31 December 2007

POFT or pointless?

I really like this article by Bryan Appleyard in the Sunday Times (UK) of 30 December 2007. I think he was too kind.
Twilight of the greats?

This year saw the death of so many big names. Perhaps it saw the end of greatness, too. So, where do we go from here to find the artists that matter?

It was a year in which a certain type of person died — Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Norman Mailer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Jean Baudrillard. These were intellectually pungent, culturally potent individuals, angrily dismissed as often as they were called “great”, “seminal” or “genius”. And with Luciano Pavarotti dead, another type of greatness vanished from the planet.
The death of Baudrillard left a gaping hole in the cultural landscape. Suddenly, we lack a great POFT — a Pointlessly Obscure French Thinker. Baudrillard, like Kristeva, Foucault, Lacan and many others, was a poseur and rhetorician. But, like some of the others, though certainly not Foucault, he was also a very brilliant man. His insights into the constructed nature of contemporary reality were, while usually buried beneath pointless obscurity, scintillating. If the French could shake off the posturing that has disfigured their post-war thought, they could perhaps recover their role as the great essayists of the world. We need a new Pascal, a new Montaigne.
Pointlessly obscure? I think pointless would be a more apt description. As is much of post-modernism.

Today was a work day, though most of the office was empty. Just like Christmas Eve, we were allowed to go home after lunch time. Woohoo! Except it was very hot in the middle of the day when I walked home.

I went over to Tim and Toni's for a barbeque dinner, but left to walk Kane2.

I should go back to Tim and Toni's now, but there is an interesting program on tv now - a telecast of the 2006 V Festival (squeezed into one hour). Maybe later. So much good music coming out of the UK. I know most of it. Unfortunately, they aren't as popular in Australia.

(edit 11pm - new post in my music blog)

30 December 2007


I quite like Wikipedia, although I double check to make sure the sources are reliable. The new Wikitravel, on the other hand is brilliant.

I went into town for a couple of hours, meeting Devi and her mum for lunch and returned with a new fry pan.

I'm now watching Children of Dune. Brilliant.

Leto Atreides II, son of Paul

James McAvoy is superb in the role of Leto II. No wonder he is now a much sought after actor.

29 December 2007


Designed by Turkish designer company Ünal & Böler, the Nar coffee table has slots to allow books to be integrated into the coffee table.
“Nar” means “pomegranate” in Turkish. Pomegranate is a fruit that holds hundreds of juicy seeds inside. It’s a fruit that symbolizes fertility. Nar coffe table carries books and books carry ideas. Ideas can be destructive as much as they can be constructive. Our aim was to emphasize the danger and the dilemma it holds with utter nakedness.
It won the Istanbul Design Week Best Design Award 2005.

I could use it as a way to hold the place of all my half-read books at the right page, and as a daily reminder to finish reading them.

Today was a warm day.

I have been watching the Dune series on DVD. I read the books when I was younger. Gee I was a geek.

