Monday, July 31, 2006

Women's Asian Cup Finals Recap

Geez, I guess I've become a convert to women's soccer! ;) Not just me, I guess but the whole family too. We were all excited about the finals, the kids even more so. We were at the stadium one hour before kickoff but already it was filling up fast with fans. We waited a bit for our friends to join us and found seats near the end of the stands. First thing I noticed was the huge contingent of Chinese fans streaming in and we were smack dab in the middle of them. It was a good thing I had us wear our Australia caps and made sure we didn't wear any red or otherwise we would have been easily confused as part of the Chinese cheering section. In fact, we got a few bewildered looks from many of the Chinese fans around us when we'd suddenly shout "Oi, Oi, Oi!" or "GO AUSTRALIA!". They were probably thinking of us as traitors because we looked Chinese! :D

Anyway, we shouted with the best of them at the cold and windy Hindmarsh stadium, and when Australia kicked goals in the first half, we were up in our seats. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be for us that night as China came roaring back in the second half. Hindmarsh Stadium was a sea of red as the Chinese fans got into the act and drowned out the Aussie cheers. In fact, I think there were probably more people cheering for China than Australia. It was a shame because with a game that was as evenly matched as that one was, the fans would have made all the difference. Don't get me wrong, the Matildas had plenty of good support from the many Australian fans in the stands but the Chinese were just so overwhelming, both in their players and their cheering sections that it made the fightback all that hard.

It would have been great if the final game been more widely publicised. Australian fans could have filled up most of the place but as it stood, it seems that football, especially Women's football still had a long way to go. Nevertheless, it was great fun and the family had a blast. As for the quality of the football, needless to say it was excellent and it was one of the best matches I've seen. To go into penalties in a championship game is exciting and it was just inexperience that got us in the end.

Well, after all that's said and done, the Matildas did the country and themselves proud for that incredible performance yesterday. It was their debut in the Asian Confederation and it was an impressive debut to say the least. Now, Australia have the opportunity to mix it up with the best of Women's football on a regular basis and we will be all the better for it. After spending years dominating the Oceanic Confederation smashing smaller teams like New Guinea and American Samoa, the Matildas and the Soccerroos will now face the best that Asia have to offer and will no doubt improve their skills as they go on.

The Matildas stand 15th in the world in team rankings and to have gone out and played North Korea ( 8th ) and China ( 9th ) to virtual standstills speaks volumes about our team's skills and strengths. In the end, it was experience that proved the decisive factor and with the Matildas, being a very young team, can only improve on that from here on out.

Let's not forget, Australia is into the Women's World Cup next year in Beijing and we can expect big things from them. GO MATILDAS!


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Australia 2 - China 2

But Australia lose 4 to 2 on penalties! Can you believe that? China came back at the half to level the score. After a scoreless extra time the Chinese goalie stopped 2 kicks to bring China the Asian Cup. Good on the Matildas for fighting on the way they did. I'm dissapointed that the australian fans weren't in force considering this was a match on home soil. To me it felt like I was in Beijing with all the Chinese fans in the stadium.

At The Half

Australia leads 2 to zero.

Australia scores!

At the 30th minute

At the Asian Cup Finals!

Australia takes the field.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

City Shots

Last weekend we went out and had a yum-cha lunch in Chinatown. It's what we'd call dimsum in the Philippines. We went to church in the middle of the city which was just a short walk away from the Central Market and Gouger street which is basically the heart of Adelaide's Chinatown.

On the way back to the car, we stopped to take pictures in front of one of Adelaide's newest buildings, the Commonwealth Court Building in Victoria Square. It has caused a bit of controversy before because it's modern and angular looks was a radical departure from the staid colonial style government buildings that surrounded Victoria Square. At any rate, it's there now and although I'm not partial to it, I think Adelaide can do with more modern and non-traditional architecture. Besides, a lot of new things and styles always come with some resistance.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Matildas in the Asian Cup Finals

The Matildas have made it to the Finals! Better yet, they also qualified for the 2007 Women's World Cup!

