Chihuahuas Ahoy

The set up…

Well here we go then. If my measures to rip the domain away from Registerfly were successful, then everything will be fine tomorrow. If not – well I don’t know exactly what might happen, but Wyrmworld certainly won’t be accesible via should still work fine though – but it’s hardly a substitute is it?

<Jerry Seinfeld saying ‘Newman!’>Medina!</Jerry Seinfeld saying ‘Newman!’>

Cheering on the Lemur

Cynical computer generated lemurs are my kind of people

Well it seems my attempts to wrest the Wyrmworld domain away from the (alleged) forces of darkness (ie: Registerfly) may have been in vain. I’m trying some other things, but renewal falls due on the 31st and if it everything isn’t sorted out by then ownership of Wyrmworld will probably revert to Tinkerbelle the $6000 accessory chihuahua.

In the meantime the powers that be have launched yet another energy drink on the Australian market, one called (for some unknown reason) “Mother”. I have no intention of trying this stuff – Red Bull does me fine – but one of the computer generated characters from the advertising campaign has captured my attention. Mainly I suspect because he’s a crotchety, sleep deprived cynic, much like myself…

Cynical, sleep deprived lemur thing.

While that add is quite entertaining, the rest of the campaign is fairly annoying. First there was a rather badly thought out teaser campaign involving Channel 10’s execrable “comedy” series The Wedge (although the lemur thing did have some nice schick about the common idiotic assumption that “natural = good”). That was followed up by the current crop of adds involving the one linked above, some similar complaints from a sort of slimy frog thing, and poetry readings from a frankly terrifying monkey-like creature crushing berries and inviting the viewer to “come to [his] place, look in [his] face” – instructions that if followed would give you nightmares for a week.

So I won’t be trying or buying the product (they lost me as soon as The Wedge’s “Sandra Sultry” was involved). But I will be cheering on the Lemur whenever I see him.

On The Grammar of Cats

Ridiculous historical speculation

I was perusing one of those LOLCat threads the other day (you know the ones, like this) when it occured to me to wonder why so many cats apparently can’t spell or use decent grammar. Then I suddenly remembered that Mark Twain had something to say on the matter…

You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does — but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you’ll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw. Ignorant people think it’s the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it’s the sickening grammar they use.
– Mark Twain “A Tramp Abroad”

So the question is, did Mark Twain invent Caturday? Did he!? πŸ™‚

The Acceptable Toilets of the Western Australian Club

Events of the week just past

It’s been a rather strange and exhausting week. This is to a large extent because I’m suffering from horrible insomnia at the moment and the fact that rather than going to bed at a sensible time in the off chance I might get some sleep in, I’ve been staying up late watching mindless TV. Well, not entirely mindless because the ABC’s bought back Spooks which is always worth watching – although probably not as good for you as a decent night’s sleep.

Of course it’s not just been TV and insomnia, I’ve actually been doing some things. On Monday for instance (my Monday off) I took Katie out to lunch for her birthday. We’d decided to kill two birds with the same stone and have said lunch at the cafe Travis works at, since neither of us had actually ever got around to visiting it. So we met up at the city train station at 12:30.

The plan was to make our leisurely way to the cafe, a plan that was fairly quickly stymied when we realised that neither of us had any idea where it was (Katie thought I knew, I though she knew). So we did the sensible thing and headed over to David Jones to look for my brother Andrew. Unfortunately he wasn’t working, so the only option was to phone up the parents – a task harder that it sounds because Murray Street was full of noisy buskers with very few quiet spots to make a phone call at. I got through eventually however and with the location thus secured, we decided to catch the CAT bus, which we figured would place us right on the doorstep.

This was a bit of a mistake frankly. It seems that the average city office worker uses the CAT service to get from office to eatery at lunch time, and as it was now just after 1:00, it was packed. And when I say packed I mean people having major problems getting to the doors at their stops, and the driver yelling loudly at prospective passengers to stop them getting on. We eventually made it to West Perth (the location of the cafe) however, and were thus able to get off and breath again.

Now I pride myself on knowing the city pretty well, but was both surprised and embarrassed to realise that I had no idea about West Perth. In my mind West Perth was a block bounded by Kings Park, Loftus Street, the railway line and Parliament, made up of solid offices. Offices inhabited by high price medical specialists and mining companies. Well as it turns out this is quite an accurate view – apart from Hay Street, which plunges through the middle and is absolutely lined with cafes, restaurants and small shops. There’s also a fairly large block of flats, meaning that in the middle of all the offices you’ve actually got a kind of mini-community. My amazement at this discovery was tempered however by the fact that although we were at the intersection described by the parents as the location of the cafe, there were at least six cafes in plain view, and we had no idea which was the right one.

