A journal of questionable quality

Monday, May 30, 2005

how long must this song go on?

Strange silence on the fact that the background audio, a cut of a numbers station, has been playing the same thing for the last month.

I was expecting abuse by now, not effusive comments.

Shows, as I suspected, there is no accounting for taste out there in the cyber world - a genuine reflection of the total lack of taste demonstrated in the real world as well. How sad that they had to be the same.

The net is a thing I could get over very quickly - were it not for the fact that I have so many net related projects on the go that I will be 92 years old before I finish the first one.

I sometimes wonder, more frequently lately, if a good life move would be to turn this thing off and start using my beloved Waterman to write 'real' letters with, and lurk in the local library a whole bunch more. It might be the change of brain pills, it might be the winter, but it would be an easy decision right now.



swimming not obsessing

Monday. The kids have been at their Father's for the weekend, making this morning, when they turned up, along with all the day care kids, a rather sobering experience, after the quite of the previous two days.

Weekend amounted to bugger all. Worked the cleaning contracts together on Saturday and stayed inside all day Sunday, all the better to avoid a bitching cold South Westerly that I could have done something with in the buggy, but not without getting cold. Caught up on everything that Yvonne tapes during the week especially for days like that. I'm not sure what she does with the tapes if the weekend has been good - maybe she keeps them in a secret store somewhere, years worth, waiting until we are snowed in for weeks, hopefully with full power so the video player will function.

I can assure everyone I am now up to date on 'Desperate Housewives', 'Law and Order', and, the entirely forgettable 'Amazing Race'. Don't tell me I don't know my television programs.

Now that swimming is for enjoyment and not an obsession, I can come and go with impunity, so I am to be found, un obsessed, at the local - a thrashing, untidy, gasping, 2klms.

Not bad.

Not only not bad, but a good feeling as well. Unfortunate then that it was the last thing, of a physical nature, that I managed to do today. In fact, that seems to happen any day I get down to that pool and start cranking up my laps. Come home, shower, find all sorts of new pain areas in the bod, get in the chair, read the list of things to do, ignore them, surf the web until dinner, eat, sleep.

Deep thought about this revelation. Decision: Have to return to Ms Dr sometime inn the next two weeks to let her see if the new brain pills worked, and, another load of implants may be the way to go to, so I might as well keep swimming until then, check out what happens after that.


Other news; video blogging is trying to get it's hooks into me. I have spent days crawling all over the 'vblog' world looking for inspiration, and software, before I realized that I already have Premiere™ as a capture tool and After Effects™ as an editor, what in hell do I need more of the same thing for?

I think it had something to do with the onboard teleprompter that one, seemingly highly regarded video outfit called vlog.com has included in their product, but other than that there seems to be not a lot of reasons not to use the good old Adobe product for it.

Are we heading toward vlogging? I doubt it, this particular ISP deal wouldn't afford us the bandwidth if I started running video off the site, and, it's not really a thing that makes me think I should be upgrading ISPs's just to run with a fad for a month or two.

Pity, I fancied the idea too.

Go here, send a message to someone. Just for the hell of it.



Friday, May 27, 2005

obsessions for compulsives

Head cold still swamping the brain, making the muscles ache, feel like I have run a marathon - twice. On the same day.

This swimming thing is not an obsession.

I have decided.

People are way too eager to lump everything I do into the 'obsessive/compulsive' bin, figuring, I suspect, that it explains away all sorts of things.

I have been agreeing with them, these self styled experts, in fact I have probably inadvertently encouraged them by stating that I have a 'head thing' going on most of the time. I verbalize that sort of thing so that people don't get too startled if I develop an issue with something. It sort of smoothes the way.

The latest figuring on swimming, however, is that I think it manages to avoid the label 'obsession', primarily because I actually enjoy it. Just plain enjoy it.

The compulsive part occurs when I am in the water - there's no doubt that I get badly hooked into it, and there is no doubt that I 'overcook' myself by doing far too much, but, after long and careful consideration I am putting swimming under the heading of 'enjoyable' rather than 'must do'.

I figure I'm just hanging out for the smell of chlorine.

I have to admit that the compulsive, do more because you can, has got me into trouble yet again - seems I overdid the bit where you should be wearing goggles but couldn't be bothered getting them, and ended up half blind again yesterday. There's an explanation on propagandafactory - I don't want to relive it here as well.

