April 29, 2005

How To WOF Your Scud

For $86.35 in parts, $25 for the licence, and $0 in labour, the Scud has a WOF. I learned quite a lot in the process, the most important being: you can fix almost anything, as long as you read the manual.

The second important thing I learned is that wrecker's yards are goldmines. I got the rear light assembly for $50 from a yard, and Braxton quoted me $185 for the same thing!

I also learned how the speedo works, where the gearbox is, and where the horn is. And, almost inevitably, I found out that there (were) nests of spiders behind the dashboard and behind the light assembly. That should give you a measure of how determined I was do fix the damn thing myself.

(I considered placing the car under a large glass jar and calling for help, but I couldn't work out whom to ring.)

The only thing that needs doing that I'm not strong enough to do is the drivebelt adjustment. Might see if I can coerce someone into helping through flattery.

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April 28, 2005

Mechanically Minded

Today was a day of car-repairs. I managed to trace the fault in the horn to the relay system, and ascertain that the speedo cable was broken, not just detached. A wrecker sold me both spares for $30, and then it took about an hour or so to replace them - the speedo took an hour on its own, because I had to jack the car and rip out the dashboard to get to the gearbox and the back of the speedo. All is working nicely now though, and I figure I saved quite a bit of dosh by doing it myself. All it took was my Swiss Army knife and screwdrivers, and a $4 wrench from the Warehouse.

I felt very earthy doing my own car repairs. Who would have thunk it? 18 months ago I was too scared to drive to the supermarket.

Also, I got stung by a bee for the first time ever while I was crawling under the car. I must have smushed him with my ankle. It hurt a bit but not at all badly, so I guess I am not allergic to beestings...

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April 27, 2005

Shadowing 101

Is it just me, or does this woman have the most defined chin in the world? Somehow I suspect a dodgy retouching job. She looks like she's wearing a mask of her own face.


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April 25, 2005

ANZAC Trendiness

Skydiver's Legs Severed By Plane

An American skydiving cinematographer has been killed after his legs were severed in a midair collision with the plane he jumped from.

Albert "Gus" Wing had already deployed his parachute on Saturday when he struck the left wing of the DHC-6 Twin Otter propeller plane, a witness on the ground told police.

Both of Wing's legs were severed at the knees, but he managed to manoeuvre his parachute and land near the DeLand Airport, about 65 kilometres north of Orlando, Florida, the local police commander Randel Henderson said.

He later died in hospital, Henderson said. - smh.com.au

That just sounds so hideously unpleasant - can you imagine?
"Crap. Looks like both my legs have been cut off. Well, guess I'll try to manouvre through the haze of aertirial blood towards the airport... "

ANZAC and All That

I thought about going to the dawn parade today. And then I thought:
Most of the soldiers killed were young conscripts, not career soldiers. Most of those men died wanting nothing more than a clean shirt, a warm bath, a decent cigarette and maybe some beer, if possible. They didn't die thinking: Man, I hope that in 80 years' time people get out of bed really early once a year and stand around in the freezing cold remembering me.

They probably died thinking: This is so unfair. And so wrong. I've been terrified constantly for months. The food is terrible and the trenches are filled with water and rats. My feet are rotting. Sod the Empire. God sod the bloody King. I want to go home. I want to go to the dance with my girl. I want to see my kid at least once before I die. I want to go home.

The only reason I commemorate ANZAC day is because I know a fair bit about European military history in the 20th Century, and a lesser amount about the war in the Pacific. And I don't want it to be turned into the Glorious Dead Who Have Fallen. Let's be clear about what we are Lest Not Forgetting.

War is murderous. War robs countries of thousands upon thousands of men (and women) in the prime of their lives. Not only those who die in the conflict, but also their never-born children and grandchildren. WWI and WWII continued to function only through conscription and penalty after the reality of conflict became known.

Today we commemorate our Government forcing thousands and thousands of young men to be shipped overseas, disembowelled, blown apart and shot, infested with illness, captured, tortured and starved. Lest We Forget indeed.

