“deliberately barren”

The annual Ernie awards (2007 being the 15th year) were announced last night, and emerging from a strong field, was the eventual winner, Senator Bill Heffernan, for his comment that Julia Gillard was unfit for leadership as she was “deliberately barren“. The Ernies, while mostly going to blokes, have on occasion gone to women too, for comments unhelpful to the sisterhood, such as Blanche D’Alpuget for saying “I do” with Bob Hawke.

After 15 years, they’ve compiled some of the best examples into a book, The Ernies Book: 1000 terrible things Australian men have said about women, that goes on sale this month. As part of the launch the authors are participating in a debate at Gleebooks on 21 Nov, on the age old topic: “Are Australian men still male chauvinist pigs?” :-)

theme change

Just playing around with the general look. As much as I liked the minimalism of the previous theme, the font size of the date was larger than I’d like. The trick is to find a 2 column display that is:

  • simple
  • clean
  • 2 columns: posts on the left, index stuff on the right
  • displays all relevant info for post: comments, tags, date
  • looks ok on fullscreen and 2/3 screen (my usual browser size)

On that last note, I tend to use 2/3 of my screen (left to right) for the browser and the right hand third to display email (column style). This is particularly handy for my work environment, plus I’ve never been fond of applications that take up the entire screen. One annoyance of wordpress is that in order to write a new post, I have to maximise the browser window otherwise the options overlap. I like the look of the new theme, mostly, though, as is often the case, I can only “see” half of the right hand column; I can however, see another to be useful. There were a couple of 2 column options that were fluid to the extent that the entire blog was displayed in my reduced browser window, alas they didn’t quite grab me, or lacked some other element. I think I’d still prefer a theme that displays the date at the top of each post. Will mull on it some more.

oh bugger!

I have found out, in the last few minutes, that a new version of one my favourtist movies of all time was screening in Sydney. 4 screenings. The fourth, and last, commenced about an hour ago. The movie:

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I am, even now, considering the purchase of the briefcase, ultimate blah blah blah, edition, if only because it seems to be exhaustive, and is now, IIRC, $30-40 cheaper than a few months ago. It’s currently retailing for AUD$150 and I was sure it was around $180-190 previously. No doubt the strength of the aussie dollar against the greenback has played a part, if that’s the case. Whereas the 5 disc version, without the briefcase, is $60 cheaper at $90. Not as big a difference as my initial impression; my memory is probably failing but I don’t think the price for the standard 5 disc version has changed. Whereas the 2 disc variety, containing the new version and other bits, is around $25. There is no argument, I want the 5 disc version. It is Blade Runner afterall. It’s really a question of whether I want the additional trinkets, or am happy with just the dvds. I’m not a big trinket fan, but seriously considering making an exception this time round. Trinkets include:

  • a briefcase (not fussed, will gather dust)
  • lenticular motion film clip from the original feature (sounds cool)
  • miniature origami unicorn figurine (sweet but hmmm)
  • miniature replica spinner car (nice)
  • collector’s photographs (could be cool and look good on the wall, maybe)
  • signed personal letter from Sir Ridley Scott (ho hum, not big on autographs unless I get them in person and even then, not really my scene these days)

Either way, it’s the movie for me. I’m a big fan of the director’s cut, at least in part because I saw it first. With exceptions, fans tend to prefer whichever version they saw first. When the original came out, I really wanted to see it, but missed. Instead dad bought me the book, Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” which blew me away. The film is one of those rare beasts that managed to capture the essence of the book, though it omitted much of the detail. The book inspired for me a love of Philip K. Dick’s work, of which I read several, including some of his best. That in turn led me to Stanislaw Lem, another of my favourite SF writers (though Lem, nor Dick really, is not someone you can restrict to a particular genre though they often wrote within one).

