Nov 212008

Blimey… someone must’ve said something to upset the weather.  We’ve survived the last 3 storms thus far.

It does seem though, that nature clobbered us in The Gap, then Wednesday night, said “Ohh… I missed you Paddington… Here you go!  Ohh, and you’ve been left out too Rosewood… have some rain.”  These same storms washed away parts of the Brisbane->Ipswich->Rosewood rail line… which is going to make getting to work (at Laidley) rather interesting.

Last night, Blackwater (Central Queensland) got clobbered by cricket-ball sized hail.

On the bright side though, we have gotten rid of trees and other garden plants that we’ve been meaning to rip out for months… and our dams are getting a much-needed top-up.  But for now I am watching the BOM Queensland Weather page like a hawk.

Nov 192008

Hi all,

I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve been absent from my usual online presence since Sunday afternoon.

Sunday we were at Montville (near the Glasshouse Mountains) doing a bushwalk through Kondalilla National Park on part of the Sunshine Coast Great Walk. On the way back home after stopping with the group for a drink at Landsborough, we drive along the Bruce Highway towards Brisbane when we noticed the huge storm front.

This storm front looked like it had tinges of green in it — which suggested mother nature might make lots of ice cubes and drop them on my father’s 18-month old car. The rain started pelting down as we got in to Carseldine, and eventually we decided to take refuge at Chermside shopping centre and have dinner while the storm passed.

Everything was uneventful on the trip home for the most part, one set of lights were on the flash… also some localised flooding… until we got through to Keperra. We had planned that evening to drop in on some friends (former next door neighbours, husband & wife, the husband dying of terminal cancer). As we drove passed the Mitchelton State School (I think that’s it), we saw that Dawson Parade was blocked off by a fallen tree, and the traffic was crawling. We inched our way towards home along Samford Road to see trees uprooted (not small ones either), massive flooding in parts. The horror story got worse as we headed over the hill from Keperra to our home suburb of The Gap.

Power lines down, trees over the road… we had to park the car some 400m away and walk the remaining distance due to blocked roads. It was about 20 minutes before we could get it home. Apparently our street had about 1m of water down it when the storm was at its peak.

Our house was undamaged, although a couple of trees copped a battering in the storm and had to be pulled down, and the G5RV antenna I had set up for my HF radio was damaged (still is… I’ll get around to it eventually).

We had no power (except for a 2.5kW petrol generator we own that we ran for a few hours yesterday) from when that storm hit, through to about 5PM Tuesday Evening. One UPS is a write-off on the count of knackered batteries, but otherwise, we’re okay. During the outage, mobile phone services were up and down like a yo-yo… my handheld dual-band transceiver, tuned to the Mt. Cotton (VK4RAX 147.075MHz) and Mt. Coot-tha (VK4RBC 438.525MHz) prooved to be more reliable. (Unfortunately though, I was one of the few amateurs in my street).

A few houses copped about 40cm water through their house, destroying carpets and ruining furniture. One house, that was for sale, wound up with a tree landing on its roof, piercing the awning and the roof in a couple of places. A number of fences also were written off.

Damage was worse around Payne Road. I suspect this is where most of the pictures of damage were taken. It appears the storm first came over Mt. Coot-Tha, hit Payne Road, bounced, hit Waterworks Road, rolled down the hill ploughing through The Gap State School and St. Peter Chanel School (this is where I began my schooling) and up Fish Creek (including the bottom end of our street). From there it continued up Settlement road, ploughing through trees along the road, and decimating the tree-line along the ridge between Keperra and The Gap.

Thanks to the help of everyone in our street and the numerous volunteers, we’ve now mostly got our street back into reasonable shape. The following is not an exhaustive list, I’ve possibly overlooked numerous groups and organisations that have helped in some manner. Some of the organisations that have assisted those in The Gap and therefore I’d like to thank (in no particular order):

  • State Emergency Services (some units came from as far away as North Queensland)
  • Queensland Police
  • RoadTek (Department of Main Roads)
  • Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Skilled Engineering
  • Energex, Ergon Energy, numerous other companies, some from interstate
  • Rural Fire Brigade (some from as far away as Gatton and beyond)
  • Brisbance City Council

… any other organisations who assisted… and of course the neighbours who pitched in and helped clean up.

I uploaded my pictures here (taken the morning after). Some more pictures of the storm are available from the Triple M Cage (Brisbane) website.

Nov 062008

Some of you may be wondering where I have been the last two days. I have not been on IRC, forums, or on the radio much at all this last 48 hours. I did call in to the BARC 2m net the other night… put in one over, then handed it on to the next station, going clear and turning the radio off.

I’ve been studying for a digital communications subject. I was planning this would be my last subject… but alas… the university threw a spanner in the works there by deciding to choose now to inform me that I was not elligible to graduate, due to a deficit of about 36 credit points (3 subjects).

The last two years of university have been the most stressful. This last one would have possibly seen me meet my end had I gone the full 4 subjects/semester. The high levels of anxiety and stress this course has put me through have been unbearable at times, and there have been some close calls.

The email I received delivering the above bad news… had me literally inches (or is that litres) from taking my own life. It’s a little known fact that when you drink too much water, it causes one’s kidneys to shut down in a process known as water intoxication. I clearly didn’t get to that point, but I had a few pains that suggested I was nearing the ballpark figure needed.

I have no idea how people are meant to complete such a course, and still remain in a sane mental state fit for employing. The various support services within the uni have been great — but that’s not an option for everyone.

At the moment, I’m only really studying now to see if I can actually pass this subject… but my heart isn’t in it anymore. I’m fed up with uni, and I really don’t know what to do now.

Guess I’ll be joining the dole queue next year after all.

For those who were thinking of trying the double IT/EE degree offered by QUT (formerly IF59)… I would not recommend it to anyone. The stuff-around I have experienced during this course is as such I would not even recommend it to my greatest enemy.