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October 18th, 2008

10:29 am
We have shifted to a new office. It is way out in the wops. The nearest bus stop is around 2km down the road, though someone usually picks me up before I've gone much more than a km.

Opposite the bus stop there is a pub called The Pink, it being in Pinkenba. There is a large sign on the frontage advertising GIRLS!, and as I sit waiting for the bus I can see the topless waitresses walking around, and leanign out the window to give drinks to the people standing out the front smoking. But this is not all there is to The Pink. If you go down the alley at the side you will come to a discreet rear entrance, which will get you into the bistro. In the bistro fully clothed waitstaff will bring you your meal. Our department went there for lunch about a month ago, it was packed with white collar staff from the various office parks springing up around the area, and exactly like any of the other restaurants we've been to, only tucked shamefully at the rear where it won't hurt their brand. I love it.

I'm coming back to Christchurch on Wednesday for about a week. It's for my brother's 21st, despite the fact that he lives here. It'll be good to get back to civilisation for a while, where the supermarkets don't close at 6 on weekends.

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October 2nd, 2008

07:52 am
It seems to me, that when I was a child, Mc and Mac came before Maa. It was almost like they were a whole 'nother letter between L and M. I'm quite sure that this was the case in my primary school's library, and I think it might have been the case at intermediate, and in the public library when I was but a wee thing, but it isn't the case now when I go into the public library, and I don't think it was the case in my high school library either.

Is it computers, I wonder, like the way an album by The Beatles get's fired under T, and one by Beatles under B, or am I just misremembering?

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August 21st, 2008

12:22 pm
I really need to get around to getting Medicare, health is very expensive. A month's worth of anti-depressants will set me back $40, as a result of which I've been unmedicated for several months now. It's not good, I'm really falling apart. My erstwhile libido is reasserting itself, which is very uncomfortable. It doesn't help that there are pretty girls everywhere I go. Especially in 'winter', when they're all waiting for the bus in tweedy pencil skirts. Maybe I should get a drivers liscense again so I can more completely avoid people. Though maybe avoiding people even more wouldn't be a good idea, I'm quite out of practice interacting with people. A few months ago I attended GenCon Oz, and I required several mg of risperidone to play shadowrun with a bunch of completely non-threatening people. Besides, my experiences being in cars in the greater birsbane area has not been time-effective. I have collegues who live closer to the office than I do who have longer commutes than me.

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July 19th, 2008

10:25 am
I bought the first two seasons of The X Files last week, and I've got a little way into season two. Season one, especially, is remarkably sexist. In one episode, the sheriff explains that the reason he didn't investigate the missing girl was that she's a bit of a slut, and it was bound to happen eventually. Another episode is specifically set up that the locals wanted an agent with a medical background, so Scully's going, but Mulder can tag along if he wants. Cut to arriving in Hicksville, where Mulder introduces himself to the local sheriff, and incidentally, this is my partner Scully. But despite all this, there's virtually no objectification of women. It's almost as if wardrobe and makeup took special efforts to make Gillian Anderson look plain. Very disappointing.

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June 23rd, 2008

12:39 pm
Barley risotto worked very well. It takes quite a bit longer to cook than rice, I was standing at the stove for well over an hour, but it turned out surprisingly creamy, and a bit chewy. I put a chorizo in, which worked well, and a bunch of asparagus, which didn't really work, and should probably be reserved for a better class of risotto, made a) with rice, b) with proper stock, not bullion cubes, and c) during asparagus season. What it really needed was mushrooms.

I may have a new job soon, the agency had a number of possibilities, including a records management position with the Dept. of Main Roads, which sounds like pretty much exactly what I want, which would be nice.

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June 18th, 2008

03:24 pm
I'd forgotten quite how awful risperidone is. It is helpful, certainly, and I have been getting more and more stressed about everything, but it sure as a kick. I've been quite insensible for a significant portion of today.

