Wednesday, December 21, 2011


This is a public announcement.

I will include this toon at the top of any post that might lead to incontinence. 

Good Lads and Ladies, please... chill out! 

There is nothing to be afraid.

I know the latest news has been confusing and rumours spread fast, out of control.

But I assure you everything is and will be OK.

There is no reason for mass evacuation (or the other type of evacuation, nobody wants a shitty situation) and the police is having a hard time trying to control the chaos.

Riots in London when the blog post was published

Please, do not compare with September 11; do not call homeland and security, eventually the crisis will be over! (Now my blog is probably being tracked by 6 agents just because I said that).

So I am going to say it again without prelude (in case you freaked out before getting to the end of the previous post)


I was rambling about why people decides to shut it down because one of my mates (frank) decided to close his and made me reflexive, pondering about the reasons and motives. 

I know my posts aren’t short and most of the time confuse people with bladder control problems... but read to the end before cursing my mom.

Yes, my head is twisted and I need a translator for human.
But I meant good

By the way, to the anonymous (who sent me an email this morning signing as Anonymous but his email address has his last and first name... yeah, clever!) my mom said 'Thanks!', and she is fine. You probably won’t understand the sarcasm, but it doesn’t matter... you probably won’t read this either and jumped of the balcony screaming ‘this is the end of the world!!!!!!!!!

I repeat, 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In the next few words (or paragraphs) I will try to explain in my point of view why some blogs die and why you should not be upset about it. I understand the feeling and that is why I am writing down some of my digested thoughts.

Ever since I started reading blogs (mostly from people whom I have not met until later) I wondered what kind of motives they would have to write it down and then publish it?

Why these people share their thoughts in such a personal way in an open media such as the Internet?

That is the question.
Image taken from

When I started Uni (at the end of the 90s) I was the kind of guy who was totally comfortable being anonymous; my facebook was closed to everyone except those very few close friends (although facebook as much much later) as well as my IM or any other type of contact. In other words, I was the most asocial person you could probably meet. But that never stopped me of being curious, frequently checking the Internet for interesting and appealing stuff with my rampant 128kbps modem (translation for the new generation that was the fastest broadband you could get at that moment, at least in Venezuela).

One of the first blog I started reading frequently (by adding it to my bookmarks) was in 2003 and those posts were written from Florida, by a photographer on his mid fifties who decided it was about time to retire and take lovely pictures of kids buying ice cream, eating lollies or running around in playgrounds, which at the time was a big deal with lots of paedophiles on the loose and people complaining about strangers taking pictures on public places. I guess he was trying to protest or argue with control freaks, more than fighting with angry and concern parents... 

He used to post every Friday or Saturday about his life and how society had changed on the last 30 years in Florida, but after a while the blog posts stopped; very few people were following him (or understood the concept of virtually follow someone) and 16 months later, his blog was shut down by his son with a final and explanatory paragraph indicating a fatal blow to his father’s heart; it was just out of the blue. Not long after, the blog was deleted from wordpress and with it, the incredible tales of his author. The content of the blog and the blog itself died with his author.
Image taken from

At that time I was reading more and more blogs, each of them with different topics; from silly poetry to music, videogames and software development.

There was one in particular I remember the most; it was themed on cakes and desserts, called Caroline’s Cakes blog... but in reality the blog talked about anything but cakes and it was a way to vent different situations in her life (business decisions, life, friends, etc), and the reason of why I remember this blog in particular was because I always felt ashamed of reading it in public with its bright pink and yellow pastel colours and corky midi music in the background, which by the way made its way to the internal speakers of the computer, at loud in the laboratory; it happened once and I said it was one of those frigging pop-ups and I was trying to kill it... yet no one believed me.
But somehow I felt connected to her; connected as if I was her close friend like if I knew her, her thoughts, her way of writing and her silly jokes.

That is one of the many reasons why I felt offended when she decided it was about time to move onto different things, closing down her site and erasing her blog without warning, excuse or the expected ‘that is all folks’ sort of thing; she just closed her blog. To me it was a ‘facebook un-friend’ sort of deal, where someone just decides to take you out of their lives. But who the bloody hell was I? She knew nothing about me! Not even a single peep; never left her a comment or let her know I was reading her gobbledygook. There was no reason for me to be upset, and yet I felt she killed it.

Why would she dare to share feelings and mood to total strangers? 
How did she realise that is better to keep her life to herself after almost two years of constant bickering
When did that happen? 
And why did she remain silent when she had followers and cyber friends?

There was a missing piece in my puzzle, why would someone take the effort of opening their world, putting it into words and writing it down then close that chapter in their life and pretend it never happened?

Radicalised on not spending more time reading someone else useless mumbling I decided to stick to just tech blogs. It was the safest approach as very few IT people, writing down code and ‘best practices’ decides to shutdown their blog to do more entertaining things. 
Let’s face it, we communicate better with a keyword than with our mouth.

But my radical solution started to fall apart as I took the decision of leave Venezuela behind to move somewhere else, making our mind to choose our destination and familiarise with the culture of our soon-to-be home; reason enough to invoke the-daemons-who-find-it-all and browsed for hours any related story about Australia, filling up my head with more stuff than I could possibly remember, keeping me busy and distracted from many problems and situations of Venezuela.

