Thursday, November 01, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Last night I was bored. To be clear I don't really get bored. It was once said of me that if I were to be locked in a rubber white room for 10 years I'd come out a little hairier but otherwise much the same. I chose to take it as a compliment. A testament to my ability to keep myself occupied and amused with nothing but my brain.
Regardless of this, I had nothing to do. I was kind of tired and my brain came up with an activity that required little actual work on it's behalf. It suggested Scouta.
I don't hop onto Scouta as often as I should which is a shame. Scouta is a recommendation engine for online media which personalizes it's recommendations to by observing your viewing behavior. It was started by our very own Internet deity Richard Giles who I am sure will correct my definition in comments [Hi Rich :)].
The basic upshot of this is that rather having to scour the Internet for good stuff, it comes straight to you. It's very good at it. Last night I was complaining that it had never shown me anything I didn't like. Ha! Is that a bad thing?! Wake up man.
Anyway, I was watching this awesome video featuring Guy Kawasaki chairing a panel of some of the webs biggest success stories. I was about 45 minutes into the 1 hour video and then suddenly I was waking up. I had fallen asleep in that achingly familiar and yet still quite painful position of sitting in a chair with your chin on your chest.
The previous paragraph sounds like the video put me to sleep. To be clear, the video was really good, I was just that tired.
Time for bed, I told myself. All the kids are asleep, the dog is in, the cat is in (See I pay attention to those Channel 10 ads), and I'm obviously tired. In my sleep-addled state I struggled with the bedroom door for about 15 minutes before realizing that my wife had locked it. This is likely to prevent her suffocating in her sleep under the pile of children that like to sleep on top of her. I got into the room and beheld the glory that is my bed.
My bed is big. It isn't huge, it isn't palatial, it's just big. This is good because I am a big guy. I appreciate my bed. Not just because it is big, but because I don't sleep in it very often. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, the pile of aforementioned children makes it incredibly uncomfortable. They are very snuggly, just not with me, which means I get faced with a bed full of kicking feet.
Secondly, I snore. Apparently I don't just snore, I make a noise that sounds like a herd of sheep being sucked through a Boeing engine (what a great visual). As my wife is a light sleeper and I am an Olympic gold-medalist sleeper I tend to allow her a good nights sleep most of the time by sleeping on a fold-out at the other end of the house. That is, she gets the best nights sleep one can get under a pile of children.
But tonight I wanted my bed. As I said I love the bed. It came to us from my mother-in-laws house where my sister-in-law used to sleep on it. Before that the beds origins are lost in the mysteries of time. It could be that it spent 14 decades travelling through Europe as part of a circus troupe, entertaining the mighty and meek alike with it's death-defying antics once catching the eye of a beautiful czarina and being chased out of Russia across three continents before finally finding a hiding place here in Perth. It might have just sat a shop waiting to be bought. I choose to believe the former. It gives the bed character and makes life more interesting.
So anyway, I climbed into this wondrous bed and settled in to sleep. After a few moments I heard a weird a grating noise. That's weird I thought to myself. It was a softish sort of noise and I thought that maybe my wife was snoring. As I'm a heavy snorer I had no real right to complain. I closed my eyes and decided I could live with it.
A few seconds later I heard it again. It didn't sound like someone snoring anymore. It sounded like metal being dragged through wood. I had a few seconds to contemplate this and then the scream occurred.
It wasn't a particularly blood-curdling scream. It shouldn't have had the heart-wrenching effect that it did even if it was coming from the woman I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with. The reason it affected me so badly is because I was also falling the 3 and a 1/2 foot to the ground that she was.
After spending several seconds checking to ensure that I was still alive, that my wife was still alive, that our house hadn't been magically transported to some demon dimension of agonizing shock and pain, I got up and switched on the light to determine what had happened. It turns out that the weird noise I was hearing was actually the sound of the end of the bed shearing off.
Apparently 5 years of worrying that the door was going to burst open revealing an angry Russian monarch accompanied by an armada of woodcutters had left the bed in no position to take my weight.
At least that is my daughters theory. I think it has more to do with a pile of crazed children jumping on it frequently but she's five and knows everything so who am I to argue.
And that is my tale. Anyone else ever had furniture collapse on them? Or been woken by a blood-curdling scream? Let me know.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
470 years ago - The first English-language Bible was printed.
212 years ago - Napolean Bonaparte first rises to national prominence with a "Whiff of Grapeshot" (this one is just for Cameron Reilly)
124 years ago - The Orient Express ran for the first time.
76 years ago - Dick Tracy first appeared.
57 years ago - Snoopy made his debut appearance.
50 years ago - The Russian Empire first chucked a beeping dustbin named Sputnik 1 into orbit.
In response to this the American nation launched their own trash in the form of a TV show called Leave it to Beaver.
22 years ago - The Free Software Foundation was founded.
And 2 years ago - my son was born. Happy Birthday Will. I love you heaps.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Today I got to meet Kevin J. Anderson, who has authored a fair count of books on my bookshelf from Star Wars, to Dune, to his own unique series. He was in Perth for a book signing with his wife Rebecca Moesta, also a writer, and it happened that the store they were at is across the road from where I work.
These guys are some of the nicest people you would ever have the chance to meet. They chatted amicably with their fans, even keeping the kids occupied while I snaffled some books, and signed everything people threw at them. One guy got Kevin to sign his PDA with the stylus!
We were invited to go for a drink afterwards but the kids have been ill and were getting a little cranky so we took this quick photo and said our goodbyes.
When we got home we were shocked to discover that Robert Jordan, author of The Wheel of Time series passed away today. Jordan, born James Oliver Rigney Jr, had been ill for some time, at least since his announcement in Locus Magazine that he had been diagnosed with amyloidosis, early in 2006.
