I can haz KRudd Tea?

Why, yes I can! πŸ˜€

Every night after I go to the gym, it’s a habit to stop at the mailbox to check the post for the day. However, this time there wasn’t anything in the post, when there should have been at the very least a newspaper. There are two possible explanations for this –

1. Someone has gone down and picked up the mail, which doesn’t happen all too frequently; or
2. There was a package in the post, so the mailman brought it to the door.

As it turned out, answer number 2 was the correct one πŸ™‚

airmail

Now, the Airmail sticker wasn’t exactly the first thing that I saw, but I can’t really show the first thing I saw since it’s the real signature of my bestest friend in the whole world (who I’ve known now for 10 years), Snoskred πŸ˜‰ It was a package that came to me as a surprise – the best kind of packages!

Of course, as you do, the first thing you do is to send a quick message on Kakaotalk (which I was shown to when she switched phones over from the iPhone to Galaxy), saying that a fing arive. Then you frantically search for a scissor to open the package not realising that there is a easy-pull tab on the back. Luckily I noticed the pulltab prior to trying to slice the package open.

The first thing that I pull out is this –

caratam

At the sight ofΒ Salted Caramel Tim Tams, I literally squealed. Maybe not my proudest moment…though of course, there was also hockey on the teevee so a close play could make me gasp or make other involuntary noises…such as cursing the referees for disallowing a goal. I will note that the size is a bit weird to me – 171g, otherwise known as 19g per biscuit as there are 9 in the packet.

There was also a packet of dark choc Tim Tams in the package – and I actually liked them better maybe because the salted caramel was a little bit too subtle…I may revisit this later πŸ™‚

Next up is an item I knew would wind its way to me at one point in time or another, the KRudd Tea (legally, I must note that the packet’s marketing claims it was crafted by AustraliansΒ plural, but the truth is that it was Kevin Rudd’s blend that wonΒ from the five celebrities that were chosen)

tea1

In trying out the tea, I really like it. I know that it claims to be a full-bodied tea, but I think it’s actually a milder cuppa especially when I tried a taste test of sorts at work – I first had a cuppa of English Teatime tea (from Bigelow) and then the Twinings tea in similar circumstances – two bags (for a ~500mL cup) with 4 teaspoons of sugar for sweetness, and the Bigelow tea actually seemed a bit stronger.

There were two other items in the package – the first is the Original Source Surfing Tropical Pineapple shower gel…I had never used shower gel until I was in Australia, and ever since I’ve been converted to it from using bar soap – mostly because of the different scents πŸ™‚ This one has a great scent and it was a great pick-me-up when I had my shower Wednesday morning πŸ˜‰

The other item was a very beautiful card with some words in it, partly saying that it was sent from Australia with ❀️ πŸ™‚

I will leave you a picture here of the things in the packet and many millions of thanks so Snoskred :), with a note about the wrapping of the shower gel – I am fairly certain that the bag that was used to protect the other items in the bag from leakage was a repatriated bag that we had purchased in Hawaii in order to protect some of the shower gels and liquids that were bought there in the epic shoppery that was done. I suspect that because of the bag being a Ziploc bag with both English and French on it. I somehow don’t see the Aussie bags having French on them :p

fings

Oh, and neither the shuttle nor the MacBook were in the package πŸ˜€

Again, many thankies πŸ˜‰ and as you know, there is a new package headed your way shortly as well πŸ™‚

 

Before the HUNID…

austlanding1

This was the view that I had as I was landing at Kingsford-Smith Airport. It wasn’t the first picture that I took on Australian soil (those were much blurrier).

In the background, you can make out some of the airplanes on the tarmac – including a Virgin Jet (I’m not sure if it was a Virgin Australia or a Virgin Atlantic), the tail of a Singapore A380 as well as a Malaysian Airlines plane.

First Impressions of Australia

While I’m going through some of the older photos that I have on the various hard drives on my computers, I figure it’s a great time to go through some of the photos I’ve taken on my various trips over time.

However, this isn’t a photo that was taken by a camera. This is actually a screenshot of an iMessage that I sent to Snoskred, but due to the fact that I was already out of the airport, I was away from the free WiFi, so the message wasn’t actually sent until I found my next free wifi, which was, I believe, on the ferry to Manly.

The background to this is, of course, that I had just spent better than a day travelling across the globe (leaving Milwaukee at 2:26PM Thursday, arriving Sydney at 10:30 AM Saturday (6:30 PM Friday Milwaukee time)). I was at the point of being ready to crash into a bed, but I was told not to, and I was glad I didn’t.

Anyway, I stepped outside after I was listening to the final game of the 2011 World Series (which I had learnt about while on the plane from Auckland to Sydney, as I had been thinking that the Rangers had it sealed up from what I heard while in the San Francisco airport). Then, it hit me:

hunid

I still find it hilarious that I managed to misspell Humidity, but it’s still a favourite line of mine “Holy fuck the Hunid!” πŸ™‚

Now only if they could sort out the anthem…Adam Hills, what say you?

