Tuesday, May 31, 2005
tone of the times
A cell phone ring tone is set to top the British singles chart, outselling the new single by the band Coldplay by nearly four to one...
Coldplay had hoped to go straight to No.1 with its new song, Speed of Sound. But it appeared that Crazy Frog Axel F [a ring tone based on the sound of a revving Swedish moped] - which is available for digital download and as a compact disc single in retail stores - would prevail, said Castaldo.
The ring tone was expected to replace the Oasis tune Lyla as the No.1 hit on the list by the Official UK Charts Co.
I don't know whether to be amused or horrifed. A ring tone on the really truly music charts? *old person voice* Kids these days just don't know what real music is.
You can watch a snippet of the Crazy Frog Axel F video here.
Monday, May 30, 2005
and the winner is...
Today is shaping up to be the best day. First, I have the day off work. Second, I went with fear and trembling to find out what's wrong with my computer. The guy fixed it on the spot and only charged me $45, mostly for the part he had to replace. A 30min round trip and now the computer is working like a charm. That out of the way I got busy. I've now had breakfast, gotten two loads of laundry done and sorted out my bedroom and it's only 10.45am.
Too productive for a day off you say? That's okay, because I have a DVD (Before Sunset) to kick back with while I have lunch. I loved the first movie and have finally got around to watching this sequel. It intrigues me that they got the same two actors and the same director, nine years later, to resume the story of the same two characters nine years later. And is there a pesky flatmate to consider in all this freedom? No there isn't. Crank up the Rob Zombie CD, coz I have the house to myself all day.
Last but not least, I just checked my email and found out that I won three of the bma magazine contests that I posted about the other day. That's right, not one, but three. Yaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh! What did I win? Well, Human After All by Daft Punk, Sound Deluxe 2 by DJ Halo, and a double pass to Red Gecko on Friday night.
Okay I'll be off doing a happy dance now.
Update: steaming hot prawn laksa for dinner, then off to Sky's house to eat Chocolate Truffle Gateau from Michel's and celebrate my promotion. I found out on Friday, but I haven't had the chance to celebrate until today. Same job, same team, but I just went up a level. It's a little extra money, which is always nice. Worth a chocolate cake anyway. ^_^
Sunday, May 29, 2005
what I'm reading: digital fortress
I'm in the middle of Dan Brown's Digital Fortress at the moment. His books are great. Full of little known facts about history and science and religion, yet somehow he manages to churn out all of this information without stifling the pace of the story - no mean feat. I started, like most people, with The Da Vinci Code. I didn't find it so contraversial, having believed or at least known of some of its claims previous to reading the book, but the writing was wonderful. For the first time in a while I couldn't put a book down and I immediately borrowed everything the library had from him.
Now I've read Angels and Demons, am reading Digital Fortress, and am just about to read Deception Point. The Da Vinci Code's ending is a little anti-climatic, but Angels and Demons hooks you in till the last gasp - wow.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Amazing how much difference just having a little extra cash makes. I find myself buying all the minor things I've been telling myself I could do without for the past year. I was getting sick of that little voice in my head saying, "you don't really need that". Why don't voices in your head ever tell you nice stuff? Maybe if they did everyone wouldn't be at their shrink trying to get rid of them.
Today my list included:
- double brie (King Island...the good stuff)
- a double adaptor (so we can play the stereo without unplugging the TV)
- one of those little doodads that you measure spaghetti with
"Do you think that's enough spaghetti for two people?"Such is the decisiveness level of our household. One more little doodad, one less decision to make. Plus shopping for little things is satisfying. I got those three things for under $10, but I feel like I went shopping.
"Um, I guess it's enough."
"But if you were making it, would you use more or less."
"A little...more? I don't know!"
In other shopping news, I may have finally found a bookcase. I was using one of the shelves in my hall cupboard as a bookshelf. Now that I cleared the spare shelves in that cupboard out to give Phi some room to store his stuff, the books are stacked in a couple of boxes and I keep finding more, plus DVDs and the like. Anyway, it's very sad the boy had to borrow his dad's stationwagon because his car is taking so long to fix, but if it means I can get my bookcase home without paying a delivery fee, I'm prepared to be quietly happy that he did (that he borrowed the wagon, not that his car is broken - that would be too mean; the boy loves his car). That place is great on prices, but delivery is steep - $40.
