Monday, 28 December 2009

Things Canberra got right #1

I have been accused of "Canberra bashing" - apparently, this is where you only see the bad side of Canberra, but neglect to see the good side. So, in an attempt to be fair, I'm trying hard to find the good bits of Canberra, as opposed to only the bits that need to be fixed.

So here is my first observation of things Canberra got right: ACT Shopfronts. This is a one stop shop where people can change their license details, look up bus information and buy tickets, register moving their homes when it comes to services, and get pre-paid parking permits. The list does include other services, and I'm sure they do more things, but those are the ones that come to mind. I think this is great, but was only achieved with Canberra's low population, as well as the fact that the whole ACT is governed as a single council. The physical shopfronts themselves are located in each other the major satellite city areas in the ACT.

It would be good to see this type of consolidated service offered by cities like Melbourne, but the fear I have in the nature of people is that this will means some services have to be monopolized for this to work, and this will lead to price hikes in the cost of services.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Best wishes for the festive period of 2009 to 2010

No matter what your beliefs or religion are, I would like to wish you and your family a safe and happy festive period of 2009 to 2010.

I hope to be able to continue to bore / entertain (strike out the one that doesn't apply) with my rantings / insights (strike out the one that doesn't apply).

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #7

It appears that when the year draws towards vacation time (ie. around December and January), many Canberrians (some of them may have read this blog) do not like staying in Canberra, and decide to leave it. So this observation is around the exodus mentality that spreads across the region.

Canberrians must know that their city is boring. There is nothing to do here. So when any vacation time is allocated, they leave. There is not enough entertainment or excitement in Canberra to retain its own residents.

I see this as a problem, for the few people that are required to stay (usually not the public servants), have to keep an existence up. The problem is that with the majority of the population gone, most of the supporting services (eg. shops, cafes, restaurants) also will close and take their leave. I guess they're making the call that it costs too much to stay open, while there are no clients or customers to frequent their establishments.

I went shopping last night in the Canberra Centre Shopping Centre. They do not ever have mid-week late night shopping. They advertised that they would stay open until 10pm. Upon arrival, I found that you'd probably find more shoppers on a Sunday morning in Chadstone Shopping Centre than the amount of shoppers I saw last night. Being so close to Christmas, either Canberrians are very organised and do their gift buying earlier in the year, they do it while they are "on leave", or they are just not willing to provide life and atmosphere. As a result, around 30% of the stores were shut by 8pm. There is no possible way Canberra would ever host a "round the clock" shopping experience, as Canberra's own residence have already vacated the region.

The local government should reverse the mentality by keeping the place interesting enough to retain their own residents. And not with once off niche events like SummerNats. I'm sure enough people have good ideas to make Canberra interesting.

Lastly, if you're finding these entries too much to read, try what someone else has done - tweeted about how Canberra is so bad. They don't appear to make any suggestions to try and fix the place.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Recent announcement on censorship of the Australian internet

The good Senator Conroy has made a recent press announcement on his continued effort to protect the families in Australia that use the internet from the nasties that are "lurking out there". It really appeared like he was trying to "slip" this announcement in, during the start of the holiday period - hopefully so that the majority of Australians would not notice, or would be so busy with their own daily lives, that they would not care.

He plans to introduce forced monitoring and cleansing of the internet, which was something that is against the initial policies mentioned during the 2007 election campaign. Why the good Senator still persists to attempt this form of censorship - I do not understand. The technology will only slow down the access of Australians to the internet, especially on heavy traffic websites.

On a positive note, he has mentioned that he will make the process more transparent. I am interested in this new tactic. Will they only reveal what they do if they are caught doing something that they are not supposed to be doing. With much of modern democracy based on freedom of information, and freedom of thought, I do not understand why there has not been a big international backlash on these plans.

I wonder what this will do in the long term to Australians, and their understanding of the world. Or does he just plan on making Australians a captive audience - only allowing them to see information that the good Senator and his department allows. As a future parent (one day), I do not want the internet touched!

Do something (useful) now!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Everyday Hyperizes

Following on in the collection of sneakers I seem to be acquiring, I already have the White Men Can't Jump Nike Hyperizes, but I am not wearing those on a daily basis. Here are my normal day to day Hyperizes, but as you can see, I've already started wearing them, so they're not as clean as when they first came out of the box.

Nike Hyperize 03Nike Hyperize 09Nike Hyperize 01 Nike Hyperize 04Nike Hyperize 05Nike Hyperize 02Nike Hyperize 06 Nike Hyperize 07Nike Hyperize 08Nike Hyperize 10Nike Hyperize 11
Nike Hyperize Gold and White

These shoes are incredibly comfortable. KittyKat says it's like "walking on a cloud". Even her brother has a pair.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #6

Today, I'd like to write about geographic location, it being one of the biggest waste of taxpayers' money.

