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February 26, 2005
Remember how my electric guitar was stolen a few months ago? Well, we got the replacement last night. It's an Epiphone Cherry SG with a black pick-guard and inlays on the fret-board: it sounds great, and I'm very happy.

Now, for the computer...

February 24, 2005

Amanda Vampire by Le Driver, in glorious Paint.

'The moral test of a society is how that society
treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children...

...those who are in the twilight of life, the

...and those who are in the shadow of life the sick, the needy
and the handicapped.'

-- Hubert Humphrey

February 22, 2005
A cheap post on ten cheap posts for use in tight spots*

01. Anything to do with your iPod/random music references.
02. Picture of pet or yourself.
03. Post about being tired and over-worked written in an artful and/or vague manner.
04. Link to someone else's genius.
05. Post interesting or thought provoking image you leeched from somewhere else.
06. 95% quote from interesting article + 5% commentary.
07. Cut and paste some writing you did for something else.
08. Borrow/steal genius blog post from other blogger, re-word, link to better original.
09. Post results of online poll you took. Briefly remark on what has been concluded.
10. One or two ambiguous lines that are impossible for the outsider to put into context: hope rampant speculation ensues.

On the rare occasion I have not employed the above cheap post (a mere 50% of the time) I have linked to examples from blogs I love that have. You should be flattered that I remembered this about you. And that it was so hard to find examples, you high-quality bastards.

* This post was intended to be cheap, but it took nearly an hour to gather together all the examples. A philosophic question:

If the effect is cheap, but hard work went into it, does the hard work count?

February 20, 2005
I've simplified the design and given myself a bit more space to write - wasn't entirely happy with the tan colours, the font, or the formatting of the text.

My blogroll looks a bit sparse. I really should read more. Can anyone recommend me some good blogs?

February 17, 2005
About 3 months ago my computer and electric guitar were stolen in a spectacular Home Invasion*. Staring at the empty space where my computer used to rest, I realised just how dusty my desk was under there, and was truly afraid. Now, it appears we are finally getting a replacement, and I don't have to use this 4 year old machine anymore (to calculate a computer's age in human years, assume each year counts for 20 human years).

Here is a bunch of nerd jargon:

This computer - 80 years old.
10gb HD
128 MB Ram [upgraded from 64 MB]
500 Mhz Processor
4 MB Video-Card

Stolen Computer - 40 years old.
40gb HD
256 MB Ram
2.4 Ghz Processor
128 MB ATI Radeon 9200 Graphics Card
CD Burner

Replacement - Newborn.
80gb HD
512 MB Ram
2.8 Ghz Processor
CD/DVD Burner
Intel Extreme 2 Graphics Card

If you are a nerd, you will see that everything about the replacement computer is better than the stolen one, except the graphics card. This is a pretty good deal. It's not as if we even tried to rort the system - we gave them the exact specs and expected nothing more in return.

If insurance companies want to voluntarily rort themselves, I am totally down with that.

I think this is an appropriate time to admit that I am a woman but I know about computers and enjoy computer games. However, I don't understand maths or science. I'd like to pretend that balances out my geek-factor to around even. What about yours?

* Spectacular Home Invasion may have ocurred while we were not at home.

February 16, 2005
I'm a big fan of conspiracy theories, preferably ones involving Aliens, or Google. Here's a previous post called Google The Word Conspiracy to back-up that statement: clearly I'm into that kind of thing. Then somebody called 'dls' worsened the problem by showing me EPIC, which is all about how Google is going to take over the world. I proceeded to freak out more.

Today, Barry at Alas, A Blog had 50 G-mail invitations to give out. I was curious, like a little kid peering into a house everybody says is haunted. I took a look at gmail-is-too-creepy.com, which has convinced me that G-mail is going to read my mind. In a computer-like manner.

But I'm like the curious kid that decides to step inside the haunted house. I'm interested in what Google is doing. I'm not a criminal, I don't e-mail or receive e-mails containing anything of importance to the FBI or the CIA. Unless they're interested in Penis Enlargement, or Nigerian Money (which they may well be), I don't think anything bad will come of it. The, uh, complete lack of privacy is a trade-off for the ability to say, or write, I was there: Google owned my blog, my communications, my information, and I watched it all unfold. If they're fucking me over, I'd like to see how they do it.

If you'd like your words added to a vast computer-brain database with lasers and many eyes, send something to ledriver@gmail.com.

* If the above made no sense, its because you didn't visit this site. Or, I'm a spaz.

February 15, 2005
I'm not into that shit. This is not because I'm bitterly single. I'm not bitter. Just single.

1. A set date for expressing love is not so romantic.
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't believe in it. You do. Vague resentment ensues.
3. Bitter singles walk around scowling. Feel insecure.
4. Thousands of roses are torn from the ground, to slowly die in tasteless vases everywhere.
5. Another occasion where spending money is required.
6. Person gets Valentine's message. Other person does not. Feels sad.
7. Measuring up of gifts received against those of friends. Can only result in hurtful comparison.
8. Another stolen American holiday.

It's not sweet or lovely in anyway. It's not. Really. No. Shut up.

