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Year View| Summary| Highlights| February 2003 (Month View)
01.02.2003 – Saturday 1 February – US space shuttle Columbia disintegrates
- • Mum and I walked down to the markets in the morning. I bought a piece of cake and an icy-cup, and then a UHT strawberry flavoured milk from the shop on the way home. Flavoured UHT milk is not a good idea. I felt sick after drinking it.
- • My web server was upgraded. Unfortunately the upgrade didn’t coexist peacefully with the extensions I require to perform XSL transformations on my XML files, so my journal has been offline since 5:09 PM.
- • I had an argument with lulu on chat. Then Mum and I watched “L.A. Confidential”. I enjoyed it, but Mum didn’t. We then managed to have an argument about why I enjoyed it and she didn’t. After that, I joined chat again and found my website still wasn’t working, so I had an argument with my web host.
02.02.2003 – Sunday 2 February
- • It is another hot day, so I’m taking it easy.
- • My site has been down since 5:09 PM yesterday evening, almost exactly 24 hours. HTML and PHP work, there’s just no XSL support. They’re trying another compile now, and hopefully this one will work. I’m using Sablotron under PHP. Sablotron is a fast, compact and portable XML toolkit implementing XSLT 1.0, DOM Level2 and XPath 1.0. Needless to say, I’m not overly impressed with the response time, but I am impressed with the level of support I’ve received considering I’m using the budget “no support” plan, which offers support only via forums. It hasn’t helped that one of Myacen’s data centres in New Jersey have been experiencing power problems (so much for their backup power, apparently the third floor backup power failed as well...), and that this is where the support forum was hosted. Add to that the fact that the support tech who was supposed to be on duty in Australia also had a power failure (which is heading into its ninth hour now) and his backup is operating from a dial-up modem as his DSL modem is away for repairs. Call it bad timing, I guess.
- • Mum and I watched “What Women Want” – an amusing comedy for all the family, starring some actors and stuff.
03.02.2003 – Monday 3 February
- • I enrolled in some uni courses today. I’ve no idea what I’m doing, but so far it goes: Introduction to Programming, Internet Interface Design, Mathematical Foundations, Discrete Mathematics, Information Technology Project, Introduction to Information Systems and Calculus and Linear Algebra I. All in all, it sounds a bit too mathematical for my liking.
- • I went for a walk down to the shop, buying a watermelon and pineapple icy-pole, and then heading down to the Home Rule Bridge. I met Ric while I was walking down, and seeing as there weren’t any togless women swimming, I walked home again, and then up to Dad’s. I met Mum on her way home with Jean just before I got to Dad’s and got a lift the last part of the way. I stayed up there until dark, walking home and having a shower, and then phoning Silas – but he wasn’t home. Mum and I then watched “The Man Who Sued God” – not the most inspiring movie I’ve seen, but amusing nonetheless. I think I need to improve my writing, I may not have anything to write about but I doubt anyone could manage to write in a more uninspiring manner.
- • In totally unrelated and irrelevant news: Jas got the PC Shan built for her today, and is apparently setting it up as I type.
04.02.2003 – Tuesday 4 February
- • My lung was a bit sore. I hope its ok. It has been good so far – I’d really hate for anything to go wrong now, just before I move to Brisbane.
- • Ella went to the doctor’s. Apparently she has severe tonsillitis, and they did a blood test for Glandular fever. She’s on antibiotics now, and hopefully it will clear up. It was too hot to do much else so I re-watched “L.A. Confidential” to see if I could understand the plot properly this time.
- • Mum went down to the creek to start the pump. It wouldn’t. I went down and did a cursory check. Everything seemed ok except that the pump wouldn’t run. It will start with the choke on, as usual, but will stall as soon as the choke is turned off. Hopefully we can get it fixed before we run out of water.
- • An old childhood friend of Mum’s phoned. Apparently she’s now in Cairns, and has heard that Mum is also up here – fairly close considering she was in southern NSW before. Shortly after, Silas returned my call from yesterday. He’s still got a bit of work to do on the bathroom he’s building in Bloomfield, but is hoping to have finished the majority of it by Thursday. I may phone him Thursday night and possibly spend the weekend down at his place.
- • I’m a bit hungry – I should go inside and see what there is to eat.
05.02.2003 – Wednesday 5 February
- • I had a quiet morning. Dad cleaned the carbie on the pump, but it still wouldn’t run. Then, typically, it just ran. I guess we’ll have to wait until next time to see if it still runs.