According to 2 former prime ministers of Australia, Canberra is a "great mistake". OK... I'll agree with them, but I do not necessarily agree with their locations, based on the fact I would not like Sydney or Melbourne unnecessarily spoiled with the "public servants' mentality". Former Prime Minister John Howard did everything he could to stay away from Canberra - preferring to live in Kirribilli House (Sydney), than in "the Lodge".

The amount of spending done on the extravagant parliament building was an absolute waste. Completed in 1988, it cost over AU$1.1 billion. It must be a good feeling to spend someone else's money, and then think up new rules and fines to extract more money from them.

To fix it, move Canberra to Bateman's Bay or Albury / Wodonga. Canberrians will get a beach (with Bateman's Bay), and maybe the place will feel like it has some character. Do not do this with another waste of tax payers money. Move it bit by bit. Whenever a new government department is being started in Canberra, build it in the new location. After a while, with the natural attrition of buildings (something Canberra seems to be going through in Woden at the moment - ie. tearing down old buildings to build new ones), the whole city will be relocated. Business and other entities (eg. AIS) can be relocated to other major capital cities. If people are willing to come to Canberra to train for sporting events, I'm sure they would be able to do the same training in Adelaide or some other city. Maybe then Canberrians will realise that their property prices are inflated by the local council / government in an effort to raise stamp duty revenue - as there are no real benefits of living in Canberra.

"Canberra - serving no purpose than to come up with new rules for Australia, and to extract money from Australia!"

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #5

Going along the lines that things cost more in Canberra, I have recently discovered that the parking fines are cheaper in Melbourne (on average) than in Canberra. To confirm this yourself, feel free to call the Canberra Office and the Melbourne Office that deal with this particular item.

The average fine for staying longer in a space longer than the advertised allocated time is $58 in Melbourne, and $72 in Canberra. And it just goes up from there. Parking on a pedestrian crossing is in the several hundreds of dollars. Melbourne does not have such steep fines, but in fairness, Melbourne does have Clearway zones, and these can allow for your vehicle to be towed away. Canberra has no legistaltion (yet) allowing for the removal of vehicles from certain areas during certain times.

The city of Melbourne has approximately 3.8 million inhabitants, compared to the 350,000 inhabitants of Canberra. Based on that fact, maybe the city of Melbourne does not have to raise as much in revenue to try to pay for bettering the city. Examples can be seen in beautification, as well as pavement repair - as well as seasonal decoration (if you're visiting Melbourne at the moment, the city has a carpet of fairy lights hanging over the Bourke Street Mall for the Christmas festive period).

Where does the money go in Canberra? There is a lot of paving that needs to be repaired, and the Christmas decorations this year have been limited for a few banners in key streets as well as an odd oversized Christmas tree here and there.

My frustration at parking fines in Canberra basically came after getting fined the first time - incorrectly. The Canberra revenue office were nice enough to dismiss the charges - based on the fact that I had purchased a parking ticket, but it was partially obscured as it had moved on my dashboard to a hard to read area, when my vehicle was inspected. My initial thoughts was "How do they justify charging $72 for a fine, when there's nothing in Canberra to visit?"

On top of that, the on-street parking is limited. Off-street parking is also limited, and always comes with a cost. In Melbourne, you could park your car in a shopping centre like Chadstone, and shop for a day without paying a cent for parking. If you do the same thing at Westfield Woden, that will cost you $15 for parking alone! Maybe they have done it to deter office workers from parking in shopping car parks all day - and if this is the case, then it shows that a planned city's original idea has failed. Centralise the business area, don't spread it out amongst the satellite cities.

Do they seriously think they will attract new families to move in when the cost of living is higher than other cities in Australia?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

White Men Can't Jump Nike Hyperizes

Going along the lines of basketball sneakers and collections, I've managed to get a hold of these gems, being in the form of Nike Hyperizes - done in a tribute to the 1992 film - "White Men Can't Jump".

The dark shoe is based on the Sidney character - played by Wesley Snipes, and the lighter shoe is based on the Billy character - played by Woody Harrelson. Look for the similarities between the movie characters and the shoes. The darker shoe is all "bling'ed up" - being very glitzy and looking like a gaudy diamond. The lighter shoe is very subdued, with accents of neon - but the tongue quotes Billy stating that "I am in the f**king zone!"

I also have another Hyperize shoe, but I did not get any pictures of it before I wore it. I'll post some pictures of it soon, but they may not be squeaky clean.

And in case you're wondering, they do take some breaking in, but they are very light and the sole feels like it floats on a cloud.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #4

Currently in Canberra, there is a marketing or propaganda campaign about how Canberra is such a great place to be as they have more restaurants per capita than any other location in Australia. I am not disagreeing with that, especially seeing how I do not have any statistical facts of any other locations in Australia. What I am suggesting is that Canberra needs to fix the restaurants themselves.

