Monday, November 30, 2009

This is my day today


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Monday, November 23, 2009

"blah...offset costs...blah...blah..."

I was filling the tank this morning at the local servo, when I heard a noise.  Talking.  Close by.  Something I'd never heard before, but pretty much dismissed as there is a workshop just over the fence from the pump I was at.

Then I realised it was words I'd heard before.  An ad?  It was coming from nearby.  Very near by.

Then I glanced up, and I saw IT.  Look carefully.

A television.  Or at least a screen, displaying television.  Doubtless some tie in with Shell and Coles and Channel 7, who's morning news was on after the ads.

Seriously?  Shell suddenly find enough money to install these moronic devices on every pump?  And they reckon they're not taking everyone to town on pricing (and not just in the servo)?  I'm sure Shell/Coles will have a press release or statement ready to roll for complaints or queries, something like "advertising allows us to offset and absorb costs that would otherwise be passed on to the consumer".  Hmmmm.

I want a mobile phone to make calls.  I want a digital camera to take photos.  And I want a servo to be a servo.  A service station is not an opportunity to multi-task.  I pay you money for petrol.  And maybe an iced coffee now and then.  But expect people to pay an extra few cents per litre plus forty cents on every item so you can advertise, and you can be sure people will flock away.  Here's a discussion you won't hear:

She: "Darling, lets get fuel at the Shell, they have those nice little televisions"
He: "But Pookie, we've already blown the petrol budget in 3 months...once we get two skim latte's, a bag of soy chips and the sneaky Mars bar with it, it all adds up you know, and daycare isn't free..."
She: "Darling, they have those nice little televisions..." (cue patronising arm rub)

Turn a service station BACK into a servo.  On a side note, look for little televisions at supermarket checkouts and aisles real soon.

Mind you, these are probably great for people like the couple in front of myself and GLW who spent the first fifteen minutes of last nights Pearl Jam concert updating Facebook and Twitter from their iphones.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thierry Henry, BFO

Thierry Henry is today hereby bestowed a BFO.

For his part in the World Cup qualification win over the Republic of Ireland, Henry is now a Bastard of the First Order.

Henry joins Diego Maradonna as the only BFO's to impact World Cup Football with their hands.

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This is my day today

I didn't bring a Plan C.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Knifethrower

I really like this picture.


You could never get a photo like this now. Not without the howls of child abuse, exploitation and such.

But think about it. The guy obviously trusts his skills, his training, his connection with his child that much, that he can throw knives by a child.

Now that's a bond.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Not-so-passive agressive

I found this gem on a recent site visit.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nuffy-ism: Air Travel

What is it about airports and plane travel that brings out the inner idiot in a lot of people?

You always get the nuffy who forgot, or just didn't want to, remove the coins out of their pockets or take off their watch for the metal detector. And then get huffy when they've got to go back through. Let's call this person The Huffy Nuffy. Sure, I've had to go back and take off my belt, but only ever in Melbourne. No other scanner has been set off by my belt. Voyueristic Melbourne security staff, perhaps? Men in suits are never The Huffy Nuffy. They've done this too often to be that stupid. Watch them closely. Watch, phone, wallet, business card holder and bag on the conveyor, walk through, smile at the security staff, pick everything up and leave. Unlike the nouveau riche entrepreneur in his designer tee shirt and jeans. I'm surprised he remembered to put his bag down.

Then you get the nuffy who suddenly thinks queueing in an orderly fashion to board a plane is too much for them. They decide to break the line and skirt to the outside, angling in close to the head of a long bunch. Let's call this person The Tuffy Nuffy. Newsflash, hotshot: everyone is getting on the same plane. These people also unbuckle their seatbelt and leap to their feet the instant the plane stops at the gate, grabbing their bag from the overhead and standing around looking frustrated. Another newsflash, hotshot: everyone is getting off the same plane. Sure, you can get out before the skybridge is in place, but watch the first step. I wouldn't want you to do that, then you wont make me laugh next time I fly.

Most of them are probably smokers, keen to get outside and shorten their lives ASAP. Let's call this person The Puffy Nuffy. Many of them divert past the baggage collection to grab their first rapid half-cigarette, before returning inside to get their bags.

Once you get to the baggage collection, you always find some nuffy who stands right at the little door the conveyor emerges from, so they can have bag in hand and be off within seconds. Let's call this person The Stuffy Nuffy. These people do not want to stand around for even the extra thirty seconds their baggage might take to get to the far end. They do not want to imagine the technology within. They do not want to admire the conservative architecture of the airport. The Stuffy Nuffy wants to get out, get home, and complain about the quality of cheap flight they just left. Or get back out for a smoke.

