Friday, December 29, 2006
Xmas was very busy (and I mean busy!) but good. The girls got heaps of presents and had a great time.
The early morning saw us open up Santa's sack and he had brought Kate a Keyboard and for Brooke a DVD player as the main presents. There were other things, but they were the big ticket items :-)
Niki's parents ducked over for breakfast and gave the girls an inflatable pool - which they havent been out of since! - and we had croissants with ham and cheese.
Then it was off to my sisters at Ryde for lunch with my parents, my grandfather (who had come down from the Gold Coast) and her inlaws. Saw my Uncle Scott (will send you some pics soon) briefly as well and realised that our family is scattered everywhere on Xmas. My other
grandfather was with Dad's step-sisters family and my other Uncle (Dad's brother) was at his daughters (my cousins if you're following) place for lunch. Coincidently, she lives about 10mins from my place, but I was at Ryde for lunch. All sounds too stupid heh....
But we had to leave at 3:00 and head home where we were hosting Niki's family for dinner. 17 people after a big lunch and they too had had big lunches elsewhere. Niki's brother Michael had eaten at his inlaws and her parents had had lunch at her sisters at Penrith, but came up to our
place for the second sitting. Again it seems too hard and difficult!
But the meals themselves were great, its just a pity we felt in such a rush and by the time the night was over, we were well and truly stuffed. 2 big meals the second of which we hosted, 120kms travelled in between.
Not next year!
Today, we got our new car - Toyota Camry Ateva. Very happy with it. Finally after 6 weeks of crapping on, we have the new car. Silver in colour, I will take a picture of it and post it soon.
And on Friday, we head to Bateau Bay on the NSW Central Coast.... Just the four of us... rest and solitude. There will be no posts while away, but I'll see what I can do when we do get back on the 6th.
Hope you're all having good breaks, and have a Happy New Year.
Friday, December 22, 2006
People should be doing better things than reading a blog, but for those that do and are, Merry Christmas to you all!
I have managed to restore my PC last night and Lime Kettles will continue to be sporadically posted to during the Christmas break.
My plans are a week at home through to the 30th, then we’re off to
So, Merry Christmas, have a great end of 2006 and I hope to bring you some more rantings and ravings from the last car of the train next year…
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
This is why I was up in arms of about Steve Irwin’s death… they are a marketing machine and now that the “golden child” is dead, they’ve moved onto the spawn of the golden child.
Disgusting… let the child grow up on her own! The only plus is that she’s not wearing khaki on the cover.
Yesterday, Rosie – one of Kate’s Guinea Pigs – died. Not sure what the cause of death was, but Rosie (the long haired one) was no longer with us. We buried little Rosie last night in the garden next to Tonya the Cat and the girls were very upset. Not a great evening last night and we’re now concerned as to whether keeping one guinea pig is OK or is it cruel? The girls instantly asked if they could get another guinea pig, but we’re not so sure of that either.
Anyways, we’ll let the grieving bit pass and see how Matilda goes without her playmate before we make any decision.
RIP Rosie The Guinea Pig
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
One expensive item down, one to go…
Bought a Camry Ateva today… well agreed to the deal and just need to sign the paperwork, but she’s a done deal. Took a bloody long time and I got pretty shitty with the Auto Search guy in the end, but its done.
Should have delivery by Friday.
Its getting close to the end of the year… I must admit Lime Kettles will probably take a bit of a hiatus when my leave commences (Dec 22 – Jan 15) as at the moment, I am without a home PC and once this week ends, I will have NO internet access until its replaced. But I have made moves – a shop at Springwood can do me a nice customised tower plus will attempt to repair / restore the data on the old disk at a reasonable price. Only issue is that they’re at Springwood and only open business hours… Looking at my calendar, I might hang back tomorrow morning and get there at 9am and try to do the deal then and there and head into work. I will call them today.
Still no bloody movement on the car front – TODAY is the deadline for both
So in short, the week before Xmas is the worst time to try and get major home things done. Everyone is going to parties and the like and focus on work is not there at all… reminds me of me!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Its all over!
A lot of the post match rhetoric was “
This is not because they lost – you can be brave and gallant in defeat – but the reality is they have really been a mile behind the Aussies and baring bad weather in either Sydney or Melbourne, Australia WILL win 5-0.
