November 28, 2007

Horse 833 - Work

Work equals a force applied over a displacement... er...

The Prawny Bard in his blog writes these words:
I’ve felt for ages now that if you’re going to spend 80% of your week at work, you need to be doing a job that you like and can find some satisfaction. I personally can’t understand how people can get up and go to a job that they really don’t like. And I must add that that is a very personal though, and a genuine non-understanding of how people can think like that - simply because that’s not who I am.
- Prawn 27-11-07
This is the answer from the other side of the fence.

Work, that vicious nasty "four letter" word. Some would have you believe that it's a necessary evil but still an evil. This quite frankly is a load of crap. Work is not only a good thing in an of itself, it's also something which we were created to do.
Cast your minds back to Genesis 1... what? No seriously. Genesis 1:26-31. What do we find? Work. Specifically the oldest profession in the world (which by the way isn't prostitution) - farming. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (2:15)
So then, if work is a good thing, why do I hate my job?

Actually if you really want to know the truth, the main reason why I don't like my job is mainly due to the effects of the curse. Work is now cursed by difficulties, frustration and unintended consequences. You pay bills, and there's new ones to pay tomorrow. You spend days preparing a set of accounts, and you still stumble over the critical points when talking to the customer. You take on an easy job, and it takes three times as long as you thought. This doesn’t mean we should avoid work. Instead, it means we must work harder!

As someone who works in an Accountancy office, I can tell you that there is absolutely no way to make numbers fun. After sitting through 12 years of schooling and then 4 more in tertiary institutions (and afterwards, I should be put into one) you'd wonder why anyone would sign up for this job in the first place.
My first problem is that I happen to be quite brilliant at what I do. I know not only what it is to do a job well but also to acheive perfection. The thing with maths is that in some cases it's an exacting science, a pure world. There are no greys, only right and wrong. Virtually most of the "normal" tasks I do have a set of figures and only one way to plug them in. From the outset, having no creativity with what you can do with the information isn't condusive to fun at all.

Working in the environment that I do means that apart from the clacking of keys, there is otherwise very little noise. There is the drone of the air-con and the occasional rumble of traffic outside; again there's not a whole heap of interaction with anything. Since I am essentially an indentured servant, what the boss says goes and I have no problem with that, since that's a proper and decent situation (and since business risk rests on his shoulders, by looking out for my boss I also by inference am looking out for myself). If I can do the best job for my boss that I can and he's happy, then my function is fulfilled.

One reason why I don't like work is mainly due to my character, yet there is a paradox wrapped up in this. Dylan Thomas once wrote about "raging against the dying of the light" - I need to rage against things. If I actively dislike my work, I find that I want to do a better, squarer and more exact job of it; that in itself is a challenge which is worthy.

The way I see it, work can be described with the words said of Manfred von Richthofen, that is, he was a "gallant and worthy foe". One always finds a satisfaction from beating one's foes; if work is one of them, then even disliking it and beating it can provide enough satisfaction to go back and fight it yet again.

November 26, 2007

Horse 832 - Take Me Home in Something Else

As much as I have respect for the NSW Police Service and their revenue collecting hairdryer speed guns, I was somewhat surprised at what passed for a Police Car this morning.

Sitting on the side of the road conveniently hiding behind a bush was a Police Car with on major difference... it was a Beetle. Police cars are usually supposed to be Commodores or Falcons, or possibly even the 380 but a Beetle? It would be like being pulled over by WPC Fifi Box.

I mean no self-respecting hard-nosed criminal would step into such a thing surely? In the the UK they use Astras and Focii but a Beetle? If I was a criminal I'd demand to be taken back to the station in a Commodore. What sort of presence can such a car have on the road in all honesty?

...or does my bum look big in this car?

November 23, 2007

Horse 831 - Area Management

From time to time as is our wont, we get the odd director's meeting of proprietary companies who are our clients, in our offices. One such meeting had several technical staff attending and one of the chaps, Mr Fiddler (not his real name) who was an "Area Manager" spent most of the morning... managing his area. It's really quite unsettling to be sitting around a table when an Area Manager is re-arranging equipment all morning.

Have you ever been at work and noticed some "area management" by your co-workers? Have you ever been on the job and noticed someone else, just quietly taking the art of Feng Shui a little too far? Are there other people like Mr Fiddler who perhaps need to pull back production?

