Thursday, December 30, 2004

Lonely Planet Publishers

I'm guessing that the journalists that earn their money writing for Lonely Planet will be looking for a bit of work. All of the destinations, such as Galle, Chennai, Phuket, Phi Phi Island and most of west coast Sumatra will have "under repair" or "under reconstruction" headings and no content for the next year or two. Maybe this is a chance to get rid of the abject poverty in these areas and build communities anew.

It is amazing the size of the devastation and I'm very surprised that part of Australia wasn't hit, or don't we know about it yet? I was kind of hoping that my intended blood donation could have helped but..
RAAF Museum Pictorial

Yu-Jin and Jesse

The Three Boys

Cleared for Takeoff


Spitfire at the Entrance

The Star Attraction - The Lancaster Bomber

Pepsi Boys
How To Keep A Wife Happy or How To Get Free Drinks And M&Ms

I paid a visit to the Australian Red Cross Blood Bank today with Yu-Jin in tow. I explained to him what went on and why I wanted to donate some blood and the only thing that bothered him was that they might stick a needle into him.

We arrived a little earlier than my appointment as I knew that there would be forms to fill in. We were each offered a Fruit Box (TM) and some M&Ms (TM). These were greatfully accepted. Anyway, they want you to drink three to four glasses of water or juice in the hours before giving blood. So I downed my Fruit Box and some of Yu-Jin's as I didn't need him wanting to go to the toilet while I had a needle stuck in my arm.

There was one question in the questionaire about having lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996, to which I answered yes. There were quite a few no answers - you know, for the questions regarding "Have you had male to male sex?" or "Have you had sex with a sex worker (for money, drugs, gifts)?". But I failed because of the living in the UK question.

It all comes down to CJD. I was in Britain at the time of the highest risk of eating mad cow and possibly becoming infected. And as such I am not allowed to donate blood, ever. Or at least until they devise a test that doesn't require some brain tissue to be removed.

Miky is happy. She wasn't happy that I was going to donate blood in the first case. I initially donated in 1996, mainly to find out my blood type (A+, of course!), and she wouldn't let me do it again. Comes down to some Asian beliefs about not sharing any part of your body with others. I think that it is some deep-rooted superstition but there could be some truth in it.

So, this frugal bastard didn't end up displeasing his missus, Yu-Jin got to learn a lot about the blood bank (we even saw the refrigeration area downstairs) and I picked up free drinks and chocolates. Tell them that you lived in the UK, after you have downed your Fruit Box.

That reminds me. Did you hear about the two cows having a chat? One said to the other, "Does all this talk about Mad Cow Disease scare you?"
"No," said the second cow. "I'm a tractor."
RAAF Museum Visit

I decided to take Yu-Jin somewhere during our holidays. There is no way that I want to be stuck at home with him! Made a couple of phone calls - one to a friend from childcare, Jesse, and another from kindy, Jack. They don't have much of a chance to see each other and I thought that it would be an ideal opportunity for them to get together. We visited the RAAF Museum in Bull Creek.

Boy am I glad that Jack's mum came. Three boys would have been too much of a handful on my own. There were lots of planes, motors, communication equipment and bits and bobs to see. They even had displays for the kids to use - such as a button operation for a Sopwith Camel motor. Very entertaining for the youngsters, except for the fact that they had a fight over whose turn it was and how many turns they could have. Boys will be boys.

Down in the North Shed they had the only complete Lancaster Bomber in Australia. I took plenty of photos and will add a few to the site soon. You could even view the interior of many of the planes on display. We spent nearly two hours there, and Brian Farr was an excellent volunteer tour guide, and then came the most enjoyable part - a four-seater aircraft that the boys could climb into and one which had controls to be operated. Now that made their day.

After this I took Jesse and Yu-Jin to McDonalds. A cop-out, yes. But it so relaxing there. The boys will eat all of their Happy Meals (TM) because I refuse to give them the toys until they do so. It works exceptionally well. I even managed to read all of the Wednesday West Australian while they finished lunch and played on the playground.

Jesse's mum looked after the boys when I returned them and that gave me a chance to go the city and get a few things done.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Just a Few Random Thoughts

Who pays Santa? He's not exactly working on a Public Holiday but he is doing the late shift. What union is looking after his best interests?

What if Rudolph went on strike for an extra carrot and an extra half bale of hay? Afterall, he is multiskilled, has leadership qualities and the respect of his fellow workers.

We told Yu-Jin that Santa didn't have enough money to make all of the toys for every child and his response was, "Let's take our car to the city, when it is dark, and give Santa some money."
He really does believe in Santa and doesn't want anyone to miss out.

Truck drivers often take pills to keep them awake during long hauls. What pills does Santa use to stay awake during the night? And not just any night. He's got so many time zones to go through that the night must stretch on for around 20 hours instead of 10 or so. What if the Victorian Police pulled Santa over for a random drug test?

What better way to celebrate Christmas Eve - than to finish work early and have a waterfight with my son in the backyard?

Shaoib Aktar takes so long to bowl an over that if it is a maiden you would begin to worry about the batsman at the other end not having scored for so long.
Some of the Latest Pictures

Go Web!

Kindy Grad

Kindy Friends - Omrik and Aaron

Holiday Mode

Circle of Friends - Yu-Jin's creation

Cirlce of Friends - B&W (Just mucking around with the Sepia setting)
Another Christmas Has Come And Gone

The silly season is certainly here. In Perth we have had four days in a row of 37-38 degrees. As it turns out, we spent two nights in a hotel, the Ocean Beach Hotel, in Cottesloe. Having very little breeze, even at night time, it was still 34-36 degrees around 6:30pm. Just made the water feel that much nicer.

I must say, it was a great decision of Miky's to stay in a hotel over Christmas. It was stinking hot, no housework to do, and we ate some nice food (not to say that Miky's cooking isn't nice) and could enjoy ourselves. We haven't had a proper holiday since, well, I can't think - maybe when we went to Korea together after we'd been married for one year. That long ago, really?

The hotel was nice and situated only about 50m from the beach. I got a lovely collection of shells. They weren't all cockle shells - I picked up some nice curly ones too. Cleaning them is another job for Yu-Jin to do during this mini holiday. I only managed to get one photo before the battery ran out on the camera. Here's the pic of North Cottesloe Beach.

Yu-Jin loved the beach, even though he got dumped a few times by waves crashing on top of him. I wish I had done more of this sort of thing when I was a kid. Not that we lived anywhere near the beach though.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Bad Day ..... At The Office

Yesterday was not a good day. I decided to take my sunnies as we were taking Miky's car and it doesn't have window tinting. As my hair was standing up a bit I put the sunnies down the front of my shirt on my chest. When we dropped Yu-Jin off at childcare he gave me a big hug. And promptly smashed my $50 sunnies. Not a good start.

Then, throughout the day, I had a bitch in Melbourne from our supplier that I have to deal with give me abuse because she didn't have all the information that she required from an order I sent her. It wasn't entirely my fault as I hadn't received all of the info from the customer that I needed and there were no instructions on how to process this particular order. This bitch got very frustrated and procedded to take it out on me. Her time will come.

Miky didn't have the best of days either at work.

Back to childcare to pickup Yu-Jin. He was playing a bit roughly with another boy when we got there but having a good time. I told him to stop his game of flicking a jigsaw puzzle piece across a table as someone would get hurt. As we spoke to one of the carers he flicked the piece again and dived down the side of the table to get it and banged his lip on the side of the table. A nice big cut was opened up and I gave him a cuddle.

Lovely big red stains over my nice white business shirt. I wondered if my day could get any worse.

Made the decision to have pizza for tea. Upon ordering pizzas I was informed that they would be ready in 15 minutes. I went to the supermarket and bought some lemonade for 90 cents, instead of the $3.15 they would charge at the pizza shop. So I was back in the pizza shop after 15 minutes but no pizzas were ready for pickup. So, I waited, patiently. Nearly 15 minutes later I asked the question and the kid found out that they had had to remake one of my pizzas. Obviously they gave it to some other order. "I'll give you a discount" he said.
I got the pizza for free. Finally, something went right.

Got home, opened the lemonade, emptied some of the contents onto my foot as it had been shaken up a bit. Looking like things were turning around again.

After tea we went for a long walk. I did spot a meteor, or a shooting star if you like, and made a wish. We'll see if the bitch from Melbourne is still alive.

New Car Bumper Sticker

From zero to bitch in less time than it takes to get to zero.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Santa Doesn't Have A Good Memory

It was a bit of a strange day yesterday, being a Sunday and all. We did our grocery shopping in the morning. Don't know if I can get used to that - if we ever get to have Sunday trading that is.

Anyway, we went into the city to pick up some photos and then wandered through David Jones after an icecream at McDonalds, where some old Chinese bloke sat at the table Yu-Jin had baggsed. While Miky went off to look at something that only she would be interested in, Yu-Jin and I had a look at the toys.