They won over Japan 2 - nil yesterday and will expect either North Korea or China in the final game this Sunday. Not sure who they'll be up against but we're sure to be there to watch!

(image from Sydney Morning Herald)

Australia will face China in the finals on Sunday. China won over DPR Korea in a match mired in controversy. Apparently, the North Koreans got angry at the referee for disallowing a late goal that would have sent the match to extra time. A melee ensued and the whole affair degenerated into bottle throwing between the Chinese fans and the North Korea players. The officials had to be escorted out of the stadium for security.

It's unfortunate that the women's game had to have this bad publicity. I just hope the final game is a good and clean one.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thirty Two

Did you know that the number thirty-two ...

  • is the smallest number n with exactly 7 solutions to the equation φ(x) = n.
  • is the atomic number of germanium
  • is the freezing point of water at sea level in degrees Fahrenheit
  • is the number of variations in Bach's Goldberg variations
  • is the number of completed, numbered piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • is the number of teeth of a full set of teeth in an adult human, including wisdom teeth
  • is the size of a databus in bits: 32-bit
  • In chess, the total number of black squares on the board, the total number of white squares, and the total number of pieces (black and white) at the beginning of the game
  • in 32 BC the Roman Senate declares war upon Marc Antony and Cleopatra
  • is the age of Jesus Christ when he was crucified

and thirty two is also how old I am today.

I share my birthday today with Lynda Carter ( Wonderwoman ), Anna Paquin ( Rogue of the X-men), Summer Glau ( River Tam of Firefly), Eric Szmanda ( Greg of CSI ) and Jennifer Lopez ( of the Big Butt ) :D

Thanks to Wikipedia for the information and my friend Doms for the idea.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Australia 0 - DPR Korea 0

I went to see the DPR Korea ( that's North Korea ) and Matildas game last night with a friend. It was a night game and although the wife and kids would have wanted to go, we decided it would have been too late and cold for them. So, it was a boys night out of sorts as my friend and I took in our first night sports match.

There was more people this time around supporting the Matildas. Kick-off was at 7PM and the people were streaming into the stadium when we arrived. Later, I found out that about 4000 people were watching that match. Four thousand vocal and excited fans cheering for both the home team and the visitors.

We seated ourselves right behind the Australian players dugout and settled into what promised to be an exciting event considering that DPR Korea were the reigning Asian Cup champions. Most expected this game to be the Matilda's toughest test yet in the tournament.

The first half started with Australia dominating ball possession early but the Koreans proved to be dangerous when their strikers broke off to get a couple of clear opportunities to score. They were only too unlucky as a shot hit the crossbar and another went wide.

The crowd was into it for the most part with the cheering section doing their best to egg the Aussies on. The second half was a defensive game with no real scoring chances. Although it was exciting to see spurts of action, the Matildas couldn't seem to break the strong Korean defence as their defenders were able to converge on any Aussie finding her way near the goal. The Koreans, on the other hand, had the better scoring chances and were able to make real threats on Australia's goal. The last minute proved to be the only real chance the Matildas had at scoring when substitute forward Thea Slatyer found forward Lisa De Vana in the 90th minute to produce a neat overhead kick that got the ball over the Korea goalkeeper's outstretched fingers but hit over the net instead. The shot missed the goal by inches!

The match ended in a goalless draw and methinks these two teams might even see each other in the finals.


This was one of my first forays into actual live sports viewing and it was funny to hear the cheers the fans made up. There was the obligatory "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi". There was "C'mon Aussie, C'mon," and there were the more funny/mean-spirited ones like:
"C'mon Matlidas, You can beat these boys!"

"Seventeen's ( # 17 for DPRK ) a hermaphrodite! Doo-dah, doo-dah! ( sung to Camptown Races )"

my favourite though was:
"C'mon girls, you can beat Nerds FC!"

