Monday, June 30, 2008

Castaway Island Holiday!

Well, it was a great week. We came, we lazed, we lounged and we ate and drank. None of us wore shoes whilst we were there and "evening wear" was shorts and t-shirts and swimmers.

The weather was great, sunny in the mornings, very hot by midday and then cooling down through the afternoon so that come by dinner time, it was very comfortable to eat outside.

Castaway Island was brilliant in the sense that there were only 60 odd bures but about 130 staff on the island at any one time. There are 160 employees in all, but they have a 12 days on, 3 days off rotation. This meant that there were no hassles, always someone within "bula!" distance to talk to and the whole vibe of the place was peaceful.

Speaking of the staff, they were excellent - always relaxed, happy to chat, enthused that you were having a good time and all in all, I think the most hospitable people we have met.

Food was excellent... we took on the meal plan which meant we only had to pay extra for alcohol and drinks for the kids outside of fruit juice. The breakfasts, lunches and the dinners were therefore simply walk in, find a table, order or go to the buffet and then sign off that you were there and your drinks and go... it was very well organised, and the food itself was fantastically presented and tasted great - particularly the seafood.

For the girls, they had a great time and because it was a family orientated resort, the girls developed good friendships with the other resort kids and for a change the bulk of the kids were 6-12yr old girls rather than the usual 13-14yr old boys reeking havoc that we have struck of late. On top of that, the island staff ran a Kids Club which meant that there were plenty of scheduled activities during the days and at night all the kids were kept busy whilst adults could have dinner to themselves between 6:30 and 9:00pm.

So while we dined in the restaurant, the kids went to bonfires, played games, learnt Fijian dances etc.

And plenty of activities for everyone too... we had free use of snorkel gear, kayaks and catamarans. We also got a free tour of the reef via a glass bottom boat - which Brookie loved - on the Thursday Kate and I went Parasailing. Kate went tandem with one of her island friends, so it was great that she did this without me. It was a big deal for her.

The bure's were great. They were airy and air conditioned and right on the water.

I am rambling a bit... can't say enough of the place and we'll definitely be going back.

Our welcome to the island... this was taken as our launch hit the beach. No wharf on Castaway, you literally hit the sand!

Our island bure... from the front.

The view from the bure's verandah. Spectacular!

Yours truly working hard! ;)

Brooke and Kate in the water out the front of our bure...

Sunset off the balcony of the islands restaurant...

Kate and Brooke (who at this stage had their hair braided) at the Kids Klub with one of the staff Alesi.

The girls got to perform at the "Lovo Night" which was the night of Fijian dancing and food... The staff put on a cocktail party complete with Kava for the adults and then the kids who had rehearsed all day were part of the show of traditional dancing and singing.

Here we are on that same day watching Kime prepare the "lovo" which is an underground earthen pit of hot rocks and banana leaves where the food is cooked all day. There was enough food here to feed the entire island!

Kate coming into land during her parasail... she is the front set of legs!

Me being kitted up to go parasailing. The very technical instructions were "sit down and dont pull the ropes until you come into land".

This shot is special because it was taken on the launch back to the cruise ship to take us home. Aseri here was the leader of the Kids Klub and she was on board to take the tickets and first Brooke and then Kate started to cry because they were going home. Soon Aseri was crying as well and you know the kids have had a good time when they burst into emotion as you pull away....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bula Vinaka!

We're back! After a long trip home, we have made it... a fuller post will probably arrive tomorrow, but currently I am sorting through 225 photos and am in too relaxed a mood to be getting back into anything technical like blogging! lol!

Spent 8 nights away, most of it drinking or sleeping (can I do both at once!?) and have discovered a new found passion for the Tropical Splice cocktail...

Castaway Island is the best resort I have ever been and I highly recommend it!

Pics et al to follow soonish...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last Days

Second last day I have my final payout figure confirmed, I am very happy, I am busier than I thought I would be at this stage and am very tired after a number of late nights celebrating with friends and colleagues my redundancy.

My office colleagues are joining me tonight for a last drink and I am looking forward to basically getting some sleep!!

