Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Diet advice

I recently received an email from someone who had read my blog. They were putting together a 'diet program' and wanted my advice.

The email went something like this:

Hi Johnd,

I bumped into your blog today and was wondering if I could get your opinion on a diet/fitness app I am working on right now.

Basically, the main problem with being fit and eating healthy is motivation and willpower. It's such an abstract goal that seems overwhelming. It seems the best way to counter this is to make it into smaller, winnable games.

So my app makes living healthy, eating healthy, and fitness into a RPG game, where users earn points, "level up', and earn badges as they accomplish their health goals. Everytime they add something healthy like a fruit to their food log, they earn points. Everytime they complete a workout, they earn points. As they achieve more and more, they'll level up and unlock badges...

Of course, to appeal to people's need for achievements/progress, I'm also adding charts, and graphs to show their progress... I think people love that sorta stuff. The whole idea is to shift people's attitude towards healthy living as fun, and enjoyable. And there's gonna be a web version for those that don't own smartphones.

What's your opinion on this idea? Would you want to know when I'm done with it?
Without meaning to rude I sent the enquirer this response:

 I am not a fan of 'diet programs'. I believe that there are four elements to dieting:

  1. Keep your mouth closed - don't put any food in it between meals
  2. Hi-protein, Lo-fat, Lo-carbohydrate intake - small portion meals three to four times a day
  3. Keep hydrated through regular sips of water - no soft drinks, energy drinks or fruit juices (includes natural juice).
  4. Lots of healthy walking exercise - buy a dog and walk it twice a day.
I do not think I could be of any other assistance to you, tho' I wish you good luck with your project



Well?  What do people think? Was that a fair and polite response to an unsolicited email from an anonymous person?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday's Scribe - Small communities and bureaucracy

Rhonda and I and our fellow lessees up at Wyangala Dam - where "The Camp" is situated, - are having trouble with a 'New Broom' management that are behaving in a very draconian fashion in their administration of the park.

Houseboat Anchorage at Wyangala
owned and operated by a member of the Board of Trustees

The two new managers come from commercial tourist park backgrounds and are seeking to re-organise our public (State) park along the lines of the big commercial camping and holiday parks.

Sunrise over Wyangala Dam

For example, this year we got an 18 page lease renewal document full of regulations, some of which are quite ridiculous for a holiday park area - e.g. children not allowed to ride skateboards or roller skates, no parking on the roadways (despite the fact that most sites are sorely pressed for parking areas) not being allowed to walk around with an alcoholic beverage in one's hand (many of us move from site to site at sundown, enjoying a drink with friends and neighbours and we take some 'supplies' with us), etc. Each page had to be initialed by each person whose name appeared on the annual lease document and they also had to sign the document and have their signature’s witnessed. We will need to repeat this exercise every year.

Native parrots come in to feed around leasehold sites
where food is provided for them by residents.

On top of that our annual rates were increased to a rather substantial AUD$1,660.00, plus AUD$40.00 for each electronic gate pass as an annual fee and electricity charges were also increased and are to be paid on a half-yearly basis.

If we breach their rules we face eviction and will be required to vacate the park within 30 days. This despite the fact that we have all invested significantly in developing our residential accommodations and also many of us have carried out private garden and small shrub plantings to add to the aesthetics of the park.

A typical annual lease site showing the
substantial development of the site

More so, We are not being told who the members of the Board of Trustees are, how they are appointed, by whom they are appointed and for what is their length of tenure. We are also being denied access to the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Trustees as management claim these are ‘private’. An application for access to the Trustee’s meeting minutes and policies is being made under the “Freedom of Information” Act.

Some of the native wildlife at Wyangala Dam

In the meantime the water slide facility, a significant summer recreational facility for children, has been closed down because management claim they have no funds to re-seal the joins in the slide chutes or to upgrade the water filtration system for the swimming pool. They claim that they have advertised for a contractor to operate the facility but there were no takers from the advertisements, especially as the advertisement stated that any contracted operator would be responsible for carrying out repairs to bring the slides and swimming pool up to operating standard. They have roped off an area of the dam, a small cove adjacent to the kiosk, for swimming but will not accept that the dam water is frequently contaminated with fecal run-off from adjoining sheep and cattle properties, the water temperature is very low and likely to cause hypothermia with extended immersion and that farm fertiliser material leaching into the dam results in algae blooms that can cause skin diseases.

