Less is More

July 29, 2006 by  
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Bren mentioned that he didn’t read my posts when I used the read more links.

I asked why not, and considered focusing on the post intro to make people think, “Actually, yes I do want to read more!”

I was going to conduct a poll asking what other people thought of the use of read more links, but then realised 50% of the vote was already in.

I didn’t think my wife really read the comments, but she told me last night she agreed with Bren – she never reads more.

This shocking revelation has led to the immediate canning of the read more feature.


July 28, 2006 by  
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Well, I’ve finally signed up for all five of the classes I’m taking this semester.

They are:

  • HIST2400 – Medieval Civilisation: The Foundations
  • HIST2401 – Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages
  • COMU1002 – Crossing Bridges: Communicating between Cultures
  • COMU3223 – Mass Media and Society
  • POLS2510 – International Peacekeeping

I’ve also already chosen my classes for first semester next year, but that’s for next year.
For my International Relations (POLS) subjects, there was really a lot of choice on offer this semester.
POLS2207 – Terrorism and Insurgency in World Politics
POLS2209 – Conflict in the International System
POLS2501 – Human Rights and International Politics
and POLS2510.

Some may wonder why I chose what I did. POLS2209 won out over 2207 because it was studying wider than just terrorism and insurgency, but still covered the topics in looking at international security.

POLS2510 won out over 2501 because, to be honest, human rights pretty much always come second to state interests, and so it’s almost a waste of time. The course description also said it was to look at the theory and practice of human rights in world politics, and the strengths and weaknesses in enforcing norms. It’s pretty much all weaknesses.

In the end, POLS2510 won hands-down because, while the first half of the semester will look at the “history and development of peacekeeping”, the second half looks at “the use of force, post-conflict reconstruction, civil-military cooperation, and the role of warlords, mercenaries and private companies in contemporary war zones”.

That’s interesting. Those are the actors and dynamics of localised conflict management. Peacekeeping or no, the second half of the semester is likely going to make that the most interesting subject of the bunch.

In those five subjects, there are a total of 17,700 words to be written by the end of October. I’ve had to assume the standard 2500-words for a couple of the essays, since they’re not specified in the course outlines, but it’s about accurate.

Given the time it has taken me, and the number of words in this post, a direct correlation would mean 31 hours to write everything for my university studies this semester. Doesn’t sound too bad, but of course it’s not a direct correlation. It doesn’t take into account the fact I didn’t have to research or reference this post.

Kosovo, Milosevic and Israel

July 28, 2006 by  
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Blonde at Heart asked me some more questions in a comment. Since it was such a long answer, it’s almost post-worthy. At least link-worthy.

These were the questions:

I started reading about the war in Kosovo, and since you seem keen on teh subject, I have five questions you may answer or point me to useful sources:

  1. How come Milosovic gained so much power?
  2. Why Roguva did not participated in the talks on March 5 (after the atrocities)?
  3. What is the role of the KLA in this mess?
  4. Where the Jihadists come in?
  5. What is essentially the difference between the NATO air campaign and Israel’s? (Because it can be said NATO did it on behalf of the Albanians, not?)

These are my answers.

Good work if you can get it

July 28, 2006 by  
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After a recent listing of the top earners in journalism, Kate keeps telling me I’ve chosen the right profession.

If your job description can include: “earns $600,000 a year and rarely comes into the office”, you wouldn’t be complaining, would you? According to
NEWS.com.au, that’s what Jana Wendt is on at Sunday, and is the reason she might be on the way out.

That said, Jessica Rowe was supposed to go as well – oh the media rumuors we weave.

Nine’s got to do something though – they’re flailing in the water while Seven is starting to look like Grant Hackett at the 1200m mark, pulling away.

Grant Hackett is/was the Australian swim team captain and 1500m world record holder. He was injured and not swimming, so signed by Seven as an exclusive reporter for the Commonwealth Games, which Nine was broadcasting and held the rights to. Hackett was subsequently banned from poolside by Nine, who feared he would get all the interviews with Australian swimmers who had just won every single pool event.


July 26, 2006 by  
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I’ve updated my main page and the What’s This? page under Feeds in the sidebar. That page tries to explain a little about what a web feed is and how you can use it.

Yes, it’s an update within an update. The What’s This? page has been updated again. I realised I left out a step in getting a web feed into a feed reader.

Big Wheels

July 26, 2006 by  
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“Looking for a job in the city
Working for the man every night and day”

Well, this is to let you all know the great news. The big wheels have indeed kept on turning – they’ve floated across the river to the West End from the city, and working for the woman more than for the man, but Kate has a new job!

She had an interview on Monday, got the call Tuesday, and she’s the new full-time social worker advocate at a domestic violence service! But the news gets better than that – on telling her she had the job, it was also mentioned that they had been talking for several months about getting a solicitor to work at the service as well.

