Monthly Archives: December 2007

Smoky Lack of Power Sunday

I was looking forward to a quiet Sunday at work. That SO did not happen.

I woke up to the news that there was a fire at Lidcombee station which turned out to destroy the newsagency that I talked about in Erk Pod episode 70. The fire started in the early hours on the morning and there was extensive smoke, fire & water damage to the shop and the surrounding areas. I thought a lot about the amount of time I’d spent in there talking to the guys that run the shop and put myself in their shoes. The shop can be replaced but I’m glad that no one was hurt. There’s a lot of work to be done but I know these guys work hard so they’ll either decide to get in and get the work done as quick as possible or have a break first and get someone else to clean up. I don’t know.

When I got there, the smell of smoke hit me as soon as I left my car. There was devastation inside the shop but in one of the drink fridges, I could still see some labels on the (now smoked flavoured!) Pepsi.

So I went to my meal room where the smell of smoke was quite strong and there were no phones, no running water and no toilets. How anyone could sit in that room for a long period is beyond me but they were.

Then it was time to head west. It was strange for me to head east from home to go to work in the car and then go straight back west in a train and then head back east in the train again.

I had the company of a driver going home and then there were some trainee guards and a guard trainer coming for a ride to learn about the network. I had a pretty uneventful trip west and when I was heading back east, I was zooming along when I heard a big bang and the train told me that there was no power in the overhead wires. No power equals no move once I’d stopped.

So I stopped at a station that I wasn’t supposed to (are we equal after the one I missed the other day?) to do some fault finding. I won’t bore you with the technical details of what I had to do but I got the train going again and we headed to the next station only to find that I had 1 power car working out of 4.

So I struggled (needless to say) to get to the next station and soon another train came past us on another track (luckily, there was another track available) so we transferred all the passengers (except for one lady who slept through the whole thing!) to the other train and then I worked to repair the train. Again, I won’t bore you with the details but I eventually managed to get 2 power cars out of 4 working and I was able to leave to head to Sydney for further checks before it’s next run. I left the train in the hands of another driver and the Train Tech and because I was late, I’d missed my next train so it was now time to eat.

After my meal break I was supposed to drive on a line that I haven’t been down for a long time so I can’t technically drive on that line so someone else did. In that time I met up with BJ and also Arthur who was in my Driver’s school who I seem to bump into once every 6 months or so. And to think – if I was doing my roster like I was supposed to, I would not have met up with either bloke! So the longer the day went, the better it got!

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Blonde Mullet Flashback

I thought I’d start today’s posting with a happy memory. I met up with my mate BJ today at work and after our discussion I thought I’d post these pics all together in the one post. My day ended a lot better than it started but let’s think happy thoughts first before I post about the not-so-good stuff that happened.

Above: Me in 2002 pre-mullet in one of my blonde stages. I was a train guard at this stage.

Above 2 Photos – Driver’s School, December 2004. The first photo is me at Liverpool and the next photo is me driving (taken by my Driver Trainer).

Above – Me, March 2005.

Above – April 2005 just after waking up one morning. Regrowth!

Above 2 photos – Xmas Day at work, 2005.

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Erk Pod 70 – Show Notes


Erk Pod episode 70 – 69 minutes.

Photo: White Water Rafting is on Erk’s “to-do” list.

The New Year’s Eve Eve Eve Eve edition – Erk Gets McSad

Welcome to Erk Pod episode 70, the final episode of Erk Pod for 2007. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In this episode:

