It’s all Gubbins

Post nuclear ramblings and how to restore your Doc Martens with a pot of paint.

I am very very tired – I’ve got a number of things I keep meaning to write about, but I just can’t seem to summon the energy. I suppose I’ll make some effort though.

Jericho. It wasn’t bad. It seems a lot like a post-nuclear version of Lost – which is kind of an odd thing for me to say because I’ve never watched even a single episode of Lost. Nonetheless it somehow seems to have a certain Lost-like quality πŸ™‚

Of course it helps that it’s post-nuclear. I’m in favour of anything post-nuclear (short of actual post-nucleism naturally). I ascribe this to both finding a copy of Henry’s Quest in the school library and watching Quest Beyond Time way too many times as a kid. I’ve been obsessed with the ruin of civilisation ever since. Funny how things turn out πŸ˜€

Hmmm, what else was I going to say. Oh yeah, how nerdy is this? A few months back my old boots wore out and I upgraded to Doc Martens – ten eyehole yellow stitch ones. These chewed up my feet pretty bad for a while, but are now nicely worn in (or have sufficiently reshaped my feet). In any case I badly scratched one of them the other day, taking some of the nicely tanned surface off and leaving the underlying rough leather exposed. Clearly this wasn’t going to fly so I bought some black boot polish (I already had dubbin naturally, but that’s not black) and got into some vigorous polishing.

It worked a treat. Unfortunately however I slipped with the brush a few times and smeared polish over some of the trademark yellow stitching. I did my best to clean it off, but no dice – the stitches were reduced to a dull brown. What to do?!

Simple. I grabbed a Citadel fine detail brush and a pot of bubonic brown and painted them back on!!

With some careful, painstaking work I highlighted the dulled stitches with a thin line of paint. And you know what? It worked perfectly! A day later and you can’t even tell which were touched up. Conforming-in-a-non-conforming-way-street-cred restored! πŸ™‚

(I said it was nerdy πŸ™‚

Anyway I’m probably going to watch the second episode of Jericho and go to bed. If I can stay awake that long.

Spbanjos! (Space Banjos!)

Random ramblings and stuff.

Wait, hang on, so Here Comes Your Man isn’t about the bombing of Nagasaki? Now I’m just confused!

Spent a quite enjoyable day at work designing and starting the coding work on a new product. It’s nothing too amazing – in fact it’s fairly boring – but there’s just something really… I don’t know, it’s like a sense of freedom, when you start out with such a huge, blank canvas on which you can write your words (or code) large. Like you’re cruising down the coast on a summer’s day with the wind in your hair and five months of paid holiday in front of you. Or something like that. I’m probably quite mad πŸ™‚

Hmmm, there was no Triple J when I woke up this morning. Or at least there was, but only in the form of song after song after song with the occasional “We’re experiencing technical difficulties, but we’ll be back real soon!” recording in between. I wouldn’t have minded so much, except that there were no time-calls, no news bulletins and no weather forecasts. I had to go across to (shudder!) Mix 94.5 to find out whether to take my umbrella with me.

Turns out there’s massive industrial action going on at the ABC. Thousands walking off the job and such. It’s only a 24 hour strike apparently so things’ll be back to normal tomorrow. Supposedly.

Hmmm, what else has been going on in my oh so glamourous life? I finally got a package of stuff from Amazon I ordered like a month ago (their shipping times to Australia are ridiculous, I honestly think they ship across the Pacific via sea otter) and as a result have been listening almost non-stop to the soundtrack from Serenity. Particularly track number 3, which is the main reason I ordered it. It’s the music from when you first see the ship and she starts re-entry into the atmosphere. If for some reason you wanted to pinpoint the very moment I became a Firefly fan, you could make a good case for it being that scene, and a good part of it was because of that amazing music. I mean, banjos combined with a symphony orchestra? What madman could conceive of such a thing!? And what even greater madman could make it sound so damn good!?! (David Newman actually). The only thing wrong with it is it only goes for 50 seconds – I hereby demand Mr Newman works it up into a full 40 minute symphony! Now!!! ;D

Oh, here’s an interesting link that was on Slashdot today. An interview with the guy who made the Columbine computer game that’s been implicated in that shooting in Montreal. It’s actually really, really interesting – if you want to make any kind of commentary on the Montreal incident you need to read this interview. I could sum up the gist of it here, but I won’t. Suffice to say that if you think the idea of making a computer game about Columbine is sick, and anyone who would do such a thing is some kind of pervert, you’re in for a real surprise. Go on, read it!