It was amazing how much people have had shared when it comes to migrating to Australia. Is at that moment when you realise it does not matter the differences of culture as long as you find something in common to start a conversation, which later on leads you to friendship.
Sadly enough, very few of all those blogs were active; in fact, half the blogs were already dead! And the cause of death seemed to be Australia (arriving to it or settling in it), causing the flow on entries to dwindle for several months until total stop or the expected ‘we are going to close/end/finish blogging, it was a lovely experience but... [insert-excuse-here]’ blog post.

Could not understand why it happens. I could not possibly understand it because I was not living in Australia and the blog was an escape pod from the atrocious reality of Venezuela.

But you know, eventually I got my visa, moved here and started my life all over again and after a year of adaptation I begun to understand the motives behind the desertion of those moving to Australia.
It was like meeting with an old acquaintance whom you have not seen for a very long time: Greetings, profuse conversation about family, parents, exes (strangely enough someone will ask you about that someone who everyone knows but him/her should not be named), business or bad decisions in life and that is. End of the conversation, both parties look awkwardly to the sides and cheers goodbye.

You just ran out of conversation topics.

Of course, you could mention any funny anecdote of sometime ago but you don’t want to delay the inevitable... So you stay quiet, tapping your glass to make the other one a bit more uncomfortable to then say ‘hey, there is Mary! Has been so long since we talked! Let me check her out!’ Ending the conversation without the nasty and impolite ‘I think we don’t have anything else to talk about... off you go!

Yes, we know... Mary was part of the plan all along. She was your escape pod from that dangerous situation of uncomfortable silence. You told her to stay there and call you out or wave hello in case you started looking to your right and left. Or even better, you just had enough beer and have to go to the loo.

Finally I was getting it, why blogs were dying! I was not because the authors decided to regain privacy of their lives... It was because they got to the point where they would have to share the private details of their mind and lives, the little details they were hiding all the time and all of the sudden, without any new source of events will be forced to share their precious intimate moments!

So the best tactic to apply is run for Mary or escape to the loo, killing the already dying blog.

To those who gets angry at the authors (like I did) whom leave their blogs in a painful state of abandonment, this post is for you. Learn to forgive and move on.

To those who decided to abandon their blogs. Respect your readers and send them one final post. Dolphins would say ‘so long and thanks for all the fish’ although the mundane crowd won’t understand it. Eventually it will be appreciated.

As you might notice by now... my blog is not dying given the amount of gibberish I just wrote.

If makes sense, good onya!
If it doesn't, eventually you will get there.

Until the next time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

As some of you might know by now, I have decided to switch to a different ISP motivated to find better speeds, awesome browsing experience and compelling customer experience...

Cultural parenthesis on

Do you know what ISP is? I am going to stop here to explain what ISP stands for (just to be on the same context).
ISP stands for Internet Service Provider... Or at least that is the definition I am going to be using on this post; actually is going to be the only definition I am going to be using on this blog as I could check with urban dictionary... 
Some other usages of the abbreviation are ‘international shit provider’, ‘inscribed signed photographer’ or ‘I suck penises’ as I could find on urban dictionary.

Cultural parenthesis off;

But before getting into deeper waters, why did I want to switch to a different company?

My initial contract (the very first service I acquire in Australia, after my mobile of course) was my Internet service; a must-have-service to track and hunt down the desired and needed job to bring food to my table, and I set it up with Optus.

Why Optus?

When you arrive to the country there aren't any references on quality of services, how they treat their customer or how great their networks are... In fact, you got to be glad to get some response from some of these companies because they will ask for those marvellous 100 points to open up a contract.

Now, 100 points are kind of easy to get: You need a credit or debit card (it will be 96 points out of 100... demonstrate you can pay).

See? he showed those 100 points and got his contract in no time.

Identity document showing your pretty face and names (if you have an Aussie driver’s license you are done... but remember you gotta pay... In my case was my passport... so another point to the bag).

At least one bill with your current address. Electricity and gas could be among your first set of bills, was not my case; I was more interested on getting Internet than electricity. Now I wonder from where would I get power for the modem? 

Finally but not least, your lease agreement; they need to know you are connecting services to a valid address where you have access to. Obviously!

I know... I know... 100 points does not explain why Optus, but I have to build up the expectation, isn’t? Plus, it is related.

Initially I was going to sign contract with iinet; someone told me about their great service and excellent rates, but after a call in which they asked me if I had an active phone line to do the installation and enough money to pay for installation, activation, connection, fornication, insemination and gestation of whatever they wanted to charge me for I decided to look a different horizon. I must be honest here, I was trying to get any service for very few money, and the fact they were asking for a$350 dollars just on equipment was a big deal in my budgeted and super planned future.

Someone else recommended TPG as ‘They are cheap but not great’. What I heard was ‘they are cheap and awesome-because-they-will-fit-on-your-tight-budget-and-they-are-utterly-awesome!’ so decided to give them a call.

The initial conversation was a bit confusing, partially my fault because I did not say ‘I would like to set up an account with youbut said insteadI don’t have Internet and I would like to...’ to which the representative asked me if I had username... username of what???

Took me 12 minutes to fall into the realisation, the guy thought I had connectivity problems instead of trying to set up a new account. This was the very first lesson when dealing with sales representatives: ‘be direct and concise’; had to hang up and call again because the guy stood blocked when I told him I did not have an account with TPG.

Now... I want to explain why it took me 12 minutes... I am not an indigenous bloke extracted from the middle of the tropical rain forest with no social skills... I think... The representative did not ask if I had an existing contract (to which the answer would have been 'no'), did not ask me about any pre-existing connection in my unit and finally (an probably more important) the building manager told me 'some services will be pre-connected for you and all you need to do is to call and set up your name to start the proper billing'... I thought the Internet was one of those services.

Second attempt was better in comparison, this time I got to the right representative to which the guy asked me if I had land line (home phone) for my naked broadband. I don’t know many things about networks but to me ‘naked broadband’ meant I don’t needed a land line to get Internet connectivity, so as you might guessed by now, the conversation went very wrong as the guy kept saying I needed a phone line to hook up the modem to it and I kept refusing opening any contract to get a phone I was not going to use at all.

No caption needed

After a third call and my negative to open a Telstra contract for whatever months, I decided to talk to someone else.

Later on that day, walking on the mall I was engaged by one of the Optus sales person, inquiring about my inexistent connection, imaginary broadband speed and low desire of opening a contract with Telstra (as it was shown to me to be the very devil in Australia). The guy asked me if I had the papers with me, which I did, and pulled the contract; checking with me with possible installation dates. I was marvelled, it was so easy that I was almost in love. The guy told me I need a phone line, but they were going to provide it for me and there were no huge costs upfront, everything was going to be paid with the monthly fees and I had not to worry, just enjoy the ride.

Needless to say I signed up a contract for 24 months without reading in details the contract; just skimmed the doc trying to find the words ‘your soul is ours’, ‘you are automatically an organ donor and we are going to get it out soon enough’ or ‘Buglabu’ (you will probably won’t understand this last one... is an internal joke and I won’t write it down here... just you know is pretty bad... very very bad). Everything was set with Optus, in 7 working days I was going to have Internet connection at home, and in reality it took just 6 days to finally have everything connected and fully functional. It was a 20 GB data transfer with unlimited calls within Australia (that I used to the maximum until I start working, later on the phone was as decorative as a picture frame), it was good but you got to be careful not to exceed the data allowance; otherwise I was going to be paying 2 extra dollars per MB in exceed... Now that I think about it, the contract did specified the buglabu section!

But... If everything was pink love story... what happened? Why did you decide to move away from Optus?

They sell you the kind of relationship exhibited on the graphic below.

Without reading too much, flying elephants?
Hot air balloons?
Racing flags and rockets?
Holy sheets, is so pretty and unreal!
Totally rock!

As any relationship, you got through different stages: 

The everything-is-perfect stage: there are no flaws, you like and love absolutely everything from it. They could be getting you impaled but you love it.

The is-all-good stage: you are digging the service or the relationship; is not entirely perfect but there are a couple of things that would be great if improved.

The meh stage: you don't really care as long as it works. This stage is also known as 'the cheap-prostitute-from-the-bar-after-you-came-back-from-three-years-of-solitude stage'

The there-is-something-better stage: unsatisfied complaints and poor performance has dug a hole in your mojo; you could choose to complain with what you got or start moving to a different provider.

The I-am-sick-of-this-friggin-shit stage: you know it is hell. If you open up your mouth to express yourself is going to be shut quickly by two tons of manure freshly produced. Most users never get to this stage because it requires constant abuse and very poor ethics from your provider.

With Optus I moved to the second stage within two months with very few details every now and then but inconsistent Internet speed, staying on stage two for almost 14 months. I was pretty happy with them (even though the $99 plan really costs $102 because they will charge you printing your bills or administrative fees – that is 3 extra dollars a month). Needless to say, I became a compulsive reviewer of my Internet consumption, knowing what to download and when to download it just to be within the plan avoiding costly mistakes.

One day close to the year and half of signing contract with them, a mate tells me he is on the same plan with Optus (freshly captured by their offer) to which I noticed we have the exact same plan with a tiny difference, his broadband had bigger cap than mine expanded to a 120 GB broadband allowance.
I thought to myself that I would be great if I could get that ‘upgrade’ in my plan, eliminating my concerns of exceeding my data quota.

Calling Optus was very challenging... they changed their data centre to a voice recognition system in which you had to say the motives of your call to later on be redirected to a proper representative. My faith with the company was going downhill but my determination of getting a more appealing deal was stronger than their complex and confusing system... It took me at least 6 minutes to talk to a real human (with strong Indian accent) but I was finally exposing my interest of upgrading my plan, charge-free on exchange of renewing the plan for another 24 months.

I must confess... to the guy, my proposal must had been confusing and difficult to understand, he asked me several times if I was going to cancel my current plan to move to another company or if I wanted to pay more money to be upgraded on the data allowance. The conversation continued for another 25 minutes to end in my realisation of not a chance in my wildest dreams. Apparently Optus needed to cancel my current plan to open up a new one, but since my plan was still 6 month to be over I had to put on the table money for early termination fees plus the money I was supposed to pay Optus for the next 6 months... that was a grand total of 700 dollars to be upgraded to a plan with them... Seriously... What the funk?

And I finally understood the presence of the elephant...
But wait... is a flying elephant!
So the shit comes with lots of momentum and speed (accelerating constantly thanks to gravity)
and you will never see it coming.

That day I thought I did not want to spend any more time and money with Optus... If they were willing to treat me as rubbish, I was going to move my money to a different company.

