Monthly Archives: August 2007

A horse sneezes and an industry catches the flu

Strange goings-on in Australia this week.  An outbreak of horse flu (more properly known as equine influenza) has shut down the horse racing industry.  This may not sound like a big deal but horse racing (or more specifically, the attendant betting) is a big deal in Australia.

Aussie are mad for gambling.  The old saying is that if there was nothing else, Australians would bet on two flies crawling up a wall.  Horseracing in Australia involves billions of dollars a year so when it grinds to a halt a few people start squeaking. 

It’s also happened at the worst possible time.  The biggest part of the racing calendar in Australia is the Spring Racing Carnival which was due to start in the coming months.  As I understand it, Sydney’s Spring carnival has been cancelled because of the horse flu being found at their major racecourse.  It isn’t this bad in Melbourne (yet) which is lucky because the major horse race of the year is in Melbourne on the first Tuesday in November.

It’s hard to describe how big the Melbourne Cup is in Australia.  I guess horse racing is big almost everywhere but the Melbourne Cup is different.  I understand the Kentucky Derby is regarded as somewhat of a big deal by locals.  On Melbourne Cup day, we have a public holiday.  For a horse race.

I think it is a uniquely Australian trait to get so obsessed about a horse race which is a really inconsequential thing when you get down to it.  I imagine a lot of people in the racing industry are on serious doses of tranquilisers right now.  To try and control the spread of the disease there is a complete freeze on the movement of horses across Australia.

There’s no confirmed cases of horse flu in Melbourne yet and because of the impact it would have on the Melbourne Cup, a lot of people are holding their breath at the moment.  I believe the racing industry have set up machine guns along the Victorian border and are shooting at anything vaguely horse-shaped they see. 

Tori Spelling is advised not to show her face in Australia anytime soon.

The big problem is that horse flu was unknown in Australia prior to this outbreak.  Because it didn’t exist here, none of our horses have any resistance to it.  If one horse gets it, ever horse it comes into contact with will get it.  It isn’t killing horses yet, apparently it’s like human flu in that regard – it’s most dangerous to the very old, the very young and those already sick.

Oh, and unlike avian flu, there is apparently no danger of transmission to humans so we’re not about to be wiped out by a killer plague.  Phew.  But a few people will be out of pocket.  I did hear some announcers on the radio this morning joking “Won’t someone think of the milliners?”  It’s a big tradition for the ladies to wear outlandish hats to the Spring Racing Carnival.  It looks like that won’t be happening this year.

Jokes aside, a few hat makers will be freaking out right now.  I’m pretty sure they depend on Spring Racing the same way florists depend on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.  Without this annual boost to their revenue, a lot of them are going to be utterly screwed.

At the big end of town, the NSW betting authority (a government licensed company called TAB is the only outlet allowed to take legal bets) says the cancellation of racing in Sydney means a loss of about $50 million a week in wagers.  There are estimates that the cancellation of the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival would mean $50 million a day!

I have a bit of trouble getting too worked up about this figure.  It isn’t the same as factories being shut down or mines being closed or primary industry being crippled by drought.  That $50 million isn’t literally being lost.  Quite the opposite really – it’s staying in punters’ pockets.  That’s rent being paid and kids being fed.  Maybe even a few less lives being ruined.  It isn’t all bad.

I wonder if we still get a holiday if the Melbourne Cup is cancelled?


Filed under General Angriness

Zombie Pride

It seems like every special interest group in the world spends a lot of time expressing their “pride”.  I figured it was time zombies got in on the act. 

This video was actually inspired when fellow YouTuber SeanBedlam did a video entitled “Stupid people are dumb“.  In the description for the video, he wondered “As awash with retards as the net is, I wonder how all this dumbness affects me mind? (If representatives from the Retarded Community could comment, that would be great.)

He sure as hell got his wish.  The level of stupidity displayed in some of the comments was truly staggering.  Even with my famously low opinion of some of the fuckwits found on YouTube, I found some of the responses surprisingly stupid.  I decided the only appropriate respondent to these morons was another zombie.  Besides which, it was an excuse for me to invent another character.

I’m actually undecided whether or not a zombie (excuse me, I should have said “member of the life-challenged community”) is a perfect match for a YouTube hater.  On the one hand, they’re both brain-dead so I figure they’d have a lot in common.  On the other hand, zombies famously subsist on braaaaaaaaains.  The poor bastards would starve to death around these hater fucktards.


Filed under Video Blogging

Project Management on the Titanic

One good way to highlight how stupid “accepted wisdom” can be is to transpose the situation into a different setting and see how ridiculous it looks.  This week I’ve been imagining software project management being applied on the Titanic.  Because the project I’m working on hit a big fucking iceberg.

The basic situation is the company I work for has bought a big software package.  The vendor submitted a fixed price tender to supply, configure and install the software.  Fixed price contacts sound great in concept but anyone who’s dealt with them knows their shortcoming. 

Whether you’re building a house or installing software, there are always things you didn’t allow for.  You, the buyer, want these things when they come to light and the supplier says “Sure, you can have that but it’s a change to the contract which means I have to charge you more.”

One of three things happens now:

  1. You don’t get what you want so you’re dissatisfied with the end result
  2. You pay more so you’re dissatisfied with the final cost
  3. You have a big fight over whether or not this is a change and the relationship becomes really adversarial which is no fun for anybody

We seem to be stuck with outcome 3.  And as the Business Analyst I’m stuck in the middle of the business Project Manager and the vendor Project Manager.  I’ve been imagining the scenario playing out on the Titanic as follows:

ME: Iceberg, dead ahead!

Business PM: Quick, get us past the iceberg.

Vendor PM: There was no mention of icebergs in the contract.

BPM: So what? There’s an iceberg there now, we have to deal with it.

VPM: We can deal with the iceberg but we’ll have to charge you for a change request.

BPM: But the owners won’t agree to pay any more.  They wanted you to steer the ship for a fixed price.

VPM: But there were no icebergs in the original plan.  It’s going to take time to deal with it and we’ll have to charge you for it.  You’ll have to document what you want us to do.

BPM: I can’t believe you’ve never encountered icebergs in any of your other ships, what did you do in similar situations?

VPM: I talked to the owner and he was clear he wanted the ship to reach its destination as quickly as possible so we configured the navigation differently.  Don’t you have any existing processes for dealing with icebergs?

ME: Kind of.  People just do whatever’s required to deal with situations as the come up.  There are some guidelines like “don’t hit icebergs” but there’s no detailed instructions. That’s why we hired you, for your expertise.

VPM: We can come up with a solution but we’ll have to bill you for the time.

BPM: There are other cruise lines thinking of installing similar systems on their ships but they’re waiting to see how things turn out for us.  Isn’t it more important to your future to deliver a good result to us than to screw every possible dollar out of us here and now?

VPM: But I can’t keep ordering my engineers to do more and more work when we signed on for a fixed price.  I have no more money to pay them.

ME: Oh shit!  The iceberg just ripped a big hole in the hull.  We’re sinking.

BPM: You have to help us now or we’ll all sink together.

VPM: We have to agree on a change request first.

ME: You two go off and have a meeting then, leave me out of it.

BPM: What are you going to do?

ME: I’m going to throw myself into the icy water and hope I die quickly.


Filed under Work

I told you I was sick

I haven’t had as much energy as usual lately due to my previously mentioned illness.  My efforts with both blog posts and videos have suffered as a result.  I offer up this video as proof I’m not faking it:


Filed under Video Blogging

Top seven angry weight loss tips

I noticed I’m putting on a little weight.  The first spring blossoms are appearing now so I need to take some action to be in better shape for summer.  I used to be on the upper end of the “husky” scale but I managed to lose 25kg.  So I know about weight loss.

Here’s Mr Angry’s top weight loss tips:


2. Get off your arse once in a while.  Why are you sitting at your computer writing about weight loss?  Get out and do something.

3. Why are there chips and chocolate in your pantry?  Those things aren’t food!  Stop buying them!

4. Portion control!  A little bit extra with one meal won’t hurt.  A little bit extra with every meal is what turns you into a fat bastard.

5. Only drink sugar-free drinks – it makes a big difference.  Don’t pay attention to those freaks who say you should only drink water, that’s boring.  And definitely ignore the conspiracy theory freaks who want to tell you diet cola will give you cancer.  Those nutjobs think the World Trade Centre was blown up with Aspartame.

6. See a doctor about prescription appetite suppressants.  That stuff is the shit!  Legal speed!  Oh, and it’s easier to lose weight when your appetite is suppressed.

7. DO NOT go for alli or Xenical.  That shit is fucked up.

But don’t forget rule one: STOP EATING YOU FAT FUCK!


– – – – – –

By the way, I’m sure someone’s going to make a comment along the lines that this post is insensitive.  That fat people are discriminated against.  That it’s someone’s fault besides their own that they’re so fucking fat.  Yeah, you’re right. I’m incredibly insensitive and prejudiced towards myself.  I’m very cruel that way.  You can go away now.


Filed under General Angriness

A pseudo war on drugs

I’m sick as a dog this week which is why I haven’t been posting much.  I’m propped up with pseudoephedrine at the moment which is successfully suppressing the symptoms but has my body sending me weird signals.  My lungs feel really dry which is better than full of phlegm but it feels unnatural.  Tsunamis of phlegm are just waiting to overwhelm my lungs the moment the drug effects recede.

Feeling like crap is bad enough but these days even buying decent cold and flu medication can be a challenge.  Part of trade treaties between Australia and the US mean our government is compelled to follow most of America’s fucked-up “War on Drugs” policies.  It isn’t quite as insane here as it is in the land of the free but it has its moments.

One of the fun effects is when a chemist treats you like a criminal for buying a legal product.  Apparently the pseudoephedrine in the cold pills can be used to make actual ephedrine i.e. speed.  I can see why this might make you suspicious of someone who buys 20 packets but why the fuck would it make you hassle someone buying a single packet?

To their credit, the chemists tend not to “profile”.  You don’t have to look like a greasy biker to get hassled.  You can be wearing a suit and tie (as I do for work) and still be given the 3rd degree.

Suspicious Chemist: “Why do you want these pills?”

ME: (snorking back a litre of snot) “Because I have a cold.”

SC: (pointing to pills that don’t contain pseudoephedrine) “Why don’t you get these ones.”

ME: “Because they don’t work.  I feel like crap and I’d like some pills that actually suppress the symptoms a little and make me feel better for a while.”

SC: “We have to be careful because these pills can be used to manufacture illegal drugs.”

ME: “Why do you even sell them if they’re so dangerous?”

Apparently this was a bad question as the chemist started getting really belligerent with me at this point.

SC: “I’ll have to see a photo ID before I can sell them to you.”

ME: “Are you saying you won’t sell me a single package of a legal, non-prescription product without seeing my ID?”

SC: “That’s the rules.”

ME: “Are you saying there’s a law that makes you do that?”

At this point he indicates a sign on the wall labelled “pseudo watch” that says they’re doing their part to stop illegal drug manufacturing by monitoring sales of products containing pseudoephedrine.  This makes me laugh because “pseudo watch” sounds to me like they’re only sort-of watching.  And me giggling apparently convinces the chemist that I’m high.

The upshot of which is that it seems we now live in a world where some tiny minded dweeb can jerk you around as much as they like with no justification.  “The rules” have become more important than the actual law.  Let alone treating people decently.  Life is really looking rosy for all the little Hitlers of the world.

And this wasn’t even in an airport.


Filed under General Angriness

The biggest lie ever told

One of my YouTube pals, known as JustA11en, made a video he titled “The biggest lies ever told”.  He sent me a message suggesting I respond.  Apparently he thought I might have an issue with liars.

He was right.

I had so many ideas about the biggest liars in the world my brain was buzzing for a day thinking about it.  Lies told to justify war.  Lies told by hypocrites who preach morality and condemn the sexuality of other while practicing quite extreme perversion of their own.  The possibilities were almost endless.

In the end I settled on what I thought was the biggest lie I’ve seen told on YouTube.


Filed under Video Blogging