Friday, May 18, 2007

Going Offline For A Couple Of Weeks

Heading over to Hawaii this arvo. So, I'll be offline for a couple of weeks. Won't be much opportunity to post while I'm away so don't forget about me. I'll be sure to tell you all about the trip upon my return.

And don't worry about me because the flights were paid for by frequent flyer points.
How Useful Is Prince Harry?

I'm not a huge fan of the British royal family but they do have a job to do. And if they are in the army they should be carrying out that job too. So, poor ol' Prince Harry, who wants to be taken seriously, is in the army but deemed too precious to go to war in Iraq. And he is the leader of his squadron. What sort of message does that send to every other soldiers' family? Because he's a target he shouldn't go to war? Every other soldier is a target, agreed not as large a target, but a target just the same. The boy would have a gun to defend himself, wouldn't he? So just how useful is Prince Harry?

- As useful as tits on a bull?
- As useful as a cop without a gun or handcuffs?
- As useful as a wether for fathering lambs?
- As useful as a gelding for a stud farm?
- As useful as a politician?

There's a saying, "Son, you're in the army now". Bloody namby-pambies who don't want the prince's blood on their hands. Why join the army when the most dangerous object you will handle is a pencil, which, as I've mentioned before, has inherent design problems which make it unsuitable for hand-to-hand combat?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Time Stands Still For No Man

... but sometimes it marks time on the spot.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

But the pencil has inherent design problems which make it unsuitable for hand-to-hand combat.

- Hammy 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Incident On The Bus This Morning

It was looking like another uneventful trip on the bus this morning. That is, until Jason boarded the bus. From my seat I could see that he was a mid-twenties, bare-footed slob who probably didn't have a job. Not that I'm quick to judge people. No, not me. I'm just a bigot. And an opinionated one at that.

Jason told the bus driver, who was expecting payment, that his Smartrider card had been taken by a machine in Armadale and that he wouldn't be paying. The bus driver insisted on receiving payment. Jason told him that he had recharged his card but that the machine had eaten it and that he should call the Armadale station because they knew about it.

The bus driver radioed base but, of course, the new Smartrider cards don't get eaten by recharging machines and he couldn't talk directly to the station anyway. Jason had to pay. He refused to pay and he refused to get off. The driver went to the next stop but on the way a lady stood up and showed some ID to the driver. She was some sort of transit guard and was on duty but not, apparently, in uniform. She instructed Jason that she was legally requesting that he get off the bus. He was a bit too large for her to push him off but you could see that that was her intention. She instructed the driver to stop, close the doors, call the transit police and await their arrival so that Jason could be arrested.

So, the bus stopped at the next stop. Two buses on the same route went past. People started to get a bit upset as they were going to be late for work. I could have changed buses but I wanted to see this guy get arrested and that would be worth missing 10-15 minutes of work for. I even felt like helping her push him out of the bus but could have been charged with assault should things have gotten out of hand. Besides, the duty officer seemed to have things under control, backup had been called and Jason wasn't being aggressive.

We waited for nearly 10 minutes before the officer convinced him to leave the bus with her and wait at the bus stop until the transit police arrived. She informed him that he would get a criminal record over this offence as he had not left the bus when instructed to which was a legal request.

We didn't get to see an arrest made. The driver refused to stop at any more stops on the way to the city, and you should have seen some of the looks that he received from people wanting to catch the bus, so that he could make up time. I was about five minutes later than usual but still not late for work. Pretty much all of the passengers were supportive of the action taken but a little put-out by the fact that they would be late for work.

The simple thing to do would be to buy a single journey ticket but if what Jason explained was true then he has some right to feel aggrieved. He also pointed out that some people are on a budget and, apart from the milk drink in his hand, he didn't appear to have two bob to rub together.

Perhaps there are still a few bugs to iron out in the Smartrider system. But it was nice to see the transit police system in operation and this young man be taught a lesson. Perhaps it is a bit harsh if it leads to a criminal conviction as he does appear to have a grievance.
Health Warning

I think that women of the world are in for a health shock in the coming years. Women are being bombarded with ads telling them to "fatten their lashes". In some cases the product is supposed to make eyelashes 2000% larger. Max Factor has a 2000 calorie mascara.

Women, what are you doing to yourselves? Don't you realise that the only thing that can become of this are hideously muscled eyes that have strained for years under the additional weight of mascara? Your bodies weren't designed for such stresses. Medical research in the years to come will shed light that this is as unhealthy an activity for women as breast implants have been shown to be.

Ed. - Perhaps this posting is a bit sexist and there are some of you men out there who take offence to the stereotype that only women wear mascara. If this offends you then you need to take a long look at yourself and your behaviour. Stop it!!
What Calendar Do They Use In Singapore?

