summer is here and the time is right for listening to saxaphone

<a href=”” title=”leapfrog by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”400″ height=”300″ alt=”leapfrog” /></a>

There’s been a few things lately that’ve been reminding me that life could be a lot worse. Sometimes I need that kind of divine intervention to jiggle my senses for it to register. This semester I have one of the best classes I’ve ever had. They’re not mind-blowingly fluent or with IQs of 200 but they’re really cohesive and that can make all the difference in the world. All social science students, with one of them who is a year older and had done one year of PE before transferring majors (see under half of leapfrog). She’s a natural leader and so, leader of the class. The rest of them are of the mind that this is okay so there’s never grumbling.

Each class I give a codeword name so as to remember them by which is vaguely related to what they’re studying, such as Komputor, lil pharm, kinda. This class started as Socio , but after a couple of weeks and a couple of pen-strokes it became Soccer–because they’re just like a soccer team. I am the coach. I lay out the basic game plan. I talk to the players individually when they need it. Occasionally there are orgaisational details that the captain will deal with. Everything always works like clockwork.

Last week was spring festival. The Social Science faculty was involved in these competitions and most of my class was together as one team. They didn’t win but it was good to watch. This multi-legged race reminded me of a scene from my favourite woody allen movie take the money and run.

<a href=”” title=”mydefinitionofabombasticjazzstyle by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”410″ height=”308″ alt=”mydefinitionofabombasticjazzstyle” /></a>

If you’re unfamiliar with the movie then watch the scene here and as an added bonus learn some spanish! I love that music that goes with it, it makes me think of elephants.

a minor update

I wrote to the APRAs and said,




They replied saying, “Bring it on!”.

I guess the other [first name] [last name] will get a nasty surprise when APRA INCORPORATED rings up demanding to know why he didn’t show.

Mental note: short science fiction story where a man is split in two–one gets the email address, one gets the phone number.

Aunty Annie

This is something I might give a regular spin here on the sunny breaks. I’ve always thought of myself as a supreme being when it comes to solving other people’s problems but unfortunately people will not often tell me there problems in order for my supremeness to solve them, so maybe it’s one of those give a litlle, get a little situations.

I have many problems. Some of them are huge–but here’s a small one. Let’s suppose my name is “yak sox”, and that I am the owner of the “yak.sox  at gmail dot com” email address. Now let’s suppose that there’s another yak sox back in australia, which apparently there is. Apparently this guy is some sort of musician and is on some kind of APRA (australian performing rights association) mailing list, but instead of the email going to him, it goes to me.

He keeps getting invited to this, or is being updated about that. There is no visible way to unsubscribe from this list. Here is the most recent thing:


Rob Collins, APRA’s National Indigenous Representative, will be coming to Brisbane on Thursday 29th May. Rob is based in the new APRA Northern Territory office, but will be regularly visiting Queensland to support our indigenous writers and offer advice with regards to APRA and copyright.

Rob would love to meet up with local songwriters and invites you to come to the APRA office between 5-6pm to meet with other local songwriters and learn about how to increase your APRA royalties.

Thursday 29th May
Venue: APRA office Brisbane
3 Winn Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Time: 5-6pm

Please let us know if you can come along.
Light refreshments served.

RSVP essential by Monday 26 May to
or 07 3257 1007

I am thinking that the only solution is that I reply saying, “YEAH I’M COMING AND I’M BRINGING FIVE FRIENDS SO YOU BETTER PUT OUT SOME EXTRA SEATS AND BUY ANOTHER PACKET OF TIM-TAMS”. My hope is that they would be so irritated by the no-show of my erstwhile doppelganger that they would not tell him about the next thing that came up. What do you think? C’mon tell me, I’m desperate for the comments.

Incidentally, if you live in Brisbane and you want to go to that thing, please do. Tell them I said you could come.

The vibes ain’t nothin’ but the vibes

It’s been a little interesting hearing about this china earthquake thing. It seemed like it took a long time for the state to respond to it. The first couple of day’s reports were minimal in the damage mentioned. They were slow getting in there to do anything about it.
<a href=”” title=”ogle-bw by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”157″ height=”94″ alt=”ogle-bw” /></a>
But then once the whole machine kicked in, apparently, it’s been state-enforced mourning. At 2.28pm bells go off and everyone has to stand up and stand still for three minutes. All the state run telly has been 24/7 earthquake stuff–for three days. Newspapers are a strictly B&W affair. Websites have monochrome enforced. I’m told that no one’s allowed to smile.

webb alert

I have to say it’s irritating. Something that seems to have crept into the speech patterns of North American news announcers is this over the top sing-song cadence. It’s as if they think that the audience will lose interest unless they are over-empasising every third word.
As for the woman, I imagine she’ll be replaced with an ALICE-like bot within 24 months.

<a href=”” title=”uv by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”185″ height=”241″ alt=”uv” /></a>


I had to get rid of the cutline theme, it looked too much like a magazine or something and besides – the creator is a gimp. There are a few drawbacks of this one too, but looking at the templates, it’s very simple and therefore easy to modify.

