Lance Wilson Guest DJ's The Blaze

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 03:50:58 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
This week was guest DJ week on The Blaze. Katie had mentioned midway through the week that Lance Wilson was going to be on on Friday.

On checking the website last night, the Gin Blossoms were listed (no doubt because of their performance at the Tempe Music Festival this weekend), so it's kinda funny that it was Lance instead.

In any case, we set our alarms for 5am this morning to tune in, specifically to see what local stuff he played. The highlight for me is that the last song was Mink Rebellion's Along For The Ride. Really cool to hear that on the radio, as well as Gin Blossoms' Seeing Stars. Overall a really good selection - especially in comparison to the guest DJ before him, of which sitting through half an hour of was fairly painful. [smile]

In addition, his giving The Odds a spin made me think of it's been forever since I've listened to those albums and really need to rip them!

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers on Good Morning Arizona

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 02:53:11 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, You Tube You Tube)
Now Playing: Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers - Maybe We Should Fall In Love (Live)

New Violet Wild Tracks

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, March 16, 2007 - 03:26:05 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
Violet Wild have 4 new tracks on their Myspace page. Well 3 Got You Where I Want You, Glorious Day, Luna, and a an acoustic version of Concrete Lake.

Another bunch of really good sounding tracks, but it raises the question of when the album is coming out. It seems that it's been recorded for quite a while now.


(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, March 12, 2007 - 11:30:02 pm
(Posted Under: TV)
Mondays rock again! Completely by accident, with the TV on, half watching Boston Legal Katie exclaimed that Scrubs season premier was on next! Rock. Finally, something good about Mondays again!

Funny, given we'd just been talking today about there being nothing worth watching on Mondays. I guess we both take that back now.

Similarly, it's really weird to think I actually only started watching Scrubs last June. Probably because of how much I've gotten into it, it really feels like I've been watching it for a year, or longer.

More Rockin' The Seas Fun

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, March 11, 2007 - 11:37:47 am
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
The whole titanic mess that is Rockin' The Seas 2007 has finally made it into the news.


Cancel Or Allow?

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, March 6, 2007 - 09:31:35 pm
(Posted Under: TV)
The Mac add's just keep getting better and better. [smile]

The latest, 'Cancel Or Allow?' is quite pleasing given that I've had this gripe ever since "Personal Firewalls" hit the scene, being nothing but a nuisance and unproductive. I absolutely love this add.

Once again, while I don't want a Mac, this advertising campaign makes me want a Mac! [wink]

Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosTuesday, March 6, 2007 - 07:31:21 pm
(Posted Under: Outings)
Photobox ImageToday after wanting to do this before Katie had even arrived here, we went to the zoo. Something I've been wanting to do for quite a while, especially since the last time I was there was 6 odd years ago, the last time Katie was here.

After a bumbled tram experience, which left us having to cut through the golf course at the back, we made it there in not so bad time, given the detours. As a result, we started at the back entrance, something I've never done before. Of course, once inside, it was decided we needed to head to the front entrance, to begin. Starting from the back would have just been too weird, and given that we needed to be at the back to catch the tram at the end of the day, this made sense. Hence we headed straight through to the front.

Interestingly, this pointed out to us that the zoo isn't really that deep, as it took little to no time to get to the front entrance. As a matter of fact, I was shocked when we got to the main circle (in the middle of the zoo), disbelieving that that is what it really was. It prompted me to question whether the zoo is smaller as an adult, though decided that this wasn't the case - it just isn't that deep - given that you never walk straight through the main path from front to back, you just never notice.

