Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Petrol Prices!

It’s official.  It is now way too expensive for me to drive to work.  I drove in yesterday and was running low on petrol on the way home and had no choice but to fill up and was horrified at the price of 129.9 a litre on all the petrol stations on Parramatta Rd.  It seems that the hurricane in Louisiana has suddenly made petrol jump 10c a litre in a mere 10 hours.  On the way into work, I was thinking of filling up but was running late and decided I would get it on the way home.  It was 119.9 a litre and the radio was telling me that oil had jumped to over US$70 a barrel and that the reason was this hurricane in the US.

It seems that a bit of a storm (it was downgraded to a Category 2) in the USDeep South suddenly made the petrol in our bowsers jump 10c in a mere 10 hours!!

I understand petrol is expensive, but I just think the combined effects of petrol company price collusion, over sensitivity to events on the other side of the world like hurricanes and our compounding effect taxes (GST on top of stamp duty on top of import tax) means that we suddenly have price swings of 10+ cents per litre for what I would consider trivial matters.

The government needs to look at the tax structure on petrol.  When petrol was in the 80-100 cent range, they made statements that the taxes were cheap and that in comparison to the rest of the world we had “cheap” petrol.  I didn’t buy that then and now with rampant oil prices, I am certainly not buying that argument now.  The government, as a flow on effect, is now reaping in huge amounts of fuel excise and must bring their tax rates down or the effect on the average householder is going to be dramatic.

For example, we talked at home about getting rid of one of our cars.  We have two – do we need them.  Yes its convenient on weekends and for social activities during the week, but at the prices of petrol, rego and tolls is it worth it?  At this stage we will preserve, but what about when it reaches 140 cents or 150 cents a litre??

On the positive side, the CEO of Forbes and leader of the CEO Conference in Sydney this week which is a gathering of the worlds top 350 business leaders predicts that oil prices will fall dramatically in the next 12 months and go back to US$35 a barrel.  God I hope he is right!


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Stopping Spam

I have found and installed a word verification system for when people wish to leave comments.  You now no longer need to be a Blogger member to leave comments, but you will need to type a random alpha code word to do so… This “should” stop spammers…

Happenings in the House of Clay

I seem to be fairly well swamped at the moment and I guess this post is a bit about taking stock of what shit is going down at my place…

·          Firstly, all my “free” time is being taken up with painting Halflings for the Eucalyptus Bowl this Saturday.  I have painted 6 of the suckers and have 5 to go.  To be honest though, I haven’t had much free time and did some painting last night and the night before.  So effectively, 2 painting sessions for 6 Halflings.  I have 5 more to go which I will do this week.  Add to that, my Treeman I bought on eBay from the UK arrived and its arms had been detached for packaging reasons.  I reglued those back on last night as well which takes some time.  I had some Epoxy Bond glue stuff (you know the ones that warn you not to touch it or risk amputation) and it claims “Industrial Strength Set In 5 Mins”.  The reality its 10 mins and I lost a little bit of skin in the process as the epoxy bond took a liking to my finger tips… but he looks good.  The paint job was OK and is a bit old, so when I get around to it, I will give him a touch up, but that wont be likely before Saturday.

·          Sunday is Fathers Day and essentially my present is the day at the Eucalyptus Bowl on the Saturday.  The girls are gearing up and I have heard whispers of the school Fathers Day Stall.  I look forward to getting a little pressie of each of my girls!  Arrangements with my Dad are up in the air with Sunday lunch being on the cards.

·          Still on family, I am kicking myself because I keep meaning to call my Pop who is in a bad way.  I am going to fly up to the Gold Coast soon when he has gotten out of hospital and he is over the initial shock of the diagnosis… Mum will go up as well soon, so I am in a bit of a state of flux with when I think will be the best time to go up.

·          Some mundane things… my car rego is due tomorrow and we got the Pink Slip done last week, but then forgot to pay the Green Slip until today.  I will pay the rego via the RTA website once the greenslip has been processed through.  Also, my Passport expired and I need to get that done… it was in the front of my mind a month ago, but I simply forgot.  Also, I am yet to do my tax return!  Need to do it because the cash will be handy at the moment, but it’s a matter of booking in some time (on a Saturday) to do it.

·          Saturday week will see the start of the cricket season – need to buy new shoes and batting gloves, but all the rest of my gear is OK to go.  We are playing in a VERY social way this season and I have promised the guys to find a small BBQ to take to home games… have yet to get that done either!

·          Work is busy and I had a 7:30am meeting this morning (hence my late posting today) and I drove into the city.  I came through the city early and the traffic was fine – I will wait to see how easy it is getting out of the city given the new Cross City Tunnel.  I personally think the tunnel was a waste of time and is way over priced toll wise…. but I do need to get myself an eTag as it is the first motorway in Sydney that is eTag only… I have been getting by with cash on all tolls to date because I do keep a stack of coinage in the ashtray…

·          The comments on this blog still get occasionally Spammed and I had an email from my mate Tommy who wanted to comment but couldn’t unless re registered with Blogger… given I still get the odd spam, I may as well open up the comments again… you never know, maybe someone will have some desire for Gay Monkey Porn…

That’s about it… busy busy busy!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Are you a racist? Vote Liberal #1.

