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.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

He Who Holds The Remote...

"He Who Holds The Remote, Holds The Power"
I think that should have been the catch phrase in Lord of The Rings instead of "The One Ring To Rule Them All". The TV remote control is such a powerful tool in any household I think. What would we all do each night if there was no TV to watch?

I know that in Australia where the population is so sparse, there is literally nothing to do at night once you get home from work. Unlike in Asia when I was on holiday, the streets were still filled with people at night. Two factors make this possible. The first is that there are so many people so that shop owners still find it viable to stay open which attract people to go out. The second factor is that the warm weather attracts people outside as well. It's definitely a different lifestyle than to here. The closest that it gets to that in Melbourne is along streets like Lygon and Chapel where there are many restaurants and people congregate on Fridays and Saturdays. My friend John constantly comments that he would love to move back to Greece because of the lifestyle there. People go outside at nights to the cafes and sit around and drink coffee while philosophising about the world. Sounds like something I could get used to hahaha.

Back on the topic of the remote, I remember that when we were younger, my sister and I would fight for the remote all the time. Nowadays, there are multiple TVs in the house so there is less of that, but occasionally we both still want to watch the main large TV in the lounge so there is some arguments. Back when we were young, whoever physically held the remote controlled what was watched on TV. I was usually the one holding the remote and would have on the sport or some action movie. She would want to watch some other film and there would be arguments. I was also one of those "channel surfers" and would switch between channels during ad breaks. I just couldn't stand the ads and would flick to other things and watch a few seconds of all the shows on other channels. This would annoy the heck out of my sister and she would tell me to stop changing channels.

I read some study recently that generally its the men in the house that takes control of the remote and determines what gets watched. However, now with multiple TVs and the internet, wives and kids have found other outlets to enjoy TV without having to watch what the dad wants to watch.

So who holds the remote in your house and makes the decision on what to watch each night?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do You Have Asperger Syndrome?

Until recently, I had never heard of Asperger's Syndrome until a work mate said that he thought some engineers might suffer a mild form of this, including themself.

Asperger's Syndrome has quite a few characteristics, and one of which is difficulties with social behaviour and being unable to see the subtexts of social interactions. I must now say that I think of it, some engineers do suffer this syndrome. Stereotypical engineer's behaviour may be mistakenly seen as just being nerdy and so into a particular topic, but it might actually be a physical problem.

I think I know a few people who may suffer a very mild case of Asperger's. I say this because they just seem to not be able to read the social signs at all. I know that when a particular person I know starts talking, I completely shut off now and don't hear a single word. I've learnt to do this due to experience. When I first met them, I actually talked to them, but as more and more time passed by, I found that the stories just kept getting repeated. The person loved to talk, but would not hear much of what I said back, which I thought was very rude at the beginning. This person is able to talk through a whole lunch time non-stop while no one else said anything. They did not even seem to notice, switching to new topics all of a sudden when no one had said anything. I just got so bored and hence now just switch off.

I avoid talking to this person now as I don't really want to be bored by endless topics that I have no interest in. I don't start conversations but still find that they will talk to me. I think I am displaying all the signs of disinterest that I can possibly think of, but they just don't seem to see the signs. I'm not making eye contact at all, I've got my body turned away, I don't acknowledge that I've heard what they say with any sounds at all, but none of these signs seem to get through. Even when I turned away to talk to someone else, the person tapped me on the arm and wanted to finish what they were saying even though I'm clearly not interested. When I'm in conversations with other people, they will just interrupt and totally hijack the conversation and I would not get a word in. Usually I just walk away now.

It's not the person's fault. A work mate told me that they suspect that they have Asperger's syndrome because they will just keep talking and not even realise if people are listening or look bored. They said they just don't see the signs at all and therefore doesn't feel self conscious that they are boring someone. Generally, you can pick up very quickly whether someone is really listening to you or already lost interest in a topic, but Asperger suffers don't seem to have this skill. Hence they may actually seem rude to other people because they will keep going even when the other person has shown total disinterest.

