Thursday, December 27, 2007

Suck Shit, Arsehole

We interrupt this family-oriented blog to bring you a newsflash.

Newsflash - Known idiot crashes his car.

Sight of the year!! Driving away from the city today along Shepperton Road near the intersection with Oats Street and what did I spy? It was a white ute, the type that is becoming popular with young males with too much testosterone, on the wrong side of the road. On its roof. There were two tow trucks, an ambulance, couple of police cars, an unmarked police car and a few fire engines in attendance. Some skid marks leading up to the traffic island separating the two streams of traffic which finished 10-15 metres prior to the position of the ute indicate to me that the driver was doing a runner from police when he did something rather silly.

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Boy, is that few moments of stupidity going to cost him. Not only is there quite a bit of damage to his pride and joy, not to mention his ego, but there will be a police record for dangerous driving, trying to evade police, etc and double demerit points as it is a holiday season and unsafe driving is punished more severely than normal.

I've seen this guy out the front of my house with his vehicle leaving the road only to rip up the grass/sand with a burnout before lurching back onto the road to make his getaway. His number plate looks familiar.

The best way I can sum up the situation is "Suck shit, arsehole."

We shall now return you to your normal programming.
Boxing Day 2007 - Stinker Of A Day

Remember how I said Christmas Day was the second hottest on record this year? Well, Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, was an absolute stinker. The temperature hit 44.2 degrees Celsius (111.5 degrees Fahrenheit), with 44.5 reached at Perth Airport, so it was boiling.

I think that pumpkins, who aren't that keen on the hot weather, have an amazing built-in defence mechanism. During the hottest part of the day they wilt but when it becomes a bit cooler they spread their leaves out again. Quite extraordinary actually. One could go so far as to say one of nature's miracles. One could also stop blabbering now.

I took the photos below when the temp was 41 degrees Celsius. The temperature rose until it peaked at just over 44 degrees and I wouldn't have thought that the pumpkins enjoyed it too much. Thankfully it doesn't appear to have killed them off. Another couple of days of that weather would though.

Large Pumpkin Plant Hot - the temp was 41 degrees Celsius.

Small Pumpkin Plant Hot - the temp was 41 degrees Celsius.

Large Pumpkin Plant Cooler - the temp had dropped to the low thirties.

Small Pumpkin Plant Cooler - the temp had dropped to the low thirties.

My first tomato plant from out the back had died off. Seeing as it still had one or two tomatoes on it I decided to keep watering it. To my amazement it had a second growth spurt and once again looks like quite a healthy plant.

My crazy tomato plant out the back that has a second lease on life.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Perth To Mandurah Rail Opening

The Perth To Mandurah railway line has finally opened. Oddly enough, it links Perth, the largest city in Western Australia, with Mandurah, the second largest city in Western Australia. The project, costing A$1.6 billion, was $250 million over budget and a year late. But it should have been done years ago so it's a relief to see it.

Mandurah-bound Train Going Along the Kwinana Freeway.

Train Pulling Into Mandurah Station.

Mandurah-bound Train Pulling Into Esplanade Station.

Just a few grizzles. The air conditioners were leaking, all of the windows (and I mean ALL) had graffiti on them, and the toilets/facilities at Mandurah Station (65000 people here) were limited to two toilets and one urinal for men and three toilets for women.

The ride was quite smooth however and rather pleasant. It's not quite the TGV, the Shinkansen or the ICE though. But it's not designed to be either. It should make a heck of a difference to the number of cars on the freeway and make it much easier to go south. Nice to get out of the house too.

Did I mention that all public transport that day was in celebration of the opening of the Perth to Mandurah rail line? One of my workmates took the train up to Perth and back and one of my uni friends caught the same train as us to Mandurah. Great minds think alike. Fools never differ.
Second Hottest Christmas Day On Record

It was a little bit warm today for Christmas Day. The Bureau of Meteorology reported that it was the second hottest Christmas Day on record in Perth. The mercury hit 40.7 degrees Celsius - that's 105.26 in the old scale. We didn't make it to the beach as I had thought about doing but stayed at home instead. Actually, I picked up a friend so that he could join us for Christmas lunch and we were a bit warm by the time we arrived back at my place.

Christmas Lunch 2007.

Miky had prepared a sumptuous meal which went down well. A little too well as it was hard to move afterwards. There was enough leftover for tea however. We sat down to watch The Grinch after lunch whilst I put together a Meccano helicopter/crane set that we bought the boy, among several other things, for Christmas. Ages 8+ my arse. I struggled to construct it myself. Some delicate finger work required there.

The boy got a microscope set (went down very well), a lockable journal (from Santa), money from Grandma (much appreciated), a Battleground playset, a book on Greek mythology, a Doctor Seuss 10 tales book, a soccer ball (from his best friend) and a stocking filled with chocolates from one of our friends. My mum gave me some Bunnings vouchers which will come in very handy as I spend lots of money there. My mum also gave Miky some vouchers from a jewellery shop. Damn silly idea mum!! You have to spend the whole lot or forfeit the money and if she wants something you can bet your life it will be about four times the value of the voucher. And whose pocket is that going to come out of? Only kidding. That should come in very handy. Thank you very much.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

No matter which religion you follow, or don't, I believe that Christmas is a wonderful time to remember your loved ones. There's so many friends and family that I see precious little of these days just receiving a card from them is wonderful. And for people that I haven't seen for years that goes doubly so.

So, if you don't get a card, an email or a call from me it doesn't mean that you've been forgotten. There's just not enough time in the day to get everything done. And I'm taking this time to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Lights In Consulate Court, Thornlie

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I'd heard that the Christmas lights on houses in Consulate Court in Thornlie were pretty spectacular. The boy and I headed down for a look just before dark on Saturday night. I parked a few hundred metres away from the street itself and later on was rather glad that I did because the number of cars blocking the surrounding streets was phenomenal.

