Friday, September 27, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Noooooooooo! Eating McDonald's in Singapore

Now, don't get me wrong. I live Maccas. To a fault. But when im in remote locations I hate defaulting to McDonalds. Legend has it that the global success of Maccas is due to nervous westerners who go to exotic locations and dont wish to be - well - too exotic.

I suspect that's bullshit. The Maccas here in Liang Court, Singapore,  is full of local.  As it wad in Bordeaux,  France and Hong Kong and everywhere else. I think McDonalds just know how to deliver the best mix of standardisation and adaptated product.

But I may have to relent. I love the look of the Samurai Burger. Mmm, burger.

My "beer related" story on sampling.

Teaching "sampling" here in a market research course in Singapore. Why don't we run a census? First it costs too much. Second if you need to destroy what it is you're testing, youve got nothing left to sell.

Take a look at these Guiness cans. It would make sense to test these for bacterial infection before thsy get sent out of the plant. How? Open a can and run a bug test. So, how many cans to open so we can be confident in our result and sell the rest?
It was questions like these that led to the (very recent) discipline of inferential statistics.

Mmmmm. Guinness.

Pink: Cuz I can

I love her. I was having a dinner last night and this song happened across my playlist.

As an "in your face" hedonistic scream it's just great. Why can't a woman be as tear ass as a man? I think this was off a breakup.

But it's alright, I don't give a damn,
I don't play your rules I make my own.
Tonight, I do what I want,
Cuz I can...

Good on her. We might not get along if we met, but I have plenty of people that I like certain things about and leave it there.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A conservative senate: dithering voters you got what you asked for

A month or so before the election I stated that the enemy of a strong Australia was not either of the major parties, but indecision. I urged voters to be positive in their decisions, both in the lower house and in the senate. I said "Australia Decides: Let's hope so" - and through its dithering, Australia did decide. I just don't think it knew what it was doing.

This "vote splitting" that Australians are so fond of has delivered a conservative senate come July. By dithering over our votes in the senate, complicated preference deals have delivered an interesting bloc of votes in our upper house - a bloc that is likely to favour Tony Abbott.

AN "informal" voting bloc of conservative senators may be in place next July, with Family First's likely senator-elect saying the new batch of micro- and minor-party politicians share the same views on a lot of policies.
Family First chairman Bob Day, ranked fifth of six South Australian Senate candidates with less than 10 per cent of the vote left to count, also said he would oppose Tony Abbott's direct action plan and cause headaches for the passage of his paid parental leave scheme if he becomes a senator.
He said yesterday he was impressed by other likely senators from the Australian Sports Party, the Motoring Enthusiast Party, Palmer United Party and the Liberal Democratic Party.
If elected, he said, they would probably vote the same way and support most Coalition policies. "When you get representatives of everyday Australians, like the motorists' guy and the sports guy and the LDP guy and (Clive) Palmer - these all seem like sensible, everyday kind of Australians who are conservative."
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/abbotts-friend-vows-some-fights/story-fn59niix-1226724745371#sthash.B9lD74ms.UzoOrc1U.dpuf
AN “informal” voting bloc of conservative senators may be in place next July, with Family First’s likely senator-elect saying the new batch of micro- and minor-party politicians share the same views on a lot of policies. 

Family First chairman Bob Day, ranked fifth of six South Australian Senate candidates with less than 10 per cent of the vote left to count, ... said yesterday he was impressed by other likely senators from the Australian Sports Party, the Motoring Enthusiast Party, Palmer United Party and the Liberal Democratic Party.

If elected, he said, they would probably vote the same way and support most Coalition policies. “....[These] all seem like sensible, everyday kind of Australians who are conservative.” 

 
We can't call this a conservative plot - randomness and small party gaming made it happen. But in all, Aussie voters chose this. The list of voting approaches from most sensible to dumbest was this:
  • Vote above the line in the senate for your preferred major party
  • Vote below the line in the senate for your real alternative (eg Xenophon), followed closely by your preferred major party, then all the rabble afterwards
  • Vote above the line for one of the rabble (dumbest)
A person I like and respect voted above the line for the Sex party. That's the picture.

Come July, Abbott will essentially have control of both houses. Because Australia chose it to be that way.

