Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yes, I'm Still Alive

Sorry for the long delay between posts. I think I forgot I had this thing up here and that some people actually read it.

I've seen almost everyone back here in the states since I've been back but there are some, mostly out west, that I haven't been able to meet up with yet. So most of you have some idea of what I've been up to. But I'll fill in for those who haven't.

I had my back surgery one year ago today, well actually yesterday as Oz is a day ahead, I didn't blog that I was coming home as it was a surprise for my grandparents. I got back to the states 2 days before they were heading off to Florida and didn't want to tip them off. Anyways, got back to the states on Sept. 15th last year and chilled out for a few weeks visiting everyone and spending time with my family. It was really good to see everyone again. I moved in with my brother and his two doggies, about 15 minutes south of my parents house, and everything is going well.Where I live

Tater (lab-husky) & Sadie (Ibizan hound-??)

Then I got exposed to the horrible Cleveland winter not to long after that. I remembered why I moved away and said I wouldn't come back. It's not fun. I think I have some pictures of the snow I'll try and find so everyone down in Oz can understand what it's like here. It is not fun coming from nice sunny Queensland to a place that only gets 120 days of sun a year, and those days are not in the winter. A metre and half of snow, frozen beer, and -12C is not fun.

Cleveland Browns Stadium, it was -12C this day...and they lost, as usual.

Not Good

Sadie in 1.5 m of snow

Yeah there is a picnic table under there.

After a few months being back I started looking for some work. Not in Cleveland or anywhere in the Midwest. Mostly out west or the south eastern part of the states, as well as overseas. Needless to say a year later I'm still doing the same thing. Now I'm starting to look at the dreaded lab jobs as well. There is plenty of stuff out there but I guess I'm not as experienced in my field as those they are hiring. I've even applied for jobs that are two levels below and have still have only received one interview so far. But it also didn't help coming back to an economy which was ruined by the former president and is the 2nd worst in US history. It's hard when 75 other people are also trying to get the same job you are. Guess I'll have to find a lab job and volunteer to get some experience. Oh well, make lemonade.

To keep busy and obtain some money to pay off my exorbitant school loans I have been renovating my parents house. They are planning on moving sometime in the next two years and need everything updated in order to sell it. My brother did quite a bit of painting and other stuff while he to was also unemployed but there is still a bunch to finish. Just a short list of stuff; sod half of the backyard, drywall one bedroom, paint 4 bedrooms, basement, and garage, gut and restore two bathrooms, and stain a deck. And there is plenty of stuff to do as well. So I have to thank my parents for helping me out by giving me some dough to keep me afloat. I'll post some more pictures next time.

So, that's pretty much all I've been up to since I came back. Looking for employment and working on my parents house. The summer has been good. Not too hot and not too rainy, but we still have another month or so to go. The 4th of July was good and my friend bought a place up on the lake which is a nice little getaway on the weekends. Drinking, friends and a firepit are always a good time. And we have been brewing our own beer as well. Fun and it's better than most of the stuff you can buy in the store.

Capping our beer

I'm headed back to Australia for about 5 weeks coming up in September. I can't wait to see everyone again and relax for a bit. Before I get out there I'm going to Denver with some friends to see the Browns (american football) game and then I'm off to Vegas to visit some friends for about a week. If anyone down in Oz would like me to bring them something "American" just send me an email and we'll figure it out. Tri I already have something for your truck.

I will try and keep up with the blog as hopefully things will be changing soon and I would like to keep everyone informed of what is going on. But if I haven't posted in a while, most likely nothing has changed.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Post Surgery

Everything went well at the hospital last Friday. Went in around 7 for all the paperwork and pre-op stuff and my neurosurgeon came in and spoke to me before the procedure so that was a little bit of a surprise then I finally arrived at the theater around 11. All the nurses were very cool and helpful. It was a little scary getting the canulae (IV) as the needle they use is quite large. But other than that it wasn't too bad... just some wires and brain wave monitor. It took me about 20 seconds then I was out.

Remember waking up briefly as they wheeled me down to the recovery room and finally woke up around 3pm or so. Called my mum to tell here I was ok and that everything went as planned...then back to sleep for a few hours. Woke up for the wonderful dinner which I couldn't eat due to the anaesthetic as any time I tried to take a bite I would get nauseous but I'm sure it wasn't worth eating anyways.

