Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Voyager 1 & 2

This is why I wish I‘d tried harder in maths in high school. These folks have the coolest jobs in creation!

Watch "Voyager: 35 Years Later" on YouTube

Saturday, 18 August 2012

By way of an update...

Hi everyone,

Sorry I‘ve been out of contact for a few days. Difficult times. Not sure when I‘ll next post regularly.

In the meantime, enjoy some classic Red Dwarf!

Watch "Rimmer and Cat Inquisition - Red Dwarf - BBC comedy" on YouTube

Monday, 13 August 2012

Monday - shortish update

Hi everyone,

For my sins, I kind of let the evening get away from me, so this post is shorter than it ought to be.

Day was filled with files, but not as productive as I‘d have liked. Had lunch at the Metropolitan with Chris and Andrea from the old old job; also Lana who was my secretary many moons ago. Very good lunch and great to catch up.

After work went to a semi ar organized by the Catholic Lawyers Association at Newman College at Melbourne Uni (beautiful architecture, I should add). Speaker was Robert Gregory from NY University, speaking on the natural law, kind of a fascination of mine. Took extensive notes; very good talk.

Called Dad and caught up on way back to Casa. Also had a long GoogleTalk with Kate this evening. Great to catch up with them.

Still pondering the implications of the Julian Knight matter. I find it more than a little troubling, especially because it seems to play out like a toytown version of part of the French Revolution, with Premier Bailieu playing the part of Georges Danton and raising forces he doesn‘t really understand, still less know how to control. Qu‘est-ce que le deuxieme etat?  What indeed.

Ok, time to sleep.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Dulllllll Sunday!

Hi everyone,

Another fairly unexciting update, I'm afraid.  My Sunday consisted of doing laundry in the morning and going to the office and to Mass in the afternoon.  Man, dull even for me.

I'm still pondering the implications of the statistic of 46% functional illiteracy.  There was a very good article on the likely fallout in City Journal. It did tend to clarify a long standing impression I'd had from my days as a plaintiff lawyer.  I'd often had the impression that a lot of clients were stupid, and talked and thought in cliches, expecting the world to work like TV.  Now, looking at it, it seems to me that for a large number of them, that was, quite literally, almost the only source that they had for ideas and narratives and vocabulary in which to describe the world.  The problem that this translates into for society is easy to see: a population which often sees the world in ways that are simplistic, or which have no identifiable connection with reality at all.


OK, I guess this is enough for tonight.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Saturday evening

Hi everyone,

Quick post this evening, to reflect a reasonably quiet day.

I woke up this morning unsure what to do with the day and whether to head down to the parents place at the weekend.  They seemed to be away (which a quick text exchange with oldest sister tended to confirm), so it looked like I was going to be in town for the day.

I decided to head to the library to continue the work on the Quasi-War project, which took the afternoon up.  Productively though: I'm starting to see my hypothesis confirmed, but in a way I didn't expect it to be.  Interesting...

Back here by 7pm.  Went and got groceries and made dinner - I should say that the pasta I made last night did indeed go well with pork cooked with some olive oil and thyme!  Then back up here.  Updated a scrap book, and now blogging and bed.

Dishearteningly cold here.  Hope the parentals are OK.

Hope all your your weekends are going well.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Friday. And calm I guess.

Hi everyone,

Here I am again.  It's Friday evening, and I'm at the Casa drafting this up.  I had to leave the office before 6pm tonight, as they warned us all the electricity in the building was to be shut off, so computers and all would be down.  So, I came back here and made up a meat free dinner (not because I'm going vegetarian; I just couldn't be stuffed going to the supermarket).  So I tried to create something out of mashed sweet potato, onion, garlic and fettucine pasta.  Epic fail.  The half that I didn't eat when combined with some diced chicken or pork and maybe some white wine, however, should be good and have a nice light flavour.

The day itself was constantly on the move.  We had a briefing from the managing partner this morning about the firm's future directions that went from 8-10am.  Not a great use of two hours, as all the interest was in M&A and the firm's commercial activities.  Being a worker's comp lawyer rather leaves you feeling like the hired help sometimes: the firm needs the contract we have with the relevant government agency to provide defence in these matters (it's the single biggest contract the Melbourne office has) but sometimes you get the feeling that workers comp - highly technical, highly specialised, intricate - is kind of viewed, at least in part, as a grubby, necessary, evil.

The day itself was productive.  Waded through a file and had two quick conferences with my boss.  I get on really well with him - he has small kids too and I think that helps in a way.

The blue devils were hassling me a bit today, medication notwithstanding, and I was going though a lot of up and down, but chiefly down.  Travelling OK right now, and as Joni and the girls are away and not on skype this weekend, I might go to the parentals' place for the weekend and give my brain a chance to reboot.