I should point out that come Friday, we will be heading to Fiji and I guess Lime Kettles will remain dormant for 8-10 days but never fear, I will still blog on about rubbish and keeping you all up to speed on the growth of my beard and the length of my hair.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rudd, Nelson, Petrol Prices

OK, the heat is now on the Rudd government and the poorly perceived Brendan Nelson is banging on the lack of the ALP governments action on petrol prices.  Media then reports that Nelson is showing some backbone and that it is important that he keep the government accountable on these issues.

But lets step back a minute.  Whilst I am not condoning that Rudd be accountable, let’s just look at the record on petrol prices and the previous government.  Was it not the Liberals who introduced GST and which compounded on the sales tax?  Was it not Howard who agreed to propel Australia into a mid-east conflict that saw petrol soar to record prices? Was it also not Howard and the Libs who sat back and idly watched petrol hit 90c, then a dollar, then $1.20 and $1.30?  Now prices are at the $1.47 to $1.63 (depending on the cycle), the Liberals are crying foul!

Perhaps they should have looked at their money grabbing schemes of years gone by in which they loaded fuel excises to ensure that they maintained their massive budgetary surpluses.

This is perhaps the ultimate lime kettle.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hit & Run Society

Hit & Run Society

What is it with people again, yet another hit and run accident in Sydney.  People seem to always stop for a dog or cat that they hit, but when it comes to people, they do a runner.  It just seems to me that there is one of these everyday somewhere in Sydney.

Has society really gone that far downhill that we now have this poor attitude to our fellow man?  Or is it part of some crazed fad that people (idiots) steal cars and look to run over pensioners?  It just seems so much of a daily event that I really have to wonder.

And then on top of that, there was the story out of the US yesterday of a man shot dead by police as he literally beat a toddler to death.  What makes a grown man kill a child with his bare hands whilst under the threat of being shot by police?  I am glad he was killed but why did it happen?

And then there is the story from Italy yesterday of a women chained to her bed and locked in a room for 18 years.  Was it only because of the Fritzl case in Austria did someone in Italy tip off this womans circumstances to the police?

The world is going through a weird cycle at the moment nothing seems to far fetched anymore.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Moving Offices

Well, we moved the office over the weekend and I have been out all morning and have arrived at the new place with my PC in bits and unconnected, a new phone that needs my voicemail added and a half dozen boxes of my stuff.

Funny though, I will only be here a week and hence I am not even going to unpack.

My new space, like everyone elses is very small and I am looking at a blank wall as opposed to my previous view 21 stories up, but that’s OK.  A lot of people are whingeing, but I feel nothing but relief that I will be leaving at the end of the week.

On that note, I had a chat to a person about a role in another firm (wont name names) and that went positive, but it will take some time.  That though is the one thing I have a lot of time.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Into the Vault

This one is going straight into the vault for the girls' 21st birthdays...

Kate & Brooke do a rendition of the Go-Go's 1980's hit "Our Lips Are Sealed"...

They're actually doing this song for the school choir... you know you're old when the one hit wonders of your youth become the respectful choir songs of your children!

Friday, June 13, 2008

All Packed

Here's my desk... all packed and looking cleaner than ever... Have a good weekend all!

Can you get severance pay for your liver?

Well, the news is out that I am leaving work and there was a farewell last night for two people who finish up today… I have invites for a drink from various people both in and outside of my company and I am going to try and accommodate everyone between now and next Friday.  The big night though will be Thursday next week as my official (and now fairly regular given my work history) big drink at the pub.


I am now wondering if I can get some sort of redundancy package for my liver which will take a big beating I am sure, but other than Thursday, it will be all in moderation.


Also, on top of this, the offices are moving this weekend so our IT dept shuts down everything this afternoon in about three hours from now… I suggest that there may be a drink across the road then too.


But it’s all good now and I am looking forward to this weekend which will be relaxing and Fiji following next week.  It’s all good ;-)


Thursday, June 12, 2008

All Over Red Rover

All Over Red Rover

I spat the dummy at work yesterday, demanded that they make a decision and they did.  Effective 30 June, I will be redundant.

This is actually a good thing and I am very happy.  Yes, finding a job will be stressful, but better than the limbo / purgatory were experiencing here.  Two other people were given their pink slips as well and they too are happy.