- • I went for a walk down to the shop, meeting Shan who happened to be there buying a drink. I bought a Hava-Heart ice cream, talked for a while and then walked home – and that about sums up my achievements for today. For some reason I got very tired and had a lie down, inevitably falling asleep for nearly an hour. When I woke I went on chat, and started talking to a friend, who had not long ago woken up and was getting ready for her workday. Halfway through our conversation, and for no apparent reason, she started to ignore me.
- • Pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ’cause there’s bugger all down here on earth.
06.02.2003 – Thursday 6 February
- • Dad, Mum and I drove to town to do our shopping. Nothing interesting happened. I got out a few DVD’s in what is starting to become a habit. “Lethal Weapon 3” and its sequel “Lethal Weapon 4”, “True Lies”, “The Blues Brothers” and one of Mum’s picks – “Chocolat”. When I got home I found that “Lethal Weapon 4” (which is a double sided disc) wasn’t recognized by my drive, and “True Lies” wouldn’t read past 50%. I wasn’t very pleased. I’ll have to buy a new DVD drive, it seems this one isn’t working as well as I’d like anymore. Shan’s PC is in even worse shape – he’s got one hard drive almost dead, and it’s the drive he boots off. I drove over to his place and made his other drive bootable but for some reason his PC just reset itself with that drive as the master. We brought his DVD drive over here and used that to copy the DVD’s to my PC – without any problem, then took my hard drive over to his place to see if his PC would boot from that one – which it didn’t. I arrived back home just on nine and phoned Silas, but his Mum answered and said he’d gone to bed so I’ll have to give him a call in the morning. Speaking of morning, I better get to bed before it finds me.
07.02.2003 – Friday 7 February
- • I phoned Silas and arranged to phone again tonight. The day then passed, another hot day it was too. I went for a walk out the Home Rule road to the half way spot, passing the shop on the way and buying an ice cream and some chocolate. I sat down the creek at the half way spot for a while and let the little fish nibble my feet. They seemed to like it when I stirred up the stuff that grows on the rocks for them to eat. Thousands of them came and nibbled around. I met Jade, Shan and Ella just on their way home from the house next to Jack’s when I was walking home. They drove down to the Home Rule Bridge and we sat there and talked for a while. Ella was practising her driving; I think it might be the first time she’s been allowed to drive on the road.
- • I rang Silas and tentatively arranged to go fishing tomorrow, weather permitting. Mum and I then watched “Lethal Weapon 4”. We both enjoyed it, and that’s all that matters. I’ve now got to pretend to be sleepy and go to bed.
08.02.2003 – Saturday 8 February – I go to Silas’s
- • Silas rang in the morning to let me know they weren’t going fishing early, so I could come down at a civilised time. I arranged to meet him at Bloomfield Wharf at ten o’clock. I packed a few things and left here at nine thirty, arriving just on ten. The road is fairly bad at the moment. I managed to avoid all the large rocks and didn’t fall in any huge ruts and nothing’s flooded so I guess it’s not too bad by Bloomfield standards. It is something the city folk who buy shiny four-wheel-drive cars should see though. Silas showed up shortly after, and we drove (in his car) down to the fuel place and got some fuel, then up to the Ayton store and bought some food, then boated down to Silas’s place. I managed to get quite sunburnt on the way.
- • Silas and I messed around fixing outboards and bits and pieces. We went out to a close reef and did some snorkelling, where Silas speared a fair sized (5 to 6 kg) but unknown bright orange speckled fish. The jellyfish were so thick in places that visibility was down to about 2 metres. I saw at least ten types of jellyfish ranging from tiny worm-like things to quite complex and colourful ones. Unfortunately most of them seem to bite.
- • Someone phoned Silas to let him know the interior light in my car was on. It has never worked before; I guess the bumpy road fixed it somehow. This was a bit of a problem as it would have already been on ten hours or so, and by the time we got there tomorrow evening the battery would almost certainly be flat. It is about fifteen minutes from Silas’s to Bloomfield Wharf on a good day, and longer in pitch dark at low tide trying to avoid the reef. I don’t know how he does it, but he managed to miss all coral in the pitch black, although we nearly hit a log and a submerged boat. There was a lot of phosphorescence, which makes a nice backdrop against some lightning in a storm out to sea. To make matters a bit more interesting, after I’d turned the light off and we were on our way back it began to rain – heavily. Not only was it now pitch black, but we could no longer see any lights on shore. Silas headed straight out to sea until he was sure we must be around most of the reef, and then using the angle of the waves as a guide, headed back towards where he hoped land would be – and specifically his beach. He was pretty close, when the rain eased off enough for us to once again see lights, the light’s we saw were those of his neighbours, so we headed to the next beach down, navigating through the reef with the help of some bicycle reflectors on a stick and a torch. I think I might smash the bulb in the interior light tomorrow. After our ordeal, Silas and I went down to their creek and turned their turbine on, as it is now flowing again. This is the first time the creek has flown in a while. Then we had hot cocoa and went to sleep.
