IMPORTANT: The following journal is intended for the use and viewing of approved persons only and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humour or irrational religious beliefs. Any dissemination, distribution or copying of this work is not authorised (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas. Unless the word ‘absquatulation’ has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were harmed in the creation of this journal and a minimum of Microsoft software was used. Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards.

Year View| Summary| Highlights| July 2003 (Month View)

01.07.2003Tuesday 1 July

I was woken by the sound of an unusual and obviously mutated rooster, which turned out to be Silas. Apparently he’d woken up every time a truck went by, and as we’re on the top of a hill and beside the main highway, that is about every five minutes and they’re quite loud.
Silas boiled the Billy and made tea, and we shared a can of baked beans and headed off again. We drove all day, stopping only to refuel a few times, and for a coffee (and milkshake for me) at Cardwell. We arrived in Cairns sometime around six and drove to Silas’s brother, Eric’s place, where we spent the night.
Jack and Eric have a dog, which has a pup. We were standing around downstairs looking at a car motor when we noticed the pup walking blindly, zombie like, in circles. We took it outside and laid it on its bed, where it appeared to be disorientated and dying. We thought it may have eaten a toad. Happily, it seemed to stay alive, and perhaps even get better, so we went to bed and left it be with its mother.

02.07.2003Wednesday 2 July – Silas and I arrive in Cairns

Silas and I went and did some shopping for his mother, and visited a friend of Silas’s and had coffee.
After another coffee with Eric, we left Cairns, stopping at a butcher on the way. Unfortunately, the wrong butcher, so we had to head back into Cairns and the right butcher, where they seemed to have never done a phone order before despite having done several for Silas’s mum in the past and it took half an hour or so to sort out. This left us a bit late.
I phoned Mum from the ferry across the Daintree River and told her we’d be at Bloomfield Wharf at six o’clock. We arrived at the farm where Amos works a while later and had a quick coffee and chat. It’s a pecan farm where tourists can stay in some cabins. He does bush walks and also works on the farm. It’s similar to a penthouse sometimes, but I had better not say that in public. We left Silas’s Falcon here, and took Amos’s four-wheel-drive. After driving about a quarter of the way Silas noticed that the fuel gauge showed rather empty, so we turned back. There’s simply no safe way to drive fast on these roads, they’re too thin, too windy, and too unpredictable, and so we were an hour late. Luckily there were some people at the wharf who had lit a fire and kept Dad and Mum company, and Silas’s mum had phoned a friend who came and told them we’d be delayed and also picked up Silas’s dad when he arrived.
Silas and I arrived at Bloomfield Wharf, where my Dad and Mum were waiting for me. They drove me back here and we talked for a while and then I went to bed, back in my old bed in my caravan where I used to live. It feels a bit strange to be back, it’s hard to explain. In one way, I am only on holiday, temporarily up from Brisbane and returning there soon, but in another way I’m coming home after having been away for a while – so it’s a bit unusual.

03.07.2003Thursday 3 July

I had a quiet and restful day, settling back in and not doing too much.
I drove over to Home Rule and saw Shan and his girlfriend Kylie-Anne, along with Ella, Craig, Mandi and Ric. This is the first time I’ve met Kylie, after having heard quite a lot about her. She is just as I had pictured in my mind, so no surprises there. I stayed late, having dinner there and leaving after midnight with my old PC that Shan has been using.

04.07.2003Friday 4 July

I drove over to Shan’s to pick up some CD’s to get my computer going. He wasn’t there, but I ended up spending a while looking at Ric’s PC. He has quite a nice gaming setup with a 21 inch monitor, although I get an electric shock touching his computer case. I installed a few programs for him and explained a few things and then came back and setup my computer, installing the operating system and a few programs. It’s hard to use this after being used to my fully-installed and customised dual monitor computer down in Brisbane. I haven’t got anything installed here and it is horrible trying to fit everything on this wee little 17 inch monitor.

05.07.2003Saturday 5 July – I get my university results

Mum and I walked down to the markets where I bought an ice cream. They’re very small, not more than ten people. I guess it is the school holidays and many people are away.
I went online and checked my results. They’ve now been posted. I have a pass (4) for Mathematical Foundations (MATH1050). I’m very happy with this, as I’d resigned myself to failure in this subject. That two hours of early morning study before the exam is what got me this pass. I’m glad I did it. I have a credit (5) for Discrete Mathematics (MATH1061), which I’m also happy with as I’ve been pretty slack and done less than half the assignments and such. I have a distinction (6) for Intro to Programming (COMP1500) which I am not happy with, as I achieved 93.5%, which is way above the 85 percentile required for a seven, but as I failed more than five of the multi-choice questions I can only get a six. Nevertheless, I’m happy to have a good result. I also gained a high distinction (7) in Internet Interface Design (COMP1501), which I am happy with. Due to the poor and inconsistent manner in which that course was run, I really was not sure what result I would get. I feel that, with the exception of Intro to Programming where I should have received another high distinction, that the results I have here are what I deserved and similar to what I expected – although I had resigned myself to a quite possible failure in Mathematical Foundations. Overall I am happy that I have not failed anything and considering that I did not more than a few hours study for Mathematical Foundations for the entire course, I should be grateful that I’ve passed – which I am. Admittedly, I did not study at all for Intro to Programming either, so I can’t be too annoyed with that result, and I didn’t study for Internet Interface Design either – but I don’t really see how I could have studied for that.
I walked down to Dad’s and converted the satellite TV to A/V. It sucks. When the satellite decoder and VCR are both turned on, there’s some sort of interference. I guess they’re using IF that interferes with each other, and as one TV has a long length of cable already run to it, I can’t just change everything to A/V. Vince and Sarah drove by while I was at Dad’s, so I walked back up here and showed Sarah the photos of uni and Brisbane that I’ve taken, and a few of Shan’s girlfriend, Kylie-Anne. Sarah and I walked back down to Dad’s, and then onto the Home Rule Bridge and the markets, where we met Vince and they drove back into town.
I walked up to Gary and Marriette’s to see what was wrong with their computer. The telltale beeps on start-up (along with the failure to start-up) made me think the video card wasn’t working. The fact that the video card fan wasn’t spinning sort of helped too. Reseating the video card several times fixed it. They have a pile of videos that aren’t yet released, along with a few that are only in theatres but not yet on video. They’re not ripped copies either – they’re apparently legitimate videos. I’m not sure how they got them but they mentioned something about a friend in America and raffling them to support the upcoming Wallaby Creek Festival.
Comment by DK – Saturday 5 July 2003, 9:03 PM
  Congrats with the exam results!
Comment by Ned – Saturday 5 July 2003, 11:02 PM
  Thanks :-)
Comment by krait – Sunday 6 July 2003, 12:52 AM
  Congratulations on the results. I knew you would do well. Keep up the good work, mate!
Comment by lulu – Sunday 6 July 2003, 4:52 AM
  Congratulations, Ned!!!!! Wowwww I told you would do it. I can't wait to see next terms. :)
Comment by Ned – Sunday 6 July 2003, 1:41 PM
  Thanks :-) I am scared of next term.
Comment by Michelle – Monday 7 July 2003, 7:36 AM
  Hey, congratulations on the marks. You passed everything. How long are you home for?
Comment by Elvis – Monday 7 July 2003, 12:51 PM
  well done, remember, you only a squillion more exams to go, so concentrate on having fun.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 8 July 2003, 12:05 AM
  Thanks :-) I am home for a few weeks and I’d rather not think of any further exams while I’m here.

