Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Finding fond hearts

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

What an unmitigated piece of monkey tripe!

Alison has been away now for 9 days - and due to return in another 13 - and I'm not feeling anything except loneliness. What will happen, is when she returns, I will feel so much better than the wretchedness of the previous 22 days, that I will think things are so much better than they were before. I do not need enforced absence to underline to me how much she means to me, I already know it.

It applies the same with my kids. I really miss them when they are not here, which unfortunately is most of the time. I feel great when I see them, but I certainly don't need to be separated to increase my love of them.

I have heard this annoying little platitude at least half-a-dozen times now in the past two weeks, even once from Alison. If I was a murderous man I'd easily have achieved the status of serial killer. Alison would be pretty safe, though.

I think it must only apply to people who are sick of the sight of each other: "Yeah. Go away. How long do you want? Two, three months? OK."

Then, some time into the three months: "Gee, his nose-picking wasn't really all that annoying compared with his ability to take the garbage out. And that pile of garbage is really starting to smell."


I really miss her. She would enjoy this little rant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Postal sorting snafu

Compare these two addresses:

Number 1:

Miss Sarah Jones
Unit 26 14-18 Johnson Street
Campsie NSW 2194

Number 2:

Miss Britney Smith
Unit 26 18 Camptown Road
North Sydney NSW 2060

Now, if you were living with Miss Smith at North Sydney and received the letter addressed to Miss Jones, would you be surprised? Now there are similarities in the street numbering and the name of Miss Jones's suburb is remarkably similar to Miss Smith's street name, and of course they both have the same christian name (Miss), but standing at the letterbox at North Sydney and holding the letter addressed to Miss Jones, you could be forgiven for wondering about the intelligence or otherwise of the postal sorting system.

This is a true story, only the names and addresses have been changed to protect the innocent.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Wow is gone

Well the balance of the upgrade from Vista to XP went quite smoothly. Friday afternoon I was still suffering a little bit of the effects of the work Christmas party and Saturday morning I went shopping with the girls. So I didn't get back into it until Saturday afternoon. There was a ton of downloaded software which I installed onto the thing following mostly this guide

Aside from the hours (unattended) copying files, the biggest delay has been searching for the drivers disk for my motherboard. Who would have thought I would keep it in the empty motherboard box stacked on top of the bookcase in the spare room?

And the results?

Initially I was astounded at the difference in speed; XP really flys along compared to Vista. The HP printer driver and Yamaha USB-Midi port drivers installed without any problems. I am yet to install Sibelius, though am confident that it will be successful. When I installed Comodo Personal Firewall it slowed a tad, and little windows kept popping up telling me what was going on, but the whole machine did not stop, and the messages are getting less and less numerous the more I use it.

[Just as a side note, while I could have used the in-built Windows Firewall, I have read a number of reviews which indicate that it is less than effective. ZoneAlarm and Comodo seem to be the best choices (see for instance]

And to top it all off, this morning I read yet another review of a Vista-to-XP upgrade. This amusing story is written as if the writer is reviewing the "new" XP operating system, and comparing it to the older, slower, Vista. Superb.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Going, Going, Gone.

In a follow-up to my previous post about upgrading from Vista to XP.

I got home quite late last night after attending Josephine's Presentation Night -- she won the Teacher's Choice award for her class -- so I was in a great mood. I thought I'd continue on by getting started with cleaning up my computer.

I began the task by uninstalling just about everything I could on the computer. I wanted to get it's footprint down small enough that I could just copy the whole disk across to my USB portable disk, and then deal with copying the data back later. I also ran up a few crucial programs and backed up the data where I could - E-Record being the really imporant one. After a number of hours, I managed to get it down to about 40Gb and started to copy across to my USB disk. I had already at this point started to copy the Users directory from drive C: to spare space on (internal) drive E:. To be sure, to be sure...

40Gb seems rather large for a Windows installation, Vista or not. I hunted through the files and removed all the obvious things (an Oracle Vista iso disk image?), and discovered that Alison's iPod software is not content with merely reading the MP3 files off the E: drive, it also has to copy them into her home directory as well into some other format. Hmmmm.

