Sunday, March 26, 2023

duolingo is a dag

I have been on Duolingo's Finnish course for over 200 days straight now, obviously (?) I know more Finnish every day than than I did the day before, but I don't expect to ever 'get there'. I'm at the stage where I can see Finnish words on TV or hear them in songs and recognise them as words I 'know' but it takes me an age to work out/recall what they actually are. 

Anyway whoever created Duolingo is crafty and I take my hat off to them. The ideal way to create an illusion of progress by what are essentially word games (nine times out of ten, it's at least as much 'what sentence can you make from these English words' as it is 'translate this sentence'). Anyway I am not opposed to it obviously, and I keep doing it, as frustrating as it often is. 

Today I got onto discussion of the internet. I initially got the below wrong because I didn't put a 'The' in front of 'Net', because I assumed the capital N must have meant it was OK to start the sentence with 'Net' though that also seemed a bit ridic. 
When did you last see the word 'Net' used for 'internet' and when did you last see it capitalised?! 

Also, what do you make of this one:

I mean, great question, right?! I think the answer is 'no'. Or, perhaps, 'No'. So then we got into the product placement, and we learnt the Finnish word for 'Duolingo' - always useful. 

Finally, we got to the heart of the situation: a complaint we have all had at some point. Can you believe I got stuck on the difference between 'even though' and 'although', and to be honest, I am still not really sure what that difference is. 

More kvetching myöhempänä ajankohtana! 

Friday, March 24, 2023


Perry has been part of the household since I guess late October. I have tried to do everything right, and a lot of the work has paid off. He can almost always be trusted, for instance, to sit around in a room by himself and not wreck the joint. He goes to bed after 9 essentially voluntarily (I mean, he needs treats to make it happen but he understands the routine). He doesn't piss or shit inside (at least not inside this house, he still has some way to go in understanding/caring about the difference between inside this house and the insides of other buildings, though he's almost always OK with it). But I am somewhat worried about some of his behaviours, which I'm going to detail here mainly for my own benefit so I can refer again in a month or two.

One is, I can't quite tell what he thinks of me. I know that sounds stupid but I observe him, for instance, greeting people he knows, and he's always really pleased to see them; overjoyed, sometimes. He is also, often, incredibly happy to meet new people, though he's dialled this down a little in the last couple of months. But when he gets up in the morning (aka I let him out of his cage) I might get a tail wag, but I certainly don't get the rapturous response many others receive. 

Now seriously I don't want a sycophantic dog, I know I hold a special status in his life if only because on the rare occasions in the dog park when he gets a fright or is nipped, whatever, he comes running to me instantly. But I have also noticed, for instance, that when I call him he knows what I want, but he won't come all the way - he comes close and sits down far enough away that I would have to get up to reach him. Similarly, we have mixed experiences at dinner time - when I'm putting his bowl down, I always make him sit and wait before I give him the go ahead to eat, and sometimes this can get confused, with him opting to go elsewhere - only temporarily, because he likes eating dinner, but he does find it fraught.

To be honest, I do wonder sometimes whether I have some odd ambiguity for him because another man, before I came along, was somehow a psychological problem for him. I can't imagine, knowing what I know about his earliest months, how this could be but everything else seems to fit. It is like he thinks I am likely to become needlessly authoritarian, even aggressive, at some point. (The coming to me in the park in times of trauma are an exception obviously). 

I might just be projecting. As I said, I never wanted a sycophantic pet (in truth one of the reasons I got Helmi was to take Nancy's attentions off me at least a little, which has happened, not in a positive way for Nancy I would say) and I'm not per se dissatisfied on that front, I'm just wondering if there's an impediment here that I can't quite penetrate. 

There are more issues but I'm sick atm and I can't concentrate well rn. 

* Update 25 March:
I was listening to a podcast which quoted (!) Meet the Fockers (! lol) with a fairly common sentiment about dogs vs cats, the eternal debate, in which dogs were dismissed as overly dependent and submissive whereas cats were/are more self-contained. Putting aside that my own cats are ridiculously sycophantic to me, I would say this is where Perry is more in the cat column than the dog column: he has always had his own opinions, as long as I've known him, and if he's going to change them he needs to be shown why. I appreciate that. 

