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SILLY SEASON

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Todd Kelly who will link with veteran team owner Larry Perkins at Jack Daniels racing.
By Graham Jacobs
Professionalism in the V8 Supercar Championship is starting to rival the major Football codes in Australia with team owners wasting little time in preparation for the 2008 Supercar season.

Much of the attention has centred on newly crowned champion Garth Tander’s move to the Holden Racing Team to join Mark Skaife replacing Todd Kelly who will link with veteran team owner Larry Perkins at Jack Daniels Racing, replacing Jack Perkins.”Having driven with HRT at Sandown and Bathurst last year I know how professional an outfit they are hopefully Mark and I can push each other to greater heights next year ” said Tander.

Russell Ingall will return to Holden where he started his career joining the Paul Morris’ Gold Coast-based team and former V8 Supercar development series champion Paul Dumbrell will join the championship-winning Toll Dealer Team alongside Rick Kelly next season.

MORE AUSSIE TECHNOLOGY

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By Graham Jacobs

An Australian team from Curtin University of technology, WA, has been named as a finalist for this year’s Mondialogo engineering award in Germany.

An international jury comprised of experts in the fields of science and engineering, nominated 30 teams from around the world to proceed to the final of the prestigious worldwide engineering contest.
A total of 3,200 students studying engineering sciences from 89 countries, including Australia, registered for the second edition of the engineering award at the beginning of December, the finalist teams will be attending the Mondialogo Symposium in Mumbai, India, where the most outstanding will be honored with the prestigious Engineering award. The ten winning teams will be awarded with cash prizes of over $30,000.

POPEMOBILE

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By Graham Jacobs

Pope Benedict XVI has gone a little up market with a sporty new set of wheels and will present himself to the 40,000 or so pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in a shining white, open-top Mercedes-Benz during his public audiences on Wednesdays.
The new “Popemobile” was created over a two-year development period in close consultation with the Vatican, and has now been personally handed over to the Holy Father.Equipped with a folding windscreen and hand-rails, and like its predecessors it is painted in the Vatican mystic white finish.

The interior is likewise white, and is accessed via steps lined in red at the rear as The Pope holds his audiences in a standing position, so that he is easily visible to all his flock.At the time of going to press the Vatican has not detailed any plans for a set of Mag wheels, 2 inch sports exhaust or a set of fluffy dice to hang from the rear view mirror.

WIN FOR WHINCUP

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By Graham Jacobs

Jamie Whincup took some consolation from his narrow two point loss in the V8 Championship Series by winning one of the sport’s most coveted awards at the end of season V8 Supercar Gala dinner at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

The 24 year old was awarded the Barry Sheene Medal, an award that honors the driver that best represents the Series in their on-track and off-track efforts across the season.

V8 Supercars Australia Chairman Tony Cochrane said that Whincup was a thoroughly deserved winner of the Barry Sheene Medal in honour of the former Motorcycle World Champion that personified what motorsport should be about.

“Jamie has shown a lot of character this year in bouncing back from situations with real guts and determination, more importantly he has handled himself like a consummate professional through those highs and lows.”Mr Cochrane said.

Greg Murphy Racing’s Dale Wood won the Mike Kable Young Gun Award for his sterling efforts in the Fujitsu series, veteran commentator Barry Oliver was recognised for his dedicated and professional service to the sport in a decade of calling races at tracks around the country.

The first winner of the Bathurst 1000 race Harry Firth was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Bahrain International Circuit and the Desert 400 picked up the award for the best event, the Best Volunteer Group went to the Clipsal 500 and the best presented team went to Dick Johnson’s Jim Beam Racing.

How to Submit an Article in The Word

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German playschool teacher

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German Playschool Teacher wanted!

Friendly and experienced head teacher sought for German-speaking playschool.
Wed/Thurs in Scullin, Canberra. 12 hours per week. Start Feb 2008.
Primary Education teaching degree preferred; minimum Diploma in Early Childhood or Children’s Services (or equivalent). Must be native speaker of German.

More info about the Playschool is on www.canberraonline.com.au/germanplayschool/

B'da b'da that's all folks!

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This will give you a good giggle!

Hungry for a Home – the House Hunting Experience

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Frustrations of buying a home
Humans need four things to live: air, water, food and shelter – but these days these essentials involve oxygen therapy, Evian bottled l’eau, and low-GI seven-seed bread. Yes indeed, we in the Western world think beyond the shelter of a mere cave and desire a castle.
But while humans no longer need to spear lions and wrestle sabre-tooth tigers to feed their needs, there is one hunt that remains: house hunting.

