On the value of time

Hourglass.

To understand the value of ten years ask a newly divorced couple.

To understand the value of four years ask a graduate.

To understand the value of one year ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To understand the value of nine months ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.

To understand the value of one month ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To understand the value of one week ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To understand the value of one hour ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realise the value of one minute ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To understand the value of one-second ask a person who has survived an accident.

To understand the value of one millisecond ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Time waits for no one.

Site Visitors

Hello!I installed a Visitor counter to see if anyone was actually reading my maniacal ravings or not, and was so surprised to find that there are indeed many readers and that you’re coming from countries including South Africa, Peru, Latvia, Dominican Republic, India, Iran, Japan, Brazil and Mexico to name but a few. Please, do leave a comment attached to this post even just to say “Hi”, or “Olá”, “Konnichi wa”, “Guten Tag” or whatever! It’s always good to meet the people reading what you write.

Working

Suzanne is working again today, for the second day straight. That means Nanna takes Ashton to school, and Jett spends the day with Nanna and Poppa who are both (mostly) retired. Suzanne feels a bit guilty about this in a number of ways. Firstly, the imposition on Nanna to drive down to our place to take care of business. And secondly, she feels that she is abandoning Jett in favour of work.

This is true, but it’s certainly not an awfuly terrible thing. I pointed out that Jett is very happy when spending time at Nanna’s, and that Nanna is more than happy to look after him. She has commented that he is very well behaved, mostly does his own thing unsupervised, eats all the food given to him and is very talkative. So, as a once off (or twice off as this is by no means full time, permanent work) it is working well. If it were to become a problem with either Nanna or Jett, then Suzanne may need to decline work occasionally.

Collecting

I am a collector. I’m a collector now, and as far as I can remember I always have been. Depending on what I collect, I range from completist to theme or focus-based collecting. When I was young I collected matchbox cars. I took great care of them, never crashed them together, kept them in their boxes in nice little rows.

Darth Vader 12-back

Then 1977 happened, and Star Wars hit. I was 7 then, but it wasn’t until I was eight that I got my first Star Wars toys. They were Darth Vader and R2-D2, the shortest and tallest ones. At that time, there were only 12 characters to collect with 9 more coming out in the next couple years. I’m not sure, but I think it wasn’t until Empire Strikes Back that I fully caught that collecting bug. I had to have all the characters. I asked for them for my Christmas and Birthday presents, and spent most of my pocket money on them.

All other fads came and went. I didn’t touch Transformers, TMNT, GI Joe, Star Trek, Marvel Superheroes or any other toy line. Every Christmas from 1978 had at least one Star Wars gift for me.

Now that I’ve, uh, grown up my Star Wars collecting focus has narrowed just to a few key characters. They are Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker.

Why only these guys? They’re actually two sides of the same coin so to me they are the same character. Star Wars is the story of Darth Vader. Every other character exists only to tell his story. Also, with all the product around nowadays, there is no possible way that I could keep up if I was a completist; I simply do not have enough time,  money or storage space for one of every item. I seriously do not know how other collectors I know keep up with it.

So within these bounds (Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker characters only) I can almost afford to be a completist. Even within this focus I have about 300 individual pieces, more than enough to keep me busy, poor and cramped on space. Since the middle of last year I have caught up on all the previous releases and international cards so I’m left twiddling my thumbs until the next lot is released. There’s a bit of a void for me right now, and the void needs to be filled.

2002 Mark Webber

Enter Minichamps 1:43 Formula 1 models. For some reason, I’ve been watching a lot of Formula 1 racing lately, courtesy of One HD. Coincidentally, Australian Mark Webber has been doing not too badly, accumulating a fair share of points. He had his first podium finish this year, and managed second place in the Chinese GP behind Sebastian Vettel. So, putting two and two together, you get a guy who wants to start collecting Mark Webber race cars. It was either Webber or Jacques Villeneuve, but because Webber is still active I’ll go with him. Besides being expensive little buggers, it’s a safe item to collect because there’s only one or two cars per year for each driver, and Webber is near the end of his career and isn’t going to be racing forever. They’re highly detailed and very attractive. It would be good to have them all lined up and see the evolution of the car shape. I’m still tossing up whether or not to collect them, but I sent mum an email and a link to an ebay auction for the 2002 Minardi which was Webber’s first race. Maybe she’ll get it for me, maybe not. If she does, I’ll see if I can continue to collect them all. These are the models I want to collect sorted by year, along with the serial numbers.

