31 March 2006
The best of the web, fresh every Friday (it always comes around so fast)
As I'm now spending alot of time surfing blogs on BlogMad, here's some of the most amusing stuff I've come across this week:
A message to the cats and dogs - very cute.
If you have problems picking what to wear to work, spare a thought for this person (I'm not sure if they are male or female, and it probably doesn't matter)
From Antoine Khater: A few chuckles
The Laws of the Universe
There's some great pics here at Laughing Machine
Scott Adams rarely gets it as wrong as he does here, saying that complainers rarely mate with other complainers. As someone who likes to engage in a fun spat of "No, I had the Worst Day Ever!" with a partner, I can say that this isn't exactly true.
I've featured him in the follies before, but I have to do it again. Like so much else he writes, Bugs Butt's post about his new watch had tears of laughter running down my face.
Since ask Jeeves has been scrapped, read this interview from his glory days (keep an eye out for an amusing reference to a former Australian politician!)
The Onion horoscopes are always good for a giggle.
Well, that's it for another week. Avagood weekend (you will if you stay away from Aerogard - it's worse than the mozzies!
I knew I was attached to my routines (well, actually just the one routine, that is my life) but didn't realise until this morning that it was to such a ridiculous extent...
The bus to work broke down about 2km away from the office. Figuring that I'd have trouble getting on another one, as they're very crowded along that stretch of road, I phoned one of the guys at the office and got them to pick me up. They were along shortly, and I arrived on time.
But...that was slight deviation from the usual, i.e. not getting off the bus at the stop near the office, has unsettled me to the extent that by not having started the day in the normal way, the entire rest of the day doesn't feel right.
Yes, I am incredibly attached to my routine, I'm sure it must be a form of OCD, and maybe I should seek help about it. But...I've lived such a chaotic life, the fact that things are so regulated and ordered now - an order I have imposed upon myself - means all is well. After all, if the ancient Chinese curse goes "May you live in interesting times", then the nicest thing anyone could wish on me is, "I hope things will be very ordinary for you".
Daylight saving finally ends this weekend, and not a moment too soon (actually, many weeks too late). This morning it was so dark, I still needed the lights on in my house until I left at 7:45am. Nuts to that. At least, as of Monday, I won't have to get up in the dark anymore. Well, that's one of my torments over. One down, two to go... (You always know things are getting bad when I start pulling out my eyebrows. They end up almost absent altogether, but I can't help myself).
Friday Follies on the way soon!
29 March 2006
Okay, we've all seen those email lists with the signs to watch out for. The one that seems especially apt to me is:
To which I would add:
When I was a young Goth (I don't think I was ever a Baby Goth really, though some may disagree) I used to suffer from terrible shopping envy. There were so many cool things in the shops I wanted, and as an instant-noodle-eating, op-shop-dressing student, I couldn't afford any of them. Fast forward all these years, and I can afford to buy most things I want. Well, on Saturday, wandering through the shops in Newcastle, what I wanted was the Emily the Strange flight bag I saw in Hot Property, you can see why...
So I bought it. (It cost a lot less than between $200 and $300, by the way). And I'm glad I did. It's roomy, it's covered in velvet, it's...too young for me! What am I doing with something from Emily the Strange? I don't understand what it is, only to gather that I'm at least five years too old for the whole thing. Even the Emily the Strange website looks confusing to my aged eyes. I'm an administrative professional, I feel like I'm nearly forty most of the time, and no matter how I dress in my spare time, I spend most of my time crunching numbers at a workstation, crunching numbers, wearing a suit with my hair tied up...
It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately - have I sold out? Okay, that phrase is taking it all rather too seriously. But I've drifted so far away from my youthful dreams and ideals. How did a lefty, arty type who was determined to be a writer, end up like this? Okay, I took this job initially because it was the best thing on offer at the time; I never intended it to last, but I did, and now I worry about my career path and superannuation and getting into the property market, and what worries me is that it doesn't really bother me. I don't despair about my life, I'm quite content with it (I guess the mid-life crisis is still a little way away!). Have I grown up, or have I given up? Does this happen to everybody at this age or is it just me? Surely not; whilst my impression at twenty may have been that all Goths ended up being DJs, or running cool shops, or writing for street mags (HINT: if you're 26 and don't want to be reminded of your advanced years, do not read 3D World; you will feel so out of touch, you'll need to go buy shoes with zippers), logically that's not the case; many must forge corporate careers. Hmn. I think I might go looking for them.
