Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CricInfo Pandering To Kiwis Too Much

The current Test match between New Zealand and Australia, the 2nd and final of the series, is being covered by CricInfo. They employ a diverse array of commentators including regular Indians and English. I love the commentary. It often smacks of being very British though.

I did notice a slip-up in the textual commentary yesterday which appeared to be making the content more appropriate for New Zealand readers. Everybody knows that they're well known for mixing up their vowel sounds - try this Website for examples of how to speak New Zillund. I love listening to Kiwi commentators say, "Oh, he's hut ut fa sux" meaning "He's hit it for six". Check out the commentary that I spotted.

CricInfo speaks New Zillund

Boy Seeking Polish Girlfriend

When we went out for a meal on Sunday night The Boy climbed out of the car and starting walking down the street. He had a book in his hand, although he wasn't reading it, and managed to walk straight into a pole. I said that I'd have to ask my Polish colleague if he knew any available Polish girls as my son was obviously attracted to Poles.

Is Ricky Martin Really Gay?

One of the big news stories this morning is that Ricky Martin is gay. Is he for real or is this a publicity stunt?

He was so popular with the smash hit at France '98 with his World Cup song "Cup of Life". And then, bugger all. Maybe he just wants to create some controversy to get back in the headlines and sell a few million more records.

The news this morning was truly astonishing to read. Harder to believe. how could a man that good looking be gay? Next thing you'll be telling me that George Michael is gay.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Trip to Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea - Feb 1st 2010

Didn't do a hell of a lot today. Had a sleep in and after breakfast we went to purchase a netbook for Miky. I wanted her to have a look at one in the shop first to try it out. A new shop, iLoom, wanted W899,000 for the model that she had decided upon. Online it was available for W466,000. A difference of some A$430! Bit of a saving. Went to the nearby PC Bang and purchased it. I did some Internet banking to transfer money into my account. Then we had to go to a KEB (Korea Exchange Bank) so that I could withdraw the cash. Gave the money to my sister-in-law so that she could pay off her credit card at her bank. Bit of a process to purchase something online. And to think that shopping online is supposed to be easier.

All of the buildings in the area we went to the banks feature heavy advertising. And there were a few funny Konglish signs about too. It doesn't take too long to find them.

Got a business to advertise?

Korean apartments.

I-Brain. Koreans are not immune to fads.

Kim-Chi Lice. Sounds derishus.

Is this a building or a billboard?

The kids had a doughnut and hot dog whilst they were waiting for the banking to be done. We had decided to watch Avatar in 3D at the cinema and I only just had time to grab a bulgogi burger set from Lotteria for lunch. Passed the World Cup Stadium on our journey downtown. Could believe that we were parked at the 4th level below ground.

World Cup Stadium in Daejeon.

Cool parking attendant with nice dance moves at the entrance to Lotte's underground parking in Daejeon.

Tickets were W13,000/adult and W10,000/child when a normal movie cost W7,000. Still pretty good value. I must say that it took a bit of getting used to the 3D effect but I think that it will catch on. Enjoyed the movie even though it was my second viewing.

All set for Avatar in 3D.

For dinner The Boy preferred shabu shabu and we located a restaurant that served it. Poor fella has waited all holiday for this meal as he loves it after having tried it at home. Between the five of us we had two mimiwoo shabus, a spicy shabu with horrible tasting leaves (my choice) and sukiyaki shabu (delicious). Ate yoghurt ice creams afterwards and went downstairs in the Lotte department store so that I could purchase a pair of jeans.

Mimiwoo Shabu shabu.

Sukiyaki shabu shabu.

Something spicy from the Shabu shabu range.

I then caught the underground home with The Boy and his cousin. Obviously my niece doesn't use the underground much as she was worried about getting to the correct stop. Bit strange as everything is in her language but we played some cards to keep us amused. Had to have a bit of a guess which direction the apartment was from the station but chose the correct way. Loved all of the different spellings of "information" on signs around the place.




