Saturday, November 26, 2005

Top Class Japanese Nosh

Just thought that I would tell you about the top class Japanese nosh that our friends in Nagasaki treated us to tonight. We went to Natsume Restaurant after sightseeing at the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum and the meal was in a tea drinking room.

Pretty much all we had consisted of tea, karasumi (mullet fish eggs) in radish, kai (scallops), sazae (a shell), ginko nuts, deep fried shrimp paste with bread crumbs, tamagoyaki (egg roll), sashimi and squid, miso soup, sharkfin and Japanese zucchini with a bit of steamed rice and mushrooms. I managed to get a photo of nearly everything before my battery ran out. I had put it to good use during the day so it wasn`t a complete disaster.

I afraid to ask how much it cost. But it was extremely well presented and appreciated, not to mention oishi (delicious).

Friday, November 25, 2005

Greetings From Nagasaki

Hi Everybody. Japan is a blast. We have been staying with a friend in Fukuoka for a few days. Yesterday was really busy with a trip to Yusentei Koen which is a private park. The Autumn leaves, garden and koi were amazing with the colours truly spectacular. In the arvo we ventured to Dazaifu to Komyozenji and Dazaifu Tenmangu. I will post pictures later of the wonderful garden at Komyozenji. I will also give you the story of how I got us onto the wrong train and what happened.

Today after spending the day shopping (have to humour the missus a little bit), we jumped on a train to Nagasaki to visit some friends I have not seen for nine years. We have had a lot to catch up on and it is very late. Tomorrow will be another busy day with lots of sights to see.

The weather has been great and Japan is quite a bit warmer than Korea. In fact, it has been unusually warm for this time of year and we have picked the right time to see the best colours of the leaves. Most of the leaves in Korea have already fallen off the trees.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Japan is not being able to read anything or talk to anybody. I try to bumble through with what little Japanese I know but Miky just talks in English and gets better results. I guess the Japanese think that I can understand what they say whereas they are put on the backfoot when she speaks English to them and they have to try to communicate in English. Yu-Jin speaks English or Korean to people and animals.

Must get some shuteye.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Off To Japan In A Few Minutes

Won't be long and we'll be off to Japan for a few days. We're at the ferry terminal and the public Internet costs only "100 won will be use for 5 miniutes" - English spelling in Busan is much better than country Geojedo but they still make me laugh. I have a few photos of funny signs to show but that will be done later.

Miky is getting a little excited as she knows both Korea and Australia and has never been to Japan. Seeing as neither of us speak Japanese it will be a bit difficult but I'm sure we'll get by.

Yu-Jin has been keeping busy playing computer games for the last half an hour. Oh yeah, it costs about $1.50/hr which is pretty damn reasonable.

Quite chilly over here at the moment. Top temp is about 14 degrees and low of about 5. Yesterday Yu-Jin and I went to Beomeosa, a temple, and then decided to climb one of the nearby mountains. I can't believe that we managed to do that as it was quite a trek up. People everywhere want to touch Yu-Jin's hair, say "Hello" and give him food. All the girls think he is cute and drive him crazy.

Gotta go. All aboard!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

All Safe And Sound

I've arrived in Korea safe and sound. Just managed to get to where the family are staying in time to watch Yu-Jin's last taekwondo lesson. I took a lot of video and just before the photo opportunity with his teacher presented itself, the battery went flat. It was charged just before I left. That's what happens when you take over a hundred photos and probably 20 mins of video. Then the dilemma struck - where do I find an adapter? Miky did a bit of searching and was told that she may be able to order one from the mainland. Oh no!

Had to use Miky's camera when Yu-Jin and I visited the Prisoner of War camp in Geoje (거제). So embarrasing. Last night I met a fellow Perthite who lives and works on the island. He gave me an Australian plug and I managed to find an extension lead to butcher and create an lead for myself. My battery is now charging nicely.

Going to be a long time before I post any photos. Just borrowing my sister-in-laws computer while I have the time.

Plenty going on over here and it takes so much time to fill in the diary.

We're going to Japan on Wednesday for a few days. Should be good fun and we will get to catch up with a few friends. Sayonara.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How On Earth Did Hammy Get Married?

N.B. I wrote this some time ago and thought that it would be better to host it here than with my ISP.

I guess that many of you are wondering how it came to be that Hammy got married. It is a bit of a story and here is the perfect place to tell it. Many of my school friends will recall the longing-for-love adolescent and the trials and tribulations that he put himself through without ever achieving anything. School was torture and it only since becoming engaged and then married that I have felt confident around women. Once I realised that a woman wanted me then I felt that other women may want me and that I shouldn't be afraid of them. Too late once that happened though.

Back to the story of how I became married.

My friend Wayne Karo asked me if I would like to travel with him to Japan and he would be my personal guide and interpreter (This story goes back a bit but bear with me). I quit my job that I had had wiring switchboards for crap money for 15 months after the owner wouldn't allow me to take time off without pay even though it had been approved by the project manager. Happy to leave.

