Friday, July 30, 2004

Chuppa chup?

While watching the comedy "Absolutely Fabulous" on television last night, we heard one of the characters, who had recently acquired a new boyfriend, talking about doing the "rumpy pumpy"? I know I have led a fairly sheltered life but even I was able to work out that it meant "intimate relations", "making love", "a bit of the old punch in the pants". As we talked about it on the way to the bus stop this morning, my partner said she knew someone who called it something similar, and that this person's mother called it the "chuppa chuppa" - and that chuppa chup was actually a play on that. Not sure if that's actually so, but it's an interesting thought.

Whale of a time ...

... or possibily not. A killer whale attacked a trainer in an incident overseas today. The errant behaviour was blamed on “raging hormones”. The televised images were quite spectacular – so much so that there appear to have been no details to go with the story – aside from the aforementioned “hormones”. I bet the only thing they can be thankful for is that the whale was restricted to the tank. There were no reports on how the trainer fared after the attack.

Online dictionaries

I was IMing with a colleague in South Africa this afternoon and when he greeted me with “g’day”, I responded with “goie more” (ghoo … ia … more … rra). Some conversations later, getting ready to sign off for the day, he bid me “tot siens” together with the Afrikaans for “miss”. I went online to see if I could quickly find the Afrikaans for “mister” and even though I did find a site, I couldn’t find an English-Afrikaans translation for “mister” or “Mr” or “sir”. I was obviously asking the wrong question; the wrong terminology – but that raised the question, if you don’t know the language, how can you find out “stuff”.

eBook popularity

The number of eBooks sold in the first quarter of 2003 increased from 228,400 to 421,955. This was an increase of 46 per cent according to a palmOne item I read. I didn’t think at the time to question this – especially as the increase seems much more than 46% - it’s almost double. Wonder who’s putting together their statistics.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Too long

It’s been too long between blogs – I have been missing writing here – although I have been doing other writing so it’s not all bad.
But there have been reasons. My sister and co. did visit and we had a wonderful time with them. We did some family things (visiting my brother and his family) and some tourist things, and lots of chatting and just catching up. What happened to the olden times when people would live and die in the same village. Did that make for a better relationship between people? And do all the modern communication methods we have make up for the distance in any real way? Life just seems to get faster, and more busy. Ah, if only I could SMS faster!
After a few days with our brother on the Central Coast, Wendy and co. head back to Toowoomba today. I hope they’ve had a great holiday – they’ve certainly done lots! And I’ve got some pics of what they did here in Sydney, which I’m working on posting to my photo site.

Slow web

On the web at 5.20am today and I was amazed at how slow it was. I couldn’t even connect to my email account, and my home page “could not be found”. I tried to disconnect and reconnect, but no change to the speed. Then, just after 5.45am, the system “freed up” and I had some web speed back. I checked to see if there was anything running in the background (eg virus program) but nothing. All very odd – and the second time this has happened over the last fortnight. I might do some research and see what is causing it – although last time it seemed to coincide with a new virus outbreak.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Family time

My sister, her children and the new man in her life arrive this evening for the weekend. They are from Queensland and want to play tourist here in Sydney - including a visit to ChinaTown for Yum Cha, Paddy's Markets and some museums. It will be fun and a good chance to catch up.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Eastern Waterfall Guide - Waterfall Hikes and Photography

The Eastern Waterfall Guide - Waterfall Hikes and Photography Wow - will technological wonders never end. I have just loaded the new Google Toolbar onto the computer and one of the options is "Blogger" - so when you are visiting a page, hit the button, and it will post the details in a blog session. Of course, you have to have a blog with Blogger, or be prepared to open one. (This is not the reason I had downloaded the toolbar - it's to stop pop-up ads as I surf!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Beam me up

The character who plays Scotty, the engineer on the StarShip Enterprise (Star Trek TV series, original, 1966-69), was in the news recently because he is reportedly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and has other health issues.  But he is still managing to get to Conventions.  I was quite surprised to read in the same article that Mr Doohan, now in his 80’s, has a four-year old daughter and two older sons via his current wife (of 12 years?), and four children from a previous marriage.  I never thought of Scotty as the marrying kind!

To market … to market

Saturday morning bright and early, 6.15am to be precise, we left home to go for an adventure to the local produce markets – Flemington Markets.  This is the big markets – forklifts everywhere, people buying boxes and boxes of apples and tomatoes and pumpkins, and not to be confused with the local growers market which is held just up the road.
Flemington was fantastic – so much to look at, so many smells, and so many people buying their cabbages and fish and nuts and … you name it, it was there.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Hot to trot

The Olympics are just a month away now and preparations are hotting up.  But not so much as for one Olympic equestrian’s horse.  Ulla Salzgeber, ranked world No. 1, has booked a month of sessions at a solarium to help Rusty prepare for the Athens heat.  She reportedly said “Just like any person he has to get used to the expected high temperatures.  I want to make sure he doesn’t get a sunburn.”
Surprisingly, Ulla is only two steps removed from me.  A friend had her photograph taken with Ulla at an equestrian event in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) last year – or perhaps the year before.
Go Rusty! Go Ulla! 

Burning love

How far would you go to impress the love of your life?  A story in Ananova today tells of a German man who burned down his house after the candles he had lit in a romantic message to his girlfriend sparked a fire.  The 18-year-old, who was not named in the report, had laid out hundreds of candles in the shape of a heart and with the words “You set my heart on fire”.  Close.  Perhaps it should have been “hearth” … and home.  The damage bill will be in the vicinity of £33,000.  And what did the girlfriend think of the gesture?  Apparently she didn’t get to see it.  All he had was a photograph, and when she found out what had happened, she wasn’t that interested in looking at it.

