Thursday, December 30, 2004
Happy about the first, and while not exactly happy about the second, then at least content.
We had a great time in the USofA and I'll post bit-by-bit of what we did over there, sort of a post-travel set of posts. And I'll start uploading my photos to flickr soon. I only took 648 photos overall (!!), mind you, a significant percentage of photos were taken of the aircraft at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York.
Looking back at the previous post of what we planned to do and what we achieved, I reckon we did pretty well, in what we saw and experienced, the parts of the country we saw, and the people we met.
More to come soon.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
We haven't really planned a great deal of what we'll do when we get there. Maybe some of:
- Meeting Paul and Roz in LA. Possibly Disneyland, definitely take a couple of pictures of the "Hollywoodland" sign. Maybe Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier. I imagine the Chick will want to do the Rodeo Drive shopping thing.
- Watch Ali pour hundreds of dollars down the slot machines at Vegas. I'm not really into the whole gambling thing. We were going to do a helipcopter ride over Vegas at night.
- Jazz in New Orleans. Three nights of it. Cool!
- Everything in New York. As much as we can anyway. Try not to get mugged, though I reckon it may be New Orleans where we are the least safe as far as that is concerned.
- Stay at Paul and Roz's place in San Francisco. Bridge, Rock and Wharf, of course. Hopefully a winery tour in Napa or Sonoma Valley. One definite is meeting Sima in Burlingame for a beer, as he'll be travelling through US at the sme time as us.
- Lazy drive down the coast on US 1. Perhaps check out the Hearst Castle and B&B in Cambria.
Monday, November 29, 2004
1 x can red kidney beans
1/2 x can peeled tomatoes
1 x small onion chopped
1 x teaspoon minced garlic
1 x large bag corn chips
Paprika, Mexican Chilli powder
Sour cream & guacamole
Heat about tablespoon of oil in a deep frypan. Chop onion, mince garlic, into frypan. Once the onion has gone soft, and before it gets too brown, throw in the can of beans and the tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes roughly in the pan. Sprinkle over maybe one teaspoon of paprika and one of chilli powder. Heat on medium heat, stirring so it doesn't stick. It'll reduce a fair bit, but it should take about 10-15 minutes to become a gluggy mess. Taste the liquid and if the chilli is just too hot, then add some sugar to calm it down.
It shouldn't be too dry or too wet at the end
Spread corn chips on a plate, into a moderate-to-hot oven for about 5 minutes, chips should be slightly crispier. Take the chips out, pour the beans mixture over the chips, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, back into the over. Couple of minutes to melt the cheese, then top the nachos with sour cream and guacamole.
Not too much sour cream if a late evening meal as it causes little girls to have nightmares.
Everyone should get their own plate and a fork and every person for themselves.
If you like it hotter, you can put the chilli powder in with the onions. It makes a huge difference.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Ali and I were at the pub last night for dinner in North Sydney and she was there with a friend. To make her even look bigger, she's chosen a teeny-tiny little friend as well. Even sitting down she looked huge.
I reckon if I was born a big woman, then I'd put myself down for movies and commercials. (Actually I don't want to think about this too hard, it's a very complicated area.) There's got to be a LOT of movie parts where the bloke goes out on a blind date and turns up at the front door of the woman's place. And the door opens...
I don't know why I am so fascinated with this.
Finally, I have dumped Namezero as my Registrar and have replaced them with DomainMonger. I am still a bit stunned about the trial I went through with the other mob, and I'll tell all in a future post.
This means that my website and email address are back up and operational. Enjoy.
Website : http://www.micsgarage.com/
Email : mic (at) micsgarage.com
Monday, November 15, 2004
My family loves me, so do God and Jesus and my friends.Josephine is six years old. I don't know where the religion bit comes from, maybe from school. How does a six-year old know you can have a poem that doesn't rhyme?
I can trust them when I get hurt or lonely
I just ask them or someone in my close family.
I love them and they love me.
They don't forget me.
Friday, November 05, 2004
It was a great show, Charlotte was in 5 of the items, band, choirs, and dance groups. The choir which sang at the Opera House was superb; Mrs Maclellan has done a wonderful job with them. Charlotte is still a great little dancer, even after being out of the dance school for a few years.
I was a little disappointed with the band. Not the kids themselves. The band is being run by one of those commercial companies that comes in and does everything, rents the instruments, supplies the bandmaster and lessons, etc. So more money ends up coming out of the parent's pockets than out of the Department of Education. Realistically though, I imagine it is the only way a poor school like that can afford to have a band.
It was the Bandmaster that annoyed me. Everyone who gets up on stage knows you must acknowledge the audience. She stood obstinately there with her back turned while people clapped. Very rude!
Josephine was the star of the Stage 1 drama. When she came out and said her first line, "Can I play with you?" and the other kids replied, "No you smell," I commented sotte voce, "Yep, she does." The woman next to me looked at me with absolute horror. I think she got the picture at the end when I was clapping and whistling. Josephine also dances on the weekend, but she didn't want to go in the Stage 1 dancing, as she's a bit beyond the level of all the little kids. Hmmm...
Stupidly, I forgot to take my bloomin' camera, but I did scan in the tickets for posterity. Row A Seats 1 & 2. I don't believe it can ever get better than that.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Alison likes it, she watches it without fail Monday nights, and I'll tape it for her if she is out. I will watch it with her — I can usually watch it from behind a good book or magazine, looking up only to catch the naughty bits — as it gives us a chance to spend time together and it doesn't really disturb or offend me too much. It used to offend me greatly, particularly when they were showing how bloody stupid men are — sexism of a sort.