09.02.2003 – Sunday 9 February – I return from Silas’s
- • It rained during the night. Silas and I woke had toast for breakfast, and it started to rain again. Silas phoned his friend Jamie to see if he wanted to go fishing, but we decided to wait and see what the weather did. Silas and I climbed up the creek to move some piping in case it flooded, and then climbed up a gully to chop some wood, getting soaked by the rain in the process.
- • Jamie and Melanie arrived and we had lunch, discussing whether to go fishing or not as it was still raining. We decided to go, so packed a few things and headed down to the boats. We headed out to Hope Island, trawling a bit on the way and watching the rain pass down from Cooktown through Rossville, past Cedar Bay and down towards Bloomfield. A few hours later we arrived on Hope Island, which is actually two islands. The larger island doesn’t have any ground, it’s all mangroves, so we stopped on the smaller island and ate a small afternoon tea, after Silas forgot to bring any matches or cups. Luckily he can make fire and we found two plastic cup-like things and shared them. I jogged around the island, and then we headed back home. We did some more trawling, and stopped for a while to line fish, then it began to get dark. All up they caught two marlin, three cod and many small fish.
- • We motored back towards Bloomfield as it got slowly darker and rainier. Once we got to Silas’s I ran up and got my bag and left for the wharf with Jamie and Melanie. It was nearly nine o’clock by the time I got to the car. I was a bit worried that it may not start after leaving the light on last night, and when I first turned the engine over it only tried for a second or two and then died, but (much to my relief) when I tried a second time the car started straight away. I think I was pretty fortunate as the battery must have been fairly flat to have only turned the motor over a few times and stopped. I drove home very slowly, peering through the foggy windscreen and the rain and mist at the ruts and potholes in the road. I got home around 9:30 and had some dinner.
- • I am now very sunburnt and have a sore back and butt.
10.02.2003 – Monday 10 February – Shan buys his first car
- • Shan told me via IRC that he’s bought a new car. That was where he was yesterday – in Mareeba purchasing it. He has a ’94 model Commodore sedan, dark blue with tinted windows and raised suspension. It looks nice and seems to go well too. I forget how much it cost him, but it seemed cheap for a ’94 model. He drove over in the evening and I had a look and took a few photos. He also got to see Kylie-Anne while he was in Mareeba so I’m sure that made him happy too. I’ve got itchy bumps on my neck and hands from all the jelly fish which bit me when I was at Silas’s, but my arms aren’t peeling yet.
- • I watched “True Lies”. I’ve seen it a few times now and I still really enjoy it for some reason.
11.02.2003 – Tuesday 11 February
- • I phoned Centrelink to see what was going on with my repayment issue. They were short staffed from flooding, and had me phone back at 3 o’clock – which I did. No one knew anything so I’m to phone again Thursday morning. Apparently Shan fell from a roof or through a roof or something similar today and is all sore and unable to walk.
- • I’ve just finished having an argument on IRC about time. If there’s one thing which is fixed, exact and unarguable... that would have to be time. It started out as a discussion about daylight saving time and its effects on poultry farmers. I quoted a poultry farmer from an article on the history of daylight saving time which I happened to be reading. One of the women in the channel disagreed. Ironically her boyfriend is a poultry farmer and she got him to come in and tell me how daylight saving time doesn’t affect poultry. I made the mistake of pointing out that the quote was about it affecting poultry farmers, not their poultry, and he began to tell me all about time. Apparently it comes from an atomic clock. When it is daylight saving time, the clock is changed one hour, then when daylight saving time finishes, it is changed back one hour. I mentioned the sun – but apparently the time comes from the moon and the sun. This was too much to bear, so I had to point out that the moon plays absolutely no part in timekeeping. Our instructive poultry farmer then informed me that months come from the moon. I pointed out that calendar months aren’t the same length as a lunar month, and was told that months should all be 28 days long. When told that a year isn’t an exact multiple of 28 (although it is pretty close), I was advised, in no uncertain terms, that the year we have is based on the Julian calendar and has nothing to do with the sun or the moon, but that it should be based on the moon. I reminded our friend how the earth goes around the sun, and, in an attempt to simplify such a mystifying concept a little, pointed out how summer comes at the same time each year – I think it was when he stated that the climate is changing and asked (with the attitude of a man who knows he’s clinched an argument) how I’d explain the hotter periods in March/April that I gave up.
- • Mum and I watched “The Blues Brothers”. It’s a good laugh and we enjoyed it. I’m not really a blues fan, but the movie was fun. I’m sure the police learnt a lot about high-speed chases from that movie.
