29 December 2006


I've noticed a disturbing trend lately, a new fashion, a sign of bad taste. I'm talking about those huge sunglasses that a lot of young women have started wearing.

Now, I'm all for wearing sunglasses, especially here in the skin cancer capital of the world. I nearly always wear sunnies myself, especially when I'm driving, but mine are small. I don't even wear aviators anymore.

Imagine spending too long in the sun in a pair like that, then going inside and taking them off. A big red nose, too much lipstick and a bright curly wig would be all you'd need to transform you from the fly, to a clown.

I blame Paris Hilton.


This entry was posted via e-mail. I'm testing it to see how it works so I can blog while we're in Vietnam next month.

25 December 2006


I saw Santa the other day.

Actually, I've seen him a few times in the last couple of weeks, usually he's driving a heavily decorated bus, with Merry Christmas on the destination board. I also saw him walking up the street, but I think that one was an impostor. When he got closer you could tell the beard was fake.

Anyway, that day has arrived so, in the words of Robbie Williams, "Merry Christmas, and if I don't see you before then, happy new year."

23 December 2006

33 cents richer

I mentioned recently that I'd registered with some photo libraries, there are links to a couple of them in my sidebar.

Well I've just sold my first photo. You can view a small version of the picture here.

Because of the way these libraries work, you don't make much money per sale (only 33 cents US for this one, about 50 cents Australian), but the pictures can be sold over and over and after a while it starts to add up. The more pictures you have available for sale, the better your chances of making money from them.

It's amazing how good 50 cents can make you feel though. I've had an article published in a magazine before, with accompanying photos, but this is the first time anyone that I didn't know personally has ever paid for one of my photos.


I got tagged by Caramaena recently. That means I'm supposed to tell you my five favourite Christmas songs, then pick five people to tag.

I've been thinking about it, and the only Christmas songs I like are the ones that Bing Crosby used to sing, "White Christmas", "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas", you know the ones. My favourite is probably the Hawaiian one "Mele Kalikimaka" (boy that frightened the spell checker).

As far as picking five people to tag, I'm going to cheat like Caramaena did with her fifth choice and pick you, you, you, you and you over the back there that's trying to avoid eye contact in case I pick you. In other words, you can all let me know your five favourite Christmas songs, but you don't have to if you don't want to.

19 December 2006

Unexpected visitors

I mentioned the other day that Kate DeAraugo had laid an egg.

Well, one of the Young Divas' many fans did a Google search for Kate DeAraugo, found my blog and posted the URL to a Young Divas forum. You weren't far off with your comment Caramaena.

Since then I've been getting heaps of visits from them. The thing that I find really funny, is that they're only seeing that particular entry, so they think I'm a farmer that's just happened to name one of the chooks after Kate. They haven't read the other entries about the chooks.

I had a quick look at the forum and all the comments are pretty complimentary, which is good because Kate is my favourite of the Divas and she's also our best layer. Actually, I think she's our only layer at the moment.

Someone even e-mailed the real Kate the URL for her to have a look. So if you're reading this Kate, feel free to leave a comment. Celebrity endorsements are always appreciated.

If you're a Divas fan visiting from the forum feel free to leave a comment too, just to let me know you were here. And if you're a Divas fan that hasn't found the forum yet, why not go and visit them here. Tell 'em Farmer Steve sent ya.

17 December 2006

Kate DeAraugo lays an egg

One of the chooks that we got last week has started laying.

Actually there may be more than one laying, but we're only getting one egg a day at the moment. I checked on them on Thursday morning and one of them was in the nest, picking up bits of straw and dropping them on her back. That's always a sure sign that they're about to lay.

When I got yesterday's egg out of the nest I decided to weigh it. Remember a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned one of our previous chooks layed a 100g egg. This one was 30g.

At least she's trying though, and they will get bigger.

We've also started letting them out of the pen for a little while each evening, so they can have a scratch around in the yard. We're going to have to clip their wings soon, as it won't be long before they start going over the fence.

If you only clip one side, every time they try to fly, and you'd be surprised how far a chook can fly, they end up going in circles. Once they get older they'll get used to staying in the yard and won't be as much of a problem. At the moment we're still having to round them up when they go to bed, but soon they'll just put themselves to bed when it starts to get dark.

Edit: 19/12/06
If you're visiting from the Young Divas forum, welcome.
You might like to check out a couple of other entries, here and here, that will put the above into more perspective.