reading or not

Despite having several posts in my head these last few days, all begging to be let out and blogged, here I am responding to a post by Con on unfinished books. I’ve returned to bookbuying with a vengeance this year, and while my reading rate has picked up again (at long last!), there’s still the occasional hiccup. I think I have far too many books “in progress”, some of which I may finish, some I may not. Some books are browsing books which I dip into from time to time, like the Codex, the Shorter Oxford, and the da Vinci. Other books are waiting to be read, and others are in various states of hmmm…what’s a good word here, I’ve already used progress, I could say something like “…others are underway to varying degrees” but that sounds a little wordy. Oh well, some of these include: a book on search for the perfect dram (2/3 done), Stephenson’s Quicksilver (1/2 done), McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (a small book I’ve barely begun), Winchester’s The Meaning of Everything (recently commenced and part of my current predilection with dictionaries), Imagined Corners (I suspect this will be more of a dipping book, or at least I’ll treat it as such). Like Con, I’m only chapters into Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous and Crawford’s Balanced Libraries. One book I’m very keen to finish is the new Terry Dowling, Rynemonn, published a few weeks ago. Returning to the world of Tom Rynosseros, I’ve read most of it, and find Dowling’s writing just seems to hit the spot. Once finished, I’ll return to Quicksilver, as it’s been good so far and I’d like to read the 2nd and 3rd in its trilogy. Currently resisting temptation to start on Night Watch, though the books have recently appeared locally and in english. I am yet to watch the movie versions and as I have the first on DVD, I think I might be better waiting til I’ve read the book before I watch it.

While the above suggests I need to be more proactive in my reading so that more books are finished, this is actually typical of my reading life and has always been the case. Finishing the occasional book is nice but so too is reading the book I’m in the mood to read. That mood changes and with it my taste, sometimes I’m in the mood for fiction or non fiction, sometimes vampires, sometimes history. Sometimes I’m in the mood but can’t get to the book; sometimes I spend too much time on the computer, when I should be reading instead.

beyond the hype

Early Feb 2008, just before VALA, there’s a library symposium in Brisbane that looks rather tempting. Pricing has just come out and it’s just over $200 for ALIA members to attend the 2 day symposium. It’s devoted to 2.0 type stuff and importantly for me, there’s going to be a workshop on open source software for library management systems – an area I’m currently exploring for a work project. The symposium covers a fri and sat which means I only have to get one day off work; as it’s work related I may be able to claim it as a work day. Plus I might be able to visit friends in Brissy on the Sunday before flying back to Sydney. Much to ponder.


How odd, an extensive site devoted to words, length of words, use of words, etc., a word miscellany. Here you can find words that contain all 5 vowels, and in order. Dictionary words, typewriter words, long words, oddities and trivia.

the next day

Had a lovely time last night as one of about 40-50 guests of the ABC Library, Sydney. Looks like around 200 folk sent in requests to attend, and it was very much a matter of first in, first served. I didn’t know most of the people there and ended up meeting a few new people which was nice. Plus got to hang with a couple of mates who’d managed to make it too. The ABC Librarians excelled themselves, running 3 tours (10 minutes each) covering different aspects of what the library does and covers. I particularly liked their cataloguing system for videos, film,etc. Librarians can put items in any available space on any shelf. Once placed, they scan the item’s barcode and the shelf barcode, and the system is automatically updated with the item’s current location ie shelf order is irrelevant. So long as both barcodes are scanned, any old space will do. Maximises space and means you don’t have gaps on the shelves going unused. Awesome.

Ended up watching the end of The Chaser while relaxing on one of the couches, sipping champas and nibbling on some delish cheese and crackers. As for the main event, The Librarians, it seemed to go down well. I liked it and thought it a reasonable first episode, a few funny moments, and a few bits that made me feel uncomfortable. While the racism seemed spot on, I reckon they pushed that line a bit too much and it felt overbearing. There wasn’t anything that really jarred with my own library experiences and I’m looking forward to future episodes. Various librarians have been blogging already and there’s been some discussion on librarian elists. Some folk liked it, some folk hated it and some folk were happy to wait and see. There’s a total of 6 episodes and the trick for me will be to remember to watch TV; I may well end up downloading the episodes later.