Thursday, January 31, 2008

go to the light

I need something. Maybe this is it.

This is from the Zazz website:

Full Spectrum Light with Ioniser -- Enhance your overall feeling of wellbeing -- $54

You know the slightly grey-tinged guy in the corner cubicle. You'd probably hardly notice him except for that incessant dry cough and the fact that although he never seems to take a sick day, he's always sick and complaining of chronic migraines!That man suffers from a bad case of SOS and SAD! (If you're not au fait with your acronyms - Sick Office Syndrome and Seasonal Affective Disorder.) Two sadly prevalent disorders in our oh so modern world caused largely by our artificial internal environments.

Introducing the "innovative" Full Spectrum Light with Ioniser that aims to undo the twin evils of SOS and SAD. The lamp produces glare and flicker-free light that emulates the natural effects of daylight. Normal lighting has an imperceptible but damaging flicker which is known to cause fatigue and stress. The Ionmax lamp however will bathe your world in a much kinder, gentler and natural light.

Its other function is designed to counteract the high amounts of damaging positive ions emitted into the air by our appliances. With an inbuilt air ioniser the lamp will spread negative ions into the air cleaning and refreshing your stale, recycled, coughed and sneezed in, indoor air. And in so doing reduce your sense of fatigue and disenchantment with your boring job... well at least the first part is true.

The combined effects of this device will leave you feeling like you've been frolicking in a meadow soaking up the sun and breathing in pure, freshly oxegenated air with little bluebirds and rabbits gamboling happily around you

OK, I suffered from SAD during last winter -- more than I ever have in the past. So I'm willing to be persuaded. I sent off for one yesterday.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

paltry day

Friday morning I enjoyed a rare hour of peace and quiet. There's a little window between when I finish feeding the chickens in the back yard and when I have to try and get my sister moving. I had breakfast, checked my e-mail and read the comic strips.

Later in the day I went in to the pet-food shop to get meat for my sister's cats and took it over to her house. It was so warm and humid over there that I suggested we go into Subway for coffee and a snack -- their coffee is all right and their air conditioning was definitely a plus in this weather.

At dusk we sat out in my garden with a glass of wine and watched the poultry as they paraded by. I don't mind having them there, but I look forward to the day when Julie finishes extending her hen house and takes some or most of them home.

In the mail today, received an e-book CD containing all 181 Doc Savage novels in PDF format. We all know that you aren't allowed to post these on the Internet, but they don't seem to stop them being sold on E-Bay. Remind me to tell you about the South Pole Terror sometime.

A fascinating interview tonight on Rod Quinn's radio show with David Ansen, the NEWSWEEK movie critic: "On January 26, 1958 (the date is written in pencil), I began keeping a list of all the movies I'd seen, using lined notebook paper that I further divided in half so that I could get upwards of 50 movies per page. I was 12 years old. I've kept up the list my entire life. It now fills 146 handwritten pages—close to 8,000 movies, though the number would be higher had I added all the movies I saw on TV."

Rod was especially interested because he keeps a similar list. I used to do the same thing.

Of course there was a very practical reason for this in the 1950s and 1960s. There was no Internet, no IMDB, not even any of those movies-on-TV paperbacks that you see in every bookstore.

It's hard for anybody under 40 to understand those days. In my young days I loved science-fiction movies but there was no way to have a list of all the SF films that had been made unless you imported an expensive specialist publication from the United States. (There was a copy in the reference section at the State Library but I could never have afforded a copy for my own use.)

I used to go through the magazines like TV WEEK and TV TIMES and make a note of any movies on the late-show that I hadn't heard of before.

I thought it quite wonderful the publication of "Science Fiction in the Cinema" by John Baxter (London: A. Zwemmer, 1970; New York: A. S. Barnes, 1970) which I was actually able to purchase.

It's a very different world today, where (to use a metaphor from the early days of the Internet), we are swimming in a sea of information.

Called in at the shop/post-office around the corner from my sister's house to pick up a registered letter for her. While I was there, I bought a comic book and the girl behind the counter looked at it, looked at me and said "Are you one of those people who are interested in old Phantom comic books?"

I reeled back in horror. "Is it that obvious?" I said tremulously.

"We just got in the end-of-year special issue this morning if you want one."

"Oh. Yes, I'll take one while I'm here."

Selling an average 30,000 copies an issue, The Phantom remains this country's favourite comic book. There is simply nobody else who comes close to the wide readership that the Frew Publications title has.

That's close to a million copies a year in Australia. Total Frew sales since 1948 are estimated at a breath-taking 35 million copies.

Friday, January 11, 2008

a hot time this morning

Hell. That's what it was like this morning.
I thought I was having a hypoglycemic attack,sweating and feeling like I was going to pass out. The expected cold change didn't come in and as it got closer to midday it just got hotter and hotter.

For about three hours it stayed up around 30 degrees (that's around 86 in the old Fahrenheit scale) and I think the humidity was about 55%.

One of Julie's friends Merv had come by to collect some rubbish that we'd cleared out of the driveway yesterday and I tried to help but I had to keep retreating inside to sit down and drink iced soda water. I just couldn't cope with it.

Thankfully the cold change did finally move in late in the afternoon and the temperature started to drop after 3 o'clock.

Fire crews and helicopters were out fighting brush fires that had sprung up during the hot and windy afternoon. More news here:

Roll on the autumn is all I can say.

Meanwhile we attended the Irish Association's usual monthly quiz night at the New Sydney Hotel. We had a team of five, with a wide span of general knowledge. In spite of that, we had a couple of disastrous rounds in the middle of the night and I feared the worst.

We chose the "television" round to joker for bonus points, but it was a debacle. All the questions were about obscure details from sitcoms that I never watched. I thought we'd sustained a mortal wound when we only scored two out of a possible eleven points, but when the scores went up I found that was not unusual. One table even scored zero.

The other categories - People & Places, Literature, Movies, Ireland, Music, Sport and History - were kinder to us and in the end we won in the Silver category. Of course it helped that most of the other teams went for Gold and there was actually only one other team up against us.

The prize is just a few vouchers for free drinks, but at least we could share those around the team. One of the other tables won a movie ticket -- how do you share that between six people?

From the news desk -- a sign of the times. The new Federal Government says all schools will be able to apply for help to assess their security needs.

The Government will spend $20 million on the program, which will see ASIO and the AFP (Australian Federal Police) assess the security risk at applicable schools.

Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard says while the scheme will specifically target some schools, all are welcome to apply.
"It would be of no surprise to people for example that many Jewish schools have had cause for concern about security arrangements," she said. "The program is there to assist schools who feel themselves to be at risk and who are at risk."
Times have certainly changed since my school days.
The only time you saw the police outside my old school was when they were directing traffic at the pedestrian crossing.