I used to go to the dawn services, but they've just gotten bigger and bigger and I'm disturbed by the increased mentions of "glory" and fewer pledges towards actively eschewing war and working towards peace. Lest We Forget also means Never Again, to me, and I think that was the desperate wish of most soldiers, hence the label "War to End All Wars". But I feel like that message is being lost in "rememberance" (of what?) and "sacrifice" (forcible) and "glory"(please explain, particularly in terms of Gallipoli, the Almighty Fuck-Up)

Train Crash In Osaka, Japan

37 people dead and many others injured, it was a nasty crash (I think it clipped an apartment building). Japan's train system has such an excellent safety record, I'll be interested to see what the cause is put down to. There was mention of a train on the tracks.

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April 24, 2005

Heat Pumped

It's been the first really wintery day we've had and it was quite unpleasant. I saw some hail piles more than 30cm deep!

I had to venture out to buy food and a new cellphone charger. My bro sent me his phone cos it won't work in Canada, so all I had to do was rummage around for a compatible charger at Cash Converters. Sweet. My old cellphone was crappy to the point of fall-apart.

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It Frickin' Snowed Last Night!

I took Sock out to the bathroom a few moments ago and there was snow on the ground! Crazy, it's only April for gooodness' sake!

(later) My god! It's not snow, it's hail! That's impressive weather.


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April 23, 2005

Today I Fell In Love

With a little place on Bank's Peninsula called Poranui Beach. It's a stoney beach and a tiny place 25km from the nearest grocery store. But it's fantastically, fantasically beautiful and the whole place just felt warm and safe and like crawling into a warm sleeping bag.

Sock is being very annoying. I can't work out what she wants but I fear that I have been rewarding whining - she sometimes sits by the door and cries so I let her out to the bathroom, but she has started crying for the window down in the car/bones/pieces-of-watevayoureatin. I shall have to re-educate her over the next few days. She learns fast, both good and bad habits.

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April 22, 2005

What Is Sacred?

Why are we so upset over the disturbance of a battlefield (that contains human remains) to build a road in Turkey, but we don't really seem to give a damn that the Bypass in Wellington required the digging up a graveyard and the removal and breaking of many, many gravestones? To build a road also, I note. You will be driving over the bones of your ancestors when you commute to work.

They'd probably be glad that their descendants had efficient transportation systems and safer cars, but are the dead (Turkish, Australian, Kiwi and others) in Gallipolli any less progressive and forgiving in their views? And how would you feel, if your gravesite is turned into a motorway in 100 years time?

At least the war dead in Turkey get visited. Who will write 'Lest We Forget' in the wet asphalt of the motorway bypass?

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April 21, 2005

No Bloody "Gate"!

It should be made illegal for any media organisation to name any scandal by appending the primary noun with "-GATE".

It makes no sense! Watergate wasn't about water! It was at a hotel called the Watergate. Calling something "corn-gate" or "porn-gate" or "Camilla-gate" just makes no sense and seems to suggest lazy journalists.

"What shall we call our lead story?"
"What's it about?"
"We don't know yet, but it's big! Real big!"
"Let's go with: Scandal-gate."
"Brilliant. I beg you to father my children."

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Back With Another Theory

Smart people wear glasses, right? Perhaps it is not that we (I decided to include myself) ruin our eyes with excessive reading. Perhaps it is because wearing glasses for 16 hours a day leads to grooves in the skull, just behind the ears. The grooves are caused by the constant pressure of the glasses stems, I think. I need to check behind the ears of some non-glasses-wearing people.

So over time the grooves in our skulls puts pressure on the brain and makes us clever. Do you have grooves? Do you wear glasses? Are you smart? Giffy, can your students study this in rats for a science-fair project?

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It's A Misleading Layer Of Grime

The property manager did the property inspection today and left a letter on the bench telling me to 'vacuum and clean the stove top' (ok, the vacuuming hadn't been done for a week or so, but the stove had only been made messy from breakfast!) - for some odd reason she did not note down the paint on the carpet... or the paint on the curtains... or the missing lightshade from the lounge.

I'm guessing that this is because property managers for residential properties have to show that they're earning their fees, so if the landlord cares to ask he can be told that she left maintenance requirements with all the tenants. The fact that she missed the new hole in the bathroom wall (and the dog), while noting the dusting needed doing is beside the point. It's still required maintenance!