To do the copy I used this great little no-install utility called Unstoppable Copier. It just powers through everything, blat, blat, blat. Superb. I left the copying at 3am (!!) to get some sleep, figuring that it could work on it's own for a little while.

And all copied this morning. Before leaving for work I reformatted the partition and started the XP installation. I ran out of time and will get back to it this evening.

Seems I am not alone in my use of the term "upgrading" when going from from Vista to XP. See here and here for just the tip of the iceberg. Nor does my choice of title seem to be unique.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Wow stops soon

I've had it with Vista.

The final straw came on Tuesday when I was helping Alison copy some photos over to her iPod. Three times in the space of two slow, slow minutes it did the black-screen thing and asked me to confirm that I wanted to do this. If the security system can't tell the difference between a user copying files and suspect activity from some virus, then it is not bloody worth it's salt.

So on top of the slowness, the trouble with drivers for the HP printer, the fact that it won't run Sibelius properly, and that it won't share files properly with other PCs on our LAN; the stupid security blackouts have finally done it for me.

So I'm "downgrading" from Vista to XP. I challenge that the terminology is incorrect; in my mind I'm actually upgrading from Vista to XP.

I'll let you know how I go.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lazy web developers

Having once booked a flight or hotel through Expedia, I now receive periodic email mailouts from them with their latest offers. This is a snip from the latest I have received.

Here's the email with the images included:

But my email client does not automatically include the images; they are blocked by default. I have to enable them for each individual mail or by sender, and this is the email as I originally saw it:

Note the ALT text descriptions in the space where the right-hand images should be. "Uhhh"? "No time for Description"??

No time for professionalism is more like it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Always Being Right

I am right-handed. Exclusively so.

I am slightly envious of people who are left-handed. Most of them seem to be able to work with either hand, and a lot of them seem to be more talented than us regular righties. They are clearly over-represented in sport and the arts. I mean one-half of The Beatles were left-handed, and clearly one-half of the population is not left-handed.

[That's great statistics, isn't it? One sample point used to support my theory. Worthy of being in politics.]

But what annoys me most about being right-handed, is the fact that I am right-eared as well. I have never been able to use my left ear for phone calls. When I am forced to take notes whilst talking on the telephone, I have to do either the juggle-to-the-left-and-back thing, or the squeeze-hard-with-right-shoulder thing. When I am trying to tune my guitar or trombone, I automatically bend or swivel so that my right ear can more easily hear the note I am tuning to. I noticed this last weekend at a gig.

I'm going to be even more annoyed if I start closing my left eye to read things, aren't I?

Stupid Filter

I have started working as a moderator on the Stupid Filter Project. This project aims to produce an open-source software product that is capable of filtering out "stupid" comments.

By "moderating" I rate random snatches of written comments on a stupidity scale of 1 to 5. These comments are sentences - that is the ones that can be described as sentences - that have appeared as commentary on various websites. YouTube for instance, is a common one.

Now, it is possible that I simply don't spend enough time on the web and am therefore not exposed enough to it. Or possibly that I have some sort of internal filter that automatically ignores rubbish. Or maybe it is just that I am too old. Regardless, I have been absolutely floored by the amount of sheer idiocy that exists out there. Granted, it is possible that some of the correspondents do not speak English as their first language. But a significant portion of the comments do not even qualify as English. In a 160-character SMS it is reasonable to use shortcuts and abbreviations to save space, but on the web all it costs is a extra couple of seconds worth of keystroke. Some people are more happy devoting those extra keystrokes adding letters where they were never intended to be.

Maybe I am getting old. Or perhaps that should be:

"U R soooooo OLDDDD!!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Struth Part 5 : The Prequel to My Favourite Joke

[The fifth in a series of commentaries from my old website.]

