Cheeseburger Gothic

All Hail Tarl, the King of New York.

Posted February 8, 2009 by John Birmingham
Had a day of meetings and interviews and a coupla signings on Friday. Lunched with my agent and caught up with Murph and Trinity later in the afternoon.

A cab ride to Union Square then linked us with Craig and Tarl for dinner at a pretty fab Mexican place where Tarl insisted on shouting the feed.

Props to the big guy.

Did quite a bit of walking to get bacl to the hotel, and quite a bit more this morning after a salmon bagel for breaky. We checked out some sites in lower Manhattan that I want to use in the next book, and a good thing we did because I had the scale all wrong.

Comicon was a geek fest of epic proportions. Just having a rest in my room right now, but will head back in twenty minutes for my last sesh.

83 Responses to ‘All Hail Tarl, the King of New York.’

Abe puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
I got the best sense of the scale of Manhattan from landing in a plane at Newark that had its final approach along the Hudson...so you get a sense of the size of Manhattan and how built up it is as you fly in. Fracking enormous.

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2009
I get my sense of the scale of it from GTA 4.

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2009
Google Earth for me.

Had a NY pizza yet?.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Yeah Moko Google earth is brilliant.

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drej has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
The Empire State building is still worth checking out for the view.

Great city for just walking around, every street has something new. Glad you're having a good time.

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Madoc mutters...

Posted February 8, 2009
Drej & all,

Yeah, definitely take in the Empire State. Sure, it's touristy but it is unique and iconic at that.

Good on you Tarl for the shouting.

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Flinthart swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2009
You made it to Comicon! Cool!

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2009
You ate Mexican? In New York City...? A food loaded with cheese... You eat Mexican when you get to Texas - not NYC. Even Egyptian food in NYC is better than Mexican.

Jesus...

J.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
Did Jesus eat cheese?

Maybe it was liquid cheese and he turned it into wine.

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G ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2009
I can't believe i'm going to do this but I agree with Jane * shudders * Mexican in AZ or TX or Cali Not NYC.

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BrianC mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
Hmmmmm cheese wine

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Brian reckons...

Posted February 8, 2009
Ahh . . .but in New York you get kosher cheese. Probably one of the few places in the world where you can get authentic kosher mexican burrito's.

Jeez. . .J just how provincial are you anyway?

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jennicki puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
Kosher Mexican...hahaha.

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puma ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2009
Too bad you didn't know anyone to help you plan. More great restaurants in NYC than you can count.

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Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2009
I trust we're going to get some blogging about the Comic-con? I'd love to go to one of those.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2009
No cheese.

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Tarl mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
It was actually pretty good Mexican (speaking as someone who grew up in Mexico).

The well-fed crew: Tarl (from NH), Murph & Cindy (from Missouri), Craig (from Scotland), and the GoH, Birmo.

http://tarl.net/DSC_0403s.JPG

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Sweet Jane Says has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Heads up - Houston has great Vietnamese food and fantastic Jamaican food due to large populations of both groups. You'll also find good Greek and Indian food in Houston - if they have survived the economy of the last year.

J.

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Brian mutters...

Posted February 8, 2009
jennicki.

If I have one article of faith - its that sooner or later someone will make a kosher version of almost anything. It may not be Mexican traditional but the taste is indistinguishable. Shoot - kosher lasagne is right tasty.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted February 8, 2009
An excellant Food Safari on SBS last week about Kosher tucker. Expanded my brain in a culinary way.

Still amazed at the surface similarities between Halal & Kosher. Shouldn't be - neighbours & all, but you'd think...

Well, no, I guess not.

I reckon if I'm being bought dinner It'd be rude of me to say "Greek, in Brisbane? You must be high - I only ever eat Greek in Melbourne where it is soooo much more authentic."

