Thursday, December 21, 2006

Diving into the Blue

I think I mentioned that while on our honeymoon, we went diving. In fact, we learnt to dive and got our divers licenses (there's a joke lurking somewhere in this but I will refrain). We did our divers course in 3 days with 1 day spent in the swimming pool of a local resort (there were some very surprised swimmers as we popped up from the deep), and 2 days of boat dives. Actually the pool wasn't very deep. Less than 6 foot at the deepest point. This made the whole diving thing a little tricky, as every time we plunged into the not so murky chlorinated depths we hit the bottom.

Our 2nd and 3rd days were fantastic. Exhausting but fantastic. We had an early start, catching a big catamaran to Koh Tao, a smaller island ideal for diving. The boat trip took about 1.5 hours each way and this provided time for us to review the theory that we had had to study the previous evening. On the final day, on the return trip we did the theory test for our Padi Open Water Diver tickets, which was an excellent use of time. The only tricky thing about doing it on a catamaran was that that particular trip was quite rough. Consequently, Mr Heroic (me) got sea sick. It's a touch distracting needing to race outside for fresh air every few minutes while trying to take an academic exam. Still, the Madeline Barnes, our instructor was brilliant and we can highly recommend the company that ran our dive course, Searobin. The course was very time efficient, and we felt like we had the complete, undivided and supportive attention of our instructor.

Diving off Koh Tao was great. Our first dive was just off the island. When we arrived at the island, we boarded our dive boat and were dropped near the beach. We did the dive and finished on the edge of the beach and walked up the sand to the island restaurant for lunch.

Our second dive was in much deeper water and was a lot more fun. The dive boat was shared with a Japanese company, and for some reason they had preferential treatment, making the decision as to where would dive. This wasn't too much of a problem though, as they were keen to dive at cool places.

On the second day of boat dives, we again did the first dive in shallowish water (less than 10m) due to having to finish a lot of the practical material for our PADI tickets.The second dive was to have been off Sail Rock but sadly, the boat broke down before it picked us up after lunch. We could see it just 15 metres away over the water from the jetty, but no boat, no dive. Eventually it arrived, wheezing and literally fountaining oil from a hole in the engine. One of the boat staff sat in the engine bay and poured more oil in the top while the other drove us just a little way from the jetty for our final dive.

Overall, we had a fantastic experience and loved every minute of it. Well, apart from trying to find masks that worked for us. Neither of us could find a mask that fitted perfectly, so we spent some of our time each dive clearing them. All the same, to see another world like that and to realise afresh the brilliance, versatility and sheer creative genius of the our God was a great experience. Can't wait till we can dive without all the Scuba Gear.

Friday, December 15, 2006

White Noise

OK, so when I left you in the lurch with this long winded and needlessly wordy story, we were in Vietnam, enjoying the amazing scenery of Halong Bay ... Actually, here is a photo that I took while on Halong Bay, from the deck of our Junk, the inaccurately named Jewel of the Bay.

After enjoying the bay, we returned to harbour and then were driven back to Hanoi. We spent a day shopping in Hanoi (actually looking for shops would be a more accurate description. Hanoi, being a Communist city in a Communist state, hides its shops, disguising them from the enemy eg me) and then back on the plane to Bangkok (just for a change). From Bangkok we switched planes and flew through the night down to Melbourne.

Of course this all sounds straight forward but glosses over the 2 uncomfortable hours spent on a park bench on a crowded Vietnamese harbourside, waiting for a bus to show up in the sweltering midday sun, an altercation with a would be extortionist bike taxi driver and the frantic race through the airport to catch the plane in Bangkok due to delays exiting the plane from Vietnam. Still, all good to have a laugh about later. Or not.

Now, about this stage you are either saying "I am sick of this honeymoon, and it's old news anyway" or "Why call this post 'White Noise'?" To the former I say, "May your olives drop off" (an ancient Hebrew curse that is all bark and no bite to those of us without olive trees) and to the later, "I'm glad you asked."

