Recently a particular song has been stuck firmly in my head: Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy. Apart from seeming singularly apropos to my life right now, it’s also noteworthy for the magnificent voice of the singer, and for being the first ever song in the UK to reach number one in the charts before its release (through the newly acknowledged measure of download count).
On Sunday I took my brother to see the new Aeon Flux movie. E, a long-standing follower of the animated series on which the movie is ‘based’ disparages it as travesty. Being myself only a casual seen-a-few-episodes viewer of the series, I was spared the “where’s-bombadil?” effect. My own feelings about the film were mostly positive: I went in expecting a totally gratuitous Charlize-Theron-in-vinyl-bodypaint action-fest. Ms Theron was indeed all over the place in her vaguely bdsm constumes, but the plot was deeper, the visual more artful, and the acting more satisfying than I had expected. If you’re not a serious fan of the original, I’d cautiously recommend it as very entertaining sf/fantasy.
While my Mazda is broken, I’m getting my pound of flesh out of RACV, in the form of a rental car. It’s a current model Nissan Pulsar ST, and I spent enogh time driving it yesterday that I now feel competent to critique it.
It’s a great little car in terms of features and good design. It comes standard with ABS, A/C, CD-player, remote central locking, power steering, cruise-control and numerous airbags. For the first couple of days I drove it I was repeatedly amazed by how little I noticed the car; controls are inuitive, handling is incredibly predictable.
Yesterday, however, I had to drive the car from North Melbourne to Collingwood and back in mid-afternoon traffic, in the rain. Several things stood out as I drove this time:
- Fuel economy is not so hot. I had hoped that a modern small-four would be significantly more economical than my clunky old V6, but it somehow ate a quarter of a tank yesterday.
- Performance can be a little gutless at times, and the transmission is clearly unprepared for any kind of agressive driving, becoming jittery and sticking when pushed hard.
- Traction control is spooky. Having driven a recent Subaru with ABS, I can safely say that it’s not just ‘ABS is spooky’. In the wet, the Nissan often felt like its brake lines were cut, or like the brake pedal was tearing loose.
Overall, it’s comfy and featureful, but no amount of ingenious design can quite cover the cheapness of everything. I have deep concerns about how it would age.
Right now, since I have spectacularly little to do except ‘look busy’, I am trying to teach myself ipsec and racoon. So far I have a broken racoon install and a headache…
…and now for something completely different.
I keep mentioning Geocaching here, and I realise that I haven’t spelt out what it is, or why I am into it. I mostly realise this because people keep asking, so here’s a brief summary for public dissemination.
Geocaching revolves around this website: http://www.geocaching.com
It’s a semi-sport where some people hide little boxes full of stuff with a logbook in them somewhere in the environment, and other people have to find them. This is all facilitated by a modern tech-toy: the GPS. With a GPS, which you can buy for ~$200 AUD if you shop around, you can work out where you are to within a couple of meters in terms of latitude and longitude. Even the crudest GPS can also help you to navigate your way to any other arbitrary set of co-ordinates, such as those associated with a Geocache. There are a lot of caches out there; thousands just in Victoria. If you live anywhere suburban, you probably live within a kilometer of at least one cache.
Why do I enjoy it?
- It’s a treasure hunt. What’s not to enjoy?
- It is an outdoor physical activity. I need more of these.
- It is potentially a great social thing.
- It involves finding new places, often by some very strange paths.
- It is facilitated by geek toys. (I have a bluetooth GPS which talks to my Palm Pilot using bluetooth, where I run an app called GeoNiche)
On another note, I recently told several people that I thought the Stargate TV series had real merit as quality television SF. I just want to amend that, having watched some more: No, it’s silly. Fun, but silly.
Finally, observant readers will have noticed that I have tunred comments off. Apologies to all those wonderful people who have left their thoughts here… I will reinstate comments when the recent crisis has had some time to cool off. Until then, apologies for the read-only blog.
To most dear readers, please pardon another brief outburst…
J, R, now I know that you read this, and I am aghast.
Know then that I don’t read yours. I don’t know where they are, and I don’t want to know.
Sometimes I am told what you write there, when it concerns me or E.
If you want to hurl abuse at me in your own places, I will not stop you, nor even tell you that you’re wrong: I don’t expect to be forgiven for what I did. If you hurl abuse at me here, I may delete it.
…but E is innocent in all of this. E has chosen to keep me, in spite of what I did to her.
I do my best to atone to her for what I did every day. You both owe her your own apologies; I would beg of you: for gods sake leave her alone. If you want to deny that she was ever your friend, I cannot stop you, but I can laugh at you. A year ago you would have said otherwise.
I am sorry for what I did. I regret it every day. I was an arsehole. I don’t deny it and I don’t hide it.
What is my point? I am posting these things here, in this very public place because I am sick and tired of seeing E hurt again and again by what happened. That’s all. Thats it.