But even this morning in the dog park in between tussling with other dogs he and I had a few good moments of connection. I'm not 100% putting the possibility that someone or something has hurt him off the table, because he does, as mentioned above, sometimes react in ways I've seen mistreated dogs react. Never snappy or lashing out though, so maybe it's my imagination. Maybe he just needs to be fully convinced. 

killed it

I have to assume it's bots because nothing else makes sense, but I am so sick of the enormous amount of traffic that one post of mine on this blog has been getting, that I've deleted the fucking thing. This is (was) it:

The link ('I have tried to make sense of it here') is here:

Thursday, March 23, 2023


I am not feeling at all well today (not covid, I finally checked it) and so watched bits of crappy tv etc - yes - a day off really, when it comes down to it. I watched this program that's like a weird special by Fred Armisen, who in the main I've always liked, talking about drums and drumming. It's mainly a stand-up show I guess, and his guests are (ugh) all drummers, which at least means that he doesn't have to explain the various bits of the drums - he's talking to equals, after a fashion, and anyone watching who doesn't know about drums, gets it from context. Up to a point yeah great, that works, it's a bit of a vanity concept but good. But (and bear in mind that I only watched the first ten minutes if that) he is just awkwardly sniping at the wrong people all the time. 

He plays a track he says is jazz, I don't recognise the track, and asks the audience to put their hand up at the moment they think 'this is jazz', which I guess means, the moment at which you start being aware of the form rather than the content. Well, of course, fuck that because when someone says 'I'm going to play you an example of jazz, tell me when you start thinking of it as jazz', that's all you think about straight away. Also, the snatch of music barely gets under way - no time to even really imagine what it is or what it means. (Also btw recognising/developing conscious awareness of a categorisation of music you're listening to is not a sign that it's no good. 'I'm going to play you a track, tell me when you think, "this is reggae"'). 

He makes a joke, the scummiest piece of shit self-centred Americancentric joke imaginable, where he hypothesises going to some concert in another country (he throws out that it might be Italy) and thousands of people are there to see someone he has never heard of, and he wants to tell them that they are excited to see a nobody. That is the joke - that people he has never heard of are no good. I mean FFS. I know I'm sick and I've been to the dentist and been told that I have to have a molar replaced, but that is not funny - it wouldn't be funny even if the point of the story is how stupid the person telling the story is. I have to say that is one form of humour I will never get - where other people know about something the humorist has no knowledge of, and so they are dumb. 

I am not a drummer's arsehole, as I've said many times before, even if I did have a dream last night that Guy Blackman asked me to join a band with him, Mick Harvey and Steve Miller (presumably I was playing drums, though Mick Harvey is an excellent, excellent drummer). But I have filled that role in bands before. To the degree I was the drummer it was because no-one else wanted to be, not because I had innate skill. Anyway I won't go on about that. Fred Armisen is a good drummer. But this show is just pissy and sour.

So another middle aged man I liked, Bob Odenkirk. I am half an hour into Lucky Hank. Fuck me. Now, obviously a big part of this program is that the university in question is a middle-of-nowhere, no-particular-value university without any status or resources. I don't work at one of those. Also, it's the USA (again), not a quality place like Australia. It's a literature school, too, and it would seem that it allows parents to come on campus and complain about the staff. But the shizzle about tenure and the pretensions of academe, Hank always being always about to write his second novel, the prattling and gossip and ultrasensitivity of the various overly fragile members of staff, ugh, fuck, I don't know how anyone could agree to be in a garbagey piece of crap like this. It's locked in a yan-and-yin of cliche circling old-hat-on-an-old-hat. It's a satire of tertiary education which makes absolutely no reference to the realities of tertiary education, but to some kind of 1960s sitcom versions of boffins and ratbags and hypersensitive kids. Gah!  



So this morning I commented to Laura how annoyed I was (it doesn't take much) that it was going to be 24 degrees again today, mainly because yesterday I had told Perry (because of what the BOM had told me) that there would be no more 24 degree days for many months to come. 