This morning, bright and early, I recharged my mobile phone. When I say recharged, I mean money-wise and not battery-wise. Optus usually provides you with 60 days to use your credit. This time they issued my credit to be valid until 31/6/2007. That's only six weeks. And that's not taking into account that the 31st of June doesn't exist.

Does Singapore use some strange calendar whereby the last day in June is the 31st (Optus belongs to Singtel)? Anybody got any clues?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Yu-Jin's Birthday Party

We had Yu-Jin's birthday party today. Had to have it a few weeks late because we couldn't organise it during the school holidays as we don't know where half of his friends live. The party was at Tumblers Kids Gym at Riverton Leisureplex. Only one kid who was invited didn't show. But instead of having a total of eight kids there were 12 as siblings came along too. Luckily they didn't charge any extra and there was enough food to around. Bit left over for the parents who came too.

Couple of hours of running around, lots of Fanta and Pepsi, chips, fairy bread, hot dogs and popcorn. Surprisingly the chips were left over. Kids had a good time. Parents were relaxed and got to talk a lot. You couldn't pay me enough to run one of these parties with screaming, demanding kids.

The birthday boy.

Chips were on the menu.

Ice cream cake for birthday cake. No better way to go.

Family pic. The only time we get a photo together.

Tumblers Kids Gym.
What's The Best Uno Hand?

I was playing Uno with Yu-Jin last night and he was really excited about one hand that I dealt him. He kept going on about how good his hand was. When the hand was finished he had lost and I'd picked up 20 points. What was so extraordinary about the hand he had been dealt? He'd been dealt three Draw Fours. How on earth can you lose after that?

Don't worry, I rubbed it in.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is It Nearly Winter?

I had to check my watch as I reached the bus stop this morning. Something didn't seem right. It was sunny. It was mild, almost warm. There were more people at the bus stop than is usual. There was less traffic than usual. I thought to myself that maybe I had slept in for a couple of hours. It's nearly winter, supposedly.

Today it reached 28.9 degrees and it's only three weeks from being winter. What's going on people?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How To Deal With Computerised Telephone Operators

I rang Centrelink last night to inform them that I was going to make more money this year than I initially thought and that they should be taking away my family allowance payment. Well, I'd give them the figures anyway and let them decide if I was still entitled to it.

I was greeted by a computer operator which seemed surprisingly intelligent and was very polite. These things don't react well to sarcasm however. I updated my income and Miky's income. It had the two figures but when they were added up it came up with "underscore lasdghelkvnlskdfw". When informed that it was incorrect I heard, "I'm sorry. My mistake." So, I had to go through the process again and it came up with the same figure. Wrong again. "My mistake again. I must have misheard that (or similar)."
"No shit, Sherlock" was my response. At this point the computer realised that I should be put through to an operator.

Hey presto. If you don't want to speak to a computer just swear and you get put through to a real person. Well, a person who works for Centrelink. Ha ha. James sounded very young and did his job well for which I was grateful. He confirmed that there probably was some recognition of swear words built into the system.

Don't try this with Telstra though. No matter how much you swear and get frustrated it doesn't help. Their computer is just not #$%&ing smart enough.
Novel Way To Remove Teeth

Just when you thought you'd seen it all Yu-Jin came up with another method of teeth removal. I don't even know if the tooth was wobbly but he went to take a drink from a container where you have to pull the top up by holding it with your teeth. As he pulled his tooth almost popped out. I heard it go "crack!" Later on we were wrestling on the trampoline and his mouth started bleeding, and no, I didn't hit him, so I told him to wash his mouth. He did so and touched his tooth and out it came.

The funny thing is it must be close to two months since the girl at taekwondo did a high back kick and struck him in the mouth making one of his teeth wobbly. And that tooth hasn't fallen out yet.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spider-man 3

Had some cheap tickets to the movies that we picked up after having a meal at a restaurant a while ago. Seeing as we've seen both of the previous Spiderman movies at the cinema the third instalment had to be viewed there as well. Can't believe we attended the opening weekend of a movie. I think the last time I did that was for Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet.

Miky had tea all ready when I arrived home on Friday night and she and Yu-Jin had already eaten. We raced off to catch the 7:15 showing and we even took our own pre-prepared popcorn. She's a woman after my own heart.

Gee, we were lucky to get a seat. In fact, to sit together we had to share two seats between the three of us and push the arm rest up. Luckily those two aren't large people so we had enough room.

Action scenes are good but some are too fast and it all appears to be a blur. The movie does drag on a bit and is too long but the action is good. Oh, I already mentioned that. There are some moments where you feel quite awkward for the characters which portrays quite good acting. I was surprised that the viewers didn't get restless. We had a baby in the same row as us and if it was awake it would have been quite frightening for it. There were a few unexpected twists and it was a bit schmaltzy but not a bad movie overall. I'd give it 6.5-7/10.