SJS, keep your ear out for the doorbell. It'll be UPS delivering you a clue.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Sorry I meant to add to the end of first sentance, the show spoke of a thin sliced smoked beef topside referred to a Fake-on or Makon - basically a Kosher Bacon like product. Just like Brian was sugesting.

Hey Jane, was that the door?

heh heh heh

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BrianC mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2009
Birmo said

" No cheese. "

Thats cheesist, im going to write a letter to my minister

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
Ehh . . .Bob. That Food Safari show was terrific. Did you catch the Syrian one? All those cakes and slices? Like to have a crack at that raw meat sushi type thingie.

Kosher. Its good tucker. All those cake shops in Ackland Street are kosher. Some of the best cakes around.

As to the door? Maybe 'Knock, knock' etc

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2009
... photos ... ???

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CraigWA swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
I have some photos, I'll see what I can do about getting them up online somewhere shortly.

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mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
I gotta go with SJS on the Mexican food in NYC. Houston has whatever you want.

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2009
I'm so pissed that I could not make it there ... was very much looking forward to meeting Birmo and Murph and thus completing the "circle of trust" on the material plane.

I can't wait to hear Birmo's take on all of the American fanboys at ComicCon and, of course, Murph's AAR.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 9, 2009
Good Mexican food in NY is a sign of the pending Apocalypse. Get the hell out of the continental United States (and much of Canada and Mexico) while you can!

But take Moko's cue and grab a NY style thin crust pizza on your way out.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
When in Seattle eat the sea food and fresh water fish. You'll also get very good sushi in Seattle. Be sure to eat the wild trout or wild salmon; don't get "farm raised," and drink wine from the Washington or Oregon vinyards.

If you haven't been to the Holocaust Museum, Houston has an excellent one. Govenor Johnson was instrumental in giving refuge to many Jews during WWII. Houston has a large Jewish community that has endowed the city with excellent museums of every manner.

Austen, Texas produces great micro-brewery beers. Drink those while in Houston, but drink Canadian or Japanese beer while in Seattle.

J.

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
Hope all Australian burgers are unaffected by the fires. Take care you guys.

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
Its pretty bad here Vaga. Over 100 dead so far and nearly 1000 homes destroyed. Many people died in their cars trying to escape. They attempted to drive through the thick smoke and invariably crashed into the side of the road or each other. Its a bit cooler now but saturday was intense. 47 degree temperatures and winds of up to 100kmh.

You know what it feels like when you get a hairdryer and point it directly in your face? Well going outside on Saturday it was like there was a giant hairdryer pointed at your whole body.

I was supposed to visit my cousin in Gisborne over the weekend. But I've never been to her property before and didnt really fancy driving around country roads looking for it. Shes ok, but the fires affected some of her neighbours so she had to keep about 8 horses from round the district safe in her stables

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Brian puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2009
Matt - thanks for the sentiment. The fires were about 10 minutes to the North of me. I've got friends who have evacuated out. Got a property that I'm expecting to see burn in Noojee.

Its very tense around here. My family and myself are waiting on news about family friends in Castella, Kinglake and down in Bunyip State forest. Ex- workmates in Churchill - dunno. Family in Bendigo are good.

Farmers going around shooting animals. Bodies being left in burnt out car wrecks - waiting for forensics teams. This is unparalleled. Being called the 'worst natural disaster since white settlement'.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 9, 2009
We here in California deal with seasonal wild fires (the Native American name for Los Angeles translates to "Valley of Smoke) but your fatalities far exceed anything we've seen in a long while if ever. My prayers and best wishes go out to anyone impacted.

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Trowzers ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2009
The bit the scares me - the firies, and ex-firies I spoke to a few days before this started knew this was coming. Several told me this would be 'far worse than Ash Wednesday'. "Well," I said (not quite believing them) "At least we have warning and can get prepared". No, I was told, you cannot really prepare for something like this. There is no telling where it will pop up, only that it will happen somewhere, and unless you put a fire crew on every acre, it is pretty much unstoppable. That this still happened when (afaik) many were as prepared as they could be, scares me silly.

