It is said that a million monkeys at a million typewriters will eventually write a Shakespeare. Thanks to blogs like this, we now know this is untrue.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Went to Adelaide for a long weekend. Flew over Friday night. Took in some of Adelaide's famous Festivals on Saturday and Sunday.

Things We Saw:

'Me, Ray Charles and Sammy Davis Jr.' (If Michael Jackson did Riverdance...)

'Rash', a film/doco on the street art scene in Melbourne (yes, we flew to Adelaide to see the graffiti in Melbourne).

'Evolutionary', a semi-comic, semi-serious lecture on how life evolved from prokaryotes to Paris Hilton. Very intelligent.

'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead', fine theatre. ("What about Eternity, then? When's it gonna end?")

'Breakin' Ground', the first half was an ok hip-hop band who were pretty good if you like that sort of thing (and even okay if you don't), but the second half (billed as breakdancing') was excellent contempary dance, influenced (I guess) by hip-hop culture, but also set to lots of different music. I don't know what the kids (and the crowd was mostly aged 15 to 18) thought of the African folk music, or the Stravinsky, but the dancing was excellent.

And Eddie Perfect. Gleefully irreverent.

On the Monday we caught the tram to Glenelg. Strolled along the beach front and got it into our heads that it would be a good day for a round of Mini-Golf (or Putt-Putt, as it's sometimes known). A helpful hint for those of you who might want to play Mini-Golf in Adelaide: There is precisely one Mini-Golf course in Adelaide. It's in West Beach - a long hike from Glenelg. It'll take you over an hour and you'll probably get sunburned.

And it's closed on Mondays.

And I don't know why Adelaide has it's reputation for crime. We were there for three days, and only saw one guy being hauled off into a divvy van, and one taxi driver running down a pedestrian.*

Other stuff:

I go back to the doctor's tomorrow morning to see the results of my x-rays and blood tests. I have all of the pains that I have mentioned before, and they are looking for rheumatoid arthritis, or seronegative arthritis, or anklyospondylitis, or whatever. I secretly hope it's anklyospondylitis. It's not the best thing to have, being destructive to your joints and all, but it just sounds cool. Anklyospondylitis. Go on, say it with me: ank-ly-o-spon-dyl-i-tis. Is there a better name for a disease?

Still haven't bought a new car, but I have at least got a new housemate. I may have called the police on her first night here to stop her boyfriend trying to break in the back door, but it's all sorted now. (Well, I didn't know who he was. Nor did I know that she couldn't work the keys in the front door and sent him over the roof to get in. At three in the morning.)

I have also discovered that ohrwurm is what you call the song that gets annoyingly stuck in your head. It's from the German, and it means, literally, 'ear-worm'.

Today's Ohrwurm:
Let's Open Up a Restaurant in Sante Fe, from Rent. My Lady Friend and I saw the film the other day.

* To be fair, the taxi driver only squeezed the pedestrian gently between the front of his taxi, and the back of the taxi in front. He was okay, and the taxi driver was very apologetic. It just worried us that we had been in Adelaide for about ten minutes when this happened at the taxi rank at the airport.

The x-rays and stuff came back clear, so it's probably the seronegative arthritis, but we're off to a rheumatologist to see what he says.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


The debate over the RU486 drug has really gone a bit crazy.

Exhibit A: Danna Vale

"I've actually read in The Daily Telegraph where a certain imam from the Lakemba mosque actually said that Australia's going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years' time."

"I didn't believe him at the time, but you know when you actually look at the birth rates and when you look at the fact that we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year - and that's on a guesstimate."

"You multiply that by 50 years - that's 5 million potential Australians we won't have."

There are several problems here.

1) "I've actually read..." means "I saw somewhere that someone who sounds important* said it. So it must be true."

2) The subtle distinction being made between 'us' and 'them'. We are aborting ourselves... she cries - implying, of course, that 'they' aren't.

3) 100,000 abortions every year. Is that really the expected figure for the next fifty years? Or are we just fear-mongering?

4) Even if it were true, what's the big deal? Why would more Muslims be a bad thing? What exactly are you saying about Islam, Danna?

