20 December 2006

Average

According to the statisticians, UK 2006 was the warmest UK in history.

I, on the other hand, am showing a very luke warm average of posts on this website.  If I wasn't a closet collector, I'd have binned this site in favor of something else I couldn't stick my teeth into.

So yeah.  Average.

I suspect that my mood is somewhat negatively affected by the latest screening at Rio (my local cinema).  Went alone to a film called Pan's Labyrinth (something else in the native spanish) and wasn't quite prepared for the visual onslaught.  It's a fantastical movie, and I was hoping to find some hope in it along those lines.  

And I guess it is a sign of good storytelling, cause the movie could be received by audiences as a fantasy and walk out of it heart warmed that the human spirit can triumph in adverse circumstances.  I on the other hand couldn't buy into the fantasy elements, knowing them all too well as the inventions and delusions of the main protagonist.  And I near wept at the inevitable conculsion of the movie, because I suspect that a terrible number of humans live by the same inventions and delusions.

But don't let that stop you from watching this movie.  It is good, probably very good.  It looks great.  I really wanted to believe.  Just be prepared to walk along the edge of a cliff for the length of the movie and know that I, for one, just couldn't buy into the fantasy keeping me off the rocks.

It is officially Xmas time.  In an apparent "Do you thumb your nose at me?" moment (ref. warmest UK year in History), on the way to work I slipped on frozen pavement and had to duck to avoid spiders webs adorned with icicles.  Needless to say my nipples were VERY erect.  It was also DARK and the path was illuminated with festive decorations.  So its Xmas...

Actually I'm looking forward to Xmas this year.  Am forcing others to gather in our small abode to enjoy a vege feast on the 25th, and one of those others is my BIG sister.  'Tis always good to have family about over Xmas!

So if you don't hear from me before the 25th, as the current quince average would dictate, then have a good one.  Please don't get yourselves lost in a Labyrinth.  

FYI: Incredibly strangely Destiny's Child is playing on my stereo.  So also remember to leave your men at home...

05 December 2006

Raven-ous















Tower of London - not so long ago. Quite a cool looking raven. Obviously totally at ease with the tourists and photo taking. Just a shame that the wings are clipped. Spoils an otherwise amazing looking bird - the kind that you just can't help imagining pecking eyeballs out of decapitated heads, not that I saw any on the tour.




















Am humoured to think that bad movie titles still abound. The latest is Run, Fat Boy, Run. Ex-Friends Star David Schwimmer is directing and scenes for it have been filmed just round the corner of our flat. So while the name doesn't interest me in the least, at least my daily walk to the train station has been fun.

Life re-cap: New Job. Home in 6 weeks (only for two). Weather Mild. Hungry. Looking forward to Xmas...

03 November 2006

Under-Waterworld

Skipping all the nonsense that accompanies my usual lack-of-blogging here is an excited, yet relaxed, slightly tanned update from the northern hemisphere. For this King-of-Quince has recently arrived back from a snorkeling and diving holiday in Egypt where I wasn't terrorized at all, except by the resort helpers perpetual calls for 'beach volley, anyone?'

Despite this I managed to relax, forget about life and enjoy good weather and some amazing, freaky, cool, amazing, beautiful, (did I mention amazing already?) aquatic life and landscapes.

And thanks to the wonders of digital photography and the cool tech bods that came up with the CRAZY idea of designing underwater cases for such digital wizardry, I'm able so show you a teaser of the under-waterworld.


Spotted Dick? No just a friendly grouper (I think) that was always in the same spot on the house reef.


This amazing creature is an electric ray, maybe 30cm long. I was surprised to get this photo, as I was focusing on trying to photograph an octopus (Old Eight Arms) at the time. So very cute. By comparison check out this stingray.



Width? Maybe 1-1.5m. Length? Maybe 2-2.5m. Distances can be deceiving underwater, but this was very literally a monster. It had me worried in the way that I felt it would rupture my tank--by stabbing it's barb through me--if I decided to become a little too Steve Irwin. At 20m below the surface, I was very keen not to loose any air unnecessarily!

Here is my favorite critter photographed on holiday. I took about 10 photos of this beastie, and a movie; half showing it's alien grace in avoiding my unwanted attention the other half showing my lack of skill underwater. But this is my favorite pic. It is an illustration of just how cool nature is, and how lucky I am to be able to be here to see a small part of it. Here is Old Eight Arms:



And as a final photo, and to prove to those of you who can actually recognize me under my snazzy new mask (a birthday present), here I am breathing underwater. I am in fact half fish!



Note: this is likely the only photo I'll ever publicly publish of myself. I feel safe and anonymous, cause even I have trouble recognizing my smashing good looks under my mask sucking on a lifesaving, but huge, black lollipop!

Anyway, life is good. I'm now 30, but I'm relaxed about where I'm at. I think I have a semblance of a plan. There is NZ music on the stereo. I have a choice of beer and tea on the table next to me. Who cares that when I left work early at 4.55pm tonight, it was dark and 2 degrees outside? No, not me. Never!

27 September 2006

The strange world of the interweb

Very briefly, for i don't have much to say.  But I was amazed at the interweb today.  It connected a few disjoint things that I've been mulling over recently.  A while back I read Simon Singh 's "Big Bang" and in it it had a quote from Paul Dirac regarding how science was the complete opposite of poetry.  I agreed at the time, and then it popped up today as a quote of the day.  So I was intrigued.  hings like that probably pop up twice in my short term memory too often to follow like this, but I did.  And in the process I learned all sorts of things about old Paul.

But the best thing I 'learned' is that he re-discovered purling in knitting!  Which made me think of vaginas and Stronger Light, because when she is not a knitting tea cosy she'd prefer to knit vaginas...  God bless her little knitted socks!

So Physics and Vaginas is linked.

Thank god for the internet.

10 September 2006

Catching

Have a wee sniffly, the residue of a cold or my immune system's response to all the socialising I've been making it handle recently.  It is inbetween sniffles that I have noticed just how long that it has been since posting last.  A long time...  *sniffles*  A very long time...  *blows nose*

So what has been happening i hear you ask?  Well, couple of things.  I've started climbing, which I think I may have mentioned already.  Doing that 1 to 3 nights a week seriously cuts into blogging time, but sure leaves me with the satisfied aches and pains of true physical activity that no amount of typing will ever give.

I've been going out lots, and drinking too much and feeling TERRIBLE the next day, and then using that as a GREAT excuse to catch up on TV programs that I have burnt to my wonderful external hard drive.  This too cuts into communication time, but leaves me happy in the knowlege that I have at last caught up on phenomenons such as Firefly/Serenity.  Oh so much better than the Prison Break series I was previously watching which degenerated into addictive awefulness.  I'm now learning how to survive thanks to Ray Mears' Bushcraft series...

I've been watching movies.  Saw a couple at the local cinema and both were very good.  They were Volver and Little Fish.  Little Fish was amazing.  Loved every little scene in it, though Hugo's bearded ex-AFL star character was a might hard to watch at times.  Volver was great too.  I fell in love with Penelope's eyes the instant they come on screen, The movie that followed then allowed me a good reason to watch after them for the better part of two hours. *contented sigh*

I've even been shocked into internet silence by antipodean goings on.  What with Steve Irwin's death at the barb of a stingray (a death all the more keenly felt due to my own run in with the poisonous fish in Thailand) and Peter "perfect" Brock's death, I'm now waiting on internet news of a third high profile Aussie to die 'doing what they love...'  These things always come in threes.

And i've been to Brussels.  The belgium beer was fantastic.  Bruge was picturesque.  The food was fatty and rich.  Yum.

That is about all I have to say about that at the moment.  Hope you are all well.

16 August 2006

a shitty biscuit!

Bugger.  Went to the bank (online of course) to pay my dues and, well, fucked up proper.  I had thought that the measly amount of money I receive in what is termed my 'salary' was sufficient for the purchase of a removable hard drive as well as rent, food for the week, transport and beer (of course).  I was mistaken. 

The buggers at amazon dot bloody transact three days bloody later dot com didn't help cause they did just that.  Charge me three bloody days after I tried to buy the thing.  And timing wise they couldn't have chosen better to illustrate to the world that I HAVE NO MONEY.  It came JUST after I stupidly assumed i'd enough money to make the rent payment.  I'm officially in arrears...  To both Amazon and Sal.  'Tis and 'twill be a hard grind clawing my way back into liquidity.  Till I do I'll take solace in the beer, a liquidity of sorts...

Hope you are all well and not suffering what I like to term shitty biscuit syndrome.  SBS.  TLAs.  I love 'em!


10 August 2006

While I'm here

Visual Factory:

At work we have a glorified notice board. It is called the visual factory. It comprises a bunch of laminated info sheets that are not particularly visual or informative.

I on the other hand perceive my world as a visual factory. A proper one. Interesting and, well, visual. Some visuals of note...

