June 30, 2003

RIP, Katharine

Katharine Hepburn dies, aged 96.

Posted by rory at 02:01 PM | TrackBack

Young Bottoms in Love

Enjoy "My Gay Romance".

Posted by rory at 12:06 PM | TrackBack

Outlook on spelling

Today I had to tell Outlook that 'Prada' is a valid word for its dictionary.

Clearly, Microsoft programmers embrace The Gap.

Posted by rory at 10:48 AM | TrackBack

June 28, 2003

Sweet 21

Happy Birthday, Princess Adrian!

Posted by rory at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)

June 26, 2003

Object attributes

Spec. Spec. Spec. Spec. Spec. Spec. Spec. Spec. Spec.

Spec.

Posted by rory at 02:15 PM | TrackBack

June 25, 2003

Quote this

"He was the kind of man who made you wish he wasn't."

Posted by rory at 05:42 PM | TrackBack

A question for every South African

Tim Wood: "There is one sacred cow that South Africans will not or cannot deal with – why their country failed to emerge as a competitor to the United States. The question should be obvious rather than shocking."

Posted by rory at 05:18 PM | TrackBack

419.2

Oh good. Another 419 letter. Maybe I should refer these people to ITC, which is one organisation that seems to better understand my financial situation.

Posted by rory at 01:20 PM | TrackBack

Philatio Abuser Unsubtle

Whenever they have a programme on TV about male prostitution, and they interview some street walkers about their chosen profession, I just think: "Oooh - a catalogue."

Posted by rory at 11:25 AM | Comments (1)

June 24, 2003

Leather-beaten

Morné writes: "By the way, yesterday was our Iron anniversary. (Last year was Wood, and next year will be Wool.) Unfortunately, we missed Leather already. That was third."

Start saving for that sheep.

Posted by rory at 03:20 PM | TrackBack

Waxin', waynin'

Here's a mirror of Wayne-e's mixes. Funky stuff.

Posted by rory at 02:29 PM | TrackBack

Distinctive sounds

Consider, for example, the crisp snap of the elastic band of a pair of briefs contouring into place. If I’m listening carefully, I can sometimes also tell whether the briefs fit well, and to which side the wearer dresses.

Although an immediately subsequent shriek of pain is a dead giveaway of vanity.

Posted by rory at 01:57 PM | TrackBack

June 23, 2003

No wonder they feed this to kids

On Saturday, I tasted breast milk. Human breast milk. Out of a bottle, though, in case you're wondering. And I'm not allowed to tell you who's it was.

But here's the amazing thing: it tastes incredible. It's a bit like normal milk, but sweeter.

Remember those countless American sitcoms where some guy mistakes his wife's expressed breast milk in the fridge for cow juice, and promptly spits out his coffee when he's told of his mistake? What was he on?

We've been led to believe that it tastes awful. Which is crazy, because they feed this stuff to newborns.

Posted by rory at 04:38 PM | Comments (1)

Man takes life with bandsaw

"A 23-year-old man who worked at a butchery in Alice Street, Durban, committed suicide on Monday by putting his head through a bandsaw - a machine usually used for cutting up carcasses. "

Someone must have removed the safety label.

Posted by rory at 03:57 PM

I can't believe he's married

Saw The Jeff Corwin Experience last night on Discovery. This is the greatest wildlife show on TV, mainly because of Jeff Corwin. The animals aren't nearly as interesting as he is.

Posted by rory at 03:53 PM | TrackBack

Love is...

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra. Suddenly it
flips over, pinning you underneath. At night the ice weasels come." - Matt Groening.

Posted by rory at 01:07 PM | TrackBack

June 20, 2003

Martha Stewarts latest kitchen accessory: low blood sugar

So there Trev was, helping me fetch some stuff from the kitchen. He’d retrieved a plate from the oven, which was quite hot. I shouted out that he could find the oven gloves in the drawer to the right.

At which point Trev came bounding in with the plate, clasped in his naked hands, and explained “That’s ok – I’m diabetic - I have no feeling in my fingers.”

Posted by rory at 04:16 PM

Gay zen

It was a Friday night, and Adrian and I were on our way to Jethro’s birthday party. For reason’s best known to Jethro, he lives in a neighbourhood that is, well, not close.

Which is great, because half the fun is getting there, and we had the neurological equivalent of one hand tied behind our backs. Well, not literally, of course, because we were driving, and that would have made this article, and our trip, tragically short.

