Saturday, February 28

Got some spare bandwidth?

Some of these are excellent.

Fishy tail

The Grinder household experienced a state of high alert and is now winding down suicide watch procedures following a traumatising incident on Thursday night.

Bill, the pet goldfish was reported missing from his bowl at about 7PM and after a brief search and rescue was found lying without sign of life less than a metre from his bowl.

The newest addition to the family had jumped from his bowl and landed behind the kitchen radio. The area was immediately cleared and counselling of the eldest grindling commenced in earnest.

The normally sedentary goldfish had shown no signs of his intentions and had never demonstrated the slightest ability to travel beyond the water’s edge.
Back at the scene an assessment was being made for remedial action. Would the pet shop still be open? Would a burial or flushing be best?

And then there was the slightest quiver from the behind the kitchen radio. Bill was immediately plucked up by his tail and returned to his bowl. Within seconds the small orange fish twitched back to life.

Investigators refused to comment on any connection with an incident in 1986 when a pet budgie was found hanging from a piece of frayed nylon in the Great-Grinder household.

The water level of the fish bowl has now been lowered to prevent any further incident. All reports indicate that Bill has fully recovered from his misadventure.

Want a new hobby?

Last night I had the privilege of meeting ‘Johno’, a talented lad who is a good friend of Mrs G’s younger brother. Johno had built a jet turbine from a turbo and was hosting a test-firing.

A group of about 20 people had gathered inside the small rented shed in the southern industrial area of Adelaide. Inside the shed were other successful projects designed to satisfy the primal needs of the typical rev-head such as; the newly built go-kart with spotlights and a kill switch for roaming the streets at night and the converted BMX with a 2-stroke lawn trimmer engine mounted on the back wheel.

The ‘jet engine’ we’d come to see was placed on a small rubber mat pointing out the shed door. A 9kg LPG cylinder was connected to the primary inlet. Notably missing was any form of regulator, the only control being a ball valve at the cylinder end of the pipe. There were several gauges, an oil cooling system, an ignition system made from auto parts, a fuel pump and a second fuel line running from a 4 litre bottle of kero.

The starting procedure involved using a cut down blower-vac to accelerate the incoming air while LPG in the engine is injected and ignited. Soon enough the engine began to whine and whistle like a turbo. Next the kerosene was injected into the second stage to create an afterburner effect.

Instantly the whole place smelt like an airport. The engine roared and sounded like a Boeing 747 was winding up to takeoff. The metal outlet was glowing red and apparently the operating temperatures were reaching 900C, though when stabilised were relatively cooler at 300C.

After two five minute sessions, the LPG cylinder was icing up and two gallons of kero had been consumed. From my limited knowledge, that’s a lot of fuel. Maybe not as much as a commercial jetliner, but certainly evidence of a powerful piece of homemade kit.

This thing was truly awesome! At its peak, flame was about 5 inches wide and 2 feet long. The roar was deafening. I can’t remember for sure but I think Johno said the turbo was doing and estimated 80,000 RPM (maybe even 800,000?). Having done his apprenticeship working on industrial turbines, I’ll have to take his word for it.

On the way out, I was shown some more of Johno’s work. Inside his inconspicuous Japanese utility (and before you ask, there was no V8 engine or twin 2” exhausts), is a chain suspended from the ceiling that activates a genuine air horn – from a prime mover!

Loud enough to send unsuspecting pedestrians into cardiac arrest, the horn runs off a reserve of compressed air that doubles as a supply for plasma welding and power tools when he’s out on a job.

Not satisfied with conventional methods of compressing air, Johno modified a domestic air-compressor, attached an air-conditioner clutch and hooked it up to the engine. The compressor cuts in when needed and even compensates for engine speed.

I am truly jealous! I took some photos and will have them developed soon. Email me if you’d like to seem them.

Tuesday, February 24

'If Microsoft were to have designed kitchens'

There's a list in today's Australian newspaper. My favourite...
The five minute timer on the microwave would count down 4:59 ... 3:02 ... 3:34 ... 3:38 ...

The good life

Late last year development approval was obtained from the resident minister of works and domestic affairs to dig out an area of lawn and replace it with paving. Work commenced immediately with that special gusto that only new home projects seem to attract.

