Saturday, July 19, 2003

About Phils house mates

Steve he is a real Queenslander after a few days I had enough, here some examples, I fixed a pc for him and he woke me up at 6 in the morning to chat about it git! In fairness to the guy he did give Phil his money which helped put gas in the car.

Sam cool guy. Just did not need Phil around because he could not save money.

Sam (Another Sam) and Amy were also New Zealanders they are nice people although Amy did wake me up every morning at 4am and Sam again at 6am

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Airlie Beach

The next day we booked into a hostel near the lagona. The hostel itself is a little less personal and not very social but I think that the whole of Airlie hostels is that way. Most of the socialising is ethier done in the tacky bars or on the many sailing trip that there are.

So like the Romans we indulged in a night out. Not very sucessful. That day we had only eaten a few things and were still shatter from the day and night driving the day before.

We went to an Irish bar and the was no bar people. The ironic thing though was it looked like everybody had a drink in there. Advancing on to another bar called magnums we drank a couple more chilled beers. The Aussies drink cold beer, the pumps are cooled bottles are packed in ice and just to make sure it stays cold bottled beers are often served in polystyrene jackets to keep them cool. Beer and stupid contests were the order of the day I was still pissed off about my exams and no matter how much phil attempted to cheer me up my mood darkened so we decided to call it a night.

Awaking we tried to figure out how to kill another day in Airlie theres really not much here. Sitting on the beech we wrote out some postcards to send home. Surfed the internet for an hour or s and posted some of the photos for everyone to enjoy. We drove up to the rainforest and some of the views were spectacular.

In the evening we went out again, I decided to try and not let everything spoil my holiday so I was in a much better mood. We met up with a dive instructor called Andy, he was in Airlie looking at a boat (it apparently wasn't too hot in the end). Andy was a pretty sound bloke and he told us many dive stories. We will be looking up Calipso dive his company when we head north. More drinks followed then Andy pulled some pretty girl Phil and I went to bed drunk. Phil fell asleep in his clothes and I had to take his shoes off.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Airlie Beach Mission

Due to its size when you say you're going on a short drive in Australia you can mean upto 200km. So when I say we took a long trip from Hervey bay to Airlie beach I mean we did a LOT of driving. Departing from Hervey bay (9:30) after munching the free toast breaky, we set off on the highway for Airlie beach. I drove all morning reaching Rockhampton around (2:30). We ate lunch I bought a watch (the sales assistant gave us a discount I think she took a shine to Phil). Next we pulled into super cheap auto (4:30) to replace the faulty inverter, and now here is the thing about Australia the sales assistant took us on our word and replaced it without a receipt that would never happen in England.

It is Paul's birthday tomorrow so I bought him a card and then did something rather dumb, I walked into Australia post with the envelope and asked what do I need to send this to Sydney, with a rye smile the postmistress looked at me and said you need a stamp dear. Doh! Pretty obvious ask a silly question get a silly answer. Back on the road and by 5pm we were driving through some beautiful countryside the sun was setting over the mountains as we travelled through the scene was amazing, from sunset the watching the stars appear, certainly it made the KM's much more bearable.

Unfortunately for me this is also the day I found out I only got a 2:2 so it was very bittersweet. By the time we made it to Airlie beech I was feeling cru shed and tired Phil just tired, we couldn't find a hostel open which had vacancies and ended up paying $50 each to stay in a hotel. Needless to say we now have plenty of towels, and we defiantly know to book ahead in future.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Fraser Island (day 3)

Ouch is it morning already! And Phil feeling chirpy not so good for all the hungover people. Back to the all you can eat breakfast we both ate well. (Well we did pay for it). Trying and tell someone with a hangover not to eat a fry is like telling smoker not to smoke. Our guide for the day would be different, owing to a mix-up a bloke called Kerry would be doing the honours. He was very factual and after a bad joke he put a tape on. We saw different vegetation and how some of it worked on the island mainly though fire and how the new seeds grow in the ashes of the burned tree.

