Category Archives: Humour
To celebrate having survived the first of several days around 38°C (that’s just over 100 for those still stuck with Farenheit), I want to wish all Aussies and non-Aussies alike a Happy Australia Day 🙂
For a bit of fun, here are two very contrasting funny bits. The first is about how cold it gets in Norway, the second about how hot it gets in Australia.
+15°C / 59°F
This is as warm as it gets in Norway, so we’ll start here. People in Spain wear winter-coats and gloves. The Norwegians are out in the sun, getting a tan.
+10°C / 50°F
The French are trying in vain to start their central heating. The Norwegians plant flowers in their gardens.
+5°C / 41°F
Italian cars won’t start. The Norwegians are cruising in cabriolets.
0°C / 32°F
Distilled water freezes. The water in Oslo Fjord gets a little thicker.
-5°C / 23°F
People in California almost freeze to death. The Norwegians have their final barbecue before winter.
-10°C / 14°F
The Brits start the heat in their houses. The Norwegians start using long sleeves.
-20°C / -4°F
The Aussies flee from Mallorca. The Norwegians end their Midsummer celebrations. Autumn is here.
-30°C / -22°F
People in Greece die from the cold and disappear from the face of the earth. The Norwegians start drying their laundry indoors.
-40°C / -40°F
Paris start cracking in the cold. The Norwegians stand in line at the hotdog stands.
-50°C / -58°F
Polar bears start evacuating the North Pole. The Norwegian army postpones their winter survival training awaiting real winter weather.
-70°C / -94°F
The false Santa moves south. The Norwegian army goes out on winter survival training.
-183°C / -297.4°F
Microbes in food don’t survive. The Norwegian cows complain that the farmers’ hands are cold.
-273°C / -459.4°F
ALL atom-based movement halts. The Norwegians start saying “Faen, it’s cold outside today.”
-300°C / -508°F
Hell freezes over, Norway wins the Eurovision Song Contest.
You know it’s hot in Australia when:
1) The best parking spot is determined by shade, not distance.
2) Hot water comes out of both taps.
3) You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
4) The temperature drops below 32 degrees C and you feel chilly.
5) You know that in January and February it only takes two fingers to steer a car.
6) You discover you can get sunburnt through your windscreen.
7) You develop a fear of metal door handles.
8) You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7am.
9) Your biggest bicycle accident fear is: “What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the road, getting cooked?”
10) You realise that asphalt has a liquid state.
11) Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to prevent them from laying hard boiled eggs.
12) The trees are whistling for dogs.
13) While walking back barefoot to your car from any event, you do a tightrope act on the white lines in the car park.
14) You catch a cold from having the aircon on full blast all night long.
15) You realise that Westfield Shopping Centres aren’t just Shopping Centres – they are temples where we worship Air Conditioning.
16) Sticking your head in the freezer and taking deep breaths is considered normal.
17) A cup full of ice is considered a great snack.
18) A black-out is life threatening because your aircon and your fans no longer work.
19) No one cares if you walk around with no shoes on.
20) You keep everything in the fridge, including potatoes, bread and clothing.
21) People have enough left over beer cans to make a boat and compete in a regatta.
22) The effort of towelling yourself off after a shower means you need another shower right away.
23) You will wait patiently until the day it starts raining to go on a run.
24) You worry your ceiling fan is spinning so fast it will fly off and kill you.
25) You laugh because this list is so accurate.
Happy Australia Day, and loads of fun to all those heading down to the Perth foreshore or to King’s Park for tonight’s Skyworks (the biggest in Australia!).
(*clears throat and climbs up on his soapbox, manifesto in one hand, microphone in the other*)
… that there are a few things I need to say at the start of the new year, 2015.
- … that people who wonder about the meaning of life either don’t have kids or don’t pay enough attention to them.
- … that love, humour and hope are the three main ingredients for happiness.
- … in happy endings in real life. (In stories, they sometimes make me cringe, though. Even if I did silently hope for them.)
- … in the importance of people being able to talk to each other… non-electronically.
- … that you don’t need to drink alcohol in order to have fun.
- … that smoking should be outlawed except for people willing to wear a permanently sealed-off helmet, and that the influence of tobacco lobbyists and the like are despicable. We all know what it does… why is it still around?
- … that America and the UK need to stop hanging on to their confusing versions of the imperial system of units and finally go metric (your medical and military people are doing it… no, not with each other, I mean they use the metric system). Also, the US need to stop insisting on formatting dates with the middle value followed by the smallest value followed by the largest value. WTF? Oh, while you’re at it, guys, fix where punctuation goes on quotes that are less than a “complete sentence”.