Once arriving at the front gates, somewhat as a surprise to Katie, we decided to do the gorillas first, which is definitely a tradition for me, this being typically the way we've navigated the zoo since I was a kid. Maybe with a variation on a rare visit. With the rain forest habitat so thick these days, by mistake we found ourselves at the Samurian Tiger, who was out with it's cubs. It wasn't until moving on past this that I realized that we weren't actually where we intended on being. On continuing ahead a bit we then came across the new elephant enclosure. On walking past this, Katie said something about the butterfly house, and a few moments later, on turning around, I saw we were standing out front of it. This was by all accounts shocking, because I had no idea that this is where we were, and could not believe how much the whole area had changed. I was still expecting the dirt path, past the kangaroos and pelicans, past the lake in that area, and the koalas in the middle outside of the butterfly house. That area used to be quite open, and now is fairly dense rain forresty, to the point that the butterfly house, which you could once not miss, is completely obscured except for the entrance. On this weird discovery of where we were, we decided to do the Butterfly House, before backtracking to the gorillas.

On arriving back on the main path, and working out where we went wrong in terms of the finding the gorillas, and correcting the error, I noticed that the original gorilla enclosures were fenced off. Much to my disappointment. A trip to the zoo always started here, and not being able to go through there was...well, a disappointment! We wandered further, only to arrive at the exit of the gorilla displays, with a sign instructing not to start at this point. So we headed back, down closer to the front wall of the zoo, and finally had some success. Once we got to the entrance to the rain forest area, at the end of the old gorilla enclosures, I noticed a sign down there, and wandered down to check it out. It announced that, like us, gorillas needed rest, and these enclosures were closed to provide that, and would be renovated in the future. Again, disappointing. It was disappointing that they were closed today, but there is always next time. But given the redevelopment, I'm willing to bet that they'll never be open again in their current form. All the redevelopments have been great, especially the new gorilla enclosure (which I've seen on several occasions - and we're open in combination with the old ones in the past), but you know, the Melbourne Zoo won't be the Melbourne Zoo with those original enclosures gone / remodeled.

In any case, we wandered down and checked out the gorillas, who were all in very good view today, coming down to the glass viewing area. From there we stopped at an information station type thing, where a woman from FOTZ spoke to us about the gorillas, and most interesting to me, mentioned that Mzuri was now in a Gernse zoo. I had been wondering if he was still one of the gorillas in the zoo, but as it turns out isn't. From there we moved on to the hippos, which were nowhere to be seen, and then the baboons - recalling our last experience there, where a bird flew into the glass viewing area, causing immediate death, before a baboon raced up, scooped up the dead carcass, and proceeded to chow down on it's new found breakfast. Sadly there was not this type of excitement at the baboon enclosure today. On the way out of the rain forest section, I tried to snap some photos of the old gorilla enclosures, as much as possible, as I'll probably never see them again.

From here, we searched for where the elephant section came out (not particularly wanted to backtrack through the part we'd already seen), blatently ignoring a sign, like at the gorilla area, that it was the exit rather than the entry, and shouldn't be entered. This is somewhat of a newish thing also, have predetermined ways to follow the paths - it used to be that you could go anywhere, and whichever damn way you pleased. But not wanting to walk around the whole first half of it again, we ignored this and continued through, passing the new orangatang enclosure, and watching a training session with the orangatangs. Which consisted of running through medical training, teaching the tangs to co-operate for medical procedures, which was quite interesting, entertaining, and had us commenting on how it's not hard to see how we're descendants of the ape family. From here, we followed the path, although there was nothing we wanting to see, but I wanted to see what else was changed. Continuing on, we saw the fully extent of the new elephant enclosure - it'd seemed like it was only what we initially saw (which I actually hadn't thought was much bigger, or more shady than the original enclosure), however, there was another enclosure on the other side, with gates that connected the two enclosures on the path. While walking past we noticed a photo shoot in progress with a girl standing in front of an elephant with a stick. We assumed it must have been some type of promotional shoot, certainly looking at the camera being used, which I drooled over. Which was kinda the most exciting part of it. We continued on, coming across another elephant enclosure, again connected via a gate. With the three different enclosures, all connected via gates, I recounted my original thought that the new elephant enclosure wasn't that impressive. While Katie waited, I walked up past the gate, and found that we'd arrived at the area se'd reached on the other side, near the butterfly house. Hence, at this point, satisfied that I'd checked out everything that had changed, we started to walk back. While doing os, I commented to Katie that I'd love to know how much the Zoo was worth. No figure would surprise me. It would have been worth a bit back in the day, and just taking into account the changes in the last 10 years, I can't imagine how much it must be worth.

