Three Down, Five or so To Go

Musings on hitting the big three-oh

Well, there we go, I’m now 30 and officially old. I guess I have to be all mature now and buy life insurance or write a novel or travel the world in search of Googlewhacks or something. I should probably also develop a heavy load of existential angst over my now lost youth, but frankly I suffer from so much existential angst on a daily basis that any more would just be lost as background noise. At least I’ve started carrying a wallet*Rebecca has been at me for years about how I walk around with all my cards and large quantities of twenty and fifty dollar bills stuffed into my pockets and then pull them all out and look at them whenever I have to pay for anything. She seems to think it makes me more likely to be mugged. So I’ve knocked together an RFID blocking Duct Tape Wallet to hold all my uncommonly used cards and heavy cash reserves, and now just walk around with a few twenties in my pockets instead..

I suppose I really should have spent yesterday (the last day of my 20’s) racing around in fast cars, getting riotously drunk and cavorting with beautiful and exotic women. But I had to work. So I’ll have to put that off until my mid-life crisis. I did get to eat some cake though, and should get to eat some more today, so things aren’t all that bleak – apart from from a weight loss perspective.

And when you think about it, 30 only seems like a significant number because we count in base ten. If we counted in binary (or hexidecimal for that matter) 32 would probably be the big birthday and I’d have another two years of youthful irresponsibility to look forwards to. Maybe that’s what I’ll do, maintain that I’m counting in hexidecimal for the next few years (then when I hit 32 switch to vigesimal or something). That’s the secret to never getting old – keep changing the measuring stick πŸ™‚

In other news white supremacist Jack van Tongaran (I’m possibly spelling his name wrong, but can’t be bothered trying to find out what the correct version is) is missing and the police are concerned for his safety. One is tempted to say good riddance. If someone who (allegedly) firebombs chinese restaurants wants to top themselves I’m rather inclined to let them go ahead and do it. Mind you, one of his other associates is missing as well, so it’s entirely likely they’ve just decided to break bail (allegedly) and gone on the run (allegedly). No doubt they’ll turn up sooner or later, probably with arms full of “Asians Out or Racial War!” posters (allegedly). Idiots.

Better do some work now.

PS: Did I mention the other day that Wonderfalls has a theme song written and performed by Andy Partridge of the Partridge Family? Well, it does – which only makes the show even more surreal πŸ™‚

Breeding Ignorance and Feeding Radiation

General rantings about TV and 13th Century Goths

You know, there really is some pestilential television on at the moment. Take for instance Channel Nine’s new offering for Sunday evenings – a show named Clever. It isn’t. Its general format seems to be getting two teams of C-List celebrities together, presenting them with ‘zany’ science experiments – the majority of which have already been done on Mythbusters and Braniac – and then getting them to answer a multiple choice question on the outcome. The first episode (which I watched most of last week before getting fed up and changing to David Attenborough over on the ABC) featured walking on a pool full of custard, putting light globes in a microwave oven, melting styrofoam with acetone (cutting edge science there guys!) and blowing up a caravan to see if mobile phones can cause fires at petrol stations. I mean blowing up a caravan! That’s Braniac‘s signature “experiment”! Now I’m no great fan of Braniac (give me Mythbusters – a show that doesn’t treat its audience like hyperactive 8 year olds – any day) but I’d rather watch 20 Braniac episodes in a row than even ten more minutes of Clever.

Nine has also thrown together a similarly monsterous travesty for Tuesday nights called Magda’s Funny Bits. My best guess at the concept for this show is that they had a whole load of left over content purchased from the States for Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show*Maybe you think Australia actually produces an hour’s worth of “funny” home videos each and every week – maybe you’re a fool. and episodes three to twelve of the The World’s Funniest Adds and couldn’t think of any way to use them. So someone suggested stringing them together into a clip show and getting some minor celebrity (Magda Szubanski as it turns out) to do “funny stuff” in between. Well, I suppose it’s cheaper than spending money on anything good.

That said I suppose there has been some pretty good stuff on the last few months, so maybe I’ve just been spoiled. Smallville for instance, which is becoming more and more incoherent with each episode. We got ten or so episodes of Gilmore Girls and the second (and sadly final, because it got axed dagnabit!) season of Carnivale. The ABC finally finished its complete run of Doctor Who with the incomparable Sylvester McCoy – leaving me with nothing to do at 6:00pm for the first time since (I think) 2003. And I discovered a very weird but rather endearing series called Wonderfalls which Nine were using (along with Celebrity Golf Challenge) as filler on Saturday afternoons.

