Sunday, December 26, 2004

Seasons Greetings!

Happy holidays to all for the Festive Season 2004. Be well and be safe. My New Year's Resolution is to do more blogging - and let's face it, that isn't going to be hard given my track record over the last couple of months.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Phew ...

Back again. I am, this morning, multitasking. This means I am having the car handwashed at a facility that provides this wonderful service, and catching up with my blogging and some correspondence. Sooz is at home working on the packing. Oh, and I have to find a replacement light fitting for one that plunged to its death from the chandelier. And pick up some syringes. But that’s it.
Our settlement on the unit has been pushed back a little by the other side. So instead of moving in on the 26th of November, we now look like going on 4th December (the day after I am scheduled to arrive back from a business trip to Bangkok) – that’s if settlement proceeds as planned on 29th November. (Oh the dates …) Sooz has insisted that she’s not changing any dates again (long story!) now until the settlement is done and in the bag. There will still be time then to arrange for the change in phone and electricity and other utilities.
Still, the biggest challenge (Sooz may not agree with this after the dates stuff) is packing things and working out what to purge and what to keep. I have cornered the market on lidded 60L plastic storage bins and have been able to assign a place to most of my things. I am not sure others would appreciate the labeling system eg “Bits and Pieces”, “K Sort 1”, “Filing Dr. 1”. It is now too late to make a list of what’s gone in, but the plastic is transparent so there is hope yet.
We have the Council arriving at 7am on Tuesday to take away “stuff” that is not destined to make the trip with us. We’re not sure how much that is going to cost yet – they are coming to give a quote but they usually give the quote and take the stuff in the same visit – but there will be a fair amount of “stuff”.
But we are traveling well I think. And it really is a wonderful opportunity to get rid of some things that we’ve been storing for years. It’s also a good excuse to renew memories by sorting through all this stuff again. Sooz has suggested, and I think it’s a good idea, that we do this sort of exercise once a year in our new place. Just to keep the hoarders away from our home (and that would be me!).

Monday, November 08, 2004

On the move

Who would have thought entering the housing market would be so time consuming. I guess it's not just the buying (and doing the research into the steps and such) but getting ready to move. This falls into two parts - (1) getting ready to move out of the old place and (2) getting ready to move into the new place - as touched on briefly in my last entry.
It's not the packing I mind so much as the purging - going through things to see what we haven't used for ever, and are not likely to use, and certainly don't want to keep storing in case we do one day need a 7th extension lead. And, of course, it's not made easier knowing that the day after we throw something out, we're going to need it (hence the staging area - where we're not throwing things out straight away! It's messy, but it will work!)
Now that we've started packing boxes, we know the cats know that something is up. Both had started behaving a little differently. The boy cat is now clingy and has taken to sleeping on our bed; the girl cat has taken to spending most of the time under the house, and has started sitting on the washing machine. And we've probably started displaying abnormal behaviour as well!

More buying ..

The cooling off period has finished and we are now packing in earnest, and out buying furniture for our new abode. It's fun, but somewhat tiring - walking around store after store, and making decisions. I don't know how people who are building homes from scratch cope - because they also have decisions about the fittings, the tiles, the door knobs, the door handles, the windows, the colours ... at least most of that is taken care of when you're moving into an established building!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Counting down

Okay, I’ve finally managed to pull myself away from my day to day activities to jot a few words here. It’s not that we haven’t been busy because we have. At the moment we are on Day 3 of a five-day cooling off period for a 2-bedroom flat we are planning to buy in Marrickville. We exchanged last Wednesday and currently our lending institution is having a valuation prepared and our solicitor is organizing strata inspection, building report and pest inspection.
This is very exciting stuff and when the exchange happens in 6 weeks time (slightly less now), we will be home-owners for the first time. We spent the weekend looking at furniture and wondering how what we have and what we plan to get will fit into our new home. And thinking about what we currently have that won’t make the move with us and what the best thing to do with those pieces would be. We also have a considerable “cull” of clothes and other things in front of us. Sooz has already started and has filled a large bag with clothes to be donated to charity. I’ll start going through mine soon.
I have a feeling that the next 6 weeks or so is going to go by fairly quickly, probably too quickly.

No matter who wins … we lose

Sounds like a good line for advertising a science fiction/horror movie – but in this instance it’s about the Federal Election held on the weekend, which resulted in the return of the Liberal National Party coalition government. Some would say this is better than having Labor elected – and these could be the same people who believed the Liberal advertising about interest rates having risen under previous Labor governments and should that happen again, people with a $200,000 mortgage would need to find another $900 a month to cater for the increased rates. At no point did these ads suggest that interest rate rises are something over which governments have little, if any, control. Of course, it was surprising that Labor itself didn’t raise that point – or any other real arguments in relation to the economy of the country during the course of the campaign.

A breath of fresh air?

Mobile phones could soon be used as “bad breath barometers”. Siemens, the phone company, is working on microchip sensors, about 1mm in size, which will detect the faintest of foul odours. This has more than a social pleasantries practical application – the device will also be able to measure how much alcohol you’re had to drink, the level of oxygen in the air, and whether there is a gas leak or fire nearby. (This could have been useful to a colleague mentioned some time ago who was robbed as he slept in his hotel room after gas was pumped into the room.)


How does the mind work. Anagrams and such. How do we 'see' the solution? The Da Vinci Code has puzzles/cyphers/codes throughout and part of the joy of reading is to work them out. But how do we do it? What makes the brain look for patterns and solutions - and why is there such a sense of achievement when we do?
At work, each month I receive a copy of 'Innovation Matters' which includes a conundrum for readers to solve. Luckily the solution is given at the end of each issue because it would be irritating to have to wait a month to find out the answer - or worse, to be able to confirm you'd been right! They remind me of the lateral thinking puzzles that were doing the rounds a few (15 - 20?) years back. I enjoyed those too - much more than I enjoy philosophy posers. I'll see if I can dig up one to post here.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I'm back

Well, I'm kind of back, given that I am actually thinking about blogging again. So, watch this space. It won't be long now.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

And the time is ...

The famous Doomsday Clock, the US Academy of Atomic Scientists’ symbol of nuclear danger during the Cold War, stands at seven minutes to midnight, closer than it has for two decades. Does this mean the war on terrorism isn’t going so well?

Males and females are different

Just in case there was any doubt about this, I have just read two stories about bathroom products – one about males, the other about females.
A company has invented a product for use in urinals. The device, powered by two AA batteries, rests in the urinal and has a proximity alert which triggers an advertising message. The report didn’t mention if there had been a target printed on the device, but it did address concerns about whether using the device could lead to electrical shock. “”At three volts? I don’t think so” said a representative.
And for the girls … a noise-making device for bathrooms for girls has also been invented in Japan – but this one is designed to drown out the embarrassing noises of nature among women. The Sound Princess sold over 500,000 last year. When triggered, by passing a hand over a sensor, it gives the sound of running water.
And there’s even a product which can now marry the two – so girls will be able to use the urinals to trigger advertising babble to drown out other toilet noises. It’s called the P-mate and it’s been around for about 4 years. I first saw it on a morning TV show and someone was saying it was good for female skiers. Basically, it’s a disposable paper funnel which enables women to urinate while standing up. The product is now available in Australia and New Zealand.


Sorry - got it wrong. It's not so much the number '4' that some cultures have concerns with but the sound of the word for the number '4'.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

It is “not good enough”

I haven’t really had a chance to examine the site yet, but one of the newsgroups I belong to ( referred to the site. If you feel you’ve been “done” by a company, or that they haven’t been “good enough” or given “good enough” service, this site could be for you. When I visited last week I read about someone who had purchased a new Sony Vaio laptop and had asked the sales person what should be used to clean the screen. The reply was “Windex” - which the purchaser had duly used – and caused damage to his screen. When they contacted Sony, their reply was that this isn’t a warranty issue because Windex would never have been recommended. And this is about where site weighs in to approach Sony. I’m not sure exactly how this happens or how cases to follow-up are chosen – but in this instance it appears to have had a satisfactory resolution – the screen will be replaced under warranty. The site is worth a visit.

Finally … Palm

I think in the time I have been blogging here, I have not actually mentioned Palm (you’ll note reference to it in the description above). Well, finally the day has come – and it coincides with the release of a new incarnation of Palm called Tungsten 5. Rumours have been circulating over the last two weeks that the appearance of a new machine was imminent – and I received the news in my email box this morning. It’s been a year since the last machine was launched – and this one seems to offer only slightly different features – although some would think the first handheld to offer 256MB of flash memory (which doesn’t disappear if your battery goes flat as has previously happened) would get me a bit more excited. I’m going to a function tomorrow evening which will probably be the official launch of the T5 in Australia so it will be good to see if there are any other tricks they have built into it. Will I be upgrading from my current T3*? I don’t think so. I have a 256MB SD card with my current machine and that’s only half full – and while I know the memory structure is different, it’s not that big an issue at this point. I, of course, continue to reserve the right to change my mind once I see the T5.
* PalmOne have skipped v4 – as they did in previous ranges – something to do with some cultures being averse to the number “4”.

Real TV

And just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse – a new program is about to hit our screens – “Border Security” …. Australia’s front line. It looks like another example of quality reality programming – and a lot more fear mongering. Who decides what rubbish will grace our screens – and at what point do they who decide realize what a disservice they are doing? And if I feel this strongly after just watching a promo for the show, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I actually see it!

Who are the terrorists?

