California/Nevada. November 2016

19 Jan

LA all day ev’ry day.

Amy met me in LA and we spent a few days checking out some sights

(Click the pictures for supersize)

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If you are in to Hip Hop there is the compulsory stop at Roscoes’s Chicken and Waffles

And line up for Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood.

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Thanks go to my buddy Jin who drove us round most of the night!

Food was a big part of our time in LA…

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In-N-Out Burger… yum:

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Next Destination Death Valley (via Vegas!)

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Decent wheels are needed in California so I ended up booking a Mustang convertible, it was better than I thought it would be. It was the V6 model not the V8 but it still had plenty of power and was really nicely spec’d definitely the best rental car Ive ever driven.

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Stopped for a break in the desert and saw this group who had just driven the last 50miles off-road, apparently there are tracks everywhere, I really wanted a go, looked like heaps of fun.

mmmm… beer!

The online reviews of the Panamint Springs area in Death Valley were really sketchy, expecting something from the Hill have eyes, we struck it lucky with this little cabin, it was almost brand new

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And… they have Coyotes and Road runners! We only saw photos of Roadrunners, but found this dude on the side of the road:

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Not much to do in the desert at night so I sat in the freezing cold with the Coyotes and attempted some night photography, it’s harder than I thought, need more practise.

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Stopped in Ventura for the night on the way back to LAX, turned out to be a choice beachside town with good sights and shops

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Georgia Gun Club. November 2016

19 Jan

Nestled oddly between a Childcare/School, a Church and a waffle house sits the Georgia Gun Club:

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Its pretty flash looking, kinda like a government building or something.

After a going through a few clips on the AR15, we had a fair amount of 9mm ammo that “needed” to be used up, since it only seems to get used when I come to stay, who am I to complain so we spent quite a few hours going through box after box of 9mm. Unfortunately my skills with a hand gun are really lacking and the practise didn’t really seem to help, it was fun tho.

On the way out of the range I saw this:

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So another visit was required.

This thing is a beast .50 cal sniper rifle. Its usually operated by a 3 man team, and shoots so far that when you fire it you need to take not only the wind in to account but also the earths curvature!

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Lets doo dis! It was $10 a shot so I only did 2…

If the video doesn’t work open it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJtjQsBQJv0 

To give you an idea how big the shells are for this here it is lined up against a shotgun shell, 9mm, 38 and 22.

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Apart from the bruised cheek, pretty good attempt for a first timer.

Atlanta, Georgia. November 2016

5 Dec

Finally made it back to the ‘ol USA, 2 days after the American people elected a reality TV star to be the Leader of the free world!

First stop was LAX airport where I had allowed a 4 hour transit to enable me to get my Green Card stamped, 5 minutes later I had my passport validated and became an American permanent resident. Now I had 4 hours to wait till my next flight to Atlanta…

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) in Atlanta is by far the busiest airport in the world, I made it out eventually. By the time I got to bed I had been up for 30+ hours so was feeling a little tired.

Time went by very quickly in Atlanta, I ate loads of really tasty food, including some proper southern BBQ for lunch one day. Lucky I had my Knoxville translator with me, because I only understood a few words spoken by the lady on the counter, it was a serious accent but not as serious as the food. I had collared greens, baked beans, a pork plate, and something that looked like mashed pumpkin but was actually a bread pudding of some sorts… didn’t need to eat again until the evening of the following day.

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I was lucky enough to have my friend Chrissy come down from Tennessee to visit, we drove in to Little Five points which is on the East side of Atlanta and is known for its alternative culture. Its pretty trendy, but kinda grimy and rundown at the same time

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Plenty of record shopping and street art around, I scored some decent Keith Murray and Rakim albums

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We stopped on the main street for lunch at a place called the “Porter Beer bar,” 49 beers on tap and probably about 300 by the bottle. They have a great menu too, I ordered the porndog which had a note that you didn’t need to order any sides, when it came out it was a huge oversized hotdog with pickled vege’s, its hard to gauge its true size in this photo but I couldn’t finish it. It was seriously good and I def recommend it:

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Another day we packed a picnic lunch (well Doug made sandwiches and I ate them) and drove out to a place called Lake Lanier which is a man-made lake, created when the Buford Dam was built, with a circumference of over 1,000 km its BIG. It was off season so apart from the squirrels, there wasn’t really anyone else there.

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If you are one of the 300 3 people who have been reading this blog for a while, you will know that no trip to America can be complete without shooting some ridiculous guns, I’ll put that on a separate post soon hopefully, followed by the California leg of the trip.

Conion V-121f Boombox restoration and upgrade

27 Aug

This was a long but fun project.

80’s box with a media server built in to the case. Controllable by using a remote app on your smart phone. It has a lithium battery to power it, the charging circuit is wired in to the ‘beat cancel’ switch on the back.

or click this link to watch if the above video doesnt work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeToEX3HTII

The finished box. It actually comes apart in to 4 separate pieces like a mini component system, but I didn’t take a photo in that layout:

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It didn’t start off so clean, the tape head was a bit dusty:

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The tape belts had turned to goo:

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After cleaning up the internals the case got a scrub in the sink…

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The plastic case had gone a nice yellow colour, I found a recipe for Retr0bright https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retr0bright which you basically use to coat the case before wrapping it in Gladwrap and putting it in the sun to let the UV do its thing.

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Raspberry Pi computer, battery and charging circuit being tested:

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Configuring the software was pretty easy once I had it powered up and connected:

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Republic of Vanuatu January 2016

28 Jan

3.5 hours flight from Sydney. Vanuatu is comprised of 14 Islands, we flew in to the capital Port Villa and bussed/ferried to Erakor Island.

Stayed in a beach “hut” on the beach

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I took my Actioncam with me to get some underwater video, its fairly rough since I was just holding it in one hand while I swam, watch it in 720 resolution otherwise its not very clear:

Apart from Snorkelling and lazing on the beach there was not a lot else to do so I got to spend some time playing with my camera. Click image for full size picture

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Plenty of somewhat boring sunset photographs

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This was the only one processed with a filter:

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And some evening/night long exposure stuff

25 seconds, F5.6:

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4 seconds, F22:

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25 seconds, F6.3:

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5 seconds, F6.3:

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10 seconds, F10:

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2.5 seconds, F4:

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Melbourne and Easeys Burgers

9 Jan

When in Melbourne last year my friend Mike Watt suggested I go to Easeys Burgers (48 Easey st in Collingwood.) It is three train carriages hoisted to the top of a building serving food and drinks. Good concept and the burgers were well priced, you get a primo view out across this part of the city.

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Quick lick of paint …errr

9 May

Have been asked a few times to post some pictures of the renovation I just completed.

This 1 bedroom unit in Auckland had seen better days

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First trip to the ‘Tip’ my contribution to landfill:

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Pulled a few of the top planks off to replace them and found the deck was a write off:

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The more I got in to it the worse it got, sections of flooring in the kitchen, lounge and bathroom had gone soft and needed to be cut out & replaced:

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I spent around 3-4 months of evenings and weekends (calling on plenty of help from friends and family) pulling the place to bits and repairing/replacing pretty much everything.

Child labour kept the costs low:

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Happy with the results, but glad its over…

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I have serious doubts about my new tenant, better not trash it, hi Craig!

If its photos you want, there are plenty more at the links below:

Before

Bathroom

Deck

Kitchen

Lounge