Thursday, March 29, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

Apologies for the lack of posting, but work has been hectic and I am set for a long stint in the office tonight... its our busy period in our annual work cycle and I just cant get away from it at a reasonable hour. I am thinking I will burn the midnight oil so to speak tonight to ensure that my Friday / weekend wont be spoilt.

But I do want to comment on how ridiculous the media has been (and I am including talkback radio here) on the Hicks trial. Talk about missing the point. Miranda Devine has a horrendous article in the Herald today how Hick's guilty plea is a slap in the face of his supporters. Sorry, but the issue isnt about whether he is guilty or not. No one is denying he was in Afghanistan shooting at Americans... what the issue is that he has been denied his right of being presumed innocent until proven guilty and having that trial as soon as practically possible.

Denying justice for 5+ years and not allowing a proper legal process when the trial does take place is the issue and the fact that he has basically been badgered into pleading guilty because clearly its the only way out of the shit fight he is in is not "doing justice".

They say that the victors in any conflict earn the right to write history, and I guess the Americans are doing that now by ensuring that they get convictions against terrorists to overall justify their military actions... but we know that the reality is that the treatment of Hicks and others in Guantanomo Bay is directly opposed to what we democratically elect as a fair and just legal system.

Political Big Brother at its worst and I wish that the morons who write in stupid letters to the papers and ring the talkback jocks to say that Hicks is deserving everything he gets should be ashamed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Would You Hire This Man?

If you had been charged with some crime, would you hire this lawyer to get you out of a bind??

Is it just me or is that the most crazy arsed photo ever?

Attorney Michael Brandow, Brady, Connolly & Masuda, P.C., Chicago, Illinois

What's Your Air Guitar Pseudonym?

Want to be a rock star but can only play Air Guitar?

Well get yourself a stage name and hit the Air Guitar circuit!!

For the record, I am "Axes of Evil"... rather apt I think ;-)

More On Hicks... c/-

1. David Hicks: guilt by incarceration

Brett Solomon, Executive Director of GetUp! writes:

This morning came the news that David Hicks has pleaded guilty. We should not be surprised.

After the legal drama in his initial hearing today, David Hicks surely would have reflected on the fact that years after his initial plea of innocence, he was still locked in a cell 1.8m². Any normal Australian, facing a system weighted so heavily against them and broken by five years of unimaginable privation, is likely to have signed a document that would get them out of Guantanamo – regardless of their guilt or innocence.

David Hicks' guilty plea is not justice served, nor does it necessarily reflect Hicks' guilt – it is simply further evidence of a rank system, and Australians can smell it from afar.

Almost every eminent jurist and legal body in the country has condemned a tribunal that has more in common with a circus than justice. Australian and international jurists agree this system was designed to guarantee convictions. It should come as no surprise, then, that it has. It reflects a system that is no more than justice on the make – offending basic legal principles of independence and impartiality.

This is evidenced by the shenanigans at today's arraignment. Hicks' civilian lawyer was dismissed as he refused to sign a document that compromised his own ethical standards. It would also be highly unusual in any normal court for a counsel to question the presiding judge over their impartiality – as Major Mori had to, concerning Judge Kohlmann's rulings.

This is what happens in a flawed system where the tribunal, the "jury", the chief prosecutor, the charges and the plea agreements are determined by the executive branch of government – the same Administration with so much invested in Hicks' conviction.

The Federal Government should not think today's guilty plea lets them off the hook. They have diminished Australia by legitimising an unfair system by allowing an Australian -- guilty or innocent -- to languish in detention for five years, only to face a severely compromised legal process.
When John Howard sifts through his mail this weekend he'll find over 10,000 GetUp! postcards from residents of his own electorate angry at his disregard for basic Australian rights -- a sentiment they are likely to carry with them to the ballot box later this year.
The key question now is: will David Hicks be home by then and, of equal importance, under what conditions? 

Normal Service Resuming

I have noticed that my blog postings of late have been very "me centric" and I have really not commented on some of the world events that have taken place lately… and I do know how much you all value MY opinion so much!  So in that vein, here is my views on some of the world events of the past few weeks and I will refrain from talking more about my shingles and/or my cricket and the impact of the former on the latter….

