Sunday, August 31, 2008

Online Games - Bubble Trouble 2

The Boy found another cool online game today. Wait a minute, no he didn't. I chose it. It's called Bubble Trouble 2 - see if you can get past level 27 (that's where we got stuck).

Warning - it's a very addictive game.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Book Sale

Over at UWA (University of Western Australia) there is a book sale in Winthrop Hall for the Save The Children charity. People, libraries and others, if there can be others, have donated books of all kinds to be sold at bargain prices with all money raised going to the charity with special focus on Bangladesh. So many people. So many books. Didn't take enough cash but they took credit card.

There was a travel section but no book on Singapore that I would have found useful. They did have travel guides for Mexico, South America and Greece though. I bought a couple of books on South Korea, General Norman Schwarzkopf's autobiography, Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore and a book about the economic rise and fall of countries from 1400. The Boy picked up Tom Sawyer, a 300 page puzzle book that he spent the ensuing four hours reading and finished and a few others including The Jungle Book. Miky bought a Van Gogh book, something about the Renaissance painters and home craft. It was an afternoon well spent.

Off To Newcastle For A Few Days

I've got some work to do in Newcastle so I'll be over there until Wednesday and out of contact with the big, wide world. Gotta do some factory acceptance testing and have a sticky beak at the machine we are building copies of.

Be back soon. Honest.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We Now Return You To Your Normal Programming

Now that the Beijing Olympic Games has drawn to a close you will be subjected to the usual amount of crass public commentary, silly jokes and observations of pathetic behaviour that you have become accustomed to.

And the first observation of pathetic behaviour of note is that of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. At the handover of the IOC flag from China he ponced around with his hand in his pocket, didn’t hold the flag pole correctly so that he could wave it and after shaking the hand of IOC President Jacques Rogge he just saluted the Chinese official. I was a little astounded at his ignorance of official decorum and lack of dignity. Is this what we have to look forward to with the London 2012 Olympics? Let’s hope not. They won’t be perfect like Beijing 2008 as that’s not the British way. Stiff upper lip through all the balls-ups, and all that.

Monday, August 18, 2008


If someone from Cork was to marry someone from Asia and have a child would that child be Corkasian?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Games and Pamela Anderson

They're huge, they're exciting, they're awesome and they're quite spectacular but there's a lot of fake about them. Yes, I'm talking about the Olympic Games. Much like Pamela Anderson's breasts they are for the enjoyment of millions of people worldwide but you can't help but feel a bit deflated knowing the truth.

Yesterday I read that the little Chinese girl who sang "Ode to the Motherland" at the opening ceremony was only lip-synching. The girl singing the song, and even that was a pre-recorded performance, was deemed to be not cute enough to show her face.

And then I discovered that the very impressive fireworks had incorporated some digitised images because it was too difficult to actually make fireworks look like footprints.

I know that cities are supposed to "stage" the Olympics but this takes the meaning a bit too literally. And to think that the Chinese had the biggest worry of drug cheats. When you cheat with the Olympics itself isn't that worse? The whole thing is a little too controlled for my liking.

Go the athletes. It has been superb so far.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Olympic Games Opening Ceremony - Congratulations China, Shame Australian Channel 7

It was with much anticipation that we greeted the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Greyjing, er, Beijing.

I was most impressed with the 2008 drummers. The missus was scared as they appeared so regimented and communist. Powerful performance to say the least.

Some 15000 performers were used. I wonder where all of the costumes were made. Surely not in China?

Loved the kids bringing the Chinese flag to the soldiers who then goose-stepped their way to the flagpole. Then came an announcement in French, followed in English which said, "Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for the Chinese national anthem," and then a message in Mandarin was broadcast. Roughly translated I guess it said, "Stand up or you will be shot!"

The young girl who was supposed to be playing the piano with one of the world's best pianists, who by coincidence just happened to be Chinese, who became awestruck by the audience, well, I guess she'll never see her parents again after letting her country down so badly.

Enjoyed the people running around like Christmas trees and forming the image of the dove.

I thought that when the performers in white were rushing around that there was going to be a mention of Tiananmen Square in China's history but there was not a tank to be seen.

I enjoyed the performance that the Chinese laid on. The art and fireworks were great. So much history and so little time to show it.

But the truly sad performance of the night came from the Australian commentators on Channel 7 - Sandy Roberts and Bruce MacAvaney. I'm sorry to discover that they're both South Australians.

The first gaff came when Greece entered the arena. Instead of informing us about the stars of the Greek team, the flag bearer, the history of the country at the Olympics, etc, Sandy could only mention that the Greeks had been beset by drug problems and that 11 of their athletes had been caught in drug testing recently. What a disgrace. If Australia was located next to Greece I'm sure this would have been cause for an international incident.

Bruce pronounced Panama as "Pa-nay-muh". Panaymuh? What sort of a wanker is he? He's supposed to be the quintessential sports caster, or "Mastercaster" as some refer to him, and he comes up with Panaymuh?! Doesn't he watch Channel 7's Prison Break which is set in Panama? Not very special, Bruce.

Bruce's introduction of another country left a lot to be desired. Obviously geography wasn't a stong point of his at school as he told Australia that the Central African Republic was a middle-African country. It's a good thing he did or other people not familiar with countries outside of their own borders may have thought that it was in Eastern Europe or Central America.

Perhaps the funniest moment of the opening ceremony was the announcement that the Chinese word for "harmony" was pronounced in Mandarin as "huh". Huh? Yes, what is harmony exactly? We've got two weeks to find out.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Somebody Flicked The Switch And Turned On The Artist

The Boy isn't much of an artist. At least, until this afternoon he wasn't considered much of an artist. It's like somebody has flicked a switch and turned on the artist in him.


I am stonkered.

Stick figures were his speciality. In fact, he couldn't do much else. I dunno what's happened but stick figures are so yesterday.

He asked me what I thought it was and I felt that it looked like an ant.

Wow, what a transformation.

Not a bad impression of a Stegosaurus methinks.

When he stops drawing freehand and uses a rule you can see the amazing difference in quality.

This is my favourite drawing. He's even worked out perspective.

At first I thought that his mum had helped him when I saw the Ferrari drawing. But no, she was cooking. Then I thought that he must have copied it from a book. But no, no books to be found. It was just an image in his head and something told him to draw it piece by piece. Lookout Nick but you may have some competition soon.

The Money Or Your Life

In a robbery the thieves often use the threat, "Your money or your life!" Well, they do in the movies. I didn't think that the term was used during rescue operations but that appears to be the case with Morgan Freeman recently. Or so ninemsn informs us.

Rescue the cash not the actor

I hear that he is expected to make a full recovery. The cynic in me suspects that he will then make a movie about it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Funerals - What A Strange Thing

My Grandma's funeral was the first that I can remember attending. Now I probably attended the funeral of my Grandpa's cousin and that of my Grandpa, where, mum reminded me recently, I uttered the words, "I done poo!" quite loudly in front of the mourners. But that's another story.

It was a cold day on Monday when friends, family and parishioners came to farewell Grandma. The priest started the ceremony with the words, "When I first met Kate, she was angry. And she had a right to be." That lightened the mood somewhat. It was very church-like in nature, unsurprising given her faith, but the ceremony lacked something. Whether it was more of a showcase of her life but I'm not sure. I'm not au fait with the goings on at funerals. The eulogy was delivered with aplomb but my camera stopped filming thirty seconds before the conclusion. Damn. I wish the eulogy has gone for at least thirty minutes however as there was so much that we could have been told about.

Come time to take my place as a pall bearer and you'd get the feeling that the lady funeral director had never done this before as they, her and her assistant, kept spinning the coffin this way and that unsure in which direction to point it. I thought that we would lift the coffin to our shoulders and walk out but it was carried at arms length. I didn't know what to feel, really, as I knew that it wasn't quite goodbye as the burial would be held the next day. After placing the coffin in the hearse we retired to the hall for morning tea and a wake.

Following the wake we were about to leave, after making a decision where to meet for lunch, when a parking inspector chatted us about a complaint having been made about somebody parking illegally. He asked if we had been involved in the funeral, what time it had finished and what we did afterwards. It was policy not to charge people for parking too long if they were attending a funeral. That's not to say that he was targeting us but he just wanted our story.

Next day, some three hours drive away, we buried my Grandma. I was to be a pall bearer again but this time I had to lower the coffin into the grave. No new-fangled coffin-lowering gizmos in the country. The ceremony was very short, which was welcome due to the fact that seven degrees C is not the type of weather to be hanging around in a summer suit in, but that surprised me somewhat. The funeral director's hired help on this day had to be told what to do when he was doing it and it was painfully obviously what had to be done as well.

What do you think when lowering a coffin into a grave? You think, "Hurry up Dad and catch up otherwise you might tip it over." That's what. We had lunch at the pub afterwards and then returned to take a photo of the grave once it had been filled in. That image was quite a shock. Just seeing a newly filled in hole with flowers atop and comparing it to what I had witnessed earlier was a little confronting.

I'm very glad that I was able to say goodbye, in my own way. And I'm glad that nobody told me what to expect. I wouldn't have believed anyone if they told me a week earlier exactly what I would find myself doing.

Never, Ever

Never, ever watch a movie with an eight year old who has already seen it. The incessant, "He's a baddie", followed by, "This is a funny bit" and the "This is sad" really got to me. But no matter how much he was told off the Boy kept telling me what was happening or about to happen. It was amazing to see it go in one ear and out the other. Complete memory loss of something that he was told two minutes previously.

When I want to watch something I'd rather not know anything about the outcome. Especially not the plot of a movie, if it actually has one. It's kinda like watching the World Cup final after the game has finished and someone has already mentioned the score line.

Honestly, I'd swear that the Boy is a mini-me.