Wayne and I travelled around for nine days in Japan before flying over to Seoul in Korea for four days. Korean women were more attractive than Japanese girls and seemed to have a better sense of fashion. This fact is more obvious the older I get. Anyway, we had a great time in Seoul and I was really pleased about how nice the people were. I bought a "World Cup Korea 2002" shirt while in Seoul. Remember, this was on the 23rd of July 1996 and this shirt was to come in quite handy.

We headed back to Japan and travelled to some wild places but that is a story for another time. Perhaps I will publish my diary from the whole trip one day. Must have arrived back in Perth in the early hours of 18th of August.

One of my friends that lived in the block of flats where I was living at the time, told me a few weeks later that three Korean girls had moved into one of the flats. About a week later, when I was coming home from work, I noticed that one of the girls had gone to the caretaker's office. I raced home as quickly as I could and put on my World Cup shirt and then proceeded to the office to act nonchalantly and to say something in Korean. The girl was quite short and had a piggy nose. Didn't do a lot for me. But then again, have I ever done a lot for any woman?

Fortunately, there was one other girl living with her, not two as my friend had thought, and I was about to meet her. Now, you all know that I was the quite and shy type around women. I did something that I had never done before. I noticed that there was some movement underneath the kitchen curtain and so made my move. Incredibly, I went to their flat and introduced myself to the other girl.

I knocked on her door. She said, "Who are you?"

I said, "I'm Mark. I live in one of the flats up the stairs."

"Do I know you?" she asked.

"No" I replied.

There was a pregnant pause. I thought that she wasn't going to answer the door and was just about to turn back up the stairs and regain my life of rejection and sorrow. Then she opened the door.

Her name was Mi-Kyoung, she was gorgeous and spoke English very well. In fact she was an English teacher and was studying English in Perth to further her opportunities. This was on the 23rd of October 1996. I am an old romantic. I remember the date because I had a term deposit due to mature at the bank on the 25th. We spoke for an hour, just standing in her doorway. It didn't occur to me that she didn't trust me and that she was afraid to ask me to come inside to talk. How much do you trust a complete stranger, although her flatmate had told her that there was an Australian in the flats who had been to Korea. Mi-Kyoung said that there was going to be a party at her house and more Koreans would be there and would I like to come. I said yes pretty damn quickly and wanted to know if I could bring a couple of friends from work. That is, Simon from England and John from Northern Ireland.

On the Friday, the evening of the party, The Beast buggered up. Don't remember if it was the clutch or accelerator cable or not but I had a long walk back home that night. Didn't miss the party though and talked with Mi-Kyoung very little in fact. All of the other Koreans wanted to talk to me and the others. John told Mi-Kyoung that she looked very beautiful and that he would like to see her again at another time. When we got back to my place I said that she was my girl and keep your hands off her.

After this we often went for walks along the river in the evening and I bored her to death with things that I thought were interesting.

I think that we became engaged on the 8th of May 1997. I knew that this was the girl for me. I even planned to do military service in Korea if I had to. We were married in Kings Park in Perth, on Grand Final day the 27th of September 1997, by Cyril Fenn in front of about 30 guests. Luckily Essendon wasn't playing in the final, it was between St Kilda and the Adelaide Crows. Our reception was at Chef Han's Cafe in Northbridge and one of my guests brought along a radio to listen to the footy. You know who you are, Leighton. Two of our guests were involved in a car accident on the way to reception, and being seven months pregnant, they spent the next six hours in hospital. No problems fortunately.

That evening, the younger folks went to Metropolis Nightclub in Fremantle. Not sure if I have been inside a nightclub in Australia before. Nick, my best man, bought a very expensive alcoholic drink and offered it to me because he knew that I didn't drink alcohol. So I drank it to spite him. Strangely, he hasn't bought me a drink in the five years since.

That night we stayed in the Honeymoon suite in the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle because our Colonial style place had had a guest come a day early and they had given our room away. King size bed and a spa. I proceeded to get the bathroom drenched to a depth of about 4 centimetres of water because of my ignorance in turning off the spa.

Mi-Kyoung and I went to Rottnest Island for a couple of nights for our honeymoon. She had to return to her studies and I had to go back to work.

We managed to have a second honeymoon in Korea a year later.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thirty Two Years Of Heartbreak Is Over

YOU BLOODY BEAUTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Australia is off to the World Cup in Germany in 2006. What an epic game tonight in Sydney for the return leg after we lost to Uruguay 1-0 on Saturday night, their time.

It is sad that the only Australian captain in a World Cup Finals appearance (Germany 1974), Johnny Warren, died before seeing his dream of Australia reaching the World Cup Finals come to fruition. SBS paid a great compliment to him before tonight's match started.

