Driving video

March 1, 2007 by  
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I found the link to the weekend motoring section’s racetrack video I talked about last week.

There’s not as much loud engine noise and vision of racing around the track as I would have liked, but you get to see a bit of it. Vision of the full fast lap, with all the sounds that go with that, would have been a pleasurable end to the video.

If you want that fix, check out C’était un Rendezvous, a 1976 film by Claude Lelouch where he fitted a camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive it through the streets of Paris at speeds of up to 200 km/h.

The following YouTube video may not work if it’s been taken down since I posted this. If it’s not available, follow the links below.

Relevant links through which you can also find better resolution versions (like the 32mb one I have on my hard drive):

Jerry Kindall: C’était un Rendezvous
Rendezvousdvd.com
2005 Metafilter post where I first saw the video.
Wikipedia: C’était un Rendezvous

Super Bowl

February 5, 2007 by  
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A 92-yard kick return for a touchdown off the opening kickoff has given the Chicago Bears a dream start against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ve got four hours worth of Super Bowl watching stamina in me.

UPDATE:
Indianapolis Colts won 29-17 against a tired Chicago Bears. I’d heard Chicago’s quarterback, Rex Grossman, described as the worst quarterback ever to play in a Super Bowl. Every time I walked back into the room and saw the Chicago offense, Grossman was either getting sacked, intercepted, fumbling the snap, or tripping over his own feet, so he didn’t make much of an attempt to prove anybody wrong. What amazes me is that Chicago made it to the Super Bowl at all.

Disclosure: living in Australia I have not seen a single NFL game of the 2006/07 season, so Grossman could very well be a better player than I saw today.

Australian Open 07

January 29, 2007 by  
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The Australian Open is over for 2007. The biggest surprise for me was Serena Williams monstering Maria Sharapova on the way to winning her first major title in a while.

Much less of a surprise was Roger Federer’s expected win, taking him to his 10th grand slam title, closing in on Pete Sampras’ record of 12.

Fernando Gonzales played a good final, and had two set points on his own serve in the first set, only to end up losing it in a tie break. Federer took the next two fairly comfortably for the win, but had it not been for so many unforced errors by Gonzales, he could have really had a go at Federer. The way Gonzales played in the last week was phenomenal, but you only rarely saw some of that perfect placement that saw him railroad his last few top-ranked opponents.

Federer won the title having not lost a single set the whole tournament, a feat not achieved in a grand slam tournament since Bjorn Borg 27 years ago. This isn’t exactly going out on a limb, but I’ll say Federer is going to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Based on his playing ability I think he already is the greatest, but he’ll soon officially be the best if you’re only going by record wins and other statistics.

The vagaries of sporting affiliation

January 22, 2007 by  
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The Australian Open Tennis is still continuing, despite no more Australians remaining to take part.

Is this fair? Well, I suspect they would have called the whole event off except for the consideration that we still have one pseudo-Aussie to cheer for.

Kim Clijsters.

But she’s Belgian! Ah yes, but she dated Lleyton Hewitt for a time. I was wondering, seeing Clijsters play, what it was that led Australians to cheer her on.

Australians cheer for little Lleyton because he’s our only hope. Once a World Number One with spirit, he still finds it possible to fight his way out of two wet paper bags but I doubt he’d manage a third. But we urge him on because, despite the fact he may be a bit of toolbox, he’s still an Australian one.

But Kimmy, as I affectionately call her, still maintains Australian support. Why?

“Because she went out with Lleyton Hewitt,” is the obvious answer, but it isn’t mine.

I cheer for Clijsters because she broke up with Hewitt. As Lleyton languishes, and Kimmy conquers, each sublime stroke and volley is salt rubbed in his underachieving wound.

“Oooo, nice shot Kimmy. Who’s on top of their game now? That’s right, you!”

A Week in Paradise

January 22, 2007 by  
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It hasn’t really been Paradise this week, but neither has it been an Inferno.

