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... heh. Mar. 8th, 2013 @ 08:54 am
Reading something about Munchausen by Internet; was struck by something. One of the tell-tale signs is supposed to be that posts about Major Traumatic Events can be made by supposedly-other people with similar writing styles.

My first thought: "You know, when I broke my ankle, [personal profile] velithya made posts about it on my journal for me. And she does so in a way that could be seen as superficially similar to my own writing style..."


Of course, you probably want to go with more than one sign of :fraud:. And if we were sockpuppeting, it would require quite the spectacular network of sockpuppets, up to and including setting up some complicated internet hostmasking, since, say, [personal profile] flamebyrd knows both of us IRL and would have to be a sockpuppet too and has been posting for some time from Canada. As would all the other people who've met more than one of us. Or... you get the idea. And this planned trip where both of us go to a con would be an interesting trick to pull off.

I'd like to think no-one actually considered there was any other possibility than, "I was injured in hospital, and we live together so she was definitely among the first to know, and also has access to my laptop," but you know, it's people like us who make the Munchausen by Internet people plausible, clearly.

I don't know if I even have a point here.

An under-considered dilemma Jul. 28th, 2011 @ 10:10 am
There exists in this world, as far as I know, at least one small community of human beings still entirely isolated from contact with the rest of us. I think they're somewhere in the vicinity of the Amazon. Upon discovering the existence of such a group, the question arises of what to do about them? Should they be contacted, and introduced to the modern world, or left alone, as it is certain that to introduce them to our world would ultimately destroy theirs?

It occurred to me this morning (while reading a book about Hawaiian history) that this is not even the most important consideration, in some ways.

More of a problem would be: to introduce them to our world would probably kill almost all of them.

The net result of introducing people from the Eurasia/Africa set (seriously, world, Europe and Asia are one continent, and separating Africa is dubious; ditto the Americas) to the parts of the world that had been separate from that mass of humanity has been consistently this: they die of assorted plagues. The peoples of Polynesia, Australasia and the Americas weren't the descendents of survivors of smallpox and the like; they had no inherited resistance to it, and the new diseases were devastating.

How could you introduce an isolated people to the modern world without, essentially, murdering them?

On watching Spicks and Specks... May. 22nd, 2011 @ 07:01 pm
Marcia Hines, whom I adore, was on the last episode.

She is looking amazing. She's somewhere around 57 years old, and she could pass for thirty.

If she's had work done, which I don't think she has, it's amazing work. She's always looked beautiful, partly because she has an amazing smile and seems like a lovely person, but she also doesn't appear to have changed in, I don't know, my lifetime.

Some things make the world a better place Apr. 1st, 2011 @ 10:33 pm
The East India Company. The British one. If you know anything about world history in the last, oh, four hundred years, you know of the East India Company. The world's first multinational corporation, the one that conquered entire countries and triggered wars to force widespread drug addiction on others.

It had its own army. It was a major force - at one point it generated half of world trade and was the employer of one third of the British workforce. It more-or-less controlled India entirely.

It is now owned by an Indian.

This? This makes the world a better place and should have been more widely reported, since I only just found out.

Maybe global warming isn't pollution-related at all - maybe it's caused by the friction generated by hundreds, if not thousands, of imperialistic, oppressive, colonialist English East India Company men rolling in their graves.

If I had access to a time machine, I now have a new use I would put it to: finding the most dickish of them (one would be so spoilt for choice), and telling them, preferably on their deathbeds, that one day their company would be owned by an Indian.

In which there are miscellaneous topics. Mar. 29th, 2011 @ 12:44 pm
Writing Paper.

Last night I went to the Officeworks down the road to buy writing paper, because I owe my great-aunt a letter several months ago, ditto my cousin, and I wanted proper letter-writing paper to write on, since "printer paper" just doesn't scream "I value you and our communication" to me.

When I was younger, I wrote a lot more letters than I do these days. It's not just the advent of everyone-has-email-now - it was also that my grandmother was still alive, and I wrote to her (not enough, but I did). Nowadays I'm in contact with new elderly relatives, but I'm still terrible at correspondence, so it was allowed to happen that I didn't have any decent paper.

