Friday, March 25, 2016

Surely God exists

Echoes of the words my Father in law, Luigi. How can you look at this and think that god does not exist? Frangipani photo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

When building a survey, think about this..

This is how I feel a survey should run, to get best engagement from your hard won respondents.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Violating the inner circle: The day that trust died

I have a fairly tiny inner circle. The middle ring tend to really like me, the outer ring not so much then there are many people that I don't even think of. But my inner circle can be an unpleasant place.

They see the best and worst of me and the worst is not very nice. But I love them and if they love me they work to see past the worst. Some manage it brilliantly, others less so.

I stopped smacking my children when my first got to about 6 years old. It just did not make any sense. Smacking was ineffective and I saw the little guy hardening up to it. Other unpleasantries have included shouting matches, Cullen rant sessions and one very unfortunate situation where I threw a plastic bottle of lemonade on the floor showering my wife and myself with - well - lemonade.

And I thank with all my heart most of those from my inner circle who make fun of me being a rant king, simply considering me a dickhead in their own time and in the best cases showing a little understanding. And the fact is you can leave my inner circle anytime you like. It's not the Hell's Angels or the Mafia.

But there was a day that trust died both for me and a young person from my inner circle.

When I was in a less than finer moment my young friend pulled out their phone and began to record me having a Cullen rant. That implicit threat to crack open my most private place with my closest people made me see even redder.

And at that very moment trust died for me. At that second I went quiet. After sidling up to my young friend and quickly but surprisingly wrenching the phone off them I walked away with a view to deleting that piece of footage. I never really did that and so there's a very good chance you'll see Cullen at a low point one day on YouTube or in some other public domain.

But in my physical action of wrenching the phone away trust died for my young friend too.

No inner circle, no talking and at last count, a year and a half of passive aggression. The last words were something like:

"You are a piece of shit with no redeeming qualities - you don't deserve any of the good things that you have. You don't deserve your wife you don't deserve your children and you don't deserve me." etc

I mull over those words everyday and have been able to convince myself that my young friend was wrong. And I regret what we lost that day.

But I also regret the way that there seems to be an internecine war on Cullen. With my young ex friend recruiting whoever they can find from whoever will listen.

I know that domestic violence dwells in a house of silence but I truly believe this is not one of those cases. We are not talking about exposing a decade of domestic abuse. I suppose it depends on who you listen to.

My only job is to get up every morning and remind myself I'm not a piece of shit with no redeeming qualities and that there are at least some people who refuse to believe it.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Introducing Tic Tacs in the 1970s

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hooray I might get back to two rigs soon

Staying in the air as a skydiver involves a little organisation. One needs to keep their gear up to date and one of those pieces of gear is an aad.

An aad is an automatic activation device, and pulls your reserve if you can't.

I bought one last June but doggone it the aad was given a recall in October. One does not simply ignore a safety recall like that. I have minor annoyance at such an expensive piece of equipment going through a recall process but boy did they manage it well once I got to it.

So with my second rig out of action and plenty of dithering on my part I should have this new cutter installed, my relined main canopy back, and my second ring in the sky soon.

Quality of life is measured by how "first world" your problems are. I am in no way complaining.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Famiglia, Quality of life, Balance

Today is a perfect day in some ways. Backed in with over 25 years of just  "being".

  • I have a peach tree that sprouted next to my driveway about five years ago
  • I (25 years ago) married into an Italian Family that have a great many stories and - sadly - lost loved grandparents
  • I like gardening
  • My father in law's father loved his peaches and at the perfect time of year they were firm, but sweet.
  • I grafted a cutting from my late "grandfather in law's" favourite tree to the wild rootstock next to my driveway
  • Today they ripened
  • Tonight I needed to pick my daughter up from work at Norwood at 9.45 but I knew my father in law would be at home and happy enough to see me if I came,
  • The Masciantonio house is a nexus.
  • We got to share peaches in wine. Something that Guiseppe loved - and something I was looking forward to.
  • And when I turned up with peaches, without any prompting that's exactly what Luigi started to do.