06.07.2003Sunday 6 July

I’ve just had an argument, via MSN, with the girlfriend of a good friend of mine. She’s accusing me of being two-faced, dishonest and a liar, apparently because I told my friend’s sister that I thought she felt threatened by me and my position as one of his best friends, and that she was acting bitchily towards me on MSN. I’m stumped how that’s dishonest or a lie and I can’t quite see how that’s two-faced either. Ah well, I hope she doesn’t destroy his and my friendship, and I hope it works out for them as they’re both still in their teens and talking about marriage.
I slept in a bit today, not really feeling like getting up. Once I did get up, I spent the next five hours online. For some reason I was depressed and moody. I woke up happily, and then a dark gloom settled over me. I really don’t know why. Sadly, I was quite mean to a good friend on chat for no reason other than my mood. She didn’t deserve it at all. I also had a look for airfares back to Brisbane, and they are quite expensive right now – the tourist season I guess. I’m not sure if I should book now in case they get more expensive and harder to get as time passes, or if I should wait in the hope that a cheaper fare will become available.
I showered, shaved, and remembered that I had to get Mum to write and fax a letter to Centrelink within fourteen days of my having seen them at Toowong, which must have been nearly fourteen days ago. I then had dinner, phoned a friend in town and another friend out here and arranged a lift into town tomorrow.

07.07.2003Monday 7 July

I woke up and got ready to go to town, and then went online and chatted to a friend while waiting for my lift.
I got a lift into town with Jean Haack. I went and talked to Bob and Peter at Peter’s shop where they were working for a while, and then just as I was walking up to the supermarket to get a drink, both Mum and Sarah turned up at the same time, which was rather coincidental, so I talked to them for a while and then got a milkshake.
After buying and eating some pasta salad from the small deli in the supermarket for lunch, I dropped in on Matthew at the Big Shed Hardware where he was working, and then walked out to Ricci’s place and talked to her for a while. We both walked back into town to see a guy known as Lizard about some photos he wanted taken, but he wasn’t home.
It was raining on and off, and overcast, which prevented me from walking up Mount Cook and getting some photos as I had planned to do.
I visited Matthew for a short while in the evening, but he was just about to go up to the fire brigade and do some training, so I went and saw Ricci and Lizard at Lizard’s place. Lizard has a large bottle collection that he wants photographed, or at least that’s what Ricci said. After seeing them, I’ve a feeling Lizard has a large bottle collection that Ricci want’s Lizard to get photographed, but either way, they want me to photograph them. I had originally planned to stay the night at Matthew’s, but I made the mistake of leaving my bag at Ricci’s place when we walked in to see Lizard. Lizard got remarkably drunk and rather unpleasant and I was stuck at his place until Ricci wanted to leave, as I had to go back to Ricci’s to get my bag. She didn’t leave Lizard’s place until nine o’clock, by which time I’d lost a lot of the inclination to stay in town and instead jogged down to the shire hall where Jean was giving dance lessons, and got a lift home with her, arriving home some time after eleven.

08.07.2003Tuesday 8 July

I slept in and spent the overcast, wet and dismal morning online chatting, arguing and selecting my courses for next semester.
I’ve chosen Information Technology Project (COMP1800), Computer Organisation (COMP2302), Programming in the Large (COMP2500) and Intro to Information Systems (INFS1200).
The Information Technology Project will apparently introduce me to the discipline of computer based information technology, and I will become familiar with windows based interfaces and learn how to use different types of application packages. I will be prepared to tackle small information technology projects, and I will develop the skills required for analytical writing and argument with emphasis placed on writing, reading and speaking practice. This sounds rather awful to me and horribly like the pseudo confidence-English they’re teaching in place of real English in schools nowadays. It doesn’t sound too hard though, but I guess only time will tell.
Computer Organisation, also taught as Introduction to Computer Systems and Fundamentals of Computer Engineering depending on whether you’re an Information Technology, Engineering or Computer Science student (don’t ask why) is an introduction to how computers work at the lowest levels and will cover topics such as binary numbers, logic gates, assembly language and some basic C programming. I’m supposed to have a basic understanding of how computers work and be able to develop programs for a microcontroller based computer once I’m finished this. As the profile says, “In mind-numbing detail, it is expected that upon successful completion of the course, students will: [follows a list of 35 items detailing what I’m expected to learn, not one of which sounds pleasant and which I don’t understand]”. This doesn’t sound good at all, in fact it sounds positively horrible, but it’s what I need to learn and is a compulsory part (albeit second year) of my degree. The profile says it’s no longer current and changes are expected this coming semester but that I’m to wait until nearer to the semester before a new profile is made.
Programming in the Large, or Advanced Software Engineering as it’s known to the post-grad students, is a software engineering course aimed at developing the technical abilities needed for me to become an effective member of a large software development team. Apparently I’ll be introduced to the software life cycle and will focus on the design, implementation and testing phases of the aforementioned cycle. Java will be the programming language used to teach us by the sounds of it, and I’ll be introduced to the UNIX operating system and will develop my communications skills through group work and tutorial presentations. Oh dear, tutorial presentations... that sounds horribly like public speaking. I think this is the logical follow-on to the Introduction to Programming course I did last semester.
Introduction to Information Systems is a compulsory component of my degree that I’m supposed to do in the first year. It will hopefully introduce me to the area of computer based information systems including the basic concepts necessary to design and implement a small information system. It’s also a prerequisite to most (if not all) the more advanced information systems and database related subjects.
It’s just started raining again, but I might go inside and see if I can summon up the motivation to shower and eat. I’ve also just ordered an internal modem for this computer, as it currently has an external one and I’m planing to try and set it up for Mum when I leave. She’s currently computer illiterate as well as a card carrying member of the technophobia association and I don’t think a fancy external modem with all its leads, noises, switches and scary glowing screen that says such fearful things as “Carrier 31200, Network 6, SQ:029, LL:012” is what she needs to help her ease into the computer age.

09.07.2003Wednesday 9 July

I had a quiet, damp and overcast sort of day, achieving nothing much, but not aiming to. It’s known as “being on holiday”. The damp, overcast, muddy rain part is known as a “tropical paradise”, but I must say, I’ve yet to see anywhere better.
I found a $146 flight to Brisbane. That’s nearly half the price of the next cheapest. I’m not sure why there’s just one cheap fare out on its own but there is so I grabbed it. It’s with Qantas too, who are generally more expensive. I haven’t received an email confirmation yet but the money has gone from my account, so I guess it’s booked.
Comment by io – Friday 11 July 2003, 12:01 AM
  I'm jealous about your $146 ticket.. It costed $259 for me on that raunchy red 737 with 3-3 seating to fly Brisbane to Cairns ONE WAY!!