Lastly, I've started a map on Frappr, and when I've got a few people on it, I'll put the map up here! So if you'd like to be my friend (Please? Please?) send me a message. You will need to sign up if you haven't already, but there is a blogmad group! Also, I'm adding a few blogs to my "Blogs of REAL note" list, so please go check them out...
EDIT: Firefox users have reported that my left-content background colour wasn't showing for them (so that all posts appeared as black on dark purple). So I've changed the background colour slightly. Please let me know if this works!
27 March 2006
Well, it's now been a few weeks since I did my major template overhaul. And the reactions have been...mixed. Whilst some people say that they like the new clean look of the blog, others feel that it's lost its character, and a few people have said that the links in the drop down menus don't work for them.
So...although I'm quite happy with the blog as it is now, I've saved my old template, and will re-instate it if enough people think I should. Leave any and all opinions about whether the blog should keep it's new look or go back to the old one in the comments, and I'll make a decision (if one needs to be made!) in the next few days...
I'm of two minds about Blog Mad. Whilst it's been - by far - the best referral service I've ever used, sending my visitor stats into the stratosphere, I really don't know how many of those people actually properly look at the blogs, or if they are just surfing at random to get their own credits up. For myself, I do try to actually read the blogs I come across whilst surfing at random, but then I find myself seeing a few of the same blogs over and over (not to mention, it can be nearly impossible to go back to the blogs you like, once you've clicked on the numbers to get the credit). Also, if you let that all important number of credits fall, you no longer recieve referrals to your own blog. Basically I'm pretty happy with it - but it's early days and and I'll see if the increased visitor numbers translate into regular readers. If you did find this through Blog Mad, do say hello!
24 March 2006
(Why do I always hear the theme music from the Muppet Show in my head as I type those words?)
BBC news says Goths may be in fact upwardly gothic...
Unlike this abandoned blog, I've followed through on my blog promises.
Suspicious of all "sporting personalities" who "write books"? Well, you should be.
It's such a guilty blogging pleasure...The Kip's list is most amusing, though I disagree with almost everything he says.
From the Onion: I'm terrified of the day when a cow-orker accidentally stumbles across my blog, but this is worse. Also, why can't this happen to me? (HINT)
Ever been head hunted? This way would be preferable.
You know this day will come
Actually, it's not just these ones, all obits are weird (I hope I don't die at work. Then my obituary would read "She died doing what she hated").
Well, that's it for another week. If you've got a few seconds (and assuming you liked this), you could vote for this blog on BlogMad. I'm ranking really low and I don't know why...what is wrong with everyone?!?
23 March 2006
but when I need you, Blogger, you're never there!
See you tomorrow for the Follies!
21 March 2006
Well, the superlatives are already being bandied about..."worse than Cyclone Tracy", "the most ferocious storm in decades"...but I suppose that if you were directly affected, all that matters is how you saw it...Cyclone Larry, which battered far north Queensland yesterday (Australian time).
Rather than publishing many different links, for the latest news, as ever ABC news is the best source...here you will find updates, photogalleries and videos.
To give some idea of the damage the cyclone caused...
A lamp post bent over by the storm
Damage along a roadside in Innisfail
Although it was a category five storm, the same strength as Hurricane Katrina, miraculously no one was seriously injured or killed. It has already been pointed out that comparisons cannot really be drawn with Katrina; Cyclone Larry hit a sparsely populated area which has a well known history of cyclones; buildings are constructed to withstand storms and residents are well versed in evacuation procedures. Also, there was little post-storm flooding.
It remains to be seen whether comparisons to the government's bungling of the post-storm response prove more apt. John Howard is due to visit the affected areas today, a time when sweeping announcements of aid are traditionally announced. It will certainly be needed - currently it's not known how many people have been left homeless, as reports of damage from outlying areas are still coming through, but the figure is at least in the hundreds. Also, some 4000 local jobs have been lost, which would be bad enough anywhere, but this is the majority of the people employed in the affected area! There's hundreds of millions dollars of property damage, and some reports say up to 90% of Australia's banana and 95% of the avocado crops have been destroyed.
In the medium to long term, there's something else which the government should look at...I don't often find myself agreeing with Alan Jones, but I did this morning when he stated that the Australian government needs to institute a disaster management fund. After all, it isn't like natural disasters are uncommon events in Australia, with flooding, bushfires, drought, and my own earthquake-prone home town. With such a massive budget surplus, the government could easily kick off such a fund with, say, $10 million, and then contribute a further few million from each annual budget.
Unfortunately, no one ever seems to ask me about any of this. Meanwhile if you know of a link or site for making donations, please leave it in the comments...
20 March 2006
No, actually what I mean is - can I pay for this?
