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Friday, December 29, 2006


By chance I came across the perfect thing to follow Mr. T ...

an A-Team Smartcar:

I pity the mileage

(thanks Smarts R us!)

But would Mr. T even fit? And can this wee car smash through fences?

Here is the original - as a reminder:

Mr T's ride

And to take the Smartcar theme a bit further...

Here is the Smartcar stack that was at Circular Quay last year (previously posted on Southern Latitudes):

Smartcar Parking

Smartcars are pretty prevalent here in Sydney, and their owners can choose to make some cash as they drive. Advertisers have noted that the little cars catch one's eye, and have decided to capitalize on this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You can, if you qualify as a "young, fun and socially connected urbanite", actually be supplied with the car for a mere $5 a day. (Oh, and your soul, signed over to Advertising.)

Urban dwellers should expect for these little cars to become a common site (if they are not already), given their ease of parking, great mileage, and advertising potential.

But that doesn't mean that you rural dwellers need to feel left out...here's a Smartcar that would be at home in South Carolina:

Monster Mini

(thanks again Smarts R us!)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Video Proof

As I mentioned before, Paul took a video camera on the Maldives trip, and was editing a movie. I know Paul to be a solid and capable guy, but given the difficulties of filming surf from a distance with a hand-held, not to mention from a constantly moving boat, I never expected the result to be nearly so good!

His movie, titled "Exodus", really captured the feel of the trip, the people, the place, and of course some great surf. All edited into an excellent production with chapters, narration, titles, and soundtrack.

The inaugural viewing took place on a projector & screen, and met with rave reviews. I have to say, it is actually kinda disturbing to see one's own head 3 times normal size for the first time. But I think I'm ready for my closeup now, Mr. DeMille.

Here is one of a custom batch of beer we chipped in on as a token thanks to Paul for all his hard work - Pete went the extra mile with the labels:

Exodus - the beer

And here is a little clip I raided from his movie, to give you a taste. Of course I couldn't resist grabbing some of my own surfing footage - that's me in white with the hat.
The best wave in this clip however is the maestro Paul getting barreled at Sultans.

I give "Exodus" two-thumbs-up (with pinkys extended Hawaiian style).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Barney Cam

Watch the video here and shake your head in disbelief.
Yes, that is the real White House website. And yes, that is the President of the United States having a conversation with his dog.

"View of the Oval Office from South Lawn outside the Rose Garden. Transition inside the Oval Office where President Bush, seated at his desk, talks with Barney who is sitting on a chair across from him.)

Barney listens to President George W. Bush during a meeting in the Oval Office, Friday, Dec. 1, 2006, to discuss plans for the 2006 Barney Cam.President Bush: Barney, it’s time for BarneyCam. Are you ready for it this year? Say, what’s the plot about? (Close-up of Barney, blank look.) I can see from the look on your face, Barney, that you haven’t even thought about the plot. Hey Barney, you better get started and you better run along right now!"

Also "acting" in this video is Karl Rove. And the Press Secretary. And the Secretary of Education. And the Secretary of the Treasury. And the Director of OMB. And Laura Bush, who is especially wooden. And the list goes on, all the way to...Dolly Parton?? Didn't realize she was on the staff.

All talking to a dog about organizing a Christmas Extravaganza.

Sometimes Usually truth is stranger than fiction.

At least this time the White House is just "scary Huh?" and not their usual plain "scary scary".

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Night in Tatooine/Tunisia

Les Troglodytes:
Tunisian Star Wars

Recognize that?
Most have seen this place before in the movie Star Wars and know it as Luke Skywalker's home.

It is a residence in Tunisia (now a hotel), and it is well suited to living in the climate of the desert - be it on Tatooine or in North Africa. Sustainability a la the future, or the past.

Isn't it great that we don't even have to leave our own planet to experience life across the galaxy?

More pics here. (via WorldChanging)

In another example of the Other-worldly on our own little Earth, I give you Dublin, Ohio:

How Corny is This?

There can be no explanation for this without involving tin foil hats. Or misplaced 1% for art. Or both.

Friday, December 15, 2006


And here is a soothing image to help stop the shudders from the preceding spider story.

Beak can hold more than the belly can

This pelican is about 3 times the size of the little ratty gray ones we have in South Carolina.

New Dance Craze: The Spider Spaz

Dance Dance Revolution

Australia is known for it's spiders, many of which have particularly nasty venom. When I first arrived in Australia I was wary of any and all spiders for this reason. Seeing huge webs with quite large spiders everywhere, certain death seemed imminent and Australians remarkably cavalier about it.

I soon determined that the ones to worry about were not the ones hanging across the sidewalks. Still, they were big. Real big. And a little too interactive.

One particular type likes to string their webs between objects approximately a sidewalk width apart, and at face level.
They build them in the evenings, very quickly, so that a night time dog walker is suddenly plowing through webs that weren't there earlier in the evening, and now it is too dark to see them.
A couple feet up and they wouldn't have to rebuild every night, but try telling that to a spider.

This from a spider website: "The orb weavers are one of the largest spiders found in Australia. Their webs can be found hanging off sign posts, in or between trees and can even be spotted driving 100 km/h in a vehicle. The web is extremely strong. So strong that even small birds stick in the net."