The need to get a new job, however, may have lessened. The guy who took over from me a Boral is having to leave to have a series of operations, so they're probably going to havbe me back full time again, for a while. We're going to talk about it tomorrow. It'll still probably only be temporary, I don't have the people skills that they need, at the best I can be a stop gap, and I'd quite like to get into a job in my preferred field, with development oppurtunities in a direction more suited to me. I meet face to face with the recruitment company on friday again, if I'm lucky they may have some leads in the direction of knowledge/records management.

I tried to make spring-onion cakes, from a recipe book I'd picked up at the very cheap book store. I turned out a bit crap, very stodgy. It's a very strange book, none of the dough-based recipes are the least bit leavened. Taste wise, it's certainly a winner, a piece of fried bread stuffed with spring onions and minced pork fat, but next time I make it, it'll be with proper bread, with yeast in. On friday I think I'll try something I found in a recipe book here at the library, barley risotto, now that I've found a place to get pearl barley. Supermarkets here, in addition to closing very early, don't seem to do bulk bins, but I've found a little place over in Alderly which is a bit like bin-inn. Now all I need to do is find some good dutch or german smallgoods.

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May 30th, 2008

02:21 pm
The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella
But cheifly on the just because
The unjust hath the just's umbrella

The rain's good, really, quite nice in it's way, and maybe even a little drought breaky, but probably not. But I've just moved into a new flat, and the bus that runs down my street has it's last service at 4:30 in the afternoon. Apparently I looked bedragled enough last night that a car pulled up and a woman jumped out and tried to press an umbrella upon me. I was, of course, within sight of my front door at this time.

It's not a bad flat, though apparently we smoke inside. But it's also perfectly acceptable to stay in your room with the door closed all the time, so that's okay. I have, in fact, not met two of my flatmates yet.

My brother's coming up next week, I'll get him to bring up my router, and see about getting internet access outside of work or the library.

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May 17th, 2008

12:27 pm
I have a job, it's very boring. There is internet access, but not to sites like this or facebook. I spend a fair amount of time reading the news, and with the budget just out here, there was a lot of it this week. The budget itself was pretty meh, it was the response that got me.

I know that it's the opposition's job to pick holes in what the government does, but they really seemed to be streching this week. There must have been some decent criticism they could have made, but no, they just started on about how this budget will be inflationary because it imposes too many taxes, and may result in increased unemployment. Did Brendon Nelson miss all of first year economics?

The really bad part was articles like this one, where a family who are now over the threshold for the baby bonus and so forth try and tell us that "we do it tough every single day", because $150,000 isn't that much after you take out the basics, like sending two kids to private school and paying off a new car that cost more than $57,000, enough that it would have attracted the new luxury car tax if they'd left it a bit longer. And this has been the general media response to this new definition of rich, grab a few vox pops in upmarket Sydney suburbs, and never once mention any sort of statistics. The top quartile for household income here apparently starts about $117,000, so $150,000 sounds pretty solidly wealthy to me.

Their statement at the end of the article: "Mr Tanner says the Budget takes away an important Australian ethic – the incentive to work", is well in line with the conversations floating down from the other end of the hall the day after the budget, which then turned to denouncement of lazy dole bludgers, who will now see an increased birth rate with the increase to the baby bonus. I used to think that 'middle-class welfare' was a good thing, in that it would break down resistance to a UBI, but it seems that it just entrenches notions of the undeserving poor, and welfare as reward not right.

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April 8th, 2008

01:11 pm
I was looking at this column by Polly Toynbee the other day, and she makes a good point. This is what comes of having an explicit freedom of religion as separate to freedoms of conscience, expression and association. But what really intersted me is a comment by Clavis, which says:

March 25, 2008 2:22 AM

Completely disagree. Not so well said.
This bill goes at the very heart of what some consider to be a human. To some, the type of embryo we start as defines us as humans as opposed to animals and there is an obvious arguement for keeping the two different kinds of DNA seperate. By putting human DNA into an animal egg, as you not inaccurately put it, Polly, you disregard the fact that this dramatically challenges (in some eyes) our very definitions of human/animal. This is a far greater moral issue than the future of the post office!! How the two could even be compared is beyond me.
Ministers should not have to be bound to a collective vote in such weighty matters - what's the point in having MPs vote at all if this is the case? Might as well just have their leaders do a proxy vote for them. It actually compromises the spirit of democracy to demand this. Conscience votes should be allowed IRRESPECTIVE of whether they are based on Catholic belief, or any other belief - as you yourself have indicated, all beliefs are equal and deserve equal voicing.
To suggest that MPs should simply resign on the basis of disagreeing with such a bill is absurd. Would you apply this to all such votes? Ridiculous.
BTW, no, I am not against the bill. I hope it is passed. But allow those with serious doubts to express this. It is not for us to questions the theological basis of their beliefs and then dismiss them so completely.

