Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for August 2000

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
31
Aug 00
Thu

Communal Crier

True to his word, Solo re-opened shop today (after how many months??). The rest of today’s post when I get back tonight… been just a bit busy lately :/

26
Aug 00
Sat

Communal Crier

New
• Ownerized

Moved
• The Abode

Facelifted
• File Not Found

Revived
• Absolute Zero
• Chilidog
• Web Dominion

Plug
• Blender
• Views of Venus 

  9:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  E/N  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

SMSes

• “AHHAAHAHA BIG ‘Surrkit’ gos to the knights tonight.. go you rouseters!!!” -Matto (whoops a bit late in posting this one)
• “My mommy said to never to go to the deep end of the sandbox. The leprachaun lives over there. He tell me to burn things.” -Squirrel Boy
• “they call me “jack off” and then they want something from me. are people THAT dumb?” -solo
• “I DON’T FRICKING KNOW WHAT “LA” MEANS.   KTHX.” -sung
• “Answer some questions, stop day-dreaming!!” -Kev (smartass sent me it in the BDN tute when I was nodding off…)
• “Hey man, Check out this aussie + alternative mp3 search engine: http://www.ozmp3ring.com/” -PSupreme
• “Woohoo.  This has been a friendly reminder from the bored as hell department. Thank you and have a nice day.” -Dav

  9:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  SMS  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Shanghai Noon

After being mentally scarred by the last English Jackie Chan movie I watched (Mr Nice Guy) I was slightly hesitant about seeing this one. It turned out to be okay. Corny, but entertaining nonetheless.

  9:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Hollow Man

Incredible special effects, but in typical Hollywood fashion, not much else.

  9:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Hrm

I didn’t find these, but they were quirky enough to deserve a post: Online meat market? Another (Asian) one?

Online Game

Something originating from Scandinavia to occupy your time with: PlayDo

The Olympics

Daylight saving kicked in early this year (today) because of the Olympics. It’s funny that Windows Millennium actually has the correct daylight saving times for Australia this year, but it’s being publicly released too late for it to be of any use (that figures…). I don’t have any tickets for any events so it looks like I’ll be parking myself in front of Foxtel/Channel 7 when I want to see any of it. The tourists should start to come in a couple of weeks and the public transport system is really going to go to shit then. If you think I bitch a lot about transport, I listened to two people complaining about CityRail for a whole 50 minutes on the way home. I reckon it’d be interesting to go into the city and do some “tourist-watching” :).

  9:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Petrol

Petrol’s now tipped over the dollar mark and petrol stations all around are rushing to add that extra digit onto the price boards. Of course, what they are really saying is this. Thanks Pete.

  9:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

New Computer

It’s been over a week since last post, but I’ve finally got the new puter in order (mostly). There was this anomaly during a file copy… Yes I had a fair bit of data copying, but not that much! Updates will return to being made with some sort of regularity soon. And yes, I will be posting up the specs of this machine :).

19
Aug 00
Sat

Communal Crier

E/N Linux Users Group (E/NLUG) is up and running – check it at http://www.rebelonet.com/enlug/

A note from FA: “The Abode is down right now because Solosier switched servers and is having trouble with the subdomains. I am going to see if someone can lend me some space and a subdomain until abode.solosier.com is back up. My email is fallenangel@solosier.com if anyone wants to email me. –FA”

New
• Ho’Style

  11:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  E/N  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

SMSes

• “tell that jack off solo to get his ass moving :p=, then the abode will be back up, I miss it.  thank ya kindly” -Amy
• “GRiM*ÇE, feel free to suck my dick. Inferno, you’re a dirty Aussie. Move out of that prison!” -Theseus

  11:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  SMS  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

NZ ADSL

ASDL? … you think Australia’s Telstra’s bad try Telecom (affectionately termed Telescum by many) are currently holding the market to ransom on the residential front.

http://www.xtrasite.co.nz/velocity/pricing/index.html

Do some price comparison… I think sadly we lose. and I have to wait what seems to be a few years for Telescum to throw up a flatrate ASDL deal. or something less violent to the wallet
- Ben

Ok, so NZ is worse off, but you guys did get ADSL before we did. Compared to the States, though, Oceania is getting the raw end of the deal.