After heading back, stopping briefly for the pelican feeding, where Katie commented on Australian pelicans being a lot larger than American ones, we agreed that it was time for lunch, and headed on over to the bistro and cafe area, via the seals exhibit. Walking towards the seal exhibit, I noticed and pointed out to Katie some decorated poles in the gardens on the way, and then realizing these were most likely from the fountain that was at the entrance of the zoo, which I hadn't even noticed was no longer there. I tried to remember if it was still there the last time I was here, because maybe it wasn't, but I honestly can't remember.

After lunch, we took care of taking care of the front right side of the zoo, penguins, red pandas and the baboons. Walking past the old elephant enclosure, we noticed that it was now setup for overnight visitor stays, and largely unchanged. Later I've discovered this is historically listed, and will be preserved. Either way, I wish I'd thought to take a photo, and it's another part of the zoo that has been there as long as I remember / have been going, and another exhibit that stands out as defining the Melbourne Zoo. This side of the zoo in general, unlike the other side, is still largely as I remember it as a kid. Looking at the baboons, the old wire cages along the front right wall, Katie commented that it didn't seem that right. This was definitely true, and probably intensified by exploring the other (newer) side of the zoo first, which is so much less like a traditional zoo. It made for an interesting quandrum. I definitely had the feeling that these cages seemed a lot more 'cruel', and definitely in comparison. Yet, at the same time, there was definitely something to reveal in the old zoo, and this area still looking the same as my childhood memories. Interesting also, despite being the same enclosures, they've still changed. Rather than being several enclosures housing a variety of monkey species, all the cage dividers have now been removed, creating one large baboon enclosure, no doubt because the majority of the other monkeys have been moved to the other part of the zoo.

After this, we wandered up through the boring enclosures at the front of the zoo (which were never terribly interesting), stopping at the merkat display close to the entrance of the zoo. Here we noticed the pbotographer we'd seen earlier, this time, in addition to his freak show of a lens attached to his camera, a woman standing holding an external attachment, looking somewhat like a telescope, the size of the lens of the camera and then some! While being impressed by the merkats, I also stood there drooling over this camera, and really not being able to fathom the sort of zoom the camera lens would have, let alone with this external telescope attachment thing - and thinking how much I wanted one for my sunset and moon shots. A man can dream. [smile]

On the way back down the main road, yet again, we headed over to the platypusary, which I had to take a photo of the sign because - it's a platypusary, which is hilarious. Katie loved it, and recalled taking a photo of it last time because of it, which I didn't remember per se that we had, but that's no doubt what prompted me to immediately want to take a photo this time around.

After this, and Katie commenting on how wierd playpus' are, we headed over to the lions, which used to be one of my favorite paprts of the zoo. I took note to to take a photo of the sign, before checking out the lions. As it happened, the lions were in their den, while someone walked one of the other small cats in the lions cage. After watching this, we moved over to the den, watching the lions for a while, before continuing on, checking out the bears, big cats, before taking a breather, sitting by the lake in the area. While sitting there, the lions started making a racket, which the longer it went on, the more it sounded like they were right behind the bushes behind us - feeling like my childhood nightmares of lions getting loose, which I'd relayed to Katie just a bit earlier, had come true. Getting up, a little started, we headed back over to the lion enclosure, to see what all the fuss was about. They were back out, and it was feeding time, so we headed back up to the bridge to watch the lions fest, and take some really good shots.