A perfect day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Cardinal Pell: Let's not be a blister

The other night George Pell made some disappointing comments at the commission. I had written this the day before and it still applies. But his detachment is disappointing. Still - to my point:

Cardinal George Pell is making testimony via cable link from Rome. Embroiled in the sad and sick history child abuse within the Catholic Church and the cover-ups, Pell is facing a royal commission.

What I find particularly unedifying however is the roar of outrage from the masses. Whatever I believe, adding my voice to the chorus is just a little too late.

It reminds me of the person who turns up to the working bee at 4 p.m. or as my friends joke  - "that guy is a blister - he appears after the work is done".

Why not be the change you wish to see right now? There is plenty of unfairness to call out today rather than retread a tired old meme about (very) bad stuff that went on in the 1970s. I desperately hope that the people from back then who remain scarred today find Justice and Peace. And that's what the system is working towards.

But I humbly suggest that our voices are better spent encouraging the young girl who feels like she will never be anything more than a shop assistant (or another who's convinced she's already a whore), or the kid who doesn't get to eat although there is plenty of beer in the fridge. Or (dare I say) finding some response to communities within our own country that continue with a culture of child abuse - if we have the stomach for it.

I wish I'd had the guts to speak up as a kid in the 1970s when I heard "abo jokes" or stories about "poofter bashing". I wear it as a badge of shame, quietly. Perhaps if I had a lightning rod such as George Pell to assuage my own sense of guilt I'd be screaming too.

My wife has always impressed me. She has never stayed quiet when she has seen injustice done. My mother, too - to her own destruction. Right then, right at that moment. Can we all say the same for ourselves? Why not act now? In the lunchrooms, in the front bars, at the cricket. Your real opportunity is now.

From the vault: Beware being the "fixer"

I posted this almost six years ago - 24/7/2010. No particular reason for posting it right now - just feeding the hungry beast.

Winston Wolf, the character from Pulp Fiction who was called in to get the boys out of hostile territory after they spattered a car throughout with Marvin's brains.


He was the fixer. I like the character - "you've got a corpse, in a car, minus a head, in a garage. Take me to it"

But it comes with a price:

  1. Fix problems before they become problems and nobody thanks you, or even knows that you did anything.
  2. Make it look easy and everyone thinks it's easy.
  3. When you're up to your elbows in crap and digging your way out, bosses are likely to think you created the crap. Furthermore, the creators of the crap are just as happy to let it seem that way, or don't even see that it's down to them.

But I don't think I'd have it any other way. At the end of all this - career, life, friendship, job - I need to believe that I was always me. And the me I want to be is the guy who just puts in an honest effort, doesn't grandstand, and lives or dies on his own terms.

I have to work with people I don't trust, doing things I often don't enjoy, in the near certainty that I will get shafted one day. But the only person I need to impress is myself, and I'm the only one who sees my whole picture. So "fixer" is dangerous, but it suits me.

End rant
Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pieroth Wines: Breaking an important rule of market research ethics

Window envelope letter turned up a day ago. I try to ignore them as much as I can but I did not recognise this mailing address. That makes me nervous, it may be a toll from a trip to Melbourne;  it might be a tax invoice from someone else, so I opened it.

A market research survey from a wine company I don't know. I was ready to ignore it but they were offering some lovely coffee mugs for 10 ticks in 10 boxes.

Halfway through filling it out I became a little nervous and chose to read the terms and conditions. There was a lot of legal speak but essentially they were going to use my details to put me on a sales mailing list. Sure there is an opt-out box but even then there was some weaselly words about:

"our receipt of your survey form shall be deemed to be your inferred consent to us phoning the number provided by you for fulfilling our business obligations of this Mailer. Occasionally we are allow like minded organisations to contact you with information that may be of interest to you"

Um, yeh. Breaking a firmly held ethical code of the Australian Market and Social Research Society. Confusing market research with other (usually sales) functions of the business.

Pieroth wines. Dodgy as.

So now let's see how good their social media monitoring is.