There’s nothing like impending hunger to get off one’s haunches “Yeah I suppose we had better buy something.” The rental property was being sold and we had eight months to find somewhere else. We had often joked about our apartment – good riddance we thought. No more dodgy doors, freezing winters and boiling summers, or dousing Glen 20 over the stinky drains. And this in a place less than 5 years old. A dream of another abode caused our eyes to light up with visions of compost bins, a vegie garden and a German shepherd – surely such an attainable feat, and we were filled with much enthusiasm. It seemed like we had all the time in the world to find the perfect home – or so we thought.

So then it started; a routine of daily checks on allhomes, traipsing around to inspections. Meetings with banks and solicitors. Suddenly Saturdays disappeared – the hunting had begun.

There are three main stages of hunting, with degrees of emotional delight and despair.

Stage 1: Initial prowl in grassy rolling knolls

There are some average looking snacks out there but nothing that fits the taste; a big juicy heaving wet-with-life hunk of buffalo rump, aka 3 bedroom ensuite in Inner South with yard and cute cottage fixtures. At exhibitions, it’s fun poking into other people’s houses, looking at their furniture and pictures, trying to imagine their lives, and then trying to imagine yours. The estate agents who stand idly by while you wipe your feet on the doormat becomes the sentinels by which you may pass into the land of smug home ownership. Well-meaning advice from said home owners about having realistic expectations is cast aside much like motherly comments that it was a bit harsh dumping a bloke just because he once owned a chihuahua. But sage advice should be heeded – for no house is ever perfect. There is always something missing, like extra power points, too many power points, or a big tree that looks dead, not enough trees even if the agent spins on ‘easy to maintain garden’ for barren wasteland. After a couple of months of doormat dalliances, they remember your name and have a joke, like good old Tim whose charm and humour at least made the drudgery of Saturdays a bit brighter – even if he does work for a company with a teddy bear as a gimmick at auctions.
But after a couple of months, faults become more apparent, even in the advertising – why, if I had a dollar for every spelling mistake and abuse of hyphenation that riddles real estate ads, then I could buy those outrageously priced apartments on Kingston foreshore. You want three million dollars to look at a muddy lake with jumping carp? The bitterness and injustice of the Canberra housing market is even more apparent when pamphlets from charity Boystown mailouts reveal that one could buy THREE renovated Paddington terrace houses for that. No carp indeed, but it’s SYDNEY for f**’s sake. Am I sounding bitter? Nah, just getting real

Stage 2: Getting Real – when even a snack will do

Now that 3 beddie has morphed into “Hey we could get away with 2 bedrooms, as long as there’s a shed, and hey who needs a yard anyway – dogs are too messy.” This is when you realise that prices that seemed absurd six months ago were actually a bargain. The ‘we should haves’ burst forth from fights over map-navigation in cul-de-sacs. Thoughts of “do I even want to live with this person” cross the mind. Time is ticking down with hunger and desperation entering the Savannah. Even a pygmy possum or giant stuffed teddy bear will do about now.

And if the list of half-a-million-dollar price tags aren’t enough to dampen European holiday plans, auctions are exceptionally depressing because there’s a faint glimmer of hope: “Maybe, just maybe, no-one will bid and we’ll get it for a bargain.” And then the bidding starts at what your limit was and then the next 20 minutes is spent wondering how a 26 year old has enough money to buy Gucci sunglasses, a Mercedes convertible and the property he’ll rent out anyway. Needless to say, I wanted to punch that gimmicky bear after the fifth auction.

Emotions can be happy ones though when the house becomes a home in mind – as soon as you walk in the door and it feels like you could kick off your shoes, pour a glass of wine and wash the dishes at the kitchen window overlooking the garden. The images come to you at work – where the dining table could go, the parties on the balcony, wouldn’t the Blues Brothers picture look just right at the end of the hallway. Then the auction rolls around – will tonight be a celebration, or yet another bottom of a bottle of red night? Then that Mercedes bloke shows up and you know that any dishes being washed ain’t gonna be here.
Location is the ever-binding boundary – going beyond your own turf would seem like lurking about in a jungle. The initial statement of “wouldn’t be seen dead living in Ainslie” becomes, “Hmm, Ainslie’s not so bad, and they have the football club – maybe we could learn to like football.” Then there are identifiable boundary lines of ‘derro-ness’, starting with ‘Derrobundah’, which is the end closest to the caravan park, and generally any street that has rusting bicycles and dirty children lying about the front yard.
The Getting Real stage also refines the bullshit detector – ‘Quaint cottage’ says the advertisement, and quaint it ain’t, at least in the sense that the building report mentioned ‘borers’ at least three times and wood-rot came up more often than ‘the’. “But the floorboards are so gorgeous darling! Don’t you love floorboards?” “Yes, I do. So do termites. And that tree looks like the roots are creeping ever-closer to the ceramic pipe – fancy a 10 grand plumbing bill?” Old houses are lovely, but they need lots of money to keep them that way. That said, there are some very dodgy new places too, flung up in a rush to meet the public service gangbusters five years ago. Creaking plywood staircases, whopping great chasms of cracks on balcony overhangs – and EER 5, my butt. Missing a decimal point somewhere?
So where’s the middle ground? Anywhere. Anything. It’s time for food.

