Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas is here

So Christmas is 2/3s over. I was up until 1 this morning having a chat with a friend on the phone. I set a record for the length of a phone call, 1 hour and 9 minutes. My personal phonecalls are usual on the order of a few minutes, if that. Then I went to sleep and had a nice sleep in.

I woke up and had breakfast, and opened up a few presents with a housemate. I'm currently watching (listening) to one of the DVDs I got. Three family members gave me cash. I also got a watch with a waving chairman Mao, a shirt with the Turkish flag on it (my aunt went to Turkey a few months ago), and a chairman Mao satchel.

My uncle came over for lunch. It was ok, we talked about stuff. He brought some prawns with him, and I tried one. For a long time I've avoided prawns, in earlier years going to extremes to avoid them. It was nowhere near as bad as what I recalled, but not anything wonderful. They won't be added to my favorite food list, but I may not outright refuse things including them in the future.

Once again, Christmas was spent partly with housemates and my uncle came over. When I was young, most of my family would gather at either our house or my grandmother's house for Christmas. As time has gone by, less gathering has gone by. Last year was the first time when no more than two family members were in the one area. My sister is in Thailand, my aunt in Western Australia. Mum is near Townsville, and my grandmother lives south of Cairns. That leaves me and my uncle in Brisbane.

While I'm generally not keen on family gatherings, Christmas is the one time I do miss that type of gathering. I'm not sure why.

End Post
writing time: 34 minutes

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sydney goes to Hell

Sunday was the start of some of the most fucked up shit I've seen go down in Australia. A crowd of 5000 people got together and thought it was a good idea to go around bashing people whose family background is from the middle east. And then when the police and ambulance service tried to help out those unfortunate people, the crowd decided to start throwing bottles and stuff at them as well.

Things have continued in a similar fashion, with people shooting cars parked outside a church Christmas event, groups on both sides planning on big fights, drive by assaults, and it seems to be spreading.

This is not cool.

In fact, until it happened, I'd have thought this sort of large scale stupidity wouldn't have happened in Australia. I sure as hell am not going to have anything to do with continuing it. I just hope this settles down quicker than Paris did.

End Post
writing time: 36 minutes
time since last post: 11 days

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Musings on Wikipedia

I got a story posted on slashdot yesterday. A former aide to Robert Kennedy kicked up a bit of a fuss about his entry on wikipedia being likely false and possibly libelous. Despite the fact that as soon as he pointed it out wikipedia fixed it up, he decided to go on a rant about how vandals and idiots these days can spread their nuisance around more, and that internet providers and websites should be made responsible for preventing this sort of thing happening. In a bit of irony, he is associated with the center for the first ammendment. His entry is now a lot more than two sentences and a lot more researched.

I noticed the story when I checked out wikipedia the other day, and it was the first time I submitted a story to slashdot, so I was pretty happy when I saw it up on the main page.

I've spent a fair amount of time reading wikipedia, having killed a lot of time going through the kings and queens of England, presidents of the US, Australian and British prime ministers, and Popes, along with more random browsing. I have also made some contributions, mainly in a few specific areas I'm interested in, as well as some general fix up work as well. The list of articles I've contributed to include comic books, movies, a pope or two, novels, and cds. I've created most of the content on wikipedia relating to Velvet Chain, a very good band I enjoy, as well as adding info to topics I know a bit about.

Wikipedia matches my ideal of how infomation should be available. Anyone can get access to it, and everyone can contribute back. The system has a few problems where errors in obscure areas doesn't get fixed quickly, but I have found it to be a very good reference for expanding my general knowledge.

End post
writing time: 25 minutes

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What to write about this time

Work still sucks. The roster for December was given out on Monday. I get two days off during weekends this time round, Christmas and new years day. The two days that the place won't be open for business. But I have volunteered to work on Boxing Day, as they are offering 13.5 hours worth of pay for 5.5 hours worth of work.

I'm currently painting up a fancy tank for one of my warhammer armies. If I had thought ahead, I wouldn't have put the whole thing together before painting it, as some of the parts are very tricky to reach now that the tank is fully assembled. Anyway, progress is being made, slowly but surely.

My housemate has broken her leg, and is getting around on crutches.

I bought season one of Farscape last week, and have got through to the last episode at the moment. I enjoyed it when I first watched it and it's still good this time round. If they're still at half price I may pick up some further seasons in the coming weeks.

I saw a movie today in Gold class. I had a voucher for a free upgrade, and while the chairs were nice, as was having my drink brought in for me as the movie started, and there was little noise from others (there were only 30 seats), I don't think the full price is something I'd pay.

Well, that's a bit of prattle about nothing too significant, and I've kept it to less than two weeks between posts.

End post
writing time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Learning opportunity for France

It looks as though the riots in Paris are continuing, but are beginning to settle down. I'm still amazed at just how messed up things have gotten, and how wide spread (7 other countries have had related incidents) it has become. But the thing that really surprises me is just how little attention it seems to be getting in the rest of the world. It barely rates a mention on the two main Australian new websites ( and the Australian). CNN doesnt seem to think it should be on the front page of their site, nor do reuters.

This is something big. It is more important than the trial of some model foolish enough to have drugs in a foreign country with harsher drug laws than our own. It's more significant than some guy going through Princess Mary's trash for photos. This is 12 days of rioting in one of the worlds major cities, that has spread throughout the country and the continent.

The fact that this much violence has erupted shows that there were problems that needed addressing that weren't. And while that may explain the violence, it doesn't condone it. I would advocate as rapid a resolution as possible to the actual violence, followed by a serious look at the causes and fixing them.

I hope that the French people and the French government are sensible in the aftermath. This should not be used to make a more authoritarian government. The American goverment used the aftermath of September 11 to strengthen the goverments powers at the expense of the rights of the people. France I hope will be wiser, and will learn from this.

Anyway, heres hoping it finishes soon and France comes out a better country for it afterwards. While this is not a good thing, if nothing comes of it, it will just be a waste, and probably only a prequal.

End Post
writing time: 3 hours 4 minutes (including heading down to the shops, having dinner and watching some tv)

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Someone brought all the other bins in last night. I'm not sure who, but someone did it at about midnight last night. So I guess I won't get to feel the self righteousness of having brought them all in.


End post
writing time: 1 hour 26 minutes (I got distracted)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I brought the second bin in this evening.

Works shitting me. Last week I asked for the weekend of the 19th and 20th of November off as my family is planning a surprise birthday party for my grandmother, who turned 70 earlier this year. Now work is telling me that even though they haven't done rosters for that week, or indeed for anything past next Thursday, because that's going to be the busiest weekend in November, their having a really hard time being able to give me the weekend off. It's not like I've only had one weekend since May where I haven't worked both Saturday and Sunday. It's not like I'm one of only two or three out of 10 people in my team who had their average call time at less than the expected 250 seconds. It's not like I've turned up to every single shift I've been rostered on for and have never taken any sick leave (not that I'd get paid if I did). It's not like I let them change shifts that were organised almost a month ago with two or three days notice. It's not like I've applied for a permanent position three times, and been told, you can do the job, but your attitude towards the job isn't what we'd like it to be. Is one weekend that much to ask? I'll tell you what, my attitude towards the job won't be all that crash hot if the expect me to work that weekend.

I wonder if now is a good time to ask my team leader if I can use her as a reference?

End Post (Rant)
writing time: 27 minutes

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Last night I put out all the bins for our place for weekly collection.
Tonight I brought the first of them in.
We'll see how many I have to bring in.

End post
writing time: 1 minute

Too soon to come up with something

Well, a mere one day after the last time I put something here, I'm typing again. Unfortunately I can't really think of anything to write about.

Let's see. Iraq ratified it's new constitution, paving the way for elections at the end of the year. Quite frankly, the sooner things get set up and Iraq can be run by Iraq the better. I don't believe the reason Iraq was invaded were legitimate, and since then things have not been handled well, and I think overall things would have been better if it had never happened. But given that it has, I feel we have to make sure that things won't go to crap once we leave. We fucked things up, so we have to make sure things are put back, hopefully we make it a bit better than it was before, but we should get the hell out as soon as is responisble. Pity the people in charge won't do that.

Apparently there is rioting happening in Paris. I'll admit I don't pay much attention to the news, but rioting in one of the most well known cities in the world should surely get some airtime.

There was an article on slashdot about how copy protected cds from Sony makes several changes to your computer, which make it more vulnerable to others trying to do the same, and that unless you really know what your doing, can mess up your computer if you try and get rid of it. The DRM prevents you from seeing any files with a certain name, and also installs drivers that sit between your cd drive and the operating system, so that any time you use a cd, it goes through their program. And if you get rid of it without being careful, it'll mess up your computer so you can't use your cd drives. When they start messing up your computer that much, and putting in jeopardy your ability to use your own computer, that's going to far.

End post
Writing time: 1 hour

Monday, October 31, 2005

iTunes not so impressive

So, Apple started iTunes store in Australia this week, and since I've already got an ipod and use iTunes to play my music, so I shelled out for a pre paid card and had a play. In terms of convenience it's on a par with other means of downloading music, and I'll probably check in once a week to see what the free song is. But I wont be spending any more money on it. Where it's less useful than other sources I use is in finding new stuff. When I don't have to pay, I'm much more likely to experiment and try something just because it's there and I can, but at $1.69 a song, it's not all that practical or affordable.

I've also tried using it to find new podcasts, but again other methods are more fruitful. Word of mouth is the main one I use, seeing what other podcasters recommend. What iTunes lacks is a sorting mechanism. One big long list with only a few broad categories doesn't help out a lot in deciding if I want to listen to something or not.

So, I'll stick with iTunes to manage my iPod, and play music, but once the credit I've already bought is used up, I'll let it be.

End Post
Writing time: 10 minutes

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Once again I've left it a few weeks since I last put anything up here. So what's been going on in my world.

A few days ago I had a monthly review meeting with my team leader at work. One of the things discussed was if I wanted to apply for the latest round of permanent recruitment. It's very frustrating because she was saying things like my performance speaks for itself, when the facts of the matter clearly show that while my performance may speak for itself, that's not the thing their listening to.

Next weekend I won't be working. Since I went back to work after my overseas trip, I have worked every Saturday and Sunday since the middle of May. The only downside is I left it too late to enter the event I was planning on going to on that weekend. A few of my friends who were also going to go are in the same boat, so we're going to have our own mini event somewhere else, so I'll still have something to do.

Now for a bit of a rant. A while ago on a current affairs show there was a story about people protesting a meeting of white supremists. The thing I found worst about the whole thing was how the people protesting were saying that the people at the meeting had no right to say the things they were saying. This is not right. Freedom of speech is not conditional. It's not just for those who agree with what you think. Anyone who has an opinion can state their opinion. What they can't do is force that opinion on others. So while I don't agree with the white supremists, I'm not going to stop them speaking about what they want to speak about. I don't know who said it, but the phrase "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it with my life" is close to the right attitude. Add in something about listening and judging what people say on the merits of what they say and not who they is probably another good thing. For example Nathan Bedford Forrest was a pretty good military leader, and has likely said some useful things in the area of military tactics, and should not be dismissed just because he's the founder of the KKK. His ideas on racial harmony, though I probably wouldn't give as much credence. Anyway, in conclusion, it pisses me off when people who are for mulitculturalism and the freedom to be who you want to be say that people who disagree with them have no right to say what they want to say. If your free to be a diverse, accepting person, they're free to be narrowminded. You don't have to agree with them or like them for it, and surely don't take any bullshit from them, but they're allowed to have their say.

Before this year, I never really managed to save any money. Now admittedly during my undergrad years I didn't really get that much in the first place ($350 a fortnight isn't all that much, especially when you $250 a fortnight board), but a few bonus bits of cash that came through got put aside and then gradually drawn from over time. Over the past few months, I've managed to put a lot more aside. When I got back from Thailand, I had about $700 or so cash to my name. Since then I've been able to save about a third of what I actually earn, with no real cut backs in other expenditure. I've been able to do this because compared to last year where I didn't save anything, I'm paying less rent and I'm earning about 50% more, while still having a similar lifestyle. Putting it like that it doesn't seem so remarkable, but I now have a lot of money that is just sitting there. This is a new thing for me. A few months ago I upgraded my computer, and bought a new chair (an arm rest on the old one came of, and as it was reasonably important in terms of structural integrity, that chair was laid to rest), but that's about it. I'm now considering buying a new bookcase, as my current one is so full that each shelf has two rows of books on it and then books on top of the books filling the gaps between shelves. I'm also giving a bit of thought to acquiring a motorbike, but there is the little matter of getting a motorbike license before that can go ahead.

No news yet on the Iraqi referendum on the new constitution. Saddam is on trial for the first of several cases, this one seems rather minor, but is pretty clear cut, so is probably a good starting point from a procedural sense.

I'm going to try and go to a play during the next week, Interesting Times. It's an adaption of a Terry Pratchett novel put on by the Brisbane Arts Theatre, who do a Terry Pratchett play each year. I've enjoyed the previous shows they've done, so it's just a matter of making sure I get a ticket.

That's all for now, I'll try and do a new post by the 30th of October, 2005 (being overly precise means I can't do any wriggling out of things).

End post
writing time: 1 hour, 1 minute

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another long pause

Again I've let it go a few weeks without writing anything, so I'll put in a few things that have been on my mind.

First, one of my friends recently broke up with his long time girlfriend. He then proceeded to get quite drunk and then come to my place. It was a bit awkward as I really don't know what to do or how to help out in that kind of situation other than trying to make sure he didn't do anything to foolhardy. We did talk a lot, more so as he started to sober up. Romance is still a mostly closed book to me, and I think if I had more experience in the area I would have been able to help him more.

Daylight savings has started, so even though Queensland doesn't have it, because the place I work takes calls from all over Australia I've started getting shifts that start at 7:30 in the morning. This means I have to wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 which isn't really fun.

I recently noticed a comment that wasn't spam. I initially thought it was as it said something I thought was stupid, but I checked the facts and it turns out that I had assumed two different individuals were the one person. Anyway I learnt something, and it shows someone is reading this so that's two good things.

I've recently finished playing Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (I know the double colon doesn't look the best, but that's what the game is called). It's a pretty good game, the story is intriguing. There are a number of different styles of play, depending on what aspects of the character you focus on. The first time I played, I was a sneaky fighter type, and most things weren't too difficult. This time I'm playing as a magic user and trying to concentrate on ranged combat, but it's not working too well. There are too many places where the way forward is to just lay the smack down, and if I invest experience in the areas to make that ok, it won't leave enough to specialize as much as I would want to.

Anyway, I thought I had more to say, but it would appear I don't, so this will be it for now.

End Post
writing time: 26 minutes

Monday, September 19, 2005

Many Thoughts

I got really pissed off with the place I work at the other day. I'm currently working as a temp and recently there was some recruitment for permanent positions. I put in an application, and got an interview. That part I kind of expected as this is the third time I've gone through the process. And again I went through the interview and again they said no. The bit that really got me peeved though is why they wouldn't give me a permanent job. Basically they said I sucked in the interview. There's no problem with the way I do the job, no doubts if I can do it or not, just I didn't answer their silly human resource type questions well, and that was so more important than actually being able to do the job.

