Wednesday, December 30, 2009

English Premier League team of the decade

Schmeichel (Kasper), Zola, Le Tissier, Kewell (the tattoed version), Ginola, Kanu (it wasn't me), Di Canio, Berger, Chadwick, Crouch, James McFadden.

Bench: Solskjaer (for 3 minutes only), Ivan Campo

Manager: Gary Megson, Bobby Robson, and Roy Hodgson

Formation: 1-2-2-1-2-1-1

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


How are vampires so good looking? They can't see their reflection in mirrors.

Sometimes, I think it's important to not look in mirrors if you want to feel good looking. The longer you avoid them, the more your perception can diverge from what the mirror shows you and the better you can feel like.

Friday, November 13, 2009

There's a register free

I got fooled by the supermarket.  It's embarrassing.  I didn't even put up a fight.

My brand new supermarket.  A big fancy delicatessen.  It's like being in Europe.  Fresh food.  Everything has premium on it.  I can't find non-premium food.  It's pretty lucky.  So shiny.  Some food is still in the boxes it grew in, that's how fresh they are.  

I'm wandering the aisles because I always forget something.  Usually they are pretty good about putting stuff that goes together in the same place.  The cracker to dip distance was a bit long though.  Finally, done with the shopping.  Basket bulging like a spinal disc.    

They have installed fancy new self register check outs.  They look interesting and I tell myself I'll try them next time, when I have less stuff to buy.  I wait with my basket, and then this vision of supermarket beauty comes up to me and charmingly says, 'There's a register free over here'.  Wow, a register?  Maybe I didn't see it.  I squint off into the distance.... hmm, maybe it's over there.

It wasn't.

She abandons me at the end of the supermarket.  Then some guy is trying to show me how the self register works here.  After my 2 second training course, I'm on my way.  Finding barcodes, scanning items.  He reminds me, 'Remember to put it in the bag'.  Thanks.  

Trying to find barcode on vegetable.  Fail.  Trying to open plastic bag. Fail.  I'm really not cut out to do this.  Lucky there's a lucrative career in blogging available.  I finally get to the end of it.  I'm so happy.  Then the self register says 'Do you have fly buys?'.  What!  So this register doesn't do any thing that the humans do, the bagging, the looking up items, the scanning... any thing useful... it just does the one awkward thing?  That weird moment, where they know and you know that you never had, and are never going to have fly buys, but they still ask you anyway?  And there's that awkward reply where you say 'No'.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rise of the Printers

Out of all the office technology out there, printers are the worst behaved.  They are temperamental.  They sit in a corner.  They make loud noises.  Even when it's working properly, it seems like it's broken, like some violent process is creating this magical imprint on paper.  At the moment, my printer is whirring for who knows what reason.  It has a sleep function.  

They need a whole lot of tender loving care.  They break down all the time.  Cartridges fail, get used up, discarded.  

I'm toying with the idea of bringing them out of the corner.  I think the reason why they don't work all the time is that they don't get enough love.  It's just use and abuse.  

I'm worried that they are going to become self-aware.  They already have such terrifying names, that sound like they can inflict maximum damage on the human race.  Led by the ruthless Xerox, unleashing the mighty Canon, it doesn't look good for us.

I'm going to hug my printer now.  Not really, but at least I thought about it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Check this out!

By my calculations, every song and most remixes are on youtube.  There are thousands of concerts on youtube as well.  Ageing rockers U2 famously broadcast a recent concert on youtube in HD (at least HD compared to normal youtube) for free.  U2ube.

Youtube is going to be bigger than the world one day.  If aliens ever wanted to know everything about humanity, all they'd need to do is download, upload, or stream youtube.  It's the best and the worst of humanity, girls dancing in front of a camera, people singing, cats playing hide and seek.  It's all there.

Internet people love sending youtube links.  The problem is that they are generally pretty cryptic.  Something vague like - check this out! or even worse, some subtle clue that you would never guess.  

Something like:

you thought you'd lived. 
you thought you'd seen it all.
you were wrong.

How are you meant to know what the hell it's about?  And then you have to click on the link.  Chances are that you've seen it before and not liked it that much anyway, never seen it but don't really like it, the clip has been pulled down by youtube.

Youtube clips also seem to have their own rules.  Things pop up from nowhere.  They are really grainy, so that you can't really know what's going on.  Is that someone's leg? No, it's two people's faces.  Then there are the tricks that people use, the effects.  Things fading in and out, screen wipes.  Compilations put together to try and make it seem like a movie trailer, with extreme slow-mos of people's faces, big titles, dramatic theme music.  It makes me hate it but then I come back for more, attracted by the lo-fi-ness of it all.

The other thing that keeps you coming back of course is the sheer idiocy of the comments on youtube.  It's almost at the point that people who comment on youtube should not operate heavy machinery, vote, procreate.

This interchange is insightful and moronic.

MrsPatz100 (6 hours ago)
Reply | Spam
ihf you hate it so much than why do watch this kind of things?
ILovesMeSomeLulz (4 hours ago)
Reply | Spam
Because I have the ability to do so. DERP

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Titanic is one of the most successful movies of all time.  Why?

