Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Better and worse seasons of M.A.S.H.

I've been meaning to pick up the later seasons of M.A.S.H. on DVD -- one of the few t.v. series I'd bother to collect. Each season is about AU$50-$60, though, so I've held off.

Today, found that Big W (analagous to Target or Fred Meyers) had 'em on sale for AU$23! So, picked up seasons 5 and 6, which is when Col. Potter arrived; B.J. arrived soon after. I prefer the Col. Potter and B.J. era, since the Henry Blake/Trapper era is more slapstick and hijinks; the B.J. episodes -- and particularly when the ditched Frank Burns for Winchester -- have stronger, more intelligent writing. In my opinion. Frank Burn's character was just too one-dimensional; a whinger.

B.J. was my favorite character on M.A.S.H. Got the better lines, IMO, more droll. His character also just plain seemed like a nicer guy than Hawkeye.

For similar reasons, Chakotay was my favorite character on Star Trek: Voyager. A good masculine role model who was willing to stand up to what he believed in, but also kind and gentle. Firm, but not angry.

I guess I identify more with those characters; hopefully, reflects well on me. I'm just not a Hawkeye/Tom Paris type. :)

--Guy Greene

Friday, April 29, 2005

One-Hit Wonders

Here's a bit of nostalgia for y'all -- regardless of your generation.

A list of one-hit wonders. They list the 1950s thru the 2000s. People not of your generation will probably say "Eh? Never heard of it" -- whereas YOU'LL wax nostalgic, recall a brief period of hearing it on the radio ALL the time, and wonder "what ever happened to...?"

I identify most with the '80s and '90s, but have scattered bits of awareness from the other decades.

I aspire to be a one-hit wonder: it'd be fun to go on a world tour -- once. I'm not much into traveling or sleeping in a different hotel each night; I'd rather stay home and putter. ;)


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Man! All those programming languges!!!

After I posted yesterday's entry about the mystery programming Language "A*", Mr. More Apples, a friend of Old Roommate, provided me with a link to a website listing all sorts of obscure languages:

The one I saw at the book sale was probably ABCL/1 or ABCL/R (1986/1988); possibly ALGOL (1960s-1970s).

Now I'm thinking that for a buck or two, I should've just picked up the book. Ah well. :)

I have a fortnightly "spending money" allowance as part of the household budget. (In Aussie-land, they do things "fortnightly," rather than "biweekly.") Also, because of the way I am, I keep track -- out of curiousity -- of how much I spend per month on music gear, and also woodworking things. A few months ago, I also started tracking computer-related expendatures.

So, I sorted the books from the book sale into piles based on subject -- and tallied up the total for each pile. Added each pile's total to the relevant list of spendings, which I keep on my computer.

Then I tried putting them away, except that the bookshelf in the study is too full. Just **barely** managed to squeeze in the computer-ish books (about eight of them), but the music books and the woodworking/home handyperson books just plain wouldn't fit.

Guess we gotta build a bigger house! :)

Actually, The Lady and I both like books, so the house plan we chose has an attached two car gar garage -- which will actually be the Library/home office. Bookshelves ALLLLL around the perimieter! Should take us a year or two to fill.

Long time, no Slushie; photo of The Bub and Ralphie

Wow... it's been almost a full week since I had my last Slushie. Sadness...

Tall Guy asked Captain Linux to post (host?) some photos for us. Here's one of The Bub, playing with one of those "soft books,"

and one of Ralphie.

Blogs are more fun with the occasional photo.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

obsolete computer languages

Follow-up to my post re: yesterday's book sale.

When I got to the table of computer books, one of the alumni volunteers (who apparently is a computer guy) was telling a younger guy to clear out the PASCAL books, as they just weren't moving (this was three days into a five-day sale). I asked the computer guy whatever happened to PASCAL, FORTRAN, COBOL -- languages I remember hearing about when I was in college (I had Comp. Sci. friends). Plus one I'd never heard of (should've written it down!): AIKEL (or some-such). Now-a-days it's all C+ and VisualBasic and such.

He said -- and I'll probably get these confused -- PASCAL was basically just to teach people a programming mindset, and not actually used for real applications -- although some people in France still use it. Some scientists still use FORTAN. And COBOL didn't allow conditional statements (i.e. "IF... THEN..."), which made it of limited use.

Anyhow, I felt bad for all those obsolete "how to program" books that no one wanted.

But, not bad enough to buy any.


Aspiring nerd

Further embracing of my inner nerd: Before digging in to our half day at work yesterday (ANZAC Day), The Lady and I attended the annual alumni (fund-raising) book sale on campus. I picked up six or eight books on obsolete Apple Macs, Apple II/IIe, Mac LC. All a buck or two each, IIRC. Mostly owner's manuals, but one on programming in Apple BASIC -- the only programming language I really know (besides Stata, I suppose). After I Finish My Dissertation (tm) -- and most likely, after we build the new house and I have room to set up all my obsolete computers!!! -- I'll write a program for the Apple II-GS, for ear-training: a random tone generator. It'll generate a random number, then pull a corresponding frequency (in Hertz) from a list, resulting in a note of music; I'll try to find it on the piano, guitar, etc. as quickly as possible. I'll also write an extension that plays an interval, which I'll have also have to pick out on an instrument.

The Lady noticed that I also bought a manual FOR A COMPUTER I DON'T EVEN OWN: "doing graphics and audio with a Commodore 64." I justified it by saying it was a good price (a buck or two), and **someday** I'll probably own one. She's very tolerant. ;)

I also picked up a book on home metal foundry-ing (making wooden sand-filled crates to pour molten lead, etc. into); welding iron gates and grilles; and "Poisonous Critters of Australia" (or some-such). Not that I'll **directly** use any of these... but they're good reference material to have on the shelf.

Plus others. Our total was (IIRC) AU$112, of which about AU$34 was The Lady's. At an average of two bucks a book, that's around forty books for me. In constrast, with the except of two cookbooks and one or two fiction books, The Lady bought old statistics books and textbooks in her field of lecturing.

Oh yeah: Bought a book on the development of the different "families" of musical instruments (e.g. brass; woodwinds; bowed strings); "how to play the oboe"; "how to play the violin"; and a big engineer's dictionary of audio terms (e.g. SPL, dB).



Age of people in authority: addendum

A follow-up to the "Age of People in Authority" (Apr. 19) entry:

I subscribe to a Mixmasters e-mail list, which discusses home multitrack music recording techniques. (Note that the e-list is thriving, but the info on the linked page is obsolete; ex: we trade mp3 files, not cassette tapes.) Unicycle Guy e-mailed me to say

> I was looking at this blog, and it mentioned your blog, which I read. It's
> interesting that you value people older then yourself, since so few people really
> do. Guess you just need an older loan agent, huh?

Turns out I'd mentioned my "older person" theory just last night to my Next-Door Neice, who pointed out that someone who's 28 could've been doing it for eight years, whereas someone 55 could've been laid off from their former career, and only been doing this for a year or two.

So, there's wisdom in youth, too... ;)


Oh yeah: house and property things

Sorry: I was talking about the property we're getting, but was distracted by getting violently ill. As I was saying...

Had to pay AU$14k for a title transfer for a vacant lot. A friend e-mailed me to say that seemed a bit high. Ayep!

What happened is that while we were in the U.S., there was a bit of a property boom in Brisbane -- including our area, which is semi-rural. So, the value of the property basically quadrupled. Great if you're buying as an investment; stinky if you're hoping to live there 'til old age and beyond, as property taxes (what locals call "rates") are based on property values. So, the $14k is primarily "stamp tax" based on some percentage of the value of the land.

Also, if we were buying a piece of land with a house on it, most of the taxes would get waived because we'd be "first-time home buyers." So we'd be only paying around $5,000 for the transfer fees (including lawyer fees).

BUT -- because it's a vacant lot, they assume it's for investment purposes. So we don't get the discount. Bummer.

A bit of a description of the property: We're currently living next door to the "Middle Block." The Middle Blcok plus the block (i.e. "lot", for the Yanks) with the house total to five acres.

In approximate terms: picture a square, divided into four quadrents. Back half = woods; front half = some trees, but mostly pasture; front-right = current house.

So, split into two 2.5 acre strips, each with woods on the back half (or maybe two-thirds). Currently living on the R-hand strip; will build on the L-hand strip, then Sister-in-Law and family will move into our current house. We'll live in the Middle Block. The Lady's brother and family will be on the other side. Aussie Mum & Dad across the road; Next-Door Uncle (with American Aunt) on the other side of Sister-in-Law and family. Quite a nice little set-up.

Kind of like "Everybody Loves Raymond." Except that no-one's annoying. ;)

As far as the house itself, we're pretty sure we have the plans picked out. Just a matter of getting prices on the modifications, seeing what we can & can't afford (or, WANT to afford). Eventually, tiles, paint colors, carpets, etc.

--Gye Greene

Monday, April 25, 2005

Misc. job prospects

Well, back in at work, for at least a partial day. Trying to finish up a job application that **was** due on Friday -- but my body decided to shake hands with a virus instead. (Or a bacteria? Whichever. Phoned them asking what to do, and they said since it was illness, I could turn it in after today's [Monday's] federal holiday.)

About a week and a half ago, submitted an application for a research position downtown with a govt. agency that does crime/criminal justice/ policing-oriented social science research. Evaluates things like "does this delinquency prevention program work?" Two positions: one permanent, one for a one-year contract (I think someone's going on maternity leave).

Friday, my application was for a supervisory position (and/or three research assistant positions) here on campus, with the social science reaserch institute. They do evaluations and analyses based on grants and govt. and industry requests. Apparently, they actually scored a greater proportion of grants, etc. than they expected, so they're hiring these four extra, fixed-term (one year) positions. But, it's right here on campus (handy! can still commute with The Lady); they claim to be "family friendly", so I might be able to work four ten-hour days and spend a day with The Bub; and I already know some of the people over there.

Either way, it's extra money for the household; I'd probably want to negotiate for my starting work **after** I finish all my Dissertation work, though...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Was that a blues song?

Hm! Sounded like the start of a blues song:

"Woke up this mornin'
And my stomach was gone..." (bah-DEEE-bah-duh!)

Dunno where to take it from there, though. ;)

(Hm! **Must** be feeling better!)


Can't feel my stomach: a good thing

Woke up this morning, and my first thought was: Heeey! Can't feel my stomach! Which is a **good** thing, 'cause for the last day, I've been all too aware of it. Very nice to be able to take it for granted.

About the **only** good thing about being ill is that you can nap as MUCH as you want, and not feel guilty about it.

Yeah: I think that's the only good thing.

Oh: And when you're done feeling ill, and you're back to feeling "normal", you **really** appreciate it! "Normal" becomes "good!" :)

(Lookin' forward to it. Still pretty slagged...)

Friday, April 22, 2005


Bleh. See Tall Guy's post (link to his blog on the right-hand margin...).

Thursday, April 21, 2005

My little adventure

The Lady was feeling better today, so around 2pm I went off to buy a Thursday paper (the t.v. schedule comes out in the Thursday paper). And, I wanted a Slushie (I **really** like Slushies!!!).

But first, had to get gas (or "petrol", as they say here). And, once I got there, I thought, well heck, I'm halfway to [name of neighborhood], maybe I just check out this pawn shop we keep driving by. It was closed, but I peeked thru the windows: nuthin' much.

But, I was so close to the [that neighborhood] shopping mall that I'd check out the Cash Converters (a chain of pawn shops). Nothing exciting in the way of guitars, amps, or other music gear. But there was a brace (as in "brace and bit") for three bucks, so I bought it. (My first one!)

And, as I was pulling in to the Cash Converters parking lot, I'd seen a large thrift store across the street. So I went there afterwards, and spent $18 on old LPs.

Then I got the Slushie (at a 7-11); then I went home. My little adventure. Realizing, of course, that The Lady always drives, because (1) she already knows where most things are, having lived there most of her life, and (2) she actually enjoys driving, whereas I don't care either way. But consequently, I don't know how to get to many places (no need!). So, this was all very adventurous and empowering. Didn't get lost! And even got to take a "shortcut" (actually, just an alternate route) when road construction was between home and the 7-11.

The Lady wondered where I'd dissapeared to, though: took me two and a half hours to buy a paper and a Slushie. ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Home again, home again

The Lady (as Tall Guy calls her) wasn't feeling well this morning. Got to work, and she **really** wasn't feeling well. After her lying on her office floor for an hour or two while she stabilized, I took her home.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Great songwriters, poor verbal ability

(Hm! Guess I'm blogging more than I thought. I can see why Tall Guy does this.)

I now (unfortunately!) have two examples of really good songwriters, with clever, witty lyrics, that have crummy verbal skills. Um, like, uh-huh, y'know?

Dissapointing. And I won't name them, 'cause I don't want to discourage you from buying their albums.

Guess this means I won't be their buddy, pal around with them.

Ayep! ;)

Age of people in authority

Hm! I must be getting old! (35 y.o., actually.) I lack confidence in people in authority that are younger than me. Doctors. Airline pilots. Midwives: we have an eight-month old girl, and when we were in the hospital, the advice of the grey-haired, "has five children and three grandchildren" midwives just seemed more... solid... than the advice from the young "just out of college" women.

Travel agents: Last week we went around to three travel agencies. The first two agents were younger than us. The first one flooded us with unsolicited options ("You could go from Sydney to Aucklund to L.A. to SeaTac for $XX -- or Sydney to San Francisco to Tacoma for $XX -- or...") -- thus missing the point that, no no, YOU'RE the travel agent; just work out the best price for going from "A" to "B" and tell us what it is.

The second guy discovered that the flights for one of our legs were booked out for our intended travel dates -- then looked at us and asked "So, what do you want to do?" ("No, no -- YOU figure out the solution, the work-around -- YOU'RE supposed to be the travel expert!") And, he had no explanation why the flights from L.A. to SeaTac were all booked up.

Finally, at the third travel agent: About my parents' age. Figured out the best, cheapest route -- painlessly. Had a plausible explanation for why the L.A. to SeaTac flights were all booked. (Cruise season: People fly up to Seattle, then cruise ship back.) And, when it looked like we were stuck with sub-optimal solutions, she volunteered to "play with some options" and see if she could find some alternative solutions by tomorrow.

We'll be using her services from now on. :)

So, doctors, airline pilots, travel agents. And bank loan officers. Someone older; someone who's actually been on the job for a few years, eh?

Yesterday, I mentioned that we were approved for a home loan. We're building on some land, which we've inherited (an over-simplification, but close enough). Need AU$14,000 for the title transfer. At the loan officer's suggestion, we decided to include that as part of the over-all home loan: That way, only one set of fees, compared to having the loan in two stages.

Today, got a phone call from the loan guy. Turns out we're in a bit of a catch-22 position (or an infinite loop, for you math/computer sci.-types). He did a title search, and the property isn't listed under our name.

Well, **DUH!!!** That's what the $14k is for! Transferring the title!!!

So, we can't get the loan for the $14k to cover the transfer costs until we actually own the land. Umm -- DUDE! This was **your** idea!!! Not sure if he wasn't thinking, or if he's just new and over-enthused, and doesn't know the rules.

And, it's not like the bank can lose out. The $14k wouldn't go to us: it would go to a trust(?) account connected to the law firm doing the title transfer. If we flaked, the bank would get the money back. And if the transfer was completed, then we'd have the collateral, and thus be good for the $14k.

The annoying thing is that we **have** the money, but it's in investments. If we'd known last week (when we met with him), we'd have liquidated some of it, paid the transfer fees out of our own pockets, and then used the land as collateral for the full loan. Instead, we held tight, thinking that the loan process was grinding away.

But, I'm sure we'll work something out.

For the semi-record, my sister-in-law and her husband had similar sorts of flakiness with the same bank (let's call the bank "MoonCorporation Bank"). Told one thing, then told another. Hm. A pattern?

Dunno if it's the same branch, though.

So, this is a blog...

So, yeah, I've decided to start a blog. Not sure how much use I'll make of it. We'll see. :)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Further along the road to adulthood

Further steps on the road to grownup-ness...

First, got a kid.

Now, just found out we're approved for our AU$xxx,000 home loan. Woo-hoo!

(Don't intend to spend that much, but easier to get approved for an amount, then
not use it all, then to have to re-negotiate for more.)

--Gye Greene