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Saturday, July 31, 2004
The Swans
 
Just got back from seeing the Sydney Swans trounce the Brisbane Lions 83-51. My first live AFL game was a wonderful experience, and very different than seeing it on TV where everything is close up and you don't ever get a perspective of the full field. Sydney dominated for most of the game, and although their 4th quarter play was somewhat slower, the lead they had built up held and they won. Since the trip was an ISS one, I even got to meet some new people, including one girl from Chicago. Then afterwards a bunch of us headed over to Sugarplum in search of ice cream sundaes, but we were a little late and had to settle on cones and cups cause they were closing up. But the tiramisu ice cream was still good.

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Friday, July 30, 2004
The Bus that Wouldn't Stop
 
It's 3:30 in the morning, and a group of us are waiting at a bus stop. A bus pulls around the corner, the only bus scheduled to stop at that stop for an hour in each direction. Several hands are out to flag it down, and the bus driver doesn't stop but keeps driving. Fortunately a red light stops him just down the street where we run down and bang on the doors till he opens them. Several other people tonight weren't so lucky. Our bus driver delibrately left several people at 2 different stops behind, and closed the doors right in the face of a girl at a third stop simply because 'he didn't have all night' for her to get on the bus when she stopped to wave goodbye to someone. I've had this driver before, and he frequently harasses the passengers he lets on the bus, and always seems to miss picking at least one person up who wants on the bus. You'd think that a bus driver would realize that people might actually want on his bus, but this guy obviously doesn't get that.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Spinning in his grave
 
Woody Guthrie probably would have had a laugh at this. It's a flash animation from JibJab that parodies his "This Land is Your Land" with Kerry and Bush. Its quite funny, and definitely worth watching for a short comic break. It was a nice way to start my morning.

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Monday, July 26, 2004
The Summer Slowdown
 
It seems like everyone writes less in the summer. Even though it isn't summer here, I guess I've been influenced by a combination of vacation and a lack of others postings to write much here myself. With school starting back up, and the need to procrastinate coming back in full force I'm sure the numbers will start creeping back up soon, so don't you worry.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004
The Abuse of a Travel Pass
 
This morning I woke up, not knowing what I would do with myself. I took a shower, and got dressed, at which point Lisa got home from taking her mom to the airport, as she left to go back home. I was then informed that her mom had left behind her weekly travel pass, which still had one day left on it. Lisa had her own as well, so we set off to make the most of unlimited travel on Sydney's public transportation system.

Our first stop was town hall, where we went to find a shop Lisa had heard was having a sale on dresses, and she wanted to find one for the Biomed Ball coming up in a few weeks. After finding the store, a short search turned up nothing right and we headed off in search of adventure. So then we proceeded to Chinatown, just a short bus ride away, where we went to the bakery of choice and ate custard and coconut slice buns. Then it was a short walk to Central, the railway station, and took a train from there to Circular Quay. We decided to get on the first ferry leaving, and ended up going to Neutral Bay, an altogether unremarkable subrub on the northern shore. We walked around, following signs to Nutcote, which we later found out was the house of a famous kids author. Unfortunately the house was only open Wed. to Sun. 11am to 3pm, and we were wrong on both the day and the time. Finding nothing else of interest (not even a shop) we went back to the ferry. We later found out that there was an upscale shopping center and restaurant row not too far away, but it would have to wait for another day.

We got back on the ferry, back to the Quay, and then moved over one pier and hopped on another one, headed to Milsons Point, and the infamous Luna Park. We took a few pictures of us getting eaten by the scary face, and wandered through the park. As it was a Tuesday afternoon, it was pretty dead, and did little to sway us to actually spend money there. We did have some fun in the gift shop, playing with the toys and taking nerd tests. Then it was time to go, and although our goal was to use as much public transport as possible, we decided to walk back over the harbour bridge, as the sun was almost setting and we thought it would be cool to watch it set over the bridge. It was, and we got back to our side of Sydney and decided to find a bar and have a drink. We stopped briefly at the Glenmore Hotel, which had a rooftop bar, but it was completely empty, and kind of chilly, so we headed down to George St. to the Mercantile Hotel, an Irish pub where we had a beer. Following that we walked up the street to a little bakery, split a sausage roll, and then went next door to the Fortune of War, supposedly Sydney's oldest pub. To honor it, we each had a schooner of Toohey's Old. Then we walked around a few shops and decided to head home and invite everyone over for white russians. We figured we would pick up the alcohol when we got home, but a 20 minute, 3 liquer store walk convince us that everything local was closed by then, so we had to call Sam and ask him to pick it up on his way over.