You also see The Tuffy Nuffy waiting for the transfer bus, hanging back at the head of a line of fifty people. The bus pulls up and the Tuffy Nuffy makes a direct line for the door, ahead of 46 other patient, non-self-absorbed people. I'd rather wait for the next bus, knowing the Tuffy Nuffy on board will have to battle through the crowded bus, angering those non-nuffy's as they try to extract their one carry-on sized case from the bottom of a pile of enormously heavy family holiday suitcases. Incidentally, you rarely see The Tuffy Nuffy at the taxi queue, as these are now supervised, which voids their game plan quick-smart.

I'm sure there's more, but Huffy, Tuffy, Puffy and Stuffy were in abundance on the weekend.

I guess much of this is due to the fact that a lot of air travel is now seen as commuting, or short haul flying for quick trips. Its not a romantic ideal any more. Which is a shame.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ben more than 10...

Anyone with sons of a certain age would probably know about Ben 10. Ben Tennyson, a young boy who finds an alien watch-like artefact that lets him turn into any one of ten different creatures. Eleven if you count them all, perhaps more by now.

Ben's ten years old. His cousin, Gwen, is also 10.

So explain to me whats going on in the sticker that was in the (quite obviously a knockoff) sticker pack???

I cant.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Samuel Johnson is nearly everywhere again

I was flicking channels last night, listening to Samuel Johnson narrate a documentary series called 'Beyond the Darklands'. It's a crime show, based around serial killers murderers. I flicked across to watch some of the MotoGP for a few minutes. I came back, to hear Samuel Johnson's voice again, pausing to see where Darklands was up to.

Something had changed, but the voice remained. Dogs rolling about playfully? Smiling owners?

I think we're going back to the days of the early 00's where Samuel Johnson was everywhere.

Rush. Darklands. PAL ads. I think there's even re-runs of 'Secret Life Of Us' on Foxtel someplace as well.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

A few of problems I have with governance and money

A few things have happened lately that have irked me a lot. Not just a bit, a whole lot. So much so that I question certain systems. Everyone does this now and then. But these ones just really got me annoyed.

The first is the Superannuation system, and the government mandated 9% contributions.

A lot has been made of superannuation funds losing money, causing some people nearing retirement age to think again. Their super fund is suddenly worth 20% less than it was twelve months ago, and they simply cant afford to retire.

As was pointed out, and I completely agree with, why should something we are legally obliged to contribute to, and have little control over, be able to lose money hand over fist?

Why should I pay 9% of my wage into a pool that may well disappear before I have a chance to use it? Can I not contribute that money where I control it? Then again, who wants the trouble of doing that? If I am being forced to pay this, then it should be protected, in the same way that banking deposits are treated. I dont give the bank my wage and then go to withdraw it only to be told "sorry sir, its all gone". Superannuation should not be any different.

Of course there is the demand that superannuation grow and prosper, leading to risk and exposure. So make it 15%, protect it, and retire later. The days of retiring at 55 and then taking a world trip are long gone. Jet travel has seen to that. People see the value in spending now, leaving the super as a necessary evil until they absolutely need it.

The second thing is Medicare, bulk billing, and child immunisations.

Again, this is another case of one of those things you have to do, at your own peril. Some people dont agree with immunisation for various reasons, and rightly so. They can be risky. We all know someone who has been impacted by immunisation side-effects, in mild or severe forms.

Case in point: #3 went for her 12 month immunisation this past week. $62 for three needles.

$62 for something that any school in the country will ask for proof of. $62 for something that if she didnt have them, she would not be allowed in daycare. $62 for something that the government medical offices have sent us letters asking "why is this overdue?". $62 for something that nobody obviously sees as 'optional'.

How much did Medicare reimburse us for the privilege of doing what is required? About half. What is going so wrong behind the scenes that the doctors feel obliged to charge double the going rate for sticking required needles into kids for three minutes? You can bet if we were in a lower socio-economic suburb we'd be bulk-billed without question.

I'm not demanding free national healthcare, but its things like this that really irritate me.

Which brings me to my third item. What compounds the doctor issue for me is the private healthcare for over 30's issue. If you're over 30 and dont have private health insurance, the government will increase your tax for the rest of your life. You have no way to remedy this. You are marked for life.

This has the seeminlgy nett effect that private hospitals are turning into money factories, and the funds are coming from private health funds. As people opt for surgery in private institutions due the 'ailing nature of public facilities', they see the cost as their basic excess. Surely $250 for fixing that dodgy knee is a small price to pay now rather than wait 2 years to get it done free by so-viewed 'second rate' doctors forced to work in the public system? It may seem a good option, but the doctor at the private institution charges the fund five times that, and the premiums inexorably go up to cover every man and his dog getting it done.

