Day 216: Rules Club Without Beer + Apple-less Outback Experience

‘Rules Club Without Beer’

I’m staying at RULES CLUB WAGGA WAGGA. I have decent internet. I can get a secure connection. It feels like forever since I was blogging. Can’t get a beer. No mini-bar.

I’ve still been watching the 200 greatest movies, although not the one’s I intended at this time.

I brought a blu-ray player that connects to my computer through USB. The player broke on Day 3. My eldest says it was the youngest, shaking it, but I don’t know who to believe. The youngest says she didn’t pick the player up and shake it up and down whilst watching Inside Out (2011).

I have had to modify my plan during the outback exploration and I’ve only seen a handful of films in those ten or eleven days. I’ve written about them all. Just not online. I’ll add the entries below in a light grey colour – in between Day 206 and Day 216 – to show they weren’t daily entries.

‘Apple-less Outback Experience’

I don’t have a prejudice against either of the two major competitors, Apple and Microsoft. I’ve always used a PC. I’ve also had an iPad and an iPhone since they started making them – or soon after. But the day I started this trip with my daughters seven and (almost) five – five today actually – I’ve not had a working iPhone.

I don’t want to bad-mouth the product because I’ve never had a problem. I’ve been using iPhones and iPads for at least eight years and never had an issue like this. Suddenly, dramatically, I’ve lost my means of communication with the entire world on the first day of my Outback Experience.

Whatever spin Apple, Inc. put on this – if they blame me or my wife for some setup that was flawed and bound to fail at some point – so far their technical help has been fantastic.

I was put in touch with Nigel at some kind of Apple Support on Day Two of the phone malfunction and he’s been there for me on wi-fi every day I had wi-fi between 9am and 6pm.

Thing is, when you’re in the outback you mostly don’t have wi-fi. Sometimes, you don’t even have mobile reception: for several days. Like when you book a house in Mumbil for three days and nights.

One pub. House on the railway line. No steaks. No lamb cutlets. Nothing gluten-free. Great service. But I can’t eat anything.

One brand. Apple. No normal functioning of the iPhone. Loss of all emails associated with the ID, loss of all Notes, loss of all Contacts. Loss of all contacts, including my wife’s phone numbers. Great service. But I can’t do anything.

It’s the same thing. Advertise you have T-Bone steak and lamb cutlets then be sure to have T-Bone steak and lamb cutlets.

If you advertise you have email and phone numbers and notes on your phone whenever you need them then be sure to have email, phone numbers and notes on your phone whenever your customer needs them.

Aside from the tormenting frustration of not being able to type in a letter of a word or a digit of a phone number imaging being gluten-free, sucrose-free, I have a list in my Notes on my iPhone and it and the vast majority of the notes disappear. How do I check as I travel what I can and can’t eat?

Aside from the frustration of losing everyone’s contact details and all the emails I had set up on the iPhone, there are some people I need to be in contact with, so I can go away, and even without wi-fi, just Telstra 4G, attend to those emails.

Aside from the frustration of all of that, what happens if you visit Broken Hill, they get an abnormal day of 19 degrees and rain, you travel over a 100 kms to Kinchega National Park, thinking that (if it’s overcast in Sydney it doesn’t mean it’s overcast in Wollongong or Newcastle) it might be sunny there, you drive in and do the Lake Drive, it starts to rain, you begin the River Drive, the rain gets heavier, you turn around, it feels dangerous, you head back to Menindee, the car gets bogged?

The engine is revving at maximum (3000RPM in 1st gear foot flat to the floor) in an AWD Subaru Outback, you’re moving forward by a few centimetres for a second or two before you smell the smell of an overheating engine and see you’re not getting anywhere soon.

The burning smell of the engine makes you stop trying after 30 minutes. You try to make phone calls but you have a prompt to enter your password into your Apple ID code.

You try to dial your wife or the Menindee Police Station but you can’t type in a letter or a digit for every three or four tries.

You’re bogged. There’s no traction for the tyres. It’s heading night-wise and every step you take puts another layer of Darling River clay on your shoes, the car won’t move forward more than a centimetres, the Menindee service station can’t help, the local police don’t care – well, they’re not even in the realm of being helpful. You can’t search for a number and it takes a lot of time to type a text to one’s wife, and it begins to get a little bit scary.

  • It’s not scary like “I’m-gonna-die” fear.
  • It’s I don’t know what to do,
  • I wonder how cold it gets overnight?
  • I’m bogged, I feel like an idiot, I’m embarrassed,
  • I just want to go home (Sydney) but my car won’t move.
  • How long am I going to be here for?

If there is any time in your life when you want a working phone its when your mired in Darling River mud which makes your car behave like it’s on skiis with a person that can stay upright but can’t direct themselves in – how can I put it? – any fucking direction because you’re sliding all over the road!

When I did get a call through to the Menindee Police or NRMA it was always dropping out because of the mobile coverage. The mobile service was so uncertain I sent my wife a text message, in dire straits, worst-case-scenario:

I’m in the National Park just off the river drive, Four km from Menindi (sic). This is in case I lose reception. In fact, if you don’t hear from me in 30 minutes please just get someone to send help.

I’m balancing fear with the rising feeling of panic and the knowledge that it doesn’t matter, nothing matters, it is what it is. You get out or you don’t get out. Mostly likely it will be an uncomfortable night and then you’ll get out.

Now, when I try to sign it from my usual phone, to Google and Gmail, they think I’m a new customer with a new iPhone wanting to set up an account.

As if that’s not bad enough, most of the day, every single second I have my iPhone awake it prompts me for the code of the ID address. Every single second I tap NOT NOW, it requests the password again a second later.

I use my iPhone like I used to use a computer. It gives me all my emails, all my text messages, has all my contact details, all my notes, and allows me to browse the internet whenever I have a question.



I can’t update my website. I can’t update my blog. I can’t even contact any person I know if I don’t have their number stored in my brain. And the more our phone becomes the memory for our brain the less we need to ask our brain to file away all these important bits of information in the vast filing cabinet that it has been using, naturally, for centuries.

Don’t use it? You lose it!

Ain’t that the truth.