Thursday, June 30, 2005

Okay but no tongue

While out and about today I noticed a sign near the Whitfords train station:

Kiss n Ride --->
Beats buying a ticket.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What's in a name?

One of the things I saw today while in Wangara was a sign announcing an auction. Nothing unusual about that you say, but on this sign the auctioneer's last name was Biggersatff. Do you think that's a typo?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Time for patience



About this time last week someone rang me offering me a job as a cameraman to shoot a concert. It was late, my phone was on silent and so it went through to my voice mail. That was just the first of many missed calls that would occur over the following week.

I got the message the next day. I tried calling them back several times and each time the number rang out. Eventually, on Monday evening I got through. At first glance the job seemed simple, but there were some issues that the person - who was only acting as an agent for somebody else - was unable to answer. I gave them an initial quote based on the imformation I'd been given and waited for them to get back to me. We arranged for them to call me the following evening at 8pm.

Tuesday 10.30pm and still no call. I turn my phone to silent and head to bed presuming that they're not interested. Next morning I wake to find a message - left at 11:33pm - by the agent. They've accepted the quote but have been unable to answer the questions I asked. They give me two phone numbers so I can contact the contractor directly. I call their mobile number and go straight through to their voice mail where I leave a message.

Twenty-four hours later I still haven't received a reply. I call the other number and once again go straight through to voice mail and leave my message.

Friday morning I wake to find a message - delivered at nearly midnight - apologising and telling me to call them back. They also offer to extend the amount of hours they need me and ask me to requote based on this new imformation. I call back immediately and once again get the dreaded voice mail. I leave a message telling them that I'll call them at 8pm that night. I break my fast, shower only to come out to discover another message. The contractor might not be at their phone at 8pm so they'll phone me instead. I call them straight back. Voice mail. Hangup.

8pm I call them. Voice mail. Hangup. 8.30pm I call them. Voice mail. Hangup. 9pm: call. Voice mail. Leave message telling them that I'll call them between 9am and 11am Saturday - today - the night of the show. I leave my phone unsilenced - just in case.

This morning, still no reply. I call at 9am and get the contractor's infant kid brother. He's still living at home with his parents. His Dad comes on and I leave another message. 11am I have to go out to do some work. Very loud work and so I miss the message that comes through at midday telling me that the contractr now has a mobile phone and that I should contact them using that. What about the other mobile number? I don't get the message until 2pm - 4 hours until the gig is due to start. I call them back. Finally get the contractor.

I give him the new quote - almost double the original. He readily accepts which surprises me. I ask my questions which he almost answers to my satisfaction. Then I state my requirements: secure storage for my equipment including power outlet so I can recharge my batteries, check; free water throughout the night, check; payment in full upon completion, problem. He claimed as he wasn't getting paid for several weeks he couldn't pay me. Now, I do sometimes offer credit, but generally not more than 24 hours and almost never to new clients. I certainly wasn't going to offer several weeks credit to a kid, still living with his parents, that has a habit of not being contactable.

And so, instead of having my ear drums berated by 200db caterwaulling I'm at home, enjoying my first real day off in weeks.

Barefoot In The City

My CFMs underwent a catastrophic failure while I was teetering at the top of a very tall flight of stairs, so all in all I was lucky the only thing that broke was the right heel and not my neck.

8 years I've had those boots, damnit. I got citizenised in them. But I've clearly been tottering around in them just a little too often.

"When that happened to me," Kylie offered. "I just took it to one of those shops you find everywhere, you know, the little shops, and I was standing there in my socks, and they repaired it while I waited."

"Great!" I said. "Where?"

"Uh, Melbourne."

I unlaced and folded my boots away into my bag with a sniffle, went hunting for a set of Yellow Pages (fortunately the one I needed was not the one propping up a monitor), then trotted off in my bare soles to the closest listed boot repairs in Trinity Arcade.

