Thursday, May 29, 2008

World of Warcraft Addiction

This article is me... I am a gamer, grew up with games, am into fantasy genre games, books etc and am probably a bit obsessive compulsive with my gaming.

I have never played WoW and I doubt that I ever will. Why? Because I know I would get sucked in. I play a variety of games at any one time both online and on table top, but I am not a real big computer gamer. I have a PSP yes and I have played some PC games, but that whole me vs an AI model that lacks real tactical nous generally kills off my PC gaming interests. i.e. when I realise a game is "easy" or it is difficult and I master it, I turn off.

But table top gaming and web based gaming versus real people is my thing. Graphically they aren't the best. Some games I play via email. But what makes me obsessive is playing against Human Intelligence not AI. I lose. Alot. But that's what makes it a good mental challenge.

Now WoW falls into both camps. It has the graphical interface that makes PC gaming attractive. It is a very aesthetically enjoyable game. It is also about people vs people. People join Guilds, become friends and adventure together. "Never let the Guild (team) down" is the motto, and I would be a sucker for that.

If I was to play WoW, I am sure I would become addicted and end up as one of the stereotypical zombified PC gazers and the rest of my life would be secondary priority. Scary stuff and a thing that I have seen happen to others.

Any WoW addicts out there?

The Girls Have Landed

Got a text and then a call at 12:45am this morning... the girls had made it to KL and were in their hotel room. It was nearly 11pm their time and they were tired, but all very excited. Niki had me on speaker phone and between all the squeeling and cheering, I learnt that their hotel room was very lush, they had a view of the Petronas Towers and that there was a mini-bar with chocolates! Yes, I think Kate & Brooke will need to be taught the lesson of how expensive mini-bar chocolates are! lol.

They have a free day today with a 10am dance meeting and then a city tour. The performances start tomorrow.

The flight itself was no drama, the girls had a great time and the inflight entertainment system was great apparently and apparently each seat had a telephone in which you could call other passengers... mmm, I can imagine the racket that 30 girls can make on a plane when they each have a telephone! I hope the other passengers enjoyed their travelling experience! ;-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And they're off!

I am back at work this morning after dropping Niki and the girls to the airport. They were very nervous... Kate was complaining of stomach cramps (nerves?) and Brooke was trying to count the butterflies in her tummy.

Niki was anxious as well but is now starting to get excited as opposed to stressed.

To all the callers and texters to Niki this morning, many thanks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Recycling Gone Mad!

My company moves out of our office on the long weekend and we're busy packing boxes etc. However this morning, I finished my coffee and toast at my desk and went to put my rubbish (a foam cup, a brown paper bag) into my bin.

Bin is gone. Replaced with a Visy cardboard box for "paper only". OK... where do I put my coffee cup? Asked the admin lady, who points me to the kitchen across the floor. In the kitchen is a red bin (Visy logo on top) that says "Plastic Recycling". I have a brown paper bag and a styrofoam (enviro friendly apparently) cup?

I throw them in the little non-descript bin beside the recycling bin. Turns out the entire company is confined to a 1 foot tall plastic bin for non-recyclable material.

Seems odd... I have always put my paper waste in my shredder box and it gets shredded and recycled... why do I now have a separate box under my desk copying what I did before with a shredder box.

The normal waste bin was already full at 10am this morning.

And then we move out anyways!

Monday, May 26, 2008

If I have to wear a collared shirt...

then so does "he"!

Weekend - Pain In The Neck

From Saturday arvo onwards, I felt pretty crappy with some sort of flu in which I had a massive headache and stiff neck etc. Spent the whole weekend laying low and taking it easy... which was a shame.

It was so awful last night I actually went to bed at 7pm! Before the kids!!

And of course, I woke up at 2am this morning wide awake... so I got up and watched the cricket from the West Indies and tried to go back to sleep at around 4am. Took some Panadol this morning however and am at work and appear to be feeling a bit better.

The other painful thing was that the AusBowl website experienced a cyber attack by one of the ex-admins (well he accidentally had access) and he deleted all the content in the Forums. At least its being restored from back up.

Daniel Marinas, you're a little shit...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekend... Excited Girls!

Weekend... Excited Girls!

The girls are excited it’s the last weekend at home before the girls fly to Malaysia for their dance trip.  Its been a long time in the planning and we scraped the money together but theyre now down to just packing.

