Cash rates of 5.00% are still available! BankWest is advertising Smart eSaver savings account with 5% annual interest rate. The advertised rate is bonus rate. Standard rate they offer is 3.25%, which is also the official Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate (see official cash rate here). The bonus rate is applied for each month in which withdrawals have not been made. Despite this limitation, it is still a great choice for cash savings.
Monday, 30 March 2009
Friday, 27 March 2009
Winter is getting closer. The temperatures are 12 degrees in the morning now. I'm trying to imagine what it will be like in one, two, or three months time. Hope warm clothes will do the trick and make it more bearable. I should also look for a heater this weekend. Need something to keep me warm in the morning when getting up from bed. That is usually the coldest part of the day - somewhere right after 6AM.
I think I'll do the same as now, except not cycling (too cold) but walking to work. I'll use some warm clothes to get there and then change into my work clothes at work.
No vacation this year. :( No escape from cold into the mid-Summer in Europe. This time I'm going to go through the full Australian winter. Without heating in the house, that is.
After work I decided to ride via nice bike path to Port Melbourne and see the ocean. The day was nice and sunny. Apart from constant buzzing of formula engines coming from Albert Park and mid way to the ocean there was another sound - F-18 in low flight! It was an Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) show for the Formula 1 spectators. I stopped at a nice spot so I could watch the aircraft flying around, doing a performance. The sound of a jet flying at a veeeery low altitude was amazing.
It reminded me that the Avalon Air Show was only two weeks ago and the memories were still fresh. I have to say that seeing a military aircraft reminds me of the city I grew up in, where military jets were taking off and flying around every day.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Again, going out at noon, the roar could have been heard across the city. It is a bit sad I can't hear it at work.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
I was glad to read the summary of an article, published by the Financial Times (FT). The article is about the current members of EU using their membership as a lever to pressure the neighbors that are not (yet) members of the Union. Finally someone turns focus on these unethical practises. The reason such a bullying behavior is tolerated is the legislation of the EU. These countries - Slovenia and Greece - have been using such a system to take advantage over their neighbors Croatia and Macedonia. Never minding that there were provocations on the other side, these issues can not be the reason to block the accession of the mentioned countries to the EU.
The conclusion FT makes is that the price for stalling the progress of the accession for the Balkan countries could cost Europe more if the affected countries receive a wrong message. As stated,
“The Balkans and Turkey are politically fragile economically vulnerable but strategically important parts of Europe."
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Today I realized just how much I miss the trees and mountains. Recently, as I was thinking what I'm missing the most the most and the views of mountains and forests would appear. When I was looking around Melbourne, trying to see which area I would like to live in, often the ones with lots of trees would give me a good feeling. At the time I did not realize but today it occurred to me that it's the trees, nothing else. Some water - a stream or a river - and trees, quietness, that's all I need to enjoy an area. This realization makes it simple to find such a place. Anywhere in the world.
Just received a link to this test from a friend. It is really interesting and detailed. After you fill it, you'll receive the following:
- Your type formula according to Carl Jung and Isabel Myers-Briggs typology along with the strengths of the preferences
- The description of your personality type
- The list of occupations and educational institutions where you can get relevant degree or training, most suitable for your personality type - Jung Career Indicator™
What I was amazed by are the career results. The first occupation in the list was the Computer Programmer. How accurate! I believe this is the only profession I would enjoy doing. Well, management is probably the next one I would like. Try the test at the link below...
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Yesterday, at a farewell party of my friends who were so kind to host me after my arrival to Australia, I heard about this beautiful site. Otway Fly Tree Top is a walk among the trees at a height of 25 meters. There is also a tower 40 meters high. The walk is across a metal structure similar to old hanging bridges.
It must be worth a visit. The ticket for the walk is $19.50. It is a nice destination for one of the following weekends. The location is about 30km North of Apollo Bay. Another opportunity to drive along the Great Ocean Road.
Friends say that, if one walks fast, the whole walk can be completed in about 40 minutes. That is excellent. Provided one walks slowly and looks around, taking photos, the walk should be much longer. Looks like a nice whole-day holiday trip.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
Australian Government is lowering this year's immigration target by 14% to protect local workers. Job market has been affected by the current economic slowdown. After the growth returns the quotas will probably return to their current levels.
Australian International Avalon Air Show is the name of the exhibition and the flying programme held at Avalon airport close to Melbourne. The airport is soon to become a second international airport for Melbourne.
