See You Next Wednesday
Wednesday, January 29
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley

Unlaid schemes give back what you put into them. At some point in the recent past I schemed to participate in some live roleplaying games at CanCon 2003, listen to the Triple J 2002 Hottest 100 countdown, watch the live broadcast of Superbowl XXVII and generally spend the Australia Day long weekend in the company of friends and beer. However when it came time I had done nothing to organise any of this and achieved only 4% of my calendar of social events. On the other hand I did play a 15 hour session of Jon's Dungeons and Drangons game, had concept and character generation sessions (with beer) for Dave's new Hero Wars-based game, chatted to Kelly Osbourne about Iron Crown Enterprise's Middle Earth Role Playing game and spent $200 in the dealer's room at CanCon 2003. Which was nice. Next year I will scheme to watch the live broadcast of Superbowl XXXVIII, listen to the Triple J 2003 Hottest 100 countdown, participate in some live roleplaying games and dispose of most of my collectable cards via the second hand dealer's stall at CanCon 2004. (This reminds me of my exercise scheme which is significantly behind schedule at 66% of its spurious intended temporal correlation.)
Thursday, January 23
As I was saying.

Happy birthday for Tuesday, Chris.

The bushfires have abated. They have been contained and no residential areas are at risk. There are occasional hazy patches of blue in the sky during the day and stars can be seen at night. People who sleep with the window open wake up with red eyes and runny noses. My car is filthy with squashed bugs, from the trip to Sydney, coated in ash and baked in a long slow heat.

But before that, I went to Sydney for the weekend. I drove there with my mother on Friday listening to episodes of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue on cassette. When we arrived we met a Rod and his dog, Ashley, who had a sore foot. They were resting Ashley's sore foot at Michael and Joanne's house on the way to the park. After we had unloaded we all went to the park, then Mum and Joanne and I went to Newtown to browse and buy food. There were some fascinating gift shops, I will have to make a list before my next trip as I was stymied by choice and purchased nothing. On Friday night after Michael came home we ate out at a Japanese restaurant.

On Saturday we went browsing through furniture stores looking for bargains in the January sales but the discounts were pathetic. Fortunately one of the galleries sold books and clothes and had a cafe so the shoppers did not have to return empty handed. Next we went to Galaxy Bookshop. Now I was motivated. My Doctor Who library ceased to grow nearly two years ago when I was preparing to leave Townsville so I grasped the opportunity to revive it and bought twenty-four novels. Then we went to Abbey Books and I resisted the temptation to buy another two dozen books and settled for Winnie the Pooh and on cassette read by people including Stephen Fry (as Pooh) and Jane Horrocks (as Piglet). I don't know whether it's a gift for me or for a niece or nephew yet.

In the afternoon we played mahjong using thin plastic (American style, according to the box) tiles with four sets of Flowers, eight Jokers, and racks that could hold exactly thirteen tiles (i.e. not the fourteen you need to go mahjong). It was such a chore we didn't bother scoring. We also shared phone calls about the bushfires with many people. On Saturday night Michael and Joanne went to a friend's for dinner so I went to see a movie with my mother. She had seen The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Bowling for Columbine so we watched The Quiet American which I found to be ordinary. According to other people's reviews it is better than the other film version but not as good as the book. Michael Caine wasn't portraying himself for once so that was a good thing.

On Sunday, after a long breakfast over phone calls and ABC radio news updates, we set off back to Canberra. Michael directed us to Route 66 and told us to look out for the freeway entrance when we cross Cooks River. When we were almost at Circular Quay on George Street we decided we must have missed the freeway entrance, and the river crossing, so we turned around and retraced our path. Failing to locate either a freeway or a river on the second attempt we decided to take Parramatta Road to the Hume Highway and were much more successful at going home along that route.
Monday, January 20
Bushfires: Saturday and Sunday
(Linda stowed the computers in the garage.)

I was in Sydney over the weekend. My house was not in the path of the bushfires. When I got back on Sunday the atmosphere was smoky, there was ash everywhere, many shops were closed, the water restrictions had been updated and Linda needed a hug. Elsewhere four people died and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Denise's father-in-law's neighbour died.

When I got home Emily said meow and went to sleep on the couch. She has the brain of a cat.

Today smoke has suffused the air, the sunlight is jaundiced and visibility is limited. Staff have been disappearing home all day. Everyone asks "How are you? Where do you live?" and nobody gets annoyed at being asked a hundred times. People are concerned, nobody is being ghoulish, they prefer to hear "I was in Sydney and my house was in no danger." It was after lunchtime before I heard about the looting, arson and car washing.
Friday, January 10
I have a presently undefined workload of between zero and twenty million units.

Most of the vacationing staff have returned to work and there is plenty to do for all. I have been given a task called "IT Assets At Risk - Date List Stress Fracture" and told who could help me if I have any questions (i.e. not the person who gave me the task). Although the name of the task appears to be eight random words the documentation was plain enough. Too plain, actually. It didn't indicate what action was required for the task so I asked the nominated person who could help me if I have any questions. He had also read the documentation. I could tell because he knew exactly the same information as me. He also knew four other people knew about it and a management meeting (currently unscheduled) would decide what needed to be done, if anything. Maybe I can make a game of it...

I have recently discovered you can tell when you get the instant pasta sauce right because when your alimentary canal uncover the frozen peas, which you microwaved before smothering them with instant pasta sauce, they are hotter than when you got them out of the oven.

Happy birthday, Ted. You are cool (and sexy). Thank you for a monkey. Thank you, thank you.
Tuesday, January 7
Sometimes supply and demand are insufficient.

Just because the cashier has a catalogue with the price in it, a mobile phone and a public address system doesn't mean it is possible to purchase the merchandise you bring to the checkout at a department store.
Monday, January 6
This week I have been mostly escaping.

On Thursday night I went to see Spirited Away with Simon. It was fascinating and charming and pretty. More people should have gone. I hope it stays long enough for more people to see it. It is splendid.

On Friday Simon and I finished work early and went to see Die Another Day which was great fun. It was cluttered with one-liners and Bond memorabilia to the detriment of any story being told, but anyway it was great fun.

Yesterday Jimbo, Jon, Ransome, Simon, Trudi and I resumed playing Dungeons and Dragons after the Christmas break with new characters on the crew of the skyship The Black Pearl out of Sky Federation air mine Oceania Outpost. Sweet.

Today I should shift furniture, re-pot plants, rake leaves, file paperwork and shelve books. Maybe I can make a game of it...
This may not sound like the snappiest line from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but it evidently caught the imagination of John Landis, who has worked references to a mythical film of this name into most of his own movies - memorably as the grotty British skinflick watched by an assortment of lycanthropes and zombies in the climax of An American Werewolf in Paris [sic] (1981). Ghastly Beyond Belief, Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman

My Photo
Location: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Large balding wishful male anglo.

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