Saturday, January 23, 2010

Water Fun During The Hot Weather

It's been a bit warm in Perth of late. Perfect weather for enjoying some fun in the water. Just before New Years we visited some friends who have a pool. With The Boy's water blasters that he received for Christmas we had a great time.

Stealth mode "ON" Identity hidden.

Comin' to get ya.

Givin' it to 'em

Airborne attack.

Bombie Boy.

Last weekend we went to Kalamunda Wet 'N' Wild with some other friends. Bought a family ticket which gave a significant saving. The girl looked at us a bit funny. He and his son were dark-skinned Indians and me and my son were white-skinned Aussies. Well, the family ticket said two adults and two kids. Nothing about being an actual family. Lucky me - we saved $18 on the entry fee. The temperature hit 42.9C but didn't feel like any more than 25 whilst we were wet. The following day was 42.7C and the day after reached 41.1C.

The slides were great fun. There's two major slides, a fast slide and a four way side-by-side where everyone can race. The pool is quite good also with a one metre diving board and a three meter diving board. I dove off the smaller board but couldn't risk it off the larger one. Several people were doing huge bombies and were very entertaining. Once we were all dry though the heat was absolutely baking. And I nearly left behind my wallet when they emptied the locker contents and it dropped out before being given to me. Gotta be careful.

Water slides at Wet 'n' Wild.

Wading pool at Wet 'n' Wild.

View from car park at Wet 'n' Wild.

Look out below at Wet 'n' Wild.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Feeding The Pet Ants

I must have a sadistic streak. Either that or a very kind heart towards ants. As you may know we bought The Boy an ant ecosphere for Christmas. One of my biggest worries is providing them with enough food to eat and we have about twice as many ants as was suggested. So I try to give them quite a varied diet. And we have plenty of creepy crawlies about to make it interesting. Firstly they had a spider and then a big blowfly.

I fed them a live moth recently. It didn't take them too long to subdue and then devour.

Moth as ant food.

Next on the menu was a dragonfly. The Boy had caught a juvenile dragonfly earlier and they ate that pretty quickly. I grabbed an adult dragonfly and put him in with the ants. Talk about energy! He killed at least a dozen ants before he was subdued and eaten. In the morning he was nothing more than an outer shell. The ants carried their dead comrades away too.

Dragonfly as ant food.

Captured dragonfly.

Dragonfly fights for life.

Last night I came across a cockroach. A big, black, ugly bastard. Not that I find the big, brown, ugly bastards pleasant to look at. This one just happened to be black. He was easy to catch and spent the night in a jar next to the ant ecosphere. Probably had no idea what was in store for him. It didn't take too long for the ants to notice that the feeding jar had been changed and so a few of them entered. Before you knew it there were six to eight of them attacking the cockroach. He kept flicking his legs to shake them off. I was surprised that the antennae weren't targeted. Some 20 minutes later most of the colony were on the attack. It was beautiful. Better not look at the pictures if you're a bit squeamish.

Cockroach under attack from ants.

Cockroach up close.

Cockroach vs ants.

Cockroach vs ants II. Now it gets interesting.

A Little More Blood At Taekwondo

Last night my first sparring partner was a second dan blackbelt. He was young, Asian and very fast. Just the type you look up to but don't enjoy sparring so much as it is difficult to land anything on them. Soon after the instructor said that those wearing gloves could put hands to the face he punched me in the mouth and drew some blood. The bugger.

Next opponent was a much taller second dan who was interested in me getting my feet moving properly and set his body up to receive some kicks. The kind of bloke who is training the lower belts. Nice.

Third opponent was a third dan blackbelt. He looked angry. When he gritted his teeth I could see that he had more blood in his mouth than I did. I thought that I had better look out. Well, I copped another punch to the face quickly followed by a kick to the ear. I was thinking, "What have I done to deserve this? I'm only a yellow belt and he shouldn't be treating me like this?" That kinda made me a bit annoyed actually. I spoke to him after training finished by asking him ,"Who do I have to pay back?" and he was quick to apologise. His previous opponent had smacked him in the mouth and he hadn't had enough time to retaliate. Ok, I would have lost a lot of respect for him if he hadn't apologised but as this guy is also an instructor he should not have taken out his frustration on me. That revealed a lack of discipline.

Just wait till I get fitter, faster and better at my technique. Just wait. The list of people on the hitlist is growing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just How Warm Is It?