OK, I’ll shut up now. Jericho premieres in a few minutes, and I thought I’d give it a chance. In all likelyhood it’ll be awful, but you never know.

PS: Hey! The opening music is by the Killers – that’s a good sign…

Neil Gaiman’s Latin In Joke (Maybe)

Latin? Or co-incidence. You decide.

I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys at the moment. It’s pretty good (although that’s a given really) but today I noticed something a bit odd…

As part of the flow of the story Neil drops in the occasional Anansi story, and one of has a bit that goes a little like this…

…So Anansi lay down on his bed and he sighed, long and loud, and his wife and his sons all came a-running. “I’m a-dying,” said Anansi in his little weeny-weedy-weaky voice, “and my life is all over and done.”…

You get that? Weeny-weedy-weaky?

Now at this point you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m on about. Well, while preparing for Justin’s birthday party (which I wasn’t able to go to in the end) I did a fair bit of brushing up on my Latin. One of the interesting things about Latin is that there’s two ways of pronouncing it. The one that most people are familiar with is the Eclesiastical pronunciation, which is the pronunciation developed by the Roman Catholic church over the last 1000 years or so. The second one is the Classical pronunciation, which is our best guess at how the Romans actually spoke it. There’s some diferences in the vowels here and there, but about the biggest divergence is probably ‘v’ and ‘c’. In Eclesiatical these are usually pronunced ‘v’ and ‘ch’ respectively. In Classical however they’re ‘w’ and ‘k’.

So what has this go to do with Anansi Boys? Well consider Caesar’s famous declaration Veni Vedi Vici (“I came, I saw, I conquered”, for those whose classical education is lacking). In Eclesiastical this is something like “veenee veedee vichee”. In Classical on the other hand it’s (drum roll….) “weeny weedy weaky”!


(I don’t know what’s sadder, that I know all this at all, or that I know all this well enough to immediately notice it in a book πŸ™‚

PS: Ha! David Tench is being moved to 9:30. It’s the begining of the end!! *vbg*


Five tons of orbital flax.

So, the body formerly known as Xena is now officially Eris!

This is great news for any fan of the Illuminatis! trilogy – so much so that I actually yelped with joy when I read it on Wikipedia (thankfully I’d come in early and was the only one in the office). It’s a name almost as good as Persephone, given the amount of discord the planet (sorry! dwarf planet) has caused in the astronomical community.

And it also means they’ve been able to name the moon after Eris’s daughter Dysnomia or Lawlessness. Get it? Lawlessness? As in Lucy Lawless? Clever no? πŸ™‚

Now all we’ve got to do is get them to reverse that stupid “Dwarf Planet” ruling and get Pluto, Charon, Ceres and Eris back onto the list where they rightfully belong. Fnord!

Picking the Good Professor’s Brains

Swords, whips, dogs and JRR Tolkien

Late night up at Fabian’s place last night. Plenty of vodka, bourbon and sitting in the spa in the rain – none of which I partook of, not being a fan of any of them (I don’t drink, and strongly suspect I may have been a lobster in a former life ;). I just drank coke and sat on the edge dodging the rain as best I could. Still, not a bad night all up and probably better than sitting at home all alone (although I could have stood to get to bed earlier than 1:00am, not having slept terribly well on Friday).

