Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ford Tough - But a Ruined Christmas Holiday Anyway

I saw a strange sight on the way to work this morning. There was a car parked on the roundabout at the entrance to the city. Not something you see every day. I thought, initially, that it was a Holden Commodore and that it had just crumbled. Later, during my lunchtime walk, I discovered that it was a Ford Falcon. Obviously must have struck the palm tree with some great force.

Pity that it was a Ford. Otherwise the idiot that stole it, I'm making an assumption here, might not have been seeing in the new year and wasting more oxygen. It could have been someone driving their own car, drunk, and crashed it. Notice the "This vehicle has been reported..." sticker. Judging by the number plate it's a, or was, a pretty new vehicle.

That's ruin your Christmas holidays, whichever way you look at it.

That'd ruin your Christmas holidays.

Bit of a bingle.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Ant Ecosphere

The Boy received an ant ecosphere for Christmas, among other things. It's much cooler than the ant mine that he had earlier. There are four spheres which we've set up with soil for tunnels, soil and grass for that outdoorsly living, hay for nesting and a pantry. The spheres are all connected by tubes.

Following assembly, no glue required, The Boy obtained some small ants. The instructions did warn us that the ants needed to be more than 3mm in length otherwise they would escape through the air holes. Well, I reckon ours were 4-5mm and they still escaped. Nevermind, there were some much larger, red-headed ants not far from home. Bit of sugar-flavoured, damp cotton ball to attract them. Pretty soon they were crawling all over the small container that we had to capture them in. Managed to get the lid on without getting bitten but did squash a few heads.

By the time we arrived home I'm afraid that many of them appeared a bit lifeless. Perhaps there was too much moisture in the container and they'd drowned. After two days inside the ecosphere only two or three ants, from the 30-40 we'd obtained, had ventured outside of the container. As they weren't interested we released them.

The next time we decided not to have any moisture available. The Boy didn't think that we would capture any ants with such small bait. Only a matter of minutes passed and there would have been close to 100 ants swarming around the container. I managed to get the lid on and between then and removing the ants on the outside of the container I happened to receive three bites. Little buggers.

A couple of hours passed and only a few ants ventured outside of the container. And there were 50-60 inside that container. So, we went outside to play soccer, washed the cars and had a water fight with water blasters that Santa brought. When we checked on the ants about half of them were running around the ecosphere. They are fascinating to watch. In the morning there were only two left and the rest appeared to have made their home.

Ant Ecosphere - a video.

That night I was surprised to discover a spider on the floor of the living room. Next surprise was that he wasn't dead. I grabbed him with the tweezers and put him in the food container for the ants. By morning there was no sign of the spider. I'd say he had been completely devoured.

Ant Ecosphere.

Ecosphere from below.

Ants up close and personal.

Close up.

Dried grass sphere.

Wall of death, ant style.


Avatar. Brilliant. Must see. Hugely entertaining. Craps all over Titanic.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spider Keeps The Peace

A spider has set up shop in front of our house. Don't come visiting after sunset as that's when she spins her web. Obviously there is a great deal of food in the vicinity as there is a swampy wetlands area across the road and mozzies galore. But we have had our altercations and disagreements over time. My missus has walked through the web at night time on a number of occasions and I've done so once or twice in the morning.

Maybe Spidey is keeping the peace now. The web doesn't go up until just after sunset and takes about an hour to be spun. By sunrise all traces, bar one or two guys, are gone. She completely dismantles the web each night and respins each evening. So, the disagreements have abated somewhat and everybody is happy. Well, almost everybody. The missus still believes that as this is her house she should be entitled to enter the front door via the pathway as that's how the entrance has been designed. The other night she gave me an ultimatum, of sorts, that if I wasn't going to remove the spider I had to remove the pavers.

Spider remains. I think that it will be a long time before I rip up the pavers. Just don't come to our abode after dark or you'll be in for a nasty surprise. Ideal for Halloween though.

Spider working away building web.

Finished web.

Spidey up close.

Web with palm tree fronds in background.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas One And All

I'd like to wish everyone a merry Christmas for 2009, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. May your family arguments over the dinner table be amicable, your turkey/chicken/prawns be cooked just right and peace and wellbeing bestowed upon you and your family. Stay safe over the holiday period so that I may have the pleasure of your company in 2010.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My First Taekwondo Grading

I had my first taekwondo grading on Sunday. I guess it was a bit easier for me than for my son as I've watched him for a number of years and knew what to expect. Even though it was over in about ten minutes I felt pretty exhausted during the sparring. The temperature was reasonably warm at 35.5C and I stood in the non-airconditioned section of the room. Still, did well enough to receive an honours pass but just not quite enough for a double promotion.

Taekwondo Oh Do Kwan white belts who graduated to yellow belt

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Strange Lights In The Sky

Yesterday was warm. Warm as in 37.1C. Good weather for a dip in the pool. Upon our return I noticed some strange lights in the sky. They were still evident by the time I arrived home so I took some photos. Weird. It was almost like somebody was having a party or the airport had some searchlights during an air raid. Don't know what it was.

Strange lights in the sky.
Sunset 180 degrees away

Incognito Muslim

I saw a funny sight yesterday. As I was passing by a newsagent I noticed a muslim woman, all dressed according to the strict Muslim dress code. I'm not sure but I'd say she was wearing a niqab as well so that you could only see her eyes.

Obviously she felt the need to go incognito and hide her identity further. I saw her trying on a pair of sunglasses. What better way to keep your identity secret? I was wondering why she would need sunnies with that much of her face coered up but I guess she had her reasons.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Weird Sun Greets The Day

As I left my abode this morn I was struck by a sense of the strange. The light outside was somewhat weird. One glance at the most approximate star revealed a strange orange glow and then my sense of smell informed me that a nearby fire was responsibility for the unusual light conditions. One comandeered the best camera within near possession and photographed the item for posterity. And I thought that it might make reasonable blog material. The photo doesn't do it justice though. Almost looked like we were in a third world or heavily industrialised country overcome by pollution.

Strange glow of the morning sun

Bit of a weird feeling ensued upon the sight of this mornings sun.

Spooky, huh?

Turns out that there were a couple of bushfires south of the city responsible for the smoke and haze conditions.

ABC Online article.
WA Today article.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not Long For This World

I read, aghast, a report today that if you have a baby face then you are more likely to live to a ripe old age. If that truly is the case then I don't have long on this planet.

I remember working as a 22 year-old in London at one stage and the foreman asked me how old I was. His guess was 36. Another bloke thought that I was 35 and about the closest was 30-odd. Obviously I didn't have a baby face back then and things haven't gotten any better. People were surprised at my age and the comment, "Gee, you must have had a hard life," was mentioned on a few occasions.

Actually, I don't think I look much older than just after finishing high school. And I was pretty gawky looking at school. Can't get over some of the old photos of me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The World Is A Safer Place - The Boy Is A Blackbelt

Last Sunday we I spent four hours watching taekwondo blackbelt grading. The main reason behind that was for the fact that The Boy was grading for his blackbelt. The first group of students included many blackbelts going for higher dans and their board breaking, between three and five boards, was done individually. This took an hour and a half for that group. The Boy wasn't in the second group graded so it was nearly an hour later before he hit the floor.

