Cape Tribulation

On our way to Cape Tribulation, we traveled along the Coral Sea to Mossman Gorge for some free time to explore and take a cool dip in a waterfall pool. I jumped off the waterfall a couple times, and even did a back-flip once! Of course, my camera is too slow to capture any of this in the low rain forest light (hint: get me a new camera).

Then it was into the Daintree National Park, where we settled in for the night in preparation for a day of adventure. The next day started off with a great jungle hike through the Daintree, where we explored the different levels of canopy, vegetation, and animal life. We saw some green ants who hold a sour secret - you can bite (or lick) their butts for a tart but tasty treat. I tried it, and it wasn't that bad. What made it worth it though, is the look on everyone's face as you eat an ant.

We hiked up to Cape Tribulation, one of the only spots in the world where the rain forest meets the beach. The view was just so invigorating and calming at the same time, like focused energy.

On our way back to the lodge, we saw a cassowary! These are huge birds, like ostriches, that are descended from dinosaurs and are extremely endangered. It's like spotting a leprechaun.

The afternoon was spent doing one of my all-time favorite adventures, jungle surfing. Basically you're attached to a zip-line and you fly from tree to tree, so high above the rain forest floor that I couldn't see it through the canopy! I even zipped along upside-down on one of the legs.

On the way back to Cairns, we stopped at Port Douglas, the celebrated beach resort town. Despite the town's tony reputation, we saw some great Aussies drinking full pints of ale at about 10am. Nice job, guys! Meanwhile, I got a pedicure.

Atherton Tablelands

On our way from Cairns to the Daintree Rain Forest and Cape Tribulation, we stopped at Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park for several demonstrations of aboriginal life. We learned about the didgeridoos and the various animal sounds they can imitate, rain forest vegetation and its medicinal uses, and how to throw a boomerang (I was awesome, naturally). Our morning was capped off by a traditional fire dance ceremony.

We made a quick stop in Kuranda, a small town high in the rain forest mountains with only a few streets. I bought some mango wine, a kangaroo skin wallet, and other little things, but it was all a little sleepy, although very scenic.

And so began the long drive to Cape Trib, when I was tempted more than once to pop open that bottle of mango wine.


Ah, Cairns. Between the Woolshed, Gilligan's, and all the other party bars, the "Adventure Capital" of Australia is a virtual backpacker's paradise.

Days were spent white water rafting, diving the Great Barrier Reef, and hiking through the rainforest, while our nights were filled with "Battle of the Sexes," Woolshed table dancing night, and, of course, dollar bets to dance in the go-go booths.

Rafting on the Tully River in the Misty Mountains was quite an adventure. We had great weather, which meant lots of great rapids, and also lots of great spills. I, of course, took a refreshing dip in the river, by which I mean I choked half of it down while flailing around helplessly. Thankfully, our fearless guide, Kiwi Chris, yanked me back into the raft just in time to catch the current back to shore.

A night of recovery (by which I mean good food, good drinks, and good friends), and then it was off to the Great Barrier Reef. Even learning to dive off Pennecamp Park in the Florida Keys, I had never seen anything like this. White-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, and clownfish, oh my! It was just as breathtaking as all the documentaries and tourist posters say.


So we took a ferry to Long Island in the Whitsundays, which are lots of little islands that basically all look the same - which is to say, beautiful.

The beach at sunrise

It was exactly what you'd expect a beach resort to be: large patio, nice buffet, poolside bar.

Me, Sara, Rachel & Katie

The next day, while some of our group were on a two-day live-aboard sail, the rest of us went on the Carina day sail. The cloudy (sometimes rainy) weather didn't slow us down much; we just lounged on a huge catamaran all day, stopping on a pristine beach to snorkel and also to refrain from playing beach cricket. Honestly.

A little karaoke and pool-time later, and our three days in the Whitsundays were quickly over. Some of us, like Rob, could have used a little more time to recuperate, I guess.

Beer: part of Dodgy Rob's breakfast of champions

Capricorn Coast

Lots of bus time along the Capricorn Coast. Here I am at the Tropic of Capricorn in Rockhampton, the heart of Australia's beef industry and the "gateway to the tropics":

Fun fact: the students in Rocky, as they call Rockhampton, like to break the...bullness...off the bull statues all over the city, and then keep them as trophies.

We went to a really cool crocodile farm, where we not only saw some huge (5 meters) crocs, but also got to see a baby croc hatch. All the babies are named Gucci because that's who the croc farm markets their croc leather to...ha!

Nibbling already

This yellow stuff attached to the croc's stomach is the egg yolk.
It will feed him as he learns to eat solid food.

Proud papa

Then we all held a 2-foot long croc called Harley (the owner likes to brag that he owns 7 Harleys).