Maybe because of its great stars?  Well really only Leo was a big star at that time.  Kate Winslet was still wearing old clothes and acting in period pieces.  I think even Billy Zane was more famous than her.  You should listen to him.

It could be because of its great love story?  The love story is all made up, it's not real, and there are plenty of movies about love stories.

What about its amazing special effects?  It wasn't the first movie to use amazing special effects.  Some of James Cameron's other movies, like the Terminator series, used incredible special effects.  However, when it was made, it was the most expensive film ever.

How about the tragic story, and the theme of the battle between nature and man?  There are also plenty of movies about this.  It's not like people didn't know what was going to happen at the end of Titanic.

I think that just leaves two options.  Firstly, there weren't many other good movies on at that time. 

The other option is that it could just be the amazing soundtrack, which also featured one of the most successful songs ever made.  I'd love to write about why that song was such a big hit, but I have absolutely no answer why.

Looking at James Cameron's record, it's hard to argue that Titanic wasn't just an aberration amongst some ground-breaking (usually sci-fi films).  I think his new movie could be very interesting too.

I should probably also note I've never watched the entire film.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Google It

There's no such thing as a stupid question.  For some reason, at my work, people ask me questions.  Not just any questions.  Questions that are technology related.  My job's not that technology intensive.  We use programs like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word.  I guess maybe it's because I look Indian.  Just to clear up any confusion, I am, in fact, Australian.  Maybe it's because I'm young?  

Anyway, the questions I get asked are things like, 'How do I do this in Excel?'  

I guess that's fine.  The only problem is, my answer is really, 'Just Google It'.  That's what I do.  I don't really say that though.

The questions I ask at work tend to be a bit different.  Lately, I've been musing about different things.  Like why was Titanic such a successful movie (more to come on that later).  Why do banana's have red tape on it?  What's a spatchcock?  Unfortunately, people tell me to 'Just Google It'.  The problem is, these Google answers aren't as interesting as people's speculations.  Fiction is definitely more interesting than facts.

Oh well, maybe I'll just stick to talking about the weather.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A short one

How do blind people know when to stop wiping, when they are on the toilet?

Do you scrunch or fold the toilet paper?  Which one is right?  Why would using shells ever be better?

Do you sit or stand to wipe?  

For these questions (except for the blind one) most people do it one way all the time, and could never imagine it being done another way.  

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why Geelong Won't Win

Cameron Mooney was interviewed at the team recovery session following their convincing 12 goal win over Collingwood.  His interview gave some insight into the mindset of the Geelong camp, and in my opinion, showed why Geelong won't win the AFL premiership this season.

When asked, inevitably, about his feelings in the lead up to the grand final, whether the heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn had been spoken about... he denied it.  He pointed to an unspoken motivation in the dressing room, a slow burning desire to get revenge.  I think the loss to Hawthorn is the elephant in the room at Geelong, and is not just leading to the desire he talks about, but the fear that on one day, they can throw it all away.  There is that nagging feeling that the skills might desert him, that he won't 'execute' properly.  He doesn't have to look too far for the demons.  Of course, the replays of his extraordinary misses in the grand final are often dredged up, particularly the miss from 10 yards out at half time.  Even last week against Collingwood, the snap from a similar distance was shanked horribly wide.  Mooney said he would score 10 out of 10 in training.  Does he stop and think why he can't do it in a game?  I'd say part of the reason is that fear, the pressure, which causes the tightening of the kick.  I think the better strategy was for Geelong to speak about the the loss on the first day back, confronted the fears and doubts, and put it to rest as a group. 

The second cause for concern is that Mooney has been quoted as saying that Geelong have no chance of winning the flag if Brad Ottens does not play.  The problems with this statement are immense.  It implies that Geelong, a team with the game's most valuable player for three seasons running (Gary Ablett), one of the best defenders of all time (Matthew Scarlett), an amazing midfield and forward line that will see at least one star having to sit out.. such is their depth... this team, is reliant on one man, an injury prone ruckman just returning after a long spell out of the game.  It shows a lack of belief in the ability of the squad as a whole to achieve, and places a lot of pressure on one man.  What if he is shut down by the impressive St Kilda ruck?  What if he breaks down with injury?

The third worrying statement is that Mooney asks for a 'bit of luck' when questioned if Geelong can win.  It's the opposite sort of belief to what most successful sporting people profess.  Luck is something outside your control, and is something that is not stable (sometimes it is with you, sometimes against you).  Generally, successful sports people will blame bad luck for their failures, and attribute their successes to their skills and ability, which reinforces their self-belief and gives a greater chance for them to perform at their best.  By asking for luck to intervene, it's as if deep down, he is unsure if his and his team's ability is enough to carry them across the line.  

If Geelong won't win, the question is... will St Kilda win?


Congratulations to Jarryd Hayne, winner of the Dally M for the best player in rugby league.  His form has been sensational, ever since the State of Origin.  It is inspirational to see someone fulfil their potential, especially after last year where an incident in King's Cross and a few other indiscretions indicated he may be heading off course.  