My best wishes to those down south and those up north experiencing flooding. The lovely weather here in Brisbane makes me feel terribly guilty.

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 9, 2009
I've just had one of the big Sikorsky water bombers fly overhead. That's worrying. We're not on the flight path for any of the local airports. Wind's picked up. I live in the foothills of the Dandenongs. The third biggest recorded fire AKAIK was up here about 35 years ago. High fuel loading. National forest and interspersed homes. Suburbia. For old timers - its like waiting for the next shoe to drop. You watch the weather - and look at the ridge lines. What worries me is that people aren't worried enough. Most of the local CFA units went North days ago.

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2009
More information on the fires here: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/

Details on road closures here: http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/NewsRoom/BushFiresRoadClosures/

Firemaps here: http://google-au.blogspot.com/2009/02/mapping-victorian-fires.html

and here: http://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=109226935524884968309.00046252015ee6beb4fca&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=-35.657296,146.184082&spn=8.529985,19.775391&z=6

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
It's the lead story on the TV news here but weirdly the paper doesn't mention it. It's the people in their cars that affect me most, I don't know why.

I recognize the conditions from Spain, but the hottest I ever experienced was 45c. They have brush fires and gumtrees too, but mostly it's pretty treeless. Amongst other things they use dive-bombers which hit the fires with a red powder that stains the earth, rocks and plants.

The snow is slowly dripping outside so it seems odd to recall Spain now.

Stay safe.

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 9, 2009
Matt - cars ditto. There was one pic with cars nose to nose either side of a downed tree ie both lanes blocked - like a rail way boom gate.

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
It sucks to know that when I wake up in the morning the death toll will have risen. Good night, hope I'm wrong.

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2009
Good luck to all of you affected by the fires. There doesn't seem to be enough of you to fight all of these blazes. Everyone stay safe!

It's hard enough in California when this happens, which has twice the population and resources of all of Australia with a lot less area.

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sibeen has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
yankeedog, in a case like this you could have ten times the resources and it just wouldn't make any difference.

I live in inner Melbourne, the temperature hit 47.3 in Essendon. We were never in any danger, but when I looked at the sky in the late afternoon it was one of the ugliest sights I'd ever seen. The whole of the horizon was just a pallour of smoke and everyone who lives in Melbourne just knew that shit was going down.

It appears the death toll is now 116, unfortunately it'll probably go a fair bit higher.

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2009
Get your Austin beer extra cold.

J.

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MickH puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2009
YD the CFA is actually very well equipped but as Sibeen says, the conditions made the whole state volatile, you just can't fight that.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
OK, a little freaked out now.

A mate of mine flies choppers, he's currently down south helping / waterbombing you Victorian FERALS.

I got a grabled message last night on the mobile - "nargh bargle shh shshh but I'm OK bzztshckle" What the?

The news got through this morning chinese whispers style.

He clipped a power line!

He managed to put her down in more or less one piece and is not injured.

He's always told me any landing you walk away from is a good landing.

Looks like he's just used another of his lives. But I reckon that stain in the back of the flight suit will take some scrubbing.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2009
Murphy Actual here. Brief AAR.

The Mexican place wasn't bad, honest. They had Dos Equis Lager (yes, I know, folks think it is mule piss but I like it).

Rhino, we had a whiskey tasting sesh down in the hotel bar. Should have been there. The Circle would have been complete.

Here is a list of additional places we dined at.

Maxi's (Murph and Trinity, though Birmo and Craig went on an earlier sortie)

Emily's Stardust, where they sing to you, Saturday breakfast.

Junior's off of West 45th, Sunday breakast.

Carnegie Deli which was off Columbus Circle, Sunday Lunchdinner Heart Attack in Progress.

Trinity had the obligatory street dog and said it was the best she ever had. I had the pretzel as a substitute instead.

