Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Dogs on beanbags and tuckerboxes

I just drove back from Melbourne to Canberra, and my car consumes around 11L/100kms. This means if I fill up just before I leave Melbourne, I need to stop in Gundagai to fuel up (at the BP with 98 Ultimate). Everytime I've stopped, I've always been interested in seeing the "Dog on the Tuckerbox". This time I drove off from the petrol station, and stopped, and took a picture:Dog on the TuckerboxThis is a somewhat famous icon, and has been mentioned in literature, as well as some songs. Don't ask me for more information on this topic - I think the web will be able to provide much more information. It made me think of my little girl who's living with my wife who I haven't seen for over a month (long story - and this is not the time).Jazz on the beanbagThis is Jazz, and she is a beautiful Vizsla. This photo was taken about a year ago - the dog on the tuckerbox was taken earlier today. I miss them both very much - not the dog on the tuckerbox though.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Socceroos one step closer to South Africa 2010

With the win in the early morning (my time) over Qatar (with the final score being 3-1), the Socceroos have secured a place in the 4th round of the AFC qualification campaign for South Africa 2010. The reassuring aspect about being in the position is that the result of Australia's next match against China does not affect their qualification. Of course it would be better if they won, but with Qatar and Iraq both currently on 7 points, and playing each other next, the best they can do is to equal the points Australia is currently on - and only one of them will advance.

As long as the Socceroos do not "fall asleep at the wheel", there is a good chance they will qualify for South Africa 2010. Currently, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC - which Australia is now apart of), has 4.5 spots at the next World Cup. The reason for the 0.5 place is that the 3rd place teams from the 4th round of qualification (in the AFC) will compete against each other to challenge the champion of qualification of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC - which Australia used to be apart of). The place from the APC-OFC play-off will not be determined until November 2009.

This leads me to ask - why is there an OFC at all? It's always been very difficult to qualify from the region, as the competition has been low, and the first real taste of competition is when the OFC champion competes against the "best of the losers" from some other confederation. Australia was talented and lucky enough to beat Uruguay in 2005 (via penalty shoot-out) to qualify for Germany 2006, but I don't understand why it has to be that way. The team coming out of the OFC will always be under prepared compared to any other teams coming out of the AFC or Confederaci├│n Sudamericana de F├║tbol (CONMEBOL - South American Football Confederation). My suggestion is to merge the OFC into the AFC. Then the AOFC could be allocated the 5th place at the World Cup qualifications going forward.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

One game to go until #17!

Due to the work ethics of the Boston Celtics, the Celtics have turned a 20+ point deficit in game 4 (against the Lakers) to into a 6 point win on the road. With 6:45 left in the 2nd quarter, the score was Lakers 45 - Celtics 21. The Celtics rallied hard to catch up, but didn't reach the Lakers score until 10:12 left in the 4th quarter. Then with 4:07 left in the forth quarter, the Celtics finally hit the front, and ended up with 97 points, compared to the 91 points of the Lakers. Paul Pierce seemed instrumental at this, by guarding Kobe Bryant in the 4th quarter, but it didn't hurt that the other two of the Celtics' big 3 (being Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen) stepped it up. James Posey made some decent points, while Eddie House stepped up for a partially injured Rajon Rondo. I guess coach Rivers deserves credit on this win as well.

The best thing I find about the Celtics being so high profile at the moment is that amount of merchandising I am finding in the stores. Take for example the Adidas Celtics Cap I recently purchased:Boston Celtics capDuring the 90s, the only way to find something like this would be to order it directly from the USA - something that was costly when done from Australia. Now, I am able to find team jerseys, team shorts, caps, T-shirts, jackets, and other items available in many major chain stores, as well as boutique sports stores. I just wish it was like this for the past 20 years - but during the 90s it was mainly Chicago Bulls merchandise with the number 23 on it. Don't get me wrong, I respect Michael Jordan, and think the only thing that would have improved Jordan was if he had played for the Celtics. I still have two Celtics jackets that I purchased about 20 years ago, and other bits and pieces (like wall pennants, and trading cards) - but sadly, all the caps I had are lost in time.

Saying all that, it's been awesome that for their run to their 17th championship, the Celtics are in the finals against the Lakers. So now it comes down to one more game in LA before the Celtics can claim the championship. They are in a 3-1 advantage for the best of 7 series, and statistical history is on their side.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

You win some and you loose some...

I know about winning and loosing at the same time. It's sort of happening to me at the moment, but it's also happening to a few of the sporting teams I follow, as well as other things I do:

1. Celtics vs Lakers
The Celtics held back a last minute surge from the Lakers to win by 6 points, and gain a 2-0 lead in the NBA finals! A big "well done" needs to go out to Leon Powe - who contributed as many points as Kevin Garnett did in the same game, even though he usually comes off the bench, and hardly plays any minutes in the regular season. Definitely going to be a crowd favourite if he keeps that effort up. Come on championship #17. Make it a clean sweep!

2. Australia vs Iraq
In a reverse of events that happened in Brisbane recently, Iraq has beaten Australia in football by 1-0. This opens up Group 1, and means that Australia has to attempt to repeat its game against Qatar in hope to remain on top of the group. I've got faith that the Socceroos will qualify, and make it to South Africa in 2010, but I also know the ball is round, and may somewhat be unpredictable when attempting to get it in the goals.

3. Upgraded to new kernel on my Gentoo machine
And in yet another seemless upgrade on Gentoo, I've moved to the 2.6.24-r8 gentoo-sources kernel. A quick change to grub, and a quick reboot, and I was using my new kernel. So why have I added this? Well there's a few things they're "not winning" on. The most troublesome to me is the madwifi-ng- package - it does not compile with the current kernel. I do not think it is a problem with the kernel itself, but more with the way the package determines which kernel it is. This could be solved if the Gentoo developers promoted madwifi-ng-0.9.4 to the stable tree, but it appears to be still having problems. It's the only thing stopping me from fully getting my WiFi card up and running. I have tested the WiFi hardware by booting up with a Ubuntu 8.04 LiveCD, and can confirm it is detected, and attempts to detect other wireless networks.

In other news from Gentoo (as also reported in the current Distrowatch newsletter), it appears that they may release another Gentoo LiveCD, but they do not know when this will happen. I know this is a difficult task, but let me re-iterate, you do not need a Gentoo LiveCD to install Gentoo. Any Linux LiveCD will do.

So when people ask how I am, I usually respond by saying:
Could be better... Could be worse... Always in the middle.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Socceroos getting closer to South Africa 2010

The Socceroos are one step closer to the World Cup (for association football) in South Africa in 2010. Their win over Iraq in Brisbane this evening puts them firmly at the top of Group 1 in the AFC qualifications. Well done to Harry Kewell for scoring in the 47th minute. Good luck Socceroos against Iraq at their home for your next match!

I've been thinking for a long time, that now with Australia becoming a force in football, I should start making plans to go to South Africa in 2010. I've got a few things I have to personally attend to at the moment, but it sounds more and more like a great idea every time I think about it. Anyone want to come?