Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday BBQ... Karly turns 1.

Had the gang over today for a BBQ in which I must have cooked a whole cow on the BBQ. Note to self, when requesting that people BYO meat, remember that they will bring enough meat for themselves and then some! I cooked on the BBQ for about 2 hours to get it all done. But credit to all, we got through most of it...

Also, we had a bit of an impromptu celebration of Baby Karly's First Birthday (which is next week) so that gave the day a bit of officialness to it... rather than a bunch of old crocks and hasbeens getting on the piss.


Rosa, Joe and Glenn having a deep and meaningful conversation about something deep and meaningful....


Table scene... I think Joe has spotted the camera...


The cutting of the cake! Karly on her dad's lap is giving Cam a mouthful on correct ettiquette whilst singing Happy Birthday.


The kids! I think this is our first official kids shot. Dylan, Luke & Gabriela. Kate holding Karly and Lukas sitting on Brooke's lap on the right. Smile Kids!!


Trampolines are always fun, and they have the added thrill that a broken bone is not too far away. Luckily for us, Wayne stayed off...


Niki holding Gabriela... is there no baby that this woman won't pick up!


What is Carly holding under the table? Must be something interesting to get that reaction...


Hey Boy! Get away from my Brooke! ... Ma! Where's my shotgun??

Friday, July 29, 2005

Another week down!

Running late this morning and have caught the train from Emu Plains this morning, which is running on time for once.  When it gets to Friday it gets harder to get up so early in the morning… considering that you’re consistently going to bed around midnight.

We also had a peaceful night on the kids’ front with the girls, particularly Kate, sleeping through.  She has lost about 3kgs apparently and when you consider she weighs not much more than 30kgs, that’s nearly 10% of her weight!  She’s a slender girl as is and she has a gaunt look at the moment.  Again yesterday she slept of 3-4 hrs in the middle of the day and was very lethargic.

The good news is that she has woken this morning all bright and chirpy and is keen to go to school today.  Friday is her news day and she wants to take the Ant Farm in to show.  As a matter of coincidence, Niki saw on one of the news programs last night that there is a severe bout of Gastro running through a lot of the schools and kids in Sydney.  The news said that 20% of cases were ending in hospitalisation and that kids affected should remain at home for 7 days.  Therefore I am unsure if Niki will keep Kate home again but I think she looked well enough to go.

Funny how a sick child becomes your only thought when you’re a parent.  I have been very busy at work but I still call in a couple of times a day and get updates how she’s going etc.  You can tell I guess that this has been my main thought this week as its what I have been rabbiting on about…

I am looking forward now to a relaxing weekend.  Saturday will see the garden get some attention… winter means less mowing of lawns and I haven’t touched it in weeks.  The grass is still bowling green short, but there are weeds and winter grass through it.  When we bought the place 3 years ago, it had this great watering system that kept the grass perfectly.  Now with the water restrictions, my lawn has gone to pot and what I thought was a neighbourhood that had lawns that looked like something out of Desperate Housewives now looks like a dustbowl.

Sunday will be a BBQ here with “some” of my friends (ozjesting, we’ll get you up here for a BBQ soon!) and I am in serious need of just chilling out.  We are going for the minimalist approach to this BBQ which means I will fill the gas bottle, buy a case of beer and just chat with friends.  Niki has bought plastic plates etc, so everything will just go in the bin.  I think there will be 12-15 people at our place so it should be good.

That’s about it.  I think this is the most boring post I have written, but hey its Friday after all!

 

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Doll Forum

Satire site Something Awful has a look at the Doll Forum. Where people talk about their expensive sex dolls and how they prefer the dolls to the real thing.... thanks to neverborn for the link... I think...

No Post Today...

Met an old work colleague on the train this morning and hence I didn’t get my time to peacefully rant at the world from the warmth of carriage #8 today.

Am very busy at the office at the moment, but I can sum up some of the issues running at the moment:

·          Kate is still sick and is off school again today.  She is improving and we ‘think’ she will be back tomorrow.  Scary thing is she was given homework to be done by her teacher that was delivered to us by another kids mum.  Christ, you miss 4 days of kindergarten and they are worried about the backlog of work!  When I was a boy (insert old man voice) kindergarten was all finger painting and vegemite sandwiches…

·          A long term stint in Los Angeles is unlikely, but a short (3-6mth) “may” occur depending how things work out.  My boss is getting a bigger role and hence my role will get bigger here in Sydney.  This is all good and exciting but its not like I am not busy already.

·          The Ants are digging away mercilessly and have made progress on 3 separate tunnels and they did a 4th one on their own (the other three were holes I made for them).  The funny thing is they dig down and then do a 180 and head back to the surface and hence don’t seem to be digging across to link up.  I will post piccies when I get the chance.  All 20 ants are accounted for and no deaths have been recorded in “the Colony”.

·          The Guinea Pigs are just that – PIGS! They are eating us out of apples and broccoli.  Not that I care for broccoli myself, but they are little gutses.  Zoe the Wonder Dog is incredibly jealous.

·          We are hosting a BBQ for our good friends on the weekend… lots of kids, beers, snags and laughs.  I am really looking forward to it!  No reason, just a few drinks with friends.

 

 

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

BlogShares - Lime Kettles is worth money???

Somehow I found this on my own site.... Apparently there is a BlogShare Market... and this site is worth 33cents a share!

If anyone can tell me what this means, please feel free...

BlogShares - Lime Kettles: "Lime Kettles"

0one Games - Online d20 Products.

If I had the time, I would love to get into publishing my own gaming material. Not so much from an income earning aspect, but really just from the coolness of being able to turn your hobby into a career. This site (0one Games) is an online publisher of d20 gaming material that I would love to get involved with... oh well, you gotta have dreams.


0one Games Website

Moral Conservatism in the Light of PreDawn

I am going to have a bit of a rant today… and why not, I am up early and on the 6:30am train this morning as I have to be at Chatswood for a 9am meeting…

Where is Australia going at the moment?  I feel that we are forever more living in a conservative country with insular views and a strict moral code.  Whilst I would consider myself a moral person, I am not a wowser and at times I feel as though this country collectively is turning into a nation of wowsers.  This morning, I heard the news that reserve Wallaby scrum half Henjak is being sent home from the Wallaby tour for “throwing ice at a team mate”.  Now that is the expression used.  This story, whilst insignificant in itself is a prime example of what I am getting at.  The media has been beating this up for days as this indiscretion occurred in a nightclub at 4am in the morning.  If this “incident” occurred at the team hotel over lunch, we would never have heard about it.  But the “shocking fact” that 4 footballers are in a nightclub at 4am is now a national concern.  Team management must react (according to the media) and some 48-72hrs later this guy’s football career is in tatters.

