Christmas Eve

My Christmas eve began with me being woken multiple times, by my alarm and by dad, as my job for the morning was to drive up to Brisbane to pick up mum. Luckily I suppose, her flight was later arriving than scheduled, and this was known while I was still in bed, so I had an extra 20 minutes of sleep.

The drive up to Brisbane, and the drive back down from Brisbane both had little traffic issues, so that part of the journey was actually quite speedy. However after her flight landed it took nearly an hour for her to clear customs, so I had a lot of waiting around.

The day was average, sort of boring I suppose, but the real fun came tonight when we went out for dinner. Colin and Peggy joined us for dinner at Arakawa, where we ate at a private tatami table.

The food was, as usual, amazing, while the company actually proved to be very entertaining tonight, with Peggy on fine form with jokes and all sorts. By the end of the night I almost thought we were laughed out.

On our return home I suggested mum open one of her presents early, due to it being a night time thing, and I think she was very happy with her fountain for the pool, as she got in, followed by dad, and eventually me. Luckily Sze Sze stayed out to take photos. Unfortunately I don’t think mum would be happy with any of the photos being online.

Can’t Seem To Take A Break

I just can’t seem to take a break on all this drinking over the Christmas period. It’s not my fault though, it seems to be the time to be drinking, and I doubt I’ll get a break until the new year. I shall take a break then though, I’ll be very happy to take the much needed break by then.

So anyway, this morning we took a drive out to Mudgeeraba for Christmas presents before picking up some alcohol on the way home. You see the problem already.

Dad met with Peter after lunch, for lunch, and didn’t get back until 21:00, though only because Sze Sze and I met him at Peter’s for dinner where we had a delicious chicken curry with some awesome chillies. The wine accompaniment was an Arrowfield Shiraz from McLaren Vale, 1998 vintage, and was simply superb.

As usual, everyone was in bed before me.

Flying Mad

Flying… an expensive hobby of mine!

I have a route planned out that I want to take that would make me look like a nut case by a lot of people. The journey will be the reward, with the destination to just get back to the start. It’s crazy, I know.

Map to Nowhere

To be fair, the route came about because of a trip report that had been written by someone else, taking in a marvellous 9 flights in a single day just to get back to where they started. However, I’m looking to build on that, to take 14 flights in 2 days, and only because it can’t be done in just the 1.

BNE-TWB-CTL-ULP-WNR-BVI-BEU-BQL-ISA-DMD-BUC-ONG-NTN-CNS-BNE

What exactly does that mean I hear you ask.  It means flying a route thats roughly the shape of Queensland in order to go no where.  I suppose ideally most would want to stop at each destination and do some exploring, but I feel I’ll see enough from the air.

Leaving Brisbane on a Thursday morning, I stop at Toowoomba, Charleville, Quilpie, Windorah, Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia and finally Mount Isa in the late afternoon, to round out the day.

The next day, a Friday, I depart Mount Isa in the morning, to stop at Doomadgee, Burketown, Mornington Island, Normanton and Cairns by mid-afternoon.  I then take a flight home on a different carrier direct to Brisbane that evening.

What isn’t set in stone is the dates this happens on.  The only thing that is, is that it has to be a Thursday and Friday as the service doesn’t always run exactly as it does on other days, and I’m not sure I want to be spending too much time in Mount Isa.

Gardening

I got out in the garden today, the front garden that is. It’s probably been about a month since I planted the chilli seeds and the shoots have grown a few centimetres above the soil, but no further, so I transplanted them into 4 pots (2 for the peter peppers, and 1 each for the two hottest chillies in the world). There were a few worms in the soil too so I made sure they made the move to their new home. Hopefully that means all is well.

It’s probably worth noting the rest of the gardens around the house have been mulched, so if it does get really hot the water content in the soil should be preserved. It smells nice too.

The Tree of Life

Tonight Sze Sze and I watched The Tree of Life, having seen several very interesting looking previews on TV. I’m not sure if it’s out here yet, but it is in the US, so that’s where we got our copy.

I must say, following the storyline was a tad confusing at times. I had to launch Wikipedia and read along the plot for bits of it, but the thing that really made the movie great with the cinematography. Absolutely amazing shots! A very visually stunning movie.

It’s definitely on the favourites list, and I am interested in the apparently 6 hour long directors cut, though I think that might take more than one sitting to get through.

Status Runs

Status runs are enjoyable to me, they’re something that I enjoy as I like the experience of flying, and I like having status… in fact, status is great. That said, I’m not a vocal person, I don’t push to the front of the queue and demand service first because my card is the shiniest, but I like to have the shiniest card, just because. World we live in?

So tonight I’ve been struggling with a dilemma. There’s a status run I can do, it’ll get me to the next tier: Platinum. At that tier I’ll be able to dine in the First Class Lounge whenever I want, I wont need some other Platinum to fly with me and guest me in, yet it comes at a cost.

