Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Aussie Summer

While much of the Northern hemisphere rugs up for their Christmas feast, here in Australia it’s summer – sun, beach and cricket.

Our Christmas day was spent with the air con on! Following an unusually wet December Christmas day was hot and sunny and a great day spent in the backyard.

But it’s boxing day that is a favourite for many Aussies, not always the Aussie wives though! On boxing day begins the Melbourne cricket test.

Cricket 101

The game aptly named test cricket.

I’m not sure how well you know the sport of cricket but a test can go for up to 5 days and still produce no result … and the fans love it!

With 11 players on each side, cricket is played on a large oval. One team bats while the other bowls and fields.

A small baseball sized hard leather ball is hurtled down a pitch at up to 160 km per hour (100 miles) and tries to hit three small wooden pegs (wickets). In a 8 whole day it’s quite feasible not to hit the wickets once.

The batters, one at each end of the pitch, aim to hit the ball to score runs and if it makes it to the boundary it’s 4 runs or 6 if it’s over on the full.

A little like baseball, there are 4 innings. The team bats until 10 batters are out and then changes to bowling. Then once they get there opponents out swap for another turn.

As said, this process can go on for up to 5 days.

Like many sports, it’s the stats that keep it interesting … batting averages, strike rates, fastest, highest, longest, most.

The Boxing Day Test

The boxing day test in Melbourne is one of the pinnacles of Australia’s sporting calendar – coinciding with another major event, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Literally thousands of families throughout Australia are glued to their TV’s for hours watching on boxing day.

This year it’s Australia against India – and it’s been riveting! An on field rivalry between nations has added to the spectacle plus the anticipation of Tendulkar scoring his 100th ton. That’s 100 runs 100 times – a feat never before achieved and he’s one off.

For many the thing that truly makes a test is the commentary – with a choice of TV or radio – and I have to admit the ABC Grandstand commentary is my choice – with Jim Maxwell, Kerry O’Keeffe and many more entertaining us for hours.

With the test kicking off in minutes, I just recommend you check it out – skill, tactics, strategy, patience – a test is aptly named for it tests the endurance of bowlers, the patience of batters, and, of course, the viewers.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas – no more needs to be said!

The Depths of the Internet

Hidden DepthsI am constantly amazed at the depth and the breadth of the Internet.

Beyond the 80/20 Rule

Sure there’s the 80-20 rule, 80% of Internet traffic surfs 20% of sites … and the majors are now global brands like: Google, YouTube, eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and of course WordPress!

A Collage of Humanity

But the sheer diversity of the web is a cultural mash of modern society.

It’s how we entertain, learn, interact, celebrate, collaborate and share.

It caters to all ages, nationalities, economies, cultures, beliefs – it’s a global equaliser like never before seen.

I can easily outsource work to India, share photos with England, trade in the US, import from China and never move from my desk.

We have the technology to video conference while all writing on the same “whiteboard”.

The Facebook phenomena allows me to connect with family and friends throughout the world – sharing videos, photos, news and more.

Not to mention the growing group of budding journalists, social commentators and opinionated ravers that file the 1000’s of blogs … like me. 🙂

When All is Past

What will the archaeologists of future generations say when they view our mountains of consumables?

Our terrabytes of photos, videos, blogs?

Kids & Technology

Our kids navigate desktops before being able to read.

They form social networks in Club Penguin, beginning their virtual journey of interaction.

Click on iPhones and DSi’s as if they are no different to using pen and paper.

Schools increasingly are becoming tech savvy – and the resources available to children are mind blowing.

The Great Divide

Louie Armstrong’s song, What a Wonderful World resonates – they’ll know much more than I’ll ever know … and I think to myself how the heck do I keep up?

The pace of change is overwhelming – MySpace is almost extinct – yet it was one of the major global brands not 5 years ago.

The rise and fall of Groupon – one minute Google offering billions of dollars, then wiped off investment lists in seemingly minutes.

