Go Baby Cry

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, June 29, 2009 - 03:01:46 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene)
I came across a new Gin Blossoms song the other day - Go Baby Cry. Maybe the new album really is in the wings. That may be a big call, but it certainly makes me anticipate a new album if this song is anything to go on.

Apparently Jamie Woolford is involved in the production, which is such a great thing - I hope that remains true when it comes to the end product.

Other exciting news is that there are new Let Go and Domo albums in the works. Rock!

I suppose you think it's funny getting wasted on us all...
Now Playing: Gin Blossoms - Go Baby Cry

Music Videos on MTV?

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, June 27, 2009 - 11:16:09 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music)
It's fairly incredible to flick past MTV and actually see music videos! They're as part of the King Of Videos: Michael Jackson special, admittedly, but hey, seeing a music video on MTV is really a something to behold these days no matter how you slice it! [smile]

Think Outside Of The Bun

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, June 27, 2009 - 09:13:21 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Today for lunch we went to Taco Bell, my first Taco Bell experience. One thing I've been missing in my life is fast food Mexican. I'm a fan.

Other than that we spent the day looking at cars, in 100 odd degree heat. There was a promising find with a Honda Civic, but anything that is too good to be true always is - it turned out to have a salvage title. Hmph. It did however give me the sense that I could live with a Honda Civic, though we'd probably not find something worthwhile with that price tag.

One upside of the day was getting a pair of jeans. Not my absolute favorite jeans, but for $12 (wha? for Lee jeans?!?) they do for now.

Michael Jackson Dies

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, June 25, 2009 - 06:20:16 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music)
Katie had gone up to grab me a drink, and came back down with what I was expecting - the announcement that Michael Jackson is dead.

It's been so long since we've said anything serious about Michael, just hearing "Michael Jackson is" seemed like a joke or off the cuff comment was going to follow. So much so, that my mind set was on that line of thought, so much so, that it took about 3 seconds for the reality of the words to set it. A very weird feeling going from a comedic mindset then into the very serious, disturbing disbelief mindset.

It's certainly weird being in the country with such a news story breaking.

The Missing General Lee

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, June 25, 2009 - 12:59:00 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Sitting inside a real General Lee today reminds me that the oddest thing to not come across in the packing is my 1981 1:25 scale (according to some Googling) die cast model.

I noticed the absence of it about a month and a half ago while packing, and haven't had a chance to think about it again until today. And the fact that is very unusual that I wouldn't have it in my possession.

In 1984 it suffered a fate - well, not that different than a lot of the 390 odd real Dodge Chargers that were used in the taping of the show - very banged up. I clearly remember being on holiday in Queensland, repeatedly launching the thing off over a rock, again, not unlike in the show. Which now, I really regret. Well, actually, I remember regretting it hours after doing it. It was really fun in the moment, and then the Mark-ness kicked in and I regretted the damage I'd inflicted, even at 7 years of age.

With that being said, I remember having it, in it's worse for wear condition for years and years later. Although the wheels didn't stay on as well as they once did, the paint was scratched up, and at some point I had the chassis apart from the body (god knows why?!?), I had all the parts. I can't remember either giving it away, nor tossing it, and more to the point, can't imagine myself doing either. Unless I had a moment of insanity greater than launching it off a rock in the middle of a caravan park in Queensland.

So I pose the question - where the hell is my die cast General Lee?

Hollywood Wax Museum and Mexican Jumping Beans

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 05:11:35 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
It's been a fun day in Branson - kicked off by go karting, then to the Hollywood Wax Museum. Most figures were pretty good, some were pretty bad. Particularly bad was Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) who looked like a reworking (very unreworked) sculpture of Heath Ledger. Captain Jack however was awesome. And that's all that matters, right? It was enjoyable to me that the flash was giving Katie a 'headache' when I made her pose with David Hassleholf and Pammy Anderson, but she was magically cured when we got to Captain Jack, and Johnny in a wedding scene. [wink]

We had a dismal shopping experience at Branson Landing, though we did get some some Mexican Jumping Beans, which are pretty damn cool. I expected to fix my jean situation at the Levi's outlet store, however it was all quite disappointing. At least I got as far as finding some stuff to try on, which is further than I could get in Australia at least!

I'm Just A Good Ol' Boy...

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 04:45:42 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
By far, this is the definition of living out your boyhood dreams. [smile]

More photos of the General Lee here.

I'm convinced that the search for a new car is over, I just can't seem to get Katie to go for it!

Branson, MO

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - 08:57:23 am
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
We're here in Branson, MI, at the Settle Inn in the Outback Room - the hotel we're at has themed rooms. The other Jensen's are in the Pirates Of The Caribbean Room.

The original plan was to stay in Springfield tonight. Well, actually, the original original plan was to not leave for Branson until tomorrow. In Springfield we went to the Pro Bass Shop / Outdoor World, which was quite an experience. Actually, the insane number of deer heads in the entrance alone was quite an experience! [smile] The place was massive, with a ridiculous amount of...well, anything to do with outdoors. A redneck's heaven, no doubt. I'm not sure that words can do it justice. Here's a link...

[link rel="external" href="http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPage?storeId=10151&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=15" /]

After that, and taking a look at Best Buy and then another trip to Fuddruckers, the decision was made to continue on to Branson, about an hour away. I've heard many a thing about Branson in the 13 years of knowing Katie - pretty much the Vegas of the midwest...except without the casinos (?). I've conferred with Katie, and indeed there aren't any. It does seem weird to compare something to Vegas when there isn't a casino in sight, but it's a fair assessment surprisingly all the same. The town is full of amusements and live shows.


(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, June 22, 2009 - 02:48:18 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
We've heard a lot about deers in the backyard, but until today, we hadn't seen any, thought apparently there was one one morning last week. However, we finally got to see one today, with a doe.

Surprisingly, the doe wandered across the backyard, despite the flashes coming from the downstairs window as I was taking photos.

Pretty cool.


Back In West Des Moines

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, June 21, 2009 - 10:00:17 pm
(Posted Under: Travel)
This morning we said bye to Kristin and headed back out on the road destined for West Des Moines. Surprisingly I've coped well in the backset of the VW for well over a thousand miles, but admittedly the leg room in the front seat is appreciated.

Driving into West Des Moines there wasn't that much that I remembered, until we past the Kum and Go and McDonald's by Perkins. Sadly, the McDonalds (the first place I ever went with Katie after the airport 10 years ago) has since closed down.

The Perkin's car park was also very familiar, as was the entrance to the restaurant, though, inside not so much. I also remember the pancakes being a lot better, but maybe I ordered something different the last time I was here.