The bookcase made up for the fact that the heater I wanted was sold out. It's on a raincheck but the mornings are getting so cold now that I will be feeling every day I wait to bring it home. Wednesday morning this week hit a new low of -3 degrees C. If you're unfamiliar with the Celcius scale, -3 = too cold to be getting out of bed without a heater.
Friday, May 27, 2005
I recently discovered bma, Canberra's free entertainment guide and yeah, yeah it's nice to find out that stuff does actually happen here after dark and all, but my favourite thing about it is the free stuff. I have yet to win anything, yet I am totally committed to the pursuit of amusing the editor (how one wins free stuff). Today I had to tell him:
- what makes me laugh till I wet myself
- what else is blue
- what noise a backfiring interstellar phaser torpedo makes
- the first thing I think of when he says the word 'French'
- what makes me restless
- the grimiest thing I've come across in my short time on the planet
- the nicest thing I ever did
Bass Boy once won concert tickets by delivering his 'wittiest pick-up line' on a radio show. The line? **Barry White voice** "You lookin' to buy a dog? Well don't bother...'cause I'm all the puppy lovin' you need." He was all of twelve at the time.
The best thing I ever won on the radio was a $1000 shopping spree. That's how I got my first decent camera ($400). Still, I think I like concert tickets the best. I love it when you've made an oh-so-sensible decision that you absolutely cannot see the Taste of Chaos show because you've already seen Powderfinger and just got tickets for Rove Stands Up...and then get to go anyway. Hopefully that's a prediction for the future.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
So we received a confidential submission from ASIO on our latest discussion paper. They had marked it 'confidential', which in terms of a discussion paper just means "don't put it on your website" (it's not like I'm telling you any secrets here, though you're welcome to think that I am if it makes your day seem more exciting...)
However, they also sent it with a despatch advice for classified matter...why I'm not sure. This is the point at which we discover that, with all the recent changes, not one of our team has the right security clearance to receive this document. Um, yeah...
So officially we haven't received that yet. Or opened the envelope. Or seen it even. What submission? What are you talking about?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
the laws of anime
Pretty funny list of the laws of anime if you've seen any.
My favourites include:
#11 - Law of Inherent Combustibility
Everything explodes. Everything.
#20 - Law of Militaristic Unreliability
Huge galaxy-wide armadas, entire armies, and large war machines full of cruel, heartless, bloodthirsty warriors can be stopped and defeated with a single insignificant example of a caring/loving emotion or a song.
#27 - Law of Conservation of Firepower
Any powerful weapon capable of destroying/defeating an opponent in a single shot will invariably be reserved and used only as a last resort.
#31 - Law of Follicular Chromatic Variability (from Spellweaver)
Any color in the visible spectrum is considered a natural hair color. This color can change without warning or explanation.
#34 - Law of Probable Attire
Female characters wear as little clothing as possible, regardless of whether it is socially or meteorologically appropriate. Any female with an excessive amount of clothing will invariably have her clothes ripped to shreds or torn off somehow. If there is no opportunity to tear off the afore-mentioned female's clothes, then she will inexplicably take a shower for no apparent reason (also known as the Gratuitous Shower Scene).
Whenever there is a headwind, Male characters invariably wear a long cloaks that don't hamper movement and billow out dramatically behind them.
#40 - Law of Nasal Sanguination
When sexually aroused, males in Anime don't get erections, they get nosebleeds.
#42 - Law of Juvenile Omnipotence
Always send a boy to do a man's job. He'll get it done in half the time and twice the angst.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I had used a pseudonym. I could blog about a lot of nasty things and get away with it. So far, I haven't felt a need for writing anything that could "come back and bite," but what if I did come up with something like that in the future? What could I do?Things can come back to bite you not because you were nasty, but because what we think is okay changes. For example, lots of people back in the 50s/60s joined the Socialist Party while in college. At the time it seemed like a better way to them, a theory that could revolutionise the way people think about wealth distribution and contribution to society. Then they left college, entered the workforce (or worse, public life) and found that their membership in the Socialist Party (which might have lasted only a few months) was never going to go away, and in a country that worships Capitalism.
