Wolfie’s Bad Hair Day

28 02 2010

I’m getting old. I know this because I complained about a hair style last week, where once I enjoyed playful, creative activity involving follicular production.

I have lived through all kinds of hairy eras, Hippies, Punks, Skins, New Romantic etc, and never turned… oh sorry. But I hate *Hate* with a Capital H, That new Emo-ish hairstyle that’s all the rage now. It reminds me of Professor Snape from the Harry Potter books, it says “Oh look at how sad I am, and my sad, sad hair”.

That hideous, oily fringe that hangs over one eye as though someone pranked the wearer with a bucket of KY Jelly over a door.

Still, it must be easy to manage, which has often been the problem with some of the fancier styles, It must have been very difficult to go to bed with super-glued punk spikes. *sigh* I wanted these as a teenager but mum wouldn’t let me and I ddn’t have the resources to try it. There were threats about such things… oh how I wanted to dye my hair in rainbow colours, not so much to shock, but just to see how it would look, plain old curiosity.

I think we’ve seen some glaring fashion errors during the noughties, Like bare midriffs, which never looked sexy to me, it made me feel cold. I had an urge to offer these poor women a nice warm blanket.

Don’t worry, it will be safe to laugh at this decade and it’s predecessor in twenty years, although I’m having a good chuckle now.


Gay eye for the Geek Guy.

25 02 2010

You’ve just bought a new home, it’s perfect and apparently empty, and you begin moving your stuff inside. after a while you begin to unpack and sort things out, when much to your surprise, this stereotypical gay bloke leaps from the built in wardrobe and frowns… then tut-tuts and tells you that it’s all wrong wrong wrong, it’s the wrong colour, the wrong size, too old, too new, not in style anymore, clashes with the drapes… so on and so forth.

Some computer programs are like this, and I’ve experienced it in both windows and macs… and it’s worse in the latter. Programs which are overly-helpful, drive me nuts.

Windows gives us a folder, My documents, where we can put all our pictures and other items. now I don’t know about you but the only time it is ever used is when some program defaults to that location. and I don’t use it because the C drive is the most active drive and more likely to fail… eating all my digital photos and other work.

Admittedly, there are very few programs that windows uses which want to dive in and swap my things around, so I can forget the pre-concieved idea of where files ought to go “according to Microsoft” and put things where I’d prefer them to be.

All my photos and things are kept on an extra drive, or an external one. and I map it out exactly as I want, with folders for music, videos, photos and more… and each of those have sub-folders too.

I have heard that Apple wants to get away from this idea, if that’s true, it’s not a very good one, as we all create places in our homes to put things. and most people don’t have the same system. you may have a sock drawer while your neighbour keeps his stuffed in some kind of string bag near his wardrobe. to have a home where somehow, magically, things were all sucked up and put somewhere that was difficult to find later would be really annoying. I don’t want my computer files put where the software (Apple or Microsoft) thinks they should go.

I have a problem with the iPhone interface (iTunes) it’s a disaster, Apple wants to have this friendly, easy to use image, and itunes just blows it. what I need is a file directory, I need to see all the files, including our photos, and have some way of sliding a photo, text file, mp3, movie, from my hard drive, to the iphone, and back, without syncing. I need a way to connect to a secondary computer and sync there too, without the computer telling me that if I sync with this computer, I will lose all my stuff from my iphone, how irritating is that?

I used iphoto a few days ago, and found that it had some stupid idea called events, this weird idea cuts my photo “reel” into annoying little chunks. when all I want to do is access my photos, I did a search today and found that the feature (mistake) can be switched off totally. “Events is bad because” it just gets in the way, like the gay guy I mentioned earlier, it’s not the least bit helpful, or wanted.

My photos go into a neat little folder where I know where everything is, iphoto should just shut the hell up with it’s tinkering and just show me my photos from the folders that I make… without even daring to suggest that they ought to be elsewhere.

I get really paranoid about my photos, they’re important records of my life and I want to keep them as they are.
Yesterday I wanted to upload some of my iPhone photos to Flickr, and was annoyed that iPhone wanted to change the photos size first, before uploading, WHY??? No No No… You DON’T ALTER *** MY*** PHOTOS, EVER!

Heck, I don’t even want facial recognition, what’s the point? I have all my stuff labeled thankyou, just view the damn things for me… don’t try to run the show, I don’t need it.

