Alive and Well in Switzerland

I have arrived alive and well in Switzerland and in the last 48 hours have not only suffered oxygen deprivation on top of the Jungfraujoch, but carried a CPAP machine across what feels like half the Alps. It is quite a thing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and have a snow clad mountain peering through the window at you.

Because nothing ever runs smoothly for me, my phone is refusing to connect to the local networks, which will prove a problem if it continues to the UK. Also, while I carefully noted down Helen and Ali’s mobile numbers, I somehow neglected to write down their email addresses, so I’m kind of flying blind communication wise. Ah well, it’ll work out in the end.

I’ll see if I can upload some photos to my Flickr account, although it’ll be a while before I can annotate them.

Cunning, Flesh-Covered Androids

We have now entered the media blackout period for Saturday’s Federal election. Praise the lord for small mercies. If I had to watch another ad with Malcolm Turnbull droning …jobs. and. growth. jobs. and. growth… or Bill Shorten trying to convince us he’s not some sort of cunning, flesh-covered android I may well have gone spare.

It currently looks like the Libs will get back in, probably with a reduced minority. Not the ideal situation, but as long as they don’t get control of the Senate it won’t be a complete disaster. God alone knows what’s going to happen up there, what with the new Senate voting rules and the ever increasing numbers of insane micro-parties – let alone the fact that the double dissolution has put all the Senate seats up for grabs. Interesting times my friends, interesting times. Get your monkey paws ready.

I am currently in the last stages of preparation for my trip to the UK. Airbnb has decided that I am a human being rather than some sort of cunning, flesh-covered android which means I have organised some places to stay and will not have to sleep under a series of canal bridges. This, combined with getting enough stuff completed at work before I leave means I have not had time to do much else, hence the lack of updates.

I have started to develop the ability to recognise New Zealand postcodes. I’m not sure if this is for good or ill.

A Windmill full of Corpses

Spent much of the weekend down in Busselton at Ryan and Jackie’s place, along with Fabes who was kind enough to drive us both down there and back. Rather than appreciating the natural wonders and relaxing pace of the southwest, we spent all our time indoors playing games. Well, that’s the people we are, what are you gonna do?

The big hit of the weekend was Cards Against Humanity. I’ve been wanting to get a copy for ages and Paula was kind enough to give me one for my birthday, so we tried it out. The results were appalling, which is exactly what they should be. Good taste (and the fear of being raided by the Federal Police) prevent me from repeating the best combinations we came up with, but I can share a few of the slightly less offensive ones that had us in hysterics…

“When I was tripping on acid, an endless stream of diarrhea turned into the cool refreshing taste of Pepsi!”

“Bad life choices + a robust mongoloid = my sex life”

“Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors, and here is a windmill full of corpses”

Such fun! We also learnt about Aaron Burr, object permanence and the three fifths compromise, so you can’t say it’s not educational!

Changing course entirely, here’s an unreleased KLF track I stumbled across the other day. It’s from 1989, was the basis for Last Train to Trancentral and Wichita Lineman was a Song I Once Heard, and is awesome! So everyone, Go to Sleep.

Melbourne – Part 1

I’ve been promising to write up what went down in Melbourne for weeks, so I’m going to damn well do it! So there! 😉

OK, first of all, the reason for the company pulling up sticks and relocating to the east coast for the weekend. One of our websites was nominated in the Australian Web Industry Association Australian Web Awards. This is the first time any of our sites have reached such lofty heights, so Dale coughed up the money for us to head over to the awards ceremony, being held at Luna Park on the evening of Saturday October 6th.

(Spoiler: We didn’t win. Boo! Hooray! Boo! Hooray! Call me when you’re finished).

While Dale did cough up money for the trip, he didn’t cough up a whole lot of it, so we ended up catching a red eye flight on an economy airline, scheduled to take off at 11:00pm on Thursday night. Due to various delays and incompetence the plane didn’t actually take off until 1:30, at which point we’d been standing around in the departure lounge for well over an hour. To make matters worse, bad planning on my part (combined with the burger I’d had at lunch not sitting too well) resulted in my having to pay $14 for a bottle of water and a ham sandwich. Bloody airports.

