So this new laptop is quite the fun toy. Even the webcam has proven to be amusing. It has this demo where it incorporates live video from the webcam into a demo Windows Messenger screen, which has two video feeds (one is you, the other is part of the demo) and it looks like you are chatting to someone on Messenger. In my case, a calm looking Asian guy in glasses. I was on the couch beginning to watch the demo when Mr. T came in with dinner, and I put the laptop on the floor to eat (yes we eat in the lounge. Heathens. Ask anyone.) What I didn’t realise was that the webcam was now tilted up and facing Mr. T, and it caught his eye. He jumped like a little girl. “Your laptop is broadcasting me! Turn it off!”
“Oh, are you chatting to the webcam guy?”
“YES! Why are you chatting to a webcam guy? Why is he watching me eat dinner? TURN IT OFF!”
“That’s the demo. That’s not really a guy. He’s a virtual webcam guy.”
“Really? God that looks realistic. That scared the crap out of me. Hi, webcam guy! Look what I’m eating! [spears sausage, waves in air towards webcam] It’s part of a pig!”
“Stop talking to the webcam guy.”
“It would be rude not to, I’m on Messenger. Hi! Look! I’m on TV!”
“I cannot believe you.”
“You’re just jealous because no one wants to watch YOU eat. Look! Fennel! Do you like fennel, webcam guy?”
“He might have virtual fennel. YOU don’t know.”
“I’m getting up and moving this laptop. In fact, look, I’m turning the webcam towards the dog. The webcam guy will probably appreciate the conversation.”
“Whatever. You’re just jealous because I’m famous.”
“You are SO not famous. …hey, where’s my sausage? Did you just steal that off my plate?”
“Me? I don’t know what you’re talking about. But there was this webcam guy who was just here. Shifty looking, he was.”


Well I finally cracked it with my little laptop. It was a great buy at the time, but I was gradually killing it with the processing loads I was placing on it. Like the internet … AND email. I know. Machines were not built for such massive tasks. Anyway, I finally threw my toys, called the laptop the C word (which I never use), and I believe I even pounded my fists on the floor in frustration. Wah wah. It’s all about me. GLAD YOU WERE PAYING ATTENTION, yes it is all about me. So I made Mr. T do my research (he’s very good at this. Best tyres for the car? Which kind of coffee is good value but doesn’t taste like it came out the back of a civet? What kind of laptop should I buy?) and we were off to about a dozen computer and notebook stores. Only to end up buying a laptop in Officeworks. How pedestrian. However it is light and widescreen and has a webcam built into its face. I don’t think I like that bit. After extensive webcam testing it seems I am blotchy and pale and tend to squint in an earnest yet piglike manner. There won’t be any webcam shots around here anytime soon. There go my potential earnings as a camgirl. Oh, and the reason for the purchase was that I can salary sacrifice a laptop with my new job, meaning what with pre-tax dollars I end up paying half the price. I don’t know whether I mentioned that the amount of tax I pay is so horrific that I am singlehandedly funding the EastLink freeway, so if there’s a bit of bridge missing you can blame my need for technology. Sorry about that.

What can I give you? Here’s a cameraphone shot, courtesy of the 1.2 megapixel camera. Remember 1.2 megapixels? When that was the best thing ever? Damn right you do, you’re Old Skool. Unfortunately we all are. Those were the days, my friend.

This is the Arts Centre taken by me waiting for a tram. I live in hope that soon it will be light when I leave work. Roll on, summer.

swedish chef

I went to Ikea yesterday to buy some spice jars for the kitchen and walked out with a wall unit. Well, I didn’t WALK out with it. I precariously wheeled it to the home delivery section. “Aha!” those of you who know Ikea are howling. (Howling like howler monkeys. In fact, I encourage you to howl like a howler monkey right now. I just did, and I’m at work.) After the howling, you continue: Ikea has flat packs! The furniture does not so much resemble furniture as it does a giant flat envelope, clothed in anonymous brown cardboard, much like porn for giants! And here’s where I raise my eyebrow at you (in fact I raise BOTH eyebrows as I lack the skill to just raise one, thereby destroying my rakish charm and my film career) and tell you I obtained the wall unit already made up in the clearance section. Ah, the clearance section. Filled with mysterious pieces of wood and half-made bedframes. Usually. But for some reason, on Saturday it was filled to bursting with bookcases and wall units and bathroom sinks and all manner of goodies. All about $200 off. Joy! I had been vaguely looking at a wall unit type arrangement and after some to-ing and fro-ing with my head (“Don’t need it.” “BUY BUY BUY!” “Don’t really need it.” “NOW NOW BUY NOW!”) I went to the man down the back and requested he load it onto a trolley for me. He did, cheerfully pushing past a small family who were inspecting it, who watched dumbfounded as it was loaded onto a trolley in front of them and wheeled merrily away by me. Got to be quicker than that, suckers!

Actually I already had a trolley, littered with the aforementioned spice jars and other Ikea sundries (teatowels, a colander, the planet Charon) and so I was finding it extraordinarily difficult to manoeuvre two trolleys through the checkout, particularly when one contained a wall unit on its side which was taller than me. Call it karma for snatching it from under the other people’s noses. Anyway, I managed, and got home and unloaded my kitchen supplies and the wall unit shelves, which I’d detached from the unit lest the delivery men damage or lose them. Mr. T eyed the shelves suspiciously.

