You're Amelia!
You're late!
Amelia Pond! You're the little girl!
I'm Amelia, and you're late.

Saturday, June 21


Internet Time

It would seem that Apple accidentally leaked the specs for their new PowerMac G5 systems, due to be officially announced on Monday.

So far, business as usual.

The interesting thing is that within hours of the accident, someone set up a CafePress store selling items that would only appeal to true geeks.

Nice specs, tho'.

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Friday, June 20


Midwinter Montage

As a change of pace, I thought I'd post some pictures I took on my way to work today. This is Sydney in the middle of winter.

The view from my front door.

Crows can't read.

You're not supposed to walk through here, but everyone does. The alternative is to climb three flights of stairs to the road above, and then walk back downhill until the roads join up again.

The Department of Lands building.

The Department of Education building. This is Sydney sandstone. The whole city is built on this stuff, and many of the older buildings are also built of it. When it's kept clean, it's a wonderful golden colour, particularly in the afternoon sun.

The State Library, which is just across the road from where I work. Sadly there's nowhere to stand to take a good picture of it unless you want to get run over. (This is the only photo I took with a significant degree of zoom. It's quite noticeable, isn't it?)

Two great big marbles. The guy on the right is holding a Grace Bros bag.

The Domain. This park is directly across the road from my office. Unfortunately, the street is in shadow and my camera couldn't quite cope with the contrast here. I'll try taking more photos earlier in the day. Just off to the left are the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Sydney Opera House, so there's lots more photos to take.

And a couple more that I didn't take this morning:

A waratah by night. The waratah is the State Flower of New South Wales. This example is in my brother's garden.

A hundred-foot tower made of sticky tape being destroyed by fire.

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Midwinter Madness

I hate shopping for clothes.

I'm a guy, so I guess it comes with the territory. In fact, I hate shopping in general. Don't get me wrong: I don't mind buying things; in fact, I quite enjoy buying things. It's the process of shopping that wears me down. The problem is, I guess, that I don't want something like 99.9% of what is available in stores. I'm just not interested in pawing my way through 300 different items that I wouldn't take if they were free before I find want whatever it is that I'm after.

The ideal transaction for me would work like this: I walk into the store, which is clean, well lit, and is most definitely not playing rap music. Or Celine Dion, for that matter. I find what I want, clearly labelled and in plentiful supply, sitting on a shelf. I take it to the cashier, who takes my money and puts my purchase and my receipt in a sturdy bag. Then I take my goodies and leave.

Total elapsed time should not be more than five minutes.

I wear Levi jeans for a fairly simple reason: I can buy them off the shelf, and they fit. I know exactly which style I want, which colour (well, I'm willing to vary the colour), and my size. The Levi's store in Sydney's Pitt St mall delivers on this about half the time, which is significantly better than the odds I've found elsewhere.

Not today, of course. The mid-year sales are on, which means that the tables are piled high with dozens of identical pairs of 30-waist, 36-leg, indigo-grey bootcuts. (How the stores manage to land themselves with that sort of junk in the first place is another question entirely, and I'm not going to go into a discussion of focus forecasting right now.) Anyway, the Levi's store didn't have my size in that style in any colour whatsoever. Nor did Grace Bros. Nor did David Jones. (Though DJs did prove once again that some people will buy anything: Three hundred and nineteen dollars for a pair of jeans?)

Just Jeans don't even carry that style. Jeans West don't sell Levi's. (What?) They sell Jeans West brand. (Oh.) But they will sell me two pairs for the price of one pair of Levi 504s. They're a little long, but but this point I was willing to buy anything that had two holes at one end, one hole at the other, and a zip.

If there's one thing that's even worse than buying clothes, of course, it's buying shoes. About fifteen years ago I found a style of shoe that was comfortable, smart, hard-wearing and not too horribly expensive. Every so often my existing pair would start to look noticeably scruffy even to me, and I'd go to the store and buy another pair. Same size, same style, though sometimes I bought black and sometimes brown.

Unfortunately, the last pair I bought had had the hard-wearingness taken out for some inscrutable marketing reason, and they fell apart in short order. Scratch a decade and a half of shoe-buying expertise.

So here I am looking for a new pair of shoes, because the hole in the toe of my sneakers is starting to get kind of obvious. But it's not like you can stop at a random shoe store in the mall, immediately find something you like, guess your size right the first time and discover that they fit perfectly. And it's hardly likely that they'll be on sale at half price, and that the store will have a second, identical pair on hand...