I want to point out some facts to people.  Firstly, nightclubs are not illegal.  They are places for people to go to for entertainment.  They are also licensed to be open at 4am and guess what… they do a decent trade at 4am.  If you have ever been out on the town, a nightclub is packed at 4am.  Secondly, alcohol is not illegal.  People like to have a drink and on occasion drink to excess.  Thirdly, footballers of all codes should not be held accountable for every indiscretion that leads them away from what a pious priest would do.  Footballers like a drink and like to go to clubs and probably like to chase women.

The media has to stop holding these guys accountable for activities that are not only considered normal, but are practically expected of men in the early 20’s.  There is this inherent conflict that football tours can be rowdy and yet we expect these guys to behave like choir boys.

Also, why do we care?  Who cares if 4 players are on the piss at 4am half a world away?  Why do we care that Shane Warne has extramarital affairs and is a sleaze?  Sure it’s not my cup of tea, but he is hardly the first man to be unfaithful.

Why is the media in this country so hung up on the behaviour of sports stars and other celebrities?  I think Shane Warne is a great cricketer and I love watching him bowl.  I don’t care if he’s married, divorced, swinging like a monkey or a virgin – just keep getting wickets and keeping your spot on the team and I am fine.

I am guessing that umpteen years of the Howard government is finally taking its toll.  We have become a nation of scorecarders and “tskers” who are obsessed with everyone keeping on the straight and narrow.  But unfortunately this is an impossible goal as history has shown time and time again that many externally conservatives are actually closet deviants who secretly act out their vices.  The hordes of priests and other men (and women) of religion and of the moral right who have been found out for what they truly are are examples of the fact that everyone has a skeleton in their closet.

I want to go back to the times when a man could chase a woman in a nightclub at 4am and get in a scuffle with her boyfriend and not have it become national media.  I want to go back to the time when people were free to live as they felt and that others were left to live as they saw fit.  I want the newspapers to talk more on news and less on gossip and I want the sports pages to talk about results and scores and less about marital affairs.

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hey iPod Idiots!

A rare night post on the train home… can I ask all you iPod using tools that we don’t want to hear your music from YOUR earphones.  It is a PERSONAL music player, not a license to espouse the virtues of the latest Doof-Doof variation.

I like music, I like people to like music, but I don’t like YOUR music.

 

Doctor Doctor...

Kate has a virus… nothing to be done though as antibiotics are only for infections.  Doctor said to keep forcing food down her and ride it out.  He recommended soups.

I guess that’s because it will be less chunky on my bathroom floor.

I am here at work whilst Niki is “at the front” (and the back!) dealing with it all day.

On a positive side, Kate is very enthusiastic about her Ants and is spending a lot of time in bed looking at the tunnelling works in progress…

You know that feeling...

…when everything in your life seems rushed?  At the moment everything seems to be burling along at a 100 miles an hour and I just seem to have so many things/issues/ideas in my head at once that you think your head might explode?

In all areas of my life at the moment it seems extremely busy.  At work, I have that many projects on, I could easily be in the office at 7am and stay until midnight and still not get everything done.  I work long hours as is and it just doesn’t seem enough.  8:30 – 6:30 generally is the “normal day” but I will work until 7:30/8pm more often than I’d care to.  Add on the trip to and from the Mountains to the City and back and you’ll understand why my time is precious and hence my more than occasional rant at State Rail is well founded.

At home, Kate is home for the 2nd straight day from school and we spent another evening helping her around a bucket and the toilet.  Enough is enough and she is off to the doctors today.  She obviously has a virus of some sort and in my books if it hasn’t worked itself out in 72hrs, then its off to the docs.  Her little sister Brooke had a similar thing last week, but it was over in 2-3 days… but Kate hasn’t kept anything in since Friday night.

Back on the work scene, my counterpart in my company’s Los Angeles office was asked to leave due to incompetence (long story, but she really was shithouse) and I only found this out yesterday afternoon.  A lot of people at the office have said (even before she announced her ‘departure’) that perhaps I should go over there.  This is all early days yet, but the idea of going to LA for a stint seems appealing and if I was a single bloke, I’d probably jump at it.  On the other hand, with Niki and the girls, could we do it?  Upping and moving to another country is a big step and of all countries, the USA… I have been to LA a couple of times and it’s not the most pleasant of places.  I am sure it has its nicer housing areas etc etc, but the city to me is a bit run down and is very sprawling.  So we discussed it at home last night and are still unsure of whether to officially put my hat in the ring to take the position.

Its early days yet, so I will see how it all pans out in the office today.

I have also, again because I am a big train user, been thinking about this London thing and how the London police shot this Brazilian national dead because he ran from them wearing a duffle coat.  Had a chat to a guy in the office yesterday who catches the train from Merrylands and he is now deliberately taking the last carriage in his train because he believes its less likely to be blown up by terrorists.  He used the word “fatalist” and how the media are now saying “when” not “if”.  I guess he is right… we just seem to be bombarded with news and media on terrorism.  Sometimes I wish that the media would just back off and stop hyping it up.  I saw on the news this morning that John Howard stopped into Iraq on the way home from London and he looked ridiculous in a helmet and bullet proof vest getting off the plane and walking across the tarmac.  Yet in the next shot he is in some sort of “trench” and makes a pathetic attempt to climb the slope of the trench to peer at the “no man zone” beyond… he was wearing his akubra at the time and looked like a right tool.

All this does in my mind is heighten the nations awareness of Iraq and “promotes” our involvement.  We all sit at home “tsk tsking” the terrorists but those of that inclination are probably taking the coverage as further justification of their jihad.  I cannot see this whole terrorism issue “ending” ever… can someone explain how we can “stop terrorism”.

Nothing short of a crusade like religious war is where I unfortunately see all this going…

Monday, July 25, 2005

What a bitch...

I am trying to think of an analogy to describe how life is sometimes unfair, but all I can think of is “what a bitch”.  It was Kate’s birthday this weekend and the poor little poppet was very crook with some sort of gastro bug.  She had a full weekend planned and it started on Friday night with Niki’s family coming over to celebrate.

Kate seemed fine and she had requested lasagne for her birthday dinner (her favourite) but she seemed disinterested in it and was only picking at it.  Fifteen minutes later she had thrown up all over the toilet floor and for the whole weekend she was as crook as a dog.  Everyone left relatively early on Friday given that all she wanted to do after being sick was curl up on the lounge and watch the tele (which had the cricket on, so she really was crook!) and that was the start of a pretty shitty weekend for her.

