Sunday, July 31, 2005

You know you're a...

...hoarding pack rat when:

  • you discover your university notes and you left uni 15 years ago;
  • You still have floppy disks for a computer you stopped using 10 years ago;
  • jam you stole from a hotel you visited 9 years ago hidden in a bag you haven't touched since.
Spring cleaning is fun.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Shuttle/ISS Viewing in Perth

For those interested in seeing the Shuttle/ISS then check out NASA's Human Spaceflight tracking page. Wednesday 18.19 looks like the best time to see them this coming week.

Anyone up for a Star Party?

In Training

The readers for the new Smart Rider system at Perth Train Station.


The crowd watches as Perth Glory and friends try to set a new football marathon record.

Friday, July 29, 2005


The Supermercado Project has a wonderful article on just how ineffectual Sensis is.

Telstra giving you 80s style service today.

Geeky Is . . .

...configuring GoogleEarth with online data to display the planet, in real time, as the astronauts onboard Discovery and the ISS are seeing it right now. And watching NASA TV live at the same time.

We need popcorn...

Clean Complex and Dark

30-second Bunny Theatre

Want to see the 30-second version of Alien? As re-enacted by bunnies? Or how about the RHPS? Jaws? A Wonderful Life? Then pop over to Angry Alien Productions and check out their web animations. They're a hoot.

ICE Update Update

Some malicious idiot has started an email campaign to counter ICE by falsely stating that setting up an ICE contact in your phone's address book will automatically result in your being charged premium rates for the "service".

ICE is about enabling paramedics and police to figure out whom they shold contact in the event that something messy happens to you. You could tattoo your next-of-kin's name and number on your forehead, or wear dog-tags, or carry an ICE card in your wallet, or provide this basic information in any number of ways. Adding an In Case of Emergency (ICE) number to your contacts is simply the way the UK campaign went because mobile phones are damned near ubiquitous.

So ignore the email when you get it. It's a HOAX, and a petty, mean-spirited one. And if you're stupid enough to believe it, well, hey, there's no helping you.


Okay for those of you who have had broadband connections for a long time this is probably old hat, but for me it's new and exciting. NASA TV rocks. It's fun to hear a highly-trained shuttle astronaut complain about there not being enough hard-disk drive space and having to use a different drive. And if this is live - or near live (I don't know) - then Discovery and Alpha are just now crossing the equator over Africa.

Geeky, but so very cool!

A friend in need


ICE update

Yesterday we posted the story about setting up 'In Case of Emergency Numbers'. Today, Channel Ten news is running ads promoting the idea. Way to go Ten!

The Yay/Feh View of Today's News

After 30 years of bloodshed, the IRA are formally ending its campaign of violence in favour of democratic and peaceful means to achieve their objective.

The optimist in me says, "Yay! Rationality prevails!"

The skeptic in me says, "Feh. Even the IRA realise they have become irrelevant."

After all, what have they done lately? Robbed a bank, bashed some guy in a pub... Yeah, real nation-building stuff. Deeds to tell the grandkiddies about. They want to be treated like responsible adults capable of running their own country, then they have to start behaving like statesmen, not thugs. A noble cause can only be properly served by noble means.

Bombing civilians, for example, is by no stretch of anyone's dogma a noble means.

First the British Muslim clerics pulled their fingers out and issued a fatwa against suicide bombings. Now the North Americans have jumped onboard. Yay!

But why haven't we heard from the Middle East, or Pakistan, or Indonesia, on any of the other major Muslim nations on this issue? Hello? Feh.

Maybe they'd like to, but their channels are being flooded by the US Government. Telesur is a new pan-Latin-American TV channel being broadcast from Venezuela that seeks to promote South American intergration and basically tell the news from a South American perspective. The US Government has taken this is a direct threat to its dominance of South American airwaves, and claiming anti-US bias, the US House of Representatives has voted to allow the US administration to broadcast its own TV signals to Venezuela to counter Telesur's broadcasts. Big Feh!

I thought it was difficult enough getting local content on Access 31 here in Perth, but imagine having a foreign power putting their shows on your televsion set... um. Never mind.

In Big Yay news, the winner of the Bulwer-Lytton bad fiction contest has been announced:

As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.
-- Dan McKay, Fargo, ND

Thursday, July 28, 2005

In Case of Emergency

Here's a really cool idea: In Case of Emergency numbers preprogrammed into your mobile so that if you have an accident the emergency services can contact your loved ones.