The Australians completely outplayed their South American counterparts who were too focussed on defence. I didn't think that we could keep them scoreless for the whole match and if that happened we would have to kick three goals to qualify. Yes, I was a doubter but there was no way that I was going to miss the match. If we are on the pitch we have a chance.



Now that the governing body in Australia uses the term Football instead of Soccer I guess our Socceroos are going to be called the Footballroos. That positively rolls off the tongue when you consider the all-Australian names of the players who took to the park tonight - Schwarzer, Grella, Popovic, Skoko, Kewell, Viduka, Bresciano, Emerton, Neill, Chipperfield, Cahill, Aloisi, Culina and Vidmar. They left the more-difficult-to-pronounce on the bench.

I bet the guy who wrote this at the Bangkok Post is eating his words.

Look out Brazil, Germany, France, the pussies in the England team and any other teams already qualified for World Cup 2006 - the rampaging Aussies are coming.

Bloody nice way to kick off the holiday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Parking Meters Annoy Me

Had to pop into the city tonight after work to buy some presents for people we will be visiting during our travels. I rang another friend in Japan last night and they live close to where we are visiting. Therefore, we need to visit them too. I haven't seen them for nine years so it will be wonderful to see them again.

I'm not against parking meters. If they weren't there then it would be impossible to park in the city. What gets me is that you find your parking spot and then the local council has the nerve to charge you 10 minutes just for the privilege before you effectively pay for any parking that you require. It was 5:25 pm and I only needed to pay for 5 mins but I really had to pay for 15 mins. Why should I pay for 10 mins of time that I am unable to use?

Perhaps the council thinks that you will be guilty of being up to 10 mins late so they may as well recoup their losses. I'd like to see it go to court actually.

Neighbour Is Going To Look After The Garden

Had a chat to the neighbour tonight. She has offered to look after the garden whilst I am gone. And just as I'm about to go away the hot weather suddenly appears. We had 34.7 degrees and it must have been about five or six months since that last happened. During the process of showing my neighbour how I would like the garden to be looked after I realised how much trouble it was going to be. I hope that it is still alive in three weeks time. I've only set the reticulation for the backyard which will take care of the lawn in the morning. It still needs to be looked after for a few weeks yet.

We've got some tomatoes growing out the back. They grew from compost and one of them had seven tomatoes growing on it's branches. I found today that that bird creature/s, most likely, had eaten the majority of the most ripe tomato. "Utter, utter, utter, utter bastard," in the words of Rik Mayall. It looks likely that the tomatoes will ripen just as I depart and will be all gone by the time I return.

To think that the best and most easy plant to grow actually grew by itself from waste. I did plant an onion that had decided, of its own accord, to grow whilst still in the fridge. It is shooting skywards.

More gardening tips upon my return in a months time.
All My Videos Of Avril Lavigne's Concert In Perth Are Up

If you are at all interested I've uploaded all of my videos from Avril Lavigne's concert that Yu-Jin and I attended.

Frugal Bastard presents - Avril Lavigne in concert

Monday, November 14, 2005

Free Music Video Clips

Thanks to Joe I've had a look at a site that provides free video clips. Check out the greatest rock band in the world - Linkin Park.

Apologies to anybody on low bandwidth.
Pretty Much Packed And Ready To Go

I spent yesterday afternoon watching a cricket match on the telly and cleaning up the house. The place has to look like a single bloke hasn't been living in it. Just so the missus thinks that I have been behaving myself, you know. What concerns me is that I can't use the toilet or the bathroom basin for the next four days so as not to get them dirty. I think perhaps it was a mistake to do the cleaning before Wednesday night.

The luggage is pretty much packed. There were a few last minute items to pack that the missus wanted but I'm just about set to go. There will be time for a hit of golf on Thursday before I depart so the timing is quite good.

Went for a quick bike ride yesterday arvo to get some more snail pellets and a paper. I'm a worried about the "lawn" (dare I call it that?) as it is about the only bit of greenery at our place and I have caught a few snails much on it. These snails have some nerve, you know. As I said, I went for a quick bike ride and I spotted the celebrant who married us, Cyril Fenn. On the way back I dropped in to say "G'day". I could tell that he didn't recognise me but it was eight years ago and I did have sunscreen and a bike helmet on. We had a chat about lots of things and I asked him how many marriages he has performed over the years - 9000. He's 76 now and things are starting to quieten down. I thought he was 75 when we got married! It was good to catch up with him again. Cyril was a bit disappointed about his age as he is also a JP (Justice of the Peace) and once he reached 75 they took away many of his powers, such as signing search warrants for police. Interesting.

Got home and cooked tea for myself and my mate Bill. He's done some ligament damage to his ankle and can't do a hell of a lot for himself. It was great to sit down for a couple of cups of tea and have a chinwag. Had to leave by 8 o'clock though as getting up a 4 am had me a bit buggered.

