The Best Line from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Seems Douglas Adams knew it was a dumb idea long before Donald Trump thought it was a good idea.

This is one of the most impressive quotes from a book my generation grew up on:

“It is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

That’s all that needs to be said.

Never Give Up

Dig Yourself Out The title is not misleading, it’s a serious moral to this story.

At about 8am this morning I flicked on the radio – right as they were doing a 10 question competition.

Simply put, the caller was told to provide the correct answer to questions about Australia to win a small cash prize.

Of the ten questions, she amazingly said ‘Pass‘ to SEVEN of them! SEVEN!

I was answering them also. On those few I didn’t know, I took a guess. Can you guess why I guessed? (Oh, that is a leading question!)

When you pay nothing to be a contender and the reward is minuscule, guessing is not going to matter. If anything, your first guess is based on intuition. Sometimes the right answer is sitting in the back of your mind – and you don’t even know it – so take a guess!

  • Every time my four year old boy guesses where he hid something, he is right. Now that might be a bad example – he usually knows exactly where he hid something. .
  • Every time your co-worker, boss, or friend says “I guess we could do this…” or “I guess we could eat there….”
    — Tell them to stop. Teach them say “I am going to…” or “I have gone through all the options and now I am going to…” or, better yet, “Let’s discuss this.”.

Knee Brace for my Dislocated Knee Never give up because you might be wrong, nor give half-hearted answers because you are unsure, and never say ‘Pass’ because you may not know – take a guess, but don’t admit it. It won’t kill you to be wrong occasionally. Unless you are tax-accountant.

Oh, I can already hear one of my twitter or my Facebook followers saying “In <this situation>, guessing would be very wrong!” Please leave a comment below or on social media explaining why. The lines are open to discussion.

Cheers, Have a good Wednesday!

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Leave Well Enough Alone

​This morning I posted a story on Facebook that I found buried on a friend’s timeline. I found it funny enough to republish on my timeline.

Cattle Guards

For those of you who have never traveled to the US South West, cattle guards are horizontal steel rails placed at fence openings, in dug-out places in the roads adjacent to highways (sometimes across highways), to prevent cattle from crossing over that area. For some reason the cattle will not step on the “guards,” probably because they fear getting their feet caught between the rails.

A few months ago, President Obama received and was reading a report that there were over 100,000 cattle guards in Colorado.

The Colorado ranchers had protested his proposed changes in grazing policies, so he ordered the Secretary of the Interior to fire half of the “cattle” guards immediately!

Before the Secretary of the Interior could respond and presumably try to straighten President Obama out on the matter, Vice-President Joe Biden, intervened with a request that “before any ‘cattle’ guards were fired, they be given six months of retraining.”

“Times are hard,” said Joe Biden, “it’s only fair to the cattle guards and their families be given six months of retraining!”

Like most stories posted to the internet, someone checked on snopes.com to determine if it true or not. Turns out it is fake!

Actually, I have a word to say about snopes: They take their unofficial job way too seriously. 
Many stories were written, I presume, purely as humor, as anecdote to tell at a large gathering to break the ice or to amuse the dignatories. 

No doubt people retold them, each time changing details to suit their audience.
Not all stories are written based on truth.

I sometimes wish they could leave amusing anecdotes alone, as legends, and as humor worth repeating.

Some jokes should remain jokes, and not become a snopes investigation.

What are your thoughts?

8 Habits Holding Me Back From Being a Successful Father

Forest Do you have what it takes to be a Successful Father? Do you know what that means?

Being a great dad isn’t bringing in the big dollars, it’s bonding with your kids – and learning from each other. That’s been my experience.

As I write this article my 4yo and 2yo sons are trashing the lounge room. It’s barely enough space for our family of four, so I have to let them. Each night we do the ‘clean the house’ lesson.

Most of us, including me, have habits that sometimes get in the way of the way we treat our children. When we don’t remove or edit these habits, being a Father stays elusive – even though you may not realise it.

Over the last four years of being a Dad I have discovered these habits have sometimes held me back. Maybe you will find yourself among them.

