Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tasmanian to the Core

Mainlanders often say that Tasmanians have two heads - a reference to the fact that we must all be inbred since the state has such a small population (around 490,000 in total) and that we're so isolated from the rest of Oz by the 'liquid highway', or Bass Strait. Of course, this line of reasoning doesn't hold water for long when you realise that one of the inevitable results of inbreeding is stupidity, and quite frankly, anyone who chooses to live in the rat-race dog-eat-dog uncaring high-priced fast-paced heartless environment of the mainland, when Paradise is just across the water, must be more stupid than anyone here in the 'land under down-under'.

We do, however, like any small isolated population, develop our 'ways' of doing and seeing things, and one of the best examples of this would be in relation to distance and travel. Some years ago when I lived in Adelaide, South Australia, for a few months, I quickly adapted to the idea that travelling long distances was ordinary behaviour, as evidenced by the fact that one day between gigs, with nothing much else to do, I tried to get the boys to slip up to Ayer's Rock for a look-see, a distance of around 4,000 km round trip. And yet it was only a month or two before when we drove off the cross-Strait ferry that we were astounded to see the first road sign in our lives to have more than three digits on it!

And yet now that I'm back in Tassie, the old ways return oh so easily. This weekend my brothers, sisters and I have brought my kids down to Hobart, a distance of 600km there and back, and this was a trip we carefully planned for the last 2-3 weeks - what to take, where to stay, how much money we would need... We were worried because their Mum wouldn't be able to drop them off until 6:00 pm because Kierran had footy after school, and that would mean we would get into Hobart very late after a long, long trip. How distant those Adelaide days seem in my mind now, when we got off the ferry at 8:00 am and drove through to Adelaide, heaps of stops on the way, and arrived about midnight (750 km - wow!). If ever you must drive to Adelaide, plan your trip that way, so that you arrive late at night. The sparkling lights of the City of Churches, seen from those high hills surrounding the city, are one of the must-sees for one of the most beautiful places in Australia - except Tasmania of course.

And on the topic of two-headed Tasmanians, have a look and listen to this, which would probably be the song which mainlanders would say best describes things in Tasmania:

Listen to I'm My Own Grandpa

Friday, August 04, 2006

New Lux Maps

Today I submitted Fullerenes to the Lux map testing Lab. Its quite possibly the most difficult map I've made to date, requiring the player to wrap his/her mind around the 3D nature of the sphere or else risk being invaded from above or below when they were least expecting it. Coming next week is a map I created today, Penguin Paintball, in sympathy with the fact that here is Tassie over the last week we've had particularly cold weather, dropping down to -2 or -3 degrees some nights (that's Celcius of course, you Yanks). Penguin Paintball is a lot of fun to play, though still a challenge. And in the works, for release sometime in the next month, is a comprehensive 'visual guide' style tutorial in PDF format showing how to use Photoshop and Lux to create maps with good quality graphics even if you think you don't know a thing about Photoshop. Called Islands in the Stream, look out for it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bad Week

It hasn't been a good week for me. Last week I bought a new scarf, and had to take it back on Monday because it was too tight. I was on my way up to the department I bought it from when the storm caused a power failure, and I was stuck on the escalator for over an hour, and then when I finally finished, I found I had locked my keys in the car! By the time the locksmith got there the interior of the car was ruined because I'd left the top down when I parked it.

On Tuesday I got fired from my job at the pharmacy because I didn't print the labels properly - hellooo, the bottles don't fit in the typewriter – and someone almost died because I didn't call 9-11 quick enough, the boss said. Well excuse me, but I was running everywhere looking for a phone with an 'eleven' key on it!

So I got all depressed and went home to do some cooking, but I burned the lettuce. I tried making jello but its just impossible, 6-8 cups of water won't fit in that little packet. I gave up and went and bought myself some M&M's, then was really annoyed because they're supposed to have a cute little 'M' printed on them but some had 'W', some '3', some 'E'! I hate eating them anyway because it takes me hours to peel them all. In the middle of that job, some radio quiz guy rang and said I'd win $1,000 if I knew the capital of Australia, so straight away I said 'A' but he wouldn't give me the prize.

On Wednesday I decided activity was the answer to my depression and went water-skiing, but I couldn't find a lake with a slope. At the last lake I tried, they had a swimming competition on so I entered the breast-stroke. I finished way behind everyone else but they all cheated and used their arms as well. Really depressed now, I went home and got the jigsaw I've been working on for six months from out of the cupboard, and finished it! I was really proud because the box said '3-5 years'!

Finally, on Thursday, I took the baked turkey out of the oven that I've had in there cooking for 5 days - and it was burned to a cinder! I can't understand it, the instructions said 1 hour per pound, and I weigh 111 pounds...

(Thanks Blondie)
Swap Meet Dave's CLEAN humor archive

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Quo Vadis Victim?

Thomas Andrew Kier murdered his first wife, and then his second wife died under suspicious circumstances. Now he's suing the state of New South Wales for $750,000 to compensate him for post-traumatic stress he suffered when he was held at Mount Druitt police station for seven hours for questioning. Apparently, Thomas didn't realise he was even a suspect, even though he was handcuffed to a pole for over 3 hours and asked to hand over his clothes and shoes for forensic testing. I have to admit I never realised being questioned by the police was such a high-paying job, I thought only doctors, politicians and lawyers got over $75,000 per hour.

