Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

Yes, we're once again asked to "save the world" by participating in an entirely pointless exercise, devised by the very organizations whose existence depends on our belief that doomsday is just around the corner.

So we're supposed to turn off all our lights for an hour, starting at 8:30 pm. Never mind the fact that most people's lights are off every day from dawn to dusk; apparently it's that one hour after dark that'll make the difference. Please also ignore the fact that of all the electrical appliances, lighting probably accounts for the smallest fraction of your average household's electricity use. Furthermore, it'll of course be mostly the energy efficient lamps that will actually be turned off, the lamps of those environmentally conscious people who dumped the common light bulb a long time ago. This will further minimize the already questionable effect of the event.

So maybe it's not about actually reducing energy consumption, maybe it's all about raising awareness about the dire straits the environment is in. However, I'm not aware of any shortness of awareness; with environmental fundamentalists shoving their "Your very existence is destroying the planet; we shall not rest until we control all aspects of people's life, all in the name of nature" message down everyone's throat on a daily basis; and the Government spreading the same message to support the introduction of new taxes and increases to existing rates under the guise of the green hype.

Then, there's the hypocrisy. Oh boy, I don't even know where to start. First of all, organizers must, of course, promote the event. So media conferences are held, interviews arranged, reports on the devastating effects of global warming commissioned. It's probably a safe bet to say that the activities around Earth Hour create "carbon footprint" that outweighs the miniscule reduction in energy usage (if such a reduction even occurs) a couple of times over.

The media aren't exactly adding to the credibility of the event either. No effort, and therefore no energy expenditure) is to be spared to give this honorable project the coverage it deserves. And there's nothing but praise for this wonderful cause on all programs; even the world's most irritating weatherman urges us to "turn off the lights and other non-essential electrical appliances (non-essential? Would that be the gear I usually keep running for no other reason than to send more money than necessary to the lovely folks at the power company?). Yet there's nothing in the TV guide that would suggest that any of the stations will stop broadcasting; as we sit in the dark, we still get to enjoy a choice of football, pommy crime drama, a freak penguin, Johnny gaying up the Caribbean, or young Jack Nicholson joining the Village People Navy.

And of course we mustn't forget the selfless who are so proud to "do the responsible thing"; praised be those who sit in the dark while watching their energy-hungry plasma TV. Others might really get in the spirit and even drive to one of the many Earth Hour activities.

I have no doubt that in tomorrow's news, there will be an abundance of praise for those who seemingly saved the world by participating in a stunt that makes no difference whatsoever. Personally, I was so eager to do my part that I held my own Earth Hour from early morning until just before 6 pm, with no lights or TV on for the entire time. Where's my medal?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Change at the White House

Can't you just hear Michelle: Oh YES, YESS, we can!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Holy ... WHAT??

For a heavenly snooze ...

Be that as it may; getting up on Monday morning is still hell.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"The Sopranos Down Under" is not over yet

Yesterday's permanent retirement of "the head of one of Sydney's most powerful drug dealing crime syndicates" seems to indicate that the local crime gangs are alive and well. While this most recent shooting has striking similarities to events of past decades, things are not quite as they used to be.

In the past, even the bad guys answered to names like Carl, Bob, or Terry. Perhaps as a sign of the times, and in line with the situation overseas (yep, globalization affects crime, too), the most violent events are more often than not connected with names like Abdul Qadier Darwiche, and appropriately investigated by units like The Middle Eastern Crime Squad. One can not help but wonder if perhaps, despite the persistent denial by left wing do-gooders, crime and violence are indeed more prevalent in some ethnic communities than in others, and if the much praised multi cultural society has indeed a mostly positive effect on our daily lives.

Still, I reckon all we can do is to focus on the positive aspects: One truly despicable scumbag is off the street for good; and we're not running out of material for more seasons of Underbelly just yet.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Footy's Back

That's right; after endless months of bloody cricket and boooring golf clogging perfectly good TV air time, we're only minutes away from the start of round 1 of NRL 2009. And seeing that the off-field soap operas seem to be off to a good start even before the first ball has been kicked*, we might well be in for all round exciting and enjoyable season.

* (For overseas readers, or locals who spent the last week under a rock: A high profile player has volunteered to uphold the tradition of alcohol-supported bad behavior and to follow the examples of many others to bring himself in a situation that leads to a charge of sexual assault. Both scenarios are not entirely unheard of in rugby league, but one guy engaging in both of them in one night, at his club's season launch celebration one week before kick-off, is quite an achievement).

Anyway, I'm off to the lounge now (via fridge; to check if the cold ones are, well, cold enough yet), to watch the Storm beat the Dragons. And whatever you might have to say, please ask yourself just one question: Can it wait until half time?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Office

Well, my backup – office anyway. Wi-Fi coverage at work has been extended to cover most outdoor areas, including the vast lawns between the office buildings. So whenever the sterile air-conditioned blandness of my usual crime scene domain gets too sticky, this shall be my refuge.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Driving home the message

A little drastic, perhaps ...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fun with a geographically challenged Helpdesk

Yes, we all heard of the poor helpdesk worker being tormented by a not so bright user about this Anykey the computer is prompting him to press. Well, stupidity works both ways.

At work, most of the software we need is delivered to our computers electronically; if we need something that's not part of the standard build, it "just" takes a helpdesk ticket to get it. So, lucky me received a brand new state of the art machine, and all the non-standard apps I need are in the list of electronically available products.

But that's as far as my luck would go.

Only two days after lodging the Can I please have the stuff I need to do my job ticket (yeah, these guys from Global Helpdesk are really fast), the message that the requested apps are ready to install pops up. Happy and without a shred of suspicion (I know, my mistake), I click Install, and the next thing I see is:

I want my old computer back.

(For the nitpickers: In my request, I deliberately left out the release version, naively believing that they would send me whatever is available for our site).

And tomorrow, I get to chase up the other application I need, the one for which they closed the ticket without bothering to send me anything.

I predict that some time early May, I get to work productively again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On the road again...

... and it's the scenic route, too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Giant error

Yep, it must be Monday...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Summer's over

So today is the first day of fall, or autumn, as they'd like to call it here. To give my readers in Europe, who apparently are still experiencing an unusually cold and long winter (complete with snow and all) a bit of an idea what kind of ordeal the end of summer is around here, allow me to paint a picture of today's afternoon:

After returning from a rather pleasant trip to town on the open deck of the ferry (in t-shirt and shorts, of course), the decision is made that the tedious task of preparing dinner shall be someone else's problem.

At the pub, the It's only $ 10 if you order before 7 pm steak is tender as always, the chips are crunchy, and the beer is cold. Oh, and did I mention that it's still warm enough to enjoy all this in the open? The birds are chirping in the trees, the occasional light breeze brings just enough cool to make one feel completely comfortable, and the featherless birds are pleasing the eye. Add to that a game of rugby on the humongous hi def plasma screen, and the Sunday evening is about as good as it can get.

Life's good.

Ships, ships everywhere ...

They're calling it Super Sunday; no less than 4 huge cruise ships visiting at the same time. To see this rare event, however, one must first struggle with the more trivial, and unfortunately all too common, problems around here: The ferry is considerably late. Well, at least it travels right past the first of those ocean liners, the Pacific Dawn:

At Circular Quay, the Crystal Serenity is moored:

With a limited number of docks available, the remaining two ships have dropped anchor offshore, and unfortunately quite some distance from my vantage point:

Meanwhile, in the neighborhood ...

The things you come across on a Sunday morning .... now I've seen cars overheating before, but this is ridiculous.