March 29, 2005

Horse 322 - Welcome To His Life

Do you ever feel like breaking down? Not really, my Ka is quite reliable.
Do you ever feel out of place? Quite often, but that's a result of fielding backward of square
Like somehow you just don't belong, And no one understands you- well no-one ever does anyway, so that's normal
Do you ever wanna runaway? I have done, and especially overseas.
Do you lock yourself in your room? I don't have a lock on the door.
With the radio on turned up so loud, That no one hears you screaming - That's just not an appropriate response to anything

No you don't know what it's like, When nothing feels all right - um, yes I do. You have no right to make that judgement.
You don't know what it's like, To be like me - well no I don't, but this is a phenomenon called cosmic loneliness.

To be hurt - yes I do
To feel lost - yes I do
To be left out in the dark - and without keys
To be kicked when you're down - yes
To feel like you've been pushed around - yes
To be on the edge of breaking down, And no one's there to save you - except the NRMA. That's what the hard shoulder is for.
No you don't know what it's like, Welcome to my life - If I don't know what it's like, then why are you welcoming me to it? It sounds pretty crap.

Do you wanna be somebody else? Yes, I'd like to be Kimi Raikkonen
Are you sick of feeling so left out? Yes, so? You already told me that I don't know what it's like, so even you don't care about the answer.
Are you desperate to find something more before your life is over? Not incredibly, I have all that's sufficient.
Are you stuck inside a world you hate? Of course, this world is broken.
Are you sick of everyone around? Only just Camry drivers and surly McDonald's employees
With their big fake smiles and stupid lies, While deep inside you're bleeding - Oh dear, I should go to the hospital and get the internal bleeding looked at. Thanks for the warning.

No you don't know what it's like, When nothing feels all right - ok probably not on reflection but given that I'm suffering internal bleeding then there's obviously more important things to worry about.
You don't know what it's like, To be like me - you don't have internal injuries

To be hurt - obviously
To feel lost - yes
To be left out in the dark - it's even worse with hospital waiting lists
To be kicked when you're down - you just don't have any sympathy do you?
To feel like you've been pushed around - it's worse now
To be on the edge of breaking down, And no one's there to save you - there is always the MTAA's roadside assistance
No you don't know what it's like, Welcome to my life - I don't want to be welcomed to yours, don't you listen?

No one ever lied straight to your face - who are you to say that? You just have.
No one ever stabbed you in the back - I'm guessing someone must have, that would explain the injuries
You might think I'm happy but I'm not gonna be okay - hey I'm the one bleeding over here, call me an ambulance you idiot!
Everybody always gave you what you wanted - except an ambulance
Never had to work it was always there - To him who does not work, let him not eat
You don't know what it's like, what it's like - with all due respect sir...

To be hurt - er...
To feel lost - well I am now
To be left out in the dark - Mr Carr should be doing something about this
To be kicked when you're down - boot bash!
To feel like you've been pushed around - or stabbed in the back apparantly
To be on the edge of breaking down, And no one's there to save you - the NRMA has links with both the RACV and the RACQ
No you don't know what it's like (what it's like) - no, but I've suffered far worse. LIKE INTERNAL BLEEDING

To be hurt - and you still haven't called an ambulance
To feel lost - for words? You're an uncaring so-and-so
To be left out in the dark - so we should improve motorway lighting?
To be kicked when you're down - it seems that we have a crime problem too
To feel like you've been pushed around - stop the violence!
To be on the edge of breaking down, And no one's there to save you - there are also ties with Green Flag and the RAC in the UK with links throughout Europe

No you don't know what it's like - and I don't care now
Welcome to my life - please return all tray tables to the locked position
Welcome to my life - and all seats to the upright
Welcome to my life - and thank you for flying whingy fake-punk airlines

I'm still bleeding internally!

March 24, 2005

Horse 321 - Spaghetti Junction 3

This is the last Horse in this short series about what I think should happen to the Motorways in Sydney. Apart from their very existance which I think in some cases I think is vastly unjustified (like the M7 that goes nowhere, or the M2 that really should have been a railway line) the road system is generally quite confusing.

The photo above shows just how useful Junction numbers can be. This was at roughly 7pm on a Thursday. I had gotten off of the plane and had to be in Cardiff in time to see a football match. Even in a brain-dead jet lagged state, I still knew that I had to get off at Junction 29. With no regard for the name of the roads or even where I was going, I drove along the M4 counting off 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29, before getting onto the A road and driving into town.

