From the ‘Donkey/No-Donkey’ Department

From an email I sent to a designer last week…

“In reponse to your request, text can be made to blink on and off on a web page by use of the ‘blink’ tag, however we strongly recommend against this for the following reasons,

  1. It is only supported by Netscape and Gecko based browsers, which means users of Internet Explorer (currently about 75% of users) will not see any effect from it.
  2. Workarounds to make text blink in Internet Explorer are extremely complicated and time consuming.
  3. The blink tag is not part of the W3C HTML standard and therefore there is no guarantee that it will continue to work in new versions of browsers – even those that currently support it.
  4. Blinking text is incredibly irritating to visitors, particularly when more than two or three words are set to blink.
  5. It is the most hated and derided tag in the entire HTML language (as a Google search on ‘blink tag HTML’ will confirm) and any designer using it opens themselves up to unlimited ridicule.

That said, if the client insists we will put blinking text in – on the understanding that most people visiting the site will be unable to see it, and most of those who can see it will be annoyed by it.”

He decided against using blinking text πŸ™‚

Parker (Posey) Doesn’t Love Me (no kidding?)

I’ve been appallingly slack haven’t I?

Over a week since my last entry, shocking. But to be fair I’ve been extremely busy. I could write about what I’ve been doing, but that’s too much work right now, so I’ll just write about a particularly weird dream I had last night – because that’s always fun, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

OK, I was back in high school, about year nine which would make it 1990. Now I was me from 1990 physically, but I was me from 2004 mentally. So I knew all about the future. Cool hey?

Now the logical thing to do in that kind of situation is to go down to the local TAB and put some bets on – however being only 14 (and not being able to remember the outcome of any sporting events of the last fifteen years anyway) that wasn’t an option. So I decided to do the only sensible thing and start a band.

And not just any band, naturally it had to be a band made up of all my friends. I can’t remember exactly which friends were involved, and who did what, although I do have a vague impression of Justin on drums, and Fabian on piano. In any case I was (of course) the lead guitarist and vocalist. I can’t remember if we had a name either – but I like to imagine we called ourselves ‘Lord High Chamberlain and his Archbishops of Funk’ – because that would be a way cool name for a band (and I’d get to call myself ‘Lord High Chamberlain’ and talk in an affected British accent too :).

Anyway the thing that really made our band stand out was not that we were absolute crap – apparently travel backwards through time not only grants one incredible musical talent but allows one to bestow similar talents on anyone one wishes. No, what made us stand out was that (in order to assure our success) I decided that we’d only play hit songs from the future! Well, hit songs from the future and some Dire Straits. You know, just to be cool πŸ™‚

Anyway, we were so good that I convinced the school to hire us for the social (instead of the usual lame DJ). Naturally this was to be our greatest triumph, so I spent a good deal of time selecting our playlist. I woke up before we actually got to play, but I do remember some of the set I prepared, and hence shall reveal it to the world.

I decided we’d better make a big impression up front. After all many of us were geeks and hence despised by the school community, many of whom wouldn’t have heard just how good we were. So for our first song I selected Are you gonna be my Girl? by Jet. The driving yet funky guitar riff would pull the audience right in – no one can resist a beat like that. To follow that up (after a quick “I am Lord High Chamberlain and these are the Archbishops of Funk!” just so everyone would be clear on just who we were) the obvious choice was Growing on Me by the Darkness. This should really get the place pumping and give me a chance to show of my suddenly remarkable vocal range.

Things got a bit hazy after that. I know that Hey-Ya by Outkast was definitely in there somewhere (even though it would require us to develop a chorus of jockeys). But the really weird one was Paco Doesn’t Love Me by the Spazzys.

Now, I quite like the Spazzys. Sure, they’re a complete rip off of the Ramones – but they’re a good rip off of the Ramones. What’s more they admit that they’re a rip off of the Ramones, and one of the few remaining Ramones (they keep dying of cancer so there aren’t that many left) is aware of them and likes them, so that’s OK. So there’s nothing weird about adding one of their songs to this imaginary playlist. But what is weird is that I wasn’t content to perform it as written (well, that would involve standing up in front of the entire school and singing about how I have a ‘killer crush’ on an ‘Italian fiend’, so maybe there was some kind of method in my madness) and instead rewrote it as Parker Doesn’t Love Me – an ode to alternative cinema’s Parker Posey.

No, I don’t get it either.

Sad to say I cannot remember any of the words of my rewrite – except that “I wanna see your band I wanna make you understand that I wanna hold your hand” became “I wanna hold your hand, wanna make you understand that I wanna be your man”, because I wasn’t sure if she was in a band or not – but it must have been something pretty damn special because when I woke up I was all excited about my new found skill in composition. For about a minute or so anyway, then I woke up properly and thought “WHA..!?” – you know, like you do in these situations.

