Sunday, November 20, 2011

Homeward Bound

All packed up and ready to roll!
Heading home for the holidays, as usual I am taking the wonderful Queensland Rail (Follow them here: @QueenslandRail) Tilt Train (I think this is trip number six). So I have now packed all my gear that I am taking home for the Summer Break. and it is all waiting patiently in my common room for me to pick up and pack into a friends car.

So for the trip home as I am taking the Tilt Train, here are some fun facts about Australia's Fastest Rail Service:

  • Queensland Rail (QR) Operates two different Tilt Train Fleets: The Diesal  Brisbane Cairns Fleet and the Electric Brisbane, Rockhampton Fleet.
  • Just like planes all the trains have names: At last count there are The City of Cairns (BNE to CNS), City of Townsville (BNE to CNS), City of Maryborough (BNE to RTON) and The City of Rockhampton (BNE to RTON).
  • As the name suggests the Tilt Trains can in fact tilt as they are going around corners. 
  • The train is also I high speed capable of speeds in excess of 160kh/hr, with the top speed (not used for conveying passengers) being clocked at 210km/hr
  • The Tilt service offers all the mod cons you'd get on a plane such as Economy & Business Classes, in-seat entertainment centres  and meal service.
  • You can even have a shower on-board whilst travelling (you can brag to your friends that you had a shower at 150km/hr!)
  • The Brisbane to Cairns services currently feature a new art program showing up and coming artists as well as indigenous artwork incorporated into the trains external liverey.
So there you have it just a few facts and pointers about the Tilt Train!

Source: Wikipedia- Tilt Train (Here)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Are You A Keen Photographer?

Amateur or Pro, Point and Shoot or DSLR, Nikon (and dare I say it) or Cannon?

If you enjoy having a crack at photography why don't you have a go at the 2011 "Champions of the Land" Photo Competition being held by Australian Womens Weekly in conjuction with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Simply by capturing what you think best befits the theme you can go into the draw to win having your image published in Australian Womens Weekly. The five finalist winning images will be published in full colour in Australian Womens Weekly, with the overall winner recieving a 64GB iPad and further publicity.

You can submit up to three images, however they must significantly differ in content. The image/s are required to be accompanied by a 25 word story describing the story behind the image.

So what are you waiting for? Get Cracking.... Entries are due 29th November 2011.

For Further information Check Out Author and Photographer Fiona Lake's Blog: Here
Full Terms & Conditions Can be Viewed: Here

*The piece will be updated with the email to send through the images to
*Quality of this image is reduced, as it was taken with a camera phone...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Collision of Worlds

Disney this week just released on iTunes the eagerly anticipated sequel to the film Cars: Cars 2 (No this isn't a movie revue). Attached to this they also released the new soundtrack to the film of the same name.
One of the title tracks of this album is called "Collision of Worlds", sung by the unlikely duo of Robbie Williams & Brad Paisley (Check out the Music Video Below).

But fun videos aside, the underlying message of this song is that though we call things by different names, they are essentially the same and we are more like each other than we first thought.
I have been having some great twitter chats with people over the last couple of weeks, some Aussie and some Americans and have been discovering some great similarities between myself and them. Like for instance one follows the Australian Racing Superstar "Black Caviar" from all the way over in the middle of the US (just ask @milkmaid58, how big of a fan they are).
Another one that I found was the similarities we find in the labelling of products, for instance cheese in Australia is labelled as containing "possible traces of milk" (I am not kidding, check out the picture below), and after posting this to Twitter I have had a number of responses saying that yes this in indead the same overseas (this labelling is a topic for another day).

"Contains Milk"- Taken from the side of a Brie Container.
Would have thought the contents being milk might have been obvious?

But I guess the main message of this (aside from trying to link Disney and Food Labelling Standards) is, that if I had not gotten onto social networking I would have never met these people and been able to share my experiences and learn new stories and information.
So if you haven't already, get out there and have a crack at it.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I like cows....

The news of late has been nothing but turmoil with issues that don't have any bearing on me being jammed down my throat and more pertinent issues such as the loss of lives of Australian Troops overseas or the current national outlook being shoved aside. After having a wonderfully entertaining twitter chat today with @AlisonFairleigh and @4FarmersFutures , I have come to the conclusion that news today (more specifically celebrity gossip) would be better if were about cows.

Here are just two examples of why this would be better:

1.  The Kardashian Divorce
In all honesty never has there been a piece of information that I consider to be less newsworthy, I do not need to be reminded every waking hour that yes they split up after only a little over a month together, compounded all the more annoyingly by the media circus surrounding Ms Kardashian's recent trip to Australia

Source: Craft Juice (Here)

  • Solution: I like cows- they don't ever get married....., they don't ever get divorced (because they don't get married!)

2. William and Cathryn: Is she pregnant or not?
 As much as I am a traditionalist and don't mind every so often hearing news of the Royal Family, why oh why must the media speculate as to whether the Princess is pregant or not? I get sick of turning on the TV to see the latest "all star panel" debating and speculating if Kate is indeed preganant just because she avoided eating some peanut butter, couldn't she just be allergic to nuts?

  • Solution: I like cows because there is no speculation as to whether they are pregnant or not. And if someone questions it, all you need is someone with good dexterity, a pair of overalls and a long glove. Problem solved!

