Thursday, May 31, 2012

the last two days

Here I am again!  I was going to do a blog post last night about the EP course, but got caught up with other things like eating and drinking, which usually come before blogging on my schedule, and then it was late, and I had to get caught up with other things like brushing my teeth and sleeping.  After two days of my brain being slowly pulled out of my ears with a pair of blunt pliers, it was a nice thing to be able to eat and drink in my own time.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Wets yesterday:

Here's Ian and JG posing before jumping in...

at which point, we were all instructed "do NOT jump into the pool!"  So of course...

does diving count?  I think GM and DK were a little confused on this count!

A little bit wet, waiting to get our life jackets inflated:

Ian pretending to be dead (see, JG and myself were not the only ones messing)

And proof at last that I am alive!

Cannonballing into the water while holding my nose (because I am a sissy):

Before Wets, we did our verbal and physical assessments for EP.  This included saying where everything was located in the airplane, and what it does, and what the precautions are, etc. etc.  For instance, there are 4 oxygen canisters with 2 supplemental and 2 therapeutic masks.  These are located 1 under each CCM seat, and 2 above row 9D/F.  They must be correctly stowed, dust covers fitted, free from oil and grease, have their masks located in the same place, and at least 1500 PSI.  To use, you have to hang it around your neck, use the high pressure valve located at the right of the gauge, connect the mask tubing, turn the valve all the way on, and then 1/4 back, check that the green flow valve is showing, check that the oxygen bag is beginning to inflate, and put on the passenger's face (upside down on an infant).  Precautions for use are that no dust is in the valves, it's free of oil and grease, the passenger isn't wearing heavy oil based make-up (wipe it off if they are) and make sure that the tube does not over extend.  Stop using it when it is down to 50PSI unless all other oxygen cylinders have also been depleted.  After use, it must be replaced in stowage, and the PIC must be informed of its use.  That is just one item of emergency equipment that we had to learn about !!!

After we did all of that, individually (while the others waited in the canteen for their turn in the hot seat), we went out to the aircraft and learned how to open the doors.  Quite amusing to see a previously captain such as JG with 11 years' ATR experience and a previous examiner, reaching forward to lift up the main door only to be told by the girl "stop!  I have to demonstrate it to you first!" after which, JG attempts again, only to be told "no!  You can't hold it there, you have to hold this particular handle here, you're doing it wrong!"  As JB said: "how degrading can this get?" and C said "save me from this inane drivel!" amongst other things that I won't include on my blog.

I apologise for doing this post all backwards.  Really I should have started with the assessments, moved on to the door operation and fire-fighting, and finished with a description of Wets and the pictures.  I also want to point out that the messing carried out during Wets was mainly due to 2 days of listening to "this inane drivel" and being so frustrated that all 8 of us just had to vent somehow!

Another post coming up shortly :)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Emergency Procedures

Today started at 0545, at least that's when my alarm clock woke me up.  Class started at 0700, which is a pretty stupid time to start a ground school course, in my opinion.  We learnt lots of new things in class today.  We learnt how to open the flight deck door in the ATR, the three elements of fire and how many smoke detectors there are in a 72-500, to name but a few!  Lots of new and exciting things, and I wrote lots of notes on the above - mainly to keep myself from falling asleep, but still I wrote lots of notes.

See?  Here's a picture to prove what I did today.  The desk contains a mixture of items, from left to right (what I can see, at least) a couple of oxygen cylinders with masks (one supplementary and one therapeutical, in case you were interested), a megaphone, a couple of smoke hoods, a teddy bear (still haven't worked out what that was for) an infant pretending to be a doll (or maybe vice versa) a portable ELT and a life jacket.

Here is IF not looking very studious at all, and no I did not ask him if I could put him on my blog, and neither do I care whether he wants me to or not.  He doesn't actually have my blog address... so HA!

And finally here is a very boring photograph of some of the information we have to know for tomorrow - which of course, I'm not going to know.  Plan to pass the exam anyway, once again - HA!

Also tomorrow (which was supposed to be today) we are all trolling off to the airport to visit our first Australian ATR.  Unfortunately the aircraft which we were supposed to visit today was commandeered to fly to Port Macsomethingorother to rescue another aircraft that had a bird strike.  Sound familiar?  So sad, we won't actually learn how to open an aircraft door until tomorrow.  How shall I ever last that long?

