Tag Archives: cyclone

The perfect storm name

One last cyclone post. I don’t understand why the weather bureau picks such innocuous names for storms – is it to create an undue sense of ease? Who gets scared by the impending arrival of Larry, Norbert, Katrina or Ellie?

If the Bureau of Meteorology really wanted us to respond accordingly to their warnings they should rebrand cyclones as something to be feared.

I know cyclones are named in alphabetical order and in alternate genders – but the list needs refining. 

They should be called Jezebel, Genghis, Adolf, Josef, Saddam and Julius – intimidating names that inspire pictures of destruction.

An ‘Ellie of a storm

EDIT: Looks like BOM have removed Ellie’s tracking image thing. So there’s no image for you to watch anymore.

That heading is bad. Really bad. If you didn’t bother reading to the end of my last post, and haven’t been listening to your local ABC today – you may not be aware there’s a cyclone coming for North Queensland. It’s no big deal. Unless you haven’t been in a cyclone before, then perhaps you should tape up your windows, fill your baths with water (unless they’re outdoors – then there’s a dengue risk), buy lots of canned food, batteries and candles (although you should read this first).

What I think is particularly funny about cyclones is what it reveals about the inner psyche of North Queensland. North Queensland is demographically bi-polar. A 50/50 split between “locals” (those who have been here all their lives, or for longer than 20 years) and us “ring ins” who are here for a couple of years of “career progression” only to pull up stumps and leave. Townsville has a massively transient population thanks to the army, the university and the mining industry. It makes for an interesting dynamic all year round – but particularly when there’s a storm brewing. 

There are two reactions to a cyclone’s impending intersection with the coast line. The understated approach, preferred by locals, where you insult “ring ins” for making a fuss. Point out “this is only a category one”. We’ve been through much bigger before. Pick up potential flying objects from your yard, and go about your daily business almost as usual. 

The other reaction is what leads to mile long lines at the grocery store and a region wide shortage of milk and survival equiptment. 

I subscribe to my friends Facebook status updates via RSS (which is pretty cool because it gets around the workplace Facebook ban) – and I’m thinking that I might collate responses to cyclone related Facebook status updates to use social networking to report impending disaster – that’s the done thing these days. What do you think Facebook friends/blog readers? Is this a horrible invasion of your privacy – I’m looking at you Leah and Stuss.

The Internet is out to get you…

So says Google. Who today, for a brief moment, applied their “content may harm your computer” disclaimer to every result. Even Google, as noted in the Flickr image below

It’s the ultimate catch all disclaimer. Any website may harm your computer. It’s not surprising that Google have made this strategic decision to avoid law suits. The Bureau of Meteorology has been doing the same thing for years – issuing severe storm warnings at the drop of a hat, just to avoid liability when a storm hits and people weren’t ready.

Incidentally, there’s a category one cyclone bearing down on North Queensland. Batten the hatches. It’s a big one. Maybe. It will hit sometime tomorrow. Maybe. It will intensify. Maybe. You have been warned.

Now is an appropriate time to panic. It’s what everyone else is doing. The mob mentality means massive queues have formed at local shops as people stock up on supplies. Tropical Cyclone Ellie is not even predicted to come that close to Townsville and it’s not particularly likely that flooding will cut of access here at this point in time. Unlike in Cairns. They should panic buy. Who’d want to live there.

Now that I’ve said all this the cyclone will either hit Townsville directly, or by some quirk all the rain it brings will cut off road access and we’ll run out of milk by Tuesday. Better hit the shops. Just in case. And remember. You have been warned. This site may harm your computer.

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Why does it always rain on me… literally not figuratively

So when I told Donna I was moving to Townsville she said “ha… get used to never seeing rain ever again.” Well Donna, you were wrong, so na na na nana na. Our stock editorial (the writing we have on file to use for ads and send to journalists and stuff) boasts that Townsville has 320 days of sunshine per year. I’m starting to wonder if the North Queensland year is slightly longer than the standard 365.25 days. I’ve now been in Townsville 67 days. By my calculations (read estimates) it’s rained on all but five of those days. That means that at this point the standard Townsville year runs for 382 days assuming there is no more rain. What a phenomena. We should call the weather bureau, or the department of astronomy (if they don’t exist they should), or the people who make all the calendars in the world (if there’s not a centralised company there should be, not that I’m pro-monopolies but sometimes they just make things easier).

Which brings me to today’s political discussion. On Sunday after church I was talking to a couple of people about the introduction of VSU and the government’s increasing desire to introduce a user pays culture. The underlying theory can be summarised (today I’ll try to actually summarise – ie be succinct) as the belief that people shouldn’t be forced to pay for services they don’t use – and should be able to control who they get those services from. It’s the rationale behind the sale of Telstra, the proposed privatisation of Ergon and the introduction of privately funded roads with toll systems introduced to pay them. All very interesting stuff if you like economics. For the rest of us there’s apparently a worrying spin-off if VSU sucks all the life out of on campus culture. One of the people I was talking to is quite involved with theatre stuff at JCU, she was talking about a petition signed by members of Australia’s cultural alumni – former graduates of leading institutions who have gone on to taste success as Australia’s artsy ambassadors – successful actors and musicians who claim that their success can be directly attributed to the funding they received from student unions on campus. Well I have a message for Heath Ledger, Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett and co… I want my money back. Nicole Kidman can keep hers as compensation for having to share her adopted children with a freak. But the rest of you living in your multi million dollar penthouses in America – please send me a cheque for $1210 – that’s how much I outlayed in guild fees while I was “studying” at QUT. It’s a small price to pay. I’d hate to think I spent all that money funding the future multi million dollar Australian exports. It hardly seems fair to me.

I posted a comment on Andrew the Opera Singer’s blog (as opposed to Andrew the guy who works for the weather channel) promising a link. I’m a man of my word. Here is your link. Andrew is married to Peta. Peta is Dan‘s sister. Dan is Joel‘s brother. Joel’s music can also be found here. Joel is cool. I am also cool. There are several links both literally and physically (maybe).