A journal of questionable quality

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Meanwhile, back at the pool..

growing old, losing weight
It had to happen. Basking in the glow of accidentally losing 2kg without apparently doing anything had to cease. Basking in glows does not cause weight loss. I wish it did.

The pool had to happen again. The bike was looking like happening there for a bit today, but the morning thunderstorm that ripped through the place took some of the shine off that idea. I have never been good on bikes in the wet. Something to do with traction I believe.

And there is nothing quite so delicious as swimming in an indoor heated pool with the walls rolled up so you can see the rain pelting down. Well, almost nothing.

Overjoyed to find the staff were familiar, after Yvonne told me that the place had been taken over by complete strangers. It had been, but they were the strangers that I already knew. (author has a major mental problem with meeting /interacting with anyone he doesn't know - it's a brain thing - they make drugs for it)

That settled it was a bit of a shock to note that, over the last few months in abeyance, the shoulders and legs did not take kindly to the extra work.

38 laps - somewhat short of the regular 50 I was doing - and I feel it coming back. The familiar support of the water, smell of chlorine (a smell I love), the warmth, the comfort.

Staggered home feeling good - tired, but clean and good, with a resolution to add in a pool day as often as possible while avoiding the almost inevitable obsessional thing where I have to go every day, which happened way back - six months or more back. Staggered home feeling very much like I do after a good kite buggy day - tired, tight skinned and happy, thereon to sleep beautifully.

It's as good as it gets.

Yellowarrows - repeated
Previous post was all about it - the new yellowarrow site - something I would like to see much more attention paid to. This is a project that I really fell for, one of two, the other being Post Secret, another mark of brilliance, and another project that has had limited uptake in Australia. What is it with the great downunder - are they all to anally retentive to get into these things? Are they perhaps unaware of them? Beats the shit out of me.

The brains behind it all has even had a book published of the secrets that people post in to him - more details of which can be found in this post here. Check it out, and then prepare an excuse for not getting involved. What are you about to tell me? You have no secrets to share? Let me tell you - everyone has secrets, and everyone has secrets to share.

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yellowarrow v2

Yellowarrow v2 arrives
Anyone who needs will know I am a great fan of the wonderful yellowarrow project (the Massively Authored Artistic Publication) which was originally operating in New York over the summer months for people who were willing to take the time to mark, with the yellowarrow, their “special places”, places that they had discovered, experienced, places that formed part of the “secret New York”.

The idea was too good to just involve New York for gods sake, there was the rest of the world as well, and constant demand spawned several overseas operations, and, as all good things do, it grew into the mighty global project that we see now.

Naturally, being the type that doesn't like to be left out, I had to get involved. Involvement with yellowarrow is as simple as buying a few arrows from the site, then applying them to places that are “yours”, places that have left an impression, places that mean something to you.

We have only managed to put a few up - I have the entire State to go yet, but it's happening. (You need to know how it all works go to yellowarrow and read up on it.)

First thing you do is go to yellowarrow, type 'zoetrope' in the search box, and you will be greeted by a bloke in a kite buggy, (indicated by the arrow on the post) who just happens to be me. Naturally, I have to feature on the first of our arrows - it's an ego thing.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to inform all that the brand new, all singing, all dancing, yellowarrow site, codenamed 'sparrow', is up and running in all it's glory and it works like a dream.

On the new site each arrow is detailed, every city documented, most arrows having a location map to go with them, which, in our case anyway, proved to be extremely accurate. From within the site, from the actual arrow, you can send a text message to the 'placer' of the arrow, which goes straight to their mobile phone - yes, I had to try it. Yes it does work.

Why am I telling you all this? Probably because you should be involved, you should get your own arrows and get out there, show some of your world to the rest of the world.

All you have to do is put them high enough so that the knuckle draggers amongst us don't manage to pull them back off again - something that appears to have happened to some of ours. That might be just an Australian thing, I don't know, but I've lived here long enough to think it is.

Go forth and spread the arrows.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

BrisKites Redux, done, delivered.

It's done, it's up, it's running. The continuing saga of BrisKites and their menu systems.

We're at version 4. We had a frame based sweetheart which worried the owner only after he attended a couple of seminars where they tell you all the pitfalls of framed sites. I was too tired of it to explain the thing had been fully crawled by great god Google, courtesy of their excellent site map technology.

The redesign of version 1 put the Google rankings back to an eight week delay.

Version 2 was frame based as well - a plain jane design with a full sitemap, crawled by Google within a week thanks, once again, to the sitemap system. It had to go - seminars have declared that framed sites are right up there with the anti-christ. Google rankings go back to an eight week delay.

Version 3 was my fault. I had the good luck to be donated a wonderful layout by me old mate Mr McPeak (well, at least I'd like to think him a good mate - god knows he's given me so much stuff), which involved some beautiful coding, and a bloody good CSS look.

Problems appeared to arise when Mac users, stuck with Safari version '.21111' decide they couldn't get the thing to load. BrisKites freaked - remember the seminars. (I didn't bother with the explanation of the solution). There went the Google crawl for this month.

