Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Minor medical scare

Well, we had a minor medical scare on Saturday, with the blondie boy.

He'd had a cold or some-such the previous day. We'd run some errands today, and were just leaving the local shopping mall, when The Lady noticed that he was leaning back in the stroller, looking up at her -- but, in an oddly fixed manner. When we got to the car, she picked him up, but he remained looking upwards at the ceiling, and was unresponsive to stimulus.

After a few minutes he came out of it -- but was still a bit groggy. Unfortunately, with pre-verbal kids, it's harder to determine their level of coherence -- you can't use their clarity of speech to determine their mental state. So, The Lady drove us to the local hospital, and took him through the ER, while I phoned her folks on the cell phone, took the kids home, handed them over to The Lady's mom, and drove back to the hospital.

He ended up being fine -- they took his temperature, gave him some paracedomal (sp?) to lower his temperature, ran a few tests, and etc. They figure it was ''just'' convulsions, due to a high fever (apparently with little kids, it's not the degree of the temperature per se, but how quickly it escalates). But, they've booked us in for some EEGs in a few weeks, just to test for epilepsy.

So, that was our Halloween scare.

And, The Lady, inadvertently, delivered a good line: Just as I'd arrived at the ER and was about to
inquire at the front desk for Teddy's location, she -- on her way to the bathroom -- intercepted me. ''Teddy's in there,'' she said, pointing to a doorway. ''He's in bed with a nurse.''

Words I hadn't expected to hear for another 18 years...


Friday, October 30, 2009

If you dig the X-Men

If you dig the X-Men -- or used to collect super-hero type comics -- I think you'll enjoy this one. (Interesting premise.)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another instrument to get

Old Roommate sent me a photo he took on his recent trip, of a case full of Turkish stringed instruments. A short Wikipedia search later (on ''Turkish musical instruments''), and I discovered that one of these days I need to pick up a baglama or saz (supposedly, the same thing).

During my Google image search, I found a place in Australia that sells various Greek and Turkish stringed instruments. Unfortunately, they're in the next state down from us. But, maybe the mail-order...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Excellent rendition

I thought this was an excellent rendition of the song. I looked up the original (also on YouTube), and liked the guy's cover version much better (catchier, and a better arrangement).


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Kransky Sisters

The Kransky Sisters: worth a watch (link is to a YouTube video).

They're from Queensland, Australia -- just like me! (Although from some small town...)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Revised martial arts wishlist

Even though it's still probably a half year away before I could start attending, I'm back to thinking about what martial arts place I want to go to. Back when my brother visited me, we tried checking out this Black Crane style kung fu class, held at the local high school. Unfortunately, the whole thing seems to be defunct: no one there, and the instructor doesn't respond to e-mail or his cell phone. (In hindsight, I guess I should have checked ahead. But I'm so used to reading blogs and doing online commerce that it never occurred to me that a live website might represent an expired entity. Besides: how many people would look up a hardware store (or etc.) in the yellow pages, and then phone ahead ''just to make sure they're still in business''? I wouldn't.)

Anyhow, that's a real shame, as it seemed to fit all of my criteria: reasonably local; a mix of punches, kicks, and joint locks/takedowns/''controlling'' moves; an emphasis on self-defense (rather than tournaments or esoteric ''traditional'' things that don't directly relate to protecting one's self); and a general avoidance of formal ''forms''/kata (I only have a limited amount of class-time and brain-space available: I want to focus on learning effective moves on real people - not memorizing an archival mnemonic).

My remaining three choices seem to be a local ju-jitsu school; a Korean martial arts place (I'd take the hapkido); or a mixed-style martial arts place that's largely derived from Jeet Kune Do and kali/arnis/escrima.

I'll have to look in to the details. From memory, the ''mixed-style'' school may be the priciest -- but they're also in the progress of moving to a larger, closer (to where I live) location.

A new criteria, which I just thought of today, is that I want a style where they do roundhouse kicks (and front snap kicks, for that matter) with the ball of the foot, rather than the top of the foot: sooner or later, you're going to catch something hard with your kick (like a hipbone), and leading with the ball of the foot just, structurally, makes more sense. Something for me to ask, when I sit on the sidelines and observe.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Progressive Halloween costume

Next Friday (Oct. 30th), they're having Halloween dress-up day at The Girl's daycare centre. We asked her what she wants to go as, and she said ''a fairy''. Betcha most of the little girls will be going as a fairy -- or a fairy princess. That's fine.

But I'm looking forward to the day when The Girl asks to go as a fairy ninja. :)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Exciting times

After a zillion years of waiting, it looks like our mega-shed (i.e. three-car garage, which will probably never hold a car) is in the process of being built. The concreting guy came by on Weds. and put the forms in; Saturday he'll come back and pour the concrete slab; the shed kit gets delivered on the 27th (?-have to go look at my notes); and a few days later, the assembly guys come and assemble it!

The basic layout is at left (just illustrative; not to scale): a single-car ''roller door'' at the bottom; a three foot(?) wide roller door at the top left; a regular ''person door'' on middle left; and a window at the top right, bottom left, and bottom right. (The windows open, for ventilation.)

Initially, the shed won't have power (electricity) running to it, as we've already blown out our budget by adding a two-car carport to the front (figured we'd do it as a single batch, rather than retrofitting in a few years). But, at least we can shift most of our misc. boxes, suitcases, Christmas ornaments, and etc. from our of our living room and dining room (which have been completely filled with boxes since we moved in, and are thus completely un-usable; our house has neither [useable] attic nor basement nor garage, nor spare room -- hence the mound o' boxes).

Eventually, I hope to drywall the inside, and put a divider wall up. The top end (about 1/3 of the total; sketch is not to scale), will be the woodshop, with the ''Great-Grandpa'' workbench positioned under it. Usually people prefer more than just a single-car garage bay for their woodshops; however, I'll be using 80%-90% hand tools, which don't require as much room as if you had a table saw, tabletop planer, jointer, and etc. (I plan to eventually get a drill press (tall and skinny, doesn't take much room -- although you need room on either side for drilling long things), a woodturning lathe (long and skinny, fits against the wall), and a large bandsaw (for resawing and milling logs into boards; will be in an outbuilding).

The remaining two-thirds will be for misc. storage (note the anticipated floor-to-ceiling storage racks out of plywood and 2" x 4"s), plus my music gear (drum kit, guitar and amp), punching bag and weightlifting stuff, and whatever hobbies my kids end up doing, which we don't have room for in the house (The Girl [5yo] seems likely to be heavily into dance, and/or painting).

The "music/recording studio" end will receive a double-layer of drywall, plus a recording desk (probably at the bottom -- the garage roller door automatically comes with the kit, whether you want it or not). Probably build a short passageway around the door between the woodshop and the recording room/gym, to use as an isolation/vocals booth. And maybe run some cable to the woodshop, to use as an additional isolation room.

Really looking forward to having this: it'll let us actually eat in our dining room! (Currently, the table is covered with table lamps and collectable teacups and saucers, with ''suitcases'' of 8-tracks and cassette tapes stacked at one end, and a red punching bag on the other...)


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Still some woods left

While not to deny that our area is -- unfortunately -- getting built up, and that perfectly good sections of forest are getting knocked down to build housing estates in their place -- in my immediate area (a one-mile radius?), it's still pretty woodsy. See aerial photo (click to enlarge).

The little red rectangles, indicated by the big red arrows, are the neighbors' houses -- just to give you a sense of scale.


Friday, October 09, 2009

I am the doctor

Next year, The Girl starts gradeschool. Today, got a letter to parents, addressed to "Dr." me, and "Dr." the missus.

First time I've had a letter addressed to me as "Doctor". Pretty nifty! :)


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Proof we live in Australia

Today, while we were all sitting in the family room, The Girl alerted me to the kookaburra sitting on the fence to our doggie yard.

I fetched the digital camera, and managed to get a few snapshots, taking a few steps forward between each shot.

Finally, I got close enough that it noticed me, and flew away... the swingset.

Guess we **do** live in Australia!

(And, yes: the school kids **do** sing that "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree..." song.)


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Potential halloween costumes

A few weeks ago, when the boys were wheeling around the family room on their little scooters, I remarked to The Lady, "Hey! Ponch and Jon" (from the t.v. show CHiPs).

Which made me realize another really nifty thing about being a twin: the potential for great Halloween costumes.

Now, Aussies don't traditionally celebrate Halloween (instead, that's when income tax returns are due -- our ''April 15th''). But over the last decade or so, what with the ''Americanization'' of the culture, teenagers and various adults have adopted Halloween as an excuse to have a ''theme party''. So, our sons will have their opportunities.

In addition to Ponch and Jon...

...they could also go as Bill and Ted...

...or those Dukes of Hazzard guys (Bo and Luke, IIRC)...

...the Hardy Boys...

...Starsky and Hutch...

...Simon and Garfunkel...

...or even -- Batman and Robin! (B2 will always be shorter and more slender than B1 -- thus relegating him to ''Robin'' status.)

So many choices!

(Makes kinda wish that **I** was a twin!)


Monday, October 05, 2009

Wood versus music

As I've posted before, I have a (unusually?) long list of major and minor hobbies and interests: music, woodworking, martial arts, gardening, computers, film, and probably a few others that aren't occurring to me right now. (Ah! Collecting good quotes; collecting good online comic strips; photography [mostly just of my family].) Let's add criminology, deviance studies, and statistical and fieldwork-based research methods, as well -- although that's more ''work'' things -- but, ''interests'', none the less.

What I **really** need to do is win the lottery (the >$1 million type -- not the cheezy ''ten thousand bucks'' ones -- can't quit your day job over that!), and dabble. But, that's not really likely.

I occasionally mentally lament my lack of playing music, as late. Partly that's an issue of time (work, plus watching the kids), and partly of space (no good place to keep things accessible and set up).

But, a few days ago, I realized that I've been squeezing blocks of time out of the day to do various, incremental woodworking-type things: I have a few projects, such as an atypical saw horse, and building a pair of stilts for The Girl, that I've been picking away at. And that I **could** play the guitar, instead, in these same segments of time.

Partly, I feel like some of these things are more urgent: e.g. the stilts are for The Girl, whereas playing the guitar is for myself.

But also, it's an issue that although I inherently enjoy the act of playing music, I've tended to do it with songwriting and recording as a goal. Whereas because I don't have my recording gear set up (time + space), my current situation is a bit like (limited analogy alert!) being a novelist whose PC doesn't have a printer, and whose "save" function in the word processor is disabled. While writing [playing] scratches a certain itch, there's also an element of futility to it, as anything good I come up with is transient and mostly lost (although the "doing" **does** lead to an improvement of skills).

So, having recognized this, I'll start playing the guitar more. But, not for a week or two: I feel like I need to get the stilts finished, first.

Yep: that's my little self-insight of the day.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Water recycling

Pretty pleased with myself; been meaning to do this for a few days.

I have various scraps of plastic pipe (conduit?) left over from the house construction that went on next door. One particular piece was especially long -- but I didn't have a good use for it.

Then: inspiration!

At one end, a metal ''star stake'' (as the Aussies call them); a two-liter plastic bottle as a funnel; a few zip ties (cable ties); and some duct tape. At the other end, a plastic peg.

The idea is that we routinely have a few buckets in the shower, to catch extra water (Australia tends to go through periods of droughts). And I also bail out the bathtub into buckets, after the kids have had their bath. Usually, I pour this water into the washing machine, for the initial cycle. But I usually have more than enough for that purpose: what to do with the excess?

In the past, I'd dump the water on various plants outside. Problem is, the baths happen after dark, so it's a little awkward to get to the plants. Plus, it's a bit time-consuming, carrying bucket after bucket out to the plants.

And, it's not practical to just keep it in the bucket until the next day -- as I need the buckets empty and ready, for the next set of showers.

The solution was to set up a two-litre pop bottle, on a stake, next to the laundry room door (click on the photos to enlarge, to make the text readable). I'm typically in the laundry room when I discover I have excess water. Step out the door, and pour: Quick and easy.

The hose passes through the dog yard, and terminates under a tree.

The end of the hose is loosely held in place by a stake in the ground. Instead of lashing the hose to the stake with a cable tie, the hose is held in place by pressure: it wants to revert to a coiled-up shape, so it presses sideways against the stake. This allows the hose to ''break-away'' if anyone accidentally kicks against it: I'd rather the hose move than have someone trip.

The vertical green lines in the final photo indicate the edge of the tree's foliage (supposedly, this indicates the outer boundary of a tree's roots), and the approximate area that will get watered.

A lot of text to describe a simple idea...


Friday, October 02, 2009

Spam for the gullible

Well, I guess **most** spam is aimed at the gullible. But this one was less typical than usual, so I thought I'd share:

Joy Joy

my name is Joy am i always hearing people around me talk about friends. My coworker, my friends, I have to say that I actually like it. If you want, here is my email in case you'll like to stay in touch( then i will send you my photo for you to know who i am. Well, I was surfing through the site to see if I knew anyone, and I came across yours. I know we don`t know each other but maybe we would like to meet. You sound cool It's as though we have a few things in common, so here I am writing....

I mean, the author isn't a very clear writer. What website is this person referring to? How desperate for friends must you be (if this was actually legit) to e-mail people to be buddies, just because you liked their website? And is this aimed as gullible, slightly pathetic guys who are hoping to get a photo of (and be e-mail pals with) some mystery girl?

Oh: and the "ymail" (looks passingly like ''gmail'') domain name is a nice touch.