5) And this one's not entirely on the topic, but weren't there race riots in Danna Vale's electorate barely two months ago?

Exhibit B: Jackie Kelly

"Ms Jackie Kelly said the lack of babies for adoption in Australia was leading to "a trade in babies" from overseas.

She said the West was "plundering" the developing world for children. This led to social problems in the countries from which the children were removed.

"You create a trade in babies which leads to some tragic decisions for a woman overseas," Ms Kelly said.

"You've got an option of selling a kid sort of on the sly to support your own children".

The West had to look to itself to solve its problems, she said.

The West has to look to itself to solve its problems. Exactly. We shouldn't have to plunder the third world for unwanted children. We could make our own home-grown unwanted children right here. We should be stimulating our own economy in 'baby trading'. And why stop there? If we produce enough unwanted babies, we could start exporting them ourselves.

When you remember that this debate is about whether a government minister should determine if a drug is safe, or whether it should be left to an expert committee, the whole thing becomes more and more bizarre.

* No insult intended to the imam of Lakemba mosque, Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman (no puns please). If Sheikh Shady happens to be reading this, please be aware that I'm sure you are a wise person, and that your statements could easily have been made in a proper and commonsensical context. I am aware that I don't actually know what that context was. The point is, I bet Danna doesn't know either.

The song that got annoyingly stuck in my head today:
An old 'Play School' tune that goes:
Put a spot over here,
and a spot over there.
Put a spot in your ear,
and a spot in your hair...

Friday, February 03, 2006

5 weird things

Alright, I got tagged ages ago, so here it is...

The rules are: The first player of the game starts with the topic, "5 weird habits about yourself". And people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits, as well as state this rule clearly. In the end you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged, and link to their web-journals. Don't forget to leave a comment in their blog/journal that says "you have been tagged" and tell them to read yours.

5 things...

1) I once received a three-monthly phone bill for $4,969 and zero cents. I have also kept the pages and pages of correspondance between me, the phone company, and the telecommunications ombudsman - who determined that the phone company behaved badly in allowing the debt to accumulate so highly before sending me a bill, thereby absolving me from paying for the 'premium' calls (largely to psychic hotlines) that were made over those three months. I have not kept in touch with the ex-housemate that made those calls.

2) I make sound effects to everyday actions, just to liven them up every now and then. I will reach for something and say "Yoink!" when I've grabbed it. I will make creaky-hinge noises as I come through a door, and glug-glug-glug noises while pouring a drink.

3) I have fire-walked.

4) During high school, I decided to memorise pi to 50 decimal places, just to see if I could do it. Then I went and accidentally remembered 55. I can still remember the first twenty (3.14159 26535 89793 43846), and the ones from 46 to 55 (37510 58209). What the middle 25 digits are I've got no idea (except that only one of them was a zero, and that zero was preceded by a five and followed by a two).

5) Sometimes incredibly useless information gets stuck in my head and is easily recalled (like pi, above), but if you asked me on Wednesday what I did on the weekend, I'd have to stop and think really hard before I remembered what I'd actually done. It drives my Lady Friend nuts.

I wasn't going to tag anyone, but then I remembered that some people don't blog enough and need a good kick up the jacksie bit of inspiration. So: My Brother, my Sister-in-Law, Jellyfish, TX Alexis, and, oh, that'll do.

6) Sometimes I break the rules just for the hell of it.

The song that got annoyingly stuck in my head today:
The ovalteenies ad jingle.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Possibly the most ridiculous blogquiz ever

You are

Gosh. And only yesterday I was 'spank me pink'.

Happy New Year

Well, I could have sworn that I blogged something last week. No? It really was the 29th? Oh.

So, what's happened since then?

New Year's Eve

My Lady Friend and I went to a rather nifty little Japanese restaurant that's opened up around the corner. Free sake from 9 onwards - not served in glasses, but in these cute little lacquered wooden boxes which are quite tricky to drink from. Then we strolled down to the Yarra and watched the fireworks. Then experienced the wind shift to a northerly as we walked home through the Fitzroy Gardens. According to the paper, the city's temperature reached a mini-high of thirty-something oC at about 12.30am on New Year's Day, which didn't surprise us in the least.