I suspect that one of the secrets of the success of the show is the predictability of the storyline. I mean when you can confidently say stuff like, "that dog is gonna get rooted in a second," or "the Huge Chick from 3rd Rock is gonna fall out that window," and have it confirmed for you moments later, it must give you a little victorious feeling. The storylines aren't hideously complicated, and people get a charge out of displaying their obvious intellectual superiority.
It was surprising to see the Huge Chick from 3rd Rock from the Sun. I can't separate her from 3rd Rock, or from The Spy Who Shagged Me, and so found her appearance on Sex rather farcical. Particularly when she started throwing around the Big Word. Maybe that's what the casters/writers/producers wanted, farce. Who knows or cares? It's only television and doesn't mean much in the real world.
And having the show being farce really helps me with the anti-male sexism in it. I'll be glad when the series is finished and Channel 9 can get back to showing re-runs of Survivor - Ulan Bator or Wife-Swapping House-Renovators or whatever.
Monday, November 01, 2004
A few Saturdays ago with the little chicks at Blacktown I took them into Big W to buy a packet of wall anchors. Only place in that particular shopping centre where I thought I could get wall anchors was Big W. On the way Charlotte complained about her sandal rubbing and when I checked: big blister. So it was now a pack of wall anchors and a packet of bandaids. The two items were at the exact opposite corners of the store, naturally. So after locating and choosing those two little items from a myriad selection we went to the checkouts. Very busy. Two Express Lanes were open. "3 items or less," said the prominent sign in bold 50cm high letters.
I got into the shortest line, two customers in front of me. The first had four items. Two of them were the same product, so I guess it's easy to make that mistake. I would've been bitterly disappointed if she had 36 of the same item. And a lot of people probably don't understand that word: ITEM.
The next woman in line had eight items. All different. Now four might be close to three, but eight definitely isn't.
Only a little annoyed because in truth up to this point I'd only been waiting for less than a minute. I couldn't help myself though. I raised my eyebrows at Charlotte, motioned with my head towards the "Express Lane" sign and to the woman in front. "How high can you count, sweetheart?" I asked Charlotte.
Charlotte very craftily got the message, and with a big smile replied loudly, "Eight, Dad." Ah, what a wonderful, gorgeous daughter. Life is made for sharing these moments with your children.
I'm sure the woman in front stiffened, but under oath, I couldn't be certain. But what she definitely did do was divide the eight items into two piles of four and gave four of them to her daughter to take through the checkout first. When the register chick had tallied up the first four items, the woman then said, "Paying for both," and the register chick gave her a seen-it-before look and started to run the second pile over the scanner.
And then, bitter payback. The scanner gave that ominous "unknown item" beep. The register chick tried once again to the same response and then dinged the attention bell. The PA blared out the price check. I think the only reason Eight-Item Lady didn't glare triumphantly at me was because she was so annoyed herself with the five-minute wait to determine the item's price.
Twenty minutes entrance to exit! Arrrrgghhh!!
After I was got over the shock that there are actually people out there reading this rubbish I decided I should tell both of you how to do it.
Down the bottom of each post is a "x comments" link — x being the number of existing comments. If you click on this link, it expands out to show existing comments. Beneath this there is a "Post a comment" link. If you click on this, you should get a screen with a "Comment Sign In". If you don't want to create a Blogger profile, or are making some inflammatory or abusive comment, then click on the "Or Post Anonymously" link under the "Sign In" button. You don't have to sign in at all, and there is no need to create a Blogger account.
Why did I choose the name Incitatus? He was the favoured horse of Caligula, the Roman Emporer with the dodgy brain and the even dodgier Penthouse movie. I just reckon it's cool that this horse was spoilt so much. OK, not cool that people were starving in Ancient Rome and the slaves probably got abused and all the associated bad things. But cool about the concept.
I wonder whether Incitatus appreciated all the attention? I wonder what happened to him when Caligula got the chop? You know when the bad fellah gets it in the end of the movie and there's generally a big Nuremberg-like purge of all his cronies, do you reckon they recognised that Incitatus was just a horse and couldn't really be guilty of anything, or do you reckon that the stable boy who had to clean up his droppings everyday used the opportunity of doing away with him?
Actually I wonder whether it is true at all that Incitatus existed. It may be just one of Suetonius's made-up stories.
Link to Wikipedia article.
In fact the Wikipedia article doesn't mention anything about Penelope, Incitatus's mare and mate. Supposedly, Caligula threw a wedding for Incitatus.
I'm opening this up for discussion. To enter the poll, please go to my main website and make your choice.
To summarise my weekend:
Awake at 4:30a on Saturday. Rush to Kensington to be there 5:30. Pack bus and cars. Leave Kenso 6:15a. Travel, travel, travel. Lunch Tamworth around 1:15p. Arrive Armidale Bowling Club around 3p. Unpack, carry gear upstairs to first floor, set up band, sound check, start stressing over music to play. To Armidale depot, quick shower, shave and dress. Back to Bowlo's for gig 6:30p. Play, eat, drink, continue stress about the music and impatiently wait around till 11:30p. Pack up. Carry gear downstairs and pack cars. Back to Armidale depot 12:30p. Couple of very quiet beers till 1a. Lose 1 hour in daily-saving transition. Wake up 5:45a pack up, load up, saddle up. Leave Armidale depot by 6:45. Travel, travel, travel. Lunch Kearsley about 12p. Sunday afternoon traffic back into Sydney. Arrive Kensington depot sometime between 3:30 and 4p, can't be sure of correct time because I'm starting to lose concentration and hence losing track of time. Unload and carry gear upstairs to storeroom. Pack car with personal gear. Car home, whenever. Fall asleep on lounge while waiting for dinner. Dinner, fall asleep on lounge again and then give up and go to bed.
