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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs posted in 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 22/10/2006 20:51:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 27/10/2015 16:33:36


Haven't blogged for two months - figured I might as well try to finish off the Travel Log

Bell was quite excited for day 14, as it was a trip to another zoo - this time the Washington Zoo. The Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution so entry was free - which was welcomed by Bell and I.

Washington Zoo
The Washington Zoo - and some snow spattering

Decorative Lion
I think his name is Alsan

There were a few animals of note, such as the striped zorse. The strangest exhibit by far was the "Australiana" section. It was supposed to hold Emus and Kangaroos - but when we were there it was just filled with snow (which kangaroos don't have to deal with too often).

No Animals
Not surprisingly, the Kangaroos and Emus were inside on this brisk morning

We were actually at the Washington Zoo at the right time, as the Giant Pandas had a new addition (in baby form). It was very busy (and a 10 minute gawking limit was in place), but Bell managed to get a few photos of the bears (which were, admittedly, somewhat cute).

Where are you
Now where'd my kid go?

There you are
Climbing mummy mountain

Hungry
Hungy!

Pandas
When I heard that the Panda had a child - I assumed this is what they would act like. We don't all get what we wish for

As it was cold outside, a lot of the animals were kept indoors (such as the afore mentioned kangaroos and emus). It was very strange seeing a giraffe and hippo inside - but it did mean we were up pretty close.

Giraffe
The background picture fooled me for a minute (I thought I was an African)

Hippo
Doesn't look too big here

Big Boy
Hippo's about to get his food on

Stampy
The elephant reminded me of Stampy, it kept on head-butting this blue barrel

We then went into the gorilla exhibit, which was a little sad. There were signs up saying that the gorilla didn't like lots of movement from the audience and had a few pointers for approaching them (very slow, don't walk up to them while facing them etc). Of course, everyone ignored these pointers and the gorillas looked a little upset by this. At least they weren't being shot to produce masks.

Unhappy
Not happy Jan

Yummy
The Thinker

Peekaboo
Peek-a-boo!

After the gorillas we moved on to the tigers (of course, Belinda's favourite animal) which took up a bit of our time. They were pretty cool - but I'd already stood next to Belinda for about 4 hours at Tiger Island, and it doesn't take too long to get sick of tigers. They didn't do too much that was interesting, but they were kinda cool to watch.

Tiger
Good shot by Bell

Pounce
I think he's about to pounce on the keg. It's alcoholism that's actually killing off the world's Tiger population

That's pretty much it for day 14 - only 3 more to go. I really hope I can finish it this year!


This is the 15th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 17/08/2006 02:19:00

Yes, it's early and I couldn't think of a proper title

After a lazy morning we dragged ourselves out of bed for some lunch. While Belinda had a boring Subway - I tried out the "World's Greatest Hamburgers" at Fuddruckers. They may not be world beating - but they were all kinds of fantastic! I ordered a triple cheese burger (I like cheese), and it came with just a bun, cheese and the meat. Somewhat perturbed I wondered if "World's Stingiest Hamburgers" had been misspelled, when I saw the condiment table. Brilliant! A whole area with every condiment under the sun to add to your hamburger. I added the exact amount of mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, onion and tomato that I wanted - and had probably the best hamburger consumed while in America.

The rest of day 13 was going to be spent getting a tour of the district to see the sights. It turned out that the place we needed to pick up our tickets was about 45 minutes away in a taxi - and we didn't think the travel time and taxi fare would be worth it. So we created our own tour!

First stop was the Washington Monument. It was snowing fairly heavily, so crowds were no problems, and when we got to the Monument there was noone else there.

Pointy
Quite striking, isn't it

While it was quite tall, the real draw (in my opinion) was the elevator ride up the Monument. The windows in the lift showed the memorial stones that were used during construction of the Monument, I found it very interesting. Apparently when donations for the Monument ran out in 1854, some people from Alabama suggested that all states and territories donate memorial stones for the interior walls, made from a product of the state's soil. In total there are 193 stones, as professional organisations, American Indian tribes, business, foreign nations etc also donates stones.

