Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Loser Cruiser

G'day Mates! Last weekend I became the proud owner of a 1996 Holden Commodore Acclaim Legacy VS V6 with only 259,000 kilometres! Gas guzzler, fallen headliner, and a sticker on the back advertising some 'hoon' (Aussie for a lout, usually referring to obnixious driving habits) auto accessory with the slogan "Drive it like you Stole it!" Obviously, I disregarded some of the tips in buying a used car like listening to the radio to see if the presets were tuned to codger stations or finding a maintenance book. Throwing caution to the wind, I plunked down $1,700 to buy it then it took another $1,000 for manidory insurance, public liability, NRMA (think AAA) and registration. So now, I'm styling and actually out on the freeway when I push it up to 110 (that's almost 70 in the US) it feels rock solid! I can see myself heading out on the highway soon. Right now, I'm practising driving on the wrong side of the road.

In reality, New South Wales has the strictest vehicle registration requirements in the country. If the car is over 5 years old, it must be inspected and everything is checked over by a certified garage. From lights and windshield wipers down to citing a tie rod end needing replaced on my car. Fortunately, the guy I bought it from owns a body shop called 'Smash Repairs' in case you have a bingle, and did all the required work. This "Rego' is so important that the remaining months are included in advertisements of used cars. This guy Scott, even painted a part he replaced, touched up some of the nicks and gave me the rest of the paint. He washed and vacuumed it prior to delivery (on his wrecker). So as you can see by the pictures, it looks ok and it really feels pretty good. The last picture Holly took of an old, one lane bridge we went over during her Spring Break visit. No traffic lights, you're just left to figure it out on your own.

My first trip in the car was to teach it the 'usual' route. First, we went to the auto parts store as I'm sure I'll be making that trip often, then to the petrol station (I reset the trip odometer to see what kind of mileage I was getting. Do you call it kilometrige here?) and then onto the Charles for an innocent little pint. The car performed admirably!

It must be getting great mileage (or whatever) as when I bought it, the odometer read 259,000 and the trip odometer hasn't moved a lick! What a great car! I wonder how long I can go on one tank of petrol!

Tomorrow's adventure is to go to the harbour (as they spell it here) and look over art in the park. I saw this when I first arrived and had it in the back of my mind to buy some original are to put up on these bare walls. I have no idea on prices and certainly don't know anything about art, but if it has ocean scenes or nudity, I'm there! I mean you know, tasteful art. There was a big sale last weekend, but I didn't get the car in time to go shopping. Maybe I'll be able to buy some culture.

Read, comment and write. You know I love hearing from all of you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Downtown on Crown and the Mall

I'm sure I've shown the main road through downtown Wollongong, Crown Street. Three blocks have been blocked off to traffic to create a mall. It has an interesting, open weave cover over half of it, which creates an intimate atmosphere and during the day, especially at lunch, quite a few people just hang out, eat at some of the several sidewalk cafes and watch the world walk by. I usually walk the mall during lunch just to ease the stress of the day. The last picture made Holly and I laugh everytime we rode the elevator in the Grace Hotel in Sydney. If you're in town, I'd recommend staying there. Not just for the above plaque.

Wollongong and where I live Fairy Meadow, remind me of how the US used to be and most likely still is in smaller towns. I know I've harped about this in previous blog entries, but my little neighbourhood is really like what I imagine a small town was like in the olden days. 3 butchers, a seafood shop, a fresh pasta shop, I go to a real barber although there are plenty of hair salons, and even a post office. It's a great little place just a few kilometres from the CBD of Wollongong.

Thank you for reading and comment.

Office Space 2 - The Outside

Hi all and Harvey. I thought I'd add the outside of the new, high tech building we're in. It is a nice looking building with a good lobby, complete with small sandwich/coffee bar and plenty of places to enjoy their food inside and out. I especially wanted to try and show the automatic, round entry door. It is weird and makes me think of some futuristic movie prop from the 1960's. Overall, in spite of some goofy automatic aspects of the building and office space design, it is a very cool (and green) building.