Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ideology should never exclude compromise

Every time Brendan Nelson opens his mouth, I feel like putting my hands over my ears, while singing as loud as I can: "la la la la la la la". In my opinion, there are few things scarier than a politician so uncompromisingly driven by ideology. Nelson's position on VSU is a timely case in point. His position is so stubbornly narrow focused, and void of rational thought, that I hold great fear for Australia's universities, the students that attend them, and the future of the "university experience".

The core argument for Voluntary Student Unionism is that students should not have to pay a compulsory fee for services considered peripheral to their university experience. In essence, the argument is that university services should move to a user pays model, whereby students who wish only to attend their lectures and go home, may do so without subsidising services for others. The key argument against this is that all manner of services currently available to students either free, or highly subsidised, will no longer be available, or at the very least, will be unaffordable to the average student. This includes services such as student advocacy, legal advice, health and counseling, child minding, social activities, clubs and societies, and sport. From an ideological view point, the debate is a classic left-right split. However, as many on both sides of the political spectrum realise, student services and campus life is not really the battle ground for such an ideological war.

I found it particularly encouraging to read on The Age's website this morning, an article reporting the findings of a research fellow, Andrew Norton, who was an adviser to the former federal education minister, David Kemp. Norton makes the case for compulsory "union" fees, on the basis that under VSU, costs of services will inevitably rise and therefore discourage students from using such services, leading to a reduction in available choices. Given this take on VSU, and other similar views expressed by experts, and even MP's within government ranks, I find it incomprehensible that Nelson can take such a hard and ideologically driven position on this issue. The only motivation that appears to make sense, is that this government is fixated on silencing the student voice, a voice that often speaks out against them. My greatest fear is that if the VSU legislation is passed in its current form, while some initial opposition will be heard, the student voice, and the university experience as we know it, will die a slow and silent death.

PARSA has just launched a postcard campaign around campus. Postgraduate students are being asked to sign the card, and send it to one of three senators considered fence sitters on the issue (and yes, good ole' Barnaby is one of them). The VSU legislation is likely to be voted on when the senate resumes next week.

Friday, August 26, 2005

my quote of the week

Kim Beazley's summary of the National party's decision to throw it's support behind the full sale of Telstra:

"When you brainwash the Nationals these days, all you need is a light rinse."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Stress and Anxiety - a day in the life of Chris.

Its been a mad mad week which is why little has been posted. My world seems to have become somewhat crowded with all sorts of stuff - PARSA, research, PARSA, gardening, socialising, PARSA, sport, PARSA. Its all interesting stuff of course (though admittedly, gardening wasn't quite the roller-coaster ride I was hoping for), but my life has become extremely hectic. This is entirely my own fault. I just keep saying yes to everything. The problem is that I think things have become even more hectic than they were in Melbourne when I was lecturing full-time and doing my Masters part-time, and trying to keep up with friends, and play sport.

However, I do think things are better now I'm in Canberra. However, I guess my current mind set is trying to understand what worth there is in stretching myself as thin as I am, given my initial plan was for Canberra to be a relatively stress free experience - you know - as *just* a PhD student. The problem, as I realised when I got here, is that I am not good at having spare time. Despite the fact that I constantly crave it, I am really pretty crap at keeping such spare time .. well .. spare. My head does strange things, and tells me I must be constantly doing something with my time - I must go out, I must do work, I must keep up with friends, I must do anything that stops me from feeling like I am neglecting the world in some way.

The problem with all this is that I am not a natural socialite or particularly good multi-tasker. To be completely honest, if I were not to care at all about my social and work obligations, you would hardly ever see me - I am very much a recluse in disguise. I find socialising stressful, I easily get stressed out by work, and more often than not, I would rather be on my own (or with Aff), away from everything. Don't get me wrong, this is not to say I hate people, or don't have great friends because neither of these are true - I just find living in day to day life, while often great fun and rewarding, an inherently stressful thing. The problem is that because I often feel like this, my fear is that if I let myself succumb to these feelings, I will become a recluse, with no good friends, and not fulfilling my potential. So my counter strategy is typically to over compensate as much as possible in the other direction, by constantly agreeing to go out, to volunteer for things, to organise social events (now you know the motivation behind three years of car rallies), always thinking about the next social activity, and basically not letting myself take the breaks I need from all this.