- … that bullies are almost always cowards too weak to stop doing to others something similar to what’s been done to them.
- … that the most wonderful sound in the whole wide world is that of my kids laughing uncontrollably.
- … that I’m the luckiest guy alive because my awesome wife, best friend and soulmate gets me and loves me including all my faults.
- … that religious extremism of any sort makes this world a darker place, and that the rest of the world should take heed of how Australia handled her first real encounter with it. #IllRideWithYou
- … that Australia needs to get rid of its current village idiot, climate-change-denying leader to start moving in the right direction again. We’re the joke of the world, being pretty much the only country in the world that is moving away from actively doing something about global warming, and it’s a friggin’ disgrace.
- … that OSS (open-source software) is the way to go wherever there’s a choice.
- … that DRM (digital rights management) is wrong.
- … that I couldn’t live without some of my favourite pieces of software (sounds like a future blog topic to me!).
- … that installing a piece of software on my PC or an app on my phone doesn’t give it the right to do things like collect data about me without my explicit agreement, to not give me a choice of when it can dial home or check for updates, or to access any information on my system it doesn’t absolutely need to function. Worst offenders being companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe, but also increasingly “do-no-evil” Google. (I love Cyanogen!)
- … that it’s a crying shame that Smalltalk isn’t more widely used as a programming language (try Pharo and Seaside if you like to tinker, you won’t want to go back).
- … that I am fully within my rights, when I see an email from someone that ends with “sent from my iPhone” to add to my own response, “Sent from my 64GB/3G Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz Quadcore OnePlus One with Cyanogen 11S that kicks your iPhone’s arse (and costs less than half as much)”.
Work (in IT)
- … that programmers shouldn’t have to wear business clothes.
- … that software architects should have the guts to recommend the right software for the job, not based on which sales reps can throw more money at decision-making board members who still believe that more expensive must mean better.
- … that IT recruiters are right up there with lawyers and other blood suckers. The fact that they charge between 10% and 40% (or even more) on top of a developer’s rates without really knowing anything beyond buzz words is just appalling.
- … that I should take the time to blog a bit more. (Yeah, like that’ll happen. *sigh*)
- … that there are too many good, honest blogs out there to read – how I wish I had more time to invest in being a good follower!
- … that following another blog without really being interested in what it’s about, i.e. just to get them to follow you back, is akin to lying. Thanks to all those who do occasionally read my humble scribblings, and I hope to find more time to read all your blogs. (I _am_ interested in those I follow! I just roll my eyes whenever someone new follows me whose blog is about “making money by blogging” or the like.) For now, though, my aim is simply to have (not necessarily build) a platform while I focus on writing my book. Building my platform will come later, when I have more time for that sort of thing….
- … that WordPress is great, but they should finally accept that I like the “old” stats page better and stop asking me to vote in their silly survey every time I load it.
- … that WordPress needs to finally find a way to fix the “invalid certificate” bug that causes security errors. I keep forgetting that certain things only work in certain browsers because of it, and that it sometimes causes my “likes” of other blogs to be lost. Not cool!
- … that I’ve had enough of distopian future stories whose premise I don’t buy, or whose premise I buy, but they then make ridiculous assumptions about human nature that I just can’t swallow (might be another future blog post).
- … that everyone should take grammar seriously. Not just grandpa. All jokes aside, don’t let our language decay because people have to fit everything into 140 characters. Do your part, write things out, learn how it’s done right without needing a spell checker, and gently educate those who fall short. Or, like, mercilessly correct them, or… whatever.
- … that my story is worth telling.
- … that 2015 will be the year I finally finish my story. Watch this space. #amwriting
- … that you should all have a Happy New Year! All the best for 2015 (and beyond).
- … that it’s about time I stepped off this soap box. Ahem. Sorry for ranting, but occasionally it’s nice to get this sort of stuff off my chest. Now somebody give me a hand getting down, it’s higher than it looks. Huh? What do you mean, the microphone wasn’t on?!?
Recently, I’ve been really lazy when it comes to blogging – school holidays, kids at home having more time than they can handle, and so on. (I’m not trying to make excuses, and yes, I’ll get back to blogging and catching up on everyone else’s blog… sorry!)
One of the upsides of that, though, is that my kids find funny things on youtube and show them to me. A couple of days ago, they told me to watch a video, “FOIL”, by Weird Al Yankovic, which makes fun of the song “Royals”. I didn’t know he was still around, let alone still making parodies. I liked it, and told my kids that he was funny way back when I was their age (I remember his “Just Eat It” parody of “Just Beat It”). I still had the youtube tab open in my browser this morning, saw this one that caught my attention, and absolutely loved it.