Blogger is free, and doesn't have a paid or premium option. But I'd gladly pay a reasonable monthly fee, in order to have some tech support - or at least, to not have the publishing problems everyone on Blogger is suffering lately. Friday afternoon was a classic example - no blogs would publish, and there was no word on what the problem was and when it would be fixed (this is why I couldn't publish the Follies). If it wasn't for the Blogger help group I think I'd go spare - deprived of any official support, all the bloggers function as support for each other (I've even been able to offer some advice of my own...I hope I haven't killed anyone's template!)
When will daylight savings time be over? I don't care if there are good reasons for it, they sound a bit shifty to me. I hate having to get up when it's dark, it isn't right. Anyway, how much power is really being saved, since when I get up I have to turn on the lights instead of just opening the curtains?
Or maybe it's just that I don't want to have to get up for work. I may have a break for the next little while though. Once again, I have been called for jury duty. Although I was called up late last year, I wasn't called in to serve. If I'm not actually required at court tomorrow - I have to phone a hotline later on to find out - then I could be called again at anytime for the next six months. So I'm hoping I do actually have to serve tomorrow, just to get this rigmarole over with!
17 March 2006
(NOTE: This should, of course, have been posted on Friday afternoon. But Blogger was having an outage at the time, then I had template problems, and I won't bore you with the details, but it's now Monday morning, so here is a rather slimmed-down, belated Follies. We'll do better this week!)
This week's Follies is dedicated to those saintly souls, the bloggers. And our picks for this week...
Bugs Butt is king of the bullet points, and damn funny too.
People Are Idiots...and you wouldn't believe their Bushit.
Proving that writing can be tough, Scott Adams gets it right again.
Remember Tim, the skinny leftie who almost won Big Brother '05? Here he takes on Stan Zemanek.
16 March 2006
(WARNING: This post contains grossly un-PC content which will probably be offensive to anyone with any taste. Come back tomorrow)
Last night when I was watching the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony (only whilst skipping between channels) I entertained myself with an evil little fantasy. As each team entered the stadium, via the ramp, I noticed the wheelchair athletes were being wheeled in at the front of the group (see photo).
Anyway...I wondered what would happen if one of the team officials pushing a wheelchair lost their grip, sending chair and althlete hurtling down the ramp into the team in front.
Well, for a start you would hear the loudest cry of "OH SHIT!" in the history of humanity.
If there's a hell...
15 March 2006
Well, the Pod has been running for a very long time now. There's been over 400 posts, and over 12,000 visitors in that time. It's been great fun, but lately I've realised that I have a problem: I am running out of things to say.
There are of course blogs which have been going for more than five years, and I wonder - how do they do it? Of course, it helps if your blog has a theme, like Omni's great blog on the theories of the universe, or the political diary of Senator Andrew Bartlett, or a photo journal like Sydney Photo.
But I just crap on about myself, post after post, month after month...and now edging into year after year. Since my life doesn't change very much, exciting events being few and far between, this means that - as happens in Cosmopolitan, where the same basic articles are repeated year in, year out, with slightly different titles - there seems to be a set of posts which I repeat, with slight variations, over and over.
In fact, I've been thinking, I could save some time by devising a random post generator...I'd just need to pick a theme, and bingo, a fresh post! The themes would be as follows:
Do you see how this would work? In fact, if I can patent the thing, I bet I could make a fortune (no stealing my idea! You saw it here first!!!). Of course, I could just try to be more interesting, but that sounds like way too much work...
13 March 2006
Well, on Friday evening Boof, Funky and myself finally did the whole "dress up and go out to dinner" thing that was purely an excuse for me to wear the so-unlike-me outfit which they pressured me into buying in the first place. We made a dinner reservation at Mangrove Jacks, one of the new restaurants in the "marina precinct", and after several hours with the polyfilla, I had my make up done. It had been so long since I actually put on any make-up that I followed a magazine's make-up guide, for the first time in over ten years (it was the "femme face" from the March Marie Claire, for those of you playing at home), and I think the results turned out rather well.
But then came the moment of truth...putting the dress on. I don't remember it being so low-cut when I bought it! So low cut in fact, that I couldn't even wear a stick on bra. Honestly, I've been engaged to guys who've seen less of my clevage than what I displayed to all and sundry on Friday evening. Couple that with the shoes, which left me barely able to walk, and it took all of Boof and Funky's flattery/persuasion when they arrived to pick me up, just to get me out the door. But despite Boof getting RBT'd on the way to the restaurant, we made it there without my being arrested for indecent exposure, and you can see the results for yourself...
The "dramatic shot" on the stairs.
