Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't Mess With The Man With The Shoulder Of Steel

Something unusual happened yesterday. I discovered that I had a shoulder of steel. It all started so innocently in Subiaco with the fruit and veg shopping. There was sufficient time after the shopping to go to the post office before my appointment with the chiropractor. Only 30 minutes so I had no time to dilly dally as the post office was some distance away. As I approached the Rokeby Road and Roberts Road intersection the little man turned green to cross. Knowing that I would have to wait at least two minutes, which I could ill-afford, I started running to get to the intersection. It was shortly after I emerged from behind a coffee shop building that I noticed a cyclist bearing down on me at perhaps 40 km/h. He was pretty mobile. I didn't have time to dodge him and he smacked right into my left shoulder. I did have an image of getting hit by the wheel or having a clash of heads, which wouldn't have done me any good as he was wearing a helmet, the split second before impact so there was a little bit of concern for my welfare.

Well, I must be built like Iron Man, we watched Iron Man 2 last night, coz I took the cyclist out completely with a hip and shoulder. Ok, he only ran into my shoulder. He went sprawling and lay on the ground for a while. I managed to stay upright the whole time. I asked him if he was alright as he lay there and if he needed a hand up. His response was that he was a bit winded but ok and he admitted to going a bit fast fast but that I had been running also. I didn't bother to mention that he wasn't riding in the bike lane which would have given me more time to pull up and avoid the collision. I didn't need to as I was in one piece and I'd just taken him out although his momentum was much greater than mine. Shoulder of Steel. Don't mess with it. We hugged and had a laugh about it as no one was seriously hurt. It was an awkward minute or so waiting for the little green man to reappear whilst he put his bike back together.

When I got home and started relaying the information about my big collision my missus thought that I'd crashed her car so she started to get very upset. No sense of humour my wife. Told my takewondo instructor that my balance must be getting better as I'd managed to stay upright. That was about 15 minutes before I fell flat on my arse in front of the class whilst trying to do a spinning kick. Not half as funny as the comment from one of the students who yelled out, "Yo!" instead of "Yes, sir!" when it was time to collect his card from the instructor who subsequently gave him 40 pushups.

Went shopping later and it was interesting to see the people get out of my way as I wandered about. Perhaps they've heard about the new Mr Invincible and his Shoulder of Steel.

Just Remember People....

I'm thinking of starting to show some wit online with the start of a new series which I shall call "Just Remember People..." I update my status on Facebook with some one liner that intends to bring a smile to your face. Well, I'll be trying to anyway. Not everything will be mine but hopefully you get a laugh out of it anyway. Here's what you may have missed during the last week.

Just remember people - multiple personality disorder sufferers are people, two, you know.

Just remember people - If at first you don't succeed then parachuting is probably not the right sport for you.

Just remember people - Pi is not equal to 4, as enacted in Bill No. 246 from the 1897 General Assembly of Indiana, but much closer to 3.141592653589793238462643383279502.....

Just remember people - Ghandi was a super calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.

Just remember people - niwa niwa niwa niwa tori ga iru.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Boy Had A Piano Exam

Big day on Wednesday. The Boy had his first piano exam and it was held at the University of Western Australia in a majestic old building. I went to work early as I had to pick him up just before lunch and after dropping him off back at school it wasn't worth heading back to work for an hour and a half only so I had the rest of the day off. I normally leave early for his taekwondo competition training that day.

I had a rough idea where it was. Had to head some three to four kilometres along from the main UWA campus along Princess Street. Kept driving for ages, so it seemed, and thought that I'd better pull over to check the map (don't have GPS). Pulled into a campus that was signposted as UWA so thought that that was a good start. Couldn't park in any of the parking bays nearby as they were for permit holders so kept driving until I came across the student parking area. After getting out of the car I found out that we were only 25 metres away from the entrance to the examination building. Lucky, eh?

He was as nervous as hell. It probably didn't help that his teacher mentioned how she remembered her exams and it didn't appear to be a happy memory when I collected him from school. Not only did he have to play three pieces in front of an examiner that he'd never met but he was quizzed on musical terms such as ritardando, decrescendo, etc with the real worry being the need to sing some notes to accompany what the examiner played. There were two other kids his age that were just before him as well so he's at the same level and I guess that that made him feel a bit better. He wasn't allowed to take any notes that would aid his playing, except for fingering, and so I had to rub some six pages clean - tiring work.