Pocket money is such a great idea. Yu-Jin says, "Can you buy me this?"
And I reply, "I'm not wasting my money on it. Save your pocket money up."
At this stage he admits that he doesn't want it.

David Jones has a Santa House. Last Sunday we visited Santa in Myer for some photos. I thought that it would be a good idea to have a chat this time. When Yu-Jin arrived Santa asked his name and what he wanted for Christmas. Yu-Jin said, "I told you last week!" quite indignantly.
Santa said "I see a lot of little girls and boys. It's not easy to remember."

My kid telling Santa off. He's not scared of him anymore. Nice Irish accent on the David Jones' Santa.

Quick Thought

Have you ever noticed that the shirts which come with spare buttons never lose any?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Santa's Not The Main Attraction

We were wandering around following our visit to Santa, torturing Yu-Jin by looking at the toys on display that we had no intention of buying, when who should come along but Spiderman. Yu-Jin was happy to have his photo taken, posing with a "Go web!" style.

Miky ased him if that was the real Spiderman. He said, "No, it's just a costume."
"Because no web came out of his hand when he tried to."

Such insight.

Intelligent Ink Monitoring?

I have an Epson Stylus CX3100 printer. It is pretty good. The ink monitoring is quite intelligent, supposedly. When the level of ink drops below 20% it delivers a message that the ink in the black or colour cartridge is below 20%. Would I like to be reminded when the ink level drops below 15%? This happens every 5%.

The other night it asked me if I would like to be reminded when the ink level drops below 0%. Damn right I'd like to see that. I'd also like to see how long I have been printing nothing for before it tells me that I have less than 0%.

I'm intrigued.

Don't Post Dangerous Goods

Finally got off my arse and posted some presents to my nephews back home in South Australia. Had to way up the charges of an airbag versus a tough bag and postage. As it turned out, the goods wouldn't fit into a 3kg airbag even though they were just over the 1kg mark - too big. So I shoved them into a tough bag and the lady stapled it up for me. Then she asked me to sign the Dangerous Goods Declaration on the front. As I signed it I commented that there were indeed dangerous goods inside - if the recipient from under three years of age that is.

I got a couple of laughs.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Graduation Day

I got home at 10 to six last night and Miky tells me that there's a concert on at Yu-Jin's kindy. She didn't want to go but Yu-Jin said he wanted to. At five to I rang them to make sure of the starting time - 6 o'clock. We all arrived only five minutes late as it is just down the road. The kids were on a stage, some large tractor tyres in the play area, and they were singing songs. What surprised me the most was the fact that Yu-Jin joined in. He hates singing in public.

Then they handed out graduation certificates - from kindy no less. It was done in alphabetical order and so Yu-Jin was last to receive his. Then we grabbed his yearly sketch book to see all of the work that he has done for the year. Quite a bit as it turns out.

Caught up with some of the parents that we know and found out what they were doing over Christmas.

I can't believe that it is all over. No kindy next year either as it returns to being used only for playgroup. Pre-primary school is on the cards and we need to prepare for that. Miky has already placed an order for Yu-Jin's school uniform. He is growing up too fast.
Horses For Courses

It kind of worries me that a person who shouldn't be allowed to use sharp instruments as she is always doing some damage to herself, is the chief cutter in her new job. I mean, she cuts herself on the Glad Wrap cutter for crying out loud!

What Would Fundamentalist Christians Think If...

It was proven that Jesus existed (ok, I'm coming at this from an atheist's viewpoint here) but was born on a different date? There's a fair chance that it wouldn't be December 25th. And was this date taken into account when we lost eleven days changing to the Gregorian Calendar in the 1700's? Would there be a group of traditionalist Christians who would continue to celebrate on Dec 25th? Would a breakaway group form and celebrate the new day?

Best Of Album Gone Mad

Tell me, how on earth can Nikki Webster, release a Best Of album? She is only 17 years old. I think that it is unrealistic to release one as she only has a couple of hit songs, and I can only think of one of them.

Is it all downhill from here for Nikki Webster? We've had the best of so what's next?

Stress-free Shopping

Worried about stress during shopping at Christmas time? Don't like large crowds? Hate the push and shove of desperate people? Want the shop to yourself?

Then go to Myer. By heck the shop is quiet. I'd be bloody concerned if I was running the shop. It is almost dead. Where the hell are all the people? I should have gone into David Jones to compare.

Visit to Santa

This year Yu-Jin said that he wouldn't be afraid of Santa. It's an age old story but we were willing for another try. First stop was the hairdresser. He wanted a spiky haircut so that Santa thought he looked like a dinosaur. He is all excited about a Hot Wheels (TM) Car Wash and Bionicles.

We went into Myer and to Santa's House for some photos. Didn't have to wait too long and they had Shrek 2 to keep the kids entertained. When it was Yu-Jin's turn to visit Santa he looked a little concerned and boy did he fidget when sitting on his lap. Mind you, he talked to Santa without any problem.

"And what would you like for Christmas Yu-Jin?"
"A battleship."
"That sounds exciting."

Nice big smile. Couple of pics. A battleship? That's what you got last year son. Put him on the spot and he froze.

Tool for Bribery

I tell Yu-Jin that I have Santa's mobile phone number (well, he travels around a lot and needs a mobile) and that if he doesn't eat his tea I'll call Santa to pick up his presents from our shed. It has been explained to him that Santa came early because it is so far to travel and the presents are sitting in the shed.

By crikey he eats after telling him that.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Vaccinations Time

I mentioned a while back that Yu-Jin had a hearing test. The doctor recommended that he have an ear infection vaccination which may save him from getting ear infections, funnily enough. This set us back $160 but I am sure that it is money well spent. He seems a bit prone to them and is sick for a few days before we realise what he has got. We don't need the time off work, hassle of seeing a doctor, getting medicine, or having the young bloke sick.

He also got a meningococcal vaccination at the same time. Don't need him to catch that nasty disease. I'm one of these blokes that believes in vaccination to prevent diseases rather than worry about the unlikely side effects. His arm still hurts a couple of days afterwards but I guess that is to be expected somewhat.

Luckily Yu-Jin is a good kid who doesn't mind injections and he did get a big lolly snake after receiving them. I guess that makes it all worthwhile for him. He's easily bought.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Literary Giant

On Sunday night Aunty (the ABC) ran a program called "My Favourite Book". Australians had had about a month to vote for their favourite book and the results were tallied. Actually, the show was very interesting and they had a panel of "experts" give their feelings about the books. I felt a bit like a literary giant as I have read two of the books in the top ten - The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and To Kill A Mockingbird. I've even read some of the book that finished at number three - The Bible. It has inspired me to read one or two of the other books in the top ten. We'll see what happens.

Frugal Bastard's Rain Guage

I have a very handy, and most importantly, cheap instrument for measuring rainfall. It's an old, orange plastic chair that sits in the backyard. If the seat is full of water then we've had bucketloads of rain. Half full means a decent rain and, well, you can work out the rest.


I watched the road runner and Wile E Coyote when I was a kid and noticed that Wile E always purchased Acme products. A couple of days ago I looked up Acme in the dictionary and was surprised by what I found as I thought that it stood for products that didn't work properly. This article explains it very well. Acme is a Greek word which means the point of excellence. The irony of this show, I did get "wily" Coyote, has just dawned on me. People were far more subtle with their cleverness a few decades ago.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Kosher Credit Card

An Israeli bank is planning to issue a kosher credit card. This will be a card that prohibits spending on the Jewish Sabbath, Saturday. A credit card that prohibits spending?

I guess the fanatics will lap it up, just to show their faith. However, the article notes that Orthodox Jews aren't known as big spenders.

A little bit of work needed in the marketing department, me thinks. Will it also stop the purchase of pork?

What's next? A card that doesn't allow alcoholics to buy alcohol? A card that doesn't allow husbands to buy gifts that would normally be associated with lovers? A card that stops obese people from buying at McDonalds? Oh, they've got that one worked out already. The "EFTPOS unavailable" tag goes up quite often at McDonalds. I think that I must be the only one who uses a credit card at McDonalds. I can't recall seeing anybody else use one.
Loppolopithicus Makes His Debut

Loppy has a blog. Not that he has put much on it just yet.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Insulation Installation

The guys from Brett Heady's mob came around this morning. They said that they would arrive between 7:30 and 8:00. Wouldn't you know it, they got here at 7. I was up so it wasn't too bad as I was planning to remove the old newspaper in the roof space that had been used to soak up water when we had a leaky roof.

The two guys, Cliff and Steven, jumped up on the roof, removed quite a few tiles, and got to work. One hundred and five square metres were done by 10 to nine. I did ask them how they were paid, not expecting the actual value, hourly or by the job, and they said they were paid $1/sq m. They could make $200-$220 each a day and be finished by 2pm. Yesterday they did a 320 sq metre house followed by a 200 sq metre house.