I spent this evening drafting up a letter for the Law Institute Journal.  The LIJ has a good policy on letters - they can really be short essays - and I'd like to respond to this editorial in the Herald Sun about a certain highly distinguished lawyer considering representing a fairly nasty rampage killer in a parole matter.  What worries me is that the sort of knee jerk reaction in the mass-circulation Herald Sun will one day combine with Australia's 46% functional illiteracy rate and restore something like the lettres de cachet.  I know that Kable's case should make that impossible, but I also don't think it can be ruled out, and I think that the legal profession should start the argument for restraint now.  Because if the issue isn't even discussed by semi-responsible voices, pretty soon the punters will listen to the irresponsible ones.  In a way, that's kind of how we got the One Nation Party leading the discussion of immigration.

OK, I guess that's enough for tonight.  See you tomorrow.

Oh, and one of my friends put this up on Facebook.  I thought it was great, so I'm sharing it here -

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Ex seminari

Hi everyone,

I‘m in a two hour firm update and typing this during the break. Remind me how this is a good use of my time.

Sorry for not posting last night. Blue devils were beating the crap out of me. All I wanted to do was sleep, so I turned in at 8:30pm. Not feeling much better this morning. Not sure what I do with the weekend.

Seminar starting again. More later.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

With Broadband!

Hi everyone,

So I'm posting this from the Casa tonight, with the aid of the house's WiFi which I bit the bullet and decided to pay for (although I was able to persuade the landlord to charge me half the usual rate, so it's actually much less than I'd expected).  I just couldn't face another crummy skype with the flickering access from my aircard.

As you can guess, I've now spent a decent chunk of the evening drooling over the acres of data this gives me access to, including the process of scoping out the research that I mentioned previously, and which I think really has legs if it's kept properly contained.  The documents I have in mind appear to be chiefly held in the National Archives in the UK and Canada.  The Canadian documents are minimal, but the UK documents would, I suspect, be some thousands of pages.  I'm thinking - if I didn't say it yesterday - that something in the social history line would be suitable.  As I said before, I'm interested in the 102nd Regiment of Foot, and particularly its time in Maine during the War of 1812.  My correspondent there pointed me to a Project Gutenberg copy of a history of that region which I skimmed over this evening, which covers the occupation in some detail.  Intriguingly, for example, not only the officers but the rank and file appear to have brought wives and children with them.  In a slightly surreal passage in the history I just mentioned, it describes how within 18 hours of the troops landing at Eastport, they enquired with the locals whether the town had a school.  I imagine the good burghers of Eastport must have found this almost as bewildering as I do:

"A ... school? ...  Hang on, you're meant to be an occupying power aren't you?  'Cause right now you just seem to be moving into the neighbourhood ... What do you mean 'what night do the rubbish bins go out?'"

Yeah, I think this is a topic that has legs.

OK, I guess it's time to turn in.  Busloads of work to do tomorrow.  Spending a huge whack of the day preparing for meetings has messed up my plans a little.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Another post from yesterday...

Hi everyone,

This is another post from yesterday...

Hi everyone,

Hope all is well.  It's been a hectic day here.  Getting on top of a file this morning and then cranking out a defence in a matter where I think we have a sniff of winning.  I should have prepared the chronology on it as well, but I've spent such a lot of the last two weeks ploughing though files that I just didn't have it in me to do another one today.  So I spent the afternoon catching up on my incoming mail (I'm doing really well at not letting backlogs build up - much - I should say; pleased with that!)

I heard back from the person in Maine over the letter I had published there recently.  It looks like there might be a chance for me to help to some degree with the 200th anniversary commemmorations of the occupation of Maine, by providing research on the 102nd Regiment of Foot.  Which seems like a win-win-win: they can utilise the research and documents I can find, I should be able to draft up an article, probably with a social history bent, from it, and it would also dovetail with the more academic work in 'foreign-ness' I'm looking into at the moment.  Everybody wins.  So, I'll scope out what sorts of archival material can be had without having to go to London (or Toronto, or Washington), and see what can be done.  Looks promising, indeed.

OK, I guess that's all I have.  I'm sorry I'm not more exciting at the moment.  Like is kind of a cycle of work, research and writing.  It's great, though, that the writing is already bearing fruit.  Very pleased.

OK, I'll see you tomorrow.

Blocked again

Hi everyone,

Once again I typed a blogpost, and once again my Optus aircard couldn‘t connect to the web so I could upload it. Sorry. Will post it from the office tomorrow.

See you then.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Monday update

Hi everyone,

It's been a patchy kind of day.  Workwise, not great.  Or at least not exciting.  Nearly all of the day was spent ploughing through about 1300 pages of medical records for a claim which I predict we'll lose, but where we do have some bombs to throw.

Head a bit clearer today.  Legs sore from yesterday's run.