I spent the whole Sunday at the show. The weather was crazy. Apart from snow, I'm sure we've seen it all - Sun, wind, rain, showers, clouds. It was hot and it was cold. Excellent. The exhibition was very good. A tent with different companies offering products and services for the air industry. Did not spend a lot of time in the tents (except when it was raining :) because the air show was on the whole day.
Fighters F-16, F-18 and F/A-18, F-15, bombers B-2, F-111, 2nd World War airplanes, one Yugoslavian Air Force airplane (Galeb G2), civilian airplanes, transport military airplanes, helicopters, recreational airplanes and gliders. Everything was on display. What a pity that P-51 Mustang broke down during take off and we didn't get to see its flying characteristics. It was an amazing sight just to see it preparing for the take-off on the runway.
The breaks during the program were filled with an entertainment show including acrobatic airplanes and jet engine-powered truck.
Photos available here: 2009-03-15 Avalon Air Show
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
However, there is a comedy show I'm about to visit on Saturday and an air show on Sunday. An opportunity to shoot a few photos and update my photo albums. :)
Saturday, 7 March 2009
I'm thinking more and more about this motorcycle. Still not sure whether ST (tourer) or GS (enduro) would be a better choice. Guess I'll have time to think it over the next year.
Oh, that reminds me I need to book a course and test for australian motorcycle license before the Winter starts. Well, speaking of Winter, not that it is any different these days.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Australian Tax Office is starting to send bonus payments to taxpayers starting early April. Payments of $900 will be sent to taxpayers who submitted their 2007-2008 tax return. This is a part of financial stimulus pushed by the Government.
Now, since there is only short time left to update financial details, the bank account update process is done by phone. The deadline for information update is mid-March, which is the end of next week. Address can be updated online, through a form. Link to that form is available at the link above.
Now, I tried to update my bank account details through the phone system. ATO will use whichever way was submitted with the tax return. So I wanted to switch from one bank to another and happily called 1300 686 636 after I found out it was an automated system. Thought everything is going to be done quickly since it's only numeric data I need to update. Hence, no worries - it is a great idea to have it updated over the phone.
But NO! The phone system is a voice recognition one. Oh, my God. Shivers went down my spine. But, alright, I thought, it must be good since they are going live with it. And so it started... Blah blah blah, I was saying my details for check-up and then one of the digits was recognized wrongly. At validation I said "No" but the system went on as if everything was alright. So I hung up and called again. This time I decided to keep the mouth shut and use the phone digits to type in the number. I found about this option only after the system could not understand what I said previously. Cool. Finally some stupid-old mechanical system that actually works.
Now, everything went well while it was only numerical details I needed to check. But, whoa, the system asked for my name. !#!#%@#%@#$% My last name is not even pronounceable in English. So the fun started. I never even got to my last name. The system could not recognize even my first name - which is Alen. It spelled Glen, Hellen, and these other names on and on. After a while the system got tired of me and put me through to a live person. Finally, everything was done within two minutes. Amen.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
For the first time I found about the new BMW series 800 this January (2009). My delight was endless seeing that BMW now covered that middle ground between their F650GS and F1200GS.
The 800 series is offered in S (racing), ST (tourer), and GS (enduro) versions.
The best of all is that today I saw an S version parked on the sidewalk. I had a chance to look around and enjoy. The unexpected sight was the belt transmission instead of the chain even on the S version. Looking on the net, GS is offered with a chain so I assumed the S and ST would be, too. If ST (tourer) has a belt it would make a choice really difficult between GS and ST. Luckily, I have some time to think about it. :)
We've just been let go from work earlier because of the storm. A few minutes later I receive an SMS from a friend stating that Victorian police is urging people to leave the city early as an extreme wind storm is predicted for 6pm.
I've just been shopping and cycling through the city. The wind has been blowing the whole day. I can see that by the amount of dust blown into my room from 2 inches of open window. The temperature is 29 degrees Celsius and it is 5 minutes to 6. Unless they are accurate to the minute, I don't think a strong wind storm is likely shortly but one never knows. The air in and around the city is full of dust so it might be an interesting experience should the wind gain some strength.
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Since the pool that is closest to where I live is not open on weekends I decided to check other nearby pools and list them here because I often run into the same situation - looking for a pool that's open when I need it.