Wasting 0s and 1s since 2001|tamesapien@gmail.com

Bookworm

It seems an eternity since I last read, scratch that, since I last completed reading a book . The last book I completed was most probably an Anne McCaffrey book back in the mid 1990s. McCaffrey wrote a series of books known as the ‘Dragonrider of Pern’ series. Dragons were good to read about back then in my 20s. They were much more relaxing to read about than my life was. As with most people in their 20s I was living life at light-speed, drinking like a fish, smoking like an industrial revolution era chimney and trying my best to attract attention of young ladies.

In the intervening decades I have only read about sport, politics or science. Mainly on the web. I get one magazine sent to me. The Atlantic Monthly. A US based current affairs mag. I don’t read it. I just subscribe so I have unlimited access to the website. I take great pleasure in leaving the print copy of the mag in airline seat pockets, doctor’s waiting rooms or my customers’ coffee tables. I think I do this in the vain hope that I can encourage someone to read real journalism instead if the puerile shit that most Australians think is news. Very righteous of me I know.

Cue last Sunday morning. I lie in bed in the dawn hour and listen to a syndicated radio show on KALW San Francisco.  While I listen and contemplate my lazy Sunday on the east coast of Australia, Americans are only halfway through their Saturday. Poor bastards. I was listening away and an author came on for an interview. Jonathan Evison. I heard him read an extract from his 2012 book ‘The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving’.

Bang. I was hooked.

Thanks Jonathan. I bought it and read it in 5 days. Not a bad effort in between working and tending to a demanding 4yo.

By |July 6th, 2014|General|0 Comments

Ballgames

The World Cup is on in Brazil. I just can’t get into it this time around. Maybe it’s an age thing. I remember Italia ’90 being the first one I really got into. I was about 17 then and I think it was the first world cup covered live by an Australian TV network. Ever since then each cup was another reason to stay up late during the week and drink beer with friends/strangers in a pub and be late to work with bags under my eyes in the morning (depending on which timezone the world cup is played in – usually always at night Australian time). It was good to have an excuse that nobody could argue with.

Now it’s like…meh. I’m content to just watch a few highlights on TV, watch the odd game that’s being played on a weekend morning and check the results on the FIFA website. Having said that I’ll being having a week off and running away to Byron Bay next week with the family so I’ll have some time to indulge in some early morning football watching – actually, no. I’d rather be walking on the beach at 630am watching the sun rise than watching TV.

 

By |June 17th, 2014|General, personal, sport|1 Comment

Driving me crazy

I haven’t read anybody’s blogs for ages now. It’s a shame really. That’s mainly because the stuff I read used to be personal stories, everyday life and stories that gave me an insight into the way other people were thinking and feeling. It was all information that I was very interested in until I got married, started a business and bought a house. My personal developments turned me into an inward looking dick I think. Maybe that last sentence was a bit harsh because I’m always interested in other people’s experiences, their lives and their thoughts. But you know what I mean , I just turned inward for a while.

But anyway, one of the bloggers I’ve followed for ages has just got his driving licence. Yaksox. I always thought he’d be a driver anyway since he loved Formula 1 so much. I was mistaken. On his second attempt (not bad) he succeeded in convincing a VicRoads  nitpicker to give him a piece of plastic.

In the last few months I have been hearing of my teenage neighbours’ experiences in getting their licences. I hear all the horror stories. Mainly of their stuffups. Failure to give way. Rolling through a stop sign etc. I hear of strangely aggressive and overly strict driving assessors and tales of assessors appearing to nod off during the driving exam. So when my neighbours ask me about my test I just tell them how easy it was back in 1990.

I went to the Redcliffe branch of  Queensland Transport in Sutton St, Redcliffe. I had pre-paid and booked my test. I jumped into my Mum’s Holden Gemini and the instructor told me to drive around for a bit, perform a parallel park outside the Redcliffe Pool then take him to the Captain Cook Tavern drive-thru bottleshop. He bought a box of beer and I drove him back to his office, Bingo. I got a driving licence. 10 minutes. Done.

Brisbane only had half the traffic then as it does now though. I think some people are still getting their licences with my assessor.

Shooting Star

So a plane crashes (MH370) and all of a sudden every kook becomes an air crash investigator. Honestly, are people getting more stupid?

Extracts taken from The Courier Mail  readers’ comments  (link here – not future proof and behind a paywall).

The recent flight path released might suggest they were headed for Northern Sumatra.  There are two International airports in the far north, Banda Ache and Sabang, both pretty much closed at night.  An area well known to harbour extremists. Flight path tracked by Malaysian military stops at the Malaysian international border with Indo. Hmm. I hope someone has checked those airports out.  Both have Malaysian Airlines land there, so a plane wouldn’t look too out of place.