* * *

You know, I’m studying via USQ this year. For those not in the know, that’s the abbreviation for University of Southern Queensland. The main campus is located in Toowoomba, a smaller city in Qld. When I’m having a panic attack about some detail I neglected to get sorted, such as paying the fees on time, or finding out where my exam centre is, I ring the USQ (via Skype). The call gets through to one of the service desks there — USQ has a lot of overseas students so they’re appropriately staffed for it.
My call always seems to go through to a middle-aged, country-accented sounding woman named Val or Pam. It’s a comforting sound. Here, 9/10 native English voices I hear are N.American.
More to the point, Val always knows what the score is. She is calm, efficient and all-knowing. If I got to choose what the first AI name, personality and voice would be, it would be V.A.L.

* * *

In a bid to make this site popular again, here is the first in a series of *Saucy Dames of the Orient*.

<a href=”” title=”gorgeouschinesedames1 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”384″ height=”576″ alt=”gorgeouschinesedames1″ /></a>

Mind Control, and colonisation–again

Maybe it’s my conspiracy-fueled mind at work, maybe I’m reading between the lines too much, but when I saw this article, block-quoted here ad infinitum, I began to wonder… could that smart-but-casually dressed Zeta Reticulan standing behind the Federal Treasurer have anything to do with it?

<a href=”” title=”mind_control by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”285″ height=”192″ alt=”mind_control” /></a>

The Federal Government will use the Budget on Tuesday to outline plans for a major review of Australia’s taxation system.

The 18-month review will look at all aspects of federal, state and local government taxes, other than the GST.

The review team will be led by Treasury head Ken Henry and will include prominent academics and business leaders.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has told Channel Nine changes are needed to ensure Australia’s economic prosperity into the future.

“We will look at personal taxation, we will look at the transfer payments system, we will look at how that effects individuals, how it affects families, how it affects retirees,” he said.

“We’ll look at–we. will. set aside large amounts of funding in preparation for. . . The Arrival. Vast nitrogen-filled domes will be constructed in the Woomera desert as part of Stage One. A new plant form known as Plankflora will be sewn into the Australian soil to make the air more breathable.

“It will be a comprehensive takeover.”

Mr Swan says the Government is likely to take a series of reforms to the next election.

“Certainly we will go to that election with a–_New Overlord_,” he said.

“I can’t predict what the review might say … I mean the review might say that–_All Hail Zeta Reticulum!_.”

Opposition treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull supports the review but has questioned the Government’s move to appoint the supra-intelligent, 2.3m tall praying mantis named Vasscorm, to lead the review team.

He has told ABC TV’s Insiders program the Government’s review cannot be considered independent.

“Vasscorm is a very smart man(tis) and we all respect him, but he is the head of the Treasury and the bureaucratic side of things,” he said.

“One would think that a review of this kind should be independent so this looks like a very in-house and insect controlled review.”

like tears in soup

all the memories of everything that I wanted to mention about the recent trip to Shanghai and surrounds is blending in to nothing, so I better try and write it now, with fotos.

First the food. I really like food from the different parts of China. I feel like I’m over Korean food. I guess it’s just a thing of mass. China is massive and made up of a bunch of different cultures that have their own food. Maybe it’s the result of being in Korea for some time now, but the Sichuan style of food, (spicy) is probably the kind I like best. <a href=”” title=”drool by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”394″ height=”205″ alt=”drool” /></a>

In this particular night we went to the appropriately titled Sichuan Restaurant. On the right is a kind of fried potato dish, lending further weight to my theory that chips are universal and that you could go to Mars and they would be eating chips there too. On the left, according to girlfriend with e-dictionary in hand, is a dish entitled, ‘an excess of saliva’, which we’ll shorten to ‘drool’ for the purposes of this blogpost. It was chicken in a spicy -hot oil. It really did make you drool! Very tasty once you get over the not-so-western style of chopping–they cut straight through the bone rather than filleting or sectioning the way folks like me are used to.

<a href=”” title=”journeytothecenteroftheearth by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”396″ height=”574″ alt=”journeytothecenteroftheearth” /></a>

I did several of the touristy things the first time around when I was there in late Feb but there was one that had eluded the tackyness-magnet. There’s an underground train that runs under the river which was like _Journey to the Centre of the Earth_ meets Star Trek: The motion picture meets Boards of Canada’s album, Geogaddi.

I think it’s worth noting down that weather-wise, late April was a perfect time to be in Shangers. It was warm but not humid and the nights were just nice.

For a day or two we got out of the central city to a place an hour na a half away on the bus, Xitang. It’s a small place and not as on the map as Hangzhou or Suzhou. Xitang’s claim to fame is that a few scenes from Mission Impossible 3 were shot there. In several of the restaurants and shops you can see fotos of Tom Cruise and cast standing around.

Personally I found it interesting to see how the place filled up with the new Chinese Upper-middle class on Saturday morning. there’s all these people with money in their pocket in china and now all they need is Disney Land.

In any case, Xitang was a nice little place and the canals didn’t smell.

<a href=”” title=”xitang by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”461″ height=”259″ alt=”xitang” /></a>