Monday, April 30, 2007

Bush Denied Katrina Victims Aid

This is an interesting piece... seems as though George W Bush rejected offers of aid from around the world during the Katrina disaster.

Shameful, but you should read some of the comments from the Right Wing Nut Jobs who said that Katrina Victims should get off their collective arses and fix it for themselves as opposed to living off the state...

Pathetic! But really, what else do you expect from the Neo-Conservative Right Wing nutters that lead the US at the moment?

The Reaction -- by Michael J.W. Stickings: Fucking the victims of Katrina

Ooh Aaah - a Weekend of Farce

I personally had a very good weekend... very relaxing and gave Niki the day to herself while she went out scrap-booking and I had the kids to myself.  We went out for a big brekkie at a local cafe and then after all the bacon, eggs and sausages had settled down we went down to the roller skating rink at Penrith where for 3 hours the girls skated and skated and skated.  They had a great time and for $8 for 3hrs (plus skate hire if you need it) and realistic food prices (drinks $2 and chips $1.80) you can spend an afternoon doing sweet FA whilst the kids had a great time.  I personally didnt skate, but maybe next time...

But what I really want to write about today is the bloody Cricket World Cup Final!  How ridiculous was it!  Imagine playing the end of the game in the dark?  I was watching it live on Sunday morning and I couldnt believe that the umpires wanted to play it out?  I thought the Duckworth Lewis scoring system was supposed to stop all this shenanigans?  (If you have no idea what I am talking about, read this)

But anyway, at least the best team did win and Glenn McGrath went out on the best note possible.  Even though he didnt take more wickets than Shane Warne or Murali, I still tend to rate him the better bowler overall.  To open the bowling for Australia for so long and really keep opposing teams under the hammer over such a long career, McGrath showed time and time again that he is (was) the best of all time.  From day 1 through to yesterday, he had a metronomic action that churned out line and length balls that batsman repeatedly couldnt hit... in my mind, he is the greatest bowler of all time.

Ooh Aah Glenn McGrath!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Train Pains

A small rant this morning... this concerns me travelling on trains in the evenings.

A word of advice for my fellow commuters... the train, particularly country trains given that the windows do not open and we are all enclosed together in the silver tube that is the carriage, is NOT the place for you to open up a series of the plastic Asian take-away food containers and have your dinner.

To the lady who decided to have spring rolls, a mongolian lamb style concoction with another container of rice, spread over the seat beside you in which you proceeded to gorge yourself on the smelly banquet in such a confined space, you're an idiot.

Why do people have such little regard for their fellow travellers?  People who play music way too loud (and I mean you lady who this morning had what I think was Kasey Chambers squeeling at just a level of volume in her headphones that I could still hear it three rows away) and people who eat stinky food (as above) and the lovely teenage boys who decided to shoot spit balls through the air over the passengers you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

The train trip on its own is at times wearisome and boring... I dont need these type of idiots colouring it up for me.

/rant off.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anzac Day

Had a good Anzac Day yesterday with a BBQ at our place.  Despite the weather, we had about a dozen people over and we gorged on chips, dips, nibbles, BBQ, salads and then some desert with heaps of beer and wine thrown in.

Basically we sat at the table from 11-11:30 and nobody moved until 5:30pm... except for a quick foray into the lounge room to watch my Saints get bitch slapped by the Roosters (thats another rant I wont bore you with).

Alot of old stories told, new ones shared and people getting too pissed... happy days.

For the formal part of the day, we couldnt get to Dawn Service this year as Kate was a bit crook (she had Tuesday off school with vomiting) and we thought it was too much to wake her at 5:30 and drag her out into the cold.  The girls did watch the march on tele and they do have a good understanding of what the day means.  We havent done anything over the top to push this message so most of their knowledge must have come from school.  They say that Anzac Day is increasingly for younger Australians and I liked the idea of the concert on the Gold Coast on the weekend as well... more of it I say!

Diplomacy - End Game Statements

Played my first game of Diplomacy by email with complete strangers and did pretty ordinary at the end (survived with just one unit left on the board).

The good thing about Diplomacy is that at the end, everyone writes an "end game statement" in which we truthfully reveal our reasons for playing and moving what we did.