So where is all this coming from you ask ? well, as I said, its been a pretty stressful couple of weeks - but also, I recently have been attending weekly social anxiety workshops run by the ANU student counseling centre. There are ten of us in the group, and it has been great to hear from other people very much like me. What is also striking is that you would never know any of these people experience high social anxiety. We all interact, and talk to each other with what appears to be reasonable self confidence (of course, in the setting of a friendly group counseling environment, such confidence is naturally heightened). I suspect their impression of me is also of a fairly confident guy as well. In reality, however, I can sometimes feel pretty anxious in social situations, even around good friends.

Anyway, what a nice piece of self indulgent therapy this post has turned out to be. I feel all nice and exposed now. At least with a blog, I can hide behind David Hassellhoff and just pretend you can't see me :)

Friday, August 19, 2005

No accounting for apathy

Over the last few weeks I have been desperately trying to put together two focus groups of postgradute students, to meet with the new Dean of the Graduate School here at ANU. Today is the day, and already one meeting has happened. Now, let me just say, I have been emailing and ringing some of these people for weeks, with polite reminders, and over the top thankyous. I sent the last one on Wednesday, and in a last minute panic attack, I nearly sent another reminder this morning. However, just before sending it I thought, "No, these people are postgraduate students, they are adults and I am sure they don't need me to send another reminder".

Only two of the six people turned up.

Being my first real task as chair of the social and outreach team of PARSA, I can't help but take it a little personally, as it unfortunately, directly reflects on me.

So it seems, there is no accounting for the apathetic student, even when they actually do put their hand up to help (which is also why the Voluntary Student Unionism legislation is such a threat to student associations like PARSA).

My next project is ANU open day, which is next Saturday (Aug 27) - needless to say, I'll be spamming the inboxes of all volunteers like you won't believe next week ;-)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Geeks break record for largest "you are here" map

Apparently some astronomers have come up with a map of the milky way, and have located Earth within it. Mind boggling stuff, not just because of the shear enormity of the place, but also because the galaxy seems to have adopted the same town planning philosophy as Canberra!

Rumour has it Chadstone shopping mall is already considering an extension in a bid to win back the largest "you are here" map title.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Science of Teaching Science

I read an article (Syd Morn Herald 17 Aug) this morning about the declining numbers of people seeking a career in science. There is a strong belief that this has a lot to do with how science is being taught at secondary school, which seems a reasonable place to start looking for answers. One particular point that was drawn upon in the article, was that for many people, the decision to get into science is often the result of an individual teacher who has inspired some sort of interest in the student, or a particular event that occurred in childhood. This, I found interesting, and upon deeper reflection of my own decision to get into science, seems to ring true. Of course, I am not a chemist, or a biologist, or a physicist, which I suppose are the "pillars" of science education at secondary school, but I am a computer scientist, which certainly falls under the science umbrella, and I can link my choice of discipline directly to quite specific secondary school experiences.

In year 7 and 8, I hated science - not because I found science itself repulsive, but mainly because of the way it was taught, and my dislike of the teachers delivering the classes. They always seemed grumpy, and clearly wanted to be somewhere else. They would forever be setting mind numbing homework exercises and reading, as well as countless tests where you simply had to regurgitate the same mind numbing facts you were forced to read. In year 9, however, I was lucky enough to have a science (and home room) teacher who I believe re-ignited my interest in science. Mr Payman was a complex character to say the least. I still have deep discussions with old school friends about him, and his very personal teaching style. It is hard to explain quite what I mean here, but let's just say that in year 9, I felt like he had singled me out as something of a project for him - he often inquired about what sort of career I was looking to do, and seemed to be constantly encouraging me to go the extra mile to achieve better grades, and more generally, to keep improving. Incidentally, in addition to Mr Payman being my home room and science teacher, he was also the year 9 basketball coach, which meant I saw a hell of a lot of him! I am not sure whether other students in my class had similar experiences with him, or whether I truly was singled out, but in any case, it was a massive turning point for me.

Other teachers and university lecturers have also helped hone my interests, but that initial "science" decision certainly occurred in year 9, and I think is directly linked to Mr Payman. Of course, no teacher has the power to convert an entire class of students to careers in the subject matter being taught, and nor should they. A good teacher, however, should be able to inspire those students who have an interest that may be lurking under the surface, that would otherwise remain dormant and un-discovered. This, I can only imagine, is not possible without considerable devotion and passion to the task at hand. Ultimately, this drives home the point that quality teachers, like my year 9 teacher Mr Payman, are invaluable in helping students discover their potential in a particular field.

Obviously we need scientifically trained people who are genuinely interested and excited by science, and with good communication skills, teaching at a secondary school level. I am sure there are people just like this teaching at the moment, but how few students are privileged enough to be exposed to such people. The reasons for why such people don't choose to get into secondary school science teaching seems clear enough: pay is relatively low, and let's be honest, the status of teachers within the science community is not particularly high. I would further add that for many people interested in science, the ability to do research and be involved in some sort of science research project is also important, but generally not possible as a teacher. Teaching in itself, while undoubtedly challenging and thought provoking, is often not enough for many scientists. Also, and perhaps the greatest challenge of all, the task of actually controlling a group of hormone driven teenagers, let alone inspiring them, is a daunting one to say the least.

So in summary, I have no real solution or contribution to make here, but I would love to hear what others think. I guess it comes down to the point that if we attribute the shortage of science students to deficiencies in the quality of science teaching at secondary school, then the real problem seems to be how to inspire quality science communicators to take up a career in teaching. Perhaps this deficiency could also be addressed at a secondary school level through subjects that specifically seek to tap into a students interest in teaching?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

No rest for the Wicket

Not this time - no way - I didn't care that I had to be at ANU by 8am this morning - a busy day today ? surely not - I'm a PhD student! I certainly had no interest in who won big brother, or the secret life of Rolf Harris (as extracted by Andrew Denton). Rather than be distracted by all these irrelevant concerns and happenings, I was determined last night, to sit my arse on that couch, keep the television in direct line of sight (which involved moving the cat), and keep the frequency securely fixed on SBS's coverage of the final days play of the third Ashes test in Manchester.

For those not following the cricket (and this assumes of course, that you are still reading at this point), Australia had to make a world record number of runs to win. This was of course, an entirely unlikely achievement - indeed, even securing a draw seemed improbable - but there was absolutely no way I was going to assume anything (you may recall my false assumptions in the last test match, which sent me to bed instead of watching Australia get within 2 runs of a very unlikely victory). To resist wavering in my resolve, I pulled out "fatso" the coffee plunger (14 cup capacity) and grinded up some of Lavazza's finest, turned the heater off (so as not to get sleepy), and embarked on a caffeine fueled, late night arm chair sports spectacular - and I wasn't disappointed.

For about 10 minutes in the second session of play, the world record run chase looked vaguely possible. However, almost perfectly on cue, such optimism was instantly quashed by the loss of another wicket. In reality, winning the match was never really a possibility, however, to escape without losing the game (i.e. a draw), we simply had to bat out the entire day. This task is apparently not that easy, particularly, it seems, for Australian players who specialise in the art of batting. With the exception of Ponting who finally made a century, there was some dreadful batting (Katich ? what was he doing out there?). So, as in the first innings of this match, and in the last test match, we again relied on our bowlers to bat us out of trouble - and they did! with one wicket left !

Of course, as an Aussie, I want us to win this series. If we don't, I will probably write an angry blog post condemning the team, because let's face it, that is the Australian way. However, it has to be said, this series is just fantastic. This is the most exciting test cricket I think I have ever seen (I can just imagine Aff now making some comment a long the lines of "that's not saying very much!"). The last two test matches have been spot on! However, I think I speak for all tired and strung out Aussie cricket fans when I say "enough!" - we have had our fix of competitive test matches - now lets just go and kick their arse - "old school" style.

Ten days until the next match - I think I'll take some leave!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Random Ramblings for an Uninspired Friday

Sometimes the effort to construct epic tales of Canberran adventure is just all too much, so here are a few things that have happened in the last two weeks or so:

I got my Masters (did I mention that?)

About three weeks ago, in what must have been a moment of insanity, I agreed to be the chair of the Social and Outreach team (the SCOUTs) of PARSA (Postgraduate and Research Student Association), taking over from Amanda George's great work. This means I am now on the executive committee, which is all very scary! And of course, what better time to take on more responsibility in a student association than when the VSU (Voluntary Student Unionism) legislation is about to be passed by a government controlled senate. If passed in its current form, organisations like PARSA will struggle to continue - at the very least, they will undergo severe down scaling in the services they provide. I don't feel like a rant now, so you can read more here. Needless to say, things have been frantic trying to fight this, and inform students, though other PRC members have had far more to do with this than me.