There wasn't a whole lot of pain. I had a morphine button I could press anytime I needed it so I was good. But as I found out later in the night...I don't like morphine. I would get up and walk around but the morphine made me almost weak and shaky. So balancing myself with a cut up back, the IV holder and walking was quite a chore. Around 11 pm I decided to stop giving myself the morphine and then I was able to get around ok after that.

I didn't get any sleep as the other three guys in the room would snore all night or pass wind. Either or both or sometimes at the same time. Lots of fun. Plus the nurses came in every 2 hours to check my pulse, temperature and blood pressure. So I got maybe 4 hours total over the night.

Needless to say I was glad to get home around 12 and back to the house Saturday afternoon. I think I took a good 4 hours nap sometime during the day and just relaxed the rest of the day. It was good to have something to eat and be somewhere comfortable. I'm on pain killers in the meantime but find I don't really need them all that much. Just in the morning usually. As long as I don't bend or twist I'm good. Also doing a little Wii-hab but not too much as some of the games are a little too strenuous and might do more harm than good. At least I have a reason to play now.

Probably the worst part is that I can't lift anything. I'm not suppose to lift anything over 3kg or about 7 pounds. So I can't take out the recycle bin or the garbage and have to take my washings out to the line in separate groups instead of all at the same time. And I'll have to get someone to go with me to the grocery store as I can't lift the bags into the shopping trolley or into the car. And it's suppose to be like this for the next 6 weeks. Now I really feel old even more than I did before. Oh well.

Still looking for jobs but not hearing back too much. Hopefully soon. But I won't get my hopes up. So I'm looking to come back home around October or November if I don't hear anything in the next few months. I applied for my tourist visa so that I can stay a few more months and maybe head down to NZ on a side trip before I come back but it depends on how much cash I have left. We'll see.

Ok off to more job hunting and then a nap.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Surgery Day

Yay, I'm scheduled to have my surgery sometime tomorrow. I'm looking forward to having the pain gone in my hip. But the not eating for a day is probably going to be the worst part. But at least it will be over with. Wish me luck. My doc said it will be about a 4 week recovery period before I can go back to work. I should not have a problem with that as I can't find a job. If I can't find something soon I might have to look a little harder for something back in the States eventhough I would really love to stay down here. We'll see. It would be nice to spend the summer here instead of the lovely winter back in the states. And I'll miss all the cricket as well.

Just a short one today. I'll have another one after my surgery. Probably sometime next week. I'll put up a few more pictures for everyone to enjoy.

First Bounce

Cool ant that was very slow as she fell in the icy cold water.

Down here we have parrots (Galah) instead of pigeons or sea gulls on the soccer pitch.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Quick Year and a in Limbo

Now that I have a little bit of free time I can update this thing.

The end of the semester was a ton of writing (~2 weeks straight), then right into one exam...then another. Luckily they were a week apart so I could get some studying in between. But as I usually do horribly on exams I'm not sure how much it helped. But oh well everything is done now...thesis completed and exams are finished. I officially graduated two weeks ago Wednesday. Yay to me.

On the same day as my last final my parents took the 33 hours to travel down here. It was really good to see them again and was eager to have my mom see Oz. My dad has been here about 15 times with work over the years but not sure how much he has been able to be on holidays. The first few days we just chillaxed here in Briz. We went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to get up close with the koala's, roo, wombat, emu and others.

We also spent two days at the farm that my previous housemate's boyfriends parents own a little south of Briz. The pics of the rain-forest in my previous posts were from the farm. These are a little different view of the place. Still one of the coolest places I've been. Nice and chilled out.
The pictures upload is giving me a server error so I'll try them tomorrow.

Then off to Melbourne to drive the Great Ocean Road and see the city for about a week. The GOR is amazing...very scenic, similar to PCH but more green with trees and not desert. We did the obligatory stop at the 12 Apostiles (really 11 now as one fell apart last year) and also several of the other turn offs along the way. It took about 3 days but you could do it all in one but wouldn't have enough time to see everything or go slow enough to prevent nausea. I do wish we had a better car as it's also a drivers road. I'd prefer something like my WRX but it was still a great time. Definately something everyone should do if they get down there.

