Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gate Fail

Seriously, why bother?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dog on tuckerbox

Dog on Tuckerbox monument, near Gundagai

Nine Miles from Gundagai
by Jack Moses

I've done my share of shearing sheep,
Of droving and all that;
And bogged a bullock team as well,
On a Murrumbidgee flat.
I've seen the bullock stretch and strain
And blink his bleary eye,
And the dog sit on the tuckerbox
Nine miles from Gundagai.

I've been jilted, jarred and crossed in love,
And sand-bagged in the dark,
Till if a mountain fell on me,
I'd treat it as a lark.
It's when you've got your bullocks bogged,
That's the time you flog and cry,
And the dog sits on the tuckerbox
Nine miles from Gundagai.

We've all got our little troubles,
In life's hard, thorny way.
Some strike them in a motor car
And others in a dray.
But when your dog and bullocks strike,
It ain't no apple pie,
And the dog sat on the tuckerbox
Nine miles from Gundagai.

But that's all past and dead and gone,
And I've sold the team for meat,
And perhaps, some day where I was bogged,
There'll be an asphalt street,
The dog, ah! well he got a bait,
And thought he'd like to die,
So I buried him in the tuckerbox,
Nine miles from Gundagai.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tilt Shift by Photoshop

Found a neat tutorial on how to create a tilt shift lens effect in Photoshop, and tried it on some pictures from the Columbo archives (admittedly with questionable success):

Sydney City Hall

Parramatta Ferry Wharf

Sydney Opera House

For taking photos with the explicit intent to tilt-shift them in post processing, I'd recommend

  • Use a wide angle lens so you'll have plenty of "unimportant" stuff to blur (My Opera House example consists mainly of the one big object, being partly blurred itself, leading to a not-so-impressing result)

  • Make sure the stuff you want to have in focus is at least close to the center of your shot (The Town Hall picture looks quite unbalanced due to the street scene (in focus) being squeezed into the lower left corner)

  • Nothing emphasizes the "Looking at a miniature model impression like an elevated view point (The Ferry wharf turned out all right, but a view "from above" would definitely improve that picture)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bargain Bin Masterpieces

Sales at the local video store. A "selected range of DVDs" reduced to $ 12.98 apiece, in conjunction with a "buy 2, get 1 free" offer! As expected, it turned out to be a very selected range, consisting mostly of truly crappy flicks I wouldn't waste my shelf space on if they were thrown at me for free.

Still, a bit of digging revealed a couple of movie history milestones that were still missing from my – admittedly humble – collection. So, with Dark City, Holy Grail, and Pulp Fiction for only $ 8.65 each, I'm now fully prepared for the next rainy weekend.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary

So I'm a bit late; but hey, what's a day in 40 years? On October 5, 1969, the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus went to air, bringing to life a comedy troupe that would redefine the definition of "funny" and that is still entertaining the world long after disbanding.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Go the Eels

No more sleeps; this is the day! After a dismal start to the 2009 season, the Eels turned around just in time to scrape across the finish line. And by continuing their extraordinary run that would see them win 9 of their last 10 games, they went on to be the first team ever to make it to the Grand Final from 8th position on the ladder.

So, in just a couple of hours, the Parra Eels will take on the Melbourne Storm to win their first Grand Final since 1986.

Go The Eels!

Disclaimer: The above picture is for illustration purposes only and does not depict today's actual decoration of Parramatta Town Hall. While I would love to post some images of a town that is well and truly engulfed in blue and gold; I am at the moment photographically impaired and must resort to a photo from the Columbo archives, taken a couple of years ago.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Proactive co-worker

Me: "Good news, $ApplicationDeveloper; upper management has finally approved the purchase of that source code management tool you suggested"

App Developer: "No rush; I managed to kludge up a valid license key".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Apparently the dust storm that hit Sydney early this morning was the worst in 70 years; and of course Columbo's work place didn't escape the dramatic event:

View from the office, just after 8 am:

The photos have not been post-processed in any way (apart from a bit of cropping) and show the colors and lights (or lack thereof) exactly as they occurred.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday ...

