Sunday, November 11, 2012

Schrodinger mustn't have liked cats

Still here, just in the middle of stuff and things. So in the mean time, have a cat in a box.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

If you had amnesia, would you still be friends with those around you?

This sits on my sister's fridge. I've lost count of the number of years its been there, but I remember identifying with it quite strongly when I first read it. I'm also part way through reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth which elaborates on the idea of ego and our perceptions of the world.

Perhaps where we see this the most is when we hear of friends that break up with their significant others. If it's a bad break, then in a mere few months, their perception of their significant other goes from one extreme to the other. The thing is, I don't think people change dramatically. I believe it takes quite a lot for someone's personality to completely change overnight, a literal life-changing matter. So what does it mean?

If someone turns around in a short space and suddenly claims that someone is despicable within a very short period of time, it's less likely that the person they're talking about has changed, but more that the perception of them has.

And on the flip side, sometimes people can change dramatically, over a period of time, but our old perceptions of them can trick us into not seeing them for who they really are.

The problem with knowing this, is that sometimes you realise that you don't actually like certain people that you think you do, and that you logically might like others that you currently find to be despicable.

And then to further complicate things, what if you're someone that is frequently misunderstood?

Busking is one of those things that for a long time I've said I would want to do, but don't have the courage to. I'd liken it to public speaking -- it will probably make you a better person when you do it, but having to do it scares most people.

As part of my day job, I record a weekly podcast. To me, that was just like busking. It sounds like an fun thing to do, but terrifies the crap out of me. The past few weeks, however, are probably the first that I've ever felt relatively relaxed. I guess the only way I can describe it is that it's not that I don't care, but I am without care, if that makes any sense.

I actually walked past this without noticing what was going on, and admittedly this is a pretty poor photograph of what is happening. There's a crane lowering this down from several stories above. No idea what it is, but maybe it's a crane.

And speaking of cranes, ever wonder how they make them? They use another crane. No kidding. I remember being told this as a little engineer in training while on the job and thinking it was a joke.

Across from Town Hall, it's probably not legible but the sign in the middle reads "Sorry, Tobacco Buyer! We may Request I. D. Under 25 years old Buyer. We are Seriously Nervous."

Yeah, me too.

I remember taking this photo and thinking it's the first time having an odd-sized aspect ratio on a smart phone is actually relatively useful.

Do you know how expensive it is to buy a bucket? It's ridiculous. But anyway, I bought a cheapy one partially for the fact that it was ass coloured.

I miss Tokyo. But then again, I've barely travelled, so that might be a reason why. What I worry about is that if I go back, it will be like Melbourne. Melbourne? Yes, Melbourne.

In 2006, I went to Melbourne for a holiday. I've been there several times, but always for work, which limits what I could see. I had a ball of a time, ate everything in sight, and have several memories from that trip that are among my most cherished.

A few years after that, I went again. I had a rare spot of extra time after going there for business and thought it would be great to wander around town again. However, I'd seen most everything I wanted to see already. I guess I'm an exploratory sort of guy, and well, Melbourne is not that big, so it was a bit disappointing.

Just like revisiting children's cartoons when you're nearing your thirties can almost ruin your prior memories, I feel like I have an irrational fear of upsetting the great time I recently had.

But then, that's just like me to confuse my perception of things with how they actually are, isn't it? Sometimes, even though you know reality might be different, it feels better to live the lie.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We're actually really bad at figuring out what's good for us

My suburb shut off its streets a couple of weeks back and decided to hold a party. I live in a place with a lot of art galleries, so it's not usual to have lots of arty stuff around. It's a bit of a strange feeling wandering around your own neighbourhood when it's been transformed this way.

On the weekends I sometimes take an hour or so out and sit about in the city. There are plenty of spots to relax and giant trees that will share their shelter, if you know where to look. It's usually a moment to gather my thoughts, figure out what I'm doing and what I've done. Do it for a few weeks and you'll wonder how people go their whole lives without stopping for a moment and realising if they know what they're doing and how it contributes to them being them.

It's only October and these are up in my local shops. I guess you keep them in storage for most of the year, so you might as well break them out early. But for a whole quarter of a year? I dunno.

