I Know I Am Intelligent Because I Know That I Know Nothing .... Socrates

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Little Blog About Nothing

This Blog is about nothing, absolutely nothing at all.

So why did you open it ? Did you think you would gain something ? Did you think you would learn something ?

Well whatever the reason, you were wrong !

Reading this blog will tell you nothing, so you might as well stop reading now !

There is no news in this blog, no politics, no gossip, no last minute up-to-date reports. There is no health news, law reforms or current statistics contained in this blog about nothing.

No Information At All !

So you may as well stop reading now !

You aren't going to learn a thing by reading this blog !

Are you STILL reading ?

Why are you still reading this blog about nothing ? Look, quit now while you're still ahead ! Honest this blog will tell you nothing.

I don't believe it ! You are still reading !!

Do you realise you have read now for over a minute and what exactly have you learned ?


Look, let's approach this sensibly, sit down.

Why don't you find a newspaper or a novel, maybe even an excyclopedia or something. That way you will benifit and gain something for your reading effort.... See you later ! Bye ...

You're still here !!

Stop reading this NOW ! you empty headed pea brain.

Sigh ... Your still reading aren't you ... YES !

You can't help yourself can you ?

You can't stop !

You must keep going and read this blog about nothing !

You are going to read on regardless !


I take it you don't have a newspaper or encyclopedia handy. Go read a cereal packet then. You won't learn anything if you keep readingn, go on off you go.

Good Bye



You are learning nothing ! You are wasting your time !


Close this page NOW ! Here's your big chance.

You can't stop reading can you ?

You're addicted. Maybe I could get you to eat a cow pad, you're obviously easily amused.

You can't help yourself, you must satisfy your pathetic curiosity.


One last chance -- " STOP READING NOW "


Well, here you are still reading.


You are learning nothing, you know that don't you ?

You are wasting your time sitting behind that monitor reading this blog but you can't control yourself can you ?

Just watch this ....

See ! ... Your still here !

I knew you would be, you can't help yourself !!

Go for a walk.

Go earn some money.

Go rob a bank.

Go do something -- ANYTHING !

Don't just sit there reading about NOTHING !

Still reading, eh ?


Ok bucko, if you don't stop reading this trash NOW it will corrupt your monitor and explode.

Well, arn't you a tough nut to crack !!

Even threats can't stop you reading - wasting your time.

Do you always vegitate this way ?

What teh hell do you hope to gain ?

Look I've just about had enough and take my word for it, there is absolutely NOTHING worth anything in this blog, NOTHING ! so shut the web page down now you jerk !

Why ? Why? Why

This is rediculous. here you are reading about NOTHING !!!

Another minute gone, you should be ashamed of yourself !!

Can't stop yourself can you !

No Willpower !!


Still here ?

And Yes you're still reading even though there was only dots to read !

It's pitiful .....



You my friend have a face like a buckled burp !!

So you're still here, even insults can't stop you !

I don't have to put up with this. i refuse to have you reading about nothing at all. In Fact, I REFUSE TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU AT ALL !!



No, I thought not. Had to read the last paragraph didn't you ? Couldn't resist it could you ! Yes this is the last paragraph because I refuse to write anymore. So There ! You have to push off now !

Good Riddance !

Ah Hah !

Caught you, you had to see if there was anymore didn't you !? Well this time there isn't, you HAVE to go and DO SOMETHING ELSE !! ( ha ha shove that in your left earhole )

The End

( I knew you'd have to read that !! You're disgusting ! A whole three minutes gone and what did you learn ? what did you gain ? )


( Happy New Year to all my Blog Friends out there ) :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Golden Quote

Great minds discuss ideas.

Average minds discuss events.

Simple minds discuss people.

Wild Logan Village Beauty

Have no idea what these are but I found this shrub on the side of the road just outside Logan Village covered in these beautiful and vibrant flowers.

Photograph © Andrew swansson 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

I believe in reincarnation -- Jackie Evancho

This young girl here is exactly why I believe in reincarnation and every now and then you get a transfer of soul and talent from one lifetime to the next ….

Thank goodness for shows like this that allow talent like Jackie to be found !

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There is beauty in everything and everyone

The below picture is of a Scottish Thistle ( Onopordum acanthium ) in Australia it is considered a very noxious weed and a plant to be eradicated at all costs. It is considered to have little value and to be an unwanted pest and yet despite all these negative perceptions it delivers one of the most striking and unique flowers around & it's cultural significants in it's native homeland of Scotland is immeasurable ( as listed below ) where it is both loved and respected.

I'd like to think in some ways, irrespective of any negitive perceptions each of us have attracted or created that we are all a bit like the Scottish Thistle and shine bright for those that matter and carve out our own piece of significants where ever our homelands may be.

Photograph © Andrew Swansson

The thistle has been the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III (1249–1286) and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470. According to the legend, an invading Norse army was attempting to sneak up at night upon a Scots army encampment. During this operation one barefoot Norseman had the misfortune to step upon a Scots Thistle, causing him to cry out in pain, thus alerting Scots to the presence of the Norse invaders. Some sources suggest the specific occasion was the Battle of Largs, which marked the beginning of the departure of the King Haakon IV (Haakon the Elder) of Norway who, having control of the Northern Isles and Hebrides, had harried the coast of the Kingdom of Scotland for some years.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Suburban Truth

Sunshine soft
Sunshine warm
Wattles swaying over fresh cut lawns,
Dancing birds singing bright
At the rays of dawns first light.
The smell of toast, coffee, tea
Float on past on a morning breeze,
Souls raised high on a wing and a prayer
For a day without despair.
Movement and clatter as the day awakes
People start to move in haste
Cars are started
Tempers fray
Here we go on another day.
Office opens
Boss demands
There goes that bloody phone again
No time for lunch
No time to breath
No time to smile
No time to be.
End of day boss is richer,
Shares are up in the bigger picture.
The global village grows and grows,
At the expense of our mortal souls.
Feeling exhausted brain won’t work
Heading home to a place that hurts,
Wife demands less hours more pay
Get it right or she won’t stay.
Kids need braces
Bills demand
Self-esteem has faltered again.
All demand all want and need
All want your blood to help them be,
Bleed you do
Every last drop
Until all is gone
And you simply drop.
Peace at last,
Free of demands.
Sleep deep my friend till dawns first light,
When the birds wake you with their singing bright
To herald the new day on a wing and a prayer
Of a day without despair.
Andrew Swansson
© 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Had A dream

Yes, I had a dream !

