I had been there before, but really for just the day for work... this trip I spent the best part of 3 days there and because of the nature of the work I was therefore, spent most of that time out in the suburbs at a place called Mawson Lakes.
After spending the time there, I got the real feeling that the place was still hanging on to the 1970's. I saw so many long haired / long moustached guys in flannellette shirts and tight jeans that I thought I was in some sort of old Clint Eastwood movie. The place was dusty, cars were old / dusty (I know we're in drought, but more so than Sydney) and the place was full of hoons running up and down the street. The number of cars running around without mufflers was amazing.
The cabbies were also a rare breed. One of my colleagues is Vietnamese and the first cabbie we got made mention that he too was Chinese. The problem was he looked Greek to me... he kept chatting in some form of asian language, but we all agreed he was jibbering nonsence and was a bit mentally unstable.
Then that brought us to the fact that Adelaide is the murder capital of Australia and that stories of Snow Town came up... at one point Snow Town was mentioned in a cab and the cabbie hit the brakes and said "dont mention that out the front of the church"... and yes, we were driving past a church at the time.
Having said all that the Hotel was great (the Rooftop Majestic on the corner of Rundle and Frome) and we had some good food between all the meetings. In particular we had dinner at The Manse, which was very nice. Not normally a fan of French cuisine, but it was good...
Am in Adelaide for work... a quick post before I head out to dinner, just letting you know Dear Reader that your favourite blog is still around...
Would like to post from my work BlackBerry but all the posts come through we work disclaimers on them. I'd also like to learn how to post pics from the BlackBerry... will look up the Blogger Moblog feature at some stage.
But enough of that, its off to dinner at some swanky Adelaide restaurant - i think its French...
Off to Adelaide tonight for work and will not be back until Wednesday night... I am really enjoying the new job but I better start getting used to the travel bit as there will be a fair bit of it. The reason for this is that the company's global head office is in Sydney but they have absolutely NO work in NSW. They have facilities in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland and Suva. And they have small start up companies in the UK, US and the like plus they have close contractual relations with Spanish, German and French companies, but they have nothing in Sydney other than the corporate office.
Therefore, travel is a way of life when you work for this company... but the role is very good.
The weekend was a quiet one... Netball season was over so no early start, but the girls had a dance to do each at the Penrith Show. They were on stage at 3:45pm but we got there around 2:30 and stayed until 6pm... the girls danced really well (they have NO stage fright) and then they went on rides etc. Niki doesnt do rides so I got to go on with the girls on the big Ferris Wheel and the Rocking Tug Boat. Kate loves the dodgems as well so we did that... she loved it.
Yesterday, no plans, but went to the shops after lunch and got the girls new school shoes - they were both growing through their current ones - and also bought a few knick knacks. Friends of ours gave us an espresso machine that they had for years and used twice and I bought a milk frother and a new stainless steel milk jug as well to use. The coffee i made last night tasted crap though, but I put it down to the skim milk... yes Niki, it does taste differently!! ;-)
We also saw the Simpsons Movie and I tell you I have never laughed so hard at a kids movie. I had tears streaming down my face. The "Bart Skateboarding Nude" scene and the "Spider Pig" scene were both hilarious! Like the TV show, there was the slapstick for the kids, but also the subtle adult humour as well... it really is a great concept the Simpsons. It has lasted years hasnt it!
But last night, it was packing the bags again and I drove into the office this morning on the M4, M7, M2, Lane Cove Tunnel... about $15 in tolls I think! The tag beeps and you just dont care anymore do you...
My favourite game, Dungeons & Dragons has just re-released its core rules to move into 4th Edition.
This of course after I just outlayed $80 for the 3.5 edition (a major update to the 3rd Ed books) about 2 months ago.
Early views are that the game can now be played online by subscription utilising special applications via the Net but also the rules have been really shifted.
My perusing of the various D&D messageboards is that people are annoyed / worried about the rule changes and the focus on technology, and others are really excited... I think that there are more people in the former category than the latter.
