Saturday, March 30, 2002

a silly pointer game

and I've been to see Chris Addison. this is last year's review. I've done a review (you have to when it's free tickets for the media) but I can't put it up yet 'cos it's not published yet. but yes, he's pretty funny.


Friday, March 29, 2002

I'm turning into a prudish old lady.
at the video store tonight, a movie was running really loudly, as they tend to do.
it was full of the f word (I don't mind writing it, but I'm leaving it out to avoid attracting the porn hounds here), then the c....s...r word.
there are little kids in the store.
then, when I was looking at the DVDs, some young men near me were being pretty free and loud with the f word themselves.
so when I was paying for my movie, I mentioned that the movie running had some "pretty full on words to be playing somewhere there are kids."
the guy said he'd take it off. he said "does it?" the workers clearly tune out that 90-decibel profanity.

and you know what? I'm not at all embarassed to be the prim 30-something asking them to tone it down. someone has to do it. even though I can use those words myself when angry or in sudden danger, I don't want to hear ''em when I'm picking a movie out, trying to have a quiet and pleasant free day off Good Friday.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

a real online test
naturally, as it's late and this test requires actual thought, I've just blogged it to do later.
I'll tell you what I'm not doing. I'm not spending the whole Easter break blogging. I have ten days off now, and it seems that I find it very hypnotising to sit here with the laptop on my knees, surfing and typing. I have a little work type work to do, but also lots of important personal business. so smack me if you catch me raving on mindlessly, won't you?

ouch. that stung.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

today's blogon, etc:

Ever since trainspotting stopped being a dirty word, obsession with different modes of transport has been coming out of the closet. Be moved by these transport blogs.

UK Transport
From the original land of trainspotting comes this "libertarian" blog about all aspects of transport. Railway issues are top of mind for author Patrick Crozier - not surprising in the rail-crisis-prone UK - but he also talks about whether buskers should be allowed on public transport and wider policy issues including government's role in transport.
Crozier reviews books on transport issues and links to current articles with his own commentary on them. His writing is refreshingly crisp and opinionated, littered with phrases such as "Drivel. Double drivel."

Segway Blog
Those of you panting with impatience to obtain the bizarre Segway personal scooter will be disappointed to hear they may be banned under a Californian law aimed at keeping motorised vehicles off the footpath. Paul Nakada chronicles this and other threats to the, um, human march into the age of total leg redundancy on his Segway blog.
On the upside, he reports, Segways may be tested in the Grand Canyon.
Nakada doesn't explain why he keeps this blog, but he clearly has an interest in all things tech and transporty - at one point he segues into discussion of a personal flight machine.

Lance Armstrong
It's true that Lance Armstrong uses his bicycle more like a weapon than a form of transport but cycling enthusiasts will enjoy the regular updates about America's road-cycling star.
Armstrong's is an inspirational story of triumph over adversity; you've probably read the book, now follow his progress on the blog!
Armstrong, it seems, doesn't write the blog himself, but there are lots of links to his comments in the media, and the occasional e-mail interview.
Bookmark this for the Tour de France later this year.

Jish's 2000 Mazda Miata Weblog
After a Segway, an MX-5 (called a Miata in the US) would have to be the cutest way to get around, and considerably faster.
Jish is seeking more oomph for his new Miata, and in under a year has already spent exactly $US2307.28 on getting it. A louder horn, a new grille, a shiny metal gearshift knob; Jish has it all.
Stand by for the photograph of the car's odometer showing exactly 20,000 miles. Strangely, the car doesn't seem to have a name.
And before you write Jish off as unusual or abnormally obsessed with his car, check this: he's a member of a Mazda Miata web ring. It has 106 members.

apparently I'm a member of this lis of blogs. never seen it before. memo: must join the Miata webring. BECAUSE I CAN! hahahahahahaheeehehehehehooooowheeeee!
Attack of the killer tomaytoes:
they keep coming. every day, I pluck them, guzzle them, give them to relatives, let the birds eat them, discard them at the slightest hint of a flaw. but still the relentless line of small round red objects marches on.
I have made: mushroom and tomato flan, tomato and fetta cheese salad, pasta with fresh herbs and tomato, tomato on toast with olive oil and freshly ground pepper, stir-fried noodles with tomato. But the huge bowl of tomatoes on the bench just keeps on being there. why oh why did I ever plant a whole six cherry tomato vines in my yard?