Children at play in summer at Wyangala Dam.
Camping area in background

Revolt is simmering among a usually placid bunch of 'happy little campers' who, to date, have mostly 'self-regulated' behaviour within the park area fairly effectively and even handed. Most annoying of all the changes is a 'three strikes and you are out' policy that can lead to the eviction of a lessee for the most trivial of breaches of the "New Rules" as exercised by management at their discretion with no pre-warning.

One of the many native flowers that bloom  at Wyangala Dam

One resident received their ‘First written warning’ last week for an incident they had no knowledge off that, reportedly by management, occurred when their 25 year old son, his wife and neighbours son and partner where occupying their lease site late last summer. They had a verbal altercation with some nearby casual campers. Apparently the campers came onto the site at night where the lessee’s son and friends were having a private party and the intruders demanded alcohol. They were refused and told (in no uncertain terms) to depart. Some loud argument ensued before they left, firing off some crude and offensive remarks as they left. The mother of the campers wrote a letter of complaint to management FIVE WEEKS after the incident and management acted upon her complaint with an unheralded letter of ‘First Warning’ to the two lessees of the appropriate site. The fact that the mother played the ‘racial card’ in her complaint was considered to be the provocative lever for management’s ‘First Warning’. There was no prior indication to the lessee of any complaint, nor, any investigation into the complainants accusations. They were acted upon and treated as if they were substantial and undeniable fact.

Water skier at Wyangala Dam

Things are brewing. A meeting of residents was held yesterday (we could not attend but sent our apologies and our vote of support) and it is quite possible that a Residents Action Group may be formed.

The appropriate parliamentary minister responsible for State Water and State Parks (who also happens to be our local member of parliament) has been informed of the resident’s disquiet and a list of questions as to the manner in which the community is being governed by state park employees are being asked.

A secluded summer campsite at Wyangala Dam

The minister has been informed by letter that the park is administered by a Board of Trustees and therein lies the problem. Park users are unable to find out much more information about the Board, other than some ad hoc references to it by other yearly lease holders and a reference to it by the Park management as the authority for making any rules that apply to park use. Park management say they are merely following the rules set by the Board that govern the action and behaviours of park users. They tell us that the Board are the authority for any approvals to be undertaken as improvements or renovations to any lease site and any dwelling or structure/s located on the site.

Children at play on scooters, cabins in the background and
a car parked on the last available caravan site, Christmas 2010.

The minister has been asked to answer the following questions for us?

“Can you discover and inform us as to:

1. Who are the current members of the Board?;

2. When were those members of the Board appointed?;

3. How are/were those members of the Board appointed?;

4. What are the period(s) of appointment for those members of the Board?;

5. How frequently do the Board of Trustees meet?;

6. What constitutes a quorum for a meeting of the Board?, and,

7. How does one access the minutes of the meetings of the Board?”

Many leaseholders are refusing to sign their leases but are offering to pay their fees. I have cautioned them against this and told them I am of the opinion that the office staff will not accept their fees if they do not sign their leases which will place them in 'default of payment'. They argue that signing the leases is tacitly agreeing to the regulations that are in the 18 page document. I have argued that this is not so and that their signatures merely indicate that they have read the document and they should attach a note of disagreement to their lease documents if they disagree with any or all of the new rules.

I will post progress updates to this simmering civil discontent as events unfold.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Still going

Rained all night - 15mm in rain gauge - have to leave for Canberra shortly and consult with dermatologist to have more parts scraped and burnt off.

Then home - quick visit to the supermarket - walk Denny - pack the car and off to "The Camp" to meet up with Rhonda after her two day seminar.

Rhonda rang last night, it was cold and snowing during the day, many of the nurses had to abandon the seminar and head home early. She went to the hospital in the morning and they knew nothing about any nursing seminar, eventually found out it was being held in a convention centre in the city, so she back-tracked and arrived late (but so what - Bloody Royal College of Nursing! That lot couldn't organise a free piss-up at a brewery! GRRRR!). Anyway, her accommodation is simply luxurious, hotel/motel high on a hillside overlooking a vineyard, king-sized bed all to herself.

I hope she managed to get some photos with the little Nikon pocket camera I sent her with?

Slept last night, right through except for a couple of time I woke to hear the sound of rain on the roof. The new solar panels for the generator are right above our bedroom and the 'roof noises' are quite different. The possums will have fun trying to get across the glassy surface - LOL!

Must go - cheers to all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chile and "The Ash"!