Its sad, I came to this company on a high, less than a month in they announced a sale of the business and its reeled from one calamity to the next.  I have had the pleasure of working with some really nice people here and my boss and I had a chat / laugh about it this morning (he too lacks long term direction) and I will part on good terms with some people.  On the other hand, I have no faith in the exec management and am glad to be free to find something better.

Financially, I have been looked after, am happy to take the money and run and look for something else.

So, I have next week, then were off to Fiji for a relax, and then when I get back its collect a cheque and go and to be honest, it’s a big relief.

To my friends and family who have helped me over the last few months, thanks for your support.  Those of you who do read this blog, that means you ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I feel crap today and vented to my company's HR manager that I am sick of this hanging around waiting to know if I have a job or not and if not, when will I be paid out...

She's gone away and said she will talk to the big cheese today about it.... My stress levels at work are getting all out of wack and I would probably welcome the bullet to put me out of my misery...

I don't have a new job to go to *yet* but I am very close... should hear this week (fingers crossed). If that falls through, I don't care at present because we're off to Fiji in a week and a half and I just want this over one way or the other by then.

Sorry about the depressing post, I will revert to my crusades against child porn, McDonalds and the general pursuit of happiness and enlightenment tomorrow.

Vent... Vent... Vent...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

That will teach 'em!

Fancy putting fresh fruit (vegetable? I always get stumped on Tomatoes...) into a McDonalds burger!

No more tomatoes!

Put more plastic processed food in... at least you won't get Salmonella!


Long Weekend Wasn't So Long

Long Weekend Wasn't So Long

Tuesday morning feels like Monday didn’t feel like I had a long weekend as it went in a blink of an eye!

Saturday was a run around day I bought new clothes at Penrith Plaza in between taking Kate to and from dancing and basically and as I type this I cant recall exactly what I did on Saturday afternoon Saturday night, we had all of Nikis family over for a catch up after the Malaysian trip and we bought a stack of pizzas (which I ordered online for the first time kinda weird experience!) and I went to bed reasonably early that night.

Sunday was Tommys 40th birthday celebrations and that was an all day (and night) gaming marathon at his place 10:30am through to me getting home at 2:15am Sunday.  Yes, Nerd City, but it was a great day.  Games played (from memory):  Fire & Axe, RoboRally, Betrayal in the House on Hill, Last Night on Earth (twice cool Zombie killing game), Micro Mutants, Las Vegas Showdown, Cash & Guns I think that covered it Tommys wife cooked a great meal of lamb shanks and we had a celebratory cake and basically never left the dining table all day.

So yesterday, I slept in until 10ish and we went to Mum & Dads for lunch (more Malaysian tales told) and then to Glenn & Brookes for dinner but we were home at 8ish so that was good being a school night and all.

So my weekend was, drinking coke, rolling dice, driving, drinking more coke, and eating and sleeping at odd times not too unusual when you put it that way!

Oh and happy birthday Queenie hope you got some nice socks or something!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Child Porn Busts In Australia

The local arrest of approx 90 Australians as part of a global crackdown on Child Pornography via the net is one that I am so happy about and if there was ever a case for judicial castration, then this is it.

Sexual exploitation of children to me is the worst and abhorrent crime that can be committed... it goes beyond my comprehension as to why any adult would get off on such vile material.

Then you have this from one of the arrested men... a police officer no less:

"I'm not sexually attracted to underage women," he said. "It was the challenge."

Firstly, children are not "underage women". They are children, you fuck. You are even objectifying these unfortunate kids as "underage women".

Secondly, don't fucking pass of surfing the net for Child Porn as a "challenge". If you want a challenge on the internet, find yourself a good computer game. Typing "Lolita" into Google is not a challenge.

Full article here.

Its Obama!

Well, finally the US Democrats have plumped for Barrack Obama to run for them in the US Presidential race I have to say this seems like a good move as I believed Hillary Clinton was running for her personal ambitions rather than for any greater ideal about American politics.  One US political reporter stated that she wouldn’t throw in the towel for the benefit of uniting the Democratic Party because she is only interested in maximising the result for Team Clinton.