After some fun at the local pubs, including some great dollar-bets (nice one, Dodgy Rob), it was off to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays.


Fraser Island

We took a ferry from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. After a quick dinner, we had our "No Clothes Party," which entailed dressing in anything besides regular clothes. I just wore a toga, but some people were really creative, making full outfits out of magazines, placemats, saran wrap, even a kiddie pool and a strategic towel!

The two Monicas

Amber & Paul

Jackie (perky smile + those abs = aerobics instructor)

Marvin and Brock

Larry (Brooklyn Boy) and Rhys (The English Avenger)

"Dodgy Rob" and Brett

Matt, our reliable driver, and Brett, our fearless leader

Jack distracts Dodgy Rob from his precious billiards

Several cocktails later, we barely had time for some rest before we were up again for a 4-wheel-drive tour of this incredible island. It's made entirely of sand, yet it somehow supports and extremely complex tropical rainforest. It has 8 cocentric dune systems, which makes it the oldest dune-system island in the world.

This tree was thousands of years old before it fell!

We went to Lake Mackenzie, Fraser's famous freshwater lake, were we exfoliated with the sand as our guides instructed us to do.

After a really cool walk through the rainforest, we drove to the ocean-side of the island, where we had lunch, visited a crazy shipwreck, and walked along Eli Creek.

Then it was back to our camp-style cabins for some beachside barbeque and a good night's rest (6:00am wakeup tomorrow!)

Sunshine Coast

After an ungodly early start, we made our way east, back to the Sunshine Coast. We spent a while in Noosa, the last surfing town on our way north (the Great Barrier Reef blocks the break for the rest of the Queensland coast). Noosa is a lot like the beach towns in the Hamptons or Cape Cod - a mixture of surfers and underachievers with posh shops and socialites.

After a fantastic cheeseburger and a final surfing attempt (I did stand up), it was off to Fraser Island.

Adora Downs farmstay

We drove a while from the Gold Coast out west, stopping for lunch in Brisbane, towards Darling Downs, a farming town near Tooroomba. We got to stay at a working farm called Adora Downs, owned by Bryce and Gloria Smith. During our hayride around the grounds, I held a baby lamb that had just been born the night before!

There were also a bunch of kangaroos just hanging out around the property, including a couple baby joeys. We learned Australian Bush Dancing, which is a lot like American Square dancing, and we put it to good use at the barn dance that night.

Luckily our generous hosts cooked us an authentic Outback farm dinner!

Surfer's Paradise

We left Coff's Harbour for two days in Surfer's Paradise, a Vegas-on-the-beach where I learned to surf (of course).

I also got to take a tour on the back of a Harley driven by a fantastically grizzled Aussie biker, Rick.

The first night, we just had a nice dinner and drinks at a Lincoln Road-type pedestrian mall. The next night, we went to this theme restaurant called Dracula's, where there was a dinner-and-a-show thing that was very funny. We ended up at a club called Shooter's, where there was a surprise male go-go-dancer show. The lookson everyone's faces were worth the price of admission alone!

Gold Coast

We left Sydney for the Gold Coast, stopping along the way at a famous Australian point break, Lockhead Point.

Then it was lunch and beach time in Byron Bay, a really cool hippy-arty town that's become a little posh, kind of like SoHo in New York but on the beach. It was really charming, but unfortunately we had to press northwards.

I got to hold a koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary!

There are also lots of grey and red kangaroos, crocodiles, birds, and other Australian wildlife everywhere, and the non-dangerous ones are just hanging out so visitors can go right up and hang out with them. The Sanctuary's motto is "Get Closer," and I really got to - check out the baby joey!

We finally ended up in Coff's Harbour, a nice little town where we had a barbeque and drinks by the beach.



After seventeen really boring hours on a plane, I landed in Sydney last night. I took a really cool ferry ride through Sydney Harbor to Manly, a peninsula to the northwest, and spent most of the time on Manly Beach, on the ocean side.

on the ferry from Sydney's Circular Quay to Manly

I swam in the Pacific for the first time!

Sydney's Manly Beach

The sand is very fine here, which makes it soft, and it's a warm golden color. There was a surfing exposition going on, including a small clinic. I'll be gracefully wiping out on the waves soon enough, so I decided to pass on this surf class.

Sydney's Manly Beach

Manly has a big promenade that's a lot like Miami Beach's own Lincoln Road. The Wharf starts at the small harbor-side beach and looks onto Sydney Harbor, which was filled with sailboats and yachts. I saw a almost-collisions and one capsized monohull - the people on-board flipped it back and kept right on sailing, so no worries.

Sydney Harbor from Manly Wharf

Sydney Harbor

On the ride back, I had to get a shot of me in front of the Opera House.