(By coincidence I ran into some Yellow Pages people in the mall, but they were giving away free Found It! notepads and weren't actually any real help at all. Seriously, it's a notepad you use when you're looking for stuff and if/when you find it you tick the Found It! box.)

There, I showed the cobbler my boot with its heel swinging loose, and my bare feet. He understood the urgency of my situation at once.

"Well," he said. "I could glue it back on, and it might last 5 metres, or I could put a new sole on it, but it'll cost you $45-$50 and it won't be a today job. There's nothing else I can do for it."

"So it's dead?"

"It's very dead."

I packed my boot away and went shoe-shopping. The black-and-white tiled floor in Trinity, incidentally, has an odd depression pattern - was it actually laid that way, and was it caused by generations of pedestrians repeatedly stomping on the black squares? And if you think those patterned pavers for the visually impaired are hard on your feet, try walking on them bare-soled.

Going through the arcades, I felt like Gollum, bare feet slapping on cold polished stone floors... Crossing Adelaide Tce was rough, though, and not receommended.

And you certainly entertain some interesting stares from security and staff when you go browsing in the shoes section of a major department store in your dirty naked feet.

Alas, my quest was in vain. There're a few nice boots out there, but I think for the price of new boots I'd rather just go resole my old ones and invest in a set of proper work shoes to stomp around the office in.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What the cat dragged in

This was taken almost two weeks ago at TP's insistence. However she was too gutless to post it. Now I have time to scratch I thought I'd do the deed for her.

In case you can't work it out, this is a mouse - actually half a mouse. It was left on our front door mat and was probably the work of our house god, although we're not entirely certain. He's generally too lazy to bother mice and there is a veritable pantheon of house demi-gods in our general area so it could be any one of them making an offering to our Great One.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Can You Pass The UK Citizenship Test?

This has to be one of the funnier things my Dad's sent me (usually it's dubious health advice or the obligatory dirty joke - did I mention my people are from BradyBunchLand?).

Anyway, here're some sample questions from the UK Citizenship Test.
Skribe and I got scored 9. Don't think we'll be migrating there any time soon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Team Australia

I had to fight off the infidel Americans and stop them from destroying the house. I am just one man, but I managed to disable the platoon of M1A2 main battle tanks with just the holy Koran. Then I was forced to beat up a company of Green Beret assassins before I could implement the rescue, throwing myself in the way of the CIA bullet that threatened to exterminate Douglas Wood's life. I did it. It was me and just me.
-- Sheik Taj el-Din Al Hilaly, the real translation.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

At Least Alice Got To Be Queen

The other night I dreamt I was climbing down into a sprawling subterranean cavern all lit up like a convention hall bubbling over with voices but with nary another person in sight. I wandered over to the nearest grotto-stall, which contained a chessboard whose king-pieces were arguing.

The standard layout, they maintained, was a lousy simulation of actual battlefield situations because you couldn't, for example, carry out a simple flanking manuever on a chessboard.

Good point, I thought, and promptly woke up.


This was the layout, or very near it, that the quarreling kings were working on.

I never have normal dreams - there's either bodies decomposing in department stores, or Oscar Wilde and his literati pals are saving the world from alien invasion over a cup of tea, or skribe turns out to be a turquoise kingfisher.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Crashes and composting

Today feels like a really wasted day. I'm in the process of assembling the latest couple of episodes of Byte Me, balancing them and preparing to output them to tape and DVD. This involves me recording the "In this episode of Byte Me" voice-over that appears at the beginning of every episode. Unfortunately, all the microphones have been locked away and so I'm stuck. Instead, I've been looking for music on Soundclick and as a result my browser keeps crashing. I don't know why.

In between browser crashes and downloads I have at least managed to add bits and pieces to the script for a short film I hope to put into production within the next couple of months. The film is about schizophrenia and it's posing a real challenge. I'm not entirely sure how it ends yet, but the characters are so fascinating that I want to do right by them. The script should be finished before the end of June but if I can't get it quite right I'll let it compost a little longer so I don't disappoint them.

