Tina is having a Birthday!

Hey gang. This may be a short post. But then again, you know how I carry on a bit…

First I must tell yas all. Tina is having a birthday on Monday. Not Sunday like I’ve been saying. I got all buggered up with the days, not the dates though. So, we are going away for 7 days to a place. It’s a secret, very special place with no roads. No phone or Interweb service. No shops. No people. Some of you have heard us talk of this place and will know exactly where we’re going. For the rest of you, we’ll tell you all about it when we get back. We’re leaving civilisation on Friday arvo, so if you want to wish Tina a Happy Birthday, please do so soon. Or you’ll have to wait till we get back Thursday. Which will be three days after her Birthday.

Also, Happy Birthday Therese for Saturday. You’ll be the big 50 then and we both love you and hope you have an excellent day! For those who don’t know ‘T’, she is my ex and is a very good friend and is part of our family. Please wish her a happy one too.

OK then. Now, no Greenbus blog should be without some pitchas. So just let me find some for you…

The first three are our little protest against the absolute stupidity of this Australian media uproar and beat up of the fad called ‘Planking’. I mean really, some drunk bloke tries to get silly on a two storey building and falls to his death. OK. It was stupid. But drunk people do stupid things ALL the time! Some of them die or at least get seriously injured because of their stupidity. But why single out a silly fad and blame it for this death? More importantly, why not focus on the fact that the person was drunk, instead of what he was doing? Planking is silly. It is pointless. But it is a bit of fun. In fact, if you’re not drunk and/or in a dangerous place, it’s harmless. Our friend Willie Gordon is an apprentice Planker. He Planked on some granite boulders on his traditional land in ‘the middle of nowhere’ and came to no harm. Tina Planked a crocodile and didn’t get eaten. I planked a Cooktown park bench and no-one sat on me. There is nothing wrong with responsible Planking! Just don’t do it at work or while drunk in dangerous places! Oh, and don’t Plank Police cars. You may get arrested.

The next pic is two schooners of Coopers Pale Ale. Two of a number that were drunk at the Sovereign Hotel in Cooktown last week by a couple of new locals. We won’t say who they were, but I do know they had a most enjoyable afternoon.

The next two are of the newly ‘rough repaired’ Bloomfield River crossing. The rains after Tropical Cyclone Yasi last year played havoc with our roads. The Bloomfield Track is a major access road for people travelling through Cape Tribulation to Cooktown. It also links the Wadjul Wadjul community together. Without this crossing, a trip from the sth side of the river to the nth is either by a 5 person ferry boat, or a 500 odd kilometre detour. Yes. I printed that correctly. It is also a vital crossing for tourism.
The last pic is a view of the Bloomfield river through a van window.

Anyways. It’s late. I have to work tomorrow. If Tina gets time in the morning she will post a hello and apologise for my randomness.

See ya when we get back to civilisation 🙂

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Two Weeks Without A Post!!? OMG!!

Damn! It’s been nearly two weeks since our last post. Sorry about that. Also, our credit wil run out sometime over the next couple of days. Just in case we don’t get back to this blog before then, don’t stress. We’re not dead and we’ll be back as soon as we earn enough money to buy more credit. And remember, the phone still works so you guys will still be able to phone us if you need to. ;0)

So, what have we been up to? Well, much of the same really. We’re still staying at Cooktown Motel and still cleaning the kitchen in exchange for free rent. We can’t do much today because it’s Sunday and all the banana pickers have the day off. This means that the kitchen is being used by someone all day long. Apart from a quick wipe this morning, it’s better to stay out of the way, really. As a result, Brad’s having a little snooze and I’m sitting by the pool updating you lot (been promising to do so for long enough).

So, how was your Easter, everyone? Ours was spent amongst nice company, and was also chocolate free. We missed all you guys like mad, though. We hope you all had a good one. Xx
We spent a good few late nights leading up to Easter down at the wharf hoping to catch a big barramundi for the bbq/party that the boys had planned for good friday… but alas, this was not to be. Not to worry… some visiting fishermen from Sydney supplied us all with more reef fish than we could possibly eat. Scott and Ahadi (pronounced Arty) still have a stash in their freezer. I might get Brad to fillet one up later today. The party was good, the food was great AND we didn’t have to clean up a thing afterwards… the backpackers took care of all of that. :0)

And even our Croc managed to bring something along to add to the festivities. I do hope that’s not the REAL Easter Bunny. I would hate to see all those kids out there miss out next year. I wonder what he’s got up his sleeve for Mother’s Day… ;0)

And apart from that, the only out-of-the-ordinary thing that’s happened is that we were pulled up by the police a couple of nights ago. Damn! No rego on the car. They don’t worry so much about that around these parts, but the law is the law. It just means a court appearance in June and a bit of a fine… also means we can’t drive ’round town any more… or to the beach… or anywhere else until it’s registered. Bugger. Bad timing! I suppose we should look for a bit more permanent job for a while, and postpone the rainforest trip for a while… again.

Anyway, there’s not much more I can add to all of that. I’ve put up a few more random pics of Cooktown, including some taken at the Gardens. The large snake is a display there, and carved out of a single piece of wood. I was quite impressed! And the flowers are Cooktown Orchids. They’re this town’s pride and joy and their image is depicted on many things up this way, although from all accounts they’re kind of hard to find in the wild.

Oh, and one more thing… we’re giving up smoking. Mostly because we’ve run out of both tobacco and money again, but also simply because we would like to. Wish us luck :0)

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Today’s Re-Tweets (about the #floodlevy)

This is my last word on this #floodlevy (well, I’ll say that for now but knowing me…). Of course I’ll answer comments etc, but I’m not going to waste any more space on this blog for this matter. I was going to add this as a comment on the last post, but I think it deserves the attention of its’ very own post. But no more after this… ok??