V for Vendetta - Dvd, glad I watched it cause finding a library copy of the graphic novel was proving too difficult to come by. It reminded me of the comics, and made me so pleased that Chris G pushed it upon me (in his unassuming ways) back in the Todman St days. Some things you connect with in unpredictable ways. Others fit. Chris's suggestion fitted and it was good to be reminded of that thanks to the film. I can't knock it because of this even though there was no LSD induced revelation. Bah!

Little Fish - Actually this was more of a COMPLETE experience, visuals, accents, Shortland St actors and, well, just normal people. As a movie it works SO well in terms being it's namesake. Everything about the film is little fish. Ab-so-lutely loved it and was well homesick at the conclusion despite the fact that it was set in Aussie. Good old Joel Tolbeck turned up. I remember him in a weird NZ kid's program about pirates whose name I can't remember. Can anyone help?

Maimi Vice - well it was a film and therefore visual. But it was complete shite, and I don't have anything to say about it except that it was shite.

Firefly - THE PILOT!!! At last. I have the series and Serenity in my possession. Am watching in relish, mostly due to the fact that I ain't seen a lot of TV recently (seeing as I don't have one) but also cause the good ole folk back Welly-ways seems to almost universally recommend it. Anyway loved the first 120 odd mins. At the conclusion of this I'm off to watch MORE!

The LARGE 'Ciremai' poster looks down upon me from its pride of place, hanging on the living room wall. Visuals are EVERYWHERE. Even the ones that exist only in your mind. Open your eyes and take a look.

A note of Ron The Body

Check out this.

--

Edited cause I am a muppet myself and can't spell. Also I meant note as in Floral. A hint in other words.

06 August 2006

Will wonders never cease?

Seems as if the e-mail to blog feature is working again.  I guess this means that there are NO excuses for not keeping things up-to-date.  Except for the fact that I'm lazy...

Tired from two largish nights in a row topping off a sport-billy week.  A slow sunday will ensue as the sore muscles and sleep deprivation combine to make lethargy the number one activity.  Will have to eventually leave the flat, as I have to go to chemist to find painkillers for the headache.   Damn it all!

So, yeah, the week was a sporting one.  Had Badminton on Tuesday, Rock climbing on Wednesday and BASKETBALL on Thursday.  My whole body is a wreck of stressed muscles and tendons.  But I'm much happier for it.  Thinking of repeating the whole exercise next week...

I've never climbed before (except for one form three camp I can hardly remember).  Was thinking it would be all about ropes and belays and harnesses, but was surprised with the sole activity I pursued - bouldering.  It's ridiculously hard and I'm incredibly poor at it, but when my lack of skill combines with a simple course and I actually climb to the top, the sense of achievement is amazing.  I plan to do it again, that is if my arms and hands ever regain a semblance of strength...

The climbing centre is a bit of a local landmark round these parts.  It's called the castle and it was once a water pumping station for London water supply.  If you're interested you can check out this picture of it (thanks wiki!).  And if you follow the links back to the forwarding pages you'll even get a bit of the history of area in which I'm currently living; Stoke Newington/Dalston.

Anyway the return to basketball, oh it was good.   Played for damn near three hours, which was fun for allowing me to watch my own skill and stamina ebb as I became more and more tired.  It was a thorough workout, and left me feeling as if I remembered enough of the game to want to play it again properly.  Just need to work on the fitness.  Would also be nice to drop a few years off my age.  Nothing quite like waking up sore and thirty and then having to go to work...

Not much else to say.  So lets confirm if this post mechanism is returned.

3

2

1

...


31 July 2006

wtf?















Posted by Picasa

What is going on?

I'm having difficulty. The e-mail to blog thing seems broken. I've lost the measly three posts that I've tried to write since the 12th of July. And I don't know why! It is currently residing in the too difficult basket. Till I fix it I guess I'll have to resort to trying from within blogger.com.

So what has been going on? Well work for one. A co-wo got fired the other day. I'm VERY pissed off about it, because it wasn't justifiable for the reasons that they gave (it might have been justifiable for others they did not give - I'm not sure). But it just wasn't justifiable, and worse it was the inevitable outcome of some extremely poor management finally jumping on an opportunity, no matter how un-justifiable it was, to rid themselves of a staff member they no longer wanted.

And I'm pissed off about it. It is an illustration of how bad the management is at my work; how they approach problem staff, the quality of their decision making abilities in dealing with difficulties and worst of all the trumped up buzz they evidently gained from the whole business. The look on the fresh-faced management involved after the 'affair' was enough to make me want to ball my fist and ram it down their fucken throats.

In the process I've lost a friend at work, any last respect for the 'senior' management, and any desire to continue to do good work in the role for anyone but me. Unfortunately I can't let up my depraved profesionalism and actually do a bad job. I really want to, but every time I find myself cutting corners and shirking responsability, it hurts me. Yeah, so work is difficult at the moment.

--

I need to lighten this post before I think too much about work. I'll therefore try an experiment:

Hypothesis;

Sidonia is not accepting posts.

Null-Hypothesis;

This post or other avenues will create posts at Sidonia.

Therefore, if I see this post on Sidonia soon, I'll try to post a funny picture through Picassa (and lighten my load) and this will give me confidence that the next three e-mail to blog posts will NOT be eaten by the mysterious internet.

Lets see on the other side of this! ...

12 July 2006

fucked off

all work related, for which I feel shouldn't tell you. but I am. Well fucked off.

--

At home. Alone. A leprechaun has stolen the S and left me the man-in-charge. I think there was a program out there called that. I'm not living in a sitcom though. For the above reasons. Grr!

--

Speaking of sit-somethings, I've been watching Prison Break on the olde computer. It's OK. Addictive but nothing special. Seriously fucked off with a scene in episode 12 where a rubbish bag plugged a two foot hole against a 20 foot high water pressure. Fuck Off!

In fact the whole set up can be surmised by 'The Incredible Machine meets Apollo 13' - An intricate, highly thought-out and well executed plan is hit by an asteroid that should have been blown up by a nuclear warhead delivered by Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis, but before you panic, don't worry it'll all be right on the night (of the execution).

Aim to get a hold on the remaining episodes soon to knock this bastard off the must-watch tv (oxymoron?) list being bandied around at the mo.

--

The sweet sounds are heaven. Even Bob D's 'Oxford Town' ain't too discordant these days (I find this song strangely UK appropriate cause I have a fucked up word-association=happy brain connectivity thingamajig). So good to come home and thrash something that makes you happy instead of fearing that the laptop will shake itself to bits (the shitty speakers of which have previously provided the sounds).

In a
bopping
to the sounds
kitchen meets MAN

moment, I cooked myself dinner. In the understanding that a) I'm poor, b) cheap & c) skinny - I've taken it as a personal challenge to:

EAT THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF THE FRIDGE (TM)

[DISCLAIMER: 1, in a vaguely healthy kind of way 2, in the time remaining between now and when S comes back (I want her to think I cleaned the fridge!)]

In fact, I started yesterday. I had a block of tofu bbbd* of 11 JUL 06, therefore in DIRE need of eating. I ate it. I ate it good.

Fried, coated in rice flour (very effective soft-tofu batter!). I had 1/3rd block of the fried stuff left as entree tonight, and added to it:

1 Med-Large Courgette
3 Cloves of Garlic
3 Fat RED THAI chillies
3 small spring onions
1 small (slightly manky) pack of asparagus

[* Note * "Don't die just yet" David Holmes = Rocks...]

Anyway stir-fried the above after giving the garlic, chillies and spring onions the once-over with the mortar and pestle (the NEW Chef's Mate!). Delicious and hot and vaguely healthy. This leaves:

1 courgette, 1.5 cucumbers, (now) 3 beers, ~100g Stilton cheese, 50g budget cheese, 2 eggs, 1 small bunch of coriander, 2 green peppers, 1 lettuce, fresh ginger, 1 tube tomato paste, a couple of cherry tomatoes, an assortment of pickles and dressings (incl. salad cream (it tastes sooooooo good with chili sambal...) 0.75 loaf of bread, 0.5 small container of marge AND about 50 assorted green and red chillies...

I think that the pain rating of the meals over the next few day might out score the taste!

Wish me lcuk.
Fcuk.
Hcuck

!

10 July 2006

The jinx!

Gave myself a dose of the jinx today with my NOT want towards work.  Train was late on the way to work and I came THIS close on the local station to saying fuck the money and walking home and calling in sick. 

Not that I'd have been paid for it.  I signed a contract where my work is poorly paid, sick leave isn't covered, I get no bonuses at all and I still have to give notice that I'm going to take time off.  I wouldn't stick with it if it were not for the poorly pay.  I need every last cent.  Grrr!

Anyway, late, unimpressed and slightly hungover (the three day kind of hangover - you know, the slow ache in the pit of your stomach and full body realisation of the punishment you've recently been giving it) at work to find a heavy schedule of work and bullshit meetings interrupting the productivity process.