Paul Atreides / Muad'Dib

28 December 2007

celebrity activism... driving the policy agenda

There was an interesting article in The National Interest last month by Daniel W. Drezner about celebrity activism, particularly in world politics, discussing whether they are actually effective.
Increasingly, celebrities are taking an active interest in world politics. When media maven Tina Brown attends a Council on Foreign Relations session, you know something fundamental has changed in the relationship between the world of celebrity and world politics. What’s even stranger is that these efforts to glamorize foreign policy are actually affecting what governments do and say. The power of soft news has given star entertainers additional leverage to advance their causes. Their ability to raise issues to the top of the global agenda is growing. This does not mean that celebrities can solve the problems that bedevil the world. And not all celebrity activists are equal in their effectiveness. Nevertheless, politically-engaged stars cannot be dismissed as merely an amusing curiosity in foreign policy.
Um, who is Tina Brown and why should I care? I think this may also be a case of political leaders wanting some celebrity glamour to rub off on them
Why has international relations gone glam? Have stars like Jolie, Madonna, Bono, Sean Penn, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney and Sheryl Crow carved out a new way to become foreign-policy heavyweights? Policy cognoscenti might laugh off this question as absurd, but the career arc of Al Gore should give them pause. As a conventional politician, Gore made little headway in addressing the problem of global warming beyond negotiating a treaty that the United States never ratified. As a post–White House celebrity, Gore starred in An Inconvenient Truth, won an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize, promoted this past summer’s Live Earth concert and reframed the American debate about global warming. Gore has been far more successful as a celebrity activist than he ever was as vice president.
Al Gore had a film to promote. Without the film, nobody would have taken any notice of him.
Current entertainers have greater incentives to adopt global causes than their precursors. Furthermore, they are more likely to be successful in pushing their policy agenda to the front of the queue. These facts have less to do with the celebrities themselves than with how citizens in the developed world consume information. Whether the rise of the celebrity activist will lead to policy improvements, however, is a more debatable proposition. Promoting a policy agenda is one thing; implementing it is another thing entirely.
Some of these celebrities should put their money where their mouth is and run for high political office with an election agenda.
The final reason more celebrities are interested in making the world a better place is that it is simply easier for anyone to become a policy activist today. An effective policy entrepreneur requires a few simple commodities: expertise, money and the ability to command the media’s attention. Celebrities already have the latter two; the Internet has enabled them to catch up on information-gathering. Several celebrities even have “philanthropic advisors” to facilitate their activism. This does not mean that celebrities will become authentic experts on a country or issue. They can, however, acquire enough knowledge to pen an op-ed or sound competent on a talk show.
Perhaps some of these celebrities want to be taken seriously and use activism as a means to demonstrate that they have some intelligence. It's a pity that many don't show any sound judgment.
At its core, star activism hints that the famous are somehow better than you or me. Some Americans view celebrities who pontificate on politics and policy as taking advantage of a bully pulpit that they did not earn. There’s a fine line between principled activism and righteous indignation, and the celebrity who crosses that line risks incurring the wrath of the common man or woman.
Ha! I wonder if Governor Schwarzenegger has traded in his gas-guzzling Hummer. Some of these celebrities could reign in their over-consumption for a start and live by example.

After three days off work (public holidays), it was strange going to work on a Friday. Hardly anybody was in. Strangely, I completed a fair bit of work today.

27 December 2007

taking Chuck Norris' name in vain...

Chuck Norris eats steak for every single meal. Most times he forgets to kill the cow.

The Truth About CHUCK NORRIS is slampacked with 20 illustrations and 400 hard-hitting, unapologetic facts about the world's greatest martial arts master and Texas Ranger!

Mr Chuck Norris is suing the publishers of the book. From Reuters

Chuck Norris sues, says his tears no cancer cure

Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:21pm EST

By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tough-guy actor and martial arts expert Chuck Norris sued publisher Penguin on Friday over a book he claims unfairly exploits his famous name, based on a satirical Internet list of "mythical facts" about him.

Penguin published "The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World's Greatest Human" in November. Author Ian Spector and two Web sites he runs to promote the book, including www.truthaboutchuck.com, are also named in the suit.

The book capitalizes on "mythical facts" that have been circulating on the Internet since 2005 that poke fun at Norris' tough-guy image and super-human abilities, the suit said.

It includes such humorous "facts" as "Chuck Norris's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried" and "Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits," the suit said, as well as "Chuck Norris can charge a cell phone by rubbing it against his beard."

"Some of the 'facts' in the book are racist, lewd or portray Mr. Norris as engaged in illegal activities," the lawsuit alleges.

Norris, who rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s as the star of such films as "The Delta Force" and "Missing in Action," says the book's title would mislead readers into thinking the facts were true.

"Defendants have misappropriated and exploited Mr. Norris's name and likeness without authorization for their own commercial profit," said the lawsuit.

The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks unspecified monetary damages for trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and privacy rights.