The beauty of watching Hayne play is that he is in the 'zone'.  The way he plays is at one with the game, making the right decisions more often than not, reacting to the play quicker than the rest, anticipating and showing creativity.  He's also the quickest over the first few metres that I have seen, with just that first step, he's gone.  He really is one of the most elusive players in the game today.

And really, that's what the zone is as well.  You can't mention it, or start overthinking it.  You can't even really think about how you got into the zone.  All you can do is to try and keep doing the same things, and stay in the zone for as long as you can.  Once you start thinking too much about it, you leave the zone.  A bad example of this phenomenon is Mike Hussey, who was like Bradman once he came into the Australian cricket team but is now more like a mere mortal.  The thing with Hussey is that it is always hard to maintain a great start to a career, as bowlers and teams identify weaknesses and come up with strategies to counter their strengths.  

There are a few other feelings in life that are just as elusive.  Joy.  Once you try to think about why you are happy, what caused it, you lose the feeling.  Especially if you start worrying about how long you will be in that state for.

It's not just feelings that are elusive.  Try remembering a song.  You know you've heard it, and you try and look for the picture in your head, a lyric, something about it to bring it back.  Or even going back to feelings for one second, try remembering how your favourite songs sounded the first time you heard them?  How they were so amazing you could listen to them on repeat, and each time be astounded?

Where do these things live?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Roulette Wheel of Fortune

A friend of mine had to do a spot of baby sitting on the weekend.  At first she loved it!  Adorable kid.  Kids are so cute.  This was a month ago.  She's babysitting for her boyfriend's sister.  

Now, the feeling isn't so great.  The baby is about 6 months old, it can't talk.  It can still make a hell of a lot of noise.  The baby was fine in the cafe, fine at the shops.  When it comes to loading the baby back in the 4WD, the crying starts.  It doesn't stop.  And the guessing game begins about what could be wrong with the baby.  

Maybe the baby is hungry?  Give it something to eat.  It is quiet while it eats.  Ahh success.  Then as soon as it finishes, it starts crying again.  Maybe it needs a nappy change?  Nope.  Same story.

I have to say, it's a pretty frustrating experience not being able to know what someone else wants.  Actually, I find myself thinking I'm not too different from this baby.  I often wake up, and there's a vague feeling of dissatisfaction.  Square peg, round hole.  I almost need to spin the roulette wheel of fortune.  Maybe I'm hungry, maybe i'm thirst, maybe i'm bored, maybe i'm tired, maybe i'm sober, maybe i'm hungover... How to fix it?  Sleep more, more sunshine, change jobs, take a holiday.

The baby couldn't talk and express its feelings.  I can talk but I still haven't found the right words to describe this feeling.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beer Cows

Apparently, there are cows that are fed purely on beer.  This is what is wagyu beef.  Is it animal cruelty?  Probably not.  It seems like getting high is pretty natural in the animal kingdom.  Dogs often lick toads to get high.  

Sometimes, the drug-human-animal relationship goes in different ways.  For instance, some Arab tribes in Sudan use the liver and bone marrow of giraffes to make a drink called umm nyolokh.  This drink will make you have dreams of giraffes.

Other times, we are the drug.  Reindeers in Siberia are sometimes given human piss to drink.  This makes the reindeer think they are strong and invincible.  The reindeer often get so drunk they start moaning loudly around the tents of the Siberians, begging for more piss.  And when some gets spilled onto the snow, they fight furiously for it.

Back to the wagyu beef, can anyone tell the difference?  Does it matter what kind of beer they drink?  I'd hope that there will soon be premium wagyu beef that was fed you know, premium beer.  Maybe there will be blonde wagyu beef.  I'd be more in favour of bourbon wagyu beef.  The other thing that I don't get about the wagyu beef is that, as I'm informed by the Germans I'm researching with, the cows get massaged.   Why do cows need to get massaged?  I think getting drunk is good enough!  Maybe the massage makes it really tender.  Maybe cows end up in Kings Cross when they drink beer.  Maybe cows massage each other cos they get lovey-dovey when drunk.  

I had wagyu beef shin the other day, made penang curry style.  It was pretty good.


What sense could you live without?  And by sense, I mean you get rid of the whole body part... so it would be eyes, ears, nose, hands, feet, or mouth.

For me, I'd probably have to answer by a process of elimination.  The one sense I couldn't get rid of is my feet.  Maybe they aren't a sense, let's just say they are though.  If I could never play soccer, I think life wouldn't be worth it.  I think being a coach would just be too frustrating if I couldn't get that feeling of ball at feet, striking the perfect pass, scoring a goal.

The next that I definitely couldn't get rid of is my ears.  I have listened to some fantastic music in my life, but I couldn't bear to miss out on the new sounds.  Visuals can't describe music, and sometimes it is pretty hard to imagine.  Also, I would never want to miss out on the radio cricket commentary, which is far superior to the television coverage.  The way they describe things, it lends itself to imagine... and it's more beautiful using their words to paint the picture in your mind than actually watching it on tv and having to listen to Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham bumble on.