New Masthead

Thanks to Bonhomme for this new banner.

Priceless

The entire collection. Via ILoveBacon.com.

  11:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Humour  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

More Weird Stuff

Weirdness Quiz.

Weird Science

Now this site will easily suck up an entire night – especially when you keep running off to Google to find out more about some of the things they mention there. This page is a gem :).

16
Aug 00
Wed

Quick Post

HAHAHAHAH. But wait, there’s more… Thanks Kev for the links. BTW, the skiing at Uluru really is as great as they say… just gotta be careful of those drop bears. Side note: There is no such thing as a “koala bear”. That is a misnomer. They are just koalas, period.

Component #18 & New Computer

Picked up a 64M Leadtek GeForce 2 GTS (yeah, overpriced, but since I’m not upgrading for a long, long while I reckon the extra $100 for 32M more ddr ram wasn’t too bad). And right after I got it I read the GeForce 2 Ultra was announced offa Techno Weenie. On further reading I was glad to hear it won’t be released for a while yet :). Anyhow, the previous day I’ve been busy building the new PC. I’ve got the hardware side of it just about complete – next thing is to install all software and transfer all the data on this computer over. Gonna be busy for the next few days…

And just to let you know I haven’t forgotten, James, I owe you a game of TFC.

Make a Living Off Diablo 2

These guys can level up a character to Level 60+ on (closed) B.net in four hours. They then sell them for about US$50 on E-Bay. Quite a handy bit of “work”.

14
Aug 00
Mon

Communal Crier

Spiteful Minds has a bunch of e/n poster interviews here.

New
• Influx9
• Spiteful Minds
• Tical

  11:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  E/N  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

SMS

• “you’re in a skit at ttl…you’re gonna kill ppl ;]” -SiC (the skit he refers to can be found via That Thin Line)
• “if I ever cry and whine about not getting a red dot please punch me in the face” -GRiM*ÇE
• “Red dot red dot red red dot.” -Theseus
• “ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light?” -solo (eh? Get your page back up dammit…)
• “Msg to FA b/c don’t know his email:  hey man when are you going to get the abode back up and running again?” -Dav

  11:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  SMS  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

American Psycho

Rated R for sex, not violence (in case you were afraid it was going to be too gory). That said, I still don’t really understand what the movie was about. I think it was something about the stress of a yuppy lifestyle causing non-cathartic psychotic delusions. I shit you not.

Hmm… just as an idle thought… last week’s movie, Chopper, could be alternatively titled Australian Psycho.

  11:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Speed Reading/Talking

Theseus was questioning where my ability to read over a thousand words a minute came from. It’s a skill I picked up a few years back after doing a reading course. However, to hit those speeds you have to concentrate and focus a fair bit. For casual reading, the rate drops quite a bit. It’s a skill anyone should be able to develop. The world record holder can read a few pages from a novel every second (roughly 25,000 words/min).

Talking fast, however, is a slightly harder “skill” to obtain. This guy can speak at over 600 words per minute.

  11:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Books  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

WYSIWYG

What’s a </table> tag? I’ve never seen them before. No. Really. :)

Interesting…

Wouldn’t it be interesting if this was legit? Instead it turns out to be rather lame…

Components #16, 17

After a few months of sourcing different components I’m just about ready to start building the computer. The region-free DVD-ROM came in, as did the P3-750E CPU. Should be able to push the speed of it to somewhere above 900MHz. I’m missing my GeForce 2, but I can use the Voodoo while I’m waiting for that. Today I also did a small case mod. Drilled a few holes and replaced the front 8cm intake fan with a large 12cm one.