Norris, whose real name is Carlos Ray Norris, claims in the suit he is protective of what his name is associated with. He has recently made U.S. headlines for backing Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

A spokesman for Penguin, owned by Britain's Pearson, was not immediately available for comment.

(Editing by Michelle Nichols and Todd Eastham)

Some people do not realise that their ongoing fame is due to their fans turning them into an internet meme. Imagine if David Hasselhoff had sued.

I spent most of today watching some more of Carnivale (season two) - a day at home thanks to a federal government employee additional public holiday.

26 December 2007

what's in - cuisine

I was watching Food Safari on SBS this evening and the cuisine featured was Indonesian. In my opinion, Indonesian food should be more popular.
Indonesian food is one of the most vibrant and colourful cuisines in the world, full of intense flavour and varied textures. With 6,000 islands, there is a huge range of regional specialties, but wherever you are in Indonesia, most meals, including breakfast, are based around rice. There is also an abundant use of sambals, an accompaniment based on chilli and garlic which can be raw or cooked. It’s said that because of the hot and humid climate chilli and sambal help maintain your appetite. Indonesians need a "kick start" to their palate from chilli and from pickles, a burst of sour crunch. So each meal is generally rice, sambal, pickles with small amounts of meats, seafood or vegetables, often in curry form. People eat either with their right hand or with a spoon and fork.
Some of the intense flavour in Indonesian food comes from very sweet and sour ingredients - like the thick sweet soy sauce called kecap manis which is used in countless dishes. The sour note in the cuisine comes from tamarind and lime and the aromatic elements from eschallots, ginger, galangal, pandan, turmeric, lemongrass and lime leaves.

Two foods adored by Indonesians are tempeh - fermented soybeans usually found in block form which are high in protein and fibre - and krupuk or deep fried crackers made from prawn, seafood or vegetables and eaten at the start of a meal.
Because the climate is humid and the soil volcanic, tropical fruits, vegetables and spices are found in abundance. Indonesia was known as the Spice Islands when nutmeg and mace, pepper and cloves were grown and traded. Dried spices such as coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon quills, cumin seeds, cloves and nutmeg are still used every day in many dishes and each curry has a number of dried spices as well as fresh herbs.

Over the centuries many different races have visited and left their stamp on the cuisine - Indian, Chinese, Arab, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch. As many Indonesians are Muslim, the Islamic code of generosity to the guest means newcomers are welcomed and a banquet prepared.

Desserts are some of the most exuberant in South East Asia, especially the favourite eis cendol, made with pandan-flavoured mung bean flour "worms", sweet potato and taro, beans or tropical fruit, palm sugar syrup and coconut milk, served with a small mountain of shaved ice.
Asian cuisines make many others seem bland.

Today was another day off work for the Boxing Day public holiday. I spent most of it watching episodes of Carnivale (season one). I am looking forward to watching season two.

24 December 2007

The art of Henrik Simonsen

Henrik Simonsen is a Danish artist living in the United Kingdom.

I really like this painting of poppies (oil and charcoal on canvas)

Today was a short work day. We were allowed to go home at lunch time.

23 December 2007

Recipe - lamb Rogan Josh

As demonstrated by Shahena Ali, of the Maharaja restaurant in Benfleet, Essex.


* 600g (1 lb) lamb , chopped into 2.5 inch pieces
* 3 Tbsp garlic and ginger paste
* 3 Tbsp oil
* 2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp turmeric powder
* 3 tsp garam masala
* 2 tsp coriander powder
* 2 tsp ground cumin
* 2 Tbsp plain yoghurt
* 1 tsp chilli powder
* 2 medium onions , finely chopped
* ¾ tin of peeled plum tomatoes
* fresh coriander , to garnish
* 1 saucepan with lid
* 1 metal or wooden spoon to stir

Step 1:
Fry onion
Add oil into a saucepan and heat on a high heat until it is very hot. Now add in the finely chopped onions and stir fry until the pieces soften and become translucent.

Step 2:
Add pastes
Then add the garlic and ginger paste and keep stir-frying for 3 minutes to prevent burning and until the mixture turns light golden.

