Sunday, December 25, 2005

Road tripping

I'm flying to Melbourne with my sister tomorrow so we can steal the car of this bloke we know and drive it back up here through towns starting with all the letters of the alphabet (except for X - we can't find one...)

Toodle-oo for the moment, then. I hope Christmas Day was kind to you.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Some things change

There are lots of things I don't miss about the Christmases of my childhood. And if I had to choose the thing I don't miss the most ("don't miss the most"??), there's a clear winner: the annual being-late-for-church fiasco.

Every year the Christmas service was held in the neighbouring parish church, not our local one, so the place was always full of strangers, and lots of them. And it seems to me now that for one reason or another my family was always late to get there. Every year. Every year. This would have been fine if we'd been allowed to skulk around in the foyer, or lean against the back wall, or hang around outside on the step, waiting for the whole thing to be over. But no, we were not that sort of family. We had to be seated. On chairs. In the church.

By the time we latecomers arrived, the congregation would already be seated on long pews, line by line by line down each side of the central aisle and all facing the front, where the minister would be standing in the pulpit, launching into his sermon. The five of us (our parents, my two sisters and I) would tiptoe into the foyer and hover, hoping to see somewhere to sit.

And maybe there were times when we were able to squish in next to others in the pews, but I can't remember this, because one particular year stands out in such horror that the memory of it now obliterates all the rest. This was the year the only place to sit was at the front of the church, to the side of the pulpit, next to the organist - in other words, in front of the entire congregation. We had to walk right down the aisle - the longest aisle in the universe - and the way I remember it, Dad or some of the elders had to scrounge around in an adjacent back room to find some chairs. While they did this, the rest of us huddled in a human knot out in the middle of the carpet, praying for a miracle (such as immediate self-combustion). When the chairs had been found and lined up against the wall, we had to sit there, in front of everybody else, watching the minister (maybe), or staring at the floor (more likely) or trying to hide in a hymn book (even more likely). Did I mention this was in front of everybody else?

And it was bad enough just sitting there in full view, but standing up to sing hymns was worse. Unlike the people in the pews, we had no back-of-the-pew-in-front to lean on or hide behind, no surrounding people for camouflage, no surrounding voices for strength in numbers - it was just us, standing in a row, backs to the wall. In front of everybody else.


Shyness makes you self-obsessed, I realise this now. It's quite likely that nobody in that congregation was watching us. It's also quite likely that we wouldn't have looked so strange or stupid anyway. We were just a family, sitting on chairs, doing the church thing. But in my mind, in my experience, in my memory: it was a Christmas nightmare. And here for me is the good part: I will never ever have to repeat that nightmare again.

Some bad things end.

Merry Christmas, Reader, and bless you, whether you do the Christmas thing or not. Let's hope for peace and joy.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Reason to believe

And with this, the old man, who was hardly more than a heap of bones, ended his story. There in the hut, his words made the loneliness and fear each of them felt, less lonely, less fearsome. Not because reason to fear was lifted magically from them, for it was not, but because the story provided them with strength.

There they sat, the old man and the old woman, on that evening of the holiday time. He revealed to her that it was near the time of Chanukah, the time of year he and his loved ones normally gave
gelt, small gifts of coins. And she told him it was somewhere near Christmas, a time of year during which her people also exchanged gifts. And they smiled sadly, for both their traditions required gifts and there they were with absolutely nothing to give anyone. They sat in silence, until suddenly these words leapt out of the old woman's heart.

"I know. I will give you the gift of the sky above us."

And she could see that something swept through his heart, for he closed his eyes for a long moment, inhaled deeply, then opened his eyes again, and looked directly at her. He replied, "I am honored to receive your gift to me." And the old woman expected him to say no more.

Then all of a sudden he spoke again. "And... and I give you in return, the gift of these stars overhead."

"Also I am honored," she said. And they sat on in mutual heartache, a deepening joy, and contemplation.

Words rushed again into her mouth, from where she did not know. "And I return the favor to you, for I will give you the... the gift of the moon this night."

He remained silent for a long, long time. He was searching the sky for something else to give, but there was nothing left, for they had given everything that could be seen in the night sky. So they sat in utter quiet.

At last the words came to him. "Ah, I see it now. I return your kindness by giving you the story that I have just told. Keep it safe. Carry it out of these woods in great health."