The television is inundated with 'be alert' ads, reminding each of us that if we are alert to what is happening around us we can help avert terrorist attacks. There are also full-page newspaper ads. There are probably also radio ads, but I haven't been listening to the radio.
What is more frightening - terrorism or the threat of terrorism - with the threat made by the government as it doesn't for a moment let us forget that the only thing standing between the general public and terrorism is it - specifically the current Liberal Federal Government. It's surprising that they haven't trotted out comments by the US President about how they would find it difficult to work with a Labor Government as part of the Liberal campaign for the forthcoming Federal election.

Da Vinci

I finished reading 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown last night. It was a good read for the modern person. It is television in words, with short chapters so you don't need to make a big time investment at each sitting to make progress. And it moves along at a fairly compelling pace with enough happening, enough mystery and enough unknowns to keep you interested. I'm looking forward to reading more of Mr Brown's work - also sitting on the best-seller list.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Broken Arrows

I know there was a movie of the same name about misappropriated nuclear weapons, but I had no idea that it may have been based on some fact. I just read about the search off the Georgia coast for a bomb lost there 46 years ago. This is 1 of 11 Broken Arrows - nuclear bombs lost during air or sea accidents, according to US military records. Certainly makes me feel safer (not).

A Shark's Tale

... no, not the new animated feature, although we are planning to see that.
A 4.5m female great white shark is currently the biggest fish in a small 'pond' in Massachussets. The shark moved in last week and shows no sign of wanting to leave. But scientists are fairly sure she will and have tagged her so they can gather information about her travels. The tag archives the data and will transmit it all at once when the tag pops off and floats to the surface in April 2005 - if all goes to plan. Failing that, if she's still swimming circles in the shallow water of the pool, they can scoop the tag out with a net!
So why is she there, and why isn't she leaving? It's a long shot, but could it be because it's the same general area in which the movie 'Jaws' was set?

What's in a name?

In this morning's Sydney The Daily Telegraph the Finance section (not something I usually read) tells of the appointment of the 'first female chairman' at the Adelaide Bank ... Dr Adele Lloyd. As the headline said - New bank chairman has name to match!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Another short story

There’s a sign on the gate ‘Carnivorous Plants for sale’ and I want to buy one but where’s the guy to give my money to. He was here a minute ago.


I know, I know, it’s been a while. I’m sure I have been doing stuff (like getting my tax paperwork ready – a perennial exercise) which has kept me away from these pages, but I am back.
Australia remains in the throes of a Federal election campaign and the more I see of the jockeying and posturing for position, the more I think that some people have no idea what “democracy” actually means. Or maybe it’s just me that thought that in a democracy, a group of people votes in the person in the area they want, who then, together with people voted in by other areas, s/elect the person to lead them. It doesn’t seem to work that way in a two-party preferred system. Before you even have the chance of running for one of the major political parties, you have to gain “pre-selection” for a particular seat. Too bad if you wanted to run and you are not the party favourite. But you can always run as an independent. And sometimes, independents do seem to hold the balance of power in Parliament. That being said, I admit that I really don’t understand the whole political jag (although a friend has patiently tried to explain it to me on a number of occasions).
I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence or not, timed to run in the lead-up to the election, or as a result of the recent bombing of an Australian Embassy overseas, but ads have just started up here telling people to be “alert” for suspicious things as they go about their everyday lives – is someone taking photographs of a landmark building, has a car been parked for too long outside a building, is there an unattended package left on a bus or at a transport station? Of course, at the same time, if not in the same ad break, there are also the ads for the Liberal Coalition reminding us of how John Howard (current Prime Minister) has done and will continue to do whatever it takes to make and keep Australia safe – including pre-emptive strikes on territory belonging to our Asian neighbours.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Snow business ..

We visited Orange the weekend before last, in Central NSW, to attend a friend’s 50th birthday party. We were lucky enough, as well as being part of the celebrations, to see snow, and more snow. Very exciting stuff for we city dwellers. We saw sleet about a month before (during our last Orange visit) but this just made our weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hutzpah ... or something

A report on page 9 of 'The Daily Telegraph' (Australia) (15/9/04) says visitors to prisoners in jail will be banned from going to the toilet - they can, but if they do the visit is over. It seems some visitors have been using toilet breaks to smuggle contraband into jail. Justice Minister John Hatzistergos said some visitors were known to smuggle drugs into jail by swallowing condoms filled with narcotics before excreting them in the toilets and then passing them on to visitors through kissing. I guess it's a whole different culture but seems you'd have to be pretty keen or desperate!

The Village

M. Night Shyamalan, creator of "The Sixth Sense", "Signs" and "Unbreakable" has another movie out ... "The Village". We saw it at the weekend even though we had also seen numerous tepid reviews. After being completely hoodwinked by his previous efforts, I wanted to walk out of the cinema this time knowing that I had worked out the twist ... before he revealed it. I also wanted a good scare in the process - but not so much that I wouldn't be able to get to sleep that night. Well, M. Night is a master of misdirection and surprise and he did deliver - but to what level depends on how high you set your expectations. One review said the biggest tragedy would be to pay to see this inapt and inept production. That was a bit harsh. S/he must have been wearing the bad colour at the time - the one that attacts those of whom "we do not speak" who live in the surrounding woods.
In an aside, apparently reviewers have to sign an agreement that they won't reveal the twists in "The Village". You'd think that would make for a fairly short review, especially if done in conjunction with that other adage "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all".
But make up your own mind. "The Village" is probably playing at a cinema near you.

Forensic Investigators

A new program started on one of our commercial television networks last week. I’ve only seen it the once so far, and I’m not sure I want to see it again. Not that it was that bad – although it did seem a little wooden in places. No, it’s more a philosophical concern I have … though some of that might be dispelled if I knew for sure whether the footage they show of interviews with the murderer were re-enactments (not billed as such) or actual footage. (In this morning’s paper there was an advertisement for Blue Heelers (police drama) and Forensic Investigators – and the heading “See him caught. Him him speak.” Even though it was ambiguous about which program it referred to, my money’s on Forensic Investigators – probably because the picture they used seemed to coincide with the face I saw in the FI previews. But are these people actors or are they real?
And there’s the question of how difficult it must it be for the families of the victims to see it all again. Hopefully the program will focus only on crimes which have been solved so bad memories are not trawled up for naught (except the hope for television ratings).
The first episode, about multiple murders in Frankston, Victoria, in the early 1990’s didn’t seem to give that much of a CSI-approach to forensic investigation. It seemed that the big breakthrough in the case was provided by two constables, who had been called to investigate a suspicious car that, as it turned out, was parked across the road from where a murder was committed. Had the car not been reported, and had the police not investigated, it is hard to know how long it would have taken for the taskforce to catch the killer.

Ready, SETI, gone

There was news last week that a radio signal had been received from space. The signal, around a minute long, was traced to a point between the Aries and Pisces constellations and apparently did not bear the signature of any know astronomical object. Pretty exciting news this in the New Scientist. Until later that day when a report in the BBC News had astronomers denying the ET signal which had apparently been detected through the SETI@home screensaver that uses computer downtime to analyse telescope data. Over the last 6 years when the program has been in operation, it has detected hundreds of thousands of signals, of which only 150 have survived the interference test, but none has ever been classed as a potential signal from ET – not even this one. As one of the astronomers quoted in the BBC article said – “it’s not new and it’s definitely not a signal”. (But would they tell us if it was? What kind of reaction would there be if people believed that contact had been made with extraterrestrials? Given the reaction we give people from other countries some times, it’s not looking good for our intergalactic neighbours!)

Naught to complain about

I read the Guardian Unlimited online and it has a great "News Quiz". One of the questions this week: What driving offence led to a woman appearing in court in Oslo. The correct answer: receiving a parking ticket while stuck in a traffic jam. And people complain that Australian police revenue raise!

Monday, September 06, 2004


Here's my recent writers' group homework, where we had to write about "Morning". I sent it off to the local paper but it wasn't used, so rather than let it go to waste, I'm sharing it here.

At primary school I wrote:
The time of day I like best … is just at dawn when I can rest …

At 44, I’ve lost my passion for mornings.

4.30am a paw caresses my cheek. Cat No. 1 cannot find crunchies in his bowl unless you show him. I stir them with a toe then crawl back into bed, not disturbing cat No. 2. I have become better at sleeping like a pretzel.

4.50am the newspaper crashes against the front wall of the house. Didn't hit a window. This time.

5.10am the alarm pips. It is set to lowest volume and not on 'Reveille' so as not to disturb my partner.

Stopping via the study to turn on the computer, I hurry to the kitchen to feed the cats and prepare No. 2’s insulin injection. Instead of buying a barbeque last Christmas, we had our cat diagnosed with diabetes.

Back to the computer and 30 minutes checking emails and downloading newspapers onto Palm.

On the treadmill for half an hour, 2km. I am careful about “hitting the wall”. Most elite athletes are happy to, but if I do it means I have crashed backwards off the machine.

Into the shower. Hopefully there's enough hot water. I have a shower routine. If I vary it, I end up doing most of me again. Sometimes I get interrupted and when I get out, I still have shampoo in my hair. Back I go.

What to wear? Albert Einstein had the right idea – was it Albert Einstein? He wore the same sets of clothes so he didn't waste time deciding. It’s easier to put black with black.

Breakfast. It’s hard not to have the same thing, or to find time to make microwave porridge. If my partner is having toast I want some too. (This is not without some concern, because we then need to make sure the toaster is off.)

How are you going, I ask – which we both know means I am running late as I check wallet, glasses, Palm, pen, bus ticket, back pack ...

Ready to go but first I have to check everything is off, toaster, stove, walking machine, computer - and the alarm is on, and the door snicked and closed properly.

