Thursday, January 24, 2008

What kids say : Deadliest catch

I was watching Deadliest Catch on Discovery tonight with the youngest child. He was fascinated, Why are they standing on the crabs? What are they doing now? and on, and on, and on.

The highlight of the episode, if you can call it that, was when a man fell overboard from a ship visible to the " Time Bandit". We watched enthralled as Jonathon set the alarms off and manoeuvred his boat to rescue the victim. My little man wanted to know every thing that was going on, What were the alarms for? Why were they wearing the orange suits? What were they throwing overboard? Had they saved him?

Then they got the man aboard and stripped him off, Is he cold? Why are they taking his clothes off? I explained all this to him, ( all the while very thankful that they had saved him!)

My little man considered this all for a while and then as the rescued man thanked the men who had saved his life asked me, " So, what do they do now? Throw him back?"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lucrezia....what a bird

I was trawling through Helium other day in search of inspiration when I came across the title Biography: Lucrezia Borgia . Ooh I thought I remember her, bit of a tart, Italian, brother bit of a bugger. I recalled reading a book called "Light on Lucrezia" and had a look on a few sites .

The Women's lib movement should adopt her. it seems likely she was the victim of incest, she was definitely "sold off" in marriage, at thirteen. She was divorced, though I think she enjoyed that part, then sold off again,widowed definitely against her will and the remarried off. She then died giving birth to her eighth child. And through all this she maintained her duties as a duchess , and at one point as pope, and did them well.

Does Oprah know about her? What a role model.

Click on the post header for more info on Lucrezia's life.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Computer help lines....paaahhh!!!

Recently my modem has been going slower and slower, my theory is that the hamster inside has died, but Homer says " No, We have the latest cutting edge, for North Queensland, technology. Me big hunter me will fix."

Uh hu...I go to work, come home, go to bed, go to work...and all the time he is huddled in front of the computer, fixing it. Having fixed and fiddled with everything he can he is reduced to phoning the telephone provider.... " Nah mate snot the line", the Internet provider, " Nah mate have you rung the phone company? " and finally our service provider.

"Well", says the obviously 15 year old spotty youth at the other end of the phone line, reading I would think from some sort of how to help flow chart guide ," is the computer turned on?" There was small pause here while Homer explained that, yes it was turned on. ( I can't laugh too loud I have been asked this question about an appliance that wasn't turned on...I was very embarrassed.) yes, the modem is plugged in, yes, the phone bill has been paid and no he hasn't stopped the account.

"Right", says aforementioned spotty youth, "is the modem showing signs of scorching or melting?" What???? I think we would have noticed if it was on fire. "OK", says youth, "what error message can you see?"......Homer reads out message. Spotty youth hasn't come across this message before so there's a rustling as he goes to find his supervisor ( phone a friend? if he has one? ). Spotty youth returns and no he hasn't seen message before. Homer then explains that he has searched the message on the Internet and found a fix, he needs to uninstall the modem. The modem however has other ideas, and has spread like a virus through every computer system and when he tries to uninstall it he gets the error message " F********F".

"Oh" says spotty youth "I've never seen that before." Me neither says Homer, I was hoping the help desk would be able to help me. Silence. Silence continues, we think spotty youth is holding his breath and pretending line has gone dead.
Oh well says Homer and hangs up.

He then spends three hours painstakingly going through every file on the computer uninstalling the modem.
Now we need a new modem. We ring the electronics shop where some one tells us a new modem, the same as the one we have, will be $99. OK? Homer mentions that last time we got a kit for $50 with the modem in it. Yes, says voice we have those, and the modem in the kit is better. DUH! OK, we'll be down for one of those then.

Half an hour later at the shop a spotty youth says, no they don't have the kits , well they've got a disk but no modem. I ask suspiciously if he works for any help lines. Homer puts his hand over my mouth and explains that we rang earlier and they had a modem then. Spotty youth says it must have been much earlier, like last week man, and they've sold it. Homer very calmly, I thought, says no, we rang HALF AN HOUR AGO. Spotty youth scurries out the back and returns with modem.

Modem now installed and working. Hence new post.May all spotty youths have their spots explode. Peace!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Government torture

Today I had to renew my driving licence. All I have to do , apparently, is turn up with my old licence and $65 at the licencing centre. Uh hu...I took a packed lunch.

On entering the doors there was a big crowd of people aimlessly milling about, having pushed my way through them, excuse me, excuse me, ooh sorry didn't mean to poke you there, sorry , whoops, excuse me.....FOR G****DS SAKE DON'T STAND IN THE DOORWAY LIKE A BUNCH OF CHICKENS WATCHING THE RAIN FROM THE HEN HOUSE!!!!! sorry, excuse me...I was popped out the other side like cork from a bottle to be faced with a fluorescent yellow line with arrows on it. ah ha I have to follow this. I follow it to the big machine with take a ticket in neon foot high letters above it, all surmounted by a flashing orange light. I kid you not, the machine would have doubled as a lighthouse off the isles of Scilly.

