Archive for November, 2008

IPod Touch and WordPress

November 29, 2008

Just discovered an app that enables me to blog from my Touch. Seems pretty cool, using it to write this post. But I will keep it short because typing on the Touch isn’t that quick.
The app is in iTunes app store and is free-may be worth checking out. Just look for the “WordPress” app.

Cheers, Mike.

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Ah, The Luxury!

November 24, 2008

Three days into my week off on break and I’m just starting to wind down from full-on “work mode”.
Catching up with family and friends, stocking up on reading material to take with me when I go back to work and buying more jocks and socks. Can’t have too many jocks! Also, loading up my new iPod Touch with heaps of audio and video content to keep me occupied during my 4 week shift when I head back to work.
I have a list as long as my arm of other things to do while I at home but, realistically, there is only so much you can achieve. The best I can hope for is to take care of the important things and let everything else ride. Banking and paying accounts I can take care of over the net but it’s the personal contact things that present a problem. Being a truck driver it’s really hard to remain in contact (face to face) with my friends in the industry – given time time we all end up in the same place eventually. But eventually can be a very long time!
I have been lucky enough to spend the last three days with my daughter, although it has seemed to be one expense after another. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. I look at it as an investment in the future : when I get old and decrepit she will be obligated to pay for my catheter bags ; )
Every parent has their revenge on their offspring!

Cheers, Mike.

Whoa Back!

November 23, 2008

I recently changed employers. I put it that way because it sounds better than saying “I chucked in my job”.
My main motivation for “changing employers” was money, money, money! I have to say I was quite happy at my last job. I liked the boss, I liked the work and while the pay rate wasn’t fantastic it was in line with other drivers doing the same job for other companies.
The new job is a Fly In/Fly Out (FIFO) driving position for a crane hire company. Still driving roadtrains but carting all of the crane associated equipment such as counter wieghts and lifting gear. It’s a real change of pace, believe me!
At first I couldn’t adjust to the change of pace. Twenty years of working for frieght orientated companies is hard to override when I start working for a crane company and the trucks are a minor part of the operation – not the focus.
Hanging around the yard for 10hrs straight isn’t much fun. Even after the truck has been washed, polished, Armorall’d, greased, etc, etc. (How much can you do to keep busy?)
The upside is the pay for sitting/waiting. A lot of jobs come in with short notice. To mobilise a crane takes a support crew and to recall the crew from off-duty usually presents problems. If they want to pay me to sit around playing with my…um, yeah – just waiting, I’m cool with that. I just have to develop strategies to deal with doing bugger all, to keep me sane.
On a slightly different note : my last flight back from Newman. I really feel sorry for the young bloke sitting next to me on the Quantas Boeing 717 last trip. The poor fella started getting a bit flustered even before we began to taxi onto the strip. I wasn’t wearing my Sunday best but I didn’t fancy getting puked on, let alone having to travel the whole way home smelling of someone else’s puke. Luckily he he did the right thing and kept it to himself.
At the moment I am enjoying a week of R & R. Catching up with family and friends, getting a good supply of books to take back out with me. I lashed out and bought a iPod Touch and I’m loving it! My 4yr old 30Gb iPod classic is starting to fail (it’s had a hard life) and I’m stocking the Touch up with plenty of content before I fly back out to work.
Got to go and fire up the BBQ now so I’ll catch you later.

Cheers, Mike.

Change Of Pace

November 1, 2008

Last week I took the plunge and switched jobs. I am now driving trucks for a crane company (who it is I will keep to myself for now ).
It is a change of pace for me! In the past I have always worked for transport/freight orientated companies and this company is a crane service, first and foremost. Transport is an integral part of their operations but not their prime focus. I am, basically, here to ensure that all the extraneous crane equipment is onsite when they need it. The equipment includes all lifting chains, counter weights and outrigger “bog mats”.
It might not sound like much but when you consider that the current “largest” crane is a 400t slew crane – the counter weights’ required for a heavy lift can occupy several triple roadtrains when a major relocation is needed. Rumour has it that a larger crane is on it’s way.
So far I have been “bored shitless” between crane jobs. The company flew me into Leonora (Western Australia’s Goldfields) for my intial introduction to the company. When I arrived there I found my self to be the third truck driver onsite competing for the sole truck still running out of the depot. Usually there are two trucks running out of the Leonora depot but one truck had blown a turbo and was slated for a new gearbox while the second truck had a driver already in it. (Since then, the first truck is back on the road – the driver in the “operational” truck has left, but the driver on holidays has returned so it leaves us back where we started).
Several days after I arrived the company sent me 1000km north to the Newman depot where they where one driver short. The first two days I was here I washed whatever vehicle was in the yard (just to keep myself occupied) because there wasn’t any need for me. It is really, really hard for me to adjust to hanging around the yard! I am so used to being busy or simply going home if there is no work. Up here I am about 1200kmk from home so I don’t have that option. Also, all of the staff are expected to hang around in case a rush job comes up and they have to mobilise straight away. Right now I am running out of stuff to do and I am finding it really hard to look busy, let alone BE busy!

Cheers, Mike.