Here’s something vaguely interesting (or not). While poking around on Wikipedia (like you do) I discovered Durendal – the legendary sword of Roland (probably better known in English as Orlando). If you swap the first two syllables around you get ‘Endural’… Sound familiar? Well, probably not, because you’re not an obsessive Tolkien nut, but it’s quite obviously the same word as ‘Anduril’ – the reforged sword-that-was-broken (you know, the big flashy one Vigo Mortenson was waving around in the third movie?).

Tolkien was pretty expert in European mythology and legend – there is no way he would have been unaware of Durendal. So I reckon we can mark this one down as deliberate in-joke, or at least reference. Oh sure, Anduril means ‘Flame of the West’ in Quenya (well probably Quenya anyway) but I can state from personal experience that when you’re making a language the temptation to throw in a few little gags here and there is very strong (Zurv

The Devil and Rosie Beaton

Ill concieved ramblings about various unimportant things

I said everyone’s dying! Now Peter Brock has joined in. What is going on?!

There was an extremely annoying woman on the bus to Subiaco the other day. She sat right behind the driver and for the entire duration of the trip talked at him non-stop in an incredibly loud voice about… well anything that popped into her head seemingly. I was seated halfway up the bus and could clearly hear every single word she uttered about football, the healthcare system, mobile phones, and a dozen other subjects. I was dearly tempted to stand up and berate her, sweeping my coat around dramatically perhaps and declaiming (in my best Shakespearean tones) “Hold thy tongue thou garrulous crone! Mine very ears do bleed from thy intemperate prattle!!”, but I didn’t of course – I’m too polite :). It was certainly a relief to reach Subi though.

While I’m on the subject of annoying things there’s a very annoying song around at the moment. It’s called The Devil was in My Yard and it’s by Perth’s own Sleepy Jackson. It’s annoying in two specific ways – the music, and the singing (which frankly doesn’t leave much does it?). The music is a horrible smushed up mass of instruments, smeared together into not so much a wall of sound as a kind of upright, linear, auditory bog. It’s like white noise but more annoying. And the singing, well… I am reliably informed that the lyrics of the first verse go,

The Devil! The Devil was in my yard! But the Devil! Ain’t in my yard no more!

Unfortunately the singer doesn’t feel constrained by the lyric sheet, or indeed the English language, and – well sings isn’t the verb, bawls would be closer to the mark – bawls the following in a nasal voice,

Yeeeewoooooww! Yeeeaaaarrrevilzinnnnn-maaaAAAAaaaAAAAAdddeh! Buuuuuhhhrruhhrrevil! Aaaayeffffmyaaard-naaawwwaaah!

It’s absolutely awful! And naturally doing quite well in the charts (funnily enough however the video clip ain’t bad.)

On the subject of video clips (see how hard I’m working on my segues today?) I’m watching JTV Saturday at the moment which is Triple J’s fairly new foray into television. Basically it’s a clip show – but they count down the 20 most requested songs from Super Request from the previous week – so there’s actually the possibility of something worthwhile getting in at number one.

In any case the host of JTV Saturday is the host of Super Request, Rosie Beaton. And while I have absolutely nothing against her, I’m finding her irritating almost beyond belief.

Why you ask? Well, after much thought I’ve reached the conclusion it’s because she’s used to radio rather than TV. You see, on radio all you have is your voice. You can’t communicate with your face, or with body language, so you need to put everything into your voice. You need to ramp up the emotion, ramp up the expression and basically say with your voice everything you’d normally say with your face. Rosie does this very well, and listening to her on the radio is quite enjoyable.

The problem is she speaks exactly the same way on camera – and it just doesn’t work.

She talks so loudly, and with so much forcefulness that she comes across as some kind of crazy person – the kind who comes up to you on the train and starts babbling out their life story, or why they like Steve Earl, or how the aliens took their knees. Or alternatively like she’s trying to sell you a used car. Now, if you look away from the screen and just listen, she’s fine – it’s just that normal people don’t talk like that face to face, and it’s damn disconcerting.