I'm pretty sure that he was rearranging his equipment because of cramped conditions, I mean a little micromanagement can really help to get a leg up on the competition. Now if this Area Manager rearranged equipment so things were more efficient or it benefited the company in some other way then that position could be understandable, but did he really have to do it during a meeting?

Not forgetting his devotion to satisfactory customer service; although many clients like a hands-on approach, wouldn't a little micromanagement be more appropriate? When you get down to the nuts and bolts of it all, isn't it just a little easier in the name of industrial harmony to let the boys on the worksite manage themselves?

November 22, 2007

Horse 830 - Three Lions With Tails Between Their Legs

England 2 - Croatia 3

Euro 2008 - FAIL

It could be said that if England did have a national hymn, it would surely have to be the words of William Blake with music by Hubert Parry - Jerusalem. Performed every year as part of the Last Night of the Proms, it sung by thousands both in the Royal Albert Hall and simultaneously in the Proms in the Park venues throughout the country.

Perhaps almost ironically, Israel was the venue for England's saving grace in the qualifiers for the Euro 2008 tournament with Israel 2-1 winners over Russia. The fate of England then rested in their own hands; this was the scariest thought it all.

So into the last match of the qualifiers, the mighty England who were given a shot at qualification on a plate and at Fort Wembley, before 90,000 home fans; against a team that was beaten by the incredible Macedonia and had already qualified. Trust the English to provide one of the worst pitches ever seen and lose two goals in 15 minutes, whilst the mastermind McClaren stood there under his umbrella and Venables lazed about in the royal box.

To go 2-nil down should have been an embarassment and then to have to claw back two to draw level should have steeled England's resolve... but it didn't. At no point did Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard get hold of the game, at no point did Crouch look a threat (even when he scored in the 65th) and at no point did England's defence look capable of resisting Croatia for the remainder of the game.

Defoe was pulled down inside the box by Josip Simunic (the man who was given three yellow cards against Australia in Germany) and Lampard slotted the in penalty just before the hour. Dinosaur Beckham looked hopelessly outclassed but one chip delivered by him was chested down by Crouch who slammed in an equaliser.

2-2 would have been enough, but England swanned about like a bunch of prima donnae, and Croatia who'd actually bothered to turn up and play football, sent in a shot that was heard around the world in the 77th minute from the boot of Mladen Petric. For 13 minutes I sat as the clock slowly ticked off as England now face 2 years in the wilderness.

Steve McClaren's managerial career includes but a single trophy, being the 2004 League Cup for Middlesbrough. In 2005-06 he managed to squander an FA Cup Semi-Match match and spectacularly failed in the UEFA Cup final with a 4-0 loss to Sevilla. After being dropped by Middlesbrough the FA in all their wisdom picked him up as England manager and under his tenure they went through a period where they only scored one goal in six months. Now he can add the title of the manager who cost England a place in Euro 2008.

I hope this does for English football what the World Cup of 1950 did for Brazil. England has finally proven to everyone that they are not a good team and can't even mix it with mediocre international teams. I seriously hope that the FA feels very very small tonight. Also, if the "jewel in the crown" Wembley can't provide a decent pitch like every other stadium in the country, it just further shows up some serious, serious problems.

England's next meaningful match will be some time in 2009.

If there was a Sport invented called "invent a Sport and then be the quickest to be the worst at that sport" - England would win hands down... Does this mean I've invented this sport?

November 21, 2007

Horse 829 - 2008 V8 Supercars Lineups

With Kes Weel selling up licences at the end of 2007, the Holden carve up would be expected to be messy. From what I can gather and due to reports which have been flying around like hand grenades with the pin taken out, this is how I expect things to shape up next year in the V8 Supercars - assuming Tander wins the championship.

Holden Motor Sport has been fairly active in wanting to shuffle it's contracted drivers through the pit lane. This is the most likely set of lineups for 2008 as at 21-11-07.