Maybe the restaurant situation is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to deeper problems that Canberra have. The main two issues I see with the restaurants are:
  1. The quality of food is not good in comparison to similar restaurants in other cities.
  2. They are over priced!
Canberra suffers from an effect I have termed "a captive market" or "a captive audience". The competition is far less, and hence the mentality of the public has been adjusted to think "well - there's nothing else better, and there's nothing else cheaper - so we'll just have to accept this as the way things are!"

For example, the average meal price is more expensive than the same meal in Melbourne. Chinese dumplings are generally larger and cheaper in Melbourne than in Canberra. Same goes for Vietnamese pho soup as well. Yum Cha will have a bigger range. Value meals in some fast food outlets include drinks in Melbourne, whereas in Canberra, they will be the same price but without drinks. The souvlakis in Canberra do not taste as good as the ones in Melbourne.

I am not saying that every restaurant in Canberra has poor standards or over charges. I do not even think that they are even over charging, as they are just charging what they think is the correct price. It is just that the correct is higher in Canberra than in other locations. Transport and freight costs can only explain so much - the "captive market" phenomenon could explain the rest.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #3

This one is going to be hard to address or fix in Canberra: the public service mentality.

I've been thinking about this one for a long time and how to describe it. Basically the whole city is fuelled by the rest of Australia through tax dollars. Canberra makes nothing but rules for Australia. It does not produce any goods, it does not have to compete on the market, and it does not have to be nice to people. It tells people what they should do and how they should behave, and the politicians and public servants that work here behave accordingly.

I understand that this is a very broad brush to paint with, and I'm not saying it applies to everyone in the public service - just the majority of them. It's worse at the high level. The executives for every government department have fought hard to get up to their perches. They do not want to let go of their salaries or their benefits. They will give a helping hand to their friends and family. Once people start working for the public service as permanents, they stop thinking of their roles as a privilege, but more as a right. This concept also flows out through their personalities - you get a feeling after a while that the whole town is full of people going "what's in it for me?"

Working for the public is usually a thankless task - much like being a police officer. I know it's a calling I could not answer. The police officer puts themselves in physical danger, often for strangers, and not because it is a high paying or glamorous role. There are police officers that join to be police officers, and there are police officers that have joined because they cannot get another job, or they want to exploit the role for its benefits. Some of the police officers that currently exploit the benefits, could have started with the best intentions of wanting to assist the public. I'm sure most public servants joined the public service in an attempt "to do some good" - but it appears a group of them have forgotten about that - and that mentality is filtering through this government bureaucracy powered town.


What can be done to fix this?

There is no simple fix. The obvious one I can think of is to shut Canberra down and to re-allocate all the government department duties to the other major capital cities. Canberra's location has failed with modern technology. One of the reasons it was located where it was, was in the day, missiles from ships could not be launched and reached Canberra - that was the early 1900s. In 2009, armchair generals can press buttons from their computers and send enough armaments to wipe out Canberra many times over. The reason for it to exist as a planned inland city has been nullified with the advancement of technology.

I look forward to any other better ideas...

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #2

Another aspect of Canberra that really lets it down is the problem of car parking.

I believe this comes down to two things:

  1. Canberra is overly planned - without much thought of the future.
  2. The residence of Canberra just accept things as they are.

This is not the first time this topic has been brought up for discussion on the web. It has already been raised on Canberra's own soapboax website. For a city of around 400,000 people, why does the "metered" parking locations charge as much as cities like Melbourne? They recently raised the price of all day parking in the satellite cities of Canberra from $5 to $6. While I don't have a problem in that, I'd like to know why it was raised. What was the reason it was raised? It was just accepted.

My main gripe with the problem of parking in Canberra is not the city parking, but with the on-street parking in the suburbs. Where is it? Why are there signs around the suburbs during weekdays that prohibit parking in the streets? That one should be obvious to most people - it is to stop people from parking in the streets, and then funnel them into the government paid parking lots, or the commercial parking lots. That is unfair!!

Secondly, on the same point of above, why are the streets so poorly designed? The streets are narrow, but looking at houses that come off them, the front common area on them (ie. the land between the border of their property and the street) is sometimes as wide as 30m. This is truly a waste of space, and shows a considerable short-sightedness when it comes to planning. While this may have kept Canberra attractive in 1920, it really did not have the future vision of cars included or a population of over 20,000.

As a side note, I've been doing some thinking about Canberra and what makes it the way it is. Speaking with the locals that live in Canberra, the term "planned city" comes up a lot. Doing some searching on the internet gave this interesting article: "New Towns for the 21st Century: The Planned vs. the Unplanned City". Simply stating it, the planning may have worked at one time, for a certain set of people - including the planner themselves, but if it has not evolved in the correct manner, the result is a souless city. Canberra could have been better. Melbourne is an example of a planned city that evolved.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Things they could fix in Canberra #1

I've decided to come up with a mini-series in this blog, on where I've been working for about 2 years - Canberra. I keep hearing nice things about Canberra - and it's mainly from the locals that do not know any better, as they like their little village in the middle of no where.

