Take the Scenic Route

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Geek News

I've been stressed, busy, sick, and busy lately, hence the lack of posting... but just wanted to share some things that seem exciting...

I almost bought a digital camera a couple of weeks ago, but eventually dithered off because, being something of a amateur photo geek, I want something which takes really good images, but is also really small. I was tossing up between the Olympus C-5000 (5MP, and exceedingly good picture quality), versus the Sony P150 (7.2MP but, perversely, not as good picture quality, but bitchingly small). So I was excited to find on slashdot today that Nokia have phones with 4GB hard drive and a 2MP camera. Like an ipod and a stupid widget phone and a digital camera, all in one uber-expensive (I assume) gadget. But that just sounds really rad.

It's also quite cool that the new Airbus got airborne. Although, in reality, it's really quite ugly, and I think I prefer the boeing model to smaller planes between more destinations, than even bigger planes for main routes....

I was also planning to go to the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie at the midnight opening last night. After initially hearing it was terrible, it seems maybe it's not that bad. But then I discovered that there is no midnight opening in Dunedin. What's with that?, as Miss Bunce is so fond of saying.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


A couple of years ago, while I was getting my teeth checked out at the School of Dentistry (a cheap but exceedingly laborious experience), I had a panoramic X-ray taken, where, for the first time, I got to see my wisdom teeth, or lack thereof. My upper wisdom's (romantically labelled 18 and 28 by dentists) were miraculously missing in action. Either never there, or reabsorbed by my body at some previous time. Unfortunately, downstairs was a different story. In *exactly* the wrong places. They are both following a broadly horizontal trajectory. The left-hand one is heading directly for the front of my mouth, bulldozing through the roots of my molars as it goes. Conveniently, its own root is gently butting up against the nerver that controls the left side of my face. The right hand side is a little more loopy. It's oriented so that it's heading sort of directly out the side of my face, so if it were to emerge, it would pop out of cheek/jaw, just in front of my ear.

My optimistic student dentist thought that if they didn't move anywhere it would probably be OK, but the evil tutor thought I should probably pop them anyway. Optimistic student said if they ever started to hurt, that that was a sign they'd need to be popped. Well, they've started hurting, so I now have an appointment with an oral surgeon in June. I hope like hell I can get a general anaesthetic. I'm far too squeamish for this sort of shit.

Failing that, I might try to get a referral from Noizy's friend, although, I think I might want more than a couple of shots beforehand:

I had my bottom two yanked shortly after arriving here in Wellington.

Having put up with a dull throb for about six months, I figured I might as well get it over and done with, so toddled off to the dentist for what must have been the first time in about six years. After the x-rays had been done, it was revealed to me that these wisdom teeth were 'big', and these wisdom teeth were 'deep'. It didn't sound good. I returned a week later, two shots of vodka under my belt to steady my nerves. God I hate dentists.

So they popped a couple of valium into me, which mingled nicely with the vodka, and, after a short chilling-out period on a bed in a waiting area, the pretty nurse guided me to ... the chair. There seemed to be a lot of industrial-strength hydraulic equipment at hand. And the rubber gloves and smocks donned by dentist and assistant didn't augur well (I got a bib the size of a table-cloth, which was also less than reassuring).

And then, well, out they came. In lots of little bits. My overwhelming memory was of the dentist saying, 'mmm, we'll have to cut this bit of bone out as well,' and of this colossal CRUNCH and bowel-shuddering vibration as they shattered the bit of my jawbone into which the larger of my two wisdom teeth had impacted. 'UCK!' I managed to gurgle through the blood.

A good mate was looking after me for the rest of the day, and he took me back to his place where we had a couple more vodkas, and then (I don't know how I managed this), scoffed down a few 'special' cookies (purely for the pain-killing aspect), whipped out the guitars, and launched into a three hour jam. Apparently (my memory grows hazy after the first 20 minutes or so) we were inspired, and actually wrote some songs that ended up being recorded on our next album (although I had to relearn them all the next time we played together, naturally -- "Jesus, I played that? I'm better than I thought!").

Pity about the bloodstains around his flat though. It looked like we'd sacrificed a cat. [Gratuitously stolen from here]

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Litre A Day...

With the introduction of recycling, the DCC mandated that rubbish would only be collected in their official 40 or 65L bags. I put the rubbish out last night, Monday being our rubbish day. It was only our fourth bag since we moved in, which seems like a good effort. No doubt aided by composting, mulching, and recycling. However, I sat down and did that math, and although a bag a month seems like good going, it works out at almost exactly 1L each per day (129days X 2 people = 260L). I wonder how much of that is meat trays? Probably the single biggest bulkiest thing that's non-recyclable that we go through a few of....
That and other miscellaneous packaging. All in all, I think a good effort, but some improvement would be good. I also think maybe we should buy 40L bags!