In fact, it’s been much cooler than an inferno, with our air conditioner finally getting installed! The guy came on Monday, I helped him install it and had cool comfort that night. He came back Tuesday to ‘finish’ the job, but he’s not happy with how it looks. I couldn’t care less, it’s there and it’s working, that’s all I need.

Unfortunately he wants us to pay him. Our lease said the owner would purchase an air conditioner, and we would install it. To us that meant getting my brother-in-law and a friend of his who have installed several air conditioners to do it for free. When the owner’s tradesman/cousin said he would install it I thought that meant, ‘as part of my service to you since it’s almost a quarter of the way through the lease that this air conditioner was supposed to be a part of’.

But no, once we were done, with my help the entire time both days he was here, he’s asking for payment. When I told him we would have otherwise done it ourselves at no cost, he said he’d get back to me, billing some to the owner and some to us “given the rent situation”. Cool.

I started rugby training last Monday night at Norths in Brisbane. I had to eat late since we didn’t finish with the air conditioner until almost 5.30, and so my four years without fitness work paid dividends come sprints at 7.30. That is, my body rejected in protest the small amount of food I had eaten earlier. Wednesday night was a much more relaxed affair, with only some lineout and scrummaging work before a relatively easy 3km run to finish the night. Returning again Thursday night, training wasn’t as bad, but I had to pull over for 15 minutes on the way home because I thought I was about to throw up out the window while I was driving.

So while last week may have been the lower reaches of purgatory, I had expected this week to be a further descent. I’m working Tuesday and Thursday nights from 9pm to 5am, with Thursday’s shift following rugby training. Unfortunately, since training on Monday and Wednesday has been cancelled, Thursday is likely to be brutal.

And why has training been cancelled? Because the club makes more money from the touch football competition than it does from the rugby team. So the rugby team vacates the playing field. A strange scenario if you’re looking to field a well-trained team when the season actually starts.

At least this week is not as was expected: go straight to work till midnight from Monday’s training. Work 9-5am Tuesday night. Go straight to work till midnight from Wednesday’s training. Go straight to work till 5am from Thursday’s training.

It’s yet to be seen how we’ll cope.

Football Theater

January 22, 2007 by  
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In football news, Liverpool got up over Chelsea on the weekend. Take that you overpaid stooges! That brings the Reds to within five points of second-placed Chelsea on the Premier League ladder. Arsenal, one point behind Liverpool, also beat league leaders Manchester United, making for a good weekend of top four action.

In Australia, the Queensland Roar failed to make the finals after drawing 1-1 with Sydney on Saturday night. While finishing fifth isn’t so bad, they really did disappoint this year, outplaying most of their opponents but exercising some kind of fanatical incompetence when presented with an abundance of scoring opportunities. With former Australian head coach Frank Farina at the helm, perhaps they can look forward to some improvement next season.

And in the world of metrosexuality, David Beckham has been lured to play in the United States for $US250 million over five years. The Real Madrid president basically said Beckham was going to the LA Galaxy because nobody else wanted him. I tend to agree. He’s been dropped from the England team and he hasn’t exactly been starring for Real Madrid. He’s going to the US because he’s not the great player he once was. That he can go there to retire on almost $US1 million a week is a better deal than he could have ever hoped to find anywhere else.

Handyman

January 12, 2007 by  
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Blogging has been particular slack to start off the New Year, but that’s because I’ve been keeping myself extremely busy – and away from the computer.

That’s not entirely true, I’ve been on the computer, only without internet access at home. The free student dial-up allocation of 150mb never lasts through the month, but I managed to blow it out of the water in a record-breaking three days this time.

Now I almost feel like I’m caught up on everything I need to do! I’ve enrolled in what should be the last five classes of my university life, which I’ll show at the bottom of the post.

