Sunday, 24 October 2010

They're back!

and they can hurt you from here...

At last, after too long in the wilderness, HG and Roy were back doing what they do best, calling the football. Since leaving Triple J for Triple M  (boo), the airwaves have been free of the best commentary team ever. Some sort of contractual problems related to who has the rights to footie, or something.

Anyway, they're back (still at Triple M), and as brilliant as ever. Whoever controls football broadcasting in this country needs to ensure that HG and Roy are always able to call the big games (all codes). The game just isn't as good without their parochial, one eyed (yet fickle), referee abusing, telling it like it is call.

Watmough is a clown! "bloke can't help it, I s'pose"

"You know there's something wrong with the Kangaroos when Gallen is the playmaker"

"Cheating Kangaroos"

"Let's go Kumuls"

Monday, 11 October 2010


Helicopters fly way too low through the Blue Mountains. Every weekend we are treated to the joys of a steady stream of choppers flying low overhead. It's not search and rescue, it's all of them. I suspect it's because they can't navigate without being able to read our letterbox numbers.


Anyway, one flew a bit too low yesterday. Fortunately they weren't over houses at the time. Fortunately for them the passengers and pilot walked away. Maybe they fly so low that when they crash there's not much of a bang?

They still managed to crash on the Oaks fire trail, so I guess it was lucky that the weather has been sucky, or there'd have been more mtb riders enjoying a pleasant morning ride through the bush all along the trail.

Rather than flying low over my house next time, how about you fly a bit further south (or north), and stay the hell away from our backyards? You'll still be able to keep suburbia in sight, and you'll be able to fly low enough that crashes won't hurt. We all win.


Who am I?

I think I might have to set up a new blog, in a new assumed name. Not that there's anything wrong with this assumed name, it's just that quite a few people know me, so I can't vent or perhaps be as honest as I'd like.

There are things I'd like to say, views I'd like to express that might just single me out for attack. Probably not physical, but I still need to go to work, and lots of people there know me as thefathippy as well.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to get all Fox News right wing loony, but there are things I'd like to say that I can't. If I'm identifiable, people I write about may also be identifiable or deduceable, and my writings may inadvertently (or advertently) embarrass or humiliate them. I don't want to do that. I'm not the bloke that does that.

But I need to let out some of the crap. It's bottled up inside at the moment, and there, it isn't doing me or anyone else any good. At least an unidentifiable rant does me some good, if only by reducing the pressure between my ears. I might even be nicer to be around.

Tony F
ps: my 10000 steps is going OK, some weight lost, some minor belt tightening required, no need for fatter pants. Too bad it's been so wet since the start of daylight savings time, I fear my efforts will once again be undone by rain, sloth and overeating.

Monday, 30 August 2010

10,000 Steps

Once again work is participating in a 10,000 steps challenge. We're walking (or doing equivalent other activities) our way from Werrington to Wee Waa. The aim is to complete the challenge by averaging 10,000 steps per day, per team member. My team is hovering on the edges of the top ten after a good weekend, but I expect we'll fall back slowly through the week. Weekends are when we do well - hopping on our bikes, going shopping, cleaning house, and chasing after kids.

The key isn't to win. Sure, winning would be nice, but the important objective is to get ourselves moving, so that we regularly do 10,000 steps per day. If you're doing ~10,000 steps a day, you're considered to have an active lifestyle - 5,000 is considered sedentary. 12,500 is considered highly active. I can't speak for the other participants, but I have found that if I don't go for a lunchtime walk (3,500 - 4,500 steps), my steps don't get above sedentary. In fact, they barely move off "pushing up daisies". Even with my lunchtime walk I have do other activities to get above the 10,000 target. No wonder my pants have been getting tight again! 

A (my) typical office lifestyle is hopeless for fitness - the longest walk I take is to go to the loo - all of of 168 steps as a round trip. So I get fatter, get depressed, do less and eat more because I'm unhappy, get fatter [repeat until new pants required].

The challenge helps me get motivated, and gives me a goal to achieve, and team mates who I don't want to disappoint. As a big plus, I lose a little weight, get happier, eat a little less, exercise more, lose weight [repeat until I think I can relax, get fatter, get depressed, buy new pants]

Hopefully this time I won't stop at the "well, I've lost a little weight" stage!