OK I left out the toilet visits — there were a lot of them — and a couple of brief stops on the way up and back. Busy weekend do you think??
What exactly is it about sitting in a car for eight hours that makes you even more tired than when you started out? I think CSIRO should commission a research project on it. I really don't want to be a volunteer subject for it.
Friday, October 29, 2004
There's a No-Hello bloke in our building. On level 4. He's married to a lovely Asian woman who's quite happy to say hello when he's not there. And he has two small children, gorgeous little things, about two- and three-years old, who despite their shyness, can be cajoled into smiling for you.
When you meet him in the loft or foyer, he doesn't greet you. Even when you say hello yourself, he doesn't respond. The most I have gotten out of him was a grunt. It's not shyness or deafness or any other disorder. He is just pointedly rude.
On Father's Day I was going down in the lift with my girls. He hopped on with his kids and wife. I leaned down and said to his kids, "I hope you got your Daddy a nice present for Father's Day." His wife smiled discreetly. The kids looked scared. No-Hello glared at me as if I was some sort of child-molester. Struth!
Visions of pointed-stick retribution dance through my head. Why does this happen? I am surely not a violent man.
Until I settle down enough to think carefully, write thoughtfully and with some balance, I'll not say anything. Only link to this anti-Namezero page. But please be warned, the content may be offensive.
Then on Wednesday I say her in heels. Struth! Huge!!
Which makes it interesting that I received this email from My Chick the same day. She's doing HSC marking after school every day.
"So... this place where I am marking, it is a primary school and we are yet to really work out where the "Ladies" toilets are. It is quite convenient that there are toilets just at the bottom of the block where I am marking so before we go in we pop to the toilet and then go on upstairs. There is just one little problem to this, you see it is a primary school ... ie 'little' people go to the toilet here and before you think this is going to the gutter, it is not!
"Anyway, little people need little toilets.... so the toilets are all pint-size!! Not only that but they have doors which probably go up to my shoulders!!! Which brings me to ideas you have previously raised... how do women feel about going to toilets where you see everyones heads popping over the top???[*see Footnote] Quite insecure I must say... actually I think I feel more so because being a little taller than most I guess I can see a little more!!
"Last night when we got back we tried some new toilets that were "big" toilets.... well let's just say that the actual toilet was bigger — ie not pint-sized but the doors were the same height!!! This was even more amusing because one of the chicks we were with is very tall, ie you can see half her body sticking out of the cubicle a bit like some oversized-person using a hobbit's toilet.. or thereabouts."
[*Footnote] I have this theory that differences between men and women are largely due to toilet practices.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Last night at band, Beefa received a framed certificate, perpetual trophy and a couple of books as prize for being the best shot in the regiment. Well done, mate. Love your work.
I bags'd first loan of one of the books Beefa got as prize, Kokoda by Peter Fitzsimmons. Very cool.
(OK, yes, I've reposted this because I misspelled Kokoda. This is despite the fact that I own a couple of books on the subject and only a month or so ago finished off Lex McAulay's book on the subject. And yes, I had to google Lex's name to spell this properly as well!)
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I particularly like Jojo's eyes in this picture. Reminds me what I am dealing with.
So I'd hang around at work till 6:30-ish, drive over to The Donnie, have a couple of beers and a light dinner. Usually there'd be someone else who could come along, probably Dr Mal, or one of the girls. All very nice. At one stage, the pub even had lingerie waitresses on the Tuesday night between 6 and 8, so it was very cosy. Totally not an influence on me going there, of course. <cough/>
But a number of changes have occurred. The comfortable lounge bar has turned into a trivia quest every Tuesday night starting at 7. Therefore, no peace and quiet, no conversation that doesn't revolve around what colour Betty Rubble's underwear is, or who David Beckham is currently shagging. [By the way I think it's this chick.] They've moved those horrid poker machines into the bar as well, so even if you're not battling an amplified pommy asking inane questions, you are battling the seductive sounds of coins clinking and pong-like beeps. The air-conditioning has been mucked with in some way, and you cannot enter the room for five minutes without leaving smelling like an ashtray.
And let me just say that I have NO PROBLEM with people smoking in pubs, I've done it myself, and if you're going to a pub then you should probably expect it. But for heaven's sake, let's get the air-conditioning right so that people don't need a knife and fork to see their conversation companions through the haze.
It used to be good for food as well, but for the $15 average for main meal you can get a whole lot better. Last night Alison ordered the veal and she was offered the choice of mash potato or jacket potato. Mash. Fifteen minutes later, the little counter chicky comes out to tell Ali that they were out of mash and would jacket potato do instead? Yes no problem, but Ali raised a couple of questions:
- Why couldn't they simply mash the jacket potato? Even I know how to do this.
- Does this mean they use packet mash? Yuck-o!
The only problem is that of a viable alternative. I think some research along the lines of Gary & Tony is required.
Anyway, back on t4rack, with 35°+ temperatures last week I thought it would've killed all the yeast. Certainly on the day it hit 38° the temperature of the liquid in the fermenter hit 34°. Arrrgghhh!