Our place was converged on at 9:30 and we talked, drank a little and decided to watch Suddenly 30, also known as 13 going on 30, depending on what country you are in. It was a cute romantic comedy type thing, light and funny. After the movie we talked about having a holiday dinner of a sort of Christmas in July type, and decided that Saturday night would be the night. The party broke up around 2, and now we just have to look forward to this weekend when we will get to try traditional holdiday dishes from around the world. My stomach can't wait.

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Sunday, July 18, 2004
The Suit
 
Last night I was joined by Sam, Jeff and Kevin as we headed downtown to the Russian Film Festival. We started the chilly night off with some warm Vietnamese soup before taking the bus to Taylor Square and heading off to find the place. It was held in a small arts theatre called The Chauvel, which we eventually found after walking about twice as far as we needed to in the rain which got steadily worse as the evening wore on. The theatre is actually nestled in the back of the town hall of Padington, and on the first go by we completely missed it, but we'd left plenty of time, so it was just good exercise to work off dinner. We went in, bought our tickets, and found we were the first ones there. Fortunately, they also served drinks, we we bought wine and beer and went to sit in one of the many available areas in the lobby. It had a great atmosphere with independent movie posters all over, both new and old, as well as flyers for all the upcoming events.

More people arrived, the hour passed, and we went in to the movie, 'The Suit'. It was about 3 boys who must have a suit they see in a shop window, and how they go about making the money, and the aftermath of aquiring said suit. Although funny at times, there was also an element of seriousness to it, but in the end it fell apart somewhat. Too many of the plot lines never went anywhere, and characters were shown to be in trouble and then never heard from again. We all left wondering what happened to the parents of each of the boys, as they appeared to be in crisis situations, none of which was resolved. Maybe it is just the Russian style, but coming from a world where every movie ties up all the loose ends in a nice pretty bow (or leaves one avenue open for a sequel), it was somewhat dissapointing.

After the movie we headed over to Mickeys, a little cafe just up the street from the theatre, and ordered ice cream sundaes and various fruit crumbles. I ended up getting a pear and rasberry crumble topped with ice cream and custard that was just amazing, and quite huge. We ate, went through bottles and bottles of water and ended up basically closing the place down several hours after we got there. The night was filled with lots of fun and laughter, very strong wind gusts that blew flyers all over other customers, and even a waitress from Boston who'd lived in Short Hills for a few years. It was great just to sit around and laugh and not get a check thrown on the table right after we finished eating. In the end though, we just made it a wetter walk back to the bus stop for ourselves as the rain started coming down heavier, but it was well worth it for such a great night. The movie might not have been the best, but the company was definitely awesome.

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Another TV Classic Quote
 
"It's got the biggest twist since Chubby Checker" -about some crime show. Does it get much cheesier?

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004
I don't kick puppies
 
This craigslist post should definitely be up there among the top ranked ones.

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Firefox
 
Been trying out Mozilla Firefox for the past few days, and I'm quite impressed by it. I'd briefly tried tabbed browsing before, but didn't take to it right away then and never gave it a real shot. Now that I've customized it how I like, I'm liking it more and more for the most part. There are always several downsides, like not being able to use certain javascripted applications, like the smilies click and insert over at The Daddy, but for the most part I'm happy, and I really like the middle click = new tab feature. Anyone out there who has thought about switching over should give it a shot, and if you even know what I'm talking about it's worth trying. Sure, there are security holes as in everything else, but theres a lot fewer here, and anything found will likely be repaired a lot quicker than IE. Plus, popups get blocked automatically, so you don't have to worry about them anymore.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004
Just cause i had to
 
My windows are a Wendy lovers dream, they're all frosty. That is all. Goodnight folks.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004
Olfactory caffeine high
 
Today is the annual Aroma Coffee Festival in the Rocks at downtown Sydney. I was thinking of going down there despite the lack of any semblance of coffee enjoyment on my part simply for the fact that it would probably smell really cool. But thats all under consideration now that the falling rain is likely to overpower the subtle scents of freshly brewed coffee. I guess I'll head out there if the rain stops, but if not then I'll settle for some home made french toast and a movie. Maybe hot chocolate too, its better than coffee.

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Some drought we're having
 
It's raining again. Yes, another post about the weather, but I'll probably back date a couple things for the past few days later on today. Regardless, every day since Wednesday has been an overcast day. At no less than half a dozen times each day, the clouds open up and let out massive quantities of rain in a short time period. In addition, there are numerous lighter periods, none of which lasts more than 15-20 minutes. Why hasn't Sydney rain been able to produce a continuous shower, at least then we'd know whether or not to bring a rain coat when going out. This way you never can tell if you're going to be rained on. In addition, weather.com has predicted no rain for any of these days until the day of, so every day I go look at the weather to find out the partly cloudy that was supposed to be has transformed into the showers, moderate showers, showers likely, etc. that I see now, but they keep telling me tomorrow will be nice. Almost makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland- jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never ever jam today.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004
Showers in the vicinity
 
