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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Surprise! I'm Angry!

Okay.  It's not much of a surprise, but that doesn't make the above a lie.  I am Angry.  I'm angrier than Marvin the Martian after a visit from Bugs Bunny.  And he was always very angry.

Right!  Why is it that whenever I get figuratively fucked no one bothers to reach around and play with my dick?

I am sick of debt.  If I ever get out of debt, I'm fucking staying out.

I am also going to have to try to reduce stress in my life, so when this pack of smokes is done, I'm quitting.  Again.  Maybe it'll last another 8 years.  That'll reduce my stress.  Right.

Anyways.  How was your week?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Driving History 13: The Audi 80

She was a good car.  I bought her sight unseen or test driven in Cairns for $6990, total cost for sundry fees about $7200.

Powered by a delightful 2.8 V6 with power everything, I was very surprised at the interior space in the car, especially head room.  Only the stereo sucked.

I drove her for about 6 months, all up.  And like the VS Commodore wagon (see part 12) it was in my life just long enough to see me move from Charters Towers to where I live now.  A move that, given everything The Wife and I have gone through since the move, was probably a mistake.

One thing I did do with it was transport about 5 cats 500km.  You know what cats are like in the car, I was worried that I'd have to put up with them howling and carrying on for the entire 6 hours. That didn't happen.  They were agitated for the first half hour or so.  But after that, they must have got bored, because they all went to sleep, waking only to see why I was stopping the car- for food, fuel or bathroom.  Of course, they were very happy to be out of the car and the cage when we arrived at the new home.

It was a pleasure to drive on the road, however.  The front wheel drive gave it enough traction, and it had a bit of kick to it, despite the weight of the car.

Then, one day in May, I was on my way to work.  I use a side road from the main highway because the road is in better nick than the highway itself, but coming to the main highway, there was a yield sign.  As I approached I saw a car, bit of a ways back, coming up to the intersection.

Knowing how fast I go when I use the highway, I made the decision to stop and wait for it.  Sadly, the Rav4 behind me decided not to stop and promptly plowed into the back of my car.

While waiting for the cops and the tow truck to come, she did at least have the good grace to apologize.  Insurance details were exchanged and so the brief life the Audi had with me came to an end.

It was shipped to a local bodyshop where the insurance gurus decided that it was a write off.

They gave me $7500 for it.  I actually made $300.

A few months later, I saw a guy uptown.  He also owned an Audi 80.  Apparently his son crashed the front of it, and knowing mine was rear ended, (one of the joys- and I use that term loosely- of small town living) he wanted to know what happened to my car as the front end was fine. Because the insurance company bought the wreck, I told him he'd have to start tracing it from the body shop.

I don't think he ever did find out what happened to it.  I haven't seen his silver Audi uptown for a long time.

Not much of a story, but then I didn't have the car that long.

Coming soon:  A Driving History 14: the 89 Honda Prelude- and that will bring us up to date.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Cost of Living

I have been wondering about this for quite some time.  So I decided today to do a little checking.

Turns out the average annual inflation rate in Australia is round about 3%.  This means that since 2004, the price of everything has gone up by 26%.  More or less.  This is the official figure.  The start date I am using coincides with my arrival in this country.

Lets look at some practical truths.

Gasoline:  Was $1.10/L now $1.55  increase:  41%
Cat Food  Was $0.89/ tin  now $1.53  increase: 71%
Pepsi Max:  Was $8.99/ 24 cans  now: $14.99  increase: 66%
Bread  Was $1.10/loaf  Now: $1.49  increase: 34.5%
Cheese: was $8.99/kg block  Now $11.99  increase:  33%

I don't want to even talk about meat.  This country is crawling with cows, exporting tens of thousands overseas yet a t-bone costs about $24/kg.

Were I to discuss power costs, some of the older people out there may well have a heart attack.

Recently, I had to fill my car up.  I stopped putting fuel in the tank when the pump read $100.  I hadn't finished filling it.  Fifteen years ago I worried about how much change I would get from a fifty.  