It's happened before - and I vowed it wouldn't happen again. Suspiciously, I have never experienced the sensation while growing up, and they used to put enough chlorine in pools to make your hair bleach out, so I don't understand why it should happen now, but it does.

Anyway, fuck all that - that out of the way leaves my brain plenty of space to develop other, harder obsessions, unhealthy ones that get me in to trouble. I enjoy those as well.

The other advantage of swimming, obsession or not, and biking too for that matter, is that they get me out of the house, out into the fresh air, away from the heater.

Most winters involve staying inside out of the wind all day, heater on behind me, cat curled up close by, developing a headache by at least midday, probably imagination, possibly because I am hanging out for the daily dose of codeine.

Life's like that.

I get out on the bike, or go down to the pool, spend some time, come home, shower, get settled and the world is a different place. The house feels warmer, probably because a I have been away from the concrete with it's chill ability, and it's a good time into the afternoon before I begin to feel the cold again.

That then is obviously a good reason to 'unobsess' about it all.

I think this might have been more for me than you.



Tuesday, May 24, 2005

brackleberrygully.com

Shitful screaming head cold, running nose, sore eyes, and, that's without any dope added to the mix.

Punishment time - down to the pool, 1klm with a kickboard to teach that errant knee who is boss, and another klm freestyle to teach my arms they will get a flogging too if this feeling keeps up.

Brackleberry.com - a stitchery, quilting, craft based site, the labour of love of a friend of Yvonnes, is registered, and, shock upon shock, already sitting with a placeholder on Hostway.

This indicates the need for speed in bringing the HTML up to scratch and getting it on the air as soon as possible. Already abandoned the idea of a good looking CSS based layout - not enough time to implement it, so it's back to learning how to nest tables again, oh joy, oh joy. Way I see it, we get the thing up and running and then I do a reboot when I get the time to convert it.

This naturally conflicted with my day of feeling sorry for myself, and looking web wide for various video blogging tools, as well as some useful podcasting software.

They both look to me to be the new direction (this week) for blogging, and it's time we had a closer look. I'm starting to fancy myself presented as voice, or voice and video, on a regular basis. Suffer you bastards.

Meanwhile the MMS revolution has come crashing in the door - a request for some more mobile content causing an excess of bile already. No doubt we will produce something suitable, we always do, but the work is piling up and the buggy is calling for attention.

What's a man to do?



Monday, May 23, 2005

too much choice

Storm, been and gone. Inlaws, been and gone. There's a common thread there somewhere.

Gratified that I made it through the inlaws visit without blotting my copy book - too much. I can remember one 'fuck' slipping through when I was questioning why commercial Rocky Road never has any jelly in it, but that was about all.

I should get a few points for being so good. All I ended up with is a screaming cold - one of those bastards that hang around your eyes, ears, and nose, causing just enough discomfort to make people like me reach for the codeine, then again I do that all the time anyway.

Being Monday, the start of everyone's week, and having a thick head from the cold, sore muscles from the weekend cleaning, it's obvious that the only thing to do is get my arse down to the (heated) swimming pool and give them back a few of the germs that they obviously gave me.

Nothing like finding your own snot suspended in mid lane on the way back down the pool. That is assuming it was actually my own and not something left over from the last user.

Back to an afternoon planned for orientation lessons in the new Illustrator™, something I have been meaning to do after biting the bullet and upgrading last week. It could be the thought of parting with all that cash that made my sinus collapse, it might not be a cold at all.

Illustrator™, however, as fine as it is, bloated with tools that no one will ever find a use for, as terminally slow to start as it is, and always has been, had to wait. You know you have a big day ahead when Illustrator™ has to be put to one side, for there are more important things to do.

Crisis time at the local Flash™ driven site - video unavailable after friendly software expert got at things over the weekend. Why allow anyone at something they don't understand? Probably looking for a cheap way around the on going updating problem - problem being the site owner is too dense to be able to pick up the most rudimentary HTML skills, let alone anything to do with Flash™. This has been an ongoing saga, with the owner pleased to think that the cost of the site included updates to data on an almost daily basis.

Wrong. So very wrong. And, now that we have the brother in law of a good friend who once managed to boot Windows acting the part of the Flash™ guru, the price just went through the roof. Seems our resident expert, not knowing that we had been running the Flash™ video through external FLV files and removed them because 'they didn't have any function that I could see' - oh good one you cretinous fool, good one indeed.

