stranger than fiction

IF YOU think your morning has got off to a bad start spare a thought for the man whose house was demolished by mistake.

The crew from Daniel’s Demolitions turned up to a house in Bankstown and began tearing the property down.

They thought they were knocking down the right house, but a mix-up over numbers on letterboxes led to the mistake.

~ source

Far out. This reminds me of the scene in Stranger than Fiction when Harold Crick’s apartment is accidentally demolished whilst he is sitting in his lounge room trying to do nothing.

 

working from home 

I’ve been in my new job working from home for about six months now and people ask me what it’s like.

I can say it’s nothing at all like this song:

Kitty and I still can’t work out if they’re actually serious in that film clip or taking the piss.

covet vs cosset

I somehow confuse the words covet and cosset. 

Covet means to desire possesion of something, particularly something someone else has: ‘I used to covet expensive cars but now they just give me the shits’. 

Cosset means to care for or protect something in an overindulgent way: ‘I tend to cosset passionfruit; they’ll often go rotten before I get to eat them and enjoy them’. 

the intergenerational wars continue

You Boomers! I swear you are the worst generation ever to walk this earth, self centred, ladder kicking, asset sucking, greed merchants, look at moi, look at moi. all you have ever done is position yourselves in some moral highground, now its emotional intelligence! Cant you all just accept that you inhaled the stoic platform of stabiltiy and unmatched prosperity provided by your hardworking, long suffering parents and ridiculed it in the most pathetic way, dirty hippies. to much outta sight and not enough insight.

Why dont you all just climb into your disgustingly named (and priced) winnebagos and drive off into the sunset. “Spending the kids inheritance”! Pah- you lot spent the countries inheritence.

So to all you 60 year old super sensitive emo dudes, dont trust anyone over thirty, life begins at 40, hippy, yippee, yuppie, dink, grey nomads, go get into your now luxuriously appointed retirement villas (after saving money sending your folks to crap ones) and shut the hell up, I for one am sick of you and all your ridiculous studies.

~ The inter-generational wars continue: a SMH reader posts a rather passionate anti-baby-boomer comment.

the world according to otis

As a child I had a pure white cat called Otis. He was named after the movie The Adventures of Milo and Otis, but quite oddly I choose the name of the dog from the movie instead of the cat. For the first few months we didn’t know Otis’s gender, so his name switched between “Mrs Otis” and “Mr Otis” until we finally realized he was a boy and just called him plain “Otis”.

I once bought a disposable camera and took some photos of Otis in trees; boy how he loved to climb. I recently found some of these photos cleaning up, and scanned them digital for keepsakes. Kitty loves the style of photography, I personally don’t really know what I was thinking.

Sadly, one morning Otis was asleep on the back tire of my Mum’s Honda Civic, and when she reversed out of the garage on her way to work, Otis was fatally injured. My brothers dug a hole in the backyard and buried Otis; I was too upset to see.

subway ikea

From 10 to 24 March 2010, IKEA develops an interesting event in four important metro stations in Paris. Furniture collections are currently displayed in high-traffic spots, giving the potential customers a chance to interact with the brand by checking out the products. The subway walls are also filled with prints that showcase IKEA interiors.

~ via freshome

What a great idea! I reckon they should leave the furniture in there permanently at the end of the promo for general use, or else at least donate the items to homeless people.

mexican prayer candles

Whlist wandering supermarkets in Austin, Texas, last year, I spotted a whole shelf of cheap yet aesthetically pleasing candles in tall glass jars for sale at $2 a piece. Naturally I picked up one to bring home to Kitty and to see what it was like.

The candle ended up being one of the best candles we’ve had. Not only did it last for weeks, it also had one of the nicest rose scents I have smelt from a candle. Not bad for $2!

I later found out they’re known as prayer candles, or veladoras in Spanish, and each candle has a picture of a saint and a prayer printed on it (in both Spanish and English). They’ve been made in Texas since 1947 and there are over 350 saint varieties alone! They’re often left at vigils as they burn for about seven days straight.

I will be making sure I stock up on these if I am ever in Austin again.

unhappy hipsters

I’ve got a new favourite blog… unhappy hipsters: it’s lonely in the modern world, modern images collected from hip magazines with dark, ominous and often bizarre captions.

At the art opening, he’d been convinced the blank canvas symbolized endless possibilities. Back at home, it was just one more reminder of his own desperation.

(Photo: Raimund Koch; Dwell, April 2009)

Flipping the pages hurriedly, he sensed that the potted plants were advancing.

(Photo: Dean Kaufman; Dwell, Dec/Jan 2007)

(russian) dogs who ride trains

I just read about this amazing story through Andrew Sullivan:

Susanne Sternthal reports from Moscow:

[Animal specialist Andrei] Neuronov says there are some 500 strays that live in the metro stations, especially during the colder months, but only about 20 have learned how to ride the trains. This happened gradually, first as a way to broaden their territory. Later, it became a way of life. “Why should they go by foot if they can move around by public transport?” he asks.

“They orient themselves in a number of ways,” Neuronov adds. “They figure out where they are by smell, by recognising the name of the station from the recorded announcer’s voice and by time intervals. If, for example, you come every Monday and feed a dog, that dog will know when it’s Monday and the hour to expect you, based on their sense of time intervals from their ­biological clocks.”