Part of the trip to West Des Moines was to catch up with Katie's friend Diana, who ironical is the only one of Katie's friends I met in 1999 who still lives in Des Moines. It was cool seeing Diana again, and she came with us for a trip around town to check out the sites. Surprisingly a lot of West Des Moines looked different that I remember. No doubt because it has changed in the last 10 years, but I think also because I am looking at it differently than I did 10 years ago. Back then it was my first time in the States, everything was very new and foreign. These days this is so less the case, and so much has happened and changed in the last 10 years. Katie also thought things looked different, and she was here (briefly at least) two and a half years ago, so at least it's just not me.

The first place we stopped by was the old house. Over the past few years there have been many times I've wanted to go back to the house, because I had so much of a good time there. Before my trip to Arizona in 2006 I'd hoped to be able to get out there, but that didn't happen. So I was looking forward to going past there. Of course, with the Jensen's no longer owning the house (ironically it wasn't that long ago that they finally got it sold!) it wasn't quite the experience I was looking for. Apparently Brad drove past there recently and found it very weird that other people were now living in there, and I had a similar reaction (which seems funny to make the comparison, since I only lived there for 2 weeks, compared to his 13 odd years). Still really good to have driven past 604 38th Street, just not as good as if the Jensen's still lived there.

From there we drove past Katie's elementary school, behind the old house and then by Valley High, which to me looked quite similar to when I went there with Katie for her radio show, although apparently there have been significant changes to the school.

From there we drove down to Valley Junction, and then to downtown Des Moines, which seemed a lot larger than I remembered it. I doubt that it actually is (and according to Katie, although it's changed somewhat, the size hasn't particularly) and I accredit this again to a difference in me in 10 years. 10 years ago I was seeing Des Moines from the perspective of largely only knowing Melbourne Australia (which is clearly much larger than Des Moines), now I'm seeing it with a lot more life experience and having had seen much more of the world.

After dropping Diana back at her car at Perkin's we went past a few other important places of West Des Moines in the history of Mark & Katie. I was quite happy that the field behind Carlos O'Kelly's was just as I remember it being 10 years ago, and it really didn't take much imagination standing out there to be taken back 10 years ago. Such a familiar feeling, moreso than a lot of the places we went by today. Also, standing out there, almost 10 years after the fact (in August), with everything we've seen and done since then, being married as opposed to two crazy kids in love, was...really cool.

After that we headed out to 'The Trail' which again was really cool to go 10 years after the fact, and was pretty much exactly the way I remembered it. Immediately on driving into the parking lot I was taken back to it being about 5pm and having my first cigarette in America there. Being there, it was kind of bizarre to think it was 10 years ago, because I remember it like it was yesterday. After a cool walk and chat out there, in the quite muggy heat, we headed back to the car. The other destination we would have liked to have gone to was Walnut Creek, but since it was 4pm and it was going to take us an hour to get there, we decided to do that next time. Hopefully we'll get back to West Des Moines before we move to Arizona.

Another funny sign for the trip as we passed the exit for Cumming, IA. Climax in Michigan, Cumming in Iowa, good times. [smile]

Surprisingly, Buller had our ETA back in Warsaw as 9pm - which sounded good to us. It's been a fucking awesome road trip, but the idea of getting back at this point sounded really nice.

The drive back to Warsaw was pretty nice, and Buller's ETA on getting back was right on the money, getting back to the house just after 9:15. Certainly getting back before the sun totally set was nice.

New Lenox, IL

Gin Blossoms and Semi Infernos

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, June 20, 2009 - 11:31:54 pm
(Posted Under: Travel, Gin Blossoms Shows)

With a much shorter trip to New Lenox, Illinois, we were able to take it a bit easier this morning, which was nice.

Very little of our stuff had dried out, and I noticed that even my passport, which was in my pocket and inside a plastic pocket had even gotten wet. But at least this morning there was no sign of rain. Around 11 we packed up the car, and headed over to the near by Fuddruckers, which Katie had spotted a sign for last night.

Pulling in, we parked next to a SUV, with both right hand side tied slashed. Ahhh, the true Detroit experience. [smile] After the fact it was considered that possibly the tired getting slashed happened in travel, but who knows. Either way, we sat where we could keep an eye on the bug, just in case. Which, once we sat down, I saw the irony in - if someone had come up to slash our ties, what the fuck was I going to do about it? Go out there and put a cap in the ass?!?!? [smile] In any case, after 2 and a bit weeks I've finally got to go to Fuddruckers.

On the way out of Detroit I pulled out the iPod and we listened to Michigan - Tramps & Thieves take on Michigan, rather than Katie's. [smile] We didn't really experience the freezing cold winds that Scott sings about, though it was tempting to change the words to be about the pouring rains of Michigan. [smile] Otherwise the trip back across Michigan was fairly uneventful. I will say that out of all the states we've traveled, Michigan seemed to be the less interesting scenically to me. It might have been different if I'd gotten to see the Great Lakes (ironically we drove from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, though didn't really see them).

We arrived in New Lenox around 4pm, just after the doors opened. The girls were somewhat concerned, or at least surprised by the police presence, which admittedly there was quite a bit, however the show appeared to be put on by the New Lenox fire department, and possibly police department. Someone had forgotten to put us on the guest list - in Detroit, I was willing to pay 10 bucks to get into the VIP area if we had to, but paying $45 each for this 3 concert series was going to be a bit pricey, so it made sense to wait why Krissy followed up on that. Despite the 83 degree heat we waited until 5:30 without any shade. But Billy came through, and we got in.

The second opening band was a cover band playing the hits of the 90's. What I thought was cool was that the mayor of New Lenox got up and sang Close To Me (The Cure). While the band was playing we say Gary setting up the merch table, and once before heading closer to the stage we went up and checked it out. It was nice to finally be able to check it out in daylight without anyone around. Immediately I knew that the "20 Miserable Years" t-shirt had to be mine! And Katie was thinking the same. They started selling them either last year or 2007, but I'd not seen a picture, nor really heard anything about it...and hence had not really thought about it in a long while. But finally, they've come through, the t-shirt is perfect. It was also an opportunity to see what the deal is with the charity that Robin mentioned at the Wisconsin show - and to stuff a dollar in the jar and take one of the postcard / flier.

After the trip to the merch table we moved down to the grass. I was keen to get up front tonight. Being a few rows back in Wisconsin was fine. I'd planned to be closer up in Detroit, but given the circumstances, it was fine hanging back. But tonight, it was front row, or bust...at least for me, making Kristin and Katie somewhat uncomfortable, given that they've been yelled at similar type of shows. Which I wasn't ready to stand for. [wink] We stood by the side of the stage, and once the band started and more people moved in front of the stage, I darted for the front of the stage...almost leaving the girls in the dust.

Arguably this was the best show of the last 3 nights. It was also the first show I've been to where we weren't uncomfortably crowded at the front, although the front of the stage did fill up once the band started.

The setlist was much the same as we saw at Waterfest.

