Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for December 2004

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
Dec 04

Year In Review

I’ll try to keep this short. It’s been a good year personally and a very interesting and tumultuous one in terms of world events. After kicking off 2004 with an enjoyable summer holiday in South-East Asia and Melbourne, it was time to knuckle down to a pretty full on year. I suppose my number one goal was to get a decent clerkship in a step towards securing employment for when I graduate next year, and also to try out “the corporate law thing”. I am really happy about the outcome of the process, which took a good 2-3 months and resulted in a clerkship that I’m finding positive. The downside of this is that the social side of life has been fairly quiet for me this year, replaced by interview stress and trying to bolster my average at the last minute. Winter holidays were cut short by having to do two subjects. This summer is no better, and there’s the clerkship on top of that. But this pain is all for a delayed payoff, and although 2005 will still be busy, the difference is that it should be relatively stress free and fun. And of course, because I should finish uni in July, I look forward to doing some travelling!

I got broadband in April, and still haven’t gotten over it.

Hear Ye! turns seven next month. I’ve been intending to do a redesign, separating out the design from the content with CSS, adding an XML-RPC posting interface and tweaking a few more things, but really haven’t been able to find the time. Maybe next year.

I’ve watched about 34 movies at the cinemas this year. It’s been a decent year for movies. The era of good, Braveheart-scale historical epics seems to be over though, with Troy and King Arthur disappointing. It was a good year for comedy and sequels. Added to the mix were a couple documentaries (Super-size Me and Fahrenheit 9/11).

World affairs have been off the scale this year, with the US and Australian federal elections, a boatload full of Iraq related news, a few corporate scandals, Google floating, and most recently, the tsunami tragedy in Asia. Wikipedia does a far better job of remembering the news events of 2004.

I don’t play computer games as much anymore, due to a geriatric video card, but it was a big year for game releases. There was, of course, the triumvirate of Doom 3, Half-Life 2 and World of Warcraft.

My money this year went almost all to food and other going-out expenses. I spent very little on anything tangible and for once bought virtually nothing computer-related (apart from a DVD burner I got last month). Broadband has alleviated some of the money I would otherwise have spent on DVDs, movies and CDs. It’s all been saved up for travel, although funnily enough, this was never a conscious decision, it just sort of worked out that way.

I’m heading out to the harbour tonight to catch the fireworks and welcome in the New Year. Here’s to 2005!

A couple mundane Garage Tales

For as long as I’ve lived here, and I suspect for many more years than that, there’s a small group of Mediterranean people living on the corner of my street, probably retirees, who run a garage sale every single Sunday. I’ve walked past it many times on the way to the busstop and they have an amazing agglomeration of paraphernalia on sale: VCRs, TVs, picture frames, bicycles, tapes, books, chairs, other furniture and at least 3 microwaves. I don’t think they actually ever sold anything, because the pile of junk never seemed to grow smaller. They’d just sit out on the footpath watching people pass by and chat among themselves to pass the day.

One evening, a few weeks ago, I saw flashing red and blue lights from my bedroom balcony. Fire engines arrived down the end of the street, but, not being able to see any actual fire, I forgot about it. The next morning, as I stepped out of the building, I was assaulted by the smell of burnt… something. Turns out the garage had caught on fire (a defective microwave, maybe?). The blaze had blackened everything within a five metre radius of the garage, including the footpath and the grass on the nature strip. The contents of the garage was obliterated, now sitting on the footpath in one large, charred, still-smoking heap. You could smell it from hundreds of metres away.

They no longer run Sunday garage sales there anymore, and I suspect never will again. They still keep the garage door perpetually open, airing out a completely blackened, empty garage which still smells of charcoal.

There’s a taxi sitting in our apartment’s garage. It’s been there for over a year. It doesn’t have any rego plates, and the “Combined Taxi Services” decal has been peeled off from the side. It gathered a layer of dust and dirt so thick you could no longer see through the windows into its interior. One day I decided to scrawl the hackneyed “Wash Me” on the windscreen in big, thick letters. A few days later, the words “Don’t write on me” and “Bite Me” were written underneath it. And that’s when our entire apartment block decided to turn it into a bulletin board. Every day, there’d be a new retort and soon the taxi was overrun with messages in the dust. It was fun until we ran out of space to write and someone wiped off all the dirt. Just have to wait a few months for it to build up again. Well, you know what they say about small things amusing small minds…

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Dec 04

Man Sues Coke – Trial Judgment

Over a year ago I posted about a man who sued Coke after being shot while refilling a vending machine. As a fresh-faced first-year law student studying torts at the time, I was convinced there was no way Coke would lose and argued at length about it. The trial judgment outcome was reported in the news yesterday. The claimant, Mr Pareezer, was awarded $2.8 million by Justice Hulme. Coke’s going to appeal, of course. Trial judgment is here, will read it soon.

