31 December 2006

2006: A Year of Accomplishment

31st December 2006

Farewell 2006. Another year has gone by, and it seems to have gone so quickly as well. I can still remember beginning this year in the Blue Mountains with Eleonor. I remember Sydney suffering its hottest day on record, and now, in more comfortable conditions, we are about to say goodbye to what I believe has been a pretty good year.

Workwise, I'm still at the same job, and approaching 5 years of service come April 2007, but at least my experience has grown and 2006 saw me 'promoted' to a more IT related role, finally! However, new circumstances for '07 are seeing me training up my good friend and colleague Jom to the position so he can takeover in my absence. Certainly, the outlook for 2007 is only looking good because of two great opportunities which came up midway through '06 allowing me to work in more web related and other interesting fields of the IT world.

Socially, it was great to get out on holiday to Cairns in early January with Eleonor. We both enjoyed ourselves and this trip has encouraged me to try and get out on holiday more often in the near future. Too bad that most of my digital photos are at the moment stuck in digital oblivion when my hard drive decided to die. Though Eleonor decided to leave me in the lurch for 9 weeks during September and October, I managed to soldier on! Good ol' technology has managed to keep me and most of my friends in contact for another year running :)

Yes, my computer suffered two massive failures this year... most notably and causing the most damage was the death of my hard drive... This still hasn't been rectified, but something I hope to look at in '07. Shortly after the hard drive incident, the motherboard fried itself, so a complete computer rebuild was in store. So I kicked back with a machine that would decimate all! (For a couple of months anyway!)

In the musical world, I missed the Fort Minor show, but made up for it later in the year with Eskimo Joe, Wolfmother, Nickelback and Korn. Nothing could beat the ear-bursting sounds of Disturbed though who had me jumping around like crazy as they rocked the Superdome!

My interests continued to flourish in the automotive world with continued updates to my own ride, not forgetting a photoshoot with two models held in January, participation at the All Ford Day in August and a Magazine photoshoot in December. I also attended the Sydney Motorshow and AutoSalon Final Battle. The only downside was an incident with a truck halfway through the year. The family farewelled our Explorer after 8 years, and welcomed a brand new Focus as its replacement. Ford won Bathurst this year, they also won the manufacturer's title and should have won the championship. I also won the top subscription prize from Performance Ford Magazine - a chance to drive a V8 Racecar!

In the skies of aviation, which made a huge comeback for my interests this year, I started collecting diecast planes, and have gone from 2 to 80+ in the space of 11 months! I visited Sydney Airport on five occasions to do some 'spotting' and attended the Richmond Air Show with Dad in October.

I'm looking forward to 2007, there will be challenges ahead, and interesting times to look forward to, resolutions to keep and blogs to continue writing :)

To my international audience, I wish you all a Happy New Year and best wishes for a wonderful 2007!

Signing off for 2006, Thanks for reading!

Daniel.

25 December 2006

Seasons Greetings 2006

It pretty much came out of nowhere, but now that all the parties have been partied, the drinks were drunk and the gifts were... exchanged, Christmas is here. Each year I find it just that little bit less special than the year before. I don't wake up at 5 or 6 am running downstairs to see what Santa has left for me in the sacks. In fact, I wake up pretty much knowing what I'll be getting. But that doesn't mean Christmas still isn't a fun day where we can all be like little kids (oh joy) and open presents!

So, you'd be thinking I'm too old for this? Well, I SAW SANTA LAST NIGHT! He was on his sleigh spreading goodwill to all while we waited for his arrival in my friend's garage on Christmas Eve. Did you know that the Honda Civic has equivalent power to all those reindeer?! It is truly amazing what lengths people will go to though, and it was a nice bit of Christmas cheer that brings a smile to everyones faces.

I'm hoping everyone's enjoying their Christmas this year and getting everything they wanted, meeting the people they want to meet up with and having a great time all round the world :)

All the best to my avid readers! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

13 December 2006

Battle Lines - 2006

It's that time of year when everything comes to a head. In the automotive world this results in AutoSalon: Final Battle, and in Australian Motorsport, it was Phillip Island's Caterpillar Grand Finale...

AutoSalon Final Battle '06

AutoSalon CollageHaving attended Final Battle last year to support Alan's participation with his beautiful Lotus Esprit, I had an idea of what to expect for '06. This time though, it was my brother's friend displaying his R33 Skyline, and it's always a great day to look at some cars and have some fun. Armed with cameras, we entered the hall and hit in the face with CHICKS! In no time I had the camera out and was amongst the nearby group of Neanderthals snapping away at these skimpy clothed girls posing on vehicles I had absolutely no interest in anymore.