The problem for these residential p.m's is that the lease agreements are so broad as to be meaningless. Technically, I'm not allowed to use *blu-tac* for fear of marking the walls. It's not a hard injunction to follow: you can hardly find any spare wall space between the plethora of mis-matching boards, paint chips, screws, gouges, holes, nails and ancient wiring. I mean, part of my kitchen ceiling is made out of a door! None of the walls meet at right angles with the floor! And the carpet is the product of a colour-blind, art-hating accountant with a set-square and 3 shades of almost-green.

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No Sex Thanks, We're Married

The 200 women a year who seek help at a clinic in the Tokyo suburbs have not had sex with their husbands in up to 20 years, and some never, according to Kim Myong-gan, who runs the clinic.

"The women who come to see me love their husbands and aren't looking for a divorce," he told the Guardian. "The problem is that their husbands lose interest in sex or don't want sex from the start. Many men think of their wives as substitute mothers, not as women with emotional and sexual needs."

[...] The number of married couples is in rapid decline. In 2000 almost 70% of men and 54% of women between 25 and 29 were unmarried. That bodes ill for the birthrate, as conservative Japanese society frowns upon having children outside marriage.

A survey of 600 women found that 26% had not had sex with their husbands in the past year. - Guardian

Wow. Can you imagine never having sex with your partner? What on earth do you do on the wedding night? Play chess?

There's a property inspection today, which means a two-hour abscence of all things dog and dog-related :)

I'm really peeved, one of the other tenants has nicked off with the CD I won off Kiwi. All the mail comes to one mailbox and gets put on a table in the main hall, so it's not the most secure system in the world. Wah! I want my Fastcrew.

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April 20, 2005

Take 30 Minutes And Do It

Call your local blood service and donate blood today (they are open early mornings and usually have a late night too, if you have time pressures). It saves lives and is the closest thing to organ donation most of us can get.

NZ Blood Service - What Blood Is Used For

All blood types are currently needed from donors aged between 16-60, weighing over 50kg, have had no body piercings or tattoos in the past six months, and did not live in the UK between 1980-1996 for longer than six months.

Just 470mls of blood is taken per donation, which the body replaces in 36 hours, with people able to donate every three months.

So get in there and bleed, dudes. They check your haemoglobin each time so you don't have to worry about anaemia, and it gives you a lovely excuse to have a Moritz for afternoon tea and butter chicken for dinner...

Each donation you make can save up to three lives, but as you can see from the link above, there are a whole bunch of needs and uses. 4 out of 5 NZer's will need blood products at some point. So if it ain't you, it'll be someone you love.

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Papal Eggs

German Cardinal Jospeh Ratzinger has emerged as the new head of the Roman Catholic church. He will be known as Pope Benedict. - and I read it first in The Mirror, of all places.

Sock was rather pleased to see me yesterday (ecstatic yelpy barks and bouncy dancing). Deb was out when I popped round so I haven't caught up with her yet.

One of the other tenants here locked herself out so I gave her a ride to the property managers' to get the spare key. She's really nice and through the course of our discussion I ascertained that at least two other tenants are also breaking the pets rule, which puts me in a stronger position should any problems arise. Frankly, given the nature of this place, they're probably glad we aren't manufacturing P or using the premises as a brothel.

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April 19, 2005

Back With A Theory

This is my theory of eating disorders from what I've seen and the folks I've talked to. Sample size: 9 bulimics, 6 anorexics. All girls. All pretty solidly middle-to-upper socio-economic groups.

I reckon, by and large, that parents who are overly indulgent with their kids and don't set boundaries too well, who are emotionally available but also emotionally volatile, who don't believe in discipline (especially not of any physical nature), who want their kids to feel good about themselves but don't provide a rational framework of achievement and responsibility - these parents are likely to produce a bulimic daughter.

These are girls who feel they are entitled innately to good things, but who have a sneaking suspicion that they're not good enough, not tough enough, not confident enough to make it 'in the real world'.

Parents who are emotionally unavailable, strict, perfectionist or hyper-critical, unwilling to express affection physically, unforgiving, inflexible and remote are more likely to produce daughters with anorexia.