Anyway, we eventually boarded the plane – having to walk out across the tarmac like chumps to do so. Honestly, what is this? The middle ages?

The flight was about as comfortable as one would expect. That is to say, not very. I was able to snatch a few scattered hours of sleep, which was apparently more than the rest of my colleagues managed. We touched down at Tullamarine about 6:30, and fortuitously grabbed a maxi-taxi right outside the airport doors.

This (eventually) delivered us to the general vicinity of Hotel Tolarno. Happily all our rooms were ready, and Cleyton and I lucked out by getting the largest of the three. Dale and Janina were almost dead on their feet and immediately disappeared, while Cleyton, Bruce, Daniel and I wandered outside in search of sustenance. The hum of the city waking up in the morning sunlight was enhanced by a Paul-Kellyesque smell of burning leaves, which turned out to be a rubbish bin someone had set on fire. Welcome to St Kilda!

We located food in a bakery across the street (I indulged in one of those gigantor sized Red Bulls and a quiche), then retired to Daniel and Bruce’s room where we sat around mocking breakfast TV and shrieking theatrically every time they replayed a shot of Tony Abbot’s lycra-clad crotch (honestly, it was about every three minutes).

After a while Daniel and Bruce both started passing out, so Cleyton and I left them to get some sleep. Cleyton got his laptop up and running on the hotel’s wifi, and I set off on confront Melbourne’s tram network on a trip to the Coatman.

Happily I’d done my research and after picking up a Myki card at one of the dozen or so 7/11’s scattered along Fitzroy street found tram transport no challenge at all. I arrived in Glen Huntly just before 9:20 – and discovered that the Coatman doesn’t open until 10:00.

Derp.

I spent the next forty minutes wandering up and down Glen Huntly road, taking photographs of anything that looked even mildly interesting. Eventually the Coatman opened, and with very little fuss I was assisted in locating a very fine coat, which cost me only $125. I caught the tram back to St Kilda, feeling quite chuffed with myself, then went for a wander – mostly to check out a rather impressive church spire I’d spotted on my way down.

After some architectural appreciation I headed back to the hotel. Cleyton was asleep so I did some quiet reading, which soon evolved into some sleeping of my own. We were woken about midday by Dale who was getting everyone together to go have lunch and do some business planning so the day wouldn’t be a complete write off work-wise (he rather nicely said that I could be excused so I could go and buy my coat. The fact that I’d already done so and had time to come back and get some sleep seemed to genuinely shock him). We ended up at the Italian restaurant just across the street where I had a very nice chicken and vegetable soup, and loads of garlic bread.

Business out of the way, Bruce, Daniel, Cleyton and I caught a tram into the city and went for a stroll along the Yarra. We ended up at Federation Square where some kind of concert to save the Kimberly was being set up (I later learned that the John Butler Trio and Claire Bowditch were performing – I should have hung around). We then headed into the city proper and, rather suspiciously, kept running into places particularly suited to Daniel’s interests (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the Apple Store, a games shop with an entire floor devoted to Ninetendo…). We eventually ended up at Minotaur, where I quickly realised that there was absolutely no middle ground – I could either buy stuff, and end up spending hundreds of dollars, or buy nothing at all. I reluctantly bought nothing at all.

By this point it was getting towards evening. Bruce was meeting up with some mates he hadn’t seen in ages, and wanted to get back to the hotel to get cleaned up first, so we caught the tram back. Cleyton got back online and I got back to my reading. Eventually Daniel came knocking and the three of us headed out into Saint Kilda to find somewhere to eat.

This wasn’t easy. We found plenty of places, but none seemed to appeal. We followed  Fitzroy street down to the bay, then continued along the Esplanade and eventually all the way down to the end of Acland Street. Eventually – sick of walking and quite hungry – we ended up at a little cafe about midway along Acland, and had quite an adequate meal before getting a tram back to the hotel at about 11:30.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Voice

Back from Melbourne.

I’ll make a more detailed post when I’ve had some sleep, but in the meantime I’m happy to report that I was witness to this on Saturday…

In fact, I’m probably visible in the background of that clip, although I was on the far side of the road, and thus you’d need a Bladerunner level of enhancement to pick me out.

