Thursday, August 25, 2011

Perfect Headline

Sometimes the headline is just sweet:

Woman uses stiletto to attack ATM

What's not to love? As you'd expect that's basically the best bit, although "The machine ... was struck 'almost 50 times' by a woman shortly after midnight on 2 July." is a pretty good sentence. Sometimes spending your carefully hoarded kebab money on that extra cocktail in the knowledge you can ~hem~ 'hit' the ATM is a mistake, particularly when the &^%$%# machine refuses to hand over the cash.

The article finished by saying that the Police would like a chat. I'd hope it would be for tips on grip and angle, and what kind of stiletto does the best damage.


For those who want the rest of the story, it's here, with video. I like how she hammers the thing, puts her shoe back on, goes 'beep boep boop beep' "No Cash" and then calmly has another attitude adjustment on the machine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Danish Doors

Doors in the Danish Design Museum. It's the odd details at the sides that distinguish the rooms.

Pic by Bev.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Autostitched Puddle

We've had a bit of rain recently, and there's a big puddle in the big field.

While standing in it in my Wellingtons (that's what puddles are for, remember?) I thought it would be a fun opportunity to try out the Autostitch App on the iPhone (from Cloudburst Research Inc, since you ask) and bashed off 27 images it then nailed together into one. All settings were basic auto, and although there are a lot of artifacts in the full size original, and I didn't try to fill all the gaps (I wanted it to look vaguely like a Hockney composite) it's an impressive job, I think.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Census counts

Australia has one of the highest census response rates in the world, with 97.3 per cent of its population counted during the 2006 census, the spokesman said.

This compares with 97.2 per cent in Canada and 93.9 per cent in Britain, he added.

And some of that's down to my work as a collector! Part of the difference between the UK and Australia will be down to Australia having all household census forms being hand delivered, and mostly still hand collected by dedicated collectors, while the UK uses the (more comprehensive) postal system. I don't yet know what method the Canadian census uses, but I'm sure I will soon. Meanwhile, the US census seems to exist in an alternate reality, and I've been unable to find any reliable statistics as to its count accuracy behind the variety of other strange stories and controversy it generated.

There's some interesting material on censuses on the Wiki page (here) including on the countries in question.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Passing Magpie

They have a certain aerodynamic elegance, I think...

... and also have a scary beak and red eyes!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rare Inspiration I

"When the poet Paul Valery once asked Albert Einstein if he kept a notebook to record his ideas, Einstein looked at him with mild but genuine surprise. "Oh, that's not necessary," he replied . "It's so seldom I have one."

Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)

See: Rare Inspiration 1 and spot the difference.



James and I went for a nice country drive the other day. The roads near here soon change from tarmac to reddish brown dirt, bumps and lumps leading over sweeping open hills of grazing land, down to streams and past fields of sheep. Grand dark stands of trees mark the sites of colonial homesteads, many of them long gone. Vistas suddenly open up and gently disappear.

After a few hours, we turned down a little road that should hook us up with a homeward-bound way.

The road got a little smaller.

(Does anyone remember the spooky story about the car breaking down outside the mental asylum? You know, the one your sister told you when you were kids and were sleeping out under the stars - well, maybe not tonight, but some time, yes indeed.)

Oh, but it was beautiful, in a misty moisty sort of way.

It just also happened to be the Mother of All Mudholes.

Hands gripping the wheel, I skiied the car on a cushion of slippery silty slippery mud.

"Keep the speed up! Don't, whatever you do, stop!" my husband implored me, as I gritted my teeth into my best approximation of a rally driver's smile (driving a cute red Mazda, of course). I eased my foot down, steering into the skids like Dad taught me on ice in Canada. (Thanks, Dad!)

We hit a few hidden water holes, scraped the bottom and bounced a lot -- but we made it through, only to find the ruts deepening and the road descending to a mud-bound, rocky stream, which it forded. Theoretically.

James hopped out to check the road ahead. Nope. So he watched me from the grassy bank as I executed a classy and quick 22-point turn, we swapped over and he skidded his way through Mudhole Mamma, agreeing that it was a truly nasty driving experience.

We checked the map ad saw the small print: Passable only by 4WD. And we laughed, until James said:

"Hey - Where are my keys?"

It rained all night, torrents of rain. We lay awake, listening to the sound of James' keys gently slipping through mud to a resting place unknown.

In the morning, the dog loved the long walk in the squelchy mud. It was wonderfully beautiful, especially after we found his keys, gleaming in the grass at the side of the road - no, track - washed clean by the rain.

Thanks be to mud!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Found Pears

This one's from February 8, 2010 when we still lived in the city, and didn't have a pair of pear trees outside the front door.

We had to borrow someone else's tree and these were the tasty fruits (~ahem~) of Bev's subsequent labours...


Curl House

Both Bev and I very much enjoyed being shown the architecture of the San Francisco Bay area by Mike and Ania. This one - I think in the Alameda area - gets a special vote.

While the slight weathering and peeling paint could be seen to detract from the design, in a country that over-values neat newness and (sometimes) undervalues architectural originality in vernacular architecture, it provides a different balance.

It's also interesting how the house changes its look even in such two close viewpoints.


Cop Fodder

In America, the cops hang out at the donut shop. In France...

Paris, 2008.