Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Of Mice and Men

Two nights ago I was sitting on my lounge soundly beating The Hustler on Tiger Woods 2005 on the PlayStation 2 when a little dark shape ran between the side of the lounge and the box of children's books against one wall, a distance of about two feet.

At first I thought "cockroach". They are a common enough occurence in themselves when the power of the roach baits begins to fade. I made a note to change them soon. I birdied the next hole to go 2 up, and lined up the next drive off the tee.

The shape travelled back the other way. Quickly. It was too quick to be a cockroach.

"Ah, no...mouse..." I said. I looked under the couch. No sign of him. No surprise.

I went up to bed after winning 4&3 over The Hustler, and mentioned it to the Good Lady. She has an inherit distaste of mice, having lived with mouse problems during her teenage years. I, however, dont mind them so much. Of course, they are to be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.

After work yesterday, I scouted for my two mouse traps, loading them up with peanut butter and leaving one under each of our two lounges. I checked them as I went to bed a few hours later after I'd given Stuart Appleby a lesson at St. Andrews and taken him for a $60,000 side wager. Both traps were there. Waiting.

This morning, as I got ready to catch the bus to work, I thought "I'll just check my traps". Grab my torch. Look under one couch. Trap still waiting. Look under the other couch.

Trap is gone.

Not set off. No mouse. Gone. Completely. This is interesting.

I look around under the rest of the lounge. Not here.

So, the mouse has gotten caught somehow, and wandered off with the trap attached. Last time I used this trap the mouse didnt even know what hit him. How am I going to find this in the five minutes I've got before I have to leave? I didnt really want the Offshoots or the Good Lady finding it amongst the toys on the floor. I had a quick look and couldnt see it, so I gave up. I went to the kitchen and packed my bag, dropping it by the door.

Then I heard it. The sound of metal being scratched at. Little mousey claws. Luckily there was only one thing metal on the floor. A tin lunch box. Open.

"Why is that lid so far off the ground? If its open, it usually hangs down further..." I crouched and looked. Here was my mouse. Front foot trapped, struggling to drag the device.

Still alive. Still struggling. I wasnt about to put him in the freezer, like they do with cane toads.

"Right...outside!" I picked up the trap, the mouse hanging from it swinging wildly as he thrashed about mousily. His leg didnt look great, but he wasnt protesting. I took him into the yard, unclipped the trap and he fell into the garden, bounding off rapidly as he tasted freedom. Broken leg or not, he wasnt being hampered by it.

I went upstairs and related the tale to the Good Lady who reacted with "well he'd better not come back in!" The mouse is free, the other trap is there, rest easy.

I dont usually like to kill animals that wander into the house. Spiders get left, if they're harmless or not near the Offshoots. The big, ugly or dangerous ones get stomped, sprayed, or a combination thereof. Cockroaches are fair game any time you see them, though. So I've let a mouse free, and I guess I've got to be careful to shut the inside garage door. Either that or the Offshoots have to be more careful about dropping food on the floor when they're watching television.

One mouse free = a thousand in six months? If he gets that far. There's a few cats near us, and him with a gammy leg.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

A personal slant on NBA history

I've been prowling YouTube for NBA videos from the time when I was playing a lot of basketball at school and watching the games we'd get telecast on the ABC in Australia the night after they'd played. 1989-1990 in particular developed a regular friday night routine. The weekly game with my school team, come home, shower, eat, and wait till 10pm or so for the NBA game to come on.

Some of the games were classics that people talk about. It was the Detroit "Bad Boys" era; the Jordan/Pippen Bulls; the end of the Lakers "Showtime" era of Magic, Worthy, Green, etc; the closing seasons for Celtics legends like Bird, McHale, & Parrish; the Spurs with David Robinson; Barkley at the 76ers coming close time after time; Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues at the Hornets; Dominique Wilkins; Clyde the Glide at Portland; its a long list.

Here's a few of the videos I really enjoyed...

John Stockton

I wanted to be John Stockton. The man had the ball on a string. Or a rubber band to be more precise. Of course, he had Karl Malone to feed to time and time again. " Malone...basket" was a commentary track that they could've had on tape and just pressed a button everytime they were on a fast break. And like Hoopedia says: "As Stockton giveth, he taketh away." A league leader in assists and steals, he had fast hands and the kind of skills I'd have loved to have. He always seemed to be the kind of player who knew his limitations. Running a fast break he'd never get high enough to dunk over a retreating forward, or maybe even a stronger guard. So, he'd look, sometimes without anyone realising, he just knew where his team mates were. Away would go the ball once the defence was in the air or out of position, and the points flowed. Always good to watch.

