Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Work - Dinner - TV - Bed - Work

Didn’t leave the office until 7:30pm last night and am on the 5:50am train this morning for an early morning video conference with our LA office.  I hate these quick turnarounds between days… basically got home at a bit before 9:30pm last night, had dinner and really should have gone to bed straight away.  Instead I got dressed to go out and take the dog for a walk and got stuck watching two shows on the Comedy Channel “Peepshow” and “Family Guy”.  “Peepshow” isn’t as X rated as it sounds, its an English comedy about to blokes who share a flat together and try to “pick up chicks”.  The difference is that one is an atypical accountant who doesn’t go anywhere without a suit on and the other is a wannabe musician and a complete loser.  The “peep” element is that their thoughts are also narrated… weird show.  And of course “Family Guy” – one of the best shows on tele… no need for explanations there!  God knows why I am rabbling on about TV shows at 6am…

So then, funnily enough given the comments yesterday, I got stuck watching the end of Rove Live and his lame interview with latest Big Brother evictee Michael.  What happens when you get two idiots together on TV?  Train crash TV is the thought that comes to mind.  Rove trying to be a funny smart arse and Michael trying just to be a wannabe superstar arse.  Yet before I knew it, it was too late to walk the dog and I had to get up in 5 hours.

And also, I have to say I was wrong about the construction works at Glenbrook Station.  Got here this morning and the foundations for an elevator have been laid.  Don’t know why they’re starting with the garden and working backwards, but they are.  Rockeries are done, new concrete laid, so lets build an elevator.  At least it will save me walking up the stairs when I come home “tired and emotional” :-)

And before I sign off, Kate did her ballet exam yesterday and nobody, not even the teachers, are allowed into the rooms to see her performance, but she came out all smiles, extremely happy and said she didn’t make any mistakes in the routine.  So, fingers crossed that she’s passed, but I’d be very surprised if she didn’t – she’s extremely self-confident with her dancing.  Well done Kate! x x x


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Lime Kettles Feature(s)

Have included a new tool down the page here on Lime Kettles… if you scroll down below the ravings of George W, you’ll find I have added the BitTorrent search bar.  Something that I find handy, but thought I’d just point it out given it’s a way down the page…

Also, if you pop over to the forum, the SWL community is trying to get D&D Online going… post there to express your interest in signing up.

[EDIT] - Have removed the BitTorrent thing because people on IE have issues with it breaking the site. Typical Internet Explorer being inflexible... people - GET FIREFOX!

The Most Annoying "Celebrity"

For once, a "survey" I agree with. Jessica Rowe named Australia's Most Annoying Celebrity. Just why a newsreader is a celebrity is another thing, but she would have to be the most facetious, light weight, ugly, cackling twit ever to grace an Australian TV screen. Why Channel 9 fought for her to join them from Channel 10 is one of the most ludicrous moves ever.

And to top it all of, apparently she made a complete goose of herself this morning.

Herald Sun: Blow for Rowe [28may06]

Coffee, Curry & Dancing

No post yesterday as I was off work.  So as a bit of a catch up, there isn’t a lot to add.  Saturday was a very relaxing day with both the girls having birthday parties to attend in the afternoon and therefore Niki and I were able to go out for a coffee.  We ended up at Mash in Glenbrook and had a piece of cake which was good but the coffee was a bit below par.  They’re an “organic” café and everything is “organic” (whatever that means) and hence I think the coffee beans were probably a bit odd to what I normally have.  The cake was good though – I had a piece of caramel cheesecake and Niki had a raspberry crumble thing.

Glenbrook Village though has really become the coffee / café place of the mountains with a number of new places opening up and old ones being renovated.  If you’re travelling through the mountains, I’d recommend stopping for a coffee at Glenbrook.

Sunday was spent at our friends Monique & Sean’s new daughter Mya’s baptism at St Finbar’s at Glenbrook.  Kate had dancing practice though so it was just Brooke and I that went to the service and that was good.  We then went back to Monique & Sean’s for lunch and it was fantastic as they put on a big spread of home made curries.  Not your traditional “Aussie fare” but it was really good in the warm winter sun.

Then yesterday, I was off with a sore throat / bad back and had barely slept the night before so when the alarm went off I was in no shape to go out in the cold.  By the afternoon though I was feeling better and managed to get to pick Kate up from dancing.

Speaking of dancing, Kate’s first ballet exam is on today.  She is very excited and was up at the crack of dawn today bouncing around full of beans.  They’re pretty full on these ballet people.  Kate will do the exam in front of two judges and will be video taped and then the tape gets sent away to the US for grading.  I don’t know why the US, as you’d think the French or someone would be the world judging body for ballet, but that’s the way it is and Kate wont know if she’s passed for about 6 weeks.  The exam is on today at 9:30ish so hopefully I hear that she did well.

Listening:  The Cure “Japanese Whispers”

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Good friend Tommy Dean sent me a link to this site: BoardGameGeek - Gaming Unplugged Since 2000.

If you like Board Games of all sorts, this is the place to head.

Buy, Play, Rules, Online Versions... this is the place to go!