“They look like shelves.”
“No they don’t. They’re … art.”
“They’re shelves.”
“What have you done?”
“It’s your fault! You let me go to Ikea by myself!”
“Oh god, what have you BOUGHT?”
“I had to! There were other people LOOKING at it!”
[stony silence]
“The men will deliver it tomorrow.”
[one eyebrow raise – it really pisses me off that he can do this and I can’t]
“It’s already made up, you don’t have to put it together.”
“Really? That’s OK then. Carry on.”

Anyway, the Ikea men delivered it on Sunday morning and I spent the rest of the morning rearranging the lounge. When I say this, I mean that I pointed and Mr. T shifted furniture to and from the places I was pointing. It was surprisingly painless. Well, for me. And Mr. T got to soothe his handyman side by pulling out a drawer which didn’t shut properly and finding the runner was from a completely different piece of furniture (a buffet to be exact), so he hacksawed the end off and put it back together and indulged in a satisfying rant about the crapness of Ikea furniture. Then we talked in Muppet Swedish chef voices, for no apparent reason.

“Eh de put de runner in de dror.”
“Loo de doo de doo!”
“Weet de lobsterr. Boink boink boink!”

this way out

At my work, the Emergency Procedure is laminated and stuck to the back of the toilet doors. This way you can muse over your fiery death as you take care of business. It even has a little map that shows where to gather if there’s an evacuation of the building. Which made me think: wouldn’t it be awesome if they’d titled it Evacuation Procedure? And hung it in the toilets? Awesome. This is why I should never be trusted in a position of responsibility.

tickets please

There were inspectors on the tram this morning. For those not in Melbourne, I should point out that this is a very rare event. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them on the trams, and about three times on the trains. The thing about the trams is, there are no conductors, only a driver who is locked in his little cabin and never gets out. This means you can get on and off the trams at will, with no ticket, and no one will care. On most trams, I think possibly 20% of people have a ticket. I have a ticket. You knew I would. I am a meek and obedient sheep, and also I hate having to be conscious of other people getting on the tram in case one happens to be an inspector. I prefer to zone out and stare into the middle distance at nothing. No doubt with a slack jaw and vacant expression. Ah, the joys of public transport.

Anyway, I caught a later tram than usual this morning and it was packed: standing room only and no room to breathe out. This mess all clears out at the Domain Interchange, where lots of schoolkids and people needing to connect to other trams get out. And the inspectors got on one stop after this. As I got off the tram a couple of stops later, the arguments were already starting – there had been no room to get to the ticket machine and get a ticket. Which was, in fact, true. And, in fact, they need about three more trams running that route at that time because it was so jammed with people I felt like part of an elaborate human Jenga game.

My considered opinion of the whole tram issue: if they want people to pay for the trams, they shouldn’t make it so easy not to. And stop running those shite TV ads. I know I hate most TV ads, but these ones say, in essence: “Pay for a ticket or be nice to the people who buy tickets, because they subsidise you”. OK, well I AM a person who buys a ticket. And it infuriates me that the tram company is quite happy to admit that they are running their business in this manner. But rather than enforcing the requirement that people pay, like any normal business, instead they run expensive TV ads which merely ASK people to pay, then complain that most people don’t pay, then raise ticket prices because most people don’t pay and they need more money from the people who do, thereby encouraging MORE people not to pay because ticket prices are exorbitantly high. I may only have sixth form Economics under my belt, but I know a flawed business model when I see one.

Oh, and also all the taxi drivers will be on strike this Friday. Just so you know. It is like a conspiracy to encourage car usage. I suspect a viral marketing campaign, courtesy of Honda.

the friendly skies

I was at work yesterday when an email came through from my mum with my sister’s itinerary. Did I tell you my sister is going to Europe for six weeks? No, I haven’t. Because I am so CONSUMED BY JEALOUSY I can hardly see. Anyway. The last time my sister went overseas she was in Africa working with monkeys (apes? orangutangs?) and they lost her luggage. She was there for three weeks and was without clothes, toiletries, everything – wearing another girl’s clothes, living without a hairbrush – until they got her luggage back. On the second to last day. Then her flight back was delayed. Or something. Anyway, what could go wrong did go wrong on that trip. So I emailed my mum back and was joking about the airline losing her luggage again or something.

She’s in the air right now flying into Heathrow. Where they have just arrested twenty terrorist suspects, diverted all inbound planes and stopped anyone carrying through hand luggage. Honestly. I can’t make this stuff up. So I’ve had to go through all the itinerary times with my mum on the phone and work out what time she will arrive in London, and what that is local New Zealand time, and add a couple of hours onto that because there’s NO WAY she will be able to contact my parents for a while. This was BOUND to happen to her. They’ll probably lose her luggage as well, just to top it off.

**EDITED TO ADD** Well, she’s fine, of course. A long wait to get out of Heathrow and now they are staying with friends in a village just out of London. She didn’t say anything about her luggage so I presume she has some…