Saturday, July 30, 2005

As a Foreign Minister He Makes a Good Singer

Of course, I'm referring to Alexander Bummer, er Downer. Australia signed a non-aggression pact to become a member of ASEAN and Mr Downer did a great job of singing in public. It wasn't quite karaoke as he had some cards to remember the words and not an autocue. But I think that he has far more talent as a singer than he ever will as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

I was quite surprised in fact. Perhaps we will get some very important trading concessions with our closest neighbours, whether they like it or not.
It's a Small World After All

Two of our employees finished up yesterday. One of them has only been with us for a few months as he had gained a graduate engineer position in Queensland and we took him on in the meantime. As he has been so busy I have only seen him about three times, generally when an employee has been leaving.

I mentioned that his name sounded Macedonian. Yes, he was. How did I know? I had played indoor soccer with a Macedonian team and I spoke about a couple of the players. He knows them and has been to the restaurant that they own. In fact, his cousin married one of them!!

We are practically related and I didn't find out until the day he is leaving?!
Footy Tipping Letdown - Again

Bugger. I would have won the footy tipping again last week if I hadn't been trying for last place as I picked 7/8 losers. Fairly good bit of tipping, it would have been. And this second phantom win would have recouped my money.

Flight That Never Was - Thanks Australia Post (You Bastards)

Miky and Yu-Jin were supposed to be on a plane to Korea in two hours time. They won't be and I blame Australia Post and their Express Post Platinum product for it. Read the guarantee - delivered next day by 12pm to a business address.

We had planned to go to Korea in December for three weeks when Miky could take holidays. Something happened and she decided to go pretty much straight away. Problem was that as she and Yu-Jin want to stay until January the boy required a visa (greater than 45 days) or else they would need to leave the country and return. Not the best option. She fairly hastily organised for a visa for Yu-Jin and had to get her own permanent residency visa renewed to allow her to re-enter Australia. That was ok.

Miky sent Yu-Jin's visa application to the Korean Embassy in Canberra and paid lots of money to guarantee next day delivery. On this occasion Australia Post delivered. The visa was issued and the Korean Embassy posted the boy's passport back to us.

Guaranteed to be delivered to a business address by 12pm, they said. Twelve o'clock came and went. I had tried tracking the package and couldn't find it on Australia Post's or Australian Air Express' Track & Trace Website. I use this Website at work to track customers' orders so I know how it works. When it didn't appear I was a bit concerned.

Miky had taken Yu-Jin to school, although he is very sick (this happened last time he went to Korea and the doctor has given him some very strong medication to allow him to travel), to say goodbye to his classmates as he wouldn't see them until next year. All the kids wanted to ask questions and apparently he was a bit of a know-it-all when it came to what happens in Korea. I wonder where he gets that from?

Friday afternoon saw me concerned with talking to people at Aussie Post and AAE with Miky talking to the embassy and the travel agency. Many phone calls later the embassy confirmed that they had posted it at 4pm - before the 6pm deadline, on Thursday. I finally received confirmation that Canberra South Mail Centre had scanned the package at 4:50pm on Friday. Checking the Track & Trace Website I found that it wasn't operational 95% of the time. The package finally appeared at 9:14pm on AAE's Website. Beauty, I thought. It had left Canberra. The Perth office was going to intercept the package for me because if was delivered to Aussie Post on a Saturday there was no way in hell I would get it. The postal service doesn't work on Saturdays in this country.

Early this morning I drove to the courier services airport headquarters and found that they don't open on weekends anymore. Bugger. Went home and called a friend I used to play indoor soccer with as I thought that his brother worked at that office. His mobile number has changed and I got some poor bastard out of bed. I rang his home number and got his answering machine. I rang another friend of his, and mine, and only got his answering machine as well. I tried the national phone number of the courier and managed to speak to somebody from Perth. He said that there were quite a few items that were to be searched for and held for people. Lots of us in the same boat it seems. But he also mentioned that there had been no flight to Perth from Canberra from the night before. Perhaps the mail had been flown to Melbourne which meant it would arrive at his depot by 11am but if it had been sent to Sydney he wouldn't see it until late this evening. If it had even left Canberra in the first place.

I rang the travel company, Flight Centre, where Miky had purchased the tickets from and waited 25 minutes to talk to someone - and that was using the emergency after hours service!! They said that we could change the flight right up until departure time. So I said that I would call an hour before departure time to allow enough time to get to talk to somebody, based on the waiting time for this call.

AAE returned another call I had made and said that as no plane was due to leave Canberra it was entirely unlikely that the package would arrive before the flight. I rang Malaysian Airlines to see what the deal was, having resigned myself to the fact that they wouldn't be leaving this afternoon. Due to the type of ticket they could get on a flight to Kuala Lumpur but weren't able to waitlist for the next sector to Seoul - code-sharing problem. Flight Centre had given me the same info previously. Cancelled todays flight and got Flight Centre to book Monday arvos flight. Only thing that can be done is to see the travel agent on Monday and hope that they can pull some strings. There are seats available but they belong to Korean Air and therein lies the problem.

Son. of. a. bitch.

