A journal of questionable quality

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

mid week, mid winter

winter drags on, and on
41 kilometers today, 41 kilometers on Monday; I'm loving this new bike. I'm hating the weather that I have to go out in - the prevailing Westerly is something that should have been banned in the last century, a biting cold, constant, relic of a former weather pattern.

I remember the Westerly. I remember the winter. I remember arriving in Brisbane, out on the Northern outskirts, late in the evening, stopping at a motel, alighting and being struck by the fact that is was cold. My then partner had neglected to tell me she had the heating on in the car for the last two hours.

Welcome to Brisbane. We froze. From the tropic luxury of Cairns, a place on the Strand in fact, the view to kill for, to a seedy, but close to the city center little hovel until we found out where to go, what to do.

Why did we pack up and travel all that way to all this cold, to the home of the violent Westerly? It seemed like a good idea at the time. It just seemed like a good idea at the time, encouraged by old friends, obviously friends in need of sharing their misery.

For years the Westerly made everyone's life a misery; I was compelled to warn everyone arriving from overseas not to expect the traditional 'tropics', for we had identified a glitch in the dream of ideal. It was not, in case you suspect, just a fixation of mine - the entire city spent three months bitching.

How well I remember the wind coming up through the floor boards, and from under the eves, in our tiny little wooden 'worker's cottage', the very thing to live in here in this tropical paradise we were assured.

And then, right about the time we began to run out of water, some 10 years before the politicians saw fit to declare an emergency over the subject, the Westerly stopped. Winters became mild, suspiciously so. It happened year after year. And year after year we were also using vast stocks of water that were never going to be replenished - a symptom of the new weather pattern we apparently slipped in to. Year after year I predicted that dreadful weather again - year after year I was wrong.

Present day. About the same time as I had managed to accept the 'no Westerly' policy. About the same time as we really really did manage to run our main water storage down to an insane 20% without a backup plan; the Westerly debuts again. Ferocious. Unrelenting. Bastard.

The good news, we have rammed down out '140 litre per person per day' throats, is that the weather pattern has changed back to it's old self, record lows are now the norm, and one day, about the time I call Spring and they call 'wet season', we will have vast amounts of useful rain which will fill our dams, perhaps even manage to fire up some of the grass in the backyard. Water will arrive again; and so will the Westerly.

In the meantime, as I prepare for a summer of the correct, northerly winds, the 'kite buggy' winds, I will continue to do battle with these bitching elements.

Don't let anyone tell you Brisbane is a sub tropical location. We know better. All the promo photos you see were taken in summer, they're not letting on about the winter.

You have, indeed, been warned.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

a new film

What was I saying - I had nothing to talk about? Wrong!

Just when your day assumes the texture of a pancake and it looks like there may be no real reason for taking another breath, something always turns up.

There I was, pressing on in the search for 3rd Reich architectural examples and places of interest via Google Maps, when the inbox informed that there was a new Hillman Curtis online short film available.

Hillman Curtis, principle of Hillmancurtis.com, inc, was design director for Macromedia some time ago, and is responsible for my obsession with Flash. He has been referred to as 'the Pope of Flash'.

More recently the output from Hillman Curtis is film, written by Hillman himself, a series of 'online short films'. Which makes him responsible for my obsession with online short films.

The latest, 'Embrace' features the same design, tight shots, close depth of field, great light, serious saturation of color, and a beautiful camera movement.

Go there, look, enjoy, see what I suspect is the future of web visuals; short, punchy, rich colors, and great layout, accessible everywhere courtesy of Flash.

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Nothing to say..

Star date Tuesday
Hmmm... suspicious: nothing to say. I never have nothing to say.

Winter. Winter pisses me off, maybe that's a reason?

Maybe it's the new blood pressure pills which seem to knock me down rather violently about mid morning. It's an odd feeling having something take care of some of your main functions.

I have taken blood pressure pills for years, ostensibly to regulate my heart add to hopefully control the intense migraines I used to get anytime I relaxed. Now I have to add another one in to the routine. So, two different ones now. I didn't mind one, but I am not so sure about two. Explanation? 'some people seem to have a gene that just causes blood pressure rises', bugger.

Maybe I just overdid it yesterday - a 41 klm ride on the new bike, a hard ride, constant pressure, felt good at the time.

Motorola blues
I wanted the Razr V3 really badly. When it first came out it had serious appeal, I still like it now. But it doesn't go. It simply doesn't go. Not all the time. Sometimes it will go for a day, then break down and tell me it can't do anything. I got bored reading that, had a new SIM card cut, took to turning it off now and then, like a reboot might help. I don't bother turning phones off. Maybe I should.

Nothing made a difference. Backed up to the next oldest in the collection, another Motorola. I had a flip phone thing, that's why I shifted from Nokia. Nokia had a bad design mood there for a few years.

