Archive for November, 2007

Australia: Day One

Posted by Arlo on Nov 12, 2007 under Postcard Valet, Travel

Darling Harbour Panorama

Well, we made it to Sydney.

The 14-hour flight from San Francisco wasn’t so bad. While the Qantas jet didn’t have any more legroom than the Alaska Airlines flights before it, they made up for it with many small amenities. We each had LCD monitors with movies, TV shows, and video games available. Thicker pillows and larger blankets were distributed alongside little pouches with a toothbrush, socks, and a card outlining our meal options.

Oksana struck up a conversation with the passenger next to her, Mary Lou, an Australian working in the travel industry. She gave us all sorts of tips on where to go, what to see, and how to get around. Very helpful.

Just before dinner, I took two Advil PM and then fought off sleep as long as I could. At around 12:30am, I flipped out the head rest’s “wings” and closed my eyes. Sleep with fitful, what with the occasional crying baby or bumped chair, but I essentially slept for the next 9.5 hours. A new Arlo record for in-flight rest!

We arrived at the airport on Sunday morning. Traveling overnight and crossing the International Date Line screwed me up so bad I had no idea what time it was back home.

We figured out the metro/train system, paid our $14 each, and caught the next ride into Sydney. Our stop was only two blocks away from the hotel.

Unfortunately, we were about five hours early for check-in. They offered to hold our bags for us, though, so after Oksana freshened up a bit, we hit the pavement.

Sydney is empty on Sundays – there’s hardly more people and cars than in Juneau, Alaska. It was a pleasant introduction to a big city. Our first stop was near our hotel, Hyde Park. The biggest structure there was a war memorial; we decided to walk through it. It was November 11th, Australia’s Veterans day, and “on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month” they have a nationwide moment of silence. It was a little after 10am.

From the park, we headed west, to Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is tourist central with its Imax theater, aquarium, naval museum, boat rides, art exhibitions, and parks. Everything was outrageously expensive, but the walk along the docks was quite pleasant. Oksana and I took a bunch of pictures, sat in the sun and the shade, and let the time pass us by. More than anything, we wanted to get back to our hotel at take a shower.

At around 2pm, we finally made it back. Our room turned out to be small, but full of niceties. A microwave and mini-fridge helped make up for the lack of internet access.

It was 3:30pm by the time we were done with our showers; we decided to take a nap. Oksana asked, “Should we set an alarm?” Nah. We’re on vacation!

Well… The first time I woke up was at 11:30pm. So much for dinner! We slept on, though by 3:30am, I was more than rested. We finally got up at 6:30am the next day – 15 hours later!

While flipping through a newspaper, I noticed the 5-day weather forecast. Two days of “Sunny” followed by three more days of “Mostly Fine.” That sums up our first day in Sydney quite well: Mostly fine.

High Definition SEAMONSTERs

Posted by Arlo on Nov 4, 2007 under Life of Arlo, Videos

The view out the helicopter door, photo by Logan Berner

Sometimes I really love my job.

At the end of September, on what would otherwise have been just another Friday, I got to tag along on a free helicopter ride up into the Juneau icefield.

It was the end of the tourist season and most of the local heli-tour companies were shutting down.  The sun was out, the weather cooperating, and there was just time enough for one more data collection run.

Matt Heavner, one of our Environmental Science professors here at UAS, was working on a remote networking project called SEAMONSTER.  One of his students, Logan, was taking pictures for use in Microsoft’s Photosynth project (Logan also gets credit for the photos posted here.)  Another student and faculty member filled out their team, but even so, there was still one seat left.  Would Media Services like to send someone along to document the afternoon?


Normally, I’m low man on the totem pole for video assignments.  We have at least two other staff that shoot and edit on a day-to-day basis and are more qualified to capture video.  (Most of my video work is in the authoring of DVDs or converting their video to online formats.)  But on that Friday they were busy getting ready for a live evening broadcast.  Me?  Free as a bird and just looking for an excuse to test out the new HDV equipment.

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Legal Ease

Posted by Arlo on Nov 2, 2007 under Life of Arlo, Postcard Valet, Travel

Em waves goodbye to Cuba (20k image)A few days ago, I was threatened with legal action over a blog entry I wrote almost four years ago.  Cliff Mayhew, owner of, claimed that I libeled his business.  I feel like I’ve just passed some blogger right of passage!

When I first read it, I was worried.  What did I write?  Was I going to have to edit my entry… perhaps remove it altogether?  After rereading what I wrote back in 2004, I realized I didn’t have anything to worry about.

If I hadn’t been so busy with Halloween, I would have posted a response sooner.  I’ve been seething about that comment for a days now.  Let’s have some fun tearing it apart, shall we?

Here’s what he wrote:

New comment on your post #15 “Cuba:  Getting to Cuba”
Author : Cliff Mayhew (IP: XX.XX.XX.XX ,
E-mail : XXXX
URL    :
Whois  : XXXX


I am the owner of Air Charter

This blog has liabled my business and I am in contact with an attorney.

I have never been in contact with anyone that has written the story above.  

You should take the time to determine the legitimacy of the article -

This article was most likely written by one of my competitors – this industry is filled with scumbags that should be housed in the federal penitentary.  Watch your wallet..

A competitor called the BBB to file a complaint with us too!!  They acted as a customer when dealing with the BBB – The BBB threatened to place us on a “bad” list if we did not competulate to their “rules”.  Bullshit.

If you need to deal with an honorable, trustworthy, respectable, honest, reliable, etc. company, call us – you will soon learn who we are, and what we stand for.

Thanks for the post:

Cliff Mayhew, CPA
Masters – Finanace
Masters – Taxation
Bachelors – Finance
Commercial Pilot
Certified US and Bahamian Air Carrier


Please call me personally if you would like information about fllying to the bahamas.

Too bad the blogger didn’t leave contact information – scammer in the shadows.

Have a great day!

Nice how he turned a threat into an advertisement for his company, isn’t it?  I thought about editing that information out, but then I realized that I went ahead and linked to his business in what I wrote, anyway.  If you want to give him your business after reading this, go right ahead.  Here, you can have these, too:  My condolences.

Before we really get into it, I’d like to respond to his comment, point-by-point:

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