Hans, the famous Australian adventurer had decided that the next feat he would attempt was to be a solo crossing of the Simpson desert on camel-back. He did all his research and moved to Alice Springs to complete his preparations. He discovered that it takes six days to travel on camel-back from east to west with your average speed of a camel. The best thing, he thought, was to get a camel that could actually travel a lot faster than your average camel. So he asked around and eventually was told of "Marvellous Matt's Camel Mart," who specialised in unusual camel's.

So he took his mate (and Support Team Leader) Bill down to Marvellous Matt's Camel Mart and asked Matt for the fastest came he had. Matt had one camel that moved twice as fast as the normal camel (and of course, cost twice as much). Matt took Hans and Bill to see the camel. They went down the back of the lot and sure enough, there was this ratty-looking camel munching on some grass.

"Doesn't look much to me," says Hans.

"No, I admit he doesn't," says Matt, "But I can assure you he is the fastest camel in Australia. You've just got to treat him right."

"And what would that involve?" asked Hans.

Matt leans over and picks up a pair of house bricks that just happen to be lying on the ground. He enters the corral and walks towards the camel. "What you have to do, " demonstrates Matt, "is to grab a brick in each hand and smash the camel's testicles between the two bricks. Then the camel will take off like a rocket." Matt quickly moves behind the camel and smashes the bricks together on the poor animal's testicles. The camel rears up and takes off like a rocket, running at blinding speed around the corral. The three men retreat.

Hans is a bit taken aback by this direct method, and asks Matt, "Gee, that looks a bit dangerous. Doesn't it hurt?"

Matt replies, "Only if you get your thumbs caught between the bricks."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Struth Part 4: The Mal Partridge Theory of Joke-Telling

[The fourth in a series of commentaries from my old website. This theory is easily
ten years old now.]

And NOT the Mal Partridge Theory of Telling Jokes.

Mr. Malcolm James Partridge is a little-known Australian philosopher (remember Rule Number One?) and he has formulated a theory of joke-telling which has received some degree of fame. Sadly, this hasn't yet hit the internet.

Since Malcolm is a good friend of mine, I have taken the liberty of debuting his theory and its corollary on the internet. It is high time.


A joke will get funnier and funnier in the retelling to a male, in an inverse proportion to the amount it gets funnier to a female. For example, a retold joke that doubles in apparent funniness to a bloke, will be exactly half as funny when retold to a woman. This applies if and only if the joke increases in apparent funniness to men. Said joke is referred to as a joke of funniness potential increasing (FPI). FPI need not be linear. There is no corresponding funniness potential decreasing.


There is a corollary that states that a retold joke of FPI can be contracted with each retelling, so that the whole joke can be represented by a paragraph, a sentence, a phrase, and in extreme cases, by a single word, with the same results as if the whole joke were told.

Translating German

Every day I receive in my in-box a "Word Of The Day" email from a translation services company ( Sometimes what turns up is amusing or interesting. This one, which falls into the latter category, was there this morning:

German: Ja. Gut, dann kauf' ich alle drei. Ja.
English: Yes. Well, then I'll buy all three. Okay.

I just like the use of the the word "Ja". Two different meanings in the one phrase. Cool.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Struth Part 3: Charities that solicit in the street

[The third in a series of commentaries from my old website. I can't recall when this was written.]

Look. I have given to charities in the past and will do so again. I will NOT give to any charity that tries to solicit me in the street.

[Churlish bastard, wasn't I?]

Has anyone else also noticed how aggressive the charity workers are becoming? I saw in Mount St, North Sydney recently one man pursue two female Japanese tourists. They had to run to get away from the man, and they appeared scared.

I have thought of a way of dealing with them, though, particularly in Mount St. Mall. If I (and possibly about 500 of my friends) write to the store owners in the Mall, saying that I will not shop in their store because of the people soliciting in the street, then maybe the store-owners will approach North Sydney Council and get them moved on.

It probably won't work, though. They'll only just move somewhere else.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Seeing red

Some pushbike riders are undoubtedly a law unto themselves. They use the law when it suits them and ignore it when it doesn't. Being myself of a minority road-using group -- I am a motorcyclist -- I am sensitive to generalisations and prejudices and clearly do not want to be one of those tar-everyone-with-the-same-brush -type persons. But struth! SOME pushbiker riders are absolute idiots!

