04 November 2010

Q-Link

If this "science" actually worked wouldn't it interfere with your phone's reception. It would be a terrible purchase.

in reference to: Mobile radiation shield released | The Daily Telegraph (view on Google Sidewiki)

14 October 2010

Champagne Forum Posting

If you're looking for information on the D-Generation past, present and future this is where you want to be.

in reference to: http://www.champagnecomedy.com/ (view on Google Sidewiki)

02 September 2010

The Fancy Part of Town

It was a pretty quick trip through the remainder of Italy then France and Monaco to get to Spain.

We stopped for a drink and a quick look around in Portofino. I was clearly dressed inappropriately for the small town. I wasn't wearing white slip on shoes, denim or chino shorts, a white or blue and white striped t-shirt and the jumper or jersey tied around my shoulders. Although Brooke could of dressed a little better herself as she was no match for the lady in the Burbury chequered dress shirt, dark blue tight denim jeans and gold sneakers.
Our next stop was Monaco. I have never seen so many exotic cars being driven around at the same time in my life. Us in our Toyota Tarrago with a comet painted up both sides drew more attention than the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porches, BMWs and Mercedes. On our way out of town we met the courteous  BMW driver in the world, he let us in onto the round a bout ahead of him. It was either that or he didn't want us behind him and risk bumping into him.

The next morning we visited Avignon. This town was the Papal city for a brief time when Italians weren't too happy with how the Catholics were running Rome. It was a very Medieval looking walled town. A large church with a castle next door and large plaza but my favourite sight was the large elephant statue which had him balanced on his trunk.

Our stop for that night was Millau. This small sleepy town has only really gotten on the map since the built the world's tallest suspension bridge across the valley. The Eiffel Tower can fit underneath it. The town has embraced the bridge as it now adorns every postcard. Quite a few visitors are drawn to the area because of it.

Next on our list of places to visit was Carcasonne. The old city is world heritage listed and also the setting for a couple of books Brooke had read (Kate Mosse I think called Labyrinth and Sepulchre). It was also the fairy tale like castle we had been looking for.

The rest of the day was spent getting to Costa Brava and Platja d'Aro to catch up with Dave.

24 August 2010

More Slackness Covered

Catch up part two.

Our next stop was Rome. Day one (Friday) was the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, Augustus' house and Parthenon. The Colosseum was definitely the highlight. The lowlight was the guys selling these magnetic stones that when you flicked them into the air they imitated the sound a cricket makes. They were absolutely everywhere. We also completed our civic duty by heading the the Australian Consulate to vote in the current election. The day was rounded off with the Trevi Fountain and dinner in the trendy part of the city.

On Saturday we headed towards the Vatican. Our plan was to see the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and then into St. Peter's. Sadly the Vatican didn't like our plans and decided to close the museum and the Sistine Chapel. There was a public holiday apparently. Anyway we headed into St. Peter's. Gotta say the Catholics  really know how to dress a place up. We then headed up to the top of the Basilica for literally the best view of Rome.
The queue when we left the Vatican was huge. It wrapped three quarters of the was around the square and was growing longer. The umbrella salesmen were making a killing because of the rain.

From Rome we headed to Pompeii and then the Amalfi coast. Our time spent at Pompeii took longer that we expected and so we didn't get to Amalfi until after sunset. We decided to stay the night on the side of one of the roads and then spend most of the day on the beach. We got to sleep around ten only to be woken up an hour and a half later by the sound of a large crowd. Our van was surrounded by 50 odd people with cars, scooters and motorbikes lining the coast road. Confused and a little worried we stayed in our van hoping they would all go away so we could get some sleep.

Around midnight it all made sense. A loud boom followed by the crowd going “Aww!” and “Ooh!” signalled the beginning of a fireworks display. We weren't sure what the festival was but it was a spectacular display.
They next morning we forked out the money for some deck chairs and soaked up the sun. The rest and relaxation was needed. I even managed to get a few minutes sleep.

From Amalfi we headed back up the coast to Pisa. Along the way we had our first interaction with Italian law enforcement. Being pulled over we where expecting to be breathalysed or something but no. We were asked by a young Italian girl where we had left from this morning and where we were heading to. I think I can see the letters to the editor if this kind of thing happened in Australia.

Pisa was pretty much everything I expected. Even more so with the small amount of fast moving cloud that made it look like the tower was about to fall over. Watching everybody try to take that photo of either pushing over or holding up the tower was amusing. Trying to do it ourselves was even more so.

So that wraps up Italy. We are now heading around the Mediterranean coast through France and into Spain.

23 August 2010

Covering up the Slackness

Sorry about the slackness of updates but the trip has been pretty full on. I will endeavour to catch up the next time I have internet access.
But this serve as one big blog to catch to where we are.

Dresden

After Berlin we headed to Dresden. We chose to stay in Mouritzburg which is about 20 minutes north. The town was the location for German nobility to come hunting and so they built themselves a small little place to stay. Couldn't tell you how many rooms it had but it had its own chapel which took an entire wing. Can't forget the man made lake that surrounds it either.

