Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ah, communication...

I for one am beyond pleased that we have experienced such a high degree of democratisation of information and communication. I am rapturously happy that the publication of one's thoughts and opinions are no longer the sole province of the privileged. It's just such a pity that there's enough wrong with some people that this (insert derogatory adjective here) woman considers it appropriate to blog BLAMING the mother of a toddler for his death, clearly without bothering to look into ANY of the available information on the actual incident.

Apparently experiencing a tragedy isn't enough punishment. Roll up, roll up, all victims of circumstance, treat yourself to the guilt trip tongue-lashing of a lifetime! For no extra charge, Madison McGraw, QUEEN of victim-blaming, PARAGON of self-righteous bullsh*t, EXEMPLAR of emotional abuse, will provide an unbalanced and insulting critique of why YOU are to blame for EVERYTHING that's ever happened to you! NOTHING is beyond this commentator's capacity for passive-aggressive, insulting, insensitive and downright offensive use of social media to interrogate your life!

Ms Ross used Twitter during the day of the accident, and yeah, she asked for help, support and prayer for her son. Believe it or not, plenty of people have incorporated a window of social media into their lives. In times of great pain, do you honestly expect them to shut down that avenue of expression? You don't have to agree with them, but come on - surely it's not beyond the realms of possibility that human communication contain a little compassion for a grieving mother.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You know it's bad when...part 1

Needs no real explanation...

L: You know it's bad when you make internal dirty jokes about not being able to open your mouth properly.

Clear Skies~V

Monday, November 30, 2009

Things we say, part 12

(V was wearing her hair in two plaits, ready for bed.)

L - Do you think if I yanked on them hard, your head would split open?

V - What a thought!

L - *sulk* I was just curious...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things we say, Part 11

A trip into the new and 'improved' (thank you SO much Arena net for making it IMPOSSIBLE) Underworld (in Guild War, obviously a trip to the real underworld would prove tricky in all manner of degrees), lead us to trying all manner if 'insane' and otherwise random ideas. At the third entry, this little skit emerged:

S: Okay this one involves a blind man shouting at you.
D: I was gonna say 'no, not really'.
S: *sigh* I should've expected that.

Clear Skies~V

Things we say, Part 10

Just because the pun deserved the airing; and because S claims that it was completely unintentional.

S: ...before they nerf Obsidian Flesh to the stone age.

Also, if you've got no idea what this is about, that's okay, it's abotu Guild Wars. For those of you who don't know who 'S' is, he's what I suppose you could call the Guild Strategist. >.>

Clear Skies~V

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Things we say, Part 9

Today's prize winning line goes to L's lil sister (LS). She gets this not only because she won the amazing lineness, but because she got a First for her thesis, which is made of awesome to the degree of awesometh.

LS: I love you like a ninja (or maybe a crane).

Clear Skies~V

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Noms. We like noms.

In keeping with the whole Thanksgiving thing, I thought I'd talk about food for a bit. Well, specifically dinner. The dinner we'll be eating tonight.

I'm a pretty instinctual cook; when I was little I followed recipes, but had no compunction about discretionary adding of things I liked, or preferentially altering the proportions of some ingredients. So our rock cakes always had more currants than normal, and our anzac biscuits were a little more sticky-soft than crunchy. I've been using the same basic cake recipe, with various additions, since I first cooked it from the Common Sense Cookery Book, which my Auntie Jan gave Mum as a wedding present (I think). The pages of that book (particularly pikelets, anzac biccies, cake...) wound up stained with the evidence of my messiness.

So I cook with very little regard for anything but aiming at something tasty, especially when it comes to everyday dinners. It's always been a bit of a mystery to me when people say they can't cook, 'cause it's been such a normal part of my life for so long. Growing up we always cooked from scratch, because it's cheaper, and I did a lot of the family cooking, which meant that I not only learnt to cook, but also to shop for groceries.

When I left home for university, I discovered how weird that actually was. Most of my peers had no real idea of what they would eat over the course of a week, or how to cook filling meals, let alone relatively healthy ones.

Anyways, seeing as most people seem to have missed out on the organic process of learning to cook that I was lucky enough to have had, I thought I'd post some of the stuff I cook for our household. I'm not a spectacular cook, but I turn out some pretty tasty everyday food on a regular basis, without spending all that much money, even though we do our shopping at a normal supermarket. Be warned, though, that I very rarely pay attention to such niceties as measurements.

So: dinner tonight is a nameless variation on chicken and veggies.

Ingredients: *as closely as I can remember*

about 1.5kg of skinless chicken (thigh fillets, $12), 4 potatoes, 2 tins of tomatoes, 3 carrots, 1 mediumish sweet potato, 2 smallish onions, powdered chicken stock, various herbs.

I roughly chopped the veggies & put them in a deep baking dish (an oven-proof casserole dish would work just as well), then chopped the thighs into chunks (not too small). I then added the stock powder, basil, thyme, rosemary (dried) and lots of garlic, and smooshed it all around a bit, til everything had a good coating of herbs. It didn't look like quite enough, so I dumped some more herbs on and added the tomato, mixed it through a little, then added water so the dish was about 3/4 full. It went into the oven covered with foil, at 200 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. The foil then came off, the temperature came down to 180 degrees, and it was left to finish cooking. (The chicken will be cooked at the 45 min mark, even if it's partially frozen to start with, as mine was, but the veggies will still be pretty hard, especially if you prefer them in larger chunks. You can cut them smaller to speed up the cooking time, especially if you're using waxy potatoes, which hold together more in liquid)

You could reduce the water content to end up with a thicker, more sauce-like concoction, but I like the liquid to be thin. If there's wine in the house, I tend to put some in, red or white doesn't really matter. If there isn't, I'll add a little verjuice, or lemon/lime juice, or even a little apple cider vinegar to add depth to the flavour. I also taste test, because the way I cook is very much in the 'add to taste' line - I don't use much salt or pepper to start with, taste part way through, and add to finish the dish. When you guesstimate about stuff, it's the easiest way to make sure you end up with something palatable.

I also tend to leave a lot of room for people to season the food while they eat - I've never used salt much, so my taste for it is pretty low, and I often find that people want to add salt to the finished product (which I don't mind at all, since it means everyone's tastes are catered to).

All together, this costs no more than $20, maybe a little more if you're using wine, etc. You can use whatever cut of meat is cheapest, and it'd cost less if you do your veggie shopping at a farmer's market, instead of paying supermarket prices for things. In our 3-person household, it leaves enough leftovers for plenty of lunches. If you wanted to stretch it a little further, it goes well with rice, and you can also add chickpeas, etc. It's also a theme that's very open to variation: I've made this with pork, and frequently substitute other vegetables, especially parsnip and pumpkin.

One of the most awesome aspects of cooking like this is how easy it is. Chop stuff up, stick it in the oven, set the timer, walk away. Cleanup is pretty much a knife, chopping board, baking dish, crockery, and whatever mess I made on the benches throwing it together - so it's low-cost in every way.

News worth reading? Wait, what?

BWAHAHAHAHA. Who'd have thought the Canberra Times could ever come up with an article worth the reading?

Also, I should add that I haven't slept yet, so it might be funnier now than it will be when I'm actually awake.

Clear Skies~V

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Before I forget and someone kills me for it...

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans who read or might read this!

Clear Skies~V&L

Combatting Boredom with Procastination

Okay so this is not what I should be doing. In fact, I should not be on the Internet at all, or singing along to Queen or Aerosmith, or looking anywhere other than the Word document that is meant to be the current focal point of my life. After all the Talking Teacher already seems to have taken it personally that I haven't rocked up to any of his classes - what makes him so special anyways? The Awesome Teachers haven't taken it personally that I haven't rocked up to either of their classes for the last couple of weeksl; doesn't mean I haven't been following the stuff via the online notes or, when being completely lost, asking for help - so doing his assignments may or may not be a waste of time. Still, if I can finish them all by tomorrow or, at the end of all things, by Friday, and turn them in one big wallop he might be appeased and not fail me outright like he says he might. Not to propogate the ranting but it's not like I needed to be in his class every time in order to understand what it is he's teaching. It's not that hard, people! Information systems have to adapt and change depending on the contextual technological evolution as well as the changing demands of the people who use it. What's the big fuss? Do I really need to have been there for all 2 hours every week for the past 15 weeks in order to get that? Um...lemme think about that? Probably not. That is not to say that I disliked the class; quite to the contrary, the teaching methods were very interesting (no, not being sarcasm) and I have the utmost respect for the Talking Teacher. Mostly. Let's just say I'm a little disappointed that he thinks I dislike coming to class.