Some three months later, following the decision to sell the cool room business, a 4 metre by 4 metre muddy (yet dusty!) hole marked the result of yet another big idea.

With no need for additional parking, and with all the original soil used as top dressing, there was only one real answer...

Why not fill it with new dirt and make it a veggie garden.

Starting with a trip to the local salvage yard for timber edging. They tried me out for $150 worth of quality timber, but after indicating that my tastes were not at all discriminative I was directed out the back to the $2/metre banana boards. Not only did I get what I needed plus a length of stormwater pipe for $45, but they also cut the planks to size for no extra charge.

Next came the soil. Four tonnes of premium soil and a cubic yard of mushroom compost delivered. So there’s another $170.

Nothing beats the taste of home grown vegies. This is something that you become convinced of especially when you have a glut of them and so does the supermarket down the road selling then for a discounted $3 per kilo.

So far the tally is $215. Next stop will be the nursery. Oh and a shop that stocks WMDs for the bugs and birds. I may as well just round this ‘investment’ up to about $300.

Let’s assume that the hours of tending precious seedlings, watering, and weeding are all for the love of gardening. Then its safe to say that after the first 100 kilos of produce the venture will show some level of economy. Yippee.

Now would be a good time to learn something about cultivating vegetables would it not?

Real (non-sporting) Aussie Legends

Its not hard to see why think this story from Yobbo has been buzzing around the blogs. Legends indeed.

Off to the chemist

Respective workplaces have been notified of intended absences. Its time to hit the local shops for some remedies and leave the gurgling Mrs G in peace.

Dilemma results

My job training requires me to ‘facilitate a discussion’. I used the situation posted previously and found the results pretty interesting. Especially considering the discussion group was made of budding new government inspectors.

Instead of handing the money in unconditionally, the consensus did not automatically trust the police! (A little ironic?). Instead they were suspicious of the source of the money and if it wasn’t credible would keep it for their own interests.

Taking it easy

Mrs G was up all night with gastro and with no locum available, ended up in the emergency ward at 5 this morning. Leaving the kids unattended wasn’t an option (even with the hospital only 5 minutes away and no waiting).

After an anti-nausea shot and some fluids she’ll be okay with a bit of rest. The kids are now at childcare/school.

Gosh it’s a beautiful day out there, I think I’ll ring in sick.

Sunday, February 22

Domestically challenged?

Many parents would have to agree with this blog. Young children are hard wired to sense when their parents aren't giving them the full tote of attention.
Just try cleaning the house for guests, gardening, home maintenance, shopping, talking on the phone, or posting regularly to your own blog site!

Saturday, February 21

A lesson in law

I think it is safe to say most people would have a fair idea of the difference between manslaughter and murder. A small thing called intent has a large bearing on the outcome. If somebody is guilty of killing a person they either meant to or they didn't. There isn't a third type of crime for killing a person.

So have a read of this and see what you think. (Thanks to Al B)

Mother cleared of husband's murder
February 19, 2004

A MOTHER of two whose husband died after she hurled a heavy crystal vase at his head was cleared of manslaughter by a Supreme Court jury today.

Outside the court, a tearful 38-year-old Jennifer Besim said: "Obviously I am very relieved".

She said she wanted to thank her family and friends who had stood by her throughout her ordeal.

"I just want to go back to my beautiful boys. I just want to get on with my life with my lovely children," she said.

The Melbourne jury took just two hours to acquit Mrs Besim of killing her 42-year-old gift shop owner husband at their Narre Warren home on September 24, 20002.

She denied taking deliberately aim at her husband's head when she threw the one-kilogram crystal vase which caused his death.

The court heard that David Besim, 42, died in hospital hours after he was struck on the head by the vase.

Mrs Besim said she had been a victim of violent abuse during her 15-year marriage and at the time her husband had made "blood curdling threats" to burn the family home with herself and two sons inside.

She told the jury in evidence that her husband, who was angry and yelling after coming home in "one of his moods" had hit her in the face.

Mrs Besim, a mother of two sons aged 11 and nine, covered her face with her hands as the verdict was delivered.

The verdict was greeted with applause from Mrs Besim's supporters.