The scales shock I received on the weekend might help - I thought it was safe to get on the scales again because I could see that I'd lost a little weight. Instead, I was horrified! I really don't want to know what I was weighing a month ago. You'll be able to tell if I succeed, because I'll update. If I fail... we'll never talk about this again.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Elections 2010

National Broadband Network - we need one

...and I don't mean something with a minimum of 12 mbps, "but probably more, as long as it's a low use time of day". I mean something modern, something that will work, something that promises speeds of 100 mbps to all users, regardless of the time of day. OK, speeds will probably be slightly less, but you can bet they will still be much better than the cheap solution, for far more people.

For all the faults that the Labor goverment has displayed, this is one thing they've done that's good. Really, really good. Sure it's not cheap, but it provides a solid communications framework *nationwide*.  I believe the Liberal Party's promise to can the NBN is short sighted in the extreme, and it's very disappointing that they see stopping the project as a priority. I can't vote for anybody that would do that.

Then again, I can't vote for anybody that promises to introduce a mandatory censorship program under the cry  of "won't somebody think of the children" (as long as it's not parents taking responsibility). Censorship of this nature is the start of a long, slippery slope, and could easily lead to restrictions on the free flow of information similar to those in the most abhorrent regimes. Sure, this government's intentions may be good, and the intentions of the next governement may be good, but future governments? Who knows? Not to mention that the proposed filter won't even achieve it's stated aim of preventing chilld pornography, and its proponents know this. The Liberals have promised to scrap the filter and reintroduce locally installed software such as Net Nanny - pushing some responsibility back to parents - and I agree with this policy.

If I vote for the Greens, I'll get a party that is against the filter and for the NBN, but they will never win my marginal seat, although they could hold the balance of power in the Senate - in my opinion, an improvement over the god-botherers in that position at the moment.

In the end, it appears that it's how I preference my vote that will count most towards the makeup of our next government, so you can be sure I'll vote below the line. I recommend that you do as well. That way, my preferences will go exactly where I send them, not as dictated by any party deals. shows how your vote will be preferenced if you vote above the line. You might be surprised where your preferences will go if you do. Check it out.

I'll now return you to your regular program...

Monday, 19 April 2010

falling to pieces

Sprained my ankle on the weekend. Too painful to walk. Could barely manage the stairs at home.

Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, been there, done that, many times, usually falling over, or falling off my bike.

Apparently I have floppy joints. Not only does this delight mean that I AM technically limp wristed, it also means I'm quite flexible - just not in ways I should be. Most of the time it's no biggie. I can do some tricks with my thumbs, although the one that had a serious scaphoid break is no longer as flexible as the one with a minor scaphoid break. I can easily bend my toes to vertical. Paradoxically, my shoulders don't have a full range of movement.

But back to my ankle. like I said, normally I'll fall over, rolling or twisting my ankle on an uneven surface (because my joints allow excess movement). On Sunday, I was walking. OK, it was an uneven surface, but I didn't twist or roll my ankle at all. It felt wrong as soon as I put my foot down - it seemed like I was compressing my foot more than normal - no twisting - but it all worked. Until I put it down for the next step. WTF? Where did that pain come from?

Somehow, using my bike as a crutch, I managed to hobble up the rest of the hill and ride home. Riding hurt, but it wasn't as bad as walking.

Ice, rest, a tight ankle guard, and a day off, and it seems to be sort of OK. It still hurts, but I can walk, gingerly. There's no bruising or swelling, as I'd expect for a sprain. Just hurt.

I think this must be another of those cons of getting older.


Friday, 2 April 2010

Cons and pros of getting older

I've been struggling a bit with getting older. My dad's brush with cancer has probably made me more aware of his, and therefore my, mortality, and it's not a pleasant thought. To me death is an end, not the start of eternal life, not 72 virgins waiting to minister to my every need, just an end. For me, THE end.

But it's not only that. It's the little things that mount up - my old man feet, which shuffle around in the morning until they warm up, and hurt much of the rest of the time. My hair falling out, and what's left going grey. Ever deepening wrinkles signalling that I'm no longer one of the young ones (who, Neil?). Various creaks and regular twinges. Nana naps, loss of strength, weight gain, eye worries, depression... sigh... it just goes on and on. 

