Sunday, January 30, 2005

Death of a Sigma

I was saddened to hear that a friend's (who shall remain nameless) Mitsibishi Sigma Wagon had an altercation with an freeway onramp crash barrier ending a colourful life for the under-powered beast (no humans were injured). Some memories would be
  • Long before my friend got his licence, his mum driving us in it and him "accidently" knock the car into Neutral while going up a steep hill.
  • Mending a rusted hole in the boot. Carefully cutting away the rust, gluing sheet metal inside it and filling, before sealing and painting. Looked good after that.
  • Repairing the roof lining. First with spray on adhesive, didn't work, then painting on the adhesive, still the lining fell down, before he used some other material.
  • The altercation with a pole while I was in the car (everyone was fine), but the car needed a little repair on the spot to enable it move again.
  • A hair raising ride down the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay, that I would rather not repeat. The breaks on the car failed 2 weeks later.
  • Being told that it had been stolen from Chadstone car park. It showed up about two weeks later.
RIP Sigma.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Andrew's Birthday

Andrew's 22nd birthday party, was a pretty good night. Started off watching Hewitt win the semi final against Roddick. Andy (on the right) and Andrew were fascinated by Hewitt's reaction after he won the set.
1st set he won - 2 hand pumps
2nd set - 4 hand pumps (replayed in slow-mo mode)
Winning set - falling down on knees.
Andrew celebrated his night by downing several drinks in quick succession and falling asleep on the sun lounge outside not too much later.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

School Crossings - No Standing Zone

I am unfortunate enough to live on a school crossing, which means I can't park outside my own house while the crossing flags are out. This is between 8-9am and 3-4pm on weekdays. School holidays are great, no school means no flags so it makes it easier. Keep in mind there are 4 cars in our household.
So I've been parking in the street for the past few weeks. Today is the first day back at school for 2005 and of course I forgot and left my car out (I was lazy last night and forgot the reminder my dad gave me).
What do you know it, the inspector came around, probably knowing most people had forgotten. Apparently the lollipop man had a word to him saying that I lived in the house outside. So I was just given a caution.
I don't blame anyone but myself, it's their job, and I like to hope that the inspector was going around giving caution notices as to remind people school had started. But we are talking about parking inspectors here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Australian of the Year Awards

I was relieved last night that Dr. Fiona Wood was awarded Australian of the Year for 2005 after speculation that Nicole Kidman might win.
The award should be about recognising those who contribute to Australia and who's work is outstanding and not recognised enough.
Nicole Kidman - she's a very good actor, and although it might be for her spin-off charity work, she spends far too much time out of Australia, and wouldn't even have been there to accept the award. What kind of Australian, would snub the Australian of the Year awards to rehearse for some movie if they were nominated?

If you're a sports star, particularly an Australian Cricket Captain, you're almost guaranteed the award.
1989 - Allan Border
1999 - Mark Taylor
2004 - Steve Waugh
That's 3 out of 16, almost a quarter, of Australian of the Year awards that have gone to cricketers.

If you look at the history of who's won the award, it looks as if it's only been in the past 15 years where sports starts have won AOTY awards - is it because sports stars are suddenly seen as better role models or is it perhaps to lift the profile of the award.

Dr. Fiona Wood from her interviews on TV sounds like are remarkably intelligent woman, with 6 children and doing ground breaking work in the area of burns surgery. Her work was recognised due to a tragedy, not a triumph. A role model for all Australians.

Monday, January 24, 2005

RMIT - no wonder they are going broke

RMIT have the worst administration system of any organisation I have ever had contact with.
As if re-enrolment wasn't bad enough, today I was given one of those all too familiar run arounds.
It started when I received a letter saying one of the courses I chose would not run in Semester 1, it took an email by Andrew to find out it was running in Semester 1, otherwise we wouldn't have known. The idea was to go in earlier and get it sorted and avoid the queues of the first week.

  • Stop A: The Hub - a one-shop stop for all your enquiries - except they can't do anything except sign concession forms and accept money, not even to find out who our program co-ordinator is. They are more than happy to tell you where to go though.
  • Stop B: SET Student Services - "... can you tell me who our program co-ordinator is?", "ummm, errrr, umm, I'm not sure, let me give someone a call", we did find out who it was.
  • Stop C: ECE (School) Office - can you process this form? as you sent it to us, oh no only the program co-ordinator can do that.
  • Stop D: The program co-ordinator, not there.
  • Stop E: The CSIT (School) Office - does our co-ordinator have a drop box? No. Can we give this to you to hand to him? No.
After that we gave up. I'll email our program co-ordinator and find out what I can do.

If I were at Monash, I would jump on the net, and after a few clicks, my courses would be swapped - no staff needed. It's faster for me, and will save the university a lot of time and therefore money.
This is not an isolated incident, this happens ALL THE TIME.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


9 times out of 10 when you mention Frankston people seem to give you an odd look. Yes it has had a bad name in the past, and there are still some colourful characters, but it has obviously gone up market. I'm pretty certain in 5 years it will be the place to be, and anyone living there will be the envy of others. Fortunately for me I'm there every fortnight or so with Kylie, sitting on the beach, having coffee and wondering around the shops or going out for a meal.

