Sick and Tired

I’m guessing it’s a mix of my late nights over the past weekend and the fact that I’ve had a niggling throat thing for a while, but now it has its claws well and truly into me and the doctor declared today that I have a resipratory tract infection and have to take some time off work to recover.

So that’s me then… sleeping the days away trying to get better.

Hope everyone else is having a better time of it.

Dad’s 60th Birthday Weekend

Alek and Rabbit closer

This past weekend saw a majority of the family heading to Coffs Harbour to celebrate my Dad’s 60th Birthday. Jeez time flies.

It was a great weekend, my sister, nephew and I flying up without Dad knowing and arriving for Birthday drinks with family and friends.

These drinks went well into the night and as we do as a family, drinking opens our mouths and minds. We have a tendency to talk about anything and everything. Sometimes an eye-opener. Sometimes just a little sad.

Friday saw a day at the beach followed by a trip to the Big Banana and a spot of shopping at Park Beach Plaza. We were trapped for a while as the beautiful sunny weather of the morning turned incredibly nasty and was storming.

Friday night, with the storm having passed, we kids decided to hit the town, to see what has happened to the scene over the few years since we had ventured there. Unbeknownst to Dad some other visitors had arrived for Dinner on Saturday night and joined us on Friday some dinner, drinking and dancing.

Alek was staying with Dad and Helen and around 11 pm decided it was time he came back to his mum. Jennifer, Brian and Jill decided to call it a night, but I was keen to kick it on with my cousins and their partners. It was a great night and I didn’t actually make it to sleep that night.

I did however, along with my brave cousin Brooke, have my first Jager Bomb (Jagermister and Redbull). While I caught up on some sleep on Saturday, the rest of my family headed to the beach again. Saturday was hot, hot, hot. A perfect Coffs Harbour beach day, and I was sleeping it away.

Saturday night we all headed off to the Coffs Harbour RSL Club for a big dinner. Having had a big one the night before, and knowing I had an early flight Sunday morning I refrained from alcohol, preferring post-mix soft drink instead. After arriving home from dinner, we all packed for our early departure and around midnight headed out to clean the hire car, in an attempt to remove some of the sand we had removed from the beach.

Scary thing for our departure was that Sunday was also the first day of daylight savings. We had to put our clocks forward an hour and I was panicking a little that we’d miss our flight. Turns out I need not have worried. I set my phone forward only to find out the next morning that it would do it automatically and work me up an hour earlier than expected.

Before going to sleep I had a little freak out moment. I’m sure it was helped out by my limited sleep over the weekend but I was starting to wonder if aliens or other had invaded Coffs. My Dad’s house backs onto a motel, and I noticed when I switched off my bedroom light that there was a very bright flashing coming from a room at the motel.

It was really, really bright, lighting the entire room with each illumination and it was presenting in a fixed pattern. It got to the point that I had to call Jennifer to come take a look.

The light appeared to be coming from a fluorescent globe mounted vertical on the wall. But as I said it was way too bright to be a standard fluro. In the end I called the motel and asked them to check it out. As there was only one person on she decided that she didn’t want to go outside alone to check it out and opted instead to turn off all of the motel lights from the central board.

Even after she did this, the strobing continued. In the end I had to hang a blanket over the window and go to bed. It was certainly freaky.

The other freaky thing for me about the weekend is that I had to go it alone. David stayed back in Melbourne cause he’s kind of new in his job and has limited leave. He needed to save some for his parents’ visit next month, not to mention the week we have to take off at Christmas. Jody, his sister, came down for the weekend to keep him company, so it’s all good.

So there it is, my weekend in Coffs Harbour. It’s a lovely place, shame it is so far away from Melbourne or I’d visit a whole lot more.

The other weird thing for me was the flying from Melbourne to Sydney to Coffs all in a day. It was so odd going to Sydney and never leaving the airport. Thankfully my mum and brother came into the airport to drop Jennifer and Alek off so I got some time to catch up with them, having not seen them for quite a while.

The Jigg is Up – I’m in Coffs Harbour

By now it will be apparent to my Dad, if he read my earlier post, that I was lying. Right about now we’re probably partway through a ginormous BBQ dinner and getting into some fine liquor.

Glad we could pop-up and be with you. Shame David couldn’t come too, but he really doesn’t have much leave as he started his new job recently and will need some time for November when his folks come down and December for Christmas.