  1. Follow You Down
  2. Until I Fall Away
  3. Fool For The Taking
  4. Found Out About You
  5. Long Time Gone
  6. As Long As It Matters
  7. Miss Disarray
  8. Allison Road
  9. Supergirl
  10. Lost Horizons
  11. Til I Hear It From You
  12. Hey Jealousy
  13. Encore
  14. Rocket Man
  15. Hands Are Tied
  16. Now

Stand out moments were Johnson losing his shit at the end of Long Time Gone, bending the neck of the new Fender against the amp - trying to achieve what exactly, I'm not really sure, but it was rocktastic! And surprising to see the level of rocking out so early in the set.

One thing very evident with Robin is how good he is with the kids - not that this wasn't tre is Oshkosh as well, but it did seem that there were more kids front of stage at this show, and Robin played to them quite well. I'm sure that part of it is having a kid himself. The other noticeable thing is that Robin perfectly plays the rockstar frontman these days.

Being right up front made for some really good photos, especially when Johnson came right out front of stage rockstaring it up. With the stage so low, and Johnson so far forwards, on two occasions I almost got taken out by his flailing guitar neck.

Another highlight was the dueling outro solo on Super Girl, where Johnson went over and jammed with Jess. It did however also make me think how much I'd like if they brought the Hands Are Tied closer with the ridiculous solo back. With that said, they still did a blistering version of Hands.

Again, Hey Jealousy sounded fantastic, like the other night, better than I've ever heard it. They closed out again with Now, which is such a great rocker, which I could really get used to them doing it.

Again, Robin mentioned working on the new album before playing Miss Disarray, and there was no mention of the new live album, not were there any copies for sale, which really makes you wonder what the hell is up with that album.

After the show we milled around for a while discussing it, because I'd virtually ditched the girls for the front row (they were right behind me). Little did I know that they were waiting for a setlist, and if I'd known I would have done more to try get one. Daryl did come out later and said 'hi' and handed us some Scotty picks.

Given how good this trip had been, I was good to go and we headed towards the exit, interrupted by Katie's announcement about 'shirtless Robin'. It was cute how quickly Kristin diverted to the fence on the side of the stage. [smile] I was clearly in the presence of giddy school girls - yes, the both of them. [wink] We said 'hi' to Robin, had a photo taken, and I had my pass signed.

Videos from the night:

Scotty soloing on Super Girl

Scotty & Jesse duel guitar attack on Super Girl

Scotty rockin' out on Hands Are Tied

Scotty on Now

The decision was made to make the trip back to Marshalltown tonight, facilitated somewhat by the fact that the Blossoms show had started at 8pm, which worked out conveniently. The trip was largely uneventful with the exception of a semi inferno in the middle of the highway in Iowa. Another first for me. Though, pretty much for the girls as well. It was quite impressive of a fire, and had must of just happened, as there were fire trucks, but no police or signage away from the accident.

After taking a short smoko break, and Kristin taking over the driving for the last part of the trip we got back to Marshalltown a little before 4am and crahsed on Kristin's floor again.

Riverfest - Detroit, MI

Wisconsin to Illinois to Indiana to Michigan, Gin Blossoms Show and Gangster IHOP

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, June 19, 2009 - 11:33:59 pm
(Posted Under: Travel, Gin Blossoms Shows)

Today we woke up at 9 for the longest leg of our trip - Oshkosh, Wisconsin to Detroit, Michigan.

Once again, Deb was too nice, making us all breakfast before we left, and chatting about the Blossoms over breakfast.

Once on the road again we traveled south around Lake Michigan towards Chicago. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to put on South Milwaukee (Loretta) as we passed Milwaukee.

Once we got closer to Chicago the traffic hit. To me, it was very reminiscent of being is Los Angeles. [smile] Though Katie claimed that she much prefers Los Angeles traffic to Chicago traffic. All in all the traffic cost us about an hour. At one point I really wanted a smoke, and considered jumping out of the car and walking along side it down the freeway while having a smoke. [smile]

Neither the less, seeing Chicago from a distance was pretty cool. Almost being taken out by the Los Kapsi (La Nu Sensacion De Tierra Calintente) tour bus, as it decided at the last minute, from the left lane it wanted to take exit 51C, not as cool. [smile] By the time the traffic had cleared it was very nice to be back at cruising speed.

From the Chicago area, we crossed over the Illinois border and traveled along the bottom of Lake Michigan. From there it was north into Michigan, and then 4 hours across Michigan to motor city Detroit. Somewhere along the way we passed the second comical sign - the exits for Climax. As we went past the second sign I called out "ready girls?" [smile] Certainly by this stage we were sure that we were going to miss Starship, and we couldn't afford any delays because Buller had us scheduled to arrive at River Days at 9:15 - 15 minutes before the Blossoms took the stage. I won't lie to you, although we seemed to be okay, Balloon and Crap Festival anxiety began to rise in me. And then the rain hit. We were arguably only about halfway across Michigan, traffic was a bit slower, and the rain didn't help anything.

By the time it was dark, the rain was pelting down, only about 15 miles out of Detroit, Katie declared that she'd had enough. For the past 45 minutes we had some major doubts that the show hadn't already been rained out, and pulled off the highway to recoup. My wishful thinking was that the rain had delayed everything, and the bad would go on later and we'd be fine. The girls thought it was more likely that the show had been rained out and we hadn't missed anything. Either way, after a 10 or so minute break, Katie was back with us. The girls questioned whether we should just find a hotel, but I made the executive decision that we should continue on to Detroit. I mean we were only 15 minutes out, what do we have to lose? So we continued on. At which point Katie started writing her new hit song "I'm not sure about you Michigan". Look for it coming to a record store near you.

I'm just not sure how I feel about you Michigan
When Robin gets hit by lightning he goes 'pheff'
I'm just not sure how I feel about you Michigan
Are you fucking serious Michigan?

Will the rain ever stop?
I'm willing to give you a chance
But I'm just not sure about you Michigan

You've got Motor City
But I'm just not that sure about you Michigan
Anyways, we made it to motor city. Finding the venue was interesting, Buller seemed somewhat confused, but we got down there. Not before almost ending up in Canada though. At one point we turned down a street which prompted turned into a border entrance to Canada - without much warning. It was actually incredibly uncannily like the Port Of Entry for Mexico / USA in Nogales. Pretty much curve around this short street, and there you are, about to enter Canada. Which I thought was really cool, and I really dig the fact that I've now been to both borders - even if we really hadn't planned on this one.

Getting back on track and driving past the venue, despite people were leaving, we could hear some music. So we parked the car in the parking garage across the street, and high tailed it across the midway when I thought I heard Hold Me Down (having serious Balloon and Crap Festival flashbacks, with Krissy in toe.