After this, we headed to the back of the zoo, stopping for a drink, and heading into the zoo shop to find a pair of sunnies, which, since my pair broke the other week, I'd been missing. After taking care of this, we walked over to the back left size of the zoo, which to my surprise has also changed. Particularly, where the bison used to be had been changed into a water recycling plant, and on display. This was kinda lame to me, and seemed like a waste of a large enclosure. From here, we continued up, finding this area reasonably changed. The part of the zoo that used to be home to african animals, set up sort of like plains, and the long walk through it. This was always my least favorite part of zoo, and was typically the last section of the zoo visited, but there was always something cool about doing it, again, having always done it since being a kid. Again, it was disappointing seeing this changed. Particularly, the Australian native section seemed to be extended, with one of the "plains" type transformed into a kangaroo walk through. On the right had been opened up into an 'outback' look, complete with red desert dirt all over the place, and tacky outback propts. Aside with the change factor, I was really unhappy with what they've done here. The Australian native section, while still in the same place, and similar to the old days, isn't as good with more tacky outback stuff. Beyond this is the wombats and koalas, which I'd definitely seen previously the last time with Katie, although that still feels new to me also.

From here, we went through the Great Flight Avery, which also never a huge favorite of mine, but was always part of the zoo trips and enjoyable going through something that was still the same. Going through further illistrated to me where exactly the new elephant and orangatang exhibits were, pretty much coming right up to the south side of the Great Flight Avery. Where the native animals like the echidnas etc., and the row of caged birds used to be. In highensigt this made sense, given that the caged birds were right near where the koalas used to be outside the butterfly house, but I had been expecting to still this. On leaving the Aviary, we went in search of the giraffes, wondering whether their enclosure was still the same. To do so, we had to go back towards the new Australia area, to my frustration, back to where the new kangaroo walk through was, to continue back up the road where the african animals used to be. The only enclosure still remaining unchanged was the zebra (now zebra and giraffe) one, backing onto the giraffe enclosure, complete with the cemented ditches, cut in in the fence, and seats. Seeing this made me miss how it used to be like this all the way from the back of the zoo to the giraffes. It was redeeming seeing at least one section that harked back to the old days, on the downside the zebras were nowhere to be seen. We continued promptly to the giraffe enclosure, with thankfully is still the same. Including the scales on the side. On walking around to the front, the giraffes were away, while the enclosure was cleaned (as was the case with the lions), and the keeper called out that they'd be out in about 10 minutes. While was much appreciated, as by this stage sitting for 10 minutes was a great idea. While walking back to the main road, I took more note of where the elephant and orangatang enclosures were, noticing that they came right up to the giraffe enclosure, and the eating area / lake opposite was now gone.

On sitting at the main road, much to the relief of our aching feet, we wandered back to the giraffes, who were now out and feeding, and definitely worthwhile waiting, as there were four, in good view. My memory of most zoo visits were that there were never many giraffes.

From here, and it being past 4pm, we decided we needed to hit the reptile house, before we ran out of time. On the way, I noticed somewhere we hadn't been, and on a peak noticed it was the small cats, which we'd tried to find earlier, but failed. We headed down there, and then in the direction of the reptile house, with somewhat of an increased pace.

We hit the reptile house, which I enjoyed quite a deal. Somewhat notable, because I never cared for it that much as a kid, and it was quite often skipped because of the spiders and snakes. But going though it was notable enjoyable today. A minor thing that really stood out to me, as a flashback to being a kid was the dynamo like "Do not tap glass" labels on the enclosures. On working our way around, we both were impressed by most of the reptiles, including the cool looking cobra and pythons. The only downside was it closing (as it was supposed to close at 4:30) we reached the last display, a gilamonster (found in Arizona) and not getting to snap a shot of it. After this, we peaked in the frog house (which was new to me), not really stopping, given it was technically closed, and I wanted to find the giant tortoises. Which proved to be hard, after virtually walking right around the reptile house, coming back to the entrance, where the tortoises were virtually opposite. This was a must to do before we left, given our freaky streak of witnessing tortoises humping (a streak actually broken at the Phoenix Zoo in 2005). On walking over to the tortoises, with no moaning sounds emitting from their enclosure, it wasn't surprising that they weren't putting on the usual show for us, let alone in the same area of their enclosure. After briefly commenting on it, we headed towards the exit, as it was quickly approaching five, and the zoo had been fairly empty except for staff for about an hour.