Apparently the company opens doors differently over here.  Apparently we are supposed to forget how we used to open doors, and learn to do it the company way.  I'm not quite sure what this involves, and how they can possibly make door opening different... but we shall see, tomorrow.  Presuming the birds stay out of the way.

After we go see an airplane, open some doors, etc. we have verbal and practical assessments on things we were supposed to learn today, and a written test.  For example, how many smoke detectors there are on an ATR.  For some reason, all the different aircraft (6 so far) all have their equipment in different locations, although they are all 500 series.  For instance, one might have a fire extinguisher in the left hand hat bin and another aircraft in the right hand hat bin.  Not quite sure what the thinking is for this, but there must be a method in their madness - mustn't there??

Then, after we do all of those highly riveting activities, we move on to the pool to do our Wet drills.  This involves practising the HELP position (heat escape listening posture) which involves holding ones knees in one's arms and trying to get as small as possible in the water whilst held buoyant by the life jacket.  I actually am not sure what a listening posture is, and what meaning it holds, but the position is supposed to increase body temperature and increase survivability by 50% or something like that.  Then we have to hold hands and sing ring-a-ring-a-rosy (is that what it's called?) or at least we have to hold hands and swim in a circle - I am determined to sing, perhaps under my breath?  Then we have to swim 25 metres while pulling someone else who is also wearing a lifejacket.  Another opportunity to demonstrate my amazing doggy-paddle skills.

That, folks, is about all I have to share for tonight!  Nothing particularly interesting to report at the moment - except that I have one place to look at on Saturday with a view to living there... hopefully it is as nice as the pictures, and that the owner actually wants us to live there!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Ugly

Australia is a pretty strange place.  We were walking through town yesterday and found a marketplace stall that was selling these... take a close look and see if you can work out what they actually are...

The Good

We went across to Manly today, to have a wee look around to see what the place was like, and to see whether we wanted to live there.  It seems like a nice place, near the harbour, pretty quiet, and some nice places.  We didn't actually go to see any particular places as we were unable to make appointments in time, but here is a picture of a weird tree:

Here is a picture of a closeup of one of the weird tree's branches.

Pretty weird, huh?

This is the harbour in Manly.  Unfortunately you're unable to see any of the water due to the large number of floaty things with big sticks on top.

The Bad

Did a little bit of car hunting too, and everything seems extremely expensive, although we did manage to find one or two priced at just $990!  Unfortunately, one of them was missing the engine, and the other, pictured below, was rather the worse for wear.  You can't really see too well in the picture but, I'm not sure it would even get one trip to the airport...

Nothing more to really report at this stage!  Tomorrow is day 1 of Emergency Procedures, so up at silly o'clock to leave here at 0615 - first time I've ever heard of a groundschool class actually starting at 0700!  Did I mention these Australians are weird? :)


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Weevil

 I forgot to mention I met an Australian weevil today.  I tried to give it a hug but its feet were all sticky and it wouldn't come off the wall.  It was very pretty though, all black and yellow spotty, with little yellow feet, but it was the right shape for a weevil.  I had to settle for stroking my namesake but I like Australia even more now - weevils FTW!


Where was I?

Where was I?  So S and I have found somewhere to live.  Yep, we saw a place, thought it was amazing, and figured we'd move there.  Sorted.  Well, it didn't quite end up as simple as that, as we did that a few times, phoned a couple of different estate agents, didn't actually go see anywhere - but figured we'd like to live there anyway - the story of our lives.  But ya know, sure, that looks nice - we'll live there, no problem, no point looking any further!  Anyway that took the morning and early afternoon.  Quite enjoyable, not particularly profitable, but at least there was a lot of sunshine, and plenty of estate agents - but S and I still haven't found anywhere to live.

Where was I?  This afternoon we had a barbie with lots of sausages, mine were amazing, RM's were horrible and tasted of seaweed, J's - well, nobody tried J's, I don't think anyone was brave enough, but I think everyone liked mine!  Nice homemade burgers, from a distance, as at this stage I was way too full of amazing sausages and amazing leg of lamb chops.  Watched R and J attempting to clean the BBQs using a selection of paper towels, water, bread and celery.  Yeah the cleaning arrangement didn't work out too well, but at least it kept them busy.  Had a good old chat, found somewhere to live, emailed a few estate agents, discussed exams, studying methods, considered the fact that I still haven't looked at the new SOPs, and realised that we still don't have anywhere to live.

