More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

DIY Screen Printed T-Shirts

I had been meaning to print my own t-shirts for ages. Since I was sick a few weeks ago, I decide to make use of that day and print my own t-shirts after seeing some instructions on the web.

I was reading Gary Milner's Blog The Milners and came across his t-shirt post. His post linked to his brother Jeff Milners post that contained instructions on how to print your t-shirts. Jeff's post linked back to Craftgrrl's original post which gives even more detailed instructions.

So basically this is what you need.


  • Pre Washed T-Shirt - You should wash any new t-shirts before printing on them or the design may warp after washing the t-shirt for the first time
  • Screen Printing Paint - I used Pebeo Setacolor paint
  • Non Water Soluble Glue - I used Mod Podge
  • Embroidery Ring
  • Paint Brushes
  • Sheer Curtain Material - I used Tulle. Nylon should also work but the Tulle is finer I have learnt
  • A Design - I edited some images on the computer and printed them out
  • Instructions

  • After printing out your design, put your curtain material in the embroidery ring nice and tight and trace the design using a pencil.
  • Use your paint brush and apply the non water soluble glue to all the areas that you don't want any paint to go on. This means where you apply the glue is where the t-shirt will not get any paint on it. Let the glue dry for a few hours.
  • Line the embroidery ring with the template onto your stretched out t-shirt. Place some paper in the middle between the front and back of the t-shirt so that paint doesn't soak through from the front to the back.
  • Start applying paint to your template by using a dabbing motion. I find this lets the paint go through the best. Be generous with the paint and apply a few layers for good results.
  • Carefully lift off the template and let your t-shirt dry. When the t-shirt is dry, follow the instructions on the paint bottle to set the paint. In my case, this involved ironing the design with some material between the iron and the t-shirt on a medium setting on the iron for 5 minutes. Trust me, you must set the paint or it will fade off a bit when you wash it, I made that mistake the first time.
  • So far I've only done the two t-shirts because the place where I normally buy my plain t-shirts stopped selling t-shirts because its winter now and they're selling long sleeve shirts. Anyway I already have many other designs ready and once I get my t-shirts will start painting more.

    It's extremely easy to make the designs and you can get creative and do t-shirts that reflect your personality and mean something to you. I've shown my geeky side and since I love Star Wars and blogging, have done the Yoda image with Yoda's way of saying "I'm Bloggin This", which is "Blogging This I Am". I'm also into computers so have done a variation on the "Intel Inside" logo most people have on their PC and done an "Intellect Inside" logo. Get creative everyone and I hope to see you all wearing personalised t-shirts.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team Vol 811 & 812

    All Hacks,

    In the first match we played Yemezel. In a pre cursor to the drama that would unfold around penalty kick in the World Cup (more on that later), we were handed two during the game. The first came from an illegal back pass while the second came from a goal keeper error. We converted both and those were to be our only goals for the night. Yemezel bascially steam rolled us since it was so late, cold and I think we all totally lacked any motivation to play even. Ajay also gave a glimpse of the World Cup when he was the FIRST ever All Hacks player to be sin binned for unsportsman behaviour. His obvious attempts to stop the keepers throw outs with his hands did not sit well with the referee.

    In the second game against bottom side Ghetto Superstars, the All Hacks were fully motivated by the skills displayed during the World Cup and put on their own little show. With ruthless German like precision, Brazilian flare coupled with Australian guts and determination, the All Hacks had wave after wave of attack and put through 5 goals. In an even more impressive display, our keeper Justin "Kalac" Lam kept a clean sheet, the first in 35 games apparently.

    Well on to the main story. If you haven't been living under a rock, you would have obviously been watching the World Cup, and being very unproductive at work at well. Since Australia were in the World Cup, excitment was at fever pitch and any old person was jumping on the bandwagon. The Aussies did extremely well and were very unlucky to be knocked out. The Japan and Croatia matches were so exciting and showed what fighting spirit the Socceroos (Soccerwhos a few months back to most of the nation) have.

    If you have some time, I've written many blog posts on the World Cup, feel free to comment and agree or disagree with my views.

    Football World Cup
    Passion In Football
    Socceroos Show Fighting Spirit
    Brazil vs Croatia
    10 Fun Things I've Learnt From The World Cup Ghana vs Czech Republic
    Australia vs Brazil
    Australia vs Croatia
    Australia vs Italy: We Were Fucking Robbed

    The last post is actually titled Australia vs Italy: We Were Fucking Robbed but the way the url got abbreviated to Australia vs Italy: We Were Fucking, which I thought is quite funny.

    Finally, I've attached a secret training video of the Italian football team, showing how they were able to beat Australia.


    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Australia vs Italy: We Were Fucking Robbed

    I rarely swear in life but I think this occasion deserves it. The referee's decision to give Italy a penalty right on the end of normal time was a fucking joke. There are so many more incidents worse than that and they never get given. But the ref had a brain failure and decided to blow the whistle in his mouth.

    In the World Cup, not many decisions have gone Australia's way. This latest decision is just as bad and giving THREE yellow cards and missing a very blatant hand ball in the Croatia match.

    My initial reaction was the same as everyone else at the bar. How could the ref give that and not call a million other things. Then it turned to hoping that Schwarzer could produce a miracle and save the penalty. When the penalty was scored, my feelings were of anger towards the ref, the Italians for all their theatrical diving and just how unfair football can be.

    I've always said that what makes football so exciting is that most of the time the game is always balanced so finely and up for grabs. Like I've written in the pass, a moment of brillance by a player, a mistake by a keeper or a refeering decision can turn a whole match. It can be cruel to the losers and kind to the victors. I guess that's just the way it is, but when you're on the losing side, it's just so much harder to take.

    Australia had played so well in this match and managed to keep the score to 0-0 at half time. When an Italian player got sent off, the Australians dominated most of the play but just couldn't convert that to a goal. They just seemed to lack that spark seen in other matches. Emerton and Kewell weren't there to make some lightning runs and put the defence into scramble mode. Instead Australia only had 1 or 2 real chances. Italy similarly had some genuine chances in the first half but didn't have many chances in the second half. That swan dive right at the end deserves an Oscar for acting. The slow motion replay clearly showed that he just leapt over Neill and totally played the referee for a fool.

    In retrospect, Australia have had an unbelievable tournament which all of us can be proud of. However, to lose in such circumstances just sours it a little. Everyone will get over it in the next couple of days and then credit will go to all the players who played their hearts out and did a fantastic job on the world stage. Football in Australia will get so much recognition and never be the same again.

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    Disgusted By Human Behaviour

    Yesterday morning, I had written a glowing post about how human behaviour can sometimes surprise you in a good way. A day hadn’t even passed when I heard some other stories from friends that night about human behaviour which disgust me. All names have been changed in the following post.

    My friend Anna, who had migrated overseas, had back to Melbourne for a holiday, so a group of us had gone out to dinner and drinks with her. During drinks, we had discussed about others who had also moved overseas and whereas Anna had seen them. The topic fell on Fiona and whether she was still with her boyfriend Nathan and if they were getting married soon. Anna said that she doesn’t see Fiona much anymore and as far as she knew, Fiona and Nathan were together but not together.

