Saturday, 29 November 2008

Blago Gluhim - So Far Away

YouTube - Blago Gluhim_So Far Away_Live

I had no idea there were so many recordings from our plays at Sloga in 2004. Wonderful.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Blago Gluhim - Segment

YouTube - Blago Gluhim_Segment

Another video from my musical history. :)
Macedonian melody, rhythm 7/8.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Pansion Atomic, Jahorina

Pansion Atomic: Pońćetak

Winter holiday at Jahorina, this year. This is probably the place where I'll stay with a whole group of people coming together. Looks beautiful.
There's already 50cm of snow on the mountains and the temperature is about -15 at Jahorina. This could be a very nice skiing season.

Blago Gluhima

YouTube - Blago Gluhim_Bluesing Blues_Live

A friend uploaded this video from 1994 when we were playing at a rock concert at Sloga. These events were held during the war in besieged Sarajevo.
Good old times...

I'm the one behind the drums, btw.

Homeless World Cup

On the way I'm cycling to work and back (and I'm obviously cycling through some interesting areas :) there are football grounds being built for the 2008 Homeless World Cup (look it up). There are two grounds at Birrarungn Marr and one at the Federation Square. The fields are almost done now. The trucks with seating are there, as well.
One of the security guards at the court was very eager to tell me what is going on. It was a very nice feeling when he noticed my interest as, I was passing by, and offered to explain the event.
The event goes around the world and, obviously, this year it is to be held in Melbourne. There are more than 40 participating countries. Expected visitors are around 100,000 people. The number of volunteers to support the event is close to 900. The game is very similar to indoor soccer. Teams have 4 players, the fields are small and the goals are a bit wide for the fields but I guess that's the point of the game.
As can be seen on the event's web site, the point of the event is to end homelessness in the world and help reach the ultimate goal of everyone having a place they call home. Hmm, that feels so close to what I'm looking for.

Snow in Melbourne

We're at work on 33rd floor. There are clouds outside, a light rain and SNOWFLAKES are flying around outside our window!
If ever, this is definitely not the time when one would expect to see snowflakes in Melbourne but, then, this is what weather is like over here. Only yesterday it was 28 degrees. :)

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Preparations for the Australian Open

This morning, as I was cycling to work next to the tennis grounds, I saw preparations being made for the next Australian Open. The containers are being assembled into a temporary village for news reporters or whatever. The tennis courts are being cleaned, new fences put, ads hung around the courts.
That reminds me of the time I first came here. In January, I was watching the Australian Open on TV and waiting for the flight that was to happen in a few days. Then, I landed right after the competition was over.
Later, in March I think, it will be Formula 1 time again. Mmm... I'm getting used to this. :)

Electorate Obligations while Overseas

Overseas electors

This page lists the obligations of electors in Australia while traveling or living overseas.

Guide to Living and Working Overseas

Living and working overseas - Travel information - Consular services - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Here is a guide for Australians on how to live and work abroad.
The list is pretty general and there are no provisions I should really worry about, except for electoral duty. But there is a long way until that comes into focus.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Policy Deal Reached in Bosnia - NATO Pushes Bosnia on Policy Deal

Appears that the situation in Bosnia is pretty much the same as ever. Same old rhetoric and issues. So different to life here.
In Australia, even the radio ads for toys now have the words "stock market" in them. :) In Bosnia, the equivalent would probably be the word "nation", but not as in the Western sense of the word. More as if in a tribal sense...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Death by Deodorant

Boy killed by deodorant fumes: coroner - Yahoo!7 News

As the saying goes - "nobody died of bad smell..." :)

Now, seriously, I don't like spray deodorants because I can't breathe after spraying them.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Photos: Healesville Sanctuary

This was another Sunday day trip. We rented cars for the trip. This time we got Toyota Prius, a hybrid. It was interesting even to just get it started. This was my first car that does not have a key and is started with a push of a button. Our initial thoughts were that the car is cool and we were hoping to see what it can do.

