Bond Law Ball – June 24, 2007

The Bond Law Society’s 2007 Law Ball was held on Friday night in Surfers Paradise. It was a classy affair, and truly delivered on the promise of a “shaken, not stirred” evening. The gun-metal gray Aston Martin DB9 Vantage looked very Bondish on the dance floor 🙂

Anna and I enjoyed ourselves, it was a great way to end two hectic weeks of law school oral presentations and mid-term evaluations.

Bond 007 wall decor
Bond 007 wall decor

Life in Oz – March 13, 2007

Thank you to all who have asked how things are going here – Many apologies for not having answered earlier.

We have settled in, at last, and are trying to find that elusive balance between work/studying and finding our way around the city. We just had a relaxing weekend in Caloundra — thanks to Roy and Mary — and our first real trip to the beach! So things are great here – Sunburn and all

Life at law school is, well …. busy. I count on 60+ hours per week of school work; that’s 15 hours of class time, plus another 3-4 hours of study for every hour in lectures. It’s a full-time job! The half-way point in first semester passed by recently, so I am deep into the assignments on torts, contract law, and the legal system.

My classmates are varied mix of students young and old from diverse backgrounds, which makes for interesting stories and lively classes. Some of the students may be far too young for law school (high school grads taking their first degree), while others are complementing a prior degree with law studies (either direct from school, or a mix of school and work). The age range is 17-58, so while I may be the oldest Canadian student in my semester, I am not the most mature law student 😉

Officially, Canadians make up 16% of the law student body. However, it seems even higher on most days — we’re everywhere! In one tutorial, 7 of 10 students are Canadians, while in another we make up only 2 of 12. My classes are generally small in size, but a large group of law students entered this semester so I think we are dragging the average numbers upwards.

Anna has been working overnight (12am-8am) to match the Toronto schedule — our broadband Internet service has been instrumental in making this practical. She has started to look for project management jobs in Brisbane, but is still hoping the local office of her Canadian employer will come through with an offer of something there. Anna is also enjoying fitness classes at the local gym.

How is it to live in Australia like? Excellent!! Anna and I can’t complain about the weather here — temperatures hit the high 20s to mid-30s nearly every day in summer, with pleasantly cool evenings.

There are a few things that take getting used to, however. This includes bats the size of large birds, poor customer service (esp. from providers of phone, Internet and other expensive services) and shorter store opening hours, water restrictions, and driving on the left side of the road with roundabouts and a left-hand stick shift. Still, these are easy when you consider the advantages of sunshine, beaches, friendly Aussies, way cheaper movie tickets, and Tim Tams.

It rains every few days, but hardly ever for very long. When it does rain, it pours down for about 30 minutes. Queensland has been in an drought for 10 years, so that regional water dams are at 22% of capacity. Water restrictions are severe, and about to become more harsh: The current “Level 4” water restriction means you can’t wash the car, water the lawn, or top up the swimming pool — bucket watering only, on 2 days per week in 60 minute time-slots. Level 5 restrictions, coming into effect on 10-April, will see the restrictions worsen. The lastest rumours are that construction of swimming pools will be banned, air conditioning limited to one room in each house, and that rainwater collection tanks will become mandatory on each property (this has prompted a rash of thefts recently).

We are hoping for a visit to Sydney over the exam break in April/May. This will give us a chance to look around there, and to pickup Piper ‘The Wonder Cat” who will be arriving on 27-March but then stuck in quarantine for at least 30 days.

Next time: A new chapter of Steve’s Aussie-English dictionary, including aerial pingpong, banana bender, bludger, butcher, chook, pommy shower, posties, and seppo.

Photos of South Bank Parklands – March 5, 2007

Anna and I took a few hours to wander around Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands. This area is home to rainforest gardens, a swimming lagoon, walking & cycling paths, craft market, cultural centre and the brand-new GOMA (gallery of modern art) — plus a lot more! It is a beautiful spot within the city, right on the banks of the Brisbane River.

Have a look: Today’s photos are posted in my South Bank photo album. These are best viewed in slideshow mode, so you can see the description of each picture.

Ripped from the headlines – February 8, 2007

Various tales from Australian newspaper headlines over the past week or so … Some funny, some serious.

Google Embarrassed in Australia –
Reporters at The Sydney Morning Herald discovered an embarrassing flaw in Google’s Map product – Google recommends a 10.4 kilometer trip, across the harbor and back, to go the thirty steps from Google’s Sydney headquarters to a hotel located across the street. The suggested route would also include a AU$3 bridge toll. Any query for driving directions from areas east, south or west of Google’s headquarters will suggest the same detour across the harbor, using a toll tunnel or bridge.

Guard dog leaks away a fortune – Lawyer Weekly, 2-Feb-2007
A jeweller from Dusseldorf, in Germany, lost two suitcases full of gold and diamonds when his security guard stopped to allow his dog to find a tree to christen.

Harald Herzmann decided to hire the guard and dog to accompany him to Tirol, Austria, to watch over the 1,522,147 euros ($2,501,257) worth of jewels.

“I often make the journey but not usually with so much jewellery, and had hired a security guard and dog as extra precautions,� he said. “I was walking the dog together with the security man and somebody grabbed the suitcases from the car.�

Police suspect an opportunistic passer by and are making their inquiries.

Aussie couple’s campervan cock-up The Sydney Morning Herald
A holidaying Australian couple got the shock of their lives when police pulled over their campervan and told them they had their eight-year-old daughter.

Gold Coast No.1 for celebrities – The Sydney Morning Herald
A poll lists Queensland as the holiday hot spot for celebrities.

Gold Coast ‘child abuse hot spot’ – Sydney Morning Herald
The Gold Coast has become a hot spot for child abuse and injury by parents with drug and alcohol problems, Queensland Child Safety Minister Desley Boyle says.

Premier savages defence lawyers – The Australian
SOUTH Australian Premier Mike Rann yesterday enraged leading Queens Counsel with an incendiary attack on the state’s criminal defence lawyers, suggesting they are using loopholes in the state’s sexual assault and rape laws.

Project Vista
The Queensland state government is seeking expressions of interest for private-sector partners to build and operate an open-access, ultra high speed broadband network for the people and businesses of Brisbane.