If you break the rules, God help you fool, you’ve got Mr T to fear!

That’s the problem of choosing your subject lines based on what you’re listening to at the time. Sometimes, you reveal truly awful song choices. A free no-prize to the person who can identify that lyric — it shouldn’t be too hard. A second free no-prize to the person who can explain exactly why it’s sitting in my music library in the first place…

Anyway, CNET.com.au has another of my reviews up:

Sony Ericsson W200i: “The W200i is available in two colour schemes — Sony Ericsson amusingly calls them “Rhythm Black” and “Pulse White”, otherwise known outside the marketing fraternity as black or white…”

And in the “if you hurry, you might still get a copy of it” category, the most recent (or possibly second-most recent) issue of Windows Vista magazine has a roundup of Vista Notebooks, written by my good self. No cover image, as I’ve not seen a copy myself…

Cervix as on milkmaid

(it’s an anagram of my full name. The guilty parties know who they are)

CNET.com.au has another of my reviews live today:

MyNetFone Linksys SPA2100: “Actually, if we wanted to get picky, it’s a MyNetFone Cisco Linksys Sipura SPA2100 — Linksys owns Sipura and is itself owned by Cisco…”

So, I decided to wash some cats today…

Look, it was necessary, OK? Specifically, they’d begun to stink — I guess you can get by for only so long being covered in Cat Spit before the spit itself goes rancid.

Now, I can deal with the scratches. I can deal with scrubbing shampoo into a cat’s back while it’s desperately trying to relieve me of most of the skin on my arms. I can even deal with the fact that the torment of being washed has transformed our friendliest cat into a hissing, snarling maniac for the rest of the afternoon.

What I’m having trouble reconciling is something that I only realised after the cats had been washed and scrubbed. And that’s the fact that, for reasons that totally elude me, the cat shampoo is berry scented. As a result, I now have three cats that smell mildly of berries. Weird doesn’t begin to describe it.

Who exactly thought that cats needed to be fruit-scented? And who then accepted that pitch and went into mass-production of berry-scented cat shampoo?

It’s like a guide. To Nets, obviously. Phishing optional.

Netguide Magazine. Do not insert into mouth.Issue #109 (or June 2007 if you’re date-minded) of Netguide Magazine is available now, and as is usually the norm, you’ll find my words of wisdom within. Quite a few of my words, in fact; a full review of Sony’s Playstation 3 console, a guide to setting up a home wireless network — clearly becoming my signature area of writing in 2007 — along with a comparative review of keyboards and mice, which might not sound like the most thrilling of subjects — but we all use them, and some are great — and some awful.

In the standalone reviews sense, the issue includes reviews of: StumbleUpon, Skype 3.1, Microsoft Expression Web, Zoner PhotoStudio 9, iTunes (Complete My Album/EMI DRM-Free Music), PC Tutor Learn Windows Vista & Office Deluxe, Sagem My401c, Toshiba Gigashot GSC-R60, Plantronics .Audio 370 Multimedia Headset, Test Drive Unlimited (PC, PS2, Xbox 360), Infernal (PC), Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360) and Resistance: Fall Of Man (PS3). All that, plus the broadband table too! What are you waiting for???

While on the subject of nets, CNET.com.au has another online review of mine up as well:

Lexmark X3550: “Initial set-up of the X3550 involves the usual mix of cartridge loading, default language selection and the removal of all those curious bits of tape — in the X3550’s case they’re blue snippets. Whoever came up with the idea of sticking bits of printers down should probably have patented it — they’d make a fortune.”

So not only do I have a bad taxi experience today…

But now I’ve been replaced by someone who will work for fish.

Would it be an awful pun if I said “Gee, I guess that’s why they call it CNet?” Yes. Yes, it would. Thankyou, I’ll be here all week, try the beef…

Taxi Cab Confessions

(warning: Rant ahead. You have been warned)

So, this afternoon, I was exiting a media event in the city, and looking for a cab, along with a small group of fellow journalists. I wandered out of the event building, and spotted one of my compatriots. I asked him if this was the Taxi queue, and he said yep, but that he’s already been knocked back by one cab.

So, we waited. And waited. And a cab pulls up. With another behind it. He jumps in the first cab, only to be told no almost immediately — it’s approaching changeover time for cabs, and he doesn’t want to be stuck with a long fare. I figure he’s been waiting longer than I have, so I let him take the second cab in line… with the same results. A third cab pulls up, and he attempts to get into it… only to be pushed out once again.

At this point, I’m starting to wonder if it’s an anti-Irish thing, or if I’m going to have the same problems — after all, I’ve got a longer journey to undertake. Finally, a fourth cab pulls up — but it is, in fact, cab #1, having failed to secure a client in the meantime. Having had his patience sorely tested — and I don’t blame him — he just sits down in this cab until it takes off.