Last night, to lighten the mood and lift morale, we had PRC (postgrad representaive council) drinks and dinner which was fantastic. There are some great people on the student council, and I rate my decision to join as one of my best since coming to Canberra.

One of my big tasks as chair of SCOUTs for the next month is coordinating PARSA's involvement with ANU open day on August 27. This all seems strangely familiar!

The Great Outdoors
Two weekend ago, Aff and I packed the car and headed for the coast for a one night camping trip. We camped pretty much on the beach (a place called pebbly beach, about 10 mins North of Bateman's Bay). The designated camp site isn't much to write home about, but the location is awesome... and there are kangaroos everywhere, which are very tame (you can pat them).

Last Saturday Aff and I went bush walking with our friend, and token American, Holly. Canberra is fantastic for bush walking - lots of national parks, and a very dry climate. We headed West to a town called Wee Jasper, and walked a very small portion of the "Hume and Hovell" track (which goes all the way to Albury). It was a cold day, but the sky was clear and sunny. We walked about 10 km's, so it wasn't huge.

Model Railways
So I like model trains, and as it turns out, so does a 12 year old boy by the name of Liam. Liam is the youngest son of Kim, who is office mates with Aff. Kim asked if Aff and I would like to go along with herself and Liam, to a model railway exhibition last Sunday. Aff emailed me, and was somewhat astounded and confused at how I was able to send my reply of "Oh my God - Oh My God - Oh my God - YES!", before she had managed to click the send button. The exhibition was held at a special school called Malkara near Woden (South West Canberra). The event is run by the ACT model railway Association as a fund raiser for the school. Needless to say, Liam and I ran around like headless chickens.

You wouldn't think that model railways pull in huge crowds, but this event, and the last one I went to in Canberra, both attacted very large attendances. The silent majority has spoken.



well .. ok .. things aren't that bad. I am working on a paper which is all about how a robot can use honeybee inspired visual cues to slow down and dock with an object in its environment. So its not exactly the terminator - but, if I may be so bold to say - it is probably more impressive than Dexta! The paper will be submitted for review in a couple of weeks time, and if accepted, will get me to next years European Conference on Computer Vision, which I think is in Austria... here's hoping!

Aff is busy with Lifeline training, choir rehearsals, PhD applications .. oh .. and research. The research project Aff is involved with, "Beyond Ageing", has finally been granted insurance coverage by the ANU for their clinical trials. The ANU has taken about 12 months to approve this, which has severely delayed the project! This project is funded by Beyond Blue, which many of you may know is headed by Jeff Kennett!

Netball - Netball - Netball - oh .. and cycling.

I am still averaging about three games of netty a week, Mon, Tues and Wed (I am reserve for the Monday night team). Finals are approaching, and it looks like all three teams will be there in September (or maybe its October ?)

As for cycling, I have just signed myself up for another "bay in a day" ride this year, as a member of the "Bay city rollers" team. I am actually unsure who else is doing it this year, but I know Claire and Alec are up for it. It involves riding around Port Philip Bay (except the Ferry ride bit of course) - all up, about 210 km's .. and no, I am not planning to ride all the way from Canberra!

Enough ramblings for now :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Master Macca

I interrupt regular programming (i.e. crapping on) for some shameless self congratulation (because let's be honest, what else is a blog for):

I have just been informed that my Masters thesis, alluringly titled:

Performance of Optical Flow Techniques for Mobile Robot Navigation

has been passed.

Woo - bloody - Hoo!

It only took them 5 months to read it.

Great tile work!

The shuttle landed safely, and without incident!


Its a bit sad to think that the shuttle design many of us have grown up with is soon to be replaced (although another flight is planned in September, if this insulation foam issue is resolved - isn't foam meant to be soft?).

Hopefully the next shuttle design will start to look a bit more like the Enterprise :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The most important show of the week - besides Neighbours.

Media Watch! My only gripe with this show is that it is only 10 minutes long, and that I suspect it largely preaches to the converted. As such, it leaves me feeling kind of hollow when it reports on the appalling practices of some elements of the Australian media. While I am all the wiser for knowing this, I, like most viewers of media watch, am not one of the people reading these papers, or watching these shows. Although now I think about it, this makes perfect sense. It is hard to imagine how someone could be a regular media watch viewer while still continuing to switch on the Ch 10 news, sixty minutes, or read Melbourne's Herald Sun, or Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

In the last year or so I have become increasingly interested in how the media reports important issues. Its a shame I wasn't interested back in year 12, when I had to write an essay on the topic! For anyone else who is similarly interested, perhaps we can start a bit of a media tips competition. It would work like this: Each week we submit possible media slip-ups and plain bad reporting practices that media watch might include in the following week's show. One point for each correct guess. Of course, you can increase your chances by actually emailing media watch, which I suspect is how they become aware of most things they report on.