I don't have the words to eloquently express my sympathy for Robert Jordan's wife and family. He will be sorely missed both by those who knew him personally and the millions of others he had touched through his writing.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
I was eating my lunch at Subway in the city. They have a few tables inside but most are outside in an area cordoned off and labelled appropriately for use by "Subway Patrons Only". They pay for the space so they want to make sure it is benefiting those who support them by purchasing their goods. Fair enough.
And fair enough to the purveyor of Japanese sustenance next door who has a similar set up.
As I sat inhaling a foot-long meatball sub and quietly cursed the crazy old lady who had just fed the pidgeons practically under my feet I saw two handicapped guys ride up on those miniature golf cart thingies they sometimes have. I'm not going to guess at how they were handicapped and if handicapped isn't the PC term then I apologise. That isn't really the point of the story.
With some difficulty they managed to get out of the golf carts and make it through the Subway sandwitch factory until finally they were standing outside, eachwith a sizeable sub in their hands. Cleaning those miniature golf carts must be a major pain and so presumably to prevent sub/cart related incidences the gentlemen looked around for somewhere to sit. I was about to offer them my place as the Subway area was full up and I was practically done anyway but they noticed a table off to their left and went and sat down.
And that is when the shop keeper of the Japanese place noticed them. They were clearly sitting in an area she is lord over. An area she has to clean and pay for.I was watching her face as she saw them sit down. I saw her as she came around the counter and strode purposefully toward them . I watched intently as she checkedand saw that the Subway area had no empty tables. That her area had approximately 12 free tables.
You could see the schizophrenic dialogue going on in her head as ambivalence was written cleanly upon her face:
How dare they? Who were they really hurting?
The turmoil. The indecision.
And then she turned around and went back into her shop. She chose to leave them be. Who were they really hurting after all. No-one. I was touched by this not becauseshe was a nice person. A nice person never would have considered asking them to move. I wasn't touched because she did the right thing. I was touched because of the conflict. Because this lady faced the most dangerous of foes and won. She managed to face herself.
Actions don't matter. Neither does intent. As with all things it is about the journey. This is a tribute to one ladies journey. Well done lady. I salute you.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I finally got around to getting a broadband Internet connection for home. Even I am laughing at me about me on this one. During the sign-up procedure though something odd happened.
I needed to enter my address (for provisioning and billing purposes) and so the ISP had presented me with a very nice form for doing so. Unfortunately I can't get back to that form to present a snapshot so I'll describe it.
It had a drop-down list for location-type which would alter the form when you selected something from it. If you selected unit it would ask for a unit number, if you selected caravan then it wanted to know where it was parked, etc.
The real fun came when I selected House. I live in what I would consider to be a house. It's no castle, but it isn't a cardboard box either. Apparently a house needs three numbers associated with it to uniquely identify it on a street.
My house has only been allotted 1 number by the shire so I entered it 3 times and clicked next. No such luck. The form was smart enough to realize that the numbers were likely wrong but still no clue as to what they were all for.
I tried only filling out one of the fields and leaving the other two blank. No such luck on any of them.
After trying several different ways to figure this out I eventually cracked and rang the support line for the service I was trying to sign up for. I calmly related the problem and got a very helpful answer back:
Don't select House on the menu. Try something else instead.
How obvious. So now I live in a cottage according to my ISP. It might have just one number but it's still home to me.
Monday, June 25, 2007
If you're one of those people whom I have been ignoring on MSN Messenger over the last two months then you'll no doubt be aware from reading my personal messages that I have gone into the ring for a few rounds against none other than heavyweight champion, The Universe. The universe had a bit of a weight advantage (just a bit) and had a few heavy hitters in his camp such as Number Theory and Newtons little known Thirteenth Law of Thermodynamics which states quite clearly, Mike is not as hot as he thinks he is.
I was essentially updating my personal message every hour or so to show my score versus that of the universe in a virtual battle for supremacy. Something along the lines of "Universe 1364, Mike 21". You can see that I was doing okay here considering that I was extremely outclassed by my opponent.
In hindsight this rather fun distraction from what was otherwise a soul-crushingly debilitating period of my life would have been better on Twitter. After all, this is exactly the kind of insanity that it is for. But alas, while I have a twitter account, it just isn't as convenient yet (unless I am missing some awesome twitter tools).
Anywho, while the ragged wounds from this story haven't yet healed, it does bring to mind at least one other occasion when I have behaved like an idiot and somehow survived (there have been so many). So without further ado, I give you Let me tell you a tale #3: Man vs. Metabolic Rate
It must have been in '97 or '98. I stalked down the corridor with my shotgun out, ready for anything. Just then McKenna comes screaming around the corner with his Chaingun rattling rounds off faster than my GPU can render them. This is unfortunate as it meant that my poor 486 DX4 100 pretty much locked up while McKenna hammered me into a mushy collection of Red Pixels.
I quit out of doom 2 and headed back into Windows 95. It seemed as if I had finished copying all of the stuff that I wanted from the vast network of 5 computers that we had organized at the LAN, or at the very least this crazy wicked cool looking OS had failed silently and I would curse it for hours afterwards. I hit Start->Shutdown in a move which was becoming increasingly familiar and began packing up cables in the incredibly intricate LAN-leaving ritual.
My neighbour was there also packing up. He wasn't actually my neighbour but he lived within walking distance of my house. For the purposes of the story he can be my neighbour because it will make the narrative flow easier. Also, his name isn't Bob but I'm going to use it anyway.
"Hey", said Bob. "Are you heading back up the hill now?". It is worth mentioning that the hill was Greenmount and it was also where we both lived. At that particular moment, we were somewhere down in the 'burbs about an hour away.
What followed was a lengthy conversation about whether or not this was a good idea given the activities we had previously engaged in followed by an agreement whereby I entered into Bob's service to take his computer home to his parents house as they needed it for work.