Aaaanyways, the point of this entry was not to bitch. It was to get my head around what I'm meant to be writing down. Consider it a means of communicating the concepts to myself and to you at the same time. Multitasking has always been a skill I think should be encouraged in all walks of life...okay, so maybe that's a load of BS, but I'm sure it might be true in some circles, I'll get back to you about which ones. Give me a break, I've had very little proper sleep over the past week because of all of this, I'm allowed to be a little bit silly.

The point of this entry is that boring assignments automatically switch on my 'how to procrastinate today' gear. It says a lot that I've managed to sleep away most of today (on accounts of the whole lack of sleep thing for the past couple of weeks, not because I did it deliberately). I was going to go in today and finish my Cataloguing assignments, but those are going to have to wait until tomorrow. Tonight's aim is to finish TT's assignments, as many as I can anyways. You can see my predicament. I should be listening to William Joseph's piano instead of the random playlist I just spent the last half hour fixing. I should be reading the material provided instead of blogging. I should have finished all of this yesterday instead of giving in and sleeping. I should be doing a lot of things other than what I'm doing right now, but being held hostage to those things that I should be doing? Not entirely my style. The effort bug will kick in soon, and then we'll get work done. I always did say I got my best work done after 11pm anyways. That gives me what? Two hours to warm up?

Clear Skies~V

Saturday, November 21, 2009

As an aside...

Just to chime in... since V decided to share her feelings about all that Twilight crap: this is pretty much the best description I've seen of it...

stupid friggin sparkly vampires... shitty cinematography... crappy acting... didn't bother to hide the wires... /mumblerant

Friday, November 20, 2009

Magma is a funny word.

So, lately all my post titles have been pinched from Looking for Group comics. Ah well, there's nothing original on the internets anyway, right?

I was just thinking that actually, hectopascal is a funny word. I always thought it was spelled hecterpascal, thanks to the delivery of the weatherman throughout my childhood, Mike Pook. (We always called him Pookie. The nightly weather was a somewhat onesided conversation at our place. Aaaand this haphazard train of thought has reminded me of the insane way my sister used to giggle whenever someone said 'Hong Kong', and got the old theme music from The Bill stuck in my head.)

Trying to distract myself from the ridiculous heat (I can't help but sit here and whimper at the fact that it's only going to get hotter for the next couple of months), I have, of course, been blogsurfing. Strangely, this is a form of procrastination I've only (relatively) recently embraced. At times it's a hugely counterproductive activity, since I have a tendency to get cranky when I'm thinking about stuff and things from a feminist perspective. At this point it's probably necessary to state that I am, in fact, explicitly outing myself as a feminist. Probably kindof obvious too, but what the hell.

So. For the past few months I've been wending my way through various blogs, grateful for these intelligent, articulate women writing stuff that makes me think, but intensely frustrated by the very stuff it makes me think about. A recent chemical change (hello, happy pills!) has me on a more even keel, and I think I've finally got the hang of thinking philosophically rather than angrily about male privilege, patriarchy, 'culture', all that jazz. V's probably sobbing with relief, since on of the real outcomes of this particular epiphany is a little less ear-bashing from me.


Ahem. Not sure what the actual point is here, but I reckon I might get to it eventually. I started wandering through feminist blogs (as a spectator; I don't tend to comment) because of this post. Some of them are on our blogroll; if you're at all interested in reading actual content from actual people who are actual feminists, I'd suggest dipping a toe in. I don't mean feminism in the sense that a lot of people seem to think about feminism; there's no bitter man-hating going on. It's not about teh evil menz so much as it's about paradigms, and paying attention, thinking critically about the ways people relate to each other and what that means.

A couple of months ago I was incredibly angry that no-one (apart from a bunch of people with blogs) seems to credit this as a conversation that desperately needs to be happening. John Howard might believe that we're in the 'post-feminist' stage of the 'debate', but I like to think that anyone with even a little bit of a brain can see that it's not a 'debate' when the wage gap is still ridiculous, and it's not a 'debate' when the choices women face in terms of career and family are so structurally unfair. It's not a debate when the much-needed American healthcare reform turns into an exercise in neglecting several forms of basic healthcare for women, or when the 'principles' of American conservatives prevent any federal US funding from going towards aid programs which provide abortions.

It's weird, to be something other than angry about all this. In a way, I am angry - I'm angry every time I hear someone say something that I know needs to be challenged - angry at them, and angry with myself for failing to challenge it, as I know I often do. Angry that on those occasions when I do manage to make that challenge, I fail to adequately articulate why these things are important, to me personally and to society as a whole.

So, maybe I am angry, but at least it feels like good angry. I spend a good chunk of each day hoping for updates, reading intelligent, articulate people write about important things, trivial things, amusing things, interesting things. I've learned a bunch of things about random stuff, from pedagogical techniques (I find myself addicted to academic blogs, even though I'm no longer studying; it's making me rethink my approach to being a student, even if it is a bit late...) to fat acceptance, and more topics in between than I ever thought I'd spend hours reading about.

I think maybe I lied before. I'm not sure I am getting to a point; I think I'm probably just crapping on about how awesome the internet can be. I have no idea what I'm gonna do with this random little epiphany, if I do anything; I guess I'll just leave this as a thankyou to all the people I've got blog-crushes on, who routinely make my intellectual life richer thanks to what they share.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For those of you who were wondering... this is still how I feel about Twilight. I make only small apologies.

Clear Skies~V

Random Pretty...! Nature moves in mysterious ways.

Okay this one just amused me...that's the wall outside my bedroom, the sun was coming in through the window and it made an exclamation mark. Reckon nature's trying to communicate?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do whatever the elf tells you to. I'm going fishing.

V and I were just talking about various fears (the conversation started out with me wondering how people wind up being scared of spiders, etc. Apparently a vivid documentary on black widow spiders was the culprit for her) and then meandered, as we tend to do, far from the original topic and into a conversation about seeing the Scream movie franchise, oh so many years ago. (We're at that age where it feels really weird to refer to something being a decade ago.)

Anyway, as it turns out, we both saw Scream at a highschool slumber party. Little V found it scary, whereas apparently you'd need carbon dating to figure out what the age of my personality is, as even in 1998 I was more amused than anything else, and vaguely bored. My favourite part is (still) the bit where the blonde girl tries to escape through the cat flap in the roller door, and oh my. Wasn't that a mistake. Actually, my favourite part was creeping out my friends by making strange noises in the dark when they were trying to sleep afterwards (leading to the exclamation, 'Lambs are frolicking! Lambs are frolicking!'), but the crushed-in-a-garage-door comes a close second.

So. What're your favourite terrible movies? I have to admit that I quite enjoy movies that're so bad they're good, or at least unintentionally wet-your-pants funny. The Princess Bride tops my list, for many reasons - I know the Impressive Clergyman's 'wuv... twue wuv...' speech very well. Shoot 'em Up, Troy, Army of Darkness (Hail to the king, baby....), and Robin Hood, Prince of Theives all rate a mention.

The Transformers movies... well, that's a completely different kind of bad. 'The teenage male equivalent of snorting cocaine off a hooker's ass' is the best description I've come across so far...

Things we say, part 8

L: Or else?

V: Or else there will be blooood!

L: Does that mean we get Daniel Day-Lewis?

V: ...hmmm...

L: Uh-huh.

Does this amuse anyone else?

Guild Wars is rated T and has the following warnings...

ESRB Rating

Do you reckon by 'suggestive themes' they're referring to the relationships between Koss and Melonni, Mhenlo and Cynn (and Cynn's variously amusing comments like "I hope you brought your healing hands")? Or perhaps they're referring to the fact that female elementalists wear next to nothing?

Use of Alcohol = your screen goes drunk and you get pretty colors. Pretty straight forward. I'll pay that.

