Saturday, December 31, 2005

Indonesia Incidentals

A few other tidbits from my last Indonesia trip...

On the seaplane from Bali to the minesite I carried my trusty GPS and recorded the flights. To the left is a snapshot in Google Earth.

Below it are another couple... the second is a screenshot take looking at Bali (Denpasar Airport) and the third taken looking at Mataram on the island of Lombok. Note the volcano to the left.

If you want to have a look in Google Earth, just open this file

Other photos are:
  • The seaplane the trips were done in (taken at Mataram airport)
  • Krispy Kreme donuts in Sydney airport
  • A panormaic shot taken of the pit at the mine. Definitely doesn't do justice to the scale of the thing!


Thursday, December 29, 2005

BOOK REVIEW - The End of Poverty - Jeffrey Sachs

I promise I didn't just read this book because Bono wrote the forward. Although that IS a valid reason to read a book!

In my opinion, this is possibly the second most important book in the world at the moment. Sachs blows away myths about extreme poverty and economics in general. He sets out exactly WHAT we need to do, WHY we need to do it and HOW it can be achieved. He briefly talks about world history, and how we got to where we are today (ie how western countries climbed out of extreme poverty)

It's not always an easy, relaxing read - but worth it.

Here's a bunch of random interesting things...
  • For the majority of history, the majority of people have lived in extreme poverty. The last few hundred years is the first time in history so many people have lived with such wealth
  • 'Trade vs Aid' - many people argue that Trade is the answer to extreme poverty - and it is - to a point. There are many countries, especially in Africa tha thave no hope of significant trade until we help them out of the hole they are in. Trade AND Aid is the answer.
  • Made me realise the importance of trade, economics and big business for improving quality of life for people around the world. It removed (and reinforced) some of my cynicism about large multinational corporations.
  • Made me realise the importance of technology in eliminating poverty. Western civilisation became rich because of industrialisation and technology.
  • The rise in wealth of developing countries does not mean a decrease in the wealth of western nations. Wealth can be created from nothing, and the more countries that are rich, the better for all! (Again, as with everything - this is not a black and white issue...)
I could go on and on... suffice to say, if everyone read this book (or maybe if a select few world leaders read it), the world would be a very different place, very quickly.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Snails in SA

We spent Christmas Eve day with Di's Dad's side of the family at her Cousin's farm near Murray Bridge. The majority of the fence posts on the farm were covered in Snails. SNAILS! How bizarre!? The South Aussies thought it was weird that I thought it was weird! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bali again!

I'm in Bali for about 13 hours on the way home. Checked in to Hotel Dynasty (it's the one the mine uses). Pretty quiet here, but there's still a few of the usual loud obnoxious Aussies. A bit more security than last time I was here - cars aren't allowed near the entrances of hotels and the airport etc.

Flights back from Sumbawa weren't too bad. It'd take a while to get sick of that Seaplane. The flight from Mataram to Bali was on 'Merpati' airline - VERY old plane. As the line goes 'It's Merpati and they'll fly if they want to'.

Anyway, I'm off to buy a few DVDs...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Anthrax and Bird Flu

I'm on Sumbawa again in Indonesia. This time delivering a driver training system to the minesite here. I read a notice stating that Anthrax is endemic on Sumbawa. Sounds a bit scary really. I don't really know what Anthrax is. Can't even name one song of theirs. There have been no confirmed cases of bird flu on the island however.

I just tried to post a photo but this sharing 8 computers on one dialup connection doesn't seem to work too well!

Hope everyone's having a great week-before-Christmas!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Keep Kevin!

This photo was taken this morning at a community BBQ held by Kevin Rudd - our local member and Australia's 'alternative' foreign affairs minister.

Ben, Di and I decided to go along with our Make Poverty History t-shirts on and to thank Kevin for the work he's done this year lobbying the government to keep their commitment to the Millenium Development Goals. This was especially appropriate as today was the third Make Poverty History day of action.

We had a great chat with Kevin about how best to influence the government and about some of the things he's been doing. He's not a bad local member, and as a potential leader of the Labor Party and maybe the country, I'd have to say I approve!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Vigilante 500


Had our work Christmas party today at Kingston Park Raceway - go-karting!

I managed to score the 'Mr Magoo' prize for a spectacular get-off through tyres onto the grass. I maintain it was the kart's fault.