I like saving, and I don’t like spending. I’m a bit of an impulsive buyer though, I see something I want and have to have it, before fully realising the damage. Sometimes I give myself time to think and all I end up doing is swinging backwards and forwards talking myself in and out of the item in question. That’s what I’ve been up to tonight.

I think the best way to let others help me is to lay it all out. I need you to know exactly what this will cost me, and you need to come into this with an open mind.

The status run in question starts and ends in Townsville. So I need to get there and back first. There’s a sale on that ends tonight. At those prices I can get there and back for $250. If I wait and book outside of the sale it will be an additional $88.

The next step is the actual status run portion. In one day I would fly TownsvilleBrisbaneDarwinBrisbaneTownsville. I’d leave at 0555 and get back at 2135. My entire day would be spent in a Business Class seat in the air, or in a Business Class lounge on the ground. There’s a fair chance I’d get a few drinks in and I’d be heartily fed through all 4 flights and all 4 lounges on the ground (counting Brisbane twice).

The total cost of this day in the air and on the ground would be 48,000 of my valuable points earned through other flying and shopping endeavours, and $239.49 of my hard saved cash.

The very next day I’d do it all again. And yes, that’d be another 48,000 points and $239.49.

Between all this flying and lounging, in fact every time I ended up in Townsville, I’d be spending the night in the airport, as there’s no money left over for hotels. That’s 3 nights on an airport bench in the tropics in summer. It’s also quite possibly, 4 days in the same clothes.

By the time I get back to Brisbane (for the 5th time) I’ll have barely 1000 points to my name and have used the money I’d saved for just such an occurrence (but that I still don’t want to let go of), however by February I’ll have made nearly half of the points back.

It is an addiction, but isn’t everything in life? At least I can be proud I don’t smoke or do drugs, right?

For all of that, Platinum probably wont give me much above Gold, I’ll undoubtedly not get any free upgrades and receive the same level of service I have done as a Gold. Unless I travel far and wide, which isn’t very likely for the next couple of years, I probably wont notice anything different. I will earn 25% more points, and I will have access to a slightly better lounge, and yes, I will have access to the beloved First Class Lounge should I fly alone.

I realise I wont be happy if I get to Platinum, but I also wont be unhappy, in the grand scheme of things a plastic card wont change my outlook on life and be a magic fix that solves all my problems.

And the bottom line is, the longer I go on and try to justify things, the less sense I make.

So I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t, exactly what do I do?

P.S. I’m probably looking at that extra $88 already!

Observations on Comments

I know this version of my blog is only new, but I’d like to share some observations on the comments system, just incase anyone is wondering. They are turned on, and they do require approval.

I’ve so far received a comment from someone called Lester who seems to write about snowboards in German and French. As such, I wasn’t sure if that comment was spam, but the comment seemed genuine. I’ve also had one spammy comment that was clearly not real, and that wasn’t approved.

I have a feeling I’ll receive more spammy comments in the future, it’s only natural in this world. However, if you’re a reader, family, friend, feel free to comment. My email also hasn’t changed, but I’m not sure it’s listed anywhere currently. I’d rather stop spam not encourage it.

Finally, if you want to leave a comment, but don’t want it to remain, just say so, I’ll get your message and will then delete it.

But bottom line, comments need to be approved and are available.

AFF Christmas Party

Tonight was the AFF Christmas Party at Brett’s Wharf in Brisbane. It had been organised months ago when the restaurant was to be closed due to road works along the Brisbane river, but only recently it has been revealed it will continue operating till 2015.

I wasn’t able to confirm my attendance until just recently, so I was almost a surprise guest this evening. It was good to see a few old faces at the event and even some new ones, who came from far and wide, though I think only within Australia.

Andrew and Tahia very kindly picked me up from the Gold Coast, as they had dropped their kids off at a friends place in Oxenford to be looked after.

Dinner ended up being pretty good, and the company was great, but I’m not entirely sure the food was worth the $85 that was paid. I guess it was a private dining room, with a nice view, but only 3 courses and no drinks included. Luckily they allowed BYO, so I went across the road to Dan Murphy’s and paid the $6 corkage on a bottle that was far cheaper than what was offered on their menu.

Towards the end of the evening there was even a bit of excitement in the air as the Queensland Parliament voted on a civil unions bill, which eventually got passed, and now Queensland, the most backwards state for gay rights in the country, joins NSW, ACT, VIC and TAS in recognising and granting same-sex civil unions.

Welcome to WordPress

After being offline for many many months, my blog and website is finally functional again and will slowly be built up. Right now it’s a bit sparse, but WordPress should give me the ability to really customise this site in the future.

I hope to fill my readers in on the happenings in my life soon enough, and it’s not pretty, but I’d rather it was out of the way than left unanswered.