NSW State Election
I cant believe anyone is surprised that Iemma got up and won.  Whilst a lot of the rhetoric was how bad NSW is going, there was never a credible alternative and this clap trap about voting for a minor party because neither deserve it is also nonsense.  Minor parties are just that… MINOR.  They have no real say and with the way the preferencing system works, you are really going to vote for Liberal or Labor in any event.  So you may as well tick the major party you prefer.

I also don't think the Labor party has done such a bad job.  12 years is a long time, but there is no need to make change for changes sake.  It seems that the press get the whiff of staleness and they go for the jugular.  But really, what has been so terrible about NSW that Debnam could have fixed?  Nothing!  The Liberals, particularly since they are ruled by their religious right faction, are a complete basket case and the sooner Barry O'Farrell leads with a more moderate view then the better the government will be held accountable.

To put this simply, because the Labor Government has not been held accountable for the majority of the past 12 years doesn't mean that that inept opposition deserves the right to lead in their own right.

Bob Woolmer
Tragic and this is going to get a lot worse.  It could be very damaging for the world of cricket but I cannot see gambling being stopped.  You cant cure the 1 billion sub-continental gambling junkies who fund this corruption by simply "banning" it.  I think people now need to realise that gambling and spread betting is a part of cricket and that penalties for any involvement from a player or official need to be swift and severe.  Life bans should be minimum. If some player wants to chase some extra income, then they need to be aware of the risks.  Herschelle Gibbs, Mark Waugh, Shane Warne should ALL have been rubbed from the game not to mention the raft of rumour and innuendo around the Pakistani team historically.

The question is, was Bob Woolmer an innocent who knew too much or was he a man who had double crossed the bookies themselves?  I can only hope that any crooked cricket players or officials out there are now perhaps re-thinking their actions and maybe refrain from getting further involved.

David Hicks
I have been remiss in blogging about how Lil' Johnny Howard has been copping a pasting in the media… Rudd is making a credible alternative view and Howard is falling behind badly.  At least now the David Hicks issue is making him look bad and the fact that it seems that Hicks has pleaded guilty today simply to end his incarceration in as short a possible time is a damning indictment on the Australian Government.

I don't support Hicks and think he is a stupid idiot who got caught up playing Rambo, but at the very least he deserves fair justice.  He is not getting it and is now caving in to save his skin – it wont actually allow justice to be heard and will instead give him a finite end date for his circumstance.  What will Howard do if the US "justice" that is going to be metered upon him gives him a way too harsh sentence – life in prison or even the Death Penalty?  Will Howard THEN intervene?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cricket Grand Final - Slaughtered

This weekend I witnessed the best innings by a batsman I have ever seen in my 23 years of playing cricket.  Unfortunately for us, it was an opposing batsman.  In short, on a hot day, we lost the toss and Pendle Hill elected to bat on the very small Binalong Park and in front of a healthy crowd of about 100 people, we restricted Pendle Hill to 3/70 off the first 30 overs.  Very tight bowling and good fielding kept them to a very slow run rate.

Unfortunately after drinks the Pendle Hill #5 batsman decided to take to us with a chanceless innings of 191 runs in just 35 overs and hit us for 20 sixes... yes 20 sixes - 120 runs - in just 30 overs.  This guy was unstoppable and we tried our best, but when he hits 20 balls out of the park there isnt much you can do in the way of fielding to stop it.  At the end Pendle Hill were 9/351.  Massive score.

We bravely set out to chase... needing 5.5 an over from the get go and yours truly got an early yorker and I lost my leg stump on 1 and the team was 1/1.  Then 2/26 and 3/42 before we consolidated to be 3/82 at the drinks break.  Technically we were ahead on the comparative run rate (they were 3/70 at the same stage) but we now needed our own miracle innings.

Unfortunately it was not to be and we had a mid innings collapse to be 6/87.  All over red rover really, but the tail batted strongly and we did get to 191 with the skipper Terry Hoban top scoring with 41 batting at #8 but the game was lost on the Saturday afternoon.