Bob had decided to stay at the party. Not because it was a really lively and happening party, but because he was in dire need of sleep. You see, this particular LAN party had been going on a while and this was day three. None of us had slept since it started but we had ensured that Pepsi would never beat Coke in the Cola market.
I got both machines packed neatly away into my 1982 Toyota Celica Liftback. I loved that car. It's a funny thing but no matter what I forget as life moves inevitably along I always remember the good times I had with each car I've owned. With six cans of cold Coca-Cola on the seat next to me and two cups of coffee warming my stomach, I revved the mighty 2 litre engine and headed off.
I knew it would be okay. Coffee flowed through my veins like molten lead. I had the heater on keeping my windscreen from fogging up but my window was down and my head was poking out a little to keep the fresh air in my face (and to avoid the rapidly fogging windscreen). Besides, I was 18 and therefore invulnerable. Nothing could stop me.
Around 38 minutes and 4 cans of Coke later I was at the bottom of Greenmount hill. The last leg to go. I was going to make it. All those who doubted me were fools. I would sleep in my own bed while they suffered on uncomfortable couches. Yes, I would sleep. Sleep.......
I woke up to an odd sound. A sort of rough sound that normally accompanies a car driving on gravel. This was of course ridiculous because I was in bed wasn't I? I remember getting into bed. If only I could open my eyes I would see that I was in bed. Of course I was in bed. What was in my hands? Was that my steering wheel? Oh my god I'm not in bed am I? I am, in actual fact, in somewhat dubious control of a 1982 Celica doing 90 kilometres an hour and flying off the highway.
My eyes flew open and I reacted with catlike reflexes. Whipping the steering wheel around to right lock I hammered down on the accelerator to push myself back to the road. This is I believe the right thing to do as slamming on the brakes whilst coasting over gravel is a serious no-no. Unfortunately my experience in such situations is pretty limited and I overcompensated. Now I have a few new problems.
Firstly, and highest in my attention, I am now sliding towards the road facing the oncoming traffic which currently consists of a light-blue Holden Camira and a very large white truck. The truck had a few dents already in the grille and I was about to make a much bigger one. Kudos to adrenaline on this one because about 20 seconds ago I would have been too tired to pay any attention.
The second issue which I had yet to think about, is what happens when a vehicle which is travelling in one direction with it's wheel travelling in the other across gravel slides two of it's wheels gently onto a hard surface, like say, asphalt.
The car performed a neat reverse 180 trick which left a dangerous amount of caffeine in the back of my throat. At least I am now facing the right way and my view of the damaged grille is now reduced down to the tiny rectangle of my rear-vision mirror. I vaguely hear the truck horn blow somewhere (what did he think I was going to suddenly realize, Hey I shouldn't do that just now and then calmly straighten up and drive off) which is probably what distracted me from the fact that I was still right locked.
Now I'm headed for the other side of the road and I don't like my chances over there any better than right here. I quickly hard-left and again overcompensate shooting for the gravel again. I do another 180 degree turn and slide gently off the road and slam into a street sign. The horn changes tone as the truck storms passed.
I climbed out of the passenger door as the drivers side door opened into a sharp drop. In fact, the only thing that stopped me going over was the street sign I had hammered into. A few minutes later the light blue Camira showed up. They had done a U-Turn as quickly as they could. Possibly because they had never seen a dead body before and they wanted to get a look at one before it started to smell.
They offered me a lift home which I graciously accepted once they helped me put mine and Bob's computers into the boot. They might be door stops or boat anchors now but back then a DX4 wasn't to be left lying about in a car. I got home and set up the two machines. Once I had them both up and running the adrenaline finally wore out and I fell asleep at the kitchen table.
And that is my Tale. If anyone has any comments on content or style please leave them here. If anyone else has had an experience regarding vehicular sleep, you can also leave your comments here. If you have a tale you'd like to share, or if you'd like me to stop writing them, please email me at michael DOT minutillo AT gmail DOT com
Monday, May 07, 2007
Let me tell you a tale is a series of stories told by Mike Minutillo about the various antics from his life. Some of the characters will have been changed in order to protect the innocent or to make me appear more colorful as a human being. Some of the events will have been changed to increase their comedic value.
This particular story has me returning from my weekly trip to the local library on my shiny black mountain bike one April afternoon in the spring of 1990. I loved those trips to the library. I would look at books, borrow books, and look at some more books. I was allowed to take six with me, and I always did, even if I had no chance of reading them all in the week before the sensual draw of the place would call to me with it's sirens song of silky, yet dusty pages once more.
I cannot remember exactly what I had taken out that day. This was possibly because of events yet to be disclosed. Or it might have been due to the fact that my face had been surgically enhanced with two and a half thousand dollars of surgical steel within the confines of the previous week. Yes, way back in 1990, I had buck teeth that bugs bunny would have laughed at and my parents along with my orthodontist had agreed, it was time to clean up Stonehenge.
Side note: Given the kind of person that I was and given that my braces limited my sporting activities even further than my personality did, I think I can hazard a guess at the books which I had borrowed. I think that half of the bag on my handlebars would have been made up of the audio book collection of The Lord of the Rings. Not the BBC version, this was by a company named Jabberwocky. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on these, please let me know. As for the other half, I can guess at those as well. I would say that one would have been the hardcover version of Advanced QuickBASIC 4.5 Techniques. Another would have to have been the only star wars comic that was at the time included in the canon. The final title eludes me but I think it was one of the Thomas Covenant books or something.
I had braces and they hurt. Whoever had decided to install the cheese-grater into one of the more sensitive areas of my body could have apparated right there and then and I would have begun toasting marshmallows on him and broken into my favorite verse of Kumbaya. I realise that thus far this doesn't seem to have any real bearing on the story. What could a bunch of nerdy books and some young greasy nerd with a face full of metal and a BMX bike have to do with each other anyway? I'm getting to it I promise.
