Saturday, April 18, 2009

Office Space

Harvey requested some pictures of my office life. He said he knew this request was boring so I'm happy to oblige. These pictures certainly don't do the office justice as the building is less than a year old, very high tech and very green, which is a big deal down under.

The toilets are flushed by sensor. the sinks work by sensor with no faucets, just a single, perfect temp of water, HVAC is programmed and seems better than most other office buildings I've worked in. Most floors are secure so you need to have a RFID badge to access them and to check into the floor you're on. They have fire drills regularly and in spite this being a smaller building, even at 5 storeys, there are 2 stairwells for the office space and one dedicated to the 3 parking levels below. In the parking area are lockers and showers for the surveyors and engineers who work on site, typically at the steel mill which is incredibly filthy with slag and coal dust. The building seems to have been designed very well for the intended use.

In the picture of the break room with the fancy espresso maching, you'll notice a basket of fruit on this island. This is paid for by the company to encourage healty eating. There is even a service available for this weekly service throughout Australia:

Soon, I'll include more everyday pictures from around town, as requested.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Busy with THEE Lady

G'day All. Yeah, Holly came down under for her Spring Break from work. She still had school and I still had work but since it was Easter weekend we get Good Friday and the following Monday off work so most of time Holly was here, I was available. But even working wasn't so bad. She'd ride the free bus into town with me and we'd leave early to have breakfast together. One place at the bottom of some high end condos along the water gave us a great view of the ocean and harbour while eating outside! It's a tough life all right, here in the Gong.

Among the ususal activites, I rented a car for a couple days and we went up to Kangaroo Valley which is a very lush, undeveloped area that is so beautiful. But no kangaroos, which is good as they're like deer and tend to jump into windshields at alarming rates. We also went to Symbio Park which is a petting zoo. It's a great place to pet some of the indigneous critters and it has the feel of a family operated park. You can bring a picnic as there are several places to enjoy it. They even have swimming pools for the kids on those incredibly hot, summer days. A great benefit AND there aren't any extra charges for anything other than buying some Roo food.

I've bought some tickets to return State side. I'll be back in the good Ol' U.S. of A. from Sunday August 9 through the 26th and again returning December 18th for the 'other' AZ family Christmas. At least that is the plan at this stage, providing that I'm still employed. The reason I'm mentioning all this travel is that my tickets through Qantas cost $350 each way! Some flights were barely over $300! This is Sydney to LAX. Holly will fly back with me in August and spend a couple more weeks together and her round trip ticket from Seattle was a little over $800! The airlines are hurting and the airfare keeps tumbling. If you think this is a thinly veiled attempt to get some're damned right! What is really shocking is a little more than half the airfare is TAXES!

I've added some pictures from my latest adventures during Holly's much appreciated visit. Yes, you too, could be in these pictures and plastered all over the web.

E-mail, comment, or just say G'day. I do appreciate your emails, letters, packages full of good coffee and bad pictures, just kidding. Keep in touch.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sunday Stroll at Minnemura Falls NSW

Mark who lives in the unit next to me, and his wonderful girlfriend Kath, invited me to join them on a stroll through the rain forest up to Minnemura Falls. As you can see, most of it is a boardwalk with parts of trail bricked. At one point, it was so steep that Mark noticed his back was almost parallel with the ground. It took almost 2 hours up and back where we enjoyed a light mid-afternoon snack they refer to as having tea. Naturally, several beers were required to quench our thirst after such a rigorous stroll through the steaming jungle. The middle picture is of a lyre bird, clawing among the dead leaves for crawly things to eat. We saw several of them and they seemed unconcerned about us humans.

Neighbour Mark is a great guy. The same age as me, he's a High School teacher specializing in Marine Biology and Chemistry. His girlfriend Kath is very nice and damned good looking to boot. We all have a date for tea when Holly arrives next week. They're great and wonderful people. I'm so lucky to have such a great neighbour!

Electrical Chat

At cousin Lee's request, I'm showing a few electrical items. He's an electrician and of course, has interest in how the Aussies are wired. At least, I think this is what he meant. The first photo shows a typical outlet. Notice there's only 1 place to plug in plus they all have switches to turn them off completely! This is a great safety measure as the voltage is 220 at 60 cycles and can ruin your day should become part of the complete circuit.

The second picture is interesting (not, reminds me of Uncle Bill in Viet Nam where if you left your camera out, you'd end up with a few strange pictures in it such as a toothbrush or a light bulb). Anyway, if you look closely at the base, it's just like an old car lightbulb. Soldered ends on a very old fashioned looking bulb. According to neighbor Mark, they do have new fangled screw type of light bulbs, too.

The final picture is the electrical panel in my flat. This is circa early 1970's and isn't covered at all. I wonder if I accidently lean against it while getting into the adjacent linen closet I might go up a huge ball of fire as the electrical charge ignites the alcohol in my system! A horrid visual and second waste of alcohol.

This concludes electrical chat with one more note: I think all tranformers such as those used to power portible computers, only need an adapter to fit the plug and will handle anywhere from 100 to 220 volts. Shocking (I know, bad pun) that you really can take your computer with you all over the world without worrying about different power supplies.