We then went to the club presentation night, had one or two too many beers and drowned our sorrows, but we knew we had been outclassed by a better team who had won the minor premiership in a canter.  I got my batting award 371 runs at 26.50 and young Simon Agius took the bowling awards.  Fielding award went to Paul "Noyz" Brewster and Crazy Dave Mandic took the Captains Award for putting in all year.

The good news is most seem keen to back up next season and we'll be seeing one or two players coming back to the team as well... so all looks in good stead for season 2008/09.

Also, I know a few of the guys read Lime Kettles as well so thanks to all of you guys for the very enjoyable season.  We played good cricket and had fun as well... one of the better seasons I have ever had (not just with the bat) but also we had a real good team spirit.  Didnt win the last game, but we had a good solid season!


Friday, March 23, 2007

Night Before The Big Game

Well, I have rested ALL week... I am not 100%, but I believe the infectious part of Shingles has gone with the rash virtually gone.  For the grand final starting tomorrow, I will still be sore across the chest - Shingles leaves a lingering pain (a neuralgia) but my medication should see that stop soon - otherwise it can linger for 6-12 months! And I still feel weak in my left arm where the rash was as well... but at least the shooting pain down my arm (sort of like pins & needles on acid) has passed.

The odd thing that really hurts is driving... I drove to the shops tonight and came back sore as a bugger.  Maybe it was the seat belt, but hopefully I can wield a bat on the weekend.

There is NO thought however of pulling out of the GF.  Have batted at the opener position all year and am set on Sunday night to claim my teams batting awards with around 350-400 runs this season - by far my best ever.  Not sure if I want us to bat first in the morning or not.  Personally it might be OK to have a field and have an extra day to get the neuralgia to pass, but I dont think it will make that much difference anyways.  Its probably best to win the toss, bat and get myself out there first over of the match.

For those of you keen to come down, we're at Binalong Park Pendle Hill.  Play starts at 1:30pm... hope to see all Lime Kettle readers there!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Palm Tree For Sale: Bidding Starts At 5c

My mate Tommy is selling a deadset 10m high Palm Tree. The only catch is you need to pay and arrange for its removal! If you are a arburist (sp?) then this may be for you!!!

Hurry only 9 days or so to bid (see link below). Tommy has offered to autograph it too for the winning bidder!

eBay Australia: Queen Palm Tree aka Cocas Palm Tree

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Whilst being at home is kinda neat in that I can play games and tinker with the PC all day long, man I am getting bored.  Actually had a nap today for 4 hours.  I know I am not well, but I am not a "napper" and I said to Niki at 4:30 that I'll go for a lay down... next thing I know I am being woken up for Heroes at 8:30pm!  4 hours of snoring!  Kids had eaten and gone to bed and I was groggy as hell.

Heroes was good though, I highly recommend it!

Am thinking of downloading a movie or something to watch tomorrow... I am currently downloading Extras - Season 2, but its 3GB and probably wont be ready until Friday.  Anyone got any suggestions??

The thing that is worrying me though is the cricket grand final this weekend.  Whilst I think I should be OK to play, spending a week sitting on your arse is hardly good preparation... need a bit of a pick me up I think.... my sleep patterns are all over the place (hence the nap) and I have been waking up at odd times like 4am and sitting up watching world cup cricket before going back to bed at 6am...

The shingles themselves though are still causing me discomfort.  Today was probably worse today than yesterday because I drove myself to the doctors for a check up.  The doctor has told me to stay off work for the rest of the week... The rash is fading rapidly, but the achey pain slightly got worse today.  The rash is the thing though, that has to go away by the weekend (which looks likely) but the pain you can handle with panadeine etc.

this post doesnt make sense does it...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Home Sick Day 2

Well, today I am feeling better.  Not 100% but the shingles have started to fade a bit and the pain isnt as bad as yesterday.  Any sudden movement leaves me dizzy and I cant extend my left arm as the skin feels tight and burns but sitting still on the lounge or at the keyboard here is fine.  Sleep was OK last night too and I was able to sleep until 6am instead of the usual 4am...

Its the worst time for me to be ill work wise, but there isnt much I can do about that.  My assistant is doing my job for me and my boss seems OK with everything, so at least things are passable... but I have been answering emails and tic-tacking with the office so I havent been entirely idle.

