Friday, November 21, 2008

Movember!!!

Yup, I'm growing a Mo. For those of you that haven't heard of it, Movember is the month where men all over the world stop shaving their upper lip and grow truly ridiculous mustaches to raise money for Men's issues. This year all donations go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue - the national depression initiative. The PCFA and beyondblue will use the funds to fund research and increase support networks for those men who suffer from prostate cancer and depression.

AND, if you donate $20 or more to Movember on my behalf, I will personally send you a headshot (including the Mo) in the pose of your choice! You want Magnum? I can go left! You want lame senior year photograph pose? I'm sure I can figure something out! Yup, a wonderful keepsake to commemorate my superbly unattractive Mo, and it will just cost you $20...

So, if you'd like to donate, help Men all over Australia, and prove that a month of an itchy upper lip is worth it, just go here:

https://www.movember.com/au/donate/donate-details.php?action=sponsorlink&rego=1754526&country=au

Oh, and if you thought you'd get a pict with me and my Mo before the end of the month you are sadly mistaken, I still have time to make it truly glorious!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Walking around Sydney

I've moved into my new apartment! This means that I am living on an inflatable mattress with a severely limited amount of clothing as my shipping container is stuck in customs, but so far I'm still enjoying it :) Strange as it sounds, the best part of my new place is the bathroom. Huge tub and a VERY strong shower, everything else is gravy.

Since it was a 3 day weekend this weekend, my friend Casey and I decided to do a bit of walking around my neck of the woods (western side of the city, which is not to say inner west, so confusing). As you can see, it wasn't the sunniest day, it was a bit overcast and cool, which to me means prime walking weather :) Since I don't know the city well, Casey lead on to some outstanding places (including the little park at the tip of Glebe from which I took the above pic on my iPhone :) The highlights were:
  • Darling Harbor Fiesta! - Okay, coming from San Francisco, it was a bit funny to see what goes into an, um, hispanic? festival here. There were a few places selling churros and some people on a stage demonstrating salsa aerobics (which as far as I could tell was doing aerobics while wearing a frilly skirt).
  • Simon Johnson Quality Foods - mere blocks from my apartment and on the way home from work is a crazy cool specialty food store! Lots of chocolate, cheese, balsamic vinegar, you name it! I look forward to spending more money there. As it stood the best thing I got were Parisian candied ginger covered in tea infused chocolate...
  • Sydney Fish Market - Being a port city, Sydney gets its share of fresh fish, well, guess what? You can go to the fish market and buy it fresh every day. There are even a few places there that will cook it for you if you so desire!
  • Blackwattle Bay Park - Lovely park at the end of Glebe with views out across the city.
  • Chocolateria San Churro - I've got 2 words for you: Chocolate Tapas. Sydney has such cool and interesting Chocolate Places and this one is no exception!
So, yea, that was my Sunday wandering around Sydney. At some point when it is sunnier I'll take pictures of my walk to work. It's pretty cool, I walk by the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney's Exploratorium), the Chinese Gardens, and Darling Harbor. I couldn't ask for a better walk :)

Thanks Casey!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Everyday "Gadgets"

Yo! I'm gonna take a break from Sydney-esque posts and post a bit about traveling in general. A number of the gadget blogs I read have lists of what people carry with them every day and what sort of gadgets they travel with. So, I thought I'd throw in my $0.02. I tend to go through quite a few gadgets trying to find the optimal set and, honestly, I'm pretty happy with my current set. This post is focused on what I carry every day, the next will be about what I take while travelling:
  • Timbuk2 laptop messenger bag (from JotSpot!): It's the last piece of shwag I got from JotSpot, and by far the best. I've grown quite fond of my messenger bag, its simple and big enough for everything I want to carry. It fits my macbook pro like a glove. It has enough pockets but no so many that they get in the way. Its got enough room for clothes for 1 overnight, more than that is just selfish.
  • iPhone: Shocker! I know, who would possibly sing the praises of the iPhone. Fine, I know this goes without saying but the iPhone is the best gadget I've ever owned. It's a great phone. It's the best iPod ever. I can use it to navigate through any and every city. Finanly, I can play hold 'em on it when I'm bored :)
  • Leatherman Skeletool CX: No gadget bag is complete without a gadget to fix other gadgets. The new skeletool is brilliant! Lightweight and has everything you need (knife, pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, etc). Buy one and you'll never buy anything else.
  • Granite Gear Shopping Bag: Yup, I often find I end up needing to carry a bunch of additional stuff around. Sometimes food, sometimes clothes, sometimes, um, we'll leave it at that. It's tiny, lightweight, strong enough to carry sand (don't ask), and can be easily washed out (same can't be said for the JotSpot bag).
  • Solio: Ok, you got gadgets, but what about power??? Solio is compact, holds a charge (I've gone for 5 months), can be charged using solar power, and will charge anything that uses USB (which is everything in my world).
  • Petzl e+lite: Always carry light. You never know when you're gonna drop your keys in a movie theater or hear something fall under the seat on an airplane. The e+lite is perfect, small, light, has it's own carry case, can be worn or clipped on to something. I never go anywhere without it.
  • iPod Shuffle: I love my iPhone but there are times when it is a bit much (and other times when it has no battery). The shuffle is so small that you can always carry it. It holds tons of music, and if you are bored, it is instant entertainment. I never leave home with it.
  • Light my Fire Spork: I'll spork your ass! Fork+Spoon+Knifey. It works, what can I say? Ever been in a hotel and get a pint of ice cream only to realize that you have no spoon. Fingers work but they don't leave the most appetizing container in their wake. This spork is worth the dollar it costs.
  • TOOB toothbrush: Gotta love the toob. It's a compact toothbrush with toothpaste in the handle. It'll survive as your primary toothbrush but I find it most useful to keep in my bag for when the lunch tabouli was a bit too much. It's also the perfect Vegas accompaniment, keep it in your laptop bag and you can hop right on the plane, who needs luggage???
Toss in a USB charger, a passport, some cash, and you have a go everywhere daily bag.