Some of the interesting stones are the Alaskan stone - the most expensive as it's made from green jade. The stone from Japan is made from volcanic rock with a Japanese inscription. Not too surprisingly the New York stone is the biggest, and forced the Monument Society to request a maximum size for all future donations. And Peter Force, a one time Mayor of Washington, donated his own stone which was basically just his name in large letters (after which the Society refused donations from individuals).

Other random Monument facts:

  • At the time of construction, it was the tallest building in world
  • It remains the tallest building in Washington due to restrictions on the height of new constructions
  • The total cost to build was $1,187,710


After the Monument we decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial. After a few snowball fights we got there and saw that the actual statue of Lincoln was under construction, but we still asked him some questions.

Lincoln Memorial View
The view of the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument

Washington Monument View
The view of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial
Geez! I knew a guy in Primary School that had the head gear with his braces, but this is ridiculous!

Our lunch was very satisfying so we decided to just try some "ordered in" food from a local Italian store for dinner. When it finally arrived it was cold and of poor quality - so we just fed ourselves from the friendly vending machine (healthy, I know). Our next day was going to be filled with Zoo adventures, so we had ourselves an early night.


This is the 14th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Monday, July 31, 2006

Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 31/07/2006 23:56:00

And so does Mrs. Dixon, of course

About a year ago Belinda and I were planning our honeymoon. At that stage, we were about 90% sure we would never be able to afford a holiday to America just a few days after our wedding. Added to the cost was the effort of organising a overseas trip at the same time as planning a wedding, buying a house and moving out of a home for the first time. All this meant the likelihood of a honeymoon was low - but it also meant we didn't cut too many corners for the plan (why skimp when it's not going to happen). One such extravagance we added was "there's 5 days between to hockey games while we're in Pittsburgh - we might as well go to Washington instead of just hanging around". So on day 12 of our trip - we flew to Washington.

We woke up early and finished packing for our flight, and went straight to the airport. At the hotel lobby, the guy noticed that we had our bags and asked if we'd like him to call us a cab for the airport. Sure, why not, we said. When the cabbie finally turned up (I'm sure we could have found one much quicker) he put our bags in his car - and I thought I saw him give the hotel guy some money.

Anyway - our guy was really nice - and his car was great. He said he was an old footballer for the Cleveland Browns, but he was a huge Steelers fan. Guess Pittsburgh just wears people down like that. He gave us his card - and said he'd be happy to be at the airport to pick us up when we returned to Pittsburgh. I assume he organised this so he wouldn't have to pay some other dude just for calling his number. But he was nice to talk to - and he didn't cost that much more than the bus we took from the airport when we arrived at Pittsburgh - so it was fine.

Bobbin
A google search of our limo driver's brings up this guy - so I assume the above picture is what our driver looked like in his playing days. (I admit it - I just like bobbleheads)

As we usually tried to do, we arrived at Pittsburgh airport early for our flight - so we had some lunch. While we were waiting for our flight, we noticed that almost half of the airport were hanging around the stores with televisions. Sure enough, the town favourites were playing a game that day. Apparently (I really didn't pay much attention) it was a do-or-die game for their season - which they ended up winning. We could tell the result of the game just by listening to everyone else's reaction - which we ended up having to do for a while as our plane was delayed.

Once the plane was finally ready, we boarded to our seats. This plane was very small compared to all the others we had been on - I guess there's relatively few people traveling from Pittsburgh to Washington. Nothing interesting at all on this flight, except that the wings had ice on them - which was shot off by a high pressure water gun machine (very cool).

We got a taxi back to the hotel, which turned out to be pretty uninteresting. We decided to catch a movie and try to have a typical American evening. We ended up seeing Just Friends, which was a great choice. It was a comedy (which we both love), had some romance and a bit of hockey. Perfect for our honeymoon. After the movie we had some dinner at a random food place, I can't even remember what it was called. It was funny though - the waitresses had no idea what Belinda was saying - and kept talking about how cool her accent was (they thought she was European). I had to translate for us - turns out all that American TV watching was useful.