NASCAR in the rain – More, please!

I’ve been a racing fan for as long as I can remember – from watching the races that were only shown on free-to-air TV in the early 90s to watching the full NASCAR schedule in the mid-to-late 90s. One of my favourite moments ever in a race came in the 1996 when Max Papis came literally flying down pit lane at well over 200 mph (320ish km/h) to get a late splash-and-dash in his Ferrari 330SP.

Anyway, there’s a point to this – for such a long time, NASCAR has had a plan in place for rain at a road course race (the plan for ovals is still stop the race, as it’s completely unsafe to run even treaded tyres at an oval) – it’s only been used twice – first at Suzuka in 1997, I think, and then at a practice session at Watkins Glen somewhere around 2000 or so. Finally, their plans had come to fruition – there would be a wet stock car race in the US North America, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Wikipedia link here) in Montréal in the Napa Piecès D’Auto 200.

Sure, you’ve seen open wheel racing in the rain, even prototype racing in the rain – heck, quite a fair chunk of this year’s 24 Heures du Mans was run in the rain, with all the closed-body cars with rain tyres and wipers and (most importantly, if you ask me) headlights. Of course, there’s also the V8 Supercars who put on a spectacular show in the rain – the races at Sandown were excellent, with cars going off of the road left, right and centre, and action all around the track. But there’s something about the first time that you see the racing you hold dear being held in the rain – the first time ever that it’s happened in one of the premiere divisions – that makes it all that more special.

The thing that is special about the rain is that it really sorts out the men from the boys (or, if you will, the true racers from the oval jockeys πŸ˜‰ ). The best example is the fella who has the most experience driving a car like this in the conditions like this – Launceston’s own Marcos Ambrose, a name I had first heard while watching the 2005 Bathurst 1000, and Leigh Diffey (now back here in the States in case any of y’all were wondering where he is during the winter, because I think he goes back down for some events) telling the Channel Ten (and other international viewers) that he was headed off to the States to race. For 2006, I actually followed the truck series somewhat simply because there was an Aussie in there. Also, as a result of his exploits, this has led to NASCAR being put onto free-to-air TV (albeit a small viewership since it’s on Ten HD) and taken off of cable – even though we have to have cable to watch the Busch Nationwide Series races for most of the year.

From the time the race went green after the 3 6 9 15 20-minute-or-so break to prep the cars for wet racing (install a windshield wiper, change car setup, fit full wet tyres, turn on the light in the rear window (akin to the rain light the F1 cars have), and in some cases give the driver a squeegee), Marcos was off like a tear – he passed Scott Pruett by time the cars had made it to the first chicane, and pulled to a relatively huge lead of 10 seconds over the field; even after the first pitstop, and even after he went off of the road, he still held off Jacques Villeneuve (yes, the same one who won the 1997 F1 championship and the 1995 Indy 500 – not his uncle) and regained his lead.

The only thing that stopped him was having to stop once more to refuel to get to the end of the race, which didn’t quite go right when he was nabbed by the speed gun as going over the speed limit of 30mph (~48km/h – or 8 klicks faster than the V8s are limited to on their pit lane and about 30 km/h less than the F1 speed limit). Even then, and even after having to go through the pits again, he was in 3rd place…50 seconds behind Ron Fellows, who didn’t need to stop again. Then, the rains started getting heavier and drivers couldn’t see anything anymore, so the caution was brought out – Villeneuve and Joey Logano (Moving UP! as Rick Allen says in the commercial) both wound up wrecking under the caution – Villeneuve hitting the rear end of another car and Logano stuffing the car into the barrier (I think) on the Droit du Casino, or the back straight.

Soon after that, they made the decision to end the race, conveniently as ESPN were interviewing Carl Edwards, whose interview went something like this "…I’ve got a…oh, they’ve ended it…it was a good race, and I had a good car" – and Ron Fellows was declared the winner.

All in all, NASCAR’s first adventure in the rain went extremely well – until the end of the race, there were very few spins, but a few offs, which is expected during a road course race anyways. If it rains at Watkins Glen next week, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the only person looking forward to seeing them race in the rain again. πŸ˜‰

What if you had your own TV service?

An idea that’s been floating through my head after thinking about the kinds of shows I watch (and realizing that I don’t watch all that much American TV, and a lot of foreign TV) is one of what channels would you have if you could have any channels available in the world.

For me personally, it would be a heavy focus on two areas – news and sports. Before I get to my channel list, let me set out the challenge to you: What if you had your own TV service? What channels would you want to have if money, time and satellite coverage were not issues?

So, without further ado, here’s my channel list.

