The Australia Journals: Mar. 27, 2010

Group picture in front of the rental car during a road trip to Phillip Island.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


Driving in a foreign country can be a little bit of a terrifying thought, but if you are able to do a road trip with a few people, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great way to spend some time with new friends and see some things you may not otherwise see. This was one of my favorite days while in Australia. Driving on the left wasn’t as difficult to get used to as I thought it would be, although there were definitely moments where habit came through (such as hitting the windshield wipers instead of the blinker). 

The Journal Entry

Today was an amazing day. I got up at 7, ate breakfast, and got ready. At 8:30 I went to the ups office to meet everybody to walk to the car rental place. Vivien, Vicky, Elizabeth, Erin, and I all went. The car rental place was down Blackburn Road a little ways. It was about a 20 minute walk, which wasn’t too bad. When I was getting the car, the guy asked me if I had any sort of proof I was living at the halls, and I didn’t. Luckily he let it slide. He said if his boss was there that wouldn’t have happened, but luckily that didn’t happen. We got pretty much a brand new car. It was a blue Holden Cruzer. The guy said they had only had it for about 2-3 weeks. That was pretty sweet. It was a nice car. I was very impressed. Anyway, I drove first. The first time I had to use the blinker I hit the windshield wipers. Haha. I was even thinking when I got into the car not to do it and I still did. It was pretty funny. The actual driving part wasn’t too bad. It was actually pretty easy. It wasn’t near as weird as I thought it was going to be. We took the freeway for a little while and then got on a highway. I had to do a couple roundabouts which weren’t too bad. It took about an hour to get to the animal park. We went to Maru Animal Park. It was a little ways before Phillip Island. That was really cool. We got to feed kangaroos, and even pet them. We got to see wallabies, dingoes, koala bears, a Tasmanian devil, and more. It was definitely worth it to go there. After that Elizabeth drove onto the Island and to The Nobbies. We ate lunch after we got to The Nobbies. There were some really cool views from there. After we ate we went into the gift shop and then did a short boardwalk thing. That was really neat. After we had finished there Elizabeth drove to the chocolate factory. They had so many different kinds of chocolate bars and stuff you could get there. We all had a really hard time deciding what to get. I ended up getting a milk caramel cream bar, a milk peppermint cream bar, and a milk strawberry cream bar. It was $9.60 just for the 3 bars. I ate the peppermint one as soon as we left. It was really good. Erin drove after we left the chocolate factory. She was kind of freaking out after she got behind the wheel. It was pretty funny. She just drove to a game place called Amaze n Things. It was pretty close to the chocolate factory. We stopped there, went into a candy shop for a couple minutes, then walked around the place a little bit. We then came back to the store to get some ice cream until we found out how expensive it was. It was $4.00 for a really small cup, so we decided not to get any. After that I drove up to Cowes. We were gonna try to get to a viewpoint, but ended up driving on all these narrow residential streets. We ended up parking on a dead-end street and walking on a short path to the beach. After that we walked along the beach for a while picking up shells and visiting. It was fun. After we had walked a while we turned around and walked back to the car. After that I drove to a place called Red Rock Point. It was another beach. It was pretty neat. We just hung out there for a while and visited. At about 4:30 we left and Elizabeth drove back into Cowes. We parked in the downtown area and walked around a little bit looking at places to eat. After we had found where we all wanted to eat, we used some public restrooms and then all got our food. Vivien and Elizabeth got fish and chips, Vicky got noodles, Erin got chicken nuggets, and I got a Hawaiian chicken parm sandwich thing with chips. It was pretty good. While we were eating we saw some of the kids from Loyola and visited with them. They had come with Monash Sport. That was cool. After we had finished eating, we walked to an ice cream place. I got some boysenberry swirl ice cream. It was really good. Once again a little overpriced, but it was good. After that we went back to the car and Elizabeth drove to the penguin parade place. It was raining on the way there. After we got into the main building we looked through a couple of the shops. Erin, Elizabeth, and Vicky bought ponchos. By the time we headed out to the viewing area it wasn’t raining anymore. We went and sat down at about 7:40. The penguins were so cute. They were so small. They would come to shore in groups and then walk up the beach as groups. There was one group that kept going back and forth from the water to the beach. It was so funny. It was like they couldn’t decide whether to go up the beach or not. Finally all of them but one did. That one stayed in the water. Towards the time we left it started to sprinkle. By the time we had left it was pretty empty already. It was really cool to see that. After we left there Elizabeth drove back to Melbourne. We came back to the halls and everybody went to their rooms to put stuff up. We then all met back at the car and I drove to Pinewood to go to Coles. This was at about 10:45 I believe. We all did some shopping, and then drove back to the halls. It was so nice not to have to take public transport to go shopping. It was so much quicker and easier. As we were dropping off Erin and Vivien, we realized we needed to fill the car up with gas. So Vicky, Elizabeth, and I went to do that. We went to the 7-11 on North Rd. I went and asked the cashier if I needed to leave my credit card with him before I started pumping, and he said I didn’t have to. He then asked me if the car was gas, and I said yes, and he told me we needed to move to a different pump. I went back to the car and told Vicky and Elizabeth that, and Vicky pointed out that “gas” means like “propane gas,” while the gas in the United States is referred to as petrol here. When I opened the tank cap, it was unleaded fuel only, so we were at the right pump. The cashier came out after I started pumping, and I had to explain to him I got the terminology mixed up. It was pretty funny. Anyway, I paid for gas, and then we came back to the halls. I came back to my room, got groceries put up, made some chocolate milk, and then started writing this. It is now 1:17 A.M. There is probably so much more I could write about today, but I’m really tired and need to get to bed. It was a really fun day. I’m really glad we got to do it. It was awesome having our own vehicle and being able to do whatever we wanted. It was so funny because everybody was so nice about where they wanted to sit and who wanted to drive that it was always a long process deciding who was going to drive and where everybody was going to sit. Some funny things about driving here was that both Elizabeth and I hit the windshield wipers and we both reached to the wrong side for seat belts. That’s really all I can remember right now. Tomorrow I may spend a little while seeing if I can think of anything else, but for not it’s off to bed. 