I tried calling the parents again, but they were out. Or screening my calls πŸ™‚ So we did the logical thing and started a point to point search. Happily the third cafe we tried turned out to have Travis madly waving at us from behind the counter. Less happily it had dozens of office workers taking up every seat, and the cabinet full of rolls was looking sadly depleted.

We queued up for the counter, considering our options. There were a few rolls left that I would have eaten, but there was only one fairly dull looking vegetarian option – tomato and cheese if I recall correctly – which Katie really didn’t feel like. So we decided to buy drinks, have a quick chat with Travis, and then find somewhere else to eat. We bought cokes, got introduced to various staff members, then went on our way.

We ended up at a very nice, and surprisingly uncrowded cafe just down the street, next to the flats. We sat outside and had a leisurely lunch during which many matters were discussed. We then decided to head down to the railway, not being up to facing the CAT again.

On the way however we found ourselves at Harbour Town, and decided some window shopping was in order. For the uninitiated Harbour Town is a shopping complex full of discount stores – the place where companies dump goods that don’t quite come up to scratch. It’s a great place for a wander around – you can pick up some real bargains. We had a look at a games store, a few shoe stores, a lolly store, and a discount CD place, where I was quite chuffed to get best of David Bowie and best of the Cure CDs for only $10 each. We then retired to the Merchant Coffee House for refreshments – which Katie insisted on paying for since I paid for lunch.

We then decided to risk the CAT back into the city, as it was now about 3:00, and the ravening hordes of office workers should have dissipated. Happily this was the case, and the journey was fairly pleasant (or at least as pleasant as any bus trip can be). Back in town we hit up Target where I failed to find any black t-shirts (I need some new ones) and Katie went fairly crazy over the Stella McCartney stuff that had just been released that morning (a lot of people went fairly crazy apparently – the news was full of people queuing outside stores from 5:00am, racing inside like bloodthirsty lemmings once the doors were opened and fighting over the clothes – although we didn’t see anything like that ourselves). She ended up spending $50 on a shirt, which (as a guy, and a geek guy at that) I thought was fairly excessive – although it was a quite nice shirt.

Finally we did a quick bit of grocery shopping (because I really needed to πŸ™‚ and headed down to the bus station, where we parted ways. Not a bad day out all things considered πŸ™‚

On Tuesday it was back to work. And not just back to work, as we’d arranged a marketing talk/seminar as a “client nurturing” exercise that evening, and we all had to attend. This meant going straight from work, although the company quite nicely stumped up for dinner at the pub down the street first (I had some very nice calimari). I wasn’t looking forwards to the event very much at all, for a start it meant missing Time Team and The Pauley Perette Hour NCIS. But worse than that it was about marketing.

I’m a programmer. Programming is a form of engineering. Engineering deals with facts – you can’t argue with the rules, be they the laws of physics or the laws of syntax. Engineering is fundamentally honest, if you start telling lies you get things like the Tay Bridge Disaster. Marketing on the other hand is not about facts. It’s about distorting the facts to make someone think they want or need something they actually don’t.

Consider a car for instance. An Engineer’s description of it will describe the materials used, it’s mass and volume, the performance statistics, etc. A Marketer’s description will be a film of it speeding down the highway at several times the legal limit with a pop song in the background, a pretty (and possibly scantily clad) woman, and a deep-voiced voice over man muttering words like “style”, “class” and “performance”. And probably some people who jump into the air at the end for no apparent reason. So you can see why Engineers don’t like Marketers very much.

The talk was being held at the rather snooty and prestigious Western Australian Club on the terrace. Or it would have been snooty and prestigious if we hadn’t been banished to the basement. Mind you, it was quite a nice basement and had a bar. Not that I was interested in getting anything from the bar, it’s just that I feel a well fitted out basement should really have a bar, and possibly a pool table and wurlitzer*Jukebox that is, not an electric organ. Contrary to rumours I am not Arnold J Rimmer. (yes, my ideas of chic decor are stuck firmly in the 80’s). In any case there were a bunch of chairs set out, and a projector and screen for the inevitable Powerpoint presentation.

On arrival I excused myself to go freshen up in the bathroom (which was again quite a nice bathroom – if you’re ever on the Terrace and really need to go, try and bluff your way into the WA Club – you won’t regret it). I returned to find my colleagues in deep conversation with one of the clients who were wandering down the stairs. Well, I say conversation – it was more like interrogation. He was shooting off rapid and quite aggressive questions about what the event was all about – which seemed odd because the invitation had quite clearly explained the matter. Additionally the client in question was from Fremantle, so he’d apparently driven twenty kilometres through rush hour traffic to attend an event he knew nothing about.

Thankfully things got started before he could whip out bamboo strips for our fingernails.

Much to my surprise the talk was actually fairly good. It concentrated on ways to improve your relationship with your customers, as opposed to ways to fleece them, and no scantily clad women were involved (mind you by the second hour I probably wouldn’t have complained ;). My interest did flag a bit towards the end – but that was more to do with the insomnia and resultant lack of sleep than any flaw on the part of the speaker. I actually regretted not bringing along a pad and pen, as some of the stuff he was talking about gave me ideas (I did manage to remember most of them though and write them down the next day).

None of this could be said for our interrogative friend however. He snuck out about ten minutes in, and presumably drove the 20km back to Fremantle. I mean honestly!

Anyway I got a lift back to my place afterwards and avoided the tortures of insomnia for an hour by watching Numbers. It’s usually not bad (for a show featuring a servant of Vigo the Carpathian), but this episode suggested that the US Government has a mathematical algorithm that tells them with 100% certainty what shipping containers contain contraband. I’m sorry, I don’t believe that for a second. What containers are most likely to contain contraband, sure, I have no problem with that, but everyone was running around as if this algorithm was infallible. No real mathematician would ever give a 100% guarantee, only probabilities πŸ™‚

The rest of the week was spent in various states of insomnia induced irritation. I spent much of yesterday re-reading some of The Sandman, and then translated the train poem from The Kindly Ones into Zurv

The Power of the Internets

What you can achieve when you have the internet and nothing sensible to do with your time.

I woke up this morning with a song in my head which I haven’t heard in years. I thought to myself “You know, I think I’ve got that in iTunes somewhere”, so I hopped on to the computer and dug it up. After listening to it (and quite enjoying it) I thought “I wonder how all the lyrics go?”. So I jumped onto Google and tracked them down. After reading them through I realised that the song – which I’d always presumed was about a girl who’d been dumped but never got over it – could actually be about a girl who’s guy went off to fight in World War II and never came back. A moment’s musing suggested that the video clip might settle it one way or the other. So I went over to YouTube and found the video. Sure enough, the clip confirmed my theory (although on a less positive note it also made me realise that my idea of what’s attractive in womens’ fashion is firmly grounded in the early 90’s).

I achieved all this in under fifteen minutes, and before breakfast. What an age we live in! πŸ™‚

(Extra points to anyone who can figure out what song I’m talking about from the clues above ;))

So as planned I went out to dinner with Rebecca and Dom last night. We dined at Sen5es restaurant at the Novotel, which as it happened was hosting a high school formal. This was good because it meant we had free entertainment, watching all the fancy cars pull up and disgorge gussied-up and over-excited teenagers. We were able to make a number of observations…

  1. If you decide to have a ‘Masquerade’ theme for your school formal, make sure the student body understand that this involves masks – otherwise only the staff and nerdier students will turn up with them.
  2. It is apparently ‘cool’ nowdays to bring your younger siblings to the school formal – as long as they bear an uncanny resemblence to you, Mini-Me style.
  3. Anyone wearing a top hat to the school formal is an Emo, whereas anyone wearing a top hat and carrying a cane is a Goth.

So we had entertainment while we eat. We also had miniature teacups full of leek and potato soup that we didn’t actually order – they didn’t seem to bill us for them though, so that’s OK.

So how was the food (apart from the soup, which was quite nice)? Well, that depends. Rebecca and I had the penne pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach, which was extremely tasty and so filling neither of us could finish. Dom on the other hand had the special chicken dish of the day, which in his own words consisted of “gristly chicken, overcooked potatoes and completely inedible mushrooms”.

Now, Dom is hardly the kind of person to sit in a restaurant curling his lip and sneering that the pΓ’tΓ© foie gras should be at room temperature and the wine list is no better than you’d expect – so for him to come out against a meal so harshly it must have been pretty awful. As such Sen5es is now off our list of places to dine at – even when it’s running a $25 special.

