Go back where you came from

Nobody in Australia likes refugees.

Or so it seems. Ask many regular punters and these damn filthy refugees are always in the news floating here in their thousands on their leaky boats in a never ending tsunami, bringing with them their stupid cultures and threatening our way of life. We spend millions of dollars housing them in quality air conditioned centres in relative luxury, and the stupid buggers get mad and usually burn them down. We don’t want ‘em, they should go back where they came from. Fuck off, we’re full.

Fact is our Refugee and Humanitarian intake has been about 13 thousand a year, at least for the last couple years. Compared to Europe which is closer to conflict areas of the Middle East and Africa this is a relatively low number and nowhere near a tsunami.

True, there is a system. And the people on boats are making their way here outside the system. But it’s also true that these people are desperate to get out of the situation they’re in and should be treated with more compassion than the majority of Australians seem willing to give.

SBS had a three part show last week addressing how Australians perceive and react to refugees, and showing the real plight of many refugees. They took 6 Australians on a “reverse” journey a refugee might take. These six had a range of attitudes from one woman who said “When I saw that boat smashing on the rocks at Christmas Island, I thought “Serve you bastards right”" through to another woman with more compassionate stance. One girl wasn’t racist, she just didn’t like black people. They were put on what appeared to be a rickety old boat headed north, which is usually the last leg one might take. They moved in with some Burmese refugees in Malaysia, experiencing how it felt to live as an illegal under threat of arrest. Later the participants participated in a 3am raid with Malaysian authorities, arresting illegal workers. In the last show they split into two groups with one group going to live in a UN refugee camp in Africa, and another in Jordan. The group in Jordan then spent some time in Baghdad, but I felt this was of little value as they didn’t see any people outside the Green Zone.

By the end of the third show, and after seeing the desperation of people wanting to be safe from torture, rape and the threat of death in their homelands and that the camps in between their origin and their goal weren’t exactly safe, the group had mostly formed a more compassionate view of these people.

I’m more familiar with the plight of refugees that most Australians I know, and therefore have more compassion for them than most Australians I know. Mum worked with a refugee organisation for many years, and often had people over to our house for dinner. Some of the stories they’d tell were just horrifying, and something I hope I never have to go through.

The world is a scary, horrible place and if nothing else, watching the show has reinforced to me how lucky I am to live in a free, affluent country like Australia.

Same goes for Australia

Speed bumps

Don't mind me, I'm just making sure you go slowWhy is it that people will release the brake pedal right as they get to the speed bump? Never a moment before or after, but right as their front wheel is about to go over it, and then just hope the car has enough momentum to keep going. Everyone I’ve ever observed does this. It’s like the axle will somehow break if the brake is still on when you go over the bump. The back wheels don’t matter for some reason. I mean you never see anyone brake after the front wheels get over the bump. Once the front of the car and the driver are over, the rear axle doesn’t get anywhere near the same love.

Bruins are champs

Bruins are the first team in history to win the Stanley Cup by winning three 7-game series, beating Vancouver 4-0 in the final game. Before game 7, Luongo was doing alright in Vancouver going 3-0 with less then 1.0 GAA but in Boston he was 0-3 with more than 6.0 GAA. Crazy. Anyhow, well done Boston.

Don't drop it! It's a long way down!

That leaves the 92/93 Montreal Canadiens as the last Canadian NHL champions.

What’s the time in Boston?

You know, as much as I’ve derided Twitter over the last couple years, it really isn’t all that bad now that I’ve started using it.

Granted, since Twitter is the world’s largest intellectual toilet bowl, you do get a lot of shit. But you occasionally get gems like these:

Yep, that’s Mike Finke who, like any regular traveler at an airport, whipped out his device and Tweeted that he’d arrived (I can’t believe I just used that word…. “Tweeted”). Only this wasn’t from gate 17 after a 14 hour flight across the Pacific… it was from the Kennedy Space Center after a two week mission on the Space Shuttle! Astronauts are just like everyone else, I guess.

And this is Ron Garan, part of Expedition 27/28 on the International Space Station which STS134 was visiting. He watched the landing From Spaaaaaace!

Also, I’ve been retweeted twice in a row. Here’s my latest after watching the Canucks get humiliated in Boston:

Retweets certainly get around fast.

Too bad for Luongo, one of the heroes of Team Canada in the Vancouver Olympics. Series is now tied at 2-2 (at the time of writing this) as they head back to Vancouver. I hope they win. I need a new Vancouver jersey to replace my old one to commemorate. It’s the only current Canadian team I don’t have.

Which is cheaper: Regular or Premium Unleaded fuel?

The table below represents all the fuel I’ve bought for my little car for almost the last 12 months:

I only use my car to drive between my home and the local train station, and occasionally I pick the kids up from sports after work. Other than four traffic lights and expected annual weather/temperature changes there isn’t a lot of variance in conditions. Sometimes I’ll get all four lights green, sometimes all four will be red. Of course stopping and starting light this effects mileage. I try to run my car to as close to empty as I dare and then fill it to the brim every time, although sometimes I break this pattern by necessity.

