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January 9, 2010

Our day out on the F3

Filed under: Uncategorized — joel.cass @ 10:35 am

Daily Telegraph: Freeway U-turn causes carnage

This was unbelievable. We had set out on the F3, the main motorway heading north of Sydney for a day trip in the Hunter Valley, which in effect turned out to be more of a day trip on the freeway itself.

Traffic was held up for two hours, and lucky us, we had seemed to have gotten on the freeway just as the accident had happened and got stuck in traffic after the last exit before the accident. In effect we were stuck on the freeway, searing heat above 35 degrees around us, with no water and not enough fuel to merit keeping the car running for the air conditioning.

What to learn from this? Taking U-turns on the freeway is dangerous business if not outright stupid. I really hope the guy who did this gets his just deserves. And to think that if we had left a few minutes earlier I might be writing a completely different post from hospital, or just no post at all.

RTA’s traffic reports and cameras became very handy when trying to find out what was happening – as you can see in the final picture, traffic was blocked in both ways – they had effectively closed the whole freeway to airlift the dumbass and his victims out.

January 8, 2010

GE CreditLine – buyer beware

Filed under: Uncategorized — joel.cass @ 4:25 pm

I recently got one of those interest free loans for some furniture and other stuff, figured it was a good idea – get stuff for no interest and keep my money in an account where it does gain interest.

One thing to watch out for, which I found out today, is that payments have to be within a certain period between the 2nd and the 22nd day of every month. If you have a scheduled payment occurring outside this area, it will erroneously be recorded as an out-of-date payment on the previous bill.

I have a monthly payment set up to pay the bill on the 1st day of each month. This made sense to me – pay it before it’s due, and that way I know when the money is going out from my account, along with some other payments. Unlike a normal loan, GE does not accept payments in this way – if the payment is made before the next bill is depatched, it will count against the last bill.

Furthermore, because the next payment will occur on the first of the next month, it will be marked as “overdue”, even though (technically) the bill was already paid by the last payment.

I think this is something that seriously needs to be fixed or customers need to be told about this rule. It is illogical not to accept payments against the next bill after the last bill was due. And since my account was never in arrears, it is incorrect to charge me an overdue payment and penalise me with an interest fee. It is also unethical for GE not to tell it’s customers about this rule.

I have cleared things up over the phone but it wasn’t easy. The customer support representative denied that there was an error, he even denied there was a payment and it was only after I asked him to go back through the bills was it resolved.

But I am still pissed. It’s a scam that GE do not tell their customers about this rule and enforce a $35.00 fee on an account in which I made 4 times the minimum due payment in the previous month.

January 3, 2010

The trip to Bobbin Head

Filed under: Cycling — joel.cass @ 11:39 pm

I don’t really know why people love hills. The trip from Meadowbank to Bobbin Head has two of the biggest, scariest hills I have had to climb. Kissing Point road is a 6km climb with a 17% incline right at the end of it – just when you’re all but drained of energy. The next obstacle is getting out of the valley at Bobbin head. The trip to the north is a hard 5km climb with undulating hills and the climb to the south is a steady 4km climb.

This is my third trip out this way. A constant drizzle and a chilly wind from the east made the ride even more entertaining.

However, once the destination was reached it felt somewhat ‘worth it’. Once in the valley, a quick diversion to apple tree bay revealed a nice spot to rest and watch the water go by, the sounds of the bush in the air and the occasional fish jumping out of the stream made it all the better.

I cannot admit this was the best day of my life, in fact it was probably the worst. I left home for this trip in the worst state possible – I was looking fir pain. However a few minutes by this stream seemed to make all the world’s problems disappear.