Fortunately it was a simple matter of uploading the backup and getting back to business as usual - after sending in the invoice for a site rebuild, a days work, with Photoshop™ and Flash™ usage (chargeable as a separate item indeed)

There is a fool born every minute, and sometimes there is more than one fool born in the same minute. I seem to have found such a case. Nothing that $350.00 won't take care of.

Disturbed, distracted, demented, the rest of the day had to be about anything other than puny Flash™ sites owned by puny minds, so we surfed the arse out of the net today, looking, playing, investigating, finding new projects, new ideas, all stuff designed to make you wonder what the hurry was to get Illustrator CS2 grooved in and up to speed. Can't do it now - it's late, and 'Desperate Housewives' are going to be on directly, what am I expected to do?



Thursday, May 19, 2005

Thursday

Huge storm outside this evening. Been building up all week. Finally got here tonight.

Thunder, lightning, some hail, plenty of rain - for a bit, all of which will make it a bit warmer this evening.

Autumn is definitely here. Arrived this morning in the form of a very cold start. Seems a bit early to be here but I am assured by those of us who have a memory longer than the current day that it is on time and expected. I forget the timing from year to year. I used to think I lived in a climate devoid of seasons but things have changed or maybe I have moved, either way we get seasons now. All four of them.

Grandparents still in evidence means exercise of a type that removes me from the immediate area is in order. Biking yesterday, getting some return out of all the laps I do at the pool, finding I have much more power in store for the hilly side of the course.

Swimming today - a gentle 'cool down' for the week, pared down the lap count to a reasonable 20 and threw in 350 mtrs of freestyle for good measure. Feeling good - at the time - a few hours later and I'm sagging a bit. Sagging and smelling of Deep Heat, the solution to all aches and pains (when used with vast amounts of addictive pain killers that is).

Afternoon spent fighting with software updates - seems I get nothing done because I am always updating bloody software. I keep swearing I will ignore the updates - continue getting by admirably on what we have - which we do - and then can't resist another one here and there, 'just to keep up', spending another day getting used to the inevitable new interface.

The sheer frequency of them is astounding, and each one is bigger, more resource hogging, more complicated, and people like me continue to do it.

Latest, prior to today was Photoshop™, up from model 'CS', to the new, improved, bigger, and more aggressive 'CS2', sporting a few new features and no increase in speed. Still good to see a new splash screen I have to admit.

Today we had to bite the bullet, pay up, and get the latest Illustrator™, all the better to match the new Photoshop™, so Adobe say. It remains to be seen, but in the meantime they have my money, so it's another update and another day learning to drive the damn thing.

When it's all said and done, I was really happy with the old Photoshop™ 5.5, it was small, fast, and effective. I loved it. Then came badly under the influence of the Adobe crowd when we went to Photoshop™ 7, a huge move for us, and the machine. There are times when I think I should have two versions of it on here - the old 5.5 for quick and dirty stuff, and the new 'holy grail', CS2 for those moments when you just have to show off.

Tomorrow will probably see a new collection of updates released and we'll be back in the same cycle again.

Still, gives me something to be busy with while there are visitors about the place. They're too scared to ask what mumbo jumbo I'm up to in case I tell them.

Roll on the weekend, I'm alone again this weekend again for the cleaning, grandparents requiring looking after by fawning daughter. All the better to drift along nicely - cleaning not being a thing that requires a whole bunch of concentration. All the better to drag out whatever fantasy I'm working on.



Monday, May 16, 2005

Monday

Weekend to myself. Rare event. Yvonne and kids meeting grandparents in Noosa. The grandparents flew, from New Zealand, into Cairns, my old stomping ground, last week, spent a few days there and then drove themselves down to Noosa.

Weekend to myself. Cleaning contracts kept me busy, the solitude at home when I finished something to behold.

There's a lot to be said for solitude, as I have said many times before. For me anyway.

We managed a Saturday, the Sunday and a few hours this morning.

Went swimming this morning, a good workout to get me over the unexplained pain from the weekend, particularly in the legs and hips. Came home, feeling tired but clean, chlorinated, and happy. They arrived home almost immediately behind me. Funny how quickly the day can lose it's gloss.