Local Channels

A note about local channels: There will be multiple listings for some channels and networks because of the fact some stations in my area carry multiple signals, plus the local channels would all be brought in by antenna, so the actual list would vary from day to day πŸ˜‰

  • WISC (TV3, Madison – CBS; no subchannels)
  • WTMJ (Channel 4, Milwaukee – NBC, 1 subchannel – 4.2, Weather Plus)
  • WITI (Channel 6, Milwaukee – Fox, no subchannels)
  • WGN (Channel 9, Chicago – CW, no subchannels; for sport in HD)
  • WMVS (Channels 10-1 through 10-7, Milwaukee -  various PBS networks)
  • WISN (Channel 12, Milwaukee – ABC, no subchannels)
  • WMTV (Channel 15, Madison – NBC, 1 subchannel, weather)
  • WVTV (Channel 18, Milwaukee – CW, no subchannels)
  • WHA (Channel 21, Madison – PBS, varying subchannels)
  • WCGV (Channel 24, Milwaukee – My Network, possibly 1 subchannel)
  • WKOW (Channel 27, Madison – ABC; no subchannels, NO logo over all pictures!)
  • WMVT (Channel 36, Milwaukee – PBS HD)
  • WMSN (Channel 47, Madison – Fox, unknown subchannels)
  • WDJT (Channel 58, Milwaukee, 2 subchannels – WMLW & Me TV)
  • WYTU (Channel 63, Milwaukee, analog only, Telemundo)
  • And some religious channels that I can’t be stuffed listing πŸ˜‰

Entertainment channels

Now, all of these channels would be in HD or Widescreen, when possible. Note that this is definitely not an exhaustive list as I’m probably not aware of all the channels in the world. πŸ™‚

  • A&E
  • Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Home & Living
  • TLC
  • Animal Planet
  • Cartoon Network
  • Boomerang
  • Nickelodeon (the channel that airs the good shows)
  • TV Land
  • HDNet
  • TBS
  • TNT (not so much for the programming, but for the six races in summer)
  • UKTV (Aust.)
  • Other UKTV Networks (UK)
  • G4TechTV (Canada)
  • How-to Channel (Aust.)
  • Discovery RealTime (UK)
  • BBC America (before it went to pot)
  • Travel Channel
  • Comedy Central
  • Fox8 (Aust.)
  • Lifestyle (Aust. – probably just a sample for a while)
  • National Geographic (US)
  • GSN

News Channels

  • CNN (US)
  • CNN International
  • CNN Headline News
  • CNBC (US)
  • CNBC World
  • MSNBC
  • BBC World News
  • BBC News Channel (formerly News 24)
  • Sky News UK
  • Sky News Aust.
  • Fox Business Channel
  • Fox News Channel
  • Sky Business Channel (Aust.)
  • Euronews
  • CBC Newsworld (does that even exist anymore?)
  • Bloomberg
  • Times Now (India/US)
  • Al-Jazeera English
  • Weather Channel (US)
  • Weather Channel (Aust.)

Sports Channels

  • All Regional Channels (i.e. the Fox Sports Net channels, Comcast Sports Network, etc.)
  • Setanta US
  • Cricket Channel
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNews
  • ESPN Classic (US)
  • ESPN Classic (UK)
  • ESPNU
  • ESPN360 (internet service)
  • ESPN Deportes
  • Speed
  • Versus
  • NASCAR Hot Pass
  • Motors TV (UK or mainland Europe)
  • Fox Sports 1, 2, 3 (Aust.)
  • ESPN (Asia/Pacific)
  • Zee Sports (South Asia/India)
  • Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, Xtra (UK)
  • Sky Sports News (UK)
  • Fox Sports News (Aust.)
  • Fox Soccer Channel
  • Eurosport News
  • Eurosport 1, 2
  • Fox College Sports
  • Rogers SportsNet (or whatever the main Canadian regional sports net is)
  • GolTV

Spanish Channels

  • Univision
  • mun2 (if that’s still on the air…)
  • Telefutura
  • Galavisión
  • Azteca América
  • Fox Sports en Español

Movie Channels

For the most part, the Movie channels are for the shows aired on there, such as Dexter and Flight of the Conchords (and apparently Summer Heights High is coming to HBO this year)

  • I think I’d have all of them available in the US, just because there might be a time when I find a movie that I haven’t watched (not that there are many of those out there, eh? πŸ˜‰ )
  • Turner Classic Movies
  • Fox Movie Channel
  • Sundance Channel
  • Independent Movie Channels

Music Channels

  • VH1
  • VH1 MegaHits (though that ain’t coming back πŸ™ )

Yeah, that’s about it…I’ve never been one for watching music videos; if I want to listen to music, I’ll listen to it on the computer or the radio. πŸ˜‰

So, there you go. 25-plus local channels, 24 general entertainment channels, about 60 sports channels, 20 news channels, dozens of movie channels, at least 6 Spanish Channels, so a total of about 150 channels, plus the obligatory Video-On-Demand probably.

Also, I’d have to have about a 3-terabyte DVR to record all the stuff I’d never watch anyway, but think I had time to watch. πŸ˜‰

What do you think? Am I just crazy for wanting to have all of these channels? How much do you think this would cost? For some reason I don’t want to think about it because I know it would probably be in the hundreds of dollars a month, just for the various equipment, such as PAL-> NTSC converters (or just a PAL TV πŸ˜‰ )…