As I pushed my bike to the very limits I was overtaken by some wise-guy who, I think you would have to agree, was obviously cheating. I first saw him sneaking up into my blind spot when I glanced behind me to check on the creepy sensation that death was stalking me. It turns out that he wasn't (or so I thought at the time) but this other guy was. There's no way you're going to get past me buddy, I thought to myself, and began to pump the pedals furiously to ensure my inevitable victory. But he kept coming, inching closer and closer until finally, he goes sliding gently passed me with a stupid triumphant yet maniacal grin on his stupid face.
I kick down even harder on my pedals, determined not to lose to this guy but I just don't have the strength to beat him. You see, my aggressor had changed into second gear and was already pulling away from me in his Mazda 323 Station Wagon.
At this point I had built up a fair whack of speed. The wind is whistling through my shiny new braces and it's making a low thrumming sound as it does so. I don't feel the need to apply my brakes as I've got a ways to go yet and I'm on a flat bit of road anyway. Or so I thought.
So imagine my surprise when my front wheel hits a pothole. Because of the speed my bike is travelling, the front wheel comes out of the pothole with so much upward momentum that my bike does a huge wheelie. For a second I think this is really cool and that once I get home and change my pants I'll have an awesome story to tell about the time I went most of the way along Jacoby Street on just my back wheel. I'll be the coolest kids in school. Even if I spend my lunch hour studiously typing arcane inscriptions from my QuickBASIC tome into one of the schools brand spanking new computers.
Then, out of the corner of my speed-streaked tear-streaming left eye, I see something which leads me to believe I may need to burn my pants and not just change them when I get home. The front wheel of my bike is rolling happily away into the gutter on my left and I'm now pulling a mono of doom, travelling down the road on the worlds most unbalanced and uncomfortable instant unicycle with no warning and very little training.
Eventually the inevitable happens and the forks of my bike strike the road, twisting mercilessly and I'm doing the ever-classic BMX-Asphalt-Pole-Vaulting maneuver, flying straight over the handlebars and out into space. If any of you has been in a similar situation the you will appreciate it when I say that, at that point in time when my eyes were level with the kitch little bell, I was instantly transported into some higher dimension where I could watch the proceedings over the period of three or four years.
My first thought is of course for The Lord of the Rings. I do NOT want those tapes to break or I'm gonna have some explaining to do when I wake up from the coma right? My second thought is for the phenomenally expensive piece of medieval torture equipment keeping my lips from interfering with anything but my ragged nerve endings. While I'd be happy for them to go, I'm pretty sure they'd take my lips, gums and tongue with them.
So as I sail majestically through the air, at a speed which Keanu Reeves wishes he could have matched when dodging those bullets in The Matrix, I twist myself sideways to avoid expensive and probably painful damage to my braces. Once I was in position those crazy people who control the universe, no doubt inspired by the Wachowski brothers films, flipped the universe back into normal speed.
I smack into the road shoulder and forehead first and then go to a quiet dark place for a little while. I later found out that I had 6 stitches and a cracked collarbone. The Lord of the Rings survives a few minor scratches but was, years later, chewed by my cheap Walkman. My braces were fine. I mean they still hurt but no more than before the accident. The bike was never the same again. Possibly because I only ever took it out of the shed except to kick it and throw it around the yard.
If anyone ever asks me this is the reason for my aversion to two things. Aversion #1 is getting on a bike of any description. I don't care if it's an exercise bike and it doesn't have a front wheel. I'm not taking any chances. Aversion #2 is hand-stands. My doctor told me to stay clear of handstands with a broken collarbone for a while but he wasn't specific to exactly how long a while that should be. Needless to say, I'm not taking any chances there either.
And that is my Tale. If anyone has any comments on content or style please leave them here. If anyone wants to comment on the stupidity of not checking the bolts on ones wheel before taking the weekly library trip, you can also leave them here. If you want to criticise my choice of literary exposure you can bite me. Hard.
P.S. I apologise for the previous post about my cat. As I had surmised, they are never as funny to other people as they are to the owner of the cat. I hope this tale of wonder and idiocy will more than make up for it.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
For this reason I usually try to avoid the crazy antics of my own cat Boris. But this one I could not resist. It seems that Boris has been hunting. Let me give you some back story on Boris before we get to the punchline here.
Boris is a blackish tabby which showed up on our doorstep one day hungry. He was loud obnoxious, sharp, full of parasites, and just generally pathetic annoying and guaranteed to cost me a lot of money in the long run. Cut a long story short, my wife decided to save him.
Since we fed him that first time he has never left us alone. He has cost us a phenomenal amount of money and is now so big and fat that he can't sit on my lap. He is so big that he makes a grunting noise when he jumps off of our couch and has to stop for a nap if he intends to cross a room.
So when I say he's been hunting, it should come as a shock. Let me tell you I was shocked. He bought me the biggest damned mouse I had ever seen the other day. TRAP INCLUDED!
That's right. My tubby tabby has been on the prowl and he's managed to bring me a pre-caught mouse! I would have a picture but it is just too gruesome.
On a side note, my kids were babysat by Grandma and Poppy the other day and they were little angels. I only bring this up because I only ever blog about them when they are naughty. They are not always naughty, they just aren't as interesting when they are good. I think there is something in that for all of us. Don't you?
On a side note to my side note (same track different train remember), I have recovered quite well from my horrifying car accident on Monday. The car is all better. I'm all better. The cat is getting out at night. It's all good.
Monday, April 30, 2007
For those of you who do not know I was involved in a car accident today. I was minding my own business, stopped at a set of lights when suddenly, out of nowhere comes this maniac lady in a grey hatch-back. She looks ahead of me to the glaringly red street light and grins maniacally. She knows now there is no escape for her prey.
Howling with delight she stamps her foot down on the accelerator, lurching her vehicular missile into top speed. Time for a moment stops. The universe holds it's breath. This is going to be good. The nano-seconds start to slip by slowly....The Mark hasn't seen her.....BOOOOOOOM!