Anorexics are often unable to form deep friendships with others; even when they do, they undermine and mistrust this (they're only putting up with me because I'm so ugly and pathetic"). Anorexics are often trying to shut out the world, or to shut off avenues for criticism ("I'm sorry everything I do falls short of your standards, but at least this diet can't be criticised... no fat! no sugar! no reason to tell me I'm failing again...").

Anorexics are more likely to die of the disease than bulimics, and are harder to treat. Anorexia in about 5-10% of cases (from what I've read) persists for longer than 15 years, and if you were abused as a young child, you are more likely to develop anorexia; conversely, adult-rape victims more often develop bulimia. I think it's basically because people with anorexia are wound up over everybody and eveything in the world waiting to jump on their every mistake and pillory them for it. Bulimics are often more able to connect emotionally with people, and that makes a huge difference in their prospects for recovery.

That's not to say that bulimics are happier; that'd be ridiculous, all eating disorders are misery to live in. But I do think it usually means that bulimics are "wholer" people and that may make the therapy process more effective.

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April 15, 2005

I'm away from my desk for a few days...

Proper posting will resume upon my return. In the meantime, comments on recent entries are welcome (thanks Vincent!)

Play nice, kids!

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April 11, 2005

Comments are broken...

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! That means my opinions will go completely uncontested! A captive audience! Except that you're not tied up. Or even compelled in any way to read this. And most of you have your own blogs, so can write your contestations with impunity.

Oh, mighty Internet. While you give much power, you consistently undermine it, too, thus preserving the delicate eco-system of the technology sector, where new products improve in capability but decrease in reliability just enough to keep most of us employed.

Here is the detail from a painting I quite like - bad lighting/contrast however in this shot.


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Early. Even The Birds Are Sleeping.

Do you know what happens when you take pills to make you sleepy every night and then you run out of them over the weekend and don't have any left? You go to bed at 10pm, examine the ceiling for a bit, doze, awake at midnight, untangle body from sheets, get up... the good thing is that this will allow me to pull all-nighters without any trouble at all. The bad thing is that I don't have any need whatsoever to pull all-nighters.

I came across a quote I rather like, it's attribuited to Winston Churchill:
You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they've exhausted all the other possibilities.

I also came across an intriguing idea in a very clumsily-written but fascinating book called Winter World by Bernd Heinrich. Burning wood is actually burning stored solar energy. So by that logic, my car runs on very old sunlight. I'm such an environmentalist! I can't wait for one of the fuel companies to pull a McDonald's: Clean, Solar-Powered Fireplaces, Our Coal Uses Only 100% Prehistoric Sunlight and Wood: God's Batteries

I hope the books were purchased by pulp paper companies.
No one does the culture of death with more of a vengeance - literally so - than the doomsday right. The "Left Behind" novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins all but pant for the bloody demise of nonbelievers at Armageddon. And now, as Eric J. Greenberg has reported in The Forward, there's even a children's auxiliary: a 40-title series, "Left Behind: The Kids," that warns Jewish children of the hell that awaits them if they don't convert before it's too late. Eleven million copies have been sold on top of the original series' 60 million.

[...] NBC broadcasts its "Left Behind" simulation, "Revelations" [...] In the pilot a heretofore nonobservant Christian teenage girl in a "persistent vegetative state" - and in Florida, yet - starts babbling Latin texts from the show's New Testament namesake just as dastardly scientists ("devil's advocates," as they're referred to) and organ-seekers conspire to pull the plug. "All the signs and symbols set forth in the Bible are currently in place for the end of days," says the show's adult heroine, an Oxford-educated nun who has been denounced by the Vatican [...] - nytimes.

I don't think it'll make my top ten.

But this does!
Though the president of the United States believes that the jury is still out on evolution, John Paul in 1996 officially declared that "fresh knowledge leads to recognition of the theory of evolution as more than just a hypothesis."

The Texas specialty drink I read about this morning - beer and tomato juice, called a 'red draw' - sounds like the fastest route to projectile vomiting yet invented.

http://www.haveyougotthetouch.co.nz/lynxtouch/nz/launch.aspx - This is the Lynx Touch marketing campaign. How tasteful.

