Wednesday, November 30, 2005

If you read all this, leave a comment...

I am struggling this morning to post something meaningful as I have been very busy with work and will be for the rest of the week… I have finished reading that Blood Bowl novel I mentioned a couple of days ago and I was writing a review of it and critiquing it due to its poor spelling and grammar and realised that I am doing the ultimate Lime Kettle and decided to delete all that post.  (For the record, the book was average at best and you have to be a gamer to determine that it was an average book – if you don’t play Blood Bowl, don’t bother!)

It is hard to write about something when you have committed to write very little about work, but then your work is what is consuming you at the moment… The reason for this all consumption is that some of my colleagues from our US office are out for our annual strategy sessions and the entire week is taken up with meetings and the evenings are taken up with dinner and entertainment…  It leaves very little else to think about…  So if work is driving everything else out this week, then I guess I better start looking forward to something!

When you’re in late November, obviously things start to turn to Xmas.  Yesterday Niki got the girls their annual Santa photo.  This was a big milestone for little Brooke as she has been petrified of Santa for the last two Christmas’s and this year she willing sat next to Santa.  Niki was very happy too because it wasn’t crowded at Santa’s Workshop and he was actually walking around browsing (do Santa’s browse?) in the toy department, so the girls got to hold his hand and lead him back to the Santa Chair for their photo.  He was a pretty good Santa and when was all said and done and they walked past Santa later on, he called out their names and wished them a Merry Christmas.   So a big thumbs up to what seems to be one of the better Santa’s going around!  (Myer at Penrith if you’re keen).

Also, because initially my Pop was ill, but more so that he passed away last month, my parents are going up to spend Xmas with my Nan on the Gold Coast.  This means that we’ll be having an early Xmas lunch with my mum & dad and hopefully some other rello’s the week before.  So effectively we get two Xmas Days!  The lunch is going to be at our place and I need to pull my finger out and make some phone calls and get busy… it will be good because we can just relax and not worry about doing the 3pm changeover to be somewhere else for dinner.  Not quite the same as doing it on Xmas Day, but we’ll give it a fair crack :-)

Before this though, on Sunday, we’re having a Xmas Picnic with the old crowd and its getting to the stage that one of us (Pete) will be dressing up in Santa gear for the kids.  Should be a good one, just hope the weather improves.

Well that’s enough… the train is at Parramatta and I need to do some work and this posting has rambled long enough…


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Van Ngyuen

I have been surprised at the amount of support in the media for Van Ngyuen (sp?) and his impending execution.  Whilst I don’t condone the death penalty for his particular offence, I do think that we should learn to respect the rights of individual countries and their laws.  The fact that Singapore has the Death Penalty for drug trafficking and yet Ngyuen decided to try his luck is such a monumentally stupid move, that I have little sympathy for him.

What does annoy me most of all however is that some sections of the media, driven by I don’t know who, are calling for “the Nation” to stop for a minute silence at 9:00am Friday.  How ridiculous is that?!?!  When do we stop for a mark of respect at other times?  Armistice Day to pay respect to the war dead.  We pause to reflect on Anzac Day again as a celebration of people who sacrificed all.  We also stop to reflect on the lives of famous people who pass away before sporting events and we will stop to pay respect to those who have died in tragic circumstances – for example September 11.

Do you see the common thread in all of these??  Its called Respect.  You stop to “pay respect” to the person or persons who have died.  Why would I want to pay “respect” to a guy who was selfishly bringing massive amounts of a deadly drug into our country for his own personal gains and got stupidly caught?

That is not what a minute silence is about and for once I agree with John Howard that it won’t be happening.

Enjoy the cricket Johnny, no need to worry about anything other than ensuring the PM’s XI win the toss and bat.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Night...

Been a very good weekend this weekend with not much on at all...

A big highlight was that the mighty Greystanes B11's cricket team chased
251 to win. What makes it special was that we were 5/70 odd and a
massive 140 run partnership between Paul "Noyz" Brewster and "Young
Simon" Agius turned the tide. Noyz made 116 in the end with Simon
making 46 (his highest score I believe) and left a few runs for Nick
Nardo to bring in with a huge six over midwicket for the win.

That puts us right into contention with a 4-2 record at the half way
mark in the season. We did get the wobbles for the last 2 and a half
games, but that win should give us all the momentum for the run home.
We have the next 2 weeks off with the bye and then finish up before Xmas
with a one dayer against Parramatta Leagues on December 17.

Saturday night was spent with Mum & Dad at the Shun Tak Restaurant at
Parramatta. I have to give this place a massive wrap. The food is
great Chinese with their specialty being seafood. The service was good
and they're great with the kids... our girls got lollipops and jelly for
desert. So if you're looking for a good meal, I give the Shun Tak (sp?)
the thumbs up.

Sunday was spent mainly at the shops... we bought new photo paper for
the printer (and then realised when we got home, we were out of ink), I
bought some new brushes and paints for my Dwarf painting project plus I
bought the new Blood Bowl novel... should be
a laugh. We also bought some paint for the girls beds that have been in
our garage for ages and some hay for the Guinea Pigs...

This was followed by a BBQ for dinner and we all watched the Kath & Kim
movie on Channel 2... God we go off!