The photo is Steve "Extreme" Larkin (1st place), Lord Andrew (2nd) and Minh "Jack of all trades" Nguyen (3rd). Oh, and Mr Magoo.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Affluenza

Hi all! It's been a while... time for a book review. "Affluenza" by Clive Hamilton is a pretty good read - and pretty challenging to the way Aussies live our lives. It's about overconsumption gone mad and how the government and marketing continues to make us feel insecure, and in need of more, even though we are FAR richer on average than our grandparents were.

It's easy to laugh at the examples he uses of consumption gone mad, but then you realise it's not that far from some aspect in your own life... such as eating out in mine?

For a great overview of what htis book is about, check out the following link: http://www.wellbeingmanifesto.net/

Clive Hamilton's older book 'Growth Fetish' is also worth a look.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Your Friendly Beer Brewing Ben

Just found this while going through photos... there's something warm and fuzzy about Ben's expression, yet it's somehow a little scary...

 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Peeking into our backyard from above

The new Gabba landmarks are two cranes, in the big hole across the street that is rapidly turning into luxury apartments. The second crane, put up recently, has a wonderful view into our back yard. I'm wondering whether we need a MASSIVE feature rock or something. Now would be the ideal time to have it placed.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

PINK for Cancer


Chrissy Geldard had a money raising night for breast cancer.
She mentioned that we should wear something pink.

Storms



Had a little storm damage earlier this week at work. No major building damage - but it did suck the extractor fans out of the roof!

Friday, October 21, 2005

In print again...


Cover story in the national magazine of the Lutheran Church! YAY! Unfortunately you can't read the article online... And you can't buy this magazine in your average newsagent... but the cover shot is nice!

The October Lutheran
(After this month this link will change to the latest Lutheran magazine)

BGG Update

For those of you holding out for a Badly update - HERE IT IS!

Lots has been happening in the world of Gardening at the Schultz's. Along with Brad's birthday came many gardening gifts - seeds, gnomes, lights, hoses, fertilizer, mulch... etc I thank all those that contributed.

I've decided to label these photos in the interest of historical scientific recording.

The Original Badly Grown Garden:


Badly Number 2:


Benly Grown Garden:


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mad Hot Brewery

As part of a special combined birthday celebration for 2005, Ben/Sarah/Di/Brad have embarked on a journey. A beer-brewing journey. These photos document those first tentative steps...

Working out what to do...
Super-Beer-Ben, complete with eye protection for exploding bottles, rubber hammer for putting caps on and foam bottle draniers.


On our second brew already - sterilising bottles for Ginger Beer

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Breezo's Getting Married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes! You read right! Ben Briese, last bastion of Aussie 20-something single masculinity is engaged! To Charlene, who's surname eludes me for the moment (feel free to post a comment Ben!). Di and I had the pleasure of 'hanging out' via Skype with Ben and Charlene on Saturday and I can only say that we're incredibly excited and happy to hear the news!

CONGRATULATIONS BEN AND CHARLENE!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

BOOK REVIEW!!! "Code Name: Ginger"

By Steve Kemper

This is a book about Dean Kamen and the development of the Segway “human transporter”. My boss gave it to me to read, because in many ways it’s a parallel (albeit on a larger scale) to the life of Vigil Systems (the company I work for). It’s about developing a great idea, about dealing with technical problems, egos, money hungry venture capitalists and trying to do something that is going to have a positive impact on the world.

As an engineer, I can see that many of issues and quotes are VERY relevant to my work at Vigil:

“I don’t have to invent anything. It’s out there somewhere if I can just find it and integrate it. Inventing is frustrating, it’s dangerous, it’s expensive, and inventors should avoid it whenever possible. Be a systems integrator” – Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen is an extremely interesting individual. A classic eccentric, self-made American billionaire. A REALLY smart guy, with a real desire to do great things for the world.

"I don't work on a project unless I believe that it will dramatically improve life for a bunch of people." – Dean Kamen

This desire to do good is matched by a massive ego and indulgent spending on items such as a expensive cars, huge estate with whacky technical house, private jet, helicopters (that he flies himself). He once thought of some improvements that could be made to his helicopter, so bought the helicopter company... He also holds on to power and ownership of his company with an iron fist, paying his staff little and working them hard… (that’s not as paralleled at Vigil)

He, and many other billionaires such as Steve Jobs in the book, seem to be so na├»ve in many ways. They believed, without ANY historical precedent, that the Segway was going to radically change the world within a year of their launch, that it would be the fastest growing startup in history and that they were all going to make billions and billions of dollars. None of that has happened and it’s been out for about 3 years now.