Friday, April 08, 2005


OK, so it's slightly Naughty, but I wanted the width man. I've just made a few final hacks to extend this so that it's now over 800 wide. That means anybody with a small monitor (or maybe a laptop) is going to have trouble fitting it on screen. Any complaints?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Confessions of a Serial Browser

So, a meme eh? Unlike some haters, I wasn’t even too clear what one of these was with reference to the interweb. I have a feeling I might not live up to my billing (“for some intelligent choices, no doubt”), either. The fact that I had to google Fahrenheit 451 (which I’m now interested in reading), doesn’t put me at a good start.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

DSM IV. Oh wait, I don't care if that one gets burnt.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Er yes. So many that I've lost count. Haha. Mostly from way back in kids and YA fiction. It's taken me a bit of thinking, but I realise that Margaret Mahy's mysterious intelligent young women from The Changeover and The Catalogue of the Universe were both very alluring.

The last book you bought is?

If I don’t count the second-hand marketing textbook I picked up for L* (it took weeks to get the commerce stench off my hands), I’m pretty sure it’d be Christmas books for family (Penguin History of New Zealand: Parents; Short History of Nearly Everything: Brother). The last book that I bought for myself was probably a Mediterranean cookbook (c. April 2004).

The last book you finished is?

Michael King’s Penguin History of New Zealand. At Christmas. That’s right, I don’t think I’ve read a book since Christmas (and I don’t mean not just finished reading a book, but done any reading of any part of a book that wasn’t either work-related or an encyclopaedia/dictionary). NB: I haven’t read any books for work either, in case you were wondering. I think I read three books last year, and that classifies as a good year.

What are you currently reading?

I just got given Jane Ussher Portraits, but I guess you don’t, er, ‘read’ photographs. So that means I'm not currently reading a book. I've also had a good look around, and I can't find any "to read" books around the house that I'm interested in...

Update: I found a copy of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying in a secondhand store in Lyttelton a year or two back, and there is a bookmark in it. I though reading some old-skool feminist fiction would be interesting. But ah, No. What would have been outrageous and controversial back then seems, well, dated. I think the idea of the Zipless Fuck is still alive, but like communism, better in theory than practice...

Five Books you would take to a deserted Island?

*Mr Nice: Howard Marks. I don't care if it's true, it's so fecking funny
*The Matriarch: Witi Ihimaera. I loved it at the time. A big book would be good. And I really should re-read it.
*Catch 22: Joseph Heller. Stealing this from Noizy's selection, but I love it to bits.
*Midnight's Children: Salman Rushdie. Actually, I think I am reading this. Or was reading it? Or had to give it back to whoever I borrowed it off? A friend did her MA on magic realism in Rushdie's novels, with an emphasis on this one. And raves about it. I trust her judgement.
*Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Douglas Adams (NB: I want the version with the entire 5 volume trilogy).

And No. There is no such thing as too much perverse humour.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

*My man of letters: He comprehends more languages than anyone else I know, even if he has a slight fetish for dead languages, and a strong predilection for the letters A, T, G, and C.
*Jo Hubris: 'Cause a writer of her ilk must be reading something good.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Big Chop

It probably wouldn't come as a big surprise to know that I'm not much of a fan of reality TV, but last Monday night, I got seduced. High School Reunion featured a group of people dumped back in a resort in Hawaii ten years after the end of high school. It really did play out like all the stereotype characters of high school, and were conveniently labelled as such in the show (the Wallflower, the Jock, the Drama Queen, the Geek etc.), and in some ways, apart from the plastic surgery, not too dissimilar from a bunch of people in my year. I wasn't too surprised on reading up on it today that they all had to audition, and as per reality tv usual, only the extreme personalities got picked.

The thing that had me hooked was a guy called Lenny, the Geek, and last week he had his long hair all cut off... which obviously strikes a bit of a cord with me, although it's five years since The Big Chop next month. And although there were some superficial similarities, I realised that I really wasn't Lenny. Lenny's main motivation for the big makeover was the implied prospect of some action with blond girls enticing him to get the makeover.

Which got me to thinking that I was really no candidate for this show at all. Basically, all of the pent up resentment on show was stuff I'd worked through in sixth and seventh form. I don't think we'd make a good show, cause we wouldn't be fighting. Actually, it might be mildly entertaining. I'd like to think we're a fun lot. More entertaining might be a reunion of the people in my hall from first year. Now that could be disturbing. I don't think I'd play a big part, but hot damn I'd find it entertaining to be along for the ride.