Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Ride to Conquer Cancer Update

For those who don't know, I have signed up to the Ride to Conquer Cancer, which is raising funds for the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation. I have committed to riding over 200km over two days, to raise at least $2,500 towards essential cancer research and treatment.

The link to my fundraising page is www.tinyurl.com/RTCC-BarnabyGrant

Both my mother's mother, and my father's father have died from cancer. My Granny died after nearly two years of battling lung cancer, which spread to her bones. I was seven years old when she died.

My Grandpa in Canada died just before I turned 10, also of lung cancer, although he had previously battled throat and kidney cancer when I was about three years old. After suffering terribly through his first bouts of cancer, he chose not to be treated when it returned, and died within a few months of his diagnosis.

We all know people whose lives have been touched by cancer, whether directly, or through their family.

The money I am raising goes directly towards cancer treatment and research. Hopefully these funds can help in finding a way to alleviate the suffering caused by this disease.

Fundraising and Training
So, on to the training and fundraising update! Well, training is pretty much stalled. I fell sick last weekend, and I was in Adelaide last weekend, so I didn't get to go on any long rides. Ironically, I spent about $350 getting my bike serviced, including new chain, brakes, and cogs, but I haven't been able to ride it in the two weeks since!

The weather has also not cooperated. The time I had set aside two weeks ago was rained out, and it isn't yet light enough at night to go for rides after work. Oh well, this weekend should see me smashing out the kms.

Fundraising is ramping up. The fundraising dinner and auction on the 28th of September is drawing closer, and the prizes and auction items are beginning to arrive. I have received generous donations from Tim Gramp Wines, Bundaleer Wines, and lots of other fine, local wineries, as well as from lots of local businesses, stores, and people. The evening is looking like being a wonderful night. If you are in the Port Pirie area around the 28th of September, please contact me for a ticket! $65, including a two-course meal and cheese platter, plus a roaring fire.

I'll post more once I can boast more kilometers!

So ends the Essendon Saga, but was it a cop-out?

Dear Gods of Football,

May my home-team win, may my rivals falter, and may we never hear the words 'James Hird' again.

Last night's announcement from the AFL caps off a months-long saga around the Essendon Football Club, culminating with large fines, and their coach being banned for 12 months. As a non-football player who doesn't watch the AFL at all, I am thrilled that I won't hear about this again. Asides from the inevitable whinging and commiserating that will take place over the next few days, this should be the end of it.

Can I get an 'Amen?' Honestly, this saga has just gone on too long, with no new content in the news. Speculation has been rife, and there have been nearly daily comments from the club, the AFL, or from observers, which somehow found their way into our newsrooms as 'newsworthy!'

You can read the story (if you care) Here, here, and here. (Caution: all three have auto-playing videos.)

Was the penalty a 'cop-out'?
I don't really care what penalties are handed down. The club can afford to pay just about anything, and Hird won't be paying his fines anyway.

My main concern is, of all things, premiership points. Why? Because.

My team has no chance of finals, although there was at some point a mathematical possibility that we could get in, requiring us to win by 60 points, another team to lose by 83 points, Essendon to lose all premiership points, and other games to go in our favour. Yeah right.

I listened to Andrew Demetriou on Radio National this morning, as he explained why the Bombers hadn't been stripped of their premiership points. Again, not that I care, but it seemed to me to be a cop-out. He explained that it was the simplest thing to do, because Essendon weren't contesting the finals, and it would be too hard to take the points away.

Really?

In this modern, technological day and age, it is too hard to fiddle some numbers to make the little box under 'Points' display a big fat zero?

He explained that it was too hard to decide what to do with the points. Should they redistribute them? Should they turn each 'win' into a 'loss' and give the points to the teams that lost? What about percentages? It was just the simplest thing to do not to touch the points. Path of least resistance.

