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01.01.2006 – Sunday 1 January – The Year of Work
- • I woke up to the new year when some Tibetans began chanting, finding myself lying with hundreds of other people on a hilltop, and the dawn just beginning to break. After watching the sunrise over the horizon, I went back to sleep, waking again when it got too hot, and carrying my camping mat back to the tent, waiting in a queue for ages, finally having a quick shower, and rushing down to the shop to prepare for the first eight thirty shirt.
- • Surprisingly, the shop was busier today than any other day. I guess all the people who hadn’t yet bought anything now were.
- • Bronwen and I finished work around the same time, and spent the rest of the day watching random acts, culminating in the closing ceremony. The closing fire ceremony was quite spectacular. Thousands of people camped out at the natural amphitheatre, with nothing happening for quite some time. Eventually, an aboriginal made fire with sticks, lighting a torch, which then lit an explosive fuse that ran instantaneously up a wooded hill, setting off fireworks. Then, in the resulting gloom, an unrealistically large, spectacularly close moon was seen slowly progressing across the sky, eventually revealing itself as an earth, coming to rest to our left as thousands of lit paper-lamps walked across our field of vision, not doing a great deal. A plethora of strange oversized lit paper constructions, and numerous fire things, along with music from the stage, filled in the gap until a large trebuchet fired a flare at a large sun and moon construction, which turned out to be full of various fireworks, burning dramatically until all that was left was a pile of sparks.
09.01.2006 – Monday 9 January – Faster Online
- • ADSL was connected today, providing me with a faster, and always-on, connection. Other than that, a reasonably relaxing and uneventful day ensued.
11.01.2006 – Wednesday 11 January – Wireless
- • I bought a wireless router and setup wireless here, finally removing the cable that was running halfway across the house. Somewhat worryingly, that’s all I can remember of today.
29.01.2006 – Sunday 29 January – Arguing, Flat-mating & Rocking
- • Our new flatmate, Marjorie, moved in, we filled out lots of paperwork, she headed back to the city, and we went to the shops to get exciting things, like rocks, cans of tomatoes, parsley seeds, and toothbrush holders. Later on, we had an argument, resolved our argument, had lunch, digested our lunch, and relaxed around the house.
- • I planted my parsley.
01.02.2006 – Wednesday 1 February – Bribie Island, Mosquitoes & Mines
- • I caught a nastily early train up to Clint’s parent’s place, packed kayaks onto his parent’s car, and drove to Pumicestone Passage. From there we kayaked over to Bribie Island, against a strong wind, lathered ourselves in mosquito repellent, and pushed our way as fast as we could through scratchy mangrove scrub, infested with enough mosquitoes to stop any Japanese invasion. (Meanwhile, back home, the fridge man arrived, and condemned our fridge.) Once through the scrub, we walked along a deserted beach, thankfully mosquito free, and had a look at several abandoned military things—quite run down, and dangerously collapsing, but still quite impressive in their bombproof steel reinforced concrete selves sitting alone amongst the scrub. Fortunately, due to America’s amazing missile targeting technology, we managed to find the kayaks hidden amongst the mud, mangroves and mosquitoes, and paddled back to the mainland. Unfortunately, due to America’s amazing missile targeting technology, we paddled back to the wrong boat ramp; one Clint had set as a waypoint on a previous trip, meaning we had to paddle upstream against the tide, with no wind to help us.
- • Clint gave me a grand tour of the area, seeing famed sites such as the “worm man”, “local school”, and “dead end road”. I then caught a train back to Brisbane, and went to sleep feeling suitably exercised, having kayaked around six kilometres and travelled a total of fifteen kilometres through water, mud, scrub and sand—perhaps not quite commando style, but fairly close.
06.02.2006 – Monday 6 February – Noosa & King of the Mountain
- • I caught a train up north, meeting Clint, and walking up Mount Cooroora, home of the insane “King of the Mountain” pub run. After this, we went to Noosa and wandered along the beaches, before missing the last train back to Brisbane, unsuccessfully chasing it in Clint’s car, and catching a rail-bus instead, getting home quite late. It was interesting to again see a few of the places I used to see when I lived in the area.
- Comment by Mum – Friday 10 February 2006, 8:32 PM
- Pomona. Where Tony lived. We used to go there for Sunday night or evening drives. Remember? A crazy mountain to run up.
07.02.2006 – Tuesday 7 February – Mt Beerwah & Clint’s Car Theft
- • I found hundreds of slater looking bugs under my parsley pot, so I put it up on bricks. I then did some washing, hung it out, waited until it began to suddenly and heavily rain, ran back out, got wet, and rehung it in the garage. I then made my way into town and bought fourteen types of blue flower seeds, and planted them out the front.
- • Clint arrived. We walked up to the charity bin to discuss life, then half an hour later or so, drove up to Mt Beerwah. We left for our walk around 3 o’clock. There was supposed to be a moon, but due to thick cloud cover, it was pitch black. Clint climbed ahead, with a headlamp that randomly turned itself off, without any guarantee it would ever come back on—although with suitable banging, it always did. I followed behind, with my mobile phone in my mouth—not the brightest light, and probably not very good for my mouth or the phone, but it worked. We stopped frequently to discuss exciting and relevant topics, not wanting to get to the top hours before the sun came up. Once at the top we sat, slowly freezing, until the sun began to rise, and then climbed back down.
