Monday, 31 December 2007

End of Year Thoughts

Wow the last day of 2007. We always say that the years go by so quickly, it certainly doesn’t feel like 12 months since the last time I was getting ready to go hang out at the Taylor’s place to see in the new year (a little tradition we have here is to go play a couple hours of volleyball and have a BBQ at the same place every year – usually with a half deadly fireworks display at the end).

Where does the year go? It’s another FAQ for this time of year. In my opinion I think most of the year goes to waste. I can’t help but remember so many times when I could have done so much more, but spent the time doing something that really wasn’t worthwhile. I’ve struggled with building meaningful and fruitful friendships this year. I find that most of my friends these days are married, in a relationship or even with a small family of their own. The people I grew up hanging out with now have totally different lives and I’ve been left with a bit of a hole in that area.

I don’t think that’s anyone’s fault. I’m still single, which kinda sucks, and seeing all my friends now with their own families can be tough at times. However I guess I’m still trying to find people to hang out with – and this has led me to spend more time with people younger than me… I find this hard cause I’m in a totally different stage of life (full time work instead of uni study or whatever) and building some deeper friendships is hard because people just don’t really want to discuss stuff at the level I’m use to with my old friends.

In a way I think this year I gave up trying to build those friendships. And looking back on the year I think I spent way too many nights in front of my laptop or TV when I could have been trying to get more involved in different things. I’m not just talking about going out with friends, but because that area in my life was waning I could have used that time to get involved in different volunteer organisations where instead of just moping at home I could have been doing something useful (and meeting new people at the same time).

I think when things kind of don’t go our way and we’re left with nothing to do it’s too easy just to plonk down in front of the TV instead of finding something different but still useful to do.

In the end you get into a cycle of just not doing anything.

We waste so much time. TV ratings for the year are up, records are broken in Internet usage, and Facebook and Myspace are becoming serious addictions for some people. Imagine if everyone just halved their time spent on the net and went out and served somewhere instead. The homeless wouldn’t go hungry, single mum’s would be well supported, their kids would have male role models spending time with them, elderly people would have well maintained yards, home bound people would have company and be looked after, it really would make a difference I think.

Years go by so quick I think, because we fill them with so much meaningless stuff. I’m hoping in 2008 my social life might get a bit of a rejuvenation, but I’m also hoping that if it doesn’t I’ll be able to find something else to do other than wait for the next comment on my Myspace profile.

P.S Oh but anytime time on the net was worth it to find that video below... I have to watch it at least once each day - always brings a smile!

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Video of the Year - Aussie Pride!

A great Australian Racing Driver, in the Greatest Australian Racing Car, playing the Greatest Australian Folk Song!

2007 is almost over, but I caught this video last night and it just slides in to take the best video of the year award in my books.

So here's James Courtney in his Genweld Ford Falcon V8 Supercar playing Waltzing Matilda.

Not only can the guy drive.... and dance... he must also have a musical ear to pull that off so well!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

My Chrissy

Good days - Christmas was playing in church (carols aren't the most exciting things to play on the drums!), breakfast at 11am at my brother-in-law's mum's place (with his brother and wife as well, so between Sandhams and Whites it was a decent sized gathering), home for a snooze and a game of SIMCity3000 (classic, but totally gold!) then finally dinner with the Whites coming round our place.

Presents took a back seat this year, but I managed to get some floor mats for my car, and my brother bought us all tickets to The Outback Spectacular on the Gold Coast!

Boxing Day was lazing round home, and then dinner with some family on mum's side in Brisbane.

Back to work today - but it's been a restful break.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Deano's Christmas letter 2007

Some of this you may know, but it's a blanket email for the year, a good sum up, and thought I'd throw it up here for friends whom I've fogotten their email addresses (if I have sorry, and please get in touch...)

Hello to you all.

Well it’s Christmas Eve, and I am just sitting down to write my Chrissy Catchup email, some of you I have seen recently as you’ve come home for the holidays, others I can only imagine are experiencing quite a different Christmas period to myself.

It’s a warm summer evening here in Ipswich, I have my fan on, and considering cranking up the air conditioning. I know the general idea of Christmas is your snow, and warm fires… but I don’t think I’d want it any other way than what we have in Australia – especially Queensland. That heat means shorts and t-shirts are your ‘Christmas Best’ – everything feels a little more casual, and the family game of volleyball in the swimming pool is something not to be missed. Instead of a Christmas Turkey, or hot roast meal, we eat on our back patio, sometimes BBQ meat, with a cold ham and seafood… but this year I believe Mum has cooked a roast pork to serve cold with salad, fresh prawns and oysters… We have a small family here… just my brother and myself at home with mum and dad, and my sister and her husband – we share Christmas with my brother-in-law’s family as well, since they are a small family too – so that’s made it feel a little more like a big family gathering.