My brother was more conservative, looking at the cars... this was pretty much the pattern for the rest of the day. I can't say any particular car stood out to me, but I could sure point out some interesting ladies along the way!

AutoSalon is all about the cars though, and people coming up with new ideas and innovations to make their ride stand out in the crowd. Of course, my advice is to buy something different, but no one would listen to me, so amongst a sea of Civic's, Lancer's, Skyline's and WRX's you have to do your best to be noticed.

For example, put a Plasma TV in your bonnet! Why not? Accompany that with some speakers and your sweet - should you ever want to watch TV... umm... standing in front of your car... Okay... well, howabout you buy a ute, and fill the back with speakers, amps and subwoofers?

Obviously, it's not always about practicality with these cars, but more often than not, it's these crazy ideas that get all of the attention!

V8 Supercars Final Round.

This was setup to be the ultimate finish to a V8 Supercar championship ever. Ford Vs Holden, Lowndes Vs Kelly, there was 7 points separating the two drivers entering the round, and the fans (including myself) were awaiting some excellent racing for the weekend. Races 1 and 2 went to plan, with Lowndes able to finish ahead of Holden rival R Kelly. This meant they started Race 3 on equal points. Suddenly, after 12 rounds and however many races, it all came down to the final race. 31 laps of a fabulous circuit and we would be crowning a new champion in 06 after Russell Ingall (defending champion) was a long way out of the picture.

So, ultimate disappointment for myself and other Ford supporters to see that only two laps into the race, our hero, flying the flag high and in P2, in front of his rival, was hit from behind, by his opponent. The resulting spin caused Lowndes to take out the Holden occupying P1 and off the track. In his attempt to recover and get going once more, Lowndes was struck by another car rendering his car useless. Though a penalty was given to Kelly for the infringement, Lowndes had to limp the terminally damaged 888 Falcon around the track without a hope.

Needless to say, Ford fans everywhere are infuriated by this incident, but I find it harder to swallow the fact that Kelly has now been crowned a V8 Supercar champion, and he never won a round of the championship?! Thank God a new points system in 2007 should help properly define what a Champion really is.

With all the dust settled and the year 2006 over, the Ford fans should not forget that we did win Sandown and Bathurst this year. We also won the manufacturers title, and we have displayed good promise for 2007 with Triple 8 and FPR both showing excellent pace. We can only hope we'll retake the #1 from this undeserving excuse for a champion when we battle out the 14 rounds of 2007 - starting in March.

16 November 2006

My Interests: Sci-Fi

Well, it's been a bit boring lately and I haven't had much to write about. So I thought I'd start talking a bit more about myself. So where else better to start than with some of my interests?

For a long time now I've been a huge sci-fi buff. I was ridiculed for it during school, but that didn't change a thing. I was hooked on Star Trek from an early age, possibly a result of my Dad's interest in similar sci-fi shows. I loved the original feature films and eventually The Next Generation. The spin-offs and newer films were no exception.

Though Star Trek is the original, and not forgetting Star Wars, when Babylon 5 came out in the mid 90's, I was once again interested in this 'new-look' sci-fi series. Sadly, the bad timeslots from our TV networks meant I didn't end up following the series after a few episodes had aired. Little did I know what I had missed out on. It wasn't until a few years later, up late I caught a glimpse of an episode from the third season and from then on I was hooked. I still can say that Babylon 5 is the best science fiction series I have ever watched, for the story, drama and action are unparalleled.

The more recent re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica now has me hooked, what with Star Trek, Babylon 5 and even Stargate SG-1 all over, BSG is a fresh new approach to sci-fi with a very dark, apocalyptic feel and a depth and realism to it that hasn't been seen since Babylon 5's episodes.

Of course, no sci-fi nut would be complete without a few models around the place, the DVD's, magazines, books, drawings etc... The only thing we don't have here are the costumes!

Live Long, and Prosper

We Live for the One. We Die for the One.

...and May the Gods be With You.

29 October 2006

Airshow/Motorshow

Two of my greatest passions over two weekends!

Defence Force Air Show

The Roulettes, Puma, Globemaster III, B707Last weekend on the 22nd Dad and I went up to Richmond Air Force Base to experience our first airshow since our trip to the UK in '97! The RAAF was celebrating 85 years and this was put on display for the weekend with flight and static displays which kept us occupied and out of trouble. It also helped Dad become slightly more reacquainted and interested in flying once again, whilst opening my eyes to perhaps another (expensive) hobby and the opportunity to get up close and personal with planes in action.

