Sunday, June 01, 2008

Bye bye blogger

So! Haven't been here a while; almost a year, in fact. No real reason - life happened (there was this and this and many other things), but mostly I lost interest. Also, well, facebook.

But! I've been posting quite a few links to my facebook profile recently, and have been getting more and more annoyed at how limiting that method is. So! I'm going to try to keep a blog again... but not here. So, please direct your browsers over to Just Some Things, my new wordpress site.

Good bye, Blogger. It's been fun, albeit with large doses of frequent frustration!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

Amy Winehouse - Teach me tonight

One day I'll stop raving about Amy Winehouse... but today is not that day. 'Teach me tonight' is one of my all-time favourite songs, and she absolutely nails it in this video. It's like she's directly channelling Dinah Washington. Classic.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Explain away

I'm a huge fan of Slate's Explainer section, which provides answers to all kinds of random and bizarre questions, as well as the slightly puzzling, everyday kind. Some of my favourites:

Monday, May 28, 2007

Facebook is taking over the world

Article at TechCrunch about the new Facebook Platform, that gives third-party developers access to the facebook API so that their applications can be integrated with the website. There's some pretty fascinating facts and figures there: "Facebook is growing 3% per week, which is 100,000 new users per day", it's the "6th most trafficked site in the U.S.", and "50% of registered users come back to the site every day." That's some impressive stuff.

I'm not usually a fan of social networking sites, but I have very quickly become hopelessly addicted to facebook. Of course, it helps that it's not hideously ugly like myspace (I do not understand how people can spend any significant length of time on that website). One of the main reasons that I don't post here much anymore is that slowly but surely my entire life is being moved over to facebook!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Unseen Doctor Who!

Very exciting discovery on youtube! Unseen Doctor Who! Just after the regeneration! Hooray! (yes, I'm obsessed.)

Amy Winehouse goodness

My obsession with everything Amy Winehouse continues! I bought her latest CD on the weekend, Back to Black, and have been playing it continuously ever since. 'Rehab' is still particularly fabulous, but I'm also a big fan of the song Tears dry on their own, which sounds a bit like The Supremes, but on speed (this is a good thing).

There are a few remixes of the song Rehab on youtube. The one by Jay-Z is a perfect example of how not to do a remix - absolute, unadulterated crap. This one, however, by Desert Eagle Discs, is pure, unadulterated gold (the video's pretty good, too). If you don't want to watch the video, you can just listen to the song on the group's myspace page.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Obama Effect

Fascinating article about what has been called, at various times, the "Bradley effect," "Wilder effect," or the "Dinkins effect," and what could possibly be the "Obama effect." Apparently pre-election polls often overstate the strength of black candidates in the US, because "white poll respondents are reluctant to tell African-American telephone interviewers that they are not going to vote for the black candidate." The effect is also seen when polling data is collected via face-to-face interviews.

The point is made, however, that the candidate does make a difference - "Jesse Jackson was identified as a black leader, Obama is seen as a Senator from Illinois who happens to be black."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday madness!

Haven't done this for a while... (this week's questions are here.)

1. Which web browser do you prefer?
Firefox! Although I'm forced to use IE at work, which is supremely painful.

2. Are you a PC user or MAC user?
PC - I drool all over the look of Macs, but then find I can't get anything done when I have to use one.

3. Will your next computer purchase happen within the next year (do you think)?
I only got my current laptop last year, so it'll probably be a while before I upgrade again. So far (touch wood) I haven't had a single problem with this one.

4. Will you purchase your next computer at a local store or via the internet?
Probably the internet; my current laptop is a Dell, and ordering it online was completely painless.

5. Have you had any experience with Windows Vista?
My Dad just got a new laptop, and it's on there.

6. What are your feelings about this new operating system (if any)?
I haven't had much of a go at it, but it seems fine to me. Personally I think people expect a little too much from Microsoft when they launch a new operating system: you can't do something completely and utterly radical when your software is on 95% of computers across the world. Although, I've been using the new Office for a while now, and that's pretty revolutionary, and in a good way!

Things I've read

A few articles I've found interesting lately:

There and Back Again
, by Nick Paumgarten, looks at the phenomenon of the commute in the US. Paumgarten rides along with one woman who travels six and a half hours a day to and from work. He makes the very good point that, for many people, the extra two hours of leisure time granted by the introduction "of the eight-hour workday are now passed in solitude. You have cup holders for company." What's the point of having that extra time if you spend it in your car, on your own?

Handguns in Roxbury, Tanks in Baghdad
, by Wick Sloane, made me cry the first time I read it. Sloane, a writing teacher at a community college in the States, describes what happened after one of his students was shot and killed. Although I think he stumbles a little towards the end when he tries to connect the murder to the financial inequities that exist in the education system, it's an important point to make, and still a moving story.