It’s not quite as big as Martin Luther King Jnr’s dream and I don’t think it will affect or alter too many people’s lives other than mine, but it is an important dream non the less and it’s MY dream !

I used to dream a lot as a child. I would dreams so vivid that I could smell and taste them, dreams that were so strong that I could get up several times in the middle of the night, get a drink and walk around for a bit then go back to bed and jump straight back into the dream where I left off. A dream world filled with adventure and mystery, a parallel universe to my reality world, a world that at times helped me understand my real world and then at other times poked fun at my real world to show me that it wasn’t as serious as I felt it was at the time.

They were very rarely nightmares and were usually pleasant and insightful. My dreams always seemed to help me understand my real world better and in times of confusion they helped me find answers.

I’m not really sure when I stopped dreaming but I vaguely remember stopping around the time that I left school and entered the workforce, a long time ago anyway.

I’m also not really sure why I stopped dreaming but suspect it was because of a lost connection with myself, a lost innocence and connection to my higher self, brought about by my temptation of a largely material world which I had been introduced to through the entry into the workforce and a supply of income that I never previously had.

Suddenly I didn’t have time to sit and contemplate, I didn’t have time to relax into a deep and secure dream world, I had lost the ability to STOP! To stop and smell the roses, stop to actually hear myself think and time to listen to myself. I was too busy to connect.

With my loss of connection to my higher self was the loss to understand my real would with the clarity that I once enjoyed and it also heralded a period in my life filled with chaos and self-doubt.

Interestingly enough, the loss of my ability to dream also coincided with my loss of drive or ambition to artistically create. I used to love painting and I actually won a few encouragement awards for my paintings and drawings back in my high school days. I also used to write a lot of poetry and always dreamed of learning the guitar and putting my poems to song like one of my artistic Idols “ Bob Dylan ”.

I have attempted to reconnect with my artistic side may times over the years but could never find that river to tap unless I was in a period of turmoil and self-reflection. Now while I loved the artistic fruits of these moments of deep self-reflection they were more times than not painful periods in my life and it got to the stage that I preferred not to connect rather than take my mind and soul to these dark places to find inspiration. I wanted to connect in the light again and was not willing to walk in the dark.

Nude Lady 1985 By Andrew Swansson ( My Last Painting )

My life as it turns out has taken many rough roads over the last 5 years and in the process my life has fundamentally changed in many ways. With these changes have come the deep realisation of mortality and the realisation of what is really important in life. The realisation that life is limited and the most precious commodity that we could ever hope to hold. The problem with this is that we can’t buy more when we run out of our life’s allocation, once you have used, spent or squandered your allocation that you were given on the day that you were born, it’s gone. You can’t buy any more life, you can’t borrow any more life and you certainly can’t steal any more life once yours is gone.

So life is precious and the lives of those that you love and hold close are equally as precious. To share your life with another person, and to have them openly share theirs with you has a profound effect on the average life, it makes them Shine ! And when they shine they illuminate your world in such a way that it removes all the dark places and dark corners, it illuminates your life and allows you to see your world in a perfect clarity, it allows you to see the path forward.

Another thing I have learnt in recent years is that of priorities and the real importance of “ Stuff ”. It has magnified my “R.I.S.E” gauge. Now my R.I.S.E gauge or should I say “ Real . Important . Stuff . Evaluation ” is quite simply my assessment of what is really import and what is an illusion created by society and marketing.

For example, my awesome 42 inch Plasma TV can’t make my lonely heart feel any better on a cold winter night when I am home alone. Sleeping alone with 7 pillows in a top of the line king size bed and pillow top mattress is nowhere near as comfortable as sleeping in an old wire base bed and 15 year old mattress when shared with the one you love on a cold winter night. Having that impressive high flying corporate job that pays a squillion dollars means nothing if you go home to an empty house or even worse, a full house where no one knows who you are because you have so little time to spend with them and communicate with them. All that money will only help pay the solicitors arrange a settlement. Having a successful corporate career does not equal a rich and rewarding life. The sweetest sound is that of a child laughing, the most honest words are the words of children, the most important place to be is here and now, home is where your heart is, the truth is more valuable than the answer you were hoping for, Bigger houses are only better because they have more storage space for your stuff, cuddles are fuel for the soul, happiness is having yourself as your best friend and you can never lie successfully to the person in the mirror.

I wrote a poem a few years back called Love is Elusive and the first section goes like this “ Love is elusive, Love is a dream, Love is always there but rarely seen, our eyes are closed to the simplest of things, of what love is and what it means.” By connecting with our R.I.S.E Gauge we can all open our eyes and understand better.

As I started to say at the beginning of this Blog, I have had a dream again. In fact I have started to have many dreams lately and while I won’t go into specifics of these dreams the important thing is that I am having dreams again.

Partly due to being made redundant four and a bit months ago and partly because of changes in my life’s circumstances I have found myself stopping and listening to life. Listening to the birds in the morning, listening to my heart. I have been looking at life through the lens of my camera and actively seeking out beauty in this world. I have been listening to natures little clues to know which road to travel to find that next beautiful moment and to capture it in time with my camera.

I have been actively reducing my material possessions and distractions to a point of needs rather than just wants and I have been reducing my consumptions based on boredom and frustration until I reached the point of consumption based on needs.

All of this has made life a more real entity with purpose rather that a life based on distraction.

Now I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or an equal reaction to my actions but suddenly I am dreaming once again.

“ I Have A Dream ”


Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog


Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Turf wars between an
Australian Galah ( left ) & a Rainbow Lorikeet
over the morning feed tray.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Must See Clip

Nature !
How amazing it is, just when you think you understand you get to see something like this !

EMBED-Leopard Kills Baboon But Saves Its Baby - Watch more free videos

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Few Of My Latest

Hope you enjoy, all are from my back yard except the wattle flower !

True Love

Sulpher Crested Cockatoos ( Cacatua galerita ) as part of my " Urban Wildlife " Collection. My aim is to try and capture all the species of wildlife that visit my yard !

