Time for some Halloween pictures

Found these pics recently from Halloween last year. This was my first year we had stayed later than usual in Texas, and I just had to see what these pumpkins were all about.

We bought one at a roadside stall, and I set about to carve it.

All going OK so far.

The finished product.

and in the dark, with a candle inside! Success!


Taxes are not the same the world over. But every one I know thinks that they would be better off in another country, where they “know” that taxes are less.
Not so.

I know about UK, USA and Australia.
Of these three, I would say that the combined taxes (Income, Capital Gains, VAT/Sales/GST, LocalCounty, School, Property) that you incur earning, and spending, are highest in the UK.
Next highest would come the USA. The lowest combined taxes would be in Australia (But do not let the Aussie politicians know this!).

Then there is the voluntary taxes. What – I hear you say? Voluntary Taxation?

Yes. This usually goes by the innocuous name of “LOTTO”. This is where you are goaded into purchasing a ticket where you have 1 in 99 billion (or so) chances of striking it rich.
Profits from Lotto go to subsidizing education, health, and other social programs that would normally be funded from forced taxation.
I think it is great that so many people contribute to this voluntary taxation, as it reduces the amount that the rest of us need to pay.

Speech – Actually

Have you actually ever listened really closely to the actual words used in a radio or TV interview?

There, I actually just did it here to show you what I actually mean.

Got it yet?

Well, it is the over and superfluous use of the words ‘actual’ and actually’.

I first discovered that I was doing just this, about 15 years ago. I was lecturing in “C” computer programming at a college with about 90 students in a large lecture theatre.
When lecturing, it is not too hard to detect when the crowd is becoming bored. Also, detection of the odd smirk is easy.
I detected both these things and it took me a couple of weeks to figure out.
By watching the group, and trying to figure out if I was gesturing in some particular way that would trigger their reactions, I noticed that it looked as though they were ‘scoring’ my presentation. Several were marking their notes as I was speaking.

By watching them, I finally determined that each time I said either ‘actual’ or ‘actually’, I was being scored. And I was saying it a lot!

So, I realized that I had to stop adding this word where it was not needed. This did not take much effort.

Soon I had my lecture group back in tow, and they were able to concentrate (I hope) on learning to program in “C”.

Next time you listen to a person being interviewed on radio, or TV, listen out for them using ‘actually’ and ‘actual’. It drives me mad now to hear it so much!

Cool Summer

Back in Perth and summer has begun. Well, only on the calendar. It is nearly mid December and so far there has only been one day warm enough to stroll down to the beach. Maybe next weekend will be warmer, according to weather forecasters.
In the meantime, I am busy on maintenance on some systems for existing clients, and flat out on a new project (with document generation and storage involving .RTF files, Search and Replace, and generation and storage as .PDFs in an MS-SQL database). All going well so far 🙂


Daylight Savings Ends

On Sunday October 30 2005 the daylight savings ends for this northern summer. Clocks go back 1 Hour!

A learned friend of mine once said:-
“Why do they need to mess with the clock twice a year by 1 hour? Why don’t they just change the time by half an hour and leave the damn thing alone!”

Probably a good suggestion considering all the problems introduced by adjusting the local times.

Off to Hawaii for a Break

Aloha. We are heading to Hawaii next week and will be there into the new year.

This will be my second trip to “Sandwich Islands” having previously been to Oahu and Maui about 15 years ago for a few days.

This will be a family gathering on Kauai. Hoping to do some zip lines, bike rides and ATV ride. Plus sit back and relax a little, or a LOT!