July 31, 2005

Reining In

I went to the mall yesterday and a young mum with a baby in a pushchair and another kid wearing 'reins' almost crashed into me. She apologised profusely and then said "oh, I feel so bad having him on reins, people must think I'm a terrible mum!". I said "are you kidding? At least your kid is learning motor-skills, social skills and getting some good exercise!"

She looked at me in complete shock for a second, and then gave me this huge smile and said "most people make me feel like I'm treating my son like a dog!"

Poor lady. Some people must be pretty bitchy to her. I've noticed that, actually; kids wearing reins are often subjected to some nasty looks. I just think that, like breastfeeding, surely we should allow and encourage our youngsters to develop their physical skills in public. I admire the parents for doing it - I'm so impatient I usually encourage kids to use a buggy or something, rather than walk along at short-legs pace, examining *every* stick and *every* flower!

So Very Tired

I think I've got (or am getting) a cold or something - my joints and throat are sore and I'm coughing worst than a habitual smoker. I'll have to be careful not to pass it on to any kiddies, they might find it quite hard to breathe if they get it and that seems to make them panic (understandably).

An $80 Gamble

My phone was playing up yesterday and this morning I couldn't get a dial tone at all. I had (somewhat prudently) taking the non-working phone to Cash Converters and checked that it wasn't, in fact, the phone that was broken - it worked just fine on their line.

So I phoned Telecom and they said - sure, we'll come out and have a look. If it's our fault, it's free - but if it's your equipment, it's $81.00. I was actually just glad to ascertain that I hadn't been cut off for non-payment! Anyway they came and fixed it this morning without me even seeing them, so it can't have been my equipment.

Way To Throw

I had a rather disturbed night last night - waking at 10.30, 12.30, 3.00 - and, following my usual rule, made myself get up and do something until I was tired, rather than lying in bed thinking "must sleep!"

At some point, I must have decided to have a good clean up and then gone back to bed and forgot it, because when I woke up, I couldn't find my glasses *anywhere*. I was freaking out - they weren't in any of the usual 'lost glasses' places - when finally the dying embers of my mind flickered... and I found my $800 glasses in the rubbish bag, which I was just about to go chuck in the wheelie-bin.

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July 30, 2005

Amazing Artwork

This is a huge sculpture by a NZ artist - you can see it from space. Read the article in the NZ Herald.

Catholic Tastes

Sock will eat banana, manadarins and spicy potatoes. She also eats fish, chocolate biscuits, hot chocolate, tepid tea and, well - whatever you're having, really. At least she is not fussy.

Retail Denial

I've been quite depressed the last few days. My phone bill is frighteningly huge (over $300) because I have been putting it off for months "until I have more money", which just goes to prove what a foolish optimist I can be. On the bright side though I have just changed my phone plan to one that will save me around about 1/3rd of the cost of calls. Now I just need to pay Tcom before they cut off my phone!

So you can see why I'm depressed, and why the opportunities for retail therapy are slim to nil unless I throw all reasonableness down the sink. But I do need a couple of pairs of socks that don't have holes in them, so I mite have to visit the Warehouse.

I went to see the Gastroenterology people at the hospital yesterday, who were very nice (although I cried the whole interview, which must have been a bit odd for her) and I have another appointment coming up in a few weeks, at which time she will probably give me an idea of what exams they need to do and how unconscious I will be at the time.

I am crying far too easily at the moment, which is depression as well, despite the anti-depressants I'm taking - although they are good. It is pretty embarrassing because I keep crying in public for no reason at all. My nose and eyes colour-coordinate with my hair! *wink*

Hopefully I will hide out this weekend with Sock and get some sort of grip emotionally again before I get back into the next round of meetings and appointments and emotional idiocy next week.

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July 29, 2005

Fresh Meat

"My goal that night was to beat up the biggest tourist I could find," said Nate Hawn, 20.

He picked a marine, he said, and beat him in the crowded streets. A stranger approached, and the Hawns wondered if he wanted some, too.