Rant day today, so please bear with me….

Apparently there was a debate on the Sunday program this weekend in which Bronwyn Bishop was debating that Muslim women should be banned from wearing their traditional head dresses and should be wearing “jeans” like the rest of us.  The debate is said to have degenerated into a farcical slanging match and has hence received broader media coverage this morning.  Channel 7’s Sunrise program mentioned it this morning and hence it must have been a doozy if Seven and cross referencing a Channel 9 program.

But what annoys me is that Seven gave the question more airtime by having a view poll about whether Muslim women should be allowed to dress in their cultural dress…

Am I the only one here who has missed the point?  There is no “debate” and of course Muslim women should be allowed to dress as their custom.  Why are we even considering this issue?  What has happened to Australia’s multi-cultural society and freedom of expression for all Australians – and I mean ALL, not just white Anglo-Saxons who go to good schools.

The fact that someone of supposedly high political standing such as Bronwyn Bishop can get up on national TV and sprout this racist garbage about banning Muslim dress is disgusting.  She would have needed Howard’s approval to do such a story and that is indicative of his views.

Then to top it all off, wannabe Premier John Brogden called, at an official function, the wife of former Premier Bob Carr a “mail order bride”.  Yes, Mrs Carr is of some Asian descent, but instantly Brogden assumes the worst from a racism slant and lets fly on a guy who he could not beat in political debate for so many years.  It was a cheap and nasty shot and is again a leading indicator of the views of some very powerful people in this country.

The Liberals have kept control of the parliament of this country on the base of racially driven campaigns for at least 2 elections and enough is enough.

Return Australia to a country of multi-cultural acceptance in which people of all backgrounds can live freely as our democratic constitution dictates.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

NSW Liberal leader slurs Carr's wife

LOL Go the J-Bro! What a tosser... For all of you doubters of Bob Carr and the wondering of Morris Iemma, take a look at the tool who is the "alternative".

NSW Liberal leader slurs Carr's wife

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lost Finale...

OK, saw the final episode of the first season of LOST last night… if you don’t watch the show, then this post will be irrelevant to you.

My theories and questions are as follows:

  • The men in the boat who took the boy (Michael?) are “the Others”.  They want children for some reason… to keep their “tribe” going? I am sure that the person who threw the Molotov cocktail onto the raft was a woman.  They are breeding in some way over say a long period… are they the crew or decedents of “the Black Rock”?
  • The island security system is mechanical and invisible.  That is why we haven’t seen it… this points to some form of high tech government experiment or aliens.
  • I would say the former… the numbers on the hatch, the cable out to sea, they are all man made.
  • The French woman is legit… she is nutty and the sole survivor of her crew… the Others (the Black Rock gang) took her young son as well.  Her son would be in his early twenties… perhaps he was Ethan?
  • Why did so many survive yet they did not get injured?  I suggest that they were placed there and that they are part of some govt experiment? Drugged mind control? Planted memories??
  • Perhaps they are all clones or bred specifically for some experiment and their back stories are all fake…
  • The hatch is the entry to whatever is running this experiment.  I doubt that there are “scientists” there, but that it is some form of control room.
  • The numbers?  A planted clue in Hurley’s back story – this will be some form of pin number required inside the hatch.
  • Locke’s miracle walking?  Again another back story glitch or clue.
  • Overall, I think this is a massive government experiment in the workings of the mind and how people interact.  They have a long established original tribe “the others” and they have introduced a new tribe (the survivors) and are seeing how the dynamics interact.
  • The Others didn’t attack the Survivors because they want the boy and followed him out to sea.  Why?
  • No Flight Crew survived… the pilot was killed early, but no stewardesses survived… they are all featured in the back story, but none made it to the island.
  • The black lady who in episode 2 or 3 claimed her husband was still alive somewhere – were is she?  She hasn’t been seen in ages??
  • Holes in my theories: 1) the Others had a motorised boat and modern equipment (spot light)… where did they get these including the diesel to run the engines. 2) Time, the fact that this experiment seems to be running since the Black Rock set sail, yet they have installed all this modern equipment… too difficult to explain.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

How about this heat?

The AirCon in this damn building has gone out today with no ETA on when it will return… Even though the outside temp is mild, I am on the north face of the building and have the sun beaming through the glass at me… temp inside is approaching 30 degrees and with all the hot air around in a typical office, the humidity is rising as well.  Its only 11:15am – god I hope its fixed soon!

The Painting Has Commenced!

My first of 11 halflings were painted tonight for Eucalyptus Bowl... the first photo is OK, but too distant and when I cropped another for a closer look, it looks blurry - and one of his eyes looks swollen!?! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Feedster:: RSS Search Engine

For you blog enthusiasts, a site you should bookmark and use... Also has the monthly "Top 500" blogs on there... Alas, Lime Kettles is not there! How could they!!

Feedster (sf) :: RSS Search Engine

Slashdot | Gen Con Indy 2005 In A Nutshell

A big review of the King of Nerding events, GenCon 2005. Massive article and of course the usual Slashdot banter underneath. I have only skimmed to date, but am intrigued by the review of Dungeons & Dragons Online... can't wait for that to be developed more! Nerd On People!