Add all of the ground spices and keep stirring whilst continuing to fry on a high heat.

Step 3:
Add the meat
Then add the lamb and stir into the mixture; fry on a high heat for 5 minutes until the meat has fully browned.

Step 4:
Add tomatoes
Add in the tinned tomato and mash the tomatoes into the mixture with a spoon, taking care to ensure that the plum tomatoes do not remain in chunks and stir into the meat mixture.

Step 5:
Stir in yoghurt
Allow to cook uncovered for 5 minutes before adding the yoghurt. Stir this in and then cook on a high heat to bring this to the boil.

Now cover the pan with a lid simmer on a very low heat for 30 minutes. After this, take the lid off and give the mixture a stir.

Step 6:
Simmer and stir every 30 minutes
Replace the lid back on the pan and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. Repeat this for around one and half hours - and you will notice that the consistency of the mixture is a bit thicker – the meat is very tender and the colour of the sauce is redder/browner.

Serve hot (with rice), garnished with fresh coriander.

VideoJug is fantastic - check it out.

Sunday, and a busy day today.

Devi dropped over in the morning for a cup of tea. After all these years, she finally told me that one can remove the canvas from director chairs, including the piece of wood where it joins the seat, and wash them! Duh!

I went over to Klaudia's place for a really nice lunch with her family and friends.

Afterwards I returned home and had a nap.

random footy pic

Jed Adcock, round 2 (2007) at the Gabba (versus Saint Kilda)

22 December 2007

Gehry twists

Frank Gehry designed and built Gehry Tower located at Steintor, Goethestraße 13a, in Hanover, Germany. The building was commissioned by üstra (the city public transport operator) and completed in June 2001.

Frank Gehry also designed the IAC Building in New York, which was completed this year.

Definitely a twist happening there in his designs.

It was wet and windy for most of the day. After the rain cleared, with the sun out (but still windy), I finally managed to walk to the local shops, with Kane2.

Yeah, it's been a slow and do-nothing day.

21 December 2007

another useless invention 2

From Plow & Hearth
Sno-Baller® and Snow Block Maker
Remember The Simple And Exciting Fun Of Snowball Fights?
The Sno-Baller® turns out huge numbers of snowballs in seconds, so gloves stay drier and hands warmer, and you can fire away without running out — crucial in family and neighborhood snowball fights!

Snow Block Maker forms perfect-sized chunks for snow forts and walls, and also works in sand at the beach. Injection-molded high-impact plastic. Ages 5+.

Price US $8.95

I thought half the fun of snow balls was making them with your hands.

Another unnecessary and useless item.

Thank goodness the work week is over. Today was a slowish day. Most people in the office were waiting for the day to end. Sue B came back with me after work and we had a drink.

There isn't much on tv, so I'm re-watching episodes of Doctor Who, season three.

20 December 2007

whales - part 2

The Australian government has taken a firm stand against whaling, with a Special Envoy on Whale Conservation to be appointed to "convey our views to Japan".

I think we should ransom all our koalas. That'll upset the Japanese public.

Happy Thursday.

I watched Species IV (the Awakening) tonight. Meh.

Image:Species IV.jpg

19 December 2007


Food-enlightened Australians know where to find the best laksa in the town they live.

The best laksa I ever ate was from the Mindil Beach market in Darwin.

Lean cuisine ... traditional Malaysian dishes are getting a low-fat makeover.

As the coconut milk used is fattening and unhealthy, laksa is a rare but truly tasty treat. I made laksa once, but used a pre-made paste. I used low-fat coconut milk.

Reuters recently reported that in Malaysia, where laksa is part of the local cuisine (also in Singapore), they have started using soy milk. Blech!

Today was a great day at work. Our work section went out for a Christmas lunch at the Dumpling Inn for Peking Duck, and we could go home afterwards. All staff is allowed one afternoon off for the occasion per year. Woohoo!

18 December 2007


Someone out there is also very annoyed when definitely is spelt incorrectly.