If you're a D&D player, what are your thoughts? I am a bit bemused at the moment...
Am back in the office today and will be heading to Adelaide Monday night for work Tues / Wed and then Canberra for the day on Friday...
All very busy!
Got home last night at a reasonable time after I was able to wrap up my Melbourne work and get on the 5pm plane back... but not before I had to endure probably the worst case of BO in my life. The cab driver that picked me up from Williamstown to take me to the airport was the stinkiest man ever. I was in the front and my two colleagues in the back as we crawled through afternoon traffic for 40mins or so with the windows down.
When we nearly got on the freeway, the turban headed cabbie started to wind up all the windows but we insisted he leave them down. He couldnt understand why we in suits wanted the windows down as we got up to about 100km/hr on the freeway but the alternative was horrendous to comprehend.
Even when waiting for the plane, we all could still taste / smell the odour and we started wondering like that old episode of Seinfeld whether the smell would ever come out.
It wasnt a food smell, it was pure and simple body odour of the highest degree.
Apologies to the lack of posts, am on the road for work at the moment and its been pretty hectic... hence my sitting down at 6:30am to write this :-)
One thing that I have been itching to write about is Kevin Rudd's Strip Club visit... I cannot believe the big deal this has created, but I'd like to analyse this thing and the timing of it.
Firstly, this has been leaked to the media from the Liberal side of the fence. It is fairly common knowledge that it is from Alexander Downer (Aust's Foreign Minister) was the source and it's obvious that he would be the most likely source given his duties as Foreign Minister. Never mind his penchant for wearing stockings himself....
Timing of this issue is also classic Liberal election based profiteering. 2004 this strip club incident occurred... yet it doesnt air until the eve of Kevin Rudd's first election when he is ahead on the polls... mmm, uncanny.
Then there is the whole moral Christian right attitude that this has built into it on how going to a strip club is so unsavoury and that a man who goes to strip clubs is unfit to lead the country... what bull shit. I would say a) every man at some time in his life has been to a strip club and b) it wasnt a sleazy live sex on stage style club with peep shows etc but it was one of these classier "look but dont touch as I rip you off with high drink prices" places - think Mens Gallery in Sydney. This kow-towing to the Christian morals viewpoint is again another example of the fact that we've gone a long way down the road of US style politics since Howard has been PM. And besides, remember when Malcolm Fraser lost his pants in Memphis? That wasnt the end of the world was it!
But the thing that bugs me is the focus on the sleazy aspect of a strip club... what about the fact he was getting pissed on tax payers dollars?? What about the focus on that? That is probably worse that these clubs cost so much and he's getting a free ride...
But if we did that though, that would spoil the rort for all the pollies wouldnt it...
OK, girl gets drunk at party with work colleagues (not a work party though) and has a three some with 2 guys and gets the sack because of it.
Now, her picture is splashed in the news paper and Carlie Streeter is given the moniker "Telstra's Party Girl". (See story here)
Where do the media get off putting her name in the paper for 2-3 days and then posting a picture of her?
Will she ever get over this? Its not like she's the first person to ever do what she has done...
Where is the ethics in the media these days? Her photo is on Page 1 and Page 3 of the Telecrap and its all getting coverage not because of the legality of what her company did, but rather the titillation of the basis of the story.
Where does the Privacy Act and come into all this?
Whilst I wont be there myself, there is the first Blood Bowl World Cup taking place in the UK in October and I thought I would give a bit of a positive plug to "Team Oz" who are travelling over for the big event.
276 individual coaches in teams of 6 each representing either their entire countries (such as our guys) or some other location (lots of Continental Euro's and Americans and of course lots of English) are gathering for perhaps the biggest BB tournament ever.
Best of luck to the Aussie boys who are aptly Coaches 001 to 006 on the registration list.
Included in that list is Steve "thomsy" Thoms who plays in my league as well... do us proud!
