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An Ozzyfrog guide to the Election. August 17, 2010

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Election date is closing in on us, and so far we have been treated to a highly bland election campaign from the major parties. Big Ears is promising to rip out our nice shiny new broadband network, while Gillard is annoying the hell out of everyone by speaking. The Save the Frog party (alright, The Greens) are offering an alternative view on both the major parties views, while Family First are sitting in their offices, wondering why only 2 people like them. Surely if I can rack up a few comments on this blog every now and again, you would think a ‘major’ party could give me a run for my money on their blog. Apparently not.

If we squint hard, however, logic exists in most (do you hear me, Family First?) of the parties. The liberals have always been good at keeping the economy well nurtured. Labor know this, and so have been wasting truly epic proportions of money on mundane things (see insulation and ticket systems), purely, it seems, to annoy the hell out of the Coalition. However, while they were all laughing at Tony getting red-faced, Kevin Rudd suddenly fell to earth with a knife in his back. As we waved a teary-eyed goodbye to Kevin ’07, Gillard and Abbott put on their game faces and moved into the first round: a live debate.

Julia Gillard started by saying that we need to keep ‘Moving Forward’. Tony said ‘Fair Dinkum’. Gillard repeated her first statement on moving the country forward. Abbott reminded us he was fair dinkum. Gillard stated that moving backwards is an unwise move. Big Ears made a cunning move and openly told the nation that he was fair dinkum. This shocked Gillard, but she remained composed, and retorted that she was moving the country forward. The tables had turned, Abbott was on the back foot, but not for long; for he was fair dinkum. The sheer wit and intensity of the debate, it seemed, led to most of the country switching their television sets off.

From the lacklustre performance of the two major parties however, emerged a stronger, determined underling. The Greens. Scoffed at years ago for being nothing more than tree-huggers, Gillard and Abbott suddenly realised that the Greens actually had policies. A fast rail network, for one, and equal marriage rights for another. Abbott came to the sorry realisation that it might have not been such a good idea to call climate change ‘crap’ as the Greens popularity soared. He quickly changed his position, and by doing so overtook Labor in the polls. Have no fear however, Kevin ’07 was released from hospital from a ‘gall bladder’ operation (is that what they told you?), put on a smile, and joined Gillard as an unstoppable force. Abbott turned around and realised his deputy wasn’t there, and the last time anyone saw her she was staring down a garden gnome.

Round 2 commenced, and Abbott decided to rip out all Labor’s internet plan due to it being a bit pricey. He even decided to go and have a chat to Kerry O’Brien to tell the nation of his great new idea. However, Kerry quickly told him his plan in-fact defied the laws of physics, and the awkward turtle waltzed through the door. Abbott, unable to think of a response, and seemingly forgetting that he is ‘fair dinkum’, began looking for the emergency exit. Unable to find one, he decided to try and get technical and hope Kerry wouldn’t know enough to contradict him. He did. 10 minutes later, with Kerry scoring 1,203 points of pure ownage (a record for him, so I’m told), the interview ended, and Abbott’s public relations team could finally stop wailing.

Damage control quickly whisked Abbott away, and it was time for the next disastrous interview. The two smaller parties, Family First and the Australian Sex Party went head to head on sunrise brekky to debate their points of view. The Sex Party began well, with well thought out policies and smart opinions. Family First started bad, and entered a downwards spiral from there. By the time they got to gay marriage I had a headache, and considered overdosing on Panadol. Wendy Francis’ (speaker for Family First) wails of ‘no, you’re wrong!’ with no valid reason, and stating that gay marriage is unimportant was enough for three of her five followers to leave her. The interview finished, Wendy flew off on her broomstick back to the middle ages, and we once again turned our attention to Labor vs Liberal.

At the time of writing, only three days remain until election day, and it is down to the wire. Gillard and Abbott both impressed their respective voters on Q and A, Julie Bishop returned from her staring contest, Kevin Rudd has returned to obscurity and Wendy Francis is busy burning witches at Stake. So Adrian, who would you vote for? To that question, the answer is obvious. The Nando’s Peri-Peri Party. Hands down.

