Archives For domestic life

Melbourne Airport Buses

April 20, 2010 — 5 Comments

on bus

I’ve been flying a lot more lately, to the point where I’ve joined Qantas Club to try and make the airport part less annoying. But there’s one thing I can’t avoid.

THE GOD DAMN CRAPPY ALWAYS OVER FULL LONGTERM PARKING BUS AT MELBOURNE AIRPORT.

Yes, writing in caps is like swearing.

Every coupe of years there appears to be a debate here about extending the train network out to the airport, but no one ever talks about an internal transport network for getting around the airport, like the monorail at Newark or SFO.

And it’s not as if the parking is affordable either: $69 for two and a bit days AND the car is in the open. If you want the multi-level is $99. I use to leave the car at Perth Airport for 10 days and I’d only end up paying a bit more than that. Often you end up paying more for the car parking than the flight.

And then you have to wait for the stupid bus, which is always overfull.

Not good enough.

I finally sat down and watched Firefly, then Serenity after getting through the 14 episodes.

It is quite possibly the best show ever created for television.

Yes, and I now have River Tam wallpaper 🙂

Mens clothing sizes.

How the hell can I be a S in Zanerobe and FCUK, M in Superdry and L in Ben Sherman (although Ben Sherman is completely screwed up when it comes to sizing…I swear they make clothes for midgets.)

How is it that a pair of 32 pants I bought on eBay in an obscure brand not fit (too small), and yet every other make they fit with room..or in the case of the FCUK pants, they nearly need the belt now to keep them up.

I mean: they don’t have this problem with shoes, do they?

My worst trait, described by the awesome Kate Carruthers:

Twitter / Kate Carruthers: zomg just realised many pp ...

I know I’m not alone though, @trib agreed, although he tweets so much I can’t find the shot.

I can’t rule out working for others again, but the chances aren’t great. I’ve never been fired from a job, but I’ve had to walk more than a couple of times.

Everything from stupid pressure on me, to me lecturing them out of place.

I’ve left jobs because I couldn’t stand the stupidity of the ppl I work for.

I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person.

But it might make for a colourful autobiography one day. Well, not that anyone would care to read it, but in my 34 years I’ve been
An admin assistant, Margin Lending Assistant, Nightfiller, Manager, Membership Co-ordinator, 2IC (Insurance), Branch Manager (credit Union), Research/ Electorate Officer and VP/ Founder. And that’s before Proxy Owner, Staff Writer, Editor and Publisher.

You can’t regret it all, even if I do regret most. Oddly enough my favorite job was as Manager for the Junior Soccer Association of WA. I loved that job, and it’s one of the few I left without major issue. Mind you, they slammed me when I left (the President kept asking me to install pirate software, then denied it) but I had no reason to leave other than I thought the next job was better. Turns out it wasn’t. Indeed, working at the WACA was one of the worst mistakes of my life.

Hi Darren Beazley, I’ll never forget 🙂

Stranger Than Fiction

March 2, 2010 — 11 Comments

Imagine leaving your long term marriage to be with the husband of the woman you tried to donate your eggs to.

Would make for an interesting Mills and Boon story.

The Filtering Problem on RSVP

February 17, 2010 — 2 Comments

So I joined an online dating site, specifically Fairfax’s RSVP. Yeah, yeah, online dating etc…

But there’s a catch. Well, there’s not that sort of catch yet, its been less than 24 hours 🙂

The filtering sucks.

I received an email of potential matches: none of them matched.

The problem is that while you can say what your preferences are, it’s difficult to filter other peoples preferences.

For example: I don’t care if the other person is single, divorced, separated etc. But I can only search based on that criteria for them, vs what they want in a partner.

Example: women who only want someone who is single or doesn’t have kids. I can search if they do or don’t have kids, but I can’t filter out those who want someone who doesn’t have children (obviously there I have a son.)

And it can’t be that hard. I think I could write the SQL query to do it based on my one semester of SQL in 98 🙂

On New Zealand

December 2, 2009 — 8 Comments

nz

You’re may well ask why just over a month since visiting New Zealand I’m writing this post now, but there is a perfectly good explanation: the site is still a little borked. No header, and when I post this post, the screen will go blank. But better late than never.