After some deliberation on whether to catch a train or a tram back, we opted for the train.

All in all it was a great day, not that days at the zoo for us ever aren't - with the exception of when zoos suck, hello Phoenix. [wink]

As we discussed throughout the day, the Melbourne Zoo is nothing short of impressive, definitely the most impressive I've been too, and is even more impressive as the years go on, without a doubt. However, at the same time, it's really hard not to miss the old zoo, the way it was 20 years ago, when we used to go as a kid. Which was certainly one of the many reasons I was excited about going for, and had been anticipating and planning quite a while before Katie even got here, revisiting all the exhibits that I'd known for the last 25 odd years. The last time I went, in 2000, there were impressive changes (particularly the rain forest habitat, which I think I'd even seen before 2000), which seemed just like improvements, most of everything was still the way I remembered it. This time around, 7 years later, the amount of changes are really becoming apparent, and it's obvious how much the zoo itself changing. Of particular concern is the old gorilla exhibits (which to this point have remained in conjunction with the new one), which was so inheriently entwined with a trip to the zoo, and it's hard to imagine the Melbourne Zoo being the Melbourne Zoo without it.

Something I also noted was much I enjoyed the consistency throughout the zoo, the concrete "rock" enclosures, which featured throughout the zoo. Examples being the old gorilla, elephant, giraffe, elephant and penguin enclosures (which is where the thought dawned on me). Where as they newer areas, as impressive as they are, don't have that same uniformity.

The Kingdom

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, March 5, 2007 - 11:12:20 pm
(Posted Under: Outings)
Given that we'd planned to finally hook up with Chris and Bonnie tonight for dinner, and for them to meet Katie, I went along with class with Katie this afternoon. Once she went to her class, I took off to the South Lawn @ Melbourne Uni to find a nice place to read.

I'd taken Kingdom Of Fear to read, which I'd made a start on while I was still working at ASI, but had not made a lot of progress. And given that it's been quite a while I was surprised to find it so easy to pick up where I'd left off in December.

Sitting under a tree, I pulled out the book and Katie's iPod, in what was a really nice afternoon with the sun slowly sinking towards the trees in the east, which was really an explosive mix. Somewhat the really nice afternoon and surroundings, and much reading Hunter, and the likes of Dead Hot Workshop and Gin Blossoms keeping me company. Getting back into reading was awesome, and I definitely thought about how I was glad that Katie had forced me to start reading Hunter Thomson's work two years ago, given how much I get off on his work. A lot of it very relitable, and making me ponder handling things the HST way. Oh, it'd be nice.

Throughout the two hours reading, when Hey Jealousy came on, I was struck with the whole Doug factor / thing, and the whole song while reading out there was just a moment in itself. In any case, an excellent afternoon.

After Katie gave me a call to let me know her class was over, we walked down to Lygon Street, where we grabbed a table and waited for Chris and Bonnie to arrive. Quite enjoyable catching up with them, not only because they were yet to meet Katie, but because I haven't seen them since Bonnie's birthday last September, which was somewhat surprising to realize.

Melbourne Aquarium

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosFriday, March 2, 2007 - 10:13:48 pm
(Posted Under: Outings, )
Photobox ImageToday we headed to the Melbourne Aquarium for the day.

While it's been around for a while, I had no idea what to expect. Especially since from the outside it didn't seem that large to me. However, I was quite impressed, and it took up more of the day than I expected it to.


(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 11:31:47 am
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Tempe)
Yesterday along with the Hans CD, I also ripped the Reign Kings CD Katie had brought me, and given it a listen through today. The start of the album didn't do much for me, the second half was kinda cool however.

Definitely a cool moment was when the song Tracy begun, and in no time realized the song was about Tracy Lee from KZON. Pretty funny, and makes the song really cool, not that it wasn't one of the better songs on the album in itself.

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