Blogger's changed a bit, but I'm looking at reviving this, for a special purpose. Let's see how posts look though?
What's it look like with images though?


Many years ago, I had a friend who was unhappy in his job and his life. He announced to our circle of friends his decision to quit his job, and return to his uncompleted university studies. Several within the circle cautioned him, and advised him against his course of action. But it didn't matter how we put it to him, he was set on his path.
As things turned out, what we warned against came to pass, and a year later, he was more depressed as all the reasons for his depression remained, but now he was poor and unemployed as well.
What I learned from that chapter is people will, more often than not, decide on a position and only then come up with arguments for and against. In essence, they decide with their heart, and only after that do they rationalise that decision with their head.
It occurred again a few years later when another friend had committed to share a house with someone they barely knew, and then a friend asked them to share. He agonized over whether to follow through on the barely-inked deal, or go with something he felt he'd be happier with down the track. I told him that if he wanted the second place, with his friend, then he should go with it, and stop trying to reason it out. Which he did. And it turned out well.
Most of us like to think we do the opposite. Most of us like to think we calmly weigh up the choices available and reach a logical conclusion. But we don't. For the most part, we go with what our heart tells us and the 'reasons' are tacked on afterwards as window-dressing on the decision to satisfy our need to convince ourselves and others.


I am thinking of reviving this old blog. Not sure if I can still post to it though. So this is a test.

Probably the most frustrating aspect of being caught up in a legal battle is the waiting.

I'm not good with waiting. The delays are in-built to the system so different parties can build their case, prepare a defence. But when the prosecution has no case at all, and I'm just waiting for a chance to point this out, and have the whole thing dismissed, the delays just serve to drive me slowly crazy.

A week or so ago, a blogger I read, Clay Shirky, wrote a piece comparing the different interpersonal styles of his male and female students. I was being slack at the time, and took a few days to discover his piece. By the time I did, it had been caught up in the online feminist circles with banshees screaming "He's saying women can only succeed if they behave like men" and decrying him.
In an act that proves I know nothing about how to participate in an online lynching, my reaction was to read Clay Shirky's article. When I did, I discovered that what he was saying seemed to be:
  • male and female students approach self-promotion differently
  • male students are more prepared to take risks and "fake it till you make it" in scenarios like job interviews etc
  • our society rewards this behaviour
  • female students who were prepared to put themselves forward and say "My work is good" find they get ahead more
  • it's a pity the world works like this, but maybe there's lessons to be gained from it.
I can see where the feminists get the "We can only succeed if we're more like men" line. But to take that to criticising Clay Shirky for stating such realities is just bizarre. It also makes the connection that "being more like men" means "being a worse person". Perhaps they needed to replace "being more like men" with "taking on successful strategies for self-promotion", and leaving gender out of the equation (after all, the feminist ranters are always telling us gender should not be a factor in non-gender issues).
On the way to work the other day, I was thinking their position is even worse. It's parallel to criticising someone for saying:
  • different people approach self-promotion differently
  • taller people are more confident, and speak up for themselves
  • society rewards confident people
  • short people should be more confident
And making the conclusion that the person offering advice is saying short people should walk on stilts.
Sexism is a problem. But finding it in places where it isn't, and crying wolf does your cause more harm than good.

You've seen them. Those bumper stickers saying "If you don't love it, leave". I recently heard another: "We grew here, you flew here". The expressions of Australian xenophobia. The true harvest of the Howard-Hanson years.

I have always thought the "If you don't love it, leave" one is particularly moronic. Presumably those voicing such ideas have no idea what life in a democracy is about - namely that if you don't like something about the democracy, you change it. Yet another example of how democratic ideas are only skin-deep?
Maybe it's coincidence Tony Abbott revived Howard's "We'll decide who comes here and the circumstances in which they come" on the eve of Australia Day? Or maybe not.
In the leadup to Australia Day, I've had discussions with a number of my friends about this distasteful side of Australian-ism - I don't like to call it patriotism, because it isn't. Such conversations have made me wonder:
Are there any aspects of Australian culture that are more than a small step removed from redneck boganism?
Footy, barbecues, beaches, pub rock, utes, car-races, beer. They're all damn close. What else do we have though? Anything?

The detective delivered his brief of evidence last week.
I honestly expected he would have an ace up his sleeve - some twist that I knew nothing about - which would justify his persistence. I was surprised he didn't. Instead, what the brief of evidence revealed was a home goal of incredible magnitude.