I like cows they don't seem to come with half the drama the rest of the world has, and its pretty hard to get an entire news team to argue over their marital or pregnancy status, it's just too hard to do. When in doubt there's always a simple way to remedy the problem:

If in doubt ask the farmer!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lest We Forget....

At the Eleven Hour of the Eleventh Day, of the Eleventh Month we pause to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty, protecting the freedoms and liberties we value so much as a nation.
It seems that all to sadly of late we have been reminded of the grim realities of war that our troops overseas are facing, as only this week they have been forced to farewell three of their fallen comrades.

This Remembrance Day I urge all to pause for a moment and remember not just those who have fallen, having paid the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, but also those still serving in active duty in lands afar.
Keep them in your thoughts, hearts and minds and we pray to them godspeed and safe returns home to all serving.

Coming from a small town rural area, it is hard not to notice the impact that wars have had on the community, one only has to look at the local cenotaph and see the name. If only those names could speak, what stories would they tell? Whether it was WWI or right through to the current conflicts, it is hard to say that there has not been a single person touched and affected by the stories of war. With the advent of mass communications and social media the exposure to the harshness of war is all the more easier, so sometimes it is good to stop a while and not just remember, but also think of the luxuries we have today and how that could have all been different if there hadn't been someone there to protect and defend those values.

 As fellow blog writer Alison Fairleigh (Talking Fairleigh- Fallen Soldiers) so eloquently put it:
To honour our fallen soldiers is as Australian as meat pies, footy and BBQs - it's stitched into the very fabric of our society.

It can't be said much better than that.

Source: Herald Sun (Link)

 In writing this piece I was not only touched by the stories of human courage and sacrifice, but also those of the animal contribution to the wars. Whether it be the faithful steed not able to return home from war or the  Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD), constant companion to their handlers and platoons. So often we count the human cost of war but we also need to look back and remember the animals that have served alongside, more often than none their job they do is not their intended purpose, often they are there providing terrific morale boosts.

This Friday please stop for a moment and remember........
Lest we Forget.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Just A Race? What's the Big Deal?

 The Race That Stops A Nation

Today was as always is for the first Tuesday in November the Melbourne Cup. Or as it is more widely known in other circles: "The Race That Stops A Nation". Wherever you are in Australia and overseas it is traditional to watch or listen to the big race. Whether it be in a school hall, board room, common room, the cab of a tractor or University students study during Swotvac (yep that was me).
Recently I had an international friend ask me just why this race is so significant to Australians, well here are some brief points and did you knows about the Melbourne Cup:

  •  The Cup is in its 151st Year of running (as of 2011)
  • The Cup is traditionally held on the first Tuesday of the Month of November.
  • It is the richest two mile handicap race in the world.
    • The 2011 Prize pool was $6, 175, 000.00 Plus trophies valued at around $125, 000.00.
  • The race for length is one of the longest in the world coming at 2 miles (3, 218m, though the current race length is 3, 200m).
  • Why does the Cup have three handles?
    • Well the famous Cup has three handles: One for the Jockey, One for the Trainer and One for the Owner.
    • It hasn't always been like this though over the years the cup has taken many forms from trophies emblazoned with Horses, to War Bonds (WWII Cup Years), to its present state (since its inception in 1916).
    • The cup is actually hand made from pieces containing 1.65kg of 18-carat gold.
  •  Now for some Records:
    • Makybe Diva is the only mare to have one the cup more than once (she has three cups)
    • Makybe Diva currently has the longest record for most consecutive Melbourne Cup wins (she has 3)
    •  The current record holder for the fastest time to run the Cup is the winner Kingston Rule (1990), who ran the race in 3min 16.3sec.
    • Australian Trainer Bart Cummings holds the record for most Cup wins as Trainer (12). 
    • The widest winning margin for a horse is tied at 8-lengths with both Archer (1862) and Rain Lover (1968).
    •  The heaviest weights to be carried are Carbine (1890, Winner) with 65.5kg, Makybe Diva (Heaviest Weight for Mare, 2005 Winner), 58kg and the heaviest weight carried of all time was Pharlap (1931, Placed 8th) with 10 stone 10pounds.
    • 2011 saw French Horse Dunaden edge out contender Red Cardeaux by one of the closest finishes in cup history, with commentators declaring its win by not a nose, but a nose hair.

  • 2011 also saw some interesting statistics:
    • Including this interesting tidbit I picked up from Twitter: 
 "Power use across our Sydney network dropped by 100 megawatts during #MelbCup - Same as powering down 1 million computers to sleep mode"
Now that's what I call the race that stops a Nation! (Literally)

These fun facts aside, the Melbourne Cup is a terrific boom for not just the local and Australian economies, but also the horse racing industry. What better location is there that showcases the efforts and achievements do we have each year that showcases the efforts of the Racing industry than the Spring Racing Carnival.
Whilst we don't breed breed Thoroughbreds I know only too well the sense of admiration and pride that those that race can experience, the feeling that you are being recognised for all your hard work and efforts. From Jockey, to Owner, to Strapper there is no stronger sense of enjoyment than to see your horse compete in such a prestigious field.

*Statistics & Data Sourced from:
*Data assumed correct at time of publication.
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