Sunday, December 29, 2002

fish update: he has a red mark and some missing scales on his side now. I hope it doesn't get infected. I don't think I could cope with losing two fish inside six weeks.
mr B the canine vacuum: this is how good a housekeeper I am.
I'm trying to quickly knock off a freelance piece I have to get in today (and we're going down the Peninsula for lunch, so I mean quickly).
the windows are open to let in some fresh air after a horrid hot night (no open windows are allowed at night due to the Mosquito Menace.)
I heard a crash. the blind had flapped in the wind and knocked over a nearly empty oat container. so about a teaspoon of oats were all over the kitchen floor. I'm busy writing.
so did I stop and grab the vacuum or (nonexistent) brush and pan? hell no. I just called the dog in. he loves oats.

how hot and oppressive is it? well, you know the song "Summertime"?
Fish are jumpin/and the cotton is high....?
this morning fish #1 (not Sushi's replacement, the other, larger one) did a huge flipflop and landed on the bench. it was just lucky I was in the room at the time. last time that happened, I came home to a very dead fish on the floor. there's now a string bag over the top of the fishtank and netting is on my shopping list.

now, where was I? ah, working.

there should be two internets: one for work and one for fun. then I could just log on and do my work and not have this happen. bad internet.
it's a hot Sunday night.
I'm sitting here in the semidark, wandering around the Web instead of doing stuff I should do.
my trumpet playing neighbour appears to have got the New Years' Eve band over for a final practice. the strains of "Golden Brown" on the trumpet are coming through the walls.
it's a good thing

Saturday, December 28, 2002

petty satisfaction dept: the neighbour who objects to our existence, Val, is on holiday. she's instructed various other neighbours to water the lawns and her pot plants.
so I was out the back washing my car and the woman upstairs from me came out to water the pot plants. turns out she doesn't like doing it; the hose is hard to wind back in and hurts her back. so I am now in charge of that. I have a feeling it will really burn Val up to come back and find that us evil bad mere tenants are responsible for keeping the precious geraniums alive. especially as I plan to do a very good job of it.
darn. I thought I had New Year's Eve sorted; we'd go see The Blue Room, then eat, then wander vaguely around Southbank to watch fireworks. but it doesn't start until mid-January.
so it's back to either Plan A: Elwood RSL club, or just dinner and fireworks. still haven't seen The Two Towers (the Gold Class cinema at Southland is booked out until January 14), but that's a bit too long for nye. so we'll pick something else, I guess. and our chances of getting a booking at a restaurant within cooee of fireworks, let alone with a view? ha!
too hot to think. 8 am and it's 30 degrees outside, with that howling north wind that sucks the moisture out of your skin.
Christmas is over, with yesterday's all-in gathering of all my cousins/aunties/nieces/nephews/second cousins/blow-in boyfriends and girlfriends. some of my relatives are rather amusing. I have an uncle who'd like to clone himself, for instance; he's just full of intellectual curiousity about how an XY version of himself would compare to an XX version. we debated whether cloning was Wrong, and I feel I delivered the coup de grace with "but what about the giant bellybuttons??".
and so on.

driving home, I was delivering yet another don't-kill-yourself-in-a-car lecture to my nephew (not that he even has a car right now due to crashing the last one) and there, on the other side of the Western Highway, was a fire truck, an ambulance and some police cars, plus a helicopter overhead. We got a quick glimpse of a crushed, upturned blue sedan and a gurney with a person on it that no one seemed to be paying any attention to - a very bad sign indeed.
this morning I checked the paper and listened to the radio news to find out what had happened, but there was nothing but a short mention of five people dying in crashes on Friday (today's Sunday here).

road deaths don't rate individual mentions sometimes. what we do get is a kind of football team halftime talk from the police, where the object is to keep the score down. "now lads and lassies, the score is creeping up. this weekend, do your bit for Victoria and don't die on the roads, there's good chappies."

meanwhile, is Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter the first (quasi) blog-inspired TV show? the original eight rules were written in a weekly email newsletter, and it's now become a TV show. wait for the movie of Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

a 20k bike ride hasn't done much to dispel my post-Christmas blobbiness.
really, five-course lunches, champage and red wine are silly things to do in the middle of the day. especially if you follow it up with handfuls of lollies.

good present haul this year: the whole first series of The Sopranos on DVD. I've never seen it, and having a whole series there ready to watch is great for those times there's nothing on TV (which is most times), but we can't be bothered going out to the video store. that's how I saw Twin Peaks, on Andrew's videos, ten years after it first came out.

also John Clark's new book, The Tournament, which is really quite funny and readable and displays a greater knowledge of 20th century culture and philosophy than I could ever hope for. but it's funny even when I don't know the Great Thinker in question, and when I do, it's hilarious.

Alex Buzo didn't seem to like it much. he also seems to think that they stopped teaching Heidegger, Godel and Barthes in universities in the 1970s, and has clearly failed to get some of the jokes, looking instead for plot and structure. so we won't worry too much about what he thinks.

Monday, December 23, 2002

feeling all New Year's-y already. don't know where we're going yet, but am determined to wear the incredibly hot dress I bought at C21, no matter what. it's the one that makes me look like I'm naked under a light piece of black lace. a few years ago I don't think I'd have been confident enough to wear such a thing. but somehow being 36 makes me feel old enough to do what I like, and somehow determined to make the most of being able to wear such things before I'm suddenly too old to.

it's been a good year, mostly. highlights: a couple of articles that got good runs and were fun to write. walking in Tasmania. BlogCon and my three weeks in NYC. dog walks. dinners and breakfasts with my husband where I yabbered at him and he seemed to like it. bike riding to work and back from several corners of Melbourne. swimming. my new niece and all my existing nephews and niece (from the car-crashing teenager down to the golden-haired toddler, all of them). my friend's baby and being there for her birth.
the times I managed to slow down and read. these last few weeks in Elwood, with the beach and the funny funky people who live here. watching our house actually start to come together and looking forward to living there.

lowlights: various bits of medical treatment, willingly though I'm having them. a day wasted in NYC trying to log onto to Compuserve, only to find that my tech people at work gave me the wrong password. stories that I thought I did well that were then chopped up and generally buried. stupid tenants and neighbours. moving too often. headaches. my husband's grandfather dying. a day in the labor ward with extreme jetlag (though I wouldn't have missed it.)

resolutions: will be minor and sensible, but possibly also in that category of slow secret decisions that create longterm change. for a start there is going to be a serious followup to my flirtation with giving up coffee.

goshdarn, I wish this PC didn't freeze on comments. then I could tell CC what a camgirl he his with his wishlist.
(yes, I'm jealous. I guess if I had one, I might get presents from my admirers too. snort.)

the offending large dog. innit he kewt?
Christmas shopping has reached the bits and pieces stage. failed in my efforts to secure a jet ski hire for Andrew - apparently new rules requiring a licence have closed the hire industry down. which is dumb, as licences are $20 and we were quite ready to sit the test. I've always liked the idea of a water motorbike, much as I dislike them when I'm trying to sit quietly on the beach.
so in the end I have bought him nice but unoriginal books and CDs. what do you get a boy who just likes playing with computers, eating out and moi?
he did suggest a noiseless PC fan, but I just couldn't do it. in the end I got so many books that he's now provided for for our anniversary and his next birthday.
now all I have to do is get knee-deep in wrapping. Christmas will be with the inlaws, but not at their place. we're breaking with tradition, as some things had changed anyway, and going out to The Point. so it should be fun.
then prolly back here for nibbles and a viewing. up to Ballarat on Saturday for my ever-expanding extended family. today I bought a new, large, address book. my new year's resolution will be to record people's kids' names, birthdays, etc, etc so I never have to do that "forgot your name" thing again.
(of course husband would like me to use the iPaq he's semi-given to me for that. learning to drive it is on my long list of stuff to do over Christmas. well down after taking my motorbike for a massive, long-overdue burn and other enjoyable stuff.)
hooray, another neighbour battle.
this time it's at our little flat in Elwood.
the neighbour across the landing, Jack, is a trumpet player. in theory this would make him a very bad neighbour. in fact he used to be with a great Australian band, has two nice kids and a dog, and is perfectly lovely and real.
upstairs, however, there be Val.
Val, like the other one whose name I've forgotten, believes in Rules. including the one that says we can only park one car in the offstreet area, regardless of whether anyone else wants the spot or not. we've been here a month. there's always been an empty spot, even when Val, Nameless Neighbour and both of us have cars there.
so, naturally, we don't see a problem. all the other residents have crap cars they park on the street for convenience. Val, however, who is on the Body Corporate Committee, has seen fit to get body corporate "management" (some agency or other) to write to the owners of the flat we're in complaining about us and our TWO cars on COMMON property. (it seems to be a trait of undereducated body corporate managers that they use capitals for emphasis. it happened in a past, unblogged battle at the flat I own. where the objecting neighbour conveniently died)
she has also got them to inform the owner that we have a large dog. as there is no suggestion that he is actually a "nuisance", I can only assume that this is one of those between-the-lines attempts to show us up as deceitful tenants. fortunately Mr B is totally on the lease. as for large, well he's under 20 kg.