And if you've watched the TV show you'd know the reference.

It was also interesting to note how disciplined the Korean team was. In the post match cool down, I can see the Matildas doing their post match stretches and such while the Koreans were doing this whole co-ordinated group thing where they walked up and down the field in their bare feet and doing group exercises etc. I wonder if this is a normal practice for some football teams or if it's a North Korea thing?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Kid Funnies Part 14

We were having dinner in front of the TV and the Simpsons was on. It's mostly re-runs but it's always entertaining. Anyway, we gave the kids a bit of chocolate for dessert. The boy took a look at the bowl of M&M's and he exclaimed, "Hmmmm... Excellent!" in the same way that Monty Burns would do it. It was so spontaneous and cute that the wife and I burst out laughing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Football Fever: 2006 Women's Asian Cup

I have to admit that watching the Socceroos, Australia's National Football team, in the World Cup gave me a whole new appreciation for soccer. So when I learned that the AFC Women's Asian Cup was to be held in Adelaide, I didn't hesitate and got the family tickets to watch the opening games down at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium. The Australian Women's football team, the Matildas were making their debut in the Asian Football Confederation and were slated to face South Korea to what promised to be a good match up.

Tickets were dirt cheap and whether because soccer ( or football ) is not popular Down Under or because it's a women's match I don't know. Although, at only $5 a ticket for free seating ( and kids under 12 free ) I wasn't about to complain. When I told the kids we were going to see the Matildas play, our girl could hardly contain herself. She was so excited that all week she was counting down the days to the match. She even made up her own sign to wave during the game.

As game day arrived, the forecast called for for cold and rain so we made sure the kids were all bundled up before we went to see the game. After a couple of wrong turns we got to the stadium in the middle of the first match between Myanmar and Thailand. The stadium was largely empty and we found seats next to the pitch and tried to settle in. Thailand handily beat Myanmar 2 to 1 on the opening game and as the Matildas and the Korean team warmed up on the grounds, we moved higher up in the stands to get a better view. As the second game between Australia and Korea was starting up, the people started streaming in as well.

The crowd was already getting excited and were already shouting out the old Aussie cheers. There was a vocal group of Korean supporters complete with drums but the Aussie cheering section wasn't half bad as they belted out the old "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi Oi". Watching a live soccer match in Australia for the first time, I found the atmosphere to be fantastic. The crowd was a bit sedate at first but soon got into the game. The supporters were slowly getting behind the teams despite the cold and I can see our kids getting into it as well. Sure it's not the World Cup but as the Australian National Anthem played and the whole stadium began to sing I can't help but feel what it must have felt like for all those Australians who watched the Socceroos play in Germany.

As the game got underway, so did the rain. The seats where we were was exposed so we decided to move even higher in the stands where there was at least a roof. So we climbed a few flights of stairs all the way up to the top deck. It was a way up but we had a full view of the field and got up there just in time to see Korea opening up the scoring with an own goal! It was an exciting first half and Australia dominated play with several shots on goal and when the second half started, they still continued the pressure. The kids were cheering their hearts out cheering "Go Matildas!" ( the boy shouts, "Go Ma-ta-tildas!" ) every chance they could.

It was getting colder already and after the Matildas broke the Korean defense with a second brilliant goal about about 10 minutes into the second half, we decided to go home before the cold gets the better of us and the kids. I also figured as well that at 2 nil, the Koreans probably won't be able to get back in the game. So despite the Aussie team ahead, we had to shout our last cheers and find our way outside to the car.

We stopped for dinner in Chinatown and as we got home, we found out on the news that Australia rolled over Korea 4 to 0. That's a promising start to the Asian Cup.


