Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Here's What My Boss And I Look Like

One of my colleagues at work sent my boss and I a picture that she thought looks exactly like us following a series of funny emails. What do you think?

And who is who?
What Happens When You Accidentally Set Your Clock Forward One Hour?

I'll tell you what happens. You wake up an hour earlier. I'm normally up at 6 but this morning the clock showed 5:49 so I thought that I'd get up anyway. And my clock is 20 mins fast. Jumped on the computer, read the news, read some blogs, read some emails, etc and then thought to myself, "It must be six o'clock". At this point I looked at the computer clock and it said 5:00. "Hmmm. Maybe the computer is playing up as I have had some problems recently". Quick check of the watch indicated that it was indeed five o'clock.

It's dark normally when I wake up and I didn't feel any more tired than I normally do when it is time to roll out of bed so it didn't dawn on me that it was that early. I'm thinking that it's going to be an early night tonight.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Night At The Museum - Movie

What to do on a Sunday. I was hoping that there would be a movie to watch in the city and Night At The Museum was screening. The trailer was of interest and I know that Yu-Jin wanted to watch the movie as I did. As luck would have it it was screening at an appropriate time.

We all journeyed to the city, on a stinking hot and humid day, and went to the theatre. A few minutes after the movie had started a couple of elderly English women came in and sat down behind us. One of them had a crutch and the "clop, clop, clop" behind me was a bit annoying. But the fact that they talked incessantly with bits like, "Oh, that's Robin Williams" and "He's playing like a dog" to the most obvious things really annoyed me. "And your subject on Mastermind is 'Stating the bloody obvious'". Gosh they were annoying.

The movie was great. At times the theatre was full of laughter even though maybe only two dozen people were there. We really enjoyed it. Great family movie.
SMS Premium Services Theiving Bastards Update

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from SMS Premium Services yesterday. The lady who called said that she understood I had a query relating to the service on my mobile. I soon put her straight that it was my wife's mobile phone that had the problem.

I explained that Miky had been charged for the "Download sexy babes to your mobile service" at the rate of $4.95 per received SMS and that I wanted the money refunded that had been taken. Reema, the customer service officer, assured me that the service would be stopped and that no more SMSs would be received and no more charges would be forthcoming. "No," I said, "I want a refund. I want the credit taken from us."
"Maybe I didn't make that clear for you," she said. "You won't receive or be charged for any more messages."

I went on to explain that we did not sign up for the service in the first place so a full refund was warranted. I was told that we must have signed up online or on the mobile phone otherwise the service couldn't have been initiated. Well, I know that Miky is close to being a technophobe, so there is no way that she signed up online or on her mobile. So I informed Reema that this hadn't happened. "Somebody at your house must have signed up. It is not possible to receive the service otherwise." Reema was then informed that our house has a six year-old and the two parents, none of whom signed up, therefore I wanted a full refund.

She spoke to her manager. A short while later she returned and offered me a 50% refund on the credit. I had been thinking that about $27 had been stolen. "I'm not interested in receiving 50% credit for a service that I never asked for." Then I asked how many messages had been sent. In a seven day period they sent "More than 10." Don't forget these bastards charged us $4.95 per SMS received. Nearly two a day! Theiving bastards. After going over this point a couple of times I then instructed her that I wanted to speak to her manager. She put me on hold for about five seconds only and then informed me that a 100% credit would be issued. Let's face it, the service would have cost them 5-10 cents per SMS so it's not as if it's going to bankrupt them.

I have to get an itemised account of the phone to show the SMSs received and fax it to this company. Then a cheque will be sent to me and it will be finalised within 10-12 days. "We send out cheques every week," Reema informed me. I very nearly said something about that being an admission of guilt on her company's behalf for a service that was "impossible" to receive without having signed up for. But I held my tongue.

Not far to go now. But "the cheque's in the mail" doesn't fill me with a great deal of confidence.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Time For Some Number Plates

It's been a while coming but here are some recent ones I've noticed:

ZIPICHIC - Holden Barina
EXQIZIT - BMW X5 (Moved before I could photograph it)
MYBROOM - Ford Falcon
THE BROOM - Ford Falcon (what is with the "BROOM"?)
FEARNO1 - I didn't even notice what type of car it was.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Shall We Have Indian Tonight, Dear?

On Friday a few of us from work went down to the wharf to see one of our machines being loaded onto a ship. The machinery is called a shiploader and it comes with a tripper. The beastie weighs close to 800 tonnes so you require some heavy duty cranes to lift it onboard.