We got to the stage, where there was no band playing, and not much of a crowd, but a bunch of people mopping up - including Daryl. Major Lodge Victory! As I'd suggested, the Blossoms hadn't played, and it appeared that the might. It certainly seemed that the mopping up was in preparation for a rock show, rather than a cleanup. Of course, there were some questions about whether it was actually going to happen. Lightning strikes were sill flying around - so refer to the Robin lyric in Katie's Michigan song. [wink] One annoyance was a barrier around the stage - weird since this was a free show. Once we mustered the ability to ask security, the barriered section was for corporate sponsors. Lame! Particular since the rain had really thinned out the crowd.

It soon became apparent that the Gin Blossoms were going to play, and closer to the start of the show, security ushered the corporate sponsor VIP's into the front rows from the tents, and then cleared the barricades. Woo! Major Lodge Victory number...well, I've lost count at this point. The MC came out and thanked all the sponsors, and in what sounded weird thanked 'GM. Who aren't sponsoring River Days this year, but...". The intention of the shout out was clear, but still came out sounding...well, frankly, comical.

The band took the stage, said hi to Detroit and then announced that they'd better get to it, since the set was going to be shortened to 45 minutes because of the rain.

  1. Follow You Down
  2. Found About You
  3. Fool For The Taking
  4. Long Time Gone
  5. Super Girl
  6. Allison Road
  7. Til I Hear It From You
  8. Lost Horizons
  9. Hey Jealousy

Despite not being as close as we would have otherwise have liked, and the abbreviated set, it was a thoroughly enjoyable show. Which is the brillance of seeing a number of shows consecutively. If you one does go 100% according to plan it's not a huge problem. I'd planned on being front row tonight, but the fact that we were back a fair way was cool to me, because it's the first time I've seen to show from that perspective (always being up front at other shows).

Not long into the set, Katie noticed that Emmett DeGuvera (from Tramps & Thieves) was back stage, hanging out with Daryl, which was pretty cool. Pretty far from Tempe, however Katie figured that he was in Detroit visiting family.

Throughout the show there were quite a few lightning strikes, which prompted visions of Gin Blossoms going up in a cloud of smoke here an there. At times, the look on Robin's face implied he was having the same vision. [wink]

Everything considered, it was a really good show, and in my mind completely made the 7 or so hours drive worthwhile. After the set, Robin announced he'd be back at the merch table, which was kind of surprising, given how small the crowd was and the weather seeming fair miserable.

We milled around there for a bit, moreso to see if we had more chance of seeing what was for sale, however, it was a crappy little tent where it was impossible to see anything. One thing we all enjoyed was hearing Robin's commanding voice saying "can we move the table 15 inches THAT way so that I'm not getting dripped on". [smile]

Not long after that, Katie mentioned how great it was that the rain had held off for the show. At that point, it had just started to drizzle. And apparently, that comment upset the gods. Within about 30 seconds of making the comment, the heavens opened. We had been about ready to make a move anyway, and we darted across the midway, with absolutely no shelter to be found, we were absolutely drenched in under a minute. Arguably it's the most intense downpour I've been out in, and we really might have well have just jumped in the adjacent Detroit River - we would have not have gotten any less wet if we'd done that! By the time we got back to the car, there was not an inch of my clothes that weren't sopping wet. After ringing out what clothes we could, the plan was to find a cheap hotel where we could dry out.

Without too much fuss we found a Discomfort Inn close by, checked in and changed out clothes. On the way in, the girls had spotted an International House Of Pancakes, which prompted much excitement from the front seats of the car, and it was decided that we'd go over there. After a hilarious 15 minute aimless drive trying to get in to the parking lot we pulled in, and Krissy announced that it looked pretty gangster-ish. From the back seat I couldn't see that much. Though, once walking in, it was obvious what she meant as we were stopped in the entrance, awaiting a weapons pat down. There's a good an American experience for me right there - a concealed weapons check while just trying to get pancakes. [smile]

Once getting in, the front of the building was boarded up and wrapped in 'caution' tape. Initially, particularly given the pat down and the fact that we were the only three anglo people in there, I wondered who had been murdered there, and how recently. [smile] However, obviously a car had come through the front of the building. All in all, it was certainly a unique Detroit experience! With that being said, it was a actual lovely post show dinning experience, and our waitress Smilie was really nice.

After finishing eating we headed back to the hotel, for our first sleep in a bed since embarking on the trip, which was greatly appreciated.

Waterfest - Oshkosh, WI

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 11:08:18 pm
(Posted Under: Travel, Gin Blossoms Shows)

Day 2, and we're headed to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

After pulling ourselves up off Kristin's floor and hitting the shower, we headed out on the road again. This time for me in the back seat, so Kristin could ride shotgun. There has been talk about whether to hire a car, given the size of the bug, but I'm confident we can make this work. With that said, I have absolutely no idea why VW even bothered putting backseats in this car. [wink]

We hit the Iowa / Wisconsin border at Dubuque, crossing the Mississippi River, which isn't something I'd been expecting to do on this trip, so that was pretty cool. It was kinda funny passing signs for Melbourne (Iowa) yesterday, and the Wisconsin bridge today looking like a smaller version of the Sydney Harbor bridge.

Katie had said that she really liked Wisconsin, and I completely have to agree, it's quite a nice place to drive through, and again, different to Iowa.

Overall it's been a good drive to Oshkosh. We pulled into town about 5pm, and came in right by Riverside Park, which worked out nicely since entry before 6pm was $5.

The first band was Common Time, a high school jazz band. Notably, the bass player looked like a 18 year old Bill Leen. Cool. I noticed it, and about 30 seconds Katie leaned over and said the same thing!

Up next was Three Beers 'Til Dubuque. While they were setting up there were some major concerns when a horn section, including saxamaphone was brought out. However, it turned out that they were a cover band, and were actually quite good at what they did, and turned out to be not a bad opener to stand through. A particular highlight of mine, and seemingly a lot of the crowd was their version of Call Me Al.

A continually comedic factor of the night was an anglo Jesse Valenzuela look alike standing off from the side to us. Much like with the kid from Common Time, moments after I noticed him, Katie leaned over and said "did you see Jesse's dad over there!". [wink] I am remiss that I didn't take a photo of him. At some stage throughout the night I think we all almost got taken out by him, as he stumbled around. Good times. Speaking off being taken out, I almost did by some other old dude as I caught a Waterfest t-shirt after one of the sets.

The Blossoms took the stage at 9. By this time, the front of stage area had filled up, and we assumed our positions Bill / Scott side. As soon as the band started, it was obvious how busy I've been and how little I'd thought about the reality that I was about to see the Blossoms again - because there was an immediate "holy shit, I'm seeing the Blossoms!!" moment. It was also obvious how out of the loop I feel, just with not being that up on what's going on because of everything that has been going on in our lives over the past year, and hence had no idea of what to expect from the setlist. I guess the other thing that was obvious immediately was why I love this stoopid band. [smile] I haven't necessarily thought about it that much over the past year, and have been so immersed in other Tempe bands for the last few years. But right from the get go, I immediately remembered.