Slashdot | Gen Con Indy 2005 In A Nutshell

Today Tonight stirring up racial hatred

Seems as though I am not alone in my thoughts on terrorism and the media... a fellow blogger who I read daily posted his thoughts on the TT "expose" on Terrorism... good to see Media Watch providing a view on the biased slant the media is taking.

A bit of everything...


I am quite chuffed about my little acquisition last night… I hope the shipping is quick and that the Treeman can make his way to Sydney quick enough so I can use him at the Eucalyptus Bowl.  eBay is an amazing site and I found the bidding process very easy.  Also, I paid using the PayPal system and what I found amazing was the re-registration process.  I say re-registration because I had a PayPal account about 4 years ago and I had forgotten my password.  The effort that they go into security I thought was top notch and it included me receiving a phone call from the States from an automated system at about 11:30pm last night.  Very hard to be a spammer or some other dubious crook with the PayPal registration and security system.


My train is becoming increasingly crowded.  I used to have a seat to myself 9 days out of 10, but that ration has dropped markedly.  Also what is annoying is that I moved away from the front carriages because of the large number of school girls and now just recently a young woman of uni age has taken residence in Carriage 8 and with her two male friends she sits facing backwards and squawks and laughs hideously about the most inane things in a really loud manner.  Contiki stories, underwear, Saturday night snogging and bingeing sessions, is there nothing she wont squawk about across the carriage… its enough to make you want to drive!

Petrol Prices!

But when I think of the squawker, I think of the fact that last night petrol hit $1.29 a litre at Glenbrook.  Un-farking-believable! $1.29!!  It has reached the point now that if an Arab sheik farts and has a touch of the gastro, prices swing 10c.  Because the taxes are all compounded on each other, a small swing of base price equates to larger and larger tax charges.  It went from $1.08 to $1.16 to $1.29 since the weekend… and it will probably fall back markedly during this week’s cycle.   Something has to be done about the tax structure on fuel…


Last but not least, my Pop in Queensland is in a bad way and has a cancer that is travelling about his body.  Bladder / Kidneys to spine and hip.  Only found out yesterday and its early days, but it doesn’t sound good.  With him being in QLD, makes it hard and I may make a trip up there soon.  Whilst he doesn’t read this blog, I just want to wish him the best.

No Longer an eBay Virgin!

My first eBay transaction! I bought this Treeman here for about A$31 from the UK... picture is a bit grainy and I don't like the "fluff" on the base, but he will make a fine addition to my miniature collection... and he will taste action at the upcoming Eucalyptus Bowl. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I am being swamped with Spam!

What the fuck is going on??  The damn spammers have got me…

I have taken off the ability for anonymous comments but if I put an external link in my posts (like the ones below) I get comments from all this nut jobs and their stupid products.

This post wont get spam I don’t believe because there is no external link, so if you have a way to prevent my spam, please post it here.

Eucalyptus Bowl

I have committed myself to playing in the Eucalyptus Bowl blood bowl tournament on Saturday 3 September… it’s a full weekend tournament, but I can only go on the Saturday, so I am splitting a ticket with another player who can only play the Sunday.  Because of this, and that we don’t want one player taking the Sunday glory after the hard slog on the Saturday, we’re playing Halflings.  Destined to get walloped every game, the little buggers will be giving their all… I have dubbed the team already the “Eucalyptus Drops”.

But to play table top blood bowl, you need miniatures… and last night I dug out 16 little Halfling miniatures and I will attempt to paint them up by the 3rd.  Half of them are already shoddily painted in enamel paint and therefore I need to strip them back first… Acetone is the tip apparently so I will be delving into Niki’s hand bag to find some nail polish remover…  I haven’t painted any miniatures in about 3yrs so we will see if I have the touch.

The other thing about Halflings is that they use Treemen and I don’t have any Treemen miniatures.  My choices are my ogres and trolls I have, blocks of balsa wood or I beg borrow or steal.  My Sunday partner has suggested using some Star Wars RPG figures he has – Wookies for treemen and Ewoks for flings.  They will do in a pinch, but I would prefer to use proper figures.

I did put on a lame bid for a pre-painted treeman on eBay last night, but I don’t expect to win it…and even then I need another one or two if I take Deeproot Strongbranch, the Star Player Treeman.

I am thinking my roster will be as follows (TR110 allowed):








Total Cost







Right stuff, dodge, stunty








Mighty blow, stand firm, throw team mate, thick skull, take root



Deeproot Strongbranch





Star Player, mighty blow, stand firm, throw team mate, thick skull, block



Halfling Chef








Halfling Chef Extra Ingredients








Fan Factor








Re Rolls















All in all, I think this team will win the odd game, but I am really only playing for a bit of a laugh…


Monday, August 22, 2005

Slashdot | Only NFL Game This Year Gets Lukewarm Response

Being a fan of the Madden franchise, this is an interesting thread on a) the lukewarm response to the 2006 version and b) the effect of monopolies and exclusive agreements - in this case, EA Sports exclusive contract with the NFL.