    This got everyone interested and we all asked what this meant. According to Anna, Fiona and Nathan had broken up, but Fiona was still accepting gifts from Nathan even though she had no intention of getting back together with him. This prompted Anna to say how Fiona had changed so much since moving overseas and had become a very unattractive (personality wise) person. Anna said that Fiona loved to compare herself with others, and step on others if she thought she was better than them or whinge a lot if she thought others had it better than her. Anna had a few run-ins with Fiona. When Anna first got her job after searching for ages, Fiona didn’t congratulate her at all, but instead asked her how much her salary was. When Anna refused to answer, Fiona basically kept pushing until she got a response. When she found out it was less, she would brag about how much she herself was making. Another occasion when Anna gave birthday presents to Fiona and another friend Sarah, Fiona got all jealous and angry when Anna’s present to Sarah was better than hers.

    There were many other stories related from others which showed what type of person Fiona was. I didn’t know Fiona too well but from the conversations that we had before she migrated, I always felt she was the money driven type. Every conversation we ever had revolved around money. She wanted to know what my salary was, which I was happy to tell. But from then it was constant moanings of how much I was making, whether I could help her get a higher paying job, that I should shout lunch because I was rich etc. Our second topic of conversations was playing mahjong. She always kept saying lets play. But I didn’t like playing with her because her “Pai Bun” (Gambling Style) was very bad. When she was losing money, there was constantly whingeing about how she was losing. Then if you wanted to stop, she would say that we should keep playing. If she was winning however, there was gloating. From all this, I felt that she was a very money centric person. Every action in her life was driven by money and what she could gain. Hence, I tried to stay away as much as possible. Even when she came back for a holiday, I wasn’t sure whether I should go out for the dinner. Eventually I decided that I probably should since I didn’t want to be rude.

    While on the way home in the car, Ken and I were talking about how the love of money really is a bad trait in some people. They get overwhelmed by it and it controls their life. It was then that Ken told me about how you can’t trust people sometimes with money. He had been burned once when stock that he had delivered to a merchant was not paid for and that merchant ran away. But what was to be worse was when it happened a second time, but with his own friend and ex-business partner. Ken said that the incident means he doesn’t even know who he can trust anymore. He was getting very worked up telling the story, and for a mild mannered, usually calm Ken, this was a big thing.

    So what had happened was that Ken and Daniel used to be in business together. When Daniel pulled out of the business, they split up the assets and Ken used his part of the money to start the business again. One day Daniel approaches Ken again and said he would like to get involved in the business again, but in a smaller way, he would sell the actual products. So when Daniel sold the products, what he did was keep all the money, including the initial costs to obtain the stock. So when Ken asked Daniel why he hadn’t given him back any money, Daniel said that he was short of cash and that Ken had loaned him money. A shocked Ken said when did he lend Daniel money, and so much as well. Ken himself wasn’t rolling in money and was on a tight budget too. Daniel kept insisting that Ken had loaned him money. When Ken said that if he did loan the money, he wanted the money back. Daniel got all upset and said that Ken had loaned other people money and never demanded it back immediately. This infuriated Ken and he said that he never even lent Daniel money to begin with so what’s wrong with getting it back. It was now that Daniel went on the attack and accused Ken of not being a good friend. All these years that they had known each other had meant nothing. This was basically emotional blackmail. So Ken said that Daniel can pay the money back in monthly installments. Well months have passed and no money has changed hands. Daniel initially had said that he had some emergencies so couldn’t pay back the first month. Then it was something else so Ken said he could pay less back but still nothing. Then Daniel blamed his internet banking system for not working and that’s why the money didn’t go through. I think you can start to see the pattern. Ken and I both think Daniel has no intentions of paying the money back. We know that he’s gone on holiday, got a new car and regularly goes out for dinners. This is not a man who is broke. This is not a new thing for Daniel. Even when Ken and Daniel were in business, Daniel was constantly borrowing money from the business and sometimes would not put the earnings into the bank.

    I asked Ken why he was even “friends” with Daniel in the first place. I always saw that they were so different. Ken said he wasn’t too sure either. I think sometimes it’s the environment and circumstances that mean people become “friends”. Ken and Daniel had gone to high school together and I guess sometimes due to the environment you just end up falling together. I think we have all been known to do that. Only as you get older do you make more conscious decisions about who you want to stay in touch with and who give no value to your life at all.

    The overall messages from these stories is that humans can also exhibit behaviours that disgust you. Generally this happens more than the pleasant behaviroural surprises. A common theme that turns people against each other is money, especially among Asians. They tend to see money in a much stronger light and are driven by it. Many families even have had falling outs due to money issues.

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Pleasantly Surprised By Human Behaviour

    I haven’t written a post about another one of my favourite topics for my blog in a while, human behaviour. Some events that occurred during the week have prompted me to write this. This post is quite long but I feel I need to write about the whole background for it to be effectively explained.

    I was pleasantly surprised by what occurred with a friend, who I will call Yoda. My friend and I have this running Yoda joke where we refer to each other as Yoda depending on the subject matter. In terms of human behaviour, Yoda (as in my friend) is definitely the master and I’m the pupil. He is a bit older than me and generally has more experience to base his views on. I always listen to what he says about human behaviour and then digest it slowly to see if I agree. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but the process of thinking helps to clarify my own viewpoints on things. In other subject matters such as electronics, computers and technology, I’m the master and Yoda is the pupil. He is receptive to my advice on those topics and hence we have a two way exchange of information. That is definitely one way in which we are similar. We’re both open to different views and will at least listen to them without dismissing it straight away.

    I had always perceived my relationship with Yoda as being more 80-20. From this I mean that I feel that I put in 80% of the effort to maintain the friendship while Yoda puts in 20%. This is what I used to think but started to change my mind a few months back, and especially after this last week, definitely that is not the case. I think it is 50-50 in terms of effort now. Even when I felt I was putting in 80% of the effort, I still felt this friendship was worth pursuing. I say this because I generally don’t have many friends who are older than me and give a different point of view. Through school, you tend to interact with people your own age just because of the way the schooling system works where people are grouped by age. Even at uni, most other students are more or less the same age. I think work is the only place where you can meet a lot of diverse people in terms of age and get to know them well since you see them a lot each day. I’m generally younger than all my work mates and so they all provide a more mature point of view for me. A few of them I know very well and will approach for advice and to tell them my problems. Usually with friends about the same age as me, they tend to approach me for advice, which I always happy to give since I love to have an opinion. But when I need some help, I have to seek others with more experience. I used to have another friend who was a bit older and sort of provided a big brother type role to me. However, that friend has since moved overseas and it’s just so much harder to discuss things over the internet and email. Hence, Yoda is now my surrogate big brother type friend. I don’t mean big brother as in we have to be best friends or fully involved in each others lives. I mean it in the sense that Yoda is someone who I can turn to when I want some advice or a more mature view on things. I can’t speak for Yoda, but I think I also provide a little brother aspect to his life. I provide a lot of enthusiasm towards things, a general enjoyment and carefree attitude to life that reminds him of his younger days and someone who he can also talk about a lot of topics.

