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Update 27 MAY 2017 [27 May 2017|12:05pm]

[ mood | rushed ]

This week everything happened at once.

I've known for a while that I had an essay due, a rationale and reflection document due, a short story to write (1500 - 2000 words) and a rent inspection due at some point this month. This week, the uncertainty bubble surrounding the date of the inspection collapsed, and we discovered when it was going to happen: this coming Wednesday (it's due in May, Wednesday is the 31st of May, it apparently counts).

For those of you not ensnared in the morass of the Australian rental market, let me describe the joys of a rental inspection to you. Firstly, you get told the inspection is happening at some time on a given day - usually with about a week's notice. The current real estate agency are nice enough people - they narrow it down to "some time between 12pm and 5.30pm", which is positively generous. Before this happens, you need to have the property in a condition which would satisfy either your mother, or your mother-in-law (depending on who has the more rigid housekeeping standards - if neither of these qualify, pick your unfriendly local germophobe). You also need the gardens (if there are any) looking good as well - the local mowing places do a lot of good business out of people who have inspections due! So, once you have the property in pristine condition (including things like cleaning off light switches, wiping down walls and cleaning the oven) you wait for the property manager (if you're renting from a real-estate agency) or the owner (if you're renting directly) to come in and have a look over the place. Now, technically, they're not supposed to be judging you on your housekeeping standards - but we all know this is so much horse elbows, so yeah, they are. If it's a property manager, they come in and often (these days) take photos of the interior of the place, in order to prove you've left the walls where they were when you came in, and to prove the roof hasn't spontaneously fallen in or similar. This, of course, means they're usually taking photos of your goods and chattels as well. Anyway, they come in, do their walk through, make sure you haven't knocked the place down since they were last there, then breeze back out again after making a report for the owner. The whole business takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour tops, but it requires about a week's solid effort in preparation because the place needs to be pristine for them.

This happens every three months, by the way (four a year).

We had the tradesman come around to have a look at the kitchen cupboards on Friday at about 7.30 in the morning. He brought the owner with him, which I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand (while the house wasn't in "complete dog's breakfast" condition, it wasn't quite at "suitable for unknown strangers visiting" levels of cleanliness). Basically, the owner and the tradesman consulted with each other, and I suspect the outcome is going to be a replacement of at least some (if not all) of the kitchen benches. Now, when this will happen (and whether we'll be in the property when it does) is currently all up in the air - our lease expires on the 21st of July, and while I'm going to be talking to the property manager about getting another twelve months in the place nailed down, what may wind up happening is the owner might decide (in the interests of "not disrupting our lives", gods help us[1]) to give us our notice to quit at the end of this current lease, so he can get the tradies in to do things uninterrupted. Now, I don't know whether this is certain, probable or merely in the range of possibilities out there, but it's something I've added to the list of potential worries coming up.

I've mostly finished all the uni assessments - I finished off the editing of my major essay for one of my units this morning (it's been sitting there waiting to be done like an albatross around my neck for the last three or four days, but when I try to do it in the afternoon, my brain basically throws up an "Out of Spoons" error and refuses to parse the wretched thing). I just have the short story to write a first draft of (for workshopping purposes) by Tuesday. Which should be fun, right? But once I've submitted that short story (due the 1st of June) I've finished for the semester, and all I have to do after that is wait for my results.

Of course, this also means I have to go and speak to AtWork regarding Work for the Dole, since at present my university study qualifies as my Work for the Dole activity - and technically they have me on the books as needing to do Work for the Dole until about August or thereabouts. So I need to find out whether I'm going to be breaching my mutual obligation requirements if I don't immediately start doing something else (like picking up litter, sorting rags, washing bottles, or picking oakum) immediately the moment I've handed in this last assignment.

Still going on MFF, have deleted Avengers Academy from the tablet (since it wasn't going anywhere, and was crashing on a regular basis every time I tried to open it) and I'm getting very fond of Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which I've been playing for over a year now, and which hasn't crashed, glitched, or demanded money from me in all that time. Why can't there be more games like that?

[1] The logic here being that having renovations done around us would be disruptive. Which, yes, it would. But having to move out on short notice, and find another place to live in for the amount we can afford (preferably close to uni - that's the main qualifying feature of this place, by the way - it's close enough to the university that we can basically be there within 15 minutes of leaving the house) would be even more disruptive.

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I Must Share . . . [24 May 2017|07:33am]

[ mood | indescribable ]

This is what happens when someone shares a writing prompt on Tumblr and magic takes place.

An old and homely grandmother accidentally summons a demon. She mistakes him for her gothic-phase teenage grandson and takes care of him. The demon decides to stay at his new home. . . .

Gods, if only I could write like that. Read it, no matter how much you hate Tumblr. It will make your morning.

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A salient quote from "All The President's Men" [23 May 2017|03:53pm]

[ mood | stressed ]
[ music | Taco - Putting On the Ritz ]

Deep Throat stamped his foot. 'A conspiracy like this...a conspiracy investigation...the rope has to tighten slowly around everyone's neck. You build convincingly from the outer edges in, you get ten times the evidence you need against the Hunts and the Liddys. They feel hopelessly finished - they may not talk right away, but the grip is on them. Then you move up and do the same thing at the next level.

All the President's Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

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Update 20 MAY 2017 [20 May 2017|10:30am]

[ mood | chipper ]

This week's fun thing was starting to play Möbius Final Fantasy on my tablet. I'd originally got interested reading about it on Steam, and tried downloading it for the PC, but got a message saying "this isn't available for your platform" (presumably the PC version doesn't work on Windows 10?). So I decided, sod this, I'll get it on the tablet instead.

Ramble/review of FFM beneath )

Other than that: winter continues apace - it started raining yesterday, and is forecast to keep raining for most of the next week or so. I've regained a lot of my spoons from the past few weeks - I'm back to cooking again, and I'm starting to get back into the routine of housework. Given we're forecast to have a rental inspection at some point this month, that's just as well, really. Oh, and one of the cabinet doors for the cupboard beneath the sink fell off - the weight of the door pulled the screws holding the upper hinge out of the wood they were anchored in. Given the doors have been falling out of alignment for a while now, to the point where closing them meant lifting them up and into position, I wasn't particularly surprised when it happened. Again, this place doesn't appear to have had any serious maintenance or non-urgent repair work done since my age was in single digits, so it's not surprising that when you put a couple of hefty doors onto a door-frame which is designed for something much lighter, the blasted things work themselves off in less than a year.

(For my non-Australian readers: welcome to the joys of renting in Australia, where asking the landlord for maintenance on the property can be essentially asking to find a new landlord - landlords evicting tenants for requesting maintenance is a known Thing here. Judging from the string of names - never the same name twice - we've noticed on the mail coming into the mailbox, it seems rather unlikely most tenants in this place stayed longer than about the standard six to twelve months of a fixed-term tenancy. Oh yes, that's another thing about renting in Australia - maximum fixed-term tenancy is twelve months at a stretch).

We're still continuing with the Caterpillar Cull, although the numbers are dropping somewhat. Their latest point of entry into the house is the bathroom, apparently through a finger-width gap in the skirting board down near the bathroom cabinet. Himself sprayed the area with surface spray yesterday, so we're going to see whether that works as a deterrent (it seems to, up to a point, in my room) and just keep picking them up and drowning 'em. These past couple of days, it's mostly been in the twenties per cull, so there's that. I've wound up buying a separate dustpan and brush set for the front verandah, so I can scrub the caterpillar guts off the existing one for inside the house.

We've also had the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos coming by for their final shot at the under-ripe berries from the Cape Lilacs - which means the trees, which are starting to drop their leaves for winter, are starting to look just a tad bedraggled as a result. I hauled up a sucker from one of the front Cape Lilac trees earlier in the week, and I'm going to have to go and have a look around for any others.

Uni continues apace. I have one essay to finish, one five hundred word rationale and reflection to write, and a 1500 - 2000 word short story, personal essay, or feature article to write. The essay and the rationale/reflection are both due Monday week (29th of May), the short story is due the following week (8th of June). All of which is within my ability to do in the allotted time, so I'm not particularly worried about it. The more irritating item is being expected to find a feature article from a newspaper for my "Introduction to Writing" tutorial on Tuesday - mostly because I tend not to buy the newspaper on the grounds of it not being worth the money one spends on the wretched thing. Given the standard of Australian print journalism these days, I rather doubt there's going to be a feature article in the wretched thing anyway. Wonder whether my tutor would accept something from the online Grauniad - I know they do feature articles - quite a few of them, in fact.

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(falls out of chair laughing helplessly) [19 May 2017|11:29am]

[ music | Iggy Pop - Lust for Life (goes really well with this) ]

I can feel the democratic socialist vibrations filling my ass with warmth and then spilling out across my body, running down my arms and legs in a series of pleasant waves. Most importantly, I can feel the way that they massage my prostate deep within, causing my muscles to clench and release at the first hints of orgasm.