Actually, it was the best grading that he has done so far. He had to do taeguk 4 to 8 (patterns), kicks and blocks, ho shin seul (self defence), one step sparring, two step sparring and break two boards. I don't think that he's broken the boards before so he surprised himself somewhat. And when the board breaking was complete he was one happy chappy.

It was so great to see him be awarded his blackbelt as he's worked hard for just over four years. Not bad for a nine year old. And the world should be just that bit safer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More On Tiger Woods

Or should I say "Moron, Tiger Woods"?

Every time a golfer lines up for a putt in the vicinity of 50 feet or more, there is a race to be the first idiot to yell, "In the hole!" At Tiger's next tournament I'd like to hear somebody say, "In the wrong hole!"

Rachel Uchitel has been offered, allegedly, $1m to shut up about their affair. I wonder if she has been given money to change her name by deed poll to Rachel Donchatell.

What's Tiger Woods's favourite score? A 69 of course. (I'm sure that someone must have come up with that previously).

His scorecard isn't the only thing full of birdies. Only thing is that he has phone numbers next to them.

Maybe we should all leave him alone. He has a problem. A problem that he's seeking to address. Somehow I don't think the cure is to be found amongst a bevy of tall, buxom white women. But he's sure trying hard.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas Party 2009 - Trip to Rottnest Island

We had our usual Christmas party last Friday which included a cruise to Rottnest Island. There was some confusion as to where the meeting point should be, as it was different this year, because the map that everyone was provided with included an erroneous address. Luckily, and I think I was the only one, I looked at the map and went to the meeting point instead of the address given. That was lucky. One person missed the trip altogether because of this and we had to wait for a few others to make it.

The trip to Rottnest took about 40 mins and was reasonably smooth. Once we'd arrived it was time for the sunscreen and don the snorkelling gear. The temperature was supposed to climb to 37C in Perth but only reached 34.5C although it was a little cooler on Rotto. A number of people went snorkelling at the nearby reef. I saw a groper that was about two and a half feet long and on the way back to the boat two fish that were some four feet long swam in front of me. That sent a shiver up my spine as I've never seen fish that large before.

The water was about three metres deep but boy was it cold when you first got in. After a couple of minutes you forgot about the cold. One of my colleagues lent me a set of fins and I found it amazing how much faster I could swim. Mind you, the calf muscles didn't enjoy the additional strain.

The menu for lunch included steak, sausages and some chicken with salads as side dishes. Nice to have a BBQ in summer on the back of a boat. Then we took the inflatable to the mainland so that the annual beach cricket could take place. There were some very funny moments where people went to take catches and ended up falling over into the water. Just wish I'd gotten that on camera.

The trip back to Fremantle is usually eventful and it was no different this day. Normally somebody throws up but that wasn't the case. One lady decided that she would dance her way to the toilet. Then the boat lurched to one side. If she had been half a metre closer to the toilets she would have been over the side. No kidding. Fortunately, or unfortunately, she crashed into the seating and already had a huge, nasty bruise by the time we landed some 15-20 minutes later. She was lucky.

Christmas Party '09 on Rottnest Photo Album on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Anagrams - Tiger Woods (NSFW)

If you are put off by crude language then look away now. This isn't a post for kidlets. Let's have some fun at Tiger's expense.

His real name is Eldrick Tont Woods.

Anagrams of his name:

He infidelity will lead to a breakup of his marriage which leads to - "Roots dint wedlock".
Jamie Grubbs said that he wasn't good in bed - "Dick lets down root".
Obviously Tiger's thinking was done by his penis and not his brain - "Dick led wont roots".

I guess we have to come up with a new phrase, paraphrasing an old favourite, to describe a sex addict - "Like a Tiger with a bone".

Friday, December 04, 2009

Could One Million Dollars Be Worse Than One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars?

Ask yourself this question. Would US$1m be worse to receive than US$150k? Ninety nine out of 100 would answer no but I'll answer yes. That's because I know what is behind the question.

Tiger Woods, whom, I believe, has changed his nickname to Cheetah, by some media accounts has paid one million dollars to one mistress, named by others as Rachel Uchitel, to keep quiet about their alleged affair, and Us Weekly paid Jaimee Grubbs $150,000 to spill her guts about her affair with him.

I think Jaimee Grubbs is in the better position. She's told her story and people can accept that. Rachel Uchital, allegedly, has received more money but is not in a position to tell her story. Ever. How could you live with that scenario? People would be second-guessing you all the time and asking you questions about the (alleged) incident.

I would find it hard to live with myself after that. After all, if I had had an illicit romance with Tiger Woods I'd want to keep it to myself. Stuff the money.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thai Green Curry Is A Dish Best Served...

Thai green curry is a dish best served frozen. In my opinion anyway. The missus made some for tea tonight. The Boy complained, "How come I didn't get any soup?" The reason behind that was that he doesn't have the taste for hot food so she had prepared him something made from all of the ingredients except for the curry. After being told that he hadn't received any soup "Because you're a sooky la-la" he tried some. The missus warned him but he tried it anyway.

About ten seconds later he was racing around the room and diving onto the couch, his tastebuds obviously horribly burned. And he'd only tried a smidgen. I could tell when she was cooking it that it was going to be hot just from the smell.

Well, it was hot. Damn hot. I don't understand Thai people. Ok, if they have no tastebuds I can understand but their threshold of pain must be very high. Bearing that in mind they should be a very tolerant people and never go to war.

I'd rather have it served frozen. Although the soup wasn't too bad if you soaked it up with rice before consuming.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Time For A New Wife

Remember recently when my watch told me that it was Christmas Day when in fact it was only the 24th of November? Well, today it came up with something better. Today I was informed that it was the 31st of November.

Time for a new watch which means time for a new wife.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

No, I haven't gone mad. I've been like that for quite some time. There's good reason for it. I glanced at my watch today and it said that it was the 25th. I know damn well that it's only the 24th. Hmm, perhaps it has wound itself forward by a month and a day, something I have mentioned previously. And so it had transpired. My watch said that today was Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas everyone. And they say that Christmas comes but once a year. True, unless your watch has a fault.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Need A New Skin

I'm in need of a new skin. It's got nothing to do with being wrinkly or scarred or anything. Early this morning I went to the freezer to grab a loaf of bread. Here's a Frugal Bastard tip - keep your bread in the freezer as it will stay fresh for longer. As I was reaching for the door handle I caught sight of something that made me jump out of my skin. It was a huntsman spider and it frightened six months growth out of me. I positively jumped out of my skin. That's why I need a new one. More information on Huntsman spider from and

Rather than spray him, partly because he was on my boy's school photograph, I grabbed an empty coffee jar and put him inside. He was wider than the jar and I might have squashed his legs a bit. Left him there during the day. One of my colleagues said I should let him go in a park, far away. He was still quite well when I returned home from taekwondo so I took him across the road and released him. Such a fine specimen.

Huntsman spider closeup.

Huntsman spider in coffee jar.