Where else in Melbourne do you have a very nice beach, a pier to walk on, lots of shops of all types, cinemas (both budget and full price), restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs? The worst part? paying for parking - even on a Saturday afternoon - even the city is free.

The sea festival on this weekend added a market, more food, a sea rescue demonstration, and the best fireworks and fireshow display I have ever seen.

I don't understand what's wrong with the place, then again 9 out of 10 people probably haven't spent any real time there.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Camping comes to an end

Thursday the 13th was time to come home from our week long camping trip. Pictured is the river next to our campsite, on hot days the river looked nice, but it was pretty cold. It was also disappointing seeing the banks being choked by blackberry.

Who knows where next year will take us.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Barry Way into Kosciuszko National Park

Wed the 12th was a trip out of Snowy River National Park and up the Barry Way towards Jindabyne in New South Wales. The damage of the 2003 bushfires is still noticable and it still amazes me what a vast area this fire burnt. I viewed the devestation it left a year ago in the area of the Kosciuszko National Park around Thredbo and Alpine Way, but this was a long way from there and it was the same fire.
The road was pretty good until we entered NSW, the roads are never as good in NSW no matter where you go (take for example the Hume Hwy that goes from 4 lanes to 2 after the border). The road is endanger of becoming a 4WD track if not maintained properley. In NSW it changes from the Alpine National Park (Victoria) to Kosciuszko National Park.

The road joins the Snowy River and follows it for a while, before heading on to Jindabyne where it meets the Snowy again at Jindabyne Dam. Pictured is the view from Wallace Craig Lookout.
At Jindabyne I recommend the Alpine Chicken Shack for the best chicken club sandwich, rarely do you get the service we did from the owner Helen.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Buchan Caves

This was the second time I had visited Buchan Caves, and like last time it was a very wet day, which was OK since it doesn't make any difference in a cave - constant temperature all year around. The Fairy Cave was the one we visited - really quite impressive, pitty about the damage.

Following our caving experience, we went back to MacKillops Bridge via a back scenic route also seeing Little River Falls and Little River Gorge - the deepest gorge in the state.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

MacKillops Bridge - Snowy River NP

MacKillops Bridge is quite an impressive bridge across the once mighty Snowy River. I remember reading somewhere the river is about a third of what it was since much of the water was diverted across the Snowy Mountains down the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers.
The good news is that changes to Jindabyne Dam will allow some of the former glory to be restored with the release being raised from 1 to 15% of the original flow at the dam.

Our camp was about a 15 minute walk from this view, on another river that joins the Snowy at this point. The area was very dry, starting a fire was not a problem in comparison to the persistance that was required at Kinglake NP.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Decent into Snowy River National Park

The road into Snowy River National Park to MacKillops was described on the brochure as one of the state's most spectacular and they weren't wrong as you can see from the photo.
The road was narrow with huge drops on either side, we could only hope that a car wasn't coming the other way, fortunately there weren't any.

Trip to the east of Victoria

Saturday the 8th, we packed up our tent at Kinglake NP and drove to Narre Warren to meet up with some other friends to head towards our destination in the Snowy River NP. Had lunch at Sale along the way and headed through Bairnsdale and Buchan. The road started to climb and Richard and I started to see our fuel gauges drop. We pulled over and noticed a fuel stop on the map a few kilometers up the road, but after pressing the button at the shop for service there was no response. We searched what looked like a school camp for someone to help with no luck. A decision was taken to drive the 40km back to Buchan during which time my car clocked over this milestone turning on a digit I had never seen before.

After filling up, it was back on the road to MacKillops Bridge on the Snowy River.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Masons Falls - Kinglake NP

Mason's falls were a bit more impressive than the one's the day before. Then came the walk, a fairly long and hard walk. It started at the Ranger's Office, down to these falls, perhaps you can see the steep drop below. The track went all the way down to the bottom, a long decent, followed the creek before climbing steeply to the top of Mt. Sugarloaf with an average view of Melbourne and the Dandenongs. About 13km all up and took us about 4 hours.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Wombelano Falls - Kinglake NP

Pictured are the Wombelano Falls in Kinglake NP. It was quite a drive there, never again am I taking Captains Creek Track. I thought it was a road, but it was a 4WD track, luckily only once did the buttom of the car scrape the road. The 500m walk down a hill to the falls were worth it. Probably more impressive in winter though. The route back was much better. Posted by Hello

Camping - Kinglake NP

Camping in Kinglake National Park wasn't planned. Originally we were to travel with a group of 4 to the Snowy River, but after one of us fell ill the day before, Kylie and I decided to head up to Kinglake to spend 2 nights. Here we are after setting up our tent on the day.