"Feel that burn!" Senator Sambers begins to command. "Feel that burn! Feel that fucking burn!"

"I feel it!" I scream in return. "This ass is for the people not just the wealthy elite!"

"Yes!" Bernie cries out enthusiastically.

Chuck Tingle -- excerpt from Feeling The Bern In My Butt

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The first named small fry is being hauled in [17 May 2017|07:37pm]

[ mood | groggy ]

BREAKING: Imminent Trump/Russia Arrests? EDVA Courthouse Shut to Public

A little further investigating shows that a plea agreement hearing is scheduled for this coming Monday for a woman named Angelina Lazar. So who is Mrs. Lazar? Well, she just so happened to be a VIP guest at President Trump’s inauguration.

I doubt they're summoning her to ask questions about the floral arrangements. We shall see. . . .

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An analysis of Broadstorm_Six's Tweetstorm [15 May 2017|03:27pm]

[ mood | discontent ]

Yes, this morning I drank the Palmer Report koolaid and took a look at Broadsword_Six's Tweetstorms.

Two things stand out that might, in fact, be the gods' own truth:

1. Some things I need to stress & you need to take to heart and fully understand. We as a society are utterly dependent on instant gratification. What's beginning to happen is the exact opposite of that.

Totally believable. Remember the oft-reported remark that Watergate took eighteen months from the initial arrest of the burglars to Nixon's resignation. This is bigger, more serious, and involves a foreign government that has been our bitter rival and enemy (Russia). If indeed so many agencies, including foreign ones, are uniting to deal with this matter, don't expect it to be quick or simple.

2. They are purposely leaking info and making nuances in order to create stress and divide within the ranks of Team Trump. They want to invoke paranoia and discomfort. That's how you get people to flip and play for Team USA. . . . The right intel people are dropping leaks to the right reporters on the major networks. That's how these stories keep showing up. It's being done for a reason. They want the public to have some semblance of reason that all of this is being handled, and they invoking that fear, and paranoia in the Trump admin.

Now that is really interesting. First, of course, they are supposedly putting psychological pressure on Trump's associates. I'm not sure they are truly that organized and treating this as warfare, but I wouldn't rule it out. Second -- and this is the juicy part -- they are supposedly also managing public perceptions, giving us some hope that something, somewhere, will finally stop Trump and his droogs. If that's true, it's very revealing of the people behind the investigations -- likely a goodly chunk of the real PTB, or close to the fringes. They may be deeply concerned about the depth of public disgust, disillusionment and despair over the Republicans' flat refusal to move against their pet: possibly fearing immediate riots and other violence, possibly worried about how this is speeding up the long-term delegitimization of the federal government in the eyes of the country, who knows? If it's the latter, they're wiser than I gave them credit for.

3. There are others in the pipeline. Many others, in the teens. Anyone who's been a Fed will tell you we snatch the smallest of fishies first, flip them if we can & work up the chain.

It is entirely plausible to me that the first arrests may involve people we've never heard of, who are involved tangentially or just mooks who are very far down the chain.

The "small fry" don't have the money or power to get themselves out of the net, and they may not be important enough to their higher-ups to seem worth rescueing. Higher-ups may also think that they wouldn't dare talk. They would be obvious targets for turning.

There may be no mention that this is in any way related to Trump. It may not reach the news at all. It may appear for a while that nothing is happening.

4. Don't worry about war or nukes. The DOD is fully aware at the highest levels and will not carry out any illegal or irrational order he tries to give them. It's not how this works.

Oh please god let it be true let it be true let it be true . . .

5. There is also an investigation underway addressing the GOP as a party & has to do with campaing money & get ready.....The raid conducted at Strategic Campaign Group this week. It is a 3 pronged attack. All roads are leading to MONEY, Manafort, GOP leadership, Trump. The GOP will be going through a death rattle in the coming months.

Again: oh please god let it be true let it be true let it be true . . .

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I just discovered the most amazing thing [14 May 2017|09:49am]

[ mood | excited ]

Polari: the lost-and-found language of gay men (pdf warning)

British gay men used to have a near-language, cobbled together from multiple sources but heavily influenced by Italian. By the 1960s, it was nearly extinct. Only lately has a small movement of gays tried to revive and promote it – by, among other things, projecting words and sentences of Polari on a brick wall (to the puzzlement of younger gay passersby).

Here’s a minimovie done mostly in Polari:

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