Comicon was defnitely an Ubergeek Out Deployment of the First Order. Craig got more photos than me since he had the superior camera.

It was really quite an experience. The only downsides are, well, I caught a cold, my left ear feels like it is stuffed with sludge and we have other travel scars.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian reckons...

Posted February 9, 2009
Thanks Murph. That makes a nice distraction with what some of us are putting up with. Did you get Birmo a T-shirt?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2009
Murph - I wish I could have been there.

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2009
The whole thing is unutterably horrific. The disturbing nature of the car images in particular (if you can actually externalise it and try and come up with logic) is probably a couple of things. One thing is the apocalyptic notion of the whole thing - people dead in their cars fleeing from hell and not making it out, it's a staple of every second huge-scale disaster movie or book (the Wave was a bit too quick for anyone to get in their cars I guess) and seeing it in real life is as surreal as it is horrific. Another thing is that we're culturally attuned to thinking our cars are a little bubble which insulates us from the real world - and specific to the case of bushfires, as Aussies we're told from childhood that if we're in a bushfire the safest place to be is to stay in our cars, get down low in the back and ride it out. In this case there was no place to hide and nowhere to run, which is truly scary as hell. The numbers are just insane and getting more so - they're projecting in the two hundreds now. It almost takes individual tragedies to give it perspective - Melbourne's old newsreader Brian Naylor dying with his wife, or the many horrendous personal accounts starting to come out of the blackness.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2009
Even more surreal than you think. One story of a woman making contact with her step father-in-law in Baghdad during the fire.(had to be satellite phone)Couldn't get a line out. Woman gets evacuated out. Next - step father-in-law organising a chopper from Melbourne to go looking for the womans husband. Which it finds.

Unless the ABC is allowing complete BS to go to air on the radio - that was the weirdest story I ever heard. The only creedence I can give to the story was that they were interviewing the woman live. John Faine on 3LO.

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savo would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2009
Bugger they are expecting the death toll to rise to 230. Probably end up being Australia's biggest murder investigation.

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 9, 2009
Savo - probable. At the 108 count - they were saying 100 people were still missing. What weirds me out further is no mention is being made of tourists. Marysville was a well known touristy spot. That area is popular for bushwalkers, campers, anglers etc etc

On a macabre note. This gives Birmo a lot of material for his sequel. What a country looks like with unrestrained wildfires.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2009
Cannot believe the Times has relegated this to page 6, this is front page news. Is is because Murdoch has a US passport now?

Germaine Greer makes the point that fire is part of the natural cycle of things. Been said before and all but bears repeating.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2009
Massive Military response from the Rudbot for the fire ravaged areas.

2 x APCs ( M113's) Comm's carriers and about half a dozen dozers and 150 troops.....HUGE!...Yeah!...Fucking hell!, I'll try and not GO OFFFFF!

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Murphy reckons...

Posted February 9, 2009
Brian, speaking of t-shirts, I found a shirt that would fit Birmo perfectly. Unfortunately, that same shirt would probably have caused him trouble at customs.

Paul, Birmo tells me he had a great time with you. Same per Madoc. Tarl was first class in covering the bill, which almost became an arm wrestling match between him and Birmo. CraigWA was there not only for the Mexican feed but also for the expedition to Comicon. In fact, he spent more time down there than I did and I believe he probably got better pics.

That fire sounds horrible. I've not had a chance to catch up. A 0800 hour class does that to you.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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sparty mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
The brush fires are terrible- I suddenly feel very cocooned in the UK. Wondering will this be an Oz Katrina in terms of Govt management or is something that "just happens"?

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 10, 2009
sparty - there's a hysterical witch hunt going on for fire bugs. Some of the killer fires are notionally 'natural'.