You can see that my statement (as Russia) differs from Austria's... unfortunately Turkey didnt respond...

Diplomacy 2000 Adjudication

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Deathroller Complete

Finished painting my Dwarven Deathroller today... all ready to go in July's Eucalyptus Bowl.

I know I'm not the best painter around, but I'm happy with this effort. I have gone for a matching burgundy scheme as to my Dwarf team (the Glenbrook Kings) and hence the hand painted crown logo on the side.

Also, I have gone for the mad, googly eyed look... most deathrollers I see painted cover the lens in black paint to look like sunglasses... I instead went for a big thick lenses :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The End of Dragon Magazine

Sadly, one of the institutions of gaming, Dragon Magazine, is closing down and the owners of the magazine rights, Wizards of the Coast are not renewing the publishing contract.

To many people, this isn't a big deal, but for gamers Dragon Magazine and its sister magazine Dungeon were a great source of gaming info, particularly for Dungeons & Dragons. The press release states that the magazine can no longer keep up with web publishing and hence are offering a web subscription service instead.

The death of paper? Sad, but will it be the end of pen and paper role playing games like D&D?

Press Release From Paizo Publishing

ANZAC Day - The Week That Isn't.

Two days at work and then another day off... whilst I welcome the day off, the gap week is rather disruptive for work.... but I wont complain!

We're planning to go to Dawn Service at Glenbrook tomorrow and then a quick tidy up around the house before we have people coming around for a BBQ.  Lazy afternoon planned with the weather probably being crappy, the football will be turned on at 3pm to see Saints and the Roosters blunder their way to hopefully a Saints win.

Then it will be left overs for dinner (if I can fit them in) and then an early night due to too much beer and food.

Then off to work on Thursday in which productivity will be shot due to a) hangover and b) wishing the weekend was already here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Big Yawn...

Big Brother started again last night.  Big Yawn more like it... when will we get some real people with real experience and real views on the world.

Sick and tired of early 20 somethings trying to be something they're not.  Niki and I watched most of the rubbish last night but it was only a lot of people clearly "acting" in front of the hidden cameras.

My only thing to look forward to is the Mormon girl who has never wore a bikini (well neither have I, so who cares) tries to have a shower at some stage over the next 3 months.

And on the Mormon girl, and one of the other girls up for election into the house, why were they distinguished by their religion.  Rebecca The Mormon and Demet The Muslim.  Why weren't the other contestants labelled on the basis of their religion?  Why not "John The Baptist" (pun intended) or "Mary The Catholic" (2nd pun intended) - are Christian religions not controversial?  (and isn't Mormonism a "Christian" religion anyway?)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sparkles Win Season Opener

A very quiet weekend with the only committment we had was Kate playing her first official game of Netball. The good news is that the mighty Sparkles from the Blaxland Redbacks won 3-0!

Kate played Wing Defence in the first half and then Wing Attack in the second. The girls really dominated and for four 15 minute quarters didnt allow the opposition to even get a shot on goal! Amazing considering all the girls had never played before and also hadnt trained in a couple of weeks due to holidays.

Kate was really in amongst it too. She had a good grasp of the rules, never strayed offside and in the second half when she got to attack, she was catching and passing perfectly and at one stage intercepted a ball that set up the third goal.

We were very proud!

Also, totally unexpected was the season opening ceremony in which Netball officials, State and Federal MP's and all the clubs did a march past... quite odd, but Kate was very excited.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Quick One

Been very busy at work this week and am going to be out of the office all day, so a quick post before I leave for the train...

Firstly, the power of the internet... this Virginia Tech massacre... so many people blogging about it that even main stream media were hitting blog sites looking for scoops.  But then the kicker... the shooter took the time out to compile a multi media manifesto!  Shoot 2 people.... get on the PC doing some video and photo edits... burn a CD and post it to NBC then shoot 30 more.  How clinical is that!  Amazing and I am sure more on this will come out over the weekend.

Second, the weekend will be pretty quiet this weekend except Kate makes her netball comp debut on Saturday morning.  First "comp" game after weeks of training and a trial.  And we are the family entrusted on the roster to bring the oranges this week!