The noise of South Africa July 5, 2010

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In recent months, a new weapon of terror has been unleashed upon the world. Those closely affected by it have labelled it as ‘maddening’. The public are scared. The governments are worried. The UN simply are at loss at what to do. Fifa, on the other hand, almost seem to be enjoying the new device, and if you haven’t guessed it already, I am of course talking about the wretched Vuvuzela.  On The first Soccer World Cup game I watched, as I reclined comfortably on the sofa at a crisp 4am, my senses were alerted to the fact that a strange noise was emitting from the TV. What you normally hear at soccer games is chanting, commentary, shouts, cries and wails of despair. Yet this morning all that could be heard was a loud buzzing noise in, as my trained ears told me, E flat (I was later told they buzz in B flat, but really that’s just nitpicking).

As the commentator yelled to be heard and  the players eardrums burst, the rest of the viewing world sat stunned, all pondering the same, meaningful question; “What the hell are they doing?”. Surely they are going to run out of breath. Surely some of them will eventually come to their senses. However, the noise droned on for the entirety of the match. There are few sounds worse than Ke$ha, but I believe we may have stumbled across one. As the surviving players left the field, Fifa was posed the question of banning them (the Vuvuzelas, not the players), and Fifa quickly threw it into the ‘too hard’ basket.

It of course wasn’t long until the AFL fans began to gloat. “Our game has no stupid distractions like that” they cried triumphantly. I don’t care, I will never see the attraction of AFL for a number of reasons. Firstly, must the umpire blow the whistle that frequently? I thought it was rather obvious that the player marked it, seeing as he caught it. I’m not sure, but I also think the sheer frequency of scoring makes it far less exciting than its European counterpart. “Oh, but that makes it less predictable and more exciting” cry the footy fans. No. Go away. I don’t care. Just leave me to my early soccer mornings please (now on mute). I don’t care if Barry Hall is innocent. I don’t really care what drug Ben Cousins has taken this week. Nor do I worry at night about which of the footballers are gay.

Yet you look at the other sports our TV channels have on offer, and it doesn’t get much better. For if you don’t like AFL, then you must love cricket. I say love because I know of few sports that take 5 days to play. They stand around looking at the seagulls, and occasionally a ball is bowled. Even more occasionally, one is hit, and if you believe some of the stories, the players do actually run once in a blue moon. To be honest, I’ve never made it that far into the game; when the commentators begin talking about their lunch it’s a good indication to move on and watch something else.

Then you switch channels to the V8 Supercars. Wow. Sounds pretty amazing, you would have to agree. Until you notice that they’re all Fords or Holdens. So really, it’s back so soccer, and I must admit that’s not a bad thing. The soccer fans are certainly passionate about their sport, so much so that one fan ripped all her vocal cords out whilst blowing on a Vuvuzela. Made the slow motion replays all the more worthwhile. So while it is passionate and exciting, please Fifa, for the next Brazilian world cup, please refrain from allowing the fans to carry trombones. The neighbours would appreciate it.

Something fishy’s happening in Switzerland. April 15, 2010

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Yes, I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog, and I am sorry about that. I’m working on writing more, it’s just there’s this annoying thing called VCE which apparently I have to do…

Many moons ago, cars were large solid things that had the ability to plough through just about anything in their path. Fences, poles, brick walls, small children and whole apartment blocks stood no chance against the ‘very safe’ 1958 Ford Fairlane. If a dent appeared in your bumper, a simple whack of a hammer would fix it. Cars were built to be so rigid as it was thought that it was safe to do so. Evidently, times have changed. Nowadays simple pressing the boot lid down a little too hard will have it crumple into somewhere near the front seats. God forbid if you so happen to tap another car whilst parking. I distinctly remember a few years ago where Mercedes revealed a car that had no less than 17 airbags littered around that cabin. It was basically a bouncy castle on wheels. You could quite literally have a huge accident in this car and simply not notice.

My attention was caught today by a huge accident that occurred in Switzerland of all places. Before I continue, I’ll show you the photo of the car taken after the crash. (Apologies for the size).

This was an accident in which both occupants survived. How? The car isn’t even recognisable anymore; it has no roof, no doors and just one window. The accident was caused by, and I quote, “the driver of a car registered in France passed a vehicle without seeing a truck that normally happen in reverse”. Evidently, we will have to be careful of those trucks that normally happen in reverse. They sound quite dangerous. Back to the point though, how does one survive such an impact? Something fishy is happening in Switzerland. This is obviously an astoundingly safe car, but one tricky question remains: what the hell kind of car is it? The only recognisable features are the seats, and they are not exactly a dead give away. I strongly suspect this is not a normal production car, but some ultra safe Swiss bunker on wheels. Please do let me know if you have any ideas of what this car is (or what it was before it became entangled in a truck that normally happens in reverse). Whatever it is, we can learn something from it. One, watch out for the reverse trucks, and two don’t use google translate for an official accident report.

Another general rant from Lorne. January 22, 2010

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Amongst all the grief and horror of Haiti, there is a silver lining for us Australians. Hilary Clinton, who was touring the pacific and was about to come to Australia, but had to cancel her trip to go to Haiti. Shame. Predictably, she stumbled her way through a speech on the stricken country. “The people of Haiti have often suffered grief and pain in circumstances such as this, but also joy, so I believe they can pull through this situation”. Joy? After a monumental earthquake, possibly killing in excess of 200,000 people, the people of Haiti are joyous? I feel sorry for them, not only for surviving the horrific earthquake, but then being forced to endure the speeches of this clumsy woman.

However, as I watched TV, more moments of surprise were in store for me on The 7:30 Report. Firstly, Kerry O’Brien was not the host. That will not do. I agree, he needs a holiday once in awhile, but the show should be stopped for that time. It is not The 7:30 Report without Kerry O’Brien; a point that was proved only moments later. As Prince William is coming to Australia, they invited someone who works with the royal family for an interview. He was very British, and was wearing what could only be called a very stylish multicoloured tie. The host then proceeded to embarrass us by asking him stupid gossip questions.

“So do you think Prince William’s girlfriend is the right girl for him? Will he pop the question? Could she be a replacement of Princess Diana?” Why is it, that when a Prince visits our country for the first official time, do we quiz people about his girlfriend? Sure, a question or two could be asked about her, but devoting the entire 7:30 Report to her is a bit off the leash. “Is she suitable for the role of Queen? Does she shower often? How does she like her eggs? Is she good in bed? Why is the earth round? Does a mocco late use full cream or light milk?” The British man at this point started to shake, as the rate of questions was overwhelming. He secretly wondered if he could use his rainbow tie to create a distraction and escape, but fortunately there was no need. The time was up, and she thanked him for his time.

Who wrote the questions that night? It might just be the same person who came up with the new Channel 7 show about airport delays. Now, this might just be me, but airport delays are what most people slot into the category of ‘uninteresting’. Furniture, train timetables and books on botany all fall into this category. So when they announce that their smashing new T.V series is all about people getting angry because their flight is delayed seems a little odd. They try to make it seem exciting, by putting one of the most eccentric men I have seen in my life on the ad, but it doesn’t work. Border Security uses this same tactic, by showing Customs officers firing a machine gun off a boat. At what exactly? Refugees? That might be a slight breach in Rudd’s policy on Asylum Seekers. “Rule 32, section 5. Asylum Seekers are not to be mown down by custom officers wielding machine guns.”

Microsoft is taking an interesting approach to their ads too, with the new ‘I thought of Windows 7’ slogan. They also seem to have a grand total of one ad, entirely based on parental controls. “None of this Social Networking (what an evil mother) for you. Oh yes, and I thought of Windows 7.” If that is the case, then Ozzyfrog has thought of Windows 8. You saw it here first. Goodness, I almost forgot about the Baby Elephant at Melbourne Zoo. The same Baby Elephant that takes up the news headlines for days and days. You would think we’ve never seen one before. I suppose however, it is better than seeing Hilary talk about Haiti.

I should also mention something about the transport situation. Myki has been implemented into trains, as it still doesn’t work reliably on buses and trams. Isn’t that a bit scary? 5 years and 1.3 billion dollars later, it still doesn’t work. Lynne Kosky evidently realised this, and did a runner back to her family. Her replacement is Martin Pakula, so he is our new transport minister. I wish the very best of luck to him. He is most certainly going to need it.

Morgan Freeman for PM December 3, 2009

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I’m always a bit baffled when I see someone drive past in a Ssangyong. It means that when faced with the need of a new car, they disregarded Honda, Ford, Holden, Toyota, Suzuki Mazda and others, just to name a few. They walked into a showroom, and said ‘Yes, I think this car will do me’. The car in question is not cheap. It looks like Stevie Wonder designed it. It has the elegance of a man in a wheelchair, falling down some stairs. It has the handling of an oil tanker, and the power of Belgium. It will also fall to pieces in roughly 12 seconds. So why would anyone buy such a thing?