Qantas and Virgin have cancelled flights to and from
South Australia. (AFP: Tony Ashby, file photo)

The Ash Cloud is back!!!! (Australian Broadcasting Corporation News link)

The MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of the ash plume from the eruption of Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain spreading across South America on June 13 , 2011. The wind shifted from the day before and was now blowing from the west and southwest, pushing the plume east and northeast. (Reuters/NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response, Jeff Schmaltz)

The travel plans of more than 10,000 people have been thrown into complete disarray as the lingering Chilean volcanic ash cloud moves over the east coast of Australia.
The ash cloud has already forced the cancellation of all domestic flights into and out of Adelaide for the day, with Sydney and Canberra flights now set to be grounded beginning from midday (AEST).

With Sydney - Australia's largest airport - now affected, a Virgin spokeswoman said the number of travellers grounded would likely be in excess of 10,000 people.

Qantas has announced all Canberra and Sydney flights will be stopped from midday (AEST) and 3:00pm respectively, as the ash from the eruption of Chile's Mt Puyehue Cordon Caulle volcano continues to push east.

A concentrated plume of ash from Chile's Puyehue volcano appears a world away (horizontal strip across middle), suspended in the atmosphere between 20,000 and 35,000 feet (6 to 11 kilometers) above above Australia and New Zealand. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite acquired this image on June 13, 2011. ASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC)

Ash and gases billow through low clouds after an eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile, seen from Cardenal Samore, Chile, near the border with Argentina, on Wednesday June 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Alvaro Vidal)

"The Black Dog"!

At present I'm dealing with "The Black Dog"! An important part of getting myself 'right' again is admitting to my feelings and telling others how I feel. Not talking about being depressed and trying to deny it/avoid it only makes it worse.

Dealing with depression means going through the collection, evaluation and interpretation of information and beliefs I have gathered throughout my lifetime, the current information inflaming my depression. In sense, you become a student, an inquisitive learner reflecting and researching yourself, objectively and accurately. Ultimately, its up to me to take control of my mood state by taking control of myself. Having spent two years in one-on-one psycho-analytic therapy as part of my requirements to work in particular psychiatric settings, I am well equipped to undertake this 'self-evaluation'.

Its not easy at present - Rhonda's away at a nursing conference and I wont see her again until Wednesday evening when we will meet up at "The Camp". Its also winter, so its cold outside and we have a an atmospheric Low Pressure trough moving in out of off the Antarctic bringing blizzards into the Snowy Mountains, not far from here. Mostly there's not much that can be done outdoors, however, its important to make an effort to get out and about.

I have Denny-the-Dog who needs to be walked.

On Sunday I planted some tubers in a small garden bed that had long been neglected.

Rhonda left yesterday but she waited until the company installing our new solar panel electricity generation system turned up so that there would be someone else around.

Today the electrician turned up to connect our new solar generator to the grid. Later, I will be going up the town and pay some accounts and I'm meeting an ex-workmate for lunch.

Tonight I am going to watch a movie - either Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds",

 or, Jamie Foxx in "The Kingdom".

Given that "Inglorious Basterds" is a 'black' movie I may opt for Jamie Foxx but I do prefer Brad Pitt.

So, you see it is important that when fighting "The Black Dog" you have a plan for your day and keep to an organised schedule - less time to retreat into the melancholy world.

Anyhow, must go, rug up and take Denny down to the pond and feed the ducks!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taking a break

I think I'll take a few days off from blogging! I need time out to re-think my position and blogger!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I apologise ........

...... for my long posts - I'll make them shorter and leave out the detail.

Thousands still stranded

Stranded: Tens of thousands of passengers are stuck on the ground (ABC TV)

Some flights out of Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand will resume this morning after a volcanic ash cloud brought chaos to air travel across Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand at the weekend. Tens of thousands of travellers remain stranded after dozens of flights were cancelled as the ash plume from the Puyehue volcano streamed across the Atlantic and Indian oceans and into Australian and New Zealand airspace.

Strong winds have carried the ash some 9,400 kilometres since Chile's Puyehue
volcano erupted more than a week ago. (AFP: Claudio Santana)

In developments this morning:
•Virgin said it would recommence flights out of Melbourne from about 7:30am (AEST).
•Some Virgin flights out of Tasmania and New Zealand will resume at around the same time.
•Qantas said no flights would fly in or out of Melbourne, Tasmania or New Zealand until at least 10:00am (AEST).
•Jetstar said flights would remain on hold until midday at the earliest.
•Tiger Airways said its flights would remain grounded until at least 11:30am (AEST)

Tasmania had a bright orange sunset as ash from the Chilean
volcano drifts over the state. (Used with permission: Tom Luttrell)

Airlines are waiting for more information from weather bureaus and the Australian Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin to see whether further cancellations are necessary, and are recommending passengers check the status of their flights online before arriving at the airport.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chilean volcano eruption stops OZ air traffic

Huge plumes of upper atmospheric volcanic dust have drifted across the Pacific Ocean grounding air flights in Australia and new Zealand on the Queen's Birthday long weekend, stranding thousands of air travellers.