Hands are pretty important too, I think.  Everyone loves a good high five.  Handshakes are great.  You probably couldn't use computers that easily without hands.  And what about taking throw ins?  

It's just between the eyes and the nose for me.  It's tough.  I feel like I've seen a lot.  And sometimes, it's better off just imaging things without actually seeing them.  People look a lot better with sunglasses on.   

The nose, though.  Most of the time when you smell things, it's a bit indifferent.  I can't really smell that much, I don't try to breathe too deeply.  The nose is just so central to the face.  I don't know how the face would look without a nose.  So really, it's just a flip of the coin between eyes and nose for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pushing buttons

I try not to waste energy sometimes.  So, sometimes, when I'm walking along the road, and waiting at the lights to cross, I won't push the button if I see another person waiting there.  It makes me wonder though, do other people think like me?  Is there someone out there who will wait at the crossing and not push the button at all... without considering if someone else pushed it?  I came across someone like that the other day, we got to the lights at the same time, neither of us pushed it.  A stalemate.

So I guess I now wait to see if someone on my side or on the other side pushes the button.  Of course, if I arrive late and there are heaps of people there, I just assume that someone has pushed the button.  Unless I have a pretty good reason to think that the other person has pushed the button.  Some people just look like the type that push buttons.  People who are kind of fidgety.  

The other day, the person across the road from me was a blind person.  I was kind of stumped, because I wasn't paying attention and didn't see if she'd pushed the button.  If the blind person is thinking like me, there's no way she would know if I've pushed the button, right?  So she'd have to push it all the time, unless she was really sure that someone pushed it... probably someone close to her.  

Then I was thinking, wouldn't it be really hard for her to push the button? Does the dog push the button?  If the dog pushes the button, does the dog also wait to see if someone else has pushed the button?

I guess, sometimes it's just the illusion of control.  Does it really matter if anyone pushes the button on busy city roads?  I think they just work automatically.  I used to think that the pedestrian crossing calculated how many people there were by the button pushes, but I'm fairly convinced that's wrong now.

Of course, there are some people who don't even bother to push the button at all.  I think jaywalkers kind of have that attitude of being smarter than the pedestrian crossing system.  That's fine to have, but most of them stuff up a lot of the time, like they don't look properly, or they forget that there are other lanes of traffic turning in.  

Then again, you can't really have your trust in the green man, he's not that smart either.  Sometimes he tells you to walk, but he's also letting the cars turn left.  It's all just quite a bit of effort sometimes.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quotes and Expressions - South Africa

"I don't like bread/white bread/KFC/bananas/Chinese/pineapple/grapes with seeds/purple grapes/mushy apples/small grapes/chees/trees/birds/people touching my clothes/Wimpys/egg/baked beans/pumpkin/sweet potato/peas/brussel sprouts/lizards/snakes/spiders/bugs "- Aneka

"I don't like that, wait, do I like it?" - Aneka

"Let me see" - Aneka, after a photo

"No one understands me" - Aneka

"Ashwiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!" - Aneka

"I'm grumpy!" - Aneka

"I'm full. (Two minutes later). I'm hungry" - Aneka

Aneka is telling me now she doesn't say all this stuff. She hates this book now.

Mum: "I think Ajit used to work at Emirates. Was it Emirates?"
Dad: "Dubai"
Mum: "No, was it..."
Dad: "Sorry, ah yes, Abu Dhabi"
Mum (peeved tone): "No, Dad, did Ajit work at Emirates?"
Dad: "Caprisomething"
Aneka: "Caprisonne. I have a bag from there."

"Hakuna mtatata" - Abednego
"What language is that?" - Ashwin
"It's from the Lion King" - Abednego

"Skittish" - Gordon (I think skittish means jittery)

"Aneka, now he's really hurt" - Mum

"Where are you going?" - Mum, when Dad is driving on shoulder

Know the Land & Animals

Lion country

This is the part of the national park where lions live.

What does lion country look like?

  • low grass
  • high grass
  • open spaces
  • near rocks
  • ravines
  • near water

Number of lions I saw in lion country: 2

Leopard country

Where is it?

  • open spaces
  • amongst trees
  • near rocks

Time spent in leopard country: 6 days

Number of leopards seen: 0


What types of elephants are angry?


This guy is so angry that even other elephants don't want to be near him. Best to avoid these guys, as they love to show their dominance. An elephant held up cars for 3 hours in Kruger National Park, just for the sake of it, and can easily crush your car (courtesy Dad).

If you see a secretion from his eye, it is because he is feeling mushty (in heat). The rangers claim that the secretion is hormonal, and the increased testosterone causes aggressiveness. Looking at the elephant in this state, he actually looks quite sad. Maybe because even though an elephant's heart weighs 40kg, a good heart these days is hard to find.

It is hard to know if an elephant is truly alone. Dad says they communicate for 6km on a low frequency. After our escapades with the elephants in Skukuza, I'm pretty sure all the Letaba bulls were on the lookout for a guy in mauve (or purple).