Why do you use a pseudonym, Chosha (is Chosha a real name)?
Now imagine they'd blogged about it. Spent time and talent extolling the virtues of a new system over their current form of government. Toyed with the idea that anarchy was perhaps the only true path to freedom. Do you think Clinton could have gotten away with the 'I never inhaled' thing if he'd spent hours in college mulling over the wonder of the weed in his blog? That we'd have any conjecture over whether or not Dubbya went AWOL from his National Guard service in order to help run Winton Blount's campaign in Alabama if he'd been a dedicated blogger?
But that's not why I like anonymity on the net. If the things I write come back to bite me, maybe I deserve to own them. They were my thoughts at the time. And I don't use it to be nasty, because several of my real-life friends read (or at least know about) this blog.
There are reasons I don't use my name though. Firstly there's the inevitable security reasons. I'm already giving my real location, details of my real job, etc, so I avoid giving my real name, and I use nicknames that appeal to me for the people I write about. I don't really imagine that anyone's ever going to be so fascinated or incensed by what I write that they need to hunt me down, but it seems prudent.
It also takes away some of the preconceived notions. For example, I've had heaps of people assume that I'm a guy on internet discussion boards. Why? Because I argue logically. They've actually said that's the reason - and how stupid is that? In fact, I've had people turn around as soon as I mention I'm female and start telling me (when they disagree with me) that I'm only arguing certain points 'because I'm a woman'. This from the same people who had assumed I was a guy scant days before. On the net I am the words I write, the ideas I have, the jokes I make. In real life I'm what people see, and what they choose to see. At least to them. Sometimes I feel frustrated that they claim the right to decide who I am. Though the same phenomenon occurs with a blog persona (you have an idea of what you think I'm like, I have an idea of what I think you're like, and probably neither is wholly right) on the net I don't feel the weight of it.
Long live anonymity...whoever he is.
By the way, chosha is a Japanese word. It means writer/author.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
You are feeling very sleeeepy...
This weekend I caught up on about 12 hours of sleep I missed throughout the week. It was glorius. After sleeping in on Saturday and having an extra nap Saturday afternoon after Phi went to work, I stayed up a little to ring Tetchan at a reasonable hour (her time) before more sleep. Sunday morning I felt truly rested, but during the afternoon another inpromptu nap snuck up on me as I was reading on the lounge. I really must have needed it because Dan Brown books do NOT induce sleep. Quite the opposite.
In other sleep-related news, I finally got my winter quilt out (100% duck down) and put soft, purple flannelette sheets on the bed. SOOOO hard to get out of bed in the morning now, even with my trusty column heater keeping the chill at bay. We just started hitting 0 degree Celcius temperatures before the frosty dawn here in the cold capital. Winter's come late this year, but arrived nonetheless. Officially it starts first of June, but the weather started getting cold last year in early May. Now I'm wondering how long it will last.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
and so goodbye
Fin was farewelled yesterday with one of our traditional Friday afternoon teas ~ mucho delicious edibles + champagne for the collection of happy winos I work with. Friday afternoons are pretty much a bust as far as real work goes, as we can find something to celebrate pretty much any Friday we choose: people starting, people leaving, birthdays. We knew Scotty (our new-ish manager) had gotten into the spirit of things when he announced one Friday morning that he'd bought a cake so we could have an afternoon tea to celebrate it being the Friday before a long weekend. Niiiice.
Cramer came back to visit as we'd teed up with him to use one of his amazing photos (framed) as a present. Nice to see him as always. The wonderful news is that he'll be working with us about 10 hours a week for a few months as a consultant. That is going to make a huge difference.
