Sunday, 23 September 2007

Move along, nothing to see here

Just a quick update to report that all is well with me, the baby, and Mum-to-be. Less than a month to go now until the big day and things are coming along nicely here - we have everything we need except a cot (which won't arrive until early November thanks to a manufacturer stuff-up), the room that I am sitting in at the moment is well on the way to becoming a child's bedroom, and all of our pre-natal classes and the like are done.

Really, it would be good if the next month or so would go just a little bit faster - I'm looking forward to being a Dad and I'm also hanging out for the Federal Election.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Kick, kick

Exciting news: the other night, I was finally able to feel the baby kicking by placing my hand fairly firmly on my wife's belly. That was quite cool :)

Not long to go now, and still so much to do - as evidenced by the fact that I'm sitting here typing this in the room that I should be busily turning into their bedroom, but it remains for the time being a cross between study and shitpile. Sounds like a job for this weekend, then.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

So, I'm off phone shopping tomorrow...

Not by choice really, but because....well....

I have one of those leather phone pouch things with a clip, that I normally clip onto my left pocket (clip outside, phone inside). Been doing this for years, never a problem.

Anyhoo, tonight here at home I head off to the dunny, and just after flushing, I see that the phone is hanging outside the pocket, which happens from time to time. And like usual, I think, "one day that's going to fall out of my pocket and into the toilet".'ll never guess what happened next.

Yep. That.

Fished it out quick smart, saw that it was still lit up and switched on, screen still working, and thought I might have gotten away with it. Quickly took it out of the pouch, sat it on the edge of the sink to get some of the water out of it....and oh dear, no, the screen's died now.

Maybe I could have saved the screen if I'd dried it more quickly, but chances are the water was making its way to that part of the phone and there wouldn't have been too much I could do.

Ah well. Was a good phone (Motorola V550) that didn't give me any trouble. Had it for two and a half years, so not a bad run.


Thursday, 24 May 2007


Not much to report, so just a quick update on recent events:
  • I've decided against buying the HQ Kingswood I mentioned a few posts back;
  • Things have been busy work-wise lately;
  • I've taken to going to the gym a bit more recently and I already feel better;
  • Our social lunchtime soccer team (yes, I play soccer, yes, I am unco, please don't laugh, it brings back bad memories of primary school) won our first game of the season 6-4 on Monday;
  • I scraped the underside of the Commodore's front bumper exiting a steep driveway in Wollongong last weekend, which fortunately you can't see unless you're actually underneath the car. So no big deal.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Try marketing to this demographic

What does it say about me that the only TV shows I can say that I regularly watch are Top Gear, SBS World News (Late Edition) and Lateline?

Oh, sure, I see other things - At the Movies is one, and some of the medical and cop dramas I watch sometimes by default (because they happen to be on, not through any deliberate action on my part), but those three listed are the only ones I actually go and seek out. Top Gear because it's the best car show around, SBS World News because it's actually a really good news programme and it's on at a time that suits me, and Lateline becuase it's typically the last thing I will haev on the TV before I go to bed at night (to the point where if it's been a long day, I fall asleep in the middle of it) and because I think Tony Jones is probably the best serious journalist on TV these days and I like it when he gets irritated with guests who won't answer the question properly.

(I wonder if Tony Jones finds it a little disturbing that the majority of the viewers of his serious nightly wrap of news and current affairs with a heavy political focus are in bed?)

So yes, from a marketing point of view, how do you sell to that demographic? I suppose someone needs to build a car with a radio that only tunes to ABC stations and then try and sell it to me...


You know that feeling you get when you know the flu is coming, but isn't quite here yet? You're tired, you're a bit sniffly, you're not feeling 100%?

Yep, that's me today.

I thought I was in this stage a few weeks ago, then seemingly got over it - now it's back with a vengeance. Not sure what I might have done to trigger it, other than walk down to the shops to mail some letters at about 8:30 last night when it was fairly cold, and if that's the case then it's odd that it's only manifesting itself now.

Might be plenty more time for blogging later in the week, then, if this takes hold...

Monday, 14 May 2007

Should I say 'not the Kingswood'?