Herd with calf

These mothers protect their baby elephants and are ultra-protective. Watch out for them as they take no risks. Baby elephants can walk with the herd after 2 hours of birth.

So does that mean small groups of elephants are not angry?

Sorry, but they are. We have documented evidence of elephant fighting in a waterhole. One elephant started charging and spraying another elephant and practically drove him out of the waterhole.


I think we can safely conclude that all elephants are angry.


An animal that eats the lower level of foliage. Identified as animals that look down. - similar to Aneka


Eats the higher level; generally the tips of branches and shrubs. Looks up, and head may or may not be in clouds.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why the video replay system is unfair

Humans make errors. We make errors for a variety of reasons. Referees are human too. At least I think so, but if you believe the people in Sydney FC's ultras, the Cove, some referees deserve to be beaten, and their wives are quite promiscuous.

Video doesn't lie though, as long as you've got the right angle and showing it at the right speed. The amount of times a crucial run out decision is too close to call because they are missing the definitive frame is uncanny. Then there are the times that a catch or try looks good at normal speed, but when you slow it right down, it looks like he's dropped it. But every now and then, there is a decision made by an umpire and then you see the replay and it's just amazingly wrong.

That's probably why at the football and the cricket, for controversial decisions, they will not show the video replay. When you were watching at home, before there were third umpires, there was nothing more frustrating than seeing that your team was robbed. So, it had to be that we have video replays.

The video replay system in rugby league is unfair though. The referees can only refer a decision if a try may have been scored. This ignores the fact that the lead up phases to scoring a try are just as important. It's cause and effect, by just focusing on one element of play, it is ignoring the vast majority of play where dubious calls may have happened. And if the video replay system in rugby league is an admission that human error can happen, and that video referees can be used, surely it should be able to applied to the whole game.

Of course, you could just say that if you were able to have video replays all the time, it would just slow the game down too much. Maybe there could be a challenge system like NFL and tennis. Besides, the chicken wings and grapple tackles do enough of the slowing down anyway.

But the real doosy is how phantom goals like this happen or decisions like this

Friday, August 14, 2009

Knowing your animals


Mum's favourite animal.  Aneka fell in love too, and wants a baby impala.  

They can be in small groups, or huge herds.  When they see your car, they turn and gaze, and then move away so gracefully and look back with their big, unblinking eyes.

Night safari sightings

One eyed possum

One eyed bird (about 5 of them)

From an English lady in front of Dad


- tree

- impala

- rock

And we just missed out on seeing a butterfly.

Montagu 5th Feb 2007

As navigator from Capetown, I was responsible for making a few wrong turns and missing a few turns. At one stage, we ended up at the casino, but we didn't stay there.

The landscape constantly changes. At times, it is wide open spaces with red soil, sometimes forest, or squatter camps.

Mum, having been to Durban and Kruger National Park, is still having difficulty piecing together South Africa.

Dinner was nice in Montagu. As we left the restaurant, we talked to the manager, who was coloured, about the racial problems of South Africa. Coloureds always seem to be discriminated against, because they are not white enough for the whites or black enough for the blacks. Similarly to Kevin, our Indian tour guide in Durban, he thought the current system was terrible, too much in favour of blacks and causing much of the whites to leave. This drains the wealth and expertise. 

After seeing the quaint tranquility of Montagu, it is hard to piece together South Africa.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


A friend of mine went to see Dr Phil.  She said that one of the key messages he made is that 'successful people do what unsuccessful people don't'.  I don't think he meant it in the way that successful people drive fancy cars or eat caviar.  

I think he meant that successful people are willing to do things that other people won't take a chance on.  He cites studies of successful people that show that they are prepared to take risks outside their comfort zone.  You could question the studies and say, 'How can you contrast successful people when it's self-defined?'.  Or in other words, what exactly is success?  If success is being exactly where you want to be, comfortable and content, then surely taking risks puts that success at jeopardy.  

So it seems like he's taking more of a socio-economic view of success... being in the top x% of humanity.  What stops people pursuing that, from taking those risks?

I think one of the biggest obstacles is that in life, we are always dealing with imperfect information.  We never know how one course of action will pan out, as there are so many other variables in play.  Sometimes, we don't even have enough time or energy to think about all the possible choices, let alone evaluate which one is most likely to be successful.  

You could probably argue that even not doing anything is a choice.  I think it is also a result of just not being sure of what to do, and waiting for more information to make the choices easier. Also, another reason why you wouldn't make an active choice is that you then live with the burden of the choices you make, whereas by sitting by and reacting to how things happen, you do not face the same burden.  Taking risks and moving out of your comfort zone can radically change lives, and the stress and strain of adjusting to either a success or a failure could be a significant barrier.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Different Kind of Time

Imagine for a moment, that the way we view the world is changed slightly.

At the moment, we remember clearly the recent past, and then as things get further and further into the past, we remember them hazily.  