So I stayed late to finish up and complete my precious 'billable' hours. And leaving late from work, I find that the rail network is still in flux and I get to wait another 30 minutes going nowhere.  I tell you some Mondays just ain't worth waking for.

--

Fortunately, I've not let the work and transport issues impede my life-o-solo.  And I made good on my promise to hang out with JJ and book with him a boys weekend away.  That's done now and I'm home blasting Hurt out of the surprisingly loud little speakers I ordered off Amazon in a rash display of my earning potential.  The trip that's lined up should be fun.  It is going to be cheap enough and happily sandwiched in the Friday after 4pm to Sunday midnight slot of NOT interrupting my 'billable' hours. 

--

JJs got a set of scales at the flat.  The digital kind, one tap to turn it on, large LCD screen etc. etc. which appeals to my gadget needs.  It says that I weigh a lot less than I thought, especially given all the bloody beer I've ended up drinking in this place.  I'd not trust the scales, except other users seem to think they are bang on (maybe we are all delusional).  If they are right I've never been less substantial than I am right now!  

I think I'm mirroring this insubstantiality in many facets of my life right now.

...

grumble

I really do NOT want to go to work today!
*grumble, grumble, mutter*
Have the house to myself for the next week, so aim to surf the internet in peace and write the occasional post.  Keep a lookout...

28 June 2006

Break

Walking home from the train, I got snuck up upon by my afternoon nemesis.  Yes, I'm being stalked by a deaf 100 year old paedophilic ice-cream pusher.  How do I know he is deaf I hear you ask?  Well you might assume that wrinkly old fuckers made a bad impression on me once, and that I'm bringing every last one of my anti-old-people stereotypes to bear on him; hence he is old, paedophilic, toothless, wrinkled, worthless, deaf etc. etc.  But that is not entirely the case. 
No this malicious fucker, is deaf because of his modus.  He sneaks up with his ice cream on unsuspecting children and plays them the moving tune of "come get a snow-cone" in a Gary Glitter-esque grooming kind of way. Every-freaking-day!
And judging by the VOLUME that the bastard now plays this tune, I'd suspect that the last vestiges of his senile hearing have long since vanished, blown away by the MEGAPHONE styled speakers BLASTING the oft'licked, never beaten tunes.

Given this, you may well ask how this could possible sneak up on me.  I'll explain...

It all started in Florence, Italy, this Sunday passed.  Awaking from a drunken slumber, the Sunday resolved into a 35+ degree clear sky day.  The only pressing engagement?  A swim in the villa's pool, a leisurely lunch and a relaxed return to London via Bologna where the cheap flight advocates Ryan Air fly from...  Bologna?  Hardly.  At 70 kms distant, Bologna, Fiore can hardly be called B O L O G N A!
It started at about 2pm with a 45 minute drive to the Florence Station, thanks to the handy get-to-and-fro hired car the organisers of our little Italian soiree had hired.  It was efficient, air-conditioned and on time.  It didn't get any better than that.
Que Florence Stazione Centrale (actually is called something else but my Italian's limited, so bear with me).  Sunday.  We had no tickets.  There seemed to be thousands of others in the same position. Fuck...
It took an hour and a half, three ques, multiple swear words and a few free Nesteas (Limone flavour) to work out that the next available train was the only non-EuroStar inter-city at 6.30.  That meant arrival in Bologna at least an hour and a bit later, leaving us preciously short of time to traverse the 70 or so kms I've previously mentioned between the city and the CHEAP airport...  Needless to say that the overbooked train packed with Italians, sans air conditioning (on account of the fact it was broken), got us in late, too late for the 10 euro a ticket for a last-bus-to-cheap-airport bus.  Fuck...
A quick internet mission dispelled the option of aborting the cheap flight in favor of another , easier to get to cheap flight.  They didn't exist.  In fact I can think of ways of hemorrhaging money cheaper than the prices of some of the alternative tickets that were optioned for us in our quick search.  That left us the taxi option.  And that would have been fine, it was air conditioned, it was fast, it was so fast in fact it clawed its way back in the past to make up for some of the train's lateness.  It also cost the earth.  Fuck...
And to help the ongoing saga, our arrival at the check-in counter, just before closure, was met with helpful PA announcement that we'd better clear security asap.  Hurriedly we were patted-down, our bags were scanned and we rushed to the waiting room only to find a helpful LCD screen at the gate flashing a very unsettling "Delayed".  Fuck...
The knock on effect was comical.  Our plane didn't land to pick us up till well over an hour late.  That meant that we didn't have a change in hell of catching the last Stansted Express.  Which meant that we'd be taking the bus, a helpful alternative given the news rushing around the other waiting passengers that the M-whatever-the-fucking-number  highway to London was closed due to an accident.  But that ended up being OK cause we were SO late that Stansted Airport itself decided to shut itself down for maintenance 10 minutes before our updated arrival time was due to land there.  So we got diverted to Luton. Luton?  Yeah, well I've got no idea where that is either!  Fuck...

To cut a long story shorter that the actual 15 and a half hours it took us to get home, we did--get home.  It was late.  Or early.  Depends on your perspective I guess.  Either way I had to get up FAR TOO SOON after falling asleep to go to work.  I haven't caught up yet.  In fact I'm in a daze, and it is precisely that daze that allowed the ice-cream truck to sneaky-sneak up on me.  Fuck...

17 June 2006

LOST, Cricket.

Caught up with the final episodes of LOST Season 2 a week or so ago, and am pleased to report that there is enough 'hanging' to make me want to catch up with the Season 3 when is airs later this year. In fact the final cut scene was for me the most interesting of the season. Though undoubtedly it will create yet another season's worth of material to explore and un-resolve...

I'm not sure why LOST is 24 episodes long easch season. It doesn't need to be. It should be shorter, and give better pace to the action. Like I've said before the slow-motion montages should be cut and and lo the season could be dropped to a more managable 20 episodes or less..

Speaking of long losses, played a game of cricket for the first time in about 12 years. It was a work organised 20/20 game. We lost. I batted (scored 13 - lucky for some) and bowled (I opened an unrewarded 4 overs for 22 runs). In all I was a 9 run deficit for the team. Games as long as cricket shouldn't have statistics. All that time and I amounted to -9. Silly game. It did make me thirsty for a G&T. Awfully brittish...

02 June 2006

broken links

Sorry, have been away -- an enforced absence due to the bloody computer failing to maintain stability and a coherent registry file.  Wasn't exactly the perpetual "blue screen of death'', but it was a terminal issue that is ONLY just resolving itself; that is if the bloody Windows Update does its stuff and installs stuff instead of crashing.  Helpfuly the MSN messenger icon has appeared (I wonder if through a successful update) which is odd given that the registry file corrupted trying to install MSN a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, this combined with the fact that the NEW JOB (now over a month old) won't let a) personal cell phones b) private web browsing c) private e-mail and d) spare time (I'm perpetually busy doing NOTHING) I feel as if there are MANY more broken links out there that I need to reinstall.

Slowly folks, slowly.  First I gotta stop talking like a bloody computer!

12 May 2006

Pay dirt...

yes, the pay is dirt, but at least the dirt came through, in its meager trowel sized shovel, today. 

and with it i'm off.  yes, 'tis sal's dirt-h-bay next week and to celebrate we are off to italia.  yay!  first continental excursion is afoot.  will write post the event to tell you just how much fun it all was.  i'm looking forward to good coffee and pesto. fyi the location is cinque terre wherever the feck that is (poor sal had to organise her own travelling birthday this year!).

and that reminds me, a year ago on the 7th of may, we left NZ.  fuck me time flies.  this time last year we were in Bali, heading for Flores, drinking arak, sweet&nasty arak...

quick shout out to the NZ folk who will gather in my absence this weekend at Rumpletron.  stiltskin!

have a bottle of piper-heidsieck (a perk from bar work) to drink in celebration of the upcoming holiday, so i'm off to sozzle.  wishing you all well.


05 May 2006

I got paid!

Thank the sweet-sweet capitalistic Lord, I got paid this morning!  I might just have to celebrate by drinking most of it...

Lost Season 2 Episode 12

For want of not revealing MASSIVE spoilers I'll just ask this wee question. 

wtf?

04 May 2006

shit

heaps to say, no time to say it, so i'll fob you off on the best pimped snack project to date.  fucking wicked!

21 April 2006

Lubricated

Well currently felling as though communication is divine (pigphone - sadly all google searches for the old party site have long since vanished) and am mentally well lubricated because of My Best Friend's chat that has just concluded and in which games of Rock Paper Scissors were played over the distance of half the world (wtf?) and that was also fuelled by a whiskey or two.  It is after 2pm so hey, what the hell.

Anyway I thought I'd get back on the blog and type random shit.  Last day of unemployment.  Shit. 

Am listening to The Fragile by NIN and am reminded by my earlier post of the Neuromancer film preparative work that I carried out in my head many moons ago.  I was hoping to get Trent to do the music, but well, seeing as it was a theoretical exercise anyway decided that he was on board anyway.  So it was great to think about the music for Neuromancer the movie a la NIN, and then it quickly became a compilation album with Neuromancer themed music that I put out on my own record label under some fucked up DJ handle like Lupus Wonderboy or some such something.

Daydreams ARE free!

Anyway I got it down to a two-disc compilation.  First disc appropriately titled 'The Sprawl' would kick off with the excellent NIN instrumental 'A warm place', replete with its wasp hums and atmospheric build up and would then lead straight into 'Eraser'.  The shot for the credits that opened with it (sadly cliched) are already penned in a notebook somewhere and play in my head whenever those two songs play side by side.  Second disc notable tracks on the 'Freeside' (fuck I'm a geek) CD would be The Nomad's version of 'For the Love of It' which has this beautiful build-up that I always equate with Case's departure from Morocco to wake plugged into a terminal in space with hypoderm's in his arm and drum'n'bass piping LOUD through headphones, his heart only just having survived the flat line...
The other notable, is David Holmes 'Don't die just yet' which for many many many reason is SO appropriate for Armitage's death scene.  The sonar ping just fits the scene so well and the atmosphere of the music is totally tragic mirroring the way that Case reacts.

And this is the mental space that I go to when I'm having fun and thinking of HOME.  It is scary that stuff like this, unrealised and creative and so meaningful (to me), only ever exerts itself when I feel connected to the world and my place in it.  That is exactly why I love Neuromancer.  It makes me feel connected to this earth.  I have no idea why.  And I guess that is why I love coming back to it whenever I've done something that reassures my faith that I'm not about to fly off the face of this world, inconsequential and void. 

And of course I'd be thinking NONE of these thoughts at all if it weren't for alcohol.  Don't even get me started about that.  I'm for another dong.  Probably won't even remember any of this.  That is the devil.

--

"Don't die.." is playing in the background and soaring like it was meant to in its stuttered climaxes...

Pattern Recognition

Well, a little late off the mark, but the news on IMDB is that Peter Weir is adapting Pattern Recognition to the big screen.  We here at with the quince think this is fucking good news. 

I've been on a little bit of a troll over the interview and had a listen to an interview at dvdtalt.com with Peter Weir in which he sounds like an entirely sensible antipodean in whom we can trust (he says typing with his fingers crossed).  I'm so damned eager to see a decent film realisation of a Gibson book that I've often thought about making Neuromancer myself, so to have PR under the helm of a director that actually has an established record of decent material is brilliant.

--

Oh and in other news; I was reading tallpoppy's blog and while I don't know him from a bar of soap he is a friend of a friend and blogs about cool shit like building his own bike etc.  Anyways reading one of his latest entries he refers to a DJ Shadow track a remix of Depeche Mode's 'Kill the Pain', a track I've never heard.  So I'm thinking to myself "I want to hear this track, I wonder if I can download this..." and sure enough thanks to the wonders of torrentspy.com et al. a couple of minutes later my computer speakers are blaring with synth beats and I'm scratching my head going "Well that was easy!"

And then I remember the Dylan Horricks interview that was on National Radio after he was awarded the Literary Fellow at Auckland Uni.  It was an interview with Kim Hill where he also got to choose the accompanying music BUT the Internet archive of the interview (now deleted) all the bloody music had been stripped (presumably for rights reasons).  Thankfully Dylan listed all the tracks he played on his website, so that, in possession of the "wow easy" mind frame, I wandered off into the data sphere and pulled out all but one of the listed songs.  It took a matter of minutes also.  Broadband is your friend.

So now I have the songs on a play list entitled "Recommended."  It is surprisingly good albeit alarmingly small.  I wish to expand it.

So Homework:  You should comment with ONE especially good track that a) I likely have never heard before and b) might be able to 'find' by various means and I'll then source them and expand this play list.

--

Currently reading:  "Holy Fire" Bruce Stirling
Book waiting list:  "Quicksilver" Neal Stevenson (attemptx2)
Book waiting list:  "Fermat's Last Theorem" Simon Singh
Part-read comics: "Invisibles : Entropy in the UK" Grant Morrison
Dumb-arse-but-fun: "Batman Deathblow" Brian Azzarello
Fav "Recommended": "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." Sufjan Stevens*

* trying to learn it on the g-tar at mo too!

--

"Wahhhhhh....  KILL ME......  kill me....  "

Have a good weekend.

20 April 2006

NZ Called

Whoopee!

NZ called, sounded fantastic, made me miss them and then told me to buck up my 'oh woe is me' ideas about life the universe and everything.  So now I am charged with enthusiasm for the new job and London and everything.  But then of course she spoiled it by signing off with a "come home before Feb '07" comment.  Conflicting advice there Acting Manager!  Sort that shit out before the worker bees mutiny.

Oh and instead of your gratitude journal, I've decided on a gratitude journ-cal, daily entries along the lines of:

Cal rocks the party, Oh she rocks the party,
Cal rocks the party, Oh she rocks the party,
etc., etc....
--

You know what?

Cal rocks the parteeeeee!

--

And special shout out the Captian Kes whose e-mail (in response to a whine) brightened my day immensely. 

And to Matt (c) who doesn't read this but will be chatting with me tomorrow thanks to google!

And generally being unemployed WITH purpose.  Life is all good.

--

Finally I agree that NZ is the place and I will be there soon enough.  Till then I'm off to make the most of the UK and beyond.

Pooh

...to Lost Season 2 Episode 19. 

Pooh!  And not a cool Pooh like a honey loving fellow neither!

Though confirmation of a Jin/Sun conflict is of interest...

--

I need to sleep but just can't quite be fucked.

--

Have been boozing.  Am quite wasted.  In a very lucid and awake kid of way.

--

Can't wait to hear from NZ.  Come on NZ.  Call!  I'll be sober 10pm NZ time...

18 April 2006

Sweet nothing

Just a little note, of no importance that may or may not solicit comment.  

Easter is over.  I may not have walked 500 miles, but I did cover 41 over the break.  I intend to write about it sometime.  Not now for I have to enjoy my FREEDOM - unemployment with end in sigh (I remain that way till Monday 24th).

That is all, and till then I remain your Easter themed pimped snack.

12 April 2006

Further...

RTB is finished 'Long live RTB'

~m, notes will follow in a less public forum.

Lost

Season 2 Episode 18 is a shrimp cracker of an episode despite far too much fat-man fun and frivolity.  It is all getting interesting(er) and interesting(er).

Good

Today is good - I have a job.  Interview yesterday, offer today.  'Tis all good.*

Guitar is good, the fingers on my left hand are supple and hitting the right strings today, and my right hand is strumming up a storm.  I just blitzed "Last to know" which was the VERY first proper song I ever learned on the guitar, and an old faithful in determining if the g-tar playing day will be good.

And all you people out there, maybe even reading this, are good too.

Have a good Wednesday.

* This post reminds me of the Scribe song that goes:
"...it's all good, when you come down to my hood!"

Today's favorite chords: 
Am C G D as a simple progression in both open and barr.
Cm G G# D# in barr (the chorus of a Wheezer song I vaguely remember from uni days)
Bm C G in barr, the core tune of Age Pryor's "Leave it all behind"

FIN

10 April 2006

Nothing to report

Please go about your business as usual, for there is nothing of note to report here.

03 April 2006

The Global Elite

Well, well, well.  I may be an unemployable chemical technologist, but I do still have the power to mingle with the global elite(tge).  This weekend I had a walk on role as a wannabe bartender at a soire hosted by none other than Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who'se tge page is here, at the amazingly old/huge/plush Ditchley Park, which he is director of.

You can read more about the house here, and look at the funny formatted map of the area that has an air of Ditchley authenticity here.

That is about all the news at the moment, 'cept for the fact that I'm half way through RTB, and the fact that both the cousin's in law from Oamaru, and in laws from Sidford, descend upon us in a day or two!  It'll be family all round.

I'd best go prepare for them.


31 March 2006

Reading Drafts

As mentioned in earlier posts, I'm reading a draft of a book. Thus
far it is excellent, and I've just read a bit that made me want to
post this. I'm not exactly sure why. Bear with me...

--

I started reading the draft on my computer and I got to around page 60
before realising that I just wasn't enjoying reading it on the screen.
I felt guilty that this was then stopping me from concentrating on
the story, SO I wrangled a print resource, and now am the proud owner
of a book, unusually formatted yes, but a book nonetheless.

And I am totally glad that I did. Cause there is an aesthetic with a
printed page that you just can't get on screen. I'm really enjoying
just turning each page, it gives you a sense of achievement and
anticipation with every turn. And then sometimes the words on the
page play a wicked trick on you. Like just what happened to me now:

I turned the page, immediately registered the salient narrative points
(NP), and then leisurely read through the paragraphs connecting them.
And it was great cause when I got to the end it gave a me a wicked
sense of deja vu as the last salient point clicked into place. They
were:

<page start>

lead in paragraphs...

NP: I DID

linking paragraphs...

NP: THIS

linking paragraphs...

NP: RESPONSE

</page end>

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, for me and I guess all of us
out there that were trained to read pages, the page is something that
we can and we do understand. I batch process written information:
each page is a batch.

This has made me think that computerised written information
inexpertly delivers itself in batch format. As more and more
information ends up on the web or as electronic documents, I expect
our conditioned response to page-like batch information to change. And
I further think that this is interesting because most of the ebook
readers are still trying to emulate the page, when they could probably
be more forward thinking and design for the time when the page is not
the way people are trained to receive information.

If I had to guess what I think this design concept might be I'd guess
the endless scroll, though I'm uncertain if this is a byproduct of
watching the Matrix once-too-often!

--

It is also interesting cause the page layout described above is the
result of two things:
a) the writer's attempts to lay out the story in a digestible way, and
b) the computer's attempts to logically paginate that story into an
arbitrary size
These two things, over the course of a novel sized document, and
especially in terms of a draft, are in conflict. So it is almost a
fluke that the layout that affected me existed in the first place.

Does anyone else find that kinda creepy?

--

These thoughts have been brought to you in elongated non-paginated
scrolling form courtesy of RTB.

Weird

Had a daydream just before falling asleep last night, in which I was a writer for Lost way back at its conception, and I was fighting the other creative folk for using Charlie's character not to display the evils of addiction with heroin, but with cigarettes!  I mean what self respecting heroin junkie wouldn't smoke as well?

I know that I didn't pay enough attention to the first series so I'm unsure if there hasn't been any mention of this, but I sure can't remember if any of the main characters have ever smoked or wanted to smoke.  And it just seems unusual to me that out of the number of survivors how this issue hasn't cropped up to be a major story line.

Anyway, this of course led to me thinking up all sorts of funny "Man I need a smoke!" scenes and how it could be yet another resource that Sawyer could control and finally about all the inter-survivor rivalry that would occur between those that were able to give up easily vs those eking out the last of the duty free supplies performing tricks for Sawyer along the way!  I think it would have been great.

Anyway, as life continues to imitate art, or at least a major TV series, here is a link to Lost related crime.

--

In other news, my dealings with recruitment agents imitates Sara Lee in a crazy "Layer upon layer, upon layer" farce. One of the jobs I'm applying for goes a little something like this: I'm applying for a position within a company that has outsourced the work to a project management consultancy, and this consultancy needs workers so have advertised through their preferred agency, which in turn put the word out through other agencies.  Thus I was alerted to the position through my agency and now I've been interviewed for my agency for the position, and then their agency and yet I still have two more layers to go before I can even work out who the hell it is that I'll actually be working for!  It is SUCH a dumb system.

In the meanwhile I am continually yours, unemployed...

--

C++ headaches are becoming the norm.  It may also have to do with the amount of caffeine in my system, but I've never been one to blame coffee before so why start now.  I managed to spend nearly two hours troubleshooting a programme just because I was too blind and dumb to see that ONE line was missing.  I'll tell you now that I'll never make THAT mistake again, but am a bit freaked out that I can be stumped for that long on something as trivial as it ended up being.

Ah well, at least my d6 is now rolling pseudo-random numbers in a way that I can 70% fully understand.  I guess that is the problem with me, I'll all like "Yeah OK, this guy here did this to get this to work, but how does it actually work?" and proceed to get bogged down writing a whole lot of extra code to interrogate the solution so that I can try and see what is happening.  It is far from efficient, causes headaches, and generally leads to only a 70% understanding before I have to concentrate on something else or go MAD.

--

Finally, I have myself my very own printed copy of RTB.  It is printed Two-Up and double sided but unfortunately in booklet form, so by all accounts it is an unusual publication.  But it is going to make the reading, and typo identification, run like a fleet footed moose (sans cobbled ankle)!

My second fave typo thus far, pg 105 last paragraph, 'You're a good moth.'

~m I'm only pointing theses out so you don't get a FAT head when I tell you later how much I'm(ve) enjoying(ed) it!

--

Have a good weekend

28 March 2006

London Day # ? (I've stopped counting even before I started!)

Not a lot to tell you. The rejections are still mounting and the
prospects of employment seem a dim and distant horizon still.

Have been reading a bit, having finished half of Invisibles Vol.02,
the Sherlock Holmes collection and The Scar, though sadly not enough
of ~m's 2nd draft. We are getting there though.

Still feel naughty for reading the Invisibles, as Harkonnen was once
purported to be in the throes of planning an RPG based on it, and
evidently the key to the game's success was for PCs NOT knowing
anything about it. Ah well. I'm in London now, he can only punish me
from afar if this is indeed still and issue.

One of the things that has taken up more than just a little of my time
have been my rampant advances into C++. I now have a shitty wee
programme running in the command prompt environment that acts a little
(just a little) like a six sided dice (a D6 if ya will!). And I'm
happy that it does, cause it didn't and it was a HUGE headache trying
to work out why, and now that it is working, I'm plotting and scheming
to take over the world with it.

Be afraid - be very afraid.

Actually, it is cool, cause there are a few good tweaks that I can
make to it to make it work even better, and then I have the option of
trying to port it through to a windows based .exe and finally add
graphic features, all the while improving my knowledge of the language
and tips&ricks that may make me a useful resource for my friend's
project. You never know, I may get there.

I'm also very interested in reviving some to the VB work I did AGES
ago for mono-alphabet substitution ciphers etc. as a more
computationally interesting project to carry along the tweaks and mods
path. It is all UBER geeky, and quite exciting given my UBER geek
status.

In more socially acceptable forms of entertainment, I did catch up
with the most recent Lost episode last night, so below the cut will be
info about it...


**S02 EP16 Spoiler Alert!


All I really want to say is that Ep 16 is great! Not only do we get
conflict & resolution drama in the episode with Sun and Jin's story
arc, but we get a good is-this-a-cliffhanger ending after creepy Henry
Gale regales us (he he!), over corn flakes, with a great wee
supposition story, after he mocks Jack and John and the general lack
of inquisitiveness the survivors have towards the hatch. Made me
really like him, the clever wee undercover other that he is.

I can't help but think that Ana, Sayid and Charlie are very much
stranded up shit-creek without the proverbial. It will be very
interesting to see how this resolves, cause if it goes as badly as I
think(hope) it will, the repercussions that will come of it should be
spectacular.

(Hix - when and if Sayid comes out of this I reckon we will have one
hell of an episode of lets 'villify' the Iraqi torturer!)

It really was a good episode, especially as there were no slo-mos or montages.

I was a very happy Lost viewer after seeing it. You will all be too I reckon!

22 March 2006

the will to live...

...is always improved with a good cup of coffee.  I'm currently stuck on Indo style coffee.  No, not coffee from Indonesia, just their low-tech way of preparing it.  In a nut shell (or should that be a bean casing) you take a generous scoop of coffee, add it to your cup or mug, pour on hot water, stir add sugar/milk to taste and drink.  Yes, you drink a fair amount of grinds with each cup (this can be limited by careful preparation and settling time etc.) but I like the way that it is a completely NO-nonsense way of making a cup of java joe.  It is instant, there is no faffing around with plungers or espresso makers and best of all it gets you wired quick and painlessly.  There is time to sit back after and think - yeah man, life is good!

...is also directly related to your will to learn.  You stop one, the other will stop.  This is my law, and in recent days I've not been the best practitioner.  So new challenge time.  Learn to programme.  Had a rousing chat with a friend and C++ is the 'where for' and 'what to' learn.  Fuck me.  Big challenge.

Wish me luck, cause while I'm willing, I ain't confident...

--

main()
{
work god damn it;
work;
}


--

And in amongst all this I got to get a job, money, read the three books I've got on the go, learn Blackbird on the G-tar (again) and ...

Who said the life of the unemployed wasn't stressful?  But hey, I'm willing to live it!

21 March 2006

Harkonnen

Don't you hate it when you have good friends who don't have nicknames or handles that you can easily use to partially hide identity when talking about them in blog posts?  I do.  This excerpt is from one...

The next morning I was hung over.  Very hung over, at one stage I crawled off to the toilet to take a dump and it took me half an hour because there was no moisture in my body.

I'm calling him (yes only a him could come up with that paragraph) Harkonnen today.  Evidently he played them in the latest installment of the world's most complicated Dune game, that I won, despite being half a world away form at the time of playing. 

You may well ask how I did that but I will NOT reveal my secrets.

snakes on a plane

omg

found through this site which i got through a twisted series of links that is FAR to involved to describe here.  According to imdb it's in post production.  God knows when it it'll actually be here, or why.

"God, when will 'Snakes on a Plane' come out in cinemas?"

<I don't know>

OK, so maybe no one knows...

It makes me wonder why, oh why, 'March or Die!' hasn't arrived yet.

Tsotsi

Good movie.  Very simple story.  Clearly and well told.  Good performances.  Great catchy music.  And all in a foreign language that will have you checking yourself every ten minutes going did I hear and understand that, or did I read and understand that?

Sal commented that the production feel at the beginning of the movie was very stage-production like.  I agree.  It all of course goes tragically wrong after this point in the movie, but it made me think to wonder if there were any rap musicals out there (just watch the movie for why)   Anyone?

Does 8 Mile count?

20 March 2006

Crash

Hmmn.  I watched this on Dvd last night and I just wasn't that taken with it.  Maybe I'm missing something, but it didn't grab me as particularly clever or special.  And oscar worthy?  I just dunno. 
Don't get me wrong though I thoroughly enjoyed it and was entertained by it.  There was just something not-brilliant about it.  Will try and put my finger on it...
In the meanwhile I'm planning to go off to see Tsotsi at Rio tonight (Monday is cheap night in these parts).  I have heard less about how good this movie may be, so I'm hoping for a surprise.
--
I'm prepping homemade hummus at the moment.  The chick peas have recently been deemed tender, the gas then turned off, and now the lidded cooling pot is sucking in air, my own aural display of thermodynamic law. 
Suuusuusuususuussskkk!
Thought I'd share that with you...

Love Bites?

No, not that series, the new Insiders Guide to Love.  Evidently it screened just before Xmas but, not being in NZ at the time, I missed it.  So anyone out there who saw it should comment about what it was like.  How did it compare to Happiness?

17 March 2006

RTB (aka ode to ~m)

No not Ready To Blog, Reasons To Beg or Rub Thine Boobies, just Ron The Body!

*JUST*

(preemptive just exasperation from ~m - but you know as I know that it could never be JUST)

Congrats on Draft2.0.  All that midnight oil and the bastard is DONE!  Knocked door, knocked up, knocked off, well at least ver2.0.

Feel free to send me a copy to read over or visually peruse (I assume there are pictures - all good books have pictures you know) if you want, although I'm kinda hoping to be able to read the 'published' entity.  I have faith that that is what RTB will become.  In my credit I do have copious time on my hands that could be well spent reading your beloved tome.  In my detriment, this copious time will undoubtedly lead to a lack of clear insight into the book.  My brain is rotting and is barely kept within its head by my nasal membranes

*blows nose - looses brain cells*

So whattayagonnawrite NOW!

I want MORE me.  AND little LOUGHNANS.  !And exclamation marks!

And I want gods, mars bars and mortar & pestles.

I want for a mystery and a sleuth, and I long for a discovery.  

I want to read the book as 'my dear watson'.

And I want cool dialogue, and I don't want any montages (after all they are hard to write).

And I want some space, and a recognisable pair of green eyes.

I want the future and the past.

All at the same time.

That is EXACTLY what I want to read.

What do you want to write about?

16 March 2006

too close to home

The drug trial that has gone horribly wrong is just a little too close to home for me.  I work in the industry, I've helped create drugs that will eventually go to tests like this, and I understand the protocols, procedures and extensive testing that goes on behind the scenes trying to determine if that drug is safe.  And I also have an appreciation for the fact that despite this elements about the compound will always be unknown.  And that makes trials and conclusions like this unavoidable.

My support goes out to the trial patients whose futures are now so uncertain.  And of course it goes out the their support networks.  But it also goes out to the smart people who made this stuff in the first place, and who are probably having the worst experience of their professional lives trying to work out what is happening to the patients and how to remedy it in the shortest and most critical of time frames.  

Only eventually I hope that they determine how it came to happen, and when they do I hope for everyone's sake that they are found to have followed all the rules leading up to this trial.  Now isn't the time for finger pointing or blame shifting, now is the time for the industry and those involved to mitigate the effect by helping to save lives.  The first aim must be preventing these patients from becoming a worse statistic, not arse covering.

14 March 2006

lost in other news

I've been watching more lost, eps 7-11 came my way the other day and I'm up to 10 (I think - shush don't tell Sal).  Episode 7 sucked oh so much, for many crappy reasons, but was thankfully pegged back by eps 8 and 9.  Basically if you read this DON'T watch episode 7.  It tells you nothing.  Skip straight to ep 8. 

And that is the problem with this season.  There is good stuff, but too much shite intermingled with it.  I keep wanting to skip.  I'm getting about ready to scream if I have to go through another slow mo montage filler, when Sawyer says something that makes me laugh and think fuck I reckon you are the best character after all (I'm swinging wildly between John and Sawyer and now the new big black guy [shame on me for not remembering his name - Mr. Eko]).  They need more dialogue like it.  In fact they just need more dialogue.  Real people in the Lost situation would talk much more than the majority of the verbally retarded folk that are kicking back there at the moment.

Anyway now that I've downloaded bit meter II my computer is beeping like the one in the hatch as I continue in my search to find the remaining lost episodes...

¡a a+~ ã!

Over the weekend I made this and it is now the official London pet.  You all should go out and get one.  They are great.  They wander around with a semi-intelligent looking determination that makes you want to pick them up and give 'em a hug.  The best thing about it is you don't need to take it outside so that it can crap on the sidewalk.

--

I need to work out how to deal with accented characters better.  I'm currently typing this on my laptop (sans numeric keyboard) in Firefox and to make it type something like Mãori I have to faf around after the SHIFT+M turning the quasi-numeric keyboard on (Fn+F8) type ALT+0227 then turn off the quasi-numeric keyboard by toggling (Fn+F8) and finishing with typing "ori".  It is comical if I don't do precisely this.

The accents are hard to deal with also when searching.  You pretty much have to type the exact string before searching a document for something like Mãori which is a pain because you naturally just want to thrash out a generic search for M(a or ã)ori to capture any reference to that string, but I've no idea even if this is possible or how it might be done.  And that leads me to ask: Is there a better approach to utilising accents with computers out there?  

Interestingly?!? if you search Google for Mãori the top sites returned are http://www.maori.org.nz/ and http://aotearoa.wellington.net.nz/ and as far as I can tell has neither have Mãori visible on the page (although that could be cause one of them doesn't seem to be loading properly).

* In other notes of not-interest, the first time I tried to type visible on the page it came out: v5s5b3e 6n the -age, stupid Fn F8!

--

5fe 5s d433 and b6r5ng, 0a2e 0e a c4- 6f tea!

that is my song of the day and your Fn F8 cipher for the day!

--

Reading Sherlock Holmes short stories at the moment.  Didn't know that the man dabbled in injectable cocaine.  They say you learn something everyday, I learnt that yesterday, so I hope I learn who I'm going to work for today...

10 March 2006

a toast to friends

Having just received and responded to a series of text messages with Stronglight, I happened upon this article, that would have made the whole interaction a lot more 'inter' and 'active'.  Burbon and coke in NZ and Bali coffee here in the UK (not quite at the depressed_with_London, therefore drinking spirits for breakfast [mainly cause I can't afford to]).

In fact with the wedding spree going on at the moment in NZ, the sooner they roll these things out the better.  That way I'll at least be able to participate in the wedding toast from these far off shores!


06 March 2006

The Weekstart

The new week has begun. It was heralded with a lazy start, an Oscar run-down, and a thorough read of all the blogs that I try hard to keep up to date with. There was even a little chatting with ~m thanks to the nifty google chat that invariably glows green when I've woken up, abluted, and breakfasted, to say 'hey morgue is out there too!' He keeps funny hours that boy. Of course my ability to cross with his funny hours are due to the fact that I'm in the northern hemisphere, eleven hours distant, and remain unemployed and bored except for my internet connection...

Read more!

Last week the chance to become a Data Steward fell through. Sad that. I have an affinity for any position that is somehow entitled Steward. The feedback from the process was all good, so I guess I brushed up on enough SQL to get by (thanks Svend) but still no offer followed what I though to be a wholly encouraging process. I was expecting to hear back well before the weekend, and eventually caved mid morning Friday and called them to ask for information. Got stuck at the secretary, left a message, and was called back at, get this, 5.30pm to say good feedback, you are great, but sorry no! "The computer says no!" (1) I'm beginning to think that agents and HR people learn to do this in their training courses, or whatever they do to get their work, cause there seems to be NOTHING wrong with dashing hope and killing opportunity on the verge of the weekend (it has happened more than once... *sigh*).

I much prefer automated, impersonal and instant rejection, like the one (2) that just popped into my inbox a moment ago. It is much more symbolic and satisfying if you are allowed to hit a 'Trash This 'button at the end of a transaction like this!

Anyway, with that BAD start to the weekend, things could only get better, right? Thankfully they did. It started with a walk in the bracing cold listening to Memento Mori, by HDU, at what can only be described as MEGA volume on my wee iPod shuffle. The walk which had started off as a fuck-the-world&just-give-me-a-job aggression release, was cheered up immensely by the lyrics "Come on higher it's easy!" and screaming guitars. It made me think of the Cthulhu game I ran with Chris, Dean, Dale and ~m, as an introduction to a campaign game I wanted to develop based on Peter Hamilton's The Reality Dysfunction. Memento Mori was the theme tune, and a fucking appropriate one at that.

Then the music mellowed a little with a trip to the nearest Jazz club to us, to see Gwyneth Herbert sing her lungs out. It was great, I had a couple of beers, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can't wait for her latest album (that she was trying out for size on our wee crowd) to come out.

Saturday, was lazy and shopping filled. We needed to buy in supplies for the week ahead and the dinner party that Sally had organised. And that dinner and party went extremely well, a solid 6.5 hours of talking and drinking and bloody good food. And not-too-much-of-a-hangover to boot!

Sunday saw an effort to check out Science Museum + Natural History Museum, which were passed through in a very cursory examination kind of way, before heading back to a horrible cinema to check out Walk the Line, which was great fun and great singing but not a great movie. The duets between Phoenix and Witherspoon as Cash & Carter were amazing.

And that is where the weekend, ended, and this Weekstart started. Better get back to the employment...

(1) according to some people there is a passing resemblance between me and David Williams from Little Britain who plays the travel agent (Anne) whose catch phrase is the one quoted. I'd do a wickerman style image comparison but actually I think that the similarity is complete bollocks and worthy of no further entertainment. Of course I quoted LB and then footnoted it with this, so may be there is something to it after all. You can decide for yourselves (those of you who have a mental picture of me) by comparing me, the most handsome and eminently employable man in the world, with this guy!

(2) copy of typical rejection e-mial - my new spam!
Dear Charles

Re: Data Configuration Administrator - Ref. TFL1732

Thank you for your application for the above vacancy.

I am sorry to inform you that your application has not been successful and will not be progressed to the next stage of the selection process.

I appreciate this may be disappointing for you, but hope you will not be deterred from applying for other suitable vacancies in the future.

Thank you for the interest you have shown and for the time you have taken in preparing your application. If you wish to find out about further opportunities please visit our website at www.tfl.gov.uk/careers.

On Behalf of

The Resourcing Team, HR Services
Transport for London
www.tfl.gov.uk


(Please do not respond to this mail address as this is an automatically generated email message from TfL Careers)

03 March 2006

Scarf

Scarf!Well, a while back I posted this about the fact that I was whiling away my time by knitting.

Well, I whiled, and I whiled, and the border to this post is the result. I'm quite proud of it, although its length (at over 6'6") is a bit annoying at times.

Currently I'm whiling more time away, trying not to get depressed about the lack of employment.

I'm not knitting though.

In fact I'm not doing much.

And that means I have nothing to write about.

So I'm left with having to space out meaningless text to go with this picture.

And that is all I have to say about that!

02 March 2006

Therapy?

I used to have a couple of Therapy? singles. In fact I probably still do. But given that they are half a world away and likely in a box I can't remember packing or putting somewhere it is understandably hard for me to imagine that they are still a possession.

Anyway, one of the songs on one of the singles was a thumping track with a heavy guitar riff that lead into a chorus that ends:

"...You can't help my life, but you can hide the knives!"

One knife has been well hidden of late and, contrary to Therapy?'s song, my life wasn't helped by it one bit. In fact, I'm glad he's back!

It troubles me...

... to find out just how easy it is to do STUPID stuff with computers these days.

I found how I needed to do what I did by searching for "img htmlmouseover" on google, which was then auto-corrected to "img html mouseover" and finding this site (5th listed). I liked the no javascript approach, and after a couple of trials it worked.

So see below for another waste of your and my time!

I hope ~m's near naked torso is not deemed offensive!
(it's not to me grr!)

Wicker Men!

According to Multi (vitamin) D this needed to be done.

According to me, I'm just as much in the dark as you!

01 March 2006

BAN, BON, BAR, BIC, BUN, BHC

Went to BANbury last weekend with Sal and a friend of mine.  Hired a rental Mercedes (I only ever travel in style) and drove the 100 or so miles there with the intention and purpose of contributing amateur painting skills to this project.  Had a great weekend, replete with cool old barn, an amazing BONfire, good eats, conversation and a fair few drinks.  All good, despite the bitter cold wind that required all manner of wrapped-up-ness.

The weekend at Banbury also came complete with a tour around BAR Honda's F1 facility!  An amazing place, you can get an overview here, and very satisfying for boys who like toys .  Admittedly very, extremely, grossly expensive toys...

This week has kicked off with snow and an unpleasant coldness in the flat (I'm too cheap to run the radiators during the day).  To warm up I went to see BIC Runga last night in Camden.  Had a great night, and was very surprised to see old Mister Neil Finn, complete with his now trademark grey mop of hair, behind the keyboards for the very talented Miss Runga.  Good diner before hand, great music afterwards, and a beer or two in between. 

Finally, I've just sorted out the necessary do-hicky-watsits to make *cough* an artists rendition *cough* of the first few episodes of Lost, Season the Second, happen for me.  Now that it is working, I'm off to catch up on s2ep1 and in doing so hopefully answer me the question: What the hell is in that BUNker?

You are reading this and I'm a Bloody Happy Chuck!

24 February 2006

in other news

More creative writing available here.  Found by typing 'what is happening to me' into google.  I was expecting sites regarding the challenges of puberty, but hey, I'm not going to look a gift werewolf in the mouth!

And I'd like to state for the record that Mr Anderson & Morgue rock the party.  You know they do!

stop the clock

With easily a day and 13 hours to spare ~m came through with utter nonsense that satisfied my every wish and was a delight to read.

In Chuck's breast pocket was a vivid Sharpie pen. I snatched it out and took off my shirt. Keeping a wary eye on the Andew Loughnans, I wrote hastily across my chest, 'What did I do?' Then I displayed what I had written to them.

They replied in chorus: 'You stole his Egypt. Tip hudjee zih ulloats we.'

I wrote another message: 'Why are you here?'

'We come because you are afraid of us, suv odayrfar a we zokeeb muck eeyoo.'




23 February 2006

Yes!

I'm happy, and just a little bit drunk. But read on cause you NEED to know this? Guess what the latest make up ad I just read was?





GET PLUMP






MAKE UP





BE BEAUTIFUL





See who is marketing this: Catherine ZJ (hopefully she is the default (the site sucks)). It doesn't even have the ad that I have been seeing all around London town... WTF?

where is my story?

~m!

Well done man, 1 day and 13 hours to spare.

my employment pickle

I'm looking for work in London. Right in London. And that means that my profession, chemical technology, aint thick on the ground. It is a big arse city, and like most cities it likes to keep its industries away from the centre of it. In other words, to get to where the chemistry in this fine city is happening, I'll have to travel. And this is a conflict. A pickle if you will.

I'm good at what I do, but I'm not going to find work exactly where I want to find it. So what do I do? I bust my CV into pieces, scatter the fragments like I'm reading tea leaves and figure out what amongst the debris makes a WHOLE, accessible and useful to this city.

And what I came up with was a bunch of untrained, yet innovative, computer stuff. Out of the mess I resolved a computer geek.

So I've been marketing myself along these lines, for the last couple of weeks applying for jobs, and now thanks to an inside tip, and I'm now looking/hoping to work at a BIG arse law firm in London doing computer stuff. And that is bloody scary for a chem geek!

It made me think of the pound-a-bowl chilies I purchased the other day at the Ridley Market. They didn't want to end up in a pickle, but after you chop them, add salt, a little hot water and vinegar boiled with the occasional spice, well, hey presto, you have a beautiful thing.

And that is me. I'm chopped and a semblance of my former self, but, fuck it, I want to be beautiful too!

Wish me luck. Posted by Picasa

21 February 2006

London Obs #2

I need to test out why my last e-mail post got eaten, so here goes an attempt at another.  I'm going to stick heaps of links in this post to distract you and cover up the fact that I don't have much to say...

Things what I am doing at the moment:
~ Painting a miniature, this one to be precise, only in different colours and with less skill.
~ Wanting stuff, like this & this, and this, even this.  I can't afford any of this stuff cause I am unemployed, and I fell that I can't spend NZ savings on that kind of stuff.  Just you wait till I have a job!

Things that I will eat tonight:
~ Deep fried, home made, tempeh.  Sal bought some yeast from here and we made some VERY ugly, but QUITE tasty tempeh.  Hopefully it won't kill us, cause scientifically we have NO way of knowing what bug we just grew!
~ Pound-a-bowl tomatoes.  There is a wicked wee market called the Ridley Road Market (or Dalston Market as it is locally known) open every day just down the road from us here.  The dudes selling the produce are great, "Come on, only a pound!", and there are other cheap stalls selling pots and pans and other assorted goods too, great if you are o a budget.  Only trouble is that all the vege stalls are in proximity to butchers and fishmongers and while I'm not squeamish about this it makes me really want to wash all the goods that I buy from there.  I was brought up in a just eat it family, and I don't like the fact that I'm now concerned about contaminated goods.  On the plus side, it may well mean that my pesticide levels will at last decrease...
~Sag Paneer (with tofu) - there was some cheap spinach going at the local supermarket here (which I really dislike, but shop at anyway).

Things I want to know;
~ If there are only recycling stations for Green, Brown and Clear glass bottles, which do I put bottles of these into?  I am waiting for the manufacturers to get back to me on that, and while I do I crave my first pay packet so that I can afford to replace it...

Know this about the place I live in:
I currently live in an area in East London, called Hackney.  It was an area extensively bombed and damaged during WWII because of its proximity to the docklands. i.e. German bombers would naturally funnel up to this region with any undelivered ordinance, and well, they dropped it.  I learnt of this by visiting the local museum here

Did you know that:
The US of A used Laos as their undelivered ordinance dumping ground during the Vietnam war.  The sterile patches of earth and the legless, maimed population are testament to this.  You can read about the removal of mines at an interesting place that I went to in Laos that was supported by NZ here.

The last things I...
Read - The Handmaids Tale, M. Atwood - very moving and interesting (now reading Wonder Boys).
Seen - The Grudge (Japanese version - OK, but not fantastic), Fight Club (memorable quote "...the Queen is their slave"), Pride and Prejudice (not BBC version, on Valentines day no less - good but not as good as BBC), Persuasion (BBC version, interesting)
Heard - Audio book: ...curious...dog...nighttime (read it or hear it - it is bloody brilliant); CD - NIN With Teeth (shite really, but I'm sorry to say that I'm still addicted),

My, my, what a busy wee post...

Oh , and finally, I like London - yes, that is an observation, number two in fact!

Cambodge Photo #1

Well Cal, I tried, but my incompetence ate my post.

So here is a filler.

It is my favorite photo taken in Cambodia. It is a view from the top of one of the many temples in the Angkor complex.

It is my favorite for many reasons, but especially because Angkor is so hard to photograph well. It is too immense, too awe inspiring to capture with a man made device.

So I was very happy that out of the several hundred or so snaps I have that do not impress, I at least got one shot like this. It looks totally different from how I remember Angkor but at least the weirdly enhanced colours and perspective
of this photo will always remind me of the magic of the place.

16 February 2006

London Obs#1

Just a wee post on one of the noted* excesses of London.  Street sweepers, you know those great big truck + vacuum gutter sweepers they have in cities, come past my place an average of three times a day - usually between 6-8am, then in the early arvo and then late at night 8-10pm.  I've counted five sweepers in one day.

As far as I can tell, the vast majority of street swept rubbish is cigarette butts.  This is due to two factors; people have to smoke outside (except in pubs and restaurants) and the smoking culture is to throw the butts onto the pavement when done.

There are a LOT of smokers in London.  Therefore there are a lot of butts thrown out on the average day.  This requires the vigilant army of street sweepers to remover them.  What a complete waste...

* By noted, I mean observed.

15 February 2006

in-Flamed!

Over where the light is strong, an intra-blog flirtation is distracting me from doing what I really should do - find a job.  But it is worth noting, I think, because of the difficulty of being understood when you write e-mails, and by extension, I guess this includes blog posts. Hopefully at least half of you will understand this...

I got thinking about being understood after reading an article on Wired that was here . In the article research is mentioned that indicates that someone has even odds of being able to determine the written tone of any e-mail.  I think this is lottery of understanding is a simple but inherently true statement - that no one can really comprehend media like this.  I'll try to explain.

While I'm not a good writer, I'd like to think that I'm a person who deliberates about what I am trying to write.  And while I might spend the time trying, I'm astounded at how often on re-reading my own e-mails I find something wrong, or inconsistent, in a "Hang on, I didn't mean it that way!" sense.  I'll often re-write passages to get it to make more sense to me, and only when I'm happy I'll hit the send button.  But as soon as I do that, I reckon that my view of my message becomes concrete.

So when someone replies or queries the content, the automatic assumption is that they have got it wrong, they have misread it or didn't properly understand.  I am egocentric when I view these challenges, and that makes my responses to them disproportionate.  I can't see how I contributed to the situation.  And that then makes escalation a distinct possibility. 

Anyway, getting it back to the flirtation.  I wrote a hungover and depressed post, referencing an e-mail I'd sent to my best friend.  Now best friend is a confusing term for me to use in the first place, there are many friends that I consider *best* for many different reasons, but in my state I thought that by writing 'best friend' those who know me would know exactly who I was writing to and know just how weird a message it was to send to this person.  I thought it was concrete.

Then I get a tongue-in-cheek (he states flipping a coin) comment, from Cal that shatters that thought.  My correspondence is fallible yet again.  I read the wired article and it makes sense.  No one can understand me fully, so enjoy it. 

So now I am going enjoying it.  I went over to strongerlight and commented on her sad-sack (Head?/Tails?) Valentines post that I was her secret Valentine.  And now we have achieved escalation. 

We ARE best friends who ARE hot for each other or dare I say... inflame!

Blogs are great.

10 February 2006

don't foresake anything....

I awoke groggily this morning.  After all I was blind drunk last night.  I read through the chats I had on Skype and pieced together most of my evening.  I then checked my gmail account to find that I'd written my best friend an e-mail containing precisely the subject line of this post.  I have no idea why.  I should stop drinking.

09 February 2006

The data poor

I don't really know where I want to go with this, so bear with me and hopefully I'll get to a point...

Over at Mr Anderson there is a horrible tale of woe that I hope to never have happen to me. To summarize; an unsecured member on his home network was compromised by a virus and that in turn meant that his ISP account was overused MASSIVELY and at HUGE expense to him as the ISP account holder.

Now contractually it is the account holder that has to pay. And that makes Mr Anderson liable. But unfortunately that doesn't go anywhere near to covering the range of blame that can be thrown into the mix here. Firstly there is the writer of the virus. This malevolent software caused the bandwidth to be consumed, so there is an argument that the virus coder is responsible for the account's overuse. Then there is the unsecure computer that hosted the virus. Was the owner negligent and therefore responsible for the damages they bought about? If there was anti-virus software in use, then could responsibility lie with that program's manufacturer? What about the local network provide (in this case Mr Anderson himself)? Does the responsibility for this lie on their shoulders, as after all it was this provider that gave the compromised computer access to the ISP account. Or is it the final responsibility of the ISP? These services are all (as far as I know) limited to some extent, be it time or data usage, so all these providers MUST have effective ways to log and account for their clients usage. With this in mind, surely it is the ISPs responsibility to say - this account is being overused, you must stop now or face hefty penalty.

But they don't. It is not in their best interest as service provider to give you exactly what you want to pay for. So they deal some customers out accounts with BIG limits at cheap rates in the hope that, on average, a user will under utilize the account and therefore the ISP will make more money for the service they actually provided. Conversely they will deal out small account limits at more expensive rates. These users are more likely to approach their limits meaning that any under utilized profit is proportionately less. The ISPs still make more on the average usage.

And, of course, in both 'deals' they will totally screw you if you go over the account limit.

And I find that wrong. It keeps us, the average joe internet user, completely in the dark about how much this rapidly developing technology actually costs. We can't know the profit margin that the ISPs make but they won't be selling their bandwidth non-profit. Then there is the uncertainty about what the average usage is and the average profit this gives the ISP from the average client. And to top it all off there is the extortionate profit that they then make when clients breach their deals and go into penalty rate usage.

And given that data transfer technology is infesting society as rapidly as it is, shouldn't we be aware and concerned about the actual costs involved?

Reading back through this meandering thought process, it looks as if I want to vilify ISPs for profiteering, which I do. Because I see a darker side to all of this as the technology further taps into society. Anyone capitalizing on the technology at this stage potentially has the ability to bleed an incredible amount of money out of it in the near future.

I liken it to the idea and reliance on the concept of credit. Here a SP looks at you and calculates a) how much money you can afford to spend of theirs and b) the associated risk of you then spending it. Like ISPs, credit SPs win with all their clients, most especially those that overuse. Because of the concept that money over time is worth something, interest is accrued, and quickly any debt owed to your SP escalates.

I see this happening with ISPs two fold. Firstly to obtain an ISP service requires monetary credit and all the issues outlined above. But I also see the credit in the context of data. ISPs also credit you data.

So I see the emergence of social problems due to data debt, where data poor are prevented and chased not only monetarily, but also through data channels. Not having money is one thing, but being prevented access to data is quite another especially as society files increasingly towards distributing all of its information as online data. And I guess this leads me to asking:

How do we prevent this?