if I cared at all, which I don't, I would consider this an attack on me in my own home and a threat to my residence here. what Val and Nameless don't know is that we're only here for four more months and it would surely take longer than that for them to dislodge us.
however, I have rung our agent and discussed this in very reasonable terms, and she's pretty cool.
I have also drafted a letter in hurt and outraged tone to the body corporate manager, pointing out that the assumption that our dog is large without checking and communication of same to the owners has "materially damaged our reputation". which is code for defamatory. chortle. have also expressed pain at the "petty and anonymous" complaint, pointing out that we take the rubbish out, are not noisy and even vacuum the landing/entrance hall.
and will cc: same to Val, in her capacity as body corporate chair. cow.

love a good fight, me.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

yeah, I've not been around this blog much.
a few things going on.
Meanwhile, Steve the Linkmeister tells me the Washington Post deigned to reference my probably very last BlogOn column. Now how about that job?

speaking of the filthy US dollar, I took the fairly negligible offer from my US editor. what the hell, the chapter was already written; she's done an OK job of cutting the chapter back, bar one or two small and defamatory mistakes introduced in the process. I've sent off a few permissions forms and have to do a small amount of updating. and seeing my friends have all started to get non-fiction pieces published in books in their field lately, I feel like I want my little book on the shelf.

meanwhile, am feeling most ambivalent about spending a large chunk of next year completing my masters' degree. it has turned out to be muchly more of the same as the postgrad b.litt, which was really undergrad stuff; lots of reading, synthesising theories and not much original thinking/surfing around. what did I expect from a coursework degree? or maybe I'm just not good at that sustained thought thing that high level academia demands. yes, I got 80. but I feel that a lot of it just washed over me; like I didn't get a whole lot more insight.

that decision, along with lots of sleep, exercise and doing whatever the hell I want, are going to be the focus of my holidays. oh, and eating.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

it's my web site and I'll write about my dog if I want to.
he's 3 today. I got him a big fat lambshank to eat - and I mean eat, every last scrap.
at the market the woman beside me was buying quail for her dogs for Christmas. she said they were nicer than her kids; they realised that she was a good person now, they wouldn't wait until they were 36 to appreciate her.
I told her it only took me until 25 to appreciate my parents. I think it made her feel better.

have cupboards stacked with food, nuts, fruit etc. will be fine if there's an early snowstorm (temperature tomorrow: 36 degrees Celcius).

also did ALL my xmas shopping except the hardest one - my husband - in 90 minutes flat. it's true. they're all getting either CDs, videos or books. and I remain blissfully stress-free.

holidays are good, huh?

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

and now, my favourite part of going on holidays: changing my voicemail to say "I'm away, don't bother me until (x)", where X=a date several weeks in the future.
it's a lovely day and I'm outta here.
doing the end of year cleanout. and again, I considered what to do with Ned-Kelly-the-port-bottle. I guess he can stay in my files for yet another year.

I can't even remember who sent him to me, back in the good old days of rich tech companies and laxer ethics rules. I make a point of forgetting the source of all largesse, to maintain my independence.

but apparently he's worth AU$ on...
spotted last night at 6:19 pm: a Muslim taxi driver praying in the park. kind of nice. he seemed to think Mecca was in the general direction of the South Pole, though.
blogon. possibly the last ever. I'm running out of topics and am changing some things at work next year. maybe I'll do something else, like Meme of the Week or something.

Ana by Choice
This online diary is deeply disturbing. Its owner is an anorexic woman hell-bent on reaching her "weight goals."
The main introduction to the page warns anyone who doesn't already have an eating disorder to go away and not try to get one. It's good advice but even more likely to put potential anorexics off is the blow-by-blow, deeply obsessive description of every mouthful of food and every minute on the treadmill; clear evidence that the disorder can wreck not just your body, but your life.
A photo gallery of role models - mainly stick-thin models and movie stars - gives pause for thought.
The diary is set up with links right through to the end of next year. One wonders if she will make it that far.

Big Fat Blog
Down the other end of the body-image scale is Big Fat Blog, a collaborative site dedicated to supporting overweight people (mostly women) and to questioning popular beliefs about their health, eating habits and general well-being.
Lively and diverse, it points out articles about weight and appearance, pooh-poohing the ideal of models.
It queries why overweight women should be removed from customer-contact jobs, as recently happened in Colorado, and praises a movie titled Real Women Have Curves.
The basic premise is that a person's weight shouldn't affect the rest of their lives, delivered with an understandably defensive edge.
It's a busy blog, with an active comments area.


One woman fighting her own personal battle with her body is Marmalade, whose weight hovers around the 95 kilogram mark.
She's set up this blog to record her progress, grumble about her personal trainer's tardiness and to collect encouraging comments from readers.
A typical day might start with oatmeal and yoghurt but she has trouble keeping that up: "And here is where it totally bottoms out: 6pm Dinner: Pepperoni Pizza, shameless amounts; Pete's homemade chocolate chip cookies. sigh"
But, as Scarlett O'Hara said, "tomorrow is another day".
It's not all flippancy; the toll of the effort shows in posts like this one. "I don't want to look strong. I want to look (not) fit (but) skinny. I want to look like I'm 175lbs again, goddamnit! I want to fit into my clothes from last year. I want to fit into my clothes from 5 years ago. I hate this! It totally sucks and I don't know what to do about it anymore.
"Excuse me while I go and bawl my head off now."

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

one person who reads this blog will know who I'm talking about:
just rang a friend. a strange, deep male voice answered, in a tone that appeared to imply that I was interrupting something. I thought "have I rung a wrong number?"
then I realised it must be her son, who's around 13 (?) and has obviously, um, developed since I last spoke to him. furthermore, my attempts to engage him in conversation were greeted with polite but noncommittal and clearly uninterested grunts, instead of the almost unstoppable chatter I'm used to from him.
having survived several years of this with my nephew, I talked on anyway and wished him a merry Christmas.
teenage boys. I once heard a theory that they should all be put on a desert island until about, say 25, when they revert to being human again.
"I know that STG100,000 a year is an enormous sum of money to Mr Bing and I fully appreciate his generosity toward his son," Hurley's statement said.

he has US $400 million. she's not taking his pathetic 100,000 pounds a year. the woman has a nice line in irony and pride. (I guess it helps that she probably already has a couple of mil. of her own stashed away)

Monday, December 16, 2002

let's hope these guys can tell the difference between a symbol of goodwill and a weapon of mass destruction.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

blogger's down so I'm in notepad.
have bought tix to this: cheaper than an airfare to New Orleans.

I keep meaning to see more live music. so a full weekend of it should fix me up good and proper. am a little horrified at what I've just spent, but
I figure with Bob Dylan playing I can probably sell the ticket if I have to.

in other news, I guess I must like Elwood. I seem to be spending so much time walking the dog,
cooking for friends (after a long break in that kind of thing) and trying to catch up on sleep that I have
no time to blog. also, those things aren't really that exciting.

just don't ask about the tiles.

and have you done your Christmas cards and shopping? no? me neither. it didn't help that one of the
friends who came to brunch yesterday did his back as he was about to leave, and spent a couple of hours lying on the floor
before he could leave.
I plan to shop a little on Friday, then hit the Boxing Day sales for all the niece-and-nephew stuff, as I don't see the family
until the 28th.

see? it's just boring. will go back to sorting out a year's worth of accumulated work files now. in my heart I know I could
just bin the lot and not miss them, but it wouldn't feel right.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


Mom at home
Mom building home is more like it. This American blogger (hence the "o" in "Mom") is documenting every step of the renovations on her home in words and pictures.
It was a ranch but she always pictured it as "colonial" style, and by gosh, she's going to make it colonial, no matter how many tradesmen it involves. She even thinks it's worth blogging the spot where the staircase will be, and discussing whether or not to carpet the study. The blog is primarily aimed at keeping relatives informed, after all.
The pictures are large and will load slowly if you're on a dial-up connection.

Jarrett House North
Just reading about Tim Jarrett's Christmas decorations is enough to make one go politically correct and not "do" Christmas.
"After a lot of swearing, vacuuming and sweeping, the tree was in the stand and the needles were out of the garage," he says. And that's just the start. There were still lights to string and glass balls to hang.
Jarrett's blog is not all about settling into his new house but he has window contractors to deal with, boxes to unpack and plenty of plans to look forward to. The rest of the time he's singing nonsense carols and wondering where his funk went.

Jen and Jeff
A sexy new refrigerator, visits to Ikea, finding the right fabric to recover that vintage couch; Jen and Jeff are the quintessential Young Marrieds.
He claims to be building a wall-sized bookcase and developing a lighting plan but there aren't any photos of either up yet. If you like his taste in music, he promises to send you a CD of his favourite songs if you'll send him one first; almost a quaint idea in the post-Napster world.