    In the past, where I felt I was putting more effort into this friendship, at times it made me feel a bit unsure whether I was banging my head into a wall. Was I trying to be friends with someone who didn’t want to be my friend? So a couple of months ago I asked Yoda why he doesn’t give any validation to our friendship. Couldn’t he occasionally say or do something that showed he thought I was a friend. I constantly call him a friend and ask him to go out and do things and generally contact him a lot. In return, he is happy to talk to me when I approach him but generally he’s not the one to approach me. Yoda’s response was that if I couldn’t tell this from his actions then I “didn’t really know him at all”. He said that we all act differently and that he had his way of doing things. I said that for him it may be clear, but for me I require more obvious comments and actions as I’m not good at reading subtle things. We also discussed why I needed this positive affirmation. I think it is a bit of insecurity. The younger you are, such as teenagers, you tend to need to hear how people are your friend or not. I don’t think I have fully grown out of that stage just yet. I’m not confident or comfortable enough with myself to think that I can treat someone like a good friend yet they don’t seem to reciprocate. As Yoda has said and I have read on many other websites “You get different things from different friends”. So even if Yoda doesn’t think I’m a friend, the fact that I gain something from him should be enough but its easier said than done. Humans are an egotistical breed and to feel that the other person is more important to you then you to them, well that doesn’t sit well with most people, myself included. Anyway we ended that discussion with Yoda more or less confirming that he did feel I was a friend but those direct words never came out of his mouth but it was the “You don’t know me if you think that” quote that implied it. He ended the discussion by saying that we all act in different ways, much like a river. If I don’t try to force him and put barriers to try and change the direction of the river, then things will flow even more freely.

    So that conversation had taken place a couple of months ago. Since then I have noticed changes in Yoda. He is generally a very private person who doesn’t feel compelled to seek out others and talk to them. I am the total opposite and love to seek out people to talk to. I make several detours when I go to the toilet at work and find people to catch up what is happening. Of late, Yoda has dropped by my desk on his way to getting a coffee. I had said to him that he needs to be more relaxed when he talks to me at my desk because his stressed out actions of looking around all the time also made me conscious of whether everyone else is listening. However, lately his more relaxed attitude has meant we have just talked like friends and there’s a lot more laughter and good conversations. I had commented to him that he was much more relaxed now and should keep it up, to which he had replied that was I trying to tell him what to do again.

    So I thought it was back to square one and that I should just leave things again. A very bad trait I have is that I do try to get people to change habits that I think are bad. I have told many smokers in the company to stop smoking and sent them articles and information about how smoking is bad, as if they didn’t already know that. I have been trying to change this part of my personality. Anyway, all had been going along very well for the past couple of months and I just had to tell myself that as long as I was having fun and felt the effort was worth the reward, then that’s all that mattered.

    Well imagine my utter shock when I saw a missed call on my mobile from Yoda, at 11:35pm on a Saturday night. I literally did a double take with my head and put on my glasses to see if I had originally misread since I had just got out of the shower. Yoda has rung me before but it was always a computer or work related issue, which I was glad to help with. I don’t mind fixing computers for friends or giving advice on work topics since I’m a very technical person and read all the work policies and resource manuals and know my rights back to front. I was going to call him back when I thought I should double check the missed call. I have had missed calls before where there is no number and the phone displays a previous missed call. Anyway, a second quick check of the phone showed that indeed the call was from Yoda and it was just a few minutes ago. So I rang him back thinking it was some computer emergency. People have rung me late at night with emergency computer problems where they needed to finish an assignment the next day. It turned out that Yoda had called just to see how I was going. I told him that I was utterly shocked that he had rung, but I was glad that he did. In my mind, although he hadn’t said it or will admit to it, I think that he has listened to what I said and is trying harder to make his actions more obvious. This made me happy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that my views on human behaviour were being heard and that I had something valuable to contribute in this aspect as well. Secondly, that the insecurities that I had were being wiped out.

    That call wasn’t to be the end, I was to get an even bigger shock a few days later. Yoda and I are both big football fans. Since Australia was going to play a vital match against Croatia in the World Cup, I had already arranged to meet with friends at a pub to watch the match. However, when Yoda asked if I would like to come to his place for dinner and watch the match, how could I refuse. This had been what I have been trying to get him to do and to say no would have completely crushed his first baby steps and undo all that I had wanted to achieve. So I dropped by his place for a very nice dinner and drinks. We chatted about many things over dinner and down at the pub afterwards. It was good to see Yoda in a different environment away from work and where he was much more comfortable and able to be himself. We had lots of fun and were just two good friends watching football and having a few drinks, something I never thought would happen with Yoda. He is a lot funnier and lighthearted away from work, again something that I think he should instill at work too, but that’s another can of worms which I don’t think I should open. We all cope with situations differently, and due to his personality, his approach at work is to just keep to himself more. When I first met him, I had many a time called him an anti-social hermit. But as I got to know him more, I saw another side to him. I guess I too had judged him too quickly from outside appearances. Luckily I did see a bit more and put the effort into getting to know him better. Now I believe I have a very good friend who I can ask advice from and talk football too. :oÞ Here’s hoping for more pleasant surprises from friends around me.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Australia vs Croatia: The Dream Continues

    What a dramatic match that was. And thankfully Australia came up trump. In what was hyped as the biggest match in Australian football, the Socceroos definitely turned its up a notch and showed once again that true fighting spirit.

    The match started off with a bang, with a dubious free kick given to Croatia. Srna took the free kicked and kicked a wonderful goal, curling it over the wall and getting it past keeper Kalac. Immediately, again Australia were on the back foot, similar to playing Japan. However, the new Socceroos have learnt not to panic and just keep attacking, which they did. All the pressure resulted in a hand ball inside the box from Croatia, which Craig Moore calmly slotted. Regular penalty taker and captain, Mark Viduka, had missed his last two penalties so why tempt fate and Craig stood up and took on the challenge to great success.

    Having clawed back even at half team and hence being in the box seat again since Australia only needed a draw to go through, early into the second half Croatia scored another goal. Kovac took what seemed like an innocent long range shot. Kalac was there in plenty of time to stop the ball but made one of the biggest keeping errors I've seen through all the matches so far. He had showed signs of either nerves or just lack of concentration earlier in the match when he nearly fumbled through a simple catch. This time he managed to deflect the ball straight into the net. I'm still not sure why Mark Schwarzer didn't play. I don't think he was injured or red carded, so the coach must have felt his performances were a little shaky. Having seen Kalac's efforts, not just the second goal but even his keeping towards the end of the match, I think it would be better to play Schwarzer against Italy.

    So again Australia were behind and looked to be out of it. But the drama continued. Another clear hand ball from Croatia was not called and denied the Aussies an equalising chance. As the time ticked on, I still felt in my heart that the Aussies could make it. I was shouting louder and louder and getting closer and closer to the tv. Finally a cross into the square saw a header tip on by Aloisi and the man hailed as Australia's best player, Harry Kewell, delivered what is going to be one of his most memorable goals in terms of the occasion. He calmly stopped the ball from Aloisi and kicked it right past the keeper.

    Australia were again in the box seat. But it wasn't going to end in a fizzle. Instead Croatia were reduced to ten men when Kovac was sent off after getting two yellow cards. Brett Emerton soon followed also racking up two yellows. Suminic should have been sent off after receiving his second yellow but instead stayed on the field. Croatia had numerous shots on goal and some not so confident goal keeping from Kalac gave my heart a work out. Finally though, Australia defended the draw to the final whistle. Although it wasn't even quite sure if the final whistle had been blown as there was mass confusion at the end. The referee had simply lost control of the match.

    So the round of 16 against Italy will again be a very tough assignment. But that has been said the whole way from qualifying to beating Japan, being competitive against Brazil and finally a draw with Croatia. Anything is possible in the knock out phase of the World Cup. I believe Australia have a realistic chance to upset the more favoured Italy. The dream continues, for now anyway. :-)

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Exquisite Chocolates

    I've already done a post on chocolates before but I love them so much I thought I would do another one. The other chocolates were from Koko Black and were quite nice. But these chocolates are from Patchi, located in Melbourne Central.