Our hotel was two blocks from the dinner venue - so we walked. It was getting pretty late, and it got very creepy. There was a car that was following us with people pointing at us from the inside - and some dude just walked up to us murmuring something. Apparently our hotel wasn't in the nicest of neighbourhoods, but we got back ok. This was the only time on our trip that we felt scared - and it kind of soured the whole Washington segment.

Anyway - we found our way home - and Belinda had a great suggestion. She asked if I wanted to watch a hockey game while we were in Washington (that's why I married her - so thoughtful!). It really was a great suggestion - as there was another highly rated rookie that played for the Capitals - Alex Ovechkin. I called the MCI center - and found out there was a game that fit our schedule quite well - and it turned out the rink was just around the corner from our hotel room! It was a sign.


This is the 13th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 19/07/2006 15:38:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 07/04/2017 01:04:21


I was excited waking up on day 10, waking up on day 11 was twice as bad. I actually woke up quite early - a fair few hours before Bell - so I just read a book I had recently purchased.

When Bell finally woke up we decided to see a bit of the City of Pittsburgh. From the hotel room we could see that there was a fair bit of snow cover on the city, which was exciting. Even better - when we stepped outside our hotel room it was actually snowing. In Niagara Falls it was snowing - but really, that was the equivalent of a small spit. This was an actual fall - admittably not pissing down - but definately decent. I rather enjoyed holding my open hands up to the sky and collecting the snow. As a kid I always liked the idea of snow - the most we ever got in Melbourne was a very heavy hail storm - so this was great.

Something that I was entirely unprepared for was the amount of support the town gave to the Steelers. I had read on message boards that Pittsburgh was "Stillers Town" - but I was very surprised. Pretty much 1 out of every 3 or 4 people had some article of Steelers clothing on. Everyone from grandmothers to children was proudly displaying the Steelers name. There was also a lot of Penguin clothing (much more than I'd ever see in Australia) - but it was a little bit of a letdown.

We walked around the city - the first stop was the (now retired) Kaufmann's department store. The first thing I noticed was that half of the store staff were wearing Steelers jerseys as their uniforms (none of them were wearing Penguins jerseys though). We bought me two pairs of shoes (very cheap - and Pittsburgh has no sales tax on clothing) and two extra suitcases to store all of the crap we bought at the Penguins store. There was also a nice cafe in the middle of the store and I filled up on soda spiders. We just had a great day out.

At the end of the trip Belinda and I both agreed that Pittsburgh was one of the nicest cities we'd visited on the trip. The people were great, food was nice and (though it's probably got a lot to do with the snow) the place just looked beautiful. Whenever I list the honeymoon destinations (New York, Niagara Falls, Washington, Pittsburgh) I get a "Why Pittsburgh?". Originally the answer would just be "hawkey" - but now I could honestly say it was a great place to visit. We didn't even end up seeing much more of Pittsburgh than downtown - but it was great fun. I'm looking forward to returning (and Bell is too - which is wonderful)!

Anyway - the most important part of day 11 was the chance to watch the Penguins play at home. About a half-hour before the game's start time we walked around the corner to Mellon Arena. The atmosphere was incredible, and every second person had a Pens jersey on (with about a quarter of those having Crosby's number 87). Afterwards Bell and I both agreed that the Pittsburgh game was so much more of a show, and much more enjoyable (even though it was great in New York). Cheerleaders, free T-Shirts and a mini radio controlled blimp were some of the things that anyone could enjoy - not just fans of hockey.

Matchup
Not as fancy as the Madison Square Garden display (a few extra dead pixels) but it was a great sight!

Banners
How cool are these! And note the Pen's credit card in the background

Me
A few warmups going on behind me

Cheerleaders
The Penguin's cheerleaders shooting t-shirts from a slingshot. Iceburgh was also firing t-shits from a bazooka contraption

Blimp
The Verizon blimp was dropping some kind of vouchars. One dropped right in front of me - but kids snatched it up before I got a chance (and then ran back to their seats on the other side of the stand - bastards!)

