Continuing in his bid to win the hearts and minds of the working classes, Professor Fred Hilmer has announced a slash and burn policy for the general staff at UNSW. I might suggest — cynically, some may say, after the CSE redundancies — that the academics' union is just too strong for the central admin to try this stunt on them, and that the sackings will cost more than forecast, the reduction targets will be over-reached, and we'll have a new bunch of frown-lined faces working fifty-percent harder... after a bout of corporate amnesia.
The general staff union proposes that the uni normalise the ratio of general to academic staff by employing more academics. I appreciate their humour.
Here Kingsley is so evidently the coy predecessor of his son in his commission of sex, drugs and proto-rock'n'roll to enliven what is really a Wodehouse-esque tale of some fairly prosaic academicians. Not bad, just dated.
At the Village Jam Factory in South Yarra. I liked the (cough) moral flexibility, but I think it would have worked better as a mockumentary — the narrative arc got a bit irritating at times, and most of the funny bits had already made it into the shorts.
Wow, what a masterpiece. A guest-pacifier at Peodair, Tim and Marilyne's place in North Carlton.
Bel was part of the chorus, and so furnished me with an excuse to trip down to Melbourne and (finally) go to the opera. Ticketek sold me a "B" reserve ticket that looked fine on the seating plan but was in fact completely missing a view of the surtitles. I think Tim and Rumiko, Peodair and Rachel fared better in that regard.
The opera itself was well-performed, at least as far as I could judge. The plot was terrible and I'm sure that if I could have read the surtitles I would have a thing or two to say about it.
At the purported 9:10pm screening (more like 9:40pm after the ads) at the Bondi Greater Union with Rob. Excellent, great actors, the cinematography is top-notch, the setting beautifully recorded. Go armed for some pacey dialogue.
Not as good at The Rachel Papers, I reckon. Indeed, I can't see how anyone would think this is his best effort; perhaps the tawdriness of the nouveau riche was novel in 1982, but Will Self captured the effects of Thatcherism much better in Junk Mail (albeit after-the-fact): p17, apropos of the London drug trade:
It's an ethic of enlightened self-interest that isn't that dissimilar to any other rapacious free market where young men vie with one another to possess and trade in commodities. And, after all, isn't that what Mrs T wanted us to do? Tool around London in our Peugeot 205s and Gold GTis, cellular phones at the ready, hanging out to cut the competitive mustard.
At mrak's behest I headed over to warehouse land to catch The Thaw. We missed them a couple of weeks ago at the Gaelic Club due to the venue's management being unimpressed with the punters' drinking abilities. (Disclaimer: the following was written well after the gig.)
Firstly, the venue: Yvonne Ruve is just around the corner from the old Frequency Lab, signposted by a sizeable Manga-style girl-and-cat erotic artwork. (Don't ask, just see it.) Entry to what is just a fairly large room is by "donation" and booze is bring-your-own. The smokers lurk on the open-air gantry-ish corridor outside, and some clean-lungs are lucky enough to park their arses on one of the few couches. Apparently it is already the very fundament of underground Sydney noisemaking.
The crowd were prototypical vampires, apprentice zombies, strongly cliquey, certainly nomadic. Apparently tallness is not in fashion amongst the young; the scant few other punters circa my vintage had significantly better views of the band than the majority.
First up was Rhythm Bell, from Melbourne. I can't remember much apart from their closing cover of Midnight Oil's The Power and The Passion, which was completely out of place, out of time, and probably out of friends — surely no-one there would know that song. They were tight but their own material didn't get me excited.
Next was Radiant City, voice-less, also from Melbourne. I recall thinking that they demonstrated just how inexpressive a lead guitar can be, in spite of some solid underpinnings of drums, bass and sundry other things. I think I spent most of their set flaffing about outside. The toilet sure is an experience.
Finally the main act, The Thaw, from Fairfield train station. They go in for short noisy vignettes, circumscribed almost to the point that their Peter Garrett-esque interlocutions take up more time and mental space than the music. I'm not sure I followed all the logic, and it would have been completely inappropriate if I did. They're tight, the drummer is fab, the guitarists impressive, and I think I missed the point. The set was quite short.
After going to see the Dirty Three at the Metro a few weeks ago, I've become a fan. Kingsmill at JJJ put together a hitlist, and dig have a live-in-the-studio. She Has No Strings Apollo and Ocean Songs live in the glovebox. What should be next?