It was supposed to be a reasonably warm day today. At lunch time a group of us go for a walk around the lake. One of the guys asked, "What's the temperature?" I looked at the Bureau of Meterology's Website and it said currently Perth was at 24.9C. He was a bit surprised at that and I guess he wouldn't have been in the mood for a walk if it was too hot.

We stepped outside the building and you could feel the sun and almost drink the humidity. It felt a lot warmer than 24.9C. I commented that it was probably warmer than that when I was walking to the bus in the morning. As soon as we returned from our walk I checked the Website again. The current temperature was 36.5C. That's more like it. And further investigation revealed that it was 25.3C when I was walking to the bus stop earlier that morning. So my assumption was correct.

Did I read the temperature incorrectly earlier or had there been a glitch? Either way, the body is a reasonable indicator of the actual temperature.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

First Blood Split For New Taekwondo Season

Today saw the return of taekwondo. My groin has been expecting the onset of this and has been giving me sympathy pains for the last couple of days, fully expecting that the pain would be forthcoming.

I'm glad that it wasn't too warm today. Only 29 degrees C. But not having exercised for a few weeks and, perhaps, having overindulged in the interim, the sweat was evident not too long after starting. I spilt almost as much blood as sweat though. Simple case of splitting one toenail and bending another on a shield. Obviously didn't do the kick correctly.

If there's no blood then you're not trying hard enough.

Bloody toes.

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Book Review - The Complete Book of the Olympics 2008 Edition

Only two days before completing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer I finished another book that has been a long time coming - The Complete Book of the Olympics 2008 Edition. I bough this for myself in April last year. Considering that there was a total of 1179 pages to read you can understand why it's taken so long to complete.

This is a book for nerds and statisticians alike. Is there a difference? As the book cover aludes - it is a treasure trove of lore, drama and anecdotes including the top eight finishers in every summer Olympic event from 1896 to 2004. Rules and scoring for events is there too. What an absolute wealth of information. When it comes down to the swimming events I felt like I was reminiscing about old times by reading the last 20 or 30 years worth of events. The names of the competitors and their deeds were so familiar. Perhaps the best part of the book were the anecdotes. So many athletes entered politics or were busted for drug running (I don't think anybody had a spiked shoe in both camps). There's the gymnast who broke her back and was carted off in a wheelchair, the Hungarian pistol shooter who lost his hand when a grenade exploded so he taught himself to shoot with the other hand and won the gold medal, the growing number of state-sponsored drug cheats and the fact that during the Great Depression an American athlete could win a gold medal in front of 60,000 people in his hometown but still have to walk home from the stadium as no-one on the street recognised him. Everything the Stats Man, another nickname I had, could ever want.

If you, like me, enjoy facts and figures you will love this book. One thing that I did find annoying was the constant misspelling of names, even within the same section, that went on. A decent proofreader required before the next edition goes to press. But a wonderful piece of work nevertheless.

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The Complete Book of the Olympics 2008 Edition

Book Review - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

When I was but a little tacker I received a book from my Great Grandma for Christmas. It was Mark Twain's unabridged version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. That was back in 1982. Late last year I began to read it. I thought that it would be a good idea to read it as a bedtime story to my son. One chapter a night, in general, it was. There have been a few lapses in the reading but we finished it last night.

I know, I know. It is one of the classics but why has it taken so long for me to get around to reading one of the all time classics? Well, I guess I wasn't inclined to read it when I was younger. There were too many computer games and sports to be played. If I read anything they generally consisted of Tintin, Asterix, computer and cricket magazines. Books included atlases and other reference material such as knowledge and encyclopedia. I quite enjoyed the dictionary too. Perhaps you can understand why I had the nickname "Cuboid" at one stage. I was more square than a square.

Back to the book. As it was written in 1876 there is a lot of language not in common use these days. And the words used were very non-prosaic. At times there was too much effort placed in making the description. I felt that it went over the top trying to set the scene. That said, the story itself is uplifting and insightful about the adventures of a boy and his friends. I had no difficulty imagining what the movie should look like. Glad we've finished it. My boy thought that the story was "pretty interesting". Maybe that had a lot to do with the fact he didn't have to the do the reading but also because it appealed to his sense of boyhood. It certainly captured his attention and no matter how tired he was he was listened. And I tested him to make sure he was paying attention. As the words were unusual it gave me a bit of work explaining the words and concepts associated with them so he got more out of it than by just reading to himself and glossing over what he didn't immediately understand. Great if you can make the time for your child to do that too.