Slashdot | Only NFL Game This Year Gets Lukewarm Response

I have just been spammed...

See my post below… I have suddenly got 8 comments and all of them rubbish…

WTF is this all about??

I saw something in my travels about this and that there is an anti-spamming extension to Blogger that I can get… now I guess I need it.

[edit] - i have eliminated the ability for "anyone" to comment... only registered blogger users may comment atm and i will look into it later tonight...

Teachers accused of anti-US bias - National -

Oh dear... Seems as though the Government would prefer that teachers do not educate children in a manner that puts the US Government in a bad light... Another example of this current "Australian" (and i use inverted commas deliberately) Government being a toadying snivveling arse kisser to the Americans...

How this can be one of the leading stories on today's Sydney Morning Herald site, I will never know...

Weekend Wrap...

This weekend has gone by in an absolute blur and I cant believe I am sitting here again on Monday morning… This is mainly for the fact that Saturday we went to a wedding at Cronulla and left the house at 11:30am and didn’t get back until very late.  Then Sunday we were off again as Niki and the girls came along to cricket training with me and spent the hours on the swings whilst their dad tried to remember what playing cricket is all about!  As a treat, took the kids to McDonalds for lunch and then it was home were I spent a few hours outside playing with the kids.

We did try and collect some more ants as our colony suffered about 5 casualties this week.  We couldn’t find any ants of the same species this weekend and the nest we used last time has disappeared… Kate buried each of the dead ants we took out individually and marked their resting place with a small stick… funny how kids are.

Then the piece de resistance! St George beat the Eels in the big NRL clash (which I couldn’t get tickets too!) so to all you Parra fans who read this – Hah!

I am now starting to think about buying a Grand Final ticket….

Must dash, train is coming into Central!  And we’re on time!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Loud and mobile: a bad combination

I am not the first to bring this up and I won't be the last... but this has been annoying me of late on the train and hence the timing of this article is rather apt...

In addition, people in a quiet area simply talking their heads off to their friends is driving me crazy. For example, this morning I had to endure for 50mins a bunch of 20 somethings raving about their recent Contiki tour experiences. Given I was 4 rows behind them in the train and I could catch every word is an indication of how loud they were...

Testing my faith...

There is a saying that people who live in the Blue Mountains belong in one of “the Three R’s - Retired, Religious or Retarded”.  It is a common saying and one that I have used regularly as a standing joke given that I am not retired, nor am I religious so that makes me….

But now I believe it more than ever, and this is not a joke.

Kate goes to the local infants school and is in a kindergarten class of 16 kids.  In the half a year she has been going, it is clear to us of the 15 other kids, 14 of them belong to families who would be considered “religious”.  I define religious as those that seriously believe in God and attend churches on a regular basis.  I should also point out at this point that I personally don’t necessarily consider myself an atheist, but I seriously do doubt the need for organised, ritual attendance to a church as an indicator of faith.

The school is a great little school, but it is quite clear that of the 14 religious kids in Kate’s class, well over half of them belong to families that I would consider “hard core” religious families which I define as families that attend church more than once a week and espouse the virtues of Christianity to anyone who cares to listen.  Normally, I am the type of person who is of the “live and let live” creed, but it is clear now that we are half way through the school year that religion is THE topic of the kids in the playground.  Some may say I am paranoid but some examples of what I call over the top religious behaviour include:

·          Kids asking my wife “Do you know God?” whilst she is volunteering to host reading groups in the classroom.

·          Show And Tell becoming a session where kids show to their classmates their new bible that they got for their birthdays

·          The other non-religious girl in the class reporting back that one mother plays sing-a-long Christian songs as they go home from school.

·          Kids unable to concentrate on the topic of the day (Zoo Animals) because they want to debate religious matters (Jesus died for us, why?)

·          Photographs of a Zoo Excursion coming back with kids clasping their hands in a prayer pose like some sort of group prayer session when under the supervision of what I would consider to be the most religious of the parents.

·          One girl not able to commence her day without reciting at her bedside her “devotions” which are apparently written up on posters on her bedroom wall.

And all of this talk has now rubbed off on Kate who is asking about Church, what is religion, why don’t we go, why don’t I have a bible, can I have a bible… etc etc.  My point is that she is only just 6 years old.  She shouldn’t have to contend with such heavy theological questions and be subjected to what is essentially peer group and parental pressure.  This post is not an “anti religious” statement, however I am now concerned that she is being subjected to more and more “indoctrination” that is starting to impact our household.

But what do we do about it?  You can bet your bottom dollar that if we spoke out against all this publicly, Kate would be isolated socially from birthday parties and the like and there is no way I want to jeopardise her reputation amongst her class mates (who are good kids essentially).  Am I worrying too much?  Is it all a “phase” and all the kids will tone down the religious debates in good time?

Why cant kindergarten just be about Finger Painting and Vegemite Sandwiches and lets leave the lifestyles that people lead at home…


Thursday, August 18, 2005

So much to discuss... so little time

Being ill for so long, has meant that I have a number of things floating around in my head and yet cannot commit to writing about them all in a single post.  So instead, I will list these things as a way of trying to descramble my brain.  I may come back to these in more detail…

·          New Train timetable… I am seriously pissed about the timetable coming home making me 15mins later.  Add to the uncertainty that I think the whole network will be in a mess, I am worried that 15mins may blow out to 30+ mins later home.

