Sunrise obscured by bushfire smoke this morning.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The man's jeans are dirty enough to have become shiny in parts. The skin on his hands and neck is papery, blotchy, abraded in strange places. His hair is cut very short and is either naturally a faded ginger colour, or the man smokes a lot and has white hair.
We sit next to each other for a few more stops. Nobody sits in the seats opposite. He carefully folds his newspaper, then puts it in his holdall before getting off at his stop. He leaves behind a slightly sickly, persistent smell and a fly which will not leave me alone.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
"It's the trick I've been training for", said Blaine through a megaphone standing on a street corner, shouting at anyone who was unfortunate to be passing by. "Look at me! Look at me!", he added.
Reaction to the news has been overwhelming: "Thank fuck for that", said Milton Armtwistle, society burglar; "Twat", enthused Devon McCreamy, lady-adventurer; "Didn't he do that before?", enquired Lennon McCartney, 57, a retired hamster sexer.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Anyway, this season looks promising. There's a nice setup for some super-baddies to appear in later episodes, Jimmy Olsen has turned up, and things might actually happen this season. Then again, I have said that at the start of every season, and for the first four seasons of monster-of-the-week episodes that ended with Clark making big cow eyes at Lana but not doing anything I was proven wrong. Season 5 broke the mould by having things happen that wouldn't be put right by the end of the episode.
I watched it on my phone because my wife hates the show, having been put off by the motw episodes. There's no point trying to watch it on tv, because here in australia they seem to enjoy messing about with their schedules. Just when you think they're showing season five, they slip in a couple of season fours, then change the timeslot before cancelling it for a few weeks and then bringing it back on a different day. It's not just Smallville they do this with, more popular shows like House are not immune. There's also the excessive advert frequency.
So, you've no choice really - download it, watch it when you want, where you want. Apparently, that's illegal. I'd pay for it, but there's no one that wants to take my money - they'd rather call me a criminal.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
A bit of googling later, and I found out that you can share files, and get it to work as a modem with a mac - but only via bluetooth. Grr - no good for me unless I shell out for a dongle. There's also Missing Sync, an Active Sync replacement for Mac OS X, but it costs money and requires OS 10.4 (I've got 10.3 - so that would be an extra $200 on top). I thought of using FTP to transfer files, but Windows Mobile doesn't come with a FTP client. You can buy them, but I'm a skinflint.
Ah-ha, I thought, Windows Mobile probably supports SMB (the windows standard for sharing folders over a network). I know that OS X comes with samba support, and so can join in Windows network file sharing fun. Let's see if I can get that to work.
First, on your Mac, go to System Preferences. Choose "Sharing", and enable "Windows File Sharing". This starts the SMB server. OSX will tell you the share name you can use at the bottom of the screen (in my screenshot it says \\192.168.1.102\gareth, but see later for why this doesn't work). The way sharing works in OSX, you'll only be able to read files in your Public directory, and write files in the "Public/Drop Box" directory.
Right, now on your mobile device go to File Explorer. Choose menu, then Open Path, New Path and enter \\[mac machine name]\[username]\public. The IP address version does not work in windows mobile, you have to use the machine name. For me, that was \\ibook\gareth\public, check the name at the top of the sharing window. You'll be prompted for a username, password and domain if all goes well. Enter your Mac username (the short version - not your full name) and password, and "WORKGROUP" for the domain. That should be it. You can now read all the files in the Public directory and write files to the "Drop Box" directory, via Wi-Fi and it didn't cost you a thing. Bargain.
Now, this is just file sharing - not syncing, so no automatic updates of files, copying of address books or anything like that. But this is enough for me, and I'm chuffed to have got it working.
UPDATE: In Leopard (OS X 10.5), Windows file sharing is a little dodgy. If you're using Leopard and having problems connecting to the Mac from your Windows mobile device (Login failed?), try removing the "workgroup" from the domain field on your windows mobile device. Just leave it blank. Worked for me.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The man's a fucking genius. In the last week I've read about a man searching for the last dodos; Elvis wishing he could play the clarinet like Eisenhower instead of being a Senator; fishing for Leviathan after the Great Fire of London; zen sumos throwing their opponents with the power of their minds; and what happened to Mickey, Donald, and Goofy at the end of the world. All meticulously researched, and completely believable.
Every single story is great. They're all examples of a writer getting an idea and running with it, elbowing aside worries about whether the story will find a market or any of the other crap that gets in the way. "Horror, We Got" is the perfect example. In it Israel builds a time machine, and the Jews take over the world just to spite the paranoid anti-semites. In the notes at the end of the book Waldrop recounts the first time it was read aloud at a convention:
Ed Bryant was watching. He said for the first ten minutes it was like watching the audience in Mel Brooks' The Producers watching Springtime For Hitler... Then people slowly caught on, and they ended up applauding.
Above all, they're examples of a writer having fun and enjoying what he's doing.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
It has a great plot, interesting characters and a very well thought out fantasy world that combines elements of real-world history with magic and vampires. No problems so far.
There were sections however, that only hint at what's going on. Conversations where one character says something vague, followed by the other character thinking things along the lines of "...he knew exactly what she meant". Well I don't, tell me! I don't have a clue, mate. I hate being made to feel stupid, or that I've missed something, mainly because it doesn't happen very often (me being super-clever, of course. Much cleverer than you, for instance. Yes, I am).
Luckily, the interwebs have found another review that comments on the same thing. Which is fine by me. As long as it's not just me feeling a bit stupid I can cope with it. Maybe, as the reviewer above states, it's one of those books you can keep reading over and over, getting more out of it each time - but that will have to wait until my sulk at feeling thick is over.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
"Aye, yer lordship."
