Thursday, January 29, 2009

This evil lair is defended!

Thanks to my colleague Daniel the evil lair (ie office cubicle) is now defended by a missile system. Annoying users can no be dealt with directly from the PC - there is no longer a need for me to get out the bamboo stick. They will feel the force of cold, hard foam against their weak skin!

What was really amusing is that the missile launcher didn't work out of the box. It would move around, but the rockets failed to fire. A search of the forum revealed that this was not an isolated problem. Thankfully, the solution was simple. Just hit the rear of the launcher a couple of times!

I like a problem that requires a violent solution. Muhahahaha!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alex and the Art

Alex has now seen two blockbuster art exhibitions in his first two months. A couple of weeks ago we took him to the Degas Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Today we caught a train into the city and viewed the exhibition of Monet & the Impressionists at the Art Gallery of NSW, just a few days before it is scheduled to close.

He was whinging in his stroller, so I took him out and carried him in my arms around the gallery. Alex was wide eyed and staring the whole way, gurgling and chattering away. We know he likes good art - he can't stop staring at the fine print of McCubbin's "The Lost Child" in our lounge room. I think he's now taking more notice of the Monet print as well!

The pieces of Monet's work on display were gorgeous. We fell in love with his works, and those of the other impressionists, when we visited the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Claude Monet is inarguably the best of all of them, with an incredible ability to capture both light and life in his paintings.

Just one more exhibition to attend now: the Powerhouse Museum's Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination. I'd better play the DVD's to him first!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Asian weekend

On Saturday we were doing a rare shopping trip to Bankstown when we discovered the Lunar New Year festival celebrations. There were crowds, stalls and dancing display with the event compered by the popular comedian Ahn Do (pictured below). Had a very enjoyable Vietnamese lunch at the My Canh restaurant, along with many other parents and strollers. They serve the best tomato sauce rice that I've tasted.

This afternoon I had my first Japanese tutorial with Noriko. Learned to talk about likes and dislikes, along with family. One of her Japanese friends lives very close to us. It was interesting to find out that we have seen so much more of Japan than they have.
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Never again

I was searching for information related to our upcoming trip to Japan when I came across the following photo:

It's a photo by Shogo Yamahata (©) of Tanaka Kio trying to breastfeed her 4 month old son as he lies dying. They were victims of the atomic bomb blast over Nagasaki. Seeing this and the other photos of Ms Tanaka and reading more about her story brought me to tears. The thought of experiencing something like this with our own son is horrifying.

I have not visited Nagasaki before, perhaps we will this time. We did go to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum back in 2006. The memorials, the stories, the models of schoolchildren with their clothes burned off their backs, they affected us deeply.

War is not a game and atomic weapons are not tools that anyone should contemplate using. I hope no child will die ever again through a nuclear bomb.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is it really the best job in the world?

Apparently Tourism Queensland are going to paying someone $150,000 just to blog about staying on a tropical island. Let me save them the trouble...

Day 13. Middle of summer. Bloody hot. Went swimming to cool down but returned in agony after the box jellies got me. Was hospitalised briefly.

Day 27. Decided to investigate the rock pools. Thought I saw movement under a rock, so I lifted it up. Saw an octopus which suddenly flashed blue rings. The blighter bit me. Was in agony. Went to hospital on the mainland for a few days.

Day 30. Thought the weather was supposed to be perfect in Queensland but today's been windy and wet.

Day 34. Tropical cyclone Howard hit yesterday. Blew the roof off me shack and I was struck by debris. Got 20 stitches.

Day 48. Shack was struck by lightning and my computer fried. Was supposed to get my new PC last week, but they are really slow up here.

Day 58. Was walking on the beach picking up shells when a cone shell shot me full of neurotoxin. Doctor said I'm lucky to be alive.

Day 70. Woke up to find a taipan snake poking his head in through the window. I jumped but it still bit me. Went to hospital again for a few days.

Day 80. Was walking near the rocks when I felt a stabbing pain in my foot. I had stepped on a stonefish. Had to go to hospital.

Day 88. Visited the mainland and went for a swim in the creek. I was lucky to escape the crocodile with only a chunk taken out of my left thigh.

Day 92. Apparently the itchiness and pain in my leg is due to an infection from the coral that scratched me while snorkelling off the reef. On some pretty strong medication.

Day 94. No worries about getting the stitches out from my left thigh. The shark bit the whole bloody leg off. That'll teach me to go swimming with a bleeding wound.

Day 100. Apparently acute dengue fever can be fatal. How's that? After everything else it was a mosquito that finished me off. Goodbye...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Celebrity mathematicians

I knew that the head of Qantas, Alan Joyce, studied mathematics at university, as did (uggh) right wing columnist Miranda Devine. I didn't know that it might be the only thing she shares in common with South Park co-creator Matt Stone, who has a joint major in film and mathematics from the University of Colorado.

Other (more) famous people with mathematics degrees include past and present presidents of Singapore, Peru and the Philippines, along with Teri Hatcher and Art Garfunkel.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Zoom-Zoom 2

We picked up our new car today. It's a Mazda 6 and it's red (Copper Red, to be precise). Now I have some leg room again and there is space in the boot for something other than a pram. Bit sad to say goodbye to our traded-in Mazda 3. It's been an excellent car and never given us any problems.

The Mazda 6 has a few more features than the 3. It's going to take time to play with all the buttons. I preferred the red lighting of the Mazda 3 dashboard, like the eye of a cylon, as opposed to the blue of the 6. Radioactive Red as opposed to Cerenkov Blue. They are made in Hiroshima, you see.

At least the 6 plays the "Zoom Zoom" music when it starts up!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Best photo of 2008

An interesting challenge on was to nominate your best photo for 2008. Leaving out baby Alex photos, I listed mine as:

It was taken at Ritsurin Gardens in Takamatsu in Japan. Most of my photos can be seen on my Picasa site.

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