Friday, September 21, 2007

Conflux bound

I've booked my tickets, my hotel room and have my Conflux receipt. What else is there to do except pack and fly? I'm off to Canberra very soon. I'm definitely planning on a visit to Floriade as well as attending Conflux and spending some time with east coast friends but Canberra has a lot more to offer than that. It's been a long time since I was there last and I hope to cram in some more sightseeing as well.

I look nostalgically back to the days when flying meant fronting up to the counter an hour or so before your flight left, depositing your suitcase and heading off for a cup of coffee until your flight was called. Then you picked up your hand luggage, kissed a few good-byes and wandered off to the gate. Once on board - at least at Perth Airport - you could see families and friends standing on the verandah waving the plane out of sight.
I traveled a lot at one time in my working life so packing and flying doesn't worry me but the complications brought about by the airport security changes do. I accept the world is different now and there is a very real threat of terrorists using aircraft for their own purposes but some of the security requirements are simply bizarre.

A friend, going to the airport to farewell her brother returning home to another state, forgot she had nail clippers in her handbag. You know nail clippers - those little objects about half the length of your little finger, with a blunt ended nail file approximately one and a half centimetres long that acts as a lever so you can open the clippers just enough to insert a finger nail? They showed up at the security check and she was asked to hand them over.
"Can I collect them on the way back?" she asked - not unreasonably I'd have thought. The rest of the family meanwhile continued through and waited.
"No, if you want to go through we're confiscating them. You don't get them back."
"Can I say good-bye to my brother over the barrier then?"
"No, if you won't give us the clippers we'll go and tell him you said good-bye."
Okay maybe she should have just handed them over no matter how absurd it was but by then she was feeling stroppy. The officer went and spoke to her brother and she went back to the car.
Before the plane took off she got a phone call. Her brother was not happy. According to him the officer had said she refused to comply with the confiscation because she wasn't interested in seeing him off. Petty and nasty.
All this over a tiny item with no potential for use as a weapon while at the same time anyone can take cabin luggage and a laptop on board, both of which are heavy enough to be used to disable flight crew or anyone else who gets in the way if someone is so inclined. For that matter why can't these items (legal everywhere except airports) be returned to someone who is only seeing a passenger off and not going near a plane? Use a check system like a cloakroom. It works in libraries, museums and art galleries.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Winged Eagles

I'm not saying Collingwood didn't play well. They did and they certainly deserved their victory on the night. But the Eagles were beaten as much by injury as another team. Without Chris Judd, Daniel Kerr and Ben Cousins playing, then losing Ashley Hansen to injury after fourteen minutes of play as well as David Wirrapunda and several others carrying an injury, they really played an amazing game to bring it to a draw. That they just couldn't manage to score the vital goal in the play-off is not a reason for them to beat themselves up. Well done, Eagles, and thanks for an exciting season. Better luck next year.

It's hardly a surprise (to Virgo and me at least but maybe we're just prescient) but it's just been announced that Chris Judd is not re-signing with the Eagles and hoping to sign with a Melbourne club for next year. If that had happened early in the season I would have thought it was a disaster but the way the team played after injury reduced his performance to about 60% I think there's still plenty of hope for next year. We'll hear the Club song again.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Australian Horror Writers' Association Flash and Short Story Competition 2007

I'm sure the results for this are already well known but my friend, Marlene Fulcher, gets a big woohoo from me for receiving a commended in the flash section of the competition. Her story, Come to Mummy, is a creepy little tale and deserves the recognition. Marlene's ability to chill the reader in very few words is unnerving and I suspect relates to the skills in paring down language she has learned as a poet.