Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shopping

Just got back from furniture shopping with SWMBO.

 

I was wondering why my backside felt so toasty warm until I realise it was the credit card starting to glow in my wallet.

 

Bloody hell, $7700 and more to come.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I love talkback radio

Heard the following call on the radio this afternoon.

 

Caller:  Yeah mate, just wanted to let ya know there’s been an accident in Somewhere St, in Suburb.

 

DJ:  Right…  that’s in Sydney, isn’t it?  What happened?

 

Caller:  Looks like a box trailer came off a car and took off down the road, it’s cleaned up a bloke on a bike and fed him into a wrought iron fence.

 

DJ:  Wow!  Does anyone know if he’s all right?

 

Caller:  I don’t reckon so.  The ambos ain’t here yet, but there’s a bunch of people standing around lookin’, and they ain’t all lookin’ in the same place…

Monday, August 29, 2011

Youtubing at 3:30am

It’s just after 3:30am here and I’ve been having a bit of a Youtube concert with myself, playing some of my old favourites and stumbling across some stuff I had forgotten – mostly doing a bit of an 80’s rock revival thing.  Some of the original video clips are great, some are freaking weird.  Lyndsey Buckingham’s Holiday Road video clip would be a good example of the latter, what the hell is that all about??

I decided to play one of my favourite songs, the original USA for Africa We Are The World track – fantastic song.  The best part of it for me is listening with my eyes closed, just picking out the famous voices – they’re so distinctive, they just leap out at you.  They’re voices I’ve been listening to for decades and they evoke so many memories, and even though it’s weird, Cyndi Lauper and Huey Lewis actually go pretty damn well together.  And Dan Akroyd looks seriously dorky up there at the back of the chorus.  Dude, seriously - haircut.

Then I found the remake version.  The We Are the World 25 for Haiti version.

Fuck. Me.

I actually had to look it up on wikipedia to see the "artist" list, and you've never seen such a monotonous list of self-styled, self aggrandising, utterly talentless fuckwits in your life.  With rare exceptions, the whole lot of them are a shambolic mix of "harmony", out of time ebonics mumbling and incoherent attempts at lyrics.  How the hell anyone could possibly regard any of it as being anything you'd possibly want to listen to defeats me, and mixing it all together is akin to churning vomit, dog shit and slime mould up - the individual ingredients aren't anything you want to deal with to start with, and the combination can only be described as truly vile.

You wouldn't read about it, but Celine Dion is actually the star of the track - she's basically doing Bruce Springsteen's bit from the original, and the vocal attack she's got going is both impressive and totally different to her regular genre.  Pink can genuinely sing too, as can Usher, but I have no idea what Tony Bennett is doing there - was he picked for comic relief,or because he was walking past at the time or something?

I suppose what struck me most about the whole experience is precisely how manufactured, synthetic, and unmemorable the whole lot of lackwits are.  In the original, you can pick out Kenny Rogers, Springsteen, Steve Perry, Dylan, Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick etc instantly.  Their voices are clear and distinctive, they're full of character, timbre and power.  The modern remake... is about as memorable as a McDonald's plastic cheeseburger. The "artists" will be forgotten in a few years as just another corporate manufactured wannabe who churned out a few tracks for the inbetweenies market and were then cast on the pile.  And as for the "gangstas" [c]rap artists... just sad.

Oh yeah, one last thing - who the FUCK let Babs Streisand sing?  That's bad.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Political unrest

I've been watching the slow-motion train wreck that is the federal ALP for some time now.  Not only does it interest me personally but it's got quite a bearing on my current job - the federal LNP have not exactly been NBN supporters, although it remains to be seen what that would metamorphose into should they get into power at any stage.  That's another discussion.

The biggest problem for the ALP at the moment is the unrelenting pressure the LNP seems to be able to provide, and damn effectively too.  There really are just too many targets being thrown out there or the hitting.

The ALP is more or less stuck with pursuing the catastrophic carbon dioxide tax, I fear.  The Greens likely know full well that this is their one chance to get this rammed through.  The public will remember this legacy of minority government and non-major party candidates for some time (because the major parties will keep reminding them), and I do think it's a prime example of where the looney fringe really can do some significant damage if allowed to.  Or not prevented from doing so.  If they want to should slogans from the sideline while they recycle their sandals I don't think anyone cares too much.

