Saturday, May 31, 2003

funny things, blogs. some things you can say on them and some you can't. especially when some friends and work colleagues are known to read them. times and places for everything.
which is a roundabout way of explaining why I haven't blogged this before despite knowing for 14 weeks that I am pregnant. four months tomorrow.

he/she will be arriving on November 3; at least that's what they call the "EDD" in the trade. it has no relation to reality, of course. now does it make sense that I will kill someone if I don't get my nest house back like, tomorrow?

there is too much to go back over in one post. the baby has not kicked me yet, at least not in a way indistinguishable from wind. but we've seen it wriggle on an ultrasound, and it is forcing me to eat huge quantities of food. no, I didn't throw up. yes, it's weird to think of having a live creature inside me.

I have read several encouraging and a few frightening books about this whole process, but generally it's something I not only accept, but embrace. I am very, very pleased with myself. yes, I know it's all been done before. but not by me. not THIS baby. no more than you yourself have been "done before".

heh heh heh...

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

my disproof of the morality of utilitarianism: all over Melbourne, lifts are breaking down or being turned off. this is because the lift maintenance people are on strike.
so there must be hundreds of thousands of small moments of annoyance happening everywhere. if utilitarianism is correct, at some stage these small reductions in quality of life will add up to enough to balance out, say, shooting one lift maintenance man.
what bullshit.
The morning sun touched lightly on
The eyes of Lucy Jordan
In a white suburban bedroom
In a white suburban town
As she lay there 'neath the covers
Dreaming of a thousand lovers
Till the world turned to orange
And the room went spinning round

At the age of thirty-seven she realized she'd never ride
Through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair
So she let the phone keep ringing and she sat there softly singing
Little nursery rhymes she'd memorized in her daddy's easy chair

Her husband, he's off to work
And the kids are off to school,
And there are, oh, so many ways
For her to spend the day
She could clean the house for hours
Or rearrange the flowers
Or run naked through the shady street
Screaming all the way

At the age of thirty-seven she realized she'd never ride
Through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair
So she let the phone keep ringing as she sat there softly singing
Pretty nursery rhymes she'd memorized in her daddy's easy chair

The evening sun touched gently
On the eyes of Lucy Jordan
On the roof top where she climbed
When all the laughter grew too loud
And she bowed and curtsied to the man
Who reached and offered her his hand,
And he led her down to the long white car
That waited past the crowd

At the age of thirty-seven she knew she'd found forever
As she rode along through Paris with the warm wind in her hair ...

Copyright © 1979, Sheldon Silverstein

yesterday I turned 37. (May 28 was yesterday here, no matter what the dateline says) I celebrated by taking the day off work, and despite yet another crashing headache, driving Lucy, my MX-5, up and down Beaconsfield Parade and over the Westgate bridge with the top down. as you do. at the top of the Westgate on my way back, I saw a man out of his car, leaning over the edge, looking down rather than out. the car had its bonnet up as if it had broken down. but it was a newish MX-5, like mine, and they don't just break down like that. particularly not right at the top of a bridge, just by coincidence.
I wonder what he was doing there? was it his 37th birthday and was he going to jump? or was he just admiring the vertiginous view?

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Your search - "getting our effing house back" - did not match any documents.
Your search - "timber glue removal" - did not match any documents.
Your search - "removing timber glue" - did not match any documents
Your search - "parquetry removal" - did not match any documents.

yes, it's all going pear-shaped at the house.
the hallway parquetry is glued on. this may mean ripping floorboards up and replacing them. meanwhile, the builder has no idea when the floor at the back will be done. I cannot say just how BADLY I want to move back in five weeks from now. really badly. and it is collapsing before my eyes. it could be more like 8-9 weeks at this rate.

sorry, having a small and highly irrational meltdown. but I want my house back. now.
been a bit busy having a life this weekend to blog.
sold my flat on Saturday - a fantastic sunny day seemed to help, though I hate the way no one wants to be the first bidder and I got a bit nervous when bidding stalled just below reserve. in the end it went enough over that I think I'll be able to afford a toilet in the pub, but not enough to eliminate the mortgage - which is good, because it stops me from being silly with the theoretical tens of thousands I now have. the buyer was a nice Japanese woman - she was bidding very quietly and I was barracking for her, so that was satisfactory.
we celebrated by seeing Reloaded. so much FUN! all very unrealistic, of course, but that's the point, innit? loved Hugo Weaving's understated facial expressions, loved the hot chick on a motorbike bit (dream on, me) and generally found it the best bit of escapism I've had in ages.
and today we went to Andrew's deceased great aunty's place to put dibs on furniture. I find those sorts of things a bit uncomfortable, because (especially when it's a rello I never even met), I don't want to ask for something that someone else wants. at the same time, I don't want good stuff to go begging, and there is a pub to furnish. a lot of it was very very nice 1930's stuff that's too good for the pub anyway, and we didn't ask for; I'm hoping mostly for a marble-topped kitchen table that Andrew liked too, but probably everyone wants. it's a bit of a lottery, but being done in a very civilised way, and in the end I'd be happy with the highly practical laundry trolley I spied, or even the rather watermarked and not at all antique but way comfy 3-piece lounge that would be excellent with new slipcovers over it.
then a (slow) organic lunch with sister in law and her partner, and an exciting afternoon of napping and paperwork.