Update: The judgment has over a hundred paragraphs of facts, which shows that’s there’s a lot going on that newspapers don’t and can’t report. The relevant findings on breach of duty were (emphasis is added):

[173] I turn then to paragraph 13 of the Statement of Claim. I agree that the Defendant did owe the Plaintiff a duty “not to expose him to an unreasonable risk of injury” provided there is added the qualification “of which the Defendant was (or perhaps ought to have been) aware” – an expression similar to that in the paragraph (f) of the Plaintiff’s particulars of negligence. To take an example some distance removed from the facts here, had the Defendant received apparently reliable information that Mr Manna was, on 17 February 1997, lying in wait for the Plaintiff while the Plaintiff was engaged on his duties under the contract with the Defendant, it might fairly be said that the Defendant’s duty encompassed not exposing the Plaintiff to an unreasonable risk of injury and to have been breached not only by instructing him to service the relevant machine but also by not seeking to stop him doing so. The former situation would, of course, be encompassed by a duty which rather was not to impose on the Plaintiff an unreasonable risk of injury. However, it would seem to me that there would also exist a duty in the latter situation notwithstanding the usual rule that one person has no obligation to protect another from actions of third parties.

[174] The factors to which I have referred in concluding that there was some duty owed by the Defendant to the Plaintiff argue for the duty being at least as great as that which I have enunciated.

[175] I am also of the view that the duty so expressed was breached in circumstances constituting negligence on the part of the Defendant. Mr Ings memo of 10 August 1995 and that of Mr Orr of 21 November 1996 demonstrate knowledge on the part of the Defendant of the existence of a gang in the Penrith area (and which included the Werrington TAFE) operating during that period and at least up to 30 October 1996 and apparently prepared to resort to violence. While it must be accepted that the nature of the Plaintiff’s activities necessarily exposed him to some risks of robbery and violence, the further matters referred to in the memos to which I have referred take the risks to which he was subject out of the normal into what I would characterise as “unreasonable”. A fortiori is this so when regard is had, as I think one may, to the representations Mr Ings made to the Plaintiff.

[176] I do not ignore the fact that during the period the number of both attacks and incidents was but a very small proportion by comparison with the number of times vending machines in the Penrith area must have been attended to. However, that is not determinative of the matter and its significance pales once one recognises, as it seems to me one must, that the risks to persons servicing machines in the Penrith area are appreciably greater than what one might regard as the normal background of risk necessarily inherent in the activity of attending to the machines. Once there is a significant increase in risk over that normal background, it is appropriate to characterise the risk as unreasonable, certainly in the case of anyone who has been led to believe it does not exist.

This is saying pretty strongly, “stay away from Penrith”.

It’s Christmas Eve

I’m finally on holidays so I went sea kayaking this morning with the newly-engaged Nick (congrats mate!) around The Spit, that was really enjoyable. Ducked into the city for a moot team meeting, then headed off to a bar for a few drinks.

End of the year is just around the corner, it has a very different feel for me this year. For one, I’m in Sydney, which hasn’t happened for five years. And secondly, I’m not spending it with family. Any family I have in Australia has unceremoniously ditched me and buggered off overseas to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday in Singapore. Pffft. And to rub it in, I get a daily “vacation update” SMS from Dad which has included:

– “At the pyramids now awesome”
– “On train to Cairo How is everything Got hundreds of photos”
– “Going to Abu Simbel now its 3am now”
– “Got to go in a convoy takes 3 hours to get there by bus”
– “hi have u been receiving my msg on the nile going to Edfu everything is fine mum having great time”
– “Do you want a Galabiya a egyptian dress” [what the?]

He clearly hasn’t worked out how to put punctuation in his text messages, but hey, can’t ask too much can we?

Hmm, I just realised how ironic the term “vacation work” is.

Dec 04

An Update

Time for a post on this neglected website.

