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20 October 2005 @ 10:42 pm
We're gonna play the numbered list game because that's about the extent that my brain is working tonight...

1) Kukrae got me totally re-hooked into Linda Fairstein's books and I'm trying to do a total re-read now and in order even. sunneyone, this is like James Patterson's series, you really should read in order but it's not the end of the world if you don't--but I'm trying to behave. Also, if you haven't read this series, you should. It's good and Alex Cooper was the basis for Alex Cabot.

2) Managed to get the luggage sorted for the trip and I got to Melbourne on Tuesday. The backpack was 18 kilos and then I paid extra to use the purple duffle I bought for the RE Safari trip--that one was just over 10K and is mainly stuff I'd like to send home if I ever get the box thing sorted. I am under the weight limit-sorta-for Japan but it's stuff I don't want to bring with me because I won't need/use it there. The sorta under the weight limit thing...lucky they didn't weigh the carry on, which Qantas did when I flew from Bris--it's 12 kilos o:) Books, Laptop and External HD.

3) Changed my layout for the first time in ages. Flexible Squares is interesting. Odd but interesting. Just read that I managed to miss out on a three month paid time bonus thingy. Phoey. Saved my pics page so I don't lose my icons but not sure if I'm going to renew. I used to feel I used the paid account benefits and the whole small business thing. Not sure how compelled I feel to support it since it's now 6Apart and in general I don't use LJ as much as I used to. Suppose I'll see when I get to Japan. Going to miss the icons though, I like having so many, not that I use them that much. Oh well, will choose three. This one's back because I get to play with Demon Kitty again for the next few weeks.

4) The new iTunes is almost as icky as the old one. Got some new music though which should keep me sane on the flights and in the layover at Singapore. Got my Japan address and updated the post in my memories. Don't expect anyone to send anything but you have it if you feel inspired to use it--I arrive on the 5th of November.

5) Oh and um, pics from myrth1's wedding are up on her site if you haven't seen them and are looking.

I had more to say, I know I did but I have brain rot at the moment. Should go to bed so I can read more of Likely to Die and be up at a normal hour. We're going out to eat for kiwibeck's birthday tomorrow night but not sure what the plans are for the day.
16 October 2005 @ 10:29 pm
So I watched this episode tonight and realised that even five years later, and probably a year since I saw it last, I can still do this scene word for word. Could probably do the whole episode if I tried. As much as I don't watch ER anymore and my Clooney obsession has been topped by the Meloni obsession, SSS is still one of my favourite TV episodes. Ever.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar was in an episode of SVU that aired last night as a gay porn star and it was so weird because he will always be Zach Morris. On an SVU note, the deleted scenes from s2 are great! I now have s1,2,5 and 6 complete with three close to complete. Mmm. I will not be whinging (too much) about a lack of TV this time in Japan.

/fandom squee

Anyway, spent most of the day packing, or trying to. Can have (2) 30 kg bags on the flight from Melbourne but only (1) 20kg bag on Tuesday's bus to Melbourne. Original plan was to ship some stuff home but the boxes never arrived so that's a no-go. Plan B was to post some stuff to Melbourne in Aus Post's 3kg bags and deal with shipping it home from there but didn't really want to schlep stuff down to the post office so the current plan is to fill the purple duffle with stuff like my sleeping bag and other odds and ends and pay to take it as 'freight' on the bus on Tuesday.

Did spend the day finishing off my journal/scrapbook. Fun to flip through and really see what I've done in the last nearly eleven months. Can't believe it's been that long. Will be just shy of eleven months in Australia when I leave on the 4th. One present to myself in Singapore (CHEAP duty free perfume, I got Aqua di Gio-Giorgio Armani-last time for $9 US) is going to be Elizabeth Arden's Provocative Woman. Is perfect timing as I'm nearly out of Red Door.

I can be such a girlie girl at times.

Realised when I flipped through the books I have that my Japanese has gone to pot in the last three years. Got some study bits, should really do that on the bus on Tuesday since I have 11 hours to kill.
13 October 2005 @ 03:16 pm
So flight to Japan is booked, I leave Melbourne on the 4th of November at 5 PM. Get to Singapore at 9PM and fly to Osaka at 1 AM, arriving in Osaka at 8 AM on the 5th. I should be happy, I got a good deal from Nova's travel agent but the whole visa-not-yet-sorted thing worries me. Yeah, I'm a little neurotic at times.