So last month I spent 3 days in New Zealand (left Melbourne Friday night, returned Monday night.) It was a short trip, but it was also the only length of time I could get the family away, and was the first trip overseas for my son and the soon to be ex-she who must be obeyed.

It was insanely cheap, as in < $1k rtn for the three of us flying Qantas. Accommodation was insanely cheap again, as in roughly AU$110 a night (x2) for the Hyatt Regency Auckland, and about $115 for the night in Rotarua. So we had 3 days. We hired a car at the airport (again, cheap vs Australia) and at 1am in the morning I drove in a foreign country from Auckland airport to the city, without GPS or iPhone. Yeah, we got lost in the city, but eventually I said bugger the data charges at turned on global data roaming on the iPhone. The Hyatt Regency Auckland was possibly one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in (only better was Burswood Casino in Perth.) Not so much the position, but the pure luxury of the place; you couldn't really ask for much more, and it was cheaper than a 3 star in Australia. The Saturday we left the hotel and had our first feed in NZ. A small cafe in the Auckland CBD we happened to come across. It wasn't that flash to look at, but by god the food was good. That was our first introduction to New Zealand bacon. It's like Australian short-back bacon but smaller. I'm not sure if they take it from smaller pigs or it's a slightly different cut, but it was the best bacon (not just here, we kept eating it while we were there) I've ever had. It's for lack of a better term sweet. We then drove out of Auckland to Rotarua, getting into town about 1pm. The drive was fine; roads are mostly very good, although the difference vs Australia is that the speed limits tend to be slower; there's no 60km/h and 110km/h speed limits, it's all 50km/h (even on major roads) or 100km/h. The signs are also very European in nature, something that was a theme in New Zealand: the country is in some ways far more British than Australia, well...except for their fast food outlets (they have Burger King and Wendys for example.) If you've ever seen Lord of the Rings, you'd get a rough idea of the majesty that is the New Zealand landscape. We were in the top of the North Island, and I'm told the further south you get, the better the scenery. But likewise I don't care. The thing I marveled at the whole drive down was how epically majestic the scenery was. I've been to many places in Australia, some of which are beautiful...but NZ is something different again. In Rotarua, we did the skyline thing, including one trip down on the concrete luge. The views were stunning, the food ok, and reasonably good value..well, except the trap they try to sell you with photos as you leave (we didn't fall for that.) Next was the free thermal public park as you drive in to Rotarua, which reaked of sulfur. I've seen nothing like it, and it was fascinating. skitched-20091202-174437.jpg

Next up was a big thermal pool place; it cost us maybe NZ$40ish to hire a private pool for 30 minutes, and it was worth every cent. Looking over the lake, just amazing, and the pool was something special.

skitched-20091202-174539.jpg

My only mistake was that we didn’t get a hotel with its own pools; at least 1/3 hotels in Rotarua offer that.

Dinner was cheap, helped by the AUD/ NZD exchange rate. The thing I’d note about NZ is that the prices are about the same (except petrol which was expensive..but not Diesel) in that prices were what you see in Australia in visual $ terms, except that you take roughly 17-20% off due to the exchange rate, which makes it cheap.

Next day breakfast on the way back up: some little town, random caffee…unbelievably amazing bacon again.

We took a detour to Te Awamutu to see the Finn Museum, but it was closed. Nick Hodge is to blame there,but likewise the diversion on the trip took us on a different route so we got to see more again.

skitched-20091202-174652.jpg

Back in Auckland in the afternoon. Lazed around,went for a swim. Took a walk around the harbor area, very nice, had a beer. Headed to the Skytower for dinner, food was reasonable, view amazing. Cost…ok.

Next day, last day, more bacon, more awesome. We started with a Harbour tour, again very nice, cost ok. Auckland Harbor is pretty, but maybe 2nd on the list after Sydney Harbor. Ticket included a free trip afterwards to Davenport, Aucklands oldest suburb.

Had to wait too long for the boat, so we drove. The trip north of the Auckland Harbor Bridge is like driving along the Kwinana Freeway in South Perth…but in a different direction.

The only disappointment on the whole trip was Davenport. It wasn’t that exciting. We ate Subway for lunch, and it was possibly the worst meal I’ve ever eaten (and I like Subway) we actually all threw most of it out.