Kate and Brooke were counting down the days this morning and theyre doing the important things like picking which Nintendo games they want to take etc etc.  They both admitted to me this morning that theyre a little bit nervous about going to another country but theyre very keen.

Expect a lot of photos when they come back on Wednesday week Lime Kettles will probably get a work out on the Blogger photo server. lol.

For myself, I will be heading to Brisbane with my mate Noyz for a bit of a boys weekend.  Were planning a BBQ at my mates Gools place on the Saturday to meet his girlfriend and their new baby girl for the first time and the Saturday night will be a bigun.  Sunday will be recuperating and a quiet arvo in a bar (probably the Caxton Hotel) before going into the soccer to see Australia vs Iraq.  Depending on the result it could be a bit of a party atmosphere in BrisVegas Sunday night too

But thats all NEXT weekend this weekend will be quiet and helping the girls get ready for their trip.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

State of Origin Wrap

What a game!  Had an excellent night last night with my cricket team mates as we watched NSW beat QLD 18-10.  I am sure the sporting media provides more insightful analysis than I do, but my main concern was that whilst we won, our front rowers didn’t seem to have a major impact Brett White & Ben Cross?  From where we were sitting (40 rows back behind the goal posts!) it seemed that our props were ineffective and that Fitzgibbon was doing better than White off the start.  Mason also seemed to have a quiet game as well.

The backs though for NSW were excellent and Gasnier really is a class act He left his opposite number for dead a number of times and I just hope that he remains in the NRL.  The new half back Wallace played well and I think hes a player for the long haul.  Gidley too me is too small and erratic, Finch is too slow and Pearce is potentially good, but Wallace got his shot and took it with both hands and now has incumbent rights.  Well played!

As for us, we had a great night met at the Royal Oak at Lidcombe from 5pm.  Drank way too many beers too quickly, bought up pizzas at the bistro which went very quickly and took the Olympic Sprint in to the stadium.  Odd thing was though that beer could only be served at the stadium at a maximum of 2 per customer so the 4 man shout rotation took a battering and we didn’t drink as much during the game itself.

On the way home, it was planes, trains and automobiles as we trained it to Lidcombe on the Sprint, a train to Blacktown (which terminated) then another train to Penrith (which also terminated), then a cab to Emu Plains then my mate Stuey who lives at Faulconbridge gave me a lift to Glenbrook. Long trip home!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Sicko Free

Again, another story of child abuse and the man found guilty is allowed to go free because he spent "2 and a half years of custody in remand, and he plead guilty". Link

What the fuck is going on with society today? His daughter is clearly psychologically scarred and yet he gets to go off and work as a truckie on the back roads of Queensland... yeah I am sure he'll do alot of good deeds there too!

Someone needs to step in and get tougher on judicial sentencing.

Origin Night! Go NSW!

Tonight I am off to the State of Origin game at Homebush (I refuse to call it ANZ Stadium, which was the home of the Brisbane Broncos when I was a kid in, of all places, Brisbane…) and I am looking forward to it. This is the “end of season” reward for my cricket team in which all year we scrapped cash together from ducks, dropped catches and the like and despite winning the comp, we secure enough cash to buy 14 tickets!!. Says a lot about the standard of our comp hey! But anyway, I’ll be at the game with the cricket boys and will be having a great night.

But the point of this post is the whingeing that is once again in the press about how Homebush cannot be sold out for an Origin game. Can I point out one thing. That stadium holds 85,000 people. That's alot of people for a game that will be on again in a few weeks when Sydney hosts Game 3. The stadium was purpose built for one event - the Sydney 2000 Olympics. At that time it held 110,000 people and was stripped back to its 85,000 capacity.

Also, because it was built for the Olympics, it was built with a running track and hence the grandstands are a fair distance from the sideline. It is not a rugby league (or any football code) stadium. The seats slope back gradually, the surface is too large and in general, the atmosphere, when full is not as good as a packed Sydney Football Stadium.

Add to the usual gripes about mid-week, cold weather, price of food and beer and generally people would prefer to watch the game on TV.

Then there is the counter argument from Brisbane that they should host more games and other important games like Test Matches and god forbid the Grand Final because they will always sell out SunCorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Yes, of course they will sell it out because it holds 65,000 instead of 85,000 (the predicted crowd tonight is expected to be 60,000) but the key thing is that SunCorp is perhaps the best "football" ground in Australia. It pains me to say it, but after being at a full SunCorp for a Rugby World Cup, the ground is fantastic for spectators.