INFORMATION - at least one signwriter spelt it correctly.

Trip to Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea - Jan 31st 2010

Breakfast at 8am. Shops wouldn't be open until 10 o'clock and we had to check out at 12 so The Boy and I played two games of pool and a couple of games of chess. At 10 The Boy and I went shopping for souvenirs - t-shirts, bookmarks, etc. I'm amazed that the shop owners have no problem changing between Korean, English and Japanese to service their customers. The amusement arcade was open so we played a couple games. Soon enough it was time to head back to the hotel to check out and say goodbye to Keiko. We even bumped into her in the souvenir shops.

No 3rd or 4th floors in the elevator.

Restaurants everywhere in Insa-dong.

Great Korean food on offer.

Souvenir shop in Insa-dong.

Quality pottery available in Insa-dong and not just cheap souvenirs.

You can buy almost any souvenir here.

Bit risque woodwork in Insa-dong. It is the suburb for artisans.

View from our hotel room.

Somerset Palace Hotel is a much awarded residence.

Grabbed a taxi to Seoul Station after checking out. The food hall at the station was pretty good and the menu had some funny Konglish items. Miky's best friend, Mi-ja, had booked KTX tickets for us from Seoul to Daejeon. An adult ticket was W32,100 and that for a child was W22,700. About A$32 and A$22.50 respectively. The reduced prices, for Korail members, were W22,900 and W11,400. It's good to have friends who can save you money. The journey took 58 minutes and we reached a top speed of 303 km/h.

Couple Rried Rice.

Noodles with Hot sause.

Hot soup.

300 km/h on the KTX.

The Boy is quiet when he sits next to a stranger.

Miky's sister, Ju-min, was a bit late to pick us up from the train station which gave me the opportunity to hound the tourist information lady who had a great deal of difficulty understanding the word "attraction". Apparently there aren't a lot of tourist attractions in Daejeon. When Ju-min arrived she took us to the apartment. A short while later Miky turned up with Mi-ja. They talked for a while before we went out for dinner. There were a lot of people waiting for a table and we had a 15 minute wait. But the wait was worth it as the meal was incredible. Porridge, fish, kimchi, sashimi, seaweed, rice, dweng jang jiggae, rice in bamboo with red beans, etc. The food just kept coming and there were six of us. I couldn't believe that the total was only W51,000 (A$51). Miky's sister drove us to Baskin Robbins and we all sat and enjoyed ice cream. Mi-ja gave some money to The Boy to play a machine for picking up toys and he picked up a huge gun which dropped just before he could collect it.

The restaurant in Daejeon.

Special meal 1.

Special meal 2.

Special meal 3.

Special meal 4.

Korean-style parking - grab any vacant spot.

Baskin Robbins.

The Cousins.

Dropped Mi-ja off at Daejeon Station and returned to the apartment. Went through a random breath test which was a bit unusual. The police officer waved a rectangular device about 5cm in front of Ju-min and she just had to blow in the air. I wouldn't have thought that would be too accurate.

F Floor - superstitious people.

Suitable Licence Plate For A Tailgater

I hate tailgaters. As we were driving last night to the Yummy House, a Chinese restaurant, I was being tailgated. I even commented to the missus, "I hate people driving up my arse." It was a single carriageway with four lanes so there was no problem for the driver to overtake me. Tailgating at night time is even more stupid than during the day as you have less time to react to a situation.

I must say I almost had an accident caused by laughing when the car finally went past. The number plate was 1ANL...! I kid you not. How befitting for a tailgater.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

AFL Ladder Prediction For 2010

Here's Frugal Bastard's long-awaited prediction for the final placings in this years AFL premiership competition. Hmmm, ok, maybe nobody has been waiting a long time for this. And the numbers of those waiting for a short period are thin on the ground too. But here are my predictions anyway.