It should be compulsory reading for all engineers. A great case study on how to (and how not to) bring ideas into reality.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Night of Nights

It's over... or maybe not...

We had our last Sur Taj supper - and it was a biggie. We even had entrees. A rarety, since the size of Sur Taj meals makes entrees an over-indulgence.

The damage done:

Us with our heroes:
This sign won't actually be changing we don't think. But thought it was worth taking the photo on such an occasion:

Jo and Mikey (from Canberra) were there too - taking the above photos. I'm sure there'll be more pictures of them over the weekend...

I'll be sure to report back with our experiences once the handover of Sur Taj to Benny has taken place. Benny and his wife and 2 kids are from Kerala, South India. Nazeem and family were from North India. Benny's keeping the same menu initially, but it may develop over time.

I sort of feel like when Adam and Wil finished at the Js.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The end of an era...


Sad, sad news last night. Sur Taj, purveyor of Indian Cuisine, our favourite local restaurant, has been sold... Efdias (REALLY don't know how to spell OR pronounce that) told us the news when we were picking up our Tuesday night special last night. I dropped by and talked to Ifdi tonight - and met the new owner - Benny. We'll be eating there Friday night, their last night. It'll be a bit of a party.

We always thought WE'D be the ones to leave Sur Taj... not the other way around.

Time means change...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Day, Another March

On Saturday it was an International Day of Action for the Make Poverty History campaign. Around 100 people marched in Brisbane. The impact was great - check out Erin's photos HERE

This week is the 2005 UN World Summit where world leaders will be discussing these issues. Lets hope they have the wisdom to make some good decisions and save some lives.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Team Diana

Continuing the noble tradition of naming our trivia team after absent members, Team Diana did record breakingly well this evening. The major contributing factors, from team members were:
  • Sarah - as usual, answering the majority of the questions
  • Ben - for clarifying with Bomber that our 'double score round' was round 2, in which we scored a healthy 9/10
  • Erin - for achieving 10/10 on the character/movie matching round
  • Brad - for spinning the wheel and thus doubling the score of our previous (8/10) round
All this left us with a score of 68 - putting us in THIRD POSITION OVERALL!!!
Yes - there were more than 3 teams there. About 9 teams as a matter of fact.

Meanwhile... how can I rant about such trifles when the US government is trying to water down the Millenium Development Goals at next weeks UN Summit on Human Development: ABC News Item This is SERIOUS and could effectively mean the needless deaths of thousands/millions of people.

Finally, included is a photo taken by Loz on our camera at MxPx on Sunday night. I was there - up the back with Justin, Cathy and Andyroo. Mike, Tom and Yuri still rock, I must say.



Saturday, September 03, 2005

Trivia with Bomber!!!

Photo courtesy of Erin
(Note to Bomber... you said "If I see that photo up on the internet I'll..." but you never finished your statement. So we thought we'd just try it... Plus - Erin did it first.)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Introducing... Sleepy!!!

Di just sent me this photo of Sleepy - our resident Blue Tongue Lizard. He loves our new garden and especially the 3 new goldfish in the water pot. I'll have to post some photos of the goldies soon!

- We're more than halfway through Harry. A little too much snogging in the latest book we think.
- We may have come last at Trivia at the Red Brick Hotel last night by the slimmest margin in our team's history. I think we got about 47, with the second last team getting 55. Our brilliant performance was due in no small part to the presence of Erin 'T-Bone' Gebert whose brilliance, especially in the music department was unsurpassed.
- Di's Mom is visiting on her way home to Adelaide from America for the next few days. And she's bringing Di a badgemaker, which is the source of much excitement in the Schultz household right now...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

MAKE POVERTY HISTORY


We headed out on the streets again today to raise awareness of about the Make Poverty History campaign. This time, as well as markets at West End, we walked through the Queen St Mall and Brunswick St Markets in the Valley.

It was interesting how much more supportive people were at West End... how freaked out people seemed to be by it in Queen St Mall... and how nonchalant people were in the Valley. Of course there were exceptions everywhere.

I've never really taken to the streets in support of a cause before. I'm quite hesitant to step out of my comfort zone in this regard. A few things have contributed... one of the main things is being friends with inspiring people like Ben and Sarah - who have seemingly endless energy and willingness to put in effort for these causes. The other thing is that I guess the more you learn, the harder it is to ignore some of the frustrating facts in our world... The fact that 30000 kids die every day needlessly and most of us don't really regard that as a tragedy. We say we do, but if we really DID regard it as a tragedy, we'd be doing something about it. I guess it's a big step to actually believe we CAN do something about it.