In the pre dawn hours on Saturday morning she was being sick again and I spent the night in her bed as she couldn’t stand being away from her mum.

She was supposed to be going to a little classmates party (despite it being her birthday – don’t ask) but given she was throwing up a lot, we thought it was best she didn’t go.  She was looking forward to it, but she barely protested.

My mum & dad came up for afternoon tea and she seemed to pick up a bit as she showed off her guinea pigs and ants but an hour after they left she was back on the lounge in front of the Disney channel with a bowl on her lap.  She hadn’t eaten a thing since she picked at her lasagne on Friday night.

Sunday was her dance concert day.  She has been going to dancing two nights a week practising for this concert and when even though she slept for about 2 hours in the middle of the day, she wanted to go still.  She had to be at the studio at 3pm and we debated whether we should keep her home or not.  In the end, we let her go as she hadn’t thrown up that day but she looked very pale.

We got through the concert, but she was not her self.  She managed some dinner though; the first food for 48hrs but then flaked out on the lounge.  All seemed OK, but again this morning at 1:30am she was throwing up again…

It was a terrible weekend for her… she kept telling us “I hate being sick on my birthday”…. I guess we will make it up for her when she’s well…

That was basically my weekend… hope yours was better.

 

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Ants...

We have ANTS! Finally Kate's birthday arrived and I was able to give her her ant farm... we found a whole stack of those green backed ants in the front yard. We now have 20 little black green girls (all ants are female apparently) to go with our guinea pigs, cat, dog and bird... All we need now is an Ark. 

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Blax Landric - SWL Legend

Created a bit of personal history tonight with the first player in one of my fumbbl Blood Bowl teams to reach "Legend" status.



Very hard to do... particularly with light weight Norse...


FUMBBL :: Blax Landric

Friday, July 22, 2005

War of the Worlds - A Review

Warning: Spoilers Below

War of the Worlds (WotW) is an intense roller coaster ride pretty much from the beginning to the end with very little let up in the feeling of anxiety through out the movie.  I admit that I was concerned that this would turn into an Independence Day style cheesy “America Saves The World” flicks and that the old story by H G Wells would be undone by Pro-American propaganda.  On that account I was suitably impressed, but it is not without its cheese.

From the Narrated beginning (with the Narrator being played by Morgan Freeman – good choice) the feel of the movie is very much like the old audio story released in the late 70’s.  If anyone has the old 4 LP War of the Worlds story, even some of the artwork in that book is mimicked in the movie (the scene of the woman fleeing the invaders and the scene of the boat of people under attack).  The soundtrack is not the same, but the sound effects in the movie are a great modernisation from the old LP.

Once the aliens attack, (Martians?  Its never stated) the story becomes a mental roller coaster.  When Tom Cruise (who does very well despite my scepticism and his attention seeking antics of late turning me off) is involved in the first sighting of the aliens the movie turns dramatically into a full on action with suspense movie that is well put together.  The alien attack is (to quote Tim Robbins) an extermination rather than a war and because of this, it was surprisingly effective in getting me on the edge of my seat.  The movie becomes one of survival rather than counter attack and essentially the end of the invasion is brought about by nature rather than the might of the US military machine.  In fact, the movie portrays the military as a failing ineffective group who are engaged in collective suicide.

The acting is good.  Tom Cruise does pull of the his role well as I mentioned, but the little girl (his daughter) does very well as well.  Tim Robbins has a good role as well and the scenes in the basement of the farmhouse are excellent.

The special effects are very smooth and the digital animation is perhaps the best I have seen in movies yet.  The alien tripods, the destruction of buildings and the effects of the alien ray guns are great.  The noxious red weed that starts to inhabit the world too gives the world that red (Martian?) hue.

So overall the movie is great and I would highly recommend it, but it does have its cheesy moments.

Firstly, whilst it is a movie of survival, it is incredibly unrealistic that Tom Cruise has so many encounters with the aliens that he does.  From the wholesale slaughter in the opening attack through to hiding out in the farmhouse behind enemy lines through to being picked up and half sucked in to the alien ship, it just doesn’t seem realistic when others are exterminated in the millions.

In addition, there are a few moments that are so unrealistic that it takes you out of your suspense and makes you think “yeah right”… for example the fact that a passenger jet crashes on the house that they are staying in and they not only survive but are apparently unaware of the fact until they step outside in the morning is a bit weird.  Also the fact that Tom is chosen to be eaten by the aliens when he is in the tripods “food pouch” and then everyone instantly rallies around to pull him out when previously everyone was sitting around waiting to die is unrealistic (again, this is an example of why Tom has more lives than a cat in this movie).

Also there are a few Americanisms that don’t go unnoticed.  The way the initial attacks are queried to be the work of terrorists is perhaps in poor taste.  Sure it is a fact that we live in a time in which terrorism is a massive issue, but do we need to bring in the political war of Iraq and terrorism into movies?  This scene follows a scene in which every house in Tom Cruises street has an American flag waving… the only piece, but a piece nonetheless of pro American propaganda.

So in summary, a great movie that is scarier and more suspenseful than I thought it would, but it doesn’t go untouched by a small amount of American cringe factor with cheese, but it is by no means the worst movie in this regard.

Rating:  4 Stars.

Sleep? Who needs it!

After seeing War of the Worlds last night (see other post for a review) I got home to find the Aussie cricketers in disarray.  6/150 and on the back foot.  This turned very quickly into being 190 all out and I would have gone to bed had it not been for the fact that McGrath would be opening the bowling on 499 test wickets.  So I watched the start of the England innings and was disappointed that they made it to tea without loss.  The clock read 12:20am and I decided to stick it out and see McGrath’s post tea spell.

And I am glad I did!  What an effort.  I was mesmerised as McGrath dismantled the England top order with 5 wickets in 40 minutes.  Brett Lee was great at the other end too and missed the edge of the bat and / or stumps by whiskers on numerous occasions, but it was McGraths bowling that kept me awake until 1:30am.  The wickets of Vaughn and Flintoff especially were great balls as was the wicket of Ian Bell.  To get 5 wickets, 3 of them bowled against he top 5 batsmen of a good side like England’s is remarkably.

I went to bed finally when Lee was taken off and Gillespie came on and the score was 5/30.  Sure the Poms put on another 60 runs, but they still lost 2 more wickets and we now have the upper hand…

The consequence of all this is a distinct lack of sleep (even by my standards) but it was sure worth it!

“Ooh Aah Glenn McGrath! Say Ooh Aah Glenn McGrath!”

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pigs May Fly...

Train is very late this morning… about 10 minutes.  I think that is still “on time” according to State Rail.