Shame - I didn't bother to explain the work around - what the fuck would I do that for?

So - even though Google had crawled the thing we dumped it. Back to the eight weeks delay for a deep crawl. (Something they didn't seem to mention in the seminars).

We've just launched Version 4. Version 4 is so vanilla it makes your brain go back in time to circa 1982, sporting a DHTML menu, about 1Gb of javascript (ok, not that much), and he gets left with a menu that is not editable without the menu generator.

Runs like a dream, pulls up all those vital pages of kiting goodness, contains no outrageous code, contains a personality seen on a million other sites, and WILL make BrisKites happy.

Can someone please tell me why any Australian content I do seems to freak them out, whereas any of the UK stuff we punch out is adopted - the weirder the better.

Australia, land of conservatives.



one week later, 2 kg lighter..

The big let off
I have been, all my life, the luckiest person on the planet.

I have not spontaneously combusted - ever. I have not been run over by a tank - ever.

That sort of luck.

This time I turn up for Lady Doctor to weigh me, scowl, slap me and demand I go and lose at least half my body weight in a day and a half. I had 3 months to make some headway. I did nothing about it. I didn't get on the bike. I didn't go to the pool.

I did go to the park - the new secret one (don't ask me that's the way they do things here), went there regularly, buggied my arse off everytime. I had an excuse. BrisKites donated a JoJo 6Mtr monster that just had to be flown, what was I to do?

So, head low, eyes down, I presented myself to Lady Doctor. A net weight loss of 2Kg!

Amazing. Stunning. The key to it all? It appears that the tiny alteration I made to my diet — cutting out as much starch as I could, adding a bit of protein (hard when you mainly survive on vegetables) — saved the day. Saved me from the frown of disapproval that I have been getting every visit.

I remain amazed, and all of a sudden totally committed to burning up some more energy, so it's back to the bike, back to the pool, back to anything that will get the weight off and, horror of all horrors, keep me amused during the rapidly approaching school holidays - six weeks of pint sized wankers operating on no available brain power, bitching daily that they have nothing to do.

I told you - I'm lucky. I get off light with Lady Doctor and find a way to stay the fuck out of the way during the coming weeks while Yvonne fawns over her brood and others trying to keep everyone in a blissful state.



Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Running for the park

It's the only safe place
When the news gets as silly as it is - suicide bombers now apparently women, even if they do sport a fair crop of facial hair, appearing on television shows in the standard black bag from head to toe, this time with a bomb belt that mysteriously didn't detonate, when the news features supposed Australians now gearing up to fight their country of domicile, apparently because we are all a bad lot and deserve to die (something you would have to contemplate if your wife turned out to look like that hideous apparition that appeared on television), when there is nothing that makes sense anymore - it's time to head to the bay.

Head to the bay, assemble the buggy, select a kite, and settle into a good time without the complications of smelly fucking Iraq, Australian ragheads, or anything else that is inclined to intrude.

Block the thinking process to anything but getting serious speed out of the buggy and the mandatory daydreams of pussy.

Only thing wrong with the bayside today was a distinct lack of wind for a while, but it takes me so long to set up that there is always a breeze by the time I'm ready.

A serious couple of hours spent getting a bit more acquainted with BrisKites donated JoJo. The more I fly the thing the more I like it - it pulls like a train and loves working upwind, what more could you want?

All I need now is to lose 15kg of weight, and try and appear less sunburned than I am, before visit to favorite lady doctor on Thursday.

Simple compared with a day spent dealing with ugly female (possibly) suicide bombers and local wankers ringing in bomb hoaxes causing chaos on the transport systems.

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Are all female bombers butt ugly?

The secret is out. We mostly knew it anyway. Iraq's female martyr brigade is not a good look.

Never before have we been unlucky enough to see one of these “ladies” after a bomb attack still in one piece. I for one have become used to the standard photo of the head that was once connected to a body. I thought that's why they always looked so rough in the head.

Wrong.

Now we have vision of a very brave “survivor” and she is as ugly as any of the other ones I have seen, and she's still connected to her body.

Should be a law about looking as rough as that and still being able to claim she's a female. I've seen better looking camels.

Seems she didn't share quite the same resolution as her poor suffering husband, as she “forgot” the vital 'key', the bit that makes the bomb go - left it in the car.

Yeh, right.

Should have a good time doing the rounds of the talk shows for a bit and then be put out of her misery by someone with better taste.


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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

post JoJo

The next day
The day after syndrome hits you harder as you get older.

I am living proof.

A day spent getting dragged about a park trying to fly a 6m kite in virtually no wind conditions, with the odd mad mad powerup just to keep your legs in a jelly like state, pays you back the next day with sore legs, arms , everything.

Coupled with massive sunburn we have had a recipe for a very lazy day. Nothing firing up there in the brain. Legs heavy, arms heavy, eyelids, neck, everything, sunburned to hell.

How is it that happens? Was I not plastered with that infernal sunblock? The one that works, not the fashion brand I liked the smell of. Did I not manage to remember to REapply the stuff in accordance with Yvonne's instructions?