The Australia Journals: Mar. 19, 2010

A game of interhall volleyball while at Monash.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


I never played intramural sports at OU, but I was glad I did it while I was at Monash. It was a fun way to spend some time with the Australian students and other students studying abroad. If you do study abroad, I would definitely recommend looking for opportunities like this to spend some time with the “locals”. 

The Journal Entry

Today was pretty good. This morning I got up at 7 and made the rest of the pancake batter. It wasn’t that good this morning. After that I got ready and went to class. Once again 3360 was way confusing. I’m hoping to spend a while tomorrow going through problems and notes for that class. After that Elizabeth and I went to the Menzies building and studied until our 3040 tute. That went ok. Got to go back over a couple problems we worked in there sometime. After that I came back to my room. I ate lunch and then got onto my computer. I was hoping my parents would be on Skype, but they weren’t. I ended up watching some March Madness on the internet. That was pretty sweet to be able to do that. At 1:45 I headed to class. 2020 wasn’t too bad today. Nothing particularly interesting happened today though. After that I came back to my room and watched some more March Madness until about 3:45. At 3:45 I went down to the courtyard to meet to go play volleyball for interhall sports. Dave came down a couple minutes later. We weren’t able to get a team together until about 4, which is when our first game was supposed to be. We got to the place where we were playing and they hadn’t started yet. We were just playing at Monash Sport. We had 3 games we played. After a while some more people showed up so we ended up having a pretty good sized team. We lost all 3 games though. It was still fun. I really enjoyed it. After the games I came back and got a shower. Then I cooked a couple frozen pizza things for dinner. They were pretty good. After that I went to the foyer and watched a couple people play Mario for a while. At about 8:30 I came to my room and watched 24. It was a pretty awesome episode tonight. After that was over I started writing this. It’s only 9:40, but I’ll probably get ready for bed pretty soon since I didn’t get much sleep last night and I’m planning on getting up at 8 tomorrow morning so I can go shopping early. 

