0 Where I Live

Physically, I live in Wollongong, a small city on the south-east coast of Australia. The region is has mild-warm (a bit too warm lately!) climate and is geologically stable (as much as any part of a planet mostly made of molten rock under high pressure can be). I am far enough from the sea, and sufficiently elevated to be outside realistic tsunami and flood risk, but get a nice sea breeze in the summer all the same (which is just as well as I don't have - or want the expense of, if I can avoid it - air-conditioning: I normally have to sweat through a dozen-or-so unpleasant days a year, which isn't bad at all!).

Wollongong is a quite nice place. A good bit larger than necessary for my own needs but not actually a crowded hive of humanity. I have a decent job here, which is really the only reason I have for staying, though. There is good multi-racial diversity in the population and people are generally friendly and helpful. The climate is very pleasing almost all year-round. The only real downside is the cost of housing (though that applies to most of coastal Australia). Roads and traffic are downright terrifying, but where in today's world is that not the general case?


I currently reside in a small, somewhat-decrepit apartment. It is weather-tight, but pretty-much too poorly designed and constructed to be worth renovating, even if I owned it -- which I wouldn't, for the just stated reasons. On the (rather big) up-side, It is close enough to public transport that I have no need to sustain a money-pit of a private car (which additionally saves even more tn rent as I don't have to pay for a place with a garage, or parking fees at work....). Surprisingly, considering the low rental bracket, there is an ocean view (barely):

View from Glenn's balcony

Of course, being a generic slapped-down-off-the-plan design thrown up without any thought for the location, all the apartment's stupidly big single-glazed heat-leeching windows face nothing-worth-seeing and the above ocean view is from the pokey little kitchen window (or the narrow, concrete-cancer-infested balcony in front of it). Like I said, cheap rental bracket.

I actually prefer to live in an apartment, mainly for efficiency reasons, but if I was to pay money to actually own one, it would have to be one designed according to my needs, rather than something built for minimal cost 'investment' at the expense of actual habitability for the resident. So that counts out just about everything built after the 1980's due to abysmally poor modern architecture and construction in this and similar countries, and most places built before the 1980's are out of consideration due to less-advanced materials and techniques being available at the time they were built. In the end, I'd rather rent a regularly-crappy apartment and let the owner worry about the bits that keep falling off due to that crappy design and build quality. At least they get to tax-offset the costs of those repairs! As an owner-occupier, I wouldn't.

* What I do for fun

Being quite introverted, I don't have a desire to go out much. When I do, it is generally to do things such as:

That is a pretty short list, but it covers the common things I get up to in my spare time. As mentioned, I prefer a fairly simple, low-overhead lifestyle and my recreational activities reflect that.

I am not particularly keen on traveling further than a day-trip away from home, though occasionally do so, generally having friends or family to stay with at the destination. I'm definitely not into clubs or concerts or festivals or anything noisy or crowded, which are situations I do my best to avoid. I am also not into shopping, beyond groceries and some specialised tools and equipment I can only order online from specialist suppliers anyway. And some cheap, kitschy, amusing junk that I also can most easily find/order online.


I have rather little in the way of personal possessions. Despite being (or possibly because of being) quite tech-savvy, I don't own a lot of tech 'toys' - nothing against people owning such things, but I don't have any personal use for them at present. Other than the obvious fridge, microwave, bed, chair, kitchen table and the built-in fixtures that are part of the apartment, my only other significant possession is my ICE unit otherwise known as my home workstation and server (and somewhat an art project in its own right).

I have recently had to retire my old feature-phone and decided to try a smart-phone. It is fine, but my goodness is the interface on those things clunky! I don't care how many fancy UI animations you can cram into a modern hand-held computer, I want something that is actually usable! For real work, not just some sort of adult-baby-sitting device to fiddle with and pretend it makes me look cool! Technology for me is a tool, not an ornament! I have beaten the native UI into a vague semblance of usability, but it is still less than a pleasant experience to use! I guess it comes down to what you are used to, and most people will put up with just about any crap if they don't know how much better it could be. Or if getting better requires even a mote of effort on their own part! I should be happy: they deserve every bit of what they accept being given. I just resent being dragged down with them!