Violence. Um. Yeah?
L just walked in and told me she'd finished vanquishing
Sacnoth Valley.
Vanquishing = killing every living thing in a select region = um...violence?

Clear Skies~V

Clip clop, I'm a horse!

Okay so maybe I exaggerated a little, no one got hurt did they?

Every now and then I find myself wondering about the very basic question; a question which I imagine many people - prominent and otherwise - have asked themselves over the course of their lives: why do we put up with fashion?

Let me sketch you the basics of my own non-existent fashion trends: I wear what I think looks good and what feels right, thus, I avoid white shirts, stripes that go horizontal, and puffy skirts that make me look like a dumpling on legs. Hahah. Yes, well, meh. I have a thing for bags, shoulder bags, backpacks, handbags, leather or canvas, I just love bags. And ankle boots, I love them too, and I don't really care if I make a racket when I'm walking down a hallway at our educational institution, because my boots do miracles for my posture and they make me just that little bit taller, which is great for someone who is 5' nothing.

However, can someone please tell me if it's just me and I've fallen behind so massively on the 'in' thing, or whether or not these pictures really are the fashion horrors that I think they are?

Okay, is this a boot, a shoe, a sandal, or a hammer?

Shiny? Pink? Beige? I mean honestly...

I'm not even going to try and say something about these.

Clear Skies~V

Random Pretty

Darling Harbour, Sydney (while moving the camera)

Clear Skies~V

How to drink coffee in the heat...

It's easy really, you make it, you stuff a glass full of vanilla ice cream, you pour coffee in. It gets frothy, you drink it...nom nom nom nom nom nom...

Okay so I might be a little bit high on caffeine and sugar now, and company. I'm sure you'll all forgive me, I'm attempting - stress on attempting - to write an essay here. That's not going as well as it should, I think I've lost my capacity to write essays, or it might just be this week. It's for the Talking Teacher (TT), and I hope he'll forgive me for it being late. I'm of a mind to finish all his assignments today, and with the help of my new caffeine and ice cream I'll be able to do that. (WoOt! Breeze!) The essay deals with the impact of information communication technology (mouthful? Just say ICT) on library systems. Now, lemme explain, I love essays, I like writing them, I even enjoy reading them, I prefer writing essays to writing reports - I don't do well with subheadings, see? - but for some reason the topic has jaded me, I think we've fallen out of love, if we were even in love - *sigh* it's so hard to tell these days! I mean, the topic hasn't even called back yet, and it's been like two weeks! What's up with that?

Luckily for me, and I mean luckily, Awesome Teacher 1 & 2 are being forgiving and are letting me get away with murder. My personal aim is to get things done by the end of next week. With a little help from caffeine and a shut door, good music, I will succeed!

Anyways, before I bore you all to death with school talk I've made a list of 'Highs'...because I can...and because it'll make me think clearly enough to actually write these essays.

  • Caffeine High --> leads to V's hypernessity level 1, and (if reached without the appropriate consumption of water) massive migraineness (*goes to get another bottle of water*)
  • Sugar High --> leads to V's hypernessity level 3, and in my very personal opinion the worse kind of hangover (worse than an alcohol one!!!), especially when reached in combination with the other two Highs.
  • Company High --> leads to various levels of V's hypernessity, ranging between 2-10. Nothing like a Company High, also known as a giggle fest. I love Company Highs, they're the kind of highs you get when you're spending time with someone(s) you get along with so well you can't help but seriously enjoy yourself well into the AM. The only kind of residue this leaves is a sleepy day the following day.
...I'm not going to touch the Drug High, on accounts that I don't endorse it, never have, and don't need it to have a great time or get my work done. ^^

Back to the grindstone, will probably write again later...^^

Clear Skies~V

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


HTML is fun right? Actually it is, which is why I had a test this week on it, and why I spent all of my Tuesday night and Wednesday last week working on that project. To be completely honest, I overdid it, once I'd worked out how to get framesets into the code and how to make it function in congruence (sp?) with the CSS it was far too much fun to NOT use it, even though it wasn't a requisite for the grade. Oh well, what're you gonna do? Turn a project into something fun and hopefully usable or just do what's required and learn only the basics? I know, I know, you don't need to know how to do framesets to figure out what might be wrong with the basic HTML of a page...but still >.>

I know there was a greater purpose to this entry, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Something about space monkeys I'm sure, or maybe it was unicorns. No...don't think it was either of those. Granted I don't think singing along with ACDC's Back in Black is helping any. Good song. Also doesn't help when the playlist switches over into Renegade by Styx just as I finish typing that. So, my playlist is a little interesting, there's a bit of ACDC, Styx, Bad Company, the Eagles, Phoenix Effect, Poets of the Fall, and, of all things, Joan Baez. I guess I had to throw in someone with a female voice to offset the overdose of maleness. It's an interesting combination to say the least, and kind of amusing, especially since the Eagles' music varies so greatly, depending on the time in which it was written. Not the style necessarily, but the expressiveness.

Now...what was the point of this entry again? You know what, stuff it, I don't remember. I know there was a greater purpose but it's completely flown my mind. Probably wasn't anything important, can't think of why I'd want to rant against whaling, or environmental degredation, or anything like that, I mean, those aren't important topics are they? Like AIDs in Africa, or AIDs around the world, that's not important either, not compared to the capitalist to spend money and create movies like Transformers (hilarious to watch, but c'mon how much money was poured into that that might've been spent somewhere else?). Just think about what the amount of money poured into the movie business could do if it was applied to say, medicine in 3rd world countries? Or applied to the further research for a cure for AIDs? Protecting the world's natural resources? Funding research into the generation of renewable, clean, and safe fuels? It's about responsible spending on a political and international and insert-sphere-here scale.

So no, no point to this post whatsoever. Bite me.

Clear Skies~V

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Been a while... hello Blog! Did you miss us?

So, HI. We didn't die if that's what some of you were wondering. We didn't go to the Moon either, though L was very insistent that we try to build a space shuttle and make an attempt. Somehow, however, we overshot our trajectory - cos I suck at Maths - and we ended up on Saturn instead. Now Saturn, don't get me wrong, it's a lovely planet, if you like gas, and rings, it sure has a lot of those. Not so much with the actual substance thing, so we spent a week or so floating around in nothing but whatever Saturn is made up of. Anyways, DULL.

So we went to Vegas instead. Lost lots of money and -

Yeah okay, no one's buying that are they?

Soooo, no. Things have been heating up in Canberra - get your minds out of the gutter - I meant that it's getting closer to summer, so the temperatures are climbing up and up and up, aiming at incinerating us with the blasting heat of the sunshine and the searing temperatures of the so-called breeze. You know how everywhere else, a breeze is a delightfully cool thing that is meant to giggle or chortle or do whatever it is that breezes are described to do - often making them very similar to brooks and streams - in Australian summer breezes are like oven-fan-powered gusts of heat that kick up dust and dry you out faster than you can start coughing.

And joy of joys we're heading that way. Gods I wish we'd stayed on Saturn. >.> Space and its subzero temperatures is looking preeeetty appealing right about now. *sighs* If only! Woe woe woe! Alack the day that summer ever - yeah okay, anyone else noticed that I'm a little um...crazier than usual? Oh look birds! No, wait that's a car. It's night time, V, the birds are all ASLEEP.

Yes. I'm insane. And?

Clear Skies~V

Monday, October 26, 2009

Random pretty for today

Clear Skies~V

Gaiman and Prachett were right...part 1: Success

In our copy of Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett's Good Omens (which is amazing and really should be read by anyone and everyone before the world comes to an end...) the dedication page tributes the book to G.K Chesterton, 'a man who knew what was going on'. Truer words have never been spoken.

I come across this particular discovery now because I'm in the process of reading All things considered, which is a collection of articles that Chesterton wrote all compiled in a fantabulous book. They are, simply put, hilariously accurate.

I'm particularly taken with one article aptly named 'The Fallacy of Success', which, for all that it was written somewhere in the beginning of the 1900s, c. 1908 when the book was first published, discusses a topic which is still very relevant and somewhat dear to my heart. Namely, books written about how to succeed. Chesterton declares right at the beginning - and I'm taken to follow his lead in this - that he believes that these books and articles may be called ' the silliest ever known among men'.