A not so lazy Sunday afternoon in the local business district:

Sunday, September 20, 2009


It's quite true that not all men run the risk of being mistaken for, say, Brad Pitt; and obviously, we uglier slightly less handsome guys are supporting women in their efforts to resist, ahem, certain temptations by, well, not presenting such temptations in the first place. There's also no doubt that some blokes are more than just a bit delusional when it comes to assessing their own attractiveness; and that the occasional reality check, reminding us them that they may not be quite the chick magnets they think they are, is necessary.

However, I also believe it's important to keep in mind that we guys have feelings, too. Wouldn't you think we deserve more gentle, sympathetic treatment than the blunt, shocking approach Zest Communications has chosen to remind us of our effect on the fairer sex?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Just a quick reminder that it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day today.

I wonder if it also be National Holiday of Somalia

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The commitytee is convening

Tomorrow's topic: Unlocking the full potential of shpehl chekk

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wisemans Ferry

Another time lapse; one in a more rural setting.

And on the way home, another stop on the banks of the Hawkesbury River (at Mooney Mooney):

Monday, August 31, 2009

Top Gear is back

That's right; we're just an hour away from the first episode of season 13; and only two months (and a couple of days, but who's counting) after its first airing in the UK. Thank you, SBS, what would we ever do without you [/sarcasm off]

Laings Point

Can you tell that Sydney experienced a number of excellent weekends recently? Yes, I've been out for quite a bit of time lapse fun, and I have every intention to release the results for everyone to see (whether you take that as a threat or a promise is up to you).

This time, I found a brilliant spot near South Head:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Time lapsing again

Another time lapse attempt, this time from Howley Park.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nighttime time lapse

Another attempt at combining light streak photography and time lapse; this time with more frames, shot specifically for this purpose (unlike last week, when I originally set out to just get one decent light streak photo).

The slight wobble in the second video demonstrates a vital rule for time lapsing: Always turn off the camera's auto focus.

My thanks to Aldi for providing very convenient rooftop parking in such a great vantage point.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sydney Harbor

More time lapse fun with Sydney's famous harbour

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Feel good story of the day

Some may call it vandalism; others probably see it as self defence:

SYDNEY'S newest criminals - the speed camera torchers - have struck again in spectacular fashion, wiping out one of the city's most hated revenue-raising cameras.
A city-bound fixed speed camera halfway up Spit Hill is believed to have been deliberately set alight at about 2am today.

Police attended the scene, taking photos and scouring the scene for evidence.

It was the fifth speed camera attack in the area since the start of June.

Click here for the full story.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Time lapse at night

Very short time lapse; built from a small series of light streaks pics.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Light Streaks

Great Western Highway, near Parramatta

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Power Outage

While out to do some more time lapse experimenting (I admit it's really quite addictive), I found that my camera's battery seems well and truly to be quitting on me. The reassuring "fully charged" indicator turns out to be nothing more than an evil deception, as it quickly changes to "completely depleted", shutting down the camera after little more than 100 shots.

So, my Sydney Harbor vision turned out significantly shorter than planned; but for what it's worth, enjoy.

Pending the purchase of a new battery, and weather permitting, I intend to go back to Milsons Point and give it another go.

Still, all is not lost; while I was there, I did manage a decent shot of the Opera House in the warm light of the late afternoon sun.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random question of the day

How come Magnum (1980), enjoying a high class sports car and having access to top of the range tech gizmos, always had to find a public phone, and was even forced to physically chase down the luxury car of his host to warn them of a bomb; while Charlie's Angels (1976) had cell phones even in rental cars?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Survival secured

Today, on two separate trips from my office to the main admin building (across the compound) and back, every single chick that crossed my path was up the duff.

