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.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Didn't Enjoy Sunday Morning Swim Today

Today I didn't enjoy my usual Sunday morning swim. Reason for that is The Boy and I went to do fruit and vegie shopping prior to calling in to UWA for the annual Save The Children Book Sale. It's a fundraiser for the aforementioned charity and there are thousands of books on offer for only a few dollars each, generally.

We spent about an hour and a half there and I bought five books for myself. Last year I purchased four books and only have one left to read. The Boy got some 20-odd books including a few references book that I chose. There was something by Charles Dickens, Robert L Stevenson and several Captain Underpants books in amongst them. He'll finish his books before I complete mine.

The book sale is at Winthrop Hall and concludes on Tuesday. I believe that Tuesday is bargain box day so fill a box with books and pay bugger all. You won't have the choice that last Friday or Saturday offered however. It's all for a good cause and your brain will thank you for the stimulation.

Had a swim in the afternoon but it wasn't the same. And The Boy wasn't feeling too well either. Perhaps to do some laps in the morning.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Like Sir Ian Botham's Commentary Manner

I've been enjoying the commentary from Sky Sports this Ashes series as it has been beamed into our living rooms, or computers with HD TV tuners wherever they might be, on SBS. They've been mainly Englishmen including David "Bumble" Lloyd, Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain and David Gower, although Michael Holding aka Whispering Death, also has much to say and he is most pleasant on the ears. Much better than listening to droll old Richie Benaud.

But one guy that has surprised me somewhat is Sir Ian Botham. He analyses the game so well. When there is a puff of dust in the first session of the first mornings play he points it out. That indicates, to me at least, that the pitch is dry enough to crack and take plenty of turn and Australia will be bowled out chasing 120-odd in the 4th innings and lose the Ashes and be left to rue not taking a spinner into the match. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Hang about. I've derailed my train of thought here. Botham has introduced something that might have been innocuous and overlooked by other commentators but has introduced a very important happening to the viewing public. He makes you think about what's going on too.

I notice that the English commentators comment more about the things that you don't see, like goings on in the field, that have relevance to cricketers who follow the game, but would be missed by normal commentators. I find that the English commentate more like they are on the radio than on TV. There's a lot in the medium of TV that isn't noticed by the viewers and I think that that is an important aspect of commentating. This is a failing of AFL commentators on the whole as they don't observe off-the-ball incidents enough to really give you insight to the game as there is much more happening than just to the guys on the ball. I reckon that Botham comments succintly about these incidents but doesn't go into too much detail in his description and lets you draw you own conclusion in many places. He introduces topics for discussion and never appears to be a know-it-all.

Makes me think that Botham would have been a great captain with his analytical skills. He did possess that very English trait of saving his best with bat and ball for Ashes tests against the Aussies. Very English and very annoying. Perhaps as captain you don't have that much time to think about everything that is happening out in the middle and can't read the situation quite as well. But he does a marvellous job of it in the commentary box.

Something Wrong With The Weather Bureau's Gauge?

I wonder. It has rained for practically the whole day. People coming into work this morning were complaining about it having poured on them. Luckily I started a little earlier and missed it all. It was pizzling in the morning and came down a bit more strongly, with a good deal of wind mind you, when we went for our lunch time walk. We even took umbrellas and waterproof jackets with us but cut the walk short. All afternoon it continued to rain. All evening it has rained. And still the weather bureau tells me that Perth has had only 12.8mm (1/2") of precipitation in the 12 hours since 9am. Rubbish! The rain has been quite a bit heavier than 1mm/hr. I can remember only one other time where it rained all day and that day had a minimum temperature of 10 degrees C and a maximum of only 11 degrees C. Diurnal range of 1 degree Celsius is almost unheard of.

I wonder if their rainfall gauge is broken.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Latest Gastronomical Delight - Garlicbread Men

Frugal Bastard's latest gastronomical delight. The Boy wanted to make gingerbread men with me yesterday. We got all of the ingredients out of the cupboard, well, I made him retrieve them, and we set to work. When it came time to add the ginger I realised that we didn't have any. I knew that there was some garlic in the freezer so we substituted it for the ginger. Wise move, eh? Garlic, ginger, what's the difference. I made sure that slightly more golden syrup was used to combat the taste of the garlic however.

