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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day at the Beach? No. A Day at the Cliffs!

On one of my first days here, Ian and I decided to trek down to Coogee Beach and take the scenic walk to Bondi Beach. We never made it all the way to Bondi, it was a lot further away than we thought, but regardless it was an amazing experience on a bright, sunny day.

I was impressed by just how high the waves were getting, and the transition from the smooth beach sand to rocky cliffs. It provided for some really cool photo opportunities with splashing foam and clear skies. Walking down from Randwick (where I live) to Coogee Beach was interesting because there were a lot more shops the closer we got to the ocean, and the final road down to the beach, Coogee Bay Road, is lined with restaurants, beach shops, and bars. The beach was pretty standard, but that didn't make it any less impressive. There were people laying out in the sun, surfing, body boarding, etc. Making our way along the beach we came to a cliff that had a staircase down near the water so naturally, being a guy, I climbed down onto the rocks to take a picture and had a GREAT time climbing on rocks under the cliffs. Trust me, it was not as dangerous as it sounds, but you'd be amazed just how much exploring around on rocks can make you feel like a little kid again!



And then I saw this sign:
So naturally I did this:

And specifically for my mother's enjoyment ;-) I videotaped this:


video

Well, sorry there wasn't much beach in there, but the cliffs were way cooler. Not to mention, once the weather gets nicer Ill be at the beach a lot! Talk to everyone again soon, I still have a lot to blog about! Oh, and just a reminder, go check Facebook for some additional videos and pics that you wont find in this blog! G'Day!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rath's Reviews: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

While I may not have the ability to go to $4 movies anymore (maybe the single biggest routine that I miss being down here), I do live near a movie theater with "cheaper" $8 movie Tuesdays. It is a really nice theater called the Ritz:
and it has an incredible main theater:
I guess it will have to suffice while I am away ;-)

I should also mention before I get into my review, that Sydney also boasts the world's largest IMAX screen which my friends and I went to to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 3D. Lets just say it was obnoxiously big...so clearly I want to put one in my house one day!


Now on to my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II review:
It was incredible. Essentially the perfect ending to a story and a world that has been a HUGE part of my life. I started reading the books in 5th grade and I am now a senior in college. I can remember waiting in lines for the books, reading the books in Hawaii, dressing up for Halloween as Harry Potter, seeing the movies with middle school friends, high school friends, and college friends, dressing up for movies with Londyn, and now seeing the final film in Australia. Reading back through that list I get slightly teary eyed realizing just how many of my childhood/teenage/adult memories are intertwined with the series.
The movie itself had a perfect balance of action, drama, and comedy. I can remember when Harry Potter first came out there was a huge outcry against it because of the witchcraft and such. This final film really made me really realize how much this isn't a tale of witchcraft or magic. Its a tale about good vs. evil, friendship, loyalty, and love; and its probably one of the best stories EVER told (there is a reason it is the highest grossing film franchise of all time -- yes even more than Star Wars and James Bond, which has 22 films in its name). There are emotional scenes which really cut to your core, especially if you have been with the series the entire time. They make you realize that this really is the end, and for me that was very sad. Snape's revelation, without spoiling anything, was possibly one of the most moving scenes I've ever seen in a film and I already knew about it from reading the books! I simply can't imagine how incredible this movie series is to people who are experiencing it not knowing what happens. 

The technical side of the movie is fantastic as well. Not only is the film entertaining, it looks phenomenal. The special effects will most likely get it an Oscar nomination, the cinematography is well done, the score is the same as all the other films (aka perfect), and the acting is superb. That is in fact the last topic I would like to touch on. The young adults who started the movies at 11 years old as Harry, Ron, and Hermione have emerged as what could be some of the best actors in our generation. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and the ever-so-lovely-want-to-marry-her Emma Watson have grown up working with some of Britain's finest acting talent and it has clearly paid off. As a parting image here is how much they have grown up and how much I have grown up from 11 years old to 21 years old.

CALL ME EMMA!!

Pros: 
  • Fantastic end to a great series
  • Perfect pacing
  • The acting
  • Visual effects
  • The epilogue
Cons: 
  • Its the end :-(
  • Voldemort's awkward hug with Draco
Rath's Review Score: 10/10


Monday, July 25, 2011

FINALLY A NEW BLOG!

Hey everybody! I have been literally dying to write in my blog the last few weeks and upload pictures and videos to Facebook because I HAVE SO MUCH TO SHARE. Over the next few days/week I will updating this blog numerous times in order to catch up so get excited!

First off, the reason I have not been able to update much lately: my computer, which has worked pretty much perfectly for 3 years, decided to crap out the third day I was here, and lets just say that it was a long process (with many curse words thrown in there) to get it back to the states. Currently it is under repair and I am using a really nice replacement laptop. It was/is an unfortunate situation, but you know what? Everything happens for a reason so maybe I just needed a little stress to realize how lucky I am to be in Australia.

Anyways, on to the important stuff:


The picture above was taken by yours truly (on an iPhone too!). Im not too sure it needs much explaining as this is one of the most famous groups of structures in the entire world. My second day here, Ian (in red on the right), Soren (standing in the grey), and myself figured we would do what was the first thing on our minds: downtown Sydney. So far we have been back there several times. Honestly the most surreal part of my entire experience so far was sitting on the curved bar you can see above, soaking in all of the sights of this iconic area, with two people I had met just the day before, drinking an Australian beer. It is a memory that is instantly burned into my subconscious and will never be forgotten. 