There was a doctrinal shift in fire fighting some years back - protect property, don't try and put them out. These fires were up and through communities before warnings got out. I don't believe these were organisational failures. The fire storm moved faster than communications. Then the intensity and spread of reports swamped available resources. The fires moved faster than resources could be moved to handle them. I suspect the concensus will be no amount of resourcing could have handled it.

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Abe reckons...

Posted February 10, 2009
More of the latter I think Sparty, although the lack of warning has raised a few questions. Plus many were deliberately lit, so clearly if they are caught there will be recriminations.

From what I've heard, on Sat (one of the hottest days on history and windy to boot) the fires were travelling in thin "fingers" that were unpredictable. But when the wind shifted 90 degrees, these fingers became fire fronts that moved at incredible speed.

The mix was highly unpredictable, which is why so many people were killed trying to get out of dodge.

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2009
Abe is right on most things. Nobody really knew what the wind was going to do when the cool change came through at 6pm on saturday. All of a sudden these narrow fires became massive as their edges became their fronts.

Calling this an Aussie Katrina is a bit overdone though. For a start most of the people affected by the fire were white. Secondly, Australia is still more or less a meritocracy. There will be no "heckuva job Browny" types who have been parachuted into the upper echelons of the CFA, SES or DSE to mess things up.

However there was no lack of warning. The conditions on Saturday had been predicted since midweek and were front page news for at least thursday and Friday.But Trowzers is right. When conditions are like they were it does not matter how prepared you are. The fire apparently moved at unprecedented speed that was approaching 100 mph. Some of the flames were as high as a 10 story building and the smoke turned a summer day into an eerie orange twilight.

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Abe is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2009
Yeah, I was referring to the more specific kind of warnings I've seen (received) in the past, rather than the very general DFAT-travel-warning style that aren't terribly useful for planning.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 10, 2009
I saw on the Teev the APC's trundling in & wondered what they could contribute? Are they fire proof?

Not criticising just wondering.

I worked a conference of EMQ (Emergency Management Queensland) about 12 months after the Canberra fire. The keynote speaker was one of the high ranking fire Johnnies from Canberra - basically sharing some of the lesons learnt there. I was gobsmacked to hear that suburbia has the same fuel load (KG of burnable / square meter) as open eucalypt forest, but the real "Faark me" moment was when the dude spoke of fighting the fire front in suburbia - access is better than in a forest, but when you run out of fire trucks & crews, access aint gonna help.

Hypothetically.

If we were to have a national resource base how would you prioritise locations?

How could you get them on site in time? As said above a 60 mile per hour fire front that can turn on a dime & head in a new direction makes it hard.

Victoria has had at least half a dozen fire fighting aircraft on standby for two months (my mate has been there sitting & waiting) how much more is reasonable?

Again as said above they could have had 50 and houses / lives would still have been lost.

An incredible tragedy and if I was the firestarter I'd be digging myself a very deep hole about now.

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Havock mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
NBOB, its interesting , you mention Fuel load in suburbia because it’s a major source of concern. If you look at the shift we have seen in the last 20 odd years away from the typical ¼ acre blocks to the now, 500 odd square meter block , we have dense packed metropolitan houses. In a lot of cases, there is mere INCHES between each house. A worst case is a fire in storm like conditions getting into one of these new growth suburbs. BAD. Very BAD.

Abe, the APC’s are communications APC’s, but in terms of fire survival, so long as you move through the front rapidly they would be OK. Limited amount of Oxygen etc in them , but safer than a fire truck in extreme conditions.

As for some one to blame. Nobody really.

You could say we should have done more burning off over the last 5 years, given the drying conditions, but you need the right conditions to do that. We perhaps could have had better coms, who knows.

Building and fire equipment regulations could have been better maybe as well.

But it is a FACT. If you live in the bush and its heavily timbered and beautiful you have a very good chance of facing a Bush Fire. Throw in EXTREME conditions like we just had and you will quite possibly get a lot of unfortunate deaths.

