Saturday, March 31, 2001

ooh, I'm grumpy today. this is my email to everyone I could find the address for at

I have never seen such an incredibly rude piece of mousejacking as the window you idiots have just put onto my computer.

I don't know where I picked up your stupid popup ad viruses; probably a blog-style video download site I was visiting; but after I killed three or four ads a dialogue box asked if I wanted to set my home page to your site, where I had never been.

wake up. rude, invasive and deceptive practices will get you no credit on the Internet.

No one will EVER click yes to such a stupid box, and it will stop them from visiting your site or registering with you. Besides, it's very bad karma and will probably mean your VCs decide to get into oil exploration instead.

yes, this is my real email address. but I've already blocked your address and I have some damn fine spam filters in place, so don't bother.

I haven't read your privacy statement, because it could only be a joke.
it gets worse! one Kathryn Schein is responsible for the scrapbook inanities. She is quoted in this article about making babies' scrapbooks (which in itself is a piece screaming out for irony or even a raised eyebrow, without success). But I won't give you Kathryn's quotes: Instead, I give you Karen Webster:

"When Karen Webster, of Provo, Utah, was invited to a National Scrapbook Day workshop, she wasn't sure what to expect. The mother of a 6-month-old, Webster was intrigued by organizing piles of photographs she had accumulated since the baby's birth. "More than anything," Webster says, "I just wanted to get out of the house." "

scrapbooking, it seems, is the last resort of near-insane housebound mothers. tell me again why I want to have babies?
it is truly UNBELIEVABLE the perverse uses this fine medium is being put to, as a random search of Google will confrim. This site, for instance, has nothing on it except lists of meaningles phrases to decorate scrapbooks about babies, children, love, family etc.

don't know what I mean? stop reading now if you have a sensitive stomach:
Boys Rule... and Girls Drool (or, Girls Rule... Boys Drool!)
Take time to love the little things in life

The laughter of children is an international language

Monkeying around

Pride and joy

Boy, Oh Boy!

Cute as a Bug

Cute as a Button

We are Family

The search string I used to unearth this horrid material was "red pink hornet fish" It is to be avoided in future.

Friday, March 30, 2001

picture attempt # 2:

Ok, this is weird. It's refusing to post my pasted-in copy, but happily chucks it up on the Web as soon as I type in something like this directly into the posting box- but only at the top. moody thing, innit?

Tuesday 27/3, 9.50 PM, Brisbane time:
content creation: unmediated singular vs mediated mass production
The Cluetrain Manifesto, at least what I've read so far, suggests that the Internet is going to give us all a voice. (ie, the blog?) It suggests that this is a good thing, because, and I quote: "The Web gives us an opportunity to escape from the bounds imposed by broadcast media's one-to-many notions of publishing." then it talks about the chance for our individual voices to shine through in that wonderful conversation: The Internet.
Problem is, if we're all talking, who's listening?
As a minion of a one-to-many style newspaper, I have been programmed to believe in editing, selection of information and an audience reading/seeing/hearing a shared media experience; one that may even be good, and in exceptional circumstances, better for being shared.
I've also been programmed to accept the relentless process that goes with producing a one-to-many media artefact; news editors breathing down one's neck to get stuff finished, good-enough solutions to problems such as finding a quote from the "alternative view", sloppy or even destructive subediting on occasion, and all too often, a good yarn being cut to shreds or left out of the news entirely. That's just how it is, and along with massive redundancy in the form of a nightly army of subeditors, it's what has to happen to get a lovely newspaper out on time at about midnight every night.
I kind of like well-edited material. And in the case of newspapers and television, I expect a consistent style and approach that owes more to groupthink than wild bursts of creativity.

oops, gotta stop. huge room service burger with hot fries has arrived.

The Other Side later.

ps: how rude! Blogger is telling me there is nothing to post. What, did Ev add the "literary critic" function while it was down?

ha, Ev! Does Ev stand for EVil? not only did he take blogger down WITHOUT MY AUTHORITY for hours (I'm writing this offline), while I was in Brisbane the first two days of my blog disappeared from the archives.
not that they were terribly interesting, but a blog is a blog and this particular one starts on 16/3/2001. but I have foiled him! at first I tried to salvage some posts from the cache on my laptop. Then I went back to my blog and did the ol’ change the URL date trick in archives and there they were!! I may just chuck ‘em up here out of sequence, or you can see them here - Jenny's lost posts.