17 December 2007

monkey see monkey do

This is a television advertisement for Orange from Israel.


Happy Monday.

16 December 2007

Ørestad Gymnasium

Ørestad Gymnasium was designed by Danish architect 3xn. I like the look and functionality of this building.
The Ørestad College is the latest ‘gymnasium’ (college or upper secondary school) in Copenhagen, built in the Danish capital’s development area; Ørestad. The demographic development in greater Copenhagen has resulted in a remarkable growth of the 16 – 19 year group, with Copenhagen needing 50% more study places, and this led to a decision to build a new college in Ørestad City; the new city centre for the entire Ørestad.

Ørestad College offers fields of study within science, social science and human science. The purpose of the college is to realize the latest reforms (2005) aims to strengthen and renew the students’ professional capabilities, to prepare the students better for university and to enhance the science aspect. This college has chosen a profile of media, communication and culture, and with wireless internet all over the school and with laptops for all students - hence the knick-name the Virtual College.

The brief was deliberately formulated without traditional terms for rooms, and left much to the architects’ interpretation. The proposal was therefore not so much a response to a specifically defined task as an element in the necessary development of the idea of a Danish college.

Four boomerang shaped storey decks rotate in relation to each other like the shutter of a camera. They form the superstructure; the overall framework of the college, and provide space for the college’s four study zones. Each zone is on one level, providing organisational flexibility, with the option of micro adjustment to create different spaces, learning environments and group sizes. The rotation of the storey decks projects a part of each deck into the high central hall. This part is the so called X-zone; a spatial expression of the colleges’ ambition to promote interdisciplinary expertise between study zones with physical and visual links.

The storey decks are open towards a central core, where a broad main staircase winds its way upwards to the roof terrace. The main staircase is the heart of college educational and social life; the primary connection up and down, but also a place to stay, watch and be seen. Three ‘mega columns’ form the primary load bearing system, supplemented by a number of smaller columns positioned according to structural requirement, not as part of a regular grid. As a result, each floor has few permanent elements and can be laid out and rearranged almost completely at will.

The superstructure is supplemented by a series of newly developed ‘room furniture’, which accommodate the need for the flexible and temporary room arrangements and learning environments required by varying group sizes – from one on one to an entire cohort.

The rotated decks are mirrored in the facades. Due to their rotation, the decks create openings double- and triple high while drawing lines on the façade. As a rule, the glass is smooth with the deck fronts, but on each floor, one façade is withdrawn to create an outdoor space. These outdoor spaces are connected from ground to roof. In front of the glass facades, a series of coloured semi-transparent glass louvers can open or close to protect from the sun, while adding dashes of colour to the indoor environment.

One would hope that the building is also energy efficient.

I didn't do much today. This morning I visited Klaudia who lives nearby for a coffee and a pat of Kettles. While I was there, she escaped and climbed up a very tall tree, all while it was raining. Eventually, she climbed back down. Silly kitty.

I caught a few episodes of Moonlight on the net. It's another interesting vampire- detective show. The lead actor was born in Canberra!

15 December 2007

wisdom of savage chickens

Sometimes the Savage Chickens make a lot of sense
Savage Chickens - Ten Miles
"Was a bear chasing you?" is a valid question. Nonsensical, but valid nevertheless.

Next time somebody tells me that they went running, I will ask this question.

Mary and I went to the farmers market early this morning. It was already full of people before 8am. Aside from a few loaves of bread (pumpkin, sour dough etc), I stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables. There is nothing like carrots with the green tops still attached and still dirty.

This afternoon, Emily dropped over with Turkish bread and a dip. So we watched Pan's Labyrinth.

Finally there is something interesting on tv tonight - Marco Polo telemovie.

14 December 2007

cute animal pics

They are everywhere. I don't like them.

This week at work has been very hectic and exhausting.

13 December 2007

Vandy's Australian star

ESPN has given Andrew Ogilvy, an Australian playing American college basketball for Vanderbilt University a big write up.