We then went to the one of the oldest sand dunes on the island. From this lookout you could see The Dune Formation, Lake Wobbie, lots of vegetation and the Ocean. Nearly as nice as the picture of Phil and the Two Swiss girls at lake Mackensie. From the lookout we continued down to Lake Wobbie, this is a small lake separating the dues from vegetation, not clear like Mackensie or Basin lake and with a steep side not so many people decided to swim. Even Phil decided not to come in for a dip. I have to admit it was pretty cold but seeing as Paula, Bart and Sharon joined me we had some fun. Kerry had warned us not to dive in as although deep away from the banks several people had seriously injured themselves diving in. Another group found a quick way to get in though rolling down the sand bank onto the water.

Lake Wobbie wasn't much to see (A part from a kite hovering abover the water to catch it lunch) really so we decided to walk to the beach. Its about 2km across the sand to get there. As we walked by Paula and she was putting on sunscreen. Phil saw Jesse emerging from the bushes, She said she was answering a call of nature quite apt in such a large sandbox. The beach was a much better prospect the sun was stronger and we all lay down for some sun worship, next to the thunder of vehicles passing. Fraser Island is quite strange in that the beach is classed as a highway. It is 56 miles long (according to Dave) and cars thunder up and down, its also used as an airstrip and the people who went up from the plane took off from here.

Lunch was provided thanks to Kerry's BBQ skills. This was our last provided meal and it was good. Full from lunch we had to work off a few calories walking around Rainbow Creek. Rainbow Creek is a visible dune formation named after a small creek which pops up and disappears. For part of our walk we clambered up a large dune the view from the top was stunning large tracks of Fraser were visible including the sand sea and forest. Getting off the dune was far more enjoyable than on Kerry leading the way we all jumped madly letting gravity do the rest. A bit like what astronauts on the moon.

One last look at the Mahino and we departed back to the centre to leave. Just as we were driving along the beech we finally caught a glimpse of whales. About 800 metres out to sea there were a couple moving slowly and playfully they surface for air, quit a sight and a good way to round off the trip. An hour later and we were waiting for the boat home swapping email addresses.

It was a great trip and it was with a heavy heart we all said goodbye the couch taking us all to our hostels from the seaport. We really enjoyed Fraser saw a lot and had a great deal of fun, but all good things come to an end. Most of us set off towards Airlie beech gateway to the Whitsunday Islands for the next leg of our tour.

For us though another night in the Woolshed backpackers beckoned. We got back late and needed to do some washing which turn into a mission as we didn't have the right change. One large Pizza and much watching of the tumble dryer later we headed back to the hostel. Bed was calling and while Phil had been clever enough to grab his doona I froze even my hoody did not protect me. In the end I pulled all of the clean towels over me to stay warm.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Fraser Island (day 2)

We woke feeling the shots from the night before. It was also raining, during the night most of us (not Phil though he can sleep through anything) had been woken up by a thunderstorm, a big one at that. Who expect rain in the tropical rainforest :-S Phil woke up none the wiser and after drinking nearly a litre of water was ready to face the day. A cup of char later and sitting down to the all you can eat breakfast. Which everybody did we had to make up our lunch only one sandwich no good at all.

The first stop of the day was the coloured sands, caused by metal elements leeching through the rock they are an impressive sight. To Aboriginal women this was a sacred site.

Advancing next to the onto champagne pools but not with out seeing a dingo on the beach. (This beach is amazing it has a100kms speed limit, runway for many light aircraft and a kids play ground all in one). The champagne pools did not look as inviting as some of the other thing we had seen just because it was cloudy. But we both went in and it was lovely. We had small fish swimming around us and the waves making bubbles as they splashed over the rocks. The champagne pools are the only safe place to swim in the sea, strong currents sea snakes, stingers and sharks making the sea around Fraser a dangerous place.

Next stop was Indian point. A rocky outcrop. Indian point is so called as Captain Cook sailed past there were many aborigonies on the top, Cook called them Indians. To get to the top of Indian point required us to climb up a few rocks but no worries. The point is a great look out and the views were spectacular, you could see miles out across the Ocean. On a good day they say you can see whales and sharks, unfortunatly for us we didnt get to see any, except for a Ray. Sharon lost her sun glasses off the top of the point. Dave showed us some of the photos of his 10 years on Fraser. One of a brozer whaler shark (a nasty shark) of 3 meters in length near the beach. After seeing that the pics none of the group went in the sea. We had are only sandwich on the lookout and then all piled backon the bus. We both fell asleep on journey to the Mahino wreck. Phil in that time had lost his sunglasses and went really under about it. Little did he know one of the out people had kindly picked them up and did not tell him because they had gone on a plane ride to see Fraser from the air. The wreck was stunning sticking half way into the sand. It was let down by the overcast conditions.

