Friday, October 29, 2004

More annoying people

I'm not having a good week month. And I can't concentrate on work with this other thing going on, so a post seems in order.

There's a No-Hello bloke in our building. On level 4. He's married to a lovely Asian woman who's quite happy to say hello when he's not there. And he has two small children, gorgeous little things, about two- and three-years old, who despite their shyness, can be cajoled into smiling for you.

When you meet him in the loft or foyer, he doesn't greet you. Even when you say hello yourself, he doesn't respond. The most I have gotten out of him was a grunt. It's not shyness or deafness or any other disorder. He is just pointedly rude.

On Father's Day I was going down in the lift with my girls. He hopped on with his kids and wife. I leaned down and said to his kids, "I hope you got your Daddy a nice present for Father's Day." His wife smiled discreetly. The kids looked scared. No-Hello glared at me as if I was some sort of child-molester. Struth!

Visions of pointed-stick retribution dance through my head. Why does this happen? I am surely not a violent man.

Stupid nearsighted decisions

I've got a long-winded rant coming up about my soon-to-be-former domain registrar, Namezero. I won't go into the details now —I will later — of how stupid, but possibly well-meaning, administrative decisions can ruin a person's day. But in my opinion this company's behaviour is yet another example of thoughtless, faceless, uncaring bureaucracy. It also verges on the fraudulent.

Until I settle down enough to think carefully, write thoughtfully and with some balance, I'll not say anything. Only link to this anti-Namezero page. But please be warned, the content may be offensive.

BIG women

There is this really, really large woman that works in the same office building as me. She's not fat; she's about 190cm tall and in proportion. Just huge. Now I'm not being insulting or anything, merely mentioning that fact that this woman is huge. Huge arms, huge shoulders, tree trunks for legs.

Then on Wednesday I say her in heels. Struth! Huge!!

Which makes it interesting that I received this email from My Chick the same day. She's doing HSC marking after school every day.
"So... this place where I am marking, it is a primary school and we are yet to really work out where the "Ladies" toilets are. It is quite convenient that there are toilets just at the bottom of the block where I am marking so before we go in we pop to the toilet and then go on upstairs. There is just one little problem to this, you see it is a primary school ... ie 'little' people go to the toilet here and before you think this is going to the gutter, it is not!

"Anyway, little people need little toilets.... so the toilets are all pint-size!! Not only that but they have doors which probably go up to my shoulders!!! Which brings me to ideas you have previously raised... how do women feel about going to toilets where you see everyones heads popping over the top???[*see Footnote] Quite insecure I must say... actually I think I feel more so because being a little taller than most I guess I can see a little more!!

"Last night when we got back we tried some new toilets that were "big" toilets.... well let's just say that the actual toilet was bigger — ie not pint-sized but the doors were the same height!!! This was even more amusing because one of the chicks we were with is very tall, ie you can see half her body sticking out of the cubicle a bit like some oversized-person using a hobbit's toilet.. or thereabouts."

[*Footnote] I have this theory that differences between men and women are largely due to toilet practices.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Congratulations Beefa

Originally uploaded by incitatus.
Now if this isn't the face of a stone cold killer, then I don't know what is.

Last night at band, Beefa received a framed certificate, perpetual trophy and a couple of books as prize for being the best shot in the regiment. Well done, mate. Love your work.

I bags'd first loan of one of the books Beefa got as prize, Kokoda by Peter Fitzsimmons. Very cool.

(OK, yes, I've reposted this because I misspelled Kokoda. This is despite the fact that I own a couple of books on the subject and only a month or so ago finished off Lex McAulay's book on the subject. And yes, I had to google Lex's name to spell this properly as well!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Home-made japanese

Home-made japanese
Originally uploaded by incitatus.
I love this picture. The girls and I went all out with Japanese two weekends ago. We purchased the sushi kit and some teriyaki sauce and away we went. Yum.

I particularly like Jojo's eyes in this picture. Reminds me what I am dealing with.

Demise of The Donnie

For quite a number of years I've been stopping in at The Doncaster Hotel on Anzac Parade, Kensington before band on a Tuesday night. It started out that it was just too hard to go from work at North Sydney, back home to the Great Unwashed West, and then into Kenso for band. Just not enough hours between 5 and 8pm to do this little trek comfortably.

So I'd hang around at work till 6:30-ish, drive over to The Donnie, have a couple of beers and a light dinner. Usually there'd be someone else who could come along, probably Dr Mal, or one of the girls. All very nice. At one stage, the pub even had lingerie waitresses on the Tuesday night between 6 and 8, so it was very cosy. Totally not an influence on me going there, of course. <cough/>

But a number of changes have occurred. The comfortable lounge bar has turned into a trivia quest every Tuesday night starting at 7. Therefore, no peace and quiet, no conversation that doesn't revolve around what colour Betty Rubble's underwear is, or who David Beckham is currently shagging. [By the way I think it's this chick.] They've moved those horrid poker machines into the bar as well, so even if you're not battling an amplified pommy asking inane questions, you are battling the seductive sounds of coins clinking and pong-like beeps. The air-conditioning has been mucked with in some way, and you cannot enter the room for five minutes without leaving smelling like an ashtray.

