Random words from around North Queensland

A long time ago (last week) in a region far far away (depending on your point of reference) a lone hero took on the last vestiges of conflicts past (World War 2) transferring a group of former foes (Germans and Italians (Nazis and Fascists*)) with mastery of the quill, and makers of metallurgically sound nouns, verbs and participles (wordsmiths anyone?) on the great worldwide anvil (the media) around the sub-wet-tropical region of North Queensland (Townsville is positioned slightly below the wet tropics but still tropically temperate). Or in common parlance – I hosted a group of international journalists on a trip through North Queensland. This was less than fun. Driving a car full of people who choose to speak a foreign language so as to ostracise you from the conversation is incredibly frustrating – particularly when they only break into English to pass on complaints or criticism and the odd mangled witticism when curious looks arise following sporadic bursts of laughter.

The already “sterling” experience was only heightened by the drama involved with itineraries being altogether unperused by vital third parties to the plan – rendering geographical impossibilities as points of undue duress and much stress for those involved. I took this group of journalists 120 kilometres north of Townsville to the town of Ingham where they were to make a lunch time rendezvous with the QR Sunlander service carrying the expedition further into the bowels of the northern nether regions of Queensland. Unfortunately QR expected us to allow said intrepid reporters to depart from Townsville and informed us of this necessity some 30 minutes before the train was set to lurch out of the Townsville station – an hour and a half’s drive from Ingham. After making scurrilous threats regarding my potential well being QR acquiesced to my demands and allowed the drop off to occur in the Italian art deco township meaning the journalists in question missed out on a gala seafood lunch prepared in advance on board the locomotive.

What an adventure was had by all – there are further tails (and tales) I could regail you with of my time with these members of the press but I leave you with the Charters Tower’s rag’s interpretation of the visit – queue link to Northern Miner article…

Kudos to Augie March for taking out the Hottest 100 for this year – and to my trivia team “Boned by Eddie” for our tied first place at the pub last night. You can read more about that at Tim’s blog. I’m told Joe’s blog will touch on today’s flashpoint issues of climate change and fundamentalist Islam – and a controversial link between the two – in the very near future, so stay tuned for that. In the mean time please heckle him for his Bush fuelled antics.

* Apologies for the gross stereotypical generalisations.

Helping Washington State University Students change the world since 2007

I had an interesting experience today when my gmail inbox was subject to a deluge of emails from students submitting assignment topics for an upcoming assignment on climate change. 16 students were given the wrong email address (mine) to submit their assignment ideas – so I decided to have some fun – here’s a selection of their emails and my responses:
from: RS, 10:27 am (2 hours ago), Jan 30, 2007 10:27 AM
subject: R – GE301 Topic
My topic for Climate Change: Option 1: Global Warming Option 2: Governmental Policies

from: Nathan Campbell
to: R, Jan 30, 2007 10:47 AM
subject: Re: R – GE301 Topic
Wow that sounds very interesting – go for it…

That was pretty standard, a number of the students had the same ideas so I started encouraging initiative.

from: RD, 10:27 am (2 hours ago)
to nmcampbell
Professor Campbell I have decided to research and write my paper on how climate change has affected travel and tourism based on weather and other factors to different parts of the world. Rob Druffel

from: Nathan Campbell
to R, 10:48 am (2 hours ago)

Mmm, interesting – good to see you’re thinking outside the box. I’m not sure what country you guys are in – but apparently the Great Barrier Reef is about to die in Australia because of climate change.
from: cats
to nmcampbell, 10:29 am (2½ hours ago)
I have chosen the topic of Hurricanes/Tornadoes and how they have increased in severity in the past few years due to the climate change/global warming.

from: Nathan Campbell
to cats, 10:51 am (2 hours ago)
Wow, that’s an original idea based on the 16 others I’
ve been sent today – be blown away by climate change…
from: MS
to nmcampbell, 10:28 am (2½ hours ago)

My topic is the melting of the ice caps.
from: Nathan Campbell
to M, 10:49 am (2 hours ago)
Sorry, my name is Nathan. That’s pretty boring and 75% of your class mates have the same idea – why not look at the plight of the penguin due to climate change and overfishing… oh wait – Happy Feet already did that.

Evidently M was a little worried about her topic and sought some clarification.

from: MS
to nmcampbell, 10:42 am (2 hours ago)
If I chose my topic because I know basically nothing about it, can I writeabout that?

from: Nathan Campbell
to M, 11:02 am (2 hours ago)
M, M, M
you have MY permission to write about whatever topic you want. Feel free to wax lyrical about the impact of climate change on goldfish for all I care. Unfortunately I won’t be marking your essay because I’m not your lecturer.