We were treated to an amazing display of Christmas lights. The people in that street really go to town. They also raise money for Princess Margaret Hospital so I took my donation as well.

Christmas lights winning street sign for Consulate Court in Thornlie.

10 Consulate Court Christmas Lights

Christmas lights on a fountain in front of No. 10 Consulate Court.

11 Consulate Court Christmas Lights.

11 Consulate Court Christmas Lights II.

11 Consulate Court Christmas Lights III.

Well worth the trip down. I think the boy took more photos and video than I did!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Save Money At Christmas Time

I have an almost foolproof way of saving money without being too cheap a bastard about it. I still enjoy sending Christmas cards to friends and family so don't get me wrong. This year I've been rather slack and haven't written a single Christmas card. Australia Post gives you until December 31st to post at the Christmas card rate, although this opportunity has been available since November 1st, so I still have some time. They'll all be late however. I can live with that.

So, the cards are coming in and I've heard from a range of people. One card arrived today that the stamp wasn't postmarked. Beauty. I've scored myself a free stamp. Now, if I mix that with the card that my mum sent my son but forgot to write in, I've scored one card and postage for free. Now that's my frugal tip for Christmas.
From The Mouth Of Babes

The boy and I were in the shopping centre, opposite a camera shop and eating a prawn-flavoured snack waiting for Miky to collect us. And the boy had to ask, "Dad, why would you buy a photo if you didn't know the family?"
He was referring to the picture frames on sale. I think he may have added, "What if you don't like the kids in the photo?"
I told him that people buy them so that when visitors come around you could show them the photo and say that it is "Jack, Jill, Fred and Emma. They live in England so we don't see them often."

It took him a short while to ask if I was making the names up but he didn't realise that I was kidding. You could lead this boy anywhere by the nose. I did let him in on the secret though. He wanted to know what you did with the picture and I told him that you threw it away. "But I wouldn't throw that door away if I bought it." He was referring to a frame with a blue door pictured but I wasn't sure if it was a frame or a print.

The words that come out of the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mouse 1 - Human 0

After two rounds it is Mouse 1 - Human 0. Miky noticed a mouse on the loose in the house recently. Try saying that if you're Scottish. I've seen a bit of mouse poo around too and so it was time to set a trap.

Firstly I put a piece of bread in the trap. Nothing too difficult to remove and it was unlikely to set the trap off. More a method to obtain proof that a mouse was in the house. Sure enough, next morning the bread was gone. Round 1 to the mouse.

Last night I set the trap with some almond. Don't know what it is with nuts, mice seem partial to peanut butter, but it is attractive bait. And I announced to the family that "Tonight we shall catch a mouse." It filled my heart with joy to see the mousetrap upside down this morning. "Yes", I thought to myself, "I've got one." It was only after turning the trap over that I noticed it didn't have a captured mouse but the bait was still there. Round 2 was a draw.

Bit like a boxing match, isn't it? I still plan to win by knockout. I'm not in this for a points decision.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Movie Review - Disturbia

Seeing as it rained pretty much all weekend, which is most unusual for December (blame it on global warming. Hang on, it was only about 21 degrees C.), we decided to get out of the house for a coffee for the missus and an ice cream and milkshake. Trotted down to the video shop and hired a few movies. Pick of the bunch was Disturbia starring Shia LaBeouf of Transformers fame. It's about a teenager on home detention who has nothing better to do than spy on the neighbours and thinks he witnesses a murder. But, of course, no-one believes him.

Tense, thrilling, dramatic, twisting and all too much for the young bloke to handle. Not rated for kids under 12 I'd say. Funny, I, Robot had the same rating, I think, and it is the boy's favourite movie. Classifications of films don't mean too much these days.

I'd give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. It was very enjoyable.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rest Would Be Good When Sick

I don't get sick too often. Work too hard to afford to be sick. On Wednesday I had a sore throat and managed to get through the day. Yesterday I felt even worse and came home just after lunch. Rang the missus to tell her I was going home, in the hope of keeping the house quiet when she came home with the boy after school because I would be asleep but she thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to pick the boy up and her to continue working.

Not only would I get about an hours sleep before picking him up but his friend from school was also coming to our house. So my planned couple of hours sleep had dwindled to 45 minutes by the time I got to bed. Just over 20 minutes into my sleep the phone rang. It was a policeman wanting to investigate the fire that I reported a couple of weeks ago. There wasn't much I could tell him except that we'd had about five fires in the last two weeks in that area. He corrected me with the figure of 15 fires in the last fortnight. On Monday of this week they charged someone with arson so he was hopeful that they had caught the firebug. Back for 20 minutes kip.

At least the boys played well together. I gave them a muesli bar each and made some popcorn for all of us. When the boy's friend's father picked him up we went to check the mail, quite a few Christmas cards rolling in and I haven't sent any yet, before picking up pizzas for tea. Miky had been able to finish her work so that she doesn't need to go to work today so the fact that I was sick worked out well for her. I'm not too bad today so I'll head to work a bit later.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Political Greenhorn In Charge Of The Wrong Portfolio

I guess Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, gee that's a difficult phrase to get used to, didn't have much choice when choosing candidates for portfolios within the Labor government that we now have. But honestly, putting a person in charge as Sports Minister who doesn't know Sir Donald Bradman's test average? What was he thinking?

Kate Ellis, the federal member for Adelaide, where the Adelaide Oval is situated with a stand called the Bradman Stand, didn't recall Bradman's test batting average - 99.94 actually. It is also the GPO Box number for the ABC in all capital cities.