On a different note I was talking with a few people I know and somehow the topic of abortion came up, and was rather abruptly stopped when one of the girls there came out with the idea that men had absolutely no say in the matter. She also put forth the proposition that if you eat meat, you can't be against abortion. I think each of these positions is wrong. The first because preventing a great number of people having a say just because the procedure won't be done on them is silly. I don't think anyone would try and claim no woman should have a say on issues relating to vasectomies. Any issue needs to be discussed by people, and even people not directly involved are able to contribute. And this doesn't just apply to general principles. If I were to be in the unlikely situation where my actions had put a woman in the position considering an abortion, I would like to be consulted, and would be offended if she went ahead and did it without discussing it with me.

The thing about eating meat and opposing abortion being morally inconsistent, well that's just taking two completely separate matters and trying to force them together in a way that does not gel. Abortion and the way animals raised for food are treated are both serious issues, but the killing of an animal for meat is a very different thing to an abortion. The claim that killing a cow is worse than terminating a fetus is not going to hold water with everyone, indeed I think most people would disagree with the idea.

At this point I'd like to mention that I'm not against abortion, but I'm not for it. It's a complicated issue. The main thing to try and work out is when does the fetus become a human. Find a way to get everyone to agree on that, and they'd probably agree on a position on abortion. But people don't. People who oppose abortion tend to be those who say once sperm meets egg you've got a human, whose life should be protected. On the other end there are people who consider that you don't get a human until you reach a certain point in the development process, and until that point is reached, it's just a thing inside a woman, and see no problem in preventing it's continued existence. I lean towards the latter position, but have yet to make a decision on the transition from thing to human. It's not conception, it's not birth. It's after cells start differentiating. Also, I don't really know enough about the process to make a fully informed call.

The main problem I had with both of my friends claims is that they were quite extreme, and she wasn't open to any discussion on the matter, let alone the underlying ideas that led her to those positions. And as I've mentioned before, it's that type of extremism and inconsideration of other people's perspectives that lead to problems.

In recent news New Zealand had an election last weekend, and the reasonable sounding labor party looks to have continued is position as a dominant player in a coalition government. In reading up on the events surrounding the election, I find I agree with most of what they aim to do (the nuclear free policy is the main one I disagree with), so I think that it's a good result, especially as they need to work with a few of the minor parties to get a majority. All in all, the kind of result I'd like to see over here.

End Post
Writing Time: 2 hours

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A pleasant meeting

The other day I saw Kylie on the bus. We had a little bit of a chat, and then went our separate ways. The unusual thing was I didn't go away afterwards feeling unhappy, bitter or in anyway messed up about the experience. Perhaps its a sign I'm actually moved on.

Speaking of moving on, Danielle doesn't seem to be able to do so. Since I turned her down, she's had two bad relationships, stopped going to uni, moved out of home, had a job, quit a job, moved in with some junkies, moved back into home, got another job, quit another job and so on and so forth. And often when we discuss her current situation the phrase "It's all because you turned me down" comes up. The first bad relationship was a rebound, and the second was a rebound because of the 1st, and so on and so forth.

Now I know the way I handled things back then wasn't the best way to do so, and have since apologized for it. But it annoys me to be blamed for the everything that goes wrong for her. A lot of the stuff since then has been due to either herself or others, and I hardly think it's fair to keep blaming me for it.

End post
Writing time: 48 minutes

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I got spammed

The other day I was having a look at this blog, and I noticed that one of the posts had a comment on it. Previous comments had been made by my sister, but after a few of those I decided I didn't want people I knew reading the stuff I put up here. And so I changed the url, and didn't let anyone know (an earlier post discusses this further).

So I was initialy pleasantly surprised by the comment. It suggested that someone had read what I'd written, and thought it worthwhile to respond. And then I read the comment, which had nothing to do with what I'd written but plenty to do with the wonderful features of some obscure make of car. It was spam.

I've deleted the said comment, as it doesn't contribute anything, and keeping it would just encourage that sort of pissantness to continue.

Spams an annoying thing that has developed on the internet. First on BBSs, then email, and later websites, forums and blogs. Soon there will probably be podcast spam. And the vast volume of it continues simply because people make money from it. Sending emails is cheap, and if only one in ten thousand end up buying something, the spammer is still getting back a lot more than they pay in sending the spam.

Given human nature and the lucrative nature of spamming, technical measures to prevent spam will never completely succeed. Now admitedly mail filters now seem to work pretty well, and my gmail inbox hasn't had a spam in quite some time, but the spam folder is pretty full. The way to stop spam is to take away their money, which is what their in it for. All spam is selling stuff, and they accept payment by credit card.

So who are the people able to shut down spam once and for all. Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express. The credit card companies. Stop letting spammers get payments by credit card, and they will shrivel up and die. If they can't make money, they'll find something else to do with their time. I've seen one propsal where credit card companies set up a few spam detecting card numbers, and let people use those to make purchases from spam they recieve. Then when the spammers try and claim the money for the sale, they know exactly who's spamming the masses and can tell them to get lost. Unfortunately, I suspect that credit card companies enjoy their share of credit card purchases from spam too much to take such drastic measures.

End post
Writing time: 17 minutes

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The title goes here

A few weeks ago I had dinner with my uncle and grandmother. And while I was there we were watching the news and there was a bit about how Italy was bringing in laws making it illegal to cover your face in public. I was a bit outraged and was all sort of, 'that's very uncool, we shouldn't be restricting peoples rights for non-existent gains in security'. And then my grandmother said that people shouldn't cover their faces in this climate of terror, and generally coming down on the side of paranoia.

This is the first time I've ever really taken a greatly different political position with another family member. Admittedly I haven't really spoken all that much politics with the generations before me, but they've always given the impression of moderation and reasonableness. Now I'm left to wonder what else do we disagree on.

My politics aren't very rigorously defined, but ultimately they come down to the side of personal liberty and social responsibility. Let people be free to do as they will, but ensure they don't get screwed over by others. I think corporations have too much power, or more accurately are too unconstrained, and that essential services such as health and education are at the moment not sufficiently funded. I also have a strong dislike of extremism. By that I mean taking things too far. Everything becomes dangerous if taken to an extreme. There's a book I've read called Jennifer Government, where corpratism is taken to an extreme, and society as whole has become much more dysfunctional. Perhaps the problem with extreme solutions is that they only work when things are very black and white, whereas the world is a large spectrum of grays.

When it comes to politicians, I think the first principle to apply is one that doctors live by, first, do no harm. The world today is a complicated place, and lots of stuff happens all the time, some good, some bad. Not adding more to the bad pile is a good place to start. That's why I think the state premier isn't too bad, because he hasn't gone around doing stuff making things worse for people. The prime minister however, has brought in a whole load of bad things. The messed up treatment of refugees, the complete and utter willingness to go along with anything America proposes (I'm not saying everything America proposes is good or bad (but recent stuff hasn't really been to our advantage), it's the going along without any real consideration or consultation that isn't good), the changes to higher education, the war on terror bullshit, and other messed up stuff.

End post

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A lot of talking

I recently had a very long talk with a friend about past romances, hers and mine. Overall neither of us have had much success. It was an interesting experience talking about such things, as I don't really open up all that much. It confirmed some conclusions I'd already come to, namely that next time some sort of romantic interest develops a middle path should be followed. The first time I messed something up, it was by going to far to one extreme, and the next time I went too far the other way. Next time I will attempt a more balanced approach.

Another thing that came up was that my friend thinks I'm paranoid. A combination of bitterness and cynicism which I'll happily admit to may work together to produce some mild paranoia, but I'd never thought of myself as such. But then a few days later I did an online quiz about what do you think the right thing to do in various circumstances and I got a fair few wrong because I chose answers that were too uncompromising, so perhaps there is some claim to the statement.

