Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Little Brookie Grows Up

Tomorrow morning, I will be taking the day off work as our youngest; Brooke takes her first day at school.  This is a big occasion for our family as it means that both girls will be in school 5 days a week and that will change the dynamic of our house markedly.

No longer will Niki be rushing too and fro from Pre-School to School and back again on the drop off / pick up runs… no longer will there be two Christmas pageants – basically no more double ups of numerous things.  Our house will be child free every day between 9am and 3pm and Niki is waiting to hear from the Dept of Edumacation to see if she will be appointed to a position in the new school year.

But most importantly it means for us we have reached the end of a goal we set out when we found out Niki was pregnant with Brooke some 5-6 years ago… we decided that we’d get by on my income and that for the sake of the kids Niki will stay home.  At times it’s been hard money wise, but we have gotten through it in my opinion very well and the benefits in the girls in having mum at home all the time I believe have been immeasurably valuable.

So good luck to Kate today on her first day of Year 2 and I’m looking forward tomorrow being able to miss work and send Lil’ Brookie on her way to school tomorrow!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Quick CanCon Wrap

Got back last night from CanCon, the big gaming convention in Canberra where I once again had a tilt at the Australian Blood Bowl Nationals.  In terms of results on the pitch, I did slightly worse than last year finishing equal 5th (out of 30) as opposed to last years 3rd, but I think I enjoyed the games this year more and on top of that, I was able to play a few boardgames at night given I was on my own and the comp was probably a lot tighter over all.

Firstly, I think a big Lime Kettles congratulations must go to Tommy “ozjesting” Dean, a regular Lime Kettle poster who took out the title in a very exciting grand final.  His Norse team was clearly the best team overall and was the deserved champ with a 5-2-0 record.  Also, one of the best victory speeches I have ever heard… am yet to know whether he was able to successfully collect his prize of the woman of his choice….??

On my efforts, I played Tommy and I also played the runner up (Ian “Doubleskulls” Williams) and two very close matches with both those guys that could have gone either way.  Ultimately Tommy beat me and I drew with Ian and I guess that’s what cost me the title…

My matches went something like this:

  • Vs Rod Noye (Orcs) 2-0 win
  • Vs Doubleskulls (Amazons) 1-1 draw
  • Vs Vimes (Skaven) 1-1 draw
  • Vs Brad Delmege(sp?) (Dark Elves) 1-1 draw (yes another farking 1-1 draw)
  • Vs Ozjesting (Norse) 0-1 loss
  • Vs GardenGnome (Pro Elves) 2-3 loss
  • Vs Drakeular (Necromantic) 3-1 win

So overall, a 2/3/2 record and I also took out the most casualties’ award (25 in 7 games) and the best painted single miniature award and my prize was a new Dwarven Deathroller miniature, which I am very very happy about.

Had a good look around CanCon as well and if I had the cash, I could have gone berserk.  I did get a Carcassonne expansion for the girls (Princess & Dragon) but that was about it.

The next Blood Bowl tournament is Leviathan at Quakers Hill in mid April, so I hope to see you all there!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

CanCon - last minute post

Well a late post today from my desk… drove in this morning in the rain as I am driving to Canberra after work today for CanCon 2007.

All my boot is laden with Blood Bowl stuff plus I am taking some D&D books, a board game – Betrayal on the House on the Hill – and my PSP… I am set for a weekend of Gaming of all sorts – Nerd City here I come!

My custom made Blood Bowl pitch didn’t fit in the boot this morning, so its taking up the back seat but it fits there nice and snugly.  Forgot to pack my camera this morning as well, so there wont be any CanCon shots this year for the blog…. D’oh.

For those readers who are going as well, I look forward to seeing you soon!

Go the Dwarves!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Give war a chance: Bush - World - smh.com.au

Give war a chance: Bush - World - smh.com.au

One Word: Idiot.

Give up you War Criminal.

Rejected by the PSP

Been playing happily away on my PSP since I got if for my birthday and for Xmas I got the FIFA 2007 soccer game… straight into management mode where you can manage a team to glory.  But you can’t just jump in and manage Man Utd… you get a selection of teams that you can choose from and I selected a Dutch team in the Dutch first division.

Signing with this club, I was set a number of goals – namely finish in the top half of the 18 team first division.  Unfortunately I finished 11th and “failed”.  Second season, instead of being reasonable, the PSP says I need to ensure my team qualifies for European competition and come in the top 3 or 4 of the league!

Well season 2 ended yesterday and I finished 12th in the league… oh well I think.  But the board of my mythical club takes the view that they would rather seek someone else and they sack me!  Damn!  Then the PSP asks if I would like to search for another club willing to take my services… I click “YES” and it thinks a bit and says “Unfortunately, there are no teams willing to consider you”.  Click “X” to exit.


I just got sacked by my own PSP!!  Talk about rough!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CanCon 2007

Something that has slipped up very quickly is the fact that CanCon 2007 is on again this long weekend and I will be heading down to Canberra to take part in the Blood Bowl Nationals.