An update has just gone up delaying Blogger’s return. Some weak excuse about a zillion records to work through. Until Ev gets his act together (no, really, we’re grateful), I’ll go work on my previously pathetic site at Vicnet for the purposes of posting images for this blog. And I'll test an image kept at geocities:

It wasn’t all keynote speeches, taxis and bad hotel pillows in Brisbane; I found a minute to blog, too, but because the super-modern technical staff of Cisco Systems don’t believe in floppy discs, I didn’t manage to post when I did get to an online machine.

resuming normal programming…

Monday, March 26, 2001

Packing, unpacking. I'm sure you want to hear me complain about being on and off airplanes every month or so. After six weeks' holiday, living out of a backpack over Christmas, I'm off on my first work trip of the year - only to Brisbane this time - and the bags just seem to pack themselves. If you want to learn to travel light, remember two things: you have to carry the shit everywhere, and no one will remember what you were wearing when you interviewed them. And carry-on is about an hour faster per flight than check-in. That's three things. I'm a writer, not a mathematician.
Right now I'm deconstructing my university reader, which is, or was, twelve centimetres thick. All the students seem to be lugging it about the place with them; I hope to set a trend by removing sections from the binding and clipping them into slim little booklets. There have been complaints that the whole thing should be provided electronically, but it's a techno-dream that we'd all have high-resolution laptops in our pockets. I'd give you a link to my course's forum - it's called Cybersocieties, very cutting-edge (and tax deductible for me), but you couldn't get in unless I gave you my password. now that would be an interesting cybersociety experiment.

Sunday, March 25, 2001

I've removed my link to CNN from the Oscars post below. They put a sucky RealNetworks banner ad across the bottom of my screen - not just @ CNN, but on EVERY WINDOW. Think I'll find somewhere else to see the frocks.
hee hee hee. whoops. now every post has "mail me" at the top. is that desperate or what? I guess I'm so used to instant responses that when the link didn't appear, like, five minutes ago, I assumed I'd got it wrong. back to the old drawing board.
aaargh! stupid email address. stupid html. even the beautiful cheat sheets at Webmonkey don't seem to be able to help me. I guess I'm going to have to RTFM, and possibly even learn about includes. I see now that it was all a cunning trap - in the past, html and the comparative horribleness of my own pages put me off creating a site - but Blogger has trapped me by making the first step easy. I can feel it sucking me in like quicksand.
Why do I care about the Oscars? I hated The English Patient and some of my favourite films have missed out on Best Movie in the past. I go to independent movies and science-fiction special effects movies without too much yuckiness (Blade Runner rather than Alien, for instance), and quite frankly don't think Julia Roberts is a very good actor - not when the likes of Judy Davis exist. Russell Crowe may be Australian, but he's not my type, and I recognise that the whole thing is a cynical marketing exercise (Rachel Griffiths referred to it as a kind of speech-night-graduation that loses the glamour when you're actually there. But I care. I think CNN will probably be running live pix this afternoon (ruining the delayed telecast for anyone who cares about the actual awards) and I'll be keeping a browser open for them. Why? The CLOTHES, of course. The clothes.
There's something really good about the way it feels after a good sweaty session - no, not what you're thinking - but an hour on my road bike out among the gum trees and spooning green lorikeets, trying and just failing to hit 50km/hour against a headwind.
If only the cars would bugger off. No matter how hard I'm pushing the pedals, or how bright and fresh the city looks from the hillside, one eye and both ears are always reserved for that car coming up behind me. The bends are worst - cars love to cut the corner, to get that nice straight line, whether I happen to be on that line or not. Anyway, I feel strong and alive, my skin feels clean and tight after a shower, and I'm all ready for a day at the computer ...

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Really must work out this link business soon. Meanwhile, my first attempt at self-promotion - a submission to a site I know nothing about : updatefu
And now, I have to drive 100 kilometres (no I am not going to convert that into US, I am SICK of converting things into US, especially dollars, 48.91 cents indeed!), and I have to do it with a headache and a sore knee. Musn't disappoint the Mum.
Ani Di Franco's Untouchable Face at high volume is recommended to soothe heartbreak, skinned knees and outrage at the refusal of husbands to go and buy one Tim Tams when one is limping from a dramatic bicycle fall.
At least, it's worked for me for all three of those over the years. The heartbreak required exceptionally high volume and leaving it on repeat for a while, while taking a hot bath, and wasn't cured; only soothed.
A great line: Fuck you/and your untouchable face. Fuck you/for existing in the first place.

