Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010


At the risk of sending the Apple empire into freefall, I just want to announce that iPods have a number of deficiencies. You wouldn’t have thought so, would you, but they do.

One is that when you are charging or changing the content on them you cannot tell how much power they have in reserve. So, you can’t tell how charged they are, or whether they are finished charging, without disconnecting them. And that (like USB things generally) is a hassle and a drag.

Another is this stupid format thing of mp3 files and wav files or whatever they’re called. It’s difficult in iTunes to distinguish between the two types of file, since iTunes on the computer will accept either, but the iPod will only play mp3s I think. I could be wrong about this. Like a true 2010 consumer, as far as I’m concerned if I am wrong, it’s the fault of the developer of the system for not making it sufficiently user friendly. Anyway, I had to refresh my iPod a few months ago and iTunes did it itself, I can’t remember what happened, and I still occasionally find wav files on there, you can’t play them and they take up bulk space.

Another is the fact that you can’t delete stuff off there without using iTunes. When I had my iRiver at least you could delete on the unit itself.

Another is the fact that it’s quiet. It doesn’t have to be I know that because you try and boost the volume and it does it for a second and then reverts to some kind of safety setting. Isn’t it my choice to have my iPod loud enough to block out the fucken myki announcements? Touch on, touch off I don’t care.

…THEN: I wrote the above late last week and to my dismay (you know all that stuff about computers and other software ‘talking to each other’? Who knew!) my iPod completely died – I can think of no other word though that one is inaccurate for a number of reasons – on Saturday morning. The weirdest thing was I almost now feel like I knew the instant it happened, when I pulled out the stereo jack, though plainly that is not possible and must be a hindsight thing. But I had just finished listening to the Radio 4 Film Program… no, that’s already a false memory, because I started listening to the Radio 4 Film Program or is it Programme? And then I quickly appreciated it was either a repeat or a compile, and life’s too short. So I must have just finished listening to something else. Anyway I pulled out the jack and something was wrong, and I looked down and the thing’s screen was utterly blank and none of the usual massaging (also known as ‘toggling’ – when is that word going to make it into non-computer speak? Probably already has) got even an error message. It might as well have been an empty prop.

I had too many things to worry about the rest of that day, to do much about it except plug it into the computer (not the computer I’m writing on right now but the big one) and think that somehow exposure to a larger computing form would be a beneficial influence. The next day, Sunday, I had the time inbetween my ineffectual gardening attempts to get down to the business of trying to get a solution to this problem because, like being able to see out of both eyes or walk, you don’t realise how important your iPod is until you don’t have it. So it’s the usual process of buggerizing around on the Apple website to try and find a way to get the thing fixed. You can take it into a range of insufferably inconvenient places to speak to a person called a ‘genius’ (I may have mentioned before that being neither a guru or a genius myself and not even being entirely sure that such things exist or should exist, in the classic sense anyway, I am always irritated by reference to geniuses and gurus, even though of course it’s always in airquotes or with a ™ after it) about this problem. If it was a case of traveling to Chadstone to bop a genius on the nose (or ‘schnozz’) I would be totes up for that, but that wasn’t an option listed and no-one seems to bop anyone on anything anymore, it’s all toggle this toggle that.

So there were a bunch of options most of which were For Dummies, i.e. people who had accidentally turned their iPod off (the only way to do this is accidentally, as they don’t really have off switches) or were looking at the back of it . There was no option for absolutely no response, just assumptions that you had some kind of message on the screen, which I didn’t. Eventually I booked a call to a genius or something similar – I look forward to seeing how quickly the geniuses respond to these kinds of things.

Anyway to cut a boring story boringer, last night I went and looked at it again and it was working again. So it was just 30 hours or so of iPoddery I will never get back, at least till this happens again.