This weeks quote

"Life is like chewing on a piece of gum. You find yourself still doing the work long after the flavour has gone, and you don't really know why."

Thursday, February 19


I'm feeling a bit peaved. Our neighbour is applying to subdivide the block that overlooks the Grinder household. It was inevitable I suppose.

Unfortunately the timing wasn't good. The grind to work is getting noticeably longer as the traffic is getting worse than ever. What was taking me 30 minutes to travel is now averaging more than 40 minutes. The office will be relocating to the CBD in the next year or two which will just make the commute even worse. I dont like commuting.

The prospect of neighbours breathing down our necks and seeing straight in to the toilet is enough to stop and consider ones geographic placement.

To move closer to town would probably put $100k+ on the mortgage and be at expense of the good school, childcare, supermarket, large block and probably the 4th bedroom.

Nup, better not book the removalists just yet.

Monday, February 16

Kite ban

Is there such as thing as a safe outdoor activity?

Hey wow! A comment!

Thanks Trace, the more contributions (and comments) the better.

Unfortunately I can't add my own comments at the moment, er, hold on. Yes it works, just ignore the error message.

Sunday, February 15

R.I.P. Arctic

Those of you who know about the small business I run on the side, might be interested to hear that Arctic will be wound up this year.
Not being a profitable venture, its future has always been uncertain. However a conflict of interest with my new job means we’ll be cashing in the chips.


Yesterday was the hottest day on record; 44 degrees! (celcius)
With today’s forecast of 39 I might even step outside.

Saturday, February 14


42.5C outside at the moment according to the grinder's thermometer. The evaporative aircon is pulling about 11 degrees off that in here.

Public Service or Government Employees. What’s the difference?

State public servants (or is it savants?) must uphold the views and directives of the government of the day. This condition of employment also extends to outside of work.

Not to be confused with the usual obligations to maintain confidentiality, this requirement prevents loose cannons from firing off their points of view (professional or otherwise) that may be contrary to the Government’s. Speaking out in any forum is taken seriously and can result in criminal proceedings under the Public Sector Management Act.

So, other than selling off a few liberties, what’s the harm?

Let’s suppose there is demand to build a major facility somewhere in Australia and the federal government of the day has its eyes on this state as the ideal location.

If the State Government is opposed to the idea then the public servants who author the report are directed to report against the proposal. Professionals employed as public servants ARE directed in this fashion to influence the report outcome.

In this case, the report will probably omit favourable information and focus against the proposal regardless of the true benefits to the state. This in turn jeopardises the ethical standing of today’s public servants. Instead of producing an unbiased and balanced report, the public is deceived.

Fair enough, the government may be following the most popular view and therefore would be supporting the principles of a democracy. But withholding information that may sway the views of the public seems to me a little dishonest.

This example draws attention to the fallacy that employees of the government are responsible to the public. Ultimately they do not serve the public. They serve the needs of the government of the day and in some cases that is not the same as the interests of the people.

Friday, February 13

High science

Pig lard to stop terror attacks
From correspondents in Jerusalem
February 12, 2004
ISRAELI police have come up with plans to place bags of pig lard on buses in
a bid to deter Palestinian militants from carrying out suicide attacks, the
Maariv daily reported.

Rabbinical authorities have given the idea its approval on the grounds that
it could be a life-saving measure even though pigs are also considered
impure by Jews.
Authorities believe that the move could discourage Palestinians from
carrying out attacks as pieces of their exploded body could come into
contact with the pig fat, prejudicing their chances of entering into
The paper said that the rabbinical dispensation could mean that security
forces also hang bags of lard in shopping malls and schools.
Public buses have been a favourite target for Palestinian suicide bombers
since the start of the intifada in September 2000.

11 rules for life.

Apparently Bill Gates came up with these. Regardless they have a certain element of truth.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping - they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time. Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Comments are now working

I think the service might have been out of action yesterday. All seems okay today.

Thursday, February 12

Dilemma exercise

What would you do?

