Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Not last weekend but the weekend before I did the unthinkable and bought an iPod. I still have mixed feelings about it. $350 for a 30gb hard drive? Sounds crazy to me. I've slowly been converting cds into mp3 format(not AAC! and using creative software no less). I had converted some already for my old 1gb creative (basically any CD I bought after that point). So far I'm about half way through. I think I've got the whole iTunes thing sorted as well, the key is to manually sync everything, rather than letting iTunes do it. I'm still getting used to some of the idiosyncrasies of the iPod.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Font test

Font appears to be normal.

Test passed.


I found a site a year or so ago (or did I, I can't recall how I came across it), a webzine devoted to funicular railways, called Funimag. A funicular is a railway where the carriages get hauled up and down hills by cables driven by steam, electric or internal combustion engines, and I suppose the odd beast of burden. A good example is the Scenic Railway at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, which was originally used to haul coal out of the Jamison Valley, but today survives as a tourist attraction.

Just off the top of my head I believe that I have been on two funiculars. The first being the scenic railway, which remains as one of my earliest childhood memories from when my dad took me on it when I was 2 years old. It's funny to look back on it now, but this was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Earlier in the year when I went to Sydney I conquered my demons and once again rode the scenic. I am quite certain that I was justified for being scared as a two year old, because that thing is steep, and travels quite fast too. It was more fun this time though.

Scenic Railway, Katoomba, NSW February 2007.

My other funicular experience is the funicular that climbs Montmatre in Paris. This is a much more sedate ride, in equipment of more modern appearance. The ticket to ride it was a standard Paris Metro ticket, which I still have.

Montmatre Funicular ticket from October 1994

EDIT - Apologies for the smaller writing, I did something to the font in this post and I can't get it to go back to normal.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Arr, 'tis true I seen ye pirates Aye!

Yep that's right, tonight, I went to see Opera Australia's production of The Pirates of Penzance. Anthony Warlow did a great rendition of the Pirate King, taking his cue from Johny Depp in that"other" Pirates. It was almost as if Anthony Warlow was playing Johnny Depp, playing Captain Jack Sparrow, Playing The Pirate King. In fact, he did the same in HMS Pinafore last year and The Mikado the year before, but I guess that just goes to show how formulaic Gilbert and Sullivan are. David Hobson did a good job as Frederick, and the rest of the cast was great too. Special mention goes to Reg Livermore as Majpr General Stanley, Suzanne Johnstone as Ruth, Taryn Fiebig as Mabel and Shane Lowrencecev as The Sergeant of police.

Scenery was sparse, but the props were well used. Captions were also used which helped with understanding some of the faster songs. I'm still not sure where exactly all those syllables fit in. In fact in one part the caption just read "Too much information, just look at the stage".

I enjoyed it.

Hopefully I'll get to see that"other" pirates soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Primary School

I know it's really easy these days for parents to blame schools for their "dumb" children, but I believe I could have received more help in a few areas . The teachers seemed more interested on cramming in as much of the curriculum as possible, rather than helping me understand it. These a few things I can pin point:

  • I never learnt to hold a pen or pencil properly.
  • I write my 5s funny.
  • I never learnt to do long division properly.

I know the first two sound trivial, but my handwriting really is terrible, although if I concentrate on it I can write neat-ish sometimes.

Supposedly my primary school was a "good" school, but now that that I think about it, perhaps it wasn't such a good school. Probably the best thing it had going for it was it's size, which was pretty small, although this too was a bad thing as it resulted in lots of composite classes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cars v Pedestrians

This started as a comment in Andrew's blog (does this title look familiar?), but thought I may as well continue on here:

Last week I was crossing a busy road not far from my house with the traffic lights, and nearly got ran over by a woman doing a right hand turn. This particular intersection consists of a major 6 lane road with median strip, a local side street, and the entrance to a railway station carpark. I was crossing from the station to the side street on the right hand side of the road facing on coming traffic. I set out across the road when the green man appeared (not an alien!), as I crossed the median I checked over my shoulder for cars turning right. As I stepped out into the roadway I realised that the car was not slowing down and so took a step back onto the median. At this point she braked, but because I'd stepped back shed continue on. Maybe I should have held my ground, but I didn't want to get ran over (obviously). What really annoyed me though was the fact that she mouthed a thank you as she drove past. All I could do was stand there with my arms open in a questioning gesture as it happened too quick for me to form words in my mouth.

This intersection has always been dangerous to cross at due to drivers in a hurry to get out of the station car park, and it's pretty much the only legal way to get to the station from that side of the road. For as long as I can remember this intersection has had flashing "watch for pedestrians" signs for cars doing right hand turns into the major road.

Last year an old woman was killed by a vehicle doing a right hand turn in exactly the same location. (I believe the vehicle was a bus, but don't quote me.) Afterwards there was a campaign by residents and the local ward councilor to improve the pedestrian crossing. This was somewhat successful, and resulted in some tweaking of the traffic light sequence by extending the walk time and larger brighter LED "watch for pedestrians" signs. The extended walk sequence allows you to get about half way across the intersection before the lights go green for cars traveling in the same direction and turning right (left hand turns from these directions have always been controlled by arrows). This is the point at which I nearly got hit last week, and was certainly not the first time, I've had many a close call at this location in the same circumstances. There is no room for either an underpass or overpass due to powerlines being located in the exact spot you'd put them (more on the effectiveness of these in slightly different circumstances at Peter Parker's blog), and short of having a "pedestrians only-only" time in the intersection I don't know what can be done.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Horrorscope Today

So I turn the page of the paper to read the following, I swear these are written by the same people who write the messages in greeting cards:

Ruling Mars comes home to roost and lights a fire underneath you. A sense of urgency replaces lethargy, prompting you to take charge and act instinctively. There is also more physical energy at your disposal.