Political incompetence. I remember when Justin Madden, a former AFL footballer, entered Victorian politics and became the Victorian Sports and Recreation Minister I had my doubts to his credentials. It seemed to be a case of popularity rather than having the ability to do the job. But let's face it, the guy understands sport so is well positioned to have a say in helping to manage it. Kate Ellis hasn't started off on the right foot. In fact, she appears to have gone out to bat without the pads on.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Party 2007

We had our Christmas party the other day. The intention was to head to Rottnest Island for the day, have a snorkel, eat a BBQ lunch and then play beach cricket before heading back. But the forecast was for strong winds and big waves so it was decided that we should go up the Swan River in a more pedestrian, and non-gut-churning, manner.

Our boats - Jazz IV and West End II.

The fun, young people went on the West End II whilst us serious, oldie-types were on the Jazz IV.

Emergency training craft.

I was kind of hoping that there would be no need for us to require emergency evacuation training.

Fremantle Maritime Museum.

Worth a look, the museum is. It's situated right at the end of the harbour.

The other boat.

Just cruising up the harbour in Fremantle.

Container ship.

Fremantle is quite a busy port when it comes to container ships.

Million dollar houses with million dollar views.

I guess you could say this is Millionaire's Row, or at least one of them, in Perth. Some fabulous house dotted the shoreline. Looks a bit Mediterranean, doesn't it?

Scene along the Swan River.

Not a bad spot actually.

Crowded marina.

At the moment I believe it is quite difficult to obtain a mooring position in Perth due to the number of boat owners. This marina is called the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

Someone out for a cruise.

This looks like a private boat and I'm sure I saw this at Rottnest on our trip last year.

Swans and five cygnets.

Quite unusual for such a large brood of cygnets to survive so these guys were doing well.

The cricket match.

It's traditional to play cricket during the Christmas party. There were a few internationals who had never played before and the fact that the equipment was kid's sized made it even more difficult.

One for your dog sign.

Charming man.

Don't forget your beer when you go for a swim.

Someone had a bet about pushing this guy into the water. He lost his beer during the incident and the skipper made him go back and fetch it as there is no littering allowed in the river. I was planning to have a swim but there were lots of blowfish and jellyfish in the water. A sting ray also went underneath our boat at one stage.

Cruise ship in town.

On the way back to base I noticed that there was a cruise ship in town. Might go on one of these one day.

Japanese Navy in town.

The Japanese Navy also made an appearance in town. Fremantle is a well known stopover point for American warships so I was a little surprised to see this.

They're just good friends.

Really, they're just good friends.

All in all it was a good day. I don't think that anybody threw up which would make it three less than last year, although none of those three came this year, and it wasn't too rough. Lunch was BBQ'ed chicken or steak with a nice array of salad and there was even some beer left over at the end of the day! Obviously not hot enough. Or maybe we spent too much time playing cricket too far away from the boat. I'd have preferred to have gone snorkelling on Rottnest but it was a good decision not to head over there in the end as it would have been too choppy. There were a few cases of sunburn on the following Monday.
Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Commemorative Fifty Cent Coin

Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Commemorative Fifty Cent Coin

The Royal Australian Mint enjoys printing commemorative fifty cent coins, among others. If there is a special occasion they will change the design to honour that event. Last year Melbourne hosted the 18th Commonwealth Games. Accordingly, the Mint struck a special fifty cent coin.

I was having a look at one such coin last night and a few strange thoughts, nothing strange about that you may say, popped into my head. If a foreigner saw this coin they may wonder what the design means, as did I.

The top left hand corner seems to indicate that emu racing was a Commonwealth Games event. I haven't found any official results for this race however. On the right just above the centre it looks like a frog took part in the pole vault. On the right at the bottom is depicted a participant in the sit-down-pretending-you're-riding-a-motorbike-for-the-longest-time race. Or was that long jumping against the native kangaroo, pictured above? Swimming against the platypus was an easier event for the human participants as the platypus scoured through rocks at the bottom of the pool foraging for food as it went. And lastly, brolga whipping, which was a crowd favourite, on the left hand side in the centre.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Wife Works Too Hard

Hammy's week-old beard.

It's been a week since I've had a shave and I have a reasonable beard to show for it. I asked the missus last night if she liked my beard, knowing full well that she hates beards. Maybe that is because they make me look a lot older and she likes having a toyboy. Or perhaps it is more likely that the prickly feeling isn't good. Whatever the case may be, her response was, "Are you growing a beard?"

Gee. If she'd had a haircut and I hadn't noticed I'd be in the doghouse, wouldn't I? But when the hand is on the other foot it doesn't matter. Actually, she's been working every day and each evening as well and it's normal for me not to shave over the weekend. I'll forgive her. But I'll keep it for a bit longer. It's nowhere near ZZ Top length yet.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Like To Laugh At People

When people are not thinking ahead far enough I like to laugh at their misfortune. If they are not forward planning enough then they deserve to be laughed at. For instance, when it is obviously going to be a wet day and they don't take an umbrella. I'll have a small chuckle at those with jackets on because they won't get very wet. Their preparedness wasn't too bad. Those that just wear thin shirts and get soaked to the skin deserve a hearty guffaw. It is funny to see individuals wet right through.

Yesterday I joined these people. I became one who didn't take an umbrella to work and wasn't prepared for the rain. Ok, I didn't see the news or hear what the weather was going to be like but when I left home there were some threatening clouds. Although these clouds were unlikely to get me before I arrived at the bus stop and being summer, when it doesn't rain a hell of a lot, the morning shower wasn't going to bother me. It did rain just before our lunchtime walk though.