So, there you go. My dream-self has a thing for Parker Posey, and the Spazzys. And for talking in an affected British accent while singing the songs of Justin Hawkins. All I can say is thank sanity I have to wake up properly in the mornings before going in to work πŸ™‚

Vote Early and Often!

That’s right boys and girls, the Federal Election carnival has rolled into town! Get out there and vote today, because if you don’t the Government will hunt you down like a dog! Hooray for compulsory voting! Hooray!

Yes, it’s election day. Will John Howard and his evil minions retain power in the halls of Canberra, or will they be ousted by Mark Latham and his evil minions? Only time (and every bleedin’ media outlet for the next week) will tell!

I got up early and voted as soon as I could. The polls open at 8:00am and there’s one right around the corner at Mercy Hospital, so I was there at 8:05. This isn’t down to some kind of earnest political zeal on my part, it just means you can get it over with quickly and don’t have to queue. Straight in, straight out. It also means you avoid harasment from the various parasites (candidates, campaigners, ‘how-to-vote’ card hander-outers etc.) who acrete around polling stations as the day wears on. It’s 8:30 in the morning and my democratic franchise is well and truly exercised, meaning I can get on and do other things instead.

As for the parties involved this year, the comments I made the last time we went through this ringmarole are still fairly valid. The Liberal/National Coalition are as conservative, bigoted and pseudo-fascist as ever, and have opened a new line in bald-faced lies concerning the war in Iraq and international terrorism (Australia is the third member of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ by the way, we just don’t get as much publicity as the US and UK – thank God). Labour have managed to slightly reinvent themselves thanks to their new leader Mark Latham – they actually seem slightly different to the Coalition for the first time in over a decade. The Democrats on the other hand have totally self-destructed. In the last election they were close to being a real alternative party – lots of candidates, a good deal of respect and interest from the electorate and a real chance of wielding some effective power in the Senate. Thanks to a very nasty leadership struggle (which deposed Natasha Stott Despoja) and a number of frankly ridiculous alcohol related incidents in the House their political star has well and truly fallen. They were getting 10% of the vote in some seats last time, but voters have abandoned them in droves and the polls indicate they’ll be lucky to get 2% this time.

The Greens on the other hand have a good chance of getting somewhere. They seem to have absorbed a lot of disaffected Democrat voters, and while they aren’t as strong as the Democrats were they’re getting to the point where they might weild a bit of influence. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is no longer Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party having dumped Pauline Hanson in a series of vicious and incomprehensible internal struggles (try to make a bunch of rednecks, conservatives, racists and petty neighbourhood dictators toe a party line – good luck!). They’re now just One Nation, and if anything are even worse. The Natural Law party seem to have dropped below the radar, but in the nutcase stakes have been replaced by the much more worrying Family First.

Almost all of the many Family First candidates (including their leader) are Pastors in the same ultra-conservative pentecostal church – however they deny any connection between their policies and their church whatsoever. Nonetheless in the last week they’ve encouraged their supporters to monitor and catalogue ‘strongholds of Satan’ in their neighbourhoods (their handy list includes bottle shops, mosques, and Hindu and Buddhist Temples) and have said that lesbians should be burnt at the stake. Well thought out and rational policy making there I’m sure we’ll all agree!

So, how did I vote? Well my general policy for the Lower House over the last few years (quick reminder – in Australia you don’t just choose one party/candidate, you number them all in descending order of preference) has been…

  1. Democrats – They used to be good!
  2. Greens – I agree with most of their policies, and the ones that I don’t agree with don’t matter because they’ll never have enough power to implement them
  3. Anyone else who seems to have some decent policies
  4. Anyone I don’t know too much about and who seems fairly harmless
  5. Labour – They’re slightly better than the Coalition
  6. Liberal/National Coalition – Getting towards the bottom of the barrel here
  7. Fascists, psychopaths and other dangerous lunatics (One Nation, Family First, etc)

In the Senate I’ve voted basically the same, although inversing the Greens and Democrats, since the Greens have a better chance to do some good there.

This year however I’ve decided that getting rid of the Coalition is the most important thing. I won’t disclose exactly how I voted – but Labour (the only party big enough to take down the Coalition) have got a much better ranking from me. Oh, and the Democrats have done a bit worse, since they’re just plain hopeless now.

So yeah, that’s election 2004. I have a horrible sinking feeling the Coalition is going to win. Again πŸ™


OK, I haven’t had time to write anything in a while, and I don’t have time to write much tonight, but as a Geek I could hardly let this pass. Congratulations to Bert Rutan and Scaled Composites! I mean we all knew they were going to win, but it’s still one hell of an achievement none the less πŸ™‚

(What the heck am I talking about? Google it for crying out loud!)

Oh, and while we’re here Girl Anachronism by the Dresden Dolls is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.

Update in a few days! I promise! Probably!

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