Zamboni
"My dad drives the zamboni"

Scoreboard
Go you big skating penguin!

Anyway - another dot-point summary of the game:

  • I saw a few people wearing Steelers jerseys to the game - poor form!
  • I was happy to see Fleury starting in net again, and he played a great game again.
  • The Penguins were robbed early, and I was pissed off. Marcus Nilson's shot hit the crossbar and lay on the goal line - but didn't cross it. Many players on the ice could clearly see that the puck didn't go in - and quickly protested. The referee called the goal and they didn't even go to the video referees for clarrification. 1-0 Calgary.
  • Pittsburgh then tied it up with a spectacular backhander goal by Sidney Crosby. I was extremely happy that I got to witness Crosby scoring - and it was a plus that Mario Lemieux had the second assist on the goal.
  • Langkow scored two early third period goals to put Calgary ahead 3-1 both from great assists from Huselius.
  • Midway through the 3rd I saw Ryan VandenBussche's first NHL goal to bring it up to 3-2.
  • We pulled the goalie towards the end of the game to attempt to score a tying goal - but alas, it was not to be. Made the first non-goal so much more difficult to stomache!


Faceoff
Opening faceoff - people were still only just getting to their seats. What a waste!

Iceburgh
Iceburgh stood up right in front of us. I didn't have the heart to yell "down in front" to him! (so I just pushed him)

More Iceburgh
I'm not 100% - but I think Iceburgh is trying to score here

Again, watching a Penguins game was awesome - it was just a bitch that we lost. Once we left Mellon Arena, we saw that it had been snowing all through the game, and the ground was just covered! Most of the Pens fans were huddled together, head down, running towards their cars. Bell and I were running around playing in the snow, it was quite fun. We even made snow angels!


This is the 12th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 02/07/2006 16:45:00

I woke up on day 10 with a real excited feeling - as this was the day we were finally going to Pittsburgh. We woke up early and left straight away to La Guardia Airport. The flight from New York to Pittsburgh was quite enjoyable, it only took an hour and a half and it was much less packed than the Red Eye we took earlier.

The first thing I did after touching down in Pittsburgh was purchase a Post-Gazette newspaper from the airport. At first it was great to actually buy the paper I had been reading online for many years - but then I realised it was a bit of a waste as I only read three articles from the sports section.

We took a Shuttle bus downtown, and checked into our hotel. Most hotels have a mint on your pillow to welcome you - the one we stayed at handed out cookies (which was muchly appreciated). Anyway, after dropping off our bags and scoping out the hotel room (much nicer compared to the one we just left) we set off to pick up the hockey tickets.

Our Room
I really liked the Pittsburgh room - no neo-romantic Ostro-Goths here

Once we left the hotel and started looking for the building to pick up our tickets we saw that Mellon Arena was literally across the road from us. Being this close to The Igloo was another dream come true, and the hockey flags around the place just topped it off.

Mellon Arena
Mellon Arena - Terror goes into over-time

Crosby Sign
One of the flags around the 'Burgh

The place we picked our hockey tickets up was pretty cool in itself - as it was Mario Lemieux's actual office. The decorations around the room were very nice too - especially the next-game countdown.

Jerseys
A little display outside the ticket office

Countdown
Time until the next Pen's home game. I would be lying if I didn't think of ripping it off the wall and running!

Mario Returns
I'm sure this paper sold a few copies

Hall of Fame
Fleury's distinctive pads can be seen in the foreground

After picking up the tickets we went straight to the Arena to see if the memorabilia store was open, fortunately (unfortunately for my wallet) it was. I had another "WOW! This is awesome" moments when we stepped inside - looking at a sea of Black and Gold. All the Penguins stuff was cool and we bought lots of it!