Will give a wrap of the big game over the weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gun Control - Don't Put Guns In Plays

It seems that the Americans are not really seeing the big picture when it comes to gun control... they seem to be focused on the guys artistic writings and his macabre plays but at the same time not realising that guns and there ready availability are a direct consequence of what happened yesterday.  If Cho had not been able to purchase a gun he would not have been able to shoot 32 people.  The fact that he had taste in his arse when it comes to drama screen plays is not a point to be dwelling on.

For instance, if I was an American and I took out 30 odd people, would people raise the fact that I play role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons?  D&D was a subject of much debate in the 80's that it was akin to satan worship... now its considered a quirky hobby (nerdy yes, satanic no).

So, we have a Korean man studying English and Drama and consequently because English is not his prime language his screen plays suck... but this is the focus?  Unbelievable!!  How about the fact that a college student who is a foreign national can buy a gun in a department store??  How about perhaps some of the FAQ's below being considered as a possible reason???

Virginia state gun laws. Frequently asked questions:

Is a permit required to purchase rifles, handguns and shotguns? No.

Is registration required for rifles, handguns and shotguns? No.

Is licensing required for the owners of rifles, handguns and shotguns? No.

Do you need a permit to carry rifles and shotguns? No.

Is a permit required to carry a handgun? A permit is required only if the weapon is concealed.

Is there a one-handgun-per-month limit on gun sales? Yes

Are there limitations on assault weapons and magazines? No

May police limit the carrying of concealed handguns? No

Must child-safe locking devices be sold with guns? No

Are background checks required at gun shows? No

Are minors restricted from possessing guns? In part

Is a licence/permit required to buy handguns? No

Are all guns registered with law enforcement? No

Is safety training required for handgun buyers? No

Is it illegal for holders of concealed-weapon permits to carry guns into schools? Yes

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

US Shooting

The news is dominated this morning by the shooting at Virginia Tech.... Whilst I think the event is horrendous, you have to wonder about the mindset of the American people when they allow such events to occur with no gun control.

Why do people for no reason whatsoever need a gun?  Clearly this guy was emotionally unstable and depressed and he takes it out on the community.  He should never had easy access to the means to do this in the first place.  With the increasing firepower available to American citizens, these type of events will only get worse.  Columbine had victims numbering in the teens, this incident in the low 30's.  The next nutter (and I would bet that there will be a copy cat) will plan it better and perhaps will take out 50+.

When will Americans learn that this is so easy to prevent from happening... but when I think about it and how Bush again supports the National Rifle Assoc in the US, I cant help but make the flippant comment "Stupid is as stupid does".

Grow up America... you are no longer under threat from British Colonials and American Indians... you have no need to retain the "Right To Bear Arms".

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Leviathan 2007 - CHAMPION

Fourteen hopefull coaches gathered at Quakers Hill High School this weekend to take part in the Blood Bowl tournament which was part of the broader Leviathan Gaming Convention.

14 was an OK turn out but I know that there were a few late drop outs, but we had coaches from Newcastle and Sutherland who had treked to Quakers Hill in Sydney's west to take part.

The rules were simple: Team Value $1,100,000 and skills were able to be included in that but no more than one skill per player. It was also a "resurrection" tournament so you played your starting roster every game and deaths and injuries were erased.

I took a Dwarf team "The Glenbrook Kings" with 2 Blitzers, 2 Troll Slayers, 1 Runner (with Block) and 7 Longbeard Blockers (4 with Guard), a Cheerleader and 2 ReRolls.

To cut a long story short, I ended up winning the tournament and secured my first ever tournament victory. In fact I was so succesful that the trophy was mine after Game 5 (of 6) as I was so far ahead. Lucky too, because I ended up losing Game 6!

Thanks to Pete "tribalsinner" Arentsen for being the tournament organiser and thanks to all the coaches for playing, it was a good couple of days and I must say for my first 5 games, I couldnt do a thing wrong! Below is a game by game review.

Game 1: vs The Fur Kin Rats (Skaven). Coach: Geoff "Magic Thighs" Watson
This game was a great start to the tournament to get the adreneline pumping. Skaven being much quicker are normally hard to handle to handle for Dwarves but Geoff had taken what I thought was a surprising approach to his team. 2 Gutter Runners, 2 Throwers (one with Leader, one with Nerves of Steel) and 12 (yes 12!) Line Rats. Two of these had a skill each - Dauntless and Strip Ball.