- • We found the rear quarter glass on one of Clint’s car doors cleanly removed, and his sunglasses and my bag missing. The car itself was nicely locked and didn’t seem unusual, apart from the missing quarter glass. Despite having intentionally removed all the valuables from my bag before leaving the car, it still had my keys, some clothes, and toiletries in it. Even more annoyingly, and somewhat stupidly, upon reflection I couldn’t guarantee that it didn’t also contain my address, as I had an envelope with a few jotted down notes I had written in my bag, and while the envelope itself wasn’t addressed to me, it may have been redirected via my parent’s, in which case they would have scribbled my address on it.
- Comment by Jojo – Friday 10 February 2006, 10:25 AM
- oh. thats unlucky, i hope they are not university trained and thus unable to connect the keys and address and dump it after thier next fix.
Damn thieves, they should cut off their hands like they use to....
- Comment by Ned – Friday 10 February 2006, 6:55 PM
- It’s highly unlikely that my address was anywhere within my bag, but as I can’t guarantee it wasn’t, and as it’s not just me on the line—I live with other people—it seems better to be safe than sorry, which is unfortunate as changing the locks was more expensive than anything I lost.
- Comment by Mum – Friday 10 February 2006, 8:41 PM
- Yes. Change the locks. Then rest easy. Jojo, a mob who lived in an Arab country had this poverty stricken fellow who house worked for them and one day stole something like a teaspoon, and this mob, thinking they were doing the right thing, dobbed this poor bugger in to the cops of the region. They cut his right hand off. For a teaspoon. This is a true story. The family were so distraught, but it was too late. This poor bugger got his right hand totally cut off, and that was that. Ever stolen a biscuit?
24.02.2006 – Friday 24 February – The Steamers
- • Clint and I drove as near as we could get to Mount Steamer, and proceeded to walk the rest of the way. It was quite wet, our ponchos proving to be remarkably useful. Clint looks surprisingly like a ghoul in his. The weather’s annoying habit of clearing up only after we put our ponchos on was a bit of a pain, but having them sure beat walking wet. We spent a few hours walking along old, and at times unmarked, tracks, before heading up a steep incline and spending the evening weaving our way around the base of a cliff, with a reasonably deadly drop to our left. We managed to make it to the top just on nightfall, and set up camp surrounded by small dead trees, with 150-metre sheer cliffs on either side.
25.02.2006 – Saturday 25 February – Mount Steamer
- • Clint and I woke around nine, heading off shortly later. We climbed up to the summit proper of Mount Steamer, and then headed down a ridge, which really wasn’t much more than a glorified mountainside to start with. We experienced such delights as an hour and a half of eight-foot high bracken, cleverly interlaced with raspberry bushes, hidden fallen logs and collapsed tree stumps. Fortunately for me, Clint went ahead so I could hear his curses when he fell over hidden logs, and managed to avoid most of them myself, although the raspberry was a little harder to avoid. An interesting trivia fact learnt: it is possible to see nearly one foot through bracken fern in normal daylight, but it is not possible to see raspberry bushes until they have entangled one in their nasty sharp barbs. Other highlights included pushing our way down a very steep hill through prickly seed laden scrub, having the rain bucket down as soon as we emerged from the forest, walking through ankle deep water, running out of drinking water and fantasising about lemonade, and getting a lift back to Clint’s car with a friendly local and finding the car still intact. All in all, it was a successful expedition, and the chips and milkshake we had on our way home were well worth the effort.
- • We drove home via a small windy road, getting back not long before midnight, and I quite enjoyed my shower and sleep, despite my stinging legs.
05.03.2006 – Sunday 5 March – Walking
- • Clint, Bronwen and I drove out west and walked up a mountain, following a rather slippery and narrow gully most of the way to the top, then a track the rest of the way, and a ridge back down.
- • Clint, Bronwen and I walked to the supermarket for drinks, and then up to Windmill Pizza where I bought a pizza for dinner.
08.03.2006 – Wednesday 8 March – Mount Barney
- • I was just getting ready to have breakfast when Clint arrived. We drove to Mount Barney, via Maz’s place and a service station for breakfast for me and the car. We spent the rest of the day walking up Mount Barney, via South (Peasant’s) Ridge. It was quite a hot walk, but fortunately only one part was exposed enough to be scary. We arrived back at the car just after dark, and drove back to Brisbane, stopping for food at Beaudesert KFC.
16.03.2006 – Thursday 16 March – Jalyn
- • Worked on the Jianshe site.
- • Went shopping with Clint and Maz for the BITS BBQ.
- • Had an argument with Bronwen about dinner.
- • Jalyn came, and we gave her the room.
- • Went for a walk around St Lucia with Clint and Maz.
18.03.2006 – Saturday 18 March – Stradbroke
- • Deciding to try “camping” at Stradbroke with $30 and no camping gear or permit seemed like a great idea. Getting up at six thirty didn’t seem so good. However, even heroes must get up sometime, so I awake, eat a cup of yoghurt, and dump my pack in Maz’s car, which arrives complete with Maz and Clint, just on seven. We drive and park near the ferry, and manage to get student return tickets to Stradbroke for $12 each. A short catamaran ride later and we’re there, where we immediately waste a good portion of our remaining money on drinks. I somehow manage to end up with a $10 note and some small change, which doesn’t add up to my original $30 no matter how one looks at it, but such is life. We then manage to get student return tickets to Point Lookout for $5 each.