February 12, 2005
From The New York Times:
President Bush on Wednesday increased the United States tsunami relief pledge to
$950 million, nearly tripling America's contribution.The additional $600 million
would put the United States, which was criticized initially as reacting slowly
to the disaster, ahead of Australia, which has pledged $750 million, and Germany, which has pledged $680 million, among the top donors.

Frankly, this is how the figures should have looked as soon as the disaster happened, not more than a month later. And still, there's a catch:

The U.S. government places conditions on its foreign aid that require most relief and development assistance materials and services to be purchased from U.S. companies and agencies. The last time the the government revealed any data on this issue—back in 1996—72 cents out of every U.S. foreign aid dollar was spent on U.S. goods and services.

This arrangement might strike most U.S. taxpayers as a fair and just arrangement. Why shouldn’t the nation’s economy and its companies get something out of money the government spends on foreign aid?

For starters, this arrangement makes aid less productive. Requiring that foreign aid benefit U.S. companies often means that precious resources are used buying more expensive goods or services; while valuable time is wasted transporting these goods to the region. This hurts poor countries, including those devastated by this disaster of monumental proportions.

Countries that receive aid also have less control and decision-making on how to spend aid money. For example, countries like Malaysia or Sri Lanka, where the staple diet is rice may get shiploads of sorghum, or wheat, because these items are available from U.S. company stockpiles. What’s worse, goods like sugar or roofing sheets that may have been secured in the region, injecting much-needed vigor into the regional economy, are ignored as U.S. materials are imported at top dollar.

Bad taste in the mouth? That's not all. In addition, it seems that U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is using the disaster to strengthen U.S ties with Indonesia's brutal military, the TNI. You can read the full article at the Pacific News Service.

Foreign Policy in Focus discusses the implications of using a natural disaster to strengthen ties with a human-rights offender.

Body and Soul saw it first.

February 10, 2005
Religion is not a part of my immediate family. Though I was Christened by the Macedonian Orthodox church this was only under the duress of my bubba, who was quite religious but not strongly so. I remember that we only broached the subject of religion once when I was a kid: she was speaking about god and I mentioned that I didn't believe in him, only to be told in broken english that I would be consumed by fire on judgement day. And that was the end of it - besides the framed picture of Mary on top of the fridge, she no longer pressed religion upon me.

My great-uncle is a priest, though I don't know him well and he's never mentioned his religion to me. He's convinced nanna that she's Christian, and though she never goes to church or prays, she occasionally decides it would be fitting to say grace before a meal. I haven't witnessed this myself, as we've always talked her out of it. Atheists are good at that kind of thing.

Going to secular schools, having secular friends, mixing with secular people... all these things don't add up to an individual who has much experience of things god-related. Until recently, that is. Let me briefly tell you the story of:

The Rise and Fall of the Catholic Friend

There are three catholic girls at work. The first is one of eleven children - let's assume they take that 'no protection' thing seriously, eh? Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is good, right? The second didn't know that yesterday was Ash Wednesday. Third is the friend I'm talking about - she donated a thousand bucks to the tsunami appeal, shouted a customer 70 cents so they could get a custard tart, and is generally a good person with a healthy sense of humour.

Today, she's leaving my suburb and returning to her home-town, 3.5 hours away. I worked with her yesterday, and she invited me to a going-away dinner at an Italian restaraunt on Lygon St, with four other people from work. During the course of the meal we mentioned a new girl who had started at the bakery who liked to tell everyone she met that her father had bisexual affairs. Catholic friend's response?

"If my father was bisexual, I'd hit him in the head with a hammer."

So much for thinking I had met one of those new-age religious types, eh?

With her departure, so ends my insight into the world of religion. And to be honest, I have no intention of going back.

February 09, 2005
'Training Your Girlfriend' at AskMen.com. Too bad you can't kill people via e-mail.

Some choice excerpts:

Common Obedience Problems

She's out of control and constantly acts up. Brainwashed by a steady diet of Oprah and "feminist" propaganda, she's now "empowered," meaning that her thoughts run somewhere along these lines: "Men have been holding me back, I want mine now, and I don't care what pair of testicles I have to step on to get it." Since a girlfriend's brain is unable to distinguish emotion from logic, this kind of fantasy thinking will prompt her to act in self-destructive patterns and will cause you undue stress around the house.

Whining, Barking (good women don't talk), Not Fetching (not bringing him a beer without being asked) ...

Don't be afraid to say "no"
As many would believe, girlfriends aren't usually as bright as men, so they typically have to be told more than once. And spank her if she continues to misbehave. If she likes it, spank her a lot.

This article, while written in a light hearted tone (hilarious woman-dog comparison), is intended to be truly serious advice for men. Though, I figure, if you're reading that and agreeing with any of the views put forth you're too far gone anyway. 'Gee, I really wish I could train my girlfriend to be a mindless sex-slave!" AskMen.com has the answer.

-- Sourced from feministing.

February 05, 2005
I'm sure there's a wealth of information on the progress of the Iraq election available, but I came across a few articles I felt encapsulated the situation:

Al-Sistani Backed Alliance Leads in Iraq Vote. Shiites voting for Shiites while many Sunni muslims don't vote at all. If Sunni areas reject the result of the Iraq elections, this will serve only to widen the gap between these two groups, and stoke the flames of Sunni extremism and alienation.

