Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

November 21, 2013

TMoRP Day 21 – The Ashes

Filed under: cricket,the month of relentless positivity — Tags: , — lexifab @ 3:28 pm

It’s the afternoon of the first day of the Test summer, with England off to a rollicking start against the local lads at the Gabba. Australia seems determined to make an uphill series of it by charitably collapsing into flaming wreckage at the outset. If this were not the Month of Relentless positivity, I would make some kind of sardonic observation about their starting like they mean to continue.

Instead, I will express the borderline-naive hope that our bowlers will continue their form from the England tour back in July, where they basically scored all the runs after repeated top- and middle-order failures.

But I will keep this short today, because there is cricket to see. And I do love to watch cricket, regardless that my team may be on the receiving end of a series of brutal trouncings. Huzzah!

November 26, 2009

Notes from the start of the summer

Filed under: cricket,property magnatism,the renovated life — lexifab @ 11:50 am

Thursdays and Fridays are ‘playschool’ day for the Joey, so for the next couple of weeks until I go back to work (sigh), I have a bit of time to get some work done around the place. Of course, today is also the start of the first Test against the Windies from the Gabba, so I am in a quandary.

For the moment I have resolved it by slapping some plaster over the cracks on the front wall. Now I have to wait for an hour or so while it dries before I can paint on the undercoat, so I have little choice but to sit down and take in the action from the first session. Shane Watson’s already done his best to make that seem like a very poor use of my time by getting out without scoring or offering a shot, but I will perservere here for a bit.

My resolution to get the patio finished before the start of summer is on pretty brittle footing at this point. I have, what, another four days to get several more layers of paint applied, erect a climbing frame for the plants, dig out the garden and get the roofing back on. Don’t think it’s going to happen somehow – especially not if the predicted all-weekend storms actually eventuate. But they won’t, so I should be able to make a fair fist of it.

The other major distraction at the moment is the return of the house-buying rigmarole. Fiona has found a little place in Western Australia and had an offer accepted, so now comes the march of inspections, finance applications, quantity surveys, interviewing property managers and the million other little jobs that need doing to get the purchase across the line. We’ve made life difficult for ourselves as usual, this time by timing the deadline for our finance approval at 25 December. Oops, that could be a little awkward – hope we can get it done early. But from my point of view the timing is excellent – it would be very difficult to get all the fiddly little jobs done once I returned to work.

This will be the last property purchase for a while, probably at least a year. We’ve leveraged all the equity that we’ve built up in our own place, so now we need to sit back and wait for some capital growth to take effect. That will probably take a while (that’s sort of the point) and I can imagine a certain amount of impatience creeping in during the lull. Fiona has thrown herself into the research quite aggressively this year – getting us some very good deals into the bargain – and I am anticipating some withdrawal pangs gnawing away while we’re not in a position to do any shopping. For my part, I get to do the monthly reconciliations and property management, so nothing will change for me – I still get to pore over bank statements, credit card bills and scads of invoices for several hair-pulling hours every month…

October 24, 2009

By gor, it’s been a while

I’m playing catch up on another month of missed posts but not for the usual reasons of boredom and/or relentless procrastination. Since that last post it’s just been sort of relentless, and even though the last week has seen things settle more or less back to routine, finding the time to sit down and write about it hasn’t been easy. It’s only the fact that it is now the middle of the night and I’m up to watch the start of the 20-20 cricket final live from India that I’ve got some free space.

I expect that this will be even more random, rambling and out of sequence than usual, for which I’d be stupid to make any sort of apology. I certainly won’t be going back to edit. You’ve been warned.

(more…)

July 8, 2009

Summer in July

Filed under: cricket,friends,joey — lexifab @ 11:39 pm

It’s lunch after the first session of the first Ashes Test in Cardiff, with the Australians pretty much on top despite missing Binga and Stuey C from the attack. Probably too early to call the series a whitewash to Australia, I suppose, but the Poms aren’t looking too flash at this point, with three wickets. We’ll see, I guess.

Evan, Andrew and Von will be here for a visit in a couple of days (him for a week, them for just the weekend). It won’t quite be a substitute for our sort-of tradition of shared holidays, but still a terrific break from the current day to day routine. If I have any trepidation about the visit, it’s in wondering how the presence of my little boy will affect how we all get along together. For that matter it will be interesting to see how the Joey reacts to having someone different hanging around the house all day. It might be an interesting juggling act to make sure that I can give everyone the attention they deserve.

Especially if I’m up all night every night watching the Ashes.