I hope you are well – and that your Christmas can be a time of great blessing, as we remember the birth of Jesus.

This year has been a pretty full on one for me. I’ve had job offers I’ve turned down, been through the process of becoming a manager only to have it not come off… and then finding myself in charge of some large projects which could seriously impact the company if they fail. And that’s just my work at RACQ. Computers are still my thing, but I find I’m moving more and more into managing people more than working on the computers. I worked at the Gold Coast Schoolies event in November – RACQ as a non government agency helped out by running the registration designed at keeping all the celebrating school leavers safe. It was quite a large task – and one underestimated by the people planning the event. As the person on the ground I had to really think on my feet to provide enough computers to run the event – it was a very stressful week, but in the end rewarding as the manager and higher executives were very happy with how it worked out. I’m also currently running a company wide computer rollout – only a small amount of PCs (200 – but considering we have 1600 PCs company wide it is a small number), but it’s meant managing two other people who are basically working for me.

Away from work I’ve been continuing with the sport chaplaincy – it’s been a quiet end of the year, but we are still seeing the effects of the tragedy we had earlier in the year… track officials are still coming to grips with the fatal accident back in March. Willowbank Raceway is a great place, run by a great group of people – and I love being part of the team, there have not been as many meets towards the end of the year, and the couple that have run have ended up washed out with rain. There is a big meet on the first weekend in January so I am looking forwards to that and inhaling some burning rubber and fumes once again :-P

Church life is taking a bit of a turn for me – I’m spending most of my time at City North Baptist in Brisbane these days and really enjoying getting more involved there. Hopefully in the new year I’ll start playing drums and finding other ways to serve God in that church. I’m still going to and playing at Whitehill occasionally, and up until this last term I was helping run the youth group, but I am slowing drawing back from there as I try to inject myself into City North more and more…

I’ve played no sport this year – my ankle injury from last years soccer season meant that I sat on the sidelines in 2007 – it’s also meant I’ve lacked the motivation to get out an exercise like previous years… hence a new years resolution is in order to get a bit fitter so I can start pre season training for soccer in 2008. I plan to play only on a social level next year, as I don’t think my ankle would hold up in one of the higher grade teams.

My brother Brett is going to have a 2008 on the sidelines like my 2007 – he sprained his knee back in the year and had a full knee reconstruction in July. He’s almost back to normal now, but needs to continue strengthening it, any sport for the next 12 months is out, which will be hard for him. It’s also caused him some problems with his electrical apprenticeship and he’s ready to get back out doing normal work again – hopefully in the new year..

Vanessa and Andy moved into their own home on the 1st January this year – they’ve now been married 18months and still just making their way through life… there’s talk of maybe moving to the UK for a year to work and make some more money – and if they do, expect me to tag along to help them settle in and hopefully visit many of my European friend (and hopefully a return journey via the Gambia)

That’s all in 2008 though and a little far away to really start thinking about – Mum and Dad are doing well, they’ve bought a Caravan and have used it a few times to trek off to different places. Dad had to buy something to tow his van and decided on a Nissan Nivara – quite a large ‘pickup’ (for you Americans) and something he’s quite simply fallen in love with. We’ve just found Mum a new car and as of Friday she’ll be zipping around in a new Honda Jazz – it’s good to see her finally getting a new car, and not always Dad with the new toys.

Speaking of new cars, due to the rising fuel costs, and the age of my fantastic Falcon – I decided it was time to say goodbye. I sold it and bought a brand new Mitsubishi Lancer – one of the new models they’ve just released here in Australia and are doing those big advertising campaigns on. It’s a great little car – but saying farewell to my beloved Falcon was very tough – I think it will always be the car I look back on and regret selling – it was so much fun to drive. But I made a choice to make my life a little easier to live, and a little less expensive as well. I’m hoping to move out of home next year (it’s about time eh??) so cutting down on my costs is a must.

So this is quite long – I’m sorry and if you’ve made it this far you’re doing well – so I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and would love to hear from you. These days on the Internet there are so many ways to keep in touch.

God Bless and I look forward to sharing 2008 with you all.


Merry Christmas

Well Christmas has arrived again, I'm yet to write my annual update letter, but still plan to before the day arrives (though I'm forced to the limit to emails now as postal certainly won't arrive before Christmas).

To all of you who read My Jarrol Spot, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and that you may have a blessed time as you remember the baby born in Bethlehem who later died to save all of us.

"Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
- Philippians 2:6-11

That's the little baby who's birth we celebrate tomorrow... Praise God.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Model Cars

Was playing around and taking some photos last night. I built a light box a few months ago - that's just a 3 sided cardboard box with a floor all covered in white paper. It;s basically a mini-studio that when set up with my flouro desk lamp creates a clean environment to take photos with a white background. If you want some colour filter you just put coloured cellophane over the desk lamp. It actually works really well for such a simple idea.