I tried to provide some form of comparison but the size is obscured by glass.

Huntsman spider released.

And to think that we watched Spiderman the movie over the weekend. Coincidence?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Return of Monkey

No, I'm not talking about that iconic show that used to be on the ABC - Monkey. I'm talking about his toy monkey that we bought for him when he was a sick one year old. Monkey has been with him ever since. He even goes on holidays with him.

That's where the trouble started. As we were in a hurry to leave our hotel in Adelaide in the early hours in October we inadvertently left him behind. The Boy noticed this at bedtime that night. I rang the hotel and the cleaner had found him and put him aside. They said that they'd send it cash-on-delivery. No problem with paying for that as Monkey means a lot to The Boy.

A couple of weeks went by and no sign of Monkey. I rang the hotel. He was still there. They would send him. Another week went by and no sign of Monkey. I rang the hotel again and was told that he was still there and that they would definitely arrange for him to be posted to us.

On Friday Monkey was delivered. Thankfully. There will be no more family holidays for Monkey I can tell you.

Water Balloon Stupidity

The Boy decided to have fun with water balloons. Not that we had any of the water bomb variety but we had some party balloons left over. And they do hold a bit of water. After unsuccessfully trying a couple of times to get The Boy to do it I told him to give me a go. As long as he didn't stuff the camera work up.

First video he did stuff up but the balloon just bounced off my head and exploded on the lawn. So, we made the next balloon quite big to ensure a decent explosion on my head. Video is below folks.

Water Balloon Stupidity

Is There An IT Guru In The House?

Yesterday I attempted to send an email. All went well until I hit the send button. Then for some strange reason I was informed that there was a problem. I checked the modem. Hmm, only three lights instead of four. The modem was reset. Same problem, same number of lights. I was starting to think that this could be serious. Perhaps the modem was worn out after some six years of use. Then a complete lack of lights on the router caught my eye. I put my electrician skills to work and checked all the connections. The power supply was plugged in. The extension board that the power supply was plugged into was turned on. Hopefully not another failed powerboard, I hoped. Then I checked the outlet on the wall. Sure enough, I'd managed to turn only one outlet on and not two.

What a duffer. Didn't need to be an IT guru or an electrician. Maybe the big toe wasn't working properly that morning.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What Do You Call...?

Q1. What do you call a man who's an atheist?
Q2. What do you call a man in a pile of leaves?
Q3. What do you call a man who sits outside your front door?
Q4. What do you call a man with a coloured birth spot?
Q5. What do you call a man with five balaklavas and a helmet?

A1. Godfrey (Thought of that one myself, I did).
A2. Russell.
A3. Matt.
A4. Mark.
A5. Anything you like because he can't hear you.

Lazy Weekend

I didn't do a great deal this weekend. Part of the problem was that Tiger Woods was on telly in prime time. Yes, he was playing in Australia. And it was great to be able to watch him at my leisure. On Saturday, during the Australian Open at Kingston Heath in Victoria, he played like an ordinary hacker off the tee and fairway. His short game was brilliant though and recovery shots were excellent. Although he struggled Tiger didn't do much damage to the scoreboard. On Sunday though it was back to the Woods that we all know as he attacked the pins and drove beautifully. Poetry in motion really. And Woods is a deserved winner of the Australian Open.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Signs That The Global Financial Crisis Is Still Biting

They tell us that Australia missed out on a technical recession. They tell us the United States is coming out of recession. But they don't tell us the whole story. On Sunday I saw someone that had obviously been bitten badly by the global financial crisis (GFC). The poor guy had a white Porsche Boxster and on the dashboard was a box of store brand tissues. The GFC had affected this guy so much that he couldn't even afford Kleenex tissues.

I might have even given him my change if I'd seen him begging on the street I felt that sorry for him.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Around The House Today

Here's a bit of what went on around the house today. We finished making a bird trap after The Boy read about one, maybe in some survival book for boys, and he badgered me to make it. The whole thing took a couple of weekends to make and only cost about $15. Well, I never profess to having been a wonderful woodworker but it should do the trick. If only we find a bird dumb enough to fall for it.

The Boy plays Enchanted City

The Boy plays Village Dance

The garden out the back is about to explode with life. The missus used a lot compost for the bulbs and look what happens when you have eaten watermelon and a few rockmelon.

A few too many watermelon seeds in the compost, methinks.

Whilst watering the garden out the front tonight I noticed a spider with a strange pattern on the underbelly. Cool, eh?

Spider underbelly.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Crunch Ball 3000

The Boy found a new game this morning - Crunch Ball 3000. It's on Funny how it's a new game but resembles that absolute classic on the Commodore Amiga by the Bitmap Brothers - Speedball. I used to love that game and this isn't quite as good but a bit of fun all the same.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I'm On My Way To Becoming A Taekwondo Black Belt

As I said, I'm on my way to becoming a taekwondo black belt. Okay, so I started on Monday. Four years after taking The Boy two/three times a week to his lessons I've decided that I should give it a go. There are a few reasons why.

1. I'm there anyway.
2. I have some time on my hands.
3. I need to get a bit fitter not having done a regular sport since about late 2002.
4. The Boy needs his arse kicked occasionally.

My first lesson was on Monday. Strangely I was the only student in the class as it was later at night but my instructor is a seventh dan and world champion at poomsae (patterns). So, I was in good hands. No time to feel self conscious as she kept me busy. Last night I had my second lesson and the time was spent between a group of 11 and a group of 40. It was meant to go for an hour but almost reached an hour and a half. On a quite warm night it was a bit killer for someone as unfit as me. Ok, I swim once a week for an hour or so but jumping around trying to kick somebody or throwing them on the ground just using your hands takes a bit more out of you. Give me a couple more weeks and I should feel much more in shape.

It is a strange feeling being in the class with The Boy's classmates too. Well, Friday's class will be featuring The Boy so he'd better watch out. Maybe I need to too. There's some frighteningly good exponents of this martial art on show. Currently we are at different clubs, because I'm just starting but I'll be in his class before long.

And what did my chiropractor have to say when I asked him for his opinion? He checked the space between my ears and announced that I didn't have any brains. Then I explained that it was for fitness and learning self defence and that I wasn't going to enter any competition. That was ok by him.

Link to taeguk patterns on YouTube.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bordertown High School 50th Anniversary Weekend

I returned home recently for the BHS 50th anniversary. The committee organising the reunion had been planning this for a long time and I registered my interest last December. Bought the plane tickets a couple of months ago and The Boy and I left home on the Friday. We headed to Adelaide where my mum and dad were waiting to pick us up at the airport. I managed to keep The Boy entertained most of the way and he did read a rather large book as well. After that it was a three hour drive back home after stopping at an uncle's home along the way to have dinner. Fish and chips. And Farmers Union Iced Coffee - I think this is only available in South Australia and I have to have some every time I return.

The Boy got up for an early morning walk with grandpa. I'd had a bet that he wouldn't be able to get out of bed because it was 4:15am back home and his body clock hadn't adjusted. Must be something about money because he hauled his arse out of bed. We walked down to the supermarket and bought a newspaper.