We went down the beach again, this time to a place called Eli Creek. It's one of the many creeks over the island that let the fresh water in to the sea. After a quick toilet trip and if you suffered from arachnophobia then you would have held on. We all went down the creek apart from a few that thought it might be too cold. I got a lovely picture of Paula floating down the creek. We both floated down the creek twice. Being carried downstream by the cool and clear water was a very enjoyable feeling, definitely better than anything wet and wild cold offer. On the trip home Dave entertained us with the dingo rap I wish I could remember it but it was very funny - if anyone has the lyrics please email me and I'll post them. (Dave had a thing about dingoes eating babies).

The bus stopped at the shop so we could buy some liquid refreshment to go and watch the sunset. Before we all sat down to watch it there was another surprise a dingo on the beach. Some of us split off to get photos but we need not have done that because it went closer to the ones that did not follow it. The sunset was stunning to see over the mainland, it happened so quickly the sun disappearing over the sea leaving only dusk remaining. Phil being arty (Or trying to be) got a picture of the group facing the sunset. I have to say I have not watched many sunset but we both agreed this was stunning. A small hike back to resort up a very big hill and then to another game of shithead with a few beers. Another way to wait for the showers again.

We all went to dinner and tonight's entertainment was the karaoke. I have always thought that karaoke was invented by evil genious who likes to watch groups of people humiliate themselves. Everybody wanted to do it but we to afraid to put there had up to admit liking it. After a Tubby Japanese Ricky Martin (Who should have won). It was are turn and I have admit a very good rendition of Queens Bohemian Rhapsody. The line up was Bart, Phil, John, Mark and Paula. I do not know who was Freddie but that will be shown when (Or if Mark sends us a Pic of us doing it).

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Fraser Island (day 1)

Got on the bus it was nearly empty. It was sold to us as a cheap party tour to Fraser Island and all the people getting on were families and couples. One Kid look like bobby out of king of the hill. We got coffee and started to talk to Bart (a Dutch guy that sounded Irish), Paula and Josie (Two cute Swiss girls). In actual fact Phil went straight over to the women like flies round a turd. After a 45 minute boat ride we arrived caffeinated and ready to go.

First stop was Basin Lake a perfectly clear inland lake. Phil, Bart and John all went in for a dip. The sun was shining and the water was so clear, not only that but ranger Dave informed us that as the water was 5.5ph it actually cleaned us while we swam! I think that was a first for Phil in a few days anyway.

After the swim there was a 2km walk to central station and launch. Central station was so called because in the days when logging was allowed a steam train was used to move the timber.

After lunch another short walk took us through Pile Valley. Phil was still trying his luck with Josie; demonstrating to her how to operate a digital camera. After the valley Dave took us to Lake Mackensie another inland lake but much much bigger, than basin lake. Most people got in, even Josie after Bart gave her a helping hand dumping her into the water. It would have been the perfect scene except the weather had slightly worsened clouding over and dampening our fun. After the swim phil pulled out his $2 cards and we all started to bond over a game of shithead. (Teaching most of the crowd at the time). I do think this made the trip a lot better because we played it most nights before and after dinner.

A note to travellers to Lake Mackensie check out the aptly named second beach is quiet and the entrance to the lake is shallower so the water gets heated up more.

Dave took us back to the lodge complex most of the group ened up together in lodge 8. The rooms were nice though a few more toilets and showers might have been useful. A few more games of shithead killed time before dinner (and whilst waiting for the showers). More people were now joining in and learning the game.

Dinner was outstanding, the food was both plentiful and tasty especially the pizzas. The girls tried hard not to dig in but surrounded by such good food they soon tucked in. Entertainment was in the form of a quiz. Phil got the drinks flowing buying two jugs so we were all getting merry. Needless to say we didn't do too well at the quiz but we sank plenty of shots (a few cocksucking cowboys I think and we all liked them). We were up early the next day so we went back to the lodge for more shithead before retiring to bed.

