Monday, March 3, 2014


For those readers who are not close to the family this final post is to inform you of the sad news that Roger (my Dad) lost his courageous battle with cancer during the morning of Saturday 1st March 2014.

If anyone reading is not aware, Roger had quite a bit of history with his health over the last 15 years. Most recently in 2011, Melanoma was discovered in a part of his upper back. Unfortunately the discovery came too late and while a series of operations and treatments were attempted, the disease soon spread to his internal organs including his brain.

Roger summarised his experience in the entry The Spanish Dancer from August 2013. I remember feeling pretty upset the first time I read this though I didn't tell him I had seen it. Today I found myself re-reading it and finding myself a bit upset again though I'm also reminded of something that makes me smile.

The leave pass he spoke of in the last sentence was spent with Jarrad (his other son) and I whizzing him away from the Royal Adelaide Hospital and up into the Adelaide Hills for lunch, drinks and a chat at the Inglewood Inn. We followed this up with a stroll around the Birdwood Motor Museum - a place he always loved and that we often spoke about over the years. I remember he was buzzing like a kid that day having been stuck inside the hospital for several weeks prior, excited by this temporary freedom and telling us stories about the "bogan" who had been caught with beer in the next bed the previous night. It was a great day which I'll always remember fondly.

After spending a few hours checking out the museums collection of all things automotive, Jarrad dropped me home and continued on with Roger to the RAH. I remember that no sooner had I stepped in the door than I received a very worried call from one of the nurses demanding to know what I had done with their patient. Apparently he was supposed to be back by 5:00pm and we had broken curfew.

The following day and over lunch at the Arab Steed I bought this up and asked if he had gotten into any trouble for arriving back late. He told me how the nurse had eventually managed to track him down on his mobile while still with Jarrad, only for him to inform her he had skipped town to Melbourne! I came to realise that playfully taking the piss out of the nurses was something he did a fair bit of while in hospital.

That playful side of his personality comes through to me in a lot of his writing.

I know that Roger really enjoyed sharing his thoughts via this blog and twitter and while he had strong and often provocative ideas and opinions his posts were always delivered with flair and the sharp wit which those who knew him well came to expect.

The more I think about it the more I realise how glad I am to have access to this record of my Dads thoughts during the last several years. While I now have an offline copy too, its my intention that these words of his will remain here as long as possible so those of us who wish to can use them to reflect on this time in his life.

Thank you,

Luke Wegener

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Escaping the next Murdoch domination

Has been a bit of twitter traffic recently about how to ensure that we don't get stuck with Murdoch's FoxTel in the same way that we have been stuck with his newspapers.

To my mind it is all about ensuring independence and diversity.  We will be royally f*cked if we allow ourselves to be controlled by the man again.  Our aim should be to have multiple sources of supply.  Unfortunately signing up to FoxTel isn't good for that.

So I have been thinking about what I want in a alternative interface between my loungeroom and its devices and the outside world - some initial thoughts follow.

* I want to control the key inputs of my video and internet signals.  All inputs (free to air TV, internet, hard drives, memory sticks, anything else) are identified, tagged and secured with appropriate protection.

* I want to see what is happening in any of these input streams by double clicking them and having them maximise in a windowing environment displayed on my TV - that responds in the normal fashion.

* I want to be able to re-direct, store, transcribe, translate or otherwise modify any of these incoming video streams - for re-play later or perhaps even to save internally or externally and play on a different device.

* I want the whole thing to be *open* - or at least open in the sense that we can hack into it to see what is actually going on internally.  Plus I want to be able to add features and reconfigure things as my wants and needs change over time.

Am guessing this may already exist - and all that is needed is some more brainpower and capital to turn it into a top little consumer device - that also gives us freedom from the mogul.

What do you reckon?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Napoleon has landed

For four years he has been getting himself ready to run the country.

First he entered into an "unholy alliance" with Murdoch - for Ruperts' media to promote Tony and diss those opposite at every opportunity.