I talk a lot too, but hopefully I don't have Asperger's syndrome. I think I know when people are looking bored and I will stop. Although sometimes when I talk about topics that really interest me, I do keep going on because I'm so enthusiastic about it that I may be possibly boring people. Hence, after finding out about Asperger's, I now ask people "Is this boring you, tell me if it is, I won't be offended", to which people will say yes or no. Fortunately it seems to be a lot of nos, so I think I don't have Asperger's syndrome.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

When Rules Aren't Rules

Our great start to the indoor soccer season has slightly come undone recently due to no fault of our own. Firstly though, I want to share the photo of my elbow from this week and my ankle which is still healing from last week with you all. Hopefully you're not eating while reading this. I copped a really bad tackle today and went spiralling to the floor and scrapped my elbow and knocked my head in the process as well. Last week, a swinging boot caught me right on the ankle and left it all bruised and sore. It's getting better but still slightly bruised.

But I digress as usual, back to the main theme of rules. Two weeks ago, we had drawn a match with our opponents, but after some discussions with the referee and stadium management, we were told we would be awarded the win. Since the other team had initially fielded a player with the wrong colour top, under the rules, they should be deducted a goal. Initially the referee had said that he was only on for 2 minutes so it shouldn't matter. If small indiscretions are allowed, what if we only fielded an extra player for 2 minutes, would that be ok?

So we were awarded the win, which we found out today that we actually weren't. They had gone back on their decision from two weeks ago and decided on a draw. This incensed us even more, because three weeks ago, we had "lost" a match where the opposition were given a goal that clearly hadn't gone into the net. The stadium management guy had seen it personally and agreed that the referee had made a mistake. So we asked him why not just change the score, to which he replied that the referees decision was final. Hence we were awarded a draw rather than a win. So what the heck happened this time. Why wasn't the referees decision final this time. He had awarded us the win but then they reversed the decision.

In sport, if rules are not adhered to, why have them. I know this is a very low level of competition and it really doesn't bother me too much whether we win or not, but its the matter of principle and how you can sometimes bend the rules but not other times.

Some similar sporting situations have occurred this year on a much higher level where rules were adhered to thankfully. The infamous draw between Fremantle and St Kilda in Tasmania was one example. Fremantle had won when the siren sounded, but the umpire had not heard it and allowed play to keep going, and St Kilda scored a point to level the game. After protest, the Dockers were awarded the win. This result helped shaped the whole final 8 teams and things may have turned out a lot different had the result gone the other way. Also earlier this year, the English 4x400 metre women's relay had clearly won during the Commonwealth Games. However, because one of the English runners was standing in the wrong lane during the changeover, Australia was awarded the win. It was a minor indescretion, but rules are rules. I think Australia shouldn't have protested and let England win, but that's another story. The fact that there was an official protest, the rules had to be followed and the correct decision was made. If officials had decided to let the case slip by, what next? When do you abide by the rules and when do you not, who get's to make that moral judgement?

Customer Service 2 - Awkward Silence

I had written a rant about customer service previously so I thought I would write a bit more about it. This post isn't a rant, but more an observation.

I had poured some petrol into my car and had gone into the store to pay for it the other day. As usual, I took out my credit car and gave it to the attendant and said "credit". This is where the awkward silence occurred. As he swiped my car and pressed ok, we both stood there in silence and waited for the machine to process the transcation and clear it. The period of time, as we both knew, would only be about 10 seconds, not enough time to really start a conversation as I would be out of there soon. So we both just stood there, not knowing where to look and waited. He passed me the pen and I just held it and waited uncomfortably.

This situation gets repeated in all places now. It happened at the supermarket, the shopping centres and even food outlets. In the past, when you would pay cash, the service staff would go off to the till and get your change while you stood there and waited. Now, they didn't have anything to do so stood there with you and waited, creating this awkward silent moment between the two of you.

Have you experienced a similar thing, or is it all in my own mind. I think it isn't because I can sense it from the other person that they're are uncomfortable as well as they look away and don't really know what to do. This happens more with younger service staff. The older middle aged ladies tend to just look right at you and smile, which I guess diffuses the awkwardness.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Customer Service - Not Happy Jan

Recently, I've had a few problems with customer service of large corporations. The latest incident wasn't really their fault but they didn't really help. I usually have my mobile phone bill directly deducted from my credit card. However, since my credit card was expiring and I was issued with a new card, my phone bill got declined. The company couldn't be bothered to tell me that my card was expiring either. Since they didn't send me anything unlike some other companies, I just assumed they would keep the same card number and just update the expiry date themselves.