Meh! We can be proud of an Australian who is successful in the US, but this was much more interesting

The truth is that Ogilvy's biggest adjustments have come off the court. He's still getting his hands around the differing American accents, especially the southern twang.

"I've gotten pretty good now," he said. "At first, I was looking really hard and would try not to be rude and ask them to repeat themselves."

Of course, everybody else loves hearing his Aussie accent.

In particular, he's frequently asked to repeat the words "banana" and "zebra". Ogilvy's pronunciations of "ba-NON-a" and "ZEB-ra" are always a hit at parties.

And, no, he hasn't taken a liking to country music and says he's still not used to what he calls the "cold snaps".

His roommate, freshman guard Keegan Bell, jokes that Ogilvy has a secret weapon to fight the cold weather.

"He's got this pair of boots," said Bell, shaking his head and wearing a sheepish smile. "I don't even know what they call them. They're these huge things, kind of like those boots the girls wear, but for guys. He lugs around in them, and they come up to just below his knees. They've got cotton inside them with what looks like suede material on the outside.

"I've never seen anything like them."

They haven't asked him to say "tomato" and "water" yet...

The boots he means must be something like these

Cotton and suede? No, they are made from sheepskin and called Ugg boots.

Vanderbilt centre AJ Ogilvy scores against Austin Peay in a college basketball game in Nashville.
Vanderbilt centre AJ Ogilvy scores against Austin Peay in a college basketball game in Nashville.

Photo: Mark Humphrey

Andrew Ogilvy
Vanderbilt University
Andrew Ogilvy is the No. 2 scorer in the SEC behind teammate Shan Foster.

Such a shame he didn't stick with Australian Rules Football. He may have made a good ruck.

What a day today. I even had a job interview in the afternoon.

Emily stayed home sick today, so she didn't come around tonight for dinner.

12 December 2007


wOOt - it's Meriam-Webster's word of the year.
This year's winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t ("leet," or "elite") speak—an esoteric computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters. Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "we owned the other team"—again stemming from the gaming community.

1. wOOt (interjection)

expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay".

Today was a long day at work. Not wOOt!

11 December 2007

three dimensional street-art

Some artists have amazing spatial conceptual abilities that let them create three dimensional artistic illusions.

More - here

Happy Tuesday.

I'm starting to have visitors again. Bobby came over after work for a quick dinner. I made the roast pork belly (again - it's beginning to be regular repertoire of mine) along with roast beetroot and sweet corn, and blanched button squash and broccolini. We always have good discussions about religion.

10 December 2007

do giraffes get tired?

Giraffes only sleep for about 2 hours a day and horses, 3 hours a day.

I'm guessing that they eat the rest of the time!

Source - University of Washington

I had a doggie visitor today after I arrived home from work. Next week I will be minding a 15 year old German Shepherd (coincidentally, another Kane) as part of a home kenneling scheme while his person travels to the US for two months.

Kane seemed a lovely dog. He needs a daily injection for 'water diabetes'. I took him for a quick and short walk . His person Margie was happy to have someone take good care of him. I also gave him a treat of smoked chicken liver.

09 December 2007

Amma's hugs

Amma, whose real name is Mata Amritanandamayi has hugged about 26 million people in the world. She is known as the 'hugging saint'.

BBC correspondent Mario Cacciottolo received his hug on Friday.
Now it's my turn to experience darshan. I kneel before Amma and shuffle forwards. She flings her arms open with a delighted smile that reminds me of the infrequent occasions that I go back to see my mother.

Heart leap

Amma takes me in her arms and I melt naturally into her embrace. Everything goes black. There is noise out there, but it seems to just become an indecipherable hum. It's just calm and comfortable in my head and heart.

Her robes are beautifully fragrant, and for the rest of the day I keep getting wafts of it, distracting me momentarily from whatever I'm doing.

Amma murmurs into my ear, repeating something that sounds like "Lo, Lo, Lo." Whatever the words, they have a power.

She kisses my forehead and cheek, and finally we part. She lifts up my hands and kisses them, and that for some reason makes my heart leap.

