Monthly Archives: August 2008

Everything Is Relative

I came across a snippet of information regarding ComCast, the United States largest cable TV and second largest internet provider – they are about to place limits on their clients internet usage.

As you can imagine, after having competitively priced, very fast all you can eat internet for a long time – the change has been received as though it was the end of the internet and after all, a heavily restrictive 250Gb per month is outrageous!

To contrast what ComCast clients are about to receive, most broadband users in Australia pay a little more for their internet, it is 1/10th the speed and the overwhelming majority of people survive on a plan that offers less than 50Gb per month.

After having lived through the notorious 3Gb Cap from Telstra in the late 1990’s, Australian broadband users were happy when competition entered the market and provided better value plans. While we’re happy we’re not being limited to 3Gb and can get up to 50Gb at a moderate price, ComCast clients are screaming foul play that they are being pulled down to a measly 250Gb per month.

Channel 7 Fail As An Olympic Broadcaster

Channel Seven secured the broadcast rights for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Australia and to mark the event, Channel 7 essentially blocked out all other shows over the two week period while the Olympics were on to broadcast it continuously.

I couldn’t believe that while broadcasting the Olympics close to 24 hours per day, that they managed to show so little of the sports on offer. If you look into that just a little bit, it becomes clearer quite quickly:

  • If you replay the same three rounds of the diving five times in one day, a lot of time is burnt that could have been spent diversifying what they were showing.
  • If you interview the same athlete four times, ask the same questions and and expect to get different responses – as the saying goes, it is the definition of insanity.
  • If you re-interview the same set of athletes on different shows, continue to ask the same questions in point 2 a different way and still expect to get a different response – you get the point.
  • Promote only the sports that have an Australian in it
  • Promote only the sports that have an Australian in it and result in some sort of achievement
  • All but flatly ignore the effort and dedication put in by every other athlete that did not get a medal or break some sort of record
  • Televise two rounds of a given sport (see point 4) then ignore it if/when point 4 ceases to be relevant
  • Continue to replay the same event over and over again, hang on – I mentioned that in point 1
  • Fill time in my promoting yet another bullshit excuse to interview more athletes, hoping to get the tear jerking emotional response which you didn’t receive the last 3 times you interviewed them; meanwhile not showing the vast array of other sports available.

The Olympics are about pitting the worlds greatest athletes against one another in a competition that comes round once every four years. It will clearly come as a shock to Channel 7 that it is not about continuously interviewing and re-interviewing the same athletes and showing the same heats of the same sports over and over again.

I suppose we should be happy that Michel Phelps and Usain Bolt aren’t Australian or we’d still be hearing about it.

Antenatal Class #5

This week Claire and I attended our last antenatal class before the birth of our first child!

The fifth session was a more of a hands on session than a lecture like the last four have been. Everyone in the class had to learn how to wrap a baby in a wrap a number of different ways and also change a nappy. Wrapping up the toy baby was pretty funny, specifically watching different people in the class essentially tie their baby in a knot – there was quite a bit of laughter.

At this stage we’re meant to know everything that we need to know about having a baby, though for me personally it doesn’t feel like it. I wouldn’t say that I’m completely calm about the whole experience, though I’m not stressed out either. My thinking at this point is that plenty of people before us have had children and survived – statistically speaking that puts us in pretty good shape.

Starting a family is going to be an enormous learning experience and at this point in time, I know I don’t know it all. Not having it all mapped out in your head is part of the experience I think though, changes in priorities and different views and opinions about things. We’ll learn as we go along, making mistakes and hopefully learning how to make less of them in the future.

One piece of information that Alex (the midwife that instructs the Gold Coast antenatal classes we attended) pointed out is that while babies are tiny and helpless, they are also surprisingly resilient – lucky because there’ll be plenty of on the fly learning going on I think!


When Claire and I are out and about at the shops, it is common to have people at payment counters ask what sex our unborn child is going to be – it’s great that they are interested. We’re happy to tell whoever is asking that we don’t know the sex of our child and that it is going to be a surprise. As soon as we’ve spoken those words, for some reason the people we’re talking to feel compelled to tell us the sex of our unborn child.

In the last eight months, I can’t count the number of times people have come up to Claire and said that she is having a boy or girl. Every time someone offers free advice on the matter, we ask them why we’re having a boy or girl and you get back reasonably consistent reasons that have a certain amount of wiggle room in them. As an example, common reasons are that your wife’s stomach is sitting high or low or that it is shape x or y. The wiggle room I’m talking about is that, different people suggest that sitting low is a boy or girl and likewise on the shape.

The other thing that I’ve noticed is that it tends to be older people that feel like guessing/telling us what sex our child is going to be. I got thinking about that the other day and it occurred to me that they might feel compelled to tell you the sex because in their day, being able to definitively know the sex of your child pre-birth wasn’t an option so it was normal to guess. I’m sure that the old wives tales were born by expecting parents asking their local doctors what sex their child was going to be (when he/she had no idea in the world) but felt obligated to come up with an answer and subsequently a reason.

What crazy theories have you heard about determining the sex of an unborn child without any scientific intervention?

Antenatal Class #4

Continuing on in a series of short posts about my learning’s from our antenatal classes, Claire and I attended our second last session tonight. This evening started out with a stroll through the Gold Coast Pindara Private Hospital, followed up by our normal discussion session.

The walk through Pindara Private was useful, as I hadn’t seen the inside of it before. Our instructor Alex had warned us previously that it is quite easy to get lost, however that it was much better than a couple of the hospitals in Brisbane. Given how much of a maze the Brisbane hospitals are, I wasn’t holding by breath to be honest but I was pleasantly surprised. In defense of the Brisbane hospitals, I do think that Pindara Private is significantly smaller – so that has to help in detangling the mess! While we walked around, we got to have a look at one of the four birth suites which was good – didn’t have any idea what that was going to be like. Alex directed us to look into one of the others, only to hear one of the other nurses telling us to wait in a slightly urgent manner – turns out that it hadn’t been cleaned yet. Fortunately for the people that strolled in there, ‘not cleaned’ didn’t mean that it was fresh out of use – just that beds and the like hadn’t been sorted.

Once we’d finished our 50c tour of Pindara Private hospital, we went back downstairs to our normal meeting room to continue our learning. The primary topics for this evening were post natal depression and breast feeding. There was a lot of information covered in the post natal depression and a lot of good questions from the class as well. While I think every expecting parent has heard about post natal depression, I was shocked that current statistics suggest 1 in 6 women fall victim to it and even more shocked to find out that it also effects males, though to a lesser degree (1 in 11 are the numbers emerging). While a lot of the information covered for post natal depression was fairly high level, it appears that acknowledging that it exists, keeping an open eye for any of the signs and lots of communication seem to be a pretty solid starting point.

Breast feeding is another one of those amazing things that the female body is capable of in my opinion. I find it incredible to think that the female body automatically adjusts how much milk to produce based on the demand and it also changes the nutritional make up as well. An interesting fact that I had absolutely no idea about – an infants stomach is only the size of a marble and continues to expand as the mothers’ breast milk comes in and by approximately 10 days after birth has expanded to the size of a golf ball.

While Alex didn’t say that she was going to attempt to schedule the anesthetist again, I was hoping that he/she might be able to pop in for a little while to discuss that in more depth. It wasn’t to be this evening and we ran over time as it was – maybe one of them will be able to make it to our last session.