Also, for those interested, there are Team Oz rugby shirts available... contact Babs on your local BB forum (AusBowl, EucBowl, NAF etc etc).
I cannot believe this article gets a run in the main stream press.
Pauline Hanson saying we should stop Muslim immigration and says "thar she will targeting Muslims in her campaign". What the fuck is going o when this clap trap gets national press coverage? Reverse it. Say a Muslim man gets up and wanted to run for office on the basis of targetting Christians?
You cannot tell Muslims to be accepting of "Australian Values" and crucify (pun intended) them for standing by their beliefs when in return we get bigots like Pauline Hanson spruiking from the roof tops racial and religion based hatred.
It is only at election time that she gets a stage and that is only because the Howard Government has tolerated her because a) she takes a small number of votes off Labor and b) he has a preference deal to get her subsequent votes. Essentially he is using racially driven agenda's to take a small amount of cheap votes.
If you want Muslims to be tolerant, then we need to hit back hard and denounce people like Pauline Hanson and stop giving her a vehicle for her vile views.
Wow... I must be busy... its Wednesday and I haven't had a chance to do a post in a while... I have so many things spinning in my head at the moment, that its hard to know what to focus on.
Work is going good... I am extremely busy however and am already making plans to add staff to my humble department here at the office. Without going into detail about work, it appears that I have replaced a person who used to have 3 staff but that slowly dwindled to just himself and he too left. It wasnt the reason he left, it was all just bad timing... So whilst they have recruited his replacement ( i.e. me) they have made no attempts to recruit his other staff... so, I am in a great position to propose a restructure / re-hire of certain roles.
Unfortunately though it will take time and I will have to put all this on the backburner until possible 2008.
On the home front, I managed to get Kate's iPod working and am extremely happy that I was able to perserve and solve it. Sure it took 4 nights of me cursing and Niki calling me "obsessive" but the truth is I have never really encountered such a problem on a computer before and I refused to let it beat me. The answer - for those who have been following my angst in the forum - is that the front USB port doesnt seem to like direct connections to USB Drives (which an iPod essentially is). I encountered this before with my PSP and use my PSP via the Sony SanDisk port but for the iPod its the USB or nothing...
I didnt fix the issue, but I worked around it and connected a USB Hub to the main port and the iPod to the Hub... now works perfectly, but I have no idea why it wont work directly. I also dont believe the USB Port is a 2.0 USB connection either... not sure why it isnt as the box is only 8 months old.
You can see why Niki thinks I am being obsessive...
If anyone has any ideas on why this workaround works (i.e. sticking a USB Hub in as an intermediary device) please let me know... all I know is that it works.
Started on Friday night in which Niki and I went with friends Steve & Kate to see The Cure at the Entertainment Centre. I hadnt been to the EntCent for so long given most things in Sydney happen at Homebush, but I tell you what - what a fantastic concert!
Robert Smith and co played for a staggering 3 1/2 hours and 100% of it was their old songs... nothing from the most recent albums and some very old songs dug up from years ago such as "Shiver & Shake". Really good concert and much better than when they came out in around 2000. We had B Reserve seats, which were right in the front and centre of the elevation above the floor and because we were right behind the mixing desks, we had perfect sound. I have to say I was most impressed and Niki enjoyed it as well except a) they didnt play Love Cats and b) some of the grungier stuff from the Pornography album and the like didnt really sit with her. However, the massive guitar song Kiss Me was a massive hit for me!
After dropping off Kate & Steve and checking out their new place in Dulwich Hill (which is very nice! Well done guys!) and getting the kids from Penrith at Niki's sisters and picking up the car at Penrith station, we got in around 2am... we are definately not as young as we think because when the alarm went off at 7:30am for Netball, Niki and I both struggled.
Netball was great though... I really enjoy watching Kate play and she was the star this weekend by breaking a 0-0 scoreline in the 3rd quarter when she scored a very nice goal. The Sparkles went on to win 2-0 and only have one game to go before the seasons end.