At this point I'm lying down. I wasn't expecting this as I waited for the light to turn green. It doesn't usually happen. Usually the light turns green and I sail gently closer to work. Today I seem to be lying down. It's weird.
Where are my glasses? Why are there CDs in my lap? Where did that mark on the ceiling come from? Why am I staring at the ceiling again?
I sit up slowly and see the wrecked car in the rear vision mirror. I get out of the car swiftly and hurry back to check on the driver. I seem to be OK and I need to make sure no-one has been injured.
As the sounds of the universe slowly seep back into my adrenaline-addled brain I notice that she's still clutching half a cigarette. How did she manage to keep hold of that thing?
I ask and she's apparently OK and no she doesn't need me to call anyone as she's got a phone. There's a paramedic there which is weird because I didn't hear sirens. Apparently there is a crash down the road and he is stopped at the same intersection. It still seems to be red but there is no cars in front of us now.
I assure him that we are OK and go about the grisly business of examining the cars. Mine seems fine. Nothing can keep the good old girl down. Hers is a mess. My tow-ball has totally smashed in her radiator. I can see green liquid seeping onto the road like thin blood.
I offer to help her push her car onto the curb but she says it'll be fine. She hops in and miraculously the engine starts. She pushes up and onto the center isle. I push the back of my chair back up and hop in. I turn the key and look ahead.
The light is green. This is what I was waiting for. Without a single thought, I glide ahead.
Would that that were the end of the story. Her car is wrecked but she apparently caused the accident so I'm not sure about the Karmic balance there. I seem to be OK and I am generally OK with this development. I don't need to worry about the car. The lady was fine physically. Gotta get to work now because I was already running late.
I get across the intersection and about 20 metres down the road and stop. Not because there is anything wrong with the car but because the car ahead of me stops. Of course, the paramedic was attending an accident and so the traffic is backed up. Perfect! What else can go...Whap!!!
I'm lying down again. This seems to be happening to me a lot today. I generally like lying down but this is not the time nor is it the place. I sit up and immediately check the rear-vision mirror. Who has hit me this time? I wonder.
But no-one hit me. My seat had collapsed. Something in the accident (probably my weight) had irreparably broken my drivers side seat. I suddenly realize that I'm facing uphill and I have no back support. My back starts to ache and so does my right hand. I look at it and see a massive black bruise on the back of my hand.
The back of my hand? When did I hit the back of my hand? My heart rate is up. Way to go body! You've finally caught up with the situation. Not far behind my body is my brain. Wait a second! It seems to cry. I'm not fine at all. And neither is my car.
But now I'm stuck in traffic. It takes me fully 25 minutes to get far enough up the highway and passed the road accident so that I can turn. And then that is onto another highway and it's another 10 minutes before I get back to the site of the accident.
The lady is gone, and so is her car. Did I imagine the whole thing? I don't think so. At least, I have been typing this for a good hour because my right hand doesn't work so well just at the moment. And I have a heat pack strapped to my back.
Yes today has been a terrible day and I cannot wait for it to end. This was just one of many incidents which led this day to totally suck. Among others, I also broke my shower head. I don't fit into the kids bath so now I'm going to have to shower at work tomorrow.
I wasn't hit by a truck but maybe this will be my Stephen King moment. i.e. I was good before and I'm even better now. The only thing makes me think this is because I am reading The Gunslinger series at the moment. Whether he's insane or genius, this series proves it.
And so I go to bed. If I don't wake in the morning, let this be last thing I ever say:
SCMPF (Christian knows what it means and he will never read it)
Sunday, April 29, 2007
If it were a movie, it would be that one where Keanu is in the past writing love letters to that chick in the future who buys his house on the river only to discover that they had actually met on several occasions and were spiritually connected in some deep and meaningful way. Except that it would be good and I wouldn't fall asleep.
It all starts many years ago and earlier this week. My brother, my sister and myself were discussing some crap in a Seinfeldian style, as we were want to do on a Tuesday, when suddenly and without warning, the subject turned to global warming.
We were living in Mundaring at the time and we were high up, perched on the top of the Darling Range. Below us, in all it's sprawling misery, was the metropolis known as Midland. We knew of other, larger cities, but they were far, far away. Humbled as it were by distance and lack of experience.
No, Midland was the cesspool of crime and violence in our spheres of influence. It was a place which had good shops that you rushed into and hoped like crazy that you could get home without being mugged, murdered, or worse.
Back to the story. We were discussing global warming and we had decided that it would be best if some higher being were to allow global warming, that they ensure that Midland end up under water. We were safe in our quiet mountain town. and we lived an hour or so from the beach as well. This would be a fine development.
Skip forward to this last week. Note that I'm telling the story chronologically because of the textual medium. If this were actually a movie, we would have interspersed bits of back story with the current one to make it more like an episode of Lost and increase the level of dramatic tension in a steady arc toward the spectacular finale.
So earlier this week, I was having a conversation with a colleague at work. I happened to mention that where I was living in Stratton (now at the bottom of that fearsome hill), it practically never rains. In fact, whenever it looks like it might, causing us to rush around bringing in the kids, the dog, the cat and the washing, the clouds tend to pass harmlessly over us, shower lightly on Jane Brook (the next suburb over) and then go on their merry way.
I hated those smug Jane Brookers. They get Broadband2+, they get rain, they get a brook. What do I get? I get petty street crime and a maze of roundabouts so intense, I heard the Rubiks guy is still lost in them. Oh yes, I hated them and I made sure that I said so.
So now we reach the end of the tale. It is now Sunday afternoon. I guess those Jane Brookers must have some sway with the big guys upstairs because it is raining so hard right now that I fear I may be fishing at that fabled fictional beach of my siblings overactive imaginations soon enough.