This morning while waiting in the car at a set of lights, we watched in fascinated horror as a cyclist ran a red light at high speed and very narrowly missed a schoolboy crossing legally at the pedestrian crossing. Both the boy and the cyclist had to swerve violently to avoid what would've been a very nasty collision. We had the green light, and waited patiently, though in some shock, for the boy to cross in front of us, turned and followed the cyclist down the road.

As we caught him up and were approaching the next intersection, Alison, sensing my mood bless her, asked if I would like the window wound down so I could hurl abuse at the cyclist. An amazing piece of mind-reading. Of course I assented. When we reached the intersection, we were turning off, and he was travelling ahead, and once again, instead of waiting at the red light, he started advancing through it. So I yelled out the window, "Another red light, you bloody idiot?!"

He heard.

While I am an avid anti-regulationist, after seeing this incident, I wondered whether some type of mechanism or control needs to be put on cyclists to make them obey the laws of the road when they are using it. Perhaps a road-rules examination?

I guess the answer to this is that regardless of what controls are in place, a bloody idiot will still behave like a bloody idiot.

[I should perhaps point out that the first draft of this post had the words "bloody idiot" throughout, which I've since replaced with "cyclist". Does my self-censorship have any bounds, I wonder?]

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Struth Part 2 : North Sydney Post Office

[The second in a series of commentaries from my old website. This was written in the Sep/Oct 2004 timeframe.]

The very first time I went into North Sydney Post
Office to pick up a parcel as a North Sydney resident I waited,
clutching my parcel voucher patiently in line for at least 10 minutes.
When I got to the head of the queue, the woman calmly told me that I
didn't need to wait, there is a separate parcels office.

"How was I to know this? Why isn't there a sign up somewhere saying this?"

"There is. On the wall outside the parcels office."

"Presumably I wouldn't have seen the sign unless I previously knew the parcels office existed, and it's location, though."

<grumble><swearword /></grumble>

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Struth Part 1: Parking in North Sydney

[I am in the process of updating my website. I have not touched it in about 3 years. I used to have a mini-blog on the site, but moved to blogger when maintaining it became too irksome. In order to preserve for eternity my loving commentary, I've decided to replicate what I had previously written here on my blog, before blowing away the original. This is the first one, and was written in the Sep/Oct 2004 timeframe.]

OK, we all know how hard it is to find a parking spot in North Sydney. Well, those of us who work there do. But I live here. We live in a three-bedroom unit that has one allocated parking space. But North Sydney Council will not allow me a Resident's Parking Permit because we already have our one allocated space which my girlfriend uses for her four-times-more-expensive car. So I find a free 24×7 space in an adjacent street and park my car there during the week when I'm not using it. Saturday morning 7 August 2004 I went to my car to find a parking ticket under the windscreen wiper, dated the previous day. Sometime between Sunday 1st and Saturday 7th, they've changed the area I parked in from a 24×7 space to a 2-hour only space.

I don't want to read conspiracy in this too much, but it's the Council who approves building applications with inadequate car-parking for the occupants, Council which decides the rules for allocation of parking permits, Council which changes the zoning of existing parking without notifying residents, and Council which takes the revenue from parking fines generated in the re-zoned parking spots.

Very, very annoying. And costly.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lifelong learning

When I was Uni in 1984 studying Chemical Engineering (?!?!), all the Engineering undergraduate students were required to take what were known as "General Studies" subjects, in a noble but I suspect generally futile attempt to broaden our minds beyond constructing (or destructing) things and drinking the cheapest beer at the Uni bar.

I mainly took subjects based on either what my current girlfriend was doing or what the chick prospects were. Bizarrely, while I was failing "Chemisty 1B", I was getting High Distinctions in the "Modern Novel", and I certainly enjoyed the change in tempo. I figure my mind was fairly broad already from my music and enjoyment of reading.

