Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A good belt(ing)

Police utility belts seem to be causing some concern for local NSW officers. The gear they carry on their belts - 11 items weighing around 6kg - seems to be causing injury to some officers. A survey by the NSW Police Association found about 800 officers complained of aches and pains caused by the belt. All the items on the belt are essential so the focus is on changing the belt so it is more user-friendly. Might it become a harness?
The cause of the problem? It appear to be the coincidence of the abolition of the height requirement for people joining the service and an increase of the number of items the constabulary are required to carry (on their belts).
There are some who think I carry a lot in and from my bumbag. I am pleased to report that mine weighs only 1.4kg so I have a long way to go before I catch up!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Easter Traditions

"Traditional Choc Cross Buns" - read the sign outside the bakery this morning. Since when have chocolate cross buns been traditional Easter fare? I must have missed something along the line because I didn't even realise there were chocolate (hot) cross buns until Sunday. Who knew that the fruit hot cross buns I innocently purchased at the Wamberal bakery were also laced with chocolate. Not really a good look in the toaster.

Not ... Lost

How many people are downloading the Lost program from the internet even as I write this? An item in this week's televison Guide in the Sydney Morning Herald suggests that it is "lots" . Okay, I admit I have been the recipient of two episodes. Both of which were downloaded for me by a friend as I had missed them - and it's important not to miss any of "Lost" because it is becoming more interesting with each episode.

On a roll?

On the way to breakfast this morning I passed the Bank where a security company was delivering a trolley-load of coins. The trolley was a shiny red two-wheel job with two great big inflated rubber tyres (did you know the Amish refuse to use inflated rubber tyres because they were invented for use by the military). The trolley looked wonderful parked on the footpath as the two Chubb officers lifted the rolls of coin from the trolley to the chairs that were propping the bank doors open at the top of the double step. Hmm. Maybe it's time they considered bringing a ramp along for jobs where they're not on the flat. Okay, if you were going to make off with enough of the rolls to make a difference in your life (besides being caught and convicted of robbery) you'd need your own truck - but it just didn't look that professional. If I'm ever in a position where I need to hire someone to transport money - it may not be them!

Social comment

I don't often get a laugh from the Here's Luck column in Sydney's Daily Telegraph but all that changed today with an entry in their Six-Pack (a list of possibilities re various topical happenings). Today's was about Australian cricketer Shane Warne who has made headlines several times in the past for texting inappropriate comments to women. He has been in the news lately for doing it again. The Here's Luck comment which gave me a good chuckle was included in "Six messages retrieved from Shane Warne's mobile": Is this lifeline? If so, my nm is Shane & I'm a txt addict.

Art and life?

The Pope has not been well. He has made some appearances by video over the Easter period but he hasn't been conducting services - including the Stations of the Cross. According to a church-going friend, one of the higher figures in the clergy here in Australia has suggested that the Pope is dying. The Pope certainly has had a trial of it in recent years, especially as the Parkinsons Disease has taken a stronger grip on him.
The Dan Brown book I am reading is set around a Papal conclave - where the cardinals set out to elect a new Pope after the previous one dies in his sleep from a stroke. Hopefully this won't be as prophetic as the book I started reading just after Boxing Day - Michael Crichton's "State of Fear" which featured a tsunami (although, admittedly, the one in the book was man-made and not the result of an earthquake off the coast of Indonesian).

Daylight Savings

lt's that time of year again - when we gain an hour as we put our clocks back and bid adieu to daylight savings for another year. It's just after 7.30pm and it seems like it should really be bedtime - but I have to stay awake for hours yet! Which presents a wonderful opportunity to be doing "stuff" - including blogging!
The big question is whether I did manage to save any daylight this year. Unfortunately no. But I did learn something about daylight savings. It was apparently introduced during the War years in a European country - a way of increasing war-time production without increasing costs - with daylight savings the factories could work an hour longer into the evening without having to turn lights on. Who would have thought that daylight savings would be based on a practicality? Of course, the odd practicality of daylight savings is that our cats can't tell time and there was a little insistent furry paw waking me up at 4am (yesterday's 5am and their usual feeding time).