As I promised Craig, if I make it to the Big Banana (to which I’ve been a zillion times already), I’ll grab a postcard.

Here’s hoping it’s a sunny day (though I think Coffs is supposed to get rain).

It’s been a while since I’ve been back there so it should be fun. I’m here with my sister, Jennifer and my nephew Alek. We met up in Sydney and flew the rest of the way together.

And if my tenses seem a little muddled it’s because I wrote this Wednesday night before I left. Not being sure if Dad even has the Internet.

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad’s birthday, he’s turning the big 60 and it would be great to spend the day with him, but I live in Melbourne, he lives in Coffs Harbour on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

I know my brother is up there so it’s all good. Unfortunately his birthday comes at a bad time. With David’s parents coming down in November and it being so close to Christmas where I have to take a mandatory two weeks off, I have to leave to visit for Dad’s birthday.

I’m sure he understands and is having a great day anyway. I’ve little doubt there will be some mid-afternoon drinking, followed by a BBQ, followed by some more drinking. Good thing he’s retired.

So anyway Dad, hope it’s a great one and you have a fabulous time.

I’m In Love

Kylie Minogue - 2 Hearts - The first Single from upcoming album XIt’s true, Kylie Minogue is on her way back to our ears and having heard the first single (and seen the clip) I couldn’t be happier.

As is becoming typical of Ms Minogue she’s jumping in a slightly different direction from her previous album. The new single has been aptly compared to something from Goldfrapp and I tend to agree.

It sounds awesome. I can’t wait for “X” her new album, which will probably hit the shelves some time in early December.

On thing I am a might miffed about… the iTunes Store in the UK already has the video for the single “2 Hearts” available for purchase and download, while we in Kylie’s home country are left wanting, or searching Bit Torrent for the video.

If the video was on the Australian iTunes store today, I would have paid my $3.69 and it would already be in my iTunes library. Having found it by alternative means there is no saying that I won’t be bored of the clip by the time it reaches our store and I can’t guarantee I’ll shell out the money when it becomes available.

When will they learn that the Internet has made the world a whole lot smaller? That they shouldn’t be sticking to the out-dated idea of regions for delivery. If it’s available on one Music store it should be available on ALL of them at once.

Catch up record companies, or get left behind. I want my Kylie and I want it now. I don’t want it a week after my UK cousins have had it… I demand it at the same time.

Oh and don’t bother searching for the lyrics, practically every lyric site has the lyrics for “Two of Hearts” the 80’s track by Stacey Q listed as Kylie Minogue. Funny thing is they all have the “of” removed! Obviously a grab to get the Google ad impressions. Damn them and their enterprising ways!

Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine Movie PosterA movie about the end of the world is nothing new. Even a movie about our dying sun has been done before. So what’s so good about Sunshine?

It has stunning visuals, an amazing ship design and a bad guy to boot.

When the sun rises over the shield section of the spaceship and a crew member is lost (which isn’t really a spoiler you’d expect this to happen in this type of movie) the view is spectacular.

It’s not the best movie in the world but I enjoyed it just the same. I didn’t really expect it to end as the thriller it turned out to be and was happy that it had a little something that the trailer hadn’t already told us about.

On another note, we also hired “Epic Movie” at the same time as Sunshine, we watched maybe half an hour before we could handle no more and had to switch it off. It would have to go down as one of the worst parody movies of all time. I don’t recommend this to anyone, avoid it at all costs.

Sick of the Self-Serving Sanctimonious Thomas Hawk

Users of Flickr will probably know Thomas Hawk. A photographer and now a partner in the making and marketing for Zooomr.

He’s a great photographer, I love a lot of his work. But from what I’m seeing he’s not a very good business man. Thomas Hawk seems to spend a fair bit of his time taking pot-shots at Flickr whenever he can.

In this instance Thomas Hawk is attacking Flickr because he doesn’t believe that Flickr should be censoring images. The photos in question this time around are images of obviously under aged children smoking. While children smoking is not illegal it is deplorable and Flickr obviously feels it is doing a community service by removing images that it feels may be encouraging such practices. For the sellers of smoking products, Green Bits can help you in adding restrictions in packaging so that children will not be encouraged.

“It’s censorship” they cry.