I distinctly remember the first lesson in one of the subjects. We went 'round the twelve or so students, each introducing themselves and explaining what they were doing there ("Gday. I'm Mic. This was the best of a bad bunch of General Studies subjects, and I'm trying to get onto Jacquie.")

There was this older student in the class, who looked just a little out of place with the 18- and 19-year-olds. He lived not far from the Uni, and was taking a variety of single subjects rather than trying to complete a course, "one's that interest me". He had retired a long time ago, and I have the memory that he said he was an ex-laywer or barrister, but can't be sure of this. He said he was in his late seventies, and "you're never to old to learn." The class, myself included, actually applauded him after he'd finished.

I still reckon that was pretty cool.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Annoying wet days

Granted, it is coming down a bit harder now, but this morning, walking down Martin Place, it was little more than a mist. Naturally this meant that the huge, gaudy and pointy umbrellas were out in force, hiding brave men from the ferocious onslaught of the weather.

Getting down to work, I ended up wetter from my perspiration in the humidity than I was from the sparse drops of rain.

Here's a newsflash for you all: It is only water.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Changes in my life since 6 October 2007

Some changes since the big day:
  • I no longer have to use that pretentious-sounding word "fiancée"
  • The older single woman at the bus-stop now talks to me
  • I have to remember that date forever
  • I have to remove my ring before playing basketball
  • I have to remember to replace it after playing basketball
  • My hand clinks on the bus grab-rail

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bum buttons

Of all the places on clothing to place a button, the most ridiculous is right on the cheek of the bum. It doesn't matter that the intention of this button is to keep a pocket closed.

I don't think I have a pair of trousers or shorts that have the button intact. All it takes is to scrape your bum cheek against the back of a wooden chair and "rip" off it comes.

Why do they bother?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Oh so alone

There's not a lot of people in at work today. When it is like this, I often wonder if they know something that I don't, like that is a public holiday, or it is "Work From Home Day".

The other thought that goes through my mind is the rumours you always hear about how airliners that crash always have an inordinate number of people that simply don't take the flight, possibly because of some precognition.

Every little building creaking sound has me worried.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Oh No Man

Funny thing in Barrack Street Mall the other day.

It was lunchtime and quite crowded in the mall. A well-dressed man, late thirties possibly, was walking in the opposite direction. His phone rang in his pocket.

At the sound of the ring, he stops short, leans forward slightly and exclaims angrily through clenched teeth, "OH NO!" He frightened a number of people around him with his intensity. Oblivious to all this, he looks at the phone, growls again and then answers it politely, "Hello, this is xxxxx."

Friday, June 22, 2007


I just thought of a good catch phrase if they ever do an information campaign about Bowel Cancer:

Watch Your Wipe

Thursday, June 07, 2007

One reason the bus is not so good...

If you try to write some music on the bus, you sometimes get travel sick. Particularly if you sit up the back of the bus.


I saw this sign going past the donut shop:

Avoid the queue, order your donuts online for home delivery.

I thought, "Lazy bastards. If they have queues, why don't they just hire more staff."

Friday, June 01, 2007

An Ungodly Hour

I was up at about 4am this morning. Too many things on my mind at the moment I reckon. It occurred to me, "Gee Michael, you are up at an ungodly hour."

Then I began wondering about the origin of the term. Obviously, Pagans were getting up in the early mornings to perform their disgusting rituals or something like this.

6-1/2 hours of googling later and still no wiser.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Top 5 reasons why the bus is better than the train

5. You get a seat. Always.
4. If the bus is late, you can generally see the reason, ie, the traffic is bad.
3. It takes the same amount of time to go to and from work, yet the walking is less.
2. You can actually see the Opera House and Harbour on the way over the bridge. Beautiful.
1. When York St is clogged with traffic, the driver will turn to the bus and say, "If you're in a rush to get to Wynyard, I suggest you get off here."

Monday, May 28, 2007

It's free, man

My ISP has this concept they call "uncounted period". It is a period of time during the day where downloads do not count against your monthly allowance. This is part of the email I have received from them regarding this:

...the allowance for the period 12 midnight to 12 noon each day will be increased to 40 gb from the current allowance of 40 gb.

