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October 25, 2009

Victorian Apostles

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CameraPanasonic DMC-LX3
Lens (35mm Equiv.)Leica DC Vario-Summicron 5.1-12.8mm (35mm 24-60mm) f/2.0-2.8 (24mm)
Exp. Prog. / Shutter @ ApertureAperture Priority / 1/250s @ f/6.3
Metering w/Adj. @ ISOAperture Priority w/+0 EV @ ISO 80

If you go to the State of Victoria in Autralia, topping nearly all of the day tripping tourism lists is a trip along The Great Ocean Road. Reminiscent of the road to Hana in Hawaii, the winding road follows the coast to spectacular views.

Mike and I were lucky enough to run into friends we knew along the way. Together we were treated to some truly spectacular breaks in the weather such as this dramatic view of some of the easternmost "apostle" rock stacks in Port Campbell National Park.

 

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Main > Diary

October 16, 2009

What Dressing Like a Fool Gets You in Melborne

It was pouring rain. I was dressed in a black fedora, silk vest, and a cartoonishly oversized red bow tie. My colleague Michael wanted to walk down the bustling Friday night streets of Melbourne to go and see a display of pyrotechnics outside the Crown Casino. He himself was dressed in a shimmering gold and red paisley vest with a pukey little bow tie. I sighed, wiped my brow and we set off down King Street toward the river.

I should explain: Michael and I were just leaving a burlesque masquerade party we found on the local event calendar. We were able to find a costume shop and rent ridiculous outfits. The party was wonderful. The people were great. We could sit on soft banquettes and watch the performances while enjoying cocktails, plates of food & great performances. The streets were wet and the people were drunk.

Only moments after we left three staggering kids said, "hang on, what have we got?" and I replied curtly, "party up the street."

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"Yeeeeeeah," was the reply. "Yeah" is used to a great many effects here in Australia. This was not the friendly, "yeah, it's that way to the ocean" but an uncomfortable "yeeeeeeah try me fag and I'll punch you between the eyes" kind of yeah. I am sure it was the same "yeah" that Russle Crowe used before he used a telephone to rearrange the face of a hotel employee.

We needed a plan if we were going to make it to the Pyrotechnics without getting burned alive. From now on Michael—the only one of us wearing a ring—was getting married. Our cover story would be that we are on our way to his bachelor party.

Closer to the river we met a group of six men with shaved heads on the sidewalk. As we passed, a stream of homosexual epithets were ejaculated from their stupid gobs. "Hey faggot!" one of them angrily spurted. "What the fuck's wrong with you?" spunked another. They slowed their walking, turned around, and tried to force a confrontation.

We kept walking. I think my American accent put them off guard. I used our cover story, "he's getting married, man, we're on his way to his bachelor party!" and we were let by with only a few more angry and fearful remarks. These types of exchanges continued all the way until we reached the casino.

The Aussie men in Melbourne are homophobic to a ridiculous extent. From what we've heard from other North Americans who live here, this deeply rooted anger continues into a general fear of many things other. Indeed while we've been here we've seen South Indians get honked at as they cross the street and we've read the stories of the racially motivated youth gangs that pound at each other from the "brown" and "white" sides of the ethnographic line. It made our walks in bow ties nothing short of terrifying.

For as much as the men hated us, women loved us. We were stopped repeatedly. We were met with expressions of wonder and disbelief.

"What? really? I love your hat!" One girl peeled away from her boyfriend, uneasily weaved her way to us and reached out her hand in a gesture intended to determine if we were real of not. "I loooooove youse guys. Loooooove youse!"

We saw the pyrotechnics. They were beautiful. So was our unintentional social experiment.

Our stupid outfits and a little booze had stripped Melbourne naked. What we saw were anger filled, dangerous little boys—and the women willingly going out with them (pleasant though they were). We wonder what we would find if we repeated this experiment in our own locale: we might be unhappy with what we discover. However, I doubt it.

 

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Main > Photoblog

October 12, 2009

Capturing Our Melbourne Romance

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CameraPanasonic DMC-LX3
Lens (35mm Equiv.)Leica DC Vario-Summicron 5.1-12.8mm (35mm 24-60mm) f/2.0-2.8 (28mm)
Exp. Prog. / Shutter @ ApertureAperture Priority / 1/125s @ f/3.5
Metering w/Adj. @ ISOMulti-segment w/+0 EV @ ISO 1600

With love from Oz.

Sorry for the noisy shot. It was dark in the alleyway at breakfast time.

 

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Main > Diary

October 1, 2009

The Great Weight Loss Competition of '09

Just when people are looking to put on weight and prepare for hibernation in Minnesota, I am looking to get fit and trim. Last weekend my friends Steve and Amy were in town. At their parent's house Steve's father, John, was lamenting his figure. He works in a remote office and he doesn't want to appear like he's been leading too easy of a life at the next all-company get together.

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His wife, Nancy, thought he could use a little encouragement and so, seeing as how I could stand to loose at least 15 lbs., goaded us into a little friendly competition. The stakes?

For every pound we don't lose from our personal goal by the morning weigh-in on December 6th we have to pay the other person a prearranged amount:

John wants to loose 10 lbs. and he will pay me $30/lb. for every pound he does not lose.

I want to loose 15 lbs. and I will pay him $20/lb. for every pound I do not lose.

The competition began on September 27th. There are only 90 days between September 27th and December 6th. That's 1 lb. 2⅔ oz. per week or 2⅔ oz. of weight I must lose daily.

For encouragement and tracking tools I turned to Traineo. John and I have both setup profiles. You can track our progress:

So far I've been able to demonstrate fairly consistent progress. I've eaten sensibly. I've made sure to do some physical activity each day. I'm down about 2.5 lbs. in 5 days. I do have some challenges ahead of me, however.

Next week I am headed to Australia for a technical conference. I'll be sitting on a plane for 15 hours each way. I'll be away from exercise equipment. To prepare, I've been doing "burpees." I did 3 sets of 10 on Sunday, my core muscles hurt for three days. It hurt like the dickens to laugh. I've been relatively humorless all week.

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