Once in Melbourne, we got through customs, exited the airport, picked up a car (managed to scam a racier vehicle than we payed for ... Yep a pumping 4 cylinder internal combustion engine rather than a 3 cylinder goat powered go cart I had payed for), did some shopping, dropped through a friends house to pick up a snow board and then off to Bright. For we are snowbound, hence the title. OK, I admit it. I'm tired and can't think of anything better to name this post. Go away.

By the time we arrived in Bright, I had been awake for something like 30+ hours (all day in Hanoi, all night on the plane, all the next day and then driving till about 12pm to get to Bright). At Bright, the directions I had been given to our chalet suddenly stopped making sense and we drove in circles, bewildered and dazed like a bird whose lost and is driving his car in circles, until I was pulled over by the Highway Patrol. The officer was probably fairly surprised to have someone so abjectly happy to be pulled over at 1am ... Luckily he knew our way, and soon after, so did we.

So we stopped for one night in the Buckland Valley just outside Bright in this little chalet. Its one of 4 obsessively German, beautifully appointed chalets. Modern minimalist interiors, fantastic views and great design. Nice for couples, not so good for families - ours, at least, had only one bedroom and one bed.

Next morning, after a bit of a recovery sleep in, we rose and headed in to town, picked up some snow gear (I bought my beautiful wife a snow jacket) and then headed for the hills.

The ski season at Mount Hotham this year was disappointing, but we still had a great time. My wife had never been snowboarding before, so it was all new to her. I found it a little more difficult as all the runs that I wanted to do were closed due to poor cover. Still, we had a great time.

To keep the consistency of this chronicle of ours, I include a shot of the place we stayed at while at Mount Hotham, the brand new Chalet Hotham. More precisely, a shot out the window towards the ski run. For those of you famailiar with Hotham, the Summit run in on the left there, Heavenly Valley on the right and just below our field of view (somewhere nestled amongst the cushions, is the Basin Run.

Commanding fantastic views out over the Mount Hotham and being situated literally, a slip, a swift slide, and solid thump at the end from the start of several good runs at Mount Hotham, this place couldn't be situated better.

Anyway, we spent 5 days, up the mountain, loving every minute of it. Well, apart for the acute pain brought on by a hard days snowboarding ;)

Well, gotta go. Said enough for tonight. Loads of love to everyone. Or not.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Load of Junk

Where then? Back on another plane, through Bangkok (actually in all, we went through Bangkok 4 times) to Vietnam. Flew in Hanoi late in the evening, caught a taxi into the city and stayed the night at one of the world's ugliest hotels. The Hotel Melia looks, from the outside, much like one of those blue, red and white woven plastic bags vagrants use when collecting cans from bins ... Classy! Inside the decor is even more horrific, managing to mix ugly extravagance with chaotic bad taste almost effortlessly. Impressive.

Next morning we caught a bus to Halong bay and spent two nights out on the bay sleeping on a junk. The accomodation was a little more rustic than some of our other digs during our honeymoon, but not appalling. There were a total of 10 guest (including us) on the boat, and 5 staff, so we were pretty well looked after

And the bay is absolutely ravishing. Hundreds of small but precipitous limestone islands jutting out of the sea. Absolutely fantastic ...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's Been A While

I promised I would inform you of our next destination, yet somewhere along the way, everything got a bit busy and the rest of the story got postponed. The next destination was ... Thailand again. We headed back up to Bangkok and from there hopped on a little plane down to Koh Samui.

Koh Samui is a small island in the Thai sea. Lots of white sand, palm trees and very blue water. Nice. We stayed at this little place. Actually, this could be a photo of our ... not sure what to call it ... hut, chalet, compound. Called the Sala Samui and highly recommended if you're anywhere in the vicinity, or even amywhere within say 10 hours flying..

This hotel is built on a little beach with 5 or 6 restaurants on the beach front and little else. During the day one can swim in one of the hotel's pools, swim in your own pool, or even throw caution to the wind and swim in the sea. Alternatively, one can lounge on the beach, have a massage (not quite as relaxing as it sounds, I found. Thais seem to see massage more as a full contact sport or an opportunity to take revenge for some imagined grudge), or sit in a restaurant and drink cold cokes or bad coffee. In the evening, the restaurants put little tables out on the beach, and you can spend a very romantic evening eating great Thai food while wriggling your toes in the sand.

While here we spent a lot of time on the beach and the rest of the time learning to Dive. We did our Padi Open Water Diver certificates which was fun but utterly exhausting.

So all in all, this place was probably the highlight of the honeymoon. Well for me anyway. And then on to ...

Stay posted ;)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Next Hot Commodity? Arabica Coffee Beans

Forget oil! New York, home of the $4 cup of coffee, may be where the commodity gets its next price jolt. Prices for arabica coffee beans on the New York Board of Trade could climb more than 20 percent in the next 12 months and outperform some of this year's best commodities investments, including copper and silver.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In Need of Some Renovation

From Bangkok we flew off to Cambodia, Siem Reap to be precise. Flew in through the evening deluge, walked in through the gates of their brand new and very cool International Airport, and were picked up by limo service ... oh and my wife was almost crushed by a falling tree ... same old, same old.

Anyway, stayed at the Hotel de la Paix. Definitely the most mod, funky, cool, art deco, cool, funky, mod hotel we've ever stayed in (but I repeat myself). Ipods in every room, wireless internet, hanging table swings in the outdoor restaurant, and bowls of fire at night.

And why come to Siem Reap, we hear you breathlessly query? You may well ask. Temples. Big ones, little ones, old ones, new(er) ones, treesy ones, ones with big Buddhas, ones with Buddha masquarading as Vishnu the Hindu Everything god, ones with Vishnu cunningly disguised as Buddha ... Angkor Wat is huge and awesome, Bayon with its serene Buddhas is cool, and Ta Promh (the Jungle Temple) was our favourestmostest. It looks like Mansions of the Gods in Asterix (for you lovers of fine literature) ... As if the marauding jungle has just eaten the Temple. Trees grow out of roofs, through walls, around stairways, as little by little, the jungle reconquers its own territory.

Spent two days touring the temples with our own private guide (thank you Samnang) and then ... on to our next destination ...

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Room with a View

We left Margaret River behind us, and drove back through the rain to Perth. We stopped for the night at a little place called The Outram (thank you JL for putting me on the track with this one). Little as in only 18 rooms, but very funky and nice. We mentioned to the Concierge (who later turned out to be the owner) that we would be leaving at the crack of dawn, and he arranged for a couple of choccy brownies and lattes to be delivered at 5am. Nice touch!

Then down to the airport for a flight to ... Bangkok (and yes, we know that some of you are not surprised. Well done!) Spent 3 nights at another little hotel called the Sofitel Silom. Think a room 300m plus up in the air with a wife who is scared of heights! We were on the 26th floor in room 2607 and there were another 12 floors to go till you hit the top. Got upgraded to a very nice room with an awesome view, and what with the included breakfast (read 'feasting session'), did quite nicely (read 'fatly'), thanks.

Day 1 - Shopping at the Happy Birthday King of Thailand 20 - 60% Off Sales (I think that's what they were. Not real good at reading Thai script yet.)

Day 2 - The markets ... A gazillion little booths selling everything from fairy lights to oil paintings. Loads of fun, in a very "I'm so lost and can't speak the language" way.

Day 3 - Went to the Blue Elephant for a course in Thai Cuisine. Took a tour of a Thai market, watched 5 cooking demonstrations and cooked Phad Thai, Green Curry Chicken, Tom Yam Soup and had heaps of fun. Tasted fantastic! Incidentally, the Blue Elephant Restaurant and School in Bangkok is in this very cool, colonial style building that looks like it washed ashore back 2 centuries ago and somehow became trapped amongst the highrise and sky ways of Bangkok. Weird.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Got Married

This post is for those of you who know us ... So the rest of you, keep moving, nothing to see here, OK.

Anyway, as you know (and as already noted, if you didn't already know this, this post is not for you so saddle up and move on, pardner), we got married recently. As in very recently. So we are currently on our honeymoon and thought some of you might like to know where we got to. While attempting to keep somewhat of a shroud over proceedings, our honeymoon is going great! Our first couple of nights were spent here, and while it bills itself as an "Eco Resort" there aint nothin eco about it. Not ecological (not a greenie in sight as burnt our way through excessive quantities of old growth logs on the big wood fire) or economical (wince) ... Still, very very nice ... Think big wood fire, low lighting, spa, candles, hammock and listening to the rain in the forest outside and no one else in sight ... Priceless.

We then headed down to Margaret River for a few days. Stayed at this place for those of you who care. You know how some places look better in the advertising than in real life? Not so this place. The pictures are pretty accurate ... except for the somewhat middle aged looking couple in the spa ... No middle aged couple in the spa in our lodge anyway. If there had been we would have had to ask them to leave I think.

Again, think fireplaces, rammed earth, big spa under a huge sky light, in easy driving distance of about a brazillian wineries, cheese factories and other culinary emporiums. And did I mention the spa?

OK. Enough for one day I think. I'll drop you all a note later. Hope you are all jealous ;)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The New Blak

Despite the fact that I am reliably informed that pewter is the new black, while black is the new grey (ok, I have no idea what that means either), Coke is forging on with their release of Coke Blak (I guess a label like Coke Pewter might be a bit much to swallow). Just thought you would want to know ... especially after I told you about it months ago here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Omnipresent System - A New God

This is the beginning of something I have been talking about for some time .. the omnipresent system. Access to my home computer everywhere ... More on this later. Here is what I had to say on the subject over 12 months ago ...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Crazy Weather Still

The weather is still mad as a hatter with a chicken up his shirt ... A great big sack full of crazy type crazy. See this.

NSW's lowest May rainfall in 50 years has compounded the crisis farmers face, with 89 per cent of the state in drought.
Hey, I'm just saying. Keep looking.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Not Sure I Want to Know This

An excellent article on how to become an early riser. The faithful all "rose up early". Me, I rise up early only if I really have to. This needs some thinking through, and in my case, some serious rationalisation to show why this article is rubbish ;)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Great Minds Think Alike?

Hopefully, all the readers of this site are aware that I am a Christadelphian. This is a Christadelphian blog. I just happened to be going for a stroll in a quiet corner of the world wide interweb, searching on an unrelated topic and came across the Wikipedia entry for Christadelphians. I thought this quote might interest you.

“There have been small groups of believers down the centuries, and particularly since the Reformation, who held unorthodox views. Groups such as the Anabaptists, Waldenses, Socinians, Racovians and the Polish Brethren shared some or even many beliefs held by Christadelphians. Isaac Newton, Joseph Priestley, John Locke, William Tyndale all appear to have held beliefs close to those of Christadelphians on the unity of God, the mortality of man and the role of the Jews in God's purpose.”
Now the point I thought might interest you was that great minds such as William Tyndale (translator of the Bible), Joseph Priestly (co-discoverer of oxygen) and Isaac Newton (inventor of gravity ;) share beliefs with the Christadelphians. In fact, Newton wrote more on the Bible than on physics. Again, quoting Wiki, “In his own lifetime, Newton wrote more on religion than he did on natural science.”

