On approaching 40

April 28, 2015 — 1 Comment

Got asked today whether I’d hooked up with anyone or found a partner yet in Thailand.

Oddly I remember several people (some who I can name but won’t) saying to me that you’ll never know yourself until you can live with yourself being single, something most of my adult life I couldn’t live with, and didn’t.

I think today that I can, but I’d lie if I didn’t admit there were times where I didn’t like being alone.

I reinvented myself at 30. Through risk, occasional misadventure and amazing ups, and sadly some downs (sometimes obviously serious) in between, not many people can say they spent 10 years working for themselves (or via contract from home, same sort of thing,) and in my case, I’ve never had to wear a suit to work in 10 years. Oddly the formal 10 year anniversary is 10 years come early December.

Shit has happened, but I remain grateful today that I have a writing gig that I love, friends, be it most of them far away, and I can wake up in the morning and occasionally inspire others to do better.

But for all that: I still don’t have a plan for the next 10 years, besides being able to legally see my own flesh and blood, Declan Riley, come August 2020.

I really should come up with a plan though, I’d love to be rich in the next 5 years and be able to put my son through University for example, but at this stage, given but once again his mother has cut off all access (legally, sadly) who knows.

I’ve got about 4 and a bit months to work out a plan.

Wish me luck, I need it :)

I’m self-aware enough to understand the difference between causality and correlation in the statistical analysis of market economics and marketplaces, and within that I get what I see or percive doesn’t equal an entire marketplace, but I still wonder: is there a real market out there for smart watches?

It’s 2015, my phone tells me the time, like it did in 2005, and 1995 before it.

I’m not anti-watch, and I grew up loving the latest (in 80s terms) “smart” watches out of Japan. I can still remember the arguments my parents had in around 86 or 87, when I desired the latest Casio smart watch out of Japan at Paddy’s Markets in Sydney, my father saying I didn’t need it and my mother pointing out that $40 wasn’t much (mind you the average wage at the time was all of $200 a week.)

I always had the best watches in primary school, and I owned many watches well into my late 20’s, even early 30s. I even owned a fake Rolex at one stage I paid something like $30 in Hong Kong for in 2006 when I was off to Toronto to sign the paperwork that gave b5media $2million Series A, and saw as part of the deal me being sacked and paid out roughly $250k as part of the deal.

I’m pretty sure that’s the last watch I owned, and I only owned that one because it was a classic case of being ostentatious; by that stage I’d long since used my mobile to tell the time.

It’s not hard to be impressed by smart watches, although I’m still surprised by the lack of Dick Tracey references every time they’re written about.

But while the smart watches of the 80’s offered something that otherwise didn’t have an alternative, the smart watches of 2015 have an alternative, and it’s called the smartphone.

Ironically because I don’t own a watch I couldn’t accurately time it but I’d guess it takes me 2-3 seconds to get my phone out of my pocket to check the time, and all of 0.5 seconds extra to unlock it to do further things.

So it might be a second quicker to flick my wrist to see what the time is.

Whoopdy doo.

So let’s just play out the smart watch scenario, because apparently it’s too hard to get your phone out of your pocket given it takes like a second longer: you get a shitty little screen, limited apps, and at least in the case of the Apple Watch, a watch if you use it with any regularity that you’ll need to charge 2-3 times EVERY DAY. Not joking: heavy use on an Apple Watch is 2.5 hours battery life, regular use 3.5 hours, and if you don’t actually use it to do anything other than tell the time you’ll still have to charge it every day anyway.

Better still is the price: the bog standard Apple “sports” model is US$350 (AU$425??) and they haven’t released the prices on the other models; speculation is US$500-600 on the mid-level one, and as much a US$5k on the top level one.

For a shitty little screen which if you use more than once a day for anything other than seeing what time it is you’ll have to charge at least once in the middle of the day, multiple times if you give it a work out.

Causality and correlation? ROFL. It doesn’t matter how much I can’t see the benefits of a smart watch, those stats are beyond surreal.