Monday, March 28, 2005

The camera never lies

Isn’t it amazing that even though they say the camera never lies, that’s wrong. When the actor who played Elaine in “Seinfeld” was pregnant, she never appeared so on camera. They always photographed her sitting down, or from the waist up, or from an angle which wouldn’t show that she was pregnant. I’m watching a program at the moment where an actor is obviously pregnant (some months and definitely bulging) but has made the decision not to tell anyone, and in every shot she is wearing a duffel coat. No-one seems to notice that she is pregnant – not even her partner of many years (from whom she has recently become estranged). Ah … television.

Easter Break

The Australian television networks have apparently decided that the Easter Break should be 3 weeks long this year. They have taken most of the new run programs off for the duration of the real Easter as well as school holidays. Thank goodness that I have enough tapes of programs not yet viewed to see me over the hiatus. Plus some offshore television that has made its way to my computer (thanks TK!). Of course, there’s always books as well. I’m reading one of Dan Brown’s prequels to “The Da Vinci Code” at the moment – and it occurs to me that it could be formulaic. I say that because 100 pages in it feels fairly familiar. Professor expert on little-known religious cult is called in to help with symbols found at murder scene; murdered man has daughter; off they go to save the world. But I’m forging forward with it – to see if Professor Langdon and friend can save the world from the Illumanati and the anti-matter!

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Calvin Klein's QVB (George Street, Sydney) shopfront window features 3 manniquins. One is headless. The other 2 have chicken heads - complete with red combs. I do not know why.

Twin Flip

Sydney's annual Royal Easter Show starts today and will run for the next 10 days. We're planning to go with Sooz's Mum on Easter Monday. This is one of the days they will have the Grand Parade with the animals. There are 12,000 of them at the Show this year and sometimes it seems like they only have the naughtiest in the Parade. It's fun to watch the bulls having their fringes coiffed for showing too.

Unfortunately George the sheep, 21, and billed as the oldest in Australia and who is celebrating his birthday today at Warren NSW, isn't going to the show!
But the show's about more than animals. There's arts, crafts, the agricultural exhibits, fresh produce, the Tiny Teddy mobile biscuit oven, and commercial exhibitors. And sideshow alley and the rides. There are four new ones this year including the Twin Flip, which is supposed to be the scariest! What amazing jobs they must be - to think up rides, design and test-drive them.

And let's not forget the other exciting show feature ... showbags.
I'm not sure what showbags we'll be aiming for this year but I'm fairly confident that they won't include the fake buttocks with G-string. I don't know how I could ever have thought that showbags were not value for money!
The big question about showbags this time: Are there any good liquorice ones?" And hopefully there will be - because it's a long time between shows!

"Old Ducks" - Indeed?!!?

'These old ducks are gardeners' said the radio commentator as they discussed the television show 'Rosemary and Thyme'. What's this about 'old duck'? Felicity Kendall is not and could never be 'an old duck'. Granted, a few years have passed since she was that adorable young woman on "The Good Life", but not that many!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Time Flies

Here’s my new watch - from the Museum of Modern Art. What a beauty!
Reading clockwise, the hieroglyphs on this watch translate to "Time Flies."
And some more info: The Egyptians used the hieroglyphic script for nearly 3500 years, from about 3100 b.c. until the end of the third century a.d. Some hieroglyphs were simplified images or pictures, called ideograms, which were symbols for the objects they looked like. For example, a wavy line meant "water." The Egyptians also used hieroglyphs phonetically, stringing together the sound of the symbols without their original meaning. An equivalent in English would be to spell "belief" with pictures of a bee and a leaf. It is possible to construct riddles using hieroglyphs in this manner. Because English and ancient Egyptian are not from the same language family, some sounds used by the Egyptians do not exist in our alphabet, and some of our sounds do not exist in Egyptian.
The watch is stainless steel with a copper dial, and is water resistant to 100 feet (30m).

A new demographic

Today is a milestone birthday for me - one which leaves me distressed and disturbed - a bit like my 30th. You know the ones - the ones you can't just let slip by. You don't actually dread them but you do give them more thought than most.
And the reason for this? It's pretty simple. It's because I've gone up to the next demographic. You know. In surveys, when they ask your age - and there's a number of ranges to select from - like 36-44. Well, I'm now in the next one. I cannot pretend that the years are not creeping past - or that there is still so much that I want to do.
But if I hadn't had a birthday - then I wouldn't have been surprised by Sooz's gift. It was so amazing. I hadn't told her that my previous watch had died the day before my birthday - yet here was my birthday present - a really cool watch that is quirky yet functional - just as soon as I can tell what time it is when the big hand is on the face and the little hand is on the legs (he he).
The other thing I love about birthdays is how hard it is to write today's date. So used to writing our birth-date are we, that it's hard to write 15/3/2005 rather than 15/3/XXXX - where XXXX stands for the actual year of birth.
Oh - and another l liked about this birthday - Krispy Kreme's Doughnuts birthday voucher. Thanks KKD.