I think that he did alright. Couple of mistakes but nothing disasterous. Not sure when we'll receive the results though. Well done Boy.
Happy Boy after the piano exam

Majestic building at UWA's Claremont campus

Commemorative shields

Confucius Institue just down the hallway

Aforementioned hallway

Honour board

Lovely stairway

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Redefining Pathetic

I don't think too much of the regional TV news in Australia but prefer watching Channel 7 if the ABC or SBS are unavailable. Channel 10 is quite watchable but I refuse to watch theChannel 9 news even though they have the same stories as Channel 7.

Two nights ago I was most annoyed with the weather girl, Natalia Cooper, with her report from a drought-ravaged area of the state. Not so much the story was the issue but this weather girl made a heartfelt plea for rain in the area which appeared to be stage-managed. Ok, she doesn't have a science communications degree covered climate change, environmental subjects, geography and a bit of meteorology like her rival on Channel 9, Angela Tsun, but she does have a journalism degree. The fact of the matter is that weather is a science, not an exact science (I'm waiting for some teenager or American to comment "exact same science"), and this passionate display was quite pathetic. All she needed to do was report that rain was greatly needed. Pleading for it is not the way to go and unproffessional journalism. And this was after telling us that they need the rain next year so what's it got to with this year then? Not a very well managed weather report from a very dry area of Western Australia.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh but the regional TV stations try to introduce too much heartfelt sympathy and I'm not buying it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Idiot Driver Gave Me A Bump Today

I hate people that don't stop at stop signs. How hard is it? Do they not understand English or can they not read or is that they just don't have the right driving skills?

I went to visit a sick friend today. Had a good chat, did a bit of shopping for him and ran an errand as well. Haven't seen him for ages and it was good to catch up. I was in a bit of a hurry to leave afterwards as The Boy and I were heading to taekwondo training but I obviously wasn't in the same hurry that the idiot behind me apparently was.

Outside of my friend's apartment block his street joins an arterial road which is controlled by a stop sign. That didn't bother the three cars in front of me who all turned left without stopping. I was slightly concerned that the guy behind me might think that I would do the same thing. Well, I didn't. I stopped. That's what you are supposed to do at a stop sign. The road is busy, the corner is slightly blind, so there's good reason for having a stop sign in existence. The guy behind me did stop but only after he had rammed me up the arse.

I got out of my car and yelled at him that there was a "f*%$ing stop sign" there whilst pointing at it. No word from the idiot driver. His girlfriend just yelled out to ask if there was any damage. Yes, some paint from my bumper and a bit of paint on my exhaust pipe. He had a reasonable dent in his front bumper. It would be a little nasty of me to publish his seven character alphanumeric plate so I'll just say that it started with "1BMH" and ended with "954". I hope like hell that there is no damage to the exhaust that will rear its ugly head in time to come and isn't apparent now.

Man, did I want to punch this guy. No remorse at all. What's wrong with saying sorry? I've got a good mind to call the police and dob him in for failure to stop for which I understand the penalty is three (3) demerit points and three (3) penalty units for a fine. Gee I was wild but quickly realised that the accident wasn't serious and there was no point in getting into a fight. No-one was injured and the apparent damage was less than $1,000. I even had enough sense to see that it was pointless to kick his car in anger as that would just give him good reason to ram my car again or something.

Need I reiterate - I hate idiot drivers.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Joe Hockey Sporty?

Who, in their right mind, would call Joe Hockey sporty? He's a rather obese character and currently the Liberal Party's shadow treasurer.

It was funny to listen to Don Randall today, a Liberal backbencher, go on about "This is just another one of their, as I said lunatic fringe type ideas. But that's the problem that the Gillard Government's got now, they've got a Green coalition which is dragging them to the left of Australian politics with all these crazy ideas." when he heard about the idea of banks being regulated in the interest rates they can charge especially when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) changes rates. The idea was that banks be punished, in legislation, if they move their rates up more than what the RBA does. Turns out that this was Joe Hockey's idea. Dumb.

Joe Hockey is considered sport?

What really amused me is that the Google News aggregator thought that this story belonged in both the business and sports sections.

Now he's likely to be a political football. At least for a while. And you don't think that the Labor Party or the Greens will let that go through to the keeper, do you?

If opening your mouth to change feet is considered a sport then I believe Joe Hockey does belong in the sports section.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What do You Use USB 2.0 Poets For?

Just looking at the specs on an ASUS laptop. Interesting that it comes with three USB 2.0 poets. I wonder what USB poets are good for? Now that USB 3.0 is available perhaps they'll be joining the USB 2.0 dead poets society.