All it meant was a very quick brew. Earlier this week I took a specific gravity reading and it's fermented out. I don't think the quality will be the best with a brew that ferments out in 4 days, but it didn't taste too bad when I took the reading. There's a definite mango aroma and slight taste, and it has a light coppery colour.
We'll see how things go after I give it a week or so to clear before I bottle it.
Link to previous post.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Sylvester is the new cat's name. Hmmm...
Now they already have a cat. A seven-year old moggy called Tybalt (Prince of Cats from Merchant of Venice or Romeo and Juliet, one of the two) who lives outside. Despite being knackerless, Tybalt has successfully defended his backyard against toms and strays who have at various times tried to infiltrate his feed-rich environment. All to naught it seems, as now Christine has brought home a four-week old bundle of fur, all head and huge lion-cub paws. I felt a touch of sadness for Tybalt. He wasn't too happy either, every time he was introduced to Sylvester, he backed away with a hiss.
The girls know, while I am not an out-and-out cat-hater, I do prefer to do things other than paying attention to cats. Like scrubbing floors, or unclogging drains or something else futile but necessary. OK, it's nice to have something soft, warm and fluffy curled up and rumbling on your lap, but get your stinking claws out of me you flea-ridden selfish animal. The conversation on the weekend did not get away from cats. I even had to take them up to the library to get some books on how to look after cats. I don't think I have ever spent a more invisible weekend with the children. Kitten, kitten, kitten, kitten, kitten...
The only thing that impressed them was the fact that I knew without even cheating and looking on the 'net, that the scientific name for a cat is felinus domesticus. I didn't tell them that I got that information from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Oh yeah, you better forget that "warm and fluffy" remark. It wasn't me. I didn't say it.
For a while, we've been wondering where the switch to turn on the internal reading light is. Al hasn't had the time to hunt through the manual to find the answer, and of course, I'm a bloke, and to actually read the manual would be the death of my blokeness.
So we've been reading the street directory at night by the street lighting.
Last night, I was dropping the kids back at Christine's place after basketball, and Josephine was reading a book on cats in the front seat. It was dark, about 6:45pm, and she was having trouble seeing the book.
The only way I can explain it, is that something clicked in my brain — I reached to the headlight switch, pulled it toward me, and there was light! "There you go, Sweetheart," I said to Jojo, nonchalantly concealing the huge bubble of ecstatic triumph.
The whole brain/solution thing is very disturbing.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
It's still beggars belief the sheer number of emails that come in in a short space of time. The vast majority spam of course, but still, between work, friends and band, there's probably been fifty or so emails over the past week. Fifty emails from people annoyed with me that I haven't replied.
A lot of people are under the misapprehension that email is immediate and get annoyed with the recipient for not replying instantly to an urgent email. A lot of people are under the misapprehension that email is reliable. A lot of people need to be re-educated. Preferably with pointed sticks.
Previously I mentioned my Huge Book List. Well since the Little Chicks have been over and the Big Chick has been gone I've not only knocked over two of the permanent pile (Lord Foul's Bane and A Scanner Darkly), but also polished off two great books by Caroline Alexander, Endurance and The Bounty.
It's amazing what a difference a bit of spare time and screaming kids can make.
Friday, October 08, 2004
It's not that I haven't kept them occupied, Thursday morning shopping, Thursday afternoon up to the pub for a mate's farewell, today up to the Library. I didn't know you can borrow computer games at the Library nowadays. So Jojo got an Alice in Wonderland game which she spent at least twenty-five minutes on after me spending a number of hours setting it up for her.
I made sure that we walked to extra-long way to and from the library to tire them out. Well it made me cranky and tired. I'm not so sure about them though.
The latest thing is running around the flat trying to surprise each other, which is a game that involves a lot of running and screaming at each other from a distance of oh, maybe 2, 3 cm.
The Chick's away at the moment. In NZ with her band. Apparently she went on The Swoop, which is some bungy-type experience. I'm sure she would've enjoyed my children more than that.
- 1700mL Mango nectar
- 800g Dextrose
- Coopers Bavarian Lager Kit 1.7kg
- Saaflager dried lager yeast W34/70 11.5g
- Cold water up to just under 23L
Boiled up the Mango and Dextrose for about 10 minutes, scraped off the scum from the top, in with the Coopers, mix with cold water. Pitched yeast at about 30° C. 1.048 specific gravity. The temperature at pitching was a bit high for a lager, but I wouldn'tve been able to cool it anyway. The wort had a definite mango taste and smell. We'll see how it lasts over the fermentation.
We went to the Belgian Beer Cafe at Cammeray last week to celebrate the Chick's pay rise. At least I think that's what we were celebrating. It's so hard to tell after you get into your fourth or fifth celebration beer. Tried a few of the yummy beers. She had a Peach Beer — a Peche — and reckoned it'd be even better as a mango beer.
I'll keep you informed on whether it's successful or not.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Actually she said something like: Goin 2 d gym. ButI knew what she meant.
[And on an only slightly related topic...]
Walking to work this morning there were three people out exercising. It was only 6:45am so I didn't expect many more. It made me reflect on the differences between men and women exercising.
The first women was a young walker. She was quite large, but she had that look of someone who would look very attractive if she just lost all the weight. Good on her effort, I say.
The second woman was a jogger. Very attractive woman, all the right gear, slim and fit. She smiled at me. Cool!
The bloke was quite overweight, ugly, sweaty, hairy. <shudder /> Jogging in that oh-my-god-heart-attack-any-second way.
