Thursday, April 14, 2005

quiz nite

I've always enjoyed trivia and quizzes, but up till now I've never taken part in that popular activity the Pub Quiz. But one of the Thylacon committee invited me to come along to a quiz they were running as a fund-raiser at a city hotel.

Well, it had been a fairly busy weekend, but I pencilled it onto my calendar -- I like a couple of weeks notice so I can get used to any new idea -- and Monday night my sister and I rocked up to the New Sydney in Bathurst Street.

There was quite a good turn-up and there were half a dozen tables of people taking part in the quiz. I thought perhaps it was a bad sign that our table was designated by the name "The Amnesiacs" but we did fairly well.

The evening had a science fiction theme, but even if you were a trivia expert some of the categories were easier than others. The questions about classic novels and movies of the 1970s were easily disposed of, but the section about the geography of fictitious countries was quite a challenge.

Still, I would say that we did well in more categories than we messed up in, and we made ground rapidly as the finishing line approached. In the end we were only one point off being in second place.

To our amusement, when we listened to the midnight radio quiz The Challenge, two of the same questions showed up again!

Visited Joel to finalise our laptop repairs. He even installed XP Service Pack 2 on the machine for us, saving me the trouble of fossicking around for a magazine disc with that programme.

I don't know when he found time to do the repairs. He works at the boatyard, has his own IT business, helps at the Internet cafe and has a new baby in the house. He must be a very busy boy.

The only odd thing was that installing that knocked out my AVG anti-virus and I had to uninstall it and put a fresh copy on. Aside from that, everything seems to be working fine now.

Let's hope it stays that way. $200 for repairs we can manage - $2,000 for a new machine might have been a different story.

I saw Kay today and said to her "How are your cats behaving this week?"

Not too well, she said, I caught one of them up on the bookshelf about to curl up on a valuable first edition.

"Well, you should do two things. First, move it to a more secure location. Second, leave it to me in your will," I said with a twinkle in my eye.

Funny you should say that, she replied, that's just what I have done.

Oops! Many a true word spoken in jest.

Britain's streets are in chaos. Plastic mannequins erupt from shop windows to create havoc. One of London's famous landmarks is implicated in the plot. Harrods explodes. "It's bigger inside than outside."

Yes, Doctor Who is back on the air!

A friend provided me with a copy of the first episode a couple of weeks after it went to air on the BBC -- it won't be seen in Australia till next month -- and I was intrigued to see how it worked.

All in all, I was quite pleased. We've been watching a lot of the Doctor Who repeats that have been running on the ABC for months, so it wouldn't have been surprising if we'd found it difficult to warm to. But I found it a lot of fun.

Christopher Ecclestone brings the requisite dash to the role, and Billie Piper does well with bringing the "Dr Watson" part to life. The special effects are obviously modern, but they don't go hog-wild with CGI pyrotechnics just because they could.

And of course it was nice to see the return of the Autons, though the name isn't actually used in the show.

I look forward to seeing the rest of the series.

Julie tells me she saw a Japanese ocean liner when she was down at the waterfront today. Who knew there was such a thing?

She thinks it was even called the Nippon Maru, which should win some sort of prize for lack of imagination.

The pipeline crew may have moved on from Julie's front door, but their legacy remains. There's a lot of fine dust and grit all over the road where they dug it up, and one of the cats always rolls on the street.

This means that whenever I pat her, I find I've got all this fine dust all over my fingers. It must keep her busy licking it all off later on.

You think your kids watch a lot of television? According to The Hollywood Reporter the biggest viewers are in Japan:

The average level of television consumption increased on nearly every continent last year, but a new study has found that Japanese viewers watch more TV than anybody.

The newly released report from Eurodata TV Worldwide, the focus of a panel discussion at the MIPTV convention in Cannes, also found Americans' daily dose of TV climbed by three minutes last year to an average of four hours and 28 minutes -- nearly 90 minutes above the world average.

The Japanese watched the most television last year, clocking in a daily average of five hours.

Americans were second, followed by Argentinians and the Greeks, who consumed four hours and 25 minutes and four hours and four minutes, respectively. At 2 1/2 hours daily each, China and Sweden watched the least amount of television last year.

Even though dramas accounted for 46 percent of viewers' time overall, and made a comeback stateside, American fiction failed to dominate outside of the domestic marketplace as it has in years past.

However, shows such as "Friends," "CSI" and "ER" maintained popularity in many regions. American blockbusters continued their international appeal, with "Shrek" and "Titanic" sticking out, the report said.

The spike in various countries' consumption was due in large part to a blend of both news and sporting events, including the Iraq war, the U.S. presidential election, the Athens Olympics, the European Football Championships and the qualifying matches for the 2006 World Cup.

The MIP conference heard that the Eurodata document reveals that 46 percent of viewing time was dedicated to drama, 36 percent to other entertainment categories (talk, comedy, and variety shows) and 18 percent to news.

A total of 2,300 new programs were launched in nine countries last year. In terms of new formats, NBC's "The Apprentice" appeared to have found the most purchase globally.

Today's quote:
"Manned space flight is an amazing achievment, but it has opened for mankind thus far only a tiny door for viewing the awesome reaches of space. An outlook through this peephole at the vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator." -- Wernher von Braun

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