    The Koko Black chocolates are thin shells of chocolate with different centres. Most of the centres were too sweet and not that good. You couldn't really taste the quality of the chocolate. These chocolates from Patchi are just pure chocolate, milk and dark, with different nuts or creams made from nuts. They're extremely expensive, $110 per kilogram, and I always flip flop between thinking they're not worth it and then thinking they're worth it. The chocolates are so smooth and rich without being sugary and overpowering. At those moments when I'm eating them, I think its money well spent, because one or two a day will satisfy me. However, when I'm not eating them, I think that spending about $1.50 - $2 for a tiny piece of chocolate is such a waste. I could do so much more with that money, I could nearly buy a whole block of Cadbury chocolate. Oh well, I guess we have to indulge ourselves every once in a while. It's not like I'm eating these chocolates all the time. Just every month or two when I go and buy them.

    Above: Little bars of silver and gold chocolate bars from Patchi.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Australia vs Brazil

    I am totally biased but I will also join in the chorus of Aussie supporters and journalists and say how great the Socceroos played. To think that the Socceroos had lost about 7 matches in a row last year and were looking far from qualifying for the World Cup. The leaps and bounds they've made after Hiddink taking over the reign is unbelievable. They've managed to make it to the World Cup in 32 years, win their first ever match at a World Cup and be very competitive against the world's premier football country.

    Although Brazil had the bulk of the better scoring opportunities in the first half, Australia stayed tight in defence and kept it to 0-0 at half time. After half time however, Brazil took the upper hand immediately when one of the Big Four in Adriano scored a goal. Australia did not panic though, in fact pressing even more to equalise. Hiddink subbed on Bresciano, Kewell and Aloisi a bit later to immediate effect. Bresciano and Kewell had chances after immediately stepping on the field. Kewell had about 3 genuine goal scoring opportunities. Bresciano also made a couple of good runs where he also had a chance at scoring.

    With Viduka up front doing a great job as usual and heading down a lot of ball, the Aussies actually looked like levelling the match. Viduka also had a couple of near misses himself. But such is the nature of football, you have to take your chances when presented them, especially against the best team in the world. Instead Brazil counter attacked and put in a second goal, effectively closing out the match. Great teams always find a way to win, even when they don't play at their best.

    The signs are good for Australia though. With Croatia and Japan playing out a draw, Australia currently sit second in the group with 3 points. Assuming Japan will lose to Brazil, a draw or win against Croatia will see them through to the second round. This will be no easy task but with the new determination and discipline instilled by Hiddink, they are definitely in with a chance.

    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    Ghana vs Czech Republic

    What a match. One of the most exciting matches so far in the World Cup along with the Australia vs Japan match. I was totally breathless from all the shouting and cheering throughout the match. Ghana had come into the match as the extreme underdogs, but within a minute of the match, they showed they were ready to play by scoring a goal.

    Throughout the whole match, I kept expeciting the Czechs, one of the highly favoured teams to win the whole tournament, to click into gear and steam roll over the Ghanains. Instead the opposite was going to happen. Ghana had most of the attacking moves and if it wasn't for many many brilliant saves by the Czech keeper Cech, the Ghanains would have gone into half time with a much bigger lead than just 1-0.

    The second half was to be more attacking by Ghana. They got a penalty shot but were unfortunately unable to capitalise. During the same penalty, too much protesting from a Czech player got him red carded and sent off. This meant the game became even more free flowing. The flair displayed by the Ghanains was even more apparent. They strung together many great passages of play and if they didn't go offside on many occasions, would have been even more ahead. They did manage to slot through a second goal late and put the match beyond doubt.

    The atmosphere generated by the crowd and the skill and flair shown by the Ghanains made the match so exciting. The fact that the Czechs were a man down and had to push forward and back as well meant all the usual static, tight, co-ordinated play just went right out the window. This made for a very entertaining back and forth play which the commentator described as "playground football". Wherever the ball went, everyone would follow and it would just be one team attacking and then a counter attack from the other team.

    Ghana's win along with Italy's draw with the USA means that any two teams can still mathematically make it through to the second stage out of group E depending on the results of the last round of matches. Group C containing Argentina, Netherlands, Cote d'Ivoire and Serbia and Montenegro was meant to be the group of death, but Argentina and Netherlands have already qualified after two matches. Instead, group E is turning out to be the interesting group in terms of who makes it through.

    The A-Z of Me

    Firstly thanks to Karen of Welcome To Singledom for tagging me to do this. I generally don't like to do these things about yourself/favourite things lists so I might take a slightly different approach on my answers. This post took SO LONG to write, so hopefully you will all enjoy it and click on some of the links. Some of the information is quite interesting and worth a read, the siblings one in particular.

    Accent: My first car was a second hand Hyundai Excel which has now been renamed to Accent. However, in terms of my speaking Accent, probably Aussie, whatever Aussie is "Yeah Mateeeeeeeee". You can judge for yourself. I have a few vidoes on this blog where you can hear me speak.

    Booze: Yesterday, my friend was pulled over to get breath tested at one of those booze buses. All you have to do is just blow hard into a machine which will measure the alcohol concentration in your bloodstream. Breathalyzers work by using chemical reactions to get a colour change or IR (infra-red) spectroscopy, where IR light is absorbed by the ethanol in the alcohol and looking at the amount of absorption will tell how much alcohol is present in the bloodstream.

    Chores I Hate: In these modern times, despite both men and women working full time jobs, women still do 70% of the housework. I'd like to thank my Y chromosome which gives me an excuse to do hardly any chores.

    Dogs/Cats: Since I don't own a cat or dog, I can't relate to this question. However, dogs seem to be more popular as a Google search for dog brought up 1,590,000,000 entries compared to cat that gave 1,430,000,000 entries at the time of writing.

    Essential Electronics: The Apple Ipod owns about 92% of the hard drive based music players market. I am also one of the masses who own one. "Ipod, therefore I am".

    Favorite perfume/cologne: I just found out yesterday night watching the World Cup that the word Cologne comes from the German city of Cologne. And who said you don't learn anything from watching the World Cup. The word perfume is derived from Latin word "parfumare" meaning "through smoke". The ancient Eygptians made mixtures of aromatic myrrh, Matsic tree, bays of juniper, seeds of fenugreek, pistachio and edible shoveler duck, the whole crushed and mixed with wine and a preparation cooked containing resin and of honey to use on themselves. I just prefer smelling like Joop Homme myself.

    Gold/Silver: Gold is one of the most precious commodities and generally people love to own. I only have one gold necklace given to me but I never wear. However, for all you ladies out there, don't ask for a gold ring next time you get a present, ask for a platinum one instead. Platinum is about twice as expensive as gold and due to its purity, also lasts a lot longer.

    Hometown: How does one define what their hometown is? Is it where you were born, Cholon, or where your heart is, no particular place for me, or where you currently live, Springvale.

    Insomnia: Up to 5% of adults may have primary insomnia, where they have trouble sleeping every night. I don't have primary insomnia or even insomnia now but about a year ago, I did have insomnia for about 5 months due to not being happy about work. My advice is to seek medical advice quickly, don't let the problem drag on as it just gets harder to cure the longer you leave it. My life was hell for about 5 months and I should have sought help quickly instead of thinking it will go away. Now, I'm very happy with all aspects of life and am sleeping like a pig again.