I had a look at some of the insides of one of the thermo sealed batts and it contained recycle newspaper with fire retardent. Not rocket science. Steven said that Cool Or Cosy, a rival group, had visited a couple of their jobs and taken some batts away for testing to make sure that the claims made about their insulation was correct. They discovered that the 2.5 batt was rated at 3, and the 3.0 batt was rated at 3.3. Sort of gives me some satisfaction.

I can tell you, the house was definitely cooler. The difference shocked me.

While I was up on the roof I pulled the airconditioner apart and gave it a damn good clean. Cliff thought that I must have been in contract maintenance to be cleaning it so thoroughly. Nah, just wanted to avoid legionnaire's disease.

Another funny thing. The guy that own's the business, Brett Heady, was a champion footballer for the West Coast Eagles (don't think I'm going to give those bastards a link on my site) who used to take some hangers (great, high marks). He's afraid of heights!! As such, he doesn't get up on customers' roofs.

How To Pay Two Years Off A Home Loan And Still Have A Bad Day

I sold some BHP Billiton shares in the recent buy-back. I was expecting to receive a cheque for this unusual occurrence but found out later that the money was deposited into my home loan account.

Now, I have a principle for saving. It goes like this - every cheque I receive pays off the home loan. The money is being put to good use and I can't withdraw it. That's fine until you make the mistake of nearly paying off two years worth of home loan. I was going to purchase some more shares with that money. Oh well.

What Does These Have In Common?

A. What's the same about the Olsen twins and a picture on the wall in the sun of the Olsen Twins?

Q. They both fade away.

I kill myself.

Friday, December 03, 2004


I'm a Bombers man. When I answered the phone the other day the guy at the other end said his name was Matthew Lloyd. So, I got a little bit excited.

Actually, he was some guy that works for Rockwell Automation in Melbourne and he wanted to know where he should register something for Woodside. It turns out it was an oil rig.

I rang him back and he answered the phone with a polite, "Matthew Lloyd".
At this point I let out a "Lloydy!" and had a bit of a laugh. I gave him the info about the oil rig and he wanted an address for it. I said, "do you want me to give you the longitude and latitude or to tell you that it is so many kilometres out to the ocean in such and such a direction?"
We had a laugh and he settled for the head office address.

Schoolies vs Wheelies

Saw a few gormless types yesterday when I went the bank. I could identify them as schoolies. I should know, I was one of them. Now I'm just a gormless 30-something. But to my shock, I must have seen five people in wheelchairs getting around Subiaco. This struck me as a rather high proportion of the population and they probably outnumbered the schoolies.

How Come Americans Invented Superheroes?

What is it about the American psyche that lead to them inventing superheroes? I don't recall too many others from anywhere else on the planet. Is there something fragile about their nature that necessitated superheroes? Was there a need to be filled and why didn't the Hungarians, Italians or Mongolians feel this way?

Konglish Word For The Week

Disbenefit - meaning to be disadvantaged by not receiving a benefit. Makes sense to me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Michael Clarke - Balanced Journalism Required

When Michael Clarke made his Test debut, Australia was in trouble in the match against India. I can't remember the score but Clarke made 151 and proved himself as a man. All the commentators said that it was a difficult situation to come out to bat and what a head he had on his shoulders to be able to handle the pressure.

In the second Test versus New Zealand, after being proclaimed as someone who would be a great, by virtue of his Test batting average being better than Sir Donald Bradman at the same stage of his career, he came to the batting crease with the score at 4/445. Situation was that New Zealand was on the ropes, bowling was crap, batsmen on top and Australia in a commanding position. Clarke made only seven runs.

The commentators, led by Greg Chappell, mentioned that it was a very difficult time to bat. Were we supposed to feel for this guy? He had proved himself when Australia was in trouble and then when the situation is set up for him he fails, and the only description is one that was used previously.

If Clarke had not been Australian I feel that the description of the situation wouldn't have been put so favourably. Mention of his fantastic debut innings would have been darkened by his very poor showing with the bat when the chips were certainly not down. A failure is how it would have been described, not to feel sorry for the poor young man put in a difficult situation.

Come on Chappelli, balance your journalistic skills.
Christmas Party - Sleepover

A few weeks back we invited one of Yu-Jin's friends, Jesse, to our home for a sleepover. He was a little scared about sleeping away from home and so declined.

Last Thursday, the day that Miky started work, we were invited to the staff Christmas Party, to be held on Saturday night at Gavino Restaurant, an Italian restaurant, in Subiaco. Their Website is very difficult to find. We had to look at the menu to pre-order as it was going to be a large function.

Yu-Jin had to stay at Jesse's house for the night. He wasn't bothered by this at all. We had a great night as I got to meet many of Miky's co-workers and they seem like a great bunch of people. Miky's boss, Denise, came over to chat for a while and she is very nice and mentioned that Daneechi is a family-friendly workplace.

We arrived home just before 1am. Just before 6am Miky woke me up and said, "Let's get my son." Mothers! Give me and the friends looking after Yu-Jin a rest. She seriously wanted to go straight to their house and pick him up! Her excuse was that she was worried about Jesse's parents, not Yu-Jin. We picked Yu-Jin up about 9:30.

It seems that the boys raised a bit of hell. They were running around until nearly 11 o'clock until Jesse's mum mentioned that a police car had gone past and if the neighbours complained about the noise the police would take them to jail. That shut them up and they went to bed. By 6:30 they were up again raising hell. As soon as we arrived there was an argument between the boys, probably caused by tiredness. We took him home, showered him, and made him go to bed. He snored for the next two hours!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Orgasm Lady At The Fashion Show

Miky's class of leavers from Clothing Production III from Swan TAFE Bentley had their graduation-style fashion show. Seated next to us was Stella, who has a Greek/Cypriot background, and is one of Miky's classmates. She invited about 30 (or was it 50?) of her friends and family to come for the show. As you can imagine, there was a great deal of Greek being spoken by people with big noses, but I digress.

Stella's range came before Miky's and the woman behind us, who belonged to Stella's group and had been reasonably quiet up until such time, burst out in rapturous prose.
"Oh, it's gorgeous Stella!"
"That is the best dress!"
"Oh, I love that dress Stella!"
"You've done a marvellous job."
"They're all so good!"

I thought we were sitting in the middle of a When-Harry-Met-Sally episode there. She was positively gushing.

Stella's gowns were nice. At least when Miky's range came out this woman still came forth with the praise. A couple of Miky's pieces looked very nice and there was a bit of interest shown in them afterwards.

True Praise

Kat Duncan had a nice main gown on display in the show. When the model walked onto the stage Yu-Jin let out a loud, "Wow!" Obviously he was impressed. When asked later which dresses he liked the best his reply was a very diplomatic "I like all of them."

After the show Yu-Jin wanted to look at the gowns and went right up to them. He was really interested and I'm glad that he behaved himself on the night.

Open Mouth To Change Feet

Our compere for the night was Nathan Morris, from Nova FM and Big Brother fame, and he made a bit of a balls-up. Amanda McKenna won a couple of awards. For the second award Nathan announced her as Amanda Keller (a presenter on TV) and then quickly realised his mistake.

I guess it was way past his bedtime as he starts his radio program at 6am and it was about 9:40 by this time. He can be forgiven.

Serious Commentary

I met up with one of my friends, Joe, from uni at the show. He was one of the last people I would expect to see but it was great to catch up. After the show he gave me some of his thoughts for the night. He didn't like the dress that accentuated the bottom of the lady wearing it. In my opinion it looked like a button mushroom, and Yu-Jin thought that it looked like a hot air balloon, but Joe thought that women would not be happy with that sensitive part of their body made to look larger.

Another comment from Joe was regarding a very frilly and layered down complete with top hot and vest. "Serious gender issues" was how he summed it up. If only we could have sat together for the whole show.

Rainbow Poo

Yu-Jin saw some white bird poo today and remembered that human poo is brown. He then mentioned that if we ate food with lots of colours then we would have rainbow poo. I like his thinking, wishful though it is.

Dumb Question

Another subject with input from Yu-Jin. We received some chocolates last night at the show and Miky said, "chocolate's nice."
"Why is chocolate nice?" Yu-Jin asked.
I thought that that was a stupid question but then it struck me, why the hell did they make carob chocolate? It is chocolate but tastes terrible.
Letter To Santa

I wonder how long it takes to get a letter to Santa at the North Pole. He lives just outside a city in Finland called Rovaniemi, which itself is situated on page 140 N2 of The Tmes Concise Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition. Not that it really stands out on the page. Bloody cold place, as I have visited there. Didn't get to Santa's village though.

Anyway, back to the story. How long does the letter take to reach Santa? A damn sight less time than a letter being sent to South Australia from Perth is my guess!! Pick up your game Australia Post.
Last Wicket Stand Of Gillespie And McGrath Reminds Me Of The Time...