1. Western Bulldogs. It's their time. Hopefully Brad Johnson stays fit. They are an exciting team and play the way I like to see it played.
2. Saint Kilda. They were lucky with injuries last year and that generally doesn't happen two years in a row. Will be up there though as they are a very balanced team.
3. Geelong. Fabulous team of hard nuts and talented footballers. Gary Ablett Jr. and Joel Selwood must remain fit.
4. Hawthorn. Probably have the most devestating forward line in the premiership. Will be a long way back from missing the finals last year, as defending champion, so I don't expect them to take the crown.
5. Adelaide. They have a very balanced squad and are quite strong in the forward line. I think that the aging stars in McLeod, Goodwin and Edwards will need to be carried a bit and this will count against them.
6. Brisbane. These guys could do anything. With Brendan Fevola in the forward line they'll have difficulty in keeping the scoring to the playing field. Jonathon Brown is the most fearsome player in the competition and would make my squad any day. Simon Black, as talented as he is, isn't getting any younger.
7. Collingwood. Much as I'd like to see them pick up a wooden spoon I think they'll make the eight.
8. Carlton. Second only in deserving of my vitriol, behind Collingwood, they're probably good enough to play finals.
9. West Coast Eagles. I don't see them having enough stars to play finals this year. Their backline isn't strong enough when Darren Glass is expected to do too much and they have a fragile forward line. Hard to beat at home though.
10. Essendon. Some big names departed over the summer, mainly from the forward line, and without consistent players up front and too much reliance on a good midfield that's not capable of kicking enough goals, they will be down the ladder this year.
11. Sydney. Not consistent enough to play finals. Have a few stars and will win eight or nine games for the season.
12. Port Adelaide. Lost a superstar in Shaun Burgoyne and has kept too many of the old stars. Can't see them winning more than seven or eight games.
13. Fremantle. I reckon they'll win about six games this year. Don't travel well but reasonably good at home.
14. Richmond. Is this the year for the Tigers? No chance! Could win four games though.
15. North Melbourne. Good team but lost so many stars and will rely too much on the old guys. Not much of a forward line and lost one of their best defenders in Josh Gibson to Hawthorn. Will struggle to provide an honest effort all season.
16. Melbourne. Can't see them doing anything this year except increasing discussion in the tanking debate. So many early draft picks but no self belief. Will make at least one game a week easy to pick in the tipping.

Court Case I Was Going To Sit On - Result

The first court case that I was chosen as a juror for, and subsequently rejected by the defence, has just concluded. It was for a charge of people smuggling by an Indonesian fisherman by the name of Hasanusi and the reports can be found below. Looks like it did go for the full two weeks as expected.

Day 1 - The Australian
Day 2 - The Australian
Verdict - ABC

Friday, March 26, 2010

What The Heck Is This Doing In The Sports News?

I love Google News. It's a fabulous news aggregator. It would be nice to be able to pick a little more than just the Australian news stories as I would like to add a few English Premier League articles. NBA results wouldn't go astray either. But I digress.

I understand that no human involvement, apart from coding the algorithm originally, takes place. Here's how Google News works, according to Google. It basically looks for popular stories and puts them together in a collection.

I read the sports and business sections regularly. Today I was quite surprised to see President Obama as the top sports story. How the heck did that happen? His health care story has nothing to do with sport. I can only think that the big high-five resembles a basketballer's celebration but you'd have to admit that it's a long bow to draw.

What about the third most popular story? Obviously the golf club is sports-related but the article is about an attack with a claw hammer. It took place in the guy's driveway, not a driving range.

Time for the algorithm to be updated, methinks.

What the heck is this doing in the sports news?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Candlelit Dinner - But Without The Romance

On Sunday afternoon the weather forecast was for a thunderstorm to hit Perth's northern suburbs at around 8pm. They were expecting 20-25mm of rain and the storms could hang around until Tuesday morning. Surprise, surprise but there was no storm and no rain on Sunday night.