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

car report: it is definitely an mx-5, still blue and frighteningly perfect. I mean, all my cars have been at least 10 years old and nicely scratched up when I got them. this is shiny, untouched, has never even been rained on and very expensive.
it's setting off all my I-don't-deserve-this reactions, not to mention my fear of breaking, losing or otherwise spoiling perfect and loved things/people/situations.
first CD played: Massive Attack's Protection
What happens when you type with your fingers one key to the left? (except it was to the right.)
ejsy js[[rmd ejrm upi yu[r eoyj upit gomhrtd pmr lru yp yjr ;rgyz

Monday, March 25, 2002

off to pick up car now. am pleased that it is arriving on the 26th of March (ignore those silly US times above).
this is also the birthday of my ex, Bill Brown, my school friend Susan Marson, my teenage friend Brian Lamond, my other school friend David Pasco and someone else whom I can't quite remember. if any of you happen to Google yourselves and arrive here drop me a line, won't you? And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
overheard in a conference centre hallway yesterday:
"They said it's either the electronic strip or there's no money in it - now I can't imagine there's no money in it."
yes, unimaginable that there'd be no money in your account. how could that happen? unthinkable. wrong. so it must be the electronic strip. musn't it?

(btw, I hate my bank. but who doesn't?)
today I drove home in a cobwebbed 1984 Nissan Pulsar. tomorrow I will drive home in a 2000 mx5. this will not make me a different person. this is definitely the most crassly materialistic thing I have ever done. it had better be fun.
while I'm inventing anti-annoyance devices, how about a choice of hold music on insurance companies' lines?

Saturday, March 23, 2002

oops. seems we've just bought a new car.
Andrew didn't want me to buy the one I found for $18,500 with 77,000 ks on it - dealer warranty and all - because it didn't have air bags in it.
so I put in a bit more, he put in a quite bit more and we have just put a deposit on a 2000 model (the shape I like) in dark blue (which is OK, but still not my favourite, which is funky crystal blue), with only 11,000 ks on it and 18 months of its new car warranty to run.

we have to sort out a few finance details and so on, but I should have the car by Tuesday night at the latest. will I be able to cope with an almost-new car that I'm not allowed to leave in supermarket car parks?
of course will now have to go through the boring car-selling process. my current car is a Nissan Pulsar from 1984, with 118,000 ks on it, if anyone wants to make an offer
big sunny day today - finally did the motorbike ride 50 k out into the hills to see Andrew's Pa. at last the bike feels just normal, instead of some big heavy thing that's more unwieldy than what I'm used to. but I don't know if I'll ever go back to riding in the rain, late at night, etc. might stick to the sunny days.
Waking Life: a pretty cool movie, I guess, though some in the audience tonight clearly didn't get it and chose to go home and watch TV instead.
basically, this guy is in a lucid dream, probably dying or dead, and all these characters around him are musing on life. it's done with heaps of different animators working over the top of actual footage.
the life-musings are fairly heavy. I don't know if some of the lines were taken from actual existentialist philosophers etc, but they sounded like it. other bits were just absurb.
I liked one bit where they were on about how time is not real; it's our way of getting away from the fact that there only is one moment, which is now. but everyone eventually says yes to the now, the character says (while banging away on a pinball machine). I don't know if the "yes" is embracing one's life and possibilities, or just dying.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

here's my invention: a small IVR system you can plug into the phone line between the socket and your normal phone.
callers get a message: "Hi, you've called us. If you're a telemarketer, sales person, solicitor or are otherwise cold-calling us for commercial reasons, please press 1. If you are a real person but simply need to leave a message, press 2. If you're a real person and want to actually speak to us, press 3"
Those who press 1 would get this message "We're sorry, but we do not accept unsolicited marketing and similar calls. Please remove us permanently from your contact lists and have a pleasant day. (Click).
2 would of course lead to an answering machine. 3 would put the caller through, with caller ID still working as normal. I think there would need to be a further branch at 3, to put unanswered calls and calls if we were already on the line to the machine; I'd also like a switch I could flick to "urgent only" where callers would hear "hi, we really are tied up right now. if at all possible, can we call you back? press 1 if it's urgent we take your call."

Naturally, we wouldn't be bothered by the phone ringing until people had pressed 3 and in the case of an urgent-only setting, 1.

does this exist? can someone make it for me? can I patent it and make millions?
no, actually, I don't want to answer a few questions, give money to your cause, take up your exciting special offer, have a no-strings market evaluation on my property, join your membership club or your religion.

poor Bill of Chambers Real Estate. all he was doing was attack-dialling locals, looking for a house he could sell. he got me, demanding to know how he got my number (I don't believe the explanation; he called me "Mrs Herbert"), and advising him to subscribe to the lists of people who don't want to get annoying phone calls at home, and issuing rulings that his actions were illegal under the national privacy laws.

then again, he's got me so annoyed my afternoon nap is shot, so I don't care if I was rude. it's not like I'd invited him to bother me.

better go look at some cars.
you'd think, wouldn't you, that before putting an ad in the Trading Post, you'd get your act together. So far I've had one woman who's in Byron Bay until next week (Byron Bay is a VERY long way from here, like New Orleans to New York distance), another who said "oh, I hadn't thought about getting a roadworthy certificate" (you need one to sell a car legally here), another who thought 148,000 ks was "low kms" (wait, that's Byron Bay woman again; and if she's driving it back it will be more like 150,000), a woman who is never home, another whose voice mail system is broken, and so on.