Just realised that I only have 4 days of work to go and hence only 4 more days of web access from work. With my PC dying, I will be bringing my work laptop home, but I am not sure how to connect my Internode ISP service via my work laptop? I guess I will fiddle around with it…
The weekend itself was great, a big Xmas party Friday night, a good win at cricket on Saturday and a Xmas Picnic on Sunday with friends at
Saturday night had a big Chinese meal with
Xmas Party: Dressed as a hobbit, costume was a bit of a success. Drank fairly heavily, but was not too bad… didn’t eat enough food, got a fake tat that is still on… caught the bus back to the office, found a taxi and was home around 1am.
Cricket: Played up at Castle Hill in a one-day game. We were sent in and struggled. Lost two early wickets before yours truly and Pete put on a 40 odd partnership. Pete went for 25 and I went quickly behind for 18… the opposition bowlers were very SLOW and that meant there were lots of false shots and slogs. We were in deep trouble at 7/73 before Big Nick Nardo slogged a massive 49 off very few balls and Stuart Cass hit 29 to get us to all out for 160 in 40 overs.
We then had Hills Barbarians in huge trouble. 1/0, 2/0, 3/2, 4/10…. We destroyed their top order and basically from then on had it in the bag, but some late hitting by their #11 got them to 120. A great win, we reach the Xmas break in 2nd spot on 50 points.
Dinner Sat Nite:
Sunday Xmas Picnic: A great day at
Friday, December 15, 2006
Today is Work Xmas Party Day and people in the office are genuinely excited, so it should be a big one. I have my hobbit suit at the ready and today will be a bit of a weird one trying to work in amongst people running around getting ready…
However, my mood has been tempered a bit by the fact my home PC died last night… I have had some sort of major disk crash and I don’t think I can reboot the system. It dumps to a black DOS screen with “Invalid System Disk” or something… no SAFE Mode, no nothing. I think in the coming holidays I will be trying to rebuild a new one and recover some of the important stuff (i.e. photos) from the old one. Not what I had in mind…
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The concert was a great success! The girls did their dances and were really good. Kate had stepped up to an older age bracket this year and was involved in slightly more complex dances but she did really great!
Brookie was again front and centre on the stage during her dance to the Purple People Eater and was exceptional.
The night was very long though and the kids didn’t get to bed until 11pm, but it was well worth it. Thanks to everyone who rang to wish them well and thanks to
Photos soon to come…
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Late posting today as I have arrived late to the office after an external meeting…
So does anyone know the definition of “mateship”? Do you dear reader, have “a sense of what makes
If so, then you can become an Australian citizen! If not, you’ll have to remain in your own hell-hole of a civil war torn nation and learn good proper “Australian ValuesTM”.
Does any other country in the world do this? Did Princess Mary have to know how to make Danish strudel and be able to quote the starting eleven for Copenhagen FC? Did Rupert Murdoch have to know the American Constitution and give a good description on what “American Values” are important?
No… its stupid and racist.
The fact that the national language is English doesn’t mean you have to speak it to reside here. It is the predominant language, and if you cannot speak it you will struggle, but its not a legal requirement. I have friends of migrant heritage who’s parents have been here 30 years and still cannot speak English to a “John Howard Acceptable Level”.
The sooner this xenophobic government gets the arse, the better!
Monday, December 11, 2006
Had an excellent birthday weekend this weekend, all thanks to Niki who despite our busy weekend with the girls’ dancing, was able to make me feel good. It all started on Friday night with a great dinner with just the four of us. Niki cooked a dish we call “Noodle Stuff” which is basically a pasta bake with rich cheese sauce, bacon, onion and champignon mushrooms – its been a favourite of mine since I was a kid. And to top it off, desert was a home made chocolate sauce pudding… with cookies & cream ice cream!! Not food you’d eat everyday, but was a great birthday tea. Niki and the girls also gave me my present – a PlayStation Portable! Very happy with that, I get so bored on the trains given I have read every book in the house and listened to every CD… will make my trips a lot better. It came with World Rally Championships and I am not much of a car racing gamer, but it is a very good, realistic game. The graphics on the PSP are excellent as well, and I’ve been very impressed with it.
Saturday was cricket and Niki took the girls to dance rehearsals so I had the morning to myself. Of course, I went to the shops and picked up some extra games for the PSP – Madden 06 and the Star Wars Lego game… I bought that as something odd and different and I can tell you it’s a very funny game. I don’t think I have ever laughed out loud whilst playing a computer game.