The standout act for me was definitely the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. With my fascination in commercial airliners, this military transport goes right up there. Demonstrating its high maneuverability over our heads and just the shear size of it was awesome to see. Other displays from vintage planes such as the Spitfire, Mustang and Vampire were excellent, and the formation displays of the Roulette's and Hornet's turned up the tempo. All up, an excellent day with value for money hard to dispute at $20 including return train fare!

Australian International Motor Show

Saab, Volvo, Audi & Mazda on DisplayAlan invited me out for a day of motoring appreciation this most recent weekend at the Sydney Motor Show. I must admit, I never really intended to go on an annual basis, but this is the third year in a row! Compared to previous years there was probably not as much "Wow" factor. Marques such as Porsche, Lamborghini and Aston Martin notably missing, Holden and Ford not presenting a concept car of any kind this year... it was left up to the other manufacturers to bring something to the table. Saab delivered with their beaut Aero-X concept which just screams 'aeroplane for the road'. Huge rims like the fanblades from a jet engine, a true cockpit and the way this car opens is just something to behold. The Audi R8 was another machine worthy of mention, and yes, I will actually say that the Mitsubishi 380 Ralliart is a 380 worth looking at! Chrysler's pimpin' SRT series of cars looked quality while Proton brought in a piece of AutoSalon with their very own 'Project Pimp' car. The designers at Ssangyong proved once again that they need to be shot before they develop another car while the Bentley and Ferrari stands are always guaranteed to draw crowds.

Certainly worth a look if you've got the motivation and the time... I guess I'll see what next year has in store!

Until next time...

17 October 2006

A Time For Celebration

The past week has just been filled with different reasons and occassions to celebrate and just be out and about doing stuff...

October 8th
First and foremost, it was my Mum's 50th Birthday. So, the evening before, we celebrated with the family at the nearby revolving restaurant. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed the view and the food.

The actual day was a bit quieter, except that it was Bathurst weekend, so we spent most of it in front of the TV watching the V8 race unfold. We had invited some guests over for a BBQ, but only one out of five turned up... more food for all of us! Mum seemed to have enjoyed her day of celebration, though we weren't baring expensive (or any) gifts for her.

Oh yes, the race! Well, you'd have to be hiding under a rock, or in another country not to know that Craig Lowndes and Ford won at Bathurst. Lowndes' first time in ten years, and Ford's first in eight years - well done to Triple 8 racing, Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and everyone involved.

October 14th
Alan had already told me to keep this day free, but hadn't actually mentioned what was going to be involved. So I headed on over to his place and was whisked away to the north coast where both of us took on the EXTREME challenge of Quadbiking! This was a birthday present for him and a friend, but he picked me to go with him instead. Oh what fun we had cruisin' the sand dunes of Stockton Beach, even after the lengthy introduction where we were continuously warned that doing something wrong could result in the quadbike rolling over and crushing us. Alan managed to max his bike out at 73kph along the dunes - mine was restricted to 71... Rorted! But we had a great deal of fun in the sweltering heat. We were told if we go again in the future, we'd be on a more 'advanced' level because of our experience this time around. We only now need to figure out what our next "extreme" challenge will be!

October 17th
Continuing the celebrations, we decided to have dinner at Pink Salt in Double Bay. A restaurant made famous by the television show "My Restaurant Rules" a few years ago when they opened in Manly. It was good to contrast the two restaurants and see that Evan and Bella are still running the place. Unfortunately for us, Bella had left before our booking was to take place, but Evan was a great host (as were the other waiters) and very talkative. The new joint is much more spacious than Manly, and the food was just as good as memory served. Will need to take Eleonor there when she gets back :)

06 October 2006

October: The Month of the Birthday

I got my car back! Though, on her first day out on the weekend someone decided to put a scratch in a freshly painted panel - talk about annoyed! So she's gone back to the workshop, and I'm rockin' and rollin' in a blue Festiva with a wing, mags and blue dials! Talk about Sporting Credentials! What I can positively say though, is that the guys who are looking after my car are absolute legends!



Onto October - titled here "The Month of the Birthday" because it seems everyone thought it would be a good idea to consolidate all the birthdays into one month. Hey, I'm all for efficiency and everything, but when you get one cake to cover 6 or so birthday's, that's a bit unfair!

This month sees, umm... well, most of my aunts, uncles, cousins etc celebrating a birthday of some sort... but they all pale in comparison to my Mum's 50th. Sorry, everything else has to take second place - except the Bathurst 1000 - which clashes with Mum's birthday... what a dilemma!

The Family BUK BARK!!!

Anyway, we spent last weekend celebrating as our relatives came over from Hong Kong. We all ate at everyone's favourite Chinese Restaurant: Greenwood in North Sydney. Lobster, Chicken (pictured), Beef, Pork and "have some more" were the regulars for the evening. On holiday Monday we all then went to one of my cousins places where we had a barbecue, played miniature mah-jong, and some even got sporting and played soccer and basketball (not at the same time!)