And they nodded, for they knew that a strong story, perhaps more than anything else, could light the dark fields and forests that lay ahead for each.

In that hut, on that night, in that wood, they dared to recall their pasts; times of laughter, candlelight, steaming food, friendly faces, arms about their shoulders, the music of fiddles, the dancing and rosy-faced children. They drew on the warmth of the gifts given, certain for that time at least, and perhaps forever, that there was reason to believe in the ultimate goodness of humans.

Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, The Gift of Story: A Wise Tale About What is Enough (New York: Ballantine Books, 1993) ISBN: 0345388356, pp20-22.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Buena Vista Social Club

Just noticed in the TV guide, SBS is re-running Buena Vista Social Club at 10pm tonight. I haven't seen it, but expect it's seriously groovy:
From acclaimed director, Wim Wenders, comes this extraordinary documentary about a group of Cuban musicians known as Los Superablos or, The Super Grandfathers. In 1996, Ry Cooder gathered together some of the greatest names in the history of Cuban music to collaborate on what became the best selling and Grammy winning album, Buena Vista Social Club. Inspired by these colourful characters and their extraordinary music, Wenders' film follows the musicians from Havana to Amsterdam and finally to Carnegie Hall in New York.

Looking ahead

The end of the year always feels big to me, like it's more important than the rest of the year. I don't like this feeling - it feels like pressure - but I don't seem able to talk myself out of it, either. So. Pressure.

Mainly it's about account-keeping, looking back over the past year, wondering what I've done, and looking forward to the next year, wondering what I should be doing next. For years now it's felt like I've been wasting my time, and sad to say, not without reason. I have been wasting my time. Not deliberately, or not by design, I just seem incapable of living properly at the moment. Damn it. I don't want to get too expansive about the whole thing, it'd just be depressing, but suffice it to say that looking back over this year doesn't fill my heart with delirious joy.

Still, no point in moping about it, is there? Ordinarily I would, of course, just not today :) I need something to look forward to, something that might act as a small step towards a new sort of life, and with this in mind I've been looking into distance education. Just one or two units, to see how it goes. I haven't found anything overwhelmingly interesting yet, but maybe that's more about my state of mind, rather than the units offered. (And just by the way, I went traipsing through many websites the other day - looking at TAFEs, Open Universities Australia, and universities - to see what's available for external students. One of the sites, for the University of Adelaide, is impressive for a rather remarkable reason. Most others give information for prospective undergraduate, postgraduate and international students, but the mighty U of A site gives information for a whole range of people, including... wait for it... Temporary Protection Visa Holders ie. refugees. I nearly cried when I saw that. God bless 'em.)

Anyway, I might kind of, maybe, possibly be telling you about this prospective study adventure so that I'll be less inclined to squirm out of actually taking action and enrolling in something. I'm throwing my hat over the wall, in other words: Next Year I Am Going To Enrol In Something. It will be done. I hope. And when I stop hoping, I will think of this post and go ahead and do it anyway.



Sunday, December 18, 2005

Stormy weather

There was quite a storm here this afternoon, but I only saw the edges of it. I was driving back from Coolangatta (just over the Queensland border; had to run my Dad up there and bring his ute back) and dark clouds had been building up in the distance the whole way back. By the time I was only about 15 minutes from home, hail started falling. Not stopping to think, I turned off the normal road into a smaller one which is covered by trees much of the way, thinking I could park under one of them if the hail got really heavy. Five minutes along this road I realised the stupidity of this decision: driving under trees while there is lightning around is not clever, and nor is taking the long way home in a storm, on a road I'm unfamiliar with - a narrow winding lane with crumbling edges. When the rain got too heavy I pulled off the road and just sat there with the hazard lights flashing. I didn't think to take a photo until the storm had nearly gone:

Soon I was continuing along my merry way, but was stopped by a tree which had fallen across the road. I tried to lug the thing off by myself and couldn't do it, but two other vehicles and their 6 people arrived, and many hands make light work. Away I went again, but then there was another fallen tree and this one was leaning against power lines, so there was no alternative: I had to turn around and go back to the original road again.

Twenty minutes later I was nearly home, but again the road was blocked by a fallen tree. More reversing, another road, and then when I was just about on home soil, I met some very familiar-looking cows and calves trotting along. They live in the paddock next to the house here, so I rounded them up, put them back in the paddock, and finally drove in to the house. And the place looked rather different. The shed out the back had moved. Half of it was standing on its side:

The whole shed had been pushed over onto its back wall where it then split in two. I'm glad I wasn't here to hear it - all that tearing metal would have been scary. The poor dogs nearly went berserk when they saw me.