Still, it ain't all bad. The only alternative I know of is that unpalatable end I mentioned earlier, and I'm not ready to go there yet. I've travelled more since my kids have flown the coop. I'm financially stable, and own my house - termite ridden though it is. I own the best motorbike I've ever had, but I have lost some of my ability to ride it as it deserves.

Best of all? Attractive women. I'm not playing up or anything, but few straight men can honestly admit they don't admire the looks and form of an attractive woman. And here's the thing. When I was 18, I found girls of 16 to... maybe 22... attractive. Any younger was gaol bait, any older was too old. When I was 18, 40 year olds were as old as my parents - ancient, and not at all interesting. 

Now I reckon anyone younger than mid 20s is just a little girl. Yes, pretty or even beautiful to look at, but attractive to me? Not any more. Nowadays, to be genuinely attractive to me (as opposed to worth a perv) women need to be in their 40s (possibly late 30s), but they could be as old as 60.

That's a 20 year span covering women I could genuinely be attracted to, with a range of another 15 years covering younger eye candy. 35 years! When I was 18, it was a mere six years. There are lot more women in the age ranges I find attractive now than there ever were when I was 18. What's more, straight beauty is no longer the key factor - sure it's there, but its importance has diminished. Yes, the best thing about growing old is that there are more attractive women to admire.

Of course, there's a key element we haven't touched upon - my attractiveness to this vast field of women. And we won't touch upon it, because I'll only get depressed again. Sigh.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Deja not you, too

It's happened again. Well, not alien bugs. Not exactly.

This time it's a lizard man. I'll bet he has a death ray, too. But at least he seemed friendly. At first.

There I was, sitting on a sunny rockshelf off the Oaks firetrail when a lizard appeared. No surprise, I'd been sitting quietly long enough that he'd think I was no threat.  Obviously no threat, as he started marching straight towards me. I suppose that if I had a death ray in my pocket, I'd march straight up to something several hundred times bigger than me and give him the finger, too.

Wait a minute, he's not giving me the finger, he's waving.

Hello if I'm lucky. Goodbye if he pulls out that death ray.


Suddenly he was on me. A cold blooded killer. He leapt onto my leg and prepared to feast. 

My life flashed before me. Actually, it wasn't a full life flash, just an incremental update since my last full flash. A bit boring really, once I was past the whole insect overlords thing. And wasn't that a fizzer? Just like Y2K and swine flu, loads of media attention, then [sounds of crickets]. Didn't even have a death ray.

But back to my imminent demise. Perhaps my leg needed plucking before eating, because lizard man jumped off, ran across to my other leg, and jumped onto my shoe. Where he sat, master of all he surveyed. Largely, me. Unlike the alien bug, he didn't appear to be trying to communicate. I could tell he wasn't a lizard of many words.

But he did grin. Altogether too much grinning for my tastes. I was getting the feeling that a after a bit more sun, I'd be warmed to perfection, and little lizard was going to call his mother. I might be big, but so was Gulliver, and he was brought down to earth by hordes of Lilliputians and their tiny death rays (I think that's how it went).

Finally he moved, only to climb onto my pack. Fascinated by the blinking LED on my camera, and possibly thinking it was a death ray, he decided on a probably suicidal course of attack, launching himself...

...some time later, I picked myself up. I had blanked out everything that had happened during that final attack. But I was still alive.

The lizard? Nowhere in sight. Just in case, I, for one, welcomed our new reptilian overlords.

Once again, it really happened, and this time, I have actual video footage of some of it. My death ray^W^W camera was still in one piece. Unfortunately, the suicide attack somehow turned off the camera, so there is no record, or memory of the aftermath.

This is probably for the best.

Monday, 15 March 2010

I'm fr-ea-ea-ea-kin' out!

Ok, not any more, but I was.

So, there I was coming out of the pit. The pit's a sort of basement, which you get into from outside. I store old junk in it. Anyway, like I say, I was coming out of the pit, something I've done thousands of times, but this time, as I walked back, I stopped. A bug of some sort, something like a dragonfly, but not, had shot in front of me as I walked. And it stayed there. Hovering. Right in front of me. 


I stepped sideways so I wouldn't bump into it - hey, it might have had a sting, for all I knew. Anyway, I stepped sideways, and the bug moved sideways. Huh? I went the other way. The bug matched me. What? This is getting odder. I stepped back, the bug moved forward. I moved from side to side again, but the bug wasn't letting me past.