USB Poets?

Friday, October 15, 2010

I've Seen Drivers Do Some Dumb Things In My Time

I've seen drivers do some dumb things in my time.

For instance:
- When I was a learner driver I was on the highway where the speed limit was 110km/h but I was only permitted to do 80km/h. A truck was approaching from the opposite direction in the other lane and about four cars overtook me. A fifth car pulled out to overtake but only drew level. I had to pull as far to the left of the roadway as I could without hitting the gravel and the truck had to do the same. The lady who had been overtaking me just sat next to me until the truck passed by. I tell you, time slowed down. I looked at the woman and she was just staring into the distance. As soon as the truck was gone she proceeded to complete her overtaking manoeuvre. There we were, three vehicles taking up two lanes at high speed. That's probably the most stupid bit of driving that I've experienced. I didn't even think to get her number plate.
- An idiot driving the wrong way down a one way street at speed and almost causing an accident which I wrote about recently.
- I see plenty of people with earphones in and they obviously don't have the same understanding of what is going on around them. The awareness can't be there.
- People driving without footwear. I consider this to be crazy.
- One morning whilst on the bus we passed a vehicle in which the driver had a laptop on the passenger seat with a porn movie playing.
- Drivers on their mobile phones, without a hands-free kit, whilst driving are certainly not as attentive as they should be. Even the use of a hands-free kit should be banned in my opinion as drivers are still distracted too much.

Something I saw this afternoon made me shudder. I saw a vehicle, a ute, displaying a prominent L-plate which caught my attention. The driver had a mobile phone to his ear. But, he wasn't holding it. The passenger was holding it. So, you may argue that the phone was being used in a hands-free manner. Not so. The passenger is legally the driver of the vehicle as they are responsible for the actions of the person, a learner driver, behind the wheel. What the hell was the woman thinking? What does she think she is teaching the young driver? No wonder there are so many people at risk on the roads with teachers such as her. Where has common sense gone?

I'm appalled by her lack of judgement and skill at teaching someone else to drive. What a terrible habit to introduce to a learner driver.

Book Review - Weary - The Life of Sir Edward Dunlop by Sue Ebury

Behind great people are great stories. But, it's all in the writing as to how well the great person comes across. After reading Weary - The Life of Sir Edward Dunlop by Sue Ebury I am full of admiration for the man. He is certainly someone to be looked up to in terms of his compassion, drive to succeed, determination to survive and selflessness. This book describes his life in minute detail and is a captivating read although it does drag a bit during WWII. He's one of the most inspiring people I've ever read about.

I knew that Weary Dunlop was a doctor and that he was almost held in reverence in Australia. Here's what I didn't know about the man and what I learnt from the book.

Weary Dunlop was born in country Victoria. His parents did reasonably well on the land and he had an elder brother. His mother become terribly ill and mentally unstable due to an infection caught during childbirth due to lack of sanitation at the time. She recovered by the time he was about 18 months old but he'd been cared for by his aunts until that time and they doted on him. Weary wasn't a great student and only did what he had to. After completing school he took up an apprenticeship to become a pharmacist but at the end of his training he was unable to see himself spending the next 50 years standing behind a counter making and dispensing pills. His new hero was Sir Thomas Dunhill, who was also from country Victoria, studied pharmacy and then went on to become a great surgeon, and Weary's life paralleled his in many aspects. Weary studied medicine and achieved fantastic results. The initiation at Ormond College made me understand a lot of what professionals went through and why they have such great relationships for the rest of their lives.

Weary played rugby for Australia and was the first Victorian to represent his country. He had to decline a tour of South Africa due to his studies. When the studies were complete he travelled to England to try for acceptance into the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) and he was one of 14 out of some 44 who were accepted. Following graduation and about a year of practicing in England WWII broke out. Weary was perhaps the only Australian who joined the 2nd Australian Imperial Force (AIF) without being in Australia but it took some determination for that to come about. Before leaving for England he had been dating Helen Ferguson. She had been unable to accompany Weary to England and stayed in Melbourne.

Weary became a captain in the army. He served in Greece, Palestine, Egypt and travelled much of the area. Most of him time was spent organising movements of sick troops and preparing for the construction of hospitals and supply of medicine and instruments. Unfortunately for Weary he was so adept at organising that they were loathe to release him to duties as a surgeon for which he longed. Later he went to Indonesia and was captured by the Japanese when he refused to abandon the hospital. Thus started some three years as a prisoner of war and at this stage he was a lieutenant colonel / colonel and the most senior officer although he was involved in the medical side of the army and not the troops.

