LATELY — 20 May 2001


Hullo, since I last wrote I’ve been to Bris­bane and Sydney.

In Bris­bane I met Oliver Daly (, who has not been scanned yet.

In Sydney I met Kevin Chang ([long url]) and Tina H. (

This is Kevin Chang.
This is Tina H..
This is Tina H.’s back.

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:

  1. The Standard. The feeding of sensible, bite-sized pieces of bread to the birds. This ex­per­i­ment quickly becomes tiresome.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.