Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Deep South

Recently was way down south on business, in the city of Sydney. Taking advantage of his sudden proximity to it, Mine Host decided to visit the never-before-seen city of Melbourne.

Observations on this secluded southern city: Melbourne is as chilly as was expected, despite the fact that Mine Host was rugged up in more jackets than he has worn in many a year, people around him in the street were heard to be commenting on how "mild" the day was, & how "pleasant" the weather is compared to a little while ago. Just goes to show that everything is relative!

As indeed is sunshine. Melbourne is far further from the equator than Mine Host is accustomed to being, with accompanying reduced severity of sunshine. In fact the reduced sunshine of Melbourne gives it a rather 1950's technicolour movie feel, & Mine Host had a nagging feeling that he was transported to an alien world. And people on the street were heard to comment on how "sunny" the day was!

Food! Melbourne is food heaven! Mine Host has an incredible weakness for congee! All year he covets the stuff, then suddenly he is in a place where it is available 24 hours! And in sit down restaurants, with tablecloth & waiter & all.... *Melbourne is the place*

At any time of the day or night, not only congee, but all sorts of food could be had. Mine Host was able to eat in fantastic upmarket restaurants whenever he chose, without detecting even the slightest reluctance from restaurant staff. Finding any restaurant open at 11pm (even fast food) is usually too much of an ask, then there is Melbourne, with mouth watering food available sit down with wine at any time!

Mine Host is now scouring his diary for an excuse to return to the deep south!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Reality Hurts Doesn't It?

Recenty several major newspapers carried a front page story, with a fantastic colour photograph of: A young man, in the act of sniffing paint, interrupting a coroner's inquest (being conducted al fresco near Ayer's Rock) by strolling through the hearing.

The presence of this young man was so overwhelming for the coroner that he stopped the hearing & went "for a walk", being unable to deal with stark reality of being confronted by a paint sniffer.

Shock, Horror!!! A judge forcibly shoved face to face into reality!

A member of the "soft hands" urban tertiary class, one of the influencers and deciders of how we live, of how our system will operate, shoved face to face with the bland nothingness of a spaced out kid, & he cannot handle it, had to suspend the hearing...

The rest of the population have to deal with such reality, only without the option of "time out" to go for a walk to calm our nerves. But we do have the sure knowledge that how we handle the situation will be placed under the intense scrutiny of 20/20 hindsight, quite possibly by some naive, glib members of the legal profession.

A dose of how the rest of us have to live should happen to the legal profession more often, it may even shock some reality into them.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Fools rush in.....

A wharf can be seen from the office window, the picture 2 posts ago shows this wharf.

Jumping from the wharf is prohibited. It is dangerous. For those who are too stupid to recognise danger, there are signs telling you. These signs also tell you of the legal penalties for jumping.

In case you are a "rebel", or can't think ahead far enough to conceptualise penalties, there is still the danger, (danger is a non-escapable, non-sueable thing which can "get" you, beware of it)

The double barrelled attack of danger AND penalties means, of course, that there is the odd person who DOES jump. Such person would have only a strong vacum between their ears.

Mine Host & his co-workers suspected two of the staff of occassionally doing some illicit jumping.

Unfortunately the two staff were both chefs. Chefs are a resource which is as rare as is common sense rare in wharf jumpers.

How to save the chefs from themselves? Informal advice was given, stern denials were the retort, written warnings were issued, again total denial. (The denials were of sufficient vigour to confirm everyone's suspicions that the chefs were indeed jumping from the wharf)

The wharf jumping habit was cured one day, in a most memorable manner:

The two chefs were jumping into the water, paddling to a ladder or stairs, climbing back up, then jumping again, all very much in the manner of a group of laughing children.

On one of his jumps, chef A knocked himself out. The tide was low, hard objects were in the water. Chef B jumped again to rescue chef A. This was not as easy as it first looked. Hidden hard objects was one reason only stupid people would jump, the other is strong currents. VERY STRONG. Chef B managed to get chef A out of unconsciousness & aware of what was happening.

However the currents had taken them quite some distance offshore. Being as the current is about 8 knots, there was no hope of them swimming back. They trod water & simply went with the flow, just as sailing boats do (for this reason sailing boats are quite rare in these parts).

Not having been seen by anyone else while they were jumping & knocking themself out, the 2 chefs would have drifted until they either came to another island, or were eaten by a crocodile.

Mine Host's best customers are the Customs Patrol. A small customs boat coming back from a job saw the bobbing heads, rescued them, & recognised the chefs who cook the mouth watering food the customs staff love to eat.

The customs staff did provide a happier ending for what would otherwise have been a mysterious missing persons case. Mine Host also notes that when they saved that pair, the customs crew did no favours for the gene pool.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

sharks, hehehe...

For the scene of this incident, refer to the previous posting, & the photo taken from the office window.

Right in front of Mine Host's office window, in the twilight, thigh deep in the water, several fellows were standing fishing. After quite some time one of them made a comment about "sharks".

Mine Host wryly noted that over the next minute or so, all the fishermen moved closer to the edge of the water, until it was not so deep, covering little more than their ankles. Apparently this was to "improve the chances of catching fish".

Shortly afterward a fin was observed by all, ominously gliding past. (Most sinister, just like on TV, hehe). The water under the fin was no more than waist deep.

Suddenly seeing the appeal of casting their lines from a "firmer footing", the fishermen all retreated as one to above the waterline.

7 times they lost bait & hook to a sudden "hit" on a line. Then one of them landed a 4 metre shark, as round in the body as a human torso.

Observing this cute little diorama, Mine Host felt little horror, shock or surprise. A long held knowledge of what the water contains has meant he has never, & will never, dip so much as a toe into the water in front of his office.