Where was I?  Tomorrow S and I are going to cook a roast dinner for everyone - well, everyone who wants to eat our roast dinner, depending on whether they trust our cooking, and also depending on whether we quit fighting about butter versus olive oil with the roast potatoes, and about how to make gravy.  Obviously matters of state.  Or at least states that matter, or something like that.  Got a few people who say they're going to come, others who aren't so sure, and others?  Well, others.

Where was I?  So S and I have found somewhere to live.  Apparently there's a place called... actually I can't remember what it's called, but apparently it's something like the Australian version of Malahide, so we've decided we're going to live there, 'cause there's a port, and the sea, and it's pretty cool.  We haven't actually seen it yet, but Ro'N and ML went to see it earlier and they say it's like Malahide and it has a port and it's pretty cool, so I think we've found somewhere to live.  There's also a place called Borimba (spelling fairly doubtful) which we viewed this morning, and we've decided we're going to live there.  It seems pretty cheap, and it's near the river, and heh, the pictures in the brochure looked OK, so it's sorted, so we've found somewhere to live.

Where was I?  Did I mention the sausages?  Oh yeah, and S and I still haven't found somewhere to live.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Of Trees & Rain

Today it is raining.  We discussed this during the last 3 weeks, saying that the weather was so beautiful, so warm and so sunny, that it obviously was aware that we had our heads in the books and no time to enjoy it.  We were sitting in class gazing out of the window at the clear blue sky, sweltering as we walked across the compound to lunch, wishing that we could lie on the City Beach in the soft silver sand, instead viewing this:

Given the above, C insisted that we really should make sure that once our studying was complete, we pretended that we still had to study so that the weather didn’t realise... and would stay nice.  Unfortunately I think we haven’t been doing the Pretending Game so well, as ever since Monday it’s been fairly cloudy - and today it is raining.  It’s actually drizzling most of the time, every now and then clearing up, and then raining again.  Not exactly the sort of weather where you can sunbathe.  
Anyway, yesterday after dragging myself over to the City Beach to take photos for You Know Who, I returned home via the botanical gardens, keeping my eyes peeled for sleeping bats in the trees, but unfortunately not viewing any.  I took some pictures, but didn’t post them yesterday as the posts were fairly full already.  Here they are:


I took this picture mainly to show how large the stems? trunks? of the bamboo were

a view of the amazingly tall bamboo

this final picture is specifically for Dad, the barefoot-runner of Ireland.  Just to prove that he is not the only freak in the universe - they have them here! :)  Sorry the picture is so blurry... but by the time I got my phone out to take a photo, he was already quite a distance ahead.


6000 Words - Southbank

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Friends

I've got two new friends.  They have blonde curly/wavy hair, and are considerably smaller than my other friends here in Australia.  They enjoy playing with Lego, and roller blading.  They came to visit me this morning, bearing a gift, which included:

So sweet.  I am now the proud owner of a box of Lego Friends - including an awesome rabbit.  We then spent a couple of hours playing with Lego - really I should have taken a photo of the sheer amount of lego spread out in my apartment.  Most of it has left now - except for the quad bike and awesome rabbit.

After awhile we tired of Lego.

"Oh, I'm getting bored," said Seren.

"That's okay," I replied, "we can stop playing Lego if you like."

"Oh no," said Seren, holding up her Lego figurine.  "It's only my girl that's bored."

"Ah," I said, "well if you do get bored, let me know, and we'll do something else."

"Okay," said Seren.  "Actually I am bored of Lego, can we do something else?"

So we went roller blading.

Here's Seren, showing some of her moves.

In advance, I would like to apologise for taking a video holding my iphone The Wrong Way.  I know this deeply offends some of you, and I can only beg your forgiveness and assure you that next time I shall try, but probably forget again, to hold my iphone The Right Way.

This is Seren showing off some of her roller blade dancing moves.  Pretty good for an eight-year-old, I would say.

And below, we have Ethan going down the ramp:

And yes I did have permission from their parents to post about them on my blog - just hoping these videos actually come out... will see when I click on post.  After that, I've another blog to come about my trip to Southbank to take pictures for - well, You Know Who You Are.  At much detriment to the health of my feet - and I hold you 100% responsible for this, and for my choice of footwear!  You know it's your fault.