Let's outline these books before I lose everyone: they're the ones you see in the self-help section of the bookstore, mostly, but they're not about yoga or how to improve your sex life; they're about how to make so much money in so many days, or how to become really good at that card game you've always wanted to be good at:

"They are much more wilde than the wildest romances of chivalry and much more dull than the dullest religious tract. Moreover, the romances of chilvalry were at least about chivalry; the religious tracts are about religion. But these things are about nothing ; they are about what is called Success...They are books showing men how to success in everything; they are written by men who cannot even succeed in writing books." (Chesterton, pg. 22)

Okay so maybe that last bit is a bit harsh, you gotta hand it to people who can sell books merely on the power of the market without a lick of skill to string a sentence together (*cough*stephaniemeyer*cough*danbrown*cough*).

Anyways, before I get sidetracked by one of my favorite ranting topics, here's what Chesterton has to say about the subject:

"To begin with, there is no such thing as Success. Or, if you like to put it so, there is nothing that is not successful. That a thing is successful merely means that it is ; a millionaire is successful in being a millionaire and a donkey in being a donkey. Any live man has succeeded in living; any dead man may have succeeded in committing suicide."

or in having lived a full life -

"...These writers profess to tell the ordinary man how he may succeed in his trade or speculation - how, if he is a builder, he may succeed as a builder...This is a definite and business-like proposal, and I really think that the people who buy thse books (if any people do buy them) have a moral, if not a legal, right to ask for their money back."

I can think of advising a number of people who have bought particular books that aren't worth reading asking for their money back >.>. Chesterton then gives us an example, lifted from a popular magazine he had been reading when he was writing his article. The article he refers to is called 'The Instinct that Makes People Rich'...

"It is decorated in front with a formidable portrait of Lord Rothschild. There are many definite methods, honest and dishonest, which makes peopel rich; the only 'instinct' I know of which does it is that instinct which theological Christinaity crudely describes at 'the sin of avarice'."

He goes on to quote several paragraphs from the article in question, which, in short argue that monetary success is about a money-making instinct, and spends a page beating around the bush before referring to King Midas, from the old mythos. The article Chesterton quotes reads as follows:

"'In the olden days its existence was fully understood. The Greeks enshrined it in the story of Midas, of the "Golden Touch". Here was a man who turned everything he laid his hands upon into gold. His life was a progress amidst riches. Out of everything that came in his way he created precious metal...We all know of such men. We are ever meeting orreading about such persons who turn everything they touch into gold. Success dogs their footsteps. heir life's pathway leads unerringly upwards. They cannot fail.'"

After about ten minutes of my giggles and laughter and trying to communicate that little paragraph to L, I finally read on, and loved every word. Chesterton does everything short of calling the article's author a dimwit, though he certainly comes close enough to that.

"...Midas could fail," Chesterton continues, "he did. His path did not lead unerringly upward. He starved because whenever he touched a biscuit or a ham sandwich it turned to gold. That was the whole point of the story, though the writer had to suppress it delicately, writing so near to the portrait of Lord Rothschild...We must not have King Midas represented as an example of success; he was a failure of an unusually painful kind. Also, he had the ears of an ass. Also (like most other prominent and wealthy persons) he endeavoured to conceal the fact. It was his barber...who had to be treated on a confidential footing with regard to this peculiarity; and his barber, instead of behaving like a go-ahead person of the Succeed-at-all-costs school and trying to blackmail King Midas - "

How is this man writing at the turn of the Century? It sounds like something we'd be writing right now!

"- went away and whispered this splendid piece of society scandal to the reeds, who enjoyed it enormously. It is said that they also whispered it as the winds swayed them to and fro..."

Sound like politicians today? Except I suppose we should probably equate the reeds and the wind to the media, after all, there's always someone whispering something and always someone who's willing to listen. Isn't that how conspiracy theories are born? Oh, no wait, sorry, I meant, how government information is leaked to the public. I get them mixed up somehow.

Either which way, I think I might leave it at that for now and maybe write another time about the concept of Hat Hunting rather than Fox Hunting, which is the article that follows on from this one in All things considered.

Clear Skies~V

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So, I found D's soulmate...

This is the desk of Tycho (of Penny Arcade fame). Funny, I coulda sworn it was the one just down the hall from me...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why don't they teach this in schools?

I get so excited when I find something that says exactly what I want to say, but have so far been unable to effectively articulate. Woo, procrastination really can be productive!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things we say, part 7

D wins this round, though in a way L wins too, as consolation for having to wear some of the most horrible armor in all of Guild Wars (Ranger Kurzick armor. Woe! Woe! Woe!)

D: The answer to the mysteries of life? Petticoats! Petticoats are the answer!

Clear Skies~V


You something isn't quite right when you're sleeping through the day to avoid the heat and being awake between 6pm and 6am because that's the only time you can cope with the tempreture. Sadly, that was the status of this House at the End of the World in January/February 2009. Not that we minded, but let me tell you that that sleep pattern, over a long period of time, can put a definite cramp in your life; I'm pretty sure it's not healthy either. >.>

This year, after a false start, spring seems to have finally arrived, bringing with it all the floral glories of Floriade - the annual flower festival that draws people from all over the country - and the lovely fluff that newcomers sometimes mistake for snow (and that makes asthmatics paranoid to go outside, and honestly, don't blame them, the darned stuff gets everywhere).

This year we've had a good amount of rain too, it's going to be interesting to see how much green is still around before the thunderous sun of Summer hits us. I'm generally optimistic, but the Canberra sun does this thing where it burns away optimism as easily as it frizzles pretty green colours and sits smug in the sky for many hours.

Last year, I wasn't here for most of Summer, having spent Christmas away from D & L with my family in Europe.

We had snow there...I miss snow. >.>

Clear Skies~V

Friday, October 16, 2009

Things we say, part 6

Today's winner is L, for excellent commentary during the re-watching of Transformers.

L: I keep having so many 'slide' moments during this movie. (At this point Cpt. Witwiki (sp?) falls down through the ice). 'Step into your cave. Find your power animal...if your power animal is a giant frozen robot, please increase your medication.'

Fight Club rules.

Clear Skies~V

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I think I may be a bad, bad person.

Going through some of my notes in an attempt to pretend that I'm catching up on some of those overdue assignments (yeah, right...), I found a wish list of dewey numbers I would like to see.

My favourite: A book on Mongolian children and how to cook them. It'd take 'cooking for children' (641.5123) to a whole new level.

...I suspect that when the universe finally catches on to how horrible a person I am, I will spontaneously combust.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Things we say, part 5

Okay this just happened. I went to the kitchen to collect my tea, that L had very kindly made for me; she was in the process of making a sandwich. The conversation went as follows.

V: Thank you for tea!!!
L: I want a sammich.
V: Sammich?
L: Sammich!
V: Sammich!
L: Sammich!!!!
V: Sammich!!!!
L: What just happened?
V: Maybe your happy pills are rubbing off on me.
L: They're meant to be happy pills, not psycho pills.
V: We can be happy psycho, there's nothing wrong with happy psycho.
Clear Skies~V

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Knitting Olympics

So, I'm knitting V a poncho-cardigan-wrap-shawl thingy (the pattern tells me it's a 'wrap with garter stitch collar', but verbal exactitude is beyond me at the moment). My current project completion rate means it might just be ready to keep her warm next winter *touch wood*.

Anyways... here's to documenting progress.

...anyone who's an uber-knitter and can see the screw-ups, please don't tell me. I really do know they're there.

Things we say, part 4

And for today, D once again gets the prize for his reply to me in the Sydeny Aquarium. Let's just say that he was less than impressed with the dugongs that were on display there. I'll put up a picture of the dugongs later, but for now here.

V: You're just jealous that they're beautiful.
D: Yes, I like awake at night wishing I was a dugong.
Somehow I don't think he was serious. It's depressing.

Clear Skies~V

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Things we say, part 3

This one was a joint effort on all our parts, L, D, and myself, about getting stains out of the rental car that my parents had brought with them when they visited us a couple of weeks ago.

D: Next thing you know we'll go around a bend and run over something unexpected. Like a wombat. And the next thing V'll have knitting needles in her cranium, which I don't want.
V: Aww, he cares.
D/L: Rental car!
L: Cranial fluids are hard to get out. Keep your juices on the inside please.