That was the description of the weather in Sydney now. Although true, it was still funny as I'd never actually seen that description on there before. Today seems like it will be just like the past 2 day, mostly cloudy for much of the day with occasional rainstorms breaking through for several minutes at the time. They may be heavy at times, but none will last more than 5 minutes. Its been like this for a while now. I'm glad we are finally getting rain here, as we are in the largest drought in a century, and even the kangaroos are fighting back (thanks Rachel). It would be nice to get a consistant shower though, and not a series of torrential downpours. Can't win em all I guess.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Blue
 
New South Wales won! Not that it means anything to basically anyone who reads this, but its nice to have a home team to root for. It's sad that there isn't rugby/footy back home, cause I definitely am going to miss it. They are both great because they combine elements of soccer and football among other things, but the fact that all the games are played in running time makes them more exciting, and just generally fun to watch. Plus there was even a decent commercial on during them. Yea, just one, but thats one more decent one than I've seen in all the other Aussie TV I watched.

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In the nick of time
 
Just made it home before the rain hit. I spent the day at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It was the first time I'd been there since getting to Sydney, and it was spectacular. Really nice to see new artists and to see the whole floor dedicated to aboriginal art and artists, both new and old. Their work is so different from the paintings we are used to seeing, and much of it is done on bark with natural dyes. In addition, the Biennale also had one of the floors filled with sculptures and some more modern looking pieces. Spent a couple hours there, then went outside and was reading on the steps till it started to get cold and the sky darkened. Then I walked to the bus stop, going by the National Library first and deciding that I'll have to go back there another day. The sky seemed like it was ready to open up, despite predictions of no rain till next week, so I decided to come back home and watch the State of Origin III rugby league game on later tonight. Then, just after walking in the door I hear the pitter patter of rain drops against the roof and was glad I'd made it home just before the storm. Now there's time for a homemade chocolate chip walnut cookie and to make dinner before the game at 7:30 tonight.

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Monday, July 05, 2004
Look at all the pretty colors
 
More photos are up here. Enjoy the scintillating shades of the setting sun over the Sydney skyline.

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Saturday, July 03, 2004
The Green Devil
 
Back home in New Jersey, Friday night often meant sushi night. I would join my mom and Richard and anyone else who felt like coming along to dine at Fujiyama Mama, on South Ave. in Westfield. The manager there knows us by now, having gone there almost weekly for quite a while, and if we call and let him know we are coming in, he saves us our booth. Traditionally, I would order one of the fruity alcoholic drinks, and the waiter or waitress would come over, see it was us and ask if we wanted our normal Spider, Spicy Tuna Roll, Green Devil, as well as a couple others. We'd eat, drink, and then order some more typically. If we were in the mood, we would ask for it in a boat, not because it means anything different, just cause it was another fun way of presenting it, something which they were very good about. When I left Westfield to come down to Sydney, I didn't think I would find a sushi restuarant as good as back home.

Turns out I was right, I haven't found a restaurant as good here. Luckily, it tastes great and is tons of fun to make it on your own. Tonight was sushi night. At around 8pm I joined Peter, Sara(h), Gwen, Nina, Andy and Jeff for sushi. This wasn't just any sushi though, this was homemade, hand rolled sushi, the fillings of which were chopped by hand under the watchful eye of chef Jeff. We were all taught the basics of making the rolls, by spreading a thin layer of rice on a piece of seaweed, and then placing several bits of filling in the center before rolling it up and eating it. The filling choices were crab sticks, fish sticks, tuna, egg, cucumber, carrot, celery, avocado, and onions, with soy sauce and wasabi to be added to taste. It was a fun thing, and never having made it myself made it a fun learning experience too. Funny how I don't mind having learning experiences now that finals are over.

After sushi we decided we needed dessert, and since there was nothing around in the house we went over to Sugarplum, the local ice cream shop. Unable to pick one, I settled on a 2 scoop mint chocolate chip/tiramisu in a waffle cone. Then we all went over to the benches which surround The Spot (where the ice cream place is located). As we were sitting there we kept getting odd looks from passerbys. At Nina's insistance, we took a picture of all of us sitting there, eating ice cream in the cold, all 7 of us lined up on a little wooden bench that could hold 5 comfortably. A few minutes after the picture a woman even came up to us and told us we should take a picture cause we looked so cute. Then it was just a short trip home to now get a good night sleep.

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Thursday, July 01, 2004
Tomorrow?
 
Another fun thing to waste my time when studying, in czech. Who doesn't like helping a drunk man stagger home when there are molluscs to study. And by molluscs I mean Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQuIDs). Yea, so the last exam is in 8 hours. One more weeks notes to study, and then off to bed.

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