A Favourite

I know that I shall meet my fate   
Somewhere among the clouds above;  
Those that I fight I do not hate  
Those that I guard I do not love;  
My country is Kiltartan Cross,       
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,  
No likely end could bring them loss   
Or leave them happier than before.  
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,  
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,  
A lonely impulse of delight  
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;  
I balanced all, brought all to mind,  
The years to come seemed waste of breath,  
A waste of breath the years behind  
In balance with this life, this death.
- W. B. Yates

One of my favourite poems of all time.  Hard to explain, really.  Hard to put down on paper how it makes me feel, so I'll leave you with the poem - and you can come to your own conclusions.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Promised Photos

I promised to take photos today to post on the blog, so I did.  There may have been a little misunderstanding here.  I may have been going to go to Southbank to take pictures of the fake beach, but it may have not been sunny enough to sunbathe, and I may have felt a little bit lazy.  I'm not going to admit to this however, and instead simply share with you the photos of my day.  Since you asked, you know.

Don't ask me about the Great South East.  That's just part of the ad break, but this is my TV.  This is where I spend a considerable part of my day - when it's not particularly sunny and I might be too lazy to go to Southbank.  I would like to consult with my lawyer before we continue this conversation.

Moving on... here's something else I did today

I know you really really wanted to see a photo of my foot, what with that foot fetish you have going on.

While we're on the subject of feet, I also went into town and tried on R M Williams' boots for the Virgin uniform.  Unfortunately all of the women's styles weren't suitable and the only pair that looked ok didn't fit nicely, so it was back to the men's options.  Sad.  Major dislike, but ah well, at least they're free.

and then here's Huey, in Galway, back in 2010.  Isn't he cute?

Thought so.


An Empty Day

Well now that I finally feel up to blogging, I don't have anything to say, because I spent the day lazily watching TV and surfing the interwebz.  No guilty feelings of slacking off from work, as there is no work to slack off from!  Quite an amazing feeling, I must say.  Such liberation to walk out of that building yesterday to the knowledge that I would never have to go back in there again!  I've already handed on all of my textbooks and materials... OOOOOH YEEEAHHHH!!!

Tomorrow I will be starting to look for somewhere to live, and starting to do all the little bits and pieces that just don't get done while swotting for ridiculous exams, such as trying on shoes for work, etc.  Today hasn't exactly been the most profitable on these counts but that's ok.  I'm allowed a day off.

In fact, I'm allowed a week off!!!

Due to my doing nothing today, I don't actually have any photos to share with you, *sob sob*.  However, I promise I will take at least one photo of at least something, however inconsequential, and post it tomorrow.

I did however meet two small people yesterday, who are quite into Lego.  The boy told me "Lego is my life!"  Quite dramatic, but given the quantity of Lego I was introduced to, probably not that much of an overstatement.  I can remember being around that age myself, playing with Lego, building ships and airplanes/aeroplanes, houses, castles, you name it.  My cousins Tom and Fred had the best Lego though.  They had a massive lego castle complete with golden coins and monkeys, palm trees and soldiers, pirates and swords.

Apparently these two diminutive persons had to sell all of their toys before leaving home, with a promise of being able to use the money for new toys when they got here.  I'm not sure that the intention was for them to only get Lego, but I'm fairly certain that it's a strong probability.  Anyway, hopefully I'll get the opportunity to be with them a bit more - they were going to come up to my apartment for a late breakfast, however they had to go house-hunting, which understandably is a priority this week.  Then I'll be able to blog about Something Different.

TTFN !!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Last Exam

It's not long now.

It could be that in less than 24 hours' time, I will be able to burn all the books - at least as far as license conversion is concerned.  It's a nice thought, really, but comes hand in hand with that other thought... that this could drag on for at least another week if it doesn't work out As Hoped.

Please don't say there's no way I can fail, please don't pretend that you know whether or not I am prepared.  There is, and you don't.  Wish me luck, by all means, if you're so inclined, but presumption - I don't think there's anything worse.  It adds so much pressure, it makes you feel like if you fail you're not only failing an exam, but yourself, and everyone else.  At least, that's my impression of it.  It is also incredibly annoying.

Anyway, 1 of the 5 days to prepare for this exam, and I haven't done much today.  I've watched a lot of TV, and I've read a great number of articles on the Daily Mail, and I've chatted on Facebook, and I've eaten lots of chocolate, and I've walked into town.  Prepared for IREX?  Not so much.