Holden Racing Team
1 Garth Tander
2 Mark Skaife
(HRT still hold the number 22 - Tander is expected to move to the HRT)

Tasman Motorsport
3 Jason Richards
51 Greg Murphy

Stone Brothers Racing
4 James Courtney
9 Paul Radisich
021 Shane van Ginsbergen
(SBR already supply the engineering to TKR; and are buying one of the PWR licences. Since TKR are expected to fold, their assets are probably going to be the subject of an off-market transfer)

Ford Credit Racing
5 Mark Winterbottom
6 Steven Richards

Perkins Motorsport
7 Todd Kelly
11 Jack Perkins
(Todd Kelly signed for Perkins after the Walkinshaw re-shuffle)

WPS Racing
8 Max Wilson
10 Jason Bargwanna

Dick Johnson Racing
17 Steve Johnson
18 Will Davison

Brad Jones Racing
12 Andrew Jones
21 Cameron McConville

(Brad Jones racing confirmed that they will be running Holdens in 2008)

Toll HSV
15 Rick Kelly
16 Paul Dumbrell
(again it's all change at Holden)

Britek Motorsport
25 Jason Bright
26 Alan Gurr

Gary Rogers Motorsport
33 Lee Holdsworth
34 Dean Canto

Paul Morris Motorsport
67 Paul Morris
97 Russell Ingall
(Ingall was in talks with Brad Jones Racing but eventuall signed with Paul Morris)

888 Motorsport
88 Jamie Whincup
888 Craig Lowndnes
(if Whincup or Lowndes win the their cars will be plated 1 & 888)

November 18, 2007

Seen in Putney; within the electorate of Bennelong.

November 14, 2007

Horse 828 - Helen Coonan - A-Grade Headcase

I thought Mr Howard on AM yesterday was a bit of a silly-billy, that was before I listened to the Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan on this morning's program. Seriously, why is this lady a Minister of the Crown? If you are going to put out political waffle, the first thing one should do is check out your own speeches first.

"The government's new high speed fibre-optic broadband network will deliver fast, affordable broadband to 99 per cent of Australians within two years at a retail cost between $35 and $60 per month. We are laying out speed of 12 megabytes per second by 2009 to 99 per cent of the community" - Helen Coonan - ABC Local Radio

You keep on telling yourself that Ms Coonan, because quite frankly, I think you're delivering promises like someone who is running for School Captain at Banana Primary School.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan is relying on OPEL (the Optus and Elders consortium), to deliver a rural and regional broadband network by 2009. So much so that the group has had nearly $1billion thrown at it with so much as questioning it as a necessarily viable plan.

At the same time, Coonan put off the issue as to who should build a broadband fibre network in the capital cities and on what terms, to an "expert taskforce" due to report... after the federal election, so that even if the Liberals aren't returned, whoever the next Minister happens to be will have to pick up the bits.

Optus is naturally maintaining a discreet silence on the whole debate whilst it sits on a sack of money, even as Labor and Telstra whip themselves into a frenzy, and telecommunications experts line up to question the shebang. After all, OPEL has won the tender from the Government, which Labor would be forced to honour.

The Optus line is that there's no point in engaging in the political or even the technical debates and it is best to just continue building and "let the network do the talking". Optus certainly won't try to answer Labor's detailed maps indicating the coverage will be much more limited than the Government and OPEL have claimed. Nor will it try to "prove" its case against the now sizeable number of technological assessments undermining its guarantees of speed and range.,20867,21935752-601,00.html

What I found almost incredible from Ms Coonan's speech this morning was in direct contradiction to something she said only a month ago:
"Industry has pretty much established that it would be both physically and technically impossible to reach 98% of the population with a fibre build,"

If it is physically and technically to reach 98% of the population with a fibre build then how pray tell do you intend to deliver fast, affordable broadband to 99% of Australians within two years? If the Labor plan is so dispicable, why have you already thrown $1billion at it already? Won't the students at Banana Primary School be happy? It's their lunch money at stake.

November 13, 2007

Horse 827 - I wonder Mr Howard...

"If you have a strong economy, you have high world oil prices, and you have a drought, some inflation in the system is unavoidable. I think industrial relations policy has in fact contributed to downward pressure on inflation.

The Reserve Bank has actually said in an environment of a strongly growing economy wages have behaved extremely well. The Reserve Bank is independent, the Reserve Bank will do its job.

But I do know this: interest rates now are lower than they were at any time under a former Labor government, and at 8.3 per cent, they are less than half than the notorious peak of 17 per cent reached under the former Labor government.

I would say to the Australian people: there are inflationary pressures in the economy which put pressure on interest rates, is this a time to hand over economic management to a party that has an inflationary industrial relations policy?

It has a policy that will lead to a potential wages surge, not based on productivity, but simply based on a new industrial relations system, where higher wages which are affordable in one sector of the economy flowing to other sectors of the economy where they are not affordable and therefore would put upward pressure on interest rates."
PM John Howard - ABC Local Radio 13/11/07

I have a few questions for the Prime Minister.