It would seem that we're not on the road to extinction just yet.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Time lapse experiment

My first attempt at time lapse photography...

And another one...

I was hoping for a more interesting plot along the lines of "ferry arrives, people board vessel, ferry departs"; but no less than 3 consecutive ferries were, according to announcements, full and therefore wouldn't stop to pick up additional passengers. The funniest part was when some of the stranded would-be travelers started asking about a reinforcement vessel. Remember folks, this is Sydney Ferries you're dealing with, famous for stuffing things up and then leaving you on your own.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Weekly market on Saturday morning in Parramatta

Can't have a market without an ice cream truck

And then, there's coffee

Friday, July 17, 2009

James Ruse Drive

James Ruse Drive, North Parramatta. Friday, just after 5 pm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Party spoilt

That's right; we may have lost the first 2 games, and therefore the series; but with a comfortable 28:16 win, the Blues have avoided complete humiliation. The Maroons might be celebrating the series win, but the whitewash predicted by many did not happen.

Congrats NSW; and remember, State Of Origin 2010 (aka revenge) is less than a year away!


... is not only the right word to describe what the Blues are doing to Queensland in tonight's State Of Origin game, it's also what the Australian east coast is looking out for after an earthquake in Kiwiland.

On some days, it's good not to live in one of the posh seaside suburbs.

For the pride ...

... and honor! The series might be lost, but now that we're sufficiently far behind, nothing is going to stop the Blues from not just catching up, but obliterating them unbearably smug banana benders in what will be the most spectacular thrashing since ... well, since ever, really.

Ok, so the Maroons get to play at home, which might make things slightly difficult; but even so, they shall go down in history not for winning all three games in the first time for 14 years, but for losing to a massively underrated NSW side.

Let the battle begin!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Smokey and the Bandit

It was Saturday afternoon, the weather was about as crappy as it gets around here, and I don't really need an excuse to indulge in what must be one of the guiltiest of guilty pleasures.

Watching Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason in what is essentially a 90 minutes car chase is still good fun; despite the fact (or perhaps because) there's no storyline of any significance, or any character development worth mentioning, interfering with the plot of one car chasing another from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia for the flimsiest of reasons.

Burt Reynolds never seems to hesitate to make fun of himself, as he's introduced in the opening scenes not as a heroic daredevil racing driver, but as a has-been who is being paid to hang out at the local truck race (the movie wastes no time establishing itself in the world of redneck hillbillies) so "people can look at the legend".

Country singer Jerry Reed, as Reynold's truck driving buddy, adds a few dry one-liners and also supplies the embarrassingly catchy theme song. And Sally Field, with her best roles clearly still to come, may easily be out-acted by Fred the Beagle, but she does bring, as Cledus mentions so subtly, "a nice ass" to the mix.

The movie certainly takes us back to simpler times, to times when seatbelts were for wussies, the good guys were allowed to smoke, GM was still making cool cars, and movie stunts were done for real, without the "help" of some sterile CGI effects.

While the cars are clearly the stars and the various chases, crashes and heart-stopping near-misses are the highlights of the film, Gleason's Sheriff Buuuuuuford T Justice clearly stands out among the actors' performances. Gleason brilliantly portrays this caricature of a Texan law enforcer, incorporating every cliché ever conceived about this particular breed of humans.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Truth in advertising?

You gotta love a good acronym in the morning ...

Friday, July 3, 2009


For this week's Friday night entertainment, we shall gather in the park

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kiwis getting your attention

On all your air trips, have you ever paid attention to the safety video? Well, if you're going to catch a domestic flight in NZ, it might just be worth glimpsing at the screen:

Friday, June 26, 2009

An Angel's wish

When Farrah Fawcett arrived in Heaven, St. Pete informed her that she'd be granted one wish. Even after having suffered so much, Farrah wasn't concerned about herself, but about the world she had left behind. "Keep the children safe" she responded without hesitation.