I seem to have generated a lot of paperwork in the last 3 weeks.  There are piles of Air Law question papers heaped up on tables and on the TV stand.  A box of Human Factors questionnaires in my wardrobe.  The inevitable IREX manuals and textbooks littering the kitchen table, open, inviting, yet unappealing.  I can't even sit on a couch anymore without crinkling up some sort of paperwork or squashing a book.

Come tomorrow, I hope I can clear this place out - not that I'll actually bother...

The exam is at 0830, lasts for 210 minutes, is 40 questions long, and the pass rate is 70%.  This means that I can get 12 questions wrong and still pass the exam.  I'm aiming for 70 - anything above this is a bonus.  If I pass, don't tell me afterwards that you knew it all along.  Don't tell me that well, even though you wouldn't let me say it beforehand, obviously you were going to be ok.  Don't you understand?  It's incredibly annoying, and blatantly untrue!  Even if you think you know, you don't know, and even if you think you understand, you have no idea.  You're not inside my head, and if you want to be inside my head - no!  gross!  get out!

Right, rant over.  I don't usually rant on paper, it's just that 3 exams down... it's even more annoying than it was the first time, and a million times more stressful.  After this is all over, the stress levels will decrease, I will begin to forget, and soon won't remember at all how horrible it really was - and think "that was actually easy", or something.  Humankind is weird like that.  Self-preservation of mentalness-nessity.

I do promise I shall take pictures of the City Beach, by the way, I just haven't been there lately!  I could have gone today, considering that it is involved in the list of Things That Aren't Actually Studying, but I just didn't think of it.  Sorry about that, I promise I shall Do Better Next Some Time.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


Had the first Australian barbecue last night!  Not the first, obviously, but definitely my first.  Should probably have been studying but it was nice to take a break, and catch up with people, howbeit whilst feeling slightly guilty about not working.  It was an exclusively RE crowd, despite inviting a few others, and although the meat took an awfully long time to cook, and then still wasn't particularly cooked (cue taking a bite of chicken and finding sludginess in your mouth, which frankly isn't the nicest sensation) it was still good.  I've got to say that barbecues are overrated for their food quality, although perhaps this particular one wasn't a good demonstration of this.

Just so you know, I'm still trying to eat my way through a bag of Australian Malteasers.  These are white inside, and strangely floury.  If you try to gently bite the outside chocolate layer off, like is possible at home, you find that it doesn't peel cleanly, and you are left looking at what looks like bread.  It doesn't taste like bread, but then again, it doesn't taste remotely like a Malteaser either.  Somewhat disappointing.

To flit back to the barbie, it was quite funny actually, as GR brought his wife and little boy outside to introduce them to us, before going out to dinner, and his little boy, aged 5, was excitedly holding up his new Avengers book.  I went over to introduce myself to him, not particularly being interested in having a grown ups conversation with GR and his wife about what the weather was like, etc. and E began to tell me all about his book.

Except... he was so excited, that he would start a sentence, get about 2 or 3 words into it, and then move on to the next one.  Interesting trying to have a conversation, too

Me: "Hi E!  What's that you've got?"

E: "Iron Man!  Book, about... it has... book.... Avengers!  I'm going to be... Look!"  runs around excitedly "Hulk!  GRRRR!!!  I'm going to... Wow!  Ha ha!  BOOK!"

Me: "Wow, that sounds amazing, it's got Iron Man AND the Incredible Hulk?  Who else has it got in it?"

E: "Iron Man!  Book, about... it has... book.... Avengers!  I'm going to be... Look!"  runs around excitedly "Hulk!  GRRRR!!!  I'm going to... Wow!  Ha ha!  BOOK!"

Me: "That's pretty cool, are you going out with your family now?

E: "Iron Man!  Book, about... it has... book.... Avengers!  I'm going to be... Look!"  runs around excitedly "Hulk!  GRRRR!!!  I'm going to... Wow!  Ha ha!  BOOK!"

I think you get the gist... oh and to make it even better : it was all said in a strikingly thick Cork accent!

Nothing much else to report, except that today is The Last Day Of Study Before The Exam.  This means that I should get off blogspot, and into the books...


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yet More Studying

I think my brain's gone into overload.  Seems like the more I study, the less I learn... and my brain cells are beginning to dissolve and drip out of my nose.  Or something like that.