Friday, June 10, 2005


With the barrage of television advertising promoting the fact that the wrappers of a certain brand of feminine hygiene product are now coloured I'm left wondering if the idea is to encourage women to colour coordinate their tampons with their clothes. Or is a mood thing? I'm feeling blue today so I'll choose yellow because they go so well together. The problem with this sort of advertising is that it works. Give an insecure fifteen year old a chance of herd-oriented individuality and she'll jump at it. I'm also left wondering how long before I hear about a group of teens murdering one of their cohorts because she wasn't wearing the right colour. Gives a whole new meaning to a crips and bloods gang war.

Glassy cheeks

A video. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

16:30 Haiku

Late afternoon light

Moist with rain - ephemeral

As this fleeting thought.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On Art and The Desire To Murder

I'm beginning to formulate a new theory about art and artists (this might have something to do with the last couple of episodes of Gallery Watch I've been slogging through) and it goes something like this:

The more interesting their body of work, the less interesting they are as interview subjects.

It's as if their creative drive is all focused on what they do rather than who they are. They're not neccessarily better artists, or better at being artists; they are incredibly insightful and talented - they just haven't figured out how to speak in soundbites.
So that was my long weekend: cutting the mad Hungarian's funky camerawork, breaking in the new presenter (who, being French Canadian, has the cutest accent), and slicing together a comprehensible show out of 40 minutes' rambling conversation. Nice artwork, though.

But after a long weekend hours of mind-numbing tedium, all I've wanted to do is shoot things. So what do I discover? AR Quake (that's Augmented Reality Quake - halfway between VR Quake and gunning people down for real), and Human Pacman which was of course funded by the military.
With that sort of money behind it, it's hardly surprising there's such an increasingly sophisticated subculture of games developement designed around real-time interactive combat and strategy.

AR Quake

But it's not all frag-or-be-fragged, there're also non-violent games like CatchBob and A Force More Powerful, which simulates organising protest demonstrations. That's right, it's a strategy game about civil disobedience for politically conscious gamers, the sort of gamer who would probably be opposed to Kuma/War, for example.

I don't know which planet this is, but I think I love being on it.


If you'd like to see what the new swampland they're currently building near the Causeway will look like then perhaps you should take a look at it today. From what I saw this morning there are now three extra islands in the Swan and much of the work that they've been performing over the last couple of weeks has been washed away. If I have time I'll try to get some pics.

Well, we really do need the rain.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The hell that is Windows

Some of you may have noticed our lack of postings over the last few days. Well, in short we're both incredibly busy.

I would be significantly less busy if I didn't have to deal with the constant barrage of spyware that has suddenly infested my workstation at CTV. Everything was just going peachy until this weekend when I noticed popups and popunders galore. I've been in meetings and on the road since Tuesday and so I hadn't touched my machine since then. Others have been using it. We're always short of machines. It seems that whoever used the workstation on Wednesday somehow managed to get around my plethora of anti-spyware and anti-viral devices and not only managed to infect the machine with copious amounts of spyware (fairly easy to do) but also managed to attract the attention of about twenty different viruses and worms to boot, including a warez bot. I know it happened on Wednesday at 2.52pm because that's when all the warez are dated from.

As anyone who has tried removing these suckers knows, it's not a simple matter of firing up latest versions of Nortons, McCaffee, Ad-Aware or Spybot S&D. These babies require a lot more work and that's what I've been doing since Saturday afternoon. Not just my workstation but all the ones at CTV because unless you do all of them it's pointless just doing the one. Mostly it's waiting around for 150 different scans to finish, but sometimes it requires to real fiddly work which ain't fun and fraught with peril. The real problem is that even with all the measures I've taken I suspect I've only managed to eradicate 80-90% of them. They're notoriously hard to find and destroy, because somehow M$ has managed to create a system so insecure that even someone using a non-administrator account can completely fuck up your machine.

That's why I'm a linux guy.

Saturday, June 04, 2005