28 June 2007

Big night at the Opera

Today was a big day for the Sydney Opera House. A television news teaser just announced that the SOH has been named a World Heritage site. Opened in October 1973, it is the youngest to be included on the World Heritage list. It was considered for the list because it represents 'a masterpiece of human creative genius'. It is only the second Australian building to make the list, and seventeenth Australian site overall. Today's nominations bring the total up to 843 sites worldwide.

This is big news for Australia. World Heritage status is a tourism boom, even for a site like the Opera House that had over four million visitors last year. It also provides protection for the SOH, including a 2.5km radius barrier around it protecting views to and from the site.

It's too bad this announcement didn't come a week earlier. My year 7 geography class just began an assessment task requiring research on a World Heritage site. Several of them thought they were going to do the Opera House, only to check the list and find out it wasn't there. They have since moved on to other sites.

So how many sites have you been to? With today's addition, I'm up to seven—only 836 more to go.

23 June 2007

Qantas Wallabies commercial

This is the Qantas Wallabies commercial that aired during last week's game versus South Africa.

16 June 2007

Full moon

The Wallabies played the Springboks of South Africa last night in Cape Town. The Wallabies lost 22-19, but there was a funny incident at the end of the first half.

One of the South African players broke through the Wallabies line for a nice gain before being caught from behind. As he was tackled, his shorts were yanked down to mid-thigh, revealing bare white South African bum. This was punctuated by the announcer's 'Ohhhh!!!!', followed a few seconds later with 'well, there's a crack in the Wallabies defense.'

13 June 2007


Thanks to the miracle of the internet, and specifically Skype, we now have a Dallas area local phone number. So if you are in Dallas, you can call us Down Under for nothing from your home phone. Or if you have nationwide calling on your cell phone (does anyone not?), that's a free call, too. Shoot me an email if you want the number.

Also, we finally got a webcam, so if you are on Skype we can make a video call and you can remember how good looking I am. Search for me on Skype or send me an email and I can give you that username, too.

Just remember, we are fifteen hours ahead of you, so when it's noon in Dallas, it's three in the morning here!

07 June 2007

Back to school

When I was in eleventh grade, my high school was just starting a 'write across the curriculum' program. Some of the subjects, in this case math, got a little creative with writing, since writing was not a regular part of the class. Ms. Voss, my math teacher, had us write three letters to universities, requesting information packets. She wanted us to choose one school we were confident we could get into, one school that would be a challenge, and one that would be a dream application. I chose the University of Sydney as my dream app. I'm not really sure why. Maybe it was because my parents had been to Australia a few years earlier and it seemed exotic. Like most American kids, I considered anything foreign to be exotic. I never actually applied to Sydney back then—it was just a letter I wrote because my teacher told me to.

Well, sixteen years later, I will actually be a student at the University of Sydney. I recently submitted an application for the Master of Development Studies program and got the call today that I'm in. Basically, it is a study in developing countries and, as the department head describes it, the program allows the freedom to 'cherry pick' your classes. I'll be able to choose courses in human rights, peace and conflict studies, globalisation, communication and indigenous issues, to name just a few. My problem will be choosing only eight classes. Click here to see more about the program.

Classes are offered in the evening, so this won't affect my work. It should take me two years to complete the degree, assuming that I take two classes a semester. I start at the end of July.

I'm excited. Nervous, but excited. I went to an information expo a month ago promoting the program, and it was nice being on a campus again, talking to professors, being 'academic'. It will be particularly exciting studying topics that I am very interested in.

So what's next? Well, I don't know exactly. Maybe nothing other than a pay raise for earning a master's degree. But what I would really like to do is work for the Carter Center, the United Nations, or some similar organisation that would enable me to work as an advocate for a developing country. How about that, Dad? Jimmy Carter, my boss. Heather is taking Spanish now, and I'll start next term, too, just in case. Gotta brush up a bit on my espaƱol if I want Jimmy Carter to be mi jefe.

I've got time to figure all that out. For now, it's time to hit the books. Ms. Voss, thanks for the writing assignment—it took a while, but I got into my dream school.

06 June 2007

Wilco show iMix

I finally put the previously promised Wilco iMix together, consisting of the playlist from their concert at Enmore Theatre. I tried to include tracks from their live album Kicking Television, but my US iTunes account doesn't recognise my Australian CD. That's really too bad, because it makes sense to use live tracks when recreating a concert playlist, plus some of the live songs are better than the studio versions—more energy. So in addition to my iMix, I also recommend Kicking Television.
I'm trying to put together more iMix setlists for concerts I've been to. I have ready to post in the next few weeks, but if anyone knows where I can find Ben Folds setlists on the World Wide Web, let me know.

01 June 2007

Surfing 50 States

If there is one thing I have learned in our time here, it is that Australians are a crazy bunch. I found something today that further confirmed this: Surfing 50 States.
These two Aussies took a seven month trip, driving across all 50 states in search of something in each one to surf. And they were successful. Your first question is this: how did they find a place to surf in the inland states? Answer: no one said it had to be water. 'Surfing' was defined as standing on a surfboard with forward momentum.
Looks to me like they had quite an adventure, and I freely admit that I am jealous. This sounds like a great trip. Congrats to the Surfing 50 States boys. Check out this sampler video of their adventures.