The Matildas beat Myanmar yesterday 2 - 0. However, North Korea began their campaign with a 9 - 0 demolition of Thailand. I think the North Korea / Australia match this Saturday would be a great one to watch.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Going Bananas

The price of bananas have skyrocketed a few months back due to natural calamities. What used to be around $3 a kilo can now command a price of around $14 a kilo .... its crazy! Gone are the days that bananas was a regular product in our shopping trolley. It was easy enough to put in the kid's lunchbox for school. And when there were some leftover, there was always the option of making those banana loaves with choc-chip bits. And it looks like prices will remain this way until about Decemer.

It been almost a month now since we had them. One time I did give in to my cravings, I got about 6 pieces and another shopper approached us and asked "Did you win the lotto?", ha ha ha.

Thankfully, we found a cheaper alternative --- dried banana chips! They cost about $6 a kilo, and it brings back memories of snacks we used to eat on a hot summer day back home. I did not like it much when I was a kid, but now we are addicted to it. Funny thing was, the sign on the supermarket shelf said it was a product from the Philippines. No wonder it tasted so familiar.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

2006 Women's Asian Cup

We're at the first game of the 2006 women's Asian Cup today in Adelaide's Hindmarsh stadium. It's cold, wet and we're freezing but the Australian Matildas are up one goal at the half so it's all good!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Parenting in Australia

Since this is a parenting blog, I might as well write something about this topic. And to be specific, the difference of parenting here in Australia as opposed to parenting in Manila.

One major difference is that there are no maids or yayas at all. I have heard of stories where maids and yayas in Manila impose working conditions and sometimes just leave you without much notice. This is especially hard if the child is really attached to the yaya. Having helpers around does have an advantage: this will give you more time for things to pamper yourself like watching a movie or having a pleasant meal without any interruptions. But then you get to miss out on things like having the satisfaction of cooking meals and getting praises for them, getting the kids involved in house chores like sorting out clean socks and treat it as part of a game, and most especially bedtime routines that include reading books and lots of cuddling.

There are a few families here who have the best of both worlds: that are quite fortunate to have close friends and relatives around to help you out with anything around the house as you take care of the children. They even have the chance to go out on "dates" as a couple. Sadly, we are not one of them. When our firstborn came, we were on our own. Hubby took a week off from work, but that was the time I was in the hospital recovering from the birth. By the time we took home the baby, we had a week to get ready a move to another apartment!

The first few weeks were not easy as we were both sleep deprived with no experience at all to back us up during these trying times. Staying at home for the first few months alone with a baby meant I would stay in my pyjamas all day until hubby came home from work. Lots of times I would panic in not knowing how to calm the crying baby, but eventually I got to know my baby well enough to see the cues myself (e.g. when she was hungry, sleepy, bored, etc.). This especially came in handy when our son was born 3 years later.

I must admit, there are good days and bad days. There are days that you feel so proud of the kids' knowledge and achievements as you can see from our previous posts. But there are days you just want to lock yourself in a room and take time-out from the kids. There are lots times I feel guilty .... for not having enough time to bond with kids due to loads of housework, ... for not keeping the house in order, ... for not taking care of my mental health by choosing to stop work and stay with the kids until they go to school. At these times, I just put things in perspective and consider ourselves lucky to have our basic needs met: we have a happy and healthy family. And thats really all that matters, right?

At the end of the day, the experience of looking after the kids on our own has brought us parents closer to each other, making a good team in relying on each other, deciding what we know is best for the kids, and sticking to them when needed. There were a couple of times that we were questioned by other people for some of these decisions, but we find comfort in the knowledge that it comes from our first hand-experience in raising our children.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Testing the K800i Camera

The K800i takes great photos. Well, at least better photos than my old camera phone. Of course, it can't replace our own digital camera but I like the fact that I can take this phone anywhere and still get half decent shots.

Here are recent shots of the kids at the park.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Herb Garden

We had this recent bout of gardenitis. Over these past few weeks we've been puttering about clearing out weeds, trimming bushes, planting new plants. We've even planted ourselves a little herb garden. Well, not exactly a garden but a nice big pot of parsley and coriander. This way, we can have fresh herbs whenever we need them. That is, if they survive our attempt at gardening!

