Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPads, the Avatar soundtrack and other bits

One week now until we move house. Scary.

Listening to James Horner's Avatar soundtrack and enjoying it. Sure a lot of themes are derivative of his other works amongst others, but that's what you get with Horner. The music makes me want to see the movie, but I don't feel like leaving Alex in the hands of a babysitter at the moment, what with so much of his time at childcare. Plus he is extra cute. Maybe I'll wait to the blu-ray version is out. Could probably do without the 3D headaches right now.

I've cut down to a 4 day week in order to look after Alex when he's not in childcare. It's great spending time with him.

Not particularly excited about Apple's iPad tablet. The only Apple stuff I own is a ex-work Apple Mac LC II that I brought home for the university memories and an Apple Airport Express that sometimes provides me with wireless access in hotels with ethernet ports. Not even an iPod, because I have other devices to play mp3's and watch video and I hate the annoying iTunes client. Not an iPhone because, in the end, I wanted a phone first (though I am listening to the Avatar soundtrack on my phone right now) and my Sony Ericsson W705 is the right size.

The iPad isn't anything particularly innovative (but what Apple products are?). It's a tablet computer and not a particularly attractive one at that. It looks like a cheap digital photoframe so far as I can see. Give me widescreen as well, not 1024 x 768 pixels. Hopefully someone comes out with a highly portable keyboard for fast typing on the go. I wouldn't like to write one of my travel blog entries on a virtual keyboard.

I think I would be more interested in the Android tablets when/if they come out, considering how much of my stuff is web based and uses Google technologies. I rather like the cloud stuff, so long as I can work offline as well.

Anyway, I'm sure there are enough rabid Mac fanboys and girls out there that the Church of Steve Jobs doesn't need to worry about my opinion.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Australia Day 2009

I could rant and rave over the jingoistic nationalism that has spoiled the Australian flag (and that dreadful Union Jack in the top left corner), but I'm not going to this time. But I'm not going to.

Apropriate for Australia Day, while cleaning out a wardrobe yesterday we discovered a couple of Australian flags purchased for the Sydney Olympics. Our little Assembled in Australia From a Mixture of Local and Imported Ingredients loved waving them around.

In the evening we drove down to a local oval where they had stalls and performances celebrating the day. Alex stroked guinea pigs, goats and rabbits at the mini farm while our solicitor's daughter sang up on stage. We gave Alex a little bit of sausage sanger before returning home for our real dinner.

For the last time we stood at a rear window of our house watched the fireworks explode into the sky.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

A week of childcare

Alex survived his first week of childcare, as did his parents. When I left him there I felt confident that he was being looked after. He seemed happy, too busy playing outside to notice that his Daddy was leaving.

However, for the past two days he has burst into tears when I came to pick him up. He sees me and wants to be picked up and reassured, which of course I do. Then he cheers up again.

The real challenge is the train ride to and from childcare. Sometimes he is quiet, other times a real handful. He's always hungry on the ride home. Then there is my trip from childcare to work and back. More walking in the very hot sun, more train rides. I am sorely tempted to give up my green transport and drive, saving so much time and effort - Alex is usually good in the car, especially with good film music on the car stereo.

Just need to get my licence. Ha ha.

North Ryde station, on the new Epping to Chatswood railway line, is an impressive piece of architecture. I could see it used in some futuristic film. It certainly doesn't feel like Sydney. I always feel like there should be a small stall or series of stalls selling drinks, kuih, nasi lemak, or other Asian snacks. Unfortunately, there's nothing.

I miss looking after Alex during the day. I think it was easier than work/childcare and certainly more fun. Plus Alex tended to wake up later than 5:30, which he has suddenly started doing. At least it's a short week coming up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Childcare tomorrow

Alex starts childcare tomorrow. I think he'll do fine, but I'm going to miss looking after him and sharing the day with him. I wonder if it's cruel that he has to follow our too-long work and transport schedules as well. I guess we'll see how it goes.