Get the message?

Most of us peck at the keys of our mobile phones to do SMSs, and probably wish we could do it just a little faster.  I’m not sure I’d want to do it as fast as Kimberly Yeo, 23, from Singapore, who managed to produce a 160-character message in 43.24 seconds.  This was more than 20 seconds faster than the previous best – and the Guinness Book of Records is waiting to verify the new record. All contestants in the competition, run by the telephone company Sing-Tel, had to type the same message:  “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world.  In reality they seldom attack a human.”  (It took me longer than 43.24 seconds to type it let alone get my fingers around it out on a mobile!)  Ms Yeo, quite deservedly, won over £8,000 in cash and other prizes for her effort.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Farewell Montego

We spent the weekend on Queensland’s Gold Coast saying farewell to Montego Motel which has been in a friend’s family for the last 23 years. We’ve spent some wonderful times there, including the Summer the first year our friend was managing the property for her parents. It was a grand four weeks where Mejrem and I shared the office duties, and Sooz helped out with the breakfasts, washing up and rooms. I will remember it as one of the times when I have done my fastest thinking – when a regular (whose name I could not remember at the time – and whose name I won’t mention now because I wish to protect his privacy) telephoned to see if there was a vacancy for his daytime tryst. I was torn between giving him the room or waiting for a better booking. It then occurred to me that I had to ask if he was the regular and in a moment of inspiration I thought to ask if he wanted “the short booking” – he did.
We spent a lot of time at the beach that Summer as I recall. And it was, quite simply, a wonderful way to spend a month. Fare thee well Montego, and all those who were part of her!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Latest international news

You never know what you're going to find when you're out and about. I was browsing a stationery store yesterday and moving through to their book division when I noticed what looked like an ATM. A closer look showed it was anything but. For a mere $US6.95 I could print out a copy of the latest newspapers from around the world - alright my credit card payment of $US6.95 would only get me one - but let's not get bogged down in semantics. What an amazing invention. Print on demand international newspapers. There was a good choice of publications - together with information on when the latest issue had arrived. Your copy, on A3 pages, would print out in under 2 minutes. The sizes of the publications varied, one was 44 pages, one 28, and on screen it looked like the copies would be readable. While it's not something I'd want to do everyday, I can see the attraction of printing out The New York Times (which I already read via the net) to take it with me to the local coffee shop one day. Nothing like mixing your media!

Thumbsuck at a train wreck

Isn't business talk great? I'm taking liberties by joining two very different ideas but it does illustrate the point a little. A thumbsuck (as far as I can figure) is a detailed guess, complete with rationale and costings for something completely unknown but which someone higher up the corporate foodchain wants. A train wreck is a complete disaster. I don't think there's any causal relationship between the two - although if there was a big enough thumbsuck on a big enough project, there is every chance that there could be a train wreck as a result.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Why is it so?

... used to be the catchphrase of a Professor (Julius Sumner Miller - apologies for any misspelling) who was on a TV program which looked at how things work - and there were some cool physics experiments like how to put an egg in a milk bottle (made of glass - not the plastic you get these days) without breaking it - the egg or the bottle! Mind you, the egg was hardboiled and shelled, but it was still great to see. I really enjoyed learning 'stuff' so I was delighted to recently stumble across a website dedicated to how stuff works. That is the name of the site and it delivers - it even has a search facility. I'm going back there to play over the next few days.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Fee for all

Have you ever noticed that there's only one letter difference between "fee" and "free"? I'm sure there are similar examples throughout the English language. It makes me wonder about the origin of words and how they came to be - and how amazing it is we can communicate at all. But this may be changing. There was a report yesterday of remarks by Bill Cosby, the comedian, that the upcoming generation of African-Americans was in trouble because it did not have values or education to carry it through. The responses included an attack/observation that as Mr Cosby, an African American himself, had made his living as a minstrel, he might not be the best qualified to comment. Mr Cosby's comments followed reported increases among young people for violence against women and school drop-out rates.

Zing, Zing, Zing

At work last week we had a demonstration of a computer-based brainstorming tool. Zing was developed by John Findlay, an Australian. It was described to us as being
65% psychology and 35% software. It was created to help teachers bring out creativity in children - and it certainly brought out some creativity in us. But you'd expect that from a knowledge creation tool. It's based on each participant being at the same location and having a computer link into the Zing system. The session is led by a certified facilitator who has questions they put to the group. The make-up of the questions is the most important aspect of the process … more important than the software. As each question is put to the group, participants discuss them before entering their individual answers through the console. The responses are then displayed, anonymously, on a screen – and are discussed, looking for common themes etc. It makes it a level playing field as no-one knows who made which response, and the most vociferous person doesn’t get to control the conversation.

World first

Finally they've worked out what to do with evictees from the Big Brother house - put them back in! In a world first, following a voting miscount, the Australian version of Big Brother tonight put the most recent evictee, Bree, back into the house. The person who should have been evicted (not yet known) will be ejected from the house on Thursday night. I can't help thinking they keep milking this show for all it's worth. At the moment, even without special eviction shows, it's on for hours a week - half an hour each weeknight, Monday nomination night, Wednesday Uncut, Sunday eviction, and then 2 hours Up Late each weekday night. Oh the reality!


A young man in China is having plastic surgery so he can have ears like an alien's. Even though doctors tried to dissuade him, the man is so unhappy with the shape of his own ears that he wants pointy ears like a creature from another planet. My only question is how does he know what alien's ears look like? Has he seen them - or is he making his choice on the basis of an artist's impression. Is it X marks the Spock (a Star Trek character)?