race across the city

dinner with an old friend

Originally uploaded by cafedave.

Once your friends get married, it becomes harder to catch up with them. Once they have kids, it becomes harder still. Almost ten years into his marriage, one of my oldest friends found himself with a meeting in the city, giving me a rare opportunity to have dinner with him: just the two of us – first time in probably ten years!

Some problems with his planned (pre-dinner) meeting in the city arose, and so we caught up earlier than we’d previously arranged. We walked from Wynyard station, along George St, and then back past Town Hall.

After walking for 20 or 25 minutes across the city, his phone rang. His meeting was back on. Not used to the city, he quoted 10 minutes to get back!

It’s been a long while since we last walked anywhere together, but the blistering pace that he set back then hasn’t changed a bit: it was all I could do to keep up with him! Sure enough, 12 minutes later, we were back at the original site, and he finally made his meeting.

After that was over, we walked back across the city for dinner, having a great time catching up; (be careful if you’re looking for dessert on George St, near Town Hall – I’ve never had an affogato served in an espresso cup before).

The whole night – racing across the city – catching up – driving him home – was an excellent time. If you have any friendships that date back so far, I would highly encourage you to keep making the effort – spend the time whenever you can.

finding the world’s smallest laptop

I can’t say I have a lot of experience with small laptops: mine is a 17-inch G4 Powerbook, but the idea of having a tiny computer seems to appeal to some people.

If you were looking for a small laptop, you’d have to start with the website dynamism.com – they’re the ones who get all the technology that doesn’t even make it into the USA. From memory, they even convert the Japanese editions of things across to English editions. The one I linked to back in 2002 was the Sony PCG-UI; there doesn’t seem to be a lot of new information on Google about anything smaller or better, but it’s hard to believe that there’s been no progress since then!

It depends on your definition of laptop, really. The oqo is very small, but you wouldn’t say that you could type with it.

Otherwise, you could look at endgadget’s laptop site, or at gizmodo.

what to talk about

With every long weekend comes a host of events; two separate barbecues with different groups of friends, a church service, a prolonged game of multiplayer halo. The question arises: what do you talk about at these different events?

The most dull conversations, and the most interesting, can start with the same set of questions. Worse, though, is spending time with someone – especially someone who’s hard to get hold of, and then going completely blank as to what to talk about. It seems like such a waste; sure, a better-organised person would know exactly what they want to talk about with everyone, but lately, that hasn’t been me.

As a Christian, I have a track record of steering conversations towards Christian-y things from time to time. Depending on ho you’re talking to, the reaction can be anything from "I’m glad you mentioned it" to an awkward, please-change-the-subject silence: strangely, it doesn’t make much difference whether the conversation is with a Christian, or not. Sometimes people are keen to talk about things, other times, it’s like wading through wet cement.

Books like How to win friends and influence people would tell you that to be considered a good conversationalist, you should talk about whatever the other person is interested in. Other books, like How to have a Beautiful mind mention using lateral thinking as the way to approach topics in interesting ways.

I don’t want to be interesting, or well-thought of, though. I’m happy if this happens, I guess, but I’d like to be the kind of person who is worth talking to. I don’t want to lose the dark, odd sense of humour that I have, but I’d like to have people walk away from (at least the occasional) conversation with me thinking "I’m glad we had that conversation".

Let me know how I’m going with that.

DVD: The Thin Red Line

DVD: The Thin Red Line

A lot of stars, a lot of action; I thought that the movie lacked an overall plot: it felt like a sequence of war stories that had been stuck together. A good movie to be watching over the Anzac Day weekend; to be reminded of the horrors and difficulties of being at war, but for some reason it didn’t quite reach out to me the way that some other war movies have.