We tend to remember only the major events of the distant past.  Sometimes it seems like there's some dodgy synapses going on and I'll remember something really random from when I was a kid that wasn't major and really has nothing to do with my current life.  It's tempting to attribute some greater meaning to these really random events, but they are just that, no meaning.

So what would this world be like, where we remember clearly the day just ahead, but they days further are hazy... maybe we can see our weddings, our kids, our major triumphs, (and also some random red herrings thrown in) hazily, the details clouded, off in the future.... and we guess about our past, and speculate on what may have happened?  

Would it be scary, or is it truly a better way to live, always looking forward and the past not really existing?  Would it be much easier in life, not having to be anxious about the future, because we can see it as clearly as our memories currently are?  Or would we lose our identities because we don't remember our past?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kruger National Park - Interesting Sightings

Zebra + Giraffe

A huge crossing of zebras and giraffes.  Zebras are very watchful, each one when crossing the road, pauses and stares at the car for at least 3 seconds and then crosses.

One zebra started to cross, then a truck came, so he walked back.  He seemed to confer with three others and then crossed the road and galloped away.


At night they skulk around and you can see their shiny eyes.  They are not so much menacing as creepy, almost like the animal version of a leery drunk at 3am looking for a kebab shop.

Zebra + Elephant + Wildebeest + Impala

On an open space, these animals all mingle and graze.  It is amazing to see so many, so close.  
The wildebeest chase each other around in a big circle at a fearsome pace, and at times look like they are going to buck heads.  They kick up a lot of dust.  The zebra and impala do not raise an eyebrow.

Meanwhile, the three elephants are in the back, congregated around a water tank.  Cleverly they get up and are able to dip their trunks into the water.


An odd yet graceful creature.  Its neck is amazing, especially seeing it reach back to clean its hind legs.  As it is tall, birds often fly into the giraffe and feast on the ticks and insects.

Elephant charge I

Approaching a bridge, a solitary elephant was on the right side, occupying most of that side of the road.  We stoped to take photos.  As we drove closer, the bull turned toward us.  Mum knew the bull was angry because the tail was stiff.  Dad knew it was mad because the tail was swinging wildly.  We stopped the car.
Then we had a second go, driving towards it slowly.  The bull with the stiffly swinging tail swiveled around as we drove, hugging the left shoulder.  We were all tense and Dad floored it as we made our escape.
It may be good to note that Mum, who has been on jungle trips and seeing elephants since she was a child, is extremely nervous when she sees an elephant and often advocates reversing away from elephants who are on the road.

Elephant II

Coming back from a drive near gate closing time, we see a car stopped in the middle of the road.  A short distance in front of it is an elephant.  This elephant is quite large, even for an elephant, and most importantly, we are told by the passengers in the other car, he is angry.

Unsurprisingly, Mum is shrieking from the back to reverse.  Dad is a bit more laidback, or maybe he is still trying to figure out which is reverse and forward, but eventually we are going backwards.  The elephant is coming slowly, threateningly toward us.  His ears are flapping.

Aneka sensibly suggests to go down the gravel road to the side, where we had seen the buffalo before.  Mum's fear level is rising by the second, and she wants to stay on the main road.  It seems she possesses the traits of Nostradamus, which she has never shown before, as after going back up the main road we see the menacing elephant wander down the side road.

After this ordeal, Dad is able to relate how he personally outwitted the elephant.  See, by going partially down the side road, the elephant thought we were heading down there.  According to Dad, the elephant had identified our car as weak, and therefore, its target.  Dad's clever moves saved us from being another car toppled by elephants, which occurs about once a year.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kruger National Park - South Africa

A journal of events - OPINIONS NOT FACT

Aneka is really really really mean with (bad) hair & annoying.

Skukuza - 29th Jan - 1st Feb 2007

Morning drive 3:45 am

Driver: Godfrey

We arrived at 4am just when the tour was about to leave. 

Sunset drive 4:45 pm 

Driver: Hubert (Huey)

Dawn Walk 3:45 am 

Rangers: Iowert & Godfrey

Iowert is Dad's favourite ranger.  He's a little bit obsessed.

We see lions but they are scared of us.  They are only in the distance.  The rangers count 5, but I only see one, running away from a distance of 50 metres.  

Coming back to camp, someone tells us they saw wild dogs.  We go to find them, and see a pack of 9 coming back from a kill, bloody and messing up the road.

Aneka asks me if I am 4.  Arggh.  I am so mad.  I throw the book.  Mum, as usual, makes a fuss, asking what happened.  I want to go home, jk.

Letaba 1-4 (early) Feb 07

Morning drive 

Driver - Gordon

The most boring drive we had.  The countryside is much less rich than Skukuza.  Gordon has been at Letaba for a month.  We have a theory that because he is new, he is getting the lower end of the equipment.  As we go on our drive, Gordon instructs us all to be very quiet to not disturb all the animals.  I think that is a good point, except that we are in a vehicle that at 20 km/h makes more noise than a herd of elephants crossing.

Speaking of 20 km/h, that seems to be its cruising speed, and I fear that if it went much faster, this collection of nuts and bolts would collapse in a heap.

