Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Number 4 (?)

Number 4, originally uploaded by Wahj.

Not a very good shot, but better ones will follow.

My students rescued this kitten after its mother was hit by a car. They told me the other siblings were adopted, and this was the last one, so I took him in. I don't really have room for a 4th cat, so I'm hoping someone can take him in. In the mean time ...

... isn't he cute?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kids say the darndest things

I was watching the Fantastic Four with my nephew the other day, and at the end of it all, he turned to me and (in reference to the Human Torch) said:

"Why does he use fire? Why can't he use pencils?"

Utterly flabbergasted. For once, I had no rejoinder.

He does have a point, you know.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Limited edition toilet rolls

Limited edition toilet rolls, originally uploaded by Wahj.

Some things are almost too ridiculous to be real - yet they are manifestly there before our eyes.

Such as these Limited Edition toilet rolls. I'd wax sarcastic about them, but these things almost make fun of themselves, so there's little else to say. Except w ... t ... f?!?!

Mannequin Murder Mystery

mannequin murder mystery, originally uploaded by Wahj.

Exhibit A: One mannequin, cruelly dismembered, the pieces spread over the shop floor. The Mannequin police are rounding up the usual suspects.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

And then there were 6

missing fish, originally uploaded by Wahj.

Two more of the big(ger) fish died over the weekend. One was spotted looking sickly on Friday, and sank to the bottom on Saturday. The other was found today, jammed headfirst into the shipwreck. That's a 40% mortality rate. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun is China Mieville's latest novel, his first foray into that increasingly misnamed genre called "young adult", and one of the most intelligent approaches to the well-worn path of adventure and fantasy.

Un Lun Dun is the Un-Eragon and Un-Harry Potter. It takes the tried (tired) and tested cliches of fantasy and subverts them. Yes there is a heroine, and yes she is prophesied, the "Chosen One". Unfortunately, it all goes pear-shaped from there - the Chosen One gets knocked out of action early in the book, the wise sages and guides have no wisdom to offer, and the sidekick (whom the prophecies refer to as the comic relief) suddenly finds herself bearing the burden of the quest. Even the traditional form of the epic quest is stood on its head when our un-Chosen One decides to dispense with the 7 tasks and just skip ahead to the last one.

In other words, Un Lun Dun is a refreshing change. It keeps enough of the old (there is, after all, a happy ending, and un-Chosen or not, our heroine still saves the day) but plays with the conventions in an intelligent and sensitive manner. Like Neverwhere, the city of London also features as a character in its own right, idiosyncrasies, peculiarities, warts and all. Mieville certainly has a way of describing his cities, but whereas Perdido Street Station was grotesque in detail, Un Lun Dun takes a softer focus approach.

All in all, a good read, and definitely recommended. Ignore the "young adult" label: how many of these books are read by young adults anyway?

Where did the PC go?

where did the PC go?, originally uploaded by Wahj.

Like most mac users, I have to contend with a workplace that's locked into a Windows/PC paradigm. I have a work-issued laptop that sees reasonable use when I need to access shared drives that the mac can't.

The rest of the time, however, it serves its most useful purpose as a support for another invaluable piece of equipment.

My razer mousepad.

This more or less sums up my opinion of PCs, Windows, Macs and Razer. See picture above for a graphic representation of my belief system. = )