In other pornography news, archaeologists reckon they've found a pornographic statue about 7,200 years old. For some reason they found this surprising. I've always kind of assumed that humans used to be a lot more relaxed about sex, before all this religion got in the way.

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April 10, 2005

It's A Hell Of A Toboggan Ride

I have decided to give up on the environment. Not locally, but globally. It's all far too complicated to work out what the right thing to do is, so I'm just going to buy whichever smells the best or has an amusing ad.

I no longer care if people want to use disposable nappies, or wrap each grocery item individually in plastic. You want to buy tap water in plastic bottles, be my guest. I'm no longer going to recycle. Hell, if I get enough money I may well start buying sanitary products again. I want to chuck liberal amounts of bleach into the sewer so that my toilet smells like a pine forest. I'd like a toilet seat made of an exotic wood, since wood is much warmer in the winter.

Also, I think I'll buy the fancy, quilted, scented, too-good-for-my-turds toilet paper from now on. I don't know if I can quite bring myself to buy Tegal products yet, but I'm sure my rising apathy will drown the residual conscience pangs eventually.

So basically, I will join the rest of the world in making my immediate environment more pleasant and convenient at the expense of the wider environment. I mean, lets face it, how much of that wilderness crap did you ever use, anyway? Frankly, most of the earth is made up of places you aren't, and will never visit. And if you don't plan on having kids, you don't even have to feel bad about ruining the planet we 'borrow' from the next generation: from your point of view, you get to borrow the planet from complete strangers. You might even indirectly kill off the progeny of an enemy.

Read about it... or not. You can't do anything, so it's only FYI.

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April 09, 2005

Blessed Are The Sock-Owners

I am so lucky to have Sock. When the world is a nasty, cruel place, she at least will cover my face with kisses. She understands laughing and crying; when I laugh, she lies down in front of me waiting for a game, but when I cry, she shoves her nose in under my hands and licks away the tears.

She depends on me for food and for walks, and I depend on her for warnings and for love. She tells me before I get into a situation that might hurt me, and I try to look out for dangers she might miss, like cars or bigger dogs. We're a partnership, and I think one of the most humbling realisations in my life is that there isn't a senior partner in our relationship. If Sock thinks I'm wrong, that I'm going to walk out on the road and have a seizure, she will flat-out disobey me. If I think Sock is going to put herself in danger, I yell for her and if she doesn't obey she gets a smack.

I think Sock probably feels a bit like a kid with a mum who needs her help occasionally. I get the final say most of the time, but if Sock thinks it's important, she makes her views known. She saved my life numerous times.

I feel so lucky and so grateful to have Sock. And thank you, hugely, to all of those of you who've helped us out financially and emotionally over the years - it has made a huge difference, and believe me, you are remembered in our thanksgiving. If it weren't for you guys I might not have Sock, and were it not for Sock, I'd be dead by now many times over.

Posted by phreq at 11:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If You Have Any Answers... Any At All...

I hate caring about how I look. I am so bloody sick of it. It makes me feel like a shallow loser to be so fucking worried over my weight. I don't want to care about it!

My fondest wish at the moment is for someone to shoot me full of tranquilisers and hospitalise me for six months until I am at my scientifically determined ideal weight. That's about the only solution I can see, and that's terrifiying, because it's a solution that isn't going to happen.

I've gotten up to my 'correct' weight a couple of times and ended up back in the pits of anorexia. I don't think it is, except at its most obvious, a weight issue. It's so hard to try to eat 'right' outside of a very short time frame. Within a week or two at the most, I'm back to eating the corners off bread and reasoning that wine counts as carbohydrate servings.

God! I don't want to be this pathetic weak shallow bitch who cares about her weight enough to die from it. I'm not that person! Why the fuck is she trying to kill me?

But as soon as I put on weight, I hate myself. To the point of considering cutting the fat off myself, physically. To the point of wanting to suicide, because it seems so hard to have to choose between a thin pretty corpse or a big fat hunk of lard that lives.

God I don't want to care about this anymore. Make it stop!