12.02.2003 – Wednesday 12 February
- • Blah. People suck. I don’t like people. I prefer animals, trees, plants, even rocks.
- • Mum and I drove to town this morning. We did shopping and boring stuff like that. I checked freight prices to Brisbane.
- • Shan drove over in the evening and we talked for a while. He took the DVD’s which Mum and I got in town today.
- • Mum and I watched half of “Terminator”. That was all I could stand. Firstly Mum kept muttering comments about some interview she’d seen with Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he said he was a nice family man – but the movie was violent so obviously it was all lies. Then we had a large and voluble argument about her feet on the knee rest on a chair. This ended in Mum storming outside swearing and driving off, and me watching the rest of the movie. I then managed to get banned from a few channels on AustNet and piss off a few people. I have decided that I am not nice and that I don’t get on well with people so will avoid them. I can get on well with people in a professional manner, I have no problem with that, but forget friendships – people are too stupid.
- Late Night
- • I am supposed to get up early tomorrow, but I have no alarm clock. I’m not in a sleeping mood either.
13.02.2003 – Thursday 13 February
- • I phoned Centrelink and found out that they’ve not received anything from BSDE, so phoned BSDE. They said they’d fax something to Centrelink. I hope this gets this sorted out, as I’m now having my payments docked.
- • I went for a walk out to the “Half-Way Spot” on the Home Rule Road, buying an icy-pole at the shop on the way.
- • Mum and I watched the ending of “Terminator” which she didn’t see last night, then we had dinner, followed by “Payback”. Robert messaged me that he’s got my DVD drive and Shan’s hard drive, so I payed the postage and he’ll post them tomorrow morning.
14.02.2003 – Friday 14 February – Valentine’s Day
- • Shan drove down to Ravenshoe to see his girlfriend. He’ll be back Monday night apparently.
- • Mum and I watched “Chocolat”, a heart-warming (and almost certainly fattening) romantic comedy. It made a pleasant change from all the Schwarzenegger action.
- • It has begun raining, quite heavily for a while but easing up a little now.
15.02.2003 – Saturday 15 February
- • The power just failed, and auto-recovery didn’t auto-recover what I just typed. Typical. Anyway, I was saying that nothing’s happened today. I slept in. I went for a walk to the Home Rule Bridge. Mum and I watched “Ordinary Decent Criminal”. A good movie. Entertaining, amusing, good plot – we both enjoyed it. I better save this before the power fails again.
16.02.2003 – Sunday 16 February
- • I had another quiet day. Mum went to town and got out “Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Ring”, which is still an overnight hire. I had a midday nap. I went for my daily walk down to the Home Rule Bridge. We watched “True Lies” – and that about sums up another day in the life of Ned Martin. I wouldn’t mind one of those Harrier jets for personal use; although I’ve got a feeling they’d have a nice sized fuel bill. Half way through the movie a large beetle walked up onto the mouse wheel and paused the movie. I couldn’t help but wonder how city folk would handle this remote life. The beetle is over three inches long and looks remarkably like Darth Vader. Earlier a large snake-like lizard (which Mum mistook for a snake) startled Mum by running out from under the stove while she was cooking. This reminds me of a while back, a few years ago during the wet season. My sister, Bianca and I used to go tubing down the creek when it was flooded. This time we took along another girl – Gillian. She had just arrived from Melbourne a few weeks before, having lived all her life in the city. Once in the water she was too scared to get out without Bianca. There were too many scary things that could be out there. Anything from killer cows to woman-eating beetles, snakes, lizards, grasshoppers, biting ants... to her it was just too scary to be in the bush alone. To us it wasn’t even bush, it was just the creek bank, right near the road and not at all scary. I have been “out bush”, several hours from anywhere else, and hurrying home through the gathering dusk hoping to make it back while I can still see where I’m going. I’ve never yet got stuck out bush, but it has been close. A few times I’ve had to feel my way back along the road once I get out of the jungle. After that I took to taking a torch. I’ve even been a few hours into the jungle after midnight with only small maglights – I doubt a lot of city folk could handle that. The thick darkness, the omnipresent rustles, the myriads of unseen movements all around – a dingo howls in the distance, sounding worse than any movie ghost. A catbird screams overhead, so like a woman being murdered that they still startle me – and something large rustles by in the bush. Glowing mushrooms light up the tree trunks, whole areas of ground glow softly in some areas. Fireflies move through the trees like lost souls, sometimes flashing, sometimes staying lit and sometimes flying up close and bright – they can be bright enough to read by. I got good at walking in the dark. I could sense where a root would be (occasionally before I tripped); sometimes I would even manage to see the tiny but deadly wait-a-while tendrils in moonbeams which penetrated dimly through the thick canopy, before they could rip into me. I was always worried that one would get me in the eye and puncture my eyeball, as I had plenty get me on the forehead. I took to wearing a beret to keep them out of my hair. The spikes have a nasty habit of snapping off under the skin and going septic. I guess I must have been crazy. No sane person would walk around in the jungle at 2 AM. But I enjoyed it.