In addition to the Opera House and Bridge (with many additional pictures of them on Facebook) there are several other sights in Sydney. For starters, the architecture is simply astounding. It seems that every building is competing with the building next to it for a more impressive and modern look. Then there is the Sydney SkyTower:

And the Cathedral (not sure of the official name) with fountain:

And as if the architecture wasn't enough to blow my mind, just imagine what happened when I saw this in a local gifts store: 
Yes, thats right ladies and gentlemen: Nebraska's fan legacy reaches all the way to Sydney, Australia. If that doesn't make some of you guy's days (particularly my dad and Uncle Jon) I dont know what will. 

But Im about to get kicked out of the library (I use their internet teehee) so I've got to wrap it up. Like I said earlier, check out Facebook as I will be uploading pictures and videos all week, and for my blog followers you can look forward to a day at the beach, cruising the Harbour, parties, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II review, revisiting Sydney, the world's biggest IMAX screen, and a rugby game where I went streaking and got laid out (just kidding but I really did go to a rugby game). 

Oh and to my mother, who somehow knew that Hurricane Australia was incoming and MADE me go buy a windbreaker, it literally saved my life and kept me a lot more dry than I would have been, so thank you! And I have to post one final picture of something that she probably wont believe:

That would be a meal that your SON prepared ON HIS OWN. It consists of roasted kangaroo that was roasted with potatoes and onions, creamed spinach, garlic bread, and a glass of wine. I had a lot of time on my hands that Sunday... 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seat 46H: The Journey to a New Life

It's hard to leave a face like this

<----

but whether Kolby likes it or not, I have now arrived in Australia. I got in yesterday around 6am and lets just say it was an extremely long day. TONS of walking and getting lost. But I always knew the first day would be the hardest. The hardest part was probably just realizing there was a lot of stuff that I wont be able to do for 5 months: play with Kolby and Katy, $4 movies with Pierce, ULofts parties, videogames, dinner with the parents, holding Lauren, stuff like that that you wouldn't expect to miss until you can't do them anymore. But then I realized there are just as many things that I get to do here that I cant do back home, and my time here doesn't seem as daunting.

The flight here was fair. My seat was right by the kitchen so the light was on the entire time and the stewards and stewardesses were talking the entire time, but it really wasn't too bad. The food was good, and customs went smoothly and (thank God my dream didn't come true!) both of my bags arrived.

The school has a really nice campus and some really interesting architecture. DU could take a lesson or two regarding pretty buildings THAT DON'T HAVE COPPER. The Study Abroad people have been very helpful so far, and the Aussie girl who got all my paperwork situated was very cute. Going off on a sidenote...the Aussie women are very interesting. They are either stunningly beautiful or straight up GOO! I have seen some movie star-esque women here, but on the other hand, I saw a lady with a full beard this morning. One thing they do share in common however is their perfume. In my opinion, it smells similar to something that Grandmas would wear in the U.S. and the smell lingers in the air far after they have walked past. Oh well I guess...I will just have to fight their perfume with the power of Armani Code: the code of seduction.

Vegemite and butter toast and a Chai Latte
A few of my roommates have arrived and so far they are really cool. Everyone is very friendly because we are all new to this, but they seem like good guys despite the fact of being in a new country. This morning Ian and I ate at a small cafe before getting groceries and it was incredible. The food here is very tasty, but more than that, its as if there is care put into each meal. Its as if every meal has the quality of Chipotle. The grocery store was interesting...the prices for some stuff was fine, but other stuff was ridiculously priced. Luckily fruits and veggies are cheap compared to the U.S. so I will be eating healthy during my time here. Ultimately, U.S. grocery stores are far better stocked, organized, and run.

Well that's all for now! Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Getting Ready to Go!


G`day Everybody!

Today is one of my last days in the good ol` U.S. of A and its fitting that it is the 4th of July. I've still got some packing to do (in other words, all of my packing to do) and some errands to run, but I wanted to get this blog set up before I left. So here we go!

I leave from D.I.A. at 6:52pm on July 6th (Wednesday) and arrive in San Francisco at 8:31pm. This is then followed by a two hour-ish layover and I leave San Francisco at 10:50pm and arrive in Sydney, Australia at 6:25am on July 8th (Friday).

Its crazy to think that this day is almost here...I have been preparing for it for a solid three years now. The reason I chose DU was for their outstanding Study Abroad program, and it is nice to realize that finally, all of my hard work is paying off. I know that this next 5 months will literally be the time of my life, and I intend to soak up every second of it. I'm not quite sure what my experience will be like, or what will happen down there (fingers crossed to become a movie star and find some attractive Aussie gal), but I am sure that I will remember it for the rest of my life!

Unfortunately, the technical term is STUDY Abroad, so there will be some school work involved, which I guess is ultimately a good thing so I can have some structure and routine while I am down there. The classes I will be taking are:

Advanced Thermofluids: the only engineering class I must complete while I am abroad, I'm hoping that it doesn't run my life!

Australian Legends: this should be an interesting class about the history of specific individuals important to the country.

Business, Ethics, and the Law: supposedly a pretty typical study abroad class. Hopefully an easy, yet insightful class.

Marine Environment: the class I am easily the most excited for. Class time includes trips to the beach and anything and everything marine related. Do I know anything about the marine environment? Absolutely not! But any class based around field trips is O.K. with me!
Hopefully within the first few days I can post my schedule of classes. I know for a fact that I FINALLY get to join the No-Class-On-Friday club, a club that engineers are excluded from at DU because our professors love/hate us that much.

Well that is all for my first post! Please follow my blogs through email or Facebook or both if you would like to keep up with me and my adventures in the land down unda!