Dork Geek Nerd

"Rational romantic mystic cynical idealist"

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Punting pennies

I like to bet on sports. Usually $2 or $5 wagers. $10 at the most. Small-fry stuff that won't make any significant difference to my life either way. The appeal for me is the intellectual challenge: Can I review the available information and predict the victor? And are the odds worth the risk?

I'm not a bad judge. I opened a TAB account with $50 when I moved back to Newie in 2017 and haven't yet needed to deposit additional funds. Sometimes I bet several times over a few days. Then I lose interest and don't bet again for weeks. Am thinking this is probably a healthy thing. 

Since yesterday, I've won money on 3/3 punts: the Penrith Panthers in the NRL, UFC fighter Raquel Pennington, and Penn State in college football. I swear I didn't twig to the "pen" connection until all of the bets were placed. I'm not now and hopefully never will be superstitious [touches wood].

When I was in Year 10, we had to do two weeks' work experience. Mine were spent changing tapes, restocking printer paper, etc. in the computer departments of two big companies (a wire maker and a coal plant). It was at the latter I got my first taste of - no, not gambling - workplace relations.

A bloke there had scored a modest prize in the lottery. Apparently it was customary with such windfalls to shout the rest of the department drinks. But he'd made no offer and his colleagues were pretty sour. The lady mentoring me confided, "He's too mean to even buy us an ice-cream."

Whoever you are reading this ramble, it's not feasible for me to purchase ya an ice-cream across the internet to celebrate my funny trifecta. So I humbly offer this pic of the lovely Penelope Cruz draped over an MV Agusta as Valentina Valencia in "Zoolander 2". We should be so lucky. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Last seven movies watched

"Into Darkness" was a rewatch. Began on the extras and realised I'd seen them previously, too.

Pick of the bunch: Too tough to choose. Here, watch the trailer for "The Card Counter" instead -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RvVT1cDiNc

[Viewed on: promo DVD I got yonks ago, ABC iview, Foxtel, Netflix, Prime, Kanopy, Blu-ray.]

Friday, September 10, 2021

The sound of software

Do you listen to ABC Classic FM? 2/3 of the radios in this house tune in to nothing else. If you aren't a regular listener, it might surprise ya to learn that, from 3-4pm on Fridays, there's a program called "Game Show" devoted to videogame soundtracks.

You can read details of and play past episodes here - https://www.abc.net.au/classic/programs/game-show/

I find it useful to hear these compositions out of context, where my opinion of the titles from which they come doesn't matter, they aren't competing with effects/dialogue, and I haven't muted 'em in favour of podcasts to make in-game grinding bearable.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Branch, BMW, BMXs, no bird blitz

On my walk around the neighbourhood, I saw a branch that'd fallen from a gum tree during the wild overnight winds. It was about 10 feet long. It was outside an aged-care facility. Just looked on Pexels for free images of gums. There wasn't anything appropriate, but I liked this one by a photographer named Rachel Claire. Nice work, RC.

I saw a parked black BMW 330i that looked new. (Later at home, curious, I checked the Beemer website - they go for 90 grand!) A well-dressed dude sat behind the wheel, fiddling with his phone. He obviously had his dream sports car. As I passed by, I noticed two baby seats installed in the back. Slightly less sporty. Practical, though.
I saw a group of five young cyclists approaching. Four on BMXs, one on a mountain bike. Four - not the same four - wearing helmets. I stepped aside to give them the footpath. The fifth cyclist, struggling to keep up with the others, said, "Thank you." Of course the least gung-ho kid was also the polite kid. Some things never change.
I saw plenty of magpies. Always do. They haven't started swooping yet. In Raymond Terrace, where I spent my earliest years, I remember a takeaway shop that used boxes like KFC, only with black stripes instead of red, and a magpie instead of the Colonel. Google has no record of that, so here's the logo of RT's rugby league team.

Last five movies watched

Pick of the bunch: "The Garden Of Words" is an exquisitely beautiful animated short about an accidental love that, like the rain, cannot last.

[Viewed on: Netflix, Foxtel, Blu-ray (Madman's Winter Stocktake Sale), Netflix, Prime.]

Thursday, September 02, 2021

P-Force!