Can you hear me? Toaster’s off, stove’s off. I try to work out systems like only turn the light out when everything in that room has been checked, re-checked, checked again.

The pressure isn’t as great on Wednesday’s when our cleaner comes. We know she’ll turn off things. Her house burnt down a couple of years ago.

I don’t mind going back to check things – as long as there’s enough time. I am so unsure of myself some days … most days. I can do the reporting – this is off, that is off – but when I’m asked if the stove was off, I can't answer with any degree of certainty. Back I go.

It’s worse in winter because then there's the heater to worry about. It’s not on my mental checklist (ditto the fan in summer) and I can forget about it until I am about to set foot on the bus – and then I agonise all the way to the next stop about whether to get off the bus, go home and check.

Our reception windows at work look out over the inner west – so if there’s a fire I will have some advance warning. Yes, that pall of smoke rising near Parramatta Road is because I didn’t turn the kettle or something off properly this morning.

All of this I can bear … what makes it difficult is that my partner of 14 years has caught some of my neuroses. The only thing worse than questioning myself is having both of us doing it.

No, these days the time of day that I like best … is the weekend.

Leslie Ash update

Some time ago I blogged about UK “personality” Leslie Ash who had contracted a superbug after going to hospital in April. I’ve now seen a report of her enjoying her first night “out” albeit on crutches. This would seem to be a good result given earlier reports suggested doctors had told the 44-year-old she may never walk again. The superbug, a variant of the deadly MRSA bug is apparently not uncommon in the UK hospital system.

Making a spectacle of oneself?

Just what we’ve always wanted … A German company has invented glasses that come apart to double as chopsticks. Dubbed “sushi specs”, they have detachable arms that double as chopsticks – or, if you prefer, you can have forks attached as an alternative. The designer of the glasses, Ralph Anderl, came up with the idea when he realized people nowadays want to “eat on the run” and that meant they needed to have implements with them. The specs can be made into prescription glasses – or sunglasses for those who prefer al fresco dining! But you have to know what you’re eating – once you’re got the chopsticks (or forks – and do they give you two forks so you can dine with a friend?) detached, you can’t use the glasses as glasses again until they’re reattached. The $300 glasses are apparently “flying off the shelves”.

Have you done it yet?

There is a name for it, but I can’t remember it at the moment – looking yourself up online. A recent survey of American net users by MSN reports that people are more likely to look themselves up than they are to look up a member of their own family … except for people over 59 who are more likely to try to find out about their family and ancestors. While some people “Google” to find out about prospective dates, the survey suggests most people are more interested in finding out about themselves … and I admit it, I have done searches for my own name on Google – and there are lots of me out there!!


“Authorities are puzzled in Chile after a number of motorists reported seeing strange creatures resembling dinosaur kangaroos.” UOL Noticias Populares says the two metres tall creatures have been spotted in a desert area north of Santiago. One witness, Hernan Cuevas, said “A weird animal looking like a dinosaur with two legs and huge thighs crossed the road in front of my car.” Police in the area say that while it isn’t strange for people to see things in the desert, it is odd that so many people have reported seeing the same thing at the same time. According to the report, the police are “intrigued”. As am I. What do a kangaroo and a dinosaur have in common – well, if you’re thinking about a T-Rex, they both have “ridiculously short arms” (thanks Rowan), and kangaroos and velociraptors are decent jumpers … but besides that … ??? I suppose it’s a good thing that given there are often reports of kangaroo herds roaming the main streets in Sydney, Australia, that they’re not the Chilean dinosaur kangaroo. (On another note, isn’t it good that people in Chile know what a kangaroo looks like!)

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sibling rivalry opportunity

If you have a moment, spare a thought for Vicky, daughter of Maryland (USA) couple Pat and Joe Posey. While she may have been content to be an only child, her parents had other ideas. Nineteen years ago they adopted Kevin, a 1ft Cabbage Patch doll, and have raised 'him' as their only son. Kevin is described as "easy-going, quiet and well-behaved" and goes everywhere with them. They talk to him - and he "replies" through Joe putting on his voice.
Kevin has his own 1,000 sq ft playroom, a red (doll-sized) Chevrolet Corvette car, a pet dog, a full wardrobe and a £2,000 savings fund for when he goes to college. He also has the love of his 'parents' who say they prefer him to their real child, Vicky, now an adult .
Pat said: "With every kid that you adopt, you promise to love them and be a good parent and take care of this child. And that's what we did with Kevin."
(You just have to love the Ananova news site!)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Gold medal quality

We haven't seen much of the Athens 2004 Olympics thus far, although I have enjoyed what I have seen. I have spent more time at the Athens site, which is excellent, well thought out, has great links, and is updated frequently with news and results. You can drill down within the site to get profiles on each of the athletes ... and the horses!

Rabbiting on

For someone with little or no visual memory, it surprises me that I can sometimes clearly see pictures in my mind's eye. Unfortunately this is usually late at night, when I'm overtired and more than ready to go to sleep - and would if I could just get the image of the ogre (not Shrek!), alien or vampire out of my brain. It's worse if I've been watching movies with scary monster content after dark but I'm usually good about not doing that. I have been known to sleep with the lights on, or to turn the lights on to run to the toilet - once I work up the courage to swing my feet out of the bed and on to the floor!
I am relieved to find out I am not the only adult I know that gets scared. But I am puzzled. Is it better or worse to be afraid of Frankenstein (well, actually Frankenstein's monster) ... or Frank? I have only recently found out about Frank - the horror rabbit - through a workmate. She admits needing the lights turned on, plus quickened pace, to stay well clear of the reportedly 6' of bad news bunny she became acquainted with through a review of Johnny Darko on The Movie Show. Of course, not all 6' rabbits are evil. Harvey, in the movie of the same name, starring James Stewart, was by all accounts, a reasonable rabbit. I think we should watch them both - during daylight hours, preferably first thing in the morning so there's plenty of time to forget the furry fiends before 'lights out'.
I don't know that I'll be nearly as brave with the new M. Night Shyamalan film, The Village. It looks pretty scary - and I've only seen a 15- or 30-second preview on television so far.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Learner Driver - congrats Mum!

I learned today that my mother has passed the test and has joined the ranks as a Learner Driver. Well done Mum! It's some years, no, make that decades, since Mum gained her licence at a small country police station - and almost as long since she stopped driving. I can vaguely remember being a pre-school age child with Mum behind the wheel - and that there was some fairly unsupportive criticism but I don't recall much more than that. Who did it, what was said, and whether it was in any way warranted will need some research. (Must ask my brothers if they've caught up on this news.)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Thinking ...

Thinking about philosophy. I was given a book of philosophy "problems" for my last birthday and still find myself thinking about them from time to time. I found some of the scenarios to be fairly common sensical; others were less so and seemed to offer little insight. Or perhaps I just don't understand the whole philosophy concept. So to the SlovoEd dictionary (Princeton University ed. for Palm) I go.
1) (cognition) a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school. Synonyms: doctrine; school of thought; ism
2) (cognition) any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation
3) (cognition) the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics.
No. 3 comes closest ... questions about existence and knowledge and ethics. But surely these are dictated by the location, time and setting. Is the pursuit of philosophical thinking a modern Western construct or is it a universal consideration which has been with us for eons. Are there those who accept that ''this is the way things are" rather than ''why are things like this, and is this the way they should be"?


How many people would you speak to, and about what, when compiling/researching your autobiography? I had ever thought about it before, but I guess you might want to include other people's views in your autobiography. That could make it slightly more objective - depending on what you chose to include!

Truth Dawns

Dawn Fraser, Australian swimmer extraordinnaire and four-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, has been in the news twice over the last couple of days. The first was about her not being invited to attend the Athens Olympics as part of the Australian Team. She claims the snub was because of her hard stance on drugs. The second was a small item in this morning's media about her finding out she killed her mother in a car accident 40 years ago - just before the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games (at which Ms Fraser won "gold, gold, gold" for Australia).
Ms Fraser had apparently been told her mother suffered a heart attack before the accident. It was only a few years ago, while working on her autobiography, that she learned the truth of her mother's death.
How strong must her defences have been to not have learned/seen/remembered the truth for so long? I can remember when her autobiography was released but not that there was mention of the circumstances/secrecy surrounding her mother's death. So why has this made the news now?

Friday, August 06, 2004

First name basis

I don't know if it's the same with other reality shows, but it seems if you're in 'Big Brother', you might as well not have been given a surname. Who won BB4 in Australia - Trevor. What's his last name? What were the last names of the other BB4 housemates? Suspend the natural question 'Why? Do we care?' and think about the Australian Idol - Guy Sebastian, and runner-up Shannon Noll -- while the spelling, and the names themselves, may be inaccurate we do know their names. Mind you, though, I can't tell you who the third of the final three was. Perhaps Australian Idol just has a more effective publicity juggernaut - or that singers, besides Cher, usually have two names ... because there are so many of them?