·          Congrats to my mate Tommy and his wife for selling their house via auction last Saturday.  Its good to see happy vendors in today’s current property market.  Now they just need to buy a new house which I guess is a market that favours buyers.  Can’t wait for the housewarming :-)

·          Gaming stuff… have a couple of things here.  The 11th season of the SWL has kicked off on fumbbl.  Round 1 due for completion on Monday people!  Thanks again to the admin crew for their support getting the season running.

·          Am currently back into playing Madden 2005 pretty heavily as well.  It’s a great sports game the Madden series and I hear 2006 is coming out…  I don’t buy each years version because I think the changes are only incremental.

·          The NRL!  I am very happy at the moment as the Dragons are sitting at the top end of the table and have a chance at a Top 2 finish, even outside odds at a minor premiership.  I am disappointed that I missed out on tickets to this weekends game because it sold out on Tuesday afternoon.  But nevertheless, it is clear the team wanted to play at Kogarah rather than the SFS so I am not complaining.  Given a lot of my mates are Parra fans, these games always attract a few extra sly comments back and forth.  For the record, the Dragons are favourites giving the Eels 5.5pts start on FootyTAB.

·          I have a wedding this weekend. A girl at work is getting married and has invited the whole team to the wedding.  This is a nice gesture as the team at work get on pretty well but we don’t mix socially… The unfortunate thing is she has adopted the “mix the guests” table seating.  So instead of all of us being at a single table at the back of the reception hall, we will be scattered amongst family, friends and I presume the grooms work friends.  Seems odd to me and sort of puts a dampener on my enthusiasm for the evening.

·          I mentioned yesterday that Dad was ill before I was.  Well I rang mum yesterday and she now has the same virus… hope you’re feeling better mum!

That’s about it…. I will rant about something specific soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hey man! Where have you been?

Avid Lime Kettle readers and fly by night web surfers alike would have noticed that I haven’t updated Lime Kettles for 5 or so days.  I presume your lack of emails to me about this is because you have all been worried sick that your favourite daily dose of diatribe may have come to an end… (/me checks inbox and still no emails from fans)

But no, it is but for a simple reason Dear Reader… I have been as sick as a dog.

I was talking to my Dad last Wednesday or Thursday and he told me he had spent 4 days in bed and had been really bad.  His only friend in those 4 days was the toilet bowl and he basically felt (and sounded) shit house.  Knowing Dad, I have never seen him take many days off work and so to have a Friday and then a Monday off, he must have been sick.

Then last Thursday I was making comment to my colleagues how a girl in the next department could be heard throwing up her guts in the Ladies.  I know this and that it must have been bad because I could hear her “damaging the Doulton” through the wall between the Ladies and the Gents….

Well that Thursday night I went home from the office feeling a little tired and queasy in the stomach.

Then from Friday to Monday I basically lived on my toilet.  Not meaning to be graphic, but I had the worst gastro I have ever had before.  Normally, I am renowned for my cast iron stomach, but I could do nothing but sleep and trot to the bathroom.

Friday… Saturday… Sunday… all passed very quickly.  Monday came around and again I had to take the day off but I was up a little bit and had breakfast and lunch.

But Monday’s dinner couldn’t be finished and my stomach started churning once again and I found myself up at 3:00am on Tuesday clutching my stomach and with a severe migraine.  (But at least I saw the end of the 3rd Ashes Test live – there is always a silver lining).

So Tuesday was a right off and Niki had to call in sick for me yet again.

I went to the doctor worried it was something else, but he assured me that it was a virus and that it would pass….

And it has, as I am now back on Carriage 8 heading into the office.  I am sure I have a mountain of work that 3 days unplanned leave can only provide, but at least avid Lime Kettle fans, I am back!


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Star War: Backstroke of the West

Many thanks to gumbi for this link... What is it I hear you ask...?? Well how about a bootleg copy of Star Wars III dubbed in Chinese then translated back to English subtitles... Read on young Presbyterians!

Matthew in Beirut: Backstroke of the West

Car Serviceand Media Exposure

Had to book my “station car” (a Holden Barina) in for its service today which meant I had to drive down to Penrith…  I bought the Barina new 2 years ago and because it drives to the station and back mostly, its only done 20,000 kms in those 2 years.  Should be a simple open and shut case, but you get to the Service dealer and he has the cars details on his clip board and commences the game of “20 Questions To Get You To Spend Mondey”… I must admit I am a sucker for this because I a) know nothing about cars and b) am always worried about Niki driving and having a prang or a breakdown.

He starts by telling me that I “am due” for a Brake Fluid Flush.  I say go ahead because anything about brakes makes me worried…

Next…  do I want to have my tyres rotated.  “Yes”

Next… is it due for a Wheel Alignment?  “ummm… don’t know.  Never had it done…” so he ticks the box.