Auspiciously, within 10 minutes of leaving Letaba, we saw two lions by the side of the track, not more than 20 metres away.  They are very well camouflaged.  Once again, they are scared of us, and go away (closer towards camp).  You shouldn't worry, lions only have a 40% strike rate, and are more scared of us than we are of them.  When approached (attacked) by a lion, look it directly in the eyes.  For leopards, look away - courtesy Iowert.

Dad and I both fell asleep on this drive.  Gordon has a thick accent, especially words like area, and likes a smoke.

Morning Walk 4:45 am

Rangers: Saskia & Gordon

On this walk, we saw hippos and elephants.  Hippos get frightened easily, so we had to be quiet and keep our distance.  They still got scared, so we didn't see much.  Two hippos were able to turn a pond the size of 10 swimming pools into a brown-white yukky filthiness (their poo).

After Saskia found that the two other members of the walk were German, one a plant biologist (pathologist), the rest of the stops on the walk were for plants.  Typically, one German would take a really close shot of a small flower, while his friend would write the name down.  An odd arrangement because his friend is a graphic designer who knows nothing of plants.  Oh well, they are German.  We also saw the shepherd tree.  The roots are used to make porridge.  Not missing anything, Dad beat Aneka to proudly say that Aneka likes porridge.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Altruism is something that some people don't think exists.  Some people think that everything we do is out of self interest.  Everything we do is because the benefits outweigh the costs.

There are some problems with this counter-argument.  There are some things we do that are not out of self-interest. Suicide. Smoking. Abortion.

I think a better way of thinking about altruism is in terms of free will.  If we have a pure deterministic viewpoint of the world, then maybe, altruism doesn't exist.  But, if we have free will, if we can do things merely because we choose or will them to happen, then maybe altruism does exist.

I think another way of thinking about altruism is to think of it as the ultimate purpose/satisfaction in life.  I'm not sure about this one, but a lot of people tell me that the best satisfaction is from making other people happy, usually people like your kids.  

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Battye Boy

It's been happening a bit lately, and it's something I've still not got my head around.  It's sort of like deja vu, but not.  That feeling of seeing someone from somewhere else before.  I think the first instinct is to always smile, and pretend you recognise them.  It happens a lot on the phone, I've lost most of my phone numbers and so I have to pretend to recognise someone while I'm trying to figure out who they are... the clues of what they are talking about, their voice.

Sometimes, it's just walking along and seeing that same person who you've seen walking past the other way on your way to the train station, on your way to work.  Do they recognise you?  You recognise them.  Maybe those people in the MX paper who talk about that stranger that they had a connection with.... maybe those people have a one way recognition as well.

The worst though, is recognising someone you have no right to.  The person that you've seen on someone's facebook photo album.  

From what I remember, this is what happened.  The chain starts when I chat to my friend on Facebook.  She invites me out to have a drink.  I meet her group of friends, including a girl who I would see the next week when I'm out with work friends.   I and one of my work friends adds her on Facebook.  The next week, he sends me the link to a set of photos that she's tagged in on Facebook.  The photos are taken by Liv Battye (picture deleted).  

Two days after he sends me the link, I'm in the cross and Liv walks by.  Without thinking, I smile broadly and yell 'Liv'!  She stops and starts talking, with the obvious, 'How do you know me?'  And this is where it gets tricky... how to explain... how to get out of the situation without letting it slip... how to make sure that she won't stop posting pictures as lovely as these.  Unfortunately, I can't remember how I got out of the situation, all I know is that I'm a Battye boy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Groundhog Day and Morality

It's one of my favourite movies and for a romantic comedy, it's pretty amazing.  I think Bill Murray is an excellent and uncoventional leading man.  In Groundhog Day, Bill lives the same day over and over again.

If you were in Groundhog Day, and in a relationship, is it cheating to sleep with someone else?

I think it goes to show how much time relates to our morality.  If we live without consequences, then how do we distinguish between right and wrong?  Further, cheating relates to being in a relationship with someone and sleeping with someone else while you were in that relationship.  If you are in a situation like Groundhog Day though, I'm not so sure if it would be.  Even though it appears like he is stuck in one moment, I actually think it is more like the expression of the timeless nature of the universe.  He is stuck in an eternal moment, where all the possible consequences of our actions play out.  He is the sum of all of those different expressions, he is always the same.  So really, it's impossible to say if it is or it isn't.

Or, looking at it another way, in our 'normal' time, it is possible to love and sleep with more than one person, as long as they are separated by time.  In Groundhog Day, each day is a different experience of time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


The life of a human being receives its worth, its importance, from the way in which unrealised ideals shape its purposes and tinge its actions.  The distinction between man and animal is in one sense only a difference in degree, but the extent of the degree is what makes all the difference.  Becoming men did not make us philosophers, scientists, or theologians, debating about the possibility to find the truth of the universe and God.  It primordially made us poets, that would catch the gleam of sunlight on foliage and wonder, rather than stick to the business of mere survival, be it biological, social, or academic.  Men are children of the universe with foolish enterprise and unrealised hopes. The search for responsibility is a particular case of a foolish enterprise, a witness to the importance we assign to unrealised ideals.  The same is philosophy, which embodies the adventure of hope, with the ultimate aim of experiencing disclosure.  - Isabelle Stenger

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Company Wombat

The northern hairy nosed wombat is one of the most endangered species in the world.  Only 138 exist, and none exist in captivity.  They are really rare.