ANYWAY - increasingly, I'm hoping to do something about it! So if I don't put postings in here regularly telling you what we're up to - let me know that I'm slacking off!

More Photos

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Badly Update!!!

Make Poverty History - Street Theatre / Raising Awareness

Today a bunch of us went on a bit of a street theatre / awareness raising outing for the Make Poverty History campaign. Here's a few piccys of it! (Thanks for the photos Erin!)

The 8 Millenium Development Goals were represented by the 8 white statues:

1. Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

4. Reduce Child Mortality

5. Improve Maternal Health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases

7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability

8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development

We're doing it again a few times over the next few weeks and we need more people to come along to either dress up in white or to hand out postcards/armbands - if anyone wants to help out let me know!!

More Photos Here

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Photos!

Got back from Indo on Sunday. NOTE: The fact that Sydney Airport has Krispy Kreme donuts only JUST makes up for the fact that it sucks having to fly via there to come home. Duty Free, Customs, immigration, flight transfers all took hours... missed my flight, got put on a later one.

Anyway, just letting you all know I have a bunch of photos HERE from the trip.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Can't get that song outta my head...


Friday afternoon - now in Kuta Beach at Bali. What a surreal week! And the people that work at mines like Batu Hijau experience it all the time... the contrast between mountain jungle / beautiful beach / huge, dusty mine...

Thought I'd post a few photos while I'm still travelling - always seems a little more exciting that way...

On the last evening at Batu Hijau I escaped down to the beach again and went for a proper walk along it. It's so remote and beautiful there. Even more so now that I'm thinking about it at Kuta Beach, Bali. On the way back to the mine town where I was staying I stopped in at a local cafe for dinner. Mine food was fantastic - but I thought I better sample at least one local meal.
Below is the seaplane that took me back to Denpasar, via Mataram on Lombok Island. Had some GREAT views of the islands - I love the volcanoes, which I can't remember the names of at this point.
Seeya!
PS It's that 'I've been to Bali too' song. I much preferred the song that was stuck in my head in Istanbul... or New York City...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Bouganville Modem


Hey all!
I've finally managed to track down an Internet cafe at this minesite on a remote corner of Sumbawa. Having a good week work-wise. Trialling our driver training system in various vehicles on the mine. Had a tour of the open-cut goldmine pit. Pretty mind-boggling. I'm not really sure what photos I could post that wouldn't be corporately sensitive, so I'll try to post a few from the beach near the minesite. Lots of the contractors/consultants stay at the resort on the beach. I was booked in there, but things didn't work out. Would have been fantastic if they did. It's storybook beautiful down there.

Just uploaded the above photo. Took too long so I'm not gonna do any others! Will post a bunch more when I get back on Sunday morning. You can't see it in the photo, but there are some MAMMOTH waves at the beach behind me. Sometimes the water just seems to explode. (PS I had to hitch a ride here, then run the 5 or 6km back to my residence, avoiding the rabies-ridden monkeys on the way.)

Seeya! B.

PS The Bouganville Modem comment is in relation to the speed of this internet cafe. This posting could very well be being tapped out to the outside world by morse code... well it seems like it anyway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's a beautiful, beautiful world...

Why is it a beautiful world? Because today BOOST Juice are offering FREE juices or smoothies to people named Brad or Angelina! I was happy to play my part in this tacky marketing scheme. I have received 2 free smoothies so far, and intend on visiting at least one more BOOST Juice store before closing.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ant Ant Ants!


This is a cooperative ant farm - owned by myself and my illustrious fellow-worker, Steve. 'Farm' is a bit of a misnomer though, since I don't think the ants will actually be breeding since they are all female workers. In fact, as the average age of female worker ants is 3 months, I believe this will be a sort of opposite of farm. What's the opposite of 'farm'? Any suggestions?

Anyway - it IS fascinating watching them! The blue gell provides them with sustenance as well as matter in which to dig!

I'm going HERE next weekend for a week for work.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Turns out that Badly Grown Garden is not growing so badly afterall... Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 08, 2005

My Bro's Finger!


My brother did this to his finger yesterday morning... he's a chippy, and was using a nailgun. They removed it at the hospital, but he's got to have surgery today to remove some wire that stayed in there. OUCH.

I'm glad he took the time to take some photos though...