The power is back on again now, which means the water is back on again too (relying on an electric pump), which means the essentials of life have been restored: a cup of tea and a shower. Ahhh...

And the air is now cool, and the moon is now beautiful, and I always hated that shed :)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Skippy's little cousin

I saw a wallaby yesterday, the first time I've ever seen a live one in this district up close. Mowing between lines of coffee trees, I swung around from the end of a row and looked over to the paddock next door, and there it was: a Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) I think, though I'm not sure about that.

Illustration by Neville W. Cayley, Australian National Botanic Gardens.

It was bounding/leaping/springing** away, but when it got to the shelter of some long grass it stopped moving and sat up to look at me. And on the still-roaring mower, I sat up to look at it. One of us should have waved.

**If English has a good word to describe the way wallabies and kangaroos move, I can't think what it is. It needs to have a bounce-factor in it somehow, like a "boing-boing-boing" kind of thing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 2,301 - 2,400

Here we are, then: The End! (unless the second half of the v2.0 ever appears). Obviously this whole survey has been an extremely popular interlude, judging by the number of questions answered by you, El Slacko Reader. It now gives me great pleasure to answer every single one of the last hundred, just to spite you. Yar har har :)

From The 5000 Question Survey v2.0 part 47 and part 48:

Who is the hottest celebrity you can think of?
Groundskeeper Willie: "There's nary an animal alive that can outrun a greased Scotsman!"

2302. Have you ever been to the following diaries (on If yes, what do you think? If no, then based on the name, does it sound interesting to you?
A tinfoil valentine:
Burning River:

- No. I don't much like the sound of any of them.

2303. Do you ever get so nervous that you can't even think?
- Yes.

2304. Do you sing when there is no music?
- Yes.

2305. Would you rather cast a spell or say a prayer?
- Cast a spell. I often say prayers, but it's no fun.

2306. Why does the US dollar bill have a pyramid on it?
- Don't know, don't care.

2307. Who was the best political leader in history and why?
- Don't know.

2308. What was the first sex toy you ever used?
- Don't use them, and it's none of your business.

2309. If you hated a book, would you burn it?
- No, and anybody who would should have to follow the book into the fire.

2310. What are your feelings about pornography?
- I feel like there's something ugly about it.

2311. What are your feelings about people who are against pornography?
- It would depend on what they're opposing and why.

2312. If you could dance with anyone in the world right now, who would it be and what song would you dance to?
- Not saying, but I wouldn't care what the song was.

2313. What is your favourite flavour of schnapps?
- Never tasted any.

2314. Finish this sentence your own way. There are two types of people in the world...
- ... the live ones and the dead ones.

2315. What have you saved since elementary [primary] school?
- Some books, report cards, art and craft things, a school photo.

2316. Have you ever won an award?
- School & uni things. Nothing substantial.

2317. Are you more:
good or evil? - good
wise or foolish? - both
safe or dangerous? - safe
satisfied or envious? - both
honest or deceitful? - honest
faithful or perfidious? - faithful (and I had to look up "perfidious" in the dictionary)
sane or mad? - sane
strong or weak? - both
enigmatic or plain? - plain
aggressive or peaceful? - peaceful
brave or timid? - timid
humane or cruel? - humane
critical or appreciative? - both
temperamental or calm? - both
sad or happy? - both
normal or unusual? - both

2318. How do you feel about Terri Schiavo?
- I don't.

2319. Do you feel more connected to the sun or the moon?
- Moon.

2320. Do flaws make people interesting to you?
- Yes.

2321. Who is your favourite historical figure?
- Don't have one.

2322. White bread or wheat bread?
- Any type except the one with the wholegrains that stick in my teeth.

2323. Would you rather never have sex again or have sex once with a walrus?
- Errr, what?? (Where would I find a walrus anyway?) Never have sex again.

2324. Would you rather sky dive or deep sea dive?
- Sky dive.

2325. What is the kinkiest thing you've ever done?
- I'm not really a kinky kind of gal. I'm still recovering from the walrus question.