I’ve organised our unit so efficiently that everything – except one rogue filing box – has an allocated spot. It’s a whole new world without obstacles, where every room in the house can be traversed effortlessly. Not a hop, skip or a jump to be seen. I was going to say it was an unnatural environment and that I was out of my comfort zone, but I think it may only be the latter of those statements that is false. It is unnatural, but something I’ve found myself disturbingly comfortable with. The organisation may have whet the appetite of an obsessive compulsive personality lurking within.

As part of that cleanup I borrowed my parent’s vacuum cleaner, the merits of which have been discussed before. My brother managed to break it before moving south at Christmas, but a new belt only set me back $9 and a few minutes to fit it. On returning the vacuum cleaner I also managed to fix my parent’s in-sinkerator with the very technical know-how that is the ‘reset’ button. Need a handyman to do those ridiculously simple jobs around the house? I’m your guy.

We signed a new lease in November last year (previously discussed in detail), the terms of which included getting an air-conditioner and replacing the carpet with an as-yet-undecided alternative. Today, only two months later and after much nagging of the real estate agent, the property owner’s cousin came by to measure for the flooring and the air conditioner. I buttered him up with some plunger coffee and a bit of conversation, and we might even have some AC by next week. Bonus!

Next week I’ll start going to rugby training for the first time in almost four years. I haven’t played rugby because I’ve continually decided against committing myself to training twice a week, but I can’t resist any longer. My body is tired after one night back on night-fill at Coles, so it will be interesting to see how I cope with fitness work, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it. It’s probably a result of my complaining for the last three years that I’d rather be playing rugby, but my wife’s Christmas present to me was Queensland Red’s membership for the both of us this year. With their first game in just three weeks, we’ll be there for all the action. Without the injured Chris Latham they’ll have an even harder time winning than they have in the recent past

That looks like a fairly comprehensive run down of what’s been going on, so that just leaves my list of classes for this year.

The Fleetfooted Emmitt

November 17, 2006 by  
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I’m sure my family, a large part of the Dallas Cowboys fan-base, will be happy to hear that Emmitt Smith has won the US version of Dancing with the Stars.

Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones had this to say:

Although we are all thrilled, we should not be surprised. … If Emmitt Smith is on your team, there is a good chance you are going to win.

Preach it brother. More importantly though, for a man whose quick footwork allowed him to dance around opponents on the field to an all-time rushing record in the NFL, that he would be able to dance a mean rhumba shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Admittedly there may have been as much running over the top of opponents as there was quickstepping around them, but the activity still lends itself to creating a better dancer than Molly Meldrum was in the Australian version.

A-League numbers

November 16, 2006 by  
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The Hyundai A-League, Australia’s top football league – the round ball type – is in its second year, and doing well. Quite apart from the games, which I hear are of a high quality but to my shame I have supported my local team at none of them, the all-important dollar signs have also shown improvement this year.

From the A-League site:

  • Crowd numbers have increased 8.25% (536,976 up to Round 11 compared with 492,716 as the same point of last season)
  • Hyundai A-League club membership numbers are approximately 34,000 in total, an amazing increase of 70%.
  • Broadcast viewer numbers have increased a massive 32.2% at the same round last year.
  • Hyundai A-League merchandise sales have also increased 20%

It’s the incoming money and public interest that will keep the league going, and lead to better quality coaching staff and players being attracted here, not the other way around I think. So hopefully people keep choosing to spend some of their disposable income on football.

Things aren’t Kewell

November 4, 2006 by  
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This is an old link I saved to my drafts, and just thought I’d put it out there. Despite his chronic injuries, and the news that he could be out of action for at least another four months, not many people are willing to suggest that Harry Kewell’s value is dropping.

Based on this story, I would be surprised if Kewell plays for Liverpool again. They would have to really want to keep him since he’s been out for so long. I predict a move, maybe even in the next tansfer window.

Don’t forget to vote for the next US President, either in the post below, or in the sidebar on the right!

