Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bushfire Season

Here we are not even officially into summer yet, and we're experiencing some of the hottest days of ANY season. Across Australia, firefighters have been battling bushfires already, and I predict that the next 3 or 4 months will see one of the worst Bushfire seasons ever in Australia. Last week, my parents went to Hobart to stay for a few days and had to hose down the house while a bushfire burned just 500 metres downhill, on Mount Nelson, which I visited 2 months or so ago with the kids to see some snow. This isn't the first time my Mum and Dad have stayed at a place where there was a fire while they were there, or shortly after. In fact it seems to happen with surprising regularity… Meanwhile, the NSW Police Force knows how to combine business with pleasure, announcing today that a veritable army of police will be spending those long, hot summer days on the beach, supposedly to prevent a repeat of last summer's beach riots. Yeah, sure guys. 'We'd better question those two bikini-clad blondes over there immediately, Constable'. 'About what, Sarge?' 'Gawd I dunno, make something up, quick, before those surfie guys get to them…'

ABC News - Fire threatens Hobart homes

Friday, October 13, 2006

Song Contest Blues

Feel like crud, my path's turned to mud,
Had a lover's spat then stepped on the cat,
Leaking roof, got an aching tooth,
Car broke down miles out of town,
Lightning struck my last living duck,
Mother-in-law is knocking at the door,
Got a flat tyre, the barn caught fire,
The school caught my son playing with a gun,
Mormons turned up, kidnapped my pup,
The oak tree fell over on top of poor Rover,
Washing's all dirty, I'm approaching thirty,
Bank accounts as clean as I've ever seen,
Daughter needs braces, lost big at the Races,
Her boyfriend loves bon-bons but not using condoms,
My wife wants divorce and won't do her chores,
The Parson came by just as she started to cry.
Song Contest, I'm in it and I really want to win,
But how can I write a Blues Song,
When I can't think of anything to put in it!?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

IQ test

I'm a bit worried about the mental calibre of the people I'm getting reading my blog, so I thought it was time to weed out the riff-raff with a little test. If you get less than 8 correct, perhaps you would be happier reading some other blog…

Answers below… answer the questions first before you look!

1. Write your name.
2. Do they have a 4th of July in England?
3. In a non-leap year, some months have 31 days, and some 30, but how many have 28?
4. If a doctor gave you three pills and told you to take one every half hour, how long would they last?
5. If you had only one match and entered a room where there is an oil lamp, an oil heater, and kindling wood, which would you light first?
6. A farmer had 87 sheep and all but 21 died. How many did he have left?
7. Divide 30 by half and add 10. What is the result?
8. How many animals of each species did Moses take aboard the Ark?
9. If you take 31 apples from 93 apples, how many apples do you have?
10. You drive a bus with 31 people from Oatlands to Hobart, pick up 6 more there, drive on to Campbell Town and drop 5 off, then pick up 4 more and continue to Devonport where 7 get off and 2 get on. Based on this information, what is the bus driver's name?

11. Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden for eating… what?

1. You should have written the words your name as instructed.
2. Yes, they have a 4th of every month, just like everyone else.
3. Twelve. Every month has at least 28 days.
4. One hour, not an hour and a half!
5. The match, obviously.
6. He has 21 left.
7. The answer is 70. 30÷2+10=25, but 30÷1/2+10=70.
8. None. Noah took animals on the Ark, Moses wasn't around.
9. You'd have 31 apples because that's how many you took!
10. The bus driver's name is whatever your name is. 'You drive a bus…'
11. Adam and Eve were evicted for eating 'the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil', not an apple. See Genesis 2:17 if you don't believe me!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Flying High

I haven't blogged for a week or so; I'd like to say it's because things of earth-shattering import have been occupying my limited temporal allotment, but the fact is, I just haven't had anything much to say - for once!

Still, all good things must come to an end, and so I post once more. Today I got a phone call (actually a series of them) from a customer who is also a member of the Exclusive Brethren. In case you don't know, they aren't allowed to use technology, so he asked me to book him some flights from Melbourne to Tassie on the internet for him.

Firstly, Regional Air Express (Rex) told him on the phone (which is also technology, but apparently allowed) they had $104 seats at 8:30 am on November 4th for Melbourne to Burnie, and 6:30 pm on November 8th for the return flight. Except they didn't. Online, I couldn't find any flights on those days at that price. He called them back, they insisted they did, he called me back, I said they didn't, and so it went on. Eventually, I told him that if they said the flights were there on their internet, then they could book them for him, because they weren't showing up on my internet! We should have been looking at the same thing; last time I checked, I wasn't mirroring the entire internet on my computer, but with all the internet-savvy and phone-home software these days, I can't be sure. Perhaps I am and just didn't realise it. That would go part-way to explaining why the terabyte of storage I bought 2 weeks ago is almost full already.

Secondly, when i found the cheapest flights that were available, they came to $396 - plus about $190 taxes and surcharges! What are these surcharges? There was the Domestic Passenger Levy, which I thought was a bit cheeky - even though the airlines are privately owned, I have to pay the government for the privilege of flying in Australian airspace as well. But the second surcharge really got me - the Fuel Excise Surcharge of about $130. Melbourne to Burnie is about 120 km, which would take about $10 of petrol in a car, but I understand that aviation fuel costs more. What it effectively means is that whenever you get on a plane in Australia, you're paying for your own fuel - not as part of your ticket, but completely separately.

So what I want to know is this: When the pilot announces we'll be arriving 10 minutes early because we've had a good wind behind us, surely that means we've used less fuel than expected? So shouldn't the airline be refunding some of our money for the fuel we paid for but didn't use? Next time I fly, at the end of the flight, I'll make a point of asking the pilot how much he owes me and when he's going to pay up.