I wish I had stayed with Nokia. The backup Motorola is doing a similar thing. So, I've stepped back one model, dropped the camera, the video, shit though it was, dropped speaker phone, bad though it was, and I've still got the same problems.

Ergo: Motorola couldn't make a good phone if they tried. The V3 was panned in the US, but I ignored that. I wanted that phone, and now I've had it. Don't want it anymore.

Nokia, I'm back. All I need is something that works, and takes great pictures, and videos, and has an MP3 player, and serious memory and...

Just don't be a Motorola.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What do real people do?

... the future of the web
What the fuck is going on here? Yet another summit, another conference, another gathering of the minds to discuss, 'what direction' the web is taking.

What direction the web is taking? Who wants to know? Who actually cares? Where the fuck did these people come from - the school monitors are back, school captains abound again, pontificating, pissing in each others pockets (don't ask me, it's a saying where I come from), uploading the slides, uploading the podcasts, publishing a book if they can get away with it.. the direction the web is taking.

The web is a self leveling entity
Sounds like the web is a creature that needs careful attention, least it break out and.. do what? Break? Kill someone? Has anyone been killed yet by a rouge web page? Has anyone been dismembered by a piece of broken code? Taken hostage? Shot in the face?

Is it a crime to have a web page that breaks, is broken, or has 'unclean' CSS? I mean, do we get sent to Gt Bay and slapped around? have to wear orange overalls?

The proliferation of 'web experts' is making me wonder if they are the ones who were all on macrobiotic diets and selling 'cleansing herbs' sometime in their past.

The user experience. The user experience? Was it good for you too? Come on, put up your hand if you have had a bad experience on the web that was similar to a plane crash? Anyone? I see a web designer going home wringing his hand, the angst, the pain - 'honey, I just gave someone a bad web experience'.

The venerable 'web'. I have friends - not a lot because my experience is that I can do without too many - which could explain why I don't belong to any dating agencies. They are normal. Some even have day jobs. They drive cars and they drink, smoke dope fall down and have a good time. They call a good web experience a time when the machine managed to finally download that movie; when they can actually get something they want to arrive at their door, without the 40 phone calls. They want and need to know absolutely nothing about the site. They don't give a fuck.

Do they know when the next 'Where 2' conference is? No. Do they have the web standards guide bookmarked in their browser? No. Do they obsessively consult Digg, Reddit, A List Apart? They don't know who they are. Has their 'web experience' been enriched by those sites? Probably, but they don't give a shit.

Because the web forms part of my income I am seen as a bit of a 'nerd'. Not too much of a nerd though; I shoot, .357 Magnum, 9mm Taurus, I enjoy it. I am into photography, I am an avid cyclist, I swim ferociously, I am into kite buggies, I skydive, I am, sometimes, a geek, a nerd.. and you know what I do when I run into a broken site? I keep going. What do I do when I run into a 'a rules followed' site? I do my business and move on.

The web has been hijacked by the class monitors. The school captains. The teachers that never managed the pressure. The web police. The web is not something they can 'make' conform. Shock, horror, people are building sites without consulting 37 signals.. is that allowed?

The web will evolve, mature, regenerate, inform, all on it's own. It doesn't really need the 'teachers pets' to survive. It will survive because it is simply a medium, not one to be 'conformed', 'ruled', it has the ability to inform, and inform quickly, and it always will. And, it will do that with, or without the rulebook. It is a self leveling entity.

There is a lot of money in being a guru. There is also a lot of money in slimming products. Often there is a lot of money in snake oil.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to find someone who will tell you how to do it, but who has never managed to do it themselves?

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Monday, July 09, 2007

and it was Monday

and I had nothing to say
Just an inane urge to speak anyway. Cold day / hard biking / hot showers, and a handful of opiates will probably do that to anyone.

It's windy out there. Real 'tear the skin off your bones' type stuff. My knuckles are bleeding - a combination of the weekends cleaning chemicals and the weather. Itchy, flaking and oozing blood - just the way they should be.

I hate winter. We tell the world that we are a sub tropical climate here, but we don't tell them about the winters.

Winters are characterized by a constant fierce cold westerly wind which blows all day and ceases every evening. There is nothing attractive about it. There is nothing attractive about winter; we have no fireplaces here, because it's sub tropical, we have no real insulation to keep the warmth in - everything is designed to release the heat, which in summer can be rather savage.

The only real way to get around it, in a house like this, is to get up, get busy and get some blood flowing. My early week type of day is more like sit inside, on the side of the house that gets no sun, heater on, and gradually sink into oblivion.

Todays biking is another way; I will be warm, and somewhat calmer for the rest of the day due to the exertion on the new beauty today. 40 klms - made harder by the wind on some quarters, and I'm warm.