  • Erk & Drue talk about their Xmas and also their plans for New Year’s Eve.
  • 24 Hour Podcast: segments are being uploaded to the 24 Hour Podcast site. 16 segments have been uploaded so far. My segment is very close to being uploaded. Erk has started to listen to CherieCast which is very inspirational.
  • Erk Pod Mini – Erk Pod Mini is a podcast challenge that I have started where I will do a 5 minute podcast every day of 2008. I called it “Erk Pod Mini: 365 days of Erk” then Drue says that 2008 is a leap year and has 366 days! Can Erk restrict himself to 5 minutes? More details
  • Blubrry – Erk Pod is now a member of the Blubrry network where podcasters and podcast listeners can get together. This was inspired by the 24 Hr Podcast & Geek News Central.
  • Erk to the Diary Room – ETTDR is your one source for Big Brother news and commentary by Erk & Drue.
  • “Whispers At the Edge” and “The Survival Guide To Writing Fantasy” podcast crossover. Hosts Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine did a cross over where Tee presented an episode of Pip’s podcast and vice versa. So you could hear an American presenting a New Zealand podcast and vice versa. It was interesting to get a different point of view but remain true to the format of the podcast. Maybe Tee & Pip will get together in an episode together in 2008! See the Haka that Tee made for the episode here
  • Thanks to my mate Richard Jefferies of the “Wasting Time” podcast for telling me what his Xmas weather was and for giving some nice feedback on Drue’s co-hosting role. Cheers, mate.
  • We have solved the mic issues that we had with Squeak’s audio in Erk Pod 66.
  • Erk gets caught up in a credit card scam and has a McSad experience with McDonalds & Monster Trucks. Drue explains the process of going through an internal de-tox program.

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Welcome to Erk Pod Mini: 365 Days of Erk. Another Erk podcast!

Photo: Erk got very wet while photographing a Fire Cadet competition in 2004.

Erk Pod is a personal podcast produced in Sydney each week that features news, sport, entertainment, music and more. Each episode has Show Notes that you can view on this site which gives you a guide to each episode as well. Also, Show Notes for some episodes feature some content (pictures and/or video) that you can’t see on a podcast.

There are two styles of Erk Pod episodes and you can choose to listen to one or both of them here.

If you have limited time, you can listen to Erk Pod Mini: 365 days of Erk. Erk Pod Mini is a new project where Erk decided that you may like a smaller podcast limited to 5 minutes (which will be a challenge in itself!) in length and is released daily (another challenge!). From the 1st of January 2008, the goal is to record and release an episode of Erk Pod Mini daily regardless of where I am and what I am doing. Erk Pod Mini will give you a brief insight into life Erk style, Erk Pod & Erk to the Diary Room episodes.

I have uploaded the introduction episode (episode 0) of Erk Pod Mini and episode 1 will be recorded on January 1, 2008. I also have placed some promos on that feed that I made for various podcasters in November.

However you will probably want to listen to the original format of Erk Pod as well. Erk Pod is produced usually on a weekly basis and runs between 45 and 90 minutes and contains news, entertainment, talking and more. Erk Pod is sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes totally down the wrong track but is always entertaining (WE HOPE!) and is hosted by Erk & new co-host Drue (from episode 65).

You can subscribe to Erk Pod & Erk Pod Mini via this website on the right hand side of this page. iTunes link will be available when it is approved by iTunes.

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24 Hour Podcast: segments 1-16 online

The 24 Hour Podcast that was held on the weekend now has 16 segments available for download from the podcast’s website here. I will update this message when further segments are available to download. Apart from direct downloads from the website, you can now subscribe to the feed here for the segments listed below.

My segment is nearly due to be online!

The segments available for download so far are:

The aims of the 24 hour podcast included:

  • To raise awareness and funds for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program to benefit children in Third World countries to assist in improving their education
  • To increase awareness of and participation in podcasting by podcasters and listeners
  • To hear if Todd could talk for 24 hours LOL. Indeed he did and some listeners also tuned in for long periods including some who listened/watched live for 18-24 hours.

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Erk Pod audio problem solved!

Photos: Erk (top), Drue (middle), Squeak (bottom)

You may remember that Drue joined me as a host from Erk Pod episode 65. I was using an XLR mic and Drue was using an ordinary mic that I purchased during the week. At the time I was using the original mixer which only has one XLR input. Needless to say, Drue’s audio wasn’t as good as mine for episode 65 but it was still passable.