He won the toss and received and with all my guard skill and his distinct lack of block, he really got stopped hard and I managed to turn him over, steal the ball and score fairly quickly and in the process did a fair amount of damage.

With 16 players in his squad, Geoff was able to field 11 players but he was down one Gutter Runner and the line rats were no match and the second half was an absolute slaughter.

Final Score: Glenbrook Kings 2 def Fur Kin Rats 0 (Casualties 5-1).

The Fur Kin Rats are smeared across the field in Game 1.

Game 2: vs Half Pint Hooligans (Halfling). Coach: Brendan "GardenGnome" Morrison
My arch rival Brendan was having a bit of a laugh playing Halflings, but they arent as bad as a team as they are made out to be. However against Dwarves, it was really ugly. He had 2 Treemen (one with Multiple Block, one with Break Tackle), 13 Flings (alot with Side Step, one with Dirty Player) and the star Halfling player "Puggy Baconbreath".

Won't go too much into this one as it was fairly one sided, but Brendan did go on and win a few games and finished mid table.

Final Score: Glenbrook Kings 2 def Half Pint Hooligans 0 (Casualties 6-1)

The Kings charge into the Trees vs the Hooligans

The Hooligans casualty box post math... 6 casualties, another 4 knocked out.

Game 3: vs The Green Machine (Orc) Dan "dancollins" Collins
As the last game of Day 1 arrived, I was on the top of the leaderboard, but Dan Collins also had two wins as well and we were paired up. Dwarves vs Orcs... wasnt going to be pretty. Dan had taken 4 Black Orc Blockers all with Block skill, and 3 Blitzers (2 with Guard, 1 with Tackle), a thrower with Leader and 2 Line Orcs. A very front heavy and bashy side which was the complete opposite to my previous games.

The Green Machine won the toss and received and after alot of bashing, the ball got bogged down into a scrum in mid field and his drive was stopped. There wasnt any harm really done but for the first time, the Kings hadnt had a huge numerical advantage in the second half.

The second period saw the Kings drive hard up the midfield and soon the blood started to flow and the numbers on both sides were reduced. Critically, the Kings' runner was knocked out and the ball handling was left to the blitzers.

But a bad missed block in the second half allowed a gap and the Kings were able to score and lead 1-0 but a quarter of the match remained.

Down on numbers, the Kings held on when a final blitz saw the ball scatter free and back into the pack and the hopes of the Green Machine were dashed.

Final Score: Glenbrook Kings 1 def Green Machine 0 (Casualties 2-1)

Pre Game, the Orcs and Dwarves attempt to psych each other out
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The final play as the Kings bring down the Green Machine's attempt to tie the game

Day Two
Game 4: vs The Creeping Death (Khemri). Coach: Paul (Creature) Morris
The first game of day 2 was going to be tough. Khemri have no interest in scoring touchdowns and Paul had been slashing through the field on Day 1 absolutely trashing his opponents and then waltzing in for a 1 TD win. I was worried about this game simply by having to face 4 mummies. The Creeping Death consisted of those 4 Mummy's (2 with block), 2 Blitz-Ra's (one with Guard), a Throw-Ra and 4 Skeletons.

The game was one of the funnier ones of my weekend however as the Khemri side absolutely self destructed. The Mummy's got scattered around the field and couldnt form a consistent defence as Troll Slayers and guarding longbeards got in amongst it. Then a few of the Khemri got taken out and they started losing the numbers game.

Their solution was to play dirty and in quick succession on both sides of half time, 3 skeletons were sent from the field and before he knew it, they were down 1-0 and only had about 6 players left to try to tie the game.

They failed and the Kings stripped the ball loose and we were away for a big win.

Final Score: Glenbrook Kings 2 def Creeping Death 0 (Casualties 5-1)

I was now well clear and still had yet to be scored against!

At the start of the game, the Creeping Death had a menancing look....

But they were stretched too far and the Kings blitz down the left wing to take the lead in the corner....