Actually, these are not my words… they’re the words of those Aussies on Twitter who felt the need to say something about this levy. I have tried not to choose only those that mirror my view… hell, I’m not really all that sure what my own view is anyway.

I wanted to get a general idea of public consensus on this, and Twitter seems to be a good (and increasingly popular) way of getting it. Some of the following are tweets from politicians, some are from news sources, and some are from every-day nobodies just like me. Some are for the levy, some against, some with a political bent. Some are heartfelt, some indignant, some rather ignorant and mis-informed. Some are serious and some are very tongue-in-cheek… but they’re all the words of people like us… Aussies.

I’m pretty sure that whatever your particular view, you’ll find it voiced amongst all of this. And I’m also pretty sure that some of what you read will frustrate you. I wasn’t aware how much I RT’d I started copying them in here… sorry for that. But I would encourage discussion, if that’s what you choose. … we really can’t find any reasonable answer without discussion, can we?

As for me… well, it won’t affect me so why should I care? More importantly, why should my opinion matter??

These are the tweets that I Re-Tweeted immediately after Julia Gillard’s press conference, and through to the evening of Jan 27 2011. They are in no particular order, apart from the order that I Re-Tweeted them. I start with the tweets Julia Gillard made herself directly after the conference.

  • JuliaGillard The Gillard Govt will make an upfront payment of $2billion to Qld so rebuilding can start in flood affected communities immediately.
  • JuliaGillard The #floodlevy will not be paid by anyone directly affected by the floods, as I explained in my speech today http://bit.ly/g54lU9 JG
  • JuliaGillard Someone earning $60K will pay less than $1/week for the #floodlevy. A calculator is available here http://bit.ly/fsXn8E JG
  • macleanbrendan Damn! I dropped $4 down a drain pipe. I was gonna use that to buy a coffee to stay up and complain about the #floodlevy.
  • scottpettet I don’t object to the flood levy, but I DO object to the poor handling of public monies that now sees us needing a levy #floodlevy
  • phil_bonanno after cycling through 2 rounds of stimulus payments, Australian retailers were about to get back on solid footing. Then came the #floodlevy.
  • koosli Your donation is to help people. The levy is to rebuild infrastructure. They ain’t the same. #floodlevy
  • RightNowImBored #floodlevy wow more tax? pretty sure there’s a special slush fund, that the gov have collected over the years, saved for natural disasters
  • patriciakumar fiscal mismanagement (whatever the fuck that means) by gov doesn’t mean we make qld suffer for it. #floodlevy
  • GreensMPs Greens remain open to flood levy but climate program cuts make no sense http://bit.ly/gZ3ga4 #floodlevy
  • AshaAvani RT @shanecollihole “Join the Julia Gillard Flood Donation. Actually, you don’t need to sign up… You’ve all joined!!!!” #floodlevy
  • nic_in_zurich @JuliaGillard Canceling climate change programs to pay for flood impacts is a quick fix with longterm negative impacts #floodlevy
  • skkng @ClaireRConnelly I don’t mind paying, but this govt doesn’t know ‘to save money for a rainy day’ or manage its money full stop. #floodlevy
  • bellelumiere I am pro #floodlevy & happy to give what is fair and reasonable to help build infrastructure within my country. Under $5 seems fair to me.
  • 3AW693 Wayne Swan tells 3AW a ‘National Disaster Fund’ will be discussed in coming months but defends today’s tax announcement #FloodLevy
  • rexmal The PM gives us a brand new Flood Levy & we complain, how ungrateful are we? #floodlevy
  • debonbon If you earn $60,000 a year and are whining about paying a whole $50 you are a selfish prick. #floodlevy
  • hmoffatt lots of ignorance on display on #floodlevy . donations are irrelevant, they are going to Qld govt fund and Red Cross (Vic), not federal govt
  • SheedysLeftFoot I’d support a #floodlevy, if it was fair and permanent and used to protect all Australian’s against Flood, Fire and Drought.
  • grantstowell Julia just made a donation to the flood levy on my behalf of approx $190. I already support the Salvation Army. #slappedagain #floodlevy
  • Princeyprince Probably it is not very clever to rebuild houses in the same spot using the $ from the #floodlevy
  • girlclumsy Someone on $100,000 a year will pay an extra $250 in #floodlevy. Might mean they get the new iPad a few weeks after release. #hmmm
  • peterjcaseytwit I will cheerfully double my #floodlevy in order to fund action on climate change AND help the flood-ravaged.
  • seekereleven My understanding is that I will be paying all of a $1.50 per week on the #floodlevy. I’m happy to do so. Suck it up whingers
  • mrchriswagner When reading the comments on all the #floodlevy stories, it frightens me how aggressive and uninformed Aussies are #thebigwet
  • SawHole I think some Australians think the only type of giving they need to do is tossing a coin at the Salvos @ the pub. #floodlevy
  • clairealana My my, hasn’t this #floodlevy got people talking.
  • kristinalford RT @mtchl: Hey Gillard, I’ve got a wild idea for funding recovery from a climatic disaster. How about A PRICE ON CARBON! #facepalm
  • I_enigma @3AW693 NO – just look at the bushfire rebuilding (or lack of) and look at newcastle some 20yrs on #floodlevy
  • erin_richmond I DON’T object to #floodlevy, but can someone explain to me why the govt can’t dip into this ‘contingency reserve’? Is it purely political?
  • misskylie77 So a day after Australia day, we are discovering that “mateship” & a “fair go” have a price #irony #floodlevy
  • montyhamilton Govt should be able to fund $5.6b natural disaster if it can fund $43b #NBN & $42b stimulus; insulation program alone cost $3.9b!
  • branwelltravers I’d prefer to pay a #floodlevy of $1.44 a week rather than the government cutting funding to the schools, hospitals and defence. #Auspol
  • piers888 I want to pay the #floodlevy just to annoy Tony Abbott
  • timreverb If you’re going to take 1% of my income to pay the #floodlevy, please don’t blindly rebuild on flood-prone land.
  • ShitMyRangaSays Mmmmm latte. #floodlevy
  • OsheaDean People are being incredibly two faced about the #floodlevy – you either want to help (as many professed passionately) or you don’t.
  • RobLindner89 A good government should put money aside for natural disasters. Why didn’t ours? What did they spend it on instead? #floodlevy
  • MavericSpeedcus consider the #floodlevy a forced donation to those who need our help. i’d rather pay $100 than watch all my shit go underwater #stopbitching
  • davesact $50 for $50,000+ earners and $250 for $100,000+ earners… Harden up and pay the bloody #floodlevy 1.8 Billion off 5 Billion bill.
  • auTODAY #floodlevy Julia will need to convince the hung parliament her package is good || LOL pardon the pun via Ten news
  • Tranda_Paton “@JuliaGillard: Someone earning $60K will pay less than $1/week for the #floodlevy. //Ridiculous and I am not a fan. Should allow donations
  • matthern Not exempting charitable donors is a disincentive – I suspect that next disaster more may hesitate to donate. Your thoughts? #floodlevy
  • GPRollins You have no idea how depressing it is to make a mostly tongue in cheek comment, only to find Abbott has had the same idea. #FloodLevy #NBN
  • JLStockdale @JuliaGillard Does our government determine what is fair or do the constituents? #laborfail #floodtax #npc #floodlevy
  • doddas Not sure how I feel about #floodlevy. I want to help an have donated but if it’s based on the Medicare levy it won’t effect me.
  • d0connor Well I’m off to drink beer, possibly vodka or gin mixed with an assortment of juice products as well. #floodlevy