A48 was funnily enough the 8th A road that came off the motorway. Even at night, these handy little flashy lights tell you where you need to be. Even in bi-lingual Wales were Cardiff and Caerdydd are actually the same place, it could be confusing to come across signs that say Araf and Y Bala if you didn't know what was going on, but because it's all numbered, it doesn't matter.

That's what this is about, helping people find stuff.

March 23, 2005

Horse 320 - Spaghetti Junction 2

To explain the following picture you'll need some info:

M - Motorway: Grade separated intersections and a divided carriageway. No traffic lights except for on the slip roads.
A - A Road: Principle main routes. Usually divided carriageways though in built up areas the median strip is likely to be only a concrete kerb.
B - B Road: Local trunk roads. Generally the lowest class of road to commonly bear traffic lights.
C - C Road: Usually only applied to long rural roads of import but less than a B.

Having been to Britain and driven the roads for myself, I can vouch for the sheer logic of numbering roads. I note that the photos for the Cross City tunnel printed in the SMH (who don't let me show them) already bear the designation M1 and I hope that we follow Victoria and Britain on this as it makes quite a lot of sense.

The main roads are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. M designations should only be afforded to those sections that have full motorway status and conditions. M3, M6, M9 and M10 in Sydney are not Motorways and as such do not deserve M. To wit:M2 runs from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, up the Warringah Expressway, through the soon to be built tunnel and onto the Hills Motorway. From Old Windsor Rd it would cease to be the M2 and become the A2 from that point onwards. Thus M10 which is a series of roads up past the northern beaches would be in reality A10.

The next series of numbers are all of the spur roads. These are numbered off via as follows:

1. The first spur off of the M1 (or A1 if not a motorway) is called the A11. The second is called the A12 etc.
2. Connecting roads are given connecting numbers. Thus James Ruse Drive which currently connects M4 to M7 can also be given A47 of A74 depending on what's been used.
3. Spurs off of spurs are also numbered off. Kissing Point Rd which leaves the A47 would become the A471.
4. B Roads are 4 digits. Because there are so many of these it makes no sense at the outset to render something as B42. Hassal St, Parramatta is the first B road to leave the A47. Thus it would become the B4701. C Roads are in effect the same as B Roads but due to the roads' conditions, C is more of a warning than a road location indicator.

In the UK all Motorway and some A Road junctions are numbered. This is especially useful if you happen to be looking for your turnoff as you simply count the numbers off - finding Junction 18 on the M1 North (to Newcastle) would be simpler than remembering the road sequences and names beforehand. I can see no reason why similar should not be done here.

On the M4 Concord Rd is the first Junction (Well Actually J1a since it's virtually the same junction as the end of the motorway) so would be called Junction 1. The A3 (Homebush Bay Drive) is the next one so would be Junction 2 etc. By bizarre fluke, M4 meets M7 at Junction 10 which is also the 10th Junction from the intersection with the M2 (which seeing as that's the start point would be Junction 1)
These would be denoted by a black square in the bottom right of all info signs. Or with mile listings, every Junction is listed. If I'm heading eastbound on the M4 of a morning and I hear that traffic is backed up from Junctions 6 to 11, I know that if I get off at 12 I can avoid them rather than joining the end of the queue (That's Church St, Parra - Roper Rd, St Mary's - which in the mornings is usual).

The system has been working in Britain since the 30's (before the inception of motorways), in Victoria since the late 80's and throughout Europe since the 70's. Why is NSW so slow on the uptake of such an obvious system?

March 22, 2005

Horse 319 - Spaghetti Junction 1

I read the Prawn's blog this morning and looked at the links for Sydney's new orbital, the massive contruction works and then looked at the details for the cross city tunnel.
Allow me to tell my own story with the aid of this picture:

This is Junction 6 of the M6 near Birmingham, officially known as either Junction 6 or even the Gravelly Hill Motorway Interchange in the planning documents but everyone calls this beastie Spaghetti Junction. I suspect that the Sydney M7 Junction with the M4 will be very big put still puny in comparison with this one.