I’ve got myself a pen pal out of the mistake with Michele Tran taking great delight in the situation:

from: MT
to nmcampbell, 10:33 am (2½ hours ago)
Topic: Climate Change and the Effects on Human Health and the Risk ofInfectious Diseases

from: Nathan Campbell
to MT, 10:56 am (2 hours ago)
Well well well, MT, Student ID XXXXXXXX,
That’s a novel idea. And if I was Professor Nicole Campbell I’d be very impressed. However, I’m not, as you can see – not not impressed, but not Nicole Campbell.

from: MT
to me, 11:00 am (2 hours ago)
Hi Nathan,I’m in class now and we were just laughing about the situation, apparentlyour instructor wrote down her email address wrong. Sorry for the inconvenience. Have a good day!-M

My curiosity piqued, I decided to find out where these people were coming from.

from: Nathan Campbell
to M, 11:08 am (2 hours ago)
Hi M,
What’s your class? What university/college/school are you all from. This has made my day.
from: MT
to me, 12:39 pm (28 minutes ago)
Hello there Nathan,Well I am certainly glad that we made your day:) I hope we didn’t overflowyour inbox too much with boring topics on Climate Change. Anyways, we allenrolled in a course called GE 301 which is an introductory course gearedfor transfer students to become familiar with the university’s learninggoals. And we attend Washington State University. So out of all the topicsthat was went to you which one of those would you say is the most interesting…and you don’t say mine:)

So there you have it, apparently the Washington State University’s Vancouver campus Electronic Services Coordinator has a similar email address to me.
She emailed me to apologise for the inconvenience.

from: NC
to nmcampbell, 11:20 am (1½ hours ago)
Hi there,Just wanted to send an apology. My students ended up with your email instead of mine for class today and I suspect you suddenly received lots of email regarding climate change. They now have the correct info and hopefully you won’t be spammed again! I’m sorry. It’s been a long day and I got 2 of my email addresses mixed together. My students said you had very polite responses. Thanks for that and again, sorry for the spam. Cheers, -N

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Humour me

It seems the rise of the individual’s participation in what can loosely labelled the new media has been coupled with the rise of the humourless new media critic – incapable of reading between the lines and willing to take offence on behalf of those wronged in an attempt at comedy or satire. I’m not sure where these people were before – but looking through the news in recent weeks I have to wonder – where did the great Australian ability to laugh at oneself or the misfortune of others go. Even cruelty to animals is now frowned upon. Even if the animal is a cane toad.

A judge in the Sutherland local court is to be commended for finally upholding common sense and a common sense of humour in her decision on The Chaser case. While the side line nay sayers were up in arms over the audacity of the Chaser team after they turned up at a Bulldogs game hawking fake supporters kits stocked with fake weapons – the judge in her conclusion said that the majority of people would have realised it was a joke – and that a reasonable person should not have been angered or outraged by it. Now certain people may be prepared to accuse the Chaser team of having an underdeveloped sense of propriety and may also suggest that they lack maturity – but surely a certain level of impropriety and immaturity is allowable for humour’s sake. There’s a reason that toilet humour still elicits laughs from movie audiences. Some people have lost touch with their inner child because they’re all to eager to jump on the politically correct bandwagon and condem the actions of others on behalf of an innocent third party.
If I choose to take a quote or comment out of context and take the taking out of context to its unnatural extreme (ala yesterday’s post) please don’t feel the need to condemn my actions on the basis that I have done so – instead see it for what it was – I was at work with very little to do, I had a silly conversation which amused me, and I posted it on my blog.
So in conclusion – unless I directly and purposefully offend you, please don’t take offence. Turn that frown upside down.

Bored at work…

I know this girl who is scarily competent with a sword. She’s some sort of master of an obscure martial art – and her MSN tag line often reflects this. Today I was bored at work, and she was online. Hilarity ensued. I have changed her name to “Ninja” because it was a series of Asian characters with the tagline – “the weapon is irrelevent. it is the warrior that must be trained”

It’s raining outside, I’m killing time until home time at 5 and I think this is pretty funny.