Friday, July 07, 2006

My New Phone: SE K800i

I picked up the new Sony Ericsson phone the other day. The K800i boasts a 3.2 megapixel camera and comes with tons of other features like an FM radio, larger and better screen, MP3 player and it's 3G as well. I'm liking this phone very much! 
I'm just getting used to all the new features on the phone so this post won't be a full review as such. Besides there's probably more of that on the intermets already.
Oh, one more thing. This baby has automatic blogger support. I can take a picture and post it on this blog right away. In fact, that's how i'm writing this now. Sweet! :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Superman Returns Movie Date

I've got to say, I was impressed. I had high hopes for the movie and it delivered for me big time.

But, let me begin at the beginning. I took another day off today to enjoy the day with the wife. It's been a while since we've gone on a date together and Superman Returns was a perfect movie to take her out to. Our daughter was at school and it was my son's day at daycare so we had the day to ourselves. We do this occasionally, taking time off from being full time parents and just enjoying each others company for a day. We don't generally do much except watch movies and eat out.

We decided to watch the movie at the Norwood Cinemas. After dropping off the kids, we drove to the Norwood shops and to have some coffee and a bit of breakfast. Norwood is a nice suburb just adjacent Adelaide with upscale shops and restaurants. It was great to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and have an adult conversation over the morning papers. I know this is what a few out there take for granted but it's a decent break for us.

After breakfast, we took in the early showing of the movie and were lucky enough to grab discounted movie tickets as well. ( For those in Australia, Coca-cola has a promo where you bring in 3 labels of any coke product and you get tickets for 5 dollars. It's not well known so I'm spreading the word. :) ).

At any rate, on to the movie. ( Caution: may contain spoilers! ) Like I said, I was impressed. Bryan Singer hit all the right notes with his version of Superman. His love of comic books and the history around Superman showed. From the keeping of the classic Superman theme by John Williams to the addition of the iconic scene that appeared in the cover of Action Comics #1, with Superman hoisting the car over his head.

Brandon Routh was an excellent choice, I have to say. It must have been the costume or the physique but at times he had that Christopher Reeve look about him. Reeve took Superman the character as his own ever since he made the first movie in 1978 and for me, every time I think of Superman I picture him in my mind. Routh has definitely took the elements that made Reeve's Superman work, the cheeky grin, the self assured swagger as Supes and the bumbling elements of Clark and he's made Superman his own. He's not Christopher Reeve and that's all good.

The plane rescue sequence was one of the best action sequences I've seen in recent times. It was heart thumping and breathtaking and I was glad we watched the movie in the big screen. That sequence in in itself was worth the price of admission. I was sort of let down that none of the action set pieces after that seemed to approach the same level.

And the big question: Superman's son? Well, all I can say, it's been done before in a few graphic novels and comic books so it's not new. However, if there is going to be a sequel, I kind of feel bad that Brandon Routh would have to share billing with a super kid, if they wanted to tie up that plot point. I think Routh deserves to have a sequel by himself as Superman. He may be on the road to typecasting but it's going to be a fantastic ride.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable flick and the wife and I were humming the Superman theme as we went out the cinema. People may have their gripes but as far as superhero movies go, it's probably not as good as Batman Begins but then, it's infinitely better than Daredevil.

We then had a nice lunch at a nearby Asian restaurant. Nothing fancy, just some Pad Thai, Singapore Noodles and Penang Beef Curry but it was yummy. After lunch, we walked around some of the shops along Norwood. I wasn't planning on it but I was able to pick myself up a new toy, but that's another blog post. :)

We didn't stay out long as it was close to 3PM and our daughter would be coming out of school any minute. As we drove back to pick her up, we still had that Superman theme still running in our heads, and for sure we'd be picking Superman Returns on DVD when it gets released.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Our Little Socceroo ?