Clear Skies~V

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oh, right. Hello, blog...

So, V's birthday went by and wasn't blogged. I guess we're made of fail. The cake was made of awesome, though. And bananas.

Thoughts for today: girls still young enough to be referred to as 'little' are too young to be perved on. I'm talking to you, bowling-shirt bus guy.

Also, Roman Polanski was arrested. And somehow most of the media has forgotten that he only fled the US after pleading guilty... go figure.

On the more cheerful side, James Blunt's All the lost souls album has a song which starts: 'I won't laugh at you / when you boo hoo hoo', which has made me laugh more than just about anything else this week (I know, it's only Wednesday. But a day spent staring at dewey numbers and an antique card catalogue is a very long one. I don't wanna be a librarian no more.)

Combatting boredom

So here's the thing. Boredom hits us all, once in a while, right? I mean, I've heard it said that if you own a book you can't be bored, but I disagree, what if you own a book but you've read it a million times and could probably recite it off by heart? Though I suppose you could then stage the book's dialogues for your own delights, or with a partner, if you were both combatting boredom. It's still somewhat odd though.

Of course there's the other school of thought that encourages people to 'go jogging' or 'go walking' or something of that variety when you are bored. If you're into that kinda thing then whoo! for you, but what if you're not? What if leaving the house to go for a walk or a run then translates merely into moving boredom from one place to another (unless of course you really like thinking, or listening to music, while idly walking in a particuarly direction, it's always possible).

Alternatively you could do what I'm trying to do, i.e. discuss the ridiculousnessity of combatting boredom. But then, it becomes necessary to differentiate between boredom and procrastination...

Clear Skies~V

Sunday, September 20, 2009

When television exceeds its interest limit...

The thing about being sick is that after a while you run out of things that are interesting, you go through five books that you've read before but because you haven't had anything to do you just reread the ones you finished last week. Stage two is rewatching every other movie you own, moving into all those tv series you have the DVD sets of. But after week one, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural and Angel and even Firefly (not to mention Witchblade) start to sort of run together with Pirates of the Carribean and Lord of the Rings. And there's never anything on tv anyway, especially not day television, except for those reruns of CSI that you've already seen like seven times. By the end of the second week, thankfully, you're feeling a little better, so you try your hand at playing a few games you haven't played in a while, only to discover that Heavenly Sword and even Dynasty Warriors takes too much attention and coordination and wears you out too much, so you give in and watch that season of Buffy that you haven't watched yet because it's older than the rest of it and doesn't have enough Spike in it. A day or so later you're so sick of being sick that you decide it's been enough and you try getting dressed and walking around a bit; lucky for you it works, so you sit up and poke at some of the homework that was due the week before. conclusion I can only advise that you do not, under any circumstances, try to build Dewey numbers when you're ill.

It's good to be alive again.

Clear Skies~V

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I have a lazy, a headache, a dizzy and a general meh. So here's a picture of my favourite pot plant (and the phone cord).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When all else fails

Today is not made of win. In the absence of something even remotely worth saying, here is a picture of my favourite teapot.

Monday, September 14, 2009

People we want in our hallway

So, our hallway has a corner where we stash things. It's quite convenient (well, that's what I assume, since I never have to walk past it), and it doesn't count as mess if it stacks. We also have a list of people we'd like to keep there:

Bruce Dickinson. For the sheer, ebil awesomeness of the dude who can fly a plane AND be rock guy;

Jorn Lande, because there's some seriously inviting vocal frequency going on there;

Emmy Rossum, because she's ridiculously pretty AND sings, and because it would be hilarious to have someone so tiny & fragile-lookin' next to the guy best described as the 'Norwegian Meatloaf';

Tobias Sammet, 'cause he tries so hard, and there isn't enough hilarious German powermetal in the world (or our hallway);

Johnny Depp. Needs no explanation.

Grace Jones, because a day just isn't complete without a little terror.

Gerard Butler doesn't make the hallway list, 'cause we'd like to keep him someplace else.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Advertising: Made of Fail

Some excerpts from the booklet promoting events at Floriade (local flower festival thingy) and my reactions to them:

'Catch the fallen angels in action as these mischievous chareacters try to regain their lost place in Nirvana. Their absurd attempts are beautifully innocent and tragically funny.'

...maybe it's just me, but 'fallen angel' isn't a phrase that conjures images of beautifully innocent, mischievous characters... it's more a bloody great pissed off being riding a wave of (un)righteous fury who will rip your face off with a SWORD. Bring a picnic basket, the kids'll love the show!

'Imagine peeling off your skin to reveal the body's inner workings individually walking, dancing and interacting with each other. Be delighted in the workings of your own body in all its marvellous splendour.'

- Aside from the grammatical issues that wonderful snippet subjects us to, what the hell? I dunno 'bout you, but I can't say I'm up for a day out at the gardens, a peek at some tulips and HAVING MY SKIN PEELED OFF so my heart can ask my liver to dance.

I'm also not enticed by the prospect of joining Cessil and Sandy Pitt for an event bringing together comedy acrobatics, juggling, contortion and a reminder of the benefits of marrying strangers OR going in search of love with Shirlee Sunflower. Sorry. And I have to say that I'm finding the suggestion of a full sensory experience involving dinosaur puppets a little terrifying. I haven't even managed to read the blurb for the kung fu classes; I'm stuck giggling about the title, Kung Fu with Dr. Wilson Lo of Moon Bear Kung Fu. I don't even want to google 'moon bear Kung Fu', because I'm sure the payoff wouldn't be anywhere near as fun as what my imagination's coming up with.

What really frustrates me about the whole thing is that somehow, the major piece of information-delivery advertising about a fairly large event in the nation's capital, something which is supposed to attract tourists and what have you, is such an absolute failure at actually telling me what the hell is going on at this thing. I mean, I've been to this event every year since 2004, I get the basics - beds of tulips making pictures, that sort of thing - and I can't tell what half of the 'major attractions' of this year's show actually ARE.

'Take a break and experience a mind, body, soul experience at the brand new Lotus Lounge which combines the serenity of natural therapies such as Reiki, massage and luxurious hand treatments with the brilliance of colourful garden beds in full bloom.'

Well that's great, but what I really want to know is whether there's a place where I can sit down and buy a cup of tea without being pontificated at about the oneness of being, or how homeopathy will solve all my problems. I mean, did anyone with basic literacy skills think to do a proof-read of this thing before it went to print and found its way to my mailbox?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dating: you're doing it...fight? o.O

Same restaurant, same table, different people. Is that table cursed?

Scenario runs like this: two girls and a guy are sitting at the table (where Mr. I'm always talking on the phone and his Miss God I'm so bored I'm texting my friends now get me out of here were sitting the other night). We will refer to these three as: The Girl in Black, the Girl in White, and The Boy, because this amuses me and is more or less accurate.

So our story begins at around 7pm in the evening, on a Friday night in Sydney. The Girl in White has arranged to have dinner with her two friends, the Boy, and the Girl in Black. Option A is of course that The Boy and the Girl in Black are dating, and the Girl in White is simply the third wheel who is friends with both of them. Option B is that the Boy and the Girl in Black are siblings, or just close friends, and the Girl in White is the Boy's ex, potential, or current...or sibling. It's really hard to tell what's what when everything's in Chinese.

Anyways, the story continues..

So they're sitting at the table, apparently enjoying a large dinner. The girls start to bicker and escalation strikes. Soon car keys go flying across the restaurant to land on another table. The Girl in White gets up and apologises mutlitple times to the other patrons, collecting the keys. The dinner goes on.

Fifteen minutes later the escalation brews up a storm, the Girl in Black gets to her feet, arguing loudly with the Boy, who gets up and attempts to physically restrain her and get her to sit back down. My first reaction is, she's drunk and wants to drive and he doesn't want her to. But the argument is so heated by this stage that there's no question of her sitting back down again. She starts to shout at him - and I do mean shout - in the middle of a packed restaurant! If you've ever been to Fuyija (and I do advise that if you're in Sydney and you like Japanese cuisine you pay it a visit) you'll realise what I mean when I say 'packed'.