Dont sit back and say the thought hasnt crossed your mind that private hospital doctors are a better class of doctor just because of where they work. You know it has.

Its a cycle of money feeding on money, and its just one thing that stinks.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of those calls

I had a great phone call in the office the other afternoon. Ostensibly it was "large format inkjet printer market research". Not a problem. Except for the lady on the other end of the line, who obviously wasnt in Australia.

Indian accent. Delays on each sentence. Difficulty grasping some Australian english terms. Asking whether I was on Melbourne time.

One of my favourite parts was the confusion created by the fact that our large format printer is (what I believed) neither inkjet or laserjet based technology.

"Is it inkjet, sir?"

"No...its a large format photocopier technology that also prints..."

"So its inkjet, sir?"

"I dont believe so, no 'ink' is involved, it uses toner."

"So its inkjet, sir?"

" It doesnt use ink."

"What model is it?"

"Ricoh..." yada, yada, yada.

"Give me a moment sir. I cannot find that model on Google. Are you sure?"


"Give me a moment sir. I cannot find that model on Google. Are you sure?"


"Is it a ..." at which point our Indian struggler rattles off twenty options on machine models, none of which are ours.

"Give me a moment sir. I cannot find that model on Google. Are you sure?"

"Try putting WP at the end of it."

"Give me a moment sir. Ricoh 3***WP?"


"OK. It says that it is inkjet technology."

"Well, it doesnt use ink, so if you reckon thats it, go for it."

"I dont understand sir?"

"Of course not...go ahead."

From there we rattled off two minutes of questions about importance of features, brand recognition, etc, etc. You know the type of thing.

What would've been four minutes worth of call ended up at ten minutes plus. All due to struggling with the model number that was of no importance at all. The obligitory questions came at the end:

"May we have your email address sir?"


Stunned silence.

"OK. Your number is 2, 94..." etc.

"Yes. They didnt teach you very well. You dont know our phone numbering system very well do you?"

"Pardon sir?"

"Never mind. Next question?"

"That completes the survey. Is there anything you'd like to ask me?"

How is Bangalore today? Can you make a butter chicken? Do you prefer garlic naan or plain naan? Will Tendulkar last much longer? What are you going to do with this call you've recorded for 'quality purposes'? Why were you rude to our secretary when I wasnt in last week? Can you juggle? Why have you made me late for dinner?

"No, goodbye."

I hung up before the reply.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mark Webber cracks it

Following on from Mark Webber's friendly warning of last month, those of you who have just crawled out from under a rock would be unaware that Mark Webber won the German Formula One Grand Prix last month. 132 starts for that 1st victory. I'd bet a fair few people would have given up long before that. The fact that he qualified a lot of inferior cars up the order obviously gave a bit of hope.

First Australian win since AJ in 1981. I'm surprised they had the Australian national anthem ready to go.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dublin Bus has got still my €0.50!

I was just digging around in my jacket at work after doing the coffee run, and I found this:

Dublin Bus has still got my €0.50.

I wonder if I can redeem it at the office if and when I go back? That may be some years.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

"I'm not wearing a tie at all!"

In honour of Lionel Hutz, I thought I'd post this little gem of a picture I found in my local paper.

Look close...tell me whats wrong with the photo...

It sure is a bad angle, or the woman on the left isnt actually wearing pants...

It's not usually a nudist beach!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Our Game Apologises"

Charles Barkley was right. And I've agreed with him for years.

Is there any more proof that sports people shouldnt be role models?

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Le portrait de Max

Max is my father's Fox Terrier. She's been around a while, as you can tell from the photo. She's getting on a little. While she's mellowing in some ways in her old age, you still don't leave her alone around small children, lizards or birds. Unless you want them eliminated.
Happy, crabby, jealous, intrigued, lazy, active, snappy, licky, and instinctive.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's not like nothing happened...

Sheesh! 6 weeks and I've not written anything? What's going wrong?

It's not like nothing happened...

The Boy, Little Miss and #3 are busy, busy...Good Lady Wife is real busy...I'm real busy despite a downturn in work...

It's all a bit of a headspin really. Still, I shouldn't be surprised, it happens every year about this time. Then we hit winter, and it slows down a bit.

Fingers crossed.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

The hamstring destroying weekend of fun

This fine, feathered monday morning finds me in a little trouble at the old desk here.

