December 30th, 2005

There’s a ‘Best of 2004‘ so here comes The Best of 2005!!!

Album of the Year – Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams


I’d never heard of Jack Johnson until a group of us went to see him live in a park in Sydney, Australia. The gig was
really good but what was more inspirational was the lifestyle that comes with the music. JJ only really sings happy
‘take it easy’ style songs which fits well with a chilled out surf lifestyle that was what I was enjoying at the time. Now the music
provides a welcome retreat back into that world as I drive around the chaotic streets of London and face not so welcoming weather.
Cinema Trip of the Year – Sin City – Cloverdale


Probably not the best film I have seen but definitely the most memorable cinema trip of the year. The reason being was I saw
it at Cloverdale cinema near Vancouver, Canada. Cloverdale is the town used in the hit television series ‘Smallville’, which
is based on Superman’s younger years. What was funny was the people in the cinema reminded me of the characters in
Smallville. Everyone looked a little bit eerie, one picture that sticks in my mind is that of an obese woman resting a ‘bucket’ of
cola on her stomach whilst watching the film.
DVD of the Year – Thicker than Water


My first Surfing DVD purchase and probably one of the best. Thicker than Water tours some of the worlds best
breaks with some of the worlds best surfers. A buy for all budding surfers. I bought it from what is probably the best surf shop in Australia – Six Ounce Board Store
Book of the Year – The DaVinci Code


Actually to be honest this is one of the only books I have read this year. The story line is engrossing but you already
know that as everyone in the world seems to have read it.

Game of the Year – Grand Theft Auto – Vice City


I would have put Flight Simulator but unfortunately I used that last year. This game is a bit violent and should definitely
not be played by anyone under the age of 18 or anyone of a mental disposition. The ideal is basically to steal cars, trucks,
planes, bikes, boats etc.. and commit crimes for gangs that you are in. You can also shoot people in the streets or kill them
with swords, knuckle dusters, screwdrivers etc… It’s very violent but strangely enticing.
Website of the Year – Google.Com

Google are branching out in every direction, with lots of new features which are extremely useful. My favourite at the
moment is Cinema Search, where you can search local cinemas for film times. Google Maps and Google Earth are also
great features which are not only ‘cool’ products but are being used for all sorts of scenarios such as finding roads and
villages after an Earthquake in Pakistan.

Have a Happy New Year!

December 25th, 2005

Merry Christmas to everyone from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire


Merry Christmas from Ron and Gary

As soon as I’ve digested Christmas dinner I’ll write some more ;)

Rock on!

December 14th, 2005

Moustache Magnus was in town from Sweden (here, here, here, here, here, here, here and finally here) pretty much a year to the day that I last saw him on a nice sunny day in Sydney airport as he flew back to Sweden via Thailand.

Magnus arrived late on Friday night and I was pretty much still in tired phase from the work Christmas party the night before, so no partying that night just a little chat in the flat and off to sleep for an early start the next night to go and visit Vic and Mica, our friends from Australia who were currently living in Brighton!

Vic didn’t finish work until 16h00 so we had the morning to kill looking around the shops. Brighton has small pretty cool little back street shops which have pretty good shopping. Up there with some of the London shopping, Magnus particularly liked it for its cheap retro clothes that must be all the fashion in Sweden.

We finally met up with Vic and Mica in a random Brighton bar for a couple of drinks, we then continued onto a Chinese “all you can eat” place which included ice cream, it was superb! (Apart from the long drive back to London on a full stomach straight after!!)


Vic, Mica, Magnus, Me

You might not of heard but London was nearly under a big black cloud for most of the weekend ‘toxic cloud to reach London by Saturday’ read some of the papers. It was pretty scarey as you can see from this picture –


Foggy London for real

We didn’t let it stop us. The next day we did a shopping tour of London, starting off in Camden and then making our way down to Neal Street in Covent Garden and then finally ending up on Regent Street to see the Christmas lights this year. They are the best I think I’ve seen and the corporate sponsorship was to a minimum –


Guess the sponsor

In Woolloomooloo, the locals there are always banging on about this ale called ‘Coopers’. Day in day out, Coopers, Coopers, Coopers, that is all you would hear. They drank so much of it you couldn’t go into a room without seeing an empty long neck or some bottle caps with the logo on. One of Woolloomooloo’s oldest tales was Coopers was not available in UK, as it was a ‘stralian ale and so was meant to stay in ‘stralia. Here is Magnus happily purchasing as much Coopers as he could buy to take back on the plane to Sweden from my local Quickie Mart, here in London, England –


Coopers! In London!! In a corner shop!! Not possible!!

That night we headed up to Shoreditch and had a few beers (pretty dead but it was Sunday) and also had some food at Macondo after a huge luncheon meal at All Bar One, so the night drew to a close and we were ready for the final full day in London for some tourist stuff.

We actually went inside the City Hall here in London, which I did not think you were allowed to do. You can only go to the second floor but it was still pretty cool to have a look around at the insane spiral walkway that run through the centre of the building, we then headed to Tate Modern to see some messed up art, including this giant sugarcube maze –


Sugar Cube Maze @ Tate Modern

We then headed to the National Gallery and saw some cool photographs in an exhibition called ‘Living in Hell and Other Stories‘ which was basically modern photographs inspired by old masters.

What would be a weekend in London without finishing up in a Knightsbridge Jazz Club? After pulling some strings with some Jazz contacts we managed to get tickets for Curtis Stigers at Pizza on the Park. I liked the music, I almost went into a Jazz trance a few times whilst listening to the times Curtis was banging out. They were all instrumental legends –


Curtis Jazz Trance

Sadly Magnus had to go back to Sweden, but a trip to Sweden myself has been pencilled in for next summer, providing Magnus passes his driving test! A great weekend and sad to have to wave goodbye to my surfing buddy again! The End.

