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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Wednesday 11 February 2004 (Day View)

11.02.2004Wednesday 11 February – Flights, Floods and Fear

Horribly Early
Mum woke me up to tell me that it is flooded. I didn’t have a very good night’s sleep, staying up until the power failed some time after midnight, then going to bed for a while and waking up when the power came on again around 3 AM, getting back to bed sometime around four o’clock and then being woken up before six by Mum. The 11 PM cyclone advisory put us in a warning zone, so I was staying up to check the 2 AM advisory when the power failed – or rather my fan stopped. I turned on the light to see why the fan had stopped, but it didn’t – only glowing a dull orange instead. I pulled the plug on the PC, turned all the lights on, and went to bed. The power tried to come on a few times, glowing orange and then dying, before I fell asleep. After a while, I began to have funny dreams about bright lights ala “12 Monkeys”. I then woke up to find the power, and lights, were back on, so I checked the cyclone advisory, saw we weren’t about to be exterminated, updated my journal, and went back to bed.
  I walked down to look at Joneses Crossing, and it is indeed flooded. I believe we could drive through, but Mum doesn’t and she’s not going to risk losing the car. I went online and contacted Shan, who had already been down to the bridges and taken a photo, which he sent to me. Not bad considering it’s before six. The creek is high, the bridges are deep under water, and Mum needs to be at the airport by eight o’clock.
  Mum phoned up everyone she could think of – not what you really want to do early in the morning, but no one was home, or willing to risk getting to town. Eventually, I went back online and arranged with Shan to get a lift in – or at least as far as the next bridge and see if it was passable. He actually drove through Joneses crossing without being washed away, so there’s a reasonable chance we could have too. Each crossing we came to, we expected the worst – but they were all just under. The water was almost lapping on the Mungumby Bridge.
  After what turned out to be a rather uneventful drive into town and out to the airport, we were told that Cairns Airport was closed and to come back at ten o’clock, so we dropped Mum at Vince’s and bought breakfast at the bakery.
  An apple turnover (with fresh cream) and milk drink later and we were actually awake. Once the supermarket was open, Shan and Kylie did some shopping and I bought a few emergency supplies just in case I can’t get back in for ages, went and fuelled up and did some hardware shopping. The hardware has its Chinese imported motorbikes now – and they’re very cheap. $1,299 for a Coyote, from memory. We then hung around down near the wharf until the video shop was open, took back our old DVD’s, got some new ones – two lots of five, and drove home. I (randomly) ended up with “Gone in 60 Seconds”, “Dungeons & Dragons”, “The Truth about Cats & Dogs”, “Pitch Black”, and “The Quick and the Dead”.
I went online, felt tired, and decided to have a little lie down. An hour or so later I was awoken by Shan at the door, wanting to go out to the Blue Marker. We arranged with Jade and Ella to get picked up from other side of the Home Rule Bridge, and drove down there and waited, and waited, and waited. It was just low enough that we could struggle our way across without having to walk miles upstream and swim. While we were waiting, a young girl jumped in, went under water, came up, went under again, and managed to swim her way across to a tree and sat there screaming. Shan and I were on the other side of the bridge, and we weren’t quite sure if she was just screaming as girls do, or screaming for a reason – and it was too hard to tell if the redness on her face really was blood. Kylie went down to her and seemed concerned, so we struggled our way back across. She’d hit an underwater rock or something and cracked her head open by the looks – but it was a bit hard to tell through all the blood. Someone ran and got her Mum, and we continued waiting.
  After waiting half an hour and still no Jade or Ella, Shan and Kylie drove back up to their place to go online and see what was happening. Of course, as soon as they left, Jade and Ella arrived. Apparently there’d been six small trees across the road and they’d had to stop and clear them off before they could get through. We drove up to some person’s place to drop off Jade’s power steering pump, then crossed the creek again and, after Shan took their dog back home, drove out to Home Rule. The silly dog turned up on the other side of the creek just as we were about to go. Kylie freaked out that it would try to follow us, and be swept away, and Shan had to get across to it as fast as possible and take it home.
  After pumping up my tube with Joneses compressor (so much faster than a bike pump), we walked up to the Blue Marker. It was huge. Jade, Kylie and Ella weren’t game to go in. Shan and I carefully made our way across to the other side by swimming flat out while being washed downstream, and moved some sharp and dangerous logs that had fallen in the water, before trying to get close to the rapids. It was too strong – we had very little control, having to go with the flow. There was a calmer spot close to a waterfall, where the rush of water came up, and we could just manage to stay in there. It wasn’t too bad really, because when we were sucked under we’d be thrown out further down where we could swim to safety – but it’s hard to override the body’s natural instinct to try to stop itself from drowning.
  After we’d declared it semi-safe, Ella came in. We told her that she had to go with the flow – when she was sucked in, she had to wait until it spat her out again otherwise she’d get sucked in over and over again and die. However, the self-preservation instinct is quite strong, and everything in you says it’s bad to let yourself drown down to the bottom at the mercy of the water – so she struggled. We could see the look of panic in her eyes, and she weakly said “Save me” as she floated past me – Shan and I were both about to jump in and try save her if she went under again, but the water spat her out and she managed to float ashore where she sat crying for a while.
  I then got my tube, and played around on that, which was more fun but probably harder – there’s a bit of an art to staying on a tube when you’re being buffeted from all sides by rapids and a waterfall – flipping over and hitting your head on the rocks behind the waterfall isn’t a good idea either. We managed to get Ella back into the water, to her credit, provided one of us was with her and she had the tube, but we didn’t swim that long – we needed more than one tube, it was just too strong, and we were too much at the mercy of the water.
  After out swimming adventures, we set up Ella’s computer so they could play DVD’s through their television, got a lift back to the bridges with Jade (they’ve gone down a bit, and are now easy to walk across) and walked home.
I’m defensive of too many things – it sucks. A bloke in one of the forums I read was ranting on about Internet Explorer is a “pile of sh**” compared to other browsers, so I felt obliged to point out that it isn’t really, even though it is in some ways...
  IE is, in my opinion, the best browser – however, that’s arguable so I won’t argue it. Firefox is not the most standards compliant browser – Mozilla itself is slightly more standards compliant than Firefox (it shouldn’t be, but it is, who knows why) and Opera supports more CSS than Mozilla. However, the “standards compliant” title, while admirable, fails to take into account anything realistic. Don’t get me wrong – standards compliance (which really only means HTML/XHTML and CSS standards compliance in this case) is a great thing, and both Mozilla and Opera have much better standards support in this case than IE. In IE’s defence – when the current version was released it had much better standards support than any other browser – by an order of magnitude, however it has not been updated since (except for some security bug fixes). However, back to what I was going to say – while this is great for people who use cutting edge XHTML and CSS positioning (like me); it isn’t actually very useful in any real world sense. IE renders most sites more accurately than Mozilla, and supports a lot more “things” – Mozilla didn’t even support vector images last time I looked (which pisses me off) and they’ve only just got any decent type of XML support now (which still falls behind IE).
  Anyway, enough rant – but IE is definitely not “a pile of sh**”, and it’s dinner time
I’ve finished the gruelling task of going through all the possible options and selecting the best out of my university timetable. Now I just have to hope that it doesn’t change (at least not for the worse), that I can sign-on to the right things in the morning, and that enough other people do so they’re not cancelled due to insufficient numbers. I also have to eat this cup of mixed lollies, do my fangs, and go to bed so I can actually wake up in time to sign-on.

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