Nathan says: the weapon is relevant if I have a tank and you have a toothpick
Nathan says: that saying is dumb
Nathan says: my tank would seriously mess you up
Nathan says: no matter how good a warrior you become
Nathan says: the same could be said for a rocket launcher
Nathan says: or even a grenade
Ninja says: it’s a martial arts thing
Ninja says: I don’t expect someone who isn’t a martial artist to understand
Nathan says: well good luck pitting your martial arts against my tank
Nathan says: unless we’re in Karate Kid 7
Ninja says: but still, the tank is irrelevant if u haven’t been taught how to use it
Nathan says: then your toothpick would stand a chance, it could jam up my navigational equipment and I could either blow myself up by shooting a nearby wall – or you could then open the lid and beat the crap out of me without a toothpick
Nathan says: they make tanks pretty user friendly these days – Americans have to be able to drive them
Ninja says: ur just being silly and difficult
Nathan says: I don’t think being blown up by a tank is silly – or particularly difficult
Nathan says: I just think your quote fails to take into account the sheer range of weaponry available on the black market these days
Nathan says: try facing a nuke with a sword
Ninja says: well how about u stop taking what I say out of context
Ninja says: it is a quote aimed at martial artists. as u r not one, I do not expect u to understand it, and it is not important to u at all
Nathan says: but if I was fighting one I expect I’d want a pretty good weapon
Nathan says: I couldn’t beat one bare handed
Nathan says: there’s an old saying that says you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight
Nathan says: I think the weapon is particularly relevant
Nathan says: whatever the context
Ninja says: still u fail to understand
Ninja says: come back and talk to me after u’ve achieved a black belt in a martial arts
Ninja says: then I might pay attention
Nathan says: why would I wait until then
Nathan says: I’ll just fight you now – your sword to my machine gun
Nathan says: see, silly quote
Ninja says: grow up
Ninja says: and don’t talk to me again unless u have something sensible to say
Nathan says: I with no training could beat you with a better weapon
Nathan says: the warriors training is only relevant if the weapons share similar potency
Ninja says: it’s not about weapon against weapon!!!
Ninja says: it’s about your own training!
Ninja says: it’s saying that to even be able to wield a weapon, YOU must be trained, not the weapon itself
Nathan says: no, that’s not true – I can wield any weapon I want – competency doesn’t come into whether or not I can wield it – only how well I do.
Nathan says: warriors are trained for war are they not?
Ninja says: u have no idea

And then she blocked me. At least I think she did.

Only a little bit left

Climate Change is a buzz issue. The opinion pages of Australia’s leading newspapers have been filled with claims, ripostes and counter-ripostes as the debate on the changing climate, humanities contribution to the change in climate and whether climatic change is a change at all rages with no set end in sight. This media coverage and debates over Australia’s reluctance to sign the Kyoto protocol, the release of the Stern Report, and Peter Garrett’s appointment as Shadow Minister for Climate Change have all positioned climate change as a central issue in the upcoming Australian Federal Election.

That the climate is changing is undeniable – just like it’s undeniable that a large portion of Australia is in the throes of a long running drought. I’m not going to argue with that. However, I may have been miseducated but I thought we expected the climate to change from time to time. We have these things called seasons, we have meteorologists who forecast changes in weather – We’ve been taught that an ice age wiped out dinosaurs. If the world was once covered in ice, and now is not, it makes sense that the ice caps continue to melt rather than stagnate. The world’s climate is so finely balanced that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in China is said to cause a hurricane in Australia (ok so that’s just poetic hyperbole but it makes the point). What I will argue, along with my friend Benny, is that climate change should not be an election issue.

Ben’s analogy when arguing about why policy on climate change should not be a central election campaign issue related it to running an election campaign based on which party had the best plan to defend against alien and UFO attacks. Not because the issue isn’t real but because the issue isn’t an election issue. If the planets climate is changing there is very little that our country of 20 million people can do. While our fossil fuel emissions are fairly high per capita we’ve got nothing on the US or other “developing” first world markets. Our emissions are a small drop in the global bucket. Climate change is not a local issue, it’s a global issue. Campaigning on Climate Change is easy point scoring for any opposition party who can easily take the moral high ground and point fingers at all the areas that can be improved. It’s a popular issue thanks to the left wing media’s desire to pander to the stupidity and gullibility of the average consumer and it allows the opposition to be lazy. If climate change wins the next election for either party the electorate will have been dealt a disservice when other issues like education, health, roads and the strength of the economy should be firmly on the agenda. Sure, we could all be looking after the environment better – and we all should be. But go plant a tree or do your bit individually. Culturally Australian’s have a habit of bignoting our global importance based on our performances in the scientific and sporting arenas. We’re better educated than most countries and we tend to punch above our weight – but we’re small potatoes when it comes to population and associated issues. The election should be about the goverment which will best manage the country – not who will blow the climate change trumpet the loudest. If we educate our people better individuals will be better positioned to think about climate change and other issues. If we have better infrastructure our industry will be able to consider better environmental practices. Climate change is a spin off issue – not a root cause. Having a minister for climate change is like having a Minister for Philosophy or a Minister for the Ocean. Dumb.

