Hufflepuffs are excellent finders!

Ack. I have all kinds of things I want to blog about (a run down of the improv game I ran on the weekend, why the core premise of Bryron Hall’s rebuttal to the famous F.A.T.A.L review is invalid, just what is a true Hufflepuff anyway) but work is stressing me out so much that at the end of the day I just don’t have the energy to be creative. The best I can do is fill in a few more simple articles on the FreakWiki and collapse into bed.

But I don’t like to end on a down note, so here are some songs…

Come to Australia – It’s all true!
I’m on a Boat! – Metal Style!
Sweet Caroline – Tripod!

Calling all Crabs

Ramblings and complaints

Well, we’re battening down the hatches for a major heatwave – just in time for my birthday. Oh joy! Temperatures are expected to range between 37° and 42° C until Sunday, after which they’ll drop down to a merely hellish 36° for a few days. I love this city but I hate this weather.

My work email account keeps getting spammed by the “Ruby Royale” online casino. Some strange part of my brain continually misinterprets this as “Ruby Rose”, so every morning when I come in and start sorting through the spam I get a sudden jolt of irrational excitement before sanity kicks back in. Damn spammers.

Finally I know it’s neither new or clever to make fun of Emos, but sometimes they make it so damn easy!

Social Energy Crash!

An excuse for appalling behaviour

One of the things about being both an Aspie and a severe introvert is that you have only a limited amount of social energy.

Social energy may be a bit of an odd concept for the majority of people out there (most of the population being extroverts) but basically it’s a measure of your ability to be around and interact with other people. Extroverts replenish their social energy reserves by being around other people – making them sort of social perpetual motion machines – but we introverts need time alone to recharge before we can go out and do stuff – even with people we like.

This was brought home to me particularly this weekend. By Friday my energy reserves were approaching critical and I intended to spend a quiet weekend in doing chores, chilling out and recharging. Then Fabes called me up and suggested we all (that is to say me, him, Ryan and Paula) get together on Saturday. Against my better judgement I accepted – not to say that it didn’t sound like fun, it’s just that I really needed time off from people.

So I headed over. We had a great time playing Munchkin and running through an really old Dragon Warriors RPG scenario (I controlled a surprisingly intelligent Scottish barbarian named Grignr and an apparently mute Sorcerer named Zzardoz, while Ryan ran a very English Knight named Sir Spiffington and a Mystic by the name of the Comte Merde de Gallo). We then hung around for ages watching late night TV (including the end of The Core which we mocked mercilessly and a promo piece on the Commonwealth Games in Delhi which we also mocked mercilessly then felt guilty about).

Now the plan was to spend the night and head home in the morning but by 1:00am my levels of social energy had completely crashed. As a result I was overcome with an intense need to get the hell out and retreat to my own territory, so I called a cab and bailed.

I spent most of Sunday asleep, getting up only to walk down to the village for some laundry detergent and to watch a couple of episodes of the Boosh (Trapped in a box by a cockney nutjob! ‘ave a cup a tea!). As a consequence my energy levels are now sufficient to see me through the working week, but I’m going to have to spend this weekend being totally anti-social to get back up to an acceptable level.

So, I guess my reasons for recounting this tale are to apologise to the gang for my sudden and rude departure, and to make a plea for understanding and tolerance for all my introverted kin out there. It’s not that we don’t like you – we just need time to recharge!

I’m getting too old for this…

I didn’t even drink!

Had a great night up at Fabes’ place last night with Ryan and Paula, playing cards (Gloom, Che Geek, Munchkin and poker) eating pizza and bawling songs at the top of our lungs into the iPhone audio memo app. I didn’t get home until 3:00am.

It’s just gone 2:00pm and I’ve only just stumbled out of bed. I feel like death. I think my body is trying to tell me it prefers a warm mug of cocoa and a bedtime of about 9:00pm on Saturday nights.

*sigh* I’m getting old.

Fly Season, Beetle Season

Biological controls for the win.

The fly season is on us again.

Way back before Europeans screwed things up, Australia didn’t really have a problem with flies. Water being scarce down here, animals didn’t waste it on excrement – kangaroos and other native animals generally produce small, dry pellets unsuitable for flies’ purposes. The only place flies could breed was in animal carcases and while there were enough of these to keep the flies in business, there were never enough to let them breed up to plague proportions.

Then the Europeans turned up and brought with them all those water squandering northern hemisphere animals like cows and horses and sheep – which wandered around the continent dropping big steaming pats everywhere. The flies thought that they’d died and gone to fly heaven and Australia became a place where you couldn’t open your mouth in summer without three or four dozen of the damn things plunging in and trying to claim your lungs in the name of all flykind.

After decades of this kind of thing the government finally decided to do something about it. They engaged in years of trials and careful testing (we at least learnt a lesson from the cane toad fiasco) and eventually a species of small, inoffensive dung beetle was imported from Africa and distributed across the country. Confronted with massive piles of excrement that the ecosystem was totally failing to deal with the beetles thought they’d died and gone to beetle heaven and got on with what they do best – rolling it up into balls and burying it.

Result? Fly numbers plummeted and summer became bearable again.

Except for October.

You see the flies start breeding in late September. The dung beetles don’t start breeding until late October. This means that for one month of the year the flies are back in force and we all suffer.

But hey, at least we can comfort ourselves remembering that all of summer used to be like that.

Blast from the Past

Like sands through the hourglass…

Dingalings do stupid things, they don’t think of others at all,
They’re dopes and bullies, see the trouble they bring? That’s what we call dingalings!

If you’re now wondering about my sanity then you obviously didn’t grow up in Perth in the 80’s…

Dirt and Germs

I stumbled across a Livejournal page linking to these while searching for info on the old Ascot Water Playground. This was a favourite summer destination when I was a kid and I only just discovered that it’s all shut down and derelict. I cycled over today and scouted it out for Abandoned in Perth. I’ll probably get a proper expedition together later on.

