Tuesday, March 28, 2006

CWG closed but not forgotten

The Commonwealth Games has been just an amazing experience. Just as Sydney would have felt after the Olympics in 2000, it proved what the city was capable of, if effort and enthusiasm is put in. There are so many lessons that can be learned, particuarly on public transport, which proved it could work effectively with increased crowds and people could be encouraged in taking the train rather than driving.

Well done to the organisers and volunteers, it certainly was a very friendly games. The atmosphere of the city during the past 11 days has been uplifting, very positive and made you very proud to live in this marvelous place.

Here is a photo I took from the mens road race on the final day (Sunday) going through King's Domain.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Incredible final night of Athletics

What an amazing night of the final evening of athletics of the Commonwealth Games.
Having applied for the tickets in the ballot in May last year, I consider myself so lucky to have these tickets joining 82,000 other people at the now mamouth MCG. Went with my girlfriend, brother and sister - couldn't have been in better company.

The night was incredibly entertaining. Watching England win gold in the mens javalin and triple jump, the almight Jamacans taking out the mens relay events whilst Australian men and women botch the final batton pass in the 4x100m , and the Jamacan women "lose" the batton.
Craig Mottram being accidently tripped whilst another competitor lost his shoe, both finished the race. The enduring African athletes in the 10000m running faster than I could over 100m.
The effort of the women in the 4x400m relay, coming second across the line, but receiving a gold medal after the English team was disqualified.
The most deafining roar of all being for the mens 4x400m relay team finishing first and presented with their gold medals by John Howard, and of course Australia's Kym Howe winning the pole vault and setting a new Commonwealth record.

A sensational evening, and one which is unlikely to be repeated in Melbourne for a very long time.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Where the bloody hell are you?

Finally the tourism board has a message to the Brits that I have been saying for the past few years. I have been over there 3 times in the last 5 years, and not ONE relative or friend has come here.
No excuse! It's a LOT cheaper to come here than us go over there. Hold off on a few European holidays to Spain or Italy and save up for a big one here, it will not disappoint.

Well done to the tourism board for very cleverly getting a huge amount of publicity for free by being "controversial" in a non-offending way.


CWG Gymnastics

Well done Australia for dominating yet another sport at the Commonwealth Games. Went to Rod Laver Arena to watch the womens artistic gymnastics finals. I was secretly going for the non-aussie competators, Australia wins too much.
The Canadian scored the same amount of points as the Australian girl, but because of some rule, the Australian won. I really wanted to hear the Canadian national anthem too!
Off to the athletics next Saturday on the final night of competition - should be a good night!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spectacular! CWG Opening Ceremony

Wow! What a spectacular opening ceremony to the Commonwealth Games! I along with hundreds of thousands of others headed down to the banks of the Yarra with my girlfriend and her friend to watch what was promised to be something the city had never seen before. And it sure was! Never have I ever seen anything like it in the world - huge fish scuptures lining the Yarra river for a kilometre with sychronised water fountains, lights and pyrotechnics with fireworks off skyscrapers all linked with the events at the main ceremony at the MCG. Really looking forward to going to 2 events during the games. Melbourne will be THE city to be in the next 11 days as it comes alive with a huge festival. Fortunately for me I'll be based right in the middle of it for work on a new project on the 38th floor. It's time to party!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Eildon - hot then rain!

This summer I missed out on camping due to my extended overseas trip. Fortunately the long weekend presented an opportunity to strenthen man's bond with nature.
Some great weather on Saturday and Sunday, and had a great time circumnavigating Lake Eildon. Only downside was the rain on Monday morning, it was as dry as a bone in the tent, but we wanted to pack it up and got drenched.
Oh well, I figure the luck I've had in having good weather while packing up had run out.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

London Namesake - more than just a name

Was just trying to put the rest of the photos on my blog from my travels and thought I'd comment more on this one as it is probably one of the more unusual things I have done recently.

Just remember Google indexes every, and I mean everything. This guy like me generally does not put his full name on his blog, but he slipped up, and a search for my own name brought up a post of his.
We both share the same first and last names.
It sent the ball rolling, since I was going to be in London in a few weeks (where he resides), it was a good opportunity to catch up. So here we are pictured just before Christmas, also caught up with him in January.

Quite likely we are related, as we both have family contacts in Yorkshire where our family name originates. His 2 years older than me and we also both did computer science degrees at university, are engineers working on new products in IT/Communications! Visit his blog here:


Giving the bank an ultimatum

The large banks in Australia are nasty, particualy the largest one who I have been with for 14 years. Next week they may find they lose a customer, one which has just entered the workforce and thinks I'll now be happy to pay for their "services".

I'm armed and ready to take on the giant
  • Taken out a fee-free credit card as I am not willing to pay an annual credit card fee.
  • Opened a fee-free bank account with a very large London based bank as I will not pay a monthly fee for the privilage to charge interest on my money and not give it to me.
I'm set and ready to go into my local branch (not the original one, as they closed it) and give the bank an ultimatum:

Remove the fees permanently and I'll stay with them, otherwise I will close both accounts right there on the spot - no questions asked.

What do I have to lose? Very little given the > $100 a year they want to charge me the above facilities.

What does the bank have to lose? Potentially hundreds of dollars of interest over many years from money kept in my accounts, the percentage on each credit card purchase, a potential loan customer.

There are many who are considering the same course of action. The outcome will be interesting, and either way if well pulblisised and actioned upon could change banks view on their customers.

Just as large telcos have had to have a rethink about how they treat customers, hopefully the trend will also come with the banks.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Updated travel blog photos

Just a note that I have added photos (and a few posts) of the missing bits of my trip in December and January.
Click on the December 2005 and January 2006 links on the right to view the posts with photos.