The detective included an email between himself and Google, indicating he has Google's access logs for my gmail account. He didn't include those access logs, and the letter he has from our ISP that includes information about our IP address.
Including it would have been fatal for his case because the IP addresses between Google's access logs and our ISP account do not match. Leaving it out though is worse.
Omitting evidence that shows my innocence demonstrates the detective is pursuing the case for reasons other than a genuine belief of my guilt.
Proving malicious prosecution requires five criteria.
Proving "no reasonable cause for the prosecution" requires showing the police had insufficient evidence to prosecute - and this brief of evidence proves that.
Proving "evidence of malice on the part of the prosecutor" is provided by the detective omitting evidence favourable to the defence.
Now, the only criteria I need in order to sue him for malicious prosecution is the second: "termination of the prosecution proceedings in the plaintiff's favour". This could be either being found non-guilty in court, or the police dropping the charges.

Now the police are in the enviable position where the only way to avoid a malicious prosecution suit is to win the case. And their evidence wont allow them to do that. If they lose, they are sunk. If they drop the case, they're equally sunk.

Being me, I am torn between trying to make a peace deal with them instead of going for total victory. I want to go to one of the reasonable police I know and say "Save your department from a law suit, by helping negotiate a peace deal between the detective and me?" After all, this is me condemning myself to a drawn-out legal battle against my father's employer.
But I spoke to mum the other night, and she said Dad would want incompetence driven out. And haven't I given them enough chances? Several offers to the detective to give him what he wanted if he left me alone; a police complaint that was treated with contempt? Surely I've done enough against someone who's been relentlessly pursuing me without just cause? Maybe the time has come I should let the bloodthirsty side of my personality out for a while?

She's giving a talk at a conference in New Zealand next week.
So Wednesday, she flew to Brisbane for some time at her office. Then last night flew from Brisbane to Wellington.
As a result, it's been very quiet here, being the only one in the house.
I expected I'd be a lot more bored, have a lot more time on my hands. But instead, I've been busy with looking after Lucius a few times at his place, working late a bit, and going to a shindig down in Sutherland Friday night.
I also haven't even logged into EvE, simply due to lack of time.
I have been doing a fair amount of legal research as well. More about that later on.

Advantages to Bachelor Life for a week or two?
Noone complains that the dishes haven't been done
Can play my own music all day long
Don't have to shave

She's not here
Email, SMS and phone calls just don't substitute

My excuse for not posting an entry today is that it's too hot. Too hot to sit at my computer and think.
Hence, I'm sitting at my computer playing games instead. At least they don't involve mental exertion.

I don't know about anyone else, but The Big Lebowski was one of my favourite films when I first saw it. It made bowling a cult thing amongst my circle of friends, and it's always had that ring of cool associated with it.
Furthering the coolness, someone's re-written the movie as a Shakespearean play. Have a read - it looks pretty cool.

I just realised the comments aren't working. Someone told me before New Year, but I haven't logged back in since then. I think I know why they're not working, so I'll have a look in the next few days.

Edit: I think it's working now. If anyone's reading, give it a test.

I recently found myself in a debate with some supporters of the bid for Australia to host the World Cup in 2018 or maybe 2022.

At the heart of the discussion was the idea that hosting such an event would be beneficial for the national economy, in terms of tourism, investment etc. But I've always been a bit skeptical of such claims. Did the Olympics in Sydney in 2000 help the hosting city and state? I've never seen the figures.
So I was glad to read this article today.
In 2000, NSW's share of Australian tourism fell.
When the US hosted the World Cup in 1994, the economic effect was a multi-billion dollar loss, rather than the four billion boost its supporters claimed.
With that in mind, I hope Australia not only does not host the World Cup, but does not even bid. To make a bid for something that'd be detrimental economically would just be daft.

After looking for somewhere to do volunteer work on Christmas Day, and finding noone would call her back, my girlfriend and I decided to go to Newcastle for Christmas Day, and spend it with my mum, most my siblings and nephews.

Despite expecting large amounts of traffic Christmas Eve on the F3, there wasn't. And on Christmas Day when we drove back, traffic was light. And on the way home, no trucks - so there wasn't the speed-differential traffic rubbish you'd normally get on the F3 and Hume Highway.
A much easier trip than I expected.

I want to get some content up here, and I'll fiddle with the appearance and theme as I go.

Earlier this month was The Weekend of Two Tims.

We first went to see The Whitlams perform their Eternal Nightcap album with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. It was a lovely night, a Friday, and Circular Quay even put on fireworks timed perfectly with the gig's interval. After the interval, they played a few of their hits from other albums. But seeing Eternal Nightcap played as a set was a highlight, and one I wasn't expecting. It's always been my favourite Whitlams album, with its dark themes of self-destruction, broken love and disillusion. The weird thing about the night though was Tim Freedman's hair: ever since I've been a fan of the Whitlams, he's had disshevelled scruffy hair. At the Opera House though, it seems he'd gotten a proper haircut, and with the grey scattered through it, he looked like, well, a banker. :)
I was pretty wrecked for the next day though because we drove back from Sydney immediately after the gig - and got home about 1.30am. Gone are the days when I could do such things and be chirpy in the morning. No, instead I wasted almost the entire weekend lazing around in shorts and a grotty t-shirt, doing some gardening or watching some iView.