Next… Do you want a fuel injector clean?  Ah Hah!  Gotcha!  “No!”.  (This is a rip off and given it’s a 4 cylinder buzz box, I know that its not a big deal)

He then asks if there is anything else and I mention the fact that my front left hubcap is missing and I’d like it replaced… (it fell off somewhere about 3 weeks ago).  He then kicks the tyre in question and says “You sure?  They’re expensive…”

How farking expensive can a hubcap be??  Now I am worried… the bill will probably be gazillions of dollars and most of it in a hubcap…

In other news, Kate got herself in the local paper!  If you get a copy of the Blue Mountains Gazette, there is an advert for her school’s enrolment day… she is the main kid in the photograph highlighting the delightful children that make her school so special…  might have to get myself an agent!  :-)  LOL!

We have pinched all the copies from the neighbours and relatives in the area and will be issuing it out as part of this years Xmas card… hehe.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gone Fishin'

Back on the trains again today, after my driving in on Monday and my working from home yesterday.  I have an early meeting this morning and thought I would get a jump start and get the 6:56am train to work.  This train is known as the Fish.  I don’t think I have ever mentioned it, but my normal train (the 7:10am) is known as the Chips.  Get it… the Fish and the Chips…

I don’t know why they are called this, but they have been for many many years.  Even on the old timetables they used to print “The Fish” and “The Chips”.  When I was going to uni, at Central the old indicator boards used to call them by their names.

I however simply refer to them as “late”.  Makes it easier to remember….

Bit of trivia for you… it was the Fish that was involved in the Granville rail disaster…

But I am glad to be back on the train and heading into the office today… Working from home just doesn’t suit me as there are way too many distractions.  I like working in an office and having the proverbial water cooler chats rather than at home in my study.  I did have to sit on in my departments fortnightly meeting to discuss the current projects and I sat on my mobile phone for an hour and a half…  I couldn’t use the land line as the portable phone has a battery life of less than 10minutes and the wall phone in the kitchen would mean I had to contend with the kids etc etc.  So I sat with a mobile to my ear for 90 minutes… will probably get a tumour now…. :-(

I caught on the news this morning as I was getting dressed that there was some sort of militant Islamic tape issued which has a man ranting on about “infidels” and the like whilst holding an AK-47 and wearing a balaclava.  I didn’t catch the story, but the guy had a really ocker Aussie accent… Apparently it was aired in Afghanistan and had Arabic writing on the screen (subtitles?).

This cant be real as any Aussie Muslim extremist would use terms like “yeah right maate” and “fully sick bro” and make mention of the Bulldogs not making the 8… “dat’s Bullshit maate!”

This guy was a real beer and Winnie Reds Aussie… surely it has to be a fake.  I will be interested to see if it makes the papers today…


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

DM's Blood Bowl: Clayinfinity's Top 10 Halfling Tips!

I am a Blood Bowling GOD! (well when it comes to halflings anyway... Thanks to the gratutious promotion DM, I am but a mere Donut junky...

DM's Blood Bowl: Clayinfinity's Top 10 Halfling Tips!

Working from Home - What a Munchkin!

Working from home today... it has its advantages such as being able to take Kate to school and getting an extra 2 hours sleep, but the disadvantages are that i am no where near as productive...
Todays work from home session was sudden and unexpected and hence i havent got my trusty notebook and perhaps a few paper files i could have used.  But on the other hand there are some loose ends of older projects that i can finish off.
Would I work from home full time?  No way.  Too many distractions - i need the office environment to make me work.
Speaking of distractions, went to my mate Tommy's last night and a few of the SWL guys showed and we indulged ourselves in a bit of Munchkin.   A hilarious game which takes the piss out of role playing... If you're a fan of Order of the Stick, you'd love this game...
It was also nice to meet Coach Lo all the way from Scotsdale Arizona... Its always good to put a face to the name of the guy you're kicking arse against... :-P
What was that I said about distractions??  Gotta go...

Monday, August 08, 2005

We'll close Islamic group if it's a threat: PM - National -

What a tool John Howard is! You're going to "ban" an Islamic group because of their endorsement of terrorism... Of course these militant Islamic extremists are going to say "Oh Dang! He banned us! There goes the Jihad..."

Get serious here people... do we really think banning things works? When was the last time banning something stopped people doing it? In fact this will have the opposite effect by sending such groups underground and even make them more attractive for like minded people.

Hey Johnny, why dont we just get out of Iraq? Ever thought of that??

We'll close Islamic group if it's a threat: PM - National -

Slashdot | Google Urged to Drop Images

LOL! We have been Slashdotted... The Geek world is laughing at our request to drop Lucas Heighst off Google... some of the comments down the bottom of the page (scroll down - big white space?) are funny...

Slashdot | Google Urged to Drop Images

Boing Boing: Terrorism and the web: free speech vs. "bad" speech

Recent hysteria on Terrorism that I have commented on is one of my pet hates at the moment. All this talk of jailing people for "sympathising" with terrorists and their cause is a bit Third Reich if you ask me. I think, and not just in this case, that free speech should be kept just that - free - at all times. As soon as Governments (like our own) seek restrictions on that, then the war has been lost. On that vein, the link below is an interesting series of articles...

