31 December 2006

2006: A Year of Accomplishment

31st December 2006

Farewell 2006. Another year has gone by, and it seems to have gone so quickly as well. I can still remember beginning this year in the Blue Mountains with Eleonor. I remember Sydney suffering its hottest day on record, and now, in more comfortable conditions, we are about to say goodbye to what I believe has been a pretty good year.

Workwise, I'm still at the same job, and approaching 5 years of service come April 2007, but at least my experience has grown and 2006 saw me 'promoted' to a more IT related role, finally! However, new circumstances for '07 are seeing me training up my good friend and colleague Jom to the position so he can takeover in my absence. Certainly, the outlook for 2007 is only looking good because of two great opportunities which came up midway through '06 allowing me to work in more web related and other interesting fields of the IT world.

Socially, it was great to get out on holiday to Cairns in early January with Eleonor. We both enjoyed ourselves and this trip has encouraged me to try and get out on holiday more often in the near future. Too bad that most of my digital photos are at the moment stuck in digital oblivion when my hard drive decided to die. Though Eleonor decided to leave me in the lurch for 9 weeks during September and October, I managed to soldier on! Good ol' technology has managed to keep me and most of my friends in contact for another year running :)

Yes, my computer suffered two massive failures this year... most notably and causing the most damage was the death of my hard drive... This still hasn't been rectified, but something I hope to look at in '07. Shortly after the hard drive incident, the motherboard fried itself, so a complete computer rebuild was in store. So I kicked back with a machine that would decimate all! (For a couple of months anyway!)

In the musical world, I missed the Fort Minor show, but made up for it later in the year with Eskimo Joe, Wolfmother, Nickelback and Korn. Nothing could beat the ear-bursting sounds of Disturbed though who had me jumping around like crazy as they rocked the Superdome!

My interests continued to flourish in the automotive world with continued updates to my own ride, not forgetting a photoshoot with two models held in January, participation at the All Ford Day in August and a Magazine photoshoot in December. I also attended the Sydney Motorshow and AutoSalon Final Battle. The only downside was an incident with a truck halfway through the year. The family farewelled our Explorer after 8 years, and welcomed a brand new Focus as its replacement. Ford won Bathurst this year, they also won the manufacturer's title and should have won the championship. I also won the top subscription prize from Performance Ford Magazine - a chance to drive a V8 Racecar!

In the skies of aviation, which made a huge comeback for my interests this year, I started collecting diecast planes, and have gone from 2 to 80+ in the space of 11 months! I visited Sydney Airport on five occasions to do some 'spotting' and attended the Richmond Air Show with Dad in October.

I'm looking forward to 2007, there will be challenges ahead, and interesting times to look forward to, resolutions to keep and blogs to continue writing :)

To my international audience, I wish you all a Happy New Year and best wishes for a wonderful 2007!

Signing off for 2006, Thanks for reading!

Daniel.

25 December 2006

Seasons Greetings 2006

It pretty much came out of nowhere, but now that all the parties have been partied, the drinks were drunk and the gifts were... exchanged, Christmas is here. Each year I find it just that little bit less special than the year before. I don't wake up at 5 or 6 am running downstairs to see what Santa has left for me in the sacks. In fact, I wake up pretty much knowing what I'll be getting. But that doesn't mean Christmas still isn't a fun day where we can all be like little kids (oh joy) and open presents!

So, you'd be thinking I'm too old for this? Well, I SAW SANTA LAST NIGHT! He was on his sleigh spreading goodwill to all while we waited for his arrival in my friend's garage on Christmas Eve. Did you know that the Honda Civic has equivalent power to all those reindeer?! It is truly amazing what lengths people will go to though, and it was a nice bit of Christmas cheer that brings a smile to everyones faces.

I'm hoping everyone's enjoying their Christmas this year and getting everything they wanted, meeting the people they want to meet up with and having a great time all round the world :)

All the best to my avid readers! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

13 December 2006

Battle Lines - 2006

It's that time of year when everything comes to a head. In the automotive world this results in AutoSalon: Final Battle, and in Australian Motorsport, it was Phillip Island's Caterpillar Grand Finale...

AutoSalon Final Battle '06

AutoSalon CollageHaving attended Final Battle last year to support Alan's participation with his beautiful Lotus Esprit, I had an idea of what to expect for '06. This time though, it was my brother's friend displaying his R33 Skyline, and it's always a great day to look at some cars and have some fun. Armed with cameras, we entered the hall and hit in the face with CHICKS! In no time I had the camera out and was amongst the nearby group of Neanderthals snapping away at these skimpy clothed girls posing on vehicles I had absolutely no interest in anymore.

My brother was more conservative, looking at the cars... this was pretty much the pattern for the rest of the day. I can't say any particular car stood out to me, but I could sure point out some interesting ladies along the way!

AutoSalon is all about the cars though, and people coming up with new ideas and innovations to make their ride stand out in the crowd. Of course, my advice is to buy something different, but no one would listen to me, so amongst a sea of Civic's, Lancer's, Skyline's and WRX's you have to do your best to be noticed.

For example, put a Plasma TV in your bonnet! Why not? Accompany that with some speakers and your sweet - should you ever want to watch TV... umm... standing in front of your car... Okay... well, howabout you buy a ute, and fill the back with speakers, amps and subwoofers?

Obviously, it's not always about practicality with these cars, but more often than not, it's these crazy ideas that get all of the attention!

V8 Supercars Final Round.

This was setup to be the ultimate finish to a V8 Supercar championship ever. Ford Vs Holden, Lowndes Vs Kelly, there was 7 points separating the two drivers entering the round, and the fans (including myself) were awaiting some excellent racing for the weekend. Races 1 and 2 went to plan, with Lowndes able to finish ahead of Holden rival R Kelly. This meant they started Race 3 on equal points. Suddenly, after 12 rounds and however many races, it all came down to the final race. 31 laps of a fabulous circuit and we would be crowning a new champion in 06 after Russell Ingall (defending champion) was a long way out of the picture.

So, ultimate disappointment for myself and other Ford supporters to see that only two laps into the race, our hero, flying the flag high and in P2, in front of his rival, was hit from behind, by his opponent. The resulting spin caused Lowndes to take out the Holden occupying P1 and off the track. In his attempt to recover and get going once more, Lowndes was struck by another car rendering his car useless. Though a penalty was given to Kelly for the infringement, Lowndes had to limp the terminally damaged 888 Falcon around the track without a hope.

Needless to say, Ford fans everywhere are infuriated by this incident, but I find it harder to swallow the fact that Kelly has now been crowned a V8 Supercar champion, and he never won a round of the championship?! Thank God a new points system in 2007 should help properly define what a Champion really is.

With all the dust settled and the year 2006 over, the Ford fans should not forget that we did win Sandown and Bathurst this year. We also won the manufacturers title, and we have displayed good promise for 2007 with Triple 8 and FPR both showing excellent pace. We can only hope we'll retake the #1 from this undeserving excuse for a champion when we battle out the 14 rounds of 2007 - starting in March.