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


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?




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?


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


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?


I've been getting into all the modification things you can do with personal homepages at google.com and such like. So early in the morning, after breakfast, and as I'm getting ready for another depressing day of searching for work, I get to scroll through RSS fed headlines and other curios. It allows me to stumble (in a very syndicated kind of way) upon things as cool as this...

I am amazed that someone actually went out and built a difference engine out of LEGO, it is absolutely staggering. And I find a sense of relief that, should a nuclear winter arrive disabling all electronic devices, we could all go out and scrounge up LEGO blocks and make calculation machines. The computer will prevail!

02 February 2006

A Travelling Man's Sandals (Mandals?)

Here is a picture of the improbably used and unfortunately broken sandals that carried me around South East Asia for six whole months.

It is a memorial photo taken early this year when, god have mercy on me, I threw them out. I needed to. They were broken and only of sentimental value. And I had to move flats in London on the Tube and Bus. *Sigh*

They were amazing really. Hard wearing, comfortable and best-of-all well ventilated and un-smelly. And they just about had enough grip to get over even the most goat trodden tracks they call roads and paths round those parts.

But they couldn't to it without help. They were designed in the western world and sadly Heat (SEAsia's strongman) decided that Glue (Western's cheap fix it tool) was no match for it. And like Rock/Paper/Scissors - Heat always beats Glue.

Fortunately Heat is no match for cheap labour and the skilled, artisan-like, mr fix-its that travellers to places like Indonesia can easily afford. The upshot was that whenever they broke they were fixed. And some of the fix-it work is amazing. I mean if you look close you can also see why I got to calling them Frankensandals! Those stitches.

So here's to you my Mandals!

This blog post has been brought to you by Picasa and Blogger. It was in no way influenced by alcohol. It was however written under the influence of a heady rush of excitement brought on by achieving broadband internet access at home. Go the net! Posted by Picasa