I took the umbrella to work on Monday though. Just in case. At 4pm, when I left from work, there was an eerie light outside. And the street lights were already on. The clouds were foaming and I was in half a mind to video them. Only minutes later and it started raining and reasonably hard too. As soon as I got on the bus it started hailing. The hail was only the size you normally see though. By the time I reached my stop it had ceased raining.

The Boy and I went to taekwondo training. It's a fifteen minute drive south of our house. All of the traffic lights from Carousel Shopping Centre down to the taekwondo centre were out. We parked the car and walked to the centre. It was still dry. Within 10 minutes, before our class started, the wind was blowing fiercely and the driving rain was incredible. You could barely see house lights only a few hundred metres away. I was very glad to be commencing my training and not leaving in that weather.

Minutes later I spoke with my instructor. My words were, "All of the lights are out from Carousel to," and blooomp!! All of the lights went out. I continued, "From Carousel to here!" He sent me to the back corner for being a jinx. The lights didn't come back on. They grabbed a couple of torches and we trained in torchlight. The instructor even mentioned that "It doesn't matter if you're not doing your exercise properly as I can't see you." It would have been interesting had we been able to do sparring in the dark. I guess the risk of injury was too great however.

No rain at the conclusion of training so it was a dry walk back to the car. As I was heading home in front of the council depot near our house I thought to myself, "I'm not driving my wife's relatively new car through that." The roadway was flooded whereas just an hour and a half previously it was dry.

Water is a bit deep on the roadway.

Would a temporary bridge be too much to ask?

Someone wants to go aquaplaning.

Miky had been battling a flood in the sewing room whilst we were away and there was no power. The sewing machine had been doused in water so it will be interesting to see if it has survived. Amazingly she still managed to cook a marvellous meal of bulgogi that was hot when served. We ate dinner by candlelight but it wasn't entirely romantic. Not that having the power on would have necessarily added to the romantic aspect but I think that it may have helped.

Complete lack of power meant that The Boy got out of having to do some homework. For a kid that is still apprehensive about the dark, which has a lot to do with a horrible video on YouTube that one of his classmates showed the class, he took it pretty well. We watched a few music videos on the laptop and had an early night.

Perth had 40mm of rain overnight and 23mm came within one 30 minute period. It was only a storm but you'd think that a cyclone had hit us. Apparently there is some A$100m worth of damage that's been suffered and somewhere between 75,000 and 150,000 homes lost power. Perth is not equipped for even a little storm.

Oh yeah, it took Western Power 25 hours to return power to us. Just enough time to almost defrost the freezer.

Branch-laden power lines.

Power lines seem to attract branches.

Fallen tree.

Is this a knock-down sale?

Pedestrians watch your step.

Watch your step alright.

If you want to see some of the real damage that I didn't experience then check out the following Websites.

Perth Now - Storm could rival 2005 deluge as one of the worst to hit the State

ninemsn - Freak storm dumps on Perth

ABC - Photos

Herald Sun - Thousands in the dark as storm batters Perth, Western Australia

ABC - Damage bill mounts as storm causes chaos

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Review - Bradman's Invincibles by Roland Perry

After putting down The Don - A Biography by Roland Perry, I picked up Bradman's Invincibles by Roland Perry. This book, about one year old, was also purchased the University of Western Australia book fair for Save The Children Fund for $4. There's 461 pages, not including the index, and that's only nine more pages than The Don's highest first class score - 452 not out against Queensland.

Having read the book about the complete life story of Sir Donald Bradman which included a decent section on the 1948 tour of England in which his team remained unbeaten in 31 first class matches and two second class matches (against Scotland at the end of the tour) in a period from April to September 1948, not including the boat trips to Europe and back with only a squad of 16 men whereas England and the countries had unlimited choice - although there were 34 scheduled matches so possibly another second class match was played, I was concerned that this book would be a repeat of one of the final chapters of the previous book. Much of the writing is the same but so much more was written about The Don's fellow cricketers. It certainly expanded upon the contributions of the team members and didn't just concentrate on The Don's contributions.