In Dresden we took an open bus/hop on hop off tour around the city. But first we had to get there. There was a small misunderstanding at first where we thought we were in Dresden but were two suburbs too short. A quick train trip corrected this.

Dresden was happening place. Shopping, an old part of the city, a new part of the city, a modern part of the city, the Volkswagon factory and the local football team was playing a UK Premier League team that day. We picked up some amazing mustard from a shop on the hill (the new city) and the icecream shop next door had strawberry ice magic which was very nommable.


The next morning involved some shopping as I needed a sleeping bag and another pair of shorts. I was also demonstrating my innate Australian ability of running in thongs up the main drag as I was running late in meeting Brooke for lunch.
Man I love currywurst. Brooke had a fish sandwich and I'm sure you can make your own jokes.
Czech Republic
Before we reached Prague we were detoured through Usti. This was an amazing example of the Soviet Republic setting up an industrial town on a picturesque river that featured a castle over looking the valley.
I am still trying to decide whether I would move to Prague or Berlin at the moment. I think Prague might be winning. Purely because of the time the Soviet Army rolled into town to quash a local uprising. The Czech people got wind of it and in a beautiful act of defiance they removed all the street signs. The tanks that rolled in took an extra day to get to Prague.
I'm recommending the free tour that is run by New Europe tours. We learnt so much. From the medieval time through to WW2 to post Soviet era.
Kutne Hora and the Bone Chapel
We had a couple of small stops on our way out of Czech Republic. The first was Kutne Hora and the Bone Chapel. Kutne Hora is an amazing Gothic town. Filled with old and elaborate churches and other similar era architecture. The Bone Chapel is in the neighbouring town. A long time ago a monk went a bit nuts and decided to categorise all the bones from those buried in the tomb. A few centuries later someone went through and stacked the bones into pyramids, created chandeliers, recreated their family crest and decorated the tomb/chapel with the bones. It is all quite creepy.
The entrance to the camp ground that night at Ceske Budejovice was where the highway walkers looked for prospective clients. Brooke on a mission to get drinks and snacks was scared she would be confused for one.
The next day we continued our journey to Austria with a stop off at Cesky Krumlov. Krumlov is a small town that has a river that winds through and around the town centre. The town has held its medieval look with a large castle overlooking the village. The river is now used for kayaking and canoeing. The crowd watching and cheering on the paddlers as they negotiate the weir and run into the next section of water from the castle was quite enthusiastic. Even more so when there was a tip in.
From all of the border crossings we had done only the Czech to Austria crossing was the most obvious. It immediately felt like we had driven into the set of The Sound of Music. The ruggedness of the Czech landscape was replaced by rolling fields, farm land and cute houses.
In Austria we walked around the top of the Katrin Mountains and checked out the Werfen Ice Cave.
On our way to Slovenia we stopped off at a town called to Gmund. I really regret it now. I stupidly left my camera in the toilet of a petrol station. By the time we returned it was no longer there and no one had handed it in. I was helped by a very nice Police officer who obviously doesn't get to do much in Gmund.
In Slovenia we spent our entire time in Bled. It is an amazing place. The lake is incredibly picturesque during our time there we saw it from every angle. We walked around it, viewed it from the top of a hill, from the castle, rode bikes around it, rowed across it and swam in it. I could easily spend more time there.
Crossing into Italy was an adventure. We drove through the Dolomites. The the passes through the mountains were winding, steep and narrow. We even experienced a hail storm. It literally came from no where. We took shelter in a restaurant that was filled with cyclists and motorcyclists. Once it had passed it looked as if it had snowed.
That night we stayed in a small town called Forni de Sapro. The highlight of the night was dancing the Birdy dance in the street with the other locals listening to the band.
Our next stop was fair Verona. We saw the standard sights. The Roman palace overlooking the city was the highlight. The house where Juliet supposedly lived was a little overrated. Seeing that she is a fictional character and that the balcony was added in the 1930's. Although it was amusing that the most polished parts of the bronzed statue of her were her breasts.

On to Rome next.

So that was part one of the catch up.

11 August 2010

For Some Reason Rats Like Pipes

We packed our van and left Amsterdam and headed for Germany. By headed I mean meandered. It took us little while but we did see some great Holland country side. At about midday we grew sick of the back streets and plotted our course straight for Hameln.

Twelve kilometres short we found a castle atop a small village called Schaumburger. It was a beautiful hilltop fort and it clear how they planned to protect themselves from invaders. The local beer lived up to the view and we continued our drive to Hameln and began looking for a place to stay.

Halfway up the hill overlooking Hameln we found a picnic table and chairs and set up our first free camp site of the trip.

The next day arrived with gloomy weather and it immediately began raining as we arrived at the tourist information centre of Hameln. With map in hand we followed the rats trail around the town. They love rats in this town. They adorned pretty much everything. They even painted white ones of the footpath for tourists to follow.

Another theme that has popped up in the trip has been historical or tourist sights being surrounded by scaffolding or being renovated and Hameln didn't let us down. The church and the adjoining hall were having their footpath renovated.

