Darker still


An even darker age has descended on me from today. No more trips to Bali for the foreseeable future. Looks like I’m free as a bird again to plan my own trips, to anywhere, free of any ties. I tried my hardest, but I discovered that the rules for women are different than for men. Rule number 1 is, the man is always wrong. But then, you married men always knew that, didn’t you? I was a babe in the woods, a rank amateur, a fool.


I don’t know why I bothered but I thought I’d look at Air Asia’s “low” fares from Perth to Denpasar that they sent me in an email last week.

They advertised: From 1 May 2017 to 6 Feb 2018, Perth to DPS “from $105”. Quite clear.

Ha ha, what a joke. I invite you to try to find that price. The lowest fare for months ahead is $171. Their ad is a blatant lie. I think that $105 price was available last week, but not any more, no matter how far ahead you look.

I don’t take kindly to this kind of deception, Mr Air Asia, so I’ll be using another airline if I go again.


I watched a movie night before last, Approaching the Unknown. It’s about the first American astronaut on a one way mission to Mars to establish the first base there. Others, specifically a woman, are to follow close behind.

This lone astronaut developed his own machine on Earth to make water by breaking soil down into hydrogen and oxygen, then recombining these to make water. Water weighs a lot, so it saves a lot of weight to take dirt on the spacecraft, and once you reach Mars, well, there’s dirt to burn, so to speak.

It’s a long and boring story but his machine breaks down about three quarters of the way there. He manages to eke out enough water to just survive, naturally.

But thing is, why make a serious movie like this if you’re not going to take the science seriously. It’s a joke:

  • There are no transmission delays in all his radio transmissions with “Houston”. This is fundamental. Radio transmissions take longer and longer the farther you recede from Earth, to the extent that only half way to Mars the delay is around four minutes each way. You simply cannot hold normal conversations. That doesn’t bother the makers of this movie.
  • In any case, there’s no way NASA would send only one man on a mission like this. It’s a crazy idea. What if he got sick or injured? It’s a single point of failure. They wouldn’t do it.
  • Obviously, his water making machine, which it’s his prime task to maintain during the mission, is another single point of failure. And fail it does, and the whole mission with it. Ridiculous.
  • The second female astronaut is following, again alone in a second spacecraft, and of course she goes haywire so they abort her mission and “turn her around”. This is ludicrous. You can’t turn a spacecraft around. There isn’t the fuel or rocket power. It would have to loop around Mars to return to Earth. But that little detail doesn’t bother the movie’s director.
  • The main man seems to be nearly dying of thirst, but as he nears Mars, he passes through these fantastic gas clouds, all colour and light. They look just like the gas clouds seen millions of light years away in other galaxies, not within the Solar System. How did they get here? How does he travel through them? At one stage, a bolt of lightning flashes out from one of these gas clouds and hits his craft. It’s just crazy.
  • He finally reaches Mars, despite seeming to have run out of water, and after his capsule, which looks just like a 1960s Apollo capsule, flames down through Mars’s atmosphere, it lands safely on the surface. No parachute, mind you, just retro rockets, so they must have carried all that fuel mass with them. It lands right way up so he just opens a hatch and walks out onto the surface, then keeps walking way off to the rim of a crater. The End.

Why do they spend so much money making a movie like this that is bound to be a failure, because it’s so laughable? Beats me. Into the bin.