Monday, May 19, 2003

finally finished our third viewing of the Matrix last night. so we are now SO ready for Reloaded. I still think that the bit in the subway where he gets up and does the kung-fu pose is cheesy beyond belief. and I still find the foyer scene a bit yucky; it always reminds me of the trenchcoats at Columbine, which happened just before it was released.
but it doesn't matter, does it? the helicopter crash is still fantastic, the people so darn gorgeous, and the whole thing so self-confident that I don't care at all.

all of which is my intro to a site you've already seen: Matrix Essays, a worthy effort at bringing together Matrix mania and commentary.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

so you don't think Keeshonds can be as wonderful as I say? well, try this: even a dog judge, and dog judges are notoriously unemotional creatures, couldn't resist saying of the Keeshonds in the Royal Melbourne Show last year: "enjoyed judging the breed". so there.


The fugitive
Flight Risk is probably a hoax, but as an article in Wired News said, who cares? It's a good read.
Quite a lot of trouble has gone into inventing the character of Isabella V, who claims to the be red-haired daughter of a wealthy European man fleeing an arranged marriage.
She moves from place to place, worrying about her money, and, somewhat improbably, logging onto the internet via the wireless network cracking program Airsnort.
The writing verges on florid from time to time: "Though this particular meeting is somewhat vague in my memory, I do remember that sudden click of recognition, the surprise familiarity, when I saw my father's mentor, 'Alain' from afar..." And there is little of that real introspection into motives that you would expect from a young woman who has left behind an entire world of wealth and privilege. Her prospective husband, Yves, is mentioned only in passing.
She's more concerned with the mechanics of being a fugitive: "As of last week I had settled into a jurisdiction that seemed safe enough and possessed of sufficient technical and literary resources to do some at least mostly sophisticated research on where to actually settle for good and start my life over - if there is any such thing as 'settling for good' in my situation."
Whether the self-consciousness of the writing is a result of looking over her shoulder or artifice can't be known. Wired News traced one comment she left on another weblog to the Bahamas - consistent enough with her story, but proof? Not yet.
And like the girls in the thrillers who insist on running from the monster while wearing high-heeled shoes, she has a flaw in her "flight" story - the distinctive red hair she talks about often is yet to be bleached blonde or dyed black.

wanna buy a nice flat?
(skip intro, select "clifton hill" and apartments" under "residential property")

bandwidth theft justified by it being my ad, after all.

pay me lots of money for it and I might actually be able to afford the pub.
swings and roundabouts dept: some *&^%(^ had smashed a beer bottle on the bike path, resulting in a huge shard of glass flattening my tyre in 30 seconds flat (sorry).
and of course the bike pump was in the car after another joyful evening moving boxes around our house - we needed it for the trolley's wheels.
luckily I was only, oh, 250 metres from the petrol station, and at least I had a spare tube. so I walked back, encountering a new Keeshond on the way - always a joy - and when I got there, the guy who was pumping up his bike tyres let me go first, saving me maybe 60 seconds of a 20-minute Monday morning delay.

life. what can you do? it just is. etc.
should I be excited that the book I have a chapter in looks like it might actually come out?

I guess so. it's still hurting that I'm being paid about 1/5 of what I'd get on normal freelance rates for it, and that the US dollar is going up all the time. if I'm really lucky, I get paid in October or something.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

morning. raining. grumpy. headache. decide to ride bike to work anyway b/c traffic sucks. stupid rain.
and when I arrived at the beach and turned north in the annoyingly light drizzle, I looked out across the grey water and mist and saw a rainbow landing just near the shore in a flock of brightly lit floating seagulls.
the rain cleared and the rainbow stayed there, arched over dull old Port Philip Bay, the ends reflecting on the water, the whole time until I turned west into Albert Park.
bugger Sydney. I love Melbourne.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

weekend in Sydney = very Mosman. the whole deal only confirmed my belief that you'd be mad to live in Sydney unless you could afford to have harbour views, proximity to a lovely little beach like Balmoral beach, and regular trips to expensive restaurants. then it would be heaven. except, of course, for the hills, which are not cyclist-friendly.