Stage 3: Ravening hunger

This phase is great for sellers and real estate agents (who you know as well as your hairdresser by now). They can see the glazed look, hear the self-talk “Yes, we could do something with that dead tree, surely, it can’t be THAT bad.” They see the lean muscles stretched to breaking point, enough to go giddy at an auction perhaps. Where will it end? Each house blends into the other, you wonder “which one was that again?” Each abode is recalled by some quirk rather than street name “the one with the goldfish pond” or “the one with the puke-yellow walls and dirty great big 70s gas heater with cobwebs.”
So after months of prowling for a house with a yard, then shifting mindsets to a townhouse, then anything that remotely resembles a step up from the poky two-bedroom apartment with leaking doors and no carpet underlay, the idea came to us.

“Hey, let’s bid on this place.”

Will we ever be sated? Time will tell.
The auction is this Saturday.

How Do You Measure Up launch with AIS's Alice Mills & Robbie Crowther

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How Do You Measure Up launch with AIS''s Alice Mills & Robbie Crowther
Athens Olympics gold medallist swimmer Alice Mills will join AIS athletes Philippe Rizzo and Robbie Crowther and year 6 students from Canberra’s St Vincent’s Primary School tomorrow to launch the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) brand new How Do You Measure Up? display as part of its revamped interactive sports exhibit, Sportex..
The display will allow visitors to the AIS to compare their own physical attributes such as height and arm span with life-size images of some of the AIS’s most successful recent athletes and Australian champions. These include the iconic Cathy Freeman, Socceroo Lucas Neil, basketballer Andrew Bogut, gymnasts Hollie Dykes and Philippe Rizzo, swimmer Alice Mills and long jumper Robbie Crowther.
How do you measure up? joins a number of other fun and exciting exhibits within Sportex. Visitors can try their hand at rock climbing, virtual rowing, football, skateboarding, winter sports and more. All just in time for Canberrans to bring their families and interstate visitors to experience the AIS over the Christmas holidays!
A visit to Sportex is included with all tours of the AIS. Tours depart daily at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm & 2:30pm.
What: Launch of How Do You Measure Up exhibit at AIS
Who: AIS athletes Alice Mills, Philippe Rizzo and Robbie Crowther

Year 6 students from Canberra’s St Vincent’s Primary School
When: 11am, Thursday 6 December
Where: Sportex, Sport Visitors’ Centre, Australian Institute of Sport
Contact: Simon Langford, ASC Media Manager, 0418 605 541

Light Rail for ACT and Capital Region…

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A staged possible light rail network for the ACT & Capital Region
The Capital Region’s roads are increasingly congested, especially during peak hours and the entire road network is becoming increasingly unsuitable for the volume that is currently commuting every day just to get to work.

Light rail will provide a transport system attractive enough to encourage people out of their cars in all areas of the ACT and Capital Region. The ACT Government (with the assistance of the Federal Government) needs to commit resources to undertake an initial comprehensive feasibility study that will explore possible routes and establish accurate costing for a Light Rail network. A proposed Light Rail network could initially utilise the existing Tuggeranong, Kingston, Queanbeyan/ Bungendore rail lines and ultimately be expanded to include all ACT town centres and significant areas of employment.

Park & Ride facilities will need to be provided strategically around the network alleviating the need for mass parking in the employment centres. This will encourage people to drive only within the local area or ride a bike (or walk) to the nearest public transport Park & Ride facility; with the initial facilities potentially being strategically located in the townships of Belconnen, Gungahlin, Woden, Queanbeyan and Tuggeranong.
From a Park & Ride station you would be able to catch the light rail in to the major employment centres. The incentive to use the Park & Ride facility will come from the concept that parking is free when combined with use of the Light Rail system and / or interconnecting bus services. This would allow parking in the major employment centres to be freed up and appropriately rationed so that there could be relatively cheap and abundant short term parking, however longer stay and all day parking would be priced to encourage public transport use instead.

Experience in other cities has shown that the development of light rail networks has a flow on effect of expanding and revitalizing the interconnecting bus system. Canberra’s planners have long acknowledged that a serviceable public transport system, whether it is buses or light rail, will need a network of dedicated transport corridors. The cost of providing quality infrastructure for dedicated bus-ways is not as cost effective as light rail and the operating and maintenance costs for buses are significantly higher than for light rail vehicles.