14 December 2006

We beat Sydney... again

According to the news, there were fifty thousand people at each of the Robbie Williams concerts in Sydney. According to the man himself, there were fifty five thousand at Suncorp Stadium last night, and Donna and I were part of that number.

Suncorp Stadium is a football ground, mainly rugby league. Because they don't want people throwing full bottles at players on the field, you can't take a bottle of water in there unless you remove and throw away the cap. Obviously the mob in charge of security can't tell the difference between a football match and a concert, because they were making everybody take their lids off.

I thought I was being clever by taking a water bottle that had its own pouch on a belt, that way I wouldn't have to hold onto the bottle for the whole show. Because I couldn't remove the lid completely I had to leave my bottle and pouch in the cloakroom at a cost of $5.

Donna later bought a bottle of water inside, with the lid left on.

That little whinge aside, it was a great concert. The fireworks started, the music built up, and everyone was wondering where he was and where he was going to appear, then all of a sudden he popped up through a hole in the stage.

Apart from the visual spectacle of the whole thing, one of the highlights for me was the songs he did with his best mate Jonathon Wilkes. If you're as old as me, you'll remember Morecambe and Wise and the little dance they used to do when they sang "Bring me Sunshine". They did a bit of that plus a little dance that, I think, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore used to do.

Seeing twenty to thirty thousand people down in front of the stage waving their arms in the air as he sang "Monsoon" was really surreal.

One thing that amazed Donna and I was how much the stadium was bouncing. You could literally feel it bouncing under your feet as people stood up and danced to the music. It made us both glad we were in the upper part of the stadium and not underneath. If you've ever stood on a bridge while a lot of heavy traffic passes over it, it was like that. In the stadium though, it wasn't a rumble, it was to the beat.

Anyway, I had a camera with me, but it's a... shock, horror... film camera, so I don't know how the photos came out yet. If they're okay I'll put some on here.

It's funny, I resisted going digital for so long. Now the thought of having to get a film developed seems strange. Why didn't I take my digital? Because it's a big dSLR and security wouldn't have let me take it in.

10 December 2006

Birthday presents

I was going to write about American Idol today and how unbelievably bad it was this year, but about half way through the show last night, the guys started singing. Some of them were actually quite good. Although, the eventual winner (it finished in May) certainly wasn't the best one last night.

No, I'm going to write about birthday presents.

Because Donna and I have our birthdays only a week apart, Jess, my oldest step-daughter, and her fiancee Brett decided they'd get us a combined present this year. They turned up this morning with it in a large cardboard box. Donna thought it was Joe Satriani coming round the corner when she saw Brett. He's just had his head shaved and was wearing wraparound sunnies.

Anyway, the box was clucking, or rather the contents were. It contained four young weed scratching, kitchen scrap devouring, egg laying machines

We said we weren't going to name this lot, but I'm sure we will in the end. I was thinking maybe, Ricky-Lee, Kate, Emily and Paulini. If you don't live in Australia you won't get that. They are the "Young Divas", a group formed from four ex Australian Idol contestants.

Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame gave his hens male names. If you've read "The World According to Clarkson" you'll know that he shot David Beckham (the chook) by accident one night, thinking it was a fox trying to kill his chooks.

Hopefully by the end of next week we won't be buying any eggs from the supermarket again. I've been down to their pen with an empty egg carton and an axe to let them know their options. I think they got the point, it still has a bit of Wanda's blood on it.


An update on the photo library.

So far I've had seven photos accepted by Fotalia, there's a banner for their website in my sidebar. Now I've just got to sit back and watch the money roll in. Not really, I need to keep taking photos and build up the number of images I have on their site. I also need to prepare another submission for Shutterstock, now I have better idea of what's acceptable.

If you think you'd like to sell some of your images, or you're a web designer looking for images, why not click on the Shutterstock link or the Fotalia banner and check them out. I get a percentage if you do.


Oh, I almost forgot to mention, this blog reached one thousand hits the other day. The lucky thousandth visitor was someone from Wellington, New Zealand that uses dialup with an ISP called Clear, or something similar.

I suspect it may be Matt whose blog is listed in my sidebar. If not then I have another regular reader that I don't know about. If so, leave me a comment to let me know who you are.

07 December 2006

If only the test was today

I had another driving lesson today.

The difference between today and two weeks ago was incredible. I crunched the gears a few times, but nowhere near as much as I have before. I had a different truck today and a different instructor, Alan, but I think it was more a case of me just being more in tune with the truck.