Checking again on the Internet, noticed TPG and iinet had pretty good plans. Decided to call TPG first (given some refreshed recommendations at the time) to check rates and plans, but after 5 minutes I was complete convinced with their service (the representative even explained to me what to say to Optus to cancel my current contract waving any residual fee).

So... new love story begins?
Erm... no. The conversation with the first representative was awesome, their guy explained to me they were a bit collapsed with the demand, but he was going to book a day to my convenience to perform the installation of the new service and enjoy wonderland. But the technician never called or arrived to my place on that day. Calling tech support I received the news their guy called me to the wrong number and because of that they were going to charge me more for whatever reason... the conversation went for another 20 minutes, with me raging full of anger super volcano style and ask them what’s missing in my connection, when was I going to be connected again to the cyber world?
I had to call private technicians and understand technical issues related to the line and details that I really don’t want to get into my head!

Hulk does not like private technicians
Hulk Smash!
Hulk does not pay!

Story short, it took 3 weeks after the period they claimed everything is going to be operational and some serious blows to my wallet to get my Internet connection working... at last!
At least I got some money refunded after complaining a lot.

What do I think about TPG?
Some of their technical support is good and some others are a total mess.

It was hell to get everything working and I recognise is partially because of their lack of commitment or extreme bureaucracy between contractors, providers and Telstra; I was requested multiple times to contact different specialist with zero or close to zero promise of any resolution for my problems. Guys... come on... I am paying to get the service working, I don't want to know what a MDF is or who's part of the cable isn't working, just get it working!

After everything was connected there have been no flaws or downsides. I am still waiting for the first issue to pop but only time will tell. Until then I will keep posting my funny incidents and stuff worth sharing.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It is known by a fact Australia is a freaking expensive place to live in; it does not matter how you search online or who you consult with, almost any Aussie city will be in that list. Even worst, almost all the time Sydney and Melbourne will be in the top ten.

And why do I think Australia is so freaking expensive?

Because I suffer it on my bone and flesh every single day, every single time I am paying rent and every single time I go to the mall to acquire any good I notice the huge price difference in comparison to the same products in the US or Asia.

Being honest, I don’t have a clue of why Australia is so overpriced; maybe lots of taxes, import duties and what else only god knows but you could find lots of goods with huge overprice margins regardless to the country of origin of the product.

To those who does not know what a PS3 Controller is...

For instance (and I don’t have intentions to sound trivial with the item I am going to post in here) you could buy a PlayStation 3 Controller Dual Shock 3 SIXAXIS on any retail store for A$90... If you find a very cheap place where to buy it from.

OR you could go online to ebay if you want and buy it for A$30 plus postage, or you could even go to Amazon and buy it online with a bundle (most of the time bundles are not available in Australia) and get it for A$40 including postage with a brand new game (depends on offer and season).

Maybe the PS3 controller is a bad example because you could argue there are websites selling those controllers directly from China with a retail price of $30 flat; and there is the light possibility of someone telling to compare a wide range of items, because one item is surely not enough… 

Let’s take a shiny new 3D LED TV (I am going top of the line here just to show the difference in prices).
The Sony Bravia 60” Full HD 3D LED LCD Smart TV (I don’t like Sony as my display, but I went to the JB HIFI website looking for any brand).
See the tackle coming at you... you will definitely will feel it with the price!

On JB HIFI it cost A$3496 (you could ask for a deal, actually I went there and asked for one and they gave me the ubber awesome discount of A$500)

On Amazon (US)*(1) it will cost US$1258 (at the time I am writing this post), including shipping, exchange rates and taxes it will be A$1800.
*(1) Could not find it on for the comparison… But it will probably be cheaper as well.

Difference in prices: A$1.200!

If there are differences on these prices, go to JB HIFI and Amazon websites, note down the prices and compare.

Now I could argue this price stuff and blame entirely on extreme taxes (yes, bonji jumping extreme) or very bad policies applied to certain products.

Let’s study then a scenario that to me is totally absurd; I present thee Holden Cruze (I was about to select the Commodore... more about that later).

Holden/Chevrolet Cruze

Why the Holden Cruze?
Holden brand is Chevrolet on the states (and several other countries as well) and the Cruze has the exact same name everywhere, so I thought it could be easy to related between different models. And there is another reason to select the Cruze; turns out is a fine Australian made car (at least those sold in the US are)... So, if the theory is right, the Cruze should be cheaper down under than anywhere else, right? 


The Holden Cruze CD (the cheapest you could get) costs in Australia A$21.990 (without changing anything to it); that is US$21.700 with the current exchange rate of US$0.98 per each A$ (if I had posted this before the US price goes up for few hundred).

Its description is:

  • Model: Series 2 Cruze CD
  • Engine: 1.8 Petrol (gasoline) engine with manual transmission, 6 (gears/speeds).
  • Colour: Heron White (not that makes a difference, double checked).
  • Trim (Seats and Interior): Jet black cloth.

The Chevrolet Cruze LS (again cheapest that matches previous description) costs in the US$17.275.
Aussie price for the Aussie built car is 126% the US price.

That is ‘BUGGER!’ in Aussie slang or ‘what the funk?!’ in American.

So... how come Aussie will pay more for the same car? Is it that shipping stuff to the US is so cheaper than shipping within the same territory?

I can't understand it at all...

What could I find while doing my research?

Australia will get higher prices on 80% of the items; you name it! If you are whiling to spend some of your time searching online, try to establish similar products from different places and you will notice the great difference between prices.