Ultimately, I think the carbon tax will be the rod that beats the ALP down at the next election.  Nobody likes a new tax (ever) and there's just too many opportunities for scaremongering and casting fear and doubt for the LNP not to make hay from it.  The tax won't be in operation for long enough before the next federal election for it to be proven that there's no adverse impact on the economy or consumers (assuming the ALP holds on that long, and I presume they would be waiting as long as humanly possible to call an election at the current rates of progress) so it's basically a free kick for the LNP to continue bashing it.

I don't even think Gillard can go to Bob Brown (Poofter Party) at this stage and look at face saving options, because Bob knows full well this a suicide mission, and he prefers oblivion to ongoing obscurity, knowing full well the public isn't going to forgive this one for some time.

The problem of the independents then arises.  One doesn't appear to give a damn about getting reelected one way or the other as long as his short term objectives are met, although he's not an LNP supporter.  Two have sided with the ALP because they like the political promises, and one with the LNP because that's where his political leanings fundamentally are, although he won't actually align with the camp.  What a fragile, insecure and weak bunch of people to determine the leadership of the country.

Frankly, if this government hasn't been an example of precisely why our system of government needs a revamp, I don't know what is.  I can see the looney minority parties growing over time, not decreasing, so this sort of thing is likely to become more and not less of a reality.  But I digress.

Interesting article in The Australian today on the crisis, basically saying dump Gillard for the good of the party.  On balance, I am increasingly thinking it's not a bad idea.  It gives an opportunity for the new leader to divest themselves of some of Gillard's baggage on boat people, although they would still be saddled with the partnership with the Poofter Party and the Craig Thomson affair.  All in all though, I think it's a gamble worth taking.  Tony Abbott is deeply unpopular as a potential PM against the most unpopular PM of some years, so a mediator could potentially strike a middle ground with the public.  On balance, I think it's time to go, Julia.

The ALP may also escape with Craig Thomson still in power, although tarnished - I see someone has done a quite effective Enron job on the associated financial records.  Tony Abbott's bleating aside, I suspect the case for the prosecution is about to unravel there.

The only remaining question is whether or not the independents would support a change of power by the ALP.  I think Gillard's job rides on that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No guess someone is channeling Ryanair here.

Ah, the internet at work.

Duck Tron from Ryactive on Vimeo.

Greenwashing

Ever since the furore and hand wringing began over plastic bags at supermarkets, I made a prediction as to what the outcome would be.  Lo and behold, here's a report published this morning showing EXACTLY what I thought the outcome would be.

Supermarkets get to cut their costs by not supplying plastic bags any more, or charging for them if they do.  Does anyone see a price cut to the consumer?  Pig's arse they do, and when the surcharge is a measly 15c then you can bet your arse that the cost to the supermarket was less than that to begin with.

The supermarkets will then SELL you a solution to the nonexistent problem by flogging you reusable bags, which you will forget and leave at home, thus forcing you to pay the surcharge or buy more next time.

You now don't have any bags to recycle as bin liners, so the supermarket will SELL you plastic liners, which end up as landfill anyway, thus acheiving nothing.

So what's the net impact of all of this?

Supermarket - cost saving through not supplying bags free, plus additional profits from selling reusable bags and bin liners.

Plastic bag manufacturer - either neutral or slightly positive, as they're making more reusable bags and bin liners that use more plastic than thin disposable bags, not less.

Environment - neutral at best, probably slightly negative as the bin liners contain more plastic than disposable shopping bags.

Consumer - takes it in the arse as usual and pays for everything to precisely ZERO BENEFIT.


Like anything greenies get near, this doesn't work, is totally fucking useless, and costs the consumer more.  Most rational people don't need a reason to detest tree huggers already, but this is why.  Fuck off and go recycle your sandals or something.

I see dumb people

Some of the people I work with are cretins.

 

I just received a calendar invite for a training session at work.  The e-mail trail shows my boss nominated me for the session, which is dumb action one – I’m on night shift that week, so apparently the ability to read the nice colour-coded roster I made for the team has eluded him.  Dumb action two is when the invitation sender completely ignores the fact that my availability is totally blocked out for business hours that day, BECAUSE I DELIBERATELY DO THAT SO IDIOTS CAN’T TRY TO BOOK ME FOR MEETINGS AND TRAINING SESSIONS WHEN I’M NOT AVAILABLE.  Does this stop him?  Nope, we’ll just send it anyway and let it be someone else’s problem to sort out.

 

I just rejected the invitation with no explanation, I’ll let them figure out why.