Friday, May 20, 2005
The Australian manga Oztaku was a good find. I also got an Oztaku publication called I & I by Avi and an artist whose name I will put in later, a kind of 'odd couple' story about two very different guys sharing a dorm room at uni. It was pretty funny and I hope to get the other chapters when they are published. The story starts during O-week:
As at most Australian universities the theme of O-week is alcohol (our legal drinking age is 18). Accordingly, David proceeds to sample everything and then enter a centurion contest where he's trying to drink 100 beers. At some point he's also tried skateboarding and broken parts of himself. He stops in between beer rounds to check his pockets and see what he's managed to sign himself up for:
This is the funniest bit, but for those of you who are not already laughing out loud, let me fill you in. Yaoi is a genre of manga (comics) and anime (animation) that basically translates as "boy love" - stories about boys falling in love. The "two hot chicks" on the card are two (very pretty) boys.
Somehow David manages to find his way to the hallway outside his dormroom:
If I had posted the bits with his extremely studious and well-behaved roommate, you'd see why this story has a heap of potential to be hilarious.
(These excerpts posted with the permission of the author.)
In other highlights, I finally bought myself a New Nelson - the biggest, scariest kanji character dictionary on the planet. Been waiting a long time for that one. I have it on good authority that they are super-helpful when you're trying to translate songs. I also got a $10 discount - yah anime.au!
And finally, though there was plenty else to enjoy, I've just included a few pics of some of those brave types who cosplayed. No j-rock cosplay sadly...maybe next time.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow!
**SPOILER WARNING**Definitely the best Star Wars movie ever!
Soooo tired today. What I was thinking coming to work after seeing the midnight+1min session of Star Wars, I do not know. Now drifting through the day in a haze of happy tiredness.
We got to the cinema kind of late for lining up – around 10pm as opposed to those who’d been there since the morning – but we’d decided on a more obscure cinema and the line wasn’t too long. Of course the drawback was that while Neo was off taking pics at the bigger cinema with Lord Vader and random storm troopers (such a cool pic!), I was in a conservative, costumeless crowd. But it did make life easier for Drummer Girl and her broken ankle. Can’t have a cast and crutches stop you getting your Star Warsie goodness.
The last two movies were wonderful to behold (awesome cities, interesting peoples, amazing CG ~ seeing Yoda fight for the first time was SO COOL! ~ cool battle scenes) but the scripts were lacking and much of the dialogue as corny as a daytime TV soap. It’s an old story that Lucas should stick to being a phenomenal ideas man and leave the script to a more able pen. I still loved the movies ~ come on, it’s STAR WARS ~ but the flaws showed.
Not Episode 3. Revenge of the Sith was so good! It filled in all the spaces of course between 2 & 4 (even small things explained so much, like Yoda’s reference to Obiwan’s training at the end of the movie). So many touches of brilliance in the story and the filmmaking. I thought Lord Grievous’ physical makeup was an important precursor to Vader becoming a biomech. The scene with the children floored me. The one on the shore of the lava pool had me staring wide-eyed. Certain Jedi deaths left me in tears.
I never realised more than in this episode that much of the Star Wars saga ~ the battle between the Empire and the Republic, and the role of the Jedi in that saga ~ are really just a backdrop for the story of Anakin Skywalker and the ‘man’ he became. I think all brilliant epics are told that way. Without the story of one or a few, the story of many becomes generic, meaningless.
Man how I wish that Lucas was making episodes 7-9 as he first planned to. It’s the end of an era that’s spanned a lot of my years. But what an ending!
Monday, May 16, 2005
i wanna rock and roll all night...
If you just completed the line by singing "and party every day!" then it's a shame you weren't at my house tonight. Phi and I started reminiscing about KISS at dinner and ended up watching one of his DVDs the rest of the evening - interviews and music clips of KISS both with and without makeup - while swapping trivia and details of the KISS concerts we've been to. I knew Phi was a KISS fan, but I had no idea how much of one. He's even paid obscene amounts of money to see them live from a good seat (is it sad that I totally understand and approve of that? No! No it isn't! haha). KISS were my first ever concert, and one of the best (of hundreds) I've seen live.