Last night I scored one point, which is well above my average of .. well .. 0.

My tip was that media watch would have a go at Ch 10 late news when on August 1 (last week), they reported the story of a young American male who fell out of a Ferris wheel seat. In the lead up to the story, the enticing news headline used was:

"After the break, a man falls from a Ferris wheel, but did he survive the tumble down?"

When I heard this last week, I thought it was just appalling, but figured he must have survived because surely no one would use a such a tragic death, in this cheap and tasteless way in order to keep the viewers watching - and, on this occasion at least, this belief seemed to be correct. The man escaped with only minor injuries. While, of course, this in no way justifies Ch 10's tactics for keeping the punters watching, I was just relieved that our media had not sunk to such murky depths to exploit someone's tragic death for ratings.

This relief, however, was completely blown out of the water when I watched media watch last night. On May 20, 2005, Channel 10 ran with a similar headline for another unfortunate event involving a hot air balloon catching on fire while in the air, carrying two passengers:

"And coming up later, two people were on this balloon when disaster struck, but would they get out alive?"

They did not.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I just needed the sleep damn it!


This post is rated C.

It contains some references to cricket, which may bore some readers

On Saturday night, after Aff and I had a most pleasant evening playing the board game "Balderdash" with two good friends Anna and Ben (who are sadly, about to leave Canberra and head back to Melbourne), I decided to take the remaining 1/4 of a bottle of Canberran Shiraz, and switch on the cricket. Australia were batting, and had just started chasing England's 282 run lead. It was all looking a bit exciting, and I was well settled on the couch, so I decided I'd stay up. Aff, after a feeble attempt at some sort of deep and meaningful conversation, went to bed. I'm not entirely sure what she was on about, but I do remember it causing me to miss Matty Hayden's dismissal. So for the remaining 2 hours of the third days play, it was just me and the lovely lady Shiraz, watching the third day's play of the second test.

As anyone who has been following the match would know, Australia were not looking good. At stumps on the third day, Australia still needed more than 100 runs, and only had three tale-end batsmen left after the last of the recognised batters, Michael Clarke was clean bowled by Harmison to end the days play. So last night (Sunday), after hosting yet another dinner party, this time for an old work colleague of Aff's, Yve and his partner Belinda, I again had the opportunity to take the remainder of yet another half bottle of Shiraz, and watch the conclusion of the match. However, after not getting to bed until around 4am the previous night, I decided I was far too tired, and given the match was pretty much already lost, I would just go to bed.

So you can only imagine my surprise when I saw the final result this morning (Monday). While Australia did end up losing, the margin was not the 100 runs I predicted after Saturday night, but instead just 2 runs - or, to put it another way - the smallest margin in the 128 year history of the Ashes! Damn our defiant tail-end batsmen! Can't they just roll over and die so people like me can get some guilt free sleep!

Despite losing last night, I think I speak on behalf of all arm chair cricket fans when I pull out that age old cliche`, and announce that it was most certainly "good for cricket."

Now .. Let's get some shut eye.

Friday, August 05, 2005

What's the capital of El Salvador ?

.. San Salvador apparently, and not knowing this cost my team outright first place in last night's "bowlo trivia night". Instead, we had to be content with equal first place, along with three other teams, meaning we received only one quarter of the $80 prize money up for grabs. I have posted about "the bowlo" before. The "Wests @ Turner Bowls Club", of which I am now a member (I signed up last night), in the great tradition of not-for-profit drinking establishments, provides some of the cheapest beer prices in town.