At knock-off time the missus rang me and said that it was pouring. Funny thing was that it wasn't raining where I was. Couple of spots of rain hit me before I reached the bus stop but whilst waiting for the bus it poured. Normally no problem but it was so windy that the rain came straight inside the bus shelter and it was soaking. And I received a reasonable soaking.

Ah well, I don't mind laughing at myself.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm Growing A Beard. Possibly.

I'm Growing A Beard. Possibly. At least until my wife finds out. On Friday we had our Christmas party. A couple of boats took us up the Swan River for a cruise before having a BBQ lunch. More about that later. That meant not having to shave on Friday and seeing as I don't shave on weekends by Monday I had a decent bit of growth. Bit of a trim before going to work and I'm off before the missus gets up so she doesn't know about it. When I came home last night she was too busy to notice.

Quite a few people at work commented, "Oh, you're growing a beard then?" I responded with, "I'm not sure yet. We'll find out tonight if I'm allowed to."

So, I haven't shaved it off this morning. I guess it won't be long before it is pointed out that Miky doesn't like beards. Until then I'll maintain the designer stubble.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Fun With Chinese Characters

I've just had a reader send me a Chinese character for the word "reduce" or "cut back" thinking that perhaps that was what I meant to put on my site. The Chinese character on my blog is the family name "Ham" in Korean. Isn't it amazing how close they are in appearance? Well, considering that there are 40000 characters there's probably another one that says "donkey breath" or "mentally deficient" which would be similar in nature too.

"Reduce" or "cut back" - Chinese Character.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not Getting Your Daily Dose Of Frugality?

Are you frustrated with your daily dosage of frugality? Can't get enough frugal living? Want to hear the latest news about being frugal? Well, I'm too busy stirring up controversy with politics and religion at the moment so you'll have to pop over to Dawn's Frugal For Life. She also has a Frugal For Life blog that she's planning on leaving for posterity but not updating anymore.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Insulting Religion And Inciting Hatred - Really?

A British teacher is facing a fine, six months in jail or 40 lashes for insulting religion and inciting hatred in Sudan. Her crime? Having a teddy bear in her maths, English and spelling class for seven year-olds called "Mohammed".

Crikey Moses. How bloody ridiculous. Surely the Sudanese have allowed church and state to be a little too close. Is Islam really that strict?

I don't expect that the investment firm, Fat Prophets Australasia, will be setting up business in Sudan any time soon. More likely they would expand to countries where Buddhism is prevalent. And I bet God wouldn't be ordering a pizza in Sudan. I hear that Judas Priest has cancelled their tour of Sudan also.

Post Script

What this teacher should do is take the 40 lashes and call out, "Oh yeah, baby! Give it to me! I like it that way! Give it to me big boy!" Then perhaps a jail sentence is in order but not as it stands.

Old Teddy Roosevelt, whom the teddy bear was named after, would be spinning in his grave. Firstly known as a US President, then a teddy bear and now associated with a prophet at the head of a religion.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

China Sets Up New Special Administrative Region

In news from the weekend China has set up a new Special Administrative Region. It shall be known as Australia SAR. A puppet has already been installed as the leader - Kevin Rudd. In fact, Mr Rudd speaks Mandarin better than 90% of the mainland Chinese population so there will be few communication issues between Australia SAR and China, the motherland.

This means that China will do well at the Beijing Olympics as there will be several hundred representatives from Australia SAR who are in medal contention and these will be added to the motherland's medal tally.

No more worrying about BHP Billiton wanting to buy Rio Tinto or the rumours that China Investment Corp (CIC) will be required to make a bid for Rio Tinto on behalf of the motherland to block the move. No, with Australia SAR established these once Australian businesses can be nationalised and absorbed by the motherland without having to pay a cent. There go the worries about raw materials supply.

The establishment of Australia SAR will mean the dropping of the 457 visa for foreign workers. Just import workers from the motherland at will. Wherever the workers are needed they can be deployed within days. Who said Australia SAR was suffering from low unemployment? There are millions of workers waiting for these jobs.

Don't fool yourself Australians, er Australia SARians. You voted for Labor in the federal election and you've picked up Chinese ownership in the process.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Local Fire

In the evening last Wednesday I noticed a very strange light outside. Further investigation revealed that there was a fire nearby. No firetrucks were apparent so I rang the fire brigade. As I was on the phone a siren could be heard in the distance so I wasn't the only person concerned.

Yu-Jin and I went to investigate. Turned out that the fire was deep inside a reserve and we weren't going to walk into there. It wasn't easily accessible at all.

Firetruck dashing into the smoke haze.

It's not Mississippi but something is burning.

The birdlife doesn't appear to be too bothered by the fire.

A couple of firetrucks, that were too large to get into the reserve, were waiting nearby. We decided to look at one of the trucks when the driver told Yu-Jin to jump in. He had a good look around and then had a few questions regarding the instruments.

Firetruck in a hurry.

The newest recruit for the fire brigade.

Yu-Jin in the firetruck.

Going around the truck we looked at the jaws of life, the breathing apparatus and the hose and valves. Yu-Jin asked where the fireman's axe was and was told that they don't use them anymore. Well, very rarely. Buildings these days have steel doors or security screens and the axe isn't much chop, if you'll pardon the pun. It was great to have the opportunity to ask a fireman any question that we wanted to and we learnt quite a bit in the process. We were told that 99/100 fires are lit. And when I said that we hadn't had a fire in the area recently the fireman said, "Except for yesterday." Apparently a fire had been lit in the same place the day before and I hadn't even noticed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Waiting For God

Went to a friend's house last night with the boy so that we could have pizza for tea and his friend could come back to our house last night for a sleepover. My friend has a new computer and wanted to set up his email account. I had a go but kept getting an error regarding and incorrect username and/or password therefore he was unable to receive email. The funny thing about that was that I managed to send an email using the same username and password combination. I'll let him talk to his ISP's help to sort it out.