It connects Britain's second most trafficked road (after the M1) with the A38 (Aston Expressway) and the B4139. Also in the mix are several on and off ramps from minor roads, a canal and a railway line. At nearly 2 miles long it's roughly 7 times as long as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The area of this one junction is bigger than the on-ramps on the Sydney Harbour Bridge by nearly a factor of 12. That "little" road that continues from the bottom to the middle left of the picture is in fact the M6 itself with 6 lanes in each direction. In other words, this aint some pathetic tin-pot fly-over.

It does have one drawback, being the biggest road junction in the world it also possesses one of the biggest traffic snarls as well. I accidentally had the misfortune of driving into it on a Friday afternoon at 5:30pm. Suffice to say that the jam was so bad that obviously the regulars knew about this and some got out of their cars; one lady in particular (and it's perhaps an indictment upon me that I should notice this) clad in slightly less than we would consider normal for 20 degrees Celsius (though in the UK it's a barmy summer's day) was fawned out upon the bonnet of her Ford Orion, trying to get some rays from the afternoon sun. J6 is by all accounts a very good place to learn about one aspect of heaven... eternity becomes more than just a sign on a bridge. You can wait for hours here.

The other thing is that such a large thing expands and contracts in the heat, it makes it very interesting to hear a motorway junction creak. Also being a high wind area, cars get blown about as if they were nine-pins.

March 21, 2005

Horse 318 - The Worst Drivers by Marque

Precisely one month ago my boss made the comment that "Camry drivers are the worst". This is somewhat odd as he himself drives that most dreaded of vehicles, a Volvo. So then rather than let the myths perpetuate I conducted a rather inexact survey from 20 Feb to 20 Mar to see which Marque truly has the worst drivers. The results may shock you.

Here is the list for total acts of numptiness, arrogance and stupidity I encountered for those 4 weeks:

Toyota 38
Holden 9
Ford 9
Mercedes Benz 8
Hyundai 7
Kia 5
Renault 1
Volvo 1
Nissan 1

Me? 12.
Total 98

In 28 days I found that it's likely that you'll come across or be the cause of 3.5 acts of bad driving in a day, ranging from being cut-off, failure to indicate, tailgating, barging into people's braking zones etc.I think due to the fact that I was aware of other people's mistakes, I also had a heightened sense of my own including 7 acts of turning against a "No Right Turn" sign (actually I do this every day at Pendle Hill it's just that most of the time it's outside the hours).

The Toyota question came up - why are they so vastly over represented? The reason for this is three fold.

1. Toyota as a marque have more makes than any other. As far as I know, they are the only marque represented in all classes of car. This includes Echo to Camry and even their small trucks.
2. Some of it must be put down to the demographics of where I drive. On the Lower North Shore you're likely to find that every third vehicle is a Land Cruiser (note that these are immaculate and usually only used to drive children to school in), but in Chatswood, Camrys are the chosen vehicle.
3. Also some of it must be put down to the character of the driver for this I also choose 3 dot points:
3a) Arrogance - This occurs mainly on the North Shore and in 4WD's. These people know that they have a larger vehicle and will tend to deliberately intimidate other drivers more.
3b) Ignorance - Camry and Corolla drivers are on the whole blissfully unaware of any car around them. Camrys are the classic lane wanderers and Corolla drivers will tend to be younger and consequently be on their mobile phone more and/or indicate less.
3c) Belligerence - More common in Sydney's west and espescially likely in older Corollas with wacky paint schemes, mag wheels and doof-doof. These drivers own all the road including the bit you happen to be on, they will race everyone and cut-off and chop at in excess of 20km/h over the speed limit.

Interestingly of the 38 Toyotas there were no Celicas or Supras which indicates to me that the people who in theory have a car in which they can more agressively drive simply do not do so, at least not in peak hours.

So then Volvo's crown is well and truly unfounded for it is Toyota drivers who in my sample are the worst of all.

March 18, 2005

Horse 315 - I Like...

I like confusing people by having the numbers of Horse out of order.

The Sound of Music may have had a list of favourite things, this isn't that. This is a list of stuff I like...