Chile's Puyehue volcano
Air terminals in Sydney and Melbourne and in New Zealand are virtually deserted as airlines shut down flights. What few flights that are getting off the ground are flying at less than 20,000 feet to avoid the volcanic ash.

Qantas and Jetstar have grounded flights between Tasmania and Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast. The airlines have cancelled their flights between Australia and New Zealand and Jetstar's domestic flights within New Zealand. A flight to Nadi in Fiji has also been grounded.

Strong winds have carried the ash some 9,400 kilometres across the Pacific since Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted more than a week ago.

Passengers at Hobart Airport have told the ABC they may have to wait several days for another flight.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Correction and an Explanation

In Saturday's scribe - Queens birthday in Australia I said:

"... The significance of this event has slipped in Australia as it moves more and more towards establishing itself as a Constitutional Democracy. ..."
Australia is already a Constitutional Democracy. Its a Republic we are moving towards, however, don't mention this to our Monarchists 'cos they'll have a pink fit and break out into Royalist song!

Now, about our Queen's Birthday Honours List - We used to have honours bestowed by the Queen, herself, however one of our Labor Prime Ministers told her to bugger off and we'll have our own AUSTRALIAN Awards.

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia on 14 February 1975 "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service". Before the establishment of the Order, Australian citizens received British honours. The British honours system was a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom and its remaining overseas colonies. The system consists of three types of award: honours, decorations and medals.

The Queen of Australia is Sovereign Head of the Order while the Governor-General is Principal Companion and Chancellor of the Order. The Governor-General's Official Secretary is Secretary of the Order.

The Order of Australia was established on 14 February 1975 by Letters patent of Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, and countersigned by the then Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. The original Order had only three grades: Companion (AC), Officer (AO) and Member (AM). On 24 May 1976, the further categories of Knight (AK), Dame (AD), and Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) were established by the Queen on the advice of Whitlam's successor, Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Following his 1983 election, the new Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke abolished the Knight and Dame categories. On 3 March 1986 the Queen co-signed Letters Patent revoking the category of Knight or Dame. Existing Knights and Dames were not affected by this change.

The Founding of Australia, 1788

Now, to get you really confused, we also have an Australia Day Public holiday. Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the date commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.

Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is presently an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia and is marked by the announcement of the Honours List for the Order of Australia and presentations of the Australian of the Year awards, an address from the Governor-General and Prime Minister along with community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies.

The official Australia Day Ambassador Program supports celebrations in communities across the nation by facilitating the participation of high-achieving Australians in local community celebrations. In 2009, 340 Ambassadors participated in 377 local community celebrations. The Order of Australia awards are also a feature of the day. The Australia Day Achievement Medallion is awarded to citizens by local governments based on excellence in both government and non-government organisations. The Governor-General and Prime Minister both address to the nation. On the eve of Australia Day each year, the Prime Minister announces the winner of the Australian of the Year award, presented to an Australian citizen who has shown a "significant contribution to the Australian community and nation", and is an "inspirational role model for the Australian community". Subcategories of the award include Young and Senior Australian of the Year, and an award for Australia's Local Hero.

The date is controversial to some Australians, particularly those of Indigenous heritage, leading to the use of alternate names, such as Invasion Day and Survival Day. Proposals have been made to change the date of Australia Day, but these have failed to gain widespread public

Saturday's Scribe - Queen's Birthday in Australia

The official head of state of Australia is the Monarch of the Commonwealth Realms. The monarch's birthday is officially celebrated in many parts of Australia on the second Monday of June. However, this day is held on a date proclaimed by the governor, often on the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October, in the state of Western Australia.

Quick Facts
Many Australians celebrate the Queen's Birthday each year, as Australia is a constitutional monarchy.

Queen's Birthday

Alternative name
Volunteer's Day (South Australia)

Queen's Birthday 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011

Many Australians have a day off work on the Queen's Birthday. For many, it is a chance to do something with their family or to visit a sporting event. Some people take advantage of the three-day weekend to make trips to visit friends or relatives.

Some well-known sporting events are held on the second Monday of June. These include an Australian Football League game played at the Melbourne Cricket Club ground – the MCG, or ‘The “G”!’ The game is played between the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons. It is also traditionally seen as the official opening weekend of the snow season in Australia. Traditionally, many public fireworks displays were organized on the Queen's Birthday.