Philip Weiss examines a new kind of radicalism at Columbia University, in
One, Two, Three, Four, Can a Columbia Movement Rise Once More?
Apparently Students for a Democratic Society, one of the most important and prominent student political organisations of the 1960s, has reformed. As Weiss points out though, the Israel/Palestine issue makes everything just a bit more complicated this time around.

And finally, on a slightly more bizarre note,
Girth and Nudity, a Pictorial Mission
: Leonard Nimoy (of Star Trek fame) is taking photographs of obese women.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Life, university, and everything

I had a surprisingly good day at work today, which happens infrequently enough that I thought I should mark the occasion with a post!

Part of my job involves talking to high-school kids about uni, about what it is and why you should apply and, most importantly, why you should come to my uni in particular. Today it was a group of 14 and 15 year-olds, who I usually dread. But this group turned out to be kinda fantastic: polite and engaged and actually interested in what we all had to say. The two things that seemed to really resonate the most was that, firstly, it's ok if you don't know what you want to do when you leave school, and secondly, it's ok to change your mind. I occasionally get asked what my best piece of advice is for new university students, and those two things are what I say every time. Plus, high-school is just something to endure before you get to uni, but the teachers don't often like that one.

I didn't really know what I wanted to do once I finished school, apart from go to uni to do... something. I still don't really know what I want to do once I (finally) finish my degree, but increasingly I'm getting to be ok with that. I see so many high-school students who are freaking out because people keep on asking them what they want to do with their lives. If I can't work it out at the age of 22, how on earth are they supposed to at the age of 16 or 17?

Most of the high-school students I talk to seem to view picking a uni degree as some enormous, unchangeable decision, when in reality I think it's one of the most flexible, changeable decisions that you can ever make. It'd be interesting to do some kind of study of how people's career plans and their major interests change over the course of their time at uni. I unexpectedly discovered a passion for American history; others decide administrative law is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or that being an actuary is indescribably (and inexplicably!) sexy. I don't think it's made clear enough to students that the preferences that you put down on your uni application form do not have to dictate how the rest of your life pans out, and more often than not, they don't. And it's this omission which often makes my job equally frustrating and fabulous, like today.

I have heaps more to say on this subject, but this is all starting to sound a little like a careers advice talk, so I'll stop. Also, it's 5pm, so I get to leave my boring, 9 to 5 job!

Monday, May 07, 2007

You can eat off pretty much any surface in this house

We have our first house inspection tomorrow, so tonight saw an extreme flurry of cleaning in preparation. I don't think it's at all an exaggeration to say that not only is this house now the cleanest it's ever been, but that it is, in actual fact, the cleanest house in the entire world. If the agents find even one thing wrong with this gleaming example of cleanliness tomorrow, I cannot vouch for the sanity of myself or my housemates.

And now, to bed. Cleaning is tiring! Not to mention I had a root canal this morning (whole other story), which I've found can also take it out of you a bit :)

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Quote of the afternoon:
I'm so po-mo, Foucault isn't even po-mo enough for me!
I love it when pretentious arts students get together...


Nerdy American history comic! Hooray! (found by Crip, who kindly emailed it to me)Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Metallica doco

As a public service announcement, I'm telling you all that SBS is showing Metallica: Some Kind of Monster this Saturday night at 10.10pm. I've raved about this movie before, and I'll rave about it again: even if you absolutely loathe Metallica I promise you'll find something enjoyable in this doco, even if it is just laughing at the therapist Dr Phil.

Monday, April 30, 2007

McSweeney's list hilarity

What People Said Tornadoes Sounded Like Before the Invention of the Freight Train: "Really heavy men jogging".

But I said no, no, no

I've been listening to Rehab by Amy Winehouse pretty much non-stop for the last 24 hours, except for when I listened to F**k Me Pumps instead. Seriously addictive stuff.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

"Rewriting the Ad Rules for Muslim-Americans"

Interesting article in the New York Times about attempts by companies to market to Muslim-Americans. I thought this little tid-bit was particularly telling:
Ms. Salzman said JWT [an advertising agency] had little trouble surveying Muslims in Britain, but found it had to clarify at the start of each phone call in the United States that it was not calling from a government agency.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Feeding my Doctor Who obsession

I've become, well, mildly obsessed with Doctor Who lately. And now that I have quite a lot of free time on my hands, as well as a less than taxing day job, I'm able to fully indulge this obsession by finding random Doctor Who-related videos on youtube. Which is how I came across this episode of The Graham Norton Show, with David Tennant (aka the tenth doctor) as special guest.

I swear to God, this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Below is part 1; make sure you watch all 4 parts so that you don't miss where stoner Alex really does travel through time and space.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

(On a side note: god it's an enormous amount of hassle to embed a video from youtube! You've got to sign up and then add your blog and make sure that you select blogger beta rather than just plain old blogger and... bah. Very annoying all round.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

It'd be sad if it wasn't so hilarious

Ways that you know you've been spending too much at the physio lately: when the physio offers you a job.

That's three job offers in a week. High five to me!