31 August 2006


"A mat was where the cat had been sitting."
- The cat sat on the mat.

"Where the cat has been sitting, and will continue to sit, weather conditions permitting, is on the mat."
- On fine days, the cat sits on the mat.

"A legislative framework will be required to allow the cat to be able to sit on the mat, at the local, state or federal level."
- We need a law before the cat can sit on the mat.

I'm not resentful of convoluted writing these days. In fact if I can untangle it and help a few more people undertand the author's point, it makes me quite happy. If I could untangle all the world's confused and over-complicated manuals that would be just fine. So I've just been making up fantasy tutorials for technical writers to pass the time. That is one above. Hope you like it.

28 August 2006

All talk no trousers

You may have come across this group before. They're called Improv Everywhere and they stage "scenes" in down town New York with volunteers. Its seems like they're into public surrealism and a bit of stirring. A couple of months ago they pulled a now annual pantless on the subway stunt, and had a train stopped by confused cops. Sounds like fun. There's youtube video on the site.

26 August 2006

Gorgeous beautiful books

Be careful, you'll get hairy palms reading this. Ooh libriaries. Edit - if you tried the link on the weekend, I've updated it, now it goes to a site with actual pictures from the book.

What I learnt this week

So I'm trying out a volunteer thing right. A bit of "giving back to the community" as they call it. Once a week I scoot over to a southern suburbs primary school in my share car, and do reading exercises with one of the childers for 45 minutes. Its pretty cool. We practice phonics, which is the way you would have been taught to read if you went to primary school before 1985. Phonics lets you break a word up into its component parts if you've never seen it before, and work out the sound so you have more chance of recognising it in the written form. So the letters "aw" can equal an "or" sound, or "ai" can sound like a long "a" , for example.

The curriculum for early education changed a bit in the 80s and 90s and kids learnt a method called "whole language" where they were encouraged to read whole words and get the gist of English that way. But it seems this only works if you're immersed in reading and writing all the time, and kids who don't get much practice outside school end up faced with longer words, with no way of breaking them down into component parts. The course coordinator told me that they actually see a word differently to you and me - a bit more like an 8-digit phone number, if they haven't learnt phonics. You'll be pleased to know that schools are switching back to a mix of phonics and whole language, so the wee tackers have more of a chance to get the tools in place to help them later on.

But to the really interesting thing I learnt. This teacher wants to move on to do practice with descriptive exercises. Basically, "what I did on my holidays". Communicating something you've seen to someone who wasn't there. You see, nowadays, any kid with a mobile phone camera can send a photo of where they are to a friend. If they're doing that a certain learning stage, they may not ever use or possibly even learn written descriptive language.

Mind you, probably make for a lot less boring blogs, down the track.

25 August 2006

20 August 2006

Now it makes sense

Ah ha! Guitar boy replies about 8 weeks too late to my invitation to watch the football. Oh well, better late than never. Ok you're almost excused for the complete lack of any social contact on my last visit on grounds of a technology problem. There will be some drinks buying involved for total redemption though. Oh , yeh you can change your template to one that allows comments maybe?


Hi there. Sunday night catch-up time. I've had a pretty darn good week. On Saturday I commited one of the great faux-pas of modern life and turned up to a costume party, in costume while not really many other people were. And it was in a pub, not a private home, where we had to mingle with the hoi poloii after getting kicked off the deck area. But as I was ostensibly a gypsy (read: head scarf, eye makeup, hoop earrings, beaded hip scarf over black skirt and black top), it kind of passed for just boho. And after an initial discomfort.. you know what? Didn't care. That's being 30 for you.

Monday saw two meetings in a row with my favourite client. Design work is progressing to schedule, and the team seems pleased so far. Did my first week with 2 days in the city in an actual office (gasp! First time in a year, nearly to the day). You'll be pleased to know it wasn't too traumatic to re-adjust to the culure of quiet, airconditioning, water filter, and needing a code for the door. Bit like riding a bike (or wearing clothes, with er, darts). Mind you it was a grreat feeling to come back to the flat er, i mean, home office, crank on the Tori Amos and do the projects I'm in charge of in between days. Trakkie daks and Tori and breaks to go the laundromat and havea coffee in the sun - how could anyone work any other way? Tuesday night caught up with Johnno of world cup blog fame, in the classic ex-scholar blowing through for one-night-only style - always a pleasure.* Also had a lovely suprise visit from Miss J taking advantage of the fishbowl's relative proximity to the city to get some late night work done.

And just got back from a 2-night mountains sojourn, complete with a visit to a great couple moving back into their newly renovated cottage. Not a cottage anymore! Its got a cunning northfacing back rooms and deck to make the most of the winter sun and shade in summer, a 9,000 L water tank, cross ventilation, insulation, a no-electricity insulated cold store for use in winter (this is the Blue Mountains with sub-zero temperatures), and other tricky bits and pieces. And they have a funny new big- eyed baby to share it with! Aaw.

Just checked in with the folks darn sarth to tell them to bring their togs on their visit to the emerald city next week, the sun is amazing. The ocean here is warmer than ever recorded for this time of year, but not to worry I'm sure the annual fish migration and spawning will adapt to us messing with the East Australian current. Somehow.

And.. word of the week: Inveigle:
  1. To win over by coaxing, flattery, or artful talk.
  2. To obtain by cajolery: inveigled a free pass to museum
*that will make sense to a certain few who did a certain course in canberra in a certain year.