"they are less than half than the notorious peak of 17 per cent reached under the former Labor government"

Have you forgotten that you yourself as Treasurer presided over an economy which actually had inflation for 3 consecutive quarters not just peaking at 17% but staying there? Perhaps he has forgotten that for the June quarter of 1982 inflation peaked at 21.3%?

What about the comments of his own Treasurer and Deputy? Peter Costello had this to say about his leader? "The Howard treasurership was not a success in terms of interest rates and inflation,"

I refer Mr Howard to the well known case of Pot vs Kettle

"The Reserve Bank has actually said in an environment of a strongly growing economy wages have behaved extremely well. The Reserve Bank is independent, the Reserve Bank will do its job."

Is the Reserve Bank completely independent Mr Howard? If so, then why would you accuse a Labor Government of having any more control over the underlying cash rate than yourself? If not, then by inference a change of government will do precisely nothing?

"It has a policy that will lead to a potential wages surge, not based on productivity, but simply based on a new industrial relations system, where higher wages which are affordable in one sector of the economy flowing to other sectors of the economy where they are not affordable and therefore would put upward pressure on interest rates."

Wages pressure does not "flow" from one sector to another. Inflation and demand for higher wages affects all sectors of the economy simultaneously. I have another question with regards wages - why is it so wrong for employees to demand higher wages in the first place? There have been twelve cases in the past two months, of managers of publicly listed comanies (and not small ones either) having pay rises turned down by their shareholders and then the company boards veto the wishes of those shareholders. Are these affordable? Those costs are passed onto consumer through higher prices... aren't higher prices an inflation driver?

The Gini-Coefficient in 1981 was 0.59, in 1986 - 0.64 in 1996 - 0.64, in 1998 - 0.69 and now in 2007 it's 0.73. Australia has greater disparities in wealth than ever before, with the top 10% now owning 45% of the nation's wealth. Wages has flowed into "one sector" but it's certainly not people who would be represented by unions.

It all sounds good on the radio doesn't it, but is it well thought out? Come November 24, it won't matter anymore because whoever wins well be stuck with then for 3 years.

November 09, 2007

Horse 826 - Will It Blend?

Will it blend? That is the question.

Do do do do doooooo. Ddo do do dooooooooooo. Bah Bah!
Do do do do doooooo. Ddo do do dooooooooooo. Bah Bah!

Dd dd dooooooo. Dd dd dooooooo. Bah Bah!
Dd dd dooooooo. Dd dd dooooooo. Bah Bah!

We took a regular web post and added it to the BlendTec blender; the results were shocking.

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Please don't breathe in the smoke.


November 08, 2007

Horse 825 - Cats... but not the musical

There has been shocking proof of the intelligence of cats. The behavior of the modern day cat can be examined in two phases:

1. Waking hours
2. Sleeping hours

During sleeping hours, cats seem to do nothing. Indeed, this is probably what cats are doing. However, it is during the first phase which the most remarkable thing occurs. In this phase cats may seem to be doing the exact same thing in phase #2, however, the difference is that they are calculating the meaning of life. It all started a four thousand years ago.

When cats were first "domesticated" by the Egyptians (or rather employed the Egyptians as their slaves), they were so incredibly intelligent that they became bored with life. In fact, many cats have depressing thoughts. The reason for them lobbing around modern houses is because they are actually physicists executing those calculations. This discovery has shed light (and fur) on many of the problems with cats. Though physicists, the cats have not been able to solve the paradox of the famous cat-toast device. It is also a little known fact that cats are actually larger on the inside than the outside, which explains why the litter box is overflowing.

Cats played an integral (and hitherto unmentioned) part in the development of teleportation systems on spaceships. It was by observing the way in which cats can teleport right under people's feet, or from wherever they happen to be to where their food is, that Isaac Newton worked out the biological aspects of teleportation.

Many very foolish people like to claim that if cats had opposable thumbs and could use can-openers, they would replace humans as the dominant species on Earth. This is very silly. Cats do not need opposable thumbs and do not need to use can-openers. Instead they have domesticated a semi-intelligent species, with opposable thumbs, to open cans full of cat-food for them.

Cat Verification is the act of informing a cat that it is, indeed, a cat. This is typically performed by kneeling down by a sleeping (and soon-to-be-perturbed) cat, patting it, and saying, "you're a kitty!" Variations on this ritual include picking up the cat and staring right into its confused kitty face, or following up the verification statement with other statements of fact such as, "you're cuddly," or, "you have lots of kitty fur."