Work is ok at the moment, but I got a bit depressed the other day when it turned out I got the best results for call quality in my team. It wouldn't have been quite so bad except for that month a bit of a competition was going with the winner getting some dodgy cap celebrating the introduction of call recording, so an email went around boldly proclaiming the fact. Now don't get me wrong, I don't intend to do a half assed job, but I really wasn't planning on becoming exceptionally good at the job. The other worrying aspect of things is that all the things I got bonus marks for was me going through short cuts to save some hassles with the person on the other end of the phone. At least it should mean they'll be a bit lenient about the fact I didn't meet the required average call length for the month, although I think that because I got put on the newbie kpis, this month I might actually be a bit under the official number, but I've been trying to meet the standard one, which is 20 seconds less than the one I think I'm on, but I ended up being about 10 seconds over.

Today is also the end of an era. This evening I will be upgrading my computer, which will effectively be a replacement of my current one. Although it will still be in the same case, the only component that came with it from the store when I bought it is a cd burner. Today I'm changing the motherboard, ram, cpu, graphics card, one hard drive and a dvd burner for a cd burner. The new cd burner is going because its stopped opening and closing properly, and seems intent on ruining cds that are put inside it, so it's going. The original hard drive died a few years back, and the current sound card and network card are being replaced by onboard versions.

This will be the fourth computer I've had. The first was an apple IIc that Mum bought a year or two before I began school, on which I learnt to program. Many years later that was replaced with a brand spanking new pentium 100, which was good for it's time. I'm still actually using the harddrive from the pentium 100, just as a temp directory because it's a whopping 1.6GB in size. That came with me down to uni, but was replaced in the middle of second year for my current computer, which is a pentium III 800. And tonight I will gut that machine, and like a phoenix it will be reborn, bigger and better than before (all going well of course).

End Post
Write time: 40 minutes

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pride in achievements

To the left is one of my more recent painting efforts, although it is about two months old at the moment. Last week I entered the model in a painting competition at the local games store. I doubt it will win, but the whole showing off aspect of putting in an entry to such a competition appeals to me. I've previously got a best painted at a competition, which was a bit of a surprise, but given that there were only six people in the tournament, and three of them had not fully painted their army, so it wasn't that much of an achievement, but I was pretty stoked by that.

My approach to painting has also changed over time. It started out as a very methodical, production line type activity, which is ok when your just starting as you have a large number of very similar models to paint. But now I tend to get more satisfaction out of doing the more unique members of the army and taking a lot of time and care with them. I also use a lot more colors now. My first few models were done with only about 8 or so colors. Now I have about 30 or so different colors, and doing mixing and stuff as well, so get a lot finer detail.

I had to call up one of my banks today, and the hold music there is so much better than the stuff at the place I work. It was some nice jazz type music, without any interruptions. At the place I work the hold music is a trashy bit of pop music that repeats and is constanly interrupted by someone saying either that someone will answer soon or trying to sell other ways to get into debt with us. It really starts to grate if you have to listen to it for too long.

I think I'm coming up with a list of things that if I ever start a business I'm going to make sure aren't done. These are just the petty things which just work to make it less pleasant for people to deal with. I'd make sure that different groups that had to interact all had an idea of what the other groups did, and who was responsible for what. I wouldn't skimp and provide single ply toilet paper. But no matter what, stupid people will still cause problems, so I don't know what I'd do to help with that. Hold music is one of the things that for very little effort can be so much less annoying.

Anyway, that's it for now.

End post
Writing time: 3 hours (including tv watching and dinner eating)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Invitation

I got an invitation the other day to an engagement party. The invitation was from Kylie, someone I once thought I cared a lot about. However things were not seen the same way by both parties, and so I got to experience heartbreak for the first time. Since then I've tried to move on. A few months after things didn't work out I went to a party which she attended with her boyfriend. I did not handle it well, and ended up not talking for about a week. I scared my grandmother into thinking I might be on drugs or something. A month or so after that while catching a train, I came to the realization I could keep being unhappy about it, or just say fuck it, and get on with my life. I've generally tried to do so since then, but every now and then, something happens that makes me feel morose again. Like being invited to the housewarming party when she moved in with the other guy. And now being invited to the engagement party.

At least this time I responded to the invitation. When I got the invitation to the hosewarming party I just said fuck to myself and ignored it.

The fallout from my first attempt at romance is still sort of hanging around. While we used to be good friends I haven't spoken to her more than once or twice in the past two years. I've avoided romance for most of the time since then, thoroughly rebuking those who have made advances toward me. And though I've sorted of started to change my position on the matter, to the point that if someone were to make some sort of advance, I wouldn't reject it outright but go with it. But I'm still not actively looking.

I don't think I'm going to go to the engagement party. While I'd like to be able to say I wish them all the best, a long and happy life and all that and actually mean it, I can't. Or at least not in a specifc them sense. In an abstract, they're people and so as people deserve the best they can get out of life, sure. But not in the specifc them sense.

And so I sit here, typing but not entirely happy with the way things are.

End Post
writing time: 44 minutes

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Busy working

Been working a lot. While it's nice to have money, and I've managed to save more than I've done in the past who knows how long (a whole $240, so don't get to excited), it does get frustrating. I mean pretty much all my shifts are 8 or 10 hours long, which basically means that's all I do in the day. Besides getting up, eating breakfast, having dinner, maybe watching a little TV and then sleeping, and all the other stuff that needs to be done each day. I sort of tried when going back into it that I was simply doing it to get money to do the stuff I actually wanted to do, but I find I haven't got that much time to do stuff.

A few days ago I got the urge and cleaned my bathroom. Ultimately it simply entailed dusting off everything and giving the toilet a bit of a scrub with the toilet brush. It pretty much just convinced me that such actions are only necessary only once every few months. About a half hour of not much effort and the place looks almost good as new. All it needs now is a vacuum to get rid of all the hair on the floor.

I'm currently acquiring the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica. I've heard good things about it, and so hopefully it's worth the wait.

End post:
Writing time: 15 minutes

Sunday, June 12, 2005

No Jobseeking, Buffy and Third World Debt

I haven't been looking for jobs. Back when I started back at GE, I said I'd apply for three good jobs a week, where good was defined as being something I wouldn't mind still doing in a few years. Partly this is because I'm lazy, partly because I'm too tired after work, and partly that I don't really feel a need to do so. I am saving some money, which is good.

Today I bought a box set of Buffy DVD, season 6 part 1. I'm currently watching the first episode. Season 6 is one of the darkest seasons, being more focused on the darkness within the regular characters, rather than the machinations of some big bad scary thing.

In good news, it has recently been announced that the G8 nations are going to write off a shit load of debt from third world countries, with a bit more to go from some more countries once they sort out corruption from within their governments. This is a really good thing, as Burdening third world countries with inordinate amounts of debt was never a good way to solve things. I'll be happier when I find out that there are no nasty strings attached, but this sounds like a positive move forward. The only bad thing was that as part of the news report Bono from U2 was interviewed. Just why the fuck a singer is the person to talk to when the topic is third world debt and politics I don't know.

I've got a headache now so I'm going to stop typing.

Edit: I originally put that the person interviewed was Sonny Bono, when in fact it was just Bono. As someone has commented, Sonny Bono was congressman and so perhaps might have had something to contribute on a more governmental position, but he actually died in 1998. I actually checked up and found out that Sonny Bono and Bono from U2 are not the same person. This does clear up the mystery of the naming of the Sonny Bono copyright extension act, as naming it after the person who introduced it to congress is pretty much par for the course, whereas naming it after some unrelated foreign singer is pretty odd.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A few notes on the Extended Kingdom

So, as I've completely failed to get more than two paragraphs into part two of the Thousandth Son, I've instead compiled a few sort of background notes describing how things are in the society, what the legal systems are, tech levels etc. Here it is

A few notes on the Extended Kingdom
The Extended Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy ruling over a small group of close by star systems. The ruling family has reigned for a thousand consecutive generations, with no major disruptions in the succession. Interstellar travel is practical but not convenient, travel between systems in the kingdom is comparable to traveling between parts of the British empire in the late eighteenth-early 19th century, a major undertaking not to be done lightly, and usually a long term move. Top speed is maybe ten to twenty times the speed of light.

