waitingman: (Default)
So... everybody knows about Australia's killer spiders, snakes, sharks, lizards, crocodiles, emus, cassowaries (okay, not everyone knows about the cassowaries, but you should) & you probably think we're exaggerating a little... or it's urban myths perpetuated by scared tourists (I admit - the DropBear is a made-up monster), but the fauna around here can still be quite alarming to us natives & genuinely frightening to the rest of the world

Here's an article from today's Sydney Morning Herald. You can read the full story here, with photos & links to other true stories of our deadly room-mates on the island...

Not all heroes wear capes: Why Aussies are braver than Brits

"Well that's the best piece of journalism I've ever seen in the Herald," said my workmate. He put his coffee down, and stared at his laptop screen in admiration.

"Which one?" I asked. "The Kate McClymont piece about ICAC?"

"No, that was OK. I mean the story about the British removalists."

Ah, of course. I knew the one he meant, but I had to correct a point of detail.

"Not just British removalists," I said, "but 'burly' British removalists."

"Yes," my friend agreed. "They were burly removalists and yet they were still scared by a huntsman spider ..."

I was forced to jump in once more: "A huntsman spider which – according to the BBC – was 'the size of a guinea pig'."

Yes, my friend agreed, a huntsman spider "the size of a guinea pig".

At that point we both just sat there for a while and considered the story. As published midweek, it was a simple enough tale. A couple had moved from Australia to Britain. A huntsman spider had insinuated itself into the shipping container.

A supervisor was quoted: "He ran two miles up the road when he first saw it," he said, describing one removalist.

Sorry, one "burly" removalist.

My friend took another sip of coffee.

I said: "I'm not even sure what burly means."

"Oh," said my friend. "It means strong, muscular, very large. These men are the best the UK can offer. They are gods among normal people and yet when confronted with a measly, placid, friendly, mosquito-devouring huntsman, the poor things run for the hills.

"I mean, if a burly Pom is this scared, imagine what a normal-sized Pom would do."

We sat there for a moment longer, letting the tale capture our hearts. That defeat in the cricket? Somehow it had lost its sting.

"They clearly don't realise they are harmless," said my friend, interrupting the silence. "If he was found in an Australian house, he'd be treated like a member of the family."

I nodded in agreement. "That's the least of it. He'd be given a nickname. 'Hairy Legs', something cute like that. Or maybe 'Mr Hairy'. If you had a toddler, she'd treat him like a pet. She'd sing him lullabies at night."

We savoured some more. The British really had stuffed up in 1942 when they failed to hold Singapore. Disappointed? We were ropeable. Then there was that thing – was it 1973? – where they joined Europe and stopped buying our lamb chops. That wasn't good either.

It was good to see them get their comeuppance.

"I have a cousin in the UK," I said.

"I have a brother," he said.

We went back to our laptops. "Should we send the story direct on Facebook Messenger?" my friend asked. "Or put it on Facebook, then tag them?"

I took a sip of coffee. "Best to do both," I advised. "That's what I did with the flying fox story."

He looked at me quizzically. I had to explain. It was late last year and The Times of London reported that Australia had been struck by a plague of flying foxes. These tiny, sweet-faced bats can, it's true, create problems with their poo. The Times, though, wasn't focused on the poo. It was focused on the size of the animal.

The name flying fox, the paper confided, grew from the fact the animals were the size of foxes. Essentially, it was a fox with wings. The way the paper carried on, you could see them dive-bombing sheep and carrying the bleating animals back to their nests.

Of course, I'd sent the link to my cousin so she might better understand how brave I must be to walk out my front door each morning; a man dive-bombed by winged foxes.

Better still, the story had come just after Mick Fanning had punched the shark.

"Oh, that was great," said my friend. "I loved that story."

I asked: "Did you send the Mick Fanning video to your brother?"

"Oh, yes," said my friend. "I posted the video wherever I could. I told everyone we're given shark defence lessons in primary school, and that Mick was just doing what every Australian is taught to do when confronted by a shark."

"Me too," I said. "Plus, I sent them the Australian Museum official entry on the drop bear – 'Thylarctos plummetus, a large, arboreal, predatory marsupial related to the koala ... around the size of a leopard or very large dog'. That really did freak them out."

My friend purred with pleasure. "They must think we are so brave – what with air-born foxes and the drop bears, the spiders the size of guinea pigs and the need to punch a shark just in order to have a weekend swim."

I nodded grimly. "We're brave, all right. I'm brave. You're brave. And we're not even that burly.
waitingman: (Orang-Utan)
Did you know that historians & archaeologists have replaced 'AD' with 'CE' (Common Era)? I didn't either, until I read this article about the Moai heads on Easter Island...