Frequent Cat Verification is clinically proven to be vital to a cat's emotional and psychological development, because without a constant reminder of what species it is, a cat may come to beleive that it is a dog, a vacuum cleaner, a velociraptor, the European Parliament, Sir Winston Churchill, or even a communist.

Once a cat has been informed that that it is indeed a cat, they will generally return to their former state of calculating the meaning of life; all whilst appearing to do nothing. Indeed, this is probably what cats are doing.

November 02, 2007

Horse 824 - a-WOOOOOOO!

Whenever you hear the new Kylie song "2 Hearts", is anyone else having as much difficulty as I am refraining from going "a-WOOOOOO!" at the appropriate times? I guess I feel it more than most people because of my line of work (because I work in a really stuffy and stayed industry); but regardless - it can really cause some awkward social situations, like when you're in your car and you happen to be at a set of traffic lights. How do you explain to the person in the car next to you what a-WOOOOOO is about?

There are of course other culprits such as Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" which has that "noooor noooor nor" bit in it. Perhaps The Rogue Traders with their song "Don't You Wanna Feel?" just makes you want burst out with "lalalalala lala"

2007 ARIA award winning band Operator Please have a song, most of which is practically unsingable; not is it really about what it says in the title. For a song which is "Just a Song About Ping Pong" it doesn't really mention ping pong much at all. There is a bit part way through where it seems to run out of steam and declare that it's just a song... "IJUSSASONGABOUPINGPONG! DURNURNURNURNUR..."

Of course there are other songs which are responsible for silliness such as Sneaky Sound System's "UFO" which goes "in mah bee-yhee-yheeating heart..." Maroon 5's "Wake Up Call", Pink and that stupid song "Cuz I Can". Alanis Morissette is responsible for a combination of yelling and yodelling in "You Oughta Know"; back in 1992 Pearl Jam wrote a song about "Jeremy" who spoke in class today (and causes case of tourettes for the 'F' word, over the radio-friendly silent bit) but in case you were wondering Jeremy said Woo 45 times.

Fedde le Grand who wanted us to put our hand up for Detroit, followed up that single with "The Creeps". There's that little "beedle-oop!" bit and then all that stuttering. In fact, pretty much the whole song should be ousted here: "aw-aw-aw-awawn, da-a-a-a-aown, to-o-o-oo, the cree-e-e-eeps, C'MON..."

Oh, and the number one cause of stupid music-related noises? Tim Ross parodied it on Nova 969 and inserted the world cordjigal and hosdigal. Yup, I'm talking about standing under Rihanna's "Umbrella ella... ella... ella... eh... eh... ella... ella... ella... eh... eh..."

I think everyone suffers that one. But again, with my particular job I do this kind of thing so often, I think I have developed music-induced Tourette's Syndrome.


Current music: Silverchair - if you keep losing sleep (it has one too - "HAPANA BANANA")

November 01, 2007

Horse 823 - ...Will Be Top Blokes When They're Dead

Back in Horse 821 I mentioned this:
In fact the then breakfast show host Mike Carlton and Stan Zemanek disliked each other so much that Carlton declared that he hated Zemanek and would only attend his funeral to check that he was really dead.

It seems that this feud has spilled even beyond the grave with Stan Zemanek's Auto-Biography being published.,23599,22682329-2,00.html
"There were probably about 10 other people who were interested in doing the breakfast program but they didn't want to get involved with Carlton," Zemanek wrote.

I wonder how this flies in relation to Mike Carlton taking over John Laws' spot on 2UE after he retires. Also considering that Southern Cross Broadcasting shareholders vote next week on a $1.35 billion takeover offer by Macquarie Media. If the sale is endorsed as expected, Macquarie Media will begin proceedings to sell 2UE and 3AW to Fairfax Media.

Carlton's preference is to stay at 2UE but he wants to make sure it will be a station he wants to work for. "I like doing the show but I don't want to do it if there is going to be massive cost cuttings and the whole thing is going to be run on the smell of an oily rag." The cost-cutting knives are out at the radio station with expected hacks at the salaries of their on-air staff.

I guess that if Fairfax are the new owners, they'll have the final say. Will Zemanek's words have any bearing? I don't know myself, but it wouldn't be the first time a dead man has beenmaking decisions at 2UE. Hasn't Lawsy been doing that for years already?