  • I_enigma RT @hapidaze: is not impressed by the stoopid #floodlevy I pay my taxes, get little in return and now I’m slugged again.
  • rudeboyninja I’ve already donated more than the pittance the levy will cost me & happy to chip in a bit more to help out. Damn conservatives! #floodlevy
  • HLCoops people need to get onboard with the #floodlevy – we expect our leaders to make these tough but necessary decisions
  • icanseeit @JuliaGillard Your #floodlevy is unfair, unnecessary and ridiculous. What about money in the contingency funds? You need to do better!
  • NathanLee Screw the #FloodLevy instead tax miners, cut school chaplains, stop private school rorts & tax churches =$billions. #AusPol #qldFloods
  • branwelltravers Abbott and the Liberals have a very short memory – Gun Levy, Stevedoring Levy, Milk Levy, Ansett Levy & Sugar Levy #FloodLevy #AusPol
  • Matt_Kunkel If one schooner a week is what it will take to get this country moving, I’ll happily pay a #floodlevy for my mates in need
  • emmsyish The #floodlevy isn’t to rebuild houses, it’s for infrastructure. The ignorance. It hurts.
  • Pete_of_Eltham So if I quit my job for a far lesser one, get my wife out in the workforce, earn the same, I pay 90% less. #floodlevy Total crap.
  • StGusface Flood levy to cost most NOTHING Median wage is 45k #floodlevy #fact
  • jazir1979 how does “affected by the floods” equate to “received a Disasster Recovery Payment”? #floodlevy @JuliaGillard
  • Dpek #floodlevy = escape for insurance companies Tranda_Paton Where are The Hollowmen when we need them? #floodlevy
  • nightkhaos @GPRollins *slams head against the way over and over* No. Just no. I have explained why that won’t work 3 times TODAY. #nbn #floodlevy
  • princessnowhere I’d be really fucking surprised if anyone earning $50-100K+p/a would’ve NOTICED the #floodlevy amount if they hadn’t been told about it.
  • branwelltravers As Australians we believe in mateship and a fair go for all especially in times of trouble. #floodlevy
  • NewsAtEleven Alternative to #floodlevy: Legalise gay marriage and use the incoming tourism bucks. Simple AND gets the UNHRC off your backs, Julia.
  • bglilley I’d pay the #floodlevy (don’t earn enough), but I’m opposed to it. Delay the surplus and increase net spending.
  • Godismylawyer #floodlevy news crew spoke to vols saying keep up the work guys you wont have to pay the levy wrong they were from brigades not affected
  • miss_yolie @Keg I know right. The incompassion of people astound me. It’s as though they’ve been asked to part with their first born. #floodlevy
  • tmc071 waddawewant?qld fixed after the floods!! whendowewantit? NOW! youwantustopaywhat??? #floodlevy
  • climatecentre Beggars belief that govt would choose to cut climate programs 2 fund climate-related disaster relief http://bit.ly/gZ3ga4 RT @senatormilne
  • laurafayepoole Mixed reaction to #floodlevy in Vic town Charlton, hit by floods. Some say the levy isn’t a long term solution to natural disaster rebuild
  • boscoross This is a one-off levy; there will be no more floods! #floodlevy BabsNation #6pm
  • Hugh Rimmington “Most people won’t pay anything” towards the #floodlevy. Huh????
  • stewie48 gillard = ABSOLUTE COW!! #floodlevy
  • benjya85 Interesting reading people’s opinions on the #floodlevy. Personally I don’t mind, I’m just over the threshold, but it will hardly affect me.
  • John_Hanna I got a cheaper wine for dinner tonight. Can pay my #FloodLevy for an extra 8 weeks. #Win
  • jenelleeeeee The #floodlevy is for infrastructure. Without infrastructure society can’t function. Quit whining, its not that much.
  • jamesdrax I believe in being charitable by my own choice, not to have money forcibly scooped from my pay packet by the state. #floodlevy
  • johnkung Is it Tuesday? Why are there so many tightarses around? #floodlevy
  • ajs071 Are the people who cannot afford booze and smokes but still buy them, are these the people against this levy? #floodlevy
  • ShortBlokeJosh Is this #floodlevy to help qld get out of debt or to rebuild?Where was the #firelevy when Victoria had Black Saturday ? #Ivedonated
  • jameslee84 Budget Surplus is not our problem! RT @paulsnedden@JuliaGillard, why did I bother donating if Im now being forced to donate again?#floodlevy
  • heather2711 I do not like this flood levy. Why aren’t there provisions for disaster recovery already built into the budget? #floodlevy
  • givemethecure The irony of the #floodlevy angering the “Small Government” opposition is that they expect the “Big Government” they oppose to pay for it
  • WhyPaulHowes Our Qld marginal seat retention strategy has started today. Thanks for the $1.8 billion Australia! #floodlevy #auspol #swan13
  • nayby69 I’m for the #floodlevy, I’m not for some being excluded (low income, flood victims). We need to come together as a nation to rebuild!
  • amosaikman Given this precedent, will there be a means test governing which natural disasters deserve a #floodlevy from now on? @JuliaGillard
  • dbreban_18 It seems the only groups supporting this tax are unaffected income earners and left wing journalists. #floodlevy #auspol
  • geehall1 RT @theheraldsun: Bligh thanks Australians for levy http://bit.ly/h3i66q #qldfloods
  • abcnews Barnett defies Abbott over flood levy. http://bit.ly/hvgxp2
  • dougoldmeadow Will my #floodLevy be used to build flood levees so as to avoid further Flood Levy’s ?#StuffIWonder
  • EdHobbs75 Aussies happy to take the $900 bribe that landed in their bank account back in 2009 but they’ll be crippled by $1 a week #floodlevy
  • azizikhan Aust public don’t want a business driven govt. Like S’pore. So you end up with paying tax. You get what you put in. #floodlevy
  • I_enigma @stormbikes don’t worry – I agree with you, I got shouted down this morning #floodlevy
  • PrettyPennyLane #floodlevy so will this money only be used for Qld flood affected infrastructure or flood affected infrastructure in other states as well?
  • BeachyPeach Would be interested to see if any people bitching about #floodlevy receive any gov benefits like baby bonus and the family tax benefit.
  • JohnnyCowan We all need to do our part, we can’t say we love the people and country without making a contribution. the #floodlevy is needed!
  • vijaybala Me thinks #Labor’s $12.7 billion cash handout in 2009 could have been put aside for a rainy day (literally) #floodlevy
  • josephryan79 Not averse to #floodlevy, needs 2 be spent in right place, not rebuilding on floodplain. Don’t know why we don’t have the $ already though!
  • EggplantHero The idea that just because you can “afford” a tax it is a good thing is ridiculous. #floodlevy
  • tmc071 oh dont start on the fireworks again. #floodlevy
  • Mezmoo74 think I would have preferred the politicians to take a pay cut than to force a tax on everyone #floodlevy
  • fdonnelly If the #floodlevy gets passed, I hope the govt controls and spends the funds better than they did with the BER
  • master_grundy If the Libs were prepared to give some margin on getting on the budget into surplus, perhaps the #floodlevy wouldn’t be needed.
  • speckledblack the idea of the #floodlevy sucks, it’s not about how much money ppl lose from it. It’s a bucket of cold water after the generous donations
  • Andy_Downunda When it comes 2 rebuilding after natural disasters shouldn’t we b influenced more by desire 2 help rather than our after-tax income? #auspol
  • 612brisbane 612 ABC Brisbane #floodlevy poll. 493 votes SMS/Twitter/phone. Permanent levy 38.7%, No levy 34.3%, One-off levy 27.0%.
  • brisbanetimes Flood damage bill to be revealed today by Treasurer Andrew Fraser http://bit.ly/i7FlFK
  • geehall1 @5MillionPeople: #green programs in #Australia have bn hit hard by spending cuts to help pay for #qldfloods #vicfloods http://bit.ly/fey7R9