Saturday afternoon, I played my Blood Bowl leagues Grand Final with my Elf team taking on Pete "Tribalsinner" Arentsen and his Dark Elves. In a classic game of elf-ball, the score was 2-2 at full time, but I lost in overtime 5-3. A staggering 4 touchdowns scored in OT... unfortunately 3 by Pete and despite being minor premiers, we went down. Great game though and hopefully the turn around for Season 2 wont be far away.
Literally as the Blood Bowlers left my place, Mum & Dad showed up after their 6 week overseas trip... we had dinner at the local Indian place and they gave the girls a souvenier from NYC and Kate's belated Birthday present. Which were some Nintendo DS games and an iPod Nano. Kate was absolutely wrapped and spent the rest of the weekend glued to the Nintendo!
The iPod has proved problematic however, and I was up until 2am Sat night trying to get it to work and by 11pm last night I got the music onto the iPod however it will only play 2 of the 11 songs that I have on it. The problem i think is the iTunes software not the iPod itself but I think I may have worked out what is the issue... I actually woke up at 3am this morning realising that the music I am copying from the CD is about 470MB for 11 songs... i realise that the music needs to be "ripped" into MP3 and should only be 10% of that size. No wonder I have been getting Disk Errors when trying... I will revisit that tonight. You would think iTunes would convert it into the compressed MP3 size wouldnt you???
Sunday we went up the mountains to Katoomba to ScenicWorld. They had advertised it to be "Snow Day" with lots of fake snow and snow ball fights etc. Well, if you remember the D Generation and "Piss Weak World" you will know what I mean. The "snow" was a fake blow up snow man surrounded by crushed ice on the ashphalt carpark and given it was 22 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, that was simply melting away. The advertised "blizzard" was a series of bubble machines blowing detergent into the wind and the "snow pit" was a white polymer soaked in water in which the kids could play in. The white polymer had the same consistency as snow however it wasnt cold and the girl manning the entry point said proudly "its the same stuff they put in nappies to soak up moisture"... choice!
We did the ScenicSender and the ScenicRailway though and the kids had a good time. We did ride on a double decker bus around the mountains to look at the sights and it was a good day out overall, but seriously, the Snow Day was pretty lame!
Tired after all that, still annoyed at the iPod but back at work :)
The government as some sort of election promise has pledged to spend $190M on providing parents with the tools to filter the online content that their children are exposed to. One Hundred And Ninety Million Dollars. That is a lot of money for something that will not work.
Parents of Australia. The Internet does contain many nasties. It contains pornography and violence. But those items are available on TV, Videos, DVD's and in Music.
You have the tools already to manage this already. These tools are called "Your Parental Supervision". Set your net access PC that your kids will use in the open room. Use your relationship with your children (yes, I mean TALK to them) about the internet. About what is there, what could be there, what they can and cannot do and if you dont know, educate yourself first before you allow them onto the net.
For my readers who are parents would you:
a) allow them to surf the net alone in their bedroom?
b) allow them to us MS Chat?
c) allow them to have a MySpace or a Facebook page?
d) allow them to have access to BitTorrent technology?
If you don't know the answer to these questions then you need to find out and you need to educate yourself before you allow your children onto the net. It is that simple. Be aware of what is safe and what is not. Be mindful of your own childs emotional maturity and allow them to slowly expand their internet interaction accordingly.
Do not leave it to the Government to protect your children... it will not work.
Rate rises. The very thing that has kept John Howard in office for the past thousand years is now coming back to bite him. He has said time and time again that Interest Rates will not rise under a Coalition government. Largely rates have been in check and he has ridden on the wave of good economic management but he forgets to mention the failure of wages to rise with inflation and hence the ever growing addiction we Australian's have to credit.
Home loans are now strething out beyond 30 years and are in some cases becoming inter-generational - where you borrow a stack of cash that your children will pay off for you when you're in the old folks home. Its disgusting that we live this affluent life style on the back of low (suppressed?) interest rates and have kept Howard in the chair long enough to permanently destroy the reputation of our nation internationally. We are no longer a "lucky country" universally accepted around the globe but now as a Western Nation with xenophobic views and a reliance on the US that causes us to seen in a bad light throughout Asia and the Middle East.