My mum had arranged for a visit to Clayton Farm for us. Luckily Ingrid, the caretaker, had been nice enough to open up for us on a day that the museum was normally closed. Before we left another three carloads of people had come for a visit. She even showed us some places that are usually off limits to the public.

Clayton Farm Visit Album on Facebook.

After Clayton Farm we went home and had some lunch before heading down to the school for a tour. It was reasonably busy even though we'd bypassed the first couple of hours when I fully expected the largest crowds. Mr O'Connell, my old biology teacher and now the deputy principal, was our tour guide. And who should accompany us on the tour but none other than Mr Flatman, my old yr 8 maths teacher. Now, that brought back some memories. He used to live behind some relatives on the other side of town and I hadn't seen him for over 20 years as he left the district after my first year of high school.

We wandered around the school and quite a bit has changed. An old shed has been removed and the building where my home group was located has been replaced by a huge sports shed. The Common Room has changed into a weights room used for P.E. but the boys and girls change rooms remain. There is a new chemistry lab and arts centre. The old Nissan Hut is no longer. We visited the technological studies (woodwork and metalwork) and the quality of work on display was fabulous. The biology pool has gone and the agriculture building hasn't changed a bit. There's a new shed for storage which is quite sizable. Not much else has changed expect that the reception is now at the front of the school building.

After a bit of a chat with my old teachers we journeyed home. The Boy played his grandmother at Connect Four and there were a few card games. Later that evening he went for a walk with grandad. This was something that he'd been looking forward to for quite a long time as the cans and bottles that can be collected are worth some money.

I had a cocktail party to attend. Along with about 600 other people. It was quite a do. I don't know why they bothered with some musical entertainment as when people had the opportunity to talk that is exactly what they wanted to do. The music and singing were no longer required. Mrs Pat Williams, who had turned 91 earlier in the year, and who was an original teacher at the school, reminisced about the early years. And can she tell a good yarn? You bet she can. Another speaker was a female prefect from 1959, the year that the school opened. She's achieved quite a bit since finishing.

I saw quite a few teachers that I remembered and nearly got to catch up with all of them. I didn't pin down Mr Cadd or Mrs Cunnington but spoke to Mr Cunnington, Mr Douglas, Crawf, Mrs Walter, Mrs Milton (was Mrs Lawrence) among others. Disappointingly I only noticed two former students from my year level. One of them had driven for 11 hours from Roxby Downs to attend and I'm sure she wondered why she had bothered. Caught up with another bloke that I didn't really get along with so well at school but I guess we're both a little more grown up now. Oh, the painful days of being a teenager. And to think that he has a kid finished trade school this year. Interestingly one woman came up to me and acted like she knew me from long ago. I was trying to place and then she mentioned that she was a few years older than me. When she mentioned her maiden name it dawned on me that she was one of the hairdressers that I used to go to. I tell you, recognising school teachers is easy as people who were 40-odd don't change all that much in 20 years. People from your own age bracket go downhill a lot in the 20 years after leaving school.

There was a good display of memorabilia in the Resource Centre with old year books, class photos, letters of apology and a film from the 1980s (I think). The night drew to a close about 10:30 when people were going to head over to the hall to listen to a band. I didn't see the need to go and dance and talk with nobody that I knew.

BHS 50th Anniversary Album on Facebook.

Early morning walk again was on the agenda. I didn't have to do anything at school until 11am when they would have a roll call by decade and guest speakers including Mr Schinkfield, the second principal (from memory), Mr Cox, the current principal, Mr Douglas, my former geography teacher who went on to be principal, and Mr Phillip Wollen, a former student who only attended BHS for his 12th and final year. Mr Wollen made an amazing and inspirational speech. I wish I'd recorded it to replay to my son. For the roll call I would estimate that about perhaps 25% of the students that attended in the opening year turned up for the reunion. I was one of two students from the 1980s. There were even more teachers from that decade than the students in attendance. And some of them were still teaching.

Following the speeches I met up with my mate Grooks and his brother and sister. They'd missed Phillip Wollen's speech unfortunately. It was good to catch up and we bumped into Mr Flatman again. Quite a bit to discuss and it's amazing how much we had in common. I went home to collect The Boy, who was thrashing his grandmother at Connect Four, and walked back to the school for a BBQ lunch. In the Resource Centre, talking to Grooks and his sister and the mother of another former student friend, I was accosted (well, it felt like it) by a former student. She seemed spaced out. A Jimi Hendrix fan who appeared to have dabbled in illicit substances (she gave me that impression), she proceeded to give me her life story. I don't think I've had the chance to thank Grooks for turning his back on me and continuing a conversation with other people. This woman then showed me a photo of her year level. Well bugger me, she finished high school before I was even born. She didn't know me from a bar of soap and felt compelled to bore me to tears as she couldn't read the "Oh what do I have to do to get rid of this person" look that must have been evident on my face. I'm not one of her friends and didn't know who she was but I guess it didn't hurt to humour her a little.

Following the BBQ we walked down towards the centre of town to tour the local radio station. Franky Faul, one of the presenters, was kind enough to open up for us and give us a guided tour. She was presenting at the time so we we able to see how you run a radio station. She even did an inpromptu interview with me live on air. Thanks Franky.

Then next day we headed to Naracoorte. On the agenda was catching up with an aunty and uncle, visiting Alexandra Cave and seeing my dad's farm so that The Boy could have a drive and check out the sheep.

Back at the caves we took a guided tour of Alexandra Cave which was quite good and then a self-guided tour of Wet Cave which is quite a bit more expansive.

Well, we went one better than planned. My uncle wanted to go to his farm to collect some equipment and I was quite happy to go along. It's been years since I've been down there. After taking a few back roads we arrived. He'd been driving with Yu-Jin and they swapped at the front gate to the property. My aunty asked what sort of driver he was and I responded that we'd soon see. Well, blow me down. He took off and we followed. I was doing 40 km/h behind him and he was pulling away. Must have been doing 60-65 up the track, mainly. Bit of off-road involved.

We had a good look around the farm, including a lake that is normally dry and their horse needed a bit of treatment so Yu-Jin was able to feed him. Chloe, the sheepdog, was wonderful and friendly. What a lovely dog.

We popped over to my dad's farm for a short look. The feed is growing quite well and there's lot of healthy sheep to look after.

Naracoorte Caves and Farms Album on Facebook.

The Boy got to drive my uncle's ute. And boy, did he give it to her.

The Boy to the chance to feed an orphaned joey at the Sheep's Back Museum in Naracoorte. Museum visit with a difference, eh? I wish that The Boy had taken his milk as quickly when he was a baby.

I was a little disappointed with the Sheep's Back Museum after hearing about the awards it had been winning over the years. I guess when you've seen one woolshed or flour mill you've seen them all. They did have some old buildings and machinery on display including an old school room. So it wasn't too bad. The joey was a pleasant surprise.

Last item on the day's agenda was a visit to Padthaway Estate. The oldest building standing dates back to 1849, with the property having been settled in 1847 by Robert Lawson, and it's the third oldest building in the Tatiara. My mum had phoned up a couple of weeks ago to see if we could visit. The lady who took the phone call said that it was private accommodation but if no-one was staying that night she would show us around the house. We were welcome to look around outside too.