Creating Home Decor

Part of a frighteningly extensive site on craft and decorating ideas, the Creating Home Decor blog also comes as a newsletter. It alerts readers to new ideas and TV show tie-ins, such as the chance to vote for "America's Dream Kitchen" on This Old House.
When a luxury refrigerator is auctioned on eBay, this blog will let you know and it can point you to a site where DIY home improvement projects are outlined in Spanish.
And as for the Ernest Hemingway collection of homewares and the chance to "enhance (your) environment with a little of the Great Man's worldly lifestyle"? Well, the Laura Ashley ads are starting to look refreshingly unpretentious.

blog being not speak English very well, but funny, kawaii links, many
I have just received a bill for nearly $5,000. it's my course fees for next year.
this is A Lot Of Money. I won't really pay that much. my employer will pay half if I'm still here and if I pass, and I can claim the rest on tax, so the actual cost is more like 1700.

but it still sounds like a lot. and my friends G and F are about to buy a fantastic ancient farmhouse in France. and for a couple of thou, I could fly over there to check out the guest wing.

oh, and I got my uni results. 80. which is OK.
Bush threatens nuclear retaliation
I'm sorry. can you say that again? I don't think I heard you properly. did you say nuclear? nah, must be a slip of the tongue. or maybe my ears need cleaning out.

nuclear? nah. must be a joke.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

stupid neologism of the day, from a PR email: "resultant". as in consultant, only getting results, one assumes.
only trouble is, resultant is already taken.

Monday, December 09, 2002

the catch Michael Jackson's babies game.
so I'm fishing in my wallet for $2 for the hamper raffle for the company Christmas appeal. and I said to the woman selling them: "I thought I had $2, but I spent it on a chocolate bar."
then I stopped. thought. and handed over a $5 note instead.
tiles. expensive. pretty. expensive. going mad. never renovate.
Leaving the building for lunch? Check the current
temperature outside first by clicking `Melbourne weather' at
the top-centre of every Intranet page.
Intranet address:

or you could just ask someone who's just come inside. "should I wear a jacket" is a totally subjective human question.
(&*)%^&, I'd like a coffee.
well paint me pink and call me an elephant!
amazingly, I received an email today from my editor in the US, who was part of my tax-deductibilty justification of my trip to NYC.

I filed a lovely 4-5,000 word piece on the domain naming system in Australia to her in July or so. it took me weeks of work, after hours, on weekends, early morning coffees. I rang lots of contacts and used up lots of people's time. the book will look at domain name systems round the world. it's less boring than it sounds.

when I met her, I left the meeting thinking "nice woman, but I don't think this book is coming out."

but today, I received a contract offering me US$500. she says she actually has a publisher. I nearly fell off my chair. this amount is of course a pittance and well below going rates, here or in the US of A. the contract also asks me to pay for all kinds of ancillary things of unspecified scope, and commit to open-ended unspecified "revisions". but I'm sure we can sort that out.

I wouldn't get paid until what, late next year. but right now it would be better than the big fat zero I have.

(can't remember if she reads my blog. I think not. anyway, nothing in here I haven't said (more tactfully) in my reply email.)
I might volunteer to work over my holidays. just so I can experience the sheer pleasure of a fast Web connection.

am trying to give up coffee, for health reasons. so don't get in my way today. or tomorrow. or anytime for the next few years, OK?
oh great. tried to fix it and now it still doesn't show number of comments. but there are/were TWO comments buttons.
look, just send me an email, willya? I'm going for a walk.
wow. Meredith mentioned she'd commented on my blog. I thought "that's funny, comments died ages ago". so I logged onto YACCS and discovered all these comments! it was just the counter that stopped working. and all the comments were waiting for me.

so, for the record:
Meredith, the ornaments were's the tree. the damn thing's 180 cm high.
%00: my temper's fine, thanks. SO SHUT UP!
batty: thanks for thinking of me amongst all your own pressing matters.
Laura: it's a pleasure. plus I get paid for it.
"bitch" at IP address: you have a problem with my spelling problem? my life's fine. and I'll thank you not to swear in here. that's my job.
" A. Nony Mouse at IP address: what's special? I don't geddit. I suppose you're being sarcastic. luckily, I have no fucking idea what you're talking about (see previous for swearing policy)
Kathryn: I suppose you were referring to "all men are...?"
Implisitt @IP address: keep your preference in sex toys to yourself.
hoopty again: it isn't whether we need peemail, is it? I mean, do we need life insurance salesmen? it's just a fact of life in the 21st C
Jill: what you said. only double. he should just start wearing a studded dog collar.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

ooh, I know I'll get in trouble for this. but in the interview, Roddick says: "But, and it's a big but..."

the fat-suit debate. via this woman's work

the original article
an interview about the article
some comments (don't know if that link to a comments area will work)
big fat blog (it is what it says it is)

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Marc [SOS]DeSwaggy's Renegade clan site.
they are 13th in the world.
he is going to kick arse tonight.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

memo to self: before you buy a 180 cm-high blow-up Christmas tree, consider two things: how big exactly is your flat? and more to the point, do you in fact have a pump to blow it up with? "manual" is out of the question. the thing is about 200x my entire lung capacity. so far have blown up one small branch ornament. the tree itself is a sad and floppy green pile beside my chair.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Bill Gates, I want my half an hour back.
I've been frantically trying to file Blogon from home, but every time I tried to send, Hotmail froze. I even tried to blog the text just so my editor could get at it.
eventually I worked it out: Word was putting a stupid little doovie over the "e" in "decor". this doovie must have contained killer code that the online interfaces couldn't cope with. the minute I deleted them, bingo! worked just fine.
funny formatting code from my work program, Cybergraphic, has killed a blog before. but never something in Word.
working from home is good when you'd otherwise be at work.
when you're home sick and just have to get certain things done, it sucks. especially when you pick a stupid blogon topic and can't find any blogs that mention said topic more than once. sigh. time to pad with photos.
also, Orange Socks
yes I know the rest of the world has seen this.
but some Melbourne bloggers were discussing it and might like to know where it is: Things My Girlfriend and I have argued about.

I might buy it for A for Xmas
How the Web was made
Stop Design
The man behind the slightly controversial but politically correct redesign of Wired magazine's site bares his artistic soul in Stop Design.
Subscribing to a philosophy of both accessibility and clarity, he uses his blog to talk about his working life.
The main issues last week were the strangeness of going freelance after permanent employment, categorisation methods on a museum website and some retrospective musings about the instant fame the Wired redesign brought him. There's a portfolio area showing designs he helped create, like the WebMonkey logo and the look for a book called The Art & Science of Web Design.
Those are forceful answers to a former boss at a design firm who told him 10 years ago that the Web "would go away within a few years".
And of course the site itself is very nice indeed to look at.

Focusing on making websites easier to use, the LucDesk site links to articles on Internet banking, the Internet's role during disasters, new kinds of personal computer and technical standards issues.
Over recent months you could have read about the legal implications of "cut and paste" and the security risks posed by some personal digital assistants. It gives just enough information about each link to let you decide whether you'd like what's at the other end, and there's an excellent list of like-minded blogs for further reading.
The blogger doesn't offer a lot of his own opinion but the comprehensive coverage more than makes up for that.
Self-described "designer, author, and stunt double Jeffrey Zeldman" is also the man behind the intelligent mailing list A List Apart, which tackles design as only one part of the complex equation of getting things right on the Web. His Weblog discusses design, the just desserts of arrogant makers of products, digital certificates and James Bond. It's a writing style that flits over popular culture and ideas without looking back.
Zeldman's respected place in the design zeitgeist means he hears about most of the good things first, and going to his blog and following the links is a lot easier than tracking down stuff for yourself.
Last week's examples included a site where you can read "other people's stories", often poignant or funny, a list of useful Photoshop 7 short-cuts and what the US law says about Internet accessibility and useability. It's eclectic, but the unifying theme is the Web, and it works.

Brainstorms and Raves

What's under the hood of the WC3's latest Markup Validation Service? (Translation: The WC3 is the World Wide Web Consortium, which sets Web standards, and its mark-up validation service helps designers check their code.) Why on earth should you bother using standards in your design work? What should you look for in a digital camera? What's the buzz on technology and productivity? Brainstorms and Raves has solid advice on what just works, and combines strong technical knowledge with an understanding of the human side of "human-computer interaction". The blog is a project of an established United States design firm, SKDesign.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

a nice RGB colour wheel.
that's it for today. I've had a little visit to Mr Hospital and plan to do nothing but stare out the window and wait for the eclipse.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

have just interviewed an academic who has been studying how a certain group of people feel about technology in their workplace.
the short answer is that people will only want to work on new technology if it helps them do their jobs better.
strangely, this doesn't seem to have been expressed in a scientific manner before.
I must be turning into one of those grumpy people who walk about muttering "it's just plain commonsense, innit?"
well, he/she died.
at least, it was lying on its side on the bottom of the tank, not moving, and didn't respond when I gently shifted it with a chopstick. I think it died last night, but I left it there just in case of a miraculous recovery.
so I put it in a jar full of water, and on my way to work stopped at the bridge over the Elwood Canal, just where it meets the bay, and tipped it all over the edge. it looked so sad, just a tiny golden fish shape floating out to sea, surrounded by the darting grey mini-fish that live in the canal.
its name was Sushi, thanks to Meredith, who noted when I last rescued it with a chopstick that the whole thing was a bit to close to that particular dish.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

my goldfish is sick.
a couple of weeks ago I found him stuck in a rock and got him out.
now he's got black spots on his back and gulps helplessly at his food.
he's going to die. I could try all the ph things mentioned on this goldfish health site, but it's Sunday night, nothing is open, and I'm sure by the time I get home from work tomorrow, he'll be floating. I have already planned his funeral; he will be sent to the lake across the road to rejoin the environment.