More quirky news

I don't know why I love quirky news so, but I do. I haven't had a chance to catch up with the Ananova site much recently but I did yesterday - and there were some great stories: boy has plant growing in his nose, Russian fishermen catch hippos, and tennis balls cure snoring. That sounds more like a selection from a publication whose items appear to be made up - B52 Bomber Found on Moon, Dead Alien Found Clutching Half-Eaten Cheese Burger, B52 Bomber Disappears From Moon!!! These are actual headlines from one of those publication from a few years back - I can't remember its name but I think it had 'News' and 'World' in its name.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Guarded security

A Sydney security guard last week allegedly shot dead a robber who had reportedly knuckledusted her to the ground and grabbed a bag containing a hotel’s taking. The guard, Karen Brown, has now been charged with murder. The dead man, Bill Aquilina, had apparently dropped the bag (so was not going to get away with the money) and was sitting in his vehicle when he was shot at point blank range through a closed window. Of course, this has raised the question in the media … did he deserve to die? I’m wondering if the people who say “yes” are those who believe in capital punishment.
There are many rumours and stories doing the rounds about the episode. Karen Brown had done an interview with a current affairs show for which she was reportedly paid $100,000 but now that she has been charged with murder, that money will be confiscated (I’m not sure if that is the right word) if it is paid to her.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Chuppa chup?

While watching the comedy "Absolutely Fabulous" on television last night, we heard one of the characters, who had recently acquired a new boyfriend, talking about doing the "rumpy pumpy"? I know I have led a fairly sheltered life but even I was able to work out that it meant "intimate relations", "making love", "a bit of the old punch in the pants". As we talked about it on the way to the bus stop this morning, my partner said she knew someone who called it something similar, and that this person's mother called it the "chuppa chuppa" - and that chuppa chup was actually a play on that. Not sure if that's actually so, but it's an interesting thought.

Whale of a time ...

... or possibily not. A killer whale attacked a trainer in an incident overseas today. The errant behaviour was blamed on “raging hormones”. The televised images were quite spectacular – so much so that there appear to have been no details to go with the story – aside from the aforementioned “hormones”. I bet the only thing they can be thankful for is that the whale was restricted to the tank. There were no reports on how the trainer fared after the attack.

Online dictionaries

I was IMing with a colleague in South Africa this afternoon and when he greeted me with “g’day”, I responded with “goie more” (ghoo … ia … more … rra). Some conversations later, getting ready to sign off for the day, he bid me “tot siens” together with the Afrikaans for “miss”. I went online to see if I could quickly find the Afrikaans for “mister” and even though I did find a site, I couldn’t find an English-Afrikaans translation for “mister” or “Mr” or “sir”. I was obviously asking the wrong question; the wrong terminology – but that raised the question, if you don’t know the language, how can you find out “stuff”.

eBook popularity

The number of eBooks sold in the first quarter of 2003 increased from 228,400 to 421,955. This was an increase of 46 per cent according to a palmOne item I read. I didn’t think at the time to question this – especially as the increase seems much more than 46% - it’s almost double. Wonder who’s putting together their statistics.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Too long

It’s been too long between blogs – I have been missing writing here – although I have been doing other writing so it’s not all bad.
But there have been reasons. My sister and co. did visit and we had a wonderful time with them. We did some family things (visiting my brother and his family) and some tourist things, and lots of chatting and just catching up. What happened to the olden times when people would live and die in the same village. Did that make for a better relationship between people? And do all the modern communication methods we have make up for the distance in any real way? Life just seems to get faster, and more busy. Ah, if only I could SMS faster!
After a few days with our brother on the Central Coast, Wendy and co. head back to Toowoomba today. I hope they’ve had a great holiday – they’ve certainly done lots! And I’ve got some pics of what they did here in Sydney, which I’m working on posting to my photo site.

Slow web

On the web at 5.20am today and I was amazed at how slow it was. I couldn’t even connect to my email account, and my home page “could not be found”. I tried to disconnect and reconnect, but no change to the speed. Then, just after 5.45am, the system “freed up” and I had some web speed back. I checked to see if there was anything running in the background (eg virus program) but nothing. All very odd – and the second time this has happened over the last fortnight. I might do some research and see what is causing it – although last time it seemed to coincide with a new virus outbreak.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Family time

My sister, her children and the new man in her life arrive this evening for the weekend. They are from Queensland and want to play tourist here in Sydney - including a visit to ChinaTown for Yum Cha, Paddy's Markets and some museums. It will be fun and a good chance to catch up.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Eastern Waterfall Guide - Waterfall Hikes and Photography

The Eastern Waterfall Guide - Waterfall Hikes and Photography Wow - will technological wonders never end. I have just loaded the new Google Toolbar onto the computer and one of the options is "Blogger" - so when you are visiting a page, hit the button, and it will post the details in a blog session. Of course, you have to have a blog with Blogger, or be prepared to open one. (This is not the reason I had downloaded the toolbar - it's to stop pop-up ads as I surf!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Beam me up

The character who plays Scotty, the engineer on the StarShip Enterprise (Star Trek TV series, original, 1966-69), was in the news recently because he is reportedly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and has other health issues.  But he is still managing to get to Conventions.  I was quite surprised to read in the same article that Mr Doohan, now in his 80’s, has a four-year old daughter and two older sons via his current wife (of 12 years?), and four children from a previous marriage.  I never thought of Scotty as the marrying kind!

To market … to market

Saturday morning bright and early, 6.15am to be precise, we left home to go for an adventure to the local produce markets – Flemington Markets.  This is the big markets – forklifts everywhere, people buying boxes and boxes of apples and tomatoes and pumpkins, and not to be confused with the local growers market which is held just up the road.
Flemington was fantastic – so much to look at, so many smells, and so many people buying their cabbages and fish and nuts and … you name it, it was there.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Hot to trot

The Olympics are just a month away now and preparations are hotting up.  But not so much as for one Olympic equestrian’s horse.  Ulla Salzgeber, ranked world No. 1, has booked a month of sessions at a solarium to help Rusty prepare for the Athens heat.  She reportedly said “Just like any person he has to get used to the expected high temperatures.  I want to make sure he doesn’t get a sunburn.”
Surprisingly, Ulla is only two steps removed from me.  A friend had her photograph taken with Ulla at an equestrian event in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) last year – or perhaps the year before.
Go Rusty! Go Ulla! 

Burning love

How far would you go to impress the love of your life?  A story in Ananova today tells of a German man who burned down his house after the candles he had lit in a romantic message to his girlfriend sparked a fire.  The 18-year-old, who was not named in the report, had laid out hundreds of candles in the shape of a heart and with the words “You set my heart on fire”.  Close.  Perhaps it should have been “hearth” … and home.  The damage bill will be in the vicinity of £33,000.  And what did the girlfriend think of the gesture?  Apparently she didn’t get to see it.  All he had was a photograph, and when she found out what had happened, she wasn’t that interested in looking at it.

Get the message?

Most of us peck at the keys of our mobile phones to do SMSs, and probably wish we could do it just a little faster.  I’m not sure I’d want to do it as fast as Kimberly Yeo, 23, from Singapore, who managed to produce a 160-character message in 43.24 seconds.  This was more than 20 seconds faster than the previous best – and the Guinness Book of Records is waiting to verify the new record. All contestants in the competition, run by the telephone company Sing-Tel, had to type the same message:  “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world.  In reality they seldom attack a human.”  (It took me longer than 43.24 seconds to type it let alone get my fingers around it out on a mobile!)  Ms Yeo, quite deservedly, won over £8,000 in cash and other prizes for her effort.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Farewell Montego

We spent the weekend on Queensland’s Gold Coast saying farewell to Montego Motel which has been in a friend’s family for the last 23 years. We’ve spent some wonderful times there, including the Summer the first year our friend was managing the property for her parents. It was a grand four weeks where Mejrem and I shared the office duties, and Sooz helped out with the breakfasts, washing up and rooms. I will remember it as one of the times when I have done my fastest thinking – when a regular (whose name I could not remember at the time – and whose name I won’t mention now because I wish to protect his privacy) telephoned to see if there was a vacancy for his daytime tryst. I was torn between giving him the room or waiting for a better booking. It then occurred to me that I had to ask if he was the regular and in a moment of inspiration I thought to ask if he wanted “the short booking” – he did.
We spent a lot of time at the beach that Summer as I recall. And it was, quite simply, a wonderful way to spend a month. Fare thee well Montego, and all those who were part of her!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Latest international news

You never know what you're going to find when you're out and about. I was browsing a stationery store yesterday and moving through to their book division when I noticed what looked like an ATM. A closer look showed it was anything but. For a mere $US6.95 I could print out a copy of the latest newspapers from around the world - alright my credit card payment of $US6.95 would only get me one - but let's not get bogged down in semantics. What an amazing invention. Print on demand international newspapers. There was a good choice of publications - together with information on when the latest issue had arrived. Your copy, on A3 pages, would print out in under 2 minutes. The sizes of the publications varied, one was 44 pages, one 28, and on screen it looked like the copies would be readable. While it's not something I'd want to do everyday, I can see the attraction of printing out The New York Times (which I already read via the net) to take it with me to the local coffee shop one day. Nothing like mixing your media!

Thumbsuck at a train wreck

Isn't business talk great? I'm taking liberties by joining two very different ideas but it does illustrate the point a little. A thumbsuck (as far as I can figure) is a detailed guess, complete with rationale and costings for something completely unknown but which someone higher up the corporate foodchain wants. A train wreck is a complete disaster. I don't think there's any causal relationship between the two - although if there was a big enough thumbsuck on a big enough project, there is every chance that there could be a train wreck as a result.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Why is it so?