High time the Australian government stopped sitting on it’s hands and cancelled MAS flights until there is some sanity over this whole matter.

The only credible bit of evidence so far is from a local fisherman who spotted a plane that’s lights were as big as ‘coconuts’ it was flying so low.

 

By |March 12th, 2014|General, newspapers|0 Comments

Polling

Often I wonder if political polling in Australia will be done from now on by the same people who polled me randomly over the phone back in 1999.

I was asked to detail my radio listening habits for the day when I answered my share house fixed line phone one Friday night in wintertime Melbourne.

I can remember roughly what I said. From 6am until 9 – RRR breakfasters. From 9am until about 3pm – JJJ. 3pm until 5pm 3LO. 5pm until late The Tote Hotel jukebox.

I recall the woman on the other end if the line saying that my listening habits didn’t comply with their strict listening variability requirements.

Load of shit.

Never believe a poll.

Depeche Mode car

Wow. Some people are passionate.

Spotted on Ipswich Rd in Woolloongabba, Brisbane.

Depeche-Mode-Car

Depeche Mode Car

By |December 4th, 2013|Uncategorized|2 Comments

The new stupid

Any society that consumes lemon flavoured Coca-Cola is doomed. I don’t drink soft drinks (i.e. soda, pop for American readers) but when I was queued in a supermarket this morning I spied this bizarrely flavoured drink in the drinks cabinet at the checkout.

I blame the appearance and sale of such completely ridiculous flavours on stupidity.

Shredded cheese is sold at twice the price per kilogram of the same brand of cheese sold in a solid block. Huh? People complain about the cost of living but shove cheese into their mouths at double the cheapest price because they can’t be bother shredding the cheese themselves. Stupid.

Motorists queue for 4¢ off a litre off their fuel at supermarket petrol stations. An average car has a 50 litre tank. That’s a $2 saving on a tank of fuel….and people queue for 20 minutes with the engine running and A/C blowing like a mofo. Stupid.

Bottled water. Stupid. Especially one brand I saw yesterday labelled “Sports Water”. What the fuck are people smoking to waste their hard earned on such silly, expensive and useless products?

Conservative voters who happen to be poor. Don’t get me started. Argh!

I cannot stand the stupid.

By |November 30th, 2013|ranting|0 Comments

Attention seeker

Ahh. Blogs get no attention these days do they?

Everybody who had a good one is going through my stage of life. Either child/ren, too much work or addicted to Facefuckbook. In my case it’s too much work and being fascinated by the development of a 3½ year old boy. While at times infuriating, he is cute and I’m enjoying seeing him learn – and learn quickly!

Being an avid reader of fact rather than fiction my son has learnt to ask me the ‘technical questions’. This winter just gone, after his evening bath/shower he became aware that the wall mirror was covered in a strange sheen that prevented him from being able to see himself when I picked him up to carry him to his room. This strange sheen was, in fact, STEAM that had condensed onto the cold mirror in the bathroom.

When explaining condensing moisture in air to a toddler you get a funny look and then they just want to draw pictures in the ‘foggy’ mirror. BUT! Just last night I poured myself a beer. It’s been 28° and humid. Guess what happened? The moisture in the air condensed and formed a layer of water on my glass. Little Joe gasped excitedly while I was having dinner with him and he then said, ‘Look Dada. Condunshun‘. It took me 5 seconds to realise that he had just remembered my condensation talk.

At least one person in the house listens to me.

Awesome.

By |November 12th, 2013|parenthood, personal|0 Comments

Watch your mouth

News is that governmental requests for Twitter users’ information and requests for tweets to be deleted are on the rise.

While this could actually be newsworthy, take a look at the figures in the article. IN THE WHOLE WORLD governments made 1139 information requests for data in the first 6 months of 2013. That’s 1139 enquiries out of 550,000,000 users. News? I don’t think so.

By |August 1st, 2013|it|0 Comments

Glyphs

I was doing some work on the Gold Coast today and I noticed this graffiti…

Nobby-Beach-Lavarack Road

Buggered if I know what it’s all about but I liked it enough to take a photo of it.

By |July 24th, 2013|graffiti|0 Comments

Fuckwittery

Yesterday the Australian government decided to take a lurch to the right with political asylum seekers being shipped offshore. All this from a supposedly socially responsible political party – the ALP.

Where I live there are hundreds of refugees living in cheap motels and bedsits that until recently were used by street workers (sex workers). The refugees are all young men – mainly Afghan, Pakistani and Tamil. As I walk and drive around my neighbourhood, I see them walking, talking and just generally seeming to wander around aimlessly.