If great minds like these devoted attention to the scriptures and ended up with views similar to those of the Christadelphians regarding the mortality of man (Christadelphians believe that man does not possess an immortal soul), the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ (Christadelphians are Evangelical Unitarians and believe that Christ was a mortal man although the Son of God) and the promised reward (Christadelphians believe this is resurrection to immortality in the kingdom of God established here on earth), surely that is an encouraging indicator. Not by any means proof, but worth thinking about.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 12, 2006

That Creationism Fad

Yet another supposedly religious person, denying the very God they "claim" to worship. Posted on this a few weeks beck, here.

"...for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." - II Thessalonians 2:11-12
Enough said.

Criminal but Otherwise Cool

Enjoyed this article. Can't be bothered jumping? Here's something to whet your whistle. GANG of anarchist Robin

Hood-style thieves, who dress as superheroes and steal expensive food from exclusive restaurants and delicatessens to give to the poor, are being hunted by police in the German city of Hamburg.The gang members seemingly take delight in injecting humour into their raids, which rely on sheer numbers and the confusion caused by their presence. After they plundered Kobe beef fillets, champagne and smoked salmon from a gourmet store on the exclusive Elbastrasse, they presented the cashier with a bouquet of flowers before making their getaway.
Please ... this is not an endorsement of crime.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

More for Fridge Fashionistas

I commented, back in August last year on fridge by LG, which they had humbly given the name DIOS or god, in the common venacular. At that stage I suggested the next step in the inexorable evolution of the fridge would be to not just make the outside blinged out, but make the food look sparkly too. Well, this crowd must have misheard and gone one better in making the outside look better. I guess, if your market research suggest a fridge is the sort of thing that should be supplied with a lanyard and safetly instructions for purchasers who wish to wear it hanging from their neck, well, what can you do? They did it! Those sparkly bits are Swarovski crytals ... seriously. 7000 of them, each painstakingly hand embeded by Zen monks from the Wantoa Mountains, and blessed with an ancient mountain blessing, granting long life and luck on the owner. All true! Apart from the monk bit.

A Strong Delusion

Just in case you have ever wondered, ever had a doubt, or just felt that they seemed like such nice people ... Here is an example of the strong delusion spoken of by Paul. Quoting from the Register article,

Dr Williams's comments indicate he believes that creationism and evolution are not two sides of the same coin, however. He said: "I think creationism is...a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories. If creationism is presented as a stark alternative theory alongside other theories I think there's just been a jarring of categories."
One wonders how a "minister" can do so much to deny the existence of God, and undermine the worship of the God he claims to obey. Whoever he is "ministering" for, it is certainly not the God I worship ...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Today, a piece of poetry from one of my favourite poets ...

Life is an old man carrying flowers on his head.

young death sits in a cafe
smiling, a piece of money held between
his thumb and first finger

(i say "will he buy flowers" to you
and "Death is young
life wears velour trousers
life totters, life has a beard" i

say to you who are silent. - "Do you see
Life? he is there and here,
or that, or this
or nothing or an old man 3 thirds
asleep, on his head
flowers, always crying
to nobody something about les
roses les bluets
will He buy?
Les belles bottes - oh hear
, pas cheres")

and my love slowly answered I think so. But
I think I see someone else

there is a lady, whose name is Afterwards
she is sitting beside young death, is slender;
likes flowers.

-- E. E. Cummings

Monday, March 20, 2006

Weather Still Deranged

I've been harping on about this for a while now, but I think we really should be paying attention. Last week saw Texas struck by the worst fires in it's long and Lone Star-ish existance, while this week, Queensland, Australia, home of the Great Barrier Reef and suntans is threatened by the "worst cyclone" in decades (I thought it might amuse you that one article is taken from the Scotsman and the other from India ;) Somebody, tell me I'm making this all up, ok?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Lazy Watchman

I'm confident that you are all watching the signs of the times, but sometimes its a little hard isn't it, just to keep up to date. So here is the lazy wathman or watchwoman's dream. This site present all the news on one page ... I'll post this on my sidebar incase you want to get back to it ;)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Music for the Masses