The boy never stops getting cooler. And no, I don't care if your definition of cool doesn't include liking crazy hair bands from the 80s, so don't even go there. He also has a really kick-ass pair of steel-capped leather boots - not quite like KISS' own, but somewhat inspired by them. Totally impractical of course, especially now he no longer has a motor bike, but I think that's part of the reason I like them. He reminds me of the rockers I used to hang out with in high school, except he's a lot less likely to get into a fight. He's certainly the most fun housemate I've ever had anyway. And all this from a guy that pays his rent on time, has nice friends and understands the Tao of the dishcloth. Is this Fate's way of apologising for how badly last year sucked? Either way I'm loving it.
Anyway, to end what has become my Ode to Phi: the biggest revelation of coolness tonight had nothing to do with KISS or leather or concert tickets. The boy is 27 years old and he owns Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan...on vinyl. A kindred spirit in the Cold Capital...who'da thunk it?
Saturday, May 14, 2005
my first con
So anime.au05 was this weekend. I only attended today as tomorrow is more of the same, plus a big trivia game that I, as a anime non-enthusiast would suck at.
I'd tell you my adventures now, but I'll wait for the photos instead. Man, I need a digicam.
Friday, May 13, 2005
I'm learning to check my dockets really carefully lately. Most supermarkets here have a policy that if an item scans differently to the advertised price on the ticket, you get that item for free. I have a good memory for numbers, so if I mentally take note of the prices as I shop, I can usually spot when one comes up wrong at the register. I've discovered that about every second trip to the store I get something for free. Last week I scored 10kg of potatoes, this week a dozen eggs. $5 is not a bad discount on a grocery bill.
Wouldn't it be good if it worked that way in the rest of life? If a guy turns out to not be what he advertised himself as being, I get my life back as it was before I met him. Including the CDs he borrowed. And with no memory of the night we stargazed in a distant field with an inky black sky...so wonderful then, so bittersweet now. *slightly over-dramatic sigh*
Then again, maybe that would put me in the same position as the characters in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind...
...who did get their lives back by having someone erase their memories of the person they had loved and lost, but were doomed to repeat the past because they could not remember it.
At the supermarket this could only be a good thing.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
abandoned baby rescued by dog
This seems to be my week for finding amazing animal stories.
This baby girl was abandoned in Ngong forest in Kenya. The authorities estimate that she spent two days alone before she was rescued...by a dog. The baby was wrapped in an old shirt and the dog picked her up and carried her across a busy road and THROUGH A BARBED WIRE FENCE back to the shed where its own puppies were nestled. The dog protected the baby until it was found by a mother whose children had heard the baby crying.
Okay, it's not a harmonica-paying elephant, but it brought a tear to my eye. Actually I kind of wept, but whatever...
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
michael's thoughts on blogging
These poems are not mine, though I assembled them. They are actually distilled from the April 20, 22 and May 20 posts at Winter of Discontent. The observations and thoughts were pure and poetic and it occurred to me to present them in this boiled-down way, rather than just posting a link.
blogging is little more than telepathy
as I sit here and think
and make nothing more than squiggly lines on the page
I am communicating to you
without body language and without eye contact
today is friday april 22…2:45pm
I am sitting in my living room on a wireless laptop
and you are here with me at this moment in time
even if you're reading this years from now
if you have your name on your blog, you're hardcore
in our lifetime, we will see someone very important get into a lot of trouble for something they're writing on their blog right now
future judges, senators, celebrities, advocates
are saying things right now that will be exposed or twisted some day
blogging is the new marijuana
everyone's doing it
it may come back to bite you in the ass one day
someone might be inspired
to see what kind of person you were at some point in time
dancing naked in public, as we know, is very fun
but has its consequences
my deepest thoughts, my tirades
in google's cache for eternity
and spill shit carelessly on the page
otherwise, you're writing in a journal
that isn't lying securely under your bed each night
sometimes, that’s the only way to be fully honest
when I first started blogging
it was all about the front
how do I be
but the front turns people off
you can't fake the funk
if, as bloggers, we're going to be naked in our writing
we can't be thinking about our image
we have to deliver the goods, and the goods are ourselves
that's what makes the best blogs great
now go to your blog
and say something revealing
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
wonderful things found on the library noticeboard
Library noticeboards are boring, right? Wrong! Mine is turning out to be a veritable treasure trove.
