irregular muzings

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

ducks quack differently at night

Ducks are one of my most favourite of all the magnificent creatures on this beautiful earth. So graceful in flight and on the water, yet with an amusing waddling action on land thanks to their webbed feet, they are simply adorable animals. And I love the sounds they make, from a full-blown, defiant "quack!", to their soft, under-their-breath murmurings that tell you you're getting too close for their comfort.

We have a couple of those common brown ducks that reside in the neighbourhood. A family in the street used to leave food out for them on their footpath so we'd see them almost daily. That family has since moved on and now I only see the ducks occasionally, paddling in the slimy creek at the local park, or in flight overhead.

However, I do hear the ducks almost every night. When I curl up in bed and the world is quiet, it's never long before I hear them. And I've noticed that they quack differently at night! Without exception, their night-time quacking follows the pattern of five or six sharp "quack!"s that gradually decrease in pitch and volume. I've never heard a duck quack like this during the day. It's got me wondering whether perhaps the ducks are quacking in their sleep, and it's an odd involuntary type of duck snoring. It reminds me of that cliched cartoon snoring, you know where the character snorts as they breathe in, then goes "wee wee wee wee wee" as they breathe out? It's the ducks' way of going "wee wee wee wee wee".

That's my theory anyway.

-----
feeling: quite insane
currently watching: a mishmash of Athletics highlights
-----

Sunday, August 22, 2004

see you in beijing, 2008!

I realise it may seem I am jumping the gun a little here by looking forward to the next Olympics when the current Games still have a week to go. But what I'm talking about is that you, dear reader, can look forward to seeing me at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Not, as you are probably thinking, as a spectator. No! I will be there.. as an athlete.

Yes, that's right, I am determined to compete in the next Olympics. I should probably mention that every time the Olympics come around I start to plan for my spectacular debut in the next Games, and obviously it's yet to happen. Still, that hasn't stopped my dreams of Olympic glory from once again rearing their eager little head. As I have absolutely no sporting prowess to speak of, I have begun the process of elimination to determine which event I might possibly compete in.

For starters, I'm getting on a bit, so a number of sports are an impossibility to take up as I'm just too old: think your gymnastics, your swimming, your athletics, your tennis, etc.

I'm far too self-absorbed to want to share my moment of glory with a bunch of other people, so all large team sports are a definite no.

Anything that involves a boat of any description, or a bicycle, looks like far too much hard work. Let's face it, I'm inherently lazy.

I quite fancy the equestrian because the horse seems to do all the hard work, but I don't own a horse. Nor can I afford to buy one. And if I could afford to buy one, I can't afford the upkeep. So that's out.

I'm a known pacifist, so any sport that involves either punching or kicking or otherwise using parts of my body to inflict pain on someone else's would go against my core beliefs. That rules out boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling. Oh, I'm also uncomfortable around guns. Bye bye shooting.

I have a dodgy back and am not supposed to lift heavy weights. I think it's pretty obvious which sport needs that crucial skill!

Sports that involve wearing skimpy swimming suits would be unwise, due to my self-conscious nature. Plus, I don't feel the need for the world to see significant portions of my flesh. That includes your diving, your synchonised swimming, and your trampolining.

(Such a shame, because the trampolining looks like great fun! They bounce scarily high, I think I could do that. But the twirly whirly bits in between would probably pose an impossible challenge considering my lack of gymnastic training.)

Basically I'm left with the following sports: archery, badminton, fencing and table tennis.

When I mentioned earlier that I have no sporting prowess to speak of, I wasn't being entirely honest. In my younger days I was known to engage in a bit of badminton and table tennis from time to time. Unfortunately my skills in badminton were basically limited to hitting the shuttlecock really hard to send it sailing on to the roof of our home. Hmm, considering that's not the actual point of badminton, I think I better cancel that one. As for table tennis, frankly I find that a bit stupid. I don't want to compete in anything stupid!

Now archery is a definite contender! Some years ago a physiotherapist actually recommended I take up archery to strengthen my dodgy back.. but I ignored that sound advice and I think my lousy distance vision might stand against me hitting the right part of the target. Or any part of the target. Can you wear glasses while you have a bow and arrow smushed against your nose?

That leaves fencing. Fencing! I personally thought this would be far too difficult after having seen so many wonderfully intricate fencing matches in movies. They look like an intricate dance, and involve much high-speed attack and defense. I don't know that I have the requisite hand-eye-foot co-ordination to engage in such feats.