For the record… these are my #floodlevy related tweets…

  • OneGreenBus This flood= temp #floodlevy What about Cyclones Another levy? Nother 4 bushfires? This sets precedent Perm #disasterfund wld b better option
  • OneGreenBus We Aussies DO support mates UnAussie tht govt wants 2 MAKE us pay more #floodlevy If needed ask Don’t take How bout incent 4 lge bus donats
  • OneGreenBus #floodlevy incent 4 lge bus donats
  • OneGreenBus Collectng temp #floodlevy instead of perm #disasterfund not v smart Weather happens Would b nice 2kno we covered nxt time Looking long term
  • OneGreenBus @JuliaGillard @TheQldPremier #floodlevy ASK us 2contribute more U know we will Weve all seen just how much we will give http://bit.ly/gBoFtD

And finally… just a little food for thought…

  • philo_quotes The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. ~ William James
  • Emperor_Bob A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. ~ Winston Churchill
  • Emperor_Bob Keep cool; anger is not an argument. ~ Daniel Webster
  • Bern_Morley Hommus. Who knew. #Ilikeit

 

An Open Letter To Our Government RE: Flood Levy

Now, I know that I usually try to refrain from all things political (unless it’s environmentally related), but this morning I found that I couldn’t hold my tongue. I’m really disappointed that our government wants to tax us because we have recently gone through a flood (tax or levy, it’s all the same thing). And because I’ve basically got a big mouth… I figured I’d let you guys know all about it.

Thoughts? (I can forward them on too, if you like)

Edit: My apologies to Anna Bligh for sending this original letter to the wrong Twitter account. In my defense, Anna has a number of accounts that she hasn’t used for a while. I simply took the first account to be hers. Yes… I should have looked better… my bad.

This is the letter that I posted on Twitter this morning… hence all the @’s and # tags.

