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Archive for May, 2011

Disconnecting

May 29th, 2011 4 comments

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what makes me happy, and what does not.

Something that makes me unhappy is connectivity.

This is surprising. I live in Wellington. Live here long enough and you won’t be able to go about your daily business without bumping into someone you know. I like that this happens, but the constant barrage of text messages, IRC, Instant messaging, skype, emails, facebook, and who knows what else* has led me to spending evenings and weekends ignoring text messages and leaving everything else turned off.

I think a large chunk of what drives this is the feeling of anxiety that instant text messaging inherently creates. Pre-cellphones, it was a given that if you rang someone, it was entirely possible that the person you wanted to talk to may not be there, and that you would simply have to call back later. If you email someone, it’s a given the recipient may not get around to reading that email for a day or two, and that it may take even longer for them to sort out their life and thoughts out in order to generate a germane reply. Furthermore, email allows a length of reply that can be well thought out and properly phrased to avoid giving offence or the wrong impression.

At the other end of the scale, mobile messaging has forced us into the opposite paradigm. Instant responses are expected, and forced into a length that is practically guaranteed at some point to be misunderstood. Having replied, the likelihood is high that I’ll have completely lost the mental stack of what I was previously working on. Phones are the perfect method to destroy my focus.

So, here’s my rules for communication to keep me sane. Text messaging is to be limited to organisational duties only. If you send me a text message, and it’s general conversation, I’m not going to reply. “Coffee at 3pm?” is fine – “How are you?” will be deleted. Furthermore, IM conversations of any personal significance whatsoever will be limited to people** to which I don’t have to explain myself to.

* Thankfully, I never signed up for twitter, and now I never will.

** If you haven’t known me for at least ten years, you probably aren’t on this list.

Future of New Zealand

May 23rd, 2011 1 comment

I am, at heart, a patriot. Not in the sense that I think that we’re better than everyone else, but in the sense that I want New Zealand to prosper, and be the best that it can be. For the last decade, I have been watching New Zealand circle the drain faster and faster. Every election, I get more despondent that the whichever politicians we elect will faff about, and ultimately achieve nothing more than changing the part of the cliff we drive off. Every year, I think about taking my skills and moving to Australia. I could be paid more. Hell, I could happily make double what I’m on now, and that’s assuming I’m not willing to put up with overtime, or working in the piece of hell-on-earth known as Perth.

But I don’t, because I want to make this country better, and sodding off overseas isn’t going to achieve that.

I came across this video today, which struck a chord with me. It’s a twenty minute speech by Sir Paul Callaghan, where he talks about what drives our economy.

Here’s a few choice quotes to whet your appetite;

“The more tourism, the poorer you get.”

“The biggest export earner in New Zealand is manufacturing, it is bigger than dairy…”

“I’m not interested in 60 billion one offs [mining the national parks] at the cost of all we hold dear.”

If we want a country worth living in, we need to drastically increase the amount of money we spend on research, and actively promote STEM fields in our schools and universities. If we don’t, we will end up a third world country, wondering where our best and brightest went, and why we don’t have the funds to pay for our precious RWC stadiums.

Safety Razors

May 16th, 2011 Comments off

A couple of months ago, I dropped a bit over one hundred dollars for a Goodfella razor handle bundled with a hundred derby blades. Partly this was driven by my compulsion to buy more New Zealand made products, but most because I was fed up with paying $25 for eight small pieces of non-recyclable metal and plastic.

While I would like to consider myself hardcore enough to shave with a straight razor, the reality is that one morning, I’ll be a little too under-caffeinated, and then I’ll get to test out my theories about the lack of an after life. Safety razors are, well, safer.

But are they any good?

Yes.

The members of Badger & Blade would have you believe that shaving with a double edged safety razor will leave you with the face of an appropriately masculine angel. Unfortunately, this is not true. My experience has been that shaving with the razor pictured is better than with the Mach 3 & King of Shave cartridges razors that was I previously using – once you get the hang of it. Use of the safety razor requires patience and attention to detail, such as details of the direction each whisker grows in, and the exact angle of the head against ones skin. I seriously considered reworking my morning routine, just so that I would have caffeine before attempting to shave, as a moments lack of attention with a “safety” razor can lead to a lack of cohesion in ones face.

On the upside, as long as you aren’t doing anything too stupid, when you do slice yourself, it’s usually a small nick, rather than a gaping multi-front opening that could plausibly need stitches. I have at one point, when using a multi blade cartridge razor, opened a gash that did not stop bleeding for an hour. That date did not go well. Suffice to say, I did not get to see that particular woman again. Whereas, despite making the incredibly stupid decision to try out a safety razor for the first time – and thus screw it up rather badly – a bare half hour before meeting someone for dinner earlier this year, I did not bleed all over the table cloth – though a high collar was required to maintain some sense of decorum.

One of the niggling issues I’ve long had with cartridge shaving is that I was prevented from shaving daily. Attempts to shave more often than every two or three days would lead to an ugly looking rash, which looked worse than being unshaven. Some weeks, I would have to specifically plan on which days I would be clean shaven. This could be a problem if I had say, a date on Tuesday, and an important meeting with a client on Wednesday. I have not yet had this problem with the safety razor. This, and the fact that the blades are less than one tenth the price (thirty cents) of the cartridges ($3.12) are the best reasons to switch.

Later – otherwise known as, when I get around to it – I’ll discuss my impressions of the Goodfella razor handle itself.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

Stars & Music

May 9th, 2011 Comments off

More Video. Watch this, if you need to chill out some. Recommend playing full screen with the lights off.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Originally found on the Daily Grail.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

Storm

May 8th, 2011 1 comment

I have been massively busy at work recently, hence the total lack of updates for April. I have half a dozen posts in unreadable draft form, but in the mean time – you should watch this video. It’s awesome. Language is probably not work safe if you don’t have headphones.