I walked into the office the other morning and some work colleagues were putting this Night Elf on its stand. However, the stand was behind a pillar, which I couldn't see, and they're surprisingly cumbersome to position. As a result, all I saw was my colleague humping it from behind next to a pillar. Not a good sight. I was a bit too dumbstruck, otherwise I would have taken a photo.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Is it youth that are outrageous, or the older generation that are out of touch?

On the corner of George and Barrack street, there's a statue of a little hooded boy. I'm pretty sure he's not meant to be there, but what probably gives it away is the gas canister behind him, as though he's one of those London rioters.

I can't wear a damn hoodie any more without being reminded of them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I get the feeling logic can go out the window when having fun

One of my favourite things to do is eat fried chicken and drink beer.

Actually, that's two things, but who's paying attention.

And there are three things in this photo.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning from failure brings you closer to success

Sometimes in life, you just got to wear a lady bug hat like it's eating your brains.

When I was sitting for my interview a while back, the usual greatest strengths and weaknesses question came up. I know what you're supposed to answer with these -- a weakness which is actually a strength -- but I decided not to.

My greatest strength, I said, was that I am mostly aware of my own weaknesses and actively try to fix them. That's the truth. But it also means I do the exact opposite to what I'm meant to do with the weakness question: I reveal a weakness.

For me, it was that I feel as though I live a sheltered, geeky life, and have difficulty relating to others. The great thing about my greatest strength though, is that all that can change. It's no longer my greatest weakness, although it is still a weakness.

It's a long story (which I've saved you the sob story of having to read), but I've found that there are two pretty easy ways to deal with it. One is about two standard drinks. The other is to do occasionally do outrageously random things and deal with the social interactions that result.

I'd rather not become an alcoholic, so sometimes, doing weird things just has to happen. Because after all, if you can deal with the stares as you walk down the street with a funny hat on, I'm sure there are plenty of other things you can deal with in life.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's funny how so many people only know what they want after they're given it

I've been sick the past few days with what seems like the flu. I'm sort of like a cat when I get sick. I just get a little quieter than usual and don't really show any outward signs, but the way I recover is more like a dog. I burrow away for a while then emerge a few days later all fine.

This typically means roasting myself into a horrid sweat for hours. Its worked pretty well for as long as
I can remember, but it also ruins my mental state. I end up having crazy thoughts and dreams and I lose all track of time. So though I had broken sleep for about 12 hours the other night while trying to recover, it felt like I lost a day or two. Unfortunately part of that was dreaming about going to work, so it felt like I went to work for another day.

Anyway, the watch. My dreams got me thinking about who I am and what I do. Yet again. The truth is, as much as I am passionate about journalism and writing, it's not something I see myself doing for the rest of my life. So in my sickness I realised time is ticking away from me and I've settled into a state of adequacy. Everything is adequate for my needs, but really, I'll never achieve the form of greatness that I want.

To be honest, I want to go into business, create jobs, but feed profits back into a community, and solve a problem. I want to live a life that gives back more than is possible through a single person. And I feel that every day I don't is another day wasted. So worse than being sick is getting better and realising that you're wasting your life's potential.

Still, my life isn't a complete waste of time. I know that what I currently do does bring benefit to others' lives, but it's on a much smaller scale than I would have hoped. I'm no superhero, but I feel like what many of them claim to feel like before they find their purpose. That there's something bigger, something greater, that they're meant to do in life, but they just don't know what it is. The problem is, life is not a movie, and there's no guarantee I'll ever find out what it is.

The watch? It's my new favourite toy, my first automatic. Doesn't keep time as well as a quartz movement, but I like how it's purely mechanical. Sometimes I'm old-fashioned that way. You'd think me different, a lover of technology, but some things just don't feel the same for some reason. Razors with a gazillion blades? What happened to a straight edge shave? Cars that park themselves? What happened to becoming a better driver? Sometimes it feels like advancements in technology just make us dumber.

From the Gold Coast earlier this year. Sipping on a beer in the media room. It was a security conference and the year before, a journalist was arrested by Qld Police. Nothing of similar event happened this time around, although I secretly had hoped something would. Is it mean to hope for excitement? I think it's just biting off more than you can chew. Or perhaps a sign that you're tired of life.

Virgin Atlantic. Scotch and dry.

VA isn't bad. It's not fantastic either. I've racked up enough frequent flier miles in order to get to a pretty high status level with Star Alliance. The problem is, I'm a cheap ass and these days rarely ever fly on a Star Alliance carrier, so having status doesn't really matter.

We flew Sydney to Hong Kong to London. Took a train out from London to Shropshire to Birmingham to Shropshire and back to London again. Then flew London to Nagoya to the Gold Coast and back to Sydney again. That's our first holiday in about six years and it only lasted two weeks. I have personal photos, but client work I need to see through before that.

I'd like to go to the US for a holiday some day. I've been to the US about three or four times now, but only on transit. That's life just teasing me.

And while I was in Tokyo, I figured it was time to visit Disneyland for the first time. I'm not getting any younger.

It's funny I say that. I've refused to admit I'm getting old for a while now. When I was in university, others would say it and I'd simply not believe them. I guess it is a relative thing. Now I look back at people in university and they seem like such young folk. I'm guessing my peers think the same of me.

But physically, I'm starting to feel it. I used to work two jobs and still attend university as a full-time student. These days I can barely manage my other job on the side in addition to my full-time one.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ignorance is bliss, but a closed mind is like a closed book

I love Portal and its sequel. Actually, I never finished the second one in co-op because I don't often play and by the time I found some free time to play it again everyone else had finished it. I guess it has limited replayability.

Anyway, if you're wondering what the hell this is, I wouldn't blame you (even though many people who aren't from the internet seem to have cotton on to the whole cake is a lie meme). Someone from work baked it and brought it in. I was very impressed.

"So, how are you holding up? Because I'm a potato!"

I did think this was also rather impressive. Unfortunately, PotatOS it's not powered solely off the potato, but she does need to actually hooked up to operate. To operate? Yep. She spouts off lines from Portal.

Why is there a PotatOS and what looks like a beer? A high school friend of mine had a house warming where everyone had to dress up as a video game character. One of the guests came in a lab coat, PotatOS and, get this, one of those very limited edition Aperture Portal Devices.

Unfortunately, most of my high school friends are the Nintendo console video game sort so they didn't have a clue as to who he was or what a speaking "potato bomb" was related to. I would have felt horribly bad for all the effort he put in...
Yes, that's Mario and Luigi in the background.
Why I have bandages on the outside of my arms, I have no idea.
... only no one really knew who I was meant to be either. Admittedly, my costume was a bit haphazard, but I was meant to be a hunter from Left for Dead. We tried the blood on my face, but decided I'd probably get it everywhere. Or eat it all first since we were using coloured honey. You wouldn't believe that it's easier to buy a brand new sweater and ruin it with bloody paint than go to a thrift shop and buy a second hand one.

So it's going to turn into a top I wear when I go running on cold winter mornings. I don't know if I'll get weird stares from other joggers who think I've just cannibalised someone for breakfast, but if I do, maybe they'll run faster.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A day in the life of a technology journalist

It's no big secret that my profession is one of the least trusted in the world. I'm a journalist by day because, as much as the pay is really crap, I still need to pay the bills while I make even less as a photographer on the side.

So for a while, this was my typical grab bag. A camera with a 35mm lens, a bus ticket for those times I couldn't walk across the city in time, business cards, tissues for my horrible sinus-infected nose, a collapsible keyboard, a spare battery for my camera, a set of headphones, my trusty notetaker, a lens pen, a sharpie, a backup red pen, a USB stick, a bag to hold everything in, whatever notepad I happen to have at the time, and a tablet to type everything into. Phew.

That pretty much covers me if I get told to be somewhere at the last minute, otherwise I'd bring a laptop. These days I find I'm ditching the camera since processing time often takes away from writing articles.

So what do I actually do with my day? I figured, for kicks, I'd take notes for a day or two.

16 July 2012

0840: I'm out of the house. I'm late. Again.

0852: In the lift and up to the office. We have news meetings to plan our day at 9am, which means I have about 8 minutes to read up on what news I've missed and figure out what I want to pitch. This often means I skim through the news on my smartphone as I walk to work. I've learned quite quickly where I have to look up to avoid being hit by traffic.

0900: I'm in the lift again. As it turns out, there's an event on at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, so I haul ass to get there in time for it to start. After the session, I quickly go and find a corner to sit in and start writing up the article immediately while it's fresh in my head. I have an interview scheduled for about 12 noon, so the more I get out of my head now, the better.

1224: Interview is done, so I grab my first piece of food of the day thanks to the event catering, which turns out to be cake. Then I sit down and continue hammering out my first article from the morning's session.

1259: I file my article, close my laptop and go and find something substantial to eat. Sandwiches are available and are a handy treat. Sandwich in one hand, smartphone in the other, I chat back to my colleague in the office who is looking through my article and answer his queries. I don't have long because the next session I want to cover is starting.

1423: That's the last session for the event that I'm interested in today, so I head back to the office. When I get in, I notice there's been the slight possibility that there's been an intrusion on one of my accounts, so I spend a few minutes changing all my password, check my mail, tie up a few loose ends, and help my editor with something she's looking for before getting to work on an article from one of the sessions. The interview I had can wait: the interview was set up as an exclusive, but the session was not. I start getting to work.

1724: I finally file my article. It hasn't been a very productive day, but sometimes it's like that. I start going over the agenda for an event the next day to decide what sessions are worth going to.

1814: There are some issues that my editor has with my article. It's frustrating, but we go back and forth over the issue until it's resolved.

1829: I'm drained, exhausted and a little frustrated. I hit the gym to work it off then slink back home at around 8:30pm for dinner.

2100: Jess does her best impression of me.

17 July 2012

0833: I wake up and instantly I know I'm fucked. I get ready as fast as I can and leg it to work.

0905: News meeting. I'm fortunate enough to have a busy enough day as it is that I don't really need to pitch.  By this time, my article from the night before has gone live, but I have the interview still left over from the previous day that I need to get done. I scour my usual haunts to see if there is anything on fire that needs coverage straight away. With nothing demanding my attention, it's into writing up the interview.

Interviews bother me because they make me realise how certain subjects squeeze their way out of questions by changing the subject, by answering a similar question, or by not answering it at all. On the other hand it also helps me to recognise when such a tactic is being played though and I end up playing the typical counter: asking the same question as many times as necessary, but rephrased differently. It's a waste of everyone's time if the subject isn't willing to talk or simply isn't honest enough to say they don't know.

1100: I file, stick around a bit for a few quick questions from my editor, then I declare that I have to get moving and leave, jumping into a taxi to get to the other side of town. The taxi driver is insane and gets me there faster than I expected. I wander upstairs and there's a bit of an issue with media accreditation, but they eventually relent. There are a few sessions beginning at about 1130, so I find myself a seat and get comfortable.

1130: The order of the speakers has changed due to one of them being late, meaning I now have to sit through a session that I wouldn't have previously attended. I take notes anyway because there are no other interviews or previous sessions that I could write up in this time. The talk turns out to be a mixed blessing as later in the week another speaker touches on the same topic and the two can be combined into a larger, more in-depth story.

1309: I grab a taxi back and pick up some lunch on the way. Wanting to avoid a repeat of having to stay back while my article is edited, I eat at my desk while I hammer out the article.

1532: The deadline for last articles is 5pm, so I file at this stage and prepare to start on the next article from today's sessions. My editor flicks it back and suggests that because it's a popular, but complex topic, I could go deeper into detail. I spend more time researching certain elements of the story and plucking out more detail from my notes.

1640: I file again, but it is quite a complex topic and editing takes some time.

1724: The article finally makes the cut after several edits. It goes in the queue for publication the next day and I get to go home.

So that's two days in the life of a tech journalist that is still learning the ropes. Although I picked these two at random, they probably represent two rather tough days in the past month. I don't always get to go out and some days I'm just at my desk, writing and talking to people over the phone. The thing is, I don't think there really is a routine day. There are regular things like meetings and so on, but sometimes what's planned at the beginning of the day completely changes. And sometimes you have days where something significant happens and you drop everything to cover it.

As much as people like to hate on journalists, I don't think many of them appreciate the effort that goes in to a story. What generally takes someone a few minutes to read can actually take significantly longer to put together once you consider the additional checks that journalists do. Even when giving away a slice of the day to an event, there's no guarantee that there's going to be anything newsworthy.

And sometimes people make mistakes, or worse, they are misinterpreted through a lapse in concentration or an error introduced in the editing or sub-editing process. It's deeply demoralising to have someone rip you to shreds with accusations of being biased, too lazy to fact check, serving someone's agenda, or simply because you made a typo. While I was certainly humbled by my boss when making a typo in an engineering report when I was in that industry, the world never descended on me and called me the scum of the Earth.

But then again, I guess part of being a journalist is being able to bear that.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Life is a rollercoaster, sure, but there's no guaranteed safety belt

It's been a long time.

I've re-written this post several times now; a combination of trying not to kill the mood with details you don't necessarily need to know or hear about, and also trying to come to grips with what I want to say. Sorry if this jumps around quite a bit.

So I've been busy the past few months. There's been a number of exciting things that have happened, including going to the Gold Coat, UK and Japan, but a couple of downers too like getting through recurring bouts of unhappiness and getting a bit sick physically and of my (non-)progress through life.

Seven in Sydney has been affected a bit by both the good and the bad as I try and find time for it and also try and avoid it in some unhealthy mentality. I've been working on that last bit for a while now.

Anyway, me being gone for so long means there's no shortage of pics since I've still been snapping away. There'll be a couple of days where I might not write anything at all though. This does sadden me in a ways because I usually like to blab on about nothing in particular, but more recently it's been the last thing I've wanted to do after coming back from work.

It's been all too easy recently to tell myself I haven't posted anything here in so long that another day isn't going to matter, so I'm hoping that by posting this, I'll at least guilt myself into posting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Having direction isn't about making the right decisions, it's about making them at all

Bloody hell Michael.

I've taken to sitting around in the State Library more recently, which is where I think I wrote my last Seven up, but I keep finding I'm using the time for other things I just haven't done yet and need to catch up on.

I think this should probably rank a little higher though.

After so many years, my router finally carked it, rolled over and, well, sort of died. It decided, quite randomly, that it didn't want to maintain sync for all that long and kept booting me offline. Me being me, I instantly suspected that someone was doing something odd. Perhaps trying to boot one of my other computers off the wireless to steal the handshake.

No, it's just what happens to crappy hardware when it's left on for several years at time. So I got around to getting a new one after being rather unamused at the random jerry-rigging of old hardware I had been using to maintain a decent sync speed and keep my wireless secure.

This one says that as a rule of thumb it is essential... So it's a rule of thumb or I must do it? I don't know. I never really read those guides. Does anyone?

I set out from home one morning all bleary-eyed and asleep (actually, that's me most mornings, but anyway) and I'd wandered a far way when I realised that the normally loud and busy roadway next to me was completely empty. During peak hour. On a week day. I instantly decided I'd died and had woken up in some alternate universe.

It turns out there was an accident some time in the early hours of the morning and while forensics teams were looking at the scene, they had shut off most of railway square and the roads nearby, so there was barely any traffic.

I heard it was a ute that hit a taxi and the taxi driver had died. Either way, everything felt rather strange, but that could also be because I don't really wake up completely until later.

If I had a setup like this, I'd have a live kitten feed on one of the monitors. I get to see some of the strangest things during my day job. It's supposed to be a cyber security centre, but in the back of my mind all I could wonder was how awesome a LAN party could be in a place like that. Not that I've had a LAN party in a while.

In fact, I haven't heard even my geekiest friends talk about having one in such a long while. Doesn't anyone do them any more?

Probably about 5 to 6am in the morning down in Darling Harbour before the Google+ Photowalk. I have a couple of my pics from the day up on Google+. Now you get to see how bad I fail when I try a little harder.

Probably the strangest thing about the walk was that I'm not a landscapes person. I shoot people most of the time. But taking photos of photographers is not exactly normal.

I don't remember the name of this place. I think it's called Mad Pizza or something similar? It's next to the Mad Mex out near Oxford St. Awesome food. What's more fun is that they leave you crayons to draw on the paper tabletops. I can't draw to save my life, but just about everyone else I was eating with could.

My friend, the one that got caught in the kid's playground netting from a week or two ago, decided the first thing he would do is draw a giant penis on my table. Joy.

Another discarded pic from the Google+ Photowalk. More recently I ran up these after going on a Nike Sydney run. Big mistake after having already run several kms. I think I near fell right over at the top and I'm sure I looked like a fool at the time. Nevermind, it's all in the name of getting fit!

It's something that's been taking up quite a bit of my time actually. Strangely, I've been off heavy weights and long runs for the past week or so just due to random outings and things, but I've also felt horribly depressed. I'm not one to usually talk about these things if I can help it, but I thought it was rather coincidental that the two happened at the same time. They say exercise raises your mental state and you can get addicted to the high (source: broscience ;P), so perhaps that's what's happening.