Would anyone confidently back any tech brand being prevalent in 10 years time? Google? Facebook? I’m not sure I would.

Move Over Mt Everest

To consider the volume of content available on the web is staggering – from daily posts like this, to the millions of hours of video, photos, and status updates.

The constant release of apps and increasing availability of information on any topic that takes your fancy.

I’m seriously blown away by the size, speed and impact the web is having on society – and to a large extent now uncontrollable.

2012 The Year of

As we wrap up 2011 and hear all the things about the year that was, I’m pondering the next, what 2012 will bring.

What new starts, renewed hopes, challenges? Are you moving into the next year with giddy anticipation or a sense of dread? Excitement or expecting the same old same old?

I think I might be easily excited but I’m moving forward with a sense of great anticipation. That 2012 will be the best year yet.

http://www.bizarrocomics.com/The End of the World?

While some claim it’s the end of the world based on predictions using the Mayan calendar. Others forecasting economic depression throughout the Western world. Still others are too busy training for the XXX London Olympics. I’m filled with hope, joy and an excitement of what another year on this planet holds.

Half Empty or Half Full

I’m sure many know the analogy of the cup of water – whether it’s half empty or half full. Well it’s probably no surprise I tend to be in the half full category.

I recently came across Milaap, an organisation based in India that provide high risk “loans” to communities who are simply after running water, sewerage or education. It truly reminded me of the abundance I have.

So how about others? What is 2012 holding in store? Is the outlook positive? Or are there some dark clouds looming?

As you read this are you thinking half empty or half full? Year of potential or just another day, another dollar.

What is 2012 the year of for you?

A Christmas Carol

20111218-094110.jpg

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

Yesterday went to the amazing Christmas performance that Hillsong put on each year.

Last year somebody stole the star, well this year they modernised the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

What an amazing performance and display of extraordinary generosity of people’s time and skills. After all the mega production is free.

Guessing it’s too late for tickets this year, but highly recommend any Sydney siders to get there.

Christmas With A Difference

ChristmasTreeWhile we head into the Christmas season and – at least at our house – we have already put up the Christmas tree, and now there are presents amassing and we’re planning our big family get together to feast on turkey, ham, pudding and much much more.

I began to consider others that may not be feeling the Christmas spirit … those that don’t share the same wealth, the same abundance, some who have never even tasted ham or turkey.

The Gift of Christmas

The Christmas season is founded on the birth of Jesus – the ultimate gift of generosity. Though, I don’t want to use this blog as a platform to focus on the Christian definition of Christmas, but more the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas is about generosity – about giving, about sharing. It’s about getting together with loved ones, with families and, for most, it’s a time of celebration, feasting and present giving.

A Different Gift

I’d like to introduce an organisation that offers a different gift for Christmas, one that offers you the opportunity to provide a loan to a family in need – from as little as a one off loan of $50 you can support a community with fresh water, infrastructure, education and much more.

Hey, don’t rely on me for the info, check out Milaap and read about it. I’ve only just come across this via MediaCause and am reading more into it myself.

But why not take a $50 gift that you were going to put towards someone else and throw it into this worthy cause? A gift with a difference … something that will truly impact a community that doesn’t experience the blessing of Christmas like ours.

Seriously, what would we need to miss out on for $50? Or if a friend came to you and said, hey mate, could you lend us a 50 would you knock them back? I know there are thousands of causes everywhere … but just check out what these guys do – visit their site and check out the projects that you could loan to.

Credit Where Credits Due

I feel The spirit of Christmas is upon me … and want to give a shout out for a few government departments.

National Health System

Recently had to deal with Medicare, Australia’s government run health system, and received extraordinary service. Extraordinary is a strong word, yet apt when compared to my expectations.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve been conditioned to expect long waits, brash service and process driven red tape.
Yet here I was needing to phone the hotline, and literally within seconds I was through to customer service (Annie you’re a legend) and all issues resolved on the phone in a jiffy! No recorded message stating my call was important, or that I was 76th in the queue – straight through and sorted. Thanks Medicare.

