Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Christmas 2013

That went quickly, didn't it? Christmas spirit usually seeps into every day life usually at the beginning of December. In the past few years you could notice it in around November. Christmas Carols started to fill the shopping centers, chocolate Santa and all the Christmas themed goodies appear on the store shelves. Every shop appears on the TV and billboards, having the biggest Christmas sale ever. But I think this year they went a bit too far, or actually too early. This is what I've seen at the local hardware store. 

Yes, the Christmas light are already there. I haven't even had a chance to test my Father's day present, it is 17th of September for Cod's cake - staying politically correct, not to hurt the feelings of those who don't believe in God. 

I think it is time for me to wish everyone - to those 3 readers including my wife who happen to stumbled upon my blog - a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Election 2013

There were some interesting events during the last 3 years since the last election. Some things were nice, some things were no so. But that is the past. Let's talk about the upcoming one. As always we prefer the early voting, which means we don't have to queue up, with thousands of others on Election day to hand in our ballot paper at the local school.

This early election is a perfect system, since voting is compulsory. We have a chance around 2 weeks prior to election day to make our choice. We are still puzzled how honest this country is, we still have to fill out the papers with the pencils provided in the cardboard polling booths. Pencil, right?. C'mon. I'm pretty sure there are no well paid "helpers" at the back , armed with rubbers to make some "adjustments" on the papers we placed in the envelope according to the current government climate. How hard would that be to make some corrections? Not too hard, I assume. But Australia is an honest country, and let's believe everything is black and white.

So I went out to one of those early voting centers at lunch time, handed over my drivers licence and received a sheet. Yes it is literally a sheet, which would fit perfectly to a single bed. On the top of the sheet, there were the political parties in random order. Below each party there were the candidates. I had two choices. The first one to select my preferred party and put number 1 into the box, next to the party's name. Or, If I'm retired and have nothing to do, and I promise, I'm not going to die in the next 2 years, I can place numbers from 1 to 82 next to each candidate in preferred order. Of course missing one number or leaving out one candidate makes my ballot paper invalid. Hmmm... I have a holiday booked in March next year, so I opted for the easy option. While I was looking for the party I decided to vote for, I found a few odd ones I've never heard before. Quickly looked around to find the hidden camera and was waiting for the famous TV show presenters to show up, laughing at my surprise. But nothing happened in the next five minutes, so I settled down that this must be the real ballot paper.

There are the parties you can hear about every day on this sheet, like the Liberal, Labor, Greens, Democratic Labour parties. Then there are the ones which I've never heard of. Here are a few them.

Animal Justice Party - This must deal with some animal rights issue. 
Australian Christians - Yes, to mix the religion with the government makes perfect sense

And here are the saucy ones, starting with my runner up: 
Australian Sex Party, Stop the Greens Party, Pirate Party Australia, Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party, Rise Up Australia Party, Shooters and Fishers Party, Smokers' Rights Party and my favourite, No Parking Meters Party. 

You are kidding, aren't you? Are these real political parties? It must be a joke. No it is not. 

So what will happen when let's say, everyone voted for the No Parking Meters Party? Will they remove all the parking meters from all the cities in 2 years, and then they would say that they kept 100% of their election promise? Great job, go for re-election, or what? 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dinos again...

Has anyone ever thought about what colours these dinos were? The answer is extremely simple: Yes. I'm pretty sure someone else asked this question before, whether the T-rex was bluish-brown or greenish-pink. As far as I know not a single black and white photo remained containing dinos. I think all the ones what were taken was damaged by the freezing temperature during the ice age. And by digging out some old bones, will give you not even a hint about the colour of their owner's skin.

I assume if there were any photos left, they would have looked just as good as the ones below. Some artists decided to add some colours to old historical photos. I think they look quite amazing as they are filled with life again.

Historic pictures in colour: Albert Einstein, Summer 1939 Nassau Point, Long Island, NY
Historic pictures in colour: Albert Einstein, Summer 1939 Nassau Point, Long Island, NY

Here is the original article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401926/Iconic-images-Library-Congress-brought-life-group-artists-historians.html

Monday, August 26, 2013

School at Down Under...

How is the school in Australia? I have no clue because I went to school in Hungary, therefore I have no idea whether it is better or worse than in Hungary. It is always a good topic to start a fist fight about the low or high level of education in Australia among my Hungarian friends. We always have a debate about  how much more we learnt in Hungary. When this comes up as a conversation we always say that "Google is my friend, and I always hated to learn how much was the annual yield of bauxite in Poland in 1980.