Friday, November 25, 2005


I was questioned yesterday about whether I get any feedback on this site by my mate Enoch and before I could respond to his email in full, I had a comment on my post yesterday about the “terrorists” on my train yesterday.  This has expanded into a few more comments, but I also have had a few emails as well on yesterday’s subject.  Seems as though my views on assuming that those Arab guys on the train yesterday were terrorists has prompted a bit of a debate…

On one hand, I had people criticising me because I “preach” tolerance but then how I could then assume the worst in people.  Then I had the opposite view and had people asking me whether I had considered reporting the whole thing to the police as it was clearly “a dry run”.

My position is that I don’t think every Muslim is a terrorist, but I guess given the mass-media (hysteria?) in our newspapers everyday coupled with the closing of Town Hall in peak hour my mind assumed the worst.  I put that down to the human condition rather than any prejudice on my part.  I still believe that our government is over reacting and that they are targeting a particular religion simply on the basis that it is “different”.  In short, I still believe Muslims are being discriminated against.

And yet, I do acknowledge that there is an extremist element and that in past terrorist attacks all over the world, some of the victims were probably pro or at least cognisant of the issues that Muslims have… it didn’t stop them from being blown to bits though.

Thanks for the feedback too… whether you think I am a nut, or strange, or racist or that I “tell it like it is”, I am happy to hear from you.

God's Debris

If you want to read something that will give you something to think about, I highly recommend you read God’s Debris.  It is a short story written by Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip but this is not a comedy story.  I won’t give it away here, but download it and read it and let me know what you think via the Forum.

Thanks to gumbi for linking me to this…


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Freaked out this morning

Well I was shitting bullets this morning.

I get on the train at Central to take me around to Kings Cross and they announce that the train will not stop at Town Hall.

At this point I notice in the vestibule with me were 3 Arab looking (long beards, funny hats) men each with a back pack on.

They start jabbering to each other in Arabic and 2 of the three got off the train at Central.

The guy left stands there as we move along. The train slows through Town Hall and he pulls out of his pocket a single A4 page that has lots of Arabic writing and seems to be a religious pamphlet.

He starts reading it out loud, but quietly to himself.

I swear I thought I was a goner!

He then puts the paper away and pulls out the mobile phone and I am now thinking of Niki and the kids...

The train pulls into Martin Place and he gets off...

I stay on and go thru to the Cross and wonder if there is something happening... but turns out it was a fire that caused the station closure.

I feel strange that I jumped to that conclusion straight away this morning. I am very against this “all Muslims are terrorists” slant the media have been spruiking, but when you get confronted with things you do start to think “is this it?”

We're all going to the birds...

Interesting debate at work at the moment… With the background of Bird Flu and the fact that I work in Risk Management and hence am a part of my companies “Bird Flu Response”, I have been getting alot of material on this very subject.

Not that I have anything new that isn’t already being reported, just that I get to review it with the companies interests / concerns in mind.  Along with HR and other divisions, I am getting involved at a level that I don’t particularly care for.  My personal view is that if the Bird Flu mutates and becomes a human plague, then we’re stuffed.  No policy that I can write or assist to formulate will prevent it… I guess I have a bit of a fatalist approach.

But this is only background to the debate in my own department which is now spreading (hah! like a virus!!) to other departments.  One of the key notions about Bird Flu prevention is a two pronged strategy around personal hygiene and the treatment of staff who are sick with the flu.  The first is what it is – Personal Hygiene.  You can’t have a place of employment dictating that all employees must have certain standards of personal hygiene.  I’d like to think that people do, but you can’t “enforce” that everyone bathes and washes their hands.  The second point though is the treatment of people who are sick in the work place.  Essentially enforcing that people who have the flu (and I am talking regular not Bird) stay at home until they are better.

At the time we were looking at this material, one of my colleagues was off sick.  He was off Monday with the flu.  We made the usual jokes about “chucking a sickie to get a long weekend” and didn’t think much of it.  Well he came into the office on Tuesday and sounded horrendous.  Hacking cough, sneezing, a voice that sounded like he had gravel in his throat… He said he felt “fine” and he worked through the day and yet his symptoms didn’t seem to get better.  Well yesterday, the girl who sits opposite him in the open plan office was off with the flu.  She clearly caught it from him and she was in the line of fire so to speak.

This prompted yesterday’s debate at the office as to whether companies should a) ensure that staff take the appropriate amount of leave to ensure that they are fully better and b) should we have sent this clearly sick person home?

This though would go against the grain of our workplace culture where you work until you drop dead… is my company unusual in that regard or are we “standard” and that this notion of telling people to go home and take that “extra day” to get over the flu is doomed to failure?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 Wish List!

It's that time of year... December means my Birthday and Xmas!
Here is my current ThinkGeek Wish List just in case you're keen
to get me something! :-)


Those damn trains

Been a while since I have vented about trains, but I will be honest with you, the new timetable has been fine from my perspective and they have for some months now been on time…

However, in the last 24hrs I have made 3 train trips and they have been horrendous.

Firstly, yesterday morning coming into work, my train broke down.  The train was halfway along the platform at Redfern and I, as always, was in the last carriage of the 8 car train.  This meant I had to queue to get off the train through about 5 cars so that I could get off on the first available door on the platform, which was the rear door on carriage #3.  It took me 15mins to get off the train, queue along the skinny platform (the most northerly one with the garden beds at Redfern, for those that know), and go up the stairs to the concourse.  End result, 20mins late for work.

