Axver (axver) wrote,

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Queensland Rail: Even crappier than before OR Even crappier than you thought we were

Queensland Rail needs to change their slogan. Lately, they've been advertising that ninety-nine per cent of trains run on time. I think they forgot a "not". While on the way home from the rugby last night, I coined two new slogans they should use;

"QR: Even crappier than before." and "QR: Even crappier than you thought we were."

The train rides were a joke. I'll get to the rugby soon, but first enjoy the story of last night's madness on the train.

It all began with Sam and Tom having to participate in school sport yesterday. Now they were both confident they would be finished sport in time to meet the train we were catching - the 3:18 out of Robina - at 3:25 at Nerang. After all, Sam's sport finished by 3 and Tom was supposed to be back from basketball at another school by 3:05. However, when we reached Nerang, we got a phone call from Sam's Dad, and Tom still hadn't shown up. According to him, his basketball games (plural? Since when did they play multiple games?) ran overtime, then his bus driver could barely get the bus started, and he was a crappy driver so it took him ages to get back. Thus, they missed our train and had to get on the next one, running about half an hour behind us. Remember here that the game starts at 5:30.

The train was absolutely crowded and I ended up vacating my seat for an older lady. The aisles were crammed and I kept on being pushed into the seat Mum and Alan were sitting on. But at least practically everyone were Kiwi supporters.

The trip was going reasonably well for a while. The train we were taking was supposed to run nonstop from Beenleigh to South Bank (two stations before the one where we had to change trains for the stadium) ... and then we started slowing down, and trundled along slowly ... and came to a stop at Coopers Plains (which I noted probably should have an apostrophe in its name). This is a station we were not supposed to stop at, and then we got an announcement: a train up the line had broken down. Initially the wait was going to be only a few minutes, but then it was extended to 10-30 minutes and rumours spread that there was actually a problem with a set of points, rather than a train. After at least 20 minutes - I'm not sure if we made the 30 minute mark or not - we finally got going. Looking at my watch, I realised it was getting quite close to 5pm and by the time we made Brisbane, timing would be tight to meet Sam and Tom on their train and make the game before kickoff.

But then something very unexpected happened. We were diverted down the Tennyson line. This line runs across the southern part of Brisbane, linking the Beenleigh/Gold Coast line with the Ipswich line, has only one station (Tennyson), has very few passenger trains, and is mainly an industrial line. So I got a great shock when we were diverted down this, but unlike most of the people on the train, I cottoned on pretty quick to what was happening. The train is full of footy fans, the Tennyson line meets the Ipswich line at Corinda, the train is going to Roma Street, between Corinda and Roma Street is Milton, Milton is right beside Lang Park/Suncorp Stadium (the venue of the game), and thus they were taking us right to the game. This turned out to be true, and I was very pleased to make it to Milton ... and just as we got off the train, some thick clouds started releasing intermittent drops of rain.

We were finally there ... without Sam and Tom and the game was going to start in about ten minutes. So I phoned Tom, and it turned out they were still on their train to Roma Street. They'd also been held up - apparently they got stopped for a good fifteen minutes a couple of times - but they hadn't been diverted. By the time they changed trains and made it to Milton (thankfully Milton is the first station on the Ipswich line from Roma Street), we had to run to the game, only to find ourselves five minutes late. We sat down just as the first try by New Zealand was scored, in our FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC seats. More later about the game.

I was peeved we'd missed the national anthem, and even more that we'd missed the Haka. During the Haka, the Tongans start their own war dance - the Ikale Tahi or something like that - and apparently it's a sight to behold. I've never seen it and I'm really annoyed we missed it. But anyway. It really began raining during the game - the people a couple of rows down from us got drenched, but we were on the edge of the shelter and didn't get wet as badly. If we leaned back a little, we could keep our upper bodies dry. But it didn't really matter. When we left the game and made for the train, we got thoroughly drenched.

So we got onto this one train sitting in Milton Station that was heading for Roma Street - seeing we needed to go there to change to a train for the Gold Coast line. It was absolutely PACKED - there were people crammed in so tightly that at most doors, you couldn't get in. But down the back we managed to get squeezed in, and because of the radical change in temperature and all the body heat, my glasses instantly fogged up. I'd only just managed to clean them with a remarkably dry hankie that I had with me when there was an announcement ...

Power was down on this line and this line only, and thus the train was going nowhere. Another train heading in the direction we wanted to go pulled in at another platform, and we were told to transfer to it. Of course, our train was packed, heaps of people were packing into the new arrival, and everyone was demanding "How (the fuck/hell/heck/Zooropa) do they expect us all to fit on that?" But nonetheless, we charged up the stairs onto the footbridge, charged across ... and as we were charging, we heard the train pull away. We made it down onto an empty platform.

Another train was due soon, though, so we staked out a position on the platform, hoping the doors would open right in front of us. Of course, when the train arrived a minute or so later, they didn't, but they were close enough and we charged for them. In the crush, I nearly got pushed down into the gap between platform and train, but then some kindly person behind me grabbed me and physically just hoisted me up and forced me through the crowd onto the train. Never saw who it was, but I'm bloody grateful to them.