I have hit a few brick walls while using my iPhone and Macbook, As much as Apple would have you believe they thought of everything, there are big holes where they needed to be a lot more helpful, and too many places where Frank leaps out with another set of drapes.



23 02 2010

If my life was a “Fillum” the first thing I’d edit out would be all the lousy math classes, Numbers and I were never friends, and despite teachers telling me that I would need this education, at 44 years old, I can tell you Ladies and Gentlemen, that apart from the ability to do a few basics, I did not need to be confined to a classroom, feeling utterly bewildered and uninterested for what probably amounted to at least a month of my life… and I’d like that time back, or at least to remove it entirely.

Sport would be next, I’m sorry, I know all Australians are suppost to like sport, but to me it’s about as welcome as skid marks on my underwear. I would cut out most of it… times when I was forced to play something I had no interest in, High School Sports, physical education et al… snip, snip snip…. Times I was waiting for a good movie or TV show which was being delayed by blokes running around on a field, me getting upset, looking at the clock, hoping there would still be time for my program, being fed up when there wasn’t. all that could go.

All the times when I was seriously sick. or got injured, or having someone else suffer, Yes it may have made me a “better person” but fuck it… snip, snip, snip.

I could probably do a fair bit of cutting, but I would keep special time with my family, and cuddles with my dogs, time spent listening to my music, or being with someone I liked. trips to Queensland with Mum and Dad. I would also keep the times that Mum made hot soup for me on cold winter nights, and her boiled fruitcakes with roasted almonds on the top which I’d always steal. and her sandwiches. I would keep the times that I almost went to sleep beside my father as he ran his fingers through my hair while he watched some old movie on tv, and walking the dogs with him. I’d keep the humour of banging a can of cat food and watching three hungry tortoises emerge from the fuscias, and giving a friendly bluetongue his bit of banana, and being bitten by a fiesty budgie who didn’t like fingers in her cage.

My film would be shorter, but so much better.


Hipsters Vintage

23 02 2010

Opening a drawer and finding old photos from another era is always an interesting experience. Grannies holding babies who are probably grandmothers themselves by now, Bronzed lifesavers at Bondi standing on golden sand, an almost complete Harbour Bridge. And faded colour photos of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s recording the time in which I grew up, watching myself change from a kid to an adult, laughing at my daggy clothes, watching my parents aging.

The quality of these photos is really in the eye of the beholder, they might not be the clearest, but then if you consider photos as “paintings with light”, as someone once called them, then it’s really not fair or logical to say that only photorealistic painters, like Rembrandt, were better than people like Van Gogh or Picasso.

For many years, the only cameras I had were pocket cameras, the kind which took 110 film. Yes I wish I had my Pentax DSLR back then, but the fact remains that I did, at least, have *A* Camera… which allowed me to take photos of friends, family and my many beautiful animal companions, many of them sadly long gone.

It wasn’t until the 90’s that I invested in my Realist 3D, which I’d call my first real camera. This restored 1950’s camera allowed me to take the most wonderful, irreplaceable photos of my family, in full 3D, it was worth every cent I’d spent on it.

A friend bought me my first digital, a 2.5 megapixel canon camera, which despite it’s low resolution, also played it’s part in my personal photographic history. without it, certain images I cherish, may not have existed.

Then I bought my Pentex DSLR, an *istDS, I love this camera, it takes pictures which I think are beautiful, crisp and clear. I use it often… but it has it’s drawback too, it weighs about the same as half a housebrick. it’s not a comfortable thing to have around my neck at all times. so, sadly, I often miss what could be a good photo because I’ve left my camera at home.

When visiting a blog recently, a writer suggested that the best camera, was the one you had with you… it makes a lot of sense. it’s better to have a lower quality photo, than no photo at all.

Last week I finally bought myself an iPhone.

Now it’s pretty brilliant, but the camera is, I’ll admit, a bit of a wimp. You’d think that by now all phones would come with at least a five megapixel camera. Now most people would sneer about the iphone cameras quality, I did myself, but one person decided that it was an opportunity to create something new and interesting, and make some money for himself at the same time.

He made a program which simulates a real camera, a Hipstermatic, which was produced in the US in the early 80’s, the maker only managed to sell a few hundred, so they’re quite rare these days. The camera was cheap, but unlike an instamatic, had removeable lenses… and while it wasn’t one of the best cameras around, it was fun to use.

The program itself comes with simulated removeable, interchangeable lenses, film and flashes… and you can buy
newer ones when they’re released, straight off the actual program, although the real camera never had the option of uploading pictures directly to facebook.

Admittedly I’m a bit of a purist, I must confess, and wasn’t sure that I’d appreciate a camera applying effects to my photos… this is something I’d really rather do in photoshop afterwards… and I always keep the original photo that came out of the camera unedited, while uploading edited versions to flickr, etc. , but, I’ll admit, I’m very taken with this, there’s something about these photos which are more than just a bit of a laugh, they’re warm, exotic and have a quality about them that photos from cameras such as Box Brownies had, that digitals usually lack.

On the iPhone screen, you see a picture of an old camera, and with a swipe of your finger, you can change the lenses to one of about five types which all produce their own effect on the final image. there’s also a set of virtual flashes and film.

All the photos come out looking very “analogue” as the maker of Hipstermatic says, some of the photos look very greenish and have an almost underwater quality, another format reminds me of 60’s photos, of women riding Vespas in Itally perhaps. There’s a film that produces a rich black and white, which worked beautifully on my Alaskan Malamute.

Hipstamatic comes with about three lenses and three rolls of film (which never run out), and you can buy new ones via the application itself when more are released at about a dollar a pop.

If you’ve got an iPhone, Please give Hipstamatic a go, it’s a lovely thing to play with, and it’ll only set you back $2.50 from the itunes store.

Make sure you see the Hipstermatic Pool on Flickr
And my own Hipstermatic photos, here.

More about the software and how to get it, here.


On the Telling Bone.

20 02 2010

I was reading about a brand new social networking service that could revolutionise the way people talk, it was written by a fellow called “Borowitz” and I think it’s meant to be funny. The article is here if you’d like to read it.

I would have liked to have posted a comment, but as you saw, there was no way to do so, so I blogged about it, (that’s something you can do in the 21st century).

Yes Borrowitz, The phone, I remember the phone.

I remember being cut off from the world because it was so much harder finding people, who were like me, people I’d enjoy talking to. and I felt this way since I was a very young child.

The phone was always a very self-important thing, it had it’s own table, and if the phone rang, we had to make a run for it… as it might be an incredibly important message. Mum would race inside from putting the washing out, kids flying to the left and right if they were in the way. She’d be yelling “Get the Phone! Get the Phone!” The poor dog would be tripped over and would let out a frightened yelp, the cat’s tail would be stood on, a delicate vase would wobble on it’s edge and breathless and panting away, Mum would just barely reach the sacred electric telephone mere seconds before the other party hung up.

If it was a phonecall from another state, Mum would talk faster and faster, as she saw in her mind the dollars and cents floating away with each panic stricken moment, if she’d spoken much faster then she might have sounded like a chipmunk on crack as she tried compressing every thought and word down to a few seconds. then she’d get to the end “OKBYE*click*” and sit there looking utterly knackered, sweat dripping from her as though she’d just ran for Australia in the Olympics…. and then furrow her brow and utter an expletive as she’d remembered something she had to say, but it was all too late.

Of course it was worse when it was Mum who was the one dialing “STD” (that’s “Subscriber Trunk Dialling” thankyou, not a nasty rash) This was seen more often when we were at our Holiday House (which ironically seemed to generate more work for my family than our normal home). Sometimes it was Dad who had to ring his family up in Sydney, and Dad spoke and thought a bit slower than Mum, I’m not saying he was an old bushie, but he was more pre-occupied with having a good natter than thinking too much about the cost. Mum would be in the bedroom frowning, taking furtive glances at the clock and as time moved on, She’d get up and gesticulate angrilly in front of Dad, like a willy wagtail picking on a magpie.

We never, as far as I can remember, had a call from overseas until my friend moved to Germany for a couple of years in the 90s. He was a guy who liked a good long chat. He’d buy a ten Deutsche Mark phonecard, and chat till it ran out of credit… usually in about an hour. Whenever we got a call from there, Mum would flip out. indeed it was special, it was almost frightening. The lag was awful some nights and conversation was often tangled if we tried speaking too fast, restraint was always the best bet here. I confess that the idea of an overseas phonecall freaked me out too, it was something that only other people did. Our family were not used to it, all our friends and family were Australians, living here, so there was simply no need.

I was growing up and beginning to make friends who I’d want to phone, So I had to ask Mum if it was ok to phone them, generally it was ok. I’d see my friends during school hours so there wasn’t much to talk about in the evenings, I might have made a phonecall on a saturday, before visiting a friend, just to see if they were at home first, avoiding a long walk home if they were not. In those days I was happy enough to be home, with my family and the TV… I couldn’t live like that now, I’m too dependent on conversation.

I think that the phone’s great if a doctor, a cop or the vet is needed urgently, and great for keeping in touch with friends… but you couldn’t make friends on the phone, people didn’t hear your conversation from other states or countries and think to themselves “Hrrmmm, I like this guy, I like his attitude and the way he thinks, I think I should hook up with this person” there was really no chance of meeting anyone at all. “In space, no one can hear you scream”.

The days when the phone ruled were lonely, and costly.

If a friend moved interstate, there’d be promises of phonecalls and of writing letters, which were soon forgotten, as boys don’t tend to sit and write their friends a letter and post it… I’d have to ask Mum for 20c for a stamp too, I didn’t get pocket money till I reached my teens and even then it was very little.

These days, a friend could move to Canada, and it wouldn’t make that much difference, unless they were local, which is a rare thing… and that’s a thing people who are concerned about others being online tend to forget… we can’t always meet in “real life”, as much as we’d like to, we wish we could, if there were teleport beams, that would be lovely… “Lunch in Paris with me today mate?” “Yeah, no worries, wouldn’t miss it” Melbourne to Paris in ten seconds, beaut! As much as I’d love to go to a cafe with my friends from the States, or Germany or Finland, I cannot… but at the very least I have had the good fortune to meet these people through the internet.

If people are too far away, there is still the very real contact of christmas cards and gifts, lovely things which come via post from real people very far away who really care about me, and I send them things too when I can.

All of my friends use e-mail, it’s a lot cheaper than phoning them, and they’ll see it in their own time… there are no engaged tones or unanswered calls with e-mail.

I recently bought an iPhone, mostly so I can do a few quick e-mails, tweets or skype when the big computer (which takes almost ten minutes to boot) is switched off.

I’m not one for phone conversation as stated earlier, but I hope to be going on holidays soon, so a mobile may come in handy if there is an emergency at home.

I fully intend to use the iPhone mainly with wi-fi, although I got a pre-paid sim card, which is going to end up very underused and when it runs out at the end of the month, it may never be recharged again. I have very little, almost no income, so that extra $30 a month isn’t going to happen.

SMS must be the biggest joke ever, it bothers me that people pay for each message they send, why? They could be using twitter for Gods sake.

Oh, I’m sorry, yes, twitter is only for weirdos who must tweet every boring moment of their life, it’s nowhere as cool as SMS, which is the exact same thing, except that you pay for every single message you send… Human beings are mental!

Ok, Fair enough, I do pay for my internet, and in Australia, we pay lots for very little, but twitter still works out a lot cheaper overall, I’m certainly not paying for each message, and most are going overseas.

Last night I chatted with a friend on the iPhone, using Skype, again, the cost of this is nominal.

My friend and I prefer to use voice because basically he’s a big fat bastard who can’t reach his keyboard, aren’t you mate?

Skype worked wonderfully, until the battery ran out near the end of the conversation, ahh well.

We talked about old fogies moaning about how kids apparently don’t talk to each other anymore and what utter nonsense it was… kids are on their computers and mobiles all evening chatting away. when we were kids, we were sitting in front of the television in the evenings and would mostly only see our friends when we were physically at school.

Speaking on the old “Dog and Bone” is limited and costly, The last bill, I had was over $80, despite the fact I’d made a total of eight phonecalls, all local, a few to mobiles, and none lasting more than two minutes. If it wasn’t for the fact that I can reach emergency services quicker on the thing, and that I need to be connected to the line for ADSL, I’d be ripping it out of the wall and hurling it from the first window I can find.

I love the internet, If some people can’t be in tune with that, that’s fine… Use your “Telling Bone” as the old wizard used to call it, Talk to just one person each time you use it. Chat on your Mobile and Pay lots for your calls and SMS messages… Remember, it’s only cool if it’s expensive.

The rest of us are getting on with the new century.

By the way, Mr. Borowitzs article, was on the internet.


* Why yes, I’d love a payed job as a writer, contact me if you’re interested,