One egg yolk
1/2 tsp Bicarb soda
60g of butter
50g of brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 tsp of crushed garlic
100g of golden syrup

Beat the egg yolk, butter and brown sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer. Then add sifted flour, bicarb soda and golden syrup and mix. At this stage it should be ready for kneading into a flat shape but will look much like toffee. There's no way that you can make shapes with consistency so throw away the cookie cutters. Place mixture on a greased tray in any shape that you like and put into a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for approximately 10 mins or until brown. Make sure that the thickness is consistent or else the cooking will be variable. Within two minutes the whole mixture will melt and cover the pan anyway so don't be too imaginative with your shapes.

The mess will take longer to clean up than the preparation did. It was only after the cooking was finished that the missus pointed out that the ginger was stored in a different cupboard. Bugger.

Watch out for the garlic smell and, surprisingly, mild garlic taste. The Boy loves 'em. I don't think that they are too bad either. I might even enter Master Chef with this new food.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

New Definition For Frustration

I've found a new definition for frustration. Try buying a Leadtek Winfast DTV Dongle Gold. It's a USB 2.0 TV tuner. The frustation began from the moment I purchased it. In fact, prior to making my purchase. I found another Leadtek product that would have included analogue signals in addition to the HDTV compatibility but it's been recently discontinued. I thought that there would be a few places I'm likely to travel where an analogue signal might be stronger than HD so the best of both worlds would have been preferable.

I found a local supplier, Austin Computers, and paid a few dollars more but that would have still provided a saving when taking into account postage and handling charges from a cheaper supplier miles away. Apparently it was in stock in Osborne Park and would take 2-3 days to become available in Cannington. After two weeks and several phone calls it was finally in stock. Less than half an hour round trip on the bike to pick it up.

I waited until after tea before installing the hardware/software. Then I spent the better part of two and a half hours trying to set it up. Somehow the drivers and codecs didn't install properly. Info on a forum from someone called Buddhika saved my bacon - mate, you have my thanks. Finding the site for latest driver and application I had to go through a bit of a process to uninstall and reinstall before this thing finally worked.

And the picture is pretty good. We'll see if it burns directly to CD and the like. Even the remote control works. Not bad for under A$50.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Understand, Like?

On the bus yesterday I overheard a girl talking on her mobile phone. I think that everybody did. Not that she was phased mind. One particular part of the conversation was intriguing.
"I don't want to be, like. I don't want to be, like. I don't want to be, like. You know?"

No, I don't but I get the feeling that you already are.

Making a phone call at work today I was placed on hold. They had the radio for their on hold music and, I swear, the words of the song, from Fallout Boy, were, "I don't call what you think....". Hmmm, and I the person I was calling didn't take my call either. Was there a subliminal message there?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Real Reason Bill Clinton Is Visiting North Korea

So, I read today that Bill Clinton has arrived in North Korea. He is apparently there to secure the release of a couple of US journalists who have been sentenced to 12 years hard labour for entering the country illegally and engaging in "hostile acts". I guess time will tell just how good his sweet-talking really is.

I think he is visiting because of a comment made regarding his wife recently. The North Korean Foreign Ministry stated that Hillary Clinton "looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping..." That's probably enough to stir old Bill into action. With his penchant for women he's more than likely searching for someone that can transform from a pensioner to a schoolgirl and back again. Dirty old man.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Cricket Limericks

There was an Aussie batsman called Mr Cricket
Whose favourite memory was striding down the wicket
And hitting the ball to the boundary
Much unlike Colin Cowdry
With the fans yelling, "That's the ticket!"

There was a Pommie bowler called Flintoff
Thought he was the second coming of Darren Gough
He quite often took the prize wicket
Of a non-stroke playing Mr Cricket
By hitting just the one stump - off