But Olympic fencing is nothing like that at all. No indeed. Olympic fencing involves the far simpler sequence of: "prance, prance, jab, stop" and repeat, ad infinitum. I've already tried this sequence out and it didn't pose any great difficulties. Furthermore, with all that protective equipment on the body, I need not worry about offending my pacifist nature because honestly, how much damage could you inflict?! Finally, there's the awesome bonus of being permitted to act like a right moron when you win the gold medal! Now I know many competitors in many sports carry on a bit when they win, but the fencers really go overboard. Everyone gets involved! It's a big self-indulgent "I am the greatest!" party! WOO WOO!!

Oh yes, I can see it now..

Look for me, Beijing 2008, dressed in angelic white with a big pointy skewer in my hand, prancin' and jabbin' with the best of them.

Or maybe I'll just stick to my daydreams of Olympic glory and let the professionals do the real thing. :-)

-----
feeling: like this is more my sporting style!
currently watching: big men attempting to lift heavy objects over their heads
-----

Saturday, August 21, 2004

things that go bump in the night

Last night while my folks were watching TV in the lounge, they heard a rather loud bang that sounded like it was out the front of our house. Peering out the front windows they were unable to see the cause of the bang as it was obviously too dark.

This morning, the light of day revealed a surprising sight. We live near the top of a hill, and parked across the road further up the hill was a car with its back window missing, plus a rather significant dent in its rear. Further investigation showed a substantial collection of glass around the base of a tree on the footpath in front of our (downhill) neighbour's home. (By the time I got around to taking a picture, our neighbour had cleared away many of the larger pieces of glass.)

We can only surmise that someone forgot to put their parking brake on. Oops! No idea when the car was moved from its crash site, but there it has sat, atop the hill, all day.

Incidentally, I declare the tree clear winner in this little stoush!

losing car winning tree

-----

Friday, August 20, 2004

ahh, joyous unproductive day!

Today was one of those pleasant, lazy days that we all need from time to time. Unfortunately that meant it was decidedly unproductive in terms of assignment work, but I did manage to fully develop the concept for one of my assignments. This is a good thing, because on Wednesday I have to present the concepts for my assignments in two separate subjects, for tutor and peer critique. The tutors keep going on about how this is a great opportunity, but I can't help but feel that it's a waste of precious teaching time! Semesters are so short with only twelve tutorials per subject, and devoting one of those tutorials to having we students get up and say "this is what I plan to do, blah blah blah" seems a bit silly to me.

But who am I to criticise the structure of university classes? Oh wait, I'm one of the people investing a huge whack of money in the university! (Well, eventually I will, at the moment I'm just generating a huge whack of debt for myself.) Sometimes I really do wonder where all that money goes..

Moving on from my bitterness, I'm quite excited about my concept. We have to develop an interactive project using Macromedia Flash, that in some way deals with the topic of "advocating sustainability". I'm planning to develop a game for younger people that promotes the use of renewable resources, in particular solar power, in an (hopefully) entertaining and educational way. Should provide a marvellous challenge for me as I've absolutely no idea what I'm capable of constructing in Flash. Wheee! But that's okay because we don't actually need to produce a fully functioning project but rather a "resolved prototype". Doesn't that just sound like good clean fun?

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how my idea is received in class on Wednesday. If my peers hate it, I think I might cry! There's always a danger in being too impressed with one's own imaginative genius, when one must lay that imaginative genius on the line in front of 25-odd bored fellow students. Character building, is what it is!

-----

tickle tickle wiggle wiggle

giggling wigglerSounds a bit kinky, doesn't it? In actual fact, "tickle tickle wiggle wiggle" is what's written on this super-cute toy Mum and I bought this morning. I'd like to say it's staying with me, but it's actually a gift for one of my cousin's daughters who will be celebrating her 1st birthday soon. Hopefully it will make her giggle, and not freak her out, but you can never be entirely sure with little kids!

If you've never seen one of these toys before, here's the gist: you squeeze their hand, which results in the toy vibrating (uh, still sounds kinky!) and giggling! It does this for a while, stops, then starts up again before finishing in a cute li'l voice that says "That's funny!" And yes, yes it is. :-) Completely irresistable to a soft toy fanatic like myself, it will be hard to part with it!

-----
feeling: highly amused!
currently watching: Mens Basketball: Australia v. United States (yah, I know we lost)
-----

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

muzing # 050: procrastinating is fun!

I've made it to an half-century of blog posts, and I think I might stop numbering them now. :-)

Anyway, oh, there is some serious procrastination going on right now. I have three separate assignments I could be working on, and yet here I sit, not working on any of them! I'd like to use the excuse that my brain is tired after six hours of uni classes today, but considering a portion of one of those classes involved playing a Nintendo game, I don't think that excuse is gonna fly. Yeah, Comm Design is cool, you all wish you were studying it. ;-) I'm actually not much of a gamer, but there are far worse things than your tutor bringing his Game Cube to class, right?