10
Aug 00
Thu

Communal Crier

New
• Fridge Town
• FUBAR
• Jam Sandwhich
• Visnet2k

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  E/N  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

SMSes

• “do what I did, babe. find another hit counter. :)” -GStarr (But I like Extreme-dm…)
• “You know, if a cow had a chance, it would kill you AND your family..” -Matto
• “where can i buy sea monkees? – love your insomiac PA chic” -nettie
• “What the hell are sunnies????” -Fallen Angel (sunglasses, of course)
• “I’ve been up for 48 hours straight. Eating Grilled Cheese sandwiches and watching MTV2 will do that to you.” -Grilled Cheese Man
• “I think I just… yep, I just farted.” -sLim
• “i am writting to say hi from my unlce’s house :) far away from my home, i’ll be home in a few days :)  byes” -nettie

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  SMS  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

More Handball

But the lines rule (which was mostly used in year 4 5 or 6. Well at least i think it was?) was when if it hit the line and was clearly not in anybodys court. You had to have a showdown between the two of you to see who will win. This rule was clearly banned in later years because there was so meny fights. And was sometimes really boring if we were playing 6 or 9 squares.

Another thing I remember about handball was the names of the squares. Like King (or acE dont know why?) queen, Jack, dunce, double dunce, triple dunce, and more. We had even more names like like prince and princess and stuff but that was clearly ousted because of the (“Princess! HAHA you a poofter now ner ner”) factor.. :)

At our school a big rule was you had to ask the “Boss” before you could join a game. Which was really a problem for me cuz i had the ball so I was the boss hehe :)

Anyway handball was truely THE aussie game. Up there with backyard cricket.
Matto

Yep, we had it in Albury schools too. There were quite a few variants, the one with the queue and aces and intos, and ones played against a wall, and the adjacent squares type with no hierarchy aside from the server.

U’grads also played it at UNSW at one stage when I was there, where they were lampooned in Tharunka. The handball they play in the Olympics is completely different. That’s sort of a hand-oriented version of soccer, somewhat reminiscent of waterpolo, except played on land of course. It’s popular in Europe but almost unheard of in Australia.
Graham

Are you sure none of you yanks have heard of it?

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Culture  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

ADSL Official Pricing

About $90 for 64kB/s downstream and 16kB/s upsteam? Overpriced… but what other option is there? Damn Telstra. ADSL Pricing Scheme.

Non-solid state memory MP3 Players

Various replies. I’m not sure if any are available in Australia, but I’m sure some are orderable from over the net and accommodate for international shipping.

Golar: Review of the Mambo-X and MPTrip from IGN For Men. Neither look to be exciting.
Outsider: Refers to Thinkgeek, which is where I bought my Photon Light from.
Matto: MP3.com.au (includes car players)
Kyp: Hardware.mp3.com
Golar (again): hardware.dmusic.com (anyone remember the days when Dimension Music used to be an illegal mp3s site?) DM has a nice MP3 listing. RCA’s RP2410 looks good, as does the iRad-C (although the latter is a component for home hi-fis).

Also, the exorbitantly-priced-runs-on-Linux Empeg car player.

House or Hotel?

About a month or so ago, mum’s friend’s son came up from Canberra on a visit to Sydney. He stayed over at our house. Then, we had relatives over a couple weeks back from Singapore. Last week, an uncle (more like a cousin to me, agewise) from England came over. He leaves tomorrow. Now, I’ve just found out that next week more relos from Singapore are coming over. Yeesh.

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Component #15

The centrepiece of the system arrived a couple days ago – one big 21″ Sony G500 Monitor. I am happy :)

Sleep

I went to bed at 10.30pm last night. That is incredible, because I can’t remember the last time I went to bed before 12 (I know it hasn’t happened this year). I don’t know whether it was psychological, or physical, but I did feel a little more alert today than I’ve been, at uni, this week. Still, I managed to doze off in the train on the way back.

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!

Springerise your life.