So Rosie – in the unlikely event that you’re reading this – you’re great on the radio, but chill a bit on the TV, OK?

Apart from Rosie Beaton freaking the life out of me JTV Saturday is pretty good. And educational! For instance this week we learned…

  • The video clip for Here it Goes Again by OK Go features the best treadmill dancing ever!
  • Kick Push by Lupe Fiasco is almost as annoying as the Sleepy Jackson.
  • Muse should do an album of Coldplay covers on a container ship.
  • For all her freaky-speaking, when Rosie Beaton straightens her hair she bears a notable resemblance to Lauren Graham.

So, if you have some time to kill on Saturday mornings, tune in.

Abandoning clever segues for the moment, my new tooth is performing quite well. It hasn’t fallen apart and I’m getting used to the fact that it’s not quite as pointy as the old one was. Presumably there’s also slightly less mercury seeping into my system now, which is probably a good thing. I intended to mention this last week with all the other tooth related stuff, but the dentist was very impressed with my teeth. She said they were in absolutely excellent condition, which is nice to know (in light of this information I like to think that in 1000 years a distant descendent of Dr Alice Roberts will dig them up and completely underestimate my age at death).

Teeth of course used for eating, and on the subject of eating (now that one was just forced wasn’t it?) I went out to dinner with Rebecca and Dom last night after work. We hit up Wagamama in Subiaco where we had quite a good time despite the appalling noise levels, rampaging children, problems with the loyalty card system and a server apparently named “Trial” who forgot to bring the wine (not that I minded too much about that :). We decided to splash out and be daring and tried a side of the steamed soya-beans, which were actually much nicer than you might think. Afterwards we walked up to the Gelare place at the Regal, and mocked the Nova FM DJ visible through the window on the other side of the street. So a good night had by all really (apart from maybe “Trial”).

Anyway, I have things to do today (probably) so I’d better go and do them (or not).

Everyone’s Dying!

Vale Steve Iriwn, and the madness of New Zealand

Dying seems to be the in thing for Australians this week. First Don Chipp, founder of the Australian Democrats, then yesterday author of Storm Boy Colin Thiele and of course the (in the words of Tripod) “mighty skivvy wearing hunter man” Steve Irwin.

It’s weird about Steve Irwin. I was never much of a fan of his work – which to me seemed mostly to consist of poking dangerous animals with sticks while giving Americans a completely inaccurate idea of Australia and Australians – but now he’s gone things just don’t seem right. He was such an instantly recognisable character that it seems impossible that he’s not around any more. It’s as if there’s suddenly a gaping Crocodile-Hunter-shaped hole in the world – a hole that is never going to be filled because he’s the only one who could fill it. Other zany wildlife enthusiasts may come and may go, but there’ll never be another Steve Irwin, and although I couldn’t stand his shows and mocked the guy mercilessly, the world is a little bit poorer at his passing.

On a somewhat cheerier note I received a bizare email to my work address yesterday from someone in New Zealand. First up it’s huge. And when I say huge I mean over 11,000 lines long. I haven’t read all of it (obviously) but it seems to be a highly paranoid rant about some of the following points…

  1. There’s no central heating in New Zealand, despite it being a cold country
  2. The author knows this because a Canadian told her so
  3. All the space heaters she buys die when turned up on full
  4. On investigation, all space heaters in New Zealand turn out to be produced by companies that are front companies for companies in Canada
  5. The American National Football League harassed her so much that she had to leave the United States and move to New Zealand
  6. The State of Texas also harassed her
  7. The NFL routinely murder men, women and children
  8. The State of Texas is in league with the NFL
  9. She heard that there was a shooting in a McDonalds in Texas – but McDonalds wouldn’t provide her with any information about it
  10. Obviously McDonalds are in league with the NFL and the State of Texas
  11. Any and all Asian restaurants are also involved
  12. All this has something to do with September 11

