It's a completely cool, multi-purpose blog.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bushfires vs Suntans

Mum and Jenny are continuing to have a fun time here despite the dismal weather. Mum doesn’t mind staying indoors and fussing over Beth all day, but Jenny is a real sun seeker so the constant local refrain of “Well, we do need the rain” is failing to cheer her up at all.

Last weekend was the Player family Christmas at Tanglewood which was fun as ever. Christmas Day sees the clan coming over to our place. Yikes! We’ve never hosted before and cooking for 12 adults and 3 kids will be a new experience in itself. To add to our nerves, the fridge is showing signs of having its annual meltdown this week.

Luckily we have Mapp and Lucia, sorry, Hinge and Brackett, sorry, Mum and Jenny on hand to sort out pavlovas, potato salads etc.

On the work front, I’ve just sent off an article for submission to a scholarly journal. I’ve never been published academically before, so we’ll see how it goes.

Got a spare week? Try this.

Are they the only ones who laugh at your jokes when they’re bad?/
And your jokes are always bad

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Small Fry

Check out these great one-gag movies by a mate of mine. My favourite: "Don't open the bag, Alan".

(Still no HTML - Blogger Beta stinks!)

(Update - Working again! Maybe it was an IE7 thing)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I have gig wrist this morning

Saw Tapes’n Tapes at the Gaelic Club last night. It was our first gig for months and they were great, so we went home very happy. M & I were definitely the least cool people in the room though, everybody else had clearly spent time deciding on appropriate footwear for the occasion. I wasn’t sure about the lass with the orange football shorts and knee-length boots, though.

I also met the band! Well, sort of.

Scene: The back of the Gaelic Club

Lead singer: Excuse me, we need this table for the merch stand.
Me: What?
LS: We need the table.
Me: Oh, right. Sorry.

He’ll remember that conversation in years to come, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, Mum and Jenny are having a fun time in Oz, primarily because they are spending a lot of time with Beth. I’m stuck at work a lot but I have a couple of weeks off from the 22nd, so I just press on.

It’s that time of year when our neighbours think it’s a good idea to festoon their houses with expensive, gaudy and inappropriate lights. I believe the term is housebling. When future generations look back at the decadence of our energy-wasting and privileged age, we will hang our heads.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Warning; offensive, but true

I am getting increasingly passionate about the movement called Skepticism, although I would prefer a title something more like Empirical Rationalism. Essentially, skeptics argue that any claim should be backed up with evidence and subjected to critical thinking.

In practice, it means that skeptics seek to counter claims made by such alternative "thinkers" as homeopaths, spoonbenders, mediums, psychics, and dowsers. The basic skeptical response to such people is to say "Oh yeah? Prove it." For example, the estimable James Randi has had a million bucks on offer for years to anybdy who can display any paranormal ability under proper double-blind procedures. Guess what? He's still got it.

This is a little awkward, because I am aware that I am attacking beliefs that friends hold dear. However, when one sees "alternative" therapies being funded by the NHS I get very irate. there's a reason they're called alternative - if they worked, they'd just be called therapies.

By extension, if we learned to analyse the claims of the untrustworthy using the best critical tools available then we would be far better equipped to debunk their claims. I'm not just talking about Uri Geller types here - I'm talking about the media and politics here, and, yes, religion too.

Some links, if you're interested:

James Randi - there's heaps of his stuff on YouTube, too
Bad science column in the Guardian
Hilarious Guardian article on what happens when the media chooses to follow an agenda for its own purposes

Sorry to get a bit ranty. If this annoyed you, I suggest you avoid the subject when I've had a couple of beers. That's when I get really irritating.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Who needs the Big Day Out?

There isn’t a great deal happening this week but things are about to start happening very soon indeed. My mum and her mate Jenny arrive in Sydney tomorrow for a 4-week trip which everyone is looking forward to. It also gives me & M the chance to do some stuff without B while we have prefab babysitters. First up, Tapes’n Tapes at the Gaelic Club on Tuesday.

And talking of bands, I’m in a state of high excitement over the agenda for March. First up is the
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival (Camera Obscura - yay!), and I’ve just found out about the V Festival, with its cracking line-up including Gnarls Barkley, Pet Shop Boys and…oh yes...The Pixies! (collapses in a hyperventilating heap).

Don’t know about you, but I am un chien andalusia

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's bad enough if you live in London

I am aware that it is a fundamentally adolescent trait to take sport too seriously, but I was almost in tears yesterday over England's abject performance in the final day of the second Ashes test. I am torn between dismal grief and raging anger. To throw it away from there was a throwback to awful cricket performances of yore, only this time it came after four days of dominance and a year or so of misplaced optimism. I should have known as soon as Ashley chuffing Giles' selection was announced. Defensive, backward-looking and obvious to everybody except Duncan Fletcher. Gah. GAH! GAAAH!

On the positive, there is no positive side.

A woman drove me to drink, and I never had the common courtesy to thank her. - W.C. Fields

Monday, December 04, 2006

Are lemons blue? Nooo! Lemons are yellow.

Lots of people say that roundabout 18 months is the age at which kids are at their most adorable. Beth is just about there now, and we're having all sorts of fun. Her vocabulary is up to 20 odd words, although many of them are only intelligible to me and M. "Buhboh" means all gone, "dor" means daddy, door or dog, "tchi" means cheese and so on. With my mum arriving on Saturday it's good that Beth can say "Nana", even though at present she uses it to refer to a bendy yellow fruit rather than her doting grandmother.
As you can see, we are also doing lots of reading with her, usually at her own instigation. She generally likes touch books, anything with animals and books with flaps that she merrily rips out whenever she can. We'll get her onto Dostoyevsky when she's...I dunno...about three?