So, whilst the QLDers can boast this, it should not detract from NSW people's efforts in which they have to front up twice instead of once, in a bad stadium and they will still get as many as SunCorp holds tonight. NSW patrons deserve better and/or understanding that they have been dudded by building a state of the art athletics stadium for what was effectively 2 weeks of competition in 2000 and are now trying to pass it off as a state of the art venue for League in 2008.

I'm sorry, but bring the Origin back to the SFS!

NSW by 8.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back in the office...

After yesterdays car troubles, which if you see the comments below looks like costing me $2.5K, I am back in the office...

Work is a bit of a drag at the moment... the company is still lurching to sell half of it off, we're all being asked to continually flog the proverbial dead horse and to be honest, alot of us (me included) have nearly finished what is required. However, there is a big hold up in doing the deal because of regulatory constraints so now we're in the position of not having much to do and waiting.

So morale in the place is a bit down. Funny thing is though is that the powers that be here were moving the company into new premises and have suddenly realised that they have more people than they should (because many were supposed to be redundant by now) and they have to squeeze everyone in!

I have been told to pack my files etc, archive nearly everything and come across to sit in a pokey desk with not much more than my laptop. The story is the same for everyone.

So, we have to work in a stagnant company, wondering if we'll be shot (and some / most of us will be) and then have to squeeze into a new building and keep going in cramped conditions.

Needless to say, people are looking else where and many people are ducking out for "meetings" in their best suits...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Child Porn In Qantas Lounge

This is sick and incredibly audacious! What sort of people are out there. I was actually in the Qantas lounge in Melbourne last week and those PC's are very public and you just have to ask yourself what the fuck?!

And the whole "he was stressed" and "confused" excuses come out again... can we just throw this guy in the slammer already and not listen to the bleeding heart story.

Child Porn = disgusting act punishable by castration and life in jail.

Qantas passenger viewed child porn in airport lounge - News - Travel: "Kate Hagan
May 19, 2008 - 9:46AM

Bah! Car troubles!!

Leaving the train station to drive home the other night, my little Barina had lost all engine grunt, was bunny hopping in 2nd gear and I dont think 3rd gear was working at all.

Took it down this morning to an automatic transmission repair place, but after a test drive they said it wasn't the gear box but an engine issue - and a pretty major one at that!

Given I was at Penrith at this stage (the drive down was a joy!) there was no way I would be able to get back up the Mountain, and the mechanic recommended I take it straight to the Holden dealer and their service team.

Turning up at a major dealership without an appointment was also a joy... they said they'd try to look at it today and it may be ready by Wednesday...

I am smiling today through gritted teeth and something tells me whatever is wrong won't be cheap!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Internet Censorship

The Rudd Govt in their infinite wisdom decided to keep plugging away at the previous Govt's efforts to take pornography out of the internet in Australia.

Does anyone see this as some sort of Big Brother (and I mean in the sense of George Orwell's 1984, not Channel 10's Bum Dance Version) effort to control what the "Citizens" see and watch?

I am all for classification and making such material unavailable to minors, but since when do we need the government to step in and protect us from our downloadable tits and arse?

Once they "filter" content and then offer you to register to have unfiltered content, then for whatever reason, your internet viewing habits will be then recorded on some government database.

Once that happens, thats another piece of data on your "permanent record"... to me it sounds like its a big waste of money and the press have picked up on it a bit as well.

As a parent, I would sit with my kids when they're on the internet. As they get older a PC for them will be in the open area of the house. What is more worrisome is this whole issue of kids being online and chatting via myspace and MSN. It is an issue that has resulted in a pitiful 60 Minutes story and also the recent charges laid against a woman for encouraging the suicide of a neighbours girl via cyber bullying.

These are the more worrisome things and unfortunate side effects of kids and technology going wrong... not the fact that sex is on the internet freely for adults.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Finished! The Dark Tower

I have been an avid reader of Stephen King books but only last Christmas / New Year break did I pick up Volume 1 of the Dark Tower series. I didn’t know much about it before hand, but was instantly impressed with the tale of Roland of Gilead “the Gunslinger”. The Dark Tower series is 7 volumes long – each a very solid novel in their own right – and after picking up that first book in January, I have finally finished all seven volumes.

