A journal of questionable quality

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Speedo Mens Trio Aquashort

Bare arsed courtesy of speedo®
Speedo®, the great icon of all things swimming. Speedo®, the (apparently) new icon for gays. Speedo®, the innovator, the designer, the creator of wondrous skin suits that make people go very fast in the water.

Speedo®, I am afraid to report, make a substandard product. A seriously substandard product. Speedo® Mens Trio Aquashort - the 'endurance' model, the only choice for people who have grown too old, and too self conscious to effect their 'dick togs' as we call them here. Speedo®, the pinnacle of chlorine resistance, the absolute cutting edge of fabric design. The name seen on millions of bums world wide as poor fools do their advertising for them.

You know the ones. You know the company. Speedo®. Speedo® must not be trusted, dear readers, do not relax if you own a pair of Speedo®s. You are in dire danger.

I own, because of loathsome quality control on Speedo®s part, two pair of the above mentioned swimming shorts; three if you count the pair that are down being repaired. The reason I own so many pair is really quite simple. With no offense intended to the hard working and undoubtedly well underpaid Chinese workers who make these items for the global giant, they are simply unable to make a pair that are consistent in size.


I have two pair that purport to be 18's. They are in the region of an inch different in width. I have one pair that insist they are size 20, a size that would fall of me any day of the week. Unless they had been made by Speedo®. If they have been made by Speedo® they manage to approach a cross between a 16 and an 18.

Speedo® make an inferior product. They are unable to maintain control of the sizing.

Speedo® make an inferior product in another area as well. Within one swim session I noticed the seam at the back was pulling - evident to anyone with functioning eyesight by the gap in the seam and the sewing pulling apart. The seam sewing, incidentally, is not the same colour as the item, so as to expose the fault to a better degree.

The seam 'expansion' did not get any worse, and because my arse is underwater most of the time anyway I imagined that it would stay the same. Substandard, but the same.

I know exactly how many times I have entered the water with these inferior aquashorts - I have a membership of the local pool, they tend to keep track of these things.

I have not managed more than 50 'immersions' in them. If that.

Yesterday, a normal session. 50 laps freestyle with Speedo® goggles, 10 laps with a Speedo® kickboard. Finish. No handstands, no acrobatic moves, no swinging from the ceiling.

Out of the pool, into the car, home. Breeze is evident around my arse. Pleasant on such a hot day, but not entirely expected.

A cursory feel of the cooler area and I find I am holding my arse, not my aquashorts. Interesting.

It appears, after investigation, that the rear seam if a single sewn, overlocked affair that would be unacceptable in any item of clothing, more so in something that is 'supposedly' designed to adapt to the rigors of swimming.

Speedo® make a substandard product. I need the world to know this, least they find that they bare their arse at a time when they would rather not.

The good news is, while at the shop searching for a pair of Nike to get me by until my reinforced repaired ones arrive back from the sewing woman, it was noted that because the Nike® stock had sold out so quickly, they were offering other, inferior brands at a 50% discount, so, fatalistic person that I am, I tried on a pair of Speedo that should have fitted me, and strangely did, in my real size, and managed to get item for half price. The saving can then be put toward getting them reinforced before I venture into the water.

So, I now own three pair of substandard aquashorts, two pair of them being tagged at incorrect sizes, one pair getting repaired.

You live, you learn.

Speedo® make a substandard product - you have been warned.

Bagged and tagged under:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Australia Day

Today we are charged with celebrating all things Australian. Beer features heavily. There is the backyard game of cricket to get over and done with before you make a pass at your mates wife, or daughter, consigning yourself to hell for as long as it takes for the hangover to wear off.

We, after being forced to stay up an hour later than the tennis game actually finished by the inane, perhaps arcane, programming tactics of our Channel 7, a puerile channel at the best of times, but the only one that covers the Australian Tennis Open, finally managed to pile into bed about 1.00am, constituting a late night for us, and therefore mandating a sleep in to the heady hour of 10.00am.

Federer won. We knew he would, but it got down to when he would actually win. Dragged on, point by point, voice over by the grating whine of one Tracey Austin, someone, we are told, who has played the game and is our 'expert' commentary person. More like a shrunken Barbie doll of indeterminate, but well advanced age who has nothing better to do I think.

Why do they have to trot the tired old wrinkly ones out when they already have real players like Jim Courier in the box to do the job. Take her out and beat her with a tennis racket, please.

The day - being Australia Day - began at a crawl. One of those days when you get that delicious feeling that you really don't have to do anything at all if you don't feel like it. In the spirit of equality I allowed Yvonne to mow the lawn while I stayed indoors wrestling with some more yellowarrow locations that I grabbed last night.

The latest:
The Eldorado Cinema at Indooroopilly, featuring here, and the ubiquitous Fourex brewery, featured here.

