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.