I apologise Janey's! I'm sorry! Please, I have not the skills to build an ark. I did not know what I was doing. The lord of deceit, he whispered quietly in my ear and told me I wasn't getting enough rain. He said I shouldn't need to water my lawn. He was wrong do you hear me?! I denounce him!
And now it stops. The clan of Jane Brook have heard my impassioned plea. They have lifted the curtain of wet death that had drawn so close and shown me the sun once more. As I look to the sky I see the mark of their promise.
They will not do this again, it seems the bright bands of color say. Except for Indigo. Indigo is saying that I had better not make them do it again. Or else.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Does anyone else have a brain which randomly shouts things at you at inappropriate times? It's like my own subconscious is constantly looking for weird (and potentially funny) stuff to say. Very odd.
As an example, I was doing one of those Getting to Know you emails which my bro forwarded on to me this evening. You know the ones which circulate around starting from some smart-assed spammer who eventually gets it back chocked full of peoples buying habits and email addresses.
Now, I usually go a little silly with these sorts of things but when i got to question 40 I just started going off the rails. If you have more than one train on the track then this is probably okay I guess. So what was question 40 then? It was:
Do you make friends easily?OK. Nothing too crazy right? Except that my brain immediately goes
"No. Robotics is difficult. I can usually create some kind of contraption which can walk a few steps on flat ground. Of course it isn't very energy efficient so I wind up walking next to it and carrying the power supply. This is OK though, I don't mind walking hand-in-hand because isn't that really what friends are for.
All of which is great and all but sometimes I want to climb a gentle gradient. And some shops have little steps in front of them. And sometimes I just want to sit and chat. My robotic friends make great listening partners but they rarely have an idea of their own. At least I assume that they never have an idea of their own. If they did they would probably have a hard time expressing it as they are just a pair of robotic legs which can't even carry their own power supply.
That's another thing. Do you know how embarrassing it is to take a friend to a party and have it run out of batteries. Even those of you whose friends are not made of Popsicle sticks and rubber bands have probably had to suffer the embarrassment of carrying a friend home from a party.
My friend never gets any of my subtle hints either. Whenever I want to be alone with a chick he just sticks around no matter how many times I yell at him "DUDE I NEED SOME QUALITY TIME WITH MY WOMAN!". Eventually I have to carry him out of the room and by then the shampoo commercial is usually over.
I've tried to improve my skills but there is very little instructional material on making your own friends on the back of Wheat-Boxes, which as we all know is the encyclopedia of the masses. If anyone has tried to make a companion using techniques found from a different kind of early morning snack box then I would be most grateful for the help."
At that point I read the whole email. Giggled my ass off and decided to remove it. I felt that it deserved more exposure than the 9 people I forwarded the email to. Even though it would have helped people to Get to know me, I'm not entirely convinced that it's such a good idea. I love it. It's a masterpiece. But it detracted from the email.
But it deserved to live. It needed to be read. And so, dear reader I leave you wondering, "is this guy mental, or is he just one of us?"
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
For those that see me relatively regularly, next time you see me you will note that I have removed my Olympic Bear-Swallower style beard. Cost me a pretty penny too.
Normally when you undertake such a crazy plan, you'd trim the beard down first and then go the razor. Bugger that, I thought to myself and immediately started hacking away at it with a ShickFX Quattro razor.
Three disposable razors later I am now smooth again. Three! At four blades a a head. That's twelve razors bluntened by my 5 weeks of growth. I'm not sure that I earned enough money in that time to cover the cost.
There are other things going on in my life at the moment which make me feel refreshed but as I'm under a blood oath not to talk about them... let me tell you a cautionary tale of stupidity. In this way I hope to educate you all about stupidity so that you can avoid my mistakes in your own lives.
It was a cold winter morning way back in my early teens. My itty bitty book light, the pride and joy of my toy collection at the time, had stopped responding to my "on" requests. Instead of suspecting the bulb (the most likely culprit), your intrepid hero decided to attack the problem armed with a screw-driver.
Now, I'm not a complete marshmallow. I know that you don't jam a screwdriver directly into an electrical device if it's plugged into the wall. So I calmly extracted the power cable and rested it gently between my teeth.
Go back and read that paragraph again. I kid you not, I placed a power cable IN MY MOUTH! But all is not over for our fearless protagonist. Because of the way these kinds of power cables was constructed I did not immediately meet my fate.
You see, this cable was constructed of two metal cylinders, one inside the other. They were separated by a thin sheet of, presumably, resistant plastic. So as long as my teeth and lips stayed away from the inner core, I would be ok.
Well, it would have been a good idea for someone to tell me that before I tried to adjust it's position with my tongue.
I woke up on the floor several minutes later with a killer headache, sore teeth and jaws, and a numb tongue.
I have never since owned an itty bitty book light. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that one remained. Sitting in my old room at my parents house. Just waiting.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Well it seems that the irascible mastermind of the previous two escape attempts [ (1) (2) ] has finally seen enough to give it a go on his own. On Tuesday Caleb did a runner. At Chiara's school no less.
Let us just say that everyone survived and leave it at that. I think that he's going through "The Terribles Twos". He seems to have developed this crazy level of defiance such that anything he is told to do is immediately wrong. Most kids seem to do this at some stage.
It is extremely difficult not to anthropomorphize the child with some kind of devilish nature when this happens. He is supposedly an innocent little child I can't help but see him as something more like a criminal mastermind. At least I always liked the bad guys in films.
He's just lucky he is cute.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Occasionally the universe exhibits a sense of humor. Or, if you prefer not to believe in a white-bearded dude who watches us and guides us, maybe it is just our perception of the universe which is sometimes skewed with a comedic bent. Whatever the case, sometimes a spark of cosmic laughter seems to entwine itself around our life-thread and keep the story moving in way that makes you smile.