Of course, the vicious circle has begun and I was up a five this morning. Early to bed and early to rise means that you can't sleep in any more.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Frugal Bastard Video Online

Way back in April I videoed some of Avril Lavigne's concert in Perth. Now Google Video allows you to upload your own videos, subject to certain conditions. I've uploaded a video of Avril singing "Complicated" - check out Frugal Bastard presents Avril Lavigne's Complicated - Perth 2005.

Woohoo! I'm published. Carn Nick, get off your arse and get GPI into publication.
What Was The Designer Thinking?

One of the local delivery guys seems to have sold his place. They pulled down all of the outbuildings and I was pleased to see that they repainted the roof a pleasant colour. To my horror the next morning I saw that they had painted the house an awful colour. Hopefully this will be turned into a business address as I can't see anybody wanting to live here.

Who came up with this hideous colour scheme?
Last Weekend of Freedom

Only joking. I plan to still have some freedom once the family returns. That's the plan anyway.

Perth Glory were playing at 7pm on Friday so it was a case of buying something for tea, Subway as it turned out, and heading off to the match. No time to go home. It was a good game but was it Damian Mori's last game in the Glory's colours? It was a good game, not least because Glory beat New Zealand Knights 3-0. Mori did the hard work to set up the final goal but didn't get on the scoresheet himself.

I waited until nearly 11 o'clock in Korea before ringing my missus. It was her last day of work and she wasn't home yet but the boy was still awake. I think that he misses her a lot while she's at work and stays up until she returns so that he can have a chat. Can't be angry with him for that I suppose.

Saturday morning I was up before 6 to allow me to get a huge lot of washing done before being picked up by Shayne for golf at Hammersley Public Golf Course. I wasn't too impressed with the service in the pro shop. No credit cards for green fees accepted and the guy didn't even want to give me a scorecard. Played again with Joe, Shayne's cousin, and Wazza. Bumped into John on the putting green who took my job when I moved to my current place of employ. I greeted him with the nice greeting of "The things you see when you haven't got a gun." His friend Dave thought that that was a bit rough but that's the way we greet our friends in Oz.

Bit of an enigma is young Wazza. He tried a few shots before our tee time with some new clubs that had graphite shafts and was so impressed that he bought the full set of irons and woods with a bag and buggy. He almost needed to buy more balls as he lost five and spent a lot of time thrashing about off the fairway.

Wazza's 4th shot on the par-5 3rd.

Wazza's 5th shot on the par-5 3rd. It's almost as difficult as his 4th shot.

My game was quite good early on apart from missing a couple of putts for par on the 1st and 2nd. I had a 12 foot birdie putt on the fourth and walked off with a bogey. Filthy with myself. Then came a 10, with three putts, on the par-5 6th. Had to chip out of trouble twice. I was absolutely filthy with myself. On the par-3 7th Wazza didn't reach the ladies tee off the tee. That facilitated a round of soft drinks after the game that was much appreciated. The 7th is an interesting hole as once everybody is on the green you call the next group to have their tee shots and then resume play. It has obviously casued a lot of hold-ups in the past. You have a fence to hide behind. When we were on the next tee we saw someone almost score a hole in one. Shayne had a run of four consecutive holes where he required only 1 putt including a birdie on a par-3. Top stuff!

Front Nine Scores:

Shayne 61 - 17 putts
Me 50 - 19 putts
Joe 54 - 17 putts
Wazza 57 - 23 putts

The 10th saw me score my first par for the day when I dropped a six footer. On the 11th Shayne hit two balls off the tee out of bounds to the right. It appears that his third ball off the tee hit the out of bounds fence on the left but came back into play. I parred the 12th. Things were looking up. On the 13th I had about a 8-10 foot putt for birdie. Sadly, very bloody sadly, I took four putts and ended up with a double bogey. And I thought that I was filthy with myself after my 10. Temper levels rose to extreme rating.

Back Nine and Total Scores :

Shayne 63 - 18 putts, Total 124
Me 48 - 16 putts, Total 98
Joe 57 - 17 putts, Total 111
Wazza 64 - 20 putts, Total 121

Shayne had the best run of putting, Joe was the best putter (or was that only because he couldn't reach the greens?) and Wazza needs a new set of golf clubs. Oh that's right, he bought a new set on the day. Well, I broke a hundred on an unfamiliar course but three particularly bad holes marred my day. Gosh, does that mean I was happy with the 15 other holes? Hmm, not altogether. Still a bit of improvement to go. We took some video of our shots and I picked up something that will help my game as I lean backwards when I take my shot. No wonder I slice the ball a lot. The sway doesn't appear in my warm-up swing. Something to work on. I'll have time for a game on Thursday before I fly out.

The perfect finish to a day's golf. We stood at the back of Shayne's 4WD and stuffed ourselves. I wonder if this will become our 19th hole.