I started off with doing some searching on the web to see if there was any pro-Canberra discussions. I found this interesting article on the travelmsn website: Canberra: Near the beaten track by Sophie Lamond. The author has really done a good attempt of selling the whole concept that Canberra is a great place, and has something for everyone. The article reads well - but the "kick-in-the-guts" for the article is the comments to the article. Most of them comment about Canberra being an awful place to be. Sadly, after working there for 2 years, I would have to agree with them. The author herself also mentioned on her profile page, that when she gets a long weekend, she would rather leave Canberra than stay in it.

Stating that, I thought I would compile a series of posts, based on what I think could be fixed in Canberra. They will all be titled "Things they could fix in Canberra #n". Feel free to comment on them.


Things they could fix in Canberra #1: The single lane of the Gungahlin Drive Extension, and additionally around the Glenloch interchange - who's idea was it for a single lane? The instant someone slows to admire the scenery - that is the whole of the peak hour traffic coming to a complete stop. I do not think I know of one motorist that loves the concept of a bottleneck while trying to get somewhere.

Look for more quick comments about Canberra in the future...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Macarons in Melbourne

Not to be confused with the biscuits you have with coffee (ie. macaroons), if you are in Melbourne, you should make the effort to find La Tropezienne (Glenferrie Road, Hawthrown) and try their delicious macarons.

La Tropezienne macaronsLa Tropezienne macarons
Awesome with coffee... not easy to resist...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Magic the card gathering game...

I recently started getting into Magic The Gathering. For those of you that have never heard of it, it's essentially a card game where competing players "cast" spells that result in damaging each other (or themselves). Damage your opponent more, and you win. I had played it many years ago, and also the PC video game version, but I have never had the cards to play. I do not intend to spend hundreds on it, and it is more of a social thing than a competitive aspect.

Does this summarise me well?

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what I create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Once in a while, you see something special...

I will admit it's not that special, but it took me a while to do it...
Perfect Wii 100 Pin Bowling GamePerfect Wii Sports Resort 100 Pin Bowling Game

Not the easiest thing to do... no cheating involved, no use of the secret strike.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Basketball shoes (again)...

As some of you may know, I like basketball shoes in particular the Air Jordan branded ones - but only some of them. I've owned several different shoes in my lifetime, but now I have decided to do something I have never thought of doing before. I have purchased shoes with the idea not to wear them.

The idea behind this is to possibly make money through purchasing shoes which may become desirable in the future, but as many of you know that know me personally, I like to purchase several items of the same model if I like something. I always hate buying a pair of shoes and then finding them really comfortable, then when they wear out, I can't purchase a replacement for them. So now, I have purchased some shoes that I have no intention of wearing immediately. This is opposed to my current "working" shoes which I do wear - the Jordan 6 Rings being apart of the ones I rotate and wear. So here are the shoes I currently wear:

Air Jordan 6 RingsAir Jordan 6 Rings

More Air Jordan 6 RingsMore Air Jordan 6 Rings

I'll post up pictures of the other shoes purchases I've made in the near future. Feel free to comment or query on the shoes I've featured.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Help out with some causes...

If you looking to help out a charity (and score yourself a tax deductible donation - in Australia, at least), a few people I know have donated their time and efforts to raise money.
Help out if you can. And if you are looking for goofy comments to write, use the page that I got inspiration from - "Strangest Comments on Ebay".

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Open Source saves power grid

I was reading in the news recently that a power grid in Australia was infected by a Windows virus. The quick thinking technical specialists there quickly swapped over to Linux machines that they were using for another use, and thus no major outage occurred.

This is a great example of how Open Source is not cheaper, but better than the proprietary offerings from major companies that are only in it to make profit. It came down to "security through transparency" over "security through obscurity". I have no real problem with people making money from their work, but when it comes to systems that are mission and life critical, I do not think they have their customer interests in their agendas. It may sound like a conspiracy against the major organisations, but how far fetched is it, really? Short term plans may be to enable their customers to do what they need to do, but long term strategies would be to ensure that customers do not leave to utilise the services and products of another competitor.

"Security through transparency" is not new - although it may have only been termed recently. The person who came up with the concept, Auguste Kerckhoffs, did it over 100 years ago. "Security through obscurity" is marketed by proprietary companies that are hoping that no one will be able to figure out their secrets, and thus keeping their systems safe and working as expected. The problem is that over time, someone seems to always figure this stuff out, and then figure out how to exploit it. It tends to give individuals and companies that rely on these systems a "false sense of security".