The government is a constitutional monarchy, again, a lot like England. A major difference is that the monarch has a lot more ability to influence policy, and openly does so. This is done so with consultation with the people, and in the spirit of doing what is best for the kingdom as a whole. In general this is a setting of general policy, with actual implementation being the responsibility of the elected representatives.

The representative part of the government is bi-cameral. One house is directly elected representatives, much like the house of representing in the Australian parliament. The upper house is two-thirds the size of the lower house, and is elected by the whole population in a proportional representation system. There are three or four major parties, and a number of smaller ones. It is rare for any two parties combined to be able to control both houses, and usually a convoluted minority government is in power.

Society is generally pretty ok. Suffrage is universal, discrimination pretty much non-existent.

The history of the Kingdom is a long and convoluted one. Starting from little more than the city state conquered by Brilthang, it grew first through military conquest, then through economic and political maneuvering. By the time the Kingdom started exploring space, it was a centralized world government. As first their system, and then other systems were colonized, the new colonies were integrated into the Kingdom as semi-autonomic entities. Local matters are dealt with locally, but within the overall legislative whole. Regional governments are responsible for the provision of services. The parliament for the whole kingdom establishes a general legislative framework, while regional governments enforce and administer the law.

There is some contact with other species, although this is infrequent and very limited. Most other contacted civilizations are socially similar, but all have directly elected heads of state, making the Kingdom somewhat of an anomaly in the local region.

Genetic technology is still limited in what can be achieved, but what there is is common place. Most major hereditary problems have been removed from the population by means of prenatal screening. There have been a few attempts to do more, but these have generally not been successful and are looked down upon by most of the population.

Anyway, that's what I've got for now. I'm still going to work on part 2, but it may take longer than I thought.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The quintessesntials

I'm currently listening to the first episode of the quintessential phase of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's ok. They've taken a few liberties, but capture the feel well. Good on the BBC.

I enjoyed the comedy stylings of Wil Anderson and Tripod last night. Pretty good night out.

Work has been mentally exhausting. I've been working some long shifts recently. At the moment I have a bit of trouble being sympathetic but intransigent. For you see I have to tell people that no they can't have credit, no you can't make a purchase, etc. Quite frankly, the company is letting people spend money that isn't theirs, I think we can be a bit arbitrary about who we give money too.

jingleberry tybetrons trindlethrop the gramtings,
while frilty vorms bling and ming
grance and pring and trine
pregrempting porthise do trun
into the breding crine

It would appear I'm not going to create the next Jabberwocky. It's a lot trickier than you'd think. Perhaps next time I try some verse I'll stick to real words. Work on the Thousandth Son has progressed, but I aven't done what I want to. I had been planning to do part two, which was to be an exposition on why a republic is noble and worthwhile, but instead have merely put together a bunch of background work, creating a rough history, current society, what technology level they've reached etc. I haven't gone to the extent of creating a language, but who knows. I'll try and polish it up tomorrow and post it.

I can't really think of much to say. The past week has mostly been work, sleep and a small amount of leisure time. I hope that if they keep me on for next month the give me at least one day in a weekend off during the month. While it's nice to have a day off during the middle of the week, some things can only be done on a weekend. I'm going to have to miss the next warhammer meeting of the university games society. OK so I don't have awild and varied existance, It would be nice to be able to do the things I enjoy every once in a while.

There's a huge pile of washing up in the kitchen. I really don't know how it grows so quickly. It's exacerbated by us having gotten out of a regular cooking routine due to the pressures of end of semeter assessment, but when I'v e contributed a bowl and maybe two plates, I don't know how the others can generate so much more dirty dishes. True, the bowl is a metal bowl that I reuse after a good hot rinse, but even then, I washed up on Tuesday, I'm sure of it. Maybe Brett will do it tomorrow. It is still his turn to cook, and hence wash up before cooking.

Anyway I'm not writing anything too meaningful, so I think I'll try sleeping instead.

End post
Writing time: 45 minutes

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Happenings around the world

The French voted against ratifying the constitution for a more united Europe (wikipedia article). I can't say I agree with them, but it is their own country, so I don't think my opinion really counts for all that much. I have to say that I do think the whole united Europe is something I think should be worked towards. I think the desire to join has hastened improvements in some of the former Warsaw pact nations. I think greater interaction and freer exchanges will help prevent conflict. I think the important lesson to take from the French result is that a lot of the European integration has been happening because the governments want it to, and the people do not necessarily agree with everything that's happening. I'd like to think that most Europeans think that the EU is a good thing, but I can also understand that some may feel that it's being imposed not something that they're asking for. Depending on how other referendums go, I think perhaps the best course of action is to perhaps let things stay the way they are for a bit, before making further changes.

Schapelle Corby was found guilty of importing drugs to Bali. The Australian media has been all over this, not only with a kind of presumption of innocence, but almost taking it to the point of being an axiom. I don't think it's a big enough deal to warrant live coverage of the verdict, or some of the outcry that has arisen among some of the press that the government ask the Indonesian government for a pardon. I think the best way to encourage other countries to establish a proper justice system is to respect those countries who do have a system in place and in let it run it's course. If the trail had of been a farce, or in any way unfair or impartial, sure complain, do something, but if she got a fair trial, as seems to be the case, then respect the result. If an Indonesian got caught smuggling drugs into Australia was tried and found guilty, I think a lot of Australians would be upset if we let them go just because the Indonesian government asked us to, and rightly so. The best was to establish respect for the rule of law is to respect the rule of law when others apply it.

Today is World No Tobacco Day. I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. Sure smoking's bad for you, everyone knows that. But if someone wants to kill themselves slowly, so long as I don't have to smell the stuff, I can't exactly stop them. As Lord Vetinari would say, freedom includes the freedom to accept the consequences. I don't think anyone in western countries can reasonably claim not to be aware of the consequences, so who am I to force them to change their minds.

The other day I had a bit of a browse around the channel nine website. It's quizzes were pathetic, the content insipid, the link that said 'send your friend a cosmo babe' went to a picture of a guy. And if you wanted to watch any of the videos they had, you had to have internet explorer. I suppose I should expect too much when they're aligned so much with Microsoft that the URL is Bunch of punk bitches the lot of them.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Lots of talking recently

We'll start with a bit of followup from a previous post. There was a bit where I said I'd be applying for three jobs a day. Well I haven't. Although I had kind of meant that this was only until someone actually decided to employ me. Anyway, I'm now going to revise that. From now on I will apply for three jobs a week, and these will be jobs that I actually want to do and think I would enjoy doing, not just things that I can do and will pay the bills.

So I'm back at GE again, working in the inbound call center. Today was busy to the extreme. We recieved approximately 5000 calls today. I personally took a little over 125 calls in 10 hours, which amounts to 2.5% of all the calls. That's a fuck load of talking. I can say with very little fear of being contradicted, I have never done as much talking in one day. By the end of the day I was having a hard time talking. On the plus side, it does mean I don't have to put up with much bullshit from centerlink and it's associates anymore, just hand in a form every two weeks saying I don't need any money. I'm already 3 days late with the last one, but since they're not going ot give me any money, I don't see why they would have a problem with it being late.

A friend came over last night, feeling upset about some of the stuff that's happening with his PhD. For the past few months, he's been doing stuff that duplicates some research that's already been done, and he's been telling his supervisor that he's really concerned that this isn't the most useful of things to be doing, and the supervisor hasn't been paying any attention to his concerns. We had a few drinks. Well I had a few drinks. He had a lot of drinks. One of the things we talked about was the stuff about my housemate.