Now it was close, and I swear it was gazing into my eyes. I'm getting seriously weirded out. Was it communicating with me? Why? I can't speak bug! Maybe it's got a death ray.

OK, I admit it, I cracked. I spoke to it. I didn't quite get to "...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords", but I was getting close. The bug didn't answer, which was fortunate, I think I would have collapsed in shock or run screaming into the bush, or possibly run screaming into shock.

Hang on. Oh no. 

Maybe it was communicating telepathically and I've failed. I've failed, and humanity is doomed. What have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?

The bug just hovered in front of me. Testing me. I could tell.

Do I make a run for it? It *might* have a sting. Or a death ray. I didn't think so, but what do I know about alien insect invaders? Death rays. Killer death rays.

It hovered. Then it attacked. Straight into my chest. So rapidly I didn't see it. I didn't have time to squeal like a little girl.

Aaiiee! Aaiiee!

Maybe I squealed a bit. Killer death rays, remember. The bug hit so hard, it just bounced right off. No sting. I was still alive. So was the bug. It came in again, still fast, but slower this time. Had it learned from it's earlier mistake? Was it aiming the death ray?


It's on me! I could finally move, and scrabbled it off me, waving my arms frantically until, finally, it disappeared.

But what did it mean? Why had I been chosen? It was real.

I'm fr-ea-ea-ea-ea-kin' out!

My theory? Something to do with the bright red, yellow and white AMCN logo on my black t-shirt. That's what it hit. I hope it was the logo. Otherwise...

...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Ducati update

Here's a bonus Wednesday post - enjoy it - they won't happen that often. I mean Wednesday's will keep happening, but not posts. Well, they will, but not necessarily on a Wednesday, and probably not twice in one day - I'm too old for that.

Now that that confusing wibble is out of the way, what about that Ducati?

More than 12000 km have now passed under its wheels, and there have been very few I haven't enjoyed, from commuting to enjoying some bumpy back roads.

Since my last update, I've had no problems. none that could be attributed to the bike, anyway. Unfortunately, I'm now sporting radiator and oil cooler guards. I say unfortunately because I fitted them after I replaced the  radiator at great expense. Oh well.

The OEM tyres have gone and I've been very happy with the less sporty Metzeler Z6 Roadtec Interact (where do they get these names?) tyres I have now. Plenty of grip, and more confidence inspiring when conditions are cooler.

A couple of country day trips showed that the suspension is pretty well sorted, the tyres worked, and the bike is one sweet ride. My wrists didn't break, although they did whinge a bit, and I got sore thighs about the 400 km mark - it felt more like chafing than anything else. My weight is on my thighs on this bike, not my bum, as it would be on a more upright bike. My shoulders and neck were sore the first day, but OK the next - I think it was just a matter of getting used to it after spending a lot of time on the upright GPX. 

Did I mention my son bought a CBR600R and I scored his old learner bike? It's a bit of a dunger these days, but great for commuting, small, easy to ride, and good on fuel (25 km/l). Helps keep the Ducati's mileage down as well, and to be frank, it's a better commuter (surprise, surprise), even if it's not as much fun.

The 848 just sticks to the road, goes and stops beautifully, and I don't have any regrets about not getting the 1098 or Monster 1100.

Best bike I've ever owned? Ooh, that's a toughie - I did love my LeMans MkII, but the Ducati is better in every respect - as it should be, being nearly 30 years younger. The Falco was good, but the Ducati is better, and it's the best Ducati I've ever owned - maybe not as much character as a bevel, but much more reliable. It's even better looking than than that intermittent 750SS.

Yep, I think it is. Check back with me in another year.

Don't you hate that?

There I was, when I had a brilliant idea for my blog. Words were building themselves into poetry in my head, exciting passions, provoking deep thoughts, and just waiting to pour down the intertubes to your computer. Well, you know how if you walk with an over full cuppa you usually spill some? I must have slipped over as well, because the words have spilled out.

I can see some of the words laying on the floor, and occasionally I can make them into tantalising fragments of what might have been. It's depressing, very depressing. I'm sure it was a brilliant idea, and you'd have loved reading it.

Oh well, maybe another day.