Sunday, October 30, 2005
I am back home now in Sydney. Pop passed away last Tuesday and the funeral was on Friday. This is my most recent picture of him with my girls which was unfortunately 16mths ago. I was glad I got to go and spend the last few days with him and I feel relieved that its all over for him.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Its Monday night and I am still on the Gold Coast and my Pop is still fighting. I arrived on Saturday lunchtime in time to see him whilst he was barely conscious. He recognised me and was happy to see me even though he was beyond talking.
The nurses have increased his drugs to relieve the pain and this will keep him unconscious but he "broke through" the drugs on Sunday morning and was awake for a time. By "awake" he could open his eyes and look at you, but I believe he knew we were there.
Today he still breathes hard and pants and the noise is like a metronome. Occaisionally he will stop for 30-40 seconds and everyone looks up from whatever they are reading (I have read all the New Ideas and Womens Days from 1999 onwards) and we wonder if he will breathe again.
He does of course and he has been going like this still. You are proud that he fights so hard but at the same time you want him to pass quickly and peacefully. I have very mixed feelings at the moment.
I will stay here until the end though and will hopefully be back in Sydney for the weekend. It is Niki's birthday tomorrow and whilst she is at home and is wonderfully supportive, I just want to be back to help her celebrate.
The Doctor believes that tomorrow will be the last day for Pop, but he can't give any guarentees.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I am going to the Gold Coast on Saturday morning as my Pop up there is in a bad way and is not expected to make it much longer. He has been battling cancer for some time now and he lost a kidney as a result. The cancer spread to other parts of his body and the pain he is experiencing has increased dramatically. He has been sent to Hospital and the diagnosis was to relieve the pain, the kidney dialysis needs to stop and then that means that he will not live long without the dialysis.
Its very sad, and it’s been a long process but given my
Not a nice post, but everything else you think about isn’t worth writing about.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Google Earth: the black helicopters have landed | The Register: "By Lester Haines"
Am on the late train this morning as I was up late watching a tape of “Inside 9/11” that was on National Geographic Channel last month. My mate Noyz lent it to me recommending it. I started watching it the night before last before realising the thing goes for about 4 hours! Anyways I was up until 1am watching this thing after being up to midnight the night before (though I must say, I didn’t start watching until nearly 11pm both nights) and I have been riveted to the show. Its very good and if you ever do get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. It goes from the 80’s and the history of why al-Qaeda was formed to of course 9/11 2001. After all this viewing, I am only just now at the aftermath of the plane strikes…
So I am a bit tired today and will have a snooze after watching this, but I do want to give a view “news items”.
Firstly, our friends Nick and Paula gave birth on Saturday to a baby boy Antonio. He weighed in at a good 9lbs and though the birth was difficult and very long (44hrs!) mum and baby Antonio (Tony) are doing well.
Secondly my good mate Joe got engaged to his lovely
On the gaming front, I lost my Fumbbl Cup match last night and bow out of the tournament. I made the third round but came up against a Swedish coach who was quite good plus a better team. Still, I lost the game 2-1 in the last turn of the match and made an elementary mistake that could have stopped his 2nd touchdown and hence forced overtime. But I do concede, my team had been bashed pretty badly (3 casualties) and I was up against it if we went to OT.
Anyways, I am signing off… time for some zeds.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I was early this morning… managed a double snooze on the alarm and still managed to get showered and shaved and dressed with a few minutes to spare before I had to leave for the train. Left the house in a leisurely manner and headed off to the station. Halfway there, I realise I had forgotten my train ticket. A quick call home, I do a U turn and head back. Train ticket couldn’t be found until I checked yesterdays shirt in the laundry. Scampered out again with the kids looking bemused.
Now I am in a bit of a hurry but will be OK if I go down the mountain to Emu Plains and meet the train there. I have plenty of time and head down towards Mitchell’s Pass which for those that don’t know it is a single lane, one way pass down the mountain. You can only go down and there is no overtaking and its fairly windy, but if you know the road there is no issue.
It is a quick way down the mountain but I struggle to get there as a dog, a bike rider and a dog walker all decide to step out in front of me in the 1.5kms to the pass from my place. My blood pressure rises as I get to the top of the pass. I turn into Mitchell’s Pass and then SLAM on the brakes. Seems as though someone thought that morning peak hour would be a great time to take their 16yr old child out on their first drive on L plates. Why? WTF were they thinking? So now I am in an 8 car procession down the mountain. Can’t pass, can’t overtake, and can’t take an alternative route… I am now bound to this learners brake lights and erratic steering.
