Saturday, May 31, 2008

Singapore Trip - In The Dark

We've paid for a week long cruise from Singapore later in the year. We're pretty excited about it and have been speaking to Singaporean friends to obtain insider knowledge about places to visit and best places to shop. We initially booked two days extra in Singapore after the cruise finished but are thinking about extending it to four. Everybody says that you can't see everything that you need to in only two days. So, we're looking into it.

Last night, around 8pm, the phone rang. The Boy answered it and someone told him that "Your cruise has been cancelled." By the time I got to the phone they had hung up. I rang Flight Centre's after hours service shortly afterwards and they informed me that they didn't have access to the tour operator's database and I'd have to wait until Monday.

I went to Travel Centre today and they were unable to tell me anything. As we have a public holiday on Monday I'll have to wait until Tuesday at the earliest. Not too sure what's happening and not too sure how upset I should be. If the cruise doesn't eventuate we still plan to visit Singapore and stay for a week.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eurovision Song Contest 2008 - Favourites

I quite enjoyed watching the Eurovision Song Contest this year. There were some half decent singers, bands and tunes. I've rated the top eight placegetters, in my humble opinion and an honourable mention.

First Place - Sirusho - Qele Qele (Armenia)

Second Place - Euroband - This is my life (Iceland)

Third Place - Boaz Mauda - Ke'ilo Kan (Israel)

Fourth Place - Kalomira - My Secret Combination (Greece)

Fifth Place - Teräsbetoni - Missä miehet ratsastaa (Finland)

Sixth Place - Ani Lorak - Shady Lady (Ukraine)

Seventh Place - Stefan Filipović - Zauvijek Volim Te (Montenegro)

Eighth Place - Dima Bilan - Believe (Russia)

My Favourite - Even though they didn't enter - Kazakhstan.

Movie - The Brave One

The other night we hired "The Brave One" which stars Jodie Foster. It's a violent, gritty and somewhat compelling movie. Not something that we would let the Boy watch. And it was delivered with a good deal of realism.

Hard-hitting, in more ways than one, and worth watching. Four stars.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eurovision Song Contest Semi 1 2008 - Stop The Discrimination

The Boy and I watched the first semi-final of Eurovision 2008 last night. There were some very performances, most notably from Montenegro, Greece, Andorra, Armenia, Israel and Finland. I would have to say that the long-haired heavy metal rockers from Finland were my favourite. What else would you expect from a country of 600,000 lakes, rally drivers, blondes, javelin throwers and distance runners? Seeing as the votes were cast by SMS they would have had an unfair advantage as Nokia, from Finland, practically invented the mobile phone. Actually, you weren't allowed to vote for your countrymen.

I'd be ashamed to say that I was Irish following the performance of Dustin the Turkey. No wonder there were boos and jeers from the audience as they were not a worthy representative of their nation.

There was a certain cringe factor associated with watching Europeans making lame jokes in English but I guess you have to expect that. Overall it was worth watching. We'll be there for the second semi-final, whenever that is going to be shown.

I couldn't help but notice the blatant discrimination however. Where were the entrants from Australia, Qatar, Yemen, Lesotho and that perennial favourite Swaziland? So what if it is "Euro"? You are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of nationality. It's time that this competition was opened up to the world.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'd Forget My Head If It Wasn't Screwed On

Honestly, sometimes I feel that I would forget my head if it wasn't screwed on. That's a term we use in English to describe people who would forget the most obvious things if they weren't already done for them. The only way you could forget something is if it was somehow removed from your being.

I'm a creature of habit. A place for everything and everything in its place. That's one of my mottoes. Keys, mobile phone and wallet are always kept in the one place. I don't have to go looking for anything and can even find things in the dark around my house because I know where they are.

Take yesterday for instance. I went to grab my necessaries before leaving for work and noticed that my wallet wasn't with my mobile and keys. "Ah," I thought, "I've left it on the table overnight. I'll get it on the way out the door." I then proceeded to walk through the house without the lights on and promptly forgot to collect my wallet. It was only when I reached the bus stop that I came to the realisation that I had no wallet. No wallet meant no bus ticket. No wallet meant no key to enter the building where I work. And I'd only reached the bus stop with a few minutes to spare before the last bus arrived so that I could get to work on time. Oh well, back home I trudged, collected my wallet and went back to the bus stop. At least my stupidity allowed me to exercise for an extra 20 minutes. I worked back to make up for the lost time but, honestly, if I even loosen the bolts in my head, just a little, I forget it altogether.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Salter Point Bushwalk

We went for our nearly regular walk today in the bush. Well, a wetland conservation area alongside Canning River in the suburb of Salter Point today.