"Er, yes. Just George will be fine, Moistbeard. Our company culture is one of informality. Anyway, let's get down to business. You've been with us a little over six months now, haven't you?"
"Aye, yer lord - aye."
"Company policy dictates that we have these little chats, they're called appraisals but they're more of an opportunity for us to get to know each other, decide what we can do to help you achieve your personal career goals."
"Size each other up, like Ahab and his fish."
"Yes. Ahab's in accounts, isn't he? Smashing fellow. So, let me just scan through your appraisal form and we'll take it from there. Hmm, under 'achievements' you've written 'plundered the seven floors, stirking fear into the hearts of all the desk-lubbers'. Care to elaborate?"
"Aye, sir. My crew and I have formed many a raiding party, gathering what booty we could find - staplers, photocopiers, serving wenches, dubloons."
"Dubloons are trousers, aren't they?"
"Beggin yer pardon, sir, but no. Them's pantaloons ye be thinking of."
"Yes, quite. Didn't know we had any serving wenches, either."
"Well, I was being polite there. Mildred the tea lady is a little creaky in the yardarm, but she'd have been offended if we hadn't at least tried to cart her off in captivity."
"Well, that certainly shows ingenuity and resourcefulness. You know, I could do with a stapler myself - they're jolly hard to find."
"Say no more, sir. I'll send my cabin boy over this afternoon."
"Well, thank you. I've never had much luck requisitioning one."
"No, sir. The stationery department is full of cutthroats and petty thieves, they don't follow the Law of the Sea. Luckily for us, my cutlass speaks their language. Yarr."
Monday, October 09, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
This weekend I had to strim our garden. We're moving out of rented accommodation so we need to make everything nice and tidy. I up-ended the strimmer to replace the plastic coil of whirling cellulose disruption, and proceeded to shriek like a pansy.
Nestling gently amongst the compacted, shredded lawn remnants was a redback spider. Sleek, black, pointy and kind of cool looking, it was the KITT of the spider world. But without the annoying, slightly camp voice.
Seemed a shame to have to stomp it into a small smear on the garage floor, but poisonous, potentially lethal creatures with the ability to scurry up my trouser leg have no place in my world.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Imagine a balloon squeezed at one end, the other end swelling and - well, ballooning. Paint a face on it and you'd have a first approximation of the guy that sat opposite me on the train the other day. He looked as if his tie was too tight. His eyes seemed to bulge, showing too much white. His face was almost purple. If he'd been frowning you would be concerned about how much fibre he was getting. Smiling beatifically, he stared at a point about two feet above my head and a foot to my right for the whole journey. It may be that his over-starched collar had forced his head into this position and he couldn't move any more. I surmised that he must be on his way to see a doctor, or perhaps a tailor.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
These look interesting, but 50 is far too many for me to get around to reading. I never seem to have that much time.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
The most beautiful woman in the world dozed off not long after I got on. Her head would slowly fall forwards, jerking herself awake in a glamorous, heartwrenchingly sexy way, followed by mopping up the drool from the corner of her mouth.
The most beautiful woman in the world woke up a few stops from the end of the line. She ran an unpainted fingernail around the inside of her right ear, delving into the folds. The most beautiful woman in the world wiped whatever she'd excavated on the lapel of her fashionable jacket before yawning and returning to her quiet contemplation of the world.
The most beautiful woman in the world lurched to her feet as the train pulled in to her station, she shuffled to the door along with all the other passengers, her long legs displayed to perfection in tailored trousers. Later, when she thinks nobody is looking she will retrieve her knickers which have disappeared up the crack of her arse.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Over here, most of the radio stations are total dogshit. They play adverts between each song, adverts during the news, sneak in adverts as part of the traffic reports, they'd probably even put an advert in the songs themselves if there's a quiet bit. When they're not whoring themselves, the songs they do play are crappy Americanized, middle of the road, poppy pap or sphincter-clenching Classic Rock where the music is drowned out by the creaking of the tight leather trousers and you can almost smell the hairspray. If a song does not have a guitar (or sample of a guitar) in it, you won't hear it. Triple M, for instance, pride themselves on the wide range of music they play: "You never know what we'll play next". Yes, I do. It'll be something shit with guitars in.
Don't get me wrong, I love guitar-based music. My tastes run the alphabet from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. It's just that I don't want to hear it all the time. I want my tastes to be challenged. The musical alphabet also includes the Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers, Divine Comedy, Eminem, Faithless. (OK, I know, some of them have guitars but they're not what you'd call Rock).
So we asked people, they suggested radio stations. They were shit. We despaired. We've been weaned on a constant diet of new music and diversity (ok, Radio 1's version of diversity which is good enough for us, thank you very much - you fans of Finnish nose-flute Gregorian chant death metal can pipe down now), pampered by an absence of advertising jingles. Eventually someone suggested Triple J (no, I don't know what it is with the triples either).
Now, the music on Triple J is really very good. They play a great range of music, and I've heard some quality Aussie tunes (the Hilltop Hoods, as an example). It's part of ABC (the Australian version of the BBC), so there's no adverts. Some of the DJs bore me to tears, but I can live with that. The only problem is one that makes me feel like an old git.
It's the swearing. Apparently, swearing is fine on Triple J. They don't mind it at all. No editing out rude words, no mangling of songs just because someone says "Shit". Quite refreshing. Not so good for the listening to the radio in the car with the kids in the back, or at home.
"Daddy, what did that man mean when he sang about John Howard knowing the taste of George's dick?"
"Spotted dick, son. It's a pudding with raisins in it."