So I got an sms from them to say that I needed to pay my bill or my phone would get cut off. They can't even bother ringing me, instead making me ring them and have to wait ages. Luckily I have an office job and can keep working on the computer while I hold on the line. I rang the help line and asked to pay my bill. I was informed by the operator that their system was down and that I couldn't pay. So I asked them why they couldn't just bill me for two months in the next pay period. They said that they couldn't do this and I had to pay up or get disconnected. So I asked them to just try billing me again when their system was up again. However, they said this was not possible and I would have to call back, and wait another half hour on the line, to try and pay. How ridiculous is it when large corporations are only too happy to take your money, but when they have to be a little responsible for anything, they shy away as quickly as a vampire from sunlight. I use the vampire analogy because that's what they feel like sometimes, vampires sucking the blood dry from you. They couldn't put a note in their computer system that said that I had called and tried to pay my bill and that they should retry when their system was up. No, that would be too much responsibility.

The previous example was actually a very mild problem. The worse one was before I moved house and wanted to relocated my electricity bill to the new house. Initially I rang in and they said that everything looked fine and it would be fixed. A few days later, I got a call from a lady saying that I, yes it was up to me again, needed to get the electricity meter number at the new house and provide them with that before they could do anything. So I go to the new house the next day, get the number, call in again (waiting for ages again, so that's two calls so far) and tell them the number. Once again, they said all will be fine and it will get changed now.

When I actually am about to move in, I get another call from the lady saying why I hadn't given her the meter number to her personally rather than to another operator. She said that she hasn't been able to do anything in the past 1.5 weeks. This meant that should I move in, I might not have electricity at all. So I give her the number and she says she will get on the problem. A few hours later, I get a call back, saying that a meter doesn't exist at my new house. But I told her that the lights are on in the house and I just read the number off the meter personally. She said to check the number again. Since I was at work, I rang my sister to check it since she had a day off. Quite a few calls to my sister and back to the lady kept coming up negative with every single number that I gave her that was written on the meter. I'm no electrician so I don't know what number she wanted, but it turned out the first number was correct but the meter number but did not register on their network.

So at this stage the electricity resellers tell me to call the actual electricity providers and see what the problem is. Being stupid and naiive, I say ok and ring up the electricity provider. They also tell me that the meter doesn't show up. I ask them what I can do. They check their computer and say that the resellers had actually rung up to enquire about the situation, to which the providers had told them to go investigate the problem. However, rather than investigate the problem themselves, the resellers handballed the problem to me. This got the electricity suppliers mad since they had explicitly told the resllers to find out what was wrong.

I did not want to weigh into their argument so just asked what I could do to get my electricity relocated. They kept telling me "Oh computer says your electricity is not connected" to which I reply "But I'm standing in the house with the lights on at the moment." Finally I relent and say "Just charge me the fee and do a re-connection", to which they reply "Oh we can't do that, the meter is still there and may be unsafe to re-connect". I say "But you just said you can't connect me because there is apparently no meter at my house". Arrrggghhhh, she had totally contradicted her earlier statement by now admitting that the meter WAS there but could not be connected due to adminstrative procedures. See the vicious loop that the argument keeps taking. They tell me to call back the resllers and tell them to solve the problem.

I asked advice from some more senior work mates and they said, just keep using the electricity for free. I was really tempted to do that, except that if they should all of a sudden decide to cut my electricity, it would cost me money to reconnect and also possibly a week with no electricity.

So I was getting really mad now after a day of endless phone calls for what seemed to be a very simple matter. The meter was physically sitting there already working, no one was being killed, so just switch my bill over to the new house. Initially they said that they may need to send someone out to install a new fuse, regulations apparently, to ensure that everything was safe. With my blood boiling, a work mate had suggested that a harsh email saying that I would report them to the energy ombudsman if the problem wasn't resolved might help. I did this and since it was Friday afternoon, didn't really expect anything to happen that day.

I totally forgot about the issue over the weekend and kept using the electricity. A few days later, I get an sms saying to call the electricity resellers. They then inform me that everything is fine and that my electricity will be relocated that day. I hadn't seen any electrician come out to check the safety of the connections, the supposed missing meter had turned up on their system, the supposed unsafe meter had not been changed, I didn't need a reconnection, all was fine. Miraculously the problems had all disappeared once I threatened to report them to the energy ombudsman. How coincidental is that? I'm not implying anything, you make up your own minds.