A Rainbow Lorikeet

( Trichoglossus haematodus )as part of my " Urban Wildlife " Collection.

Some type of Australian Bush Wattle

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Love Enough ?

Most who read my Blog would be aware that my marriage went through some interesting times over the last four years which resulted in me now being separating permanently from my ex-wife and best friend of 17 plus years.

In more recent times I have watched another best friend’s marriage disintegrate into a bitter, hateful situation when both sides are always defensive and looking to get the next point over their partner. Their relationship has descended into a win at all cost “ War of the Roses ” and both parties have resorted to using their 3 kids as cannon fodder against each other ( even if they are unaware of what they are doing ).

Another friend is currently going through a domestic abuse hell from her partner that has resulted in criminal charges against her ex-husband and she is now living 24/7 with the fear of him turning up and finishing the job he had started.

And then last night I was talking to a another ( 20 year plus ) friends wife only to be told in secrecy that her marriage is a complete sham and that from the moment she walked down the aisle she knew it was the wrong thing to do but felt trapped and unable to get out of the marriage. She informed me that her wedding day tears walking down the aisle were not tears of happiness but tears of sadness and regret of what was happening.

The sad truth is I’ve only listed four marriages above but in reality I could run off a list of twenty or more friends and associates who’s marriage did not stand the test of time.

Yes, I too know people who have been married for very long periods, including my parents who have been married 50 years and my sister who this week is celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary, but they are the minority, an ever decreasing group who have to date stood strong against all that time, marriage and life has thrown at them. Some are still there out of genuine love, some out of long formed habit and some out of fear of being alone.

How does this happen between two people who once loved each other openly and unconditionally ?

I have many thoughts about relationships but since my marriage did not survive you may not want to put too much weight onto my beliefs, many are probably off the mark but all are qualified by real relationships that I have either been a part of or have observed first hand.

I think the first big killer of any relationship is the fight for control within a relationship, I have not yet seen a relationship that is 100% amicable where both parties agree on everything all the time. That I think most would agree is impossible and a fantasy world saved for day time sitcoms.

Every couple will have disagreements, every couple will attempt to “ Negotiate ” a compromise and every couple over time will feel like “ They ” are the ones that ALWAYS have to compromise, every couple will start to resent the inability to have it their own way and will feel more and more like “ Their opinion doesn’t matter anymore to anyone ”, individuals start to feel dis-empowered, lost and without a voice. The power battles start and suddenly the decision over which show you both watch or the colour of the new blinds takes on an illogical level of importance that is more deeply rooted in the need of each individual to be heard than it is about the actual topic.

Another big issue I feel is an ever growing phenomenon in marriage for the need to “ Change ” or “ Fix ” those silly little flaws in our partners. Just about, actually ALL relationships that I have observed have started independent, but before long at least one side of the relationship ( if not both ) attempt to change the other half, to “ Mould ” them into a mirror of themselves. While opposites attract it makes for hard work to constantly negotiate a compromise and inevitably one will attempt to conform the other so that the day to day existence of a relationship becomes less work and easier.

Can you remember when you first moved in with your partner ? Can you remember the small insignificant things that shouldn’t have mattered but in reality drove you mad with frustration. Did they leave the toothpaste lid off ? Did they not close the wardrobe doors when they were finished ? Did they want to watch their shows all the time instead of your shows ?

I believe that in most relationships this is natural and one side will always be willing to give that slight bit more than the other. The issues come into a relationship when one side feels that they have paid their dues and given more than their share of ground for the relationship but are constantly asked to give yet more.

Finally I think the third big killer of marriages is “ Jealousy ”, unless it was an arranged marriage ( which is a whole other story ) we all would have met our partners at some type of social gathering, be it Church, the Pub, Through Friends ect .. we as humans are social creatures, we thrive on connecting with others, in fact we cannot survive in isolation.

Yet despite our partners having multiple friends of both sexes when we met them it is amazing how many partners don’t TRUST their partners to remain social outside of the marriage. I ask you this question, “ Would you allow your partner to go out to dinner and a movie with a member of the opposite sex alone ? ”.

If your answer is no I would ask YOU why ? Do you not trust them ? Do you not trust the other person ? Do you not trust yourself in the same situation ?

Without trust in any relationship you have nothing.

It is YOUR issue that YOU need to deal with and carry the burden of. It is not for your partner to carry your insecurities for you or to resolve. You do not own your partner and therefore have no rights to restrict or control their life.

On a lighter side, I have a young nephew about to marry one of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, they really do seem to be the real deal, a couple that will stand the test of time. Everyone is excited about their wedding day which is such a refreshing feeling in today’s cynical world.

They really do stand as a beacon of hope for us all and of what is right about this world.
So please raise your glasses and toast with me to “ Mathew & Lilly ” as a reminder to us all of what it was once like and of how it should always be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Evolution Of My Blog

I’ve noticed that many of the Blogs that I follow have declined significantly in their regularity of posts. It seems like most Blogs ebb and flow in regularity like the tide, my Blog “The Soap Box Truth” is certainly one such Blog.

I have been finding it harder and harder to express my message and or stories that I have to share. It’s not that I have any less to say it’s just that I tend to find my best written contributions, be them Poems or Articles, come from a very personal place within, a place that more times than not is a place of personal pain or to a lesser degree, depression or painful self-reflection.

I guess it’s these moments that allow me to connect most intimately and honestly with my emotions and inner self which then I have the luxury to convey to those who share my Blog.

However after my initial purge of built up emotions and my almost animalistic urge to express myself and to be heard I find myself in a much more peaceful place and find that I openly resist going back to the place where I write best from.

I have also for the first time in my life found a path to express myself in a more positive less personally intense method. I have finally taken up a lifelong ( hobby ) ambition of freelance photography and now find myself spending every free moment walking with my camera looking for the beauty in this world and trying to capture it emotion and all, to share with the world. For the first time in my life I am solely focused on the beauty in this world and not the analysing of its pain and negativity.

