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.