27 November 2009

Train Stories Part Three

This one happened very recently, two weeks ago actually. 

17th November 2009 some time before 4pm.

I was just dropped off at St Leonard's train station, bought my ticket and jumped on the next train that said Hornsby. I pulled out The Shadow Rising (Book four of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, pressed play on my iPod and the soothing sounds of Tony, Ed and Richard as they nattered on about some Get This topic. It was after Chatswood that I realised I may have a problem. City Rail sometime during the year opened a new line that connects Chatswood to Epping. The train then heads up the Northern Line to Hornsby but to cut a long story short they train arrived in time.
Now that fascinating paragraph isn't the highlight of the story. It was the guy who stumbled on at Gosford. I was sitting in the last carriage, in the second row from the door. Sitting in the first row on the opposite side were a pair of German girls heading to Byron Bay as a part of the Australian East Coast Tour. In front of me were two Scandinavian girls heading to Brisbane and on the other side of the aisle was two random guys. Anyway the Gosford guy during his travels to Taree consumed two piccolo bottles of wine. He also must of been drinking whilst waiting for the train.
Somewhere between Wingham and Taree Gosford Guy stubles passed my seat, the German girls seats and stops at the doorway, leans up against the wall, faces the girls and slurs "Where are you from?"
"Ahh Germany." the brunette replies.
"That's good" the slurred reply came. What followed was a long pause. He then turns and heads of to the buffet car.
Everyone within earshot of what went laughed and not just a snicker. It was the laugh of a group of people sharing a great joke.
"I think he likes you." said one of the randoms trying to keep the mood going. It was followed by a few more chuckles. Some conversations start up between the different sets of seated passengers and I return to my book.
Two minutes later a female voice came over the intercom "Security to the buffet car please." With renewed laughter we all realised that Gosford Guy was denied service and that he decided to put a bit of a fight. What happened next had a touch of the Keystone Cops about it. The two Transit Officers made they way up the train but soon after Gosford Guy makes his way back to his seat. He managed to avoid them for a couple of minutes before the caught him between carriages.
It was quite anti climactic in the end. We all piled off the train hoping for something dramatic but sadly he walked of without a fuss. I guess it was his station.

26 November 2009

Train Stories Part Two

Technically this didn't happen on a train but it did occur whilst I was waiting for a train so I am including it.

2002 - I had just visited Maitland to attend a police auction. I was looking for and found a cheap mountain bike. I standing on platform one with my newly acquired bike waiting patiently to head back to Newcastle. This older, grey haired balding man shuffled past me. About three steps later he stopped, turned around, pointed to by bike and said "We'll all be riding one of them soon."
"Really?" I stupidly replied.
"Yep. As soon as the Chinese over run the country we will." Here I was thinking it was because of dwindling oil supply or something like that. He also managed to gain my interest with this sentence.
"China?" I gently prodded.
"In 2007 an asteroid will hit California."
"California?" I now really wanted to see how this linked to Australia being invaded by China.
"The asteroid will wipe out America and because of the San Andreas fault line an huge tsunami will head our way. We will have 5 hours to to get to the top of the Great Dividing Range. The wave will hit us then wrap around the mountains the flood the out back." He was on a roll now and wasn't going to be stopped. Now because of all the water the outback will become quite fertile and will help Australia become quite prosperous. the because America no longer exists China will invade and take over Australia."

And there you go that is how we all will be riding push bikes one day.

Train Stories Part One

I have lost count how many times I have traveled the North Coast line on the XPT from North Coast to Sydney. Mostly from Grafton but occasionally from Lismore or Casino. It is absolutely amazing the stories that I have collected over that time.

1990 - I played third trumpet in a stage band. At some point in time we traveled to Sydney to partake in a band camp. We left late at night from Grafton catching the Brisbane to Sydney Express. Four of us did not sleep at all on the way there and game quickly developed. "How long were people taking to go to the bathroom." The stop watch would start as soon as the red occupied light would switch on. Someone had obviously been drinking pretty heavily or he suffered from the worst case of motion sickness. He set the then record at 21 minutes and 15 seconds. You could hear his efforts to bring up the entire contents of his stomach. We couldn't hold out curiosity in check. The guy had plastered every inch of the toilet cubicle with vomit. Dutifully we informed the staff. The poor guy sent to check it out took one step in then one step out and proceeded to wipe his shoe on the mat. The door was locked and a record of 6 hours and 42 minutes was set.