Got the call this morning as well from one of my mates Angelo who is crook and never had Chicken Pox before and hence he thinks he may have it... I was sitting next to him at the pub on Saturday after cricket, so maybe he has... I hope not!

Otherwise, today I am trying to get the energy to clean up the study desk and maybe paint some miniatures... Also will watch more of the Pura Cup Final (thank god for Foxtel)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Go The Mighty B10's

Well, on a wet weekend, the mighty mighty Greystanes B10 cricket team prevailed in our semi-final match against the dark villainous Wenty Waratahs in a cliff hanger.  Sent into bat on a cold wet day, Greystanes struggled early on to be 5/51 when the rain and ultimately stumps came on Saturday night.  Yours truly had top scored with 17 but it was a grinding innings with just two 2's and thirteen singles and the long grass plus decent bowling of the opposition kept the pressure on us.
Sunday was the day of my shingle attack and having batted, I spent the day on the lounge watching football, but the boys gamely pressed on and Greystanes were bowled out for 109 with Nick Nardo clubbing 2 mighty sixes at the end which would prove the difference.
Greystanes, basically needing to bowl Wenty out quickly got off to the perfect start with a wicket on the fourth ball of the innings and Wenty were 1/0.  Wenty consolidated and at drinks were 2/45 and seemingly cruising.  Then according to the various phone calls, all hell broke loose as Simon Agius picked up 5 wickets and the rest of the bowlers also kept it tight and in jubilant scenes which I could hear down the phone line, the final Wenty wicket fell with the score at 105.  The team had pulled it out of the fire and its grand final week next week.
We will be playing away though as the other semi final was washed out and the minor-premiers Pendle Hill went through on the rain rule.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hanging out the Shingle

Man, I have just been told I have shingles... basically its the old
childhood Chicken Pox virus re-awakened and running amok in my immune
system. The left side of my body (chest, arm and back) is covered in a
rash and I have just been told to stay indoors and avoid people (kids)
who havent had chicken pox until Thursday.
Never mind the fact that this has come at the worst possible time for me
work-wise as its the busiest time of the year for me... someone has it
in for me!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Weekend Ahead

Busy time... with my bad back I basically dozed on the train this morning without being hunched over my laptop or PSP.  So I am posting late again from the office...
Niki is flying to Brisbane tonight for a girls weekend away and I will be playing Mr Mum with the girls... but unfortuately for them, I have cricket semi finals on.  So Mum & Dad will have the girls at their place on Saturday (and my game is around the corner) and Niki's parents will take them on Sunday.  Kate has dancing on Sunday afternoon, so they'll be taking her to that.
The cricket game is Greystanes vs Wenty Waratahs at Daniel Street Park with play starting at 1:30pm.  It will be a close game and all semi-finalists are evenly matched.  We finished 2nd, Wenty 3rd and winner will advance to the Grand Final.  We got knocked out in the semi last year, so hopefully we wont fall over again at the same hurdle.
My back is a worry though, but I will load up with anti-inflamatories and it should be ok... (fingers crossed).
Also, in other news I got an email from RailCorp as an apology for the stuff up on Wednesday night.  Not that I was effected as badly as those stranded in Milsons Point for 3 hours, but it is odd that you get a personalised email from a mail server pretending to be Vince Graham, CEO of RailCorp.  Given I worked on a project about 10 years ago with Vince, you'd think he'd remember my name and send me a personal note :-)
Well, thanks for the apology RailCorp... how about you actually fix something!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Home Today

My back has gone out again... Almost a year to the day (I was at the physio last year 14 March) my upper back, between the shoulder blades has all tightened up.  So I am pseudo working from home (via email) and am leaving for the physio for an 11am appointment.
Not real flash considering I have cricket semi finals on this weekend! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Busy Girls

OK, running late today as I had to get my car pink slipped before rego expires on Friday.

So am not in the office until 9:30 today, but that's OK as surprisingly enough I have an empty calendar!!  Rare event indeed.  Work has been extremely busy of late and we are in our busy time of year and therefore I apologise for the sporadic posting of late.  Also, I must admit I am fairly addicted to my PSP on the trains and would on most days rather do that than pull the laptop out to blog...