Well last night I got out some of the multitude of model cars I have on my desk and using the light box took some photos using my macro filters, trying to create some 'unique' kinda car shots.






For the rest check out My Flickr Account.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Striking Photograph

I'm not saying I support the use of nuclear arms but this is an amazing photo.

(Man split the atom, but it was God who put that phenomenal power in something so small)

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Life Lesson #231

If you're using an electric toothbrush... don't turn it on until it's in your mouth... otherwise it will spray you and the rest of the bathroom with toothpaste....

...the wisest lesson's come from someone else's experience, so please learn from my mistake...


Why are beer ads always the best?

Why are beer ads always the best ads on TV?

I'm not a big VB fan though, but this is good for a laugh

Thursday, 13 December 2007

My Week

What's been happening you ask?

Well as with everyone, everything seems to pick up around this time of year and you start to wonder where all your time goes.

I got my new car... which is great, it's starting to feel a bit more like 'My Car' as I drive it more. I'm enjoying the lower fuel costs as I can get 700ks to a tank and it costs $20 less to fill up! So travelling further on a tank, and then not paying as much to fill it up.

Saturday we did the big Backyard Blitz for a family at church. It was a great day - the 22mm of rain the night before, though welcome, created quite a muddy environment for us to work in. We got it all done though, turf laid, road base down on the driveway and everything looking pretty shmick

Saturday night I went into the Carols in the City (Brisbane's Capital City Carol's night), which was run by the Brisbane City Tabernacle, and Christian Radio Station 96.5 - it's fantastic to have a church based carols services backed by the Brisbane City council and Qld State Government, both Brissie Mayor, Camble Newman and Anna Bligh (QLD Premier) said their bit, and then all throughout the carol night the story of Jesus was told to thousands.

If you're in Qld it's going to be telecast on Chanel 10 sometime before Christmas, it really is worth a look! I was lucky enough to fluke seating in the VIP section, second front row, right in the centre of the stage. It was an amazing place to watch the concert, and really got to experience the live music of James Morrison and his band, all the classic carols singers and Guy Sebastian!

I only had my phone there to take photos, which means there's no good ones, but I thought I'd put up a bad one of Guy anyway just to prove I saw him :-P

Sunday was a day at Wet n Wild with the guys from RACQ - a kind of unofficial Chrissy break up (even though we saw each other at work the next day) - it was a fun day cruising the water slides and having a bit of fierce competition on the 8 Wave Racer (which I think I can say I was the outright winner overall).

This week I've done a Project Management course... somehow destroyed my work laptop... went to the Motorola Christmas party and am now wondering where all the other time's gone, cause I just don't think I've had a spare moment at all.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Christmas Challenge

This Christmas period try and find someone who don't really know, and help them out with something they could never do on their own.

Tomorrow my home group are going to our Pastoral Care Minister's house to do a 'Backyard Blitz', now I know this person so it doesn't really count, but it will give you an idea... Something they possibly could finish themselves a group of 10 of us will attempt to do in a day.

I'll be trying to do something else, more along the lines of my first sentance, for someone I don't really know, I encourage you to do the same - it could be the smallest of things, but imagine if everyone did something like this how many more people will enjoy Christmas that little bit more because of the selflessness of others.

I'd love to hear what you get up to, who you help and any responses received...

To My International Audience

Thanks for reading

These are the last 100 Hits on my blog. From all over the World

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

End of an Era

1995 - The year I started highschool, and also the year Ford brought out the EF Falcon. Ford was finally realising that Australian culture is one that celebrates a V8 Muscle Car heritage. For so many years Ford Australia had ignored the muscle car trends and had let Holden win out on every front with their SS Commodores and the new HSV franchise.

In 93 and 94 Ford had brought back the V8 in Falcons... and the ED model had the first ever XR8, be it an uninspired generic Falcon just with a V8 and different headlight pattern on the front.

However in 95 with the EF Ford brought out the XR8 and XR6 models, with a distinctive front look and tuned suspension and other upgrades...

By 97, I was 15, totally into cars, with a huge family heritage of Ford supporters and Ford were finally getting it right with the facelift EL Falcon. The XR8 and 6 in that model looked fantastic, the development was done in partnership with motorsports partner Tickford. Tickford suped up both the V8 and straight 6 engines (the V8 a 'blue' engine and the 6 a 'red'), with a sunken quad headlight design and tuned and lowered suspension the XR series really became the pinnacle of Ford's Falcon line up.

Right from when I saw the EL's I loved them. In 98 when I was getting my learners and in 99 when I had my license, the car I wanted was an EL XR8 (obviously couldn't afford it, but it was my 'dream car'). Even with the release of the AU Falcon at the end of 98, the EL was still my favourite, in many cases it still is to this day.