Salter Point Walk.

What's In A Name - Justifiable Homicide?

We like Will Smith. His movies are pretty watchable and I, Robot is amongst my all-time favourites. We were planning to watch I Am Legend at the cinema but never got around to it. It's only been released on DVD in this country for a week and so we hired it last night.

No wonder it is rated MA 15+. There' some scary business going on. Great movie but not one I would watch over and over. I'd give it three and a half to four of out five.

At the conclusion of the movie the credits started to roll. Now, I've mentioned before that I'm a bit strange in the fact that I like to read the credits and will happily do so in the cinema, often being the last to leave. Having the surname Ham I found it amusing to see someone with the surname Bacon. Ok, we've all heard of Kevin Bacon but one of the three Technical Score Supervisors was called Chris P. Bacon. It didn't dawn on me how weird the name was until I read it out aloud. And someone else had Rainbow as their middle name.

Crispy Bacon - surely that's grounds for justifiable homicide?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Embarrassing Allergy

On the weekend the Boy and I went to the markets for fruit and veg shopping. I remembered that we were all out of nuts and said that we have to go to another shop. He was horrified when we popped into the Angry Almond as it sold a multitude of nuts - something he is allergic to. I purchased some Yoshiniki peanuts and Japanese peanuts along with unsalted cashews. Not wanting to leave him out I also got some banana chips and Chinese crackers. When we went to pay for them the assistant asked if he was allowed to have some chocolate. I answered "Yes, as long as it doesn't have nuts in it. He's actually allergic to nuts."

It was slightly embarrassing to go into a shop whose sole being was to sell something that my son couldn't eat. Anyway, she gave him some nice milk chocolate and he's enjoying getting stuck into the Chinese crackers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008

Mothers Day 2008. We decided to go for a bushwalk. Not too far away mind. I'd spent the evening making some sausage rolls, to the wife's recipe, so we had something for a picnic afterwards.

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008 - Riverton Bridge.

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008 - Bullrushes.

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008 - Bushwalk.

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008 - Frog's eggs or air bubbles?

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008 - Nice flowers.

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008 - Wetlands.

Mothers Day Bushwalk 2008 - Wild mushrooms.

Having An Environmentally Conscious Shower

In this day and age of global climate change and droughts we are being constantly reminded just how precious our water supplies are. We are asked to repair leaking taps and toilets as they waste vast quantities of water. Please be environmentally conscious and have a short shower.

Environmental Vandalism

Environmentally Friendly

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What's In A Name?

I took the Boy to music school today as I didn't have work. He's in Firebird class and I hadn't seen it before. The teacher's name is Mrs Christmas. I asked Yu-Jin the names of his classmates.
"That's Claudia. That's Xavier (It was actually Ezekiel as Xavier was late for class). And that's Woods."
"Woods? That's a strange name," I said.
"Oh. No, no. That's Forrest."

And I thought I'd given my boy a strange name.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Charities - Big and Small

Last night we made a donation to the Red Cross for their Myanmar Cyclone Appeal. It looks as though up to 100,000 people may die as a result (of the cyclone, not our donation). There's very little food or clean water, even at the best of times, but these guys in Myanmar have been wiped out by a three and a half metre (12 feet) tidal surge. These poor buggers require urgent assistance or disease is going to wipe out thousands more. Please give if you can. It's easy to do online.

I'm no fan of the military junta ,nor democratically-elected Labor governments come to think of it, but that's no reason not to help the people out.

The little charity? The Boy's MS Readathon. Thank you to some Japanese friends who sponsored him. So far people from across the country, South Korea and Japan have gotten in on the act. A big thank you to all of you.

Monday, May 05, 2008

MS Readathon Fundraising Thank You

I see that friends and family have been busy sponsoring The Boy for his MS Readathon effort. Some people to say a big thank you to include:

Hammy's Mum's best friend
Hammy's Mum's older sister
Hammy's Mum's best Friend friend
Hammy's Mum's niece

You know who you are. Thanks to Mr. Howard as well for his sponsorship and encouraging words.

Now we just need to rob a library to have enough books to feed this bookworm who will be starting piano lessons tomorrow. Does reading sheet music count?

New Job For Troy Buswell

Troy Buswell, soon to be former Opposition leader in Western Australia, could indeed be given an overseas posting. Although, at this stage we aren't sure over which sea he would be posted. Cast your mind back two weeks ago to the story of a Roman Catholic priest who was strapped into a chair tied to hundreds of helium balloons in Brazil and disappeared after some six hours aloft.

