Random Play by Graham Reid

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Random Play: Make It Easy On Yourself

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  • David Slack,

    (don't get me started on guineas!)

    Oh, but I will, for I love the guinea. I grew up in a world of stock auctions, where things sold by the guinea, that is to say, 21 shillings. Which makes a pound plus a shilling. The shilling went to the auctioneer and the pound went to the vendor. I think.

    If I'm right about that, it seems to me that the notion of a fair commission was thus entrenched: 5%.

    We left that behind with decimalisation and at that moment the leash was slipped on what constituted a fair commission. Thus did the likes of your Fay and your Richwhite make out like bandits.

    This is just a theory, you understand, but you have reminded me that it is nice to to do a little thinking now and then, and share your work with others so they can improve it.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The GPS on the car that took us to Mantua earlier this month was one of the absolute highlights of the trip to my son. But I was deligted - delighted! - to discover that it wasn't infallible. My grandmother's patch is small but devilishly difficult to navigate; we had to get to our cousins' village, and it kept trying to steer us away from it, which culminated in the following exchange:

    GPS LADY: Turn right
    ME: No, turn left.
    (Driver turns left, to his eternal credit)
    GPS LADY: If possible, turn the car around and proceed in the opposite direction.
    ME: But I can see the bloody house!

    Score one for the human race.

    As for your general argument, you've hit on a bugbear of mine: be careful what you wish for, gadget-wise, and for god's sakes leave yourself something to do. It's the flipside of the information revolution, isn't it? Computers our doing our remembering, our thinking, our orienteering - the fun stuff - but as of yet they're not doing our laundry. We've got this thing ass-backwards.

    Also on language: The Languge Instinct by Stephen Pinker, which includes a defence of English spelling. I wasn't privy to the discussion in the Herald you're talking about, but shit, who'd want the English language to be even easier than it is now?! Is there another language in the universe with so few moods and tenses, and so modular? And not a subjunctive pluterperfect in sight. What's not to like?

    And finally...

    Under the new system it has actually become very easy for me to add copy, upload music, insert photos and clips, and so on at Elsewhere.
    I can do it . . . ahh . . . without thinking. Hmmm.

    That's always been my little problem with Elsewhere. It's great, and vast, but also great... and vast. A subset of the Internet, but only just. I get lost easily, perhaps you ought to implement a GPS function.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    This is just a theory, you understand, but you have reminded me that it is nice to to do a little thinking now and then, and share your work with others so they can improve it.

    Or if you can't improve on it, at least admire its elegance and give the original thinker some glow of public appreciation in which to briefly bask...

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 190 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm reminded by the story a few years back about some Aussie tourists (I think) who used their in-car nav system to go from Nelson to Chch - it chose the most direct route - some time later on a one lane dirt farm road tacked to the side of a mountain they realised it may not have been be exactly the best idea - there's a reason that road goes through Kaikoura

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2174 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "not a subjunctive pluterperfect in sight"

    We would have had trouble coming up with ways to use them anyway.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    "Bonan targon Senor Reid." You see? Way back then learning Esperanto was a great brain exercise.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    We would have had trouble coming up with ways to use them anyway.

    Well, if I had known it was going to be an issue I'm sure I could have thought of some use for it...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Crunchy Weta,

    While we are at it, do we really need mobiles to be always in contact with the world? Perhaps it is time for a 'Slow Life" movement.

    Mamaku • Since Nov 2006 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Perhaps it is time for a 'Slow Life" movement.

    That's the hours between waking up and having lunch isn't it? Other people only get a moment?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    There are two places in New Zealand that I always seem to get lost in - the North Shore (thank god for the Sky Tower to guide me out of there) and Brooklyn in Wellington (and also Brooklyn in New York, but that's another story). I think there's an evil spirit there that just somehow sucks out all of my logical sense of direction and just leaves me driving around and around and around before I can make sense of it again.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    There are two places in New Zealand that I always seem to get lost in

    Hello, Christchurch? Which is what you get when you build a city on a flat swamp.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Louise,

    I caught a cab home from Auckland Airport a couple of weeks ago and the driver asked for my address. I said it was in Pt Chev. He wanted the actual address to put into his GPS. I told him I could tell him how to get there if he needed assistance. He insisted on using his GPS. Go figure. Maybe he suspected I didn't know how to get home?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Is there another language in the universe with so few moods and tenses, and so modular?