And let me just say that I have NO PROBLEM with people smoking in pubs, I've done it myself, and if you're going to a pub then you should probably expect it. But for heaven's sake, let's get the air-conditioning right so that people don't need a knife and fork to see their conversation companions through the haze.

It used to be good for food as well, but for the $15 average for main meal you can get a whole lot better. Last night Alison ordered the veal and she was offered the choice of mash potato or jacket potato. Mash. Fifteen minutes later, the little counter chicky comes out to tell Ali that they were out of mash and would jacket potato do instead? Yes no problem, but Ali raised a couple of questions:

  1. Why couldn't they simply mash the jacket potato? Even I know how to do this.
  2. Does this mean they use packet mash? Yuck-o!
I think it's time to give the Donnie The Flick. It's just not doing it for me anymore.

The only problem is that of a viable alternative. I think some research along the lines of Gary & Tony is required.

Home Brew No 39 - Part 2

I thought I was sunk last week with Brew 39. OK, I know I've previously called it Batch 38, but I was incorrect. It's definitely Number 39. I think.

Anyway, back on t4rack, with 35°+ temperatures last week I thought it would've killed all the yeast. Certainly on the day it hit 38° the temperature of the liquid in the fermenter hit 34°. Arrrgghhh!

All it meant was a very quick brew. Earlier this week I took a specific gravity reading and it's fermented out. I don't think the quality will be the best with a brew that ferments out in 4 days, but it didn't taste too bad when I took the reading. There's a definite mango aroma and slight taste, and it has a light coppery colour.

We'll see how things go after I give it a week or so to clear before I bottle it.

Link to previous post.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Kids and Kittens

Christine got a kitten for the children on Saturday. The kids were over my place for the weekend, but after Josephine's dancing on Saturday morning, we just HAD to go over to her place so the kids could have a look at the new kitten.

Sylvester is the new cat's name. Hmmm...

Now they already have a cat. A seven-year old moggy called Tybalt (Prince of Cats from Merchant of Venice or Romeo and Juliet, one of the two) who lives outside. Despite being knackerless, Tybalt has successfully defended his backyard against toms and strays who have at various times tried to infiltrate his feed-rich environment. All to naught it seems, as now Christine has brought home a four-week old bundle of fur, all head and huge lion-cub paws. I felt a touch of sadness for Tybalt. He wasn't too happy either, every time he was introduced to Sylvester, he backed away with a hiss.

The girls know, while I am not an out-and-out cat-hater, I do prefer to do things other than paying attention to cats. Like scrubbing floors, or unclogging drains or something else futile but necessary. OK, it's nice to have something soft, warm and fluffy curled up and rumbling on your lap, but get your stinking claws out of me you flea-ridden selfish animal. The conversation on the weekend did not get away from cats. I even had to take them up to the library to get some books on how to look after cats. I don't think I have ever spent a more invisible weekend with the children. Kitten, kitten, kitten, kitten, kitten...

The only thing that impressed them was the fact that I knew without even cheating and looking on the 'net, that the scientific name for a cat is felinus domesticus. I didn't tell them that I got that information from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Oh yeah, you better forget that "warm and fluffy" remark. It wasn't me. I didn't say it.

A problem solved

My Chick
Originally uploaded by incitatus.
My Chick Alison (ie the one in the picture) has a really nice car which she bought about four months ago, a Holden Astra Convertible. She lets me drive it every so often, which is pretty cool.

For a while, we've been wondering where the switch to turn on the internal reading light is. Al hasn't had the time to hunt through the manual to find the answer, and of course, I'm a bloke, and to actually read the manual would be the death of my blokeness.

So we've been reading the street directory at night by the street lighting.

Last night, I was dropping the kids back at Christine's place after basketball, and Josephine was reading a book on cats in the front seat. It was dark, about 6:45pm, and she was having trouble seeing the book.

The only way I can explain it, is that something clicked in my brain — I reached to the headlight switch, pulled it toward me, and there was light! "There you go, Sweetheart," I said to Jojo, nonchalantly concealing the huge bubble of ecstatic triumph.

The whole brain/solution thing is very disturbing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Back At Work

Ah back at work after a five-day break. The workload hasn't dropped any, unfortunately.

It's still beggars belief the sheer number of emails that come in in a short space of time. The vast majority spam of course, but still, between work, friends and band, there's probably been fifty or so emails over the past week. Fifty emails from people annoyed with me that I haven't replied.