The major running expenses for ACTION Buses are the costs related to drivers; fuel, repairs, maintenance, plus long-term and ongoing replacement of the bus fleet. Although the capital costs of Light Rail vehicles are more expensive initially, with Light Rail the number of people that can be transported per vehicle (per driver) is significantly more and the travel time is less; therefore the average cost per passenger is less. Also the maintenance and replacement cost for light rail vehicles over the total vehicle life-cycle is considerably less.

Opponents of light rail are quick to state that the construction costs of light rail are prohibitively expensive and Canberra does not have the population capable of sustaining such a network. Often these people refer to early studies, which bear no relevance to the Canberra situation.

More recent research would indicate light rail track costs between 3 and 6 million dollars per kilometre, which would be comparable to, if not cheaper than alternatives such as additional bus lanes or enlarged roads for dedicated bus-ways. Cities with populations comparable to Canberra (as found in Europe cities and some North American cities with low population densities) comfortably sustain light rail systems.

It should be noted that approximately 65 km of new track will only cost about twice as much as the Gungahlin Drive Extension roadworks. This will link all existing ACT town centres and areas of significant employment.

Everyone can see the increasing congestion on our roads during peak periods. Light rail has the potential to significantly relieve congestion on our road network and free up the buses to enable services within the suburbs to be substantially improved.

Canberra needs to start planning for light rail now, not waiting until 2030. The ACT Light Rail group is looking to put the concept of Light rail back on the public agenda in lead up to the next territorial election in 2008.

Intensive Weekend Workshop on the Foundation Course in Raja Yoga Meditation

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Meditation Intensive
What is my original nature?

How do I connect with my original self?

How do I connect with the supreme being?

If you wish to find answers to these questions, then come to an

Intensive Weekend Workshop on the Foundation Course in Raja Yoga Meditation

Topics covered include: Power and Effect of Thoughts, Self Management, Soul-Body Interrelationship, Karma Philosophy (action-reaction) and Union with the Supreme Being.

When: 8 December 10.30 – 4.00

9 December 10.30 – 12.30

Where: Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre

38 Wisdom Street, Hughes, ACT 2605

This free workshop is provided as a service to the community.Vegetarian meals will be provided

BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL Phone: 6260 5525 E-mail: canberra@au.bkwsu.org

Advent Event a success!

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Yarralumla Uniting Church
On Saturday 1 December there was a wonderful children’s Advent party at Yarralumla Uniting Church. This annual event just gets better every year! This year there was pouring rain for most of the time, but that didn’t dampen any spirits.

The Petting Zoo was a great attraction for everybody. The animals are all so tame and cute – they are just delightful. A few of them were brought into the hall in their cages and then cuddled by children, even a lamb appeared for a while.

As well as the ever popular face painting, and a great variety of indoor games for children of all ages, there were crafts, and the children were all thrilled to take home something they had made themselves. A lovely party tea in the back hall, was followed by more games and the dressing up, before everybody trooped into the church.

We sang Christmas carols and the Nativity play arranged by members of the youth group was staged, with lots of little angels and shepherds and sheep (some with their faces painted). A special feature this year was the great film acted, voiced over and filmed by the Youth group about the visit of the wise men. All the children were entranced by the puppets, the whole film in fact!

The giving tree was not forgotten, and, as well, every child present received a small gift from the Christmas bowl given out by our Sunday club teachers. By 7.00 pm we were all outside enjoying a well deserved ice cream cone. A wonderful time was enjoyed by everyone and they all want to come again next year!

OCCY STRAPS

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By Graham Jacobs

The newest European car company “Down Under” Skoda has taken on one of Australia’s best known athletes, 1999 World Surfing Champion Mark Occhilupo.

No Aussie surf icon has captured the hearts and minds of as many people as Occy, who has been recognized as a great surfer for more than 3 decades. His passion, courage and positive attitude have brought him respect all around the world. Occy’s career spans way back to 1983 where from the age of 15 to now 41 he has redefined high performance surfing for at least two generations.

Keep your eye out for the Black Skoda, and a few surf boards on the roof tied down with them famous Occy straps.

MINI CHALLENGE

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By Graham Jacobs

Australian motorsport races back to the future when the 2008 Mini Challenge Series kicks off at Sydney’s famous Eastern Creek International Raceway in March.

This brand new one-make series will support Australia’s premiere motor racing category V8 Supercars Australia, at eight rounds through 2008. Equipped with the highest output new generation all-alloy 1.6-litre Mini engine yet, the 154 kW motor is expected to fling the light-weight flying bricks to very impressive lap times at the cream of Australia’s purpose-built motor racing circuits.

The challenge will be thrilling crowds all across Australia with dates booked as far apart as Barbagello outside Perth, Symmons Plains in rural Tasmania, Wakefield Park near Goulburn and a historic return to the Bathurst 1000 in October, as well as the new endurance event, the Phillip Island 500 km race, concluding at Oran Park, helping to mark the circuit’s last-ever motorsport meeting before the much-loved venue is redeveloped.