I did spot one error where a cord moved and a Korean flag popped up at one stage.
Keira Knightley To Quit Acting Due To Anorexia Pressure

So Keira Knightley is sick of being a celebrity and being a poster girl for anorexia. Incidentally, I love her comment regarding anorexia "I know it's not something to be taken lightly..." Apparently she is just naturally thin and a doctor told her if she wanted to put on weight she would need to eat fatty food and stop exercising. Doesn't sound like a crash hot idea to me.

It would be sad to see her, the star of Pirates of the Caribbean and Pride and Prejudice, give up acting for wrong reasons. She shouldn't give up because people post her picture on anorexia Websites or because of her celebrity. That would be a tragedy. No, she should give up acting due to her lack of acting skills. She was so annoying in the aforementioned movies it detracted from the overall enjoyment of them. Give up the acting Keira but make sure it is for the right reason.

Friday, May 04, 2007

SMS Premium Services - Update

Back in February I told the world about how much I despised SMS Premium Services for ripping money from my wife's pre-paid mobile account by sending her text messages and charging her for the privilege.

Well, lo and behold. A few days ago I received an envelope from HSBC. This was rather surprising as I have no account with this banking institution so I thought that it might be some junk mail. Got a bit of a shock to see that it was a cheque which covered the value of my claim against SMS Premium Services.

Well how about that? Didn't have to take it to the Ombudsman after all. They didn't take quite that long to get back to me with the refund as it took me a couple of weeks to get around to typing up the fax.
The Funniest Thing I've Ever Heard?

Miky said something really funny the other day. Not related to English not being her first language, like saying "disbenefit" instead of disadvantage, no. More along the lines of "I want to be a morning person."

I cracked up. She's not a morning person and never will be. Not in a million years. I laughed and explained why I laughed. Still, I woke her up early the next morning. Guess who didn't get out of bed? And the next morning too. By the third morning the desired change in behaviour was no longer desired.

Morning person indeed.
Exercise In The Office

We have a few printers in the office and they are situated away from people's workstations. There is a good reason for this and that is so that you get some exercise during the day instead of sitting down all day. I have to file what I do in electronic format and printed format therefore I visit the printer quite often. Plus, it's also a scanner so I can turn printed format into electronic.

Yesterday I decided to do a little experiment. I counted how many steps to the printer that I regularly use and how many time I visited it. The distance is 29-30 steps, let's say 25m, and I went to the printer a total of 29 times. That was like a fairly typical day so I'm looking at doing about a kilometre and a half of walking each day during my time in the office. And that's only to that printer. It's much further to visit the other printers and there are other people that I have to see.

And let's not forget that when I hear biscuits being emptied into the biscuit barrels I shouldn't feel guilty about the fattening effect of eating said biscuits because I have to walk there, and back, to get them to eat. Twice a day mind you.

Now I'm rather glad that I don't go for my morning walk to the post office. I've got too much walking to do at work.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

No 457 Visas For Korean Bus Drivers

Australia has a shortage of skilled tradespeople. In response to this problem we have introduced the 457 visa. It allows tradies to work in Australia for four years. There are thousands of workers, and their families, who have come to Australia for this reason. Builiding sites employ great numbers of Filipino labourers, there are quite a few Korean welders and I know of many Chinese electricians in Perth.

I don't think that we should be issuing 457 visas to Korean bus drivers. They are noted for their recklessness. Last night on the bus it felt like we had a Korean bus driver. It was raining, the road was inevitably quite wet and the driver was throwing the bus around like I would be hard pressed to do in the dry. I was a bit shocked and not comfortable as I was standing up too. We approached stopping points, bus stops, corners and traffic lights, far too quickly and I was really surprised that the back of the bus didn't swing out or fishtail. And after one stop the driver called out for everyone to move backwards and get into a seat as he was unable to see. I don't know if it was being at the back of the bus or because of his driving but reading my book made me feel a bit sick and I had to stop.

It turns out that the driver was an Aussie but I have horrible thoughts that if he was a Korean on a 457 visa we would be in trouble.

P.S. Perhaps I should mention some of his antics. I thought that he was going to remove a wing mirror from a car that was driving on the diving lines between the bus lane and the car lanes. Deservedly so, I might add. Then he approached a 15 km/h speed bump closer to 50 km/h. At the bus stop he came to a screaming, although not screeching, halt. Then at a right hand turn he came to such a sudden stop that I thought the back would fishtail out. Strangest behaviour of all was that he actually stopped at a stop sign. Unfathomable. He continued to scream on through small suburban streets at dry-weather speeds. The bus route was 174, if you wish to avoid him. Won't be getting a vote from me for bus driver of the year.