A lot of people are under the misapprehension that email is immediate and get annoyed with the recipient for not replying instantly to an urgent email. A lot of people are under the misapprehension that email is reliable. A lot of people need to be re-educated. Preferably with pointed sticks.

Previously I mentioned my Huge Book List. Well since the Little Chicks have been over and the Big Chick has been gone I've not only knocked over two of the permanent pile (Lord Foul's Bane and A Scanner Darkly), but also polished off two great books by Caroline Alexander, Endurance and The Bounty.

It's amazing what a difference a bit of spare time and screaming kids can make.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Children's boredom

My kids are over my place this weekend for an extended stay because of the school holidays. Thursday till Monday. They've never spent more than two nights here in a row and just between you and me they are starting to get a little bored. Harbour City views just not enough for them.

It's not that I haven't kept them occupied, Thursday morning shopping, Thursday afternoon up to the pub for a mate's farewell, today up to the Library. I didn't know you can borrow computer games at the Library nowadays. So Jojo got an Alice in Wonderland game which she spent at least twenty-five minutes on after me spending a number of hours setting it up for her.

I made sure that we walked to extra-long way to and from the library to tire them out. Well it made me cranky and tired. I'm not so sure about them though.

The latest thing is running around the flat trying to surprise each other, which is a game that involves a lot of running and screaming at each other from a distance of oh, maybe 2, 3 cm.

The Chick's away at the moment. In NZ with her band. Apparently she went on The Swoop, which is some bungy-type experience. I'm sure she would've enjoyed my children more than that.

Home Brew No 38

Started Number 38 - A Mango Beer.

  • 1700mL Mango nectar
  • 800g Dextrose
  • Coopers Bavarian Lager Kit 1.7kg
  • Saaflager dried lager yeast W34/70 11.5g
  • Cold water up to just under 23L

Boiled up the Mango and Dextrose for about 10 minutes, scraped off the scum from the top, in with the Coopers, mix with cold water. Pitched yeast at about 30° C. 1.048 specific gravity. The temperature at pitching was a bit high for a lager, but I wouldn'tve been able to cool it anyway. The wort had a definite mango taste and smell. We'll see how it lasts over the fermentation.

We went to the Belgian Beer Cafe at Cammeray last week to celebrate the Chick's pay rise. At least I think that's what we were celebrating. It's so hard to tell after you get into your fourth or fifth celebration beer. Tried a few of the yummy beers. She had a Peach Beer — a Peche — and reckoned it'd be even better as a mango beer.

I'll keep you informed on whether it's successful or not.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


It was band practice last night, and I was a little bit disappointed that I couldn't talk anyone in going to the Doncaster Hotel for a couple beforehand. One of the girls SMSd that she was going to the gym instead!

Actually she said something like: Goin 2 d gym. ButI knew what she meant.

[And on an only slightly related topic...]

Walking to work this morning there were three people out exercising. It was only 6:45am so I didn't expect many more. It made me reflect on the differences between men and women exercising.

The first women was a young walker. She was quite large, but she had that look of someone who would look very attractive if she just lost all the weight. Good on her effort, I say.

The second woman was a jogger. Very attractive woman, all the right gear, slim and fit. She smiled at me. Cool!

The bloke was quite overweight, ugly, sweaty, hairy. <shudder /> Jogging in that oh-my-god-heart-attack-any-second way.

It struck me that you don't really see all that much of overweight women jogging; men yes, women no. Surely after they've walked and walked enough they start to become fit enough to move up to the jogging thing while still carrying a fair bit of excess weight. Where do they go in this transition phase, as they certainly don't seem to use the streets? Is this why women's gyms are so successful?

I can feel a research project coming on.

North Sydney Parking #2

The couches are still there. And I got it wrong yesterday, they are not parked in the 2-hour zone. They're parked in the "No Standing" zone.

No ticket yet. I checked.

Refer North Sydney Parking #1.

Blue screen of death

Cool! I know how to cause this on my laptop anytime I want.

Simply boot the laptop with the power cord unplugged and then plug it in part-way through the boot sequence. VoilĂ ! One blue screen of death.

I think it's always handy to know these things.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

North Sydney Parking #1

Yesterday I moved my car out of the two-hour zone it was parked in all weekend. Despite being a public holiday, you can't trust a North Sydney Parking Patrol "Officer."

I was walking to work this morning and in one of the lovely little back-streets of North Sydney there was a heap of rubbish. This heap included not only two blue and white striped sofas, but the carboard boxing of (presumably) the furniture that replaced it. "Hawaian Deck Chair" or something similar on one ofthe boxes. Made a bit of a mess on the street and I guess the owners would've rung the council to have it removed.

The heap was parked in a two-hour zone. I wonder if it will get booked today?