Had a good chat to the missus once I returned home. She's managed to work out a bus schedule for me to get to Geoje-shi after landing at Incheon Airport on Friday morning. Should get there in time for the boy's final taekwondo lesson. I needed an early bedtime last night.

Not least of which because I had to be up at 4 o'clock to watch Uruguay play Australia in the first leg of a World Cup 2006 qualifier. The Aussies played a good first half but didn't score with all the pressure they had the Uruguayan defence under and then a defensive lapse let the Uruguayans score - magnificent cross from Alvaro Recoba, it has to be said.

I was just about to make breakfast when the phone rang. "Who the hell would be ringing me at 5 to 5 on a Sunday morning?" I thought. No, it wasn't a death in the family but my mate Bill was watching the game also and he knew that I would be up also.

Unfortunately we need to win the return leg in Sydney on Wednesday but the bloody game starts at 4pm Perth time and I'm only going to get home as the match finishes. I should have a word with the guys at FIFA and get them to sort it out. It's not good enough. Should be a cracker of a game though.

I suppose that I should finish packing up my luggage and clean the house so that the missus returns to a spotless abode and thinks that I've been well behaved while she has been gone.

Post script: What happened to equality of the sexes?

Men and women aren't treated equally. I should complain to the Equal Opportunities Commision.

Little bit tricky for the ladies to tee off here.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Here's One Bombing In Indonesia To Be Happy About

Terrorist bomber mastermind Dr Azahari is dead. Isn't it ironic that he died in an explosion? Word is that he used to wear a bomb belt/vest at all times so that he could never be captured. I would've thought that the old cyanide pill would have meant a lesser possibility of an accident. He went out with a bang.

It certainly is one bombing in Indonesia that I was happy to hear about. Problem is, it won't stop his terrorist organisation, Jemaah Islamiah, at all. It is without question that he would have passed his knowledge onto fellow terrorists.

Apparently he studied in Adelaide. We all know that nothing happens in Adelaide so I'm not surprised that he didn't stick around. I guess he had to blow the joint. Aha ha. I kill myself.

Dr Azahari was also well known for his parties. They were dynamite. Ok, I'll stop now.

It seems like a good time for world travel. Get my visa early so that I can stay away from embassies. Don't stay in the mega-expensive hotels such as the Grand Hyatt and the Radisson. Go somewhere near winter time and the tourists aren't about. Not too much chance of getting blown up. I have more chance of catching bird flu. If I did come into contact with explosive material and have my life ended I wouldn't be able to blog about it, so I'll try not to let it happen.
Why Are The French Burning So Much?

What's going on in France at the moment? Are the migrants who live in poor housing, suffering discrimination at school for their headdress, having great difficulty in gaining employment, etc, angry about the sale of snail pellets which is damaging their major food source? It's time the army moved in and quashed the sale of snail pellets in their neighbourhoods.

The French Government should practice integration, much like snails with hermaphrodite powers can achieve.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Flavour Do Children Taste Like?

You may be aware that I am not partial to snails. I bought some snail pellets yesterday and broadcast them over the green, leafy plants in the garden. Not that there are a lot of snails visible in our garden but just to be on the safe side, you know. The little buggers are probably hiding all over the place however.

Child Taste Deterrent?

A claim on the front of the packet of "CHILD TASTE DETERRENT" had me thinking. Don't snails like the taste of children? Would that particular taste not appeal to the snail to such a degree that he would take his green, leafy plant-eating self elsewhere?

If snails don't like the taste of children what, in fact, do children taste like? My guess is that it's not like chicken. Fill me in if you have any suggestions.
I've Been Quoted

I'm becoming famous. Or I'm being used for the evil intent and purposes of others. Or I've been hijacked.

Check it - The Corridor of Uncertainty (A Cricket Blog).

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What If I Spent My Day Speaking My Mind?

Liar Liar starring Jim Carrey is one of my favourite comedies. Quick premise - a lawyer, known for his ability to lie, must tell the truth for 24 hours and can't help but speak his mind. Hilarity ensues as he embarresses himself constantly.

Now if I had a day where everyone could hear my thoughts I think that I would soon get myself in trouble.

Speaking to a customer who is just a tyre-kicker - Get off the phone you jerk and stop wasting my time.

To people in cars whilst driving - Where's your blinker you idiot? Why aren't you wearing a seatbelt you twit? Get out of my way moron. You do look like a prize dickhead in your Holden, don't you? Don't try and push in front of me when crossing lanes on a solid white line you bastard.

Walking past someone and they don't say hello - Stuck up bitch. What's your problem?

There are plenty of examples that aren't printable. Trust me. Am I just an angry man or does everyone have similar feelings? At least if I say them to myself I feel a bit better.
Test For Becoming An Aussie

Bit of a kerfuffle trying to be raised by current affairs programs at the moment regarding how easy it is to become a citizen. At the moment you only need to be granted a permanent visa and stay for a further two years before you can apply for citizenship. There is an English test to pass which pretty much boils down to "Do you speak English?" The correct answer is "yes" and then you are inducted into the Beaut Aussie Hall of Fame.