Titanic struggle

There’s an old saying about rats deserting a sinking ship and an old (true) story about a hyped up massively expensive ship sinking on its maiden voyage. It seems to me the Gold Coast Titans could be heading for the same murky waters. I’m expecting the Titans to perform about as well as their much maligned predecessors the Gold Coast Seagulls and the Gold Coast Chargers – badly. Today they lost two wingers and gained one – by my count that’s one step forward and two backwards – not the kind of start to training they’d have been hoping for – and then their one new winger (one dually converted (league – union – league) Matt Rogers) suffered a training ground injury in a possible testimony to his predilection for injury inflicted stints on the sideline. That’s right folks – the Titans this morning released Melbourne Storm winger Steve Turner from his contract after a protracted, long winded, annoyingly intriguing (at least if you’re the News Ltd Media – can any body else smell a rat – or a conspiracy? News Ltd are part owners of the Melbourne Storm) contract dispute*. The Titans were in an untenable position – they couldn’t afford to have a player not wanting to play for them on the books – but they also couldn’t afford to let him turn his nose up at the contract. This announcement was followed by Brian Carney’s shock decision to give the game away. That’s right. Just a day after addressing the media on his desire to cement a first grade spot for the whole season, the Titan’s marquee signing, who came over a year early to prepare for his NRL career with the Newcastle Knights and won a Dally M winger of the year award for his troubles, announced his retirement to finish his Masters degree in the UK. Things aren’t looking good for the Titans, who are still busily talking up their finals prospects.
*Well spotted Mr Finden.

Fire sale – the downfall of a nation

I’ve spent a fair portion of my day distracted by a fascinating news story. The world’s smallest country is on the market. It’s a nation* with an interesting diplomatic history that’s well worth reading about including wars, kidnapping of members of the royal family, allegations of corruption and intrigue – I’d suggest here, and here. Apparently the owners are looking for an 8 figure sum of money for the “island” – which was home to a unique internet data storage service that eventually went belly-up after a dispute with the government. The country is for sale after a fire swept through the 6000 square foot platform causing terrible heartache for the outgoing royal family. Those interested in becoming part of the “ruling class” of Sealand can purchase a title online. In the traditions of makepovertyhistory and other such debt cancelling/fundraising activities, Sealand is seeking donations to literally keep afloat. Their fundraising endeavours include the opportunity to request a postcard from a Sealand resident, the chance to own a fire damaged bolt from the nation’s exoskeleton, and the opportunity to make donations from the goodness of your heart. Sealand child sponsorship would be the next logical step, but no children live there. The best thing about this story is that it’s all true.

As you can see, I’ve enjoyed a productive day at work.

*Sealand’s claims of sovereignty were loosely upheld by a 1960s court case in Britain, but it’s unlikely the claims stack up with no other country officially recognising the outpost as a legitimate nation.

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A world gone topsy turvy

I woke up this morning to a world I scarcely recognised. I drove to work in autopilot, stopping and starting at traffic lights without registering an inertial change. I was shocked out of my malaise when I drove past a newsagent and saw the headline on the Courier Mail’s bulletin board. “Warne: I’d like to coach England”. My jaw dropped. I was aghast, agog, agape… all somewhat at once. Treachery. Treason. Tyranny. How could one so comprehensively turn on one’s own country to fight for the “old enemy” no less. Warne is lucky the death penalty for treason was abolished in 1985. For consistency’s sake I should also point out that former Australian internationals Tom Moody and Greg Chappell currently coach Sri Lanka and India respectively. Greg Chappell’s downfall is particularly poigniant. Chappell was once so fiercely competitively patriotic that he ordered his younger brother to bowl an underarm delivery in order to prevent New Zealand securing an unlikely victory. This passion dissipated somewhat when he took up his post with India, but he has done his best to sabotage their status as an international cricketing superpower in his tenure at the top. If Warne’s desire to take the English position is actualised it will be another event in a long string of distasteful career highlights for the Tweak Sheik.
But that’s not all. Having mildly recovered from the onset of shock and nausea at the idea of one of our own crossing over to the dark side, I was left to pick up my jaw from the floor once again when reading through the Entertainment news on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce its inductees for this year today – and a Hip Hop artist looks set to join the prestigious list for the first time. Grandmaster Flash, while a groundbreaking musician in his chosen field, has no place in a list of “rock and roll” musicians.
What is wrong with the world today?