Then coming home, I left early so I could babysit the girls whilst Niki went out.  She was leaving at 7:30pm, so I left the office at 5:30 to get the 6:10 train from Central.  Plenty of time I thought!  Well when I got to Central at 5:55, the 5:30 still hadn’t arrived.  It did, but this train was only 4 cars instead of 8 which meant the very irate people who where supposed to be halfway home by now had to cram into the 4 cars.  Also, opportunists who had arrived for the 6:10 decided to try their luck and cram into the now 30mins late running 5:30.  I, after witnessing several aggro outbursts, decided I would wait for the 6:10.  The 4 car 5:30 then proceeded to sit at the platform with people crammed in like sardines for 10-15mins.  It didn’t leave until 6:10, and my train (the actual 6:10) hadn’t yet materialised.  I looked across and similar chaos was happening on the Wollongong and Newcastle platforms as trains were either not there or were only half the number of carriages that they should have been.  In short, the trains were pandemonium.

Then a train pulled into the platform across from me that had nobody waiting for it.  Both waiting sets of passengers for the Mountains and Newcastle lines started moving towards this empty 6 car train with the belief it would be there train.  You can imagine 16 cars of passengers moving as one towards a 6 car train with the expectation to a) get on and b) get a seat.  Well I moved with the crowd as well, like the good sheep that I am, and when I got to the platform, the station master announced that this would be the cars for the late running 6:10 Blue Mountains train.  Yay for me, but given that the Newcastle train was due to leave at 5:45, it hardly seemed fair.  But its tough on the rails, and I wasn’t offering the train up to the Novocastrians so I jumped on and managed to get a seat.  We didn’t leave until 6:25, so all in all I was home 15mins late…  This threw a spanner into Nikis plans, but she still got to go out.

Then this morning, for no better reason than I know, my train was 12mins late getting into Central.  No explanation, no apology.  It seems as though State Rail is back to its old tricks again!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Google Earth Discovers a UFO??

Any idea what this is people??

To Be A Muslim, Or Not A Muslim... that is the question!

OK, Johnny Howard is pursuing Muslims and the press is showing clear bias in the portrayal of Muslims as bomb packing death merchants.  The Press collectively also fete’s over Michelle Leslie because she is a “beautiful model, who only took one little itty-bitty ecstasy tablet”.  Then we find out she is a Muslim and she dons the big black tent like garments (a Birkha?) and she is roundly criticised for being a Muslim.  Tsk tsk, how can a model be a Muslim?  It seems as though us Westerners have a problem with a model that is a Muslim because it doesn’t fit our racial stereotype…

Then she serves her time (note, she was guilty, she served 3 months.  She was NOT found innocent!) and the Press clamour over her for her story… which I am bemused as it’s a clear case of drug user busted at a party and convicted under the laws of the country she was in – nothing worth promoting there.

But heres the kicker… she is now being criticised because she is no longer wearing the garb that got her the Muslim tag!  She has dropped the Birkha (sp?) and is now donning the mid-riff top and tight jeans.  “But You’re A Muslim!” cry the press and they denounce her for not being true to her faith.  If you wore a Birkha and were a faithful Muslim, would you want to come to Australia?  You’d be in for a strip / body cavity search faster than you could say “10kg of Fertiliser Up My Backside”.  Have we ever considered the view that she perhaps doesn’t want to be a Muslim in Australia?  Have we considered that when she swans about in Muslim countries her clothing of choice may be a Birkha?  That perhaps she is trying to fit into Australian society and our obsession with the Body Beautiful?

I am being facetious, but really isn’t it about time our Press showed a bit of maturity and tell the news the way it is?  There have been more press devoted to Michelle Leslie’s ecstasy tablet than Van Ngyuen’s 5kg of heroin and the reason why, pure and simple, is that Michelle Leslie is “beautiful” and Van Ngyuen is a poor Vietnamese boy from Sydney’s west.  Shappelle Corby only got the press she did because she was “beautiful with a nice set” and yet another Vietnamese Australian girl rots in a Thai jail forever.

And I haven’t even touched on the fact that you are not supposed to profiteer from criminal convictions in this country, but I won’t because my argument gets shot down when you mention Mark “Chopper” Read who has made a living on the back of the fact that he used to kill people for money… that is for another day.


Monday, November 21, 2005

PC Gaming For A Living?

Twice today, I have seen articles on PC Gaming “professionally”.

First one I saw today was on Slashdot which linked to some guy who earns US$100K-$200K per annum by playing First Person Shooters

The 2nd was an article in our own Sydney Morning Herald boasting how an Aussie took out Bronze in the StarCraft competition at the World Cyber Games… he too, if you read the article has played “professionally” in Korea.

Methinks I may look into this… certainly beats 9-5 drudgery…


A very hectic weekend concluded with a good day and evening at Tommy Dean’s for Thanksgiving.

Tommy, being from Arizona, obviously was keen to a) celebrate this particular American holiday but also b) show off and christen his new palatial home at Earlwood… We were very honoured to be invited to Thanksgiving (one word) dinner and to hang out at the Dean residence.  Also along were Joel “SonofSharkboy” Brokaw (who is also American) and his wife Cassandra and baby Darcy and Ben “Chunky” Hayes.  Tommy’s wife Anita also made us very welcome with their son Asher (3) and baby twins Zara and Ava entertaining our girls.