Apparently the Yanks and the Poms make wannabe citizens pass language and history tests. Wow, just imagine if that happened here.

Q. Who are the native Australians? - A. English and Irish convicts.
Q. How do you greet your fellow Australian? - A. "G'day Mate", "Howzithangin'", "Howyagoin'" or "Orright Mate" are acceptable.
Q. Name some Australian pets - A. Koalas, kangaroos, lizards and wombats.
Q. Who is Australia's greatest Prime Minister? - A. The correct answer if "We've never bloody had one, mate. They've all been useless bastards."
Q. How do you spell "beer" in Australia? - A. "XXXX".
Q. Name two Australians who have won the Nobel Prize for sciences? - A. Eh, you're havin' me on. We had blokes that were smart and not good at sport?
Q. When did Australia become a sovereign nation? - A. In 1877 when they beat the Poms at cricket in the First Test.
Q. What are typical Australian names? - A. Wazza, Bazza, Stevo, Davo, Shazza, Kylie, Kath.

If they made it compulsory to know the national anthem then I think most of the people settled here already would get the boot. Many of us could tell you that Shane Warne took 1-150 on his debut. Or that Peter Brock won the Bathurst 1000 a total of nine times. Or that Sir Donald Bradman's test average was 99.94, which is the post office box of the Australian Broadcasting Authority in capital cities in Australia.

Did you pass my test to be an Aussie? Can you stay or will we be saying sayonara, er, see ya? I said that the current affairs program was trying to raise a kerfuffle as most Australians would say "She'll be right, mate. Don't worry about it."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Rice-based Vaccine To Treat Allergies

The University of Tokyo and Shimane University have developed a vaccine that can be taken orally by eating rice. It works on mice, what doesn't these days, and could be developed into a vaccine that treats allergies in humans.

Gee, another reason to eat rice. Just what I need. Seriously though it's a great idea. But they have missed the target market widely. Only when they can incorporate the vaccine into burgers, chips and fast food will it have any impact in America, Europe and Australia. But then again the researchers were Japanese and what did they have an abundance of to work with? I thought Westerners suffered more from allergies than any other race due to we being to clean and the body not being able to handle germs as it was designed.

You may remember a few months ago now I threw out a TV where the picture had gone almost completely white. Within half a game of football it had been taken from the rubbish collection. Hardly surprising that. Well, talk about me being gobsmacked tonight.

I had a look outside the front door and there was my TV. I thought that the person who initially took it was so upset that it didn't work that they had decided to drop it back on my doorstep. Not the case. It had a note that it had been repaired and left a name and phone number of the guy who did. He had even added that it was done free of charge. Who is this strange person working his magic and gobsmacking innocent citizens I hear you ask?

It was my neighbour. He's a reclusive young man who had a horrible accident whereby he was terribly burnt and much of his face is melted and there's not a lot left of his fingers. I've only seen him about a dozen times, if I'm lucky, in the three years that I have lived here. Keeps to himself.

I'm gonna have to pop over and say a big thankyou. I'm still gobsmacked.
How Best Should The Government Waste Our Money?

I'm with the Opposition Leader in Western Australia on this issue. Western Australian school leavers, or "schoolies" as they are more popularly known, have big plans for after school parties - take a look at the article in The West Australian.

The fact that a great deal of sex is on the agenda has the WA AIDS Council concerned. So concerned that they will be handing out taxpayer-funded condoms for free. Matt Birnie, leader of the Opposition, thinks that this isn't appropriate. "But", the AIDS Council retaliated, "We will be asking them first to abstain."

WTF? This doesn't sound like a good idea. "Don't have sex!! Oh, here's a free condom." What sort of message are we handing our kids? They are old enough to buy condoms themselves and I'm sure a lot of them already do.

All I need now is to see other taxpayer-funded idiocy such as "Don't drink alcohol!! Oh, here's heaps of free booze." Or "Don't do drugs!! Oh, here's some free ecstasy." How about "Don't smoke!! Oh, have a ciggy."?

I'm really surprised that this isn't Labor Party policy actually.
Time For A Hair Colour Change

Damn, and I thought that grey was the new black.

Your Hair Should Be Blue

Wild, brilliant, and out of control.
You're a risk taker with an eye to the future.
Had A Win Whilst Out Shopping

Or should I entitle it "Don't try to put one over the Frugal Bastard?" On Saturday I was looking for some mugs with Australian native animals or wildflowers painted on them as presents to take to the out-laws, er in-laws. I had been to the same shop the weekend before and noticed that they were now on special. Still, I wasn't happy with the price and asked one of the shop assistants "If I buy four mugs will you knock something off the price?"
"No, they are already on special."