... used to be the catchphrase of a Professor (Julius Sumner Miller - apologies for any misspelling) who was on a TV program which looked at how things work - and there were some cool physics experiments like how to put an egg in a milk bottle (made of glass - not the plastic you get these days) without breaking it - the egg or the bottle! Mind you, the egg was hardboiled and shelled, but it was still great to see. I really enjoyed learning 'stuff' so I was delighted to recently stumble across a website dedicated to how stuff works. That is the name of the site and it delivers - it even has a search facility. I'm going back there to play over the next few days.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Fee for all

Have you ever noticed that there's only one letter difference between "fee" and "free"? I'm sure there are similar examples throughout the English language. It makes me wonder about the origin of words and how they came to be - and how amazing it is we can communicate at all. But this may be changing. There was a report yesterday of remarks by Bill Cosby, the comedian, that the upcoming generation of African-Americans was in trouble because it did not have values or education to carry it through. The responses included an attack/observation that as Mr Cosby, an African American himself, had made his living as a minstrel, he might not be the best qualified to comment. Mr Cosby's comments followed reported increases among young people for violence against women and school drop-out rates.

Zing, Zing, Zing

At work last week we had a demonstration of a computer-based brainstorming tool. Zing was developed by John Findlay, an Australian. It was described to us as being
65% psychology and 35% software. It was created to help teachers bring out creativity in children - and it certainly brought out some creativity in us. But you'd expect that from a knowledge creation tool. It's based on each participant being at the same location and having a computer link into the Zing system. The session is led by a certified facilitator who has questions they put to the group. The make-up of the questions is the most important aspect of the process … more important than the software. As each question is put to the group, participants discuss them before entering their individual answers through the console. The responses are then displayed, anonymously, on a screen – and are discussed, looking for common themes etc. It makes it a level playing field as no-one knows who made which response, and the most vociferous person doesn’t get to control the conversation.

World first

Finally they've worked out what to do with evictees from the Big Brother house - put them back in! In a world first, following a voting miscount, the Australian version of Big Brother tonight put the most recent evictee, Bree, back into the house. The person who should have been evicted (not yet known) will be ejected from the house on Thursday night. I can't help thinking they keep milking this show for all it's worth. At the moment, even without special eviction shows, it's on for hours a week - half an hour each weeknight, Monday nomination night, Wednesday Uncut, Sunday eviction, and then 2 hours Up Late each weekday night. Oh the reality!


A young man in China is having plastic surgery so he can have ears like an alien's. Even though doctors tried to dissuade him, the man is so unhappy with the shape of his own ears that he wants pointy ears like a creature from another planet. My only question is how does he know what alien's ears look like? Has he seen them - or is he making his choice on the basis of an artist's impression. Is it X marks the Spock (a Star Trek character)?

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Readers Digest

I just love Readers Digest on so many levels. I love the humour ... but most of all, I love the inserts that come with the publication each month. This month it was a catalogue for Bright Life Australia. There were some great buys. Classic Retro Style Typewriter - because there's nothing more satisfying than the click, click, click of a typewriter; the Thigh Pillow because sleeping with a pillow between your legs may help to maintain spinal alignment; the perfect for outdoor & indoor 5 in 1 TV-Radio-Torch-Lantern-Siren; the Wrap-Around Quilt which also doubles as a bed throw; the Un Bra silicone bra with self-adhesive system; and the best idea I have seen in a while - the Big Letter Keyboard which makes typing a joy and not a chore. If you wanted to have a look at these and other products offered in their catalogue, you can visit their site.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

A new era

Today marks Day 3 of the new era – a laptop has come to live with us. I have coveted a laptop for some time, and finally, on the weekend, I found myself standing in front of display of various machines, all tied to the counter, trying to decide what features I most wanted in a laptop. Did I want more memory, a huge screen, the ability to take it with me, wireless access … I found myself wishing I had done lots more research. Over the past couple of months I’ve been saving and reading articles on how to choose a laptop – so I had a general idea of the features I wanted, but it’s amazing how much and how little variation there is in computers when it’s all said and done. I ended up with a Sony Vaio which is a nice, smallish little machine that is sold on its “mobile” feature – which is not to say that it doubles as a phone, but that it is easy to take anywhere.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Greater Union Bondi Junction

A new cinema complex is opening in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs this week. One of its features is a Gold Class Cinema – like having your own cinema at home – where you can relax in reclining seats (more like lounges) and have someone wait on you, bring you something to eat and drink while you watch the movie – well, maybe it’s not quite like home! The ad I just saw for the cinema was also touting new movie food – including donuts and hot chips. What will they think of next?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Talk about unlucky ...

Ananova carried a story today that an actress, Leslie Ash, says she is making a steady recover after being struck down by the MRSA superbug. Acccording to the news service, she contracted the bug, which could leave her paralysed and unable to walk, while she was being treated at a London hospital for injuries she picked up during conjugals with her husband. Leslie has denied doctors said she will never walk again because nerves in her spine had been damaged.
But Leslie is a survivor - although there were no details in the article I saw, there was reference to two other stories: Actress speaks of 'trout pout' ordeal; and Leslie Ash crushed by her own car. Good luck Leslie.

Training daze

Fresh on the heels of last week's first aid training, I'm now doing a course on supervising staff. It's actually quite different to the content I'd expected - although it shouldn't be. We're looking at teamwork and leadership - and what combinations deliver the best results. It is great to be in a learning environment again - especially so soon after last week. I think my learning pathways haven't had a chance yet to slide back into hibernation.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Truth stranger than fiction

We all have horror stories about bus drivers who don't actually
realise that there are there to transport the public, but yesterday
morning the actions of one bus driver in Rozelle helped dispel some of
the bad publicity. We were running a little early as we approached
one of the stops, and two women had seen the bus and were running to
catch it. But instead of sailing past them, the driver pulled up the
bus 50m before the stop to let them on. Talk about service and
putting the public back into public transport!


Some schools of thought believe you can gain positive results if you
visualise the activity and the expected outcome. Does it work with
dreaming? The last two nights I have dreamt I have stood up too and
told off someone I would like to tell off in real life. I can't
remember what I said - it was different in both instances - but it had
the desired effect. Now if only I could translate that to the real
world ... although will the dream domain negate having to do that?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Two down ...

Last year I made a list of the things that I wanted to do. There
were: (a) attend a trial, (b) see a crane being put up, and (c) do a
first aid course. Well, following the course yesterday and today, I
now have my Senior First Aid Certificate ... yah!!! Three cheers for
me! So, since I did the trial last year, there's only one to go - now
where am I going to find me a crane?

Art imitating life

There's a new drama series on television here - Threat Matrix. It is based around the premise that each morning the President of the United States is presented with a list of threats to the country - this is the Threat Matrix. A specialised team, comprised of skilled operatives from various government security agencies, then responds to those threats. Last night, they were in the Middle East; the threat - nerve gas. So what agendas is this serving? That no-one is safe; that to keep people safe it's okay to pry into people's lives and personal records; that there are no unknown threats; that the government will protect you ... and probably about a dozen others!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Shades of Big Brother

At his eviction from the Australian Big Brother house on Sunday night, Merlin Luck staged a silent protest, holding a sign "Free The Refugees" (or it would have said that had the "e" in "the" not fallen off). The studio audience booed and hissed - and now a site has been published which lets you put your own message on Merlin's sign. I'm not sure this is a good thing. I know it represents freedom of speech (and the burgeoning of the creative spirit) but it seems to allow mocking and derision of a valid message - regardless of Senator Amanda Van Stone's assurance that "there are no refugees in detention". Again - what's in a name? There are still men, women and children being held behind bars when there is surely a more humane method of tracking/holding available (if really required).

What's in a name?

According to the most recent issue of Slatterys Internet Watch (June 14, 2004) there are now more than 63 million Internet domain names registered. Statistics released last week by Verisign, the operator of the global .com and .net registries, indicate this is a greater number than existed during the height of the Internet bubble (read "dotcom era") - but now, unlike then, the domain names actually resolve (ie go somewhere) rather than just being registered. The 63 million works out at about one domain name for every 100 people living in the world today. Wonder what that stat look like if you exclude all the countries/people who don't have access to computers or the internet?

Monday, June 14, 2004

Time flies faster

Where has the year gone? It's almost the middle of June, almost the middle of 2003, oops 2004. Time does seem to speed up as I get older. I think it's a function of how many regular activities we do - it's amazing how quickly Wednesday comes around each week when it's Choir night. Might be something to do with familiarity - like how a long car trip seems shorter if you know the landmarks.

Fundamentally speaking

We seem to be moving towards a rebirth of the '50s here in Australia and elsewhere in the World (read USA). This would not necessarily be alarming except that it is accompanied by a move towards 50's morals - and last thing I knew, we'd moved on a bit since then. I suspect that some fundamentalists would not agree that this was truly 'progress' what with women having easy access to abortions and women wanting to have babies with each other, and wanting to marry each other. And boys too ... wanting to marry each other that is. So, rather than accepting this diversity and that some folks can be different yet not hurt anyone, there is a move by Church and State to rectify the situation ... by turning the clock back 50 years.
And no wonder the Church and State seem so aligned in this. According to a report by John L. Allen Jr in the National Catholic Reporter (Vol 3 No. 42), during his recent trip to Rome President Bush asked a top Vatican official to push American bishops to speak out more about political issues, including same-sex marriage.
The article also notes “Bush supports a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and has urged Congress to take swift action. Since polls show that in several battleground states in the fall election a majority of voters is opposed to gay marriage, some Bush analysts think an aggressive push on the issue will help the president’s prospects.”
Is it possible that there is a political motivation (or several) here?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

See what I mean?

An Arm and A Leg?

The price of petrol has been on the rise this morning, I knew that - but I was stunned to see it was $1.07+ per litre at the bowser this morning. Fairly expensive - and I'm not the only person who thinks so (I'll post a pic tomorrow.)
Of course, I wasn't at all impressed when within 15 minutes we had spotted petrol for $0.97+ per litre. D'oh. And this wasn't even at a discount chain. No wonder there had been no cars (and only a bicycle using the air pump) at the service station we'd gone to. Looks like I'll have to change stations - we've always gone to the same one because it's had a consistently lower price than others in town. Not any more. Maybe it's under new management.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Lend a hand ... of paws ...

