Thursday, October 28, 2004

I've read this absolutely brilliant free science fiction novel "Ghost Years". I challenge anyone to read the first three chapters then put it down. Set on the enigmatic planet of Tsai. It follows the story of a priest after a dark chapter in their life, dedicated to one of the very strange gods "Ashgarashgaran". Next I am reading "Bard Wars", then I will move on to "Fork". This is on a frenzied lead up to NaNoReadMo, where I read great novels, at a fraction of bookstore prices!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Felicia - 5 Posted by Hello

Belinda 11 Posted by Hello

Nikolas - 8 Posted by Hello

Zachary - 2 Posted by Hello

Me Posted by Hello
Film Forensics

I was thinking of doing reviews of DVD's I've watched recently. I don't know which one out of : "Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper", "Rugrats go Wild", One of the "Great Valley" series of ten videos of dinosaur adventures, "Justice league" animated series, "Lion King" I, II, and III, "Buzz Lightyear", "Rugrats in Paris". I'm thinking the Barbie one, it is a great musical, and have changed the original fairytale enough and not make it too soppy - It also has an excellent Karaoke feature with all the songs (a great "Villain's song" included). One can also watch it dubbed in German or Dutch (the kids actually watched the whole movie like that!)

any takers??

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Australia's "celebrations"

It would always amaze my father, who having come from Europe, where holidays would almost exclusively be of battles won by the country celebrating (I can't actually think of any examples - Dr. Clam could elaborate on specific countries). ANZAC day, in particular to start with - celebrating the start of a hopeless battle that we ended up losing. On top of that, it wasn't even our war. In some respects it wasn't even the mother country's war. "Lions led by Donkeys" would be an apt description, where the soldiers were skilled and well armed, but the leadership was absolutely woeful. I find it ironic that in a sense, Turkey celebrates the same battle, and it has ended up being a point of cohesion between Aus and Turkey every Anzac day, rather than a source of bitterness or enmity. Contrast this to St. Patricks day or myriad other days of celebration in Europe. It is always where one's country kicked the butt of another. It follows that we also remember the fall of Singapore, the Burma railway. Even the Kokoda trail is described as a "fighting retreat" so we are quite clear that it isn't a victory. Not to mention Vietnam - Australia also remembers that for its losses.
This, I believe, is one of Australia's great strengths. How demoralising is it for potentially enemy countries or groups, that we gain strength from battles which we have lost. After over 100 years in which Australians tried to forget our convict heritage - we have been gaining cohesion from being involved in other people's wars, at times fighting heroically losing battles.

More bombs in Baghdad - boring...
John Howard wins election - who cares....

EU sugar export subsidies deemed illegal... YESSSS... This is much more crucial for Australia (and Brasil, Thailand etc.) than a CLAYTON's "free" trade deal with the US. Finally the WTO has come to this obvious conclusion, and the EU will probably comply with the ruling since it got one going its way against the USA earlier. Ironically, Australia's trade deal with the US should be deemed prejudicial (and therefore, if Aus pressed its case with the WTO would be deemed illegal) in terms of the sugar etc. exemptions heaped upon us (importantly, they discriminate against us in this respect) and I just see it as a cynical ploy to get around the rules of the WTO - in effect to discourage, rather than encourage free trade. I actually feel it would be in the best interests of the EU if all their agricultural subsidies were found illegal. Then they could dismantle some of them without being voted out of office:- they would just blame the WTO.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Gadget review

Having raved about my phone and mower in the past, I would like to rave about the GPS I had the pleasure to use while travelling through the big cities. It was basically a palm pilot with a GPS, Que mapping and routing software. I must say that getting anywhere in the big cities would have been an absolute waste of time without it - considering 4 kids eats up most spare time anyway on holidays. Basically you search for an address or the name of where you are going, or the closest intersection or whatever, touch "route to" button and it does the rest mapping where you are giving you audio and visual cues for every turn - and most importantly, automatically getting you back on track when you do make a wrong turn. Highly recommended