@JuliaGillard @PremierBligh

A quick Q RE: #floodlevy A genuine inquiry I’d appreciate the time you take to read & would love a response if possible.

Wondering how much did State & Federal governments actually give #floodappeal. We don’t hear much about that any more. However, I must say that I was very disappointed in the original $1mil offer. At the time 200 000 people had been affected… that million would only stretch to $5 per person. At the time you were also very proud of that offer and couldn’t see why people complained. Not very fair… not very Australian.

Now I also must say how proud I am of my fellow countrymen. The rest of us collected $150mil+ for #floodappeal in a mere few weeks. These are people in our community. People who have already taken on the responsibility of taking care of their friends and neighbours. People who have shored and bouyed our state when it needed it… who have jumped in and just done what needed to be done. People who have taken it upon themselves to help you do your job of caring for our citizens, to be frank.

And to reward those people for their selfishness you are going to take more in way of a flood levy?? Honestly… how do you have the balls to even ask? After your piss-weak offer and our completely selfless donation of OUR time and money… shouldn’t you be trying to step up to the mark yourselves, rather than penalizing those who have already lost so much, and still given what they can?

Yes, I’m aware that the govt has spent lots on Army, Emergency Services, etc… but that’s your job, your responsibility to your countrymen. It’s your job to take care of our citizens, even when something terrible and unexpected happens… nay, ESPECIALLY then. But I’m also aware of all the things that were fixed/cleaned/saved by many and varied individuals who took to those jobs of their own volition. Your public thank-you’s to these people was nice… but this subsequent ‘temporary flood levy’ is an insult.

And let’s not forget that maintaining our water catchments is ultimately also the government’s responsibility. I hate to jump on the ‘his fault, her fault’ bandwagon, but you do have to admit that things could have been handled better there, and that at least some of the damage (perhaps even deaths?) could have been avoided if it had been handled differently.

And to add to that one… who allowed a whole bunch of housing to be built on floodplains because of our ‘flood-proof’ dam? We believed the govt on that one when asked to. You must consider these things.

Disregarding who IS at fault (laying blame won’t fix anything), I do know who is NOT to blame for this disaster. Everyday Aussies are NOT…

Personally, I’m disappointed… in the govt, not the Australian people (let me clarify that). I’m disappointed that you are going to give with one hand and take with the other. Not fair… not when it’s your responsibility anyway.

So, here’s my serious question that I really would appreciate an answer to… well a few questions…

How much has both State and Federal governments added to Flood Appeals? And I’m also interested in how much this flood levy will net us? Basically, are you trying to tax back your donation? And then… is there plans for any other inflated taxes. How much will you ask average Aussies to pay for? Do you plan on taking until we pay for the whole damage bill ourselves?

That’d be handy, wouldn’t it?

Video: The Fitzroy River at Rockhampton in Flood 31-12-2010

This is just a short video I took on my way home from work New Years Eve. The Fitzroy River was at about 8.5 metres and rising.

Rockhampton Floods 2011 – A Few Photos & Anecdotes Part One

I procrastinate.

It was late November last year when I had an idea we might get a Big Wet. We’d been getting a few storms over the weeks. Not too much, but intense when they came. There was also those annoying, but welcome scuds; small patches of rain that would soak one part of town, but leave the rest dry. We were getting used to camping with the expectation that we might get a little wet at times.

November 2010 – Hedlow Creek

The second last weekend in November was going to be wet. We headed out to Hedlow Creek on Friday arvo. I wrote the following as events unfolded:

20:20 Sat. 20th Nov, 2010.

We Live In Our Car.

First, this is not a bad thing. Our rent is the cost of a tank of Diesel every couple of weeks, plus maintenance. We don’t have a TV, nor any major mod-cons other than a car stereo and the laptop with obligatory ‘net connection. We have a radio scanner that we listen to to entertain ourselves at times. We have a small inverter to rechgarge the phones and computer etc. We have a 12 volt flouro that lights the car interior. Our battery is a Champion brand 720 Amp marine battery. It has specially designed plates to resist the wave slap in boats. This translates to a better capability to handle regular discharging without collapsing. So far we have had no dramas. But then, it has a 2 year warranty and we’ve only had it a week.

Sleeping is comfortable. We fold down the back seat of the 4WD wagon and stick a double size air-bed in there. Our $8 low pressure/high volume pump inflates the bed in a minute or two.

We have a heavy duty tarp/awning that hangs off the drivers side, giving a 4 by 5 metre covered area to keep our boxes and esky and stuff under. When we’re driving, this stuff is packed in the back. Our home is the car, so we use it to get to work as well. As a result, we can pack the car in about 30 minutes. We have a full toolbox, a half dozen storage crates, plus the soft things (blankets etc). This all fits in the back with the seats up. The dogs sit on a canvas tarp on the back seat and we’re set.

On the weekends, we fit us, the dogs and the two juniors in the car and go camping, usually at our favourite swimming creek.

It Is Raining … A Lot

Now, this could be a bad thing.
We got here Friday night (a little over 24 hours ago). We set up the tarp and the rain started. We’ve had rain most of the week, but it looked like clearing…BBZZZZZZZZTTT!!! Wrong…

I’m guessing we’ve had about 2 inches in the old scale. About 50mm since 8pm last night. It has been continuous, steady drizzle with the odd heavy downpour. The catchment for this creek is moderately large, meaning it is catching a bit of water upstream. Fortunately we have about 3 metres of safe ground before we have to worry about the camp getting inundated.

The other problem we are going to have is when we try to get out of this spot.
We’re camped midway down a gentle slope, on a level spot. The track has recently been graded. It is Black soil. Do you know what Black soil does when it is wet? It sticks to things. Tyres especially.
We spent Thursday night out here and it rained enough to get a little sticky. Our home has a unservicable front differential. This means no Four Wheel Drive. With just a few mm of rain on the track, it was like trying to drive with no steering. Cornering at 3km/h trying to get the front end to drift in the direction you wanted it to go. Fun stuff, but it chews the track up.