they all seem to be women, except one guy whose ad says "make an offer". his range was too high, even if the car was low k's - 55,000 (30,000 miles-ish). I guess he was a man under 6 ft tall - mx5's are not really big guys' cars, which is partly why Andrew won't shell out for a better one.

to make me even grumpier, Optus decided to hoard all my voice mail messages for two and a half days, meaning the woman at the Mazda dealership will not believe me when I ring and say "I didn't get your message" and my loan officer rang twice, meaning I won't get my loan in time to get the car this weekend. grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. plus I went to a slightly boring and opaque lecture tonight by someone who really needs to learn about communicating outside the academic milieu.

I am not an Internet Artist. but I could be the Marcel Duchamp of the Web. methinks Googlewhack has found poetry par excellence. somehow, finding and defining interesting things that actually happen appeals to me more than exploring the limits and possibilities of technology myself.

dream car: Red or white, between 70-100,000 kms, a/c, CD player, power steering, glass rear window, with a roadworthy ready now. is that too much to ask? oh, and it would be good if I didn't have to go to Woop Woop North to get it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

today's blogon: in other news I am busy looking for a new car and not feeling very bloggy.

You thought the garden was a place where you could get away from all this Internet stuff? Not so fast; gardening journals are going digital.

Resurrecting the Garden
This is not a for-fun blog; it's a practical site, serving as a message board and discussion area for students at the University of Toronto's Division of the Environment who are studying a course called The Metaphor of the Garden.
"(Gardens) reflect changes in the human relationship with nature and are a matter of culture, specific to a particular time and place," writes lecturer Jill Cherry.
The course appears set to delve into abstruse concepts such as the meaning of gardens in Western society, their relationship to "wild" nature, and the 18th century view that "grass should form the major part of a gentleman's landscape because nobody in Europe grew it better than the British".
Garden paintings, historic gardens and garden furniture all appear.
Field days and reading reminders feature in the main blog, and there are links to students' garden and environmental blogs, where they muse on topics such as "what is a park?" and whether gardens require flowers.

Outside in the Garden
"I truly hope that robin makes it through February and March without having to contend with a blizzard." You can tell from the start that Pam isn't in Australia.
Her Connecticut, US, garden changes through the year, and this is Pam's space to record those changes. She writes beyond the current state of the weather, musing on dates, Groundhog Day and other matters seasonal. She includes a few photos and links to good gardening resources on the Web.

Chuck R's Garden of Dead Bugs

If you think this sounds kind of icky, you're right: it is.
Chuck is a keen keeper of plants that live on small dead animals. In classic Weblog style, he frequently points to new books, radio shows and other relevant dead-bug-gardening resources.
He uses his digital camera to good effect, and has probably captured the global market for carnivorous plant blogging; who knew there was so much to say about bog-making?
The blog also has a news feed from the useful service called Moreover, and a few other online news sites.
Bonus link: the searchable Carnivorous Plant Database.

Sheila: Garden
Not a lot of text here; just glorious, dated photographs of Sheila's Seattle garden in bloom. The blog is fairly new, so one hopes that more details will be forthcoming. One to bookmark for when Melbourne's winter gets you down.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

further report from midlife crisis land: have nearly finalised finance arrangements to buy my new seconhand MX-5 (Miata). Hope to find it on Thursday and get on Friday.
already have a name picked out. Lucy.
did I mention that next year I will be 37? and this afternoon I was singing nursery rhymes?
next I'll be running naked through the shady streets, etc.

Monday, March 18, 2002

have you read The Dice Man?
should I become The Blog Woman?

I could put up my proposed courses of actions and let you, my thousands of readers, vote.
well, it seems as good a way as any of deciding the various things currently swirling in my head.

failing that, some handy online dice.
as is my wont, I stopped today at a random op shop in the suburbs.
there I found a $2 Kodak point-and-click camera.
it had 7 shots already taken
Of course I bought it. I don't know if the film will even come out. but I'm going to use up the remaining shots and see.
I also photographed a huge bowl of tomatoes that I harvested this morning, but I can't be bothered uploading the pic. trust me, it's an amazing sight.

today's been foully hot and windy. I had a nasty headache so stayed home after my morning interview. didn't write much except my blogon column, but I wouldn't have been up to the office environment anyway, so it was better than nothing.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

one of the nice things about the Web is finding people who share one's obsessions (I think it's called vertical integration or somesuch). So imagine my joy at stumbling on the Miata (MX-5) Webring!
so Tina has closed her blog with a cheery "oh, hey, it's been fun, see y'all."

now, I visited her infrequently. and I'm not personally upset. but this blog-closing thing is making me wonder again about the strength of online communities. have a look at her comments; everyone is being very kind and understanding, but they are clearly a little hurt.

when I used to hang out at Salon's Table Talk (before they wrecked it by first making posts public to non-members, then by charging for entry), there was a definite expectation that you'd respond to others, that if you started a thread you might hang around and keep it kicking along.

but it's always so easy to just log off and never come back, giving no reason. is Hoopty, for instance, obliged to keep on being here now that he's virtually flirted with every reader he has? how much is this really "your own space" when some blogs have hundreds and thousands of readers who are really quite attached to them?

and don't give me any "you don't pay for it, easycome easygo" b***shit. I'm talking about human communication here.