2326. What is your favourite pick-up line?
- Pick-up lines are stupid. Just talk, for God's sake.

2327. Do you usually do things fast or right?
- Right.

2328. What will be the most common Halloween costume be this year?
- Don't know, don't care. And what the hell are they doing in Australia now anyway?

2329. What was it last year?
- See above.

2330. Is love a choice or something that can't be helped?
- In my vast experience (and that is a joke) lurve is something you can't help, but love is a choice.

2331. What is your preferred method of birth control?
- That'd be a matter between me and the lucky fellow.

2332. Is there someone you see everyday (or sometimes) that you would like to hug and talk to but you just don't know them well enough?
- Apart from my Dad, who works here, most days the only people I see (if I see them at all) are the neighbours, so... how should I put this?... God no!

2333. Are you or have you ever been in a band?
- No, damn it.

2334. Here are 4 statements about me. Only one of them is true. Which one is it?
a. I lost my mind doing drugs.
b. I've been arrested before.
c. I have 9 cats.
d. I have a children's book published.

- One of the above.

2335. What do you think of the Smashing Pumpkins?
- Can remember the name, but not what they sound like.

2336. Would you wear a thong bathing suit in public?
- No, and the public would be grateful.

2337. Hello I love you won't you tell me your name?
- I hope you're singing that.

2338. If you had to be surgically attached at the hip for two years to either Britney Spears, George W. Bush or an ugly creepy troublesome but nice troll, who would you pick and why?
- The troll; the lives of the other two would be too hard to handle.

2339. Let's assume that there is a "meaning of life", a reason for humans to be here on this planet. Would you give up both of your legs and one of your arms if it would mean everyone else would learn the meaning of life?
- No way. Bugger 'em.

2340. If you could meet God and talk to him/her for 5 hours OR find out whether there is intelligent life on other planets and make contact with them, which would you pick and why? (Note: If you meet God, you will never find out if there is intelligent life on other planets, so you can't ask God if aliens exist. Also, you would get no proof that you had talked to him or her. And finally, if God doesn't exist then you don't get to meet him or her!)
- Five hours with God. It'd be groovy.

2341. Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, or the Breakfast Club?
- Haven't seen the films, but I used to like the song, The Psychedelic Furs' "Pretty in Pink".

2342. Before you read this question, pick a person from your life, any person. (You have to be thinking about someone before you continue!) Would you rather have the ability to watch that person for one hour per day, or would you rather have that person watch you for one hour per day? Who is it and why? (You pick the hour - they don't know that they are being watched - it's like there are invisible TV cameras following them around.)
- Not saying who it is, and I'd rather watch him (and would be horrified if he was watching me) but the ethics of spying would make me feel queasy, and I'd probably have to stop after... oh, a week? Two? :) (One hour per day, though?? He'd want to be doing something pretty damn interesting.)

2343. Would you rather be guaranteed to have your dream job or never be heartbroken?
- Dream job.

2344. Have you thought about death today?
- Yes.

2345. What is your favourite breakfast?
- Croissants, late and leisurely.

2346. What is your favourite classic movie?
- Probably not strictly "classic", but either When Harry Met Sally (1989) or The Blues Brothers (1980). And I've only seen This is Spinal Tap (1984) once, but it looked like an instant classic.

2347. Gold or silver eyeshadow?
- Neither.

2348. Are you the life of the party?
- No.

2349. Do you wish you were?
- No.

2350. Sdrawkcab daer uoy nac?
- Ylwols.

2351. If you realized that a student at your school or a colleague from your job has plagiarized part of their work from the Internet, what would you do?
- I'd probably let them know I know, hoping they'd stop doing it, but otherwise nothing, unless it was for something where the results were very important, or for a group project involving my own work too, and then I'd make a fuss.

2352. What does your computer look like when you aren't looking at it?
- Probably the same as when I am looking at it.

2353. If you aren't looking at it, how do you know it's still there when your back is turned?
- I can hear the damn thing buzzing.

2354. If you hit an animal with your car, would you get out to try and make sure it was okay?
- Theoretically yes. But once I hit an echidna and couldn't stop because there was a line of cars behind and nowhere to get off the road. I turned around when I could, but when I got back it was gone. And another time I was driving other people and we were running late, and I hit a bird, and didn't stop at all.

2355. If it was someone's cat (collared with address) would you knock on their door and appologize for hitting the cat?
- Yes.

2356. How do you feel about the people who are teased in high school suing the bullies who teased them for emotional damage?
- I'm not in favour of suing anyone for anything unless it's really necessary.