Sydney Opera House



If Bill Nye the Science Guy had a telenovela cameo, or Julio Iglesias lessons, he would sing this heart-stopping ballad.

NBC shows us there are endless ways to tell someone, "That's what she said."

Of course, you could always sweep her off her feet with a chicken dance.

For inspiration: Prehistoric lovers found locked in eternal embrace


Viral Video Roundup

Beat-boxing flautist plays Mario Brothers Theme. See more, uh, unique versions of the theme at Fan Tent. (via Neatorama)

Power Rangers swarm Japan!

Newfoundland frozen waves

Cheeky Scientists

When my marine biologist sister worked in science education (aka creating museum exhibits and being that zoo lady who came to your middle school) instead of doing research, her husband lovingly called her a scientish, rather than a scientist.

These guys, who are responsible for both the IgNobel Prizes and the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists, would probably fall under the same category.

Kooky geniuses!

Awesome 70s Hairstyle Names

All good haircuts should have an equally good name.

Scanned from advertisements in Ebony c. 1975. Via Neatorama.


Guyz Nite: Always Game

DIY gifts

Lifehacker Alpha Geek Rick Broida thought up a couple DIY gifts for the holidays, but I think they're good to keep in mind for whenever you're short on time (and/or cash). Good for Valentine's Day, too - personal, but not corny.

  1. Brownie Mix in a Jar
  2. Winter Emergency Car Kit
  3. This American Life Gift Set
  4. Babysitting Gift Certificate
These ideas make good jumping-off points - cake mix instead of brownie mix, kits for other emergencies, gift set of another streaming program or podcast, gift certificates for another service and/or favor.

Quantity vs. quality - surprising lesson

What 50 pounds of clay can teach you about design via Lifeclever

While the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.


  1. Don't drown in the details.
  2. Quality improves with each iteration.


Look at My Striped Shirt

These guys would have been whitehats in 1996.

Sagan on skepticism

"Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense."

- Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)


Crime & Punishment

Evidence that prison doesn't deter crime

Dictators & their old jobs

Social Grace and the Superbowl

Peyton Manning, the quarterback as nerd: "The Colts' brilliant, nerdy, socially stunted quarterback"

Nice Guys Finish First: "The two Super Bowl head coaches, Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts, are exceptional in the exclusive fraternity of successful football coaches. It's not because they're African-Americans. It's because they're not jerks."

Mind-Blowing Microphotographs of Living Things

mouse retina

Prize-winning microviews of everything from mouse retinas to slime mold: Click here to launch the image gallery

People of Miami

People Of Miami, The Sex Cannon Is Here

Well, the Bears landed. And if you don't think The Sex Cannon That Is Rex Grossman will be using the next seven days to film his own personal gonzo porn miniseries, you are wrong. It'll be like Angels in America, except not queer.

Bailey brothers

And you will know us by our awesome names.

Baileys and their Guitars -(L to R) Boss, Champ and Ron


50 Worst Things Ever to Happen to Music

Selections from Blender's The 50 Worst Things Ever to Happen to Music

49. That dude who yells “Freebird!” at every rock show

42. Scott Stapp The fourth-generation grunge he’s peddled solo and with Creed might be harmless if it weren’t swathed in quasi-religious pomposity and delivered with an arrogance that — in light of his musical, er, gifts — feels downright delusional.

22. Lists That Reduce Rock History to a Series of Glib Soundbites (Sorry.)

13. Light Aircraft

9. Whitey

8. The Age of 27

Visual HTML joke

I know Neatorama posted it a while ago, but anyway...

More like this
and a Flickr pool.


eBay Motors: Knight Rider Trans Am:

1984 Pontiac Trans Am KNIGHT RIDER replica

This is an exact to detail replica of the famous Talking car known as K.I.T.T from the t.v show KNIGHT RIDER.

1984 Trans Am, black with t-tops , tan interior, 15' Turbo Cast wheels and caps, molded from original front bumper with working red scanner light, rear blackout cover.

features a 2tv dash with real working digital gauges with dual 4' lcd screens.....gullwing steering wheel,upper console, lower console, pod unit ...all complete with buttons and displays as they were in the show ! complete stereo system with DVD/CD/MP3 player, amplifier and speakers.

the interior has new carpet/headliner/seats all in the proper doeskin tan color.

under the hood is a rebuilt 350 small block Chevy , mild cam, edelbrock aluminum intake, holley 750 carb, headers, newly rebuilt 700r4 performance transmission with 2200 stall converter, trans cooler and transgo shift kit , has a posi rearend with 3:23 gears and disc brakes.

have over $40k invested and took over 4 years to build, car is a real headturner so if you don't like attention then this is not the car for you.

Please, Santa! Pretty, pretty please!

awesome article round-up

from around the tubes:

via Dvorak:


My doctor says that I have a malformed public duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving universes.