5
Aug 00
Sat

More Handball

In answer to the handball query, here in Melbourne it was known as downball…played in two forms, against a wall, and in a court in the middle of our school’s quadrangle. Other than that I don’t know much about it, being so very very bad at it and all.
-Mikal 5

yeah, but never heard of wogs. i think it’s similar 2 like “grabs” or something which some ppl did mainly on the backhand side. which i think we tried 2 ban after a while. we had the 4 rectangle courts in wyvern (prep school) then the 6 rectangle courts in the main school. and sometimes we got many ppl 2 play over like 3 courts or something. so it was a bit of a challenge serving 2 the old king or ace. looking thru the journal, we also had poison, interference and also i think we had something called “challenge no breaks” between 2 ppl and if u lost in the lower square u ended up in dunce and if u won, i think u swapped squares with the person. i think we scrapped the “lines” rule after a while. i hated rolls since i tended 2 lose. also i think the king could request a player 2 hit back 2 him so he could slog some1 out
-Pistol Pete

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Culture  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Energy Drinks

Australian Energy Drinks review. Personally I think they are all esoteric ripoffs (some of them taste nice – just that $3.20 for 250ml? Come on.) Link from endo locusta credo.

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Food  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Acupuncture

An interesting critique of acupuncture.

Frozen Sunnies

Was just going through some old photos the other night and came across a couple that made me crack up. Let me tell you the story behind them. It was back in Year 10 in high school. We were down at Thredbo on a debating camp. “Debating camp” is actually a misnomer, because we never did any debating on those camps, so it is safe to call it a ski trip. Anyhow, there was this pond down the road near the lodge we were staying in, and being in the middle of Winter, it was frozen over with a thin layer of ice. We’d go down there, break off chunks of ice from near the shore and begin tossing them onto the pond. The sheets of ice, which looked much like frosted glass would then shatter leaving ice fragments on top of the surface. So one day when we were waiting for lunch, a bunch of us were stuffing around down at the pond. Ka Sen then accomplished something I still can’t work out how he did. He somehow (accidentally, I might add) knocked off Tom’s sunnies, which I believe were still on his face at that time, and sent them flying through the air. They came to rest on the pond’s surface, about 5 metres (~15 feet) from the shore. We all stared incredulously for a few seconds, then cracked up laughing. Tom just stood there staring incredulously, uttering profanities. I happened to have my camera on me, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to help future listeners of this anecdote to visualise the scene. [Photo]

The ice was too thin to support someone’s weight. After a few in vain attempts of reaching out and hoping our 1 metre arms might stretch out 5 metres, we gave up on that. Tom uttered a few more profanities. Eventually, someone went back into the lodge and managed to find a long cardboard tube – like the tube that lines the inside of toilet paper rolls, except this one, for some indescribable reason, was about 4 metres long. The sunnies were retrieved [Photo] and we went back in for lunch, grinning all the way.

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Chopper

An Australian movie about an Australian criminal psycho. It’s freaky and funny, in a dark way. Don’t think it will make it out to the US.

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

MP3 CD Players

Can anyone point out a site to me which has a listing (and reviews) of available MP3 CD players? Or even MP3 players that don’t use solid state memory as storage (eg: Nomad Jukebox).

Bill Bryson’s Down Under

I recommend this book (which has been alternatively titled, In a Sunburned Country in the US) to anyone, living anywhere. It details the journey and observations of Bill Bryson, an American, as he travels through Australia. It’s a thoroughly entertaining account, interspersed with history, anecdotes and humour. I’ve always thought Australian history was dull – but this book has shown that, if told correctly, it can be quite the opposite.

After reading this book, I came to the unsettling conclusion that, although I am Australian, and have been so for all my life, that this Yank – who toured the country for only a year – in fact knew Australia better than me. Better in an historical and geographical sense (although not culturally).

Here’s an excerpt from the book.

  7:00pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Books  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
4
Aug 00
Fri

Fixed

Links to sunnies pictures (3 posts below).