I see why people go Postal. I can really see why people go Postal. As you can imagine, it has been no end of problems. And all I can get in return is a free package via Express Platinum Post for the sender, i.e. the Korean Embassy (even though we paid for it), and they have to write a letter of complaint about it. Lovely bit of compensation that. And I told one of the ladies from Aussie Post that I didn't think I would be using that service again.

Al-Qaida should infiltrate Australia Post or my next job should be with them. Bastards.

Keep you posted.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Just a silly pic of me taken mucking around with the B&W and Sepia settings. Don't I just get better with age?
Random Thoughts on Osama bin Laden

If Osama bin Laden played cricket he would need a theme song when he walked out to bat. And what would that song be?

I'm still standing - Elton John
Take me out - some Scottish band
Born to run - Bruce Springsteen
Voodoo Child - Rogue Traders

How are the Yanks going to catch him anyway? I wonder if they've tried that age old trick of offering him baseball tickets. The police catch thousands of wanted criminals by offering them tickets to sporting events and the idiots actually turn up to the game and get arrested.

Not too sure how many big games are on in Afghanistan or Pakistan at the moment though.
What Next If Backpacks Are Banned?

They are considering random backpack checks around public transport in Sydney. On the news last night they said that the Western Australian government was seriously thinking about banning backpacks on public transport.

Where will that leave the terrorist? I'm sure they won't revert to using suitcases as that would be too obvious.

Here's my tip. The terrorists are going to buy iPods and gut them and then fill the body with explosives. Anybody walking around with white earplugs and leads is a suspect , at least in my book. Mark my words. iPods are ubiquitous and unobtrusive. Nobody takes a second glance or suspects iPod users to be terrorists.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

There's Thumbing Your Nose At It

I dropped Yu-Jin off at his before school care this morning and noticed a dog wandering around the school ground by itself. The dog nestled up to a tree and had a dump and then proceeded to scuff the ground in the surrounding area. All of this right next to a large sign saying "No Dogs On School Property".

A complete disregard for the law.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What's The Name Of The Yellow Jersey Girl?

Any truth in the rumour that the name of the girl who helped put the jeune maillot onto the leader of the Tour de France after each stage was Guinevere?

I'm thinking that as she had to give it to Lance a lot.
Family of Jean Charles De Menezes May Sue

When you are shot eight times in public for doing nothing wrong it is hardly surprising that your family wishes to sue for wrongful death. I like the comment of the London Lord Mayor, Mr Ken Livingstone, that Mr De Menezes was a victim of the terrorists. Insert "police bungle" in place of "terrorists" and it would be a bit closer to the truth.

It appears that he was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder. Obviously he wasn't going to do anything as nasty again as run to catch his train. His lesson has been learnt.

Interesting, Cornelia Rau, an Australian woman with a mental illness who was caught in the backblocks and pretended to be a German while she was held in a detention centre and tried as much as possible to hide her identity, is suing the Australian Government for A$7.5m. I wonder how much Mr De Menezes' life was worth?
Korean Blonde Strikes Again

What a hit rate my wife has. Yesterday I told her that I had to drive to the petrol station and that I may not have enough fuel to get there. Without thinking she turned to me and said, “You can take my car if you like.”

And Again

Miky had to renew her permanent residency visa yesterday as she wants to travel overseas. Well, that part would have been ok but she would have been denied entry to Australia without a valid visa. She arrived at the immigration department and took a number, “771”. Things were rather slow and so she did shopping while waiting. Then something interesting happened.

The sign on the wall with a little bell called out number 771 on four occasions. Miky was thinking that she was 777 and couldn’t believe the stupidity of the person with 771. You know the feeling, who is that idiot? Don’t they realise that their number has been called? What is that idiot with number 771 doing?

All of these thoughts passed through her head. By the time 775 was called out she realised what had happened. She had to wait for her new number, number 799, which allowed her to do some more shopping.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wanted: London - One Sparky For Electrical Work

It appears that there is now a position vacant in London for an electrician. You obviously don't have to speak English or have the ability to follow instructions. It's just that they are a man short.

So the Bill have used a weapon and it has come complete with disastrous results. Many people felt happy, I assume, late last week when it was announced that a terrorist had been shot. Unfortunately it was the wrong man. People are not feeling quite so happy, confident or proud of their Police Force in London at the moment, I dare say.

As I understand it, the cops were watching a particular suburb and Jean Childs de Menezes lived in that area. Plain clothes policemen followed him and he was running to catch his train. The police ordered him several times to stop but he didn't and they put five bullets into his head from close range.

When you are running to catch a train are you expecting somebody to be asking you to stop? If they are in plain clothes would you expect that they were police? If they pointed guns at you would you feel confident that they meant you no harm?

You can just imagine the radio conversation back to base.

"Sir, I am glad to report that the terrorist is dead."
"What? The APB stipulated that it was a 'tourist', not a terrorist."
"Oh, poop. Damn radio. Transmission isn't too clear."
"Are there any witnesses?"
"Only several dozen. We pumped him full of lead on the train in front of all the passengers."
"Bugger. I guess I'll have to front the media. You two officers will have to be sent on an exchange with the LAPD."

Moral of the story is listen to whatever the screaming men in plain clothes waving guns in your general direction are saying. The British Intelligence agencies need to do a bit more homework before issuing an order to shoot, methinks.