More recently he has done a secret deal with the ABC and SBS - "to not cut their funding" - presumably in exchange for their favourable on-air treatment of him and the Libs.

I can only guess that he has done similar deals with "free to air TV and Pay TV".  All designed to make our new Prime Minister - look Napoleonic in the eyes of their audiences.

It looks to me that he is starting a bit of a look and feel makeover to create a right little Napoleon.

His Cabinet is comprised mainly of old white male has-beens left over from the Howard implosion of six years ago and he has abandoned a raft of important things that governments ought to do.  Too many to list - but for example there is no science minister.  No friggin science minister fer chrissakes.

Not to mention that there is just one female in his Cabinet.  Where will the voices of reason come from?

Doesn't he appreciate that most of our basic services rely on heavy duty science.  Health for example can't function in the 21st century without serious science underpinning its technology.  Building roads and bridges requires serious science in the form of proven structural design and integrity.  Even a node terminated NBN requires science to make it work.  Everything in a modern community relies on science.

Does he even know that?

Not to mention his obsession with removing the carbon price - This is a criminal act - and shows just how deep this new government is in the pocket of big coal.

All this has only just started - but I fear that these few examples are just the tip of the iceberg of what we are going to have to get used to over the next three years.

It will probably get worse as the luddites wade through their "Commission of Audit" - looking for their pet hates to defund or abandon.  Lookout "Medicare, Public Schools, Universities, Pensions" - these are the things that Napoleonesque has-beens despise.

I suppose that this is the price you pay Mr and Ms Australia for not being engaged with politics.  Good luck.

France managed to get rid of theirs way back in February 1821 - I suspect we have a whole population to educate before we can get rid of ours.

And Tim Dunlop says it all much better than I ever could.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Federal Election 2013 - Electorate of Grey

Next Saturday - 7th September Australians are voting to elect a new Government.

There are actually two different elections - one for the "House of Representatives" and one for "The Senate".

In the "House of Representatives" voters are required to award their preference from 1 to (potentially) 8 against the names of the candidates whom they prefer.  We must place a number alongside every candidate on the Green coloured Ballot Paper.

There are some interesting characteristics about the "House of Representatives" vote.

* No matter who you actually vote for and who you want to win, usually one of the candidates from the two major parties will get elected - due to our preferential voting system and;

* If any party gets more than 4% of the vote then they will collect $2.48 for every first preference vote that they receive.

I don't like either of these characteristics and will be voting to minimise the effect.  Usually Grey is won by the Liberal Party - last election they got over 55% of the distributed vote and that resulted in Rowan Ramsey being elected.

Here is how I propose to vote in the "Electorate of Grey" - there are 6 candidates - so I need 6 numbers ;-)

 3   Ben Browne - Australian Labor Party
 1   Kristian Rees - Palmer United Party
 5   Cheryl Kaminski - Family First
 2   Alison Sentance - Australian Greens
 6   Rowan Ramsey - Liberal Party
 4   Greg Fidge - Independent

My three key considerations are: first preference to Palmer United Party - because they will be "lucky" to get 4% of the vote - this protects my $2.48.  Put Liberal Party last - because they will win the seat - but not with my help they won't.  And I can't stand Family First - they have no prospect of winning but get my second last spot.

"The Senate" is a different story and it's a difficult ballot to understand - almost as though it was designed to confuse.

The white Senate ballot paper is large and unweildy - with a range of characters trying to become a Senator.  Remember that each state elects 12 Senators for six years with half of those (a Half Senate Election) each 3 years.

There are 2 Liberal, 2 Labor, 1 Independent and 1 Green Senators up for election in 2013.  Of particular interest to me is that Cory Bernardi is one of the Liberal Senators seeking re-election.  This guy is a first class wingnut and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a parliament - and that will be guiding my decision.

Because the Liberal Party will likely win the "House of Representatives" election - I am looking for a party who can work with "The Senate" to stop the Liberals from destroying the joint.  There are essentially two approaches - firstly try to elect as many independents as possible - or secondly to go with The Greens.

