Sunday, December 26, 2010

Don't trust anyone over 30

The boys, hard at work

Amy and I recently started the great downward decline towards senility and retirement this month when we both turned 30 years old.

Picnic on the beach

It's all pretty much over.

We celebrated the occasion by hosting a barbecue on the beautiful Shelly Beach.


View Larger Map

We had a beautiful day for it and there was even a shark that made an appearance off shore. For some reason, one of the other beach-goers called the cops.

The cops showed but no arrests were made.

Preparing for the kill

We topped of the day with cake and a pinata. Most of our non-US friends knew what a pinata was from TV and movies but had never had one at a party. What terrible childhoods they must have had.

video

As a great sage once said:

Don't trust anyone over 30.
-H.S.

Sunset over Manly

Sunday, December 12, 2010

So Much Santa

Santa and two beers

So it's been a bit odd getting ready for the holidays as the weather gets warmer. We have compensated by putting Christmas ornaments on the palm trees in our apartment and being extra good in case Australian Santa is as vigilant as the one we are used to.

There must be a lot of beer at the North Pole

This past weekend, we got into the Christmas mood by going out for the Manly Santa Pub Crawl and it was AWESOME.

Yes, SuperSanta made an appearance

Probably around a thousand people get dressed up in the holiday theme and go out to the bars in Manly. We drank amongst reindeer, xmas trees, angels, elves, and of course Santas.

All I want for Christmas is for this guy to not take that box off

It was disorienting walking into a bar, looking for your friends and all you can see are santa hats (or bellies, depending on relative heights).

It was a great way to drink our way around town as well as get into the holiday swing. Early to Merry Xmas to everyone!

Beer helps Santa get through the winter nights

Monday, November 29, 2010

Workin' for The Man


You may have guessed by the steady decline in the frequency of our updates that I (Chris) went against my better judgement and got a job.

Stupid, I know.

Years of video games have prepared me for this moment

I have been slaving away at a solar power startup named, Solar Connect Australia. I started working as a labourer, installing systems on peoples' roofs and have since done everything from recruitment to marketing, scheduling of jobs, running our wharehouse, supervising the installs and teams, managing client relationships and dealing with customer complaints.

Solar panels ready to rock

All this has taken it's toll on my pro surfing/fishing/spearing/martial arts career. Fortunately as we all know, all good things must come to an end and Solar Connect Australia went out of business in late December. On to the next adventure.....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

This weekend we decided to introduce our non-American friends to the tradition of Thanksgiving and for several it was their first Thanksgiving dinner.
Chair fort anyone?

After the first chicken was in the oven we went on a shopping spree amongst our friends collecting chairs, silverware, plates, drinking glasses, serving and baking platters - everything you'd need to have 14 people to dinner that we didn't already have.

Mmmm - manicotti...

Now the few Americans were prepared for the feasting to come, but everyone else clearly had no idea what to expect as the dug into the first course of manicotti. We schooled them in the proper usage of the term "gravy" with the pasta course and quietly laughed at the ones who went back for seconds.


Can't believe we all fit at the table!

At this point no one was possibly hungry but of course it's time now to move on to the full dinner. Everyone gamely tried to stuff in as much food as possible as they shook their heads in dismay because they were so full.
Too full to move.

At this point we all sacked out and wished for a nap one the couch while watching some football before we tackled dessert but unfortunately Aussie TV didn't cooperate with us. Everyone loosened their belts for a bit to relax and later in the evening most of us managed to sample some of Web's amazing cheese cake.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that we weren't able to celebrate with.

Friday, November 19, 2010

There's no such thing as sharks

When we were initially telling our friends and family that we were moving to Australia, a common line of questioning went a little like, "Don't they have deadly spiders/snakes/sharks there?" We would typically laugh this off in a brave and glorious fashion. Recently it has been brought to my attention that at least one of these creatures is actually lurking just out of view, waiting for us to drop our guard.

Here is an article from our local newspaper: The Manly Daily

Has a pretty clear picture in there of someone surfing with a large fin behind them. This is in the area where we went surfing today. The waves were great.

Additionally, after talking with someone about where we had been spearfishing last weekend off Long Reef, they directed me to this clip:



We've managed to avoid being eaten thus far, so why not press our luck?

"Treat every breath as your first and every day as your last"

-Hilltop Hoods

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Summertime.....

Yes, she really is as good as she looks.

......And the livin's easy.

We had our first truly beautiful day last weekend and were fortunate enough to be out on the boat!

It made for a glorious day out skiing, wakeboarding, swimming, and fishing.


video

After the water sports, we put out the fishing rods with middling success. We ended up catching several fish and saw multiple schools of fish jumping out of the water. Many beers were consumed to further this pursuit.

Leatherjacket that should have known better

A beautiful day for relaxing on the boat

James shredding on the wakeboard

Chris Negrea shortly after vowing to ski successfully or die trying


Chris photographed while reflecting on all the good choices he has made in life

As we left the boat on the dock, smiles were all around from the afterglow of the day's awesomeness. In addition to the pure fun of skiing, wakeboarding, and generally bombing around the river, we also had the passive bonus of getting to see more of the beautiful Kuring-gai National Park from the water. We look forward to many more rockin' boat days over the upcoming summer months.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sunset Oct 21


The days are getting longer as spring rolls in. I was able to catch this sunset last night.

video
Video showing Freshwater beach, Manly, and the sun going down.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Drive fast and leave a trail of wreckage in your wake


Zoom Zoom!!!!! This past weekend we went go karting to celebrate our mate Debs’ birthday. Fun was had by all and no one ended up crying. Win/Win.