There was a report today that said that the Apple Smart Watch will sell 15 million units, and don’t get me wrong, I do love me some Apple tech, I’m typing this post on a Macbook Pro, and I was once of the first people in Australia to own an iPhone, but here’s the thing: it’s still 2015, and people don’t need a watch to know what the time is, let alone check their emails.

If anyone can find me a bookmaker to put money on it, I’ll happily bet against Apple selling 15m units, my bet is 3m max, and it will be regarded within 1-2 years as a major flop, because at the end of the day, who needs a watch to do what your phone already does anyway.


They saying that life wasn’t meant to be easy.

But life does test us.

I loved my time in Thailand, but towards the last week it became a challenge. I’m not going to go into all the details, other than to say fuck, and all at the last minute.

But I will share this; after a week of where I had magical highs and lows (I still can’t lift stuff with my right arm, and have possibly inflamed my arm injury again, falling on the steps of the BKK Sky Train..) so I, after a 12 hour layover in KUL, which was horrible, not because I couldn’t find a place to sleep on a bench, but because of the very rude people who make up 50% of those who do that (I’m not mentioning where they are from on the subcontinent and their unbelievable rudeness,) I got on the KUL-PER flight. Got to say Malaysia Airways was amazing in terms of quality and flight.

Would fly them again tomorrow: and in perspective, their cost was half of that than Air Asia/ Air AsiaX…which were supposed to be their cheap alt.

Except:…well, it’s probably not their fault vs the airports, but they lost my bag.

Nearly every single piece of clothing I own is in that bag. I did the purge couple of years back.

It turned up this morning (2 days later) via Courier: I can’t put in words how much it made me feel amazing again. Anyhow..

I will sleep tonight…and know I have my bag back in the morning.

Also touch wood worked :)


Australia Network was supposed to close down 18 September 2014. SMH back in June.

I started seeing ads on Australia Network saying they’re going to cover every part of the AFL finals series.

But wait, the Grand Final is 27 September 2014.

Turns out magically that the Australia Network will now close September 29.

In late August this turned up on Mumbrella:

Mumbrella understands that the Australia Network will continue its broadcast into Asia until around mid September. It will also fulfil its commitment to the AFL to offer a transitional schedule that will see it broadcast the Grand Final in Asia and the Pacific on September 29.

This despite a lack of funding following the withdrawal of the money from DFAT.

Now for those who have never seen Australia Network, it shows both the AFL Channel 7 coverage AND the Fox Sports coverage. Usually 6 games a week…for free, across the Asia-Pacific.

I don’t for one minute seriously believe that Australia Network was paying for the right to show AFL. It doesn’t show NRL, although there is a weekly Asia soccer show they show which is shown back in Australia anyway on the ABC.

My theory: the AFL was paying Australia Network to show the games as part of their expansion plans, and the extension of the channel for roughly an extra 2 weeks was due to the AFL making a payment to keep the channel on air.

There’s no other logical explanation. Given the funding had well and truly stopped it’s a miracle Australia Network is still on air…let alone towards the end of September.

I’ll also make another tip: in the new “Australia Plus” deal the ABC is pumping out to Asia/ Pacific networks (allegedly 6 hours a day…and they’ve got a pile of broadcasters on board) the Friday to Sunday coverage will be primarily AFL…because the AFL wants the coverage across their key expansion area.

Food for thought.


September 4, 2014 — Leave a comment



“The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.”

Sage advice I should have followed in years gone by.

Marcus Tullius Cicero.


This comment today on this post at Mumbrella (not yet approved, I hope it is), comment following:

I’m really waiting for an explanation as to why Australia Network needed its own “Canberra bureau” (from reading Tweets today AN’s Canberra bureau was cut) unless of course it was another example of Mark Scott using the Australia Network funding to subsidise things that weren’t remotely related to the Australia Network proper.