Friday, November 29, 2002

the good news: WE HAVE A PHONE LINE!!!
the bad: we're on the Net at a whole 28.8

stingingly fast

but it's better than nothing, and now with most of our stuff in cupboards and what isn't put away at least hidden in the spare room, we feel like we have lives again. I hadn't realised how tense the moving was making me. I thought I liked being in different places, and I did on one level, but on another there was always an awareness of it not being for long, of setting things up temporarily. here, we have until we're ready to go back to our house. and it feels nice. mr B is getting many random walks and seems happy enough.

about to catch a train to the city to see a frivolous movie. have acquired my first Tindersticks album and am totally overwhelmed by how damn good it is. happy me.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

see how lack of a home net connection affects my life? how little I've been posting?
not about to start now. things to do. then I have to go home to my Web-less but dog-blessed home.
with luck, the phone man won't come until I get home in the morning. we've discovered that the only phone socket is connected to a cable that is cut off. it could be a painful process.
one of my bloggy great-grandchildren, via Hoopty and some of his offspring

Monday, November 25, 2002

segway. segway. segway.
I suppose an AU$ 10,000 Christmas present is a bit much to expect? will it help if I cry?

oooh looook. you can hire a lifesaver.
I have such a naughty mind...

and I wish I was at Cottesloe Beach. I bet they have lifesavers there.

cool. Sean is back. I thought he'd left the land of blog.
if I was a sociologist, I think this would be a good thesis topic: why women dress for other women.
we do, you know, except maybe on hot dates and boy-hunting expeditions.
men don't really notice whether what you're wearing is fashionable or a brand name or whatever. but women do. and in the end, it's the other women we dress for.

why is this? is it a status thing? a kind of "I'm top female here?" the sisterhood isn't all it's cracked up to be, you know.
or is it a bonding thing; we all dress the same and share a clothing code = we are part of the same tribe?
or a vestigal grooming behaviour.

this blogger says it's because we're basically bitches.
and this open-to-steal term paper quotes someone called Fuglesang who says it's about groupness: "The women who attend the wedding celebration “dress for each other” to obtain approval from other women but they also dress “for themselves” to express their individuality"

but it doesn't explain why that's how we get approval. oh well, I don't have four years to write a thesis on that. surprised it hasn't been done in more detail, at least not online.
well, we've moved.
into a flat with no phone line.
Telstra have deemed that an Internet application is not really an application, and reckon they have 7 days to connect me. it's not happening until Friday, and then only if I can get back home from my dr's appointment/prior commitments in time to meet the technician.
the law says they have five days. Friday will be six. I am SO claiming the $12 a day rebate for the extra day.
it's a total joke that if you apply over the Net it actually takes longer. luckily I have a job that allows me to write about this in the newspaper. I had a particularly smarmy complaints officer who didn't have time to talk to me. it would have course have been an abuse of my position to put his last name in the article; he's only a poor sap answering complaints from grumpy customers, after all. and I hope he stays that way for a very, very long time.

so I have no home Internet, and it's driving me crazy. it's like moving back to the dark ages.
Bilbo the fluff king, otoh, cares nought for electronic media. he's quite enjoying flat life, I think. he does have to spend 10 hours a day inside alone (with a glass door from which he can look out on the world), but as compensation he's averaging three-four decent walks a day and is getting to meet lots of dogs in the park over the road.
he seems to have got into the swing of it really quickly. he's always running to the cupboard where his lead lives, asking for "more, please!"

now all we have to do is keep that walk rate up and he'll be a happy fluffball. which is Good for Football.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

what, you expect me to just STOP in the middle of moving house (into a place that has no phone yet) and blog for your entertainment about the boxes, the rain (when we're in the middle of a drought), how the dog's finding the flat, the joy of actual wardrobes and a suburb where there are people on the street who are not in cars?

give me a break. why would I do that? I'm busy, dammit.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

another great Google app: Googlefight

Wednesday, November 20, 2002


(Canadian blogs)

Few words but lots of lovely images on this blog, subtitled, "Tryin' to fit the world inside a picture frame".
This particular world now consists of close-ups of amazing plants and animals at the Museum of Ottowa, friends' birthday parties and the obligatory sunset.
Our photographer is a fan of the halo shot - look for the circles in clock faces, bursts of fireworks and the framing of a curved fairground ride.

Navigating AsciiRock is strangely like playing Pacman or perhaps Pong; the graphics are stripped down and funny little blocks of text and black background pop up as you move the cursor around.
This is an old-style Weblog, mostly pointing to interesting things on other sites. The links are pithy, intriguing and sometimes cruel; "jackass site", "thoughts on the Hitler moustache" and "another article about pizza¤".
Surf around enough and you'll find several references to artists and the whereabouts of a mysterious "Charles" - these are probably connected to a music publishing business listed under "info", but the blog seems to be the main reason to visit.

Canada has some great geography - mountains, pristine snowfields, lakes and rivers.
All the more reason for a Canadian to run this environmental blog, monitoring developments in areas such as sustainable fuels, young people's environmental awareness and international reports on how petrol is at the crux of Iraq's alleged weapons program.
It jumps around a little, linking to satirical articles on the effects of the Kyoto Protocol, and pointing out how the country's national anthem is really all about trees and clean water (O Canada!/Where pines and maples grow). The standard Canadian chip-on-the-shoulder concerns its giant neighbour, the US of A, and this shows in a list of research on the main page, explaining how that nation uses more than its share of fuel, while exporting cigarettes to Third World countries.
Toronto's a lovely city. A friendly place, gay even. is the perspective of a gay programmer, runner and cat lover named Mark Wickens as he goes about his life in the lakeside city.
He's been blogging for more than a year, and has developed a style that mixes respectful links on Remembrance Day (also November 11 in Canada) with arch advice to pretty-boy singer Justin Timberlake on how to respond more articulately to his large gay following ("Maybe singing it would help, Justin.")
That chip on the shoulder appears again but more moderately as Wickens muses on why Canada hates the US but is still willing to depend on it for defence and health-care assistance.
And he's not averse to posting the odd fun link. This is a blog with a depth that calls for regular visits.

sometimes I wish I worked in some anonymous office, not one where my fellow employees are semi-public and media-savvy enough to read this. for indeed, weird things go on sometimes, and I hear conversations of such surreallity that I'm dying to reproduce them.
the latest involved an earnest discussion on the correct length of shorts, while various other huddles formed around the office urgenlty whispering about God knows what. it was like a wave of pointlessness had swept in through the double glass doors and washed over us all.
and it would be way funnier if I could describe the people involved. but I can't. may not.
blogmeet was good.
only 8 people had rsvp'd but there were 20 crowded around the front table at Troika when I got there.
Meredith was easily identifiable by her red T-shirt. she already had a drink, so I thought I could avoid my obligation to buy her one. but that smart creature had another! young gels these days, I don't know...
it was a hoot. she told us all about her menagerie; pigeons, spiders, ants; I suggested she build a birdbox for the pigeon and perfectly straight-faced she said "we've got one. there's a possum in it."
also in attendance in my corner was Kylie , Marcus, who is a big fat liar (well, I didn't see any Coke), and Paul, whose last name and therefore URL I've forgotten, but who had very strong opinions on the usefulness of journalists.
also discussed were crocodiles, sugar highs, the politics of linking, and why people move away from blogger but never TO it.

did not get to speak to Natalie, who had snaffled someone's camera and has posted some cool pix, only some of which look like ads for Cascade, and Jen, but there's always a next time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I like Alice. so it's cute to see what happens when she talks to herself. via blogdex.
I've changed a few things around. not so's you'd notice. mainly removing my full name from the Miata webring link and going to "JS" as a signature.
no particular reason. not even any interesting stalking. just felt like it.
all kinds of good stuff there, actually.
the full text of A Room of One's Own, for instance.
while researching a small piece for an education yarn, I thought I'd see how long it would take to get from puritanical keep-the-Web-nice site NetAlert to something containing, say, the word c*nt - like Lady Chatterly's Lover.
five clicks. Yes!