The same question was posed this week, in the election for the Liberal leader. Who, in their right mind, voted for Tony Abbott? Or big ears, as I like to call him. Go on, stand up, who voted for him? What’s all the more tantalizing is that he won by a single vote. Because of him, the Emissions Trading Scheme has now been rejected, because it’s just ‘one big tax’, to use Tony’s words. Well, yes, that was sort of the point of the whole thing. When asked why he rejects the idea of an ETS on The 7:30 Report he merely said the word ‘tax’ 1000 times until Kerry O’Brien had to be evacuated for his own safety. Which was followed by the most terrifying laugh I have ever heard in my life. The Count from Sesame Street would have cowered in fear after hearing Abbott’s laugh. So how did we end up with him?

Clearly, there is a problem with the democratic system. Look at America a few years ago, with a population of over 200 million people, the best leader turned out to be a man who couldn’t speak properly. Obama finally cured the drought of good candidates, although he was pitted against a man who looked like he should have been on the front of a chip packet. Then Sarah Palin announced she wanted to run for president. Sweet Jesus. An onion ring would lead the country better than she would.  Apparently, our Prime Minister is called Kevin Rudd, although no-one really knows what he looks like, because he’s never actually in Australia. Which now leaves us all alone in the country with Big Ears. That’s a scary thought.

Something needs to be done. But who would be the best leader of our country? Susan Boyle? Kerry O’Brien? David Attenborough? Morgan Freeman? It’s a tricky one this. In all honesty however, who wouldn’t vote for Morgan Freeman? He has the most important sounding voice ever. But should we still vote at all? Hmm, I think the problem lies in giving the party the power to elect their leader, and who enters the party. This will not do, this is how Big Ears and Big Glasses (John Howard) got into power. What I propose, is a Simulator. It will simulate running the country, including the economy, climate change, major planned events, war overseas, strikes, and will simulate one whole term of leadership. Possible candidates will take the simulator, and the person who handles running the country the best will be elected into power.  This way, people won’t just get into power by their talking skills. Or in Abbott’s case, how well they scare the opposition into backing down. All I need now to implement this, is a position of power…

It’s COTY Time November 27, 2009

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Something incredible has happened. Something amazing has occurred. For today, Drive’s Car of The Year was announced. Please prepare yourself for a shock. The Commodore didn’t win. At first, it must be a misprint. There’s no way the judges would ever choose a VW run around instead of the beloved Commodore. Since the dawn of time, it has always won COTYcompetitions. Forget the fact that it was dull, thirsty and more common than a fridge, it always took home the trophy with ease. Yes, it’s reliable. Yes, it has enough room in the back to have a game of tennis. For the love of god though, could we at least give the other cars a slight chance at winning something? Well, it seems that they finally do.

Even more surprising was the fact that it didn’t even win in its class. The Nissan Maxima beat it, which seemed rather odd. Then they chose the BMW 135i as being better than the Nissan GTR or Audi S4, and I’m sorry, but have you had a look at the thing? The 1 series looks as if it was designed by Stevie Wonder. It looks like hatch from the back, a sedan from the front and a bread van from the side. The coupe version looks as if it’s been squashed by an angry BMW employee. Yet it still beat the Audi and the mind bending Nissan GTR.  I have however, saved the worst news until last. The Toyota Prius won the people’s choice award and the Green Innovation Award, as if one award wasn’t enough.

I must admit, Toyota have improved the new model. The old one looked like a stunned fish that had just eaten a rather tangy lemon. It had no top speed whatsoever, and in a crash offered the same safety as a paper bag. To top it off, a VW diesel had better economy than it. So why anyone bought it at all remains a mystery to me. The new version looks better than the old one, but is still a dreadful car. It’s still slower than an Ice Age, and is not in any way a good drivers car. It’s also incredibly quiet, which while that may seem like a good thing, no-one will ever hear you coming in a Prius. What happens is people constantly lunge out in front of you, meaning that you stock up an amazing pedestrian hit streak. Prius drivers have no taste in cars, only in the environment. So why is it that car reviewers like them?