2357. Do you have an interest in any of the following:
Marilyn Manson:
trench coats:
the Mafia:
that Doom game:

- No.

2358. Do you believe that people live in their own worlds/realities or do you think we all share the same one?
- There are so many misunderstandings just in normal conversation, it can't be possible we all share the same reality.

2359. Do you believe that Nazism was a characteristically German thing, or do you think a similar type of government could spring up in any country?
- I don't know much about it, but assume it could happen anywhere.

2360. Is your diary in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine (
- Don't have a diary, but this blog isn't there, no.

2361. When do you get your most peaceful and satisfying sleep?
- When I'm tired.

2362. What thought gets you out of bed in the morning?
- The constant nagging screech in my head going, "Get up! Get up!"

2363. Do you get along better with guys or girls (as friends)?
- Either. Or neither. (Maybe I don't get along with anybody.)

2364. What does tx81z stand for?
- No idea.

2365. How many points is the letter Z worth in Scrabble?
- Don't know.

2366. In poker, which hand is better: four of a kind or a straight?
- Don't know.

2367. What is the official language of Australia?
- What the hell??

2368. On what continent would you find British Columbia?
- Gee... Just can't think... Probably one of those big ones. (Wonder what language they speak there, then? Probably one of those weird foreign languages, yeah?)

2369. Have you been to
- No.

2370. What promise could you never keep?
- I wouldn't make one if I could never keep it.

2371. No cat has 8 tails. Every cat has one tail more than no cat. How many tails does every cat have?
- One?

2372. What are you a member of?
- Nothing much.

2373. If you and your mate were stranded at sea on a scuba diving trip like in the movie Open Water, how would you survive?
- Haven't heard of Open Water, but if I had a mate and we were stranded at sea and we were starving, if he got the least bit annoying, I would kill and eat him.

2374. Do you feel confident that you would know what to do under emergency circumstances?
- Not confident, no, but hopeful: I've got a copy of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook and if I just looked at it more often, I could be invincible.

2375. Have you ever been stood up?
- No.

2376. Use a simile to describe yourself.
- Can't think of one.

2377. Good. Now use a metaphor.
- Ditto.

2378. Have you ever had an unusual piercing?
- No.

2379. Have you ever experienced culture shock?
- Yes, and I did a post about it the other day.

2380. Imagine you were trapped in one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. Who would you call and what would you say to them in those last few minutes?
- My parents, and the conversation would stay between us, as all of those conversations should have been allowed to do.

2381. Do you ever go to school or work when you feel like you do not look your best?
- God Almighty. Yes.

2382. Does doing this affect your whole day?
- No. I'm used to it.

2383. What was the last movie you watched and what did you learn from it?
- Donnie Darko. I learned that if a jet engine drops through my roof, life is about to change rather drastically.

2384. Do you believe that everyone who doesn't believe in your religion is going to hell?
- Shit yeah! ;)

2385. What is the best thing about winter?
- It'll be back next year.

2386. Do you ever shovel your neighbour's walk?
- No, because that would scare her (considering it never snows here).

2387. How often do you hold back from saying what you are thinking?
- Quite often.

2388. Have you ever looked back at someone you loved and wondered "what attracted me to THEM?"
- No.

2389. What do you think of Drew Barrymore?
- I don't.

2390. Name one thing you refuse to ever do.
- No.

2391. Name one place you refuse to ever go.
- Back to my high school years.

2392. Do you think people see you more as who you are or what you are?
- No idea.

2393. Pick 3 random letters:
- pqz
Now think of the first 3 things that pop into your head that start with each letter.

2394. Do you dress more revealing or more to cover up?
- To cover up.

2395. What does it take to be a "real gentleman"?
- Respect for the people you're with, and being honourable.

2396. Where would you go if you were going somewhere you don't usually go?
- Huh?

2397. On the first Sept 11th anniversary, the New York Lottery's winning numbers were 9, 1 and 1. Do you believe this is fate, coincidence or a conspiracy/plan?
- I don't believe that it's true.

2398. Have you ever noticed that there is a lie in the middle of the word believe?
- Not until now.

2399. When (and if) people (or animals) go to heaven, do they become angels?
- I wouldn't think so, no. I don't believe in heaven or angels.

2400. What is your most important body part?
- They all work together as a team, so it would be inviting discord to nominate just one.