On a more pleasant note, I've got a copy of LP Japan, Japanese Words and Their Uses: II and the Japanese Berlitz Phrase Book from a friend which will mean I don't have to think about most of my Japan books being in the States.

Also finally got in touch with the freight company to get my stuff sent home. Don't really think the box is going to be big enough for all I want to send but it will help and worse comes to worse, I use the extra luggage allowance and take it to Japan. I really hope I can do well at throwing things out though. Must do that!

On an even better note, got $100 for my broken camera. Said he'd have given me $200 if I had it fixed first but repair estimate was $325 so no. Of course I turned around and spent $218 to ship stuff home and on bus fare to Melbourne so the $100 didn't last long.

Back to reading, Ticket to Ride is a kickass book.
10 October 2005 @ 11:07 pm
There was a time when I could not understand people who didn't update regularly. I couldn't imagine a day of not having something, or four things if I was really bored at work, to post but then in the last year...especially the last few months. Don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing with LJ these days but I'm here for now. Making somewhat of an attempt to read but in general not happening..no time. Tweaked my default view. If you want to know if you're on it, just ask but odds are if you're reading this, you are.

At any rate, busy week:

Flew down to Adelaide last Sunday and Kukrae flew in from the States and we pulled off one hell of a surprise for Myrth at her Hen's Night. I think everyone who was involved in the surprise knows about how it went, have heard various threads have popped up about it. Suffice it to say, Myrth was thrilled and we all had a blast this week doing various things. The Hen's night was a lot of fun and the wedding was gorgeous. It was in a town (city?) called Mannum on the banks of the Murray River about an hour and a half from Adelaide and the ceremony was outdoors on the banks of the River. It rained during the ceremony but it was still beautiful and then the reception was in the Pub. I anticipate pics will be surfacing, probably when "Mr. and Mrs. Myrth" (so loved that on one of the cards!) return from their honeymoon. Have seen the official photographs-some benefits of staying with the official photographer-and they are gorgeous but it is so weird not having my 'own' photographs, but more on that later. And after all the stress about what to wear, I didn't wear the skirt. It was too cold and damp so I ended up wearing this shirt with black linen pants. Would have been woefully underdressed for a wedding at home but the dress codes were much more relaxed here. Anyway, it was awesome and we pulled off the surprise, which was what mattered most.

Reason I have no photos...Camera utterly and totally dead. Beyond the sensor issues I knew it was having a few weeks ago. I turned it on the other day; the lens came halfway out and stopped. Dead. RIP Camera. As I said earlier, it owes me nothing and it got me as far as I needed it to get me. Kukrae brought her new camera and I had fun playing with that last week and Helen gives me copies of her photos, as will kiwibeck if we take anything interesting when I get there. On a good note, there's a shop in the city that wants to buy it for parts so I'll get something for it. Once I decided what kind of camera I want to get-thinking about the Nikon D70S because I really want a good camera, though the new Olympus 8 megapixel is a *very* nice compact-I'll see what kind of media it takes and then see what to do about my memory cards. I think the D70 takes SD but I'm not sure anymore. I'm a Nikon girl but also considering a Canon. Decisions, decisions. Anyway, all to be researched and purchased in Japan.

Yes, Japan. Some of you know this already but I've really lost track of who knows what and from where and who I caught on chat but as far as I can tell, I've never gotten around to mentioning it here even though its been in the works for a while now. First applied back in May when I was in Melbourne but my e-application got lost in the online netherworld and I didn't hear back so I reapplied when I was in Perth. Nova called me about flying to Brisbane when I was in Broome but I postponed it a week and flew from Darwin in August. Spent three days back with kiwibeck's father and had the interview. Told me I'd here in two weeks, he'd gotten the letter in his mailbox by the time I'd flown back to Darwin and picked up my Ghan ticket for Adelaide. So last two months have been a mad dash of paperwork--visa applications, degree copies, JMA forms...Delays from Japan mean I'm leaving later than I thought i.e. on the day before my Australian visa expires so I will have spent just shy of eleven months here by the time I leave. I'm pretty happy with that. I don't have an address for Japan yet; if all goes as normal I'll have it just before I leave. I'm flying from Melbourne on the 4th of November, just need to book my ticket.