The man said that he worked with a promoter of cage fighting and that the guys should come to Sioux Falls in a few weeks. "He said, 'You guys are exactly what we're looking for,' " the brother with the mohawk, Ryan Hawn, recalled. - nytimes.com

Shockingly Egalitarian

MANCHESTER - The Taser stun gun was put to the test when Britain's second most senior policeman agreed to be a guinea pig.

Michael Todd, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, volunteered to be a "victim" to show how its 50,000 volts could be used to tackle crime.

"It hurt like hell," he told the Mail on Sunday. "I felt the full surge of the shock from my fingertips to my toes. I wanted to fall forward but was absolutely unable to move. It was incredibly painful." - nzherald.co.nz

I Wonder How Big The Market Is

Coming soon: the drug company that brought us Viagra has set its sights on solving a rather less notorious sexual problem - the premature female orgasm. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has patented drugs to make it harder for women to climax during sex.

Pfizer believes couples do not complain about the condition "partly because male partners often choose to take rapid orgasm as positive feedback on their skill as a lover". - guardian.co.uk

Finally, a cure.

Keep Digging

A chick who lives in the same flats that I do got her car stuck in the mudbath mockingly referred to as a "lawn" yesterday. We managed between the two of us to get the car free, because she hadn't kept wildly spinning her wheels when she realised she was stuck, so it wasn't dug down too deep.


Talk about biting the hands that feed you:
"He said he had lived on the streets during the day, getting what food he could. Then his parents managed to send him to Britain." - nzherald.co.nz

It doesn't mention how old he was at the time, but what we do know is that he decided to blow up part of the land that took him in. This was Yassin Omar, who tried to blow himself up on the tube last week. (I'm skipping the "allegedly-s", you can put in as much reasonable doubt between the facts as you wish).

Maybe we shouldn't be so hurried to help those 5,000 World Vision kids who want sponsors. Surely this is merely clasping thine enemy to thy breast and feeding it on your blood and guilt, so that it may grow strong and secretive, tucked away, until one day little X'tach*click*mgrx decides to take your sponsorship money and spend it on a plane ticket and some dynamite.

Shouldn't Muslims be good at accepting their lot in life? They always seem to say "If Allah wills it" about everything, which seems a very relaxed attitude to life. Maybe Allah willed them to be born in a sucky country with more sand than fashion sense. Maybe Allah is happy to watch children in carpet factories, and very unhappy to see them in day-care. Perhaps he wills that the infidels will die and he really, truly does need mortal help. The tsunami was his best effort, but he missed the Christians and took out the Muslims, which seems to show a sporting attitude on his behalf.

My invisible friend is so much better than yours. Go Yaweh!
Nuts to that! God the Father gave us his Son, and somewhat schizophrenically, we got a Holy Spirit too. Go the Trinity!
Wait a sec. I thought there was only one god?
Yeah, there is. That's why it's schizo, see - there are three in one, three distinct personalities in the whole God thing.
Well that just makes no sense.
What do you mean? Not having meat and milk is a weird thing.
Not if you live 2,500 years ago, in a desert without a refrigerator it's not.
The best friend is my friend, Muhummad, prophet of God. And I'd just like to briefly take a break from trying to obliterate them and thank your Jewish friend here for pointing out the hideous blasphemy of the Trinity in Christianity. There is only one God, and his name is Allah.
Have you never used a 3-in-one shampoo?
Shampoo? What is this "shampoo"? Infidels! With your hot running water and endless canned goods!
Actually, I don't have hot water, it's too expensive.
*hah!* Where's your messiah now, schizo-boy?!

... and so offensively on. If your ears feel sore, perhaps stop reading. This is definitely in the "chewing off" section of rambling.

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July 28, 2005

No Alcohol, Except Beer

I went to the doctor yesterday and he advised me that "half a glass of beer" can help the appetite. Then he prescribed me some more pills that say "do not drink alcohol".

I hate beer but wine is nice, and if that's the doctor's orders, it would be rude not to try it.

Butterfly Scattering

I went to the park with Sock the other day, and the ground was strewn with dead or dying Monarch butterflies. It was quite sad to see, although I suspect it was a natural die-off after the very cold weather we had. I picked one up and brought it home. Butterflies are so beautiful, they remind me of a delicate crystal or jewel.

Thorndon New World sold swan plants with catterpillars around Christmas time a few years ago. I bought one, raised them and then let the butterflies free. It was a neat experience.

Under-Reported Flooding

140 people have been killed by flooding in Mumbai, India. Apparently this happens most years in the region, which might account for the lack of coverage in the media.

Civil Disobediance

I went to the BP Connect petrol station in Fendalton on Tuesday, and when I pulled the pump over - I didn't even touch the trigger - the petrol in the bend of the pump handle poured out, splashing my jeans, the car and the ground.

The attendants didn't come out to help, and after we'd move the car over to another pump and managed to get $20 into the tank, I went in to pay and they had the cheek to charge me 43 cents for petrol that their dumb pump soaked me with.

I was in a hurry so I couldn't stand there and say - call the cops, we'll ask them for an opinion - but I did write 2 letters yesterday, one to the manager of the station and one to the BP Head Office in Wellington.

From now on, however, I am going to protest the price of petrol and the slackness of attendants by forcing every station to give me full service. I'm going to pull up, honk my horn, and get some person to fill my tank, wash the front and rear windscreens, and check my oil and water.

We have become used to pumping our own gas, and to the ever-escalating prices. The price of oil has stablised and even fallen slightly. But petrol and diesel are going up at the pump.

Everyone who is annoyed with being endlessly screwed by the petrol companies, join in the full-service drive. Make the attendants do the work. They're charging you $1.30 a litre, so get your money's worth. Make them fill your tank, wash the screens and check your engine, every single time. Eventually, if enough people do this, the gas companies will have to take notice.

Particularly, do this at Fendalton BP. Be as annoying as possible, claim you are too scared to pump your own gas 'cos you heard about a chick getting splashed with petrol and then charged for the privilege...

I Couldn't Resist

Just to brighten the day:

A parrot so foul mouthed it can only be viewed on request

An art installation designed to protest water wastage has poured 800,000 litres down the drain in the middle of a drought

Sexist seagulls go after the posties

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July 24, 2005

Asexuailty And All That

Asexuality - or at least the number of articles about it - is growing. Read the article in the smh.com.au or go to the website Asexuality.org

Asexuality is the new sex, according to New Scientist, which late last year reported on recent studies claiming that about 1 per cent of the population just isn't interested - ever - while a major study in the US in 1994, The Social Organisation of Sexuality by Edward Laumann et al, showed that 13 per cent of respondents hadn't had sex in a year and 2 per cent of the adult population had never had it at all. Seems we'd rather sleep than bonk nowadays.

There's even an emergent asexuality pride movement, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (www.asexuality.org), which flogs merchandise online, including G-strings sporting the logo: "It's only underwear. Get over it."

In Our Thoughts And Prayers

Why is it that companies, leaders of countries and just about anyone expressing "formal sorrow" says: in our thoughts and prayers?

I never hear anyone expressing their corporate "thoughts and prayers" coming up to an AGM, or when their agressive layoffs cut thousands of workers at once. Neither have I heard a government start its budget speech with a call for guidance for the almighty, and I have yet to see a political billboard that says "Pray For Us" - although maybe ACT should consider it.

But Football In The Groin Has Football In The Groin

The Bernie Mac Show is kinda a new low in Sunday night entertainment. A show is usually struggling when an entire episode hangs on genital injury (pun intended).

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July 22, 2005

The Creeping Grammatical Crud

What is wrong with the following sentance (from nzherald.co.nz):
Lower voter turnout and less women MPs.

I'm getting increasingly annoyed by the lazy grammar, on TV as well as in the news. TV3News used "less" where "fewer" was correct the other day.

Less is where you can't count it. (there is less water in the glass)
Fewer is when you can count it. (there are fewer millilitres of water in the glass)
Who is when the reply is he (Who is the boss?; he is the boss)
Whom is when the reply is him (With whom shall I speak?; You should speak with him)

This morning I woke up at 0030 and have not been able to get back to sleep. It's now 0413 so I suppose I may as well just stay up until late morning and go back to bed then. Fingers crossed - usually I can't sleep well in the daytime.

I wish I could fast-foward time by a few days. That's what I like about general anaesthetic - it's the closest thing to time-travel we can get at the moment. The body experiences that time but to our minds, it is seamless - from morning til mid-afternoon, it's as if that time never happened to us.

Famous Last Words

Spade Cooley, speaking to friends backstage about his come-back prospects after being released from prison for the murder of his wife:

"I think it's gonna work out for me," he said. "I have the feeling that today is the first day of the rest of my life."

The smile suddenly left his face. He dropped his fiddle, grimaced, clutched his chest and fell dead at 59 years of age. - crimelibrary.com

And More On The Infamous Side

Tom Quick, American Pioneer, boasted that he had killed 99 Munsee Indians in his lifetime (well, it was over 200 years ago):

And now, as he lay dying, he had one last request.

"Bring me one more Indian," he is said to have asked, "so I can make it an even 100." - crimelibaray.com

And A Theological Tangle

When they play religion programs on TV, and they're repeats - taped from the States or whatever - do the prayers get counted again by god? Because if they do, it would seem that the easiest way to get the almighty's attention would be to play an endlessly looping tape of your request. Or do prayers only count when they're live?

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July 21, 2005

And A Map, Please

Maybe I'm needlessly worrying - after all, any terrorist wanting to blow up underwater subway tunnels in New York may have been able to get this information easily anyway. But. Doesn't it kind of put bad ideas in peoples' heads?

The authorities have so far focused their efforts on trying to control access to the tunnels, while exploring longer-term improvements like using new synthetic materials to buffer tunnels against an attack.

A major problem is that hundreds of people - from transit workers to outside contractors - regularly enter the tunnels to fix everything from track ties to train signals, without being asked for so much as an identification card. - nytimes.com

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July 20, 2005

According To My Salad...

Laser-tattooing of fruits and vegetables may replace those annoying little stickers:
"With the right scanning technology the produce could even be bar-coded with lots of information: where it comes from, who grew it, who picked it, even how many calories it has per serving," said Fred Durand III, president of Durand-Wayland. "You could have a green pepper that was completely covered with coding. Or you could sell advertising space."

Bland Farms, the Vidalia grower, started using the technology this year, shipping laser-coded onions to customers including Wal-Mart and Publix. Sunkist has used it on oranges sold at Stater Brothers markets in California and is testing it on lemons, using blueberry-based ink to create greater contrast.

Henry Affeldt Jr., director of research for Sunkist, said the technology worked the same way lasers work in surgery, cutting and cauterizing almost simultaneously. The skin of fruit that has been etched with a laser is still airtight, Dr. Affeldt said, and the mark is as permanent as a tattoo. - nytimes.com

I can't say that a green pepper totally covered with writing grabs me in the slightest, but an alternative to those stickers would be nice. I keep eating them by mistake.

We Learnt Lots

NASA is examining several ways to launch the space shuttle Discovery next week even if it has not completely solved the puzzle of the faulty fuel level sensor that caused the launching to be scrubbed last week, officials said yesterday. - nytimes.com

That sounds clever; last time, a problem during launch fried a whole bunch of astronauts on the last shuttle, Columbia. This time, we know for sure it has a problem coming up to launch, but they're desperate to launch before the 'window' closes. Otherwise (gasp) they might have to wait until the 9th of September. Yay shortcuts. I wonder how the astronauts feel about it.

I Wonder If NZ Counts As A Cartel

The statement said that, where fee-charging machines had been introduced alongside free ATMs, they offered a genuine extension of choice - for example, consumers could opt to pay for a withdrawal instead of joining a queue for a free machine. This, it said, was an example of the market working as it should.

However, the government said it would be concerned if customers were in the situation where there was no free way to access their cash. It said that it did not believe that free ATMs in the UK are under threat, but it would continue to monitor the situation. - guardian.co.uk

They have standard, free ATMs in the UK? Why the hell am I paying 50c a transaction? KiwiBank is weird like that. You pay for using any ATM, but manual transactions are free. Probably because it's linked to PostShop, so the employees are there regardless. Might as well use them.

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July 19, 2005

At Least You'll Die Happy

Statement from Guidant regarding the possible failure of its pacemakers:

"Guidant recommends that physicians consider replacing devices for pacemaker-dependent patients," the company said in a statement. "In addition, Guidant advises patients to seek medical attention immediately if they notice shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheartedness or a prolonged fast heart rate." - nytimes.com

I wonder if they meant lightheadedness, or if they really mean you might die of euphoria.

"Doctor! I feel happy!"
"Quick! Hospital for you. Here, have some anti-anti-depressants."

Grates On Me

Why is it, that in the following descriptive paragraph, each person is given a descriptor, but only one person is identified by race? "A small woman" would be just as useful in demonstrating the juxtaposition, surely?

The witty, 30-second spots attempt to give identity theft a voice. One called "Outfit," for instance, shows Jake B., a beer-bellied fraud victim, impersonating the Valley Girl who used his credit card to buy this, like, totally cool $1,500 leather bustier. It goes on to highlight Citigroup's free identity theft protection services, which include fraud detection warnings on every bank and credit card account. A similar magazine display juxtaposes a small Asian woman with a monster truck and shows an elderly woman receiving a tattoo. - nytimes.com

Cycle Lanes Are Good, But Parking Spaces Are Better

One of the things I really like about Christchurch is the amazingly huge wide straight roads, that usually include a parking lane and a cycle lane. In other parts of the city, however, part of the footpath is used as a cycle lane instead. It's clearly marked and wide enough for the cyclists to go reasonably quickly and for pedestrians to be safe. I wonder if Takapuna should go with the split footpath option, because:

A plan to criss-cross the North Shore with cycleways has struck stiff resistance from some residents who refuse to give up parking spaces outside their homes to cyclists.
About 84 parking spaces out of 125 would be lost along the Milford-Takapuna arterial roads but people in a dozen side roads would also be affected.
- nzherald.co.nz

I can see why there is opposition. That's a hell of a lot of carparks to lose to a cycle lane. Part of the problem is that according to the Land Transport Act, the cycle lane operates at all times, is permanent and cannot be used for parking at any time.

Unless Takapuna has mounds of cyclists (a 'crash' of cyclists?) it's going to be very frustrating to look out your window at the empty cycle lane and have to walk 5 minutes to your car.

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July 18, 2005

Well, Maybe Not

The arsenic problem in Bangladesh was born of good intentions. For 20 years, government and United Nations officials, as well as Bangladeshi aid groups, urged Bangladeshis to stop drinking unclean pond water, to prevent the lethal diseases it bred. Instead, they were to invest in tube wells to tap into underground aquifers. Unfortunately, no one tested the aquifers for arsenic. - nytimes.

Now they've found out that at least 29% of all these aquifers are contaminated with arsenic, which causes diseases including cancers. Bangladesh, however, is so poor that replacing all the tube-wells is prohibitavely expensive. And, as one official pointed out, 10,000 children a year were dying from unclean water and the associated diseases.

Can't we take some of that Red-Cross aid that Indonesia is leaving to rot on its wharves and send it to Bangladesh? There were solar stills and water-purifiers donated, I'm sure of it. If Indonesia puts a higher price on waging war with the Tamils than saving its own refugees, lets just take the containers back and send them to a people who would be grateful for the stuff.

I'm still rather annoyed that I got guilt-tripped into donating money and then I find out 5 months later that it was not needed or wasted.

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July 16, 2005

At Least She's Well Qualified

The host of TV2 programme To Catch A Thief was caught stealing at the time the show was being filmed.

Veronica Jacomb pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to stealing a camera valued at $900.

The reality programme promotes Jacomb, 28, as a reformed thief who has turned her back on crime for solid work. - read the full story in the Herald

And from the ever stoic British, we have a little poem to help alleviate the city's water crisis:

His is the same message as that memorably given during the last water shortage to the pupils of Haberdashers' Aske's School in Hertfordshire, when their headmistress told them at assembly, "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down." - guardian.co.uk

Just as Homer put it, about drinking tap water: If it's brown, drink it down; if it's black, send it back.

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July 14, 2005

Not Just Us

Remember when there was that fuss about a road or a prison or something that couldn't be built because the local Maori believed a taniwha lived there? Well, it's not just us. Iceland is even nuttier.

This town, a port on the outskirts of Reykjavik, prides itself on its unusually high elf population. Tourists are invited to tour the known elf locations, including a large rock whose reputation as an elf habitat meant that a nearby road was diverted some years ago so as not to disturb its unseen residents.

Recently, the planning committee considered a resident's application to build a garage. "One member said, 'I hope it's O.K. with the elves,' " Ms. Erlingsdottir related. Should the council determine that it is, in fact, not O.K. - usually this happens when a local mystic hears from the elf population, directly or through a vision - the town would consider moving the project, or getting the mystic to ask the elves to move away, she said.

Such occurrences are not unusual. In nearby Kopavogur, a section of Elfhill Road was narrowed from two lanes to one in the 1970's, when repeated efforts to destroy a large rock that was believed to house elves were thwarted by equipment breakdowns. The rock is still there, jutting awkwardly into the road, but it is unclear whether the tenants are. - nytimes.com

Things I'd Like To Do When I'm 80

"What a life I've had! What an extraordinary life! Just three blocks from here I used to shine shoes in front of the St. Regis. There I was and here I go."

And he sauntered out to the limo. - nytimes.com, on Tony Curtis

Finally, A Stupidity Tax For Banks

Bank Loses $7 Million On A Mystery Man - from the Sydney Morning Herald

Phrases For Diplomats

... to possibly avoid: Australians, she said, from the "great and good of your land to the humblest", had responded with such warmth. - smh.com.au

Um. I wonder if you could ask her to point out the 'great and good' and the 'humblest' Aussie on her flight to Canberra.

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July 12, 2005

Real Friendship

I found out a lot about real friendship this week, and although it meant a bit of mental re-arrangement of relationships, it was really valuable. I realised what an unbalanced relationship I had been part of for quite some time, and it had been getting at me. This week was more the last straw than any spectacular event. Honestly, it was a case of me giving until I could give no more, then asking a favour and being slapped back with a pathetic reason.

Makes me feel lucky that I do have a lot a great friends, because the older I get the more that you guys mean.

Speaking of good friends, Tracy - Sorry, not on email much for the next few days. But I think your package to me must have been on that ill-fated NZ Post flight, because I've seen hide nor hair of it. :( boo! Sorry mate. Fate sucks.

(Don't hit me, Fate! I was just kidding. Seriously, you're great. Doing great things.)

Bush Vows to Fight Until Terrorists' Defeat

See, one of the problems with being brought up rich means that you've never had to personally battle ants, moths, cockroaches etc. Sure, there are bugs in the scrub on his ranch, but I don't think he sets his own roach traps. If he did, he might be a little more cautious about that statement. The terrorists are a loose, ill-defined conglomerate of 'evil-doers' from the IRA to the Tamil Tigers to Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. How on earth can anyone vow to defeat terrorism? It's like vowing to rid the earth of fire.

Bush should rid the States of the KKK if he wants to deal with terrorism.

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Great Expectations, Vol. II

It looks at though Sock is definitely pregnant (ha, like I can tell. I thought she was last time and that was a whole lotta nothing. I reckon she's only angling for puppy food and pet milk.

Damn, I just thought of something I've got to do. I'd better do it now, before I forget again.

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July 08, 2005

What More Can You Say?

Four co-ordinated bombs targeting London's transport network exploded just before 9 in the morning. Three bombs exploded in subways, the other was on a double-decker bus. So far, at least 37 dead and 700 injured.

I think it is barbaric, sad, tragic and oh, the humanity... but, there is really only the one story. The rest of the unrelentless TV coverage (CNN, BBC) is just interviewing witnesses that gave valuable insights such as "It was dark, and then we just walked out" or "I saw people covered in blood".

I'm sure some other news happened in the world today, but you'd hardly think it, given the media response. It's like 9/11, or the Madrid bombing. Same stories, same brave leaders holding back macho tears while vowing to bring those responsible to justice.

It was frightening, random, unexpected and violent. So the collective adrenaline seems to make us run around in hysterical circles with puffed out tails, barking and yipping for hours or days, depending on how many people died and how many people involved were white.

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July 07, 2005

Mad. Either Mice, Men or Martians

If I sit in certain places in my flat, I can just hear a tiny sound like a radio turned way down. Every time I sit here, but only in the last couple of days. I unplugged the radio, the USB-TV and the laptop, and it's still there.

It's very annoying, but I figure it is probably reflected sound from another flat whose occupant is up late watching TV or something.

I'm pretty sure there are mice in the walls. But my strategy of humane mouse-detente is continuing successfully. If I were a landlord, I'd proabably want to kill mice because they can be quite destructive to foundations and stuff long-term. As a tenant, I don't care as long as they don't outsmart me and they don't eat more food than they're given. My 5c mouse-management system.

For full instructions on this wonder system, email me. Or leave a comment.)

I was reading an article the other day about teaching cats to use the human toilet. They don't flush but other than that, wouldn't it be cool?! And cut down on kitty litter, too, which is damn pricey.

For full instructions on how to toilet-train your kitten, email me. Or leave a comment.)

Sock learned 3 new commands in the last couple of days:
Lie Down
Stand Up

She knows probably about 10 commands in all. Kind of working on the basics, because I'd rather that she knows 10 commands and will respond every time than she knew a whole lot of words but only responded when she feels like it. Consistency and practice. The usual stuff!

Sometimes I really feel someone's prescence very strongly even though they aren't physically there. Matt is off travelling and I got a groovy postcard the other day. But just now he's so 'here' I can almost see him. He feels cheerful to me, but also tired. It's like he's got his hand on my shoulder and reading this - HI MATT! - but who knows. Thinking of you, anyway mate.

Good Things and Other Things

I got a postcard from Emba today (thanks heaps mate!)
I have also decided that people who write radio ads that have terrible jingles:

See Ambience Air
For a heat pump
or air-conditioner
See Ambience Air
For comfort year-round
Spring Summer Winter
An Owner-Operator
We make it easy
At Ambience Air

And also those terrible "conversation" ads:

Meet me at the Mansfield?
Meat at the Mansfield? Well, chicken, beef...
No! I mean meet me at the Mansfield
Well, they do have a great new winter menu
And a lovely open fire
So it's settled then?
I'll meet you to have meat with you at the Mansfield?
No, I'll meet youat the Mansfield!

(Names might have been changed. It depends on how lazy you think I am.)

These verses where written largely from the area of my traumatised brain area that deals with rageahol against dumb ads, so any mistakes... well, don't point them out. Cos then, I might get angry. And, um, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

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July 05, 2005

Bouncy Castles

OMG! Look at the huge range of bouncy castles you can get! I want the Panda Slide and any one of the Water Sport Adventures :)

Posted by phreq at 08:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Job Testing

It is becoming common to drug test employees. However, the tests can give false positive results, especially if you are taking:

Ibuprofen; (Advil, Nuprin, Motrin, Excedrin IB etc)
Naproxen (Aleve)
Ketoprofen (Orudis KT)
Promethazine (Phenergan, Promethegan)
Riboflavin (B2, Hempseed Oil)
Kidney infection (Kidney disease, diabetes)
Liver Disease
Dronabinol (Marinol)

More on drug testing...


The Bush administration and some of its supporters disagree. They argue that anything that makes life more tolerable for prostitutes encourages prostitution. That would include organizing sex workers in India to stand up to abusive clients, or helping Bangladeshi prostitutes get shoes so they can leave the brothel to visit a health clinic. Initially, the Justice Department ruled that the prostitution pledge could not be required of American groups because the American Constitution guarantees the right to free speech. The administration's turnabout would seem vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. - nytimes.com

I'm really proud of NZ for legalising prostitution. It takes away the stigma and secrecy, and in my opinion, it probably gives people the strength to get away from the lifestyle. Criminal acts often cluster around each other - you've been to prison, you know the lifestyle, you know the cops - and straight away, by making prostitution legal, it vaults a whole lot of women into a career and not have to worry about getting the kids taken away by CYPFS.

Also it means that if you get raped, robbed, assaulted and so on, you can report it to the polive without them arresting you!