I met my new housemates last night (see previous post) and the little piggies are settling in well.  Little Rosie sat on my lap last night as I watched tele and not a single poop pellet was deposited on my clothes.  Niki got a brochure from the pet story and it contains little Guinea Pig facts and instructions on how to care for them.  For example:

GUINEA PIG FACT:  Guinea Pigs don’t need to have their cages cleaned very much as they eat their own faecal matter for extra nutrients.

OK…. So they eat their own poop to get the required daily dietary requirements.  But weren’t these “dietary requirements” in their bodies anyway before they became poop?

This brings me on to the next topic – Water Desalinisation.

Water Desalinisation is expensive and does have some harmful environmental side effects I believe.  But the fact is we live in an arid country “girt by sea”.  The United Arab Emerites is 99% desert and has no water restrictions (the remaining 1% being golf courses with rich, lush fairways).  Why?  Why are citizens of the UAE able to take long showers, wash their cars AND water their gardens??  Because they desalinise the water.

Bob Carr, albeit 20 years late, is proposing to build such a facility, but the leftie wowser greenie types (i.e. the local residents of the proposed site) are up in arms.  But is there an alternative?

Yes.

We can drink our own sewage!  Huzzah!  Yes it can be done and is less costly and more environmentally friendly but the perception is a bit on the nose…  I personally don’t have a problem with it.  I may buy an extra filter for the kitchen bench, but if it is found to be free of harmful bacteria, I shall raise my glass of clear sewage water to Mr Carr and drink up.

On other news, the Ashes starts tonight and I am very excited… there will be little sleep coming my way over the next couple of months.  These daily postings may become shorter as I use my train journey for sleep.

However, I wont see the first session of the test tonight as I am off to see War of the Worlds.  I am very keen to see it (despite the midget in the lead role) as I was a big fan of the old “radio play” that was on LP back in the late 70’s / early 80’s.  I presume it will be drastically butchered from that, but still I have to see it…

I will also be seeing it at the Glenbrook Community Theatre and shame on Blue Mountains Council for announcing this quaint little theatre with 30 years of history will be shutdown so that the local high school kids can do theatre sports there.

Gotta go… trains come to a screeching halt for no reason.  Its going to be a long trip.

 

Wednesday, July 20, 2005



It is Kate's birthday next weekend, so we got her some Guinea Pigs! She's absolutely wrapped in her new friends "Rosie and Matilda". Posted by Picasa

Not a great day...

Bit of a bummer day yesterday at work.  Firstly a girl in another department but who dealt quite a lot with my department was involved in a head on accident on the highway somewhere south of Cooma on the weekend.  She is “too critical” to move to Sydney and is still in the local hospital near where she had the accident.  She has very significant head injuries and from the sketchy reports I have heard is in a bad way.

Secondly, the father of one of my work mates died on Monday night.  What I can only think of as a horrific set of stuff ups, the guy went to hospital 2 weeks ago to have a hearing aid put in and never came out.  He had a benign tumour in amongst his ear and skull etc and it had grown to the size of a golf ball and was threatening to send him deaf.  The doctors debated and considered the hearing in that ear a lost cause and decided to remove the tumour before it became threatening and this meant losing the cochlear and all the “hearing bits” as well.  Sounds relatively routine.

My mates father is in his 70’s and goes ahead with the operation.  All seems a success at first, the tumour is removed and a device is attached to the skull behind the ear that results in an external socket to plug in a hearing aid.  All’s well until 24 hrs after the operation he wakes up with massive blood loss from the small socket.  Turns out that the membrane to the brain had been pierced and not correctly sewn together and he has lost blood and more importantly fluid from the brain onto his pillow.  They take him under and decide to remove the implant to let the wound from the tumour heal correctly.  At the time this happened, my work mate said the doctor told him that they should have done it that way in the first place because of his age and subsequent thin skin.  Basically it was sorry, my mistake… mea culpa.

He comes out of the operation with a large pressure bandage around his head and is feeling fine.  He recuperates in the hospital and there is talk of him going home.  They remove the pressure bandage and my mate said to me that he was worried as there seemed to be a large amount of bruising.

Then 24hrs later, he has lapsed into a coma and they discover that his brain had swollen dramatically due to something in the brain being blocked and they rush him in to insert a shunt.  This was on Thursday and I left for my long weekend.

Then I hear yesterday that he suffered problems over the weekend and I have heard that he suffered blood clots and despite the efforts of a fourth operation he passed away.

I am only writing this down as a bit of a record of how I saw the situation unfolding and I am truly shocked as my mate was happy that his dad was finally going to get his hearing restored and that this was to be a good thing.  Instead, it ends up in the worst possible situation and I am sure that there is some sort of behind the scenes issue with the doctors.

These two bad events yesterday make you think and make you realise that you cant take things for granted.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Thanks Schapelle

I guess Tran Thi Hong Loan can thank Schapelle that her sentencing even made it to the newspaper.

Where's the outcry Australia!

Aussie woman gets 20 years in Vietnam for drug offence

Welcome back to reality...

After 4 days of luxury cars, 5 star accommodation, fine food and wine and the relaxation that a weekend without children brings, I was back to earth today but it has really sunk in this morning.

Yesterday morning I was cruising into the office in the Lexus getting all the complimentary stares that one gets when driving an impressive motor vehicle (or where they thinking “Look at that wanker!”).  But this morning I am back on the rails so to speak and the temperature here in Glenbrook is a balmy 2 degrees.  I have forgotten my watch and my beanie and my scarf (I was used to the seat warmer in the Lexus) and I have just gotten onto the familiar carriage #8 of the 7:10am train.  I felt like I needed to give people a wave and a nod as I have been derelict in my attendance on the train as I have been driving to the office a fair bit lately.  Not only the Lexus, but I have had Blood Bowl games, State of Origin parties, work functions and NRL Friday Night Football to attend in the past fortnight so I have basically been ignoring the value of my monthly rail ticket.

But I think, at least in the near future, trains will be the way to go for me.

This is good because I filled up the Lexus yesterday (the only cost to me for having it) and half a tank cost me $48 at $1.18 a litre.  I think the way fuel is going, liquid gold driven cars with diamond tyres will be cheaper in the not to distant future.  I read this weekend that some petrol distribution plant in Sydney lost power for a couple of days and that because of this ALL the petrol prices in Sydney would jump 6 cents and that the weekly discount cycle (Tight Arse Tuesday) will be suspended.  So what they are telling me that a failed power switchboard results in a circa 10% increase in costs for the punter at the bowser?  Now surely a large petrochemical refinery would have insurance?  I, being one that works in the area of corporate insurance, know that surely the loss of income to the petrochemical plant due to its power failure should have been covered by a basic business interruption policy.  Sure there would have been a deductible (excess) on the loss that perhaps could have been a 6 figure number but even so, why would the company wish to recover costs that result in a 6 cent pump cost hike?

And remember, that this is but one plant.  Its not like it is the single point of failure for Sydney’s petrol distribution.  Its not like suddenly we were without supply for 2 days.  I don’t recall seeing any petrol stations closed?  So how much income was lost…  I bet it was significantly less than 6 cents per litre over a 4 day period across ALL of Sydney and the greater part of NSW…

Yet we take this (in the hip pocket) like good corporate citizens and blame the high petrol prices on Terrorism…. idiots.

PS – did anyone see the new Terrorism ads on tele lately… remember peeps, if you see an arab looking guy in a backpack, dob him in!!

 

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Weekend at Jonah's

I took Friday off and with the Lexus (see below) Niki and I took a three day break at Jonah's Resort at Whale Beach in Sydney. We booked the Penthouse room at the top of the resort which had a magnificent view of the beach and out to the ocean. The photo's below are taken from our balcony including the great sunrise.

We had booked the dinner/breakfast deal and those meals were all included in one great package. The only thing we paid for on top was alcohol (hic!).

The weekend was a belated 10th wedding anniversay getaway and we highly recommend Jonahs for a short break.

Also thanks to mum & dad for minding the girls for us!



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Test Drive: Lexus GS300

This weekend, I had the pleasure of test driving a Lexus GS300. My work had one available for staff and I asked would it be possible to have it from Thursday night until I came in on Monday morning. Amazingly they said "Sure!" and before you knew it, I was driving home on Thursday night in a brand new one. I am no car expert, but this car drove like a jet fighter with so many things automated, yet the number of buttons and features were amazing. Auto wipers that detect rain, auto headlights that detect when its dark, auto review mirror that detects when someone is behind you... a camera in the back so you can see behind you when reversing... GPS SatNav so that you will never get lost. The features are endless. I loved this car and would buy one in a flash... the only issue is is that you need about $130,000 to do so. :( At least I got one for the long weekend!

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Early Bird

Early start today as I have to give a presentation at 8:30 this morning… so I am on the 6:38am train, but it is of course running 5 mins late.  Can’t understand what; other than being a slack arse, makes trains late at 6:30 in the morning.

Little Brookie, my youngest was sick last night too and we had to get up a few times through the night.  Nothing too bad, she has a bit of tummy bug but she seems to be ok this morning when I left the house.

Today is the last day for me this week and I will be taking off for three days with Niki and hence Lime Kettles will go un-updated over the weekend.  Looking forward to the three days immensely!

As a surprise too, I have picked up a Lexus GS300 for the weekend on a “test drive” and have it from tonight through to Monday morning when I go back to work.  Never really had a nice (real nice) car on a deal like this… there is a sports car weekend hire place across the road from my office where you can hire BMW Z4’s and the like for the weekend.  Thought it would be nice to do, but seemed way too expensive.  This deal that I have this weekend is only costing me the fuel I use and $1000 for an at fault accident.  Touch Wood.

I smashed gumbi last night in my Cut Throat League match on fumbbl 4-0.  I am now undefeated after three rounds which is nice.  The fumbbl client was updated to ver8.4 yesterday which now has the feature that when a player dies on the pitch, there is a permanent blood stain on the pitch!  I had a mummy killed last night (damn regenerate didn’t work) and I am suddenly confronted with a pixelated representation of his insides smeared across the turf.  This add on makes me think of other possible graphic enhancements… such as footprints in the mud during wet weather games etc etc.  I may post some ideas on the fumbbl forums.

 

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Midday Mountain Fog

It's been cold in the Blue Mountains, but not often do you get midday fog... A bizarre thing. These are some shots from our front yard. 


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My Solution for NRL Salary Cap Woes

I read this article today and it got me thinking about Souths' inability to attract good players (and Joe Galavao is an injured crock so he doesnt count) and the fact that teams like the Roosters are flaunting the cap and raise speculation. Also the fact that the NRL Draft seems like a dead issue, there doesnt seem to be any way ahead to get an even spread of talent in the league.

My solution, perhaps a little off the wall, is instead of a Draft, that there be a Dutch auction of playing talent. Done on a gala night like the NBA Draft, all clubs gather in say the Sydney Superdome. This can be held on July 1 after the anti-tampering "gloves" come off.

The club reps are presented with a list of off contracted players and the wooden spooners start by making a bid on one player. Then you move up the draft order and each club can similarly make a bid for players. If the clubs go through there bids and nobody makes a counter bid for a player, then that player is deemed "signed" by that club. If a rival club makes a counter bid, the process goes on until one club has made a final bid and everyone has passed in.

To make it fair and above board, each club must declare at the start of the auction how much cash they have in the kitty and hence can only offer bids on players to that limit.

Of course, a player at the end of the auction has the right to refuse to play for their purchaser but by the end of the night, most clubs will have come close to exhausting their reserves and the subsequent free market may be somewhat limited - and we would all know what clubs had money up their sleeves because they disclosed it at the start.

A little wierd, but doable...

Google Search Bar - Thumbs Down

Bit perplexed as to the value of the Google Search Bar.  As I said earlier this week, I was giving it a run and to be honest it simply takes up screen space for very little benefit.  The two main features are the search window and in my case the BlogIt function.

For the search, I already had my vanilla Firefox install configured to use Google Australia, yet the Search Bar uses Google Australia with the Australian search option ticked off!? Can’t understand how to configure it to work just like my vanilla window.  Secondly, I already had the BlogIt extension installed and this simply moves the right click functionality of BlogIt onto the toolbar… a step backwards IMHO.

Therefore with no redeeming features and the negative aspect that Firefox cannot merge its toolbars and hence stacks them one under the other and subsequently uses screen space, I am heading for the uninstall button as we speak.

It just goes to show that not everything done by the general populace via OpenSource is as useful as first intended.

On the plus side, I do have several extensions on my Firefox browser here at work that I do consider mandatory.  My view, if you run Firefox you MUST get:

·          Tabbrowser Preferences

·          AdBlock (block those pesky adds)

·          IE View (you can designate to open certain pages in IE if they do not support Firefox)

·          All-In-One Gestures (mouse navigation)

·          miniT (allows you to move tabs around in a click and drag motion)

In addition, I have BugMeNot, StumbleUpon and BlogIt which I consider very handy for what I do and work very nicely.