July 2, 2009

Counting down to next weekend

Filed under: cricket,family,friends,geekery,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 9:54 pm

Evan’s dropping in on the Nerdfarm for a week starting next weekend, so I’m feeling like I’m kind of running down the clock until he gets here. Various minor setbacks are causing annoyance, like calling off tonight’s Burning Wheel game (due to someone else being tired rather than me, for once) and suffering the annoying but not unfamiliar combo of severe procrastination and writer’s block on the two projects I’ve got ticking away in the background. I think I will cheat and distract my brain by starting a third project, one that doesn’t really matter whether I get it finished or not.

Side comment: I am currently listening to farewelling Doctor Who maven/producer Russell T. Davies being interviewed on the BBC. He’s a marvel, that one. Oddly, given my slavering DW fanboyism, his insights into the nature and limitations of British television drama are the most interesting parts of the interview. It’s here. (RTD’s bit only lasts for about the first 13 minutes, after you get through an intro).

Jimbo’s asking what fun I have planned for when Ev gets here. Hrm, that’s a bit of a stumper actually. Fortunately, the first Ashes test is being broadcast live from the UK (Cardiff’s up first!) the first couple of evenings, so that’s that sorted – Ev’s very keen to actually sit down and watch a test, which he claims never to have done before. In this, I can oblige him.Other than that, my plans vaguely revolve around talking about books and movies and playing Red Faction and Guitar Hero. Quick, somebody think of something fun!

Speaking of Jimbo, it’s his birthday on Monday. Send him stuff. He will be grateful, I feel certain.

Second Side Note: I am reading Scourge and Fire: Savonarola and Renaissance Italy by Lauro Martines at the moment. Excellent biography of a fascinating historical figure whom I had previously written off as an unsympathetic raving nutjob. The thing that makes me sad reading this book is that I have realised I need to do a lot more research for that novel I’m kind of working on – for one thing, I really need to know more about Renaissance Milan, Pisa and Rome and various other historical personages whom I had hoped to avoid bothering with. Sigh. This is what I get for thinking that writing in a fictionalised historical setting would be an interesting challenge.

Gah. Enough procrastinating. I need to go do some work of some kind.

June 7, 2009

Unresearched things currently passing through my brain (welcome to the internet)

Filed under: cricket,news of the day,political sniping — lexifab @ 12:21 am

Whilst Simon and I wait for the cricket to start on the telly, and in a desperate attempt to reignite something vaguely resembling a blogging habit – without resorting to a “new” medium from which in any case my outdated mobile communications appliance is ineligible to participate (i.e. Twitter) – here is a feeble list of stuff that’s been on my mind this week:

Cricket – On the eve of the 20-20 World Cup, Roy’s been kicked off the Australian cricket team (again) for getting boozed up while watching the State of Origin. Sigh. That will have been his last chance comprehensively blown; my guess is that he’s gone for all money now. I’m still going to watch the series and barrack for the Aussies, but his absence will leave a bitter taste. Compensating a little for that disappointment, however, has been the hilarious news that the English hosts have been beaten in the opening match by the non-Test-playing Dutch team…

Politics – Senator John Faulkner has replaced Joel Fitzgibbon as Defence Minister following the latter’s inevitable resignation. It’s been increasingly apparent as this month has rolled on that Mr Fitzgibbon’s biggest problem was not his poor relationship with senior officials in his own department, nor the probably-undeliverable Defence White Paper, but that he was half-arsed about declaring his financial interests. As someone who was up until midnight yesterday working on the household accounts, I have a certain sympathy. But really, how hard is it as a Federal Minister to recognise that accepting free stuff and not transparently keeping your big-shot corporate CEO brother at arm’s length from your Cabinet colleagues is asking for trouble? I understand that he’s been heard to blame his misfortune on “judases” within his own Ministerial Office, but that just begs the question of how far someone who cultivated such loyal and trustworthy working relationships expected to get in politics. If there’s one thing that’s likely, though, it’s that we won’t see Faulkner, the remorseless inquisitor of a thousand merciless Senate Estimates hearings, buggering up his declarations of financial interests.

(Yes, I know Australian politics are a bit dull and generally inconsequential, but there are so many elements of this affair and its precursor events that fascinate me, from the Opposition’s attempts to turn this into the sort of scandal that’s picking British Parliament apart, to the allegations of Chinese spy scandals, to the unfortunate suspension of Faulkner’s crusade to improve government accountability under ironic circumstances, and so on. It’s good stuff if you’re paying attention).

First cricket update – The cricket’s about to start. I may liveblog it just to keep myself awake (bloody live matches from the other side of the world).