It’s not only hilarious, it also hits the nail on the head. A must-watch for anyone who’s ever advocated grammar or corrected anyone’s atrocious spelling, or laments that “the days of good English have went”.
“Word Crimes” by Weird Al:
I couldn’t have said it
gooder weller better myself. 😀
Freshly inspired after meeting my writing idol last weekend, I wanted to sit down tonight right after I got home from work and just… write. Wednesday night is my dedicated time to write; my wife and kids are aware of this and usually leave me to it. I don’t watch TV (even though Wimbledon and the World Cup are on), I don’t play games, or fiddle with interesting new bits of software or hardware, I try not to let myself get distracted by this or that, I don’t even read (unless it’s my own writing and I need to edit).
Usually, that works out quite well.
Today, not so much. Let me count the ways….
We have a new kitten. Not long ago, one of our cats passed away and the whole family was pretty upset about it. So it didn’t take us long to decide that getting a new one would be the best thing to help us get over it. And it was – “Shadow” is a cheeky little tomcat, a “tuxedo cat” with the most awesome white moustache you can imagine (if there’s interest, I may have to post some pictures, he’s absolutely adorable). Of course, all those things you teach a cat over time, he still has to learn them, and cats don’t learn the same way dogs do. I’m loving it, seeing how the whole world (or what he knows of it so far) is one huge playground to him, but chasing him away from somewhere he’s not supposed to go every few minutes when he’s in one of his playful moods (playful, hungry, cuddly, sleepy… playful, playful, cuddly, playful, hungry, cuddly, sleepy… and so on) is very distracting.
Then there’s my job – it’s quite busy at the moment, and my contract is up in a couple of weeks, so I have to be looking around in case I don’t extend, and just as I sat down to start writing, I get a call from an IT recruiter with a potential job offer, so there goes another half hour, reading the specs he emailed, replying to them in detail, sending my resumé through.
My daughter needs to recharge her mobile phone (even kids have those nowadays… I’m still on my third one, and I’m a technophile!), and since her charger stopped working… fine, you can use mine, but no, you’re not taking it back to your room, it’s the last micro-USB cable in the house I think (plenty of mini-USB ones of course) and who knows what’ll happen if I let this one out of my sight. Almost dinner time. Knowing she’ll be hogging my cable soon, I decide to hop on to dx.com and quickly order one. No, make that two, so we’ll have a spare. They’re a dollar fifty, what’s the harm. What’s that? You need a new USB stick for school as well? Fine, that one’s a decent price, I’ll just— what do you mean, 8 gig isn’t enough?!? That’s a gazillion and a half documents! What do they make you put on these things at school? You do know you can delete stuff, right? Ah, you’re right, your brother did say he needed some simple earphones. Of course the site chooses that moment to be achingly slow, then stops responding as I’ve just confirmed my order on PayPal. Grrr….
Then it’s dinner time, and afterwards my wife was teaching my son how to play canasta, so I say, “Sure, I’ll play a round.” I’m a sucker for games of all kinds, but usually I stay strong on Wednesdays. Not this time, I guess.
So I’m back to settling in to my desk, having just arranged the blanket around me so that I can type without freezing anything off (it’s winter down under, I walked around this morning before 7 am in 2 frickin’ degrees – can’t wait for summer!), my music is playing through my earphones. Check dx, the site is back up, complete my order. Yay, time to write!
In pops my son, who’s been after me to find him some music he’s been after. Normally, I’d ask if he can wait until tomorrow, but I already did that yesterday, and he’s gone to the trouble to write up a list of songs he’s after.
A while later, I sit down again, and there’s a little nagging voice in the back of my head saying, you haven’t blogged about writing for quite some time. “Shut up,” I tell it. “Ok,” it says. But I just knows it’s a trick. Dangit. It’s still there in the back of my mind, knowing full well that I’m aware it’s there. Maybe one about trying to write and getting distracted would be as appropriate today as it is ironic. Just a quick one. (I always think that, but it never turns out that way. I’m not wired to write “just a little”.)
Ok, there you go, little naggy voice. Now bugger off.
Q is for Quests. And for not having all that many Q-ey topics queued (whoa!) up to choose from. Just like the quite clichéd actor asks his director, “What’s my motivation?”, so the typically quirky fantasy hero quizzes his author, “What’s my quest?” If your hero doesn’t ask that question, why not?
(Incidentally, and completely off-topic for this post, I failed to publish anything yesterday, so this is my second post today after the one on Patrick Rothfuss. In my defense, it was a Good Friday family day and I just didn’t get around to it. Sue me. 😛 )
All quips aside, it’s not exactly a quantum leap forward to state that you, as the one in quontrol of your hero’s actions and quotes, should always be aware of what his inner quest is and how it drives him.