I am wary of independents - because we have seen what the Liberals did to them last time.  Should they dominate in the Senate then the Liberals will attempt either to destroy them or to buy them off.  I don't want that - so I will be going with "The Greens in the Senate".  Ok it will cost me $2.48 - but that will be worth it ;-)

So that is my voting strategy on September 7th.  I encourage you all to think about yours and adopt a similar approach - or at least one that makes sense to you.

Good luck to you all.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Spanish Dancer

I first met "The Spanish Dancer" in 1999 - after my GP ordered an ultrasound and discovered that she had a firm grasp of my left testicle.  I quickly got myself up to the Royal North Shore Hospital - where various experts pushed and probed and tested and investigated - until they could confirm that she had taken up residence and that they had to cut her free with some radical surgery.  A few days later I stumbled out of there in great pain and with much humility.

And then we started a multi-year programme of X-rays, CT-scans, blood tests and other things to detect if she was still around.

My next encounter was in 2005 - when after an excellent meal of fish and chips at a little seaside village - I ended up in hospital with furious abdominal pain.  After a few days and more tests and X-rays and CT-scans and probing fingers and a colonoscopy - the doctors discovered that she was back and had invaded my bowel.  Fortunately the local hospital and surgeons and staff were excellent, well prepared and equipped - and they soon had her on her way again.

And so started another programme of tests - mainly colonoscopy and CT-scans and blood tests.

Until one day in 2011 I awoke to discover blood on my sheet from a small mole-like growth on my back.  A quick visit to my GP had it removed and sent to the lab for analysis.  A few days later we heard back that it was Melanoma.

She was back - and in a new and deadly guise.

And now I am in the Royal Adelaide Hospital after five surgery events in 2 years, a forgotten number of X-rays, CT-scans, MRI's, PET scans and blood tests - and she is still stalking me.  My lungs have numerous spots and my brain has at least one.  The doctors are talking about some more surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy starting Tuesday next week.  In the meantime I have a leave pass for the weekend and intend to take full advantage of it ;-)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Glenn Greenwald discusses stories on NSA leaks

I think that Glenn Greenwald just demonstrated that much of the media is the propaganda arm of the US Government.  Things are getting serious folks.

And here is the video.

For the Australians reading this post - I am sorry but Glenn has nothing to say about house prices, 4WD's, football or beer - so you have nothing to be concerned about - this macrobusiness article might be more to your taste ;-)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Letter to a Prime Minister

Was reminiscing the other day about another election and another Prime Ministerial adventure - here are the tweets - direct from Twitter - with minor changes to make it readable.

* Given that Abbott started it with his bad behaviour - will he be concerned if someone finishes it with a trigger?

* Reminds me of the 2004 election.  Howard ended up with about double the number on his bodyguard brigade - on the morning Kirribilli walk.

* Am assuming it was because of the *doubling* of death threats during that campaign.

* On his morning walk along the boardwalk he had about 6 big bastards with guns minding him - plus a couple of AFP cruisers nearby.

* One particularly nasty *helper* was a big muscly gun-toting female bodyguard who used to elbow we other boardwalkers out of the way.

* One memorable morning - the big dyke muscled a North Sydney resident who had a habit of calling little Johnny *Sir Johnny*.  Still LMAO.

* Most of we boardwalkers were just relieved when *Sir Johnny* got the flick in 2007 - because we didn't have to put up with his bodyguard brigade.

* Am curious to know if the big dyke is riding shotgun with Tony on his pollie pedal these days?  And where she hides her gun?

* My neighbor used to say in a very loud voice as the man and his entourage passed us "Mornin Sir Johnny" - and then we would cack ourselves.

* But one morning - dorothy dyke thought we were being "you know disrespectful".  And she proceeded to *elbow* my walking mate.

* And we didn't know what to do - because she was the one with the gun.  A big thing strapped to her back.

* So we did what any self respecting citizens would do - early one morning we delivered a big brown turd to the Prime Ministerial letterbox.

* Given that Abbott started it with his bad behaviour - will he be concerned if someone finishes it with a trigger?