We headed off towards the Alpine area, North-East of Melbourne. Went through Lillydale and the area looked familiar from the bike trip several weeks ago. We drove through some wonderful areas. The scenery gets definitely different as one moves into higher altitudes. There were lots and lots of farms and vineries along the way.

As the time went by, we were less and less impressed by the car. The engine seemed to roar as if there is only one gear. The power was small. Battery did not have enough capacity for a decent electric (EV) drive.

The main point of our trip was Healesville Sanctuary, a zoo and an animal hospital. It hosts only Australian animals and is not a typical zoo. It is used as a sanctuary for wounded animals and endangered species. Many animals can bee seen in their natural environment and without bars and fences. There is an animal hospital that is also open for the public too look around. A very modern and eye-catching design with all the rooms, where animals are treated, visible through the glass.
Koalas, emus, kangaroos, lizards, birds of prey, Tasmanian Devil... There are shows at certain times, where demonstrators show the animals and give a brief lecture about them. We briefly saw the one with lizards and koalas but were on time to watch the whole show on birds of prey. That was simply amazing. Birds were flying just above our heads and acting almost as if being remotely controlled. Unbelieveable. We watched an eagle breaking an egg with a stone, a hawk catching nuts thrown into the air. The whole tour was entertaining and enjoyable.

After that we headed off to the vineries in the region. We went around two places, looking at the vineyards, beautiful scenery, and talking to the hosts there. Wine tasting and discussion about wines was impressive.

In the afternoon we headed back to the city. I drove the car on the way back and was quite pleased with the performance. After seeing the fuel usage statistics and comparing them to the second car - Ford Falcon, which used a quarter of its fuel tank while we did not spend even 10%, we were impressed. Shifting between the electric motor and the petrol one seems to work really well if the drive is in mostly urban areas with low speed limits. The car interior is spacious and the visibility is extraordinary. There is a lower part of the back window that allows for an excellent rear parking visibility. I'm sure the newer generation is even better and I'm hoping to own one of these vehicles one day.

The finishing touch for the night was an authentic Japanese restaurant where we had dinner in a tatami room. The whole interior looked more traditional than any other place I've seen. Tatami mats, shoji screens between compartments, lamps, table arrangement... There was an ad for a night of traditional Japanese music night in two weeks, that is to be held at the venue.

Beautiful end of the week. The photos are here.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Full Stop

It feels as if all the options I was interested in are either achieved or unattainable at the moment.

Financially, the interest rate is falling. Markets are falling even faster. Australian Dollar is falling compared to Euro. Employment is frozen as countries are entering recession. There is no way to change the financial situation for the better.

After more than half a year, there is still no word from the military. I’m getting accustomed to the possibility that the call might come to late or not at all.

Travel wise, I’ve seen most of the metropolitan area by now. I have also been to the 12 Apostles, down the Great Ocean Road. Tomorrow I will be travelling to the South-Eastern areas, down to the coast. That would, pretty much, be it for Victoria. I still haven’t been to the mountains, further into the Alpine area but somehow I feel there would not be much new to see there, either.

I can’t be bothered playing video games, either online or offline. Sports are getting boring as the temperature rises and I have a lack of time after work with all the shopping and the usual stuff.

So, as it seems, I’m pretty much out of ideas. Wondering whether it is the time for a holiday or some change on a larger scale. We’ll see if the next holiday will do the trick.

The bad thing is that there aren’t real alternatives, either. Europe is also getting into recession so there is a lack of employment there, too. That quite limits my options for those larger-scale decisions.

Seems like a dead season at the moment.

Travian Progress

I’m playing Travian more actively these days. That is occupying my mind at
the moment. Trying to work out different strategies how to survive and

Some of the players around have grown so strong that it is impossible for
players at my level to resist. There is simply no way to counter the number of
troops they have gathered.

My neighbours, who were stronger than me until recently, started loosing the
population. I sent one of them a message and he told me he’s getting catapulted.
This means it is better for me not to resist any attack or try to build an army,
otherwise the whole village will be destroyed.