Xstrata is one of the biggest mining companies in the world.  They now own the northern hairy nosed wombat... or should I say the Xstrata northern hairy nosed wombat.  As part of the millions they are spending on the wombat, they get 'exclusive' naming rights, like Etihad stadium.  Something that humans haven't really had since the Garden of Eden with Adam.  Books, clothing, backpacks, .. anything northern hairy nosed wombat is now Xstrata.

Their investment mainly goes to the development of a second colony of wombats, located near St. George, Queensland, which has helped to increase numbers in the last 2 years by about 20.

I think it's one of the most bizarre tie-ins in the world.  I can understand home loans and stadiums, but wombats and mining?  What do the mining company get out of it?  138 wombats can barely do much heavy labour.  They don't seem to be the most resilient of species either.  

I think the wombats do get a bit of benefit from it, a trendy little Xstrata logo to have branded on their backs or somewhere conspicuous.  Maybe a guest starring spot in some recruitment videos.  Anyway, hopefully this is just the start of more businesses owning some animals.  

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Locked bathrooms


hey fairenza. how are you going?

heyy i'm good how are you

alright, have a headache sorta thing

been at home all day, sorta bored like

really? how come?

what have you been up to?

i don't know... it's like the right side of my head hurts... throbbing sort of thing

i just lockd myself out of the bathroom

and i can't find the key

why do you need a key?

just knock.. they'll let you back in

hahaha who is they in my bathroom?

oh, what if you are in a hurry? just use the emergency entrance..

hahahaha my bathroom? as in my room?

where wouldthis emergency entrance be?

i don't know, it's your bathroom!

haha wel i'm pretty sure generally people's bathrooms arn't built with emergency exits

it seems poorly designed. im still stuck on the key issue

most bathrooms don't have keys.

why would they have keys?

all bathrooms have keys

mine doesn't

so, i rest my case

your bathroom is wierd then

wierd? do you mean wired?

its got electricity if that's what you mean, and also an exhaust fan.

is yours wired? perhaps you can used the wires to get in... 'jumpstart' your door perhaps

no weird as in strange

it's not strange! it's got a toilet, mirror, sink, and shower.

i challenge you!

you are being so strange

you are pretty funny too


not funny... strange!

i could have sworn you said funny

maybe it was a typo? 


any luck breaking into your bathroom?

have you tried talking to whoever locked you out? maybe you could get them to hurry up.

just do it gently, they may be in the middle of one of those processes.. like blowdrying or what not.

hahaha you need to stop talking now!

i see you know about the blowdrying... 

do you have housekeepers? maybe you could ask them to help you break in.

everyone is sleeping

i'll just deal with it tomorrow

or you could hire some housekeepers

it's your choice

it's okay it's not a big deal

yeah, just roll with it

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I am doing a few projects on work about drinking.  It makes me think about what the problem is about how we drink.  It's Australian to have a drink, is it Australian to get trashed?  Probably.  Do other countries act the same way?  There is a view that in Latin countries, they drink better, they drink socially and getting drunk is not the ultimate goal.

One of the big problems with binge drinking is the violence associated with it.  Sometimes it can be scary to go to some pubs, or on nights out.  Drinking also seems to amplify the mood that you are in.  If you are in a depressed mood, and you are looking to forget your troubles, you think drinking can help.  It often just makes it worse.  I don't think anyone has ever said,'I got drunk and when I woke up the next day, I had no problems'.  Someone once said, 'I drink to forget'.  Someone smarter once said, 'I drink to forget I drink'.

Why do we drink?  So many reasons, lose inhibitions, a way to say things and get away with it, to excuse behaviour, to get courage.  Why do we get totally trashed when we know it's so bad for us, and more often we end up with the bad consequences of drinking, like spending too much money, hangovers, health problems, lack of motivation, losing brain cells, arguments, fights, embarrassing things, forgetting what we did?

Drinking is so important to the culture.  There are people you can talk to, but you feel closer to the people you can have a drink with.  If you don't drink, you will be asked why, as if you have some sort of problem.  Why is that?  If you don't drink, you have to wonder if there are the same social opportunities.

It's not like it's getting particularly worse these days.  The problems have been there even since Australia was settled by convicts.  It seems like every effort to get people to drink better... extended drinking hours, allowing females into clubs, extending liquor licences, making sure food is at venues.. it's all backfired.  We've traded the 6 o'clock swill for boozy nights out drinking shots.  It's gotten to the point where the government feels that people can't control their drinking, and have banned some shots, and banned drinks for a certain time period each hour.  

I don't know how the situation can change.