Even funnier is that although I was unable to configure his email account I was able to order pizzas online from Dominos Pizza. Go figure that one out!

Anyway, back to the subject. There is a monitor that tells you the name of people having ordered pizzas in the shop and it indicates how long until yours is ready. If I'd waited another eight minutes after collecting my pizzas I could have seen God. Well, somebody called God had ordered some pizzas. Thinking that rather than them getting cold and upsetting my friend and the kids I decided against waiting for God.

Being an athiest I don't think he would have shown up anyway. And Pizza Hut do a nicer Supreme pizza than Dominos. But the Tony Pepperoni and Capriciosa are hard to go past, I have to admit.
For Sale

For Sale - Liberal Party. Slightly battered and bruised, ego damaged, Rudderless, leaderless, drifting, dead wood (Downer, Howard, etc) to be set adrift, will spend the next few years in the wilderness. (Almost) free to a good home.

I doubt that Peter Costello will hang around for three years as leader of the opposition. It is sad to see that the man who should be prime minister will not be given that chance. And now we will see the jockeying for position within the Liberals. Whoever is promoted to the leadership had better do a damn fine job or they will have lots of knives to remove. I think that if Malcolm Turnbull holds his seat he'll wait to strike a couple of years down the track. Have we seen the last of Alexander Bummer, er Downer? I hope we've heard the last of him.

In a way I'm glad to see the back of some of the Liberal Party dead wood. They were becoming arrogant, I'm talking Tony Abbott here, and feeling that they had a right to govern without needing to listen. Big surprise for them, eh? It's going to be an interesting three years, federally at least.
Whichever Angle You Look At It...

Whichever angle you look at it...

Rudd looks like he's full of rubbish.

Still rubbish from this angle.

Still looks like rubbish.

If it looks like rubbish, smells like rubbish and smells like rubbish, it's probably rubbish.

Rudd is still rubbish. He might be trying to hide the fact but it'll come out in the end. I saw this at a polling station in Victoria Park and it was the first thought that came into my head. Just had to photograph it.
The Sky Has Fallen On Our Heads

Labor won the federal election in a Ruddslide, er landslide yesterday. Even the prime minister looks set to lose his seat.

I knew bad things would happen if Labor won. The sky has well and truly fallen on our heads. In fact, the sun has failed to rise. It should have been up three hours ago and hasn't made an appearance. And my Sunday paper wasn't delivered. We're all doomed I tell you. Three years of federal Labor. And they have all the state and territory administrations as well. How depressing. I can't stand union bastards.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Election Omen?

Taking the boy to music school this morning and we noticed the Mitchell Freeway heading from the city northwards was blocked off. Very unusual and lots of traffic was building. I found out a short time later on the news that there was a fatal accident where one man had died. In front of Parliament House. And it's the day of the federal election. What does that mean, if anything?

It's not as if parliament dies. Maybe it means that the Labor Party will take office. Yes, the parliament would be pretty dead then. Or is it that the Liberals will retain power with all of their dead wood? Buggered if I know. I don't know who will win the election either. It'll be a landslide to Labor or a very narrow win. Either way, Kim Beazley is sure to come out and say that he could have won the election. Bound to happen.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Taiko Drums For TaikOz

Here's a video I prepared earlier. March 2006 earlier. Just thought that I'd put it out there on Youtube.

It's some Japanese Taiko drum players and they were fabulous. I'd go to listen to them again should they return to Perth.

The boy's class is doing limericks at the moment. He, or his classmates, have come up with some beauties.

There once was a girl called Mary,
Whose body was incredibly hairy,
She called for a razor,
But should have used a laser,
'Coz she was as hairy as Hairy McLarey.

Ok, I changed the last line for him but it was pretty funny. When we went for a walk the other night he wanted me to make up a couple. So, off the top of my head here's what I came up with.

There was a young girl called Sinead,
Who got blown to bits by a grenade,
There was a great deal of muck,
She was eaten by a duck,
They buried the rest of her in the shade.

There was a young man called Nathan,
He was the bravest man in Bonython,
At the Great Lakes,
He wrestled with snakes,
Until one day he was swallowed by a python.

There was a young boy called Yu-Jin,
Who was really quite nasty and mean,
He'd cut up garden snails,
Mix them with neighbours' mails,
And do burn-outs in his limousine.

I'd like to share one of my favourite limericks that I heard many years ago.

There was an old lady from Kent,
Whose nose was incredibly bent,
One day they suppose,
She followed her nose,
Because nobody knows where she went.

Monday, November 19, 2007

US Government and FAA Liquid Carry-On Rule Explained

If you've done any travel on planes recently you would have noticed that you're only allowed 100mL (3.4 fluid oz.) of liquids in your carry-on luggage. This is in response to the averted terrorist plot of August 2006. Here's the Transport Security Administration's ruling.

I think it is more a proof-of-concept challenge. You know, like the software company that sets up a competition to crack their supposedly hacker-proof software. The United States government and the Federal Aviation Authority have put their heads together and obviously agreed that terrorists carrying large fluid-based bombs onto planes are too easy to spot. They want a challenge and have thinly veiled this challenge with a "Make your fluid-based bomb less than 100mL to give us a bit of a challenge, guys." As you are probably aware the US government only allows encryption keys of a particular size to be used in software once they have the capability to break it. So why would it be any different for bombs?

Perhaps the US army is trying bomb manufacturing experts. Somebody gets on a plane with less than 100mL of fluid explosive and manages to blow up the whole plane. That would be pretty spectacular. But the bomb maker wouldn't be onboard. That's not the way terrorists work. The smart guy stays in one piece. Track him down and offer him a well paid job. They could use some good bomb makers.