Talking about seemed to help. Now it's not entirely bottled up. I've been thinking about talking about my thoughts on the matter (I'm a bit wary of using the term feelings, mainly because I'm not used to the idea of me having them) with her, but I don't know how to bring up the topic, or even how to discuss it once it's brought up. A semi-prepared monologue only really works in plays and films, and while observation from film and tv may provide some insight, I know enough to know things don't really work that way. A dialogue also doesn't look like it would work well as the topic doesn't really lend itself to much contribution from the other side. And I'm in no way fucked up enough to consider a written statement, although I have been occasionally leaving my browser open to this blog while I'm absent and my computer is left on, so perhaps I'm trying to do so in a roundabout way.

Still no progress on The Thousandth Son. I'm going to email part one to myself at work, and have a burl at it while I'm at work. At the moment I'm only actually doing work about two thirds of the time I'm there, the other third simply being spent being ready to work when a call comes in. I'll aim to have part two up by the 3rd.

In all of this I've failed to mention a greater than normal family interaction in the past week. My mother came down to Brisbane on Sunday, my sister got back in town a few days before that, and Mum's boyfriend was down for Tuesday and Wednesday. Last Sunday, Mum, Sarah and my uncle came around for dinner and I cooked a roast chicken. All went well. On Monday I saw a movie with my sister (H2G2 for those who know what I mean).. On Tuesday we all went for dinner at the Story Bridge Hotel, which seems to be a favorite haunt of my sisters, but it's just another pub to me. On Friday I had lunch with my sister. Next Friday my sister will be going to the Tripod show I'm going to with a few other people (My female housemate, her boyfriend, the friend who came over drinking last night, his girlfriend, and that's about it). Should be an intersesting night.

I saw on slashdot the other day an article about two english people who decided to stage a light saber duel by filling some flourescent tubes with petrol mixed with soapand setting the inside alight. Given that this mixture behaves much like napalm, doing this and then waving the fragile glass tubes around and hitting each other with them seems to be a spectacularly stupid thing to do, on the Darwin arward level.

Well I have to say I'm quite impressed with what I've written so far, so I think I'll leave it here, add a few links and call it a post.

End Post

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Small snippets make up a whole

My knee hurts. It's been doing this for a while now. I'm starting to think I should see a doctor about it. Although last time I had some sort of long term medical type problem that after a while I saw a doctor about turned out to be nowhere near as dangerous as I was worried. Heart pains in someone only 24 is scary, once you actually acknowledge that there is a problem.

I tried to write some more of The Thousandth Son earlier today offline, but didn't get far. The second part is going to focus on the anti-monarchy argument. I got as far as the first line, but got no further. I'll have another go tomorrow.

Still looking for work. During the next week, I'm going to up the number of jobs I apply for. A minimum of three a day (each and every day, no averaging bullshit) is what I'm going to try and do, with one of those being something I'd like to do as opposed to something I can do. I will report back on my progress, although I think a few late night application rushes may occur.

Last night some friends came over for a lan session. We played some Diablo 2 and Quake 3. It was reasonably enjoyable. Quake 3 was a lot more fun than I was expecting.

I'm not sure these shallow posts with just a few sentences on a lot of things is good or not-so-good. At least I'm writing stuff, but as a means of expressing true feelings, I think the longer posts contain more. Although it seems I don't go into much detail with them either.

Significant Random Fact: It took me almost a week to work up the courage to ask Kylie out. It was the first time I'd asked any girl out. Her answer was "I'll think about it".
Another fact: the previous fact is the first time on this blog I've included Kylie's name, and not just made oblique references to her existence.
Yet another fact: I gave Danielle the same answer a few years later when she first asked me out. My later response was not as positive though (waiting until after the last session of the particular movie was in hindsight not the best way of doing things).

It does seem that the continued writing of things is making further writing easier. Hopefully the next post will be even more interesting.

End Post
Writing time: 26 minutes

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A whole lotta stuff just came out

Apparently the following two things are obligatory in a blog so let's see if it motivates anything

Current mood: Mopey
Current music: Journey of the Sorcerer, Toxic, So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

Once there was a girl. She was a good friend and I thought I wanted to have a more significant relationship with her. Over the course of several months I tried in a haphazard way to court her. This did not work out. With the advantage of extra knowledge gained in the few years since, and a bit of hindsight, part of this is probably because at around that time she got together with someone else, to whom she is now engaged and has moved in with. My inability to express myself probably didn't help either. But for quite some time after she told me it wasn't going to happen, I hurt quite a lot. A few months later I went to a party at which she and her boyfriend also went to. This affected me more than I expected. I ended up not eating for about 3 days, and scared some of my family into thinking I was on drugs or something.

That was about 4 years ago. It's only in the past year or so I've been open again to the prospect of some sort of romance. This was brought about by the realisation that not only was the bitterness I was still bearing making me unhappy and leading me to avoid other relationships that may have been worthwhile, it was also causing me to hurt others who tried to get involved. I still owe one person an apology for the unjustifiably rude way I treated her.

Well, it's amazing what one can do when trying to avoid the unpleasant current. I've been putting off writing about the above stuff for about as long as I've had a blog. I haven't gone into as much detail as I originally intended, but something has been written, so perhaps I can further elaborate later on.

So what exactly is it that makes dealing with past pains easier than trying to deal with it.

One of my housemates is a girl. By virtue of this fact, she probably has the highest time spent together to time known ratio of any woman not a member of my family. A while ago I decided that if something of a romantic nature developed, that would be ok. But it wasn't going to be something actively pursued, but more not provided a hostile environment to. And since then as I've got to know her better, I've learnt that it's not going to happen, and have accepted that.

The night before last (May 9, it's taken a long time to write this all up) a short conversation occurred in which the conclusion I'd already come to were stated explicitly, and it affected me more than I thought. And so I've spent the past 24 hours or so all moody. Plus it caused a really upset stomach, which with me tends only to happen with affairs of the heart. It's odd, it would seem that the physical indicator, my gut reaction if you will, that I like someone is nausea.

Anyway, that seems to be all. More details will perhaps come later, but at least it's got me writing about stuff I've been putting off writing.

End Post
Writing time 18 hours 52 minutes (please note that this time includes sleeping, watching tv, playing games, talking to others and various other uses of time and is not almost 19 hours of straight typing.)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Thousandth Son: Part the First

As per a previous post, here is some fiction. We'll see if I eventually get some sort of conclusion. And be warned, I suck at making up names.

The Thousandth Son


Brilthang the Gruesome and his band of warriors stormed into the throne room of Frimbar, the evil tyrant of the land. Despite the chaos of the uprising outside, Frimbar's bodyguards stood ready, but were unable to stop the warriors. Brilthang himself charged straight at Frimbar, and though the two dueled for some time, Brilthang was ultimately victorious. As his comrades finished off the surviving bodyguards he sat down on the throne of Frimbar. As the warriors knelt in front of him, he proclaimed: "From this throne shall I and my sons for a thousand generations rule this realm."

One Thousand and One

Crown prince Sintius stood on the balcony of his suite in Brilthang Castle wearing the traditional purple robes of mourning. A week had passed since the death of his father, King Amlas the 53rd, and now the prime minister of the Extended Kingdoms of Antarius and the Outlying Systems came bearing troublesome news.
"What do you mean, there is opposition to my coronation? I am the sole heir, and my father died of old age. Where exactly is the problem?" Sintius asked. "It's your generation, sire", replied the prime minister. "I don't need to tell you the story of Brilthang the Founder. 'From this throne shall I and my sons for a thousand generations rule this realm.' The genealogy of your family is quite well documented, and your father was of the thousandth generation."
"And there are those who would use the founding of our kingdom to destroy it forever more?"
"Well not destroy it as such, sire. But for almost as long as the kingdom has existed, there have been those who felt the monarchy was no longer needed. A group of them is making a fuss of things now because they think they can use the Brilthang's words to their advantage. And unfortunately, it seems that they are finding the people receptive to their ideas. This is a very awkward situation that isn't going to go away. We have to sort it out, or larger problems will emerge."
The prince considered this for a few moments. "Very well. Bring the leader of this group to me. Let us see what he has to say for himself." he commanded.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Sorcerers Journey

The other day I learnt the artist and title of the theme music to the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy: The Journey of the Sorcerer by The Eagles. It's a very cool piece of music, with a nice combination of the banjo with more modern elements.