Friday, May 26, 2006

World Cup Preview

The week has gone very fast and its Friday already… I overslept this morning because I was up late watching the Socceroo’s beat Greece 1-0 in a World Cup warm-up game.  The game kicked off at 7:30, but because I didn’t get home until after the match, I watched the replay on FoxSports… so I am a bit tired this morning, but its all preparation for myself given the next month or so will be spent sitting up watching the Cup.

Niki said to me last night “you’ll only be watching the Australian games won’t you?” and the answer will be a definite no!  It is a much different dynamic this World Cup with Australia being in it, but it actually throws a lot more other games into the spotlight.  The Croatia v Japan game will be very important to Australia’s chances as will Brazil’s games versus those two teams as well.  Then there is Group E.  If Australia can slip into 2nd spot in Group F, they will play the winner of Group E in the first game of the Knock Out phase of the cup.  On paper, that clearly looks like Italy, but we would be hard pressed to beat them in the second round, so suddenly there opponents can potentially become Australia’s second team.  So make sure you’re cheering for the likes of Ghana!

But what if we beat Brazil (yes, dreaming I know, but lets say)?  Then we play the Runner Up of Group E, which consists of the already mentioned Italy and Ghana but also the Czech Republic and heaven help us, the USA.  (As an aside, the Americans are apparently the #4 or so team in FIFA’s rankings… what is that all about!)

So in short, the games in those two groups are must watches – and besides, I always cheer for the Italians anyways so I’d be watching that group if Australia wasn’t in it.

Then you move onto other groups and there are some big games that I am already pencilling in to watch – Netherlands vs Argentina, England vs Sweden are obviously the pick, but there are some dark horses… Ukraine perhaps with Andriy Schevchenko (sp?), a great striker from AC Milan.  The Spanish?  Will they keel over again?  The French – Henry, Viera and Zidane going around again.  And also I like to watch some of the lesser lights go around. Costa Rica in the opening game against GermanyTogoAngolaIvory Coast?  Sure I need an atlas, but always good value to watch these games because there tends to be a fair number of goals…

Can’t wait!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

State of Origin - Game 1

Took my oldest Kate and her cousin / my nephew Alex to the State of Origin last night. Great game in which NSW won by a single point but the biggest joy was seeing the kids have a great time.
Alex is a very keen football fan, but this was only his 3rd game live and the first time he had ever been inside Stadium Australia. His two earlier visits to the football were to Penrith Stadium, which is a quarter of the size. The kids had both had their hair spray painted blue for the occaision and had the big blue fingers as well.
They shouted themselves hoarse all game and were really into the game. When NSW kicked the field goal, they were jumping up and down screaming. Also, we were at the good end of the ground in terms of the tries as they were all scored in front of us.
Happy days!


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bloody Traffic

Apparently there was a 5 car pile up on the Harbour Bridge requiring the Jaws of Life and a few ambo’s.  Result for me was that it took about an hour and a quarter from Balmain to get to the City.

Funny thing is, I don’t use the Harbour Bridge but the Glebe Island instead.  Its amazing how a prang on the northside affects everything on the west side as everyone tries to use Victoria Rd.

Sydney roads are shit house.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lime Kettles on The Australian Index

Lime Kettles is has been somehow registered / logged into the Australian Index - a blog of Australian Blogs.

Also seems that my Anthony Mundine post that has prompted alot of personal email traffic has been logged on their May 18 summary page. I am unsure if this is because of the number of posts or what, but its cool to be listed here...

The Australian Index: "The Australian Index"

Workin' for the man...

Am on the late train this morning and this has given me a chance to check out the new building works at Glenbrook train station this morning.  Glenbrook Station is built into a rock cutting and hence you need to go down a long flight of stairs to get to the platform.  One day at the front end of the platform they fenced off a section of area and I assumed that they were building an elevator for disabled access.  They have done this already at the next station up the mountain (Blaxland) so I assumed that this would be happening.

Then at the back end of the platform, there is a clearing next to the tracks and they brought in a site shed and a big blue international shipping container.  They star-picketed the clearing and wrapped blue and white tape across the star pickets as a warning to keep out.

So for the last few days I’ve been thinking that this major project is going to start at the platform.

Today, being on the late train, I arrived and saw 3 guys in the fenced off area.  Guess what they’re building….  Rockeries for garden beds!  Yep!!  They have gone to this time and expense and build-up and they’re building farking rock gardens.  One guy was breaking the concrete… one guy was at another section spray painting the location of the rockery and the third guy at was at the first of the 3 marked out areas laying sandstone rocks with mortar / cement.  And they were all wearing hard hats and orange vests.

Now I am all for safety on the worksite, but c’mon…

PS – will be driving in tomorrow as I am off to the State of Origin… so probably wont be a daily post.  But will take the camera for some shots.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Miner Stuff Up

I guess I, like most people, watched “The Great Escape” interview last night about the two Beaconsfield miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb.  My overall sense of feeling is one of being “under whelmed” by the interview plus there’s a small amount of commercial scepticism to throw in.  Why? I don’t know… there isn’t one major thing but a couple of things thrown together.