Wonderfalls (which only lasted one season thanks to unfair comparisons with Joan of Arcadia) is about an extremely cynical Generation Y-er by the name of Jaye who despite (or possibly because of) coming from a highly sucessful family and getting an excellent education prefers to live in a trailer park and work (badly I might add*Quick! What movie?!) in a gift shop at Niagra Falls. Which all seems to be working out fairly well for her until previously inanimate objects start coming to life (when no-one’s looking of course) and spouting instructions at her. Like a wax lion telling her not to give a dissatisfied customer their money back, or pink lawn flamingos telling her to “get off your ass”. Naturally she tries to ignore them at first, but by a few episodes in is following their prompts almost without thinking because things usually seem to work out for the best that way – eventually at least.

It’s a very odd show. It seems to have had problems deciding exactly where it was going or what audience it was trying to appeal to, but the writing is pretty sharp and Caroline Dhavernas’s acting as Jaye kinda makes the whole thing work (she has the same talent for expressions of incredulous horror as Linda Cardellini in Freaks and Geeks). So it’s a shame it wasn’t picked up for a second season. It’s also a shame Nine seem to have given up on it after about five episodes – no sign of it for the last two weeks – so I may have to resort to finding it on DVD at some point. In the meantime I’ll just disconcert passers by by muttering “What ARE you!? The COW of PAIN?!?” under my breath and cackling.

Here’s two completely unrelated interesting facts I stumbled across recently. The music of the choral piece Oh Fortuna*Probably better known to many in this illiterate age as Excaliber was composed in 1937 (in Nazi Germany of all places), but the words are from a collection of bards’ songs dating from the 13th century. Now is that majorly cool or what? Six hundred odd years between the music and the lyrics! And what lyrics! Translate them from the Latin and they’re all about how fate is cruel and fickle and cuts people down like puppets – I had no idea there were Goths in the 13th Century!*Well obviously there were Goths, I mean Goths, not Goths. All clear?

The second interesting fact is that Rock, Paper, Scissors was invented in ancient China and there is no record of it existing in Europe until the early 19th century (when it was presumably brought back by sailors and merchants). Can you imagine living in a world without Rock, Paper, Scissors? It’s unthinkable! How could people ever decide on anything?

In other news I turn 30 this week. Oh good lord. I should be doing something highly important and significant with the last week of my 20’s, but I can’t think of anything – apart from doing the dishes that is. So I suppose I’d better go do that now…

More Spiders

Continuing sleep deprivation and scandalous accusations against Faraday

Well here I am in at work early again. I gave up trying to sleep at about 4:30am and decided I might as well come in and set up that custom 404 error page I’ve been working on for a while. Try it out, it’s a riot!

(Note: My sleep deprived state is probably making me think it’s far funnier than it actually is)

(Another Note: Just in case you were wondering a 404 error page is what comes up when you try and access a page that isn’t there. So type something creative onto the end of the URL and watch the results.)

My continuing sleep deprivation is down to the fact that last night was horribly hot and humid – even sticking my fan right next to the bed didn’t do anything except move the hot air around. On top of that there was an alarm of some sort that kept going off somewhere close by at unpredictable intervals, and my left big toe kept getting this weird itchy pain all night. It’s still doing it now as a matter of fact, although since I’m not trying to sleep at the moment it’s a minor irritartion at most. It’s probably gout from all that high living.

I could write something here about the AWB scandal couldn’t I? Without getting too far into the details Australia’s monopoly wheat exporter (The Australian Wheat Board) has spent the last decade or so paying bribes to Saddam Hussein under the aegis of the UN Oil for Food program. This (understandably) has pissed off quite a few people, and there’s now an enquiry going on. Exactly how much good it’s going to do is debatable, as the Government (for no conceivable reason except to cover it’s own lying arse) has just banned civil servants from testifying before it. Wooo democracy!

The big problem from the Government’s perspective is that up until 1999 the AWB was Government run (before being spun off into a private company). On top of this the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is supposed to keep an eye on what said private company is doing. So the department iss either complacent in the bribery, or completely incompetant. With the track record of the Howard Government, either option is entirely likely.

I’d like to imagine that this might finally take down the Government. Unfortunately the next election is a few years away, and when it finally arrives all they have to do is yell “Interest Rates!” or “Terrorists!” or “Illegal Immigrants Defiling the Our Sacred National Borders and Throwing Children into the Sea!” and the average sheep-like Australian voter will forget all about it and vote how they’re told. *sigh* Democracy is a fine idea, apart from the bit about letting just any idiot vote.

Spiders! Spiders under my skin!!