I'm glad I'm not in England at the moment. I have a twitchy eye and I wouldn't want to be suspected of doing anything that I deserve five bullets in the head for.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Very Amusing Sight First Thing This Morning

There is quite a bit of building work going on across the road. Medium density housing in the form of several apartment blocks. Very soon I don't think that I will have a place to park my car.

This morning was very different as there was a huge amount of space available to park my car and I suspect that a bloody big truck had parked there to unload and must have left just before I arrived.

Anyway, I jumped out of my car, as I'm so excited to be at work, and I saw an older lady, approx 50 y.o., on a scooter with a couple of Australian flags and her helmet visor up yelling abuse at the building workers. She continued to ride up and down the road for a while. Unfortunately I couldn't understand her abuse but it made for a great start to the day.

There should be more of this kind of behaviour in public.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Unusual Sight - Maltese Dogs Spotted Walking

I was quite shocked during my lunch break to see not one, but two, women walking their Maltese. Yes, I kid you not. They were actually walking. What were their owners thinking? And in Subiaco on Rokeby Road, one of the most fashionable areas in Perth.

As we approached a crossing I noticed that the road was rather wet. To my horror one woman, and then the other, possibly suffering from peer pressure, picked up their dogs to cross the road so that they wouldn't get their poor little paws wet.

Maltese and their owners still irk me.
What Does A Terrorist Look Like?

Good question Ben. Let's postulate, shall we.

Skin would be a bit pasty as they wouldn't be out in the hot desert sun during their training too much otherwise the Americans' spy satellites might spot them and zap their sorry arses. That is unless they were born with an all-over tan.

Monobrow might be the go.

Educated, definitely educated. No ordinary Joe Blow could put a bomb together. Well, educated enough to download the bomb-making instructions from the Internet.

Skullcap required if operating in Palestine.

Some badge intimating the leader of the US Forces, perhaps?

Big bushy beard is a must-have accessory if you wish to be a terrorist. Oh, and a walking stick.

On the other hand, it could be someone who blends in completely with civilisation. A terrorist is only someone who commits an act, or plans to commit an act, that would terrorise other people. Have you scared the begeezus out of somebody as a practical joke before? Thrown stones onto someone's roof? Phoned somebody and hung up before they had a chance to answer?

I think the definition of a terrorist needs to be updated.
What Springs To Mind?

I fielded a phone call from a wholesaler yesterday and was greeted with a "Hi, This is Abdul from So and So in Welshpool."
"Sorry, Abdul was it?"
"Yes, Abdul."

What thought springs to mind? Think what it was before you answer. I want an honest answer here. I'm just trying to fill in some space so that you don't read what I was thinking and cloud your head.

It's not everyday that somebody called Abdul calls me. I'll tell you what I thought - "You don't sound like a terrorist."

Of course I didn't say it. But it was the first thought that entered my mind.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It's A Shock To Find A Friend In Hospital

I rang a friend yesterday who had been a bit difficult to get hold of lately. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he was in hospital. He'd been crook for a while but had built up water in his lungs and on Sunday morning found that he couldn't move. After ringing for an ambulance he realised that he couldn't move to open the door to let them in. So he rang a friend to come and open the door. When the paramedics arrived they made him walk to the ambulance, which came as quite a shock to him. That is the best thing to do with lungs full of water.

So the whole family went to visit him last night and it is good to see that he is much better. He'll have to give up the ciggies though. He's showing the same symptoms of what killed Miky's dad but he didn't give up smoking.

The hospital was a fairly dank place. No bright colours or even a new coat of paint. Old chairs in the corridor and my friend spent 36 hours on a bed in the corridor in the emergency department before being taken to a room. The thing is, he didn't realise that he was in a corridor he was that out of it. And even worse, up until Tuesday night he still didn't know if the Fremantle Dockers had won on the weekend. We bought him some Tim Tams, Roses chocolates and Twisties. Unfortunately his diet is caffeine-free and chocolate is on the banned substances list. Seeing as he only had an NW magazine to read and was sick of reading about Paris Hilton being engaged and pregnant, we bought him a couple of newspapers.

Quite a shock, it was. Here's to a speedy recovery. I need him to help me with some concrete on the weekend. Oh well, I guess that he'll just have to supervise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Just Look At WA Fuel Pricing

No wonder they weren't selling much fuel at this petrol station

Fuelwatch was set up so that the common practice of petrol stations changing their prices, usually upwards, depending on the time of the day, would cease. Why should petrol be more expensive on the way home than the way to work? The market forces for fuel pricing don't work that quickly.

Some independent station manager decided to drop his price by three cents a litre when he wasn't getting any business. Then he was slapped with a $1600 fine for doing so.

Fuelwatch was designed so that petrol stations would put their most competitive pricing in or risk not selling any petrol for a whole day. This is what this independent owner soon discovered. He wasn't competitive, perhaps being too greedy, and suffered the consequences. His behaviour indicates that the system works reasonably well. Be competitive and realistic or lose business.

Were the motorists benefitting or just the petrol station owner? Apparently motorists could buy cheaper fuel just around the corner so they weren't overly disadvantaged.