There you have it. The restrictions on fluids in carry-on luggage are nothing more than a recruiting drive.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Say Hello, Barrie

Barrie seemed rather pleased to receive his walking frame. Just look at the way he said "Hello". Charming, just charming.

"Say hello, Barrie."

Uploading the video of Barrie receiving his first walking frame has proved quite popular and the video even received an honour for being in the most popular comedy vids to be uploaded for the day from Australia. Way to go Barrie! You'll be a superstar if stick with me baby. Just as long as you don't wrap that walking frame around my skull.

All Frugal Bastard's vids on Youtube.
What's Going On In This Year's Election?

I haven't taken too much notice of what the politicians are saying in this year's federal election. The two major parties, Liberals/National Party and the Labor Party, have agreed on pretty much everything so there doesn't seem to be too much difference.

I did hear one thing that made me take notice. The Labor Party will ban universities from offering full fee-paying student places for Australians from 2009. Why, I might ask? I paid as a full fee-paying student to attend university. The universities offer a limited number of places for school leavers, add several thousand overseas students who pay about four times as much as Australian fee-paying students do, and then top it up with a few full fee-payers. I was more than happy to pay to receive a higher education. Guess there's a bit of Liberal-thinking user pays mentality there but it didn't bother me. Even though I experienced nearly three years of earning bugger all money I'd say that it is starting to pay off.

What is the Labor Party's thinking on this issue? It's got me beat. Do they think that education should be free for all Aussies? Maybe we'd better ask Peter Garrett as he seems to have a real answer for all of the opposition's policies. He breaks through the claptrack and says what the real plans are.

Who's gonna win the election? Labor is streets ahead in the polls and apparently the mortgage belt is favouring Labor 57-43 in a two-party preferred vote. It doesn't bode well for little Johnny.

It doesn't matter who you vote for because you still get the government.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Barrie Gets His First Walking Frame

I like a practical joke, I do. My job is to purchase electrical equipment to build mining machines - bucketwheel operators, stackers, reclaimers, stacker/reclaimers and shiploaders. I liaise very closely with the design team and the electrical installation crew. My electrical site manager, Barrie, is an older guy and we get along very well. There's nothing better than having a good laugh while you're at work and we have a very similar sense of humour. Funny thing is, Barrie is situated on the
other side of the country and we've never met.

Barrie's not getting any younger and he works long hours. He's in the same mould as my father in that if he didn't work he'd probably keep over. We have several upcoming jobs that will take us through about the next three years. Now Barrie made the comment that by the time he finished those upcoming jobs he'd need a walking stick.

Being the practical joker that I am I got the idea to buy him a zimmerframe - a walking frame. I hunted around in the paper and in the Quokka. Managed to find one, with wheels, for $20. But the seller had someone coming from 700 kilometres away in a few days time to buy it. So, I bided my time and luckily the guy didn't show so I had the opportunity to buy it. Took it to work after I'd dismantled it and wrapped it up. My project manager flew to site a couple of weeks later and so we had it presented to him, basically for being an old bastard. A very jovial old bastard. I had a lady who works for a label making company, whom I've also never met, make a label for me (did it for free as she knows Barrie from way back) and send it to the assistant project manager who tied everything up at site. It was hard to keep this quiet and get so many people involved.

Barrie Gets His First Walking Frame

I know that when I finally get to meet Barrie I'm a dead man. But to see the look on his face from the video will be worth it. Probably my most elaborate practical joke ever.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Insight From The Mouth Of A Seven Year Old

Sitting at the dinner table a couple of nights ago and Yu-Jin piped up with, "Dad, I've got some good news and some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?"
Thinking that it was about something that he'd gotten up to at school that day I said, "Give me the bad news first." I've always had a thing for eating the food I didn't like first and finishing with the tastiest.
"The bad news is that people are dying."
Miky and I looked at each other with a bit of disbelief.
"The good news is that the people dying aren't wasting any water or resources."
More disbelief on our faces. Almost total by this stage.

What do we have here? An economist? A realist? A left-wing political activist? I thought that was pretty insightful but still something strange for the brain of a seven year old to come up with. Not that I'm going to discourage his thoughts however. I find some things very interesting.

I blame the school. Obviously somebody has highlighted the water shortage we face globally and started some discussion. Healthy subject to talk about and one well worth being aware of.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hot Couple Of Days

It usually starts heating up in November and this year is no exception. Still spring time but that doesn't seem to be the point. On Sunday it was going to be warm and so that meant an ideal opportunity to clean the air conditioner. And it needed it. And we needed it a bit later on in the day as the temperature climbed to 37.0 degrees (98.6 F). I also replaced one of the garden sprinkler heads and the aerator on the bathroom tap. Didn't get around to fixing the laundry tap but that will happen.

Yesterday, the start of the working week, was even hotter. The mercury rose to 39.8 degrees (103.6 F) which meant only a short walk at lunch time. By the same time next week it's supposed to be only 22 degrees (71.6 F) so things can turn around quite quickly.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Red Bull Air Race Video Was Featured On The Budapest Times

I posted some videos on Youtube recently from the Red Bull Air Race. Today I noticed that there were five links coming from the most watched video from The Budapest Times. That took me quite by surprise. No mention of my name in their video link on the home page however. Fame is so fleeting.
Real Federal Election Issue

The federal election is only two weeks away. When are we going to get to the real election issues? We've heard all the talk about health, education, nuclear power, water, aged care etc, etc.

Does Kevin Rudd, who is leading by some margin at the moment over incumbent John Howard, follow the cricket? Does he have the passion? Will he support the Australian cricket team and be seen watching them? Is cricket high on his agenda as the nation's top politician?