Up next... travel gear!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

City 2 Surf!

So, my second weekend in Sydney I decided to participate in City 2 Surf. It is similar to Bay to Breakers in SF (although there were not nearly the same level of costumes and nakedness as in SF) or the Bolder Boulder in, well, Boulder (although Boulder had a slip 'n slide which was conspicuously missing from Sydney). I finished in 2 hours and 10!!! Please don't ask how many k it was :) It was an amazing, er, run. It goes from the CBD (central business district for non-aussies, call it downtown and people will mock you, trust me) to Bondi beach. Just before hitting the top of "Heartbreak Hill" there was an spectacular view of the Opera House, then you turn a corner and see Bondi in all it's beachy glory. This was the first time I saw both and they were phenomenal! Post race I went over to a co-worker's house for apple pie!!! Seriously, Sydney rules.

And if you are following my tales of Sydney I'm still looking into various areas, haven't settled on one yet :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Alaska!

It's a little late but I've finally updated my travel blog with the details on my trip to Alaska with JB and Shirin. Lots of photos (mostly taken by JB!). It was an awesome trip, Alaska rules. Check it out: http://sites.google.com/a/kintama.org/travel/past/alaska-usa---kayaking

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Hmm, where to live in Sydney...

It's been a week in Sydney and I've spent most of that time working. Yea, yea, yea, what are you gonna do? My new team did take me out to Dinner at another awesome sushi place Sushi E (this one much more upscale than the last). This big thing though is that I was able to spend some time this weekend checking out various neighborhoods to see where I'd like to live. The relocation folks took me around the city and the front-runners seem to be:
  • Newtown/Chippendale - It's a bit grungy but it's got great food, bars, and clubs. I could probably get a bigger place for me money and it is close to the climbing gyms in town! The downside is that it would be a bit further from work, so I'd likely have to take a train rather than walking.
  • Kings Cross - You'll find all sorts of euphemisms about this but it is basically an assortment of strip clubs, junkies, high end restaurants, and bars. It seems like an interesting area. Close enough to walk to work but also has a train station for when I'm feeling lazy.
  • Pyrmont - This area is a bit more upscale. It is right next to work, so it would be a quick walk. The apartments seem a bit nicer and there are awesome water views and parks. There is a fresh fish market daily. Downside is that it is a bit touristy and doesn't have as much character as some of the other places I saw.
  • Surry Hills - This is the bohemian-ish area. Lots of small cafes, bars, etc. Lots of shops. A somewhat popular area so its a little more expensive. Its definitely close enough to walk to work, which would be a little bit of awesome.
So, those are the top of the list right now. Anyone want to chime in their thoughts?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yea, I'm gonna like it here

So, I promised to blog more when I got to Sydney and every once in a while I should keep a promise. I just arrived at 6:00 AM this morning (Sunday) and I am totally diggin' this town. My hotel room wasn't ready yet (duh), so I went for a little walk on the town. Sydney is an interesting, international, and extermely urban city. You can find influences from a number of countries. The highlights:
  • Passing the new Apple Store in Sydney at 8:00 AM and seeing a line down the sidewalk (they open at 10:00)
  • Found an AWESOME sushi place named Makoto (ok, it was the first result in the big G when I searched for "sushi sydney australia". At 2:30 on Sunday there was a waiting list. I was the only Gaijin there and it was some of the best sushi I've ever had. Crap, I hope I didn't peak early in this country.
  • After sushi I did more walking and found The Cupcake Bakery. They have Chocolate on Choclate cupcake with a hint of chili. Yes, please!
  • Continued walking and ran accross Max Brenner (Chocolate by the Bald Man) a few blocks later.
  • I made it back to my hotel and the city decided to regale me with a thunderstorm!!! I love San Francisco but I really miss thunderstorms :)
More to come soon. I start work tomorrow!