I have another collection of locations that will need documenting on yellowarrow after our weekend snoop for interesting locations, and we have been included in a new project - 'My City Is..', which with we will attempt to define our city in various ways.

Something to keep my documented unwell mind busy.

Naturally, for reasons that completely escape me, I managed to luck onto Google Local, the mapping, satellite imaging application. After at least one hundred thousand attempts, I have managed to be able to save the locations I find, so the next big thing will be to connect the photo, with the message, with the URL of the satellite imagery. Something to keep me from wanting to kill people and drink their blood I suppose.

In celebration of this new found information, click here, and behold, you will be presented with the location of the humble abode. Do not missile lock it.

The beauty of it.

Bagged and tagged under:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I've learnt to drive a digital camera.

Eventually it had to happen
I believe I may have taken an oath on the subject of digital photography, to never, ever, use a digital camera.

I am a Luddite - a disciple of dear old Mr Lud himself. A neo-Luddite I believe is the term for the digital age.

I saw, see, nothing as elegant as film, I've scoffed at plenty of digital attempts. Sniggered at the inclusion on After Effects, anyone's preferred compositing solution, of a 'film like' filter. All that to make it look like the real thing. How droll.

Even when Photoshop began including more and more tools and filters for the convenience of digital photographers I laughed. Nothing there a serious photographer would want, or need.

Things got a bit of a wobble on when I found on the Hasselblad site, the holy grail of imaging, mention of digital 'things'.

Panic set in when a recent news item alerted me to the fact that Nikon are to commence the almost immediate phasing out of the 35mm SLR units, and I quote:
As a result of the new strategy, Nikon will discontinue production of all lenses for large format cameras and enlarging lenses, with sales of these products ceasing as soon as they run out of stock. This also applies to most of our film camera bodies, interchangeable manual focus lenses and related accessories. Although Nikon anticipates that the products will still be in retail distribution up to the summer.
So much for my prediction that digital was a 'phase' people were going through, that it would all soon be over, that nothing would replace real film.

As a result of getting involved in the yellowarrow projects so often mentioned here, the "Map Out 2006" project and the "My City Is.." project, both of which we are involved with (and, I might add, so should you be), it became evident that I would need a camera to get the images. Hmmm.

We purchased a digital camera last October. It sits here, on the shelf, ready to go. I've used it. Once, maybe twice. It felt too small, felt like a toy camera. Took a photo of the cat, that was about it.

Now, approaching the project deadline it becomes very necessary to have a digital camera. Something to be able to check the shot immediately, retake it if necessary. No time to send the film off and find out that, at a location 45 klms away, I managed to fluff one.

We went on a round trip Sunday. Started at the furtherest location and gradually worked our way back across town, photographing points of interest.

I got a bit better with it (A Canon Powershot something). I started to get a bit more adventurous. Tweaked a few of the settings. Retook stuff I didn't like.

Transferred them back to the PC, had a close look at them in Photoshop, and, as much as I hate to admit it, they were ok.

Last day or two has seen me sitting out the front, manual in one hand and camera in the other. This thing has just about everything a film camera offers. Low light? You can push with a simple on board adjustment. Depth of Field? No problem, adjust the aperture.

I hate to sound like a 'converted' person, but I have to admit, but I hate to admit, that the thing is capable of some very fine imaging.

It has been promoted to a 'carry everywhere' item. Never know when you'll find something that obviously needs an arrow. It's a case of slap the arrow on, snap the scene and move on to the next one.


Bagged and tagged under:

79.2 Kilograms

I did it. For the first time in 3, maybe 4 years, I have managed to get below the dreaded 80 Kg mark. The one dictated by my doctor, she of the no excess weight brigade.

Only, according to her this afternoon, another 7 Kg to go for me to be an acceptable human being.

Usually, because this weight thing does happen rather more than it should, a product of general laziness and constant munchies, I knock off whatever weight I need by peddling the beloved bike up hill and down dale around a circuit in my neighborhood. This time we have run into the hottest summer on record (make that the hottest December), and it has not been a good choice to get out there. Rather, for me, the luxury of the local, well documented about these parts, swimming pool, even after severe warnings from Dear Dr about the pool offering no weight loss.

She's right, naturally, the whole thing was as simple as an adjusted diet. The pool was sort of a bonus in the eye candy stakes, but made me look like I may have been trying.

None of it matters at the moment; I am too busy basking in the glow of accidental weight loss. Weight by any means. And being given Doctorly permission to continue in whatever pursuits may have contributed to it.

Swimming, and kite buggying. It's official. I'll have to continue, arduous though it may be , getting out there, sweating, fighting a kite, steering a buggy, getting a tan and generally avoiding people. It's something I have to do now. Condoned, you see, by the wisest Doctor on the planet. Who am I to say it's no use, who am I to say it's the stuff layabouts are made of?