We decided to have a look at the cellar, just quickly, before having a look at the house. As soon as we started walking up the driveway this guy shot out of the cellar where he had been demonstrating his wines to customers and demanded to know what we were doing. I explained that we were going to have a look at the house. He said that it was private property and that we weren't able to. I told him that mum had spoken to someone about it previously but that didn't sway him. He made us feel so unwelcome and that we were only allowed in the car park area. I think he confused what I was saying with looking through the house but I only ever intended to walk around the grounds. What an absolute prick. On the way out of the property I parked the car down the driveway, ran back to the fence around the house and then took a couple of photos. Stuff him. I'd come a long way to view this and that prick wasn't going to spoil it completely. Unless you're a rich arsehole, like himself, I wouldn't be recommending his hospitality in a hurry.

To be continued...

Being continued...

Travelling home through the back roads of Padthaway we drove past the houses of two sets of my grandparents. Something interesting for my boy to see. At Mundulla we stopped at the primary school and my mum was able to relive a few memories. They must be fading a bit know as they're over half a century old. He he. A couple of the ladies working there were more than happy to show us around.

Next day was a long trip to Adelaide. Long, because we went via Kingston so that The Boy could see the Big Lobster. Larry, his name is. Also visited the beach which was covered in about 1m of seaweed. Talk about stink! That's probably why the place in known as Stinkston.

Drove up through the Coorong National Park. There was a pelican oberservation point whereby you could see a couple of islands where hundreds of the birds nest. There is supposed to be a free set of binoculars but there wasn't. Luckily my mum had her binoculars in the car so we could see pretty clearly. It's about three kilometres north of Policeman's Point. Lot of Mr Percival of display. Pretty desolate area though.

At Tailem Bend I wanted to take the long why to Murray Bridge which included a ferry ride over the Murray River. The Boy has never been on one of them before. All over in a flash. I remember as a kid it was quite exciting to do.

Got into Adelaide and dropped our gear off at the hotel before doing a bit of shopping. We'd arranged for an aunty and uncle and great aunty and great uncle to join us for a meal. I don't get to see them much and wanted to thank them for putting me up last year when I came over for my grandma's funeral. Wasn't a bad bit of tucker and it was a buffet. The Boy was a bit bored, seeing as he was the only one his age and everyone else, apart from me, was over 60, I don't really blame him. But I gave him the camera and he found out that you can take a picture and then zoom in on the viewfinder. Everyone had to guess who the photo was of and it took a bit of guessing actually.

Back to the hotel for some shut eye. In the morning, reasonably early, we had to head out to the airport. That basically ended the holiday. The Boy arrived at school that morning after only missing one lesson and I headed off to work. No rest for the wicked.

Kingston and Coorong National Park album on Facebook.

A Night At The Ballet

It's not that often I do something that involves culture that doesn't include yoghurt. Attending the ballet is on my list of things to do but, being honest, it is quite some way down the list. Still, the missus is keen on the arts and you have to look after your woman. I had asked her to go to see the Bolshoi when they were in town before but she thought it was too expensive. So when the Australian Ballet Company announced that they were coming to do a few performances at The Burswood Theatre we jumped at the opportunity. It constituted a 12th wedding anniversary present also.

Having just returned from South Australia the previous morning the body clock was still running a few hours ahead. When I arrived home from work the rest of the family was ready to go. We went to a local restaurant for dinner first and then The Boy realised that we should have brought the binoculars. I had time to return home to fetch them. By the time we arrived at the Burswood Resort there was a great deal of traffic searching for parking spaces. All the free car parks were taken by this stage. It was a slow procession past the boom gate to collect a ticket but we made it with plenty of time.

Bugger. No cameras allowed. It would have been nice to take a couple of photos. Never mind. Man, The Burswood Theatre must hold at least 1,000 seats. The orchestra was warming up as we took our seats. It was interesting to watch those that considered themselves part of the higher society, the ladies with their evening gowns and young ladies who were obviously doing ballet walk into the theatre to take their seats. The woman next to me who came with her mother refused to make eye contact or say hello. Snob. We had a group of ladies behind us and one of them was very talkative. She had attended John Farnham's concert earlier in the week and would be going to a book launch on Monday. She'd also seen Swan Lake twice before. What economic crisis?

The first scene was quite long, The Boy managed to stay awake for the first 45 minutes (jet lag is a terrible thing), with some nice dancing. It was disappointing that the dancers didn't manage to dance in rhythm too well. I'd have to say that the timing of dancers on So You Think You Can Dance is better. But when the ballerinas stand on their toes it is amazing. And they are so flexible and quite graceful. The male dancers are asked to perform such strange routines. Oh, well. I guess that's ballet.

I got the feeling that apart from the stars the rest of the performers were just filling in. A bit. There was a noticeable difference in abilities. The lady behind us thought that it wasn't a very good production. Even stranger, one of the three leads injured herself and had to be substituted. This was slightly confusing but would have been moreso had not an announcer informed us from the stage. At least it happened prior to the start of the third part and we didn't see the injury.

The orchestra was brilliant. I didn't hear any incorrect notes and the music by Tchaichovsky was great. They performed very well and thoroughly deserved their applause.

Only three encores so the dancers obviously weren't full of themselves. Quite enjoyable night and performance.

Then came the time to leave. What a mess. Huge lines for only a couple of parking payment machines. And you pretty much had to have the right change. Which I didn't. It took more than half an hour to pay for my ticket and I was lucky that I was able to leave the car park within 10 minutes. I could still see some people that were driving out as I was lined up for a ticket. Earlier I had jokingly said that our line was moving faster than the traffic and it was true. Meant that we didn't get home until half past 11.

Might leave it for a couple of years before going again but it was worth seeing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's A Label?

Label - A distinctive name or trademark identifying a product or manufacturer.
Label - An item used to identify something or someone.
Label - A descriptive term.

You may have a label or two in your wardrobe. You know, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, JAG, etc. You may label people you don't think are very intelligent. You know, idiot, spaz, moron, etc.

What if a clothing company combined the two? I have a jacket that I bought in Korea made by the Koolong Company. To the rest of the world they are known as Kolon. Now, I don't know if they're having a joke or not but the jacket model is "SPASSO" which probably doesn't come across as "spastic" in Korea so it would only concern us foreigners. Soemthing lost in translation perhaps?

SPASSO label.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Golfer Loses Arm To Alligator Whilst Playing

A golfer in his 70s has lost an arm after being attacked by an alligator. It certainly brings a few thoughts to my mind.