Will a fright fix this Hicks up?

This post is the result of two recent observations. 1 – Hiccups (or hiccoughs or hic ups) are incredibly hard to dislodge, remove, cure etc. 2 – David Hicks is fast becoming the novelty crusade of choice for the uneducated latte left who run the “intelligent” media in this country. The Sydney Morning Herald put his continued detention at Guacamole* Bay at number 1 in their list of Australia’s crimes against civil liberties. I was watching ABC news last night and they showed a nice friendly pick of Hicks outside his family home. I’m sick of the media rewriting painting Hicks as a confused good guy in this situation.

Let’s face it, Hicks is no angel. He was busted fighting with our enemies (admittedly in the “War on an abstract noun”). Where I come from terrorists aren’t considered to be friends of the Australian cause. I come from Australia. Anyone fighting against Australian soldiers probably deserves to be punished. Despite what the bleeding hearts out there would suggest, I don’t think Hicks would have thought twice before firing one of those rocket launchers at an Australian soldier in the name of Jihad. Hicks, as a result of ideological brainwashing, or by his own choice, was in the Middle East waging a religious Jihad. He’d left Australia following a marriage break up and discovered solace in extremist Islam.

I’m fairly sure most intelligent people see it that way as well – the argument for his release, or at the very least his trial comes from a desire to see the western system of law upheld. In this instance it may be a case of upholding the law at the expense of justice. At this point Hicks hasn’t really broken any laws. He can’t be tried under the Geneva Convention because he wasn’t fighting for an official military organisation. He can’t be tried under Australian or American law because no relevant law exists (or exists covering the time of his capture). Why would the Australian or American governments want to release him back into the general public?
He’s a man who’s letters home say he’s fighting to ensure “the Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim law again”.

There’s a compelling case for him to be tried and properly jailed (rather than tortured in no man’s land) on the base of basic human rights and international standards – but the argument that he’s being hard done by and putting him up as a cause for Australian’s to be fighting for is kind of missing the point. He’s a bad guy. Not a good guy who made mistakes. There hasn’t really been any suggestion of remorse from Hicks for his actions and it doesn’t seem likely that that will occur – if he’s not backing down in the face of the terrible treatment he’s receiving at Guantanamo then he’s not going to back down. If he’s not going to back down it puts the Australian government between a rock and a hard place. This is a guy who’s physically fighting against “our” “western” ideology. Why should the governments in question seek to release him?

There’s a long standing debate between proponents of the left and right wings over whether the penal system is designed to punish or rehabilitate. At this point Hicks shows no apparent signs of rehabilitation (granted access to Hicks and his mental state is not something we have readily available) and the question of whether he’s been appropriately punished depends on his exact actions in his “jihad.”

There are too many issues simmering in the Guantanamo Bay crock pot for this to be a cut and dried case. The legality of Guantanamo Bay is balanced against the necessity of having somewhere to store these unlawful combatants (in the old days they would have just been shot). The holding of someone obviously needing holding against their rights to a trial process… It’s a situation that’s too hard for anyone to get completely right. The one thing I’m sure of is that those calling for the canonisation of a man fighting for Osama Bin Laden have it wrong.

* (sic) – the Herald didn’t get it wrong, I just thought it was slightly funny** at the time.
** I’ve changed my mind now but can’t be bothered changing the joke.

Season’s Greetings…

Summer, Autumn and Winter say hi. Spring is going through a rough stage of cantankerous adolescence and refuses to contribute to this letter. That joke was bad enough to stay in.

The Christmas letter is traditionally a soul destroying exercise. Be it an update on the illnesses of a particularly insufferable suffering hypochondriac relative. Or the celebratory tones of conceited parents pompously proclaiming their darling scion’s achievements while adopting a sufficiently Australian air of “self deprecation” with regards to their own personal achievements for the purposes of humour – or to somehow make their ravings more palatable to the average apathetic reader… I have no such qualms. I’m good – and you all know it. So here’s a graphic retelling of my year to date – referring where possible to events not recorded in the archives of this blog.