It was the car I loved, the one I dreamt of owning, so when I returned from Africa in 2004 and needed a new car I thought about Subaru Imprezas, but what I really wanted was a manual Falcon. I found a heap on and set out to take a few for a test drive.

The very first one I went to look at was a 1997 EL Falcon XR6, and from the first moment I saw it I fell in love with it, even more so when the dealer started it up and it's 2.5 inch exhaust made one of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard! Without looking at another car I bought it.

It wasn't the XR8 I'd dreamt of, but in so many ways it was better - the custom exhaust on it (which I later added a sportier muffler) makes it simply the best sounding 6cyl Falcon I've ever heard. I'd decided against a V8, so this XR6 was definitely the next best thing.

Today marks the end of my 3 year love affair with that car... I bought a brand new Mitsubishi Lancer last Friday (the one in all the TV adds, Newer... Better... Safer... Greener and all that...) and I pick it up this afternoon, trading in my beloved XR6 at the same time.

The new car is my decision to try and cut my week-by-week travel costs, fuel, rego, maintenance and general running will be much cheaper with the Lancer. The Falcon's now 10 years old, done 161 000k's and getting to the point where it will need some work and money poured into it.

However saying goodbye to this car is like saying goodbye to an old friend - actually this is starting to feel like a eulogy isn't it!

I'm looking forward to having a new car, but at the moment (5 hours before pick up) I'm more grieving the Falcon than I am excited about the Lancer.

Sounds a bit sad and dorky doesn't it??? Well I don't care, I sure love that car!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

AIDs Patients Blaming Jammeh for Crisis.

Almost 12 months ago I posted a few blogs on The Gambian President, Yaya Jammeh, proclaiming he had a cure for AIDs.

Read the initial blogs to find the Presidents self professed cure here and a follow up post about the international outcry here.

Well so many months later and Jammeh is still 'treating' patients, telling them they are cured and not to use the antiretroviral drugs offered at hospitals and non-government agencies (such as WEC) clinics.

The Freedom Newspaper in The Gambia has this article from Nov 30.

As Africa celebrates world aids day, aids patients in The Gambia, said many of their colleagues have died in the recent past due to President Yahya Jammeh's recent decree, which bared hiv patients in the country from using antiretroviral drugs.

The said drug helps to prolong the lives of hiv patients. But in The Gambia, the Government had warned against the use of the said drug. The Gambian leader warned patients benefiting from his aids treatment program to stop using antiretroviral drugs if they want to be cured.

Speaking to the Freedom Newspaper, one of the male hiv patients accused President Jammeh of endangering their lives by advising them not to use antiretroviral drugs. The patient claimed that many of his colleagues were dying in The Gambia due to President Jammeh's decree against the use of antiretroviraldrugs.

"Many of our group members are presently hospitalized with little hope of recovering. Some have died in the recent past. All these deaths can be attributable to the President. He is endangering our lives by warning us not to use antiretroviral drugs. The President knows that he cannot cure aids and yet he wants to secretly kill our group members by exposing them into such risky treatment program. As the world celebrates, world aids day, I'm appealing to the International Community to please come to our aid. Our group members are dying on a daily basis due to the president's ill conceived advise." said the 40 year old Gambian hiv patient...

The article goes on to say that many HIV patients who believe they are cured are returning to life without antiretroviral drugs and becoming sick again... but more than that they are heading back into a society full of sexual promiscuity and believing they are cured not using any protection methods... thus spreading the disease because they think they don't have it anymore.

This is a huge issue facing The Gambian nation - and all because of the false ideas of grandeur of the nation leader. Something must be done to stop the President from continue to lie to his people.

Please pray that the lies of Jammeh can be found out, that the nation will stop their blind faith in the man who is slowly killing them all. His reign of over 10 years has been full of corruption, but this current farce is something the International Community needs to be aware of, and visibly opposed to.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Pigging Out

Thieves have stolen 16 tonnes of Christmas ham!

CHEEKY thieves have made off with 16 tonnes of ham and bacon from a Sydney warehouse, leaving the message "Thanks, Merry Christmas" daubed on a wall.

The thieves cut their way through a wall of the Zammit Ham and Bacon Curers warehouse at Pendle Hill in Sydney's northwest, between 3.30pm (AEDT) on Saturday and 5am on Sunday...

...The thieves escaped with meat worth $80,000-$100,000, warehouse co-owner Anthony Zammit said today.

It's not yet known how the thieves escaped with the huge haul.,23599,22859830-2,00.html

Wow, I guess there is a lot of money in ham this time of year - but how does someone manage to cut through a wall and truck off 16 tonnes of pig without being noticed.

I enjoy a Chrissy Ham, but one usually feeds our family for a week or bit more - these guys are gonna be pigging out!
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