Once at Point Lookout, we walk around the rocks, where Maz takes some photos, and then head to Deadman’s beach where we swim extremely hard for several hundred miles, just to remain inline with the blue umbrella on the shore. The waves are fun—I haven’t been to the ocean in a while now—but not fantastic, and the current is very strong. Just as we near exhaustion, the blue umbrella packs up and leaves, removing our vital landmark, so we clamber back to shore and collapse around our packs. It is here that the first of my budget decisions pays off badly. With ten dollars cash on me, and less than nothing in the bank, my pack splits apart. Fortunately, I invested a whole four and a half dollars buying some cord, which I can wrap around my pack several times and tie, and which will hopefully hold it together long enough for me to live to regret going camping with no food, no money, and no camping equipment.
We depart Deadman’s beach and walk for an awfully long time down Flinder’s beach, looking for the mythical camping-site-number-three sign. Apparently Maz’s parents are camped somewhere in the campsite, and not bringing food, as clever as it seemed at the time, means we’re rather hungry and Maz is keen to find something to eat. After walking from campsite three right through to campsite five, we conclude that they’re probably at the Casino back in Brisbane, having a good chuckle about it all. We find a nice secluded spot behind a revegetation sign instructing no one to go there, where I pull out some of the pointy revegetation that was unthoughtfully revegetating right where I wanted to lie. It is here that Maz discovers that his feet and legs are rather sunburnt. I consider offering to chop them off, which would solve his sunburn problem and allow us to cook and eat them, but and have a sleep for an hour or so instead.
Clint and I wake up to find that Maz has gone, presumably stolen to be sold as a slave. Unfortunately, he has also taken his legs, leaving us along and hungry. I arrange for Bronwen, who is also on the island, to come down and meet us—perhaps we can eat her, if all else fails—and Clint and I go and do manly things in the sand, like jumping and digging little holes. Proving that Allah cares for those who are thirsty, Maz arrives a short while later with his mother and a cold can of Pasito. She offers to cook us dinner, should we survive until dinnertime, which is greatly appreciated, as I had already eaten my single plain bread bun—left over from the BITS BBQ—for lunch, and I did not want to eat Bronwen, as I would miss her. We are also not sure if we will be able to light a fire without giving away our location, so cooking her could have been difficult.
Bronwen arrives shortly after we have drunk our drinks and have begun illegally modifying the cans to turn them into racing cans, and then bombing them with skilled mortar-sand-fire. She is very impressed by our male bravado in can-bombing, but is unable to show it and mocks us instead. We consider killing her for this insult to our manhood, but realise we don’t have the money to attend the funeral, so opt for the far cheaper option of ignoring her and putting it down to her feminine misunderstanding of all things male, useful, or mechanical. This works, and she leaves none the wiser—somewhat like most of the university graduates I know.
- • Maz, Clint and I enjoy a lovely dinner with Maz’s parents, eat most of a packet of minties, watch some fireworks, and take photos of the moon. We then head back to our campsite, where I lay down my three-dollar piece of tarp, blow up my nine-dollar inflatable mattress, and go to sleep. Maz lies on his towel and complains about his feet—now red and swollen, and Clint sets up a military style bivouac at the appropriate angle for surveying the surrounding territories for enemies, although he has neither ammunition nor guns.
- Late Night
- • My inflatable mattress deflates, reinforcing the idea that cheap equipment behaves badly given half a chance.
- Comment by Maz – Monday 20 March 2006, 12:13 PM
- As funny as that all sounds, It's basically the truth. Although I don't remember ever being asked if they could chop off my legs because if they had I might have taken them up on the offer.
And I don't remember being made fun of by Bronwyn but as I was very interested in why my legs and feet were very red I might just not have been paying attention.
22.03.2006 – Wednesday 22 March – Excellent Tutoring, Careers Fairs & Internet Problems
- • I did some more work on the Jianshe site. Yesterday I got a letter informing me that I’ve again been awarded Excellence in Tutoring for my efforts last semester. I’m very proud of this, as very few tutors receive such an award, with the majority, in my experience at least, being very mediocre, if not downright bad. I’m not sure why, because it doesn’t seem that hard to tutor in a friendly, effective way, and I quite enjoyed it. I’m also proud that a group of my students saw it fit to take me out to lunch after their final assignment. Unfortunately, “tutor” isn’t a career option.
- • I attended the UQ Careers Fair, bumping into a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. There was quite a heavy police and security presence, including, so I was told, plain-clothes police. Apparently someone had attacked a defence force stand at a prior career fair somewhere else. I left just before four o’clock, when the fair closed. This turned out to be a bad idea, as the bus station was totally packed—the busiest I have seen it. Despite having buses overlapping each other two deep out onto the road, it would have taken forever to get on a city bus, so I caught the mystical 414 to Indooroopilly. This bus manages to spend as much time driving away from Indooroopilly as it does towards it, yet still somehow arrives—a modern miracle.
- • I came home to find my internet connection not quite working. It sort of works, in that I can connect to some IRC servers, and use Windows Messenger (although not MSN), but I can’t get any HTTP, or in fact, anything much at all. It seems that anything over a certain size is unable to make it through. It’s quite annoying. Hopefully it’s not my problem, and someone else fixes it very soon.
- • I managed to ruin my dinner as only a bachelor could—I spilt garam masala in it. Now I have baked beans on toast that smell like peppermint tea. McDonalds, here I come (along with Clint and Maz, whose foot is still quite swollen and going orange).
13.04.2006 – Thursday 13 April – Copyright Infringement & Backpacks
- • I received an email from NBC regarding supposed copyright infringement originating from my IP.
- • I went and bought another twenty-dollar backpack, precisely the same as the one I returned a few days ago. I figure if it also dies, I’ll return it and buy another one.
- • Bronwen stayed at her parent’s place as her Aunt and Uncle are up from Sydney.
- • I stayed up very late, doing very little.