Either way I want to get back to the gym and beat the crap out of a bag.

On Cockatoo island I spied this. It's probably a bit hard to tell, but it's one of those concrete sculptures! Even on an island, hey? It's funny how these things just turn up when you're not looking for them, but you know about them. Like when you decide you like a particular model car and suddenly it feels like they're everywhere.

Perhaps the same could be said for how we see people. Perhaps if the pessimistic me could see that people are willing to go that extra mile, I'd better appreciate others' efforts.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The light at the end of the tunnel could be a train

Okay, it's been a while, but thankfully it's not because I haven't been taking photos. I've got a whole backlog of them again, but I'm having trouble putting some words to go along with them.

Go figure, a picture tells a thousand words, but I feel the need to add some more to them. Does it mean the photo doesn't speak for itself? Possibly.

Or perhaps I like to ramble.

So one of the cool things about working where I do is that I sometimes get to gawk at the new products my coworkers get to review. However, this particular picture is from the viewfinder of some brand-spanking-new camera.

You see that black blob in the bottom left? That's the lens body. I don't know how you mess that sort of thing up, but I guess it can be done.

I also take my camera along with me to whatever events I go to. The photos I take don't always end up being newsworthy though, so I sometimes end up with a bunch of photos I save up anything else that's related, if I ever use them again.

This is of a server. The guy showing us around wandered up to a server rack, yanked it out and took the top off it.

Darling Quarter has turned into something pretty impressive, but what has one of my friends wondering is how this structure doesn't end up killing kids. I'm guessing that if they fall the netting is sufficiently spaced out so that with each "bounce" they're slow enough that the chance of serious injury is limited. 

Or I could be completely wrong and maybe there'll be a dead kid on the news some day. I know I used to climb on the outside of these sort of things when I was a kid... and teenager. And adult. If you can call me that.

You see what I mean? There's a kid in all of us.

I've never actually seen our city's emergency warning system work before. I had thought that the test would have involved an audio test, but I didn't hear one. Perhaps I missed it. But if the point of these tests is to allegedly prepare office workers for what to expect, I don't think it's working.

One of the video guys at work, with me just spying from the other side of my cubicle wall, if you can call it a cubicle. I'm not sure if I want the world to see my face yet. I'm the sort of person that has a lot of thoughts in his head, but has trouble organising them on the fly. It's probably why I used to write a lot -- it's a lot easier to splurge things out into a word processor and then arrange all my ideas around them.

I suppose that's what the video guys end up doing -- giving the information some structure and making it easy and understandable to watch. If you get me to do that, I usually end up getting stuck on what I should say first and end up not saying anything at all.

I spotted this on my lunch break. I was hoping to get a snap of the green "alien" that was wandering around, but alas, they must have returned to their home planet. They were essentially someone dressed head-to-toe in bright green polyester. 

So that's Seven, and I'm sure you're wondering where the rest are. The truth is, I get a bit bummed out and overwhelmed with the thought of writing after writing all day. It's not that I don't enjoy sharing my stories, it's just that plonking myself on the couch or reading Reddit all evening is highly satisfying after a long day at work.

So I'll rather than leave you guys completely hanging on some weeks, I'll try and queue up something. I know you guys are still visiting (and I'm surprised, to be honest!) even in the weeks I don't post, so hopefully you'll have something more interesting to see from now on.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Competence builds confidence, but confidence doesn't necessarily build competence

It's another week of pics from my phone. I've rarely been taking my DSLR out partly because of the weight and partly because I haven't been able to find the time.

I'm finding that carrying camera gear, a gym clothes, a towel, a laptop, and whatever other gadgets I have, I can be toting around 8kg on some days. I'm going to have to find time somehow.

It was Puddles' birthday last week. We don't actually know when his real birthday is because he began life as a stray. I think he cleaned up pretty well. The first two years were him trying to adjust to domesticated life and clawing up everything in the process. The next two he was Mr Independent — doesn't need anyone or anything, except when you're going to feed him.

But this past year, he's been much more vocal than usual and cuddles up to you more frequently. There once was a time where I could only pick him up if I were wearing my motorcycling leathers for fear of being ripped to shreds, but it's not unusual now to pick him up and take him on a tour of areas he can't usually see or smell.