Which leads me to answer the question you may be asking. “Why don’t you piss of now, before it gets any wetter”?

Well, it’s already too wet. Driving out will be a case of driving up off the track onto the grass (it’s cattle country). The track was a vague option, up until the four 4wd’s and the two motorbikes repeatedly drove up and down one section of the track, converting it into a slush pit with no chance of getting any traction.

The usual band of destructive 4 wheel driving nutters have decided that the access track is fun to play on. Because of their stupidity, we can’t even attempt the smallish hill in front of the car. We’ll go cross country instead, using the grass to stop the Black soil sticking to the tyres.

Maybe the rain will ease a little tomorrow. Or not. I’ll follow up then…

We Had ‘A Moment

It’s Still Bloody Raining (06:42am Sunday 21/11/2010)

It rained continuously last night. Sometimes it got heavy.
I was woken by my better half at 3am…”You better look at that creek…”
It had risen over a metre between 9:30pm and 3am.
“Wake up daughter, time to pack.”

We got things jammed in the back in about ten minutes or so. The awning and tarps, dog blankets etc were left out. I got ‘Jimmy’ (the 4WD) going and made an attempt to move. As soon as the rear wheels turned it slid sideways. The front left wheel dropped into a small depression next to a very large tree. I tried to back it out. Tried to rock it out. We weren’t going anywhere…

The Unservicable Diff Works – Mmmm, Freaky

(If you read my post from last night, you’ll know about the front diff and how the Crown wheel bearings are supposed to be stuffed. I tested the diff last year and it was making some horrible grinding noises…was to be replaced before January 2011).

…I decided in desperation to engage the front hubs and try 4WD. The worst that could happen is the diff would make nasty grinding noises and do nothing.
It worked. I mean, it worked without all the horrible grinding noises. However, the ground was sodden. It was as slippery as ice. The only way to get traction was to do as we’d thought earlier and try and go cross country. The grass would give us better traction.
I rocked the car back and forth gently, climbed out of the hole, missed the big tree and moved up to high, grassy ground.

We dragged the tarps and other stuff up to the 4WD and left them there, then threw the dogs in the back and headed through the scrub. My Best half walked ahead, checking for low spots, stump holes and logs. Poor baby was soaked. Even the storm jacket copped it.
We got out to the formed track eventually and made our way to the crossing.

Hedlow Creek Crossing In Flood 2010

Hedlow Creek Crossing In Flood Nov. 2010

0700am Still Rising

We got to the crossing about 4am. It wasn’t quite light, but it looked at the marker to be about 20cm under the 2 metre mark. We’re going nowhere. It’s now 7am and the marker has about 5 cm exposed. It has risen roughly 35cm in 3 hours. The rise is a lot slower than it was. I’d say the lake at the end is taking up a lot.

We don’t have any option but to wait this out. We could go back the other way, but it runs over as well, and it is probably under a metre of water by now. Plus, it’s 15km to there across some low country that may be under.

We’re OK though. We’ve got plenty of food and water. Plenty of power, and we’re dry. We can move if we need to find higher ground.

I have a theory about this diff. A while back, when I was servicing the front bearings, I noticed that the splines on the outer end of the axle had been burred. At some point, someone had stuffed up when working on it. I cleaned up the burrs and refitted it. I haven’t tried the diff since then. It’s possible that was the real issue (I hope). I’ll keep you posted on how we fare.

****

Well, we ended up stranded between Lake Mary and Hedlow Creek until Tuesday. It wasn’t all bad though. No-one else was around, or could get to where we were.

Flooded Hedlow Ck With Sightseers

Flooded Hedlow Ck With Sightseers Nov. 2010

Camped On The High Spot

Camped On The High Spot

2011 Australian Flood Appeal

So I’m sitting here… safe and dry in our 4WD. We’re parked under our daughter’s carport and have been here for more than a month now. We turned up here to hide when the rains started… mainly to stay dry for a while. And then the flood came…

We haven’t had a whole lot of trauma associated with the flood in our part of the world, thank whatever powers that be. Not really… not when you take into account the horror and tragedy that have impacted on the rest of our state. And now, so much more of our country seems to be disappearing beneath the torrent of flood.

I feel kind of useless here. Sure, we knew a couple of families who needed a little help with the clean-up around their yards, but the SES guys did such a great job cleaning up that we weren’t needed. We’ve sneakily fostered our son’s dog for the duration, but we can’t foster animals for the long term because we have no yard to house them in. We’ve been there to listen and support our friends, offered advice etc… the little that we could do. Most around here take a flood in their stride, so there’s not really much supporting or advising to do. We’re not wealthy people, so a large monetary donation is out of the question. I can’t help with heavy clean-up work because I have a bad back.  We have no special skills… no useful equipment… no extra goods to donate. All we could really do while we were sitting here dry and safe under the carport is upload photos and keep track of everything happening via updates on the net, … but I still feel like I haven’t done enough.

It’s kind of frustrating.

And so I started thinking hard on this one. I thought about all the people in all the communities affected by this flood. It started playing on my mind… all the news reports… the number of times that I have had to phone, text or email someone to make sure they’re ok… the bad news… the humour… the pride. Finally I decided that it was going to do my head in if I didn’t at least TRY to do something else. And so…

I gathered together all those multi-facets of my personality to try and nut this problem out. After the initial general murmuring and jostling, we sat down around a beer, a bong and a packet of Samboy Tomato Sauce chips… and we had a little meeting…

‘What can I do to help out?’ I asked myselves as we all found comfy chairs.