14.04.2006 – Friday 14 April – Stradbroke Island
- • Bronwen arrived back from her parent’s, and we packed for Stradbroke. Bronwen’s Mum arrived around eleven, and we drove, via her place, to the car ferry at Cleveland, and from there to Stradbroke Island.
- • Bronwen and I erected our tent, and spent a relaxing afternoon wandering.
29.04.2006 – Saturday 29 April – Computer Death
- • Bronwen went to work, leaving me with the ideal opportunity to go for a walk around the city with Maz, taking photos. Just before leaving my place, I showed Maz my new soundcard setup. Just after showing him, Explorer quit, and then the computer turned off. We had an enjoyable walk around the city taking photos, arriving back late afternoon.
- • I tried starting my computer, but it wouldn’t. I pulled it apart, rode up to Clint’s and borrowed a power supply, swapping that for the one in the computer, but still nothing. The RAM power LED lights up and the fans give a short kick when the power button is pressed for the first time, but nothing else happens. I pulled everything apart but was unable to fix it, coming to the conclusion that the motherboard has mysteriously died.
- • Clint came around, and we chatted on the front steps for a while before going for a short walk down to the shops and buying a pack of four Golden Gaytimes.
01.05.2006 – Monday 1 May – The Cougals
- • Bronwen, Clint, Maz, Lisa and I drove to the NSW border in Clint’s car, and went for a six-hour walk up, and subsequently back down, Mount Cougal, along the border fence. It was quite an easy walk, made slower than usual as it was Lisa’s first walk. Clint managed to leave the window of his car down while we were walking, possibly preventing anyone from breaking in, and also managed to bleed all over the place on the way home, having captured a powerful leech. We stopped for dinner on the way back, with myself eating a nice felafel kebab.
- • Test day
02.05.2006 – Tuesday 2 May – Suits
- • Bronwen took the day off work. We rode to look at a house, but because I stopped to look at a map, we were separated at Roma St Parklands, meaning I subsequently got lost and was unable to find the house until just after the inspection ended. This made me angry.
- • Bronwen and I then went looking for suits in preparation for my job interview on Thursday, and then to another house inspection, and then back to look for suits again. I settled on a black, lightly pinstriped, 3-button suit from Rodger Davids, and a green striped silk tie.
- • Bronwen and I went grocery shopping, dropping in on her parents.
09.05.2006 – Tuesday 9 May – Motherboards & Curry
- • Maz came over and I bought a new motherboard from Umart, swapped over everything, and now have my computer back up and running.
- • Bronwen and I made, and subsequently ate, a nice curry.
26.05.2006 – Friday 26 May – Mount Maroon
- • Clint and I went for a bushwalk, climbing Mount Maroon. Apparently, it’s a 967-metre volcanic plug near Rathdowney, and is roughly as popular as Peasant’s Ridge on Mount Barney, based on Clint’s excellent judgement of track erosion.
We left the city around nine o’clock, stopping at Boonah to buy salad (or in Clint’s case, ham and salad) rolls to carry up for lunch. We passed quite a few signs condemning some plan to dam (and subsequently damn) the area, arriving in a prickle patch at the bottom of Mount Marron. Clint and I then proceeded to push many of the prickles firmly into our feet, before pushing them into our fingers while removing them from out feet and putting our shoes on. The walk itself was pleasant, relatively easy, not exposed enough to cause death-defying fear, and we made good time to the summit where we ate our salad rolls and discussed religion and similar deep and meaningful matters.
- • Clint and I arrived back in the city just on dark, having enjoyed our escape and feeling more alive because of it.
30.05.2006 – Tuesday 30 May – New Torch
- • I forgot to put the rubbish bins out—again. Bronwen had to run down the road and put the recycling bin in the next street, as it was too cold for me to get up. In fact, I didn’t get up until I heard the postman on his bike. I thought he might have delivered the torch I ordered yesterday, seeing as I paid extra for express postage, but alas, only a phone bill. It would seem I’ve wasted the money getting express postage.
- • My sites are still not working, and apparently are not going to be fixed as dom_xml is causing problems with the current server configuration, and as it is incompatible with the DOM support in PHP 5, and the servers are in the process of upgrading to PHP 5, I’m changing my sites to work under PHP 5.
- • I went to put out the rubbish and found that my torch had come after all. Express post must have a different delivery from normal mail. Now I can’t find my Maglite head-torch conversion attachment, which should be lying around here somewhere. I am incredibly impressed with the size and brightness of my new torch.
- • Bronwen and I bought pizzas for dinner and watched “10 Things I Hate About You”. I then went for a walk with Clint, showing him my new torch and getting very, very cold. I think I’m going to have to buy gloves if I’m going to be doing any night things.
- Comment by Maz – Monday 5 June 2006, 11:44 AM
- Were you trying to see how many times you could use the word "torch" in one entry or do you just like your torch? Torch.
- Comment by Ned – Monday 5 June 2006, 12:07 PM
- I like my torch very much!
- Comment by Mum – Tuesday 6 June 2006, 2:51 PM
- Torch song. Ever heard of it? Might be showing my age here. Gasp.
05.06.2006 – Monday 5 June – Sore Throat
- • I applied for nine jobs, only one of which I really wanted, and got a call back about one of the ones I didn’t want, almost immediately.
- • Bronwen and I did some grocery shopping, and then went for a walk around the suburb with Clint. I have also developed quite a severe sore throat.
13.06.2006 – Tuesday 13 June – Clint’s Car Accident
- • I drove to uni with Clint, dropping him at his exam and driving back here.
- • I applied for a UI Designer position, and updated my CV to include my hobbies on the recommendations of Lauren Borg.
- • A truck came around picking up some of the kerbside garbage, but only large whitegoods it seems.
- • I’d driven into uni to pick up Clint from his exam. It had just begun sprinkling lightly. I had to stop by Centrelink on the way back. I’d pulled up on Jephson Street, waiting to turn right into Lissner. The lights straight through were green, but I was opposed by a red arrow, and in the centre lane. Another car had pulled up a car’s length behind me. Clint and I were having the usual highly intellectual conversation that only two incredibly intelligent people could have, when there was a large bang, some squealing, and a moment later, another bang. Or in other words, as we were idly discussing life, strawberry milk, and other matters of great import, some psycho slammed into the car behind us, which then slammed into us. The lights had, by this time, turned orange. I drove through them and parked on the side of the road, hazards on. Clint and I got out and began directing traffic around the rather flattened offending car, and cleaning up the broken pieces of car on the road. A girl who lived nearby grabbed a few brooms, and we swept most of the mess onto the kerb.
A traffic controller just happened to be sitting across the road, collecting signs, so he came across and put up a traffic sign. The fire brigade and two tow trucks arrived surprisingly shortly after. The police had stated that they weren’t interested in attending. Everyone wandered around in circles rather inefficiently, collecting details from each other. The fire brigade ordered an ambulance for the lady who had hit us, which arrived some time later and took her away. Clint’s car was still driveable, and we would have driven away, but apparently the police have to attend if someone has been taken to hospital—I suppose if they die, it becomes a criminal investigation.
So we waited, talking to the tow truck drivers and fire brigade. The car that hit the car behind us is pretty well flattened. It’s fortunate the engine didn’t go through the firewall. The car behind us looks remarkably unharmed—but apparently, under the skin, its boot isn’t really there anymore. Clint’s car’s boot is a little higher than the average boot should be, and the pretty plastic bumper they put on the back has been bumped, bending the fuel tank and apparently hurting the spare tyre.
The police turned up, a full hour after the accident (though in their defence, they weren’t informed that someone had been taken to hospital until well after the accident), and took reports from everyone. I was breath tested. Clint and I picked up an old tent that happened to be lying on the side of the road awaiting council’s kerbside pickup to throw over his newly raised boot. We then—an hour and twenty minutes after the accident—drove carefully back to Clint’s place, Clint driving.
After our longer than expected trip to right near Centrelink, we bagged up the back of the car with our newfound tent, and walked back to Centrelink. I stood in line for half an hour, we walked to Coles and bought some milk and some lunch from a bakery, and I walked home—and now it’s six o’clock.
- • The power failed, wrecking my computer in the process. Fortunately, I just happened to have bought a torch not that long ago. Bronwen arrived a little while later, just after the power had returned. I managed to fix my computer again by the complex process of letting its automatic disk scan scan the disk automatically. Bronwen and I bought pizza and watched “Snatch”, which is probably the eighth greatest movie ever made, and contains the best scene ever made—twice.
26.06.2006 – Monday 26 June – Working, Pizza & Soccer
- • I got up early and caught an extremely full train to my first day at work at Webcentral, where I underwent, and survived, an induction. It turns out today is free pizza day.
- • I walked out of my first day at work to find that it was bucketing down rain. Fortunately, I had an umbrella, which stopped a little bit of the rain from getting on the very top parts of me.
- • Bronwen and I had dinner at an Indian place down the road.
- Late Night
- • Bronwen and I walked to Toowong, meeting Clint there, and then back to Park Road, where we watched Australia unfairly lose at soccer. It was interesting to see the crowds packed in at Park Road.
- • Back home. Quite tired. Must sleep.
09.07.2006 – Sunday 9 July – Mount Barney
- • I’m lost. I’m bleeding. It’s dark. I’ve been walking for over twelve hours. There’s an impenetrable wall of prickly plants every way I look. I’ve only my small torch to see where I’m going. This wasn’t quite where I’d intended to find myself around ten o’clock Sunday night.
Walking down the creek seemed a good idea at the time. I’d been up and down “Peasants” (or South Ridge) with Clint before, so taking a new way down made sense. I knew it would probably get dark before I got out, but presumably, once I was out of the steep country, it’d be a walk in the park. Besides, this was the very reason I bought my new torch, and I wanted to try it out. I quite enjoyed it to begin with—the country was just the same as that which I was used to in North Queensland, and there certainly wasn’t any exposure—I was walking down a creek bed after all. Sliding down the steep cliffs facing the creek to get around waterfalls was about as steep as it got, and it was nice and cool and all was going well, until it began to get dark.
A rainforest creek bed is comprised almost entirely of rocks covered in places with slippery fallen logs and palm fronds—all the soil having long ago washed away—and is usually on a rather steep slope. This makes it rather difficult to traverse, as everything is slippery and it’s all too easy to fall, and if I do fall, it will probably be a reasonable distance and not soft—my head will land on a rock a metre below me. This isn’t normally a big problem, although it makes the going a lot slower—but once it begins to get dark, depth perception goes to sleep and it’s nearly impossible to tell if something is slippery, solid, or if there’s a lethal gap just under a palm frond. With this in mind, as dusk begins to gather, I begin hurrying—walking along the small flats beside the creek bed, avoiding the slippery wet rocks whenever possible. As it gets darker and darker, it becomes more and more difficult, and the top of the right ridge looks more and more promising—it looks much brighter and clearer up there.
Climbing up out of the creek is the obvious way to avoid the slow rocky peril I’ve got myself stuck in, and hopefully will speed up my progress. The climb is very steep—the bank is a wall of near vertical loose dirt with just enough trees and roots to allow me to pull myself up—none of which snapped, plunging me to my death on the rocks below. The top, which had looked so clear from below, is as treed as anywhere else, but at least it isn’t rocky.
The going is much faster now I’ve left the creek, but I’m not sure where I’m going. Clint has his GPS, but it’s still impossible to say exactly where I am—to an accuracy of seven metres—or where I should be going. I don’t want to find myself on anything too steep, so I’m trying to stick to what I hope is the centre of the ridge, but it’s very hard to tell in the dark. I follow what looks like it could almost be an old road—there’s a small band where the trees are slightly thinner, and it’s scrubbier and eroded. Unfortunately, it’s also harder walking, with hidden holes I fall in and roots to trip me up—and of course, lots of nasty lantana, mixed with wait-a-while and raspberries. After a while, the erosion becomes more obvious and I’m confident it is an old road. Sadly, the undergrowth also becomes more obvious, and I’m forced to revert to crawling and smashing my way through. It gets thicker and thicker, until it’s all but impenetrable. After I stumble across a suitably large leg-breaking hole, I decide I need to get out of this cursed undergrowth that grabs my pack as I’m crawling through it, and trips me up. There’s only one way out—down into the creek.
I smash my way back down into the creek. It’s not so steep now, but in the dark it’s hard to pick holes from rocks—especially as they are all covered in palm fronds. Fortunately, I don’t twist an ankle or crack my skull on any rocks, and after only a short walk down the creek, I find myself on a proper slashed forest track. My legs, which up until now haven’t had time to complain, now begin complaining volubly, and the cold, which hadn’t been game to disturb me before, now creeps into my bones. I shiver my way through two creek crossings—both of which, by some miracle, are crossable without taking my shoes off—and finally find myself back at Clint’s car, which is not only still there, but hasn’t even been broken into.
It all began early in the morning—far too early, given my recent tiredness. I set the alarm for five o’clock, but it’s half past by the time I pull myself out of bed. I find that it’s rather cold too. I gobble a quick breakfast, and pack my walking gear. Clint turns up just after six, and we drive to Mount Barney, where it is icy cold.
There are cars parked everywhere—obviously a lot of people are out walking. I hoist my pack, and head off—happy to be out of the city, in the bush, and particularly happy to find that the creek crossing is doable without taking my shoes off or getting them wet. Barefoot on the frosty ice-encrusted grass isn’t an appealing concept. I spend a few hours climbing up a steep track, rather uneventfully apart from when I am hit by a Clint-dislodged rock. I climb across a narrow ledge, with three hundred metre drops on either side, and walk past where Bronwen and I camped last time. Last time I tried going up South East Ridge, I turned back shortly after where we camped. This time, I don’t. It turns out that I had been over the worst last time, and was probably only half an hour from the summit, but didn’t know it. I don’t enjoy the scrambling, climbing and exposed sections, but I don’t die, so all is good.
I lunch just before the summit, snacking on “Light and Tangy” potato chips—in a strangely swollen bag, perhaps by the increase in altitude—and “In a Biskit” crispy potato munchies things. I had been followed up by a group of four or five men, who had overtaken me while I was having a break just before the worst section, and I meet another man on his way down while I am eating. He has climbed up the next ridge—Logan’s ridge—which is apparently harder than this one. I’ve already been to the summit before, as have Clint and Bronwen, so I don’t spend much time there, and begin my descent down the other side immediately.
- Solo on the way home
- • It must have looked a little odd to the bloke in the supermarket. I hobble in, half-frozen, shivering and covered in blood, and buy a large, cold, bottle of “Solo”—but that “Solo” is the best I’ve ever had.
23.07.2006 – Sunday 23 July – Woodenbong
- • For the first time in quite a while, I slept in.
- • Kieran and Maz dropped by on their way back from the computer markets, and we drove to Clint’s, then to Maz’s, where Kieran left us. Bronwen, Clint, Maz and I continued on to a small town just over the NSW border, where it began to rain. We had planned to go and look at some large rock at some dam somewhere, but it was further than expected, so instead we drove around on dirt roads, ate greasy food at the Woodenbong café, and arrived home rather late.
30.07.2006 – Sunday 30 July – Mount Barney’s West Peak
- • The alarm went off at four o’clock. The back-up alarm went off a minute later. I thought I had been lying in bed awake for quite some time when I heard the second alarm. I don’t recall having heard the first alarm. It would seem my sense of time sleeps even when I don’t. Getting up at four o’clock after two solid weeks of late nights and very early starts should have been terrible, but I suppose it was only a little over an hour earlier than what I was used to, so it didn’t seem so bad. It also wasn’t as cold as I’d expected.
I woke Bronwen, and we showered, packed our lunches, and ate a quick breakfast. Clint arrived around half past, and we drove to Mount Barney, stopping at a servo for fuel and iced coffee. I cleverly packed my jumper in my bag, to save me having to take it off and pack it in later—which was not only pointless as I had to get it out as soon as we arrived, but left me cold on the drive down, while everyone else glowed warmly in their jumpers.
The recent rain had made the creek crossings—which last time we were able to get across without taking our shoes off—a little too high to cross with shoes. Shoeless through icy water at dawn is a horrible way to start anything.
We walked up “Savages Ridge”, which was steep and scrubby most of the way up, but not steep enough to require scrambling or climbing. It wasn’t until we were nearly at the top, where the ridge began to narrow, that it began to get bad—though I only got stuck on one death-defying rocky outcrop, necessitating a short detour. Once at the top though, the walking rapidly degenerated, scratching our way painfully through sharp shrubbery to the base of a cliff. Clint and Bronwen tried climbing up a scary looking chimney, and I went looking for an easier way, which I rather foolishly thought I had found when I came across another chimney not five minutes away. It didn’t look too hard from the bottom, so I began to climb it. This turned out to be a very bad idea, as not only could I no longer contact Clint and Bronwen to get help, but I couldn’t turn back when continuing up became terrifyingly difficult, the rocky handholds disappeared, and the chimney become nothing more than a slippery dirt filled crevice seeping water. My fingers went entirely numb, which felt rather odd and made it difficult to feel anything. As I couldn’t go back down, believed that Clint and Bronwen were climbing up another chimney and wouldn’t be coming to help me, and could see no advantage in staying still as I was never secure enough to feel that I wasn’t about to fall to my death, I had no choice but to continue up. There didn’t seem any point going slowly, so I actually made quite good time, climbing, scrambling, digging and pulling myself to the top. I came to love the all too few rocky handholds I found, having to rely on clumps of grass and digging my hands, knees and feet into the cold, wet dirt most of the time.
I arrived at the top—Mount Barney’s West Peak---wet, covered in dirt, numb, shaking, and alone. There was a lovely sun, which warmed and dried me remarkably fast, but there was no Clint or Bronwen. I walked to the edges of the cliff and cooeed but couldn’t get any answer. I figured they wouldn’t both have died at the same time, and I really had no other choice, so I sat on a rock and enjoyed the sun. Clint and Bronwen did eventually turn up, nearly half an hour after I’d arrived, having been unable to get up their chimney and using the one I had climbed.
We ate lunch on the top of the mountain before heading down the other side. After my traumatic ascent, I was in no shape to face a traumatic descent, so was very unhappy to find that the way down, while far easier than the way up, still involved some death-defying scrambling. In retrospect, it wasn’t too bad, but at the time, it was terrifying.
Once off West Peak, and after a short rest at the site of the old UQ Hut, we walked back down Peasant’s, which seemed like a highway after Savage’s Ridge.
It was just dark enough to need a torch as we made our way out of the brush at the bottom of the mountain and along the road back to Clint’s car, discussing the psychology of human relationships along the way. We met a man a few minutes after we began driving, who had left his mates up the road after one had fallen and hit his head, so we gave him a lift back to his car.
The drive home was uneventful, stopping at a supermarket for banana milk. Once back in Brisbane, we ordered pizza, which was hot and nice, and Clint read us selected excerpts from “Cosmopolitan” while losing his voice. Showering hurt, and the climbing portion of my walk was dreadfully terrifying, but now that it’s all over, I do have a nice sense of achievement.
22.09.2006 – Friday 22 September – Stradbroke
- • I rushed home from work, packed, and caught a train to Cleveland, meeting Bronwen on the way, and then a ferry across to Stradbroke Island, and a bus from one end of the island to the other, ending up at Bronwen’s parent’s block, where we spent the night.
27.09.2006 – Wednesday 27 September – Cairns
- • Suffering from an extreme lack of sleep, I still managed to get up in time to get to work—running pretty much on autopilot, and then complete an entire day at work.
- • I did some emergency maintenance on a website, and packed for Cooktown. Our flatmate who is currently in Africa’s boyfriend came over and borrowed her bike. I fed our other flatmate’s fish as she’s gone away for the night. I’m worried that the only thing keeping me awake—and alive—is a temporary sugar high.
- • Bronwen’s Dad dropped Bronwen and I to the airport, from where we caught a Jetstar Airbus A330 flight to Cairns, arriving twenty minutes late, at midnight. The flights cost $634 return for the both of us.
28.09.2006 – Thursday 28 September – Cooktown
- • Bronwen and I spent the night at Shan and Kylie’s, catching an early flight to Cooktown on an eight-seater Cessna Titan 404, at a cost of $220 for the both of us. Mum picked us up from the Cooktown aerodrome, and we spent the rest of the day alternating between talking to Mum, Sarah, and wandering around Cooktown—going for a walk up Grassy Hill in the evening.
29.09.2006 – Friday 29 September – Home Rule & The Wallaby Creek Festival
- • After a relaxing morning in Cooktown, Bronwen and I drove out to Rossville and the Wallaby Creek Festival out at Home Rule, where we met Shan, Kylie and Ella again, along with Dad, Jade and Beau, and a stack of old Rossville acquaintances.
- Early Morning
- • Bronwen and I dumped our mattress between a few cars out the front of Joneses and slept in the gale-force wind, under the stars, with our sleeping bag tucked in around us to stop it blowing away. Despite the wind, we had a fantastic sleep, worn out from our trip up and the festival.
02.10.2006 – Monday 2 October – Cairns & Silas
- • We had a quiet morning at Mum’s in town.
- • Mum drove Bronwen and I to the aerodrome, where we caught another eight-seater Cessna Titan 404 to Cairns—a forty-five minute, $220 flight into a headwind. Shan picked us up from the airport in Cairns, and we drove to the mud and mangrove strewn esplanade, giving Bronwen a quick tour of the curvaceous highlights of Cairns.
- • Silas picked up Bronwen and I, and drove us to an Indian restaurant where we had dinner and a chat, followed by a walk along the esplanade.
03.10.2006 – Tuesday 3 October – Brisbane & Work
- • I got up, woke Bronwen, called a taxi, and caught it to the airport.
- • Bronwen and I departed Cairns in a Jetstar Airbus A330, arriving in Brisbane two hours later.