As anyone who has ever watched the Australia Network itself, I can tell you that all their day time bulletins (from 3am TST) are from ABC 24 News with the exception of the 2:30 (Thai time) Australia Network News Bulletin which comes out of a Melbourne studio.

I’m gutted that Australia Network has been cut, but there needs to be a serious parliamentary, or bigger enquiry as to how the $20m odd a year from DFAT was used to subsidise correspondents and bureaus which actually weren’t all that related to the service at all, except for maybe the odd rare report.

Mark Scott scammed the funding to cross subsidise ABC’s general foreign coverage, and now the cost has been paid.

You can well argue that in the end Australia Network was an ideological cut, but using what 30-50% maybe even more of that money to subsidise services not related where it could have…lets see, not spent that money that way and shown Government that our voice in Australia could be far more affordable should be on the gravestone of Mark Scott.

Which reminds me as a parting comment on something Malcolm Turnbull once said on Mark Scott: he claimed that Scott says that ABC New 24 can’t go into Asia due to “rights issues” which is dubious at best. Given how many ABC News 24 programs appear on the network now. At a rough guess 8-10 hours worth a day, maybe more when you include the showing of the chat programs, and there then repeats (Lateline, The Business, The World etc etc…) And then maybe every 2 in 3 programs in between times is ABC content anyway.

“Rights issues” was always a bs argument.

I’m probably being polite there.

The count of “good” (and by that I mean reasonable fair and decent) foreign correspondents sacked by the ABC today is beyond a fucking joke.

The thing is, most of those folks were rarely if at all exclusive to Australia Network vs the ABC (and it’s various programs and channels) exclusively.

They SHOULD NEVER have been employed exclusively by the DFAT funded Australia Network contract.


Sure, Australia Network could have justified a correspondent to cover say remote Pacific Islands, Kirabit, Nauru, Tavalu and places like that. But it never has.

Instead the ABC used the money to cover main ABC network correspondents across SE Asia, India and places like that.

When I’m next back to Australia, I’m going to write to all and sundry and demand an enquiry.

As per what I wrote on Mumbrella above, you could have funded Australia Network for 50%, maybe 75% even less. $5m-$10m a year may have even been sellable.

Instead the ABC, headed by Mark Scott took that money and pumped it into people who were not primarily based around the network.

It’s not just a national disgrace, it’s a scam. No other two ways about it.

As I walked down the street from one of my 3 local 7-Elevens tonight I was nearly hit by a car.

This car came probably in under 1m away from me.

I never flinched once nor cared. I’m in Thailand. It was way close, but it was never going to hit me.thai bike

And if one thing Thailand has taught me is that caring less is freedom.

For those interested in the car story: it’s just usual here. Bikes often get closer as you’re walking up and down a street.

In Australia, I’d go completely and utterly spare. Every. Single. Time.

But somehow this wonderful country called Thailand has taught me not to care. To not get stressed. To not unduly worry.

Yes, Thailand has a horrible track record with road deaths, but likewise no one is going to run into you as you walk up the street.

I’ll walk up my street again tonight, and I won’t give a shit about being hit because I know that an average Thai on a bike, or in a car, doesn’t want to hit me.

And this conquers a lot of anxiety I ever had.

rik myallA man who inspired a generation of kids with your comedy.


I’ve been accused by quite a few people of running away from my problems.

I’m not, as opposed to saying fuck it all and lets live somewhere where I can be happy and content.

I would never have thought about moving to Chiang Mai accept this bloke I know, who’s maybe a bit crazier than I am, but none the less a good bloke (and he worked out the sale of The Blog Herald for me) David Krug suggested Chiang Mai as a destination.

I’m happy he did.

I love this town. I really do. I’m content here. I’m comfortable. And the only bad thing is it’s near on impossible to get a permanent stay here visa.

And yet some people suggest that I’ve run away.