The Girl in Black storms off and the Boy follows her, she flees to the bathroom and he, being the gentleman (apparently) doesn't follow her in, but instead returns to his seat. The Girl in White talked to him, quietly. I hope she's apologising to him. Several times during the rest of their silent dinner she gets up to go to the bathroom, presumeably to check on the Girl in Black.

The Boy sits silent, every now and then, when he thinks no one's looking he looked pained. I feel kind of sorry for him, I seriously hope he isn't - or wasn't - dating either of them, cos that would've made for a crappy night, well, even more crappy than it had been up till then...they were still there when I left.

Clear Skies~V

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Get thee to the maternity ward.

So, it turns out my school-free Monday will be taken up with attending a rally at Parliament House.
I've been keeping half an eye on news related to the Medicare legislation which will be before Parliament when the new session begins on the 7th of September, and I'm partly amused (but mostly disgusted) that a two-year bandaid is the best solution the government could come up with to avoid effectively outlawing private home-birth. (I have to admit, I'm particularly dissappointed that a female Health Minister is apparently so incapable of understanding the issues here.)

According to the National Perinatal Statistics Unit, 4% of mothers in 2003 intended to give birth outside of a conventional labour ward, and 2.8% actually did. Denying midwives practising outside of a maternity ward indemnity insurance, refusing to cover their services under Medicare... apparently its ok to deny basic choice to women who prefer to give birth in a place not condoned and controlled by the edifice that is 'official' medicine. It's no secret that the rate of medical intervention in the birth process is rising, particularly the rate of elective caesarean sections, and particularly in private hospitals. I don't condemn anyone's choice to opt for an elective caesarean, but I think it's important that we don't over-intervene in the process, especially for low-risk pregnancies.

I'm not suggesting here that because childbirth is a natural process that there's no risk involved; modern medicine has improved mortality rates for mothers and children. But there is NO good reason to shunt women into a hospital, to cut off various avenues of choice in what should be an intensely personal process for her and her partner. What right does a democratically elected government have to deny a basic choice like this? Especially when data is available to back up the claim that, in a low-risk situation, women and babies are at no more risk during a home-birth than in hospital.

In still more news: once again, The Age has proven its journalistic worth with what is possibly the smarmiest article I've read in a long time. It's not new for the news media here to drift down the path of 'oooh, an academic!' to vent scorn at the Prime Minister, but this piece of reporting is the worst example of it I've seen in a while. I've no problem heaping scorn on politicians - let's face it, they often deserve it. But really - it says a lot about this country that it's perfectly acceptable to lambast someone for an academic endeavour.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saturated with soup

So. Way back in the first semester V & I started attending (ahem... mostly attending. Well, attending sometimes) librarian school, there was a class we couldn't take, 'cause it ran til something ridiculous like 9pm, and the buses home (we live at the END of the WORLD) were a more or less impossible. At the time, nobody bothered to tell us that this class was mostly run via WebCT, and the liklihood of us not actually having to attend was... well, it was pretty much a given. So we dropped that class, except to actually graduate with our diplomas, we do have to complete this course (Search Databases).

Apart from the course with Idiotic Teacher (a wonderful man who's pretty much the opposite of ALT1 & 2) which had assignments requiring us to provide page after page of screen caps to prove we could do basic reference work (find a newspaper article, for example), this course has the most ridiculously easy assignments, bar none. 'Perform a search on whatever database. Document search strategy. If strategy was unsuccessful, explain why.' Ye gods, I think I might EAT someone.

I made pumpkin soup, and I really should stop eating it... but it's very, very tasty. Also, I was cold (actually, that part's quite unusual). Soup was good.

Notable names from gaming today: King Herod (a healer), Arsenik Pi, Ton Tour Viendra (Your turn will come) and Ward Against Idiocy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dating: you're doing it wrong

We've made a habit, whenever we're in Sydney, to eat at Fujiya (not so sure about the spelling because I never really pay attention to the name cos I'm always paying attention to the food), a Japanese restaurant. I love Japanese cuisine (ever strike you as odd that we call all food types 'cuisine', as though the French have the final say in cooking), even though I'm not really a fan of sushi (don't all scream at once). Anyways, so we ended up at this restaurant, as always, and we're sitting in the booth we always sit in - after having tried out a seat by the window for all of five minutes before the two seated in front of the window decided that it was too cold.

There are two people sitting in the booth across the aisle, presumably a couple. They were there when we got there, and they left only a couple of minutes before us. At first glance they're just a couple, and he's talking about something that is obviously important - or at least interesting enough to him to warrant him talking about for several minutes. The trouble is, Romeo doesn't shut up. In fact, he keeps talking (in Chinese, and let's make it public: my Chinese is non-existent) and drifts - I'm supposing - into the topic of World of Warcraft, which I am told is a bad move in any dating situation. Makes me think, but then, I don't mind talk about games at any time.

Issue number 2 comes from the fact that every ten minutes Romeo's phone rings - loudly - and, believe it or not, the guy actually answers it each time (which makes me wonder if they're not actually business partners, though the dynamic feels off for that). Every time when he's on the phone, she's texting someone under the table so he can't see (wonder what she's saying: 'I'm so damn booored!'). D caught her in the act, and she flashed a smile in his direction. Making it more and more amusing.

I guess I kind of felt sorry for her, because she really didn't look like she was enjoying herself, simply sitting there, pretty in her silver and black outfit, looking like a porcelain doll.

Still, maybe the situation wasn't anything like what I was reading into it. People are randomly interesting sometimes.

Clear Skies~V

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


There are days when the news makes me very, very angry.

This doesn't count as news, but does count as a major WTF -
Because it's FAR too much to just expect people to treat each other like... people?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Customer Service

So, according to Heather Armstrong, there's been a shit-storm lately on Twitter about her approch to dealing with shitty customer service (for the record, a mum blog - don't trawl the archives unless you can cope with baby crap & breastfeeding).

The gist of the story is as follows: she has a newborn. Babies make for lots of washing. Decision is made to buy new washing machine, to the tune of $1300 USD. 10-year warranty also purchased. Within a week, said machine breaks. Not unreasonably, she expects the makers to honour the warranty and fix it. After a tortuous series of attempts, machine fails to get properly fixed; getting increasingly frustrated, she calls as many people as she possibly can to expedite the process, hoping to get a working machine in the interim. (Unsurprisingly) is met with standard 'oh, we have to follow our procedure' excuses.

This is where the story gets different. Dooce is one of the most popular personal blogs out there. Heather Armstrong has a million followers on Twitter, and she was recently named in Forbes' top 30 most influential women in the media. Her reaction to ongoing shitty service was to call out the company responsible online in a series of angry tweets here (damn, I hate using 'tweet' like that).

Cut to a shit-ton of people criticising that as a course of action. Which really frustrates me; I don't think it's a bad thing. Companies (especially the larger ones) get away more and more now with little or no committment to customer service; above and beyond that, they frequently seem to have little committment to honouring the contracts they form when they sell us stuff. Now, that 10-year warranty probably had some kind of 'fixed within a reasonable time' clause, and I'm not saying that the manufacturer of the washing machine was, legally speaking, negligent. But large corporations can, and will, get away with supplying below-grade service if they possibly can. I don't think it's particularly fair that Heather Armstrong was treated as a more important person than anybody else who's ever been scewed over by that company, but I think it's a REALLY good thing that she reacted in a way that shamed them.

As consumers, we have more power now than we ever have to affect the behaviour of the companies we buy from, but only if we're actually paying attention. The American airline industry is paying attention to dissatisfaction expressed by customers through Twitter; Heather Armstrong not only called out one company on bad service, but inspired good service from a number of others (I'm not so naieve as to believe that this was out of altruism rather than taking up a marketing opportunity, but it's still a good thing). So rather than calling an angry consumer a bully, why don't we think about the fact that large corporations engage in bullying behaviour frequently (even as a matter of course), and about the fact that our responses to this behaviour actually matter.

So think about thanking the next person you get great service from. Think about where you're buying things, what the company's track record is on everything from good service to honouring their committments to social justice and the environment. Start complaining when you're not getting good service, but do it constructively. Start giving a shit.

Big City Drifts

Family visitations, a five hour drive to Sydney. Oh boy! Oh boy!