Now rates are set to rise multiple times by years end and what does Howard say.... "At least its not as bad as it was under Keating!" Well Johnny, Keating was PM some 10-15 years ago... why dont we go back and compare Australia to the Menzies era's? Or how are we doing in comparison to when Chifley and Barton were PM's of this Nation? Why dont we compare Australia's situation to when we were scared of "the Hun" or when we were worried about "US Sailors romancing our good women folk in the 40's"?
For fuck sake, stop using the Keating era as a crutch.... It was hardly a time of desolation. I remember those days that Australia was actually a good place to be... sure interest rates may have been higher, but I recall my parents buying the family home for $88K. What does $88K get you these days? Three bricks on a pedastal in a back laneway in Mosman...
My life is still a bit chaotic at the moment... am feeling a bit like my wheels are spinning from the new surroundings and my new boss used the analogy "try not to drink from a fire hose". That's rather apt given that my role at the moment looks like a dogs breakfast and I am struggling to work out everything at once such as the next major project and dealing with my external brokers all the way down to where is the stationary cupboard.
The new role is fantastic in that I am keen to get stuck in but at the same time, I am being hampered by not knowing anything! Its a very weird feeling...
The people are very nice but I am yet to invade the social scene... had lunch on my own again as everyone around me drifted away without me knowing... I tend to eat lunch later than others around here. I am a 1pm eater, but when I looked out of my workstation at 12:30, everyone had gone. They all have drifted back in seperately, so its not like everyone is leaving me behind, but at the same time I need to ask my colleagues "hey, what's doing for lunch!".
Having said that tomorrow, I have a meeting in town tomorrow that will take me through lunch, and I have lunch with a uni mate on Thursday lined up, so I will put that idea on hold.
The new Blackberry is making itself at home in my pocket as well... slowly getting people into my address book as the emails fly around cyberspace. The BlackBerry picks up all the contact details from incoming emails and stores them in my Outlook contacts... very nifty!
As for work, I have my first series of site visits around Australia later this month. Will be heading to Melbourne, Adelaide and possibly Perth. This will be followed by the late September / early October trip to Singapore & London. I am going to busy travelling it seems, so that will add to the excitement / chaos as well!
I am posting from my new digs at the new workplace... the morning was spent getting over the usual new starter things. The laptop assigned to me wasnt set up properly, didnt even have MS Office installed and I am still as at 1:45pm trying to get into the network drive. Add in the access pass, finding the bathrooms, trying to remember names etc and I am in a bit of brain overload at the moment.
The work itself is not unusual and I havent seen anything out of the ordinary... but the hardest thing is getting the jargon and understanding all the new TLA's (Three Letter Acronyms). I also forgot my glasses as well and am suffering a bit of eyestrain as my monitor is very close to my eyes - much more so than I was used to.
The people are all very nice and have been shown around and met the Chairman of the company as well... I'd like to say more about the work I do and the company, but I am very sure not to let on who I work for because I'd hate to have someone link my blog with my work life... I am sure you understand :)
The one thing I can say though is that I have moved from Sydney to North Sydney. Went out at lunchtime and had a quick explore... I feel a bit like I am working in suburbia in comparison to being in town, but it still has alot of shops and everything is actually closer to hand than where I was previously. North Sydney has an abundance of coffee shops, so I am sure to try them all out eventually! Of course everyone I have met already has their own personal preference and they are all different... the one in the lobby of my building though was quite nice but not many people seem keen on it... mmm
The other new thing I have received this morning is a Blackberry phone.... I wonder how things will go with that? I have heard horror stories about people being addicted to them, but I am keen to see how it goes... but now at least I *could* blog from it on the train and maybe even take photo's and blog about things I see... maybe it will be a whole new feature coming to Lime Kettles!