1. The last time there was a flyer for the funniest public lecture I've ever attended, featuring Terry Pratchett, the guy who wrote the Discworld series. I missed a free hotel lunch to see that one and it was worth every delectable morsel in the bain marie.
2. Today I found a flyer for an anime convention being held right here in Canberra NEXT WEEKEND! While I'm only into anime in a small way, these cons tend to celebrate many aspects of Japanese pop culture, including (dance! sing! shout!) j-rock.
You have to understand...this stuff never happens here. I'm lucky if I can find someone who speaks Japanese or has been to Japan. I haven't met a single person here who is really into Japan, except for one friend who is half-Japanese and she isn't into rock at all. This convention may be small and it may even turn out to be lame (only being in its second year), but the point is that for two days I get to wallow in Japanese stuff. Heaven.
3. I also found a flyer for an art course focusing mainly on drawing. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, so I think I'll give it a shot.
Monday, May 09, 2005
elephants are so cool!!
I can't believe it! After I answered the questions for Drip, I was looking around in Google trying to see if I could find some kind of relevent clip art to go with my post. Suddenly I come across this:
I have since discovered that an elephant band in Thailand not only plays harmonicas but lots of other instruments, too, and has in fact released two albums.
Here's a quote from a New York Times article:
But this quote from an Economist article is my favourite:
The Thai Elephant Orchestra...members play sturdier versions of traditional Thai instruments - slit drums, a gong hammered from a sawmill blade, a diddly-bow bass and xylophone-like renats - and a thundersheet and harmonicas.
Mr. Sulzer said he and Mr. Lair merely showed the elephants how to make the sounds, cued them to start and stop, and let them play as they wished. After five practice sessions, they started recording. Mr. Sulzer admits he was skeptical at first. "I thought we would just train elephants to hit something, and I would tape that and have to paste it together with other things." Instead, he recorded the performances intact, without overdubbing, in a teak grove, pausing only when outside noises intruded.
The players improvise distinct meters and melodic lines, and vary and repeat them. The results, at once meditative and deliberate, delicate and insistently thrumming, strike some Western listeners as haunting, others as monotonous.
I have long wanted to visit the Thai Elephant Conservation Center just to see the elephants and support their rehabilitation work for sick or abused (beaten, overworked) elephants, but now I want to go to Thailand to see elephants bopping to the beat. I love the fact that this is not merely something they’ve been trained to do, but something they apparently like doing and can improvise. I wonder if they’re up for impromptu jams…
The elephants are given a cue to start and then they improvise. They clearly have a strong sense of rhythm. They flap their ears to the beat, swish their tails and generally rock back and forth. Some add to the melody with their own trumpeting.
my bit in a blogathon
I became a part of a Blogathon! Here are the questions:
Do you have a hidden skill or talent that most people wouldn't know about? If so, what is it?
Okay I grinned at this question for about ten minutes thinking of several things I'm not willing to write in a blog that my friends read. ^^ But most people don't know that I write songs. Occasionally I'm even talented at it.
Who would you rather fist-fight: George W. Bush or Martha Stewart?
Definitely George W. Not feeling strongly about either insider training or the banality of placecards and floral centerpieces, I don't have anything against Martha. Dubbya however, I could cheerfully pummel for some time without getting bored. Also, with Dubbya having avoided Vietnam by string-pulling, and having not even fulfilled his duty in the National Guard, and with Martha having just spent some time in prison, I think she'd be the tougher fight.
In a non-violent way, how can we convince you to dance naked in public?
Releasing hornets just as I'm finishing my shower comes to mind. It would look like dancing anyway. Of course that may be considered violent, if the hornets catch me. Alternatively you could bring back Woodstock. With the original lineup.
How many containers of Silly Putty would you need to sculpt a life-sized statue of Andre The Giant (before he died)?