- • It is raining a little. It has, in fact, been wet for a few weeks now but we still haven’t had any flooding and our rainfall is down quite a lot on the average. If we don’t get more rain soon it looks to be a grim dry season, with the water table already low from the past years lower than average wet seasons and the almost non-existent wet season last year.
17.02.2003 – Monday 17 February
- • Mum drove Jean into town. I slept in.
- • Mum came home. I went for a walk to the Home Rule Bridge as per usual. Mum brought home some mail from Centrelink – the review of my repayment debt which I requested has been successful. Due to information sent from BSDE, Centrelink have reversed their previous decision and will reimburse the money they reclaimed. This is good news for me, in a time where I really need as much money as I can get.
- • Shan got home from his girlfriends place. Mum and I watched “Sneakers”. I remember now that I have seen it before. It’s not overly memorable or inspiring, but I’ve seen worse. After staying up all night last night, I should probably try to get some sleep.
18.02.2003 – Tuesday 18 February
- • I began the unpleasant task of sorting out all my stuff.
- • I drove over to Shan’s and stayed there until dark.
- • Mum and I watched “The Debt Collector”. What a movie. I have nothing good to say about it whatsoever. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and has one wondering how they got the funding. Depressing, unpleasant, violent, incoherent – the plot fails to entice, the visuals disappear into a blackness of low-light compression artefacts, the soundtrack was so inspiring that I don’t remember it. I highly recommend this movie – for any aspiring movie producers. Learn from your mistakes.
19.02.2003 – Wednesday 19 February
- • It rained on and off today. We’re not getting a great deal of water, but when it does rain it has been coming in short, sharp downpours, and just cloudy and wet for the rest of the time.
- • Shan and Ella drove over and picked me up and we went to town. Shan had to go to the court house and change his car over into his name. I got an application for Austudy in the mail, which I’ll have to read tomorrow. We got a few DVD’s out from the video store – “Thirteen Days”, “Eraser”, “Kiss of the Dragon”, “Eyes Wide Shut”, “The Fast and the Furious” and “The Art of War”. We went down to Ricki’s to see if Jade was there, but as she wasn’t we picked up Ricki and went into town to wait for Jade. We then drove down the wharf and had hot chips, driving home after.
- • I began to copy the DVD’s onto the hard drive so that I could take them over to Shan’s tomorrow for him to watch. So far I’ve not been able to copy “Eyes Wide Shut”, “The Fast and the Furious” or “The Art of War”. I’m not very impressed as I bet Shan’s drive will read them all with no problems. I can only hope my new DVD drive arrives very soon and that it works better than this one – preferably before I have to return these DVD’s to the store. On a non-technical note, there have been myriads of mosquitos over the last few days and I mistakenly left the caravan door ajar and some have gotten in and are biting me.
20.02.2003 – Thursday 20 February – First flood
- • I am so very tired. I had a wet day, ending up getting the car stuck on the wrong side of a flooding creek.
- • I phoned Centrelink and found out that the Austudy application forms which they had sent me only apply to people over 24 years old. I need Youth Allowance forms, which they said they will send poste haste.
- • I walked up to Cassidy’s and installed a new hard drive on one of their PC’s and fixed the graphics problem on their other. I pulled the card in and out a few times, seated it firmly, and it worked – typical for up here. While I was up at Cassidy’s it rained, heavily. I drove out to Joneses once Shan got home from work. The water was fairly well below the bottom of the bridge when I crossed it. I stayed out at Home Rule for a bit over an hour talking to Shan and dropping a few things off for Ric, then drove back home just as it was getting dark. When I got to the Home Rule Bridge I was surprised to find the water a few feet over it. I reversed the car into a small clearing above the bridge and walked across before the water got too high cantankerous. Fortunately for me Brett had just dropped in to check the level of the creek on his way home from town and he gave me a lift home.
- • Mum and I watched “Eraser”. It is yet another Schwarzenegger movie, much like most other Schwarzenegger movies – I enjoyed it. I was going to walk down to the creek and see if I’d be able to get the car back across the bridge yet, but it began to rain a little and the thought of the metre high pile of sticks that I’d have to clear away from the bridge in the dark wasn’t really all that appealing. I’ll just hope it doesn’t rain too much during the night and get the car in the morning.
