Gye Greene's Thoughts

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Very far in fact

So far out, it's in?

(Sign is from the zombie parking garage.)



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Insight from Devo guy

Devo was my first favorite band. I now probably have ten favorite bands (although I'd have to sit down to enumerate them). Anyhow:

The lead singer guy from Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh, was interviewed for the Geek a Week Podcast (#49 on this list; right-click on the "podcast" link to download the audio file).

He raised the point that, back in the day, big corporations had a huge amount of control over whose music and movies was available to the public: if they thought they could make money off it, they'd release it; if they didn't, no one would get to hear your stuff.

Whereas, now-a-days, you can post your stuff to YouTube, MySpace, and etcetera -- and it's open to the world.

That's a good point. Although it **does**, of course, require people to actually find out about you.

He also pointed out that the cost-to-processing-power ratio (my term) is a lot better. To elaborate on what he implied, but didn't quite say: if you already own a computer, for a few hundred bucks and a microphone, you can record your own music; or if you have a digital camcorder, you can do your own video editing and make your own film short.

Good stuff. He says he wishes he was twenty, right now. A good time to be a creative artist.


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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Amusing to me

Went for a walk during my lunch break, and there as a bottled ice tea stand that was giving away free samples, in clear plastic disposable cups.

Lotsa people walking around the plaza carrying these cups. Looked like everyone was carrying urine samples.


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Friday, February 25, 2011

Door politeness

A flowchart for how to hold the door open for someone -- or being gracious when someone else does it for you.


(Also: The Forgotten Door is a pretty good book. Middle school-level sci-fi.)


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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthday or day off

A co-worker mentioned this to me today:

At one of his old jobs, the boss worked out how much time was wasted at the office over celebrating birthday parties. He estimated that if people spent about an hour celebrating someone's birthday, that's one person-hour worth of work lost. Thus, if you have at least eight employees, that's a day's work that's wasted. And he had more than eight employees.

Thus: he told his employees that if they all agreed to not celebrate birthdays in-office (take the birthday person out to lunch, instead?), everyone could have their own birthday off. And it wouldn't count against their regular vacation time/sick leave/etc.: it was just a bonus day-off.

(If your birthday fell on a weekend, you could take the Friday or Monday off.)

Pretty clever.


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Many anvils

From the handtools woodworking mailing list I belong to:

About like the first time I went with money in hand to an auction to
bring home a good anvil. Bid the other guy up pretty close to max on
a nice Peter Wright anvil. Then he upped it by another $50, so he
got it. I got the lesser one, (sort of), a Fisher silent anvil. We
helped each other load them, so he wasn't all bad. He was well into
his 60s and I carefully asked what he intended to do with it? Said
he collects Peter Wright anvils, and this will make a ton, 2,000 lbs
of Class A anvils just sitting in an outbuilding! He always wanted a
ton of anvils and now he's got them, good for him, some people! Got
his name, waiting for an auction bill. John in Nebraska

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A whole lotta miscellania

Sometimes I have busy blog weeks, and sometimes I have slow. Usually I "save up" blog entries, to fill in the gaps. But I already have a backlog, so...

-Here's a snapshot (self-portrait!) of what I look like in my "office guy" mode. Notice how I've cleverly worn a tie that matches the marble walls in the men's room.

-When I started at my new job, I asked about using one of my trackballs from home -- but was told by our office HR guy that because the I.T. policy is fairly strict, I wouldn't be allowed to: he'd asked about three years ago to bring in his own trackball from home (he, too, prefers them to computer mice) and was told "no".

But, I figured it was worth a shot -- so, the next time I was on the phone with the I.T. helpdesk, I asked about it -- emphasizing that it was "plug & play", and thus wouldn't involve installing any additional drivers. And the guy said "sure". So, I brought in my trackball from home. I also told our HR guy, who was pleasantly surprised.

So today, while walking past his desk, I noticed he'd replaced his mouse for a trackball. Good for him. :)

One small, positive change I've made in the world.

-Finally, a bit of a follow-up to yesterday's posting about the dark storminess: here's the same view, at approximately the same time of day -- but **without** the storm clouds.

That's all for now. :)


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Monday, February 21, 2011


At my new job, we're fairly high up in an office tower.

This afternoon there was a bit of a storm. Remember that for us antipodians, it's still **summer** -- so it's still light out until around 7pm. And yet, check out the clock in the photo: not even 4pm.

Stormy weather...



