Australia Day 2008

Australian's are an oddly apathetic bunch, although this year there has been somewhat more attempt to spin Australia Day as a patriotic occasion. I guess most people just yawned and moved on with enjoying the extra day off work they will have this weekend. The weather was beautiful and the beach was packed with Actinic Keratosis addicts.

The Beach

I put up an Australian Flag for the occasion. A tradition started by my Father, and one which has been passed to me to carry on. Each Australia and ANZAC Day it is my sworn duty to fly the flag.

Patriotic Alan

Someone paid a Sky Writer to write "Sorry" across the clear skies today. Unmistakable, but somewhat questionable timing.

Sorry Sky Writing

I don't have a great deal of passion either way on the whole "Sorry" issue. I see it simply as the reality of our nation's history. The natural outcome of the collision of two cultures on vastly different levels of development. Firearms, disease and empire-building is just not compatible with a pre-agrarian society.

Lunch was the traditional BBQ, well as close as can be served with only an electric grill and a cast iron fry-pan. Heat is heat and direct flame is not strictly needed to facilitate Maillard reactions. Although the subtle notes that come from the fuel combustion products are absent, so are the flys... One can't complain too much.

The Lunch-time Spread

Lunchtime discussion ranged from why we were consuming Coca Cola Amatil Appletiser produced from South African apples, to why the lemons I bought from Coles to make some lemonade were Californian and tiny misshapen things. What the heck ever happened to the traditional Aussie lemon tree? The one that you just couldn't kill and would produce hundreds of the huge tangy delights? The beef in the burgers was Australian of course, as were the Valencia oranges I juiced in the morning. In fact the burgers were in the shape of the Australian continent! Each had an Australian flag toothpick stuck in them and was served on plates with Australian flag stickers, even the Appletiser was in plastic cups with Australian flags on them. My partner, Tanya, really goes all out on these occasions (mainly for my folks I suspect). Indeed, she's far more patriotic than I, but then again she's a native of that most patriotic republic, the United States of America, where patriotism is indoctrinated at an early age.

Australia Burgers

Of course this simple spread was truly a global effort. The plastic in the disposable tableware was made from oil or gas that was likely polymerised in Asia somewhere and sourced from some other part of our planet. The water contained in most of the items on the table has been going around the biosphere for billions of years, it knows no concept of Nation. I doubt the algae and plankton that lived about 320 million years ago and made the kerogen which made all this possible cared much either.

Autodyne Receiver Prototype

Geeky pursuits of the day include bread-boarding an autodyne WWV receiver. It works quite well on the bench, but I have no antenna for 30 or 60 metres as of yet. It does phase-lock my signal generator quite nicely. There has been much discussion of late about WWV receivers on QRP-L, timely as I am working towards space weather monitoring, and this design comes from a post there. GPS would be a more reliable clock, and all the hosts in my IP network are already phase-locked to GPS via NTP4. WWV reception is of dubious merit, but the circuit is quite cute in its simplicity and took only minutes to throw together.