I see the distinct need, therefore, for a new race kite. A PKD Century Soulfly, or perhaps, even more exalted, a Libre — either will do, I'm not proud, it's for my health you understand, it's a matter of well being.

Imagine, a few more kilos and I may be able to fit into the old jeans, the Calvin Kleins with the buttons that I adored all those years ago, still hanging there, a testament to ambition if nothing else.

The smell of success.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

200th post

I've done this 200 times
Which means that I obviously have no life at all. None. Not a drop.

I had suspected that to be the case. It dawns on you after a while. You notice that you seem to be able to type in Blogger URL's without looking at the keyboard. You remember Flikr's URL's for your images without having to write them down. It's a sad thing. There's way more than me out there. Thousands without a proper life.

I have secretly been leading a normal life as we. I have to confess. It's 2006 and I did have some resolution about getting out and about more. Truth was, I was already getting out and about, I was just trying Blogger overdose on for size. How I amassed 200 entries is beyond me. Natural passage of time comes to mind of course. Been at it long enough to have written two novels, several screenplays, and a memoir. All I managed was 200 posts on an electronic thing that doesn't exist unless you have a computer. You'll never be able to sit out in the breeze on a warm summer evening and leaf through the thing; unless you have a notebook I guess.

I have a book on bookbinding
Fact is all that content does only exist on a server somewhere, along with millions of other peoples input, none of it needing binding into volumes, no need for agonizing over what paper to use. What font to use is about as close as we can get.

I still remain in love with the art of bookbinding. I still remain confident what I have learnt will be of some use, sometime.

I have a Canon 35mm SLR
I also have a Canon digital camera, which I am still learning to use.

Nikon this week announced the cessation of 35mm SLR film cameras. It looks like they intend to go completely digital. Canon, the second largest camera manufacturer is bound to follow suit. Between them they control 85% of the market. These are big decisions they are making.

I have always, all my life, had a love affair with film. I like the look of film. I like the idea of film. I grew up with darkrooms.

I have been reading the instruction manual for the Canon Powershot - an entry level digital thing that always seems to feel like it's going to fall out of my hand.

It has the capabilities of my SLR. It has even greater capabilities. I had no idea that they are this advanced. I'm a dinosaur in the digital imaging world.

All this happened during the time it took me to make 200 posts on Blogger. Am I slow, or is the World fast?

Friday, January 06, 2006

yellowarrow is go

ready to tag the entire city
The yellowarrow arrows arrived. The new set. We got another 20 for being good people. OK, we got another 20 because we managed to be in the first 120 people to comment on the new site if we have to tell the truth.

This collaboration is about things that inspire us for the coming year; things that mean something to me, and by extension, to the viewer, if that be possible.

Hot, sultry days here now, mid summer, too hot for sitting here, keyboard bound, sweating not so provocatively. A good time to be sitting outside, the oasis out the front where whatever breeze is available presents itself - eventually. Equipped with coffee, books, and now, a notebook for noting places that come to mind that should be included in this odyssey that will take me from one side of the city to the other, sticking on arrows, writing up the details. A legacy? A commentary perhaps.

(Veers wildly - On the subject of notebooks - why do I have to suffer without a Moleskin notebook, such an obviously required accessory for a person like me? Good enough for Van Gogh, good enough for Hemingway - what can I say?)

Some of it will have to be done as a 'day trip' - the same way it was discovered, keeping the flow the same. Others will appear spontaneously, and obviously require tagging right there and then - for this purpose we have a stock in the car, and a camera in the phone.

All in all a brilliant project. Something to keep me off the streets, well in fact ON the streets, something to keep me busy, keep me from harassing poor beleaguered Yvonne, convinced, as she is, that I set out to make her entire life a misery.

When will it all be done? It's supposed to be up and running by the end of the month, but we may have trouble maintaining the deadline. The arrows ran a bit late getting here from New York, but, with luck, we'll be in time, on time.

Keep an eye out for the arrows - bright yellow, all with a unique number. If you find one note the number and SMS it to 19927768. Make sure the SMS begins with the arrows code. What happens then? You'll get the message of that arrow sent to you.

you want dialogue with that?
Start an SMS message beginning with the arrows code followed by the '!' (exclamation mark) symbol, and I'll get the message, assuming I was the one who placed it there.

Too easy. Now go out and look for some arrows.

Bagged and tagged under:

George, Iraq, Iran, do something...

how long now George?
'My fellow Americans'
I'm not, not by any stretch of the imagination an American, but I felt the need to stick it in there, get a bit of a feel for what it sounded like, try and get a taste of what Big George Dubya feels like when he belts out on of those national addresses to 'the nation'.