Monday, June 30, 2003


Ever since meeting Phil a common theme has appeared He Loves diving, not likes Phil LOVES diving, and as much as he loves diving he loves to talk about diving. So with he constant pestering and a desire to try it out properly... (I now own a dive watch!).

I took me open watercourse with Nam (the shop manager and top instructor). The skills you have to learn included The mask removal, which is not very nice. I hated it. I had to confirm I would to finish the day and make a decision on if I wanted to continue. After two more days of being PADIed with both Phil and Nam teaching. I finished my open water and being with the other open water student Travis.

The Saturday the day before we left. We had a heavy session on the beer we were ment to meet up with some of the dive people but they did not turn up and Phil only sent the message out that day. We met up with Michelle and Dee (Phils old flatmates). A good night of drinking was had. Sam did not meet up with us but we were in the same pub but it was a loud and we were at the bar.

The day we left surfers paradise we were still hung over and having to pack didn't make for a good morning. We headed to Noosa but only for 10 minutes until Steve rang and asked for his keys back doh! After the aborted start and a stop for gas we were on our way to Noosa. We have pictures of the beach at dusk very nice. It too us about an hour to find the hostel and when still recovering not to good.

We stayed at a nice hostel (Noosa backpackers resort), which they gave us a room to are self. I say a very attractive Scouse girl taught me how to play a card game called shithead, she was a grand master.

We travelled to Harvey Bay where we booked a trip to Fraser Island trip. We even managed to negotiate a  good discount on. It was the kingfisher trip. We chilled out on the beach and then though lets get a hostel. We looked in the travel bible again (Lonely Planet). We found a place that would give free breakfast and with haveing to get up early to go to Fraser island phil thought it as a good idea. This was a gem of a hostel only 6 people that night staying and the hospitaltiy was great but the room was freezing and they only gave us a thin sheet each. We played shithead with two dutch farmowners and a Swiss guy. He said Fraser was awesome and the weather was great. All in all we were starting to think we were going to have a excellent time on Fraiser Island. Phil even managed to get his 24 fix only one more episode left now.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Jet Lag Sun and Diving

I spent a week doing jack around Surfer Paradise. Phil's housemates would wake me up about 6 in the morning as they went out to work. I then spent the mornings on the internet trying to get used to the jet lag. The afternoons I spent wondering around Surfer what a barren wasteland nothing but endless seas of hotels and shops, you could be anywhere same. After a week of doing nothing (except fixing Steve's PC) I was really bored. Was this Australia? Get me back to the UK please. Fortunately Phil took the wise decision to leave work one week early. We took a day trip to one of the most beautiful places in Australia, Byron Bay. You can see from the photos what sort of place it is.

After visting Byron Bay and nights spent drinking with Phil, and Sam (Phil's New Zealander flat mate). We went to watch the Lewis fight, it was pretty weird the Aussies didn't want him to win, I enjoyed it even though it didn't go the distance. Walking to the pub we had passed a surf company, and having nothing better to do we decided to go surfing. You can check out more photos here. It was very fun and I would recommend the it. Pity about our knees though my tip don't get off in water too shallow. Sam was already a surfer so he took all the pictures, thanks mate!

Phil took me for my first dive on Monday. It was Phil's last day working at the dive shop. I didn't enjoy it that much because it felt very alien and clumsy in the gear. There was also a group of people that kept on bumping into me.

Thursday, June 19, 2003


I arrived in Coolangatta a bit confused I thought it was called the Goldcoast and the gate was changed perhaps I had boarded the wrong flight. Everything was alright though I was in the right place, and Phil met me at the baggage collection place. Another surreal but welcome experience. Only last week Bruce and myself were discussing how weird it was sitting having a bbq without him and now here I am 12000 miles from home standing next to him.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003


The Manics wrote in their song Australia "you fly for so long it hurts" and well it's pretty apt as after flying I really felt like death. Meeting up with Paul was surreal we missed each other at the airport and finally met at central station. Really good to see him again though even though I wasn't unto much after the flight I had a good evening though. It had been ages since I had last seen Paul so I was really suprised and grateful that he met me at the airport. It was great to see him again and to meet Lisa for the first time and I was really sorry that this was going to be such a breif meeting. Sydney was good although I was still a bit zombified, I will have a better look around when I arrive back there at the end of my tour.