It's been tough looking after him lately, as he has developed a bit of separation anxiety when I leave his sight or go outside. It's been a 24 hour job in many ways, especially when he wakes up during the night and it feels like I have little time to myself. Meals are rushed, toilet breaks quickly snatched during his naps. I have numerous computers located around the house so that I can access work emails when he's on the move - a laptop is just an attraction for his itchy fingers. But when he smiles it is all worth it.

He sees an aeroplane it's "wow!" and a sweep of his hand with a whooshing noise. His favourite word right now is our dog's name Kita, which he can say quite clearly. He has started to make animal sounds (ducks quack, lions and tigers roar) and to make sounds from his favourite stories.

Alex is almost walking. He took a couple of steps to me the other day, but he is still too hesitant to let go of his support while he moves around. He can stand unaided for a few seconds though and delighted tonight in doing dramatic "falls" on to his bottom.

When settling him tonight I feigned sleep and he responded by squeezing my nose, then laughing. Very cute!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Links between Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome and atherosclerosis

Apparently all Alzheimer's disease patients have some cells with three copies of chromosome 21 rather than the normal two. People born with Downs syndrome share in the trait, except that they are born with "trisomy 21" in all cells. In the case of Alzheimer's the trisomy 21 is probably due to damage inflicted in the cell microtubules by the amyloid protein, disrupting chromosomal replication. It is also suspected of causing the diabetes, strokes and atherosclerosis that is seen in many Alzheimer's patients. ScienceDaily has more details about the research.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The future of digital cameras

Now that the megapixel war is coming to a close (it's pretty pointless going beyond 10 megapixels in most consumer cameras) the digital camera manufacturers will have to compete on other features. One such feature is automatic image enhancement. I foresee the day when digital cameras will be equipped with the equivalent of Adobe Photoshop built in. Human subjects will be automatically de-blemished and airbrush enhanced.

With a touch of a button freckles, wrinkles, sunspots and cellulite will be banished from the photo.

Shortly afterwards we will see a campaign by celebrities to make such features compulsory in all cameras and unable to be switched off, especially by the paparazzi. Women's mags will then be forced to Photoshop blemishes back into their photos in order to fill their pages with Shocking Photos of Celebrity Cellulite.

Queensland invasion

I got a shock today during my train ride into work. I looked outside the window to see a QR (Queensland Railways) freight train travelling towards us in the opposite direction! I know we were going north, but not that far north. Apparently the difference between NSW's standard gauge tracks and Queensland's narrow gauge is not enough to keep the Queenslanders away. I knew that there was a valid reason for the rail gauge mess that is Australia, but it looks like the Queenslanders circumvented it by buying old Victorian Railways stock and forming QRNational. Now I am haunted by my past.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Kappas, Mamma Mias and Tonkotsu Ramen

While B and my Mum went off to watch Mamma Mia at Star City's Lyric Theatre Alex and I enjoyed ourselves wandering the city. We saw representations of kappas, mythical Japanese water creatures at the Maritime Museum, had iced chocolate at the Lindt Cafe and admired televisions at the Sony Centre.

I was carrying Alex on my back, in a Phil & Ted Escape carrier. Unfortunately, there is an issue with the carriers support legs collapsing under pressure and I have to wait for the supplier to contact the shAfteop I bought it from before I can get any service done on it. I do love carrying him around in it, feels very adventurous.

I met B and mum after the show, leaving mum at the Chinese Gardens while I sought B's opinion on the Sony S Series tv deal. Whilst at World Tower we ran into some relatives of hers and of course they wanted to play with bub.

We eventually returned to Darling Harbour to collect mum, then had dinner at the Eating World food court in Chinatown. There I had to most delicious tonkotsu ramen, the soup and noodles silky smooth. It brought back memories of Fukuoka last year, eating tonkotsu ramen from the portable yatai stalls that lined the streets.

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