Saturday at cricket was excellent. We came from behind and took 6 for 11 to roll Wenty Waratahs for 80 odd. We were only defending 128 so that was excellent. We ran through them so quickly we decided to have another bat and of course yours truly got the obligatory golden duck! Mistimed leg glace hit high up the bat and was caught at fine leg… ridiculous! Anyway we set the opposition a target of 160 off 25 overs and they declined to chase and played defensively. At stumps they were 4/80 odd and we went home with first innings points. Sees us 2nd on the ladder.
Saturday night I raced home to catch Kate perform at the Glenbrook Christmas Carols & Fireworks – literally got to the park as she was getting on stage, and saw her do her dance to a huge crowd of people. We couldn’t stay as we had to get home were Niki had to do hair and sew costumes for the next days full dress rehearsal for Wednesday’s concert. I of course played with the PSP :-)
Sunday (my actual birthday) was the dancing and I helped out there. It wasn’t that bad actually and we all had a good day as Niki did the hair and costume changes and I video taped the dances and we got through all the photo sessions. The girls did really well at the dancing and the concert should be really good – at Panthers this Wednesday night if you’re interested :-)
Then it was off in the late afternoon to Pete and Carly’s wedding at Bexley. We had a great run from Penrith to Bexley and got there a little bit early! The wedding was really good – when the bride & groom are relaxed and having fun, it makes a great wedding. The ceremony was outdoors in the gardens and the reception was at the same venue inside so we basically had a lot of good laughs and caught up. My mate Steve had returned to
All in all, a great weekend…. Pity I have to go to work today, but it was a great way to turn 34.
Friday, December 08, 2006
At work today after dropping the Mazda 6 test drive back to the dealership. The decision is close… in a nutshell, Niki prefers the Mazda 6 and I prefer the Camry. Both very good cars, but also very different cars.
The Mazda is sportier. It has a low profile and has a lot more responsiveness off the lights. Both cars have the same engines (4cyl 2.3L) but the gear ratios mean that the Mazda “zoom zooms” whereas the Camry is more of a cruiser.
The Camry is larger and clearly has an advantage in passenger room and driver comfort. The seats are also softer and the car drives a lot more smoothly – you tend to feel every bump in the Mazda.
I personally prefer the interior of the Camry as well. Has a bit more of a luxury car feel to it whereas the Mazda is a bit more harder and the dash and consoles are in red LED. At night it is very bright and to me, off putting.
The end result is that I am going to get the Auto Search people to crunch the numbers and get the very best price for each and throw in what they can to do the deal…
Also, just for the record this weekend is my birthday :-) Please send all the lavish gifts you can! Hehe
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Work is dead… every afternoon, the emails stop and nobody appears interested… we have well and truly hit the silly season. Tomorrow I am going out for lunch at the Rugby Union Players Assoc Christmas party. Given I am not a huge rugby fan, you could ask why? Well the simple answer is that there’s free beer and food and going back to the office is not expected…
The office, and I mean the building, not just my floor, has been half empty as people toodle off for a luncheon “with a client” and never come back. Next week will be no better as I have to leave early on Wednesday for the girls’ dance concert, Thursday I will be at the Sydney FC game courtesy of corporate largesse and on Friday we have our company’s Xmas Party… you know, the one in which I am going as a hobbit :-)
Heading off now… no post via the train tomorrow as I will be driving the Mazda 6 back to the dealership. The car looks nice and is not a bad car, but I don’t know if it will be suitable as a family car. We’ll see, its all about the $’s.
Am taking a second test drive from tonight with a Mazda 6 being dropped around to my office. I must say, I continue to be impressed with the ability of the Auto Search people to do all the leg work for me and I had a Mazda dealership ring me up and offer me a drive overnight… I do have a dilemma in that I have a pre-Xmas drinks on with work and I will have to curtail my intake so as to drive home but also to get home so that Niki and the girls can have a go as well. I think I will get everyone up early for a drive in the morning and be a bit late to work tomorrow.
I don’t have high hopes though for the Mazda as they are definitely smaller than the Camry and they definitely have less boot space… but you never know.
