Friday, June 27, 2008

School House names

On Wednesday, I was out at Josephine's primary school for a presentation, and hanging up behind the stage were the four house flags. I can't remember what the house names were, other than they were botanical. At my High School the houses were early Australian explorers, Blaxland, Lawson, Wentworth and some other intrepid soul. Hume, maybe?

I reckon for a Western Sydney school, you couldn't get better than having the houses named after motorsport people. What about Brabham, Doohan, Gardner, and Webber? Much more interesting than Waratah, Banksia, and the like!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Top 100 Books update

I'm now up to 32 books read. Refer to this previous article if you are not sure what I'm talking about.

These are the latest read:

  • As I Lay Dying — William Faulkner. This will either change or confirm your in-built views of back-country Americans. I liked this one very much.

  • Dune — Frank Herbert. I think this is about the fourth time I have read this one. A favourite.

  • Neuromancer — William Gibson. I find his narrative confusing in spots; probably a personal problem.

  • Scoop — Evelyn Waugh. Usually, it takes me a little while to get into a book and then I'm hooked. This was different. I initially thought it hilarious, I cooled on it in the middle, and got back to it in the end.

  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy — John le Carre. OK.

  • Wind in the Willows, The — Kenneth Grahame. Very English countryside kids story. I'm sure I have read this before, possibly?

And I'm still reading Moby Dick via Daily Lit. Page 100 of 252. Struth! I'll get there in the end.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A car accident

I was involved in an accident yesterday. No people damage, just to my car. Very annoying, with only this one surreal bright spot.

Tuesdays at petrol stations in Sydney (and possibly elsewhere) are just crazy now, reminding me of the petrol rationing times. Everyone lines up back into the street, blocking traffic, so they can fill up on what is supposedly the cheapest day of the week. Wow, one or two cents a litre, maybe $1.20 you saved for sitting with your car running for 20 minutes. But yesterday morning I was running on fumes only, and had no choice but to stop off at the Speedway Petrol Station on the corner of Falcon and Miller Streets to fill up my Civic. The arrangement of pumps at this station is unusual: since the station has access to both Miller and Falcon, the pumps are at 45 degrees to both roads, sort of cutting the corner if you like. I went round the corner and came back in, squeezing in behind a woman filling up, while a flat-bed tow-truck was filling up at the diesel pump alongside. He spent the whole time filling up on his mobile phone, which I thought unusual enough, seeing as there are always signs to say "Turn off mobile devices!" with the ubiquitous crossed-through red circle with the silhouette of a mobile phone inside. The woman left and I edged up to the front and plugged in.

We finished at the same time, he hopped into the truck still chatting away on the phone, and we both started to head out, him on the right, me on the inside. To get back onto Falcon Street we've both got to come back left at that sharp 45 degree angle. I decided to let him go first as he was edging aggressively into the traffic. But that wasn't enough for him, he had to cut across and he hit me while I was waiting there, ripping the front bumper up and almost off. The car was still driveable, so I headed out into the street, expecting him to stop up ahead. But no, despite my beeping the horn and yelling out, he was off and heading to the Harbour Tunnel turn-off, still talking on the phone! I had to accelerate and jump in front of him to get his attention, and then we went on a merry chase, me following, through the back streets till he pulled up in Ernest Street with his back end sticking into a "No Stopping" zone. One of those nasty red "No Stopping" signs that you know are going to cause no good if a cop comes past no matter what excuse you have. I had no choice but to pull in behind him.

He got out of the truck cabin, came back and spoke these immortal words:

"Hang on a sec', mate. I've got to fart."