I don't know if it will get to 24 today but it'll be a hat on a hat if it does because this morning as I was waiting for the bus it suddenly got extremely dark and good lord, what a downpour. As always photography does not stand up to competition from 1000 words (which unfortunately however I don't really feel that inclined to write) and of course I could have made the above entirely from AI but there are probably other ways to establish that it rained heavily this morning in Melbourne. It was a real drag. Particularly since the bus dropped me off at a stop half way between Cardigan and Lygon on Grattan, a hop skip and a jump from where I was going, but suddenly Lygon St itself was a rushing torrent, to the extent that I crossed it almost all the way and then turned back right at the gutter because it was so deep and wide it looked - if not dangerous, let's say, like I'd get my feet wet. 

On top of all this - I was going to the dentist. Buh-bow. Or, sad trombone. The news that I have a fractured molar which was going to have to be extracted at some point soon kind of puts the above into perspective. Still processing that. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

homicide - crime against nature

This Homicide (aired 21 Jan 1974 in Sydney / 5 February 1974) is a messy show structurally but if any Homicide gets to be called 'ahead of its time' perhaps this one could. First, just want to mention... 

The episode opens at the Hazienda Steakhouse. Whatever that was (I mean, I can guess). There's an article in the Age from 1980 that says it's a hang for celebrities. Satisfyingly for me (progress!) this building is now a very good vegetarian restaurant called Sisters of Soul. Anyway, that's not important here. This was a controversial episode that needed sensitivity from Channel 7: 

Age TV-Radio Guide 31 January 1974 p. 3, 

Note however Channel 7 in Sydney had absolutely no such qualms:
SMH 21 January 1974 p. 27

This episode is about the murder of a man apparently on a beat somewhere though it's super confusing where as it's clearly St Kilda (see above) but a lot of the action takes place in a housing estate which looks to me like Broadmeadows but could as easily be anywhere where LJ Hooker had his fingers in the pie. Possibly the billboard below would give some detail though it's not very clear at all. 

So the murder's solved reasonably easily - the murderers were a big bunch of teenagers, and the weak link in the chain (I don't think we see any more than one of the teenagers actually) was inculcated into hating gay men by his father, who is a weaselly English migrant. 

What's more interesting IMO is the various opinions put forward about gays in the episode. Lawson (Bud Tingwell) at one point tells Paul Karo's character (Ernst Brenner) that he enforces the law as it stands and he doesn't need to know if any law was broken, which comes fairly close to saying that he doesn't think the law is right, or perhaps I'm being too kind. There's not a lot of in-depth discussion of homosexuals or what they do, beyond when Lawson confronts Brenner with some love letters he had written to the victim.*

Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention but there is a weird sub plot (?) where some young kids on the estate, one of whom is the younger brother of the boy who is ultimately found guilty of the murder, are bullying another kid. That seems to go nowhere except when the bullied boy vandalises a police car and Lawson loses his temper and tells other Ds to find the child who did it. I don't know if they do. I got lost. 

*That Brenner had written, obviously, not Lawson.  Keep up. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

trip to europe a month ago - helsinki

Today was Laura's first full complete day in Helsinki (well, I'm writing this at 6:30 at night on the 17th of February so perhaps I shouldn't presume). Anyway we walked around Käpyla, which is always beautiful, saw a squirrel, they are renovating the houses for better or worse. Then we went on a long walk to Fresh Garbage records and I bought a Thick Pigeon album, a Liikkuvat Lapset album and a few others, and scored a Gilbert O'Sullivan album and a Finnish christmas record out of the free bin, I asked the guy behind the counter how much a cloth Fresh Garbage bag was and he said 'you have spent so much here today you may have it for free'. Score! 

Then we went to Picnic and ate some food, then we try and figure out the public transport, which was troublesome, and it transpired - apparently - that while we have the app ok it won't accept our credit cards - boo! We got some tangible tickets instead. Then we went to the National Museum of Finland. It was free on Friday afternoons (we initially thought free for two hours but actually only an hour - but that's OK we got the good bits out of it). 

duolingo is a dag

I have been on Duolingo's Finnish course for over 200 days straight now, obviously (?) I know more Finnish every day than than I did the...