 

Wednesday Morning... late but happy

Been a good week to date so far, but I didn’t get to bed last night until after 1am so I have taken the opportunity to get a later train today.  The 7:38 stops at a lot more stations and I won’t get to my desk until around 9:30, but the extra half hour sleep helps dramatically IMHO.

I say its been a good week because firstly, its short.  A four day week because I am having Friday off is always a good start.  Also, got my table top game in last night and whilst I got absolutely trounced 4-1, I had a good chat to Doubleskulls and he certainly showed me the light in the way of how good an Amazon blood bowl team can be.  I am going to experiment with an Amazon team on fumbbl asap.

What is even better though, but the source of my lack of sleep, is that Australia beat England in the 3 game one day series and did it in emphatic style.  The only times in the many games to date that England have troubled Australia is when they have an advantage with the pitch and the conditions.  A couple of games Australia has batted first and then found themselves in a bit of trouble because of the moisture in the pitch and that is the only time England has won.  However, these last two games were played on good batting pitches and England has been found wanting in both games.

I have also had a couple of new CD’s to listen to the past few days.  Firstly, I bought the new White Stripes album and it’s a bit hit and miss.  A great opening track isn’t followed up strongly enough and it does get a bit lost on me in the back end of the album…  Rating??  Need a system I guess… I will award up to 5 points for the music in general and up to 5 points in value (price, duration, etc).

For the White Stripes, I give a 3/5 for music and a 3/5 for value as it isn’t the longest album out there.  6 out of 10. 

Also, Dad bought me on a whim on the weekend the self titled Blackmountain CD.  After a couple of listens, it is very good.  4/5 for music, but it is very short.  Only 35mins or so and 8 tracks – seems closer to an EP to an album so 2/5.  That’s another 6/10…

 

 

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Slashdot | Dungeon Master's Guide II

Here is a Slashdot review of the new Dungeon Masters Guide (ver II). I love D&D but the discussion thread below is hilarious. Basically Computer Geeks debating why D&D is lame yet they themselves are lame because they sit in front of their PC's every day.

Basically it's "War of the Nerds"!



Slashdot | Dungeon Master's Guide II

I am now a Geek... (not that it needed to be confirmed)

Yesterday my package from www.thinkgeek.com arrived via DHL.  That’s not bad, I think it only took 3 working days to get here…  So I now have a new space age Ant Farm which I have hidden away in the wardrobe for Kate’s 6th birthday (which is the 23rd of July) but I donned my new nerdy t-shirt.  I look splendid in it!  LOL!

Also, when the Ants do get up and running, I might take some photos of them so you too at home can track the ants.  The Ant Farm is very cool… and very blue.

Speaking of geeky things, I am playing Blood Bowl tonight against the famed Ian “Doubleskulls” Williams who is a BBRC member from the UK who emigrated to Australia a while back.  He will probably kick my arse, but it should be a good match.

Dragons breathing fire - Breaking News

I know not all of you are followers of the NRL, but this fall out from Friday nights Parramatta - St George game is a big farce. To paraphrase, a Parramatta player illegally attacked the head of a St George player which resulted in an all in brawl bar a Parramatta player who had picked up the ball and scooted away to score.

The video official ruled the illegal tackle was OK and awarded a try. Come Monday, NRL officials reviewed the incident and charged the Parramatta player with a Grade 2 Careless High Tackle. i.e. the NRL has done a 180 degree backflip to what the match official thought.

At what point does this all become a farce? The on field decision cost St George the game and now St George will be vindicated in the judciary room, but that is no compensation.

Absolute Farce!



Dragons breathing fire: "Stone deemed Marsh was not at fault as players streamed in to join the fray, allowing McKinnon to run unimpeded to the tryline."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Weekend Wrap...

Had a pretty full weekend this weekend which was typical as I had a pretty hectic week before that.  Friday night I went to the Footy to see Saints v Parramatta at Parra Stadium.  A very good game up until the 60th minute.  Saints had led 10-0, then Parra had come back to 10-10 at half time and then each team swapped an early second half try when “it” happened.  I will let you all read the newspapers, but Trent Barrett had a bit of a stink with Parra’s PJ Marsh which in all fairness can happen and does from time to time.  What was unforgiveable to me was that EVERY Saints player bar Luke Bailey went to the fight and forgot the ball.  Never seen it before!  Bailey chased the kick, the Parra fullback picks it up and sails past him (he is a front rower) and when Bailey looks for his defensive support, there is none!  From there the game was a procession…

Good night though, always good to go to the football, but can Parramatta management let your fans cheer for their team on their own without piping in via a soundtrack fake chanting!  It’s the most annoying thing I have ever heard at the football.  Even the Parra fans in my vicinity were asking for the tape to snap!

Saturday saw “The Long Walk” (see post below) and Sunday we had lunch with my Mum & Dad.  Now apparently Mum & Dad are big readers of Lime Kettles but got a bit miffed when in one of my prior Weekend Wrap posts I said I “had a quiet weekend and did not much” yet had gone out for dinner with them…. They (Dad?) were a bit upset they “didn’t make the grade” of newsworthiness on this otherwise non-newsworthy site.

Yesterday we went to Caesars in the Italian Forum at Leichhardt and had a very good meal of Pasta, Pizza and Tiramisu with Coffees.  The kids had the traditional Italian pizza of “La Hawaiian” and we had one pizza with Chorizo sausage and one with Prosciutto and olives.  My entrĂ©e was the best imho and I had penne pasta with prawns, snow peas, sun dried tomatoes and a creamy cheese sauce.  So thanks for lunch Mum & Dad!  And for my avid readers, Caesars is a great little place.

Sunday night saw our friends Julie & Con and kids Jesse, Hannah and Shannon and Monique & Sean with their 18mth old son Tyler for Julies birthday.  So after a big lunch, there’s no better way to unwind than a BBQ dinner with all the trimmings.  Lamb steaks, beef and Italian sausages, and Monique brought around her chicken marinated in a Green Curry sauce.  Add potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, warm bread rolls followed by deserts of Caramel Mudcake or Sticky Date Pudding with ice cream plus a few bottles of wine… I was well and truly stuffed.  To be honest, I didn’t eat hardly anything because of lunch… so there’s plenty of left overs for dinner this week.

The week ahead is a short one as Niki and I go away on Friday for a weekend to belatedly celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  We are both really looking forward to it!

John Howard You Tool!!

I have heard this morning that once again we are increasing our commitment to the Iraq conflict and that John Howard is discussing with the British of taking over the command of the City of Basra.  This is all wrong for a whole number of reasons.