 

 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Archiving the good stuff

I read this years ago somewhere on the net, and who knows why just remembered it.  It still makes me laugh.

When I did my taxes this year I found out that I spent over $14,000 on Dates last year. Most of that was spent on dinner and drinks in Manhattan. Now don't get me wrong, I had some very good times, some great sex, some good conversations. Hell, I even made a good friend along the way, but mainly I came away from the date feeling extremely disappointed and with a lighter wallet. Date by date it's not THAT much money but it all adds up fast!

In the past I had a habit of always grabbing the check and paying whether my date was hot or not. Whether we clicked or not. Basically I felt ashamed to let her pay. I also kept and interesting statistic and even I was suprised that only 5% of my dates even offered to pay - yes you see that right- 5%! One girl in the entire year offered to pay for the entire check. A very nice gesture. But of course I paid and doubt she was sincere. In light of all this evidence I knew I had to change some things. So, this year.....

I DECIDED TO NEVER PAY FOR A FIRST DATE AGAIN. How did I do this? First I adopted the mindset that a girl should naturally assume she's paying for herself. Now this wasn't easy at first but I quickly got used to it. Then when going into the bar/restuarant/lounge etc. I would hand the server a credit card and ask them to open tabs for us.

HEY!-Did you catch that? I said 'TABS.' Yah, don't worry atleast 95% of the girls I meet miss that one too. Just to make sure I usually confirm that the server has understood me too. I do this when the date rudely answers her cell phone or is in the bathroom (probably using her cell phone). Guys, youknow the Mastercard "priceless" series of commercials? Well, let me tell you, you won't understand the meaning of 'priceless' until you see one of these girls handed their own check for 3 20$ martinis and overpriced food (that they would probably never buy on their own). It's also very relaxing to encourage the girl to eat and drink up because even at 20$ a pop for exotic gooey blender drinks I could care less how many of them she has - cause SHE'S PAYING.

Oddly enough when she realizes that there are individual bills there will a few prolonged moments of discomfort. But don't panic. Something that took me by surprise is how many girls suddenly have to 'go to an ATM'. I can't quite figure out if it's because their cc's are maxed out on shoe purchases or that they are trying to guilt me into paying.Well, probably a combination of both, but I'm remorseless after doing this for nearly 3 months now. Which brings me to my date last night...... omg.....

Of course the classy nice Irish pub I suggested wasn't good enough for her. Nah...she needed to to go somewhere more trendy. Ok, no problem. W? Hudson? Meatpacking Dist? SoHo? Where we going? So she picks a midtown hotel bar. Nice place. Little stuffy. Drinks, not bad and Macadamia nuts on the lounge tables (complimentary) nice! Of course I went thru my usual routine, handed the server a credit card asked her if we can start tabs she said, 'sure' and took the card. 1 drink in her cell phone rang. She appoligized, (she had to get it). So I moved into confirmation mode. Our waitress even missed the 'tabs' part but she adjusted on the fly and told me no problem. Boy, let me tell you - the girl i was with could really throw down the drinks. She was drinking scotch that was older than the hotel we were in. Of course I encouraged her the whole way.

She was like, wow they have Johny Walker BLUE label! I was like, 'you ever try it?' She's like....'Nooooooo!!!'

I'm like, 'go on....just get some'. She's like 'are you sure'. I'm like, 'look, if you want it, just get it!' So she ordered one, then another, and finally one more..... wow she was probably more than a little drunk. I stuck to my Stoli and Soda, splash of Cran.

When the BILL(S) came she sobered up fast. I caught a glimpse of hers, 5 drinks plus a little finger food $319.00 I think it was. She looked shocked and sick to her stomache when she saw 2 bills. Guess she thought I was buying. Think again. (The old me woulda soaked up the bill but steared her away from the Blue) I had 4 drinks, no food and a great buzz. Pricey Stoli, but overall still a good value (i ate a ton of free macadamias and almonds) $36.00. D*mn I thought, that BLUE label will get you every time. Of course she did more than

the traditional fumble through her purse. Her face was beat red and she was speechless. She left the bill on the table and excused herself for the restroom.

I had already paid and was sucking on some ice. The waitress was looking concerned. I told her, 'look'. Sure enough my date was heading out toward the front door. I slowly grabbed my coat as the waitress ran after her. Then security or a bellman grabbed her at the door and a small shouting match ensued. Can you imagine, she wastrying to leave - without paying!