From this story, you can see the amount of customer service you get when something out of the ordinary happens. No one is willing to take responsibility and see the problem through to the end. Which just means the poor consumer is stuck with a problem that they can't solve by themselves. The most hated catch phrase that I hear is "The computer says.....". For heaven's sake, the computer is just data entered into it by a human being, who make mistakes or do not update to the latest information. When a consumer is telling you the situation is clearly something else, you should believe them. Either that or send someone out to look at the problem. I think if I ever encounter a similar problem, I know that being nice to the telephone staff doesn't get you anywhere. You just get passed from one person to another, one department to another. You need to get that staff's name and make them personally responsible, or at least make the company responsible by threatening consequences. I don't want to do this as it's not in my nature, but when they shaft me around, I need to stand up to them and demand the service that I pay good money for.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Video Blog Update July-August

A video blog update for the last two months. Enjoy, "Resistance Is Futile".

Saturday, September 16, 2006

LCD Monitor

I just got my new LCD monitor today, and I'm very impressed by it. I had put in an order for the Chimei 22 inch monitor three weeks ago, but such is the demand for this monitor, I only got it today.

Don't let the brand name discourage you from buying it. So it's made in China, which piece of electronics isn't nowadays. The actual screen itself is the same as that in the Dell monitor. The only difference is in the electronics. However, the Dell sells for over a thousand dollars, while this beauty is only $519 for the digital input version. It also has a maximum resolution of 1680 x 1050. It's extremely clear and when playing a DVD, is still great from about 2 metres away.

It's so beautiful and elegant. It only weighs 5kg and takes up hardly any space on my desk now. The large screen means I can run lots of applications and still have screen space to spare. I will also be able to watch DVDs on my computer now and not squint my eyes to see what is happening from my bed. I recommend anyone who's about to buy a screen to go and buy this one. It's great value for money. I guess that's why there is such a huge demand for it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Week That Was

Wow, its been five days since I last blogged. That must be one of the longest stretches that I haven't blogged for, not including my forced hiatus when I didn't have internet.

So whats happened in the past week in my life. Well I jetsetted to Paris for some foie gras, flew to New York to mark the anniversary of September 11, went to Queensland to pay my respects to Steve Irwin at his zoo and talked to a friend I haven't seen for a while. Take a guess at which one of the previous four events actually happened, that's right, I went to Paris, not!

Actually I do want to talk about all four topics I mentioned. Firstly, The Age newspaper compiled their Good Food Guide for 2007. As usual, I looked at all the restaurants and wished I had enough money to go eat at them. The best restaurant this year is Vue De Monde, a Frech restaurant. I looked at their website and the prices are so expensive. I will try to go to a few hatted restaurants this year just to see what's so good about them. I do think that there is a lot of politics in the restaurant review business as well, with large restaurants wooing reviewers with lots of complimentary products. Why does a small modest restaurant never get mentioned. They can produce food that is as good, but the lack of so called "class" would get them excluded. One of the best performing restaurants in recent years, Flower Drum, got demoted from three hats to two. I remember reading the reviewer who helped judge the restaurants say that one of his complaints about the place was that they had let the standards dip. Flower Drum had allowed people to go there dressed casually and act like tourists taking photos and generally soaking up the experience of being there. I've never been there, but if I did go to Flower Drum, I would want to soak up the atmosphere and take photos too. I'm sorry that not all of us can be rich snobs and dress in our expensive Armani suits and go eat at places like that everyday. For the everyday man, you might only go there a few times in your life, and I think that as long as I have the money to pay for the food, why should I be judged just because I earn less than this rich restaurant reviewer. Now that I have had my swipe, I will move on to the next topic.

Just recently, the 5th anniversary of September 11th passed. I remember that event so clearly still. This was the first truly global terrorist act since there was so much television coverage. All day, when you turned on the tv, all you saw were replays of the planes crashing into the building and people running around everywhere. It was such an unforgettable sight. The world as we knew it really did change. In terms of actual deaths, it was much lower than the Asian Tsunami for instance, but it was the way that the people had died. This was no natural disaster, but one made by man. It changed the way that people felt in terms of security. At any moment now, as was witnessed later in the London bombings, some suicidal maniac will copy those actions of September 11th and cause much harm, all in the pursuit of what, "religion", "idealism", I don't know?

This past week also saw many people mourn the death of Steve "Crikey" Irwin. I used to love watching his tv shows, but I didn't feel the overwhelming sadness that seems to have suddenly taken over a lot of people. I felt sad that his life should have ended so early, but since I don't know him personally, I can't say that I was exactly crying endlessly. I'm not sure what compels some people to grieve more for the death of a celebrity than their own families. Do they feel like they know that celebrity so well and that they are grieving for a "friend". I also can't believe that some people are comparing Irwin's death to that of Princess Diana. I also didn't know Diana personally, but she was truly a global person. She touched the lives of many who she helped through her charities and her story is the classic rags to riches fairytale. My eyes welled up a bit when her funeral was televised. I guessed she represented a certain innocence and a link between the common person and that of royalty. People wanted her to do well as she was sort of representing what may be possible for regular people.

Finally, I got a call from a good friend of mine. I was actually going to call him this week as well just to catch up. I can't believe it's been four months since we last caught up with each other. Boy how time seems to fly. He's been working extremely hard and even though he was already skinny, has lost 8kgs from working. He must be just skin and bones now, I gotta see when we meet for dinner. Although we hadn't talked in ages, I still consider him a very good friend. Some people you can see all the time but yet never really know them, whereas good friends you can just see once in a while and feel like you still know them so well. Of late, I'm discovering that people who I thought were good friends really aren't. I don't mean it in the sense that they betrayed me or anything, I just mean that either I have changed or they haven't. I finding that I don't have much in common with some people and find it almost tedious to talk to them. Maybe it's just that we all move along in our lives and so will our choices in friends. In certain stages in your life you wil require certain characteristics in the people around you, but when your circumstances change, so will the choices in who you befriend. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are all trying to gain something for ourselves from our friends, and they are also doing the same. It's not a selfish thing, merely how we are. If you didn't see anything to gain from another person, you won't associate with them. The thing to gain can range from material, to skills, to things you admire in them, to just being in the prescence of that person and enjoying it. I have surprised myself by becoming friends with people who I thought I would never get along with. You really start to see more of people as they trust you more and open up. Similarly, you will also open up and be more genuine with them. I can think of a couple of examples lately where I can pinpoint the exact moment where I have identified someone as going from just a friend to a good friend. From then on, I feel the dynamics of how I interact change significantly.

So those are my thoughts for "The Week That Was". Now, my next quest over the weekend is to find the best LCD TV so I can watch crystal clear high definition television. Until then, I would love to hear some feedback on your views of what I have written.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Little Fishies In The......Water Feature

I went and bought some fishes to put in the water feature in the back yard during the weekend.

I bought 13 (yes it may be unlucky but I don't believe in it) little fishes. There are some black Goldfish with huge popping out eyes (how can a GOLDfish be black, isn't that contradictive), some red Goldfish also with popping out eyes, some red Comet fish, some mainly white regular Goldfish and my favourite, the spotted Goldfish with red, black and white dots.

It's great watching all the fishes dart around in the water. I wonder what fish think about all day swimming their life away? Do they even remember what they just did 5 minutes ago? You know the old saying "You have the memory of a Goldfish", it must have come from somewhere? Huh, when, where, who, what I was talking about? X-{

Saturday, September 09, 2006

All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team Vol 901-904

All Hacks,

Has anyone else noticed how fast time is flying nowadays. Weeks blur together and even months start to roll by so quickly. I've left the unofficial newsletter writing for a while and before I know it, four weeks have passed in this ninth season for the All Hacks.

So here goes a fairly short review of the 4 matches. After a successful campaign that saw the All Hacks become division 4 champions last seasons, most players felt they needed a rest and consequently, we've just managed enough people for most of the matches so far.

The first match against Sup Bee Archers Justin A, Cooma, David and the emergency man of late Adrian come to fill in the gaps. With regulars Maal, Justin and myself, we managed to fill a full team. We shouldn't have been worried though, this new Sunday division of 16 teams means there are varying quality of sides. Sup Bee showed little resistance (apart from a two minute burst when the All Hacks got too cocky and they scored two goals) as the All Hacks steam rolled them to put through 10 goals. If we had shot a bit more accurately, we could have easily scored 15-20 goals.

In the second match, again, numbers were extremely low. After Justin's invitation from players on the side line to play a free match was met with negatives, finally Edward stepped up. According to Justin, Edward had played one match for us before, but such is the shambles of our memory, no one else could remember. With good team rotation, the 5 players managed to play out the whole game with no one vomitting. The impressive start to the season continued when we beat Zos easily 4-1.