An ancedote. I am forever reminded by ‘old’ people when you are young to ‘enjoy it whilst it last because life goes fast when you get older’ or something along those lines.

The reality is that time goes pretty much constant for everyone (apart from Matt the Pilot – see Twin Paradox).

However, it does not explain why when I was young I seem to remember having to wait what seemed like an eternity for the next morning to come along so I could eat another one of the advent calendar chocolates. Now, I find myself having to catch up with my chocolate advent calendar by a few days everytime I go to open another one of the doors! So it must be true, time does go faster when you get a bit older.

And finally, on a technical note, fans of Google Personal Homepage who also like to go surfing will be pleased to know they can now have Global Surfari World Forecasts DIRECT to their personalised page via Google’s new Google Homepage API!! Click ‘add content’, ‘custom section’ and then paste in http://globalsurfari.com/gs.xml to get the Global Surfari Module on the personalised page. It will look something like this –

I am in the process of making a video of the weekend, but I currently have the worse cold ever (that or some form of swimming pool disease from swimming in 30 degree water then walking home in 6 degree British winter).

December 7th, 2005

Surfing in Bondi was called off yesterday after a 4-5 metre (2-3 post hype) bronzer or tiger shark was seen swimming in the bay.

“There were 100 people up the top screaming like monkeys,” said Anthony Carroll, one of the lifeguards who went out on jet-skis to alert swimmers.


Bondi Shark Photo: Daniel Matthewson

I would have loved to have seen, or even been one of those screaming monkeys! More on AquaBumps and SMH. Thanks Mike from SpoonaSound, a fearless ‘stralia surfer who was probably out there at the time, for sending me the email.

December 5th, 2005

Matts words not mine. Matt was here again on a stop off from Bangkok and about to fly back over to Sydney via Singapore. It was also his birthday so we all headed up to Shoreditch for a couple of drinks in Hoxton square and something to eat at Macondo. I had a strawberry cheesecake shooter to start off the night with which was a mistake and I knew we were going for a hardcore winter surf session on the SE coast the next day!

I woke up with a hangover as expected, tapas really doesn’t soak up alcohol. Matt came round and we headed on the 100 mile drive to Boscombe, which is a pier very close to Bournemouth ‘a carbon copy with no crowds’ (Storm Rider Guide).

I was very suspicious that we would find a wave, but Matt was talking airplane speak and said the pressure was down to 990mbar so there was a possibility of a wave. To my surprise when we got there, there was something rideable and only about 3 people out (all aged around 11) so it was on, all we had to do was get the wetsuits on, which is no easy task when the temperature outside is 0 to 6C. Fizzer was nice enough to lend us his board and wetsuit so we had all the equipment. His board is 7’2 shortboard style shape and was perfect for the conditions. Mine is a bit too short for 1.5ft waves plus the strength snap from the freezing cold waters and weight and moveability of the wetsuits makes it a problem! Although I did get a few the rides were rubbish compared to Fizzer’s board. I am going to get one.


Ready to go in!

I didn’t wear my hood as the wind was not blowing, I duck dived a wave on the way out and when the water hit me it was like putting your head into a bucket of ice! Woo!! Hangover gone!! You got a bit of a headache for a few seconds when the water hits you from the dilation of blood vessels in the brain but after that it’s fine. The waves were all right handers which I am not as strong on as I am goofy footed but it was still a cool session, we were out for about three hours I estimate.


Matt ‘better than maroubra’ Happy

So this was my first SE Coast surf trip and it was pretty cool (and cold)!! We got some fast food afterwards as we were starving and began the 100 mile journey back to London!! A nice trip and some positive feedback from one of Maroubra’s finest surfers.

You can see fullscreen unedited pictures from the trip here.

Can’t wait for the next trip, need more fitness though, working makes you weak!!

December 5th, 2005

A little winter trip was much needed to get away from the London coldness blues, so we hit Sardinia, which is an island just off of Italy (you can see it here). It was a beautiful little trip and very cheap costing only £80. Although it was out of season so no sun batheing was taking place and we almost got kicked out of the hotel by setting off the fire alarm (I had one of my epic showers that caused such a heat build up that when I opened the bathroom door it triggered the temperature increase detector to set off the alarm – the hotel staff didn’t know it was possible).

In fact it rained a little bit so we got a hire car which was named ‘bug’, because of its quriky characteristics, such as the strange sounds it made when you indicated (sounded like a game of pong on acid).


Bug

I really enjoyed driving on the right hand side of the road, I’m definetly going to try and get the UK to change to left hand drive cars it just feels right!

Oh yeah and guess what Sardinia has….


Med Waves

Lots of rocks though and no surf board so didn’t bother checking out any of the spots, it was a bit windy anyway so they were probably all blown out. We went to a little place called Neptune’s Grotto which is a really magical place that is right at the bottom of a cliff face with 642 steps –


A long way down

Once at sea level the swell from the ocean was hitting the entrace to the cave and we had to wait for the guide to tell us it was safe to cross the entrance, as the water comes over the path and into the grotto. The ocean was pretty rough and you could hear it crashing against the side of the rocks. However, once in the grotto it was very very quiet and a little bit surreal –


Grotto

The lines on the far wall show where the ocean once lapped against the walls of the grotto during the penultimate interglacial period 125,000 years ago, when the oceans where four metres higher than they are today and people lived on hills.

A nice little trip to Italy where I tasted my first Italian pizza (taste just like they do at Pizza Express) and my first Italian cappuccino (tastes just like they do at Starbucks).

Rock on next mainland Europe trip!!!!!!!!!!