Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lecturer Quotes

There are 2 quotes a lecturer said today that made the day more interesting
  • "You know when to leave a job when you stop learning" - so true
  • "If you copy off one person it's called plagiarism, if you copy off many it's called research"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Back to Uni

Back to Uni - FINAL YEAR

Back to uni for another year. This one being the fifth and final year.
As with my first year, it started with a DE class that was not worth attending. What's the point going to a lecture where he just reads off the slides, I'm not blind. The whole lecture lasted 20 minutes, a total waste of time.
I already know you can miss the first 2 weeks of semester and not miss a thing - did that last year, second semester where my overseas trip extended into the semester.
Fortunately we had a project team meeting for our 3 semester project, which was productive making the trip into the city worthwhile (Petrol [$2] + Train Ticket [$3.10] + 2 hours traveling).

Metcard - good news

On another note I was pleased to see that although the cost of a Zone 1 Daily Concession Metcard went from $3 to $3.10 this year, the cost of a 5 x 1 Daily card equivalent dropped in price from $13.50 ($2.70) to $12.80 ($2.56 each), and no more books of 5 tickets, just one ticket to use 5 times (not much good if you are sharing tickets but saves space in the wallet). In addition you can buy them at train stations! Unlike the book where they will refer you to a newsagent (great!), or even online with free delivery.

Added Later: You can still buy the
books of tickets at $12.80. Don't expect to be able to buy them at stations though.

As for the concession card which cost > $80 last year (to prove you can't afford full fare - yes ridiculous), it now costs $8, or you can use a Low Income Health Care Card from Centrelink. Finally, I've already spent over $200 on these cards to save, not a huge amount more than that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Banks Upsizing

Went for a visit to the bank today, and decided to deposit my cheques at the teller rather than the quick drop box.
This is the third time I believe that a teller has tried to up-sell something at the bank.

"Do you know about the award saver? It's good to save you know, just save a little bit, it can be deducted automatically, only need $1 to start"

Well I know this, and anyone who has savings they don't need to access immediately tied up in a Commonwealth Bank of Australia Award Saver account should be hung upside down and shaken a little. The rate is so pathetic that it's not even listed on their website. Have a look at ING Direct, or one from St. George, they offer 5.25% on any balance, and no fees. The downside is that you don't have immediate access to your money (perhaps 2 days).

"Can I get someone to set this up for you?" "No I'm not interested thanks"

"Don't you want to save?" (started to get annoyed now) "I already have a savings account elsewhere!"

She then gives me some disappointed look. I feel sorry for the women who served me, she's probably getting a commission, and works in a branch that is going to close, there is another branch a few hundred metres away.

Previously I've also had someone try and tell me all about insurance with the bank (yeah, I'm going to get a great rate with them!), and a friend got asked whether he wanted to increase the limit on his credit card, which he agreed to, only to be rejected once the application was processed.

If banks want to improve how about they stop treating their customers like idiots.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

to all

I think it goes like this (Male perspective): if you're single you wish you were with someone, if you're not you get scared that you're not putting enough effort in for your special someone. Then there are those who have someone and respond to me today "is it Valentine's Day today?".

Not sure if I'm going to be able to see my Valentine today, I'm working during the day, she's working during the evening :-(. Sometimes I feel it is overrated, then again it's nice to celebrate something that's been around for some time.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Kitchen Stools

Finally the kitchen stools arrived today. This is something I have been waiting for ever since the new kitchen was put in last year in May / June. The delay seemed to come down to choosing what style, what colour etc. Finally if the table is cluttered (as it was during lunch today, not by me), there is somewhere else to sit in the kitchen. So now the new kitchen is finally complete.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Marysville Short Break

I'll be going back to uni soon, so before I get too busy, it was time to have a short break away from the city. Kylie and I had booked a place in Marysville to stay for a night.
Maroondah Reservoir is just past Healesville and supplies water to Melbourne's central and western suburbs from what I can make out from the map (even through the reservoir is in the north east). It's one of the oldest reservoirs, built in the early 20th century. There are some nice gardens below the dam wall. Surprisingly this reservoir appeared to be full, the spillway was overflowing. A bit different to Upper Yarra Dam below.

It was up the very scenic and fairly windy Black Spur to Marysville. No trip to Marysville would be complete without a visit to Stephensons Falls. The walk to the top is steep but worth it.