I have no idea if this is some kind of joke, some kind of conceptual art project, a cleverly encrypted message from some security or terrorist organisation, or if a paranoid maniac (with much better spelling and grammar than the average paranoid maniac) has got access to an email program. It certainly boggles the mind in any case. I’ll paste in a bit of it so you can make your own judgement…

Soon after reaching that state, listening to a TV news broadcast revealed that another football player had again been arrested for killing a woman. This time the player was still active, and played for the Carolina Panthers, a team whose head coach was George Seifert, who’d previously coached the San Francisco Forty Niners, the team that O.J. Simpson had once played for, in his home town of San Francisco. However, I do not know if George Seifert, who is said to have spent many of his working years in San Francisco ever coached O. J. Simpson directly. Simpson, who shares the same last name as a former Physics teacher of mine at Kenya High School, later left the Forty Niners to play in the city of Buffalo for the Buffalo Bills who are located near the border with Canada. As for the player from the Carolina Panthers, the woman he was accused of having killed was apparently a partner or former partner. By that time, my own tribulations with the National Football League were so intense, I did not have the resources to follow up on that case, and as a result, do not know if the player was ever tried and/or convicted. While coaching the San Francisco Forty Niners, George Seifert had coached Steve Young, one of the antagonists mentioned to me by Texans in Fort Worth and Dallas. The other was Troy Aikman who played for a team known as the Dallas Cowboys in Texas. During my own high school years in in the seventiesKenya, the study of politics was very important, even though we were very young. One of a guest speakers was Dr. Anyang’ Nyong’o, the elder brother of a classmate of mine called Risper Nyagoy Nyong’o. The Nyong’o’s had just returned from Chicago in the state of Illinois in the United States of America, where recently, another Kenyan born politician named Barrack Obama has recently campaigned for political office. Mr. Obama has thesame last name as another former schoolmate of mine, Rita Obama, with whom I studied first at Kilimani Primary School, and later at Kenya High School where our headmistress was a native of New Zealand named Miss Barnes, and where one of our English teachers was also from New Zealand. Her name was Mrs. Barns, and the differences in the title and spelling were often emphasized, so that we could fully understand that they were different teachers. (Yet a third teacher was called Mrs. Barnes, with a different title from the headmistress but the same spelling. Mrs. Barnes was from Britain, and although she was English, taught French. The other Frenchteachers were a Canadian nun named Sister (or Soeur) Lise Rousson who was from the French Canadian Province of Quebec, and another English woman who never taught me personally and whose name I do not remember). Dr. Anyang’ Nyong’o is now an Assistant Minister in the current Kenyan Government. He was nominated by thecurrent president, Mr. Mwai Kibaki. When he returned to Kenya in the mid-seventies, the United States’ Congress had just impeached President Milhouse Nixon, and President Gerald Ford had been appointed to complete that elective term. During that decade, the government of that country had another controversial politician, Mr. Henry Kissinger, who’d been born in Germany, but had migrated with his family to the United States of America at a very young age. (While I was in Texas, the United States of America repeated that pattern when President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Congress. He retained his office and appointed an European born Secretary of State called Madeleine Albright, to whom I’ve written regarding the events of Texas. I’ve alsowritten to former President Clinton and to former Vice President Al Gore). According to his biography in the internet, when Henry Kissinger left Germany, he’d just left behind the massacre of Jews accross Europe. Later in his adulthood, he’d participated in the war in Cambodia in South-East Asia. Former Vice President Al Gore was also mentioned as having fought in South East Asia, in the Viet Nam War. He is from the state of Tennessee. Here in Auckland, where many of the food establishments and supermarkets are operated by South East Asians, I have met a Cambodian woman who operated a bakery in Orewa on the North Shore in Rodney District. My firstemployer her in New Zealand was a Canadian company known as Apotex New Zealand Limited, where I worked from June 2002 until December 2004. The managing director of Apotex New Zealand Ltd. was named Colin James Robertson, a New Zealander who’d been trained at the Canadian head office…

And it goes on like that for 11,000 lines!!!!!

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