Silly putty weighs an ounce. Andre weighed 226.8 kg (500 lb) which is 8000 ounces. Now average human density is 1.0 grams/cm^3. Humans generally 'just' float and some more muscular people don't. Depending on its shape, silly putty either floats or doesn't, so I'm guessing (based on no more scientific evidence than that) that their densities are roughly the same. Therefore it would take around 8000 ounce-sized containers. Of course long before the sculpture was finished, gravity would have turned it into a vast silly putty puddle, so the point is a bit moot.
Would an elephant make a good trombone player?
No, elephants don't play trombone for the same reason they don't play the trumpet. They just don't have the lips for it. They're actually much better on harmonica.
Thanks for the interview, Drip!
You too can become part of the GLORY that is the blogathon. Here are the rules:
1. If you'd like to be interviewed, leave a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions here. They will be different questions than the ones above.
3. You'll update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You'll include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you'll ask them five questions.
Friday, May 06, 2005
fun-filled hours in triage
I got the call just before leaving work. Little Drummer Girl has slid on the gravel in the driveway and may have broken her ankle. A short time later DG, her folks, and I were in the car heading for Emergency. That was around 6pm.
What I learned tonight was that registered nurses in Australia have the authority to make triage decisions. Emergency rooms serve you in turn according to the severity of your injury/illness and the nurse decides who is going next. What a nurse doesn't have the authority to do, however, is order an x-ray. Yes, you guessed it. 31/2 hours in the waiting room, only to have the doctor look at it and say, 'hmmmm, that'll need to be x-rayed'.
No!? Really?? o_O
The nurse had told us the same thing about thirty seconds after we walked in. If we'd have done the x-ray then, DG could have walked (okay wheeled) into the doctor's office and actually gotten a diagnosis. In reality that diagnosis came 1 1/2 hours later. Another hour to make and set the cast and we were finally released into the night.
Poor DG. Setting the bone is always a painful business and this was no exception. It was also a nasty fracture, so it's likely she has surgery tomorrow. Tonight's cast was put on only to stop her from further displacing the bone while she's sleeping. After surgery she'll get a new, lighter cast.
saisho guu, janken pon!
So you've got an art collection that is going to fetch a HUGE price at auction ($US17m), but you've checked out both Christie's or Sotheby's auction houses and they seem about equivalent in merit. What a dilemma! How are you going to decide who can best market and auction your very valuable items?
Of course! Just like Takashi Hashiyama, you'd resort to a good ole game of rock, scissors, paper, right? I thought so.
The funniest thing about this story is that it is just so true. The Japanese take 'rock, scissors, paper' (janken) to a whole 'nother level. I've not only seen it in the school where I used to teach, but right through the rest of society, too. They have variations on the theme as well, like guu-pa (rock and paper only), which is used to decide teams or otherwise split up a group of people quickly. One of my colleagues there told me there was a grand final soccer match that ended in a tie and they used janken to decide the winner. Crazy stuff.
I sometimes use such methods when I cannot make a decision," Hashiyama told The New York Times.As a side note: I think I could have identified him as Japanese just from his English, even without knowing he'd decided a multi-million dollar deal using janken.
As both companies were equally good and I just could not choose one, I asked them to please decide between themselves and suggested to use such methods as rock paper scissors.
And in case you were wondering...Christie's chose scissors, defeating Sotheby's paper.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
read the fine print
From one of my bank accounts, internet bill-paying is fee-free. From my other account, it attracts a fee of 1.5% of the amount paid. If however I transfer money between my accounts, it costs nothing. In other words, for exactly the same transaction I can pay a fee, or I can pay nothing just by transferring the money over first.
Pity I found this out AFTER using the second account for a $4000 transaction. Yes, 1.5% of 4000 is $60. S.I.X.T.Y. D.O.L.L.A.R.S out of my pocket and into the bank's pocket, for the same service they provide for FREE on my other account.
You can probably imagine how I felt about the bank employee who told me (cheerfully? smugly? does the bank know there's a difference?) over the phone that all of this information was in the 'terms and conditions' brochure they gave me when I opened the account. Was she under the impression I would find my own stupidity comforting?