It struck me that you don't really see all that much of overweight women jogging; men yes, women no. Surely after they've walked and walked enough they start to become fit enough to move up to the jogging thing while still carrying a fair bit of excess weight. Where do they go in this transition phase, as they certainly don't seem to use the streets? Is this why women's gyms are so successful?
I can feel a research project coming on.
Simply boot the laptop with the power cord unplugged and then plug it in part-way through the boot sequence. Voilà! One blue screen of death.
I think it's always handy to know these things.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
I was walking to work this morning and in one of the lovely little back-streets of North Sydney there was a heap of rubbish. This heap included not only two blue and white striped sofas, but the carboard boxing of (presumably) the furniture that replaced it. "Hawaian Deck Chair" or something similar on one ofthe boxes. Made a bit of a mess on the street and I guess the owners would've rung the council to have it removed.
The heap was parked in a two-hour zone. I wonder if it will get booked today?
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Firstly, I enjoyed seeing the word "fart" in a serious publication. Hee hee.
Secondly, I was horrified. Taking away all the fun enjoyed by the animals burping and farting surely verges on animal cruelty.
So we get home about 12:30am, and I hoed into the Vita-Wheats spread with Vegemite and peanut butter — on separate biscuits of course, can't mix your Vegemite and peanut butter on the same biscuit. They might make little Vegenut butters.
I had this twinge about putting butter AND peanut butter and the same biscuit. Is it morally wrong to do this? Am I simply getting two helpings of butter? Surely if you were meant to use peanut butter on its own, it wouldn't be so bloody dry.
I've already started coming out in pimples.
Friday, September 24, 2004
I only ate a late lunch yesterday afternoon, without breakfast, and spent so long at work that I had to rush to get out to basketball without dinner. Basketball finished around 10:15, and I was tired, dehydrated and hungry. I know if I'd just managed to re-fill my water bottle before leaving the stadium what followed wouldn't have happened.
Travelling down the M4 through Penrith I started to think about stopping and getting a sports drink or water. By the time I got to the twin stations at Eastern Creek, I only had to spot the Maccas sign and rather than stopping in the petrol station to get a drink I went on to the drive-through Maccas.
Or rather the wait-through Maccas.
No apple pie, of course (“Only an eight-minute wait, sir”). And a “two-minute” wait for just about every burger they have. Now if it had only been a two-minute wait I would've been happy (well, not exactly happy but at least happier), but for heaven's sake, why do they tell you it'll only be two-minutes and then make you wait five? It doesn't achieve anything except getting me upset. The bloke in front of me must've been waiting closer to ten minutes. I wonder if he got told “two-minutes” as well?
And also, the chips tasted foul.
This time, I'm off Maccas for good. Never again.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Of course I haven't got a father's biased view.
On Sunday, I took the girls to Eurofest 2004 at Frenchs Forest. (Am I the only one who thinks it should be French's Forest instead of Frenchs Forest?) There were rides, stalls, musical and dance groups, a beer tent (woohoo!) and other assorted goings on. As we were at home getting ready, I noticed Charlotte had put on a skirt. [Although I called it a dress, for which I was immediately corrected. I can program computers, play musical instruments, and intelligently discuss the situation in the Sudan, but I can't remember whether a skirt is a skirt or a dress.] I questioned this. "Are you sure you want to wear that dress/skirt? You'll be going on rides like the Jumping Castle?"
But she insisted. She's at the age where she is beginning to make sure things about herself are just right. Clothes, makeup, hair, shoes, etc. Off we went.
We arrive at the Festival, and meet up with John (the Boss) and Jill and their girls. Straight away the kids head for the rides. First the Pirate Boat and then the thing which I call "The Mobile". It's circular and around the outside are hanging individual seats, so when the thing spins around, the seats fly out. Like a mobile. It's only small, about twenty seats around the outside.
So Charlotte and Josephine (my 6-year old) and John's daughter Georgia get onto the ride and sit on their seats facing out. I said to John, "Watch this. I'll get Charlotte," and called to Charlotte as the ride started up, "Sweetheart, don't you wish now that you hadn't worn a skirt."
It was priceless. Her legs closed tighter than they already were. She had a cat's bum look on her face, and I don't think she enjoyed the ride at all, she spent so much time ensuring her skirt wasn't riding up. When she got off the ride, she ran up to me and belted me on the arm, she'd realised I was joking — you couldn't have seen her undies at all.
One of those great parent moments.
And on the way home another parent moment, though not so great.
One of the stalls was a Snow Cone stall run by the sister of a bloke I know, a drummer who I've played with on a couple of occasions. He was there helping his sis out, and slipped my girls a free cone each, just before we were about to leave. So they finished up that and then immediately went again on "The Mobile." Josephine was a bit cranky after we got off, complained that we were leaving "...without buying a toy, Dad!" I didn't think anything of it and started out.
We'd gotten no more than 100 metres down Warringah Rd, when she said, "I feel sick." Mad scramble for a plastic bag. She throws up. About two cups of dark red water from the Snow Cone. Charming. I'm praying that there are no holes in the bag. Needless to say, no permanent damage done.
Josephine calls throwing up spewking. I kind of like that term.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Thursday two weeks ago I was waiting at the north-west corner of Bathurst and Elizabeth to cross into Hyde Park. The little red man turns into the little green man and I am just about to step off the curb when a bus screams past going north in the kerb lane, through the red light. I honestly do not know how I managed to stay upright and not get hit by the bloody bus.