Posted by phreq at 11:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Against The Law

Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign in disgrace as archbishop of Boston two years ago for protecting sexually abusive priests, was named by the Vatican today as one of nine prelates who will have the honor of presiding over funeral Masses for Pope John Paul II. - nytimes

What a slap in the face for the victims. Makes you wonder if the Catholic Church even registers sex abuse as a problem.

In Texas, a father shot his son's high-school football coach and left him critically wounded. The motive appears to be anger over his son's exclusion from the team. Apparently the father had been banned from games after several other violent and aggressive outbursts against players and parents.

I'm going to go see the Heavy Jones Trio tonight at the Dux Deluxe - got the tickets off Kiwi. Also I won the new Fastcrew album yesterday. Lucrative radio listening!

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April 08, 2005

UnLegal Minds Want To Know

Could I get Tegal (or their suppliers) charged with animal cruelty? And how would I go about doing that? The way battery chickens are kept is just barbaric, I can't believe that we allow such farming methods in this country.

Posted by phreq at 03:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

There's An Obesity Epidemic? Stop The Press!

Campbell Live appears to cover things neither current, nor events. The housing market? The obesity epidemic? Sexual habits? Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't these topics been done before, at some stage?

And not only did I have to sit through one episode of 'fight the flab', apparently it's an 8-week-follow-up situation. How bloody, bloody boring. Haven't we got... um... at least 3 reality shows based on the same thing?

I thought CL might actually be hard-hitting interviews and new current events. There ain't too much controversey in 'House Prices: Invercargill Vs. Auckland - The Ultimate Grudge Match'. Nor in 'exercise more, eat less.'

A more interesting show could have contained the frightening upsurge in eating disorders among both men and women. Services in NZ are absolutely swamped. More and more guys are struggling with bulimia and steroid/thermogenic use. Girls are developing bulimia, anorexia and over-eating type disorders at record rates. They're getting sick younger and staying sick for longer (13 years for myself), and the death rates are going up disproportionately. If you have an eating disorder, there is a greater chance of dying from it now than 15 years ago.

I've heard a bit about that major earth/environmental report that was released a couple of weeks ago. Basically, it appears that we are screwed - we as in humans, not we as in planet. Human beings will drown wallowing in their own crapulence, as C. M. Burns would put it. So I've decided to stop worrying about it. I can do absolutely nothing to convince people to stop trawling the waning fisheries. Sugar companies do not care about one lone nut insisting that they should have raw sugar in paper, not plastic, bags.

I reckon this is the last couple of generations with a hope of a 'better' life than their parents. The enviornmental damage is not going to 'catch up with us' until it is really hurting us. And all those nasty little secrets (like the cubic tons of high-level nuclear waste) that we conveniently ignored for a hundred years or so is going to bite us on the ass.

After that, I reckon people and at least 75% of species will perish over a few hundred years.

What's your Friday Doomsday?

Posted by phreq at 02:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Stand & Deliver (Part Two)

Further to the other day, [while the] deliveryman sat in a stuck elevator for more than three days in a Bronx apartment tower, the police searched the building with such fervor that one resident and his two friends were locked up and even questioned over a barbecue stain on one of their shirts that looked like blood, the resident and the police said yesterday.

"I had sauce on my shirt from three days ago. They made me write, 'I'm Troy Smith. You can have my shirt for testing,'" he said, an account confirmed by Chief Collins. "They kept on coming back and saying, 'Where is the Chinese man and what did you do with him?' I said, 'I don't know.' "

And yet, the whole time, a small camera in a rear corner of the elevator car that held Mr. Chen, Car No. 2, relayed live signals to a functioning - albeit small and dim - monitor in the Tracey Towers security office, where security officers are always present and the police were a frequent presence during the search. No one could recall seeing Mr. Chen on the tiny screen. - nytimes.com

But the most damaging effect of this fiasco may be this: Mr. Chen is an illegal immigrant, a fact that his family shared with the police and that was publicized during the manhunt.

Posted by phreq at 08:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 06, 2005

Quotable Quotes

I know that in your culture it's rude to look people in the eye. In my culture, it's also rude to stare at someone's breasts and drool. - bro town

Would you stand for 12 hours to look at the pope's dead body? I don't think I would. I might wait for an hour or two, if I happened to be in Rome.