NSW State Rail

In continuing the spirit of spreading the love want to give a shout out for NSW State Rail.
Trains rolling across the veins of our landscape virtually every waking hour of every day. Providing safe passage for commuters to and from work and largely without hitch.
If only my PC had as good a performance.
I often hear complaints about state rail but gees they do a great job. The staff and crew deserve recognition for dealing with us public each and every day.
For those who work in retail you appreciate what it’s like dealing with the general public – for every decent customer there’s a heap of others that just don’t make your day.
So my Christmas rap goes out to the government run Medicare and State rail for providing a great service that all too often goes unappreciated.

Christmas or Xmas

Christmas or Xmas … or Happy Holidays?

Confused ChristmasThis time of year always raises the same issues – is it Christmas or Xmas … or to many happy holidays.

The question of the wording, the celebration, being referred to as happy holidays is perceived to be eroding the meaning of the season – or as many put it: The reason for the season is Jesus.

Yet is this the spirit of Christmas? Is this why Jesus was born?

On the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus we argue over the semantics. We debate the way others choose to spend their happy holidays.

But you know what, if the reason for the season is Jesus then the real celebration should be love – joyous, happy, exuberant love for all.

Bridging the Divide

Rather than focusing on the cup half empty, rejoice in the celebration in all its forms. For if Hindus, Jews, Moslems, atheists and other non Christians can at least embrace the meaning of Christmas, namely love, generosity and giving – well isn’t that the first bridge rather than another divide.

To truly embrace Jesus is about love, love for the Father and for each other … if as Christians we spent more time focused on the bridge than the divide, then the true depth of the experience could much easier be shared.

Jesus came to find the lost, to heal the sick – not to participate in the festivals celebrated by believers.

I don’t wish to belittle the importance of Christmas, nor remove the significance of Jesus’ birth – but fighting, debating, arguing over the wording to me seems against the spirit of loving, giving and embracing all people – using the opportunity to build the bridge not to increase the chasm.

Happy Holidays – Enjoy Christmas

So to all have a happy holidays, for in that happiness is a glimpse that is Jesus, a warmth of the love that can be shared every day not just on Xmas day.

Yes, Jesus is the reason – and to celebrate the Christ mass season is to display the gifts of love, of peace, of patience, joy and be the lights that shine brightly on a hill by giving and loving not debating.

The Mockery of Marriage

The issue of gay marriage has been the centre of debate in Australian political circles recently, with MP’s forced to confront whether to legalize the union of a gay couple.

I’ve titled this piece the mockery of marriage, not because of the debate on gay marriage but that marriage has got to the point where the debate can even be had.

Marriage has increasingly Mockery of Marriage become a mockery over the past decades, with higher divorce rates, the legalization of de-facto relationships, single parenting becoming the norm and, now, whether gay couples should be extended the right to be legally married.

Marriage is for how long?

Then there’s the prenuptial, the just in case waiver – a statement from the outset that this may not work!

This year we witnessed a complete erosion of vows with Kim Kardashian – married a sum total of 72 days. It spawned a whole Twitter hash tag trend that lasted almost as long as their marriage.

Like it or lump it, these Hollywood relationships serve as role models. Stars have become the heroes of modern society – and, at least the publicized norm is, that all marriages are doomed.

The Sacrament of Marriage

I would love to take the moral stand on this issue, to shout out the strength of marriage as a Christian sacrament.

That marriage is a shared commitment between a man and a woman. That this sacrament is held so highly in esteem by society that it forms the backbone of our culture.

But this stand has been eroded, wiped out by the prenuptial agreements, Western media and the box office hits.