I was just about to admit defeat when I picked up the packaging containing the mugs and noticed another sticker which had an RRP marked on it. I asked the assistant to look at it and she said that maybe that was their buy price. Excuse me, RRP means recommended retail price. It has nothing to do with your buy price. Incidentally, the RRP was less than 40% of their normal sell price. She spoke to the manager about it and so I got them at the correct price and not the grossly inflated tourist price.

Isn't it nice to ask for a discount, get knocked back, and still get the discounted price?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Another Weekend Older

And still I have little worthwhile talking about. I did absolutely sod-all yesterday. Spent nearly the whole day in front of the computer. Downloaded a few videos including a number of "Numa Numa" vids and had a good laugh. Go to and search for "numa numa" and you will find out what I'm talking about. Did the shopping that was required - basically bread and milk. I have bugger all shopping to do these days as I'm trying to empty the cupboards before going away.

Played golf at Whaleback today from lunchtime. Played with Shayne again - his cousin Joe appeared to be under the weather from the party the previous night as he didn't make an appearance. Danny, a 60 year old with eight kids, joined us. Can't say I blame him for getting out and playing golf. Just as we were about to tee off Anthony, an employee of the course, rocked up and asked to play along. We certainly didn't mind. Anthony said that he was just a hacker but he had a very smooth swing and looked to be a single-figure handicapper.

Anthony was the best golfer in the group so he teamed up with Shayne and Danny and I paired off [Editor's Note - Starting to sound a bit risque]. Danny shot a 43 on the front nine which wasn't too bad considering that he'd just had some gallstones removed and showed us the scars to prove it. Anthony hit a 42 which included at least three duffed chips and a couple of putts. This kid could shoot anything if he put his mind to it. I had a 46 (18 putts) which wasn't too bad. Let's just say that Shayne brought up the rear of the field.

I was on in one on the 8th - my ball is on the left. Danny is there for two. Lipped out with the birdie putt.

Shayne and I were left to our own devices on the back nine and our golf deteriorated. It is good to have some competition as it pushes you along. Something amazing happened on the 15th. It's a par-4 305m hole and Shayne's ball struck the top of the 150m marker, bounced back to the middle of the fairway and ended up another 110m down the fairway! He was only 30-40m from the hole. If it hadn't hit the marker he would have been only another 15-20m into the sandy rubbish off the fairways and amongst the trees. It was a truly astounding bounce. Not that he made the most of his good fortune as he chipped onto the green and then four-putted for a double bogey.

Beautiful view from the 12th green. Treacherous downhill over the back however.

Shayne obviously thinking "What the hell do I do to get out of here?"

I managed to get onto a couple of the par-3s in regulation which was a lovely feeling. Even hit three pars for the day. Missed two birdie putts which was a bummer. Back nine was a horrendous 51 (20 putts) which included a nine. Shayne hit a 13 on that hole - with only two putts! He could not find the green, try as he might.

Saw a couple of other blokes on the course that I know so it wasn't a bad day. Got to try out my new akubra and I must say I looked alright in it. Well, I'd have to say that, wouldn't I? Hit some lovely irons today also.

Made a beeline for Dominos Pizza after golf. Didn't feel much like cooking. Rang my mum and watered the garden at the same time. Afterwards I rang Miky and we spoke for close on an hour. Can't say that we had a lot to talk about as we spoke yesterday but material was forthcoming. Not long to go now.

Das ist Alles.
What Happens When Two Television Stations Join Forces?

The last time the commercial TV stations in Australia met it was for the Asian Tsunami Benefit. Channels 7, 9 and 10 provided hosts and simulcast their output.

I detect a recent effort of cooperation where two TV programs from rival stations have been combined. This is a most unusual occurrence but I believe we are about to see a mega-production. Don't believe me?

What happens when Channel 7's The Mole....

.... meets Channel 9's The Block?

Result - The Mole meets The Block. I don't think that this was an accident. Stay tuned for a joint announcement of a blockbuster TV show.

Taken from

Let's see Adam and Fiona fix this joint up.
Background info on the Lane Cove apartment block in Sydney.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Back Dormitory Boys aka Asian Backstreet Boys

I was looking for the Chinese Boys who did a parody of the Backstreet Boys and videoed it. In fact, they have done a few videos and it appears also an ad for Motorola. Came across this page of the Asian Backstreet Boys at Tian's blog. His site is worth checking out for a good laugh.

Amongst other things - I have discovered how to download videos from Video.Google.Com and play them. Leave a comment or Email me if you want instructions.
Three Little Words

Three little words can make the difference in a relationship, don't you think? It's been nearly three months since I've seen Miky and Yu-Jin. I'm getting a bit bored with this batchelor thing even though I can still plan my weekend around golf and not the other way round. While I'm out doing things I think how nice it would be to do with the rest of my family.