Shiploader being loaded onto a ship.


The tripper.

A couple of the guys started talking about an Indian restaurant, in Canning Vale, near where they live. It was given the ok by both of them so I thought that we might try it out. Miky and I both work long and hard so we usually go out for a meal once or twice on a weekend. I got directions to the place but not the name or phone number. Tried to look it up online but didn't find it.

The restaurant is located about 15 kms from our house and it was half past seven by the time we arrived. There was a restaurant in the complex we parked at with some Indian food on the menu but it seemed to be mainly Indonesian and Thai. I asked a woman who was walking her dog, obviously a local, if this was the restaurant and she said yes. We went in and found out that it was booked out. Bummer.

It's at this stage the Miky normally bursts a blood vessel. Apart from getting mildly upset the blood vessels stayed intact. I was a bit surprised. We headed back to Victoria Park to try out Senoji, a Japanese restaurant. The food was very nice. For our meal we had prawn tempura sushi, which could quickly become my favourite dish, wakame udon (seaweed with udon noodles) and chicken katsu curry. I tried hard to convince Yu-Jin that the Katsu was a small furry animal that we would be eating.

Bought a couple of drinks (shock, horror!) and I was pleasantly suprised to be served an iced lemon tea in the form of tea that was iced and not something out of a bottle.

Ironically, Senoji is opposite an Indian restaurant. We went all that way for Indian food and then didn't bother having any. I think we'll revisit the restaurant as the food was delicious and it wasn't too expensive. And they have room to sit without booking on a Saturday night.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Giving Up Something - Lint

It's nearly Easter. Time to give up something. I'm giving up lint. Had enough of it on my computer. This pic is just from the processor's heatshrink. I didn't keep the stuff from the two fans and vents long enough.

What do you expect from an atheist?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Still Got Problems Folks

Moments after finishing that last post the computer hung again. Or is that hanged again? Ol' Saddam only had to hang once.

So, bearing in mind that the computer bloke said it could be a power supply problem I moved the computer to give it more air and discovered that the vents were covered in lint. Took the side cover off and the fans were covered in lint too. I swapped the power cords to the hard drives and cleaned off all the lint. I do need to remove the heat sink from the processor as it is filthy too. Perhaps my processor got too hot and that is why the computer hangs.

Bit of work to do yet. Getting there though.
Me And My Big Mouth

I had just gone through last month's credit card statement and declared that "We did very well last month and didn't spend a lot of money." That was enough.

First thing this morning my computer died. Whilst checking emails and surfing the net it just froze. Ctrl+Alt+Del didn't activate the Task Manager. Soft reboot called for. Didn't boot up. It failed to see the primary hard drive. Oooh. I've been down this path before and it hurts.

Then my bus was late. And a number of people who took forever to get change ready for the driver decided to ride the bus today. I was marginally late arriving at work. As I got out of my seat my mobile dropped on the floor.

Not the best start to a day. And one that filled me full of dread. Luckily the day at work ran reasonably smoothly. At least as smoothly as my job can run. I checked out the computer shops for Windows Vista, in case I needed a new OS, and for hard drives. Could pick up a Seagate 250GB for A$96 which is good value. Computer looked in bad enough shape to warrant these purchases.

Came home and Miky wasn't in a good mood. She'd had a bad day at work and we all found out about it. I think she needs to get a new job.

With some trepidation after tea I tried the computer. Lo and behold it works. Fingers crossed. The guy I enquired about the aforementioned purchases said that it sounds like a power supply problem. My hard drive stops every now and again. I've already had to re-install Windows once on this hard drive. A painful exercise, believe you me. Is this a hint that I should do some backing up?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We've Been Robbed

Not meaning to be too dramatic but we have been robbed. Not in the "stick 'em up" sense but in cyberspace. Now, we both have mobile phones. And they cost a bit of money to maintain. I put $30 credit into Miky's phone a week ago. Four days later she tried to call me but was told that her credit was less than $2. Only problem is that phone calls between our phones are free.

Angry mode. I rang Optus customer service to find out why was it so. They quickly told me that we had been receiving text messages from a company which charges $4.50 every time you receive one. I had seen one of these messages and it went along the lines of "If you want to download sexy babes just text to etc, etc". And for this we get charged $4.50? If you wish to unsubscribe text "stop" to .