AN "informal" voting bloc of conservative senators may be in place next July, with Family First's likely senator-elect saying the new batch of micro- and minor-party politicians share the same views on a lot of policies.
Family First chairman Bob Day, ranked fifth of six South Australian Senate candidates with less than 10 per cent of the vote left to count, also said he would oppose Tony Abbott's direct action plan and cause headaches for the passage of his paid parental leave scheme if he becomes a senator.
He said yesterday he was impressed by other likely senators from the Australian Sports Party, the Motoring Enthusiast Party, Palmer United Party and the Liberal Democratic Party.
If elected, he said, they would probably vote the same way and support most Coalition policies. "When you get representatives of everyday Australians, like the motorists' guy and the sports guy and the LDP guy and (Clive) Palmer - these all seem like sensible, everyday kind of Australians who are conservative."
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/abbotts-friend-vows-some-fights/story-fn59niix-1226724745371#sthash.B9lD74ms.UzoOrc1U.dpuf
AN "informal" voting bloc of conservative senators may be in place next July, with Family First's likely senator-elect saying the new batch of micro- and minor-party politicians share the same views on a lot of policies.
Family First chairman Bob Day, ranked fifth of six South Australian Senate candidates with less than 10 per cent of the vote left to count, also said he would oppose Tony Abbott's direct action plan and cause headaches for the passage of his paid parental leave scheme if he becomes a senator.
He said yesterday he was impressed by other likely senators from the Australian Sports Party, the Motoring Enthusiast Party, Palmer United Party and the Liberal Democratic Party.
If elected, he said, they would probably vote the same way and support most Coalition policies. "When you get representatives of everyday Australians, like the motorists' guy and the sports guy and the LDP guy and (Clive) Palmer - these all seem like sensible, everyday kind of Australians who are conservative."
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/abbotts-friend-vows-some-fights/story-fn59niix-1226724745371#sthash.B9lD74ms.UzoOrc1U.dpuf
AN "informal" voting bloc of conservative senators may be in place next July, with Family First's likely senator-elect saying the new batch of micro- and minor-party politicians share the same views on a lot of policies.
Family First chairman Bob Day, ranked fifth of six South Australian Senate candidates with less than 10 per cent of the vote left to count, also said he would oppose Tony Abbott's direct action plan and cause headaches for the passage of his paid parental leave scheme if he becomes a senator.
He said yesterday he was impressed by other likely senators from the Australian Sports Party, the Motoring Enthusiast Party, Palmer United Party and the Liberal Democratic Party.
If elected, he said, they would probably vote the same way and support most Coalition policies. "When you get representatives of everyday Australians, like the motorists' guy and the sports guy and the LDP guy and (Clive) Palmer - these all seem like sensible, everyday kind of Australians who are conservative."
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/abbotts-friend-vows-some-fights/story-fn59niix-1226724745371#sthash.B9lD74ms.UzoOrc1U.dpuf

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A quick "search and destroy" shopping trip to Orchard Road

I don't like rambling and I don't like being lost. I like to buy some gifts for my inner family when I'm here in Singapore and Orchard Road is a good kill zone for the things they like.
So after I got 30% of my marking done I jumped in a taxi and got him to spit me out at the back of Takashimaya, went straight downstairs to get Sylv's l'Occitane stuff, underpass to Lucky Plaza to buy some Giordano t-shirts for the older kids. Yeh Okay some for me too.

I'll just get to OG at Rochor to grab Jonah's Giordano kids stuff then just to buy interesting food over the next few days. But instead of a rambling aimless shopping "experience" tonight was a search and destroy. Just how I like it.

Back to a bar in Clarke Quay by 9.10 to have a beer with the Formula One on a screen. Not that the F1 is such a draw for me but mmmm beer. Oh. Then get into the supermarket just as they were shutting so I could get some supplies.

Job done.

I'm a workin' man in my prime, cleaning windows.

A lovely song about a guy who has a passion, and lives for it. "cleaning windows" is a metaphor for doing what you love to do as a priority, and being content with a simple life in other ways.


It's interesting that my first "A" journal paper went into hardcopy this month. I'm happy to leave all that anxiety behind - "where's my next publication coming from?". I'm still having fun doing the things an academic does - teaching, research, supervising students - but as I don't care much for an academic career I can just enjoy those things for what they are. A fun way to earn a living, for now. I'll leave others to the slippery pole.

Meanwhile my latest passion - skydiving and skydive instructing - can just run away with me.

Singapore: I'm a little tired now

From last night, Friday 10pm. After teaching I rounded all my old haunts:

From Clarke Quay to
Plaza Singapura to
Little India (& Tekka centre) to
Sim Lim Square to
Albert food court to
Bugis street to
Bugis Village to
Clarke Quay MRT to
bed

I'm a little tired but nice to get back to my Singapore.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Walter White: It started with a need for control

I will talk about the brilliant Breaking Bad. But there will be no need for a spoiler alert. Any description of the show refers to the show as "Walter Mitty's descent into Scarface" - high school chemistry teacher who turns his brilliance into cooking meth and didn't know the path he would start on.

About 30 years ago I was faced with a choice to stay legal or stray. My decision was purely pragmatic - I didn't like the idea of one day answering the door to a shotgun in the face. These days my choice may be a little more about ethics. But then I wasn't presented with the challenges that Walter White was.