Given that Essendon weren't in the finals, no one cares, but imagine if they had been sitting in 8th, or even 4th. that sort of question would have to have been answered, and teams below them would have been clamoring for the points. Imagine if number 9 had lost to the bombers twice, and number 8, only 4 points above, had beaten them both times. The whole game could have changed!

And, on that unresolved note, we pray that this ends the saga, and the name 'Hird' never crosses my door again.

Amen.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Back in the blogging seat!

So it's been a while since I found time to blog, and a few things have happened. I started training and fundraising for an epic 2-day ride called the Ride to Conquer Cancer (link here), and I have become the secretary of the newly-formed Port Pirie Triathlon Club, called the Pirie Ranges Tri Club.

In other news, my keyboard has been abused by about 30,000 words typed since my last post, and it is beginning to drive me crazy. Time for a replacement, I think, and I beg you not to make any dirty jokes.

My noise complaint about the dentist next door has been ramped up, and the EPA has become involved.

Finally, the annual Young Lawyers Golden Gavel competition has rolled round again, and I have signed up to compete once again! This year, at least, I have a far greater political knowledge, and will be able to make snarky comments about our illustrious leaders!

Which leads me on to today's topic; the election. What a fizzer.

The Great 'Debate':
The first debate was held last night, and I want to highlight two comments which appeared in my newsfeed yesterday, shortly after the end of the debate. The first was from an old tutor of mine from politics at Adelaide Uni, and stated as follows:

"Abbott talked a lot about what he 'believed' but had no specific policies to address the most pressing issues for Australia into the future. Rudd outlined clear policies in relation to the economy, health care and the NBN. Bias aside, I think the latter was the clear winner of that debate."

Two posts later, this appeared from another friend of mine, with whom I have had some great arguments/debates about the left/right political scene. "Abbott is the clear winner of tonight's debate."

He then justified his views, but I disagree with his justifications. To paraphrase, 'relied too heavily on NBN, failed to answer questions on how he was planning to get out of the budget deficit given that we do need to spend, failed to answer which projects would be cut or which taxes would be increased... he also broke the rules on having notes. Abbott was at ease throughout the whole debate, Rudd needs public speaking lessons.'

I didn't watch the whole debate. I started watching, and got so pissed of with both of them that I turned it off, which for me, epitomises the entirety of this election. As one person commented, "I didnt watch the debate. I like to think I won".

And that is absolutely right! I didn't watch the debate because I couldn't stand watching an arrogant, jealous, small-minded oaf pretending to answer questions whilst instead spouting party lines and slogans, while a similarly arrogant, bigoted, small-minded oaf smirked and sneered. I don't care which way around you put it, either. Both of our leaders are too concerned with news-bites, grabs, and slogans to have any real knowledge of the policies. "What do I say if they ask this question?" "Who cares, just spout 'spend spend spend!'

I don't trust either candidate, and that is taking into account my left-leaning bias. I am moving away from any pretense at supporting Labor, but not because of the Coalition's policies (what are they again?), but because of Labor's ineptitude, in-fighting, and media dependence.

Slogans:
The worst part of this election for me is that slogans are becoming the policies, rather than the advertising. Abbott's primary policy is to criticise, and his slogans are all 'spend spend spend,' 'stop the boats,' and 'six-point plan.' We saw from Diaz's disastrous TV interview that the Libs are spending too much time teaching their candidates media avoidance and slogan chanting, and not enough time educating them on the content of the policies. Forget the fact that he was a new politician, he just didn't know the policies!

And then there is Rudd, who forgot, in one interview, the name of the Coalition candidate, AND the name of the electorate he was in!

Rudd's slogans are a bit more broad, but similarly devoid of content. "Regional solution", for example, or 'I think what Australians want is...' and 'Moving Forward!'

It is going to take a lot to re-engage me with either political party. I will never vote for the Libs, because of a long-standing bias, but until Labor gets its act together and puts up a leader who is inspiring, smart, and not dependent on the media, I will never vote for them either.

Bring on the independents!