In other music related news, it would appear that there is a Britney Spears song that I do like. No further comment on this at this time

I'm back on centrelink money. It went pretty smoothly. I had to fill out an extra form because one of my housemates is a girl. The form seems to be mostly checking to make sure couples don't pretend to be separate to get extra money from the government.

New episodes of Family Guy have started being shown.

As you might be able to tell, I haven't been out much since I got back to Australia. Part apathy, part can't be bothered (another form of apathy), part can't be damned (yet another form of apathy). I did do a little bit of shopping today. I got fed up with not having enough coathangers, and so decided to buy some more. I also got some new drinking glasses, as the ones I used to have mysteriously disappeared during or soon after our housewarming party. The new ones aren't so large, but there are six of the as opposed to the surviving two of the old ones.

Almost distracted myself with a game of nethack, but resisted temptation.

I've started thinking about writing some fiction. I've had ideas in the past, but never really developed them in the past. Perhaps I should write some up as entries here and then patch them together when something gets finished. Could make for some very confusing reading. In fact I will. The question is do I restart my Buffy/The Phantom crossover story, or my philosophical piece on the merits of the monarchy. Why not both? Look forward to many (well a few) interesting characters.

On blog related notes, it seems Darth Vader has a blog. It's very well written, but it is a slightly different spin on the character.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Mass doses of culture

On Thursday I got a bit more culture than I normally do. Not only did I go to a movie, I also went and saw a play.

The movie was Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I was a bit worried that things would not be well with this, as I tend to be very dissappointed by people who try to make books into movies. Be Cool, a movie I saw about a month ago, was a shocking example of this. But the hitchikers movie was good. It was different to the book, but the book was different to the radio show, the tv show, the computer game and the towel, so making changes for the new medium is not something wrong for the guide. However, when the opening titles started I was reassured. The song is brilliant, and works so well. I was a bit dissappointed by Zaphod's two heads and third arm, but overall the movie was good. Magrathea was marvelous. All round a good film

The play was The Taming of the Shrew. I managed to pick up some free tickets so off I went. They set it in 1940's New York rather than italy a few centuries ago. It worked rather well I thought.

End of Post
Writing time: 20 minutes

Monday, April 25, 2005

end non-chronological posting

Current posting resumes.

Stop attrocities because they make me feel bad

I'm currently in Kanchanaburi. For those whose knoledge of geography derives from movies, think the Bridge on the River Kwai. And of course there are museums wiht info on all of this, how many people died, where the railroad went, etc. One thing I did learn was teh the Netherlands were involved in the war in the Pacific, which kind of makes sense when you remember all the stuff about the Dutch East Indies and so forth, but I guess most of the time everyone concentrates on the big 5, England, America, France, Germany and Russia. I suppose the Netherlands also to part in the war in Europe, but I have no idea what it was.

The thing that most affected me though was walking throught the PoW cemetary. In the cemetary are buried nearly 7000 people who died during WWII. I thought I would be able to have a leisurely stroll throught eh cemetary, read the names, look at the monuments etc. But the place got to me. Normally, I'm ok with all things militaristic. I like things that make big bangs, and I know a few ways of making big bangs. But stuff like that brings home that no matter how fast the things fly or how big the bangs, the things should not be used.

Although people die every day, no one should hasten the rate at which it happens. That is the greatest tragedy. Not the ruined buildings, or any other destruction. The taking of so many lives is horrendous, and should not be allowed.

Confessions of a reader

I've recently read an extracted version of the Confessions of St Augustine. One of the reasons I picked it up at the airport was because my high school was named after St Augustine. Since then I've learnt a bit more about the life and writings of St Augustine, and so when I saw it at the airport I was intrigued enough to buy it.

The book was a bit different to what I was expecting. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was a lot more preachy than I thought it would be. As an autobiography it was ok, but the thing I didn't like was St Augustine's attitude toward God. It's very much "all the worthwhile and good things I've done are all God's doing, and the bad things just examplify the areas I need to become closer to God".

The thing I don't like about this kind of attitude is that it ignores the abilities and the accomplishments of people. In Augustine's case, his transformation from a freewheeling rebelous youth to a respectable holy man. Regardless of what inspired Augustine, he made the decision to change and improved himself, and is worthy of respect for that and his other acts. His worth is his own, not just because in a few small ways he resembles God.

I tend to believe that what a person does is more important than the motivations. Recently deceased Pope John Paul II, a very pious and honorable man, accomplished many great things during his life, and you would have to go a long way to find someone who would say otherwise, even if they, like I do not share his beliefs. He was a good man because of what he did, not why.

As a contrast to the writing of St Augustine, I have also recently read some work of Friedrich Nietzsche's, the rather modestly entitled "Why I am So Wise". A brief essay on how Mr Nietzsche feels he's so much better than the rest of us, especially the Germans. Given that my previous knowledge of Nietzsche come's from a faction in a sci-fi show known as the Nietzschiens, who were a rather self serving bunch of people with a very narrow point of view. Anyway, overall I wasn't that impressed by the writing of Nietzsche, so must only assume that his other work is of slightly more merit than this short work.

A few chronological notes

For the past 3 weeks I'v been visiting my sister in Thailand, and generally having a look see about the country. Unfortunately, one consequence of this is limited internet access, and no access to my own computer. As such, not much has been added to this blog. The entries following (above) this one were written by hand (novel concept) and will now be typed up for entry. More on the trip overall after I type these up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Books of the Black variety

Today I splurged. I was looking for something to read on the plane to Thailand. But I couldn't find anything that I was interested in buying, so I ended up getting the collectors edition of the complete Black Books. Marvelous british comedy. I've spent most of my time since getting home watching the first disc. I think once I finish the disc I'll go back to the start and listen to the commentaries.

DVD commentaries are curious things. I've heard some really good ones, which give a lot of insight into what's going on and let you in on interesting trivia, but some can be really bad, and just seem like a bunch of yobbos going on about the show. I think the quality of a commentary is in inverse proportion to the number of people taking part. All the really good ones I've heard are just one person. The ones with three or four people are really unimpressive.

In the meantime I have to organise something to read on the flight. I think I'll burn a few audio books to listen to instead. That way I have all the fun of reading a book without actually reading. Maybe I can download a few of the Harry Potter novels. And Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. I'll have to make sure I take some batteries with me.

Bored now, ending post
writing time: 19 minutes

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

An end to job search training

At the moment I'm still on the dole. The main reason I haven't stopped handing in the forms is a lack of job security. Going in for 10 minutes twice in a month is less hassle than having to go through the whole new applicant stuff if I don't get my contract renewed at the end of any given month. And it's not like I'm costing the taxpayer much. I think the tax I pay from work would cover 20 minutes of some low grade civil servants pay for a month. And since I started working, I've got maybe a hundred dollars total, from the times when I was on a reduced roster.

But the most annoying part is a thing called job search training. After spending about 2 months on the dole, you have to attend job search training. This is where they say, ok you don't a job, so we're going to pretend that your job is looking for a job. Admittedly they do make concessions if you've got some work, and I've milked that for most of what it's worth. But tomorrow I have my completion interview, and I haven't done all the things I've meant to have done. The main thing I haven't done is the direct sucking up type of job searching, where you just call up people out of the blue and say "I'm so and so, this is what I can do, do you have any positions available that may be suited to my skills". Quite frankly, if I'm busy working I don't really want to have to do this. I'm going to try and wrangle out of some of it on a technicality, that it only says list x many companies that you will hassle, so that's a partial escape. And I think the person I have the interview with is somewhat sympathetic, and I have done most of the other less time consuming parts.