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

For everything there is a week, and a theme for every trivial aspect under the heavens. In Melbourne this week it's Fashion Week. The TV news solemnly informed us last night that the designers are into "wearable clothes" this season. Heavens, now there's an idea! Clothes you can wear.
Someone said you should be wary of any venture requiring new clothes. similarly, one should beware of any clothes requiring new clothes. the follow-on effect from one new skirt can include, and has, new shoes, a new top, a new scarf and a new handbag.
My wardrobe is a near-complete archeological record - of my different jobs, exercise habits, moods, and of course sizes; when I'm bigger I despair over my size 8 black velvet trouses (not a US 8 either; a US 4 if anything); when my hips are narrow I wonder if I'll ever get to wear my curvy, sparkly blue evening dress that cost me nearly 800 Australian dollars and I've never had occasion to wear in public.
oh wow! how exciting! here I was vainly looking for my blog on the "most recently updated" list and, wandering idly as a baud, I clicked on the latest headline and lo and behold! it's MY ARTICLE! Featured on Blogger! (well, I did mention the site. And I'm not sure what "Yaba" means as a comment.) Now I have to resist the urge to email Ev and say "hey, look, I was so inspired by your site I just up and started my own blog! please please please point to me!" But my life as a journalist and my life as a person are not the same thing somehow. So my blog shall remain unheralded until it gets somewhere on its own ten fingers.
Hands up those of you who feel that resources are unfairly shared on this planet, and that we in the West are chewing up a lot more than we should. That we have luxuries at the expense of those in other countries who have very little, that we use oil that is the root cause of slicks like that about to hit Brazil, that we have cheap shoes because of Nike's slaves in the Phillipines, cheap computers because Siemens can set up chip factories in Portugal instead of in Germann?
Ok, now hands up those who can truly say they don't secretly think (even if they do take steps to minimise their own impact in all these) "thank God I'm on this side of the divide".
And those who have never, somehow, thought "gee, I'd better get in for my chop before it all runs out."

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Until I work out how to put a link permanently at the top of the page, I'll keep doing this every few posts... mail me here .
Isn't it funny how one learns just enough of a technology to get the job done and then stops learning?

Monday, March 19, 2001

another thing there should be a word for - the tendency of students, or seminar attendees, or other groups, to continue to sit in more or less the same spot as they did in their first class for the rest of the semester/course.
feeling sulky at work; the people over at the competition get TIM TAMS on Mondays. (Tim Tams, for those who don't live where I live, are fantastically rich chocolate and caramel biscuits.)
This is, of course, a sympton of my wider, deeper work-sulkiness. Must keep reminding self that there are far, far worse jobs than sitting about playing with the Internet and talking to interesting people all day ...

Sunday, March 18, 2001

a lunchtime walk through the city; so many people with so many missions. if you tried to take them all in, your head would explode. so they merge into a mass of bodies that must be negotiated in order to pursue one's own errand. today I didn't seem to be able to do that merging trick, and my walk was like the opening scenes of that Robert Altman film, The Player , one long tracking shot zooming in and passing on from person to person, with bursts of background music from buskers, record stores and noisy cafes.
boys, boys, boys. They used to be fun things to be around, with always that edge of "what might happen". At almost-35, a sad thing has happened - the boys I used to flirt with and sometimes snog, boys I worked with or went to school with in my 20s, have gone all married.
I don't mind them being married - hell, I'm married myself (pauses for short gasp of disbelief, it's only been 10 months and still feels weird), but they act so married. I saw one of them the other day: a boy I used to have coffees with and share love life complaints with, get drunk with and have over for complicated dinner parties. We spent a night together once, though I hardly think of it when I see him. I was at the pool, hanging out with the parents round the kiddie pool and explaining to men I'd never met before my baby-ambivalence. When I saw this boy, I was like "hey (boy), how's it going, great night for a swim". He kind of looked at the floor and mumbled and from nowhere came the wife/fiancee and he was gone. He's not the only one that's happened with - and it's not me, because girls I used to know, and the gay boys, still want to play with me - it's as if the boys have decided to cut themselves off from All That in their new domestic peace. I don't expect things to be the way they were; but unless someone has done something bad to you, don't they deserve a minute of your time when they once mattered to you?
so that took all day. Now I'm only partly resisting the urge to blog a little blog at work. instead, I'll just pop up a quick mail link. mail me here .