My council rates, in 3 years have increased from $489 to about $600 per 6 months.  A shocking and undefendable increase in excess of 20%.

I know in the last three years, the wages where I work have gone up about 5%.

Thats all.  5%

No wonder there's more month left at the end of the money.

I can't see the official figure as being accurate.  I would actually suggest that the effective inflation rate over that time period was closer to 7% than 3. 

Cut back, I'm told and forced to do, regardless.  But now, If I cut back any more I'd need a guillotine.  A sentiment the crowd of creditors must certainly share.

I'm beginning to think I know what its like to be Greece.

Friday, 25 May 2012


A big welcome to my new followers- who have magically appeared on my followers list over the last week.  I hope you enjoy everything you read.

A big thank you, too, to my current followers for putting up with my sporadic posts over the last few weeks.

I will have more posts, more often, then what has been posted lately.  I have been run off my feet, and side tracked by a host of time demanding issues.  Hospital visits, hospital stays surgeries, dumb shit at work, car issues, the list is virtually endless.

However, the situation is stabilizing now, so we should be good to go.

Thank you for your patience.

My Baby Came Home Today

She's back.  My Baby's Back!

She went away for 2 weeks,  Shacked up with some stranger, who apparently spent the whole time inside her.  I'm surprised the stranger would even have her, given she's been around the block a few times- I oughta know- but then, that's what the stranger does.

To make matters worse, the thing is going to cost me $700!

I am, of course, talking about my beloved car.  It has taken 2 weeks of questions, diagnoses and experimentation to figure out exactly why the fuel pump wasn't getting consistent power.

My mechanic- a clever, smart assed bastard who I absolutely admire and respect- spent the time cleaning up the fuel tank, checking the pump, and most importantly, repairing the power relay.

Given the age of the old girl- 23 years- and the mileage 376,000 km (235,000 miles), things like this are going to start to go wrong.  I know I'm coming to a crossroads with it.  Do I actually start repairing it?  Do I actually start getting the cosmetic work done?  Or do I replace it?

At least as much as I loved the Diplomat- a car lives on in the memories of all who rode in her- I love this car.  It's a  blast to drive.  She's not fast (0 to 100 kph in about 9 secs), but the thing can corner, tight, and all without having to engage in a drift.

I don't particularly want to replace it.  The car is too much fun.

But at the moment, I can't afford to repair it, either.

But, its home.  And have I missed it.

Welcome home.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Wealth of Provinces

I am originally from the Province of Alberta, in Canada.  And while I live in Australia now, I still keep an eye on what happening there.

There was a recent election campaign that saw the upstart Wildrose party pit themselves against the entrenched PC party.

While the Boobie bus incident made me laugh- and still does- the election did have one very important calling card.  Resource royalties.

Alberta is the land of Oil.  Especially tar sands oil.  More expensive to take out of the ground, but one of the largest land bound reserves on the planet.  Top three I think.

I believe that the royalty- and feel free to correct if I am mistaken- the current royalty the province demands is about 17.5%.  Oil companies, naturally, are whinging about paying that much.  The Wildrose party, apparently wanted to REDUCE this royalty to promote investment, saying that companies might not do business in the province because it was expensive.

Expensive?  Got news for them.  So's oil.

The oil is in the province.  If the corporations want it, they'll do business, and at $90+ per barrel, they will still be fighting for the rights to set up shop.

A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.  The future wealth of the province depends upon the management of those dollars.  The fact is, those rates should be increased.  Failure to increase them means you are throwing the future of your children away.  Oil is a finite resource.  What are you gonna do when its gone?

Thankfully. the Wildrose party lost.  But the current government needs to do something about it.  The Wealth that belongs to the people of Alberta is bleeding out.  This should be stopped.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Public Liability vs Personal Responsibility

Australia is getting bad.  Just the other day when my car broke down, I had to call RACQ (AAA equivalent); the guy who comes tells me that I had to stay on the sidewalk while he hooked everything up, because the government has made him responsible for my actions.  He was publicly liable for my safety.