Well, all things must come to an end, and I hope the fact that I've been working at a regular job since I began the job search training, and still am is enough to get me over the line. And if not I may still have a get out of jail card. This Sunday I leave the country for three weeks to visit my sister. And the government won't give me money while I'm overseas, and are too stupid to just pause my payments. No, I have to go off newstart, and make a new application when I get back in the country. So perhaps I should just go off the payments now, and save myself the hassle.

Ah well, I'm going to stop typing now, and apply for another two jobs.

End Post
writing time: 32 minutes

Monday, March 14, 2005

Back online

Well, after the move and the period of internet deprivation I'm back online. And thank god for that. I'm so far behind on my regular net activities it's not funny. Take this for instance, it's been at least a month since the last time I put anything up on here. And I'm still waiting to find out how Stargate and Atlantis finish. Although not for much longer.

I started a game just before I moved, expecting to not be out of touch long. The games still going, it's on about turn 15 or so, and I've submitted moves for maybe 5 turns. I'm in a really shit position, but am still in the game. Now we'll see how much longer I can last.

I'm still working in a call center. I'm not quite sure. I'm obviously doing something right, as I started out on a 6 week contract 3 weeks before christmas, and I'm still there. But it seems every time the higher ups listen in on my calls, I've made a mistake. I'm still getting told off for not using names and response phrases enough, but I'm still working on it. We'll see if they keep me on after telling them I'm going to be away for three weeks next month.

Now that I'm back online it'll probably be easier for me to finish up the bullshit job search training that I'm going through right now.

I'm not typing anything too fascinating so I'll stop now.

End Post
Writing time: 50 minutes

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

long time no write

So it's been a while since I've written anything here. Partly this is a lack of any major happenings. Now there are some so I guess I shoudl go over them.

I'm moving house soon. The new place is very close to the university. I'm still not sure about how it's going to turn out. One of the friends I'm moving in with is very unilateral about things. Has to have things his own way, and is very unwilling to compromise. Another is a bit of a neat freak, but it shouldn't be too bad as I tend to keep my mess within the limits of my room.

My job is going to be finished soon. Even though I got my contract extended, I missed out on a permanent position. I guess it just means I get a bit of time to look for a new job while still having something to do and get money from. There's a position I'm really keen on that I'm going to apply for tomorrow. It's a scientific assistant at a high school. The money's good, I can pretty much do everthing they want, plus I can do a whole heap of extra stuff that would be an advantage in the job. Hopefully all goes well.

Moving out of course means having to clean up the current place. I'll have to make an inventory and see just how much of the junk I've acquired I want to keep. I can think of a few things that I've got that I haven't touched since putting them in their current location when I moved in here a year ago. I'll probably have a bit of a wonder around and see if I can get anything for some of it.

End Post
Writing time: 130 minutes

Sunday, January 30, 2005

long time no post

I'm too tired to write anyhting right now. Perhaps tomorrow

End post
Writing time: 1 minute

Sunday, January 16, 2005

looking for a new home

I'm currently looking for a new place. A friend of mine wants to move out, so he, my current housemate, and myself are looking for a new place. It's not going well so far. I have my doubts that we will be able to find a place that meets the criteria we all have.

I'm starting to get a little worried that this may start causing problems. We found one place that seems ok, except that one of the rooms is only 7' x 11'. This is too small to fit all my stuff, and for some reason the other two seem to think I'm the one whose going to get the small room.

Tonight I found out that the friend who wants to move out wants to use the fact that he's going to do the yard work as a reason why he shouldn't have to pay for the phone or internet. This perhaps wouldn't be quite so frustrating if it weren't for the fact that he's the one who is absolutely insistent that we have to have a house with a yard as he wants to do yardwork.

All over this is getting quite frustrating. All I want is a room large enough to put all my stuff in, a shower with a decent showerhead, and being within walking distance of regular public transport, preferably a train station.

Time discontinuity here.

I got interrupted writing this by a discussion about whether we'll take the place and who will pay for what. We seem to have reached an agreement. I'll take the small room and pay a lot less rent.

Right now I'm having second thoughts about the deal. Right now I'm feeling bitter and resentful, mainly becuase I don't like it that the other two just assumed I'd be happy with the small room.

Now I'm not sure if I'm happy with this. I've already stopped doing one thing because I wasn't happy doing it. Why should I now go into a situation where I'm going to feel unhappy and bitter towards those I live with?

This is going to be tricky. The others are very keen on the place. And I've already changed my mind on this once.
The question now going through my head is why should I not now try and find someone to take my housemates room, and just stay where I am. I'm happy here, can fit all my stuff in my room, and it would solve a few hassles.

I'm definately not happy with this. Not being happy is a bad thing, and should be avoided. I guess that means we keep looking.

Writing time: 18 hours 7 minutes (a record perhaps? For me definately, the world? Who knows?)

Friday, January 07, 2005

Time for another post

I'm a bit tired. I didn't sleep well last night, as it's been a bit hot recently, and I had an early shift today. A mere 13 hours between shifts isn't all that fun. Ah well, that's the price we pay. The other day they asked for expressions of interest for extended contracts and permanent part time positions, so hopefully the weekend won't be too busy so I can put together a reasonably impressive expression of interest. There are worse ways to pay your bills. Hopefully it goes ok. I may have a bit of trouble, as my first call monitoring didn't go to well. I forgot to do one important thing, which meant I didn't get a good result. I'll just have to wait and see.

I've been playing some diablo II recently, I started up a new assasin. I just killed Duriel for the first time, and contrary to usual form, I didn't die once. I think it was the speed, I was able to run away from him to escape properly.

My supervisors are going to be back in the country soon, so I'm going to have to make a decision about what I'm going to do in a month or two. I don't think I won't to go back. Right now I don't think that if I did go back I'd be any more productive than I was.

I think I've said before that there was a time where my future was all clear and planned, with an obvious sequence of events. I think I'm no longer the same person now as I was then. I'm more bitter, more wary of sentiment and emotion, and all round not as happy. I think I know when the change occured, its in the post that has yet to be finished (The writing time on that ones going to be impressive).

So now what should my plan be? Continue at a simple job, and find pleasure in the other aspects of life? Financially I think I can do it, but the prospect of engaging in a job like that, saying I'm going to do this now, is a bit daunting. Perhaps I can convince myself that it's just a temporary measure. It does pay better than centerlink, and they're much easier to deal with.

The longer term though is something I'm worried about. The thought of just having a job, and that being the main focus of my life is something that doesn't seem appealing. It lacks wow. I can't see myself telling someone this is how I spend most of my time and them being impressed. When you tell someone you're doing a PhD in physics, the response is: wow, you must be smart. But working in a call center, that's nothing special.

A friend of mine recently told me that I seem to be too concerned with what he called the GRAND IDEA. He said that I should be less concerned with my ultimate fate and appreciate the here and now. I think he's right in some ways. I have been trying to find a grand idea, but as I told him, I'm trying to replace something I once had, and longer have. Until it's gone, you don't really appreciate how reassuring it is to have a strong surety of purpose. A knowledge that there is a plan, there is a goal, and a rough idea of the path you're going to take. It made life much easier to take. Now I'm lost in the middle of nowhere, with no path in site, and I have no idea where to go.

Looking at most of what I've just typed, I mainly seem to be highlighting different facets of my problem, but not it's whole. If anyone can work out and concisely state what my problem is, please let me know. Knowing the problem is the first step to finding a solution.

End post
Writing time: 28 minutes