On the home front, Kate had her first piano lesson yesterday.  My cousin lives in the mountains and is a music teacher and has taken her on for 30mins a week... when I got home last night, Kate was absolutely beaming about her lesson and she was telling me all the stuff she learnt and it wasnt all playing songs, but also how to read music and Kate can now tell the difference between a treble and bass clef and some things that I didnt even know - although I have never been musical.

So Kate is now doing Dancing (2 nights a week), swimming Saturday mornings, piano on Tuesday nights, and Netball on Wednesday mornings and then on Saturdays when the season starts... very busy girl!

Brookie though is content with the dancing which she does 3 nights a week, so thats heaps for her too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Am in the process of refinancing our mortgage because I am sure that there is a better deal out there and that my current bank Westpac seemingly gouges fees left right and centre continuously.  This process is underway and I am in the middle of getting the documentation together for this, but I had an incident yesterday with Westpac that pretty much sums up the relationship I am currently having…

We operate a savings account which doesn’t fully offset the mortgage (there is a long reason why, but that is another Westpac bureaucratic issue) so we operate our savings account on the margin to ensure all our dollars stay in the redraw account to save interest.

So on Wednesday I get an email from my sister in law Jill that the $200 she sends us for Niki to look after her son is on its way into the bank via internet direct deposit.  This is a process that has been repeated regularly for near 2 years without failure.  I think good, that $200 will cover the $130 Medibank direct debit that is coming out on the Thursday.  On Saturday however I check the accounts and am rudely awakened to the follow transaction details:

Wednesday:      $200 Balance, Available Funds $0 (pending clearance)

Thursday           $130 Direct Debit  Balance $70 Available Funds -$130

Friday:              Direct Debit Dishonoured, $130 credited to account, Balance $200, Available $0.

                        $200 cleared.  Available $200

                        FEE:  $50 for Direct Debit Dishonor, Available $150.

The bastards were sitting on $200 for 48hrs, didn’t clear it (why?) and yet chose to default on my Medibank payment, clear the funds AND THEN charge me $50 for their trouble.

Well I rang Westpac yesterday and ranted at them for a good 30 minutes in which they apologized, waived the fee and I still demanded to receive my last 6 months of mortgage statements because I was taking my business elsewhere.  I was very angry and I am still needing to go and see Medibank Private to pay them our monthly premium, but it was a very cathartic experience to virtually yell at a call centre employee and his manager… nothing beats a good rant at a poor sap at the other end when they do (well their company) does truly deserve it.

See you later Westpac… you’re goneskis!



Sunday, March 11, 2007

Miss Brooke


Great weekend for Brooke's birthday... Friday night was a good family night, followed by DINNER with Mum & Dad on Saturday night out at Chinese and then today was a picnic from 3pm onwards where we had a sausage sizzle...
The photo above is my favourite from this weekend :)
Happy Birthday Brookie!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 09, 2007

Happy Birthday Brooke

Celebration today as its Brooke’s aka Lil’Bubba aka Bubba Ganoosh aka Nooshie’s 6th Birthday.  She had a party yesterday afternoon for 20 kids at the Kids Club in Penrith and when I got home from work Niki was frazzled and the kids high on sugar and excitement.  We gave out the presents last night instead of the morning – which is disappointing I guess, but with today being a work / school day, we let her stay up late to play with them.  She got a “PollyPocket Playland” for her little Poly Pocket dolls and also another “Pixel Chix Shop” play thing which connects to her “Pixel Chix House” which she got at Xmas time…. If you don’t know what Polly Pockets or Pixel Chix are, then google is you friends ;-)

Tonight we’re having celebratory pizza for tea and tomorrow night will be dinner at a Chinese restaurant with my parents – Brooke chose Chinese, but asked that we don’t have the lobster that the waiter brings out lol! – and then on Sunday afternoon it’s a picnic at the river and bike riding with Niki’s side of the family and we’ll be having a sausage sizzle for tea.  Pretty full weekend ahead particularly when you add in Swimming for the girls, cricket for me and we have a friends Monique & Sean’s daughter Mya’s first birthday party on Sunday morning / lunch.