I guess you can call me Cinderella.

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Thursday, June 19


Creepy Susie

Book of the Day is Creepy Susie and 13 other tragic tales for troubled children by Angus Oblong.

Now, normally in recommending a book I'd include a carefully selected quote of some of the author's finest prose. In this case, however, this amounts to:

This is Helga.
These are the Debbies. The Debbies all tried very hard to be the same.
Helga was an endless source of amusement for the Debbies...
Even though Helga was different, she had somehow convinced herself that there was a place in society for her.
The Debbies sought to destroy Helga's glimmer of hope to one day fit in.
Take a look at the sample pages on Amazon's site. Then buy the book.

You can also read The Cutie Bunch Friendly Pal Pack.

There are a bunch more books here too. So if you know a child with a birthday coming up...

(via the cheese stands alone via Tiger)

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Strange and Unusual

Web Site of the Day is Strange and Unusual Dictionaries. Though it mostly consists of links to books and other web sites, it provides three valuable resources: The White Queen's Dictionary of One Letter Words (with over 700 entries!), The Dictionary of All-Consonant Words (I got rhythm, I got music... What? They don't count rhythm? Foobie bletch!), and of course the indispensible Dictionary of All-Vowel Words (running from a'u to Yu).

From there, adoxographers might choose to study The Grandiloquent Dictionary, though aabarists might prefer The Pseudodictionary. For the rest of us, there's always The Foolish Dictionary, presented by Aaaugh!

Confound your friends and amaze your enemies with your new-found Scrabble-power!

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Road Trip

I'm off on a road trip this weekend, and busy busy until then, so I don't know when I'll be blogging. On the other hand, I'll be taking both my notebook and my digital camera with me, so expect a serious update when I get back.

(Can I just add at this point that I love my digital camera? Point and click-click-clickety-click. OK, so two out of three pictures are duds. No problem, since I take ten times as many pictures as before.)

Meanwhile, The International Squirrel Conspiracy has further squirrel terrorism updates, and helpful notes on how you as a citizen can help.

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Tuesday, June 17



Word of the day is retromingent. [If it is, it can bloody well clean it up itself. &mdash Ed.]

(from The Wall Street Journal via Instapundit.)

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Forwarded Without Comment

(Though I'm having to restrain myself.)

From the CD Japan J-Pop mailing list:

Sugizo, the former guitar player of the super rock
group Luna Sea, has been active with his solo project
Sugizo & The Spank Your Juice since the summer of
2002, and the upcoming single will be the third.

At the same time, the lead singer of Penicillin, Hakuei
will be releasing his second solo single.

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Hello Polly Heater

The sky is blue, the sun is shining; there's a gentle breeze playing with the leaves in the trees. It's cool enough to wear that new jacket if you want to look stylish; warm enough to wear a t-shirt if you want to be comfortable.

Yes folks, another typical Winter's day in Sydney.

Last night, though, it was cold. Not cold cold, I admit, but still cold. So I turned my little heater on for the first time this year.

Ah. Blessed warmth. The smell of burning dust. Splut.


No warmth. No anything, in fact. Click off, click on. Nothing.

The best heater in the district. It's so clean. Well, at least the dust is all burnt off.

So today at lunch time I went to Grace Bros. (for readers who remember that show, yes, it's real) and bought myself Poodle Hat, Spirited Away, Lilo & Stitch, and the new Bond flick, Halle Berry's Navel. Oh, and a heater.

This heater cost me $25. Now, late last year, just before Christmas, I gave up on my old air conditioner (which was also going splut, but would at least unsplut itself if you gave it a chance) and bought a new one. My new air conditioner works very well and I'm quite pleased with the purchase, but - how shall I put this - it cost a little more than $25. Not quite two zeroes more, but in that general vicinity.

So my question is - I did say there was a question, didn't I? No? Well, there's a question. My question is, why can't I buy a compact, efficient, portable, $25 device that cools my house rather than warming it?

Well, OK, apart from the Laws of Thermodynamics, why can't I buy such a thing? It's almost enough to make me want to move from the comfortable sub-tropics to one of those nasty places where frozen water falls from the sky at certain times of the year and no-one thinks it odd.

But only almost.

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You Feel A Sense Of Loss

George Goble's web site is gone. Gone!

Curse you, people in charge!

But blessings be upon the Wayback Machine, for they have the true web site. Or most of it, anyway.

Don't do this at home. Unless you have someone filming you.

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