Boing Boing: Terrorism and the web: free speech vs. "bad" speech

Weekend Wrap

Drove in this morning and hence my post comes to you this morning from my desk and not the trains… I drove in today because I am off to Mr Tommy Dean’s house tonight for some dinner and merriment and to meet fellow fumbbler and friend of Tommy’s Coach_Lo from Arizona. Should be good!

The Weekend for me was quiet but functional. Did the groceries, went to the doctors for a check up, had my dry cleaning done… all very boring. Friday night I watched my beloved Dragons beat the Cowboys in Townsville to keep themselves on track for the Telstra Premiership. At the moment, the Dragons are the form team of the competition and are getting A LOT of press singing their praises. This worries me because there is still 3 – 4 games to go before the semi’s and we have a bye as well which could derail the momentum… but still, even I concede that this ‘could’ be our year.

Saturday was very quiet as well and spent the evening watching a movie and the cricket… and Sunday was a birthday party for the girls and we were babysitting some friends kids, so we didn’t get up to much…

But last night, I sat glued to the box as Australia went down by 2 measly runs in the 2nd Ashes Test

A great match, a brave result that saw us lose a match we should never have won, but didn’t (if that makes sense). I think justice was served, because Australia batted like limp lettuce and we sent the Poms in on a belter… but still, what could have been!! Sets up a cracker for Thursday with the 3rd Test…

Friday, August 05, 2005

New World Order

I awoke groggily this morning after a late night watching the cricket to hear the Channel 7 newsreader dutifully inform me that John Howard is considering introducing legislation to have criminal charges available to prosecute people for “being sympathetic to terrorism”.  Now I for one find the act of terrorism abhorrent but I do sympathise with the fact that the Middle East has been a US/British back disaster ever since the ending of World War II when they created the Jewish State of Israel.  History books will show that the US and British strong armed this state into existence and in turn displaced Muslims in what was then called Palestine but is now Israel.  Ever since then, things have been escalating and the use of guerrilla tactics and now terrorism has been the mode of resistance for the Muslims.

So I have said it.  I think we, the West, have made many many mistakes in dealing with the Middle East and we have shown huge amounts of intolerance for the people and their religion.

So in John Howard’s “New World Order” does that make me sympathetic?  Does that leave me open for prosecution because I dared have independent thought?

If we entertain these sorts of laws to limit people’s ability to speak out, then the whole game is lost.  Democracy will be dead and you have effectively created a Police State by proxy.  Recently a certain Iraqi Dictator was ousted by military invasion for leading such a state.  The people of Iraq were forbidden from speaking out against the views of the government and its leader.  Well guess what Australia, if this bill passes the parliament, we have taken a small but irrevocable step down that same path…


Ricky Ponting! What have you done!!

Your best bowler turns an ankle in warm up, the pitch is dead and slow due to the lack of sunlight during the preparation of the wicket and now your key bowler is your legspinner and  you win the toss.

What do you do?

You BOWL?!?!

Bloody hell Mr Ponting what have you done…

England all out for 407 in less than a day.

We are lucky that the Poms did bat relatively poorly by throwing away wickets at a constant regularity.  I really think they should have been 2/350 and not all out for 407 at stumps and by being all out in a day, the Poms have given Australia enough of a window to rescue this match by being able to bat themselves for the best part of two days and get a lead, but seriously, why did we bowl??


Thursday, August 04, 2005

READING: Isildur

Now that i have finished War of the Worlds, did a quick Google search for online books and came across this... I think its a pre-qual to the Lord of the Rings... but isnt written by Tolkein. I have downloaded it and will now read it on the train home...


General Stuff...

Today I don’t feel like ranting much…  I am too tired, so today is just a general update on what’s going on in my part of the world.

Firstly, I did mention last week that my boss was to be promoted and that there was going to be changes.  Well the first part happened, it was announced last night that he was being promoted and that he now has a company wide mandate to make change… I wont get into details of work here, but it is a very good thing for my department, but as he said last night when asked what does it all mean, he simply answered “more work”.  I guess I wait to here what the changes will mean for me personally, but I already know the answer – more work.  He already told me last week that change was coming and that it would mean me taking on a lot of his former responsibilities… its just that I cant see anyone below me to take on some of my old responsibilities!

Other than work, the fumbbl Southern Wastes League has been won and run… we are now taking a short break and then will start Season 11 in mid-August.  We will have nearly 50 coaches next season, and it should be a smooth transition.  For you guys in the SWL that read this, the new season draft will probably take place tonight.

Been a while since I updated on the Guinea Pigs and the Ants… The Piggies are going well.  They are less skittish and seem to have settled into life in our backyard.  I personally don’t see them during the week, but they are doing ok.

The Ants had a bit of an accident last week… Kate took them to school for show and tell and they got dropped onto the asphalt.  The perspex case didn’t break but did crack a little and all the ants excavations stayed intact.  The only problem was that it seemed to have stopped work.  For 3-4 days, they basically sat around on the surface and did very little.  Last night however, I saw that they were once again extending their tunnels and they seem to be over whatever shock that they felt by being dropped.  Funny how they seem to have “morale” and that if they are upset or shocked (as you would be in a Perspex cabinet being dropped from a height 1000 times your own) they down tools.