Jersey Front
The first thing I bought - a Crosby Pens home jersey

Jersey Back
Wearing this in Melbourne - I'm sure some people are wondering when Bing played Ice Hockey

Grey Top

Black Top
A couple of sweet hoodies, for the casual man about the town

Jacket Front

Jacket Back
Don't get me wrong - I'm not the kind of guy that normally wears leather jackets. But this jacket is just awesome - and will be treasured for years

Pens Shelf
The only things I got from the Pens store here is the shot glass and cool tiny replica of a goalies mask. The plastic cup was filled with sprite at one of the Pens games

Pens Bin
My final purchase seen in action - next to my computer desk


This is the 11th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Friday, June 23, 2006

A weekend at home - hooray!

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 23/06/2006 21:56:00

It's been exactly a month since my last post - and I've been busy as shit since then. I broke two personal records this last month - my first 70+ hour week (74) and being at work each of the last 20 days. Sure, it's not really that many hours when you consider other occupations in IT (such as video game development) - but it certainly wore me out. I've also had around 15 migraines in the last month (two in the last four days) which isn't fun - especially when I'm also taking three tablets a day which are supposed to stop said migraines from occuring (all they seem to be doing is making me very tired).

But the project I've been working on went through it's final build today - and will be migrated to production on Monday afternoon - so I see it more as an unexpected weekend at home.

If you've got nothing to do this weekend - perhaps you have time to gaze in wonder at this cool optical illusion I stumbled across recently.

1. Stare at the picture below for about 30 seconds, keeping your focus on the small cross in the middle of the picture.

2. Keep staring at the cross while placing your mouse over the picture. The picture will change. After a few seconds - look around at the rest of the picture (i.e. don't keep staring at the cross).



By the way - this won't work if you have javascript disabled in your browser.

When you mouse over the image - the wierd coloured one is replaced by a grayscale image. Because you were just staring at the negative image - the grayscale one should have appeared coloured. If it didn't look very good - you can try the original.

The original site also has a short tutorial on how to make these. Unfortunately I don't have Photoshop (only Paint.NET) - so I don't think mine turned out very good.

Pretty cool trick though.



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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mad Skills

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 23/05/2006 23:42:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 04/03/2008 23:30:06


I don't have any "mad skillz", though I wish I did. I used to play basketball as a youngster - and could barely contribute to the D grade team I was in. I tried my hands (and feet) to cricket and football as well - and equally sucked (I think I only played one game of football before "retiring").

Early in high school I gave aggressive inline skating a shot (inspired by the X Games). I enjoyed skating a lot, but after learning to jump small stairs and grind easy rails I peaked and kind of gave up on it. I didn't break any bones while skating - so I guess I came out even.

The only other field that I've shown some level of achievement is ice / inline hockey. I dominate in C grade - then only contribute in B grade. It may be because I have less time to practice / work out lately - or just that my level of skill is somewhere between C and B grades.

Other than that, I've had to rely on my dashing good looks, charming wit and blatant use of sarcasm to get ahead in this world

These people, however, have skills (found on YouTube):

Urban Ninja


I am a huge fan of Ninjas - top stuff

Robot Dance


Crazy, silly, fresh. Probably a bit of a nerd - but great to watch

Vasek 00 (Footbag)


While it appears that this guy knows what he's doing - I didn't see a single Doda or Dizzy Dean!

College Mario Brother


The whole of 1-1 from Mario Brothers - performed by college kids

Evolution of Dance


Keep with this one - it started meaning more to me from the 3 minute mark.

Christmas Lights Gone Wild


Amazing Christmas lights display

Canon on Guitar


Pretty incredible!

Yoyo man!


He needs gloves - pussy!

While I'm sure the following video does involve some form of skill - I am in no way jealous!

Korean Madness





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Monday, May 15, 2006

Merry (belated) Fishmas

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 15/05/2006 23:10:00

I was cleaning out my camera phone (which I don't use very often at all) - and I found a few old photos.