What They're Not Telling You About the 'Election'. A rough estimate of 72% registered voter turn-out should have been a little closer to 60%. More often than not, if the Iraqi people are not voting for parties representing their religion, they are voting for the group that they believe will result in an end to foreign occupation.

I can't remember a day when there was (real) good, positive news from Iraq.

Another interesting read was Rumsfeld Tried to Resign During Prison Scandal. Twice. He was asked to stay on by Bush both times. It is interesting to note this comment...

What was going on in the midnight shift in Abu Ghraib prison halfway across the world is something that clearly someone in Washington, D.C., can’t manage or deal with,” he said, adding: “I have no regrets.”

In light of Rumsfeld's repeated attempts to resign, one would think otherwise.

Now, we'll shift slightly away from U.S. and Iraqi politics to something quite far removed. I agree with Chelsea Peretti; Angelina Jolie is interesting. Kooky, yes, but that's kind of endearing, in a way. The notion of a Hollywood actress working merely to finance various charitable causes around the world certainly is a strange one, yet quite refreshing. AJ is also presenting and narrating a documentary on the European Sex Trade that will air on the ABC sometime during February, so I've heard.

February 04, 2005
Yesterday, I waxed lyrical about getting a mobile phone. I got it today. It was 95 dollars more than I expected but, frankly, money has a strange smell and I like to get rid of it in creative ways. Now you can come to my house and roll me for it - the front door no longer opens so I'd suggest trying a window.

Secondly, I'd just like to announce that you have to buy me a Strictly For My Ninjas* T-shirt before you're allowed to read any more of this blog. That's right. Stop reading. Now. Downloading my thoughts for free steals income from the artist.

I also decided to begin writing an album of songs yesterday. The album is called 'People Who Lost Sleep Saving The World' and I wrote lyrics to the first song, which is either going to be titled 'Talking To Strangers' or 'Domino', late last night. My acoustic guitar has a broken string and my electric guitar is in the sweaty paws of some drug-dealer so for the moment I might pretend it's just a collection of poems. Yes, pretend. In other words, it's probably just poems. You can't read this blog any more until you buy me a new D string, either.

Tomorrow my style will change completely and I'll be serious, lest all my vaguely intellectual readers forget that I have articulated opinions. Let the use of the words 'lest', 'vaguely' and 'articulated' in my previous sentence serve as a tantalizing sample of what is to come.

* I imagine Krankiboy to be some kind of expert on witty/hilarious clothing. This must be central to the delicate task of charming Melbourne's exclusive circle of hip nerds. Take note.

February 03, 2005
I've owned a mobile phone [read: cell phone yanks] in the past. It was big, ugly, I didn't know how to use it, and I may have been the slowest SMS composer in the world. I walked down Bell St. to drop a friend off at the tram stop, walked back 500 metres or so to my house only to discover the phone lying on the footpath, it having lay there for twenty-minutes when I thought it was sitting pretty in my pocket. Nobody took it. Yeah, it was really that bad.

I'd only had it for a month before it was stolen from my bag, probably by a no-good friend I'd fallen out with, who had a habit of breaking into houses and stealing cars. I didn't miss it though, just the hundred dollars it cost. It worried me that the mobile would interfere with phone lines and modems, that it read somewhere in the manual that you should hold it a certain distance from your body to avoid radiation. I think they probably cause tumors. I worry that it will be like those diet pills that caused women to give birth to deformed babies - everyone assures us 'Yeah, they're fine', questions are raised but quelled. Too me, it's a disturbingly similar situation. Not to mention the fact that people who play mobile phone games that blip bother me, that stupid ringtones piss me off, that SMS messaging seems so simple to other people, that people will play with their phones rather than sit and think or look out the window on public transport.

They just get to me, in more ways than one.

I've been mobile-free for more than a year, but now I'm considering going back. They're useful organisational tools. Secondly, if everyone who uses them gets tumors the world isn't going to be a very fun place for me anyway, is it? Plus, these new-fangled models can film, take photos... damn, you can even download a Kill Bill theme, and those polyphonic ringtones are certainly less annoying than the old-school kind. I've been enchanted by the bits and bobs, the gizmo appeal.

Today I used a Sony Ericson Z1010 video-phone and I want one. $200 pre-paid - sounds like a good deal to me. Apparently the coverage isn't that great but, pfft, like I travel? Any mobile phone nerds reading this can feel free to reccomend, or warn me away.

Just An Aside: How about those storms? I slept right through them, but awoke to find a semi-apocalyptic world of rain, miniature floods and malfunctioning traffic-lights. The damage I saw was most impressive at Princes Park, where a massive oak with a two-metre trunk had uprooted and fallen across the road. It was like something out of Twister - and more to come tonight, apparently, though not nearly as severe. According to the ever-reliable bastion of Murdoch news, Sunrise, the storms were horrendous in NSW too. Send all impressive tales of storm damage my way, because I want to be in a disaster-movie and like to pretend.