And the clouds parted, giving way to a beam of warm, bright, light; and a resounding voice could be heard all thruout Heaven:

"It shall be done"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ready For Round 2

Granted, things didn't go too well down there in Melbourne. And most experts agree that the Maroons go into tonight's clash as the favorites, while our Blues might still lack experience, with a number of players experiencing State Of Origin for the first time.

On the other hand, it has been said that the Cane Toads only won 2 out of 14 games played in Sydney. Then, the fact that NSW has almost completely rebuilt the team from scratch also means that it wasn't these 13 blokes who lost the previous 3 series. And apparently, some of them banana benders aren't feeling too well.

So, the stage is set; and in just over half an hour, the game shall begin. Tries will be tried; balls will be kicked; refs will be booed; brilliant moves will be applauded, and men not known for having a dislike for women will grab each other every which way they can.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I will survive


Thursday, June 18, 2009

What the ... CH?

Where might this guy have come from?


Friday, June 12, 2009

Sax and violence

This week's Friday Night Performance is even classier than the last one – but not by much.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Elsie

Isn't it great to be part of the Commonwealth? Well, one day a year it is; so Happy Queen's Birthday everyone! And while more often than not this is the year's most useless public holiday not only because of the insignificance of the occasion but because of its place in the calendar, today's weather actually allows us to make good use of the day off. Now excuse me, I have a bike to ride.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You know you're getting old

... when, while flicking thru the radio channels, you come across something called The Geezer Greats Weekend, and find that they're playing a lot of your favorite songs.

I think I'll go and have my afternoon nap now.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Birds be gone

Women, don't despair – I don't intend to forsake you. No, it's the birds of the feathered kind that had outstayed their welcome quite a while ago; and now, it's finally Goodbye.

Of all the beautiful birds that call Australia home, our building had to be seized by the common pigeon, with all the, well, crappy consequences that come with these vermins.

Well, as of today, these more than unwelcome guests will have to find a new home. Early afternoon, a tradie showed up out of the blue, announcing that he was sent by strata management "to fix the bird problem".

And fixed it he has. Within less than half an hour, all of Columbo's window sills were made pigeon proof; and in the course of the afternoon, all other sills and ledges of the building received the same upgrade.

So, ladies, don't take it the wrong way when I say I'm looking forward to my first bird-free night.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Just because it's Friday

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Ok, things didn't go that well last night; but the Blues played better than the end result would suggest. By half time, things were looking grim; not least due to a couple of "unfortunate" calls by the refs, and too many scenes like this:
Billy Slater scores for the Maroons

But the NSW boys made a formidable comeback, giving the Maroons quite a few reasons to be worried:
Craig Wing scores for the underdogs

That was, of course, before the final seconds, when Darius Boyd, not content with a 6 point lead, touched down for a final try just as the bell went off and the game was well and truly over.
Darius Boyd wins the race against the clock

So now we've fallen behind early; that should leave us plenty of time to catch up. And the combination of lessons learned, confidence gained from a promising second half, and the advantage of playing on home turf should leave the Blues with more than just half a chance for round 2.

Queensland celebrate their deserved, albeit short-lived, victory

Some not too happy Blues after a devastating, but without any doubt temporary, defeat.

All images shamelessly swiped from here

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Go the Blues

Yes, it's that time of the year again – We're taking on the banana benders; we're less than an hour away from kick-off of the first of three State Of Origin games. It's true that many see the experienced QLD side as favorites, but there are those who say the rejuvenated NSW side has what it takes to break the 3 year losing streak. Yes, we have quite a few Origin rookies in our team, but quite a few "experts" (i. e. anyone with more knowledge of the game than myself, and that's pretty much everybody) agree that it's a team that can score points; and last time I checked, that was the way games are won.

So I'm confident for tonight's game; and when Origin 2 comes to Sydney in 3 weeks' time, things will look even better.