The setlist was vastly different than any I remember, but of course, I've been out of the loop for quite a while. As best as I can piece together from memory...
  1. Follow You Down
  2. Until I Fall Away
  3. Fool For The Taking
  4. Long Time Gone
  5. As Long As It Matters
  6. Found Out About You
  7. Miss Disarray
  8. Supergirl
  9. Lost Horizons
  10. Allison Road
  11. Til I Hear It From You
  12. Hands Are Tied
  13. Folsome Prison Blues
  14. Hey Jealousy
  15. Encore
  16. Rocket Man
  17. Now

Robin mentioned working on a new album before Miss Disarray. I've been vaguely familiar with the song (probably listened to it three or so times), it definitely sounds really good. There was also mention the Jesse wrote it - Katie and I, until now had figured it was a Robin song.

At some point throughout the show, Bill noticed us. And later on while at the front of the stage Scotty saw us, clearly with some disbelief, and through me a pick.

The show rocked. It was great that they've still got Lost Horizons is awesome. Folsom Prison Blues was an unexpected surprise. Of particular note was how rockin' Hey Jealousy is sounding live.

After the show we hung around for a bit, went up and said hi to Robin, who was greeting people from the stage, and then wandered over to the merch booth, although it was really too dark to see what they had.

Without much of a plan of what we were doing next, we headed for the exit, and were greeted by the Appleton's, who Krissy and Katie had figured would be at the show. Who are the Appleton's A family they both know from here, who are affectionately known as the Appleton's purely since they live in Appleton, WI. There was much fan fare about us being back and the fact that we are now married. After much milling around at the entrance of the venue, seemingly to the chagrin of security [wink], they offered lodging, and also suggested that we should head to Oblio's bar for drinks before hand. Given the reason behind it, I was more than up for it...

Oblio's Lounge, Oshkosh, WI

Oblio's Lounge was a small, quite noisy redneck bar in downtown Oshkosh. We milled around for a while, trying to chat over all the noise. Before long, a black van pulled up, and out piled Daryl, John, Bill, Jesse - ie: the whole band sans Robin. To finally have the post show bar Blossoms experience (that I've heard so much about over the years, but never experienced) so soon after moving here was the start of the Major Lodge Victories of the trip. We got to have a cool chat with Bill, who was quite interested in the fact that we were back, and congratulatory at the news of our marriage. Of course with, Katie, Kristin and myself being the stunning conversationalists that we are, he was no doubt bored to tears. [wink] Admittedly, the noise of the bar didn't help anything. I'm very keen to have a proper conversation with Bill, but not having the repore with him (yet hopefully) that the girls do, I was more than happy just being in the presence of the Leen, and occasionally helping him out with a light for his cigarette. Given the very brief meeting I got in 2005, just sitting across from him in the bar and listening to his nuggets of wisdom was too cool for school. Is there any question as to why the girls (meaning Katie and Krissy) love him? No, no there is not.

After a while Johnson showed up, which I was pretty happy about, since I can easy chat with Scotty, without having to rely on the girls for an introduction. [smile] Immediately he came over to hug and say 'hi', asked what the fuck we were doing in Wisconsin and too congratulated us getting married. Congrats from Bill and Scotty, pretty damn cool. He had to run to fraternize, but said he'd be back soon.

On his return he complained that none of us were drinking, and proceeded to take orders for all of us and supply us with liquior. we had a good chat about Katie's trip to Australia, getting back, whether we were living in Iowa and the fact that we'll be heading out to Phoenix soon.

Once we all decided that we were leaving, Scotty walked us out - clearly drunk, telling me that I was "an attractive man..." (no doubt implying that Katie has done well) "...if I were single..." to which I replied "Don't let that stop you!", which left Scotty in stitches. Major Lodge Victory 2!

The quote of the night was "I've made a mockery of my life." Gold. It's quickly becoming the catch phrase of the trip.

From the bar we drove to the Appleton's and were greeted with fresh home made hash browns, which was too nice, especially at 2am in the morning, and a lot more than I expected - I was grateful for just a floor to crash on!

Warsaw to Ames to Iowa

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - 11:30:32 pm
(Posted Under: Travel, )
Despite the fact that I've been struggling to not sleep in lately, we woke up around 5:30 and got ready to hit the road. After showering and cleaning up we hit the road just before 7, which was slightly later than we'd planned, but still pretty good at the end of the day.

While we had printed directions, Irv had also given us Buller (the old GPS) which turned out to be quite handy. We took Chris' VW bug which has auxiliary input for using an iPod, and I must saw, being able to take / use an iPod on a road trip is the best thing ever.

The drive through Missouri wasn't that eventful, just in that it the route was largely the one we took to get here, just in reverse, from Warsaw to Kansas City.

From Kansas City it was about a three hour drive through Iowa to Ames. Despite Missouri looking somewhat like what I remember Iowa to look like, the difference was noticeable today, very flat and less trees in comparison to Missouri.

We rolled into Ames around 12:30 and headed to ... to meet Brad who took a lunch break to catch up with us. Although over the years I've seen many a photo of Brad, obviously, it was weird seeing him in person, because I still remember him as a 12 year old. After hugging his sis, he came up and put his arms out and said "we can hug, we're brothers now". Ahh, the Jensen love. [smile] Having lunch with Brad was really cool, and I'm glad we'll be seeing him again soon for 4th of July.

After lunch with Brad, Katie took me for a tour of Ames, her college town. Despite the heat, it was a lot of fun to see her first dorm - which is luckily (for now) still standing (two of which have been demolished) and then the apartment she lived in after the first year. We then headed down to the Iowa State campus, which was both impressively big and quite beautiful. There were a lot of chipmunks running around campus, which I think is the first time I've seen a chipmunk.

Walking around campus we couldn't help but talk about how Katie's Melbourne University experience wasn't necessarily what she'd expected - and without a doubt, although it is by far the most prestigious university in Melbourne (arguably Australia), university in Australia just ain't done on the same scale as it's done in the US. Even just going to the bookstore and looking at the range of apparel was a vast difference from trying to get Katie a Melbourne University t-shirt - which is weird to think was only a few weeks ago.

After the tour of the campus, we drove past Brad's fraternity (Phi Delta Gamma) and then to downtown Ames, we which illustrated the university part of town is quite literally a separate self contained town next to the non college part of town.

After a bit of a drive around, and a stop to check the tires on the bug we headed back out of Ames, headed for Marshalltown. On hitting Marshalltown it was annoying to me that I didn't have the Dead Hot Workshop song on my iPod, which seems like really dropping the ball - but oh well.