Given this data I want you to tell me if it’s cheaper for me to run my car on Regular Unleaded (highlighted in green) or Premium Unleaded (in yellow) which can be anywhere from 2c to 10c more per liter, or even if a solution exists.

I’m not interested in fuel use. I don’t care if I use more volume of one fuel than the other per kilometer. I want to use less dollars per kilometer.

I’ve discussed this with some workmates who have come up with various results, all of which are a bit wishy washy for my liking. For example, it was found that I seem to be buying my Premium Unleaded cheaper than the Regular, on average. I guess this is because I was buying more Premium before Christmas when it less expensive than Regular is now.

If you take simple averages, then it’s costing me 35c per 100km less when I run on Premium than when I run on Regular. But I don’t think it’s that simple, and I don’t quite know how to go about it.

Any mathematicians out there want to give me a hand with this? Never mind the whole “if you don’t run your car on the right fuel it harms your engine and costs longer in the long term” red herring. I just want to know which is the cheaper fuel per kilometer traveled.

Kids remember the darndest things

We had a little trip on the weekend from my parents place out to the Busselton Jetty and accompanying Underwater Observatory. The jetty is 145 years old and, at almost 2km, is the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere. The Underwater Observatory is like an aquarium in reverse letting you take a walk 8m below the waves to check out the sealife making it’s home in and around the jetty pylons.

While waiting for our scheduled tour, we had a walk around the local Pioneer Cemetery. For some reason the kids are obsessed with checking out names and dates on headstones in cemeteries, and always ask if we can stop and have a look if we have the opportunity. In that cemetery we found lots of names like “Bunbury” and “Bussell”, obviously after whom these South West towns were named after.

One caught my eye. The name on it was Samuel Isaacs and without reading the inscription, Suzanne and I both turned to each other and said “Wasn’t that the guy…?”. Turns out it was the guy, and we both remembered the story from our school days. Isaacs and another local girl by the name of Grace Bussell (after whom Gracetown is named) rode their horses through the surf into the ocean to rescue people from a sinking ship. They ferried people back to the safety of shore by dragging them behind their swimming horses. You can read more about it here.

Samuel Isaacs monument, Busselton

Samuel Isaacs monument, Busselton

On the way back the kids were disappointed to find that they brought the DVD covers but not the DVDs themselves so they couldn’t watch their favourite movie on the way home. You gotta hand it to them, though. It was a whole 6 minutes before the inevitable question came: “Are we there yet?”.

We stopped at a gas station for some road cokes (and chocolate milk for the kids) and while Suzanne way paying for them I dug out the trusty iPod as a backup with the intention of playing a little ZZ Top or Aerosmith. The Rolling Stones Forty Licks would surely get us home. When I plugged it in and pressed play, it was already playing Derezzed by Daft Punk from the Tron: Legacy sound track. Ashton said she wanted to listen to the entire album. Jett wasn’t so keen but it was he who left the DVDs behind so we let Ashton choose.

Ashton and Jett have seen Tron once only, and they really enjoyed it. Hey, it’s an enjoyable Disney movie so it’s understandable. But by listening to the soundtrack she was able to recall and describe pretty detailed parts of the movie. “This is the part where Sam meets Kevin Flynn for the first time. Only he’s CLU,” and “I remember this is where they are falling in the elevator,” and “This is where CLU gave his speech about “out there is our DESTINY“, but Kevin Flynn said the same thing about “in there” being our destiny at the start”. Derezzed is pretty much the signature track on the album, and instantly recognisable from the movie. But soundtrack albums also tend to have a lot of slower background atmospheric music, especially in scenes heavy on dialog. But Ashton knew pretty much where she was in the movie based only on seeing the movie and hearing the soundtrack once. Pretty impressive.

If Suzanne was on MasterChef

Suzanne

Matt Preston

Brian Gary Mehigan

Brian Well, what have you brought us tonight, Suzanne? It looks wonderful. You were under a bit of pressure there to get things all together on time towards the end, weren’t you?

Eat it all up. I don’t want to hear any complaints.

It seems like a rather unimaginative mix, like you haven’t put a lot of thought into the presentation. It doesn’t seem to flow or have a lot of “soul”. The carrots and mashed potato are nice but there seems to be an oversupply of  meat for my liking. This is supposed to be “you” on a dish but I’m afraid you were holding back.

Too bad, there’s nothing else for dinner. That’s it.

Brian The main course was fine, very subtle and fresh and elegant. But I also saw you working on something a bit extra. Is there  a dessert to go with this?

You’re not having any dessert until you eat everything on that plate. I want it all gone.

Brian The idea of this show is that you make food and we judge it. We can’t judge it if you aren’t going  to give it to us. I want my dessert.

Well, then, brush your teeth and go to bed.

But..

NO! I don’t want to hear it, you had your chance. Off you go!