They all agree that Kiddie Porn should not be there because that’s abuse, but let us have the kids smoking! I kind of feel that the act of a child smoking is also tantamount to abuse. Whether the child is doing it for themselves or is being supplied the product that will cause them harm it is still abusive behaviour so I’m not really sure what satisfaction others get out of seeing it.

Thomas Hawk also weighed in rather heavily earlier on when another great photographer _rebekka had one of her photos removed due to copyright violation, it turned out that someone had actually violated her copyright, not the other way around (see details of this on Rebekka’s site). In that case Flickr reinstated the account and publicly apologised, and as you will see from Rebekka’s blog she has reconciled her feelings regarding the situation and has renewed her Flickr account after the incident occurred. But that’s not good enough for Thomas Hawk, he still brings this up whenever he can.

Oh did I mention that Zooomr, the company that Thomas Hawk has a vested interest in, is also trying to be a direct competitor to Flickr? Yeah, turns out Thomas Hawk thinks it’s a good business practice to bag the crap out of your competitors and throw in a plug for your own company in the hope it will endear people to your company.

It doesn’t.

Well at least it doesn’t do so for me. I hate it. I hate any company that tells me what’s wrong with another company. They should be promoting their own company on its merits, but they’re too busy bitching about what they think the other company is doing wrong!

Further Thomas Hawk has his fan boys (and fan girls) on Flickr who seem to be calling him back whenever they want him to use his Flickr celebrity for their cause. Thomas Hawk happily obliges, because it gives him another opportunity to hawk (excuse the pun) his wares.

Another thing that annoys me about Thomas Hawk and Zooomr is in the blatent rip-off that Zooomr is. Take a look below. Screenshots of Zooomr and the similar page that is Flickr.

Flickr vs Zooomr File Download More Flickr Zooomr Comparisons

Did you notice that Zooomr has the same layout? That it even uses the same phrasing (with some minor word changes)? I mean even the name… Zooomr anyone else notice the pattern in common with Flickr?

If you’re looking for a photo sharing site go ahead and try Zooomr, Flickr, PhotoBucket, Picasa Web, WebShots, DropShots, MyPhotoAlbum, PhotoSite and any other of the hundreds you can find. One thing you will note is that only one has really decided that looking and working like Flickr is good enough for them. And to hell with the fact that they are stealing the design!

There are a lot of photo sharing sites out there. They all practice some form of censorship but Thomas Hawk has his sights set right at Flickr. Why? Because of the celebrity he has there and because he has a vested interest in trying to woo some of the Flickr audience over to his site; the Flickr clone.

Don’t be fooled folks… Thomas Hawk doesn’t want to see things improve at Flickr (not that I think they need improving), he’s already left, he doesn’t want to stop censorship. He wants you all to move to Zooomr and he wants MONEY, if not from you, then from the Google Ads that litter the Zooomr site.

Please note: I do have an interest in seeing Flickr continue, all my photos are there and I enjoy the community that Flickr has fostered over the years, but unlike Thomas Hawk I have no money to be made by my involvement. I merely enjoy seeing the work that everyone does and vicariously traveling the world through the eyes of others.

The rant above represents my opinion and I acknowledge that I don’t know Thomas Hawk personally; he could be a great guy I’m not suggesting that he isn’t. I’m merely suggesting that with regard to Flickr he is incredibly biased, even if he tries to paint it as if he isn’t; while plugging Zooomr all the while.

The photo used in this article is Thomas Hawk’s self portrait. Taken by (well it’s a self portrait) Thomas Hawk. Used under Creative Commons as detailed on the Flickr page for this file.

Wired for Sound

px200.jpgYAY today I got me some new headphones for using when out and about.

Today I welcome my Sennheiser PX200’s for using with my laptop and my iPod Touch… they sound sweet.

I originally wanted to get the PMX 50 Street cause they look cool and they go round your neck rather than over your head or in your ears. But I couldn’t find them and the PX200’s offer better sound (according to the specs, I couldn’t try the streets though so I can’t be certain).

So the PX200s join my Audiophile HD 515’s  which I use at work and are little too big and chunky for walking around.

I was kind of hankering for some new headphones given that I am traveling soon and didn’t want to use the standard iPod Headphones… they sound okay but they aren’t the best sound.

Oh and the PX200 comes with a transport case which keeps them contained.