On the second Monday in June, the Queen's Birthday honors list is released. This contains the names of the new members of the Order of Australia and other honors issued by the Australian government or the Queen. These are generally for exceptional service to Australians, Australia or humanity as a whole.

The significance of this event has slipped in Australia as it moves more and more towards establishing itself as a Constitutional Democracy. Monarchists still regard the event in high regard, however, for the average Australian it is merely another long weekend and an excuse to take off the Friday or the Tuesday and turn it into a four day holiday. Mostly you need to do this if you are travelling away from home because the roads are so congested with holiday traffic.

Camping is popular in warmer climate areas

So is a visit to the snowfields like these at Mt Hotham in Victoria

or just go caravanning.

The police also use the holiday period as an excuse to blitz traffic regulation violators and it is a ‘Double Demerit Points' (we get 12 points and lose points for infringements, e.g. 3 points for a low speed 'exceed the speed limit' offence - if we exhaust the 12 we lose out licence for a period!) weekend from midnight on the Thursday to midnight on the Monday,

NSW Police Highway Patrol Vehicle

Nissan Patrol 4WD Vehicle

Police Pursuit Motor Cyclist

It is also a time for bestowing honours. The Australian Honours System contains awards in addition to the Order of Australia. These include bravery awards, meritorious service awards, overseas service and long service awards.
The Officer of the Order of Australia is our highest award in the Honours list.

Next is the Member of the Order of Australia.

Then there’s the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Thenfollows the Military, Bravery, Nursing, Meritorious Service, Australian Service, Commemorative and Long Service Award divisions.

Because the Honours are viewed with some scepticism of bureaucratic and political bias by most Australians, It’s a standard joke on Queens Birthday weekend to greet a fellow Australian with:

“Did you make the honours, this time, mate?”

“Narh! Missed out again!”

“Bad luck! So did I!”

“Oh well, there’s always next year!”

and you both head off to the BBQ and a few cold beers!

Anyhow, Avagidweegend! LOL!

("Avagidweegend" translates as "Have a good weekend!")

Thursday, June 9, 2011

No Win situation for Oz Government

Many of you may not be aware of the absolute cat fight going on over the Australian government's banning live export of cattle to Indonesia after media stories exposed the atrocious cruelty of killing practices at many sub-standard Indonesian abattoirs.

WARNING - Some of the following film footage could be disturbing!

Cattle farmers are crying foul and saying they are going to go broke and thousands of head of cattle will need to be destroyed. Butchers in Australia have reported a drop in meat sales after the footage was shown on news shows and now Indonesia is threatening to sue Australia for banning the exports.

This report appeared in this morning's Australian newspaper, "The Age":

100,000 cattle await Indonesian slaughter June 9, 2011 - 12:04AM

About 100,000 cattle will still be slaughtered in Indonesia having missed the federal government's export cut-off date, the industry estimates.

But Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) says it's putting a system in place that will ensure they are only sent to abattoirs that meet the appropriate standards.

All livestock exports have been banned to Indonesia for up to six months in a bid to get it to improve its poor record on animal welfare.

"We've got a lot of work to do," MLA's Michael Finucan, who is based in Indonesia, told ABC Television on Wednesday.

Some eight staff have been added to the four animal welfare officers currently in the country to oversee, educate and work with local meat processors.

Mr Finucan said around 100,000 cattle missed the suspension deadline and will be slaughtered on Indonesian soil.

"But we're working on a system with operators to direct them to abattoirs that have appropriate standards, where we've done extra work," he said.

Mr Finucan said reforming the Indonesian slaughter process was not as simple as installing stun guns in the 100 or so facilities that process Australian cattle.

"Using stunning equipment doesn't necessarily mean a good animal welfare outcome, we need to train people in the correct use of them."

He defended the use of Australian restraining boxes at Indonesian slaughterhouses which have been slammed by animal welfare experts, saying they provided a better alternative.

Independent MP Bob Katter has savaged the MLA, saying it's squandered levies of about $4.20 for every ox sold in Australia that were meant to go towards improving the situation in Indonesia.

"They knew what was going on, they've known for years and years and years about it and they've done nothing about it, except provide a stupid box," he said.

"And the government - what have they done? Punished the beef producers."

Mr Finucan conceded Indonesia has been - and continues to be - a tough challenge.

"We've always known there's issues and that's why we commit resources and time and energy and effort to being in Jakarta and being in Indonesia," he said.

"We've always known there's more to do."