Its been a long week this week on the work front and this weekend is hectic as well, but it is a celebratory one!

Happy Birthday Brooke!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Slaves to the Wheel?

Apologies for the infrequent postings, but things have been fairly hectic on the work front and I have also been leaving the laptop at work more often than not as I am now more inclined to play my PSP on the train than bash away on the emails…

Today though is different and I have just finished posting 15 emails on various work related issues between Glenbrook and where I am now – going through Ashfield. These are just the emails I didn’t get time to write yesterday on account of being so busy doing the work from the day before! For the record, I reduced my Unread Items list from 57 to 13 and have expunged about 120 emails into the delete box to keep below the 250MB limit we now have on our inboxes. A colleague of mine actually got a lock put on his email because he was sitting at 350MB. Can you imagine that!? Your work stopping you sending emails because you had too many! The Help Desks answer was to request an increase in quota from your manager. They simply killed off productivity because he was sitting at 350MB, but if you can get your boss to simply send an email authorizing a limit up to 500MB at a snap of the fingers. Given our boss is in transit between London and LA at the moment, the ability to get such a simple approval wasn’t able to be done. My colleague in question read everything he could, made all the phone calls he could and went home at 4pm… I wish they’d lock my account!!

It is amazing though how you can be a slave to the email… whenever our server is down at work, basically all productivity stops. People chat over the cube farm walls about social things… the coffee shop does a roaring trade and then if the outage happens late in the day, people slink away thinking that whatever was important can now be put aside until tomorrow.

You know the office scenes in movies with phones ringing and people scrambling? It just isn’t true anymore. The office environment is still and quiet with the occaisional phone call and when the A/C dies and the background hiss fades away, all you hear are the tapping of keys…. Tap-tap-tap….

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dirty Politics Howard Style

This stuff about Kevin Rudd having dinner with disgraced former Western Australia Premier Brian Burke is a complete beat up by John Howard and is soooo typical of the dirt campaign that can happen before an election.
In prior years, Howard has beaten up and embellished issues on national security to pull at the nations "fear of terrorism" to gain public support (Children Overboard anyone?) but given that that would be so obvious, Howard is now playing the man and not the ball by attacking Rudd's credibility.  And he's orchestrating it very cleverly too with Costello being the one throwing the barbs and insults and also getting long standing Liberal Ian Campbell to resign (or was he sacked... it depends on the PR spin) over effectively nothing is such an orchestration of dirt politics that it is blindingly obvious that its a set up.  Yet, the public - like with Children Overboard - seem oblivious and like lemmings this will have an impact on the polls.  Wake up Australia!  Time for a change... get rid of these fear mongering Liberals.
For those of you who have no idea of what I am rabbiting on about click here for related news coverage.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wascoe Siding

Went to Wascoe Siding today with the girls and they went around on the little trains.

Place was packed and we managed to get some log space to sit on and the ground was pretty soggy because of all the rain, but for a couple of hours and a picnic lunch it was good.

When the sun got hot and the cloud burnt away, it got really steamy so we headed home...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Breakages

Had a whine about things breaking yesterday but the problems continue! My laptop today was in the hands of helpdesk for 2hrs this morning as I seem to have been dropped off the network.

To try and put this into laymans terms, my profile wasn’t registered on the network and I had received directly from Microsoft a whole bunch of updates for Windows XP that weren’t meant to be received by people at my work. So instead of getting the updates that were compatible for our network via our server, I got a swag of them direct and a couple in particular screw around with the XML settings in and as such rendered a lot of my email system useless.

It also raised a massive issue with network security that my PC was connected directly to Microsoft and not through the firewalled server. That’s a no-no apparently! ;-)

In addition, I wasn’t able to roll back these changes because as soon as I did that I was bombarded with warnings from Microsoft that my PC wasn’t patched properly. So I had to have my security reset, my Windows rolled back, my automatic update settings tweaked and that took about 2hrs.

I am a walking technical black hole at the moment!

I might stay in bed tomorrow….

PS – the plumbing is out on some floors of the building and my floors toilets are one of the few levels that are working… so we’re getting a lot of traffic on our floor as people pop up for a Number 2!