Ready to go ... the 2009 series of State Of Origin kicks off

Image stolen from here

From a slightly geekier perspective; I'm also looking forward to seeing my first State Of Origin game in Hi Def TV, after recently upgrading some of my electronics stuff.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Growing Relay

So one of my favorite bloggers decided to throw a blog relay at me. The rules are simple, but effective:

1) Post all questions, and your answers, on your blog
2) Replace a question you don't like by a new one
3) Add an additional question at the end (hence "The growing relay")
4) Tag 8 people to continue the relay

1 What was the first movie you went to see at the cinema?
Not counting Saturday afternoon kids' flicks; For your eyes only

2 Song of the day?
Greenday's Know your enemy - It was on the radio as I arrived at work this morning, and got stuck in my head for the rest of the day

3 What's your favorite movie?
Just one? Tough call. I guess all 3 original Star Wars movies would be very high up on the list; and for diversity, I'll add The life of Brian.

4 What was the highlight of your day?
This being a work day (and an uneventful at that), I'd have to say lunch (hey, it was really yum; see also # 24).

5 Name something you definitely want to learn
How to use my Jedi powers both for the general good and for personal gain

6 What was the last thing you bought?
Today's lunch

7 What's your favorite weather?
Clear blue sky, low humidity, around 30C

8 What is currently your primary goal?
To get these questions over with

9 Have you ever been mistaken for a celebrity?
No, but people frequently mistake me for someone who gives a shit ;-)

10 If you were given a fully furnished house in a location of your choice, where would you want it delivered?
Somewhere on Sydney's Northern beaches, on the waterfront

11 What would you change about yourself, if you could?
Stop it already – I'm that close to convince myself that I'm perfect

12 If you could spend the next few hours anywhere on Earth, where would that be?
Somewhere in the Whitsundays

13 What compliment do you really enjoy receiving?
The compliment I really love to get is something I could only mention in my Adults Only blog (if I ever get to do one).

14 Who would you like to meet?
The guy who invented the undo button

15 What's your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?
The super-comfy t-shirt that's now so out of shape it's only suitable for wearing around the house

16 What's your dream job?
Project consultant – cracking smartass comments, getting paid obscene amounts of money for stating the bleeding obvious, having hordes of plebs to do the actual work, and raking all the credit (and yes; although the title is different, this is pretty close what I'm doing now – except for the obscene amounts of money part, unfortunately)

17 What are your favorite bands?
Bon Jovi, Cold Chisel, Acca Dacca, Alice Cooper

18 Three things that make you smile?
1) Monty Python
2) Receiving photos of my youngest relatives
3) [see imaginary Adults only blog :-)]

19 What's your favorite city?

20 What's currently your favorite song?
Back Betty in the Spiderbait version. Ok, not exactly a recent release, but I'm fussy with songs these days.

21 What's your favorite TV series?
All time: Star Trek
Right now: Underbelly

22 What are you wearing right now?
For $ 6.99/min, I show you

23 Your favorite book?
The Sydney Street Directory – Until I can bring myself to buy one of them GPS thingies, it's an essential part of my life (can't say the same of many other books ;-) )

24 What is / was for lunch today?
Fish & Chips

25 When is knocking off time today?
5 pm

26 Catholic or protestant?

27 What was your very first CD (that you bought with your own money)?
I remember raiding the bargain bin after I finally got a CD player. Whatever I ended up buying must have been less than impressive as I have no recollection whatsoever what it actually was.

