|Looking south from Gosford Station (Australia, 2021)|
Adsense Top Bar
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Thursday, March 18, 2021
|Table and chair for lessons and a fridge, but the TV didn't seem to work (Australia, 2021)|
|Rickety old lift at Hotel Gosford (Australia, 2021)|
The second cheapest hotel in Gosford (the Ibis) cost at least $100 a night, or $3600 per month, I could survive without television for one night, of course, but how about the longstay (or the even longer stays which loomed beyond?) If the TV didn't work this time, what else might not work in the future? This was a dry run of the Escape from Oz which is due to begin in just a matter of months. It was a critical battle, one worth fighting for.
I was on my way downstairs again when I met a member of housekeeping on her rounds. I briefly informed her of my predicament, and she kindly accompanied me to my guestroom. After fingering the remote controller for a while, shuffling around the batteries, shooting from different angles, she surmised that the TV was on the blink. (That might, possibly, be why the remote was removed in the first place!) She promised to move me to another room, and new keys were delivered to me promptly. Five minutes later I had been transferred to a nearby wing, facing the Imperial Centre (behind the yellowed blind).
|My new room, with remote controller and Indian snacks, at Hotel Gosford (Australia, 2021)|
|Catching a little telly before bed (Australia, 2021)|
Saturday, December 14, 2019
One of the fascinating things about travelling and visiting new countries is learning about the colourful and unique festivals that exist out there. Now while I don't travel as much as I used to, I am able to explore the world vicariously, through my job on iTalki, and my online wanderings. It has become clear to me that Christmas is a global event, celebrated on every continent. The way it is celebrated differs starkly, however, depending on the locality. Not every country has a Santa Claus, and Santa doesn't always ride in a sleigh. In Spain the Three Wise Men deliver presents to children, which kind of makes sense, since they gifted gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus in the Bible. In Holland they have a Santa but he lives in Spain and sails to and from the Dutch homeland by boat. Go figure. Russian children send letters to Ded Moroz, a bearded old man who resides in Vologda near the North Pole, and whose name means "Father Frost". He walks with a long magic staff and sometimes rides a troika.
|The Christmas Shitter (El Caganer), and El Tio (Australia, 2019)|
I believe there is a relationship between Christmas and New Year's Day in that they offer a glimmer of hope in the midst of winter. They both arrive just after the winter solstice, the most desperate time of all, but they promise that the light/sun/Son will return. It might be faint and distant, but the light is there and can be seen, twinkling through the hoary boles. The rebirth has begun... (To read my full account of how Christmas is celebrated around the world, click here.)
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
I love music's ability to rally our emotions, and take us on a journey. When I got out of my 16 days of detention in Japan, the only one who could really understand what I had been through was Jónsi Birgisson, the frontman of Icelandic quartet Sigur Rós. It didn't matter that I had never met him, it was obvious that he understood. It doesn't matter that his songs are mostly wordless, it is the emotion that counts. In fact, his music speaks of the realm beyond language which we inhabited before incarnation, and
Monday, August 26, 2019
Friday, May 24, 2019
Because of the mismatch between the number of phonemes in English and the number of letters used to represent them, there are often difficulties in trying to spell English words phonetically. This is actually one of the biggest complaints of non-native speakers when they learn English.
To overcome this problem, phonetic symbols were developed to represent the natural sounds of English in a comprehensive scientific way. The International Phonetic Association has created a system that describes the phonemes which can be used not only in English, but any language in the world (even Klingon, or Sindarin!)... (For more on the schwa and other 43 English phonemes, click here.)
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Augur has huge potential, not just in the speculated future, but right now, and that is what attracts me to the platform. That said, the system is still a bit buggy, very much Beta, and counterintuitive for newbies. To begin with, bets are called markets (buying and selling the probability of a certain event). If you want to bet against an event, you sell shares in it (even though you don't own any shares to begin with). Once you wrap your mind around this, it gets a little easier, but there are other problems. The UI can shut down, for days at a time. With some markets it can take a lot of time getting trades through. Cancelling such orders costs more gas (though not as much as it costs to enter or exit a market). Congestion on the Ethereum blockchain can freeze you just when you are about to pounce.
In spite of these obstacles, I persist, because I can see real rewards here. Based on my exchanges so far, I am 93.75% certain that I have found the Holy Grail for bear markets such as these. And since my research has revealed that cryptocurrencies languish in bear markets 75% of their lives, Augur offers me the way to monetize this downtime. Who knows, it could help kickstart the Escape from Oz, a project which has been languishing way too long in my personal bear market... (For the full review of the Augur prediction market, click here.)