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Tony Abbott… Failed Chemistry, won race to the bottom.

“This is a draconian new police force chasing an invisible, odourless, weightless, tasteless substance” well, so said Tony Abbott on the Today show (29/7/11) . Now, of course we know this was an off the cuff comment, so can’t be trusted. Then so was his comment that off the cuff comments can’t be trusted, so really who knows.

This comment though shows not only a lack of understanding of the basic laws of the chemistry and even biology but a complete disrespect for science. One could make comments about his belief in “things that are invisible, odourless, weightless” like say God, but I won’t.….

It has been clearly detailed how he flip flops from I believe to I don’t depending on the audience he is talking to.  This throw away line however shows that he doesn’t believe in climate change in the slightest.  If Tony did believe in climate change even slightly he would not have said this comment because it is so fundamentally flawed.

If “invisible, odourless, weightless, tasteless substance[s]” are ok, that means that radiation is just fine in Tony’s book, even natural gas is o.k  ( the smell in natural gas is added so people can tell it is leaking ). Tony obviously has trouble believing that these substances can have any effect, because he can’t see them.

A few simple tests would help.  Say put a tonne of C02 in a container and drop it on his toe. But how much is a tonne of CO2?.  It is 505 m3 at room temperature (gas), or 0.625 m3 as a solid. Perhaps Tony failed the what is heavier a tonne of feathers or a tonne of bricks question at school.

I’m sure that Malcolm Turnbull did a facepalm when he heard what Tony had said.  Turnbull’s ability to speak to this subject in a clear and concise way without ever dumbing down the science is a credit to him.  Tony on the other hand is on the race to the bottom. The problem for the Labor party is that they don’t have Turnbull, or even his equal in this debate. Despite policies such as the price on carbon and the NBN, they are in an uphill battle with “but CO2 is invisible” and even on the NBN, “But devices are wireless”

Tony’s comment about the “Carbon Cops” is also wrong.  If the government did nothing to ensure that people weren’t being ripped off by dodgy business the Libs would be claiming “Pink Batts” all over again. You know that program, the one that reduced house fires. This from an opposition that is worried about the “jobs”.  Yet are on the record for saying the will sack 12,000+ Public Servants when they get into power.

The old adage of don’t argue with an idiot, no one can tell the difference have never been truer.

Labor shouldn’t have gone with the “but Tony is negative and has no policy” line.  They should have dragged him to the front of the class and put a dunce hat on him.  Or, more PC these days.. chipped in and got him a tutor so he can brush up on his chemistry.

I’d always hoped that the next potential PM of Australia would actually be smart enough for the job. Tony with this comment shows he isn’t.

Shooting Day Zero – A Guide to taking photos of your new baby.

#wolfcatcubs Awww... unbearable cuteAs you may be aware and the large bags under my eyes from lack of sleep attest to I have just become a father to twins.  Now being a keen photographer as well, I wanted to make sure I captured their first moments in this world.  I thought whilst I still had a touch of sanity in my brain left I’d write down some pointers for taking photos, and tech..I’ll leave all the machines that go ping to the hospital of course.

You’ll need to do a bit of planning, but given that you get one moment to experience, well in my case two, you do kind of want to get it right.

Firstly, work out with the one doing all the work what she is comfortable with.  This will stop arguments down the track before you start sharing photos that she and possibly the rest of the world doesn’t want to be seen.  As a friend on Twitter told me..“What has been seen, can’t be unseen”.

Whilst the best photo you always get is the one with the camera you have on you at the time, there are still a few things to make life easier.  You will want to check that you can take photos to begin with.  Some places get a bit funny about it and you certainly don’t need to be having an argument with the doctors at that time

Meet #wolfcatcubs - ZaraNext, don’t take all your gear, you won’t need it. In my case I took a D7000, and 178-105mm lens and a 50mm f/1.8 and my SB700… Not even using the 50mm lens till much later in the day. Then make sure it is all charged, days in advance. If you have a real flash, take a spare set of batteries, and spare cards for the camera as well. If you wanted to use a friends camera make sure you are familiar with it, even in automode before hand.

Double check the timestamp on your camera is accurate.  You will want that to be correct in the years to come.

So, we have the gear, we have permission, and everything is charged.  Don’t forget the camera. I know of cases where this has happened.  If you have a checklist for hospital, put the camera etc on that list. Moreover, if you don’t have a checklist for hospital, make one.