"He dropped the shirt and stood still looking towards her. The sun
through the low window sent in a beam that lit up his thighs and slim
belly and the erect phallos rising darkish and hot-looking from the
little cloud of vivid gold-red hair. She was startled and afraid."

meredith has sent me a cute gif of her T-shirt so I can find her. and Pixel Kitty has guilted me into actually rsvp'ing. blogmeet tonight.
"The Japanese-built tanker - which appears not to have been inspected since 1999..."

WHAT!?! the bloody thing is carrying enough oil to coat the entire friggin' Spanish coast, and it hasn't been CHECKED in THREE YEARS!!

my God, what a stupid, stupid world we live in. who the hell is in charge? not me, that's for sure. someone should find out who let this happen - all 300 of them, if it's just general inaction - and pile up dead, oil-soaked birds and fish on the their doorstep. no, tie 'em to their necks like albatrosses. they probably are albatrosses. I could just weep.
oh, and I got another survey call tonight.

usually I hate those things. tonight, I cheerfully answered all the questions. why? well, there's a state election in 10 days, and I correctly picked it for a voter-attitude survey. so I made sure I nominated the environment and there being too many cars as my main issue of concern, and threatened to vote Green. that should put the wind up whoever the survey was for. I bet they weren't expecting that in Mt Waverley!
too tired to be excited, but have signed a lease, got two old-fashioned bank cheques for the deposit and tomorrow I get the keys to the new flat.
this has of course set off a flurry of decisions, mail redirections, moving plans etc. I am SO looking forward to four months in one place.
the lounge room: (if you look closely you can see the bulge in the walls created by the ultra wide angle lenses they use to shoot these poky little places. it looks heaps bigger than it is)

the kitchen:

Sunday, November 17, 2002

colour me depressed: went down to Elwood to look at the grotty cheap house again, after applying by fax.
decided that it wasn't actually revolting, just basic, and that something could be done about the carpet.
also that Mr B would be very happy in the back yard and that the front garden, with grass and a silver birch, was actually lovely. and that St Kilda/Elwood were definitely where I wanted to be for summer. tired of moving, and just staying in Mt Waverley would suck. it's a nice, clean, well-equipped house, but I don't belong here.
so naturally the agent rang and said our four-month, dog-encumbered application had been trumped by a longer, dog-free one. these small, cheap houses go so fast, while expensive flats seem to sit on the market forever.

now it's November 18 and I still don't know where I'm going to be living. so don't feel like trotting around getting washing in, popping clean dishes back in cupboards and cooking my husband a nice dinner when he returns from his busy day at work. feel like getting drunk and leaving the empties in the middle of the lounge room floor, the dishes in the sink.

what did Courtney say? "I throw the dishes/in the crib"?
time taken to bring perfect order and cleanliness to the average uber-suburban house before a visit from its owners, one's parents-in-law, including removal of all dog hair and bringing a state of pristineness to the kitchen sink: 6.7 hrs

time taken after their departure to return it to disorder, dirt, a pile of dirty dishes and a big lump of fluff in the hallway (oops, no, that's the actual dog): 1.3 minutes
it may not be perfect, but it's done and in an hour or so I'll see off my final essay for the year.
there's still a freelance piece or two I should have done this weekend that I'll have to tackle later today. but for now I'm feeling at least a slight relief.
oh, and of course we're still househunting - trying to convince A. that a fairly grotty but CHEAP house with a yard for Mr B is a good idea. had hoped to sign up for something today, but it's never easy.

for relaxation, I think I'll look at some of the newspapers I've had to not read while essaying, maybe have a little nap, and later today ring my wonderful friend Sparky, who's coming down from Darwin soon. old friends are the comfy old shoes of the soul.
go hug Batty.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

tindersticks; of course, one is getting too old for crowded pub gigs where one's feet are stepped on, people hold their lit cigarettes 1/2 mm away from one's hands, the sound is dodgy and you stand up for 2 1/2 hours with only one beer because it's too much trouble to push past 50 people to get to the bar.

that said, I am most annoyed I have never come across this band before. apparently they are a 90's cult group, and therefore all good alternative types know of them.

a fair bit of Nick Cave, but with a sadder voice (I know Nick is dark but these songs were sadder, more emotional, where Nick writes very cerebral stuff) a little Dave Graney, even a touch of something echoing Aaron Neville's vibrato at one point, some surprising Hawaiian style passages towards the end. really very affecting. one of the clearest, most controlled rock violinists I've ever heard. strong but not overwhelming drums. and the lead singer - who had those blank eyes that almost look blind - has such a sexy/pained voice. hard to describe; I thought at some stage that his singing was almost creating a counterpointing silence, if that makes sense. carving out a space for itself in the noisy room.

so I'll have to go and get some of their 17 or so albums (starting with the one with the song Sweet Release, which PBS played on Tuesday and led to us going to the show at all, though they didn't play it) and do some serious listening. it's a bit like finding a new writer who gets you in the places that matter - you want to rush out and soak up all their material straight away. it's nice to think of all those albums, waiting to unfold before me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002


stupid flat. stupid ad said there was stupid offstreet parking, didn't it?
so when the contracts came through with no parking space mentioned, I called to check. agent has no idea. checks. seems there's three spaces for six flats and it's potluck if you get one. which effectively means there isn't one.
now Lucy, down there on the left, my little blue car, is the most expensive toy I've ever owned. and she has a soft top. and she is a vandal-magnet. husband is also concerned at what it could cost if someone keyed her or cut her roof open. so we never would have applied for a place with no OSP in the first place. 1

so we are probably not going to take it. it wasn't the ideal, perfect place, but it would have done just fine.

no time to worry about it now. dammit. stupid flat.
sometimes it pays to be a cow.

scene: this morning. brekky table.(edited version)
me: 'when are you leaving?'
him: 'in about seven minutes'
me: 'you know I'll clean the toilet? and probably lose my job?'

him: caves in and stays an extra half-hour to help me with the pre-mother-in-law-coming-for-the-weekend clean. it's her house, after all. and we are little piggies.
so I get to work only half an hour late, instead of an hour.

which is damn lucky, 'cos when I got here I find that the powers that be have upgraded a harmless little yarn of mine to the cover story and I have to run like hell and ring ministers' press secretaries to put the heavy on and interview people with titles like Major-General, and write about 1200 words and do it all by about 3.30 pm. it really should be Thursdays I get headaches, but it's not. it's Mondays.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

ooh, ooh! exciting!

I haven't been doing the blogrounds much lately. so I missed Looby Lu's baby coming.

everyone else noticed, though. she has 53 comments on her latest post. she's such a lovely blogger, and when she has time to post, her motherhood stories will be priceless.

aah, isn't Amelia a cutie?
you know those little people-finding device ideas that are popular in places like Japan? so when you're close to someone who also likes crocheting, or your best buddy is on the next block, you get a message on your mobile? kind of like real-world ICQ?

well, I have this GREAT idea. why not have one for when people you despise and never want to see again are nearby? so you can vamoose, goose, real quick?

had to remove myself and my good friend from a perfectly nice-looking coffee shop today when we were about to sit down and I spotted, lurking in the shadows, a person whom I would rather was actually dead, but whom I suspect works fairly close to my workplace, as this has happened before.

it's sort of like finding a spider in your breakfast cereal before you eat any. a close shave, but still leaves one with a horrid, yucky feeling all day.

brrhrhrh! (that's meant to be a shuddering sound)
not working, blogging

had a moment of Content Anxiety yesterday, like "what will My Readers think?"

then remembered that standards, style and consideration of an actual audience are for work.

and this is not-work. so I'm over that, and back to posting any old crap that comes into my head.

agents finally noticed we'd admitted dogness (rang saying "this pet, is it a cat or dog or goldfish or what?") but they're giving us the flat anyway. we sign up Friday, but I think moving will be deferred to after this weekend. because I'd really rather my brain didn't explode right now.

and tonight, we clean. m-i-law arrives tomorrow. and we've let our standards slip. not to mention the washing, dishes, dusting and vacuuming.