We crawl down the mountain and I am increasingly running late. By blood pressure is now boiling… I am a cranky driver at the best of times and I am gripping the steering wheel with ever increasing force. The clock ticks… my train would be leaving Lapstone now and I am pushing to meet it.
At the bottom of the mountain, the L plater turns off to continue their leisurely lesson of frustration and I speed ahead down the old highway. I get to the Lennox Shopping Centre with clear space in front and behind but that doesn’t stop this absolute tool pulling out in front of me. I hate people who pull out in front of you when there is clearly more opportunity to let you pass by first… but this guy will have none of that and pulls out in front of me doing 80km/h so he can slow me down to the 50km/h he is doing. We proceed down the highway (which is single laned) and we get to the train station. I want to turn left to go into the back carpark, he is going straight. He takes off from the light and I start my left turn until he decides halfway across the intersection to turn left right in front of me. I nearly T-bone this dickhead and I am now sitting on the horn. He pays no heed and goes to the back car park.
I get the last space though in the carpark and I am now the furthest point from the train platform. The train is now coming into the station and I make a dash for it. I am not a dasher and I arrive at the platform and the train puffing after my 150m sprint. I get the last seat by the windows which is a three seater at the back of the carriage. I place my coat on the middle seat and a lady comes in a decides to sit on my fucking coat. No excuse me, no do you mind… just she plonks her arse on my coat….
She is now sleeping on the end seat after she realised she didn’t have to sit hard up against me… I swear I have run into every fool in the universe this morning and it could have been avoided if I had simply remembered to grab my train ticket…. I hope the day improves from here.
Monday, October 17, 2005
After our big win on Saturday, I went out to the SCG on Sunday to see Day 3 of the
The World XI Team: I think the selectors have erred big time. People like Lara and Kallis are woefully out of form. With little preparation and the added fact that the team was picked on reputation than form, then it is no wonder that Australia are having a better run of it. People like Vaughn, Fleming, Vaas should have been given a run. Fielding should also have been a factor, particularly in the ODI’s. Inzamam Ul-Haq is the most useless tub of lard to grace a cricket field… his dismissal on Saturday was comical… he basically fell out of his crease…
Third Umpire: I hate it. I am sorry, but the fact that umpires can make mistakes is part of the game. They referred a lot of decisions yesterday upstairs and it took a lot of momentum out of the game. Everyone stops and stands around and the video screen at the ground goes blank. However, if you’re in the bar queue, you can watch the Channel 9 coverage… seems odd that the big screen is blank. Then I noticed when Ponting was given not out he was quizzing the umpire for the reason… I think the umpire (Taufel) didn’t actually know… One commentator says that eventually all you will need is a guy to hold a bowlers jumper and hat… I think we’re at that stage now.
Bad Light: Bad weather happens and it’s a fact of life. You wont get rid of nature, so I think they need to work on the consistency. The lights are not good in daylight with a red ball… they are for full night time with a white ball. Unless they use coloured clothing and a white ball for tests, then the fact is that bad light will occasionally end or post pone play. So be it. Let the umpires make the call and stop trying to beat nature with technology. I was at the game, it was frustrating, but what can you do.
Australian Team: Watson is not a test batsman nor a test bowler, but he can do a bit of both. I think we should play Andrew Symonds who can bowl spin and mediums and is a better batting prospect. Then let the conditions dictate whether MacGill or a 3rd seamer plays. However I think they should now be only playing a 3rd seamer on real green tops rather than waiting for a spinners paradise to play MacGill. MacGill is a great bowler and add the fact that opposing nations have no idea against leg spin, it’s a great option. Katich needs a score too, but he should be getting plenty of time to do so… Hussey is knocking on the door though… why is Hodge 12th man though if Hussey is the “next man in” so to speak??
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Well, Greystanes continued their dominance today over Baulkham Hills
with an innings and 37 run victory today.
Resuming at 7/191, Greystanes continued to pile on the runs at over 4.5
runs per over and were eventually bowled out for 230. Angelo Buultjens
(38) and Terry Hoban (15) doing most of the damage in the lower order.
Baulkham Hills after getting only 85 in their first innings again
struggled and were dismissed at about 5pm as the light started to fade
for only 108.
Will Graham stepped in with the ball and took 3 wickets with his offspin
and Pete Nahlous took 3/18 off 10... very economical for a leg spinner.