I see that in a conscious vote in Parliament, the ban on Stem Cell Research was lifted. The ban was overturned 82-62 or there abouts and shows that there is a mixed feeling on the subject. I personally am glad this has happened as we may be able to reach new areas of research and hence eradicate some (all?) diseases through this avenue of science. However I was happy to see new Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd give a very good summary of the case for “No” and it didn’t involve religious notions of creationism. Instead he stated that he had an uneasy discomfort at human beings creating “a form” of human life and use that form of human life for medical experimentation. That is a true statement and I guess the only case for not doing Stem Cell research was that it was not “God’s intention” and that religious elements skewed the debate. What Rudd is saying here is a moral argument – and you can have morals without being religious – in that we are potentially creating a sub race of human medical slaves. Sure, nobody is going to grow an embryonic stem cell into a grown adult and then dissect them, but it does present the case that we are creating life synthetically… and life, whether conceived naturally or in a Petri dish is still life.
But my personal view is that whilst that’s a valid argument, the benefit of the greater good is that we can perhaps break ground in the quest for curing disease.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
What an ending… unbelievable! But really, whilst
And when it came to the run chase, it was hilarious to watch the English spread out and concede 3 singles an over. Michael Clarke scored a 7 as well with a run 3 and 4 over throws (again the keepers fault) and
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I am happy that Kevin Rudd has acquired the leadership of the Labor Party. For too long, the Howard Government has gone on without being held to account principally because the opposition has been hopelessly out pointed and the leadership has been weak. Beazley and Crean before him were both fairly spineless and lacked the mongrel and the out and out balls to lay it on the line against Howard. With Rudd, I don’t think he’s a “mongrel” like a Latham but he is a person who is articulate and intelligent and will leave you in no doubt what his point of view is. I think this is the leader that Labor has been looking for.
But Julia Gillard as deputy? I don’t know… she doesn’t seem to be a big speaker and I have hardly heard her say anything let alone anything of substance. At least the hopelessly inept Jenny Macklin didn’t even bother to contest the deputy role as she was truly awful.
So now, hopefully the Labor Party can quickly get its act together and start to make alternative policy rather than indulging Howard on divisive political name calling and getting into “credibility wars”. Simply put, Labor should present alternative approaches on the Iraq War, Industrial Relations, Taxes and Social Services. Maybe open up and spend this farking huge budget surplus and stop spending money on military campaigns – how much has
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday I played Blood Bowl at the inaugural Mountain Bowl at the Blaxland Tavern. In a nutshell, it was great fun and I had 2 wins and a draw to see me tie for 4th (out of 13 coaches) but I was disappointed that I couldn’t play the Saturday because of cricket (I was awarded 3 “draws” to compensate so effectively me record was 2/4/0 and hence my 4th place).
Because I didn’t think I would win the comp and didn’t want to actually win it over a player who had played the first day, I decided to play a race I had never played before – so I borrowed a Khemri team from co-coordinator Brendan and went out to bash some teams.
Khemri for those who don’t know are an Egyptian styled / themed team who principally have 4 big Mummies and a bunch of Skeletons and essentially win by beating the other team senseless and walking it in when there are no opposition left.
Game 1 was against a Dwarf team and it was a really close game. The Dwarves are very resilient and I just couldn’t get through their high armour and my drive to the end zone was stalled because of this. In fact the Dwarves were able to knock the ball from my hands at the death and throw a long bomb pass down the field and whilst the catch was successful, the little dwarf fell over when he tried to dodge away. 0-0 at the half with the Dwarves to receive.
The second half again was very tight but they tried to play an expansive game rather than the traditional dwarf running game and it eventually came unstuck and I was able to retrieve the ball. I then ground down the field and this time did manage to score on the last play of the game and won 1-0. Unfortunately, very un-Khemri like, I lost the casualty count 1-2.
Game 2 was against an Orc team and this was a great game. End to end stuff, and the Orcs had hired a wizard who fire balled me in the first half and they turned me over for a 1-0 lead at the break. The Orcs had an AG4 and an AG5 blitzer and were playing like elves and I thought I would lose but some great play by the Khemri saw some casualties and a fair number of KO’s happen and suddenly we were up on the numbers and tied the Orcs up on a sideline. The ball was spilled deep in my own half and we were able to luckily pick it up with some goblins pressuring us and then it was effectively all over. 1-1 draw, but we won the casualties 4-1.
Game 3 was against High Elves and I was looking forward to this game against some lighter armour. Finally the dice worked and at half time we were tied 1-1 but the casualty count was 6-0! The elves only had 5 players left at half time and I was to receive the kick. I ground out the win and stalled my way to a 2-1 win. The only bad part of the day was that the opposing coach (who shall remain nameless) had a few too many beers at this stage and got a bit stroppy about stalling. But why would a Khemri team give Elves a chance to score back… no way José, and I’ll take a 2-1 win (7-0 casualty count) any day.