So we were standing on this crowded train, crowded to the point of bursting, when it crawled out of the station. I was wedged on this tiny seat near the door with my mother with Sam and Tom practically pushed right on top of me. We got going ... and then crawled to a halt. The trip to Roma Street was so bloody slow it was ridiculous. I never knew it could take so long to get between two stations that are pretty close. It was so stupid. But we finally got to Roma Street, charged out of the train, heard something about the Gold Coast line, and tried to figure out where to head. We shot into the tunnel below the platforms, looked at the TV screens telling where various trains were, and then Sam made for platform six, only to be called back by the rest of us saying that we weren't supposed to go there. In the end, we ended up on platform two just as an express train to the Gold Coast, running nonstop from South Bank to Beenleigh, left. It wasn't long, though, before another train pulled up, also running to the Gold Coast, but instead of running express to Beenleigh, it was just running express to Woodridge (about seven stations from Beenleigh, off memory). So we piled onto this train, which wasn't nearly as full as the others we'd been on, sat down, and hoped for a smooth ride home.

How wrong we were.

Across from us was this guy who had already been on the train when it arrived at Roma Street, who was going home from his high school formal. The other people on the train had come from the game, and they made for good company. So we were joking and laughing and having a great time, surprised that we hadn't come to a stop yet ... when we did. In the middle of nowhere. I wasn't sure where we were, just somewhere on the south side of Brisbane, and we got an announcement that there was a problem up the line and we were to expect a delay of unknown length. So we sat around joking about the uselessness of Queensland Rail, and although we were very frustrated and annoyed, we just kept on joking and laughing.

Then Trudy, who'd come with us, got a text message from her friend who'd also been at the game and had made it onto a train that was just ahead of us. Although we hadn't been told what had happened, they had, and apparently some guy had jumped in front of a train further down the line and there were massive delays. Under normal circumstances, we would've had respect for the dead, but this was the last straw. We joked about it. A group of people who'd never met each other before this train ride and probably would never meet again sat around and made morbid jokes about someone jumping in front of a train. Our favourite line was;

[imitating the jumper] Oh the world hates me![/imitation] They didn't before but THEY DO NOW, you moron!

After absolute ages - twenty minutes, I'd say - we finally got moving again, rolled a short way ... and stopped. After another few minutes, we did the same thing. When we began moving again, we started joking that this was just our obligatory half-hour move. There were that many stops, near-stops, and such that I'm not sure how many it was before we approached the location of the jump (Loganlea), but we were all looking out of the train morbidly, trying to see if we could see the body or anything, and still making jokes. Just out of Loganlea station, we passed a stopped and blacked-out train, then we saw some investigators, Sam claimed he saw something being scraped off the tracks (which the rest of us thought was a dubious claim), and then we trundled into Loganlea station. At the far end of the platform, I saw about three policemen gathered around a spot on the edge of the platform - obviously from where the person jumped.

From there, there were no stops but scheduled ones until home, but we'd had that many delays we were just waiting for another - was a tree going to fall across the line? A bridge collapse? Maybe the train was going to stop to let some ducklings cross the line! I'm glad nothing eventuated, and it was so great to get home. On the way, we stopped at Hungry Jack's (it's just Burger King with a different name) to get some food, and I've never been so glad to see a burger in my life. I was STARVING. I wish the trains had a buffet car or something. Every time someone walked through the wagon past us, at least one of us would say "You got a pie? Could you please go and get us a drink?" Shame they didn't.

The strange thing is, I'm now trying to find a news article online about the person jumping in front of the train or about train chaos in Brisbane ... and there's NOTHING. I can't find a thing. A coal train derailed in the Hunter Valley and a man was hit by a train in northern Victoria, but there's NOTHING up here in Brisbane. What the Popmart? I know what I saw. There was a blacked out train. There were police on the track and various points marked. There were other police gathered around a point on the platform. There were reports of a jumper at Loganlea. So where is the news about it? Something happened, I know it did. What the Zooropa's going on here?

Now, after all that, let's return to the rugby. We had FANTASTIC seats. We were right behind the tryline (Tonga's line in the first half; that means New Zealand scores by crossing it), seventeen rows back, and WOW. We walked in just as NZ got their first try after five minutes, and it went from there. They scored five tries in the first half to lead 35-0 at half time, and then piled on another eight in the second half, and the Tongans also broke through to score a try, which was actually a very good one. None of the conversions were missed by either side, with a final score of 91-7, the highest score in the competition so far, beating Australia's 90-8 last week against Romania. GO THE ALL BLACKS! It was AMAZING being there. The atmosphere was just incredible, and ... wow, I loved it. I have to go to the rugby again. AND WHAT SUPERB SEATS!

We took some photos with Sam's digital camera, and he should be e-mailing them to me sometime today. Mum also took photos of me dressed up in my gear before the match, but it's a new film so I don't know if that'll get developed any time soon or not. I'll need to find something to take photos of.