In all it was a great afternoon and evening with a Thanksgiving dinner of Turkey, Ham, Mashed Potato, Veges, Coleslaw and “Biscuits and Gravy!”  This entire feast was topped off with the traditional American “Pumpkin Pie”.  The kids had a swim in the pool and we went to the park and kicked the footy around and as we pushed the kids on the swings Tommy shared with us his vision for “Human Fussball”… trust me, it’ll be a winner!!  Anyone willing to bankroll this brilliant concept, contact me here at Lime Kettles!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Michael & Jill's Wedding

Spent Saturday at Niki's brother Michael's wedding to his fiance Jill in their own backyard. The whole backyard was landscaped by themselves with plenty of family help which went on until 2hrs before the wedding. This shot here doesnt do it justice, but it does show why they did want to have it at home as the view over the gorge is fantastic. They live at Springwood in the Blue Mountains and that ridge in the distance is Faulconbridge.

And of course weddings are a great time to have a nice shot of the family taken as well. Pity that ugly bloke snuck in at the back :-) Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 18, 2005

Working from home today...

At home today as little Brooke was up through the night coughing and spluttering and I have had very little sleep in the past 48hrs.  Add to that that Niki is flat out today helping out with her brothers wedding which is on tomorrow, plus all the "doing of hair" and other stuff, I decided to stay home and look after Brooke and perhaps my nearly 2yr old nephew Will.

We have the wedding tomorrow and on Sunday we have been invited to my ex-pat American friend Tommy's house for a thanks giving dinner... Never had a thanks giving dinner before with all the American trimmings (Pumpkin Pie, Biscuits & Gravy etc etc) so it should be interesting.  Hopefully the weather is good because then the pool will get a good workout by the kids.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ich bin eine Aussie!

WE ARE GOING TO GERMANY!! Unbelievable! I cannot begin to describe this night... fantastic result for not only Australian soccer but also for Australia itself. We actually outplayed a strong side tonight, Uruguay were no pushovers... They are a tough side and I cannot believe we had such great composure and came back from the 1-0 loss in Montivideo to win.

A few points from my perspective on the match that will be probably analysed in greater depth later on but what about:

- The early sub of a defender (Popovic) for Harry Kewell. Absolute master stroke

- The composure from continual diving and "gamesmanship" from the Uruguayans... but not only were we composed, we indulged in a bit of it ourselves ;-)

- The substitution of Recoba for Uruguay? Why?? No real apparent injury as far as I could tell

- Schwarzer's saves in the shoot out. The 2nd in particular was a ripper!

- Viduka's miss! I thought it was in the bag when he stepped up. A penalty to rival Baggio methinks! But at least it didn't cost us in the end...

Overall a great game, a great spectacle and a great result! GERMANY HERE WE COME! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

US bombed insurgents with phosphorous

You are kidding! First they deny they used it, then they deny it was used on civilians, then they state that it is not a weapon but an "incendiary device" to be used when "conventional weaponry" is ineffective.

I am sorry, but this is disgusting. When the might of the US Marine Corp cant take some "insurgents" (since when are defenders of a persons home city called "insurgents"??) by conventional means, they resort to the weaponry that we were basically looking for.

This regime of US/UK and shamefully Australian backed violence against non-christian countries (ie Islamic) must be stopped!

But it's raining!

I am pumped!  It’s the big match – Australia vs Uruguay for the last place to the World Cup in Germany 2006.  We are down 0-1, but are playing a team that may sit back and defend and have a wobbly away record.  In the corresponding match four years ago, we won 1-0 with probably a technically inferior team.  A similar result tonight will send the game into Extra Time and probably penalties…

If it comes to a Penalty Shoot Out, I am worried – I think we may choke, but seriously I think if we jag an early goal, then it will be game on!

I am watching the game at my mate Joe’s house where it will be a diet of nervously eaten pizza and a single glass of Coke because I will be too enthralled to leave the lounge for the fridge.  I am not confident, and think we are up against it and I rate us as significant underdogs – but Christ I hope we win!

The scary part of it is that it’s raining and that can be a great leveller in soccer.  Skidding ball, miscued  kicks, it could provide a clanger of a mistake from one side that may break the tie wide open.  Kick off is at 8pm!  Go Aussies!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Slashdot Review - New D&D Material (and some Shadowrun stuff)

Slashdot have reviewed some new WoTC material for D&D... If you're a fan of D&D and are thinking of buying some of these products, then click here.

Personally, I am disappointed that they have critiqued the City of Waterdeep book as I am keen on Forgotten Realms material and have wanted more detail on Waterdeep for ages...

Its all downhill from here...

An early start today and the train is fairly packed… I think it’s because it’s only 6 cars rather than the usual 8.  As a result, I have only been able to get a seat to fire up the laptop at Strathfield today… grrr!

I am going in early because I have to go to a meeting today out of the office that starts at 9am and I didn’t want to carry all the paperwork around with me on the way home and back in, so I will go to the office first to pick it up.

It’s very busy at work as the Christmas wind down is on in earnest … everyone is in a rush to meet their end of year deadlines.  My boss has asked us all to compile a list of what we need done by the end of the year… seems odd that for 48 weeks of the year we are “left to our own devices” but with a month to go before Christmas, we need to itemise things.  It’s a bit insulting to think I don’t know what’s on and what’s important before Christmas.  Micro management!  Gotta Love It!

However, in all seriousness, late November marks the start of my busiest period of work… from November through to April; my work is very hectic so I have my own motivation to get my lesser projects done by Christmas.

