Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cool things on the web

Since I've got my Ipod, I've increased my listening of podcasts. I kind of listened to a few just on my computer, but generally while I'm at my computer I'm doing stuff, so I wouldn't really pay attention. But with the it is easy to listen while traveling, so I listened to stuff while commuting around. The range of stuff I listen too is pretty broad as well. There's commentaries both official and fan on Battlestar Galactica, local current affairs, military history, for a while Russian lessons (it petered out after a while), weekly speeches by both the governator and George W, and some general geek discussion.

I've now started getting some videocasts as well. This is mainly because I found one that is very cool and well worth the effort of downloading. Ask A Ninja. A wonderful concept, and done well.

I'm unemployed right now. The basic story goes like this. I was a temp, on a seemingly ever extending contract. Back in about September/October they told me my contract had been extended again until the middle of January. Then at the end of December, they put out the January roster and I had shifts up until the 29th, which is well past the middle of January, so I thought, OK, my contracts been extended again. Then on the 16th of January, an email comes out to most of the temps, myself included saying that your contracts end on the 26th, so on your last shift make sure you hand in all the security stuff we gave you, and a comment that it was unlikely that contracts would be extended. At this point, I assumed that since my roster went past that point in time, the unlikely had already happened. But then last Monday the online timesheet system wouldn't let me log on, so I called the person responsible, and she told me to just email it to her, and to do the same on Thursday when I'd finished. I replied, but I'm rostered on for shifts after that, and her response was a that it was a business thing, and I was finishing on Thursday. Then at the end of Monday an email came out saying that we might be able to extend a few of the temp contracts, and wanted to know who was interested. At that point I'd kind of already moved on, and was planning to enjoy my third full weekend without work in over eight months, and finding a better job and not having to put up with all the crap work forced on you (stupid customers, stupid merchants, stupid policies) so I told them no. So now I'm unemployed. Fortunately, they paid me about 50% more than I'd usually spend, so I've managed to save a fair bit, so I'm not going to starve immediately (I can probably last about 16 weeks without having to be too frugal).

So now the challenge is to find something new to do to fill my coffers and my hours.

One of the ways I'm filling time is I'm learning how to use a 3d modeling program. My first project is to make a stargate from Stargate Atlantis. So far I've got some of the fancy bits that sit on the stargate done. I'll add more pictures as it gets a bit more developed.

writing time: 50 minutes
time since last post: 18 days
current music: MC Hawking - Fuck the Creationists

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The deeply unfortunate doings of an ill-fated life

Funerals suck. Everyone who is already sad, upset, or otherwise unhappy about the discontinued existence of the person being commemorated gather together and remind each other that a tragedy has happened and that it a terrible thing to have happened, and it all feeds on itself making everyone more upset.

It was the second time after Mal's death I'd cried. There was a bit just after finding out, but after that I'd managed to be able to keep it together. But the actual event itself got to me. It started just going through the memorial garden where they've got parts of lots of other cremated people buried. I don't like graveyards. It's too much concentrated death, which in this type of situation just brings you back to why your there.

I was one of the pall bearers (I think I spelt pall right), along with one of Mal's sons, his two brothers, his brother in law (sisters husband) and an old (long time) friend of his. I was actually surprised at the size of the coffin. It was a lot narrower and shallower than I would have thought he'd have fit in. I wasn't able to get their in time for the viewing the day before the funeral, so I don't know if death made a hug difference in size, or I just am bad at estimating that sort of thing.

I'm considering making an offer to buy his motorbike off Mum, but before I do so I need to work out if I can afford it, not just the buying but the running of it. Also, a friend of his had first option on it if Mal didn't want it anymore, so that will probably have to be considered as well. And of course I need to get a motorcycle license, which will add to the cost (there exist 3 day courses for people with regular car licenses to get a motorcycle license if they can learn quick enough that cost ~$500). If I do, I might take a week of, visit Mum for a few days and then ride back to Brisbane.

A friend gave me a journal type book the other day. The title of this post is taken from the cover. Just looking at it, I've noticed that it's got a copyright notice on it. I guess they're really protective of their cover design, because I don't really think they can get away with copyrighting a bunch of blank pages with lines on them. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to put in there yet, but it will be something more profound than shopping lists and the like.

Have I mentioned that tax sucks. Not so much in and of itself, but in how it applies to work and motivation. At the moment, in a usual week I pay a certain amount of tax. If I do some overtime, or the rosters work out that a given pay week has more than the usual number of hours in it, I go over a certain point and get taxed at a higher rate. It's not as motivating when thinking about doing more when you realize that although you're being paid a certain amount per hour, for the extra hours you only see about half of that. I know it all balances out in the end, but still it frustrates at times.

End Post
writing time: 25 minutes

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


On new year's eve Mum's fiancee, Mal, died. He was 48. He was fine the day before, then in the morning had some chest pains, and the kaput. It was all very abrupt. Mum's very upset, although I've only spoken to her twice since it happened. They were going to get married in April, and as my grandfather died while I was young, I was going to take the role of the father of the bride (without the whole paying for the whole thing bit).

It's not a good thing. I'm feeling rather mopey. Not all that surprising. Work on Saturday was pretty tough. On Sunday night I went to my uncles place as my sister and aunt had flown in to Brisbane then. That was a bit depressing, the gathering together of sad people, especially my sister. She has a tendency to take my not showing much emotion externally as me not giving a damn. So far that has happened this time.

My uncle and I are driving up to Rockhampton tomorrow, and will be coming back on Friday, maybe with my aunt as well.

Work for once has not been a bunch of prats. My request for Thursday off got approved within a few hours.

Anyway, in summary, a really good guy is gone, and it really sucks.

End Post
Writing time 1 hour 12 minutes