Tuesday, October 28, 2008

End of the world

Just received my copy of the Bad Astronomer's new book, Death from the Skies. I haven't read beyond the first few pages yet, but I recommend it unreservedly, knowing Phil's output from his first book, Bad Astronomy, and his blog.
In the light of my recent T.S. Eliot blogging, I appreciate the reference on the cover, to "The Hollow Men":
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
Judging from the contents list, most of the means by which the world could end are bangs--asteroids, comets, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts; however, as Phil asserts, despite all of the ways the universe is trying to kill us "you always have to keep in mind that we're still here." At least long enough for me to read this book, I hope.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I recently tried to sign up for internet access to my internet account details (so I can read and pay bills online) with a major Australian ISP. When I was asked for an email address, they would not accept either of the email addresses (one for work, one for private email) that they provide me with. I queried this and received the following reply (copied and pasted so don't blame me for the bad spelling and grammar):

When accessing MyAccount we need a secondary email address other then email address ending in @xxxxxxxnet.com.au this is due to if xxxxxxx.com.au is not working we can still send you notification and important information to another email address. There are many free email services in the market you can signed up for (example www.hotmail.com and www.gmail.com) or you can even use a family members email address if you authorized them to be able to see some emails we may send you.

I replied politely, but what I wanted to say was:

If xxxxxxxnet.com.au is not working, I won't be able to access ANY email accounts, because I won't have internet access, you idiots! Why do you need to send me an email to tell me that my internet service is not working? Don't you think I will have noticed when I CAN'T ACCESS THE INTERNET? Duh!

If it's that urgent, call me. Oh, that's right, you're my telephone service provider as well.

So much for rewarding customer loyalty...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Last night Ms Nominative Determinism and I went to see My Fair Lady, starring Richard E Grant as Henry Higgins. He was, as I expected, absolutely perfect for the role, and his lack of singing experience didn't really show.
The whole production was colourful and vibrant and the casting was, over all, very good. My main complaint was the insipid Freddie who, though he had a lovely voice, had the strangest collection of facial expressions. Instead of looking like a lovelorn swain, he looked more like he was practicing his orgasm face in a mirror. I commented on this to Ms ND during the interval, so when he returned for his reprise we dissolved in giggles at the first excruciating grimace.
Did you know that someone is planning to make a new movie version of My Fair Lady, with Keira Knightley as Eliza? I do applaud the choice, as I think she would make a suitably pouty and sulky guttersnipe; however, I was distressed by Ms ND's assertion that Brad Pitt and George Clooney were both coveting the role of Professor Higgins. Urk! The producers should just get Richard E Grant to do it (he really is the perfect Henry, despite his claims to be insulted by such an assertion).
Ms ND and I then spent the bus trip home wracking our brains to come up with a suitable alternative candidate, with little success. It wasn't until the wee small hours that an idea came to me: Ciaran Hinds!
So here's my suggested cast list for the new My Fair Lady:
Eliza Kiera Knightley
Henry Higgins Ciaran Hinds
Colonel Pickering Alun Armstrong
Freddie Rupert Penry-Jones (nice and insipid)
Mrs Higgins Gillian Anderson
Alf Doolittle Paul Hogan (although I don't know if he can sing, he's a very convincing garbologist).
Please feel free to supply your own cast options in the comments.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Well, it's exciting to me...

Fellow gardeners will understand my excitement today. These wild irises (Dietes iridoides) have been growing under the peppermint gum in my backyard for around seven or eight years. They flowered the first summer after I transplanted them (I guess they were a couple of years old when I bought them from the nursery). I planted half a dozen plants which have grown and spread naturally and provide a profusion of pretty flowers every spring.
About five years ago I found a few tiny seedlings growing in a drain, so I rescued them and planted them in a pot near the front door. For the past five summers I've been waiting for them to flower, but they just kept growing bushier and multiplying.
Now, at last, my patience will be rewarded: this morning I found three flower spikes in the pot (the tip of the third is just in the lower left foreground of the last photo). In a week or so, I'll have flowers! I am so proud!

Monday, October 06, 2008

What on EARTH!

One of my major editing projects this year was featured in today's SMH. I'm pretty proud of my small part in this huge book, so check it out. Of course, at $5,000.00 a copy for the limited edition, I don't expect you all to buy one. (There is a smaller edition available in bookstores.)
See the pretty pictures!