With cremation on the rise as the preferred method for dearly departed disposal, you can now have a diamond made using the carbon in their ashes...

What a wonderful time to be alive... or to die
waitingman: (Default)
So the trigger-happy cops in Minneapolis shot dead an Australian ex-pat today. Whatever comes out in the investigation/blame-fest won't bring her back. Tragic

On the radio this afternoon, I heard a newsreader say "Friends of the woman said she loved life"

Honestly? Really? I mean... who doesn't?!?! Even if you're not having a great time right now, it's still better than the alternative, surely...

Obversely, I'm also a great believer in euthanasia & the right to die. Maybe it's just that I'm not a fan of stock phrases, clichés & lazy journalism


Jul. 14th, 2017 07:52 am
waitingman: (Default)
Just found out yesterday that Bruce Barry died in May this year... Many Australians of a certain age will remember him for his acting roles on TV & in movies from the 60s & 70s

I'll remember him as a funny, warm, caring man who I knew for only a few, short years, but will always think of that time with laughter & great fondness
waitingman: (Happy Droopy)
The Sri Lankan Navy... a Green-Peacekeeping wonder...

You know what swimming is to me? Staying alive, when you're in the water... (Paul Stookey)
waitingman: (Default)

The reason I've been so quiet, Journal-wise, the last few weeks. These guys (girls, actually) are about 9 months old - the equivalent of teenagers &, just like the human version - they keep Dad on the go...


Jun. 30th, 2017 07:49 am
waitingman: (Default)
Is alive & well...

Blah blah tragic loss... blah blah so much to live for...blah blah their unborn child. Blah blah... All I see is an idiot who will no longer be a drain on society's resources. Honestly - if you're stupid enough to think that playing around with guns is cool & a shortcut to 'fame'... we, as a species, can spare you

Do I blame social media for this? Not at all - I firmly believe that no matter what you do, stupid people will continue to do stupid things. They did it before the internet, they'll keep doing it now. And frankly... keep it up!! Keep going over Niagara Falls in a giant beach ball. Keep bungee jumping without ropes. Keep climbing over high fences with locked gates, onto giant construction cranes, then taking the short way down

Despite the best efforts of religion & right-wing politics, Nature will always find a way to weed out the weakest links...
waitingman: (Orang-Utan)
Night Flares

I don't really have a thousand words worth reporting...

Speaking with a friend on Tuesday & my honest answer to "What's been happening?" was "Not much - work, eat, sleep..." Not necessarily in equal proportions, of course... I'm not working much

But seriously - I AM working quite a bit, though not as many hours as L-SP. Trying to eat less... even trying to sleep less, but the encroaching Winter & darkness at 6.30am don't encourage early rises. Thank goodness for my Butcherbirds alarm clock

Speaking of which... I can hear them calling now


Jun. 20th, 2017 06:57 pm
waitingman: (Default)
June 20th...

I had to be reminded by L-SP that today is the 2nd anniversary of my Father's death. To be fair, she reminded me of that a week ago, but I don't really attach a lot of importance to the actual day, or date - the event is forever in my memory, as is Father, so remembering the day itself is not really a priority, or necessity for me

It certainly seems to be for my Sister though, as she's been an increasing wreck as the date approaches & was vocal in her wish to gather the immediate family (all 3 of us) at the local RSL Club to commemorate Father's passing. Something I vetoed profanically (is that a word? It is now!!) when L-SP told me, then emphatically in conversation with my Sister. My Mother was in my corner, not wishing to keep carrying a heavy ghost around... but who knows? His birthday & Fathers Day - certainly... A discreet toast at Christmas - probably... but to remind ourselves annually of a bloody awful day & for my Mother & I to recall the sight of his lifeless body? No fucking way!!!

Unfortunately, the perfect excuse for not holding such a vigil arrived last week, with the unexpected death of a friend. His funeral was held today - June 20th. His wife is a long-ago former flame of mine, with whom L-SP & I have kept in friendly contact, helped along by the fact that Ken was a lovely man & I can only wish that they'd had many more happy decades together

So, a funeral for a friend on a day that was never going to be sunshine & rainbows to begin with... Somewhere up there, is a petty, vindictive, little shit of a god

I've visited & spoken with my Mother today & we raised a glass to Father. I've been down in his old workshop, which still has a lot of his stuff... & himself in it & raised another glass to him. I've poured a third for Ken & may have a fourth to introduce him to Father - I'm sure they'd have got along like a house on fire - yelling, screaming, destruction of property & the authorities being called to the scene famously... My kind of guys

Good News

Jun. 17th, 2017 08:23 am
waitingman: (Australia)
Unless you're a shareholder in a mining company...