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Why don't people just censor themselves?

Someone once told me "If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all!" I'm sure this is good and all when it comes to being polite, since everyone appears to be very sensitive but let's just apply that to other things around us.

If you don't like what's on the internet, then disconnect yourself and don't search for information.

If you don't like what's on the TV, turn it off.

If you don't like what's on the radio, change to another channel or turn it off.

If you don't like what you're reading, put down the piece of text you're reading, and do something else.

If you don't like someone, don't spend your time researching / stalkbooking / googling them.

Do the things in life that matters. Take care of the people that count. Look after yourselves and each other. And if you don't like what you're reading on this blog, why are you reading it then? I'm not forcing you to read it...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Cyber terrorists, or information freedom fighters?

The good Senator Conroy appears to have some interesting opposition. A group or a person known as Anonymous has decided to take up the battle against internet censorship. They have set up a Youtube message, as well as declaring their actions. They have their own wiki page. The main thing is they're going to fight this unfair censorship of the internet.

Are they cyber terrorists? Or are they information freedom fighters? What they are will be how the media spins it - and which side of the fence you decide to sit on. If you don't know what I am talking about - learn more about the problem.


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Béarnaise - made by KittyKat

KittyKat woke up this morning, and decided to make Béarnaise sauce. She has made Hollandaise sauce in the past, but since I prefer the taste of Béarnaise more, she decided to give it a go. She did not make it to the exact technique described in the Larousse Gastronomique, as she did not have access to shallots or chevril, but the results were magnificent.

Freshly made Béarnaise sauceFresh Béarnaise sauce made by KittyKat

Béarnaise sauce on Bacon on ToastBéarnaise sauce on Bacon on Toast

As you can see, even with my high cholesterol count, I couldn't help but spoon some on bacon.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Cocktails I've made

A long time ago, I used to be a waiter and mixed drinks for a living. Just so I don't forget, here are some I've made:

Casual S3x
Ice a 12oz glass / hurricane
15 ml Lena Banana
15 ml Vodka
15 ml Creme de Cacao White
15 ml Peach Schnapps
Pineapple Juice to 7/8 glass
Cranberry Juice float

Strawberry Daiquiri
In a blender - add ice enough for a 14oz glass
30 ml Bacardi
15 ml Rubis Strawberry
15 ml Cointreau
Fresh strawberries
Sweet'n'sour mix
Pour frostie mix into 12 oz glass / hurricane
Rim glass with sugar

Banana Daiquiri
In a blender - add ice enough for a 14oz glass
30 ml Bacardi
15 ml Lena Banana
15 ml Cointreau
1/2 ripe banana
Sweet'n'sour mix
Pour frostie mix into 12 oz glass / hurricane
Rim glass with sugar

In a blender - add ice enough for a 14oz glass
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml Tequila (no crap Tequila)
Sweet'n'sour mix
Dash of lime cordial
Pour frostie mix into a 12 oz glass / margarita glass that has a lime-sugar rim

Lazy Margarita
Ice a 12oz glass / hurricane
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml Tequila (no crap Tequila)
Dash of lime cordial
Lemonade to top

Long Island Iced Tea
Ice a 12oz glass / hurricane
15 ml Cointreau
15 ml Vodka
15 ml Bacardi
15 ml Gin
Sweet'n'sour mix to 7/8 glass
Coca-cola float on top

Midori Splice
Ice a 12oz glass / hurricane
30 ml Malibu Rum
30 ml Midori Melon
Pineapple Juice to 7/8 glass
Dash of milk as a float

Abortion Shooter
7/8 shot glass peach schnapps
1/8 shot glass Bailey's Irish Cream
Drip raspberry cordial in
Drip Blue Curacao in

Pina Colada
Ice a 12oz glass / hurricane
30 ml Malibu Rum
30 ml Bacardi
Pineapple Juice to 7/8 glass
Dash of milk as a float

Fruit Tingle
Ice a 12oz glass / brandy balloon
30 ml Blue Curacao
30 ml Raspberry Coridal
Lemonade to the top

Midori Slipper
Ice a 12 oz glass
30 ml Cointreau
30 ml Midori Melon
Sweet'n'sour mix
Strain into a martini glass - no ice should be in the final drink but it should be ice cold

Martini (one of the most misunderstood drinks of all time because improperly made it tastes like crap, and when properly made it requires an acquired taste)
Ice a 12 oz glass
45 ml Vodka (can be substituted for Gin)
15 ml Dry Vermouth (can be substituted for Sweet Vermouth)
Stir (don't shake... this is not a Bond film)
Strain into a martini glass - no ice should be in the final drink but it should be ice cold
Must be garnished with either a lemon rind or an oil free rinsed green stuffed olive

Midori Illusion
Ice a 12oz glass
15 ml vodka
15 ml Cointreau
15 ml blue curacao
15 ml Midori Melon
Pineapple Juice to top
Pour into shooters and slam

Sweet'n'sour mix (this is just a mixer - not a drink in itself)
1 part juice of a lemon
3 part sugar
2 part water
Boil until all sugar is dissolved

I'll try to line up some pictures of these if I ever get around to making them again, and if I think up any more, I'll post them up too...