We played table tennis at physical education class in high school. My friend, Friendy, and I were the most hopeless in the class. We tried to hit the ball too hard and had the shortest rallies of anyone. Then they announced a competition to see which pair could do the most hits in a rally.

Guess what? The no-hopers chalked up over 400 hits and beat everyone else by a country mile. Kind of like Gillespie and McGrath knocking hell out of the Kiwis.

Noongyar Patrol

There is a Noongyar Patrol in Northbridge as the local Aborigines cause a bit of trouble and need to be kept in line. Interestingly on Saturday night it was only a bunch of Asians causing strife and the Noongyars behaved themselves. Wasn't much call for the patrol. In fact, they were all sitting outside a restaurant/cafe and stuffing their faces.

Hearing Test

We've been worried about Yu-Jin's hearing for some time now and Miky finally found the time to take him to a hearing centre and get his hearing tested. It was all above normal although the pattern in either ear was quite different. One ear had a nice convex curve and the other was almost a flat line - not ideal as it turns out. The doctor wishes to test him again in February and has told us that swimming lessons are out. Yu-Jin has taken it rather well as he was really looking forward to going to swimming lessons.

Frugal Bastard Cooking Show

I've had an idea to do my own cooking show. And keeping with the theme I am guessing that it wouldn't cost too much to produce. Let's see - there would probably only be one show as I don't know how to do a lot of cooking in the first place. I could prepare all of the ingredients firstly but I would be putting all of them in the cooking vessel as I hate wastage. Can't stand these people on TV that go to the trouble of cutting something up and only getting three quarters of it into their saucepan because it sticks to the bowl that they had it in. Don't cut so much up if you aren't going to use it!

There would only be a few simple recipes - meat and veg, spaghetti bolognese, microwave pasta and banana cake is a pretty exhaustive list of my cooking talent. Then there are the cooking utensils and vessels - probably limited to a saucepan, knife, cutting board, frypan and egg flip (spatula).

There you have it. A cheap show that would be cheap to produce and would showcase all of my talents in the kitchen. I guess I could show everyone how to wash dishes as well.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Lyrics Update

My mistake. The lyrics for "Do they know it's Christmas?" song are actually "Feed the world" and not "Food for all" as previously reported.

Highlight Of My Test Match Career

Well, my test match watching career. We did our shopping yesterday and Miky wanted to get her hair cut in the city. I'd had enough and wanted to go home and watch the cricket, the first test match between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane. It was an absolute highlight to see Glenn McGrath, Australia's no. 11 batsman, I use that term loosely, scored his first test 50. As I type this he has just gotten out for 61.

The most amazing thing, apart from no. 9 and no. 11 putting on a 114 run partnership for the last wicket, was the world record for the no.11 test batsman was 68 runs and Glenn McGrath, almost the no.1 bunny in the world and playing his 102nd test match, with an average of 6.65 (I think it was), almost became the world's best no.11 batsman in one innings. He raised his average to 7.27 following that innings.

Onya Glenn. An absolute highlight.

Celebratory Tea

We went to Northbridge last night to have a celebratory meal. First stop was Mama Maria's - it had closed down. Not a great start to the evening. We had a look at a few more menus. Outside Sorrento an old Italian woman tried to coax us inside. She looked at Miky and asked "Japanese?".
"No, Korean."
Then she continued to prattle on and ask us if we knew this woman that she had a picture of. The woman was Japanese - why would we care? Just drop it. Needless to say, we didn't have our meal there.

Found a reasonable Italian restaurant, nearly all restaurants in Northbridge were Italian or Chinese, and enjoyed our meal. At one stage, the Northbridge parking guys broke into a car across the road that was parked in a no parking zone, but they couldn't move the car because it was parked too tightly. It was the Italian woman who had complained about the car and she let the police know about it as they drove past too.

Following our pizza, which Yu-Jin wanted, and linghine (their spelling), we moved next door to have cake at Dome Coffee. That's when the interesting stuff began. There was a big fight across the road

Glenn McGrath has taken a wicket in his first over

where many plates were broken, the table and umbrella overturned, and lots of blood on the shirt of one of the combattants. He was advised to leave the premises (Biaggio) which he did in his big Holden Commodore.

Ten minutes later he was back and another fight ensued. The table was overturned again but no more plates were broken. The lad was asked to leave once again and that was the end of the fireworks.

Not a bad night out.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Did I Mention The Weather?

I said yesterday that it was seven degrees in the morning. At the time that I was up, it was only five degrees. And that was the coldest temperature in Perth for a November morning on record. Interestingly, the weather records are now recorded at the inland suburb of Mt Lawley, where it would be considerably warmer than the previous record site, of Jandakot which has much more wide open expanses. How cold was it really yesterday morning?

No need to answer - I've found it. The temperature in Jandakot yesterday morning was 0.8 degrees. Here's the proof.
Ladies And Gentlemen - We Have A New Taxpayer

Miky has landed a job!! And a pretty good one by all accounts. She will be a pattern maker at Daneechi. They have something like 25 employees and so there will be a great variety of work.

In actual fact, every company that Miky has had work experience with have offered her a job. In this case, Miky applied for a job that one of her lecturer's mentioned was going, and was given a trial period. Up against another girl she had the goods.

She's taking me out to tea! To a nice restaurant. Does anyone know of a nice restaurant in Perth? Being the frugal bastard that I am I don't know of any nice restaurants. Apart from a good friend's restaurant in Sorrento, Fratelli. Sorry, they don't have a Website.

A Balanced Family Relationship

The Korean women in my life try to create a balance.

Mother-in-Law - shiksa, shiksa. Meaning "eat, eat".
Wife - stop eating, that's enough, you've eaten enough, you're fat, it's time you started doing some exercise, you should eat less....

Glad My Boss Pays For My Parking

I had to drop some equipment off to one of our customers in the city yesterday and managed to find a parking meter nearby that offered me 10 mins parking. I put 20 cents, of the company's money, into it and it registered two minutes. I thought "Bloody rip-off meter. Make you pay for someone else's 10 minutes first and then you start on your time." I threw another 20 cents in and to my horror it only registered four minutes.

This parking meter was charging $6.00 an hour!! Glad that I wasn't paying for it. When I got back to the meter it was at -1 min. Not too bad I suppose.

Dinner Party

I found out recently that one of my good friends from uni was heading back to Singapore and not taking PR (permanent residency) as I had expected. I invited her to a dinner party with one of Miky's friends, who also studied at Curtin Uni, and it was a good night. Lots of gossip to catch up on and it was tinged with some sadness that she is leaving our shores. The half an hour, late at night, that I spent cleaning the dishes afterwards was worth the lovely meal that Miky cooked. We have to invite people around more often. Miky outdoes herself with the food.
Korean Blonde Strikes Again

Miky had another of her Korean blonde episodes yesterday. She put her ANZ bankcard into a Westpac ATM and tried to withdraw money. Well, it can be done, and would have cost this frugal bastard in the order of $1.50, but their was no option for "Other Account" and that is what saved me. It was only then that she realised she was at the wrong bank's machine.

Tinny Bastard

I had to deliver some items to three different companies yesterday and got a little bit lost. I parked the car near where I thought one of the companies was only to find that the street wasn't there. On the way back to the car I noticed a one dollar coin. It was only when I picked it up that I realised it was a one pound coin - i.e. a three dollar coin!

Miky had a dream about money the other night, just before she went to work for the last day of a trial. This put her in a good mood as she thought that it was a sign that she would get the job. On the way to the bus, this time taking a longer walk to get to a quicker bus, she found a five dollar note. I think that it is the first time in her life to find money. I do it all the time. Then she became disappointed as the dream obviously only meant the five dollars and not getting the job.

Is The Newlyweds Show Over?

I think I have seen a total of five minutes, in total, of the garbage they call Newlyweds, with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachy. Now that they are in the news for splitting up I guess it means the end of Newlyweds. Perhaps the producers thought that it was time for a spin-off series entitled "Newly-Separateds".

I think I may be adding to the English language here.

No Respect For The Game Of Cricket

Another thing that has irked me recently. The position of 12th man, the first replacement to the test cricket team of a nation, is really being treated with disrespect. It should be seen as a position of honour and should not be toyed with. The 12th man is the first reserve, not good enough for the first eleven, but next in line for a spot. His duties are to field if someone is injured, bring drinks/messages/new gloves/new bats to his teammates. It is almost like an apprenticeship position.

And what do we have now? Brett Lee is named as 12th man for Australia against New Zealand. Rather than attend to his duties he will be released to play a one-day game for NSW. Why bother naming him as 12th man if he won't stick around to fulfil his duties? Is he still getting paid as though he is the 12th man? Give the job to someone more deserving who will hang around for the five days and do his duty.

Everyone knows that Billy Birmingham is the real 12th man.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

What Has Happened To The World's Greatest Christian Country?

No, I'm not talking about the Holy See. The title is probably more self-proclaimed than anything.