3
Aug 00
Thu

Communal Crier

Moved
• Misunderstood
• Oblivion

SMSes

• “I think the ce/nsus results need to show how many chicken products each person consumes. Am I right? :)” -Najical
• “but wait – the dot is there – but it’s the wrong colour STU … HEY STU…. the dot isn’t red STU? www.billyjoebob.web.com” -billyjoebob
• “6 Icehouse bottles + 2 Advil = Thin blood and a large buzz…physics for alcoholics….” -killers_r_quiet
• “Baefed.com is back in action….bitches.” -entdiablo
• “Schoolyard memories and handball nostalgia turned essay :)” -GStarr

Handball Responses

Fuzzy had this to say – and I quote, “Stu over at Comments (0)”. I think his news publisher is stuffing something up because there’s still a reference to my old URL in the code there :) Something more meaningful beneath:

Ahh…the memories…

I didn’t play much in primary school — my handball career started in Year 7 (and finished about mid-way through year 9). We had some different terms but the essentials were the same. The serving square was “Ace”, not king (and consequently one had to serve to the “old ace” — but only if the former ace remembered to make this call before the serve was made). If play was interrupted the call was “intos”; a player had the option to reject a serve if it was unreasonable (so the point would be played again).

“Slogs” were commonly called “power shots”, although I later conied the term “wanker shots” as the people who used them were commonly very pretentious, well, wankers — it didn’t take much skill to learn to do them, and they were very difficult to return. The real skill was in beating someone *without* using them. Four players arranged in a 2×2 square was a very rare occurence; usually the games were conducted either in a nice nook which had 2 obvious squares and walls on 3 sides (for rebounding), or in the long corridors around the quadrangle. [Image]

You can see in the back of the photo (the wall roughly opposite the camera) contains a corridor behind it (going along the wall). That’s maybe 50 metres; often we used half (up to the middle arch) or more of the corridor, sometimes even playing around the corners. This made serving to “old ace” quite difficult: you had to bounce the ball so that it would travel some 30 metres, and be reasonably enogh to be accepted by the old ace. And you only got 3 faults; if you couldn’t do it in 3, you went to Dunce and the Old Ace was reinstated (of course he now had to serve to *you*). It got to the point where the square before Dunce served it to the old ace.

There were other square names too: the one below (in rank) ace was King, then Queen, and, optionally, Jack. If there were more than 5 players, however, square names were often disregarded. Another rule often used was “poison” — if a player was for some reason distracted from the game (eg. to tie a shoelace), they could call poison, and the others would have to hit around or over that square; anyone hitting it into the square would become Dunce.

Yet another variation was the “full played” rule: if someone did a full, and you failed to notice and continued playing the point, they could catch the ball and call “full played”, shafting you into Dunce. If, however, they were also too vague to notice that you played a full, it would be “forgotten”.

Sometimes, when we had 3 walls are were feeling really bastardly, we made a bounce off a wall count as a bounce; if the ball bounced off a wall in your square, you would have to hit it before it made contact with the ground – very difficult. A very skilled shot from the ace square in the nook with 3 walls (in ace, a wall would be behind you and on either side) was to, when the opponent (deliberately) hit it hard enough to make it bounce off the back wall on the full, to touch it as it was returning without disrupting its course enough to send it out, but enough that it bounces in your court after you hit it (but, of course, you could hit it into the wall…)

So ends my treatise on handball…ahh the memories. Oh, and handball is an Olympic sport?!?!
Victor

Poison! I’d forgot about that rule… and yeah I remember doing all sorts of stuff using walls to rebound balls and stuff. We had a nice long court in school which was bordered by a slanted glass wall looking into the indoor pool – great for rebounds. Another rule I’d forgotten – borking. It permitted you to go into someone else’s square and distract them however (as long as you didn’t touch them or the ball), and of course, you had to rush back into to your square afterwards. And yes, handball is an Olympic sport – but I’ve got no idea as to how that is played.