Really this was a very one sided game and Greystanes has not dominated a
team like this for many a summer, but to get an outright win in the
shorter days before daylight saving is a big bonus. That makes it 3
wins from as many games and 24pts and first place on the ladder.
Next weeks game is at home at Daniel Street...
Friday, October 14, 2005
Last night whilst I was in the middle of a Blood Bowl game, my PC crashed. This has happened before and is not unusual given my 5yr old PC is running like a dog and has been having troubles over the past 12mths. Tried to reboot and it hangs so I have to physically turn it off at the tower. Again not unusual, but I do know that a good PC wouldn’t have these problems.
So I get under the desk, turn it off... wait… turn it on again and she fires up. When I do this, quite often the PC will hang on the Windows 98 screen and require me to get under and cold start it again and that sends it into a Safe Mode reboot. However this time it fires up fine and goes to my network password (although I don’t have a network) screen. Normally I hit “cancel” and it goes through to the desktop and I can reconnect.
This time however, something unusual happens and it freezes. I can move the mouse but nothing seems to be happening. Can’t click anything so after seeing if it will unhang itself (which it doesn’t) I hit ALT-CTRL-DEL and nothing happens. I do it again and get the Blue Screen of Death. It asks me to hit ALT-CTRL-DEL again to reboot which I do.
Nothing happens however and I go back under the table and turn the box off at the tower. I wait a bit and hit the power back on again and the USB ports light up momentarily and then bang. Nothing. The PC has died. I try again. A brief flicker of power goes through and then it cuts out. This is still the situation this morning and I have a major problem.
My issue is however is that I am a complete n00b when it comes to hardware. Software glitches I can fix and I have been fiddling around with my config file to sort out my shutdown/start up problems that cause me to manually cold start the box, but with hardware… I got no idea!
So my technical assessment of my PC is that it is fucked.
Niki starts getting upset about all our photos on the PC (I was way overdue for a backup to be done) but I know that the data is OK, I just need to get the power supply fixed.
I have power to my ADSL modem and the monitor (both have their lights on as per normal) but the tower case is getting nothing.
My n00b knowledge of such things is that there is a power supply thing in there (yes “thing” is a technical term) and that I think all the cold starting has caused it to clap out… so I think if I get that fixed, then she’ll be right.
However the PC is old, its clunky, has been giving me the shits for months and I am thinking of getting a whole new system and turning this one (once fixed) into a “spare PC” that the kids can use and play their games and do whatever with…
But as I posted yesterday, I am very busy this weekend, I have no time to get it fixed or shop for a new system, and I am only beginning to realise how much our PC does around the house. Niki and I communicate a lot through the day via email and today is pay day which means I am due to sit down and pay all my bills online…
Also, the cash situation isn’t the best as this months pay is committed to dancing fees, Christmas presents and pre-school fees for Brooke on top of the usual stuff. I am thinking of perhaps buying a system against my salary package and pay FBT rather than PAYE taxes (I was thinking of doing this anyway before the crash), but nevertheless, it will take time to buy, have delivered and set up.
So, if anyone has some advice, let me know… is a power issue an easy fix? Should I focus on the new system or getting the old one fixed?
Thursday, October 13, 2005
If you are in this category, then this should answer your questions...Link
I am getting a little swamped at the moment… my social calendar is extremely busy at the moment with so many things happening…
Friday night, we’re going out to dinner with the most of the parents from Kate’s classmates. Apparently the restaurant has been booked for 20! These things are always a little difficult as the mums tend to know each other quiet well and are familiar with each other whereas the dads only know a few faces of the mums and wouldn’t have a clue what other dads names or what they do for a job etc etc. So you get this mix of familiar conversation with the occasional “So <insert name>… what do you do for a living?” I always hate that as my job is not easily explained…
Then Sunday, I am off to the cricket at the SCG after my mate Noyz scrambled me a ticket. Day 3 is generally the best day to go to cricket Tests as generally you will see plenty of wickets as the pitch deteriorates and generally the end of one and the start of another innings. Plus the attraction of seeing so many star players is a bonus – but whether they show some form is another thing.
Next week I am double booked on Friday night with a work function and my mate Gools’ farewell dinner as he heads off to sunny QLD for work. I have to attend the work function, which is also a dinner, but I will catch up with the party afterwards. I am a) extremely annoyed at the double booking and b) pissed at myself because both have been in my diary for weeks and I have only just realised it!