Show Report: Austin Music & Arts Fest 2020

Over the weekend I participated in the Austin Music & Arts Festival. Even before the coronavirus I didn’t have real high hopes leading up to the festival. I got the impression it was more of a music festival with artists on the side, but it was supposed to bring in a pretty large crowd, so I figured it was worth a shot. I never saw any sort of promotion or listing of the artists participating (outside off the musicians). Most of the shows I have done so far (if not all of them) have at least listed the artists on their website, so that was a little bit discouraging. And then caronavirus happened, and I fully expected the show to be cancelled. They did end up changing where the artist booths were located and the arrangement to try to space us out a bit, but the show went on. Keep reading for all the details of the weekend.


I got to the festival site a little after noon on Friday. It wasn’t clear at all where we were supposed to check in. I eventually found another artist and talked to him about it for a minute. There really wasn’t a place to check in, and it was first come, first served for booth location, so I pulled up to an open spot and started setting up. One really nice thing about this show was that I was able to park my truck right behind my booth and leave it there while I was setting up and during the actual show. It’s always really nice not to have to dolly everything to my spot. I have had a couple other shows where I have been able to park my truck next to the booth during set up, but this was the first show I was able to park the truck behind the booth during the show. 

Set up went pretty well. The weather was great, which always helps. When I was setting up the top of my booth, I ended up putting it on ever so slightly crooked, which I didn’t notice until I started putting the exterior walls up since it made the exterior walls off a bit. I eventually got it fixed well enough. Lesson learned for next time. Haha. I believe I was finished setting up in about 2.5 hours, and that was going at a fairly relaxed pace. Much better than the 4 hours it would take me when I first started doing shows. Thankfully that left me some time to go get some fire hydrant pictures around Round Rock. After I spent 2-3 hours doing fire hydrant pictures, I checked into the hotel, got cleaned up, and then went to eat at Torchy’s Tacos. I asked one of the locals where to eat after I finished setting up and he recommended Torchy’s. I got the green chile pork taco and Mexican rice. Both were very good. After that it was back to the hotel to call it a day. 


On Saturday the show didn’t start until 11, which gave me some time to go get fire hydrant pictures in Austin. When I went to make my PB&J sandwiches before leaving, I realized I had left my peanut butter at home. Thankfully I had noticed some peanut butter packets in the breakfast area, so I went and grabbed some of those. I spent about an hour and a half getting fire hydrant pictures, and then went to the show. Once again I thought there was supposed to be a spot for artists to check in when we arrived, but that was nowhere to be found. Eventually I went with a couple other artists and we found one of the organizers, and the organizer said someone would be by our booths at some point with our packets. Someone came by a while later with the packets, which had our wristbands, two $8 credit tokens to the food trucks, and two beverage tokens. It was nice to get the food truck and beverage tokens. 

The show got off to a pretty slow start. I think it was about an hour and a half before someone actually came into my booth. Thankfully the booths were closer together than I was expecting, so I could visit with the neighboring artists while it was slow. I had been worried leading up to the show that the distance between booths would make visiting with neighboring artists and watching my booth difficult. During the early afternoon there was a fairly steady flow of people coming through the festival, but not busy by any means. Then after 6:00 traffic pretty much died off. I ended up leaving around 7:45. The weather was great once again. It got a little bit breezy around noon, but it died back down later in the afternoon. I made a couple sales, I got visit with a couple of my neighbors, and I met a former city manager of Guthrie, OK and had a good conversation with her. So not a complete loss of a day, but I have had better days. 


Sunday I slept in a little bit. I had thought about getting up earlier and getting some more pictures in Austin, but decided to wait until next trip and try to get some extra sleep since I would be getting up early on Monday morning. It actually turned out to be a good choice because it was raining lightly in the morning. I got breakfast and then worked on getting some of this blog typed up while I had some spare time. 