28 What movie did you last watch?
For a few dollars more

29 The best concert you've seen to date?
Bon Jovi (early 90s)

30 What would you be doing if you weren't busy working thru this long list of questions?
Trying to come up with a blog-worthy post

31 Your favorite drink?
Booze: Beer
Soft drink: Coke

32 What decision do you regret?
Not having moved sooner to where I live now

33 Who would you like to have with you when getting stuck in an elevator?
An elevator mechanic

Ok, that's all. Since 8 is probably the total number of my readers, I would like to invite everybody to pick up and continue the relay.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Big Ben

So Big Ben is not only into showing off his tools, he's also not shy about sharing his idea of the perfect date ...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Billy and the terrorists

Inspired by someone else's post about Scottish accents, I searched for examples and stumbled across this gem:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

The local florist seems to be doing well today, despite the combination of Global Financial Crisis and the usual M-Day price hikes for anything that even remotely resembles a flower.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Today, I got a letter from one of Uncle Kev's cronies, aka The Tax Man. While this initially seemed to confirm all my preconceptions about Monday mornings, it turned out not to be all that bad. After reluctantly studying the contents of the envelope, I must in fact consider today a better than average day:

Dear Sir/Madam*

We have paid you a one-off tax bonus of $ 900. This payment is part of the Australian Government's economic stimulus plan. ...

A quick check of the bank account confirmed that the money has indeed arrived. So I'm now officially stimulated; albeit with money that was mine to begin with.

Now I'm of course faced with the question of what to do with this windfall. According to our generous leader, we're meant to spend, spend, spend and thereby to, well, stimulate the economy. But how to spend the money in the spirit of the program, on a shopping spree that actually supports the domestic economy?

Splashing out at the local shopping mall will see the cash going to China.

Setting it aside to buy my petrol over the next few months means it all goes to the Arabs.

If I buy a new computer (which I really could use), my bonus will end up stimulating the Indian economy.

Opting for some gadgets and tech toys would mean it goes to Japan and South Korea.

It seems the only way to keep the money here is to spend it on beer and hookers, the only two products still produced locally (even though I've heard that the latter may be "made from local and imported ingredients").

Well, it won't be easy, but I'll try and do my patriotic duty.

* That's right; even though the letter head features my full name and address, the sender didn't manage to use that information to also generate an even slightly personalized greeting. Kevin, please use some of that stimulus package to hire tax staff that is not entirely incompetent and / or lazy at even the most basic tasks. After all, on any other day, these are the people who determine how much of my hard earned money the Government can grab. [/end geek rant]

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kinky co-worker

Allow me to set the scene for you: We have just returned from an extremely tedious presentation by one of our vendors. Things haven't gone well; the "state of the art" application they were demonstrating crashed a couple of times, and the vendor's account manager didn't even attempt to pretend that he had so much as glimmer of a clue of what he was talking about. To top it all off, he also stumbled for minutes to answer even the simplest of questions. Our collective, albeit silent, Pull your finger out already hung in the room like thick London fog in an Agatha Christie novel and didn't exactly improve the general atmosphere of the event.

After the demo from hell, we're having a quick debrief, mainly to let off a bit of steam. Now, to fully appreciate the significance of what followed, you must understand that the tech expert (let's call her Billie) who was with us is, in defiance of all "tech geek" clichés, quite probably one of the cutest babes in the entire Southern hemisphere. Billie is the kind of always-happy, kind, and simply beautiful girl that incites very unprofessional thoughts in even the most respectable man (and probably a couple of women).

So we're all sharing our not so kind views on both the "state of the art" product we were unfortunate enough to be bored with, and the bumbling dork who presented it. And without warning, Billie announces (and I quote): "Seriously, guys; I soooo wanted to fire a rocket up his ass!".

Thank you, Billie; that moment, and the mental image that's still popping up, almost made it all worth it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Dead Jesus Day

So, what are you all up to this long weekend?

This year, I have decided to get into the traditional spirit of this holiday; starting today with hanging out at The Cross, and then resurrecting myself on Sunday :-)

Have a good long weekend, and may your Easter Egg Hunt be as much fun as mine was (gotta love an office manager who likes impersonating the Easter bunny).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Holy Switch

See the light? Uhm, I'd rather not

Found here

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Come here, fishy fishy

We've all experienced, or at least heard of, beer goggles, but this is ridiculous.