Well, I didn't stick around to see what happened. All I saw was the poor waitress standing just inside the front door with a small coctail tray. She did look concerned but not paniced. A doorman and bell hop had the girl by the arm, outside and was semi-forcing her back inside, she wasn't getting away from this bill. I paid my bill. I had my receipt. But I couldn't help wondering why she ordered 3

Johnny Walker Blues, doesn't she know that stuff is expensive? Then I wondered if they had to arrest her while I had another drink at my local Irish pub.

I haven't heard from her again. Too bad, she was pretty cute too :(

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Synposis of an engineer

ENGINEERS AND SOCIAL SKILLS
Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social interaction.
"Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:
* Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
* Important social contacts
* A feeling of connectedness with other humans

In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:
* Get it over with as soon as possible.
* Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
* Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.


FASCINATION WITH GADGETS
To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories:
(1) Things that need to be fixed.
(2) Things that will need to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with them.
Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems. Normal people don't understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet. No engineer looks at a television remote control without wondering what it would take to turn it into a stun gun. No engineer can take a shower without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating would make showering unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a toy box full of sub-optimized and feature-poor toys.


FASHION AND APPEARANCE
Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming the basic thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied. If no appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no private parts or mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective of clothing has been met. Anything else is a waste.


LOVE OF "STAR TREK"
Engineers love all of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies. It's a small wonder, since the engineers on the starship Enterprise are portrayed as heroes, occasionally even mating with aliens. This is much more glamorous than the real social life of an engineer.


DATING AND SOCIAL LIFE
Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above function.
Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it's true that many normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before they start dating.
Male engineers reach their peak of physical attractiveness later than normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid thirties to late forties. Just look at these examples of irresistible men in technical professions:
* Bill Gates.
* MacGyver.
* Etcetera.

Female engineers become irresistible to male engineers at the age of consent and remain that way until several hours after clinical death.


HONESTY
Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth.
Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work. They say things that sound like lies but technically are not because nobody could be expected to believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is listed below.
* "I won't change anything without asking you first."
* "I'll return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."
* "I have to have new equipment to do my job."
* "I'm not jealous of your new computer."


FRUGALITY
Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation is simply a problem in optimization, that is, "How can I escape this situation while retaining the greatest amount of cash?"


POWERS OF CONCENTRATION
If there is one trait that best defines an engineer it is the ability to concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion of everything else in the environment. This sometimes causes engineers to be pronounced dead prematurely. Some funeral homes in high-tech areas have started checking resumes before processing the bodies. Anybody with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer programming is propped up in the lounge for a few days just to see if he or she snaps out of it.


RISK
Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever they can. This is understandable, given that when an engineer makes one little mistake, the media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.

EXAMPLES OF BAD PRESS FOR ENGINEERS
* Hindenberg.
* Space Shuttle Challenger.
* SPANet (tm)
* Hubble space telescope.
* Apollo 13.
* Titanic.
* Ford Pinto.
* Corvair.

The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this:
* RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people.
* REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.

Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are far too complicated to explain. If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project, then the engineer will fall back to a second line of defense: "It's technically possible but it will cost too much."


EGO
Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:
* How smart they are.
* How many cool devices they own.

The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare that the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an unsolvable problem until it's solved. No illness or distraction is sufficient to get the engineer off the case. These types of challenges quickly become personal -- a battle between the engineer and the laws of nature.

Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to solve a problem. (Other times just because they forgot.) And when they succeed in solving the problem they will experience an ego rush that is better than anything else.

Ken Block is back

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Carpentry standards

Went out and had a look at the house this afternoon, paint is finished and several square kilometres of Caesarstone installed.

Went across the road for a bit of a look at the place under frame and found these little joys.  They've either got a new apprentice or carpenter "Lightning" Larry had a liquid lunch?

And the construction supervisor gets pissed off when I insist on inspecting our place occasionally...





Thursday, August 4, 2011

Links of the day

Hey people - if you needed a newspaper article to tell you you're being ripped off $20 for a burger, chips and drink, then you're probably dumb enough to pay it too.

This works for me, although I doubt the livers of the same demographic would be worth much.

Parents OK with schools cheating?  What a surprise, check out the demographic in the photo.

Wow. what a surprise.  Who could have thought that something marketed as "Night fire heartily burnable lady's intense emotion" might be, like, dodgy?

It's apparently a "right" now to have a free mobile phone in America.  To quote the last line of the article:  "And who is going to pay for this gift? Well, of course the rest of us poor saps who actually pay our bills."