My Car

It died. Snapped a camshaft on the Eastern Freeway. It has travelled it's last kilometre and gone to the great garage in the sky.

(Well, it's waiting for a wrecker to take it and crush it into a cube, but you get the drift.)

Vale Nuffi.

My Housemate

Or more to the point, my lack of housemate. Still no-one in the front room. But I'm talking to people (via email), so I should get someone in soon.


Heaps of people were there - go see MrLefty or Agent Fare Evader or Governor-General Terry for more details of that night.


I turned 30 last week. It doesn't actually bother me at all, which is strange, since I normally have a semi-crisis on my birthday that says I should have done more with my life by now and why have I wasted so much time? (For example, by the time Jimi Hendrix was my age, he'd been dead for three years.) This year, not so much. I think this is because I've finally strung together a couple of good years, so I'm happy with what I'm doing and where I'm going - despite a certain friend buying me a sympathy card instead of a birthday card. (You. Yes, you. You know who you are, and it's not that long till you're 30 too. You'll get what's coming to you, my friend, just you wait. Just. You. Wait.)

I also had dinner with family to celebrate the occasion. Post on the dinner from hell coming soon.

The song that got annoyingly stuck in my head today:
Eyes of the World, (Neil and Tim Finn).

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Science, the old-school way.

Occasionally, part of my job requires me to read through a scientific journal, work out what the hell they're on about, and then replicate that in our own lab.

Today was such a day.

This paper describes how oxygen gets redissolved in 'flat' water at different rates depending on the wind speed. There's not much work done in this field - why would you remove oxygen from water in order to put it back in naturally? As it turns out, we have a useful application for it, and I need to understand this particular journal article, because there aren't any others. Do not let the fact that this paper was written in 1955 bother you at all.

What does bother me is some of the short-cuts and assumptions they've used. I was becoming more worried as I read, and evidently they knew they were being a bit dodgy when they included this line:

There is, of course, a great deal of uncertainty in this finding, and the agreement may be entirely fortuitous.

For the non-technical out there, I'll translate:

We don't know where these numbers really come from, and the fact that it works is probably just dumb luck.

Ah, the good old days. You just can't do that sort of thing any more.

The song that got annoyingly stuck in my head today:
I Get A Kick Out Of You

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More Tales from Foreign Lands

I saw the Grand Canyon with my brother and sister-in-law on my recent trip. On the way back from there to Phoenix, we took the scenic route, via Sedona and Jerome. Jerome was quite nice, although its main attraction was that it was a ghost town, and now that they've got a thriving tourist industry, it's no longer a ghost town, which means it's no longer really a tourist destination (which, of course, will turn it back into a ghost town, which will make it a tourist attraction, which will destroy the attraction for tourists, which...)

Sedona was a resort town not far away, with plenty of the weird and alien rock formations that used to appear in Roadrunner cartoons. Toffee apples were common in some shops (it was close to halloween) but I was quite stunned at the variety of flavours that toffee apples can apparently be. Here's a sample we saw in one shop window:

Peanut Toffee Apple
Macadamia Toffee Apple
Walnut Toffee Apple
Cashew Toffee Apple
Pecan Toffee Apple
Candy Toffee Apple
Choc Peanut Toffee Apple
Caramel Toffee Apple
Mudslide Toffee Apple
Rocky Road Toffee Apple
English Toffee Toffee Apple
Choc Chip Toffee Apple
Oreo Toffee Apple
M & M Toffee Apple
Apple Pie Toffee Apple
Snowball Toffee Apple
Cheesecake Toffee Apple

The song that got annoyingly stuck in my head today:
Pineapple Head, as sung by Natalie Imbruglia on an otherwise awesome album my lady friend got me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Tall Tales but True

Another observation from my recent Great North American Odyssey of 2005:

Whilst perusing maps of Canada, I came across an unusually named town south-west of Calgary.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

Yes. You read that right. Hyphens and all.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

I really wish I'd gone there. It's World Heritage listed and everything.

The song that got stuck in my head today:
Common People. The William Shatner version.