Phew! All that scrolling gets annoying. Full marks if you made it right through.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Keep it simple (and send us to hell)

Yesterday's trouble in Cronulla and other suburbs of Sydney is being portrayed as a "race riot", but was it? I've read the articles in the Sydney Morning Herald (and so far that's all I know about it) and there were references to many other factors, I think the most important of which is the ongoing antagonism between and towards gangs in Sydney. According to Paul Sheehan:
... what started the Cronulla tensions was yet another provocation by the aggressive, repugnant Lebanese gangsta culture - itself an alien subculture within the Lebanese community - which has given Sydney dozens of shootings and murders, a spate of gang rapes, hundreds of sexual assaults, and thousands of deliberate racist provocations at Darling Harbour, the eastern and southern beaches and some of the big clubs in western Sydney, along with Canterbury Bulldogs rugby league matches.
But the point isn't that these hoodlums are "Lebanese" - the point is that they're stupid brainless thugs. And the same could be said of the organisers or instigators of the violence yesterday: the point isn't that they're white Australians, the point is they were attacking innocent people in the street (including police and ambulance officers). In other words, they're stupid brainless thugs too. As Stepan Kerkyasharian (chairman of the Community Relations Commission and the president of the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW) said:
What happened in Cronulla was an attempt at organised and premeditated mob violence. There's no other way to describe it.
The Australian way of life they claim to uphold includes the tradition of civil obedience and support for the lawful institutions of this land. Thugs terrorising beachgoers are not the product of multiculturalism, just as vigilantes are not the product of Australian heritage.
Never mind that other factors like alcohol, mob hysteria, unspecified anger looking for a focus, and media attention might have had some guilt in yesterday's proceedings. No, "race" is more obvious. It's easier to understand. It's not complex, it's simple: it's us versus them.

And thanks to the way this story is being handled (Shock! Horror! The Race Issue!) every racist crackpot across the country finally has what their shivering hearts always wanted: those hopeless fuckwits arrested for the violence on Sunday will become martyrs to their cause. Members of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups were there in the crowd at Cronulla, and as we saw years ago with the Pauline Hanson phenomenon, racist fear and hatred lies lurking amongst us, just waiting for the least excuse to jump up and make trouble. Sunday's riot was more than "the least excuse". The fight probably hasn't even started yet.

Skimming the 5,000: 2,201 - 2,300

This is the penultimate survey (I'm saying that for J's benefit - I know you just LOVE the word "penultimate" now, dearest).

From The 5000 Question Survey v2.0 part 45 and part 46:

2219. Would you rather visit the dessert or the rainforest?
2225. Do you treat people differently based on their appearance?
2257. Have your gods and idols let you down?
2261. What do you waste?
2289. What's a word people should use more often?

2219. The dessert, specifically Lemon Meringue Pie Land.
2225. Yes. I don't mean to and shouldn't, but do.
2257. Yes. Bastards one and all.
2261. Time, paper, water, teabags, space, opportunities, and my life.
2289. Two words: "thank you".

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 2,001 - 2,200

From The 5000 Question Survey v2.0 part 41 to part 44:

2028. Are you scared of monsters?
2103. Who do you have no respect for?
2122. What do you find thrilling?

2028. Only the scary ones.
2103. Liars.

2122. Strong winds. But only for a while; they get irritating pretty quickly.

PS. This survey seems to run out after question No. 2,400, so if you're planning to answer any, get your skates on.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Culture shock

I just read about someone burning a CD, and at first I thought it meant in a fire.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,901 - 2,000

From The 5000 Question Survey v2.0 part 39 and part 40:

1902. What takes your breath away?
1997. What is your favourite classic rock song?

1902. I was doing some introductory lessons in HTML a few days ago, and every time I changed something in the text/HTML file and then saw the result in the browser (and I mean very basic beginner's stuff - making a phrase into a heading, for instance) I heard these strange air-intake noises coming from my mouth. It probably indicates cause for concern: it seems I find the wonders of HTML literally breathtaking.
1997. Ohhh... this was so much fun :)

According to the wikipeople, the category "classic rock era" is a bit fuzzy and was first applied (retrospectively) by radio stations. Consequently and just because I can, let's limit the field to all tracks of a biggish rock sound released between 1967 and 1977 (though some of these tracks might be stretching the concept of "rock"). If I had to pick just one:

- Derek & The Dominos: "Layla"

But I'd rather throw a few more in, so in no particular order:

- Pink Floyd: "Wish You Were Here"
- Van Morrison: "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)" and "Crazy Love"
- Thin Lizzy: "The Boys Are Back in Town"
- Roxy Music: "Love Is The Drug"
- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: "Our House"
- Steve Miller Band: "The Joker" and "Jungle Love"
- Queen: "We Are The Champions", "We Will Rock You", and "Somebody To Love"
- Elton John: "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)", "The Bitch Is Back" and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Stormy weather

FINALLY! After a few days of really hot weather, an afternoon storm...