I sincerely hope the quantity of Qs in this high-quality post haven’t made you queasy or quiver while you quail in fear. They certainly haven’t quenched my quota of one quarter of a quadrillion quid that I’m aiming for. Sometimes, quantity beats quality (quod erat demonstrandum).
(For the attentive reader: Which above q was used inquorrectly?)
M is for Marvin, the Paranoid Android. If you remember my post on Douglas Adams for the A to Z Challenge on “D”, I mentioned that Marvin was worth a separate blog entry. Marvin is one of the (if not the) best characters created by Douglas Adams. Whether he’s complaining of “this terrible pain” in the diodes down his left-hand side, explaining his view of the universe to a computer (which then goes off to commit suicide), or solving all the major mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, sociological, philosophical, etymological, meteorological and psychological problems of the universe (three times), he’s always ready with a cheerful comment.
Based on a fellow comedy writer, Andrew Marshall, whom Adams met at Cambridge, as well as on himself, Marvin appears in various places throughout the Hitchhiker’s Guide books. In the 2005 film, Alan Rickman voiced the character to perfection.
Here are just a few wonderful comments and snippets of Marvin’s joyful existence:
“It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level.”
“Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction?”
Marvin calculated to ten significant decimal places the precise length of pause most likely to convey a general contempt for all things mattressy.
[After being left in a parking lot for 500 million years due to time travel] “The first ten million years were the worst. And the second ten million years, they were the worst, too. The third ten million years I didn’t enjoy at all. After that, I went into sort of a decline.”
“You watch this door. It’s about to open again. I can tell by the intolerable air of smugness it suddenly generates.”
“Do you want me to sit in a corner and rust, or just fall apart where I’m standing?”
“Wearily I sit here, pain and misery my only companions. Why stop now just when I’m hating it?”
“I am at a rough estimate thirty billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number.” [Zem replies, “Er, five.”] “Wrong. You see?”
In a fit of boredom (after solving the universe’s problems several times over), he decides to compose a lullaby:
Now the world has gone to bed,
Darkness won’t engulf my head,
I can see in infrared,
How I hate the night.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
Try to count electric sheep,
Sweet dream wishes you can keep,
How I hate the night.
Another one of my favourites is from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where Marvin is left behind (while the humans escape a tall building) to stop a “gigantic black tank”, heavily armoured and with weapons of enormous destructive power. When told that Marvin is there to stop it, the tank becomes suspicious and tries to figure out what mighty weapon Marvin is equipped with to make humans think he could stop the tank. After several wrong guesses, Marvin finally decides to tell the tank.
“You’re thinking along the wrong lines,” said Marvin. “You’re failing to take into account something fairly basic in the relationship between men and robots. […] Just think,” urged Marvin, “they left me, an ordinary, menial robot, to stop you, a gigantic heavy-duty battle machine, whilst they ran off to save themselves. What do you think they would leave me with? […] I’ll tell you what they gave me to protect myself with, shall I?”
“Yes, all right,” said the battle machine, bracing itself.
“Nothing,” said Marvin.
“Nothing?” roared the battle machine.
“Nothing at all,” intoned Marvin dismally, “not an electronic sausage.”
The machine heaved about with fury.”
“Well, doesn’t that just take the biscuit!” it roared. “Nothing, eh? Just don’t think, do they?”
“And me,” said Marvin in a soft low voice, “with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.”
“Hell that makes me angry,” bellowed the machine, “think I’ll smash that wall down!”
The electron ram stabbed out another searing blaze of light and took out the wall next to the machine.
“How do you think I feel?” said Marvin bitterly.
“Just ran off and left you, did they?” the machine thundered.
“Yes,” said Marvin.
“I think I’ll shoot down their bloody ceiling as well!” raged the tank.
It took out the ceiling of the bridge.
“That’s very impressive,” murmured Marvin.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” promised the machine, “I can take out this floor too, no trouble!”
It took out the floor, too.
“Hell’s bells!” the machine roared as it plummeted fifteen storeys and smashed itself to bits on the ground below.
“What a depressingly stupid machine,” said Marvin and trudged away.
Due to several cases of time travel, Marvin finally dies in So Long and Thanks for all the Fish at approximately 37 times the age of the universe. His last words are, “I think I feel good about it.”
R.I.P. (Rust In Pieces) Marvin.
In the original radio series, the character was meant to be a “minor joke”, but since they’d hired a voice actor for it, he “had to” write some occasional script for him. Another wonderful case of a writer’s characters taking on a life of their own.