We got to Krissy's around 5 o'clock and unpacked the car, then went for a tour of the metropolis of Marshalltown, Iowa. It was funny to me, Kristin's tongue in check comments about the 'bustling metropolis of Marshalltown', given that it's actually much bigger than Warsaw. If I lived in Marshalltown, I'd make the same tongue in check comments, sure, but still kind of funny to me, since we're staying in the middle of nowhere. After the tour of Marshalltown (and sitting way too long at a railway crossing before giving up and turned around) we headed out to a Mexican restaurant to meet up with Kristin's sister, brother and in-law and niece, all who were really nice. From there we drove out to their house and about 9 headed back to Kristin's apartment to crash on the floor for the night. Despite the heat & humidity, lightning flashing through the window, the sounds of emergency vehicles and the frequent freight train (ahh, the dulcet tones of Marhsalltown [wink] ) I think I fell asleep around 12.

Home For Now

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - 04:10:43 am
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Because I'm sure there is someone back in Australia interested, here is where we call home for now.

The house from the front.

The backyard and pond shot from the balcony. This shot neither illistrates a) the size of the block, nor b) how high up that balcony is!

More Photos here

Up [strike]Coming[/strike] Crumbling Road Trip

The First Blossoms Road Trip Of 2009

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, June 15, 2009 - 08:26:52 pm
(Posted Under: Travel, Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Two days until we head out on our road trip of the north midwest.

First stop in Ames, IA to stop in with Brad for lunch, then to Marshalltown to pick up Kristan (and free lodging for the night). From there it's to Oshkosh, WI for the first of the Gin Blossoms shows at Leach Amphitheater. From there it's the surprisingly long drive to Detroit, Michigan for Blossoms at Detroit River Days. Surprisingly, Starship are opening. Who know they were still a band!

Then it's to New Lenox, IL for the final Blossoms show in this jaunt.

  • Thu 06/18/2009 - Waterfest, Leech Amphitheater, Oshkosh, WI
  • Fri 06/19/2009 - Detroit River Days, Detriot, MI
  • Sat 08/20/2009 - New Lennox Commons, New Lenox, IL
View Map

Trillian Reconnecting To MSN

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, June 15, 2009 - 07:09:15 pm
(Posted Under: Tech)
One long standing annoyance I've had with Trillan is that it will not reconnect to MSN after hibernation, standby and a few other situations. Which has been a huge pain, the only solution being to close it and repoen it, which on a laptop is really annoying.

With a bit of Googling I've come across the following which seems to have sorted things out. Trillian reconnection problem

I've opted for adding an entry in my local hosts file for messenger.hotmail.com instead of changing the Trillian preferences.

3 Rules Of 'dd'

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 05:26:18 pm
(Posted Under: Linux Linux, Gentoo Linux Gentoo Linux)
The three rules of 'dd':

1. Don't dd an active disk
2. Don't dd an active disk
3. Don't dd an active disk

When it came to making a final image of my Linux system disk, my Knoppix CD had already been shipped, and with time left before we left ticking away and so much to do, I decided to fly by the seat of my pants, and do the dd image of my server from the live system with all the partitions mounted as read/write. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that?

Admittedly I'd planned to be also bringing the system drive with me, which I think made it easy to fly by the seat of my pants, a plan that was abandoned at about 3 in the morning as we ran out of room in our luggage.

Of course, the repercussions of such a decision are becoming obvious as I'm attempting to put the image back onto a disk - which appeared to work fine, although the computer would regularly lock up. Running a 'reiserfsck' on the root partition however indicated why - more errors than you can point a stick at!

From the outset, an older image of just that partition appears to be working better, luckily.

Or not...

Warsaw Jubulee Days

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, June 12, 2009 - 11:29:50 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Today we drove into Warsaw for Jubulee Days. The concensious all around was that it wasn't all that jubulous! That's certainly what Katie and I thought, Irv and Chris seemed to not have any high expectations based on their past years here.

I haven't had that much of a culture shock - I don't know whether it's because of the whole thing with living here being 10 uears in the making, having spent time in the US before, or just a case of with everything that's happened in the last year, but whatever it is, I haven't really had one. However, walking around Jubilee Days I definitely had a sense that I was in small town middle America.

At the end of the day there wasn't much to see beyond a couple of food stands, two tents of arts and craft. Irv had phoned earlier in the day with news that there was a trained monkey, but it seemed that he wasn't appearing until tonight, and we weren't coming back and paying $15 just to give a monkey a penny to put in it's pocket.

As Katie commented, Foundation Day in Union was much better of an experience.

No More Analogue TV

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, June 12, 2009 - 08:58:41 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Today signaled the end of analogue TV in the US. Not that it effected us, we're currently spoilt with satellite directTV, but it is funny to hear about 911 calls being made due to people's TV's not working. [smile]

Blogs And Photos Back Online

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, June 11, 2009 - 02:15:12 am
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
The last minute decision to only bring my laptop in the move has raised the dilemma of having no way of hosting either my blog or photos online. Both of which I'm going to use the most now, more than ever.

However, tonight I've sorted out both problems, temporarily hosting my blog on Blogger and thanks to the brilliant suggestion of my wife, my photos on Picasa. I'd signed up for Blogger the other day, and wasn't too impressed with no easy way to import from my actual blog, nor manually set the times of posts. While I haven't found a solution to the first issue (cutting and pasting from my actual blog is a bit of a pain, but will have to do for now), the time issue was just an oversight on my part. I even got the theme looking mostly like my actually blog. Some cleaning up is still required, but it'll do. For now, Lead Thoughts is now at


Picasa has worked out perfectly, given the desktop application to do all the syncing. I really had no interest of uploading each photo manually (one of the reasons I use Photobox), and given the internet speed here, it'd be an absolute nightmare. So thank god for the automation in uploading provided by Picasa! For now, my photos are here:


All I can say is that Google rocks, given that I'm using them for about everything right now (mail, calendar, blog, photos).

And That's Why The Midwest Is So Green...

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - 11:16:41 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
On the way back from Clinton from watching Up (the latest Pixar 3D flick) the rain pelted down again by the time we'd hit Warsaw. It's the third time in about as many days that we've had a huge storm. This morning was a really nice day, but seemed like the middle of winter by the time we'd gotten home. Yesterday was cloudy all day, and quite stormy last night, and it stormed pretty good on Monday morning at Christopher's.

The lightning and thunder here is pretty impressive also. Last night one hit quite close, which took out the power for a moment and sent the dogs in a frenzy.

Living somewhere where there is a drought, you just become accustomed to it, and it becomes the norm. It's not until you go somewhere else that the contrast really hits you, and you consider that there might be something to all the press around the drought in Australia.

