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September 2005
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November 2005

October 2005

daylight saving time

I finally started remembering the time difference between here and back in the states. Of course, now that we've just changed the clocks to Daylight savings time, I'm back to square one. To make it easier to calculate, I've added a couple clocks on the left panel to see what time it is both here in Sydney and also back in my hometown in Iowa. They appear to work both in Mozilla, Netscape and (bleech) IE browsers. Enjoy. .

australia - sharks, spiders, and snakes

Before arriving in Australia, I had the misconception as others sometimes do, that one of the most dangerous things I'd have to watch for were sharks. This was quickly corrected as I talked with Australians and learned more about the more dangerous creatures found around different parts of Australia.

First and foremost, death by shark attack is very, very rare. Although some cases have been reported of bites to surfers or divers, they tend to stay away from swimmers. This is an excerpt from the Shark attack file researched by the Taronga Zoo and the Western Plains Zoo:

"Although Australia continues to have a bad reputation concerning the threat of shark attacks to swimmers, the statistics do not support these contentions. In the last 50 years, there have been only 60 human fatalities (1.2 per year) in Australian waters from shark attack. Some years there are none, other years there have been up to three in a year, but the average remains around one per year. Yet each year 100,000s of swimmer-days take place on our beaches, harbours and rivers and the number is increasing with both increasing population and tourism."

South Australia has reported the most cases where sharks have attacked surfers and divers. Everyone knows surfers resemble seals to sharks whereas swimmers usually are making enough noise to put off a shark. Further research online gives tips on what to do when spotting a more-than-curious shark.

Sharks in Australian Waters

Shark Safety

The main things I've picked up on what to do still hold up. If attacked, try to hit it back in the nose or the eye. Stand vertical to show you're not a seal. Don't swim at dawn and dusk since that seems to be the best time for a shark to feed. Swim with others. Don't swim while bleeding. Where a neoprene wet suit (taste) and no jewerly or highly contrasting colors (attracted by difference in colors).

Since I reside mainly on land like most people, there are poisonous creatures out there I thought I should be more aware of.

"List 10 of the most venomous snakes in the world and they can all be found in Australia. " This was told to me by one of my American coworkers. Wondering if that was true, I did some Google-ing and found that it was correct to a degree. But the difference between venomous and poisonous need to be explained. Poison is toxic if inhaled or ingested. Venom is generally harmless if ingested, it's toxic if it comes in contact with tissue beneath the skin. So a snake would have to strike you with a bite and inject the venom for you to be in trouble. In some tests on snakes, the venom is measured by it's effect on mice. This doesn't really prove how it effects humans since using the same test, a funnelweb spider's venom on a mouse would be 50 times less responsive compared to a human. The funnelweb spider is one of the most venomous spiders in Australia.

My friend like to play up the chance of getting killed by snakes common to Australia. When in fact snake bites are not common and Australia's snakes tend to be less agressive and will only bite if it feels threatened or startled. A snake also has to inject venom in the bite. Which depending on the snake, it may not inject even after several repeated bites. I'm not advocating walking out in the bush barefooted and looking for trouble, but I hate when we as humans jump to conclusions before checking facts. There are usually 3 or more deaths a year in Australia from snake bites. Anti-venom has brought this number down from years prior.

That's not to say they are looking for human's to attack, I just like to educate myself on what they look like so I'm ready for the next person that tell's me something more myth than fact.

Here's a listing of spiders, snakes and other venomous creatures found around Australia. I found these links to be interesting and suggest reading to get an idea of what can be seen here.

Australian Venomous Creatures

Victorian Spiders

sick of colds

Still fighting a sore throat and other cold ailments.  Had last Friday off to receive the rest of my household effects I had sitting in storage in the States.  Took about 3 months until everything arrived which didn't make me too happy.  After unpacking all weekend, I realized I have more running attire for cold weather than I probably need.  On the upside, I got the rest of my CD's, dishes, and clothes.  Plus all the rest of my juggling gear arrived.  I oddly missed it over the last year abroad. 

I've joined a gym downtown in order to get some mileage in over the lunchbreak. Plus it just feels good after a workout.  I'm looking forward to hitting the weights again, plus doing runs around the downtown area. 

Not much else going on.  Getting the final packing done for my New Zealand trip in November.  I'll be in Christchurch, Queenstown and also hiking to the Milford Sound.  I've heard great stories from everyone I talk to about NZ.

the big smoke

I spent the last three days in Brisbane enjoying the beaches, weather and koalas. The Gold coast was great and I got in some bodysurfing. My arm wasn't too happy about it, but I figured it would be worth a little soreness the next day. We had some people drop out of the trip at the last minute but I still enjoyed the weekend nevertheless.

For the last day we visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to checkout the kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and several other animals common to Oz. I had a good time and made sure I didn't cause any further injuries to myself or others.

One of my coworkers wasn't as lucky. On the way back to the hotel, we were crossing a crosswalk when someone went from a dead stop to going forward. Thinking they were going to let him cross my friend started to walk around the car. Unfortunately, the driver decided they would go anyway. My mouth dropped as I saw his foot get run over by the driver. Actually, the car didn't exactly run all the way over it, more like the driver stopped on top of his foot. Our shouts to back up were met with a look I'd have to describe as defiant. After several seconds of yelling and motioning to move back, she finally backed up. Fortunately, his foot recovered after a night of rest. We'd have gone to a hospital but he didn't think anything was broken and wanted to see if it was just bruised.

That being said, just remember, if you plan to visit me, I will not be held responsible for any accidents that occur in my presence.

you've got a brain cloud

..well that's not exactly what the doctor said but it felt like it when she told me I fractured a bone in my shoulder. Turns out, my bike accident over a month ago was a bit more damaging than I realized. Guess that says something about the tolerance of pain I have. So my cycling is on hold for awhile and I'm rearranging some activities I had planned for the next couple months. Not the way I wanted to start off my time here but it could have been worse.

The New Zealand trip is going to be changed the most. I had planned on doing a glacier hike but don't think that's advisable unless I get a note for the doc. They'll be plenty of other things to do but I was a bit disappointed. On the bright side, a 5 day hike to Milford sound might be doable.

During the last couple days I discovered one of the local aviary residents has been stopping by my patio to get the view of the city. It's a Kookaburra. Their call sounds like laughing. For more info