So one of my assignments is to write a personal story of a "new beginning". Where do they come up with this stuff? Now, I enjoy creative writing but I'm not particularly inspired by that topic. Plus we have a ridiculously small word limit to adhere to: 700 words in total, including two responses to other students' stories. The tutor recommended we only use 450 words in our own story. That's not a whole lotta words in which to craft a story.. better go easy on the flowery descriptions. Hoho!

Meanwhile, the Olympics continue to provide a happy distraction from all constructive pursuits. The Australians slipped to third on the medal tally at the end of yesterday's competition. I sure did enjoy those few days the Aussies stood proudly in second spot! :-)

-----
feeling: cheeky!
currently watching: Women's Beach Volleyball: Australia v. Mexico
-----

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

muzing # 049: oh blogger, what have you done?

You've stuffed up my layout, that's what! I do prefer this new navigation bar to the big ugly bannerads, but I shall have to make some fixes to my template. Hopefully not too many.

In other news, how I wish I could put my life on hold every time the Olympics come around. I love the Olympics! It's fantastic to be able to experience so many different sports, and to see elite athletes perform in all those different sports. This year the Athens Olympics just so happen to coincide with a pretty heavy assignment time for me. How very unfortunate! I'm wondering if I requested an extension with the reason of: "watching the Olympics", whether any of my lecturers would grant it. I know, I know, wishful thinking (and rather foolish).

I've got myself nicely set up, having moved an old small TV from downstairs into the computer room. So now I can watch while I work. Or watch while I *pretend* to work. Or maybe just watch and bugger the working altogether!

Go Aussies!

-----
feeling: pretty damn cool!
currently watching: Men's Gymnastics
-----

Friday, August 13, 2004

muzing # 048: what's my weakness?

Cakes! I definitely have a sweet tooth; I like chocolate, candy, icecream, chips, donuts, muffins and anything else that tastes good but is bad for me. But my favourite guilty pleasure is cake! I bring this up now, as last night I was unable to get to sleep because I was thinking about cakes. The cravings were so strong that my stomach hurt, it was awful! Unfortunately there was no cake in the house, and as midnight is not an appropriate time to go out in search of cakes, nor to bake my own when others are sleeping in the house, I had to suffer, unsated.

I'm not sure what brought on this sudden craving for cake. After all, two days ago I had a generous slice of a scrumptious chocolate cake my sister-in-law made for my brother's birthday. MmmMMmmm! You'd think that would have been enough to tide me over till the next special occasion, which brings me to my one issue with cakes. Why must they be a "special occasion" treat? I am perfectly comfortable snacking out on a muffin or a donut on any old day, but I feel I must resist the lure of cakes till a special occasion arises. Who created this silly rule? I want to eat cake every day!

This morning I pondered just what cake I shall have for my own special occasion (my birthday next month). I'm a big fan of the cakes made by The Cheesecake Shop, particularly their mud cakes. Their "White Gold Mudcake" is a definite contender, I haven't tried that one yet. Other possible choices are their "Strawberry Fields Torte" or the "Zebra Cake", both of which are pictured here.

One of my fondest birthday cake memories is of three years ago, when I had to work (back in my video game arcade days) the night shift. It was a Saturday, it just so happened to coincide with the Brisbane Lions first Premiership, and I had to head to work before the game was finished. I was in a lousy mood, muttering about the injustices of it all, and when I arrived at work was greeted by the sight of a rather large chocolate cake, provided by my boss. It was ridiculously good this cake, I can't even tell you! Rich chocolate, layers of thick icing throughout, huge globs of icing on top, and finished with a bonfire-sized mound of dark chocolate shavings. (Oh, I think I just drooled on my keyboard!) I was able to gorge myself on a slice while watching the end of the AFL grand final on the TVs in the bowling alley next door to the arcade.

Boy did I feel guilty for being so negative about having to work. Cake makes everything better. :-)

-----

Thursday, August 12, 2004

muzing # 047: where there's smoke..

there was a fire, which in itself is nothing surprising considering the weather we've been having lately. An incredibly long dry spell coupled with high winds always spells trouble. What is surprising (for me at least) is that there was a fire two days ago within spitting distance of my home! Okay, I exaggerate, it was a little further than spitting distance, but certainly within viewing distance. That said, I didn't see much of it myself as I was at uni at the time, but my Dad gave me a thorough description of events afterwards.