‘Well,’ my outrageous arty side replied. ‘I can paint… I could make an art piece and offer it up for auction. It’ll be brown and violent and full of Aussie tenaciousness…”

‘You’re pretty full of yourself, aren’t you?’ that bitchy side spat venomously. Outrageous arty side glared at that bitchy side, who had that frustrating smile on her face. She just loves making trouble… and she loves picking outrageous arty side any chance she can… sometimes she reacts in completely unpredictable ways and that bitchy side loves anarchy.

We all know that she stirs shit for fun… but we’re also thankful that she’s there for us when we need her,  so we put up with it, lovingly even. None of us chastise her… not really.

‘Come on now, don’t start fighting already,’ mother said… but gently. ‘We’re here to try and solve some problems, not make more.’ Mother is the only one of us who really has any control over bitchy. She sulks with a flourish, but to her credit, she sits down dutifully. Then another small voice speaks up.

‘She has a point though,’ whispered the scared little girl. ‘We’ve never tried to sell our art before. What makes you think that this could work?’

‘What makes you think that it won’t?’ asked pride, a little too harshly.

‘Arty side is pretty good, you know,’ agrees confident independant woman. ‘You guys never give her enough credit.’

There were a few quiet murmurs from hope, compassion and will, until now sitting quietly in the corner, munching on chips.

‘So what would we do with it?’ asked practical is best. ‘We’re not famous and we don’t have any real contacts with the art world. Where would we offer it for auction?’

‘The Green Bus!’ happy tree-hugging hippy chic in the tie-dyed headband shouted… then looked nervously around to see if she’d reacted a little too strongly… then giggled.

Hope, compassion and will shifted their chairs a little closer to the conversation. We all saw this as a good sign. Perhaps… if those guys were gaining some interest…

‘The Green Bus…’ mother mused. ‘That’s not a bad idea.’

‘And Twitter… and RedBubble… don’t forget them.’ Geeky emo chic suddenly became interested in the conversation and jumped in with heaps of techie ideas. But to be honest, she gets so intense and geeky sometimes that most of us just lose track of where she’s going and turn off. To save geeky emo chic from doing her pills because no-one was listening to her, we gave her some new glitter pens and an A4 size notebook and sent her off with the pedantic whining one (’cause she would have just been a pain in the arse anyway) to make a long and detailed list of it all… all the while assuring both of them that they were doing a great job.

Suddenly brutal honesty spoke up with the thought that we’d all put off speaking. We all sighed…

‘How much can we raise… really?’ she asked. ‘What if our effort comes to nought?’

‘It won’t,’ the dreamer injected. ‘None of it will be for nought. We may raise $20… we may raise $200… but not one cent of it will be for nought. Every little bit helps, even if it’s to buoy the spirits. Sometimes the outcome of an experience is more rewarding than mere dollars and cents, you know. Has anyone ever thought of that?’ A short silence ensued as we mentally slapped ourselves in the head for being so worried about our artistic ‘value’… probably broken by the munching of chips, or something similar…

‘I don’t want to be responsible for handling any money,’ stressed out slapper whinged.

‘I hope we can’t get in trouble for this,’ worrier worried. ‘What about the legal stuff?’

Suddenly a gale blew through the meeting, sending papers flying willy nilly… several of us gasped.

‘Legal stuff? What legal stuff could there be?’ the great aussie battler bawled, her voice a mixture of the recent thunder and the sound a wayward cow makes as it floats past your front verandah. ‘What’re they gonna sue us for tryin’ to help our mates out in a rough patch?’

‘Yeah, fuck’m if they don’t like it,’ the bitchy one called from the corner. It kind of surprised us that she agreed with someone… for a minute or two we all just kinda stared at each other.

‘So, we’re really gonna do this, huh?’ the wild pioneer asked, her smile radiating sunshine and beautiful birdsong into the air around her head. ‘I’m proud of you guys.’

Suddenly scared little girl started to whimper.

‘But I”m scared,’ she cried softly. Mother came and scooped her up gently in her arms.

‘We all are,’ she whispered, ‘but we’re all here for each other. That’s why we have to try.’ Little girl smiled and mother hugged her close and tucked her into bed with her teddy.

The meeting continued and all details were discussed rather peacefully after that… surprisingly. It’s been generally agreed that while we may not know everything (Note: bitchy side and pride both wish it duly noted that they are NOT in agreement with the rest of those soft-headed pussies), we would very much like to give this a real go.

Details were passed to verbally eloquent and somewhat humorous to try to pass on to the rest of human civilisation…

Yeah, I know… I’m probably crazy. But I am an artist… we don’t call artists crazy. We call them eccentric.

So here’s the piece, some close detail and information on how you can be a part of this auction. Please get involved if you can… if you can’t, then perhaps you might know of someone else who might be interested. Let’s see how much we can make for our Aussie Flood Appeal.

This piece remains unnamed (at present). As a part of this prize, the winning bidder will be given the opportunity to name the piece and a dedication will be inscribed on the back, along with date and artist details.

2011 Australian Flood Appeal PhoenixArt

I envisioned doing a painting that would convey our land, from our distinctive red lands to our productive black dirt. As I plastered water paints onto my canvas, I pictured the land engulfed by the thick brown flood water that so many of us have become accustomed to in recent weeks. I added water, diluting the paint… and as I watched the resulting drips I saw gouges and furrows dug from the land as raging waters tried to escape. I saw rivers and creeks, flowing and overflowing into areas where water normally doesn’t go.