Here’s the secret. If you’re a car journalist, you get invited by, let’s say, BMW, on an all paid luxurious visit to Germany, to test their new model. After staying in a 40 star hotel, you get to take their new car out for a spin. After a dinner at a fine restaurant, you get a parting token such as a laptop, and get a business class ticket back home. So, what do you say about their car? That it’s rubbish? Of course not, you want to be invited back into the Elton John lifestyle, so you say it’s brilliant so you get invited back. You see where I’m going here? It could be said that the review of a car is purely a reflection of how good the Champagne in France was that day. Or how pleasant the hotel was in Germany. It would seem that VW put a fine dinner on that day, perhaps some roasted lobster followed up with some Soufle, and Holden bought a Coles Chocolate Cake. So here’s the tip Holden, make whatever car you want. It have no handling, a horrid engine and be called the ‘Roast Penguin’, but follow one simple rule. Fire whoever was in charge of catering that day, and hire the French chef Georges Blanc. Your new Roast Penguin will sell like nothing else.

A chilling discovery November 14, 2009

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As no doubt you know, much of my blogging percentage is taken up my rants about public transport. This is because that I catch it often, and because it gives such good writing material. For instance, last week a final report was released from the investigation of the mess up Connex caused last Oaks day. I kid you not, this was its major finding; “Connex mishandled the train services on Oaks Day”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that why they launched an investigation? They hardly launched it because it all went smoothly.  So what were they investigating? Did they launch an investigation to see if an investigation was needed? Or were they trying to figure out if the foul ups that day were just random acts of the devil?

Of course, I could talk for weeks about Myki. One, the name. I know it’s supposed to be said like ‘My Key’, as in ‘My Key to Melbourne’. It’s obviously a cheap, imitation key, because the lord mayor has the proper one. I always think of it like the name ‘Mikey’. Which is fine, for a pet dog or cat, but it brings across the image of a slightly chubby 38-year-old who lives with his mother Muriel. Not a very good look. Apparently, most of the problems people face with the system have been  when its been  downloading software updates, which it does frequently. They have obviously had a chat will Bill Gates; it sounds like Vista all over again. Even the fact that you ‘touch’ on and off the bus sounds all wrong. ‘Swipe’ or ‘validate’ surely sounds more sophisticated and less inappropriate. The bus lady also still screeches at me ever morning too at Box Hill. I heard her from inside a bus half a kilometer away on Wednesday. She still had nothing more to say than the surprising fact that there were no delays.

You see? I can ramble endlessly on this topic for weeks at a time. However, something has changed the whole outlook on public transport recently. Something very, very evil. I was on my way to a theatre show (don’t ask why, it’s a long story involving many whales and glow in the dark ninjas) on the tram, and all was progressing normally. Although it started getting rather cold, which was odd seeing as it was warm outside just before. Then ice started forming on the windows. Slightly alarmed I got up, and then realised too late what was happening. I ran to the doors, but they were frozen shut, as they were throughout the tram. I saw out the front window the next stop was getting very close, which is when I got very worried. Panicking, I pressed the emergency door release button, but to no avail. The tram started pulling up, but then I saw the emergency exit hammer above the window.

Jumping out of a broken tram window at 50kph is not the most pleasant of experiences, but I escaped with my life. For if I hadn’t gotten out of the tram, I would have seen none other than Ms Austin forcefully wrench open the doors and get on board. I could still hear the cries of distress in the distance as I ran from the doomed tram. Suddenly, I saw the light. After establishing that it was a street lamp, I moved on and realised something I never thought of before. And please, before reading the next phrase, make sure you are sitting down, and remove any shard objects from your pockets, because it may shock you. The people running the public transport system are not imbeciles who can’t run a transport system. They are brilliant people who live in fear of the evil that plagues their transport system. All of the oddities of the system now make sense.

For one, we know why the investigation into Oaks day seemed so flawed. It was an investigation into if it was an act of the devil (although Connex still couldn’t shift the blame on that day). Only people who have the ability to touch can use the new ticket system. It also needs constant updates on the situation of the evil at hand. The Box Hill Lady is a warning system, and as mentioned in an earlier blog, the buses have spoilers to flee an encounter. It all makes beautiful sense. So I sincerely apologise to the transport system, for all the abuse I have shamelessly hurled at them over the years. Except for Brumby. Everyone needs someone they can take out their anger on.