The Hall of Shame... 3 Skeletons sent off for dirty play!
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Game 5: vs Old World (Necromantic). Coach: James (Rabid_Bogscum) Russell-Wills
An experienced coach with an excellently painted team was my opponent for Game 4 and I was now riding high and feeling a tad invincible. Rabid and I have played many times and we always had close games so I was expecting a good match, but at this stage my endzone hadn't been crossed and I was leading the casualty count after I had out bashed the Khemri last game.

Rabid had 2 werewolves (with block), 1 Flesh Golem, 2 Ghouls (1 with Sure Hands, the other block), 2 Wights with Guard and 4 zombies.

I won the toss and received and the half was very close. His frenzied were wolves kept poking into my cage of dwarves and the Flesh Golem was sucking up plenty of hits but eventually the hits began to drive home and I was able to cage the ball deep into his half.

Then a few odd things happened - he managed to break my cage and got a single dice block against the runner and stunned him.... but the bouncing ball landed in the lap of a longbeard and he managed to hang onto the ball. Then the stumpy little dwarf was off to the races and seemingly unstoppable. A werewolf made a desperate lunge and missed and then I was in the clear... or so I thought. Not wanting to give the Necros' too much time in the first half, I stalled and delayed scoring... so the werewolf dodges 3 times through multiple tackle zones, blitzes with 2 dice against him, pushes me sideways, and with a second (frenzy) block surfs the long beard into the crowd... he saves the day its nil all at the half.

Second half, I have to defend and the Necro side screams down my left wing and I am in a fair bit of trouble as several defenders are lying stunned on the turf. Then critically a werewolf dodges needlessly and fails and he has left himself vulnerable. Lots of carnage ensues and the Kings surf some Old World players into the crowd and the ball is free and a Dwarf Blitzer runs the opposite way with it.

The half peters out as the Dwarf blitzer runs unopposed 75 yards and scores. As he rumbles down field the Old World team are cleared off the field as the boot is laid in.

At the end, only the Flesh Golem remains on the field and the Kings cross the stripe for victory.

Final Score: Glenbrook Kings 1 def Old World 0 (Casualties 6-0)

Game 4 is away with the Kings receiving...

After holding out the Kings, the Old World look to start the second half by punching down the Kings left flank.

Game Over - the field is cleared... the dead and injured are all thats left....

Game 6: vs Snakes (Lizardmen) Coach: Steve (Thomsy) Thoms
Amazingly, after 5 wins from 5 games my final game was a dead rubber. I had an unassailable lead whilst 5 teams battled it out for the minor placings.

With that in mind, I was pretty relaxed against Steve who is a very good player and was running 2nd and whilst he couldnt pass me, it was still a match both wanted to win.

His side was very strong and had a Kroxigor, 6 Saurus and 5 Skinks. Because Lizardmen teams are very expensive, he could only afford a leader on one of his Saurus (Sauri?) but still, that was 7 players with high strength.

Also, of all races, I absolutely hate playing Lizardmen... I have a very poor record against them.

He won the toss and received and with that massive front line, he crushed the line of scrimmage and punched a huge hole. With the skinks that move twice as fast as my Longbeards, he was through that hole so quickly that I couldnt cover it and before I could blink, the little skinks had run it in.

My defence had been breached! :-(

I then made a huge tactical blunder for the rest of the game and one that I will remember next time I play Lizards. I formed the typical Dwarf cage and tried to roll over the top. This tactic is my pet play and why I do so well with Dwarves, but against Lizards, he had the strength to hold and and the skinks simply provided cover at the back. Slipping in for an assist here or there, but really staying out of harms way as the Sauri's and the Krox took the punishment.

My attempt to tie the game before half time failed and my second half drive also stalled and soon I was being beaten down hard.

Then, the skinks managed to crowd surf the Blitzer with the ball and the ball popped out into open territory. Those lightning fast lizards then turned defence into attack and he was away... scoring on the bell and I suffered my first defeat.

Despite it being a dead rubber, I was keen to go the clean sweep, but Steve played a great game and I learnt a thing or two about playing against Lizards... next time I will try something else.

Final Score: Glenbrook Kings 0 lost to Snakes 2 (Casualties 1-2)

Game Start... the Snakes about to crush the Kinsg... OUCH!
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The end... note the large gap between the skink scoring and the ruck... very fast!