2002 Minardi 400 020023
2002 Aus GP 400 020123
2003 Jaguar 400 030014
2004 Jaguar 400 040014
2005 Williams 400 050007
2006 Williams 400 060009
2007 Red Bull 400 070015
2008 Red Bull 400 080010
2009 Red Bull 400 090014
2009 Chinese 400 090114
2009 Showcar 400 090084


Tech Support

You're giving me a headache

You're giving me a headache

So, I seem to be doing lots of little tech support jobs for friends lately. But the one last night takes the cake. I finished a meeting and one guy asks me if he can talk to me about a “personal problem” in another room. The mind boggles. What personal problem would anyone possibly think I would be interested in, let along be able to help them with? I enter the room to find his laptop powered on and booted up. He wants me to help him install something on a new Casio calculator. 

He said he’d “done everything” but it wasn’t working. Problem is, he hadn’t installed the calculator manager application, which is used to communicate with and configure the device. The install CD was still shrinkwrapped. What he had done was download a free application for the calculator which was included with the packaging. But of course there was no way to get that app onto the device.

So, I simply followed the instructions for installing the manager and then the other calculator app. Not hard at all, except that it took 45 minutes because the laptop is extremely under specced and runs like molasses.

At the end of it, they guy didn’t even know what the free application was or how to use it. He saw the flyer in the packaging and figured that he had to have it. And what better person to install it than me because I “know computers”. I’m not opposed to helping people. Far from it; I do IT tech support as a living. But to get my help you’ve got to at least have already tried it yourself. And you’ve got to know what it is that you need help with!

Tiananmen Square massacre, 20 years on

tianasquare So it’s the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre today. I remember when this happened, back when I was living with my head up my arse. I was at Curtin University and the next morning I wondered why all these Asian people had banners and signs and various displays up around the place out the front of the library and bookstore. I’d heard of Chinese student protests a couple years earlier and thought this might be another one so I dismissed it and got on with shoving my head further up my colon. It took me a couple days to actually work out what had happened: thousands of Chinese students had been killed by PLA soldiers for protesting. To this day, I am not exactly sure what they were protesting about. The Wikipedia article mentions mourning a pro-market, pro-democracy, anti-corruption official. At least, that’s how it started out. It ended with 3000 people dead, and many thousands more wounded.

My memory of it is best summed up by the vision of the “Tank Man”, who stood in front of a line of tanks thereby bringing them to a halt. When the lead tank tried to drive around him he moved in front it. He climbed up onto the turret and spoke with the driver. He was later taken away by police and likely executed as his identity has never been disclosed and nobody has ever claimed to be that man. Whoever he was, he had balls of hardened steel. It makes me reflect and wonder what I would be willing to stand in front of a column of tanks to defend should I ever be called to do so.

Summer Glau is a Doll

summerw2gunsFrom the “Wow, I never saw that coming” department, Summer Glau is going to appear in Dollhouse. Reports say she is not going to play another dead-eyed, mindless killing machine (see her roles in Firefly, Terminator) but will instead play “somebody who talks too much.” I was beginning to fear she was being totally typecast but this move may be the one to move her career along and I’m on board with anything trying to bring life into that show. I so want to like Dollhouse. It had some interesting situations in a couple episodes which need to be explored in greater detail.

Ben Cousins Finger

Stay classy Ben

Stay classy Ben

So, I just don’t understand the furore over Ben Cousins giving the finger to the change room camera before the Fremantle v Richmond game on the weekend. OK, so it was a bit childish. It was a bit rude. But how could anyone really take offense at this? Letters to the Editor in the paper seem to show more than disappointment. Some people are crushed to their very souls, it seems. What I don’t understand is why the vision was even aired in the first place. It’s not like it was live to air. It was recorded, and at that point only the guys in the editing room had seen it. That’s probably where it should have stopped. I agree with Cousins when he says “In no way did I think the footage was going to air. If nothing else, I thought someone on the end of the camera in a van outside the ground might have got a chuckle out of it.” Ha ha, funny joke, lets move on. But it has somehow turned into an issue of Cousins showing his disregard and arrogance to the entire nation in general and West Coast fans in particular.

But, this kind of vilification is to be expected from WA sports fans. I’ve seen it time and time again when any successful WA pro sports athlete leaves WA and moves interstate. At the very least they’re booed when they play, at worst media beatups and innuendo fan the flames of hatred. WA sports fans need to grow up and realise that athletes leaving WA isn’t about them.

This story is just so trivial.