<drum roll>The big day…. </drum roll>

Unless you are a professional photographer who can work under intense emotional pressure, put the camera on automode.  You don’t want to be stuffing around with settings at the time.  Make sure if you are shooting on a DSLR, shoot RAW, at the maximum resolution your camera shoots at.. This gives you the option later to tweak white balance etc with no impact on the images.

Most important at this point, pay attention to the moment.  Sure having the photos is great, but missing the moment for a photo, I think not.  I didn’t get some photos because I was in awe at what was happening, so should you be.

Then, we you get the chance, take LOTS of photos.  Babies move a lot, at least with a real flash on the camera, which of course you can bounce behind you in a white room nicely you will get some keepers. Try not to use the onboard flash, it creates nasty shadows and points into very delicate little eyes.  Another option is to shoot at a higher ISO and in shutter priority mode at 125 or higher.

Erin puts her best foot fowardA few other tips for photos, you can act as a sense of scale.  You’ll soon forget how small they were, putting a little hand next to yours will give you that. Shoot the little details as well.  The hands, feet, ears and nose.  People look at these for family resemblance.

How hard can this dad thing be....If your camera is in fully automode you can hand the camera to the nurses or staff to get a photo of you as well.  You will want shots of you with them as well as them.

I did my 50mm shots of the girls about 4 hours after they were born once things had calmed down a little. Then I did the uploading of the images.  I took my EEPC Slate, which let me deal with the RAW files in lightroom, but onboard processing will do just fine as well for those first shots.

Hand #wolfcatcubsBlack and white photos of babies are done for a reason.  It evens out skin tones.  A new born babies skin can be anything from yellow to bright red.  Shooting RAW gives you more flexibility to process these post the event.

Then make a backup of all the images.  There are going to be images that if you lose, you will never get back.  That night I then made offsite backups of the RAW files as well.  You can never have too many backups.

So that covers your photos, but a few other things you are going to need.  If you have a laptop, take the charger for your smart phone as well.  It will run out of charge, you will be making a lot of calls. Get a cheap Bluetooth headset or a mic for your phone as well.  That way you can have a coffee and make all the calls you need to on the day without fretting about running out of charge and still having a hand free.

Finally at this point breath, relax and enjoy those memories of sleep.


Now the #wolfcatcubs are here… I need to say sorry to them for a few things…

Now that you are here… I guess there are a few things I need to say sorry for… in no particular order:

Sorry that I took so long to getting around to making you.  I thought I was trying to wait till I was ready, it was never going to be long enough, I’m still not ready.

Sorry I laughed at you when you fell over and didn’t really hurt yourself.  It will be light relief for me for all those nights I stay up with worry when you are ill.

Sorry that your sibling is better at something than you are.  But there will always be people better at something even if you are really good at it, but I’ll still encourage you.

Sorry you didn’t achieve something the first time.  Like everything you will find that practice does make things better, but maybe not always perfect.

Sorry you lost.  You are a winner in my eyes, but losing, in a game or in a race is something that happens to us all.

Sorry when your beloved pet died.  Life does end, and it is a lesson you will need to learn, but hopefully not too much.

Sorry for when you lost the mystery of Christmas and the Tooth Fairy.  But as you grow up the mysteries that still exist in science can open your eyes to even more amazing things.

Sorry that you walked in when Mum and Dad were having a special hug.  But nowhere near as sorry as I will be when you grow up if I walk in.

Sorry I didn’t get you a pony, that doll, or any other expensive toy you had your heart set on.  I’m not the richest parent, but I will give you lots of love for free.

Sorry that people will say you can’t do something because of your gender. . As your father I won’t be one of those people.

Sorry, but music was better in my day, its a rule of being a parent..

Sorry for telling you off for doing the bad things that I did growing up.  And no, I’m not telling you what they were.

Sorry also that the “original” song or film are way better than the remake you have grown up with.

Sorry that school sucks.  If you are lucky you will get some teachers to make learning fun, and to open your eyes to the amazing universe around us.

Sorry for those long car trips where you get carsick.  One day you will hopefully look back and remember the amazing places we have seen together.

Sorry that I make you ask why so many times.  It is the most important question you can ask.  And is much better than “are we there yet”

Sorry I smacked you on the hand when you were young.  But you were going for something dangerous and haven’t yet learned what going to your room means.

