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May 25, 2005
It's always sad when you see a meme floating around blogs that you want to do but nobody passes it to you. Then you consider stealing it. But it wouldn't be good etiquette. You know what I mean?

I'll stop using 'you' instead of 'I'.

I have 27.9 Gigs of music on my computer. This is equal to 6630 songs. Last CDs I bought were Mezmerize by System of a Down, and Out of Exile by Audioslave. They join 499 other albums. I feel like calling Jordan and telling him I hate him. He made me like trance - people make fun of me for that. This is a like a pirate DVD you buy from Bali, except a meme. Not from bali. Not bought. Otherwise the same.

At the moment I'm listening to Heaven's Dead by Audioslave. Bloody good rock ballad that one. Anticipating the release of X & Y, Coldplay's new album on June 6. I think you are too.

Shoes - $180
Handbag - $34
Headphones - $37
Album - $20
Album $20

Total spent = $291 since Saturday. Damn, I only make about $90-100 a week. I should be saving for something important.

Got to work today to find that security cameras had been installed. I can't help but feel the boss is going to watch us. Maybe it will be like that book, 'Sliver' I think it's called, by some author, where this guy gets enthralled watching people on camera. Big Brother might be a better analogy.

I mean, if the ABC has a reality TV show about Shearers, surely sales assistants at a bakery would be equally interesting.

May 21, 2005
I've caught the same bus at the same time every weekday for the past few years. There have been dozens of different drivers over that time. I never noticed anything untoward about them until, for the last two days, the driver has been manically happy and enthusiastic!

Every person who validates their MetCard gets a 'Thankyou!' - which, at stops where quite a few people are getting on, leads to 'Thankyou... Thankyou... Thankyou... Thankyou...'. Every passenger that gets off the bus is farewelled with 'Have a lovely afternoon!'. Everything he says is so forceful and upbeat that it deserves an exclamation mark. He laughs, and sings along to the radio. Once I heard him say 'I enjoy driving anywhere!' to a passenger.

So what, you say, you had a nice bus driver. What worried me is how disturbed I was by this, and some things don't match up. He jerked to a stop at a green-light yesterday, throwing us all into the seat in front of us, then kept the bus stopped there for some time while he rubbed his eyes and stretched. I also heard him say "5 hours to go! I've been in the seat for 8 already..." Thirteen hour workdays! We begin to see the reason for the ragged edge to his enthusiasm, only emphasised when you compare him to other bus-drivers.

This also shows that for it to be such a shock to find a cheery bus-driver, that there is a bit of a problem with customer service in that particular bus company. Still, give me one of those surly bus-drivers any day, if they're at least going to drive safely.

I can't work out why he's like this.

No-Doz?

May 18, 2005
Driving around yesterday, we sped past The Age's front page outside a milkbar. It read 'Legalise Torture: Academics'. I sat in the car trying to work out what the article would contain, and thought I could hazard a guess as to the general contention: legalise the torture of terrorists, terror suspects, and terrorist collaborators.

This isn't a new argument, and has been boiling under the surface since the fall of the Twin Towers, when terrorists became the new bogeymen of the 21st Century. I grabbed a copy of The Age to find that the article was no surprise. What I found most disturbing was Mirko Blagaric's assertion that human rights should be, essentially, flexible. Is a lawyer qualified to make such moral and ethical judgements with any additional credibility? I wasn't under the impression that lawyers were also ethicists.

It's a troubling debate to be having in this day and age, but it has given us a chance to openly articulate very strong arguments against this view. Rob Corr, Tim Dunlop, Ken Parish, and Benambra have contributed to the debate with some great points.

Naomi Klein also wrote recently on the use of torture. The article, not only an exemplary piece of journalism, strikes a devastating blow against the argument of Blagaric and others.

I'd like to quote something from a manual published by the US NGO Physicians for Human Rights on treating torture survivors [sourced in Naomi Klein's article]. Mirko Blagaric's assertion that torture is the infliction of 'relatively small amounts of harm' indicates a fundamental misunderstanding about what he is arguing for:
"perpetrators often attempt to justify their acts of torture and ill treatment by the need to gather information. Such conceptualizations obscure the purpose of torture....The aim of torture is to dehumanize the victim, break his/her will, and at the same time, set horrific examples for those who come in contact with the victim. In this way, torture can break or damage the will and coherence of entire communities."