The good ole US of A. Dubya won the presidential election almost entirely on the back of the Christian vote. Well, he is such a man of God. A born-again Christian, he is.

What irks me is in the country where they print "In God We Trust" on their coinage, they can't bring themselves to say Christmas. Take the new movie, Bad Santa. I heard an excerpt this morning on the radio.

"What do you do after the holidays?" some woman asked Bad Santa.
"Nothin' 'til March. Then I'm the Easter Bunny."

Pardon me. Shouldn't the question be "What do you do after Christmas?"? They can't mention the word representing the period that they have holidays but they vote somebody to be their president because God and himself are on the same side?

Like I said, it irks me.
What's Going On?

My mate Nick Souter is now taking pictures of trees and putting them on his blog. He has hit the big 3-0 and seems to have lost the plot.

Bring Back Spelling

If there is a job that is under scrutiny it must be that of the person who writes the news ticker. You know, that little band at the bottom of the screen that scrolls along and feeds you tidbits of news. I had Channel 9 on the other day, please don't ask why as I HATE Channel 9, and there was an article about Yevgeny Kafelnikov. He doesn't seem to have an official Webpage - how odd. Yevgeny, whom I watched at Wimbledon in 1994 on Court 14 (if my memory serves me right [no pun intended]) when he was just starting and instantly became a fan of his style, has decided to retire and become a professional poker player. That's not how Channel 9 described it though. In their words - professional POKA. I'm sure nearly every fourth grader in the country knows how to spell "poker". But not the one that works for Channel 9, apparently.

Telstra Does It Again

Telstra called me on Tuesday night. Well, Duncan, representing Telstra, called me. He wanted to tell me all about the great rates they had at Telstra as they had dropped their prices. I told him that I didn't believe his as I had spoken to someone from Telstra last week and I'm sure that they wouldn't have dropped their rates again in the meantime. He was surprised that I had been contacted. Talk about a waste of his 16 cents.

Worst Cover Song Ever?

I heard the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Song for 2004 the other day. Talk about a horrible cover version. It was worse than the original. And I hated the original. Having said that it sounds worse, it is easier to understand. I thought the original song said "Jesus, woo hoo oh" when it seems to be "Food, for all".

Wish The Weather Would Make Up It's Mind

We have had a couple of days of rain in Perth and the temperature has been bobbing around the 18-22 degree mark. Marble Bar, up north, had 45 degrees yesterday. Scheisse. That's cook-an-egg-on-the-shovel weather. We've had a few days of 32 degrees over the weekend and then the cold wave. By Saturday it is supposed to be 35 degrees again. It's seven degrees this morning. Bit nippy.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Fifth Birthday Fun

Today was a special day. Yu-Jin's friend, Alec, was having his fifth birthday party today. Below is a page with all of the photos that came out.

Birthday party pics.

Lots of kids arrived and we were quickly moved outside. A wise choice as it turned out, otherwise the house would have been flooded with kids and parents. It was quite busy outside and when the animal farm arrived there was a slight amount of pandemonium that ensued. All of the kids wanted to touch the animals - there were ducklings, chickens, bantam roosters and hens, a lamb, a piglet, rabbits, kids (of the goat variety) and a pony. Ok, the pony came last and was the centre of attention - at least until the smaller animals were given to the children to hold. I didn't see too many kids that didn't want to hold an animal. Talk about excited and some of the pics came out very well. Even Miky got in on the act!!

Then it came turn to give the lamb, piglet and kids some bottled milk. The children almost rioted to be given a turn. The piglet stole the show when he got away and ran into the house! What a scream.

Once the pony rides were announced almost all of the kids forgot about the smaller animals. Considering it was supposed to be 32 degrees today and the children had to line up for quite a while waiting their turn, they were very well behaved.

Packing up time was interesting also. One of the little girls who came to the party, in a very nice dress mind you, decided to pick up the piglet and take him to the front of the house but he managed to get away. I raced out to grab him so that a car didn't make him breakfast bacon for tomorrow.

Talk about well looked after at this party. There were two icecream cakes and a chocolate cake too. My kind of party. At this stage Yu-Jin was looking forward to going home so that he could get a lolly bag. Aren't kids so mercenary?

Something I noticed - the parents of the kids from Alec's childcare stayed together and the parents of the kids from Alec's kindy stayed together. I guess everyone was happy with the level of familiarity. It was nice to talk to people who you irregularly see but should be spending more time with. As it turns out, Alec only lives about 15 minutes from our house. And Yu-Jin likes his sister too, as the first photo is a testament to.

It worries me that the last two 5th birthday parties we have attended included a bouncy castle and an animal farm. How are we supposed to top that? I guess our kids deserve it and it isn't too much money in the big picture. The kids have a great time and will never forget it.

Who Says Google News Is Biased?

I did read a report on the Internet a while back that mentioned a possible bias in news reports by Google News. It is where I read the majority of my news, I must admit. But the thing is, when I pick up the Sunday paper after reading Google News on a Saturday, I read the same stories, practically word for word. Where is the bias? It is almost like the Sunday Times in a Website, but with a lot more stories. It's updated a bit more regularly also.

Yu-Jin's Mouth Does It Again

Yu-Jin and I were shopping yesterday for a present for Alec. I spotted one of Miky's lecturers from TAFE and wanted to have a bit of a chat. We were chatting away and then Yu-Jin got this ball and pushed it against me and announced, "It's on your willy."

Time to go, exit stage left.

Definition Of Unlucky

Some things are just meant to happen. A few weeks back, buggered if I can find the news report, an engineering student from UWA had been to a late evening study group. Approximately 1am she fell asleep at the wheel and crashed her car. Some passers by helped her and she was apparently only a little shaken. A few minutes later, two cars on the other side of the ride collided and one of the vehicles careered into this young woman, killing her instantly. She was only three weeks away from graduating. Such a waste. And definitely unlucky. What must the odds against this double accident happening be?

Win With Insulation

I spotted an ad for sealed thermal insulation which I mentioned recently. Was given a quotation the first work day following filling in a form on the Net. Did some more research last weekend and found that ShopRite members get a 15% discount. I bought my Falcon through these guys so I know that they do a reasonable job. Rang the company and tried to squeeze them a bit more. The guy who quoted me earlier said that the special offer was 15% off the retail price but as I was an existing ShopRite member he would give me a further discount, making the 3.0 insulation the same price as the 2.5 insulation.

I would call that a win for a Frugal Bastard.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Why is it called "menopause" when it is women that go through it?


I was buying our fruit and vegetables from the market yesterday and I overheard something. One women asked one of the shop owners if she could cut some fruit up for her to taste and if she liked it she would buy it. A few moments later I heard her say, "My mother told me there was a saying in Ukrainian, 'nich stov ye vost doon' (I dunno what she said), which means 'It tastes like grass.'"

Just what the hell was she talking about? It really threw me, and I come from European blood, way back. I don't know how the poor Vietnamese women took it. Probably as an insult. She cuts some fruit up, gives a taste, and then gets some story about it tasting like grass.

You overhear some funny conversations at the markets.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It's Over... Almost

My madness is almost over. A return to sanity is on the cards. I finished doing Miky's damn homework tonight and boy am I glad. As of tomorrow, Miky will only have a few classes to attend as her range will be finished and undergo judging.

Now, I wouldn't say I am a guru with Microsoft Word, but I can do a hell of a lot more with it than she can. It pretty much goes like this -

- Instructions are handed out
- Instructions are carried out
- Instructions weren't followed too well (perhaps they weren't as clear as they needed to be in the first place?)
- Much screaming ensues (calm down bugger it, it's only a bit of formatting)
- Formatting is changed
- Marriage safe
- Words of gratitude uttered

Earlier today, Miky rang me in a bit of a tizz because her Corel Draw pictures, that we went to great trouble last night to put on my memory stick from the computer at TAFE, wouldn't load at home. I knew that it was because TAFE has version 11 and I only have version 10. Not a big deal, just go to TAFE and save them in version 10 format. Wailing, howling, the end is nigh sentiment ensued.

I gained permission to leave work early so that I could get Yu-Jin from kindy. Met Miky at the library at TAFE and sorted out the version issue VERY quickly. The things I do. Isn't it great that Miky never reads my blog?

My Japanese Is Ok

My message got through the other night in Japanese. An email was waiting for me from my friend the next morning with her phone number. Hooray!! I did say "denwa bangoo", the last word being Korean for "fart" instead of "denwa bango", Japanese for "telephone number", but I got away with it. Don't mention the war (Fawlty Towers joke).

Christmas Is Upon Us

Bugger me. I received my first Christmas Card for the upcoming Christmas 2004. I'm sure that I've received some Christmas cards already this year but they were just late arrivals for 2003. I have removed my cards from the drawers. I am thinking about writing them people. Thinking, not actioning.