For Christmas however, I will be off for about 3 weeks.  We are not going away anywhere, but will take the kids on a lot of day trips.  Beach mostly, but you never know what we will do.  My mum & dad are going to the Gold Coast for Xmas to have it with my Nan so we will be having a get together at our place on the Sunday before… that will leave Christmas Day to be with Niki’s family and that will mean no travelling and rushing and half eaten meals on the day.  It actually sounds very appealing!  New Years Eve will be at my place again for the 4th (??) year running with our friends.

I am looking forward to the break very much.  

Monday, November 14, 2005

Home Made Blood Bowl Pitch!

Hyper Pitch II in action, courtesy of Daniel Marinas (DM).

The Orc offensive line pushes the humans back... Varag Ghoul-Chewer lurks behind the line ready to receive the pass.

The bench watches on...

And Varag is away for the score!

And he thanks the sponsors after his winning touchdown! Posted by Picasa

Good Samaritans

I mentioned on Sunday night that we had lost our digital camera.  Luckily enough I had downloaded all the photos from it that morning, but still to lose a $1000 camera was a big blow.  Niki in particular was very upset as it was her who put it down whilst we were at the Glenbrook Festival on Saturday morning and hence blamed herself pretty badly and was inconsolable last night.

Well, good news!  She spoke to the other parents of Kate’s class mates this morning and one of them directed her to the woman in a book shop in Glenbrook.  Niki went this morning and saw her who said she was there on Saturday but had heard that someone had handed in a camera.  This book shop lady rang the guy who organised the whole festival who turned out to be the manager of a local café.  He said he had one and that he would be back in Glenbrook this afternoon.

Well I just got the call from Niki that she had the camera as this guy was given it by someone from the Rotary Sausage Sizzle stand who had received it from someone who found it either on the grass or on one of the picnic tables.

This is amazing given that it was found and handed in and that Niki was able to track it down.

So whoever handed it in, thank you very much.

Monday and I've Got Friday On My Mind

I am struggling to write something this morning, not because of any writers block or anything, but rather I could rant on yet again about Terrorism and how Howard is stuffing the country or I could write something about the soccer result or I could be selfish (yet again) and discuss my cricket results and my decent knock on the weekend to support a losing cause.

But I am not in the mood for any of those topics.  I have a severe case of Mondayitis and would rather be at home having a sleep in and relaxing.  In other words, today would have been a prime candidate for chucking the great Australian Sickie.  But no, I am on the train this morning, on time and going into the office for another week.

My mate Noyz, who is a school teacher, was asking if we were stopping work on Tuesday (tomorrow).  I had no idea why but he explained that tomorrow is a national day of action in regards to the new Industrial Relations legislation coming through.  As a teacher, he is in an active union and hence gets all the rhetoric from his union delegates on the evils of the Howard Government.

However, I had to ask, is it relevant any more?  After so many years of a Liberal government, have the trade unions gone the way of the Dodo?  The new legislation I feel is more at giving the power to the individual to negotiate employment conditions rather than the collective bargaining of the union movements.  In short, the Unions would be more concerned at the new IR reforms as opposed to the individual worker.  I may be misguided in this, but that’s the sense I get from the press to date.  (I don’t belong in a Union and work for a company with greater than 100 employees so most of the reforms mean little to me).

So driven by the Union movement, there is this National Day of Action tomorrow… I am interested to see if it has any impact on me at all…

There you go, I got moderately passionate about something on a Monday… maybe the day wont be so bad after all.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Weekend Wrap...

I am just not getting time to post on weekends these days! Seems to be
so busy. Now at 8pm on Sunday night, I have a free moment to myself...

Saturday morning was busy with the lawns and the chores... managed to
get it all done by 10am and we went off to the Glenbrook festival. The
kids rode the big slippery dip and the "tea cups" ride and we bought
some showbags and got free balloons from the local member of parliament
and the girls sat in a Fire Engine and had their faces painted.

Then it was off to cricket... for those following the game, we were
chasing 302 for the win... which is a massive score. We were soon 3/18
and all hopes were dashed in the first 30 mins. Yours truly was 2nd out
for 3 after getting an inside edge through to the keeper. We were
ultimately routed for 94 and were asked to follow on. I at least showed
some form with the bat as we negotiated 2 hours batting to finish
5/104. I carried my bat through the innings to finish 43 not out... but
it was bitter sweet.

Then I drove over to DM's and picked up my new pressie for myself, the
Hyper II Blood Bowl pitch. Looked just as good as it did on the web,
and I am very happy with it. Can't wait to get it into a legit game.

Then we had Noyz and baby Karly and Cam & Paula and baby Lukas over for
a few drinks. Hit the hay at 1am with the alarm set for 6am for the
soccer. Noyz stayed the night and Cam returned at 6:30am and the three
of us watched the game with bacon, eggs, toast, juice and coffee for
breakfast. Good game, 1-0 result to Uruguay though and it will be a big
clash in Sydney on Wednesday night. If we win 1-0, extra time and
penalties.... 2-0 we go through, but if Uruguay score - then we need to
put 3 in!