Generous, aren't they?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Justin, milk drinker

This is a (dodgy phone-camera) shot of the side of the Coles Lite Milk carton.

Justin, milk drinker

For those with horrid eyesight the caption says:

"Perfect! It's light, refreshing and tasty"

Justin, milk drinker.

Surely I am not the only one who thinks Justin is slightly suspect. So, which do you prefer, the milk or the cow?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Congestion on the pavements of Sydney

When you are rushing to get to work in the morning, I think that the hardest thing to get past is a tiny lady with a golf umbrella walking slowly. The umbrella framework looks awfully scary when it is close to your eyes.

It's particularly annoying when, although it looks a bit wet out, there is not a drop falling.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


There's a lot of talk about bullying going on at the moment, probably because of this story. I don't know any of the details of the case, so can't comment either way on whether the payout is fair or too high or not justified at all, or whether the judgement is correct or incorrect.

I'm sure that everyone gets bullied at school, some more than others. Even the bullies. The über-bullies get bullied by their drunken fathers and so they bully kids at school, who in turn bully weaker kids, who bully yet weaker kids, all the way down to the bottom of the heap to the kids who get picked on by everyone, and so end up torturing cats or abusing their younger siblings.

In Year 7 I was bullied by this bloke, I can't even remember his name now or what exactly was happening. Eventually I cracked one day and just started hitting him back. He belted me good, but then never touched me again. And in Year 9 a similar thing happened - a bloke was pushing and pushing until I eventually cracked and thumped him good and hard on the nose. In the classroom with the teacher present as well. I'll never forget the satisfying look of surprise on his face. After that incident he copped at lot more bullying from his "mates" as well as never bullying me again. I guess he realised that I was actually bigger than him. Also, getting thumped good and hard by one of the "band nerds" has a way of dropping you down the pecking order somewhat. Heh.

Yesterday I was at Josephine's primary school for her open day. I was sitting with her at recess, chatting and eating some of her cookies. A little boy came up to me, obviously thinking I was a teacher. It has happened before - and Josephine's friends tease me about it.

The little boy said, "He just punched me in the stomach," and pointed to another little boy of about the same size. Without thinking too much I replied, "Well punch him back."

Josephine was horrified, "Dad! Be responsible." Of course she was right -- given moral direction by a 9-year-old! Luckily a teacher came along to take charge of affairs for me and I didn't have to save the situation.

There is no other moral to this story, other than my incredibly poor judgement. I just thought it a topical occurrence.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Bad Mood

When in an extremely bad mood, the following courses of action hold hope of changing the mood, or, at the very least, of providing some temporary relief.

  • Punch out the person attempting to get you to donate to the "Save the Siberian Kitten" fund. Not a little love-tap either, but a full-on, sit-you-on-your-arse belt.
  • Snatch the mobile phone off that person who is sharing their annoying conversation with everyone within a 20-metre radius. Throw that same phone down hard. On the concrete. Enjoy seeing all the little shiny plastic pieces scatter randomly.
  • Resign on the spot. Walk out. Never return. Not even to retrieve your favourite Dilbert cartoon.
  • Go to the pub. Buy the foulest-tasting rum in the largest size beer glass and get very, very dog-earred. Get thrown out at closing time.
  • Catch a train to a random destination. Like Antartica.
  • Get a permanent tattoo that has a lot of swear words on it.
  • Buy something really expensive that you've always wanted. Like a Jack Russell Terrier.
  • Go to KFC and order the largest bucket of chicken. Eat it all, discarding the bones OFF the tray and on the table. Belch loudly throughout, and visit the toilet only to vomit.
  • Eat an ice-cream. Or possibly two. At 8am.
  • Stop on the way home to purchase a 1kg bag of potato chips. Eat them while lying on the lounge watching Men Behaving Badly, all six series, beginning to end.
  • Go to a gay bar or gym and pick a fight with the muscliest bloke there.
  • Surf for porn movies at work. Play them with the volume turned way up high.