Then we have Niki’s birthday coming up and she wants to go and see Missy Higgins at
Add all the other stuff that I typically do like Saturday and the fact that I am supposed to start SWL Season 12 this weekend as well… Speaking of Blood Bowl, I am into the third round of the Fumbbl Cup. I won my first two matches fairly convincingly against 2 Germans but now I am up against a Swedish guy who looks like a good player (a coach rating in the 170’s is impressive) and has a better team than me (his Chaos Dwarves – Mandinka Tribe). I am trying to get that match done this week as well. If I win this, I will make the Fumbbl Cup Finals which is a 32 team knockout, which will be a first for me and will be a fair achievement given that I am playing a Rotters team that many coaches class as a sub-par race… To give me an edge though, I did freeboot a goblin with a chainsaw (hehe)… so if he can do some carnage, I may be a shot.
In other things, we got Kate’s first school photos yesterday. I have to say I am very happy with the shots and also the way the photography place set them out. Firstly, the many sized individual portrait is on one A4 page. Half is a large shot, then there are 4 or so medium ones and then there are I think 6 passport size shots. This means you can scan the one page and instantly double the number of photos you have. Then you slice them up and distribute them to relatives… On top of this, the class photo is very good with Kate looking nice (you know how sometimes a kid has a funny look or their eyes closed – well that’s not the case! Phew!) and they also have a shot of Kate’s classroom building on the front of the folder. That’s a nice touch and her room is one of the original brick buildings of the school and is fairly historic… so its not a cheesy demountable building. Thumbs up from me!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
What does Murphy’s Law dictate for when its pouring rain? Make the already crowded train two carriages short… That’s what has happened this morning and now I sit in stuffy carriage with mine and everyone else’s soggy umbrellas without a seat to spare as we approach Emu Plains were more people get on than ever before. Great start to the day!
Last night coming home, the carriage was infested with Bogan Moths and there were more than 20. Luckily most of them sat on the end wall of the carriage obviously groggy from the ¾ a can of fly spray that the conductor had sprayed on them. And if this wasn’t bad enough, the train was held up at
She obviously had gotten up and come into my carriage, but the train refused to budge until the stations “safety officer” checked her out and interviewed her. She refused to get off and they did their “assessment” of her on the train. “Can you stand?” “Are you in pain?” “Do you need an ambulance?”… these were all asked of her as we all sat listening and getting increasingly pissed off. She answered all the questions with a “Yes I’m fine” and her travelling companion said she would look after her as they made their way to Springwood.
When the CityRail staff had left, the companion started talking up how they can sue CityRail and get a motza! “$50 grand easy!” was repeated quite often in the carriage in clear earshot of everyone else. To make matters worse, the conductor would come in between stations and ask her if she was ok and could they do anything for her… he was actually quite polite, but every time he left them, they kept talking up their chances of a law suit…
In my mind as far as I can see, the woman was fine, but I bet CityRail get a legal letter sighting “psychological damages” and a “significant degradation of their clients quality of life”.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
OK, so we are getting bombarded with adverts telling us we cant be sacked for staying home looking after ill children… Does that mean we used to? I have taken time off before to look after my kids when they are ill and recently “worked from home” because both Niki and the girls were ill… My boss actually said to me after this, don’t bother working from home, just take the day off and be done with it as family comes first.
Good attitude and one that I appreciated, but this was over a month ago prior to these new laws.
I did receive at work an email about work place monitoring of email. I know that you can’t look at certain sites (you know… ‘those’ sites) but does that mean I cant read the newspaper online anymore? Does that mean I cant look at this blog anymore as well?
I do get and send a lot of non-work emails from friends… should we stop this now? A blanket ban? Or is a “reasonable” amount acceptable – and if so what is reasonable?
And does all this IR stuff include me (a non-union white collar worker) or is it only for the trade unions etc etc… I am not even sure that this stuff applies to me.
So if you have an idea what this IR stuff all means, can you let me know… but don’t send me an email as we both may end up on the street!
Monday, October 10, 2005
Well, back in the saddle after a weeks break and I must admit, even though it is only a week off – and only 4 working days due to last weeks long weekend – I feel as though I have been away from the office for eons. It will be hard to get back into the swing of things and I am sure I will have a pile of email and mail built up from my time away. My calendar today is not too heavy and I will probably spend the good part of the day just sifting.