I always forget how much I dislike large cities; I mean, they're noisy, they're crowded, they smell, there's too many people, you can barely see the sky because of the high-rises, and yet, if you look, you can get whatever you can think of. Nope, I'm not a big city girl, at the moment at any rate. They fascinate me, thrill me, even interest me: so many people packed into a location. I know they do it, but it still strikes me as odd...when you think about it, and I mean really think about it.

Clear Skies~V

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote of the day

'Did you really need to bite that poor stylist's hands? They're his tools!'

"Did he really need to put his tools in my bite radius?"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Because we're all healthy people here...

Can I have one of these for my brain?

I love that it wasn't enough to deliver the warning, 'uneven' had to be emphasised by suitably wibbly lines. This is another photo from our visit to the old bus depot markets. I'm still trying to decide what my favourite thing was - the socks made from possum wool, the guy who made really awesome chairs (when I finally manage to become fabulously wealthy, he's making all my furniture), or the horrible shaggy hats that gave you cat ears & eyes in your forehead. I'd put up the pictures of those, except they're kindof incriminating.

Sometimes I think of those round-the-neck labels you see on photos of children being evacuated from London in WWII, the ones like directions for parcel delivery, which always makes me think of those chest harness / leash setups some people have for toddlers. I have no idea why the 'uneven' sign made me think of these, but now that I'm on this (ha! uneven) train of thought, an anecdote for the day: my first school bus driver used to bring his little boy on the morning trip, all gussied up in said harness/leash combo. He'd clip the leash to the door of the driver's booth, and the kid spent the entire ride to school tearing up & down the bus. Think of the OH&S headache...

The things we say...part 2

Thank D for this entry's comment:

1. "When I'm wearing my trench coat every low wall screams 'Crouch on me! Crouch on me!'" - apparently this justifies wearing a real leather trench coat and avoiding low walls.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jesus doesn't have a beak

Bought this pendant at the Kingston Bus Depot markets last weekend, and it occured to me that in passing it looks like a cross, except that in a closeup you realise that it's not, in fact, Christ on the cross, but is in fact a totem of some variety (if anyone can enlighten me to the exact or more details, I'd be delighted to kn0w) and that the object which would have been Christ has a beak.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

231 vs. 236

Bet you didn't know that 231 is the number for God did you? I also bet that none of you knew that the Antichrist has his own number and it isn't 666 or 616 (cos that would make him fall under Ceramic and allied technologies or Diseases respectively). Also, just so we're all on the same page: Douglass Adams may or may not have been correct about 42, since that number is currently unassigned as of Edition 16 of the DDC.

Yes, I'm talking about the Dewey Decimal Classification system...again. It amuses me greatly. They have numbers for nigh on anything you can come up with, and if you can't you just build a number for it. For example, the number 393 and its derivatives deals with Death Customs, i.e. burial (393.1, including entombment) and Mourning (393.9, including funerals, suttee, wakes); and then we've got 781, which deals with General principles and musical forms. Go figure.

I wonder if they have a number for Cops wearing leather pants riding bikes...

Clear Skies~V

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ah, rental.

So. Real Estate Agents kindof freak me out.

Don't get me wrong, our landlady's property manager seems lovely. But there's really something rather strange about every real estate agent I've ever met. They're all incredibly enthusiastic, which creeps me out when they're inspecting my house at 9 in the morning (I'm not so much a morning person. Enthusiasm at that time of day's pretty wrong, in my book), and they smile ALL THE TIME. They're perfectly coiffed & made up, and the smiling... I always have these moments of HOLY CRAP, THERE'S A ROBOT IN MY KITCHEN. Uncanny valley muchly.

*Ahem*. Sorry. No more caps today. Anyway, we passed our inspection (although the exhaust fan cover in my ensuite apparently isn't quite clean enough) and there's no more robot in my kitchen; it's now occupied by cupcakes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hear the words of the mighty!

Brought to you by th Sydney Morning Herald; weekend edition Ugust 8th-9th, 2009.

Clear Skies~V

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Do you have a question that needs answering? Do you want answers to those questions that have so long eluded you?

Neil Gaiman has your answer., check this out.

Clear Skies~V

First aid for the uber ebil

Looking For Group » Page 280

....can I save my friends like this in times of need? Pweeeese?

Impasse from Reel 13 on Vimeo.

Via BitchPhD ( Seriously... watch and think.

The Things We Say...part 1

The title says it all, and today's winner is L with:

  1. "Run away pin! Run away pin! Nooo! Come back!" - With my parents visiting for the next fortnight we figured we would go and do some groceries so that we could actually, you know, serve food. So we're checking out, I swipe my card, and the realise that the pharmacy is still open so I sign to L that I'll just be a minute and disappear. About half a minute later, L materialises at the front of the shop and gestures for me to come back, because, silly me, she doesn't know the pin number so she can't finalise the purchase. Oops.
  2. "I am perfectly prepared to invest $3 in irritating you." - Purchasing birdseed to hang out for the local wildlife was always a tradition that my mother upheld, much to the chagrin of her long-suffering children who ended up having to clean up after the birds who, in retrospect, are rather messy eaters. That's okay though, they're birds, can't bid them to change their nature. So when the situation changed and my mother no longer had a sway in what we bought or when, birdseed was, out of principle, expressly forbidden. That is, D did the forbidding. Which is why, every now and then, for the sizzle glare expression, we buy birdseed.

Clear Skies~V
There's a forum I frequent (don't shoot me yet), which, while awesome, frequently puzzles me. Well, to be more accurate, some of its users puzzle me. Exceedingly. The population of this forum is (in my opinion) a little unusual; certainly the general user seems to be both more intelligent and a helluva lot less disrespectful than many net users, streets away from the average troll. So the 'serious discussions' board is both free from idiotic spam and actually a place where thoughtful contributions are made on a range of topics. Yours truly generally feels a lot less cynical after a visit.

So I was a little surprised to find out that the three basic dietary options are vegetarian, vegan, and macrobiotic.

Now, I'm well aware that a person's upbrining and general experience colours the way they see the world and defines which part of the landscape is 'normal'. No problems there. My personal normal doesn't correspond particularly closely with that of my partner in crime, nor do I require it to. It's a wonderful, diverse world, don'tchathink?

Coming (slowly) to the point; recently I participated in a conversation on the abovementioned forum on the topic of vegetarianism. For the record, my position on the subject is pretty much that as long as people aren't evangelical about it, I don't give a rats what they eat, or why they eat it. Evangelism shits me. Aaanyway, an individual whose thoughful, amusing, gracefully worded posts had previously impressed me, kindof left me cold. I'm still trying to work out whether they're actually so convinced of the Normality of their upbringing/community/self-definition/whatever that they're actually incapable of acknowledging that other people have different experiences, or if they're actually aiming for the sneer in the tone when they say things like "I don't know anyone who doesn't always have basics like tahini and bulgur on hand," or "I'm sure I know people who eat meat, I just can't think of more than a couple off the top of my head." Another corker was the profession that the basic school food choices, in their experience, are vegan, vegetarian and macrobiotic. Please, allow me to re-assess my lifestyle choices in the face of your clear and evident superiority. I just didn't know!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I don't want to live forever, I'm from Michigan...

Best excuse for smoking ever.

(Disclaimer: I'm a non-smoker who's never been to Michigan.)

Sounds of FEAR in the night...

I love being able to hear gunfire from my room.

Sound odd? It isn't really. It's also accompanied by manical laughter, occasional fits of 'Oh god no!' and 'Sonofa-'. These are the sounds that fill the night whenever FEAR is the game of choice. They amuse me, because I know that every time there's a particularly loud curse or shout that little Alma is having a field day, and that warms my heart.

And it is a sweet revenge for getting creeped out by hearing the haunting sounds of Alma's music box come creeping through the hall into my room.

Little girls should be allowed to have fun.

Even the crazy, dead, psychotic ones.