One, are we or are we not simply putting a bigger target on ourselves for terrorists to aim at?  I am against the whole Iraq mess from Day One but if we “have” to be there, why cant we simply do it quietly without seeking the big deployments?  Basra, for those of you who can remember, was the big port city on the Persian Gulf that required a siege to take and cost many American lives to take.  Lets just say the locals aren’t too happy about us being there.  If you think we’re just a small force in amongst the bigger British and American contingents, well why don’t you take that argument up with the Spanish!

Secondly, are we not supposed to be pulling out of Iraq?  Are we not supposed to be handing the country back to the local elected government?  Why do we need to add troops when we are supposed to be subtracting them?  When are we ending this thing?  I don’t see how being committed to handing over Iraq back to its people is accelerated by adding more troops.

And thirdly, the main reason I oppose the addition of troops is because our Prime Minister said in his election promises we would NOT add more troops.  Well, he has done it twice now.  What is the value of a promise when you break it twice?  Wake up Australia!  Get rid of this ultra-conservative, xenophobic, right wing ASAP!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Who said there isnt flouride in the water?? Posted by Picasa

The Long Walk.

On Saturday we once again went for a bush walk. This time I took the girls on my own and we packed a back pack full of snacks and drinks and a bottle of water for the dog and we set off. We left the house at 10am and walked, and walked and WALKED! We didnt get home until 1pm. Kate and Brooke were fantastic and didnt need to be carried at all. We went to Elizabeths Look Out near the Glenbrook RAAF Base and then around to Marge's Look Out near Mitchell's Pass. The girls had great time, but were very tired when we got back... 






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Friday, July 08, 2005

London Bomb Blast Photos Hosted On flickr.com

This is the link to the flickr.com pool of photo's that people have been sending in... currently at over 300 photo's... some are TV images, some first hand.

Flickr: The 7/7 Community Pool

Google Toolbar for Firefox

I am trying the Google Toolbar for Firefox here at work at the moment. I am constantly using Google for work and non-work stuff but i am unsure of why i need a whole toolbar for it? I will let it run for a while and pass a comment whether it is usefull or a waste of space. If you want to try it click this link: Google Toolbar for Firefox

Sad Day

I have driven in today again as I am going to the football tonight, but it isn’t a very celebratory mood after last nights events in London.  I am glad my only contact in London, my mate Steve, is OK as is his girlfriend and he had made it to the office prior to the bombings.  I spent most of last night up watching the tele and have only had about 4 hrs sleep as I had to leave early this morning.  In the office, everyone is talking about the events and I seem to be in a bit of a daze.  I think its because I have often wondered when it will be our turn to be exposed to extremism and I get feelings of dread going on the trains each day.  After Madrid, I was shitting myself (and I am not afraid to admit it) that they may hit Sydney straight away and given that I catch the train each day and sit there for 3 hrs a day, plus the fact I live 80-100kms from work, it is a worry.  I go through Central, Town Hall and Martin Place to get to work and I assume that should Sydney experience what London and Madrid have experienced, then I will be caught up in it.

I was quite happy that today my social engagements tonight meant I drove in…

Also, I cannot believe that only 37 people died in London yesterday.  I am sure it must hit 3 figures.  I have been in the London Underground, and whilst it wasn’t as packed as it would have been an hour prior, it is always crowded.  A news correspondent on the radio this morning said that there was massive amounts of blood on the walls of the building next to the blown up bus and that there is no way only 2 people died.  I guess that they wont really know for a long time (or ever) but surely the authorities can at least give an indication of the expected losses rather than “confirmed” dead.

Anyway, that’s the most morbid posting I have written, but as I said at the top, my mate Steve is ok and his family know he is good and that is what’s important.

 

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Human Virus Scanner

Are you infected with a virus? Are you at the mercy of marketeers and advertisers? Take this test that will tell you alot about yourself. For me it told me to eat less junk food and get off the computer and that life is more than gaming! Wierd, thats so spot on!

TotL.net's "Human Virus Scanner"

Here I sit quietly fuming...

My train is due in at Central at 8:16am.  Routinely it runs 10 minutes late, but it is now currently 8:00am and I am yet to reach Parramatta.  I still have 30 kms to travel and unless this train turns into the Millennium Falcon and uses lightspeed I don’t think we will be on time.

Considering that I left the house late this morning and travelled down to Emu Plains to catch up with the train there and then waited an eternity in the cold, I am feeling a little ticked off.  I have read the entire newspaper cover to cover and am only half way through my journey.

I can understand the occasional stuff up, but this is a joke.  Every fucking day!

/rant off

I actually bought the paper today because I was at Emu Plains station and they have a newsagent on the platform so convenience was there, but my main reason was because of last nights great win by NSW in the State of Origin series.  32-0 after 60 minutes!  In Queensland, on their home turf in a decider!  That to me is a scoreline that is staggering but I know why it happened.  If you are a QLD fan, the reason why you lost is because of one Michael Crocker.  This guy has taken the mantle as the biggest grub in rugby league.  There are some QLD forwards I hate with a passion and I cannot stand guys like Carl Webb or Brad (Choice Bro) Thorn or Dane Carlaw.  But those guys who play hard are generally clean players.  Even Carl Webb, who we all loved to hate after Game 1 really wasn’t that bad.  He ruffled Luke Bailey and we didn’t like it but he wasn’t a cheap shot merchant.

Michael Crocker though is.  I cant stand this bloke.  For the Roosters, he is the biggest niggling pain in the arse player around, but in the 3 Origin games, he has taken his cheap grubby play and raised it to new heights.

Well he cost QLD the game.  He tried to put cheap high shots and elbows and knees in the tackles and seemed more focused on “taking out” NSW players, particularly Johns when in reality all he was doing was a) revving up NSW, again particularly Johns and b) costing them yardage by forgetting about the football.

Case in point, QLD running it out from their own quarter.  Crocker takes a hit up and basically turns square to run across the line to find Johns.  Yardage gained was virtually zero, Johns who was not worried (Crocker is hardly the biggest player in the game) and puts a shoulder charge on and sends Crocker flying.  Net result, Ryles, Bailey, Kennedy and co are ready and waiting for the next hapless forward, inspired by a Johns hit, and all because Crocker wanted to take the game to the worlds best player and “intimidate” him.

Well sorry Crocker, you’re a tool!

And how many times was he 3rd man in a tackle and last one up?  How many times did he use elbows and knees on a prone player?  He did so many cheap shots, it did nothing more than fire up NSW.

And it was so sweet that when NSW raced in their bazillionth try, it was Crocker who was the culprit in the defensive line that let Anasta sail right by.

Anyway, I am rambling… Crocker is a TOOL :-)

Still on footy, big grudge match this Friday night when my team, the Dragons take on the Eels (the team of choice for most of my mates) at Parramatta Stadium.  I will be going with said mates and be outnumbered in support by 8 to 1, but it will be good to get out and see a game with the boys!  Saints by 8!

