Friday, December 24, 2004

Mackenzie Crook

Any fans of The Office, take note (any non-fans are either crazy or they haven't seen it yet - hurry up):

Do you recognise this guy?

this one?

or this one?

Not everyone's cup of tea, certainly, but he's not unattractive. However, he plays the least attractive person in the whole world - Gareth Keenan. Ewwww... This is causing me great turmoil.

And then there's this article, which paints him as such a sweety.
"I'm very ... surprised by my ... my, you know, my success," he says, running a hand through his blond hair repeatedly and studying the stripes on his pinstriped leg. "I have to pinch myself sometimes, because I really have had an extraordinary stroke of luck. Everything I've done since can be traced back to The Office in some way." He nods his head, almost smiles and then chooses not to. "I've been ... well, I've been fortunate."
It's so conflicting! I guess that's what character acting is all about - being able to convincingly play a character whose nature is completely different to yours. My hat, if I ever wore one, would go off to you Mackenzie Crook. You're better than a hundred Tom Cruises or Mel Gibsons or Brad Pitts.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


I have found a wonderful new way to waste my life on the internet. StumbleUpon is a community of web surfers. Just pick from a list of topics what you're interested in and randomly "stumble" on sites other users have rated highly. The more sites you rate, the more you stumble on the favourite sites of like-minded people.

For example, I found the most excellent kitty sites.

Of course, if you really don't have time to waste, please ignore this post. I will not be held responsible for the loss of jobs or relationships.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hot hot hot

Channel Ten has started describing EVERY DARN THING as "hot". It's "hotting up" or it's a "hot new series" or "you thought that was hot".

Fitting with this theme, but perhaps not everyone's version of normality, they recently described Detective Goren from Law and Order: Criminal Intent (incidently one of my favourite programs) as the "hottest cop on TV".

Detective Goren is really really cool. He conveniently knows the answer to just about everything, but this annoyance is far outweighed by how interesting the show is. He's also the nerdiest cop on TV.

The most recently
aired episode in Australia contained a character who, we later discover, is an unknowing sufferer of Asperger's Syndrome (I say sufferer because he does suffer - I'm certainly aware that in other cases it's often regarded as a feature, not a bug. I've also discovered that this particular portrayal of Asperger's Syndrome was not appreciated by some. It's the usual TV mistake of explaining a person's murderous personality by their disease/disorder/affliction/syndrome. I'm sure it makes a lot of people angry). Goren's partner, the overshadowed side-kick Detective Eames, remarked, "you didn't tell me you had an older, even geekier brother".

So what does it say for nerds when the supposed "hottest cop on TV" is not only the nerdiest, but also someone who doesn't fit the attractive male stereotype? Hopefully lots! My guide to snagging a nice nerdy boy will be in hot demand.

Monday, December 06, 2004

We're moving!

We've finally bought a house in Katoomba and we're moving in mid January. Katoomba is a great place to live - a reasonable distance to the city, but with a whole lot going on itself. While still a bit afraid to leave Sydney, I'm reassured by the fact that Katoomba has good coffee and restaurants, political groups, a food co-op, a branch of PLWHA, a refugee support group and an Amnesty group. So my culinary and activist needs will be fulfilled. Now as for a job...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

New Internationalist

It's a great alternative mag. A tiny bit propagandaish, but it's a reasonable presentation of a side you rarely hear from in the mainstream media. For this reason alone, it's really important.

It's also a collective and not-for-profit. That gives me faith in the standard of journalism. Or at least faith in the intentions of the journalists.
And for Australians (perhaps also for others) they have a trial subscription offer. You get the next four months' issues, plus a Peters Projection world map for $6.60.

They have a cool shop too, with lots of alternative literature.

You'd be crazy (or right-wing, but some may argue that right-wing people are crazy) to miss it.

Virgin credit card

I start this rant by declaring that I absolutely positively have no affiliation to Virgin or any of its associated entities. I just think this is a damned good product and I want to help other people with my knowledge of it. Honest. I know it won't seem so, but please believe me...

The Virgin credit card has a 4.9% introductory interest rate, a low 12.9% ongoing interest rate and no annual fee. If you have a credit card debt, you'd be crazy not to transfer your balance now. Even if you can do something cool like redraw on a home loan to borrow money, 4.9% is way lower than any home loan rate. Maybe transfer the debt to the home loan after six months.

Not that I am in any way encouraging anyone to increase or even maintain their credit card debt. I have too many friends who went through great pain when they were in the extremely-bad-credit cycle as students.

Seriously, they should teach a class in school about debt and how crippling it is and how to manage cash. It's a basic life skill that so many clever people are extremely bad at. One of my friends was on the front page of the paper because of the crazy debt she got into just because she chose the wrong mobile phone plan.

Still, if you're the sort of person who isn't able to pay off your entire balance every month, you need a low-interest credit card. Virgin isn't the lowest (ANZ, for instance, has a 10.99% card), but it's the lowest (widely available Australian card) that doesn't have an annual fee. Also, it has a 55 day interest free period that generously starts from the statement date, not the date of the purchase. All this is according to Infochoice, whose website you should check out to compare credit cards, home loans and a bunch of other stuff.

Virgin also doesn't have a stupid reward points system where you have to pay for membership to the rewards club, and spend a zillion dollars to earn enough points to get a dust buster, and then find that you have to pay shipping and handling anyway. No. Instead of reward points they have discount partners. Use your card to get a discount at certain places. That's it. And some of the discounts are really good. Like up to 40% off rack rates at Choice Hotels (previously known as
Flag); two free weekly rentals with any new release at Video Ezy; decent discounts at shops like Table Eight, Lush and Kathmandu; cinema discounts; and lots of other stuff. They've even got a dining club where you get a 20% discount at 1,500 restaurants in the country. It appears to be free too.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser and I take absolutely no responsibility for the information above. Don't be a dickhead - check it out for yourself.

Oxfam online shop

Oxfam sell a lot of excellent stuff online. I've just purchased a stack of Christmas presents. It's like the cool Nifty Gifty. The merchandise is often practical, interesting and attractive. And everything has a story behind it about the community that made it, the (sometimes ancient) techniques they used, and how they're benefiting from the fact that you're buying their stuff. I like to copy that in a nice font and print out a little sheet to go with the present.

Everything is also reasonably priced. So there's totally no excuse not to shop there.

They sell fair trade tea and coffee. If you don't know about how important it is to buy fair trade, read this. I buy East Timorese organic fair trade coffee, which apart from being the most ethical coffee I can imagine also tastes great.

But wait, there's more ... they also sell Australian wine by the dozen. The wine is good, it comes with tasting notes, and the proceeds go to providing clean water to people around the world. I'm currently drinking a glass of Flinders Bay Merlot 2002 while blogging. Delightful.

Anne's free plugs

I get excited about good products. Really excited. So much so that my friends think I must be a paid marketer.

Of course marketing is the root of all evil, but my enthusiasm for stuff is genuine. So my next few posts will be dedicated to products I'm really into. Some of them are part of a profit-making commercial enterprise, but they're so damn cool that I can't help but to promote them.