The next day (Wednesday) we visited the Sculpture Garden. I'm not a big art person, but these sculptures (over 100 of them) were certainly impressive, and well worth a visit. Pictured below is one of my favourite.

Drove east from Marysville and up Lake Mountain. I hadn't been there for a number of years and was surprised to find a huge shop/cafe/bistro/info centre there where the old picnic tables were. The place was very very quiet in comparison to the winter. Despite the recent weather there was no snow. It was however noticeably cooler.

Here is a picture from the summit of Lake Mountain (1530m ASL). You can just make out the buildings of Melbourne and the bay from here, but you really have to squint.

From Lake Mountain we drove through the Cumberland Ranges and down the Reefton Spur. This road takes you through much of the water catchments areas, so entry to the forest is strictly prohibited. If you've ever wondered why Melbourne's water is some of the best in the world, that's why, the forest is for water catchment only.
Pictured below is Upper Yarra Reservoir. From the distribution network map. This reservoir and the feeding Thomson Reservoir which feeds into this one via a water tunnel through the mountains, supplies much of Melbourne's east and south eastern suburbs. At the time of the photo is was at 58% of its capacity.

From here is was back home via Warburton, then the back way through Kirth Kiln Park, Gembrook and Emerald.

Monday, February 07, 2005


The river has gone back down now, but from this photo I took today you can see the brown footpath in the bottom right which was submerged before.

If you want to see the still very visible signs that there was one torrential downpour last week, have a look at Kooyong Tennis Club, half the courts are submerged with water half way up the net. Not to mention St. Kevins Oval which looks more like a lake. (best view is on the Glen Waverley line between Kooyong and Heyington stations). It appears the flood barrier that is meant to keep the water out, is keeping the water in, it's going to take a long time to drain since it's almost been a week already. May have to pump it out by the looks.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Long Island Iced Tea

When going out last night, a friend recommended I try a Long Island Iced Tea, this drink has to be one of the most potent I have tried.
  • 1 part Vodka
  • 1 part Tequila
  • 1 part Rum
  • 1 part Gin
  • 1 part Triple sec
  • 1 1/2 part Sour mix
  • 1 splash Coca-Cola

(there is no TEA in it)
It has the equivalent of 5 shots in it, and considering it was at the cocktail price of $12, that probably isn't too bad if you want to sacrifice taste for cost when deciding on a drink that will get you in the mood for some dancing ($2.40 for each shot). It was so strong and large, that half way through drinking it (probably after an hour) all the ice had melted and the drink was starting to warm.
It really did taste like someone went to the liquor cabinet and just threw everything together.
Was a good night out though, music was interesting, it jumped from Latin to RnB to 80s pop to Reggae in the space of about 20 minutes - plenty of variety.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Detention of mentally ill woman as illegal immigrant

If the treatment of illegal immigrants, making them wait years until they know their future wasn't bad enough, officials now find they have detained a mentally ill Australian women as an illegal immigrant.

See news item.

"The immigration department said Cornelia Rau was placed in detention last April after police were contacted by a group of Aborigines who found her wandering near a remote township on the northeastern Cape York Peninsula. "

Wouldn't you check the missing persons register in each state before assuming they were from overseas. Couldn't they tell she was mentally ill?

"Queensland police and the immigration department defended their actions, saying Rau was not carrying any identification when she was found and at no time had claimed to be an Australian citizen. "

Of course not, she was mentally ill, surely this could have/was diagnosed.

I start to wonder whether Australia's policy of mandetory detention of illegal immigrants, and taking years to process them has contributed to this one huge stuff up.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Back Pain

Interesting this morning that I woke up lying on my back. I hardly lie on my back when I sleep, I'm a person who lies on his side. Interesting how your body reacts to pain without any thought. Yesterday my back started to really hurt, and probably the most comfortable way to lie in bed was on my back.
Not sure what caused it, and no it's not what you're thinking.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Yarra Flooded

A friend sent this photo of the Yarra this morning, unbelievable, that's a LOT of water.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Crazy Melbourne Weather - what season is it?

Rain rain rain rain. I find this weather really annoying, it's the middle of February! Yesterday I was contemplating going to the beach when it reached 36 degrees in the afternoon, today I considered filling the house with dust by turning the ducted heating on when the highest temperature was about one third of that, 13 degrees! and did I mention the rain? it has trippled last month's (January) rainfall in just one day.

Made me feel like a complete idiot, following my parents specific instructions to water the pots every second day even if it rains, which I did yesterday evening. Now we'll probably see a few plants drown.