Champions! The Kings pose at end of the tournament.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Standard of Journalism

Seriously, is this what goes about as news in the modern day.

Footballer with a girl (his girlfriend?) is in a toilet cubicle, some idiot sticks the mobile camera under the door and then sends the picture to the papers.

Said newspapers exacerbate the problem by publishing this rubbish.

What a load of crap... says alot for modern society.

Toilet tryst picture | The Daily Telegraph: "The Daily Telegraph Online"

Leviathan 2007

This weekend will be taken up with a blood bowl tournament at Quakers Hill.  If you're interested click here for more details...

I will be taking the Dwarves out for a spin again and will hopefully break my duck egg for tournament victories.  I have placed 2nd and 3rd a number of times, but just cant get over the line.  Actually I did win Leviathan last year in terms of match scores but was downgraded on the basis of sportsmanship!  Pfft!  Who gives a fuck about sportsmanship!  mmmm, maybe that's why I didn't win hey ;-)

A tourney write up will follow on Sunday or Monday... will take the camera too I guess for some Nerd Spotting.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Show

Much to Niki's chagrin, I was a bit of a cranky bastard about the Easter Show yesterday, but I am happy to report all went well and it wasn't as bad as I thought... the kids had a fantastic time and whilst my feet do hurt, I've had worse.

We arrived at 9:00am and didn't leave until 9:30pm and saw as much as we could see in all that time. The late afternoon onward was spent in the main Arena and we saw Polo, Horse Judging, Rodeo, motocross and stunt car driving and the lady being shot from a cannon.

The girls through the day got their faces painted, had rides, ate ice cream, bought furry hats, saw animals from Guinea Pigs to Hereford Bulls and we saw a Pig in labour and a lone new born piglet.

Kate trod in cow shit, wiped it off her shoe with her hand and tried to wipe it off her hand onto her leg and then totally lost it! As she screamed, we laughed... which didnt make it better particularly when I assured her with all the sincerity I could muster that it was "mostly grass".

We saw the produce and the displays and I ate a scoop of 10++ chilli without having given much thought to have water on hand.

We talked to the Blue Haven people and realised we needed a lazy $40K to get a pool...

We bought show bags with Bratz and Barbie being the pick of the bunch for the girls.

I ate my traditional Dagwood Dog put we mostly ate packed food... the place is very expensive with everything seemingly costing $4. Dagwood Dog $4, Hot Chips $4, Ice Cream Cone $4, Soft Drink $4, Fairy Floss $4.... weird.

But, as with everything, pictures tell a story... so here are some happy snaps.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter Show Day Tomorrow

I have just finished a major project today just in time to take tomorrow off and head to the Easter Show.

I am not a major fan of the show and to be honest, I think its way overpriced but the kids love it and are really excited.  So tomorrow, I will be carrying a backpack full of food & drink, a key for a locker that will contain the earlier purchased showbags (why carry around bags all day or leave it to the last minute - but 'em and stow 'em) and wearing shoes that will start out feeling comfortable but will end up feeling like bricks.

We traditionally like to get there early and we're planning to set off about 8:15am and we also traditionally like to stay for the fireworks which are on at 9pm... in between there is alot of tradition in sore feet, crowds, exhibits we want to see being on the same time and general chaos.... we're also going with Niki's family which means that we need to do things that entertain people between the ages of 6 and 76 and hence there is always this general issue of do we split up or stick together...

I guess I am probably be a bit of a naysayer and it is to be fair a whole heap better than work, so I shouldn't be too harsh on the Easter Show, so as long as it doesn't rain, we'll be fine.

Pics and a post mortem to come.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Iraq Coalition Casualties

Want o know how many people have died or have been wounded in Iraq?

Click here to get an appreciation of the totals...

I guess we can all put Australia's contribution into perspective too. With our 2 deaths we have only beaten Hungary and Kazakhstan in terms of blood shed and are equal with such military powers such as Estonia, Netherlands, Romania and Thailand.

Now that you know this... now work out WHY John Howard continues to propel us on the world stage as Public Enemy #3 behind the US and the UK...

Makes you wonder right?

Vote Labor.