Monday, November 11, 2002

I'm sure I must know Momo from somewhere. I suspect I met her at Blogmeet. and may again. she loves cats and red pantsuits. funky.

she also has secret dreams of retail. maybe she can put her funky clothes on one side, and I can put my junkshop bits on the other.
very exciting. think we have a flat! it's a five-month lease - we said four, they said six, yada yada.
it's the one really close to the big park. it's a bit 70s - tiny balcony, polished floors, laundry, two carpeted bedrooms with built-in wardrobes. plenty of cupboards. it will look good once it's got some furniture in it.

the rent is $295, which is highish for a flat in that condition, but it's close to a funky eating/shopping zone, a cinema and the tram to work. funny how several places knocked us back on the shorter lease, even though they'd been vacant for weeks already. rent is rent, surely?

we even admitted the existence of dog. I think on that form we said "one" under "pets". other forms asked what kind of pet, and I wrote "keeshond, similar to pomeranian". which is fairly true. they're related, and both fluffy. he's just a tiny bit bigger.

of course this means I have to move the same weekend my Giant Essay is due. it's largely done, and I think will have to suffer the consequences. incredibly busy, and now I'm already writing moving lists in my head. supposed to be going to a nephew's birthday party in Ballarat on Saturday. really want to, but is there time?

plus I want to go and see this band that I can't believe I've never heard before.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

I think I'll have to cancel Mondays. Yes, another headache. and it was already coming on before I did a one-hour site meeting with the architect and builder in the burning sun.
coming back I went to pick up some vitamins and saw a thing called a Migrastick, and bought it.
It's a kind of roll-on peppermint oil thing. I guess it's meant to work by cooling your blood vessels, a bit like ice.
so far, all it's done is make me smell like a giant Mintie. think I'll sneak up to my secret napping location in 1/2 an hour. and for once, I actually have an appointment with my lovely physio tomorrow. hooray.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

three hours intensive essay writing on a Sunday morning. funny how having a task to do makes lots of other things seem terribly attractive.
will apply for three flats on Monday. one is near a big park, 70's style, ground floor. that's the one I want. the others will do, in a temporary kind of way.
really don't have time to move again next weekend. important business, like essays and nephew's 4th birthday parties, will take precedence. am warming to the idea of going back to my little flat (the one I own) for a few months. it's in a good spot, and the "rent" is cheaper there than any place we've looked at. and the landlord will simply LOVE my dog! this is all independent of my utter annoyance with the current tenant, you understand.

have to watch the 2nd half of Black Hawk Down tonight. had to agree to that after already nixing one of his video choices (I have never and will never, unless stuck in a bus or similar with it, watched/will watch Queen of the Damned).
it (BHD) seems to be full of men who all look the same, firing guns. there was some token character stuff early on, after the token written background on why they were in Somalia. I can't see the point of it as a movie, really. maybe the 2nd half is better.

Friday, November 08, 2002

this is outrageous! there's a blog called "bloggedy blog"!
no relation.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

see, this kind of rubbish is why organised religion sucks.
instead of trying to solve the problem, this person is Islam- bashing. so much for love and understanding. Christ would be spinning in his grave.
if you're in Australia and getting annoying telemarketing calls, this company is the cause. they sell the Australia On Disc CD-ROM with phone listings.

they claim they have a removal service. I've emailed them asking how to get off their disc. of course it will take ages for it to stop the $**&% calls, but it's a start.

dependable database

their email is

why not drop them a line?
Hi Michelle.
something I'd like the word for: to accidentally hit a combination of keys on the laptop and activate a random function. why do they put ctrl right next to shift?
for some reason I'm looking at today's Web history. no idea how it got there.
embarassing confession: I am sitting inside with the curtains drawn, hiding.
for the mother-in-law asked the gardener person to come around and "do" the garden, it seems.
this requires access to the backyard. of course I volunteered, as I knew I'd be here studying.
but I was planning a small nap after a hard morning's dilettantism study. and I really couldn't be bothered chatting to some unknown gardener person who is fairly interested in us right now (when Andrew saw him the day we moved in I overheard him ask various unnecessary questions). and it would be rude not to offer him a cup of tea, etc, but I'm studying
solution: put a note on the door claiming to be out, lock the dog inside and hide.

those lawnmowers of suburbia really are out to get me...
supposed to be studying.
trying. really.

the pub at Yapeen is still for sale. but the agent says they really do want $139,000 for it. and I can't afford that. and it has no sewerage. she's a new agent and will no doubt sell it this week. restraining myself from making an offer. fantasising about finding a winning roulette system (there is no such thing, of course), knowing that fantasy is only based on my run of luck in Vegas. fortunately I despise Crown Casino and will not go there.

tenant in my flat sent me an astonishingly rude letter, which seemed designed to give him the last word about what he thought about our dispute, and to tell me how I should run my business, if you can call one rental flat a business. said he objected to my saying "this isn't about me being some bitch landlady", when in fact I'd said "bastard landlord". how freudian.
my letter to him was an attempt to explain my pov. maybe that's trying to have the last word too. but it was not rude. anyway, no more of that. have to draft a very short and businesslike letter requesting a correct invoice for the bits I'm happy to pay (materials etc), and offering him half what he's tried to charge me. as a final offer. no way I'm just paying the full amount because he says I should.

then, boringly, he will probably withhold rent or take me to some tribunal or other.

one thing is sure. the rent is either going up when the lease expires to recoup this money (it's now over $2,700 for a stove!), or we're moving in there ourselves, as we are entitled to do as homeless landlords. if he withholds rent, I'll enforce my right to terminate the lease, because the two matters are, in law, unrelated.

in a strange way I'm fascinated at how aggressive he's being, when he stands to lose the place he lives in, while all I have to do is find another tenant. odd.

oh, and I seem to have bought some more ramekins. oops

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

a new blog directory to steal blogon topics from. and I'm really running out of them. after knitting, it's all downhill.
via Meredith the ant lady.
our flat was already taken when we applied.
this is another branch of the same agents that had the house that mysteriously jumped $200 in rent when we applied.
they are very pleasant, but methinks not very professional.

so we have to keep on looking. yawn.

Empty Bottle
Until the Bali bombings on October 12, was simply a well-read and erudite blog with the unlikely tagline of "I, wonderchicken(zilla)" and a penchant for posting wacky photos with silly captions.
All that changed when the blogger's good friend Richard Gleason, Rick to his mates, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Gleason, a 38-year-old Canadian, was brought to Melbourne and treated at the Alfred Hospital, where he died.
The death, and emptybottle's recording of Gleason's battle, sent a small wave of sympathy around the world of blogging. Comments and messages attached to the post announcing Gleason's death numbered well in excess of 100 last week.
Some of the posts both before and after Gleason's death are almost too raw with emotion to read: "I want to drink and dance and sing, with my friends, Rick's friends; I want to burn wood and smell the smoke and piss in the sea, shout at the moon, cry at the beauty of this world and swear eternal opposition to those who would paint it with blood, again, I want to hold you my friends in my arms and circle around our wounded brother and sing and weep and shout..."
There are messages and e-mails from friends and family, and updates from people who were in Melbourne and able to check on Gleason.
As a story, it's as sad as they come, but the blog stands testimony to the love Gleason's circle had for him.

Milon's Memory

Sydney-based journalist Bernard Lane once had a friend called Milon, who died more than 20 years ago.
When Milon's family asked him to write about his old friend, Lane's response was to set up a kind of Web memorial in the form of a blog.
"Milon Buneta, 1961-1981. Begin with a simple fact. He lived just 20 years," reads the first post.
The story starts with description of a talented, intelligent only son whose death in a car crash shattered his family. But it quickly moves on from traditional obituary to the small details of a remembered life, which Lane uses as hyperlinks to the circumstances of Milon's life: a comment on his college professor, a description of the Bondi beach he loved, a story about how Milon got his unusual name.
In the process, Lane, the same age as Milon, reveals a little of himself and his own life.
Some details are sobering, such as the link to the cemetery where Milon is buried, giving the location of this promising young man's grave.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

Part of the so-called Plotka News Network (PNN, get it?), the births, deaths and marriages page is used by a group of science fiction fans to record important passages among their own and the writers and creators they admire.
So the death of sci-fi writer Damon Knight was noted with links to three obituaries, and the death of a leader of fandom was honoured with a special message board where his co-fans poured out their shock.

Douglas Adams Tribute Site

When the author of The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy died, his official site's forum was flooded with thousands of messages of admiration and sorrow from his many and highly wired fans. The site has been maintained as a place to buy his material, contribute to his pet wildlife causes (gorillas and rhinos), and you can still read the mass eulogy in the forum space.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

it's official: I'm a left-leaning libertarian
Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -6.00

via Wendy
turned down an invite to a "marquee" of dubious nature at the Cup in order to stay home, study (yes I am that busy) and watch the race in my PJs. didn't win a penny, but didn't care, as it was Damien Oliver who won.
then went to Southbank and found a good table from which to judge the passing parade of dressed-up racegoers, who all seemed to be walking to the casino.
my favourite was a young woman who sat across the restaurant from us. she had long blond curls, a small grey hat with lots of twirly things hanging off it, the palest skin and reddest mouth, an elegant grey sleeveless dress and, this is the best bit, gloves!
she also allowed her boy to light her cigarette, showed no sign of being cold (although it was by then) and tilted her head when he spoke in a way that made it plain he had her full attention and more.
he had on a grey suit and grey silk tie. he too was quite young, with cropped light-coloured hair.
they could have come straight from a 1940's or 50's musical. except for the calf-length flat-heeled black leather boots she was wearing, which somehow worked. I wanted to go up to them and say "you know, you look great. you're fantastic." but didn't.
vale Zachary Smith.
used to love that show.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

have applied for a flat. hooray!
it's small, but bright, art deco, close to all the good stuff and has a dishwasher and washing machine.
and it's not in Mt Waverley.