I remember pads of airmail paper. Maybe they still have them at the post office, though I don't remember seeing them last time I was at one, but certainly not at Officeworks. Instead I have "parchment"-style tinted paper that is all heavy, relatively speaking - I just don't mind so much because I'm planning to send other stuff along as well.

Video games.

I started playing a flight/combat simulator called Wings of Prey. It's a World War Two game. My impressions so far:

- The controls are complicated, but as I'm gradually getting used to them, I'm finding they work. You're never going to be entirely uncomplicated when you have to control flaps, ailerons, and rudder just for steering, as well as needing weapon controls, throttle controls, and controls for issuing wing commands... among other things. In a tutorial mission I got some praise for a landing from the instructor that felt quite undeserved, because yes, I touched down flawlessly, but on the other hand, I couldn't find the wheel brake and coasted at high speed across the runway, into the neighbouring field, then flipped my Spitfire over a hedge and blew up.

- It's very, very pretty. So far I've mainly flown around only over Dover and Hardinge, but they've laid out the towns and the harbour below rather delightfully.

- But some of the voice acting is remarkably, spectacularly terrible. While some is quite good. I am not sure how they managed that, since I can't help but think that they could have found a better voice actor for Owen Wright (I think his name is) if they'd opened the door to their offices and grabbed the first dude to come past, tied him to a chair, and had him read the lines without even telling him what they were for.

For most of the last week, my previous obsession with Pokemon Black has given way to obsessively playing Final Fantasy: Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift instead. Kupo.

Australian politics.

Concetta Fieravanti-Wells is an unpleasant-seeming person. I have a strong feeling that I couldn't have an extended conversation with her without wanting to tell her to shut the hell up.

People are talking positively about former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally in the wake of the NSW Labor Party's electoral decimation, and it's pretty clear that NSW Labor was basically toxic and has been for some years. There's a certain rot that seems to set into parties who've held power for too long, and NSW Labor seems to have been rotted through quite thoroughly.

However, I can't help but think that if I lived in New South Wales, I would have been uncomfortable with having her as my Premier not just because she wasn't elected Premier, but also because she's American. She was born, raised, and educated in America. She only moved to Australia in the late 90s and became an Australian citizen in 2000.

I don't think of myself as at all xenophobic, and I don't, in principle or in practice, have a problem with first-generation immigrants running for political office. Hell, I am a first-generation immigrant. Prime Minister Julia Gillard, our current head of government, was not born in Australia, and I don't have a problem with that.

But Keneally entered Parliament in 2003. She had then been living in Australia not more than about five years. That's just not long enough. And the approximately ten years she'd been living in Australia when she became State Premier of New South Wales is really truly not enough - especially since she apparently joined the Labor Party in 2000, too, which means she's basically been a political hack the entire time. It's like she came to Australia and immediately set out to take over.

I think there should be a sort of legal minimum residency period before you get to run actual Australian governments. Let's say eighteen years - your Australian-ness needs to be old enough to be a legal adult before you get to run any part of our country.

Because otherwise it's just weird.

Preconceptions Mar. 15th, 2011 @ 12:07 pm
Some vague thought association processes have me trying to itemise my preconceptions and biases. I've come up with these so far:

- Racism correlates with stupidity.

If someone is stupid, I assume there's a significantly increased likelihood that they're racist. If someone is racist, I subtract about thirty percent from my estimation of their intelligence. I am always faintly shocked to come across someone who is intelligent and racist.

- Intelligence and personal worth are linked.

Note I said intelligence, not education. Some highly-educated people are dumb as a rock, and some uneducated people are highly intelligent. People who are intelligent but not formally educated are frequently more interesting than people who have high levels of formal education. But native intelligence - which, in my lexicon, can roughly be defined as the desire and willingness to learn - represents a substantial proportion of a person's worth as a human being.

(The rest is made up of the content of their character, with a strong emphasis on empathy and consideration for others.)

I think that definition of intelligence works for me, actually. Because the thing is? If you're willing to learn, if you're trying, then all else comes under the heading of "learning disability", to me.

Probably that's why I have near-infinite patience with people who do have issues, and absolutely none with people who don't have genuine problems and just aren't making the effort. In high school I was in the special advanced class, and of the other kids in the school, one of the people I got on with best was a girl who was in the special needs program. (We met in music class.)

Our conversations frequently required me to backtrack and explain some concept I'd glossed over, with iterations of simplification until she understood the fundamental elements of what I was trying to explain, and we could work up from there. She was never quick on the uptake and sometimes it could take a while.

But she was sweet and kind and cared about people, and she had infinite patience with my clumsy explanations until we'd arrived at mutual understanding. She wasn't stupid, she was just sort of.... I don't even know. I think she was a slow learner, at the outset, or she hadn't had enough mental stimulus and so on in her infancy and very early childhood, and then when she started school, she couldn't keep up, and everything swept ahead of her.

Hmm, I think I digress. Mostly my point is that if intellectual accomplishment were, say, a running race, a lot of people are a long way behind, but there are different reasons for that. Some people's start lines were way behind everyone else's, and some people can't run, so they have to walk, or crawl, or use a wheelchair, with or without assistance, etc.

The people who are making the effort to move forward are all good - I think it's not right to call them stupid, in the same way that you couldn't justifiably call someone lazy or weak for being unable to run a marathon with only one leg and no prosthesis or other assistance.

The people who sit down on the track and smoke are the ones who aren't worth my, or anyone's, time.

Score one for procrastination Feb. 28th, 2011 @ 11:42 am
Around Christmas, I lost my wallet. Very specifically around Christmas, because I had it when I went to my parents' house for Christmas, and then I... didn't.

Tracking my movements I worked out that it had to be one of three places:

1) My parents' house
2) My parents' car, in which I drove home on Christmas Day evening, because even if my scooter had been working at the time, which it wasn't, I have a personal rule against going out on the roads on a two-wheeled motor vehicle on peak days for drunken idiocy on the roads
3) My house

Now, we had a rent inspection not long afterwards, and the entire house was cleaned and tidied, and my wallet didn't turn up. I went to my parents' house and searched everywhere in the house I'd been, and I searched the car at least twice.

No wallet.

My parents also looked around their house.

No wallet.

It would turn up one day, in the meantime... I pulled out my fabric spare wallet (a gift from Dean, when my previous wallet was stolen), and have been getting by on the system of borrowing money from friends and, when I went with her to buy a new motorcycle helmet, my mother, then repaying people by bank transfer.

I had finally given up, of late, on finding my wallet, and was girding my loins for the tiresome process of Cancelling Everything, then replacing all the cards in my wallet. This would be annoying, of course. Credit card, bank card, driver's licence, Medicare card, student card, HBF, Lord's gym card... The only one that wouldn't have needed replacing would be my Zoo Friends card, and that's only because I got a new one when I went to the zoo with Nic and Daniel and renewed my membership.

Add to that, my wallet contains a few items of distinct sentimental, though zero actual, value.

It was all just too depressing. So I put off doing it. And put off doing it. I was probably going to cancel my bank stuff today, except... yesterday my mother phoned to tell me that it had turned up.

(Lying in plain sight next to the driver's seat of my parents' car, because the pocket dimension that ate it spat it out again.)

So. No replacements, and the cards I had all still work.

I'd been pretty confident my wallet would turn up as soon as I cancelled everything, but I appear to have succeeded in outbluffing Murphy's Law.

Yay procrastination!

Well, you look like a terrorist with a broken windscreen wiper, and your face is ridiculous. Jan. 7th, 2011 @ 01:27 pm
I'm working on catching up on my reading list, after not touching it for a week or so again.

I just had a moment of realisation: people kept talking about "Gregorian New Year", and I was bemused, because I was like... was someone talking about the Julian dates for some reason or something? And then I realised that people were distinguishing it from other extant calendars.

Which led me to realise that to me, Gregorian/Julian is a paired set of distinguishing adjectives. Sort of like positive/negative, where one implies the other. (I'm pretty sure there's a term for this, but I'm tired and can't remember it.) The quality of Gregorianness is, in my head, in opposition to Julianity.

I was about to draw parallels with "eastern"ness, but that is tricky territory, because most people will default to "eastern" as the sort of "Oriental" image, which, it doesn't really map that way to me much. My mental map of "eastern" is to the largely Occidental and "Antipodean" eastern states. Of Australia.

Today, anyway.

All of these terms are, in a way, awesomely bad, because all of them define things relative to other things, and therefore will break depending on perspective, and also, how far is what?

I mean, to me, the East vs West thing - the boundary, to me, is largely marked around the Mediterranean - Delphi in particular, with its "centre of the known world" status in Classical Greek times. But at what point does East become West again? It's all so arbitrary.

I'm blethering. Never mind. And I have many, many tabs developing from trying to catch up on reading things.
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Still not dead... Jan. 5th, 2011 @ 10:41 am
Hmm, I've been quiet again, lately.

I have posts vaguely percolating in my head. About beauty, about people, about thinking, about travel shows and Top Gear. Note to self, write them.

Oddly, my impulse to post right now is mostly to do with wanting to do *something* to offset the discomfort I felt, because there are certain words with which I am not comfortable, at all, even when I know why I'm using them.

For example, entering Nigger as a search term makes my skin crawl a tiny bit, even though what I was actually doing was looking up Dick Gregory's autobiography on Amazon. I want to read it, I'm thinking I might order it, and yet, I'm not sure I would feel comfortable having that on a shelf where people could see it or reading it in public, even though it's the autobiography of a civil rights campaigner.

Twitch. And yet. But. Twitch.

That's words for you.

Especially since that isn't even a racist word of my own socio-cultural background. That's an American racist word. Neither where I was born nor where I grew up did I ever come across someone who would use nigger as a racist slur, that I know of.

(And yet, a word that has similar degrees of racist baggage in my socio-cultural background turns up in plant nurseries here - as the "kaffir lime" tree. Which also makes me twitch really a lot. Because in my socio-cultural background nice people don't use that word.)

Then again, in the eastern states there's a chain of Indian restaurants called "Curry Munchers". When I worked at directory assistance I nearly hung up on a customer who said that, until she - understanding my shocked and horrified reaction - explained hurriedly that no, it really was called that...

E-mail of the Day/Status Update Nov. 14th, 2010 @ 11:58 am
E-mail of choice for today:

From: Sami
To: Dean

Subject: I have a message from my giant death robot

He wanted me to tell you something...

What was it?

Oh yeah



Context, if you really must. )

In not unrelated news, I'm not sure using a Giant Death Robot to attack Tokyo will ever not be hilarious.


Anyway, I've been quiet for the last week or two because, as it turns out, I was in fact very very sick. Sick enough that, when I started to recover, the answer to how I was feeling started with "lucid", because for several days, I really wasn't lucid at all. (Hence this post.) My delirium was odd, because it wasn't based on a fever as far as we could tell. Checking with an actual thermometer even revealed my temperature was up *maybe* half a degree from what I could recall was normal - and definitely not very high, given I didn't even break 37.

In a new category for Weirdest Symptom Ever - that hasn't quite cleared up - this illness also made my teeth hurt. I was, for a bit, mildly worried that I'd developed my first ever cavity or something, and this was actually the proverbial toothache, but then I decided that toothache from tooth decay probably didn't come and go at random points all over one's jaw. I have 29 teeth*. At various points over the last couple of weeks, every single one of them has hurt, singly or in groups.

* - Yes, I know the nominal tooth count for adults is 32. I have 29. Three molars were removed because there wasn't room for them. There's no spare space in my mouth. I don't have the faintest idea where Nature thought three more teeth could fit.

Stupidity is eternal... Oct. 26th, 2010 @ 09:40 pm
I'm reading a book. I bought it this morning, in part because I found myself in town with an unexpected hour and a half to kill. (I ended up browsing the book section at the ABC Shop, you see...)

It's called Ghost Colonies, and it's about failed colonies.

The ones I've been reading so far are mostly about the Americas, and there's quite a few common themes to them.

Someone should have put out a pamphlet.

Guide To Forming A Colony In The Americas That Might Actually Have A Chance Of Success

1) Take farmers.

The soil may be bountiful, but if you've only got a bunch of fortune-seekers and soldiers who think farming is beneath them, you're going to struggle. Either you'll be dependent on supply ships from home, which is a really long way away and might get embroiled in wars, civil or external, or you'll be dependent on the natives for food, and even the really friendly ones eventually get sick of you being parasites, especially if you don't...

2) Pick a side.

So, the natives are friendly and welcoming! Awesome. Bear in mind that they do not actually think that it is somehow your natural right to colonise their homeland, and if they're welcoming you to their land, and even supplying you with food and suchlike, they probably expect something in return.

Accordingly, when you've made friends with a tribe, be loyal to them. Don't let anyone start selling them into slavery (this particularly goes for those of you whose justification for moving in includes "saving the natives from the Portuguese"). And don't start trading and making friends with their sworn enemies. Their enemies don't think much of you - you're friends with their enemies. This will only alienate your allies.

3) Keep your clergy in check.

Clergy are a serious problem for the would-be colonist. Either they're fomenting sectarian discord within your own group, or they're pissing off the natives with attempted conversions. Don't let them. Maybe don't bring any.

4) Either bring no women, or lots.

Bringing several hundred men, many of them religious zealots, and four women was just a bad, bad idea.

5) Especially if the natives don't wear clothes and are very casual and open about sex. If your men are sexually frustrated, harangued by religious fanatics, and in frequent contact with naked babes who would totally do them if they wanted, but they're not allowed because of the religious fanatics? They will get cranky.

6) Seriously. Bring farmers. When you've made friends with some locals, recognise that they, like you, don't make political allegiances without a reason. If the local women want to bang your men, let your men say yes if they want to. And try not to let Catholicism or Calvinism destroy everything.


I'm not actually saying colonialism was a good thing, or anything, it's just... so much stupid.
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Oct. 16th, 2010 @ 04:15 pm
So, I just saw what amounts to an advertisement, headlined: "Electronic Bug Zapping Swatter".

However, because I'm barely awake (yes I know it's 4pm don't judge me) I read "Electronic Bug Zapping Sweater".

I want that one to be true, just because I wanted to see what that looked like.

An idle recollection/current comment Sep. 30th, 2010 @ 09:40 am
I was just examining a mark on the back of my left hand. It looks odd, you see - red, but with different qualities of shininess and paleness. (And two tiny marks where the fangs went in.) It's been there a few days. It's a spider bite, they often heal slowly.

For some reason it reminded me of an examination I received from a doctor on behalf of the insurance people, checking on my ongoing shoulder injury. He poked and prodded, and then, to my mixed bemusement and offence, suggested that it was all painful because I'd been messing with it in the waiting room, clearly - deliberately aggravating it.

His evidence? The skin was all reddened and abused-looking.

Me, put out because the process really hurt: "... That's because you've just been poking it."

Him: "I wasn't doing it hard enough to cause that."

Me: "Yes you were. It doesn't take that much."

In demonstration, I held out my forearm and ran my finger along it with mild pressure.

A red line formed behind it.

Him: "Oh."

My skin is more chromatic than most, I know, but I still wonder how a doctor could be in his position and not even know of the concept. (And also that he could say such a thing when he had not, apparently, looked at the colour of my skin before he started poking it.)

I find myself wondering how this sort of thing works on other people, with different skin tones from mine, but it's not really a socially acceptable question to ask, even of your friends. "Hey, can I poke you so I can see what colour your skin goes and how much poking it takes to cause that?"

Feel free to volunteer answers in comments, though! (Mum, I already know your answer - "exactly like mine" I believe.)

I am a nerd Sep. 27th, 2010 @ 09:02 am
So, I was just reading a random fic in which a character is busking. With a guitar.

The character has just been collected by another character, and having made a decision, he: "... stuffed his guitar into the case."

This has made me twitch so hard I can't keep reading, because, ARGH.

1) It's been implied heavily that the money he's received has been dropped into his case. In which (ha) case: There's probably COINS in there, which will DAMAGE HIS GUITAR. He is presented as being a guitarist who is busking poor. He will not wantonly risk damage to his guitar, surely?

2) In that vein: one does not "stuff" a guitar into a case, particularly a hard case, which this has to be for it to be open on the ground. Not only does "stuff" imply a carelessness which no, see point 1, but also, they are GUITAR-SHAPED. The only way you can put a guitar in a hard case in a "stuff"-like manner is to jam it in and probably break it, because it's a rigid container the correct shape and size for the contents - putting it in is not exactly difficult or time-consuming.

Okay, I'm done.
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Here's to dessert! Aug. 4th, 2010 @ 02:06 pm
A stranger is parked in our driveway today.

This morning, a middle-aged Chinese woman, who smiled a lot and was very polite and very very earnest, knocked on the door AND rang the bell and asked - pleaded, almost - if she could park in our driveway.

I couldn't quite make out where she needed to go, because she had an extremely strong accent and I'm not totally sure she was saying that part in English (she seemed to be having a somewhat stressful morning and English was clearly not her primary language; she might have forgotten to), but I think, from what I could make out and from her gestures, she was going to Princess Margaret Hospital For Children, which is walking-distance from our house.

There's very limited parking there and in this area.

However, I was willing to believe her need was genuine, given that she left her car key here in case we needed to move her car out of the way.

Sure, we're not going to steal her car, because patently, if nothing else, she knows where we live, but there's a fair amount of trust involved in leaving the key to it here, regardless.

I couldn't say no, and didn't. I was almost certainly going to say yes regardless, because she seemed very genuine, but if she's desperate enough to leave the key to her car here, she's definitely in real need, and the possibility that it will be A Problem is slim, because hey, I can move her car if I have to.

Of course, unless it's an emergency, I don't plan to do anything with her key but leave it on the table where I can be sure to find it easily when she comes back.

Still. Disconcerting moment, that. Despite the fact that we live in an area where parking is at a severe premium at the best of times, that's never actually happened before.

Meanwhile, today I've been cooking things.

First, my own invented Chocolate Custard Mousse, because I have a couple of friends coming over, who both love it. (Although the younger of the two was less than a year old last time he had it, I think, so it will probably be a fresh surprise.) I wanted to make it very fresh so that it wouldn't at all risk being pregnancy-unfriendly, since the older of my guests is in fact pregnant and already miserable with morning sickness, so I hardly want to give her food poisoning.

This is how you make it:

Step 1: Make custard. I use gluten-free custard powder, which I also find tastes better anyway, but this is up to you. Make it a reasonably thick custard.

Step 2: When the custard is about done, break up some chocolate and melt it into the custard, stirring gently until it's all melted and spread evenly through. (Doesn't have to be perfect, because this stuff will be whipped later.)

Step 3: Allow to cool. If making for pregnant friends and wanting to be paranoid, check regularly; when it has reached a state of reasonable coolness, proceed to step 4 without delay.

Step 4: Transfer to mixing bowl Add some whipping cream. (You'll note quantities are inexact; they don't have to be very exact, is why, and it depends how much you want to end up with.) Whip as if it were cream until it acquires a paler colour and a fluffier look.

It will be tasty.

I am also working on making sago pudding, but I'm not going to risk posting a recipe until I see if it works.

The thing with that is that my mother used to make a sago pudding when I was a kid that I *loved* - then Mum didn't make it for ages, and she forgot how. Most of the recipes I see for sago pudding-type things involve milk, which is patently wrong - the one my mother made was translucent and made with fruit juice, not milky and blurgh.

Philosophy not incompatible with The Lols Dec. 17th, 2009 @ 10:50 am
So, the Wikipedia entry on the White Horse Discourse has an explanation of the problem and secondary explanation of the difficulties with translation of it and the historical to contemporary relevance of the concepts it explores.

It also as a picture of a white horse with its head down and the caption: "A white horse suffering an identity crisis," with the words white horse linking to the section of the "White (horse)" page headed Horses that appear white, but are not.
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Things of Good/A Photo For Today Jun. 15th, 2009 @ 04:52 pm
1) I realised that the doctor I saw yesterday has put a waterproof dressing over my sutures. I CAN HAVE A REAL SHOWER. After a week of washing with a cloth standing at the bathroom sink, this is positively exciting. (Hint in case you ever need to do this: If it's winter, use a heater in the bathroom if you possibly can. Sure, bathroom heaters are normally only really necessary when it's *very very cold*, but that's because the shower water keeps you warm. Standing damp and naked by the sink is freezing cold.)

2) Only two days left until my pre-trial conference for the insurance thing. I am deeply hoping that it all gets resolved on Wednesday, but trying not to set myself up for hideous disappointment if it isn't.

3) I can has challenge. Playing Left 4 Dead on Advanced difficulty is hard, but not impossibly so. (Still playing single player. If nothing else, I don't have three friends to play with, and I don't want to play with randoms, for fear of risking harm to Chas's reputation, since I'm playing as him.)

4) I need to go to the chemist; this would be bad, since I'm conserving going-out spoons for a busy week of stuff (see point 2, among others), except that there's a chemist literally a 90-second walk from my house. And that's assuming I have to pause while a car goes past to cross the road.

5) Why is a bassoon better than an oboe?

It burns longer.

A photo!

Of the Art Gallery of Western Australia. )
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In other news, 80s fashions really were terrible. Jun. 11th, 2009 @ 02:16 pm
Nobody tell Oliver that despite being incredibly tired by 7pm last night, I didn't get to bed until 4am.


And forgot to turn on the dishwasher, so I had to run it while I was awake today, which was annoying. (It's noisy.)

So yesterday I bought the complete series of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. (The reasoning actually includes "sanity", but that gets complciated to explain.)
I started watchingit yesterday evening with Oliver, and we both had variations on the same reaction. Olly watches House, so he was disconcerted by how young Hugh Laurie looks. I've watched a lot of QI lately, so I was disconcerted by how young Stephen Fry looks.

On the second disc, though, there's The Cambridge Footlights Review, featuring an unbelievably young Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. Stephen Fry was around 25, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson around 23, and they are all, by the way, already brilliant performers. It's just... weird. Because I'm used to thinking of these people as being Older Than I Am, because they are, but in this recording they're younger than I am now.

In other news, my Brilliant Master Laundry Plan appears to be working flawlessly - including the part which involved letting certain items get rained on extensively for non-water-wasting at-length rinsing. I got everything on the washing line, just in time for the forecast rain to arrive. It's out there, sodden and dripping right now. (Repeated rinsing with water from the tap, you see, is going to waste lots of water; rinsing with water falling out of the sky? Ecologically acceptable.)

The laundry I plan to do this afternoon, however, will be hung on the rack inside, because I actually want it to dry.

It includes my new white washcloth, which never actually got used as a washcloth before I used it as a pad for putting pressure on a wound. It got thoroughly blood-soaked, and soaking it in water for a day left traces of bloodstain, so (because I'm lazy) I soaked it in bleach for a couple of days.

It reminded me of when my mother was sick. We had about twenty or thirty cheap white cotton washcloths which were used in wound care. (Mum's illness involved a lot of major surgery.) The tremendous usefulness of white cotton for such items was driven home to me then, because you do all kinds of things to them without them really showing it. Sometimes they had to be bleached, and it was fine. As often as they were used, they were put through the washing machine's 95 degree (celsius) cycle to render them approximately sterile.

(My parents' washing machine is a terribly good one, and among its features is that it does, in fact, have a cycle that washes just shy of boiling point. On those rare occasions when you want to get seriously antibacterial on your laundry, this is awesome. It also has a choice of 600rpm or 1500rpm for spin cycle - and if you don't care about creasing, that 1500rpm cycle gets things to "barely damp".)

I'm not too fussed about sterilising this washcloth though - it picked up no Infected Matter, has been thoroughly bleached anyway (I'm pretty sure two days in chlorine should kill any unwanted microbes), and I have no bloodborne diseases to fear transmitting to housemates.

I am becoming seriously tempted to trim to just-past-skin-length for the hairs at the bottom corners of my hairline - they don't get more than two to four inches long anyway, because they're kinky and fragile and break a lot, and it just gets annoying.

(Last night I think I shredded quite a few of my longer hairs, too, because the difficulty I have brushing my hair without pain meant I hadn't actually brushed my hair in several days, and it had developed some hideous knots and tangles I couldn't get undone without tearing them apart a bit. Then I washed my hair in the laundry sink, because I'm not allowed to risk getting my sutures all wet, so I can't just have a normal shower.)

Cleaning my brush afterwards, I noted one hair pale and bright amid the dark brown. I thought at first it must have been one of [personal profile] velithya's - I occasionally find a long, light, striaght hair on my clothes, or whatever. Those are hers.

But this one? This one was curly, bordering on kinky, and oh, man, it was a white hair, and it was mine.

Is this a sign that the degree to which I "have grey hair" is possibly going to extend beyond "three of them since about age seventeen"? Who can say. My genetic history for greying is reasonably mixed, but overall, runs to really-quite-late. (My paternal grandmother had yet to go grey when she died, in her early sixties, of breast cancer.) (Yes, I do plan to be good about mammograms when I'm older.)

To do today: Work on linguistics, and also work on a plan for what my goal for further improvement with guitar will be - deciding what my next step to practice is, and starting to work on that.

Current Music: A Bit Of Fry And Laurie
Current Mood: tired

Odd moments of realisation Jun. 7th, 2009 @ 02:55 pm
Becoming consciously aware, suddenly, that what you are in fact doing is: standing in your back garden, sniffing a pair of shorts that belong to your housemate.

Did I have a perfectly good, non-creepy reason for doing this? Of course. The reason why I was doing this is actually that I'm an awesome housemate and friend.

This does not change the fact that I suddenly realised that I was standing in the back garden sniffing my housemate's shorts.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars... May. 28th, 2009 @ 12:51 pm
I'm currently at uni, waiting in the Guild Village courtyard for my ADHD meds prescription to be filled. The joy of using the campus pharmacy is just this, that I can sit outside, connect to the campus wireless, and have internets while I wait. (Including downloading lecture recordings over intranet.)

Ooh, just got blanked by Frenchie.

Anyway, I've sorted out a whole bunch of issues today, so everything's going quite well, actually, and I keep having these little happy moments when I see The Stickers.

Someone - I have no idea who, but I kind of want to hug them - has put stickers all over campus, in odd, hidden corners and in public spots like on the poles of signposts. The stickers are white, with plain black text on it, but the text is always so lovely - little messages of love, of mindfulness (which I why I think it may be a Buddhist behind this), of kindness and compassion and joy.

It's such an understated thing, and yet, all over campus, they keep catching my eye. They make me feel good. And it's a near-subliminal campaign for people to think good thoughts, which I also approve of.

On the way here I was listening to a recent Bugle. They were talking about how apparently the leader of the BNP is going to go to a garden party hosted by the Queen, due to being invited as the guest of someone else.

John Oliver said that he thought that not only should he be allowed to go, the Queen should talk to him, ask him a question, and then when he answered, respond: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you said, because I don't speak Arsehole. Can anyone translate?"

Words can not express how very much I would love that to happen.

Another line I liked was Andy Zaltzman's: "They're called the British National Party because that is what would take place if they decided to get out of politics."

On a recent episode of the News Quiz, from Radio 4, one of the panellists talked about how he'd got a leaflet that told him that "people like you" vote for the BNP, which he said, made him feel really very disappointed in himself. Later in the same episode he made a joke about how "this is why the BNP need to get us out of Europe" - and then immediately followed with "- and you can cut that." It's okay, most people who listen to the News Quiz are pretty good at irony, I think.

Andy Zaltzman also said that he wasn't going to vote for the BNP - first, because they're racists, and second, because they're also total *beep*s. John Oliver chimed in to explain for the benefit of listeners that what was under that beep was the worst possible beep there is, and further suggested that it was one area in which the word should be allowed to go unbeeped.

Zaltzman: "They ARE *beep*s. That would stand up in court."

Somehow, I get the impression they don't approve of the BNP. Me, I say: What's wrong with the BNP? And yes, I immediately hear your response: "Everything." But I mean, apart from that.
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