Car Hunting

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, June 9, 2009 - 11:27:55 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Today we did some initial car hunting in Sedallia. All we can say it is unfortunate that Jeep Cherokes have such poor gas milage! We found a nice 2001 Jeep Cherokee within our price range, but the gas mileage makes it hard to justify - to the chagrin of both of us.


(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, June 8, 2009 - 12:09:09 am
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Let me just say that I can't be more happy about being back in summer! Woo hoo. And only 6 months after having our last summer! Definitely a perk of moving in the middle of the year.

The weather itself is really nice, but the fact that it's still light out at 8pm rocks my world.

Also, apparently I can't sleep in anymore. 3 to 4 weeks ago, in the last few weeks of work, I was struggling to wake up. You'd think that now that I have some downtime I'd be sleeping the hell in (well, I figured I would be), but today is the latest I've

Union, Missouri

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, June 7, 2009 - 09:59:59 am
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA, Travel)
Today we've driven across Missouri to Union to see the other Jensens. The drive from Warsaw to Union was about 3 hours. While listening to the radio, I thought about the fact that I'll now be able to listen to AR40 re-runs - incredibly ironically, 2 minutes later when Irv changed the station, there was Casey Casum counting down the top 40 from June 1977!

It was cool seeing Chris, Shelly and the kids again, especially since Meg and Andrew are now my niece and nephew.

It happened to be Union Foundation Day, so we went downtown for the celebration. It was pretty cool for me, seeing the whole small town thing. We also got a tour of Chris' office two blocks away - with a shot gun casing in the carpark. Of all the places to see a shotgun shell casing - the parking lot of a layers office.

This afternoon we went to watch Andrew's little league baseball game, which was really enjoyable. I found that I enjoyed it more than major league games that we've gone to, and I think that is because a) the game is a lot quicker (there is less standing around on the field, or at least it seems that way) and b) my nephew is playing, which makes it a whole lot more interesting. Andrew made what was apparently the best hit of the season so far, and the Boco Blast won easily.

3 Ways You Know You're In America

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, June 6, 2009 - 06:46:24 pm
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock, Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Three ways you know you're in America:
  1. You can get Marlboro Lights - none of this Marlboro Gold crap that came in internationally 3 years ago! And with the white filters! Woo!
  2. A carton of Marlboro Lights is $40.49 (AU$51.06) - verses ~AU$89 in Australia
  3. You can hear the Gin Blossoms in Countrymart in the middle of Missouri within 3 days of touching down. Hearing Long Time Gone on the radio was just plain bizarre (cool bizarre). I know it was a single, but it never seemed like a real single!

Sitting In A Holiday Inn, Just Outside Kansas City

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, June 5, 2009 - 02:35:04 pm
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Okay, so we're at the Harrah Casino Hotel, and in Kansas City, but how can I resist quoting Kansas City? That's right, I couldn't.

Last night getting in and seeing Katie's parents was pretty damn nice! After everything we've done in the last 28 hours, it was pretty damn nice to finally relax somewhat and just sitting in the back of the truck, headidng out to the casino where we were staying. Another thing that has been nice is sleeping in a bed. It's the first time we've done that since Monday! But not before some Wendy's fries, nuggets and a frostie. All of which was kinda average, except for the frosty (which could never be bad!). It absolutely was no effort to fall asleep!

Surprisingly I woke up at about 8:45 this morning - which has been par for the course over the epast 2 weeks, which I can't really work out. While I was still at work, I was struggling to get out of bed, and we've been so sleep deprived over the last 2 weeks, yet we haven't slept in at all! After a bit of a walk around the casino, we headed out to Warsaw, a 2 or so hour drive.

A bit of comic relief was driving through the town of Tightwad. Yes - Tightwad! Both the Tidwad bank and Tightwad Souvenir Store was funny to see.

The folks place is pretty sweet, and I have had to keep reminding myself not to get too accustomed to the creature comforts of a big screen TV, 200+ cable channels and really having nothing to do right now but enjoy it! In a lot of ways, it's pretty hard to not mistake this for a retreat - with 3 acres, nothing but green forest behind us, and more wildlife than you can poke a stick at, it really does feel like a holiday retreat.

We picked up Diggs, who has really seemed to have grown up and settled down in the past 3 years, and meet Maggi for the first time, who is a complete nut. The amount of wildlife eoutside of the dogs has also been impressive. We've also seen a water snake in the pond, and firebugs tonight, which is a first for me.

The Final Leg

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - 06:20:00 pm
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock, Travel, Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Finally, about 5 hours after our original departure time, we're on our way to Kansas City, Missouri. The last leg of this adventure known as moving to the United States! Well, for the very short term, anyways. And not a moment too soon I would say - as we head into our 27th hour of traveling.

Ironically this is the first time I've pulled out the laptop in the air the whole trip, and it's the first time someone in front of me has reclined the seat - though it's not too bad. The sun is setting as I speak and I got some cool shots of that, which pleases me. As the sun begins to set, it really makes this feel like a 2 day ordeal, which maybe it has been - I don't even know anymore. But it's definitely been a wearing experience. The fact that I keep falling asleep in mid sentence is really proof of that! However, it's almost over - 2 and a half hours to Kansas City, once we make it there we'll be able to relax somewhat!

Back In Phoenix!

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - 05:33:44 pm
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock, Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
So now I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. Just inside the airport terminal, since it doesn't make sense to venture out, but even so, it rocks my world. I love this place. With how ridiculously busy everything has been, there has been virtually no time to think about what we're doing. Though, yesterday after getting on the plane, I did get flashes to coming over here in 2005 anf 2006 - and had to remind myself that it would be a little while before I was going to get to see Phoenix. So being redirected through here with a 2 hour layover rocks my world! It's about 105 degrees here today (significantly warmer than LA) which was really notable when disembarking from the plane. The other awesome thing coming off the plane was that smell of the desert. Immediately it felt like I was home.

To be honest, we're both starting to run on petrol fumes - after everything with packing and getting no sleep, the 14+ hour flight to get to the States, and now our arrival being pushed back until 11:05pm tonight (we'd otherwise already had been in Kansas City) - so I'm getting to the point of travelling being done. I love it, and in someway, I hardly ever want it to be over, but at the same time, you can only go for so long. And it's certainly feeling like we're approaching that point, despite how awesome being in Phoenix is.

Hello U.S.A

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - 02:19:00 pm
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock, Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Ahh, the land of large Cokes that are large. We're at LAX, waiting for a flight to Phoenix, as because of the delay to our Sydney to Los Angeles we missed our direct flight to Kansas City. Which originally seems like a huge pain in the ass, but the fact that we're connecting through Phoenix as a result rocks my world. I might just have to jump off there. [wink]

It's also preferable to the flights originally suggested by the South West ticketing assistant, which was LA to El Paso, to Dallas, to Kansas City. And this point, that many connections just wouldn't have been fun. I love the whole flying and traveling thing, but with the amount of carry on luggage we have, getting off and on planes is a real pain!