With a degree of symmetry and some synergy – my year ended where it began – in Townsville. Well, technically I wasn’t in Townsville until the 20th of January when I made the trek North in pursuit of work experience. Those who know the back story realise I had other motives when making the trip north. The less said about that chapter of this year the better – but this story like all classic Disney tales has a happy ending. Spending three weeks in the newsrooms of Townsville’s finest broadcast media outlets (WIN and 4TO take a bow) was enough to give me a taste for life in the tropics (the employment opportunities in Brisbane for underperforming journalism graduates also had me searching for jobs in a more regional millieu – I like the word millieu and will therefore use it…).

Upon my return to Brisbane I bid a fond farewell to my abode in Lorimer Terrace – the Lorimer House of Fun dissolved (some would say that the fun truly left when the original fellow occupants entered wedlock, parental domiciles and fled the country due to “visa” complications only to return at a later date and resume occupancy – but what would those naysayers know). I returned to my parent’s place of residence in ensuing weeks as I secured employment in the North and said my fond farewells to life in the state’s capital.

This brings us to March and my relocation to Townsville had immediate ramifications for the city with the significant change in air pressure caused by my arrival resulting in the onslaught wraught by Tropical Cyclone Larry. Sometime this year I realised the professional value of a good anecdote – and my “baptism by cyclone” – where I was truly “thrown in the deep end” and kept my “head above water” became a favourite tale at networking functions.

In June I adopted a small stingray named Max who had an inherrent distrust of khaki – he was released when he failed to come to terms with my love for footlong chicken fillet subs (on parmesan oregano with thousand island dressing, barbeque sauce and a smattering of sweet chilli – add salad “to taste” for the perfect Subway experience).

In July I was subpoened to appear at the trial of Saddam Hussein – my evidence was eventually striken/struck/smote from the records as my complete ignorance of the Iraqi judicial process was revealed. Some suggested this occured when I tried to offer Saddam’s body guard wheat for weapons – an action completely against national protocol. The subtle change in nuance was lost on me.

August saw a lengthy debate on the correct spelling of the word ‘ey’ when used as punctuation – and the different inflections/variations required when using ey in a variety of sentences. A valuable learning experience for all those relocating to regional Queensland. And in real life my stunning record of 22.75 years of being romantically unattached (at least mutually) came to an end.

In September I virtually climbed Mount Everest – In summ(it)ing up… I stopped to rescue several others who were struggling with backpacks loaded with spam and other novelty kitchen equipment provided on loan by an Australian snowboarding champion.

October and November were notable only for the discovery of the “cat poo coffee” and my attempt to radioactively assassinate several ex-employees of the Kremlin. I’ve always stood by my belief that sushi is bad for your health.

In December I conducted extensive experiments into the effects of Christmas chocolate, steak and alcohol on the waistline/weightline. I hypothesised that there would only be a moderate effect and was wrong to the tune of about 5000 grams. Which leads me to my decision to take up a gym membership today. On the first business day of the new year. Just in time for the “new year’s resolution specials.”

For a more serious summary of my year continue reading the following paragraphs…

The Townsville adventure continues with my enjoyment and satisfaction with the decision to move north still trending upward on the great graph of life. Work is challenging, satisfying (at least for the stomach), and gives me free reign to play with words and write puns. Basically it’s my ideal job. The home front is also enjoyable – the change/holiday dichotomy/equilibrium/paradox holds true. Having fled the chaos of a house full of 5 (including me) argumentative males (including me) I find much relief in my new domestically blissful house of just 3 (including me) not so argumentative males. Church is also good – moving from a large, established church with working programs and teaching in place across age groups to a growing church in a state of constant flux due to the incredible population turnover that seems to be heading in the right strategic direction with a strong focus on bible teaching has been a mixed blessing. I’m enjoying the highs and lows that come from being part of the early stages of something dynamic while sharing the frustrations of having sporadic attendance dependent on uni timetables and the population change associated with hosting Australia’s largest military barracks. On the personal front, Robyn has been a joy to me – and I take back any criticism I ever levelled at mushy headed boyfriends in my past. I do miss my family, friends and life in Brisbane (particularly the soccer team – my regular weekly indoor fix is a poor substitute for the joy of romping around the grassy fields of Brisbane’s Baptist League) – but have enjoyed meeting a host of new people in Townsville (and reaquainting myself with the particularly outstandingly robust Mr Canavan who always feels like partying).