Please note I have purposely removed all those that would cause death or pregnancy to strangers. I suspect perhaps that the difference between myself and someone who is clinically depressed is that I would probably not do any of these. Probably. Not that I actually know anything about clinical depression.

Oh. I left one off the list: Write a morbidly depressing blog entry. There, that's helped, hasn't it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Someone has messed up

I think it is interesting the way newspapers, and news sites, indicate foul language.

I was reading an article on the Sydney Morning Herald's AFL website about Adam Selwood being cleared for using offensive language on the field. The actual article is here.. Initially, Selwood is quoted in the usual way, with the first letter of the word showing and the rest of the characters replaced with asterisk signs with the exception of letters to indicate tense. So "Bummer" would appear as "B*****". But "pushed" would appear as "p***ed". You get the picture I'm sure.

But someone obviously forgot this rule in the second half of the article. Read down to the paragraph that starts: "Selwood said there was no other conversation..." Strange that not all instances of that particular word are bleeped.

Of course with my luck lately, it is sure to be sanitised by the time someone reads this blog entry.

Monday, April 16, 2007

An opportunity wasted

The English language is missing a word. This word describes the intense feeling of satisfaction felt when you see a segment on a current affairs show that covers a story or situation that you previously thought to be an as-yet-to-be-discovered truth.

Naturally I'll illustrate this with an example.

One day recently, once again stuck in Sydney traffic, I looked across at a driver in the next lane who was sitting dejectedly behind the wheel of his gawdily-marked business car. I began wondering just how much the recent road changes and subsequent traffic jams would be costing businesses.

Sure enough, Thursday night, I was watching A Current Affair on Channel 9, against my will I might add, as I really dislike the show, when an item came on discussing this very thing. It is costing businesses big time. Yes! I was right.

This illustrates to me that the blog is king. If I had've blogged about this when I initially thought about it, then I'd be a rich man now either having sold the idea to Channel 9, or suing the bastards for stealing my idea.

Time to start blogging every single little thought, no matter how fleeting or trivial. Be prepared for an onslaught.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Car signs

For quite a while now I've thought that it'd be great to have a sign, or set of signs, that you could display to other drivers whilst on the road. This would be a more sophisticated aid to communication amongst drivers than the existing horn, blinkers, and hand gestures. If a certain situation arose, you could - "flick" - display the sign, and so communicate your intentions (or other) to other road-users.

I am very much aware of the fact that this tool could lead to the increase of road-rage. Regardless, I press on.

The other day while driving to work, Alison mentioned this to me - it had come to her independently - and we began to discuss the top five signs that we would use. Unfortunately, my drop-off in College St came up too quickly and the conversation was never finished. But two things were clear:

  • Most were not printable

  • With one or two notable exceptions, they were generally all a variation of the one theme

Regardless, once again, I press on to present our list of top five signs, in no particular order. I should point out that they would, in practice, contain vastly different text that this list.

  1. I am terribly sorry, my fellow travellers, for the mistake I have just made.

  2. Sir. Your blinkers do not appear to be working, as you have changed lanes many, many times without me seeing them appear. Perhaps I can recommend a mechanic?

  3. I was not aware that the law had been changed to allow [for instance] U-turns across six full lanes of traffic moving at speed. Please forgive my ignorance.

  4. You are travelling with much haste and abandon. Good luck with your wife's childbirth/fireman's duties.

  5. You appear sir, to be travelling quite close, and so obviously wish to be introduced. I apologise for my rudeness in ignoring you.

So what do you reckon?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

How light?

Just something to think about the next time you're having breakfast.

Why does the cereal box of Sanitarium Light 'N' Tasty feel so heavy?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting Things Halfway Done

I'm reading a book at the moment, "How to Get Things Done" by David Allen. Now that is not it's original name. It's generally known as "Getting Things Done", but for some reason, the title was changed for the Australian, and possibly other, markets. Australia was the only one I noticed on Amazon though. All the references in the book have been changed from Getting Things Done to How to Get Things Done.

