Holidays are over, so time to psych myself up for early starts again (yuck). Waking up before dawn is always tough, and even more so when your very comfortable cat stares at you like you’re an absolute loon! I must admit, she makes a very compelling argument to stay in bed… 🐈

a tabby cat rests on a bed, eyes closed, in dim light a tabby cat rests on a bed, eyes half-open, in dim light a tabby cat rests on a bed, eyes fully open, in dim light

Had a weird experience today. I had to call Medicare to check on the progress of something that really should’ve been done by now (I learned that apparently “3–4 weeks” only applies if there were no public holidays during that time), and once we finally got to the point of confirming there were no issues with the form and I just had to wait a little longer, the guy started asking me if I knew about privacy issues with Google!!

Like, genuinely, he went, “You know, my friend told me that if you log into Gmail then Google gets the web address of every page you visit afterwards, do you know if that’s true?” and I found myself explaining that a) if you use Google Chrome, yes; b) if you get to web pages by searching for them in Google, then yes; and c) if you don’t block Google tracking cookies, then yes. So then he said he’d already deleted his Gmail and was going to stop using Google Search and did I recommend that he switch to Microsoft’s browser instead of Chrome…

tbh even after that I got more stories (he also suspected Google got too much insight into his life through his Android phone and had a relevant story from another friend). By the end of the call, I felt like I’d spent more time answering his questions than the other way around. I wish the Australian Government would pay me 😂

Judas and the Black Messiah

Yesterday Viv and I went and saw Judas and the Black Messiah, at long last. It’s about the Black Panthers’ Fred Hampton and the FBI’s COINTELPRO, and was pretty good (Viv liked it even more than me).

I think I’d’ve liked more focus on Hampton and the other genuine Black Panthers and less on the rat (William O’Neal), but it still did well showing Hampton’s vision …

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Can I be real, it’s really confusing that the Swans and GWS are apparently facing off in the VFL on the same day that senior teams with the same name are also facing off in the AFL. I thought the Swans' social media person was having a laugh using the historic name for the league. I mean, I will maintain that the Swans are a Victorian team in exile rather than a NSW team until my dying breath but holding games in Sydney between Sydney-based teams and calling them VFL games is a new one 🤔

Melbourne's Property Development Crisis

Like many people, I think, I have an instinctive contempt for property developers.

It’s not that I object to new apartment buildings, per se. There do seem to be a lot of people in Melbourne who think that three million was the perfect population size for our city, and since as far as they’re concerned we were “full” at that point, we should continue to have a housing …

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Recently I found, and started playing, Melvor Idle. I’d been looking for a game I could play mindlessly while listening to documentaries or podcasts (I seem too fidgety to just listen and do nothing else, and if I do something more “active” like scroll social media I focus on what I’m reading and don’t listen 😂). This game hasn’t been too bad – as an idle RPG you can just leave it farming when you have better shit to do, and choose a more micromanagey task like combat when you need something to zone out with. Is it the most enthralling game ever? No. Indeed, if they even jazzed it up with a bit more flavour text, I think that would go a long way to making it feel more satisfying. But “enthralling” is not the niche I was looking to fill, and for what I wanted it for, it’s been fine.

A couple of days ago now, but our regular Sunday walk on the beach took place in the vicious cold and got hit by icy rain. On the plus side, the lighting got pretty spectacular. Watching my sister struggle with her umbrella looked like a shot from a movie!

photo of a young woman from behind, holding an umbrella, on a beach in the sun and rain simultaneously photo of a beach with partly cloudy skies above; coast on the left photo of a beach with partly cloudy skies above; coast at the bottom of frame photo of a beach with partly cloudy skies above; coast on the right

The first wintry blast of the year has well and truly hit Melbourne. Today and tomorrow have maxima of around 15°C, but the “feels like” temperature during the day has been 6–8°C (set to get down to 1°C overnight!). Brrrrr 🥶

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.