The book drags a little during his war years and his early life and study coupled with later life make more interesting reading. Perhaps that is because of the attention to detail and the fact that he wasn't learning much in that period although he performed many heroic acts of courage by standing up to the Japanese. There wasn't as much personal development during that time. He was involved in the camp which built the bridge on the river Kwai in Thailand where the Japanese forced the prisoners to from Indonesia. Weary's skill for organising and surgery were evident and his camp suffered a much lower rate of mortality than other POW camps. He was instrumental in officers pooling their money to allow more nutritious food to be purchased for POWs and that undoubtedly kept hundreds more alive. During the war he became engaged to Helen but it wasn't until eight years after he'd left Australia, and he hadn't seen her in this time, that he returned and married her.

Post war Weary developed into an outstanding general surgeon who did great work with oesophageal cancer and much of it was pioneering. His family suffered from the fact that he was nearly forty before returning from the war and hadn't done much work as a surgeon, had lost the war years, had many young surgeons coming through and he had to make a name for himself. His hours were long and family life was almost non-existent. Sad in a way but it reveals the dedication that this man had to his learnings and fellow man. He was such a driven individual who never lost the yearning to travel and spent much of his latter years travelling the world attending the best clinics and hospitals observing surgery and giving lectures. He did tours of India, Sri Lanka and Thailand where he trained surgeons in those countries and gave freely of his time for his profession.

The end of Weary's life was tinged with sadness. Helen developed Alzheimer's disease and he could do nothing for her. His eyesight was failing and his driving, which had never been great, led to many accidents. His like of a drink undoubtedly had much to do with that. Perhaps he considered himself to be invincible and had such a high level of self-belief. I can imagine that. Even up to the time of his death, 10 days short of his 86th birthday, he was flitting about the country and internationally attending all sorts of committees and sharing his knowledge. Weary had been a driving force behind pensions for POWs and war widows. He never charged for surgery on POWs or servicemen following WWII. Weary wasn't a rich man because it wasn't wealth that drove him. He was dedicated to his profession first and foremost.

It's a fabulous book about a great man. Definitely read it.

Weary - The Life of Sir Edward Dunlop by Sue Ebury

P.S. Couple of passages that I wanted to include in the post but forgot in my haste to publish and get to work.

"It is better to wear out than to rust." - Professor George Grey-Turner
"Never operate on the man who seeks to make his will before he enters hospital." - Sir Gordon Gordon-Taylor
"One's calling to medicine comes before one's personal needs. Surgery has to take absolute precedence over everything else." - Weary Dunlop
"Almonds come to those who have no teeth" - old Chinese proverb

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Last Day Of School Holidays

Monday was the last day of school holidays. I didn't have a break from work but seeing as the missus works on the first day back, and it is a pupil-free day for teacher training, I got to babysit. And there is no way I'm going to sit around at home and have The Boy drive me nuts. That's what the weekends are for.

Up early so I could go to the chiropractor. Then I took him to an even more exciting place - a hobby shop. Looks like I might just have to get him a racing car set after that visit. Then we tootled off down to the cinema to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He's read the books and the trailer looked alright. Very enjoyable movie. Suited to tweens, 10-12 year olds, and reasonably funny. I'm glad I went. Then it was off to the supermarket for a bit of shopping and home to make homemade subway-style sandwiches. Yum.

To round off the excitement we worked on his school project, a solar boat, before playing computer games and going to taekwondo training. Quite a busy day actually. If only I could organise myself at work that well.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Army Museum of Western Australia Visit

Took The Boy to the Army Museum of Western Australia on Sunday. It's down in Fremantle so we had lunch as well. Our plan was to head to Fast Eddy's but it's closed down and been taken over by Outback Jack's. Ate instead at Ali Baba and the 40 Dishes - nice pides.

I wasn't expecting too much from the museum but was pleasantly surprised with the quality and amount of material on display. The Western Australian Australian Infantry Force (AIF) certainly has quite a history. The guides are only too willing to offer their assistance. Every soldier from WA who has been awarded a Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth's highest award for courage in the face of the enemy, had a personal display.

It was a great lesson in history and the two hours we spent there flew by. Just a pity that the vehicles out the front couldn't be entered. I guess they're worried about the asbestos they contain and vandalism. Definitely recommend a visit if you are interested in war memorabilia.