I’ve not run away from anything. You can’t runaway from nothing after all :)

My relationship with Kellie came to an end and so be it: still love the girl, and will always be there for her, but let me say this (please don’t be upset Kel that I’m saying this publicly) I encouraged her to get back with her husband, which she has and is still doing. She’s quite possibly my sole mate, and the only person I’ve ever met in my life who is kinda like me.

It’s a relationship I actually regret losing…unlike the nut cases prior.

I’ve had a seriously colourful relationship past (before Kellie I would note…I have ZERO negative to say about her,) including a full blown psycho who thought that sending out IVO’s daily was fun. That relationship cost me soooo many friends it wasn’t funny. For the record my name was on them: it wasn’t my idea, I was just supporting my partner.

But I need to accept the blame.

My ex-wife left me after telling me one day that she’d like to donate to the IVF programme then several months later running off with the husband of the woman she was donating her eggs to.

Shit I can’t make up: I’m seriously not that creative.

But so it is.

The next time you, and anyone thinks that I’m in Thailand running away please don’t: I’m here because I gave up the pursuit of wealth in an attempt to be content and happy, and this place makes me happy.

I’m content, not stressed (every day people nearly run me over and I don’t care, in Melbourne I’d be seriously upset.)

If it works out I don’t know. And yes the heat earlier this week got to me. But tell me seriously if you’re single: why not give a shot to something that may make you happy?

PS: Given I’m 15 months away from middle age…. 😉

It has been reported in the news today that the Australian Government is going to get rid of The Australian Network in next weeks budget.

I actually don’t believe that they should… and yes, those who know me may find that surprising.

The contract under the Gillard Government was a joke; Sky News won it fair and square but Gillard decided to award it to the ABC anyway. Why they even opened it to a submission process I’m not sure, and today the validity of the ABC being awarded a 10 year contract is dubious at best.

But that’s beyond the point of why The Australia Network should exist.

I joke…actually regularly, about how the “soft diplomacy” of The Australia Network involves confusing several billion people in Asia with Giggle and Hoot…and worse still Q&A..

But here’s the thing: Australia Network is so ubiquitous in Asia now that I’ve never stayed anywhere in South East Asia that doesn’t have it on TV.

And that includes a really shitty hotel in Kuala Lumpur that literally only had 4 channels: one of them was The Australia Network.

With the exception of Al Jazerra English, which has been in most places I’ve stayed (but not all) Australia Network pretty much now dominates English language programming across Asia…at the least for tourists…but I also believe it comes in the Asian equivalents of a “basic cable package” as well.

The tl;dr version is that nearly everyone in South East Asia who has some form of pay TV has Australian Network.

Oh, and if you’ve never left Australia: you can walk around the worst slum in Bangkok and see each house with a pay tv dish.

I’m not going to pretend to understand the subtleties of “soft diplomacy” but I do have a degree that includes Marketing: The Australia Network must, at some level promote Australia in the region.

Like Aunty at home it offers a variety of kids programs during the day (around school leave/ home times) which must be received well by Children. Its news (particularly the 2:30pm Thai time report) actually informs about what’s going on in the region.

And lets not forget that for 8 cents a day (actually given inflation a lot more now) that Australians pay for the ABC and given South East Asia is where most Australian tourists visit (ironically more so than home now) shouldn’t Australian’s also have access to taxpayer funded content away from home?

$270m roughly over 10 years or $27m a year isn’t a lot of money to broadcast Australian TV shows and culture across Asia.

It really isn’t.

I don’t believe for a minute that hundreds of millions of people in Asia are tuning in, but I do believe that there are enough people watching it to make it worth a relatively small investment to take Australia into Asia.

Just remember Abbott Government: The Australia Network is more dominant in the region than ANY OTHER COUNTRY SPECIFIC CHANNEL in the region and what sort of message does it send to Asia that Australia isn’t strong enough to spend sweet fuck all in the perspective of the budget to continue spreading its mostly good programming to a region that wants to like us…but might not as much if they’re denied a window into who we are as a people and a nation.