Firstly, a bit of history. Apparently an Australian thing - my mother's been making Chocolate Ripple Cake for as long as I can remember. Very simple to do, you basically stick many chocolate biscuits together with a lot of cream, to form a long white cake (or "log"). A simple white log can get boring eventually, so my dear mum would make different letters / shapes out of the cake - to my varied amusement! For instance, she would bend the log into a giant "G" for my brother's birthday - and a huge "21" when it was his (or someone else's) 21st.

This practice must have struck a cord with me - because I remembered it all when Bell's mum asked me to help her with this year's Christmas deserts. I decided to make a tree:

Pre-Decorate

Bell then suggested we decorate it - which turned out the be quite easy as her mum had every colour of sprinkles imaginable to man. Here's the final piece:

Cake Tree

It's a pity I don't like eating Chocolate Ripple Log - as I doubt I'll get much of a chance to expand on my desert creativity!



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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 14/05/2006 12:59:00

Upon waking up on Day 9 we discovered that our New York hotel room was still shithouse - and the early morning (noisy) construction work didn't help. When we originally went to Statue of Liberty on day 3 we decided it was too busy - and I'm glad we did. We ended up encountering very few lines - and it was a much nicer day weather wise this time around.

We shared the ferry over with around 100 school kids (the coolest excusion I can remember was Parliament House - wow!), and I tried my first authentic American pretzel. I really didn't like it - but I don't know if that had something to do with the fact that I bought it from a canteen on a ferry.

I was bitterly disappointed to discover that the tour wouldn't involve going inside "Liberty Enlightening the World" - but I had already assumed that it would be the case. The museum in the pedestal turned out to be really enjoyable - but if they ever open up the inside of the statue, I'll be back there in a minute.

The Torch
The original torch. "Hey lady - you got a light?"

The Face
A full-scale replica of the face - I'm sure I'm not the only one that found this a little freaky (and sexually appealing)

The Foot
For some reason this picture reminds me of Sarah Ferguson. "... noone's watching"

A Model
The photo didn't come out too good - but this was a nice cross section of the statue

The Inside
There was windows on the roof at the top of the pedestal - so we could see the staircase we weren't allowed to climb

Upskirting
Been a while since washing day me thinks

Icon
I was amazed that I was so close to an icon that I had seen all my life

After getting back into the city - we bummed around for a bit. While shopping at Virgin we noted that Paris Hilton was doing a book signing. I'm not 100% - but I'm pretty sure she did a similar thing at Eastland a few months ago.

I also marked off another "must eat in America" item when I found some Philly Cheese Steak (in pie form - thankfully it was delicious). Onion, green peppers, steak, cheese - lovely! I might have to look for recipes! Then, after a brief nap at our hotel, we walked down to The Garden.

Go Pens
Finally - an NHL game!

I was so pumped to be going to a hockey game I didn't mind that most of the good vibes around The Garden was directed towards the Rangers. I wore my Penguins away jersey and I bought one of the Rangers' third jerseys (I love the logo design) for Bell to wear - which just happened to be what the Rags were wearing that night. I figured that at least Bell wouldn't be beaten to death my the mad New York fans. We got there very early, but I didn't want to miss a minute of the game (or warmups etc), so I stared at an empty rink for a fair while.

Nice Angle
Our viewing angle - not too bad, but I had hoped we might be a little closer

Then, without much fanfare, the two teams took to the ice for warm ups. My mouth was gaped open for around five minutes while I watched players that I've idolised skate around the rink. The start of warmup probably got more of a reaction from me than the start of the game, as it's was the first time I'd seen NHLers take to the rink.

Yellow Blockers
Warmups - Fleury's yellow blockers make him easy to find

Warmups
Warmups - Caron was backing up - and you can see Crosby skating in (on the right)

More Warmups
Warmups - Bell like this bit, when they were all taking many shots from in close, it did look kinda funny

I'm sure the full description of the game would be boring for most - so I'll go bullet points:

  • New York got out to an early lead - scoring while Dick Tarnstrom was serving a double minor for High Sticking. The first ever NHL goal that I witnessed was by Maxim Kondratiev - I hope he's proud!
  • Early in the second period Fleury made an incredible save, and I could sense that the Penguins took a bit of jump from this. Shortly after, Ryan Whitney scored his first NHL for the Penguins - tying the game at 1. It was good to be able to see the way a play develops, something I wouldn't have picked up on TV.
  • New York scored later in the 2nd period, to stay in front for the rest of the game.
  • Fleury was incredible to watch - some of his saves were awesome!
  • Unfortunately both Crosby and Lemieux were pretty much non-factors in this game. Crosby was shaking off a foot injury from a few games ago.