We then spent a few days in the city. Went to an Australian Rules game at the famous MCG. We had a great time as it is very different from watching it on the tube. You can see the whole field and how everyone moves, which they don't show on tv. And we had a rather obnoxious fan that sat behind us and talked the whole game. Yeah they have the same type of fans down here as we do back home.

The next day after the game we tried going down to Phillip Island to catch the seal colony and the penguins as well. But the 15 foot waves put us off a bit. And the penguins only come to shore at night. It was raining and was about as dark as night so they might have been on shore but the rain and cold put us off from spending the $25 just to find out. So it ended up being a nice drive with my parents and had some good ice cream at the dairy farm on the way back to Melbourne. The next day we took the flight back to Briz.

I had a doctors appointment and soccer game the next weekend so we just stayed in town for the next few days. We took a little trip down to the Gold Coast (about 45 minutes south) to see the beach and the tourist town. Of course we picked the day when the GC marathon was going on. It was the biggest ever turn out with about 33,000 people running....not including all the support and spectators. We ended up sitting in traffic due to all the road closures for about an hour or so before we arrived at the beach. By then the sun was going down so it ended up being 2 hours or so on the beach.

A few days later we saw the real beach up in Carins. It was nice and warm. A good change from the chill Melbourne and Briz weather. We stayed in Carins for three days and took some day trips driving around the mountains. My dad's friend here in Briz recommended a train ride up the mountains which had some great scenery and then we took a gondola ride back down. Both were amazing as you go right through the rainforest then float above it.

We then spent three days up in Port Douglas. The place we stayed was about 50 metres from the beach. The town is all touristy but still pretty cool. Kind of like a little vacation paridise with all the palm trees, the rain-forest, the beach and the Reef. Me and my dad spent a day driving a little up north to find the rainforest but found it took a trip across a river on a ferry and then about a 2 hour drive farther north to get to the trails. So on the way back we stopped off at a little trail that took you through some rather pristine rain-forest. A little more dense than the stuff down here and just as amazing. It was also cool to show my dad all the cool stuff around the forest as I'm not sure if he's ever been in the rain-forest before.

The next day we took a trip to the outer Great Barrier Reef. The tour we went with has it's own huge moored dock type thing that you swim off of. As my mom gets sea sick quite easily we thought it would be a good idea to take this trip as some of the other tours you just swim off the boat. With 25 km/h wind it was a good idea. The reef is probably one of the most impressive things I've ever seen. It's hard to describe but it's like your inside an aquarium with the most beautiful fish you've ever seen swimming all around you. I spent about an hour and a half in the water, my parents a little less. I could have stayed there all day. If I end up staying here I might have to take up SCUBA diving as I'm sure it's even better being underwater for an extended period. And it's hard to think of how large the reef is that you can see it from space and just the little 50 m radius we swam in was so minuscule. Another thing everyone should do if they come down to Oz. So I have to thank my parents for helping me check another one off of my life list of places to see.

On the trip back the flight was limited due to the weather here in Briz as we were passengers 143, 144, and 145 on the flight that was limited to 144. So we didn't end up getting on our flight but rather took a flight down to Sydney before heading back up here. It was kind of good as my mom was able to see Sydney but bad as it was just from the airplane. It was nice to get back home instead of being stuck in an airport all day.

The last few days in Briz were just spend touring around the city a little and eating at the great places to eat here in West End. I think they both had a great time down here and enjoyed the country and the people.

So now I'm in limbo as my visa runs out at the beginning of September and I've been frantically looking for a job in the two weeks since they left. I can always get a visitors visa after my student one runs out but it would be nice to find some work. It shouldn't be too bad and hopefully I'll hear something soon from the places I've already sent my CV to. I'm kind of looking everywhere but it would be nice to maybe stay here in Briz for a while. But we'll see what comes up.

I have another doctors appointment on Friday to find out my surgery date and I hope it's in August as my health cover expires when my visa does. So Friday I should know if I'll have the surgery for sure. I'll let everyone know. Other than that nothing exciting the past few weeks. Just job hunting all day. Hopefully the pictures will be attached but our net has been acting up the past few days. If not I'll get them up asap as there are some good one.


P.S. Images are not uploading....gotta love google. More later

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Finally Done

Yes I'm still alive. I know I haven't updated this thing in about 3 months. Among studying for exams, writing my thesis, catching bugs and entertaining my parents it's taken me a while to find some time.

As of Tuesday I have officially graduated. Now I just have to figure out what to do next. I spent the last two weeks of the semester typing my hands off and reading like a fiend. But the good news is that my thesis has the possibility of getting published. Hopefully. We'll see as I have to do a little revision before it can be submitted. But my exams and everything is over with so it's a relief to have a little time off.

My parents arrived about 3 weeks ago here in Briz. They arrived the same day as my final exam. We chilled out here for a week or so then headed down to Melbourne to drive the Great Ocean Road. It's very similar to the Pacific Coast Highway out in Cali. but here there are more trees and plants instead of the desert. Amazing scenery and I highly reccomend it if you ever get down here. It's quiet chilly down there during the winter here so my parents got a taste of winter during the summer back home.

Also attended my first AFL game at the legendary MCG. We had an obnoxious lady sitting behind us that didn't shut up for the whole game. They have them down here as well. We ended up losing by a point but it was still very cool to see a game live instead of on TV. Much better live.

We went down to Phillip Island to see the penguins and seals but we choose the day with 80 kph/ 55 mph winds. The rain that accompanied the winds was going just as fast. We get down to the visitors centre and find out that the seals are 2 km or 1 mile off the coast and require a boat ride to see them. Considering the waves were approaching 4-5 m or 12-15 feet we were not intending to venture out on the ocean. Then we asked about the penguins. They only come in to shore at night...just lovely. It was about as dark as night but paying $25 each for a chance to see them just wasn't worth it. But on a good note, on the ride back we stopped at a farm and were able to see some cows getting milked. Just like home. But it was cool being with my parents so the trip was worth it.

Got back here and have been relaxing for the past week or so. I had another doctors appt. and she's recommending that I go through with the surgery as it will relieve some of the pain in my hip. It will not help the lower back pain or the numbness in my foot but at least I might be able to get up in the morning without feeling like I'm 80. But I have to find a job in the next few weeks as my healthcare through uni expires. I still have another 5 weeks until it would be done as I've been on the list for 2 months already. Gotta love the healthcare system.

We are off to the nice tropical north on Tuesday. We'll be in Carins (pronounced "cans") for three days then off to Port Douglas for 3 days as well. Looking forward to the sun as it's been cloudy and rainy for most of my parents trip. And the warm temps as well. It's been around the low 70's here (18-19 C) but cold at night 8-9 C (50-55 F).

Sorry for the lack of pictures but most of them are on my mom's camera so I'll have to get them for the next post. I'm still getting used to everything on my new MacBook Pro as I'm used to thinking the illogical and difficult PC way. It will take some time to get use to it but I recommend it to anyone who is thinking about switching over. It's worth it.

Ok I'm off to watch the F1 race here and then get some sleep. Pictures on next post along with all the summer b-day's as well.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Logan

Happy Birthday to Logan he turns 3 today. He's growing up too fast.

He's grown up so much in the last three years. Can't wait to see him when he's 18 or 21.

Otherwise just a quick one today. I'm taking a break from yet another assessment. This next month is not going to be too pretty. My thesis paper is due, my bug collection and a group presentation. So lots of coffee will be involved as I'll be sleep deprived for most of it. But after that I'll just have two exams and then I'll be done. I hope.

My back is doing a lot better. I'm on the waiting list for surgery but it would probably not be until the middle of June but I'm seriously considering not having it done. But I'm not sure if it is better to get it over with or to wait until next time it slips again. I will call on Thursday and see what they recommend. It's only painful when I first get up and the numbness is just about gone. So it seems like it's getting better as I can run now without any problem. A long way from only a month ago.

I'm still looking for jobs down here and in New Zealand as well. I have applied for a few but I've been too busy with school stuff to have a good look. I'm hoping for Auckland or Melbourne as my first if anyone knows of any contacts it would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking forward to starting something new that I actually enjoy. Hopefully I can find something. We'll see.

Just a few pictures for you this time.

From my bug collection
I'll let you know what they are when I figure them out.

How much is your beer worth???
I think some are off though because it's hard to find a pint here for less than $4.50.

Back to more work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Old Man Update

I'm sure most of you know already that I didn't end up having surgery a few weeks ago. The trip to the emergency room just helped with the pain and that's about it. Not too much news from then on. But I did finally meet with the neurosurgeon, actually just a nurse in the neurosurgeon's office, on Friday morning.

She didn't tell me anything I didn't already know and the same story and test on my reflexes and what not were also done. They want me to come in for an MRI on Wednesday so they can get a better view of the disk and how much far it is still out of place. Then Friday I have another appointment so hopefully I will find out some real info on what they think will be the next thing to do. I still have the numbness which they said isn't a good thing and the pain is still in my hip when I get up in the morning. If I would have gotten the MRI 3 weeks ago I could already be 2 weeks into the recovery if I would have had the surgery done. But hey that's what you get with uni doctors I guess. I'm sure the same thing would have happened if I was in the States so I guess I cant really make it go any faster.

Not too much else going on besides school stuff. Writing and more research as usual. But I did find some amusing stuff on the web during the week when I was laid up and not moving to well. Sorry for no pictures this time....just some links.

I actually remember watching some of these- The 10 Most Insane, Child-Warping Moments of '80s Cartoons

Some are expected but there are a few that surprise you - 67 Celebrities Who Are Scientologists

Same with this one - 50 Celebrities’ Real Names

You guys can watch the full episodes but we can't get them down here - South Park Studios

I was 53 WPM - Speedtest

Not sure how accurate this is, I was 91 with a virtual age of 13, what ever that means...they didn't have a selection for a slipped disk though - Life Expectancy Calculator

Yes some people actually believe this - Creation Museum

Cant get past level 7 - Apple Shooter

Great place to look for cheap stuff - Ben's Bargains

Here as well, with free shipping - most of it made in China though - DealExtreme

Cool way to view the Box Office - The Ebb and Flow of Movies

Looking for a vacation spot??? - Private Islands for Rent

Probably another update next weekend once I find out something useful to tell about my back. Cheers,

Friday, March 21, 2008

Crazy Last Two Weeks

Lots has gone on in the past two weeks. I had my B-day on the 8th...the big's just a number but as I found out last week I'm really old in body years. Our new roommates moved in and some bad news.

On my b-day we headed to the beach in the afternoon and went down south by Surfers Paradise and enjoyed the sun along with some wind for a few hours. I finally spent my birthday day on the beach and it only took me 30 years to do it. Anyways, after we came back a bunch of us went to the only Mexican restaurant around town and enjoyed the most expensive Mexican food I've ever had. Then to a bar down the street for a few drinks then off to the dance club. It was nice and chill. I decided to get myself a little present for my b-day as I do every year but then it ends up I probably won't end up needing the soccer boots I ordered so I'll have to get me something else.

But I found out later in the week that I'm really old. Last Thursday I went to soccer training and got about a half a lap around for the warm-up and my hip got really tight. I tried stretching and moving around to see if it would loosen up but nothing. Friday it was ok then on Saturday I woke up and it was really bad. I couldn't touch my toes or twist at all. It got a little better as the day went on so I decided to go to one of friends for a house party. It was a good time with some really good costumes. The pictures will come later as I'll have to get them from other people as I didn't bring my camera. But most of the time I spent hanging from the rafters to try and take the pressure off my hip.

I woke up Sunday and I was really, really bad...every way I moved it hurt. I spent most of the day on the couch stationary as that was the way it didn't hurt. I'd get up occasionally as it helped a little to move as well. Then Sunday evening my toes started going numb. Not good. I slept standing up/leaning over my desk and got about 3 hours of sleep but not all at the same time.

Then the doctor visits started. Monday I walked extremely slowly to the Uni clinic. I could get about 20-30m then had to bend over or lean on something to stop the pain. It took me 25 minutes for a walk that usually takes 8 minutes. The pain would start in my butt then go down the back of my leg to my calf and all without feeling half my foot or my last three toes. Lots of fun. I finally made it and the doctor think it's my hip. I then walked another 20 minutes back to the CityCat then to the X-ray place...another 45 minutes to go 1/2km...45 minutes back...then 25 minutes back home. They gave me some meds but they didn't work. The one had codeine which doesn't work on me and the other one was advil which wasn't strong enough.

Tuesday morning I went back to the Uni least Helix gave me a ride to CityCat but I still had to walk to the clinic from the river. Now they tell me it's my back and not my hip. Now I have to walk all the way across campus to sort out my insurance stuff as they didn't have me in the system and I found out the school messed up and put my insurance money towards my tuition instead. At least now I won't have to pay out of pocket anymore. I then walked back across campus again to the CityCat then to the other radiologist for my CT scan.