Kath seems to be suggesting that definitions are something that should be open to legislation. Which is a lot like blasphemy laws, though this sort of reseach isn't socially desirable for the same reasons that blasphemy is. But a lot of people seem really threatened by this.

Which brings us to the question: Can alternative definitions of key concepts actually threaten the validity of worldviews, and should we care? With the government considering regulations regarding the creation of hybrid human embryos, cloned into cow ova, a lot of people are saying that this strikes at the heart of what it means to be human, and should thus be disallowed.

It seems to me that there are two main ways in which transgressive entities, such as these chimera, can problematize definitions. The best way to look at these is with regard to transgression of gender and sex. A transgender person violates rules of gender, an intersexed person falsifies definitions of sex (inasmuch as sex is defined as "Male = Not Female, Female = Not Male. It occurs to me that a lot of postmodernist talk of problematizing is really just a realization of the problems of how natural kind terms mean).

In the first manner, the transgression does not threaten the worldview, as such, rather it threatens the world, the community, it is an unwholesome thing worthy, at best, of disgust, that quite possibly morally pollutes all around it, much in the way that the gays caused 9-11. In these sorts of cases, this is not obviously a reason for a liberal society to ban transgressions, doing so would violate principles of neutrality towards ends.

The second sort of transgression may, however, be bannable on liberal grounds, here the existence of a transgression would constitute a threat to the feasibility of a worldview, the transgression, by its existence, would threaten liberal neutrality towards end by threatening the ontological grounding of the ends that certain groups have. Various goals, say dominion over animals, are grounded on an absolute separations of the concepts Man and Beast. The chimera doesn't just violate rules, it puts the lie to the notion that these two kinds are distinct, and threatens to topple the whole system. But if we carefully prohibit all evidence that Man and Beast are separate, aren't we harming those worldviews in which those kinds are not so separate. It would seem that this kind of protection of worldviews is impossible where worldviews compete on ontological matters. As such I would say that again, society should not ban transgressions, but should rather let people delude themselves privately. My view that the worldviews that find themselves contrary to facts about the world have lost may influence this prescription.

Of course, it's not as simple as that, these two types of problematization bleed into one another. The experience of non-evil homosexuals can threaten the ontological grounding of certain types of prejudice, much as the existence of non-evil test tube babies has threatened the grounding of some of the objections raised when that was first tinkered with. And of course, trying to taxonomize methods of deconstruction is probably missing the point. Still, it's an interesting tool for thinking about notions of enforcement of concepts.

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March 17th, 2008

07:22 pm - People are strange, when you're a stranger.
Brisbane is a very lonely city. I don't know anyone here, or really know how to go about meeting people. I'm pretty sure that it will involve actually going out, and meeting people. I'm not sure I'm up for that. On the plus side, it'll take a while more for it to really start getting to me.

Access is pretty strange, and more than a little annoying at times, especially the way it handles forms. I finally figured out how to use errors to determine whether an entry needs inserting or updating, rather than first looking up the database each time, which I think will make the file import process 3 or 4 times faster, but it will require a completely different approach and I don't think I've made my code modular enough to slot it in. I may stick with my current method of deleting everything and then just assuming it's all insertions, which currently increases speed by an order of magnitude.

I may be forced to take on more debt than I want to. The bank won't let me borrow enough to pay off my credit card and o/d in NZ, I need to find another $2000 worth of stuff to buy. I'm thinking about getting a computer, I'm going to need a desktop sooner or later, and $2000 could get me a decent system and maybe a media centre or more hard drives than I strictly need.

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