Also need to sort out what I want to ship home, what I want to take to Japan and what can be thrown out. I've been pretty good about not accumulating too much stuff and I can get the weight limit increased to 30kg if I book through Nova's travel agent but I really don't want a 30kg backpack of stuff I won't need in Japan plus there's bulky stuff like my sleeping bag. I got done for my luggage when I flew down from Brisbane--Qantas Domestic allows one checked bag at 20kg, backpack was 18 so this wasn't an issue. However hand luggage is limited to 7kgs and they decided to weigh mine. Daypack (i.e. laptop and books) was 17kgs. Eek. So had to check that after moving my laptop to a second bag. Not good. Need to get rid of some of the weight before I leave but at the same time I'm thinking of things I won't be able to get in Japan and want to bring from here i.e. western sized clothes and English books.

In between all the stuff I should be doing, I'm spending a lot of time on mindless stuff, especially fic. Kukrae's been my partner in SVU fic crime more or less since the first fic I wrote and it was wonderful having her here last week. I managed to post four stories and work on as many more plus I rediscovered why I like the show, if not exactly the fandom. Obviously that doesn't include anyone reading this but that fandom's gone to shit faster than any other I've ever watched. But getting to watch some of the s2 DVDs (especially the Wrong is Right shower scene and other deleted scenes) reminded me of what it was I liked about the show. This season, very ehh so far. I liked 911 (don't hit me, I didn't love it but I have seen MUCH worse) but I don't like the main partners being split every episode. From a logistical POV, I get it. They split the leads and can do more episodes. Partners don't always work together. But I like watching EO together, that's a big part of why I like the show and I miss that. So what do I do? I retreat into my AUs.

What else...Swear I had more to post when I was mentally composing this post. Just further proof that I need a brain-top. I'm sure I can manage to go back to my multi post days if I think of what it was.
22 September 2005 @ 01:58 pm
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Full Sized

Have taken way too many photos lately to the point that I can't upload most yet, internet access simply too slow and too expensive but there's the one above, which I love because if you look at the
full-sized version you can see the ants' eyes and 'claws' (?)

and this one

Full sized

from Whitsunday Island simply because I adored the view.

Here are also some from Coober Pedy and the
Great Barrier Reef with ones from Cooktown, Coloured Sands, Fitzroy Island and the Whitsundays to come.

Nearly the ten month mark and apart from the previously mentioned jeans, a few other things are starting to wear out:

-my camera. Now I really have no room to complain because on this trip alone I've kept 8,006 photos (I'd venture a guess I've taken at least 9, if not 10,000) and prior to this trip I'd kept another 2,000 so this camera owes me nothing. It's a little over two years old and the on/off switch is going, the door to the memory card slot is half broken and the lens has been grinding for about six months. Come on camera, give me another ten days. That's all I need. Less, actually. By about Monday the 26th I'll have completed my circumnavigation of Australia in about five months-pretty impressive. So camera, five more days, please?

When I was up in Cooktown they had magazines on special 5/$1 and a few had reviews of the new Nikon Digital SLRs. Mmm, camera envy. Hate that so many are switching to the SD memory sticks, have so many CF ones and really don't want to have to swap over but I think the D70s still uses CF.

-my laptop. Again, can't really complain. It's also just over two years old and gets used to death but it's showing wear and tear. There's time lag in opening folders, I get weird error messages and it's starting to suffer from Dead Battery Syndrome i.e. the battery won't fully recharge but not too much of an issue. Only been annoying lately when I want to use it while waiting for a bus and there's no power point and I haven't been able to charge it...

I've been trying to play catch up with photos and write ups, but its kind of a lost cause so here's a quick recap.

-Snorkelling on parts of the Great Barrier Reef in the last week or so. The two best were the Haba trip off Port Douglas and the Whitehaven Xpress trip in the Whitsundays. Simply because the reefs off Cairns are so degraded from the traffic that it's just not the same-a lot of the coral off Fitzroy was broken and dead so it wasn't the same vivid colours as off the others. On the plus side, that's where I first saw Crush. Two of us started to quote Nemo when we saw the turtle and one of the resort staff asked if we were two.

-Cooktown - as far North in Queensland as I was able to get and the home of a lot of history. It was there that Cook's ship was tied up to be fixed-the Endeavour in what is now called the Endeavour River-after running aground on the Reef. Can't breathe there without inhaling the myth of Captain Cook, but it's a fun bit of history. I skipped the museums as there was far more history to be had outside the museums and the area around Cooktown was just gorgeous.

-Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands were out of this world. Almost skipped them but am really glad I didn't since the time on Whitehaven Beach and the snorkelling in Mantaray Bay were amazing, not to mention the view from the Hill Inlet Lookout. So worth the climb. It was also in Airlie that I found the Australian equivalent of Auro Dry, the stuff I always used for my ears since all the snorkelling was killing my ears and I hated hearing the water squish around, but that's all better now.