Oh, and I did make it down to the Coatman and got a kickarse new coat for only $125. Brutal!

Right, getting some sleep now…

Melbourne Bound

For reasons I am not at liberty to discuss, I’ll be flying out on Thursday night to spend the weekend in Melbourne with my workmates. Oh hooray.

I should probably explain myself. Those who either know me, or read this blog regularly, will be well aware that I am an Aspie, and a severe introvert. I go to work, and do my job in order to have money to pay the bills, but when I walk out of the office doors on Friday afternoon I don’t want to have anything to do with the place until Monday morning. This isn’t because I dislike my job (any more than anyone does anyway) or my co-workers, but because being around people drains me, mentally and emotionally. The weekend is when I recharge by either spending time on my own, or by interacting with other people strictly on my own terms.

Spending the weekend in a hotel room with my colleagues – not to mention having to attend an industry event – is not going to provide the opportunity I need to recharge. By the end of the following week I shall most likely go somewhat mad, or at least become quite emotionally erratic. But hey, whatever.

On the plus side I shall have most Saturday free in Melbourne to do things with. I’m not sure exactly what at this point. The Royal Exhibition Building is a possibility and maybe the Queen Victoria Markets. I was also planning to buy a new coat as my old one is starting to look distinctly ratty, but the coat place I was looking at turns out to be run by Jews, so that’s no good.

(No – I haven’t turned into some lunatic racist. It’s simply that the coat place is closed on Saturdays for Shabbat.)

What else is there to do in Melbourne? Walk the route of the Grand Prix through Albert Park? Wander up and down Carlisle Street trying to spot John Safran? I dunno…

Anyway, that’s how I’m going to be spending next weekend. Whether I like it or not.

For Reference Purposes

Behold the God Machines of the Omnissiah!

The battle against rickettsiae continues. I’m still sick, but not quite as sick as I was yesterday. However I’ve completely run out of tissues so it feels just as bad as yesterday. Sigh.

In any case I’ve spent my time today cancelling reservations and preparing to contact my travel insurance company to beg for money. To calm myself down from this I’ve also just spent a few hours researching 40k Titans and seeing what I could figure out about the vexatious issue of scale. So I can find these easily in future, I thought I’d put them here.

So here is height and scale data for Imperial Titans (as far as I’m concerned :))

Imperial Knight Titan (Rarely mentioned these days)
Tabletop: 15 cm / 5.9 inches
Real Scale: 9m /29.5 feet

Warhound Titan
Tabletop: 25 cm / 9.8 inches
Real Scale: 15m / 49.2 feet

Reaver Titan
Tabletop: 40 cm / 15.75 inches
Real Scale: 24m / 78.7 feet

Warlord Titan
Tabletop: 60 cm / 23.6 inches
Real Scale: 36m / 118 feet

Emperor Titan
Tabletop: 90 cm / 35.4 inches
Real Scale: 54m / 177 feet

It would be nice for the Emperor Titan to be bigger (one of my calculations suggested 180 metres, which would require a tabletop model 3 metres tall!), but around 54 metres seems to be the most reasonable figure.

Hope that helps someone out, if only me 🙂

You Can Dance if You Want To

We built this city on Rock and Roll…

Thanks for the concern everyone. I’m feeling a bit better now – mentally if not physically – and can start to think about what went wrong without wanting to curl up and die.

On the physical side I’m sick as a dog, so it’s probably best that I got of the ship when I did – I’d rather be sick as a dog at home than in the middle of the Tasman sea. There’s at least the chance that I’ve caught a mild case of typhus off a tick that attacked my leg, but I’m off to see the doctor today who’ll presumably give me a firm diagnosis and some pills to fix it.

As a final note, if I can pull myself together enough to get the plugin installed I intend to take the Wyrmlog dark tomorrow as part of the worldwide SOPA/PIPA protest. So if you come to visit and there’s nothing here, don’t panic. It’ll all be back to normal soon enough.

On another subject, may I present this?

Oh, ok then, no 😉