- • It is raining, but not too heavily. My computer just froze – fortunately for me auto-recovery actually worked this time. I’m off to bed.
21.02.2003 – Friday 21 February – I go to Cooktown
- • Silas arrived without phoning me first due to a small misunderstanding. When I phoned him on Wednesday he got the impression that I wasn’t coming to town with him, so didn’t bother to phone first – so I had to run around getting ready while Silas checked his email. We drove into town. I checked my mail. The DVD drive and Shan’s hard drive had arrived, as did an overdue notice for a few videos and such from BSDE, which I’m fairly sure I have already returned. I met Sarah at the supermarket. I used the Internet at the library for an hour and then went up to her place. I went down to Ricki’s later in the evening and we went for a walk through the bush and along the beach, ending up at the wharf where we had chips for dinner. I slept at Sarah’s.
22.02.2003 – Saturday 22 February – I stayed the night in Cooktown
- • I went down to Peter’s and said goodbye to him, then made my way down to the markets where I met Sarah and Vince. We stayed there an hour or so, then I went walking and visiting a few people. I bought some lunch from the supermarket and visited Ricki and Sarah at various times and had a shower or two as it was so hot. I also managed to get a bit sunburnt.
- • I met Silas driving by on his way to visit some friends, so I got a lift towards Ricki’s place, where we once again went for a walk down to the beach and arrived at the wharf, also meeting Kay who was taxi driving but managed to spend some time talking.
- • Ricki and I had some potato wedges from the shop down at the wharf for dinner, and sat down there talking for a while. We walked back up to Vince and Sarah’s where I slept the night.
23.02.2003 – Sunday 23 February – I return home from Cooktown
- • Vince and Sarah went spear fishing. I sat and waited for Silas. Once Silas arrived, he and I went to the supermarket, then down to the bakery where I bought a vegetarian pasty. Then we headed back home, via the service station. Silas checked and sent a few emails from my PC and then headed back to Bloomfield.
- • I tried phoning Shan but the phone was first engaged, and then rung out. However, Shan phoned me. His PC has died. It has some type of hardware error at random (and quite frequent) times. I drove over and took my old PC over. We stripped Shan’s PC down to its components and put a few of them in my old PC and set his up how it originally was when he bought it so he can take it to Cairns for warranty repair. I also gave Shan his new hard drive. Jade and Ella joined us for a swim up at the Blue Marker, which was rather cold but flowing fast enough to be enjoyable, although there were a lot of antelopes trying to get into our mouths. Not long after, Shan and I drove up to Jim’s with Ric to see what was wrong with a new PC which he had bought from Cash Converters. The monitor was out of focus, and at around $90 and only 15 inch, it wasn’t cheap either. The computer itself was an IBM desktop of some sort, and there was also a printer and scanner. The scanner had no power supply, so was useless. I don’t think he got a bargain – far from it. After we got back to Joneses Craig wanted some tobacco, so Jade, Shan, Ella and I drove down to the Lions Den Hotel. Unfortunately they don’t sell tobacco anymore, only cigarettes, so we drove on into Cooktown – where we bought a tub of ice cream and ate that on the way home. It was a nice evening and a nice way to spend it.
- • I drove home and installed my new DVD drive, accidentally set it to region 2 (thus wasting one of the 5 region changes allowed) and tried copying the scratched discs I’d been unable to copy with my old drive. This drive at least reads the discs – which is more than the old one would do, but it still couldn’t perform any miracles. A scratched disc is a scratched disc, and once the data has gone, it’s gone. It’s now rather late and I’ve finished watching “Eyes Wide Shut” which, sadly, was too scratched to watch completely, and I think I missed some rather important scenes as it didn’t make a great deal of sense. I suppose it is bedtime now.
24.02.2003 – Monday 24 February
- • I’ve decided to write this backwards, just because. I went to bed, and then Dad, Mum and I watched “The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring”. They both appeared to enjoy it. It really is a long movie, and very good. I was engrossed the whole way through. Shortly after, I drove over to Joneses. I had to hurry as we wanted to watch the movie before it was too late. I took my old DVD and CD-RW drives over so Shan can put them back in my old PC when he’s going to send it down. I also picked up my old demo DVD which my old DVD drive wouldn’t read. I’m pleased to announce that the new drive has no problems with it. Then I spent the afternoon watching “The Fast and the Furious”. The disc was badly scratched in one part so I had to skip over that, but I enjoyed it although it’s very obviously aimed at car enthusiasts. After that I spent a lot of time messing around on my PC doing not much, thinking about packing and what to pack and how and why and when and where and so on and so forth ad infinitum – except I did eventually finish. Afterwards I phoned both Cooktown Overnight Express and BSDE. BSDE about my loaned calculator and video’s which they say I haven’t returned (and they would be right), and Cooktown Overnight Express about sending some stuff to Brisbane. It’s all drawing very close now, leaving Thursday – I better start packing soon. Next, of course, I woke up.