Sunday, 28 June 2009

My dad lives on with Google's help

Many years ago (1982 to be exact), there was a newspaper article about my father's restaurant. Kitty Kat asked me to do a search on his name, and lo and behold, Google has cached the newspaper article.

My father passed away in 1998, and I miss him greatly. It was a most pleasant surprise to find that even Google knows of him.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Odo readings and apples

On a recent trip down to Melbourne, I noticed that the odometer on the car was at a very auspicious number - especially for the Chinese, so I took a picture of it:
Odometer reading of 88888
And Kitty Kat baked a "Tarte Tatin". Awesome effort, especially since it was her first attempt. Yummy (and at the time of this post - not much left)!!
Tarte Tatin

Monday, 1 June 2009

Internet censorship in Australia

I've been looking for the past few days for any new information on the exploits of the good Senator Conroy, and his antics of providing a filter around Australia's intenet to filter out the "nasties" that may lurk on the internet. These "nasties" were originally sold to the Australian public as terrorist information, and child pornography - but as this unfolded, it appeared to include more and more items that seem to be of a personal nature to the good Senator.

I have not heard much information after late Feb 2009 - which is a positive sign, but I would like an announcement from the office of the good Senator Conroy announcing that he is no longer going to pursue the avenue of attempting to filter the internet. Articles like "Web censorship plan heads towards a dead end" (from give me hope.

C'mon good Senator Conroy - force me to remove the italics around the adjective good I've been describing you with!

Monday, 25 May 2009

B _ _ _ scratcher?

Ever seen the Family Guy episode where Peter Griffin has to work a second job job, because his son Chris is going to an expensive private school? I was wondering if you could buy such an implement. Well, Tickets has found them!


Monday, 18 May 2009

Good attempt Boston...

Today marked a day that the campaign for the Boston Celtics to go back to back with their championships ends. In game #7, the Orlando Magic have beaten the Boston Celtics 101-82. Most people said they did not have a chance to even get past the 1st round against the Chicago Bulls with the loss of Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe. They lasted through 14 games in the first two series of the 2009 playoffs.

Hopefully now they will have the time to recoup, and thus allow Kevin to get the treatment he requires to come back and help win championship #19.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Mussels and crab

How tasty can a basic meal be? VERY!

I was fortunate enough to be apart of a crab on pasta, and mussels served 2 ways; one with a white wine, cream and garlic broth, and the other with a chilli tomato broth. Thanks goes to KittyKat's dad.

Mussels with tomato and chilliMussels with tomato and chilli

Mussels with garlic, cream, and white wineMussels with garlic, cream, and white wine

Blue Swimmer Crab on pastaBlue Swimmer Crab on pasta

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Boston Celtics battling the Orlando Magic

If you're following the NBA 2009 playoffs at all, you would know that the Boston Celtics are currently locked 2-2 against the Orlando Magic. The Celtics are trying to go back-to-back when it comes to championship, as they won the title last year. The remarkable effort this year is that they're doing it without Kevin Garnett or Leon Powe - both who play the position of power forward. They squeezed past the Chicago Bulls 4-3 in an entertaining series that included 4 games going into 7 overtime periods. The highlight of the series would have to be Joakim Noah (of the Bulls) stealing the ball from Paul Pierce, and then out running him down the court to make a dunk. While this was done by an opposing team, it was very entertaining, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Joakim has the motivation and skills to be very entertaining to watch, and he is truly an asset to what ever team he plays for.

I hope the Celtics can overpower the Magic in the current series, and I understand that whoever wins will find an even tougher opponent in the Cleveland Cavaliers headed up by Lebron James.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

New server on Gentoo

I recently did an upgrade on my Gentoo system, which meant it brought down the new server 1.5.3 - resulting in my keyboard no longer working. The resulted in me doing some research and finding the Gentoo upgrade page. This results (in culmination with the Gentoo configuration page), in running the configuration tool:

# xorgcfg

The final result is a new /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

evilric@lasek /etc/X11 $ cat xorg.conf
Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier " Configured"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"

Section "Files"
ModulePath "/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/misc/"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/TTF/"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/OTF"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/Type1/"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/100dpi/"
FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/75dpi/"

Section "Module"
Load "glx"
Load "extmod"
Load "wfb"
Load "xtrap"
Load "record"
Load "dbe"
Load "dri"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Keyboard0"
Driver "kbd"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Mouse0"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "Auto"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5 6 7"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Monitor Vendor"
ModelName "Monitor Model"
HorizSync 29.0 - 55.0
VertRefresh 0.0 - 61.0

Section "Device"
Identifier "nVidia0"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "nVidia Corporation"
BoardName "NV34M [GeForce FX Go5200 64M]"
BusID "PCI:1:0:0"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "nVidia0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 1
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 4
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 8
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 15
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 16
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

They see me rollin' (and eatin')... They hatin'...