10.07.2003Thursday 10 July

It is yet another overcast day, raining on and off.
Dad, Mum and I drove into town and did shopping. I performed daring and exciting deeds such as buying a pie from the bakery and a thick shake from the Mad Cow Café. I also went to the video store and got “Gandhi”, “The Wild Bunch”, “Dead Poets Society”, “Kiss of the Dragon” and “Romeo Must Die”. I only wanted to get one DVD to ensure the new DVD drive in this computer worked, but then I thought I had better get two in case one DVD was scratched, and then I found another so decided to get three. When I went to pay the lady at the desk told me I could get five for $11, which is cheaper than getting four and better value than three, so I got five. We dropped in at the Lion’s Den Hotel on the way home for Mum to check something about cleaning, so I took a few photos.
Mum has been invited to a “Jean’s Drivers” dinner at Home Rule with all the other people who have helped Jean while she’s been unable to drive, so I set the “Gandhi” DVD copying so I could drop it out to Ric later and got a lift out to Home Rule with her. I took two DVD’s that I’d already copied, “Dead Poets Society” and “The Wild Bunch” and set the DVD region on Ric’s computer and messed around with it for a little while, setting up a few things, and then walked up to Shan’s. Shan and I messed about on his computer and I had a little dinner and some pudding, then Mum came and picked me up again and we drove home. When I got back the DVD drive had skipped over three thousand read errors and was still trying to read the disc, and not much more than halfway through. This reminds me of how I ruined my last DVD drive – left it reading a scratched disc while I went to town and several hours later it was still trying to read it. It seems this one still reads DVD’s, but it doesn’t seem to handle scratches like my other drive down in Brisbane – either that or these DVD’s are more scratched.
Comment by DK – Friday 11 July 2003, 6:35 AM
  Is it a good idea to admit you "copy" DVDs on the web?
Comment by Ned – Friday 11 July 2003, 2:18 PM
  I should perhaps clarify the term “copy” in this context. A temporary image of the movie contained on the DVD is created on my computer. I then watch the DVD from this image, which is deleted after viewing. It should be thought of as temporarily “caching” the entire DVD for playback. On this computer, this provides a much smoother playback experience and avoids the problems caused by scratched discs during playback. At no point do I copy or duplicate, edit, broadcast, exchange, hire or lend the movie or the disc upon which it is contained.

11.07.2003Friday 11 July

The morning began, proceeded and departed before I awoke. Then I awoke, and that’s enough poetry for today. As it was drizzling when I got up I wasn’t going to go outside, and as Mum had unplugged my phone line I couldn’t go online either, or at least not without going inside which would necessitate going outside, which as I already said, I wasn’t going to. So I did the next best thing – I watched a DVD. “Romeo Must Die” was the DVD of choice, although in the end he didn’t. There’s a lot of action and a lot of fight scenes, some of which are quite unbelievable. I enjoyed it, which is really all that matters if you think about it. Reviews are all well and good but they don’t seem to gauge popular opinion or enjoyment well at all.
Shan came over for a while and had dinner, and then Mum and I watched “Dead Poets Society”, with a short break when Sarah rang up all worried because Vince hasn’t arrived home from Atherton yet. The movie seemed unfinished to me, I wasn’t expecting the end when it came and that was rather disappointing. I thought the movie was good up until it suddenly ended, and that ruined it all. I spent the rest of the night looking for a cheap alternative to Telstra Bigpond as that’s just too expensive for what Mum will need. The best I’ve been able to find seems to be $9.90 per month for 70 megabytes from Dodo.
And now to think about sleep.

12.07.2003Saturday 12 July

Having had it pointed out to me that “I had a quiet morning in bed, alone, which rained a little, as usual” isn’t one of the best sentences around, I’ve decided to change it to “Arise! For lo! The morn has broken. Arise! For lo! The rains are coming. Arise! For lo! While he sleeps alone, the world awakens”. I didn’t get up until around lunchtime and then spent the afternoon online chatting.
I phoned Silas to see what he’s up to and had a whinge about people who want their computers fixed which takes hours and hours, but there’s no way either Silas or I can say no or charge them $700 as they’re friends or friends of friends. I tested Windows XP’s “Remote Assistance” feature with Shan. It seems to work quite well although somewhat lagged, presumably because we were going through a satellite link and I’m connected via a slow modem – or slow line rather. It is exactly what I need for helping Mum when she’s got silly problems in Word or something similar.
I showered and drove into Cooktown not long after eight o’clock and arrived about half an hour after that. I went to get petrol but discovered that the Cooktown Ampol no longer sells Lead Replacement Petrol. This is the first servo I’ve seen that doesn’t sell it, although I expect there’ll be a lot more soon. However, as there’s no other servo open in Cooktown at this time of night I wasn’t left with many options so didn’t get fuel, just driving down to the Shire Hall where the party was instead. I then walked down to Bliss’s Pizza and bought a small vegetarian pizza, which was quite nice, and spent the rest of the night at the Shire Hall losing my hearing. They had dj’s, the “Buzerk Brothers” from Atherton, who seem to be able to make loud noises as well as any, and definitely did.
I’ve just arrived home. The party was okay, I enjoyed myself which is, of course, what makes it okay. I’m not quite sure how many people were there, I’d say about one hundred at any one time but it’s very hard to say – I could be quite wrong. I guess Sarah will know tomorrow. It’s good to see all the old Cooktown people again. There’s Mad Dave with the swastika tattooed on his nose – quite a nice fellow apparently, Shannon – who no one much likes but fortunately didn’t fight tonight, or at least he hadn’t by the time I left. He’s been known to bite sizeable chunks out of his opponents, and should be enough to convince most sceptics that demonic possession didn’t die out with the inquisition. There were a few ferals with their dreadlocks and hippy clothes, presumably up from Auravale, and the motley of semi-retired hippies from Rossville with their tie-die and happy attitudes. There’s Rainforest who, as usual, danced flat-out non-stop longer than any normal human can – and he’s not on drugs. I think he took Amy home, so he’s probably happy. Levi was there, looking almost exactly like Wolverine from X-Men, along with Matthew who’s growing his hair again and still planning to buy that multi-track recorder so he can make an album (which I hope he does as he’s far and away the best guitarist I’ve seen), and Justin who’s just recovered from a broken leg caused in a motorbike accident, but apart from that seems to be exactly as he used to be. It seems Cooktown and surrounds are going along their merry was unperturbed by my absence, although I’m always surprised by the number of people I don’t know or can’t remember who welcome me back. I nearly wasn’t going to bother going in but I’m glad I did, as it was worth seeing the Cooktown gang. I’m not really a party person – in fact I think I’m something of a loner.
I’m listening to Metallica and the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Mad Russian Christmas and thinking how much more pleasing melodic music is compared to that dance music I’ve been listening to all night. That electronic music gets very repetitive after a while, and just can’t compare to an orchestra or some good guitar.

13.07.2003Sunday 13 July

I became very tired, but did not want to go to sleep and waste away my Sunday, so struggled to stay awake, failing about half an hour later when I collapsed into bed and slept until midday.
I woke up, having either forgot to turn on my alarm, or more likely, having woken up and turned it off, and then gone straight back to sleep without remembering.
I modified my journal and amused web sites so that their URI’s don’t contain any question marks, slashes, ampersands or other complicating legacy things such as file extensions, having tested my modifications on my UNI site last night. It’s surprising how slowly people uptake new ideas, or rather, how ingrained old practices become. The huge majority of URI’s out there end in a file extension, which is standard across the entire site. For example, if a site uses plain HTML files, chances are every page on that site will end in “.html”, and every URI across that site will also end in “.html”. What happens if it is decided to switch from plain HTML to a server-side language such as PHP, and change the file extensions to “.php”? Immediately, all page-specific links to that site become obsolete, any entries in search engines, people’s bookmarks, magazines, or anywhere else are no longer valid. The same thing happens if you decide to change the way you’ve organised your files, the directories they’re in, or practically anything else about your site. There’s no reason that URI’s need to be tied to the logical location of their files in a local file system. In fact, to do so is arguably foolish and very short sighted. Technology moves so fast that tying a URI to anything is asking for trouble. The problem I am facing though, is that I have an existing site that is currently flat-file HTML, with direct links to the pages, and I wish to convert that to a template based system without having to change or lose any links (or edit any pages), and at the same time I wish to supersede those links (without obsolescing the existing links) with a more future-proof and pleasing link system. I have the template system to parse the existing HTML files, and now I’m testing the link system – which is working well so far. The three forms,, and all serve the same file, allowing me to use the first type while still remaining compatible with the existing two forms. Now all I need is the motivation and the time. As a nice side effect, all search engines should see my links as “normal” links and crawl them. Plus I never liked question marks in links, and refused to use ampersands, and it is good practice at coding websites, as I don’t have any fancy software to help me up here – although I’d never plummet as low as Notepad, it doesn’t even support multiple undoes.
After my website binge I went for a walk down to the Home Rule Bridge and looked at the water, and I’m afraid that’s about the only time I’ve been outside today. I blame the weather – it’s still overcast and sprinkling on and off.
I fall into bed and enter a state of semi-awareness, interspersed with ultra-awareness, although my waking self is unaware of anything at all. That sounds good, although I’m not sure if it makes any sense.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 31 August 2004, 1:33 AM
  Spambots appear to be attacking me.