H I am a Sectarian Humanist

I follow "a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms [an] ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity." (from The Humanist Manifesto III).


I have no surname.

Glenn Alexander is two given names. I have no surname because I don't want one. My current birth certificate has a dash in the surname field. This stuffs around the government's computer systems no end. There is no legal requirement in Australia to have a surname (they checked that carefully before allowing me to abandon my former one) - you can pretty-much have any name you like as long as it uses roman characters and isn't for fraudulent purposes.

The reason that I have no surname is that they are irrelevant and unnecessary in modern society. Surnames and the way they are passed through male progeny is a throwback to the time when women and children were considered the properties of their father/husband. ie: a male was always the property of his father as denoted by his having that name and a female was the property of her father until married in which the name change signified that she was then the property of her husband. I neither wish to be the property of my father or to own my children. Besides, I know who my immediate family is and that's our business and no-one else's.

It has the further advantage that I use my two names interchangeably, so if there is another Glenn in the room, people can avoid confusion by addressing me as Alex. Though I generally prefer Glenn.

Any children I produce (an unlikely prospect at this stage in my life - never managed to find a woman I trusted to co-parent with) would have two given names, one chosen by their mother and one chosen by myself. They would be able to use either or both as suited them at any particular time.

My name format does play havoc with some badly-conceived databases that demand a surname though, which is always fun.* I was quite well known (in a "so you're that guy" sense) in the Illawarra Health system a decade back as Glenn A. Onlyname, though Medicare has upgraded their systems since then. I imagine if the government or a big corporation wanted to collate all the information they have on me, it will take longer and require more human intervention to do so than they might like. Sucks to be them (maybe they should take time to check if the web and database contractors they pay to do their data-work are actually qualified and aware of now-decades-established standard IT practices in this regard!). And I won't go into the multiple isolated online identities I maintain (for perfectly non-criminal reasons).

*I did read a book once with a character named "Hen4ry" (the 4 is silent). The character changed his name in order to screw with databases that refuse to accept a number in a name field. I'm not interested in deliberately screwing with databases and if they were competently implemented it wouldn't be an issue.

FAQ (Frequently Annoying Questions):

Related Resources:

Also, students particularly, and people in general, please don't take it personally if I repeatedly forget your name. I have a specific cognitive problem with proper nouns, even forgetting casual friend's names sometimes, as well as non-descriptive-names of things in general. That too is entirely unrelated to my personal name-format.




Random Links to stuff that interests me:

Last updated Jan 2021 - removed dead links, updated live links to HTTPS where possible.


English Language Resources

The English Spelling Society - English spelling reform.

Meanings of First Names and First Names from Meanings


Free Content - stuff you can download for free, some you can contribute to yourself!

PROJECT GUTENBERG - Free Books On-Line (mostly fiction, mostly old classics).


Science Interest

New Scientist Planet Science - the online version of the prestigious British science magazine.


The 'Net

Snopes: Urban Legends Reference Pages - there is a lot of stuff on the 'net that simply isn't true. And occasionally some that is!.

StartPage - WebSearch without the tracking.

Why Open Source Solutions Are Better - look at the Numbers! - open source software propaganda.

Great Microprocessors of the Past and Present! - history, very interesting stuff.


Web Comics

Schlock Mercenary - Original Sci-fi, fun to serious.

Freefall - Original Sci-fi, fun.

Irregular Webcomic - Lego Comic, Various themes.

Unspeakable Vault of Doom - Lovecraftian humour.

The Order of the Stick - Roleplayer humor

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language



The Darwin Awards - cleaning the gene-pool.

Blakes 7 Fan Site - BBC TV Sci-fi show from the 70's.

GURPS: Generic Universal RolePlaying System - Game.

Alex's paper airplanes - Instructions to make paper planes.


Linguistics (Artificial Languages)

Lojban - a language based on logic structures. Root words derived from many languages, but mostly English and Chinese.

The Shaw Alphabet - a phonetic alphabet for English. Unicode Proposal.

Ido - a modernised Esperanto derivative.



The Play Ethic - leisure in the modern world.

About Atheism.

Critical Thinking for atheists.

Wait But Why - interesting points of view on various topics that interest me.

Hyperbole and a Half - Depression Part Two - A good little blog-bit about depression.