Hungry currawong

Photograph of pied currawong eating spare cat food

I know we shouldn’t feed the pied currawongs, but they actually came looking for food today. There wasn’t any. But when I put some out, this chap returned a few minutes later — scoffing a few while keeping a wary eye for the cats dozing only a few metres away, then taking a few spare nuggets back for the juveniles in their tree.

Sydney Airport passes the buck

Photograph of jet aircraft approaching Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport has responded to my email about interference with our Wi-Fi and Next G reception. In standard corporate style, they begin by reminding me that “aviation safety — both in the air and on the ground — is paramount”. It gives some useful information — but passes the buck firmly to Airservices Australia.

The full text is over the jump.

Yes, the email arrived a day later than their 3-day stated turnaround time, but that’s OK considering I did say this would all be published.

Airservices Australia runs stuff like air traffic control so, yes, this does perhaps belong in their court. As they’ve been suffering some problems themselves, it’ll be interesting to see their response.

Continue reading “Sydney Airport passes the buck”

Where are your manners, Sydney Airport?

Photograph of jet aircraft on landing approach for Sydney Airport runway 16R

Our home in Enmore is under the approach path to Runway 16R at Sydney Airport. We can cope (just) with the noise, but the electronic interference annoys the shit out of us. Time to fix that. Here’s an email I just entered into their website contact form.

Dear Sydney Airport,

We live in Enmore. When you turn on your electronic stuff to help the heavy jets land on Runway 16R, it often knocks out our Wi-Fi network. (It also overloads the pre-amp of our digital TV receiver, but since we’ve pretty much given up on broadcast TV this is less of a concern.) We can even predict the imminent arrival of a heavy because the network goes down about 15 or 20 seconds before we hear the approaching aircraft.

This happens on two different 801.11g 802.11g frequencies, two different brand wireless access points, and on whichever computers we’re using. Your comms or navaids, or maybe the aircraft themselves, can also interrupt a Telstra Next G data connection, so even switching to our alternate data link is problematic.

I understand that, for obvious practical reasons, we can’t shut down the airport. So I assume you’ll be sending someone around to resolve this interference with our legitimate use of the radio spectrum?

The disruption has of course been more frequent since the work on the cross runway has increased the daytime traffic over our home. Again, I understand that this work needs to be done.

However, like someone doing noisy renovations or holding a noisy but perfectly legitimate party, the polite, neighbourly thing would be something a bit better than sending us generic corporate propaganda. The polite, neighbourly thing would be to make good somehow. Give us the keys to your holiday shack while work’s in progress. Invite us over to see the new family room once it’s done. Send around a slab of beer and some grilled chicken breast fillets.

Or, just fix the problems you’re causing.

I look forward to your response. Like this email, it’ll be posted at If it’s a bunch of legal or PR jargon which fails to acknowledge that the problem even exists, we’ll laugh.



I’ll keep you posted if and when they respond.

Meeting the currawongs

Photograph of juvenile currawong

A family of pied currawongs lives next door. Beautiful, smart birds. Recently we’ve been leaving food out for them, and they’re happy to steal a few bites while keeping a wary eye for the cats.

Today one of the parents brought two of the juveniles with it. While I didn’t get the camera in time to snap the family portrait, I did sneak this picture of one of the juveniles on the neighbour’s fence.

Just being nude doesn’t make it porn, you sickos!

A portion of a Bill Henson nude photograph of young womanMaybe I’m jumping the gun here, because the actual recommendations aren’t online yet. But news today that the Bill Henson “scandal” has prompted an overhaul of NSW art laws really gets up my nose.

Australian photographer Bill Henson is no stranger to controversy. His images, like the one here, are of nude or semi-nude adolescents, and “protecting the innocent children from the evil pedophiles” is a powerful rallying-call. Newspaper columnists and talkback radio hosts alike revel in its ability to stir the emotions — attention-seeking pricks that they are.

In an incident earlier this year, some of Henson’s photographs were seized by the police — but returned once the Office of Film and Literature Classification found that none of them were “child pornography”. Indeed, it called their nudity “mild and justified” and gave them a PG rating.

Got that? PG. Suitable for viewing by children under the age of 16, with parental guidance.

But apparently the considered judgement of the official body charged with this kind of analysis — the people who deal with and (sometimes) ban material which is pornographic — isn’t good enough.

Continue reading “Just being nude doesn’t make it porn, you sickos!”


Last night I passed a Hummer parked on Enmore Road. Yes, a big, shiny black beast with silver trim helping to boost some poor man’s failing sense of self-importance. Or something. “What a wanker,” I thought.

I posed the question on Twitter:

Word puzzle: Changing one letter at a time, using only valid words, can you turn HUMMER into WANKER?

I didn’t expect an answer, but some people can’t resist a challenge. Warwick Rendell was first with a 15-step solution, but Steve ‘Doc’ Baty managed to do it in 11 steps.


Some people really do have too much time on their hands…

[Update 26 October: If you check the comments, you’ll find that we now have it down to a 6-step solution. Beat that!]