Under the Fuelwatch scheme of things you can indicate a higher price for fuel for tomorrow but not raise your price if you, in fact, change your mind. Dropping the price is not an option however. This system seems to have worked well in the time that it has been running.

On the news tonight they interviewed the station owner again and people had been offering donations to help pay the fine!! Why? The blighter was ripping them off. He was obviously three cents per litre overpriced and was paying the penalty business-wise for doing so.
Google Earth Is Here

Big thanks to Yobbo for bringing this to my attention - Google Earth. What a brilliant, living, 2.5D graphical representation of the Earth's surface. Mind you, you need broadband to run it properly.

I showed my missus last night and I can locate my house pretty easily. Amazing. Yu-Jin was very interested in using the program straight away. It won't take him long to learn the controls. I asked him where he wanted to see and he said, "English".
"You mean 'England'?"
"No, English."
So we had a look at London, the satellite camera pics of the Effiel tower are pretty good. Couldn't see too much of where my sister-in-law lives in Korea but thems the brakes.

I'm sure that Google Earth will be one of the greatest geography tools ever. And I can see why Google are giving it away for free - it has unlimited potential for advertising. You can see that every man and his dog would want to advertise their hostel/hot dog stand/flower shop within cooee of the Eiffel Tower etc. What a brilliant strategy.

I'll be having a bit of fun with this program, I can assure you. And Yu-Jin is going to learn heaps. Check out Manhattan with buildings and use the tilt function to zoom around as though you were in a helicopter. Astounding.
Korean Blonde Drives Again

I don’t know how she does it. Miky came up with a beauty yesterday. She arrived at her car park slightly after 7:30 yesterday and so needed to pay the full day fee of $5.40 instead of the early bird special of $4.30. After putting her coins into the ticket machine she noticed that it said 5:20 and thought that that was enough time and so hit the button to print the parking ticket. To her horror she realised that her parking was only paid until 12:30 as she had only paid $5.20.

The she discovered that she didn’t have any more coins so she used her credit card (the parking authority has come a long way recently). Unfortunately she had no idea what she was doing and charged the card to the tune of $5.00 which gave her parking until 12:00. That wasn’t much chop. What did she decide to do? She displayed both tickets on the dashboard so that any parking inspector could see that she had payed $10.20 for only 4 ½ hours parking and that was nearly double the amount required for a whole day.

Luckily she didn’t get a fine for not having the correct parking ticket displayed. Fair enough too. And it wasn’t the only Korean blonde thing that happened yesterday

Monday, July 18, 2005

Songwords Can Be So Prophetic

The young fella and I have been listening to some Dragon songs recently. I've ripped them from the greatist hits CD that I own and can now listen to them in the car. He sings along as much as he can and loves the music. This boy really is in my own image. Poor bugger.

Anyway, some of the lyrics include, "You only live once, and you might die young". This turned out to be quite prophetic as the lead singer, Marc Hunter, died from throat cancer at the age of 44. I don't suppose that he had any inkling of it when he penned the song, although I see that he was a smoker and, reading the linked article above, a heroin addict.

Great music though, even if I am living in the past.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Australia Card Is On The Cards

The Howard Government has put a National Identity Card back on the agenda. The last time this was an issue in Australia was in 1987. The then Hawke Labor Government tried to intoduce the Australia Card and it was howled down. It was not popular with the masses. I'm sure than John Howard and his cronies have been thinking about it ever since and looking for an occasion for its introduction when it wouldn't be so unpopular.

What have we had lately that could possibly necessitate the introduction of the cessation of our civil liberties? Well, little Johnny is arguing that the Cornelia Rau affair could have been avoided if Australia had a national identity card. Bullshit, pardon my French. Cornelia Rau pretended to be a German and hid her identity. No wonder she was locked away in detention. If you can't, or won't, show that you are an Australian or resident of Australia then the fact is that you are bound to be locked up.

What about Vivian Alvarez Solon? The authorities couldn't wait to deport her even though she was an Australian citizen. She had told enough people her name and apparently she was only a keystroke away from being correctly identified. Why would a national identity card make any difference when the Department of Immigration is full of incompetent personnel?

So far the government hasn't made the argument that terrorism constitutes a need to have a national identity card but it can't be far away. Surely if Australia has heaps of terrorists the authorities can keep a check on them. They don't need a card in their back pocket to identify them.

It's not as if I need another card in my wallet either. It is reasonably full of discount pizza and fuel vouchers, multi-rider public transport tickets, gelato VIP card, chicken buyer vouchers, Chemist Club, Frequent Pie-r Card amongst all the other cards that identify me. Perhaps if I carried amonium nitrate around in my backpack that would identify me as a terrorist without the need of a national identity card.

Friday, July 15, 2005

My Wife Is Approaching Senility

The missus seems to be approaching senility rather quickly. The young fella and I have been listening to the greatest hits of Dragon, a Kiwi band that became famous and known as an Aussie band, and he sings along as much as he can. I put some music on last night and Miky said that she couldn't stand it. Instead, she put some classical music on. Then she told me that she has the radio in her car tuned to a classical FM station. I fear that the nursing home isn't too far off.

And she calls classical, music. How is it music? Whenever someone is playing the piano they are just striking the ivories as hard as possible and hitting as many of them in quick succession as possible. And take a look at the composers. No hair on top but they have an extraordinary ability to grow it on the sides of the head.