On Friday night, around 11:30pm we were waiting at the north-east corner of George and Hunter St, waiting to cross to enter Wynyard Station. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper going north on George, and had banked back over the intersection. When the little man turned green, there was still a bus over the pedestrian crossing, and a bus immediately behind, also into the intersection. The second bus driver, seeing us start to cross the road and weave our way through the traffic, actually looked at us and move his bus closer to the bus in front to prevent us crossing the road. This is in addition to illegally moving forward into the intersection on a red light, he has to be more of an arsehole and try to stop us crossing the pedestrian crossing in front of him. There was just enough gap for us to get through.
It's not enough that they can always have the right of way over other vehicles, they have also got to wield their weapons, ummm I mean vehicles, dangerously or threateningly against pedestrians as well.
Friday, September 17, 2004
It reminded me of my one-and-only non-parking accident. That also happened on the M4
It was late morning peak hour, a beautiful day just like today. The traffic was very heavy, but at least it was moving fast, up to the 100 kph limit. I was travelling in the outside lane (that's the far-right lane travelling on the LEFT), and my mind was wandering, thinking about work. Which is not good at 100 kph. My mind jolted back to reality when all I could see was red brake-lights and tyre smoke ahead. I slammed on the brakes, but not quickly enough. I had slowed down considerably, but not enough to avoid nudging the little blue car in front. Both of us moved off the road into the centre island and got out of our cars, as did the women in the car behind me.
The in-front woman was a small Asian woman who was more than a little flustered. The following car woman was your typical westie-chick woman, probably good-looking up till the age of 18, but then an early marriage, kids and McDonalds took their toll, and I felt sure that the constant cigarettes would not have been able to check her weight gain. I asked Asian if she was OK; she assured me that she was, but remarked that something was wrong with her car, it had made a popping sound. I was a little surprised but told her that I had hit her. Westie confirmed this. There was no obvious damage to the cars however. Asian said the popping sound had come from underneath and at the back of the car. I asked her to pop her boot open so we could have a look. This she did, and I noticed that one of the catches for the bumper bar had popped off. So I eased it back in place. No damage done.
After doing this I looked up and for the first time noticed the traffic. Three lines, bumper-to-bumper moving at a crawl stretching back to Roper Rd. I'm sure we'd only been there two minutes.
I suggested we swap details. Asian insisted that there was something wrong with her car and didn't want to drive it and that I hadn't hit her. By this time, the xenophobia thing had started to kick in with Westie and whilst Asian was away retrieving her mobile, I said to her that I'd definitely hit Asian. She replied "Bugger 'er stupid bitch," or something equally soothing.
Then the Road Patrol turned up, and insisted we move off the road (we were; we were in the centre island), as despite the fact that the traffic was near-stationery, we were in danger. Asian insisted that one of the Road Patrol men drive her car up to the Service Station for her, as she was certain that the car was malfunctioning. I, once again, insisted that at the very least Asian take my business card, but no, she was fine, thank you very much. Westie parted with some racial remark, eased herself into traffic, and was gone. I waited till Road Patrol man had started up and followed into the traffic. And away I went.
The first thing I heard on the radio of course was the traffic report; apparently there was a multi-car collision eastbound on the M4 near the Walgrove Rd exit. "Extensive delays," said the announcer.
I had that rush-of-blood pounding sensation above my eyes. Ah what a nice start to the day!
Oh yes, I got to basketball on time last night. Barely.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
One of the songs they performed was Julian Lennon's Saltwater. Initially it took me a little while to drag out of the murky recesses of my brain the original artist. It's a beautiful song, lovely chord progressions, lilting melody. It's very Beatles-ish, even down to the guitar solo. I listen to that and then listen to Free As A Bird and wonder if it's the same song. Well no, they're completely different but nevertheless...
Of course that got me thinking of Julian Lennon and wondering where he is and how he's faring. (I should note at this point that I'm a big Beatles fan.) Having been born in April 1963, he's now older than his father was when he was killed (John Lennon 9-Oct-40 — 8-Dec-80). I'm sure that must be a huge wake-up when you reach that age where you are older than your parents at their death. Sort of a notice that you are definitely mortal. John's life was terminated early, though.
Luckily for me, my father is very much still alive and he himself doesn't hit that age for another 12 years. I reckon he'll stay on for another 15 - 20 past that he's such a tough old bastard. Charlotte's got nothing to worry about, her great-grandmother is still alive and kicking up a storm. 90-something.
It has a couple of quotes that I've taken out of Majorie Barnard's book A History of Australia. Despite being over 700 pages long and written about fifty years ago, I am enjoying it very much. It does need a decent map (where on earth is Western Port?), and a chronological list of Governors of NSW and other notable figures. But otherwise it a great read, enlivening and humouring what can be at times a pretty bland history. She is a very good writer. Actually, was a very good writer. I note from a google search that she was born in 1897, which makes her 106-107?
Unfortunately, it is out of print. My copy comes from Blacktown library which I'm still a member of. Every Saturday when I have the kids, we go to Blacktown library and spend about half-an-hour there browsing and choosing books to borrow. It's actually a great problem for me, because I don't have a lot of spare time on my hands, and can always find one or two books to borrow. This does not help reduce the huge pile of books next to my bed, some of which have been lent to me by friends.
At the moment, the pile consists of: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, Fatal Storm by Rob Mundle about the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race that went skewiff and killed a bunch of people, Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, The Spirit of Kokoda by Patrick Lin, The Space Elevator by Bradley C. Edwards, Botox, Bumbreath and Bubbles by Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, The Idiot by Dostoevsky, and about half a dozen Scale Aviation Modeller International magazines. Plus a couple of others I can't remember.
