Bogan 21st

We celebrated one of my nephews’ 21st birthday this weekend with a Bogan themed party. I Was a cashed up Bogan with a hi-vis shirt and AC-DC singlet underneath. Suzanne was my pregnant wife complete with cripmed hair and a packet of fags under her neon yellow bra strap.

 

Embedding Google Plus posts

Google+ introduced a couple of new features on Monday, including a new tool that allows bloggers and content creators to embed public Google+ posts on other sites.

Users who wish to highlight a Google+ post within a news story or on a personal blog can do so by clicking the “Embed post” tab from the drop down menu in the post’s upper righthand corner. Users can then copy and paste the available line of code to embed the post, including text and photos.

This is great, since I spend most of my time now on Google+ rather than on Facebook or tending my mostly neglected blog. Hey, it’s paying it’s way so it’s been a bit of a set/forget thing. But now I can post once on Google and then drag it over here.

I’m now part of an F1 Team

I’ve been given the honour of being a moderator on the Official Sauber F1 Team Community on Google Plus, for apparently being “passionate and knowledgeable about F1 motor racing”.

Sauber F1 Team Google Plus Community Moderator

So I’m officially part of the Sauber F1 Team! Sauber are the first team to jump into Google Plus so far and have done so in a big way, supplying great insight into the team and being very engaging with their fans and so it has been easy for me to become a fan. My job as Community Moderator is just to make sure conversations stay on topic and people don’t use rude words, but pretty soon I fully expect to become a test driver and perhaps earn a seat in an F1 car just like Sebastian Vettel did all those years ago.

Sebastian Vettel, Sauber, 2007

Finger-boy in 2007 for Sauber

Breaking Bad: The best TV in the last 5 years

I picked up on Breaking Bad from some workmates during the third season. They told me it started well and remained strong through the second season which is almost rare nowadays. So I decided to give it a go.

Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White, who’s had the rough end of the pineapple for most of his life: clearly a brilliant chemist, he was a co-founder of a company but left for personal reasons only to see it grow into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. He is relegated to teaching high school chemistry to uninterested, disrespectful uninterested students, and takes a second job cleaning cars at the local car wash to supplement his income. He’s married, and has a teenage son with Cerebral Palsy. He’s just turned 50, and has found out his wife is pregnant. And that he has inoperable terminal lung cancer.

Knowing he will soon die, he must find a way to ensure their financial security after he is gone.

Watching a news report on a drug bust, he is impressed by the amount of money confiscated by the authorities. He accompanies his DEA brother-in-law on a drug bust and sees a former student, dropout Jesse Pinkman, fleeing the scene. Later he looks up Jesse using the school records and forms a partnership. “You know the business, and I know the chemistry”.

The series explores the changes overcoming Walter as he deals with his own mortality. As the series progresses, he becomes darker and more sinister but at every turn he is only doing what he thinks is best to provide for his family. Pride, at losing out on selling his share of the company he founded for $5000, is also telling and changes how he views his new successes.

HeisenbergIndeed, he changes his whole persona and appearance taking on the Mr Hyde of “Heisenberg” to his own Dr Jekyll of mild mannered Walter. After his cancer goes into remission he becomes an unstoppable force, feeding an insatiable need to succeed and build an empire.

Breaking Bad is full of strong characters and memorable dialog. We’re half way through the last season with the last episodes coming in August. These two videos are a great summary of the show and should be enough to convince you to pick it up if you haven’t already.

 

The most awkward F1 podium ever

So, the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix was run and won yesterday with Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel taking the chequered. flag.

Yep, it was pretty much Mark Webber’s race, with Vettel under orders not to overtake Webber in the closing stages and not to challenge for the lead. Webber was leading and on his way to the win. The team technicians advised he needed to conserve fuel and tyres, so he “dialed his car back” meaning he changed fuel and power settings and wasn’t as aggressive into corners.

But, on the 46th lap (5-6 laps remaining) Vettel launched a huge attack on Webber, ignoring team orders and overtook Webber to essentially steal the win.

Contrast to the Mercedes team of Hamilton and Rosberg in 3rd and 4th. Hamilton was in pretty dire circumstances with fuel and needed to coast for the last 8-10 laps. Rosberg was behind and repeatedly asked to overtake Hamilton so he could challenge the Red Bulls. He was repeatedly denied and ordered to keep his distance which, to his credit, he did and allowed Hamilton to step up to take third place on the podium.