The only time I ever think about sealife and, ahem, other stuff at the same time is when I go for Fish & Chips at this joint.

Shamelessly swiped from FailBlog

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

Yes, we're once again asked to "save the world" by participating in an entirely pointless exercise, devised by the very organizations whose existence depends on our belief that doomsday is just around the corner.

So we're supposed to turn off all our lights for an hour, starting at 8:30 pm. Never mind the fact that most people's lights are off every day from dawn to dusk; apparently it's that one hour after dark that'll make the difference. Please also ignore the fact that of all the electrical appliances, lighting probably accounts for the smallest fraction of your average household's electricity use. Furthermore, it'll of course be mostly the energy efficient lamps that will actually be turned off, the lamps of those environmentally conscious people who dumped the common light bulb a long time ago. This will further minimize the already questionable effect of the event.

So maybe it's not about actually reducing energy consumption, maybe it's all about raising awareness about the dire straits the environment is in. However, I'm not aware of any shortness of awareness; with environmental fundamentalists shoving their "Your very existence is destroying the planet; we shall not rest until we control all aspects of people's life, all in the name of nature" message down everyone's throat on a daily basis; and the Government spreading the same message to support the introduction of new taxes and increases to existing rates under the guise of the green hype.

Then, there's the hypocrisy. Oh boy, I don't even know where to start. First of all, organizers must, of course, promote the event. So media conferences are held, interviews arranged, reports on the devastating effects of global warming commissioned. It's probably a safe bet to say that the activities around Earth Hour create "carbon footprint" that outweighs the miniscule reduction in energy usage (if such a reduction even occurs) a couple of times over.

The media aren't exactly adding to the credibility of the event either. No effort, and therefore no energy expenditure) is to be spared to give this honorable project the coverage it deserves. And there's nothing but praise for this wonderful cause on all programs; even the world's most irritating weatherman urges us to "turn off the lights and other non-essential electrical appliances (non-essential? Would that be the gear I usually keep running for no other reason than to send more money than necessary to the lovely folks at the power company?). Yet there's nothing in the TV guide that would suggest that any of the stations will stop broadcasting; as we sit in the dark, we still get to enjoy a choice of football, pommy crime drama, a freak penguin, Johnny gaying up the Caribbean, or young Jack Nicholson joining the Village People Navy.

And of course we mustn't forget the selfless who are so proud to "do the responsible thing"; praised be those who sit in the dark while watching their energy-hungry plasma TV. Others might really get in the spirit and even drive to one of the many Earth Hour activities.

I have no doubt that in tomorrow's news, there will be an abundance of praise for those who seemingly saved the world by participating in a stunt that makes no difference whatsoever. Personally, I was so eager to do my part that I held my own Earth Hour from early morning until just before 6 pm, with no lights or TV on for the entire time. Where's my medal?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Change at the White House

Can't you just hear Michelle: Oh YES, YESS, we can!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Holy ... WHAT??

For a heavenly snooze ...

Be that as it may; getting up on Monday morning is still hell.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"The Sopranos Down Under" is not over yet

Yesterday's permanent retirement of "the head of one of Sydney's most powerful drug dealing crime syndicates" seems to indicate that the local crime gangs are alive and well. While this most recent shooting has striking similarities to events of past decades, things are not quite as they used to be.

In the past, even the bad guys answered to names like Carl, Bob, or Terry. Perhaps as a sign of the times, and in line with the situation overseas (yep, globalization affects crime, too), the most violent events are more often than not connected with names like Abdul Qadier Darwiche, and appropriately investigated by units like The Middle Eastern Crime Squad. One can not help but wonder if perhaps, despite the persistent denial by left wing do-gooders, crime and violence are indeed more prevalent in some ethnic communities than in others, and if the much praised multi cultural society has indeed a mostly positive effect on our daily lives.