After a brief stop at another castle (can't remember the name) we tried to leave the area. And I mean tried. Using both the Navman and the maps we went up roads, down roads, through towns, across valleys and continually turned around by road works without a single sign that told us how to get around the closed road.

So it was around 8:30pm we arrived at Fangschleuse to the camp ground we will be using for the next couple of nights. After negotiating with the manager (she in German and us in English) we had a camp site and promptly went to bed.

27 July 2010

They Like to Wear Orange

Early-ish we packed up the van and headed north to Amsterdam. We decided to not spend too much time sight seeing on the way so we could a full two days at our destination. Wuustwevel was our lunch stop just near the border. Brooke ordered one of the best ham and cheese toasted sandwiches I have ever tasted and I ordered something that looked interesting in Dutch and what arrived was a platter of tasty tidbits with ketchup and mustard.

We arrived in Amsterdam mid afternoon and began looking for a camp ground. The one we were recommended had no spaces for camper vans but the lovely person behind the counter gave us a list of other sites within the city and suggested one near Gaasperplas. Which was actually cheaper and nearer to a train station so we were very happy.

We decided to stay at our site for the first night and hit the town bright and early on Friday.

What a day it was. We picked up a walking tour brochure and began our stroll around town. They love their museums in Amsterdam. There was Amsterdam's historical museum, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank's museum, Rembrandt's museum, Van Gogh's museum, the sunglasses museum and a sex museum are the ones that come to mind. They also love their architecture and their architectures. With each stop on our walk pointing the design of some building and the revolutionary guy who did it.

The slant on most of the buildings are little off putting. Most of the buildings look like they have been drinking too much and are using the building next to them for support.

We had a traditional Dutch meal at McDonalds for lunch to make use of their free Internet and their power points to recharge a few batteries.

One of the biggest challenges of the day was to pronounce the street and canal names. Reguliersbreestraat was my favourite. Other notable mentions were Sint Antoniesbreestraat and Kloveniersburgwal.

We headed home for a quick shower and a change of clothes however three beers each and two hours later it was half past eight and we were finally back in town and heading for the Supper Club for dinner.

What an experience that was. Thanks to Parker and Gin for the suggestion. For seventy Euros you get five courses and entertainment served to you whilst you are laying back on large pillows on very soft mattresses. The host and the wait staff were both eccentric and flamboyant. And look out Sydney because Howie (the host) is heading south for our summer.

Once dessert was consumed it was midnight. We headed home as Saturday was promising to be a bigger day than Friday.

So Saturday started off with a bang. We slept in and had a late breakfast. Then we decided to wait until after lunch to head into town. After a cooked lunch (we're getting much better at gas top cooking) we went for a walk around the park next to the camp grounds and by 6pm  we had arrived in town. The evening consisted of a pub meal then an eye opening walk around the red light district of Amsterdam. I lost count of the amount I times I saw guys trying to take a sneaky photo of one of the window girls only to be met with a closed curtain with a middle finger pointed straight at them.

So by ten we were back home and in bed for the drive to Hameln in Germany to visit the town of the famed Pied Piper.

23 July 2010

mmm.... Chocolate

Brugge was fantastic.

We caught a tram to Oostende then the train to Brugge. We almost managed to accidentally scam first class seats but conductor wouldn't let us.

It is great place to just wander around. Particularly if you are a fan of churches. Food is a tad expensive though.

Most of the streets are cobblestone and there are some quaint little alley ways you can get lost in.

Waffles with ice cream are a must and I could of easily spent my remaining Euros trying the different kinds of chocolate. One strange chocolate find was the chocolate milk in soft drink can.

I saw a dead ringer for Harold off neighbours. Today was also the first day I had to pay to go to the toilet.

We ended the day in Oostende after spying The Australian Ice Cream Company. We wanted to see how good we make ice cream, Funnily enough it tasted just like Haagen Daas or Copenhagen Ice Cream shops. I guess it is easier to sell if people think it is from another country.

Tonight was out first experience cooking in the rain. We've now added a tarpaulin, tent pegs and rope to our shopping list.

Tomorrow we are heading to Amsterdam for a couple of nights. Should be fun. 

How small is the world?

Today began early. Really early. And with a small amount of sleep. I clocked up three hours Brooke managed only one. We got to the Dover ferry port pretty quickly. Traffic before 4 in the morning is pretty light. After a brief passport scare (Brooke packed mine into her backpack so I had no idea where it was) we joined to queue to load our car on the ferry


The English Channel was kind to us. The swell was flat and weather was calm so in short time we were docking at Boulogne and our driving holiday began. Immediately I was driving on the wrong side of the road. The guy in the oncoming car had a sense of humour and put in a few over exaggerated swerves before I sorted myself out. A word from the wise about approaching round-a-bouts when driving on the right hand side of the road: always remember to look for approaching traffic on the left. I lost count the amount of times I looked right first. Also Have someone in the passenger seat who remembers to do these things.