I'm feeling kinda fat and unhappy at the moment. I'm in a lot of pain and it is really hard to work out what to do to make myself feel better. Plus I have an appointment with WINZ tomorrow where they will try to take some money off me.

I took Sock for a walk around Hagley Park yesterday - it took over an hour! Both our tongues were hanging out by the time we finished. They have a stupid (imho) rule that no dogs are allowed in the Botanic Gardens, which means you have to cut across into the centre of the park or take the pavement along by Christ's College. It's even more illogical when you factor in that dogs can be exercised off the leash in Hagley Park, and that there is no clear border between HP and BG.

I have tickets to the Heavy Jones Trio gig at the Dux this Saturday, which should be good fun. Mel etc is going along too.

Posted by phreq at 09:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Stand & Deliver! (Then Wait)

A delivery man in the Bronx spent 3 days trapped inside an elevator in an apartment block. He finally managed to use the emergency line to ask for help, but not before sparking a major land and sea search. Apparently, delivering food in New York can be a dangerous trade - 3 times in 5 years, delivery people have been killed by their customers.

Anyway, this guy delivered all three orders to the apartment block and then just 'disappeared' - and no-one noticed that the elevator wasn't working! Poor guy. Even worse that he'd delivered the food first!

This is a disaster/lawsuit waiting to happen:
Federal highway officials concluded in a report released on Monday that the leak-prone Big Dig tunnel project is structurally sound and safe for motorists.

The Federal Highway Safety Administration started an investigation after a fissure in an underground wall in September caused sand and thousands of gallons of water to gush onto the Big Dig, the underground Interstate 93 roadway through the heart of Boston. - nytimes

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April 04, 2005

AIDS Infections Up

Be careful if you're cruising. Rates of HIV infection are up right across the USA, and spiking rates of syphilis indicate that this might soon become a new outbreak.

Crystal Methamphetamine (P) is a huge problem. It makes people feel completely invulnerable, gives a huge surge of energy, and decreases mental capabilities. In Sydney as well as New York, P use is soaring, and it's leading to sexual marathons, without protection, of as many as 17 different partners in a night.

The new strain of HIV is still kicking around under the radar of most news organisations, but do remember that it's out there.

Dental dams for those of the female persuasion are available from d*vice.

I thought this was one of the more insightful comments I've read:
There is a growing sense that the traditional sloganeering about condoms and club drugs is about as effective as birth-control campaigns that rely on abstinence. The only hope for changing behavior, public health experts and psychologists say, is to recognize and address the underlying factors that propel men into risky situations. Loneliness, alienation and self-hatred, they say, are the real culprits that need to be addressed. - nytimes.com

Posted by phreq at 07:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Aging China

Because China is so populous, I usually think of it as a predominantly young society, a bit like India or African countries. But in actual fact, the two decades of strict family planning means that China has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the world. For the next 15 years, the number of people entering the work force will decline every year.

This is putting China in the somewhat odd position of a labour shortage - not in general terms, but in terms of the young, skilled, migrant workers prized by factories and technology companies. Wages are being driven up, and this in turn strips some of China's competitive advantage. Some of the work will probably now shift to Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

I feel like I should record that the Pope is dead. He is.

Damn, did you see the Aussie aid helicopter crash in Indonesia? 9 Australian Defence Force personnel killed.

And this is what happened in Florida in the two weeks of Terry Shiavo madness:
There was the abduction and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Homosassa, and the subsequent news, reported by The Miami Herald, that the whereabouts of 1,800 sex offenders registered with the state are unknown. The Legislature debated a bill that would allow law-abiding citizens to use deadly force against an attacker in public. The indictment of Orlando's mayor on a charge of paying someone to collect absentee ballots moved forward, and news emerged that a petting zoo was the likely source of a bacterial infection that sickened two dozen people, mostly children. - nytimes.com

I think what annoys me about the Terry Shiavo case is that was such a non-question. ALL the doctors said she was screwed. The courts ruled in line with the doctors. And I can't help but think if she hadn't been able to open her eyes and 'smile' or 'blink', and she'd just been lying there in bed for 15 years, there would have been no story. It just made good TV because she looked more alive than she was.