So from my last post, I was in Melbourne. Here are some random pics of me in Melbourne doing what I do - either eating or driving...
ric_man on Flinder Streetric_man on Flinder Street

ric_man eating dumplingsric_man eating dumplings

ric_man rollin past Crown Casinoric_man rollin' past Crown Casino

ric_man eating rum'n'raisinric_man eating rum'n'raisin ice cream with lil' sis Urmz looking shocked

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Skydeck in Melbourne

Went down to Melbourne for the weekend, and visited the SkyDeck (at the Eureka Tower). It was a windy day, and apparently, if it's very windy, the whole tower can sway up to 600mm. I didn't feel the sway, but I did feel the windows vibrate with the wind...
ric_man on the skydeck
Great views while I was up there...

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Is it possible I have an addiction?

4 pairs of Air Jordan 6rings4 pairs of Air Jordan 6rings

Technically, I only own 3 of the 4 pairs of Air Jordan 6rings you see there. KittyKat owns one pair. Anyone willing to guess who owns what?

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Lasagne made by an italian

KittyKat came around last night and made a lasagne from scratch. Now seeing how KittyKat is from Italian heritage, I asked her if there was going to be any Béchamel sauce on it. The reason I asked, was that I have been told repeatedly by qualified people in the hospitality industry that Béchamel sauce is a French invention, and only used on commercial or westernised versions of lasagne, and additionally that it ruined the taste and texture of a traditional Italian lasagne. I know different now - and from an Italian.

Lasagne fresh out of the ovenDinner cooked by Kitty KatDinner cooked by KittyKat

Friday, 20 March 2009

The good Senator Conroy is under threat...

Even the good Senator Conroy cannot escape being the target of legal action. According to an article in, the good Senator Conroy or people representing his investigations into the leaks of the so called "fake" ACMA blacklist face prosecution if they continue to investigate the source of the information. The fact that is hosted in Sweden is no coincidence, as this will allow it to receive the maximum protection of the law in that country.

Maybe the good Senator Conroy should not be so hasty in future to fire off draconion-like statements of how he will just persecute people for trying to access information he himself is trying to hide from the world that should be shared.

I hate how politicians hide information from the people they are supposed to be working for.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Why is an anti-abortion website on a blacklist?

I know I have not posted anything to this blog for a while, as I have been busy with the "day to day", but this one could not escape my attention.

According to an article on - Banned hyperlinks could cost you $11,000 a day, the government department that the good Senator Conroy is in charge of - ACMA, is attempting to tell a website to remove a link because it is banned, or face a financial penalty. The link is to an anti-abortion website.

What irritates me to no-end is that this is pure censorship based on religious grounds. I highly doubt there is any terrorist material or unacceptable pornographic material on this anti-abortion website. has compiled a list of what it believes is on the ACMA blacklist. This will never be confirmed as the government is keeping it a secret what is on the blacklist and what is not - but think about this - if the link stops working, then start looking in google's caches. The list may still exist there!

To everyone reading this post, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! To the good Senator Conroy, reverse all your decisions you have made about internet censorship - you are making Australia a joke in the eyes of rest of the world that values freedom of information.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Well done to the Victory!

Well done to the Melbourne Victory for their 2009 Grand Final win over the Adelaide United with the score of 1-0. In what looked like a very controversial game from a refereeing point of view, Tom Pondeljak in the 59th minute scored the winning goal.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Big Merino

Went to Goulburn yesterday for lunch on recommendation of NutMeg. She suggested to try the Paragon Cafe in the main street. On the way into Goulburn, from Canberra, is the Big Merino. I've always had a fascination of everything "big" in Australia, and had to stop to take a few photos.

While taking photos, a car load of local guys rolled up to yell abuse at me for taking photos of the Big Merino. While this did not alarm me, as they were probably unintelligent and bored, this is something that should alarm the Big Merino operators, as well as the Goulburn tourist board. Scaring away visitors from a city that has been bypassed from the Hume should not be tolerated, as I'm sure Goulburn would want entice as many people as possible to stop and spend some money. Maybe I'm wrong, and Goulburn does not require any additional tourist money.

Big MerinoBig Merino

ric_man and Big Merinoric_man and Big Merino

Big Merino side shotBig Merino side shot

Friday, 30 January 2009

My teams are winning...