Easter Lazy Weekend

Back from four days off for Easter and I have to say, I have had a great weekend of doing sweet FA.  Ran the lawn mower over the grass and a bit of weeding Monday morning was probably the most exerting thing over the 4 days and given the amount of chocolate consumed, I am glad I didn't have a coronary or something.

The kids loved their hastily bought Easter eggs (see below) and they too had a great weekend playing and being with the other kids in the street.  Without having to go out and about it was really peaceful.

Niki though seemed to relish the quiet by doing housework and whilst she wasn't rushing and getting stressed about it she washed, cleaned, vacuumed and dusted like a demon.  She seemed happy with doing that though now the house looks a treat.

Other things we did included going for a drive into the city and having brunch in East Sydney.  Nothing like a cafĂ© brunch on a cool rain swept morning – makes the eggs taste all the better I reckon.  We also saw Meet the Robinsons in 3D on Saturday night and the girls liked it and the fashionable 3D glasses they got as a result.  We ate out too before the movie at the Noodle Bar (Stir Crazy) next to the movies.

Other than that, it was quiet and we all slept in and lazed about.  All good except coming back to work was a real shock today!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Great Easter Egg Hunt

The house is quiet... its a bit past midnight and I am about to go to bed but not before "the Easter Bunny comes"... I will lay out the eggs, tip half a glass of milk down the sink (I like milk, but its been sitting there for a few hours) and gnaw on a carrot or two using just my two front teeth...

Normal scene yes on an Easter Saturday... but not at 9:35pm tonight...

We had just gotten home from seeing Meet The Robinsons in 3D (not the best 'kids' movie, but a good movie overall) and the kids were asleep in their beds.  Then Niki cries out and she's very upset as she had just taken all the easter eggs down and dropped them and smashed the two big bunnies and the Smartie Eggs she had gotten for them...

No Easter eggs... 9:35pm... what to do.

With Niki upset about the whole thing, I jump in the car and race down the mountains to a Woolworths Petrol Station at Emu Plains.  Get there 9:45pm.  The only eggs are some lame Kinda Surprise rubbish and dodgy little solid eggs.  I ask the lady is that all she has and she says yes, but that Woolworths up the road is open until 10pm.  The Supermarket open until 10pm on Easter??!!

Race in the care and yes it appears open.  Go to enter the mall and the door is locked and I have to run around the other side of the mall... apparently security think its good to leave one door open and one closed.

Race through the mall and the shutters are coming down.  Run through the open checkout and into the aisles.  Place is full of night fill staff.  Easter eggs... where are they?  I am directed to the front corner of the shop and it looks like a bomb site.  There are broken eggs on the floor and the stock looks depleted.  I scrounge through and get a Lindt chocolate bunny (white for Kate, no milk, so dark for Brooke).  They're only small and the bunny's that were broken were the big ones... so I grab the last two Crunchie Bunnies and two cartons of eggs for good measure.

Easter is saved!  I am asked by an attendant to move to the checkout as they're closing.  I am the last customer served... lucky the eggs at home hadnt been broken 5 mins later!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Anglo's Rape Women Too

5 boys of 17yrs of age have been charged with raping a girl when she was drunk after they had filmed the rape on their mobile phone...

Can I ask a question... why weren't these boys identified as "being of Anglo-Saxon or Caucasian appearance"?  Whilst I am not of Middle Eastern Appearance (see my piccy on the right of screen), I can now see this as justifiable evidence that the Australian media seem to use poetic license and labelling of people when it suits to sensationalise a story (not that this story needs sensationalising).

Rapists are rapists and they should be described via age and gender alone and not by racial stereotype.

I just wanted to point this out to people as a clear and present example of how the media emphasise certain things.  If this latest crime was perpetrated by Middle Eastern men, do you not think that all the Sheikh Hilally comments and the issue of immigration would be brought up again?  I'll bet you a week's worth of Daily Telegraphs it would and I will bet you a month of Sun Heralds that the fact that these boys are from first fleeter stock wont have us calling for all English migrants to be sent back to the Old Dart.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Short Weeks - Easter Break.

4 day week this week, 4 day week the next which will include another day off on the Thursday to go to the Easter Show and then a short stint to Anzac Day...