So the doubly great news is that they want Kate to be that solicitor, although she’ll be working at the job she applied for, as a social worker, until they get funding for a solicitor’s position. The amazing thing is that this specific agency is exactly where Kate has wanted to work since studying law. She went back to university to do a social work degree after working for a year in property and planning law, and has at times felt like the social work was a waste of two years – not only in time but in earnings. There’s a big gulf between a lawyer’s and a student’s earnings, and someone who has made the step down is more keenly aware of what has been given up. Naturally, you question if you’ve made the right choices.

But now, amazingly, her social work degree and her application for a social worker position are the exact things that have given her the opportunity to be a lawyer in the field she wants. Simply the job as a social worker in domestic violence is an answer to sometimes impatient and frustrated prayer over the last eight months. The opportunity to practice law in the same field is, in church-speak, an overabundance of blessing.

She doesn’t know exactly when she’ll start yet, but this is better news than we could have imagined.

The title of the post and first lines are from the Nutbush.

Making online work

July 25, 2006 by  
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Lost Remote has linked to a NY Times article about former journalists actually making money with an online presence through advertising.

One of the journalists in the article makes an interesting point that journalists are to some extent arrogant about being above advertising, and have a hard time making a distinction between editorial and advertising.

Sure, ad dollars are what makes most media profitable, but you do still need to keep that distinction between editorial and advertising to remain credible.

Nonetheless, you can’t make advertising money unless you’ve got big numbers visiting your site.

I’m making you follow the link to Lost Remote if you want to go to the article, since I stole the post from them. They NY Times story requires registration to read, but if you’re using the Firefox web browser and have the BugMeNot extension installed, you can read it without registering.


July 25, 2006 by  
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A crime reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald pulled a gun on another journalist.

At least he can claim he was the first one on the scene.

Crikey has some other details.


July 24, 2006 by  
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Mine? Ha, I wish. Graduation sometimes seems like Shangri-La, or an academic Valhalla – two mythical places, the latter only reached if slain in the throes of study.

Kate and I trekked over to UQ to congratulate Milton, Grace and Dan on their graduation ceremony day. Unfortunately Milton had already returned his gown and left, but Dan and Grace were still waiting to go into their ceremony at 6pm.

These three have been my closest university friends over the last three-and-a-half years. I’ll miss you Milton and Grace, but I promise we’ll see you in Singapore sometime! Dan will be half a world away, in Beaudesert, so I’ll probably see him less.


This is the only photo I took. It is of the back of Dan Tang’s head. Although you wouldn’t necessarily have known that. He’s a hairy fellow. There were other photos, and hopefully Dan or Grace will post them soon. Whose camera was that, anyway?

I hope you enjoyed your time with your dad, Grace.

And Milton – big, big congratulations on your Masters!

Hello, Mother

July 24, 2006 by  
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In perhaps the most disturbing blog post I have had to yet compose, but far and away the most humbling because I know family will read this, I am becoming my mother.

Our bible study group was on supper at church tonight, and since Kate was leading the service and left at 3.30pm, I stayed at home baking a cake to bring later. Now, despite the apparent evidence just presented, this is not how I am becoming my mother. Besides, it was an ‘instant’ cake – all I had to do was mix some butter, eggs and water in with the powder and then stick it in the oven. Repeat procedure for the icing and you’re done.

As an aside, I really hope it wasn’t terrible because anyone would have thought Kate made it and thought less of her cooking abilities. Just between you and I, she’s a brilliant cook and looked upon the instant cake with disdain. It just happened to be a marketing gimmick that came for free with the plastic cake holder we bought two weeks ago.

I’ve wandered, but not too far from the story I’m telling, as you’ll soon see.

On returning home I looked at the large array of dirty dishes and cookware around the sink and thought about how I would tackle the problem. A man’s brain sees problems in need of a solution. I just thought I should point that out. Despite having finished baking an instant cake no more than four hours earlier, I was still thinking like a man.

Things needed to be organised. Put in their place. Fitted. You see, a large mound of dishes is much less daunting when it’s tidy before you start washing things. On the stovetop there was a stack of plates on the right burner, the wok from lunch straddled the two back burners, the sink was full to overflowing with cooking bowls and utensils – and every inch of counter space betwixt the two was taken.

The only free space in this menagerie was the left burner on the stovetop.

It was here that I placed our new cake holder that had this very evening experienced for the first time the fullness of its purpose – to hold cakes.

My family will no doubt at this point be laughing with glee, knowing what invariably comes next.

melted cake holder

I turned to attend to other things and smelt that acrid stench of melting plastic. Yes, after melting the 1 ½ tablespoons of butter with 1 ½ tablespoons of milk, the front-left burner remained on for three hours while out of the house.

The picture is of the distraught cake-holder, the offending burner, and the wine I used to soothe my ego as I wrote this post.

