So You Want To Be A Criminal Mastermind…..

Now I don’t want the title of this post to alarm you. I haven’t suddenly formed the militant wing of the Anarcho Urban Writers for Liberation of the Dangling Participle or anything like that. But something happened in the Sydney CBD this week that got me thinking. Got me thinking hard. About the best way to shut down a city if you wanted to.

It’s obvious when you really think about it. No explosions. No viruses released into the subway system. No abducting the prime minister’s plain and sexually frustrated daughter who is saving herself for marriage and getting a group of buff Latino male models to hold her to ransom while rubbing themselves down with baby oil and saying Ooh yeah, you know you want it every ten minutes. None of that.


There is one surefire way to cripple a city. It was done this week by reluctant criminal mastermind Bazza the Bulldozer Driver* from Energy Australia who cut through ten thousand phone lines and damaged twelve mobile phone towers on Tuesday affecting pretty much all the homes and businesses in York and Clarence Streets in the city.

That meant no phone, no internet, no fax, no EFTPOS, and limited mobile phone coverage for all. My husband’s shop has been very badly affected as have all the businesses in his block. No way to place orders. No way to contact customers. And guess what? No one pays cash anymore.

Not one representative from either EnergyAustralia or Telstra has paid a visit to any of the businesses affected. Rumour has it Telstra is blaming Energy Australia for using an independent contractor to do the job and Energy Australia is blaming Telstra for not providing adequate plans of the layout of the phone line system. I love the blame game.

So far the lines have been down for 5 days and there is no indication of how long it will continue. Many shopkeepers have closed their doors, peeved that no one is taking responsibility or apparently doing anything. If you are a hairdresser or a travel agent or an online based business it is almost impossible to do business without a phone.

News reports suggest that Telstra is working around the clock to fix the problem but so far the city remains quiet.

That is why I haven’t been around much this week. I have been doing a lot of work for the shop at home. Banking, calling customers to let them know what’s happening, checking emails.

My husband’s server has a really inadequate spam filter. I have been awash with spam mail. Yesterday I received over 500 of the little blighters. No, I don’t want my penis enlarged 200 times thank you very much and I definitely don’t want to buy VIAGRU manufactured in the Ukraine. Or PROTSAC for the depressions. Might be time to change servers….

How can a city be shut down just like that? How can it be that in this era of incredible technology there is no manual override button?

My view of bulldozer operators has changed. I always thought they were jolly and competent like Muck The Bulldozer from Bob The Builder. I now believe that they really are harbouring a secret wish to be criminal masterminds.

Can we fix it?

No, we can’t.

* name changed for purposes of alliteration

13 thoughts on “So You Want To Be A Criminal Mastermind…..

  1. Every summer in New York, we have to worry about blackouts caused by everyone using their air conditioners — though not this year when summer felt like FALL all summer long (really, coldest in history). And then we get to see the ConEd trucks on the street painted with their huge lively motto: “We’re On IT!!” Yeah… right…. solidarity Selma!


  2. Am I missing something here Sel, how are you posting this is there is no internet? I’m glad you are able to but just wondered…

    What an awful thing to happen but it’s so true, we are all vulnerable to these types of events happening. Just like a virus sent out into the world by some frustrated teenager could literally shut down the world.

    I hope this driver gets into another line of work. I’m assuming this was not intentional? Perhaps it was?

    Hugs and hope this week is much better, G 🙂


  3. (wiping coffee off monitor) There! Much better, now I can see to make a comment.

    As sorry as I am to hear of your troubles, you wrote about them so well, I couldn’t help but laugh. I do hope your misery is short-lived and your city gets back to normal soon.


  4. LOL- LMAO – Oh come on Selma, everyone wants to be bigger and have more stamina! Go ahead and check out that spam – I hear it is good on wheat with mayo! Hi, how are you? I have been AWOL for way too long. How I loved reading this. You are so clever! I just posted a story for Monthly Movie Musings. Stop by when you get a chance.


  5. Well. I posted way back about a young woman who knocked over a junction box with her car, and Vigin Media subscribers had no cable TV or Internet for 4-5 days but it´s small potatoes compared to this.

    Rather reminds me of .The Italian Job (original Ýou were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off´version!)


  6. It’s always the simple things that’ll take out half a city. It also shows how much we rely on the phones these days, for everything. I know that if it happened here in London, the firm I work for would pretty much shut down.


  7. JOHN:
    Our summer was fairly cool last year too compared to previous years. But I do know what it’s like when pressure is placed on the system with all those a/cs. Solidarity sure ain’t what it used to be!

    We weren’t affected at home, thank goodness, as we’re on a different telephone exchange. But the lines are still down at work. It’s been a bit of a nightmare, actually.

    I think it helps to laugh at moments like these. Or throw things. Or threaten telecom employees. Or run out into the street and shake my fist at the sky. I feel better just thinking about those things. I hope we’ll be back to normal soon!

    I’m sure a hurricane would be much worse, but it does show you how much we rely on the internet these days. No phone lines, no work!

    It is lovely to hear from you. Now that has made my day. All that spam has cracked me up. You wonder how many people sign up for these things. There must be enough to keep the spammers in business, otherwise they wouldn’t keep doing it. I’ll look forward to reading your story!

    It IS like The Italian Job. The original was such a great film. I still love Minis because of it!

    I think a lot of firms have closed for the week. It’s impossible to do anything. There is already talk of a class action suit!


  8. Old Grizz was cringing as read this post. I have a small business in California and it can be disaster to have problems like you describe. It is scary when you consider how much we depend on electricity and communications to make our businesses function. For what ever good this might do, I have actually caused enough stink in our city to force them to fix problems (on overtime, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week) to get business up and going. go to the top and scream like hell.


  9. That guy must be feeling very popular at the moment…NOT.

    I know it isn’t funny, especially when it effects so many people’s livelihoods, but you wrote it in such an amusing way I couldn’t help laughing.


  10. OLD GRIZZ:
    We completely rely on those things to keep our businesses afloat. My husband ranted and raved and got his phones on yesterday but the broadband is still down so that means he can’t take any credit or debit cards. We heard that some shopkeepers were actually offering money to get the service started up again!

    Can you imagine? People will be baying for his blood. The spams were funny. I was killing myself laughing. Don’t think I’ll be ordering any Viagru any time soon!


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