17 June 2008

Caught in the Act

Xena isn't allowed on our bed.

She thought she could get away with it by hiding.

She was wrong.

11 June 2008

The navigator

When my bus turned up this afternoon it had two route numbers on it. 251 was on a sign in the window, but the destination board said 265. I wandered up to the bus asked what number it was and found it was indeed the 251 and that the destination board was stuck on 265.

This was the first indication that it was going to be a fun ride home.

As I usually sit up the front of the bus, I'm used to giving drivers directions when they're not familiar with the route. Where this particular driver was different was when he told me this was his first run into the city. I was telling him where to turn and which stops to stop at before we even got out of town. With that wrong number on the destination board, I was also keeping an eye out for familar passengers that didn't realise this was their bus. They're not going to put their hand out for the bus if they don't know it's theirs.

When we got to Buranda, our first stop after leaving the city we stopped because I knew a couple of passengers usually get on there. I could see a lady down the platform that I knew caught the 251, but she hadn't realised it was there. Up I jumped, stuck my head out the door and yelled out, "two five one!" This resulted in two people getting on that wouldn't have and one getting off that thought it was the 265.

Once we left Buranda it was a straight run to Capalaba as the 251 is a limited pickup bus. Getting into Capalaba we discovered that the buzzer didn't work on the bus either. Some people seem to have a problem with yelling out "next stop please!" and assumed that just walking down the aisle was enough to tell the driver they wanted to get off.

There are two stops at Capalaba and the second one is the main one, the interchange. As we pulled in I noticed a guy that usually caught our bus and he was totally oblivious to the fact his bus had arrived. So, once the passengers getting off had all got off I asked the driver to hang on a tic, jumped off the bus, and went and tapped the unaware guy on the shoulder. He had his Ipod plugged in and wouldn't have heard me if I'd yelled out "two five one!" again.

Not far out of Capalaba the bus turns off the main road and goes around the back streets. This is where the drivers that don't know the route too well have the most problems and this is where I usually give the most directions. Not only was I telling him where to turn and where the next stop was, but also the fact that people usually got off at this one, or that one. Hardly anyone was telling the driver they wanted the next stop, because I was doing it for them.

Needless to say, I wasn't only being thanked by the driver today.

When I got off at my stop, I wished the driver good luck and I wondered if anyone else would take over my role for the rest of the journey.

You may be wondering why this driver was doing a route that he didn't know. Well apparently they were down twenty drivers today. I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that there's a big rugby league game on tonight.

Oh, I got a free ride home today too. The new fangled ticket machine on the bus wasn't working either. Not that that's unusual.

07 June 2008

Those were the days

Back when I was an apprentice I actually had quite an interesting job.

Some of the stuff that I got to work on was, how can I put this, very novel. We had a robot that was used for PR stuff to publicise the Gold Phones that were new at the time. I got to go out with this little radio controlled robot and terrorise lady shoppers at a shopping centre in Ipswich, near Brisbane. I even got to redesign some of the circuit boards inside, something most of the guys in my intake missed out on while the were busy installing phones or being exchange Mungos.

My favourite though, was the Beatle Phone. It wasn't really a Beatle, but a Volswagen Kombi, or at least the chassis and running gear. The body was all fibreglass and was in the shape of a telephone. It used to be used in parades, but once it was parked it could actually be used to make phone calls via the cordless phone inside it. This was in the days before mobile phones.

Rather than try to describe it, here's a picture of it.

That keypad on the front actually worked. Next to the number three is a speaker that doubled as a microphone. People could actually make a phone call on the Beatle Phone, although if they weren't used to using radio they had a bit of trouble as they had to press a button to talk, then remember to let go so they could hear the person on the other end.

It was used all over Queensland, but was based at the workshops in Brisbane where I worked. Whenever it came home, it was an apprentice's job to give it a bit of a polish and make sure the phone was working. Sometimes this meant tipping the water out of the speaker.

Anyway, all this cleaning and testing usually meant that it had to be taken for a quick drive as well. Great fun, even though the steering wheel had heaps of slack and the gear stick was between your legs.

Those were the days. Thanks to Dave for reminding me of them.

Lotto win

Finishing work on Thursday night, I found a fifty cent piece on the floor of the lift. One of our trainees was with me and he commented that I'm now rich. I told him I wasn't yet, but I would be that night as I was going to win the lotto.

Now, if you live in Australia, you'll know that the big prize on Thursday's lotto was fifty million (actually, it turned out to be fifty eight million and only one winner).

Well, I checked the numbers yesterday and we had a win. With the fifty cents I found in the lift and the division seven win, I just about paid for the entry price.

Can't complain about that.

04 June 2008

A date at last

I got my form A today.

What that means is, I now know how long I've got till I become unemployed. I finish up on the 2nd of July. We had the option of signing the paperwork today and chosing when we want to go, or waiting and making a decision over the next nine weeks. I signed the form and go in four weeks. At least one of my coleagues, AJ, signed to go next week.

Now AJ has an internship lined up at a hospital in Beijing, he's been studying remedial massage for the past couple of years, and that's what he'll be doing. I told him he's going to have to do a blog about it and he seems pretty keen. Once he starts it, I'll let you all know about it.

Now that I have a definite date I can actively start looking for another job and it's such a relief that the starting gate has finally been opened, so to speak. I've actually already been offered a job, but I'm not sure I want to do night fill at Coles supemarkets. At least I know I've got that to fall back on though.

If anyone has a job going for a zoology student with a truck licence and lots of other experience, let me know. If you're from Amway though, don't bother. That's so unoriginal.