Dear old George - up to his arse in drama. If it's not uncomfortable having losses exceeding 2700 good (albeit badly equipped) fighting men in Iraq, with a civilian toll of tens of thousands, now we notice, here at least, that people are beginning to lose interest. Newspapers are putting the items about suicide bombers back a page or two - even today - another 120 killed, including 5 Americans, and it appears on the inner margin of page 5. That's where they bury stuff that no one wants to read.

and then Iran starts mouthing off
Another problem for you George, and John (John being the Australian Prime Minister famous for following in Georges footsteps), appears to be coming the home of the truly bent, Iran. Seems the new bloke they installed, name unknown (who would bother to learn it anyway), the new bloke, as I was saying, has a thing about Jews. So much of a thing about Jews that he wishes them all a really bad life and wants to nuke them.

George, are you there George? Can you maybe muzzle that complete looney somehow, without buggering it up? Don't be doing any of those Iran hostage things where you manage to crash a C130, a few helicopters and generally fail. Just something small like blow the fucker off the face of the planet before the Jews do the job. They are not prone to buggering things up.

nothing worse than a pissed off Jew
George, speak to me George. We have to do something successful this year. Something to get the taste of the New Orleans thing out of peoples mouths at least. Ariel Sharon looks like he has fought his last war, and the Jews are getting antsy mate, they're getting seriously pissed at things right now, and if that Iranian lunatic opens his mouth they may be forced to close it for him. Not a handsome situation George, blacks drowning at home, Jews bitchy at home, Ragheads blowing themselves up all over the place.

on with the thinking cap
I think you're going to have to concentrate; not you yourself George, we know you're too slow to get anything done at all, but your 'advisors', your ever present crowd of people who know 'what's best' for you - you know, all the ones that reckoned Iraq would be a walkover. You're going to have to do some thinking, and quickly, because the Jews are about to blow. Bad enough that Sharon was getting everyone the hell out of Gaza, now it looks like there might be a rather large change of policy judging by what leadership material the Jews have left.

meanwhile back on the planet
I'm thinking of coming over to give you a hand George. I'll be looking for a green card if you don't mind, old son. I've got a hankering to drive a New York City cab. Something to do after I've sorted your problems for you. Bring back the troops George, that way we might get our Little Johnny to bring ours back too. You know Johnny will do what you do, do what you say, so bring 'em back George, leave them to their own little civil war, because no matter what spin you put on it, it still remains a civil war - for them. For you it's just about oil, but seeing as you have almost no auto industry now you're not going to need a whole lot more oil.

You've still got Alaska after all.

Bagged and tagged under:

2006, here, now

Start the new year as you intend to continue
In that case I should have taken out a few of the more obnoxious of the neighbours with a rifle; perhaps an unwise thing to do while my firearms license remains in limbo pending a decision from the Bureau about my inability to remain a member of 'an approved club'.

2006 arrived while I was still awake - some new years have managed to arrive while I have been snoring, some while I have been in a drug induced coma. We watched them blow away around 3 million dollars of pyrotechnic goodies across Sydney harbor. Couldn't help but think that the money may have had a better use somewhere else. Pyrotechnics over, faced with the prospect of reliving in detail the superseded year, we retreated to bed. Must be a (further) sign of getting old.

Everyone has them. Everyone breaks them. Think of the brain energy we could save if we scrapped the entire thing.

I already flicked Ajax and Ruby / Rails, threatened PHP with termination, sneered at databases, in the previous post on resolutions - that frees up a bit of brain space for the more major things in life. Now onto bigger and better things.

I have decided to discontinue the hideous practice of putting chocolate cooking drops on my oats for breakfast. The bloody things are actually little drops of fat, with a passing reference to chocolate in taste. They are also damned hard to get out of your teeth. Toothbrushes have great difficulty dealing with the residue, filling up with the stuff and, in the case of the electric one, spitting the stuff everywhere. Not a good look.

So, it's chocolate drops out the door. A major decision for 2006.

Spend more time outdoors, away from the screens, away from the ambient indoor temperature of around 37 degrees (98.6 F if you come from there), and the humidity of 70% - 75%. An easy one to adhere to while the weather is so hot. We're mid summer here and it's showing. All the better to sit out the front, good book in hand, cruising.

Swimming; not a hard one to keep - more swimming, lose more weight, get fitter, get happier - all the things I threaten to do on a daily basis anyway. Perhaps if I simply got around to doing something.

New site. There's no doubt the dear old thing could do with a freshen up, the problem being the absolute clutter of ideas and design rattling around in the head. Should any of them actually manage to bubble to the surface in coherent form I will do something about it. Meantime the thing isn't killing anyone.

Seems to me I might be having a rerun of last year's resolutions; stuck perhaps in a Groundhog Day type year, destined to continually go over the same thing...

Resolution number 102: get some fresh resolutions.