25.02.2003 – Tuesday 25 February
- • Well... I’ve finally started packing, or at least sorting stuff.
- • I spent most of the morning doing not much.
- • I drove over to Joneses to say goodbye. I stayed for a while talking to the kids, then said my goodbyes and left.
- The Plan
- • Tonight I mess around doing computer backup and things like that and then go to bed. Tomorrow morning Mum wakes me up earlyish. I put my big new monitor in its box ready to send off. I then sort out all my junk, basically everything I want to take which isn’t vital. This could take some time. I’ll basically just be going through everything in here and putting what I want to take into a pile and throwing the rest back. I then put this all in another box. We then drive to town and send these boxes to Brisbane. We go to town and back as quickly as possible, maybe say another goodbye to Sarah if she’s home. Once I get home, I then pack the vital things which I am taking with me in the car. These are my PC, one of my old smaller monitors, keyboard etc, clothes, toiletries etc. I then go up to Dad’s and spend the evening with him. Then I’ll go to bed. In the morning I’ll pack the last few things which I couldn’t pack before, my toothbrush and all that and wait for Silas to come. He said he’d try to come "early". I have a feeling this just means "not late" and he’s not likely to turn up too early, but he’ll try to come before lunch... but I don’t know. He may very well come early. I’m leaving everything right to the last moment. If something comes up tomorrow that I find and have to sort through and it ends up taking ages then I’ll have a problem. In one way it sort of doesn’t matter. If I get down there and realise I’ve forgotten something important a simple phone call to Mum or Shan (if it’s something technical Mum won’t recognise) and they can post it down to me, express post if need be and I should get it within a day or three.
- • Mum and I watched the “The Art of War”. We both enjoyed it. It seems very slick, well edited, the scenes flow into each other well. I then spent a few hours sorting through all my old bits of paper, throwing out a lot and keeping some others.
- • Bedtime.
26.02.2003 – Wednesday 26 February – I send things to Brisbane
- • Mum woke me up, and I began panicking. That’s supposed to read “packing”. I use a simple technique. Start at one end of the caravan, pick up each item and either place it in the garbage pile, the “to take” pile or put it back where it was – or get preoccupied seeing if it still operates. This worked well for most things. My hundreds of CD’s took a while to sort through. My quadrillions of papers took even longer. I ended up with three garbage bags full of rubbish, mainly papers and boxes, and two smallish boxes of things to take, plus another small pile which I’ll try to take with us in the car.
- • I packed up my nineteen inch monitor and my boxes and headed off to town. The monitor’s box won’t fit in our car (or practically any other family car) so I had to take it folded up. This meant I had to put the monitor into its box in town. That didn’t sound too hard. Unfortunately I didn’t take into account the midges – the myriads of bloodsucking midges. They nearly killed me. There is a limit to how many midge bites I can sustain. It’s somewhere around the million mark, and after that I begin to feel a bit itchy. Then I start scratching and swell up, develop lumps, and run away screaming. But, due to the imminent rain, I couldn’t leave the monitor out in the open and run away, so I had to endure. Luckily I lived, although it was a close call. The boxes I posted and the monitor I had to freight as it’s too large to post. It cost me $44 to send the monitor to Brisbane. I said goodbyes to Bob and Peter, met Sarah and Vince at the Mad Cow Café, took our DVD’s back to the video shop, checked my mail and renewed my post box for another year for the princely sum of twelve dollars, bought a thick shake and felt sick afterwards, then drove home.
- Later Evening
- • Ron dropped in on his way home from the Den with Dad. Shan then drove over. Shan and I found some files which I have and he lost when his hard drive died so we went and picked up a few blank CD’s from his place as all mine are in a box on their way to Brisbane, and put the files on them so he can get them back. We sat and talked for a while, then said goodbyes and he left.
- • I phoned Silas, but the phone was engaged. I phoned Silas, but the phone was engaged. I phoned Silas, but the phone was engaged. Sarah phoned. I decided to watch “13 Days”. As my speakers are also in a box on their way to Brisbane and Dad and Mum were inside talking to Ron I decided to watch it alone. Silas phoned. He says he’s been chopping timber all day and spent the last hour packing and now he’s tired so he’ll pack in the morning and I need not expect him before midday tomorrow. This is good news for me as it means I too can stop packing and pack in the morning. I only work under pressure and now the pressure has eased so I watched the rest of “13 Days” and quite enjoyed it, although the action wasn’t very actionable. In fact, it wasn’t very existent at all. Excitement wasn’t this movie’s redeeming feature. I tend to enjoy good action movies best, closely followed by good movies.