And the ending… um, wow. Typical King mastery.

I am not going to bore you with the plot, but what impresses me is that this series – which he started writing as a 19yr old in the 1970’s and concluded in 2004 weaves in and out of nearly every other Stephen King novel written. Randall Flagg, Father Callahan, Ted Brautigan, the Clown from It, the Red Plague and other references and characters from The Stand, IT, Salems Lot, The Mist, Insomnia etc all make a compelling tie to what is the King “universe” or “multiverse”.

After reading the Dark Tower series, it makes you wonder about parallel universes and how the differing worlds could hang together on the “Beams” and that “Ka” governs all that we do.

Highly recommend the books, now I just need to find something else to read, but I am tempted to go back and re-read some of the other King novels given I have a different view on how the stories now hang together.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Melbourne For The Day

Small post today, I am in the Qantas Club at Sydney Airport heading to Melbourne for a 2hr meeting... so in short, whilst I wanted to write a long break down of last nights budget announcement, I am a bit strapped for time to do so.
In short however, I think its a good budget.  I am going to lose the Part B of childcare - approx $2K per annum for us - but I am happy to do so on the basis that spending is reduced, what spending is incurred is for public infratstructure and that any government hand outs given out are for the truly needy.  Means testing is the way to go.
I note however that the Libs are claiming credit for the tax cuts... why?  They're the things that got this inflation ball rolling in the first place.
Anyway, happy to take feedback on what everyone else thought, but I thought it was a good prudent start to realigning what a govt should be providing - necessity and not luxuries.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Town Hall Station

Town Hall Station, particularly at peak hour has always given me the creeps... so many people, such a confined space you'd hate to think of a bombing or fire or even an accident in which someone goes under a train...

Luckily since I changed jobs I dont have to get off at Town Hall but going through there it is the pits still - and I simply stay on board.

This article sums it up nicely.

And yes, the noise pollution from the "community service" announcements is horrendous as well and simply adds confusion.

If there was anywhere in Australia that was a disaster waiting to happen, its Town Hall.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rudd's First Budget

Rudd's First Budget

Well, the first budget under the new Labor government will be announced on Tuesday and were hearing things being released as gossip or tidbits that in my mind are quite interesting.

Before dealing with specifics, the fact is that with a huge surplus we have the opportunity to spend money on infrastructure but at the same time perhaps tweak certain taxes to correct some of the imbalances in our society.

I am looking see increased allocations to spending in Hospitals, Education and Transportation even if it is simply an increase to state allocations.

But the taxes will be interesting.  The increase on tax on alcopops is another example of a social tax.  I think you will find the increase in the taxes in cigarettes to be on the cards.  Luxury cars being subject to higher taxes would be another beneficial tax.  The means testing of the baby bonus I would also welcome as well as perhaps the first home buyers grant.

To me, the tax system should be principled on the fact that those who can afford to pay, pay and those who are truly needy gain a benefit.  At present taxes are applied with little thought on social responsibility.

Rudd was given a mandate to change, lets hope that the media keeps it into perspective when they analyse his output this week.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday... so quickly the week ends!

Friday once again... I was out of the office all day yesterday and seriously didn't have time to scratch myself. And now, its Friday and I am truly surprised as to where the week has gone.

I can't say anything at the moment, but I had some positive news on a potential new job that will extract me from my current predicament as things here are getting to the end-game.

This current predicament though does keep me very busy at times, but some times I have NOTHING to do... for example Tuesday I could have spent a mere 2hrs in the office.

Its funny though, I seriously have had very little time for anything else and apart from a game of Blood Bowl on Tuesday night, I havent done anything meaningful in terms of non-work stuff.

This weekend though I plan to correct that as it is Mothers Day plus celebrating Dad's birthday from earlier in the week. We tried to book a restaurant for Sunday lunch, but that was IMPOSSIBLE so it will be a BBQ at home with my mum & dad. Saturday night I think we'll be having dinner with Niki's parents but we'll be also doing the netball thing in the morning.

I am actually looking forward to having a breather from work and doing other things.

PS - Happy Mothers Day for Sunday Niki... I love you!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Burmese Disaster

Burmese Disaster

Reports are starting to come out of Burma now and the death toll is officially at 22,500 but there are many close to 50,000 missing.  The death toll is expected to top 50,000.