    Job Title: One of the weirdest job titles would have to be a chicken sexer but I guess its not the title that matters, its what you do and whether you are happy. For the record, I'm not a chicken sexer but a Research Engineer.

    Kids: I have been accused of being a kid sometimes but generally a kid is someone who hasn't gone through puberty yet and as far as I know, I think I have. :-)

    Living Arrangements: I would like to know how you arrange your living, is it like flower arranging? I would like to arrange myself in a house like this but unfortunately reality is a more modest old wooden house.

    Most Admired Trait: Since I don't want to be a narcissist and I cannot speak on the behalf of others, I'll leave it to others to judge what type of person I am and what my good traits are. Here's some suggestion: articulate, intelligent, honest, loyal, reliable, funny, personable... but I don't want to influence you, you make up your own mind. :-)

    Number of Sexual Partners: As famously shown in the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky case, Bill Clinton never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I also refuse to answer this question Your Honour as anything I say may be used against me in the court of law. (Sorry to disappoint you James, but I think some things we should be able to keep private.)

    Overnight Hospital Stays: I don't think I'm the only one who notices hospital smell. Its probably due to disinfectants but I think its the smell of souls that are slowly drifting away from their hosts and letting relatives know their loved ones are going to a better place. But its probably disinfectant unless you want to jump on the bandwagon of "Thanh's Crazy Theory Train". Luckily I've never had to experience the soul drifting smell in an overnight stay.

    Phobia: People have the strangest phobias and a funny list can be found at Stan's blog and his Bizarre Phobias post. As I had commented on Stan's post, I have Bloggophobia and Fearofbloggophobia. You'll have to visit Stan's post if you want to find out what they are.

    Quotes: "Resistance Is Futile" - Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 0-1. "I'm Blogging This" - Thanh of One, Primary Adjunct of Thanh 0-0.

    Religion: Religion is a human phenomenon that defies easy definition, hence I choose not to participate in it.

    Siblings: As a first born, I apparently do better at school than my younger sister but will also die from disease earlier. Well I guess theres pros and cons in every situation.

    Time I usually wake up: Thanks to my trusty alarm clock with its snooze function, wake up time can range from 7:40am (usually never) to 8:10am (much more likely). If you don't want to use an alarm, here are some tips on how to wake up naturally.

    Unusual Talent: I doubt anyone has a truly unique unusual talent. Someone else across the world can probably also do it, you just don't know about it yet. If I could have a truly unusual talent, being able to zap people with my eyes like Cyclops from X-Men would be a pretty cool one. Oh no, my inner geek is coming through again.

    Vegetables I refuse to eat: I don't know if brussel sprouts were named after Brussels or not, but I don't care to know since it tastes terrible and are only good to use as substitute golf balls if you happen to run out of golf balls and have a bag of brussels sprouts handy.

    Worst Habit: "One man's bad habit is another man's job". I just came up with that one and think its quite good actually. Should you want to break your bad habit, you need to regain the ability to make conscious choices. Well I consciously choose not to "Not Fart Loudly At Home". A use of double negatives (not not) means the affirmative. So if you're still confused, it means I choose to continue farting loudly in the privacy of my own house.

    X-ray: X-rays always look so freaky, like someone zapped the life out of you. Here are some x-ray of common parts of the human body. I've only ever had my teeth x-rayed and they had this ultra cool scanning machine which went across my head.

    Yummy Foods I make: "I Eat, I Don't Cook". But you can eat with your eyes too. Take a look at Cream Puffs in Venice run by Ivonne, the sight of the desserts always, and I mean ALWAYS, make my mouth salivate.

    Zodiac Sign: With sensual Taurus, the Bull, as your star sign, the Sun shone through... blah blah blah. I don't believe in any of this but if you do, you can find out what I, and statistically speaking, 500 million other people are like here

    I will tag Choo of The Oriental Express to be the next person to do an A to Z of themself. So if you've read this post Choo, I hope to read your A to Z post soon.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    10 Fun Things I've Learnt From The World Cup

    10. Referees love to be very dramatic when they show players yellow cards or telling them to step back. They wave this finger at the players and point in the direction they want them to walk.

    9. Coaches are also very dramatic and their faces tell the whole story of what is happening. Delirious smiling means their team has scored a goal, while delirious laughing means that the referee has given such a stupid decision that they can't do anything but laugh.

    8. All countries fans have their speciality. Brazil and Ghana fans are the most colourful. Croatian fans are the loudest. Korean fans sing in unison the best. Australian fans love to tell everyone what nationality they are "Aussie Aussie Aussie", "How many times do I have to tell you I'm an Aussie before you stop asking". :-)

    7. Commentators love to put on an accent when saying the players name. If they are saying an Italian name, they will put on a ridiculous Italian accent when pronouncing it. I wonder how a Saudi Arabian accent sounds like?

    6. Two out of three goal keepers prefer to wear grey. Ok, I made this stat up but a lot of them do wear grey for some reason.

    5. Teams wearing Adidas have won more games than teams wearing Nike. Ok, once again I made this stat up but I have a 50-50 chance of being right, right? Unless they have won equal games. I doubt the few teams wearing Puma have won more games.

    4. Players who score a goal have to perform a ridiculous dance and then run away from their team mates who are chasing them to help celebrate the goal.

    3. This years official World Cup ball can be used to play beach volleyball and no one would notice the difference.

    2. Brazilian football players only have one name.

    And the number one fun thing that I've learnt from the world cup so far

    1. Football players have extremely sensitive legs where the nerves in their legs are linked to all other part of their bodies. The slightest bump or touch of a player's back/head/hands/torso/bottom will result in the player falling like a sack of potatoes and then clutching at the pain inflicted on their legs.

    So what have you learnt so far from the World Cup?

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Brazil vs Croatia

    Brazil came into the World Cup as red hot favourites. However, their form in the first match against Croatia has not been so decisive. They still won but it wasn't what the world has come to expect from the Brazilians. I guess it's a matter of becoming so good that there are such high expectations each time you step out to play.

    Croatia played very well and had many chances of their own. This will give the Socceroos heart that they too may be able to stay close to Brazil and give a good showing. A loss from the Socceroos against Brazil is not disasterous. As long as they don't lose really badly, the match against Croatia should determine who gets through from Group F.

    Despite Brazil not playing great, the difference in the match was that the individual brilliance of Kaka was enough to put in one goal while Croatia was unable to make the most of their opportunities. Craig Foster, the ex Australian player and commentator had done a pre match analysis and was saying how this tournament should be Kaka's time to shine. Out of the "Big Four" of Brazil in Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Adriano and Kaka, Foster said that Kaka's lead up form was the best and he may end up being the deciding factor in helping Brazil win the Cup. Having said that, Ronaldinho is still the world's best player and will still have a good tournament. Adriano's form hasn't been so great but is still of a high standard. And Ronaldo, well what can I say. To put it kindly, he doesn't look to be as good as what he used to be. During the game, all his attacking moves lacked any venom. He lacked any drive and sharpness in his moves, which could be due to the excess wait he is carrying. Brazil may end up using Ronaldo as an impact player as his goal instincts will still be there, just not his fitness.