Many of the games were played back-to-back after overnight train rides in between. Fatigue must have been a major concern. I never knew how devastating Miller and Lindwall were as batsmen and not just bowlers. The likes of this team of cricketers and their achievements on one tour will not be surpassed. Modern cricket doesn't allow for it anyway. The players partied hard, on occasion, and were punished in Bradman's way if they transgressed. His only rule was that players had to report fit when they were called upon to play. On one occasion a player returned to the hotel after a night of drinking and dancing and met Bradman as he was coming downstairs for breakfast. this was even though he had been chosen for the game and he ended up spending all day at fine leg. This meant having to go from one end of the ground to the other at the conclusion of each over. And these guys bowled about 120 overs in a day. Someone in the crowd said that he could borrow his bike and at the conclusion of the next over and he did so. What a sight it must have been to see a fielder changing position on the field by bicycle. Even Bradman had to laugh. His name was Keith Miller.

The last couple of chapters are dedicated to the cricket and life stories of The Invincibles (Australians) and The Vincibles (English). Almost biographies in their own right. I had no idea that Dennis Compton was a professional footballer (soccer player) concurrently with his professional cricketing.

This book was just as good to read as The Don - A Biography by Roland Perry and only took me two weeks to complete. Not a lot of television was viewed whilst reading this book as it was so interesting. I grabbed any time that was available. A great read.

Bradman's Invincibles by Roland Perry

Book Review - The Don by Roland Perry

The Don - A biography about Sir Donald Bradman by Roland Perry. I bought this book at the University of Western Australia book fair for Save The Children Fund a while back. It cost me $6 and was in pretty good nick. There's 635 pages, not including the index, and I can honestly tell you that this was the most interesting book I've ever read and most difficult to put down. It helps that I revered The Don and love cricket but the book is written in such a way that you almost feel as though you are watching the cricket matches being described.

I learnt that Bradman liked to score to the onside from the first delivery he faced, he played steadily until his 50 was reached scoring at the rate of 80-90 runs per 100 deliveries, and that once he made his century he would open up. After having scored all of the records in cricket that mattered to him it was a case of I've reached a hundred in this innings and he would start lofting the ball. More often than not he threw his wicket away around 150, if his team didn't need the runs, due to ill health. He suffered from fibrositis and even broke a bone in his leg whilst playing Test cricket. I always thought that he kept the ball on the ground if the field was set deep and then lofted the infield if the fielders were close. Not the case it would appear. Bradman rarely struck a six in a match and it was only when he was in the process of throwing his wicket away that he would entertain the thought.

Bradman's philosophy was that batsmen should score as many runs as possible as quickly as possible to give their team the best chance of winning a match. He abhorred timeless Tests whereby dreary, boring batsmen could bat for three days to score as many runs as they could when he could score that many in a single day. He also went on to become the chairman of The Board of Control, the forerunner of the Australian Cricket Board, and was a selector for a great number of years. The Don certainly gave back to the game that made him famous although he hated the fame that came with his incredible feats.

The book details his life from childhood, cricket in the bush as a kid, the struggle to combine work with cricket as there was no professionalism in Australia in those days, his reasons for leaving Sydney and settling in Adelaide, the fact that his first born child died within days of birth and his triumphant tour of England in 1948 when he appeared to be all washed up as a cricketer after World War II. The book utilised a number of interviews with The Don. I didn't know that he was a director of Tecalemit (a company that we deal with at work) at one stage or a stockbroker. Talk about an informative and inspiring read. Probably more for cricket fans but a fabulous read. Enthralling maybe. Gosh, listen to me babble on.

The Don - A Biography by Roland Perry