Down south for the weekend

25 09 2006

We drove down south early on Saturday morning for the annual general meeting of owners of the place where we purchased our block of land. The meeting was a typical AGM, with certain personalities pretty obvious (every crowd has them…).

The meeting was followed by a sausage sizzle where we met some of our new neighbours-to-be. A nice crowd with quite a few common interests – we’re going to like living there!

Driving back to Busselton to stay overnight, I only saw 11 cars in the entire 75 minute trip! Reason: The Eagles were playing (and defeating) Adelaide in their elimination final!

It was a wonderful dream while it lasted

25 09 2006

After a stellar last half of the season and breaking many club records, the Freo Dockers were defeated in their semi-final against Sydney on Friday night. Sydney just played better and stopped the Dockers’ running game. While it was a disappointing end to their fantastic season, some good came out of it. Members and supporters got a lot of joy from the way the boys played after the mid-season break – and of course, that raises our expectations for next year!

The dream of a Western Derby Grand Final wasn’t to be (how good would that have been?!), but at least one of the West Australian teams will be there again this year – the West Coast Eagles play the Sydney Swans in the BIG ONE at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. Go the Eagles!

Dealing with complaints

22 09 2006

When a customer complains in a restaurant, a few things can happen – and I’ve probably experienced most – from downright rudeness to ignoring you to taking an amount off the bill. Ultimately, the memory of the meal is overshadowed by how the complaint was dealt with; it also determines whether or not you’ll return to that establishment.

Today a group from work had lunch at The Olive Tree in West Perth to farewell one of the team who is moving on to another job. I ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad which was some $5 more than the regular Caesar. I expected about half a chicken breast’s worth of chicken on the salad. Some places give you more, but about half is usual. It took a while before I found my first piece of chicken (and this was NOT a large bowl), and it was about the size of teaspoon. Hmmm… So I started looking for more chicken and decided to count how many pieces I found as they seemed to be lacking in quantity. Five. Five lousy small cubes of chicken. And for that I was expected to pay an extra $5.

So I complained. Not loudly, not aggressively, but I complained to the waitress who came to take my chinaware. She said she’d get the manager (yeah, right!). But a few minutes later the manager arrived. I told her the situation, she apologised profusely, explained that there is usually a large amount of chicken in the Chicken Caesar, and asked what they could do to make up for this. Before I had a chance to reply, she offered a complimentary bottle of wine to the table, which we could either drink now or take away. Well, I don’t care where the wine comes from, there’s a pretty good chance it’s worth more than $5, so I took up her offer straight away… and scored a bottle of Margaret River red for next week’s Friday afternoon drinks at the office.

Would I go back again? Certainly! She handled the complaint with aplomb, with no hesitation or excuses. And ultimately that’s what a good experience – a good service – is all about.

An interesting week

21 09 2006

Two things this week that made my general day-to-day activities a bit different.

First, a friend in the US put me in touch with an author of a book on some software I use (was Macromedia’s Captivate; now owned by Adobe). The author wanted someone to co-write the update for v2 of this software (due out next month?), but unfortunately, after some to-ing and fro-ing via IM, I had to decline as the time frame was way too short. If I wasn’t already committed to 40 hours/week with existing contracts, I would’ve jumped at the chance. Not many dollars in writing books, but kudos can come in other ways! Maybe next time… (thanks Char!)

Second, I was asked to speak about my one-person business to a small group of undergrad students at Curtin Business School who are studying stuff on entrepreneurship. That was pretty neat and they asked some insightful questions. Thanks, Alicia.

Footy, Freo, Finals!

20 09 2006

I heard last night that Hoyts Cinemas at Carousel were going to use some of their movie theatres to show the game against Sydney at 6pm on Friday night – sorry, looks as though my source was wrong – they’re showing the Grand Final next week! No idea how much for a seat $10 for standard seats; $30 for La Premiere seats. Watching the game on a screen that size would be awesome!

The boys fly to Sydney today, to play on a ground they have never played on in their 12 years in the AFL competition. That doesn’t seem fair.

I’ll give you “tweety bird”!