May 14, 2005
Jellyfish quoted in the Senate? From Andrew Bartlett's round up of the Senate on May 10:
Following that, there were a lot of speeches to a motion acknowledging the 60th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. I spoke to this isse, and quoted some parts from a piece on Jellyfish's blog which I thought gave a good insight into the suffering and damage to lives in just one family that is caused by war.
I can't help but wonder how Andrew segued into the blog reference without making the fuddy-duddy Senators go cross-eyed. "A jellyfish did what?" - "A blob? A bog? Come again?"

May 11, 2005
Some guy came in to buy bread from work today, with a can of bourbon tucked under one arm and a young boy sitting on his shoulders. He was drunk, and dropped some money on the counter with the kind of movement that indicates some loss of co-ordination, whether by immediate drunkenness, or loss of braincells due to prolonged alcoholism. It worried me that he had his kid on such a precarious perch in this state. The can of bourbon slipped from under his arm and spilt all over the ground in front of the store. "Do you guys have a mop?". Bourbon and sickly sweet bourbon stink everywhere.

Farken bogans.

My mum said, if I watch Big Brother 05, shoot me. Then she watched it on sunday and monday. I didn't have a gun. The budget tore her away on tuesday, and we watched several hours of, well, too much Coalition smirking. No tax cuts for our family, and another round of this bizarro Robin Hood financial management, steal from the poor to give to the rich. We were both making snide comments, and I told her: "Mum, I think I'm a socialist." She laughed a bit. I don't know enough about socialism to declare myself a follower, but I certainly don't like capitalism. Maybe I could simply try to work for the improvement of whatever we have.

Socialists, any advice?

And another one for the politically inclined, a reform of the senate: get rid of state electorates and create one electorate for the whole nation. Senators are elected based on the votes of the entire population. It solves the problem of malapportionment, but stops senators representing a certain area. The question is, is that what they are doing at the moment? Would this really be such a change from current practice?

May 07, 2005
Mmm... Tasty Spam

From the people that bought you the Nigerian Businessman [tm] series of spam e-mails comes the new and exciting opportunities presented by BONO LOTO!

BONO LOTO to me

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

We are pleased to inform you of the announcement today the 8th of April 2005 of winners of the BONO Loto's International program. Your details attached to ticket number 275-1085-8862-005, with serial number 8786-35 drew the lucky winning 1 15 22 30 43 45 You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of one million, five hundred and ten thousand, seven hundred and sixty-six euros, forty cents only, (1.510.766,40 Euro.) in cash credited to file Ref NÂș: EAASL/206/8320054/887. And you can as well search our website to see that you are one of the lucky winners of this month <http://onlae.terra.es/sorteos.asp>.
All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 names from Middle East, Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zea land, South and North America as part of our International promotion programmes.

etc. etc...

To begin your claim, please contact your International claims agent,
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I remember that Cole was also the guy from the Nigerian Businessman [tm] spams. Maybe they thought that was a really trustworthy name, and conjures up an image like this:


Cole Ruben


acting on the orders of...



Bono

Watch out.

May 05, 2005
I've been pretty quiet lately, I suppose. Maybe for the last few months I've spent a little too much time on the internet, and now I'm not spending enough, to balance things out. What have I been doing with all this free time? Uh, I don't know. School, and stuff. Nothing worth blogging about.

Have tentatively started to read again - I usually end up going to the library after work every few weeks, stumble around in a sore-footed daze, and take home whatever I knock out of the shelves in my stupor.

Haven't had the presence of mind to put together all those kind book reccomendations, but I did pick up a few sci-fi novels, and one in particular by an aussie blogger (though he lives in the US now, and was a writer before a blogger... but whatevs). The book is Jennifer Government by Max Barry and it isn't half-bad; one of those sci-fi novels that would be better called speculative fiction - maybe that is what it's called - because it doesn't focus very much at all on the scientific advancements and space-ships, etc - it's not as 'satirical' or 'whitty' as it promises to be, and the dialogue is often disappointing. The heroine gives people lip all the time, and I like that, though.

Actually, at the same time, I'm reading The Dream Master by Roger Zelazny, but it's been put on hold for the other book. Zelazny is a good writer, admittedly, but I'm not so fond of his characterization - and to me, that's the most important thing in a book. I suppose I could also be said to be reading Henry Lawson's short-stories, for English. It's all good stuff, but this passage struck me as exceptional - it's from 'Joe Wilson's Courtship':
I didn't like the idea of hanging myself: I'd been with a party who found a man hanging in the Bush, and it was no place for a woman round where he was. And I'd helped drag two bodies out of the Cudgeegong river in a flood, and they weren't sleeping beauties. I thought it was a pity that a chap couldn't lie down on a grassy bank in a graceful position in the moonlight and die just by thinking of it -- and die with his eyes and mouth shut.