I have been spending up to 4 hours at a time gently strolling through parklands, cities and functions looking for that elusive emotion or memory and trying to paint it’s picture in light with my camera for all to see. I have at times sat on the grass for hours ( almost in a state of meditation ) waiting for two small wrens to sit together on just the right branch and look at me in just the right way so that I could share the innocent beauty of these magnificent little birds. I have sat in the reeds of a pond quietly and in peace long enough for the proud parents of signet swans to feel safe enough to share their young openly with me.
I have walked the streets of my beautiful home city of Brisbane to share its warmth and youthfulness with all that care to see. I live in a vibrant young city that has a story to tell ever corner that you turn, so I keep turning the corners in an effort to capture it’s feelings and beauty to show those that have not yet had the pleasure of visiting our fair city.
I have created a FlickR account ( at http://www.flickr.com/photos/51977793@N07/ or you can search the FlickR home page for ( Persons ) Andrew.Swansson ) to share my best efforts and I also find more and more I am posting my photographs here on my Blog page. I am very interested in any comments or suggestions that anyone has and hope to continue to improve my ability to share life as I see it and feel it through my lenses.

Having said all of that, I still have things I need to say and things that will make me want to step up once again onto my soap box but hopefully that will actually be less and less as I become more and more comfortable remaining on the positive side of life.

I am also interested in any suggestions that people may have for photographic topics and or places. I am also looking for any model volunteers in the South East Queensland area if anyone is willing or knows anyone, especially any heavily pregnant ladies.

So until next post, please enjoy the following shots which I took recently.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bucket List Focus Time

Went for a bit of a drive today to get out of the house and clear the head and emotions a bit, headed back up into the mountains and got a couple of good shots for my effort so I thought I'd share.
Don't forget that you can see the rest of my photographs that I'm willing to share on FlickR.
I hope you enjoy the following photographs.

Superb Fairy Wren ( Female )

Superb Fairy Wren ( Male )

Grey Headed Flying Fox Bat

Monday, September 6, 2010

Expectations - A comment From The Soap Box

How much should we expect from our kids ?

Is it unrealistic to try and encourage and motivate your kids to put in 100% effort, 100% of the time ?

I’ve had a few “ Disagreements ” with my son of late about his focus and motivation towards what I see as golden opportunities that he has in his life and his constant “ Just Enough ” effort that he puts forward as his “ Best Effort ”.
I know that generalisation is a dangerous thing but it would appear to me that most of the “ Now Generation ” ( below 25 years ) consider that any effort is a good effort and that as a society we are pandering to a generation of delicate personalities which we are not allowed to tell that they are wrong, failed, lazy or simply that they are dragging the chain.
We now have education systems that are not allowed to mark incorrect answers with a Red Cross because it might upset the kids and damage their self-esteem. We have universities that simply mark as competent or not competent so that we don’t discriminate. But in do so we manage to the lowest common denominator and take away any motivation for our youth to strive for that 99% on the exam, to push themselves to achieve their best. Why would anyone strive to achieve 99% when the person who gets 51% is acknowledged exactly the same, with a “ Competent ” grade.

We even have unfair dismissal laws in industrial relations that require us to give big warm hugs to non performing employees, to ask if they have home issues that you can help with and then you are still required to give them 3 written warnings before you can dismiss them. Crazy, keep your home issues at home, focus on work at work and give 100% effort 100% of the time.
What ever happened to someone’s “ Best Effort ”, when did it become acceptable to acknowledge mediocrity as your Best Effort.

Good, Better, Best
Never Let It Rest
Until Your Good Is Better
And Your Betters Best.

I don’t think we as parents are doing our children any favours by allowing them to believe that average is acceptable, that as long as you cross the line that you have won.

If we don’t push ourselves and our children to reach for the stars, to dare to try and try again till you fail then how will we know just how far we could have gone and just how much we could have achieved.

We need to teach our children that failure is not loosing !

That they need to reach for the stars and not fear the fall.
Thank you for reading my blog and please leave your opinion, comment or simply a greeting.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today's Photographs

Went up to the mountains today with a good friend to get some fresh air and sunshine, decided to take the camera along and took the following shots which I thought I'd share.

My photographs can also be found on FlickR at http://www.flickr.com/photos/51977793@N07/
( Click on picture to see enlarged version )

Who You Looking At Chicken Legs

Oi Over Here With The Sugar

Pair Of Blue Fairy Wrens

Rainbow Lorikeet


Friday, August 27, 2010

Have You Ever Been

Have You Ever Been

Have you ever been that lonely you ache,
That lonely that you’re basic need to hold someone and to be held is screaming louder than your instinctive need to breath.

Have you felt that overwhelming sense of segregation and detachment from the human race that you now questioning your actual existence.

Do you crave a simple touch from a caring soul and to be held in warm arms that close that you can hear their heart beat.

Do you cringe at the thought of curling up in bed with your seven cold pillows once again tonight, like you do every night.

Do you now consider a King sized bed a curse when it was once a blessing.

Does your social circle now rotate around the channels, with your excitement after 9:30pm.

Have you ever been excited when the phone rings right in the middle of dinner or even more excited to hear of the fantastic once in a life time opportunity being offered by your new best friend who hunts and traps lost lonely souls.

Do you invite the Mormons to sit, rest and stay awhile.

Do rooms seem larger to you now and do the days seem longer.

Do you still cook or does the isolation and solitary dinning make takeaway a more social and logical choice.

Have you ever been that lonely that the thought of getting out of bed in the morning seems like a complete waste of time.
Do you have over 300 Facebook friends but no one to talk to.

Have you ever had something happen in your life so exciting and marvellous yet you remain numb and detached, because excitement needs two to be shared and to be real.

Have you ever sung yourself Happy Birthday.

Have you ever been that lonely ……


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Path

The Path

You’ve chosen your path,
No guidance from us can change that.
You’ve decided to leave,
Nothing I do can change that.
You don’t see the world we see,
Nothing we show you can change that.
You twist and distort what you hear,
Nothing I say can change that.

I can’t stand next to fire anymore,
It’s heat pushes me away.
It’s ambers dance and bewitch,
But it burns when we connect.
It used to keep me warm,
It used to show me a way.
But it’s now flared and wild,
And just too dangerous to stay.

Protect I must,
Remember I dare,
Never forget,
When we were there.
Good bye my friend,
Travel well and be free.
And know in my heart,
I will always be with thee.

