June 26, 2012

Hacked my Wii on the weekend!

As the console nears the end of it’s life cycle, I thought I’d set it up again and see what I’d missed out on: lots of cheap games available which if I recall has always been a rarity for Nintendo.  Many years ago I’d installed the Homebrew Channel to play some 16bit classics, but since then the level of mods and hacks have increased significantly.  Now hooked up to a USB Harddrive with a couple of backup games!



June 22, 2012

This week, I found myself having a chat with one of the new bosses. He was telling us how he had just purchased a house with his wife.

“Last year,” he said, “it was going for a million dollars.”

“This year, the real estate agents were telling me that nothing is moving, the top end is stagnant and they’re looking at fifteen percent drops. This particular house – sitting on the market for a good 9-10 months.”

“So let me tell you about this million dollar place: 600 sq m, inner eastern suburb, newly renovated, enough room so the relatives can visit and close to good private schools with transport links.”

“I got it for 700k.”

Me: “That isn’t 15%!”

“I know! I expect this sort of thing to happen more and more, but you’ll never hear about it in the news.”

Looking for holiday ideas (as ones does), and was flicking through the travel pages when I came across this article from March. Could this be the first part of Australia to go broke?

The picturesque Norfolk Island, which has been proudly self governing for more than three decades, has run out of money and been declared officially insolvent. An investigation by The Sun-Herald reveals that the government of the former penal colony-turned-tourist playground has been unable to pay its bills for almost a year. A collapse in the tourism industry is sending financial shockwaves across the island. Many homes, hotels and businesses are up for sale, islanders who are not eligible for Australian unemployment benefits are struggling to make ends meet and the island airline, Norfolk Air, has been grounded. A new report by the federal Department of Regional Australia shows that the federal government has pumped more than $37 million in emergency funding into the island economy to keep it afloat, more than $20,000 for each of the 1800 permanent residents.

Wow! It then goes on to discuss how the Norfolk Island residents don’t pay income tax to Australia and changes to the system may be made regarding land tax if they still want to receive funding.

Read more: here

It isn’t quite the man made Palm Jumeirah in the UAE – but I have been wanting to use this image for a while.

Songs for the Recession

October 1, 2011

Some might remember that the “Recession Sessions” got a plug on Freakonomics earlier this year. It left me thinking that times of struggle are a common and popular theme in music, and a soundtrack for a recession could be an interesting compilation project.

Last year, one of the radio hits was “I need a dollar” by Aloe Blacc

I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
Well I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
 And I said I need dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
And if I share with you my story would you share your dollar with me

Bad times are comin and I reap what I don’t sow
 Well let me tell you somthin all that glitters ain’t gold
 It’s been a long old trouble long old troublesome road
And I’m looking for somebody come and help me carry this load

I had a job but the boss man let me go

He said: I’m sorry but I won’t be needing your help no more
I said: Please mister boss man I need this job more than you know
But he gave me my last paycheck and he sent me on out the door

I’d never heard of this next band until recently: they’re singing about the Irish recession although the title could be mistaken for other things.

The Script – For the First Time

She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart
While I’m drinking jack all alone in my local bar
And we don’t know how
How we got into this mad situation
Only doing things out of frustration

Trying to make it work but man these times are hard

She needs me now but I can’t seem to find the time
I’ve got a new job now on the unemployment line
And we don’t know how
How we got into this mess
Is it god’s test?
Someone help us ’cause we’re doing our best

Trying to make it work but man these times are hard

But we’re gonna start by drinking old cheap bottles of wine
Sit talking up all night
Saying things we haven’t for a while
A while, yeah
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears
Even after all these years
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time

She’s in line at the DOLE*
With her head held high
While I just lost my job but
Didn’t lose my pride

But we both know how
How we’re gonna make it work when it hurts
When you pick yourself up
You get kicked to the dirt

Trying to make it work but
Man these times are hard

Still around the UK, Lily Allen gives  snapshot of credit woes and obtaining a mortgage in one verse.

Lily Allen – Everything’s Just Money

Oh Jesus Christ almighty,
Do I feel alright? No not slightly,
I wanna get a flat I know I can’t afford it,
It’s just the bureaucrats who won’t give me a mortgage,
Well it’s very funny cos I got your fucking money,
And I’m never gonna get it just because of my bad credit
Oh well I guess I mustn’t grumble,
I suppose that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Now looking at the Beatles… some of the lyrics are still relevant today.

Beatles – You Never Give Me Your Money

You never give me your money
You only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations
You break down

I never give you my number
I only give you my situation
And in the middle of investigation
I break down

Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money’s gone, nowhere to go
Any jobber got the sack
Monday morning, turning back
Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go
But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Nowhere to go

One of my favourites is Low Budget by the Kinks.

Cheap is small and not too steep 
But best of all cheap is cheap 
Circumstance has forced my hand 
To be a cut price person in a low budget land 
Times are hard but we’ll all survive 
I just got to learn to economize 

I’m on a low budget 
I’m on a low budget 
I’m not cheap, you understand 
I’m just a cut price person in a low budget land 
Excuse my shoes they don’t quite fit 
They’re a special offer and they hurt me a bit 
Even my trousers are giving me pain 
They were reduced in a sale so I shouldn’t complain 
They squeeze me so tight so I can’t take no more 
They’re size 28 but I take 34 


The Boss is back to his best with something a bit more positive than the above:

Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care of Our Own

And finally, a bit of black humour if business gets so bad people start jumping…

Weathergirls – It’s Raining Men

Working with Kids.

September 22, 2011

The new job has been busy, but (unexpectedly) good. Earlier in the week there was boy referred due to fights and having suspensions in the double figure range. Yet he was well behaved and puts the doll’s house furniture in a very organisation fashion. Could we be looking at at Obsessive Compulsiveness Disorder or Autism spectrum?

This morning I saw one of my teenage patients, who happily told me she was doing great and she’s stopped binging and purging for a month. It turns out her boyfriend broke up with her, so she decided that she was going to “cut out the crap from now on.” Which meant going back to eating 3 regular meals and incorporating protein into her diet. Mum came in later during the session and was equally amazed. I love it when they cure themselves, although we’ll have to see how long it lasts. Shame we can’t bottle that attitude or manufacture it in pill form for everyone else!

There was this other kid I was baby sitting for one of the other clinicians – a goth with the ‘I’m too cool to be here,’ just here because this girl I like thought I needed help, and I’ve really got nothing to say. About half way in he pointed at my dinosaur era work PC and we ended up discussing PC building, Intel vs AMD CPUs, videocards – NVidia vs ATI, the HD6950 or the 560Ti? What about water cooling? Or is air enough? PC geek stuff, before unloading some horrible, horrible stuff that had happened to him.

The rest of the day was kind of fun considering that it was taken up playing chess or Uno or taking about videogames and cars. Stuff I did when I was in school, except I’m getting paid for it. Funny how things turn out. Then again, maybe it’s just that I look young enough to be able to pull it off.

Useless skills No. 2

September 18, 2011

This week I finally received my chinup bar.  A bit of random buy, inspired by another work colleague and consistent with my no-gym attendance exercise principles.  Cost just $20 via Ebay, a parallel import complete with Russian language instruction booklet.  It had been something I had put off buying for a while, not knowing if it would actually fit in my doorway, but it turns out it does so easily.  Another useless skill to tick off!

Picked up some parts from PCCaseGear this afternoon. While it’s great when scheduled appointments get cancelled, what’s even better is accidentally getting an upgraded piece of hardware for a discount. I’d ordered and paid for the AsRock Extreme4 motherboard, but was given the Extreme7 version instead.