In anycase, entry into the US was very smooth and arguably quicker when I've been here on holidays with visa wavers. Since this time around I was in a different line (first time immigrant), the process was very streamlined, since there weren't that many of us (I was the only person in the line). It turned out that the immigration interview on this end was just going through customs, and getting finger printed. The processing was done while we went and got our luggage, and was waiting when I went back up to the counter where I'd come in.

Getting through customs was just as easy, though it was a huge line. Since our flight got in late, we were pressed for time, and I was dreading the potential delay at customs, since we had no shortage of suitcases with our whole lives packed in them. But it turned out to be a very quick process, with the only concern being whether we had any food products.

From here it was just a case of getting to the South West terminal - in about 20 minutes. Just like when I was here in 2006, it sucked doing the walk from Tom Bradley International to Terminal 1, especially since that with all our luggage it didn't make sense to try and get on a shuttle. Despite deciding to go the other way before getting here, I directed us to go clockwise around the airport, which once we got to terminal 1, seemed like a bad call (though, looking at the LAX map in highensight, it was absolutely the right decision). It really seemed like a deja vu of 2006, rushing around in a circle with luggage, pouring sweat. The only caveat this time was that we were pretty sure there was no way we were getting on our flight to Kansas City!

After getting all our luggage rechecked, and paying the US $120 in excess baggage (which is actually great given what we have) there was sometime to relax somewhat and have a smoke. Funnily enough, the desk clerk at South West, who was quite helpful, asked whether we wanted to repack our bags, to somewhat avoid the excess baggage fees. Little did she know of our packing ordeal of last night (what it actually last night? Now that we're in a different timezone, I don't even know anymore!), and we were MORE than happy to just pay the full excess baggage fee!

It's been a completely wild ride, with absolutely no time to fully process what is going on, and standing outside the terminals of LAX was the first time that I've really been able to take in the fact that we're here - we've done it. It's been a long time in the making, and so much work over the past year, but now, here we are, in the USA. There's still a lot of work ahead of us before Operation Desert Rock is complete, but still, we've moved all of our stuff, we're here and I'm now officially a permanent resident. It's interesting how you can work so hard and put so much effort into something, and then standing at your destination, it all seems like it was relatively easy and there is a sense of surprise that you're there. I think there are a lot of contributing factors to it, and one of the large ones being how busy we've been and not having time to dwell too much on the reality of making the move. In anycase, it was finally really exciting realizing that we're here!

After a little decompression we headed through security, which was incredibly quiet in terms of people - maybe because it was Wednesday afternoon - which was a much appreciated thing, as going through security at LAX is almost always a stressful experience due to the volumes of people. After that there wasn't much left to do but get a drink, head to our gate, and wait for our next flight.

T Minus 2 Hours And Counting

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - 08:00:00 am
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock)
The sound of your name after a single hour sleep is like knives. Or not, given that I ended up virtually ignoroing Katie attempting to wake me up at 6am, thinking I was dreaming. Notice of our ride being here however got me sorted out pretty goddamn quickly however. So, we're leaving the the US today, and I've had under an hours sleep, and Katie has had under or half an hour!

This morning has been fairly utilitarian, taking care of the bare baics needed to get us overseas. It definitely feels like nothing could be better than more time, now it's crunch time, it needs to happen.

Do You Need Anything From Duty Free?

I've Got To Get Out Of This Endless Day

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - 11:52:22 pm
(Posted Under: Operation Desert Rock)
If you know the Ike Reilly song, you know the reference is about travelling and crossing timezones. But it's been incredibly appropriate today, and we haven't even left the country!

We were up until around 1:30sm frantically packind, before crashing. Then getting up at 6:30 to meet Kellie in the city for breakfast. From there it was to Melbourne Uni to get Katie a t-shirt. Quite funny that we haven't gotten around to it in two and a half years, and comes down to the wire the day before we leave! In addition to that we my new mobile phone to swing past and pick up. Doing all that stuff in the morning seemed really productive, but also ridiculous given just how much we had left at home to do (ie: pack).

Admitadly the packing situation looked a lot better - just not AS good as you would hope, considering leaving the country tomorrow! Certainly by this point, I'm really over it, and wouldn't recommend moving internationally to anyone. [smile] It's also clear to me that resigning from work two weeks before moving to another country is clearly an error in judgement. It can be done, as we're testimant to. but holy shit, I don't know what I wwas thinking when deciding on that. Well, I do, finances, and giving work as much notice as I could, but it's a really unwise thing to do! Being where we are today two weeks ago might be okay, but being there today is just too intense! If I do this ever again (whwat?!? [smile]) I definately have learnt that trying to finish up everything in two weeks is ridiculous. I should have definitely finished up work a month before departing! Just something I realized today when I was having a smoke and pondering how exactly I got to this point in my life! [wink] (Moving tomorrow and having way too much to pack).

Somehow, we've found it in ourselves to keep packing, in conjunction with catching up with Stew & Fiona and going out for dinner with Cath. Going out for dinner was particularly nice, and took our mind off the horrible truth of what was left to do at home, at least for an hour or so. Katie finally got to experience TGI Friday's at Shopping Townw, although half way through our meal, the reality of a 14 hour flight had set in for her and sh was looking a bit worse for wear.

After dinner, it was back to it. This is the home stretch, and clearly the worst part of things, as you can't delay dealing with something, because now, time is up!

Around 11 or midnight we hit a potentially disasterous snag, with huge concerns how we were going to fit stuff into suitcases. Firstly size-wize, which I was able to solve with my awesome packing abiliy - except thaat it REALLY blew out the weight of the cases. This almost resulting a complete meltdown (it's not a great discovery at 11pm, when you're departing for the airport at 7:00am the next morning, and you've been over the packing thing for quite sometime as it is!). How there wasn't a complete meltdown, I'm really not entirely sure, but we managed to work around the issue by around 2am.

Almost as surprising is the fact that we got the issues sorted out. By 2am we had come up with the solution to determine what things weren't critically important to take on the plane, and rather ship over at a later date.There is no doubt that as our departure has come closer and closer, it's been easier and easier not to be precious about stuff. Somehow, by 5am, we had gotten evertything packed, and virtually everything else taken care off. Within reason anyway. The pinata didn't get broken. Artistic photos of the wedding flowers weren't taken. Some other stuff didn't happen. But we somehow got ourselves into a position where we could take a shower and then get at least 1 hours sleep before waking up for the trip to the airport.

Hence, back to the Ike Reilly thing - it really has been an endless day, despite not having crossed a single timezone! I've got to get back to the U.S. - A (because if for nothing else, this packing / moving thing is killing me!)

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