- Later Night
- • I decide, after due deliberation, reflection, thought, and consideration, that the best course of action (or inaction as the case may be) is sleep. Based on the assumption that sleep is good for me, I figure I must be very good – and not wanting to blemish this record I shall retire to rest.
27.02.2003 – Thursday 27 February – I leave Rossville
- • I spent most of the morning wasting time. I then packed everything as fast as I could, just finishing by midday – which was when Silas might come.
- • Silas arrived around one, and we packed my stuff into his car. It all fit, although there sure wasn’t much room left over. I hugged Mum goodbye, shook hands with Dad, and without further ado Silas and I drove off. We drove the four and a bit hours to Cairns and headed for Pam’s place. She’s one of Silas’s friends, and it ended up that Jack lives with her, so I knew someone there too. We had the traditional coffee and waited for Silas’s younger brother Eric to arrive.
- • Eric, Silas and I went down to the night markets where we had some dinner. Some vegetarian ravioli later and we headed back to Pam and Jack’s place where Silas and I stayed the night. We tried to get their computer to work before we went to bed but were unable to. Silas had a very poor sleep due to the coffee he’d had, but I slept well.
28.02.2003 – Friday 28 February – I begin travel to Brisbane
- • Silas and I went down to a bakery where we bought some croissants and I had an apple turnover with cream. We ate these back at Jack’s place and then headed into town to find an internet café. Silas found he had a fee due today, and I needed to print out my lecture timetable, but right about then the university’s server died. Silas and I bought a BIOS battery for Jack’s computer which we took back and installed – and it worked. We then headed back into town to find another internet café as Silas was worried about getting a late payment fee. This time the university servers worked and I printed out my timetable.
- • Silas and I left Cairns at Midday and drove south. We stopped every 400 to 500 kilometres for petrol, but apart from that drove non-stop.
- • We drove and drove and drove.
- • It began to rain after Townsville and as Silas and I got sleepier and sleepier and it got later and later it got wetter and wetter. Finally, as 1 AM approached and about 40 kilometres north of Rockhampton the rain stopped. Silas and I pulled over onto an old gravel pit on the side of the road and rolled out our swags. Many mosquitoes instantly descended onto us, but we figured that we were too sleepy to be bothered by them. They were extremely large mosquitoes, the type which crackle and splat when hit. Several million came. Silas found some liquid mosquito repellent. I popped the lid open. Unfortunately it was very warm and runny and a large amount went all over my hand. Unfortunately it was too dark to see so I wasn’t aware. Unfortunately I assumed a small blob of fairly rigid mosquito repellent would be on my hand. Unfortunately I went to rub this into my face. As you would expect, I got mosquito repellent all over my face, in my eyes, and all over the swag. Unfortunately I dropped my torch into the spilt repellent and unfortunately I then put the torch into my mouth to see what was going on. Now fully mosquito proof, both inside and out, I wrapped myself into my swag and tried to sleep. Unfortunately the mosquitos began to lick the repellent off to get to me, so Silas and I got some old plastic mosquito nets we had with us and I placed one of them on my head, all piled up. This kept the blood sucking beasts a little way away although they made a loud noise trying to get at me. Silas, meanwhile, had put his mosquito net over his entire swag condom style. He had also found some insect repellent in a spray can so he sprayed his swag and himself with this, all over his hair and all, then crawled inside his swag and mosquito net. The mosquitos buzzed around his nose, unable to bite him through the net but enough to stop anyone from being able to sleep. Silas, being the brainy man he is, closed his eyes and sprayed all over the net (which was only inches from his nose). When he opened his eyes it dripped in them. Then it began to rain. I lay and willed the rain to stop, but it didn’t, so I moved into the car. It was very hot. I had all the windows and doors closed and began to swelter. My brain, in ways it only can when extremely tired and half poisoned, began to wonder how oxygen would be able to get into the fully sealed car. The more I wondered, the hotter I got, and the harder it became to breathe. I pulled the door open and rushed outside to get some much needed air and cool. The mosquitos didn’t allow me to stay out for long, so I rushed back in and tried to forget about my impending suffocation. Just before I suffocated fully I rushed out for some more air, but a few hundred mosquitos managed to get back inside with me so I couldn’t risk letting them in to the only safe place I had. I decided suffocating was the lesser of the two evils, wiped the sweat off me and the next thing I remember is waking up.