Chris explaining the finer points of driving victoriously to Amy


This was an excellent birthday activity and really highlights the better parts of being a grown-up. If you aren’t going to do all the fun stuff you weren’t able/allowed to as a kid, what is the point of growing up? Ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Why not?


video


We topped the day off with a barbeque at Kat and Webs’ and feasting on a delicious, psychedelic cake that Amy and James made for Debs.


Mmmmm....breakfast...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spring is here

Amy, dropped in the wilderness will now demonstrate her survival skills.

Spring is finally awakening in Sydney and to take advantage of the friendly weather, Amy and I recently took a hike through Ku-ring-gai National Park.


View Larger Map

It was a nice, easy hike along a fire track, under the clear blue sky. All around us, the wildflowers were starting to bloom, it was a nice bonus to the already beautiful scenery.




There are lots of these hikes around which is amazing as it is so close to Sydney. Just a 30-40 minute drive and you are deep in the bush.




Soaking up nature under the Australian sun.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amy 1 - Sharks 0

This past Sunday dawned sunny and relatively warm so we packed up some friends and headed out for an afternoon on the boat.

Trying not to relax too hard...

Since it's still early spring actually getting into the water is still out of the question so we continued our onslaught on the fish population.

Demonstrating the proper fishing posture while on a boat

Don't worry - in the past 7 months of trying we've so far only caught one fish that was big enough to eat. Since we all know that fishing is a long process we settled in with some beers and snacks for the long haul. Just as James was admonishing the girls for our slack fishing technique and Webs was complaining that we'd only caught one fish in 3 hours we had some excitement.

Who's excited to go for a swim now??

So now we've conclusively answered the question that there are sharks in the river - we'll just assume that it's just the babies and that we won't meet this little guy's parents!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are you (at least) as cool as my brother?

Ok everyone, it's time to some some serious soul searching as my brother has purchased his tickets to come visit us down under.

Yup - he's barefooting - pretty cool huh?




Are you going to let him be the coolest one un-contested or are you going to jump on the band wagon and purchase your tickets?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Fish are Scared Now

This weekend we upped our fishing game by adding a boat to the mix. Although the weather was looking a bit dodgy we decided that the fish wouldn't mind getting wet so we went out to prove to them that we're just as tough as they are.

It's hard to dodge this many rain drops!

Thankfully the weather cleared out a bit and we continued our mission of showing the fish who's boss. Laughing at the foolish fish who clearly have no chance.

Debs and James decided that they wanted to do all of the fish catching so while Chris and I watched our bait dissapear with out a bite they proceeded to catch a record 7 fish!
James is clearly pleased with his day.

None of them were big enough for dinner (Deb's first catch might have actually been a good candidate for a fish bowl), but coupled with the fact that we didn't have a single snag we call the day a success and raced home before the daylight faded.
The race to the dock before darkness is on...

The day was topped off with the requisite burgers on the grill (or bar-b as they would remind me to say here) plus some exquisite homebrewed porter on tap.



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Anyone for bowls?

Kat bowling, everyone else preparing in the back

This past weekend Amy and I were transported into proper Australia/English society by being taken by our friends to a Lawn Bowls Club in North Manly. Lawn bowling is generally the province of retirees and aristocrats but they got us in the door with the offer of jugs of beer and trash talking.

Lawn Bowling is played on an immaculately manicured rectangular court and is most similar to bocce ball whit the goal being to roll your balls closest to a smaller, off-color ball. The biggest difference between lawn bowling and bocce is that the balls you throw with are ellipsoid, rather than round and weighted to one side to facilitate curved throws.

Lawn bowling Gatorade

Amy and I quickly took on the role of kingmaker, being better at knocking other teams' balls out rather than actually being able to land ours the closest.

Debs: The Terminator of Lawn Bowls

Add in jugs of beer to the intense competitive nature of our group and it led to some memorable showdowns.

video

We followed up the day with a bbq at Kat and Web's place that led to over eating and the next even for the day, the introduction America's next great cultural export, of beer pong to the southern hemisphere.

Finally, after hours of failing at goddamn lawn bowls, we were back in our home territory.

Our non-yankee friends took quickly to the game and the smack talk and psyche outs flowed like water.

James on the psyche-out defense, Amy: Cool as ice

Let the game now spread like wildfire across the continent.

Sunday we ventured out to the RSL (Returned and Services League (similar to the Veteran's Association in the US) at Harbord Diggers to watch the UFC fight. In Australia, every community of decent size has one of these clubs and they host everything from resturants, bars, and gyms to scout troops to large events such as comedy acts and musicians. It is also common for them to house gambling operations like slot machines or sports bookies.


View Larger Map

It was a great place to watch the fights, there were lots of large projection screens and even stadium seating in one area. The cheap beers ($3.90 each) plus the prerequisite violence entailed in watching the fights made it a home away from home (away from home).

Sunset over Freshwater, never gets old

Monday, August 23, 2010

A new age of piracy dawns.....


This weekend Amy and I signed the contract for our boat share and now own 1/12 of this sweet boat.

Rest assured that we got the good 1/12 of the boat, we wouldn't even talk about buying the crappy, smelly parts.

The boat is located about 40 minutes away on the Hawksbury River:


View Larger Map

Coming soon we are going to be skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and fishing and it will be awesome. The boat comes with all the gear for these activities as well as a built-in cooler, torpedoes, mines, and a submarine mode.

Chris' driving strategy: go faster in all cases

Amy' driving strategy: do not let Chris drive in any case

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cheap Flight of the Week


Looking to escape the blazing heatwaves currently striking the USA?

Always wondered what a prison colony looks like?

Ready to knock one more thing off that bucket list?

Come to Australia!!!

The Cheap Flight of the Week is $928

Come get some.