One of the things that we both noticed was that Drue was moving the mic around as he isn’t used to handling one and I didn’t think to bring a mic stand. The mic stand that came with the kit was tiny and lightweight.

So between episodes 65 and 66, I went out and got a new mixer with a second XLR mic input and got a new XLR mic for Drue. I also got a heavy desktop mic stand which Drue used. I wanted to get one for me as well but they only had one in stock.

So Saturday came and we recorded Erk Pod episode 66. The new mixer, mic and mic stand really helped (EXCELLENT!) and Drue’s sounding even better than he did in episode 65. I’ve had some good feedback about my new co-host and you wouldn’t know that he’s had no podcasting or radio experience prior to Erk Pod.

While we were recording on Saturday, Squeak was over at Drue’s as well so I gave him a headset and a mic which was the mic that Drue used the previous week. We tested and everything was OK but after we started recording, Squeak’s audio went pear shaped so while he contributed, he probably didn’t speak as much as he maybe wanted to. Then I thought that maybe I could fix the problem in post-production and while it sounded a bit better, Squeak’s audio wasn’t as good as Drue’s or mine.

I thought that we have to fix the problem now because we may indeed have a third person on from time to time and I’d prefer them to have their own mic rather than sharing Drue’s or mine. Then I thought about the new mixer and my original mixer and between then, they have 3 XLR inputs! So last night (Thursday) I did some testing after linking the two mixers together and it worked well. Obviously I’ll test it with Drue and whoever the third person is and test levels before the show but I know that it is possible. All I need is another XLR mic and a couple of mic stands and we are set to go!

I continually am learning stuff about the whole process and I hope that you can notice improvements. Obviously I can notice heaps of differences between early episodes and now. I can even notice a lot of changes (and I need to do a lot less post-production!) since recording episode 49 at Squeak’s place a couple of months ago.

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Erk caught in credit card scam

Picture this……

It is Friday at lunchtime. I have to work later on Friday afternoon then I have the weekend off. I was going to do my Xmas shopping on Saturday. Monday is Xmas Eve and Tuesday is Xmas Day, both of which I was working on.

I’m supervising a tradesman at my house and a call comes in from my bank. The bank tells me that they need to cancel my card. Turns out that someone was arrested by the Police in the US with a heap of credit card numbers in his possession, including mine. The bank said that it was low risk but they wanted to cancel my card. It looks like they caught the guy in time from my point of view because nothing had been done on my account yet.

Lucky for me, most of my bills come out of my bank directly and I put as little as possible on the credit card. I still needed coin though to survive the afternoon, do my Xmas shopping and do day to day things while the banks were closed over Xmas. So the guy from the bank gave me an hour to get to an ATM to get some coin out to do me for a week because with the Xmas holidays and no postal service, the earliest the new card would arrive would be in a week on Friday. If I needed coin in the meantime I could go to the bank but on Xmas Day and Boxing Day, the bank would be closed.

I raced to the ATM and got some coin. I did my Xmas shopping and because I’ve been working, I haven’t had much chance to spend a lot of coin for most of this week. Under the circumstances, that isn’t a bad thing.

Now it is Friday and the day that I was told that my credit card was due to arrive. I am sweating for the postman (or is it Mail Delivery Person?), to arrive. We don’t get mail on weekends. Monday is New Year’s Eve and Australia Post are treating that as a Picnic Day/Public Holiday so there will be no mail. New Year’s Day is on Tuesday and that is a Public Holiday as well so if I don’t get it today, the earliest I could get the card is Wednesday next week!

I do know that I can go to the bank for luckily for me, the bank is close by. However for a lot of people, the bank is not in the same town so they have to travel. I’ll survive but it is a pain in the backside for sure and could not happen at the worse time of the year!

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