Thanks to Mahmood for the heads up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Best Booty

Last night:
Dinner - scrumptious fish curry. Dessert - ah! Chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate icing and served with chocolate ice-cream. Courtesy of Chef Skribe. Anything he makes is always lovely, but this was lovelier than usual.

Charcoal lambswool jumper from me to me. Another fabulous find. Designer label, excellent condition, for fewer dollars than I have fingers on one hand.

Pretty shiny candlestick with musk candle, from "some crazy work experience girl at the office" whom I'm not supposed to tell is Kylie. The girliest thing I ever got.

A tin of cherry pastilles and a pocket memo from the boss. (*blink* Did he just pull some random stuff out of his drawer? Guess it's the thought that counts :)

Addicted to a...

...stupid game.

Blame goes to Ted. Thanks =).

Someone is watching

Last night TP and I were playing with Google Earth when suddenly we hear on the tv:

At any time, anywhere in the world someone is watching...
Or words to that affect.

Channel 9 News are doing a sensationalist story on, you guessed it, Google Earth. So, if you get a feeling you're being watched, it's probably us trying to find Uluru or Stonehenge.


In the midst of rendering one project, I'm scouring Soundclick for music for another when I chance upon mp3s of my old school's marching band.

My alma mater had a marching band?

Bloody hell.

That school was such a sorry affair when I began there that the only notable event in its history had been the suicide of its principal the previous year.

Its population was so low that it'd had to merge with another secondary school to boost its numbers, and our classes were still only half-size. Oh, and as a result of the merger we didn't have a standard uniform. The weekly assemblies included public disciplinary actions for vandalism and petty crime, and visits by the local constabulary were a common feature. It was a farce.

Gradually, over the next couple of years, something changed. The new principal was a man who believed that anyone could achieve great things, however disadvantaged they thought they were, as long as they were willing to work for it. Next thing I knew our school had started a small lion-dancing troupe and its own magazine.

Then the school hockey team won the national under-14s trophy. We got a new (icky brown) uniform. Morale and school spirit blossomed, despite the uniform.

In the years after I left, the uniform was redesigned to something a little more flattering, the population maxed out, and my old school was no longer quite the embarassment it once had been.

And a few years ago, they apparently put together a band. And they've posted some mp3s. And they're good.

Wow. Unfamiliar feelings of pride in my alma mater are stirring. This is so weird.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Happy Day

Huh. So while Skribe is out enjoying the sunshine, I'm trapped in the Hell of Subtitling, Re-Editing, & Otherwise Fixing Up The FGM Doco. Chinese have a lot of Hells, Jack.

So, to make the most of this brief respite called dinner-at-home, I recommend:

1.'s Urgent But Unanswerable Queries,
2. The Family Guy In A-Ha's Take On Me music video clip,
3. The Ultimate Office-Made RubberBand Gun (I gotta make me one of these).

There, that should keep us all entertained for a little while.

Middle of winter

Who would have thought?

Monday, July 25, 2005

So Cutting Edge Funny I Hurt

According to the The 3 Variable Funny Test, my sense of humour is "Clean, Spontaneous and Dark". Is that what you get when Snow White tells baby-in-the-blender jokes?

The Cutting Edge
(52% dark, 43% spontaneous, 27% vulgar)
your humor style:

Your humor's mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there's something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren't in and of themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery, or are seriously over-the-top. Your type is the most likely to appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person dancing.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman - John Belushi

Your opposite: The Comic

Thanks, I think, to Edward J. Grug III for this.

And the Winner Is. . .

Last Friday, the Mad Hungarian picked up an Antenna for best arts program for the episode on the Sculpture Survey 2005 at Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Park. Yay!

What, you didn't realise community broadcasting has its own awards night and that it was telecast live on 31? That's okay, nobody else does either.

Still, a gong's a gong, and this is the trophy I won for the boss.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I found a couple of web-based sports games on the ABC website. There are three listed on the page but only the bottom two work.

Kaya (cont'd)

Just over half-an-hour later, cooling, while we boil some jars. Aching arms all round, but worth it.

Kaya (Coconut Egg Jam)

Half-an-hour down. Half-an-hour left.

The recipe we're using.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Busker Crowd

Can anyone tell me why these guys always draw such a big crowd? I just don't get it.

If you can't work it out from the pic they're the 'break-dancers' that perform outside City Arcade in the Murray St Mall.

Ah, Northbridge!

