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

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.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Do You See What I See .....

I'm Back .......

Well, back to reality. My son and I just finished our 6 day Walkabout, we managed to travel about 1700km and visited places such as Caboolture, Nambour, Gympie, Bauple ( Home to my Sister Wendy ), Maryborough, Harvey Bay ( Home to my other Sister Susan ), Childers, Gaynda, Mundubbra, Monto, Biloela, Gladstone, Seventeen Seventy ( Location where Captain Cook first discovered Australia's East Coast ), Bundaberg then back to Brisbane.

It was by far one of the most relaxing holidays I've ever had and the time spent 100% focused on my son was priceless.

It's amazing how much more you hear when you actually STOP and listen with mind AND body. I certainly saw and heard a side to my boy that I had not noticed to date. He is definitely his own man even at only 13 years of age, with opinions and ideas unique and special, he has well defined dreams, ambitions and beliefs as well as having his own motivators and triggers.

Now all we have to do is work on his teenage mood swings and I recon we will be all OK for anything that life wants to throw our way.

At the risk of having this Blog sound like a disjointed ramble I have just flashed back to the view of thousands of acres of fully grown Sugar Cane in full flower and being harvested. It's and amazing sight to see both close up with the tri colour fields ( brown dead husk at the bottom, vibrant green stem in the middle and pastel purple flowering head at the top ) and at a distance to see huge purple field of flowering cane.

Another great experience was the visiting of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. I purchased a specially labeled bottle of Bundaberg Rum which said " Bottled for Dylan " Grub " Swansson, Happy 40th Birthday 1997 - 2037. I have told him that he has to save the bottle until 2037 and we will have a drink for his 40th birthday.

We saw some of the most beautiful country side around both Cattle country, Cane Fields and Citrus Farms.
I had the honour of listing to Dylan practice his Trumpet just after dawn at the top of a country lookout with the low laying fog surrounding the hill and covering the massive Citrus Farms at its base.

We went to a old fashion cinema and watched the new Karate Kid.

We ate dinners in country pubs ( Should have taken a photo of the meal in Gaynda ... half a pig in two pork chops and half a field of veg all for A$15.00 ) and breakfasts in country bakeries.

We listened to each others music, swapped stories and ideas, laughed, got frustrated with each other at times and watched our mighty Rugby League team the Queensland Mighty Maroons win the 2010 State of Origin 3 - 0.
We visited the beautiful town of Seventeen Seventy where Captain Cook first came a shore and stood on Australian soil. While it is now widely acknowledged that the Dutch discovered Australia on the West Coast it is actually at Seventeen Seventy that Australia was first officially discovered and the first steps of the settlement of this great country was started.

And we got to visit our newest additions to the extended Swansson Clan.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Walkabouts & Conversations

I had the opportunity to sit down and have a big chat with my sister Wendy ( Photo of Wendy and the Outlaw Mick ) the other day and as usual when Wendy and I get together and start our “ Little ” chats we end up talking for hours and in the process finding solutions to all the worlds problems.

Another magical thing happens when we get together too, I believe we open each others eyes to truths that sometimes are too close to see. To be honest, I think Wendy does the majority of the enlightening ( of me ).

Wendy and I can just sit and talk, talk like there is no tomorrow and talk in a way where there are no fences or boundaries. We can talk without fear of offending or of being judged by our comments even if politically incorrect or naive at times.

Our “ Chats ” flow like a mountain stream meandering down within a ancient rainforest, ever gathering speed and volume by connecting with other streams and topics of conversation until we are a raging river charging to the sea.

An amazing thing happens when you are blessed with the opportunity to openly discuss topics without fear or judgment or ridicule. You get to wade through the collective mud of beliefs, experiences and misinformation ( which is life ) and eventually exit the other side with the truth. A clarity which can only be achieved by carefully peeling away the prejudices and biases until you are left with nothing but the core truth.

I don’t really have words for how much I enjoy these chats with my Big Sister, I always walk away feeling relaxed, cantered but most of all I walk away feeling heard which in today’s society I find is a rare commodity.

How many times have you had a conversation or greeted someone only to get an automated reply or response, you know they hear you but they have not heard you.

When was the last time you stoped and asked someone how their day was going and actually stoped long enough to hear and care about their answer.

How often have you passed by someone and said “ Hello, how you going ? ” but then kept on walking without missing a step, not waiting for an answer or listening to it even if you hear it.

How often have you been asked how your day was and just auto replied “ all right thanks and you ! ” even though you have heaps on your mind and would love to have a receptive ear to talk to !

We rush on by with our lives in auto mode more and more these days and fail to stop and smell the proverbial Rose, but why ? is life really that urgent these days compared to parents past.

It’s the same with our kids, how often do you pick your kids up from school and ask them how their day was but not actually stop and listen to what they have to say. Especially with kids, what they say and what they are trying to say are two vastly different things and unless you actually STOP, clear your mind and listen to their meaning the whole exercise can end up a wasted effort and leave the child feeling valueless and voiceless ( same goes for adults too ).

The joy of talking to a small child is innocence, most haven’t been exposed to the prejudices of every day life to the extent that their minds are closed to the truth and to simple emotions. Barriers haven’t been built yet to guard them against the cruelty that life can at times throw your way. They still naively believe in truth, honesty, openness and dreaming.

I honestly believe as a race we are loosing the art of conversation and interacting, more and more our worlds are based around the impersonal computers technology.

Without leaving home we can now be educated, shop, pay our bills, socialise, research and the list goes on endlessly, but at what cost with the loss of the personnel interaction we have lost from the experience.

It’s time to stop and talk people, to stop and talk with 100% of our focus and involvement within the conversation.

I’m about to head off for a “ Walkabout ” with my son in two days, we are going to jump in the car and just drive with no plans or set destinations. All electronic devices are being left at home and we are just going to cruise for a week and see where life takes us.

Traditionally a “ Walkabout ” was a coming of age for the indigenous Aboriginals here in Australia, a time when a young man would walk off from his tribe to discover life and themselves. While not quite so adventurous as their efforts but I too hope that this trip will be a coming of age ( to a degree ) between my son and I. He has just turned 13 years and is more ways then I am ready for he is becoming his own man ( Attached is a clip of how HE wanted to celebrate his 13th Birthday )

I enjoy talking to my son as much as I enjoy talking to my sister Wendy, his view is unique in many ways and valid although at times vastly different to mine, we are constantly teaching each other and reminding each other of the benefits of keeping an open mind.

So here is to Long Open Debates with my sister, youthful honest conversations with my son “ Grub ” and always being able to keep an open mind and a full week of Walkabout Discovery.

Till then, thank you for taking the time to read my Blog !