Saturday, March 16, 2002

funny little thoughts enter my head sometimes, and this is where I keep them; the image of someone, a kind of idiot savant, who has a vocal talent; he can tone-dial with his voice alone.

I think this came out of seeing an aid for the blind that not only finds the number you ask it for, it will emit the tones that make the phone connect to that number. I guess I hadn't realised you didn't need to actually push the buttons to dial a number.

my number: beep bop birp baarp, beep beep brrill.
St Patrick's Day. We rode down to St Kilda to see Gerry and Julie's new house; on the way there, there were hundreds of cyclists in orange T-shirts coming the other way. I said to Andrew "maybe it's a Protestant plot against all the Irish types today". (they were actually participants in the Great Melbourne Bike Ride, a one-day event that has 7,000 riders in it).
it's a hot day, and there are many, many people out there right now who have had too much Guinness in the sun. wouldn't mind one myself, but all we have is Tasmanian Boags Beer.

in a few hours, this blog will turn one.
this is the bit where I muse about how much joy it's brought me, how I don't mind the hours spent retrieving archives and searching the Web for the right colour code chart; where I wax lyrical about the great people I've come across, how blogs have matured in that year, how I admire and would like to be more like certain bloggers, but at the same time have found that blogging has helped me develop my personal voice and pov. I should also express my hope that my blogging career will continue to excite and inspire me, that I will develop those new friendships, and my fervent desire to drink a lot network constructively at BlogCon2002.

on a closing note, I should thank and link to all the people/sources/sites that have helped me through this exciting year, and especially note, as if you didn't know, that Google totally rocks the Web.

but instead, I think I'll just go to bed.
what an automotive day it's been.
up (relatively) early to vote, pay for motorbike and rush off to an 11am appointment to testdrive a turbo-charged MX-5. which I really enjoyed; don't think the boy was impressed enough, though he concedes it has more power than the regular version.
then it was off to the Honda dealership for an s2000 and the Audi place for a TT. this is a boy who likes to shop around. which made a fairly long, hot day of it; I didn't even bother driving the other cars - they were two-seaters and the dealers insisted on going out with Andrew, so I let him go and sat drinking coffee or reading the paper. will we buy one? who knows. will probably end up buying a cheap old model MX-5 myself.

but there's more. after a short recovery period, we went to get my motorbike from outside the repair shop where we'd left it. it started fine. good. on I get to ride fairly tentatively home. I reached the intersection of Hoddle and Victoria Streets - a total of about 15 lanes crisscrossing in one of Melbourne's busiest intersections, and it died
it did it slowly, hesitantly, but it died all right. fortunately the woman behind me was considerate and stopped until the lights were red so I could get off the road safely. then I called Andrew and we swore at it together. it's Saturday night and I couldn't just leave it there all weekend.
there were only 60 ks on the clock since the last time I filled it. but all the same, we checked the fuel (unlike my last, this bike has no fuel gauge; that's normal). suspiciously low-looking. so in a last-ditch attempt, I walk to the station, buy a tin, a funnel and $3 worth of petrol.

sure enough, bike goes. didn't know whether to be glad or highly annoyed that it was something so DUMB.
it is now back in our garage and I swear I will never, ever, leave it to get a flat battery ever, ever again.

Friday, March 15, 2002

poor old motorbike is off at the hospital. I just don't ride it enough; so when I try, it refuses to start, then when I jumpstart it, it won't. start, I mean. then it farts backfires so hard my ears hurt.
and this was forecast to be a glorious weekend, two days of 27 degrees. so I sent it off, but you know mechanics - they will do things when they're ready.

so I have diverted my attention to the quest for an MX-5 (Miata). Andrew and I are going test driving tomorrow; with luck he will fall in love with it and we can get a new one instead of the secondhand one I can afford.

feeling happy today for no reason. finding that riding my bike into work on cool mornings and home on mild, sunny afternoons is one of those things that makes me go "wheee!"

and no, I don't care at all about Wayne Carey.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

so one of our ex-journos, who is a certified geek now subediting, comes down to visit. he has with him a briefcase. in the briefcase is a laptop computer with an 802.11b card and a Pringles tin.
The Pringles (potato chip) tin, he explains, is an aerial. its metal lining picks up wireless transmissions beautifully. it is the right size, too; and the little plastic top is a weatherproof cover. he can use it to detect insecure wireless corporate networks, he says.
if he was a person off the street, we'd be calling security right now.
but look! The BBC has done a story on this very phenomenon, complete with pictures.
my colleague has also experimented with baby food can aerials. but they pick up more static, he says.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Q: what great work of literature are you typing away on there, Jenny? you look busy!
A: actually, I'm going through a contributor's column and removing all references to The Tempest, and replacing them with references to Othello, while checking that the new links actually have something about Othello at the other end.

sometimes this job is plain absurd.
today's BlogOn from The Age's Green Guide. I so fully, like, expect to get totally, like flamed? for this one.