I caught a packed re-run of Version 1.0's The Wages of Spin at the dear old Performance Space — one of the last nights before they move to the old Eveleigh rail yards. So very Melbourne, so very saddening.
Let them burn ethanol, says Howard, but it's not all bad news.Mon, Aug 14, 2006./noise/politics | Link
Bought another Dirty Three album in Newtown, after having one final lunch with mrak before he heads off to Qatar. This one is brilliant, especially the thirteen-and-a-half minute I Offered It Up To The Stars And The Night Sky.
A production somehow related to National Science Week. I've never read anything by Sacks, and this came across as neurological freak show; like the circus, for the curious. Some good acting, especially from the young blokes, but I was generally unpleasantly unsurprised.
Not his best work, but what is? The chapter The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening and section Sex and Violence remain interesting to those born well after the chronicled generation, but he answers his own question on why scholars failed to delve into the society parties of the day with the now-disconnected Funky Chic.
Johnny Depp at his best, Samantha Morton and Malkovich unobtrusively excellent, great supporting cast. At the almost-empty 9:20pm screening at Hoyts Paris Fox Studios.
Smullyan's The Riddle of Scheherazade (and other amazing puzzles.Wed, Aug 09, 2006./noise/books | Link
I'll never get around to solving all the puzzles in this book, although they tend to be a lot easier than the ones in his To Mock a Mockingbird. The obsession with coercive logic wears thin after a while.
This book has an excellent introduction to complexity, especially space complexity. Thanks mrak.
The copy in the UNSW Library has already been nicked, it's that good.
John Schumann, of Redgum fame, has set Henry Lawson's words to music. The Vagabound Crew have impeccable credentials, and it scares the bejesus out of me that the last few CDs I've bought — some by members of this mob — are classified as "folk", "alternative" or lacking genre in the database backing iTunes.
John, characteristically for an old radical, doesn't seem to appreciate that beating the younguns around the head with their own indolence leads only to charges of boomer hypocrisy.
Venerable NTK had a link to Blosxom back in ... well, let's just say it was many years ago. I remember being horrified by such a masochistic use of perl and instead tried to do something nice in Haskell, a project which has become too time-consuming to maintain. The models are very similar, entry-per-file, but Blosxom uses the file change date to decide where it belongs in the index.
(That last point is resolved by the
entries_index plugin that
caches the date when the CGI script first sees the entry... necessarily
stepping away from the pure filesystem-as-database model.)
I must admit I didn't think perl could be written this readably.
Somewhat annoyingly there are several conflicts in worldview between CSE
and Blosxom, the main one being blosxom's view that plugins should not
be in URL-able webspace, versus CSE's wisdom of forcing all
CGI-accessible things to live in
public_html land... but not to
Somewhat surprisingly for such an ancient instance of the blogging program genre there's an active user group. The plugins are groovy and I'm sure they're as insecure as all get-out. How long will it take to get a healthy dose of the blog-clap?
Things to fix:
- Archives, get rid of list bullets.
- Categories font.
- Get images working.
- Trackback / comments.
Some related links:
This line of argument segues into paternal liberalism, which can be roughly characterised as making the defaults in decision making processes accord with what's taken to be good for you. There's loads of examples, as a quick Google demonstrates; Gordon Smith even-handedly presents a summary of the original paper and immediate responses.
I'm not altogether convinced there's a hell of a lot going on here, apart from pleading for biasing defaults towards social wellbeing rather than government ideology.
Barry is a dead ringer for Al Pacino.
According to the Smage, John Howard says: "last week's interest rate rise was not something that anybody in the community welcomed". I'm not sure what community he's talking about here, but the mortgage-free money-in-the-bank crowd are cheering, as are those who benefit from the resulting increase in the exchange rate.
Gerwin has been busy again.
I was very proud of myself when I cooked up the following to backup and
encrypt my email to CSE's shiny new
selfbackup server in a
streaming manner. Assuming you've set up GPG and your environment sets
$USER appropriately, this will encrypt
tar archive of
~/Library/Mail using your public
tar c ~/Library/Mail/ | gpg -e -r $EMAIL | ssh selfstore.cse.unsw.edu.au "cat - > /backups/$USER/.mail.gpg && mv /backups/$USER/.mail.gpg /backups/$USER/mail.gpg"
Decryption is just a matter of
gpg -d | tar x.