You are out walking one afternoon when you notice an envelope on the ground that appears to have something in it. Suspicious, you pick it up. It has no name on it and it's not sealed. You open the flap to see dozens of hundred dollar notes.
You look around to see if there is anyone who may have just dropped it or may be looking for it, but there appears to be no-one and nobody seems to have noticed you pick up the envelope. You have no way of knowing who the money belonged to or what it was intended for.
There is a police station nearby where you could leave the envelope. However, your mother has a gambling problem and is about to lose her car to the finance company and you know she would be unable to provide care for her terminally ill sister without the car. The money you have found would make a big difference to the quality of life for your dying aunt if you paid off the debt.


It looks like the comments facility has had the fritz. I'll have to look in to it.

Wednesday, February 11

GC’04 (Gold Cost / Geek Club, you decide)

Return air tickets to the Gold Coast (ex Adelaide) are available for 20-25 October for around $300 to $400. (Indy is 21-24th I think).
Any ideas? Any accommodation prices yet?
A travel agent might be able to package up the Indy tickets, airfares and accommodation for a good price. Any good travel agents?

New speak

The English language is frequently reviewed and new words find their way in the most conservative of dictionaries each year. Yet there seems to be a serious omission. A pair of words used all the time are not being recognised for their true popularity. Closely related to their synonyms, these words have become the norm for nearly all mediums and are fast encroaching upon the sacred institution of diction; the ABC.

I am referring to the pronunciations of the months January and February. I feel that the language records are falling behind and they should adopt the new spellings of Janury and Februry.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am far from qualified for the role of diction police. I know I mumble and slur even without the ingestion of certain chemicals, but I at least stick to the right number of syllables!


This Tarantino style flick is a full on cop movie with a well-deserved R rating - for strong brutal violence, drug content and pervasive language. Narc is a very convincing action thriller with a plot rich enough to keep the average Joe’s attention.

Well worth watching especially if you’ve overdosed on too many feel good movies. The opening scene alone should purge the warm and friendlies out your system. Well worth hiring; five Stars.

Monday, February 9

Considering a family?

Thanks to TV...

Follow these 15 simple tests before you decide to have children.

Test 1
Women: To prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months remove 10% of the beans.

Men: To prepare for paternity, go to local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

Test 2
Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour. Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

Test 3
To discover how the nights will feel . . .
1) Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4-6kg, with a radio tuned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.
2) At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.
3) Get up at 12pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.
4) Set the alarm for 3am.
5) As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.
6) Go to bed at 2. 45am.
7) Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off
8) Sing songs in the dark until 4 am.
9) Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off
10) Make breakfast.

Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Test 4
Dressing small children is not as easy at it seems.

1) Buy a live octopus and a string bag.
2) Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this - all morning.

Test 5
Forget the BMW and buy a practical 5-door saloon. And don't think that you can leave it out on the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1) Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2) Get a coin. Insert it in the cassette player.
3) Take a family size package of chocolate biscuits, mash them into the back seat.
4) Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.
There. . perfect!

Test 6
Get ready to go out.

1) Wait
2) Go out the front door.
3) Come in again.
4) Go out.
5) Come back in.
6) Go out again.
7) Walk down the front path/driveway.
8) Walk back up it.
9) Walk down it again.
10) Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.
11) Stop, inspect minutely, and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue, and dead insect along the way
12) Retrace your steps.
13) Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.
14) Give up and go back into the house.
You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Test 7
Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

Test 8
Go the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is excellent). If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your weeks groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Test 9
1) Hollow out a melon.
2) Make a small hole in the side.
3) Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it from side to side
4) Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an aeroplane.
5) Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.
6) Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.

You are now ready to feed a 12 month old child.

Test 10
Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Sesame Street, Teletubbies and Disney. Watch nothing else on TV for at least five years.

Test 11
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flower beds then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon.
How does that look?

Test 12
Make a recording of Jeannie Little shouting "Mummy" repeatedly. Important: No more than a four second delay between each "Mummy" (occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next four years.

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Test 13
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continuously tug on your skirt hem/shirt sleeve/elbow while playing the "Mummy" tape made from Test 12 above.

You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Test 14
Put on your finest work attire. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting. Now:

1) Take a cup of cream, and put 1 cup lemon juice in it.
2) Stir.
3) Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture.
4) Attempt to clean your shirt with the saturated towel.
5) Do NOT change. You have no time.
6) Go directly to work.