And so, once again the turn of the seasons brings us to the dreaded 14th, and it’s time for me to pr…

And so, once again the turn of the seasons brings us to the dreaded 14th, and it’s time for me to prove just how much I do actually care by making my yearly “I don’t care” entry. Amazing how time flies isn’t it?

I’ve come in early to work for three reasons. One – to avoid the heat. Two – To catch up on some work I didn’t get to do yesterday because I took the day off with a cold *A cold on a day when it was 36 degrees Celcius. Lots of fun believe me.. Three – to avoid as much of the Valentines hoo-haa as possible. Not that it’s likely to make my day particularly worse – I feel like death already from lack of sleep and lingering cold effects, so hearts and roses everywhere aren’t going to have much of an effect.

(This isn’t particularly riviting is it? Like I said, I feel like death)

Part of the reason for my feelings of imminent mortality is that I haven’t been sleeping terribly well of late. My friendly local pharmacist – concerned by my massive consumption of pseudoephidrine based antihistimines – has convinced me to go onto non-pseudoephidrine based antihistimines by process of removing all the the pseudoephidrine based antihistimines from the shelves while making up some story about packaging changes (yeah, right). The new 24 hour ones I’m trying seem to work OK (although they start failing in the evenings with the result that I start coughing like I have consumption about 8:00pm), but I just can’t seem to get to sleep anymore. My theory is that I’ve been using pseudoephidrine (may cause drowsiness) for so long that my body relies on the stuff to put me to sleep at night. With these new non-drowsy ones I have to fall asleep naturally and my body has no idea how to do it. Oh well, I figure it’ll learn eventually – either that or I’ll start hallucinating spiders crawling under my skin and die. Whichever happens first.

Went out to dinner at the Red Orchid with Dom and Rebecca on Sunday night, which was fun. It was warm enough to eat outside, thus avoiding the usual cacophany – although everyone else seemed to have the same idea, so there wasn’t very much cacophany to avoid. The food was excellent as usual, although they did their usual trick of disguising chunks of chilli to look like chunks of capsicum, which I really have to remember to watch out for next time – almost choking to death can really spoil an evening. We headed up to the Regal afterwards for ice cream, and invented a new form of breakfast food (patent pending so I’d better not publish the details) so all in all a pretty good night.

Hmmm I saw a latin motto on a schoolbag the other day. It read Dominae Dirigis Nos. I like to think this means “The Lord is not an Airship” – even though I know full well it doesn’t. This got me thinking about dodgy Latin translations a bit, and led me to come up with “The Parrots are everwhere!” for In Omnia Paratus, “I drank, I filmed, I collaborated” for Vini, Vidi, Vici and “U2 are good” for Pro Bono. *Sigh* – it’s sad what I find amusing sometimes :).

I’d better do some work now I guess.

Suddenly it all makes sense…

Latest news from the relationship front line.

From the Australian Associated Press…

Aussies booziest daters in world: survey
Wednesday Feb 8 00:02 AEDT

Australians are among the booziest daters in the world and least likely to say intelligence turns them on, an international survey has found.

Eighty per cent of Australian men and 70 per cent of women admitted to drinking too much to try to impress possible partners, according to the annual “Romance Report” by publisher Harlequin…

…It also found Aussies, 100 of whom were included in the survey, were the least likely to nominate intelligence as their top turn on.

No Aussie men and only 10 per cent of their female counterparts thought intelligence was more important than physical appearance, a sense of humour and confidence…

Right. So I’m a non-drinker who likes smart women. No wonder I’m single.

The Soldiering Life

Spam gets really creative.

Well golly gee! I’ve been drafted!

Mr. [Purple Wyrm],

You are being drafted for service in the United States Military by direction of President George W. Bush under authority contained in the Draft Reinstatement Act, signed by the 109th Congress on November 23, 2005. You are ordered to report to the Perth, WA Recruitment Center within three (3) days and begin basic training.

Go to the following website for more information and to begin your registration.

[address deleted for obvious reasons]

This email is a direct order from the United States Military Corp. Any attempts to delete it will result in your immediate prosecution.

Gylle T. Spark
Lieutenant General
U.S Military Corps.

Now I realise that most of our governmental policy comes from Washington these days, but I wasn’t aware that things had got to the point of letting the US Armed Forces have their pick of our citizens. Well I suppose there’s no point fighting it, so as soon as I can actually find out where the local recruitment office is I’d better turn myself in (either that or flee to Canada, eh?).

It could be worse. I’ve got a perforated eardrum, so that’ll excuse me from frontline duties. And if things get too onerous I can always try for a Section Eight. I don’t know if I’d go as far as to wear a dress, but I could certainly claim to be a worshiper of the Great Shabu. Yes, I think I’ll go out and stock up on druidic robes at the first opportunity. The Age of Shabu begins!