Andrew Swansson
© 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You've Gotta Have Fun

Redlands Parrakeet's U7's White J.R.L Team

I travelled back 5 years in time last weekend, back to one of the fondest times in my life and certainly one of the most personally rewarding times in my life. I went back to my old Junior Rugby League Club to watch some of my old boys play.

I guess a bit of history might help paint the picture for you all. My son wanted to play Rugby League when he was 5 so his mother and I signed him up at the local J.R.L club, the Redlands Parakeets. That was Grub’s first year in a team sport and he loved it.

Being the youngest team in the club it catered for the little ones that were 5 and 6 years of age. At the end of the season half the team that were already 6 moved up to the under 7’s comp the next year with the balance remaining to once again go around as under 6’s. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it their coach in that first year was the father of one of the boys that moved up to under 7’s and he went with them to continue being their coach.
So I stuck my hand up and very tenderly stepped into my first and only foray into coaching. I had never played Rugby League before but had always followed the sport after being brain washed by my parents growing up, after all how difficult could it be !

I figured the best game plan at this age was to keep it simple and to keep it fun, I know I wanted to install a strong TEAM mentality, and from watching the previous season I could see that fitness played a very large part of the game even at this level.

So there I was on the team allocation night and I met all “ My Boys ” and their parents for the first time, I introduced myself and let everyone know that I was simply a Dad who had stepped up so that the boys would have a team. I pointed out to the parents that it was impossible to do by myself and I would be expecting a lot of help from them, I also made it clear to them all that it was about the kids, not the parents, not about the score line and it was not about their kids not blowing opportunities like they felt they may have done !

I then remember talking to the kids and making sure that they all knew that they were there to have FUN, but at the same time they needed to listen and train hard because they were part of a team. I told them that my game plan was simple and that I only needed them to focus on three things to start with, running in the right direction, not dropping the ball and to not run over the sideline.

It was a great season and from memory we went on to have about a 75% win rate ( not that the winning or losing was ever focused on ).

I stayed with the boys for another two years and coached them in the under 7’s and 8’s as well before handing over the reigns for two reasons, one was work commitments and the second and main reason was because the boys were getting into the age where they needed more skills taught to them then I had at my disposal. My main goal always was to drill the basic fundamentals into them at a fun level before handing them over for the main game.

Well, about 2 weeks ago I was contacted on Facebook to link as a friend by one of the boys in that first team. I accepted and was so excited to hear from Rhys once again. Apparently Rhys told everyone he had found me again and within the next week I was linked as a friend to over half of the old team.

Now that may not seem much to some people but for these boys to want to contact me after 5 years and for them to want to now remain in contact with me tells me that the connection I felt with these boys was not just a one way connection and that they remember the old days fondly, it tells me that they had FUN !

After a few chats Rhys invited Grub and I down to watch them play their next home game which was last Sunday and of course Grub and I couldn’t get there quick enough.

It was a blast to see the boys again and to see how they are all growing into strong young men and still enjoying the game with a passion that they started 8 years ago. I think most of them were just as surprised to see my son Grub standing 6ft as we were to see how they had all grown and the voices dropped.

Callum, Dan, Dylan & Rhys (2010 )

Callum, Dan Myself & Rhys ( 2010 )

One thing I did notice though is how their individual skills and passions had just grown and developed over the years, the speedsters still loved to pin the ears back and run like the wind and the tacklers still cherished the opportunity to burry an opposing player as hard as they could into the ground, their natural talents and skills were there from the start, as coaches all we do is make sure they have fun and fine tune their skills.

In Australia’s National Rugby League comp there is a coach by the name of Wayne Bennett who is known as the premier coach in the game today if not in the history of the game. I have had the pleasure of meeting Wayne on a couple of occasions during business lunches and on each occasion he has emphasised that his roll was not so much to teach them how to play but to ensure that all they had to focus on was their football and to ensure they stayed fit and had FUN !

Myself and Wayne Bennett (2000)

Pretty simple words from one of the games most influential individuals the game has ever know, Have Fun !

I think this is such a fundamental tool to remember in all of our lives, To Have Fun. If you are doing it and you are not having fun then WHY are you doing it ? There are always other options or roads to take.

If you don’t enjoy it you will never commit to it 100% and therefore at the end of the day only wasting your time and effort, and probably everyone else’s as well.

I’d just like to wrap up this Blog by thanking “ My Boys ” for reminding me to have fun !

Dohi, and thank you for reading my Blog.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The School Reunion ( Part 1 )

This year marks 25 years since I completed High School back in 1985. Besides the reality that so much time has passed it has also been both a sobering assessment of what I have done with my life post High School and it has also given me an opportunity to reflect on a time in my life that until this year had seemed so distant and inert.

At the beginning of this year everyone started to “ Find ” each other again through sites such as Facebook and Friends United, add that to the contacts that had been kept over the last 25 years and we have managed to find approx 75% of the Class of 85 so far.

There is now a Reunion Team and plans are well under way for a “ 80’s Reunion Party ” scheduled for November at a Bar which is close to our old school “ Cleveland District State High School ”.

I was really pumped when all of this started rolling towards the end of last year and I was really keen for the few smaller catch up’s that we have organised and attended this year but as the time gets closer to the main reunion I find myself more and more remembering how I never really fitted in with these people and once again neurotic insecurities that defined me 25 years ago are as sharp and painful as they were when I was in my late teens.

I was never a confident person and tended to stick with a small group of friends that to a large degree marched to their own drums. We weren’t a group of trend setters or even remotely part of the “ In ” crowd. We tended to leave everyone else alone and we just did our thing.

I must admit that I never fully appreciated just how much I had alienated myself from the rest of the school until all these names started to pop up in the reunion list and I realised that did not know and have no memory of nearly everyone except the close 12 or so people I called friends.

It has also been both amazing and embarrassing ( at times ) to hear what these people have done with their lives over the last 25 years and to then compare my effort to their achievements. I went to a very large school and I acknowledge that not everyone achieved great heights but many of the class went on to own and run their own businesses, many have University Degrees and many have travelled the world. We have Principle Dancers for the Australian Ballet who danced for Princess Diana and the Royals, We have movie script writers, we have highly respected national reporters and heads of government Arts initiatives, we have professional business people and service providers all around the world, we have numerous 25 year career Military and Emergency Services people, we have Olympians and we have published authors.