Sunday night, another Tim with a bit of an unusual hair thing happening. We went to see Tim Minchin on his latest national tour. Being a comedy musical act, I found some of his older material got a less-sharp reaction from the audience than it should have. But that's just because most the people there have heard songs like Canvas Bags, If You Really Love Me and Dark Side before. His new material though, because he was able to deliver it fresh to the crowd, went down a treat. I loved Prejudice and Confessions amongst the new songs, but some of the others were a bit too strongly tainted by his dislike of religion - it's a theme I relate to, but he can go a bit overboard and harp on about it.

Last night, this article was shared with me. It explains how television has sucked up all the "free time" created by modern technology, and so instead of doing something useful, people sit around watching TV.

So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project--every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in--that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it's a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it's the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.
And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that's 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus. People asking, "Where do they find the time?" when they're looking at things like Wikipedia don't understand how tiny that entire project is

Go have a read of the article. It's quite fascinating.
You'll probably have to turn the TV off first though.
If you're lucky, you'll never turn it back on :)


I don't live here by choice.
Some people love this city, its climate, culture, size, geography.
I don't.
I live here because it's a compromise.
My son is in this city.
My work is in this city.
My girlfriend is in this city.
I'd gladly move home, to my hometown. The city where I grew up. But that is quite a distance in the future, if ever.
Except, of course, my hometown is in NSW. And NSW is, for now at least, an absolute fucken joke.


Okay, that was a heavy post to start off with. And for that reason, it took me a while to let it settle. But now it has, I can move onto more normal transmissions. In future days.

As best I understand it, she expected to die so she wrote a blog post which would be a farewell. Because she used WordPress, one of its features allows a blogger to write a post, and date it sometime in the future, and it would remain hidden until that date. I knew she was unwell - we exchanged SMS messages in the days leading up to the crucial time. I knew her life was falling apart. But unlike most who read her blog, I was more than just a reader of her website - I was a confidante, a sounding board, a support, a special project. I was her friend.

I was at work that day. I think it was a Thursday. And a former workmate who also read her blog daily called me. Had I seen her blog? No posts for a few days, and now her special post was being displayed. It was the sign to those who knew that her battle was over, and she was gone.
The post didn't say she was gone. It said she was leaving her current life behind, and leaving to go start a new one. Only, to those of us who'd spoken to her and had her read the final post to us months before, it was a sign to us. Her story had ended, and she'd died.
On the day, I could do little except advise my supervisor, and leave the office. I rang some of my friends, and told them, and I went to spend the afternoon with my girlfriend.

A week later though, I began to receive spam emails. Invites to join this website or other, supposedly from her. I wrote it off as just one of those things that happen in the unfathomable world of spam marketing. Especially when I learnt some of our mutual friends had received similar messages.
Something else in that first week made me suspicious. I don't recall now what it was, since it's now two and a half years in the past, but something made me curious enough to go hunting for a death notice in the newspaper. Following my father's death, I learnt that a death notice was a legal requirement. I searched both the tabloid, and the broadsheet newspapers. My search was never going to go well: I was uncertain of the date, only able to narrow it down to within 4-5 days; I was only able to search online, because I lived in another state; even worse, I knew she traveled under several different names, and was uncertain of the spelling. Not finding any death notice given those holes in the search was hardly surprising.

A couple of months went by, and there was a storm in blog-land.
Her final post got removed, put back, and a newer post was made by one of her "friends". I got an abusive email from the same friend for suggesting I had doubts about the official story. Someone archived her blog as it originally was, and posted it up afresh.

Almost two years went by.

Around Easter, I noticed someone was using her account in a chat website. I made an obscure reference to it on my own blog, so noone except her would know what I was referring to. She surfaced. I got a comment or two, and had an email chat. She told me things noone else could have. It was definitely her. I got a vague explanation - she'd been very sick, and when she recovered well enough to even know the blog post had been published, it was far too late. Better to leave it all in the past, and so she had.
In the last year sometime though, she'd started writing again, a new blog, a new online persona. And just like the first time, she gained readers, including some who had read her the first time around.
Just last week though, some of them began to realise the styles were similar, and did some detective work. Some digging revealed the links between then-her and now-her. And blog-land went into melt-down. She'd lied to them. She'd faked her death. She was the lowest lifeform imaginable. The righteous indignation of those who thought they deserved to be told two years ago that she'd not died was shouted from the rooftops.
But the world isn't that simple.
She'd not lied. Even though her intent when she wrote that post had been one thing, it also matched the scenario as it'd played out outside her control.
She'd not revived her old blog or told readers individually about the discrepancy because, they just didn't need to know. Those who have spoken to her since, and discussed it with her without the hysterical rantings of the blogerati have come away realising that she did what was right.

As for me, who was her friend then, I still am.
She taught me long ago friends love each other regardless of the flaws and chinks in their suits of armour. Nothing's changed.