- • After picking up my luggage, I caught a train home.
- • A quick unpack, shower, and some ice cream, custard and cream later, and I found myself back at work—as tired as I’d been when I last left.
- • I left work, caught the train home, put some washing on, watered the garden, played around with the binoculars I’d brought back down with me, and listened to some “E Nomine”, which I quite like.
14.10.2006 – Saturday 14 October – Sunburnt at Stradbroke
- • Today I successfully managed to ensure I’d be in pain for the next few days. I got up absurdly early, and drove with Maz and Clint to Cleveland, missing the seven o’clock ferry to Stradbroke by a minute. A pie later, we caught the next ferry, and then a bus, to Point Lookout, walked along Flinders Beach until we found Maz’s parent’s camp, and spent the rest of the day digging a big hole, and rerouting a creek. It was the few hours in the sun digging a dam and canal that got me sunburnt, though it was quite an achievement to have successfully altered the course of a creek.
25.10.2006 – Wednesday 25 October – New Camera
- • Called in sick at work, and phoned several places to find camera. It is very hard to get. Ended up going to Oxley and getting the black Canon 400D with 17—85mm IS USM lens that I wanted, for $2000 from Harvey Norman, including $59 for three additional years of extended warranty—which is around $500 below their listed price. Had to argue quite a bit to get them to match the price Maz had got from Harvey Norman’s at Indooroopilly. Apparently, he had to argue a lot to get them to match the price we’d be quoted from Rainer’s. And Rainer’s doesn’t have black in stock—and were quite rude when I was looking at cameras.
- • Having spent hours getting to Oxley and picking up my camera—the train I caught stopped one station short of Oxley, and the connecting bus was going to take so long to arrive that I walked, which turned out to be a very long, hot walk through what appears to be a wasteland, complete with abandoned waterslide. Once home, I charged up my camera battery, bought a 4 GB CF card from Umart, and took a few photos. Maz dropped around later, and we went and took a few photos of nothing in particular.
- • Had pasta for dinner from Caffe E with Bronwen.
01.11.2006 – Wednesday 1 November – Mount Tibrogargan
- • Working and so on. Bought a tripod after work and went for a drive with Clint, Clus and Maz, and an abortive night climb up Mount Tibrogargan. Neither Maz or I had realised the climb was part of the trip, so hadn’t brought so much as a pack—and climbing up a mountain in the dark holding a camera and a tripod wasn’t proving to be too easy. Checking the weather and finding there was a storm warning was the last straw, and we aborted the climb less than a quarter of the way up, heading to Mooloolaba instead.
16.11.2006 – Thursday 16 November – Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai
- • I’ve a day off work today, which is great. Both Ryan and I felt very “Friday” yesterday, and couldn’t have coped very well with working today. The downside, I suppose, is that I have to work Saturday.
- • I’ve begun the day by tweaking my new photo system—it now displays the newest photos first, multiple pages per category if there are over fifty photos in a category, and seems to be all working, as it should.
- • Bronwen and I drove out to the Cirque du Soleil and watched their “Varekai” performance for our second anniversary—truly, breathtakingly, amazing.
23.11.2006 – Thursday 23 November – Dreaming & A Site Update
- • There was some sort of conflict. I was in control of a bridge over some river. Lots of cars and trucks were trying to cross the bridge, from their side into ours. I, and my men, on my command, had to shoot indiscriminately into them, to stop them. Once stopped, we then had to help the same people we’d just been shooting cross the bridge—in a more controlled manner, minus their cars. During this, we were strafed by the enemy, causing chaos and damaging the bridge. Then, we found that the enemy were on the ground, approaching from behind the fleeing refugees, so we had to hurry across as many as possible, while under fire from aircraft, before blowing up the bridge. The irony of shooting into the same people we then had to try and rescue, which delayed their crossing the bridge long enough that we didn’t have enough time to get them all across before coming under fire was very sad—but necessary. And then I woke up.
- • Marjorie moved all her stuff out today.
- • I decided it was finally time to get rid of the much-maligned red and green style from the-i.org, and a few hours later—it’s got a new, aqua, “Windows Live Messenger” default colour theme inspired theme. In fact, every colour was grabbed directly from Windows Live Messenger, for want of better inspiration. It’s complex updating such an old site that’s been running for so long—I have no idea how parts of it work. I can’t remember when I first started it, but archive.org has it dating back to 2002, so I’m guessing I must have started it sometime late 2000 or early 2001, and there’s parts dating back to then still lurking, along with myriads of updates since then. Now it’s quite late, and I should get to bed.
08.12.2006 – Friday 8 December – Stradbroke
- • I packed my mostly pre-prepared pile of things into my backpack, and headed off to work. For some inexplicable reason, I’m less tired than I was yesterday morning.
- • I caught the train to Cleveland, meeting Bronwen on the way, and the ferry from there to Stradbroke.
24.12.2006 – Sunday 24 December – Mum
- • Bronwen attended a Christmas party, and I attended to myself.
- • The hero met his mother, as befits the end of a Greek tragedy. The setting—Roma Street Train Station, having just rushed back from buying cheap takeaway food—was less fitting.
- • The mother, the girlfriend, and the hero went out to dinner, where they ate too much Indian curry.
26.12.2006 – Tuesday 26 December – Woodford
- • Up early to pack. Off to Woodford with Bronwen’s dad. We stop at some of Bronwen’s relatives for breakfast.
- • Arrive at Woodford, find campsite quite near where we camped last time, up on “Cloud Nine”. Set up tents and so forth. It rains. Tents leak.