Happy 5th, Puddlet!

Not that you read this. You're a cat.

It was also Jamie's birthday — my ex-housemate and the childhood friend of my girlfriend, Ev. Together they run a blog called Plisherrific which is all about nail polish. Y'know, nail p'lish and terrific? Plisherrific? Anyway, Ev got her a whole bunch of girly nail polish related stuff and drew the above on the little card.

Ev isn't really a Redditor — I think that's just rubbed off from me — so I was pretty surprised to see this.

Remember the "Look lfet" text? Yeah, well they fixed it, much to my disappointment. How will anyone know what to do here?

I'm curious to know if it would be possible to change it back in the middle of the night. If it went unnoticed for so long previously, surely it could do so again? If it happens to magically change in the next few days, just note that it wasn't me.

Trolley. Not just any trolley, but one from the airport. This is on George, near Barlow. That's like 5km from the airport, and even if they took the train, I don't know how they got it on and off the platform and wheeled it down the street.

To be honest, people that steal trolleys from supermarkets and then dump them shit me to tears. Being within walking distance from a shopping centre and a university, we frequently get university students that push a trolley down the street with one or two bags in it, then dump it outside someone else's house to make it less obvious it was them.

I live in a really narrow street where my motorcycle has been knocked down several times and someone has done a hit and run on our car. There's been more than once instance where drunken loonies have decided that riding a trolley down the street has been a swell idea. Ever wonder why your shopping trolleys never track straight?

Then some poor guy has to squeeze a long trailer down the street to pick it up, which by now has been filled with others' trash.

But a trolley from the airport? I'm more amused than anything else.

Not certain what happened here, but an evidence crew from the police were taking photos of this place just next to the pharmacy outside Capitol Square on George. I was hoping I could find out a few more details in the news or through NSW Police, but all seems pretty quiet.

I'm always wondering how different one part of Sydney can be just an hour later. I don't remember the movie, but there's a scene in which a character is killed on what looks like a New York street corner, covering the sidewalk in blood. A little while later, the body is removed, the sidewalk hosed down and people continue walking through unaware that someone had died there just a few hours before.

After all of the hideous rain that we've had, I somehow picked a great day to find myself in The Summit Restaurant in Australia Square.

First of all, Australia Square, the building, is anything but square. It's a freaking cylinder. The plot of land that it's on, sure, but that's the same for most buildings and even ones that have a square-ish cross-section. They'd be more at home being called a square anything.

The second thing? It took me a good 30 minutes before I realised that the restaurant revolves. I was working at the time and had my back to the window while doing my job. It wasn't until it occurred to me that the sun coming in through the window was moving at a freakishly high pace that I realised it wasn't everything else that was moving, it was me.

It would be pretty amazing to get a full 360-degree stitched panorama of Sydney from there, but that's not what I was there for. Perhaps another day in my own time.

Broadway is one of those places that strikes me as a bit quirky. It can be a mix of young professionals, the homeless, university students, hippies, lawyers, academics, drunkards and some combination of all of the above. You would think that this could spell trouble, but somehow everyone gets along.

I see stuff like this and wonder why it hasn't been completely defaced, or how it managed to even get there in the first place. Then, down the road, there's an advertisement that has a woman's face on it that has been defaced and cleaned countless times. Is there a rhyme and reason to any of it? Is it just funnier to draw monobrows?

Anyway, I had to borrow a few pics from Monday to get through this week, which means I'll need to be more on my game over the next few days. I've also begun to wonder. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? I might try experimenting one of these days in 77 seconds.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Often times, the odds are good that the goods are odd

Last week vanished in a blur, so much so that I ended up only taking pics on my phone. They're a bit random of sorts, but I'll share a bit more of their story.

She should be a familiar sight. The Jess-dog turned four the other day. She's a big sook. When she was little we were all in a car accident and I think that's left a fairly lasting impression on her. We also always trained her to be more passive than remotely aggressive since any mistake on our part may result in her losing her life since most people see German Shepherd Dogs as dangerous.

It's always made me a little sad when I hear about dogs that bite someone and have to be put down. The truth is, they don't understand right and wrong. Dogs don't have a sense of doing something out of malice — they're just instinctual. So when a dog loses its life, it's not its fault — it's the fault of its owner.