That story tells us a lot of things:

1. Indonesia is not short of live cattle meat. They have 10 class A abattoirs and many class B abattoirs that meet UN standards but the class B abattoirs do not have stun guns.

2. Meat and Livestock Australia knew that there were some abbotoirs 'up to standard', so they also knew there are a lot that wern't.

3. Admission that the ban is "... up to 6 months ....", and that it could be a lot shorter - so - Don't Panic! Don't Panic!

4. Stun guns AND training in their use is required - meaning we (Australia and in particular, the Australian MLA) have to get the equipment and the instructors 'on the ground' in Indonesia - we can't do that overnight - and the Australian government also needs to put Inspectors 'on the ground' at Indonesian abattoirs to ensure that humane killing practices are adhered to.

5. Australian restraining boxes at Indonesian slaughterhouses (supplied by the Australian MLA) were not up to standard and would not be permitted in Australian abbotoirs but they went ahead and put them in place anyway.

6. Bob Katter (a colourful - to say the very least- Independent Queenslander and federal Member of Parliament) blames the government for making the Australian MLA clean up their act - ????? Classic Katter logic when he admits the MLA knew for years what the problems were!

Bob Katter

7. There's a lot to be done and our government has taken a hard line to enforce those things being done!

No win situation for the government:
Do nothing and be condemned for sanctioning animal cruelty!
Do something and being condemned for knackering a greedy industry!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wow! That's a real big'un!

Crop circles might be known for their beauty and paranormal allure, but the giant phalluses etched into the field of a New Zealand high school hold no such mystique. Fairfield College, in the North Island town of Hamilton, has been snapped by satellite cameras with six huge penises burnt into the grass. The x-rated images, immortalised on the website Google Earth, were spotted by Kiwi David McQuoid while scanning the neighbourhood online looking for a property.

"At first I thought it was a large piece of artwork," he said of the shot, which shows cartoon-like phalluses of various sizes, some several metres across.

Publicity around the so-called Fairfield Phalluses has embarrassed the school's acting principal who told the Waikato Times it was hard enough to deal with when the prank was pulled back in 2009. It happened over a weekend but it wasn't until the grass died off bit by bit that phallic symbols started to pop up around the school grounds.

Every week another crude image revealed itself, much to the dismay of staff.

"There's not really much we could do about it," he told the newspaper. "The caretaker took some more weedkiller and tried to camouflage it a bit."

The Acting Prinicipal said the culprits were never caught and the prank would no doubt have passed into schoolboy folklore had it not been captured by Google Maps.

The Acting Principal's name is: Gerhard van Dyk. Does anyone think that some of the students may have been seending Mr van Dyk an artistic message?

Learning to walk again

Saw the orthopaedic specialist this week. He was very pleased now as I have 120 degrees flexion in my right knee and says the other 5 degrees will come with time. Can also get the knee flat to the surface when lying down. Both kneecaps from the two knee operations have been saved and are in position and sliding like normal.

Only problem is that I have this severe arthritis in my right foot and right large toe which is severely limiting my ability to get around. He does not want to do any surgery 'cos he says that foot surgery has poor results and can create more problems than it solves. So he recommended I wear orthopaedic shoes, specifically "MTB's", and he referred me to a local distributor of these.

Wow! Around $350 a pair! That was a shock!

I ended up with a pair of black leather shoes (conservative and more 'dressy') "Shugli Black GTX" and a casual pair of white with tan trim - "Tembea Birch". Not much change out of $700. Now I've got to learn to wear them and if you look at the MTB website you'll see why that's so! The don't have a flat sole and have a more 'banana' shaped sole. The two pair I purchased are on that site.

Tembea Birch

Shugli GTX - black

They are awkward to adjust to and I've been wearing them round the home to get more used to them - tho' had one trip out to do the grocery shopping this week and wore the black ones then. They certainly take the pain away when they are on but it soon comes back when I take them off and put on more conventional footwear, like shoes for gardening or my slippers. Also found at first that I was getting some leg muscle soreness after wearing them but I had been warned this would happen as you start using your leg, thigh and lower back muscles in a different way. That's easing now, anyway.

Best benefit so far, apart from less pain when wearing them, is that I am certainly using less 'pain killer' medication. I see my GP on Friday and between her and the orthopaedic surgeon I am going to be referred to a 'Pain Management Clinic' in Canberra to review my whole pain management needs and to get me established on a controlled regime of pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication. I really want this 'cos I'm sick of fighting Medicare (through my GP) everytime I rock up to the GP and need a new prescription 'Authority' for the restricted pain medications through the PBS system (Pharmaceutical Benefit Services) and have some bureaucrat deciding how much the GP can order for me  (frequently the least amount, meaning I have to come back for more at more frequent intervals - which also raises questions like"Why is he coming for this medication so soon?", as you never get the same person at PBS twice and my GP has to explain the need all over again.  Grrr!) At present this is a monthly occurrence and is costing me a fortune in GP fees and Prescription dispensing charges.

