Monday, 27 June 2011

So...I made it to Australia...finally

As some of you may be aware, my girlfriend is Australian and I'm English, well on the 22nd June I *finally* made it to see my girlfriend. Considering I started my journey on the 19th, you can understand the "finally".

Some witty banter on the toilet roll holder in Heathrow:

The flights...well not to mince words, the flights were absolute hell. Moreso than the last time I remember them. Started off in good cheer with a 40 minute (I think) BA flight from Manchester Airport to London, after all the teary goodbyes to my family, I was off and arrived all fine at London Heathrow for the 2 hour wait for my flight to Singapore which, by the way, was NOT told to me by the travel agent.

An illegal take-off photo:

I was under the impression that it was a direct flight to Melbourne and even asked her numerous times "So it definitely doesn't stop off anywhere before then?" but anyway, it happened and that was fine. Gave me a chance to stop off and have a couple of cigs in the greatest humidity I could have ever dreamed of.

The wing of the airbus:

On the flight there, I was stuck in a window seat all the way, even though I specified aisle and tried my luck asking the couple sitting next to me if we could switch which they obviously didn't want to (fair enough). However, it was a Qantas flight and even though I was in economy, there was a perfectly fine amount of legroom and even a little space between myself and the  window, so all was good and they were a nice couple whose name now escapes me (of course - see the soliloquy about "single serve friends on planes" in the awesome film "Fight Club" to understand where I'm coming from).

At one point in the 12-13 hour flight, I actually scurried out of the seat prison to the toilet and just stood around talking to people for an hour. Yes I was that toilet goblin who forced you to talk with him while he stretched on QF10. Good times, eh?

In Singapore I turned on my phone to find a message from my lovely girlfriend. "Aww that's nice" you may be thinking; it read as follows:

"Please text me whenever you get this. This bloody volcano is an arsehole."

Which...*isn't* really what you want to hear when you're in an airport, soon to take a plane to the very place that has been having disruptions due to the Chilean volcano...after some foraying back and forth of texts, I found out that the Aussie news was saying that all flights into Adelaide and out of Melbourne had been grounded for safety reasons. Oh joy.

Anyway, one 8-9 hour flight later with a screaming baby (but this time an aisle seat donated by a girl I met in the airport who was doing exactly the same thing as I was - working holiday visa to be with her partner - she preferred the window, so awesome, anyway, after that you hit the goddamn Aussie customs line. And by line I mean population as in it could legally constitute a separate state with how many people were in it. That took about half an hour of my life, but I got through no problems - no great big interview or anything (which I was expecting), just an "enjoy your stay" after exchanging a few friendly words with a passport inspector which cheered me up. Then the same huge queue to collect my bag and go one-by-one through I don't know his proper title.

About 10 single serve friends later, I made it to the check-in desk which, as I expected, told me no flight to Adelaide. Got their information to reclaim my money and high-tailed it to the city-link bus to the coach station for a ticket to Adelaide. Of course, the "20 minute" bus journey became roughly 45 minutes and when I got to the bus station, I was told the soonest bus they had was the next morning (it was about 10:00am local time). Yeah. Awesome.

So, hotel down road, check in, get breakfast, watch TV blah blah, end up sleeping (for the first time in 2 days) at 3.30pm local time after a riveting episode of "Charlie's Angels". When I woke up, decided a smoke will make things better, and as I was having  one a guy across the road parked about 2 feet over the parking line in a clamping/fining area, mentioned he might want to back up a bit and received...a rather aggressive and unfriendly reaction (Aussies hate criticisms of their shit driving) The conversation was as follows:

"You might want to back up a bit there mate, you're a bit over the line."
"You might want to back up a bit there."
"You're over the line; you might want to back up a bit there."
"Do you want my keys and you can get in and park it?"
"Then why don't you shut the fuck up then?"

This is getting really long so I'll cut it short: one 11 hour bus journey later sitting next to a "psychic", Christian monarchist (the very antithesis of myself), I arrived to see my beautiful girlfriend on the 22nd June 2011.

A photo taken on the coach journey:

29hours 40minutes total travel time.
Flight cancelled, coach got.
Don't criticise an  Australian man's driving.
I got here.

Awaiting my tax file number so I can legally work.
Awaiting response from Qantas for the outstanding $200(ish).
More in love now than ever.
Psyching myself up to deal with a long overdue Aussie summer...

Sunday, 26 June 2011

How do I make my passwords/PINs more secure?

"Passwords are basic protection for essentially everything to do with a computer – from accessing your information in shops like Blockbuster to your banking details via Paypal to social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter and you need to be sure that, at the very minimum, your important stuff is protected with a password to which only you could know..."

Read more:

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

More internet censorship proposed for the UK

British Prime Minister, David Cameron has agreed with the Mother’s Union boss, Reg Bailey that the Internet needs to be censored for the “protection” of an increasingly sexualised population of children. Using such methods of blocking websites on smart phones and...

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Corruption in Parliament.
Photo taken by me.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A sad day for believers in a democratic state

At work today, I got involved in a conversation about general crime in the area (which has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years perhaps). When I mentioned the film "V for Vendetta", a classic, I must add, and described it as "a bleak future of an oppressive regime or police state", I was horrified to find that the person I was discussing this with  said: "That's how it should be." Can this possibly be the way anyone thinks!?

To believe that a Government should be allowed total control and rule over a people without their say is akin to saying that one wishes terrorists to be in charge and to wilfully give our civil liberties away. Can we trust any one person or group to actually hold our civil liberties back and trust that they will not take advantage? No. tried and tested: look at Stalin's Russia, look at what's happening in the middle East at the can anyone be in agreement with a police state?

It's these small liberties such as freedom of speech and expression that makes a country undeniably strong. If we look towards America, though I think they could use tighter gun control, it's absolutely brilliant that their constitution actually states that every American has the right to "bear arms", due to the way in which the country was reclaimed from Great Britain. Basically, and to quote from "V": people should not be afraid of their Government. A Government should be afraid of their people.

The masses should hold the power, be it though a vote or a revolution. A step further from this would be anarchy. It's difficult to agree with anarchy, however, as it would be near-impossible to organise a people and the fact that the use of the word has been bastardised beyond recognition to include such slogans as "Conservatives out, Anarchists in" in the recent London protests leads me to believe that no, it is not what most would want.

Activist groups such as Anonymous are heroes for the people this day-in age; defending liberty and enforcing justice is one of the most admirable things I could imagine. Again, this is an ideal taken from both the book and the film, "V for Vendetta. Don't let your Government rule you, make your Government be ruled by you.