2011 Australian Flood Appeal PhoenixArt Top Left Detail

As I flicked water and paint with my fingers, I saw rain and wind and rising water, bringing with it deluges that overtake all manner of material ‘things’ and carry them as flotsam on the inland tide. More flicking, and several shades of mud splotches appeared, sticky and brown, grey and smelly. To finish this piece, I ‘drowned’ the whole thing in a dirty brown concoction of paint, water… and some small leaves and dirt. This was an homage, of sorts… to the many other artworks of mine to have been destroyed by rain or flood. And then I saw the retreat of the water, and the result of ‘inundation’… the ‘stuff’ left behind, the property drowned and ruined. Carefully, I lifted the piece out of the water, and was pleased to see small pieces of dirt and leaves left behind to mimic the detritus left behind for so many of us to clean up.

2011 Australian Flood Appeal PhoenixArt Bottom Right Detail

This multi-media piece has been created with water paints on a D/1616 Mont Marte 46x46cm (18″x18″) mounted canvas. In creating it I have also used small leaves, twigs and flowers which have been sealed to the canvas with artists’ sealant.

We here, on The Green Bus will be privately auctioning this piece to raise funds for the 2011 Flood Relief Effort in Australia. However, we don’t want any money to change hands during this transaction… well, not through our hands anyway. What we ask is that the winning bidder donate an amount equivalent to their winning bid to any Flood Assistance charity of their choosing. Whether that be here in QLD or another part of Aus, we don’t care. Whether you’d prefer to donate to The Premier’s Fund, help to fund an animal shelter, or even if you’d like to donate to a more specified smaller appeal that’s been organisation closer to your own home community… that’s completely up to you. All we ask is that the proceeds go to helping our mates out.

Make your bids here, in the form of a comment on this post. Remember, I can see your email address, so please don’t bid if you don’t mean it. We’ll keep bidding open for… oh, let’s tentatively say a couple of weeks? Let’s say the 1st of February (QLD time… AEST… +10GMT) We’ll keep track of them and announce any new bids on Twitter as they come along. At the end of the auction we’ll ask the winning bidder to make their donation and provide us with proof of payment in the form of an official receipt or email from their chosen Flood Relief Fund. When we receive that confirmation, the piece will be shipped out ASAP.

So there you go… that’s my convoluted contribution. I guess now it’s just up to you guys…. if you like.

‘Gerrat it mates…’

‘Yeah come on… have a go.’

‘… if you don’t mind, that is…’

‘God, you’re such a suck-up.’

‘Man that was hard… I’m tired now.’

‘I’m hungry…’ …

2011 Rocky Floods Part 3 – A Few Comparisons

Here’s a few shots that may (or may not) show some comparisons as the water rose in Rockhampton.

This is a shot over the Yeppen Floodplains when the river level was at 8.5m. At this height the airport, train services and highways to the South and West are closed.

 

Rocky Floods 2011 Looking Across Yeppen Floodplains At 8.5m

 

 

Here’s the same area several days later with the river peaking at 9.2m.

 

Rocky Floods 2011 Looking Across Yeppen Floodplains Storm Over Gracemere In The Distance

 

 

Here’s the difference out at the airport. At 8.5m…

 

Rocky Floods 2011 Looking Over Rockhampton Airport At 8.5m

 

 

… and at 9.2m, there’s not much left that’s dry.

 

Rocky Floods 2011 Airport Staff Driving Along Runway At Peak

 

 

And… something a little more personal. This is our son Alex outside his house at 8.5m. The little silver tag on the powerpole in the background is the 1991 flood level (9.3m) marker.

 

Rocky Floods 2011 Our Son's House At 8.5m

 

 

And this is what his street looks like at the peak of 9.2m. It’s up there somewhere…

 

Rocky Floods 2011 Our Son's Street At 9.2m

 

 

Stay tuned…

 

 

Today’s ReTweets

Green news…

CO2 Solution and Codexis strike carbon-capture research deal with power-equipment giant Alstom SA… http://www.alternate-energy-blog.info/?p=1898&asid=48dcb2d0

China’s renewable-energy capacity to reach 500 gigawatts by 2020… http://www.alternate-energy-blog.info/?p=1897&asid=48dcb2d0

Up and coming filmmakers challenged themselves to lend a creative perspective to Ecomagination. Amazing videos!… http://www.youtube.com/user/ecomagination

Flexible Solar “Power Plastic” Hits New Efficiency High… http://www.ecogeek.org/solar-power/3367-flexible-solar-qpower-plasticq-hits-new-efficiency?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29&utm_content=Twitter

China Blows Past US in Wind Power… http://www.earthtechling.com/2010/12/china-blows-past-u-s-in-wind-power/

Compass: Quitting Oil, One Day at a Time… http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2010/12/quit-oil-part-2.html

 

Cool Technology…

BIG’s Green-Roofed School Blends Into the Environment… http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/7lJRxh/inhabitat.com/bigs-angular-green-roofed-school-blends-into-the-environment//r:t

Are mobile phones the next life-saving medical device?… http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2010/12/mobile-phones-as-medical-imaging-tool.html?source=link_tw20101206ngnw-phone

How would you like to create a generator which creates free electric power? Here’s how… http://www.magniwork.com/?hop=bodovan

 

Quotes…

From admrich… “The WikiLeaks fuss makes 1 pause 2 reflect Voltaire’s quote “I disapprove of whatyou say, but i’ll defend to the death your right to say it””

From SubMedina… “If Assange was in China doing the same thing, the West would have called him a dissident and given him a Nobel prize”

From GreenBiz_Pro… “In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!”

 

And a shameless plug for WordPress…

By londonwordpress… “I think everyone should use wordpress!! It’s way better than tumblr!!”

 

Today’s ReTweets

Yep… we’re now tweeting. So, I thought it apt to show you a few of the stories that I thought were worthy of retweeting today. This new catagory will become a regular part of the blog… I hope you enjoy.

Green News…

The one below just made me very angry. Seriously… are there still people like this out there? What a scary world.

And this one just because I love the quote. It comes from the internet sensation, Cee Lo Green “I’m wild and loose, a basket of strange fruit”

Thanks for the smile Cee Lo.

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