Firstly, Tracey Grimshaw.  I have always respected her on camera demeanour and have thought that she is a very good journo and sincere in her approach (an insincere example is Mike Munro or Big Eddie himself).  However, whoever advised her to have plastic surgery / botox should be shot.  She looked like she was melting under the TV lights.  Her right side of her lip looked about ready to burst in an oily slick of molten silicon.  One thing I have said to people and I am yet to be proved wrong – plastic surgery does nobody any benefit and you always look worse off.

Then there is Todd & Brant themselves.  I can’t be too critical because up until a month or so ago they were honest joe working miners in a backwater of Tasmania and have now been thrown into the spotlight.  But it irritated me greatly that Todd Russell kept referring to “the Wife” and he seemed very much the dominant personality of the two to the extent that it seems as though Brant was a bit player in the process.  Look, I cant be critical of those guys and I wish them the best of luck with their fortune (by which I mean good fortune to have survived and good fortune from interview fees).

Now onto the issue of fees.  It’s a free market and supply and demand dictates that those guys have been able to command a significant amount of remuneration and I heard on the radio this morning they are flying to the US to do a series of talkshows.  Good luck to them.  But seriously Channel 9?  What were you thinking by slipping into your “Still The One” promo during the interview that you’re “not ambulance chasers” (cut to David Koch getting into one of the miner ambulances) and that your promotional graphics include the Channel 7 logo being punted?  It was very crass.  You cant tell me that Eddie McGuire is completely innocent?  That he legitimately went to Beaconsfield when it was all over to just “say g’day?”  Bullshit, he was “chasing an ambulance” so to speak but did it on the sly after the guys had been reunited with there mates in a pub.  It’s sick and its cheap and crass.  The honest truth is that those people with Foxtel rarely watch any free to air TV.  I’d say FoxSports, Disney Channel and the like are doing quite nicely thank you very much and as Foxtel becomes more prevalent in Australian homes, well the free to air networks will be fighting over the scraps.  It’s a long way off but they had better start being more sincere and genuine and factual rather than cheap and hysterically self-promoting.  Yes, it was a story of national significance, but no need to carry on like idiots because its on Channel 9 and not Channel 7.

The last gripe was it was a little bit repetitive and they kept going over old ground but used little footage from the rescuers or the Mine Manager Michael (??) Mill.  It was clear that they had gathered those guys into a room together but only used one brief snippet from the explosive expert and everything else stayed on the cutting room floor… but they did replay a couple of responses re-edited slightly.  Again, Channel 9 thinking their viewing public are idiots.

Anyways, good luck to those guys and I hope they give some of their proceeds to the family of Larry Knight.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Skaven Prototype - Leopard Skins

Do you remember that Skaven idea with the leopard skin tunics etc... Well here is the first one. Has taken about 4 hrs to paint, but the bloody camera once again does it injustice. (Sony Cybershot's have shithouse Macro functionality).

Of course, looks better in real life, but let me know what you think.

Friday, May 19, 2006

NAF Rankings - On The Up

Finally, after a long delay, the NAF rankings have been adjusted for the Leviathan Tournament Results. End result for me, I extended the gap at the top of the Dwarf Coaches list for Australia and moved from #16 to #11 in the world.

In Australia, I am now #6 in the country across all races and the #100 coach in the World! LOL! Finally scored a century :-)

NAF World Headquarters :: Blood Bowl: "NAF Coach Rankings"

End of Week Odd Bits

Am a little bit pre-occupied today… my boss flies in from being 2 weeks away in the US and UK this morning and he is landing (or would’ve landed by now) at 6:30am and going straight to the office.  Two weeks away, 24hrs on a plane from London and he is heading straight from the airport to the office on a Friday.  He has a long running nickname amongst my colleagues as “The Machine”.  Never seen a man work so many hours.  A standard day for him is in the office at 7am and leaves between 7pm – 8pm every night.  I have worked for him for 4 years and he has never had a sick day either.

Anyway, he’s in today and it will be interesting… we’re running a book to see how long he lasts before the jetlag hits.  I took 3pm will be the time when he will quit for the day.

Speaking of leaving early, I left early (5pm) yesterday to get home by 7pm for Kate’s Education Week Open Day.  They have an evening session for parents to get to see their kids classrooms and go through their bookwork and see where they sit etc etc.  Its good of the school to be open at 7pm for people like me (and I am not alone) to get a look around.  So last night was a lot of Dad’s around.  One Dad was there without his kid, who was at home getting ready for bed, and he had just called in to take a look around.

I really enjoy doing stuff like that on occasion.  Kate was very excited and took me through her various work books.  Her teacher, who had stayed back, was chatty and seemed nice.  I had only seen her once or twice before briefly, and Kate seems to like her a lot.  The classroom was plastered with kids artwork and I went around and found Kate’s stuff.  Funniest thing though was Kate’s “News Book”.  Each week the kids write down their news item and draw an accompanying picture.  The kids just write words as they sound and the teacher corrects it afterwards and gives a sticker or a stamp.  Well one of Kate’s stories was about her dancing and she tried to write the word “funk”.  Needless to say she had made a critical spelling error and instead on an “n” she wrote a “c”.  The teacher had put a little cross through it and had written an “n” above.  Classic.