Sitting here, lacking inspiration, things I should be doing, ignoring them, skin feeling tight, stretched, red, hot. Sounds like a porn site description.

Mocked up a few CSS layouts for a submission, buggered about with Frappr, good enough to distract me for an hour or two, banging in locations that the Google maps have never heard of, eventually having to settle for the city.

Cruised the mandatory design sites hoping for some inspiration for the next job, found none, don't care.

The day after syndrome. I know it well. It doesn't just apply to mad kiting endeavourers, it applies to life.

A hot shower sounds good, followed by an air conditioned 8 hours sleep. Let's see what the day after the day after brings.



Tuesday, November 08, 2005

JoJo flies - I follow

It's official.

I have managed to launch the JoJo (a 6m race kite donated to the “save Bruce fund” by the good people at BrisKites), without damaging myself, bystanders, the park, and avoiding all power lines.

It was a big day.

Got to the park to notice an obvious lack of wind - something I felt I needed for the day's activities.

Eternally optimistic, and possessed with the most incredible luck you have ever seen in a human being, I proceeded to assemble the buggy anyway.

Today's luck was just a bit off so I spend a good amount of time flying the thing in virtually no wind, something that will eventually manage to piss any sane person off, as the energy required to keep the thing in the air is considerable. Managed a good bit of sunburn though - something to remind me of the day

There's nothing quite so futile as sitting in a buggy, immobile, with a kite fluttering uselessly about the place, managing to end up back on the ground in a mess

But, when my luck finally kicked in and the wind managed more than the odd futile puff, it was all on.

JoJo time. Launched,worried about the rapidly increasing wind speed (for about a second), goose stepped my way across to the buggy, hopped in, pulled the kite into the “zone” and hung on.

Now the first time you pull a 6m kite into the wind is an experience that will stay with you for awhile, but I did manage to get the thing under control after a bit of a standoff with it about who should be where. The kite seemed to think I should be out of the buggy and sliding along the ground on my face, and I felt staying in the buggy and getting control before I ended up in the canal at the end of the park was a better option.

I won. Just.

An hour later after some unplanned high speed passes and that is another first taken care of. The thing is beautiful, packs an enormous punch, pulls like a train and is happy going fully upwind.

I am still grinning. Or is that the sunburn on my face tightening my skin? A wonderful piece of gear is the JoJo, and, when I finally get some experience with it, one that will propel me at greater speed than ever before, which is the entire object.

Keep an eye out for a sunburned Kiwi floating at altitude above a beach near you.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Blame the Sperrys.

Ever feel like you could just up and fuck off? Somewhere new, somewhere fresh, different views, more to explore. Just by yourself - no one else involved. Just you and the location.

It's the day for it. I've been in this city since 1982. That's longer than I have lived anywhere, including my native New Zealand.

There's nothing wrong with Brisbane, nothing wrong with Australia, even with it's insistence on showing a 'Crocodile Dundee' image to visitors. Anywhere else would gringe at the idea of portraying the national mood as 'ocker', but not Australia.

This came to me as a result of staring at a shoe box. Not just any shoe box, a Sperry Top Sider shoe box. My one claim to knowledge of things nautical - Sperry TopSider shoes. It would be more convenient to claim a complete knowledge of maritime navigation, but I started slowly - at the shoes.

Staring at shoe boxes is never a good idea.

On one side of this particular box is a photo of a man in charge of a small sailing boat, under sail, with a lighthouse and other buildings in the background.

I'm picking the location as a Cape Cod thing - I may be making that up since I can't say I have ever been there, but I think it has a 'feeling' about the place. Where ever it is, it is the place which is famous for those heavily wooded and varnished vessels that Kennedy members seemed to always be pictured on. (read here - a 1955 Chris Craft Capri. I looked it up on Google.)

No matter. The photo is one of those ones that just seem to stick in your mind, and stuck it has.

So now, not only do we want to be somewhere else alone, we want to be sitting in a small sailing vessel doing it. The guy in the photo seems to be having himself a relaxing time - alone.

Just him and the boat. That should be me. Just me and the little trailer sailor out there cruising.

It would help immeasurably if I had any knowledge at all of sailing.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Burnt - heavily

It's never too much
Delta fixed, weather stable, weekend scouting alternative buggy spots least the council finally send someone round to tell me to get off their park.

Found a couple of good ones, unfortunately in the same council area, but less likely to be seen.

Back to check them again this week - elected to stay with the devil we know - being a good wind day and all that.

Spent far too long racing back and forward across the thing, people stopping to watch this machine propelled at enormous speed, piloted by a maniacal looking man with sunburned knees.
I should perhaps point out that in the buggy ones feet are on the either side of the front wheel doing the steering and the knees are bent, poking up into the sun.

This is not something you contemplate at 200 mph across a park.
The result? Same as ever. Arms sore from hanging on to handles, blisters between the fingers of both hands courtesy of the handles, sunburnt back of neck, and ingloriously, peeling knees.

There is no good way to arrive anywhere with shorts and peeling knees. People stare.

The day was good. Good enough to keep me inside out of the sun for the remainder of the week whilst vacuuming my knees at every possibility.

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