Solar Power - The Coal Killer

Which puts Australia in an interesting position - as a nation that has relied heavily on what we rip out of the ground & export to the rest of the world, it means a big transition to whatever our next economic driver will be. But we also get a shipload of sunlight... all the time!!! At the very least, we should, with the rapidly improving technology, be able to power our own lights. And if we really are the 'Clever Country' we like to call ourselves, we should be at the forefront of that technology

After all, thanks to political short-sightedness over the last 20 years or so, one of Australia's most successful exports has been our scientists, who head overseas because of continual funding cuts to research institutions that don't serve the fossil fuel agenda, by governments in thrall to the money & influence of the big mining companies - who seem to think there's an inexhaustible amount of stuff we can dig up, while the sun just sits there... tanning the workers

Myself, I'll happily get a solar-powered/electrical car, just as soon as it sounds exactly like my beloved OBluV8 at full roar down the Hume Highway...
waitingman: (Orang-Utan)
Over Fitzroy Falls

Fitzroy Fallen

A good week at work, on the whole, though I'm feeling strangely uneasy... No real reason why, after all, I brought in over $30,000 worth of sales this week, but feel kind of joyless about it. Perhaps it's that we're in the 'limbo' stage of the proposed move to new, bigger, brighter premises - where we have to wait for other people to do their bits, after the frenetic rush we had to find the location, plan its acquisition, then plot the layout & look of the place, now we wait for solicitors, designers, builders, installers... strata title committees. All the mundane stuff that has to be done. Meanwhile at our original location, the relationship with the soon-to-be-former business partner continues to spiral generally downwards, but with some eccentric twists. A very strange man...

A quiet week on the home front - some catch-up dinners with family & friends, but life hasn't changed dramatically in the first week of Decade VI. Nor do I expect it to... That's usually when something happens


Jun. 7th, 2017 10:18 am
waitingman: (Happy Droopy)

To me...

Having finally managed to download some photos from last week's little roadtrip & run them through a new Photoshop program, here are two of them...


Rosella Reflection
waitingman: (David Bass)
... of my 5th decade

I'm not feeling old, not feeling nostalgic, not pining for younger days, nor wishing that I knew then what I know now... & all that sort of pointless what-iffery

But it has been an eventful decade in many ways... I had to consult my Journal from 2007 to see where I was at the time. Having got my bearings, here goes

10 Years In An Open-Necked Shirt )
waitingman: (Happy Droopy)

About a week's supply there, I'd say...

After three years of threatening, then about a month of real planning, my Long-Suffering Partner wrangled my slightly-early birthday party last night, at the wonderful (and wonderfully named) 'Friend In Hand' hotel. Speeches, embarrassing slide shows complete with naked baby photos, strictly amateur hour Karaoke & the realisation that, not only do I have a lot of wonderful friends, but that they come from such a wide variety of backgrounds, situations & histories. And somehow... they all mingled!! Having been to so many parties where the only people I knew were the host, or the person I arrived with, then spending a lot of time either on my own, or looking for a dog or cat to talk to, it was wonderful to see so many diverse conglomerates form & morph throughout the room & the night

Thanks to all of them for helping me grow old disgracefully!!
waitingman: (World Cow)
There's a reason for that... Apparently

Physics? Pah! Astronomy? Lies!! NASA? Global conspirators!!! Buzz Aldrin? A senile old grandpa!!! And Australia is the wrong shape on all the maps too...

Who could have guessed that Terry Pratchett would turn out to be the real doyen of Science Fiction. Arthur C. Clarke was just a crank

I eagerly await evidence proving that we move through space on the back of Great A'tuin the Space Turtle
waitingman: (Scream)
Today being my Saturday, I thought I'd download the photos from last week's 2 day roadtrip around the New South Wales south coast & Illawarra regions

So, plugged the camera in via USB as I've done for years &... nothing. The new PC doesn't recognise that anything is plugged in. A web search led me to get a downloadable upgrade package from Canon that should fix the problem. This downloaded as a .fir file, which my PC couldn't/wouldn't open. Another web search led me to about 7 useless sites that said I could use their product to open the file, but after many downloads, installations & attempts, none of them did. Tried WinZip... no joy. Yet another web search turned up no way of getting the files in an unzipped or different file format. FFS!! not another web search, yielded another possible product but my anti-virus software blocked it. Then another product that took 30 minutes to download to 99%, sat at that level for another 30 minutes before I uninstalled & tried again

In the meantime, I've washed up, cleaned the kitchen, dry-shampooed the living room carpet (don't ask!!), done a load of washing & hung it outside, swept the floors, taken out the rubbish & recycling... the usual domesticities

If I have to do another f@#king websearch...!!, found another site that looked promising. Download again took quite a while & once installed, it transpires that I need to register with the company in order to get a code for a trial version. By this stage, I'd give my hypothetical first-born to the first god that demanded it, so I'm now waiting for the code to arrive by e-mail

All this began at about 8am. It's now 4.30 in the afternoon & ask me how many photos I've downloaded today... Go on... ask!