No more school, no more books, no more...
In their dreams! A fair whack of the blogs now on the Web are devoted to complaining about school, teachers, fellow students and other important matters of teenage angst. Here's a random sample (if you like these, just type "I hate school" into Google; there are thousands more out there):

Happy Now... Or Am I?
"I'm 17, in grade 12, hate school, dislike my family and have completely lost my mind."
So writes Megs, a girl with all the usual teenage hangups.
She's seen Lord of the Rings three times - as of last week, that is - and is obsessed whether that makes her more pathetic than friends who have seen it only twice. She is also obsessed about whether Aragorn (a character in the film) is "hers".
She hides parts of the entertainment section of the paper from her parents so they don't see her favourite singer described as "hedonistic" and uses a few words that you won't see in this newspaper anytime soon.
If you're a 17-year-old girl, here's a kindred spirit. If you're the parent of one, read Megs and take heart that other people's kids can be a lot like yours.

The Moon blog is subtitled "A simple blog will make me happy - so will Legolas in a G-string".
See a pattern developing here? Teenage girl blog equals a Lord of the Rings obsession.
This Glasgow girl calls herself "Bilbo Yasmin". The Bilbo bit is presumably not her real name and she quotes Lord of the Rings (the book) with a fervour that would probably make her English teacher very happy.
Her spelling and grammar might not, but that's blogging for you: "Seriously, i'm having one of those days where i could just smash a vase over someones head and not give a sean bean!!! I think my dad is majorly trying to piss me off, no i don't think, i know. Every 2 minutes he keeps on coming into my room/kitchen/hell hole and spying on what i am doing on the net! What a nosy old bugger!"
So much for responsible parental supervision.

Blog This
No Tolkienisms at this site. Cessa is a self-described diva of 18 years who is starting "college", trying to be an OK daughter and wondering if she should go to her boyfriend's court hearing.
Living in Canada but US-born, Cessa (Diana) maintains a site about her life, her favourite musicians and sites, of which the blog is only a part.
She's big on sending out respect to designers she likes and her idiom is a world away from her Glaswegian contemporary: "Anyways ya'll keep it real ¤ Hit me up. ONE!"

Joe Blog
Another college student, but one who seems to be more interested in his rock band than an academic career, bouncing from computer science to English. Joe's blog stretches back a couple of years' worth of angst, confusion and gigs as he makes the transition from teenager to responsible adult.
It's subtitled "this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time" and, reading it, one really hopes that Joe will get a handle on all the things that he thinks he hates: "I absolutely despise everything else and I know there's beauty to be found in our world but I feel so chained and shackled and locked up by everything that makes me part of a civilised society that I will never see the beauty in the world."
I work for a large newspaper. overheard this morning from an admin woman talking about the mail: "oh, we do that because of the anthrax thing". so casually.

Monday, March 11, 2002

that was quick: phototropic utilitarianism is now a Googlewhack.
I am SO ashamed of my pathetic, needy, addicted self.
my story on the radical types and their indymedia crusade. this is the fun stuff.

Sunday, March 10, 2002

1) why doesn't Hotmail have a Pro version? surely they wouldn't have to charge much for extra storage, and it really is the most convenient way to do email when you work on several machines, as I do.