In short, we have many people who have gone on to live their dreams.

It has struck me with forced clarity that while we may shield and screen who we are to the rest of the world, in the end we fundamentally are the same core person from birth to grave !

So many of the Class of 85 are today the same personality that they were 25 years ago and when we all get back together it’s like an old jigsaw that has been gathering dust for 25 years but all the pieces go straight back into the same old position that they fitted into 25 years ago.

The In Crowd are still confident and outspoken, the Tech Heads are still talking a language that the rest of us will never understand, The Jocks are still turning all the heads and the Arts people are still flitting around and making light of all of life.

And I'm still wanting to sit in the corner and watch them all as I don’t fit in with any of them !

I am trying very hard not to pull back and not to turn and run from this reunion as I never attended my graduation formal or party due to my insecurities. I often regret that very much and have often thought over the years how I would love to have gone back and handled everything differently, yet here I am with a partial opportunity to do just that and I am instinctively reverting to all my old defences.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Real Men Hug

If you saw a sad stranger in the street or in a shopping centre would you go up and give them a big unconditional hug just to remind them that they matter and that you see them and care ?

What about if you were over at a friends or relatives place and you were faced with the same scenario, would that make a difference ?

What would it take for you to offer unconditional support to a stranger ?

And I guess more importantly, what is stopping you from caring freely without barriers ?

Quite often you read in these Blogs of “ Hallelujah Moments ”, moments of clarity and understanding at such a fundamental level if is prophetic. I had one of these such moments the other day when I had to go to the local music store to collect a new trumpet case I had on order for my son.

Now before I go any further, I need to paint a picture of me, you need to understand the context of the event to fully understand the event in itself. Now I am a 42 year old male who tops the scales at about 180kg, I have short hair and a moe & goatie, I was in track suit pants and a simple T-shirt with thongs on my feet. I certainly do not look frail and I certainly do not normally look like the type of person who would normally care to much about those around me, I certainly do not look like the type of person that would take kindly to a stranger getting up in my face uninvited.

Yet as I entered the store I was instantly greeted by a small framed man in his 60’s, I was greeted with a heartfelt hand shake and a series of quick fired questions about who I was, How I was and what I was doing in my life at the moment. Now normally I would be the first to jump back in defence to reclaim my personal space as I am not normally a very good people person and very much defend my 6ft personal space and freedom. Normally a person getting up in my face so quickly and aggressively would rattle my cage and either fire up an aggressive defence behaviour or send me running. But for some reason this rather confronting and touchy feely stranger did not set off my alarm bells and flashing lights, I actually found myself rapidly drawn into his aura and genuinely turned my attention and focus to him, for some reason my welcome stranger look familiar to me both in looks and behaviour, all of which convinced me to relax into his company.

Now after having my hand shook for what seemed a life time, my new welcome friend decided to give me a huge heart felt embracing hug with all the trimmings of his head berried into my chest as if we were long lost brothers who had just met for the first time in 50 years. Once again for some strange and inexplicable reason I felt comfortable in his embrace and found myself returning his affection unconditionally.

My new best friend was not a big man like me, in fact he was quite a diminutive figure compared to my huge frame and when we hugged he disappeared compared to me. Yet hugged we did, two complete strangers in the middle of a music store !

Now my welcome stranger talked fast, very fast and he spoke in such a way that he kept repeating himself. It was like he had too much to say in far to shorter time and because he was trying to cram a life time of conversation into a moment in time and he could sense that I was having trouble keeping up with him. My friend kept telling me that we should love unconditionally, that we should never be afraid to show our love as we never know what life will give us.

At one stage our conversation changed direction and my friend asked me what I am doing at the moment, I told him that I was not doing much as I am out of work and just enjoying doing nothing for a while. Suddenly the conversation once again took on a frantic pace as I was advised that life is too precious and short to do nothing, everyone should be doing something, anything.
My friend then stepped back and shook my hand again and then pointed at a promotional poster that I was standing next to and proudly pointed out to me that the man in the picture was in fact him, although many years ago. David Helfgott then stepped straight back into me and continued to give me another genuine soul search hug.

Now some of you may instantly know of David, others may not but David is a world renown Concert Pianist who was immortalised in a 1996 film called “ Shine ” in which Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar for best male actor. David was a child prodigy who suffered a nervous breakdown and was lost for many years before once again finding himself and his life.

David never once hesitated in greeting me warmly and unconditionally in a way that I have never experienced before in my life, he was an open book and an open free soul in a way that I cannot hope to describe in words. It was obvious that he had been born with or perhaps lived a life that had given him a unique insight to life.

Now, as I sit back and write this Blog I can’t help buy reflect and respect how free, genuine and open David lives his life, how much courage that must take and how much I would love to be able to relax enough to be that open with people. I can’t help but think that David has hit the nail right on the head and that we all should be living such and open and warm life.

Thank you David for being you and God Bless.

David’s web page .. http://www.davidhelfgott.com/

Friday, July 30, 2010

Growing and Dreaming

It’s been a while since I have written. For me, I find writing comes from either turbulent times in my life or from moments of utter peace and tranquillity where I am able to reflect within. I guess more recent times have been routine and non-eventful so I have tended to get lost in that rut called life, a period where everything is bland, non-eventful and just is ! A period that when you finally wake from it, it feels like you have been sleepwalking and all you can remember is the beginning of the journey and the end, everything else is lost in a hazy mist of apathy.

I was awoken this time by my sisters Blog “ Living Simple In Bauple ”, my sister has a story to tell like all of us, a story that has sat dormant within her for all of her life, quietly moulding and shaping her life and her life decisions and building in strength within until inevitably released. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Wendy’s blogs and story, all life’s stories have common threads and I’m sure you will not only enjoy her journey but also gain a reflection into your own life’s journey at some stage while reading.

My son is growing fast, both mentally and physically. He has just turned 13 and is already 6ft tall. I find myself looking at him at times with sympathy and personal memories of pain and frustration. I to was a tall solid 13 year old, the type that on the outside is a man but on the inside is still a boy, the type that is constantly finding confusion and frustration in everyday dealings with the world.