I'm desperatley clutching the stair rail so I don't fall off my shoes and break my neck.
"Young lady, you are not leaving the house dressed like that!"
It helped me no end that when we arrived, the restaurant was practically empty - at 8pm on a Friday night; I think that they need a much better marketing plan. We all ordered the lamb with prawns, and as Boof dosen't eat seafood, that was more prawns for us. I did make something of a faux pas by ordering a Wolf Creek chardonnay (I meant to say Wolf Blass, whoopsie) but I don't think the waiter noticed, even though the guys were nearly wetting themselves. Unfortunatley, although my food was fine, their lamb dishes were both underdone, and as they were too timid to send them back, I felt obligated to give some of my lamb to Boof (who complained more than Funky. Alot more).
Anyway, we had a good time, and agreed we must make the dinner out a regular thing, though I doubt that we'll be returning to that place again. Afterwords, despite my fears, there wasn't even any mention that we'd be going on to a nightclub - after all, the guys are nearly 30 too. We even skipped dessert at Cold Rock, because when we drove past, the place was packed with the under-21 crowd and we really didn't feel like queuing up with them. No, Funky and Boof went home to curl up in front of the TV with Lilly, I went home to curl up with Xander, and that's the way we like it. (And before you say "oh, god that sounds boring", let me tell you - the subjects of insurance, mortgages, real estate and superannuation did not come up during dinner at all!)
Oh, in case you're wondering - there are also photos of Boof and Funky, I'm not a complete ego-maniac. However, they have consistently refused to let me post photos of themselves here, for their own reasons, and I have to respect that - even if some people suspect that they're just characters I made up, who don't actually exist.
10 March 2006
Holding the belief that anyone who's made it through to Friday deserves a laugh, I'm introducing a new regular feature...every Friday (well, almost every Friday) Xander and Nico will bring you a collection of the best and funniest links of the week.
Enjoy our premiere selection.
From The Onion:
'Iraqi Ghandi' preaches slightly less violence
From The Chaser:
Bert's Family Feud re-ignites euthanasia debate
For the best in travel guides, check out Jetlag Travel (the senior's travel guide is especially apt)
See Uncyclopedia entries for Live Journal, Bloggers and their parody of myspace (which is, layout aside, actually pretty much indistinguishable from a real myspace)
There'd be more links, but I don't want to overdo it for a first time (I bet most of the ones I've got don't get followed anyway, she mutters).
Here's how fuzzy work is making my brain: Boof rang through on my office number, and I didn't recognise his voice at first (we've only been best friends since we were fourteen years old. Let's say we've spoken on the phone twice a week since then - obviously an underestimate - that would be 1200 phone calls).
Anyway, he was calling to organise our dinner outing tonight. It's not enough that himself and Funky made me buy a sexy dress and shoes, now we have to go somewhere so that I will actually wear them. So I'll be eschewing my normal office hag look (hair pinned up, sensible shirt and skirt, no make-up, glasses) to get all dolled up for the titillation of two guys who seem to see me as their own life-size fashion doll. (And that's all the titillation there will be...I am most certainly not going to a night club after dinner. I'll be going home to watch Red Dwarf in my pajamas, like a sensible prematurely middle aged woman). Hopefully, there will be some photos posted to mark the occasion. My years of looking youthful and attractive (did I ever?) are running short...
08 March 2006
Well, as I've been saying, the time has come to give my blog a whole new look. It was a hard decision to make; I've had the exact same blog template since I started here on blogger, oh-so-long-ago. I knew exactly nothing about HTML back then, and by the time I'd learnt enough HTML to make a few changes, my blog had been the same for so long I thought, even if it looks rather boring, and messy, that's this blog's look! (Well, I did study marketing at uni, so I know something about branding - and not the cool, body mod kind of branding. The product identity kind).
But now, after more than two years and 400 posts, I've bitten the bullet and given the pod a total revamp. For better or for worse, here it is (I'm particularly fond of the drop down menus. And you'd better appreciate them, because they took a long time to make). There's still a few tweeks here and there I want to make to get everything "just so" - actually, my whole life seems to revolve around making everything just so - but basically, welcome to the new look pod. (Man, is Blogger alot of work. Maybe I should have stuck with Live Journal).
06 March 2006
You be the judge...
I'll be doing my major blog overhaul this week, as well as adding lots more photos to the gallery. But since I missed work on Friday I've got so much to catch up on (you'd think someone could have done some of it for me, I do for them when they are away) so it might take a little while. Eek, I'm nervous! I hate change!