A Great Wedding – #1 Box Office Hit

Happy Marriage at the Box OfficeAndy Stanley covered this well in a series on dating, posing the question how enjoyable would a box office hit be if it were based purely on a happy marriage?

Would you pay $20 to see that? I can see it climbing the box office charts now.

The Marriage Eulogy

I am not here to take a stand against gay relationships, nor single parents, nor prenuptial agreements, nor the farce that was Kim Kardasian’s marriage, nor Hollywood’s portrayal that the best relationships are those out of wedlock.

No, this is the eulogy for the Christian sacrament that was marriage … the sacred rite that brought a man and a woman together as a public announcement that they will spend their lives with each other – till death do us part.

After all, marriage was the coming together of man and woman to become one flesh, to share that and form families. No matter what laws you bring in, some things remain a physical impossibility.

So we allow gay marriage, we continue the trend of prenup’s, increasing divorce rates. We even sit back and watch, support, the soaps and reality TV shows that erode our social institutions, encourage greater moral decay .. so what’s next?

Where do we draw the line?

At what point does our society make a stand?

Are we to just sit back and allow this social plunder? Increasingly violent shows, more decadent music videos, the sexualisation of tweens, reality shows that portray marriage as entertainment?

I have no right to judge the love one man may feel for another, nor two women together – I have no right to judge why a couple divorces, I have no right to judge another’s use of a prenup.

But I do have the right to stand up for what I believe. That the Western marriage is founded on Christian principles and that we hold those to be the sacred bond between a male and a female (Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:7) and that these vows are taken as a lifelong commitment and made on oath under God.

Death By Analysis

Death by AnalysisAs an iPhone user with numerous apps I have a world of statistical information at my fingertips.

From the WordPress Dashboard, to Facebook insights, Google Analytics, adwords, Twitter followers, LinkedIn profile stats, the channel views on YouTube … the statistical information rivals cricket (or to the US audience – baseball).

Oh, and don’t forget Klout and other amalgamated reporting tools.

The Virtual Game

It seems we’re increasingly inundated with more and more information but less and less relevance.

All these stats prompting us to believe we’re successful if we purchased and lacking if we haven’t.

It’s the virtual game, the online whitewash of mindless hours visually consuming any content that stumbles upon us.

We are generating millions of pages of predominant drivel yet nary a work of art in site.

The great thinkers, the philosophers of yesteryear, I wonder would they have blogged? Tweeted?

Don’t misunderstand, the act of blogging is a wonderful medium and I love the equalising nature of the Internet – yet as I squander my train trip on a blog post does it really matter?

Am I just adding to the virtual game?

It’s the Circle of (Google) Life

A great Ecclesiastes quote is there’s nothing new under the sun … the rise of the Internet, the spread of information, the build up of content … it seems we’re going full circle to why Google first became prevalent.

Increasingly relevance is the buzzword no one wants to discuss. The relevance of Twitter, Facebook, dare I say it … Google.

Seriously, the relevance of search, of innumerable followers, overwhelming likes … we are rapidly being fooled into playing a virtual game of popularity and rank.

Like the gamblers avidly pressing the buttons for the next big win – it’s coming – we’re dreaming up optimised headings with keyword saturation hoping for indexation and an increased click through rate.

Death by Analysis

Are we slowly killing creativity, new thought focusing on reach rather than relevance? Surely this is contradictory having written a blog of content on virtually nothing – but this is a pondering site, I don’t even fool myself in considering it relevant!

As I view site stats, the rise and fall of analytics, the static nature of pagerank, the Facebook likes and Twitter followers … what is the relevance? What does it really mean to have a strong Klout score – whose clout are you affecting? To tweet or not to tweet, a rhetorical question … and I’m not convinced I even like Facebook. I’m linked in to India, China, Pakistan but not to my local community.

So to the wise of the virtual world, the knowledgeable of social media, are we just drowning in analytical nonsense biased by various platforms or is there a meaning to this unceasing wave of verb-age?