Monday, December 31, 2007

1st time's a winner

I don't know if he is referencing someone else or quoting a paraphrase from his own work - but it instantly rang intuitively true to me.

[anything done for the first time releases demons...]

I think a big reason that people my age develop forms of mid-life crisis is the lack of "1st timers". Not necessarily because there exist fewer but because family life, mature social circles, and career structures make it quite hard to encounter 1st timers. You have to make an active effort to meet them, whereas in my younger days I would run across them daily or weekly.

Maybe that would constitute a fine New Year's resolution; weekly 1st timers...or maybe just monthly, depending on your degree of Weltschmerz and suburban assimilation.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Radiohead technician

Merry whatever and happy likewise!

Christmas has come and gone. December was as always the shortest month of them all...3 weeks passing like a runaway freight train. Food was great, gifts were good, company was laid back and soothed a weary mind, tired of repetitive labour.

My brother and I managed to gift-cross each other with Gibson's new 'Spook Country' which I am now enjoying. Gibson has a special gift with urban and trendish settings, expanding the vocabulary of literature through lifestyle observations. Sometimes he gets a bit too poetic but it's ok - and actually more easily deciphered in his recent 'scifi-now' novels.

A lengthy mention goes to my immense accomplishment today - I managed to get my car stereo to work! This project has been haunting me and my car for 2-3 months now. Facts are, I bought a budget car radio to replace the one that was wrecked when our car was stolen last year. Ever the wanna-be handyman, I have also bought a Saab 9000 Haynes manual and expected the replacement of a stereo to be a walkover. But, it soon turned awkward because the new stereo did not come with a simple ISO connector - and even if it had, the old car stereo was itself a replacement during which the former handyman had opted to snippet ALL the in-bound wires and attach them to the old stereo through tiny, singular screw couplings.

So, I needed to attach 13-14 wires which was only possible after I had dislodged the entire glove compartment so I could get my hand in from behind to fixate the wires properly. On top of this, old Swedish Saab engineers seem to have been less rigorous with the colouring of wires than might be expected - I was juggling 3 different reds, 2 different greens and 2 different white-browns, constantly hoping that I would hit the right match to the stereo wires. I half expected the entire fusebox to blow up whenever I went out to reconnect the battery for testing. Testing in itself became a pain, because 3x2x2 gives 12 different combinations, 11 of which are unforgivingly wrong.

Since this all took forever, and my weekends were mostly booked for other things during the daytime, and the Danish winter dusk made it even more difficult to see wire colours, the project just dragged on and on. If I wasn't having a fit of rage the umpteenth time a test didn't even let out a single sound from the speakers, I was usually procrastinating, trying not to think about it. Stubbornly getting my music needs fulfilled through my portable MP3 player instead. Really a sad story of a frightened academic lost in the woods.

Then yesterday, I gave it another go without any luck. This morning I had a thought about switching two specific wires, and I decided on one last try. It worked. It must have been the single most uplifting moment since I was contacted on my job applications. But all things considered, I think I am better off earning money to pay people to do that! It just does not interest me enough, I'm afraid.
I will, however, try to install a new automatic aerial - once my handyman anxiety has subsided a bit.

New Year's Eve? A night with the neighbours, celebrating mostly through tonnes of food. This might have a chance of getting some airplay in the background. :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Seasonal blabberings

So, what's new..?

I am ill again - for the 3rd BIG time inside 2 months. I am seriously beginning to question my general health. Before this autumn I remember thinking how little I had actually been ill the past few years - child and all taken into account. And now it's turned into one massively diseased end-of-season, sprinkled with fragments of mediocre well-being.
I suspect my almost complete lack of exercise the past 6 months, since we moved to the countryside. I ride the car to work 3 out of 5 days. The rest is by bus. My only weekly exercise (apart from being a Dad which certainly also counts) is a good long walk from work to the school where I am currently studying Spanish, each Monday evening. Without that I would probably be snapping bones and losing teeth during work hours.

Speaking of illness, there is always someone worse off. Really sad, although I did wonder about the sinister tone that many of his supporters have been sporting. Until I read more on AD, that is, and realised what a bastard condition it actually is. Not because it is immediately dangerous, but because it is fairly inevitable. Symptoms may be suppressed but the chemical deterioration will steadily continue. And if PTerry has been having phantom strokes already then his case is surely not trivial.
He is trying to be cheerful, though - and on the bright side, I realised that Hogfather has already been produced as a mini-series. And 'The Colour of Magic' is also in the works, starring Sean Astin of The Shire.
So, in any event, Mr. Pratchett surely has triumphs to come and plenty of them.

And now it is almost Christmas - and I am steadily forgetting (as usual) to write my annual card to my friends in Australia. I think I will drop the paper format - and send a digital piece this year.

Gifts are almost in place - although Vat19 parked my order in limbo because of some weird credit card approval procedure they apparently have. Please, don't just park the order, less than a month from Christmas. Other web shops have a credit check incorporated directly and finish it straight away - why can't you?

Last comment is on the climate conference in Bali - once more a piece of hypocritical bullshit politics, flamboyantly showing the inability of ALL politicians across the globe to keep promises that got them elected. And, once more, the US makes an ass of itself, demonstrates its status as the Idiot Bully of the schoolyard. Obstructing the entire process till the very end...instead of giving concessions in the beginning that would have risked progress towards further, constructive steps.
I may still be skeptical towards the wobbly scientific rhetoric that is commandeering both media and world demagogues on this issue, but the fact that everyone has been barking about global warming the past year and yet cannot coordinate ANY substantial actions other than "now we agree that we will agree NEXT time", makes me infinitely disappointed and increasingly cynical. That feeling is not pleasant - what do I do? Usually, I laugh - but recently I find it harder and harder to laugh about this stuff. On a larger scale, it is all so monumentally incompetent that tragedy just kicks comedy in the bollocks.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


If you're up for a nice strategy game during the Christmas holidays, Dominions 3 is a great game. Brings back the old Civilization feeling.
Graphics are nothing special but the depth of gameplay is extraordinary. Just one more turn, Mom...then I'll come eat supper...promise.