In this particular instance I had one of those moments where I did something that I thought maybe wasn't entirely right. It wasn't fully wrong, on a scale of Black and White it would be a kinda creamy color. Allow me to tell you the tale.
We went out to dinner after work on Friday night to say farewell to a co-worker who has been with Creative Nature since the beginning (and before but who's counting). I left all of my stuff back the office and so when dinner was completed, I came back to the bullpen to pick up my laptop and other flotsam that I figured I'd need over the weekend.
The trouble is that I was thirsty and so I grabbed a can of coke from the fridge at work. There is a vending machine upstairs but it meant upsetting security more than I really had to and besides, the drinks fridge was open on Friday afternoons anyway. I'll admit that I felt a little guilty, mainly because it's a stretch to put midnight into the phrase afternoon and keep a straight face.
I slaked my thirst and grabbed another can on my way out. It sat next to me on the drive home and I started to feel kinda guilty about it. Like it was staring at me thinking, I know what you did. Not a big thing but I felt bad about it anyway. Once I got home, I went inside and forgot all about it.
The next day, I was surprised to hear my car door open. This was because it was locked. By the time I'd got to the window to check it out the alarm was going off.
My wife was first to the door so she rushed out to the car and I suddenly had a craving for caffeine. Remembering the soul-bought can of sugary goodness I called out to Barbie, "Grab the can of coke off the font seat me, would you?". She just started to laugh.
It was about lunchtime and the can had been sitting in the sun for hours. It had of course exploded. The pressure of the can blowing is what cracked the door open and set off the alarm. Justice had been royally served.
The second thing to happen this weekend was that another miraculous escape was attempted, once again facilitated by my eldest son. This time the escapee was our dog who gleefully pelted across our neighborhood until Barbie tired her out.
I was in the car with the kids, learning the hard way just how difficult it can be to hunt down a dog at twilight in a car through an urban rabbits warren with three kids. One crying because he missed his mum, one crying because she missed her dog, and one pointing at the moon and giggling with delight, totally oblivious to the trouble he had just caused.
I'll leave you a thought which I believe is pertinent to this story. It goes something like this:
Life may not always be fair but if it were then you'd deserve all of the stuff that happens to you. At least this way you get to complain about the unfairness of it all.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Well Brian posted a photo of his kids so I thought I'd do the same. I hunted around for a little while and this is the first one I found with all three of them. My daughter is eldest and her name is Chiara. My eldest son is Caleb and my younger is Will.
Remember that last week Caleb let Will out the front door. They certainly keep everyone on their toes. But I can't even imagine life without them.
I also thought I'd post a photo of Malta. And not just to prove that I hadn't done away with her (if that were my intention she'd be holding today's newspaper). It's because she's also a member of my family. As you can see, she's a wannabe dingo.
I wasn't going to put in a picture of Boris (our cat), partly because being a typical cat, he wouldn't sit still long enough. Partly because I had always thought that home pages dedicated to peoples cats represented, at the same time, the worst and the best fundamental ideas of the Internet. Then I remembered one that I took when we first bought our camera. At the time Boris was keenly interested in the little bobbly thing hanging from the wrist-strap on the camera.
For some examples of extremely strange cats (who do sit still and not just for photography) check out this site.
I'm not going to post a picture of myself or Barbie. That will have to wait until we are rock stars and the paparazzi catches up with us.
Ah well, I'm off to feed the animals then. Good Night Australia!
P.S. The pictures came out a little messed up because of a WLW/Blogger/My Brain malfunction. Hopefully the next time I do this I can get this all working a little better.
I started to write a comment on this post and after 20 minutes I realized that it was getting long enough to be a stand alone post on its own. I have been on the warpath about daylight savings for quite some time.
I imagine that most people with with young kids will all agree with me when I say:
Yeah, daylight savings is cool because I get to argue with my 4 year old about going to bed when the sun is up.
But we aren't all parents of young kids. Many people seem to have a genuine interest in daylight savings. So what sorts of reasons do people have?
Extending trade time with the Eastern States is a joke. So is being able to go to the beach after work. You could always go to the beach before work and monetarily I'll bet we do more trade with the U.S. but we don't wind back our clocks 12 hours to be in sync with them do we?
I've often complained that I have a lot of rights but that not voting isn't one of them*. I understand that democracy is supposedly based on collating the voice of the people and doing what they want. Or at the very least, doing what most of them want.
But that isn't what happened. We did say no. What's next? Does the government say "Hey, let's join the French Republic" and when we all say no they'll do it anyway. That sounds like democracy went out the window right? It sounds like a dictatorship. It sounds totalitarian. It sounds like an Australia I don't want to be a part of*.
* Before people go on about it: Yes I am aware that there are many places where people don't have anywhere near the rights that I do and yes, I understand that Australia is a pretty good place to live. But I do have the right to complain (unlike the group of spineless Americans** who choose not to vote) and I'm choosing to exercise that right.
** I also realize the irony of calling non-voting Americans spineless in the same story as I complain about not having the right to not vote. I believe I should have the right, that doesn't mean I would exercise it.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Okay so before you read this post you should probably know that it is in response to this post. Basically I typed up a long comment (like really long) and then hit publish and I got timed out and lost my work. I should know better because I'm a web developer and get these sort of complaints from customers all of the time.
Anyway, after reading about Max's "Mac Driver" I came up with an alternate use for the device. The reasons for this alternate use are based on three correlated axioms;
- Macintosh computers make extremely attractive paperweights
- Macintosh computers would be okay if it weren't for those pesky Macintosh users AND
- Whilst some Macintosh users would make extremely attractive paperweights they are unlikely to stand still long enough for effective paper-immobilization.
This leads me to the alternate use of the Mac Driver which is to fire Mac users into the sun. Since I cannot be bothered doing the calculations for determining the adjustments required to accelerate a person towards the sun at escape velocity, it is my firm belief that we can fire these unfortunate people into third world countries to help with world hunger.
