Commentary: January 2013 Archives

Time Enough for Love

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Last night I *finally* finished reading Time Enough for Love, by Robert Heinlein.  I started this on Stu's ebook reader when we were in Japan.  But with not catching the bus as much, and the fact that it was on an ereader (not nearly as friendly to read on), I just took forever to get through it.

I've actually read the book before - probably in about 1999 or 2000, along with Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers.  All I remembered from the first time that it was three stories in one book, and there was a lot of interesting commentary on the human condition. My favourite quote from the book was "Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things" - it was my email signature for years :)

So now that's done, and I can finally give Stu back his ebook reader!

Ten Years

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From Wikipedia:

Saturday, 18 January 2003 dawned as a hot, windy and dry day. Temperatures as high as 40 °C (104 °F) and winds exceeding 60 kilometres (37 miles) were the main weather features of the day. Two fires continued to burn out of control in the Namadgi National Park, with the entire park, along with the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve being closed due to the threat. A second fire in the Brindabella Ranges was threatening to break containment lines.

By 9am on the morning of Saturday 18, burned leaves appeared on lawns in houses in the Weston Creek, Kambah and Tuggeranong suburbs bordering the western extremity of Canberra.

Throughout the day, the fires burned closer to the fringes of Canberra's suburbs, and there was no sign of authorities gaining control of the situation. By mid-afternoon, it had become apparent that the fires posed an immediate threat to the settlements near Canberra such as Uriarra and Stromlo as well as houses on the city's urban bushland interface. A state of emergency was declared at 2.45pm by the ACT's Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope.

The fires reached the urban area at 3pm.

By 3.50pm houses were alight in the suburbs of Duffy and Chapman, with the loss of a home in Holder soon after.

Due to fire damage to infrastructure and extreme winds bringing down powerlines across the area, large parts of the city lost power. Fires also started in Giralang because of powerline problems. Evacuation centres were set up at four schools - Canberra College, Ginninderra College, Erindale College and Narrabundah College. A dark cloud hung over the city, and though it was not in danger, Parliament House was closed.

By 5pm, houses were reported destroyed in Duffy, Chapman, Kambah, Holder and Rivett, as well as houses in the small forestry settlement of Uriarra. It was later found that the first casualty of the fires, an elderly woman named Dorothy McGrath, died at the nearby Stromlo Forestry Settlement. Escape for residents was hampered by poor warning and the location of the settlement in the pine forest. Fires spread through the Kambah Pool area and into the suburb of Kambah causing damage to many homes and one of the ACT's primary Urban and Rural fire stations.

Fire spread through parkland, crossing the Tuggeranong Parkway, Athllon Drive and finally engulfing Mount Taylor. Within an hour, houses were also burning in Torrens on the slopes of Mount Taylor and Weston. The fires by now had inflicted severe damage to the city's infrastructure. Power supplies were cut to several suburbs. These outages affected the Emergency Services Bureau's own headquarters in Curtin and the Canberra Hospital (running on back-up generators) which was under intense pressure from people suffering burns and smoke inhalation. In Curtin, the ESA headquarters was in danger from the fires. Water, gas and landline communications was unavailable to several suburbs due to damage to supply lines and city reservoirs. Mobile telecommunications were severally affected due to increased traffic, causing serious disruption to mobile phone networks and the ESA's own radio and dispatch networks.

By 10pm, one of the four evacuation centres in Canberra was completely full, and others were filling up quickly. Reports of looting also began to arrive from the damaged areas. While the very worst of the fires had passed, the situation was still far from stable, and going into Sunday 19 January, houses were still ablaze across numerous suburbs.

I was still living in Sydney in 2003.  When this blog was a baby, I did comment on it.

For me, I was only affected by the things that were gone, things like Mt Stromlo observatory, and the pine forests (I still miss those!).

For Stu, his sister Annie was down at the coast for the day with husband Stu and baby Noah.  They returned to Canberra in the afternoon to see smoke over the city.  The only news reports they were hearing were to "return to their homes". But given they lived in Duffy they thought better of it and took Noah to Scott's. Stu was able to get back to their house. They lost their garage, but luckily for them a neighbour was at home and stayed to defend their house and saved it. Canberra was never the same for them after that, and they moved out to Yass for several years.

For my Canberra readers (most of you lurkers), I'd love to hear your stories.  Where were you that day?  How did it affect you?

So the London Burgers and Beers in Belconnen *finally* got their liquour licence, so we went there for Aquila's birthday lunch.  I had a portuguese chicken salad ($13) which turned out to be bigger than the burgers!  (it seemed)

Was quite tasty, and the boys liked their burgers.

Although they didn't have any British ales, which was a little disappointing, so I just had a cider.

London Burgers and Beers

Scary Dream

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I almost *never* have scary dreams.  The last time I had one was the night before I started at my current job over five years ago.  Before that it was even longer since I'd had one. Last night I had a dream in which I felt scared.  Things that go bump in the night type scared.  Firstly odd sounds, but I don't remember too much of that.  Then there was this crackly buzzing, sounded a bit like a geiger counter, but more regular.  Stu and I were in the bedroom hearing it come closer to us.  Opened the bedroom door but nothing to be seen and the sound sounded it like it was coming from inside the room, but no matter where we looked we couldn't find the source.  Then I woke up, and Stu's machine / breathing was making that exact noise.  Freaky. 

The Hobbit

Or perhaps I should say "an unexpected pleasure" - because that's what it was.

After hearing various reviewers saying how long and slow and drawn out and boring it was, one review talking about how the hobbit spent at least fifteen minutes of screen time deciding what to pack for his journey (I'm not kidding - I actually read that somewhere), I was expecting to fall asleep through it.

But as it turned out, I really liked it.  I thought the pacing was actually pretty good, and while maybe *some* scenes dragged out a little, it really wasn't as bad as I'd been expecting.

So yeah, definitely enjoyed, but probably more so because of lowered expectations to begin with.

Although it's still hard for me to get past Bilbo being the "porn star" from Love Actually :)

So Emergency Services are predicting a firestorm tomorrow.  Which is particularly ominous considering that it was on January 8 in 1994 that bushfires hit my suburb in Sydney.

So even though we're not living in an area considered to be any sort of risk, there was the whole "reserve across the road going up in flames" over Christmas thing, which has made me all the more paranoid.

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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