-Mackay. Was originally going there to do a platypus safari but I was bumped off that and so spent the day with Felicia-Fairy, someone I knew through bookcrossing, and another friend of hers and they took me around the town to stuff I would never have known about without a local. It was a great day and nice to get off the backpacker trail. After nearly ten momths in Australia I still say Queensland is my favourite state (with WA a close second) but the thing I don't like about the coast is everyone's doing it so it's more crowded. But its worth seeing so it makes sense. With school holidays on this week I'm convinced no families with kids are in either Brisbane or Melbourne as they all seem to be up this way.

Had a bit of a Guardian Angel while waiting for the bus in Mackay. The only real issue that I've had with Greyhound is the fact that with all their changes most of their terminals close long before the last bus leaves (or aren't open before it arrives), which means people sitting outside with their bags. Not unsafe but not exactly safe either. I wasn't really worried, kind of just ignoring these two drunk guys when an older man came by and asked if I was OK. He was staying at the hotel nearby and offered to wait with me til my bus, which I thought was really nice of him, especially given it was 10 pm.

-Bundaberg was heaps of fun. I got here at 6 AM without any real plan on where to stay and saw a backpackers at the terminal. Not having to schlep my stuff earns high marks in my book so I booked a bed here and have the room to myself. Spent the morning mucking around Bundaberg and then went up to the Distillery, more or less my reason for stopping here. Tour of the factory and some wonderful presents for people. Bundy is something I'm really going to miss. I know we can get it in the states but nowhere near as easily.
16 September 2005 @ 07:06 pm
Just arrived in Cairns all excited for tomorrow's trip to Undara and
when I checked in the receptionist let me know that the tour's been
cancelled. Phooey! The only day they could book me in for was Monday
and I'm going to be 11 hours south of here by then so no volcanos for
me :( but since I have a day to kill in Cairns now and don't want to
stay in Cairns, I'm going out to the reef again!

Been a good week. Quick recap until I get time to write up a full one
and post pics:

-Breaking News: Nemo is no longer lost! I found and snorkelled with
him on Tuesday on St. Crispin's and Agincourt Reef. Don't know how my
photos turned out but the ship's photographer got a good one of Nemo
and also of me snorkelling. To be posted when I get to real internet.

-If I die in the next few weeks, I'll save you the cost of an
autopsy...it's Dengue Fever. I quit counting at 31 bites and thats
only on my feet and ankles and I am wearing Tropical Strenght Rid.
Queensland, I love you but I don't love your mosquitoes.

-Way to be well fed--have a 60 someodd year old grandmother from New
Zealand in your dorm room in Cooktown. Like grandmothers all over the
world, her natural tendency is to feed. Ate very well these last few
days--pasta salad, sausages, egg salad sandwiches.

-Cooktown's history is amazing. Skipped the museums as there was more
history to be seen on the streets. You really feel the myth of Captain
Cook there.

..I had more to say when I was composing this post on the bus but now
I've forgotten some. Whoops. Anyway off to bed as I am being picked up
at 7:15 for the ferry to Fitzroy Island.
12 September 2005 @ 01:15 pm
...but at times I wanted to kill the bus. Quick recap:

- Wednesday 7 September: Adelaide to Coober Pedy overnight bus
- Thursday 8 September: Coober Pedy. Was amazing. skyring I have a 'full report' on my laptop. WIll post when I can.
- Friday 9 September 5 AM-Saturday 10 September 5 PM: Coober Pedy, South Australia to Charters Towers, Queensland via Alice, Tenant Creek and Mt. Isa.
- Sunday 11 September (which I didn't realise on the day): Charters Towers with a friend from Nova. 5 PM bus to Townsville. 7pm-12am: sit outside Townsville bus station once it had closed.
- Monday 12 September: 12:15 board bus to Cairns. 2:15 AM mandatory meal break. 5:45 AM - arrive Cairns. 5:45-10:30 AM wait outside Cairns bus terminal for shuttle to Port Douglas.

...do you realise why I never want to see the inside of a bus or terminal again?

Upcoming (though why do I bother, am sure it will change)

- Tuesday 13 September - snorkel the Great Barrier reef with Haba. Not changing as it's actually booked but WOOHOO, finally going to do the Reef.
- Wednesday 14 September - Friday 16 September: Cooktown. Possibly heading back to Cairns on Thursday but probably Friday as it may allow me to do Daintree on the way back.
- Saturday 17 September - Undara LAva Tubes - because they seem just so cool!