Don't really have anything much to report, except that for the next 3 days I'm going to be endlessly swatting for the last exam, hoping that I can learn it, although some stuff I just genuinely haven't got a clue about... and not sure how to GET a clue about.  Oh well!!!  I sort of wish I had done this exam first... as my brain would have been fresh to study the subject, instead of half-dead from the last 3.

Apparently JB has called Skywest and told them that he's not going to take his exams as scheduled, and that he wants more time, and they've said that's fine... and he has over a week per exam now.  *radiates hate*  - unfortunately it takes 4 working days to do that... and it's the weekend and the exam is Monday!  Ah well... besides, I want to be done anyway.  If I pass.  We shall see!!!

Right, back to the grindstone - this is just a boring little update to let you know that I am still here, whether in liquid form or otherwise.

Oh yeah, and just in case you're interested, the last exam is called IREX, and involves a mixture of flight planning, general navigation, radio navigation, meteorology, instrument rating legislation and numerous other things that don't make any more sense than the above.  Quite enjoyable - not.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Birds, Bats and Other Randomness

I saw a bat tonight!  A real bat.  A real, massive, humungous bat that looked like it could eat me if it wanted to.  Pretty awesome.  I hung around for awhile hoping that I would be able to spot another one, but apparently they didn't want to come out and play.  It was least a foot and a half wingspan.  AWESOME.  No photo, sorry!

I did manage to take a picture of one of the bird thingies that hangs around Brisbane everywhere you go.  Not the same one everywhere.  Quite a few of them actually.

What else?  Ah yes, an Australian version of pork/ham - a slab, perhaps 1.5 inches thick, of greasy fat, slightly crispy on one side, and greasy gooey and clumpy everywhere else, with a thin strip maybe 1/4 inch, part way through, of meat.  Nice one... Should have taken a photo, sorry!

Went for a long walk yesterday with a few of the guys, took some photos, just for you.  There was a boat, and another boat, which was actually a ship, and the first was probably a yacht, but who's checking?  Not me.  It was pink, this boat-that-was-probably-a-yacht.  And it said Ella's, or something like that, on the side.  I'm sure I'm going to be corrected on the whole boat/yacht/ship thing, but oh well!

Then we walked through a Purple Tube, of purple flower things.  Apparently they were borgonsomethingerotherzolas.  Purple flowers, I say.  I'm sure I'm going to be corrected on the whole purple flower thing too, you know who you are.  Here's a picture from inside the Purple Tube - I did tell Mr F to get out of the way, but he didn't move fast enough, so here's a picture of the back of Mr F as well:

EDIT:  bougainvilleas, I stand corrected...that took about 30 seconds from clicking "publish"

And here's a picture of the outside of the Purple Tube.  Such a romantic name, I'm sure you think.  It's the Brisbane effect - they have a London Eye, except, it's not in London, and they call it the "Wheel of Brisbane".  Imaginative, huh?  Where was I?  Ah yes, the picture!  It also deserves to be Extra Large, as I think it's quite a nice purpleynessnessness.

And here's a picture of Brisbane's attempt at a fake rainforest.  They have a fake beach and fake sea and fake chocolate - actually I think it's supposed to be real chocolate but not a great attempt.  I don't have pictures of any of that - although there is some of the chocolate in my fridge, so if you really want, I can take a photo of it.

Then here we have the view from C's new apartment - well, the apartment he is staying in right now.  Don't know what the bridge is called.  Don't know what the river's called.  Don't know what the buildings are called, other than skyscrapers.

Here's the famous Wheel of Brisbane at night:

And just to finish it off, I thought I'd add a photo of someone taking a photo, seeing that it seems to be a sort of inherited -ism.

That's all folks!

Monday, May 14, 2012


OK you’ve got to admit this is awesome.
Page views of “The Oz Report” by country
Ireland 210
Russia 14
United States 4
Australia 3
Germany 1
United Kingdom 1
I’m famous!  Well, Sort of.  Then we have:
Page views by Browsers
Safari 58%
Chrome 26%
FireFox 4%
IE 4%
Mobile Safari 3%
Opera 2%
Doesn’t total 100% from what I can determine... but ah well!  Macs still triumph over PCs
OK you don't have to admit this is awesome - but I liked it, so there.