A week of the grandparents should be enough to make me run for the pool at any opportunity, the bike as well. Anything to keep the hell out of the way. You know your day / week is going downhill when you go from your preferred company of one to another five, instantly. The noise is already grating. It will get worse, but I will be busier - a whole lot busier. Places to go, things to see.

If the ex's new brothel is anything like the old ones I need to see it as well. I'm a very busy person when it suits me, and it feels like it's going to suit me a whole bunch more this week.

So, the week begins. Inlaws in residence, me with two sites to finish, some video to edit, and a body that needs plenty of exercise.

I live in hope that it gets better than this.

Meanwhile my much loved Averil is suffering from the onslaught of the effects of chemotherapy and I'm sitting here bitching about minor things as overdue sites, inlaws, and children.

It all adds enough to a requirement for more weekends alone.



Tuesday, May 10, 2005

up to strength..

After all that we are now up to full strength on the brain pills and feeling ever so slightly more 'normal'.

Still getting back in to the groove - the year is not settling down as it should, first New Zealand, the up and down drama of Mum and the liver cancer thing, the revelation that my niece is a stupid bitch, and finding, while there, that a much loved ex boss Averil has cancer of the shoulder, the spine, and possibly some association with a lung as well.

Averil and I go back a long way.

She has had a life you only read about. Produced 4 children, one went to the Olympics on the cycling team, one committed suicide by launching himself off a church tower, and the other two are the closest she's going to get to normal.

She nearly died when a stomach stapling operation went badly wrong.

Phil, Averils estranged husband, dropped dead of a heart attack the very day he opened his new business, a wine shop.

And now, just when you think she should be entitled to a reasonable life, she gets diagnosed with all this.

We are keeping in touch by mobile texting. She's just had her first chemotherapy, which will be twelve weeks long, two weeks on one week off. When that's done she gets to do it all again.

Still on dramas and my partially insane ex, after shutting down her successful brothel just after Christmas to create a place of domestic harmony for her and her child and man, announces today her man has taken up with a stripper who managed to get herself very pregnant to him. She also affirms that she is reasonably unhappy with this situation.

On a brighter side, she will go back into the business again, she runs a good brothel, and she will be independent again. Independent is not always the best choice for her, but it would appear that it is the only course at the moment.

Me, I just stay low, keep out of the way and get down to that pool daily. I haven't had the weather to get out on the bike - the days have been cloudy with rain coming through occasionally, enough to make the corners wet and dangerous.

The buggy is still parked for the very same reason - wet power kites do not fly well at all.

So, the pool it is. Again. The good news is, with goggles on (a requirement since I sent myself blind without them) I can see as clear as a bell under water. There is considerable foreshortening, but the view is a whole lot better than it was. I may not be able to seem those good lookers above the water, but I can sure as hell see them below the water.



Wednesday, May 04, 2005

medicated swimmer

Finally getting back to some semblance of what passes for normality here.

Rebooted with the latest medication designed to stop me wanting to tear the eyeballs out of anyone who gets within 6 feet of me. The transition was not pretty. Headaches. Stomach drama. Busy brain. Not doing too well in public.

New brain dampener boots in - still building the dosage up to enough to stun an elephant - takes time.

Getting back into the 'pre New Zealand' groove. Almost. Time to add in the physical fitness thing again. Biking and swimming, buggying as often as possible. The standard plan.

Day 1 - Wild wind makes biking a bad choice, buggying being out for the same reason - no need to be picked up by yet another kite.

Back down to the local swimming pool, conveniently indoor and heated for my personal enjoyment.

Stunned to find the place practically devoid of swimmers - expecting the place to be overrun by hordes looking for a warm and painless way to pass an hour or two.

No such thing happening here. Seems that we here in the Sunshine State don't bother swimming in the winter, heated pools or not. This after having returned from a New Zealand autumn with people turning up at the pools there in any weather.

This after seeing, some decades ago now, people walking through snow in Europe to get to a swimming pool. Impressed me at the time as a good way to get round a cold day. Something about lithe bodies floating in warm water with snow on the windowsills comes to mind - too long ago to clarify.

Not even the schools here avail themselves of the opportunity to get pupils into a pool to at least prepare them for summer.

All the better for my enjoyment, a gale blowing outside, squally rain, dead leaves, best viewed from the comfort of the pool.

Cranked out enough laps to qualify as some minor effort to lose weight and break in my new head pills.