Clear Skies~V


Some random pretty for today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A sign from the stars? o.O

You've got big plans today -- and you should be able to make them come to life, more or less. Your hopes need some discussion before you can really get going on them, so find someone sympathetic

I opened my inbox prior to sleeps and my horoscope tells me what you just read. So I get to thinking: what are these big plans today? Do I have big plans today? No? But I have to have big plans today, my horoscope says so! Okay, let's see, what do I need to get done today? What day is it? Still Tuesday? So does that mean that I had big plans today? Or no, wait, these horoscopes come from America, i.e. I'm a day ahead. Wait, does that mean that they're telling me about today or about my tomorrow or do they work in like time zones and are talking about my night? If so, how's that any good to me? I'm actually planning on sleeping tonight, what with class tomorrow. But if they're talking about what I did today, doesn't that mean that I need to reflect on what I did today and work out if it matches what they -

I give up.

Clear Skies~V

ps. Also. "Find someone sympathetic". I love clear instructions, thank you stars for spelling it out to me in "go do this" styled language, now I really can't get lost.

RIP, chicken

Thus ended one of the $2 family of horrific yellow chickens which have populated various surfaces in the house at the end of the world for many months now. An ignoble fall into a poorly-crocheted mp3-player case.

The chicken in happier times. *Snif* Farewell, o garish tribute to commercialism.


Some months ago, while delivering a lesson on interlibrary loan, ALT1 informed us that while there is an applicable code, it's "more like guidelines than actual rules." My co-conspirator was absent from this particular class (two of us means we only have to go half as often, right?), and to my horrified embarrassment, no-one in the room understood my near-hysterical laughter.

Awesome Library Teacher is awesome, but Geoffrey Rush she 'aint. Although come to think of it, she'd probably make a pretty good pirate.

My little ponies, moving with the times?


And look at this: My Little Pony, on the interwebs!

I'm guessing that the majority of you will have come across those advertisements for 'online games free to play!' somewhere. I'll admit to having playing Adventure Quest when it was a fairly new thing, and this was before Guild Wars so I think it was legitimate. I've dabbled in those 'create your own nation' games like NationStates, even played Bitefight one Christmas when I had some extra time on my hands (prior to Second Life I must add). I can't say that they're all great fun, but they all share one very common thing: they're all very good at taking up spare time that could be put to better use such as writing that essay that's due tomorrow, or the dishes that have been inhabiting the sink for the last 12 hours. Some of them are even entertaining, even thought provoking if you play it right. But er...why would you want to collect and breed up to 75 ponies?

The main page lets you select the colors and breeds of your parent ponies and then cross them to see what kind of a pony you turn up with. For the sake of experimental blogging - and because I'm willing to take one for the team - I've just crossed two ponies and registered. It disturbs me that you can list your birth year as early as 1960...

...but not quite as much as the pony I seem to have generated. Welcome to Dean the pink little love pony. (I couldn't not share the pain, sorry).

I'll let you know how it goes...if it goes anywhere. >.>

But I mean really My Little Ponies on the internet? When did that become right? Okay, let me rephrase that: when did collecting and breeding My little ponies (I don't care what they're really called) become right?!

I feel like my childhood has slipped away in the cold, harsh pull of the commercial undertoe. Goodbye cruel world.

Clear Skies~V

Monday, August 17, 2009

Meat in bags just looks funny...

Ever noticed how when you're parcelling out meat and sticking it into bags to put in the freezer it looks funny? Seriously, next time you - or whoever performs this onerous duty in your household (unless of course no one does) - take a look at it: meat in bags just looks funny! It's also interesting to see what kind of puns you can swing off of the phrase of course. >.> ...but we won't go there, because we're very well-balanced individuals who never make puns of any variety. Except when we're on mic, with the Guild...and possibly when we're talking aloud.

Well...okay, so maybe I was stretching the truth a little. Puns happen. A lot. We tend to write them down, when they're bad enough to record, provided we remember to write them down, which most often we don't. It's a failing. You get used to it.

The message, however, irregardless of all the chattering you've just managed to wade through is that meat in bags looks funny.

Take it how you like it. Unless you're vegitarian of course, in which case you'd probably be pretty disgusted with me right now (granted, raw meat can be pretty gross. -.-').

Clear Skies~V

I wonder...

I wonder how many writers are selfish by nature, and then I wonder just how many admit it. Talking with a friend on MSN, we both write, he's got a book in the publishing cogs so he's ahead of me. I mention that I've been up all night writing the new story that I'm writing for my Second Life Clan's newspaper, and I get the eager 'oh? what's it about? you get far?'. Now, if it had been anyone else I'd have hesitated with answering any of those questions, does that make me a cautious person on grounds of 'I don't want to share my ideas with anyone else in case they "steal" them'? Or does that make me selfish with a work that I'm obviously going to be sharing with others eventually? It's probably a combination of both; I rather imagine that a lot of the big time authors out there can be rather possessive over their work, it's their brainchild after all. Can you imagine being an editor having to slowly convince someone to hand over their work for editting? I don't know about anyone else, but I have a hard enough time letting my family critique my work. This is all assuming of course, that a writer isn't the over-perfectionist who never gets his/her work to a publisher to start with, cos I'm pretty sure there's a lot of them out there (*pointedly ignores self*).

On that note, though, isn't it awesome that people actually publish books at all? Be it novels, poetry, whatnots, it's kinda neat that these people spend so much time and effort putting words to paper and letting other people read them. ^.^ (And yes, I'm so totally ignoring any potential economical benefit and being beautifully idealistic about it all.)

Clear skies~V

There's a hippopotamus on my roof eating cake

Ok, so I lied about the hippo. We just had birds.

My valium hasn't kicked in.

Now, L & I are currently in our last semester of a Diploma in Library and Information Systems. Much funness to be had in this semester (for a change!), especially since now we get to build Dewey numbers. Okay a new level of geek, I know, but it's fun!

We have an awesome teacher for the building of DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification) who shall herafter be referred to as 'Awesome Library Teacher 1' (or ALT1) - and yes, there is actually an ALT2, in case you were wondering. The conversation that validated her - ALT1 - awesomeness ran like this:

Student: ALT1, can we just use the index to build the number for question
ALT1: I can't answer that. My valium hasn't kicked in yet.

Also, if you were looking for a book about the effects of leaf beetles on maple forests, would you look animal pests or insect pests?

Clear Skies~V

Average dinner table discussions &...zombies? o.O

Argh! I'm running behind! Not that this is a race, or a competition, because I think, given the current record, I'd lose.

Coincidentally, says that it's 'roofs', at least in the American spelling.

So we're having dinner, at quarter to 1 in the morning, because that's just the way we roll. We run better at night, at least I do, I don't know about L. It might have something to do with the fact that I only woke up at 7pm yesterday, and that was probably due to the fact that I woke up at 3pm the day before. What can I say? I function better at night.

Highlight of today's dinner included the third member of our company breaking out in hysterics right before he was going to say something, the line that apparently wasn't going to be said because it would have sounded terribly wrong involved some sort of spin on choices in Left for Dead. I've yet to play it, so I've yet to rationalise the occasional bouts of 'That's not fair! Get BACK HERE!' from the third room. I suppose for those of you who don't game at all, all of that will sound ridiculously geeky.

As a household we play Guild Wars; I say 'as a household' because occasionally we structure our sleeping patterns to match whatever special event we'd like to take part in. As a result our dinner table discussions range from 'Gee, I wish I could get back into the drive to farm for ectos' to 'So, when are we going to do Urgoz Warren again? Next Thursday?'. If a total stranger were to walk into the house - or if someone was listening in - they would either have to become so totally thrilled that there would happiness all round, or they'd be so completely perplexed that they'd wander off wondering if they were still on the same planet. I'd sympathise, but it's far too much fun.

The thing with gaming is that you either like it and know about it and respect it's oddities, or you avoid it because it's alienating. Fair enough. I could probably write an essay about how many different layers there are in the topic of 'gaming', but since I'm trying to avoid writing essays I'll avoid doing that.

An average conversation might run something like:
"Yeah, I'm broke, I'm down to like 2plat."
"Heh, I've got like 45 but I'm planning on getting the elite Kurzick armor for my monk so I'm technically broke, cos I need like - "
"- well, you'll need like 75plat."
"I don't know what armor to get my warrior."
"It's hard to choose those, the only choices you've got are stupid or ridiculous."
"Why can't elite templar look like the regular templar? It's prettier!"

Oh yes, I love our geeky gamey discussions. It'll be interesting what we'll talk about when my parents visit this week. o.O

Clear Skies~V