Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cry Wolf

I was laying under my trailer grinding clean patches on the frame so I could weld on brackets for my new water tank. As I looked up through the shower of sparks at the floor above, I could see a movement to one side. I stopped grinding as a large Wolf Spider ran across the floor directly over my face…around the edge of the frame it went and disappeared out of sight. Naturally I went back to grinding…
Later I took this photo of the juvenile spider sitting on the mudguard. When I looked away to change camera settings it disappeared without trace.

A few weeks later as I packed to go camping, the spider made an appearance as it leisurely walked across the floor as I was putting gear in…I was obliged to wait for it to cross.
Here we are another six months on and the spider still lives on my trailer somewhere, it’s been all over the state and shared the trailer with me as a bed on several trips. It’s been out bush with the motor bikes many times and lately back and forth with loads of house furniture as my daughter moves house. The trailer is still at my daughters, and today as I walked past it I noticed the spider sitting in the sun, soaking up all the heat it could on this otherwise cool day. It turns out it’s female (the males are smaller) and she’s getting to be quite a big spider now.
An apparently dangerous spider living in complete harmony with a large group of people?
You hear about Australia being full of dangerous animals but you don’t hear that most of them don’t want to interact with people at all… except for Crocodiles ..obviously! and Black snakes.. Sharks.. Box Jellyfish.. Tiger snakes…er! (I think I’ll shut up now)


Monday, July 25, 2011

Australian Tourism: questions answered

These questions about Australia were posted on an Australian Tourism website. Obviously the answers came from fellow Aussies.....just trying to help:

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.
Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.
Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water...
Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?
Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.
Q: Which direction is north in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 90 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.
Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.
Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.
Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A: No, WE don't stink.
Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.
Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK)
A: You are a British politician, right?
Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.
Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.
Q: Are there killer bees in Australia? (Germany)
A: Not yet, but for you, we'll import them.
Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter gatherers. Milk is illegal.
Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets. (OK, so thats a lie)
Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees.(USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.
Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.
Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

City Rant

I did manage to find their offroad parking where looters couldn't steal from my car.

..and check out these cool contraptions for checking out whats going on under your car..wish we had these in the country.

Some of you will know that I live in a largish country city of around 30,000 people, in outback South Australia that makes for a pretty big city.
I had to leave paradise behind last week to travel to the state capital for a family party.
Many of you live in big cities all over the planet, but I’m quite sure that you’re nothing like the weirdos that inhabit the big cities here in OZ.

What is it with city people?
They step off the footpath right in front of you like a sick game of Russian Roulette. In rows they stand, teetering on that last heel and weaving back and forth as if they cant decide whether to career across or not. Then one will step out in front of you…or not. This tends to happen more in direct proportion to the vehicular crowding around you at the time.
Being a Monty Python fan I cant help but remember the skit for the ‘100metres running race for blind people with no sense of direction’, this pretty much sums it up for the average driver just trying to get from A to B without killing too many pedrians*.
(*bicycle or walking, covers everything from stagger, through amble and right up to jog)
What passes for fashion in the city would see you get beat up in some outback pubs I know.

..the drivers.. glad you asked! We have this thing out here, Dirt Circuit Racing! Picture THAT, on the streets!
If you leave that proper braking distance thing, two cars pull into the space you left, leaving you with nowhere to go…. And why are they all in such a fricking hurry?
I always tell myself that I’m not going to stoop to their new fangled city way of driving but within a short time my halo is around one ankle and I’m cutting in and diving across 4 lanes to the exit I want just like the rest of them..
As an aside: have you noticed that nearly every city car has at least one scrape on it?

Oh, and heres a tip. Don’t book Motel rooms over the internet.
It looked good in the pics! Rows of shiny cars in front of lush garden beds. Security cameras, offroad parking, on suite, fridges and air conditioners in every room, etc, etc. But the lush gardens are now dusty hollows with the odd dead branch here and there to suggest a previous life, the 60’s styling hasn’t been done up since the photos were taken, in the, er.. 1960’s! My air conditioner sounded like a jet going over every time it rattled/wheezed into life?! ..but my fridge made up for that by freezing everything solid even though it was turned off.
When I staggered in at 3am after the party… Pretty young women were coming and going by taxi at regular intervals with much older men. Hmm! Who’d have imagined that some city girls could be so friendly?

With all this going on, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I didn’t have a good time, but you’d be wrong. I had a fantastic time, caught up with some of my favorite people, met some great new people and went to a wonderful party.
Oh, the stories I could tell you about that party…if only I could remember.