Have a good week end all!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Greatest Fight In History, Lets Solve The Mystery

Those were the words of the ring announcer in the last hyperbole in perhaps the most hyped fight in Australian boxing history.

And wasn’t it a great fight with Anthony Mundine hopefully finally silencing his critics with a comprehensive points decision.  Kostya Tszyu (scoring the fight for the Foxtel commentary team) gave all but the first round to Mundine.  The judges didn’t differ by much and Mundine was the clear winner.

Now don’t take this that Green performed badly.  Not at all.  He was very strong and stubborn and was a bit wobbly legged at times, but he lasted the distance and copped a fair amount of punishment in the process.  He was well beaten, but not disgraced.

Now the question is, will the Australian public finally get behind Mundine and despite is eccentricities finally realise that this guy is legit.  Many people expected Green to wipe the floor with Mundine purely on the basis of media rhetoric.  Yes, I don’t disagree that he polarises opinion and I don’t embrace everything he says and he is also a clumsy wordsmith, but he is genuine, is good of heart, is a clean living person and hence a walking role model for those who believe sportspeople are to live to that ideal (take note Warne, Willie Mason and co).

Mundine is a person who is demonised by his poor statements of his early football career put has matured into a very savvy person who uses the media well.  He was the one that drove 30,000 people to attend the SFS to watch the fight and the thousands more to go to pubs and clubs and generally get in front of a Foxtel TV for $49.95 to do the same.  It was he who was the person who generated a combined A$6M in prize money between the two fighters and gladly played up to the “bad guy” or “black hat wearer” to endear that support and subsequent publicity.

He is a showman.  He played a lot of people for fools last night and came up on top.  He has played rugby league at the highest level, he has won and lost a world title, he now has a shot at another and has essentially delivered on every promise he has made since leaving the NRL.  So, for once, people stop bagging the showman image and appreciate that he is one of the best athletes that this country has produced.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nice Blood Bowl Paint Job

Fellow Aussie Blood Bowler "Rabid_Bogscum" has posted pics of his Necromantic Blood Bowl team. I like this because he is using other races (incl Dwarves!) as Zombies.

He openly admits the paint job is not his, but its a neat job :: View topic - My Necro Team - Old World

US Releasing 9/11 Flight 77 Pentagon Crash Tape

I posted the other day the a video debunking the Plane Into The Pentagon Theory and it seems someone up on high in the US Administration reads Lime Kettles!

Today, it has been announced that they will release the "hidden" footage of this event to debunk the Conspiracy theorists.

Yeah, just like the Moon Landing footage debunked that myth...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Who accepts the most refugees in the world?

I found this site today and it presents the world map resized based on certain categories.  Have a look around and you’ll see some interesting results.

One that caught my eye is the map that shows the world on the basis of the amount of refugees that we accept.  You’d think with all the political rhetoric about refugees in this country, we’d be a bloated mass of land under Asia.


We rank very poorly.  We hardly accept anyone.  Makes you wonder given the amount of money and media time we spend on “the refugee crisis”.

Can anyone say Spin Doctor?

Politics and Media

When is a story a story or just a beat up for some other gain, most notably political?

This morning I awoke to find Channel 7’s Sunrise running a viewer poll as to whether Bill Shorten should be the next Labor leader to take on the Liberals in the next Federal election.  My initial thoughts were “Who the fuck is Bill Shorten?”  I follow politics.  I refuse to be an idiotic moron who votes like a donkey.  I am pro-Labor, but I must say that the reduction of taxes is appealing.  But even I was a bit flummoxed when considering who Bill Shorten is and why would he be a political candidate.

Then I remembered he was the guy from the AWU who ran the campaign against the owners of the Beaconsfield Mine and turned into a prime contact for what was going on at the time.  He did come across pretty well, but so did the Mine Manager.  Hell, a lot of people come across well on TV but we don’t instantly want them for Prime Minister.  Bob Hawke, one of the better Labor leaders in the history of the Labor party did launch his political career from the very same position where Bill Shorten now sits, but again, that doesn’t mean every Secretary of the AWU is destined for political greatness.

So I get to the office this morning and find that has this story on the matter.  OK, there is a run on the News Limited site on this issue.  But over on the Sydney Morning Herald site there is not a mention of this.


Then my conspiracy mind kicked in.  Channel 7 and 9 are jostling for rights to the story of the Beaconsfield Mine disaster and they are both in negotiation with the various parties involved for “exclusive” interviews.  Could Bill Shorten have signed with News Limited for his story in exchange for some publicity on his political aspirations?  Is that why Channel 7 (News Limited’s channel) and the News Limited press (the Telegraph, The Australian and are pushing his barrow and the Fairfax side of Australia’s media interests are not even touching it?

Surely if the Secretary of the AWU wanted a run at the Labor Leadership, there would be coverage… it would be a story right?

Apparently not… the question is why?

