LATELY — 20 May 2001
Hullo, since I last wrote I’ve been to Brisbane and Sydney.
In Brisbane I met Oliver Daly (sufface.net), who has not been scanned yet.
Sydney is a satisfactory city; I would work there. At Circular Quay I watched two boys go through the full cycle of seagull-flexing experiments:
- The Standard. The feeding of sensible, bite-sized pieces of bread to the birds. This experiment quickly becomes tiresome.
- The Dummy. In this, one makes to throw, but does not. The seagulls to leap into the air in the direction of the putative feed. This is highly amusing to those of a certain age. The dummy measures seagull stupidity; seagull stupidity is found to be medium to high.
- The “Big Gulp.” A straight-forward test of the largest piece of bread a seagull can swallow in one go. Method is to dole out successively larger pieces of bread until the seagull is forced to split said piece with little seagull buddies. The largest piece of bread a seagull can swallow in one go is determined to be fascinatingly large. (Both the experimenters and the subjects find this experiment exciting.)
- The Tease. Experimenter places piece of bread on the ground close to their person: the tease produces a measure of how close seagulls are willing to approach in order to obtain food. There are two experimental conditions: (A), in which the experimenter stands perfectly still, and (B), in which the experimenter makes threatening movements toward any seagull eyeing the food, but does not make contact with the bird. As predicted, making threatening movements (variant (B)) increases the minimum approach distance.
- The Charge. (Once supply of bread is exhausted.) Involves running at the flock, causing it to launch itself into the air, and at the heads of frightened by-standers. This experiment is often halted prematurely by experimenters’ parents.
I was pleased to find that the barber shop in Kings Cross (area of sex, drugs, general illicit-ness) has–for while- you- wait reading material–Hustler magazine.
I also bought a mobile phone. The thing I like most about this phone is that it has a number of in-built text messages that you can select and send, without having to input anything. The most useful is the “I love you” message. Previously, one had to laboriously enter such a message letter-by-letter, wasting valuable time. With this innovation, only a few keystrokes are necessary. I’m hoping I can get it down to one keystroke. That would be brilliant. Even better would be to program the phone to send the message automatically whenever it’s turned on, whenever it’s turned off, whenever it’s bumped, or once per hour, whichever is less.
According to Christian theology, if you die and go to Heaven, what happens if someone you love very dearly does not make it? Are you happy despite their absence? In spite of it? Do you forget that they existed? No answer seems satisfactory.