But this is not what I want to tell you. My son who is 5 and half year old, and goes to pre-school, saw a dino at the front of his books and said: "Daddy, that is a Brachiosaurus". "Great" I said, I've never heard about it in my past 38 years. So I told him that he has to teach me the names of the dinos they learn about at school this term.

After school, just like a good puppy, he came to me and said, that it is dino time. So I took my computer and said "Google is my friend, then I showed him this image.

He named all of them, except the Ichtyosaurus and Saber-toothed Tiger with perfect pronunciation. Even though I've never told them or never showed them any dinos before. He couldn't read their names because he hardly can read and the fonts are quite small as you can see. They started this topic in school only 6-8 weeks ago. I have no idea how the teachers teach them, whether they queue them up in front of their whiteboard and make them tell the name of the dinos until they collapse and beg for mercy or just simply tell them once. Either way, it is a big achievement. I know kids are into dinos at this age, but I would rather name them all T-rex or Bruno or Alex if I were 6.

I don't think my kids are exceptionally smart but I can see they've learnt something. If the only thing they can name in year five is some old dusty bones, I'll come back and write an other post about the education system. Until then, thanks for reading.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday like a King

Imagine a 14 storey building, around 300 meters long, floating on the ocean full of 2000 people, pushing down the earth with 70000 tons (Which is equivalent to around 70000 cars). How long is a car, around 5m? Let's say you put all those cars in front of each other and you will get a 350 km long queue of cars. Impressive, isn't it. What is more interesting is that this 70000 ton which is emerges around 25 meters above the water only sinks 8 meters into the water. 

So I was fortunate (it is a bit mystified - It rather happened by working my ass off for years) to spend 7 days with the family on a cruise on Pacific Ocean. I've never even seen a ship so huge before only on TV, so when I arrived at the port I couldn't believe my eyes, that the 14 storey high building in front of me is actually the ship. It is massive. It is ginormous. Getting onto it is the same as boarding an airplane, with security checks, custom officers, baggage check-in and walking through long corridors.

The ship has heaps of facilities, bar, shops, restaurants, gym, pool, theatre, lots of deck chairs and the best thing, childcare. I was looking forward to leave my 3 kids in this facility and enjoy at least a few hours of uninterrupted quality time with my wife when we could have a cocktail, maybe a decent meal, or have a nap on one of those nice deck chairs. We really needed a break after 3 years constant babysitting.

With the kids, we preferred the buffet style eating, which gave us plenty of options to choose from and to please the kids. It was a bit of an adventure to take the two 3 years olds and the little 1 year old to the restaurant, hold their hands while try to balance 2 trays each with 3 plates and around 20 types of food on it including the dessert. The staff was really helpful and that was good.

Second day we shoved the kids into the childcare centre and they were really excited about the playground and the lots of toys. Until we told them we need to go for a while, but we will be back shortly. They said they needed to go as well and started to put their shoes on. Okay, okay. Let's spend a bit more time together in the playground and by the time they will get into the heat of the games, won't notice our departure. They did, and put the toys back neatly and started to put their shoes on.
We tried it in the next 2 days then we gave up.

Seven days past very quickly. We were up at 5:30am, we tried to entertain the kids with some books and toys while we were half asleep. So it was around 6:15 by the time we hit the restaurant. After the breakfast we walked around the ship and got back to the cabin by 8:30 Those days when we stayed on the ship, first 2 days and the last 2 days, we walked around the ship, watched the never ending entertainment, ate, then watched some show, then ate, then tried the swimming pool then ate then had a short nap then ate then watched a show, then dinner then sleep. Watching a show really meant that we walked in with 3 kids, they sat down, they enjoyed themselves, then after around 7 to 11 minutes they lost interest and started to crawl around. So we were collecting the kids under the chairs, make sure they don’t get addicted to bubble gums found under the chairs. So after 5 minutes crawling on all fours in front of the seats and apologizing to almost half of the audience, who were smiling and tagged the kids as cute, we left the theater and we had look for some other entertainment for the kids. We took them to the lifts, to the front, to the back, to the top deck, to the pool, to the nightclub (strictly during the day when it was quiet and it looked like a normal restaurant with beautiful view to the front.) However the view was almost the same in every direction, water and water and more water. It was a full day exercise, it was more like a boot-camp with Fleurs-de-Lis, so we were so tired at the end of the day, that we fall asleep earlier than the kids.

At least we holidayed together, serving their every wish and needs and they enjoyed it, like a king. We enjoyed it too, especially the afternoon nap.

March 2011