September 2005 Archives
Busy as heck and down in Brisbane.
Go the Swans!
I think the IFC2 is bending slightly to the right...
and, not two days after the last pic was taken, the view looks like this:
The air quality has been pretty bad lately. Here's the view from Oil Street, Fortress Hill across the Exhbition Centre to Central.
Pentax *istDS, FA 50/f1.4 1/2000 sec @ f11
The Exhibition Centre (the building in the foreground) is 2km away from the vantage point. The tall building is IFC2, which is about 3.5km away from me. This is not a trick of the lens or anything like that. This was taken with a 50mm lens on a DSLR, so the effective focal length is about 75mm. There's a very slight telephoto compression of the distance here, but not much.
Four years ago today, the largest terrorist attack of modern times on the continental USA happened in the middle of Manhattan. Two large buildings came tumbling down, thousands of people died, and the US vowed revenge on whoever had done it.
Osama Bin Laden, a wealthy scion of a Saudi Construction company and his terrorist organisation Al Qaeda (The Base) appeared to claim responsibility for the attack. One of his demands was that American troops should get their pigskin boots off of Islamic land, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but a general departure from the Middle East was mentioned too.
Today, Osama Bin Laden is still at large or unaccounted for. Al Qaeda is still at large and recruitment is boosted by the war in Iraq. However, American troops no longer desecrate the sacred sand of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with their boots. USA 0; Al Qaeda 3.
Saddam Hussein, the Strong Man of Iraq, is no longer in power even though he had no connection to the events of 11/9 or Al Qaeda. In fact, he was opposed to the sort of Islamic theocracy favoured by Al Qaeda. It now looks increasingly like the new state of Iraq is going to be a theocratic state under Sharia Law. USA 0; Al Qaeda 4.
The US appears to be trying to establish 14 permanent bases in Iraq, which would be a point for them, I guess, if they weren't making such a mess of the whole thing.
Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 hijackers came from, and which finances many Madrassas or fundamentalist islamic schools is still a big trading partner with the USA, and still supplies much oil. Exactly how good a trading partner they was highlighted earlier on this year when the current President of the USA was seen holding hands with him whilst walking amongst the flowers on his Texas 'ranch'.
Things have been quiet for the last few days. Since I'm only back for a week or two, I've been recovering from working for a living, doing school stuff with the kids, going up and down to China quite a bit, dealing with a disk crash or two, and ogling at laptops.
The work in Brisbane wasn't the crippling death-march that Melbourne was, mainly because the pubs close earlier in Brisbane and you can't work your fingers to the bone without a pint or two afterwards. Even if you can only drink through a straw...
Both of the little troubles are now in Kindergarten, so there's been a certain amount of being Dad to be done, as well as getting the older one back into the homework routine. I'm running short on my ability to help with the Chinese homework, so I really need to practise some more.
We've been up and down to Shenzen a few times in the last week. KCR first class to Sheung Shui, then hop out and travel with the peasants for the last stop. It's quite pleasant in 1st as long as you choose the quiet end of the car. Why can't they mute the announcements in the first class car?
This last time, I went up to get some suits made. I have a regular tailor up there — a Shanghainese lady — who does a very good job. Very reasonable rates too. Unit 5091 Luo Hu Commercial City. She makes good suits, trousers, shirts and dresses. You'll need to speak Mandarin, although she speaks a little Cantonese and English.
One of my disks failed last night. Honest, it's never happened to me before, er, *ahem*. Sorry, yes, one of gizmo's disks failed last night and I was up until 4AM trying to salvage something from it. Luckily (I suppose) it wasn't anything essential on it; just /usr/src. Considering that fully half of the mission critical software on this server is compiled from source, that may present me with some problems later on. Right now I'll probably put some 250GB disks in there and mirror everything a few times. I know I should have copies on a machine served by a different ISP and power company, in a different country and on a different tectonic plate, but a second disk in the same machine is what I can do at the moment.
After a colleague's laptop made the supposedly fast desktops look like doorstops, (1.6 Ghz Pentium-M 30% faster than 3.0Ghz Pentium-4) the prospect of a decent laptop is quite exciting. Perhaps I can go from a laptop where Zork is the most advanced entertainment possble to one where graphically accelerated games rear their ugly (but well rendered) heads.
I had the grave misfortune to be exposed to this movie on a free-to-air Australian TV channel. It is complete and utter drivel. Not only is the science laughably stupid, it's full of moronic mistakes. At one point, for example, "Marshall Law" is declared. Sounds a bit like a sherrif in an old western.
I find it hard to believe that any of the 'actors' — and believe me when I say that I say that that I'm using that term very loosely — who appeared in this movie do not know that their careers are not only in the toilet, but well down the U-bend and heading straight for the septic tank.
I will award this movie a classification I have only ever awarded once before. The Highlander 2 Award for Brain Damage: "In an attempt to determine how much alcohol was required to enjoy this movie, I passed out."
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