Every now and then, a song comes along that epitomises an era. Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance, Waltzing Matilda, The Day the Music Died and now this ... A Girl Innovator Dashing Like A Steed. Lovely title and I can't wait to hear it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More Stuff Folded Here

For no apparent reason, another link on stuff, this time letters. As opposed to t-shirts, or sheets. Just cause ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Fold 2

A couple of weeks ago, I commented on ones (eg my) inability to t-shirts to a commercial standard of niceness. Even more challenging are those fitted sheets ... curse them to the bottom of their ruffle edged hearts. Anyway, tidy freaks rejoice, Target, pruveyor of all things chinese, has a solution. Follow the link, children, and learn.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Consider ...

I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Stars in my Eyes

Nah, actually, the title doesn't mean that much. All the same, you know how when you look at a street light at night, it sort of looks all starry, with streaks of light coming off it? These streaks a caused by high level abberations in our eyes. Tiny pits and flecks in our eyes create small flaws in our vision ... and it really hacks me off.

Anyway, I just read a really cool article about a company that is developing glasses that don't just correct your low level sight abberations (eg short-sightedness, astigmatism) but also corrects this too. They claim it can give you better than 20/20 vision. I want that now!

Update : BoingBoing just posted on this ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Altogether Lovely One

Just a fragment of poetry, which I read the other day, and thought applies so perfectly to our Lord as the suffering servant.

How beautiful, if sorrow had not made
Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty's self.

It's from the poetry of John Keats, Hyperion, Book I.

Pedestrian Humour

I have no idea why I find this funny ... In fact, its kind of macabre. If you have any idea what it might be about this article that tickles my funny bone, let me know.

BEIJING: A Chinese newspaper editor has died from injuries months after traffic police beat him up for an expose about exorbitant electric bicycle license fees, a New York-based press watchdog said.

Disaster Strikes

To all my faithful readership (you know who you are, Mr Imaginary Man and Dream Girl) my blog had a bit of a terminal episode ... The consequence is that I lost all my side bars and stuff ... Will rebuild that when I have the time.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Fold

You walk into a store. The T-shirts are in a very tidy tower. You select your size, take it to the change room, and and try it on. Nup, no good. Now to it up again. But do you know what? You can't! I can't, anyway. Usually, I make this kind of sad effort at refolding it and then put it back on the T-shirt tower, a crumpled wreck of a once tidy t-shirt before the proud folds of the untested tees.

Well, no longer. I am going to take one of these with me when t-shirt shopping. Its a t-shirt folding machine! The wonders of the steam age!

A Dedication: To the Unknown julia

I had been blythly posting away, confident that I had somehow slipped under the net-radar and no-one was reading my posts. It was a kind of cosy feeling really, like being in bed on a rainy day with a good book and no-one else within a million miles ... And then julia shattered my confidence by posted a comment. She may not have been the first but she was definitely the first I noticed (yup, I wasn't watching very closely).

So this post is dedicated to julia ... For three reasons. She:
1) Very kindly congratulated me on my engagement
2) She is my firstest and most frequentest commenter on this blog ... She has commented at least twice! (She actually informed me she had already comment on a post ... Which I have mislaid ... Its probably down the back of the sofa cushions with the remote control, a small colony of loose change, and that banana that went missing last summer) ... julia this gives you the extreme dubious honour of being my greatest fan. If I were you, I'd change my name right away, move to another country and pretend it wasn't me ;)
3) Just tricking. I only had two.

julia ... Thank you! May your screen always be bright and glowy, your mouse run smooth and your link be fast and true.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Naaman's Life experiences non-hostile takeover bid

Yep, got in engaged. Tried to do it in style ... Imagine (if you are so inclined. Otherwise, you might like to stick your fingers in your ears for the next few lines and go "not listening na na na na" or words to that effect) sunset, just off a sand surrounded island, aboard a 40ft cruiser, bound for Fremantle. Diamond, rose and chocolates all in order. Anyway, here is the boat we got engaged on.