... and don't those cows look terrified :)

Then a lovely sky to finish the day:

I'm testing a small file size for these pics. Please let me know if (a) they look fuzzy, or (b) the page takes too long to load when I post photos.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,801 - 1,900

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 37 and part 38:

1838. What will you never ever do again?
1843. What are you dependent on?
1855. Are you enjoying this thrilling luscious roller coaster ride of a life as much as I am?

1838. Get my hair permed. It made me look like a sheep (and not a cute one).
1843. Tea and habits.
1855. Probably not, no. Is anybody? Seriously, are there people who really do approach their life in this manner, as if it's a "thrilling luscious roller coaster ride"? I find it hard to believe. I always think people who say things like that are just pretending, and it makes me want to hit them.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


If you can't see the sky where you are, here's what mine looks like today:

Skimming the 5,000: 1,701 - 1,800

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 35 and part 36:

1765. What is one of your pet peeves?
1771. Should people who are living now be obligated to do things that will make the world better for people who will live 100 years from now?
1778. Would you rather time travel to the future or the past?

1765. The no-capitalisation style of writing. It makes me want to KILL people. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I could just keep writing "I hate it" forever and still not be able to convey to you how much I HATE it.
1771. This is a really interesting question, and I can't work out an answer. First I was thinking, Yes, we ARE obligated. But that means I'd have to think former generations were obligated to us, and no, I don't. They had to live their lives the best way they could then, not be thinking ahead to a world they'd never see and probably couldn't imagine. On the other hand, the world isn't ours (we humans) to destroy, either, and so that has to be a consideration in the things we do. I think we have an obligation to think beyond ourselves - to other species, to landforms, to weather patterns, and to future humans - but if for some reason it came down to a showdown between our obligation to the future, and our obligation to the present, and we could only honour one and not the other, I think I'd have to go with the present. But on the other hand... (I don't know, in other words.)
1778. Maybe the experience of time travel would be so amazing it wouldn't matter which "direction" you went, it'd be enough just that you were moving. And besides that, maybe the concept of direction (forwards or backwards in time, as though time is a straight line) wouldn't be relevant anyway. But answering the question: the future.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,601 - 1,700

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 33 and part 34:

1620. What is your speciality?
1623. Ideally, how far would you like to live from your nearest neighbour?
1656. What is one thing someone can say which would make you look down on them?

1620. Pancakes.
1623. Depends who it was, but 1 kilometre seems like a good distance.

1656. Youse (an Australian slang plural form of you). It makes me think the person is an idiot, and I hate the sound of it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,401 - 1,600

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 Part 29 through to Part 32:

1525. If you were underground for 5 years what would you miss the most?
1583. What would you like to have 435 of (anything but money)?
1591. What is the last law you broke?

1525. Fresh air.
1583. Music CDs.
1591. I don't even know. It would have been something trivial and remarkably dull, sorry. (Don't get up, I'll boo myself.)

NaNoWriMo: The End

So I didn't make the 50,000. Hell, I didn't make the 10,000.
Nevertheless and however, NaNoWriMo is a great idea and a great event, and bless all those legends who finished. You're an inspiration.


From an email by NNWM's Chris Baty to all participants:

[This year] We had a record-setting number of participants (59,000), a blockbusting number of winners (9,700) and an impressive number of mornings when we woke up to find the site hadn't imploded or otherwise misplaced portions of itself (27).

NaNo-ers also donated enough money to cover this year's bills and next year's launch, and at least $8,000 for the project, Libraries in Laos:

By the time sign-ups for the next NaNoWriMo begin, there will be four or five new book-filled spaces spread throughout the country; places where Laotian kids can go to discover the magic of reading.

'Twas a very good year, thanks to NaNoWriMo staff and volunteers.