Thursday, 17 March 2011

Deep Thoughts, by Doug Plumer

So, like probably just about everyone else in the world, I have been simultaneously transfixed and horrified by events in Japan. I don't honestly know how anyone with the remotest sense of humanity could look at that and not be utterly appalled. I've wondered though, in all this, about the idea of, for lack of a better term, variable sympathy. Some huge number of Japanese have died, in terrible circumstances. Quite a larger number of Haitians died, or people around the rim of the Indian Ocean. Yes, we were transfixed and felt terrible, but was it to the same degree as with the Japanese? Is it easier to identify with the suffering of a country not considered 'Third World'? Granted, there seems to be a lot more video footage and photography from Japan then there was from Port au Prince - not so surprising, given the Japanese proclivity for taking pictures, which makes it easier to identify with people's suffering. Is that the only difference, or is it that it is somehow more horrifying for a developed country to suffer a catastrophe than it is somewhere like Haiti, which is, really, one big long continuous catastrophe? I mean, I do it as well. I wonder, also, what would the opinion have been if this had happened in 1942? Would the US and UK have come up with some crapass statement about how this was divine punishment, good for the war effort, blah blah whatever? Countless thousands of Iraqis have died, for example, but we're not too worried about that, not really. Anyway - it's just interesting, I guess. But yeah, it's pretty damn horrifying, and I imagine that being California sometime, or the East Coast when Las Palmas in the Canaries collapses. Ugh. Think I need to go to bed - getting myself worked up...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Thundercats, No!

Oy...! I'm trying to write this blog entry and being subjected to Thundercats. Robin downloaded the first ever episode of it (b/c he'd never heard of it) and David is now watching it. OMG that was a crap program - I even thought it was a crap program when it was on the first time! Fortuntely, I pointed out the absolutely leaden dialogue to David (which, astoundingly, he never noticed before), so I kind of spoilt the magic for him. Oh dear, I feel terrible, really. Of course, I did subject him to an episode of Star Blazers. Somehow, what seemed amazing and deep and moving when I was six is a bit on the super-crap side when I'm 37. I didn't actually realize that it was an American rip-off of a Japanese show, in which they removed all the sex, violence and general entertaining bits. Don't look at that man behind the curtain indeed. Oh God, it's playing the Thundercats song - I may have to go poke out my eyes...

Anyway, more back yard fun. I now have a large pile of crap that I've pulled out of the dirt - broken plates, huge rocks, some sort of enormous metal spike that was either the original edge of the property of the demise of one big vampire. There is also a bumper crop of cat shit (maybe that's why the soil is so good), and, unfortunately, some damaged worms. Oh, and lots of bracken fern I've pulled out - it spreads by underground rhizomes, which, apparently, make cyanide when you disturb them. Nice. I've started to think about seeds for different kinds of flowers - so many choices! Gotta get a few shrubs as well, move a few ferns, move a large fatsia (hmm, that sounded funny), and order railways ties ("sleepers" here), as well as extra dirt. Lots to do. And the funny bit is that it all has to be dragged through the house, since it's not possible to go between the houses.

New bathroom is almost finished - just a few little things to do still, and then the house has to have a really big clean. Zina the cleaning woman (ain't it great, having a cleaning woman with a name like Xena?) does all the normal stuff, but the place has to be blitzed - lots of brick dust. Amusingly, to meet plumbing regulations without having to dig a huge hole in the ground (to hook up the poop pipe, basically), the new toilet has this large white box behind it - a "macerator" (SaniFlo), to, well, chop up things, then pump them uphill to the sewer pipe. So, every time one flushes, the thing fires up and round and round go the blades - a little disconcerting. I suppose one of the useful things about living in a brick house is that all the pipes are outside, so it's pretty easy to add additions...

Not a lot else... Spring is trying, very hard, to be springlike (so say my itchy eyes), but it's gotten cold and a bit crappy again.

OK, Family Guy is on and I'm like deer in headlights - time to go!