Some players from the alliance I’m in are also being destroyed by other
strong players. Soon it will be game over for most of the middle-level players.
The weak ones are already out, I’d say. All the smaller villages in the region
have been abandoned, concluding by their non-moving size. They are now a simple
farms for the stronger players.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Travian guide to economic powerhouse

How-to guide: Roman economic powerhouse - Travian v2 Wiki (S2-S6)

I have finally found a guide that explains the type of game I'm playing right now. This is my first time playing Travian and I prefer a more peaceful option since I have no idea how things work.
At the moment I am in a position to decide which way I'm going and if I should build another village.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Winter Holidays

I’ll be travelling to Europe during Winter there and I’m trying to arrange accommodation, tickets, and the rest for a full winter holiday. Hopefully there will be enough snow for some fun time and skiing.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Photos: A Ride to St.Kilda

The temperature is back to a more normal range, which is around 20 or less. The day was quite windy but no clouds, sunny and beautiful. In the morning I decided this would be a day without a computer, otherwise I'd never get out. So, after breakfast I decided I wanted to see the Ocean. I haven't been to St. Kilda for a while and I remembered the St.Kilda Festival, my first event in Australia. It seemed so long ago and I wanted to see that area and the beach again.

I went towards the Federation Square. There was a Polish festival and the place was crowded. So I continued down the bike track towards the next bridge. At Flinders Station, I crossed to Southbank and walked towards Crown. There was a lot of people outside, sitting on the banks of the Yarra River or walking around and enjoying the day. From Crown to Port Melbourne there is a very nice bicycle track that crosses only a few roads in which there is very little traffic. There, the first sight of the ocean is tied to Spirit of Tasmania ferry.

I enjoyed slowly cycling down towards St.Kilda. The wind was quite strong. There were many kite surfers along the coast. One woman was hit by a kite in front of me and was knocked to the ground. A group of people gathered quickly and I was chasing the kite onto the road. At St.Kilda I enjoyed watching kite surfers jumping up around 4-5 meters in the air, performing loops, falling into the water... From the Pier I walked through to Albert Lake. Then, on the bicycle tracks again I went to the Formula 1 pit stop and around the lake.

There I got a bit hungry and decided to go back home, shopping and prepare some mashed potatoes and breaded calamari rings for dinner.

Photo album available here.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Life in Oz

Not much is going on around here. The temperature was hitting 35 degrees Celsius in the past several days. Fortunately, last night there was some rain which cooled down the air and the land got its share of water (finally). This was one of those rare real rains that are quite rare to see in Melbourne. Especially during the day. I remember only one so far. While, at the same time, there were a few of those overnight ones.

The current situation in the economy is causing many companies to freeze new recruitment and rethink their strategy. This is a growing trend. Apparently the number of unemployed is to rise so it is hard to justify new employees. Especially when noone knows the extent of the current crisis nor how long it would last.

At work, it feels we’re in stone age. I have been reading about some new technologies used in the development world. Model View Controller pattern for ASP.Net, Velocity and other distributed storage solutions, Linq and Entity Framework, and other new technologies are changing the way we, developers, work. The consequences will not be felt for some time for the economic reasons above. But, I feel like during high-school days, reading about all the new stuff out there. Simply amazing.

Still arranging some details for the winter trip in January. Looking forward to seeing snow again.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Photos: Williamstown

On Sunday I've been to Williamstown with a friend. We went to look around the town since he found a room there. Williamstown is a nice little town. Physically, it is very close to the city. Yet it feels isolated as it is separated from Melbourne by the bay, rivers, harbor, oil refinery, and Footscray. Some people call the last one Footscary.
The place is very relaxed. Most of the shops and restaurants were open. Lots of people in the parks and around water. Williamstown harbor hosts small ships that offer tours around the bay and along the rivers. There is a constant line between Williamstown and St.Kilda. I reckon, if there was a ferry between Williamstown and the City CBD, it would be very convenient to live there. Although it is only a few train stations to the city, the ferry line would make it feel even closer.
We went all around the peninsula. The area is very nice. Surrounded by water, it feels a bit isolated and quiet. Not too much traffic. Compared to other towns around Melbourne it has that feeling of being a separate town while others feel just like another suburb merged in a large metropolitan area.
There are different kinds of restaurants. We wanted to have some Japanese food but that restaurant was closed so we went to a noodles place and had a nice Chinese dish.
Sun is already close enough so I got sunburnt.