Thankfully no homes were lost, and though the fire edged close to the local Nursing Home, firefighters were able to prevent any damage via backburning. Late yesterday afternoon I went for a stroll to investigate the damage to bushland, and took some photographs from the local park which escaped the flames thanks to a creek (of sorts). (click to enlarge, if you so desire)

burnt out landscape (1) burnt out landscape (2)

burnt out landscape (3) still smoking

There's something just that bit heart-breaking about a burnt out landscape..

On a lighter note:

What Flavour Are You? I am a subtle taste, like Pine.I am a subtle taste, like Pine. I am a quiet, fresh taste, almost more of a scent than a flavour. You will be aware of me, but not quite remember me without being reminded. Not that I'm boring; on the contrary, I'm just a little outside the ordinary.
My secondary taste is Almond.
Mmm, the taste of almonds - anathema to many with nut allergies, and a bad sign for many more, as my taste is not unlike that of cyanide. Am I good or am I poison? A risky thing to guess about.
What Flavour Are You?

Heeheehee! :-) (With thanks for the link to Casyn, who tastes like tea.)

-----

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

muzing # 046: what the?!

Okay, I just hit the Publish Post button and was taken to a page that said "Session Expired" and now I've lost my entire post! ARGH!!! Session expired?? Since when has there even been an expiration date on a blog session?!

Wahh, and now I can't be bothered reconstructing my post. It will have to wait till the morning, or maybe it will just become a gem, forever lost in the barren blogger wastelands.

Woe is me.

-----
feeling: ticked off!
groovin' to: "Gifts and Curses" - Yellowcard
last movie viewing: "The General" [video] 4 stars
-----

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

muzing # 045: happy birthday big bro!

Getting in just a bit early - tomorrow my big bro celebrates birthday # 28! Best wishes for an awesome day, and year ahead, Ben. *big squishy sister hugs* :-)

(You too can pass on happy birthday wishes to my lovely brother by visiting his blog or leave a comment here, he will read it.)

-----

Monday, August 09, 2004

muzing # 044: turtle power!

In the interests of passing some time today while waiting for a movie's start time, I checked out my local video game arcade, conveniently located next door to the cinema. Haven't been there in a while, now that I have to pay to play the games. I was a Daytona addict in the days when I used to call the arcade my place of employment and consequently enjoyed free gaming.

raphaelAnyway, a new company has since taken over the arcade and they've brought in an old-school arcade game that my brother and I used to invest much time and money in.. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! I guess today's kids can be enticed to play it since the Turtles have made a comeback, though I don't know how they feel about the quality of graphics and gameplay. But for someone like me, it's like seeing a long lost friend again! I got a real kick out of playing it (as Raphael, he was always my favourite) and it was pretty good value - a buck for five rounds of credits. Sweet.

It all came back to me as soon as I started playing, and I think I moved quite a respectable way through the game on my one buck. I'm so out of practice though, my arms were aching by the time I finished! Perhaps I was a little too enthusiastic with that Attack button. Oops!

-----
groovin' to: "Old Devil Moon" - Jamie Cullum
last movie viewing: "Spider-Man 2" [cinema] 5 stars
-----

Saturday, August 07, 2004

muzing # 043: song title silliness

While listening to the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack, I noticed that there are some complementary song titles, namely: "We Are" and "I Am". Upon further inspection, I realised one could make some amusing stories comprising only song titles from this particular soundtrack.

Did you give it up the night that the lights went out in NYC? Lucky you!
This photograph is proof (I know you know), woman!
Hold on, I am ordinary, someone to die for.
We are meant to live.. vindicated.

13 of 17 song titles used, not bad! (Yes, I realise I have too much time on my hands on this glorious Saturday.)

-----

Friday, August 06, 2004

muzing # 042: charley bungy advisor facula dehydrate

..is the subject line of a spam email that just arrived in my inbox. I had never heard the word facula so I looked it up on dictionary.com.

fac·u·la
Any of various large bright spots or veined patches on the sun's photosphere, usually near sunspots.

Spam: it's educational! :-)

stupid lousy good for nothin' spam filter!

-----

muzing # 041: flash fun & d'onofrio dreams

Not sure if I have mentioned this previously, but I'm learning Flash at uni this semester. It's something I've toyed with teaching myself for sometime then never got around to it, so it's cool that uni is forcing me to learn. So far I'm having fun with it but haven't produced anything worth sharing. What is worth sharing though, is this site: tokyoplastic.com. We had a look at it during a lecture earlier in the week and it's so very groovy I had to share! Check out the drummachine (you'll find the link once the cool tree menu loads) and prepare to be impressed and entertained by the wonders of Flash creations! It may take a while to load if you're languishing on dialup (like myself), but I personally think it's worth your time. Oh, make sure you have your volume up.