Paul and Lisa

Paul and I

Paul and Lisa

Paul playing some tunes

Lisa looking lovely

Close up of Lisa

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Going Tommorrow

It's 12:40 and my flight leaves tomorrow morning I cant sleep. I'm wondering whether I'm doing the right thing. I am going to miss my graduation leaving behind everyone and going on an adventure.
I'm really worried about the flight, 21 hours sounds like hell to me. I'm scared about the first night alone in Sydney 15,000 miles from home. I must be made. Either my next journal will be very happy as I enjoy my adventure goes well or depressed alone in a foreign land.

Australia here I come!

Friday, May 09, 2003

Going Away

Only 5 more weeks and I've finished uni, that's it, all done! Most of my life has been spent in education and now its coming to an end. I'm happy and a little worried at the same time. To celebrate I am off to Australia for two months I can't wait. Going to visit friends check out Aires Rock and the barrier reef, learn to dive.
All I've got too do is pass my remaining exams, oh why couldn't HCI (Human computer interface) be more interesting!

Friday, May 02, 2003

Printer woes

Due to a pressing need to print out many copies of high quality images (for my dissertation) I decided that it would be cheaper and easier to buy my own photo printer. To tell the truth I have wanted one for a while. I own a digital camera and though I don't mind looking at images on the web others keep requesting pictures I've taken as hard copy. Anyway I digress yesterday on finding a massive queue for the colour printer at uni I decided it was time to take the plunge and buy a printer.

On my way home I stopped at Micro Direct and purchased a brand new HP 5500 photo inkjet printer. Got home to find it wouldn't work, spent an hour on the phone to HP Technical support who gave me a reference and suggested I return it to the store. So I got my dad to give me a lift back to Micro Direct where I waited for nearly an hour in a queue. Only for some little tech-monkey to tell me it was a driver related problem. I thought this was a bit odd as the HP tech (who was really helpful) seemed to blame the printer mechanism. After much arguing a more senior bod tested the printer and confirm it was b0rked, half an hour later after filling in various return forms I had a replacement and was on my way home.

Once I unpacked the new printer I noticed that it had much more packaging, than the previous one. Firstly there were lots of bits of tape securing bits of the printer. The other one didn't have any of these taped pieces. It then dawned on me although the box was new the previous printer was not, I wonder how many other people it will be sold to or how many broken items are re-boxed in this manner? I don't know whether it was Micro Direct, or one of there importers but I was not happy to have wasted most of the day buying a printer. At least I managed to get everything printed off in the end, actually its quite a good printer if you get a working one!

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Are Amateur Theatres Open Source?

First Published Slashdot Journal
Tonight I did something I have never done before, I volunteered to help back stage at a local theatre group YUTG (Youth Unlimited Theatre Group). While I was carrying bits of props back and forth I noticed a parallel between this group and open source. The Theatre group is run almost entirely by volunteers who give up their time and offer all sorts of skills (some professional in the case of the light and sound bod's). After seeing the level of dedication it makes me wonder why people find it so hard to understand the success and drive of the open source community.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Hacked :-(

First published on Slashdot Journal
Yesterday my server got hacked into, probably by some 14 year old armed with a hacking tool (as yet unknown). They managed to get onto my server and disable Quickshells. I feel terrible, I thought I was reasonably secure obviously not. At this stage I think a user account was compromised then a root kit installed. The hack wasnt bad (although I at this point I cannot be sure) so now I am going to have to rebuild the server pushig the quickshells launch back futher.
I was angry at first but now I am resigned that these things can happen and I must try harder to make everything secure

Wednesday, January 29, 2003


First published on Slashdot Journal
I was pondering something today after reading a Slashdot artical about browsers. Microsoft licenced MSCA Mosiac and famously offered to pay royalties for every copy of interent explorer sold. They then opted to deliver Internet Explorer free and therefore never paid any royalties. Microsoft now argue IE is so embedded into Windows so deeply it cannot be removed. If this is true shouldnt they be paying royalites to Netscape for every copy of Windows with Internet Explorer sold?