Had some time to go net surfing this morning and chanced upon this.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Drive Thru?

Some could say the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the Allambie Heights (NSW) KFC restaurant yesterday morning doesn't understand the concept of "drive thru". He told bystanders that the accident occurred becasue he had blacked out. He was unhurt in the incident, although his car, three gardens and the front of the fast food outlet did not fare as well. While identified only as "the driver" in the newspaper item, his photograph (Caption: the uninjured driver) might ruin his chances of remaining anonymous. (Does this mean his goose is cooked?)

Just the shot

Professional surfer Jai Abberton is on trial in Sydney for allegedly
shooting a standover man. The dead man is pictured in the Daily
Telegraph article, with the caption 'Murdered ... Anthony Hines in
prison in 1994'. Mr Hines is shown in a 3/4 shot, from the knees up,
wearing nought but a pair of togs, some wrist adornment (bracelet?),
and perhaps some oil on his 'six-pack'. Why this photo? Is this the
only one they could find? The only one on file? Or do they check with
loved ones 'which photo would he have wanted us to use?' 'Oh, he
always liked this one ...'

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Wines - they are achanging

.. well, packaging anyway. First they started to do away with corks in favour of screw tops. Now they're going to sell a range of wines in aluminium cans. And we only have to wait until September for Baroke to have them on shelves in NSW. The 250ml cans will sell for $3.99 each according to today's Daily Telegraph. The RDTWs (ready to drink wines) have been a hit overseas apparently, especially in Japan where they can be found in over 1000 convenience stores. Here, you'll have the choice of four carefully blended wines including a carbonated Cabernet Shiraz. Mmm. Oh, and it appears they'll have quite a high alcohol content - the pic in the article shows a can with a 13%ALC/VOL.


The new Harry Potter movie hits cinema screens in Australia tomorrow.
One of the characters is Scabbers, Ron's rat. Scabbers was played by 2
rats, both of which were adopted at film end by the actor playing Ron.
Perhaps not so fortunate are the mice which may be the reason for
the RSPCA threatening to take a Queensland hotel to court. The hotel
ran a competition involving eating two live mice. Although it seems
two men took part, hoping to win a Gold Coast trip, it is not known if
they ate the mice, or thought them nice.

On the way home this evening, I noticed some commotion (okay, it was
one camera flash) and crowd outside a theatre in town. If I hadn't
been running a bit late, I would have investigated - and had a photo
of something big and green and Shrek-like to post here. The ogre, and
glitterati, were out for the Australian launch of the sequel. Oh well
... perhaps next time. Sigh. I wonder if Princess Fiona was in

Brother ...
This week's mystery guest on Channel 10's Big Brother is Maria. Recent
regular 10 viewers may recognise her as Miriam - the not quite as
"she" as is made out in 'There's Something About Miriam' where men
compete for her affection, unaware they are being had. So 'had' did
they feel when they discovered Miriam is a 'HE' that they sued for
damages and, if I recall correctly, were awarded nearly $2million.
The house mates won't know Maria/Miriam's 'secret' ('Something About
....' started after they went into the house.)
When asked about the ethics of Maria/Miriam's placement, someone from
10 said: we've had no complaints. I was horrified. I had been so
sucked in by the manipulative nature of the exercise that I hadn't
thought to speak out against it. And who would have thought that any
one would be waiting for input. You can learn something every day ...
like the most recent evictee is comfortable 'wearing naked'.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Choristers in waiting

Found this on my phone - I took it in the choir room the other week as we got ready for the concert. Don't we look dapper in academic gowns?

Turning over a new leaf?

I haven't read a book in a while. This is not to say that I haven't been reading - just that I've been doing it with electronic books (aka ebooks). I was thinking about this the other evening as I luxuriated in a steaming hot bath, perusing the latest edition of "The Readers Digest". As I leafed through the pages, being careful not to get them wet (my partner has only recently recovered the previous issue which had drowned and then plunged unceremoniously down the wall side of the bath - making it extremely difficult to recover! But I digress ...) I wondered if people feel more of a sense of completion when reading a paper book - knowing they are half way through, or closer to the end. You don't really get this with an ebook. Sure you can see from the scroll bar how far you've come, and how far there's still to go, but there is nothing as satisfying at the end as closing the back cover and putting it down. Done. Complete. Finished. With an ebook you might delete it, or save it onto a memory card for later reference, but you don't pop it onto the bookshelf as a book you've read. And they're certainly not easy to share around! But you can read them in the dark, and they're very light to pack!


I don't know where it came from but I spent some time last week trying to get some insidious "thing" off my computer. I'm not sure what the right term is but everytime I used Internet Explorer, closing the active window would cause a pop-up message saying the program had closed, and did I want to send an error report. A couple of pop-ups kept happening - did I want to synchronise the clock on my computer, and did I want to optimize my computer. Close the window and bingo, the program closed and wanted to send an error report. I cleaned out cookies, I cleaned out files, I looked for new, unfamiliar programs. Zilch. But finally, I found them, 5 programs downloaded on the same day last week according to the details. Not quite sure how it happened - just knew that it was when I was using the computer - and finally decided it was when I was searching for a program - clicking links off to various sites, when the system was compromised. But I thought the firewall was suppo!
sed to stop that, and surely the virus program should have kicked in at some point? Obviously I need to understand this "stuff" better - so I have a new project for the coming month. And were there really 340 instances of these investations (as the Adware program suggested). I guess so, but at least they're all safely quantined now.

Last meal?

The Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend (5/6 June 2004) carried a picture article about "Last Meals", and the choices made by prisoners executed in America. What would you choose?

Saturday, June 05, 2004

What's In A Name?

The Vatican's Internet site is powered by three host computers named
after angels -- Raphael, Michael and Gabriel. Raphael stores graphics
and navigation paths, Michael protects the site from hackers and
Gabriel interfaces between the other two computers and the outside

Survival Rule of 3s

Humans can survive for: 3 minutes without air; 3 days without water; 3
weeks without food (but only just). Well, that's in real life. In
the disaster movies it's quite a different scenario. We saw "The Day
After Tomorrow" last night (were they really pumping freezing air into
the cinema?) and noted that the main characters (those who were still
alive at the end of the film!) had survived on candy bars and potato
chips. I guess that doesn't really count as being "without food" but
it certainly wouldn't have made their dentists happy! It's amazing how
people see different things in movies, isn't it? I noticed that while
the NY library characters were busy burning books to stay warm (that
isn't much of a spoiler!), there seemed to be a few chairs lying
around that could also have been used for fuel - unless of course the
wood was chemically treated and they might have been killed by the
release of toxic fumes. My partner noticed that at one stage a
policeman's vest had letters obscured and now read, simply, "ice".
Nice touch. Of course, "The Day After Tomorrow" IS a disaster movie
so doesn't count as "quality entertainment" but it's worth a look -
the special effects are amazing! - and it does carry a message, as
long as people choose to listen. Maybe some governments who have so
far resisted could warm to the idea of the Kyoto Accord?

Friday, June 04, 2004

Marriage Acts

There is a move within the Australian Government to change the
definition of marriage so it excludes all but men and women ie
same-sex marriages will not be an option. Overseas marriages of
same-sex couples will not be recognised here. But ... what of the
rest of the definition? Will they change that as well if and when it
suits the Government of the day? For example, under section 46 of the
Marriage Act, civil celebrants are required to explain the nature of
the relationship before solemnising a marriage with words to the
effect that marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a
man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered
into for life. Hmmm. For life. Imagine if they enforced that!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Standard rate of commission?

Have you been a victim of the Russian mafia? This is a question
Sydney's "The Daily Telegraph" asked 1 June (pg 13) in a story about
Westpac customers who had been duped into visiting bogus internet
pages and revealing their account, security numbers and passwords.
According to the report, the bank is about to start reimbursing an
unknown number of its customers several million dollars. The scam was
apparently engineered by the Russian mafia. So why are the Russians
targetting Australia? Who are the "mules" - "individuals recruited
with offers of a 10 per cent cut" of the action - who withdrew the
money from the halfway accounts where the victims' funds had been
transferred and forwarded it to Russia. And have any been caught?
And if not, how could anyone know what their cut was? Or is 10% the
standard rate of commission?

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


As I carefully sheilded my PIN entry from prying eyes at the automatic teller machine this morning, my partner quietly leaned over and informed me that she already knew what it was! "I do this all the time, not just because you're here," I explained, before launching into a PIN safety talk.
And talking about PIN safety - did you hear about the inflatible boy who took a pin to his inflatible school, and his inflatible headmaster told him "you've not only let me down, you've let yourself down and you've let the whole school down!" (Boom boom - as Basil Brush - and nephew Patrick who told us this joke - would say.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Look! Up in the sky ...

On the afternoon of Tuesday 8th June 2004, for the first time in over 120 years, Venus’s dark silhouette will pass across the face of the Sun in of astronomy’s rarest and most famous events: A Transit of Venus. For more info, click here.
Thanks to Lizzie for posting info on this on her blog.
If you're placed to see it - don't look directly at the sun! You'll do yourself a damage. And the transit has been responsible for enough:
The Transit Of 1769: James Cook - The most celebrated transit of Venus is that of June 1769, The voyage to observe the 1769 transit is especially significant to Australians for, after successfully completing the observations, Cook opened sealed orders from the Admiralty to search for the unknown southern continent. He did not find this mythical land, but did claim New Zealand and New South Wales for the British Crown.