oh well, at least I'm getting lots of exercise riding back and forth.

btw, if you know madflava, pop over there and give him some support. poor darling's being put in fear of his life by a madman. bad, bad madman.
there are two books on How to Blog in the local technical bookshop.
both have lots of stuff on greymatter, archives, etc. one has a chapter on blogging for money.
but as far as I could see, apart from a short mention of consistent style, neither addresses why, content, or what having a blog means to an individual.
these are the things I want to look at for my uni thesis. I doubt they will come out as a book.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

oh, and on my "way back" I did a 100-k diversion to look at the old pub I want to buy. it's looking sad and empty. snuck in through a back window and walked around the empty 140-year-old rooms.
the owners of the land around it don't seem to have progressed with their commercial nursery plans one bit. I suspect they don't have the resources in various ways to get it happening. would love to get just another 1/2 acre of buffer, then it might even be a realistic project. that, and getting about $40,000 off the current asking price. no sewerage, no toilet, no kitchen...
took a back road to the highway after that and got to a dirt road in my precious little blue car. I wasn't going fast, only 60 ks or so, but somehow managed to do an impressive skid in three different directions on a left hand bend. I know you're supposed to steer into skids, but I've just realised I don't know what direction "into" is when the car's pointing one way but moving another. funny how solid tree trunks look when you're heading straight for them.
eventually stopped, shaking, and drove much slower than necessary until I got my wheels back on bitumen.
no house yet.
various circumstances mean I will just about BURST if I don't get settled in one place soon, and put my clothes in a real wardrobe instead of hanging them on other people's cupboard doors.
big trip up to Ballarat Friday/Saturday to do the rounds of all the people I store up there.
the three-kids-under-four mob seem to be surviving, which is all one can expect. my sister in law says if she gets to the end of the day and the kids have been dressed and fed, she's doing well.
spent nearly an hour playing "cricket" and "golf" with Reg's six-year-old. he's a great kid, with the most precocious vocubulary and grown up yet cheeky attitude. neither of us managed to hit the ball into the basket in about 30 goes each and he said "that means we're not very good at golf. we'll have to try again next time."
possibly the thing that made the most impact on me, family-wise, was the one close relative I didn't see in the 24 hours; my 18-year-old nephew (not the one more often referred to, who's now 19).
he's gone off to be a flight engineer in the air force. his father had a photo - one of those colour printer ones, either a colour photocopy or a digital image. the photo looked kind of official. C is wearing his cap and uniform, with "Australia" on his shoulder, and there's an Australian flag draped from a pole over his right shoulder. he's giving a big goofy grin. I don't know him as well as I'd like (he lived with his mother the past 8-9 years), but you don't have to know him for long to tell what a solid, stable and self-aware kind of bloke he is. he always wanted to join the Air Force, always loved planes, was in the cadet program as soon as he could, and now there he is, a man in uniform.
18. it's so old, and so very, very young. but he looked like an airman, a soldier.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

when you're trying to buy a house, agents who stand to make thousands from you fall over themselves to sell, sell, sell.
when you're trying to rent, and they stand to make, oh, tens of dollars, you can't get them to return your calls.
funny, that.

Willa is your source for all things semi-spooky: Halloween-themed fonts and screensavers, sites and games.
There isn't much original content, but the links are clearly the result of some serious trawling of the Web.
And this will be the blog's third Halloween, so the archives are full of goodies, such as links to Web cams in allegedly haunted houses.

The Ludwigs/Halloween

The Ludwigs profess to be obsessed with Halloween, and have all the latest news: "OK, here is a cool idea for creating talking skulls with your own soundtrack," for example. The focus seems to be on creating Halloween props for decorating entire houses in the spooky theme.
There's lots of stuff on lighting, and "yer basic floating lantern" but, more importantly, there is a link to the archives of the Halloween mailing list, where Web-goblins discuss gothic candelabra, and otherwise normal Americans swap tips on how to turn their front yards into a miasma of fog.

Silver Blog
Cecily isn't quite as Halloween-crazy as some other bloggers; she has just put up one extensive post on Halloween resources, with comments from readers on the feasibility of a "moth" fancy dress. Look out for the link to the Kodak guide to carving faces into pumpkins so they'll photograph well.
Her main blog is divided between her (currently bleak) personal life and her photography, much of which is black-and-white. That part of the blog is named Silver Halide, but the "silver" of the main site is a reference to the colour of Dorothy's shoes in the original Wizard of Oz story.

Haunted Bay
The seaside town of San Francisco doesn't seem a terribly spooky place, but Haunted Bay manages to make it appear just a little dark and threatening.
The effect is spoilt a bit by the pumpkin weigh-off (though a 532-kilo pumpkin might scare some people).
If you happen to be over that way, Haunted Bay lists events in the area, and the right places to buy your giant pumpkins.
Reviews of new "haunted" attractions and other Halloween-related news appear regularly.


Once a year is a fairly infrequent update rate, but at least it's reliable.
Each Halloween, Catanna posts photos and details of her outfit and that of her husband's; first it was the Sun and Moon (which most people mistook for a Roman look), then an over-the-top rendering of characters from the musical Cats.
This year they're working on a Braveheart-fairy theme; can't wait to see the blue face paint! If you'd like to emulate the look, there are links to online stores where the pair buy their stuff.

Federal agents put guns in the faces of four Australian children aged between four and 17 years during raids aimed at weeding out Muslim extremists, according to a teenaged girl whose family was raided.

Completely disgusting. Whether they were "Australian children" or otherwise.
what to do when you come in early and, as usual, the Loud Talkers are blathering about their renovations etc at twice the necessary volume, but you don't feel like blasting your ears with Courtney Love to drown the sound out?

why, play Ani, of course!

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Monday, October 28, 2002

meanwhile, I am so totally cool and zeitgeistish.
have bought the #1 album; Elvis's 30 #1 songs.
think I'll track down some of his early records. such a sweet voice.
this is so outrageous I can't even get outraged about it.
the lovely three-bedroom Edwardian house with the horrific orange kitchen?
the one with offstreet parking and a yard for Bilbo?
the one a short walk from the beach and the cafes in Elwood?
that was $295 a week, and therefore cheap?
that I spent at least THREE HOURS chasing, counting going to the agent yesterday morning,driving down there at lunchtime, applying for, faxing, not to mention our scouting trip on Sunday?

the ($%#@!**! owners have sweetly received our application for a six-month lease (which I understood they had no obligation to accept) and told the agent that they've rethought, they want $500 a week. That's FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

now, it was a bit underpriced, maybe $50-$60, but $500 is a joke. the agent says she won't list it at that.

I hope it sits there empty for six months, they end up having to drop back to $340, and they lose all the money they would have got from renting it to us. fuckers.
the two items in my handbag I need the most: the credit/debit card and the Swiss Army knife. every girl should have both.
bummer. just when I've got the hoses set up right on our garden, they bring in water restrictions.
so we will only be able to use them before 8 am (hah!) or after 8pm. I accept the need for restrictions, but it's not like we actually live there and can just pop out and turn them on at 6.30 am or 9pm.

if we just have to stand there and hose, it will take forever. and use the same amount of water. it has to be done at least once, probably twice a week as the weather gets hotter or things will die. we're only doing the bare minimum as it is.

we have a timer, but the existing fitting is frozen to the only tap, so can't put it on. situation calls for a monkey wrench.
currently sitting up very straight and walking around like I have a pole strapped to my back and head.
another big back-cracking session, but neck still hurts; and the point was made to me that the underlying problem, being tension and poor posture, would make it recur endlessly.

and I really can't keep having headaches like that. no. no more.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

this headline is just plain embarassing.
is house
is good
is orange kitchen
is I don't care.

now we can only hope they'll let us have it for a six-month lease. a better policy would probably have been to lie and then just find someone to take it over when our place is done.
goddam blogger. third try at this post (in Word Pad this time)

my life currently resembles a Boomtown Rats song:
Monday? headache
Monday? headache.
I think it's been four out of the past five. today's did start yesterday, but all the same, I am pretty much over starting every week unable to focus, let alone think.
icepacks and kidney-wrecking drugs can only take you so far.
husband says natural remedies are better. that will be lying down in a dark room, then? I wish.

(ps: very exciting; my wonderful phsyio has had an appt come free at 9.30 tomorrow

on the upside, have identified the impossibe; a three-bedroom Edwardian house with LUG and polished floors a short walk from the beach in Elwood for under $300/week
inspection is at 1.30, and in absence of husband, who really would prefer a funky art deco flat, intend to apply for lease if it's as good as it looks from the outside. yard for dog takes priority, says me.
and no, I'm not posting a link to the obscure, non-local agent where I found it on the Web. it's MINE, do you hear me, ALL MINE, Moriarty!

also good: finding an all day cheap car spot. with five hours on the meter. bonus.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

I like the little things I find on the site of

they're some web designer types, but they play with the medium.

if you go to their page and click on demonstration #8, "untitled", you can change the way the virtual painting in their office looks; the page is projected on a real wall in Melbourne.
good blog title: inflatable doll.