I finished out of the prizes, but the prizes were very good with a full Vampire and full Lizardman team for 1st and 2nd and plenty of Ogres, Minotaurs and Treeman and Trolls for the painting, sportsmanship prizes. Also a lucky door prize of a full Witch Elf team from Shadowforge minis was also handed out… and every other coach scored a mini as well – I got a goblin referee holding up a yellow card… nice little mini that!
Great tournament, venue was excellent (blood bowl, the cricket on a plasma and beer on tap and 5mins from my house) and a good number of coaches (13) made it a good day. The Blaxland Tavern were happy to have us back and there is talk that Blood Bowl will be a monthly / quarterly event there. Also met some new local coaches and we’ve decided to get a league up and running…
Had this weekend the Camry Altise for a test drive which concluded this morning with me driving it to Hurstville and back to the dealership.
We have been debating two cars – the Camry and the Mazda 6 and the Camry was the first one I have actually driven. What I was expecting was a little car with minimal room and base features but I was really surprised when this car that was fractionally smaller than a Ford Falcon that had a very sleek look and a very functional and modern looking interior.
Driving, a 4cyl 2.3L engine was fine and had a very light steering. The driving seat was very comfortable with the door armrest and the console perfect for putting your elbows on… very important! I hate cars that you feel squeezed in or uncomfortable.
The only downside is that the rear window is very small and the rear passenger windows are also very small and high. Kate being a tall 7yr old has the window sill at about the level of the top of her head and Brookie without a booster seat cant see out the side at all. For the driver, the viewing is improved by good side mirrors that have a concave (or is it convex?) shape which means you can see, but you need those mirrors.
Also with a high rear, we’ll really consider taking the parking sensors as an optional extra.
All in all though, we were very impressed and when we parked it at the shops next to a Mazda 6, it was clearly the bigger and more roomier car and I think at around the same price…
Good car… but dollars talk, so we’ll wait and see...
Saturday, December 02, 2006
They're cocky, whinge at the umpires, abuse the opposition and one of their players keeps making a rooster crowing noise from the sidelines. Really annoying... *cock-a-doodle-do* Idiots.
Anyway, we took them on, lost the toss and got sent into bat. I opened with Robbie Short and we made a steady start and were just starting to get comfortable with the bowling when I scooped one to point. Out for 13 and we were 1/28.
Crazy Dave Mandic went in next and failed when he played on for 1 and we were 2/29.
Then a nice partnership between Noyz and Robbie took us to 2/74 when the rain hit and we had a 45 minute delay. Robbie had smacked the bowling around and was on 52 in only 15 total overs! On fire.
However after the rain delay, the pitch was greasy and bam bam bam. A horrendous collapse and apart from Pete Nahlous getting 39, we were disgracefully bowled out for 128. Robbie 52, Pete 39, Clay & Noyz 13 each. No one else got above 3.
But bowling, we did pretty well. Terry Hoban got a wicket in his 2nd over and then another soon followed when Noyz got an edge into the gully and we had the opposition a bit cautious - even the Rooster stopped crowing.
It started to get real dark and the umpires were making "bad light" gestures so we brought on Crazy Dave and Pete our two leg spinners - who are VERY good by our leagues standard - and we really strangled them. I took a neat catch at 1st slip off Pete and the runs dried up. At stumps, Wenty are 4/48 and we have their better batsmen back in the pavilion.
Next Saturday should be a close call... but we've put ourselves back in the match.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Overslept… Niki was out late last night and I went to bed very late (as you may attest to my late postings last night) and I was in a bit of a rush to get to the station to catch the late train.
Well when you pull into the carpark that is normally chockers and instead of looking for a spot, I could basically take my pick, then you know something went wrong with the trains. Its an eerie feeling… is today a holiday that no one told me about is today a holiday that no one told me about or has my watch stopped or time stopped for that matter? Is it Saturday?
Anyway, something was wrong as I ended up getting to the station for the 7:52am train but instead caught the 7:08am train at 8:05am… I am very very late, but at the same time I was the only one on the carriage in which people are usually standing by the time we get to Emu Plains. I guess a lot of people must have said “fuck it” and driven in when they new the trains were screwed… but my sleep in seems justified now :-)
So, I’m not stressed… I’ll finish up here, turn up the headphones and have a relaxing snooze on my own private carriage….