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Zombie zone

About a week ago, our car was in for repairs, so I borrowed a car from my wife's parents. Unfortunately, the thing they'd thought had been fixed at the mechanics the previous week hadn't been completely fixed -- because when I got back to the parking garage after work, the darned thing wouldn't start!!!

So, after cell-phoning my wife, who said that her folks would come take a look at the car, I stood around and waited. Finished off the zombie-based graphic novel I'd purchased that day.

And then I realized that a parking garage, late at night, would be a **really** vulnerable place for a zombie attack: very little cover, easy to get surrounded, and very few escape routes.

Photo is taken from where I was standing, next to the stalled car...



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Accidental purchase

Well, it's looking like I've decided on "one graphic novel per payday", as I... "accidentally"... bought another one on Friday. Downtown, a lot of the shops -- including my comic book store -- stay open late. And I got off work late, which meant the busses run less frequently -- so when I arrived at the bus stop I had twelve minutes to wait, and the comic store is only two minutes away...

BTW -- just finished up my third week at the new job. Still enjoying it -- although a bit daunting to think that I may still be doing this in twenty years.


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Friday, February 18, 2011

Son of snakey

Pretty sure I mentioned the clutch of snake eggs on the edge of our front porch. And how snakey had wandered off.

Well, a few evening ago I was heading out the front door -- turned on the porch light, went to put my hand on the screen door handle and WOAH-JOSEPH!!! -- little Snakey Junior crawling across the latticework on the outside of the screen door.

I remembered the two 25c-sized holes in the screen door probably ought to be covered -- snakes belong on the outside, thank you -- so I went and got some packing tape and covered them up. By the time I got back, the little snake had moved up to the top of the screen door -- right above the outside handle. Dangit.

So, I gingerly opened the screen door, stepped out, and carefully shut it behind me, hoping that the snake wouldn't fall on my arm.

I figured the snake ought to be moved, so I got an umbrella that was out on the porch and managed to hook the snake on the tip.

I shook the umbrella a bit, and the snake fell off onto the mat. (Hm -- mat's looking a little tattered... Mostly because I ran over it with the lawn mower, when I was doing the porch edge.)

Finally, the snake wandered off amongst the boots.

It's now been several days, and I haven't seen Snakey Junior -- or any of his (her?) brothers or sisters.

I hope they're having happy lives.



Thursday, February 17, 2011


Going through some old files on my HD, and came across this self-portrait photograph of myself. I like it.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Good fix

I liked this. :)


Image source here.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stringing it out

Still developing personal rules for my increase in income.

I've decided that I'm now allowed to buy some graphic novels (i.e., anthologized comic books). The question is, should I buy one on a monthly, or half-monthly, basis?

For what it's worth, they're about twenty bucks each. So, it's not the money (although I want to avoid putting hundreds of $$$ on the credit card...). It's more about the savoring -- and the ritual.

My inclination is to do it once a month. There's a few series that I'd like to buy: Walking Dead (zombies), Usagi Yojimbo (samurai), Concrete (guy whose brain was transplanted into a rock-person alien body), and Ex Machina (former super hero who can communicate with machines, now the mayor of New York City).

According to Wikipedia, these series have 14, 24, 7, and 10 athologized volumes, respectively. Although the authors will create additional issues, I wouldn't expect more than four to six additional volumes per year ("Walking Dead" and "Usagi Yojimbo" appear to be produced regularly, while the others are more ad hoc).

So, that's 55 total volumes I'd like to get. At one a month, that's about four and a half years -- plus the 25 or so that would be produced in that time, so another three years for that backlog plus the backlog that's generated during that three years. So, seven and a half years, about.

Conversely, if I get two a month, then that's 24 a year, so two and a half years to acquire what's currently available, plus another six months or so for the backlog -- so three years total.

Either way, I'll be "caught up" in seven and half years, or three years. As part of this is the anticipation, and the ritual -- i.e., "the first of each month" or "each payday" going and buying one -- at a certain point I'll have maxed out. Although, presumably there will be other series to collect: other writers will come along that suit my tastes.

Hmm. My initial inclination was to do it monthly. But I hadn't realized how deep the backlog was for "Walking Dead" and "Usagi Yojimbo". OTOH, three years seems awfully fast (maybe not when you're in high school; but when you're forty, it does). But seven years seems like a long time to drag it out. Particularly, since, as I said, presumably there will be additional ones that come up.




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Friday, February 11, 2011

Optimized slushie

(Photo: Slushie of Destiny; my friend Slag's arm)

As you probably know, I like my slushies. It's my "afternoon break" ritual.

While going on a walk this morning during my morning break (I'm trying to go on short, brisk walks during my breaks), I noticed that the convenience store on the main floor of my office building has a slushie machine.

So, I checked it out during my afternoon break. Not only was the consistency highly pleasing, the flavor was even better than the 7-11 across the street (which, in turn, is better than the flavor of McDonalds and Burger King slushies).

Side note: You know how there's coffee snobs, and espresso/cappachino (misspelled!) snobs? Well, I'm a bit of a slushie snob.

Anyhow! The **best** part? They have a "loyalty card" (what I think of as a punch card): buy a few, get one free. And the ratio of purchased-to-free is **very** good: buy three, get the fourth free.

And! At the 7-11, they have a small, medium, large, and very large size. At this convenience store, they have all the sizes except for small. On the punch card, the free one is a large -- but the three you buy can be any size! Niiice....!!!

So, even though the same size cup is 20c more than at 7-11, for frequent fliers such as myself -- it's the place to go. :)

And, for those instances where their slushie machine is broken, or on defrost -- I still have three "back-up" 7-11's within a four-block strip.

Good stuff.


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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bye bye snakey

On Feb. 6th -- or maybe the day before -- a carpet snake (a constrictor; not venomous) took up residence among one of the boxes on our front porch. Every day before work, and every evening after I got home, I'd take a look to see if it was still there. It was always in its hole among the boxes, except for two or three times where it was out on the grass (in front of its hole), sunning itself.

On the second or third day, I noticed the cluster of leathery white things, about the size of a deflated soccer ball. Initially it was in the snake's hole, where the snake wrapped itself around it. Upon closer (but not too close!!!) examination, I decided it was a cluster of eggs. Neat-o!!!

After a few days, it had shoved the egg cluster out of its hole -- presumably to catch some warmth from the sun.

And, yesterday, I noticed that snakey had wandered away. Still not back today -- so, who knows?

Egg cluster is still there, though. I gently pushed it sideways, with a stick. It has a fair amount of weight -- like a medium-sized water balloon. So, yeah -- baby snakeys are probably in there.



Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Call cancelled

(BTW - this image of an aid car that I snagged off the web -- **excellent** (and tasteful) use of *.gif-ness.)

A few weeks ago I was doing some yardwork in our front yard when an ambulance pulled up on our footpath. (Around here, ambulance officers fulfill the role of paramedics/aid cars [i.e., medical response] and ambulances [i.e., medical transport].)

I went over to see if they needed anything. They said, no, they'd simply been on the way to a call, and it got cancelled.

Just a few days ago, I finally remembered to ask a friend of ours who is a paramedic: Is a call being cancelled a good thing, or a bad thing?

That is: is it that another unit closer than you has covered it, so's you're off the hook? Or is it that the subject of the medical emergency has died, so there's no point?

The response:

No it means someone who called for the ambulance either :

A: got better (they broke wind and the tummy pain went away)

B: they got tired of waiting and got a relative to drive them to the family doctor or hospital (like they should have done instead of calling the ambulance)

C: they realised that we would see the forty dope plants in their house and tell the police

D: the dispatcher realised that there were indeed fifteen closer units than us (sorry to stop you from eating)

E: the "dead person" on the front lawn got up and walked home to sleep off the effects of whatever they have indulged in.

If the person had died they would not cancel us - no one likes a bad smell in their house - so actually they will scream down the phone for us to come quicker.

To sum up: cancelled calls are good for us, probably bad for the caller.


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Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Hm. Looking like I'm not going to go back and fill in the events that occurred when our internet was down. Although I might have a few "remedial" posts, where I refer back. Like a post about the snake that's living on the porch.

Interesting Aussie word or phrase: I now say that something's not worth mucking about with. Back in the U.S., I would've said "mess around with".

Also: the week before I started my office job, I bought three new dress shirts (long-sleeve). Apparently, it's the style to **not** have breast pockets on men's dress shirts: two of the three shirts don't have 'em.


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Monday, February 07, 2011

A little more about work

Two more miscellaneous about work.

-Either Thursday or Friday, we had a fire drill at work. Everyone had to evacuate the building. So, the whole office (all seven of us) got to walk down 28 flights of stairs. A little hypnotic, after a while -- swirling down, down, down...

-On my first day of work, the HR guy in our office gave us the tour. Aussies call elevators "lifts" -- so, as we walked past the elevator that was around the corner from the four main ones, he said, "That's the good lift."

"Ah", I thought to myself. So when I went on my lunch break, I gave it a try. Waited, waited, waited -- using up my lunch break -- and finally gave up and used the "regular" elevator.

Later, I heard someone refer to it as the "GOODS lift", and realized that it was what Americans would call the freight elevator.



Sunday, February 06, 2011

About work

Just to be clear: In general, I won't be blogging much about work -- particularly about co-workers, or the work we do (government stuff; semi-secretive).

But -- since it's still all pretty new to me...

As I may have mentioned: a seven-person office at them moment; will max out at 11 or 12, once additional hiring occurs. Everyone seems nice. :)

We're pretty new: existed since Oct.; moved into the current office in early Nov. of 2010.

One of the guys in the office has a bit of a rockabilly haircut -- somewhat like the one in the photo I've grabbed. He always wears long-sleeved shirts, but I wouldn't be surprised if he plays in a rockabilly band and has flames or fuzzy dice or an eight-ball tattooed on his forearms.

Regarding the dress code: The other males in the office wear slacks and a long-sleeve dress shirt, but no tie. On Friday, wore a polo shirt. So, on my first few days, I wore a tie. Weds/Thursday, I brought a tie in and laid it on my desk, put it on around 2pm.
Friday, brought the tie in, never got around to putting it on.

But, I'll keep on wearing ties: I have a collection of about 50-60 ties, so I'll methodically wear one per day, until I've worn each one once.

Also: Found out that the Director (the boss of the whole office) used to be in a band! On Wednesday, the lady in the next cubicle over had a CD case on her desk, and I noticed it was the Director's! An acoustic guitar duo, with a bit of mandolin and etc. Decent stuff; she has a good voice. Apparently, though, the duo fell apart.

And that lady in the next cubicle's partner plays guitar -- jazz-blues stuff. So, maybe an office band? Although -- very different styles from mine.


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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Well timed

Today is Saturday (local time).

Thursday, I began my "buy one book (usually a graphic novel) a month online". It was a used book, but because it was being shipped internationally, the shipping and handling was about a third of the total transaction cost.

Yesterday, during my lunch break at my new job downtown, I came across a comic book store. Same graphic novel, new, and the cover price was exactly the same as the total transaction of the book I'd bought the night before -- so I could've had the book **in hand**, rather than waiting a week. Gah.

Today -- Saturday -- I got up early to check my e-mail. Turns out my online order was cancelled.

That's actually handy: Monday I'm gonna go buy the same item from the comic book store. Plus, I'll be supporting a local business -- a small business.


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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Capitulating to the angle

On January 23rd, I decided that, o.k., I guess I really ought to buy a honing guide. All of my chisels and plane blades have rounded cutting bevels (see the sketch of the blue blade, at left), because I wobble just a bit when I sharpen them freehand. This results in a terribly inefficient sharpening process, because I end up having to sharpen **through** the rounded portion to get to the cutting edge. (Sorry -- that possibly doesn't make sense.)

So, even though it seemed a little cheezy to need a guide or a jig, I figured I'd succumb.

Since I knew I'd be starting a new job the following week (higher income, but also un- available during business hours), I went on over to the local specialty wood- working shop.

The one I bought is pictured here. There's a single, narrow wheel underneath -- a little hard to tell in this photo.

Twelve bucks Australian -- about ten bucks American (pre Global Financial Crisis). I had a quick try, and it looks like it will suit.


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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New department

My dept. (at work) is so new that we're just now getting letterheads, a logo, a color scheme. I think we get to see it all next week... :)

Also: the last time I had business cards was (I believe) 1992. Since then, I've worked retail, temp work, and misc. short-term university teaching and research stuff. But, no F/T continuing gigs...

Considering I have a college degree (and, since 1999, a Master's degree), that's a little sad.



Tuesday, February 01, 2011

We HAVE the technology

Yee-AWWW!!! :) Gots us some home internets.

While I was working at the university, I'd go in every few days and check my personal e-mail, and address the most pressing ones. But since leaving the university, and starting my government job -- they're super-strict on internet usage. So, I decided I simply wouldn't use my personal e-mail at work.

Over the next few days, I'll start back-populating the various blog entries that I meant to include over the last few weeks. Unless that doesn't appeal to me. And then I won't.

Also: my innate frugality (or just "cheapness") will find an equilibrium with my newfound additional income. Mostly, my extra income will manifest itself in little ways around the edges. Such as: Once a month, I intend to buy a book online (twenty bucks or so). Usually, a graphic novel. Woo-hoo!!!


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