Monday, November 08, 2004

McDonalds Are Famous For It

What are McDonalds famous for? Wherever you go you will be served the same shit. In our case it was the same shit service. A week ago, on Saturday, I took Yu-Jin to McDonalds to have an ice cream only to be informed that they were cleaning the machine. We went to another McDonalds not far away.

Last Saturday I took Yu-Jin to McDonalds for a milkshake, and to meet Miky. I was informed that they were cleaning the machine, again, and that this was done on a weekly basis. What possessed them to clean the machine on a Saturday morning I'll never know. Do it when you are a little bit less busy. Whilst we waited I counted at least 42 flies on the window and five dead ones. That's pretty disgusting. At least Yu-Jin had his own biscuit to eat. Miky came and we went to the other McDonalds.

At the other McDonalds I was told that the chocolate wasn't working. Therefore, we ordered a strawberry milkshake. He tried and the machine broke down. Unbelievable! Yu-Jin and I went a couple of doors down to Hungry Jacks and purchased a chocolate thickshake and took it back into McDonalds to have. Nobody challenged us.

International Phone Calls

I had the urge last night to call some friends overseas, one in Germany and the other in Japan. Unfortunately my address book had my friends' addresses but not phone numbers. This is the reason why I love parents.

Parents never move. I had the phone numbers of both sets of parents. I rang Germany first and it was so funny. My friend's mum was happy to talk to me. My German isn't brilliant but we had a bit of a laugh and I got the telephone number. Then I spoke to my friend's answering machine.

Feeling a little more confident I rang my friend's parents in Japan. Strangely, nobody said anything for the first 5-10 seconds, and I was about to hang up but decided to say something. Then the other end of the sprang to life. Is it not normal to say "Hello" when answering the phone? I asked in Japanese for my friend's phone number and then got heaps of Japanese. Not recognising the voice I made sure that I had the correct people. No phone number was forthcoming. "Bye bye".

Mind you, there was an email awaiting me this morning with a phone number so my message got through. My Japanese wasn't a complete failure. But the call wasn't as much fun as the one to Germany.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Silly Old Telstra

Miky got a call from some of the marketing crew at Telstra on Tuesday. They wanted to come around, between 6pm and 7pm, to match the offer of my chosen phone company to get me to "come back".

Funnily enough, I was home having tea, but felt like going elsewhere during that time. Why would I wait around for them? They didn't give me the telephone service that I was looking for and now they expect me to wait for them to service me? Even funnier was the fact that they didn't turn up. Much as I expected.

The following night, at about 5:50pm, a dude from Telstra came around. He asked me which telephone company I was with. I told him that Telstra know who I am with. Afterall, that hooked me up to the new service provider. This agitated him a bit. He did mention that I had be spoken to the other night. I said that I hadn't. My wife had, but not me. Got him a little bit more offside. My feeling was that he should know the story if he is going to sell me something.

I showed him the current plan with DigiPlus, tell them I put you onto their service if you decide to change to them (we'll both get $10 worth of calls for free. You'll probably need my phone number though. Drop me an email.) and said that they didn't have a credit card charge either. He lamely indicated that on a $100 bill it was only $1.50 to which I replied that was one capped national call of $1.49 with DigiPlus. He looked over my current plan and said that he couldn't better that offer and promptly left.

Don't waste your time and mine I thought to myself.
Bit Of A Geek

I guess that I am becoming more of a geek in my old age. Just to prove it, I watched the Melbourne Cup on the Internet on Tuesday whilst at work. The Website was Registration is free and the picture wasn't too bad. I think the site was a little overloaded as the picture stopped down the home straight, just to add to the tension.

Can you believe that the phone rang twice during the race? Some people in this country have no idea about the importance of this race. Oh yeah, I picked Media Puzzle in the office sweepstake and got bugger all.

Do Wot John?

Here's my small wrap-up of the US Presidential election. Seeing as Dubya won the popular vote by some 3.5 million votes, as opposed to losing the popular vote four years ago, I think it was a case of "Do wot John?" for his two opponents - Senator John Kerry and Senator John Edwards. The American public didn't know what John was going to do. Anyway, the US Presidential elections are a bit Monty Pythonesque by nature.

The College Electoral system used in the US Presidential elections is quite intriguing. The populace don't actually vote for the President, much like Australians don't vote for the Prime Minister.

Some of this strange system is revealed in the FAQ of US citizens not domiciled in the fifty States, or Washington D.C., are unable to vote. So, if you live in a US territory, such as Puerto Rico or Guam, tough luck.

Fourty-eight of the States have a winner-takes-all approach to the Electoral College votes, however Nebraska and Maine have a proportional voting system in place.

There are 538 votes in the Electoral College and this distribution can vary every 10 years, depending on the US Census. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, and their distribution is based upon the current population. It does change. There is a minimum of one electoral vote for each House of Reps member and each state gets to elect two Senators. Washington D.C., although not a State, gets the minimum of three seats.

I would have thought that in a Federal election, voting methods, whether electronic, punch-cards, or by ballot paper, would have been the same country-wide. It is a bit archaic that each State determines it's voting method and voting distribution.

And what did the world end up with? Another four years of a megalomaniac. Dubya may be an idiot but the American voting public have just shown that they are very conservative. They are just taking the situation as it is instead of making a great change to elect John Kerry and his Administration. At least we all know that Dubya is a dead duck and no-one will be worrying about him anymore. In four years time the world will be rid of him.

I'm disappointed that the old Red Indian curse didn't get him. Still a couple of months to go however.
The Real Cost Of Air Travel

It's much cheaper to travel today folks than it was eight years ago. My mate Grooks was married some eight years ago and I flew return to Adelaide from Perth with Qantas for a cheap price of $369. It was a good deal at that time.

A couple of days ago I purchased some tickets with Qantas, on the Net, for myself and Yu-Jin, to attend my sister's 30th birthday. They set me back some $328.14 each.

Think about it. What has inflation been running at over that time? Two to three and half, four percent? And what about the $12 fuel surcharge for each one-way flight? That is a component of $24 per ticket.

There you have it. Air travel is significantly cheaper these days. Thanks Virgin Blue. Isn't competition great?
The Three Little Pigs - A Story About Why Regulation Is Required In The Building Industry

In the same vein as my revelation of the truth about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I have decided to reveal the truth about the three little pigs. Everybody knows the story about the three little pigs. It goes a little something like this.

The three little pigs decide to leave home and mummy pig wishes them well. They build their own houses to live in. The first little pig builds his house from straw, the second from sticks, and the third from bricks.

Along comes the big bad wolf who is hungry. He approaches the first little pig's house of straw and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me in."
"Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin," replies the frightened first little pig.
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blown your house down," said the big bad wolf.
So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house of straw down. The first little pig ran to his brother's house.

The big bad wolf approached the second little pig's house of sticks and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me in."
"Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin," replies the frightened second little pig.
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blown your house down," said the big bad wolf.
So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house of sticks down. The first and second little pigs ran to their brother's house.

The big bad wolf approached the third little pig's house of bricks and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me in."
"Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin," replied the third little pig. He wasn't frightened.
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blown your house down," said the big bad wolf.
So he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and he puffed, but he couldn't blow down the house of bricks. So the three little pigs were safe.

Here's the real story.

The three little pigs were just juvenile delinquents. Hair on my chinny chin chin? Just a bit of bum fluff. Rowdy teenagers rebelling against society. There's no mention of their father so obviously they were living with their mother who was unable to control them. That's what happens when you don't have a proper father figure. Single mothers are just crying out for help in the pig society.

This is really a story about shonky builders and renovators, the three little pigs, and a building inspector just doing his job, the big bad wolf. Look at it this way - who ever heard of straw and sticks being used as building materials? Get real, the first two little pigs obviously never read the Building Code. I don't believe that they were ever members of the Master Builders Association. They were just backyard operators out for a quick buck.

What about the poor maligned building inspector? He was going around doing his job of inspecting buildings, making sure that the public was kept safe from shonky builders and dwellings that were unfit for habitation. The little pigs had a propaganda machine in the order of George W. Bush's to make the building inspector out to be the baddy. Just because he looked a little different to all of the other characters in the story. That's discrimination in its worst sense. Would you seriously live in a house made of straw or sticks? Not bloody likely. More power to the building inspector.

Only one of the little pigs had the necessary skills to call himself a builder, or anything close to resembling a tradesman. And just to show that their is no justice in the world his two useless little brothers come running to him for protection for their illegal acts and prosecution. You make a name for yourself by working hard and everyone wants to suck you dry. Isn't it always the way?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Idiot of the Week

Check out Nick's site to see why he is the idiot of the week.

Payback time Nicholas.
Is Anthony One Of The Untouchables?

You know, Anthony Callea, the Australian Idol contestant who has never been in the bottom three. Is he untouchable? Or does he just look like one of the Untouchables?

Yes, that was a wog joke.

Yu-Jin Has A Bank Account

Miky had a fitting last night and so I had to pick Yu-Jin up from kindy. Ok, I picked him up but left his bag and lunchbox there. I am a bit of a newbie as I've not picked him up before.