When we FINALLY got home, I turned on the TV, and it was the second half of South Africa versus Georgia. South Africa is historically one of the greatest countries of all time - New Zealand's definitely better, and England and Wales are arguably above them - but they've drastically slipped out of form. The Georgians, however, have never been at a World Cup before, they've probably never played a team the likes of South Africa, I doubt they've had the privilege of playing in front of a +30,000 crowd, and they're one of the teams expected to do the worst in the competition. South Africa was expected to thump them, by at least eighty points. England DID thump them when they met, 84-6. But when I tuned in, six minutes into the second half, it was 29-9 to South Africa, and then the Georgians went and scored their first World Cup try and converted it to bring it to 29-16 and within striking distance. It was incredible to see the elation on the Georgians' faces, it was great. Nearly the entire crowd was behind them, and the roar that went up when they scored was amazing. In the end, the Springboks (South Africa) scored some late tries to win 46-19, but that scoreline did not do the Georgians justice. It really shows how much the 'boks have slipped, and the mighty effort put in by Georgia was astounding. If their scrums had been a bit stronger, they could've come even closer. It's amazing that there's only 2000 registered rugby players in Georgia, and yet they came so close, and their kickers were very good, too.

This LJ post has suddenly given me the urge to write again, even if the very premise of the idea is loathsome. Quantity over quality is a philosophy that should never be practiced. But I do want to get back to writing my novel. Just I seem to run out of time, which is infuriating. And then when I do have time, I lose the urge to write and nothing gives me a prompt to get back to it. I really need those prompts because people are always saying how good my writing is. Although I find this strange: I've grown up writing, and being able to easily knock up a story or essay or speech of reasonable quality is second nature to me. I hear people complaining about how hard writing is, and that is quite possibly the most foreign thing to me, maybe even more than good sight.

Question: am I the only person on the face of the planet who thinks Romeo And Juliet is terrible? Really, it is. I've lately heard lots of glowing praise for it, and I just don't understand it. It's the only poor Shakespeare work I've read, and it can't hold a candle to stuff like Henry V or The Tempest.

So yes, I've had people asking me why I memorised Pi to 330 decimal places, and I thought it would be a good idea to type out the story. In grade seven (1999), we first started to learn about Pi and its uses. To make things more interesting, my teacher, who was a great man, decided it would be fun to see who could memorise the most of it. I was away on the day he proposed this idea (a Monday), and when I came back (Tuesday), some people had made it to seven and then Brooke hit fifteen (holy carp I miss her ... shit, it's been four flaming years, why do I even bother remembering?). On Wednesday, someone hit thirty-two or something, and then it was all myself and Jamie (not my friend Jamie at my high school, but another Jamie who used to live next to me). We competed against each other to see who was the best. My memory is a bit hazy of how things went, but this should be pretty much accurate. On Thursday he got up and did it to seventy or so, and then I got up and beat him by two. On Friday, I got up and blew everyone away by hitting 128. He went to 130. I got back up and did it to 132. He never got past the 130 mark. A couple of weeks later, at a day designed to show the parents all of what we'd been doing that term, I performed Pi to 156.

That was it until 2002. I would mention how I knew Pi to 156 decimal places and how the first 100 or so simply come naturally to me. Then, one day, I was prompted to look back at it again and decided to see if I could reach 200. Within only a couple of days, I re-remembered the 156 and made it to 200. I then decided to go further, and my personal records were tumbling. By the next week, my Maths B teacher invited me to perform it on the Year 9 Assembly. The morning of the assembly, I performed it to 340 in practice and felt I could make it to 350. Indeed, I did know digits 341-350, although I had to go and never got the chance to perform it that long in practice. I then got up on assembly and passed the 320 mark, which was what I knew the previous night, hit 330, which I'd taught myself that morning ... and then couldn't remember the next digit. I was annoyed I couldn't do the next ten, but I was very pleased with 330. It was quite incredible. I now may try to beat that. I would love to make 350. But I'd have to teach it to myself all over again. I simply cannot forget the first 100-130, but beyond there I'd have to revise it a bit because it's not as clear and vivid in my memory.

And that's the story.

Here is a report on NZ versus Tonga. Statistics, links to articles, photos, and there's also some audio/video thing. I can't view it because of my download limit, but if it happens to show the crowd behind the end where New Zealand's scoring at in the first half, look seventeen rows back and you may see me. I'm all dressed up with a scarf, shirt with a large silver fern, All Blacks cap, have an All Blacks and a New Zealand flag (which at points were held by Sam and Mum), and everything. One of the tries was scored in a direct line down from Sam, who was two to my right (Tom was directly to my right, my mother directly to my left), so there may be a shot looking up at us, I don't know.

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  • You'd think I'd forgotten about this or something!

    Well, come June this year I'll have been on LiveJournal for a decade. That's pretty scary. Not that I've updated much over the last…

  • 2011

    Best year ever. PS Damn straight this is Axver, returning from the blogging wilderness after not posting anything since March. I guess after many…

  • A win for the ages and other cricket rantings

    Holy fucking shit, the Irish knocked off England in the cricket! Forget when they turfed out the hopeless Pakistan in 2007; this is something else.…