I headed to the show a little after 10:00. Several of the artists around my tent decided to pack up Saturday evening and not come back for Sunday. It rained on and off from the time I got there until around 2:30. That on top of everything else resulted in the show being a ghost town pretty much. Between 11 and 2:30, I only remember two people coming into my booth. I was able to do some reading on hiking options for my solo backpacking trip later this year, so that was nice, but that was about the only nice thing about it. 

I decided around 2:30 to call it a day and started packing up. I would say at least half of the artists at that point were either gone already or in the process of packing up. By the time I left, there were very few artists left. The tear down was nice since I was able to take my time and there was music playing. That is the first tear down at a show where it hasn’t been a rush to try and get everything torn down and packed. However, packing up when everything is wet is no fun, and the exterior of my tent ended up getting pretty dirty. Thus the picture above of my tent exterior drying after getting wiped down in my garage.


So all in all a pretty crazy trip. Lots of ups and downs. Definitely not the most organized show, but they did get thrown a curve ball at the last minute. Sunday was really disappointing, but I was glad I was able to make a couple sales on Saturday. It wouldn’t have surprised me if I didn’t make a sale all weekend. Hopefully some of the pictures I got turned out. That would at least help make the trip a little more worth it. I really liked a song they used to test the sound system, so I got a new song added to my iTunes library. I ended up coming home with some art from a couple other artists to get hung on my walls (more details on this on Facebook later this week). And as always, it was nice to meet some other artists. I will try to get the pictures posted in the next couple weeks, so be on the lookout for those. 

The Australia Journals: Mar. 13, 2010

View from the Eureka Skydeck looking east. Lots of memories included in this picture.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


When you’re away from home for an extended time, it’s not uncommon to realize you are very thankful for certain things at home. This trip was no exception. This was a day that, by the end, made me very thankful for not having to rely on public transportation at home. The Melbourne public transportation system wasn’t bad, but it was just so much more of a pain, typically involved some waiting, and I always had to keep in mind I had to get purchases back to the dorms on public transportation. It was definitely nice to have it to get around while I was down there, but I was very thankful to get back home to my own vehicle. 

The Journal Entry

(Actually written evening of March 15 about March 13.)

Saturday I got up at 7:30, ate breakfast, and got ready. I went down to catch the first shuttle bus to the shopping center. Monash runs a free shuttle back and forth from Brandon Park shopping center on Saturday mornings. While I was waiting for that I realized I had forgotten my list. So I had to run back up to my room and grab that. The stop is right by Farrer Hall so I didn’t have to go far. I made it back in time, but when the shuttle bus showed up, it filled up before I could get on. That was a bummer. I had to wait for the next one, which took about 10 minutes. When I got to the shopping center I found Coles and did my shopping. After that was finished I took the shuttle back to the halls. I put everything up and then went down to the bus loop. I saw the bus I wanted pulling away, and I had to wait for the next one, which took about 30 minutes. I had to wait for a while for a train once I got there as well. I believe it took between 1.5 and 2 hours to get to the city from the time I left my room. Once I was in the city I went to the Eureka tower. That was really awesome. It was a bummer though because the glare on the windows was really bad, so it was hard to get good pictures. While I was there I did The Edge, which is a glass cube thing you get in that goes out from the side of the building. That was pretty cool. I was up in the tower until about 2. After that I headed to Pancake Parlour at the Bourke St. Mall. It took me a while to find it, which was kind of annoying. I got the Farmer’s Breakfast, which was 2 pancakes, eggs, and hash browns. It was pretty good except for the hash browns. They were overcooked. Overall I wasn’t particularly impressed though. After that I went to the student welcome thing at Fed Square. I got there about 3 and left at about 3:40. I got to see a snake and a couple crocs on the stage. That was pretty cool. After that I went to see a production of Madagascar by the Melbourne Theater Co. at the arts center. It was a “mind twister” type of play where it all came together at the end, and I missed something because I was lost at the end, and pretty much through the entire play, which was a bummer. It probably would have been a lot better if it had made sense. Anyway, that finished at about 5:45 and I had to hurry and get to the IMAX by 6:30. I took a train from Flinders St. to Parliament and then walked to the IMAX. I made it there at about 6:20. That was good, because I was kind of worried about getting there on time. I watched the new Alice in Wonderland in 3D. It was pretty awesome. I was kind of skeptical about the movie, but it ended up being really good. That finished a little while after 8. I caught a tram to the corner of Russel. St. and Bourke St. and then went and had dinner at Taco Bills. It was really weird eating there by myself, but it was really good. I didn’t eat until 9. I got the Enchiladas Grande. After that I walked to Flinder St. Station. I just barely caught the train that was there. Then I came back and went to bed. 