At first I just thought it was a scam to get you to validate your mobile phone number to some scammers. But now, after some $27 has been stolen from Miky's credit, I don't think that it is a scam anymore. It is robbery. And of the faceless kind.

The Optus customer service dude new exactly how to unscribe from this service and he even had their name and customer service phone number. That started ringing alarm bells straight away. Optus are obviously fully aware of this problem. They warned us to be careful when handing out our mobile number for competitions and marketing - things that we never do. Armed with the telephone number I finished my call.

Next day I rang this Mobile Messenger customer service line. You don't talk to a person. Surprise, surprise. You are prompted to use the keypad of your telephone to input your mobile phone number. Do I look like a schmuk? Normally holding the line lets you talk to an operator. No such luck. You just keep getting prompted for your mobile number. So I tried again and input 0400 000 000. It let me through to the next menu. The second menu gave me two options and one of them included leaving a message for a customer service operator to call me back. I left a message.

No phone call. I rang Optus again to let them know how unhappy I was and for them to give me the Telecommunications Ombudsman's number - 1800 062 058 in Australia. This person will be getting a call. Theft is not on in my book, fella. This time Optus informed me to call them to ask for my credit to be refunded. As if that is going to happen.

Maybe I should call the Australian Tax Office to investigate them. Mobile Messenger is supposed to be provide a *cough* service and as such should be registered for the Goods and Services Tax. I'm afraid that what we receive was not a service. Are they passing on the tax money being collected? Yes, I'm wild.

Check out their Website. It is full of bullshit about nothing, e.g. we use the latest technology to do wonderful things for our customers, blah, blah. They go to great lengths to say fantastic things but don't quantify anything. They even have call centres in Australia, not India, where you can talk to a customer service rep 24 hours a day. No phone number to contact them on the Website however. More alarm bells.

I'll let you know when I get to the bottom of this.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ralph Fiennes - The Mile High Method Actor

Dustin Hoffman was a great method actor. For the movie Rainman he studied autistic people so that he could act as one accordingly. Ralph Fiennes appears to have taken method acting one step too far. What upcoming movie does he have planned that involves joining the mile high club?

The story about Ralph Fiennes is intriguing, to say the least, and has a better storyline than a Hollywood blockbuster.

First of all we had a Qantas flight attendant saying that she was followed into the toilet by an amourous Mr Fiennes. The attention was unwanted and eventually she convinced him to leave. Qantas had suspended the flight attendant and she claimed to be innocent.

Next we hear that they went to the toilet together, loosened a few clothes, and spent some minutes together. It may have been a few seconds, I don't know. Fiennes did star in the English Patient, not the Patient Englishman.

The last bit of the story goes along the lines of, according to an interview that the hostie gave to a UK tabloid, was that they spent lots of time together in a crew seat, she positively dragged him to the toilet, they had unprotected sex, which was rather ironic seeing as he was on a trip to India to attend a conference and speak about HIV and unprotected sex (what did I tell you about method acting) and whilst in India he rings her up and invites her over to his hotel for quite a bit of protected sex. Very intriguing.

After this Mr Fiennes' people declared that this Robertson woman, the flight attendant, an ex-cop who left the force suffering from stress after 14 years, was a sexual predator. It takes two to tango if I recall.

Mind you, if you are going to give a speech on unprotected sex wouldn't you appear to be more credible if you had studied your chosen subject somewhat? Somehow I don't think that he is going to be crucified for this. It's all a juicy bit of gossip.

Robertson has been sacked by Qantas.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year

Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Has it ever occurred to you, as it has to me, that the Chinese appear to be a little confused? Is this some sort of plot by the Communist Party in China to keep the people of the republic in a state of confusion so that they can't get on the road to democracy? I think that the Communist Party may influence when the new year starts and change it every year so that people don't know what day it is.

I fear for the 2008 Olympic Games. All of the athletes from other nations will turn up and the Games won't start. The Chinese will still be in 2007. Only once the disillusioned athletes have returned home will the Communist Party declare it is 2008, start the Games, and Chinese athletes will win every event and therefore the Games. Clever plan, eh?

Maybe all this confusion comes about because of a translation mistake with Confucius. The Chinese believe that they must be confused instead of Confucionists.

Confused? Perhaps you are like 1.3 billion of the world's population.
Open Letter To Mr Stephen Carr

Dear Mr Stephen Carr,

Please pay for your own post office box. The economy is booming and I'm sure that you don't need to squat on mine. Surely you can afford a box all by yourself. Now, I don't know how you pick up your mail, which is addressed to my post office box, but with Miky losing her key maybe you are able to do that. It would explain a few things.