16 August 2006

Marketing sins

No you haven't just had six pints too many, no the acid you took 10 years ago isn't causing flashbacks. The urinal cake is actually talking to you. I completely fail to be excited about this new form of "interactive mens room marketing". Does that make me unsuited to being a promotions consultant?

14 August 2006

Walks around town

Described two years ago in this post, part of the city's infrastructure exposed and vulnerable.

And other scenes from the big city.

9 August 2006

Van Gogh and me

I may not have mentioned before that my ears ring. All the time. It used to be after gigs and clubs. Not anymore. Its like my own personal, high pitched dial tone. So if I see you, in real life, and seem to be a little apart or didn't respond at an appropriate moment - I don't hate your company. I'm not wishing I was somewhere else. Its probably because I was distracted by the bells and didn't hear you.

8 August 2006

art imitates face

At Boston University, two boffins have created empathetic art.

"The program analyses the image of eight facial expressions, such as the position and shape of the mouth, the openness of the eyes, and the angle of the brows, to work out the emotional state of the viewer," Dr John Collomosse of the University of Bath in south-west England said.

7 August 2006

Forum question

A special hello to all those "real time" friend of mine who are linked down the side of these esteemed pages. Question - do you mind if I give out this site address to real people? People you might even meet one day? Like, what if its a journo I met who is interested in blogs in the "traditional media" like I did on the weekend after few wines? Is that ok? Do you mainly put your words out into cyber space as an anonymous experience to be found by strangers searching for random things like "1.5 litre engine" or "redgum lyrics" for example? Do you see it just a private forum between mates, who have all actually met and shared beers at some point? Would you rather I protect your privacy, and not hand out the url willy nilly? Or are you happy that what you post on-line you would pretty much talk about down the pub?

In reality I'm only maxing out at about 4-7 indivuals a day on the old statcounter (I think the same 7, honestly). I kind of gave up on the old blog being a bit mysterious and aloof - as everyone is connected to everyone these days and, you know, now my Dad has the address. I don't think he drops in too often though. Of course now I also have a dedicated librarian readership (who are all hot stuff on the net, and masters of the IT milleu). Tell me your thoughts sister and brothers. Comments open .... NOW!

6 August 2006

Ve haf vays

Perhaps she should have called Joe Hockey?

Police in the German city of Aachen received an unusual call for help when a woman telephoned to complain her husband was not fulfilling his sexual obligations.

"The police officials did not feel able to resolve the dispute, let alone issue any kind of official order," Kemen said.

4 August 2006

Internet offerings

Again, from my new favourite eye-patch wearing euro-denizen, momus, speaking as a self-proclaimed ex-satirist,
"Satire ties you in to your enemies, puts you on the same page as them. If I tied my intellectual agenda to the latest bomb explosion or military incursion, even to decry them and call for restraint (as if terrorists and generals would be listening, anyway!), I'd basically let hate and aggression come to dominate my worldview. And it's likely that, subconsciously, whatever my "high moral ground" position on these events would be, a little part of me would be secretly thrilled to be where the action is, and secretly delighted every time some spectacularly violent escalation took place, just as a satirist is when the people he attacks do something which shows them at their most ludicrous, hateful and stereotypical. "
Listening to: Door, door, the Boys Next Door
"Does a rain-dance, in my room, then assumes, the dive position"..... "hear the taps, fill the bath almost dark, in the dive position" " .. I sigh, to you, touch me, touch me, touch me."
Could I just love Nick Cave any more?

Most fucked up thing today - the quote from Human Services Minister Joe Hockey:
"We are a target, we always have been a target and we will be for a very long period of time."
I'm not going to link to the full article, in a teeny-tiny-almost-silent gesture of protest. He's talking about Australia here, in case I have any international visitors. I'm sure that there is an almost corresponding line in 1984, and don't really have the inclination to go hunting for it. Always have been... pardon? Always? What is a human services minister anyway? Is he the man I should talk to about the leaky toilet? About whether I'm getting enough, er, human servicing? I mean, really.

2 August 2006

The problem is me

Solo living is a potential environmental time bomb according to the University College London.
Dr Jo Williams, UCL Bartlett School of Planning, said: "Current trends show that one-person households are growing more rapidly than other types of household. Previously, the typical one-person householder was the widow, often on a tight budget and thrifty. The rise in younger, wealthier one-person households is having an increasingly serious impact on the environment. But we have identified possible opportunities which arise out of the group's expansion and diversification.

"'Regretful loners', who are forced into living alone by circumstance, create demand for more collaborative lifestyles, such as more widespread co-housing schemes, where you have private space such as a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen but share some living and storage areas. It allows people to share household chores such as cooking; DIY and gardening; share goods such as tools; and consume less energy."
Beachside eco-village, bring it on!

1 August 2006

Two new words

Here are two words that I had heard but didn't know the meaning of, till I looked 'em up on dictionary.com. Love new words. I previously thought the second one meant kind of cranky and disaffected*. But then I also used to think Pakistan was to the north east of India.

  1. Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus; phallic.
  2. Relating to or overly concerned with masculinity.
  1. Walking about or from place to place; traveling on foot, itinerant
  2. Of or relating to the philosophy or teaching methods of Aristotle, who conducted discussions while walking about in the Lyceum of ancient Athens.
*as in..what is my peripatetic boyfriend up to today? Works with the real meaning as well though. (Hi baby, keep up the good work..)