What is funny though is that the press seem to be reporting the political side of this with the ruling military dictatorship stymieing relief efforts and also the national referendum to go towards democracy being put under threat.  George W Bush has requested that the Burmese government referred to as a junta in the press open up its borders to allow the US Military in.

Seems overly complicated doesn’t it?  I don’t recall the US Government doing anything during the Boxing Day Tsunami but now that the victim of this natural disaster is a military dictatorship, the US want to bring in their guns to save people.

Just strikes a chord with me as being a bit subversive.

Lets just hope that the people on the ground are able to get back on their feet and that those who truly wish to help them are able to do so quickly.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Post Script: Popular Culture Vs News Media

Kudos to Dad who read my earlier story and mentioned that MediaWatch on the ABC did a story on this very topic.

Read the transcript and download the story for viewing here.

Seems as though I am not alone...

New Fetish?

Sniffing the chairs of female colleagues in the work place... (story)

I can understand sexual harassment via the traditional means... men grab women on the arse, they comment about a colleagues boobs, they make sexist and lewd jokes. These are not condonable but things that do happen and when you hear of them you know what they mean...

But for a man to pick up a chair above his head, smell the seat graphically and claim he could tell which seat his female colleague sat on in the company of a larger group of people of mixed genders is just out and out weird...

Add to the fact that this guy is likely to be the next Premier of Western Australia and it becomes doubly surprising.

Or is this normal and I am not just hip to be in with the "furniture sniffing" crowd?

Popular Culture is not News

What is it… is it just me? 10,000 people have died in Burma apparently from a Cyclone nobody heard about and yet the most pressing things in todays press are: 1. Wayne Carey’s charge sheet, 2. Corey goes into the BB House and 3. Mischa Barton has cellulite and is pressing action against the Aussie paparazzi who took the photos of her topless.

I have seen the photos Mischa and what is it they say… a picture’s worth a 1000 words?

I know I am beating on this old drum again, but the internet has so much more beneficial use and people can access all the celeb-goss they want, but can we at least leave the NEWS websites for items that are NEWS WORTHY? It’s a chicken and egg thing… people will tell you that stories like Mischa Barton earn the most clicks and hence are the most “profitable” in the web-advertising area but I counter that with if you keep putting this stuff on the top of the site in bold, then of course its going to get the most clicks...

Case in point, this mornings front page of shows that the #1 story is Wayne Carey... rocketing in at 9:24am as "Breaking News". At 9:44am, the story of the deaths of 10,000 Burmese people comes in, but doesnt displace Wayne Carey nor the picture lead story that some guy sued for the right to take his wife's surname as his own.

See what I mean... and then look at the picture news below... Tom Cruise, Kylie Minogue, a washed up footballer, Tom Hanks and a general "Mag Watch"... all very very important stuff.

And I thought the Sydney Morning Herald, and its sister paper in Melbourne The Age were supposed to be the daily papers that prided themselves on journalism...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Weekend Away

Well, its Monday again and I haven’t posted anything as we were away for the weekend at the Ocean Beach Resort at Umina.  Nice place and we had a Seabreeze Cabin by the beach.  Niki’s family came as well so it was a holiday for about 15 people!


The kids had a great time with their cousins and all was well until we got home and discovered we had left little Brooke’s stuffed dog “Fluffy” in her bunk.  She’s been very upset all night and this morning… hopefully the cleaners have it and that they can mail it back.  If not, I guess I will drive up and fetch it!


Back to work today though and am still very busy…

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Devil Incarnate

Been busy and away from a decent PC this week, so it's a bit late, but what about this Austrian nut-bag?!

Kidnap and hold your 18yr old daughter for 24 years in your own house via an elaborate security system to the basement and then expanding it as your daughter conceives children to you as her father...

Then, keep the children, the oldest for 20yrs in that same dungeon and yet select three of them to live with care free freedom above ground as your grand children...

And all along the wife / grand mother is none the wiser!!!


What madness and depravity. You tend to think the world, despite its troubles, cannot get any worse off and then you hear stories like this.

Question - did the wife not at some stage attempt to go down to the basement within those 24yrs? Did she not try and store old junk in the basement like a normal person would? "Hans, how about a garage sale! I'll clear out the basement"... was that never discussed??