Our greatest fear then becomes one of them surviving and rising up with a pissed off, hungry, third-world country backing them, demanding things like Special menus and so on in that fashion.
Man did I ever not want to get a dog. When first the dog was on the horizon here was my thought process:
Dogs are smelly, messy, needy, loud, obnoxious, and expensive pets which have all of the drawbacks of hermit crabs but are not as attractive.
Now, I love my dog (don't tell anyone I said that). And I find it wierd when I come home and she isn't here. But dammit if she wakes up the kids one more time by barking at the darkness I'm gonna have to do something the RSPCA wouldn't approve of.
That is the end of my story.
Friday, March 16, 2007
I'm going to post this on both blogs. I have a friend who loves to rant. I mean really rant. He could rant for his country. And win the gold. He is that good.
Anyway, I've been bugging him for weeks about starting a blog. The blogosphere is the perfect place to rant. Maybe no-one is listening now, but who knows what the future may bring, right?
Now if only I could get Zerone doing it as well. Hmmm.
First off; HUZZAH! my graduation certificate arrived yesterday. It has been stored safely away from jammy fingers and other such hazards (why is the sound of ripping paper so soothing to children) until such time as I get up to the shed and dig out that frame I bought 10 years ago for it.
That was the arrival. The escape was a group effort by my boys. Children are a conspiring and enterprising collection of people. They have this nasty habit of watching your motions and picking the optimal time to do something crazy. Like when they wait until the stove is boiling over before poking each other in the eye with sticks covered in unspeakable materials.
In this particular case, the children seem to have timed the minimum amount of time one needs to go to the bathroom. When my wife went to bathroom yesterday, our eldest son (nearly three years old), obligingly unlocked the front door (with the key), to let out our youngest son (just over one and a half).
Barbie has had practice going to the bathroom during the day when she's with the kids. She's got it down to seconds. But in that time our one and a half year old was at the next street and running like the unspeakable beast himself was after him. Giggling insanely.
I'd like to think that this is all a bit coincidental. That my eldest son just happened to open the door and that the younger one just happened to make a break for it. By accident. I am, unfortunately perhaps, inclined to beleive otherwise. This is mainly based on two things.
Firstly, I know my kids and they ARE evil incarnate (like all kids really). Secondly, when I got home and put the little bugger on my lap, he looked out the window at the corner of the street and waved at me and said "Seeya!" for about five minutes.
Anywho, after a harrowing experience, the kids are safe, the uni degree is safe, and everything turned out well. We are in the process of installing velcro to the ceiling so that the kids can be kept out of mischief whenever necessary.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
While I'm sure that the legions of fans I used to have have since run away, I thought it was important to say something anyway.
I did have a few ideas for posts in mind. The joys of minor surgery, the anethsetising effect of badgers and pirates on small children, my hatred of blog-based development. But I really haven't had the time.
I did spend some time trying to alleviate this problem (too much in fact), and the results somehow ended up here. I am not going to go into details here because I have already spoken about it. (Follow the link).
But the question remains. What to do with two blogs. I actually think that this is a good idea. This one will remain a personal craziness blog where I can let down my hair and go nuts. And the other one will be a little more straight-laced and will focus more on the tech industry.
Well that'll do for now, but I'll hit back another post soon about pirates and badgers and their surprising effect on children, I promise.
P.S. Good luck Nettie, we're with you 100%.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Barbie, I love you more today than I did yesterday and this has been going on for some time. I don't ever see it stopping either. I have no words that do my love justice.
amore sempre e per sempre
P.S. Jenny is good too. :)
Monday, February 05, 2007
I'm still not too sure what I'm allowed to give away but I am pretty sure the guys are approaching release so keep your eyes peeled and be prepare to 'Tune into Scouta'.
Secondly, the university screwed up again. Last year, they lost my exam and the first I heard about it was when my termination notice arrived. Let me tell you that there was plenty of sleep lost then. This year, they modified my enrolment after processing my intention to graduate (apparently a major no-no) and so my graduation status was reset and I didn't recieve my graduation letter.
Now this would normally just be another heart in your throat moment but essentially harmless in the long run except that I've been so busy that I only discerned that it wsas all wrong enough to call them on Australia Day. Remember the Ely. Of course they were shut (apparently they were all listening to the triplej hottest 100). So I go to the website and lo and behold (faith and begora if you prefer), the cut-off date to attend the graduation ceremony is the day before Autralia Day.
Now I am extremely annoyed because although I got the whole thing sorted out, I don't get to go to the graduation ceremony. Maybe it's better this way. This way I don't 7000 relatives and friends all fighting to be one of the two I was going to invite.
I have now come to the conclusion that any organization that reaches a certain size lacks a certain quality that is, rather unfortunately, referred to in the english language as organization! Yet another example of english being entirely too flexible to be of any use.
But enough of that crap. I have been away from the internet for quite a while. This might seem a sorry state of affairs for a guy who is a web developer but in reality I rarely have the time to just "Go for a surf" these days. I complain and whinge alot but since my last post, I have read 3 novels (excellent ones but I'll get to that), watched 2 1/2 series of Babylon 5 (also very cool but if you haven't watched them yet you are unlikely to), had a rent inspection, washed a few dishes... Alright, so my excuses are lame. Sue me.
The important point is that I am back. I am feeling "ze passion". "Do you remember the ze passion, Tony? It must have been hard for you, to hear zem say dat disco is dead." Sorry I slipped into some Cassanova Frankenstein for a minute there.
There is more but it deserves it's own post.
P.S. There is a lovely post on Netties blog where she is complaining about having to drive to Stoneville to get internet acces. Well, I am on dial-up. If I want effective access to the internet, I am ALSO better of driving to Stoneville.
P.P.S. Check out the new Pilbara Health and Beilby websites. This is what I do. And it's awesome.