After that it was to Mount Wellington, an extinct volcano. Amazing views, very pretty, and nothing like anything you see in Australia (well, the Mountain of the same name in Hobart comes close, but in Auckland, its smack bang in the middle of things.)

skitched-20091202-174810.jpg

Then back to the airport, and home.

Overall: the only thing I was sad about is that we weren’t there longer. New Zealand isn’t just a cheap country to visit, but an amazingly beautiful one. At every stage we felt welcomed, service was great, and the food better again.

Auckland was ok, but likewise it was just another city, but it a fairly pretty one. The key is to get out of the city area and take a look around.

Not sure if I could live there, but I can think of far worse places to live. I have to go back…and soon. I loved it, and can’t recommend it enough.

My iPhone 3GS combined with a 7 year old boy = this. Declan did it without prompting either…the only thing I had to do was combine 3 clips and add a small overlay intro.

XXXIV

September 4, 2009 — 4 Comments

I’m writing this from Seattle, where I’m in town for Gnomedex later this week, then a couple of days in San Francisco coming back.

Flew out at of Melbourne Monday morning on the A380. The flight was due to leave at 10:10, and left instead at about 11:45…it’s the Qantas curse, either every single one of their planes have mechanical issues before they take off, or just every Qantas plane I step on to.

I upgraded for the trip to Premium Economy using points. I don’t normally upgrade for the trip across, because it’s the trip back that is more worthwhile; I always pull up worse coming back however I can’t upgrade this trip coming back because of the class of the ticket apparently.

I’d never stepped foot in an A380 before, let alone Premium Economy (I have upgraded previously to Business on a 747), so I was a virgin to the experience.

The biggest difference between Premium Economy and Economy is leg room.. as in there is a pile of it. I could stretch out and not hit the front underneath part of the seat in front. At full recline, the seat in front never gets in the way. I could cross my legs, and not hit the seat in front, nor the guy next to me. I’m not by any stretch tall (6 foot, 184cm), but in Economy the seat in front is often on top of you, here it’s not. If you’re taller again, it might be worth the extra cost or the points upgrade.

I haven’t been able to compare it to economy on the A380 (unfortunately that’s next week) but other positives: kick ass entertainment out of the arm rest, touch screen. Power etc in each seat, although that’s standard in economy. Configuration is 2x3x2; they failed an put me on the window (my preference is always isle) but on the bright side it wasn’t hard to get over the guy next to me.

Food was also excellent…as in possibly the best food I’ve had on a plane (and that includes the last time in business class.) Lunch Chicken dish was nearly (maybe) restaurant quality, and the serving size was remarkably big for a plane. About 9 hours in I ordered a roast beef role (you can order hot food on demand, although the choice is limited), it came out hot, crispy, and very edible. Breakfast was the only let down: standard Qantas fare of Egg something and some sad sausages.

The negatives: the biggest is that premium economy is on the top level at the back of the plane. I’m not sure why scientifically, but in my experience the tail of the plane shakes more in turbulence than the front, least comparing the two on many trips that’s the difference. The shaking was nearly non-stop, to the point that I had maybe 1 hour sleep. My bet is I would have a smoother ride closer to the front in economy. The so-called “self service” food bar was a joke; the first time I tried to use it, it was full of empty drinks, the staff were using it as a rubbish bin. One attendant said he would fill it, and got me a drink while I waited, but when I walked past next, nothing had changed. It’s a marketing gimmick that borders on an outright lie. The inflight entertainment games crashed the outlet when I tried to use them, least it froze and I had to ask for a reset. Notably though, unlike the 747’s which run Windows 3.1, the A380’s run Redhat Linux, and I know that because I watched the reboot on the screen.

Overall would I do it again? Maybe, just for the leg room, but the tail of the plane part I’m not fond of. Ultimately you can’t beat Business Class for comfort, but the Premium Economy does define itself for legroom and food, so I’m reasonably happy to recommend it.

Either way though: it’s still a freaking long way (14 hours in the air). The leg room didn’t make the trip go faster unfortunately. Qantas should invest in and order whatever the next generation super-sonic jet is, and I’d happily pay a lot more to fly in it.