One piece came on and she asked me if I knew the track. "Of course I do. It's from that car ad," I replied. Hey, I'm the one that own's the classical collection of CDs, all 50-odd of them. Men are collectors. We mightn't listen to it but at least we have a collection.

Personally, I like Holst with The Planets.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Unity In Diversity - What Does That Mean?

Went to a meeting at the out of school care centre last night. I think I was the only parent out of some 28 who attended that bothered to bring an umbrella and boy did the rain come down during the meeting. Bugger, it was all fine by the time the meeting finished.

Back to the headline. As I pulled up into the parking bay I noticed a vehicle with a registration plate that included a rainbow and the title "Unity in Diversity". The rainbow signifies the gay movement and I wondered about the slogan. How can something be united if its members are diverse? Look at England and it Pakistani diversity - aka London terrorist bombings. Surely unity is more likely when the people/culture is more homogeneous, or the same.

The person who owned that vehicle was instantly recognisable upon entering the building. She had lots of big earings, a squarish face and very angular, almost flat-top, hair. Quite your stereotypical gay. There is something about the Proud movement.

The meeting talked about how the centre was being run at a loss as it was occasional care and you didn't have to pay for absences. This was all about to change as children's positions were to become permanent and absences would need to be paid for. I guess that it means when my young bloke is crook I will have to pay but it is what I was used to at Curtin University Guild Child Care Centre. It is the standard across Australia and will weed out the families that have three children enrolled but have none in attendance for four weeks which leads to other families not receiving a place and the centre not being payed. The Howard Government is all about user pays. It isn't too appealing for those on shift work but full time workers will hardly notice the difference.

Interesting to have a bit of contact with one community that I could be more involved in. Parents are so busy these days that they don't have time to meet other parents.
And In Other News Regarding Trains

A few, maybe 74, people get killed in a terrorist attack in London. For the last week this has dominated the headlines. In fact, it has been dominating the news completely, not just the headlines.

Let's have a look at another disaster involving trains and see just how much coverage it has had. My glimpse from Australia reveals barely headline news for the Pakistan train disaster. Funny, Pakistanis are in the news a bit lately.

More people killed but not nearly as much compassion shown for them. I guess it just isn't as newsworthy.
Bloody Women Drivers

They’ve done it again. Made their mark on the NASA’s space program. Last time a woman driver was allowed to drive the space shuttle she crashed it.

Now, due for the first takeoff since the Columbia tragedy the woman driver forgot to put enough fuel in. Five hours before takeoff the seven astronauts suited up and made their way to the orbiter where they had to climb into it pretty much upside down. Obviously not an easy task as they don’t wish to damage the controls and those suits don’t allow for great mobility. So, there they are. Strapped into their seats and the pilot notices that a fuel gauge is showing low fuel. She forgot to fill the space shuttle up and the whole launch has been delayed, possibly until September. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Perhaps NASA is waiting for the price of oil to decrease.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

½ Price Lattice – My Arse

There is a shop in Australia called "½ Price Lattice". What a load of bunkim. How are you supposed to get a discount for buying in bulk if they are selling at half price? I've never seen their direct competitors - Full Price Lattice, Ridiculously Priced Lattice, and Outrageously Priced Lattice.

Fair dinkum, the Department of Fair Trading should be on to them. It is false advertising, I don't care what anybody says.
Poms vs Aussies

There is some friendly banter going about the office regarding the cricket at the moment. We have a few Poms and don't they like to rub it in when they win a game. Not that there was much mention of it this morning after Australia crushed them in the third and deciding final last night. Bloody good to see.

And now for the real cricket, the Ashes. The Poms are showing a bit of fight, for the first time in 15 years or so, but they will wilt under the pressure. I wouldn't be surprised if the Aussies set off a firecracker in the English changerooms to put them on edge.
Does The World's Media Behave The Same

Big news. Bombings in London. All the media obviously report how many dead and injured. We all like to know that. The Australian media then concentrates on how many Australians have been injured and in what state of health they are. This annoys me somewhat. What about the Czechs, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Greeks, Thai? How many of them were affected?

Most importantly, how many Finns were involved? There must have been quite a few of them after Jacques Chirac told the world that British cuisine was only better than Finnish cuisine in Europe. The place must have been jam-packed with them. Just how did they fare?

Is the rest of the world's media so short-sighted? Do the US papers only report on the number of Americans caught up in all of this?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

How Hard Is It To Cook Tacos?

This is the question on everyone's lips.

Monday. My night for cooking as I get home earliest. The wife arrives. "What are you cooking?" she asks. The taco shells are sitting on the cutting table. "Why don't you try something simpler?" she adds.

Simpler? Easier? Than tacos? What is so difficult about preparing tacos? Brown some mince and onion before adding taco mixture and some grated carrot. Have side dishes of chopped lettuce and grated carrot and cheese ready. Warm taco shells in pre-heated oven. I think my culinary skills can handle making tacos. Not only is it a simple task but within half an hour everything is ready. And as the spices and flavourings are taken care of it does taste nice.