The blog English Russia also covered the phenomenon:

Another skill they have is to cross the road on the green traffic light. “They don’t react on color, but on the picture they see on the traffic light”, Moscow scientist tells. Also they choose often the last or the first metro car – those are less crowded usually. It’s funny but the ecologists studying Moscow stray dogs also tell the dogs don’t miss a chance to get some play while on their travel in the subway. They are fond of jumping in the train just seconds before the doors shut closed risking their tails be jammed. “They do it for fun …”

sfa

I haven’t written here for some time. The reason is that nothing much exciting at all has been happening lately in my world. To be honest, the most exciting thing to happen to me today was seeing these photos, which I thought were pretty amazing:

a unique underwater perspective of goldfish scooping
a unique underwater perspective of goldfish scooping

Some other notable mentions:

  • We renewed our lease on our unit for yet another year (fourth year: end April 2010). The increase was $15 p.w (3%) which is okay; landlords are definitely more nervous and less cocky at the moment.
  • We are going to Byron on the weekend to see Fat Freddy’s Drop, which should be wicked mad: can’t wait!
  • I am going to attend my first ‘Cactus & Succulent Society of QLD’ meeting next Monday night in Brisbane: I hope to see one of these.
  • Work has been pretty shite: I can’t wait to be on holidays.
  • I’ve been checking out this Brisbane based photo blog: paletendril, which is fucking amazing.
  • We went to Canberra a week ago for a wedding. The weekend was full of mixed feelings but I couldn’t wait to get back to Brisbane: home is where you make it.

road rage

I am a road rage sufferer. I could even go as far as to say that, whilst behind the wheel of a car, I am an entirely different person. Just like Homer Simpson thought Marge was once replaced by the gambling monster Gamblor, I feel I too am replaced by a rage filled monster each time I sit behind the wheel of a car; I just don’t have a cool, monster like, name for mine.

I often use various tactics to express my rage, depending on how angry I get. I have been known to resort to using one of more of the following: displaying my middle finger, shouting verbal abuse, flashing my headlights, and honking my horn. The first two tactics are kind of childlike and remind me of being back at school. And the problem with resorting to my car’s horn is that it’s a wimpy one. You know what I mean, it’s one of those horns that just make you laugh. Here I am trying to express my utter rage at someone’s lack of driving skills, and instead it sounds like I am trying to be funny.

I tried some calming music too; Lior to be precise. At first it worked a little, but soon it didn’t make a difference, at all. After a while I even started to associate road rage with Lior. Now whenever I put Lior on at home I feel road rage too, and I’m not even in the car.

One thing I decided to do was to avoid the car and catch more buses, but I’ve found that there’s even road rage on buses. For example, there’s this intersection at South Bank in Brisbane where the bus tunnel meets the normal road. Buses get pretty high priority, even over pedestrians, so often naughty impatient pedestrians cross on the red man. So what do buses do? They speed up. Often times they honk their horns too, and buses don’t have wimpy horns either. I am often riding up front of the bus and as soon as I see these pedestrians I immediately start to feel it, the road rage monster emerges. The loud horn of the bus is strangely therapeutic though. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels it either, I look around and often see similar facial expressions to mine.

My road rage is evident in different towns across Australia too. Canberra was hard. The roads there just aren’t designed to invoke road rage; but I still managed to find it. I just decreased my tolerance threshold to compensate. Even the slightest display of bad driving would set me off. Especially if the offending driver’s car had diplomatic number plates. This often wasn’t the case though, which lead me to think that road rage must be an Australian thing.

So I decided to see if I road rage is prevalent overseas, Bangkok to be precise. I chose BKK as it a) has some of the worst traffic in the world, and b) has lots of Buddhists who frequently pratice meditation, which should theoretically help with road rage. We decided to catch a cab from one side of BKK to the other, in peak hour traffic, and see if the driver displayed any road rage symptoms. The traffic was bad, and I mean bad. Worse than I’ve ever seen in Australia; they have lots of motorbikes and tuk-tuks who love to weave in and out and generally cut others off. During our hour long journey, that would have taken five minutes in Canberra, our driver was cut off countless times by others. And the thing was, not once did he seem annoyed. He didn’t yell or shout. He didn’t even use his horn! Man was I impressed, it was some of the worst traffic and driving I’d ever seen. If this guy could control himself then surely I could.

As soon as we got out of the cab I told Kitty about how amazed I was: ‘Did you see how many people cut him off and he wasn’t even pissed off!’. ‘You’re kidding’ she replied, ‘He was flashing his headlights the entire time!’ I couldn’t believe it but I was sitting behind the driver, so whilst I couldn’t hear him getting pissed off or using the horn, my wife, sitting next to me, saw him flashing his headlights the entire journey, one of the more discrete ways of displaying road rage.

So I realised it’s not just an Australian thing then. At least now I know it’s not only me.

on fixing things

We recently watched Lars and the Real Girl. It’s a great film and the one thing I really loved about it was how Lars’s brother Gus reacts when Lars introduces his new girlfriend Bianca, who is a life-sized anatomically-correct doll. At one stage Gus says to the doctor: “We’ve got to fix him, can you fix him?” I can easily relate to how Gus felt and how he just wanted to ‘fix’ the problem with Lars.

I’m not sure if it’s a male thing or because I work in software that I relate so much. In software we have things called bugs which are problems found during testing. These bugs are fixed so that they don’t end up in the software when it is released. Not all software bugs are easy to fix, but almost all of them can be fixed. Sometimes I translate this view into life, why can’t we just fix things?

Unfortunately in life, it’s not that easy. Some things aren’t quickly fixed. Some things we can’t fix. For example, housing affordability is a complex issue with lots of different viewpoints and outcomes for many different people. I would love if we could just fix the housing affordability problem in Australia, but unforunately it’s not that simple.

Sometimes Kitty has issues with how things go at work, mainly to do with office politics. I often take the view of “why can’t you just fix it” but I need to remind myself that it’s not that easy. Problems take time to solve, just like Lars’s relationship with Bianca.

The trailer is below.