Posted by phreq at 09:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Martini And Chips

Gov. Kenny Guinn signed a law last month authorizing gamblers in Nevada to play slot machines, video poker, blackjack and other games on hand-held wireless devices from public spaces in casinos. The spaces include restaurants, bars, convention rooms, even swimming pools. - nytimes.com

(You can't play in your hotel room, though. It's part of an effort to make sure that minors aren't gambling.)

Sport Fishing

"A shark is a giant predator and so am I, and I want conquer it," he said. "We're two animals at the top of the apex. Yeah, animals - you can quote me. I've been called worse."

The shark boats also seem to occupy a 100 percent female-free zone. None of the captains who were asked could think of a woman on a shark hunt.

"Not on my boat," Mr. Petruzzi said. "Bad luck." - nytimes.com

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July 02, 2005

Not Sunk, Dissolved

Whether or not it contributes to global warming, carbon dioxide is turning the oceans acidic, Britain's leading scientific organization warned yesterday.

In a report by a panel of scientists, the organization, the Royal Society, said the growing acidity would be very likely to harm coral reefs and other marine life by the end of the century.

"I think there are very serious issues to be addressed," the panel's chairman, Dr. John Raven of the University of Dundee in Scotland, said in an interview. "It will affect all organisms that have skeletons, shells, hard bits that are made of calcium carbonate." - nytimes.com

Scarier Than Heart Disease

Ads placed by urinals in pub toilets tell men, "Bad news. Smoking causes impotence. More bad news. These ads are in the ladies' too". - guardian.co.uk.
Read the rest of the article here.

Vested Interest

If tests conducted by the War Office in Egypt are any guide, the humble string vest - particularly the loose knit Sherpa version - may well be the greatest boon to mankind since the invention of air conditioning. - guardian.co.uk

The first air conditioner came into operation in 1902. - more...

The string vest goes back to the ancient Egyptians at least. Net-work, incorporating things like feathers, stones, beads and totems, shows up in most (if not all) early cultures we know of.

(The popular myth is that The string vest design was supposedly invented by a Norwegian army commander named Henrik Brun in 1933. Legend states that Brun sewed his first set of string underwear out of old fishermen' nets, and at the time it was an authentic and original idea.)

Since the Guardian seem to be going with the myth, though, the very least they could do is tone down the hyperbole. Nothing of note was invented between 1902 and 1933?
1903 - the first gas motored and manned airplane
1904 - teabags
1907 - color photography
1910 - the first talking motion picture
1913 - stainless steel
1922 - insulin
1927 - a complete electronic television system
1930 - the frozen food process
1931 - the electron microscope
1932 - Polaroid photography

Watch That Cellphone

Quick poll - how many people still wear watches? I don't, I just use my cellphone since the date and time are clearly displayed, even in standby mode. Telecom cellphones are particularly good because they find out their own time and date from the network, but I used my Vodafone cell as a watch too.

I know of 2 other people who use cellphones instead of wristwatches. What do you do?

Posted by phreq at 06:44 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

July 01, 2005

Fight The Rigid Fight

Check out this website: Fight Mannequinism. It may save you, or someone you love.

You Know Your House Is Damp When...

I keep finding slugs in the bathroom. They are coming up through the drains in the sink and the bath and then setting out on a bold pioneering trek to the lino. I keep picking them up in paper (I think I heard somewhere that the salt and acids on our skin burns slugs and worms) and putting them outside, but another one always turns up.

It could be that there are, in fact, just two slugs that like my bathroom and keep coming back inside. Next time I will tag them before release.

Also my leather jacket and laptop case were covered in mildew the other day. I've started to leave the window in that room open during the day, but the problem with that is, none of the internal doors shut properly so having the window open in one room and the heat pump in another makes heating costly.

However the mildew is retreating so it is worth it. My poor jacket! It's just that it's kind of big on me - always was, but moreso now - so I don't wear it that much. I really had it as a Wellington jacket, because nothing stops the wind like leather. Christchurch just doesn't have the same kind of weather.

And Nothing But The Truth

The cow that was found last week to have mad cow disease spent its whole life in Texas, making it the first domestic case of the disease, the United States Department of Agriculture said yesterday.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas issued a statement urging citizens to remain calm and be reassured that they could trust the state's beef. [... He] added that Texas beef was "as safe today as it was yesterday."
- nytimes.com

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