Then I found out the bad news. My body's about 50 years old. I have a bulging/slipped/herniated disk in my back. Not good. Very, very bad. It is pushing on my sciatic nerve which is the cause of the numbness in my foot and calf. It goes into my spinal canal 17mm or about 3/8ths of an inch. Yeah it's pretty bad.

Wednesday I went back to the Uni doc and supposedly was given a referral to the local hospital here for a consult with a neurologist and would have surgery done on Thursday sometime. But I showed up to the neurology dept. at the hospital and they have no idea what I'm talking about. Here the doc at the uni never called or anything besides giving me a little note to the doctor. I find out later that if she would have called they could have fit me in yesterday.

Instead I spent the day in the emergency room...from 9am 'till 6pm. I saw the nurse in the first hour or two...then the physio around 1:30...then finally the real doctor around 3. She gave me some good meds and the pain finally subsided. It was nice to not bend over or sit with my leg in a strange position and to be able to walk around without pain.

She told me I'll most likely have to have the surgery to move the disk off my nerve or you can get permanent paralysis if the disk moves farther. So yeah it's quite serious. The surgery they will most likely do is to snip out a little section of the vertebra to relieve the pressure off the nerve. But I'll be asking a bunch of questions on Tuesday or Wednesday (hopefully) when I have the consult with the neurosurgeon. So I don't know if I'll be able to do any sports again or run or anything I like to do. Hopefully early next week I'll find out if and when I'll be having surgery and keep everyone informed. Now that I've got some good meds the pain is still there but not as bad so I'm good for a while at least. I'm sorry to get my family and friends all worried about me yesterday and I'll make for sure I'll be having the surgery before I tell anyone.

I hope everyone will be able to get together with their families and friends for the holiday this weekend and enjoy some good food. Eat some for me. I'll be thinking of everyone back home as no one will be here with the crippled old man to spend Easter. But it's all cool..I'll be able to watch the race and enjoy the sunshine. Ok now for some pictures.

A big moth that flew in my room

Our local brushtail possum

Diffraction lines in some schnapps

The hazards of soccer

They know how to do the beach down here


Thursday, March 13, 2008


Sorry for the lack of an update since I've been back down here. I'm soaking up the nice sun as I missed it very much, playing soccer, writing, reading and more uni learning.

I had a great time during my 4 weeks back home. The flight back wasn't too bad as I had a whole row to myself. The weather wasn't cooperating but Ohio isn't the greatest place in the wintertime. It would have been nice to see the sun a little more but oh well. But I didn't really like the cold when it was down to -30C wind chill...that's a little too cold for me.

I think I was able to see everyone I wanted to, except for my Vegas crew, and it was good to just be with the fam and chill out. I missed everyone as it's not the same communicating through email or phone calls. Drank some cheap beer, gained a few kilo's and finally got some time to relax before school started up again.

Saw the Butler's new addition, got to see the Superbowl without having to explain all the rules to everyone, saw snow for the first time in a year then shoveled some snow, drove my car (really missed doing), did lots of home improvements, put up some cabinets, had some early birthday ice cream cake, mmmm, went on a pub crawl, played Wii, played with my puppy dogs, and plenty of other stuff I missed.

Thanks to everyone for feeding me, the beer, talking and just hanging out as I missed it a lot. If I end up staying down here I'll have to make the trip back home more often than once a year. Ok here are some pictures for everyone.

The kitchen before...not sure when the after will be done

The first bar of 18...1 every 1/2 hour

My puppy dog, Sasha

Logan helping me blow out the candels

Typical Cleveland's 1:30 in the afternoon.

Starting early
The half time entertainment

Thanks again to everyone especially my parents and my brother for everything. Miss you already.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Headed Back Home

Sorry for the lack of updates the past month or two. I've been enjoying my little break after my research project concluded with two 12 hour days in the lab with two 9 hour days on each side.

And I've been a little lazy as well.

A lot has gone on since the last baby (not mine)...The Big Day In...Christmas...New Years...more birthdays...Richard, Happy 30th, and Bradley...hiking...research...partying...etc.