On the agenda was a bank account for the young man. He had a huge money tin that I had been putting change and any birthday/Christmas money that he received. I rang the bank from work to ask if the branch I wanted to attend had a coin counting machine. I was assured that that was the case and the woman opened an account by taking our details. I just had to walk into the bank basically and deposit the money. So I took Yu-Jin, his money tin and a can opener with me.

We arrived about 3:20 pm and promptly found out coin counting machines haven't been in use for years. I would have to bag all of the coins myself. Scheisse. So for the next 30 minutes I feverishly piled up coins and bagged them. I managed to get through about three-quarters of the tin in that time. There was a little girl waiting with her parents near where we were counting the money and so Yu-Jin played with her and read her some books.

Now for the outstanding totals. There was $165 in notes and my counting totalled $450. So, Yu-Jin has $615 in his bank account. Not bad for four years of saving change! (note: back at home I counted the rest of the change and it totalled $740.90)

When we finally got to do the paperwork Yu-Jin was so excited about the swivel chair that he spent a bit of time just spinning around. There is no social hierarchy with this kid. He talks to everybody as though they are an equal.

"Do you know, I get pocket money?" he asked the teller.
"Do you clean your room?" she asked.
"Do you pack away your toys?"

At least he is honest. Then the teller said something about signing my name and Yu-Jin piped up with "His name is Mark Ham." Who says you need 100 points of identification to open a bank account? Just take Yu-Jin with you.

But probably the funniest thing to come out of his mouth was, "Do you know, my daddy didn't brush his teeth?"
"Did his teeth fall out?"
With a puzzled look on his face he replied with, "Not really."

There was just no shutting this kid up. All he wanted to do was talk.

He fell asleep in the car on the way home. So I got to watch nearly all of the Channel Ten news from 5:15 pm. Yu-Jin was still asleep when I went to bed after 10 pm. I believe that he got up after 11, had some tea and then Miky put a video, Bionicles, for him to watch. About 1:30 am he burst into our room to tell mum about the numbers on the video. It had reached the end of the tape and was rewinding by itself. I'm not too sure about how he will get up this morning.

Eight More Barrow Loads

On Sunday we grabbed eight more wheelbarrow loads of woodchips from across the road. Our front garden looks fabbo now. I'll have to take some pics. I did a bit of wheelbarrow racing with Yu-Jin inside. He loved it.

For those of you statistically minded - I have a total of 38 barrow loads of woodchips at my place. At an average of 25 shovel fulls per barrow that makes 950 shovels. No wonder my back is a bit sore.

Sprinkler Time

It's getting to be a dry time of year and so I put the sprinklers on. We are only allowed to water with reticulation two times a week and we have set days depending upon our house number. Not a bad idea I must say.

There's always one sprinkler that doesn't want to play the game. Out the front one failed to pop up. I took a screwdriver out to lever it up. That only popped the top. Amid trying to screw the sprayer back in and trying to pop it up, I got soaked. That was rather good fun though. No more dramas with the sprinklers. Maybe my grass will live. I could never call it lawn though.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Curve Magazine Pictorial

Curve magazine has some taste. Published by Newsdirect, they took some professional photos at the ninth annual Smales WA Fashion Design Awards that I spoke about in September. They had a two page spread in Issue VI, only $5.50, of some of the clothes on display.

And out of these pics they thought that one of Miky's designs was fabulous enough to put into print. Woohoo!!

Miky's is the white top with green studded pants. It looked spectacular on the catwalk too. I thought that it was fantastic. What ya reckon?

Yu-Jin Must Be Getting Used To Parents In Print

Not that Yu-Jin has seen my photo in the paper too much but he must be getting used to seeing his parents in the media. He's seen my pic on my blog and mum's newspaper spread. Imagine my surprise when he looked at the following part of an ad in the Spring 2004 Perth Homemakers' Sale:

"Is that you, daddy?"

Come on son. Are the ears that similar? I guess they are but he could be a little more observant than that.

Frugal Bastards I Have Known

I shall save his blushes by letting him remain nameless. Let's just call him Alex. **Not his real name (he has a surname as well).

Alex was a fitter who did an adult apprenticeship to become an electrician. He was one of the hardest working blokes you have ever seen. Pretty smart guy. We did our apprenticeships together in Mt Gambier and Alex's family lived in Portland, Victoria. About two hours drive away. On Saturdays he used to play tennis.

Now Alex was a frugal bastard. The doors on his Subaru needed some work so he filled them with concrete. He painted it with some bitumen-type material himself. Alex didn't pay for accommodation. I believe that he used to find a car park and sleep outside on some stretcher-like setting. Then he learnt that CSR Woodpanels owned some houses just outside the factory walls. He offered to stay at one of the houses as it would offer some extra security for the building. Mind you, he didn't stay in the house. No, he parked outside in the driveway and slept outside on his stretcher!!

It didn't end there. At work we had a shower, which he used, and a microwave. If his food couldn't be cooked in a microwave then it wouldn't get cooked at all. Was there no ending to this man's frugality? As he had nowhere to go after Tech finished he would stay after class until about 8pm and then go to his driveway. No wonder he was so smart. He did an extra four hours of learning each day.

One other instance comes to mind, not necessarily frugal by nature. Our boss wanted us to work on the Saturday and only told us late on Friday. Alex was due to play tennis and so wouldn't have been able to. He asked the boss if he could do a double-shift and go home at midnight. That's not too dumb and that's exactly what he did. Still got the whole weekend with his family, played tennis and got paid for working on Saturday. One clever bloke.

Oh yes. He did put tar on his roof in Portland instead of paying someone else to paint it properly. Not a brilliant move as it would have devalued it significantly. Now I hear that he is an operator on a production line earning 60-70K. What did I tell you about this bloke?
Saturday Was Full Of Interesting Happenings

Whilst shopping in the city with Yu-Jin he decided that he needed to go to the toilet - Now! The only place I could find was a pay-per-use toilet. Had to cop the 30 cents entrance fee. Damn it, if I had to pay for him then I was going to go also. It was slightly embarrasing when a man came in to use the urinal and Yu-Jin kept saying, "Look at that man. What's he doing?"

We visited the Perth City Library and I guess I don't take as much notice of kids' needs as I should. I wanted to borrow some books and a DVD for Yu-Jin and he wanted to read books and play games. The pace of life takes all the fun out of it.

Later on I went for a ride on my bike and put Yu-Jin in the carrier seat. He loves being ridden around. Stopped for a rest at the playground near home. Then this eight year old boy, Alexander, who lives across from the park came to join us. We had played together before. He had a pocket knife and was being a bit silly with it, as boys tend to do. Yu-Jin wanted to write some letters in the sand. Alexander wrote "fcuk" and I told him that it meant "French Connection United Kingdom" - a clothing company. He insisted that it was a rude word that his mum had told him and she is almost never wrong. Let's not forget the age of this boy.

Alexander, I guess he uses his full name as he is a Christian and they tend to do that sort of thing (makes his behaviour appear a little unusual), wanted to have honky nut wars. Honky nuts are the very large gumnuts all over the ground from the large gum trees. You throw them at each other. Yu-Jin is only four so Alexander was being a little bit rough for my liking. He hit Yu-Jin quite hard from close range on the hand and I told him off. Everything was ok. At one stage Yu-Jin was chasing him and I lobbed, not ditched (hard throw) a nut just in front of Alexander. It collected him clean on the nose and you should have seen the tears. I didn't mean to hurt him but it was nothing less than he deserved in actual fact.

I wasn't too happy with Alexander telling Yu-Jin to "Piss off" all the time. It was a little bit too early to be teaching him to swear I said. Mind you, my son did pick it up very quickly. It is very important to be able to swear properly. When some arsehole needs to be told off you don't want him to laugh at you because you can't swear properly.

Later on the swing we had one of those moments that you see on the home video shows. I was pushing Yu-Jin and he was furiously kicking his legs when he kicked me in the family jewels. If only someone had been taping it.

Superman II was on TV last night. Seeing as we watched the first movie two weeks ago we were looking forward to this. There was a scene in the White House and Yu-Jin turned to me and said, "Is that the baddies' house?" Well, the answer to that is yes and no, depending on how you feel about the Bush administration.

Another scene involved Superman standing inside a molecular chamber and being exposed to Krypton's red sun's rays and becoming mortal. His clothes changed to those of Clark Kent. Later he entered the chamber again and his clothes didn't change. Yu-Jin said "What happened to Superman?" Talk about observant plus. He noticed straight away that nothing had changed. I couldn't believe it. Over 95% of people would have been tricked by the switch - I know I was when I first saw it.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Do No Evil and Google Saved His Life

Google have a company motto - "Do no evil". When a search engine can be credited with saving somebody's life, see article, they must be doing a reasonable job of sticking to it.

