Standards and crime

This morning I dedicated to getting some ISO standards work done. I had to write a report on the international meeting I attended (virtually) a few weeks ago, to be submitted to Standards Australia.

That took me right up to a slightly late lunch, for which I made myself some simple cheese and tomato and beetroot sandwiches.

Mid-afternoon I went out to go to the nearby railway station cafe to buy a chocolate hedgehog for a snack to share with my wife, and I took Scully for a walk over there. A bit before the station there was a group of about 8 or 9 people, maybe older teenagers, maybe about 20 years old. All dressed head to toe in black. Sitting on a low wall together. I thought it was a little odd, but not too notable.

A train pulled in, and some of them bolted for the station at top speed – I thought at first they wanted to catch the train. Then I realised a car had just pulled up and three people had got out. Two of them bolted after the fleeing guys. Three girls were left sitting behind, and the other guy from the car ordered them: “Don’t you go anywhere!”

The two chasing the running lot tackled one and cuffed him on the ground. I don’t know where the others went, if they got on the train, or fled up to the street. I heard the cops say to the cuffed guy, “You’re under arrest!” They were in plain clothes, but clearly cops, because they had holstered guns and walkie talkies. One cop laid on the guy to keep him on the ground, since he was really struggling, the other cop (a woman) called for backup.

I walked past nonchalantly and got my hedgehog in the cafe. A minute later a police car arrived with sirens blaring and uniformed officers got out, but I was walking back home and didn’t see what happened after that. I passed the girls and the third officer, who were still waiting in the original spot relatively calmly.

So that was dramatic. I have no idea what it was all about – drugs, or a graffiti gang, or what. I’ve never seen a police chase or arrest in Australia before. I have seen one in the USA – literally while travelling to my hotel from the airport after I’d arrived on a business trip.

So… a day of hours of boredom followed by seconds of excitement.

New content today:

What monsters lurk in men

I was reminded today of just how horrible humans can be sometimes.

I decided to walk up to the fish & chip shop near my place to get some lunch, and then out to my favourite eating spot. It’s a lookout at the end of a street, perched on a hill with a view of Sydney Harbour. Not the grandest view, but a pretty nice one, and convenient for me to walk to. This is the spot where I mentioned magpies accosted me and my meal recently. No magpies today, thankfully, and this was the view:

Vista Street view

Lovely, right? Here’s a panorama to show more of the surroundings:

Vista Street lookout panorama

At the left of the panorama you can see the wooden bench where I usually sit to eat my lunch. There’s also an old white wooden chair frame, but the seat is missing – I don’t know why it’s still there. Anyway, here’s a closer shot of the bench:

Vista Street bench, with poisoned shade trees

This is where it gets nasty. See the trees, the partly foliaged one in the middle, the deadish looking one on the left, and the one on the right with many branches removed? Normally these trees have very full foliage and provide a deep, full shade to the wooden bench, making it perfect for sitting on. Today, as you can see, the bench is at best 30-40% shaded, with the hot spring sun burning down on the rest. What’s going on? And wait… what’s that sign?

Illegal tree poisoning notice

Some inconsiderate bastard has illegally poisoned the trees! This is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence in Sydney, almost always around the harbour where some inconvenient tree happens to block the waterfront view of someone’s house. When these trees are fully dead and gone, the views from the houses behind them will take in considerably more of the harbour (and will provide no shade at all to my lunch seat). As you can see, tree poisoning is such a serious concern in Sydney that the law provides for fines up to $1.1 million – if the culprit is caught.

Tree poisoning notice

The council may have installed some CCTV cameras to keep a watch on the area, but I fear it’s too late. There have been some successful prosecutions for tree poisoning in Sydney, but often the perpetrator gets away with it due to lack of evidence.

On a brighter note, this morning I did another 5k run. I tried to push myself a bit faster than last time, and managed to drop my time from 6:25/km (8 Oct) and 6:19/km (15 Oct) to 5:52/km today! I still feel there’s a decent amount of improvement to go, so I’ll be keen to keep this up and try harder next time. Also, I can feel that my body is getting used to the exercise – I don’t feel nearly as sore as after that first run.

And otherwise I’ve been preparing for my trip to Germany tomorrow. I’m flying to Frankfurt via Dubai, then getting a train to Essen. On Sunday I’ll be attending the Spiel board game exhibition. The Monday morning I get a train to Cologne for three days of ISO Photography Standards meetings, before flying home on Thursday. I arrive back home Saturday morning, 2 November, so I’ll be gone just over a week. I’ll try to post updates from over there, but may not manage it – I’ll have to see.

New content today: