Monday, August 30, 2004 shine out like a shaft of gold when all around it is dark

Ali and I went to see James Morrison and Emma Pask at The Basement on Saturday night. Very good concert. Very crowded.

At half-time, she scoots off to the loo. As does 300 other wine-fueled females. I watched her stand in the line for five or six minutes before she disappeared inside finally to sit down on a warm seat.

I always had this theory that men and women are essentially different - not this Mars and Venus stuff - but really different. And it all stems from toilet arrangements.

When men go to the toilet, they stand up at the urinal, have a quick G'day, maybe a quick chat about how drunk they are, etc. Women go into their own little private cubicles and only chat on the way in and the way out. I reckon the fact that men have it all hanging out there makes them easier-going or something.

So my invention is this: A women's toilet where some of the cubicle side walls are half-height. They can sit there, have their little pee, say G'day and chat about make-up or guitar players or whatever. Yeah??

Strangely, every women I mention this to, thinks it is a stupid idea. That's because they're repressed, I reckon. Young children don't mind. Teach them when they're young.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The pixellated face and other media ramblings

We have unusual application of laws regarding showing people's faces in the media in this country.

This morning I get on the Sydney Morning Herald website to read a bit of news, and they have a front page story about the trial of David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay. It includes a thumbnail of a drawing by a court artist, and the face is blank. It's not Hicks, by the way, it is a judge. But it reminds me of a recent TV news report where they showed a similar court scene where the defendant in the court artist's drawing did have a pixellated face. The artist must really fancy his/her work.

And another thing bizarre. This bloke on trial at the moment in the Northern Territory for the killing of Peter Falconio. You can't escape his pixellated face being dragged into/out of court, into/out of cars, etc. The only thing is, he's previously been convicted of some horrid crime, and not two months ago, his un-pixellated face was being shown in every news report. Are we instantly to forget our memory of this? I know my memory is sh*thouse, so maybe they have something.

I don't disagree with the law, I imagine it's been designed to protect the identities of innocent people who have been charged with a crime. I just find it's use in practice strange.
The Sydney Morning Herald is soon going to start requiring on-line readers to register (for "free"). How very, very annoying. I am not too heavily into conspiracy theories, but I'd still like to know what's happening to my registration details.

SBS News have this policy of warning Aboriginal viewers when a news report is about to contain images of a dead Aboriginal, as they find this offensive. A few nights ago there was a report on SBS about the inquest into the death of William Hickey, and before the report they gave the necessary warning. However, the graphic behind the newsreaders face while she was giving this warning contained a photo of the boy.

Nice try, SBS, but poorly executed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Cultural differences

Last night there was a new bloke at band practice, or so I thought initially. When the band played at the Ballarat Military Tattoo in January, we met up with the US Marine Band of the 7th Fleet, and got on with them quite well. Some of them we have stayed in touch with since January, one in particular corresponds regularly. His mate from high school - also a Marine - was travelling to Australia, and so our US bandie friend recommended us to him.

So this yank Marine turns up and sits through our woeful practice, and we eventually get down to the Mess for a beer about 11pm. After a few beers this bloke grabs one of his empty bottles and another on the table and places them in the bin with the incantation, "a couple of dead Indians."

Stennos leans over to me and says, "I don't suppose we should mention to him that our expression is: "a couple of dead Marines."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Fame on the web

I've told the story of emailing my Esperanto tutor from Toronto. I had no trouble finding his email address on the web; he's fairly prolific, and has a reasonably unique name.

Which made me think how easy it would be to find my name on the web. So I tried it.

Only three genuine hits that would get to me: one archived Usenet entry for rec.models.scale, one for the UNSWR Band website, and one which really floored me was my results in the City-to-Surf "fun" run in 1996.

85 minutes, 56 seconds. Not a great result, I must admit, but at least better than my 1986 result, which was just over 90 minutes. I'd been out till 3am, drinking heavily, then walked home from the City to Waverley. I did the 14km run with a hangover.

And what's "fun" about running 14km anyway? Admittedly the scenery is nice, in many respects ;-)

Memory is a terrible thing

I'm looking through the bookshelf at home and I find all these old photos, some about twenty years old, and decide to scan them in. A couple of the shots were of a meeting I had with my Esperanto virtual-tutor in Toronto in 1998 (possibly). I had always promised to scan them in and send them to him.

So I scan the photos in and google his name on the web. I get his email address, write a small email, attach the photos, and I'm just about to hit the send button when I think, "I've done this before."

And I can't truly remember whether I ever got around to emailing him the photos previously. What is going on, brain? Regardless, I send anyway, and then realise while the computer is cranking away at sending the attachments, that I've attached the hi-res, one megabyte per photo scans.

Bugger! So not only is this bloke who I haven't seen for years getting repeat emails from me, he's getting huge attachments filling up his in-box. I'm sure he'll think the world of me.

Actually, now that I'm writing this, I remember that I have had contact with him before this, but it was because a virus went around, and I sent him a lovely little email with all these links to porno sites on it. Charming.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Chicks, man!

My chick is the only person I know who sets her alarm to wake up to go to the toilet. Well that's the only explanation I can come up with for what happened on the weekend.

6:30am Saturday morning the alarm goes off, even though neither of us has to be anywhere till 10am. Since that's the normal time we wake up during the week I figure, OK, she's forgotten to disable the alarm. I just gave her a gentle reminder that we also didn't have to be anywhere early on Sunday morning.

6:30am Sunday morning the alarm goes off. She gets up, goes to the toilet, comes back to bed, turns the alarm off, and almost immediately goes back to sleep. Well that's good, at least one of us can get back to sleep. And it is also good to see that she is protecting the health of her bladder by setting an alarm to specifically go and pee.

Since I'd asked her to turn off the thing after Saturday there's no way she could've forgotten yet again. Or deliberately left it on, is there? The only explanation is that she knew her body would need relieving at precisely 6:30am.

Of course, this morning, no alarm went off and I jolted awake at 7:50am. I'm sure if I think hard enough, I'll be able to find a moral here somewhere.

Friday, August 20, 2004

FineScale Modeler - Great Service

Yesterday I received the October issue of FineScale Modeler from the US. A fine magazine, even if they do spell Modeller wrong.

I had not received the May issue but had received all the intervening issues, so I first thought this may have been the May issue turning up late. But no, October. So I got onto their website and filled out the webform with all the laborious details.

And this morning, an apology and an undertaking to send it out immediately. What great service! Of course, the saleswoman noted that my subscription runs out in November, and gave a gentle reminder to re-subscribe. Naturally I will.

I reckon I'll add Megan of FSM Customer Sales & Service to my Praise list.

The Australian Language

Found a number of good links this morning on MetaFilter. This story from the Guardian really appealed to me. Apparently in order to get a UK passport you have to pass an English test, but now this has been extended to cover normal English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada, NZ and South Africa.

Struth those Pommies bastards get my goat.

Only on the Web

So this chick in America wants to get married, right? So she sets up her own website to plug herself on the web (thankfully for you I'm leaving that one alone). It's just hilarious. She even has a recording of her karaoke singing.

Check out the site:

One good thing did come of it — other than the humour. I found a link to a freepolling website ( that allows you to set up polls that you can conduct. Free. I like free stuff. Very cool!

Mic's Garage is born

Everything is up and running, server is going, domain name is registered, HTML coded, etc, etc. I must admit, I used Microsoft FrontPage to do the job. And then I fiddled with the HTML to get it to actually do what I wanted. But I must admit, it is fairly clean. Fast too. And the website looks fairly nice. I think so, anyway.

Synchronicity occurred as well. Always love it when that happens. After writing a little about the Mal Partridge Theory of Joke-Telling early this morning, over lunch a mate of mine brought up with me the exact same theory and corollary. In fact, all he had to say was the word "contagious" and I was off in gales of laughter. If you don't know why that made me laugh, contact me and I'll email the joke to you.

Start of Journal

OK. Here we go.
I'll try and keep every entry short and sweet, but you never know how things turn out, do you?