- Was this at some "crazy golf" course?
- Were the "Do Not Enter The Water" signs out of order?
- Which arm was torn off? It's probably the greatest excuse for a golfer to purchase new sticks. "Honey, I need a new set of clubs. That alligator took off my right arm and I'm left handed so I can't play with my clubs anymore."
- What sort of water hazard was it - lateral, casual, teethed?
- I see that his golfing buddies rescued him. I hope they managed to finish the round. There's nothing worse than paying for 18 holes and not being able to complete them. No matter how bad my game is. Ruins a good round.
- What sort of score did he have for the hole - g8r perhaps?
- Was he drinking Gatorate, er, Gatorade at the time?
- I guess if he goes back to golfing then he'll need to attend the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation.
Some blokes will do anything to increase their handicaps. They're known as sharks, generally. Not gators.
And to think that the golfers would have been concerned about the bite in the wind if it had been a bit chilly that day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Strange Insect Discovered in Garden

Whilst having a bit of a spring clean this afternoon I noticed something waddling in the distance on the paving. It turned out to be a quite weird insect. Anybody know what it is?

What is this strange insect?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I Wish Newsreaders Would Check Their Stories

Whilst driving on Sunday we had the news on the radio. The newsreader informed us, at a tick after 12pm, that Australia, playing in the ICC Champions Trophy, had had a light training run this morning. Well, seeing as the Champions Trophy was being played in South Africa, and the fact that South Africa is six hours behind Perth, I seriously doubt that the Aussies had had a training run already.

I don't blame the newsreader entirely, as it is most likely that he didn't write the material, but think about what you are saying. If he read it again at the next news bulletin then he deserves some stick.

As George W Bush once said, "There's an old saying in Tennessee. I know it's in Texas, it's probably in Tennessee too. Fool me once, shame on, shame on... you. A fooled man can't get fooled again."

Monday, October 05, 2009

Visit to Toodyay

I wanted to get out of the house yesterday and see something. Toodyay is a small town about 85 km away and an historic one at that. It was settled in 1836 and was known as Newcastle initially and was also one of the first settlements after Perth in Western Australia.

There was a fair amount of traffic on the road and it turned out that the races were on just out of town. Not much parking in the main street and the pubs and restaurants were very busy as we arrived at lunch time. Man, there were a lot of motorbikes around.

First stop was the tourist information which is located next to Connor's Mill from 1870. The equipment seems to be in good order still. Then we had lunch at Vince's Italian Restaurant and it wasn't too bad. The waitstaff were run off their feet and lasagne wasn't available unfortunately.

After lunch we drove out to Oliomio - a private olive and lavender farm 20 kms out of town. Pity the map said it was about 10kms out of town and the place wasn't signposted very well. Finally managed to locate it though. I was a bit disappointed to find that there weren't fields of lavender or a huge olive grove to see. Still, we purchased some tonic, olive pickles and an olive tree. The Boy spent much of the time pulling weeds. He must have been a bit bored. Francis, the proprietor, explained much about the olive oil processing that takes place and that was quite interesting.

I wanted to visit the Old Gaol as well which was back in town. I rang them and asked what time they closed. The lady waid "Bang on four o'clock" but also added that they were ready to go now. I said that I was 20 kms away but would be there in 15-20 minutes. It was 3:25 at the time. We duly arrived at 3:45 which would have given us enough time to tour the building but the old guy who also ran the place said it was closed. I protested that I'd called ahead and was told the closing time was 4pm but he just left. So much for country hospitality.

Nearby was the Old Court House which was built around 1890. There was a young couple at the back perhaps getting "caught at the court house". On the way home I tried, unsuccessfully, to locate the Ringa Railway Bridge, which was apparently the largest wooden bridge in Western Australia when constructed in 1888. Dammit.

Uneventful drive back to Perth apart from some drivers who appeared either to be drunk or never having driven on our side of the road before. Nothing like the smashed BMW and Commodore I saw earlier in the morning when going to do the fruit and vege shopping.

Visit to Toodyay photo album on Facebook.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Getting A Little Ahead Of Ourselves Aren't We?

It's October. That time of year again. The time when the shops are filled with Christmas decorations. Gee, we need more holidays to fill the void to delay the onset of Christmas I reckon. Isn't it a little too early? Aren't we getting a little ahead of ourselves?

Speaking of getting ahead of ourselves my watch has a very strange habit. There is a calendar function and date on it. Every now and again, you can count on it happening once a year at least, the watch sets the date forward by one day and one month. It actually occurred a few days ago and September 24th became October 25th. I did set the date as the 25th (of September) on a few items before I thought that something was fishy.

Now, I don't know if the watch is possessed by a timelord or the like but it didn't want to be reset to the correct date. I'd go through the process of changing the date and month and as soon as I put the watch back on the current time it forwarded the date again. It took until the next day before I could set the date and it wouldn't change it of its own volition. And it behaves this way every time this happens. I should take a video and send it to the manufacturer next time.

Creepy, eh?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

China Is Only 60 Years Old - Who Are They Kidding?

I think the Chinese history book has been rewritten. Apparently China is celebrating being China for a grand total of 60 years on October 1st 2009. Excuse me? Sixty years old? What happened to the "5,000 years of history" we've all grown up on? Didn't China invent fireworks? Wikipedia says that fireworks were invented by the Chinese in the 12th Century. I have an inkling that the 12th Century was a tad more than 60 years ago.

Wikipedia goes on to say that papermaking was invented in China in the 2nd Century. Last calculation indicates that paper has been around for more than 60 years.

Wikipedia talks about the Four Great Inventions of ancient China. These include the compass from the 4th Century BC, gunpowder from the 9th Century, (aforementioned) papermaking and printing which is known prior to 220 AD (or CE if you wish to be secular about it).

Wikipedia has an article on Ancient China. Yes, I know we Generation Xers think that it's very funny to poke fun at Baby Boombers and the like as being "ancient" but surely 60 years can't be considered as ancient.

Don't let the communists pull the wool over your eyes people. It's just a load of propaganda. China is at least 100 years old. Now that should be considered ancient. Perhaps some of the people involved in writing Japan's history books were involved in the rewriting of China's history or maybe something just got lost in translation.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Perth Royal Show 2009

Public holiday in Perth for the Queen's Birthday. It's actually celebrating Queen Victoria's, of England, birthday from 1819 I believe. It always makes me laugh that we in Australia get a day off but the people of Britain don't. And the fact that she was born in May, not September.

The Boy and I went to the Perth Royal Show. It was raining before we left but thankfully the rain stayed away. The day was mostly overcast and it was a bit chilly which may account for the small crowds encountered. Easier to get on the expensive rides though. We chose two with the first being the roller coaster that The Boy was too short to on last time and then the Orbitor (but only because he was too short to go on Twin Flip) which was pretty gut-wrenching. He said to me, "I'm gonna be sick afterwards" whilst we were on the ride. Quite enjoyable actually.

First stop was the Defence Forces display where we were able to dry fire a Minimi (mini machine gun), a grenade launcher and a Steyr assault rifle at the army reserve stand. Bloody heavy bits of kit. What should worry everyone out there in other countries' armies is the fact that my little Rambo knew what every weapon was, including the rocket launcher. Then we had a go at a flight simulator at the air force section before climbing into a army truck.

Sideshow alley was a bit of a rip-off and there weren't too many games that we wanted to play. Spent a bit of time looking at the showbags and there weren't too many reasonably priced ones on sale. Ending up buying one for The Boy and he was more than happy. Ate our lunch whilst watching a Charolais competition. Wandered around the pavilions a bit looking at displays. Took in the old machinery and tools. It wasn't a bad day but a bit pricey.