Next Week:
Airlie Beach/Whitsundays
Great Keppel Island
Fraser Island

..updates when I can
07 September 2005 @ 12:56 am
Granted it's a factor of the news here, but I only happened to hear about the passing of Rehnquist on a Yankees related list I somewhat follow so I went to CNN..

I think it's somewhat disturbing that there's room for the 'news' that Lance Armstrong is going to marry Sheryl Crow but that Rehnquist's death is buried two tiers in. Granted he's 80 and was ill so his death
isn't a huge surprise but I'd vote it somewhere above Lance Armstrong, a pet called Snowball and what Barbara Bush is doing for the Katrina victims...

Yes, Katrina has been on the news here. If one good thing can be said about the incessant coverage is that it's not coverage of the 9/11 anniversary. This is the first time I've not been in NY for the
anniversary, shall be interesting to see how it's handled here...

On a more pleasant note, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was awesome. I adore Tim Burton and his snark. We were laughing our heads off. I have to say Johnny Depp as Wonka disturbed me. I'd heard this
was meant to be a darker version, not so much darker but hello Campy!Wonka. At any rate I loved it.

On another movie note, some of those filmed in Coober Pedy, I've seen two, I think. Pitch Black and Priscilla...

Everything in this room is *eat*able. Even I'm *eat*able. But that is called cannibalism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.
05 September 2005 @ 10:58 pm

I could make up a really good excuse for not having updated but the truth is I've been staying with a friend who has broadband at her place so...

Quick Recap of the last few weeks:

-Two trips to the casino which increased my 'emergency fund' to $105 AUD. Depending on the exchange rate I'll either use that to avoid a 47 hour bus ride later this month, buy myself a cool souvenir at the end of the trip or use it on the next part. We'll see.

- Taken a heap of cool flower pictures at Helen and her mom's gardens. Based on how well their gardens were in bloom I took a trip to the Botanic Gardens but only found duckies! Spent that day also exploring the bits of Adelaide I didn't see last time. Most of those flowers are unnamed because I didn't have a pen and paper when I was being told the names. Bad Me.

- Went to the Royal Adelaide Show, which reminded me a lot of a County fair. There were rides and stuff which you can't see in the photos because it was very rainy but the animals were just too cute, and of course the flowers. We also saw coloured animals--looks like they'd been fed food colouring or something, wombats, blue heeler pups and a goat that was about 12 hours old, but I was having lighting issues with my camera. comeseptember, they had the most adorable bunnehs and I thought of you, especially with the black one.

- went sailing today northwest of Adelaide and saw dolphins! First time sailing that I can recall and it was a lot of fun.

So I suppose you want an idea of where I'm headed next? Here's a rough draft since it's all kinda in the air:

Adelaide-Cooper Pedy (Weds PM)
Coober Pedy - Charters Towers (Fri-Sat)
Charters Towers - Townsville (Sun)
Townsville - Port Douglas

From Port Douglas I will make my way South to Brisbane thereby completing my bus loop of Australia. You can see some idea of just how far I travelled here.
26 August 2005 @ 10:18 pm

Over the course of the three day trip to Kangaroo Island I took 869
photos and kept 715 them. Yes, quite a few photos. Brought the total
kept over the course of the trip 7,252 photos at 4.29 gB. Yeah, a few
photos. Works out to 26.56 photos per day over 273 but as usual a day
like Wednesday where I kept 402 photos throws that average off. Aren't
you glad I don't upload them all?

This time I separated them not by day but rather by the three main
types of photos over the course of the trip - flowers, scenery and animals. With the
way my photo habits were going after the first day, I was predicting
flowers would be the clear winner in terms of uploads but I ended up
with 83 scenery (included sunsets), 25 animals and 40 flowers. No, I
don't expect anyone to look at all 148 photos but they're there.

All in all it was a fabulous trip. Three full days on the island and
we covered everything and more. The sunsets were amazing as they
always are but I was most amazed by the wildlife we saw: three cars
stopping for a mother duck and her brood crossing the road, heaps of
seals and their pups at Admiral's Arch (see above), koalas including
one with its baby, 'roos, possums and an echidna, among others. They
were all awesome but I think the echidna was the highlight because
it's so rare to see them--and I think we saw two but by the time we
turned around, he'd snuffled off into the bush so we couldn't confirm.

I swear I'm never going to get used to zoos again.