Because of my size I tried to act like a man and to fit in but as they say, you can’t put a wise head on young shoulders and more times than not I spoke and acted in ways that were inappropriate due to lack of experience. I still remember that sickly feeling of not feeling like you belong, either in your age group of peers or the older age group which you so agonisingly want to belong to. Of not even belonging in your own body.

As part of growing so fast, growing can not only be frustrating but painful and uncoordinated. Due to growing so much so fast my son has literally outgrown his body, his bones have grown so fast that his muscles / ligaments and tendons have not had sufficient time to grow and stretch naturally. At a basic level this makes his muscles at ¾ stretch even when in a relaxed posture. At a higher level it is effecting his posture and movement at a more fundamental level. Now none of this is life threatening and he will develop out of it all with time but the disassociation with his own life at the moment and his inability to feel comfortable socially or in his body will affect his soul and personality for ever.

I have just joined us both up to the local gym. Me, well I desperately need to loose a lot of weight and to take control of my life back. For too long I have been willing to just ride my life and see where it will take me. The problem with that is it took me to obesity and a heart attack at 39. As for my son, hopefully if we can get him comfortable in his own skin and feeling like he is in control of his body and life then he may have more strength to control his destiny then I did.
My son’s Rugby team had their final game of the season today, they had not won a game all season until today which they won 26 – 0. It was a great game and your could see that the lights turned on upstairs, they walked on the field not even contemplating a winless season and then naturally played to that mindset. While watching the game I was listening to the other games being played, the results over the loud speakers and to the family and friends cheering on all the games being played. It struck me with an unexpected surprise, It didn’t matter if a team was playing for 1st or to prevent being last, each team was playing in the moment, their own battle and demons and not coming last for the season was every bit as important to these young men as it was to the team playing for the season premiership.

Tonight we have the formal end of season dinner for the Rugby teams, I have no doubt that all the boys will be walking on air after their win today and that their tries and tackles will only grow in strength and speed over the off season ( like all good fishing and hunting stories ). But what it will do is allow them to grow in belief in themselves over the off season so that when they come back next year they will believe in themselves that bit more and believe in each other as a team even more.

After all, we all need the odd win to cling to and dream about.

Monday, July 19, 2010

STOP !! Attention Please ......

Enough is enough !

And it's time to step up on the " Soap Box ", clear the throat and speak loud so that ALL can hear.

This blog is not so much one article but a series of smaller commentaries that I personally feel NEED to be said, they are only my personal opinion but I feel compelled to speak up and state my case.

I apologise in advance for any offence ( if taken ) and am always open to a good discussion, so feel free to " Educate " me if you feel I'm off the track.

Topic 1. " Immigrants ~ Both Legal and Illegal "

I am 4th generation Australian, I come from both German and Swedish ancestry ( among others ) and like all Australians we are of cross nationality in heritage. This country was born on the back of just about every nation on the face of the earth, but specifically the English & European countries.

But above all else, while being Multi Cultural we are " AUSTRALIAN " and we have a unique Australian way of life and existence. We are a Christian based country that believes in Jesus and God, we believe in Equality for all including our women, we believe in integration and NOT segregation and we believe in helping a mate help himself.

We do not have closed boarders and we do not genocide those who do not see the world as us.

I believe it's time that ALL AUSTRALIANS stand up to preserve our Australian ways, preserve what make this great country such a magnet to all others. We need to STOP immigrants changing our country to resemble theirs that they left and to appreciate and understand Australia's way of doing things.

And if any of the immigrants do not like OUR Country and the Australian way then they are free to return to their great country from which they left !

All immigration should be received through official channels or by direction of the U.N , those that seek to undercut the entry requirements should be automatically rejected.

Topic 2. " Elections "

How can parties repeatedly achieve greater than the highest number of primary votes yet not gain the seat due to back door deals on preferences and why should a sitting politician be able to call an election any time it suits them ? Why do we not vote for a specific National Prime minister and why do we continue to pay for more politicians per head of population than any other country in the world.

First point ~ Why do we not have One Vote One Value with nil preferences ? What is fairer than the person with the greatest number of primary votes being the elected member ?

Next point ~ Why do we not have a fixed term .. all to often our politicians are manipulating the system to hold an election based on a single positive event in their term and not based on the overall performance of their complete term. At the end of the day we are voting more frequently then needed at huge expense to the nations ~~ WHY ?

Next Point ~ We are a Democratic Country with freedom of speech and open elections, so why then are we faced with nameless back benches making backdoor deals in the shadows to remove democratically elected people from office to place non-mandated persons at the helm ( both at State level and Federal Level ) .. Many a Dictator has gained control of a nation this way and never returned it to the people.

Final Point ~ in today's technological society why are we not ONE Country without states and without state politicians .. Why do we not have Local Gov and Federal Gov with one set of laws for the land. Why do we have to extradite a criminal from one state to another at huge expense when we are ONE country. If we were to eliminate the states then we could hold a one vote one value election based over the complete country for a Federal Election and all votes would then be of equal value

Topic 3. " Unemployment and Welfare Payments "

Why does the federal governments of the day continue to spoon feed society welfare payments to the point of creating a welfare dependant generation ?

All civilised societies need a safety net for its citizens, after all shit happens and most of the time it is out of the hands of the person who pays the highest price.

However, our country has been too open with welfare for too many generation and now faces the issue of welfare dependant generations who have never worked or watched their parents work. We are left with half the society paying the price for the whole country !

First up, WE DO NOT NEED IMMIGRATION to fill our jobs ! Sorry folks but charity starts at home ! We need to look in the mirror and fix what we see first !

Welfare should be generous, but after 3 months it is cut to 75%, after 6 months it is cut to 50%, after 9 months it should be cut to 25% and it should stop after 12 months ... if you have not found ANY work after 12 months you are not looking or are being unrealistic. I have shoveled Chicken Shit for a living and I have managed major manufacturing facilities for a living .. I simply aim for what I want and if not available I take what I can get until what I want comes along !

Now if the Government limited working immigration and cut back on welfare it would have significant funds at its disposal to fund major national infrastructure that would be of asset value to the nation. Welfare is like rent .. dead money that once handed over is lost forever for no return.

If at ANY stage the welfare is insufficient then the government would be able to employ the unemployed worker on the national infrastructure projects showing the next generation that everything worth having is worth paying the price for and that NOTHING is free.