But the monkeys had just reached for the nitrous valve, and the ventilation in the barrel was not great. Things were looking good -- when they were in focus. In fact, Hunter S. Thompson would have been proud. Fear and loathing in Johannesburg. OK, perhaps trepidation and mild distaste in Edenvale. Close enough.

Which we weren’t. We took a wrong turn. (Actually, I should point out that we took this wrong turn about 12 years ago, and have been merrily traipsing down the back alleys of life ever since.) But on this particular evening, we took a wrong turn, courtesy of the Johannesburg Highway Authority. At least, I think that it was Johannesburg. Memory, thankfully, does not allow recollection of exactly which off ramp provided us with a delightful detour, and some might argue that just leaving our familiar neighbourhood was the first and most important wrong turn of all. In fact, I think we did.

But by then it was too late, we were on the road, the lights were streaming past us, and I’m pretty sure the car was moving.

“It’s only illegal if you get caught,” I said to the car in general, and Adrian in particular, and he proceeded to place us bodily, and at right angles, to the path of oncoming traffic.

Some small part of my mind began to turn up the valve on the nitrous. I mused gently, in the face of certain death, how wide the road was, and how slowly we seemed to be moving.

The G-forces took hold as we completed the U-turn, and swung back merrily on our way, determined this time to not do that again.

Well, at least not that far away from home. Because we were navigating by the drag-honoured force of gay Zen. And after unanimously deciding that while straight Zen was white, gay Zen was mauve. And it was not a reliable force in Kempton Park, where you are extremely likely, after briefly turning your back (or that of some local boy’s), to find your Zen’s chassis dropped, its delicate bodywork spray painted, and its windows tinted.

Posted by rory at 04:13 PM | TrackBack

Firebird: throw that mouse away

Oskar pointed out to me yesterday that with Firebird (or more correctly, the Mozilla engine), if you're viewing a web page you can type the characters in a hyperlink to jump directly to that link.

Great. I hope they don't have any B's in them.

This keyboard makes one seek refuge in the mouse.

Posted by rory at 08:36 AM | Comments (1)

419

I've now started to keep a seperate folder for all the 419 mails I get.

Posted by rory at 08:23 AM | TrackBack

June 19, 2003

The case of the locked bathroom stall door

In our office bathroom facility, which is shared by some other people in the building (read: people wierder than us), there is A Stall Door. With a lock on it. This is been a Rite begging to be written. I'll see what sort of cynicism I can drum up over the weekend, and if I can unleash suitable invective towards its anal-retentive owner. No pun intended.

Posted by rory at 05:36 PM

Wierd ass keyboards

OK. I'm typing this on one of those Microsoft keyboards. You know, the so-called 'natural' keyboards. The ones that look like the two sides of the keyboard have had a fight and are not on speaking terms. Or, as it feels in my case, typing terms.

If it wasn't for the vanity of The Rites, I'd leave all the mistakes that I'm making in so you could see, and laugh along with me.

So far, what has this keyboard shown me?

That I've been pressing the B key with the wrong finger all my life.

Don't get me wrong. Punctuation aside, and, it would appear, for now the letter B, I'm not afraid of typing large amounts of prose. Witness the self-indulgent morass that is The Rites.

However, it would seem that I now have a split keyboard (goddamn that bloody B key. That's it. I'm not typing anything more that has a B in it. I swear.)

Where was I? Ah yes. This keyoard is split. Everyone in the office has one already. I have until now, ironically, een using a keoard that is of the... uh... straight variety. I've asked around how long it takes until the addiction kicks in. You know: you've heard all the zealots: "Oh now that I use a natural keyboard I no longer suffer from RSI. Once you've tried it, you won't e ale to go ack." True. You're still lacking a personality. And there's no Microsoft replacement for that.

My hands feel like hooked claws. I have this wierd dissociative feeling in my arms that normally only arrives after half a ottle of luricant.

uggery uggery ollocks.

Posted by rory at 05:17 PM | Comments (1)

Happiness is...

...cheese rolls from Woolworths.

Posted by rory at 01:25 PM | TrackBack

June 18, 2003

Automatic response

You know how when you do something, like touch a hot place or stick your finger in the fire, your hand jerks back, and then you realise it was sore?

There's a name for this process - autonomic response, or similar. Basically, if I remember high school biology correctly, all the signals required to save you from certain death happen via your central nervous system, and bypass your brain.

Anyway, I think I have this sort of arrangement between my ears and my mouth.

I hear something, I say something in response, and only then does my brain kick in and try to figure out if I need to duck, or apologise.

I'm going to call this process autoquip.

Posted by rory at 05:13 PM | TrackBack

Call center fantasies

Just dealt with 20twenty on the phone. As always, their over-the-phone service is excellent. My particular drone this time was some guy named Craig.

And he sounded positively gorgeous.

Posted by rory at 03:38 PM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2003

Text-heavy. Laugh-intensive.

"This is because young people in sports cars are considered to be 'high risk' drivers. This offends me. If driving down a residential street at 200 mph while smoking a joint and listening to music with bass so high that the sides of the car bulge out with each note like some kind of cartoon is considered 'high risk', I don't want to know what 'low risk' is."

Go get Text-Heavy. This is seriously funny stuff.

Posted by rory at 12:51 PM

Fiela se car

I happen to live in the same apartment complex as Shaleen Surtie-Richards, of Fiela se Kind fame. The other morning, when I left for work, she was standing outside. She's pretty recognisable, even from behind, because she has this amazingly huge afro-style hair. Turns out she was waiting for her car, which arrived, with driver, as I walked past. The license plate? SURTIE1.

Posted by rory at 11:21 AM

Emoticon

:-Q

Person who just had cybersex and is now enjoying a post-coital cybercigarette

>:-Q -...

Person who was enjoying a post-coital cigarette until he suddenly noticed, to his alarm, that there is some kind of discharge dribbling from his cybermember

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/davebarry/emoticon.html

Posted by rory at 10:08 AM

What Matrix Persona Are You?

You are Neo
You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You
display a perfect fusion of heroism and
compassion.


What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by rory at 10:06 AM

Who's blogging who

For more information, read the Simple Guide to the A-List Bloggers.

Posted by rory at 09:52 AM

June 12, 2003

Bretton mused...

"Why can't tampon ads be more like car oil ads? You know, graphic representation of pistons and cogs, slick lubrication and all holes plugged accordingly. The occasional skid mark, and ovulation revs per minute."

I agree.

Posted by rory at 05:19 PM | Comments (3)

Quote of the week

"I find the concept of a tablet PC a little hard to swallow." - Anton dW.

Posted by rory at 03:34 PM

June 10, 2003

The WTC demolition (aka 9/11)

Found http://www.serendipity.li/wtc.html last night. Promptly sucked in 2 hours of my time as I kept trying to stop reading it.

I'll buy the controlled demolition part of it though.

Posted by rory at 04:48 PM | Comments (1)

Surf this

"But, bearing in mind that 90% of the population aren’t fags, here’s a little guide to the ins and outs of the Love that Dare Not Speak it’s Name (especially in Cape Town, where it more-or-less screams it)."

This from somewhere on http://www.africans.co.za/ - any site that has banner ads about Zombie Jesus back from the dead has to be good.

Posted by rory at 03:58 PM

June 09, 2003

Floodgates open, sir

Thank god the drought is over.

Posted by rory at 02:41 PM | Comments (2)

June 06, 2003

Please hold

"Please hold. You may select your desired hold music: for pop, press 1. For rock, press 2. For dance, press 3 repeatedly, at 136bpm."

Posted by rory at 01:38 PM

I hate hardware

Fixation error. Argh. Brand spanking new CD writer that refuses to burn above 8x speed. Buggery, buggery bollocks.

Posted by rory at 10:34 AM | Comments (1)

June 05, 2003

Overheard one day in Morné's office kitchen

"There's nothing worse than weak hot chocolate. It's like a gorgeous hunk with a small dick."

Posted by rory at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)

June 04, 2003

Subway

I love Subway. Where else is your eating experience prefixed with the question, "would you like a 6-inch or a footlong?"

Three guys were there with me. Subway-virgins are so easy to spot: they stand in front of the sneeze-guard, heads upwards staring at the vast array of choice of sandwich components. Their eyes glaze over, their jaws go slack, and time passes. You wonder if democracy really is the best choice for some people.

I caught the eye of the sandwich artist (yes, they really call them that).

"Hello! I'd like a footlong, parmesan-oregano, chicken mayo. Mozzarello. No, no extra meat. No, no extra cheese. Yes, every vegetable. Yes, all of them. Extra peppers please. Salt and pepper? Certainly? Sauce? Miracle whip, please. To take-away, thanks."

I paid, got my change, stickers, and redundant key-ring chain thingie.

As I left, the virgin trio were still deciding on their fillings.

Modesty forbade me from, uh, helping out.

Posted by rory at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)

I see (through) you, baby, shaking that amp...

Winamp. Indispensible utility. Soundtrack renderer to many a coding moment. And did you know you can make it transparent?

Posted by rory at 01:08 PM

A most unfortunate name

Polar Operational Environmental Satellite - or POES for short.

If you're not South African, you may not understand why this is so funny.

Posted by rory at 11:30 AM | Comments (3)

June 03, 2003

The tea lady cometh

We now have a fantastic new development at work: Ignoria. This is our brand spanking (stop giggling at the back) new tea lady. And twice a day she comes round and offers us tea and coffee and then makes it and brings it to us.

I've heard of such things happening in a company before, but never experienced it.

Sheer luxury, I tell you. Sheer luxury.

Posted by rory at 02:39 PM | TrackBack

PAS 7/10

Lyngsat is a good place to keep up with what's being beamed at you and your Multichoice satellite dish in South Africa. When I get a chance I'll explain how to use that page to see which free channels you can tune into via your stock-standard Multichoice decoder.

Posted by rory at 02:27 PM

“Jack Osbourne.” “No thanks.”

Is it just me, or is Jack Osbourne (of The Osbournes) displaying all the signs of a teenage guy realising he’s in a closet, there’s chiffon, the disco music is getting louder, and everyone is watching? With cameras? And martini glasses?

You know what I’m saying here, don’t you? Good.

Posted by rory at 01:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 02, 2003

The buckstopper: or why it’s not always a good idea to pass the shit downwards

If you’re a developer, or a designer, you’ll probably know exactly what I’m about to write about. But don’t, for the love of clicks, let that stop you reading. Prepare to nod your head sagely as I relate a tale of woe, gnashing of teeth, and breakdown in communication.

Are you ready? Then I’ll begin.

Developers and designers are the very cogs of most of the IT industry. They build stuff. They don’t write documents on how to build stuff (in fact most developers/coders are renowned for never documenting what they do). They’re usually crap at selling stuff. God knows they don’t test stuff. And if there’s any management going on in their part of the multiverse, they will try to remain blissfully unaware of it. What they do is build. They create. They get their hands dirty, they push buttons, scan pictures, shove pixels, and recompile all day long. And they generally like being surrounded by like-minded creators (cf. management, above).

They’re often referred to as resources. Wait a minute. Let me rephrase that: we’re often referred to as resources. See? I’m one. I’m guessing, you’re one. Or perhaps you were one, and now you’re middle-management. That’s OK. There’s a little creator in all of us, struggling to get out (there’s some thought that accountants have managed to completely restrain theirs with leather strap, but no conclusive proof).

Right. Resources. That’s a really cool word to describe us. And it’s also, if you think about it, somewhat derogatory. So don’t think about it too much. Think creators instead.

And here lies the rub. Actually, it’s not so much a rub, as a shit cascade. It doesn’t always happen, but I’ve seen it happen often enough that I’ve spoken about it to other creators on occasion, and mulled it over in my head. Now I’m writing it down.

In the beginning there was the client. And the client saw the project. And the client became unhappy.

Despite what you may have been led to believe, somehow the world continues to exist when this happens. The reasons for the client’s unhappiness can range from the very genuine lack of delivery of a product or service, all the way up to simple, universal incompetence on the client’s part. But wads of cash (or even wads of promised cash) seem to act as eau de capable. They mask the stench of insecurity masquerading as righteous indignation, and waft the cascade on its way.

The client will communicate their unhappiness to the person in the account liaison position. This person is usually someone who is just like a salesperson – with the distinction that he hasn’t sold his soul to Satan, he’s leased it out. Also, they tend to be good looking. Clients don’t like dealing with ugly people.

Now, the account liaison person will communicate the client’s concerns to the project manager. Note the delicate use of the euphemism communicate. In reality, this communication will be of the sort used by Chicken Little. Panic will set in. Not, however, in the resource’s world. They’re creating. But above them, storm clouds of client management angst have begun to gather.

The project manager will now approach the appropriate resource or resources, and the problem will be… communicated to them.

At this point, let us freeze-frame, step back from the scene some may find all to familiar, and consider the trousers of possibility.

On the one hand (or leg?) the client’s unhappiness could stem from non-delivery. Or a genuine fuckup by the creator. That’s OK – that happens.

On the other hand (and this is likely to be the hand that was caught in a meat grinder at a young age, and still frightens young children), the problem could be something that was:

  • the result of a miscommunication,
  • a bad project specification,
  • the client reviewing the project suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia,
  • the client’s wife not liking the colour blue,
  • or (and this is the one that really bites), this client, who has no technical training, nor design training, and is in fact handing over cash to you because you and your colleagues do indeed have this training, suddenly decides that they’re the expert (“Change the font!” “Move the graphic!” “Why can’t it do this all automatically without my help?” “What do you mean if I enter bad data it doesn’t give the right results?!”)

So now, you’ve had the client shit cascade on account liaison, account liaison shit cascade on the project manager, and the project manager deliver the final coup de merde on the resource, who’s only crime is that they applied their training and skill to the task. You’ll notice that I’m conveniently ignoring the case where the resource made a mistake on the delivery. Or maybe you won’t – that’s not the point of this article.

Unfreeze frame. We return to our resource - nay, creator. As they glance, post-communication, disconsolately at the floor, they realise that the, um, buck stops here. Once again they begin mentally reviewing their plans for their future, all of which start with an air-ticket to London. They browse to a travel site.

And inside? The muse has been wounded. While above them, people have done their job, mission accomplished, situation under control, the client is happy, sir. Which is ironic, because that client has just, indirectly, lessened the efficiency of their resource, and probably won’t get work of such creative calibre again. Not, it would seem, that they wanted it, in the first place. Sadly, money has never been an adequate substitute for taste.

Yes, resources make mistakes. But it’s incredibly demoralising when you are always the final one in the chain (whether it’s your fault or not), the last to be blamed: the buckstopper.

It doesn’t always happen like this. There are many examples of superb organisations, with fantastic account liaisons and project managers, that protect their resources from the vagaries of client whims. Keep the client happy, and keep the product-service-builder happy. Hey – even the odd reasonable client has been known to exist.

I just wish to create without having to constantly swab out my environment.

--
Note to my current employers, who I know avidly follow The Rites: this article is not about you. Note to my previous employers: this article is not about you either.

Note to all employers prior to that: you’re on your own.

Posted by rory at 04:46 PM | Comments (1)

Nokia's Law Of Office Phones

This states that in any given office there will always be one phone which has its ringtone set to the Violent Femme's Blister In The Sun. This phone will also usually belong to someone who is frequently away from their desk, and is, apparently popular.

You will then find yourself silently praying that the phone has a vibrating option, and that it will quickly shuffle itself to the edge of the desk and lemming off quickly to the floor, and silence.

Posted by rory at 02:21 PM | TrackBack

Anthropersonification. Is that a word?

Recently, I tried out a disk defragmenter. It works really well, and it has a delightful entertainment function: it makes your hard drive sound like it’s trying to liquidise a metal fork.

Also, it has the capability to do boot time defragmentation. It has to do this, because that’s the only time that it can move some of your files, because Windows hasn’t grabbed them at that stage.

But at the end of the boot time defrag, when the final tine has been blended to a smooth, well, spoon, I guess, it displays a summary of how it’s moved stuff around, and then invites you to ‘Press ESC to reboot your computer.’

Pressing any other key results in ‘Press ESC to reboot your computer’ being irately reprinted at you.

As if by that stage, it matters. I’m somewhat surprised that it didn’t include an exclamation point on the second and subsequent user chastises.

Oh, and anthropomorphization might be a better choice.

Posted by rory at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)

Toastscript

The toaster here has 4 settings: CANCEL (a big red button), DEFROST, REHEAT, and BAGEL.

I popped in a slice of bread, pressed bagel, and waited. Out came a toasted... slice of bread.

I'm sure there's a truth-in-advertising issue here.

Posted by rory at 12:05 PM | TrackBack

Happiness is...

...some 5-HTP, a hot bubble bath, a full pack of cigarettes, a tall glass of cold chocalate soya milk, a good book, and a whole Sunday in which to get water-wrinkled.

Posted by rory at 10:07 AM | TrackBack

A kitten?!


Take the What animal best portrays your sexual appetite?? Quiz

A kitten? A kitten?! Apparently so.

Posted by rory at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)