(PS: Suffice to say I deleted the email. So if you never hear anything more from me Lieutenant Spark has probably hauled me to off to Guantanamo Bay).

Assorted Stupidity

Idiocy in Denmark, the Middle East, and here at home. Also dragons.

Well how about that, Here Comes Your Man is about the bombing of Nagasaki. Suddenly all that talk about shaking boxcars, lands falling down and big stones makes sense. Even the title is a dead give away. Well, you learn something new every day.

Yes, I’m back. I woke up this morning with an urge to write – and there’s certainly enough stupid things going on it the world at the moment to write about.

For example the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. Some people would say that in the current political climate it was stupid to publish them. I don’t know about that. A bit foolish perhaps not to anticipate the reaction, but not stupid. Some people would also say that it’s stupid for (some) Muslims to get so upset over a bunch of drawings in a newspaper. I don’t know about that either, after all it’s a religious issue and religion is something religious people (surprise surprise) tend to consider highly important. What I do think is idiotic however is the way the newspapers are making it worse.

More and more newspapers all over Europe are republishing the cartoons in the name of “defending free speech” – even a few in New Zealand have joined in. Now that really is stupid. Republishing the cartoons achieves nothing useful (except perhaps sell papers, oh dear you don’t suppose that’s why they’re doing it do you?) and pours more fuel onto the already merrily burning fire. Free speech is one thing (one very important thing), but using it in such a way to provoke a section of society is another entirely. Yes, under free speech newspapers should be free to publish a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. But that doesn’t mean that they should. And if they do choose to do so then they should accept the consequences of their action (ie: a million or so angry Muslims) rather than holding up ‘free speech’ as some kind of get out of jail free card. Their attitude seems to be one of “You can’t be mad with us! It’s free speech!”. This is a defence of the same dubiosity as “You can’t blame me! I was just following orders!”. If the papers want to publish things that will make people very very mad, then they should accept responsibility for what those very very mad people then do (like cancelling trade deals for instance). Full stop.

Also fairly stupid is the Prime Minister of Denmark, refusing to issue an apology. I quote – “The government refuses to apologise because the government does not control the media or a newspaper outlet; that would be in violation of the freedom of speech”. Now I actually agree with him on this. But he could still have issued an apology. A polite statement along the lines of “I’m sorry that you’ve been offended by this, we should all work together to understand each other better” shows concern without backing down over the free speech issue. Something like that could well have worked wonders to defuse the situation before it reached these levels of insanity. Now they’re burning down embassies. Well done!

Anyway in other stupid news, the State Government here in Western Australia has decided to ban denim from state schools. This is apparently because the Education Minister (a rather – in my opinion – sour faced woman by the name of Ravlich) doesn’t like it. When pressed for reasons why, she said it looks “scruffy” and that denim is a fabric for recreation and gives the impression that students are coming to school to have fun. I see. So students cannot possibly ever be allowed to have fun at school. I presume this is because learning itself can never ever be fun. Learning is horrible, onerous work and if the students enjoy it then it’s not being done right. Well, it’s good to see the Education Minister has such a firm head on her shoulders then (next it’ll be inquisitorial squads and prohibition of quidditch).

I mean c’mon! The Government is banning a fabric. When Governments start passing laws like that then the end of civilisation can’t be far off. Idiots.

(I think there should be a day of action where every state school student comes to school dressed in non-banned fabrics. Such as velvet, and muslin, and satin, and cheesecloth, and hessian. See how many more we can get on the banned list before the day is out πŸ™‚

OK, I’ve had enough of castigating idiots for now. Anyway I’ve got a solid three hours of Canivàle to watch before tonight’s installment (I taped it the last two weeks and haven’t got around to watching it yet). And a stir fry to cook for dinner.

Oh yeah, I’ve also added a new bit to the site. Nothing exciting sad to say, but very geeky. I’ve thrown together some rules for putting dragons in Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings battle game. Since GW is gearing up to release their Battle of Five Armies supplement sometime soon I figured I’d better get them online before they’re totally superceded (hey, if they release a Battle of Five Armies supplement without rules for Smaug then it ain’t the Battle of Five Armies mate*Yes, Smaug wasn’t in the Battle of Five Armies but c’mon, his death sparked it didn’t it? It would be just plain cheap to leave him out.). An unexpected byproduct of my dragon rules are rules for burning terrain features and aerial combat, which should spice up games a bit. I’ve also got a “Defence of Laketown” scenario half written, which I may or may get around to completing and putting online, so that’s something to look forwards to (or not as the case may be :).

Well, bye then.

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