29 February 2008


I just found out that Carlos Santana is playing at Boondall this weekend.

Donna and I would love to go and see him play, but it's a bit late to try and get tickets now. Among other things, like uni and college assignments, we've got some possums to pick up this weekend. I wish we'd known earlier.

Maybe I should read those e-mails from Tickitek a bit better in future.

If you get to see the show and you're reading this, please don't tell me how good it was.

25 February 2008

Free bus travel

We have a new ticketing system on public transport in south east Queensland, it's called Go card. You can use your Go card on the buses, the trains and the ferries.

When they first started bringing them in, they announced the fact that they would be ending the ten-trippers. Now I liked the ten-tripper. It was a paper ticket, with the numbers 1 to 10 on it. You'd get on the bus, the driver would punch your ticket, you'd go and sit down. Sometimes, the driver wouldn't punch the ticket properly, so on your next trip the same number would get punched because that driver didn't notice. I've had up to fourteen trips on one ten tripper before.

Last week I bought a Go card and I used it for the first time today. I got on the bus, touched on, got a green light and went and sat down, after telling the driver where you can buy the cards. A lot of people have been asking where they can get the cards, but no-one thought to tell the drivers. When I got off, I whipped out my card again and touched off. More about that later.

When I came home this afternoon I went to touch on and there was no green light. You see the system works through a GPS. It knows what stop you're at using satellite navigation. It was raining this afternoon and the GPS wouldn't work. Apparently it won't work in the underground bus station on Queen Street either, so a lot of people have been getting free rides as a result. That's what happened to me, the driver said not to bother and I got a free ride. It's not my fault, nor the driver's if the system doesn't work properly.

The idea with touching on and touching off is that when you touch on, the system charges your card a fixed price of three dollars. That way they don't lose too much revenue if you forget to touch off. When you get to your destination, you touch off, then the sytem knows how far you've travelled and it corrects the amount it needs to charge you. The thing is though, it costs me $4.10 for a single to the city. If you aren't very good at maths forgetting to touch off saves me $1.10.

Of course it depends when during the week I do it. After six trips in a week, the fair drops 50% for the rest of the week, so if I forgot to touch off on a Thursday, I'd be paying 95c more.

I can definitely see plenty of ways the new system can be cheated. Not that I'd do that, not deliberately anyway.

24 February 2008

Just the way we like it

We have council elections coming up next month. Our current mayor, Don Seccombe, isn't running in this election, so it's down to two people.

Melva Hobson says she's for better public transport, healthier waterways, "We'll be clean and we'll be green she says."

Paul Clauson is an ex-minister from Joh Bjelke Peterson's government, well that's a strike against him straight away. Mr Clauson wants to turn the Redlands into a "vibrant new city" rather than a "dormitory and seaside sleepy area."

Hello!! That's why we live here, that's the way we like it. Don't turn it into another Gold Coast.

I guess you can tell where my vote will be going.

16 February 2008

Big bird

After I did the blog entry about Calais, Donna had a read of it and mentioned the fact that there was a glaring error. That was about two weeks ago, and I haven't got around to correcting it until now.

So here it is. It wasn't emu that I had for dinner, it was ostrich. Either way, it was very nice, as good, if not better than kangaroo meat.

I definitely have a craving for escargot since Calais.

15 February 2008

Career change

I mentioned a few months ago that our department at work was being outsourced to IBM.

Our department looks after the logistics side of things in the company, things like procurement, movement of spare parts, building services, that sort of thing. The section that I'm part of, and have been since it was created nearly eight years ago, looks after networks spares to the field. This is the stuff that's in exchanges and mobile phone towers.

When there's a fault, the techs go out, change the faulty part with a good one, then ring us to organise a replacement for the spare they used. We then track both the faulty bit and the new one to make sure they get to where they're supposed to, the faulty one to the repairer and the new one to the spares location or the tech that requested it. We also issue tickets of work to the field to let the techs know where to pick up the new bits and what to do with them. There's lots of other stuff we do, but that's the gist of it.

Well, IBM have completed their evaluation and decided who they think they need and who they don't among the 300 odd staff that are part of the intergrated logistics area that my little section is part of.

On Wednesday we all went into the managers office one at a time and were told whether or not IBM were making us an offer of employment. We were then told not to say anything to anyone else until we'd all been in there. There were a couple of stern faces as people left the office, I myself had trouble keeping a straight face, but most of us were happy at the outcome. Some of our back of house people were made offers, but none of us front of house people (operators) were.

What this means is we'll now go through the three Rs, retraining, relocation or retrenchment. As there aren't many opportunities for us in the company, it'll mean we'll hopefully get our preferred option (for most of us) of retrenchment. As I mentioned in the previous entry on this, most of us have been with the company for a long time and will get quite a sizeable redundancy package.

So now I'm looking at what kind of work is out there related to the field that I'm studying, zoology. CSIRO are always looking for casual field staff and that is one area I'll be seriously pursuing. If it comes to it though, I have no problems going to our local bus depot and asking for a driving job. What I don't want to do is get another office job.

06 February 2008


We arrived home last night to pouring rain. I think we've brought the good weather back with us, as it's a beautiful day today.

For the last week of our holiday we stayed with an aunt and uncle in Hertfordshire close to where I lived before emmigrating to Australia. After the hectic pace of the previous three weeks, on the coach tour and then travelling around Europe, it was great to just slow right down and enjoy the countryside.

One of the houses in the bottom picture is the one we stayed in while we were there, so you can imagine how quiet and peaceful it was.

We managed to get a hire car from Dover, but it didn't get used as much as we expected.

We had planned to visit some of the Porter family (we were staying with my mum's brother), but as it turned out we only visited one aunt and it took us most of the afternoon to find her. Without a map or a sat nav it was hard to find a lot of places. The last time I was in England was in 1990 and it has changed a bit since then. A lot of people have moved too.

So if you're reading this blog and were wondering why we didn't visit you, we got lost and the peace and quiet of Dane End and Haltwick was just too strong. But you know where we are, and it's only twelve and a half hours to Singapore, then seven and a half to Brisbane. There's a few Porters that are well overdue to visit. We'll even pick you up from the airport.

Now we're home and reality is starting to sink in. There's a pile of bills to be paid, the bags need unpacking, Donna needs to find out what's happening at college as she starts next week, I need to order my text books for uni, and there are heaps and heaps of blogs to catch up with. I think Dave has done over thirty entries since I went away.