14.07.2003Monday 14 July

I phoned Qantas to get them to re-send my confirmation email, which, like the first one, I did not receive so I posted a query on my web host’s forum and found out that Qantas sends malformed emails for their confirmations and my mail server rejects them – so handy. I also phoned Joe around eleven to let him know what time I’d be arriving, and then spent the rest of the morning online multitasking.
It cleared up and I went for a walk out the Home Rule road to the halfway spot and sat by the creek for a while, then it clouded over again and I came home. It’s nice to be walking around in the pure air, knowing I won’t meet anyone. It really is quite beautiful up here; I have yet to see anywhere nicer. This is definitely the best time of year too – a nice temperature, not too wet and not too dry.
I drove out to Shan’s and picked up the DVD’s he had, to take them back to the video store tomorrow. I’ve now remembered in graphic detail some of the reasons why I bought a new computer. After rebooting to get my DVD drive back out of PIO and into UDMA mode, I rebooted as the computer froze up, and then again as it froze up again – both times due to DVD reading problems. I then downloaded an ASPI driver from Adaptec, which didn’t work, so I went and got the Nero one, which did work, and rebooted again because the computer froze up again. After this, I finally managed to get a DVD reading correctly and made an image of it, with only two read errors, and was delighted to find that it played with some choppy sound and no video, and of course froze the DVD playing program every time. So I deleted that image and rebooted again, twice as I had to set the DVD drive back to UDMA again and the only way I know how is to uninstall the hard drive adaptor, reinstall it and reboot. All this so that Mum and I could watch “Romeo Must Die”, which we eventually did. Mum enjoyed it and I understood it better the second time around. Oh, and I should add – while Mum and I did manage to watch the movie, it froze up twice on scratches and I cannot parse either the UDF or ISO9660 file systems on the disc properly, but it works quite normally over at Shan’s in his computer.
I’ve spent hours and hours and hours preparing my “” site for its transition from a flat-file to a template-based system, and it is still not at all ready, because I’ve been doing it all wrong. The more I do, the more I think of better ways to do it. It seems this is how I work. I think about something, figure out a way to do it, and then begin to implement that. Halfway through I’ll think of a better way to do it and change things accordingly, and then towards the end I’ll realise that I’ve been going about it all wrong and I need I’m too sleepy to continue, so I’ll sleep on it and think about it while I’m sleeping and then in the morning I’ll awaken knowing what to do next. If only I could sleep on something and do it right the first time, but it seems the effort is what triggers my thinking processes, or perhaps I’m just too lazy. At least I’ve all but worked out how to convert my site; in fact, it’s running through a PHP template at the moment, although it appears almost exactly the same and still uses the old “.html” style links. It’s quite hard coding on this small seventeen inch monitor after being used to a nineteen inch dual monitor system. I have to do everything one at a time, switching from window to window.
I think I should go to sleep, especially as I’ve got to wake up sometime tomorrow morning and go to town. I don’t like going to bed with an unfinished task in front of me but I know it will take hours and hours to complete and the nitty gritty of how to do it hasn’t fully gelled in my mind yet, although I can feel it starting to congeal.

15.07.2003Tuesday 15 July

Mum woke me and we drove into town, where she got five more DVD’s, “Sword Fish”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Amelie”, “A Few Good Men” and “Moulin Rouge”. Not really what I’d have got myself, but it’s interesting to watch things other than what I’d normally see. I’m often surprised when I end up enjoying something which I didn’t think I’d like. I bought my customary thick shake from the Mad Cow and Mum and I shared some nachos, so now I’m very full.
Internet Hysteria
“Internet hysteria” annoys me. In today’s news, a former US marine has flown to France with a 12-year-old British schoolgirl, and his family says he was under the impression she was 19. They met in an “internet chatroom”. Let’s face it, when you’re “on the internet” you spend most of your time behind a monitor, safely at home, far from the “dangers” of the net. That’s a lot safer than going to school or into any town at night.
The media has done a very bad job at portraying nearly everything – especially the internet. Stories like this, while presumably true, fail to mention that there are many, many more similar events that are totally unrelated to the internet.
I know a lot of people who spend a lot of time on that evil thing known as “chat”, which is where all these evil deeds supposedly come from. I also know young people who are computer savvy, but who’s parents are either terrified or plain uninterested in computers – which means that the parents do not know what their child is doing, and people who are scared stiff of the “big bad internet” and who think it is quite bad or dangerous to allow kids to access it. I disagree. I’ve had my fair share of people “warning” me – mainly after some high profile sex/rape/murder story on the news that mentions some “chat room”. A quick visit to a “teen” chat room could be quite enlightening if you’ve never been. They’re the online equivalent to a cross between a nightclub/pick-up place and a brothel. Of course, most people don’t run away with other people and a lot never even meet – they’re probably lacking social skills, that being one of the reasons why they’re online in the first place, but you may be sure that a lot do meet. What I’m trying to get at here is the impression that people who don’t know seem to have – that the internet is either evil, destroying society, out of control, not a place for kids, dangerous, full of murderers etc. and at the same time that things like this are isolated incidents. Both are untrue – I firmly believe an average school is much more “dangerous” to a child, especially in a moral sense, and on the other hand while most online 12 year olds aren’t running away with 31 year olds, a lot of 16 year olds are trying their hardest to meet anyone they can for a bit of a good time...
I have a website and an online journal that contains enough information for anyone to find my precise location at a given time, and you should see the reaction I get when I tell some people that. Somehow, I’m just not concerned about crazy axe murderers from the net hunting me down, or my daughter running away with a paedophile she met in a chat room, but I’d sure be worried she might get involved with the wrong crowd at school.
I’ve messed up my website and struck a problem and now I don’t have the motivation to fix it so it’s back to flat-file HTML until I get that motivational urge again. I think the large lunch I had today may have something to do with this. My site is getting large now, 118 megabytes, 834 plain hypertext markup language (html) files, 121 cascading style sheets, 3594 images, 34 JavaScript files, 191 hypertext pre-processor (php) files, 10 server-side include (shtml) files, 43 text files, 69 plain extensible markup language (xml) files, 45 extensible style sheets and 5 schemas. All up I’ve got 5836 files and 289 directories in various states of disarray and confusion.
I’m now tired and off to bed. I am so sick of hay fever. I’ve had it almost constantly since I’ve been up from Brisbane. It’s not too bad, it’s just annoying and my nose is starting to get sore. Mum and I watched “Gandhi” tonight. At over three hours, it’s quite a long movie, and even has an intermission; however I feel that every minute is worth it. Some movies just don’t fit into the hour and a half that seems standard nowadays. I’d have to say I think this is a brilliant film. I’m no expert on Gandhi so I can’t vouch for its accuracy or otherwise, but it’s very believable and enjoyable throughout. I was engrossed from start to finish and thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie. Truly an epic movie and an epic story well told. I’d recommend “Gandhi” to anyone. I also ate some of my dark, rich peppermint filled chocolate and opened a packet of sour cream and chive chips, which, coupled with the good movie and an enjoyable chat online afterwards, made for as pleasant a night as any. Soundgarden’s “Spoonman” from their Superunknown album isn’t such a bad song either: “Oh, hmm, feel the rhythm with your hands (steal the rhythm while you can), Spoonman. Speak the rhythm on your own (speak the rhythm all alone), Spoonman. Spoonman! Come together with your hands – Save me! I’m together with your plans – Save me!”