I'm sure it's been done.
yes, it's essay-writing time and as usual, anything resembling Deep Thought hurts my brain and brings up some strange questions.
like why are (some) men happy to have sex with inflatable dolls (and even inflatable sheep, forsooth!), where women wouldn't bother?
why do men not care that their cartoon women, like the chick in Final Fantasy have no soul?
and is it OK or not, if you like your fantasies to be about real people, like say Daniel Day-Lewis, to put them into compromising positions they would not adopt in RL? is there any difference, as I've about as much chance of having sex with Daniel Day-Lewis as the average geek has of scoring the star of FF, ie, zero?

if you have any answers to these questions, which swirl around the topic of intersubjectivity and what makes interactivity feel interactive, keep them to yourself. I'm confused enough already.
a day of house and flathunting in Elwood, by the sea.
houses cost a fortune.
flats are within our price range; if we don't tell the agents about our secret dog, it will be fine.

there was one cheap house; it was "under offer" but I left my number anyway. stupidly did not turn the phone on, though, and now we might have to go back there tomorrow to look at it. husband not so keen, but I think a yard would be much better for Mr B the fluff king. though a big flat and two walks a day will not really hurt him for six months.

Thursday, October 24, 2002



He's exceeded 2000 posts on his blog and he's still going strong. Yes, Geek is a geek with stamina.
Not all his posts are comprehensible to the average computer user, of course, being aimed at people who actually know what's inside their beige boxes:
"CodeMeister, the machine I was planning on using, is having some technical difficulties. You see, I foolishly put the buggy 6GB in it, thinking tossing it on the slave position would solve the problems. Well, it now holds my Red Hat install, as well as my Win 2000 Pro install. Sadly, it also holds my Grub bootloader, which I cannot boot without. Needless to say, my computer is mega fubared, and I highly doubt I will be able to get my files, saved games and other stuff off the drive. I may, though, install the two Linux distro's still, at 2GB each."
If you understand that lot, then you're probably a kindred spirit.
In the spirit of the early Internet, Geek wants information to be free and is angered by anti-Internet radio laws in Britain and has something to say about the redesign of Wired magazine's Web site, too.
Naturally the blog itself runs smoothly; posts are even classified by type so you can just read the ones about Linux if you choose.

Formerly V2.1, this blog sees the world from a very geeky point of view.
A shelving project isn't just "I built some shelves today" but occasion for a detailed description of piece sizes, tool brands and the exact order in which things were done.
And, of course, there is always room for improvement.
As there seems to be in his fitness; after a day's exercise he complained that "THEN to make matters worse the X10 unit did not want to turn on the kitchen light so I had to do it MANUALLY!" (the X10 unit being an automatic sensor switch).
Sometimes we get to hear about his work, which is enjoyable when he's tweaking computer networks, not so much when he's playing "copier repair guy".
Whatever the task, this is one geek who attacks the problem doggedly until it's fixed.

Rambling Geek Blog

"I want to be a mad scientist, but I don't have the degree, creds, or experience to sign on with a good position."
Instead, Owen rambles geekily on his blog, paying little or no attention to outdated concepts like plot or reason.
He rarely mentions actual technology, preferring instead to blog about geeky topics, like his idea for a fast-food restaurant ("Neutrino Burgers and Quantum Shakes"), how much he loves his favourite soft drink, and occasionally focuses on his body hair for good measure. Geeky enough?

Kermit the Blog
He loves his Mac. He posts links to really cool new hand-held computing toys. He muses on whether the iPod should support image display: "At first I thought 'What a useless feature. Why would I want to look at pictures on my iPod?'." I can see myself, strolling through the mall, when I'm suddenly overcome by an overwhelming urge to see my dog's face! Thank goodness I have my iPod with me! Crisis averted!."
He cares, really cares, about the way the crew of the Star Trek series Enterprise behaves: "It ticks me off that our early space explorers are the 'ugly tourists'."
He lists his top sci-fi movies, and complains about not having one toy that will do everything for him.No doubt about Dave's geeky credentials. No doubt at all.

(channelling James Brown)
I feel good!
the new place is on a busy road. this sucks. so I slept in a spare room down the back of the house, by myself. which means I actually slept well for a change. which means my brain is actually ON today!
whoo-hoo. look out world.
see, this is what blogs are good for.
this Canadian man was injured in Bali; brought to Melbourne. his friend kept this blog for him. he died last night.
the burns units at the melbourne and Perth hospital have been working hell for leather ever since it happened. a friend of mine went to school with a girl who died two days ago.
the burns operations have to be done in 36 degree heat because the patients can't regulate their temperatures. every time I have contact with drs and nurses in hospitals here, I marvel at their near-uniform patience and care. in this case it's saintly; these burns victims are very hard to save.
after September 11 there were very few patients for the hospitals.

there's 110 comments on the final post on this blog.
my column for next week is on Halloween blogs. wonder if I should scrap that and do this one. it's an amazing thing.
and I'm very worried aobut the smaller goldfish. fish don't travel very well. I expect he'll be an ex-fish in the morning, and there's nothing I can do about it.
yet another moving day. what is there to say about schlepping suitcases in and out, driving up and down Warrigal Road?
the less the better, really.
so here we are in Mt Waverley, me wishing I was in Elwood instead.
oh, and husband goes away for 3 days on Monday. just as mother-in-law arrives to this normally empty house.
she's lovely and all, but I don't want to live with my own parents...

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Stolen from Doonesbury
via blogdex.
nine of the 13 root DNS servers went down this morning. and Louis Touton says "these things happen"
not they don't. they shouldn't. if they all crashed, the Net wouldn't collapse. but things would get slow and messy. that's why there are 13 of them.
headache gone. but it left behind a crick in my neck that means that if you come up behind me on the left, I have to turn my entire body like Lurch to look at you. so looking forward to spending the day working on a keyboard with this going on. and the lovely Michael, who can fix it, is not at work until next week. blagh.
"for those of us who truly appreciate giant pumpkins"
a desk that turns into a bed. I want one. no, two. three.
housework can be strangely soothing.
I mean, if I had nothing else to do, ever, and a nice house, what luxury it would be to simply potter all day, rearranging fruit and weeding the garden. by some definitions this would be wasting my life.
but it only galls me when I'm conscious of what else I should be doing. when it's the main game (like now, as we prepare to move out of this house-sit), it's not entirely unsatisfying. of course I don't have kids messing things up. the husband is fairly good at that anyway.

bike ride report: a storm brewing, warm evening, bright grey sky and a ripper of a tailwind. top speed; approximately 32km/h. took me about an hour and five to do a ninety-minute ride. wheeee!!

Monday, October 21, 2002

links and average rents for rentals in Melbourne. this will be useful when plotting my escape from Mt Waverly, where I nearly grew up and where my husband wants to incarcerate me for the rest of the time it will take to renovate the place where we used to live, and maybe will again. one perfect day.
can I just say, right, that if I ever find the so-and-so who invented the migraine headache, there will be blood on the floor.
I mean, they hurt. they really hurt. it’s like a small ball of throbbing pain behind my left eye is radiating out across my whole body.
and the slightest bright light, loud noise or sudden movement makes it dance and pulse.
came home from class early. I’d thought a swim might fix it, but maybe the pool wasn’t cold enough. thank God for good ol’ American superstrength over-the-counter painkillers, icepacks so cold you lose all feeling in your forehead, and husbands willing to dig their thumbs into the base of your neck.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

trying to work; mental block about the last tv show site for my column.
wondering if my Vicnet ISP account is dead, and if so, why they keep hosting me.
spent the day socialising, then working hard to try to stop the garden at home from dying.

Friday, October 18, 2002

I like this: a telemarketing "counter-script".
via Hoopty. you know where he is.
after reading this Wired article about artificial sight (complete with some rather excessive phrasing, methinks), I had some fairly trippy moments. because it is an amazing thing, all those reflected light beams being converted into cool phenomena by electrical current. if you think too hard about how you're seeing the table in front of you, its texture and colour, it will start to seem not quite real. a bit like an image conveyed by computer.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

useful metaphor; that feeling you get when you have just closed the front door behind you. with your keys inside.
and why this isn't # 1 on Blogdex, I cannot imagine.
you can tell I'm meant to be working on uni stuff, can't you?
a page about common phrases, which Batgrl would love. via Unadorned, a meetup blogger who is now in Montreal and has a lovely elegant design. unlike this site, which has lovely elephant design.
what else can I waste time on?
even though I know I have lots of people coming here whom I don't know, I still find it slightly disconcerting when someone I don't know - in this case in my own town - links to me. she looks cool enough. also links to grumpygirl, has an ezine project. I suspect we are connected somehow through the local blog meetup. still, am I funky enough for such company?