Day 2 - Wild wind, massive memory dump from XP machine that I'd rather avoid, and the need to have an established routine before the dreaded in laws get here (something I had forgotten about), sees me back down there. Possibly the hope of seeing the good looking South African girl on the staff there may have had something to do with it as well.

Same thing - very few people, very good water. An hour or two of laps and back to deal with the mundane stuff with a better attitude.

Hard to tell at times if it's the new brain pill or the exercise that does it. Solution, especially in view of pending inlaws visit, keep both up, and add biking in there somewhere as well. Anything to stay the hell out of the way.



Monday, May 02, 2005

medication time

Insular. Comfortable. Independent.

The things that I am when I am off my mad pills. Trouble is, they tell me, I get so insular that I forget to have anything to do with anyone else at all.

Seems I've always been like that. And obsessive. And I don't really care. The distress seems to be other peoples, I don't feel it. In fact the less I have to do with other people the less I feel stress of any kind.

A lack of ability to lose weight has been the catalyst for, not a cessation, but a change of medication. To change the stuff we have to be weaned, toddler like, off the original. To get weaned of the original means we have to contend with a collection of malaise, headaches, stomach upset, sleep drama.

Sometimes the change has not been for the better, as in the two famous cases where I was to change to a new, improved, late model designer thing, possibly a relative of Prozac. The effect was not pretty. Felt like some hideous creature was doing the thinking for me. Lasted a day on that trial and went back to what I knew.

This, the latest, is in fact a very old type, more like I am comfortable with now. We begin it this evening and gradually increase the dosage until we become human again.

I think it's all relative.

I think, I know, I can remain off anything. I have proved it. Seems that the rest of the population prefer me pilled up rather than 'au naturel' as it were. I remain unsure just how much I have to do to stay on the side of the population, especially, as I have mentioned, when I have no real need for the fools.

Shows the persuasive argument that wonderful lady doctor of mine must have tendered to even get me to try it. A sign, I think, of a good doctor.

This week we will be remedicated, reinvented, and hopefully rejuvenated with this new brew. If that fails we will find ourselves back on the old ones, albeit at a reduced rate so that I can look out form behind them occasionally to see what the real world is up to.

Hopefully it will all be sanctioned by some serious weight loss.



public holiday, again

Another public holiday - another short week. Australia is infested with them at this time of the year.

They always present as a Monday off, which means anything you are waiting for delivery of will be delayed, not just by one day, but two.

A rare quirk in the system equates to whatever you were expecting on Monday will be there on Wednesday, Tuesday being the day that everyone has trouble getting up to speed after such a tumultuous weekend.

Another quirk means that if you expected it Friday, in the week before the public holiday, you will still get it on Wednesday. This appears to be because the Friday is taken up with getting ready for the weekend, long lunches, early finishes, which pushes your expected delivery over to the Monday which then runs into the above mentioned Tuesday equals Wednesday scenario.

Probably only in Australia.

This holiday, not that anyone really cares, is to celebrate Labour Day, that's why nobody works - naturally - how can you have a Labour Day and actually labour?

Labour Day, then, is to celebrate the fact that workers somewhere finally got a reasonable deal with their working hours. I think that it may have been called 8 hour day perhaps, or I may have made that up. No matter, it celebrates something to do with the getting of mandated hours, 8 still springing to mind, and from that day on workers Australia wide have studied on ways to drag the eight hours down to a more reasonable 3 or 4. I think it might have been called May Day at one time.

Self employed people don't see much point in celebrating such a thing as restricted hours of work, we work any hours, any time. They didn't make a 'self employed persons day' because, I presume, we didn't set up a union. If we had set up a union we would have no work anyway so it may have been slightly counterproductive.

There will be a semblance of a march through the streets, for them that know the meaning of the thing. The rest will dutifully light barbecues and incinerate poor cuts of meat, get slightly drunk and try and feel up the neighbor's wife.

Some hardy souls will gather at a beach somewhere to perform the same ritual, the difference being that the incinerated meat will also have sand in it, and the feeling up will be directed at the neighbor's daughter rather than wife, because the daughter has to look better in a swimsuit than the wife.

Once the entire party is drunk beyond description the weather will turn, it will rain and many people will be killed on the roads on the way home.

It's a tradition. And, you know how we like traditions.