Where has all the water gone? October 14, 2009

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Recently, many neighbouring islands have been gutted by multiple Tsunamis, leaving nothing but a trail of destruction behind. I assure you however, those waves were not even half the size of the wall of water that greeted me as the bus door opened this morning. How do they leak so much water? Yes, I know, you’re thinking “here we go again, more whining from Ozzyfrog about his bus trips’. It got me wondering about this drought we are in though. Forgive me, but it didn’t seem like much of a drought this morning, as a canoed my way up the aisle of the bus into my seat. After tying the canoe down, I found that I had a prime view of the cars floating past my window, and the occasional fruit shop owner being swept away along with his many bananas. As we pulled into the next stop, and seeing an elegantly dressed businesswoman blasted down a drain pipe from the torrential gush of water that our bus produced, it struck me just how much rain we have been having lately.

So, I presume you would expect that our water catchments have had a stable increase in their water levels? Well, no. In fact, they seem to be losing water rather than gaining it. Where is it all going? Are they strategically placed in the driest places on earth? It seems that they would gain more water in the Sahara Desert. Or is Tim Holding drinking all the water? I actually cannot think of many people who I distrust more to run our water system than Tim Holding, partly because he has the IQ of your local letterbox. Who else goes hiking alone in the middle of nowhere, and then goes off the proper trail at night? He then gets treated as a hero because he went back to work after he was rescued after falling down a small hill. This is apparently the man who is best suited to getting us through this drought.

An apparent expert also came on radio this morning, telling us how that if we had stronger pumps in the Yarra, we would save a colossal amount of water. So by draining the Yarra to a small puddle, we would somehow be better off, and have more water. These are the kind of brilliant ideas the people in the government’s water department come up with. They like to think outside the box. “If we pump more water out of the Yarra, then we will use less water from the dams, and so we’ll have more water!’. Yes, but it’s not really solving the problem, is it? Desalination plants help solve the problem, as does stopping Tim from drinking all the water. Not pumping more water out of the Yarra.

Building a huge pipe and pumping the water down from the country doesn’t really achieve much either. This is because crops need water more than we need swimming pools, a concept that Tim is yet to grasp. No matter how many pictures of cute frogs he puts on the outside of his building, the problem is not going away (just like the man himself). There is a way though, to get more water. Nothing on planet earth is more efficient at getting the tiniest amount of water and turning it into a raging waterfall. It has a huge capacity, and can wipe out suburbs at a time. If only Tim caught my bus in the morning.

The High-Tech equipment used at Melbourne Water.

The High-Tech equipment used at Melbourne Water.

The solutions to all our mysteries (well, nearly). September 14, 2009

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I still remember the first time I opened Windows Movie Maker. Thinking it would be a snazzy program that would allow me to make nice movies on my computer, I was quite excited. Until I opened it. Then it became a puzzle, of trying to figure out what you were actually supposed to do with it. To this day, the puzzle remains unsolved. It’s obviously not a word processor, and it doesn’t seem to be of any use for emailing. The name might suggest some sort of movie making use, but as far as I can tell there is no way you can edit anything. You start to become quite confused as you try to figure out what on earth this program is actually for. Instant messaging? No. Internet Browsing? No. Blogging? No. It could be a banana ripener for all you can figure out, until it dawns on you. It actually is supposed to make movies. You spend a few moments trying to overcome this fact, while impersonating a goldfish, as you try to comprehend how on earth the product ever made it onto the shelves. It looks like something the accountant made, while on her biscuit break.

It is completely useless. There are many things however, that make a good effort of trying to be just as useless as it is. Clickview is one of them. It seems to be a storage device for rejected health videos, but it even fails at that sometimes. Or when Nissan a while back introduced a car with two trip computers. I have been kept awake for hours at night, trying to figure out why a car would need two trip computers. There must have been a reason, or they wouldn’t have put two in, but I can’t figure it out for the life of me. Recently, I added another item to this useless list. On the way to school, the 302 City National Bus drove past in the other direction, probably trying to find its way to the city. Not that unusual, you might say. Well, the spoiler on the back of it was.

