Monday, July 18, 2011

What? Oh. Right. Bandwidth Cap. Thanks, Telstra.

Things are not slowing at all.

Weekends consist of a mass of kids: the Double-Troubles, the Vikings, and of course, the Flintharts. Anywhere up to eleven kids ranging in age from two to thirteen or so may be running about the place. Or about the Viking house. Or split randomly between them and us.

Happily, they're all pretty good kids, and likeable. Damned good thing, really, because cold, dark, damp wintry weather tends to keep 'em inside a lot more than in summer. Sure, they still swarm the trampoline and the playground-thing, but they don't last as long, and then they come in damp and shivery, and in need of hot chocolate or lunch or something.

It's nice for the kids, but all a bit chaotic. Mind you, it's going to stay like this for a while, maybe even get a bit more challenging. Shortly, Natalie and Jake are going to go to Ireland for a couple weeks. Y'see, as most of you know, Natalie is big on the diddly-dee fiddle music. Loves her some Irish Trad. And she plays pretty regularly with a bunch of people at a pub in Launceston.

Turns out one of those folks is a chap by the name of Brian Mooney. These days, Brian is a little on the far side of eighty years of age, and makes a crust as a rather good artist - but back in the day, in the sixties and early seventies when Irish folk music was making its comeback, Brian was a real player. Or singer, rather. Dig around in the history, you find him standing on stage next to folk like the Dubliners and the Fureys and a whole bunch of others.

Brian and his wife Phyllis are also two of the kindest, most generous, friendly, hospitable and interesting people you're ever likely to meet. And it turns out they're going back to Ireland for a look-around. Probably the last time they'll be able to go. And Brian in particular is looking forward to catching up with an army of famous and near-famous music friends... lots of singing and music and drinking, etc.

And they've invited Natalie to go along as well.

Oddly, she was a bit dubious at first. Couldn't quite figure out how to make it fit into the year. But I kind of put my foot firmly down, and told her that she was going to go one way or another. Seriously: Natalie longs to be a muso. But she started a bit late in life, and she's got doctoring and the family, so she plays for her own delight instead. Nevertheless, she's steeped in the stuff, and I know that she daydreams about playing with the big kids. So the chance to wander around Ireland in the company of a couple of folks who really did play with the big names, and who remain in contact with many of the legendary figures from that era (and later) in Irish music... yeah. She'd be insane to miss that. Moreso because it's not a chance that will come again, is it?

Anyway. That means in another week and a half or so, I'll be on sole parent duty for a couple weeks. Admittedly, the Kid Quota will be one down, because Jake gets to make the trip too (we couldn't afford the whole family, and Jake is old enough to travel with a degree of independence, so he got the brass ring.) but that still leaves two kids and all the usual excitement. Plus these multi-kid weekends, of course.

They come about because the Double-Trouble Dad is off in NSW for a few weeks on some sort of a permaculture training course. And more power to him: this corner of Tasmania could really use somebody to kick off intensive, boutique agriculture. But for the weeks he's gone... well, it's hard on Mum Double-Trouble 'cos she works weekends. Hence the addition of three kids to the Viking/Flinthart menagerie.

Mind you, it's nice to help out, and as I said: it's great for the kids. They run around like lunatics all weekend, stopping only to hoover up vast quantities of food. I remember a few weekends like that when I was a kid: mass family gatherings, gangs of us kids racing around, playing energetic games, reappearing for meals and then disappearing again. Very good times, and I'm glad my kids are getting the chance to experience something similar.

And the reason I've been offline so long? Simple. This month, I rehabilitated a computer to give away to some friends with kids - they could use a computer, and we had an old one that I knew worked fine; just needed to be formatted, reloaded, etc.

Lotta bandwidth there.

Meanwhile, Jake has been making animations and putting them on YouTube. More bandwidth, yep. Doesn't take long before 12gigabytes is gone. We've been throttled back to 64k connection for the last eight or nine days.

Don't blame me. That's the biggest 3G wireless account Telstra provides, and there's no provision whatsoever to top up the bandwidth if you go over. That's it. Flat: you go over 12gig in a month, they kick you down to 64k.

Yep. Gotta love rural Australia. Anyone out there who really opposes the NBN should just buy a fucking hardbound set of encyclopaedias and give up on being part of the 21st century in any form.

Okay. That's it for the moment. I should go into detail, for the sake of the kids reading this in the future, but I've got too much to do. I've got two or three stories to finish, further work on the novel... Swedish language lesson to prepare for tomorrow, etc.

No stopping. Forward!