    Hopefully Brazil will produce their best and show the world what they can do. However, I hope another team provides a close contest and maybe even win. It's all too predictable when one team dominates too much. A bit of variety will always make things interesting.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Socceroos Show Fighting Spirit

    Dare to dream, because sometimes dreams do come true. I have always supported the socceroos, even in the tough times when we didn't qualify for the World Cup, but boy does it so much better when the times are good. Each time that I felt that a game would be the defining moment for the Socceroos, something would go wrong. However, this time, the fairytale couldn't have been scripted any better.

    Australia qualified for the World Cup after being 1 goal down in the first leg of qualification against Uruguay. Then in their home game, Bresciano slots through a beauty to level it all up. The match goes down to penalties and Australia come through after Schwarzer makes two unbelievable saves.

    We're off to the World Cup, only to find that we're in the same group as Brazil, the best team to ever play football. However, this has given the Socceroos a chance to prove what they are made up.

    The first up match against Japan was always going to be tough. Japan are Asian champions and made it into the quarter finals at the last World Cup. The match see-sawed between both teams at the start with each having chances to score. Just as Australia looked to be dominating, a goal was scored against play by Japan. It wasn't the goal that made me mad, it was the way the goal was scored. The Japanese defenders clearly bumped Schwarzer and impeded him. Having said that though, I think keepers, and Schwarzer in particular, has to be more decisive in his decision making. If he's going to go out for the ball, he needs to get there and hit that ball regardless of what players are in his way. I was so angry about the goal for a good 20 minutes. The fact that everyone in the stadium could see it was a foul except the Egyptian referee was a joke.

    To Australia's credit though, they didn't let this goal faze them and they kept attacking. The Socceroos of old would have cracked and just become completely disorganised. What has been said of Hiddink in the media seems to be very true. He has been able to manage the players very well and make them believe and become a disciplined team. The Socceroos stuck to their task and I always believed they had it in them to get a goal and force a draw. But little could I even dream what would happen next.

    With about 6 minutes left in regular time, the freshly substituted Cahill showed that what he did against the Netherlands was no fluke. He again latched on to a loose ball in the goal square and slotted it through 3 pairs of legs for a famous equaliser. I was already jumping off the couch at that stage and shouting like a mad man. But more was to come. Only minutes later, Cahill this time struck one of the cleanest balls you will ever see straight into the inside of one goal post and the ball ricocheted to the other post. Australia was acutally now in front and on the verge of winning their first ever World Cup Finals match. But good things come in three and John Aloisi, the hero from the Uruguay qualifer, once again got into the act. A piece of fabulous solo play put a third goal on the board and Australia completed one of the best comebacks ever.

    The win has definitely made everyone believe that Australia can go further into the tournament. How they go against Croatia will probably be the deciding factor as to which team makes it to the next stage from Group F. However, one can also dream some more and maybe there's a chance the Socceroos can go even further in the tournament. Till then, I will savour this magical moment and rewatch the replays over and over. It still gives me goosebumps everytime I watch the goals.

    GO SOCCEROOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Above: Tim Cahill scoring the first of his two goals.

    Above: Tim Cahill celebrating his goal with Lucas Neill.

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Passion In Football

    I saw a news report about passion in football today and felt compelled to write about it. What is it about football that makes people so passionate. And I don't mean it in a good way. I'm talking about being so passionate that people get violent and abusive. I was talking to my friend John about this and I was saying how football is only a sport. I love the game but still its only a sport to me and people shouldn't take it so seriously. His response was that I'm not passionate enough about the sport. He said that if you are truly passionate about football, its almost like going to war. I said I can never understand people that feel that way.

    Somehow, something in football elicits such raw passion and emotion from people. You don't see people who support golf or volleyball start fighting because the person or team they support lost. But in football, there are news stories of fights at games all the time. Lots of people get injured and occasionally some even die.

    I think one aspect that helps fuel the fights is that there are so few goals in football. The spectators may be drinking all game and whereas in other sports, they can let out their emotions by cheering for numerous goals, in football, there might only be one goal in the whole match. The built up emotion can erupt from one group of supporters whilst the opposing supporters may feel unfairly done and resentment towards the cheering supporter who are rubbing it in.

    There are probably more deeply rooted cultural factors that I'm not entirely aware of since I don't feel that connection with any team. Usually the worse fights occur when rival teams or countries who play each other also have a history of war against each other. One example is that even in the Australian league of past years, when the Greek and Macedonian teams played each other, there was always the risks of fights erupting due to the historical hatred between the two nations due to wars in the past.

    I see all this violence as totally unnecessary. This is sport after all, politics shouldn't be involved. If we are truly to enjoy "The Beautiful Game", why taint it with all this ugliness. The most famous example was when a Columbian player was killed after he scored an own goal at the World Cup. How can anyone justify killing another human being due to a mistake in a sporting game.

    Less extreme cases of misguided passion is when supporters abuse the players in opposition teams personally and in most cases racially. This also happens in other sports but is so prevelant in football. I've even seen woman and kids join in. Its such a shame that some kids should grow up associating abuse with passion when they are supporting their teams. The players don't deserve this. They are merely doing a job that they love and are trying their best. In the news report I saw, some of the players say that they actually break down from time to time due to all the insults thrown at them.

    If football, and the World Cup in particular, is supposed to be the event that stops the world for a second and unites it, lets hope it can happen in an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance rather than violence and racism.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    Football World Cup

    So finally the Football World Cup has arrived. Over the last two nights, there has already been joy and sadness for the teams that have already played. Germany kicked proceedings off with their match against Costa Rica. Germany won as expected but not without a fight against Costa Rica. The Costa Ricans made the most of their opportunities and scored two vital goals. I saw in the news that the people back in Costa Rica celebrated each goal like they had won the tournament.

    The first upset of the tournament has also occurred when Ecuador beat Poland, and beat them convincingly they did too, scoring a goal in each half. Another upset is that the minnows of the tournament, Trinidad and Tobago, managed to hold Sweden to a 0-0 draw. In football, there's never such a thing as a certainty since each game can be swayed by such tiny things. A missed tackle here, a slip up there and the result of the match can be turned around. I guess its that fine line that attracts people. The thought that things can suddenly change in the matter of minutes. Ecstacy can turn into agony. Dreams can become nightmare and vice versa. When Australia were trying to qualify for the World Cup in '97, they were 2 goals up against Iran and had numerous other opportunities to score. They looked to be in total control, but a lapse in concentration after a field invasion by a guy saw Iran score 2 goals in a matter of a few minutes. Australia's dreams were shattered since Iran had more away goals and qualified for the World Cup. I was so disappointed that night and kept replaying the match in my head and wondered what could have been. Well this time Australia are in the World Cup and hopefully will do well.

    I've been watching the matches at night and am so tired during the day. Due to the time difference, the first match starts at 11pm over here, the second 2am and the last 5am. On Friday I was at a friends place and we all managed to watch the match at 2am through to half time. Then I went home and stayed up until about 70 minutes into the game. I just couldn't stay awake after that and fell asleep. The score of 3-1 when I fell asleep ended up being 4-2 to Germany.

    Yesterday I was at another friends house and we saw England win 1-0 against Paraguay. We had eaten lots of pizza, chips, garlic bread and drank German and Mexican beer and all that was starting to take affect. By the end of the match, I think the beers were starting to get to me and I was really sleepy so went home and to bed. I couldn't possibly stay awake for the Sweden Trinidad match let alone the Argentina Ivory Coast match. I guess I have to be selective and only watch some matches. Of course I will have to stay up for the Aussie matches.

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team Vol 809 & 810

    All Hacks,

    Our first match against D.J United was always going to be a big assignment, big in terms of our opponents waistlines. The D.J crew looked liked they had all just stepped out of a Gut Busters seminar and we were looking like beers that they were ready to knock off.

    D.J actually got the jump (or should that be walk) on us and their slow movement created an optical illusion that we just side stepped away from. This allowed them to the two opening goals. They kept the lead through much of the match but as we all told ourselves during half time, they're bound to tire and we will then be able to run rings around them. This turned out to be the case where by the end of the first half, D.J were showing signs that their low carbohydrate diet high protein diet fuel bodies were losing steam fast.

    In the second half, we totally took control and passed and moved around them as pleased. We got ahead 4-2 and started to relax. A great throw from the D.J keeper resulted in a quick goal which got us into panic mode again. Too many games this season have resulted in close loses in the dying seconds. However, this time was not to be one of them as time was our friend this time and the clock wound down to result in a win.

    Our second match was against the Golden Greeks. As is the case with late weekday matches, there was a fear once again that we wouldn't have a full team. This was to be the case when the match started with only Maal, Anisha, Justin and myself starting. I was also sick with a cold and was not going to run too much. The Greeks took advantage of our lack in numbers and put away two goals before we Justin even got to warm up. Justin's feet were so heavy you would have thought that the mafia had gotten to him with their world famous patented Cement mixture. However, our saviour arrived with his bald head and all. Masum's arrival resulted in lifted spirits and a transformation not seen since Extreme Makeover. A rejuvenated All Hacks team started to play such controlled fluent football that you would have been excused to think that we were playing in Division 1.

    The passing was so crisp and we held possession so well that we had the Greeks chasing all over the field. The clean passes resulted in many goals being scored through assist passes. We piled on so many quick goals that by half time we had turned a 0-2 deficit into a 6-2 advantage. The killing of the lambs continued in the second half so that we had enough meat for 5 Greek lamb spits. Such was the goal feast that even Justin wanted in on the action. However, his pleas of an interchange so that he could get on was ignored since he had to pay for his sins of missing some very easy shots. Finally the match ended with our best win this season 10-4. Everyone who was on the field scored a goal, except Justin of course who couldn't conjure up a miraculous goal from his goal square.

    Although we have been moved up into the 4/5 division, we're holding our own pretty well in this league. More great passing plays like what we did against the Greeks will surely see us into the finals and vie for our second All Hacks premiership. Its been a long time between drinks, so lets make this one count.

    As World Cup is coming up very soon, in case you haven't bought your official SBS guide like Justin, I've attached a World Cup time schedule for SBS courtesy of Justin A.

    Also to get you into the goal scoring mood, here are some great goals. Too bad they were all own goals because the back heel mid air flick one is truly unbelievable. The song is also quite catchy.


    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    You've Been Google'd

    If Ashton Kutcher can invent the word Punk'd which is described in the Urban Dictionary as getting fooled in a practical joke, I'm going to invent the word Google'd.

    Google has become such a part of everyone's lives that it has gone from a noun to a verb. Today I was typing a report and even though I wanted to type the word goggles, as in eye protection goggles, I rarely type that word and instead my fingers ended up typing googles. You will hear the phrase "Go Google that" or "Have you searched on Google yet" so often now. Even Bart Simpson thinks you should Google things before asking stupid questions.

    Anyway I know you can already use the word Googled as in searching for something on Google. However my word has the following meaning

    Google'd: The search term used by someone to find your blog.

    I have a stat counter on my blog which also tracks referral sites that people use to get to your blog if they don't type the address directly. It often amuses me looking at the Google search terms that people use and then find my blog. Below is a list of search terms that have led people to my blog as shown by my stat counter. Some are from my memory as the counter only keeps limited logs, so I might not get the exact phrase but you get the idea.

    Current search terms still in the stat counter log

  • Bold Head People - I've just realised that I mispelt BALD as BOLD in my original post. I will fix that up.
  • All Hacks Thanh Maal - A fortnightly newsletter that I write for our indoor soccer team.
  • Mobile Phones Necessity Nuisance - Many variations of this but always with the terms Mobile, Phones, Necessity and Nuisance. Who would have guessed people would use that exact term as me.
  • Sint Yel - This is part of the lyrics to the Numa Numa song.
  • All Hacks Thanh
  • Seamus O’Toole Irish Pub - My review of the food at a local pub.

    Terms from the past

  • Cure Bald Head - That made me laugh and other variations not involving curing bald heads but just bald heads in general.
  • Asian Women Bad Drivers - And many variations such as Asian Bad Drivers etc.
  • La Paella - Again many variations such as La Paella Sydney Road which leads to my restaurant review.
  • Kimchi Grandma - Restaurant review.
  • Ocean King - And variations including Ocean King Glen Waverley all leading to restaurant review.
  • Seamus O'Toole - And lots and lots of different variations such as Seamus O'Toole Irish Pub, all leading to my pub review.
  • Numa Numa Lyrics - Or just parts of the lyrics which lead to the song lyrics.
  • Mahjong For Beginners - And variations such as Three People Mahjong.
  • Computer Swap Meet - Which leads to my article about my local swap meet.
  • Aussies Bad Sports - Ay article about the Aussie cricket team.
  • Namaskar India - Or just Namaskar which again is a restaurant reviews.
  • Jana Pittman Drama Queen - This was hot around Commonwealth Games time and got lots of hits especially with the bust up between Jana and Tamsyn.
  • Paintball Skirmish - That was heaps of fun, you should all try it if you haven't already.
  • CSIRO Diet - Lost 4 kgs with that diet, I've got all the info you need on the blog.
  • Tilt Photography - Make scenes look like minatures, Photoshop technique works quite well actually.
  • Buying Houses In Oblivion - A game review my friend Kin wrote. All the searches for that have been about how to buy houses in that game. Must be a hard thing to do so people want help.
  • Nokia A Decent Factory - A TV program showing how poor the working conditions in China are.
  • Ying Thai - Another restaurant review.
  • Robin Wickens Immitation - The chef who copied dishes from other high profile chefs.

    One of my favourite search terms was something along the lines of "Winter Olympics Torino Learning Origin Of Philosophy And Cultures Due To The Use Of Language". I have no idea what that person was searching for but they arrived at my blog since I had written a post about the Winter Olympics. The restaurant reviews definitely get the most hits on my blog from being Google'd. Surprisingly, to me anyway, Seamus O'Toole review is one of the most popular search terms for my blog. Another one that gets quite a lot of hits is Asian Women Bad Drivers. Must be a lot of disgruntled drivers out there who have possibly been at the receiving end of some Asian Women (and Men) Drivers. Oh well, what can I say, I'm sure there are bad drivers in any culture, it just happens that Asian Women are rightly or wrongly stereotyped as the worst drivers. As you can read in my original post, it doesn't help when people like my aunties buy their licenses and help to support that stereotype.

    Many other search terms will also get you to my blog, such as using my name Thanh. However, since there are a million Thanh's out in the world (who would've guessed), you need to be more specific. Terms such as "More Thanh Words", "Thanh Do Blog", "Thanh Geek Enginner" and "Crouching Thanh" will get you to my blog.

    So have you been Google'd lately. What were the search terms that people used to get to your blog?

  • Monday, June 05, 2006

    Football: Australia vs Netherlands

    Say what you will, but according to my biased view, Australia did great to force a draw out of the friendly against the Netherlands yesterday. Of course the stakes were fairly low as it was only a friendly, but I think both sides were fielding their best teams as it was a serious warm up for the World Cup.

    The Aussies have come a long way since Guus has taken over the reign. They are a much more disciplined team and this has reflected in the results to date. Not every team can have ultra talented players like Brazil so the way to play well is to be structured, know who you are defending. I play a bit of indoor soccer myself and even in that small game, you have to really mark your own man and talk to each other.

    Yesterdays match highlighted how well Australia's new defence is. Despite a small glitch in the starting few minutes where they left Van Nistelrooy unmarked and resulting in a goal, the Aussies did well in defence. Australia repelled a lot of the intense first half pressure from the world number 3 team and at near the end of the first half, Viduka even had a genuine chance to score, only to be stopped by a fabulous save from the Dutch keeper. Viduka eventually got another chance to score when he was held back in the penalty area in the second half. His resultant penalty missed, but Cahill was sharp as a tack and quickly slotted the rebound ball for a goal.

    Mark Schwarzer also played an unbelievable match where he saved about 7 realistic goal opportunities. I think he has pretty much cemented his spot as keeper for the first match against Japan. The only sour note from the match was Luke Wiltshire getting red carded. The Aussies played with 10 for the last 30 minutes of the match but did great to hold on to a draw. Wiltshire won't be suspended for the Cup since this was a "friendly".

    Overall Australia had a great hit out against quality opposition and stood their ground. I think they are a realistic chance of making it past the first round at the World Cup.

    GO AUSSIES!!!!!!!!

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    Car Wash

    Yesterday my friend Dennis was giving me a lift home in his car. He noticed that there was some bird droppings on the car so he said he would stop at the car wash to just hose it off. So he proceeded to hose off the bird poop with the high pressured water which costs $1 for 90 seconds of water, quite expensive in my opinion since you can just do it for free at home. Those self car wash places have gotten really popular ever since they banned washing your car at home at the start of the year due to water shortage. Even though the ban is now lifted, people have gotten used to going to those self car wash place.

    Anyway I digress again. So after Dennis had watered his car, he drove off to the vacuum/steam clean area and said that he needed to wipe the car. Personally I would have just drove off since the water would dry anyway but I understand what he means. If you don't wipe the water off, it leaves these water marks that make the car look dirty. So I thought he would just quickly wipe off the water. Instead he proceeded to slowly wipe the car clean bit by bit. So I looked around his car while waiting and noticed how clean it was. Not a speck of dust to be found. This is in total contrast to my car where the dashboard has such a thick layer of dust that the weight of the dust itself is holding it tight to the dashboard.

    Dennis was not the only one drying his car. The guy next to us who we had witness wash his car in the next stall also proceeded to pull out a chamoise from his car boot and mirror the actions of Dennis and slowly dry the whole car. The sports car on the other side was also very clean. The guy in that car was vacuuming it out fully.

    I think car owners fit into two groups, those who clean regularly and those who don't. Some people like Dennis and my other friend Paul love their cars and clean it every week or fortnightly. There cars are kept in nice and shiny condition and very clean. They have air freshners in their car and carry cleaning equipment in the boot of their car. Some people take it even more to the extreme. I know someone who wipes his car everyday as he gets home from work. The problem with that is he just uses a cloth and wipes it. What he is actually doing is basically applying sandpaper to his car. All the small dust particles that you can't see just gets rubbed into the paint of your car. His car now has all these swirling patterns on it. If you really want to keep your car clean, you have to do a proper wash where you hose it down with water to remove the loose dust particles and then proceed to clean it with soapy water to remove the dirt that is stuck tighter since it has combined with rain and become like a paste.

    The second group of car owners are like myself. I like my car and think its a great car, but I just see it as a vehicle to get me around. I may clean it once every couple of months. Even when it was new I didn't really clean it. When I do clean it though, I make sure I do it thoroughly. First wash it, then wax it, clean windows with window cleaner, clean interior by vacuuming (since I tend to eat breakfast on the way to work, there are lots of crumbs in my car), wipe down dashboard and apply sun protectant to it. Since its such a long time between washes, every time it rains my car gets very dirty and hence it tends to generally look dirty. As you can see from the photo below, its currently quite dirty and this is currently pretty good in my opinion. It gets a lot worse sometimes.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    Seminar, Sickness and Sleep

    Today I attended a work seminar on particle technology. I was actually looking forward to the seminar as it sounded quite interesting on paper. However, in reality, my initial fears were realised and the seminar turned out the be a sales pitch of the product range from the company running the seminar. Normally, a boring seminar would have anyone struggling to stay awake. However, since I have the onset of a cold and due to my sore throat and runny nose, had hardly slept the previous night, I was struggling very hard to stay awake.

    After the morning tea break, I started to get really really sleepy. I'm sure you have all had that feeling before were your eyes literally start closing and you might nod off for a second or two. I was struggling so hard mentally to stay awake. I tried drinking lots of water and eating the mints on the table but still my mind and body was so tired. It actually hurt my head so much to try and stay awake. By lunch time I actually had a massive headache from the struggle to stay awake and felt like throwing up a little.

    However, once I stepped outside of that room, either it was the fresh air or the actual movement or my mind knowing that it was break, I felt a bit better immediately. During eating lunch, I felt a lot better and had a great talk with my manager who also attended the seminar. By the end of lunch, I was feeling as good as you can when you're sick.

    However, the whole cycle repeated itself after lunch and I found myself struggling to stay awake again. By the end of the seminar, I was again really dizzy and just wanted to get home and sleep. Which is what I did when I got home. I slept for about 4 hours and have just woken up. I've showered and eaten a little and feel a lot better now.

    This just goes to show how important sleep is. Sleep is seemingly the most useless activity that we do in our busy lives. A third of our lives is spent lying in a coma like state that doesn't seem to actually achieve anything. Yet, if you ask anyone who has sleeping problems, they will tell you that their lives are in turmoil since they don't get enough sleep. I can say from personal experience, where I couldn't sleep at night for about a 4 month period due to being unhappy about my previous job, that sleep is vital. I found that I was like a walking zombie in the day and was so down emotionally. Even during weekends I didn't want to go out or do anything. I just wanted to stay at home and vegetate on the couch.

    The mind is such an interesting thing. What actually happens in our heads during sleep is still to be fully understood by scientists. Most agree that sleep is to regenerate the mind in one way or another. If sleep was a way to save energy, you may as well just sit on the couch watching TV as you use less energy doing that. Sleep, I guess, is a way to go over everything you have learnt that day and process it. Research have shown that people who study for an exam and then sleep the night before the exam actually remember a lot more than people who study all night and go straight to the exam. Sleep may also be a way for our minds to be creative and dream about numerous things. During the dream phase of sleep, our minds and body may actually be quite active. Sometimes your dreams are so intense that your body may move accordingly to it and get quite physical.

    What is enough sleep varies from person to person. As Choo from The Oriental Express wrote in a post in her blog, she only requires minimal sleep of 4 to 5 hours a day. I would be half dead if I only slept that much. For me, I have to sleep about 7 or preferrably 8 hours a day. Some of you may think it is a lot and a waste of time, but I think sleep is vital and is a stage where my mind is ticking over thinking about everything, such as a lot of my blog posts which come from my half asleep stage.

    So I say to you all, Sleep Long and Prosper. For you Star Trek fans out there, its a mock up of the Vulcan's Live Long and Prosper phrase!