Curious I am. Will there be SPAM?

Will GMail have effective spam filters? I ask that because I went in to have a look at my new GMail account this morning. Why would I do that when it's a new account and I haven't given the address to anyone yet? To see if it will go the way of my other accounts - spammed, spammed, spammed. Even the one account which I don't use on any newsgroups etc etc etc, is now being spammed - admittedly only once or twice a week - but it's still spam, and not at all welcome. As GMail places advertising based on message content, what will happen when the messages are for male member enhancement pills
procedures, or the other products that spam usually offers?
Oh ... If you're thinking about signing up for GMail if you get the chance - it seems you can only access your mail via their web page at the moment; you can't yet set up your email client to access it.

Mmmmm ...

Ready for another session of coffee making ... the cups are a gift (found at the Zoo) from my partner's brother Chris and wife Sandy.

The perfect cup of coffee

... has yet to emerge from the espresso machine I currently have on loan (thanks Sarah!). But I am trying. Some days it all seems like a bit of a production to make a cup of coffee - fill up the water reservoir of the machine, turn the power on to allow it to heat for 45 minutes before measuring out the coffee; then tamp it, insert the holder into its groove, turn to lock, put a cup under the spout to catch the coffee and then turn on the water - and then take cold milk from the fridge, put it in the frothing jug, put the jug under the steam arm, and then open the valve. And remember - steam is very hot and it will scald you if you break your concentration for a moment (like when you realise the coffee has filled the cup under the filter and is about to start overflowing!).
But the brew is getting better, especially as I am now using a new batch of coffee (Columbia - still full-flavoured, but mild) from the local coffee emporium, ground to the right consistency for the coffee machine. (And no, I was told, don't keep the coffee in the fridge - just an airtight container at room temperature will maintain it for a few weeks ... Oh, and 200gm is the smallest quantity you can buy at a time.)

Sunday, May 30, 2004


Well, I have taken the plunge and started a Gmail account, the new
Google initiative, via an offer through Blogger. Gmail offers
1gigabyte of storage, which seems to be funded by targetted
advertising. It will be an interesting exercise - and at least I
didn't have to buy an account off eBay. I read last week that some
people in the original testing could invite a friend to join, and they
were selling the invitations. Enterprising solutions (all round).

Saturday, May 29, 2004

The new Krispy Kreme Doughnut store in Sydney

... there have been queues so long that the colleagues who have ventured out for a doughnut have come back empty handed (d'oh). Posted by Hello

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Have you ever wondered why they're spelled "dough"nuts?
dough Noun
1) (food) a flour mixture stiff enough to knead or roll
2) (possession) informal terms for money
Synonyms: shekels; gelt; bread; dinero; lucre; loot; pelf; moolah; cabbage; kale. (SlovoEd 4.13 - dictionary for Palm)
Krispy Kreme (finally!) opened it's first store in the Central Business District in Sydney on Wednesday. The first customer was to receive a year's supply of doughnuts. As it was raining the night before the store's opened, chances are they were looking forward to a hot cup of coffee and a warm shower as well!)
My partner's boss dutifully joined the queue yesterday to buy a half dozen original glazed doughnuts - only to find they were selling for $1.90 each - or $11.40 for 6; he decided the 12 for $11 was a better deal.
What are the ethics of marketing, effectively, via bigger portions? There's a documentary just doing the rounds here ("Super Size Me") about a guy who, for a month, lived on McDonalds. I'm not sure whether this was before Maccas introduced their healthy menu items - or if he chose them if they were available - but the result is not something that's likely to have people eating there on a regular basis. It's also not likely to increase Maccas -or Krispy Kreme's -turnover unless they change their fare.
Krispy Kreme reported Tuesday that it lost $24.4 million in the first quarter, its first quarterly loss since going public in 2000.
Part of the loss was attributed to people deciding a more balanced lifestye (read: diet) is appropriate for them. Strategies to adopt to this changed and changing consumer environment include the company's doughnut shops selling a low-sugar doughnut, mini doughnuts and doughnut holes (!!!).
Scott Livengood, Chief Executive of the doughnut-maker said: "And we make our plans and do things in a, call it a worst case scenario. I think there is always a real possibility that people are going to decide a balanced lifestyle is appropriate for them ....
"But on the other hands we're not going to take anything for granted."

Thursday, May 27, 2004

We're "Orff"

Our Carmina Burina concert is almost upon us. The last 13 or so weeks of practising 3 hours on a Wednesday evening have paid off and we are about ready. Dress rehearsal is Friday evening, and the concerts are Saturday (evening) and Sunday (afternoon).
I am sitting in rehearsal as I write this - a bit tricky as I try not to miss the next Soprano entry. It looks like we're doing a run through ofthe whole piece - which means I'll know what little (hopefully) sections need independent revision.
But it will be good fun. I've sung this piece before and it's a bit like meeting up with an old friend after a long absence.
If you're near the Great Hall, Sydney Uni when we're due to perform, feel free to come along (with money for your ticket) and support the choir. Otherwise, how will you be able to tell your friends about the amazing tenor cooking swan solo?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Gift Idea

Looking for a gift idea? For her father's 80th, Suzanne assembled a "this is your life ... so far" photo album. It looked at all the key points in his life - using the roles he's play - baby, brother, husband, father, grandfather, fisherman, sailor, veteran ... to name a few. It's a great way to capture a glimpse of times past and it was a way of showing Bill how much of an influence he's had on those around him.

"Fahrenheit 9/11"

The New York Times today carried a story about the distribution rights for "Fahrenheit 9/11". After winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival, the film has distribution in every major international territory except the United States.
For those who haven't yet caught up with a review of Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary movie, you can read about it here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Hello world

This is to see if the world still exists on the day before "The Day After Tomorrow".

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Happy 80th Bill!

What an achievement - to reach 80! And Bill has done it. We celebrated yesterday with the family - with Chris and his wife Sandy coming from Hong Kong; Michael and his wife, Chau, and children, Louise and Patrick, coming from Kyogle; and June - and of course, Suzanne and I.

It was Bill's 80th birthday yesterday - and here's the family.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Back again

After some time away (it's been busy), I'm back.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Crew cut

What is the origin ofthe term? I did a quick net surf this morning in search of an answer. There was no definitive answer, but it was confirmed on some sights that anything is better than a mullet (cut) when it comes to grooming. The crew cut was made popular in post-World War II USA where returning serviceman decided to keep their low maintenance regulation service cuts except not quite as short. The term itself is attributed to rowers in the 1900s, as distinct from earlier rowers in earlier times (think Viking vessels). The rowers would cut their hair short so it would not intefere with their sport; it also distinguished them from footballers. Truly - this is what it said on the sites I found through a Google search on "origin term crew cut" and variations. I also found a site, attributed to a Coast Guard of some 30 years standing, which gave explanatioans for: cut and run; toe the line; and three sheets to the wind.


The world is an amazing place. And even more amazing when you realise that we see it all through our eyes (if we are sighted) - with pupils no larger than pinkie finger nails - and this is the basis on which we experience and assess the world. Yes, the other senses come into play but it's the eyes that have it.

Saturday, April 10, 2004


Easter is almost upon us - just a few more days. This year my partner and I have decided to go to an Easter Service. But which one. What flavour? Not being regular church-goers, the decision is not easy. But we have learnt a little from the Midnight Mass experience at Christmas - wherever we end up, we won't be sitting in the front row! lt's very hard to follow along if you can't see what the rest of the congregation is doing.
What a difference a moment makes - we have a decision. We have decided to go to the local church where a friend worships. Co-incidentally this is the Christmas one. ... and the first place to accommodate the fledgling Leichhardt Espesso Chorus many years ago. (LEC's next gig seems to involve Randwick Race Course and the AJC. I have no more details but they do have a web site which may provide information.)

Listening to music this evening - Mahler's Second, the Resurrection Symphony. Fantastic piece for Easter. And as I listened I tried to remember it from when I had sung it with the Sydney University Musical Society (SUMS) many years ago. It was my first concert with SUMS. Meredith, who worked at the same office as I, was a SUMS member of long standing. Knowing I had just started singing in a choir, she asked if I would be interested in singing at the Opera House. I would only have to meet the rehearsal requirements - 8 in total. I was hooked.
And I've been a member of SUMS mostly since then. Under the musical direction of the wonderful, talented Ben McPherson AOM (now Meredith's hubby and father of their children, Harry and Anna).
Next concert - last weekend in May at the Great Hall, Sydney University - Carmina Burana, with the SBS Youth Orchestra providing the tamtam (aka gong ... not to be confused with a chocolate-coated biscuit).