I was down in Melbourne for the Australia Day weekend. On the Friday night, I was fortunate enough to witness Melbourne Victory win 2-0 over the Wellington Phoenix, and secure the top spot of the A-League ladder for the 2008-09 season. To add to that, the Boston Celtics have started winning again after their 4 game loosing slump, which included a loss at home as well. And it was good to catch up with my bro4Life, Jay, who is now a Celtics follower!

Jay and ric_manJay and ric_man



Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Fix for Firefox 3 in Gnome on Gentoo

A few days ago I blogged about a conflict problem I was having with Firefox 3 on my Gentoo box. I did some further searching on the internet and found a fix on one of the mailing lists that caters for Gentoo topics.

Essentially, to fix it, you need to alter the /etc/make.conf file and alter the USE flags so that it includes the following:

USE=".... -firefox xulrunner ..."


$ emerge -DNuva --with-bdeps y world

and everything should be right. This will also recompile anything that was using Firefox as a basis, and convert it over to Firefox 3.0.5. Apparently the package support was split out some time ago, and I missed the announcement.

Everything else is running smoothly...

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Basketball sneakers...

People that have met me in person know I am not really into fashion. I dress poorly, but at least I am comfortable in what I am in. Unfortunately I do have a thing for shoes - basketball sneakers to be precise. I was just thinking of the shoes I have owned recently, and in this case, I was focussing on basketball sneakers. Here's what I have had (from memory):
  1. Nike Air Jordan VIs (originals)
  2. Converse Aero Jams (original Johnson's)
  3. Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars
  4. Nike Air Max Sensations (original Webber's)
  5. Reebok Original Pumps
  6. Reebok BB4600
  7. Nike Air Jordan "6 Rings"
Out of all the shoes there, I would consider the most comfortable to be the Air Jordan VIs. They also looked quite good for their time. The worse I would think were the Converse Aero Jams - as I usually wore shoes until the sole disintegrated, and this caused the gel fluid to leak out all over the place - much to the hatred of my parents who could not figure out why there was all this yellow gel fluid all over the carpets. The "6 Rings" are the current shoe I use. Quite new, they have design elements from many different Jordan shoes - 6 to be exact. When I saw them in store, I could help but notice that they looks like Jordan VIs, VIIs and VIIIs - which are, in my opinion, the best looking Air Jordan shoes Nike has ever made. Very comfortable too!

Nike Air Jordan 6 Rings - Black and WhiteNike Air Jordan 6 Rings (excuse the hair on the legs!)

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Firefox 3, and kernels on Gentoo

Recently updated my Gentoo box, and found that a few new things were finally available. The first one being a new kernel, which I promptly compiled and installed, and is not up and running with:

evilric@lasek ~ $ uname -a
Linux lasek 2.6.27-gentoo-r7 #1 SMP PREEMPT Sun Jan 11 11:44:19 EST 2009 i686 Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

The second thing being the latest version of Mozilla Firefox. This has been a long time coming in the Gentoo distribution, as there has been some slotting or compilation issues due to the nature of the package management system used by Gentoo - being portage. Even now, when I update "world", I notice there is still some problems with Firefox 3.0.5 and Firefox wanting to be installed on the machine at the same time, but I believe this is mainly due to me choosing to use the entire Gnome desktop, and hence some dependencies are there. Here is the emerge error message stating the error:

!!! Multiple package instances within a single package slot have been pulled
!!! into the dependency graph, resulting in a slot conflict:


('ebuild', '/', 'www-client/mozilla-firefox-', 'merge') pulled in by
=www-client/mozilla-firefox-2* required by ('ebuild', '/', 'www-client/epiphany-2.22.3-r1', 'merge')
=www-client/mozilla-firefox-2* required by ('ebuild', '/', 'gnome-extra/yelp-2.22.1-r2', 'merge')
(and 1 more)

('installed', '/', 'www-client/mozilla-firefox-3.0.5', 'nomerge') pulled in by
www-client/mozilla-firefox required by world

It may be possible to solve this problem by using package.mask to
prevent one of those packages from being selected. However, it is also
possible that conflicting dependencies exist such that they are
impossible to satisfy simultaneously. If such a conflict exists in the
dependencies of two different packages, then those packages can not be
installed simultaneously.

For more information, see MASKED PACKAGES section in the emerge man page
or refer to the Gentoo Handbook.

Still, it's a welcome to the new browser, and a good indication that the Gentoo project still keeps on ticking...

Firefox Gentoo About dialog boxGentoo's Mozilla Firefox's About Dialog Box

Monday, 5 January 2009

New Year celebrations in Sydney

I was up in Sydney's Star City Casino for New Year's celebrations. I have a before and after photo:

Jay, pappaD, ric_manBefore! Jay, pappaD, and ric_man

Jay, ric_manAfter! Jay and ric_man

No further captions offered.

Happy and safe 2009 to everyone!