Whose fault is it?

There are three different groups to blame on any society (Australian or not).

  • The Merchants, manufacturers and retailers; huge companies will always try to get more profit without taking into consideration markets or societies. I call this group ‘the bitches’ or industry prostitutes because they will charge you as hard as you want their services.
  • The Government or the market regulator; this group are the pimps, they use their prostitutes to get money out of the public on many different levels.
    For instance, you pay levies or taxes on those goods you are trying to purchase (just like the prostitutes charge you for their protection paying it to their pimp) and on top of that you also have to pay taxes deductible from your income.
  • The customer or client; this is the worst of all (to my point of view) because it won’t matter how much people would like to sell themselves for money or how hard the pimp will hit others to get his money, the customer is the one supporting the entire system. Without someone looking to get an easy ‘date’ there are no prostitutes, without prostitutes there will be no pimps.

What do I want to say with this?

Well my dear Aussies, you need to hunt a good bargain and to know when to say no to a huge overprice, no matter how madly/desperately you want it just say no and keep looking for a better bargain.

Think ahead, plan your investment. That means, if you buy something regardless its cost try to get the best value out of it.

What do you think? Am I wrong with my perception?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yup, Kathy and I have officially turned two years down under and what’s the best way to remember those two years than checking the balance.

Sadly, this post is being written as the migraine strikes back, so please forgive me if is total nonsense.

This story has two sides, one happy and one sad. Let’s start with the sad one (that why you won’t end depressed at the end of the post... maybe a little in the middle).

Three days ago (on September 7th) I was having a lovely moment with my missus, watching a movie when I received a call.

This was the movie we were watching on that day...
Confessions of a shopaholic – if you are a guy and your girl brings this movie to your place... RunRun away from her, leave her behind and never look backJust RUN!
Save yourself while you can, it was too late for me!

I think my testicles shrank twice while watching it

At first it was confusing and could not understand what the person in the other side of the line was saying to the phone because there was too much interference, but I decided to give it a try and replied: 

‘Alo? Hello? Anybody there?’

At that precise moment, the sounds coming from the other side resembled someone crying and mumbling something...

‘Today... is two years... have been two years since you are gone. I miss you so much!’

My chest felt instantly heavy, it was difficult to talk, to breathe and I had to stand up and stepped out to the balcony replying:

‘Hi Mom! I was not expecting your call! How are you?’

The conversation went on for another ten minutes, with my mom crying more and more, my dad trying to make her smile (unsuccessfully) and I... I was trying to maintain my calm.

Must admit, it has been one of the most sad, complicated and depressing conversation I have ever had with my mom, but I fully understand that for her is not easy. But for me it was extremely difficult to respond to some of her questions, such as:

“How do you feel? Are you happy?”

Are you happy????? What am I supposed to say here? I know there is no right answer to this... maybe a 
‘No mom, I am being miserable in here. I am being treated like shit, less than rubbish and because of my masochist tendencies I am going to stay for as long as possible?’

Obviously that is not the case, telling her that I feel utterly happy and comfortable was not very well received; triggering a new river of tears, with eventual phrases saying ‘I know you are very happy... it was your choice of leaving us, pursuing your adventure of trying to be happy... is just that I miss you so much!’

Up to this point you might be wondering... but why isn’t your mom taking the first plane to Oz?

Economical issues will be my first answer and probably lack of interest to take a plane for more than 20 hours.

To my mom, anything that is not America or Europe is far far away.

Why am I not taking a plane to go and visit her?
Yet again, economical issues will be the first answer. Flying to Venezuela is very expensive from this part of the world, but sadly enough is not the main component of the full answer; Venezuela has become very hostile place to anyone, categorised at the moment as one of the most dangerous country in America and the world. You don't believe it? Google it and you will find in no time posts and articles pointing it out.

But... Why am I telling these stories and thoughts?
Being far away from my family has been hard. There have been times when I would like to be with them, share some of the same experiences, enjoy my nephews and nieces, play with my brothers or just take a seat and chill out, hear them talk about baseball, or what was the last big move with the national soccer team, or my sis laughing of my stupid jokes or sarcastic comments about different situations.

I miss those tasty treats my mom used to cook for me, even though she was going to tell me later on I am eating too much and that is why I am too fat! Or going bald or whatever.

I miss them, all of them very much and the feeling is neither getting worst nor decreasing as the time goes by. This is part of the decision I choose when starting somewhere else.

Now... the happy and more appealing side of the post!

There is always a bright side.

The 9th was our second anniversary since our arrival to Australia! Heey!

On these two years we have been able to:

  • Start different projects and studies. Kathy has been back to her belly dancing, and I have been reading different types of articles and magazines, most of them related to photography and how to improve the image composition and general appearance.
  • Buy the camera we always wanted (and now we are fighting to get a chance to use it... and highly probable we will have to buy another one). I was not going to include material things into the list, but the camera (for me) isn’t part of those material things. The camera give us the opportunity to show to our families and friends how we perceive and appreciate Australia (and our lives).
  • Establish our home. With all the crap need it for it.
  • Make friends, very dear friends.
Say whaaat?
Say whaat? Two years?

These two years have been great yet a bit melancholic... or should it be melancholically great? In general the balance is still pretty good! We are deeply, truly and madly in love of our new home.