I have no idea why they changed it, but if they've gone to all the trouble of doing so because of perceived cultural differences between Australians and American, why didn't they change the spelling of, for instance, "organize" to "organise" throughout?

I have no problem with them renaming this book, but it's like they've stopped short.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How people deal with being "stood up"

Today I did my occasional lunchtime thing, and went to the Sporters Bar at the Menzies Hotel with a magazine. Happily I sat down on my own, with peace and quiet, had a (light) beer and patiently waited for my Vegeburger to turn up.

[Aside: Please don't tell anyone about the Menzies. At lunch it is almost always quiet and unpopulated, smoke-free and friendly staff. Let's just keep it our little secret, shall we.]

Moments after I sat down, a bloke sat down with a glass of white wine and a cola-mixer drink, scotch-and-coke or something like that. It obviously wasn't just straight coke, as it had the tell-tale froth on top. He immediately tucked into the white and put the other drink in front of the seat next to him. Then he took out his phone and rang up someone. I wasn't able (and frankly didn't want) to hear his conversation.

On putting the phone down a short time later, he also put down his wine, picked up the other drink and downed it in three or four quick gulps. He put down the now empty glass and picked the wine up again and similarly finished that in under a minute.

Well, I thought, he obviously was supposed to meet someone, they cancelled at the last minute, and he now has to get on his trap and pony and go. But no, he returned to the bar and bought another white wine and returned, not to the same table, but to a separate table. Once again, he downed his wine in less than a minute, and this time upon finishing, left for good.

My oh my, it must've been an important meeting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Free Will

I am an avid reader of New Scientist magazine, and they recently did an article or two on Free Will versus Determinism. It's the sort of topic that's guaranteed to drain your zest for life, regardless of whether you believe that life is basically pretty random, or whether it's all fate and pre-determined, or even a scary combination of the two.

Personally, my philosophy of all this is that it is not the sort of question that we are ever likely, or even really want, to solve. Let's just get on with enjoying this gift called life.

The letters to the editor have been flowing thick and fast on this topic. In a recent issue of the magazine, a cartoonist has drawn a person looking at a sign:

"Ministry of Free Will"

Brilliant. Oh come on I shouldn't have to explain it to you.

Monday, January 29, 2007

How does this bird know?

Today for lunch I went to the park near Wynyard Station, sat down on a bench, had my lunch and read a magazine. About twenty minutes into it, an Australian Ibis ( came along and started rummaging around in the debris alongside and behind the bench I was sitting on, looking for something to eat.

This bird was close, within arms-reach, and appeared quite unafraid of me. Even a thing that looks a frightening cross between a chicken and buzzard should be a little scared of a human.

In case you didn't follow the link above and see the pretty photograph, the bird has a long, curved, black beak, this one at least 20cm long. It was hunting around in the collected debris from the trees and rubbish, using the end of it's beak, and eventually turned up a piece of meat from a sandwich or something.

It occurred to me: how does the bird know whether the thing that it has captured in its beak is a morsel of food or not, say, a cigarette butt? Does it have taste buds right down the end of its beak? Looking closely, it seemed to have long nostrils embedded in the upper beak up near its wrinkled, black face. Obviously it can smell the food in the first place, but does the smell determine what gets picked up? Does the tongue stretch all the way down the length of the beak?

How does it do it?


I always wondered whenever I've seen a person wearing a nose ring what sort of umm, misadventures could happen. Now I've seen one example.

On Saturday afternoon, the girls and I were coming home from North Sydney on the train. We sat down in the end section of the carriage and next to a young bloke with his Aldi shopping. I thought for a second that he had a really, really bad pimple on his left nostril, but when I voyeuristically and surreptitiously looked closer, I realised that it was in fact a wound from where a nose ring or stud had been removed with force, ripping the nose with it. The wound was a half-centimetre red gash from the ring hole down to the nostril, and the whole left outside of his nose was a disgusting red and purple colour.

The girls were oblivious. I was sickened slightly.

[I'm now wondering if voyeuristically is a real adverb or whether I've made it up. Ah well.]