On our way north we stopped at Cap Gris-Nez, it looked like the remnants of a German World War II base. There was a few cement bunkers and in the distance there looked to be two large cannons pointing towards England. We also managed to catch up on some much needed sleep in the car park.


Around midday we continued our journey north and stopped a place called Sandgate (can't remember the French spelling of it) for some pizza and mussels or as Brooke described it “the biggest lunch in the world.” We then headed towards Oostende looking for a place to stay for the next couple of nights.


What we found was a camp ground called Albatross just south of Neuipoort . Wow. Just wow. If Belgium had trailer trash then this is where they live. One site had people selling cheap DVDs and other odds and ends. Another advertised the areas most famous singer and his troupe of transvestite dancers. I don't know if he lives in that trailer but it would at least be a relation.


After setting up we headed to the beach. Well what Belgians call a beach. The sand was grey, full of stones and shells with a strong odour of rotting fish., Kids were digging sandcastles but with proper shovels and spades, the surf lifeguards were watching people get pounded by the half a foot swell and the unmistakable sound of guys selling ice creams. Just like any Australian beach.


After an unsuccessful food shopping trip (stupid Travelex Cashpassport not being accepted everywhere or stupid Europeans adopting new style credit cards with chips for extra security earlier than Australia) we headed back to camp for some dinner of tinned tuna and vegetable pilau flavoured rice which tasted better than it sounds.


Just as we were packing up for bed we struck up a conversation with the couple at the site next to us. Helen noticed our Australian accents and she being an expat decided to say hello. What happened next only shows how tiny the world really is.


Helen, over 24 years ago, went on a school tour to New Zealand where she met a guy named Peter from Switzerland. Peter was on a student exchange program in New Zealand and his host family managed to get him in the same tour group. They kept in contact through writing letters and eventually Helen went to Switzerland on holiday and she never came back. They now run a dairy farm together.


As I mentioned earlier Helen grew up in Australia. She grew up in Coffs Harbour. She has even spent some time in Yamba, staying in Doncaster, the units beside where my parents have a place. Her sister, Ann-Marie also lives in Yamba. Ann-Marie is currently studying to be a primary teacher at Southern Cross University and she and I just did our last prac at the same school.


So after all of that we happen to be staying in the same camp ground as neighbours. How small is the world.


Off to Brugge tomorrow. Should be fun. I think some Belgian chocolate and waffles might be consumed.

Pray, Hope and Keep Your Daks On

The last few days in London were fantastic. If I only knew the exact locations we went.

On Friday Brooke took me to a French restaurant that only serves steak and chips with their own special sauce. The only decision you have to make is how you want your meat cooked. You can't booked ahead and have to line up outside and as it is so popular there is usually always a queue even in the middle of winter.

Caught up with Bec Stanton on Saturday and met Luke (her soon to be husband). I finally found a suburb that looks like the ones on TV.

Dinner was at an Italian restaurant at the West End.

We spent Sunday buying supplies and other odds and ends for the Europe Trip. I did see Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, The Marble Arches and a stupid amount of people all spending their money at place called Primark. It was Christmas Sales in Australia and apparently it happens all year.

Monday we picked up our van from Wicked Campers. It is a beautiful Toyota Tarago (or whatever they call them here). Brooke has named it Haley as it has been painted up like a comet. Thankfully we weren't given the one with the stoned Super Mario on it or the one with the massive ding down the side.

Also I am feeling confidant about the journey now. Wicked Campers have asked Saint Pio to protect us on our journey. D-Generation's The Late Show fans might remember Pio as the Padre who Tony Martin and Mick Molloy pointed out on one of their vox pop segments. As they pointed out the Padre says to “Pray, hope and don't worry.” which was better than his last saying which was “Pray, hope and keep your daks on.”

We took the scenic route out of London towards Canterbury and Dover, we saw the London Eye, Big Ben, the British Houses of Parliament and the Tower Bridge. This wasn't by choice (misheard instructions from the Sat Nav).

So now we are sitting at our first camp site at Hawthorn Park outside of Dover waiting for the Ferry tomorrow to head to mainland Europe. We've changed our plans for where we are headed. The route is now Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and then back to England.

Really should go to bed soon. The ferry leaves at 5am and check in ends at 4am so our alarms are set to three.

Chester

I was such a nanna last night. In bed and asleep by 8:30. All the sleepless travel finally caught up with me.

Funnily enough I am sitting in another pub writing this, The Brewery Tap in Chester. Tudor style but not built in the Tudor period according to the tour guide that walked me around Chester. I felt sorry for the tour guide. I was the only one signed up for the tour. It was great for me. She took me to sites that she usually don't let in tour groups.

I saw my first squirrel. It was fishing McDonald's fries out a garbage bin. After a few goes in it found a half eaten apple then darted up a nearby tree quite excited about its find.

The Chester Wall is pretty impressive. The Romans really knew how to build things.
I think I have seen most of Little Britain's characters down the high street.

Tarporley is a great little town. It really feels like the town in Midsommer Murders. I'm feeling a little insecure as it is usually the visitor who is murdered or is found guilty of the crime.

