Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Vic-20 Owner in a C-64 World

Responding to today's One Minute Writer prompt: Piggy Bank

The first item I remember saving up to purchase was a second hand Commodore C64. I was 12 years old and had been struggling for several years as a Vic-20 owner in a c64 world, so I neeeeeded to upgrade. I hadn’t been saving for that item in particular, but it was the first time I broke into my junior savings account, and my savings history has never recovered.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

kickin' it with my hobbits

Responding to today's One Minute Writer prompt: Transportation

My main mode of transportation is my feet. If i could change them I would add some springs for rough terrain, some wheels for smooth terrain, I'd web the toes for in the water, and thicken up the soles so I could kick it with my hobbits all the year through.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

poem of the sun

Responding to today's One Minute Writer prompt: Haiku

new sun born each day
but today's sun is dying
sinking slowly down

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

List of Products Which FAIL to be Improved by the Addition of Mint

1: Shower Gel
I am now experiencing minty-freshness where I am not accustomed to experiencing minty freshness.

2: Toilet Cleaner
Toilets ought to smell fresh-like-lavender or fresh-like-pine-trees. Not fresh-like-chewing-gum.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Growing Older

Responding to today's One Minute Writer prompt: Growing Older

Last weekend, on my eldest son's 12th birthday, I broke a 2-year drought of losing to him at chess. We're both growing older, but he won't grow smarter than me every step of the way.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fish oil? What, have they run out of snakes??

An open letter to John Campbell and the Campbell Live team

Dear John

This is a very difficult letter for me to write. I tried using the Dear John Letter Generator, but none of the options provided seemed to fit (for example, I don't really want to blow your best friend, your box [as far as I know] isn't really nasty skank). But tonight you lost a lot of innocence in my eyes, and I don't think we can ever go back to the way we were. You really need to be careful. For one thing, fish oil is so 2007.

I have a hard enough time remembering my opinions without remembering my reasons for them (apologies to The Streets) and I know that nobody in TV land has an attention span of more than a few paragraphs anyway (myself as a viewer included), so I will try to keep this as brief and to-the-point as possible. Tonight you gave better-than-equal time to a bunch of quacks and idiots who are pushing the fish oil agenda. I heard you asking something that vaguely resembled a critical question but, honestly, you gave these weasels every opportunity to claim that an intentionally generated lack of dis-proof-of amounts to the same thing as vigourous-support-for their otherwise tenuous position. I will provide you with some links to articles by some smarter people than myself who can explain why this is such a terrible idea (as a matter of fact I majored in the philosophy of science in my undergraduate degree, but these people actually stayed on and got doctorates and whatnot at it, so I will defer to them). But I need to at least say mention the obvious problems in every study you cited on your show tonight (from Durham County, through Natalie Sinn in Australia, through to the poor saps implementing this hogwash in New Zealand). There are no controls (no double-blinds, a frighteningly obvious self-selection bias for participants, no mention of the test-retest validity of the questionnaires and tests employed, a total lack of transparency in the statistical reporting, and so on and so on). It makes me go NGNGNNGNGGGG! and see little sparks behind my eyelids. And I've already said I would leave it to people who are more qualified and articulate than myself. (They get two links because they are just that good! They use words and examples where I might resort to hurting myself and gesticulating wildly).

But I can offer one piece of first hand personal insight into this pseudo-controversy (which should work wonders, since anecdote and personal opinion seem to count for so much in this debate). While I was working my way through higher education and supporting my young family, I worked for one of New Zealand's major seafood producers. The main thing I learned, from years at the coal face of seafood production, is what fish oil actually is. Fish oil is a by-product of seafood production. It is rendered down from the offal (guts, spines, tails, heads) that comes out of the mainstream protein harvesting operation. Now that is not an argument in itself. Lots of nice things come from shitty places. Apparently, mushrooms are grown on horse shit, for one thing. But, when I worked in the by-products division of this aforementioned seafood producer, the goal of the organisation was to come up with value-added ways to dispose of the containers and drums of protein and oil that they were able to render down out of the offal (and you don't even want to know what kind of nasties are released into our waterways by the rendering process). In the bad old days, the best they could make out of it were high potency fertilisers, cattle feeds, and industrial lubricants. Such commodities were priced by the tonne.

Did you catch that? By the tonne.

What a coup. What a paradigm shift in the quack-tacular fields of human nutrition and pseudo-medicine. This industrial by-product can now be priced by the milligram, and sold as a miracle cure to a public who have already been made desparate for cures for a host of psychological and behavioural disorders (the medicalisation of not being 'good' enough and not being 'smart' enough).

Now - I'm sure that smart people in the fields of medical and nutritional science still have a lot to discover and offer to us. I just think that in this case the smarts and the science has been completely left out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Week One - The Apatheticist Manifesto

I originally started this blag so I could vent about the 2008 NZ election. In the end I procrastinated until election eve. That's apathy for you. My deepest insight: the NZ election was going to be a giant suckfest & I didn't want any of the idiots involved to be in a job at the end of it. I figure if I was looking for applicants for 120+ positions that had astronomical salaries and benefits attached (some of which are tenured for life!) and this was the crop of applications I would say "Fuck it!" and readvertise. Or hire some decent recruitment consultants.

It's p
robably a bit late now to rally a few million behind that banner so instead this blag is to be a brain dump of writing ideas and general insights. Some of these may still be political. Actually, most of them will. I am getting a really early start on the 2011 election.

Because of course - a satirical and insightful and thought provoking political commentary blag shouldn't END with an election but rather it should start with one...

SO now I have a week to get caught up on.

Talking points for this week:

I wanted them ALL out. I'll settle for NZ First and Winston Peters in the first round, but we need to do better next time.

John Key gave his acceptance speech in perfect duckspeak target="_blank". For fifteen minutes he said nothing that wasn't meaningless ideological sloganism. He imparted no new content beyond what was said in the campaign. And what was said in the entire campaign? NOTHING

The Labour Party has LOST the PLOT - out with the old, in with the old also. What a mavellous opportunity to regroup around some young fresh energetic faces. Squandered. Or else the young and fresh reserves are being cunningly held back so that they don't get all old and haggard before the next election. The old bait and switch. One may want to believe that they are being that cunning, but wanting something doesn't necesarily make it so.

Like I have said, I didn't really care for any of the options we had. My official position - this was a classic Turd Sandwich and Giant Douche line up. But I am not sure that what was needed was change for change's sake. Do you know, people actually called 111 on election night, and were referred to support and suicide helplines. People who were poor as fuck and shit scared the last time National was in power are scared that they are going to end up in the same position. You know the feeling you get when you sense the first symptoms of some terrible shitty illness or a migraine that you have had before, and you break a cold sweat at the fear of becoming that sick again? That's what these people are feeling.

National have declared themselves to be the party of change, and to be a changed party. Let's hope so.

Saturday, November 1, 2008