I get into a different world when I'm into double digits on the bike. A bikers high? It's a nice place to be. Brain ticking over, no particular track, sometimes dismantling earlier thoughts, memories. Managing a 360° view of things that are current. Sometimes even manage a decision or two...

Home, shower, pain killer, and I'm cruising. Codeine addiction, for something like 30 years. Amazing. Daily codeine or the world is a bad place to be. Traveling abroad has caused some serious anguish at times. A toss up between risking certain detention and having enough to get me through the time. I've run into some countries that have been less than amused at half a suitcase of painkillers.

But, that's another story. This is Monday.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

and then there was Jaiku

Fridays - always Fridays
You know the deal. Fridays, more often Thursdays, but I'm telling the story, Fridays we do a video, grainy, out of focus, badly done thing that we then stick here, and everywhere else that deserves us.

Blip.tv, Google Video, YouTube, more, but it's Friday and I can't remember anymore.

If it's not a video then it's me with a keyboard in my hand, streaming what would have come out of the video.

So, let's make it Friday for videos.

Video doesn't get done when there are kids at home, like now, for school holidays, or when they are too cool to go to school, or when they are to lazy to get out of bed; the most common option.

They don't get done because the background noise level seems to increase by a factor of at least 10, something to do with the fact that they are possibly more cool, possibly more fucking deaf, or possibly more stupid, it's a hard one to pin down.

No matter. The point is that Fridays really only contain the one function, make a video, or write it up. I get out of bed knowing that. Friday is 'do fuck all' day.

So, complete day to myself, do nothing, take on no new projects, get laid back for Saturday, and Sunday, both of which I actually work. Semi physical work, which I semi enjoy; makes a break from the sheer dullness of the week spent messing with html, something that seems to have become a bit tedious of late. I like the weekend work, commercial cleaning, no one there, places to myself, serious money, serious 'alone time' which is a requirement.

Now, remember where we are, Friday, ahead of Saturday. 'Do things not' Friday. (yeah, it does make sense)

And then along came Jaiku, you already know about it, but if you don't you should.

How it went was, kids in the house, asleep, because that's all the older one does while he waits for his personality to grow - could be some time, other one catatonic in front of video, so no visuals from us today.

Cruising at Twitter, you all know that right? You all subscribe right?

How Jaiku comes into this Twitter bit is because I'm reading the pontifications of some self obsessed knob who is proclaiming he has moved from Twitter to Jaiku for reasons that make no sense - anyway, this guy is so full of himself I have to keep reading; he spends an entire blog post heaping shit on Twitter when, as close as a week before he is gagging for it; bending over in the path of the Twitter corn hole plugger; this week it's out, gone.

Interest level=0 Care factor=0, but, let's go have a look at Jaiku. So we did. And now we are Twittering, and Jaikuing, at the same time.

The point of all this? The point, shit, the point. Well as it happens I seem to have spent a good part of the day messing with both Twitter and Jaiku and it's a day when I don't do that.

Jaiku is good. Pinged my mobile for me in seconds. Happy.

Twitter is getting a touch jaded, self promotion oriented these days - people twittering that they have updated their blog, for fucks sake, how desperate do you have to be?

Probably happens on Jaiku too, but it's refreshingly new for me and I will play mightily with it. At least until next Friday.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

One year tomorrow

A year..
Has passed really quite rapidly. It felt, this time last year, that a bit of my lifespan had been pared off. Perhaps it had.

One year ago tomorrow it was life long friend Marlene's 69th birthday. To celebrate I ran up the arse of a parked car, on a push bike.

Don't ask how, who knows? I seemed to be in a pleasant place that had nothing to do with watching where I was going, more about whether the postie on the zippy stepthru had anything on under the industrial sized PVC jacket. I seem to remember getting stuck on that thought since it was a warm day...

The cost of considering the idea of her pert little body romping about there inside of that vast coat reached well into thousands of dollars in surgery, more surgery, pain, inability to work, physiotherapy, the list goes on, well into the night.

Six weeks in a sling, 24 hours a day - try that for size.

Just this month we returned to our own sides of the bed, having suffered on the wrong side for this long so that the damnable shoulder didn't get itself out of shape.

Now that I have returned, rather tentatively, to the same bike track, astride new bike, I notice I still consider the same question; what was she wearing under that coat - that cute lady who stopped and picked up my dropped water bottle and delivered it back to me. I still consider it at the same place, and immediately do a heads up to make sure I don't impact something else.

And, tomorrow it is Marlene's 70th birthday. A massive achievement. Tomorrow I will not be on the bike; no need to tempt fate at all - I will be one the way over to see GLLD for another shot of 'don't get old so quickly' in the arse. This will make the anniversary memorable. Pain both times. Perhaps it will actually make me feel a little more alive. Maybe in a better mood. Maybe.

At least I get to not have physiotherapy this time.

And, beyond all that; happy 70th Marlene, a very happy birthday to you.

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