National Lampoon's European Vacation

During this trip I am planning to write a blog post every day.  A lofty goal, considering my track record for all my previous posts, but I think it is possible.
I am currently sitting in the Forrester's Arms in Tarporley having my first UK pint (no idea what so don't ask). A couple has just walked in wearing matching pale pink tops, dark blue denim jeans and dark maroon leather shoes.

The flight here was not too bad. Royal Brunei are alright as airlines go. The only let down is the amount of time it takes to get to Heathrow. You stop at Banda Sari and the at Dubai on the way.

Customs was non existent at Heathrow. No matter what corridor (declare or non declare) you took you would find your self outside the airport with no one having inspected your bags. Due to this I had three hours to kill at Euston before heading up the Chester and Tarpoorly. I played the Monopoly tourist game of taking as many photos of landmarks that appear on the Monopoly boards. So far I have King's Cross Station, Euston Road and Pentonville Road.

I better head back to base. Dinner should be ready by now.

Catch you on the flip side.

28 April 2010

My Favourite TED Talks

Quite some time ago a friend of mine blogged about his favourite TED Talks and I have been watching them ever since. I figure enough time now has passed that I can do my own.
Seeing that I am trying to become a primary school teacher there is a general theme of learning, thinking and motivation but there are some others. They aren't in any particular order.

Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation



Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity


Dave Eggers' wish: Once Upon a School


Scott McCloud on Comics


Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions



Arthur Benjamin does "Mathemagic"

27 April 2010

A Recount of What Happened in a SRE Lesson at a Primary School in NSW

When you read this just remember that this happened roughly a year ago on my third year prac. It was in a kindergarten class and material as aimed for a kindergarten student. I'm not sure which church runs the scripture classes at the public schools in town but I know it isn't the Catholic Church as they have a pretty strong presence in the region (4 primary schools and a high school). I think it might be the Anglican judging by the version of the Lord's Prayer used.

The lady running this class used to be a primary school teacher so she knew what she was about and kept the class focused or would switch to a new activity when she knew when the current activity wasn't maintaining the students' attention.

It started much like any kindergarten lesson, with a story from a picture book. It was based on the Cast Your Net on the Other Side sermon (John 21:1-21:9). The fishermen can't seem to catch a thing and the bearded guy in a loin cloth tells them to try fishing on the other side. Lo and behold they are up to their eyeballs in fish and ye it was all good.

Each of the students had a scripture work book that has activities based upon the various sermons and for the next twenty minutes the kids worked on the Cast Your Nets pages.
She also had this song she would occasionally sing that was based on "The Farmer in the Dell". I really wish I could remember the words. She had at least a dozen different versions based on main points of the sermons but each ended with "Like only Jesus can" or "Like only God could do".
The lesson wrapped up with a small Q & A on the meaning of the lesson and the Lord's Prayer.

As I said at the beginning this is based on memories from a year ago and so there are a few holes but that is the general gist.

About six of the students went to another classroom during the lesson due to notes from their parents. According to the teachers the number of notes coming in was increasing and there was concern on what was going to happen to the scripture lessons.

Now I am all for students' learning about religion in primary school. It easily fits into the HSIE syallabus. Not many teachers get around to teaching the various cultures of the world but that is due to the increasing requirement to teach Australian history.

Obviously it should be noted that church groups feel different. That only Christianity is to be taught in NSW schools. Again I wouldn't be against this if they only taught about the history and facts of the Christian church. However they feel they need to have this weekly half an hour in state schools so they can pass on their morality so that the kids will grow up being well adjusted.

Just to show that the debate on should religion in schools has been around for quite some time here is an excerpt from The NSW Public Instruction Act of 1880.

Essential Features of the Act of 1880. The most important provisions of the Public Instruction Act are:

(1) Primary school education is placed under the sole direction and control of a responsible Minister;

(2) Teachers are made civil servants, and are paid exclusively from the public funds;

(3) The system is wholly non-denominational: all aid to denominational schools ceased on 31st December, 1882; 

(4) Attendance at school is made obligatory upon children between the ages of six and fourteen years, who reside within two miles of the school, for seventy days in each half-year, unless just cause of exemption can be shown;

(5) The teaching is strictly secular, but the words "secular instruction" are held to include general religious teaching as distinguished from dogmatic and polemical theology: the History of England and Australia must form part of the course of secular instruction;

(6) High schools for boys and girls maybe established, in which the instruction shall be of such a character as to complete the public school curriculum and prepare the pupils for the University;
(7) Provision is made for constituting Public School Districts and for the appointment of School Boards with defined powers and duties;

(8) School children are allowed to travel free by rail to the nearest public school;

(9) Four hours during each day must be devoted to secular instruction, and one hour set apart for special religious instruction to be given in a separate class-room, if procurable, or in a separate part of the school-room, by a clergyman or religious teacher of any denomination to children of the same denomination whose parents have no objection to their receiving such religious instruction; if no religious teacher attends the full five hours must be devoted to the ordinary secular instruction.

Here are some reactions from the Catholic Church (the largest provider of education in the colony at the time). They are taken from Government Schools of New South Wales 1848 to 1993 by Jim Fletcher.