 

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Google Earth

This looks amazing! I may download this and check it out... uses up 200MB of disk space though!

Google Earth - Home: "Get Google Earth
(it's free)


Learn more"

No Posting Today!

Just a quick note to say that there was no posting this morning because I drove in yet again.  I drove because I am going to my mate Rocket’s place for a State of Origin BBQ.  NSW by 8 is my tip.

Also, I just bought an Ant Farm and this nerdy t-shirt from www.thinkgeek.com.  The Ant Farm will be for Kate’s upcoming 6th birthday, but I personally think its pretty cool!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

ThinkGeek.com Wish List!

I have created a wish list for anyone wanting to buy me present.
At the moment, it is full of t-shirts, but i will add to it later
:)

Have You Rebooted?

Back on the trains today after my driving sojourn yesterday.  The train is near empty today as its school holidays.  Whilst there are not many school kids on my train I guess a lot of people take annual leave around this time of year.

Today my posting is not with the trains (despite them being 7 minutes late this morning) but rather IT Help Desk people. You know the type.  Young person, aged 22-28, probably does No-Doze to stay awake after sitting up all night playing World of Warcraft or something similar and probably has some body piercing somewhere on their body under their corporate attire to make them think that they’re “bucking the system”.  I think this job spec describes most Help Desk people at your place of work too…

(sidebar – they just announced that the aircon in carriages 3 and 4 is not working and if customers are uncomfortable, they should move.  I am in carriage 8 and the aircon is on and set to “cold” despite it being less than 5 degrees outside.  I may move TO carriage 4!)

Anyway, help desk… These are the people who you ring after 30 minutes of frustration and they tell you lines like “Have you tried rebooting?”  They continually amaze me in all my working life, no matter where I have worked (and its been a few places) the Help Desk person always assumes that the person they are dealing with (i.e. me) is an idiot and struggles to turn on the PC each morning.  Now I know some of the more geriatric executive management of a company may find a PC as useful as a paper weight, but for most people my age and younger (and there’s a lot more of them every year) PC’s are not one of life’s great mysteries and we do know some basics of registry editing and configuring a PC for optimum performance.

Well at my work recently, the PC’s in my department have all decided to have a hissy fit for the past 6 months (yes months!) and continuously crash, freeze for 30 second periods as you move a 2kb email file to a folder or will basically determine for itself that 20minutes is a reasonable amount of time to take to login to the network in the morning.  The Help Desk people (and there have been many over 6 months) have all attempted to hoist the blame for these issues onto the humble PC or its user.  I have had this laptop upgraded and rebuilt 5 times in my 3 year period of employment because of my perception (and I use the word perception because I know the smarmy Help Desk people think I am being unreasonable) and I now run 512MB of RAM when the “standard build” is 256MB.  I am a desk jockey and use MS Office, web and email, so I don’t need a high end machine so this should be more than adequate. 

At the same time, my colleagues in my department have been experiencing similar problems.  They too have crashes (one guy’s crashes every 2 hours – that’s 4-5 times a day) and yet each time the Help Desk say it’s a PC problem.  They too have gone through the Help Desk rigmarole and one guy is currently running over a Gig of RAM because he cant open 2 page word docs??  For me though, Help Desk give me little credence because I run Firefox.  Yes, the humble fact that I run Firefox as a web browser instead of IE means that ALL my problems are caused by Firefox.  For example, my CPU with nothing running other than the network and Task Manager was spinning at 100% usage for 15mins.  I rebooted and still it shot to 100% and stayed there.  As a result, the smallest of tasks took ages.  I took a screen dump of my screen showing NOTHING on my taskbar and the CPU clock running at 100% and sent a polite email that contained the phrase “what the fuck” in  the subject line to the Help Desk manager.  His response – I see you have a Firefox icon on your desktop, I suggest you uninstall Firefox and any other non-standard software and this should correct your issue.  ?????  a) the thing wasn’t even running and b) that’s bullshit!

Yet we are made to feel inferior in the light of the Help Desk and their anal manager because “we users” are nothing but idiots.

The reason though humble reader for this rant is that my colleagues and I have been vindicated.  We finally got Help Desk to check the network and they called in our external data comms provider to “check the cabling” and they found lo and behold that there was a “major fault” in the cabling between my floor and the data centre on another floor that would have been the cause of serious network issues.  So serious this fault is that when it was discovered on Friday, they got the work to rectify it done that night.  They spent the weekend rewiring my floor I am happy to report that yesterday saw me work in a “freeze and crash” free environment for the first time in at least 6 months.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Live 8 - An Australian Perspective

Now I think that the whole concept of Live 8 was an admirable one and I think the sentiments of all concerned are in the right places.  I think however that as a major Western nation (but not a member of G8) that the whole thing has sort of washed over Australians and has been a sideline intrusion into our normal weekend of football scores and the Wimbledon and cricket highlights from the UK.  This series of Live 8 concerts had 2 million audience members and was reportedly watched by 3 Billion people world wide on television and the internet.

Yet in Australia, it took Molly Meldrum 15 minutes to explain to me in the intro what the “8” meant – I know about the G8 but I guess because we’re not members, it doesn’t get a lot of coverage here and in Australia it was more reported to be “Live Aid 2 – 20 years on”.  I was totally surprised that it wasn’t for charity and that there was no money to be donated.  Instead we were asked to subscribe to the online petition (see the link) and simply unite to say to the G8 that we should wipe the slate clean on African debt.

This is all very good and I gladly signed my name to the petition.

But why wasn’t this more heavily promoted in Australia?  TripleM radio were promoting the fact that they were playing the music but there was very little specific detail on the finer nuances of the event.  Sure, we saw Bob Geldof, Bono and Elton John on the news promoting “the event” and talking about poverty, but very little was reported into the workings of G8 or the meeting in Scotland this week.

What I also found appalling was the fact that whilst this was one of the biggest events staged in the history of humanity (if the 3 Billion viewing audience is correct), in Australia it was shown on Pay TV on the Fox8 network (ironic?) and that to see the concert about poverty, we had to be a subscriber to a media outlet that makes more profit than you can poke a stick at.

However, you cant blame the Foxtel people because the free to air media refused to show it live because it would a) cost too much and b) interfere with cricket and wimbledon coverage.  Appalling!  Instead, on a delay of 22hrs, it was packaged and presented in highlights form on one of the free to air networks at 8:30 on Sunday night.  This timing undoubtedly chosen so it didn’t clash with Big Brother!

Shame Australia Shame!