There had been talk for sometime of going along to a trivia night, and so this week I decided to take the intellectual plunge, and organised a team for last night's festivities. The team, named "Bowlo - Heart of the Nation" (though I was pushing for "Bowlo - feel the power"), consisted of a very strong line up of genius minds. Of course, anyone who has participated in a trivia night would know that it is important to have people on the team, that can cover the wide spectrum of potential quiz questions that may be asked. In our team, however, there appeared some reluctance among individuals to proclaim a particular topic as their area of expertise. Instead, we decided it best to just allocate each person a topic for which they would be blamed, should we not be able to answer a question for that topic. I believe it is essential to the efficiency and functionality of the trivia team, that someone be made personally responsible for a given topic, and be bagged for any incorrect, or unknown answer in that topic. This allows frustration to be vented, and competativeness to thrive (of course, people usually end up hating each other at the end, but the prize normally makes it all worth it). As it turned out, however, we had some trivia heavy weights on-board, in the form of Shaun Press and Tim Baynes, and so little blame was attributed to anyone. Both showed exceptional knowledge of some of the most pointless things. Aff also showed her superior intellect, by putting an artist to the mystery tune (Ans: Guy Sebastian). Unfortunately, none of my strong points: Logie award winners, Neighbours, Honeybees and model trains, came up, however, I still managed to put a name to the famous female tennis star of yesteryear (Ans: Gabrielle Sabatini).

Of course, no trivia night is complete without some dispute within party ranks. The question: "What Islands are known as the friendly islands?" started some behind the scenes lobbying of the team scribe (me). Shaun answered Vanuatu after some very convincing verbal reasoning. Tim, however, waited ten minutes and then quietly whispered: "Marshall Islands". Seeing the passion in his eyes, I hesitantly made the change, un-beknownst to Shaun. I was, of course, aware that this could blow up into a full trivia riot. This was the two trivia buffs of the team, in dispute, and pride was at stake.

The answer was Tonga.

Despite not coming away with the full $80, the $20 prize has been placed in a "bowlo trust fund", and will be used to fund future events at this great Canberra institution.

"Bowlo - Heart of the Nation" were:

Janine Walker - official blamee for English Literature
Nick Barnes - official blamee for Mongolian Frogs
Affrica Jenkins - official blamee for Australian Idol (apparently).
Peng Dong Xiao - official blamee for Chinese History and winners of the Stawell Gift"
David Shaw - official blamee for "Miscellaneous" topics
Shaun Press - not to be blamed for anything..
Tim Baynes - official "Cartman" impersonator - also not to be blamed for anything.
Philip Blackwell - official beer supervisor.
Chris McCarthy - official blamee for spelling mistakes, and keeper of the bowlo kitty.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The joy of partitioned work spaces

Someone, in a partitioned space somewhere in my immediate area who I cannot see behind the sea of pink pinboards that mark each persons space, has decided to crank up what I think is their favourite Kenny G CD, to levels which I contend, is an infringment on my workplace - nay - human rights.

I am thinking of taking things into my own hands, by screwing up my latest, and admittedly not very good, research paper draft, and throwing it in the direction of the music source. If I keep my head down, no one would know the wiser.

mental note: remove name from paper before throwing.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Nudy cycling = gravel rash

Straight off the bat, this has nothing to do with me! While the odd nudy run has been performed over the years, even I, in such moments of classic teenage (and perhaps early twenties) intoxicated exuberance, knew never to tempt fate by extending such activities to naked bike riding. So many moving parts, so little protection! Unfortunately, however, three young and allegedly drunk Canberran males (reported in this weekends Canberra times) recently went beyond the call of duty, and decided, late one night, to ride around suburbs of Canberra naked. Stupid though it may be, I for one am impressed that these kids have taken the initiative, and making use of Canberra's many bike paths 24/7. I am also impressed that anyone could even consider naked bike riding when temperatures frequently drop below zero at night.

Apparently these boys showed great artistic form, riding through a service station and other establishments in a very orderly single-file formation. At various locations, they even worked in a few loops, and figure eights before taking their road show to other establishments. Unfortunately, a not so impressed observer felt the need to ring the police, which sparked a thrilling climax to this performance: a "nudy cycle chase scene". This is where it all went horribly wrong for one member of the merry trio. As the cops chased, one of the riders came off his bike in the rush to escape. It is worth, at this point, taking a moment to consider what it must feel like to come off your bike, on a bitumen road, in sub zero conditions, and naked....

... ouch!

The rider, suffering considerable gravel rash, was caught and fined $450 for indecent exposure. One can't help but be impressed that despite being left by his fellow riders, the unfortunate member of the team, caught and facing criminal charges, never gave up his fellow nudy riders. In a statement to police, he simply stated that he hardly knew the other guys (not even their names apparently) as he had only just recently met them at a party. I guess introducing themselves was next on the list of "getting to know you" activities for the night.