After the game we vegged out and then went to Enoch & Anitha's "Unity
Party". Enoch & Anitha got married in India nearly a year ago, but
thought it would be nice to have a party for family and friends that
didnt make it to Bangalore... which was all of us! Excellent Indian
food, but a few beers would have been nice with it... ;-)

Went home, and on a bad note, we realised that somewhere on our travels
on Saturday, we lost our digital camera. Last seen at the Glenbrook
festival... so at the moment, Niki is really down in the dumps about
it. They're expensive, but not as expensive as when we bought the thing
about 18mths ago.

So on that note, after an extremely busy weekend, I am going to crash
out... will write something more prophetic on the train tomorrow...

Friday, November 11, 2005


Been a hectic week and I am pleased to add that I finished reading my book and hence will now return to taking my laptop on the train and hence being able to craft posts that are a bit better thought out.

On top of this, I am pretty drained of having nothing but Terror on this weeks postings… Hopefully the weekend will bring better things to write about.

Like perhaps Australia winning the soccer this Sunday against Uruguay.  God I hope we win this game!  If a country needs some luck and a seat at the table for the World Cup, its us.  Sure I am Australian and hence biased, but seriously we need to get there.

A lot of criticism was made of the sacking of Frank Farina, but I think we are in better shape now going into this match than what we would have been under Farina.  You can sense this from the fact we have had 5 days of training camp shots from Argentina whereas last time 4yrs ago we flew everyone into Argentina, and rushed into Uruguay and got slaughtered.  I think having the first leg away over there also makes this more evident as it is our team building the siege mentality of having to play away first.  Fingers crossed!

Cricket for me this weekend though looks to be a battle.  I missed the last match and don’t think I mentioned much of our humiliating day in the field last week when we conceded 5/302.  It’s the 2nd biggest run chase I have been in (the largest being 308 in a Grand Final some years ago!) and the secret is to not lose early wickets.  Given I am opening the batting, then I guess that falls to me.  With a sunny day forecast, I am confident we can make a fair showing.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bronwyn Bishop, Muslim Headscarves...

I received this today on my daily Crikey subscription… I thought that it wanted repeating.  At least Bronnie knows who butters her bread…

“It's hard to think of a subject more provocative than terrorism for its capacity to incite public emotions. Which is a very good argument for politicians and the media, among others, to think before they leap. At News Limited, as usual, that order has largely been reversed in recent days – leap then think – as we report today.

But as far as we know, prominent government backbencher Bronwyn Bishop isn't a paid-up member of the Murdoch rottweiler squad. So what excuse does she have for this email sent from her office to a Crikey subscriber in reply to his question: "I am a Jewish constituent and I am wondering if your view that the head scarf not be worn at school also applies to the Jewish skull cap."

Dear Writer
Thank you for your email to the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, Federal Member for Mackellar in relation to the wearing of the headscarf.
Mrs Bishop has stated that she is opposed to the wearing of the Muslim headscarf, where it does not form part of the school uniform. This is because that in most cases the headscarf is being worn as a sign of defiance and difference between non Muslim and Muslim students.
Mrs Bishop does not believe that a ban on the Jewish skull cap is necessary, because people of the Jewish faith have not used the skull cap as a way of campaigning against the Australian culture, laws and way of life.”



Sorry, this is what the Headline's really mean

After my posting yesterday, Chunky sent me this one... is this what the Terrorgraph is really implying?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This is the problem!!

This is the problem! This is why we are getting ridiculous about Terrorism. I know these guys were probably plotting and scheming and weren't very pleasant, but the fact that their case has caused such hysteria in the media and the fact that the media was in attendance at 2:30am when the raids began begs the question - "Can these people get fair trials?".

I think not and that means that these new laws without precedent plus the very public crucifiction of the people arrested will mean that undoubtedly that they will get off not on the basis of innocence but on legal technicality.

This is what is making a mockery of us - John Howard is undoubtedly not wanting us to be victims of Terrorism, but he is very much mindful of the political point scoring that such a display can be achieved.

From what I have read, the Police have no hard evidence, have transcripts of phone taps, but after 2 years have not been able to lay a hand on these people. 2 days after new, untried legislation, they swoop... Well any lawyer worth his salt will be able to drive a truck through the prosecution and make a lot of fee revenue in the process.

Yes, terrorist cells are a possibility and this is probably one. But we dont jail people based on probability. Our legal system jails people found guilty "beyond reasonable doubt". Making new laws to give Police more gestapo like powers does not lower the legal benchmark.

The fact that the media has whooped up such a storm (as in the front page above of today's Telegraph) has / will result in the legal defence of these people having so much ammunition to use in the defence, that to reach "beyond reasonable doubt" will be nigh on impossible.

If they were monitoring them so closely, why not swoop when the guy had the explosives in his backpack at the start of his mission to martyrdom...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Whilst I am very happy with my new Blood Bowl purchase (see post below), I have had a shit morning today…

Firstly, had to pick up my car from Holden at Penrith which involved the logistical nightmare of coordinating Niki and the girls, my nephew Will (who Niki minds on Mondays & Tuesdays), my mother-in-laws heart stress test, train timetables and the bad weather.  In short though I managed to get the car easy thanks to Niki’s lift down in the rain, but then the traffic in to the city was horrendous.  The M4 was a carpark, Canada Bay and the drive up through Leichhardt was very slow, and the Glebe Island felt like a dodgem car circuit.  I then decided to take the new beaut, try before you buy, Cross City Tunnel.