2) my fabulous idea for a company promotion in Melbourne: there's been a lot of angst about the removal of conductors from trams, and the fact that you can't buy a ticket onboard now unless you have coins for the stupid machines - leading to people either not travelling, or getting fined.
Melbourne people love trams. so why not set up a kind of meter maid service: roving persons in branded clothing to offer change or even SELL TICKETS to passengers? even if they just did it in the city, it would be a hit - and get lots of lovely free publicity.
the problem with Googlewhacking is that it can lead you to all kinds of odd sites.
Like this man's list of the top 10 animals he'd like to f*ck
hey, don't look at me: I only report this stuff.
archive post
phototropic utilitarianism
phototropic keeshond
do not appear either.
perambulatory fishnet does not appear in google even once. nor does keeshond perambulation.
yes, I'm cheating on Googlewhack. now all I have to do is wait a few days and then search on these terms. sad, isn't it?
hobbies: googlewhacking. paraphrasing Shakespearean sonnets. paint stripping.
what is it about you?
are you like a good day in summer?
no, you're prettier, and nicer.
and in summer, the hot north wind can ruin the gardens
and summer comes and goes before you know it.
anyway, summer is overrated: it's too hot half the time
and the other half it's all thunderstorms and cool changes
and pretty things never last
they get broken, or old, or wear out.
but whatever it is about you that I like won't do that
you'll stay nice
hey, I don't think even death can take that away from me
not while my cool poetry is around
because as long as people can read
they'll read this, and they'll know what a hot babe you are to me.
my nephew is a working man. he's 18 and he works in a storehouse for a big supermarket chain. he's getting invovled in the union, and seems to be comporting himself well. I'm proud of him. I was also highly amused yesterday when he said of co-workers who report others to the supervisors "they've lagged a few times."
lagged, to lag, a lagger, lagging: a word that has fallen out of the Australian idiom. it's a prison yard word to some extent, but also goes back to the days when the real Australians (leaving aside the indigenous people) were convicts, supervised by others who would remain British in our imaginations, even if they were all born in the same place.
on some hot days, there's a cool hour or two before the sun reaches all of the land and the north wind blows away all the sharp night air.

this morning was one of those times. I rode the 20k circuit of the Kew Boulevarde, along with a few other early risers and public holiday walkers.

much of the road is cut into a steep west-facing hill, increasing the shade and creating a feeling that the trees and houses on the clifftop are looming over you as you ride. this morning, one of those trees was a bird tree.
Australian gums, to the unfamiliar eye, have very random branch arrangements. they don't sprout out neatly from a central trunk like a conifer, or branch out regularly like English oaks. but they have their own symmetry of repeated branching events and their own mathematics of angles, twists and turns.
this particular tree was maybe 20 metres high; I could only see it in silhouette, and the brightness of the rising sun behind it made the sky almost white.
on every branch, were screeching, twittering, singing native parrots; mostly blue and green with orange bands across their proud little chests.
it wasn't exactly birdsong, but like the tree, it had a rhythm and a random tunelessness that reminded me of a big city at rush hour.
flaneur osteopath

isn't it amazing how you can spend 40 minutes of a perfectly good life on something as trivial as that? Well, that I can.
gotta love the 'net...
myomectomy keeshond: there's only one!
I seem to be in a googlestack war with someone called Rhino.
excuse me.
darn I'm good at this: perineum cumulonimbus
I love word games. so Googlewhacking is right up my alley.
My whack: perniciously columned.

Saturday, March 09, 2002

too nice a day to blog. we're off to Ballarat, where we may even view the floral carpet.
Andrew nearly passed the insanity test.
it took me about 1.5 seconds to fail; or did I pass and he nearly fail?
(warning if you're at work: audio on this link)

via Robyn
post removed for editing. looks like I do need Blogger Pro and its swish editing features

Friday, March 08, 2002

ps: looks like that allnight upgrade fixed things. someone should tell Ev to stop providing decent service for free if he wants our money.
no blogger. but I have my trusty

tonight: Nick Cave at the Forum, which is an amazingly Gothic old theatre in the city. We had a date in a rather baroque little bar I'd found, so I dressed up all silly; starting from the skin, lacy underwear, a bulky netting petticoat, a long slip, a long clinging blue 70's dress I inherited, my shorter purple Akira Isogawa bias cut dress and a black polyester T-shirt, with rather high but chunky heels, garnet jewellery and very red lipstick.
I thought it looked quite nice, actually.
so we had our tete-a-tete and wandered off to the Forum a bit late. found an excellent possie; not an actual seat, but we were elevated with a railing thing to sit on, and we could see right over the heads of the crowd to the full stage, which is great for a short creature like me. my memories of too many concerts consist of darkness punctuated by glimpses of the lead singer when I've jumped up in the air to see what's happening.
I'm not sure if I've seen Nick sing before. maybe at a Big Day Out; I do remember getting excited about a free show in New York ten years ago, only to find it was only him reading from that rather tortured book he wrote.
never mind; Syd Straw was the support (or main, can't remember) which very much saved the day. she totally rocked, still does as far as I know.
back to tonight: the band was almost orchestral. Three guitars, main keyboard, optional second keyboard, drums, percussion and one Warren Ellis, a mad violinist who actually went to school with my brother.
They definitely had their act together; even the loudest, most raucous pieces had that real musicality. Nick did some piece called "God is in the House" which totally reflected his private church school hymn-singing background. I'd love to see him playing a full-on church organ.
it was an interesting experience for me from a couple of points. The Ship Song ("come sail your ships around me/and burn your bridges down") has always been a bit of a weepy for me - "we make a little history baby" - and it has some history for me, that song. While they were doing that, it occured to me that I should let a few things go in my life.
the other is about the effect that seeing people do their stuff really well always has on me. (does that make sense?)
it's about what Pirsig called Quality. I wish I could write like Warren plays violin, like Monet could paint, like David Lynch can make films. I love to see what people can do when they've totally devoted themselves to their art for many years.
of course, Nick being a Melbourne boy only a few years older than me, and Warren being someone I grew up around accentuates that feeling; so, they're up there doing that, and what am I doing?
Nick, of course, suffered through many years of impoverished punkish rejected musicianship in order to have his s**t together as well as he does.
but maybe that's just what you have to do? I wonder. and I wonder if I could ever work that hard, focus that well on one thing. and, of course, exactly what that one thing would be. maybe if I knew what it was, it would be easier to do it.

