Seven Weeks to Madagascar

Saturday, May 20, 2000

Excellent coverage of the 2000 Fiji coup at the Sydney Morning Herald, including a concise response by Brij Lal, the ANU historian who was a member of the Constitutional Review Committee.

Awful to read of the chaos this has caused—it sounds worse than the day of the 1987 coup. Back then, no one could quite believe it was happening. Today, they just want out. Apart from the looters and malcontents.

And all this over a mahogany contract. Would you buy a used country from this man?

Hmm: absolutely nothing on their site about the coup as of 3.15 a.m. EST, whereas the SMH has 8 full pages. I know which paper I'll be buying tomorrow.

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Almost 13 years to the day after the first one, there has been another coup in Fiji. This is a subject close to my heart, and prompted a long and somewhat tangential personal response, which you can find at First Reactions to News of Another Coup in Fiji.

FijiLive is down—no doubt overloaded—but you can find an initial report and two updates (here and here) at Pacific Islands Report.

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Friday, May 19, 2000

This says more about the OS wars than a hundred articles in Slashdot.

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This says more about the last decade than a hundred articles in Wired. (Thanks to signal2noise for the pointer to e-sheep.)

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Clash of the Titans: Jeffrey Zeldman interviewed on Slashdot. As a reader of both, I felt compelled to fire off a few comments, albeit as Anonymous Coward. (I would get a /. nick, but fear it would be the end of me... I spend too long reading it as it is.) Not that you would really care about a few comments by some guy on the web about some other guy on the web posted to a giant ever-changing tech-oriented bulletin board on the web, which if you follow the links you'll be reading out-of-context anyway... but somehow it makes more sense to link to them here than to whack them into an archival text file and label it 'Slashdot 000519'. After all, That's What Weblogs Are For (#587).

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Thursday, May 18, 2000

Arrrggghhh, it's addictive: Tuna-Like Band; My Five Innovator-Salesmen; Despiteful Buffalo; Ten Cripes; The Clumsy Quartet; Evil-Fairy; One More Piddly Bulldog...

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The Random Band Name Generator... nice one. I especially like the 'Check Name at CDNow' option. (Whaddayamean, you don't have anything by the Inexpensive Ostriches or That's Italian? And you call yourselves the biggest online music store in the world?)

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Did I mention that we have to move out of our house? The owner has decided to sell (with spectacular timing, missing the brief pre-GST boom in Canberra real estate prices, but that ain't our problem). So we have to be out at the end of June, which is... when we had planned to fly to Madagascar! And so we... decided to make a clean break and look for work overseas! And so I... quit my job! (And I... think I'll stop with the dramatic-pauses-for-effect!)

The trouble with planning to move overseas (well, one of the troubles, but I'll save the others for the rest of the seven weeks of this blog) is that you find yourself in this awful state of suspended consumerism. You still want to buy stuff like a happy little Westerner, but you don't want to buy something that's only going to end up in a box in U-Stow-It for five years. So I find myself lusting after a range of tasty CDs, as usual, but with the rational part of my brain saying, 'No, don't buy Don't Falter by Mint Royale or Xtrmntr by Primal Scream or The Men Who Ran Away From the Circus by Karma County or Aimee Mann's new album because you'll listen to them about three times and then you won't hear them again for five years, by which time they'll have all the appeal of that Cranberries album you bought five years ago, you know, the one that wasn't nearly as good as the first two, and you'll see them everywhere for fifty percent less in the remainder bins.'

Which is not to say that I won't crack and buy Xtrmntr anyway, because 'Kill All Hippies' is an absolutely awesome track. Maybe I can take it to Madagascar with me and listen to the barks of lemurs through an aural haze of stomping techno-rock.

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Fun with tickets: Harare's out. Johannesburg is back in. And the whole thing is going to cost us several hundred dollars more. Sigh. (But on the bright side, our health insurance will cover 80 percent of the cost of vaccinations.)

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Wednesday, May 17, 2000

It appears that this page is the most important on the web, according to AltaVista. You can confirm this by typing com or org or net or edu or gov or mil or co or ac into their search field. And what do you see when you get there? Here's the source-code:

<title>Untitled Document</title>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

<body bgcolor="#FFFFFF">


Damn, it's hard to compete with quality.

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It's good to see that it's still possible to have a good old chuckle about such serious subjects. (And after you've stopped guffawing you can treat yourself to a slap-up feed.)

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Looks like I'll have to transit through Harare to get to Madagascar, and not Johannesburg as originally planned (because going to London and San Francisco after Jo'burg exceeds the round-the-world ticket mile-limits). I guess it can't be too risky, as long as I make sure I don't look like a farmer (can't do anything about looking white, though). And it looks like Zimbabwe isn't a yellow fever area, so I won't have to get vaccinated against that to keep the Madagascar officials happy.

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Wow. The world's largest fully-functional Tetris game. If I'd been a graduate student there I'd have taken ten years to submit my thesis. And to think that I applied for a job at Brown once... I knew I should have put my high score on the c.v.

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'Situated in Townsville, on the northeast coast, James Cook University is isolated from the many influences of American culture -- except for a few television shows -- that can be found in Australia's population centers to the south.' Yeah, right:

Search for 'Suburb or Town = Townsville'
McDonald's Family Restaurants
Aitkenvale Nathan St 4814: (07) 4725 2544
Ayr 260a Queen St 4807: (07) 4783 5811
Charters Towers Gill St 4820: (07) 4787 4400
Currajong Hugh St 4812: (07) 4725 2500
Ingham 104 Herbert St 4850: (07) 4776 3811
Kirwan Herveys Range Rd 4817: (07) 4723 2544
Mt Isa Simpson St (cnr Marian St) 4825: (07) 4749 1999
Townsville Flinders Mall 4810 (07): 4721 2544
McDonald's Express Stocklands Plaza: (07) 4775 6866

True, not all in downtown Townsville, but still... and 'a few television shows'?

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This story from everyone's favourite comedy site named after a vegetable has shaken me to my very core. Even better: they actually created the site.

(Can't you just tell that I'm going through yesterday's History list while I test out all the changes I'm making to the page via Blogger... Actual real surfing? Naaah.)

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Those future time-stamps are totally undermining my perception of the space-time continuum. I'm replacing them with horizontal-rules before I end up in a Matt Groening cartoon.

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If I used banners on my site, I'd use theirs. But I don't. So I won't.

The Dull Men's Club. Really quite soothing.

The Stinkymeat Project. Really quite disturbing. (But strangely fascinating...)

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Fun with vaccinations no. 1: yesterday morning when I got in the shower I felt my left arm where the needles had gone in and immediately thought Oh my God, I've got an enormous lump on my arm from the Typhoid and then remembered that oh yeah, the nurse had put a spot band-aid over it.

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Hmm. Teething troubles. My sliced'n'diced graphics look just fine in IE4.5 and 5 for Mac, Netscape 4.6 for Mac and Windows, and iCab. They break on one of the vertical joins on IE5.5 for Windows, and on the horizontals on Netscape 6p1 for Windows. So that's many happy hours of pointless tweaking ahead. Don't you just love the web?

Hmm. More teething troubles. The timestamp is an hour ahead of where it should be for Australian EST. Typical. 'Huh? The time in Australia? Man, I dunno. Half past twenty, or something. Just make it up.'

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Seven weeks before departure for a developing country is about the right time to start getting vaccinated, which is what my wife and I did on Monday at the Travellers Medical and Vaccination Centre. Typhoid and Hepatitis A injections were stage one; stage two is MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and Polio; and stage three is starting... Mefloquine.

We aren't keen to take Mefloquine. It's scary stuff. We'll want to read the studies carefully before sending any of this down the ol' hatch.

Of course, we could always give it a miss and risk cerebral malaria.

Wondering what this is all about?

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