He was a beaten shell of a man at the start of the series, but with his cancer diagnosis he lost all control and it got even worse. Everybody closed in and dominated him. His poor health insurance had him in a corner. His wife was booking $90,000 specialists, (lovely) brother in law saying he'd take care of his family, soured business partner insisting to pay for treatment. All from love, but disempowering.

His major driver in season 1 was a need for control, with a little need for recognition. And thus started Walt's journey. I just watched it in s01e05 at the 36minute mark:

"All I have left is how I choose to approach this... These doctors, talking about surviving. One year, two years. Like it's the only thing that matters. But what good is it to just survive if I am too sick to work, to enjoy a meal, to make love? For what time I have left I wanna live in my own house, I wanna sleep in my own bed. I don't wanna choke down 30 or 40 pills every single day, lose my hair and lie around too tired to get up, and so nauseated that I can't even move my head. You, cleaning up after me; me some dead man, artificially alive, just marking time. And that's how you would remember me...

I choose not to do it"


But he found a way to do it. Heisenberg was born.


A transition point was when Walt tells his young partner "so why don't you sell the whole pound at once?" to which he got "to who? What do I look like, Scarface?"


It reminds me of a good 1993 film called "Falling Down" where Michael Douglas plays a "mini man" who looks like he has found his self esteem, standing up for the small guy. Until you find he's unhinged in the worst way.



My wife would be repulsed by much of what's in BB. She's a good person. But I will urge her to watch S01 - it's only seven eps. Sylvia teaches what used to be called "control theory" - that people are driven to control their life in terms of freedom, fun and two other main drivers. I hope she will watch at least the five minutes of s01e05. But the whole season tells the story.

And I thank Vince Gilligan for putting up such a searing opportunity for self reflection.

And a big takeout - I thank God I live in Australia. Our health system is not the US.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

God said no.

Why did God say no? Because he knows that everything happens in a context.

A quirky song written by a person called Dan Bern. I've often wondered "what would I say if I met Jesus?". Well this song talks through a guy who meets God and asks three times if God can send him back in time - to save Kurt Cobain, Kill Hitler and rescue Jesus.

At each request, God says "no you'll just caught caught up in the shit of the time" making one of the true points - that all we have is the moment.




There are plenty of versions on the web, but this one done by a guy called "Soursob Bob" at this year's fringe in great. It takes a while to get started so scroll up about 50 seconds.



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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hinkley: A coach I like the look of

Anyone who knows me knows that I follow coaches more than teams. Especially in the AFL.

Years ago I was inspired by Mick Malthouse. Earlier, Malcolm Blight impressed me even before he won those two premierships with the crows.

Locally,  quietly spoken uber success Roy Laird is great out at Centrals and Nathan Bassett is great at Norwood, although I'm guilty of bias there.

It takes a special person to manage club politics at the back end and meet every member of a testosterone fueled playing group - at their own level. Wherever I see it - football,  netball,  stories of combat - I get all teary and emotional.

So, last week's victory by the power served me twice. Knocking Collingwood out - I will never forgive what they did to Malthouse - and introducing me to Ken Hinkley.

Humble, professional,  successful. And an ex Cat. What's not to like? Oh I suppose there's the Port Adelaide thing. But then, I follow coaches, not teams.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Qantas club augmented product

I'll punch out a blog soon, but my buddy who works in mining - I think - had a "service to delight" experience recently.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 9, 2013

Labor are now where they are happiest

I had an uncle who supported Labor but thought they were better suited as a party of dissent. The challengers.

So I saw two days before the election, a socially progressive person write this piece:

But when I think of an Abbott victory, I think the following:

Good.


That's interesting. Certainly enough for me to click through to it from Facebook.

[if you're a normal person under Abbott rule] you’re going be getting angrier and angrier.

And that’s what’s good. That’s what we need.


Labor lose a little part of their soul whenever they follow the "whatever it takes" rule. I liked Paul Keating but he was hardly a lefty. And Labor did trade some of its values as they did whatever it took. All argued as being for the greater good.

And that is why I look at the forthcoming Abbott government as an emetic: it will make us feel incredibly sick, absolutely, but that’s how we vomit the poison out.

Your comrade,

Andrew P Street


So perhaps now the Labor party may have some spiritual peace. Labor have done some great things in the 30 years I've been paying attention to politics. It's fair to say they need to rebuild as a team - and really have needed to rebuild since they got hamstrung with that crappy minority government in 2010.

As a party of dissent their best chance for rebuilding well is from opposition under a sensible, mature leader. I'd choose Albo or Crean.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, September 6, 2013

A whole new media game

For all the media blackout, these ads still come through. So the ban on "electronic media" is based on the old media - TV and (I think) radio.