In entirely unrelated matters, here follows an amusing personal anecdote!
d'onofrio, dream invader Woke this morning from a dream that starred Vincent D'Onofrio. In the interests of making a long story short, in the dream I was one of D'Onofrio's students, though I don't know what subject he was teaching except that instead of textbooks I had a pile of magazines on my desk. Celebrity Gossip 101? Anyway, D'Onofrio was also the object of my affection, and I spent much of the dream trying to seduce him (outside of class).. by blackmailing him! It was really bizarre and completely out of character for me, but I woke up feeling a sense of disappointment that he had resisted my blackmailing charms.

Anyway, the dream amused me greatly as I had no idea I fancied the man, though I will admit I am a fan of his quirky Detective Goren persona. My celebrity infatuations tend more toward the likes of Tobey Maguire, Ioan Gruffudd, Hans Matheson and Hugh Jackman *reeoww*, depending on my mood. ;-) Evidently my subconscious mind feels I should add D'Onofrio to that list. Hmm.

-----
feeling: giggley
groovin' to: "Did You" - Hoobastank
-----

Thursday, August 05, 2004

muzing # 040: why is it?

..that the best ideas come at the most inopportune moments?

Last night I stirred from my cosy cocoon around 3am to answer the call of nature. Returning to my cocoon I assumed I would quickly doze off again, but alas, come 5am I was still awake. My brain had gone into overdrive, developing ideas, concepts and elaborate plans for my uni assignments.

Now, in itself this was not at all a bad thing. In fact, it was a most excellent thing! However, I wish it had not occured in the wee small hours of the morning when I was tucked up in bed and extremely reluctant to move from under the covers in order to jot down the outcomes of these impromptu brain-storming sessions.

It got me musing about how often the brain does its best thinking during moments when there are few external distractions - in bed at night, in the shower, on the can. I used to compose melodies while I showered, also a frustrating exercise as they would often slip away before I was out of the shower and able to write them down.

How many brilliant ideas have been lost because they chose a poor moment to reveal themselves?

-----
feeling: sleepy
last movie viewing: "Ned Kelly" [DVD] 4 stars
bookworm currently enjoying: "The Mists of Avalon" - Marion Zimmer Bradley
-----

Monday, August 02, 2004

muzing # 039: going digital

Today I joined the digital revolution (or whatever it's called) and invested in a digital (still) camera! In honour of these exciting times I thought I would share the first photograph taken with my new camera: a snapshot of what sits on my computer desk beneath my monitor.

monitor minders!

Yes, those are indeed the lego incarnations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as created by my brother many years ago. Somehow they found their way to my computer desk and have now been there for quite some time. I'm used to the little guys and don't think I could part with their smiling faces. As for the chicken, it was too cute to resist. Besides, gold and green go so well together!

-----

Sunday, August 01, 2004

muzing # 038: birthday celebrations at hogwarts

Yesterday my step-nephew Brendan celebrated his 11th Birthday in style, with an amazing Harry Potter themed party!

Arriving at the train station [the front yard], we were greeted by the sight of numerous owls peering suspiciously at us. We passed through the brick wall [the front door] and found ourselves on Platform 9¾ [the entry hall]. The platform was adorned with posters of Sirius Black [my brother], proclaiming: "Have you seen this wizard?", Azkaban prison #310704.

We paid a visit to Honeydukes, the candy store in wizarding town Hogsmeade [the dining table] where we were able to fill our black cauldrons with all manner of wizarding sweets, including: cauldron cakes, Bertie Bott's every flavour beans, chocolate frogs, cockroach clusters, ice mice, acid pops, fizzing whizbees, anti-dementor chocolate, and Dumbledore's favourite - lemon sherbets.

At lunchtime we progressed to the Great Hall [the garage], resplendent with floating candles, for a typical Hogwarts feast. Pumpkin juice and butterbeer were on tap, an owl flew over the table and delivered some post, and Scabbers and Crookshanks got up to all sorts of mischief!

The house elf [my sister-in-law] did an absolutely tremendous job with preparations. Everyone had a marvellous day, including the Birthday boy who seemed to like his gifts, although he managed to open them in about 30 seconds flat. Ahh, youthful exuberance!

I am thinking of enlisting my sister-in-law to create a themed party for me. ;-) It's been a long time since I last had a themed party.. when I turned 7, I had a Poochie party.

I also enjoyed a memorable moment yesterday when my other nephew Daniel called me by name for the first time. YAY!! It gave me a lovely warm fuzzy. :-)

-----