When I went to America, Taco Bell had a lunchtime special. You could have 12 tacos for $2.95. Let me tell you, I was down at Taco Bell every day for lunch. Their tacos were delicious and I was quite annoyed when the lunchtime special finished just before my stay in Reno was done.

Try something simpler indeed.

Monday, July 11, 2005

My Fart Is Showing Signs Of Ageing

I have come to the realisation, as many of us do, that you turn into your parents when you become older. This has been brought to my attention over the weekend by the sound of my farts. They have changed somewhat, in that they now sound like those that my father does. Oh, they bring back such fond memories.

Mind you, I don't require the knee lift and leg kick that my father uses to bring about the same note.
Gelati Van

The gelati van drives around our area on the weekend complete with Greensleeves ringing throughout the neighbourhood. Time to get a new tune, mate. Perhaps you could download a ringtone from the Internet and update the van while you are at it.

I dread the day my son convinces me to buy him some gelati. You can bet your bottom dollar that that van will stop out the front of your house every weekend until the end of time. My advice would be, if you do cave into the demands of your child (not that my kid demands gelati) and buy from the gelati van, do it in front of someone else's house. Otherwise you will never escape the clutches of the gelati van driver.
My Feelings Towards Plaque

Why can't plaque take a few days off over the weekend? I can handle brushing my teeth before trotting off to work and once more after tea, but brushing my teeth on the weekend is a struggle. If plaque was considerate enough to say, "Hey, you've been a good boy, what with all that fighting during the week. How about we call a truce for the weekend and start the battle all over again on Monday?"
I Have An Obesity Problem

My wife told me last night, in no uncertain terms, that I have an obesity problem. I'm 80kg at the moment and being 182cm I'm still well within the healthy weight guidelines. She is used to the old me before study and an office job as I have stacked on about 10kg.

My argument that I am not overweight but out of shape doesn't stick with her. If I was toned there would be no complaints. The sooner I get back into sport, following the disastrous squash debacle, the better.

My boss says that I should slap her. You know, to wake up to herself.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

What Happens When You Go Out Somewhere?

Somebody asks you for directions. Of course. Luckily they were asking where the Esplanade Hotel was, and seeing as we spent our wedding night there, it wasn't too difficult to give them the directions they required.

We went to Fremantle after lunch today. Miky wanted to buy shoes and I wanted to have a look at the Maritime Museum with Yu-Jin. He wanted to go with mum but she told him that she was going to go clothes shopping. He soon wanted to accompany me instead.

Actually, we weren't sure where to head so in the direction of the beach we went. I have a few pics to add and will write about it in a bit more detail later. They have set fees to enter but today, must have been because of school holidays, entry was by donation. I only had a $20 note in my wallet and I thought that was a bit much. After getting change I gave some to Yu-Jin and he wished to know if the money was for him to keep. Not a chance, he got some pocket money yesterday.
Not A Good Night To Be On The Road

I nearly got run over three times last night.

First instance was when I was approaching an intersection with a straight-through lane that split in two just before the traffic lights and one right-turning lane. I waited until it was safe, and legal, to join the new lane. Some bitch in a government registered car cut across from the turning lane and nearly side-swiped me. She would have if I hadn't checked. Gee I wish I had a decent horn. I know enough expletives though. Interesting that she refused to look in the rear vision mirror - as if she acknowledged her wrongdoing. A van had done the same thing moments before so I should have expected it, and probably did, as I bothered to check over my shoulder before changing lanes.

Second occasion was when I was crossing the road near the cathedral, as I had to duck into the city, at a pedestrian crossing. One car did the right thing and stopped but in the second lane the guy, driving a Post Office van, was just going to hurtle on by. He slammed on the brakes and stopped halfway through the crossing. At least he acknowledged his wrongdoing.

Third time was when I got back to my car. I checked over my shoulder to see if anyone was coming before pulling out of my parking space. Nobody was there and the lights at the intersection had changed to orange. So, I started to pull out and then stopped to take another look. Some bastard ran a red light and would have cleaned me up had I continued. I pulled up alongside him two sets of traffic lights later and you know how people are upset if you have done the wrong thing, well, this guy was tapping away on his steering wheel to some music with some very bent wrists, quite oblivious to something having just happened.

Just glad to get home with all of the paintwork in order.

Friday, July 08, 2005

World's Luckiest Man?

Great story - Link
It Is Now Safe To Resume Wearing Designer Shoes

I make this statement after hearing that a teenager in Brooklyn was murdered for an iPod - and it wasn't his. The iPod belonged to a friend but this kid was killed in the fight over it. Read the article about Steve Jobs calling the father.

Tennis shoes and other valuables were stolen as well but it appears that criminals have changed tack on whom they strike. There was a time when you couldn't go outside your home with designer shoes on for fear of being mugged for them. The iPod is the new designer shoe.

I'm sure that these sorts of robberies and murders will make the headlines for months to come but a few years down the track it may become run-of-the-mill. Normal, if you like. Let's hope not. Let's hope the world wakes up to itself. Kids of this world have a lot of growing up to do and adults need to help them along a hell of a lot better.

