Trains, buses and automobiles

So here’s the problem:

Starting point: In Springvale, on Sunday afternoon.

Destination: At Linux Conf 09 in Hobart, on Monday morning.

Solution #1:V-Line Bombardier Train

  1. Travel with E to Ballarat on Sunday night (desirable; I am addicted to E).
  2. Catch the 5:33am train to Southern Cross station, in Melbourne.
  3. Catch the 7:00am Skybus to Melbourne Airport.
  4. Allow the recommended hour for domestic check-in and boarding.
  5. Catch my booked 8:25am flight to Hobart.

Win: More E + Train==comfy.
Fail: 5:33am is a deeply disturbing time of morning.

Solution #2:An airport shuttle bus

  1. Travel with E to Ballarat on Sunday night.
  2. Catch the 5:50am airport bus from Ballarat.
  3. Allow almost the recommended hour for domestic check-in and boarding.
  4. Catch my booked 8:25am flight to Hobart.

Win: More E + less steps (and less connections) + 5:50am > 5:33am
Fail: 5:50am is still less than wholesome.

Solution #3:A Taxi

  1. Stay in Springvale on Sunday afternoon.
  2. Get an expense-claim-able Taxi to the airport at about 6am.
  3. Don’t get caught in Melbourne’s unpredictable roadwork spaghetti.
  4. Hopefully allow the recommended hour for domestic check-in and boarding.
  5. Catch my booked 8:25am flight to Hobart.

Win: Invisible Win.
Fail: Less E.

What to do? In all likelihood, sleep will be the first victim. It usually is.

Boredom makes for strange blog posts…

So much for the ferry!

Well, now I look foolish!

The Spirit of Tasmania goes to Devonport, not Hobart, and Google Maps tells me it’s a four hour drive (or ride) from one to the other. Our bike is a 250cc single-cylinder bike, a type colloquially known as a thumper. The name is due to the vibration inherent in one quarter-litre cylinder banging up and down right under your groin… I was sore enough after a two hour ride from Springvale to Ballarat on the weekend. Four hours across the spine of Tasmania, while doubtless stunningly beautiful, does not sound butt-feasible.

So I will catch de plane, like a normal business zombie, and make use of free shuttle services wherever possible.

Going to Linux Conf Australia 2009!

My employer have graciously agreed to send me to Linux Conference again in January 2009. This year it’s in Hobart, so with any luck I will be catching up with an old friend.

This will be my first time travelling to Tasmania, and I am hoping to take the ferry (they have a special on), so that I can take the motorbike.

It looks to me like the global economic downturn is biting this year: the registration status page says that only 43% of tickets have sold, where in recent years the conference was typically completely sold out by early December. That’s with Google subsidising tickets for women to encourage at least trace amounts of gender equality.

Only one person I know well is going.

Strange Aeons

Coming soon to a cinema near you, from the pen of Neil Gaiman, directed by Guillermo del Toro, Elder, the tale of a little town named Arkham.

Elder, the movie


I just made that up then, sadly. But think about it, seriously, can you imagine? If anyone could provide gaslight, tentacles and madness, surely it would be these two…

Collective responsibility

Just read this on BoingBoing, and was nauseated, horrified.

“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” co-worker Jimmy Overby, 43, told the Daily News. “They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me.”

Also, inspired, in an angry sort of way:

The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led. – Poe

Poe is not the only person who refers to mobs as an individual. Nobody is confused if I refer to ‘the mob’ as an entity. So, if mob behaviour leads to damage, injury or death, why not change and try the mob as a single individual?

i.e. If John Farkhwitt  is caught on camera, jostling for position at the edge of a mob which tears the doors off a Walmart and crushes a hapless door-guy to death, then he can be charged with manslaughter, and so can everyone else present!

This might seem harsh, but only if it were retroactive: If Mr Farkhwitt knows that becoming part of a mob makes him liable for the actions of people he may never meet, on the far side of the throng, maybe he wouldn’t be so keen to jostle for position in the first place.

Obviously this needs a little fine-tuning; we don’t want to impact freedom of association, or the right to peaceful protest.

If you disagree with this idea, please try to suggest an alternative: If the guilty party in this story is the crowd, and not just the individuals in it who passed over the shop assistant, how else could they be held accountable as a group, for killing a man? If you don’t think the group are to blame, who is and why?

Movember: Day 30

All done now. For some reason I didn’t get around to posting this on Sunday, or Monday… or Tuesday or Wednesday…

Final 30-day mo:

My camera, my face, my mo. 30 days growth.

All gone. I shaved it off at five past midnighton Monday morning, and am glad I did. Many thanks to all who donated: We raised $50 for mens health!