It has the same importance as Christianity has to becoming the President of the United States. If you're not a Christian then you're not ready for the White House. If you're not a cricket diehard then you're not fit for leading Australia.

It's a simple as that. So what is it, Kevin? 'Fess up.
Number Plates Spotted Recently

It's My Lucky Day. Or Weekend.

Good luck has been following me everywhere this weekend, it seems. I finished work early on Saturday and went shopping for a new backpack with Miky and the boy. I'd had a look on Thursday night and found one that I like and then checked online to find the same design $9 cheaper after freight. Buying online could pose a problem if I had to return it as faulty. We decided that it would be better to search in the city first.

Found the bag in Myer but not the colour I wanted. Was going to have a look at a couple more shops before ordering the one online as it had the colour I was chasing. So, second last shop on my list and they had an even better design from the same company with only an additional $0.95. I mentioned to the shop assistant, quite likely the owner, that I was thinking of buying it in Myer. She asked me why and I replied that I would get some points for doing so. Out came the calculator and she knocked $10 off the price. That was a good start.

After dropping the boy off at taekwondo I decided to buy a paper. One of the largest companies in Australian retail, Coles, had just been taken over by another company that I own, Wesfarmers. So I wanted to read all the good news. I wasn't sure about walking over to the shopping centre in the heat as I planned to go over after taekwondo to buy some milk and ice creams. Still, I went. On the way I rang Miky for some reason and because it was windy I took shelter so that the phone call wouldn't be affected. Lo and behold there was a $20 note on the ground. It was a good move going to buy that paper after all. On the way back I found a five cent coin as well.

Yu-Jin and I dropped into the video store to collect two free weeklies that he had won for doing well in a dictation test. There was also an offer of taking a new release for $4. Seeing as the latest releases only cost $2.95 I didn't think that that was a great offer. Miky and I wanted to see The Illusionist and that was only $1.95. The lady serving us thought that I should get another movie as I hadn't reached the $4 but I explained that I was paying for any more than the two free weeklies so it didn't make any sense. She thought that it wasn't sensible either and gave me the new release for free too!

The boy and I headed to the pool. When we arrived the person at the desk was on the phone and for some reason, unbeknownst to me, gave us about $2.90 off the entry price.

This morning I recharged my mobile and Miky's as well. I won a prize for recharging and received 40 free SMS text messages. Miky won a prize also and got 10 free SMS texts. Then when I went to the markets to do the fruit and veg shopping there was a free parking spot right at the entrance to the markets. I have never parked there in my life.

Damn. I should have bought a Lotto ticket before all of the good luck was used.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Australian Cricketers Are A Sporting Disgrace

I had Cricinfo's ( live scorecard from the first test match this summer between Australia and Sri Lanka going whilst at work today. Towards the end of the day Sanath Jayasuriya was given out, in a contentious decision, caught behind. Cricinfo reported that replays show no contact with the bat was made. "Desperately unlucky" was the phrase used on one television news report whilst another failed to mention that the guy hadn't hit the ball at all. I think that "desperately unlucky" doesn't do justice to the situation.

The Aussies saw the ball move away about the same time that it passed the bat but it was a deviation caused by swing rather than a nick. There was no sound indicating a nick either. What really upsets me about the Aussies in this situation is the appealing for a catch when there was quite obviously no contact made. The Aussies were very unsporting in this case, I feel. And what about the umpiring. I heard that the original umpires that were to be used had visa issues with getting into the country and had to be replaced at very short notice. Their replacements, or at least one of them, appears to be a very poor replacement. There is an overriding factor when an appeal is made and that is that the batsman is to receive "the benefit of the doubt". That is, when there is doubt that the batsman is out he is to be given not out. Any benefit is to the batsman's benefit. Now, for an experienced umpire to see a ball move but not hear a nick and give the decision in favour of the bowler is blatantly disgusting. Jayasuriya was unhappy about the decision but accepted it.

I feel that the batsman, quite obviously in this case, should be allowed to appeal the decision as he has been unfairly dealt with. The reason my woodwork teacher and junior cricket captain at Mundulla, Mr Ferris, preferred cricket to tennis was the fact that one mistake in cricket and your day was over. Tennis was a game where you could afford to make numerous mistakes and still triumph. When I played cricket and was bowling and there was a chance of a wicket with the whole team appealing and I didn't believe that it was out, I just turned to go back to the top of my mark for the next delivery. I didn't believe in appealing if I didn't think it was out. And I deplore the Aussies for appealing went someone is not in a situation where he should be deemed to be out. I don't think that the Aussies are alone in this regard but it is terrible to see a great advantage gained after such a poor decision. In fact, not just a poor decision, but poor cricket all around - umpiring included.
New And Exciting Cricket Concept - Sideyard Cricket

The great Australian game of cricket is backyard cricket. It's quite often played in conjunction with a BBQ and friends/family. I remember having a big family get together at my uncle Pete's place and he had a huge, long backyard. It was big enough for playing cricket on and we had a great time.

But now Australia has become more urbanised and the backyard is being lost in suburbia and shrinking block sizes. What will happen to this great tradition? I'd hate to see it lost altogether.

Last week I bought a mini football and a cricket bat for the boy. He's been keen to play cricket and I didn't want to go to the park. The backyard, with the clothesline, trampoline and neighbours' yards wasn't an ideal spot either. We settled on the side area of the house. Not too many windows to damage, or plants, and only one light that could be smashed. As it turns out, because of the shade cloth enveloping the side, it is much like playing in the nets (cricket nets). And because you have no room to play shots sidewards it promotes batting with a straight bat. It's actually not a bad spot.