I’ve seen a version played here in Rochester, New York where there is a wall, ball, and group of kids. The ball is thrown, and returned, but if you botched the return you had to run to the wall before someone threw the ball and hit you with it. If they hit you, you would have to stand facing the wall, while every other player would take turns throwing the ball as hard as possible at you. It’s a rather violent version, but haven’t you ever played welt ball instead of pingpong?
DJM

Yes! Yes! I remember that now… I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called here… wall ball or something? There was a great court we used to play at – the area was called by the school as the “Greek Ampitheatre”. Stage at front backed by a slightly concave brick wall, with layered steps (where audiences would usually sit) extending back.

Intacta Code

About the Intacta code I mentioned yesterday:

If that GoCode thing holds 400 bytes per cm^2, then a 3 by 4 square would be 12 cm^2, which would hold 400 * 12 = 4800 bytes…which is about 5 kilobytes, not 5 megabytes :) So, it would be cool for sharing small text files, putting your PGP key on a business card, etc, etc, but dont expect to be swapping postage stamps that have mp3s or full motion video on them (unless Australia uses big stacks of paper as postage stamps *grin*)

I picked up on that too. But, assuming the magazine wasn’t incorrect – I’d also assume that the cm it is talking about isn’t, in fact square, but a cm line one pixel wide. However, this would mean the 5MB pic would have to be roughly 4167 pixels high within the 4 cm block. 4cm is roughly 1.5 inches, so you’d need a scanner capable of over 2000 dpi. Intacta says you only need a scanner capable of 300dpi, so I can only conclude that E-Mag Screwed Up. :)

Here’s a press release from Intacta that gives more information.

Napster… Good!

A friend and I ordered Napster shirts from Offspring. We’ll wear them if we have to do a presentation of our research paper (which will be on MP3s) for IT Law later in the semester :).

Grrr

Extreme-DM hosed my stats. Again.

Napster Buycott

Seems to have flopped. (Via Tunney’s blog). Incidentally I got an e-mail from him, which was unexpected and gratifying :). Unfortunately, I’m not a Triple J listener, so I’ve never actually heard him on radio.

Dreams

It happened again. Another e/n site owner (Kevin’s Palace) dreams about other e/n webmasters. For the record, I am neither old, nor have a cane, or a tall black hat. I may or may not wear clothes from the 19th century. This e/n webmaster dreaming is a little worrying, though. But then again, think about what you’ve ever dreamed about and I’m sure everyone has a dream that, if told, would get them carted straight off to the asylum. My cousin was just recounting to me how he had two dreams about Diablo II within the last week (one of them involving a bunch of snakes in his room and an irresistible urge to corpse explode them). Another friend was telling me about how she dreamt of people spitting at each other in lectures. Not so weird given that in that very same lecture, people were chucking condoms around the place.

It seems that the most vivid dreams come in the period when you may wake up one or two hours too early, and then go back to sleep. The problem with this, is that you tend to get wake up (or get woken up) while the dream is in progress.

Nocturnal

I am indisputably a Night Person. I’ve always everything comes easier in the period most people are about to turn in for the night. And something from that page’s misconceptions section:

Misconception: We [night people] think we’re vampires or have some other kind of odd self image.
Reality: Do you think you’re the sun god Amon-Ra just because you’re a Day Person?

2
Aug 00
Wed

Communal Crier

Red dots updated. All observe Theseus now, frantically scrolling the page looking for his dot colour :).

Moved
• SynNet

Facelifted
• Boiled Pudding

SMS

• “Don’t these SMSes ever get annoying? And why isn’t the window for this SMS form wider? At least let me resize it….” -Adam
• “if the pillsbury doughboy had a yeast infection, how would you know? http://cyclo.uptohere.net” -kalebsan
• “Heh, they moved back too, stupid people.” -Alex (need I say? He’s talking about the IRC channel)
• “gonaherpasyphilaids? huh? desensitized.com” -mors
• “Frolicking Ferrets, Batman! It’s raining hard and lightning just struck my rod!” -Grilled Cheese Man
• “my cat’s breath smells like cat food….also….I think I broke my wookie….” -killers_r_quiet
• “i so bored, are you?  waiting for solo to get the pages up agained…thought of my moment “radio active monkee suits”, bye cutie” -nettie

Handball

I saw a few school kids playing that long forgotten game (long forgotten to me, at least) of handball the other day. Not the Olympic sport, handball, but the handball where you took a tennis ball, designated a crack in the pavement as the line and that was all you needed for a game. I used to play that game all the time as it was, pretty much, a daily ritual back in primary school. It was a part of primary school life for everyone. In fact, the entire asphalt area of the playground was marked out with handball courts. They were four-square courts, marked out in a fading yellow paint.