Saturday, March 17, 2001

Technology whinge: why does it seem to take so long to sort out my data? I have three computer running right now: my laptop, our desktop (linked on a LAN) and my old 486 laptop. The 486, in turn, has files on it that date from my old Toshiba laptop, in a fomat called Easywrite, which was simple and friendly. I have a stack of diskettes lined up next to the desktop, and one by one I'm using them to transfer zipped files from the almost-dead laptop (actually it's fine, but I can't get batteries for it any more). Once they're all on the desktop, I'm going to share them with the laptop, which is supposed to be my main computer (Andrew is Desktop Master) This is going to take all afternoon, and that's not including the time I should, but probably won't, spend synchronising all my different versions of things and deleting files, plus co-ordinating bookmarks and address books from four PCs (there's one at work as well...)
Is it just that I have a messy mind? My handwritten list of email addresses, passwords, Website logons etc is a foolscap page long. My Blog passwords are on the back ...
It's raining again. The earth is damp underfoot and the air is cool on my skin. Here in Melbourne it's been hot, not a day under 20 degrees (68 F) since Christmas. Everything, even in the city, was yellow and dusty. Now there's a hint of organic matter in the air and the trees are starting to show their bones, and it feels good.

Friday, March 16, 2001

So we're civilised, are we? Why then, when I swim at the Fitzroy Pool, does the hierachy of young and male first apply? You know it; that moment when someone annoys you in traffic/cuts in on your lane/drops litter in front of you and you have to decide whether to challenge it or let it pass? I believe we subconsciously calculate what the chances are of getting hurt - so I have charged past a slow male who is much older when I'm feeling strong and feisty - but the young, well-muscled but ill-mannered men get away with murder. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty when I take advantage of a person lower in the hierarchy than me, or tell off a woman who doesn't pick up her dog's droppings when I know I wouldn't do the same to an alpha male.
The reverse applies when it comes to chivalry. At work, I take the lift in my bike shorts and T-shirt to get changed in the showers and I've noticed that women who are wearing dresses/skirts actually expect that as a less "feminine" person I will stand back and let them in or out of the lift first. I can't quantify this, of course, but it's too strong a pattern to overlook.
oh yeah, happy St Patrick's day. btw, there never were any snakes in Ireland for St Pat to drive out. But while you're hopping into the Guinness, spare a thought for millions of Irish sheep who, even now, are waiting in fear for foot and mouth disease to cross the channel and cause them all to get shot. Put that in your green beer.
All your base are belong to us" ... for a few weeks there this was the key sentence from a nonsense meme that flew around the Web. (it sounds better if you say it in a fast, robotic voice ... you can get the song by Invasion of the Gabber Robots at mp3" , but lie to them when they force you to register) It came from an old Sega video game, Zerowing, and a mistranslated Japanese comic, or possibly the song itself, I don't know. But it was a damn funny thing to say, especially if you pasted the words onto images of people talking to each other. Now my dog says it to me all the time, being an invader from an alien planet as he is. And to continue the comedian theme, the whole thing reminds me of something I read about UberGoon Spike Milligan in a bio-book - he believed that anything is funny if you say it enough times. To prove it, he coined a phrase: "he's fallen in the water" and had a character say it over and over again, episode after episode. At first the live audiences of the radio show were unmoved. By the end of the series all they had to do was play a splashing sound and the crowd went wild. Sometimes things are just funny because they're funny.

Hi from me and my fish.

Why do they call fame "life in a goldfish bowl?" I just want to let you know that I'm OK with you reading my blog; every move I make is watched by four bulbous eyeballs arm's length to my right. They only want to be fed and loved, like us all.

Things there should be words for: the ducking motion people make with their heads when they are forced to cross the room between a speaker (say a university lecturer) and their audience. That "I'm not really here" look. Douglas Adams wrote a fine and hilarious book about these kinds of things, putting to use all those words that sit about on signposts not doing much. He used British town names; the most memorable was "Kettering: the pattern of marks left on your bare legs when you get up from a wicker chair." The book was called The meaning of Liff - Adams wrote The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, so he could simply have printed a piece of paper with the number 42 on it instead, I suppose.