Broke my self-imposed rule of only ever buying one Pop! from a set. If you don't know, Ken, Joe and Jun here are from the '70s anime "Science Ninja Team Gatchaman". In the English-speaking world, we knew it as "Battle Of The Planets", in which those three were rechristened Mark, Jason and Princess. I was a megafan of the cartoon. In fact, my (Catholic) confirmation name Mark had diddly-squat to do with the saint and everything to do with the "B/O/T/P" character. I hope Funko also releases figures for Jinpei/Keyop and Ryu/Tiny. I'll find the spare cash and shelf space somehow! :-)

Ages

One of the many things I learnt from Prof. Alice Roberts' book "Ancestors" is that between the Stone Age and Bronze Age, historians speak of a Copper Age. Which makes sense, since we humans wouldn't have suddenly gone from chipping rocks to creating metal alloys. But I'd never heard the term before, so now it feels like my framework for understanding that span of history has been restructured. Like when the War Doctor was retroactively inserted betwixt the Eighth and Ninth Docs. Except less problematic.

Here are three other Ages I unreservedly recommend:

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Last five movies watched

Don't waste your time on "The Predator".

Pick of the bunch: "Stieg Larsson - The Man Who Played With Fire".

[Viewed on: Foxtel, Kanopy x3, Disney+.]

Friday, August 20, 2021

Not-so-solo gamebooks

For me, solo gamebooks bring back countless happy memories, including a few that involve other people.

When I stayed over at my childhood pal DP's grandparents' farm, he and I slept in the caravan next to the house. There, he GM-ed me through the fifth Fighting Fantasy adventure, "City Of Thieves", which he'd already played and beaten himself. (He actually became mildly obsessed with it and used to draw pictures of the undead villain, Zanbar Bone.) D. furnished me with extra scene-setting description and clues, but also ridiculed missteps. It was kind of stressful - like taking a test of one's FF proficiency! Fairly sure I didn't complete the quest that night before we retired to our bunks.

Another time, my buddy SV and I had both managed to get hold of the 20th Fighting Fantasy, "Sword Of The Samurai". I was heavily into "AD&D" at this stage. However, he was one of those kids who forever preferred gamebooks - he was a born reader (the most voracious I ever met), not an amateur actor/tabletop gamer. Anyway, we decided to race to the end of "Sword". I recall it took 2-3 hours. We'd compare progress across the room: "Have you fought the kappas?" I wanna claim I reached entry 400 first. I've no proof, but S. was a year younger and I usually won our contests.

You may be aware selected FF titles were converted to digital form for the Commodore 64. My mate LC got the conversion of the second FF, "Citadel Of Chaos". We were SO excited to play it. Surely the incredible graphics and sound of the C64 would take it to a whole new level. Well...erm...those were fine for the era. The problem was that we could no longer cheat like we did with the paper original. The fact I recollect us digging it out of his cardboard box full of tapes on more than one visit suggests we never conquered the bloody thing. Unlike "Friday The 13th" (L. was a horror nut).

In black

Rock group Blue Oyster Cult has sung about - yes, has, the boys are still rolling after 54 years - numerous dark subjects: drug deals gone wrong, "Dominance And Submission", being unafraid of death, monsters, war and more. But I was musing the other day that perhaps none of their songs are as darkly serious as "See You In Black", from 1998's "Heaven Forbid".

Lyrics reprinted without permission, but with the utmost respect:

"See You In Black" (Bloom/Roeser/Shirley)

I'd like to see you in black
It'd make me feel like your husband's dead
I'd like to see you in black
We could make him suffer instead
I'd like to see you in black I'd like to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black I'd like to see you in black
You can't lie to me, Ann
You can't pretend he isn't beating you up
I saw the marks on your hands
I saw the blood on your coffee cup
I'd like to see you in black I'd like to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black I'd like to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black I'd like to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black
The wind plucks your black lace gown
You're standin' proudly beside his grave
I see you wearing black
Gently smiling and oh-so-brave
We'll run away to Greece
We'll walk the ruins of the Parthenon
We'll drink ouzo in our tub
Watch the dust billow 'til the night's gone
I'd like to see you in black I'd like to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black I'd like to see you in black
I'd love to see you in black I'd love to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black
I'd like to see you in black
In black
In black