I'd certainly recommend the book although reading it aloud was difficult at times. Perhaps I could purchase an ebook from my friend at Your Success eBooks for improvement in reading aloud.

Mark Twain's unabridged version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

My Wife The Health Nut

My missus goes to the gym. She's doesn't think that she's a health nut, more of a diet nut as she uses it with the intention of losing weight. Yesterday was a little interesting.

After her evening meal, which I refer to as tea but others call dinner, she had some macadamia nuts. A bit later she was off to the gym. When she came back less than an hour and a half later she looked terrible. She was gasping for air, had mucus coming up in great quantities, had a rash on her legs, her hands were bright red, her neck was really sore, she could hardly talk, some blood came out of her nose and there were white lumps on her throat. I gave her some children's Panadol as it contains an antihystamine which should have worked on the rash somewhat. Then I called Health Direct Australia, a government service available freecall 1800 022 222, where you can talk to a registered nurse who will provide a diagnosis and inform you if hospitalisation or further treatment is required. The nurse transferred me to the ambulance service and they sent a vehicle straight away.

Paramedics Amy and Asha arrived shortly afterwards, sirens blaring and lights flashing, and pulled up in our driveway. They got to work quickly administering oxygen and some medication through a nebuliser. The missus' heart rate was also monitored and the rash was examined. It was decided after a few minutes to take her to hospital. The Boy wasn't allowed to ride in the ambulance unfortunately.

I took The Boy to the hospital and we went a different route to the ambulance. After parking a few hundred metres from the hospital we walked the rest of the way and arrived just in time to greet the ambulance. They weren't in a hurry as it wasn't life threatening. She booked in through the emergency department and then I had to register her details.

After about 40 minutes of waiting a nurse came to the waiting room and called out my son's name. Unfortunately there was another guy in the room with the same name and it wasn't for him. We were called in a minute or two later. Miky had been examined by nurses and a doctor. She was hooked up to an instrument measuring all sorts of vitals. About an hour after arriving she was much better although the throat was still very sore but the rash had subsided. The emergency doctor on duty examined her and when he asked if she had eaten any nuts, to which she replied yes (macadamias), he pondered and said, "Macadamias? Mmm, yum." He was a funny bloke. His diagnosis was that it could have been a summative allergic reaction as nuts and treadmill running, coupled with the 37C we experienced today, wouldn't have resulted in the reaction separately but together they might have. In any case she didn't show any symptoms of anaphalaxis and didn't require a shot of adrenalin. The nurses had had a great time teasing her, gently, that she'd had a reaction to nuts and gossiped amongst themselves. She took this very well in fact.

Three hours after the drama began she was home. My wife the health nut. And for all the wrong reasons. She's going to have to get used to her new nickname.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

If There Was No Mass Extinction Of The Dinosaurs Would We Still Have Fossil Fuels?

We all know that that fossil fuels come from dead animals and plants from millions of years ago. But I'd like to pose the following question, which just popped into my head, "If there was no mass extinction of the dinosaurs would we still have fossil fuels?"

Maybe we would have oil still but not in the great concentrated quantities that it is currently found. If so, what would that mean to human existence? If we hadn't discovered oil and made use of its properties would we be a lot further behind in the progress we have made with power generation, vehicles, plastics, etc?

Or would we have a greener planet as we may have made earlier and better use of solar, wind and wave power?

Thoughts welcome.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Goodby Noughties, Hello Teenies?

I can't believe that it is now 2010. Where did 2009 go? Where did the noughties go? I don't know if we are now in the tens or the teenies. Do we say two thousand and ten or pronounce the year like a cricket match and say twenty ten?

I can't say that all of our economic problems are behind us though. The world economy is still quite fragile so there will be further turmoil this year. The global financial crisis (GFC) didn't strike nearly as hard as the Great Depression but (hopefully) has taught the greedy some lessons. I don't think that enough people will have learnt the lesson because governments were too willing to pull them out of the poo and not allow them to be punished for their greed as the market would have done.

I hope that 2010 is kind to you. I hope that you work hard and gain rewards for your efforts. I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy. I hope that Kevin Rudd and his government are removed from office. Probably can't have everything though and that's wishful thinking.

Have a happy and properous new year.