I like having a book that I can read again and again and still learn stuff out it.
I like the word truncated because it isn't; I like the words abbreviated and dyslexia for the same reason.
I like catalogues and shifting spanners.
I like sleet and cold driving winds biting into the poorly clad flesh of protest marchers.
I like being in the coalition of the willing. I like thrusting democracy on unsuspecting victims. Take Iraq... Please.
I like the way the rich and stupid are no longer excluded from universities.
I like the fact I can’t remember anyone who appeared on Big Brother 2 or 3.
I like the fact that I don’t know the name of the Leader of the Democrats either.
I like the fact that I don't know who is on X Factor.
I like the way justice has been taken out of the courts and has been put onto the airwaves.
I like truth, and the way the government still uses it occasionally to keep us guessing.
I like our Medicare system. No really I do.
I like that kids still look up to their country’s leaders as role models. My young neighbour hid my keys in the front garden and lied about it the other day. When I challenged her she said it was irrelevant.
I like H.M The Queen.
I like being burnt to a crisp by the sun and then freezing to death in the same day.
I like paying a fortune in tax and then wondering why my taxes aren't being used to fund services.
I like football and ragging non-football.
I like candlelit dinners.
I like it when the candle falls over, singeing the tablecloth.
I like small children and their capacity for mayhem, mischief, destruction and pure joy.
I like being next in a queue.
I like staring at people with an evil grin so they suspect something.
I like stories with surreal plots that start in the middle and finish in Tenterfield.
I like Tenterfield.
I like Tents.
I like burning stuff.
I like the concept of a sport that lasts five days and still achieves no result.
I like cinnamon flavoured stoats.
I like people who are serious enough to work hard and seriously twisted enough to take the mick out of themselves.
I like the ABC and I vote.
I like Fender Stratocasters.
I like my little Ford Ka (it's a cutie).
I like being aware that I'm sleeping in.
I like chunky bits in corn.
I like the fact that when you vomit, there's always bits of carrot in there whether or not you've actually eaten any. I reckon there's this guy who goes around chopping up bits of carrot simply so he can do this.
I like L4 OTH
I like how Astroboy didn't fight for truth and justice but for peace and equality.
I like how Astrologers actually think they can predict the future by looking at a bunch of stars - silly idiots.
I like the Numa Numa dance.
I like Frogurt
I like the company of affable ladies and fiducious gentlemen.
I like expecting the worst and then being pleasantly surprised.
I like working hard.
I like compiling stupid lists.

...but I don't like man-eating zombies with PhD's in Retro-Neurology getting onto the board of multi-national textile companies then claiming millions in Worker's Compensation before moving to Aruba to start a hybrid silk-worm/wind farm and setting up experiments on invisible extra-terrestrial beings with skin cancer and eating disorders.
I can deal with it though.

March 17, 2005

Horse 317 - IRA St Patrick's Day

(Horse 3/17 - 317 - there's a coincedence)

I am A Terrorist

...and I'd like to visit your country for the purpose of raising funds from fanatical supporters who will never be affected directly by my actions. I would estimate that you could give me around $1,500,000 a year, though what I will spend this on is none of your business.I'd also like to have audiences with highly promenant political leaders from your country, especially your country's leader, who have all agreed to talk to me and in fact welcomed me with open arms, over the last ten years.
Of course, I'm not actually a terrorist, I've never been convicted of acts of terrorism. I'm just the leader of the terrorist organisations political wing.

My reasoning for posting this one is my constant dis-belief at the USA welcoming Gerry Adams into their country with open arms, as well as giving a terrorist organisation US$15,000,000 over the last ten years. I wonder what their reaction would be if we invited Al-Qaeda into Australia, held parties and gave them money?

If the Northern bank robbery was linked to Sinn Fein then I would hope the Criminal Assets Bureau would seize their assets and force them to account for each £stg and Euro but of couse we all know that this will never happen. All this violence and destruction of property. Is this what we think of when we think of the Irish? Well yes and especially today, St.Patrick's Day, as the leader of Sinn Fein meets with the President of the USA.

So much for the so-called "War on Terror"

Horse 316 - Australian Idle

This is taken from a conversation that I had tonight (well yesterday as it's like really early now).

Isn't this song really good?
Let me hear a bit of it and I'll tell you
I haven't heard this before
Have a listen for a bit
What do you think?
I think it's kinda crap actually
You're only saying that because she's fat
I don't even know who the heck this is!
It's Casey Donovan
The winner of Australian Idol?
Yeah her, uh. I never watched the show
Don't you think you're being rude?
No. I never saw the show, had no idea who it was until you told me and I still thought that it sucked.

The song in question was Casey Donovan's "What's Going On" which had acheived the notable feat of getting airplay on at stupid o'clock on the radio. In Horse 300 I alluded to poor CD sales being linked to the fact that CD singles are being run for fewer weeks than previous, so that record companies can shift more units. I think that this single is a case which warrants futher investigation.

ARIA accused lower than expected sales of the first single (I don't know what it's called - or rather I don't care) on illegal downloads over file-sharing networks. I think after hearing the second single that there is in fact are far more obvious reason and that is that the record is genuinely poo.

I in theory am/are the prime target for record companies to be selling records to, I have a reasonably disposable income and travel in the car quite a lot. Therefore I should have a high exposure to whatever the record companies want to sell. However, what the record companies seem to have forgotten is that the radio is the prime media for their product to be exposed. If the music they want to sell isn't something I want to buy, then no transaction will take place.

I suppose that there is some degree of moral indignency about the winner of Australian Idol (and let's be fair about this, if the winner doesn't shift sales then the talent in general must have been poor) being voted by the public and then bombing in the sales charts. I still think that my reaction is typical, and that I'm hardly under any obligation to part with my money.

And no I don't think I'm being visually discriminating, it was on the radio and yes it was crap.

March 15, 2005

Horse 314 - Doing The iPod Shuffle

This has to be a record in late replies. The Prawn gave us this little doozie on 14th Jan, and I finally reply on the 15th of March. I must admit my iPod was frazzled and had to be taken back to Apple but they were nice enough to me and in the end I upgraded from 20GB to 40GB for very little cost so that was "a good thing". I had to wait until I scored a new iPod and ripped all and sundry back. So...

Here's how it works:
1. Open up the music player on your computer (or your iPod, possibly).
2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
3. Hit the "shuffle" command.
4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing.

So, without further adieu...

1. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
This came off one of the very last 7" records in print before they went to cassingles. This has one of the very cool looking K-Tel labels on as well.

2. Big Monster, Little Monster - Regurgitator
I think this came as a B-Side to Happiness by the Gurge. It's certainly one of the more bizarre tracks in my collection.

3. One Million Watts of Music Power - Radio 1 Promo
A feature of my music collection is the incredibly large number of less than 5 second tracks. Most are either adverts or like this, station ident promos. Interestingly I think I have every promo for Radio 1 (of the BBC) going back to its inception in 1967. This is so early 90's though.

4. Not Like The Other Girls - The Rasmus
The Rasmus' big hit In the Shadows came to Australian airwaves some 19 weeks after it went big in the UK. I'd already bought the album by the time it was here. This song is one of those song that sounds "helpless", it has big rocky minor chords which sounds different.

5. Born On A Different Cloud - Oasis
Liam Gallagher at his Mancunian whiny best. Of all the tracks I have, Oasis is the best represented with 109 being 112% of all trcaks they have released. This includes unrealeased tracks and 8 track demos that somehow leaked out.

6. St. Jimmy - Green Day
When Green Day recorded American Idiot few would have thought that it would have worked as well as it did. I say that this is mainly due to the dross in the music industry at the moment. Given this, when actual musicians make music (Interesting concept) they will usually do very well.

7. Powerpuff Girls - TV Theme
Unlike Avril's attempt on Spongebob Squarepants, The Powerpuff Girls theme is a rocky thing on it's own. The nearest equivalent I can think of is Wanna Rock You by Babamania which incedentally appeared on the FIFA 2004 soundtrack.

8. The UK's Finest - Radio 1 Promo
This is a late 90's BBC promo when electric noises and industrial effects were popular thanks to the influence of DJ Pete Tong. I also note that the 97-99FM tag is dropped in favour of FM, Digital and Online which is an indication that even in the late 90's, radio transmission in the UK was changing and also of how far behind we are in Australia.

9. 275 & 285 - Jock Swan & The Metres
Another BBC contraption. This one is the song for the official changeover from 247 to 275 & 285 meters wavelength (or if you wish from 1214kHz to 1089 & 1053kHz AM. This puts it as November 1978, and again Australia was flagging behind as MMM, JJJ and 2-Day FM didn't start until 1980.

10. What I Am - Emma Bunton
Or should that be Tin Tin Out. Triple M have been playing Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians' version of late and poor Miss Edie just sounds like she's constipated or something, I don't know really. Emma on the other hand makes this sound like a throwaway summery-pop record - and better.