Last week I had to catch a train 3 suburbs away to pick up my work van which was at the mechanic for repairs. On the way to Dutton Park railway station my 3 year old son’s pram lost a rear wheel behind the PA Hospital. One of those stupid double wheels with a plastic wheel lock. Three guys who couldn’t speak much English sprung into action and fashioned a gum tree twig into a makeshift axle for my boy’s pram. In 2 minutes flat they had the thing fixed and shook my hand. Resigned to the fact that I had already missed my train I asked them where they were from. You could see the hesitation.

I asked if they were Afghans. They nodded. One of them spoke up with reasonable English and said that they were ‘told’ not to do anything for anyone or they would lose their right to claim asylum. They obviously assumed that by being helpful to a Dad and his son that they were in potential breach of their future wellbeing.

To Kevin Rudd I will say, ARE THESE HELPFUL YOUNG MEN THE PEOPLE YOU WANT TO EXCLUDE FROM BECOMING AUSTRALIAN? Most Aussies wouldn’t lift a fucking finger to help me in that situation. But 3 young blokes in a strange land did have the will and the nouse to fix a pram, for a father, for a son.

They are the people I want to live in this nation. Real people. People who value their freedom. People who are generous with their time and their effort.

Deport the divisive and import the willing.

Check your head

Don’t ever let the Tour of Australia go down Montague St in South Melbourne.

By |June 30th, 2013|Uncategorized|1 Comment

iPrick

I dropped my beloved HTC Desire X down a storm water drain 2 weeks ago in Brisbane City. While I did retrieve it, unfortunately I cannot seem to talk to anyone on it – which kind of makes it a fairly useless phone. It is basically now a radio when I’m in the garden using the TuneIn app.

A Broken HTC

It was replaced with an iPhone 5, which I am pretty impressed with. I’m glad I waited this long for the bigger screen and faster performance. LTE is unbelievably fast too. Getting 2 – 3 MB/s from Optus is novel to say the least. Not 7 years ago it would take 25 minutes to download a song on my dial-up. Now I can get a song from my
KEXP Song of the Day podcast in 5 seconds. I can’t wait for the day when that is considered slow. Something tells me I won’t have to wait long.

So, quite quickly I am becoming the iPrick that I always hated. What’s happening to me? I’m using Twitter, burying my head in my phone and always listening to music with iTunes match or to radio from around the world on TuneIn.

Oh, and Dots is very addictive.

By |June 29th, 2013|General|0 Comments

Kevin13

So my favourite Prime Minister is back. Well, my second favourite after Paul Keating anyway. Kevin Rudd has come back from the wilderness and given Julia Gillard a swift kick up the bum. The only reason I like him is because he got rid of John Howard and his increasingly UK Tory style of government i.e. promoting low wages and reducing workers’ right to stick up for themselves.

Having lived in the UK from 1996 until 1998 I got to experience the inequity in the employment market there. At first I worked for £5 per hour on a 48 hour week. After tax and rent I’d have £120 a week to entertain myself with. A pack of smokes was £3.00, a pint of beer was £2.30 and good food was pricey. I was paid well! Warehouse workers and cleaners got £2.60 per hour. In London I do not know how these people lived unless they had a second job selling drugs or robbing liquor stores (known as off-licence shops, or offies).

In 2006 when Workchoices was introduced I could see the UK/US style of employment beginning to take hold. Workers being forced to become independent contractors and being tied to their ex-employer, unable to be true independent contractors. One of my good friend’s had his salary nearly halved from $75 000 to $42 000, it nearly destroyed his marriage, he lost his house and couldn’t pay school costs for his 3 children. Like most fair minded people in Australia, I didn’t like seeing the little person being kicked in the shins. What I really despised was a government legislating to allow people to be kicked in the shins.

6 years on and things are going well in Australia. People are relatively well off. There is reward for effort. There is the ability for everyone to get ahead if they be imaginative, motivated and financially prudent.

I am scared that the next conservative Australian government will carry on from where John Howard left off. Tories are ‘lowest common denominator’ politicians. They want the lower end of society to feed the wealth of the top end. Australians don’t want that…or do they actually care anymore?

Demographics may be the ruler of our future though. As the Baby Boomers start retiring en masse, they are going to demand cheaper cost of living. The Boomers get what they want. They got educated for free, got cheap housing, subsidised industry to help build their wealth – now the rest of us are going to pay for their retirement with low wages and no rights in the workplace.

Hopefully I’m wrong, but I don’t think I will be for some reason.

By |June 27th, 2013|politics, ranting|0 Comments

Soma

I need something to assist me to sleep. I am resisting the use of pharmaceutical aids so have decided to bore myself to sleep using TuneIn. I try to find the most boring and monotonous news/documentary online radio stations, but have hit a snag.