Sorry for the pain that you get from a few jabs as your growing up.  The pain from a preventable disease however is worth the small inconvenience.

Sorry you heart will get broken a few times. One or more of those times as your father I might even be relieved, not that I will ever tell you that.

Sorry that your first job is going to be shuffling burgers or trolleys or some such task.  You won’t be the CEO to begin with. You can be in the future, with hard work, education and discipline.

Sorry if you choose a career based on love and not money.  You’ll do it much harder in most cases, but it will be so much easier to live with yourself if you do.

Sorry that I wasn’t there when you did so many things for the first or even last time.  Even if I miss these I will always be there for you.

Sorry that the world around you has lost its way in a race to the bottom. I hope when you are old enough to vote that politics does mean something once more.

Sorry that everyone just thinks of themselves, and this is increasing.  I’ll do my best to teach you empathy and understanding.

But even with these sorrows, there is something I am not sorry for and that is for having you. Welcome to world, it is an amazing place

Who is thinking of the Flint knapper or Whaler #carbontax #cp

The biggest grip I have is that all those that are opposed to the carbon tax are self interested groups. The groups that the Libs are playing a stuck record for. “Big Fat Tax”, “Toxic Tax” etc.

Yes, in the future Coal will go the way of the dinosaur… ironic really. And yes during that transition there will be some pain. Do I feel for those that may lose their jobs, yes I do. But then do we shed a tear for those that worked in the Asbestos mines, the mine that for what at one time was seen as a great product until we work out it was killing people. Of course we don’t. We shed a tear for those that are still paying the price of working with the material. Sure it is not as easy to launch a class action against carbon, but that day still may come.

Australia has a chance to push into green tech. Then by exporting that tech and not just our expensive dirt we could even make a lot of money. Creating new jobs and new opportunities that can value add, delivering benefits not just for a few, but for all of us.

If people could stop thinking about just themselves and start thinking about future generations we could get somewhere. If the rise of the interest group and lobby group that is focused only on a small set of people that will gain from something, things could improve for all of us. What if politicians didn’t drive a wedge “a few are going to be worse off”, yes a few will be, but how many of them can afford a $10 a week increase in something, 99.99% of them I’d say.

Lets pause and reflect on the Telegraph operators, Switchboard operators, Cotton pickers, textile makers, the poor paddle boat operator or the coal foot men on a steam train. Perhaps a moment of reflection for, candle makers, wagon makers and also the related industries like wagon wheel repair men and horse shoe folk. Newspaper print setters ( and possible even Newspaper barons ), the poor Milkman, the Iceman, but lucky for him the Dunny man. A pause for the Flint knapper, the whaler. Or even a pause for all those that have lost jobs in the coal industry from automation, machinery and cost cutting.

#wolfcatcubs – One week on…

6 days old and Erin already has mastered #facepalm #wolfcatcubsFor those that don’t follow the noise that is my Twitter stream I thought I would update the blog with the latest on the Cubs…

Holy crap…  the cubs are 7 days old already….

Seven days on, Mrs Wolfcat is finally home.  She got to come home yesterday and so has a few days rest before the cubs arrive home.  Which is a big question that people keep asking. Latest thinking is “late” this week.  When they come home is dependent on them.  Certainly we aren’t going to rush this.

#wolfcatcubs Awww... unbearable cuteZara’s feeding tube came out on Thursday last week, Erin’s just yesterday.  But that means that they are suck feeding which is a great sign.  However, the issue with Erin is that weird heart rate thing that was noticed In utero hadn’t gone away.  It is very intermittent and the doc has got her on drugs.  They are confident that she will grow out of it in the next year anyway and it doesn’t seem to be upsetting her.

Hand #wolfcatcubsSo we are doing feeding runs for the girls for the rest of the week whilst we run around trying to get a few more things organised at home.

I’d like to thank a few people as well.  The staff at the Jessie Mac Hospital, and the staff Monash Children’s have been amazing.  Our OB Danielle Wilkins has been wonderful as well.  I’d also like to thank my boss and co-workers for being amazingly supportive and flexible during this time as well.

The girls are doing really well and I am still ten kinds of terrified especially holding something so small and vulnerable in my hands.

Lots more photos on Flickr as well….

#wolfcatcubs have arrived

14 years in development (with plenty of practice) the collaborative Wolfcat installation project of 2011 was successfully completed this morning.

Wolf and Cat are pleased to announce the Wolfcatcubs are finally at large.

Please join us in welcoming into the world, the latest members of the Dale/Cocklin Clan, our beautiful new twin baby daughters


Erin  Amelia Dale  Cocklin
Zara  Augusta Dale  Cocklin

35 weeks 5 days gestation
delivered by caesarean section

8:38am   Monday   4thJuly   2011

Jessie McPherson Private Hospital, Melbourne.

Erin  weight:  2.750 kg (6.06 pounds)   length:  48cm ( 18.89inches )

Zara  weight:  2.560 kg (5.64 pounds )   length:  48cm ( 18.89inches )

~ All involved are doing well ~

(though at least one of us has been scarred for life by the experience)

Further details as they become available, together with perhaps far too many photographs to be found at… bit.ly/wolfcatcubs


(Erin with the Red Cap, Zara without a cap, Mum with the blue cap )

for good luck, please feel free to wet the babies heads

or even smoke that fine cigar (twitter says a cigar for each baby is in order apparently)

(I know we will be indulging – guess who is looking forward to which the most)
Meet #wolfcatcubs - Erin

Meet #wolfcatcubs - Zara

… One stunned mullet…
How hard can this dad thing be....

and if you look at the big version of this image you will see that I am actually giving the #wolfcatcubs their first feed, not just standing around.

Erin puts her best foot foward

Zara puts her best foot foward

Yes.. This training video will help for #wolfcatcubs tomorrow…

Yep… that covers all I need for the hospital….

And this song… covers today…

16 hours to go before #wolfcatcubs… NO am I not excited.

Why oh why do people ask me if I am excited about the arrival of the #wolfcatcubs.  I’m not, there is nothing to be excited about.

Terrified is the best word to describe what I am feeling.  Perhaps it makes people feel better to ask you are excited.  My wife is in hospital with twins coming in under 16 hours.  What is there to be excited about…

For example in no particular order, what if I drop them, what if they aren’t healthy, how will I pay for them, what if they don’t breast feed properly, what if my wife is really crook post op, I don’t have enough leave, what if I drop them ( yes I know I said it twice ), what if I screw up the one chance I have to get a great first photo etc etc etc…..

People have said I will make a great father… how do they know.  I couldn’t organise my way out of a wet paper bag when it comes to domestic duties. About the only thing I can do that is remotely parent related is tell really bad Dad jokes.

See there is a lot to be terrified about.  They will they be cute and will I love them, that is a given (well cute if they take after Mrs Wolfcat, not me).  So I have that covered already….  So back to being terrified I go.

I have a week to finish sorting things around the house, and at least most of the big pieces are in place.  But so many little things… for what will be very little things.

I might be excited next week, but this week while I try and get my head around everything I am just terrifed.

Of course next week I will bring them home… then I will be terrified all over again.

#wolfcatcubs update – holy crap batman they are coming on MONDAY….

Well, I thought the nice measured title, reflects the measured mood that I am in at the moment.

Of course I am in a measured mood, I am sitting back on a Friday night with a beer.  A well deserved beer after the day I have had as well.

Yesterday marked the start of Week 35.  So Ultrasound, blood test, BP etc.  And like all great drama’s I didn’t pay attention to the ominous music playing in the background did I.

Test results came back fine for the Cubs, but Mrs Wolfcat is to coin a technical phrase.. “FULL”.  Her body has decieded to slow down, with her BP up, blood work not coming back as good as it should have etc.  So we have moved from the optomistic “Lets aim for Week 37”, to the “you’ve done enough.. Week 36 ( aka thursday ) to the ” We are admitting you in a few hours, pack a bag, aiming for Monday.

So I calmly drove home, and with little fan fair or panic helped get Mrs Wolfcat’s final things together and took her to hospital.

Even after a few hours in the “uber” gymnastic contortionists dream of a bed she is looking a bit more rested, so Monday looks like the day.

Now I have to run around and do all those jobs I still had weeks to do over the weekend.  Worse yet, I am getting instructions on bits of paper on how to do said tasks, which of course leads to fear of loosing the bits of paper.

The camera is charged, fresh batteries in the flash, memory cards emptied, and even a back up camera just in case.

Sometime Monday morning I become a father of twins….  ok… I think I need another beer.