Mr Carr, please inform your investment company that they have the wrong address. I'm sick of writing "Not at this address" or "Return to sender" on your email and dropping it into the mailbox. Obviously the message isn't getting through to them. And silly me, I would have thought that the database of a professional investment company would have been an invaluable source of personal information and should, at the very least, be accurate. Perhaps you need to look at your investment company because something tells me that they aren't up to scratch. Besides, you're not hearing about how well they are investing your money anyway. Doesn't that strike you as being a little bit strange?

If you're not smart enough to understand what I've written I'll put it in plain English for you. I don't want to receive your crap in the mail anymore. Tidy up your affairs.

Yours sincerely,
Frugal Bastard

Friday, February 16, 2007

Which Bus To Take

Had to wait a while to catch the bus last night even though I finished work pretty much on time. Normally I get one almost straight away when that is the case. All the buses that I could catch, except some that go to Curtin Uni, are new. I saw a new bus which took a bit longer to get near my house and that I thought would take a few extra minutes of walking from the bus stop. It was followed by another new bus for which I couldn't read he number.

Which bus should I catch? If I let the first one go the second one might not be for me and I'd be waiting for another 10 or 15 minutes. I took the first bus and pretty soon realised that it was the right bus. Not because the bus following it was headed in a different direction but because the Multirider reader wasn't working so I received a free trip.

It's good to be frugal.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Overheard On The Bus

Well, it wasn't exactly overheard as everyone on the bus could hear what was said. On Monday night I had to work back late. Not wanting to wait at the bus stop too long I grabbed a bus that I wouldn't normally take. Not too far down the road an old woman and an old man boarded the bus.

What a pair they made. She had no front teeth, a durry in her hand and some raggedy clothes. And oh what a voice. Think Kath & Kim and mix that with the loudness of an alcoholic. The guy, Fred was his name, wore a singlet which revealed a very skinny frame, quite a reasonable beard, uttered not much more than "Yeah" and "Ah" and "U-huh" much like a hen-pecked husband along with the extremely strong smell of stale urine. And I was standing next to him.

You know how people are reluctant to move back in the bus? Well, the next time the bus stopped a couple of people alighted but the ones standing were running to the back of the bus. The stench was quite overpowering.

The lady was dominating in the relationship. When asked about paying the fare by the driver she said that it would either be a fifty or ninety cent fare. Then, at the top of her voice, she told Fred that she had George Bush all worked out and that she had something to say to him. She hated living her life in fear and wanted to tell him so. We passed a couple of stops and the bus driver, quite irately, asked her if she was going to pay for the fare.
"How much?" she asked.
"Ninety cents each," was the response. The bus driver thought that she wasn't eligible for a concession as she had not shown a concession card.
"See that Fred? They are short of money. It could have been fifty cents but noooo, they want my ninety cents." This had a few people chuckling.

The next discussion involved alcohol. Our friend announced "You'll never get me to admit that I'm alcoholic, Fred. You'll never get me to say that. Lips that have touched liquor will never touch mine. Lips that have touched liquor will never touch mine, Fred. Lips that have touched liquor will never touch mine." A few more chuckles were evident.

At this point an older lady wanted to get off the bus and walked past this woman. "How are you dear?" said the alkie. "You are welcome to come to Fred's place."

Then she went on to tell Fred that when she first went down this road you could smoke on the bus.
"In 1956 no-one said anything if you had a smoke on the bus. You worked hard all day and if you felt like a smoke no-one said anything, Fred. That was it, Fred. That was it. I-T it." More chuckles raised.

"My sister's father-in-law lived to be 106, Fred. A hundred and six. And he smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. Three packs a day, Fred. And he drank two bottles, two big bottles, of whiskey a day. When he was in hospital the doctor said, 'Nurse, give this man his cigarettes because the only thing holding his lungs together is the tar. I don't want to be held responsible for manslaughter.'"At this point the front half of the bus had burst out laughing. Next time we heard how old he was he was 108. And just before getting off the bus, where she yelled to Fred, "Fred, get off the bus!", she mentioned that the sister's father-in-law was 102. People on the bus were nearly in tears.

As soon as the pair of them alighted the bus driver turned around to face everybody and said, "There you go folks, some light entertainment!"