Hopefully, between myself, my lovely GP and the specialist at the PMC, we'll get all this shit together and be able to tell PBS what it is that they WILL approve and why. I understand that the PMC specialist may even be able to order restricted medications without going through PBS for an 'Authority'.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Drama in the cold and sleet

Well, its cold here tonight and going to -3C later and a top of 14C later - better than todays top of 10C in Yass, I spose?

Just getting dinner on and the kitchen light blows - so out to the lock-up for a bulb and into the alcove for a ladder. Its sleeting snow:

My poor old flowering pear is bare!

Rhonda says "No way you are climbing up there!" so she takes over.

Note the torch in the mouth! LOL!

Meanwhile, Denny-the-Dog  consoled me in the warm loungeroom:

OK! Light bulb changed, Rhonda has our seafood marinara in tomato, basil and garlic sauce cooking (I can smell it) and no doubt is getting the pasta on.  I'm off, time for a pre-dinner drink (or two!)

C'ya all later!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Eric the Pig

Remember in encounter with a redbelly black snake I mentioned "Eric" the pig (or that should be 'piglet', well, here he is, all 8 weeks of him with his owner Paul.

Paul tells me that Eric is a 'Berkshire' and his de-sexed, full grown lady-friend-to-be is also a Berkshire but Eric is too small to go to the farm and play with his lady friend, so he is currently being 'yard raised'.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday's Scribe - some thoughts on "Social Media"

With acknowledgement to "Thoughts on Facebook", by Tracy Mitrano, April 2006
Full article at Cornell University - policies & social networking


A long time ago, back in the days of ‘chat rooms’, there was a young lady who used a university chat room to post some facts about her ‘conquests’ and gave a running report after particular events. What a surprise when she went for her first job interview, all nicely tailored in a new dress suit and armed with a good degree from a valued institution. She was rejected. Fortunately for her, there was a friendly person already in the firm’s employ who told her the reason. The HR person on the hiring committee had looked her up on the University Internet and found the boasting posting! Frantically, the student called the university officials asking them to remove it. Alas, they could not help her, because a commercial ISP was the domain of the posted information. In took time, however, the young lady learned about the labyrinthine procedure in which she had to engage in order to have the posting removed. It never occurred to her that a few relatively harmless boasts could cause her so much trouble. Think about not only your marketability today as a cool guy or girl in your college social circle, but who you might want to be in five or ten years when posting an "identity" on the Internet. Remember, just because it is a new technology does not absolve you of the responsibility to use it in legal and appropriate ways — including taking into account your obligations regarding proper conduct as a citizen of the university.


In the days before Google became the dominant search engine for the Internet, ISPs that sported chat rooms had policies regarding caching information. Nowadays, Google is the main corporate entity with which one deals when it comes to cached information. To date, Google has tended to be good about removing material within a certain number of days pursuant to a proper request. But let's take a step back and see what caching means. Caching, in effect, means that if you post something on an interactive technology program, let's say for a day or two, just to be funny or to make a point, even if you take it down or change it, it remains accessible to the rest of the world on the Internet anyway.

Take a moment to think about how you want to "brand" yourself on the Internet. Almost everyone is more complex of a person than a single label can explain, but for most people it takes time and effort, if not real friendship, to get to know people's complexities. Don't give people an excuse to think of you in a single dimensional way. Instead of trying just to fit into a single group, think about yourself as an interesting person with depth of personality and character.


I am sure you have all heard that with freedom comes responsibility. Social media are an excellent example of that adage. It is time for you to make your own decisions about who you want to be. We all would like to believe you are of an age and maturity that it is time you learned about freedom and responsibility for yourself. It also means, however, that it is up to you to set your own limits and create your own identity and to be responsible for the consequences, given that you live in the real world of rules, judicial discipline, employers with their own interests as well as other people who, like it or not, will make judgments about what they see.


You also might want to take a moment and reflect on the physical safety of this tool when posting information about yourself. No expectation of privacy combined with the full range of humanity represented in these forums means that you may be exposing yourself to someone who may not have the same values, assumptions about appropriate behavior or may even have a mental defect or disease which could put you at risk as a victim of criminal behavior. Very likely you would not place a placard in the front of your house describing intimate details of your personal life, private sexual matters, detailed comings and goings or anything else that someone less careful and competent than you might construe as an invitation for communication or even harassment and stalking that could prove dangerous. Use physical space as your guide. What you wouldn't put on a poster on your front door you might want to think two or three times about posting on-line.

With the freedom to post what you want comes the responsibility to do so in your interests not only for today, but also for who and what you want to be tomorrow. And also think of your personal safety. Cyberspace can have the effect of creating an illusion of intimacy that could prove dangerous for you in reality. Use the manners and mores of behavior in physical space both in how you present yourself and how you interpret other people on-line as a guide.


Most of the time when we talk about social media it is a very individual matter. There is yet another angle to consider: the privacy of others. "Privacy" is a complicated matter in law. It evokes everything from civil rights, to, "to be let alone" in our person.

Watch what you say! If you post an alleged fact about someone that proves incorrect, you may be liable for damages under either defamation or libel. Moreover, if you post photographs or information about someone that can be construed to be an "invasion of their privacy" then you may be liable for a tort under the broad rubric of "privacy."

Think not only about what identity you create for yourself online, but also how you represent others. At the very least, be sure that you take their feelings into account. You would not want to find yourself as a defendant in a tort case that alleged you invaded their privacy. Always follow the "Golden Rule." Don't say anything about someone else that you would not want said about yourself. And be gentle with yourself too! What might seem fun or spontaneous, given caching technologies, might prove to be a liability to an on-going sense of your identity over the longer course of history. Remember that technology does not absolve one of responsibility. Behind every device, behind every new program, behind every technology is a law, a social norm, a business practice that warrants thoughtful consideration.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dreary, cold day

Went up to one of the nearby lakes this morning - it was so chilly and dreary it was quite depressing.

So I drove back home. The Farmers Markets were open so I stopped in and bought myself two bottles of the local "Winter Blues Cure"

Nice sipping liqeur cherry port LOL!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homophobic reaction to 'Gay Advert'

The couple who featured in a HIV awareness ad campaign, Michael O'Brien and partner, which was removed by billboard conpany Adshell after complaints form the Australian Christian Lobby. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Supporters of an advertisement aimed at promoting awareness of HIV in same-sex couples are outraged after it was pulled from Queensland bus shelters. The Queensland Association for healthy Communities learned its “Rip and Roll” advertisements were being scrapped after about 30 complaints yesterday.

Healthy Communities says the company that provides advertising for Brisbane’s bus shelters, Adshel Goa Billboards, and the Advertising Standards Bureau were targeted in an orchestrated campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby Group. The ad shows a fully clothed, hugging gay couple holding an unopened condom packet and includes the website address and hotline for Healthy Communities.

Michael O’Brien is one of the two men in the picture, along with his life partner who asked not to be named.

After the ads were pulled, he started a Facebook page protesting the decision which, by 1pm, had gathered more than 18,000 followers. On Twitter, #adshel was the top-trending hashtag at 1pm.

He told he was heartened by the response. “I was in tears last night,” he said. “I was surprised we had tipped 500 and now we’re well over 10,000. It’s gone viral so quickly.”

Mr O’Brien said he had been overwhelmed by messages of support from the community.

“We’ve been approached by printing companies who are prepared to print up copies of the ads for free and put them everywhere,” he said. “And a little local advertiser rang us to say she was outraged and would be cancelling her ads (with Adshel). I think that if we don’t hear back, people are preparing to protest outside Adshel’s offices today.”

In a response published on Adshel's website this morning the company stated it had:

 "responded to a series of individual complaints to the Adshel Office, Brisbane City Council and the Advertising Standards Bureau. All complaints were made by individual members of the public; and, none were identified as stemming from the Australian Christian Lobby."

I smell a rat!

Victoria Police officers got a nasty surprise when they opened the bonnet of a car in western Victoria last week. The officers were taking part in a vehicle safety testing course and pulled over a car that appeared to be unroadworthy. The front bumper was held on with duct tape.

The officers inspected the bumper and then lifted the bonnet and was shocked to see two rats jump out. Police managed to grab another rat by the tail and three more scurried back out of sight. They had made a nest under the bonnet which was littered with grass and weeds.

The news got worse for the owner, when police found his rear tyre was worn down to the steel belts. The tyre was changed on the spot and the man from Stawell was given seven days to fix the other problems with the car. Leading Senior Constable Mark Wood, who runs the testing course says he has seen a lot of cars in different conditions but this one was a first.

The name of the town where the vehicle safety roadside testing inspection had been set up was Ararat!