I am unimaginable grateful to this country for giving me the opportunity of being part of it and I will try to do my best to be a great investment for its future.

Thanks to our friends (in and out of work) for being great with us, to make the effort of understand, comprehend and share our journey.

Till next post.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I think I have lost my muse for the last couple of days. There are so many things I would like to share but at the same time I don’t know how to write it or how to remove the depressing tone from my words.

Dear Calypso, bring your tunes and give me inspiration
Image from evike

I have tried to evoke Clio, Erato or Calypso to take my hands and use them to put down into words my mood and make me feel better... but nothing. So I had to force myself to express what’s on my head, draining some stress and getting calmed.

So, my dear blog, you might ask me, why am I so depressed? Why the blue mood dragging me into the limbo?

So many things, for starters as days goes by the situation in Venezuela is getting worse and being honest, I can’t see the tipping point where people will say “I can’t stand it anymore, this has to change”. My family (as certainly any others in Venezuela) is having serious economical issues thanks to the wrong policies and schemes the government has taken for the last 12 years, plus the water supply, electrical power, roads and health systems has become a mere joke... a bad and tasteless joke which keeps me worried.

On the other hand I am not getting many distractions at work; I do not like the code or the design I am producing, but I have to concentrate to deliver stuff and to be easy going, but my head and my heart are telling me to do something different, to act, to change the situation... but how?

Probably I am just in my blue era, just like Van Gogh, with the big difference  that I am not a genius, neither a great artist, nor an alcoholic, nor Dutch... definitely not going to cut my ear and not going to kill myself... and this blue phase eventually will go.

Van Gogh - Almond Tree

So... What to do? What to do?

In the meanwhile I keep taking pictures (which aren’t good either), studying new technologies (well... not really studying... more reading than anything else...), browsing for hours the Internet trying to find good deals and trying not to forget to watch the stars at the end of the days.

Van Gogh - Starry night

Do I have any news for you?

Well... I got officially older on July and so did my mom (kind of sad to sing the happy birthday on the phone because the freaking Venezuelan’s Internet is shit and I could not video call my mom)... I finished one book I have been reading for at least 6 months now... On September 9th it will be two years since I arrived to Australia.
Broken communications... that's our experience with Venezuelans failing systems.
Image from
And I have rewritten four times three posts of which I have published none... and I still don’t like‘em.

Anyway, I am going to go back to editing those posts. 
Hope to get it ready anytime soon.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My photostream...

If you are a computer affectionate (A.K.A geek, nerd or computerholic) or love photography, taking pictures of very attractive-artistic-astonishing rubbish, probably you have bumped into the inevitable I-am-running out-of-disk-space problem... or the very well known my-mom-does-not-know-how-to-check-my-facebook-photos-and-it-will-be-better-if-I-just-send-the-link-on-an-email.

In those case you need an image storage service to upload some of your pictures to share it with your mates and maybe (it depends on how attached to your photos you are) store it on these services and have it available anywhere at all times.

There are tons and tons of those services, for instance:

Google has Picasa Web which connects to Picasa (on desktop computers or Picasa plug-in for IPhoto on Macs), I use this service to host the images used on my blogs, why? Is so easy to click on blogger, upload my images drag it where I want it to be and that’s it. There is another reason; if you just want to store a bulk of images Picasa will be a cheap option for small storage. Right now Picasa Web allows you to upload up to 1GB (Giga byte or 1000 Mega bytes) for free; $5 per year if you want to upgrade to 20GB and if you need more space than add 5 bucks for every 20GB you want to expand... Obviously, when you need lots of space, for instance 1TB (= 1000GB) you will be paying $256 per year.

Microsoft has Live Photos (I don't know if it was re-branded to skydrive, but it exists for two years now...) which works great with Live Photo Gallery and you get awesomely 25GB of storage for free... But I have not used it... ever... so I can’t give you a nice comment related to it with the exception of the great free space.

And Flickr (I don’t plan to post in there the entire list of services available) is a very nice photo sharing site where you could easily upload your images, include comments and post them online. The one thing that made me use Flickr to post my photography experience is the nice experience of beautiful user interface (do you imagine gorgeous photos in an awful web page layout?). The second reason related to my selection is based on scalability; when I get to the point where maintaining the pictures in my computer is not possible and the amount of pictures I can upload surpass the monthly allowance imposed by Flickr, then they will charge me $25 per year for unlimited storage... Right now my data storage is pretty low and I don’t think that any time soon I am going to exceed 300MB per month, but something more important is that Flickr has a better photography-related community in comparison to Picasa’s.

So I present thee (drums please)... my photostream!

I am still uploading images now and then; currently (at the time that I am writing this post) my most active stream is related to Vivid Sydney 2011, but fell free to take a look of my inspirational moments. Comments, observations and constructive critics are highly appreciated.

If you are looking for this Queen... you won't find it inhere!
For those of you who does not live or have knowledge of the Queen’s birthday, every second of June the members of the Commonwealth celebrate the birthday of the Monarch.

But what does it means and why am I writing a post about it?

The meaning

It means that the current Queen, Elizabeth II will be celebrating another year of experience in the crown.

And here... The monarch of the Commonwealth... Elizabeth II

Why is celebrated in June? Isn't the real date on April 21?

Apparently this holiday was first established in 1788 (in Australia), honouring King George III (Monarch at the time) who’s birthday was the 4th of June 1738, but every other king or queen born after those dates was celebrated on their own birthday...