Python Loop ride that we took.

Twin Flip ride that we wanted to take.

Orbitor ride that we took. This was a great ride.

Amazing juggler.

More fantastic juggling.

Perth Royal Show 2009 Photo Album on Facebook.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why Doesn't Kanye West's Girlfriend Reach Orgasm

Why doesn't Kanye West's girlfriend reach orgasm?

How can she when he interrupts with:

"I'mma let you finish. But I do the best orgasms ever."

Monday, September 21, 2009

UK National Lottery Winner - Another Scam

One of the guys that I work with received this in an email the other day - UK National Lottery Winner. Quite obviously this is a scam.

UK National Lottery Winner

Where do we start to take this fraud apart?

1. "Dear Winner" - Winner? It's not even personally addressed.
2. "emails/company address" - How exactly do you select a company address when it mentions on the next line that the prize offer is for registered member of Internet E-mail user (whatever that means).
3. "Microsoft computer ballot system" - IBM makes computers, Microsoft writes software.
4. "continents" - Include Canada (?), United state (?), Middle East (?) and Oceania (?) as continents and how does 8x3000 equal 21000?
5. ""e-mail"" - This noun doesn't require quotation marks.
6. "ms -word" - Shouldn't it be spelt as MS Word (quite seriously this couldn't have been written on a computer with MS Word doing the spell checking).
7. "internet" is a proper noun, is it not, and should therefore be spelt as Internet.
8. "." - Missing to complete the sentence. Remember rules of sentences?
9. "bellow" - I don't think you have to yell at your claim agent.
10. "" - Sounds more like a "galah" (fool) than gala (special occasion.
11. Details for payment - No bank details required. How on earth are you supposed to give these galahs enough info for them to pay you?
12. "Endeavor" - The British spelling, which is something you would expect from The UK National Lottery, means it should be spelt as "Endeavour".
13. "email" - What happened to the hyphen? Bit of consistency please.
14. "Winners are advised to keep their winning information secret to avoid fraudulent claim" - Say that in proper English.
15. Names followed by titles in different parenthesis and fonts doesn't look very professional.

Be warned - this appears to be a scam leading to identity theft. The information requested, sans bank account details, could quite easily lead to somebody impersonating you for reasons of stealing more than just your bank balance. Steer clear of this rubbish.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Piano Practice Made Fun

They Boy wasn't too happy about having to do piano practice on a Sunday even though he had been able to do his thing earlier in the day. I mentioned something about putting a video on YouTube and he picked up his attitude and put lots of effort into it. Here's his rendition of Roman Holiday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Strange Look On The Bus

There were a few people on the bus this morning. Two guys occupied the seats in front of me so a young lady sat next to me. She took out a drink bottle from her bag and a plastic bag also came out and sat on the seat between us. I was reading a magazine and noticed the rustle of the bag and was a little surprised, and then disappointed, that she didn't bother to collect it as it was painfully obvious that it belonged to her. Next stop the two guys got off and she went to the seat in front. Of course she left the bag behind.

When I was about to leave the bus I made a point of dropping the bag onto the seat next to her. She stared at it. The kind of stare that would stop a man dead in his tracks. I saw no reaction from the bag. I believe the bag was behaving quite bravely. Just as I left I said, a bit uncaringly, "It fell out of your bag" and left it at that.

If she was big, had tatts and a moustache I probably wouldn't have bothered. Know when to pick fights you can win people.

The Most Fun You Can Have With Your Shoes On

This morning I just experienced the most fun you can have with your shoes on. At least if you don't wear shoes within your abode, that is. On the way to the bus stop, following an overnight shower, I noticed that the snails were out in force. I managed to squash a total of 47 snails and 3 slugs during my 10 minute trek to the bus. That's one snail every 13 seconds you know.

There are rules to squash by:

- Snails on footpaths must be squashed.
- Snails on grass next to footpaths are fair game if you have the time.
- Snails on walls and fences are generally safe. You don't wish to pull a muscle or be seen to be acting like a weirdo by passersby.

We've had a wet start to spring. So far we've experienced rain on 17 out of the 18 days of September. The average is for 15 days of rain for the month (although stats I found indicate that it's 11.6 days with greater than or equal to 1mm of rainfall). And the forecast is for showers every day the next week.

And still the snails keep coming. There's no end to them. And now you can see why I'm not allowed to wear shoes in the house.

Perth Forecast from Bureau of Meteorology

Perth Monthly Figures from Bureau of Meteorology

Perth Climate Statistics from Bureau of Meteorology

Bureau of Meteorology

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Samurai Is Mightier Than The Burglar

There was an interesting news article this morning about how a student had disturbed a burglar, told him to leave, and subsequently found himself in need of defending himself which lead to him decapitating the burglar with his samurai sword that he just happened to have handy. I thought this was amusing especially as the article that I read went on to say that the burglar died. No shit, Sherlock! Decapitation is usually fatal. Unless of course you are able to stick the head in milk and race off to your closest surgeon skilled in suturing. Of course he died.

Strangely enough, when I recollected this story to discuss with colleagues after lunch we discovered that the story had changed somewhat. I'm sure that this was the story but it now says that a hand was nearly chopped off leading to death. If you look at the comments somebody else noticed that it had originally mentioned head and not hand.

Fair enough, wouldn't you say? In Australia we have a law that you are allowed to defend yourself but you also can only use reasonable force. If the burglar has a samurai sword then you can defend yourself with a samurai sword. Not a gun, that wouldn't be fair. And all this over two laptops and a Playstation?

Just goes to prove that the samurai (sword) is mightier than the burglar.

* Ed - A reader pointed out that decapitation is only for removal of the head and they are quite correct.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Araluen Botanic Park and Canning Dam Visit

I had such a great weekend that I thought I might have forgotten to go to work on the Monday and had an extra days rest. Maybe it was because we were quite busy and enjoyed ourselves so much. Or it might have been because I had the Wednesday off to go to the Boy's sports carnival. Yes, I'd say that was it. Or perhaps it was because the footy was shown early

Saturday saw us shopping, cleaning the house, going out for sport and watching a bit more footy.

Sunday - breakfast, bit of washing and then we headed off to Araluen Botanic Park situated in Roleystone in the Perth foothills. One of my colleagues at work told me that she was going to take her parents there for a visit. Seeing as my missus likes flowers, and the tulips were supposed to be in full bloom, I decided to take her there. She put back what she was going to do on Sunday arvo and we made our way there. It was only 30 minutes from our place and the contrast of the hills to the concrete jungle of the city was striking indeed. The Boy couldn't get over how different it was so close to the city. The air was fresh due to morning rain and it was overcast for the first hour or so.

Not as many flowers as I thought there'd be but the place was beautiful. There was even a picnic area for BYO. The amount of Chinese-speaking visitors was huge and rather surprising. Apart from one large group of Croatians perhaps, they used the word "poleka" a few times in muddy, slippery areas where you needed to be careful with your footing, most of the visitors were asian. And the silly people brought cameras with such large lenses that they had to stand such a long way away from the flowers to get a shot. Gee, with the macro on my wife's camera I could get a couple of centimetres away. The waterfalls were delightful and it was such a nice day.