Since when did someone else become responsible for something I do?  I thought I became responsible for the things I do when I hit the age of 16.

Society here needs to re-examine the notion of personal responsibility.

Lets take the above situation.  If, for some reason, I stepped out into traffic and got clobbered by a passing semi, he becomes responsible?  He didn't step out.  I did.  What a way to commit suicide.  He shows up.  I step in front of a bus- get cleaned up and my family still gets to sue.  Its ridiculous.

Let's take another example.  I own a bar.  Guy comes to bar, gets smashed, walks home.  On the way home, he trips over a crack in the sidewalk and breaks his ankle.  Whose fault is this?

Apparently its mine.  I served him the drinks.  Alcohol impairs judgement, so he is not.  Yet, the guy was sober when he came in.  Sober enough to understand the possible consequences of drinking.  Not arranging for a safe way home, and choosing to engage in it anyway is a decision he made.  The responsibility should be his.

Example Three.  I own a bar (a romantic notion, but not one I think I'd want).  Like I do every night, I lock the place up and make it as secure as possible.  Next day, I come to work, and in the ceiling of the cold beer room there is a great big hole and on the floor, a guy with a broken leg.  Guess what?

He gets to sue.  He breaks into my business, destroys property, but I'm at fault because he hurt himself.

What kind of twisted reality is this?

This guy would have known the possible risks of ceiling entry, and chose to do it.  But it happened on my property so I'm at fault.

I know this isn't just Australia.  In Alberta, if I owned an acreage, and some moron was snowmobiling on my property and hit a buried tree, he would get to plan the lawsuit while flying through the air before hitting the nearest tree.  This could happen whether or not the guy had permission to be there.  But its not like I begged the guy to ride on property, or even gave him permission.  All I did was buy the acreage.

I didn't buy the skidoo.  I didn't ask him to be on my property.  I didn't put a gun to his head and force him to ride on unfamiliar land.  The guy did all of this by himself. Is not the fault for the accident also his?

In the USA, Phil Hartman's family sues the doctor because the prescription drugs Phil's wife was taking reacted poorly with cocaine.  Yet Brynn was, without consulting the physician, self medicating with illegal substances- substances she chose to take, and similarly chose to keep quiet about it.  Yet Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer was successfully sued.

Why has personal responsibility fallen by the wayside?  Why are we content to legislate away responsibility?  How does the guilty become a victim?

The whole concept of shifting blame is sickening.  It needs to be stopped.

If we have the right to live free then we also must be responsible for our actions, and I wish to be free, therefore, for my actions, I am responsible.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Shit Happens

Please let me apologize for not blogging for a bit.  I did intend a few days away after the AtoZ, but admittedly, it got a little out of hand.

My reasons are simple.  I was not anywhere I could access the internet on anything but my mobile phone.  I am not going to even try to do a blog from a mobile.  Its too complicated and would be full of errors- not that my posts are always letter perfect, I'll be the first to admit that, but I would spend more time correcting the post than actually writing it.

You see, I was in hospital.

No nothing too serious.  Just cellulitis- a really nasty rapid spreading skin infection that causes pussy blisters and swelling.  The treatment consists of 4 IV doses of flucloxacillin day over several days- a powerful antibiotic, that, when taken through an IV, burns my veins to crap, causing swelling and pain.

Immediately  upon my release, I had to take The Wife to hospital for scheduled surgery.

Even both of my cars have been sick.  My commodore for 4 new tyres and my Honda for a fuel pump- we're still waiting on the results of that by the way.

The Wife gets home yesterday but is readmitted today because of a post op infection.

And I've temporarily turned into a chain smoking grumpy man- as opposed to being merely grumpy.  I can't even get drunk because that will render the antibiotics I am orally taking ineffective.

So what's a man to do when his starts spinning out of control?

Be there for his wife, and when there's time- light another cigarette.  Because next week should be better, right?