In our third match against last seaons finalists Yemazel, we were expecting a very tough match. With only five players to rely on again, it wasn't looking too good. Much to our surprise when Yemezal initially rocked up with only 3 players and two African ring-ins. Later in the match, more Yemazel players came and they were able to rotate their players. It was close to begin with, with the African's attacking flair catching us off guard so that we trailed 2-1. But once we got them sorted out, we started to attack ourselves, and their defence was found lacking. Some neat forward attacks from Khar reaped him 4 goals. Harinder also scored his first goal in a few seasons. But the surprises weren't to end there. Justin came onto the field for a few minutes and unlike his penalty miss in game 1, this time he scored a field goal with a great strike and the whole team was on the score board. We ran out winners of that match 9-4.

The fourth match was the best turn out so far. Players have started to get over their Premiership hangover and returned to play some more. It was also the toughest and most brutal match so far this season. Tuan, who was visiting from Queensland decided to play a match for the All Hacks. In what was a tight match all game, as in the World Cup, a crucial refereeing decision decided the game. Yasoo Globetrotters had scored an early goal, which was equalised by Maal immediately after their keeper fumbled. Yasoo was extremely physical and played the game on the edge the whole time. They conceded foul after foul. When I had counted four fouls, I clearly asked the referee, "Is that four fouls", to which he replied yes. Then when Yasoo committed another foul, I pointed to the penalty spot, to which the ref said that was four fouls. Justin and I started to protest, as he just said himself two minutes ago that that foul was the fourth. Anyway, we continued to play on. When Yasoo committed their sixth foul, finally we got a penalty shot that Ara calmly scored from. The defining moment of the match would occur in the second half. After the inexperience ref "Maniche" had been hassled and intimidated all match by Yasoo, he made a call that even a blind person who had an understanding of Newton's fundamental laws of motion would disagree with. When Yasoo took a shot, the ball was saved by Justin and clearly came off the side post to rebound back out. The ref blew his whistle and everyone was wondering what had happened. The worse we thought was that we conceded a penalty, but no, he had given a goal. This got our whole team pleading with the referee as to what had happened. He said that he had called it and can't change the decision. Even after the stadium management conceded the ref had made a mistake, the decision would stand and it was a draw at 2-2. We had fought so hard this match and were robbed of our record 8th win in a row. Instead, we got a draw and a taste for revenge should we meet them in the finals. Yes, I'm talking finals so early because basically every team will make a final, just in a different division. Lets try to make the division 1 final and win that.

Here is the crowd doing a Mexican wave at the record crowd breaking game between Melbourne Victory and Sydney F.C that Justin, Justin A, Irah, Harinder, Adrian and myself attended.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

When You F**k Up, It Drives You Insane

You may remember that previously I had done some t-shirt printing. Since it is finally getting warmer, Giordano were selling t-shirts again, so I bought 5, ready to print my own designs. Tonight I was doing some more templates for my t-shirts. Most were easy and took only a few minutes to do. One of them in particular was very complicated and took me a whole hour to do the template. As luck would have it, it turned out I had mispelt a word, meaning that the whole thing was stuffed. This already made me quite mad and frustrated since I had put so much effort into it.

However, when I thought it through, I realised that the template was still saveable. I would just have to redo the incorrect word part and print the t-shirt in two sessions. So I went to take the template out of the frame to hang up and dry. Guess what happened next, the template fell onto the table and all the glue got smudged all over the parts that shouldn't have glue. That was the last straw, I totally snapped and threw the whole thing into the bin. I will redo it tomorrow when I am more relaxed and have more time.

What I have learnt from this is summarised in the title of this post, "when you f**k up, it drives you insane". Or to put it more eloquently, "when you put a lot of effort into something and it goes wrong, it will make you very disappointed, and depending on the situation, may also make you very mad". Its always best to "think twice and act once". It would have only taken me a second to check the spelling and I could have saved all that time and frustration. Arrrggghhhhh, now I have to go and break a chair or something. :-)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Da Vinci Machines Exhibition

The Da Vinci Machines Exhibition is currently running until 1st October at the Promenade on the Newquay area. The exhibition is a collection of models of the machines that Da Vinci wrote about and/or created. The model were constructed using materials that are available at that time.

Below: Promenade at Newquay

Below: Across from the Promenade is Telstra Dome

Below: The Promenade viewed from the end of it back towards Telstra Dome

Most of the machines were quite interesting. Even with own knowledge of modern mechanics and having done a few subjects at uni, some of the contraptions still puzzled me. I had to read the description on some to work out how the machine operated. Even then, some of them took a while to slowly figure out how it worked. Da Vinci was truly a genius. He had already know about so many mechanical concepts 500 years ago that some people nowadays would have no idea of even.