So long as we learn, we modify what we do and that may be as simple as tinkering with each area a bit more. Maybe for high risk areas we look at the following as mandatory. This is off the top of the head to BTW.

1 Houses built to have fire retardant paint only.

2 All roofs to be Iron

3 Fire suppression systems to be on all roofs

4 Bushfire shelter on all outlying Properties

5 Petrol / Diesel pumps on outlying properties.

6 Clear zone / Fire break around outlying properties

7 Occupants to do yearly fire training unless in the CFA or similar service.

8 Water storage tanks to be buried or shielded

9 Timber cladding???????

Just some thoughts. Keep ya fingers crossed for Healesville and likes, the warning has Just gone out.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2009
Anyone know if they have installed the survival tanks on all CFA trucks yet?

A couple of big fires ago we lost a couple of crews when the trucks were overwealmed.

I remember the responsible minister getting a royal reaming because more than half the CFA trucks did not have a refuge, and him promising they would all have them by X.

I wonder if it happened?

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JKBrooks85 mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2009
Hope everyone's doing well -- those fires don't look good at all. It reminds me of the 2004 fire season here in Alaska; we had 6.6 million acres burn, and it was surreal late in the season when it started to get dark and you could see the aurora shimmering through the smoke at times. Judging from that experience, you all might be dealing with the repercussions of these fires well after they're over.

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MickH mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
Off topic here but I found this interesting blog discussion on our Birmo:

http://larvatusprodeo.net/2009/02/08/how-to-spot-bad-science-fiction-or-fantasy/#comments

Some of you may care to comment? :-)

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Matthew K puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
BBC were just going on about firebugs too but... well, I just can't imagine that there would be that many people who are that mad or bad, not when the consequences are so obvious. Life tends to be screw ups rather than conspiracies.

The stuff about fuel load is very illuminating, I see why "my" province of Spain (Almeria) doesn't have too much to worry about - relatively few trees.

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Brian mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
Bob - AFAIK these trucks have misting systems. But when you're out of water, you're stuffed. We haven't lost any crews so far.

Havock - one talk back caller who lost her parents. The fire pumps were still operating when the disaster crews got to the property. A lot of the dead were 'fire wise'. Quite a few of the homes were metal clad roofed.

We're starting to hit the limits of what adequate fire protection means for above ground structures.

After Ash Wednesday - I thought the best idea was for underground 'storm shelters'. OMG - Brumby is talking about bunkers on the ABC as I type this.

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
They use bunkers for tornado protection in the USA. IMHO it could work in a bushfire if certain modifications were made. Havock has an interesting post up about it.

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2009
The US often sends firefighters, aid, and gear when Australia is burning, but we're too cash strapped to do anything but watch the news. Assistance that would have helped you is being wasted in Iraq.

J.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2009
SJS . . . US crews would have been too late. New Zealand crews - too late. Some one deal with this nitwit.

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Sweet Jane Says asserts...

Posted February 10, 2009
And all of the fires have been extinguished...? All of the bodies have been found...? The rebuilding has been completed...? It's good to know the crisis is finished.

J.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2009
Hope it's over. Without getting superstitious, best not tempt fate.

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Orin mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
Given that fires are still burning out of control around places like Yakandandah and throughout Gippsland, I don't think any firefighting assistance will be too late.

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tygertim mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2009
My sympathies for all of the affected, my prayers are for you. The rest of you keep safe. Plan the escape route NOW, and have your Go-TO-HELL-PLAN bags ready by the door!

I was there for the Oakland Hills fire in October of '91, just before Mom moved up to Yolo County... 25 people died, and some 3,000 houses were burnt. It was just the other side of the hill from us, and if the wind hadn't changed well, I was planning on Grabbing Mom and throwing her into the car and just going at one point. The fire was moving too fast for my liking. Thank God it didn't come to that. (Mom was in her 70's then, and in poor health).