Congrats to Todd and Erin as Hudson was born on the 19th of December. I can't wait to see him when I get back in town. He's way to cute.

The Big Day In will most likely be something I bring back with me. Hil and her friend Lara started it sometime ago and have done it every year since. People came and went through the day but they were there for the full 16 hours of craziness.

It starts at about 10am and goes until 2am at the RE here in town. The RE has one of the longest opening hours of any bar in town. So you take your first sip just after 10 and your last around 2...with almost constant drinking all day. I joined them for the start but had to take about a 3 hour hiatus as I had to tend to my turtles as they had hatched the day before (great timing).

T-shirts were made, Trivia Pursuit, Uno, pool and Jenga were played, good conversation, friends and of course plenty of of the most fun days since I've been here. I didn't make the full 16 but managed about 13 or so. It was a great time and really nice and chilled as I was super stressed the three days before working. Needless to say the next day was spent recovering.

About 2nd hour in.

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and was able to see all their loved ones. Hil came over on Christmas Eve and spent some time with me which was really good as everyone else was gone for the day and I was feeling kind of lonely. Thank You.

For Christmas I went over to Emma's parents place and had some prawns (no there not shrimp) for lunch then a great meal for dinner as well. It was cool to experience the different traditions and foods, and the best part is you can eat outside without freezing your tail off as you would up north. Very cool and it was nice that they invited me over.

Hil came over again on Boxing day and spent most of the day with me as well and we had a great time just chilling with a good movie and some popcorn. I have to bring it back for everyone to watch...If I can find it. Then she was off down south to a music festival for New Years and road trip with her mates.

New Years was spent over at a party thrown by a workmate of Emma's and on the way we got drenched as the rain was pretty bad and we almost lost part of our case as the cardboard was starting to fall apart. It turned out ok though. It wasn't very big maybe 20 or so people and was nice and chilled out.

The day before New Years we went down to Emma's boyfriends parents place, which is right next to the rainforest where I did the field course a few months back. I'm still trying to find it on Google Earth so when I do I'll post where it is for everyone. It's probably one of the most amasing places I've been to in a while. They own about 1000ha, or close to 2800acres, of farmland/rainforest about 1.5 hours from the city.

Hil left about a week ago for her new job down in Canberra, which I was really sad to see her go but she got down safe after the two day drive which is good. She's got really cool house but is still waiting for the rest of her stuff to get there and hopefully it won't be too long. I miss her, but doing alright.

This past weekend a few of us went for a day long hike/rock hopping up the river, again at Emma's boyfriend parent place, that runs into rainforest and the national park. Waterfalls, swimming holes, spiders, yabby's, doesn't get much better. It was way too much fun as it reminded me of all the time I spent in the forest down the street when I was a little kid. We didn't make it all the way to the 60m water fall we were aiming for but I didn't care as it was great time. Maybe next time we'll get there. Today I'm still sore but I think I'm getting too old as well. The lack of exercise and increase in studying this past year is catching up to me.

Mo and Emma


I'll be arriving back in Cleveland sometime Wednesday night for a stay of about 3 weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again and finding out all the stuff I have missed out on in the past year. I'll be staying at the same house so if anyone one wants to drop by. I should have my mom's cell which I'll be using and most of you have gotten an email with the number as well. And the home number is the same also. I'm devised a little list of things that I miss or will miss from both home and here.

Home...What I miss.
Family, friends, my puppy dogs, my mom's cooking, cheap pizza, cheap beer, my car, a good stereo, a comfy couch, carpet, snow, showers long than 4 minutes, a dryer, cable tv, unlimited internet, football, hockey, no mosquitoes, the mountains (can't get them in Ohio though),...

Down Under...What I'll miss.
Friends, the sun and warm temps, thongs (flip-flops), shorts, great ethnic food, soccer, really good beer, cricket, rugby, my hammock, prawns, the beach, the city, good public transport, the kookaburra's and parrots...

We'll see how long I last in the freezing cold before I want to get back down to the summer here. I should be ok though. I'll try and see everyone I can while I'm back. If I miss anyone they will just have to come down and visit me here. I'll see everyone in the next few weeks.

Some more links for everyone to enjoy.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Cool Illusions
Cleveland Indy Media Center
Got Gas???
Only in America
I guess this was a big Christmas item this year...make it yourself cheap
One of the Best "The Onion" stories I've seen