A smaller sign at the bottom informed me that tickets would not be seen in numerical order...uh? I was pondering this when I got squashed by the crowd of people behind me who had not seen the fluorescent yellow walkway on the floor and the big orange flashing light. Ducking quickly to one side I look for a seat in the waiting room. Okay, every person in my town needs a new licence today, they're all here, and all spaced out alternately up the rows of seats. You know, you sit on the seat, put your bag on the next one, then someone sits on the next one and puts their bag on the next one etc. etc.

I found a seat but discovered it was free because the person one seat away was trying to drink a can of coke through a pin hole, with no teeth but with sound effects, and the lady behind me had had to bring all twenty-six of her children, all in various stages of undress and snottiness. I know I thought, I'll get a book out. No that's not a viable option, remember, tickets are not seen in numerical order. You have to watch the display. There is a tannoy sytem but as far as I can tell the tannoy is shouting different numbers to the one the display is showing.

Every time a new number pops up there's a stir of anticipation in the crowd, could it be me? And then a collective sigh of not yet. Sometimes a number is displayed three times, and no one gets up, the crowd whispers, should we say , or just hope the next randomly generated number is for me. The crowd grows restless, the man at window three has been there for an hour, and he's been outside twice to fetch more paperwork. Make him get a new number we whisper.

Finally, just as the overall air of despair was starting to get to me my number came up. I jumped to the window, nearly gave the trainee behind the desk a heart attack........oh noooooooo a trainee! Nothing ventured nothing gained, I produce my old licence, my money and the filled out form. It all goes very quickly, she is efficient, she is on the ball, all is well in my world. I go for my new photo. I have to have new one as I'm getting a five year licence and that means I won't have had a new photo or ten years. It is on the tip of my tongue to tell her I've been in the waiting room for ten years but I button it.

Oh by the way I remark, can you change this typo on my name? The last time it was renewed the woman behind the counter had transposed two letters and wouldn't correct them. Could she? I'd found out it was illegal you see, to have the wrong name on there. Well, no she couldn't, not without my birth certificate, marriage certificate, and as they aren't Australian documents, my passport as long as its valid and a personal letter of recommendation from Edna Everidge, Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue. Oh , I'll live with the name change then.

She very nicely took two photos though so she could pick the best. Then I had to go to another part of the room to wait for my licence. There was a crowd of us, barely containing our excitement, we were nearly out of there!! The tannoy was in operation though, we had to guess the name. We came up with a group system, we'd have a guess at the name and some-one who seemed like the right sex would go to the window. Then when they came back we looked at the picture and tried to guess whose licence it was. I got a nice new licence, but I'm not sure its my photo?

On the way home it suddenly struck me, I can never get a passport, because I need my driving licence for my passport for ID, and I can't change my driving licence because I have no passport. So that is how they're keeping the population up in Australia, you can get in , but not out.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unexpected hazards in the workplace

Those of you who know where I live will know that I regularly undergo trials just to get to work. This is a modern country, or so they tell us. ( When I find out who they is I may be forced to give them a piece of my mind.)

This week there have been floods, no they don't know how to camber a road here. Actually they don't know how to build a road. That's why everyone drives four wheel drives. To get through pot holes, floods, over ditches , around mud slides and through jungles, ( and thats the 100km speed limit areas). We are very good at tipping millions of gallons of water into storm drains and then then the sea though, reservoirs..they're for cissies.

Now the floods brought the next hazard.....power cuts. So no computers, tills, or lights. The final straw was the loss of air conditioning. Hellooooo......we can work with candles, abacuses and pencils in the dark but we are not going to sweat!

The most interesting ( interesting?) experience though was the snake. I work in a health centre and we were thinking that the patients were looking at little more frail than usual, and moving a little faster. Then one told us there was a whopping greatsnake just outside the door. Well we all had to go have a look ...all thinking whopping great, yeah right, or whopping great, that'll just be a python then. Mmm further inspection showed a brown coloured snake about a metre long. For those not in the know, it is drummed into us all year...if its brown run away fast...very fast. See that speck on the horizon , thats the local snake handler, try to keep up.