After dinner we took the secret Catholic shortcut down to McIver railway station and got the train back to our respective domiciles. Much to my disgust my place was still like a furnace – although it did cool down by the early hours of the morning, so I was able to get some sleep eventually.

OK, that’s it. Entertain yourselves now! πŸ™‚

The Chihuahua Dog Domain Fiasco

Well whadayaknow – Wyrmworld *may* actually survive the Register Fly meltdown.

Well, I managed to survive the heat (just) and am looking forwards to some decent sleep for the first time since Sunday night. Assuming that my unit manages to cool down today and isn’t doing the rather good furnance impression it’s been doing for the last few days. It’ll have some extra time to cool as I’m meeting Rebecca and Dom in town for dinner after work – we’re going to take advantage of some kind of Wine and Food Month promotional thing to get cheap meals at a classy hotel (I’d say which one except I don’t want my oh so many fans to turn up and cause a disturbance ;D)

In other good news I seem to have managed to transfer the Wyrmworld domain away from the (allegedly) evil hands of Kevin Medina – (allegedly) the guy who (allegedly) blew (allegedly) thousands of dollars of (alleged) Register Fly customers’ money on (alleged) escort services, (alleged) liposuction and (alleged) chihuahuas (allegedly). This is a major weight off my mind – I’d hate for my prized domain name to end up being legally owned by an accessory dog in Miami Florida. There may be a small period of outage while the transfer is taking place, but then everything should be hunky dory.

Nothing else really to say – my brain is too whacked from five days of sleep deprivation πŸ™‚

Foyle’s Flaws

Obsessive picking at period TV shows.

Feeling all tired and run down again – which probably has something to do with going out with the family for my birthday on Saturday night and eating vast quantities of horribly unhealthy Chinese food. Extremely tasty Chinese I hasten to add, just probably not the best thing to be eating in bulk. And any attempt to offset it has been stymied by the fact that we’re in the midst of another heatwave. It was about 40 today, and it’s going to be about 42 until Thursday, so exercise is pretty much out of the question. As is sleep, emails or even decent blogging.

I’ve spent most of the day listening to podcasts and working on a fairly weird art project that came to me a few days ago. I’m not going to provide details because I may well fail to get it done. But we’ll see how I do. It’s not anything particularly amazing, just something that seemed amusing to me. And I can always whip up some post modern art-wank to justify it if I complete it (something about conceptual landscapes and superimposition and all that other meaningless stuff they teach you at university art courses these days).

In lieue of actually writing anything decent, I thought I’d mention something that’s been floating around in the back of my mind for a few weeks now – ever since the ABC screened the latest series of Foyle’s War. For those unfamiliar with it, Foyle’s War is a police detective show set in southern England (Hastings to be exact) during World War II. It is chiefly watched by old people and sad geeks such as myself *g*. They generally do a good job of recreating wartime Britain (as far as I know anyway, I wasn’t there after all πŸ™‚ but there were two incidents of glaring anachronism that just lept out at me this season.

The first was in the first episode, when the Americans turned up. One of them made reference to “Farmer Giles, shooting off his blunderbus”. Now, this is almost certainly a reference to J.R.R.Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham, which features the eponymous farmer fighting off a giant with said blunderbus. So what’s the problem? Surely I’d be in favour of more Tolkien references in the media? Sure, except that the episode’s set in 1942 and Farmer Giles wasn’t written until 1947 πŸ™‚

The second anachronism was in a slightly later episode. I can’t actually swear that it happened, I was in the kitchen and walked in halfway through a conversation. But I’m pretty certain someone referred to “dealing with the fallout”. Now, not having a copy of the OED handy I can’t confirm that “fallout” only entered the general lexicon after the Castle Bravo test in 1956, but I strongly suspect it – so no-one in 1942 should be using the term at all!

(I suppose there might be an earlier, pre-nuclear use of the word – possibly in military circles – but I ain’t never heard of it πŸ™‚

In spite of these kinds of minor goofs (which only an obsessive nut such as myself would worry about) it’s still a highly enjoyable series.

I’m going to go die from heat prostration now.

PS: Hang on, so Boston’s More than a Feeling and Hunters and Collectors’ Holy Grail share the same baseline? Who would have thunk it?

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