    Mandarin Chinese. The pronunciation takes a little getting used to, but the writing isn't as bad as you'd think (you can get around knowing only about 2,000 characters), and the grammar is very simple and modular (and very similar to English).

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    There are two places in New Zealand that I always seem to get lost in - the North Shore (thank god for the Sky Tower to guide me out of there) and Brooklyn in Wellington (and also Brooklyn in New York, but that's another story).

    That one-way system in Hastings... on one visit some years ago, there were three occasions I could see the street I wanted, even the house I was to visit, but the road conspired to take me away from my destination...

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Maybe he suspected I didn't know how to get home?

    One of the things I love about Green Cabs in Wellington is that I know almost all the drivers now, so if I should ever be a little errr confused when I get into their cars late at night, I know they know where I live!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Make it easy on yourself?

    Nah.

    Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore. But there's No Regrets...

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I'm reminded by the story a few years back about some Aussie tourists (I think) who used their in-car nav system to go from Nelson to Chch - it chose the most direct route - some time later on a one lane dirt farm road tacked to the side of a mountain they realised it may not have been be exactly the best idea -

    Christchurch to Nelson, and it was a rental car with the GPS default setting on shortest route. They ended up driving through farm roads, gates, and fords in the mountains in the middle of the night. The problem was they didn't realise how screwed they were until they were so screwed they needed the GPS to get them out again. This is the route that Google Maps gives for the journey. It doesn't seem too bad.

    Navigating through back roads can be fun - I had a really good map of English roads that got me through the Cheddar Gorge and to the Cerne Abbas Giant via several much quicker back roads, but a map gives you a bigger picture than GPS does, and a sense of when to trust your own judgement.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 814 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    My strategy for getting around Auckland before I lived here was "keep on driving and you'll get to Newmarket and you'll know what to do from there". It worked amazingly well, many times over.

    Now that I live here I still do that, but I really feel like I should make more of an effort.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I get lost in the eastern suburbs of Auckland. Miles and miles of identical boring suburbia.

    And I used to get mixed up in the arrangements of bridges and tunnels around the back of Kelburn, for the opposite reason.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Hello, Christchurch? Which is what you get when you build a city on a flat swamp.

    Pff, it's a big square, it's perfectly easy. Or at least it would be if someone hadn't decided that it was good urban planning to make the central road grid look like a Union Jack. And then jam a one-way 'system' into it.

    You really just need a compass and your eyes. If you want poor people or the sea, drive east. If you want students or the airport, go west. If you want rich people drive towards the hills, and if you want 'town' drive towards the only tall buildings. Dunno what north is for. A complete lap of the city only takes about an hour anyway.

    Wellington, meanwhile, is a freaking nightmare. I just got the hang of it and you shifted all the streets or reversed the one-way system or something.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I get lost in the eastern suburbs of Auckland. Miles and miles of identical boring suburbia.

    Me too, It was easier to navigate during the eighties when it was paddocks.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2751 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    I had a trip to attend a meeting in (South) Auckland recently which finished early. Since I was off the clock, instead of just hitting the motorway back to the 'tron, I headed East. Ended up traveling home via Clevedon and the Hunua Valley (I think). Gosh! That is some beautiful countryside out there. Drove past many lifestyle-blocks/country-estates/pony-clubs/country-schools/community-halls etc. that I had never seen before. No cellphone coverage, no FM radio. Just used the sun's position to keep on heading roughly in the right direction. Hmmm, this valley looks like it heads South. Let's follow that and see where it goes.

    Wonderful.

    Ended up somewhere familiar eventually and reluctantly got back on track for home.

    GPS, Schmee-P-S. Explore!

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 190 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    You really just need a compass and your eyes.

    I can't believe I left my boy scout kit at home last time I visited.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    that meant you could divide a pound by 1,2,3,4, 6, 10, 12

    I'm too young to have experienced pounds in New Zealand, but didn't the old system in the mother country have a special name for exactly an eighth of a pound---a half crown? A fifth of a pound was four shillings, and if you really wanted a fifteenth of a pound, you could do 1s., 4d. And that's without even getting started on the ha'penny or the farthing.
    <><

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    so if I should ever be a little errr confused when I get into their cars late at night, I know they know where I live!

    Regularity has its uses. I had one spendidly gregarious workmate who took to wearing her corporate name badge out on the town. At the end of the eve when her equally incoherent drinking buddies poured her into a cab, the driver could just ask dispatch where she lived if they didn't already know. Worked a treat, although not so sure how safe it would be these days.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16759 posts Report Reply

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