16.07.2003Wednesday 16 July

I didn’t get to sleep until 3 AM last night, so I’m proud I even woke up. It could have had something to do with Mum telling me she was heading into town in half an hour.
Mum and I drove into town to do shopping. Some of my major purchases included 3 blocks of chocolate – peppermint, strawberry and coconut filled, some custard and cream, a milkshake from the Mad Cow Café and a pie from the bakery.
I have had bad hay fever all evening, slowly getting worse. It’s very frustrating. I can’t call it pain as it doesn’t hurt, so I think extreme discomfort is the best description – not at all enjoyable. Mum and I watched “A Beautiful Mind” – an interesting movie and well made. One thing I do not like about it is that it lies. While it cleverly hides the fact that half the cast is imaginary until the end, they have gone a little far. In one scene that I can remember, an imaginary man fights and pushes a table around. An imaginary person cannot move a table. But apart from that, it’s a reasonably good movie, although not quite exciting enough for my tastes. I spent the rest of the night chatting online, web-paging, fighting code and generally relaxing. One funny thing is that while I was engrossed in the movie, my hay fever did not bother me too much – perhaps this is somehow psychological or perhaps just because I was leaning back relaxing and watching a movie rather than peering at my monitor finding bugs.
I urgently require sleep and my hay fever is killing me, so sleep I shall.

17.07.2003Thursday 17 July

Mum woke me in the morning, but I slept in for another half hour or so, eventually getting woken by the phone. I spent a quiet day relaxing and hoping my hay fever didn’t come back too badly. It seems to be much better today.
Shan and Ella drove over and we messed around for a while. Ella screamed lots, as is to be expected, and Shan borrowed a couple of DVD’s. He’s apparently planning to drive down and see Kylie this weekend.
Mum and I watched “A Few Good Men” – perhaps more aptly “A Few Boring Hours”. I’ve not got much to say for it – it’s centred on a courtroom, what more need I say?
I’ve been fighting code again, and it’s winning. I have temporarily given up. Time has me stumped. As I’ve posted to a support forum, “I have a PHP function that is passed an ISO 8601 date in the format CCYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssZ and returns a date in English. However, the ISO time is in GMT, the time returned isn’t and I don’t know how to fix it.” It’s one of those things that messes with your mind, with time offsets, time zones and midnights. At the moment the times on my amused site’s comments are five hours wrong. My hay fever is just starting to get bad again, but I’m managing to hold it off. I’ll go to bed when it gets too bad, and hopefully it’ll be even better (or joy of joys, gone) in the morning.

18.07.2003Friday 18 July

I had another 3 AM night last night, and quite enjoyed it. It really is nice not having to wake up early for anything – I have a feeling I might get a bit of a shock when I’ve got early morning lectures again, but if I don’t think about that then at least I won’t have to worry about it until too late.
I figured out how to fix my time problem, or to be honest, someone else did. It’s rather simple too – remove the “T” from the timestamp and it works – typical. But the good news is that it does now work, and shows the correct time, and I can format it however I want, site wide, by changing one function – which was the original idea. I also added a “view source” link to my UNI site, and generally messed around a bit wasting time.
Mum somehow managed to lose the picture down at Monty’s, even though there’s only five buttons on the satellite decoder. Admittedly there’s also a VCR and two TVs to take into consideration, and an IF interference between the VCR and the satellite decoder that means you’ve got to have the VCR turned off to view the composite output on the secondary TV, but turned on to use the AV output for the primary TV, and rather obviously, on to watch a video – which would necessitate changing one channel up on the secondary TV, but changing to AV1 on the primary TV. Then, to watch television on both TVs at once requires that both TVs be set to channel 1 and the VCR turned off, but to watch a video, both TVs must be changed to channel 2 and the satellite decoder switched off (and the VCR on, obviously), but to watch television or video on only the primary TV, both the satellite decoder and VCR should be switched on and the TV set to AV1. Nevertheless, there’s still only five buttons on the satellite decoder, so I had to go down and fix it before Dad got home from the pool comp, as he had to fix it last time and I’m not sure he was entirely impressed.
Another late night, how lovely it is to be on holidays.

19.07.2003Saturday 19 July

I exercised my democratic right to do nothing whatsoever, otherwise known as “holidays”.
I showed Mum the basics of “Windows”, left and right mouse clicking, the “Start Menu”, taskbar, folders, close buttons... It’s all new to her. Hopefully in a bit less than a week I can gently show her enough to successfully use this computer while I’m not here.
Mum and I watched, or tried to watch “Swordfish”. Unfortunately the disc was rather scratched and we had to skip about ten minutes in the middle, which, of course, was vital to the plot and the rest of the movie didn’t make any sense. I’ve seen it before, and from memory, it didn’t make all that much sense anyway. Their use of computers and computer terminology is extremely embarrassing, but I guess most people don’t realise what rubbish they’re talking. These scratched discs are a problem, I hired quite a few DVD’s while I was down in Brisbane, and I only had a few scratched ones, and of them I don’t think any were that bad that I couldn’t watch them, whereas in the few weeks I’ve been up here we’ve already had a few DVD’s scratched badly enough that I’ve had to skip chapters. It’s rather annoying.
Yet another late night by the looks of it, hurrah for holidays.

20.07.2003Sunday 20 July

It rained. It has rained almost non-stop since I’ve been here. Gladly for me, I’ve not minded. I have had a few things I wished to do and a few I should do but don’t wish too, all of which require dry weather – but I am just enjoying the relaxation. There’s not much more relaxing than sitting around listening to the rain fall in a tropical paradise where it’s never too cold, and at night hearing the wind howling above the trees and the rain blowing through the leaves and dripping to the ground, snug and cosy in my bed. I don’t need to feel slack for my inaction because it’s too wet to do anything, and I don’t need to do anything because I’m on holidays. This is markedly different from my normality, where I need to do lots of things, but don’t do anything, and feel guilty as a result – so I’m really enjoying the break. I’ve also been staying up half the night every night, but that’s not so unusual. Not having to worry about cooking but still getting good meals is nice too. In general, I’m doing absolutely nothing and enjoying myself doing it. Ironically, I’m writing a page a day about the nothing that I’m not doing.
Mum learnt how to use Outlook to send and receive email today, and how to attach a file to an email and send it. At least, I hope she learnt. Tomorrow is Word and Internet Explorer day, and from then on she can do things herself.
Mum and I watched “Amelie” tonight. As is becoming horribly normal, we couldn’t enjoy normal playback, it was slightly jerky (in a strangely smooth manner) throughout. But it is an excellent movie, French and subtitled. We laughed. It was great – so romantic, so lovely. This is the best movie we’ve seen since I’ve been up here, which isn’t saying much. I also ate an entire block of white coconut chocolate, so I’m hyper now. Bounce, bounce, bounce! But back to the movie – a thoroughly enjoyable, thoroughly happy, joyful look at one woman’s romantic dream coming true; and quite absurd in places. I love it. Subtitles are funny, I do not remember them. Even now, I don’t remember there being any subtitles, it seems that my brain replaces the dialogue with what I read. I often can’t remember whether I read something or saw it in a movie – my imagination does such a good job padding out what I read that I can clearly remember the visuals afterwards. I also spend a lot of time simply thinking, planning, designing, and daydreaming. When I had to lie in bed unable to move for weeks I was so scared that I’d get bored that I didn’t let myself get bored, the logic being that if I got bored once there would be no stopping it and I’d lie there bored to death and dying – but ever since then I’ve lost my fear of boredom. I can, often, be just as happy (if not happier) by myself doing nothing, simply thinking. When in India, I found myself quite enjoying the train rides. Even though they were very long and I was surrounded by so many other people, I, being the only westerner, would find myself, in a sense, alone, and there’s something about a train’s motion and noise that is very soothing. I had excellent sleeps and great daydreams, finding myself at peace and able to just sit in a door and enjoy the passing countryside, or stare blankly as the fields rolled by and think up complex designs and scenarios. I think, in retrospect, they were some of the most peaceful times I’ve had, and in retrospect there’s almost more commas in these last few sentences than letters.
Comment by lulu – Monday 21 July 2003, 5:55 AM
  It's called the Faulkner Syndrome and is caused from suppressed poet inclinations. Don't worry; it isn't bad or contagious. Oh, and they give prizes for it.

21.07.2003Monday 21 July

I honestly have no idea what, if anything, I did today. I suspect it wasn’t much or I’d probably remember. Then again, I’ve not done much anytime in the near past either, yet I’ve remembered them well. Oh, yes, now I remember. I phoned the travel agent and made a booking on a flight to Cairns, and I phoned Silas but his phone wasn’t working, and I forgot to phone the Bellview to make a reservation there.
“Moulin Rouge” was tonight’s movie, and although I have seen it before and didn’t remember it being too sad, I was expecting a sad movie as I’d been told by a friend who’d just watched it herself to expect to cry. This put me in the wrong frame of mind, as I kept waiting for the horribly sad tragedy that never came, but it also made the movie all the more enjoyable when it never did end up being terribly sad. Mum and I laughed quite a bit, and definitely didn’t cry. There are a few sad bits, but I’d hesitate to call them tragic – it’s too dramatic, too obviously overacted, to be truly tragic. We both enjoyed it and I think it’s quite a good movie.

22.07.2003Tuesday 22 July

Mum, after getting home from work, woke me up and I phoned Silas, who is now in Cairns, homeless and unemployed. It doesn’t sound like I’ll be able to stay with him on the weekend so I phoned the Bellview guesthouse and made a reservation there and shortly after I drove in to town. My first stop was the supermarket, as I had no money and needed EFTPOS, so I bought some “TV Mix” assorted chocolate-coated things, and some chocolate caramels and toffees. I then walked down to the travel shop and paid my airfare, all $83.60 of it, picked up my ticket and walked back up to Peter’s shop. He was looking for leaks in the air conditioning of a truck, so I waited until he’d finished and we had an enjoyable talk. I then drove up to the Big Shed and bought eight metres of black plastic to replace the old stuff over the caravan, torn when a branch fell through one corner a few days ago, which has now ripped off entirely and is flapping all over the place. It’s such a windy place up here, with Home Rule being much, much worse, although that is probably the nicest place to live that I have ever seen – at least from a scenic point of view. After the black plastic, I drove down to the Shell servo, seeing as the Ampol has replaced their LRP with Premium Unleaded – and bought twenty dollars of fuel, as instructed by Mum. I then drove home after a quick stop at the Mad Cow Café and the Supermarket where I got a chocolate milkshake and punnet of pasta salad, which I ate and drank on the way home.
I was going to go over to Shan’s place and see him, but I found out that his girlfriend is there so Mum and I watched “Kiss of the Dragon” instead, which I think is still my favourite action movie. She seemed to enjoy it although we had a small disagreement over what “realistic fighting” meant. I must admit, it didn’t seem as good as I’d remembered from last time, I think because I was watching it with Mum who didn’t seem amazingly happy about the movie – although she said it was good. I opened the lollies I’d bought earlier in town, and connected to the internet – several times. I kept getting disconnected, so after a few reconnections at 22¢ each I cleaned the phone plugs and went inside and cleaned them there as well, and reconnected. I had the connection properties box open, waiting for it to disappear indicating that I’d been disconnected once again – and disappear it did, but somehow I wasn’t disconnected. Explorer had quit, and it quit again each time I tried to run it. I hope Mum doesn’t have any problems like this, that’s the last thing she needs when she’s going to be struggling to keep Word under control. A reboot seemed to fix the problem, as is usual with computers.
After days of hay fever, it’s finally starting to catch up with me. Now, when I sneeze, my brain hurts. I’m hoping it’s some sort of blocked sinus thing and not a brain haemorrhage or anything too interesting like that. Shaking my head, even stamping my foot hard, all hurts my brain. Looking on the bright side – I guess this is proof that I have one.
I am becoming a late night person.

23.07.2003Wednesday 23 July

Dad and I (with some help from Mum) replaced the black plastic over my van with a new piece.
I went for a walk around the school loop and down to the creek and the old airstrip. It’s very nice and peaceful walking up here, no people, no cars, no noise – just green plants. I also had a brilliant idea regarding the transfer of thoughts, feelings and ideas; I just have to get a brain interface set up first.
I noticed that I was receiving email destined for Mum, so went to investigate. It seems that when I set up her email and tested it, I did all the testing from my own mail server, which worked, but unfortunately, that’s all that works. Mail sent from any other mail server to Mum is routed to me. This isn’t that surprising considering I set up the routing myself. If I’d remembered that, or thought to test it from somewhere other than my own mail server, it could have saved me a lot of bother – but of course I didn’t. If I knew what I was doing it would probably be easier too, but of course, I don’t. Anyway, to cut a short story even shorter, I added every sort of mail record I could think to my DNS, which as I can only think of two types, didn’t take very long, and then scrapped that DNS and transferred to another. The problem is that this can take upwards of forty-eight hours to propagate around the world, so my site stopped working, as did all my email.
Mum and I watched “The Wild Bunch”. There’s one word to describe this movie – boring. And they laugh too much. I don’t know what it is with old movies, but I’ve seen very few that were any good – they all seem to be boring.
Having spent ages writing and rewriting string parsers, switch statements and nested if-then-else’s to get my journal to accept URL’s in the way I want it to, I’m suddenly very sleepy and collapse into bed. I have to get up around nine tomorrow morning, so I had better sleep double-time.

24.07.2003Thursday 24 July

Dad, Mum and I drove into town and had lunch at the Mad Cow Café with Vince and Sarah. It was very filling and enjoyable. We then did some shopping and drove home.
Shan rode over on his motorbike with Kylie on the back. It blows so much smoke, half of it out the front and I asked why he’d painted the back tyre – it is not paint, it is oil. He dropped off two DVD’s, “The Ninth Gate” and “The Cell”. Seeing as I don’t really want to “enter the mind of a killer” or see The Matrix meet Silence of the Lambs, I’ve abstained from watching them. I don’t like horror, or indeed anything scary. I simply don’t understand how people enjoy that. As “The Cell” says, “veers from the seductive to the uncomfortable to the truly horrific”. Perhaps I’m missing something from the definitions of “uncomfortable” and “horrific”, but neither sound like desirable states of mind to me.
Mum and I sat inside in the dark and had a nice talk and cuddle, and then I went online for a while. I’m glad to say is now resolving.
Comment by Helen – Friday 25 July 2003, 10:00 PM
  Your mum sounds really nice :)

25.07.2003Friday 25 July

I had a quiet day, not doing too much, setting up the computer for Mum and trying to get everything to work simply and not too confusingly.
I took the computer inside for Mum and got all my stuff together ready to pack, then drove out to Home Rule and said goodbye to Shan and co. I dropped in at Monty’s where Dad is staying on the way home and stayed there for a while. I was supposed to go home and pack, but ended up staying at Dad’s too long and had to go straight to bed when I got home. I couldn’t even go online as I’d set the computer up inside for Mum.

26.07.2003Saturday 26 July – My last day in Rossville

I woke up not long after 5:30 AM and remembered that I hadn’t written any information about my flight anywhere – it was all online and in my email. I had to rush inside where I’d set up the computer for Mum and go online to check my email – where I found I’d deleted that mail (by accident), so I had to dig out my backup CD and find my email backup and find my flight number and time in there. Fortunately, I found it or I’m not sure what I’d have done. I guess I could have phoned Qantas and they’d have found my ticket from my name. Having wasted my packing time finding my ticket information I had to run around in a panic packing my stuff, jump in the car, and head off. We picked up Dad from Monty’s where he’s looking after the place until Monty gets back from his holiday and drove into Cooktown arriving at the airport spot on time. The plane was ten minutes late. The take off and flight was nice, but when descending my sinus, and behind my eyes felt like they had pins in them. My head felt like it would explode and it wasn’t very nice at all. To add to my discomfort my nose began to run – and run it did, non-stop and everywhere. Tissues galore – I did not enjoy the landing at all. This is the first time I’ve had any problems like this but I guess after almost a month of hay fever it’s not that surprising.
I caught a taxi into Cairns, remembering halfway that I’d forgot to pick up my luggage. How stupid can I get? I walked out of the airport and jumped in the first taxi, not even thinking. That’s what hay fever does – I shall blame it. I couldn’t get through to Silas, so I walked around taking photos and looking at the new esplanade redevelopment they’ve been doing and the fancy lagoon they’ve made and watched a magician perform. I went and spent an hour online, where I checked my email, sent a few to Mum and Becky, and went online and chatted. Then I managed to get through to Silas but he didn’t sound very healthy. Amos came and picked me up a short time later in Silas’s car, and we went and picked up his car from where it was parked in town. I drove Silas’s car out to Eric’s and then swapped to Amos’s car and we drove out to the airport to pick up my bag, and then back to get Silas’s car and out to Silas’s new place. He’s renting two rooms down he bottom of a flat. He wasn’t yet alive, having had an obviously too big night last night, so Amos and I went into town and did some shopping that Amos had to do and then came back to Silas’s after that, by which time he was partly alive. Amos had to leave as he’s taking some tourists on a night walk. Silas and I talked for a while and Silas showed me the documents he’s got from JCU and his new job.
Silas and I had dinner at the night markets. I had pasta ravioli Napolitano or whatever it’s called, which was quite nice, and then sped to Cairns Central where we watched “Terminator 3”. It’s a great movie, lacking something that I can’t quite put my finger on, but great nonetheless. I enjoyed it a lot. Silas then had to leave for bed and I walked back to the Bellview where I was staying, but couldn’t bring myself to sit and mope and get sentimental so I walked back to the cinemas and watched “The Real Cancun”, which is remarkably stupid. I do not recommend that anyone watch it, but I did manage to enjoy it and it passed the time well, and I even found an internet café that was open until midnight so popped in there on the way back from the movie, making it a bit of a late night by the time I crashed into bed.

27.07.2003Sunday 27 July – My first day back in Brisbane

I was woken at 4:45 AM. This is not a particularly good time to be woken. There were a few of us up, all catching planes. We phoned for three taxis, but after the first had come and taken its people and the second wasn’t anywhere to be seen, the other two lots of us flagged down a passing cab and took that instead. I hope our taxis weren’t too annoyed when they turned up, but at least it ended up cheaper – I only paid $5.
I was late, of course. I am almost never early for anything. By the time I arrived at the airport they were calling for any passengers for my flight to go straight to desk two, which suited me fine as there were at least fifty people waiting in line for the other check-in desks. There was no one at desk two so I got checked-in straight away and headed out through the scary terrorist-finders and out to the plane. I sat in the farthest back left-hand side window seat. The flight was normal and rather boring. We didn’t crash. No one stabbed anyone with their fork (or anything else for that matter), and the most exciting thing was when the lady two seats across from me was sick and had to request a sickie bag. The flight was faster than expected – an hour and three quarters later I was in Brisbane. When descending, my nose ran again. I so hate hay fever and all the joys it brings.
I caught a train from the airport into the city, then a train from the city out to here, and walked here for the first time in nearly a month. Joe was home, and I said the perfunctory hellos. Puppy was happy to see me, but I was really too tired to think, let alone play – so upstairs I went, and in bed I lay, and to sleep I did fall. A few hours later I woke up and unpacked, went down and talked to Joe, and set up my computer.
Joe got me to drive down to a particular (and rather far away) newsagent to get some scratch-its, which I did without incident, and shortly after getting back he decided he needed to head towards a bottle shop to refill, so we did. I’d never been to this bottle shop before so Joe was guiding me, and told me “See that car (which was turning right at an intersection)? Follow it”, so I did. Having pulled into the right hand turning lane, I could see three or four green lights, the car in front of me turned right and so did I. Another car came hurtling through the lights at me, and I very narrowly missed hitting it – probably a matter of inches. It turns out that the central light, which I can’t see from the turning right lane when there’s any large traffic in the lanes to the left of me, has arrows – the turning right one of which was, of course, red. There are probably six or more lights at this intersection and only the central one has these arrows, which I had obviously not seen. What had happened, of course, is that I’d seen all the green lights and followed the car in front, not realising or being able to see that the right turn arrow was red, and the car coming the other way had simply driven through its green light as per usual. The lights had assumed no one would turn right, as there was a red right turn arrow. If I could be bothered, and if I hadn’t been in the wrong and nearly had an accident, I’d complain to someone as it’s extremely dangerous. After driving through I let Joe off at the bottle shop and had a look around the intersection to satisfy myself that there really were arrows there, and I can’t see how anyone is expected to see them if they’re already at the intersection when the arrow changes to red. It is almost above the car and to the right, difficult to see at the best of times, and perhaps impossible if there’s anything sizeable pulled up or passing in any of the left lanes. I’m very grateful I didn’t clip that car, as it was very close and would possibly have swung the car around and caused a nasty accident – or at the least some expensive damage to the other car and I’d have been in the wrong. Come to think, I hope they don’t have red light, or should I say red arrow, cameras there or I might still be in trouble. I had better dust off my Mexican alibi.
Joe’s sister, Liz, came over and later Joe’s daughter, Tonya and her boyfriend and we all had “Chinese” for dinner. Joe got quite drunk and I spent the night online – enjoying my new computer again, and its nice, large and clear monitor.

28.07.2003Monday 28 July – Start of Second Semester

Well, the first day back at uni and the start of my second semester – and what a day it was. I had to be at uni by nine o’clock, which means I had to be on the 7:40 train, which means I had to get up by about seven and leave here quarter of an hour before the train – all of which I managed to do without freezing entirely solid – although it was a close call at times. I didn’t get to bed until after two thirty last night, so I’m proud of myself for waking up on time.
It is very cold. I guess I have got used to the warmth up North – but I think it is plain and simply cold down here. Anyway, having safely arrived at uni still partly alive and functioning, I attended my very first “Intro to Information Systems” lecture, which promises to be interesting – or so I hope. I’m almost looking forward to learning about databases, which is the main purpose of this course, as I’ve never had anything to do with them before and know little about them. This was followed by a visit to the computer labs and a journey through cyberspace and onto an IRC network to have a quick chat and to check my email – then back up to the main refectory and lunch with io. Next came my preliminary “Computer Organisation” lecture, which should also be interesting – I hope. I have a bit of background knowledge about how logic circuits operate at a low level, but I know little about them at higher levels. A few interesting facts about this course: 345 students are enrolled; 52% are engineering students, followed by 29% IT, 6% arts, 3% science, 2% business management, just under 2% commerce and 3% other; 81% are male; 63% are first year, 26% second year, 8% third year and the rest are obviously fourth or higher. This is a two hour lecture, but the second hour was free so io and the two hardcore geeks (I forget their names) and I walked up to “General Purpose North” to have a look, as I’ve not seen it before. Surprisingly, it looks somewhat like a building. This was followed by another “Intro to Information Systems” lecture – two hours long, which was a bit much. My hay fever after-effects kicked in and I didn’t feel so good. io, who has a cold, looked as if he was having an even worse time, and I think we were both pretty happy when the lecture ended. I made my way home and sat, fish like, unable to think and totally exhausted having stopped at the shops on the way home and bought some basic groceries. I must be in a bad way – I went to bed amazingly early, before midnight.
Mum made it online! I talked to her in MSN for a while and received a short email. I’m glad she’s managed as I was becoming worried.
Comment by Helen – Thursday 31 July 2003, 8:57 PM
  Do you call your IRC friends by their chat names even IRL? :)
Comment by Ned – Friday 1 August 2003, 1:12 AM
  Sometimes, particularly when I can’t remember their real names, but generally when I think of them as that name - which usually happens when I know them better, or have known them first, from IRC.

29.07.2003Tuesday 29 July

I woke up in a panic, instantly aware that I’d slept in. A quick look at my clock showed I’d only slept in a few minutes and could still get to the train on time, although it nearly proved fatal. By the time I’d got to the station I couldn’t think straight or breathe. I felt like I was hyperventilating but I didn’t have enough brainpower left to control myself and breathe properly and didn’t really care. I really think that jumping out of bed when it’s cold enough to freeze goldfish, running around in circles losing vital body temperature, then running down the road when any sane person is in bed is simply not good for the body – but I did make it to the train and my breathing slowly subsided. By the time I got to uni my brain was functioning enough to acknowledge the existence of people once again. I blame my hay fever – it’s nastily hard to keep up the pretence of semi-normal humanity when suffering hay fever or its after-effects. I do think it’s going away though. I haven’t felt as though I’ve had hay fever since arriving back in Brisbane – in fact, it feels more like having a cold now.
I had another nine o’clock lecture, and then a two-hour break until a midday lecture – “Programming in the Large”. So far, all my lecturers sound as though they might do a good job, and that I may be able to find the subject matter at least a little engrossing. I hope that I can manage to motivate myself and enjoy some of these courses as I know I can get very good results if I’m motivated and enjoying it – but wait, I must be delusional, this is university. After my lecture, I went and got a swipe card, which allows me to access some of the locked computer labs. I tried getting into one of the UNIX labs to see if my card worked – which it unfortunately did. I logged into one of the solaris terminals to see if I could, which unfortunately I could, and then I, unfortunately, couldn’t log out. I closed the terminal window – by logging out of it, and that was that. I guess I have some learning to do. The problem was, as there weren’t any nice people standing about and I’d have felt too stupid asking anyway, I had to lock the terminal and leave it locked. No, that’s not entirely true... I pushed every button in various combinations to see if there was some amazingly secret (and probably terribly obvious) way to logout or reset the terminal, which regretfully included the lock workstation button – and no password I could think off would unlock it again – so it’s probably still sitting there locked – I hope I don’t get into trouble! I shall deny any knowledge of the entire lab. After that embarrassing debacle, which (for the record), never happened – I walked back to the train station and caught a train home.

30.07.2003Wednesday 30 July – Hulk

I have nothing on at university today and I feel terrible, so I’m going to do nothing and relax, and hope I can get enough energy to finish the week. At least that was the plan. What ended up happening was slightly different.
I slept.
I slept.
I slept.
I woke up and went online. I checked what movies were on, with a view to possibly watching one this weekend. I was performing my famous motivation-seeking-screen-stare when I noticed that “Hulk” was having its last showing today – so if I wanted to see it, 8:50 PM was my last chance. Of course, I couldn’t let an opportunity like this pass me by. A quick shower later and I was on the train, switching trains at Roma Street and heading out to Indooroopilly. I arrived with plenty of time, bought a 40¢ ice cream from Hungry Jacks, a ticket from the ticket office and a large frozen coke from the Candy Bar and headed into the theatre. The movie itself was actually much better than I expected, concentrating more on the relationships between the cast rather than the actual special effects Hulk himself – which wasn’t very well done and looked awfully like a computer game. It wasn’t a high-class movie, or indeed a very good movie, but I wasn’t expecting much and I enjoyed it, as usual. One of the problems with living in Brisbane is that the public transport stops so early. I caught the last connecting train from Indooroopilly and the last train full stop from Roma Street, and didn’t arrive home until quite late. Had the movie started at nine o’clock I’d have been risking being unable to get home – which I think is rather pathetic. I guess I’m used to Cairns where nearly everything is within walking distance and everything is open late because of the tourists.
Comment by Ned – Friday 1 August 2003, 8:12 PM
  Testing the comments after changing a few $_SERVER[] variables to fix a change in my webhost.

31.07.2003Thursday 31 July

I had a tiring day at uni, printing out my notes, along with io and kjpyro’s to get above the 200-page limit required for cheap printing, and slept when I got home. Oh, io and I also went and found the printery hidden behind the new CSIRO building and got our printouts nicely hole punched (except I think they drill them) – for free.
I went to the shop and bought 1 kilogram of Milo. For those of you who don’t know – Milo is a real man’s Ovaltine.
I drove Joe down to the newsagent and we bought some chips. I also set up his new answering machine he got for his birthday, and then ate the chips. Joe managed to have quite a pre-birthday celebration, getting quite drunk. He made the mistake of phoning Tonya, who, unbeknownst to me, got quite upset and phoned Michelle. I was blissfully unaware of the unfolding events and online by this time, and Michelle couldn’t get through. She phoned Silas in Cairns, who happened to be chatting to me on IRC at the time from the computer of the girl upstairs that he’s renting his room from, as his computer won’t start ever since he left Brisbane. He told me on chat, I phoned Michelle, reassured her that Joe hadn’t died and everything was Ok, and stayed up until half past one and went to bed quite tired – geek emergency protocol at its best, I love it.

Year View| Summary| Highlights| July 2003 (Month View)

Be Amused

Printed on 100% recycled electrons
W3C CSS 2.0