tania: (Cats: Techno!)
[personal profile] tania
The weekend was nice. Hammond came over and we all 'ooh'ed and 'aah'ed over his new iPhone. I'm generally not much of a technophile - computers are tools, not toys - but even I was enchanted by this magical device. Not enchanted enough to sign up for a $60/mo plan for the next two years though; I don't even know if I'll be in the country anymore in two years time!

I love the multi-point touch system, though. I'm waiting for the day when Wacom Cintiqs meet Macs and result in a single, flat tablet-screen that is light enough to be carried around with you, large enough to read and do artwork on, and touch-sensitive enough that the keyboard is a touch-operated digital (not literal) graphic on the screen which can be 'slid out' when needed and 'slid away' when not, and when a mouse is a relic of the past. My ideal computer will be just one big shiny square that works with nothing more than fingers and, in Photoshop, a stylus for art.

Later that night, Joe and I went on a little 'spirit walk' down to the motorway, across the river, to the place where Amazons used to be. Amazons was Brisbane's waterslide park until competition with Wet & Wild on the Gold Coast took it down. It's gone now and there's just houses and factories where it was, but it was still a pretty awesome nightly trek. The backlots of factories in particular can be creepy fun at night.

In completely unrelated news, I picked up The X-Files seasons 1, 2 and 3 on a really good deal - all of them were very much on sale, and on top of that it was buy two, get one free. So we watched a fair bit of that on the weekend, reminding ourselves that the show was much, much better than that awful recent movie, and as a result I have a neckache today. Woe. This is what happens when I watch too much TV in bed.

And this reminds me, in five minutes it'll be 9am, and then I can call our TV repair guy and find out why he wasn't answering his phone on Saturday. -_-

In other news, the cat run is FINISHED! Thanks Richard's Dad, Thrad! I bought a rake and some environmentally-friendly cat litter and created a toilet area in there. The cats have picked up on how to use the cat flap (Jangles was first, but happily, even Sawyer has twigged to it now!) and they LOVE the run - racing back and forth in joy, rolling in the dust, flopping in the sun, and all in complete safety from cars, dogs, and unkind humans - but as yet they haven't twigged that it also has potential as a bathroom. Any ideas on how to encourage them to switch their pewping activities outside would be appreciated.

The best and most interesting thing we did on the weekend happened when we caught up with Greg ([livejournal.com profile] greg_merlo) on Sunday. On a whim, we drove out to Coopers Plains, where Joe spent some of his teenage years exploring the underground stormwater drain system with his sisters. To date Ruby holds the record of farthest distance reached, as she was nine years old at the time and could wriggle further.

Wriggle room wasn't a problem for us that day, as we were sticking to the main routes, many of which are so large you can walk upright through them.

We had one small LED torch and a green laser pointer to light our way - and those tunnels are completely black. We chose a cloudless, dry day and it hadn't rained for a week, but beyond that we were ill-prepared. Next time it's miner's helmets and knee-pads,a nd for me, proper boots instead of sneakers. There was a bit of climbing to be done but the water level was very low, just a trickle in most parts. I found one completely dry area but the tunnel was quite small so I was the only one who was game to go in.

At one point, when we were deep in the bowels of the system, something exploded with a crack-flash between Greg and I. I yelled at Joe straight away because I knew what it was. Poor Greg wasn't so lucky. ;P Joe has these little tiny paper pouches full of small stones and gunpowder. When you throw one, the impact of landing causes the gunpowder inside to ignite with a loud CRACK! He misuses these frequently.

The echoes in the tunnels are amazing. We also found some really funky little white toadstools growing out of a crack in the wall. Joe's camera ran out of power almost immediately, but we're going to go back on a planned expedition with proper gear and charged cameras. I postulated a scenario where the torch dies and we hear something coming toward us, and the only way we can see is by flashing the camera again and again. Joe added that in that situation, it should be one of those cameras that charges up with a slow whine before each flash, just to add to the tension.

I'm sure the real trip will be less eventful, but still awesome.

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Tania Walker

August 2008

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