Stranger things

Tehran airport

The other day I was browsing Google Earth and thought I’d have a look at Tehran (as you do). When I looked at the airport, I saw the picture above. Look at the way the aircraft are parked jammed together. It’s chaos. Obviously most of them are not going to fly in the near future – how would you get them out?

Parking attendant: “Salaam effendi, but I have parked that 747 that came in. Here are the keys.”
Boss: “OK Abdul, just toss ’em in the box over there. I’ll process it later when I’ve finished my camelburger.”


The other day on radio I heard a talk about what jobs would be like in the future, with a view to education and training. We’re invited to go to a website and do a quiz to assess ourselves. I did, and here are my assessed future jobs:

Screenshot_2019-07-23 What could your future job be

What?? Cricket farmer? Entomicrobiotec cleaner? Agroecological farmer?

The second row was a bit more realistic since I’d said I liked to work with my hands on technical stuff, think logically about problems and organise parts and materials into categories, etc.

Screenshot_2019-07-23 What could your future job be (1)

I don’t think this quiz was very well designed. Maybe my future work could be as a quiz or survey designer.


And another strange thing:
It’s shown as an Engineer’s Ruler on my electronics parts supplier’s website. It’s only 250mm long but has many electronics parts measurements engraved on it.

But look at the legend at the top: “TRUE MASTERY OF ANY SKILL TAKES A LIFETIME”.
No argument with that, but look at the next words: “LAYER STACKCING L1…” etc. It looks like learning to spell takes more than a lifetime.


I took Vera, the Verada, in for brake pad renewal yesterday, lured by a newspaper ad: $109 for front or rear brakes including pads. “Give the little guy a go.”

It turned out to be Tyrepower Tyres and Brakes in Joondalup, hardly little guys. Anyway, the total bill came to $727 ! Damn. It turned out the discs all round were pitted and worn so had to be replaced, and I asked for the brake fluid to be renewed, $69, since there were no records with the car when I bought it. I knew everything under there was rusty as hell, so it’s a load off my mind that it’s been done and is all new now, but it was a much bigger bill than I expected. However, if I sell it, I’ll be able to say it’s been done and show the receipt and I might even be able to recoup the cost.

The exhaust is next, sounding a bit purry and fruity, but that’s another quoted $595. and the two rear tyres are nearing their limit (but still legal), another $200. Yowch. But at least I can drive it with peace of mind now. Except that the cigarette lighter socket has lost power. It was working. Must be the fuse. Bugger. And the roof lining is falling down, another $285 to have it fixed. Expensive toys, cars.


I went to a drinks function for a tech I used to work with for many years who has taken a redundancy. Kerrumbs, I knew him from when he was taken on as a trainee until he became one of the best, most competent and hardest working when I retired. I never quite knew his age at that stage. He’s completed 40 years of service!

Well, he is 60 now. I’m amazed. He still looks pretty young and is sick of working for a boss, so he’s taking this opportunity to do freelance work as his own business. Good for him. Computer support too, so I’ll try to steer people his way. I’ve thought of doing that, but I can’t see how I could charge for the hours it takes to fix computer problems. I’ve done a bit of it but I only ever charged a flat fee of about $100, even though it took 4 – 5 hrs sometimes. How could I charge $400 – $500, which would be the fair rate?

And many times, it involved a screwed up Windows installation (ie corrupted files or a bad hard disk). To do a complete wipe or replacement, and a reinstall of Windows takes several hours at least. And all the user’s data is lost. The big repair shops just have a replica system on a hard drive and just mirror it across, still wiping people’s dats, of course. It takes too long to do anything else, but I don’t want to be telling customers that. Good luck to him.

I also had a long chat with another tech who started young and was always a willing worker with a pleasant, happy attitude. A pleasure to work with, in other words. Well, he’s 60 now too. Hell, he looks as boyish as if it were last century. He’s also done 40 years but is continuing as long as he’s got a job.

When I worked there, we had around 22 – 25 techs and engineers. Now there are 4 left. I am so glad I did my work and got out when I did. It is a completely different work environment now, and not a good one.


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