Still, I reckon all we can do is to focus on the positive aspects: One truly despicable scumbag is off the street for good; and we're not running out of material for more seasons of Underbelly just yet.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Footy's Back

That's right; after endless months of bloody cricket and boooring golf clogging perfectly good TV air time, we're only minutes away from the start of round 1 of NRL 2009. And seeing that the off-field soap operas seem to be off to a good start even before the first ball has been kicked*, we might well be in for all round exciting and enjoyable season.

* (For overseas readers, or locals who spent the last week under a rock: A high profile player has volunteered to uphold the tradition of alcohol-supported bad behavior and to follow the examples of many others to bring himself in a situation that leads to a charge of sexual assault. Both scenarios are not entirely unheard of in rugby league, but one guy engaging in both of them in one night, at his club's season launch celebration one week before kick-off, is quite an achievement).

Anyway, I'm off to the lounge now (via fridge; to check if the cold ones are, well, cold enough yet), to watch the Storm beat the Dragons. And whatever you might have to say, please ask yourself just one question: Can it wait until half time?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Office

Well, my backup – office anyway. Wi-Fi coverage at work has been extended to cover most outdoor areas, including the vast lawns between the office buildings. So whenever the sterile air-conditioned blandness of my usual crime scene domain gets too sticky, this shall be my refuge.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Driving home the message

A little drastic, perhaps ...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fun with a geographically challenged Helpdesk

Yes, we all heard of the poor helpdesk worker being tormented by a not so bright user about this Anykey the computer is prompting him to press. Well, stupidity works both ways.

At work, most of the software we need is delivered to our computers electronically; if we need something that's not part of the standard build, it "just" takes a helpdesk ticket to get it. So, lucky me received a brand new state of the art machine, and all the non-standard apps I need are in the list of electronically available products.

But that's as far as my luck would go.

Only two days after lodging the Can I please have the stuff I need to do my job ticket (yeah, these guys from Global Helpdesk are really fast), the message that the requested apps are ready to install pops up. Happy and without a shred of suspicion (I know, my mistake), I click Install, and the next thing I see is:

I want my old computer back.

(For the nitpickers: In my request, I deliberately left out the release version, naively believing that they would send me whatever is available for our site).

And tomorrow, I get to chase up the other application I need, the one for which they closed the ticket without bothering to send me anything.

I predict that some time early May, I get to work productively again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On the road again...

... and it's the scenic route, too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Giant error

Yep, it must be Monday...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Summer's over

So today is the first day of fall, or autumn, as they'd like to call it here. To give my readers in Europe, who apparently are still experiencing an unusually cold and long winter (complete with snow and all) a bit of an idea what kind of ordeal the end of summer is around here, allow me to paint a picture of today's afternoon:

After returning from a rather pleasant trip to town on the open deck of the ferry (in t-shirt and shorts, of course), the decision is made that the tedious task of preparing dinner shall be someone else's problem.

At the pub, the It's only $ 10 if you order before 7 pm steak is tender as always, the chips are crunchy, and the beer is cold. Oh, and did I mention that it's still warm enough to enjoy all this in the open? The birds are chirping in the trees, the occasional light breeze brings just enough cool to make one feel completely comfortable, and the featherless birds are pleasing the eye. Add to that a game of rugby on the humongous hi def plasma screen, and the Sunday evening is about as good as it can get.

Life's good.

Ships, ships everywhere ...

They're calling it Super Sunday; no less than 4 huge cruise ships visiting at the same time. To see this rare event, however, one must first struggle with the more trivial, and unfortunately all too common, problems around here: The ferry is considerably late. Well, at least it travels right past the first of those ocean liners, the Pacific Dawn:

At Circular Quay, the Crystal Serenity is moored:

With a limited number of docks available, the remaining two ships have dropped anchor offshore, and unfortunately quite some distance from my vantage point:

Meanwhile, in the neighborhood ...

The things you come across on a Sunday morning .... now I've seen cars overheating before, but this is ridiculous.