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
In the continuing staffing circus saga, Fin has announced he has a new job. I am stunned and a little daunted. After he leaves, of the four people on our team, I will be the one who's been on that team the longest - and I've only been there three-and-a-half months. The project we've been working on has been running for over two years.
I can see a lot of rereading of old files in my future, and a lot of advice-seeking. Don't get me wrong. I'm not in charge of it all. But my team leader was working in the Dept of Health scant weeks ago and has learned all she knows about radiocommunications only since joining us. She is pretty good and managed to really hit the ground running, but this new twist is the equivalent of the ground buckling under her feet while she's doing it.
And the silver lining on these gathering clouds? Well, this is a job he wanted, so I'm happy for him. It may also create movement in a way that allows me to apply for a job at a higher level. It's too early to tell if that will happen, but it does have some silvery potential.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
cruisey and katie, sitting in a tree...k.i.s.s.i.n.g.
Monday, May 02, 2005
palahniuk the sage
And I wasn't the only slave to my nesting instinct. The people I know who used to sit in the bathroom with pornography, now they sit in the bathroom with their IKEA furniture catalogue.I found the perfect bathmat last week. In the screwed up mismatch of colour that is my bathroom, beige is the lone neutral standing bravely against the madness. Buying the plush, perfectly-matched beige mat seemed almost a kindness under the circumstances. Now it catches my eye each time I walk past the bathroom. And I smile with satisfaction each time, too, at how perfectly it matches. Am I in danger? Am I falling softly and slowly, cushioned by soft furnishings, into IKEA madness?
You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.Though I may be matching home accessories a little too happily and often, I'm pretty sure I'm still some distance from the cliff edge. I'm still using one of the shelves in my hall cupboard as a bookcase. But I do know what my next four purchases will be (kitchen clock, magazine holder, picture frame, bookcase) so maybe I'm creeping closer faster than I thought. O_O'
It used to be enough that when I came home angry and knowing that my life wasn't toeing my five-year plan, I could clean my condominium or detail my car. Someday I'd be dead without a scar and there would be a really nice condo and car.In the end I'm not so worried that my possessions will come to own me. I'm more scared that finding joy in a bathmat is indicative of a different kind of complacency - one that whispers that my recent quieter life is becoming the whole of me; that soon I won't crave to get out and DO SOMETHING, but instead be satisfied with small plush-piled pleasures. After all, how DOES a person come to a place where they can believe that the right lamp will make them happy? I don't want to die without any scars, having attempted nothing more challenging than ensuring that everyone uses a coaster on my walnut wooden table. I need to do more to keep a sense of bravery and action in my existence.
I say never be complete. I say stop being perfect. I say let's evolve. Let the chips fall where they may.I like the idea of being a work-in-progress. It leaves room for possiblity.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
house -> home
I really saw getting a flatmate a necessary financial evil. I thought I'd have to adjust to sharing my space all over again, and find it difficult to find the time to take my tidiness level up a notch as you need to when someone else is going to be affected by you leaving your stuff in what is now common space.
Actually it's brilliant. Phi feels like an old friend, without the baggage. We eat dinner together every night we're both home and it's interesting. I have more to talk about with this guy I've known barely a fortnight than I do with people I've worked with for over a year. We both like our own space and do our own thing, but it's surprising how often a random question or comment turns into a half hour conversation.
This was obviously a huge relief - to pick a flatmate and have him not turn out to be a nutcase or a bastard. What I didn't expect was how it's made me feel about the house. I've lost half my space and it feels more like home, not less. I like being there and I like the way the house is taking shape around us. I even like evidence of him being there, and I am going to suggest that he put some of the pictures he's brought with him up on the wall.
It'd be easy for this to come across as a big ole crush because I like him so much as a person, but that isn't the scenario I'm describing. In fact, that's just the point. I feel like I can create a real home with this guy, in spite of the fact that we are two people with quite seperate lives who just happen to share living space. It's like I'm setting up home with my brother, except that I have never felt particularly at home with my real brother. Maybe that's what is causing all this surprise. I'm not even sure things would have gone this well with my sister, even though I get along with her better and like her lifestyle.
Anyway, the point is that this is a good surprise and a welcome change.