It's interesting to note that early musicians in the band from 1981 include Jon Bon Jovi on guitar and Paul Schaffer on keyboards. (I believe that's Bon Jovi on keyboards in this video) I also didn't realize Smythe was married to John McEnroe.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I locked my last show of the season yesterday. I’m still working through next Friday, but for the most part, my work is done. I just need to attend a couple of spotting sessions and then view and approve the finished project next Friday. You’ll know the episode when you see it – it’s the one with the Stanley Cup in it, and I think it airs on the 15th.

So, I’m thinking of signing up to do the Muddy Buddy bike/run that will take place in Redondo Beach in November of this year. If you’re not familiar with the Muddy Buddy, it’s a tandem race. You have a partner, preferably one the same size as you, since you have to share the same bike. At the start of the race, one of you is on foot (running) and the other is biking. When the biker gets to the first obstacle course (you heard me), they drop the bike, go over the obstacles, and take off on foot. When the first runner arrives, they go over the obstacle, find the bike, and take off riding. There are (I believe) 5 obstacle stops in a 6-7 mile course. When the first person gets to the end of the race, they have to wait for their buddy, who is on foot, then together, crawl through a large obstacle of mud. Hence the name. I think I have that right – I’ve never done it before so the info is from their web site. So, I asked a friend who mountain bikes with a few of us if he wanted to be my Buddy for the year. He said he already asked another girl a week ago and has to wait and see if she wants to do it or not. I feel like I’m in high school and am some guy’s second choice for the Sadie Hawkin’s dance! I think I have a backup if I have to find another partner, though.

My sister e-mailed me yesterday. She said she’d heard a song on the radio from the 80s and wanted to know if I could remember who did it. She thought it was called “What About Me.” She was right, and it had been so long since I’d heard it, that I decided it should be the song of the day. The song, by Moving Pictures, came off their 1982 album Days of Innocence. The Australian band had its biggest hit with this song, and pretty much dissolved into obscurity there after. If you don’t remember it (and I know you WILL once you hear it), check it out here:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I was looking on the Air New Zealand web site yesterday trying to find information about luggage and carry-ons. Since I have a stopover in Auckland on my way to Sydney that is only an hour and a half (which I’m sure will end up being shorter), I wanted to just carry my bag on with me. I have a roller bag that is easily within the limits for carry on baggage. Generally, when I travel, I hate to check my luggage. On every flight I’ve ever taken (with the exception of Horizon’s tiny little planes), you can carry on a roller bag AND something like a purse, small backpack, computer bag, etc. The web site said purse, computer bag, but didn’t include a small day pack. I thought I should call the airline to verify. Their web page was right – no day pack. So I either get to a) pack lighter than planned and put my day pack INSIDE my roller bag, or b) check my larger bag and carry on my backpack. I don’t know – hour and a half layover on an international flight? What do you guys suggest? And what’s the big deal? Look how big the f-ing plane is!

Over the weekend, I finished reading Paint It Black by Janet Fitch. Fitch, who also wrote White Oleander, seems to be adept at detailing the lives of young women in Los Angeles. Paint It Black tells the story of 19-year-old Josie Tyrell, teen runaway and sometime art school model. Despite Tyrell’s tragic childhood, she has found the love of her life in Michael Faraday, Harvard dropout turned painter. In the first chapter, Josie receives a call from the L.A. County Coroner’s office asking her to come identify Michael’s body. The book, set in very early 80s Los Angeles, hits the ground running as Josie’s life begins to unravel in the wake of Michael’s suicide. As she tries to cope with and understand her circumstances, she becomes enmeshed in the life of Michael’s mother, a woman Michael despised, who has always hated Josie – but now, Josie is the only thing left that belonged to her lost son. The two forge an interesting and odd relationship. Like White Oleander, Paint It Black is captivating and a story well told. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in some time, and I highly recommend it.

The song of the day is “Wait” by White Lion off their 1987 breakout album Pride. This is yet another one of those one-hit glam rock songs that I can’t help but crank up and sing to when it comes up on the iPod (it almost never comes up on the radio anymore). They never had much success after this song and video hit it big on MTV. As a side note, I’d like to point out here that when I looked up the band in Wikipedia, the article started out by saying “This article is about the band, for the big cats see 'White lion.'”

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's Wally Wednesday! Here's the little guy exhausted at the end of his day at the beach.

I was driving behind a car on my way to work yesterday, and the vanity plate read “FISTER.” I really really hope that meant something other than the obvious. I also wish I had had my camera on me.

It was sad news yesterday in the passing of Tom Poston. If you don’t know him by name, you know him as the comic actor who often played a lovable clueless guy in shows such as Newhart and Mork and Mindy. Though Poston was 85 at the time of his death, it seems like he was one of those characters who would just always be there. He is survived by his wife, actress Suzanne Pleshette.

Monday was the first day back to work after our wrap party. Rather, the Post department had to go back to work. Everyone else was finished. At any rate, one of the lower level producers who runs my department came in with tales of how drunk she was at the party and how she had to spend the last hour of it in the bathroom puking. After many stories of stupid things she did while under the influence, she got to a part where she said she wanted to go out on the dance floor and grabbed two of her friends who are lesbians. She thought she would try to set one of them up with one of the crew, who she named, following the name with, “Who is totally openly gay, of course.” Silence. Everyone stared at her. None of US knew said crew member was gay. Bravo! She publicly outed someone on accident! She then said, “Ok…so let’s just keep this between the 12 of us.”

The song of the day is “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley off his 1987 album Whenever You Need Somebody. Astley was known as “the little man with the big voice.” Many people, before seeing him, actually thought he was black. If Astley were 25 today, he would be the perfect candidate for American Idol. Clean cut, good voice, and rather bland but listenable.