I finished War of the Worlds online last night… wasn’t too bad reading a book on a laptop.  I may see what else is about online.

That’s about it.  Sorry about the banal post, but hey life sometimes aint all that exciting ;-)



Wednesday, August 03, 2005

READING: War of the Worlds

I mentioned the other week that I went and saw War of the Worlds... I was a big fan of the radioplay, but had never read the book. Well I am nearly done with it and have been reading it online href="">here.

I have to say its fascinating as something over 100 years old struggles to describe things that we, in the modern day age of movie making and special effects, take for granted. Also, it has given me something else to do on the train... :-)

Killing An Arab

The title of my post is from the title of an old Cure song that my mate Steve in London would appreciate.  I was thinking of him this morning as he had sent an email saying he appreciated the photos I posted of Sunday’s BBQ.  All these nice thoughts were then interrupted by an absolute Tool on the radio news this morning that has sent me into a state of apoplexy.  Someone official sounding like the police chief or some government official was announcing that police and security personnel would now have the ability to politely question “men of middle eastern appearance”

He said that as a security measure all men of Middle Eastern appearance can now be expected to be politely approached and quizzed at places such as train stations and “that if they have nothing to hide, then they should not be alarmed or upset”.

What about fucking Privacy!  What about the fact that the guy may have other criminal issues (non-terrorism) and may not be too friendly about being “politely quizzed” (read interrogated) knowing he has some outstanding fines or some such…

Does anyone know of one government that decided to racially “quiz” its populace?  The fucking Third Reich of Nazi Germany, that’s who!

For those who don’t know me personally, I am not of Arabic decent or of the Muslim faith, but am I alone in thinking that this is going way too far?!?  The newsreader read this with that knowing reassuring tone that this was a good thing and nobody on the radio questioned this.  It also coincides with some poll results today that show that 40% of Australians agree with the Shoot To Kill policy adopted in the UK that cost the life of a Brazilian National… (and remember, Brazil isn’t part of the Middle East, but he was black!)

Which brings me to my next point, not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arab.  Did you know that one of, if not the largest Muslim nation is on our northern border in the form of Indonesia.  Last time I looked, Indonesians did not look Arabic.  They looked ASIAN!  And where was the only attack directed at Australians?  Indonesia.  And where the perpetrators of this attack Arabic?  No.

So shall we now start “politely quizzing” Asians???

Pauline Hanson may be politically dead, but her policies live and breath through a xenophobic Liberal government hell bent on destroying the fun loving, free spirited country that is (was) Australia.

Good bye freedom and multicultural harmony, hello Police State.

If we were serious about ending Terrorism, then we should pull out of the Middle East, denounce the attacks as against the laws of the UN and claim neutrality.  Who has done this already???  Fucking New Zealand!

Do you see Arabs in New Zealand being questioned?  Do you see NZ citizens being captured in Baghdad?  Do you see NZ’ers afraid to travel the world as NZ’ers because of the fear of reprisal?



Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies

As a gamer, I always find gaming humour funny.... and hence, thanks to SWL colleague eganra, check this out: GameSpy: PlanetFargo: Dungeons & Dragons Made Simple

Tangara's - The Pride of the Fleet

Morning all!  Today I had to purchase my monthly rail ticket which costs the princely sum of $172.  This gives me 20 working days of travel on the rail plus weekends if I need it (which is never).  It is on this day as I hand over my credit card to Bill the Station Master (CityRail hasn’t heard of eftpos yet and if you are at Emu Plains it’s a cash only transaction!) that I tend to look at the past month of CityRail service and give them a serve.  I was particularly looking forward to this given yesterdays revelations that the new timetable will be slower than the timetable in place in the 1930’s.

I waited patiently as Bill processed my credit card manually with the slide machine (hey, at least its not cash only) and the automated station voice (you know the one – the lady with the voice of seduction who lulls you into a false sense of security and yet tells you you’re screwed this morning) comes on and says:

“The 7:10am service has been cancelled for today only.  CityRail apologises for any inconvenience caused”

As she says this, Bill goes “cha-ching” and slides the 1970’s style slide machine over my 2005 credit card and says “Sorry Clayton (he reads the names on the card and gets to know you by name) but don’t worry, the 7:22 Tangara will be along shortly – it’s the Pride of the Fleet!”

Bill of course wasn’t being literal and was well and truly aware that the 8 cars of Blue Mountain commuters were being well and truly done over this morning.

He probably didn’t realise the irony though given I had just paid $172 for the privilege.

So now I sit on the Tangara in the vestibule area.  The train is crowded and is stopping at such salubrious stations such as Kingswood, Werrington and Mt Druitt which is always a pleasant thing to do when you are running late and are packed in like sardines!

I had to ring my boss to tell him I was running late but he doesn’t understand given he drives a Saab and comes from Lindfield and whilst he is an OK boss, the thought probably crosses his mind that people who live in the mountains shouldn’t work in the city.

Oh well, there is always the journey home to look forward to!