Remember, this is just an opinion, maybe you think otherwise. If you do, please leave a comment either below or Twitter!


1. Trying to Sleep In

Anyone who has kids knows sleeping past 7.00am is near impossible. In some households children arise from their slumber around 5.30am.

I use to think that 7.00am is far too early to be getting out of bed – but I have since discovered it is a blessing. When I moved my office back into the house (and dismantled my man-cave), I discovered playing with my children was more fun! Whilst they played around my feet, I found new topics for blogging quicker and with more humor. Both boys now supply enough for their own blog!

Yet I understand that not everyone enjoys mornings. Morning people are full of zippidydoodaa, which can be really annoying for those that just want a few extra milliseconds of REM sleep. I understand that, I remember those times. But I found a new way to get extra sleep – and it costs nothing.

If you have children under three years old, they are probably having midday sleeps. This is a great time to get 30-60 minutes of sleep. Whilst many believe you should be cleaning, vacuuming or picking up toys – what’s the point if the kids are only going to trash it again when they wake up? Okay, I don’t follow that logic. I am a cleaner. I tidy. I pick up toys. It is worth it for piece of mind. But when I need a few moments sleep, I use time where I don’t need to interact with our boys.

Great dads are known for waking up early with their children, sometimes before their kids, so they can start writing articles, editing photographs, responding to emails, and finding paid work to pay for more toys – all without sacrificing either their sanity or family-time!

Conversations with my Two Sons

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2. Unhealthy Mind, Unhealthy Child

When our attitude sucks, our kid’s attitude will too. Ever notice that when you don’t feel like doing anything, nor do your kids? Keep smiling, keep going, and do more than you can – and your kids will copy you. Well, not all the time. But they will want to be more like their father.

My four-year-old son spends a lot of time trying either to be like his mother or myself. It is rarely not funny – because he is so cute.


Educational Book

3. Not Reading

Great dads invest time and effort to ensure their kid’s imagination are fed with either fictional or real knowledge, keeping up with the Aliens in Underpants series, plus learning from inspirational stories

Smart dads invest effort and time appropriately, expanding their child’s knowledge of the world around them.

As JK Rowling said “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” The books we choose our kids to read helps them see so many perspectives, opens their minds to so many new ideas, and allows our imagination to see things that may never be – and that is important. Innovation is not only born from necessity, but from kids who can imagine it.


4. Relying on One Toy

When your child is restricted to only one brand or toy-type, they are less likely to learn how to put square pegs into round holes. When multiple options are at their disposal, kids are more likely to play games never invented, talk (if only in their minds) through the possibilities, and then act on them. Don’t give kids restrictions that stop their learning and imagination.


strawberry in hand

5. Spending Carelessly

Ninty-five percent of the toys you buy for kids were used for five minutes. I don’t need to ask anyone or research this one: Most parents will know this to be a truth. Consequently, special celebrations are wasted, and your children never know what surprise really means.

Stop buying stuff every day, especially when used to bribe kids to get into the car to go food shopping. Make the food the reward – and I don’t mean sweets! Kids who recgonise the taste of vegetables and fruit will learn faster and stay smarter.

Not saving will put you and your kids into long-term poverty – with no easy way to escape the cycle!


6. Watching too much Television

Whilst TV has its place in the home, making it the centre of attention is dangerous. Again without research, but based purely on observation – kid’s minds seem to stagnate and absorb very little information when seated in front of the television for long periods.

That said, if your children are going to spend any amount of time in front of the TV, make sure it is educational. In Australia, ABCKids is our preference. From Tree Fu Tom to Peter Rabbit, almost every nightly program before bed teaches the kids some morals and scruples, and helps to reinforce what parents teach during the day.

As a parent though, television is an escape from the hassles of the day. So I focus on documentaries and epic movies so I get some brain stimulation.


seat

7. Staying in your Comfort Zone

As a Dad myself, I totally get it. Some nights we just want to chillax into the lounge, flick on the idiot box, and veg out for the night. But a life spent sitting is a life without success.

Unless you are a work-at-home dad – but walking occasionally helps the mind to stay active. It’s a habit that has worked well for every father since the beginning of time!

So take your kids for walks in the park or the yard, and introduce them to everything that interests them. They will become better people for the experience and knowledge.


8. Not saying “I Don’t Know”.

Your kids don’t know everything, despite what they tell you. And nor do you. Keep asking your kids questions – it will enlighten both of you. Your kids somehow expand their vocabulary, and you learn what they do and don’t know. When both a child and their father knows when to say “I don’t know” is good for everyone.

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Ten Replacements for Power Transmission Towers

As most of the world knows by now, Adelaide endured its worst wind storms in 70 years. The power went out for the whole state late afternoon on Wednesday 28th September 2016. Many families were driven to talking to each other rather than their phones as the power slowly dwindled. Thankfully the power came back on, for most, around 7.30pm that night, so were able to recharge their left hands, oops, I mean their smartphones.

The next morning it was discovered that 12-22 transmission towers were violently pushed over by the tornado-strong winds across the state.

So I have taken a bit of time this morning to find some alternatives – both above and below ground – to remedy this issue:

Before we get started, I must admit that I found a site dedicated to the design of better pylons . That has to be a good thing, right? Well, almost. In this day and age, electrical can be buried under ground with minimal impact – because the government can repo’ the section of land, or else only enable shallow tilling and minimal impact. But that would make sense, so you don’t see much of that happening. OK, that was just my opinion. Here are the options:

Solar-Powered Gates 1. German site RheinEnergie have a picture of a DNA-looking pylon. This looks a tad too fancy for South Australia. But their website looks awesome!

2. The SternMast , also from Germany, is a winner of a European award. It reminds of the massive white windmills we have, so this design could fit into the already steel-column-cluttered environment.

3. This power-transmission looks like a Dubai-sail blowing across the canola-filled fields. It is an awesome design, yet again I feel our government would not see how this would improve the appearance of our country side plus giving tourism a massive boost. If giant architectural anomolies can work in the Middle East, surely we can emulate the same ostentatious style in Australia!

Nine Solar Flowers 4. By the M5 motorway in Újhartyán, Hungary is a clown-shaped power pole installed by the Hungarian electricity company MAVIR. Because nothing is scarier than clowns carrying thousands of volts of electricity. Yet it is clowns who think power poles should be flimsy enough to be blown over in 120klmph winds!

5, 6, 7, 8. I could have put more options here, but they would detract from the point here. I could easily have mentioned Colossus in Buenos Aires, Argentina , Australian Pole Specifications , increased power outages , and god forbid I mentioned someone has down a power-line failure analysis. Oh and the Tesla Power Wall.

9. Of course we could actually get rid of power transmission towers and go with WIND FARMS! Personally it makes much better sense. They could be sized according to the suburb location (hills or plains) and demographic choices (some people think they are eye-sores), but in actual fact they are the simplest way to power an entire metropolitan area with only a few of them.

Extract from quote on CleanEnergyCouncil.org.au :
Australia had 1866 wind turbines spread across 71 wind farms at the end of 2014. Three wind farms with a combined power generation capacity of 566.7 megawatts (MW) were completed in 2014.

10. Last is my absolute favorite: Off the Grid Solar Power . Because when all else fails, be prepared. This time next year, that’s what we will have!

Light on a Wall Extra: Turns out Japan is considering removing ALL overhead power-lines in preparation for the 2020 Olympic games . That is smart. Really smart. Why doesn’t Australia do the same thing for when Japanese tourists visit our country and ask “Why you still do this?”

Extra 2: A truly smart idea: Adding wind-farms to preexisting power transmission towers . Who woulda’ thunk? Not our current prime minister.

That’s enough. Point made. I hope.

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Throw in the Towels, The State is Rain-Soaked!

Turn Hard Left There was a massive storm over South Australia this afternoon. The morning was blue skies, but we watched clouds travel across the sky throughout the day.

I’ve always wanted to sit and watch a storm, so I turned our round lounge around, got it facing the front windows – then invited both my young sons to sit with me to watch the lightning and rain-storm hit.

It did hit hard, and all three of us boys watched lightning and thunder, cuddling when it was a frightening, then tickling the tears away.

Finally the power went out around 4pm. Didn’t know for about 30mins that the entire state of South Australia also lost power!

Weirdest thing to ever happen. So we lit every available candle, cooked dinner on our gas stove, read books to the boys by candle light and put them to bed. Actually, there was a lot more to it than that. If you are connected to me on Facebook, you know what else happened.

Anyhow, after the power came back on at 7.30pm for us, everyone in South Australia went straight to Twitter and Facebook to determine the outcome, express their opinions, and tell the classic joke that there will be a baby boom in June 2017!

[SEGUE] I have a varied group of online friends, in many works-of-life. Some are radio personalities, others are house-keepers (I don’t say house-wives, nobody is married to their house!), and a few are poets and writers.

My good friend Martin Christmas wrote a poem about his experience this afternoon with the weather, so I felt the urge to write a poem also. This poem took about 30mins once I realised the direction I was taking it.

Anyhow, they are just words. But they are mine.

poetry in progress
WINDED

Never to be outdone,
Mother nature
threw us another
bucket of tears
all over the state
of South Australia.

With a wild
back-hander,
she hit us hard
where it hurt:
She wiped out
our power and heat,
she blackened our eyes
with candle light,
and for many,
she repelled all
online connectivity.

Mum decided
when enough was enough:
Her knuckles barely wet,
she abated momentarily
before resuming
her barrage,
blowing trees around,
driving my wheelie bins
down the street,
filling the gutters with spent leaves.

This pummeling may not end
before morning,
the torrential tornado
may find new strength
in the night.

So sandbag your castles,
nail batons over doors,
Let not the glass door
be broken,
and find strength in the
knowledge that
this too shall pass.

My Best 10 Browser Bookmarks for March 2016

Every so often I like to list all the ‘WWW Finds’ I have collected in my browser. Here are my March 2016 bookmarks…

20160311_1143071. First let’s listen to music while we go through them all. Open this, then another tab… Sean is definitely his father’s son.

2. If you have been involved with web-design since the 1990’s, you will know Molly. You might even know here story. Well, she is back. Molly doesn’t let anything stop her.

3. I have used many unusual symbols and characters from here to appropriately populate my website with symbols so that both javascript and other scripts validate properly. It’s a thing I do. So should any web site creator.

4. This is one of the coolest (or is that koolest?) programs any artist can use. I was using it a few years back for stitching panoramas. Now I see it can also be used for straightening architecture – so I may resume using it again.

5. Ever wondered what a reasonable rate you should charge for your work? I remember those days. Who am I kidding? There are still days where establishing an appropriate fee is difficult, because some clients have little to no budget available. But it isn’t about those clients : It’s about establishing your value based on all factors involved – i.e. location, tools, rush-fee, and more. Check this out, it’s worth the read.

6. When a page starts with “Jedi Religion is a very non-dogmatic, non-organized religion. As such, there are few if any rules that can be expected to be followed by all believers“, you know it’s going to get super-loopy the more you read. Yet, for us die-hard star wars fanatics, this is important. Just don’t take it too seriously. Hey, my imaginary figure is as real as yours!

Old Camera 7.Have a Canon camera? Think it doesn’t have enough confusing features already? Then get some more. Aha, this is gonna confuse the heck out of you within seconds of downloading. I am so glad I hesitated.

8. Everyone wants to make movies these days, particularly to put on Youtube. It’s only free with Windows Movie Maker. Sure, it is limited, but pictures of cats and children don’t need much post-production.

9. This less-than-helpful-video makes me laugh each time I see it. Because it happened at our wedding, and I know it happens at other weddings. Thankfully never (at least to my knowledge) at the few weddings I have photographed.

10. Once you get hookedb, you may never exkcape. Only a power failure will do it.


And that is all. See you next month for another list.