There are beaming smiles all round. I thank her and to my surprise, as I stand, I'm a little wobbly on my feet.

Amma, incidentally, means mother. On the way home, I call mine.
Melbourne will be host in 2009 to Parliament of the World's Religions. Maybe Amma will attend and give hugs.

It's amazing how a simple gesture like a hug can change the world.

This morning I watched the first four episodes of season seven of Smallville. I found episodes on the net.

There is a new girl in town, and she's Kryptonian.

Aside from vegging out, I also did some house cleaning.

This evening, Jacki and Brian came over for dinner. I made roast beef and vegetables. I forgot to put the horseradish and hot English mustard out. This was the first time they have been to visit without being greeted by Keiser. I still miss her, and her brother Fatty. Keiser of course, loved cuddles.

08 December 2007

a guide to geeks

From Sydney Morning Herald


With the advent of online games in which players share massive virtual worlds, gamers can fend off accusations of antisocial behaviour by pointing to the incredibly gregarious avatar they've designed for Second Life.

Like a walking copy of Wired magazine, gearheads show off their latest tech acquisition before you've even heard of it. And they're willing to explain - at length - why it's already obsolete.

In Japan, "otaku" denotes someone with an obsession so fanatical - with videogames, for example - that they seldom leave their bedroom. In the West, however, it's more often a positive self-description for hardcore fans of Japanese anime and manga.

Combining enthusiasm for high-tech gadgets with a rough and dirty punk aesthetic, cyberpunk fans envision a future where we are all cyborgs - internet-enabled, prosthetically enhanced, and ready to rumble.

Cardy Rockers
From the retro-geek rock of '90s-era Weezer through to today's Brunettes, Concretes, and Shins, the easy-listening sounds of neatly dressed, baby-faced bands have become the soundtrack to a new generation of dress-alike fans.

For some, books aren't just collections of words - they're faithful companions, though each comes with its own needs and wants. If a friend fobs off your drinking plans in favour of a secret rendezvous with a new novel, you might be dealing with a librarian.

Plenty of people are smart, but only some wear their brain on their sleeve. Usually possessing prodigious knowledge on obscure and, sometimes, completely useless topics, a boffin should never - ever - be corrected on a point of fact.

Hogwarts Alumni
For a generation who've grown up with the series, the adventures of Harry, Hermione and Ron are today's answer to Luke, Leia and Han. Expect similar lifelong dedication.

Film Tragics
Some buffs take the study of favourite films, directors and movements to new levels of obsession. And like a friend with a new partner, they'll find ways to relate any conversation back to their true love - even if it's Italian slasher movies of the late '70s.

The only geeky question I have is - when did comic books become 'graphic novels'? I have no problem confessing to still reading comics.

I didn't do much today. It was one of those days.

This evening, Mary, Margaret, Jim, Leslie and I had dinner at a fish restaurant called Cape Cod. The food was great. Unfortunately, the ambiance was ruined by the presence of another diner, who is a highly ranked federal bureaucrat and a nasty piece of work.

07 December 2007

another useless invention

Are you fed up with bringing bananas to work or school only to find them bruised and squashed? Our unique, patented device allows for the safe transport and storage of individual bananas letting you enjoy perfect bananas anytime, anywhere.

The Banana Guard was specially designed to fit the vast majority of bananas. Its other features include multiple small perforations to facilitate ventilation thereby preventing premature ripening and a sturdy locking mechanism to keep the Banana Guard closed. The Banana Guard is of course dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Duh! Put the banana at the TOP of your bag! What idiocy! Banana has thick skin.

Another unnecessary and useless item.

Today was another busy day at work.

Devi came over tonight for dinner. I made preserved lemon/marmalade/soy marinated baked chicken with baked potatoes and blanched broccolini.

We also watched a scary movie called Turistas. A variation of Hostel.

Turistas (Unrated Edition)

06 December 2007

when Scots are no longer Brits

There is talk about Scotland withdrawing from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland within the next ten years.