Charles Barkley

This was a guy I didnt get into much when I watched him play as when I was a teenager because I was always a guard. Now that I've played as a forward, I understand and appreciate this guy a whole lot more. Perhaps as a kid he was the guy you loved to hate, but you cant hate people who arent good at what they do. And Charles was good. The series of blocks he pulls off at about 1:25 in are amazing. I know its a highlight reel and all, but still, there's probably a whole lot more that didnt get featured. It's a shame Sir Charles didnt win a championship.

Magic Johnson

He didnt get that nickname by deed poll. Magic earned it. By the time I was watching enough of him, he'd been playing 6 or 7 years in the NBA. Showtime came about because Magic and the rest of the team were of like minds and skills. Behind the back, between the legs, no-look, inside, outside, upside-down, Magic could do it and make it stick as well as look easy. Los Angeles suited Showtime, and lapped it up. Other teams had the same skills, but couldnt or didnt add that flair to the game like Magic did.

Larry Bird

Larry always struck me as the dorky white guy. But he was a great player. If you needed a buzzer-beater, Larry was The Man. It was awesome to watch Celtics/Lakers matches where he and Magic were playing to see who won on the night. Of course, you cant have flair without a good base, and both Bird and Magic had incredibly solid base skills. Bird was no fuss, do what needed to be done, and celebrate later. Which he did with 3 Championships. The sight of Larry Bird laying on his stomach on a towel courtside while he was on the bench is enduring, the temporary remedy for his many late-career back problems.

The Bird/Magic story is a long one, and perhaps one of the best in NBA history. It started in the 1979 NCAA Championship and ended when Bird retired in October 1992. 1979, Michigan State, with Magic Johnson, beat an as yet undefeated Indiana State team with Larry Bird in the NCAA Final. 1992, Larry Bird retired with back problems. Magic retired for good in 1995.

There's a great list, "The 50 Greatest NBA Players", as named in October, 1996, and links to all the players here. Well worth a read if you're into basketball history.

Also, scour the YouTube 'related' tab if you want to take a walk across years of basketball talent, too.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Alain has a point...

I hate to say it Lewis, but Alain makes a valid point.

Read here.

This bit made me smile: Hamilton will partner Heikki Kovalainen at McLaren after the Finn and former dual world champion Fernando Alonso swapped seats, with the Spaniard returning to Renault. But he denied he would assume the role of No.1 driver.

"I don't see myself as a team leader, I feel I have a responsibility, as does Heikki, and we have equal responsibility in driving the team forward," Hamilton said.

I wonder who will complain if Heikki outpoints Lewis. He might leave it to his dad or the British press. I'm sure the Spanish will be laughing if it happens.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bernie rides again

F*** off, Bernie Ecclestone.

Read here.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Cyanide and Happiness comics

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @
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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

25 basis points

The official cash interest rate has just risen in Australia, again. And, yet again, the bleating and wailing and gnashing of teeth has begun.

Surely, and I profoundly hope this is the case, people are not so stupid that they would truly believe that interest rates would remain at record lows for more than 5 years.

Take a simple example: in the last 25 years, interest rates have gone from above 15% to below 6%. If you consider the majority of home loans are calculated to run a course of 25 to 30 years, why would you not consider rate rises and their impact on your payments?

The number of people who jumped into a large house with a mammoth mortgage over the lean rate period was massive. The ads were targeting everyone at every turn. There were an abundance of ads for no-deposit loans, low deposit loans, no background check loans, etc, etc. It was a blanket of advertising all aimed at one thing. Home ownership.

While this is not a uniquely Australian ideal, it certainly seemed to be taken to a new level over here throughout the last decade or two. Now, the halo seems to be slipping on the home ownership angel.

The mass sell-off of “toys” has been an indication. Sales of boats, jet-skis, vehicles, recreational machinery, and motorbikes have all been on the increase. People cant afford to run these items and meet the mortgage. Something gives, and its normally the ‘fun’ side of things.

I wonder what the suicide and divorce rate will do now.

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Monday, March 03, 2008


There's some people out there who take crossovers to new heights.

Take these guys, for example.

A 5000-watt soundsystem on a BMX?


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