Skribe and I spent the better part of today exploring Northbridge, or more accurately, the grocery shops of Northbridge.

Kong's just isn't exotic enough for Skribe anymore, so we have been forced further afield in the quest for foodstuffs we can neither pronounce nor identify.

As we sat in the winter sunlight slurping spoonfuls of sweet tofu I reflected on how, despite its preponderance of Chinese medicine shops and restaurants, that it's true - Northbridge doesn't really have a Chinatown.

The concept of Chinatown might have meant something once, when there were communities of Chinese market gardeners living in Perth. But Northbridge today is such a patchwork of ethnic identities that a single over-riding term like Chinatown is rather inadequate. I love it.

I love it so much it's Northbridge I get homesick for these days, instead of Singapore. For years I hankered after the hawker centres and wet markets of Singapore. No more. Now I yearn for the little cafes and shops of deep Northbridge. Walking up William Street, just past Aberdeen, you gradually become aware of the aroma - it's almost physical, like when the wind billows the sun-warmed sheets into your face - and it smells like home.

Heading back towards the city, it feels like you're shifting shadows, as Zelazny might have described it, as with each step you move from one world towards a different one, a process so gradual you cannot say precisely when it is you left the heart of Northbridge behind and when you've returned to the rather more mundane Northbridge of pubs and souvenir shops and al fresco dining.

Not that that hasn't got its charms, but it doesn't feed the soul.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Makan Time

Just had a wonderful homecooked meal (wonton mee) using a recipe that we garnered from Makan Time.

Makan is Malay for food and also the verb to eat.

The News Is Stuck On the London Channel

Trying to unwind after a long day of researching and making corrections to a doco on the cheerful subject of female genital mutilation, and just heard on the news that there's been another security scare on the London tube.

The weekend will soon be over, and this bloody doco I have to fix has its deadline, but the situation in London and Baghdad and Kabul and everywhere else is just going to go on and on and on.


There's been a new security scare in London! England's just lost its ninth wicket.


3kg bag of dried mushrooms. Yum!

My City: The Labyrinthe

Tucked away in a quiet courtyard behind the Law Chambers and St George's Cathedral is this hand-painted medieval-style labyrinth.

Some time ago, the bricks got shuffled and the maze was ruined. It was therefore a pleasure to find it restored.

It may not be especially big, nor bear the romance of antiquity about it, but it has clearly been made with love.

Next time you need a spot of meditative fun, try the labyrinth.

For what it's worth

Recently a client contacted me wanting some editing work done. She had very specific ideas what she wanted which is always good, because it's always easier trying to achieve a goal than trying to discover if one exists at all. So we discussed the project for about half-an-hour and to be honest I was looking forward to doing it. It sounded like fun. But then we hit a snag.

It seems that most people don't realise what's involved in creating an editing project from scratch. I remember having one client tell me that her project would only take four hours to edit. She had four hours of raw footage. It usually takes me at least one-to-two hours to log and capture each hour of raw footage - and then I have to edit it (which took me the better part of a week). What she meant was that she only wanted to pay me for four hours work.

And that's the problem. Editing takes a long time. I can usually finish a typical half-hour runtime programme of broadcast quality in about a week. I can do it quicker but the quality suffers. If the project requires additional time intensive processes (such as animations) then the time increases accordingly. I'm only too happy to do such things but I'm not doing them for free. This is my job. If your boss only paid you for 4 hours for doing a 40 hours worth of work you wouldn't be happy.

This job would have taken at least a week and probably two. It required the conversion of some video from an old - no longer available - format to digital plus a massive animation. What the client initially offered me wouldn't have even covered the cost for the conversion - something I can't do because the format was so antiquated. So, I ended up not doing the job. Which is a pity. But I need to eat and pay the bills too.


Telemarketers usually work from a script. Next time one calls you why not use a counter script.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

London Bombing: The Sequel

Bloody amateurs. They not only deserve contempt for their sheer callousness, but also for being both inept and unimaginative.

Update: I was willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were trying to create terror without actually killing anyone, in obedience to the recently issued fatwa. Nah.
One wonders now if they will interpret this (FOUR bombs not going Boom) as the will of Allah.


Can you help me out? You ain't no brother, but you a cousin. And a white man said, "Ask not what your cousin can do for you, ask what you can do for your cousin." What can you do for me, man?

Tropfest 2006

The TSI is:


Interesting choice.

Boredom Map

I made the mistake of downloading Google Earth (also available online). What a time sink!