Dead celebrities named David Part 1 – Poor David Carradine, eh? I liked his work, particularly in the act of shabby genius that was the original Death Race 2000, but it’s sad that when I heard about the manner of his passing, all I could think of was my favourite quote from one of my favourite episodes of The X-Files, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”:

  • Bruckman: ‘There are worse ways to go, but I can’t think of a more undignified one than autoerotic asphyxiation.’

Dead celebrities named David Part 2 – Author David Eddings also died this week. Eddings was notable for writing one of my favourite fantasy novel series of my youth – The Belgariad – which he then immediately went on to undermine by writing a sequel five-novel series with the same characters resolving more or less exactly the same problem in pretty much the same way. That would have worked for me, if he hadn’t waited until I was nearly 18 to start writing them. By that time I’d started to learn to recognise when my affections were being cashed in on. Didn’t stop me buying them, of course, but I knew I was being taken for a substandard ride. My only other recollection was having an argument with Herr Fellows back in high school in which I asserted (with some justice though somewhat dubious authority, since at the time I had not read The Lord of the Rings all the way through) that Eddings had a better ear for character voice than Tolkien. I probably wouldn’t attempt to make a similar argument these days, though His Former Clamness should feel free to propose alternative topics of debate.

Final cricket update – Two Australian wickets have fallen in the first over without any runs coming off the bat. This shite would not have stood if Andrew Symonds had been playing, is all I’m saying.

January 18, 2009

Days go by

Well crap, that blogless week and a half disappeared flew by pretty quickly. Wish I could report that I have something to show for it, apart from the increasingly irresponsible tan caused by taking the bub for a couple of walks a day during the height of an overachieving summer. Well, actually the same regular walks also appear to be consuming all the flesh off my hips – none of my shorts seem to fit very well any more – but alas there is little corresponding progress towards the disappearance of my moderately pudgy gut. Either way I should probably start packing some sunscreen in the back compartment of the baby’s pram, huh?

Strange weight issues aside, um, hot, isn’t it? Actually, I have no idea what it’s like where you are – parts of the Old Country Up North appear to have been underwater for the past week or so – but it sure is too frickin’ hot here. Right now we’re going through a more acceptable phase, where it at least it gets cool at night, but last week was just deeply unpleasant. The baby was not amused, as you might imagine.

There were some good points though – Mum’s visit was a good couple of weeks, shared between the Nerdfarm and my brother Gazza’s place on the other side of town. She and Dad are hoping to sell their place and move soon (this year, we hope) and they intend to find somewhere a bit closer to Canberra to live, so with any luck this will be the last time that Mum has to make the long haul just to get a look at the grandkids. Dad prefers not to fly due to his health, so we rarely get to see him at all. Now that Mum’s home, we really should see about getting some regular videoskype calls – but somehow I doubt that their computer is up to it, so there may be some intermediate steps to address.

Another sort of big event was the conclusion of the nine-month Burning Empires game I had been playing. Sadly, it drew to its inevitable climax as the alien brainworms slaughtered or converted all the player characters and overthrew the planet we had een so desperate to defend. Actually, no, I think it fell because we kind of sucked at staying focused on the main goal and because we dropped the ball a lot, but nevertheless we had a very cool time getting there. If you care at all, the details of the campaign are recorded with meticulous and only occasionally overdetailed care at our local gaming collective’s website. My character threw himself and a guy he was trying to recruit off a cliff about four sessions before the end of the campaign. It was awesome (even if I did have to limp across the finish line using a backup character).

Next up for gaming is a somewhat ambitious Burning Wheel campaign about the aftermath of a successful war of imperial conquest, in which the player characters are the lieutenants and trusted advisors of an increasingly erratic and possibly insane emperor. Should be fun, although potentially no less apocalyptic than the Burning Empires game.

Other projects? Well, the front patio beams are nearly all sanded, though that little job has been on hiatus for a week or so while other stuff (including cricket! Yay!) took priority. That really needs to get done so that as soon as the weather outside starts to become bearable again we can actually turn it into a usable living space. Fi and her landscape designer brother have come up with an elaborate and expensive idea for sealing the cement verandah part off so that small boys can’t accidentally tumble off the edge face first into the driveway. Unfortunately implementing this plan seems like it will involve a fair amount of hard work for me, but this is nothing terribly new.