Oh well, thinks I, hopefully I won’t have to go through the same tiresome ordeal. Indeed, only a minute or so later, a cab pulls up, I tell him my destination, and we head off.

For about ten metres. It’s at this point that the cabbie suddenly decides that no, he can’t in fact fulfill the fare that he’s committed to take, and he’s going to drop me off at the nearest hotel. But, as he’s a nice guy, he’s going to “do me a favour” and not charge me for the ten metres he’s already driven me. Presumably he’s not going to stab me in the face either, just to make my day…

The cab I get into only basically agrees to take me because the guy was more or less asleep in his newspaper and didn’t realise what the time was until we were halfway across the Harbour Bridge.  I’m writing this as I sit in the back, it being a bit too bumpy for more lucrative writing work, so if  I do get stabbed in the face, this can be my record of events. Tell my wife I loved her, by the way.

Now, I understand that the cabs in Sydney change over at 3pm. But it was about 2:15 when we were hailing fares. I do understand the pressing need to get back to family, home and outside pursuits. What I don’t find particularly acceptable is the idea, however, that cabbies have some kind of “get out of jail free” card when it comes to working a small bit of overtime — especially when those overtime fares are healthy comissions indeed. Being able to pick and choose only the “small” fares may work for the cabbies, but it sure as heck doesn’t do any consumers any favours at all.

Next week on Alex rants, how it used to all be trees around here, and why a good bit o’ National Service would sort ’em all out. You’ll see…

Three years and one day ago…

Can you remember what you were doing? Chances are, you can’t. But I surely can.

Because I was panicking.

Panicking about my wife, who had spent the last week in hospital, thirty-odd weeks pregnant and with waters that had already burst. Y’know, when that normally happens, birth happens right after, but not in this case.

Panicking about my daughter, as that very day I’d pulled her out of daycare at Sydney University. I couldn’t keep up with the hectic schedule of – Drive to station at 7am; train to central; bus to Sydney Uni; drop her at daycare; bus back to Town Hall; walk fifteen minutes to work. Repeat in reverse at 4:30pm, having worked straight through with no lunch break so that I could leave work on time. Bear in mind, she was two years old at the time. And I had no idea what she was going to do come Monday, except that I’d probably have to annoy work further by not coming in.

Not unsurprisingly, with all this panic, my work itself wasn’t going so well. So that was, naturally enough, more reason to panic. I went to bed that night a mess of nerves, unsure of what the future held.

But then — three years ago exactly, at 5:56am for those who like counting — James Keir McIvor Roberts Kidman entered this world. A little early, decidedly little in weight terms, and a little on the blue side — and like his older sister, he spent some serious time on oxygen just to keep him alive — but solidly there. And I thank God he’s been “there” ever since.

Happy Birthday, James!

How did I know? Because the crowd went “Ho!”

I never did understand that lyric. Then again, Will Smith is a multimillionaire*, and I just have male pattern baldness. So he probably wins on that score.

And that’s a wonderful** segue into something you could win — one of my current “let’s clear stuff out of the house” eBay auctions! How have you lived all this time without (nearly) the first twenty Fighting Fantasy books? It’s been a sad, shallow existence, I know, but Uncle Alex is here to make it all better — and all you have to do is BID NOW!!!

*Albeit a multimillionaire who doesn’t believe in toilet paper, apparently…

** Wonderful clearly being equal to “tenuous” in this context, clearly

How much???

That Halo 3 Xbox 360 sold — for a cool $24,300. Of course, it would have been more noteworthy had Microsoft followed correct eBay etiquette, and charged an additional 50% for shipping “just to make a profit”…

To put that into some sort of perspective, that means that Master Chief is worth a bit over forty-five Kerri-Anne Kennerleys.


Imagine an army of 45 Kerri-Annes, all dressed in pink, coming at you. They’re humming tunelessly as they walk in perfect step, and, of course, they’re smiling. You can see your terrrified reflection in their ninety vacant, glassy eye sockets as you vainly try to run…

This message brought to you by the “Campaign To Make Sure You Don’t Sleep Soundly Tonight”. Y’all have a good night tonight, hear?

An invisible man, sleeping in your bed…

(who you gonna call?)

Ow. My everything hurts. Scrubbing a tiled deck is hard work. It’s a good thing I’m not a full-time deck-tile-scrubber, then, all things considered. Instead, I write reviews, like the following live today at CNET.com.au:

Mitsubishi HC1100: “Testing with a variety of DVD, HD-DVD and game material — sometimes being a product reviewer is a really tough gig — revealed where the HC1100 performs well, and also where it doesn’t…”