* Conspiracy theory # 2 – the laptop crashed soon after I wrote the above. Obviously Apple has a program in its computer to destroy all complaints about Apple written on Apple products. Except when I restarted the above was all still there, so it was I guess just a warning.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

krispy kreme is not your friend

They dwell amongst us

me at powderfinger last friday

It Bendiwent off
Photo by Mia R. Schoen

charlie barry madness

Well Barry is proving to be an enormous success, not very surprising really. He has clearly read the guide on how to behave like a puppy and win hearts everywhere. He didn't read the chapter on how to get Charlie onside unfortunately and she is not entirely convinced. That said, they definitely played yesterday (the way she and Millie used to: asserting oneself with decisive front-paw emphasis, and the hand on the back) but she also has been known to get him in a corner and upset him. Still, they sleep together (not just like in this picture: they sleep in the same bed at night, not up close and personal but they do cohabit, and Charlie appreciates the company I'm sure).

he thinks it looks like he's levitating

This used to be a very tall box.

Friday, October 15, 2010

maw etc

I went and got my tooth fixed. It took a week to happen because we were so low on money this week and also because I was unwilling to dip my toe into the water of dental work in case it rendered me unable to do my extra large teaching load this week. As with so many remarkably selfless acts I have undertaken, it was dead easy because I am terrified of the dentist and it didn’t hurt, just felt a bit like a gaping maw in my mouth, which I guess is what it was.

I tried out a new dentist. This was for unfair reasons, possibly. I called the dentist I had been to previously when the tooth broke after 3 on Saturday, and I am pretty darn sure their recorded message said they were open until 5 on Saturday, though obviously at that time they weren’t, and that annoyed me and I thought right I’ll teach you I’ll go to the dentist my father goes to which he recommends so highly. They called me back on Monday morning and when I mentioned it they denied ever claiming to be open till 5 on Saturday. So maybe in my freaked out state I misheard or misunderstood. Whatever. This morning I went to new dentist and it was a lot like being in an early 1970s sci fi film that borrows on the imagery/ concepts of narcotic drugs in representing a sanitized death clinic or perhaps heaven. I loved it I guess. It didn’t hurt, at any rate. (Not yet anyway, I’m still numb in the left side of my face). Every time I opened my eyes the dentist seemed to be silently consulting in gestures with the dental nurse, which made me feel like something truly awful must be happening, and they were about to put me into their emergency ward to have my lower jaw removed. But this didn’t happen, unless I’m dreaming being on the train right now. If I was in an actual drug dream it probably wouldn’t rain heaviliy like it is now and the girl opposite me wouldn’t be tearing into her fingernails with her teeth and other fingers the way she is, as these are not things that I equate with serenity, particularly the second mentioned thing.

OK so Barry has been with us two days now. He is of course delightful, but it did bring home to me once more (as have so many things) what a smart and well-trained dog Millie was – we put a lot of work into her! And she learnt. Charlie, as probably previously mentioned many times, is less easily trainable because of her relative lack of interest in food and her obsession with what other dogs do. Barry is probably pretty trainable right now, because consumption of food is his main goal.

Charlie is not besotted with Barry and one of the first things she did to him was try to roll him on his back. Kenzie understood this as his role the first time he met Charlie; he submitted almost immediately. Barry is not a submissive dog though. He was in a bean bag yesterday jumping around and Charlie saw her chance to flip him on his back; he kicked her in the face (but I think she might still have felt some satisfaction from seeing his little belly for a split second). He seems totally unperturbed by Charlie’s growling. Kenzie has been with us for the last day or so and Barry has even tried to climb on Kenzie’s back a couple of times. He is possibly more people oriented than dog oriented however. Anyway I’m not worried about the Charlie-Barry thing, I reckon when he gets a little bigger and becomes a walking companion etc, Charlie will be happy to have him. One thing I will note is that whereas Monday and Tuesday nights Charlie could not settle or cope, now that Barry’s here they can sleep outside together and she is contented. She has always had other dogs around, her first 18 months or so was as part of a pack, and then there was always Millie, so she was never alone. I think she was started to fear a lonely old age.

Natalie (and Marc probably) are going to puppysit tonight while we endure Glastonbury style the insane weather conditions of this evening’s Powderfinger spectacular. As per Edna Everage at least we will be able to say we saw them, and not in some dumb old reunion. Nothing bugs me more than people who think they saw the Buzzcocks because they saw them tour Australia in 1990 or they saw the Laughing Clowns because they saw them in 2008. GET REAL!

That’s not true many things bug me more but there needs to be a new terminology.