Yes, a face full of web is quite common for this dog owner, especially this time of year. I don't like it one bit, but I've gotten quite accustomed to it. I have learned to identify the narrows where they are likely to be, and I swing my arm up to proceed my face and break the web first. Web on arm - much better than web on face.

So far, I'd always hit web, not spider.
It was inevitable. I was due.

Well the other night I got not only the full web head-wrap, but a big mutha spider running around on my head.

Had a neighbor been lucky enough to be within view they would have been treated to a dance the like of which has never been seen before. This thing was scurrying around on. my. face.

I punched myself pretty good in the eye during my swatting frenzy, did several pirouettes and strange contortions, and emitted bestial sounds of surprising range.

I didn't like the idea of squishing this rather large presumably juicy thing on my head. I just wanted to fling it away. With vigor.

But then, as though in slow motion, I saw the spider either leap or get swatted (hard to tell which) out away from the front of my face. "Yea!" Thinks me, for a split second...and then the web strand that the spider is using as a bungee stops it's outward movement, and the spider begins a swing right back at...my mouth.

No choice at this point but to do a reflexive catch-and-squish (with my hand, luckily), followed immediately by the don't-bite-me-in-your-death-throes fling and wrist flap.
Followed quickly by the is-it-still-swinging-from-me check (and check again. and again). Followed by the epileptic shudder-walk for the next half a block as I pick at web strands with the hand that is not spider gooey.

That dance had YouTube internet hit potential.
Some of my best work.
If only.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Having a Golden Gaytime

My coworker has started asking me fairly regularly if I want a golden gay time. I figured he was just putting me on - "pulling my leg", "giving a razz", "taking the piss", "sending me up", "taking the mickey" - a great Australian tradition.
But after this went on for a while, and Marco's smile got creepier, I started to get a bit weirded out.

The conversation usually went a bit like this:

"Hey Hunter, come with me, I'd like to give you a golden gay time!"
"Uh...I bet you would, but you're not my type, big boy."
"You don't know what you're missing, mate - have an open mind."
"I'm not opening anything around you, punk. What does your girlfriend think about this activity of yours?"
"She doesn't mind at all. Whatever makes me happy. Are you sure, mate?"
"I'm sure."

Well he finally convinced me.
I gave in.
I had a Golden Gaytime...and I have to admit, it really is quite a nice diversion on a warm summer day!

How gay is this?

And to think of all the offers of free ice cream I have turned down!

Kudos to some daring (oblivious?) marketing exec.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wrap with Furoshiki

The Japanese are the undisputed masters of wrapping. Each purchase, no matter how plebeian, is likely to get wrapped and wrapped again, with great skill and beauty. Sometimes the value of the presentation exceeds the value of the item.

While this creates a most enjoyable aesthetic experience, it is the source of enormous waste. Mountains of discarded packaging threaten to overwhelm the landfills, and exact a heavy toll on the world's forests.

Now someone in the Japanese government's Ministry of Environment has a great solution that maintains the tradition with all the beauty and skill, but with reusable cloth wraps called Furoshiki.

Here is a great illustration of how just about anything can be wrapped with a simple square cloth. [link to full-size illustration]


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Chocolate Apple

An older photo illustrating that:
1. Apple laptops live up to their reputation for getting overly warm during use.
2. They are not a suitable resting place for your chocolate cookie.

Chocolate dipped Apple

(and also: 3. Ben crumbs all over the place.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chemistries of Korea

A month ago I rented the extra bedroom to a very nice Korean guy, Sungwon. Never see the guy - he is like living with a ghost. Stays in his room with the door closed. Conversations are few, since he speaks almost no english, and I'd need to actually see him to attempt conversation.

Today I came home early from work - I've gotten some nasty bug - and passed out on my bed. When I awoke, I found some pills set out in the living room with the following note:

To. Hunter
I think you caught cold.
(Maybe very strong)
This medicine is anti-cold from Korea)
After you must eat something,
(after finish-eat, 30 minutes)
DO taking this medicine please)
(each once two capsules)
It's good for you.
From. Sungwon.
The pills are 500mg capsules with Korean writing on them.

My usual approach to colds and such things is to let the body do it's work, and don't slow the process down with semi-effectual symptom treatments. Yet I'm intrigued about the prospect of taking some mystery cure from Korea. And nervous.

So do I take them?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

High (trans-fat) Tide

Ahhh...the bountiful sea.
Thursday in North Carolina the ocean offered up nacho libre. Cool Ranch seafood. Mexican man-o-wars. Tortilla of the sea - salted of course.

Dorito Spill

NC residents can be seen here participating in a most enthusiastic beach clean-up. Many were seen scanning the horizon, hopeful for flotillas of salsa and Miller Lite.

Republicans were heard muttering about the "mexican invasion" and border security; yet their misgivings did not prevent them from filling the Hummer with snack-packs. One was said to have even given a couple bags to her gardener.

So far, all we ever get washing up on the beach here in Manly is jellyfish and Japanese tourists, but I'm watching more closely from now on.