It was a great place Ascot Water Playground. You had a big pool at the bottom, a sort of concrete bunker halfway up with fountains and slippery metal ladders (which were a death trap waiting to happen frankly) and two smaller pools at the top linked with locks. Locks! Like on a canal! A paddling stream ran from the top pools all the way down the hill to the bottom pool and one year (oh the excitement!) they opened a new pool with water slides. And admission was whatever you decided to put into the tins at the gates!

One of the defining moments of my childhood was at Ascot, the day when I finally summoned the courage to climb the deathtrap ladders all the way to the top. All the other kids (including my younger brother) who’d been clambering up and down them with abandon for years kept mocking me mercilessly about my cowardice, and on this particular day I decided I was going to conquer them even if it meant I fell to my death on the concrete below. I waited until there was no one in the bunker (both so the other kids wouldn’t figure out how badly their mockery hurt me, and so that if I chickened out at the last minute there’d be no one to see) and hauled myself up the slippery bars and over the top onto the roof. Then I clambered back down and wandered off, quite happy with myself.

(I only ever climbed the ladders once again – the next time the other kids started mocking me. I climbed up and down once to shut them up, and then never risked it again. Honestly, I’m amazed no one was ever killed on those things.)

But – back to the modern day – run off from the park into the river was apparently getting out of control (the site is right on the riverfront) and there were all kinds of liability issues (those ladders I bet), so the playground had to shut down about five or six years back. Another irreplaceable childhood memory gone – although at least it’s gone in a way that provides me with something to clamber around and take eerie photos of.

The Livejournal page I stumbled across has a bunch of other musings about Perth in the 80s, including a reminder of the plastic tugboats and space shuttles you used to get Red Rooster in. How could I forget those!? They were made of extremely thin and brittle plastic (that crumbled after only a few hours exposure to Perth’s harsh summer sunshine) and you got a sheet of stickers to personalise them with. Great days!

I’ll have to write about my memories of Atlantis Marine Park and Dizzy Lamb sometime I suppose…

Fun Fun Fun

In which our hero is accused of crimes and opinions most vile…

Well yesterday was a fun day. I’m sitting happily (well, sitting at least) at work when I get a phonecall from a woman in some distress who launches into an emotional tirade about how I’m trying to destroy her business, drive her out of town and ruin the livelihoods of numerous indigenous artists. After some confusion I discover that she’s objecting to a photograph I took of her store and posted to my Flickr account along with a wry comment about the pun in her business name (something along the lines that such puns should be outlawed).

(I’m not going to link to the image or name her business, if you’re really interested you can go poking around my Flickr account until you find it yourself).

She also posted a lengthy and similarly enraged comment to said photograph (and sent a very similar email) alleging that I’m some kind of racist who hates Aboriginies and Aboriginal culture.

After getting over the shock of this accusation I carefully wrote a reply explaining my viewpoint on the matter – that a humorously intended comment about puns in store names does not equate to an attack on the store involved, and that race had nothing to do with my comment at all. I also altered the name and description on the photograph to make it less likely to come up in connection with her business and to remove any criticism about the pun – not because I think I was in the wrong, but as a general gesture of good will.

I’m happy to report that she followed this up with an apologetic reply implying that she (or someone at the store) misread my comment and thought that I was saying that stores selling Aboriginal artefacts should be illegal, as opposed to groan-inducing puns (which really shouldn’t be illegal anyway as they give people like me something to complain about, and where would be without that? :). So the whole issue now seems to be laid to rest and everything is good.

It was an interesting few hours though, wondering if my website and personal details were going to end up on some kind of racism watch list. But hey, all’s well that ends well.

Just Some General Ramblings

Exactly what it says on the box

What a week.

Katie’s dad’s funeral was on Tuesday, which was… well funerals are never really fun or anything, by definition they’re pretty awful, but as funerals go it was fairly good. Even though we had to hurry off quickly afterwards which made me feel like a right bastard 🙁

We had a big meeting/conference at work on Thursday with a consultant on how to overcome some of the ‘challenges’ the company is facing. It was a good exercise, mostly he just asked us a bunch of questions and wrote down the answers – he’ll be getting back to us with some recommendations shortly. Should be interesting.

Veteran actor Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell passed away. My generation are most familiar with him as ‘Gramps’ in the Late Show’s Charlie the Wonder Dog, but he appeared in over a hundred different productions including Catweazle and Thunderbirds. He’s apparently getting a state funeral, which is richly deserved.

Yesterday we all went to the polls to vote on Daylight Savings. Once again it was roundly defeated, which is a nice kick in the face to the politicians who forced a three year trial on us with the assurance that once we’d experienced it, we’d love it. D’Orazio has commented that he’s very disappointed and that it would have been better if the Government had just brought it in without a referendum – but then he’s always had problems with the concept of ‘Democracy’.

After voting I cycled over to the Belmont Brickworks because I’d heard that a housing estate was being built around them. As it turned out the rumours were somewhat exaggerated – the housing estate is in fact merely being built near them and the works remain in splendid isolation. I took a bunch of photos, which can be seen on my Flickr account, then went on to explore the artificial island at Ascot Waters. Despite it being a mild, sunny day I had the entire place to myself – with the exception of a couple of stray dogs.

Then it was dinner at the Phi Yen with the family and my aunt who’s over from England. The food was excellent as usual but I swear every time we go there it gets louder and louder. We were also visited by a cat that apparently slipped through the door unnoticed when someone when in or out, and wandered from table to table until the staff noticed and evicted it 🙂

So yeah, a busy week all up. Hopefully the one ahead will be a bit more sedate.