Words apart

What's the difference between jealousy and possessiveness? Sooz and I were discussing this the other day and, still unsure, I have consulted the dictionary on my Palm (PDA) - SlovoEd 4.14, content by Princeton University. Sure enough, it has definitions for both.

1) (all) desirous of owning
2) (all) having or showing a desire to control or dominate
3) (pert) (grammar) serving to express or indicate possession
Synonyms: genitive

1) (all) showing extreme cupidity
Synonyms: covetous; envious; green
2) (all) suspicious or unduly suspicious or fearful of being displaced by a rival
Synonyms: green-eyed; overjealous

Cupidity - what's that? Something to do with the little fellow with the diapers and archery equipment? Apparently nothing quite as romantic ... not that some people would see jealousy as being the slightest bit romantic either.

(attribute) extreme greed for material wealth
Synonyms: avarice; avariciousness; covetousness

So - jealous or possessive? Neither is a good look.
And the difference between jealousy and envy? Sooz reckons that in jealousy you preserve the good of your 'loved one' (making the other party the 'baddie'); with envy you want to destroy what the other person has.
Neither is a good but crimes of passion inspired by jealousy seem to be less reviled than a cold premeditated envy-driven homicide!


Toni (my Sony Vaio computer) is unwell and has gone to the Service Centre for fixing. Maybe they can get him to power on.
I am missing it and have had to change my morning schedule to exclude email checking and news downloading (there has never been time to surf!). On the bright side, the time I save by not being on the computer is well spent on the exercise bike.

Customer Service

People are always quick to criticise public transport. Only this week there was a story in the Sydney media about the Rail spending $1 million plus on taxi fares for their staff - for a variety of reasons including, supposedly, that public transport was too unreliable.
We've had our own experience with public transport this week. Get ready to hear a guernsey! Boarding the bus on the way home on Monday, Sooz put her new-that-day weekly ticket into the ticket reader on the bus. The reader ate it - and despite the driver's best efforts, it wouldn't give it up. He took Sooz's name and address and said he'd be in touch. Fine, we thought, that's the last we've seen of that.
And it was, until a couple of hours later when a gentleman arrived at the flat with Suzanne's ticket. "Just show it to the driver" he cautioned "if you put it back in a reader, it'll just get stuck again" and with that he was off into the night.
Thanks City Buses. You rock.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Blogging by email

How many ways can I add to thee? Let me count the ways ...
This may be a slightly dramatic way of checking if I am still able to post to this blog via email! I know it will send okay - but will it be received well? Will there be unexpected (and ungainly) line breaks - and is there a way to avoid them? More research may be needed!

More on Palm V

... and Claudine if you're still tuned in - thanks for the stylus! That's what we're using with the V. Cheers.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Want one of these?

Looking for a bit of consumer excitement on the internet? Take a visit to and see what they're offering today - because they won't have it tomorrow. One product per day and each for one day only (unless it's offered again at a later date - but there's no guarantee of that) - that's their business. And remember - their day is American (not sure which time zone) so don't get caught out. So what do they carry - electronics/gadgets mostly - a drill today, a coffee-thermosy set yesterday. And what does WOOT stand for? I couldn't see an explanation of the acronym during my quick visit to the site but I have an idea. Want one of these?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Palm V

How amazing it is to take a step backwards with technology. I am writing this (or trying to - I am out of practice with this particular form of grafitti input!) on a Palm V which is a couple of OS versions ago. I want to see how well this unit works and if it's worth passing on - even though it has only 2MB of memory! 2MB - wow, that was all the memory my first Palm had - and it quickly became apparent that more (much more!) was needed! My launcher (like a desktop) alone is over 1MB these days. But this still works and if you were just after tracking diary, tasks and contacts, and having some reference material and a couple of simple games on hand, this would do nicely!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A clear message