Also why, when I put my memory stick into any computer, does it instantly load iphoto?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


new problems

1. We are going to see Powderfinger in Bendigo on Friday. What's the problem? I hear you say. Apart from the fact there won't be much option to see Powderfinger anywhere in the near future. Well, the problem is we have a new puppy, Kenzie and Charlie to look after that night. This will consume me for a while. I imagine we will have to come back from Bendigo on the night; but I am not sure we can leave the triumverate of terror alone for 7 or 8 hours...
2. I broke a tooth. Well, it just crumbled. A molar. It's the one I had filled again last year, they warned me this might happen. Have you ever tried to get emergency dental treatment in Melbourne on a Saturday afternoon? Well, don't. I waited three hours at the dental hospital and got the option of either pulling it out there and then (or rather, having it pulled out for me) or going to a real dentist next week. I had so much to do (a lecture a day Mon-Thurs) and so little money, I have put it off till Friday. It doesn't hurt, but it feels really weird. I am going to try out a new dentist - Smile Solutions - ironically a name I have trouble saying in my present 1/2 a tooth less condition.
3. Concerns to do with work (students etc not colleagues) which it is not right to discuss here.
4. I think that's all for the moment but it's enough to be getting on with.

Charlie today

"stop anthropomorphising me idiot"

Charlie is a complex individual with certain requirements, and at the moment she is quite needy, which is unusual for her. For the last week she has basically had run of the house and last night was a particularly bad night for her I think. I ended up having to sleep on the couch to keep her company (I know this sounds pathetic, but it was pragmatic apart from anything else: I needed her to go to sleep and not mope from room to room/ outside over and over). It's a comfortable couch, it is from the cosy and urbane 1950s. She doesn't quite realise it but she is about to be exposed to Cyclone Barry. That will change her life. Also, Kenzie is coming again on Thursday. Wot larks!


From the Broadmeadows High School magazine Booligal 1973, 1974. Click to enlarge.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Thank you to everyone who has commiserated, mostly off-blog. Millie was a big part of my life and I can remember hundreds of time when she was around, partipating or otherwise. I hate the end of this era. I don't believe in puppy heaven either.

Millie's deafness in her last year meant she looked to Charlie for cues on when to eat her dinner (they were both very good dogs, uncommon in beagles, when it came to getting the nod to eat). What I didn't realise until today was that Charlie looked to Millie for cues too. I often threw a bit of dry food up the back of the garden when I fed them, and Millie was always utterly attentive to where that went and would race off with Charlie. Today I discovered that Charlie was completely looking to Millie for cues on that. She had no idea what I was doing.

I realise it might be a good time now to train Charlie to do things (we were a bit lazy about this as Millie was so obedient and Charlie was being led, but also, it was very hard to train Charlie with Millie distracting her). Considering Charlie is a bit of a barrel, it's strange to note that she is not particularly food oriented, and probably wouldn't do much for food.
It took me a long time to get over the death of Silver in 2005, in the sense of no longer feeling a pang when I think about her. We had Silver for the last half of her life, and she was a stupendous and personable dog too. Millie we had since she was a puppy, so I knew her at all phases.
I realise now that she was winding down quite a bit in the last 12 months and perhaps particularly since her car accident. That said I know well that she could easily have died then (+ we might never have known what happened) and so I have to be glad that didn't happen and she had another 18 months.
I think others had a better sense of her oldness than I did. For instance last week when I was taking her to the vet I ran into John and Jill next door who seemed unconvinced by my positivity about her general good health. She was losing weight rapidly.
I am not going to go on being philosophical or at least not out loud as I have more things to think about on this topic. Well, of course, I am still missing Millie very much and this has been a terrible week. It has been a bad year for death altogether, 2010, so I hope to get to the end of it at least without another major one that impacts immediately on my day-to-day life.

Charlie is coping but confused. Kenzie is keeping her company currently.
As mentioned last week we had already decided on another dog. Barry is coming to us next week. Here is a picture of him with his mother and brother. He is the small one.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Our noble and gentle* beagle Millie died yesterday aged 11 and a 1/2.
She had an inoperable liver tumour, was finding it difficult to breathe and was unwilling to eat.
Until this struck - a week or so ago - she was enjoying a charmed and happy life.
We will miss her very much.

*and often silly