The Australia Journals: Mar. 6, 2010

Flooded street in downtown Melbourne on way home from surfing trip.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


Half of this day I was definitely in Australia (surfing), and the other half felt more like Oklahoma (thunderstorms). I had never surfed before, so I was really excited to give that a shot. I really enjoyed it. I was bummed that it got cut short by the storms. Thunderstorms had caused quite a bit of damage and flooding in Melbourne. Traffic and mass transit was a mess, so getting back to Monash ended up being quite the adventure. You can read all about it in the journal entry below. 

The Journal Entry

I got up this morning at 5:40. I had a surfing lesson trip today. It was through Monash Sport again. I ate breakfast and then got all my stuff together. I left at about 6:45 to go to the pick-up area. We were supposed to get picked up at 7:20, but the bus didn’t show up until almost 7:40. It was the same type of bus as last weekend. We stopped by Caulfield and RMIT to pick people up. By the time we had picked everybody up the bus was completely full. While we were leaving Melbourne everybody had to say their name and some info about themselves. We drove to Ocean Grove to do the surfing lessons. We weren’t really sure if we had gone to the right place when we got there, but it ended up being the right place. We did the surfing lesson through Ride a Wave. When we got there we got a wetsuit and had to get changed into that. After that we got our boards and ankle cord things. The boards were foam and pretty large to make it easier. That was nice. After we got all that, we went down to the beach. We had a quick lesson about how to lay on the board, paddle, and then the very basic way to get up on the board. After that they let us go into the water for a while and practice. After a while of practicing they had us go to the beach again for another quick lesson. In this one they taught us the typical way to get on the board, the way to do it all in one motion. They then let us go in the water again and practice some more. It was a lot of fun, but as the same time wore me out. It made my arms really tired. At about 12:30 we took a lunch break. There was a little food stand there. I just got some chips for lunch. It was a pretty big bag of chips. After lunch we all went back to the water and just had a free time pretty much, where we could keep practicing surfing. At about 2:30 a thunderstorm started to come through so they closed the beach. Our group all got changed out of our wetsuits and back on to the bus. We were supposed to stay until 4 I believe, so they just took us into Torquay for about 40 minutes to burn some time. While we were in Torquay we heard on the radio that Melbourne had been hit by a pretty big thunderstorm and that there was flooding and large hail. We got back into Melbourne at about 5:30 and the traffic was nuts. The tour guide just decided to drop us off at a train station because it probably would have been faster. He was going to drop us off at Melbourne Central Station, but couldn’t get there because the roads were blocked off. Then he decided to drop some people off at a tram stop and the rest of the people off at Southern Cross Station. I got off at Southern Cross. However, we had to walk a little ways to get there, and wouldn’t you know it they had it shut down. Part of the roof had collapsed during or after the storm. I was with a group of 4 other students, and we just decided to walk to Flinder St. Station. Little did we know what that would entail. We had to walk through flooded walkways and streets. That was really nasty. We saw trams and vehicles that were stranded on flooded streets. There were still piles of hail on the ground in some spots. Leaves from trees were everywhere. It was a huge mess. We finally made it to Flinder St. Station. Vivien went to get her concession card, so we were at the station for a while waiting for her to get that. Once she got that we went to our platform. The train lines we needed to take were all messed up. They weren’t even running on a schedule. We just got on a train that was parked there and waited for a few minutes for it to leave. It finally left, but it only ended up going to Okleigh Station. There were only me and 2 others at that point. Two of the students got off at Caulfield. Since the train stopped at Okleigh, we had to catch the 900 bus to campus from there. We had to wait for about 20 minutes for that bus. We eventually got on. By the time we got to the bus loop at Monash, it was 8:15. We got off the tour bus in the city at 6:15. We were supposed to be back at Monash at 5:45. Needless to say, it was a pretty interesting day. After we got off the bus we walked back to the dorms. When I got back I hopped in the shower right away. After that I got on the computer for a little bit and then got dinner. I finished off my leftover tacos and baked beans. That was at about 9. I tried to find a couple people in our group on the way back on Facebook. I think I found one of them, but I can’t find Vivien. Anyway, then I started writing this. It’s now 11:42 and I need to get to bed.