Putting aside the impeachment of her husband, I always thought Bill Clinton was a good US President and that he and the Democrats did a lot to further peaceful relations in the Middle East etc but I just cant see Hilary doing that.  So from a US Foreign Policy perspective, I am glad Obama has the nod.

This in turns brings me to his Republican opponent John McCain.  If there was a person who was worse and more feared than George W Bush, then it’s this nutter.  You will never see a more militant right wing gun nut than John McCain.  He is already on record that he wants to take out Iran and finish the job in the Middle East.  This is a scary man!  And I fear that pre-election the current Republican regime will do something drastic in Iran.  To sum it up, I believe if McCain is the next US President, were all fucked.  Food, petrol up economic recessions and depressions in and a world that will be unsafe anywhere as the already horrendous wars and terrorist events will only escalate up to new levels.

Hopefully a more moderate UK leadership, a UN still smarting from the lessons learnt from last time, and our own KRudd not towing the US policy mantra like Johnny Howard did will see us avert a worse crisis than what is going on today in Iraq.

I can’t vote, but I sure hope you Americans do the right thing at the polling booths!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I am Number 1!

I am an engineer... I am a manager... I am 35 and a half, so technically in my 'late' 30's.

Read the first line of this article.

Give me some shizz!

Back at work today....

OK, back at the desk been away Friday, Monday and yesterday from the office and to be honest I haven’t missed much here.  Everyone is just waiting for the ball to drop and get this deal done that will effectively make everyone redundant or give them a new role with a new direction.  I think 80% of people will get pink slips and yet I don’t think I will, but I am so close to asking for one

But anyways, I hope everyone enjoyed the photos and videos below it took an age yesterday to host them all up on Blogger & YouTube.  Today the girls have slept in badly and Niki has kept them home.  Kate in particular is washed out in a big way.  She slept solidly from say 1pm yesterday to 9am this morning with only a brief waking period around 7pm for dinner.

Outside of work and the familys trip, I have been following a couple of news stories that I would have normally commented on.

The major one being Bill Henson and his artwork of nude child photography.  Difficult issue this one on one hand I know Hensons work is legitimately art.  He is not a child pornographer and he should not be charged.  I know that his artwork was put together with the consent of parents and those children who were in his works that have grown up are pro his work.  But there has to be a line drawn somewhere and I believe it opens a Pandoras Box with the fact that future photographers with a deviant streak could use the art defence as a way to legitimise soft porn involving children.

My view is that the protection of all children should be the focus of any ruling / legislation / banning and that you cannot have these grey areas when it comes to this.  I am not a book burner or oppressor of the arts community, but I think for the benefit of future children, people in those groups should put their hands up and say artwork such as Hensons is dangerous territory and one in which restraint should be considered.

The world is a landscape of shades of grey and nothing is ever black or white, but in this case, I think we should err on the side of conservatism and say any photographic works of children posing naked are not on.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dancing in Kuala Lumpur

Rather than retelling the stories I have heard from the girls this morning, pics are probably the best way to go...

So here is their KL trip!! The premise of the trip was this: A cultural exchange between Australia and Malaysia meant that there were opportunities for dancers to go to Kuala Lumpur to perform as part of "Australia Week". They were performing at Shopping Centres mainly, the water theme park show was cancelled during the trip but was replaced with two shows at The Pavilion which apparently is a massive (12 stories) shopping centre that has only been open for a short time. The troupe from Westside Performing Arts had the honour of being the first performers to be on stage at The Pavilion. In between, the girls got to see the sites, experience a new culture and be tourists themselves. They have had a wonderful time and I am so glad we took the chance to send Kate for the dancing and Brooke for the fun of it.

Here's just some of the over 200 pics and vids!

Group shot at Sydney Airport. The team looking all red in their uniforms.

Niki was amazed that everywhere they went locals wanted to have their photo taken with the girls. Kate & Brooke and the other young ones were particularly in demand.

Kate & Brooke out the front of a mosque on day 1 during their city tour.

Niki and the girls get a shot of themselves in front of the Petronas Towers... they didnt get a chance to go up during the trip.