My much-maligned mother has been the butt of many a joke over the years for the melted pots, pans and plastic that have been the result of occasions such as this. I must unjustifiably apologise to her. And to those who will now ridicule me, can I help what I have become? I think not.


July 24, 2006 by  
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That’s really annoying.

I somehow managed to delete the bottom half of my ‘sidebar.php’ file, which meant my webpage for a brief amount of time looked like this.

deleted sidebar

I’m an idiot, but have managed to restore it somewhat from backup – minus a few links, and plus a few other things that haven’t been there for a while.


July 21, 2006 by  
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In keeping people up to date – apparently it is valuable information for people to know how I’m doing in life – this is how I did at university in first semester.

JOUR3802 – Newsroom Operations – 6
JOUR2221 – International Journalism – 7
FREN3010 – Advanced Intermediate French A – W

As mentioned before, in the Newsroom Operations course “I missed out on a 7 by 3%. I lost 10% of my overall grade (91%) by handing in the two assignments late, but had I handed them in on time I wouldn’t have got the grades I did”. In International Journalism we got 48/50 in the group assignment and then a minimum of 37/50 in the final exam to get that 7.

In a sometimes frustrating but never-ending attempt at self-deprecation, I will prove that posting these marks is not an attempt to garner praise by providing the following comments:
W is for withdrawn without academic penalty, or, ran for dem dar hills before failing miserably.
In second semester last year I received a 2 (fail), two 4s, and a 5. Both 4s were borderline passes thanks to the consideration of two long-suffering lecturers.

And so, armed with a semester GPA of 6.5, I boldly stride forward to drop French, pick up European Studies and take on five subjects this semester! Blow the bugle Tom, we ride out on Monday.


July 21, 2006 by  
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To follow up the post about our mysterious trophy win last season, I thought I’d mention a little more about our team, and of course me.

We started the season with seven straight wins and I think you could say we felt invincible. Admittedly we’ve lost a few key players to injury, but our run since those wins hasn’t been so good. I think we’ve had three losses and two draws, and conceded 14 goals in three games, 16 goals in total.

We stand fifth out of eight, so we were doing quite well before our fall from grace. Last week I didn’t play and we drew 1-1 with the third-placed team on the ladder. There’s a valid argument that my absence may have been the factor, since as sweeper I’m supposed to organise our defence. 14 goals in three games is proof of a distinct lack of organisation.

In my defence – no pun intended – the week we lost 6-0 I didn’t see any of the goals. Thinking the game was at 3pm, I received a call from the boys at 12.55 asking if I’d be there in time for a 1pm kickoff. Obviously not, seeing as the game was 30 minutes away. Arriving at 1.30pm and running straight onto the field, I was informed we were already down six goals to none. Apparently we started with nine – my arrival made the full 11. We may not have put any in, but I’m sure the other team were expecting a cricket score after their six in less than 30 minutes.

To be fair, I didn’t do much defending. I damaged my hamstring about 5 minutes into the second half and didn’t do much else apart from stand and deliver a few balls – I was running nowhere.

This weekend provides an opportunity to move up a spot, possibly two, as we play the fourth ranked side who are only one point ahead of us on the ladder.


July 19, 2006 by  
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I play in a soccer team for our church, in a church league. Last year we were playing in the top division of the league. I can’t remember right now how we finished the season. Okay, I can remember it was in the bottom half of the table. It wasn’t a great year, we didn’t win any awards – or so we thought.

Seeing something about soccer on the cover of The QB (June 2006 issue), the bi-monthly magazine put out by the Queensland Baptist Services Group, I picked it up and flipped through. They put together three pages on the church leage, what with the World Cup on and all – and our team got a mention, on page 10. Let me quote:

“Winning a Grand Final is a great achievement for any team and undoubtedly the aim of many; but in the QBSA, teams play for another title considered even more important. The greatest commendation a side can receive is to be awarded the Steve Medlin Trophy. Each year, one team from across all divisions is recognised in this way as the team that best exemplifies the fair conduct and Christ-centred lifestyle which should typify such a Christian competition. The current holder of the Steve Medlin Trophy is Ashgrove Baptist.”

It’s great to hear our team were given that sort of recognition, but seeing that paragraph in The QB was the first any of us knew of this ‘greatest commendation’, let alone that it was another title we could have possibly been playing for. Not being in the first division this year (due to combining the church’s two teams, not being relegated, I would like to point out), we probably won’t get the same recognition, but I hope we continue to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the award.


July 19, 2006 by  
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On Monday nights Kate is usually working till 10, me till midnight, so I tape four hours of TV on Channel 7 to cover the both of us. It’s all good, but I generally only watch the last two hours – Boston Legal, Scrubs and Arrested Development – but have had the first two hours – Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy – playing in the background this morning.
It’s a show I’ve only watched once before, but to set the scene, it’s Christmas on Grey’s Anatomy.

“Why would you still want to help me after what I did to you?”
“Because, it’s what Jesus would FREAKING do!”

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