Threat & Error Management

This is a topic that has been quite difficult for me to grasp with the Human Factors course that I am doing.  Basically:

Threat - a situation (environmental or organisational, etc) that does not involve pilot actions or inactions that could cause errors...etc
Error - an action or inaction caused by a person whether part of the crew or external... etc. that could cause an undesirable aircraft state...etc
Undesirable Aircraft States - fairly self-explanatory, caused by a combination of threats and errors, if not countermeasure-d... such as getting too focused on looking at a random cow and letting the airspeed drop off until the airplane stalled (don't ask me why there was a cow in the flight deck)
Outcome - an accident or incident, probably
and/or Countermeasures - something that you do to prevent the threat-error-UAS-outcome chain!

To put this in a situation that the general public can understand, let me walk you through TEM where my lack of house-keeping is concerned!

...environmental - lack of dishwasher tablets in the apartment
...internal - lack of oomph to get up and go buy dishwasher tablets
...expected - a knowledge (at least a couple of days) of the lack of dishwasher tablets
...procedural - a lack of briefing where use of dishwashers are concerned
...handling - my use of Fairy liquid in the dishwasher
...this could also be thought of as an Endemic error, as it is part of my human nature...
...knowledge-based behaviour (no prior knowledge) causing an Error of Judgement - the poor training in dishwasher skills
Undesirable Aircraft States - the dishwasher obediently beginning its cycle... and continuing... and continuing... well the photo is fairly self-explanatory
Countermeasures - I did attempt to use Towels, to a certain extent helping with the UAS... but not really
Secondary Outcome - I bought some dishwasher tablets and re-cycled the dishwasher... as the dishes were not even particularly clean :(


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Knock Knock

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Fire engine, come to put out the fire!!
(c) S.A.Giles

No - really!  Oaks on Felix is on fire.  Well, so the story goes.  It's not actually as interesting as all that, but it might grab your attention.  I got a phone call from one of the G's.

He said: "there's a fire and the fire alarm's going off and you need to get out of the building!!!!!!!!"

"Really?" I replied.  "There's no fire alarm going off in my apartment!"

"Well you stay and burn then, but I'm going to call J and let him know to get out!"

"COOL!" I said, realising that the sirens I had heard a few minutes previously were coming here.  I phoned reception, to see whether they had seen a fire.

"It's a false alarm on Floor 18" the woman said apologetically.

I called G back.  "It's a false alarm on Floor 18," I relayed.  "I phoned Reception."

"There was smoke on floor 18 when I left it!" he said.  "That's why I decided to get out and ring you guys - your choice if you decide to stay and burn!"

"Smoke?  Ok I'll go have a look," I decided.

I grabbed some shoes, and a coat, and my phone, just in case it WAS a fire - debated grabbing my Other Important Items but decided that Floor 18 was suitably far away for me to have time to come back and get them if necessary, and ran up the fire stairs.  Floor 18 was strangely devoid of smoke.  However, before committing to the Smoke-Less-Ness I decided a little exploring was in order.  Around a corner I heard a man talking on a radio.

"It's just cooking fumes!" He said in a strong Australian accent.

Apparently he was a fireman.

And that was the extent of my fire.  *sighs*  It could have been so much more interesting!!!  

And I'm obviously not Emergency Procedures trained yet.  LOL.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Today Part 3 (the photos)

State of the Art Australian Technology... a sort of "ladies and gentlemen, due to the time change, please set your watches back by 20 years..." moment

We went to view an apartment briefly (675 dollars a week!) and I got a couple of photos.  This is the Brisbane river... from the ground

And this is the Brisbane river... from the 64th floor.  Yep!  SIXTY FOURTH!  Our ears popped in the elevator.  All other skyscrapers sort of looked small and insignificant.  To get the apartment on the 64th floor it was 780 dollars a WEEK.  Right.  Nice view - but not that nice.

It was M's birthday yesterday, so J and I organised a little birthday cake.  Unfortunately, we ran on ahead, rushed as fast as we could to get the candles lit before he walked in - and then he took a good 5 minutes by which time all the letters had lost their shape and some of the candles had gone out - but he was still really excited, and blew hundreds and thousands all over my table - and lots of candle wax - which is still there.  I did clear up the hundreds and thousands but don't really have a candle-wax-remover other than my fingernails - and I need those for Other Things.

This has got to be the awesomest beer glass ever.  You had to pay either a 15 dollar deposit or leave your credit card behind the bar to be able to get this glass - and if you wanted the glass itself it would cost you 50 dollars.  I can really see that on my mantlepiece - awesome dot com!!!

Anyway... that's all the photos for today, folks!  Sorry if you were expecting more!