Group shot before the first show. Kate is front row right with flag, Brooke is the munchkin standing with the bigger girls.

Now Brooke wasn't actually a part of the show. Niki brought her along just for the experience. But she was made very much a part of the group and did appear on stage at a couple of shows at the smaller centres. Here, she gets some of that experience with having to carry the flags ;)
Kate backstage for Show 1 pumped and ready to go!

And here is Brooke in an impromptu performance on stage... she came out with the singers at the begininning holding the flag... she didn't have a costume, so they snagged an Aussie t-shirt! No rehearsal, out you go!

After the first show... the stuffed Koala mascot and the girls pose for photos. This became a normal thing and soon locals were getting their kids into the shots as well.

The Pavilion. Niki takes a shot from one of the balconies down to where the girls would dance. That grey area is sponsored by Hewlett Packard and the dancers, and in particular the singers had to work HP into the lyrics... even the lead singer had to sing with a HP portable in his hands! You have to be good to the sponsors!! In addition, The Pavilion was a huge space and the crowds were around the balconies in big numbers.

On stage during the Pavilion shows... Kate is on the left

The opening number of the Pavilion show... Kate is in the 2nd row from the right in the foreground in blue...

The later show again at the Pavilion... Kate is on the left in the front. She gets a bit obscured at times by the pole though.

Afterwards the crowds once again wanted their shots with the little girls being in big demand. Here Kate poses with one of her fans ;)

Brookie also had her fans! This guy was just one of many people who found Brooke adorable... she was apparently a bit taken back by all the attention, but soon was lapping it up!

This is a sample of what the crowds were like after a show... heaps of people, lots of cameras. Niki was amazed at that. In addition, KL is a city of extremely friendly and tolerant people. There are Indians, Malays and Chinese with all their differing religions and degrees of belief. There are full on Buddist and Hindu monks and Islamic people in full Muslim dress (note the woman in the bhurka (sp?) in this shot) all the way through to people of those faiths who have a more western lifestyle. The point is that all these people of races and religions mix freely and mix well. There is something that can be said about Australia in that...

Of course after the shows there were the parties! The Pavilion in particular put on KFC and Pizza for the kids. People from the management came down and thanked the girls for their shows and were very happy with the result. I am sure HP was happy too! ;)
And of course, the mums who went as well! Niki had a great time and enjoyed herself too!

And in between the shows, there was the shopping... KL is filled with massive shopping centres so they were put to good use. Here are the girls as they're about to hit the tiles so to speak!

In addition to the shopping, the girls got to see some of the more historical sites... Here they're at the Batu Caves which is a series of caves atop a large set of stairs and there is a temple inside.

A closer look at the statue and the imposing stair case!

The temple inside the caves... one of the people was singing their prayers. Very peaceful.

And what trip to SE Asia would be complete without some snakes! The look on Kate's face is priceless!

The motto the girls adopted was "try something different for Daddy"... well they did!

And some Monkey business!

Home! The last shot... this is when they landed this morning after their overnight flight. Brooke slept, but Kate actually slept walked around the plane at around 4am and didn't rest after that... apparently she went all the way down to Business Class from the back of the plane!!

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Sorry for the lack of posts... with me being a bachelor this week and a few things going on in and around work, I have been not in the right headspace to be blogging this week...

But, Niki and the girls are now back, and I am currently sifting through the pile of photos and videos to upload.

In short, they've had a fantastic time, they're tired but very shopped and danced out.

They're all asleep at the moment, so that's given me a chance to log on and start a photo montage of their KL trip.

Update coming!

Monday, June 02, 2008


Sorry for the lack of updates I have been in Brisbane since Friday on what we like to call a "Boys Weekend".

My mate Gools in Brisbane had a baby, I had a free weekend as did my mate Noyz and we booked the flights and went.

Our hotel was a 5min walk from Queen Street Mall, and basically we spent up big at I think every bar and club on that strip.

Added bonus, we also went to the soccer and were sitting just a few rows back behind the Iraqi bench.

Live and kidneys are working, but barely... and normal Lime Kettle diatribe will resume tomorrow...

The teams line up for the National Anthems...

Pissed Idiots