The Australia Journals: Mar. 1, 2010

Picture in the campus center at lunch time.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.


Two and a half weeks after arriving in Australia, having fun, and getting acclimated, it was finally time to start classes. There were definitely some differences to get used to, such as the radius and “zed” items mentioned in the journal entry. But the class structure was also quite different. The class schedule at Monash was much less “structured” than at OU. At OU, the classes were generally at the same time and in the same room on Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday. At Monash, the classes didn’t have that structure. They weren’t necessarily on M/W/F or Tu/Th, not necessarily at the same time on the different days, and possibly different rooms. We even had one class where we switched rooms in the middle of the semester. So it was definitely much tougher to memorize the schedule. Haha. Another piece of why it was a fun and unique experience.

The Journal Entry

This morning I got up at 7. I felt better this morning than I had the past two. I got ready and then left at 8 to go get breakfast at the campus center. I got an apple danish from Coffee HQ. It was pretty good. I waited to walk to class with Elizabeth by building 63 until 8:55, but I wasn’t sure if she was going to show up, so I left. I guess she showed up about a minute later. She showed up in the classroom a couple minutes after I did. Our first class was ATM 3040 lecture. There were only about 14 of us in that class. That was pretty crazy. It will be weird having a class that small. We switch professors halfway through the semester. After that we had an hour break. We went to the library so Elizabeth could print some stuff off. We found out she couldn’t do it there, but that we had to go to a computer lab. So we went to the computer lab in the campus center. She printed her stuff off and then we went to the science faculty office to get our enrollment forms signed. They wouldn’t sign them, but told us to get a form from student services. After that we just hung out for a few minutes until our next class. Our next class was ATM 2211. The lecturer was really boring. He is a TA, and he was lecturing because our professor is in China. That class seems like it’s going to be a lot of work, almost like measurements was last semester. After that class was over, we went to the campus center. We saw Vicky on the way there and visited with her for a couple minutes. I got something to eat from Meeting Point (Chinese) and then Elizabeth and I went upstairs to eat. We had to sit on the floor to eat because it was so crowded. Erin showed up shortly after and then Aliza a little while after that. We visited with them for a while. Elizabeth and I left a little before 1 to go to our last class. It was ATM 2020 lecture. That was a good class. I really liked the professor. That was definitely my favorite class of the day. Our professor used “a” for the radius, which was really weird. Then he said “x,y,zed” and that made both Elizabeth and I laugh. I think every time I hear him say zed in that class I’ll laugh. Anyway, he visited with us a little bit after class, which was cool. After that class was over, we went to check the line at the student services center, and it was really long, so I got my cellphone. That took a while longer than I thought it would. I got an Optus phone. After that Elizabeth and I came back to the dorms. I started laundry and then got on Skype and chatted with Mom for a while. After my clothes were done in the washers, I put one load into the dryer and couldn’t get it to turn on. I checked the other dryer and it had somebody’s stuff in it. So I just brought my stuff to my room and laid it all out. After a few minutes I took the stuff out of the one dryer and put my whites in. After that I went through all my syllabi (course descriptions here) and updated my calendar. After that I got my whites out and put some colors in the dryer. At about 6:30 I got dinner at the cafeteria. I got chicken schnitzel. It was pretty good. After that I came back to my room. I watched 24 at about 7:30. After I finished that I started writing this.