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(no subject) [Jul. 26th, 2011|02:54 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
Are you or do you have a vegan friend who remembers creamy dishes fondly but hasn't found a substitute?

This might do the trick: http://veganchickie.com/2010/02/21/creamy-capsicum-pasta-sauce/

Basically cashews blitzed with water and left for 20mins so that the solids take up the liquid. So tasty and comes out rich and cream-esque while being totally vegan. Works a treat as a base for a pasta sauce!
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(no subject) [Jun. 29th, 2011|04:42 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
Almost there. At the top of my game. Which means that the asymptotic problem of a satisfactory thesis has defaulted to a geniune, Peirce/James/Dewey type pragmatics. I'm no philosopher but those American pragmatists wrote some mighty fine lines.

Job hunting at the same time. It's like giving a whole lot of people the opportunity to judge you without the courtesy of learning what your real flaws are.

Got rejected for a RA position paying $20/hr perhaps because I vocalised my worries that they didn't have a methodology for their attempt to prove everything about media in under a month. Got an interview for a Level B 90k position at UWS. It's a long shot - they'll probably choose a more experienced researcher - but still, the discrepancy is exhausting to reconcile within my tiny personal space. The idea of a meritocracy is fine like the idea of a superconducting substance is fine. Fine fine fine. Too fine.
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(no subject) [May. 3rd, 2011|07:56 am]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
So, the wedding of a tribal chieftain to a wealthy burgher's daughter and the orgiastic celebration of a former employee's assassination... I'm taking some time out of the media to re-emerge when everyone starts pretending that capitalism isn't a chest-thumping blood cult again.
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(no subject) [Apr. 27th, 2011|08:44 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
So apparently the entire American professoriate is involved in a gigantic, exploitative Ponzi scheme running to the tune of USD800 billion, in which tuition fees have increased tenfold over four decades - a bit ahead of CPI innit: http://nplusonemag.com/bad-education

Seriously, what is the culpability of academics who work in this system? It's easy to blame things on an increasingly rapacious corporate mentality at the top, but where's the fucking solidarity? I've always thought I'll have to go wherever I can get a job, and that a position in the States would be fine if I get offered one, but I don't even know anymore.
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(no subject) [Apr. 19th, 2011|10:08 am]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
At the end of our two-lane nature strip sandwich street is a sign saying 'Local Traffic Only'. It's possibly the most ignored official sign since the Deepwater Horizon 'This worksite accident free since...' notice because our street makes it possible to bypass a bottleneck on Sydney Road. In addition to the sign, the Local Powers That Be have added roundabouts in an effort to get people to slow the fuck down. Nevertheless, I routinely have to scurry across as a driver decides to actually put pressure on the accelerator coming into a roundabout rather than, as expected, slow down.

The immediate danger to life and limb aside, it's occurred to me that the figure of the callous motorist is one of the most repulsive character types of modern life. At the wheel of their poison-spewing conveyance, so oblivious to hazard and chance that the mere thought of being a few seconds further from their destination leads them to take deadly risks with both their lives and the lives of others without even the dignity of hatred that used to be a necessary catalyst for such behaviour.

Shoved into some vaguely unconscious level is the fact that they're using a weapon of mass destruction (in 2004 road trauma offed ~1.2 million people1). Now I'm fully aware that even though I'm mostly a pedestrian and public transport commuter my ability to go down to the shop and get fresh veggies or whatever is totally predicated on long-haul trucking and suburban road transport. But I'm not counting those workers in the figure of the callous motorist (they might be more the exploited motorist) and, more fundamentally, there's no reason for that to be necessarily the case. In fact, the whole idea that modern life is tied hand-and-foot to the callous motorist can be seen as symptomatic because they are catered for outrageously and inequitably at so many different levels.

Callous motorists get special treatment by the law - road trauma is punished less harshly than slaughter by means of other weaponry. Why? When petrol prices go up governments fret and cast about for measures and appropriate noises even though they have no control over international oil cartels. Why? People drive their SUVs to anti-global warming and anti-war rallies. Cars are promoted in advertising as central to cohesive family life when the multi-car family is fracturing before sociologist's eyes and rivers of tar have minced up suburban life into a sadistic obstacle course. New freeways are being built to get the callous motorist from the McMansion into the place of employ while public transport debacles multiply indefinitely(2).

I think cars are awesome as individual things. What's not to like about sitting down and moving at the same time? Motor vehicles can be central to amazing youth and historicist cultures (but for every classic car there's a few dozen hoons). But I guess the reason the drivers on my street repulse me intellectually as well as physically is the way they manifest this figure of the callous motorist and the way that so much discourse takes that figure as a normative addressee - something the callous motorist has internalised to such a degree that the unmotorised human body registers primarily as an irritant, as a brief rough bit in bitumen consciousness. The callous motorist is an avatar of what Lacan called The Big Other - the subject for whose benefit the lie is told, even though everyone who really exists knows better.

1. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/world_report/en/index.html
2. OK I can't back this up for the whole world but it seems true of Melbourne.
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(no subject) [Mar. 31st, 2011|06:45 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis

"When you consider the number of cosmetic procedures performed, and the number of take-home anti-ageing products consumed, it is reasonable to estimate that Australians now spend as much as $1 billion annually on appearance medicine."

No properly statistical breakdown on that figure or how it was derived. But still, even if that figure is a couple of standard deviations off the mark, imagine how that highly skilled labour could be used?

Obviously many people are responding to images of how a human body should look. To the degree of turning themselves into Mary Shelley jigsaw puzzles.

Now maybe I'm making an argument here that I would usually be suspicious of - the use value of medicine as some sort of absolute thing that it would be possible to equitably legislate. I'm a fan of Baudelaire's poetry, which talks about cosmetics as a supernature in which we can perhaps see something truly human. But the frivolousness of this surgery gets to me somehow, even though it means that I'm being judgemental about how people feel about their own bodies.

I think what I don't like is the cut of those doctors.
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(no subject) [Mar. 29th, 2011|06:13 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
Who gives a fuck about NSW anyway?

Paul Keating perhaps: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45678.html
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(no subject) [Mar. 22nd, 2011|05:14 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis

This is a deeply bad article. For example:

Allegation: Relativism doesn’t allow moral progress.

Response: In one sense this is correct; moral values do not become more true. But they can become better by other criteria. For example, some sets of values are more consistent and more conducive to social stability. If moral relativism is true, morality can be regarded as a tool, and we can think about what we’d like that tool to do for us and revise morality accordingly.

And yet:

These discoveries may make us more tolerant and more flexible. Relativism does not entail tolerance or any other moral value, but, once we see that there is no single true morality, we lose one incentive for trying to impose our values on others.

If morality is a tool it is to be used. If a tool is ready to hand, people tend to use it.
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(no subject) [Mar. 6th, 2011|05:47 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
I've returned here after a long time. Seems quiet, but the voices that I do still hear are ones I like. I suspect the people who are left don't mind that it's a bit quieter. Quiet can be just fine.

February was FebFast - achieved. Not a single drink. There may have been alcohol in some of the food I ate, but I did not consciously buy or pour myself a drink for the entire month.

Part of that had to do with the fact that I really am closing in on a full thesis draft (and my supervisor has been all like "LET'S DO THIS THING DUUUUUUDE!") so I barely had any time to drink anyway. But a lot of it is that I just didn't feel like drinking. I suspect the bad habit of drinking by myself is past. It's weird that 'social drinker' seems kind of nothing, but 'social smoker' is a bit more weighty. Perhaps that's because alcohol is a sacred cow in Australia. Part of our notional identity. Well, it's not part of mine anymore.
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(no subject) [Dec. 6th, 2010|10:53 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
OK, so the NaNoThesisMo thing totally didn't work out for me because I fully didn't take into account the intellectually and temporally devastating quantity of marking I would have to do this month. Que sera, sera. I still got a boatload of writing done, and it won't be long before I'm free.

I've been playing a bit of Starcraft 2, the gameplay of which is every bit as good as it's supposed to be. It spins me out how well-balanced the three very different races are, and how precise pro players can get with timing, planning, apm, micro and macro. High level play makes the three races seem less like videogame designs and more like instruments.

I'm still quite a rubbish player though - after my Street Fighter IV experience, I have no wish to go online and get thrashed by fourteen year-olds who have orders of magnitude more time to practice than I do.

In terms of story, world-building and art design... I wonder to what degree it would it be fair to say that Blizzard have taken a bit of a lead from Games Workshop? The 'chunky' art and character designs, one far-future and one ye olde franchise, zerg/genestealers, protoss/eldar, the barrel-loads of machismo and faux-epic storytelling. I'm sure I'm not the first to notice this, but it just occurred to me.

PS. mosquitos - I hate you and hope for your eradication from the face of the earth.
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(no subject) [Nov. 10th, 2010|10:31 am]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
My younger brother just bought property (or at least, he got a bank to stump for an IOU)! I should probably feel jealous or something (I'm still living in a sharehouse - love my housemates but I can't deny it's getting more and more high time to get my own place) but I'm not. In some ways, he's tying himself down to worrying about standard variable interest rates*. Plus, as a lawyer (trained in Australian law) who will soon be buying whitegoods and making sundry other major, depreciating, bulky investments, moving OS is going to be far more difficult for him that it is for me.

Overall, I think we're about equally as happy, but I've drunk orders of magnitude more beer than he has.