What a disaster!  Sure the tunnel was great itself… given there were bugger all cars in it, but it then dumps you out at Rose Bay or Paddington and you have to cut across 4 lanes of traffic in 20 metres to get to the U-Turn bay to get you back onto William St.  This needs to happen with all of William St’s traffic (which is where the cars were – not in the tunnel) bearing down on you, wanting to get out to their left across your path as they do NOT want to get caught in the U-Turn bay!  4 lanes jam packed, nobody wanting to be in the lane that they’re in…. felt like I was driving in Bangalore!

Managed to get across without being side swiped and hit the U-Turn bay which is sequenced for traffic to turn around once for 10 seconds every 2 minutes.  About 5 cars get around before the light goes red in favour of the traffic going the other way (which are mostly heading for William St and not the tunnel!)  Trust me, it would have been easier to use the surface streets as it all took the same amount of time.  Even when its free its shithouse, imagine when you get to pay $3.56 each way for the privilege!

My second rant is a developing one but it seems we have had some counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Melbourne this morning on some Muslims.  Thanks to the new anti-terror laws, Big Brother can now kick your door in and raid you.  I say my rant is developing because factual evidence is yet to come out (will it ever?) but if they were legitimate terrorists, so be it, but if not… well they have opened a massive can of worms…

Mind you I did see whilst at Holden waiting for my car to be brought out that they had the NSW Police Commissioner on Channel 7’s Sunrise program.  Nice that the Commish can find the time to chew the fat on tele with Kochie and Mel whilst his Storm Troopers are kicking in the doors of Citizens!...  

Monday, November 07, 2005

Your Selling? Well I'm Buying!!

Well, I said earlier today it was for sale... Well I went and bought it! Its my early birthday present and I have arranged for pick up from DM's house some time next week... Fan-Bloody-Tastic!! He is however now putting into action the plans for v3, but thats what its all about :)

More pictures and details on this can be found here Posted by Picasa

Fantastic Blood Bowl Pitch For Sale!

Fellow Bloodbowler DM is selling his home made pitch... This is his second attempt at such a creation and I am seriously considering buying it off him.

Check it out here.

The guy is a modelling genius - far better than my efforst could aspire too....

Weekend Wrap

Wow!  Back at the office and now I can sit back and relax!  A very very hectic weekend….

Saturday morning and I was off to see my Tax Accountant for my annual pilgrimage to get a few pennies from the coffers of Johnny Howard and I always live in fear that my tax guy will look at my Group Certificate and declare that my work’s payroll dept has stuffed up and I owe an obscene amount of money… but although it was a long session, it ended with me getting a return that was more than double that I what I was hoping for…. So it was worth it in the end and a nice way to start the weekend.

Dashed off to cricket, expecting it to be washed out as it was bucketing down in the mountains, but my match at Wentworthville was able to be played under overcast but dry conditions… I wish it was washed out though as we went from a solid position by keeping the opposition at 2/73 off 29 to 5/302 at stumps!!  Yee gods we conceded nearly 250 runs in a session!  The bowlers didn’t bowl bad but we dropped a horrendous amount of catches (10 I am told) and over half of those were what you would call “dollys”.  There number 6 and 7 batsmen finished 106 and 88 not out respectively… in all, probably one of the worst days of cricket I have had.  But as the saying goes, tomorrow (or at least next Saturday) is another day and as long as we don’t capitulate in our batting and be solid, we can take some solace out of that.  Still, if they can do it, perhaps we can go one run better J.

Saturday night was then dinner at Mum & Dads in which Mum cooked up some spag bowl and we had a few bottles of Pinot (well they did, Niki and I were both driving) and we played the Margaret Pomerantz (sp?) and David Stratton Movie Trivia game…  essentially trivial pursuit for movie buffs.  I, as I have always known, am NOT a movie buff and I came last but I was left steaming that most of my questions focused on 1950, 60 or 70 movies whilst my parents were left the questions on Lord of the Rings… aaggghh!  And there were soooooo many questions involving Matt Damon!! Why??  Margaret Pomerantz needs to get out more methinks…

Sunday was “Harvest the Weeds Day” at my place and I put my lawnmower through its paces and the job was done by 10am.  My foot long grass was whittled down nicely, and then I was off to my brother in laws house to continue painting his fence in prep for their big wedding day in 2 weeks.  Finished that at 4 in the afternoon (about the same time the Aussies wrapped up the Windies in Brisbane) and ducked home to cook a BBQ for Glenn & Brooke and kids who came over for dinner at 5:30.  Unfortunately our Barina broke down between Springwood and Glenbrook and I limped home with the car in 3rd gear and warning lights flashing on the dashboard.  Apparently, after speaking to Holden, that means “you’re stuffed, bring it in ASAP”.

Dinner went on until 9pm and I was in bed by 9:30 absolutely knackered.

Now I can sit here at my desk all day at work… sounds kind of soothing!

PS – big shout out to my mate Steve who got engaged in the UK over the weekend!  Wedding in June / July in the UK next year is the early call on the dates.  Congratulations mate!!

Friday, November 04, 2005


My posts have been erratic because I have not been taking my laptop home each night because I have taken to reading on the train instead of working.  I borrowed Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” from my good friend Tommy “ozjesting” Dean and have been unable to put it down.

So with the weather being very humid which makes carting my laptop home from work and back each day annoying (particularly whilst wearing a suit) I have decided to travel “light” and pack only the book.  I am two thirds through the book, so it won’t be long before I am forced due to boredom to carry the laptop again.