How do I feel right now?


May. 28th, 2017 09:53 pm
waitingman: (Orang-Utan)
A new computer, a new Windows operating system... a lot of head-scratching & a little swearing about where all the buttons & icons I'm used to have gone & whatthehell are all these new ones?!

Still, at least it's safer than learning to drive a new car...

Changes are afoot at work, with a wedge having been driven between my Boss & his longtime 'friend' & partner, we need to be in new premises by the end of June. Eeep!!

We're inspecting a couple of locations tomorrow, neither of which tick every box for us, but do tick a couple of the important ones. Especially the one that's marked 'Better than using your car as an office'
waitingman: (David Bass)
People speak of the healing power of music... we need it now

I read this article in the Sydney Morning Herald today & I remember not just my first 'pop' concert. but all of them...

Don't you wish ISIS et al would just shake it off...

On a related note - No, the Australian Government won't make 'Hey Ya' the National Anthem
waitingman: (Scream)
Going back through my Journal entries for 2011, I found this one...

I tried to warn you... but you wouldn't listen. Does anyone??!!
waitingman: (Default)
Here's a thing...

A couple of weeks ago, I had an e-mail notification from LinkedIn - yes, some of us are actually on that thing, but that's another story... telling me that a former employer of mine had taken a look at my profile. For reasons which will become clearer, I was curious, so clicked on his page, which mentioned prominently that his company was looking for new staff

Some background: In early 2013, recently returned from an overseas holiday & unemployed, I landed a job with the flooring company headed by this guy & his brother. It was a family company - Dad still worked in one of the branches, having started the whole thing in the late 70s/early 80s, Mum still did whatever it was she did... mostly keeping Dad & the boys in line, I suspect, with a fair amount of book-keeping thrown in. Anyway, they had both a residential & commercial division & seemed to be doing well. I'd never sold flooring before, but was a quick learner & was soon doing okay... I thought. 18 months later, they closed my branch &, despite having previously been assured of another role within the company, I was out on my ear. Not happy, but at least I was soon snapped up by another flooring company & so on & tedious etcetera

Last year, while road-tripping in the USA desert, we got word that the company was "under administration", a polite way of saying they were circling the drain. Long-suffering Partner & I made some suitably pithy remarks about karma, then continued on our sandy way, not giving it much more thought

And that was that. I'd noticed, driving past their original Showroom in Sydney's affluent eastern suburbs, that a differently-named flooring concern now occupied the site, but still didn't think much about it. I also knew, via LinkedIn again, that their long-time main salesman had left them for a job in real estate. Care factor - not very much...

Until this past fortnight, when not only was my old boss cyber-stalking me, but then he called, wondering if I'd "like to have a chat". I was at work at the time, still somewhat surprised by all this, so agreed to meet in a few days - today. Given the way things turned out last time I worked with him I told my current Employer about the call & embellished it with a potted history similar to that above, albeit with some more colourful language. I stressed that I was perfectly happy where I am & had no intention of going back there, unless/even if they made the offer of the century

After today's meeting, I still feel pretty much the same way. He quickly explained away the financial difficulties of last year, blaming over-extension & some partner companies going under, leaving him holding a hot potato he couldn't trade his way out of. The family lost the commercial business, but managed to keep the residential side &, radically downsized, are concentrating on that. But his tone & pitch were still that of an ambitious man, looking to grow the business again as soon as possible, using words like "hungry", "driven", "focussed"... all of which are code words for 'Forget about your wife, your social life & evening meals - you will work for us now... all the time!!' & are, usually, my cue to thank someone for their time & GTFO of there. Combined with the monthly sales target figure he nominated... & the fact that, for the 90 minutes I was there, the phone only rang once & nobody came into the Showroom, it all adds up to a big, stressful pie in the sky, that would dance frustratingly out of reach every time I got close enough to even think about getting a slice of it

So, on the whole... No, I don't think so

I'm not sure I've really forgiven them for reneging on their promise to keep me on board after they shut down my showroom - even though, if they had, it would only have been a leap into another frying pan, relatively shortly before the whole thing tipped into the fire anyway... but it's the principle dammit!! That, & the fact that the years since then have been filled with a roller-coaster of unsatisfactory short-term roles... Even though that's not necessarily their fault, they precipitated the ensuing avalanche I still bear a lot of bruises from

As I said to my current employer, when telling him of all this - What kind of stupid rat swims towards a sinking ship??


waitingman: (Default)

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