So I'll set the scene for you. Down the bottom of the hill from our house, there is a 1971-74 vintage (HQ series) Holden Kingswood for sale. It's been parked out the front of that particular house for a while now, but lately it's moved to the footpath with a for sale sign taped to its windscreen. At least on a drive-by inspection, it is in excellent condition for its age, and my Darling Wife tells me that she's walked past it, they want $1000 or nearest offer, and the sign also notes that the car 'runs well'. That's not a lot of money at all for a seemingly well-kept car of its vintage, that is approaching the stage where it is about to start being worth more as it ages, rather than less. For instance, you can't buy a good condition 1963-65 EH Holden (the one I really want) for less than about $8-10k these days.

So, you would think, given I've been saying for some time that a project car would be an interesting diversion, and old Holdens are famously easy to work on and get parts for, this would be a no brainer. Go and have a good look at the car, and if it's in good condition without rust, then hand over some money and drive it home.

Yet I have a reluctance to take this on, and I'm not sure why. My first thought was that it wouldn't fit in the garage, and I wouldn't want an old classic sitting outside. Then I measured the garage and discovered that I could, just, make it fit with millimetres to spare. Now I'm thinking that with a baby on the way, there is probably not going to be the time or the money to look after an old car like this properly, and I worry that it would deteriorate under my ownership. I also tend to think that I will probably want to spend time with my baby rather than be out in the garage working on an old car. In any case, I probably wouldn't have time to ever drive it anywhere and I wouldn’t want to be shifting baby seats all the time between it and the Commodore so I could only really ever go somewhere in it on my own. And then, of course, once I had it registered and back on the road, I'd be paying money to register and insure a car I didn't drive all that much. Plus old cars tend to be a bit crap to drive, so I might get tired of it very quickly. And I've heard plenty of stories about older car restorations that started out as just a quick coat of paint/bit of engine work/interior trim work and end up being $30,000 from the ground up restorations.

Yet, the other half of me thinks 'yeah, but old cars are cool, you can just work on it when you have time…'

What to do? I suspect the answer might be to let this particular car go by, good as it appears to be, and re-assess the situation in a year or two, time and money wise. But it looks like such a good car...

Thursday, 10 May 2007

No, I'm definitely not buying a motorcycle

I'd like to make a general announcement, directed nowhere in particular, that I am categorically ruling out buying a motorcycle.

Every now and again, the thought enters my head that it might be a fun thing to do. I pretty much like anything with wheels and an engine, and it does look like a lot of fun. But it's just too bloody dangerous. Pick up a motorcycle magazine and there's a tribute to someone who died while riding. Look at the death and injury statistics and motorcyclists are massively overrepresented compared to car drivers. Talk to people who ride, or used to, and they'll tell you about the crash that they had that landed them in hospital getting gravel picked out of their flesh, or with various broken bones, or on painkillers for the rest of their lives.

With all due respect to those who ride - because I love your machines and I think what you do it great - it's just too dangerous to be seriously considered. Just this week I read the news that a regular poster on one of the car forums I frequent was killed last weekend riding his bike out in the country - exactly what I would do if I owned one. He was a year younger than I am, and he'd been riding for about six months or so. Most riders who've been riding for longer than that will have learned from their mistakes and no doubt generally be quite safe out there on the roads, and are probably more at risk from inattentive car drivers than they are from their own actions. But the mistake that gives you something to learn from could be the one that kills or seriously injures you in the first place.

If, in a car, I take a corner too quickly and the car is thrown off line by a mid-corner bump that I hadn't anticipated, I may well end up going off the road sideways or backwards. I could well end up in a ditch, in a paddock, maybe even in a tree. But my chances of survival are excellent unless I hit something very large at high speed, in the manner that killed Peter Brock. I'm surrounded by lots of thick steel and I have a variety of airbags that will spring into action. I may even hit nothing at all and just come away feeling a bit stupid, but able to drive the car back onto the road and keep going.

Imagine the same loss of control happening on a bike - I would almost certainly fall off. Then I'd be sliding across the road, largely out of control, and no matter what I hit, it would hurt. There would be nothing beyond a helmet to cushion any sort of impact. And, of course, the bike would definitely be damaged in some way, simply because it too was sliding off into the scenery somewhere and being thrashed across the ground on the way. The damage would be far, far worse than it might have been in a car.

No. Much as the writings of keen motorcyclists such as Top Gear's James May and other journalists make it all sound very appealing, for me, the risk vs benefit tradeoff has far too much weight on the risk end. I'll stick with cars, and admire motorcycles from afar.