They accused the government schools of being "seed plots of future immorality, infidelity, and lawlessness". It was also a subtle means of "squeezing ... the Catholic faith out of Catholic People". The Catholic Church wanted to encourage their people to support the denominational schools. They were successful but at the same time their criticism created a bitter reaction against the continuation of State aid for denominational schools. Subsequently the bill was passed.

So you see none of this is new. Hopefully the current groundswell will force them out.

21 April 2010

No Bad Movies

Scott Drummond posts a famous actor and it is up to his followers to discuss if any of their films are bad.

So far not a single actor has been able to stand up.
in reference to: no bad movies (view on Google Sidewiki)

Green and Gold Rugby

This website is the best officially unofficial rugby union website around.
Using a blog as the front page, the contributors post match previews and reviews, discussions and opinions about the game the play in heaven.
Mainly focusing on Australian matches, players, administration and issues, they take a light hearted approach to what many find a serious topic.
A live web chat occurs for every Wallabies and Australian Super 14 games.
If you are keen to keep the discussions going or have something you wish to talk about head into the forum and post away.
in reference to: THE Aussie Rugby Blog and Forum for Australia and Wallabies fans – Green and Gold Rugby (view on Google Sidewiki)

18 April 2010

Things I Would Love to See Happen but Probably Wont



The following are in no particular order. They are generally silly and don't reach the lofty heights of worlds peace. So enjoy.



Pete Smith releases a tell all book

Think about it. He was around when all the great show biz stories happened in the early years of Australian television. It would be such an amazing read. Sadly though Pete has been asked about this by Tony Martin a few times and his response has always been "Not enough people dead yet."










The Release of Boy Town Confidential
You may remember the movie about an aged boy band who get back together and reclaim their popularity. Written by Mick Molloy and his brother Richard it was not up to their previous work on Crackerjack. Tony Martin had a small role as the documenter of Boy Town's renewed fame. The title of the documentary was Boy Town Confidential and it was to be released as a special feature on the DVD.


From all reports it was a work of genius. Tony even called it his best work to date. Which brings it to the crux of the problem. BTC was cut from the DVD release. The Molloy boys' gave the reason of funds. Tony offered to pay for it but still the boys said no. So we now only speculate on the reason for it exclusion. Supposedly Tony and Mick don't talk much any more.


Bring Back Firefly
Joss Whedon's sci fi tv series was cut after 14 episodes. It was well made. Incredibly hard to fault. Joss Whedon at his finest. Fox however didn't like the ratings and cut it short. DVD sales were off the charts. Large enough to get funding for a movie.
The cast have moved on to other things now and even though a lot of people want to see it come back it probably wont.


The Wallabies to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand
Out of the list so far this is the most possible and technically I'd be happy for anyone but the All Blacks to win. I really don't want to see any Northern Hemisphere side to win either. I'd allow Ireland. All that leaves is South Africa or Australia and the Springboks won it last time and we don't them to be the first to go back to back or the first to win it three times. So all that leaves is Australia. And we will have a genuine chance too.




Hockey to get regular TV air time in Australia
Just to clarify I am talking about hockey. Not ice hockey. Hockey was played on land before it was on ice. 
Hockey is quite a popular sport in Australia. We are dominant in world competitions but sadly within our own country it receives hardly any press unless we win something big. Obviously it doesn't help when the biggest tournament that is played is a part of the Olympics however the World Cup is growing in strength. 
In Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands hockey matches are large events and the players in their national competitions are professional. 
Hockey Australia have taken the first step by setting up the Australian Hockey League and they are now making it a longer style competition between the states. Hopefully it catches on but I can't see it happening. 

My Favourite Children's Cartoons as an Adult

Samurai Jack
A samurai warrior (Jack) is sent to the future by an ancient, powerful and evil entity (Aku), where Aku rules the world and other planets as well. Jack battles his way around the planet as he seeks a way to return to the past to undo the evil that Aku has afflicted on the planet.








Avatar: The Last Airbender
Ang is the latest in a long line of Avatars that maintain peace amongst the four nations. There is the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribes and the Air Nomads. Each nation contains people who can bend the element that gives their nation its name. Each generation has an Avatar and the succession follows the Avatar Cycle (Water, Earth, Fire, Air).
Upon finding out that he is the next Avatar, Ang runs away only to be caught in a storm and is frozen in suspended animation. During this time the Fire Nation as conquered many lands from the other nations and killed off all the remaining Air Nomads. 100 years later a sister and brother from the Southern Water Tribe (Katara and Sokka) find Ang and they join him on his quest to master the remaining three elements so he can defeat the Fire Lord.



The Batman
Bruce Wayne has been The Batman for only a year. Gotham is in relative safety for now. Soon an increasing number of super criminals are appearing on the streets. We are introduced to revamped villains, characters and themes.
Now it isn't quite as good as Batman: The Animated Series from the 1990's however it really highlights the issues Bruce Wayne struggles with as being The Batman and is his presence alone the reason for the increased "super" villainy.