I like the sound of that as lethargic is a pretty good description of how I've been feeling recently, a bit of energy would be good.

P.S. I remembered what it was that I thought I'd blog about tonight...

Bright ideas

I actually do have a few ideas for blog entries, but they are still formulating. On the train this morning I did have an idea that I intended to have a go at tonight, but I've totally forgotten it for now. I do some of my deepest thinking on the train and in bed at night, but it usually escapes me when the day gets into full swing and my brain is full of the day to day things. Oh well...

Perhaps I should write these things down?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Touching Base

God I hate that term. I over hear it used at work sometimes. Thankfully no one says it to me, if they did I'd punch them in the nose. I assume the term is of American origin, talking about touching bases in a baseball game. Perhaps not?

Anyway just "touching base" with another general update...

On Friday night I went to a play put on by one of the local amateur theater companies. It was called Silvia and was about a man finding a stray dog called Silvia in the park and taking her home. Basically he fell in love with the dog making his wife jealous. Silvia (the dog remember) was played by a person, and was almost too convincing in the role. As was said in they play, she really did have a cute butt, especially when she came back from the dog groomers in the frilly French knickers (ooh la la!).

One of the actors ( a man) played three roles, another male dog owner in the park, a female friend of the wife, and a gender bending psychiatrist. As he/she put it in the play, "am I a man pretending to be a woman or a woman pretending to be a man". By far the best of this trio was the female friend, who had trouble walking in high heels, an alcohol problem and who seemed to attract much attention from the dog. This resulted in more than a glimpse of suspenders and stockings from under her dress, and the audience in stitches. One observation I made of some of the older men in the audience at this point was that they didn't seem too keen on the idea of a man in drag, in fact they looked a bit uncomfortable if not threatened, the women however loved it.

Saturday, I went to the football. In the end Collingwood beat Carlton, I was very happy, we are now third on the ladder. Afterwards we went to the (new for this year) usual pub, the Imperial on the corner of Bourke Street and Spring Street. That place is bride central on Saturday afternoon, I reckon I saw at least 5 or 6 on the walk there. The other thing we saw on the walk from the 'G' was a pair of international students (they were Asian, and I assume that all young Asian people I see in the city are international students) throwing a tennis ball to each other in the Fitzroy Gardens. Not so strange, except that they were putting very little effort into their throws and showing almost no facial expression.

After a pint at the pub (happy hour!), we made our way down Little Bourke street looking for a feed. We ended up in a little place in Heffernan Lane called Kum Den (no I kid you not, almost as good as hung long video). For the price, the food was exceptional. Although, I was a bit concerned about the upside down Barramundi swimming around in the fish tank (there were at leas two of them), I made mental note not to order any fish dishes...

Sunday was of course mothers day. We took mum out for lunch to a nursery/cafe in Yarrambat. The food was pretty good, especially the mud cake I had for dessert. Later in the afternoon we went around to my brothers house for a barbecue which was also good. For mothers day this year I gave mum a DVD of Sweet Charity and Thoroughly Modern Milly (she likes old musicals) and some Belgian Sea Shel Chocolates, she seemed quite pleased.

From my eldest brother in Northern NSW mum didn't get a present, but instead the news that he is in the process of leaving his wife, which is not really the worst news in the world because we all (Mum, my brother in Melbourne, his wife and myself) think she is a bitch have seen it coming for years. Even my eldest niece (she's 10), daughter of eldest brother thinks it's a good thing that they get separated. The marriage was quite literally at the behest of a farmer with a shotgun not quite 11 years ago (you do the calculations). So far, it seems like an amicable separation...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The truth about Americans...

If we ever needed proof that Americans (by Americans I mean the U.S. government and agents there of ...mostly. I do realise that there are many switched on individuals in the USA just like everywhere else) are a bit dim about happenings (just) outside their borders, then read this.

I wish we had coins like this.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The good and the bad days

Yesterday was a good day, today was a bad day. Most days lately fall into the bad category. I've been late to work (while I have no set starting time, by late I mean that I arrive after my preferred arrival time), I've been tired, and feeling generally crap. Yesterday I worked out what it is. It's a lack of sleep, and a lack of preparation for the next day the night before. It feeds on itself, making me later and feeling crappier as each day passes, and it affects this blog, because I don't feel like using the computer at home when I'm in this state.

The difference with yesterday was that on Sunday night I made my lunch, arranged what I was going to wear, and went to bed early.

I also blame Connex, as if I leave too late and miss the 15 minute window of easy connections at Flinders Street I'm half an hour "late" for work. It happened this morning, I missed all four of my optimal conections, add in the uncertainty of which platform the next train leaves from, a bit of essence of late running, and you've got a recipe for me being pissed off. I mean my train left from platform 13 for gods sake, and then it was about 7 minutes late.

The ironing is taken care of, so right now I'm off to make some sandwiches...