Beck, who describes himself as "someone who's writing some silly little songs and prancing around a stage", was last week finishing off a "vacation tour" of Australia. And it is true that there is more on this musician's blog about the tourist traps than his actual performances.
Beck saw the country as a playground full of surfers and Sydney as a "city ridden with beaches, buildings and kindly hoards (sic) ... this place of symmetry and health which reminded us of another era, the '50s maybe".
Melbourne attractions get the once over, too.
"We went to a new cultural center in Melbourne today. It was an architectural maelstrom. It had many shapes and textures going on; it looked like a patchwork of cement and glass. I really enjoyed standing in the middle courtyard letting it all unfold around me. The ground had incredible multi-colored cobblestone. There were students, elderlies, a battalion of Chinese tourists and your obligatory guy painted gold, acting like a statue and holding poses for cash."
Unfortunately, Beck thought Luna Park was "a shut-down amusement park from the '40s".
More luck was had at the Melbourne Zoo, where the star made peace with the concept of kangaroos and band members tried on animal masks; Beck's camera has recorded it all for your amusement.
Even rock stars can be fans; Beck praises one "Michael Angelo from Nitro, who shreds on a four-neck guitar in all his bison haircut glory".
The blog is part of the official Beck site, with all the usual chat rooms, tour news and online shopping for band merchandise.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

one of my colleagues, who is a) extremely technically knowledgeable, especially in all things open source and b) not short of an opinion, has started blogging. I'm nagging him to get comments and sitemeter and stuff, but I think he's already addicted.

Monday, May 05, 2003

man, I"ve been slack. I'll make up for it by posting three blogons at once.

Lost in Transit

Expatriatism is a particular state of mind. So it was only a matter of time before a group of expat bloggers came together.
Here they have created a new blog called Lost in Transit.
There's Miguel, of in Austria, Randall, of Big White Guy in Hong Kong, Francis, of in Stockholm, all funny people whose insights have been sharpened by living in a foreign culture for many years.
They are joined by a dozen or so other bloggers, including one Australian living in Scotland and another in Mongolia.
Adventures in recent weeks for this lot include "the 14th annual Truckersdag" (truck day) in Holland, an early encounter with New Zealand's cooler seasons for an American-born woman and graduation ceremonies in Japan.
By limiting the subject matter to their interactions with the local scene, the participants have created a miniature travel magazine, filled with the kind of moments you only get from living in a place, rather than just passing through.
"One of the many things I love about France is that political and literary debate are a mainstay of prime time TV," writes Canadian Gail. "Perched on stools around a tres design table, or slumped on fat velvet couches, babes with their boobs spilling out of their tops hold forth on Kierkegaard or Middle East policy, sparring off with middle-aged men in rumpled pink shirts ..."
In the comments areas, the group (and anyone else who happens along) discuss making a living from their native language and in one poignant post Miguel muses on the idea of where a world traveller should ultimately be laid to rest.
"Twenty years ago, when we were living in Seattle, a Japanese friend was visiting. She mentioned enjoying life abroad but wanted to be buried at home in Japan.
"Back in those days I was still young and bulletproof, so I found that line of thought macabre.
"Now I'm older. Friends and relatives have died and I've had my close calls. When the time comes, I'll be dead so why worry about it? Still, there are times, occasionally, when I give in to that mood and ask myself where I want to be buried."

Dave Barry

Syndicated Miami Herald newspaper columnist and Pulitzer prize winner Dave Barry indulges his sense of the ridiculous on his blog, where he plays out his love-hate relationship with life in general.
He expresses incredulity at Madonna's dissing of celebrity ("such a kidder!") and fantasises about striking loud mobile-phone talkers with baseball bats.
Most of the value here is in the links to wacky news stories, like the plan to catch several thousand rabbits infesting a local airport and fly them to Texas rather than letting them be exterminated. (The problem for planes was not so much the earthbound rabbits as the large flying vultures that came to feed on them.)
He also dabbles in celebrity baiting, as befits one of the writers of this year's Academy Awards show, and the plain ridiculous: "When people ask me, 'Dave, where can I find a good Japanese-language educational video about the dangers of trying to hit a melon with a stick while blindfolded after narrowly escaping from a shark?' I always direct them here." (Pointing to a link contributed by one of his loyal readers.)
Barry's actual blog pieces are short and flippant, revealing little about his personal life and lacking the sustained crescendo of sarcasm that typify his columns.
For those, you can read the archives of old columns at the Miami Herald's site, linked to this site. You can also order his books here, naturally.

Girls Are Pretty
Did you get married last Wednesday? Well, you should have, according to the fractured fortunes at Girls Are Pretty. In fact, if you didn't, you might as well give up right now.
Not so much a blog as a series of surreal raves, Girls Are Pretty snarls its way through tasteless suggestions and instructions for each day - and has been doing so for more than a year.
Among the less offensive commands is You Like Girls Day: "until midnight tonight, if you come in contact with a person who is female, you like her.
"I know what you're gonna say. 'But Mrs Kim at the deli is soooo gross!'
Not today. Today, you wish Mrs Kim would make your babies."
Another suggestion was "Hang your sneakers from an electrical wire", which may answer the question of how those shoes get up there.
The Wrong Bus Driver Day, Buy a Chili Dog Day and even Kurt Cobain Day (on which you are instructed to taunt the ghost of the dead grunge star), have all been and gone.
Some of the other titles, let alone the "instructions", which verge on twisted short stories, are pretty much unpublishable. But that does not stop about 1000 web surfers coming by daily - here's hoping they don't take the instructions literally.