So... Who decided to celebrate anything in June? King George V in 1936 decided to celebrate any Queen or King Birthday on June and later on the Commonwealth fixed the date to the second Monday of June.

... Not that interesting really... I was expecting a drunken aunty dancing around naked in the Buckingham palace to which consequence and in an attempt to distract public attention decided to celebrate the queen birthday that day... Anyway... now you know we are not that crazy =P on celebrating Queen’s birthday on her non-real-birth-day.

Why am I writing about this?

Because is long weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!

The queen’s birthday is a public holiday in Australia (with the exception of the people of Perth, that decided to celebrate it on the first Monday of October... why? No idea!) in which friends take advantage of the long weekend to visit between each other, or many just crack a beer between mates. In any case is a wonderful opportunity to rest and enjoy the cold but lovely weather.

In Sydney you will enjoy some fireworks at Darling Harbour, the end of Vivid Sydney (which reminds me, I have to share with you the pictures that I have been taking from this event), The Darling Harbour Jazz and Blues festival, different events in North Sydney and so on.

So, if you are in Australia, enjoy this awesome and well deserved long weekend.

Edited: added the reason of why is celebrated in June instead of April, thanks xerxesb for your observation.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

Well… I am still getting ready to publish the bazillion pictures I took last Saturday on this fantastic show called Vivid Sydney.

Vivid is a very quiet yet colourful and marvellous that it represents the great (and simple) things you could create with a bunch of lasers, lights and an outstanding building.

This post is the first part of ‘Vivid Sydney’ post series and the next one will contain no less than 30 full colour pictures capture by me :) (My camera actually).

Here you will find a time laps of the show, enjoy it

Friday, May 27, 2011

Falling low...

Yes... I have falling very low... and I had to make a post of it...

I am still struggling how to put this into words... especially when I have said before that I would hate myself if I ever opened... I found hard and strong, like a knight would fight a dragon, trying to slay it just to proof his bravery, chivalry and honour... but at the end the fool dies saving a friend, a hot chick or just something as stupid as treasures...

Something that life has taught me is that when you have a problem... you got to share it with a friend because it will give you the first step in a very long recovery; that first step is called recognition of your problem.

There is no good way to say it... so here I go...

I... I have opened a twitter account...

Yes... I can't believe it either...
Can't say that I was forced, neither I did it by mistake... I was totally aware and in control of my faculties.
Image from brutalion

Yes, I did... 

so sorry fellas... Now I will be able to share my silly and stupid thoughts in twitter as well instead of having it contained and concentrated on this blog.

The little blue bird who tweets...
Image from alpercakici

So if you want to follow me (yeah right) you could do it @rodrigoelp; I will try to do my best to not let you down and share good stuff.

Cheers and till next time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I have to finish Perth’s post series and I wanted to end in a very positive note, those things I liked the most about it. In a way, I need this positive note right now because of different factors:
  • Firstly, the hideous migraine has been visiting me more frequent in the past few weeks and is highly probable that I am not handling it right.
  • Secondly, sometimes I feel I am not at my best at work... I really would like to give more of me but I have been bumping against walls and I haven’t been clever enough to early detect it and change accordingly.
  • And thirdly, I just need to get a couple of things out of head to make room for new ones.

In response to those points I have decided to take a sit (while I eat a meat pie) and start taking a look to 23 gig of pictures recently taken, stored in my hard drive and share with you a couple more of our Perth adventure.

As you may have already read in previous posts (such as 'hop hop hop and off to Perth we go', 'how did we get to Perth', 'Perth first impressions' and 'Comparison Sydney/Perth'), Kathy and I went to Perth to spend some time with close friends and the result was outstanding; our friends were delighted taking us out every single day (to all of them I am truly grateful) trying to sell us the best of their city and nearby areas; we were delighted as well with their attentions, treatment and love.

Even though I have written a comparison between Sydney and Perth, impressions and a very descriptive report of how Virgin Blue raped our wallets took us to there, I felt obliged to add those things I liked the most from Perth, and here there are:

Bell tower

Also known as the home of the Swan Bells(1) is a gorgeous crystal and copper building between the Perth’s CBD and the swan river; it was built to host 18 bells provided by city of London and the British and Australian mining company in commemoration of Australia bicentenary.

Colours and shapes... that incredibly attractive, isn't?

I don’t know if I am in love of the wave-alike shape, or its similitude with the Opera House, but truly is a magnificent building that everyone has to visit once in Perth.

I love that shape, it was extremely well played and beautifully finished.
We got there elevenish with the purpose of walking around the city, have some meal and keep our tour, Kathy took advantage of our good friend to take as many pictures as possible (and took my camera and started taking pictures of whatever; it really did not matter what it was, she was taking a picture of it. Meanwhile I stood there watching it, impressed with the shape and how crystal-like fragile seems to be as seen from the outside with its huge amounts of glass and its two shells on each side. It kind of reminds you a big, big clamp with a piece of glass on its middle and I was totally intrigued about the internal structure and the sound that could produce. So we walked in all the way to the highest level we could get... and at that precise moment, a bunch of blokes and two ladies started pulling the cords through series of pulley, generating leverage on the mechanism that finally rotated the bells, striking its clapper against the walls of the metal cup, making a very loud ‘CLANK!!!!’ followed by other different clanks and bangs which variates on intensity; pushing the entire structure to its maximum, vibrating its pillars inducing you into the feeling of being in a boat with small shakes every now and then. At first I could not understand how the entire building was moving just by the fact of someone playing the bells... till I actually got the look of the 2 metres high bells and weight up to 1480 Kilos.

From level 5 of the bell tower the view is outstanding

I know there are plenty of stuff in Perth, and some of those could be even more important than the Bell Tower, but for me this building casted a magic spell on me and now is one of my favourite modern buildings in the entire world (right behind the Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Chrysler Building in New York City).

The Swan River

Water has been always a topic of fascination among the human kind and I am not the exception to the rule.

Our first encounter with it was while our welcome committee was picking us from the airport and driving us to Maccas (McDonalds, btw) while our friend Victor told us ‘Now that you are looking at the swan river you must feel great, don’t you? Is here where is celebrated the biggest event of Australia... Perth Skyworks...’ to what I remember and made the immediate analogy of the grateful and independent republic of Zulia (one state in Venezuela where anyone and everyone believes they are not Venezuelans, they are citizens of Zulia which has been giving the royal honour to Venezuela to be part of it). Anyway, I took a look to the brownish waters, the shores and the view around it. It wasn’t something extraordinary and I must say I could not understand why lots of people were so excited about the river... I mean, the water wasn’t crystal clear as the Parramata River (in some areas I must remark), beside the bell tower, the blue house (to which I still don’t know its name) and the CBD’s view from the south shore I could not find any extraordinary thing about it...
One of the multiple points were you could stop and enjoy the view.
Is not precisely in the swan river shore.
Our second encounter was the next day, Victor took us around to show us the beaches and nice spots to take pictures, and it was in one of those incursions that I saw a couple of old folks in their boat placidly driving it in the calmed waters. Maybe it was a matter of scale or maybe it was the moment, but I felt like part of it, so nice and relaxing... and I started wondering... is this the feeling some of the pertains have talked about?

Third encounter, fourth day of our holidays, driving to the Swan Bells and then to the blue house (that I am going to show the picture in a bit) to take pictures and I realised the entire city is surround it by the river, like a huge serpent around a leaf... a big leaf obviously. So pretty much anything you want to do in the water will be probably on the river.

A black and white image of the Swan river and Perth CBD
I know... it looks extremely small...
Click on it to see a bigger version of it.
Fourth encounter, our last day there, we were coming back home from an amazing meal in ‘Eat Greek’, an all-you-can-eat restaurant where our friends took us to give us the farewell and enjoy with us the last night. Driving us back home we notice bunch of cars parked on the kerb (as well as a police patrol) staring at the water. We wondered what could be that impressive when it happened, dolphins jumping out and in, teasing between each other and teasing people to throw them things and then keep playing between them and with the occasional new visitor. It was an incredible and magical experience which I did not capture in photos (I am very sorry).

The blue house on the river, known as Crawley edge boatshed
You start understanding that is not just a river... is pretty much the entire view of Perth. It gives them life, it gives them joy... the Swan River makes Perth what it is, a nice and peaceful place full of gorgeous sceneries, outgoing people and relax above all.

Sculptures around the city

In different occasions I wondered about events in Perth based on the number of pictures I have seen with mates and sculptures. And I always asked myself... why is everyone taking a picture of this bronze bloke?

And yes... we also took our picture of the bronze bloke...
Otherwise people could had told us 'but you did not have the picture with that man!!'
Well, as we discovered later one, Perth is filled with sculptures anywhere becoming almost a challenge to keep looking around to find more of those, but for some odd reason, people visiting Perth only have eyes to take picture to this funny looking fellow.

A 'pee-pee' man - Sculpture by the sea - Cottesloe
Our first day we went to the beach when an interesting sculpture got my attention which made me start to play with my camera and the object, trying to get interesting images, capturing the texture, the colours and the shape... But more interesting was that I was totally pleased to find new shapes and objects every now and then.
Even in the fish market you will find it.
Now, that last comment could suggest to some of my readers that Sydney lacks of sculptures or interesting stuff to see around, but I think the key difference in here is that fact that Perth is pretty much flat and trying to find sculptures is kind of easy; all you need to do is walk and look around, while Sydney gives you a more challenging situation because with its big buildings, streets and people rushing to their lives without taking a minute to look around, the Sydneysider has grown unaware of these little details, and most of the times they don’t even know where to find it.

Dragonfly - Cottesloe, part of the sculptures by the sea

Walking men - Sculpture by the sea - Cottesloe

Walking around the fish market we found a sculpture with interesting textures
and beautiful mosaics

So what’s the difference?
I was walking to friends that took the time to appreciate the city, which is a fantastic way to spend some of your time; it gives you the opportunity to share knowledge, ideas and creativity.

So Rod... is there anything else you liked about Perth?
Short answer, yes, there are plenty of stuff to remark... But if I highlight lots and lots of stuff, I will be totally unfair to another set of items present in Perth... I could spend a long time talking about beaches, parks, scenery, etc, etc but the main idea of this post was to highlight those things that I would recommend from Perth to anyone to enjoy on their trip plan.

I think this post completes Perth post series. I hoped you enjoyed these words and I will back in now time to take more precious moments with our friends.


(1) Ring my bells website suck big time on Google Chrome (I haven't tried in Firefox). Use Safari or Internet Explorer if you plan to check it out.