My laptop for the record is about 4yrs old and is fairly heavy by today’s standards. It is a hefty Dell number and compared to the one I had at a previous employer a few years ago, it feels like I am carrying three house bricks around.

Speaking of alternative employers, I met a prospective new employer yesterday.  Went very well, but I found the role seems to be smaller to the one I am doing now in terms of technical scope, but has the added perks of better dollars and more international travel to exotic locations… (Milan, Madrid, Moscow… !) but I am unsure if I want to pursue it because I may be bored with the day to day…. I will see how discussions pan out.

The weekend ahead will be full of yard work.  My own backyard is a jungle and the girls refuse to go outside at the moment!  Grass is about a foot deep!  With my inadvertent trip to the Gold Coast, the rains and the fact I dumped so much fertiliser on it 3 weeks ago, the backyard now looks like you could hold a pride of lions in it without anyone noticing…  As far as I know, the dog is still with us and hasn’t gotten lost!

Then after I do my own yard, my brother-in-law Michael who gets married in 3 weekends time in his backyard is racing against time to finish his landscaping.  I will be spending Sunday afternoon at his place at Springwood helping him out….

In between, there is cricket, dinner with Mum & Dad and I understand friends of ours Glenn & Brooke are coming over for Sunday dinner…  plus I see my tax accountant on Saturday at the princely hour of 9am!!  You can see why I am so flat chat!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

'Specific' terror threat against Australia: PM

So, we are now in receipt of information that we NOW have intelligence of a specific threat against Australia. But he wont tell us what or where it is...

However, it is convenient that this "threat" has come a mere 24hrs before the government decides on the new anti-terrorism laws. Laws that will empower the government to take away civil liberties and hold people without charge or evidence for significant periods of time.

Our PM has cried wolf one too many times for mine... everytime he has a desire to get something done, he uses fear mongering to get a slant that makes his perspective "the right thing to do". Remember Children Overboard people??

I would rather he identify the threat publically so at least we humble civilians can avoid it... Is al-Qeda bombing the 7:30 train at Central? If so, at least give the ordinary punter a chance to get away from it....


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Trolls Be Slayed!

Here is my most recent painting effort... a Troll Slayer. I have to say I am very impressed with the way this figure has come out although the quality of the photo leaves alot to be desired... still I am very happy. Posted by Picasa

Back on track...

Well I am back at the office and of course back on the trains.  I have overslept a bit this morning (damn Daylight Saving changeover!) and have had to meet the train at Emu Plains.  I cannot believe the amount of bugs and flies that are about though.  The blowies are everywhere and with all this rain, they swarm over everyone at the train station and I can’t recall seeing so many of them.  Then on the train, the carriages are still infested with Bogan Moths that flap about the window panes all the way into the city.  All I want for Xmas is a bug swatter!

Today is Melbourne Cup day and I just cant get into this ridiculous event.  There is horse racing on every weekend all year and it never stops, yet somehow we are supposed to get excited by a single race on a Tuesday.  I appreciate the opportunity to get an hour off work to have a beer or a wine and some cheese but Jesus, do we need to have every news paper full of it?  Front page, back page, all the middle pages.   Women in ridiculous hats.  Men dressed in drag.  It drives me bonkers.  I know I sound like a whinger, but I seriously think the hype is over the top.  Makybe Diva will make a FINAL decision to run or not at midday today… seriously, we have been talking about one horse in one race for a fortnight.  Give it a rest!

On my personal front, I have found myself talking to a recruiting agent about another role at another company.  The role sounds good, possibly better than my current one, and is for better dollars.  I said they had better offer me something wonderful to consider it and gave them a astronomical ballpark.  The agent said he would let me know.  I now have an interview Thursday.  I feel uncomfortable with the whole process.  You want to sound out what you could get at another organisation.  You’re basically happy where you are now.  Yet, you don’t want to pass up a good opportunity.  To do so, you need to discretely meet with other people away from the office.  I need to fabricate reasons to duck out for 90mins.  I know that this stuff happens all the time, and I am not really thinking that I will take this opportunity, but you never know.

Still on work, after a week away, I seem to have lost my thread in a number of projects I have on the go here.  You can never pick a time to have to attend to family issues and I probably shouldn’t have been away from the office at such a critical time in a few projects.  I left Friday week back with the message to one person in particular to get something out the door on Monday.  Well I have come back, and he hasn’t lifted a finger and my boss has asked me to do it for him.  Took me an hour.  Another project I have involves getting lawyers to review contracts and they were to deliver last Monday.  I come in and find nothing on my desk.  Rang said law firm (who we pay handsomely) and am told that they have an issue and may need to ring a third party to discuss.  How long have they been sitting on this issue?  A week!  Would they have rung on their own accord? No!  Would they have rung me to discuss the issue instead of me chasing them? Hell no!  Makes you wonder how some people get by in business.

**Great now I have a fly and a Bogan Moth attacking me**

I know I have been dribbling about not so important stuff, but I do want to write something about these new anti-terror laws.  I have been deeply disturbed about the potential ramifications on all this from a civil liberties perspective (and I think the civil libertarians are generally idiots) but I want to write something that’s accurate and not a rant about conspiracy theories.  Believe me, that’s hard for me to do J

Oh, and one more thing, congrats to my friends Enoch & Anitha for “being in the family way”.  Married for not quite a year… up the duff already!  Bewdy Mate!!