Photos are available in my albums section.
See 2008-11-09 Williamstown album.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Another Perspective

Derby, trams and penguins - Melbourne, Australia Travel Blog

A friend's daughter has recently been to Melbourne and visited the city and surrounding attractions. Her trip pretty much summarizes what a visitor would expect to see in only a couple of days.
It is interesting to read from a visitor's perspective. That is how I used to see Melbourne but now it is different. I already feel a part of this city. I see some other things than before, I'm interested in another places, know some hidden but excellent authentic restaurants, enjoy visiting places that are not on tourist maps, etc.
But, still, I haven't been to Phillip Island to see the penguins. Actually, one of the reasons is that there is the motorcycle track there and I could not go to Phillip Island without visiting it. That means overnight stay, renting a car... A bit more organization and a full weekend. A perfect scenario for a long weekend, which I happen not to have. So I'm a bit lazy. Love to relax on weekends, sleep a bit longer. At least that's what I think. Today I woke up at 7am, which is definitely not sleeping longer.
Catching up with a friend. Going to Williamstown, where he found a room to live, just to look around. I've been through Williamstown a couple of times and this will be a nice opportunity to explore that area a bit more. Just need to bring my camera along. I know some friends will be delighted by Williamstown photos. :)

Movie Night

Last night I went to a cinema to watch Burn After Reading. It was organized by Collingwood Homework Club as a fundraiser event. The movie was quite funny and', in a way, presents hopelessness of the current situation in the USA and the world in general.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Web Traffic – Number of Bets

Today is Melbourne Cup Day. It' is a public holiday in Victoria and the most important day of the year at the place where I currently work.

Today, at the horse races, we have had 18,000 bets per hour on our web site. That is 3,000 bets per minute or 50 bets per second during the day.

This might not be a lot when compared to other betting companies but is a lot of web traffic nonetheless. The most I have seen so far.

When the going gets tough...

... the tough get going.

That's a right saying for the current moment. It seems that all the recruitment is on hold for now. Recession is the excuse.
Well, according to the stock charts, there is a way out and it's on the way. It seems the markets are off bottom. The recession in the real world, on the other hand, would take another year or so.
Just in time to head back home. :D

Sunday, 2 November 2008

When to go jogging?

What is the best time of day to go jogging? |
According to the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, “ The best time of day to exercise is the one that's easiest and most convenient for you. If you're undecided, consider how your body's energy level fluctuates throughout the day.
· Morning. You can complete your workout first thing and have a sense of accomplishment to carry you through the day.
· Lunch time. Your body's natural rhythm slows down in the afternoon. Exercising in the middle of the day can help prevent that energy lull.
· Evening. In the late afternoon and early evening your lungs are more open, and your muscle strength and flexibility peak. But if your daily workload is taxing you may feel too drained to exercise.”

All You Need to Know Before Jogging

What You Should Ask before You Start Running - For Dummies

The link above contains very useful advice for everyone who wants to go jogging. Running every day IS NOT recommended, contrary to what most beginners believe.

Always use the "talk test" when you run in order to get optimum results and avoid problems with too much or too little running.

The time to jog varies between 20 and 60 minutes. Start with 20 and aim for 45 later on.
Work out 3 to 4 days a week. Body needs 48 hours to adapt to the new workload.

Besides the topics explained in the text, it is interesting to see the differences between cycling and jogging. While cycling is more fun and easier for the legs, jogging apparently provides better results as more muscles work out and is better for the aerobic capacity.

Also, check out these tips on stretching.