A study was done on the fire, and amazingly, some homes (new construction) in the very midst of the fire zone came through unscathed. I remember reading that such things as fireproof roofing, double planed windows or windows with shutters, Stucco or other fireproof material used on the homes' exterior, A space cleared of brush 300 ft around the home all played important roles... one of the homes had built in roof misters (clearly the architect had put some thought into the building site conditions) good on the homeowner!

Take care and Keep Safe!

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2009
Orin - what has to happen is to relieve the guys on the fire line. To rotate them out. That's what normally happens. Crews have moved down from NSW and Canberra - but they have to leave resources to cover their own areas. The crews coming in from Tas and NZ will be used as relievers.

But there is no hope in putting these fires out unless the weather turns. The fires are going into mountain country inaccessible to vehicles.

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Monster Yuppy mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
SJS - We were going to call you guys...but you know.. it was short notice and our country is just a tad over 15 hours flying time from LAX...

We do have a few people in this country that can fight a fire.. what we need is for the conditions to change, weather change alone will help more than anything.. throwing people at this disaster will only have a minimal effect... Most of the country burning is inaccessible to most vehicles..

Sooo.. unless you guys can lend us, say, 100+ versions of Elvis tomorrow....(Erickson S-64 Air-Crane Helitanker) then we are in trouble...

Feel free to donate some of them sweet US dollars to the relief efforts though.. they will go a long way right now.

Cheers

The Monster

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted February 10, 2009
MickH ..I did, and at that spastic who also referenced the other blog. Talk about ..well, I waded through the tripe and perhaps have some idea why Murph went kinda funny. It took me ONE POST, not5-10 years or whatever.

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2009
"natural cycle of things" my arse, the old harridan got it wrong again.

brian unfortunately fire fighters, senior ones, tend to look on the brighter side of life and blame lightening strikes and electrical faults, lightening strikes when there are no clouds in the sky and there are simply not that many bad electricians. Strike Force Tronto in NSW put paid to most of those fantasies with proper fire investigations, not just some uninformed uniformed probationary constable writing off, and a goodly number of arrests for arson.

Lobes how long would the air hold out, specifically in these extreme cases? Plenty for the usual fire line but these seemed way way thicker than usual.

Orin: Get the firefighters from the north Queensland floods down and the SES from Victoria up to North Queensland, fair swap.

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted February 10, 2009
Savo I have no idea how long the air would hold out nor how long you would need it to hold out.

These fire fronts seem to move very fast so I guess anywhere that can protect you from radiant heat for up to 15 minutes is what you need. I imagine a reasonably sized room that was properly sealed off could contain enough air to keep a family alive for 15 minutes?

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2009
The virtual community is coming unhinged. I've already been asked to join several Facebook vigilante groups to hunt down the arsonists. Not sure who they think they;re kidding.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2009
lobes ..lol. Just WTF do they think they shall do.

Um, about 5-10 minutes for the fire front to pass.

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Brian mutters...

Posted February 10, 2009
Savo - a number of fires are due to electrical faults. See Ash Wednesday fires and the SECV compensation payouts. The Kinglake fire is being traced back to a sawmill. Humans are behind most fires. Shoot - we've seen people flick cigarette butts out of cars on Total Fire Ban days. Stupidity knows no bounds.

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Damaso is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2009
Wish I was in NYC to buy you a beer! If you have time (I'm sure you don't) go to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn for lunch. Best steak in town!

I noticed that WW is now available for the Kindle ;) ! I also noticed the price $14.30. If it was an NY Times best seller it would be $9.99, so what gives? I'm just wondering how the publisher came to that number. I do look forward to reading it though...

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Guru Bob asserts...

Posted February 11, 2009
MickH - had to laugh at those posts wheer Havock went off at them.

Re: Fires - apparently there are lots of doubts about real effectiveness of helicopters in these situations - maybe they just look good on the news? On Saturday only one fireplan would have worked - bug out early!!

Perfect storm for bushfires...

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