We speak on the telephone normally every morning before I start work, on my phonecard, and I've been calling Yu-Jin in the evenings while Miky is at work. We always find some thing to talk about which is usually what happened during the day, drawing class, taekwondo, work or travel plans.

The other night Yu-Jin uttered three words that mean so much.

"Mummy misses you."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Don't Have A Cow

Here's one guy who doesn't have 68 of 'em. Gosh.
Comparing My Environmental Activism With Cricket

I picked a good time for a walk this morn. Much like going out to bat in cricket. It was a good start with me killing 60 snails in the first two blocks. Much like facing some loose bowling early in the innings. By about the six minute mark I had reached 66 snails and one slug and began to have thoughts of reaching a hundred.

Another bout of quick scoring took my score, er tally, up to 90. The magical century was within sight. The next 10 mins and the runs dried up a bit and I was sitting on 95. Started to have thoughts of failing to the the ton. The "nervous nineties" had set in. Difficulties where there had been none before stepped in without reason.

Half way home and I was sitting on 97. Would I be stranded and not make it? Would I run out of batting partners or would scoring become so difficult and the runs dry up completely so that I failed to reach that magical mark?

An opportunity for two more arose and then some easy runs presented themselves for the ton - 104. I relaxed after reaching the three figures. More opportunities came about and scoring because free again. When I reached 111 I thought, "Oh no. Triple Nelson!" Umpire Shepherd would be hopping about on one leg. But that is the Englishmen's bogey score so I had nothing to worry about. Aussie's have a supposed bogey score where they get out for 87. Statistics do not bear this to be true however.

More free scoring and then I came to the realisation that I had the responsibility to go on and make a big hundred.

Final score - 142* snails, three slugs and one beetle. (Could have had half a dozen woodlice [slaters] but didn't bother.)

N.B. * denotes "not out"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Crazy Woman On The Scooter Captured At Last

It had to happen. She's been captured on film, er digital media. I spotted the crazy woman on her scooter in West Perth this morning and realised that I had my camera in my bag. So I whipped it out, the camera that is, and she rode past me on Hay Street in Subiaco. Managed to take a quick snap before she scooted away and wasn't able to take any more.

Have you seen this woman terrorising your building site?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Real Truth About Blogging?

Do I detect a blogging war about to erupt? Mr Souter is making some loud statements about the reasons we blog, on his blog. Methinks he is actually very funny.

I particularly enjoyed his comment that Freud thought blogging was a substitute for masturbation (and gambling) when that is how he came to meet his wife [If this posting was about a Hollywood celebrity, or past one, it would have mentioned his current wife, but that is not the case and so won't be mentioned]. And just to clear up any misconceptions - he was gambling at the time, not looking for loose change in the pockets to place on the table. I'd just like to make that very clear.

My reasons for blogging are not the same as his, gratuitous undertones they may be, so I have to refute his stance on the matter. [If I use enough big words he mightn't be able to understand that I don't agree him. Words like "crap" and "BS" aren't big enough.]

Blog away. Be carefree with your thoughts. Pay no attention to Mr Souter that lover of controversy and contradiction. I have rampant thoughts of Monty Python's "The Argument Sketch" at the moment.
How Much Dosh Is My Blog Worth?

Perhaps I should disable the comments on this post to stop the smartarse comments flowing my way. What the hell, diss me if you wish. Thanks for the 30 seconds of time wasting Gleek.

My blog is worth $2,258.16.
How much is your blog worth?

Which Sci-Fi Character You've-Never-Heard-Of Am I?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The 2005 Melbourne Cup Has Been Run And Won

It's all over for another year. Perhaps the filly that most of us blokes were interested in went by the name of Eva Longoria, but that's another story. Back to the horse race.

In recent days some punter backed Makybe Diva for A$1m at $3 for the win. He's apparently the same bloke who bet $5m on Lonrho to win his final race and I think he came second. Wouldn't it be nice to have that sort of money to blow?

Work put on a bit of a show this year. The boss brought in a TV and had some catering provided. Not bad at all - quiche, sushi, garlic bread, carrot and celery sticks, stuffing, sandwiches and beer. I can save my lunch for tea time. The Melbourne Cup has been run at 3:10 pm Melbourne time for ever and that makes it 12:10 in Perth - lunchtime. Brilliant. Would you believe that the Website is down at the moment?

I picked Mr Celebrity and Brazelle in the sweepstake. At about the 1900m mark (to go), in the 3200m race, I was looking at a quinella. Unfortunately if your horse is in front at that stage then the best you can look forward to is getting your money back for last place. Not sure who picked that up yet.

For the first time in history a horse, Makybe Diva, has won the Cup three years in a row. First horse to win it three times full stop. I was a little worried that as they interviewed the jockey, Glenn Boss, he would cry so much (and he did) that he would lose so much water that he wouldn't make weight and the horse would be disqualified (that didn't happen).