20 09 2006

I love the sound of birds chirping in the morning as I drift in and out of consciousness around 5am, preparing mentally for the day in front of me. And as spring is here and the mornings are getting lighter, the early morning bird chorus is a delight.

But what’s with a bird starting its song at 11pm??? And not stopping…

For some time now (not just full moon when I know some birds get confused with the amount of light), there’s this one bird nearby that wakes up sometime around 11pm and starts in on his/her song. Twitter, twitter, cheep, cheep. Delightful at 5am. Rage inducing at 11pm when I’m trying to get to sleep!


I’m running out of superlatives!

15 09 2006

Just got home from the unbelievable Freo Dockers win at Subiaco Oval tonight! Adrenalin rush. Endorphin high. Euphoria. Screaming with delight.

My voice is gone!!! I’m sure that the chant that rose from the 42,500 strong crowd was heard all over Perth, it was that loud.

In case you haven’t figured it out, the Dockers won! Another record in a year of records. This time their first ever Finals win, and their first ever foray into the second round of the Finals competition. Belly’s 250th game.

Next week they play Sydney – and if they win, then it’s the Grand Final in Melbourne at the MCG in front of 100,000 people!

Oh, what a feeling!!! Can’t wait. Well done guys – you’ve put us on an unbelievable high!

Sorry – forgot the score… 102 points to 74, Freo over Melbourne. Nothing else matters.

Got tickets!

12 09 2006

Woohoo! I’ve got a ticket for Friday night’s Finals game between Freo and Melbourne!! As a member, we get first priority on tickets; there was never going to be an issue this year as the ground holds 42,000 and there are about 36,000 members (rising rapidly!). Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday.

The best bit – we are in the same block where we sit for the games during the season; probably not the same seats, but the same block (thanks Michelle and Genevieve!). Which means we know where to go, where the toilets and food and drink outlets are, and we know that we’ll be under cover. One of the things that really p***es me off about the AFL powers-that-be is that members who have sat in the same seats all year, CANNOT get priority on those seats for a home final. All seats go back into the pool and it’s a lucky dip as to where you get – you could be outside in the rain, on the very narrow seats in the old stand, up really high in the 3-tier stand etc. I don’t think that’s right – if your team has won the right to a home final and you are a member with season seats at that ground, then you should get preference on keeping those seats for the Finals. The other thing about keeping your same seats is that you do get to know (on a nodding basis at least) the people who sit near you all year. It’s nice to share victories with those you have at least a passing acquaintance with, instead of complete strangers.

Winning streak ends

10 09 2006

The unbelievable winning streak (9 games in a row) of the Freo Dockers came to a thudding halt yesterday afternoon, when they were beaten by Adelaide in the qualifying final. The Dockers led the entire game until the final quarter when Adelaide’s superior running power and kicking put them in front, then Adelaide sealed the game with a few more goals to put the game out of reach.

On Friday the Dockers get their final chance to remain in contention for the flag when they play Melbourne at Subiaco Oval in front of their home crowd. Yesterday’ s crowd in Adelaide was very vocal and it must have affected the psyche of our boys. I hope 42,000 Dockers supporters can return the favour and pysch out Melbourne this Friday night!

What shifted in the universe this week?

8 09 2006

Something is happening in the Land Down Under…

We lost TWO massive Aussie icons and personalities this week – Steve Irwin on Monday, and today, Peter Brock. I know Pluto got downgraded from a planet to a “minor planet” or something equally insignificant in the past couple of weeks. But I’m not aware of any other shift in the universe that might have caused a ripple.

Both men were pursuing what they loved when they both died so tragically. And according to all news reports, both died instantly or damned close to it.

And both deaths have brought some web servers in Australia to their knees as people scrambled to verify the information that they heard or read about. I know that when I first saw mention of Steve Irwin’s death on Monday on some 10 minutes after it was posted, the first thing I did was go to the ABC’s website to verify the information. Nothing there for about 2 minutes, then some 5 minutes later the website went down for at least an hour. As did the websites for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Wonder how they’d cope if something REALLY big happened…

Losing these two icons so tragically and in the prime of their respective lives brings home the preciousness of life and the need to live every moment.