Saturday, December 30, 2006


In an attempt to keep my sanity I decided to drag my self away from work the other day to photograph some critters in Olympic Park. All and All a successful day of critter spotting.

Black-winged Stilts

Royal Spoonbill


Monday, December 04, 2006

Its that time of year again

Believe it or not its three weeks until Christmas and in an attempt to get into the Christmas spirit Aleisha and I decided to put up our "tree". While it looks nice we still dont feel the Christmas spirit. Either it has something to do with being Secular Humanists or it’s due to our 8yr Kentucky spirit running low.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bondi - Sculpture by the Sea

The annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Bondi is always an excellent opportunity to do a bit of photography and get a bit of culture. Of course I took more photos than just this one, so if you would like to have a look at the rest then check out the website.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wine Trip

On Saturday a few of us from work headed up to the Hunter Valley for a wine tour. It was a great day with a lot of wine being consumed, sorry I mean tasted.
Nothing like a few Blue Tongue beers to cleanse the pallet.

All the excitement was a bit too much for Allan.


Well after much anguish (long story and kinda boring) we finally managed to see U2 on Friday night. The opening artist was Kanye West who, to be perfectly honest was pretty shit and thankfully only "performed" for 30min. Why he opened for U2 is anyones guess. Anyway U2 were who we had come to see and they did not let us down. We did get a little wet, and for once it was not due to the fat sweaty man in the mosh pit (it rained). U2 were excellent and played a good mix of old and new stuff with a set that lasted ~2 1/2 hours. All and all an excellent night.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Green Power

I think I may be turning into a tree hugging hippie as we have just converted to "Green Power". After getting pissed off by the Australian governments absolute retardedness when it comes to greenhouse gas emission we decided to do something ourselves. So we have converted 100 % wind generated electricity. How it works is that for every kW hr of power we use Origin Energy (our new supplier) purchases the same amount from an accredited wind farm. The electricity that actually comes into our house hasn't in any way changed but we generate demand for wind power. If demand increases enough more wind farms will be built, competition will increase and prices will come down and more people will use it (well that is the theory at least). It is more expensive at ~15c per kW hr but it worked out to be stuff all each month and if we can afford it (being relatively poor) almost everyone else can. To find out more follow the link. In case you didn't realise over 90% of Australia's power comes from burning fossil fuels and most of that is coal.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Outback photos are up

My Dad and I just got back from a five day trip into the outback, well the start of the outback at least. From Sydney we went to Kanangra Boyd national park, Bathurst, Cobar, Gundabooka national park, Bourke, Mt Oxley, Walgett, Lighting Ridge and finally Warrumbungle national park. In all we thrashed our rental car for 2500km, not a bad effort for 5 days. We managed to see a lot of critters during that time but unfortunately still no Wombats.
I have sifted though the photos and have put up a few on the website.

Sunset from the top of Mt Oxley

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I know where you are

Google has made some amazing free software called Google Analytics that allows you to track who visits your website. I installed it on my BLOG a while back and have been tracking where everyone comes from and whos site they used to visit mine. It also gives you lots of other info like what operating system people use or which web browser is used. Does anyone feel violated yet? I was glad to learn that 76% of people viewing my website use firefox and then shocked to see that some dirty Mac user also visited my site.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Canvas Prints on their way.

Aleisha and I decided to get a couple of canvas prints of photos from our Africa trip and I just got the email saying that they have been sent. This is a copy of that email.

Dear Simon Iremonger

It is my pleasure to inform you that your brilliant print has begun its journey to you. You will be pleased to know that I personally supervised our production team as they delicately printed your image and hand crafted a fine timber frame from the very best of our timber stocks.

I watched as they delicately stretched and wrapped your print around the frame, and meticulously inserted Italian made staples to secure your print. I took great delight in witnessing our highly trained hanging expert from Japan insert the hooks and cord that will be used to hang your print for all the world to see.

Your print was then carried aloft to our packaging temple, where our white-gloved staff checked your work of art to ensure it met our sky high standards.

I could only smile as your print was collected by six fine horsemen. The roar of 100 drummers drumming was deafening, as your print left our premises. The entire population of Brisbane lined the streets and cheered as your print traveled through our wonderful city to the very competent hands of our delivery fulfillment partners. Please be calm in the knowledge
that I personally inserted one of our purebred carrier pigeons into your parcel. Should anything go wrong, he will fly immediately back to let us know of the problem.

We are thoroughly exhausted, but cannot wait to serve you again. In the unlikely event that you are not completely happy with your masterpiece, I have 9 of our finest staff waiting by the phone to resolve your concerns as per our customer guarantee. Thank-you once again, we truly appreciate that it is you, our customer, that puts the food on our table.
Some people have far to much spare time.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Aboriginal Rock Art

Yesterday Aleisha and I decided to try and track down some Aboriginal rock art in the Royal National Park. As expected there were no signs indicating where it was and after asking numerous people for directions and accidentally stumbling upon a nudist beach we finally found the rock art. There were also a surprising number of critters about.

Jacky Lizard

Little Corella

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006


Every now and again a paper appears that really grabs my attention, this was one of them. A new review article about Nanovehicles in Chem. Soc. Rev., it is good to see that scientists are researching areas that can really benefit humanity.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Aleisha

To celebrate Aleisha's birthday we had the traditional Mutton roast (I would have prefered Lamb but its not my birthday). I think we will be eating mutton sandwiches for the next month!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Africa photos are finally up!

Well I know you have all been waiting so I will put you out of your misery, the photos are finally up. Due to the huge number of photos I have had to host them on a new site. I should also point out that your browser will need to have a flash plug-in for the photos to work, you can download it for free here.

Sorry for those people who still use dial-up, it may be a little slow. So I have made a low resolution version which wont look great but it will have to do. The link for that one is.

You can see any comments that Aleisha and I have written by simply moving the mouse over the photos.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Photos on their way

I am about 80% through sorting out all the photos and rebuilding my old website, hopefully it should be up by early next week.

An article on street photography from the SMH

Every now and again the SMH actually prints an article this isnt a complete load of dingo crap. This is one of them and I found it rather interesting as I was in the same situation in Africa.
The article can be seen here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

On the hunt for the illusive Platypus

Today with the help of Iain and the Bush Mobile, Aleisha and I went out to try and spot the illusive Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). We had been tipped off just before we left for Africa that they hang out in the secret spot so on our first weekend back we decided to check it out. After seeing the "Big 5" in Africa we figured we should really try and spot the big 5 of Australia. We came to the agreement that they were the Wombat, Kangaroo, Platypus, Koala and Echidna.
While the weather looked bad and the locals were less than optimistic of our chances we still set out to tick off our 3rd of the big 5. Our secret source did not let us down and within 30 minutes we had spotted one.

The famous arched back of a diving Platypus

We also managed to spot a couple of nice birds as well.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Why South Africa is great

Just a few things that make South Africa an enjoyable place to stay.
Take a look at the last item on the menu, everything is cheap in Africa!

When you arrive at Jo'burg airport you are greeted with the following sign. Makes you feel really safe, doesnt it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ICCC 38 - Guaranteed to be a blast

While the 37th ICCC conference in Cape Town was well worth while I may give the 38th a miss.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Taller people are smarter - The stats prove it

An excellent article out of "Stuff" that indicates what we have all always known.

"While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it's not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality – tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers"

And we all know that statistics never lie.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Goodbye Africa

Well my holiday has finally come to an end. I am about to fly out of Jo'burg and while I will be sad to leave Africa I will not be sad to leave this s*#t hole. I have no idea how anyone could ever live in this crud hole. Just a short (20 hrs) flight and back to Sydney and my PhD, actually Jo'burg seems more appealing now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Conference Time

Well the holiday had officially ended and I have had to switch to conference mode. I gave my talk yesterday and it went alright, not amazing but I am relatively happy with it. I had quite a reasonable crowd as well which was a pleasant surprise.
My aim of eating one of every animal in Africa is going quite well. So far I have had: Springbok, Wilderbeast, Warthog, Snails, Kudu, Ostrich and maybe Oryx.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Photos from Africa

While in the city of Swakopmund in Namibia Aleisha and I visited a snake park and the owner was kind enough to let us play with a Rock Python. As it was a nice day he told us to take it outside which ended up drawing the attention of the locals and creating quite a scene.

In a small town on the northern edge of Botswana we set up camp only to have a rather large Warthog wander on in and decide to go to sleep in the middle of our camp site.

On the last day of the tour we had a Township tour in Cape Town where one of the locals took a liking to me. The tour was informative although it did feel a bit like a game drive.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I have managed to get a few photos from the microlight trip that I did over Victoria Falls. There aren’t too many with me looking at the camera as I was kinda busy taking in the amazing scenery! I will try to get some more photos up if I can.
We spent today exploring the sights around Cape Town city centre. It looks like the weather may be nice tomorrow so we hope to head up Table Mountain. On Thursday we have a full day wine tour booked and on Friday Aleisha fly’s out and I actually have to do some work!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cape Town - South Africa

Well our 25 day tour has now finished and we have arrived in Cape Town. After 26 days of perfect weather Cape Town has decided to be wet and cold. Hopefully it will clear up some time this week so we can see Table Mountain. After much searching we still have not managed to find a single freckin computer that actually works in Africa, so still no pictures sorry.
Cape Town is a LOT nicer than Jo'burg as we dont fear for our lives during the day, just at night. We went to Robben Island today for a tour and had mixed feelings. It was interesting to see where Nelson Mandela had spent 18 years in prison but there was absolutely no information about the apartheid regime which surprised us.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Skydiving in Namibia

Well since we are in the adventure city of Namibia we figured it was a good time to jump out of an aeroplane. It was amazing as we jumped from 10000 ft over the Namid Desert and ocean. We had a 30 sec free fall and then a 5 min flight down during which time we got to fly the paraschute ourselves. Aleisha jumped just before me but I still landed a few minutes before her, due to the fact that I had a pretty crazy tandem master.
Despite my best attempts I still cant find a computer in Africa that is capable of loading photos onto the web, well it could but our trip would be over before one was finished. So no photos until Cape Town, sorry.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Namibia - Etosha National Park

Aleisha and I have arrived in Etosha National Park for a couple days of serious critter watching. The place where we are staying is located right in the middle of the National park and has a watering hole that allows for game viewing all day and night long. Last night we saw 8 Rhinos, 1 Lion, 4 Elephants, 800 Zebra and a few thousand Springbok. Tonight we are hoping to complete the big five with a Leopard but time will tell. After that we are off to the adventure capital of Namibia - Swakopmund for some non-critter activities.
Namibia seems like a lovely country and is by far the most developed place we have seen since South Africa. We are looking forward to our next 6 days here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Namibia – Windhoek

We have left Botswana behind and have arrived in Namibian town of Windhoek. It is a city like all other western cities really and quite a change to what we have been use to over the last few weeks. I spent last night under the stars sleeping by the camp fire, luckily there were no critters around. We are off to Etosha National Park tomorrow for some more wild life watching and hopefully we will be able to complete the big five as we have the leopard and Rhino left. We stay in the park itself (which is the size of Kruger National Park) and there are watering holes that we can stay at all night to watch the critters.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Back in Botswana

Hello all!
Well we are back in good ol' Botswana, nice and safe. We spent all of yesterday taking in the sights and mainly sounds of a night in the Okavango Delta. The Delta is a large inland swamp esentially, the water has travelled all the way from Angola in the North and it's stilll arriving daily to surround the reeds in water. Travelling through the delta is quite an experience in itself as the local polers load you up in their tiny little dugout canoe esentially and pole you through the hippo infested waters to your camp site, ours was an island around 1 hours ride into the delta. The Makoros sit so low in the water it is a very disturbing experience. Simon and I were glad to get an artificial one as it didn't leek like the wooden dugouts.
This morning we got up early for a game walk hopefully to see elephants and giraffes, (no one wants to see a predator by foot!).
Fortunately we managed to see wild dogs a little too close, as in they passed behind us by around 10 meters or so. I wasn't too happy with that as the look on our guides face when we told him scared me more than seeing the dogs!
Tomorrow is our last night in Botswana before we head into Namibia, can't wait!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Zim and Zam

Today was an action packed day. In the morning we took a microlight flight over Vic Falls which was truly amazing. We then popped into the town of Livingstone and went to the local markets. It was quite an experience as everyone wanted to trade anything we had on us and were pretty pushy about it. After the initial shock we soon figured things out and managed to score a couple of nice thing to remember the place by.
After that we went into Zimbabwe for a Lion encounter. It was a captive breeding program which had tours so we managed to walk and play with a number of Lions. Yet another surreal African experience, especially trying to walk from Zim to Zam (Zambia and Zimbabwe) without a guide and dealing with dodge African borders. We made it out in one piece although we were a little concerned at times, the border guy with a AK-47 seemed a little concerned about letting us back into Zim (at the same time completely ignoring all the people who were obviously entering illegally).
We are out of Zim tomorrow after seeing the falls, and back into Botswana. We have some amazing photos of us on the microlights and with Lions and I will try tomorrow to get some up.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Well Aleisha and I now in Livingstone, Zambia. It has been a very busy few days traveling through Botswana but it has been absolutely amazing. We have seen a few hundred Elephants as well as countless Giraffe, Impala, Buffalo and Zebras.
We are off to Zimbabwe tomorrow to play with some Lions and then in the afternoon we will have a microlite flight over Victoria Falls.
Unfortunately there is no way to upload any photos of the trip so far as any computer in Africa it too old and slow to do anything without taking a day to do so.
Over the last few days we have used 4 different currencies, currently we are using the Kwacha and I have a 50000 note in my wallet which is worth about $10 US!
We have no idea when we will have internet access again, maybe Namibia, maybe South Africa.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Well after a very long flight we have finally arrived in Jo’burg. It really is a city of contrast. Everyone we meet is very helpful and friendly but every house has a 10 ft high fence with razor wire and then electric fence on top of that.
We decided the best way to deal with the jetlag was to stay up so we went to the apartheid museum in the city.
Well our tour leaves in a few minutes so I better leave. Next Blog should be in Victoria Falls.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Singapore - Changi Airport

Well we have arrived in Singapore and decided that since we have 4 hours to kill that we would try and get out of the airport to meet up with Aleisha's folks. Unfortuatly Aleisha's folks were no where to be seen, but then again this airport is so bloody huge that I doubt we would ever be able to find them anyway (Sorry Sylvia and Tony, we did try). So now its another couple of hours wait and then a fun 13 hr flight to Jo'burg.
Bye from Singapore.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The final countdown...

Well Aleisha and I are off on Tuesday for our Africa adventure. All there is to do now is pack, I hope everything fits. I also thought I would repost a general map of the route we are going to take. Our plan is to update the Blog when ever we get a chance but I honestly dont know how often that will be.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Too soft for soccer, too soft for rugby, stick to what you are good at, giving the USA the reach around

Some Australian player trying to give big Kev the reach around

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, you SUCK, you SUCK, you SUCK!

32 to 15 well what can I say, time to pick yet another bandwagon!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Nothing like banging your head against a brick wall

For once I am going to blog about chemistry. I have spent the last couple of bloody days trying to make the image below. Looks pretty doesn’t it?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Olympic Park

After spending far too many hours at work over the last week I decided to have a day off so Aleisha and I headed out to Olympic Park. We had been there before but had never really had a good walk though the whole area. It was a rather relaxing day and we were both surprised by the number and variety of birds in the area. Of course I had to take a few photos while we were there.

Superb Fairy-wren

Yellow Thornbill

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Coldplay - look no hands!

Aleisha and I went to the Coldplay concert on Monday night and well to be honest it was average at best. After queuing for almost 2hrs (in the rain for some of it) we were finally allowed in and managed to get a great spot with only one person between the stage and us. The warm-up band, Youth Group was pretty boring but the screaming 13 yr old girls seemed to love them. As an aside people really need to understand mosh pit ethics, either be tall, arrive early or be prepared to fight for your place in the pit. The 2 foot tall midget school girls were not too happy about having to see over me, I felt so sorry for them! Anyway after Youth Group finished we waited for ~ an hour before Coldplay started. Chris Martin managed to screw his voice on the first song, but it did improve during the evening. He must have had a rough day as he forgot the lyrics to a number of songs and had to improvise with "Oh S#%T". The most disturbing part of the night was when Chris was on the piano but when took his hands off, it kept on playing! I knew Chris Martin was a musical genius but to be able to play a piano with no hands puts him up with other musical greats such as Ashlee Simpson who can sing without opening her mouth.

Then there was the fact that Aleisha nearly fainted (it must have been the effect of seeing god playing the piano) and I had to take her out of the most pit, much to the satisfaction of the 2 foot tall midget school girls. Aleisha recovered and we joined the concert again but from the back of the standing area. So all and all an interesting night and summing it all up, I like Coldplay but they suck live!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The long awaited purchase has finally occurred... no Simon did not get yet another lens! I have finally enriched my wardrobe with a long sleeve icebreaker top (Coronet, greyplum). My wallet will never be the same but a trip to Africa would not have been right had I not taken this poor little finely woven, delicately designed, piece of New Zealand merino.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Getting in some practice

Well before I try my luck photographing African critters I decided I should get in some practice. The botanical gardens were full of critters and gave me a good chance to try getting birds in flight, with limited success. All photos were taken with my new Canon 70-300 IS lens.

Buff-banded Rail

Sulphur-crestered Cockatoo

White Ibis (not the 6 legged type)

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Real Beautiful Game

While the Australian media was focused on grossly overstating Australias chances against Brazil they completely forgot about the truly epic game being played right here in Sydney, I am talking about the Australian Netball Idles vs. F11 in the USYD indoor netball comp. It was a game of two halves and Netball was the winner at the end of the day (in other words we lost 24 - 12).

Our star striker Scott

Mark outstanding in defence

There wasnt much Mark and Christine could do against the "Monolith"

Jarrod putting his body on the line