This lead to one of the most awkward podiums in history.

There was very little celebrating happening. Webber was sore at Vettel who knew he messed up. And Hamilton knew that Rosberg should have been standing there instead of himself.

The interview after the race was equally painful. I thought Webber was going to punch Vettel in the throat at one point. It was painful to watch. Vettel did himself no favours in the team, and put pressure on an already strained relationship.

Some quotes:

“You’ve got some explaining to do” – Christian Horner to Vettel via the team radio after crossing the finish line

“The team made their decision. Seb made his own decision and he will have protection as usual” – Webber at the post-race press conference.

“Hai guise! Bye Guise!” – Hamilton, now racing for Mercedes, to the McLaren pit crew after pulling into the wrong garage for fresh tyres.

We also managed a Malaysian Seafood Laksa, with mine being washed down with a celebratory Red Bull beverage.

A night with ZZ Top and Guns N’ Roses

Despite being a music fan, I’ve only ever been to a few concerts: David Lee Roth, Aerosmith, Jimmy Barnes, Sammy Hagar, Van Halen, Garbage (along with Alanis Morrisette) and a few others. I’ve been to plenty of gigs at pubs and whatnot. Back in my Uni days I’d follow Chain around from pub to pub, and occasionally catch Dave Hole and other shows at smaller venues. Of all the bands that I’d been a fan of and had an influence on me, I’d pretty much seen them all.

There has always been two glaring omissions from this list. I have been a ZZ Top fan since before I can remember… early high school is where I started my appreciation for blues and I always considered ZZ Top, and in particular Billy Gibbons, to be the finest blues musician to ever pluck the guitar strings. This was way before 1984s Eliminator and 1986s Afterburner. Wailing blues just reached out and grabbed a hold of me in ways that were hard to explain.

I started Uni in 1988, and was exposed to more people and their musical tastes than during my time at high school. I was introduced to Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses. It was released six months prior, but for some reason I’d never heard it. There are twelve songs on this album, and from the intimidating, aggressive opening of “Welcome to the Jungle” to the close of the last song “Rocket Queen”, every song is powerful strong, and all merge together into a perfect album. Indeed, to this day it is the highest selling debut album in history and my introduction to Punk Metal, and I was hooked. No piece of media had grabbed my attention like this since the movie Blade Runner.

Anyhow, despite hemming and hawing and coming close a couple times and finding excuses such as unjustifiably high concert ticket prices I never actually saw either of these bands live. So it was with great surprise that Suzanne booked us two tickets for a double bill featuring both bands at the new Perth Arena!

Rose Tattoo were the openers. I have seen these guys a couple times at different places, but they were never my cup of tea. I recognised various songs, but I wasn’t there to see them and while they were enjoyable, I was getting restless to see my good friends Billy, Dusty and Frank.

They opened with “I Thank You” from their 1979 album Deguello, and while they didn’t go all the way back to ZZ Top’s First Album, there were plenty of songs from the early 70′s, through the 80′s, 90′s, 2000′s all the way up to a rockin’ “Gotsta Get Paid” from last year. Their repertoire covers five decades. They’ve played and stayed together for more than forty years! There aren’t many bands who can claim the same. Their concert was silky smooth, and almost effortless. It’s simply amazing how two guitars and a drum kit can sound so “full”, feeding the dynamic range from high to low frequencies. Billy Gibbons is simply amazing.

Compare this to Guns ‘N Roses, who have up to five guitars at a time on stage, plus keyboards and two sets of drums. I’m not saying one sounds better than the other, mind. It’s just mind blowing how Gibbons can seemingly play rhythm and melody at the same time, leaving bass to Hill.

Also, Axl Rose is the only current member from the original band. Not that having a revolving door it’s a bad thing either way, because it’s mostly about the music.

Guns N’ Roses played the best songs from Appetite for Destruction, Lies, Use Your Illusion I & 2 as well as the new songs from Chinese Democracy, which I’ll admit I didn’t recognise as I don’t have that album on my iPod. The show was great! Very enjoyable and memorable. Axl suffered from some poor reviews in the newspaper saying that he struggled with his range in some songs, but from where I was sitting he didn’t put a foot wrong.

In all, it was a great night, albeit a very tiring one as I’d only got off the plane from Singapore early that morning.

Now I have only two more concerts I ever want to go see: Oasis and Jamiroquai. If we ever find these two touring Australia on a double bill, you can bet we’ll be getting tickets.