The other primary occupation has been property stuff. We *still* don’t actually own anything other than (half of) our own place, though unless something unforeseen happens we will exchange contracts on the flats in Tamworth tomorrow or the next day. Huzzah! We will officially be proto-magnates! (And no, Clam, we still haven’t been up to see them, or we would have come and visited Casa del Yourplace). After that we are negotiating offers on two separate deals in Adelaide, which look like they will probably go ahead. It sounds sudden, but really there has been a terrific amount of too-ing and fro-ing (and steep-learning-curve traversal) involved over the past four weeks or so. I have personally been developing my ability to pretend to listen attentively to real estate agents through a wall of high-pitched caterwauling that could shatter glass. It’s not been easy, but luckily I have had plenty of practise.

Okay, I need more of something cold, and I fear that beer may well be the only viable option at this stage. I’ll let you know how that goes.

October 22, 2008

Frantic home visit

Filed under: cricket,news of the day,wordsmithery,workin for the man — lexifab @ 4:37 pm

After being away all weekend in Sydney with the lads last weekend, I’ve had a frantic couple of days back home trying to catch up on sleep (badly), get stuck into a bunch of work (with mixed success) and get domestic stuff squared away before zipping off back to Sydney from early tomorrow morning.

Honestly, I have no idea how rock stars live like this. Maybe they have people to whip up emergency batches of pasta-based baby meals.

The work front has not been helped much at all by a sleep-deprived bout of utter crabbiness over the last couple of days. I have just been in the foullest mood. Mainly I’ve managed to restrain myself to only taking it out on a couple of hapless twonks on the interwebs, but it’s probably just as well I didn’t run across any (justifiably) gloating supporters of the Indian cricket team. I might have provoked an international incident.

I had the weird experience today of hearing my own words (tiny, boring chunk of a long, boring policy summary) parrotted by the head of my agency to an audience of more than a thousand people, here and overseas. It’s curious. I’ve never had an opportunity (albeit inadvertant) to have my words reach so many people – so many squirming, uncomfortable people who wished they were anywhere else listening to anything else.

I get all the crap mutant powers.

June 19, 2008

Around the interwebs today

Filed under: cricket,geekery,the interweb she provides — lexifab @ 2:22 pm

Lore Sjoberg cruelly pokes fun at the many hundreds of anonymous commentators who’ve had something insightful to shout about the D&D4E over at Wired. Mocking nerdrage is funny at the best of times, but seriously, the quality of ‘debate’ around this latest edition has been entertainingly shrill and gibbering, even by the usual standards of internet discourse. The main complaints (“they’re turning it into a video game”, “they’re forcing people to buy more books”, “they’re sacrificing too many sacred cows”, “it’s just not D&D any more“) would of course be risible enough on their own if they didn’t bear so indistinguishable a resemblance to the shrieking litany of complaints being sprayed about the last time a new edition was released.

This one is a bit old, but I promised Dr Clam that I would link to it and I never got around to it: an article about an experiment to replicate the shockwave effect in traffic (in summary: fast-fast-screech!-slow-faster-fast). Watch the film, it’s really cool. It might also make you think of science the next time you’re stuck in traffic, which might help while away the hours.

By switching from a right-to-left hand batting stance during the bowler’s runup and belting Scott Styris for six the other day,  Kevin Pieterson has introduced the first genuine batting innovation in cricket* since the slog-sweep (which was popular on the subcontinent for decades before it became popular with the wider Test-playing community). That would be amusing enough, but it appears that the normally staid and tradition-bound MCC is letting him get away with it, stating that the shot is within the laws of cricket. I think it will be a while before it enjoys widespread popularity though – it’s incredibly tricky to pull of and so stupid a risk that getting out while attempting it would cast one’s selection prospects in a very dark shadow. Few batsmen would be willing to put their careers on the line for a moment of glorious spectacle. Except KP, who’s clearly a bit mad.

(See, I can be a nerd about other things apart from roleplaying games and doughnuts!)

* At international level, that is. Of course people have been doing this in backyards and indoor cricket nets forever. Not me though, because I am really rather rubbish at batting.

December 3, 2007

No baby yet. Still at work.

Filed under: cricket,friends,joey,workin for the man — lexifab @ 9:39 am

There’s no actual further news than what’s in that subject title, but on the weekend we:

  • cut down some trees and branches to clean up the yard and make space for Si to park his car when he collects it at Xmas;
  • got rained on so heavily that yet again I had to cancel a game of cricket, which means I probably won’t get one this season (sigh);
  • had visits from Miz Alix and Rockstar Emily, Lindor and ChrisT.

I’m tired of being at work now, even though there is interesting stuff to be done here. It’s hard to feel involved when you could have to leave at any minute (though realistically it’s likely I will actually be here all week).

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