My paternal aunt came along for the ride.. and to force me to listen only to the radio all the way there and back..(from a sound system I had upgraded especially so I could listen to my CD’s on this trip) but she had a really good time too. I know that because she only complained half the way home, highly successful in anyone’s terms!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Terror Alerts

I've taken this word for word from John Cleese - British writer (of Monty Python fame), actor and tall person, because it's very funny (of course). I love this blokes work, from his early days in Monty Python to well...pretty much every thing he's done really.


The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

C'mon, visit.....please! (trying not to sound desperate)

The story behind this pic is er...interesting to say the least.
It was taken at Indian Head on Fraser Island by tourists who were watching the scene from the lookout above the beach. From there they could see the young couple making love in the shallows, then they saw the huge shark come in out of the darkness. They shouted an unheard warning until they could bare it no longer and had to leave lest they see the couple devoured before their eyes...
Apparently the sight of humans 'doing it' was more than the shark could bare as well.
Just a day before this pic was taken a local went for a swim in the same place and was chased back to the beach by (probably) the same shark.

This is the stuff you dont get to see in the tourist adverts.

Thanks to Bronwyn for the picture and the info. (and the wonderful stories about what YOUR kids get up to when they holiday here in OZ. Bronwyn works in a Backpackers Hostel)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Busting Australian Myths

The Ford John Goss Special

HG GTS Monaro (need I say more?)
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The GTR XU1 Awesome!

Possibly the ultimate Aussie car the XY GTHO

Aussie 'sheila's' all look just like this.

Just another day at the beach battling sharks, wild surf and saving lives (only tourists cant save themselves)

Not sure, this could be a pic of my wife...

Young, fit and marked only by the occasional snake or croc bite.

Me,in younger days. (maybe)

Here in Australia you will find all the guys look like these and the women like these.
We all wear Dryzabone coats, Acubra hats, RM Williams boots and checkered shirts, we call our friends ‘Mate’ and slap each other on the back much too often.
At dinner time we eat Aussie meat pies, inch thick steaks and Prawns on a BBQ while we drink beer from the bottle.
As kids we race soapbox carts down incredibly steep hills, handle Crocs and snakes and seem to live through it. We think Red Back Spiders and Blue Ringed Octopus’ are ‘Cute’.
As teens we all join surf lifesaving clubs and excel in all sports. By our early 20’s we either play football or we ride horses and round up cattle. Of course we go on to become stockmen and live under the stars with our cows, horses and mates.
By middle age we’ve settled into suburbia with a loving wife we call ‘The little woman’ and a few well tanned kids who race soapbox carts and bring home Crocs and snakes. We spend our weekends riding motorbikes with the family and cooking BBQ’s with a beer in one hand.
We love our Aussie muscle cars and everyone buys an old one and builds it up from scratch just because we love to work with our hands and take great pride in our workmanship.
…actually this Aussie myth isn’t a myth, we all do these things, we all look like these photos, we wear these clothes and we are Australia!
Believe it or don’t!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Busting Australian Myths

My grandson Zach feeding a few friendly park Euros. (a small type of scrub roo)

What everyone wants to see, a baby still in the pouch. Yep, thats his feet hanging out above his head, if youre thinking he's too big to be still in the pouch you'd be right...lazy sucker

Me patting and filming at the same time, she's hoping for food which is why she's straining to sense food coming. (she's out of luck...and fat enough already)

The humble Kangaroo, you will have seen the ‘Boxing Kangaroo’ in TV and theater productions but that is far from the norm, sure they will kick the stuffing out of you IF you annoy them long enough, but the Kangaroo is generally a friendly and gentle animal. This makes it a much loved icon of Australia.
Personally I really love the Kangaroo, we’ve raised a few joeys over the years (car crash survivors) and I've had a bit to do with our local wildlife park. They make great pets (believe it or not) and can be house trained quite easily.
Female Roos are always gentle creatures IF you don’t threaten them or corner them. Because they cant move backward they hate being confronted head on where they see no escape route, if you approach them side on so they can leave if they want, you will find they will stay most times.
The males however are a different story, they sense when a female is menstruating and that is their signal for breeding. The problem is that they cant tell the difference between female Roos and females of the human type. Female humans accompanied by male humans are fair game in their eyes and the male human will be challenged and beaten up. (Can you see where I’m going with this?...good, cause I’ll stop here then)
I made the mistake of gently pushing a male Roo off a picnic table we wanted to use one day. Because my wife was on her period he took that as a challenge and proceeded to attack me. Those of us used to handling Roos know that all you have to do is grab his tail and keep moving him slowly backward to prevent him getting the upper hand. Weight for weight I had a few pounds on him but he had great stamina and forced me to drag him around for nearly an hour before I managed to drag him into a toilet block and lock him in. By then I was pretty much knackered.
I never did find out what happened to the next guy that made the mistake of opening that loo…