* Standard variable Interest rates! Remember, we're at war.
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The inches we need are all around us. [Nov. 6th, 2010|02:59 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis

(Oliver Stone is such a hilarious motherfucker)
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(no subject) [Nov. 3rd, 2010|12:57 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
I don't know why there are so many depressed Americans on the Twitter
right now, sure the GOP should get control of the house but there is
NOTHING they can do to improve the economy - two years later and
Obama's going to be a saint after all the obstructionism in the
interim. As long as you don't have to live there it's all good
right... oh. Oh.


#midterms #oh
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(no subject) [Nov. 2nd, 2010|10:04 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis

OK so there are a few issues with the Northern Hemisphere lagging behind but I did a lot of writing today, 2105 words to be precise.

*cracks knuckles, adopts Al Pacino glare/patois*

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(no subject) [Nov. 1st, 2010|01:32 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis

I've adopted qamar's idea to co-opt NaNoWriMo for my own, thesis-related purposes. Notional Novel Writing Month? Nerdy Nightmare Writing Month? Anyway it's a bit weird because I'll be including editing and adapting papers (I already have 120000 words of stuff written, but a lot of that will never ever see the light of day)... but if I thusly manhandle 50k words I will have smashed out a full draft for the supes by Summer. I SWEAR IT.
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(no subject) [Oct. 12th, 2010|11:35 am]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
So to anyone who has superior computer knowledge to myself (ie. everyone), the taxman has effectively prevented me from pissing an amount of money up the wall this year which, pending its return, will be turned into a PC. I haven't had a desktop for ages and while I think I understand what various parts do individually I have no idea if what they add up to will be right in bang for buck terms (ie not very future-proof or hilariously too powerful for what I need to do).

Main uses are work and gaming. For work I won't need to do much fancy stuff beyond word processing but I'd like to be able to manipulate (in a very basic way) my own photos/video and put together websites and such. For gaming... let's just say I won't be exploring any overclocking options but I want to fire up DoWII, Civ V, whatever Battlefield they're up to, SC2). I'm not against the idea of buying a Mac, but I flat-out can't afford one. Also, I hate them.

Any tips on specs I should be looking for and possible Sw33t DealsTM would be muchly appreciated!

ps. I already have a screen, input devices and so on. Looking to spend ~ a grand, though less of course would be nice.
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(no subject) [Sep. 24th, 2010|08:18 am]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
Thesis writing is actually going well*! I think I've realised, perhaps late in the day, what I am. I'm a researcher. I'm characterised by a tireless curiosity about all non-gross phenomena of existence. I can barely complete formulating a research method before its self-organising limitations are urging me to head off in another direction.

That's what I do. Even if I'm not paid to do it.

So I may as well get paid to do it! ¡Vamanos!

* With the proviso that writing always feels like dragging an ornery future hand-over-fist into the rickety corral of the present.
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(no subject) [Aug. 29th, 2010|10:31 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
The history of Crowther and Woods' ADVENT: http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/001/2/000009/000009.html
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(no subject) [Aug. 22nd, 2010|10:55 am]
A Diaryfull of Alibis
Oh man, the ALP got its just desserts didn't it?

Now the ALP Right know that progressives won't slavishly follow the party in its lurch starboard. Hopefully the party gets back on track. Shorten and the other thugs drove the party of a cliff with their power play.

As Bernard Keane pointed out, there's something of a reluctance to admit that this is actually a large shift to the left on the part of the electorate as a whole. If we had proportional representation, things would look a lot different. As such I agree with a lot that Jeff Sparrow says here, that "immediate future of progressive politics lies outside the parliamentary sphere." I mean, a decade of Howard government, we learned to deal, right? We can do it again.

Actually, the best thing about that Sparrow piece is when he calls Bob Katter a "sinister bumpkin". Rarely has a man's character been so succinctly reckoned!

On the other hand, I do have worries about not having a proper government given some of the economic issues ahead - the US is heading for a double-dip recession if the indicators are right, and Chinese growth "can't go on forever" (although people have been saying this forever). As such, although in some ways I appreciate the sentiment, I can't totally agree with Annabel Crabb's Twittered "Seriously, I love the Australian people. This result is really the only possible honest response to that campaign." Not all the swing against Labor was progressives dropping off to the left. Plenty was people who were swayed by specious arguments about boat people (who are only in the wildest fantasies a factor for 'population growth') and a worrying hysterical, media-fed distrust of counter-cyclical government spending.

The fact is, it is absolutely remarkable that a government was turfed for not presiding over a recession. It's almost as if Australians have had it so good for so long that even with harrowing unemployment gutting the US economy, a good whack of our electorate still thinks along neoliberal lines.

Perhaps the best thing for the left to push for, out of all of this, is electoral reform.
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(no subject) [Aug. 10th, 2010|06:33 pm]
A Diaryfull of Alibis

Lully is one of my favourite composers, and the film is a bit of fun too (even if it is from the period where a Depardieu appearance was mandatory in every film). Bring back the full-size baton, I say!
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