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Short thoughts

It's been a while between blogs but I'm not that concerned because there's plenty of other stuff to read on the web - unless you've reached the end of the internet in which case you've probably ingested enough digital data for a while.
I made an observation the other day. My partner notices things but I notice when things have changed. This could be because I'm lucky enough to be a Pisces or because I'm hyper-vigilant. But it's an interesting difference, especially as I've always wanted to be observant. (I'm not sure if noticing this difference means I am more observant because nothing has changed.)
How does international publishing work? Jeanette Winteson's "Lighthousekeeping" has been released in paperback in Australia but has not yet been released in England and won't be until May apparently. Who decides what books are released where? And when? And do the same decisions apply to ePublishing?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Daylight Savings

Could someone please just invent a time machine? No, not for jumping back and forwards through time - I have no interest in that - I just want something that will tell me what time it is. I know they've already invented clocks and watches - but they don't do me a jot of good come daylight savings.
I realise this isn't an issue for many people. They have no trouble with the concept of time. Not me. Ask my partner. She hates daylight savings more than I do. And it’s not just because I no longer know what time it is. I suffer lethagy akin to jetlag for the first two weeks and I get grouchy because my sleep patterns are thrown out. I resent the time spent changing the timer on the vcrs, televisions, 4 watches, microwave, stove clock, alarm clocks, camera, computer, PDA, the car, mobile phone etc - and knowing I'm going to have to change them all back again in a minute. I hate having to carry the newspaper with me from room to room to check the little picture of the clock showing which way the hands go.
And I hate that I don’t just "get it"? We go through the same thing every year. I cannot remember appliance to appliance which way time has moved, let alone from year to year. And it's been explained to me again and again, millions of times - and just when I think I have it, it’s gone. And I’m running out of people to ask. (You can only get someone to explain it to you so many times before they look at you oddly.)
And all for what? So we can go swimming after work? So it's still light when I try to go to sleep before 9pm? So I can spend the next month getting up in the dark? So I can send my partner mad by continually asking: if it's 7 o'clock here (when my mobile phone free time starts) what time is it in Queensland? And don’t even get me started on daylight savings in other countries and which goes which way. I’ve scheduled half a day on Monday to rework my time zone spreadsheet so I’ve got a fighting chance of not waking our South African colleagues at some more unthinkable hour!
It's not just daylight savings time that throws me. I never know whether a meeting is sooner or later if it's moved back or forward. Why can't people just say what they mean? It's earlier or it's later. Simple.
I know it's all a matter of interpretation. But that part of my brain is missing or just unable to deal with clocks with hands. I should have paid more attention to the rocket clock on Play School instead of worrying about what was through the window. If you wind back the hands of the clock, that makes it sooner. But if you put back a meeting, you're not doing that. Or are you?
And if I can’t get a time machine, I’ll settle for a digital revolution. Let’s do away with analog clocks. No more big hands and little hands. No more second hands. No more worrying about turning hands back or forwards on Sunday. Then maybe I could change over to daylight savings without being reminded, yet again, that I don’t “get” it and at this rate I never will. And it’s not as though people couldn’t still use their analogs. We’re nearly 40 years into decimal and people still talk inches and feet, pounds and ounces.
Or perhaps we could just abolish daylight savings. Flexitime anyone?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Bits and pieces (two weeks of ...)

A mystery punter made front page news (The Daily Telegraph 5/3/04) today by betting $1 million on a horse race. I can't imagine betting that much - I'm too cautious about losing my money - could just be that I don't have a spare million to use like that. I don't think I could even brrow that much but it would be fun telling the bank that you needed the loan to pony up for a race. As a friend of ours says "no bank will give you that" but she was referring to the return on investment if your horse comes in - which would definitely beat the approx 5% we're currently getting!
Update - Lonhro won. The punter, based in Hong Kong, collected $1,550,000 when the biggest bet on an Australian horse race in years paid off (The Daily Telegraph, 9/3/04, pg 1).

What's a billion
It appears that a billion is different, depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean you are on. In the US it's a 1 followed by 9 zeros; in the UK it's a 1 followed by 12 zeros. I'm not sure what it is in Australia. And if I'm thinking of it in terms of my own assets, it's going to be a couple of millenia before I actually have to worry about it.

Star gazing
And Zedna has been discovered ... the coldest most distant body to have been found orbiting the Sun ... a planetoid because it's not big enough to be a planet. And who knew that Pluto is a "questionable planet" - based on its size. But it was still big enough to be in the way of the astronomical society being able to see Zedna.

Soylent Green
Dubbo is today suffering from a plague of locusts - similar to several other communities along the Australian East Coast (according to the news report I have just finished watching). It's been a while since we had a locust plague - although I remember that we've had plagues of mice, and also of bogong moths. But, as some people would say, at least you can eat bogong moths. They are something of a delicacy. I'm not sure that I could bring myself to eat one - for pleasure. If it was a matter of life and death - maybe ... probably. And what would you eat if it was a matter of life and death? Would you eat people? (Soylent Green is people.) Could you eat people? And how would you quell the demons within (assuming some ethical dilemmas might surface after the event - or perhaps that would just be me)?

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Daze of confusion

I feel very happy for those people born on 29 February who got a "real" birthday again this year. We have two friends who finally turned 13 on Sunday - it's been a long time coming. But in rejoicing with them and on their behalf, I hadn't realised that the leap year would confusion.
We have a friend with a birthday on 3 March. I had done an SMS to send to her today but then, in a moment of self-doubt, I checked the calendar on Palm. The next mention of her birthday was 2005. Oh no! I had missed it! I checked the date on my watch - sure enough - it was the 4th of March. I checked the newspaper I had downloaded that morning (via the Avantgo website) ... it said 3rd March. But I was sure it was "new" news when I looked at it this morning. My partner, sitting on the bus next to me, assured me it was the 3rd. But how? Then it struck me ... leap year was not recognised by my digitial watch. When it should have moved to the 29th of February, it moved to 1 March. The only thing I can't work out now is why it took me four days to notice.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

At the Hard Rock (oops, car wash) cafe

We have friends arriving from interstate today and I have decided to employ outside contractors to wash the car. I am sitting at Citiwash Hand Carwash waiting for my station wagon to have their SuperWash treatment. From the sign, it appears the only thing they don't do in the SuperWash is polish fingernails. And if I'd been here between 6am and 8am, they would have thrown in a free coffee and raisan toast (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I had for breakfast at my favourite cafe!).
The car wash is situated on a major arterial road and it is also under the flight path so there is loads to look at. There is also another Hand Car Wash over the road. It is billed as "Sydney's Best" but I don't know if that's their name or claim. In any case, they don't seem to be as busy as this establishment.
I wonder if I should have told them about the huge spider that slipped into the car last night as we waited at the McDonald's drive-thru. I would like to say that it wasn't me who screamed but, alas, it was. My partner thought something dreadful had happened. Of course, she hadn't seen the spider scurry within cms of my hand and go behind the dash. Each time I get into the car now I expect it to be sitting on the steering wheel, daring me to get in. Hopefully the car wash (they're doing inside too) will encourage it to move on. Probably my greatest fear is not that it will be on the steering well, but that it will remain somewhere warm and cosy in the interior of the car, and that "it" will be a she, and will lay and hatch thousands of offspring in REY the wondercar. Then all of them will be sitting on the steering wheel, and the driver's seat, and all the passenger seats ...

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Reality shows ... unreal!

"The Resort" is on the television at the moment. Peter "needs to be liked". Bec is currently with Aaron. Aaron is a former AFL footballer. Prachi is a doctor turned ... something - I didn't read the super fast enough. Bec says she can be "too trusting". Usually you don't have to read so much on reality television - it's more about voyeurism - and wondering if anyone will ever actually use the paintbrushes they are holding. Too much talking …
There have only been two reality shows that I've allowed myself to get sucked in to. "Big Brother" was one; the other was "Survivor", as won by Richard, the man who seemed to be forever stripping. Richard has made another appearance in "Survivor AllStars" with the familiar blur over his "misters" (apologies Friends)
I'm not quite sure what "The Resort" is about but it's dollars to doughnuts there's a cash prize there somewhere.
Who comes up with the ideas for these shows? What sells a reality show? … and this is about 12 people locked in a house, and we film them 24 hours a day, and it's cheap/inexpensive programming. Can they call it reality television, though, given it doesn't bear much resemblence to real life? We know that the raw footage must be edited to within an inch of itself as the producers try to "tell a story" with only people's real faults, foibles, traits and talents … and twenty-four hours of footage a day to choose from.
And what of documentaries? Are they the original reality shows? And if they are, why can I watch hours of reality television - and go to sleep the second a documentary comes on?
More "The Resort": Erik chaperones promo girls (whatever that means). Amanda walks away from arguments. Another one "cries when working with idiots". Don't we all.
And this would be me walking toward the television to turn it off - or to at least to change the channel. I want to experience a different reality.
I want to think about being a super hero. There used to be an animated cartoon show - I think it was Milton the Monster - and Milton would dress up and be "Super Ghoul" (ain't he cool, looking nice and neat in his polka dot vest, his purple cape and his ballet shoes and his yellow SG on his chest .... ooh, ooh, ooh, Super Ghoul ... etc.) If you could be a super hero, who would you be? What special talents would you bring to the world? Would you use your powers for good - or for evil (knowing you would have to give up the super "hero" title if you went the latter route). I think I would be ... Reality Television Person (ta da). My mission would be to boldly go where no ... Prachi knows she's irritating and arrogant.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Six degrees of separation

Studies are done from time to time to ascertain how far removed we are from each other. In recent years, this has been done through email. But you don't need to wait to be included in a separation study. You can do one now. How many steps are you from the American President? The Australian Prime Minister? The Australian Opposition Leader? I can have a go at the last one (... Kate, Suzie, Vivian, Mark Latham) because I can do 4 degrees of separation - with the others I suspect it would be considerably more!

Kitchen cupboards

Claudine at work asked me today if I had done anything exciting over the weekend. For once I could say yes without any hesitation. After almost a year in the planning, I re-organised the kitchen cupboards. Don't scoff. This is a major achievement. And it's a good job. All the benchtops are clear and all the appliances are away but absolutely accessible. What can I say - it's a masterpiece ... bringing together much of the organisational knowledge I have gleaned over the years. I'd post pictures but I haven't finished the drying up after dinner.