Invader Zim
Zim is the least competent invader of the Irken Empire, an alien race that prides itself in its ability to invade other planets. Zim single-handedly halted Operation Impending Doom. The Tallest (Irken's assign the role of leadership to the tallest of their species) have now declared the commencement of Operation Impending Doom II and to avoid the catastrophe of the previous operation they send Zim and his information retrieval unit GIR to Earth, a planet so far away and so backwards that it is very low down on the invading priority list.
On Earth Zim meets Dib, a paranormal investigator and son of the famed scientist and saviour of the planet, Professor Membrane. Dib is only the only human who knows what Zim is, despite his poor disguise and Dib vows to stop Zim form taking over the planet.



The Spectacular Spider-man
Peter Parker has just commenced junior high. He was bitten by the radioactive spider at the beginning of summer. He spends his time with his best friends Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn,  keeping clear of Flash Thompson and helping Dr. Curt Connors in his science lab. Initially Peter is only thwarting petty crime but New York's crime boss creates super powered villains to defeat Spider-man.
Peter has to cope with school life, his fame as Spider-man and home life.





Iron Man: Armoured Adventures
A young Tony Stark lives his life inside his father's company, Stark International. He and his father are constantly competing to see who can out invent each other. Tony's latest is the Iron Man armour. they are on their way to the testing grounds when a strange light appears inside the jet. Tony wakes up in bed with 

11 April 2010

Was Kurtley Beale Offside?

The setting was last nights' Super 14 game between the Waratahs and the Crusaders at Christchurch.
The moment was during the 68th minute.
The Crusaders had a ruck on half way after some scrappy play which saw possession switch a couple of times.
The Crusaders' half back, Fotuali'i picks up the ball, takes three steps and throws a long pass to the right, Kurtley Beale manages to intercept the ball and would have score a try. 
However, Joubert, the referee considered Beale to be in an offside position and awarded a penalty.
From what I can tell there was no signal from the assistant referee. Sean Fitzpatrik, All Black legend, during the summation of the game, said there was a nod to Joubert from the side line but I couldn't see it. 

Have a look for yourself.

Here is that picture a little bigger



















After some quite correct comments on Youtube. (I have the line in the wrong spot)  I'm putting up another picture. This one is of when Fotuali'i has just pulled the ball from the ruck. I haven't drawn any lines this time just to let you decide for yourself.


















Now in this one the ball has just been pulled from the ruck. Beale has stepped in line with his other players. Who are standing on the line that can be made from TPN's foot.

05 April 2010

The Better Easter Tradition

The best two things the the Christian faith has provided to the world is Christmas and Easter.
Christmas my favourite, not for Jesus being born, not for the present giving but because each year I get to spend a solid few days with my extended family at the beach eating, drinking, talking bullshit and surfing. It is a great time and I look forward to it each year.

Easter is the runner up. It isn't because of Jesus and his whole zombie thing and it is not the weird giving of chocolate eggs from that completely unrelated to the whole purpose of Easter icon the Easter Bunny. It is because on Monday you can head to your local super market and get half price Easter Eggs.

It has become a bit of a tradition with my brothers and I. We only ever get one product be that a bag of small eggs, one big one or whatever. We never go overboard but for only a couple of dollars you can get pretty good value.

I know it sounds a little silly but for some strange and unexplainable reason they seem to taste better. It even tastes better than a block of chocolate from the same company at cheaper price. It probably comes down to the consuming. It makes whatever activity that is undertaken for the rest of the day that little bit more enjoyable.

01 April 2010

Capril: Swirl on a cape during the month of April

The year was 2007 and the month was April. Tony Martin, Ed Kavalee and Richard Marsland on their highly popular radio show Get This, discussed novelty month names such as Rocktober (Rock + October), Schweptember (Schweppes + September) and Movember (Moustaches + November) and made a few suggestions of their own. The most popular was Capril where participants would swirl on a cape for the entire month of April. Now what started as a silly idea slowly built momentum and soon the boys were asking for listeners to send in photos of themselves wearing a cape in everyday situations. The less interesting the better. Prizes included a special Capril t-shirt and the overall winner received an iMac.

At the end of the year the show was cancelled so Capril didn't get a repeat.

So lets skip forward to December in 2008.

Ed was working on Nova and Thank God Your Here, Tony was apparently working on a new book and Richard was hosting/panelling Triple M Melbourne's Breakfast show.

I know where I was Saturday morning on the 6th of December. I was sitting at my parents computer catching up on the overnight news. It was there that I stumbled across this article Melbourne breakfast radio host found dead on a Fairfax news website.

My immediate reaction was anger. What had happened? Who has done this? How could something like this happen to such a great guy?

Followed by confusion and denial. No this can't be right. I went to Champagne Comedy and the Get This Wiki to see if it was true and it was.

It was about now that the line "Police said the 32-year-old Caulfield man's death is not thought to be suspicious." started to sink in. I went and asked to my mum about it and she confirmed my suspicion. My immediate reaction was to swear. I couldn't believe it. Not Richard. Why would he do this? I felt let down, betrayed even. Richard was just so positive. A genuinely nice guy. In the years that I had known of him I had never heard of anyone saying thing bad about him.