The celebrations are set to continue this weekend with all the relatives visiting our place, and a barbecue lunch for Mum on Sunday.

Happy Birthday Mum! Congratulations on your 50th!

30 September 2006

Stranded

What a week! I never thought I'd look like one of those people in a car insurance commercial.



This was me (though it's not my ute), on Monday night stuck on the side of one of Sydney's busiest motorways. I'd also found the only hole in the ground which added to the lean of the vehicle in the photo (it was a lot more extreme in reality!). My wonderful roadside assistance membership proved itself useless when they could not help out because the vehicle was not listed on their database even though I fork out my subscription on a yearly basis (which was increased this year as well for being a 'loyal member'! WHAT CRAP!)

So, I called out a towie and took the ute back to it's home. $100 poorer, and 3 hours later I managed to get myself home. Thank God my Mum could do without her car for the rest of the week... the "Smooth As" '06 Focus definitely saved me as it allowed me to travel to and from work.

Where was my car? It was getting an extreme makeover.

As for my 'roadside assistance joke of a membership', I think it's worth as much as a fresh batch of doggy-doo since I keep my cars maintained and have never needed to call on them in the past, and am certainly deterred from ever trying again in the future...

19 September 2006

I'm a Winner!!!

It's in the blood. I'm a Ford fan and very proud of that fact, particularly with three championships in the V8 Supercar series under our belts since 2003. I am now driving my second Ford of three cars I've owned, not to mention all the diecast model cars I have around the house and the list goes on.

Similarly I'm quite a fan of the V8 Supercars in having been to at least one round of the championship every year since 2001. So, of course when my Dad found a new Ford magazine: Performance Ford (www.perfordmag.com) and brought it home, I signed up and subscribed...

Performance Ford Magazine

Some years later, reading their latest October issue I noticed my name alongside First Prize in their monthly competition. I didn't believe it... and yesterday the mail arrived which confirmed it, and I still can't believe it. I have won something!!!

So you're probably thinking I got some posters, an autographed issue of the magazine. Maybe I got a keyring and some other cool little tidbits? Well you're right. I get all of that, but the Golden envelope is where it all counts, and that is a V8 Race Experience, worth $300! (www.v8race.com)

I get to drive a V8 Racecar around Eastern Creek Raceway!

Now I've just got to pinch myself, wake up and make a booking!

V8 Race Experience
This Could Be Me!

17 September 2006

My Best Friends Wedding

Before you get to learn anything about me, there have been some important events in recent times which I thought I'd document.

Last weekend, one of my best friends, Alan, got married to his wonderful partner Belinda. The weather, though quite pitiful for Spring did not change the fact that this day was going to be absolutely special for the happy couple.

Though originally meant to be held outside, the indoor event was great with a quartet playing music while we awaited the bride's arrival. Occassional breaks in the weather meant we could view the Sydney skyline until the weather decided we should all return inside.

The Happy Couple
The ceremony itself was to the point, quick and covered all the bases! The Bride looking amazing and the groom scrubbing up pretty decently in his suit with enclosed shoes and a tie! The celebrant shared the before untold story of how Alan and Belinda came to meet, and this was followed by some heartfelt and sometimes humourous vows by both the bride and groom.

In between the Wedding and Reception I was honoured to meet Alan's mother, who had obviously heard a lot about me as she seemed equally happy to finally meet me as well. Food was delivered to everyone by the staff on platters, these were merely appetisers for the main event to be held at the reception.

The Wedding Cake

The reception was only a short walk away in a nice function room with a live group playing and singing. There was no 'head' table as is traditional and sometimes expected at a wedding. The cake was all chocolate with a replica of Alan's CV8Z Monaro atop with both Alan and Belinda sitting inside, parked next to a mailbox with "Wirth" written on it. Very cute!

The couple introduced every table at the reception before the meals were delivered. Lengthy speeches soon followed before the couples took to the dancefloor and the party went on.

Hopefully not for too long as the couple were to leave early the following morning headed for a wonderful two week honeymoon in the Maldives and a short stopover in Singapore before returning back to Oz.

Congratulations Guys! I wish you all the best.

12 September 2006

Welcome!

If you are reading this, then I truly apologise! You have found your way to my brand new blog which I finally decided to go ahead with and give it a try.

My name is Daniel, and I'm hoping to use this place to be my reintroduction to the web, and be a part of the whole 'blogging experience'. This place will be great for friends and family to read up about me, and learn more as I bore you all to death!

Thanks for viewing... time to fiddle with some settings...