There always seems to be something interesting at my local gym. I don't talk much about the gym, but to be honest, it's something that's regularly on my mind. I took up lifting weights a few months ago and have been settling into a routine. Now when I'm not at the gym I randomly feel like lifting heavy things and I feel like I get gym withdrawal. But I wouldn't call myself a gym nut, and I'm not lifting weights that are all that heavy... yet.

Before last year, I wouldn't have stepped into a gym, believing you could do everything with bodyweights — push ups, sit ups, pull ups and the like. I guess I've been convinced otherwise now.

Over at the Guylian Cafe in The Rocks. I like shiny lights. In fact, I don't like room lights. I'd much rather a series of small lamps and individual spots to highlight things like bookcases and artwork. I think a small part of that comes from when I used to dabble in stage lighting. I spent hours upon hours reading up and learning about it, actually putting some of my electrical engineering degree to use.

To this day, I've always though it would be cool to build some LED lighting strips and program some controllers for all sorts of things, like transitional mood lighting at particular times of the day. Or hook them into motion sensors to automatically provide energy efficient lighting when needed.

I find it interesting whenever I see thing that actually take something functional and practical, and combine it with something that is actually creative and artistic. Lights tend to do that for me.

Also in The Rocks, I must have passed this alleyway a couple of hundred times but never noticed it for some reason. It's on George?, just near the old police station. I've always said that there are a number of small alleyways that one could spend hours exploring and getting lost in The Rocks, but I never realised how close to the main strip some of them were.

One year, a few days before my birthday, my SO sent me a letter, but didn't say who it was from. Inside were statements from people I knew, describing what I was like. The next day, I got another similar letter. And so on and on until it was actually my birthday. It's probably one of the sweetest things anyone has done for me, plus I'm a suckers for letters.

On the day of my birthday I received a parcel in the mail, which contained all sorts of things, including bubbles, a little bear and a Caramello Cream Egg. I'd mentioned that I liked them, but they were fairly hard to find at the time. Sentimental me kept everything, including the egg, until I had to clear out my old stuff from my parents place.

I never did get to eat it. And considering it's several years old now, I don't think it would've been a wise idea.

While I was clearing out my old stuff from my parents' place, I came across a number of things. An old, empty cigarette packet from when I used to smoke, and my old wallet which, among a number of receipts, a note to myself.

The gist of it is an explanatory note about a black ribbon I used to have tied to my arm. I don't remember where the ribbon came from, only that it was cut in half, with one used to tie my rather large journal, which I called "Genesis", shut. The other was meant to serve as a reminder to myself to always do the right thing, and by that I meant according to my religion.

The thing was, I was chasing a girl that, according to the rules of my religion, I should probably not be chasing. So really, to do the "right thing" was to deny myself of any feelings I had for her. Which made everything pretty distressing and really wasn't fair for either of us. I can't say that I regret my decision — it's just a decision that had to be made either way — but I do often wonder what else we do in our lives with good intentions, without realising we're fucking up something special.


How's this for a blast from the past? I was a big PC gamer back in the day, racking up hours upon hours on games like Command and Conquer: Red Alert and Wolfenstein 3D. Of course, I'd always cheat, which just made games much more funnier when nukes could be launched from pistols and dogs could fire laser beams or something like that.

There's also my old Nokia phone, and an actual legitimate copy of Windows 98. I have no idea why I decided to put my tennis racquet there.

This probably didn't turn out very well, but I found my old university lab notes. I have no idea what the hell is going on here anymore asides from trying to figure out the voltage across a certain point, but apparently I got the right answer as evidenced by my "woot!" note.

The lab book was one of several books I found that day. I wrote a lot when I was younger and before the internet gave us blogs. One such journal was an account of expeditions I went on when I was in high school. 

I wrote:

That's another great thing I like about these hikes. I like to write a lot. In fact, I once considered taking it up as a career. But in our lives there are too many distractions. Too much to persuade your thoughts from what they are. That why I like the bush. There aren't houses or cities or rooms to clean or other things to do. There's just what nature intended.

It's funny how when I read everything I write, I go from a cringing in embarrassment to realising that some of the simplest things I held true when I was a kid still apply today. I did end up taking up writing as a form of a career and I still love to hike for the simple reason that it gives me time to close my mind off from everything else. 

Sometimes, I guess the best person to turn to when you're uncertain, is the little kid inside you.