Overall it’s going well. Not every bit of work I’ve received is exciting, but since it’s all so completely new to me, it’s still quite interesting and it’s been one big learning experience so far. When there haven’t been any evening functions (the minority of days), work finishes anywhere from 6.00pm to 7.30pm. The good thing is that it isn’t a struggle to make it to that time – when I’m kept occupied with varied tasks, time passes fairly smoothly.

In terms of environment, it’s very different to anywhere else I’ve worked. Most law firms still haven’t switched to open-plan and the result is that it’s a very quiet working environment most of the time. Some clerks have complained about feeling isolated, but the flipside is that it allows you to really focus on work without too many distractions, except when the view from my office dramatically changes when those late afternoon storms roll in.

It’s been good catching up with friends in the city during lunch. I bumped into one today I haven’t seen for over a year. He was a BIT who did a finance masters afterward and is now working in an investment bank doing M&A work. Always interesting to see what people have done with their careers.

We had the firm Christmas party last Friday at Luna Park. I’ve never been there before. They gave us a free ride pass and I went on a few of the rides, although it’s a bit weird riding a roller coaster in a suit. Great views and location, but it’s a pretty small amusement park, and I’d be disappointed if I had to pay for it. During dinner, they held something akin to Australian Idol, with several staff members getting up on stage to sing in front of the thousand or so people there. They even got Dicko on to judge. There was also a “mystery guest performer” who turned out to be Flynn. As some girls discovered later in the night on the dance floor, Flynn is apparently as seedy as he looks.

“You see me on TV, yes?”

Space Moot
The other bit of work which has replaced my holidays is drafting the 24,000 words required for our moot memorials. Fi got back from her Linklaters clerkship last week (where she was working longer hours than me!) and we finally have started putting pen to paper. We’re meant to have our first draft complete by the time I leave for China, which means the 10-day Christmas/New Year break I have is broken.

On the idiot box
Went to a Lord of the Rings marathon at Shan’s. The three extended edition DVDs, back to back – 11am start, 12.30am finish. Also been wading through Stargate DVD box sets from season 1 onwards. It’s pretty good sci-fi.

Hmm, I also won this double Hoyts movie pass after entering into a contest on the back of a packet of M&Ms… so these competitions are legitimate after all!

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Dec 04
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Dec 04

Labouchere System Simulator

For the gamblers and armchair statisticians in the audience, I wrote a Labouchere simulator. My cousin had a theory that it’s better than the Martindale System (which I agree with), and when you use it with Baccarat, where the player has an advantage if betting on the Banker (ignoring commission), might be an alternative to Blackjack. I don’t think it is, but it was an interesting theory.


Rockpool seems to be a perennial favourite of foodies, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Neil Perry’s cooking is clearly influenced by Asian cuisines and the flavours of the food were sharp and vibrant, compared to most other Mod Oz restaurants, and much more so than French ones. Jarrod and Skye (both European) both noted that the tastes were a little too “strong” for their liking, and preferred the subtler flavours of, say, Claude’s. Shaf (Bangladeshi) and myself didn’t think share that opinion and attributed it to being too used to spices and chillis in our meals. I thought that was interesting. It’s probably proof that eating chilli has destroyed my tastebuds. They have an excellent array of fresh seafood dishes. If you don’t eat shellfish, as we overheard one patron tell the waiter, your money is better spent elsewhere.

Rockpool’s service is still as good and attentive as it was two years ago. I had my digicam sitting in its pouch on the table, and as if on cue, a really nice waitress bounded over and offered to take a photo for us. Small things, like opening the door for us on the way in and on the way out, have been neglected in other 3-hat establishments, but not at Rockpool. Their dish announcements were also pretty fluent and the waitstaff very efficient.

The decor is pretty modern, and there must be like one waiter for every person, because the restaurant is swarming with them. Skye noted with amusement that when the chefs got annoyed, they would clap, and when they clapped twice, waiters in the area would burst into a quicker flurry of activity. Sort of like stepping on an ant’s nest.

Nine course tasting menu is $160 pp, matching wines $65 extra. The “selection of desserts” came out on four plates (including their signature date tart), which we had to divide into quarters ourselves. That was almost like 4 courses in one.

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Dec 04
Dec 04

Backbench Issue 11

Issue 11 of The Backbench has been released. It’s a good issue, if I do say so myself. It’s also available for download as a schmick looking PDF.

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