Apparently, Thomas is of the opinion that when he murders someone, he should still be allowed to go about his normal daily life, and sees questioning over the matter as a bit of a nuisance. Presumably, he's pretty busy trying to find someone new to fall in love with so he can once again exchange that precious vow, "till (your) death (at my hands) do us part". Or reviewing his other legal cases and lottery tickets to see if one of them has hit the jackpot yet. This, you see, is the third time he's tried to make money from the police doing their job. When excavators dug up his first wife's bones, he sought compensation for damage to his house's foundations. He also lodged an application with the Victims of Crime Compensation Tribunal after he was acquitted of his second wife's murder, who was strangled with a cord and laid on a mattress which was then set on fire.

Did Thomas kill his wife or wives? Well in 1993, he was acquitted of killing the second one who died in 1991, hence the "I'm a victim of crime so give me some money" application (someone perhaps needs to explain to him that the victim of the crime is the person who died, not the guy who was accused of it - whatever suffering he claims to have been through as a result of being accused, I think its a fair bet that he wouldn't want to swap places with the second wife right now). And as to the first wife, who was killed in 1988, he was charged with her murder in 1998, convicted by a jury, had that conviction quashed, retried, convicted by another jury, had that one quashed too, and then convicted in a third trial. That decision is currently under appeal.

Confused? Perhaps you'd better sue for post-traumatic stress brought on by the mental contusions necessary to try and grasp this whole sad and sorry story. Two or three million should set your mind at rest. And don't forget to sue for wear and tear on your mouse button as well while you're at it. Story

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Aussie Attitude

I've had a whinge or two in the past about over-legislation, that is, making laws about everything so that no-one is ever allowed to do anything on the off-chance they might sue someone for something that happened, that anyone with common sense would just say 'it happens' to. If you want an example of it, look at the sign from this Australian building/construction site - every single one of those warnings would be required by law, 'just in case'. The really funny bit of the sign, though, is the oh-so-typically Australian attitude it displays in the bottom-left... gotta hand it to Todd, he calls a spade a spade.

Global Warming

The real problem with global warming, of course, is the forward planning nightmare!

Look, Clouds!

What exciting news I have for you today! As reported in news all around the world, including the ABC and Washington Post, rare and spectacular cloud formations were seen in Antarctica! The nacreous clouds, about 20km above the ground, have colours in them like mother-of-pearl shells, and indicate very cold temperatures. Scientists at the base were ecstatic: "Spectacular is an understatement. The clouds were such a special and welcoming sight now that the sun has just started to return near the end of winter. I am keeping my eyes towards the celestial dome and camera at the ready in the hope of some more."

Now let's not be too hasty to knock these guys. Just like up north, the south pole has one six-month night and one six-month day every year. These people were probably excited not so much by the clouds as by the fact that they could see anything at all! "Thank God!", the exclamation would have gone around the camp, "Its almost dawn!" A six-month night stint might sound exciting to some, but scientists don't have a big reputation for being swingers. Even assuming there was a mix of male and female there, would you try to make a move on a bespectacled Madam Curie lookalike who's going to have six periods before the two of you can possibly get away from each other? Still, there's not a lot else to do down there. The resident Botanist might put his life on the line to go find a 1-inch blade of grass, perhaps the Rock Geologist could give the 99.99% of work time he has free to help the poor Snow Geologist, who has more work than he can handle, and the Psychologist of course would be flat out trying to explain to the Penguinologist that his new wife won't be accepted by the rest of the community. The Artist-in-Residence, of course, could grab his palette of white, off-white, cream, achromic, alabaster, blanch, bleach, chalky, clear, fair, frost, ivory, light, milk, neutral, pearl, and snow paints and go out to paint a white rabbit wearing in a snowstorm.

In such an environment, you can easily see how a shout of "Look, a cloud!" would be welcome news indeed.

Google Globetrotting
ABC News

Monday, July 31, 2006

Water Water Everywhere

We all know there's lots of water on Earth, but spinning the globe in Google Earth really makes you appreciate just how much we have - saltwater at least. The six views in the poster above show just what I mean (click on the poster for a bigger view). I haven't run the article past Sue for approval yet (she'll no doubt say its short and boring), but hey, I preferred her hair long and she didn't ask me before she cut that, so nyah-nyah and :P

Google Earth
Google Globetrotting

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Honest I Would

The Advocate, that paragon of local journalistic endeavour here in northwest Tasmania, has done it once again. Not content with asking people in the street definite questions which they answered stupidly (see my original blog post, linked below), now their 'man in the street' surveys have decided to use stupid questions as well! Yesterday's question was one on honesty - if you found a wallet in the street containing $1,000, would you return it to its owner?

If this survey was anonymous, perhaps done online or by phone, the results might be in some way meaningful (and much closer to accurate), but it won't surprise you to learn that everyone who was asked said they would do the honest thing, when they were also told their name, address and photo would be printed alongside their answer. The local police, no doubt, would have kept a close eye on a result like "Bill Bloggs, Ulverstone - 'No I'd take all the money and throw the empty wallet in the bin like I did last Wednesday with that one I found in Main Street'".

It boggles the mind - how stupid must the person doing this survey be!? Will next week's survey ask motorists waiting at the traffic lights if they walk to work? Ring up 1,000 people at random and ask them if they have the phone connected? Or perhaps survey everyone in the grandstand at the next footy match to see if they prefer to watch live or on TV?

Brains. Everyone has one, but there are plenty in near-mint condition with low mileage still.

No News is Tassie News