There is an interesting article on the BBC website.

What wasn't mentioned was whether BBC in Scotland itself would become SBC?

Emily came around and I made BLT for dinner. Mine had cucumber in it.

05 December 2007


I lost an umbrella in Copenhagen once, and bought a new one in Lisbon.

The umbrella that I now prefer to use is a fold up golf umbrella I bought in October this year while visiting Brisbane. Yes, it's a Brisbane Lions one.

It looks like the one below, but is all maroon in colour.

After I got home from work today, the lady who owns the local Don't Fret Pet franchise came over with her Cairn Terrier called Mac.

Mac was cool. I've offered to be a dog minder for people who go away during the Christmas break and don't want to put their dog into a kennel.

04 December 2007

random thought

Grease was a great musical film, set in a high school
Image:Grease ver2.jpg
After Disneyfication (eliminate any resemblance of what actually happens in a high school), you get

Good innocent fun.

Not much happens on Tuesdays.

03 December 2007

Kyoto Protocol... ratified

From our ABC (3 December 2007)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has signed the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr Rudd says it is the first official act of the new Government and demonstrates the commitment to tackling climate change.

The ratification document will be sent to the United Nations and it comes into effect 90 days after that.

Mr Rudd says Australia will be a full member of the Kyoto Protocol before March next year.

The agreement means Australia's greenhouse gas emissions should not be higher than 8 per cent above 1990 levels.

Ratifying the treaty was one of Labor's major campaign promises.

The Greens say the move makes today a historic day for Australia, but comes years too late.

Mr Rudd, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Treasurer Wayne Swan are now preparing to go to Bali next week for the United Nations conference on climate change.

Climate change... it's not a myth.

This evening Emily came around (she had left her work pass last Thursday), so she helped me cook a chicken and asparagus risotto for dinner.

02 December 2007

truffle madness

From Associated Press (2 December 2007)

Giant Truffle Auctioned for $330,000

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — A Macau casino mogul bid a record $330,00 at auction Saturday to win a giant white truffle dug up in Tuscany, organizers said.

Billionaire Stanley Ho made the winning bid for the 3.3 pound truffle during an auction staged simultaneously in Florence, London and at Ho's Grand Lisboa hotel in Macau, said auction organizer Giselle Oberti.

The price bested the previous record for a truffle of $212,000, she said.

The unusually heavy truffle was dug up last week by truffle hunter Cristiano Savini, his father Luciano and dog Rocco in Palaia, a town about 25 miles from Pisa. The Savinis said Rocco started sniffing "like crazy" when he zeroed in on the fungus.

Guinness World Records lists a 2.86 pound white truffle found in Croatia in 1999 as the biggest.

Truffles usually weigh from 1 to 2.8 ounces apiece. Slivers of white truffles, with their strong aroma, are prized in Italy to flavor pasta sauces and rice dishes.

Proceeds from the auction were to go to an Italian organization that helps sufferers of genetic diseases, a group that helps street children in London and Catholic charities in Macau.

Calls to Ho weren't immediately returned late Saturday.

US$220 a gram. Like sevruga caviar, out of my price range. I use truffle oil. I hope that counts for something.

See also - Goldarths Review factfile on truffles

I spent all day napping and trying to write a job application, wasting lots of time procrastinating. As usual, I sent it in with five minutes to spare.

01 December 2007

stupid people vote

From Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader

Sometimes it is far better to admit ignorance and say "I don't know" than to incriminate oneself to stupidity.

What is scary is that these people vote. Hopefully they don't.

Budapest is a great place to visit. Unlike their former Austro-Hungarian Empire cousins in Vienna, they seem to have a lot more fun.

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I didn't do much today. I did get a sneak peak at episode 10 of Heroes online (which won't be broadcast here for sometime as the network here claimed episode nine as the finale).

It rained all day today, but I still walked to the shop with an umbrella.

Tonight, Kim, Declan and Nell came over for dinner which was roast chicken and vegetables. Good old roast chook. Such a comfort food.