Monday, May 15, 2006

eBay Bargains

For the last few days I have been heavily perusing eBay and found some bargains for my next painting project, my Skaven Blood Bowl team.  I am going all out with this team on the paint job and have so many good ideas, I feel as though I may stop my elves and take them up…

For the princely sum of A$36.90 (a third of which was postage!) I have picked up the following:

I have been heavily thinking about the colour scheme and I would really like to do something unique with the clothing / material on their uniforms.  I am thinking leopard skin.  The leopard skins though would be a dull yellow in the main so I was thinking of getting a colour for the general armour that was brighter… perhaps a bright green or blue.  The skaven will also have mixed furs with the main being brown rats, but the odd black rat and white albino rat may get a run too.  An albino colour scheme for the rat ogre may look cool too.

With the mutant with Claw, I am thinking of a big purple claw rather than the red looking lobster claw.



Pentagon Strike

I have never believed a plane hit the Pentagon in 2001. Here is the proof. Alot of this I have seen before, but there were some new photo's in here.

Credit to Joey for passing this on.

Pentagon Strike

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mothers Day

We had a long weekend this weekend celebrating all the Mums in my life. Yesterday, given we had things on for both our mums, Niki and I decided Saturday would be our Mothers Day and we had a great lunch up at the Carrington Hotel at Katoomba. It was one of those great Blue Mountain autumn days - the sun was out, there was little breeze and the air was cool and crisp. We must of sat outside at the Carrington for 3hrs having lunch and watching the kids play.

Of course, I couldnt allow Niki to cook, so we had Chinese takeaway for tea.

Today, we went for lunch with my Mum & Dad at Sanders at Breakfast Point. (Nice pic I took of Mum & Dad below)

But lunch is a serious business for us... and it was funny that we ended up outside on the marina rather than in the restaurant as a former disgruntled employee had scrubbed out alot of names from the bookings book and as a result the restaurant was about 20% overbooked. We ended up outside, but we were soon joined by 4 other tables as well.

But it was really nice outside as you can see from these shots and I really liked the restaurant. They did pretty well since their 30 tables expanded to 35 suddenly.

Before we headed back, the girls collected heaps of shells which will be added to the pile of shells we already have from every other beach visit and/or holiday we have ever taken :)

Then it was home again for a one hour snooze and then we packed up and went to meet Niki's Mum & Dad for dinner at the Glenbrook Bowling Club. Champagne & Chocolates for the mums and a prize draw for something that we didnt win, and the kids played with their cousins while we sat and ate yet another meal! By the end of it all, I am well and truly stuffed.

Niki though has had a good weekend and I managed to make sure she didnt do much at all and as I speak, she's got her feet up watching TV in her new PJ's.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Nuffle Has Forsaken Me!

Nuffle, the God of Blood Bowl has forsaken me it appears. I have gone 1/0/10 in my last eleven matches including a couple of 0-5 defeats.

I think I have lost all my "luck" or "mojo" and am having a horrendous time of it of late.

The odd thing is though is that my only win during this streak when some guy from the UK tried to cherry pick me with a stronger Dark Elf team. I accepted the what I thought was unrealistic challenge and won 3-0.

You can see all my past inglories here: ClayInfinity Match Record: FUMBBL :: Online Blood Bowl League

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kate's New Groove!

Today Kate got her new glasses and when I got home from work tonight she was busting to show me what they looked like. They look "so fashion!"

And of course, they will help her read... as if she needs any help as she's already at Level 19 and at the top of Class 1M! Tomorrow she debut's them at school... only her best friends and Mrs Mel know that she has glasses. All the other kids will be surprised! Posted by Picasa

Hilarious! - the internet is for porn

It is hilarious and it is for porn... :-P

Delicate Genius Blog » Hilarious! - the internet is for porn

Stop With The Gimme Mentality

The fall out of the budget continues and the whining has started about the tax cuts only being $10 to the common man per week – not even enough to cover the cost of petrol rises.  Of course, those on higher incomes are the targets of the media vitriol and want the higher incomes to “give back” what they have been given.  But if you do the maths, the cuts are an evenish 4% on every band.  In fact, the tax cuts are fair, the question of course is should they have been more not should they be disproportionately skewed downwards.

Also, apparently only 3% of the Australian population earns over $125K and therefore any tax cut at that level is going to be a drop in the ocean in comparison.  So the question has to be considered if 4% is only $10 to the common average wage earner, what would be enough?  To give $100 of relief, therefore you need to cut taxes by 40% and that is not going to happen.

So people need to start realising that education, going to university and bettering ones self are going to be more important in the future.  Funnily enough, that was the subject of this mornings Sunrise programs viewer feedback and they were reading viewer emails with the consensus of dropping out of school at 15-16 ruined my life.  Not all of us can be a Gerry Harvey, John Singleton or even Frank Lowy – all who had minimal schooling, but made good – and that people need to ensure that their kids do the best that they can and give themselves the best chance at success (and how you define success is also broad and down to the individual) at life.

So ends today’s sermon :-)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

SPECIAL EDITION: Lime Kettles Budget Review

Refrained from posting on the train as I wanted to peruse the press and find some tid-bits here and there about the budget.

Firstly let me start with the comment in p3 of the Aust Financial Review which says in bold writing about Peter Costello:

“He couldn’t risk things going pear shaped as he draws closer to gaining the Leadership”

Yes that’s right kids, the budget of the nation and where people base life changing decisions (e.g does the wife/mother work or stay at home?, do we retire now or in 5 yrs?) is determined on the basis of a single man’s political leadership aspirations.