We had scones, devonshire tea and chips in the Chalet Healy Restaurant within the park's confines. All up we spent two and a half hours there. Rather than head home immediately I had noticed on the way in that the Canning Dam, a source of water for Perth, was close by so I detoured to have a look. A map in the BBQ area said that it was a 3km 1 hour walk to visit the dam, which made other family members groan, but it only took 30 minutes in actual fact. The dam is huge but the amount of water behind it isn't quite so. The levels are probably down 3-4 metres from historic levels. It's been a bit dry for the last few years.

After lunch we went swimming. I was so knackered that I could only manage 45 minutes worth. Bulgogi for tea. Great way to finish the weekend. Or was it a long weekend?

Photo album of Araluen Botanic Park visit on Facebook.

Photo album of Canning Dam visit on Facebook.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Footy Prediction - Malthouse to go

I'll make a bold prediction. Even though Eddie Everywhere, alias Eddie Maguire, has put a succession plan in place to relieve Mick Malthouse of his coaching duties at Collingwood at the end of the 2010 season and be replaced by former captain Nathan Buckley, I don't think that that is going to happen.

My prediction is that 5th placed Adelaide Crows will beat 4th placed Collingwood tonight in the 2nd Semi Final and, the two successive finals losses to Collingwood, fielding one of the strongest teams for years for the club, will Lead to Mick Malthouse quitting as coach. Why would you suffer the ignomy of going out of the finals in straight sets and then coach one more year before being relieved of your duties as coach? Nup, I think this is the end of Mick Malthouse as Collingwood's coach.

Something that will grate with Malthouse is the fact that he coached the West Coast Eagles to two premierships and, after switching to the Magpies hasn't been able to snatch one premiership, although Collingwood rarely travels outside of Melbourne to play, and it is widely accepted that they have just about the easiest draw of any team in the national competition. That will go down as a mark of failure, I think.

Big prediction, eh?

Bus Ride From Hell

Yesterdays bus ride was a bus ride from Hell.

I caught a bus that didn't go the quickest way home but one that would add only a couple of minutes to the journey. That would allow me a few more minutes to read my paper and I wouldn't have to wait outside in the rather wintery weather we're experiencing this Spring for a more direct bus to come along.

I had a nice seat at the front of the bus so all was well. That was until a lady got on the bus with her approximately three year-old in a pram. This kid was screaming "waah, waaah, no, no, no, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, no, no, no..." from the time that started until they left. In fact, I could hear the kid before we pulled up at the bus stop she was that loud. To make matters worse it was raining so there was more traffic on the road. To make matters worse there was a traffic accident which caused quite a backlog of traffic. To make matters worse I don't have a portable MP3 player which could have been used to drown the din. To make matters worse I don't think that a court would accept it to be a case of justifiable homicide if something had been done to shut the kid up. But only just.

If I'd had a lollipop or Chupa Chup I would have offered it. There were some minty breath fresheners in my bag, which can induce a laxative effect if too many taken at once, so I did contemplate offering a sizable handful of them but thought better of it. Even the bus driver exlaimed, "My good God" after they'd gotten off.

My sanity should return within a couple of days. If ever.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I've Lost My "Real Man" Status

Last night my wife made quiche. And it was delicious. And I'm taking leftovers for lunch today. I guess I've lost my "real man" status. But it was delicious.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tri-Nations Rugby - Matt Giteau vs South Africa

Went to the rugby on Saturday night. A generous vendor supplied me with a ticket. It turned out to be the match between Matt Giteau and South Africa although it was supposed to be the Wallabies (Australia) vs the Springboks (South Africa). Giteau did all the scoring himself apart of the dying minutes try by Lachie Turner.

Match report.

I'd known about the game for weeks and was looking forward to it although I'm not a rugby fan and have never attended a match before. So what do you think happened? Take the boy to his sport, come home and rake the back lawn, cut some grass that was overgrowing and vacuum out the cars. Just as I'm finishing I realised that I was supposed to be somewhere. Looked at my watch and thought that I was supposed to be somewhere 10 minutes ago and it's going to take me about three quarters of an hour to get there. I rang a workmate who was also going but no response. Had a gander at the phone book and found the mobile number of the guys supplying the tickets. Called him to say I would be a bit late and that he could leave the ticket at the gate for me so that I didn't disturb him. Turned out that the place we were supposed to meet had shut the doors to non-members just before he arrived as he'd just missed a train and was slightly late also.

Actually didn't miss anything apart from the national anthems. As we were taking our seats the kickoff took place. The game of rugby union is quite fast. The Springboks completely outplayed the Wallabies and deserved their win. I was a little disappointed that the crowd didn't get into too much but the Aussies were too far behind to threaten really. And Subiaco Oval isn't conducive to large groups of people to get singing together. Well played to the Boks but our boys kept trying hard and made the scoreline look respectable in the end at 32-25. Gee, the game goes so quickly without time-on and only 40 minutes each half.

Afterwards we wandered down to the Subiaco Hotel for drinks and a chat session. So busy. Saw one guy who was a group member of "blokes punching above their weight". But he successfully pulled a bird. Got on quite well with the other match attendees. It was a great night. My clothes sure stank of cigarette smoke afterwards though.

Photos on Facebook

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Get It Right - Bit Of Professionalism In Journalism Required

Editors must be a busy lot. I noticed this yesterday and it still hasn't been sorted. Almost everybody would be aware that Steve Hooker is the reigning Olympic champion at pole vault and, not as the Sydney Morning Herald would have you think, a high jump competitor at the recent World Championships. Surely somebody else should have pointed it out to them by now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bad Weekend For This Aussie Sports Fan

The Aussies lost the test cricket against the Poms.
The Bombers lost the footy against the Dockers.
The Hammers lost the soccer against Spurs.
The Wallabies lost the rugby to New Zealand.
The Aussies lost Miss Universe to Venezuela. Well, Rachel Finch is a good sport, no?

Bad weekend of results all round, actually.

Message For Australian Test Selectors

Once again the Aussies have underperformed in England and lost the Ashes. Crikey, that's hard to take after we played so well in the fourth test to win by an innings and 80 runs. Fact is we didn't bowl well and batted poorly in the fifth and deciding test. Having said that a total of 348 runs in the fourth innings isn't a bad return but it could have been so much better if the Aussies hadn't thrown their wickets away.

I have a message for the Australian test selectors - Australia is not the West Indies of the 80s, so, for crying out loud, play a specialist spin bowler! Marcus North, I think, would be the first to admit that he's a part-time spin bowler. At times he bowled beautifully and managed to take four wickets in the second innings. Imagine what a full-time spin bowler could have achieved. The pitch turned viciously from day one. What were the selectors thinking? Stuart Clark bowled excellently in the previous match and I thought he deserved his spot in the decider but only managed one wicket. Back to the horses-for-courses selection regime I guess.

I work with a few Poms so there will be a bit of stick at work. At least I didn't have a bet on the series.