There you have it Australia. Forget about test matches, one day cricket, three day cricket, two day cricket, indoor cricket, Twenty20 and backyard cricket - go for sideyard cricket if you are pushed for space.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

If Elections Were Based On A Show Of Hands

If elections were based on a show of hands then the Liberal Party would be signing up Lakshmi, the girl with eight limbs, from India. But seeing as she has just undergone surgery in an attempt to provide her with a normal body structure, she's below the legal voting age and she's not an Australian citizen, I think the Liberal Party is doomed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Who Am I?

I could be a serial killer.
But I haven't started yet.

I could be a multi-billionaire.
But I don't have that first billion yet.

I could be a bigamist.
But I'll take it one wife at a time.

I could be a great chef.
But I haven't learnt to cook yet.

I could be a gambler.
But don't bet on it.

I could be a giant.
But that's a tall story.

I could be a loner.
But the voices in my head keep me company.

I could be a poet.
But I have no rhyme nor reason.
Melbourne Cup Day

Everyone looks forward to the Melbourne Cup. Even those people who don't like horses. Or betting. Perhaps even the No Pokies party leader, Nick Xenophon secretly, deep down, enjoys the Melbourne Cup. But don't bet on it.

It's the race that stops a nation. Well, we all gawk at the TV for a while hoping that the horse we picked in the sweepstakes, because we have no idea about horse racing, will do well. Most people that would only have one bet per year would place that on the Melbourne Cup.

At work we had two sweepstakes - a five dollar one and a ten dollar one. I entered in both when, out of the 24 horses minus three scratchings, there were only four and five left respectively. For the five dollar sweepstake I was given Efficient and in the ten dollar sweepstake my pick was Blutigeroo. Didn't know if they were a pair of Clydesdale horses or not. I'm just like any other Melbourne Cup punter in that regard.

Well, blown me down. Efficient won the 2007 Melbourne Cup. And I collected $60 for my trouble, less the $15 in the first place, for a tidy 300% profit. Doesn't make up for all the years I haven't won a cracker. I sent a text to Miky and it turned out that she had won $30 at her workplace for a $2 entry. The boy said that he picked horse number 6, Efficient as it turns out, before the race.

I think I'll take my winnings and retire from punting.
Reading Puts Me To Sleep

I try to be a good father. Ever since the boy was little I tried to read to him before going to bed. Whilst I was studying at uni I found that it was me going to sleep before the reading was finished. About 30-45 minutes later I would wake up and have to go back to studying. Now the tables have turned somewhat. The boy can read and needs to do so for homework. The last couple of nights he has been reading to me and I've fallen asleep before he's finished.

I'm trying to be good. Honest. I can see why people read a book in the olden days before going to bed. Only trouble would be I'd be wasting electricity as the light would be left on for an hour or two before I woke up again. I can't explain why it makes me so sleepy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Red Bull Air Race 2007 Perth

Yu-Jin and I attended the Red Bull Air Race held above, only just, the Swan River yesterday. It features daredevil pilots racing at up to 400 km/h only 15m above the water and carrying out loops, knife maneouvres and perhaps a few barrel rolls afterwards if you're lucky.

We had a reasonably good spot although we were in the sun. Bringing a tent next time would be a good idea. There were two formation flying displays prior to the elimination round whereby the 12 pilots who had qualified would be cut down to eight who would then be matched in quarter finals, semi finals and the grand final.

Yu-Jin lost interest before the elimination round was finished. Following that I let him play on the playground where he met one of his classmates. He then joined some boys playing football. We then had an ice cream each as it was approaching 30 degrees.

Back to racing by this time for the quarter finals. The two men who could still win the world championship, Paul Bonhomme and Mike Mangold, were paired against each other. Mangold won this duel, after trailing by 0.05 seconds at the last marker, and went on to take third place and the world championship on countback.

Time to go home. I didn't have intentions to stay the whole day anyway and could watch the rest on television. Luckily it was being beamed live to the eastern states and so was on a two hour delay to Perth.

Red Bull Air Race 2007 held above the Swan River in Perth.

Red Bull Air Race 2007 Low Flying by one of the Red Bull team, probably Peter Bensenyei.

Red Bull Air Race 2007 Perth knife edge+manoeuvre between the quad pylons.

Red Bull Air Race 2007 Perth Red Bull Plane between pylons.

Plenty of dunnies on hand.

Interested spectators with a decent view in South Perth.

Michael Goulian in the Red Bull Air Race 2007 Perth elimination round.

Mike Mangold in the Red Bull Air Race 2007 Perth elimination round.

Mike Mangold vs Paul Bonhomme in the Red Bull Air Race 2007 Perth quarter final.

Paul Bonhomme vs Mike Mangold in the Red Bull Air Race 2007 Perth quarter final.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Visits Town

We don't celebrate Halloween in Australia. It's an American custom, as far as I know, but Wikipedia informs us that Ireland, UK and Canada also celebrate it.

So I was a bit surprised to find a bunch of kids in front of my door last night, all nicely dressed up in witches and nurses (?) costumes asking me, "Trick or treat." So surprised all I could say was, "Sorry kids. We're not big on Halloween." Even more surprisingly they weren't bothered by that. I'm just wondering if my house has been pelted with rotten eggs overnight however.

I guess I could have wiggled my ears or my eyes for them but perhaps kids aren't really interested in tricks. Somebody else came knocking later in the evening so I just ignored them. Not being a grouch or anything. It's like asking a Jew to celebrate midnight mass. It's not something I believe in.
Amusing Bus Ride

The bus was quite late yesterday. I was starting to think that I had missed it altogether. When it finally arrived it wasn't the usual driver at the wheel. No problem with that. It was amusing when we came to a major intersection and she called out, "Which way does this bus normally go?"

And you thought that people don't like to be told how to do their job?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What Is Your Blog Worth?

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

And why don't I see any of that value in it?