When will we realise that we cannot combine the interests of the country at large with the interests of individuals and their political careers.  Why is the fiscal responsibility of the country given to a man who is more self centred than right wing?  I could live with high taxes and the like if I knew that the man making the decisions was doing it for the good of the country, but what I don’t like is that this budget was a cheap grab at electoral votes.

So a history lesson for us.  During the last election, Labor was crucified because they refused to rule out interest rate hikes.  Liberal’s lampooned Beazley about this and used a smear campaign that said a vote for Labor is a vote for higher interest rates.  End result, the Liberals won but our rates went up under a Liberal leadership.

Now we are being bought by tax reductions, yet the main feeling is that this will increase interest rates.  Whilst people will recall the days that we lived with 17% rates, the level of gearing in society was a lot lower and the mortgage to income ratio was also lower.  Large rate rises should be avoided at all costs and as such, again I come back to Costello delivering tax cuts for votes rather than for long term benefit of the country.  If Banks would stop being so ready to lend money against home equity, we wouldn’t be in this cycle, but the fact is we are.

What is the good if tax cuts deliver 4-5% savings on the income if the trade off is a 10% increase in expenditure.  Whilst I am happy to receive my tax cut, I am also concerned of the knock on effects over the next 6 months.

On other things in general… why are we so caught up about High to Middle to Low income earners.  I earn a “high income” by definition, but I am by no means cash rich.  It seems that the Tall Poppy Syndrome is well in effect when everyone says that low income earners should be given a better helping hand.  Well how about low income earners do something about it?  When they were wagging school, quitting in Year 10 and saying University is for nerds, well I bet you regret it now.  I know that that sounds harsh, but everyone I know at work worked hard to get where they are today and is now reaping those benefits.  It seems that I can hear A Current Affair or Today Tonight now, knocking on the door of some dole bludger in “Struggle Street” who will complain about all us ‘Richies’ in our Porsches.  *yawn*

Also, I hope whoever is sprouting the theory that there should be some tax relief to help people pay for Private Schools, they should be shot.  Private Schools are already heavily funded by the Government greater than the schools that they are supposed to be running for us.  To think that people should then get further discounts in their taxes to pay for that should be ashamed.  If you want to go to private school, fine but it must remain user pays!

Superannuation – the less tax on this the better.  We should try to make people self sufficient on their super to reduce pension costs and hence the removal of all exit taxes after the age of 60 is good.  However, we are yet to see the first people retiring on full working life super (ie people who started work in 1987) and wont for many a year yet.  The advice has to be don’t count on anything in this years budget being still in force when these people (namely myself) retire in 20-30 years time.

Funding for ChildCare places.  I am all for making child care more affordable, but what about making life more affordable in general so that mum can stay at home during the child raising years?  I would prefer to have a higher allowance for stay at home mums.  It would have more social benefits too to ensure that kids are looked after at home instead of pseudo foster care via Child Care Centres.  I never blame the parents for having to put kids through this as it’s the way society is now that 2 incomes is essentially a requirement today.  If Howard was more about family values, he’d be doing all he can to assist people keep the family unit together.

That’s about it… I think I have ranted enough.  Feel free to flame or praise me.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Media Circus?

The link below is to the blog for feedback on the Miner Rescue. Yes, amongst the bagging of the media is some praise for the guys who got out and their rescuers.

Surely media people must read this stuff and realise that they are going way too far with over the top coverage. I think any journalist who reads these comments should take the advice of the masses... please be informative and accurate and cut the jingoistic rubbish.

The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs: News Blog / Trapped miners freed Archives

Late Posting Today

Battery died on the PC this morning before I could get around to writing something… now am in the office, and thru the usual morning email tick-tacking.

Two things today.  Firstly the miners in Beaconsfield are out and whilst I think its amazing how lucky these guys are and that they have been incredibly lucky, I can’t say that I will be sorry to see the media circus die down a bit.  Yes, tragic that one man died, amazing that two men survived (apparently so well) and that the other miners are all heroes too for their own bravery and dedication, but puh-leez can we stop now with the media coverage.  I watched the two guys come out from the mine this morning on Sunrise and you would think that the girl who was covering the scene from Launceston Hospital would be someone a bit better than the local Tassie work experience girl.  This reporter (Clare?) was so amateurish and giggly and so full of clichés that it was just sickening.  The icing was put on the whole thing in which she mistakenly thought that the fluoro stripes on their mine suits (which were glowing in the media spotlights) were actually straps.  She kept saying that the miners were “strapped to their stretchers to keep them from running off” when in reality the guys were lying there in fluoro striped mine suits.  Ridiculous.  Congrats though to the two guys though.

Secondly, one on the home front, I have just found out that Kate needs glasses.  She has been complaining about sore eyes and has been a bit sensitive to light so Niki took her to the Optometrist for what she thought was an overly precautious check up.  Turns out she has a significant problem in focusing causing eye strain and now distress to her and the solution is glasses.  I am not concerned she needs glasses as I think that in today’s society they are pretty much the norm and I think that kids have perhaps gotten over the “Four Eyes” teases… I guess only time will tell on that front.  Kate though is very excited and has apparently picked out her frames already and will get them Thursday but what does shock me is that she needs them in the first place.  Her reading has been good, she is doing very well, so we didn’t really expect any problems…

Of course now we will start looking at what having glasses does cost a parent and we also are aware she may need some major orthodontic work in the future, so we will be revisiting our health cover options…

Monday, May 08, 2006

Late Late Late

Overslept and missed the 7:08am then was running late and missed the 7:37am so I am now sitting on the 7:52am train with all the school kids… I wont be in the office until 9:30, but I don’t have any morning appointments so no big deal.

As I usually do on Monday’s, I give a bit of a weekend wrap.

Saturday I had the funny experience of going to the doctors for a check up and my GP was sick.  He was still there, but he had to leave the room twice to I presume hurl during my appointment.  He took some blood (for the dreaded cholesterol test) and when he took the needle out, he asked me to hold the little swab against the needle mark and then excused himself to rush to the bathroom.  Classic.  When I left it was me saying he should take it easy and perhaps see a Doctor (guffaw! guffaw!)

Then it was on to Dad’s 55th birthday lunch at the Italian Forum in Leichhardt.  It was a good lunch with way too much pasta and then pizza.  Its good for kids though and the girls had a great time as well running around the forum and meeting kids of other restaurants.  By the time we got home it was 5:30 and we skipped dinner.

Sunday was a designated lazy day and I am glad that it was.  Niki took Kate to the shops and to help out her mum a bit so I had Brooke for the morning.  We took Zoe the Dog and did a bush walk and we were gone for an hour and made it all the way to Lennox Bridge at Mitchell’s Pass.  Brooke is a real power walker in the bush and grabbed a couple of sticks and marched through the bush with no complaints.  We climbed down the steep stair case under the bridge and mucked around there before we headed back.

In the afternoon, I was playing with the kids out the back and then started to feel really off colour.  The first thing I thought of was that I got the Doctors bug, and I spent most of Sunday arvo on the lounge watching football… what a shame.

I went on a bit of a nostalgia kick and scoured my old PC games and was looking for something to install on  my laptop to play on the train (other than blogging).  I found Ice Wind Dale II and am going to give it a burl now… cant remember how old it is, but it’s a Forgotten Realms role playing game… I am glad work gives us plebs admin rights on our laptops.

Anyways I am off to play a computer game amongst the kiddies…

Friday, May 05, 2006

End of Week Odds & Sods

Friday!  The week has flown by and I am looking forward to the weekend.  We have a fairly relaxed weekend with Dad’s birthday tomorrow, we’ll be having lunch at Leichhardt.  Other than that we’re pretty free and have no real plans.

Have a good Friday lunch planned today with old work friends and that will take up most of the afternoon.  Tiger beer and Chinese Lamb Pancakes… yum!  And the rest of the weekend will be spent relaxing.

Does anyone watch LOST?  Feel free to post your theories, but that was a good episode last night.  Met the leader of “The Others” and also some bizarre almost subliminal advertisement for the Hasbro Corporation.  The ad contained a 1800 number… I wonder if it is real?  This show would have to have the most intricate plot that I have ever watched before.  Every scene is a piece of the jigsaw puzzle and you really have to watch every episode.

And finally, our cat.  Tonya the Cat is 19 years old and has been having some health issues – namely she eats 7 meals a day and is awake crying all night but sleeps the bulk of the day away.  Turns out she has probably got an overactive thyroid, which is a common thing in elderly cats, and can be controlled by a tablet – but we have to await the result of a $170 blood test.  Ouch.  The tablets will cost us about $30 a month, but that will be cheaper than all the cat food we’re going through.  I don’t know if cats years are the same as dog years, but if so, she is over 130 years old!  She was Niki’s pet when she was a teenager… longest living animal I have ever had and apart from the thyroid problem (if its that) and a the fact that she walks around with a slight limp probably from bad hips, she is fine.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

So much stuff, so little time

Am quite short of time this morning as I am working on a detailed work thing (yes, a spreadsheet Pete) that needs to be done by the end of today.  I worked on it all the way home and need to get into it this morning on the way in.  I hate that… means you literally are spending 13hrs of the day at work – 7am to 8pm.  No time, other than this little post, to do other stuff.

The interest rates went up yesterday.  For me, its probably close to another $100 a month that I have to scrounge around for.  Wont be too hard I suppose, but it is really annoying.  With petrol jumping to $1.34+ a litre and add in another interest rate hike, it just makes things harder.  I am sure for a lot of people it is getting close to the bone in terms of being able to afford to live comfortably.  I don’t know what this society is doing though.  Niki and I watched a program on Foxtel last night about American children that have been impacted by poverty and drugs and crime and violence and abuse of all kinds.  It painted a very grim picture of society in the US and having been there, it is a very real element to their society.  The number of poor people (and I mean dirt poor) is astounding and these people are having kids that they a) can’t raise properly and b) that are affected mentally and physically by drugs and violence.  This program last night was fascinating, but then you have to say “is that lifestyle coming to Australia?”