For those who recall from my postings last January, CanCon 2006 was the scene for my “Worst Gaming Experience I Ever Had” but this year, I am prepared.  From what I can gather, my antagonist isn’t registered this year, but if he is I hope I get to play him again – and I will give him a big hug post match!

Again, due to a non-existent painting program this year, I will be backing up with the Dwarves that have done me so well in the past.  This will probably be the last time they get a run for a while given that I have numerous other teams to paint!

This year is slightly different though as I will be heading down to Canberra on my own and not with Niki & The Girls.  With a wedding in Coffs Harbour in March and the recent holidays, we just couldn’t justify the costs of accommodation and entertainment for the girls… particularly given I am staying at a fellow gamers place for nil cost (thanks Bart!).

So, this week at home I need to get my miniatures sorted, team sheets printed and bags packed for a weekend of gaming, gaming and more gaming.

Even the evenings are being booked out with game nights with some board games being arranged and even the odd beer or three… may be a very tiring expedition!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Aussie Flag - Symbol of Hate

I sure somebody must have been misquoted… but it appears that the Australian Flag has been banned from the Sydney “Big Day Out” concert on Australia Day because of that very reason.

It is classed as a “gang colour” and because of the race “riots” (which in seriousness were a joke compared to some of the US race riots of years gone by) people going to the concert are not allowed to carry the Australian Flag on our national day.

If there is one small element of truth in this, it would have to mark the lowest ebb that this country has seen.  They have banned beer, the Mexican wave and beach balls from the cricket already – oh and the deadly “beer snake” – and now have denigrated our flag to the lowest form of life that a symbol can have… a quote “Symbol of Hate”.

This country better clean itself up or I may start thinking of emigrating to a more tolerant society – like Zimbabwe or Uganda




Friday, January 19, 2007

The importance of learning...

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The God Delusion

I am half way (sorry, a quarter of the way) through "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins...

Saw this post though and thought I should share it given it's ABC Australia's 'review'....

Clearly, havent read the book... funny how they seem to be OK reviewing it.

RichardDawkins.net - The Official Richard Dawkins Website: "Reposted from:


ABC Television's (Australia) Online Book Club discusses The God Delusion.

abc on TGD"

Torrents and Vassal

Friday… each individual day has dragged on this week, but all up I think the week has gone quickly.  Can’t really believe that tomorrow’s Saturday and I have cricket on again…

Will be a bit quiet too next week – it’s a 4 day week and my boss has taken more annual leave to head to Ireland for his father’s 90th birthday.  Some of my external service providers are also still on leave and its looking very very quiet.

Niki is heading out tonight to her girlfriends and I had offered to download the entire Season 2 of Desperate Housewives for her and her friends to watch.  That was pre-Xmas and I have been downloading this damn 8.5Gb file since then.  For some reason my BitComet client really refuses to download greater than 4kb/sec and despite the odd burst to 12kb/sec it has taken me since pre-Xmas (taking out the days I was away on hols) to get to 80% of the file downloaded.  I have checked all the settings and can’t see why something with 50odd seeds and 2500+ peers downloads so slowly…  Anyone who is a torrent user and has any advice, let me know.

Still on technology, I was playing around with VASSAL last night (http://www.vassalengine.org/community/index.php) which is a great way to play a variety of board games.  A Java based application that allows you to click and drag around game pieces on a board and is extensively used by war gamers and some other board games.  Has a dice engine and all the other things that go into games and looks very promising.  There is a thread on Vassal in the Lime Kettle forums if you’re interested in playing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Granville Railway Disaster - 30 Years On

Whilst I have "only" been travelling on the Blue Mountains trains for 9 years, today's anniversary of the Granville Rail Disaster still rings home. At the platform this morning, there was a bunch of flowers on the platform obviously left in memory of someone. Apparently a number of the 83 killed were Glenbrook residents and some of their relatives still clearly live in the area.

In addition, a number of people that are still around today at Glenbrook were also involved in the Blue Mtns train that rear ended the Indian Pacific about 3 or so years ago.

So as a 'train blogger' from Glenbrook, I guess today's post is dedicated to those who have died going to work on State Rail...

Granville railway workers honoured | NEWS.com.au

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Floppsy Comes To Stay

One thing I probably haven't mentioned - well I haven't - is that we gained a new addition to the family: Floppsy The Rabbit (pictured here with the surviving Guinea Pig Matilda)

Floppsy was a stray into the yard of a wheel chair bound elderly lady who is a friend of Niki's parents... she couldn't look after her, so we have taken her in. Of course if anyone has lost a rabbit in the Glenbrook area, let me know, but otherwise unless someone comes looking for Floppsy she'll be staying.

She is a very placid and domesticated rabbit though... happily gets patted by the girls and is much less skitish than Matilda.
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Iraqi Hangings

One thing that caught me by surprise whilst on holidays was the execution of Saddam Hussein.  I believe I was probably one of the last person to know he was hung because I was away on hols without news, internet or spoke to anyone and it was only on the happenchance I bought a newspaper at the kiosk to read by the pool that I found out about his death.