What will I be doing this Easter break?  Absolutely nothing!

Other than the girls catching up with grandparents on Sunday and Monday night, we're having a "family weekend" in which we're going to take the girls out for dinner and a movie.  Will probably go see "Meet the Robinsons" and have dinner at a noodle bar that has a movie / dinner deal.  We'll also go on a long put off bush walk.  We'll take the dog and some snacks and a rug and we'll head into the bush weather permitting.  Wouldnt mind taking the girls to the old highway bridge that isnt used anymore... its about 40m high over the gorge and is actually quite impressive, particularly when you're under the bridge.

Need to clean up the yard a bit too, but wont work too hard on that - and am going to try and kill all the ants making a living under our pavers.  Have some of that "Ant Sand" that I will sweep into the gaps between pavers.

Looking forward to not driving much, not rushing around, not shopping and not being pressured to being somewhere by a certain time to ensure that we can do something else by a certain time later in the day (eg, swimming to get to cricket to get home to get dressed to go out - which has been waay to common lately).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Interest Rates...

Am in the process of refinancing the mortgage after becoming disillusioned with Westpac... Never have I seen such grubby fee grabbing tactics that has eroded what I had envisaged as a good relationship over the 11 years I have been with them.

The TV advertisement showing how the niceties of the bank are ripped away as soon as the mortgage contract is signed has never really felt so true as my most recent escapades with Westpac.  I wont go into the specifics but I went from an account set up that was 100% fee free to perhaps having a structure that was cost me over $1000 per annum in fees alone and any dispute / change / transaction that I was involved with invariably resulted in a further fee or charge.

I am signing up with Suncorp Metway, a firm I have no particular association with in the past, but based on a mortgage broker's recommendation it seems to good to be true when compared with my current Westpac arrangements.  But what I really like about Suncorp is that they are not one of the 4 major banks and I think this will in turn be a good thing as Suncorp clearly have other income streams and hence can balance themselves when it comes to making a profit.

I am not against profit and I hardly want to put my investments and savings into a firm that is going backwards, but blatant price gouging has to stop... and this article this morning is clear that banks are simply doing just that.  Raising interest rates before the RBA actually announces a rate rise is horrendous when looked at in comparison to the profits they make.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Howard Meddles In Hicks Sentence

Surely not!  Johnny Howard getting a "MEDIA GAG" as part of the sentence issued to David Hicks?

They also seem to have known his fate BEFORE Hicks did himself!

Since when do convicted criminals (now that he has been tried (and I use that term loosely)  and convicted he is a convicted criminal) get media clauses issued as part of your sentence?

So he gets 9 months sentence but cant speak to the media for 12 months?  Odd... I always thought that when you get sent to jail for period "x" and you serve that period at Her Majesty's Pleasure then afterwards you are a FREE MAN?

Not so apparently... apparently American courts can impose a further 3 month period of denying an Australian citizen his full rights and privileges for a further period when he is then living as an Australian citizen in Australia...

mmmm.... but at least our government had nothing to do with it.... nothing at all.... mmmmm

Story here:  Link

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Weekend of Firsts

Very busy weekend for the girls...

Firstly, Kate made her Netball debut for the Blaxland Redbacks Under 8's in an intra-club trial where they played the other three under 8 teams.

Given that the 3 other teams played last year and Kate's team (the Sparkles) are all rookies, we thought they'd get slaughtered... well not that it matters in U/8's Netball, that's just me being competitive.

For the record, they lost 1-2, won 1-0 and lost 0-3... she had a go at Goal Shooter in game 2 and it was her intercept that set up their goal, but prior to that she had a shot of her own...

She enjoyed it heaps and she played really well, particularly in game 3 where she played Goal Defence and worked her backside off chasing around a much more skillful team...

Then today, the girls had their dance scholarship competition. We were very proud of the girls. Firstly Brooke had only been doing competitive ballet this year and was clearly a very young competitor but held her own and did really well... we were very proud of her.

Kate however, did really well and came runner-up in a very close decision. She got herself a trophy for her performance and was rapt.

I managed to tape both main dances for the girls, but the video quality is crap on account of I am using my Sony Cybershot and the stage lighting played havoc. Plus the red leotards are a bit lairy as well :)