Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Middle aged mum terrorises airport with imaginary gun!

Jackiey Budden, 51, was detained for 45 minutes and strip searched after joking about having a gun when asked if she had "anything dangerous" in her bags at an airport. Maybe if I were more judgemental, I'd just say "serve her right for having parents who spell 'Jacky' wrong."

I would be inclined to laugh it off as "only in England" if it weren't for the fact that a few years ago, I witnessed an almost identical event with my own mother. We were travelling to New Zealand, and while going through our second pre-boarding screening at Perth International Airport, we had (once again) to plonk all our stuff into the plastic conveyor belt box thingy. Mum held on to the plastic ticket pouch, which was about the size of a cheque book. The guard ordered her to put it in the tray with the other stuff and, being my mum, she replied "oh yeah, because I've got an Uzi in there!"

An Uzi. An antique submachine gun that's almost half a meter long and weighs 3.5 kilos. Not very subtle. Good for shooting Nazis and ruling small African nations with an iron fist. Not good for concealed carrying. Tucked in between our boarding passes in the 8-inch-long ticket pouch that she's waving around with one hand. Yeah. I laughed, the security guard didn't. He detained her for about 15 minutes (almost causing us to miss our plane), and if his superior hadn't told him to stop being a dickhead and let us go we'd probably still be there to this day. She got a massive angry lecture about how it's "no joking matter" and a "very serious offense to threaten security staff"... fer' chrissake, some people just aren't smart enough to be let loose on polite society.

Help! I'm addicted to talkback!

It started with Slashdot, then Ask Bossy (I've always been a closet Agony Aunt). From there it spread to commenting on news stories on news.com.au. So far, nothing sinister or worrying. Then, one day while driving to work, I heard a particularly stupid comment on the radio and the next thing I know, I'm looking for the 'post a comment' button on my steering wheel! Soon it was way out of control, and I've been wishing I could post responses to everything from billboards to peoples' bumper stickers.

I really can't wait until the internet is better integrated with the world around us. I've always been fascinated by the idea of reverse geocoding, in the extended sense of taking your current location and view direction, and finding locally relevant data to display. The end result would be sort of like real-life tooltips for your physical surroundings. I want to walk down a street, and when I look at a shop, I see an overlay saying "Today's specials: widget X for $75!". Or I look at a train station and the times and stopping patterns of the next three trains pop up above it. Or I'm meeting a friend in a crowded public space and they get a neon MMO-style nameplate floating above their head so I can see where they are (and they can see me) even round a blind corner. (This last one, you can do to an extent with Loopt on an iPhone).

And of course, imagine the opportunities for commenting on stuff! You could tag someone's hawaiian shirt as "tastelessly unneccessary". You could voice your opinion on, well, pretty much anything! Which, I guess, is the fatal flaw of all this - that most people don't have that much interesting to say. :/ And worse yet, they have it to say about everything, so any system like this would result in an incredible quantity of mundane crap. Still, with some kind of reputation system to use as a filter on it all (mass moderation, Slashdot style? Whuffie? Or even applying Google's PageRank to people en masse?) it could lead to some very interesting possibilities.

Monday, April 27, 2009

So much for do-it-myself maintenance...

Well, I finally gave in and booked the Supra in for a service today. I've been going on a DIY binge recently, especially for things like car maintenance (I changed the front brake pads a couple of weeks ago which was fun, it took me three hours when it should have taken 30 minutes but now I know exactly how to do it and next time it'll be a lot quicker). I've got a 1980s-garage-style hydraulic jack now, which is awesome because I hate cranking the stupid emergency jack and when the car's up on it it's about as stable as Lindsay Lohan anyway. I've got all the different varieties of oil that I needed to do the change myself. I have a new oil filter ready and waiting. There was only one thing stopping me from doing the entire service.

The damn sump lug.

I don't have a proper set of stands yet, and I have to work on a gravel driveway anyway, so I don't want to be yanking too hard on the underside of the car while I'm under it, even though I'm reeeasonably sure that the jack and the bricks holding the car up can't BOTH fail at once. But when I'm lying on my back in the gravel, merrily bending a forged steel spanner on the sump lug which isn't even budging, with a tonne and a half of Supra poised six inches above my nose, the $150 it costs to get a mechanic to do the change in his shop doesn't seem quite so bad. So now I've got the old girl in at the Auto Bahn near work. Here's hoping that they don't add another huge dent in the side like Carbon Tune did. And here's looking forward to One Of These Days(TM) when I have an actual garage with concrete floor and stuff. That's gonna be awesome!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ah require a blogging tool.

Welcome to TurboCrank! All the soap has been removed from the box, it's upside down, and now I'm going to use it to stand on so that you-up-the-back can see what I'm writing.

It's been a fair while since I had a web site. My old one, Fractal Infinities, finally died when the ISP I used to work for closed. I frequently rant about life, people, the world, culture, in fact pretty much whatever crosses my mind, so I figured if I had a blog and I pretended that people read it, that would save my friends and family from the worst of it. ;)

About me; I'm 27, somewhat recently married, play World of Warcraft, work for a company that makes financial software (I used to work at Interzone Games until their haed asplode due to the Global Fubar Crash). I like fast cars, alcohol (not at the same time), mi goreng, nachos, and things with blinky lights. My political views are fairly libertarian and my attitude towards nanny-state safety laws verges on Darwinism.

You can expect literate, well thought-out and yet hopefully amusingly opinionated blahblah to follow. There will probably also be annoying movie quotes, mostly from Arnie because that's just how it is.