The story in a nutshell. Aussie reporter in Iraq is kidnapped. Kidnappers, or maybe terrorists, extortionists, etc, charge him with working for the FBI, CIA or US government. He protests his innocence. Kidnappers do a google search on his name and see that he doesn't work for any government agency. They let him go.

Great story.

But what about our lovely Australian Government? Where did they stand on the issue of an Aussie getting kidnapped in Iraq?

Alexander Downer, the prissy Adelaide boy who is almost the complete kow-towing, dimwit, arse-kissing choir boy, says that he was taken from an area he was told not to go to (before we heard of Mr Martinkus's release this is). It's all his fault. Why should the government help him? Blah blah blah.

As soon as Mr Martinkus is released he spills the beans on how he was kidnapped. It happened right outside the hotel where international journalists are staying. Is that allowed Mr Downer?

Shame on Alexander Downer and the Australian government for their flagrant use of propaganda. I'm appalled. Here is a decent article of the incident.

Onya Google.

Bytheway. Google have another lifesaver. It is called the Google Desktop Search. It is brilliant, bloody brilliant. No need to use the search disfunction on Windows anymore. It indexes your emails in Outlook and all of the files on your computer. You can index your Instant Messages and HTTPS Websites but I disabled that at work. I would do the same at home. It makes searching a breeze and provides the details of the search much like a search engine results page. Almost magical.

And it is only in Beta stage.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Evo Bus Is Here

Many moons ago, a good friend of mine in Germany, Markus, informed me that an environmentally friendly bus was making its way to Perth. Markus works for Daimler Chrysler and they manufactured the bus.

Well, I can safely say that it has arrived. I saw one of these buses on Monday night as I was driving to visit my chiropractor. The buses have only been released in 12 cities, 10 of these are in Europe with the others being Shanghai and Perth. They are being tested for their efficiency and acceptance by the public. I hope that they are successful.

Here's an article about the arrival of the bus in Perth. It's rather a pity that the spelling and grammar are so poor in the write up. Bloody government department.
Painful Injury

If only Eddie Maguire could suffer this injury. Whilst training for Australia for the International Rules competition against the Irish, one of Essendon's star players picked up an injury.

Apparently he injured his media ligament. Here's the article. If only, Eddie.
Geek Week On Triple J

Adam and Wil were celebrating Geek Week on Triple J - and they have had some really interesting contenders in a competition. I listened to them on the Net this morning (am I a geek) and they had a Geek-off for a signed Scrabble scorecard from Andrew G and Adam Spencer. There were two main contenders and I would loved to have challenged them. One guy gave a recital of pi to 15 decimal places in morse code and the another guy proofread manuals and notified the publisher of errors, in different languages if necessary. He would go and find someone who spoke French or Korean and ask for their help. No wonder he was the prize geek.

Back in yr 10 Maths my teacher had an excerpt from Mad Magazine that defined people. It said that a nerd was only good if you wanted to know pi to 127 decimal places. I made it my goal in life to learn pi to 127 decimal places. This was used as an icebreaker when meeting people. Not too effectively but somewhat amusingly. Does that beat the geek who could recite pi to 15 decimal places in morse code? Anyway, somebody rang Triple J a short time later and said that the guy had made a mistake in his recital. Who is the bigger geek?

With regards to the manual proofreader - I read the Guinness Book of Records from front to back and catalogued six pages of mistakes and typos and sent it to them. I got my name in the acknowledgment section for my help!! And when I went to England I met the editor - Peter Matthews. I also visited the Guinness World of Records Museum and they offered me a job to stand in a booth with a microphone and let people ask me about any world record. They allowed me to have a look around the museum and afterwards asked me what I thought about the display. I proceeded to tell them all of the mistakes in the museum.

Pity I couldn't join the competition on Triple J. I guess by definition I am a nerd, not a geek. I did send the above information to the Triple J Guestbook. And the moderator allowed it to be posted.

There was another kid who sang a song about the Periodic Table and that was brilliant. That may just inspire me. I used to know the first 80 elements of the Periodic Table.

Miky Is In The Paper!!

Check out the article in the Canning Times Community Newspaper.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Been A Bit Busy Lately

Warning - The following blog contains, if I remember, discussion about medical procedures, blood and yuck.

Been quite busy of late. There is a huge pile of woodchips across the road where the council cut down three or four trees and then pulped them. I finally got around to ringing the council for permission to grab some woodchips as they would look great in my garden. The guy said to get them before everyone else does.

So that night we all went across the road and filled up the wheelbarrow. Mozzies started attacking us as it was dusk and that called for the repellent. That stuff works like magic. We ended up with seven barrow loads.

Next morning, bright and very early, I grabbed another eight loads. In total that's pretty much a tralier load. On Friday morning I went a bit sick and grabbed 15 loads. Took me an hour and eight minutes for you fans of statistics out there. My back is killing me now.

It reminded me of when I was young and we used to get underneath the sheep yards and collected sheep poo. The smell wasn't quite the same but it brought back some happy memories anyway.

That's why I haven't blogged lately.

Dentist Revisited

Had to get some more teeth worked on yesterday. Two more injections necessary to knock off the pain. Big job this time. The dentist left only the four corner pieces on one tooth and removed all of the internal part, which was a large filling, and then constructed a piece to fit into it. And then proceeded to drop it down my throat. Luckily I didn't swallow it as they take 10-15 mins to make each time.

Yu-Jin has some major work done too. His two teeth at the rear on top were both very badly decayed. He had an injection on each side this time. No injection two weeks ago. Man, his teeth look so much better. He was on my chest the whole time and behaved himself very well, although he cried pretty much throughout.

After he finshed, Yu-Jin lay down on the floor and went to sleep. I couldn't see him and wondered why it was so quiet. The dental assistant put a cushion underneath him.

Following my work I was due for a clean. I can't believe how much plaque was on my teeth. The dental hygienist got this large pick like instrument and really scraped my teeth and cleaned just under the gums. Bit of blood was evident and then she flossed my teeth also. More blood and more gunk. What a job. I hope she gets paid well. I know that I was paying well for it!

Now I have no more grey/black fillings in the bottom of my mouth. And no money left in my wallet!

My teeth feel great now. I promised to take Yu-Jin to McDonalds but he just wanted to go home and sleep as he didn't feel very well. After a few hours sleep, me included, we went to McDonalds. Straight afterwards we had tea - it was getting late and none of us had had lunch.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


That got your attention, didn't it? Great word for the day. I rang my good friend, Grooks, last night and during the conversation he informed me that woodpeckers have tongues that go around their brains and end up behind their eyes.

So I did a Google search this morning. I found out that the tongue of a woodpecker is three times the size of it's beak and has to be stored somewhere. Other info gleaned said that the brain was hard up against the skull so as not to get damaged.

Then I came across that brilliant word, zygodactyl. For those of you who haven't done a Google search yet to discover its meaning, it means a bird with two toes pointing forwards and two toes pointing backwards. Great for wrapping around tree trunks and hanging on. Woodpeckers and parrots are the best known species to have this trait.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Kids Today Aren't Spoilt

"Back in my day son we didn't have..."
"When I was your age..."

You know how the saying goes. You feel that your kid has it much better than you did. To a certain degree that may be true but kids really are growing up in a different society than we did.

On Saturday we attended a fifth birthday party. It was Yu-Jin's best friend from kindy. They had hired a bouncy castle for the afternoon which wasn't a bad idea considering there was a total of 13 boys at the party. We didn't have one of those in my day but then again we had much more space to play. The party was well organised, not that we had much time to talk to the hosts, and the boys had a treasure hunt for gold coins of chocolate, bubbles to blow, balls to play with and a sandpit to muck around in. Food included party sausage rolls, frankfurts, popcorn, chocolate crackles and other delightful finger food.

Back in my day, mums would know how to cook anything. Today, if I had to make chocolate crackles it would mean firing up the computer and Googling for "chocolate crackles recipe". We don't have to know anything as the knowledge is at our fingertips.

As soon as the cameras came out the kids asked, "Can I see (the photo) it?" My how times have changed. No more waiting for the film to be developed.

We parents were talking about how good the kids of today have it. My father only played cricket with me a couple of times and football about the same. Today we spend more time doing sport with our kids because we feel the need to do something with them. We may take them to the playground more often than our fathers did but look at the situation back then - kids could roam the streets free of the worry of child predators and there were lots of other kids to play with. Nowadays your kids aren't safe to do that and so have little power to entertain themselves. It appears that we spend more time taking our kids to events - like Santa, the miniature trains, the playground, movies, etc - and we do, but because we have so little time to spend with them and want to make the most of it.

I don't think that kids of today are spoilt. We spent our time doing different activities with them so that they get the best out of life.

I bought a secondhand book about Aesop's Fables for Yu-Jin. There are close to 100 stories in the book and I find it to be great reading. My mum would have known all of those stories but I don't. And I don't want my kid to miss out on something that I took for granted.