other blogs for later: My blog is doing that (*^&(^%* freezing thing again. do I have to redo the whole damn template AGAIN??? I suspect it's probably something in my Blogon posts; I rip them out of the work database, so there could be funny little invisible characters futzing things up. strangely, everything is there under "view source" - there's just nothing showing up in the browser. I can't even fix it until the morning, when presumably Blogger will be back up and I can go back to a bog-standard template: ugly, but accessible.

will Plogger Bro fix the problem? it's $70 Australian, but it would be worth it. I like the blog-by-email option; it's closer to my mobile blogging dream - just type it in to the PDA, plug in the mobile or synchronise, and off goes the blog. would almost make it worth getting the PDA Andrew keeps wanting me to want.

if the image thing does what it seems to say it does, I could move my blog to my ISP and have instant image posting. I think? man, too much for 11.40 pm

finally, I have a new thing I want to do: after looking again at Jorge Colombo's Dailies and Looby Lu's people drawings, I'm going to do some people sketches of my own; in words, of course.

years ago, in final year of high school, I'd often take a day off and catch the train to Melbourne and just walk around all day. (god only knows how I passed, let alone got an A average). sometimes I'd pick someone and follow them around the city. so I'm going to become a stalker again: so far I've sussed out two girls and taken some notes. will write them up in the morning. thinks: does Blogger Pro allow me to have two blogs running at once? I'm sure it does. then I could use that for my daily people section and just set up a separate email address?

looks like I'm going to have to shell out, then pester Ev and Phil with questions, demands and suggestions.

nightie night...

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

the power of blogging: look at this Google cache
then look at this original work
naughty old copycats!
but Hoopty and the gang have shamed them into behaving with a virtual lynch mob.
yeah, I know you've all read instapundit
this is just to remind me to read it myself tonight.
it's Thursday. that means it's BlogOn time!

On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. And if you claim to be one, how can they prove you're not? Take the is-it-for-real test at these blogs

Bloggus Caesari

Written by Julius Caesar, yes THE Julius Caesar, Bloggus Caesari tells tales from the frontline of the Roman Army.
In May last year Caesar wrote: "It looks like I might be away more than I'd like, so I decided to set up this blog," and he has updated it faithfully ever since, presumably using his laptop or PDA and mobile phone to post from remote areas.
At the moment, Caesar's having trouble with his ships and is desperate for the cavalry to arrive. But he's still not taking any rubbish from those Britons: "I berated them for being hostile, after having said on the continent that they would ally with me. However, if they give up hostages, I'll let it go at that."
Sometimes he sounds eerily like a Fortune 500 CEO making his report to the board: "The operation this year will be explorative. Once we have more information, we can return for a larger campaign," he says of the push into Britain.
The blog includes a complementary map of Gaul and Britain on which you can trace the army's movement.
An excellent primary source for history students.

Trailer Trash Family
Whoever the darnsakes is behin' this here blog has been at it for more'n a yar, y'all.
Whew! The authentic trailer trash-style is a hard one to get right, and this blog is either a masterpiece of satire, or really quite frightening.
The Trailer Trash Family - Festus Joe, Bertha Mae, Bubba J and Bosephus - eat at Doralee's House o' Grease and the Chicken and Biskit Buffet Lunch Counter, and go to flea markets for fun. They have opinions about their trailer (caravan) park neighbours' child-rearin' abilities, and use the sort of politically incorrect words that would make most people go "ouch!" Lousiana-based, but global in outlook, the Trailer Trash Family members specialise in links to items about people even weirder than them; men obsessed with garden gnomes, underwear thieves, court cases about intimacy with goats, and Bill Clinton. Permanent links include the online Trailer Trash Monthly newsletter, and the Jerry Springer Fan Club.
A typical post from Bertha Mae: "I been lookin up recipes on this here contraption tryin to find somethin new to fix fer Festus Joe and maybe git his mind offa them space aliens."
Festus Joe is a real patriot: "We done got our flag put up this mornin'. We got the biggest one in the whole trailer park! Bertha Mae says that's cause of how much we love our America the Beautiful!"
This site claims that 10 per cent of all American families live in trailer parks. Say it ain't so, Bubba.