You see, I offered up my services at The Boy's school on saturday for some yard work, which involved a lot of weeding of gardens followed by wheelbarrow loads of mulch spread by hand. Naturally, this involved a lot of squatting, bending, and general leg work. Not something I do a lot of, but it was good to lend a hand and get outside for a few hours of manual labour.

I felt the legs tightening that evening, but nothing too bad.

Sunday I got up early for my weekly bike ride, with just myself and one other regular attending. Whilst not setting a cracking pace like the week before, we still steamed out on the flats, definitely working the legs over. I got home and felt good, the warm up and down doing the legs good.

But now, monday, let me just say this: uuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Now we can move on, yes?

Heath Ledger won his Oscar. Kate Winslet won hers.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Black Saturday 2009

By now the world knows about the bushfires that ripped Victoria's middle to pieces last weekend. The death toll is rising rapidly now that the fire has passed and teams are able to access townships and homes destroyed.

An opinion piece has been posted in The Age by a former fire-based magazine editor. He makes several valid points, although perhaps some people wont want to read to them right now. Points raised could have saved many lives.

I have never been close a large bushfire. I have seen what the end result is though, and through the internet I think a whole lot more people are seeing the destruction caused. Although Saturday was such a unique set of circumstances, as the author points out, they were no worse than previous fires that resulted in significantly less lives lost. Granted, people dont want someone to tell them to evacuate their home if they cant see a threat, but Saturday's fire turned and swallowed several towns that could have been emptied hours earlier.

The one point that I would distinctly agree with, no question, is the mandatory bushfire shelter or fire proof structure in fire-prone areas. There exist building standards for fire-prone areas now, and an expansion would be simple. More cost to the home-builder? Certainly.

But what's your life worth?

I sincerely hope you haven't lost any friends or family in these fires.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sir David Attenborough gets hate mail...

And these select Christians think of themselves as forgiving and understanding?


I pity them. I really do. Perhaps its an unfortunate case of 'all tarred with the same brush', but you cant be a creationist and not a Christian. Although, you can be a Christian without being a creationist. Try it sometime.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Your month by the stars - February

Aquarius - January 21 - February 19

A bout of Dengue Fever will halt your marathon pie-eating attempt, but don’t take it to heart. The support base of family and friends will still be in town after their hospital visit. You should anticipate a month-long recovery and simply try again.

Lucky letter: G

Pisces - February 20- March 20

Flying at such high altitudes is just asking for trouble. You deserve what’s coming. Listen for the phrase “Watch your six…”, then panic.

Lucky letter: C

Aries - March 21 - April 20

Your month holds promise as the total stranger you saw on the news as “the only person ever to return from an event horizon” (not the movie) awakes from a coma speaking your name.

Lucky letter: S

Taurus - April 21 - May 21

That business prospect in central Europe that you are intent on seeing should remain at a good distance for another few weeks. Just until this whole "global economic crisis” thing blows over. It’s remarkable how the human brain can adapt to tough situations and still see a sucker coming a mile off.

Lucky letter: W

Gemini - May 22 - June 21

Your neighbours are always fighting, their dog keeps coming into your yard and defecating on your lawn, and now their step-son is hooking up with your foster daughter. It can get worse though. Keep the baseball bat handy at night.

Lucky letter: B

Cancer - June 22 - July 22

There’s a Tom Jones lookalike contest on the 25th at your local entertainment venue of choice. You should enter, cause I just got a good feelin’ about this one.

Lucky letter: P

Leo - July 23 -August 21

Human Botfly larva. Google it before your upcoming trip. Take tweezers.

Lucky letter: F

Virgo - August 22 - September 23

Graphic design was always your strong point. Staying off the drink was not. Your strategy, however, will pay off handsomely when you forget about the meeting you had scheduled, and in a hung-over state, give the board of Shell the 1970 version of their own logo in the hope they forgot what it looked like.

Lucky letter: H

Libra - September 24 - October 23

Mark the 2028 Olympics down now for the debut of your as yet unborn child in the sport she will pioneer. Oh, and a boyfriend is in your near future, too.

Lucky letter: Z

Scorpio - October 24 - November 22

An old friend will re-enter your life, and your bank accounts while you are drugged and face down on your bed. You can scarcely imagine what else he will enter while you’re out. Take precautions and be very wary.

Lucky letter: L

Sagittarius - November 23 - December 22

Scandinavia used to be so friendly and open. What happened?

Lucky letter: Q

Capricorn - December 23 - January 20

New Zealand Customs officials will question the birth date on your passport as you try to get out of the country following your visit to their highly renowned plastic surgeon. They don’t take too kindly to 10-year old boys flying on their own. Rethink your level of surgery, particularly if you are a 52-year old woman.

Lucky letter: Y

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