It's amazing the patients were all running in though, and then standing about discussing loudly about how it shouldn't be allowed. Too right it shouldn't. They should all get out so we can shut. Anyway we rang the council, for the number of a snake handler, the guy laughed. He could hear all the women in the background and thought it was hysterical, but he gave us the numbers of about six handlers, they were all out. Or suffering from exhaustion, it's a big problem this time of year. We rang the police, they laughed, and no they weren't coming, didn't we know if it was a brown coloured snake we should keep away. But they gave us some more phone numbers. Of the ones that were different one was 20km away, and fighting a python, one would come after work, in six hours time and one was exhausted and wouldn't have answered if he knew what we wanted.

The crowd inside was gathering. We rang the zoo. They'd got problems enough they said, what with the crocodile pens flooding and washing the crocodiles into the kangaroo pens. We rang the vet, they thought it terrible and shouldn't be allowed but no, they couldn't help. They did have the number of another snake handler though.

My boss by now had shown up to save the day, armed with an icing spatula, yes an icing spatula, for icing cakes. It think he was going to decorate it to death. By this time the snake was a bit worried and the arrival of my boss scared it inside the door. Yep, inside the frame of the door.

Cue snake handler. He said no he wasn't going to put his hand in there. ( Can't say as I blamed him) . Was the snake brown...yes....with a cream he definitely wasn't putting his hand in there. He sat around, filled the frame with water, which didn't budge the snake. Then went home.

Our solution. Leave the air conditioning on full all night, making outside definitely nicer than inside for the snake and the first person into work today to be very careful. Guess who the first person in today was. Me. I felt like Indiana Jones. When I opened the door would a snake drop on my head? Could I lift a paper bag up? I survived the day and assume the snake had in fact buggered off. Or died of drowning and was going to add a new hazard to work, a bloody awful smell.

Friday, January 4, 2008

X boxes, play stations and all that

I got quite worried earlier on today. Happy ran to me in the front room to tell me he'd just killed A-hole. A-hole? A-hole? What the heck............. Uh, whose that I asked , crossing my fingers it wasn't the kid from next door who'll I'll admit is a bit of an A-hole. In the stone temple with the shady warrior. The shady warrior, what shady warrior?.......Conan in child molester glasses? Arnie with a drug habit? Stone temple, what the hell have they done to the garden now. Any way, I braced myself and followed him to the back room where the X box is. All was revealed, the shadow warrior and, I think Aeon. Sigh of release from me and a quick hug for Happy.

It got me thinking, that's why Grumpy thinks he can drive, and why Psycho thinks he's going off planet soon. (Psycho hasn't been on planet since he was born). I'm going to have to pay more attention to the games I buy.

Dopey is talking to me, its nine days since Christmas and she just got off the phone. I think her mate had died of dehydration or something. She said, " Why's there nothing to eat in the fridge?" This is the fridge still full of Ham from new year, sliced ham, ham rissoles, ham pie, ham rolls, ham on a stick, ham curry, ham trifle ( I was running out ideas all right?) Whats up... don't you like ham? Whoops, she's not talking to me again. ha ha

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Face book and everything

Just last week I joined face book, I can't get the hang of it at all. Not a bit. I keep sending messages to strangers, one in particular who must think I'm cyber stalking him. I sent the same message to him 12 times yesterday, actually the same 2 messages 12 times. First I'd send him a message , then I'd realise my mistake , and then I'd send another one that said
"sorry, not got the hang of this yet".

Then I repeated the whole sorry process. Eleven more times. At one point he replied to me " No Shit Sherlock" . That made me think I might quite like him actually, but it was too late, I knew I'd irritated him past the point of no return.

I did manage to get my profile page up, but by the time I'd uploaded 3 pictures of a tree and one of a complete stranger in Ulaanbatar to my profile it was time to call it quits. Come to think of it maybe that was who I was sending messages to. In the end I gave up trying to send the message by closing the window, I hope the site logs off..........(clicking mouse noises while I check)...yes it seems to be gone. I wonder if I've been reported? mmmm how would I find out? I think I'll just leave the whole sorry mess alone for a few days and then try again.

It was my DCS that got me to join, she's not Internet illiterate like me. " Go on, it'll be much cheaper than phone calls, and easier with the time difference and everything" Easy for her to say, if I carry on like that I'll get some sort of global ban or black mark or something. Or maybe a visit from a stranger from Outer Mongolia.

I'm having much more luck with the helium thing, that's just writing articles.....just! It was very traumatic being trapped in face book for the afternoon. I almost, but not quite, volunteered to take Grumpy driving. I won't be press ganged into that for a few more days yet though. He's off to Townsville with the Troll and her dad. I asked him what was there then, I dunno...standard teen answer.... it's his birthday today, maybe him and the Troll are going to get more piercings.

note to self, remember to embarrass him horribly by asking about peeing with a Prince Albert when he comes home....well who else am I going to ask, I don't know anyone else with one.