In my experience, engineering is to a large degree a linear, stepwise process, while planning often isn’t.

How do you document to the satisfaction of an engineer how you got from objective to strategy by a flash of brilliance?

They are rarely on time, uncomfortable when they do arrive and I’m paying about $150 per month for the privilege.

I actually found myself yesterday wishing my employer was in the burbs so I could drive to work!

We managed to get a bid for a fairly major planning job in today – with one minute to spare!

And the chap who put most of the effort in isn’t even in the bid!

Well done us.

They seem to want me to be the strategic ideas person *and* the one to do the grunt work.

It’s a bloody hard act to pull off doing both.

Nuff said.

Tuesday. 5.30 am. On my way to Sydney, again. Big boss rang about 3 o’clock yesterday and starts with an ominous “what are you doing tomorrow?”. Turns out i’m wanted to workshop something for a client with short timeframe but deep pockets.

Gonna be a long day.

Back from a couple of days in Sydney last week. I reckon this must be the first time I’ve been there and not visited the harbour. As my work and hotel were I’m the same complex I didn’t get out much. I had some time in the evening but I didn’t fancy the Quay at night. I did get to the state library for a bit for some more family history research.

I’m not sure if I like Sydney or not. It seems a lot more down-beat and definitely grottier than Brisbane. Then again, not many cities are pretty at 9 o’clock at night!

Sydney Airtrain was very much appreciated though. City to airport in 15 mins every 10. Why can’t Brisbane’s do that?


Just thought I’d share that:-)

I’m involved in a couple of things at work at the moment that are a real throwback to my programming days. The first task is porting a traffic distribution model from MapInfo + Excel + VBA to MapInfo + Access. The second task is to upsize a small desktop data processing package into something that can generate 168 30×30 matrices and not take all week about it.

It’s been an awful long time since I did any database work and I am very rusty. It’s a bit embarassing but I have to keep googling things that would once have been second nature. I hope I get back into the swing of things soon.

So what’s been happening lately?

Well, I’ve pretty much given up on gardening for the moment. What the storms last Aututm didn’t wash away have been chomped, chewed, ripped up or stomped on by a range of wildlife. I have netted everything to try and stop the flying foxes, possums and bush turkeys, sprayed for grasshoppers, but there is still something (cutworms?) that manage to eat just about every seedling I put down. At least the peach tree in the front yard is flowering. That’s something!

I’m still working. I’ve switched teams again after an organisation redesign, and this has lowered my stress levels incredibly. I’m no longer spending hours walking about in a daze, and my hair has stopped falling out. It can still be incredibly frustrating though, especially when clients don’t take your advice, make their own decisions, then expect you to justify their decision. The joys of working as a consultant I guess.

In other news, I hosted a birthday party on the weekend. I’m definitely getting old. By 10.30 pm I wanted to turn the stereo off and kick them all out. A coffee kept me going till 11.30 then the last of the party left to go clubbing. I washed some dishes and went to bed!

I have been hum-ing and ha-ing about what to write in a follow-up post on the ICRCS. After the release by the government of proposals a fortnight ago, there was a lot of buzz and then silence. A lot of the feedback (particularly in the Courier Mail) was very negative. In the rail and transport ‘fan’ community there was also a lot of discussion about why various things were proposed and why others weren’t.

I have been giving quite a few informal briefings at work on what the project was and why it found what it did, but I don’t feel at liberty to talk outside about it as much as I might like. Hopefully, the government will release more information from the very extensive study reports soon.

What I do want to say though is that Brisbane/SEQ badly needs a strategic rail network review. Something that looks at where the city is growing over the next 20-30 years (and beyond) and what rail network will be needed to serve it. This needs to not just tot up the existing SEQIPP suburban extensions, but also look at trunk and middle suburb needs (Newstead – Bulimba – Hamilton – Northgate ? Spring Hill – Newmarket – Stafford – Petrie?) to keep the network effective.

The ICRCS makes a start for the inner city, but the rest still needs to be done.

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