I'm not showing off: I'm just distressed that clearly my desire to read outstrips my ability.
Oh yeah, and (frank admission) I had to google the spelling of Dr. Karl K's book. And also to check whether Philip K. Dick has one or two L's in his name. You never can tell.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Well actually I know Alison is the only one reading this so I should just say: "Alison you may notice..." And I think she only reads it to make sure I don't say something really, really bad about her.
I've moved my Blog to Blogger, which is off-site, thus reducing traffic to my server, and ALSO allows comments to be made. And I can link to my photos on Flickr more easily.
So Alison, comment away Babe.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Way back when I went to High School, we had a year book (lord knows where mine is now), but we never had individual pictures like the Yanks have.
I found this link off metafilter this morning. It is a collection of photos of Seniors taken from Year Books in the US called Seniors Rule.
I won't explain, there is no need. Trust me. Go there.
One young lady even took me to task for starting every Blog entry with "So, I was walking down the road..." or "So, there was this bloke throwing up in the street..." Apparently I write like I talk. If it wasn't for the fact that she sometimes cooks dinner for me then I'd probably take offence. Nah, I'm lying here. No chance of taking offence from her whatsoever.
Of particular note was the error in the caption of the picture on the front page. Link here. Apparently, it is Little Kev in this shot, not Beefa. I was fooled by the bald head, not remembering that Little Kev shaved to become a Beefa apprentice that week.
And to answer the question: Little Kev is inspecting the setup for a run of Ooh Ah Dancing. This is a curious little sport, where the object is to carefully place as many twenty-cent coins as possible in a cup placed about five metres away. For males, the coins are "loaded" into (cough, cough) folds of skin in the areas between the small of the back and the crotch. Little Kev was my loader on this occasion. For females, the coins are loaded into any available crevice between their neck and sternum. If one exists. (For further reference, please consult the Nork Scale).
You have the choice of "self-loading" or choosing an independent "loader". I choose Little Kev here for his fine but firm touch and expertise.
Once the coins are loaded, you have to (somehow) walk the five metres to where the cup is placed, and deposit the coins in it by "firing" them. This is not an easy task, let me tell you. You need exceptionally fine muscle control to make everything release simultaneously. People with superb control can sometimes fire directed salvos.
The winner is the person who is able to place the largest number of coins in the cup. There are separate categories for men and women, as women are able, due to the location of the coins, to crouch over the cup, and are therefore more accurate. Men have to drop them from some distance. A bit like the difference between high-level and dive-bombing. Some male salvos have been known to break the cup!
Fortunately, this activity is performed clothed — or unfortunately in the case of women. I believe in Ancient Greece, this sport was performed naked. I predict it won't be long before this sport, once again, is entered into the Olympics. Hopefully then, I'll have the opportunity of representing my country. With Little Kev loading, of course.
Friday, September 10, 2004
81.5 years, for me, apparently. September 2046.
Not really much of a surprise as my maternal grandfather made it to 83 and my paternal grandfather to 78, so it improves a little on their average.
One of the interesting things was the BMI calculator. For my 183 cm and 87 kilos my BMI = 26.28. With the following info provided for this BMI:
"Significantly overweight, meaning you are at significant risk for obesity-related illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and cancer."
Significantly overweight!! Struth, I know I've got a little tummy thing happening at the moment, but I doubt there is many people in the world who would look at me and say "significantly overweight". I wonder about these universally-applied indexes.
Another interesting thing, it said that proximity to family members is a factor that reduces stress. They obviously haven't met my family.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Friday, September 03, 2004
But we had a bit of Mars vs Venus thing going on, and was cajoled into conversation instead. But no problem, she's lovely and warmed me to it almost immediately. On the coffee table is a pile of books and magazines that had been bought over from my old place, including about a dozen FHM Magazines. One of the articles caught my eye and I picked it up and flicked through it idly. I somehow sensed that I was on shaky ground and my possession of these required some explanation.
I explained that I used to spend many, many hours on the train, and needed something with decent articles to read. What better than with this excellent magazine? How embarrassed and uncomfortable I was when I was reading in the train and I came upon a photo article of some scantily-clad female. I would quickly flick past them with the barest glance. The only reason I read it was because of the articles. Surely she knew that?
She gave me the exact same look that she gave me when I tried to explain my theories of rounding up stray cats and making use of them, possibly as cosmetics or motor oil products.
I guess I have to work on my delivery.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
There's this bloke sax player and he starts going out with a female violin player. Anyway, they're being intimate when suddenly the woman yells out, "Pull out, pull out."
He says, "Why? Am I sharp?"
Monday, August 30, 2004
At half-time, she scoots off to the loo. As does 300 other wine-fueled females. I watched her stand in the line for five or six minutes before she disappeared inside finally to sit down on a warm seat.
I always had this theory that men and women are essentially different - not this Mars and Venus stuff - but really different. And it all stems from toilet arrangements.
When men go to the toilet, they stand up at the urinal, have a quick G'day, maybe a quick chat about how drunk they are, etc. Women go into their own little private cubicles and only chat on the way in and the way out. I reckon the fact that men have it all hanging out there makes them easier-going or something.
So my invention is this: A women's toilet where some of the cubicle side walls are half-height. They can sit there, have their little pee, say G'day and chat about make-up or guitar players or whatever. Yeah??
Strangely, every women I mention this to, thinks it is a stupid idea. That's because they're repressed, I reckon. Young children don't mind. Teach them when they're young.
Friday, August 27, 2004
This morning I get on the Sydney Morning Herald website to read a bit of news, and they have a front page story about the trial of David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay. It includes a thumbnail of a drawing by a court artist, and the face is blank. It's not Hicks, by the way, it is a judge. But it reminds me of a recent TV news report where they showed a similar court scene where the defendant in the court artist's drawing did have a pixellated face. The artist must really fancy his/her work.
And another thing bizarre. This bloke on trial at the moment in the Northern Territory for the killing of Peter Falconio. You can't escape his pixellated face being dragged into/out of court, into/out of cars, etc. The only thing is, he's previously been convicted of some horrid crime, and not two months ago, his un-pixellated face was being shown in every news report. Are we instantly to forget our memory of this? I know my memory is sh*thouse, so maybe they have something.
I don't disagree with the law, I imagine it's been designed to protect the identities of innocent people who have been charged with a crime. I just find it's use in practice strange.
The Sydney Morning Herald is soon going to start requiring on-line readers to register (for "free"). How very, very annoying. I am not too heavily into conspiracy theories, but I'd still like to know what's happening to my registration details.
SBS News have this policy of warning Aboriginal viewers when a news report is about to contain images of a dead Aboriginal, as they find this offensive. A few nights ago there was a report on SBS about the inquest into the death of William Hickey, and before the report they gave the necessary warning. However, the graphic behind the newsreaders face while she was giving this warning contained a photo of the boy.
Nice try, SBS, but poorly executed.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
So this yank Marine turns up and sits through our woeful practice, and we eventually get down to the Mess for a beer about 11pm. After a few beers this bloke grabs one of his empty bottles and another on the table and places them in the bin with the incantation, "a couple of dead Indians."
Stennos leans over to me and says, "I don't suppose we should mention to him that our expression is: "a couple of dead Marines."
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Which made me think how easy it would be to find my name on the web. So I tried it.
Only three genuine hits that would get to me: one archived Usenet entry for rec.models.scale, one for the UNSWR Band website, and one which really floored me was my results in the City-to-Surf "fun" run in 1996.
85 minutes, 56 seconds. Not a great result, I must admit, but at least better than my 1986 result, which was just over 90 minutes. I'd been out till 3am, drinking heavily, then walked home from the City to Waverley. I did the 14km run with a hangover.
And what's "fun" about running 14km anyway? Admittedly the scenery is nice, in many respects ;-)
So I scan the photos in and google his name on the web. I get his email address, write a small email, attach the photos, and I'm just about to hit the send button when I think, "I've done this before."
And I can't truly remember whether I ever got around to emailing him the photos previously. What is going on, brain? Regardless, I send anyway, and then realise while the computer is cranking away at sending the attachments, that I've attached the hi-res, one megabyte per photo scans.
Bugger! So not only is this bloke who I haven't seen for years getting repeat emails from me, he's getting huge attachments filling up his in-box. I'm sure he'll think the world of me.
Actually, now that I'm writing this, I remember that I have had contact with him before this, but it was because a virus went around, and I sent him a lovely little email with all these links to porno sites on it. Charming.
Monday, August 23, 2004
My chick is the only person I know who sets her alarm to wake up to go to the toilet. Well that's the only explanation I can come up with for what happened on the weekend.
6:30am Saturday morning the alarm goes off, even though neither of us has to be anywhere till 10am. Since that's the normal time we wake up during the week I figure, OK, she's forgotten to disable the alarm. I just gave her a gentle reminder that we also didn't have to be anywhere early on Sunday morning.
6:30am Sunday morning the alarm goes off. She gets up, goes to the toilet, comes back to bed, turns the alarm off, and almost immediately goes back to sleep. Well that's good, at least one of us can get back to sleep. And it is also good to see that she is protecting the health of her bladder by setting an alarm to specifically go and pee.
Since I'd asked her to turn off the thing after Saturday there's no way she could've forgotten yet again. Or deliberately left it on, is there? The only explanation is that she knew her body would need relieving at precisely 6:30am.
Of course, this morning, no alarm went off and I jolted awake at 7:50am. I'm sure if I think hard enough, I'll be able to find a moral here somewhere.
Friday, August 20, 2004
Yesterday I received the October issue of FineScale Modeler from the US. A fine magazine, even if they do spell Modeller wrong.
I had not received the May issue but had received all the intervening issues, so I first thought this may have been the May issue turning up late. But no, October. So I got onto their website and filled out the webform with all the laborious details.
And this morning, an apology and an undertaking to send it out immediately. What great service! Of course, the saleswoman noted that my subscription runs out in November, and gave a gentle reminder to re-subscribe. Naturally I will.
I reckon I'll add Megan of FSM Customer Sales & Service to my Praise list.
Found a number of good links this morning on MetaFilter. This story from the Guardian really appealed to me. Apparently in order to get a UK passport you have to pass an English test, but now this has been extended to cover normal English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada, NZ and South Africa.
Struth those Pommies bastards get my goat.
Check out the site: www.marryblaire.com
One good thing did come of it — other than the humour. I found a link to a freepolling website (www.snappoll.com) that allows you to set up polls that you can conduct. Free. I like free stuff. Very cool!
Synchronicity occurred as well. Always love it when that happens. After writing a little about the Mal Partridge Theory of Joke-Telling early this morning, over lunch a mate of mine brought up with me the exact same theory and corollary. In fact, all he had to say was the word "contagious" and I was off in gales of laughter. If you don't know why that made me laugh, contact me and I'll email the joke to you.