Left work about 7:30pm after some housekeeping things.  Mulled over the essay on neoconfederate thinking and Millennialism that I've been rolling around in my head.  I'm getting unenthusiastic about the project.  It's only just enough in the past to constitute a fit subject for history, and it tends to take me into territory involving the militia movement and white supremacist thinking.  I don't mean to self-dramatise myself - I don't think that there's significant risk - but if the essay were published, there's a chance of arousing the ire of some fairly nasty folks.  Is that a risk I feel like running just for the sake of racking up a publication?  I'm not sure it is.  If anyone has an opinion, let me know.

Good news in the Curiosity mission touching down on Mars safely.  Hurray!  I know it's stupid, but this sort of thing is endlessly fascinating.  And in the age of the Internet, one can have updates from the mission almost in real time, rather than waiting for it to be used as filler on the news or a Reuters report in the paper.  What a marvellous modern age we live in!

OK, I guess that's all I've got.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Yesterday's post

Hi everyone,

This was the post from yesterday I wasn't able to put up last night -

Hi everyone,

It's been a quiet day here.  I did a couple of loads of laundry in the morning, and drafted up an email to a person I heard from in Pennsylvania about that piece I had published on Camp Security - the Revolutionary War site - a little while back.  I might be able to help out with a few bits of research for them,  especially as to inmates who may have wound up out here.

I tried going in to the office, but I was really kind of struggling to focus for more than a few minutes at a time.  My head just didn't feel great, kind of like yesterday.  Anyway, towards 5pm I decided I had to do something to sort these blue devils out.  Since running usually does the trick, I decided that - cold weather or not - my knees were just going to have to take one for the team.  I figured that God would understand me skipping Mass for this purpose.  So, I came back here and strapped on my runners and ran up to St Mary's and back.  A good run, considering I haven't been for about a month.  And I did feel pretty good afterwards, although as I sit here now I can still sense the little blue bastards on the edge of my brain.  More running tomorrow, I guess.

I made up dinner out of meat and mashed sweet potato, which I haven't tried before but which was delicious.  Made my sandwiches and ironed my shirts for the week, and listened to a couple of astronomy podcasts.  And now blogging and soon bed.  Also, I heard from a person in Maine subsequent to the letter I had printed up there, asking if I had any information re the New South Wales Corps or 102nd Regiment (uniforms, for example) which might be useful for their own commemmorations in 2014.  I don't have a lot of extra information to share, but I do know a couple of people who probably do know about that sort of thing, so I'll see what I can do. 

OK, I guess that's enough for now.  Hope all your days are going well.

See you tomorrow.

By way of hello

Hi everyone,

This is just a quick hi. I drafted a post in notebook, but my computer wouldn‘t hook up to the web to let me post it. Will put it up tomorrow. Went running this evening. Head somewhat clearer now.

More tomorrow.

See you then

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Apologies and Pitchforks

Hi everyone,

Not sure how much of an entry this‘ll be. I‘m typing it at a tram stop on a cool evening after a day in a university library.

The library in question was the Melbourne Uni law library, doing research for the paper I mentioned the other day - the one that might be suitable for the William & Mary Quarterly if I can pull it off.  Heading back to my dugs shivering after a day of research. Oh the memories.

I wanted to say a mea culpa for being a pretty shitful blogger lately. I‘ve been finding it difficult to post is the truth. This last week or so the blue devils have kind of been on the offensive. The good mews is they‘re not gaving anything like the impact they used to. The bad news is the little bastards aren‘t giving me much against which to fight back. That is, I can‘t find what‘s brought this on. It‘s not work: at the moment work is the least stressful bit of my life(!). And I‘ve got my writing to fill in the gap in my life where Joni and Grace and Rachel should be. And I‘ve even acquired a couple of great new friends through the blogosphere. But nonetheless, by way of example, last night I went to the opera with some friends, but really struggled to shake off the unpleasant ‘scattered‘ feeling, at least for the first two Acts, and I snatched a little alone time at the interval under pretext of getting programs. Thank God I‘d gone with The Marriage of Figaro rather than (say) Gotterdamerung. Watching Wagner in that state of mind would make anyone feel several orders of magnitude worse. And who doesn‘t find life gets better with a little Mozart?

Ok. Now that I‘m off the tram I should go get groceries. And I should add that there‘s some cool stuff in my future coming up as well.  For one thing, a skype date this evening. And for another, the next Mars mission makes planetfall in a few days, which promises a fair degree of awesomeness too.

See you shortly.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Very quick update

Hi everyone,

Very quick update to say hi. It‘s been a big couple of days. To dinner last night with fols from old job. To opera tomorrow night with ditto. Work good. Paid thus week yay! Writing progressing. A letter published in Maine today re War of 1812! Also see a way of synergistically merging two other projects which is great.

More tomorrow. See you then