As a general rule of thumb, most bus companies don’t see the need for a large spoiler on the back of their buses. This does have something to do with their rather low top speed (or lack of one). So why Ventura find the need for one is a bit baffling. There are, however, a few possible reasons. Mr Ventura Man might have finally gone mad. Or perhaps he thinks it is stylish. He might have even realised that our bus service is not very good, and decided to spice it up a bit. Or it could be something more sinister than that. Switzerland is fully prepared for a war, they have nuclear bunkers and many of their roads can be converted into runways. I like to think we’re dong something like that. “Yes, we know your bridges can be destroyed at a moments notice, but out buses can travel at Mach.2” Maybe the many other useless things you see have something to do with this.

Like the Box Hill Centro Lady. Every morning, after an incredibly ear-drum bursting squeak, she gets on the intercom system and yells at us about how “there are no known delays on any of our Box Hill services”. Pull the other one. Every single morning she says the same thing, so much so that you would think that it’s a pre-recorded message. I somewhat doubt that none of the buses or trains are ever late. They just are. I think they’re just preparing the intercom system for possible air raid sirens, where you’ll be able to jump into your specially equipped Mach 2 bus and zip away into the distance. It would be like no other evacuation system in the world. It also explains why ClickView has so many safety videos. The Nissan mystery though, is beyond me. Last time I checked, they were making are car with 2 gearboxes.

The inner workings of Airport Security September 10, 2009

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After a recent incident in Mexico, it would seem that not all airplane hijackers are skilled in the art of hijacking. Or logic, for that matter. Yesterday, an Aeromexico was hijacked by a Bolivian priest and some assistants. Thing is, he decided to hijack the plane after it had landed. Guess what? Everyone evacuated and his team of hijackers were promptly arrested. What a well formed plan. Some people still don’t seem to realise that it actually isn’t possible to hijack an airliner anymore, especially when it’s taxying back to the gate. September 11 obviously had a lot to do with this, but the Americans really did allow it to happen. Back in 2001, the Americans treated airplanes like we treated buses. Baggage did not have to be checked to a passenger before being allowed on board, for instance. I’m surprised the terrorists used Stanley knives to gain access to the cockpit. They could have waltzed on with a bazooka. The rest of the world, however, actually realised the existence of hijackers and so took them slightly seriously. Of course, after September 11, all the airports in America went berserk and forced everyone to follow suit.

The result is that nowadays the security guards look at you suspiciously if you try to get some orange juice to your gate, and it can take so long to get through customs that you are actually classified as a missing person. Security also seems to be quite illogical. I don’t quite see how I’m going to get through a reinforced cockpit door with a spoon, but I guess you can’t take any chances. One time when I was going to Tasmania with my cousin, who works in the multimedia industry, we had to take a special type of camera equipment through security. The thing that worried us, was that it looked exactly like a bomb. I mean, exactly. It was a smallish black box that had wires sticking out of it and a small screen on the front. Was security fussed about it? They didn’t even blink. They did blink, however, at the tube of cream in my backpack. After establishing that my Savlon antiseptic cream was not hiding a gun, we were allowed through with our bomb look-alike in our bags.

Nowadays, though, just saying the word ‘bomb’ will incur a rather nice fine. Not to mention that every few seconds a man will tell you not to leave your bags unattended, but he forgets to tell you what happens if you do. Your bags get blown to smithereens, and I don’t expect that you will be reimbursed. If a bag is left alone, the bomb squad comes charging in and destroys your bag. I would really rather them have some method of checking the bag first, before blasting it into millions of pieces. If you think about it, it is in an airport, where thousands of people have multiple bags. The chances of someone losing their bag is quite high. And usually, it does not contain a bomb. Or Savlon Cream, for that matter.

Another oddity of today’s airports is how you need to arrive at the airport 3-4 hours early. Why? It takes only a moment to check in, and while customs is slow, it’s not that slow. People still somehow manage to be late anyway, and they always seem to be foreigners. If a person is called over the intercom to go to their gate immediately, they will always be called something like Mr. Ombvnishyu or Ms. Grytiliekmes. Never just Mr. Waugh or Ms. Smith. I’ve often thought of booking a flight under the name of ‘Bomb’ or ‘Explosive’, and watch the intercom man dragged out by Federal Police when he calls you to your gate. You would also be able to still board your flight, because it’s guaranteed that Mr. Joliuospts will still be late. Especially with no intercom man to hurry him along. Just remember the trick of customs, if it looks suspicious, it isn’t. General household items however, can see you in negotiations with security for hours. So next time you board a plane, make sure you’re bag looks highly suspicious. You’ll sail through customs, guaranteed.