At the time I was surprised at how quickly it came as I presumed it would have been drawn out with appeals and counter appeals.

I also felt instantly a bit cheapened that this guy was executed for only one charge.  Not meaning to denigrate the lives of the 147 people or so that were the victims in this once charge, I am sure that it would have been better to have ALL or as much as possible explain the extent of his tyranny.  To be charged on one assault on a village in the 1980’s and then have the book closed kind of defeats the concept of making a statement or example of him to others.

Now his henchmen have gone to the gallows and one was inadvertently beheaded (or was he?) in the process.  Why I bring this up today is that now Tony Blair in the UK and other leading bureaucrats from the UN et al have condemned the executions for their barbarity.  I am sorry, but storming a country twice in 10-15yrs and slaughtering thousands of civilians in the process and killing a large number of your own troops on a search for non-existent WMD’s is in itself a war crime and a barbaric one at that.

To turn around and say that the deaths of Saddam and his cronies is barbaric and in-humane kind of misses the point and just shows how much of a mess we are in.  The West has turned barbaric but I guess we have the best spin doctors to make it sound like a “worthy cause”.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 2 - Running Late :-)

Yes, it has only taken me one day to oversleep, miss the late train and hence am now on the 7:52am!  Geez, I need a holiday :-)

The girls are still on holidays of course, and it was hard to leave them this morning… would have loved to go with them today as they have started their once a day for a fortnight swimming lessons.  Both had a really good time yesterday and although they can both swim without floaties or anything, they’re not real flash on the formal strokes.  So Niki thought it would be a good idea for them to get some formal training and they loved it… of course they also got green swimming caps, so that made it all the more enjoyable.  If there’s clothes involved – they love it!

The first day at work yesterday was fine.  I didn’t win the beard growing comp, but I did OK… thank god I could shave it off this morning though, feels so much better!

Monday, January 15, 2007

2007 Off To A Cracker

Well, here we are… Glenbrook train station, start of the year.  In 2006, the station was attended to by a chirpy guy called Bill who knew your name, processed your ticket requests no fuss and it was a sleepy hollow of niceness in a grim world of bureaucratic CityRail.  I arrived early this morning to buy my first ticket for 2007.

But Bill wasn’t there… there was a young guy wearing a tie and a badge numbered instead of a friendly name like “Bill”.  I asked politely for a “Monthly to the City” and he asked me to fill out a 2 page form!  “What’s this?” I asked.  Young Whip told me that any ticket greater than 28 days required this form to be filled in as a record for CityRail in the event the ticket is lost.  I replied “But I have a receipt?” and he said, “yes, but that’s YOUR evidence, we require a form”.  I then said the fateful words “Bill never asked for these to be filled in, is this new?”…. well all I got then from the terse tie wearer was “Well Bill was slack on a number of things around here, and I have already had some run ins about that…”

I now felt that poor Bill was stuck in the basement of the CityRail Gestapo building in town doing “paper work” for the rest of his days…. As I filled in the form, Young Whip proceeded to do his end of the transaction.  $204 please he said… “What the!  It was $172 before Xmas!!”  He said that it no longer goes on weeks and days and I have to take it to the end of the week if the 28 days doesn’t fall on a Friday which in this case it doesn’t.  I have ended the ticket on 16 Feb so that, on a daily rate, is $204.  Fark me!  I realised that I was getting greater than 28 days, but shit you’d ask first wouldn’t you…  I paid the 28 days on my Mastercard and he gets out the old fashion slider machine and I have noticed that there are now 5 people behind me waiting.  I would bet that half of them would be after a monthly… It took me 6 minutes to fill in the form and do the credit card manually.  I wonder how long this “by the book” attitude will last before we return to Bill style station management!

Welcome to 2007 dear readers…

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Woman drinks so much water she dies...

Shit hey... and I am sure there is a joke in here re the Water Restrictions...

Woman drinks so much water she dies - CNN.com

PS - holidays end today! Back at work tomorrow! Regular posting resumes :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Twenty20 Cricket

Went to the Twenty20 cricket last night with Niki, Kate and my nephew Alex.

The night was a great "event" but not much of a cricket match. Seriously, England are soooo crap. Coming out needing 11 an over and they play dink shots and reverse sweeps... pathetic.

We had front row seats in front of the Noble stand on the fence and Alex managed to get Nathan Bracken's autograph on his signature bat and we had a couple of balls hit straight at us. Also had Jimmy Anderson slide face first into the fence right in front of us in a fruitless attempt at fielding.
The sixes though were plenty in the Aussie innings and the music pumping was good, but a few less KFC ads and why did they dress an entire bay of people in KFC t-shirts and make them wear KFC buckets on their heads? Marketing... why do we need it.

Overall, a fun night, was over in 3hrs and was great for the kids... not for the cricket purists though ;-)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Car

Thought I'd post a pic of our new car... also trying to get farking Picasa to work with the new Blogger again... grr.
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