By the time I made it there in the morning, all the courts would already be filled, and it was just a matter of finding a game with friends in it. Same deal for most recesses and lunch (when we weren’t playing bullrush, brandings or some other game). During the hot Summer days, you could easily build up a sweat playing in the sun. Yet, under the glaring sun, there’d be queues standing alongside courts of people waiting for their turn to play. A generation of kids who’d no doubt develop skin cancer in the days when the phrase “no hat no play” was not dreamt up yet.  There were kids darting around the grounds chasing the ball that was hit too hard. The constant patter of bouncing tennis balls. The occasional chant of “Out! Out! Out! Out!” from those queued up to a player who’s decided to chuck a McEnroe and dispute a line call (try getting the crowd to do that at Wimbledon!). Sometimes the court has a wall bordering it (or roof above, even), and if so, was usually employed to rebound the ball off.

For those who have no idea what I’m on about, let me take a moment to describe the game of handball. In a simple two player game, you have a rectangular court with a line across the centre. Basically you hit the ball so that it bounces once in your half of the rectangle, and once in your opponent’s half (although the opponent can hit your ball on the full on return). Anything landing outside the rectangle is out, of course. Asides from hitting the ball out of play, the other two ways to lose a point was to hit a full (where the ball crosses the line without bouncing in your half of the court first) and doubles (ball bouncing twice in your half of the court before crossing). The person who served the ball was in Kings, the serving square, and the other guy would be in Dunce. Whoever won the point would move (or stay) in Kings. If there were more than two players and the person in dunce lost, they would exit and someone new would take their place. That’s all there was to it, basically.

One of the interesting things about handball was the terminology used to describe the various aspects of the game. Asides from the usual fulls and doubles, you had a variety of other terms. “Slogs” were used to refer to balls hit low and hard. Then there were “wogs” (back then, no one knew it was a racist term. I have no idea who would have come up with such a term in the first place) where you would grab the ball in the air, give your wrist a quick twist in a downwards motion and release the ball. Sounds strange, was strange. It often rendered the ball virtually unplayable. Wogs were normally used to take the pace out of the ball and drop it close to the line (it was mainly employed when you were at the line and your opponent was backcourt). However, to return a wog successfully was something worthy enough to boast about. In many games it was not allowed (sort of a “house rule” that changed depending on who was “in charge” of the game – that is, whoever owned the tennis ball). “Reflexes” was generally agreed to be a stupid rule and consequentially was often banned in game play. It allowed you to catch the ball and basically chuck it across the court at a ludicrous speed. I remember having a game where reflexes were allowed. Points lasted two hits – the serve, followed by the unreturnable reflex. Whoever was in King never lasted more than one game, maybe two, if the person in Dunce was uncoordinated enough to not catch the ball (resulting in the thorough bagging out of that person). Most games disallowed wogs and reflexes, instead opting for slogs, which required skill to hit as low and fast as possible, while aiming it cross court.

N.O’s (said, “en-ohs”) were called out if something interrupted game play (an errant ball bouncing through your court in the middle of a game, for instance) and the point would be restarted. If the ball hit a line, “lines” was called and the point restarted, with the server serving the ball from the centre line. Rolls was another quirky rule. Sometimes allowed, sometimes not, it referred to what should happen if the ball starts rolling. If disallowed, the point must be replayed. If allowed, play continued. A side-effect of this was lots of skinned hands as we often dipped them too low thus scraping them along the concrete as we attempted to belt the ball as hard as possible across the court floor.

