Archive for November, 2008

In at the deep end


The Chicken has a new job.  I’ve just accepted a job with a local company that will take me right outside my comfort zone….

It involves rental of radio systems to large organisations and events….  sales and customer support.

I start next Monday.

Wish me luck!


Run, Forrest, run!

Over the last month or so I’ve been working with various electric motors, testing them for possible use in mobility aids for the disabled.

These tests culminated in a real world workout for the best motor, installed in a wheelchair and fully instrumented.  The test track is a path around my local park.  I chose to do the tests early in the morning before many folks were about, but the park is heavily used by joggers, cyclists, power walkers and strollers.

Unfortunately, the control system was a lashup rather than a nice sophisticated joystick with digital compensation, taking a bit of practice and skill to keep the chair running straight or to turn.

Anyhoo, I managed to get set up and onto the path without being observed, but of course, encountered plenty of pedestrians on the path.  It was embarrassing knowing the smiles and “Hi!”‘s I got were probably motivated by some measure of sympathy and/or pity, but the real embarrassment was when I occasionally screwed up the controls and had to leap out of the chair while simultaneously hitting my emergency “kill” switch – while the same folks who’d nodded and smiled were watching.

Stranger than fiction.

I ran across this “work wanted” ad today. It speaks for itself. I wonder how he looks after pruning the roses.

I’m not the “naked chef” but the free, nude gardener…..


As the title states, I offer my services 100% free and nude to do your garden. All mowing, pruning and weeding done.
I cover most southern suburbs of Melbourne plus a few more and the Mornington Peninsula.

All genuine replies will be answered within a day.

Thanks & I look forward to hearing back soon

A hunka-hunka burnin’ wire

For the last couple of nights I’ve been hearing a popping/thumping sound occasionally outside the bedroom window. It happened only occasionally and I put it down to something swinging in the wind and hitting a wall or the neighbours next door slamming a door. But yesterday there was no wind and it was happening in the morning when I knew the neighbours were out. I investigated. Of course, when I went outside to look, it didn’t happen.

So I looked for loose items. I checked the hot water system gas burner. While I was doing that, I heard the sound again, coming from a few yards away near the side of the house. When I went there I could swear I smelled a burnt odour.

With a torch, I looked under the house at the electrical wiring. One piece of cable was dangling a little between supports. I looked closely and it looked damaged. I flexed it. There was pop and a spark. Sure enough there was what looked like a burn hole in the cable.

I turned off all the power, pulled all the fuses, grabbed my insulated gloves and tools, checked that the wires were no longer live and cut away the damaged section of wire and rejoined it with cable slicing gear I had in the shed.

Here’s what the burn hole and the damaged inner conductors looked like. The Active wire was arcing to the Ground, which was completely burnt through. The Neutral line was OK.

Once fixed, I began to wonder how close I was to a house fire, so I tried burning a bit of the insulation using a propane lighter. It wouldn’t maintain a burn at all without flame continuously applied, so my guess is that there wasn’t much chance of the house going up.