Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Melbourne Long Weekend Break

Hello there again! I know I posted some of these pics on Facebook already, so I dare say most of you guys will have had a chance to look at them already - and for those of you not on facebook yet, go check it out! Its a great way to share photos and keep in touch with people, and this from someone who normally hates these kinds of social networking sites. From a geeky IT industry worker perspective, its a really very interesting company - the guy who owns it apparently turned down something like $980m to sell it!

So, a week and a bit ago I went down to Melbourne, as we had a long four day weekend and I thought, what the hell, it would be great to check out somewhere new (can you believe I've been in Sydney for about six months now?). So, I went down with my housemate Chrissy and a few of her friends - a 10 hour or so car drive, but really not that much in a country as big as Australia - its so damn big you hardly even realise just how long your driving for or how far you've gone, its all so similar, big, flat rolling prairie land or bush mostly.

I stayed with my friend Martin who I met in the hostel I stayed at when I was in Barcelona, and he very kindly offered me his sofa if I ever made it down to Melbourne. Unfortunately I picked up a nasty cold on the way down (typical hu, go on holiday, get sick!) so it was kind of frustrating, but I still had a great time - checked out Queen Elizabeth Market, went to see all kinds of Australian artists at the Ian Potter Centre of the National Gallery of Victoria, walked along the Yarra River, saw China Town and the suburb of Fitzroy and of course, checked out the bars and clubs (the heart of the Melbourne social secene, don't you know).

Overall, its a great city and I can see why people rate it as so liveable, but really for me, it was just too small - the down town area really is tiny - and I don't think I could rate it as attractive as Sydney, not with the harbour and beaches :) I guess I'm a Sydneysider already!
Anyway, enjoy! I continue to check my ClustrMap with interest - got some Midwestern US vistors and a few Swedes I see, and who's from the North of England?

My first football match!

Well, this was actually from a few weeks back, but I have had the opportunity to put these pics up until now. This was a great game that I went to see with my friends Winston, his girlfriend, Matt and one of his mates - we saw Sydney FC vs the Arawa Reds from Japan, complete with crazed Japanese fans. I mean, seriously, these guys were jumping up and down, banging drums, waving huge flags and doing coordinated dances and chants for the full 90 minutes! Great evening, and a lot of fun.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Hi all

Sorry there hasn't been much blogging of late.

This isn't to say, of course, that nothing has been happening this side of the the world, just that my memory card reader is bust, and I can't put any new pictures of my merry exploits up until my new one arrives fresh from Hong Kong (from which it seems a vast majority of goods on eBay come from).

So, sadly the weather seems to be taking a bit of a turn for the worst - well, quite frankly, after the summer of sunshine, how could it not? And yes, I know the Sydneysiders of you will bitch about it being the shittiest summer in years, but hey, I enjoyed it and your not taking that one away from me ;) Beside, yesterday was a really beautiful autumn day, bright glorious hot sunshine, cool crisp sea breeze, and really rather pleasant. Cycling round the city, down the old back streets and past the quaint wooden terraced houses by the moonlight has its own special appeal. Still, its come as a surprise just how cold its getting at night now, compared to those sweaty, stuffy humid nights of just a month or so ago. This is definitely not European weather!

So, whats been happening? I just finished up a six week project working for the US team based in San Jose last friday, and overall I'm really pleased with the amount of design work - and the level of complexity and coverage - that we managed to achieve in such a short space of time, and its been a real pleasure to work for the guys out there. And a nice change too!

The life of a contractor continues to be a pretty pleasant one - I get in basically when I want to (within some reason) and finish when I want, I can take time off as and when (though its unpaid, and I don't get any holidays or sick leave), and frankly, get paid far more then I really should. So, I can't complain at all, not when I'm watching streamed episodes of Family Guy whilst I design product domains.

I'm started work this week for another (intial) six week project, this time working for the UK guys, having turned down an offer from the French team for me to move to Paris for three months to lead there design team (!) - despite not speaking French (!!). I tell you, I'll travel the world with eBay yet :) Anyway, its nice to be working with some old familiar faces back in the UK, and I'm very much looking forward to getting stuck into it all. Of course, right now I'm finding it difficult to plan exactly what to do next - I still want to get the car and hit the road, drive round Oz for a bit and see what there is to see - but the work keeps coming, and the nest egg keeps growing, so its a bit of a tough one. I'd also like to go back to the UK for Andy and Booey's wedding at the end of June, so if that happens, I'll be in Sydney working my botty off (well, no, not really) until at least then. We will see - would be great to go back for it, and especially if I can somehow find a Glastonbury ticket and go to that as well! So, keep your eyes and ears open people ;)

Its not all work and domestic Sydney life, however. There is a long four day weekend coming up over this week, so I'm heading down to Melbourne to check it out and see what is like; I'll probably be there for a five or six days, so I'm pretty excited. I'm also planning to go to Tasmania at the end of the month with some French friends, Guillaume, Jean-Mi and Florent - so that should kick ass too!

Anyway, I've Family Guy/ work to do, so speak to you later - and please, people, throw me a frickin' bone here and write a comment or something, just so I know your out there.

Oh, and check out the way cool ClustrMap I added to my blog ;)