Army Museum of Western Australia Visit Photo Album on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Taking a Different Perspective on Dehli's Commonwealth Games Coverage

The Boy and I sat down to watch some of the Dehli Commonwealth Games last night. At first I thought that the producer's coverage of the gymnastics was quite amateurish as the camera kept swapping between athletes and even the commentators were lost as focus was not maintained on any athlete or apparatus. Then I thought at the Olympics coverage where they definitely focus on particular athletes or Australian performances. Then I kinda got to thinking that perhaps the producer is a sports lover and wants to see everything that is going on. "Hey, there's some Malaysian dude doing the vaulting horse. Let's watch that for a second." Or, "Wow, look at the Indian doing his high bar work. That's worth a look." And, "Some Pommie just smacked his face on the pommel horse. Let's see that again." Maybe the viewer wins out with a producer like that. Can't understand why we went to the view of the whole stadium so often though.

Who is the most important person at the pool? The swimmers? No. The starting marshall? No. The pool attendant? Absolutely. Just before the men's 4x100m freestyle relay there was a heap of muck in the pool. Not sure if it was flowers or bird droppings. Did the producer cut to a commercial break to save face? No way. We saw everything. They held up the race whilst the pool attendant cleaned the pool. When about to start again he came back with an extended pole to have another go. He didn't look to embarrassed. Job well done I think.

Good to see that the Games are nowhere near as elitist as the Olympics.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Frugal Bastard's Complete Gem Destruction in Bejeweled Blitz

I managed to destroy all of the gems in Bejeweled Blitz this morning. The Boy did it a few months back and we've not managed to replicate that feat until now. Watch the video to find out how it's done. Not a terribly fantastic score by any means but enjoyable gem destruction.

Frugal Bastard's Bejeweled Blitz Total Gem Destruction

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Is This The World's Most Unfortunate Surname?

Got an email recently from a friend which was an mp3 of a prank call to a guy with the surname Cockhead. I've found it on YouTube as well. It's quite funny and the guy has an unfortunate surname.

But I think the prize goes to Sheila Dikshit, I'm not making this up, who is currently the Chief Minister of Dehli and was on the news recently to say that Dehli's Commonwealth Games village was ready. I think that people without an Indian heritage will find the name amusing.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Best Story Of The Year?

Brain injury turns binge-drinking lout into perfect man. Yes, that's what the article's headline states.

To sum up - a man suffers a brain injury, loses 70% of his memory and can then cross-stitch, sew and cook. Has he turned into the perfect man or just become a woman?

Is this the best story of the year?

Technology Brings The Family Closer

There's nothing like a good bit of technology to bring the family closer together. No, I'm not talking about Skype, Instant Messaging or YouTube videos. After what I've had to put up with for the last week I'm not talking about any of that. Rather, the opposite. Lack of technology bringing the family closer together.

What happened was that we reached our download limit with our ISP on the 24th day of the month and I was notified of that fact by email from our ISP. Usually they send an email stating that we've reached 80% of our downloads first but this didn't happen. That meant the rest of the month was shaped at 64kb during peak times. Off-peak times are 2am to 8am so not a lot happens usually during off-peak. Well, we became a family of early risers, which coincided with school holidays, so that everyone could make use of the Net. I tell you, 64kbps is woeful and the Internet becomes pretty much unusable. It was difficult to read news articles and you can forget about playing Facebook games. Talk about frustrating. At the end of the month I received an email stating that I'd reached 80% of downloads so fired an email in return to the ISP saying that it was arse-about-face. They have apologised and brought to my attention that I could switch to a much better, and cheaper, plan if I wanted to. They'll also backdate my invoice should I wish to take up the offer.

Evenings were spent doing the family thing. Playing games, talking, reading books and watching movies. A fair amount of gardening was done too. Gosh, it's been a while since we've actually interacted like that. And now everyone is happy to be a morning person (early riser). It's a bit of a standing joke in our household as my wife is certainly not a morning person. She enjoys a sleep in.

Funny thing with the video from the video shop. My missus took the DVDs back that I'd borrowed for my son. That afternoon there was a phone call to say that we'd returned the cover for one of the DVDs but not the actual DVD. I ended getting to watch it, Asterix and the Big Fight, and it was disappointing. The book was much better than the screenplay adaptation. At least when I took the DVD back to the shop that night I didn't forget to rewind it. Now that's real technology.