I give it two years before we hear of a kid in Australia being killed for an iPod.
London Bombings Looking Pretty Obvious

When you have 1500 of your Police Force surrounding a golf resort in Scotland and not protecting the capital, London, you can expect some sort of untoward activity. The bombings were definitely timed to coincide with the G8 Summit at Gleneagles. They had nothing to do with the Olympic Games.

I read in the news that Denmark and Greece have been warned to remove their troops fom Iraq. Who is next on the hitlist? I don't see any point in getting worried about it. It's not as if you can stop the terrorists all of the time. People need to get on with their lives and have a heightened awareness. No point in living in fear.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terrible Bombings In London

Gee, bad news from the newest Olympic Games designee. At least seven bombs have exploded on the Underground and a double decker bus. Three hours after the blasts the death toll stood at three. Two and a half hours later I heard that it had reached double figures. Half an hour later there were reports that 50 fatalities had been recorded and hundreds, perhaps thousands, were trapped underground.

It is not nice to see any of this. The worst thing I experienced on the Underground in London was having to go through a station slowly as there was a suspect package on the platform. No explosions or deaths.

Some Al Qaida-affiliated group has claimed responsibility. As yet I don't know how far apart the bombs exploded. The Madrid bombings were pretty much simultaneous. It looks to have been well planned. And striking the double decker is hitting one of the symbols of London.

I expect that if only the 50 fatalities are recorded there would be at least 10 nationalities affected. London is a cosmopolitan population in a state of flux. Apparently anything up to 300000 Australians are in Britain at any one time. It's lucky that they don't have any stadia built for the 2012 Games so they couldn't be considered a target. Only this morning they were saying that one thing in London's favour was the fact that they hadn't been the target of terrorists. Spoke a little too soon.

My earlier post today may take on a greater meaning.

Britains are used to the seige mentality. They've had to put up with the terrorist activities of the IRA for over 25 years and this will disturb them in the short term but I don't think that it will greatly affect them in the long term. It's as if al Qaida wants to bring on another fight, which isn't such a bad tactic. What did the Germans learn about fighting battles on two fronts? It is very difficult to achieve victory. Guerilla warfare is here to stay.

I would be fascinated to see how Scotland Yard have reacted to this. The searching for the operatives would be frantic, I imagine. And I fear that new laws will be enacted to take away some of our freedoms. There has already been talk of mobile phone networks being affected or shut down. The authorities suspect that mobile phones were used to detonate the bombs. Just how far will the governments of the free world go to stop the terrorists?

I'd say we're in for a long fight.

Now that's a pie. I enjoyed going out for lunch with my wife, son and his friend yesterday after we boys went to see the movie Robots. Poor old wife, she had to go and work. The blueberry danish that I had as well went down pretty well too. The boys behaved themselves and we all had a good time as the movie was very good. Especially as it was only $5 a pop.

These are some good words to live by. If only all of the namby-pamby we-don't-believe-in-war types could only understand it. You only go to war to stand up for what you believe in. Ask the French in both World Wars about this statement. Mind you, they did have the resistance. I think that our schoolkids should be taught this sort of stuff. The wall is situated at Anzac House on St Georges Tce, Perth.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Irony Of Taking A Day Off Work

It's school holidays and I wasn't able to get holiday care for Yu-Jin for today. So I've taken the day off and we will be going to the movies together and joining Miky for lunch. Should be a good day, especially as it is during the week.

What I find ironic is that I had to work so much harder at work yesterday to tidy up all sorts of loose ends as I can't expect anybody in the office to pick up jobs that I am halfway through. And I know that when I head back to work on Thursday nobody will have answered my emails as they have enough of their own work to do and there will be a stack of them awaiting my attention.

So, you work much harder the day before you are off and you play catch up for the next day or so when you return. I don't see the sense in taking a day off. You have to work too hard for it.
Who Will Host The 2012 Olympic Games?

By the time anybody reads this the vote is probably well gone. I must say, this isn't a subject that I have been following too closely so I was a little surprised last night to find out that the vote is tonight. Why is it being held in Singapore? Who knows?

Let's have a look at the contenders.

Moscow - likely to have terrorist activities emanating from regional countries that are rather pissed off with Russia’s attitude toward their independence. And the fact that Russia doesn’t get along with terrorists. Probably doesn't have enough children left in the country to put on a nice opening ceremony.

Paris – is likely to suffer a backlash from the Greens supporters due to the inordinate number of frogs who will undergo amputation for culinary delights to feed the masses who would attend the Games.

London – cold, wet and miserable. And that is at the height of Summer. And you know what the French President thinks of British cooking.

New York – may have had its bid damaged due to the commercialisation of the Games during the Atlanta Olympics. Mind you, that’s just the public perception. Commercialisation means more advertising dollars and more bribes for International Olympic Committee members so they may just get the nod.

Madrid – also famous for terrorist activities. And which side is David Beckham really backing? He can’t help but dumb down the image of London and Madrid. Superb soccer player though.

Hmmm. Who will win? Is the world ready for another Russian Games probably full of boycotts? No. Does Madrid have a rail transport system capable of moving commuters safely? No. Can London string two weeks of lovely Spring weather together? Not. A. Chance.