Journalism Sources

September 29, 2006 by  
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You may remember hearing about BALCO in the news a few months ago. Then, you may have heard about the news, in the news, about BALCO, in the last week.

Confused?

BALCO was involved in a drugs-in-sport scandal where a large number of professional athletes were alleged to be involved in the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The two journalists who investigated and broke the story eventually published a book about it.

The baseball player/s (and other sportspeople) who continue to hit harder, throw faster and recover quicker? Playing for millions, no sanctions, role models for all the kids out there who see what it takes to make it to the top.

The journalists who broke the story? 18 months jail time for not revealing their sources.

For more information about the BALCO decision in the US:

Lost RemoteEditorial: Demand the shield law NOW

Lost RemoteBush administration opposes federal journalist shield law

Romenesko – Points to this article and says, Watchdog journalism won’t die if BALCO newsmen jailed.

BALCO – at Wikipedia

Lucas

August 31, 2006 by  
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Good news, Liverpool fans! Lucas Neill is rumoured to be heading to Liverpool. As potentially the best defender (scientifically proven) at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Liverpool could be getting him for the bargain basement price of £2million. Neill’s club, Blackburn, have rejected the initial offer from Liverpool, who will have to pay more if they want him before the transfer window closes in the next 24 hours or so.

In other soccer-related news, our team drew 0-0 on the weekend. To go through to the finals we had to equal or better the sixth-placed team’s result on Saturday. We found out early in the week that they won their match, taking fifth spot and the finals berth. That sucked.

Yet more soccer news. Three of us from the team banded together for 24 tickets to the upcoming Australia v Paraguay friendly in October. It should be a good night, with European-based Socceroos said to be returning for the match.

Last Match

August 24, 2006 by  
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Why does getting into the finals series have to depend on the result of our last game of the regular season? Our division runs a five-team finals series. We’re currently in fifth position. The team in sixth is one point behind us.

This weekend we play the third placed team who have won by large margins recently, while our challengers for fifth spot play the team in second position. Our goal difference is exactly the same at the moment, so it’s an important game!

On another note, I’m wondering if I’ve got a hairline fracture on a rib. It hadn’t been feeling too bad until I smashed into someone again last weekend. Then it hurt to run.

As my very young nephew repeats if he gets a knock, “I’m tough… I’m tough!”

Go hard or go home, yeah?

The good news is that, pretty much for the first time since our nine-game winning streak at the start of the season ended, we should have our full team back together this weekend. Let the good times roll.

Visit

August 21, 2006 by  
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I get some basic page-visit stats emailed to me from etracker every week from both my old Blogger page and this one. When my active blog (this one) gets the same number of visits in seven days as a blog I closed down 10 months ago, things are looking grim.

I’m trying to get stuck into Suras 2, 5, 29, 81, 82, 93, 96 and 99 of the Qur’an/Koran today before my 3pm tutorial – it’s a hard slog.

We drew our must-win soccer match last Wednesday, and then lost 3-0 on Saturday, although playing with only 10 men for the whole game we played pretty well until letting in two late goals. Three games in seven days really was a bit much, and I’ve been absolutely knackered.

We’ve finally booked in with our photographer to get our wedding album put together, only eight months later!

Perhaps a longer post before the end of the week.

Cinq

August 15, 2006 by  
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It’s Ekka Holiday tomorrow in Brisbane, otherwise known as the Royal Exhibition. Kate and I are off to the coast right now to see my new niece. My sister-in-law had baby number five on Sunday, Gemma.

I’m coming back tomorrow for our must-win rescheduled soccer game. With only three games left in the season we may not make the finals. Shock!

To keep you all occupied until such time as we meet again, here is a little online game that was sent to me after the World Cup final. I put together a big long post about Zidane’s sending off for a headbutt, but never bothered finishing it. This link was down for a while because of huge traffic, but it’s up again now.

You’re Zidane, see how many Materazzi’s you can headbutt before being shown the red card.

Play here.

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