1994 - I attended a Sydney boarding school for years eleven and twelve. On one particular trip home the guy sitting beside me got off at Sawtell. "Yes I have the whole two seats to myself for the trip home" I thought to myself. This lasted one station at Coffs Harbour and short, gaunt, long, black and scruffy haired and bearded man wearing an original Cronulla Sharks jersey and tight black stone wash jeans stood at the entrance to the carriage and called out "Madamoiselle? Excuse me mademoiselle?" to the ticket collector. He was quickly shown to the seat next to me. 
Sometime during the journey he produced a set of rosemary beads and began chanting the Hail Mary.
Hail Mary,

Full of Grace,

The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

Amen.
"OK" I thought. "A religious guy."
Not long after this he slams his palm on to the food tray and the chants. "I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus" pauses for about ten seconds then exclaims I am Jesus.
Now this is where I got a little scared and a little confused. I always thought Jesus was a Jew so why was he saying the Hail Mary?
Thankfully he remain quiet for the rest of the trip to Grafton. When I got up to get off the train I hear him cry "Up the Sharkies!" I turn around to look at the poor souls staying on the train. They each have the same "Don't leave us here" expression.


25 November 2009

Love Them. Protect Them. Never Inject Them?

The North Coast of NSW is a beautiful place in the world. Beautiful Rivers, serene rain forests and National Parks and generally a great sense of community. However there is one thing I wish we weren't known for. We have the three worst postcodes in terms of immunisation rates in the country[1].
Now I wish I could lay it all at the feet of one particular organisation but sadly I cannot. However what they promote surely cannot be helping. The Australian Vaccination Network with Meryl Dorey as their most public face advocate the use of homeopathic vaccinations or exposing children to the virus so that they build a natural immunity[2]. They do this through selling t-shirts, publishing a magazine entitled "Living Wisdom", hosting seminars and "webinars" and publishing news and opinion pieces that support their agenda and denounce those that don't.
They do all this saying that they are a pro-choice organisation and that they want concerned parents to seek out all the facts before making their decision to vaccinate their child. However when looking through the website, the articles published and the blogs written by Meryl I could not find single piece of information that listed the benefits of vaccination. If they wish to be taken seriously as a pro choice organisation then they need to cover more than just the possible problems with vaccinations.



  1. http://www.nrgpn.org.au/index.php?page=Project_display&item_id=364
  2. http://scepticsbook.com/2009/04/29/anti-vaxers-the-story-so-far/

23 November 2009

An introduction..... of sorts then some talk of an old radio show.

Hi. I'm me. I'm looking for a new form of procrastination. I'm also looking for a new way to develop my writing skills. I am currently training to be a teacher. Primary (elementary for you American types) school to be more precise, hence the need to improve my writing skills.
So here we go....

Today marks the two year anniversary of the final episode of Get This.

Back in 2006 two men got together and created one of the most amazing radio programs Australia had ever listened to since the mid nineties. Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee met during the filming of an Australian film called BoyTown they soon discovered they had a love of all things movies.

Tony is a legend of the comedy scene in Australia and Ed was driving radio station promo vehicles giving away icy cans of Coca-Cola and Mariah Carey CDs. Ed basically lied to Tony about his radio panel operating skills to get the job and it was decided that someone else needed to panel the show. At first they enlisted the help of a guy named The Bear (he in no way resembles one) and later the late and great Richard Marsland and the show was born.

The show titled Get This consisted of Tony and Ed inviting a someone else in and having a chat over the hour. There were sketches, listener call in segments and then interviewing the guest. Some of these guests included Richard E. Grant, Kevin Smith, Weird Al Yankovic, Billy West, Will Arnett, Seth Rogan, Harry Shearer, Bert Newton, Dylan Moran, Ross Noble, Chris Isaak, Lachy Hulme. Ben Folds, The Wiggles and many other local and overseas people with the only condition being that they must be in the studio and live.
Get This grew from one hour to two in 2007 allowing Tony, Ed and Richard to do their own thing in the first hour and interviews in the second and because of this rating soared. They consistently scored in the top three in their time slot.

This inevitably led to their axing. News reports often stated "Get This so popular that Triple M management don't know what to do with them." What was happening was that listeners were tuning in for the show then tuning right back out once it was over. They were moved from the mornings, to lunch time and finally to mid afternoon.

A few weeks after Tony announced the axing on air rallies were held in Sydney and Melbourne and a few other places such as London and Tokyo with the Melbourne rally outside the Triple M studies being the largest. Never before have I seen a radio show's axing inspire people to gather to show management that they made such a terrible decision.

Two years on and people still listen to Get This. Some wonderful person released high quality recordings of every episode (if you ask nicely I might be able to help you out) which helps also social networking has keep the memory alive. If you are a Twitterer search #GetThis you will find people randomly posting quotes from the show.

Get This became more than just a radio show. It became a community. Tony, Ed and Richard made the listener feel a part of the show. It went so far as to Ed organising a lift from the studio to Melbourne airport so he could pick up a friend who was visiting from Canada. I look back at those days fondly running back from class to stream the show I never managed to call in to participate in Talkback Mountain, or send in a picture of myself wearing a cape to celebrate Capril or do a crappy impersonation of Star Trek's The Borg for Borgust but I enjoyed every moment.

Thank you Tony, Ed and Richard for making those two year some of the most amusing.
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