Test 15
Go for a drive, but first. . . .
1) Find one large tomcat and six pit bulls.
2) Borrow a child safety seat and put it in the back seat of your car.
3) Put the pit bulls in the front seat of your car.
4) While holding something fragile or delicate, strap the cat into the child seat.
5) For the really adventurous . . . . Run some errands, remove and replace the cat at each stop.

You are now ready to have kids!

Saturday, February 7

My medicine please

Credit to Grouchy Old Cripple for the prescription:

Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 full hours.

Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to two days.

Suppository that eliminates melancholy and loneliness by reminding you of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.

Liquid silicone drink for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and prevents conception.

When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low IQ, resulting in enjoyment of country music and pickup trucks.

Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

Potent anti-boy-otic for older women. Increases resistance to such lethal lines as, "You make me want to be a better person ... Can we get naked now?.."

Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency, duration, and credit limit of spending spree.

Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, a nniversary, or phone number.

A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers in elevators.

When administered to a husband, provides the same irritation level as nagging him all weekend, saving the wife the time and trouble of doing
it herself.

Preserving precious memories

Aaaaauuuuurrrrrgghhhhhh!!!! This…this…this is just wrong....

Greenhouse/Political emissions

With the Moomba Gas plant out of order and temperatures hovering around 38 degrees in Adelaide, the government is doing everything it can to conserve power. Well, at least politically. If only scientists could find a way to harness all the hot air that comes from some of our leaders.

Using the ‘conservation at any cost’ principle, public servants are being asked to make a personal contribution to energy savings. Ten points for opportunism, no points for forward thinking.

To All Staff

Earlier this month Department Executive agreed that employees should adopt personal measures to reduce energy consumption.
As part of the State Government's commitment to meet the Kyoto Agreement greenhouse gas emissions target, all government departments must reduce
energy consumption by 15%.
While large scale projects are planned, personal actions by employees alone will make a significant contribution to meeting targets.

To reduce energy consumption I encourage all employees to question:

* the need for a desk lamp

[anyone who has been inside a government office is unlikely to have ever seen one, I think there’s some confusion with the fictitious offices from shows such as CSI and Law and Order]

* the need for all the fluorescent lights in the area to be switched on. Many offices have enough ambient light on sunny days without any lights switched on
[Sorry but most public servants are already kept in the dark. But seriously, unless there are means of measuring and monitoring the light levels, switching of lights on such a whim would go against occupational health and safety standards relating to the quality and amount of lighting required for office activities.]

* who's in the toilet, last one out turn the light off.
[Many of the building owners who lease to the government agencies do not provide emergency lighting in office toilets. Switching of toilet lights could prove inconvenient or even dangerous for those of us who prefer not to announce our presence amongst the stalls.]

*Same in the kitchen and while you're at it, why not switch off and unplug appliances after use
[Waiting for appliances such as photocopiers, fax machines and printers to warm up and reconfigure might be a good way to pass the time for some.]

* if the meeting room is not required after you finish, please switch off the lights

* if the computer needs to be on when you're not there
[Rebooting and logging back in to PCs are always good for productivity.]

* if the computer is off when you leave for the day.

I also ask that staff
* switch off any office equipment that is not required

* check the office and switch everything off at the end of the day, if you're the last person in the office

A few tips from Energy SA
Switching off a fluorescent light for just one second will save more energy than is used for start-up.
Machines with low energy 'sleep modes' do use power; so if they are not in use, switch them off.

And a thought from the Grinder
On a hot day when power consumption is an issue in this under equipped and under resourced city, are public service offices as significant consumers of energy as they are made out to be? Or is this more political opportunism?
One would suspect that the relatively sterile offices occupied by government workers are not such energy drains. If hundreds of people are required to occupy a sealed building there will always be basic energy needs for ventilation, lighting, and pumping water. If these services are threatened then so too are the basic comforts our society has grown to accept.
Likewise, power is needed for the machines that efficiently handle the communication and processing of information and materials. To limit this area makes no sense either.

Perhaps we should dig ourselves caves to live in and sleep on animal hides. We could ban the car to keep our roads safe; a zero km/h policy should keep the road toll down.