It’s not that I have reached my 20 gig download limit. Never. It’s not that I’m still not sleeping well. No. It is that I have found the most intelligent, funny, witty and entertaining online radio stations from all over (the English speaking) world.

KALW San Francisco (NPR network) is my favourite on Sunday mornings at present.

Listening to other options makes me realise how Australian culture and media variety is so limited and so stunted. When RN now has more challenging concepts than JJJ, you know that public discourse has become more diluted than cordial at a suburban school fete.

By |June 9th, 2013|General|0 Comments

Freedom

Since I married her only daughter, my mother-in-law has asked me for the last 12 years if I’m going to an ANZAC Day parade/ceremony/flag raising/bugle fest or whatever. Each year she gets the same answer. I always say, ‘Listen, I appreciate the freedom that has been afforded me and fought for through many ugly wars. That is why I sleep in until 10 on ANZAC Day. To show my appreciation for the freedom I hold so dear.’

By |April 24th, 2013|General|0 Comments

Stuff incorporated

There seems to be far too many rainy days in Brisbane lately. Well, for the past 3 years really. Not that it’s a bad thing. I love the place looking green and lush as opposed to being hot, dry, brown and crispy.

For me the one thing the rainy weather breeds is efficiency. I am 3 months ahead of schedule transferring my business accounts over to the spunkfuckiest accounting software I have ever used, XERO.

I am not an accountant, I repeat , I am NOT an accountant. I am a normal person.

I just appreciate well designed apps that make a tedious task into an easy to manage affair. XERO is cloud based so no backing up with USB sticks, and I can do my accounts, receive bills and pay them without leaving Firefox. Thank fuck,at last simplicity.

By |April 13th, 2013|brisbane, personal|0 Comments

Ning nang nong

If I get another call from some wanker trying to sell me search engine optimisation for my business website I’m going to scream bloody murder. I don’t mind getting calls from other businesses trying to drum up some business for themselves. But when their sales people call me and then refuse to take no for an answer I get the shits.

Today I had one guy (Philipino call centre routed through a Melbourne number) say to me, ‘Sir, you just must listen, I am smarter than you.’ That’s when I lost it and told him to go and fuck himself with a vegetable. In fact, I do believe that about 1/3 of the cost of my Google Adwords account for my business is generated by SEO companies searching for my line of work and clicking on my business ad in Adwords. Fucking leaches.

From now on I have a simple line to dissuade any cold caller offering me × service. I’m simply going to say – ‘I’m currently under contract for × service until January 2017. Call me back then please’.

By |March 19th, 2013|General|0 Comments

Melburn

Yay.

I’ve been really missing Melbourne lately (well, for the last 6 years actually) and last week my wife purchased me return tix to Melbourne in order to take part in a little celebration at my old cricket club in Richmond last weekend. It was great seeing old cricket club buddies that I haven’t seen for 7 years or so. And when I wasn’t catching up with people I was walking around and checking out my old haunts.

Nothing much has changed in Melbourne. There’s a few more tall buildings around and the inevitable loss of some kooky little pubs and cafés, but nothing like the destruction of culture and architecture I have witnessed throughout Sydney and Brisbane. One thing that definitely hasn’t changed is the loudness of Melburnians in public places and their love of eating obnoxiously smelling food on trains and trams. Not that there’s a problem with either of my observations, I just love the outgoing nature of Melbourne in general.

My old haunts, Swan St. in Richmond and High St in Northcote and Thornbury are basically food and drink destinations now with most of the old dress shops, book shops and shoe shops having disappeared. Non-hospitality shopfronts are surviving by being a specialist in a particular style or genre which is great. The less crapola shops that exist the better – you know the type, a shoe shop that sells books and offers haircuts and sells instant coffee.

I can honestly now say that Brisbane is just a chore now. Anything I do here is just incidental and is a means of getting me back to civilisation. Now where’s that extra $600 000 I need so I can buy a shack and not have to pay rent in Melbourne…..?

By |February 21st, 2013|General, melbourne|1 Comment

The man who mistook his wife for a burglar

Poor old Oscar. What a way to end a happy relationship!

I once mistook my wife for a burglar and yelled out,”Is that you darl, or are you a criminal stealing my shit?” She mumbled “Fuck off” in my general direction and then stumbled to the toilet and proceeded to sleep in the bathtub. She had a sore back the next morning and luckily avoided the wrath of my cricket bat that sits behind a door in the house awaiting its first intruder. That’s the closest I’ve come to mistaking my other half for a robber – very unexciting, and the result of a night out with the girls.

 

By |February 14th, 2013|General|0 Comments