My favourite machines were the flying machines. The fact that none of them actually worked doesn't matter. The concept is there, and he just didn't have the necessary technology to make them work. Human strength can only take you so far. Da Vinci's flying machines would have worked if you could spin things fast enough, or apply enough force on something, or just have better lighter materials.

Below: A rotating platform on a ship so that cannons can be repositioned without having to be lifted by many men.

Below: A machine to cut grass or to cut the enemies legs? You decide. Apparently Da Vinci designed it to cut grass, but that wasn't it's final use.

Below: An early version of a helicopter.

Below: An early glider.

Below: A machine that rotates heavy shafts horizontally using a pulley system.

Below: An early version of a tank.

Melbourne Victory vs Sydney F.C at Telstra Dome

On Saturday, I went with some friends to the Melbourne Victory versus Sydney F.C soccer/football match at Telstra Dome. This was going to be Melbourne's only match at the Dome this season. The clubs and media had built this up as a huge match, since Sydney were the reigning premiers. The sporting mad Melbourne crowd didn't disappoint, with 39,000 people turning up, the biggest crowd for a domestic game in this country.

I had previously been to a Victory match at Olympic park and it was very boring. It was hard to see the play from where we were standing and the actual contest was bad too. This match however, was quite lively. The view from the bottom level was excellent, the players were extremely close.

The match itself got off to a cracking start. Victory scored a goal within the first few minutes. This was quickly followed by a penalty for Victory in which they converted. I was about to head off to the toilet since usually nothing happens at the start but luckily only started to walk out of my seat when the penalty occurred. Then, moments later, a man from Sydney got sent off. It was all happening, the crowd were cheering like crazy.

Sydney got a goal back soon after their man got sent off and the crowd was silent. The scored stayed at 2-1 at half time. After half time, Melbourne got a third goal with a great long lob pass. However, Sydney did not lie down and got a second goal to make the last 10 minutes of the match interesting still.

Below is a video of a Mexican wave by the crowd whilst waiting for a Sydney player to get stretchered off the field.

After the match, the group of us went walking around the city and going from bar to bar. We must have covered most of the city square having gone from Telstra Dome down to Swanston and Flinders and back. It was fun at the start and I thought the Golden Monkey bar was alright and comfortable. We went past Adrian's work place and he said that it was all a bit too close to work for his liking (he works some very long hours as a lawyer). You can see a picture of his office below, its the middle building about 15 floors up.

The pub crawl got worse for me by the end of the night as I started to sneeze with my allergies. I couldn't breathe and was getting tired and had had about enough for the night. After being refused entry to this apparently "hip" club because the bouncer was having a "power trip" session and acting all high and mighty (or maybe he was racist, who knows) we went to Bar Hum Bug for one last drink and called it a night. Overall, it was fun, but I think I would have had more fun if I was sneezing for the latter half of the night.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Spring Time and Hay Fever

I love Spring time, but also hate it at the same time. Firstly for the good part. Spring time means lots of nice weather where the days are fairly warm, the sun shines beautifully and there is a nice cool breeze blowing most days. I really hate cold weather and love the warmth of the sun. I've also found that nice sunny weather makes me much happier. For example, the other day, when I was going home from work, usually I get out the door and straight into the car to drive home. But this time, I just stood in the car park for a few minutes soaking up the lovely sunset and the nice gentle breeze blowing. When the sunset is a glorious purple/pink colour, it just makes the drive home so much nicer. I know that the colour is attributed to scattering as I research scattering for work but it still has a mystical quality to it.

However, Spring time also means that many flowers start to grow. I love flowers with all their colours and smells, but they do play havoc with my eyes and nose. All the pollen and dust in the air makes my hay fever go crazy. Just this past week, with the weather changing, there has been an immediate response by my body. I have had itchy red eyes and have been sneezing constantly. I may have 5 sneezes in a row, then have a blocked nose for about half an hour, then be fine for a few hours and then sneezing again. It's not a lot of fun I can tell you. I have to constantly carry tissues and blowing my nose a lot causes the skin around my nose to peel. My hay fever has gotten better in recent years. It used to be so bad in the past that I may use a whole box of tissues in one day. I used to also sneeze and blow my nose so hard that I would have blood noses and also burst veins in my eyes. Thankfully, now my hay fever is much less severe and I can enjoy Spring time a bit more.