That leaves Paris and New York. I don’t think that the world is quite ready for another Olympics in North America. I think Paris will get the nod. By a short frogs leg, er, head.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Don't Try This At Home... Or On The Street

This had to be the dumbest thing that I saw on the weekend, real life or TV. Whilst driving along Albany Highway yesterday to go out for lunch (Hey, I'm not losing it- the missus paid) I noticed several youths surrounding a bus stop. They all had a skateboard and there was one idiot on top of the bus shelter. We are talking a 2m high construction situated next to a very busy 3-lane highway. I noticed through the rear vision mirror that he just make the jump off the top on his skateboard. Unfortunately he didn't roll onto the highway and get squashed by a truck as could quite conceivably have happened.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. Makes for a good video to watch on the Internet though.
Some Observations

Wasted Effort?

I borrowed a DVD of The Alamo last weekend. Not a bad movie. On the back of the DVD it said it was only to be sold in Australia but the subtitles included English, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish. I don't really know why they bothered with the subtitles. I have only met one person of Estonian and Finnish descent while in Australia. There isn't a huge call for these languages in Australia.

New Calling

I've almost lost my voice due to a sore throat. I guess that I could get a job in an Indian call centre with the way I sound and decided to make a new message for my answering machine.

Why Do They Bother Saying This?

You watch a show on TV and they tell you "Don't try this at home, kids." Why is it just the kids that they think will try to do something stupid and need to be warned off? Perhaps they should include a warning for drunken yobbos, less-than-intelligent adults and anyone else without enough common sense to know how to behave safely.

Mum Would Be Horrified

Yesterday we put some slabs down in the backyard. I had some music playing from the computer. Just some nice Ace of Base that everyone could listen to. Well, we must have been at work for a while because we got right through the CD then it started playing some Alice Cooper. Mum would be horrified because when the song "Poison" came on Yu-Jin started singing along. I wasn't allowed to listen to any music like that until after I left home and my five year old likes them. C'mon mum, Alice Cooper isn't that bad. His music is ok.

What's In A Name?

I heard last week about the woman who gave birth to a kid that weighed over six kilograms, 14 pounds, and was delivered three weeks early. The first two children that this couple had weighed about 4.7 kg and 5.4 kg. The husband called them, nicknames only I hope, Whopper, Junior Whopper and the Big Enchilada. They said that they didn't plan to have any more children. What a pity. I'm sure that McDonalds would be waiting in the wings with a naming rights deal.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I've Won The Lottery - It's Party Time

Yes, that's right. I no longer need to worry about money. Say goodbye to the Frugal Bastard and say hello to the Rich Spending Bastard.

When I arrived home last night I checked the letterbox and found an envelope addressed to me. The first thing I noticed was the stamp which showed it had been posted from Spain. "Who the **** do I know in Spain?" I thought. One or two names came to mind but the address was typed. None of my friends would ever type my address and they would send it to my postal address as almost no-one knows my residential address.

When I opened the envelope it informed me that I had won the 3rd category of the AnnuMada Spanish Sweepstake International Lottery Program. A total of 615 810 Euros would be heading my way if I handed over all of my personal details so that a transfer of money could be done.

Now, I do feel priveleged. It's not every day that you win a lottery that you haven't entered. Yes, sure, I'd love to give you a copy of my passport, drivers licence, next of kin details, etc, so that you can bleed my bank account dry and steal my identity.

I ain't that stupid. But thanks for stamp. I am a part-time philatelist and I don't have any stamps from Spain.

If you click on the pics you will be able to see a larger version that you'll be able to read.

You have won shitloads of money.

Now hand over all of your personal details so that we can steal your identity and bleed your bank account dry. Sucker

Friday, July 01, 2005

Lunchtime Conversation At The Fruit And Vege Markets

While I was parked in front of the Royal Gala apples stand a gentleman started up a conversation.
"Do you know what they are charging for these in Woolworths and Coles?"
"About $4" I replied.
He added, "What a ripoff. Do you know why they charge so much?"
"They have different procurement methods" I said, knowing that the Vietnamese owners of the fruit and vege stall grow their own produce in a market garden, whereas Woolworths and Coles buy from growers all over the country and keep their prices pretty much the same country-wide.
"No, it's because of the shareholders" said the gentleman to which I responded "Woolworths only make about a 1% profit over all of the goods that they sell."
"How do you explain the price of pork fillet? Do you know the price of pork fillet?" he asked. Not knowing he then explained that it was $24.99/kg at the big supermarkets and $10/kg at the Vietnamese butchers. I didn't see any point in arguing that Woolworths and Coles had to train apprentices, have to keep to the relevant health regulations, supply meat country-wide, whereas the Vietnamese butcher probably employs family members for below-award wages, health regulations - what health regulations?, etc.

It was at that point that I told him I was a shareholder.

Picky People

Is it just me or are other people annoyed when one person decides that they will pick their beans one by one and block everyone else from getting their own? The guy took close to a minute and a half to finish and before I had even finished he was back for a few more. Surely it is a case of stick your hand in and take however many you need.
Who Is Most In Need Of A Spin Doctor?

A. Shane Warne. What an idiot. I rate him a better idiot than Russell Crowe.

Is The US Going To Rename A National Holiday?

I think that the Yanks should call it "The 4 July Holiday" instead of The Fourth of July. Tom Cruise should re-release his movie and call it "Born on the Fourth July".