As far as his fans new Richard had just completed quite a successful year as the operator of Triple M's Melbourne breakfast show. Sure ratings were down but Richard was turning in comedy gold day after day with Myf Warhurst and Pete Hellier. Privately, Richard was struggling. His relationship had broken up, the low ratings were affecting him and he was apparently been told that his role in next year's show was to be cut back.

Ten years ago Richard had recovered, after much counselling, from a severe case of depression. His mother has been quite open about it all since his passing and it was enlightening to hear that this amazing man had been down such a dark path.

So here is the part where I explain why I felt betrayed by Richard.
Known only to my family, my girlfriend and a few others I had been down a similar path. I was dealing with my own depression at the time and my immediate thought was "Well if someone like him can't make it what chances do I have."

Now I am not going to go into any more details about this but I'll just let you all know that I am back on track and I'm heading in the right direction.

One of the best events that occurred after his death was Tony, Ed and Matty D on pots and pans released a special podcast called "Richard Marsland Lives" on iTunes (It is still there go have a listen). It was a compilation of Richard's most memorable bits from Get This. The guys will probably never know how much it helped.

So in 2009 April rolled around again and it was amazing. Within the small world of Get This fans Capril took off quite similarly to how Get This gained its' popularity. Slow and steady. Some money was raised for both Beyond Blue and The Black Dog Institute. But the biggest part of the month was the ground swell of Richard Marsland quotes. Twitter was abuzz with #ImRichard tags followed by some of his best quotes.

It is now Capril 2010 and it is beginning again. I currently have a beach towel, a couple of bull clips and string around my neck. Later I am going to hit the remnant bin at Spotlight to find something better. I will also be re-subscribing to the Richard Marsland Lives podcast to boost its numbers. There will be some #ImRichard twittering but I will also be donating to Beyond Blue in Richard's honour. So click on the link below and support the cause.
http://www.everydayhero.com.au/capril2010

25 February 2010

National Student ID Number and MySchool

In case you haven't theard Julia Gillard is promoting a National ID scheme for every student so that parents can track their children's performance if they move schools.
Read Gillard flags national ID scheme for school children and Teachers not consulted over ID plan.

Now most opponents have are citing "civil liberties" and the return of the National ID card as the main reason not to implement the program. My main beef with this is that it already exists.
Each school has a record of their students. It contains all the relevant information and if a student moves between schools this record follows them. The report can be viewed at any time by teaching staff, executive staff, welfare staff and parents/caregivers upon request (at least in the government sector. I can't comment on private schools but common sense says it is so).

This is the second scheme that the Federal Education Minister has released that is just a rehash of existing infrastructure. That website (http://www.myschool.edu.au/) that displays the results of the National Numeracy and Literacy Standards testing. All of these results were given to principals, teachers and parents. It showed How the school compared to neighbouring schools and to schools in similar socioeconomic settings (parents may have to request this bit. I'm not too sure).

The next step in which people are talking about is then linking these results to teachers' pay and school funding and here is where it all falls apart. When you increase a teacher's pay in relation to results of these tests all that will happen is that students will be taught to how to do well in these tests. Do you really think that it isn't happening already? The test papers appear in the schools in the week leading up to when they will be taken. How many principals resist the temptation just to peak at the questions and the leak them to teachers?

24 February 2010

Rugby Tweeting Guy

This is me.
I retweeted that line because it was amusing. Later that day I was commentating on the Waratahs versus Stormers in the Super 14.
The 'Tahs were hammered if you were curious.
in reference to: http://mycolleaguesareidiots.com/archive/2010/02/24/458.aspx (view on Google Sidewiki)

22 February 2010

How does homeopathy work?

I found this interesting web site that explains how homeopathy works.

How does homeopathy work?

24 January 2010

Waratahs v Reds: Trial Match 23.01.10

Not going to post a summary you can read a better one here http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/waratahs-v-reds-trial-match-report/.
For me it was a strange decision to choose Lismore as a venue for a trial match. I would have went to Coffs Harbour. Once you enter the Far North Coast people start to lose interest in NSW (I worked clothing retail in Grafton and we always sold out of Qld gear before NSW) and Lismore is a much stronger Soccer and League town. In saying that 3400+ people was a good turn out and the ground looked quality all things considered.
The match was ok. I guess. It was hard to feel excited with it being a trial and all and the crowd were looking for some action and a bit of sizzle. The Reds received boos every time they opted for the penalty instead of looking for a try and the Tahs received applause (from the stand I was in anyway) when they went for try.

Reds deserved the win. They were more adventurous in their attack and they could of had the lead earlier if Adam Byrnes hadn't dropped the ball as he crossed the line.
I would have loved to have seen both sides throw caution to the wind more often. I can count the times the Tahs passed the ball to the outside center on one hand. The Reds had a few more but only when they had crossed the 50.

Reds warming up













Tahs warming up













I think I managed to get a photo of Noddy doing his thing.
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