Talk about hysterical. I wish I had thought to record it on my camera with the audio function.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

School Fun Night 2007

Friday night was the school's fun night. If you got there late enough you managed to miss the boring-as-batshit address from the dopey-as-$%^& headmaster. But that's another story.

Last year Yu-Jin lined up for face painting for ages and just missed out. Then he lined up for rock climbing and they closed just before he could have a turn. This year they had daylight savings and Miky went before I left work. I met them later and Yu-Jin got his face painted, attempted the rock climbing and had a couple of rides in the cars. The kids are better drivers than most of those on Perth's road although there were a few bingles.

Whilst waiting in line Yu-Jin was talking about his friend Luke and the woman standing in line with her son in front of us turned around and asked Yu-Jin if he was in year one. "Yes", came the response. The truth is he is in the mixed year 1/2 class. This woman was so excited to meet another parent she shook my hand and introduced herself. I asked Yu-Jin if there were two Lukes in the class and he said no. Then the truth came to light. I thought that it was really nice of the lady to introduce herself and not act light one of the all too snooty parents that the school seems to attract.

Cars for junior people.

Metal Man.

Metal Man 2.

Kids enjoying rock climbing.

Metal Man attempting to rock climb.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Facial Fuzz Votes Are In

The votes have been cast and all countback issues have been settled. No correspondence will be entered into. Unless, of course, you wish to comment.

Facial Fuzz Poll Results - the moustache has it.

Full-face beard.

The goatee.

The mo.

Hitler Mo.

It's all gone. The missus kicked up a stink when I got down to the goatee and it had to come off. She doesn't like beards but put up with my full-faced beard and hates goatees. It's an unhealthy hate. The mo looked alright but I knew she wouldn't go with it. The Hitler mo probably wouldn't have been suitable considering the number of Austrians I work with. And the amount of people at work that were disappointed that the goatee left the building was lovely. If only they could have convinced the missus.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Taekwondo Demonstration

Yesterday the Korean-language school restarted. After the lessons there was a Taekwondo demonstration and I believe that the students were Korean. Their English was very limited. I have a few videos but watch the fingers of the guy in the video below.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What Is Our Society Coming To?

It worries me to see a sticker, like the one below, on our bus service. What has our society become if spitting is such a problem that Transperth goes to the expense of purchasing DNA kits, and training their drivers to use them, on our local buses?

I'm staggered.
Spot The Hazardous Substance

It's rubbish collection time. I had a bit of a cleanout. First items to go were an old suitcase and some light covers. The covers went within a few hours and the suitcase took nearly a week before somebody grabbed them. Then I decided to go all out. An old sink and a basin were thrown out along with a complete set of Ford Laser hatchback doors.

I knew that the sink and the basin would go very quickly. I had expected them to be gone by the morning after putting them out but they were only gone by the next evening. What did surprise me was the fact that nobody wanted the car parts. And I didn't expect the council to collect the car parts either.

Rubbish in the morning.

Rubbish in the evening.

Low and behold! The council refused to collect the car parts. And they even put a sticker on to tell me why. Can you spot the hazardous substance? I'm damned if I can.

Watch out for the hazardous substance.
Dangerous stuff these car doors.

It's not as it a dirty bomb could be made or anything. Methinks the council workers are being a bit lazy.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hot Hot Hot

It's been a tad hot over here in the West. According to the Bureau of Meteorology last Thursday was 38.8 degrees, Friday was 41.2, Saturday was 40.9 and Sunday was 41.6. Monday, as it turned out, was a rather cool 34.8 degrees. What we need to be wary of is the fact that February is the hottest month.

On the Friday, which was Australia Day, the boy and I went to the Perth foreshore to watch the fireworks. They were nearly called off because of the heat and a strong, warm easterly wind. It wasn't a bad show and still quite warm at 9 o'clock but I felt that mother nature put on a better show in the form of lightning. During the presentation they asked everyone in South Perth to wave their torches or mobile phones with lights on. Then they announced that it was the turn of people in Kings Park to do so. At that moment a large bolt of lightning struck directly behind Kings Park. They couldn't have timed it better for effects than that.

One thing that struck me as funny about the Australia Day fireworks was the fact that we were one of the few English speakers in the area that we sat down. I thought to myself "These people are all freeloaders enjoying the free fireworks display. They'll make decent Aussies."

When the fireworks were over we wandered off to the bus station. Then the fireworks started up again. Strange that. Found out on the news the next day that three of the barges on the river used to launch the fireworks caught on fire during the show. That explained it.