It certainly increased my confidence a heap. If I'd gone for the test today, I would have gone in there confident that I could pass, whereas last time I fully expected to fail.

I've had a lot of hits on the blog lately searching for information on driving with the Roadranger gearbox, so I'm going to try to make this as helpful as possible.

The main problem I was having was not getting the revs right when I was changing down. There's about 400 RPM difference between each gear. If you rev the engine so that it goes up by 400 RPM when you change gear you'll get it in every time. It's not really a case of watching the tacho everytime you change gears though, like I was doing before. You have to listen for it, after a while you'll know when it's right and when it isn't.

I'm also starting to treat it more like a truck than a car, in that I'm giving myself a lot more time to slow down coming up to turns and such. I still think coming almost to a complete stop in fifth gear without touching the clutch, then pulling away smoothly is pretty cool. There's no way you'd be able to do that in any car I've ever driven.

Anyway, my test is booked for the 11th of January, in the morning and I've got a two hour lesson on the Saturday before that. We're getting air conditioning installed on the Thursday before, so I hope it's not too hard to get out of bed on the Saturday.


I mentioned the other day that I'd submitted some photos to Shutterstock, with a view to selling them. Most of them were rejected because of noise or grain. I can't make another submission for 30 days, so I've cleaned up the grain on some of them and submitted them to Fotalia, another library.

I think the idea of making me wait 30 days is quite a good one actually. That way I'm not going to rush out and take a load of rubbish photos and have another failure. It forces me to take my time. I've already got some good ideas for my next submission.

05 December 2006

The answer to the question about life, the universe and everything

Ok, I was wrong about the questions I'd get asked when I got back to work.

Most people just said, "You're back".
To which I usually mumbled the reply, "I don't wanna talk about it".

I had 216 e-mails in my inbox, most of which I could delete straight away without reading them. One of them mentioned the Christmas lunch at Gilhoolie's Pub, which was last Friday and no-one thought to let me know. So I missed out on a free feed and, looking at the menu, it was a good one too.

Nothing's changed while I've been away. The work is exactly the same, the view is the same (I hardly even look out the window now), the frustrations are the same. Our database seems to be crashing a lot more than before so the frustrations, even though they're the same, are more numerous.

I think the only highlight of the day was see a woman abseil past my window. I managed to get a photo, but she was outside the second floor by then, so it's not as good as it could have been.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the title of today's post, that's how old I am today. I used to say, you're only as old as the woman you feel, but I don't since I met Donna. She's older than me.

03 December 2006

Back to work tomorrow

My four weeks off has come to an end.

It's a bit depressing really. I know for a fact I'll spend the first couple of hours cleaning the crap out of my e-mail inbox, that's assuming I can even log on. Usually when I get back from leave there's something wrong with my computer and I have to ring up IT support to get it fixed.

Then it'll be back to the same boring old shit that I was doing before I went on leave.

There'll be the usual questions like, "how was your holiday?"

To which I'll give the standard reply, "not long enough".

Then they'll say something like, "Shit! You had four weeks off. How much time do you want?"

Wait till I tell them I've got an RDO on Thursday, and next week I'm taking three days off. We're going to the Robbie Williams concert on the Wednesday night, so we thought we'd take some time off spend a couple of nights in the city, within walking distance of the concert.

It's Donna's birthday on the Tuesday too, so we'll be eating out a bit. She really likes the food at the Pancake Manor, so that's probably where we'll go for dinner. I haven't been to Yum Cha Lau for a long time so we might have lunch there.


I've been getting a bit creative this weekend.

I submitted some photos to Shutterstock the other day. They're a photo library that sells stock photos online. They pay you twenty-five US cents every time someone downloads one of your photos. That doesn't sound like much, but it all adds up and it's better than leaving them sitting on my hard-drive where no-one else can see them.

There are other libraries that pay more, but they tend to be more for full on professionals. While I think I can take professional quality photos, I don't have a business name behind me.

Anyway, Shutterstock require an initial ten images so that they can evaluate your work. If you don't get at least seven out of ten acceptances you have to go back and try again in thirty days. So I've been taking more photos to fill in the gaps if I don't get enough acceptances. Plus, if I do get enough, I'll have some more images to upload straight away.

It's amazing how a photo that you think looks really good turns out to be really bad when you blow it up for a closer look, which is what Shutterstock will do when they evaluate the images. Just finding ten images that I thought were both technically good, and saleable was a lot harder than I though.