A government has nothing, therefor can give nothing for free ! It has to take before it can give !


Well folks, that's my say !

I'd love to hear your opinion.

Thank you for reading my Blog.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary

Last night our family celebrated my parents Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary.

A small but intimate group gathered at my place to enjoy a beautifully prepared dinner, fine wine and special music.

The night saw four generations gathered which included my parents Norman & Annette, their 3 children, 3 of their 8 grand kids and 2 of their 4 great grand kids as well as a sprinkling of their siblings, in-laws and out-laws.

My eldest sister Wendy cooked up a storm all day resulting in a scrumptious 4 course meal of entrees, soup, mains & desert which was helped down with a ready flow of Red wine.

Below is a insight into my parents and who they are to my sister Wendy and I.

I guess the story begins with where they came from as individuals, both were born and raised in the tough end of WW2 period.

My mother being of German ancestry found herself at a young age having to move interstate for family support as her father went of to war in Papua New Guinea in defence of Australia, compounded to this was the need for them to change their family name to remove their German ancestry. With 7 other siblings, times were often tough and hard for my mother growing up in her strict hard working class family. My mother always dreamed of going to high school and of becoming a teacher, neither of which were available to her due to the economics of the day. My mother Annette excelled in sport and represented her state in Netball as well as becoming a qualified netball referee.

My father was also born towards the end of the second world war, his mother fell in love with a local man whom she was forbid to marry even after conceiving my father. My father found himself in a orphanage for the first few years of his life before my Nana found love once again with a returned serviceman and married. My father was now back with his mother but in tough times under tough conditions. My fathers family were farmers and from a very young age my father learnt the lesson of work. My father finally left the farm and joined the Navy which saw him serve in active duty ( although, my father being such a humble man didn’t even acknowledge his active duty until only recent years ).

It was during these Navy days that Norman was introduced to Annette via a double date arranged by one of Norman’s Navy mates.

As they say, it was love at first sight ( according to Dad, my Mum’s legs went on forever ) and Norman then travelled aprox 700km each way on weekends to travel from his Naval Base in NSW to Brisbane to court my mother Annette.

He would travel up from NSW with all his Navy mates and while they went out on the town in Brisbane, my father would sit in the lounge room at Annette’s being grilled by her 7 siblings and a strict German heritage father.

Well, they finally got married in 1960 with a military Naval Guard Of Honour and members of the State Netball Team which Mum was a part of.

I could go on and on about their lives and what they did and where they have been but I’d like to take the opportunity to add a bit about who they are to ME.

First and foremost I’d like to say that to me, my parents are Honest, Loving, Genuine, Caring, Shining examples of Compassionate Humans.

All 3 of us kids have at one stage or another given our parents hell as we grew up, but they never gave up on us, they always believed in us even when we didn’t. They worked hard without complaint when others just found excuses and they never gave up.

They kept a loving home free of fear or abuse, they kept us 3 kids with everything we needed and well fed even when it meant that they went without more times than not.

They have always guided but never controlled, they have always advised but never told, They have never been shy in showing love and emotions not only to us kids but more importantly to each other. They have supported without imposing. They have not told us the way, they lead in silent example.

Below are three poems, one by my sister Wendy about last night and two of mine that I have actually posted before but thought I would add again.
Last Night

On Friday night I watched my Dad
hold my Mothers hand
On Friday night I watched my Mum
look into my Fathers eyes
I saw a love that has shared many years
and I witnessed what 50 years looked like
On Friday night I watched my Dad
sit with his arm around Mum
He rubbed her back and
she sat real close
and they both smiled the biggest smiles
On Friday night I saw a family
surround this pair with love
The example they have led by
the family they have built
is testimony of their true selves
I am so proud to be a part of this
Just so proud to be one of theirs
I feel so truly blessed
to have parents like mine
who have walked the talk
and just kept going forward
they truly are my inspiration
and they are also my good friends.
Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Mum and Dad.

Wendy Swansson
© 07/2010

The Below Clip Is Lovingly Dedicated To My Parents

Norman & Annette Swansson

Lots of love Wendy


How to be a good farther

To be a good farther you must be patient and kind,
You must always put yourself last,
Behind the kids and the wife.
You must work hard without complaint,
To provide all the necessities of life.
And you must smile while you do it,
Even when you are tired.

You must sacrifice your youth,
For the youth of your child.
And your honesty, Integrity and the strength must always shine bright.
For a farther is the beacon that his children use for life,
It's what they use to find their way back when the wander out of sight.

A farther must be an example of all that is good and right.
A farther must protect you form things that go bump • the night.
A farther must be a teacher of all of life's skills.
A farther must have all the answers, even when there not right.
A farther must teach when to walk and when to fight.

A farther must teach how to be humble when your not right.
And when your child grows big and when they grow strong,
A farther must find the strength to help them move on.

I know all of this only because of you,
My father
My friend
And my life's guiding light.

Andrew Swansson 06/09/03



The feeling of guilt,
The feeling of pain,
Are the feelings you feel
When life can never be the same.

Innocence lost
Trust mislaid
Oh, for the love of life to return
And once again be the same.

Where are the days of home sweet home
Of mothers arms and never being alone.

These are the days
I long for most

Never appreciated or even noticed
Until they are – but a ghost.

Andrew Swansson

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To Laugh Please Press Play !

Hump Day Laugh ...

Dedicated to all those who suffer when having to deal with voice recognition technology.

Enjoy & Laugh till it hurts !


This photograph is from my office window on a Magnificent Winter Sunset with the promise of a nice cold night in July.

I have just purchased a Digital SLR ( One item off the Bucket List ) and have set up a FlickR site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/51977793@N07/ so that I can share my hobby with anyone who may be interested.

Cheers & Ciao


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

My Lords and Ladies

Let it be known that Sir Andrew has officially crossed of a item on his bucket list and purchased a Digital SLR camera.

Sir Andrew took thy camera to the world largest Medieval Festival today to capture thy moment in time to share with thee. ( The Abbey Museum of Art and Archeology )

Sir Andrew wishes there was a way to share music with his Blog as he also purchased some magical Medieval music CDs and would love to share with thee.

Please enjoy.