... these be they. Here be Dragons. Send me the money for the concept via the wire to my Swiss bank account, no really, please do.

March 14, 2005

Horse 313 - The Worst Band in the World

I am currently looking for band members for what I think is the next big wave in music, I intend to create a band with the sole aim of being "The Worst Band in The World". Let's face it, shows like Pop Idol, The X-Factor etc are based on the premise of letting talentless individuals disgrace themselves in front of national audiences. I say that the pretence of looking for actual talent be dropped. I guess I'm advocating a sort of anti-art.

The method of going about this is dead simple:

1. No Rehearsals
Every performance, every cut, every take will be the first one. There is to be no practise at all. All performances should be a dry run to ensure maximum rawness.

2. Writing New Songs
Simply doing a cover version implies that the band at least has had a chance to learn the words. We can't have that under any circumstances. If this means simply giving the band a title before they perform their new hit, then so be it.

3. No learning how to play
I don't want anyone who has a clue how to play their instruments be given the opportunity to do so. In fact like Pop Idol I would have a voting off process, namely anyone who even begins to show promise must be replaced by a worse person. The people who operate the mixing desk should be given free reign through incompotence or deliberance to make the sound even worse; introducing feedback whereever possible.

4. Stupid Name
Not only will the premise of the band be utterly bad, wrong and horrible but the name should reflect this as well. After a brief think, I've come to the conclusion that the name of the band should be on a rolling basis. I picked some words at random and came up with the following: Carbonated, Octogon, Swirling, Blue, Cardboard, Air, Twelve.
Thus the band would be called Air Twelve and then Twelve Carbonated, then Carbonated Octogon etc. This has the added advantage of confusing venue owners who if they'd heard the name of the band may not give it a go on stage.

Hopefully my new band would get a record deal worth tens, even hundreds of cents. Of course with me being their Svengali like manager, then they'd better not dream of greatness. They are...

The Worst Band in The World!

March 12, 2005

Horse 312 - GT4

GT4 came out on Friday and already I have myself a copy. I will have but one aim in this game; that is to get this car. Out of 700 cars, the Ka by far and a way has to be about the coolest and funkiest thing in there.
Already Thommo and Gorf have told me about this and their quest to get this in the game. This shall too be my quest but with one major difference... I already own one in real life.

How can you possibly go past this thing? I saw it at a motor show once and made the remark that "one day, oh yes, it will be mine. It will be mine." There aren't a lot of people I bet who can say that they've bought a car based on what they saw at a motor show. Maybe once my video-game-addicted compatriates use this car for a bit then they too shall see what I already know. has a list with links and photos to quite a number of the cars in this game. I think there'd be literally far too many to ever drive and see in this game, but at least they have the funkiest little car in the world, and that's all that matters.

March 10, 2005

Horse 311 - Don't Believe The Truth

Here's little old me all excited as I've just forked over £15 for things I'm not going to get for 2 months.

Oasis have announced their new album Don't Believe The Truth will now be released of May 30 however, the May 16 date will now be the release of the first single from the album. Secrecy abounds on Lyla as we all remember the leaks that happened on the last one.

On top of this, every ticket on the North American tour has been sold - The Madison Square Garden tickets for June 22 sold within an hour. When they do return to the UK, the tour is likely to be extended as Newcastle has just been added to the list. Their touring partners Jet are likely to make the jaunt across the pond at this stage, and I for one will seriously be looking at going to Manchester in September.

What's as yet uncertain is whether they'll be touring with Rammstein in the UK as both bands will be at the Hurricane festival in June.

The 6th album from "the greatest band in the world" - 66 tracks were laid down for this one, let's hope that a lot turn up as B-Sides.

March 08, 2005

Horse 310 - A Big Wind Came and Blew the Town Away

Tropical Cyclone Ingrid is currently off the Queensland coast and has been downgraded to a Cat 4. Don't think for a second that just because it's been "downgraded" that it still can't cause mass damage. Tracy was a Cat 4 and look what she did.

Many of you probably know that they name circular storms based on the next letter of the alphabet, Cyclone Delta would follow Cyclone Camilla for instance, and that they retire a really famous name (never another Tracy) but one thing you may not know is that it wasn't until only a few years ago that they started using blokes names.

I think the reason is obvious: "Hell hath no fury like the scorn of a woman". Hands up anyone?

A friend of mine used to live near a beach and down the back of the property was a creek. Call them what you will either Dust Devils or Willie Willies, these used to follow the line of the creek before reaching the ocean and then diffusing.
These things would be no more than 20 feet tall but the winds in them would move at about 90 mph; the whole diameter can't have been anymore than 18 inches as worst.The problem was that local kids would chuck rubbish, tennis balls, water bombs etc into them, so you'd have a swirly mass of crap heading down the creek.
It would be great fun to take to them with a cricket bat and try to hit stuff out of them but being wary because they could cause serious injury (when Little Tim not Big Tim jumped into one he was carried about 10 meters then broke his leg). The swirling crap would be unceremoniously dumped somewhere, and there was this sand bar renowned for the amount of refuse deposited.

I imagine that your classic big circular storms operate the same way, except that the amount of crap required to diffuse them is immenseand would easily include houses, cars, roofing material etc. Therein lies the danger, these things as a collective are cities and townships; wanton destruction isn't something you want to wake up to...

... and in the case of Tracy, a crappy Christmas to boot.

March 07, 2005

Horse 309 - The Back Seat

I flashed down the F3 at Mooney Mooney pulling maybe 700 revs for 120km/h just letting the throttle trail like a big go-kart at 5:11pm and then ran into the world's biggest traffic jam. As I sat there in the warm afternoon sun I could see all of these lights switch off ahead of me and realised that I'd be there for a long while.So I step out of the car for a bit and had a bit of a short wander. The speed limit sign was obviously laughing at us all as it read 110 and here we were doing 0. Then I sat on the roof a while and just started to notice something.

There was a Subaru Liberty immediately ahead of me and in the back was this little kid asleep with her head cradled by the seat belt and I thought "I wish I could do that"

My usual position in a motor vehicle these days is in the driver's seat and then followed by the passenger's seat. Only very rarely do I actually get to sit in the back anymore as I'm not exactly an overly tall person but I'm tall enough to completely obliterate all rear view in the mirror.
Little kids have the enviable position of not having a care in the world in the back seat apart from boredom. I remember sitting it the back seat of dad's red car and watching the moon race through the clouds, or drifting in and out of sleep in that lucid state and watching lights go past. Why don't I dream anymore?

The second you make that leap into the front seat is when childhood is left behind. Suddenly all of the signs become instructions and distance markers rather than analogous coloured shapes. Logic and reason and worse, responsibility take over. As soon as you make that leap into the front seat, it's never ever the same again.

March 04, 2005

Horse 308 - A-Z of Me...

Found this on another website and the premise is simple, basically write the alphabet and then 26 words to describe yourself. Anyone armed with a good dictionary should be able to follow along.


... any complaints, feel free to comment.

Horse 307 - I See Red with Ferrari

The Forumla One season for 2005 has not yet started and already we are watching a controversy unfold.

This little saga started all the way back in October of 2004 when Ferrari tried to push for new regulations to raise the minimum ride heights of the cars (me thinks that they had perhaps discovered some advantage to be made). So regulations were drawn up and in prniciple the 10 F1 teams agreed without actually finding out what the rules were.

The 10 F1 teams are governed by the Formula and by a series of agreements called "Concorde". They require a unianimous agreement for then to be changed. They cover all sorts of things from TV revenue rights, how the championship is to be run, rules changes etc.

Without knowing the rules, most teams went and devloped their 2005 cars in expectation. Minardi on the other hand have such a limited budget that they more or less had to wait for the rules to be written before committing to building the 2005 car. For a car to be signed off by the FIA, a concorde agreement is required. Minardi and Ferrari have been fighting a war within the Italian press with the Ficenzan team claiming that Ferrari has too much of the revenue pie - consequently Ferrari didn't sign off on the car until the last minute.

When it came time to send the cars to Melbourne, Minardi still hadn't got all the aero kit worked out and so asked for permission to run last year's car despite it's "illegality". Given that last year's car was more than 3 seconds off the pace as most circuits, I personally see this as mean spirited by a team with a budget of $590m as opposed to Minardi's paltry $9m. If Ferrari were to score no points in the World Championship, according to their standing within the F1 community they'd still get $67m in revenue whereas Minardi if they acheived a clean sweep of every race would only get $37m.

I think Ferrari using their somewhat unique position are trying to actually remove Minardi from the grid permanently. I suspect but can't prove that the regs put in place for 2005 were decided by Ferrari and then forcibly agreed to.

F2004M was already compliant before F2005 makes an appearance whereas all other teams bar Minardi are fronting up in totally new equipment. F2004M is esentially last years car which is already reliable and they'll be watching the 2005 spec cars to improve F2005 before it makes an appearance. Baddoer has been testing the car outside of the regulations and so long as F2004M is the prescribed car, virtually unlimited miles can be done in it.

Actually to be perfectly honest and no-one saw this as it escaped under the radar the Technical Regulations were passed without Concorde and only officially published at Jan 1, 2005 making it impossible for anyone but whoever submitted the changes to actually know what they were.
Stoddart has a 2005 spec car that still hasn't got it's FIA approval and didn't get it as the FIA were in legal deliberations before the start of the season. Hmm, submit new rules then hold up the process of accreditation then disallow an ex-compliant car...

Notice something people?

Addenda: Even as I was writing this, the first practive session of the Melbourne GP was being run. Minardi were still not allowed to run their cars. To do so would require a signature by all 10 teams as at 3pm this afternoon prior to the final qualifying session. Jean Todt the Ferrari mysteriously has not signed as yet.

Ferrari: Scum scum scum scum scum scum scum scum scum scum scum scum scum.

March 01, 2005

Horse 306 - I Want to be Connected

After last night's rather pointed discussion and my obvious stay of great patience I feel I should solidify this whole thought; for the benefit of posterity (or posteria) and the peeps that didn't hear this first up, I shall now cast my pearls before swine.

We live in a highly connected world. It is replete with media: Internet, TV, Radio, Print etc. Literally zillabytes* of info demanding attention. A great bulk of this is devoted to a relational discourse; let's face it poets, songwriters and gossip columnists would be out of a job. The only logical conclusion is that we have an inbuilt need. How then is it possible on a planet of 6 billion people to feel utterly alone and isolated?
Society fuels this even further and even the church (in my well paid opinion) inadvertantly does so too. There are civil ceremonies for marriage, there are counselling services for divorcees but seemingly nothing for the "chronically" single.

What opened this discussion was a simple comment namely: "What's it like to still be single after all these years?" my reply rather defensively framed was "I don't know. What's it like to be married after all these years?". This caused a great deal of offence and I really have no idea why, it is in essence the same question. At what point did it become socially acceptable to insult singletons to their face and not expect a right of reply.

The ABS tells us that for whatever reason about 6% of the population will never get married or live de facto. Now presumably most people will have gotten married or have been in a serious relationship by age 30 which means that immediately there is a societal predjudice.Now with regards this the church is very strong to enforce the "no sex before marriage" rule (and rightly so), but by the time you actually are that point when the 8:30 movie on a Friday night is the reality this rule actually has the amendment "well you're still not allowed, so there". I've also heard all of the wishy-washy statements like "maybe you have to wait" or even that great line "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant the desires of your heart". In my feeble experience, God aint a vending machine and especially surrendered rights under submission will not instantly guarantee some magical reward.

Here's the bizarre twist, generally most pastors will have been married so are no longer the authority on what's it actually like to be alone. The second twist is that there is a subtle difference to being alone and being lonely. There are occasions when I'll need for instance to be alone and some would say that that's a good thing, but the premise of being lonely is more a mindset.

Now I'm not about to suggest that I'm necessarily content with my lot and perhaps looking across the fence where "the grass is greener" may be an issue but the heart of the matter is that we all have an inbuilt need to connect with people and especially our God. When a need isn't met for some reason it tends to create a great deal of grief.What I tend to find that's almost a paradox about life is that when I look beyond the four walls of my own mind, I somehow actually draw more beneit from helping other people. Though my own needs for connection may never be met (which could in theory be a distinct possibility) there will always be someone who needs what I have more than I do - it just happens to hurt when I get attacked over an expectation that may or may not be realised; I can't tell what tommorrow... or the next 50 years will hold. To presume that anyone other than God is in total control and knows what is best is quite literally a fallacy and shows up my selfishness more than anything.

*Zillabyte: (invented 01-03-05 by me) literally a zillion bytes. Some ridiculously large quantity of information.