And finally, in the "only in America" file today:
Shootings Fuel A Drive To Ease Gun Laws
Paul Bucher, the district attorney for the Wisconsin county where a man opened fire in a church service last month, killing seven people and himself, has one answer to the deadly mass shootings around the country in recent weeks: more guns.

"The problems aren't the guns, it's the guns in the wrong hands," said Mr. Bucher, a Republican who recently announced his candidacy for Wisconsin attorney general. "We need to put more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

See, what I like about this approach is, Mr Bucher obviously has a cunning system that allows him to tell in advance who is going to remain a law-abiding gun-toting citizen, and who is going to run amok. This will be incredibly useful, because up 'til now, most people in these cases have called the perpetrator "a nice guy", "wouldn't hurt a fly", "such a quiet, gentle man".

Posted by phreq at 07:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 03, 2005

The Experiment Continues

It's been a week since the divorce with my parents, and things are settling down a bit. It might sound a bit strange, but I was really tense over this weekend. In the back of my mind I wondered if they would jump on the next plane down here when they got my letter. When that didn't happen, I worried that they were waiting for cheaper weekend flights (which would be their preference). But now it is Sunday night, and I can safely assume that they haven't done that either.

I kind of feel guilty for hoping they might come down... it genuinely wasn't a "cry for help", it was an intended separation, but, a little part of me still kinda held out a sliver of hope that they would magically turn into my dream parents and come down here.... sad huh?! Make up your mind, girl...

So now I feel a little more assured in the appropriateness of my actions. It's all good, I just have to be aware of the flux of the situation and not burn my house down along with my bridges. :)

I'm in a shitload of pain at the moment, it's so hard to deal with. Why oh why am I forced by the medical profession to be a criminal in order to acquire pain relief? Is it better for me to die of cancer of the mouth from a pipe, or to have a managed opiate addiction? HELP ME!!!

Someday I'll find a doctor willing to take a chance. Someday. It's been 7 fucking years of constant pain - I mean that - but it is easier for the doctors to protect their arses and get me to be a criminal. They'd rather I smoked pot endlessly than prescribing 100mg of pethidine a day.

Posted by phreq at 06:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 01, 2005

How To Fix A Shrieking Car

Take one can of Salon-Laquer Super-Hold Intense Hair Spray (I'm guessing the marketing team had a thesaurus) and one bottle of talcum powder. Find the belty thing somewhere under bonnet in the region of the driver's side.

Prod dubiuosly with finger. Experiment with crawling under the car but decide that it's too pointy and oily. Peer into depths, shake hairspray, spray belty thing liberally with hairspray. Shake talcum powder into hand and sprinkle on the glue (sorry, hairspray).

Close bonnet, pray. Start car, hoping that the strong solventy smell doesn't ignite on ignition. Hurrah! The shrieking car protesteth no more. Well, not audibly. Rather similar to cutting someone's tongue out and reporting 100% reduction in complaints, seeing as the hairspray and talcum powder are unlikely to replace the belt with a new one.

Carry on for another 27 days, little scud! Then we will have a warrant check and a serious talk with dr. Kervorkian.....

Posted by phreq at 06:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Enemy of My Enemy...

...will unite with me briefly in denouncing those eeevil homosexuals. Then we can all get back to blowing each other up in the name of our respective Lords.

International gay leaders are planning a 10-day WorldPride festival and parade in Jerusalem in August, saying they want to make a statement about tolerance and diversity in the Holy City, home to three great religious traditions.

Now major leaders of the three faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - are making a rare show of unity to try to stop the festival. They say the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable. [...] "We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem." - nytimes.com

I have a horrible feeling that Indonesia's tourist industry is going to suffer more from this latest earthquake (last toll I read was about 700 deaths) than from the Boxing Day tsunami. People don't like lightning striking twice, particularly not when scientists are saying there's almost certainly going to be at least one more significant quake in the area because only one of the two faults known to be stressed have shifted.

Posted by phreq at 08:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack