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Are Engineers frustrated Poets?

Engineers are process orientated people, right? They like rules and procedures. They do maths and such stuff. How can someone like that be creative? 1+1=2 every time, doesn’t it?

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Meet me at Angus & Robertson Carindale this Sunday

Ever wondered what it would be like to live in Ireland? My book, 'a Few Drops short of a Pint' is all about my sometimes comical, sometimes life-changing experiences in the Emerald Isle. Come say hello and ask me about Ireland. I'm signing copies of my book this Sunday at Angus and Robertson.

Where: Angus and Robertson, Shop 2008, Carindale shopping centre, Brisbane QLD When: 12 to 2PM, this Sunday 7th November Angus and Robertson - ph: 3843 1143

Ryanair - the world's most hated airline

Barbara Cassani, CEO of former airline Go, once described Ryanair as a "flying Irish pub". While she didn't say as much, she wasn't referring to the enjoyable bits of an Irish pub - like good music, great conversation and fine stout. She was referring to the bad bits - like having your head shoved aside by the arms of waitresses who are retrieving empty glasses.
When Kerryn and I lived in Ireland, we experienced Ryanair's infamous customer service twice. I will never use them again if I have a choice to use another airline. Obviously other passengers of the budget Irish-based airline feel the same way as I do, because Robert Tyler of the UK began a site called IhateRyanAir. The site is full of angry stories about the experiences of passengers, staff and unfortunate government officials that try to get in the way of the airline's boss, Micheal O'Leary.
Recently Ryanair took Mr Tyler to court to get him to take down his site. "Ryanair complained that …

My Journey to Colombia from New York: Part Four

‘Would you like to stop for a coffee?’ asked Gustavo waving his arm enthusiastically at roadside stores.
Lucas and I looked at each other with harried expressions. ‘Er no, I think we’d better keep going to get the suits organised,’ replied Lucas.
We wound our way downhill. The surfaces of the roads were excellent and were not bumpy at all, but the curves and intersections seemed countless, which slowed our progress towards the city below us.
‘There’s a faster road down, but it’s very steep and the surface would be damp after the rain. It’s better to be safe than sorry,’ said Gustavo.
After the earlier overtaking manoeuvre, I was happy to agree. Anything that limited Auntie’s ability to travel at increased speed sounded like a good idea. I looked out again at the striking city below me. ‘Does the city ever have flooding problems? Because it’s in the deep valley?’ I asked.
‘No, there’s no problem with flooding. Except perhaps in the very poor areas, where there are shanty towns,’ replied Gu…

My Journey to Colombia from New York: Part Three

The old phone I’d brought with me was an unreliable heap of junk but it had one redeeming feature - it allowed me to select a network mode and frequency. I tried all three options without apparent success and dropped it in my pocket, grimacing. I would find out later that connecting an overseas phone to one of Colombia’s networks was highly unpredictable, but my priority now was to get to the boarding gate for my next flight.
Provided I got to the flight, I could still make it to Lucas’ wedding in Medellin at 6PM. I politely made my way through the poorly lit Customs and Immigration area, full of black uniform wearing DAS officers and their grave expressions. I found the Avianca desk that Connie had told me to visit, and got a boarding pass for the flight to Medellin. I boarded bus between Bogota’s international and domestic terminals, and raced across the tarmac between planes and cargo vehicles. A tall girl with honey-coloured skin in her early twenties stood in front of me, wearing …

My Journey to Colombia from New York: Part Two

The Avianca A319 Airbus destined for Colombia's capital, Bogota, waited on the taxiway at New York's JFK airport. I looked out my window and could see planes waiting on the intersecting taxiway – there were about nine other planes ahead of us. This gave me time to cast my eyes around the inside of my plane, as I always do. It was my first flight on a South American airline, so I was more than usually curious. Particularly as Avianca is a Colombian airline and Colombia is described by some as a third world nation.


The interior looked clean and tidy. The air stewards and stewardesses were dressed in neat red uniforms. I had an interactive screen in front of me. I grabbed the controller for the screen: some airlines had satellite phones in these things, which would be great, because I needed to call Lucas to let him know I'd changed flights in an attempt to get to his wedding in Medellin on time. I was originally going to fly directly to Medellin and land five hours before th…

My Journey to Colombia from New York: Part One

4:30AM, December 28th, 2009. I’d just missed a train, which had been leaving as I’d got to the steps on the corner of Broadway and West 79th Street. I stood, shivering, in the 79th Street subway station, waiting for a “One” train to take me to Penn Station on 34th Street. I was wearing my thermal undershirt, jeans, long sleeved shirt, leather jacket, scarf and beanie. I’d left my jumper in my suitcase with my wife Kerryn. I hadn't wanted to deal with the jumper's bulkiness. I was paying for it with the air temperature.

Fortunately, no snow had fallen since the previous weekend, when there’d been a snow blizzard – some had called it a “Snowpocalyse”. Weather commentators had been calling it the coldest winter in 20 years. We’d been in midair at the time, travelling from Australia via Japan. Luckily, the runways had been cleared by the time we got to New York.

I was on my way back to JFK airport, to catch a plane to Colombia in South America. A few days ago my friends Lucas and An…