02 March 2006
Ten years. Ten long years of the Howard Government. Un-flippin-believable. As for the man himself, Howard says it's just another day in office. I think that may be the saddest thing of all. I remember watching the election night coverage on March 2 1996. I didn't vote that day; I was still only 16 (and that annoyed me. I understood and cared about the whole process, which is more than a lot of voting-age people do. The voting age should be lowered to 16, and compulsory voting should be scrapped) but I was concerned and upset. I didn't like the Liberals, I didn't like what they stood for and all I knew was Labor government, which seemed pretty good - why change it? That night I wrote about in my diary how much I regretted the whole thing.
But I think the turning point came for me a few months later, in a conversation with my mother. She was discussing how annoyed she was that the local Medicare office had closed, and of the creation of Centrelink; I reflected on cuts to the ABC, the massive job losses in the Canberra public service, and the grief that all of this was causing ordinary Australians and I said to my mother "You know, it seems like since the Liberals were elected, things are worse than they've ever been."
Of course, that was in 1997. No one could have forseen the events of the next few years, or that all these years later, Howard would still be in power. I had no idea how bad things were going to get. The first election I voted in was the 1998 "GST election". Optimistic, I handed out how-to-vote cards for Labor - something I've done ever since, even though around here they are all safe Labor seats, because I feel that I have to do something. But the Liberals won again. Still, I wasn't especially disillusioned - as I said, no one knew how things were going to turn out. It's not as though John Howard made his election night victory speech and said, "Oh, and by the way, we're going to be in power forever" (though I bet he wanted to!)
Some people did see what was coming - it was at this time that Powderfinger released their great, politically-influenced album Internationalist, the best-known track of which is about the rise of the Howard government and the right-wing in Australia. It certainly does feel like forever - all of my adult life. But the people I feel sorry for are those born after about 1984 - who cannot remember anything other than a Liberal government (alright, they most likely remember a time when Paul Keating was prime minister, but when you're 11, politics doesn't have make a significant blip on your radar, unless your a complete geek like me. I remember being twelve years old, listening to news radio one summer evening, then running to tell my father and his friends, "Paul Keating has defeated Bob Hawke! He's Prime Minister now!").
Anyway, they must think that Australia was always this way, this...I hate to say it...heartless and materialistic. That's not just my opinion - Australia is a meaner nation after ten years of the Howard government. And it is depressing. Although they disagree with the government on issues such as the environment, Australians keep voting for them - because they do a good job managing the economy! Australia is a meaner place - people's main concern is not doing good things, the right thing - but their own bank balances. I cannot imagine what would cause a change in this attitude. It's hard to imagine a change of government soon, certainly not given the sorry state of Labor in recent years, which has played a major role in ensuring the Howard prevalence.
You can see reflections of the US - the parallels between the Democrats/Labor and the Republicans/Liberals are uncanny. Anyway. There's been so much written about this anniversary. Opinion runs the gamut from the ever-excorable Piers Akerman to the correct-although-self righteous Phillip Adams. But I'm eager to read what you all have to say.
At least there's one happy, if rather confused, political observer out there...
01 March 2006
Looking back over the meager proportion of 2006 which has passed so far - which is an even more futile exercise than you'd think, because two months at my age feels like it goes past the way four days did when I was 19 - I have to admit that this year doesn't seem to be going very well. It's not that anything terrible has happened, but nothing very good has happened either. Most of the plans I've made for better things have fallen through, and I must admit I'm starting to get...well, I wouldn't say depressed exactly, I'm not depressed, but weighed down, worn out, slightly heartsick - yes. It's just the grind of work and day to day life, which is never relieved by anything fun or exciting. It's turning me into Chandler, from the early days of Friends, such as on Tuesday morning when I thought to myself, "Well, it's raining, and I'm standing on an overcrowded bus, on my way to an another exhausting day at the office. Does it get better than this?"
Normally, I'd think about going away for the weekend or something to break the tedium and pull myself out of this slump, but I can't right now, because although it's not much more than a pie in the atmospheric layer idea at the moment, I want to go to the UK and Ireland later this year, and I must save money. So obviously there are good things in store for 2006, and a bad beginning is not necessarily a portentous omen for the whole year. In fact, a bad beginning can be no indication whatsoever of the future success of anything. Consider thse examples:
Of course, the opposite can hold true as well - just look at Mark Latham (but I'll save my politcal thoughts for tomorrow's inevitable rant on ten years of the Howard governemnt). Nonetheless, I have high hopes that the year will get better - summer is over after all, and now all the world shares my twisted passion for Dick Cheney (actually, I'm getting sick of all these Cheney-come-latelies. I've always been a true believer!)
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