Troy "Sniffer" Buswell - here is your posting. Find that chair!!

Maybe we should call him Troy "Melbourne" Buswell following an amazing game of football on the weekend. The Fremantle Dockers were playing the Melbourne Demons, who hadn't won a game in the first six rounds, and were leading by 50 points (a huge margin) at half time and then went on to lose the game. Melbourne got a "sniff" (a hint of victory) and that was all they needed for a record comeback.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

MS Readathon - The Boy Is Fundraising

When I was a boy, some time ago now, all the kids in school were invited to take part in the MS Readathon. It's a charitable event whereby you read books and gather sponsorship money. All the money raised goes to the MS Australia - Multiple Sclerosis Australia. Back in my day you gathered sponsorship for each book that you read. Once your month of reading was done you collected the sponsorship money and handed it in. If you reached a certain level of sponsorship you received a prize which gave you an incentive. I read a few of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy books, among others. The first novel took me only two days as I was so keen.

Yu-Jin has decided to take part in this years MS Readathon which is very pleasing. In the first two days he read three books! Alas he only received one donation, which was mine to kickstart him, and he's eagerly looking for sponsors. If you would like to sponsor Yu-Jin please go to his MS Readathon Homepage - - and you can use a range of credit cards to do so. Remember, if you are an Australian taxpayer any donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. I'll keep a list of the books he has read updated.

Just this morning we checked his fundraising page and some dear friends, the Cutlers, had donated $20 each! Well, that perked the boy up and he's read another book this morning and is starting a second. And they rubbed it in that the "old man had to dig a bit deeper".

Even if you can afford only a couple of dollars that will help. If not, send some encouragement.

Cool Number Plates

Bit of a slow news week. We've got the boy's birthday party this afternoon so that should be an afternoon full of noisy, sugared-up kids running around. Glad to be paying someone else to look after them (read = put up with).

Just to keep you entertained I'll throw up a few number plates I have seen recently.

4SHAW - "For Shaw" and not "for sure". How do I know this? Mr Shaw came out to his car as I was about to take a photo of his number plate, so I kindly asked permission, and he proceeded to tell me that his name was Shaw and that the car was for him.

That's "Mr Rob" to you. I wonder if it is the same Mr Rob as who does the kids' workshops at Bunnings?

P DUBBA U - PW, I guess.

FERAL HD - Feral Harley Davidson.

FERAL HD - And the rider of the Harley Davidson looks pretty feral too! I wouldn't want to mess with her.

GO DAD GO - Seen at the Sheraton in Perth.

Some kid obviously has too much pocket money and doesn't mind showing off.

GO MUM GO - Don't forget the old lady.

The number plates alone would be too difficult for me to justify. Never mind buying a pair of Lamborghinis.

H8WORK - Hate work. Anybody disagree with this bold statement?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Troy Buswell - Opposition Leader Is The Butt Of Jokes

Little wonder that Troy Buswell is the "butt" of jokes at the moment. He's currently the Opposition Leader in Western Australia and has dreams of becoming Premier at the next election. But his past is catching up with him. And he's been a bit of a lad.

Just before he led a revolt in the Liberal Party with the result being a leadership spill and he moved from being deputy leader to the leadership role he was almost brought to his knees following revelations that he used an old-fashioned party trick, that of snapping the bra of a Labor party staff member, in Parliament whilst drunk. Surprisingly he still won the leadership ballot.

Only a couple of days ago it was alleged by the Sunday Times newspaper that he had sniffed the chair of a female staffer about two years ago. He refused to confirm or deny the "unsubstantiated, anonymous rumours". Then the next day he fronts the media and just stands there blubbering before finally admitting that he had sniffed the woman's chair. And the Liberal Party thought that they were in trouble prior to these incidents being raised?

Q. What does Troy Buswell take for his hayfever?
A. Seat covers.

New job role for former State Liberal Party leader:
- Spokesperson for Kleenex tissues
- The advertising face for Zyrtec and Claratyne
- Trainer for Customs dogs (beagles) at airports
- Job as a detective as he likes "sniffing around"
- Overseas diplomat, "Jobs for the boys", as he's certainly one of the boys

I was disappointed that there were no hard-hitting questions from journalists.
- What's the best nasal decongestant on the market?
- Do you also sniff bike seat covers?
- Who's the best smelling woman in Parliament?
- Do you have a large doghouse where you live?

Can't see him surviving too long as leader of the Opposition and certainly can't see him becoming Premier.