The Daily Telegraph today carries the story of Newcastle-based Albert Cutter - a GP locum - who has had "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" tattooed across his chest. The 80-year-old's story has generated a lot of comment on the US-based internet site for emergency service workers,
But what happens should a medical emergency which required resuscitation happened in a non-English speaking country? How clearly would the tattoo express his wishes?
The story also mentioned another person who has had the tattoo - except in Frances Pollack's case, hers was set around a heart with a line through it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Happy Anniversary

It's our anniversary today (March 7) - 15 years. Some times it seems like we've been together forever (I can't imagine not being with Sooz) and at others it's like no time at all. Thanks Sooz ... and here's to the next 15 - for a start!

Catch up posts

I have been blogging - just not posting ... so here are some I prepared earlier.

Blue Star Children. This is the topic of interest at the moment. The Blue Stars are apparently well-known but a quick internet search did not prove fruitful - until Sooz suggested I try Blue Star Energy instead. That worked and I've downloaded some information to read.
So why are the Blue Stars of interest? (I thought it was ''children", but I was wrong.) We were talking with a friend in Queensland the other day and he mentioned them. It struck a chord - I was sure I'd read about blue something or others - the product of aliens many years ago - not sure if they had left thelr predecessors on earth, or mated with humans to start the Blue Stars. Were the aliens from a Blue Star? What are the identifying features of Blue Stars? More to follow.

How many people out there freely volunteer their time and energy to help out others? And what motivates them to do it? We have a friend who is a "Justice of the Peace" and is currently personing a booth at a major shopping centre for two hours a week. People can come and get her to witness them signing legal and other documents. It's a great service - I know in Sydney you can never find a JP when you need one - and they can be quite useful. (And no, I don't understand exactly what the role of the JP is in our modern society - I'll have to ask.)

"If it's a giant whale, or a pirate ship, or a giant school of dolphins - okay - but if it's just rocks ..." so said Sooz as I implored her yet again (!) to look out the plane window at the passing scenery. We were lucky enough to be flying on a clear day, with good visibility and some stunning Australian coastline below us. But it was just a bit of a stretch with the aircraft we had to allow Sooz to easily take a look - but it's okay - because I took a heap of photos!

Has a frozen chicken landed on your house? If so, let Sydney's Daily Telegraph know. They are following the story of 2 frozen chickens that have landed on roofs of houses in the same Newcastle neighbourhood over the last couple of weeks. Latest theory (aka supposition) is that it may be someone with a gigantic rubber band/slingshot firing them skyward to see how high they will go. I'm interested to know how you would calculate the height.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Home from the holidays ...

... or we soon will be. At another airport - Coolangatta this time - and the night is gathering outside as we wait for our aircraft to arrive to take us back to our lives in Sydney. It has been a grand holiday - much learned, and much to think about. And here's a little taste to whet your appetite ... stingrays at SeaWorld's Shark Bay and some views.

On holidays ...

(Written 20 February ... finally posted 5 March)
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here only a little over 24 hours. We are at apartments on the Gold Coast, on the 16th (next to top) floor – and I am typing this as I look over the shadows lengthening on the beach below us, as the sun sets over the Hinterland behind us. The surf is pounding the beach and there are people, lots of people, walking, wading, swimming, fishing, paddling their way along the kilometres of sand stretching north and south.

We walked part of the beach ourselves this morning. Just after 5 – just after we’d watched the sun rise from the ocean and start the new day. Of course, we weren’t the only ones out – there were lots of people enjoying the best this strip of coastline has to offer. And at least one of the businesses knows this is holiday territory and that there will be early risers – so at 6, when we reached the “shops” there was at least one coffee shop open and already serving.

I can remember the first time I came to the Gold Coast. I was only young – and asked the question about the Gold that was used on the beaches here. I’m not sure if I asked if you could take it home or not. I do remember that we arrived in the middle of the night – and for the first time I heard the roar of the surf. I had no idea where it was – and I’m sure I thought it was just across the road. Of course, when morning came, even though my aunt and uncle lived on The Esplanade, the surf wasn’t just “right across the road” as I’d imagined. But it wasn’t far away. (That house was sold, torn down and the site became a motel many years ago now.)

... and that was it. I had expected to write much during my holidays but this was not to be.