Faceoff
Just before the puck was dropped

He Scores
Whitney's first NHL goal

After watching my first complete game - I would estimate that the NHL is about 1000% better in person than on television. Even if I wasn't a hockey fan, I'm sure I would have enjoy watching an NHL game in person. Bell really enjoyed it too, and got into the game a little more than I did (I was grumpy because we were losing).


This is the 10th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 06/05/2006 01:44:00

Probably the least interesting day of our honeymoon - I'd probably skip this entry if I were you

Well, after being served breakfast by an authentic Canadian (the curtains matched the drapes) we decided on a less adventurous breakfast for day 2 in Canada. The Starbucks in the hotel lobby provided us all of the Chocolate-Chip Cookies and Almond Biscotti we required for a balanced breakfast.

We were actually getting much better at packing our bags by this point - so we were waiting for our New York train for a fair while. While we were waiting, we saw the first few flakes of snow that we had ever seen. Sure - it was no blizzard - but it was exciting to us.

Snow
A licky boom boom down

More Snow
More of the white stuff - the most we had seen at this point of the trip

The train ride back to New York was much more boring this time - but did offer a brief distraction. I had mentioned that the trip up to Canada involved a scary "border check". Turns out the Canadians are a lot more relaxed when it comes to these things. Our American border-check assistant was a little more thorough with questions such as "Which bags are yours?", "Why do you need so much luggage?", "Why are you going to the U.S.?". Much more nerve-racking than the simple "fill in this form" from the way up. He seemed to calm down when I said we were on our honeymoon - and had picked up many souvenirs. The chick that was sitting opposite us was not so lucky. She was asleep when border-check begun - so her answers weren't as confident at the beginning of the conversation. It went something like this:

Quote:

Scary Border-Check Guy: Are you a Canadian resident?

Sleepy Canadian Girl: Yes.

SBCG: How long are you going to be in the U.S.?

SCG: 4 days.

SBCG: Can I see your passport again?

[passport is um'd and ah'd about for a while]

SBCG: Why are you traveling to the U.S.?

SCG: I have a funeral to attend.

SBCG: Who's funeral?

SCG: My grandfather's.

SBCG: What was the cause of death?

SCG: [pause followed by mumbled answer]

(I was trying not to make it obvious I was listening)

SBCG: We're going to need to interview you in the back carriage.

Please come with us.



After what seemed like about a half-hour of interrogation our Canadian friend resumed her seat. She seemed a little shaken up (definitely more awake). I, once again, said a silent thank you that our "interrogation" was tame, and didn't involve in-depth questions of my specific plans for our honeymoon (I got enough of those questions from Bell's father).

Anyway - we finally made it back to New York, and checked into the worst hotel of the trip. More expensive than our initial New York hotel, The Gershwin was an absolute dive. I didn't have a tape measure handy, but I think our whole hotel room could have fit in our bed from the Sheraton room. The big selling point was how much "art" was on display at the hotel - as well as the interesting guests (their website boasts "We attract opposites. We welcome all kinds of human flora and fauna. Snappy dressers tingle our g-spot, but we open doors to shabby neo-romantic Ostro-Goths as well."). I would have traded both of them in for a room that we didn't have trouble fitting our bags in.

The crappy room at The Gershwin did piss us off a bit, but thankfully we were only there for two days - and we didn't spend much of that time in our room. I guess we'll never be a pair of neo-romantic Ostro-Goths

New Toys
As there are only two photos for this day - I thought I'd post a pic of some of the toys that were bought earlier in the trip


This is the 9th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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