Also strange to be back on the trains today and it probably makes it a bit more surreal given the fact that there are about 10 Bogan Moths flying around in my carriage. I hate them things and I have been on the train only 5 minutes and already been hit in the head twice by the bastards…
So other than the wine tasting and playing cricket, what else has been happening:
Blood Bowl: The Southern Wastes League Season XI has been run and won with Snorri’s Dark Elves taking the title. This little comp that started 2 years or so ago has now turned into one of the largest online gaming communities in this country. We have added 3 or so more coaches this week and Season 12 will be starting very soon. This thing is getting bigger than Ben Hur. But Blood Bowl in general seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival lately. A new site AusBowl has been started up and this will be the home of the Australian Blood Bowl scene for years to come I think. I know that some of the SWL community have been heavily involved in this site (DM, chunky04) so congrats to them. And finally,
Cricket: I have watched the World XI series against
NRL: The NRL Grand Final was won last week by the Wests Tigers and a few things have come out of it. Firstly the post match swearing. I think people need to get over this. No it wasn’t classy, and it is not good for children, but I have heard far worse language directed at children and whilst it doesn’t excuse the players, it does show that we do have a bit of a wowser element in our society that I cant stand. Secondly, the whole ticker tape parade issue. If the Tigers think that they deserve a parade, then they need to pull their heads out of their arses. No way does a Sydney NRL team deserve a CBD parade. Go have a parade in Leichhardt or Campbelltown, but don’t expect all of
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Having dismissed Baulkham Hills way before the drinks break, Greystanes piled on the runs into the fading light all the way until 6pm to finish at stumps 7/191.
Noyz starred with the bat to go with his 5 wickets with the ball with a well made 61. The team as a whole contributed with Paul Agius 23, yours truly got 18, Cam Imbesi 15 and Nick Nardo a big hitting 26.
Greystanes may bat on further next week to give our so called pop-gun attack something to aim at...
Saturday, October 08, 2005
This is a broader shot of the back yard with the pool and the vineyards... The place was mainly single story, but had a single room upstairs which was the main bedroom with an ensuite and spa... We were lucky enough to get to use that room! But with all the kids about, the spa was only used for mass bathing of filthy kids! :)
This is a shot of Niki & Brooke out the back of the house we stayed at with the pool behind them and the vineyards in the background. We were about a kilometre off the road down a dirt road and hence we got plenty of visitors from the local kangaroos as well... There was plenty of lush grass for the kids to run around and of course the pool. It wasnt very hot weather, but that doesnt deter kids from swimming..
And of course there was the obligatory wine tasting to be done... This is a shot of our friends Julie, Con, Sean and some tool on the end of the bar enjoying the wines at Wyndhams Estate. The people at Wyndhams put on a big spread for us that included anti-pesto, gourmet foccaccia's, cheese platters, cakes and muffins and soft drink and juice and coffees. They also gave us a tour of not only the functional areas of the winery, but also the history and how George Wyndham came to the Hunter and subsequently lost everything in a double whammy flood and recession. "Wyndham Estate" only bears his name out of recognition by the current owners not because the Wyndham family still runs it...
Here Kate & Brooke pat a baby crocodile at the reptile show at the Hunter Valley Gardens. The girls took the kids and went to the Gardens whilst us guys played golf at Cypress Lakes. For the record, I shot my best ever round of golf but still came third in a 3 horse race, but I actually won the back nine!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Saturday, October 01, 2005
The pictures below are of Kate sporting her new pierced ears... I have been resisting this for some time but Kate has been bugging us about it for nearly a year. She has a fascination for jewelery and wants "proper earings". Well after 12mths I relented and she had them done last weekend. They look fine, and I suppose I shouldnt have made such a big deal about it, but I guess I am resisting my kids growing up...
Other things happening which will effect this blog is that I am off to the Hunter Valley on Monday morning and will be gone for 5 days. No PC, no internet, no fumbbl, no gaming, no blogging... Yee Gods! What will I do ;-)
We are staying at the Bimbadgen Estate with 3 other couples and their kids and all the accomodation is for nix! Beautiful! Piccies etc will come next weekend...
Today is our god daughter Gabriele's birthday. Bit of a party / BBQ lunch happening and should be good... and then I will try and catch my Melbourne fumbbl mate Twahn for a bit of a drink and maybe a BB game in the evening... will kick his arse I am sure :)
Sunday is NRL Grand Final Day and I, for the first time in decades, have no plans. The girls are keen to watch it so we decided to have Pizza at home. I am not really fussed who wins given my Dragons bowed out last weekend, but I guess the Tigers should get my support. I will find it strange to refer to either teams as "the Premiers" next season. But I guess a change from Bulldogs/Roosters/Broncos is a good thing.
Thats about it... no guarentee of another posting before my holiday, so take care all!