The past few days here have been raining and cold, so Nico and I have contented ourselves staying indoors until the time we pick up Bianca from school. Suddenly, the sun came out today and I just could not resist going outside, even if it was to hang loads of laundry. Strangely, Nico did not was to join me in the backyard. Maybe it was still too cold for him. After all, the sun was out but it was still quite cool and windy 16ºC outside. He preferred to stay in the living room watching kids' videos. I thought he'd he tired of them by now!

So I took decisive action to get him out of his pyjamas and bundle him up well to go for a short ride in the car. On the way out, he decided to bring a big ball, a tiny pocket sized ball, his Elmo toy and his backpack. As I was in no mood to convince him to leave something behind, I just loaded them all in the car. When we got to the park, the playground was closed ... what a bummer! Good thing he had the balls. I took out the bigger ball and he proceeded to the small ramp with the ball in the park and rolled it down. After this, he went chasing for the ball again and repeated the same thing over and over again. It was quite fun just to watch him move around, laughing each time the ball rolled down.

After a few minutes he decided to kick the ball to me, and I kicked it back ofcourse. After a few minutes of this, I was actually taken back to the days as a child when I used to kick the ball around with my brothers back home. I started off kicking the ball with the front of my foot, and then later on with the side of the foot as most soccer players do. It was here that I noticed he was really getting good at kicking the ball back at me. He would say 'Kick to Mommy' and I would respond with 'Kick to Nico'. And then suddenly he said, 'kick around' as he did kick the ball around the place by himself without passing it on to me ... kinda like dribbling I suppose. Maybe he was watching too much World Cup footages on TV with his Dad ?! I was surprised! I've never seem him do this before, with some skill at that. Now I'm no authority on soccer myself, but the fact that he did that all by himself was something to behold!

Could it be just discovered one of his talents or interests? Maybe it was just a fluke or his way of beating the winter blues. Will find out more in the next few weeks.

Test shot from k800i

New camera phone with blogger support. Nice.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

City Art

Rundle Mall is Adelaide's foremost shopping street/district. It's usually a busy place where people converge. It has tons of shops and cafés and where a lot of street performers sometimes go to strut their stuff. We were walking through the mall when we saw this group of artists create some lovely chalk drawings on the street. Although they were copying the drawings from other materials, the detail they created using ordinary chalk was amazing.

Street Art
Street Art
Street Art

Monday, July 03, 2006

Foggy Day in Adelaide

Foggy Day in Adelaide
Originally uploaded by chazzvid.
Adelaide is still in the middle of winter and getting my girl to school every morning means a cold walk to the bus stop. I took this shot on one of Adelaide's typical cold foggy mornings.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Busy Weekend

We had a busy time yesterday.  As a celebration of sorts for my wife's birthday we invited some friends over to our place for some lunch yesterday.

The day started early enough as my friend and I went to get some fresh sea food.  He went to pick me up from our house in the morning and I jokingly said to my wife that it was a boys day out. We stopped by to pick up a new acquaintance who has only recently moved to Australia. I thought it was a good idea to show them to Adelaide's sea food market as they had been looking for a place to buy fresh fish for a while now. We

After we picked up some fresh sea food, we stopped by to pick our new friend's daughter as his wife was ready to go to worn and we went back to our house for lunch. My wife was preparing a lunch of pancit palabok so I got some fresh prawns and squid from the seafood market for ingredients for the palabok

Pretty soon were joined by my friend's wife and daughter and we had ourselves a full house. It was a fine lunch with our friends and our kids had fun playing with the two other children. The families had a good time together that, as per usual, they stayed for dinner.  Our wives cooked lumpia shanghai and also went out and bought some dinuguan and caldereta from the Filipino store and we had an instant feast at dinner.

And what did the men do?   We stayed in all afternoon and watched several episodes of Firefly... what can I say, we were lazy... :)