To make matters more complex, there were dialects of handball terms used by people playing around the different parts of Sydney. In country-town Camden, N.Os were not heard of. Interference, or “obs” (short for obstruction) was called out instead. “Wogs” were unheard of, and an explanation of what they were only brought a look of distaste (not a sentence to be taken out of context! I have good friends who are Greek.) Slogs were called grasscutters.

There were various modes of play, too. Apart from the usual singles and doubles, you had 4, or even 9 players in a square configuration. There was also games for three players and up where the court consisted of squares all in a line – such that to serve from Kings to Dunce you had to bounce the ball a fair distance and over the intermediate squares. With these games of more than two people, extra rules existed. The “X-King” rule stated that if someone recently was ousted as King (thereby becoming Dunce), the new King had to serve to the old King. And if you forgot to do so, too bad, your short reign was over. To complicate matters, players can call out “service” before the King serves. If you were the first to call out “service”, the King had to serve to you. However, “X-King” overrode the “service” rule.

There was also this rather contentious “struck” rule that everyone generally hated and disallowed. If the ball hit by your opponent landed out, but you made an action to hit the ball (even though you may have not made any contact with the ball), you were out. This caused plenty of disputes. “You struck!” “Did not!” “Did too!” Etcetera.

I must’ve spent hundreds of hours playing that game, which I why I still remember all the vagarities of it. You’d get to know the calibre of everyone else in the grade… who was lethal with the ball, and who just plain sucked – sometimes so badly that it just wasn’t fun to play with them.

In early primary school, no one is particularly coordinated. This changes as the years go by, though, and soon skill levels gradually improve as your motor coordination develops. Shots are added to your repertoire… people learnt how to put spin on the ball, play with their left hand (or right, if left handed) and naturally, the ever popular hitting the ball between your legs backwards. Then there was the ability to hit a slog such that the ball was hit low enough so it rolled across the ground at some scorching pace. Of course, the pinnacle of skill was to be able to successfully return slogs. It might all sound elementary, but to a young kid who hasn’t hit his/her teens, it was intricate. And at that age, all girls pretty much sucked at the game. No, it’s true.

High school came and handball was still played, but by then people had discovered the fun of kicking balls across the quadrangle (and breaking classroom windows), touch footy on the ovals and also dumping smaller kids head-first into rubbish bins. Handball took a backseat. The last time I played was a couple years ago. It felt like learning a new game. A long forgotten sensation, something foreign to me. Yet, I remember how it all felt natural so long ago… Until a few days ago I had all but forgotten about handball even though it occupied a significant amount of playground time about a decade ago.

One thing I have never known is that if handball was a purely Australian game, or was it known elsewhere in the world (or even outside of Sydney)? What other rules existed? I’d be interested to hear if any of you non-Aussies have, or haven’t, heard of it.

Cloning Christ

This link I found off Dark Magnet was too freaky not to repost. The Second Coming Project.

Blog

Wasn’t this guy the host of Vidiot on ABC all those years ago? Or am I mistaking him for someone else? (Via AJH)

Soapbox

Whoever made those comments about my mum on the soapbox a couple days ago is one bastard. (Wasn’t me – I never post to the soapbox.)

In Japan

Along with Endquote’s revival, there’s a hosted site on there that gives the accounts of a guy remporarily living in Japan. I love reading that type of stuff.

E-Mag Rocks

One particularly interesting article from E-Mag… think of the possibilities…

Last month we told you about GoCode, the printed barcode that could load a Web address into your computer. Japanese newspapers are going one step further, with information – like an MP3 file or actual text – embedded in the dots and dashes rather than just a code that later links to information. The company Intacta, says its Intacta Code can contain any digital information, such as video, for example. Once the printed pattern is scanned into a computer, free reader software translates it back into the full file.

How big does the barcode need to be? Every centimetre can hold around 400 bytes, which means a 5-megabyte file would be printed as a 3 by 4-centimetre code. You could travel with important documents embedded in seemingly innocuous pictures…

More ADSL News

$65/month flat?



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