And I would say the answer is definitely yes.  Our gun crime is increasing, children are showing less empathy and they are struggling to get a decent education with more and more kids being placed on drugs like Ritalin and generally we’re witnessing the breakdown of society.

John Howard wants to paint the picture that Australia is a land of modest homes in suburbia with loving parents and children living modest but comfortable lives.  Unfortunately that is becoming less and less like reality as the country continues to horde a huge surplus, spend money on warmongering and leaving public utilities either underfunded (hospitals and education) or sold of for corporate profit (Telstra and CBA).

The end result is that living is becoming too expensive and that results in the value of a human life is being reduced, and for the US that value seems to have hit negligible worth.

I seem to have ranted a bit this morning, apologies if its rubbish…

Listening:  Gorillaz “Demon Days”


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Night Time Scavenger

Short post this morning as I slept on the train for a change and am now in the office.

Our pile of junk on the front lawn is reducing and looks less than a quarter of what I originally put out on Saturday.  The timber is gone, the beds are gone, the bike(s) are gone, the TV is gone.  I am amazed by the amount of stuff taken by others and at this rate, nothing will be left by the time the council does come around to collect.

Having said that, I took the dog for a walk last night at around 11pm.  I like to walk at night, particularly late, as there is no traffic around and the bats and other night creatures are out and about.  About half way home though, I walked past someone else’s pile of junk and noticed an office chair sitting amongst it.  I looked at it under the street light and it looked OK and I sat on it and it didn’t break… I gave it a wobble and I picked it up and looked under it and it all seemed ok.

So I grabbed it and walked home with it.  I would have looked a sight as here I was at about 11:15pm, in the dark, walking a golden retriever whilst carrying an office chair.  It was hefty and after a while my back started to hurt, but I got it home.

In the light of my garage, it was missing its roller casters (easily replaceable) and a bolt in the undercarriage is missing which causes the arm rests to move more than they should.  Again, fixable.

So there junk became my bargain… I wonder why we don’t do this more often.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who am I?

By day, a mild mannered business exec with a family to support and enduring long hours of travel on CityRail causing nerves twitches and bleary eyes...

By night, a raving Orc Barbarian wielding a +2 Battle Axe against hordes of Goblins and Undead...

Which would you prefer? Posted by Picasa

J!NX - Gamer Geek Computer Nerd T-Shirts

I have found another t-shirt company that I might get some gear off or perhaps if you want to buy that special person in your life something, I highly recommend the "Nobody Reads My Blog" t-shirt

J!NX - Gamer Geek Computer Nerd T-Shirts

Create Yourself As A South Park Character!

This is a classic. Give it a go! I will post my self portrait tonight. - Alles über South Park

Kickin' Back

For the second time in a row, I woke up late and have had to catch the train from Emu Plains.  I went to bed comparatively early last night (11pm) and tried to wake up early to go for a walk, but the snooze kept snoozing, and then I got up, checked my emails (why do I do this first thing in the AM?) and before I knew it, I was running 10mins late.

The train is packed this morning too.  I think this is because school has gone back.  Yesterday was fine, but that was because it was “Pupil Free Day” which I am sure is put to good use, but surely the teachers could have come in last Friday and not take up one of the days that are supposed to be educating my kids.  So today, with the kids across Sydney back to school, its time for the adults to get back into the trains… Two people are standing in my carriage, the last of an 8 car set.  The trains cant get any longer, so I don’t know what the solution will be over the next decade.  If people have to stand from Emu Plains, some 80km out of the city, then we are in for a world of hurt in regards to public transport in the near future.

On the work front things are comparatively quiet compared to before Easter and I am not getting too worked up about things.  I am busy, but its more of a calm pace busy where I seemingly have things under control… no 2am work days on the horizon thank god.  Things will get hectic in June / July through to August, so I am enjoying the slower pace at the moment.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Junk & Treasure.

For the first time in 2-3 weeks I’m facing a five day working week.  Easter, Anzac Day plus the odd day off to make 4 day weekends has seen me cruise the last few weeks only being in the office 3-4 days.  Now its back to the grind I presume…

Spent Saturday cleaning out the shed and the house in general in preparation for the local Council Clean Up Day which is today.  Basically you dump all the crap on your front yard and the council takes it away.

We put out the kids old beds, plus some old BBQ hotplates, an old worn out kids bike, old door mats, a pile of broken kids toys, an old wading pool, an old kids indoor tent and assorted other junk.  This morning most of it is gone.  We were out the front late Saturday afternoon after delicately piling this heap together neatly on the median strip and some guy pulled up in his car started rummaging through it.  He took some timber we had out and with a nod he was off.  Weird.

Now the other strange thing is we have grown a bike!  Kate’s very old pink bike (it was second hand when we got it) is gone and in its place is a bright yellow BMX suitable for a 4yr old.  Seems as though someone needed a bike, took the yellow one, saw our pink one and took that instead and left the yellow one at our place…. again, weird.

This morning, Kates old bed is gone completely, but Brookes bed is gone, but the metal frame bed heads remain, the old TV is also gone I think and most of the timber.  I guess one mans junk is another mans treasure.  I hope the little girl somewhere enjoys the bike….