another Australian journalist's blog. I have a feeling I know this guy from somewhere, even if he is in Sydney: Tim Blair
bother! I came across a mortgage calculator and idly plugged in $40,000 at ten percent over ten years. it came back with about $130 a week.
which I can afford if I decide to be shockingly irresponsible about my credit card payments.
$40,000 is the price of a blue MX-5 that's sitting in the local Mazda dealership.
I don't need it. I don't need it. I don't need it.
the sex pistols are re-releasing God Save the Queen for the Golden Jubilee.
isn't that sweeeet?
cool thing I used today: a flipperport.
now, I don't know why this thing has a name that makes it sound like a dolphin's front door.
however, it is actually a small pair of VR glasses and a closed circuit TV camera with high magnification. you pop the glasses on, point the camera and you're there.
would be wicked at the football, methinks.
of course they cost $5,000 (au) and are intended for nearly-blind people. but for a moment there, I was almost a cyborg.
no, not blogging today.
came home early - well, I was out doing interviews and just accidentally drove home instead of back to work - and am now demonstrating that I can do twice as much in half the time in the peace of a home office.
I'd better - it's now 8.22 and I have better things to do than motivating, the call of the TV and a nice cup of tea.
so this is not a blog, OK?

Monday, March 04, 2002

if I had cute little titles for my posts, this one could be "the biter bit".

just did a short radio interview (for the ABC in Queensland of all places) as a followup to my article in Green Guide.

one tried to sound erudite and amusing about what a blog is anyway, how they relates to the mainstream media and why people want ISSNs. The interviewer focussed a bit on the idea of blogs as an expert guide. I'm not sure he wanted me to go further into how blogs influence search engines, but whatever. One encouraged listeners to get a blog: "it's a lot of fun" and one plugged Blogger, as per the terms of service. even if Ev has not responded to my email with questions for said article, my early warning of the security breach at Christmas, and my subsequent email alerting him to the article.
he's a busy man, I guess.
hmmm. another search and nothing. but a lot of references to the wonderful scene in which Hanks makes fire.
I refuse to believe that a competent editing crew and director would have missed the possible analogy. I think it's subconsciously affected the viewers, anyway.
look, I don't want to get weird or anything.
but hands up who's seen Cast Away with Tom Hanks?
and if you have, do you remember the scene where he's making fire?
and there's a long groove in a piece of wood, and he lodges a tussock of coconut fibre at the end of it, takes a smooth round-ended stick and rubs the stick back and forth as fast as he can, panting and sweating, until he finally raises a flame?

so, have I got a twisted mind, or was that clearly a sexual analogy, as sure as a fast, pointy red sportscar called a Probe means "male insecurity complex?"

what bothers me is that after debating this with Andrew, I've done a bit of a search on the Web and found no other reference to this theory. so, is it just me?

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Tina is a Gemini. So am I.
So, in fact, are many of my talkative friends and journalism-school buddies. So was the Melbourne Times, my first employer. I wonder: are there more Gemini bloggers than other kinds?
I don't believe in astrology, except where it comes to my own star sign.
comments quiz: what's your sign?
taking Hoopty's lead, I had a blog-free day yesterday. spent the day cleaning out the garage and setting myself up a nice little work area for whenever I get around to my mosaic-ing project. this, I believe, led to my trip to Bunnings today, in which I went in for gloves and a dust mask and came out with paint stripper, brushes and a strong yearning to own an air-compressor-run staple gun.

Friday, March 01, 2002

some months back my little household had a major meltdown over the issue of housework and who did more.
yes, I was premenstrual at the time. why do you ask?
aaanyway... since then we've had the abacus sitting in a corner of the kitchen, ticking off the minutes.
I just racked up 100 hours of housework and food shopping. He's still on 74. meaning I do about 33 percent more housework than he does. also meaning I achieve about 2.8 time more than he does, as everyone knows women do housework faster and more efficiently than men.
it looks quite lovely, that single bead of 100 hours. so, um, neat.
the undertoad is espousing the joys of drunk blogging. and wigs. I'd like to suggest a drunken wig-wearing chatroom session, but I can't seem to get through on her comments.
18 months ago I planted a wattle tree that was given to us for our wedding.
it's now fully 7 or 8 feet high. and this morning I saw a tiny shard of gold inside one of the buds on the tips of branches.
if you've never seen an Australian wattle in full bloom, you might not understand how excited this makes me.
I really do love the garden. It gives so much back; it can make me feel so clever, "creating" all those beautiful things.

it will look something, but not exactly. like this:

up in the country town of Shepparton, the radio informed me this morning, they're keen to dispel the myth that there's nothing to do in the bush.
to publicise this fact, they are painting cars in interesting patterns and floating them down the local river.
thus, I would have thought, proving that in country towns, there really isn't that much to do.
I found this on Ev's Blogspot Blog.
proving he's just another redblooded boy: The Mystery of Britney Spears' Breasts