For the parochial Perthites I've noticed that Perth has far better satellite images than either Melbourne (is that the MCG?) or Sydney (the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are blurs).

350+ fine days per year has yet another benefit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scientific Method

An Ice Cold One (or ten)

St Petersburg 1900

If it's pissing down with rain, it must be another Perth Bloggers Meet-Up. Stay dry, guys.

Me, I'm putting my feet up tonight after not one, but two treks through the St Petersburg 1900 exhibition up at the old AG of WA. Fabulous show, especially with a guided tour by one of the curators. Perk of the job.

The offside is somehow getting the boss to show up to his appointments on time, while putting together an award-winning program about said exhibition. Uh-huh.

My favourite moment in the exhibition was turning a corner and unexpectedly coming face to face with somene I'd only ever encountered in books:

This is one of the most extraordinary portraits of its type, and I never expected to meet it without travelling to Russia. But here he is in little old Perth, Kramskoi's portrait of Ivan Shiskin, himself an extraordinarily fine landscape artist.

Oh, and there's a Faberge egg and some happy snaps of the last Tsar when he was still just a Prince playing dress-up as Onegin, and costumes and set designs from the Imperial Theatres, and fabulous examples of the beginnings of minimalist paintings... it's just an astounding exhibition. Not only have the Russians allowed their treasures to travel out of the country at all, but that it was Perth that pulled off this coup.

Go see!

One small step

One giant leap.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


We live in a crazy world. Here's just a sample of what happened today:

A teen started his own airline

A German man is selling canned car exhaust

200 Indians received an unusual punishment for watching porn

A vagrant won the right to hang in a posh suburb

40 pilots in California have been indicted

It's Another Long Day At The Office

SO I went and took an IQ Test under a pseudonym.

This is what they had to say:

Congratulations, Purity!
Your IQ score is 138

This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.

Your Intellectual Type is Visionary Philosopher. This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others — and at anticipating and predicting patterns. And that's just some of what we know about you from your IQ results.

Find out more in your personalized 15-page IQ Report. It's ready right now!

Exceptional math and verbal skills? Me? The girl who practically flunked every subject except English and Art, and who still can't translate her own Chinese name? And they expect me to hand over my credit card details to get a more in-depth report? FWAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

Finally, A Fatwa On Suicide Bombings

"Whoever kills a human being ... then it is as though he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a human life it is as though he had saved all mankind."
-- Gul Mohammad, quoting the Koran

British Muslim leaders have issued a fatwa on suicide bombings.

OTOH, a fatwa is just a "formal legal opinion", but seeing as how Salman Rushdie has been living in fear for his life because of a "formal legal opinion" issued over a novel, it's about time a "formal legal opinion" was issued over mass murder and the slaughter of innocents.

Avalanches start slow, so let's see when the rest of the Muslim world heeds the fatwa issued in Britain. They must, if they want to reclaim their religion and way of life from the extremists. It's the only effective way the so-called war on terrorism will be won.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Paintball, Gentlemen?

I was going to post some thoughts on anti-hate-literature laws and Voltaire (or rather Evelyn Beatrice Hall) but then my train of thought was utterly derailed by this delightful happy snap.

Look closer.


Yes, that really is his scrotum. This is how.

The why I really don't need to know.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


...Ronald Wilson

Lovemarks: Romancing the Customer

Is there a product/service you love beyond reason? That you trust and respect absolutely? That you would recommend without hesitation?

Well, share it on Lovemarks, and let everyone know why this product/service pushes all your loyalty buttons.

Because Saatchi & Saatchi would like to know - they really would - what it takes to make you continually and happily pay for certain products/services but not others.

They say it much more politely, of course.

Saatchi & Saatchi reckon they're onto something with their Lovemarks campaign/survey. It's no longer about merely buying things we need, or shopping for fun. It's about love, sensuality, mystery, and intimacy, apparently. Consumer culture as romance.

Although judging by some of the other nominations on the website, people are passionate about everything from Doctor Who to George W. Bush to Sumo (wrestling) to Tim Tams.

Me, I'm just happy if it works well and always. Google, anyone?

Saturday, July 16, 2005


How It Should Have Ended

QoTD: Tea Dammit!

"When the news reporter said "Shopkeepers are opening their doors bringing out blankets and cups of tea" I just smiled. It's like yes. That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything.

You're a bit cold?
Your boyfriend has just left you?
You've just been told you've got cancer?
Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt?
And if it's really serious, they may bring out the coffee. The Americans have their alert raised to red, we break out the coffee. That's for situations more serious than this of course. Like another England penalty shoot-out."

-- jslayeruk
(collected on Steve's Random and Often Belligerent Journal)


Friday, July 15, 2005

The M Word

Certain recent events have once again led to dark mutterings about the failure of multiculturalism. Well, there's a surprise.

Multiculturalism is dirty word in my book. I loathe it. The whole concept is stupid. If you need a commitee to define it and lecture you about it, it's failed. Give it up.

By all means, let's celebrate our diversity. But the reality is that Government-funded initiatives like Harmony Week only serve to highlight differences. I'm Chinese by ethnicity, sure, and Australian by nationality. But I am not some weird hybrid beast called a Chinese-Australian.

How often do the police describe a white person of interest as an "Anglo-Australian"? Never; he's an "Australian". Now how often is someone Nyoongar also described as "Australian"? Yeah, right.

And how can we celebrate diversity? One simple way would be to acknowledge that our festivals have equal weight to those from England. Which of the major festivals of the major ethnic groups are in the calendar? None of them. Instead we get holidays like the Queen's Birthday, which only a handful of monarchists get excited about, but not enough to actually throw a street party for.

In Singapore, they have THREE New Year's Days, as well as Deepavali for the Indians, and Vesak Day for Buddhists. All the major ethnic and religious groups have their day. Multiculturalism wasn't a conscious policy there - the relevent groups just took the day/s off to celebrate and everybody else either got on with it or went along for the ride. Everybody, whoever they are, loves to party.

True multiculturalism isn't something that happens once a year - it's a lifestyle. I experience it from time to time here, but not enough. Atrocities like Harmony Week remind me that in my adopted country, I am still just a hyphen.

Come on. Migrants aren't exactly a new thing. For decades, you've been eating their food, dancing to their music, affecting their paraphernalia as "conversation pieces" for the coffee table or the garden. Internalise us already.

Crossing the Road

Why did the one-armed man cross the road?

To get to the second-hand shop

Something fishy

Faster Higher Further

Are you a male athlete? Do you suffer defeat after defeat no matter how hard you train? Then you need the Samukeliso Sithole Method for Athletic Excellence.

After a few cosmetic changes you'll be able to run faster, leap higher and throw further than your fellow competitors in no time. And as an extra benefit women will be constantly undressing in front of you.

So join today, and you too will be winning gold medals like Samukeliso Sithole.

Today's Time Sink 2

Want a real time waster? Then try Pink Panty Poker.

Today's Time Sink

Can't wait for the weekend? Today's recommended time-waster is Planarity, a deceptively simple game: move the dots so the lines don't overlap. That's it. See how much time you lose before you resurface.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Changing Face of Perth

Interesting tidbit. 8 out of the top 10 listings in the Perth (Aus) Industry on Blogshares are blogs by Malaysians and Indonesians. Welcome to the future =).


Now that the London suicide-bombers appear to have been homegrown the Australian government has decided to rerun the anti-terrorism commercials. With this in mind I issue the following guidelines for anyone that looks even vaguely Islamic:

  1. Don't ever carry a backpack, sportsbag, briefcase or wear an overcoat.
  2. Don't carry rolls of cash, buy fertiliser or be seen anywhere near a broken fence.
  3. Never ever travel on public transport.
  4. Keep your hands up in plain sight at all times.
  5. Continually remind the members of the Australian public that you do not wish to blow them up and wish them only peace and prosperity. The louder the better.
  6. Discard Islamic dress in preference to more Australian garments - shirts, stubbies and thongs are traditional
  7. Change your name: Bazza for a man, Sheila for a woman
  8. Pretend to drink beer (or shandy for a woman)
  9. Call everyone mate
The Australian public is alert but not alarmed. By making these simple sacrifices during these trying times you ensure that it remains this way. The Australian public thanks you for your compliance.

One Week On

About this time last week I checked the news headlines before leaving work, saw nothing of import, picked up some groceries at Woolie's, shivered in the wind tunnel that is St George's Terrace, and finally trudged home just in time for the news anchor to announce that terrorists had bombed the London Underground, please stay tuned as we now cross live to CNN.

The London authorities now know who, what, how, when, and where. Why may never be adequately answered, however much they dissect the bombers' school records and travel history.

How bitter do you have to be to believe the slaughter of strangers excuses your own suicide? How selfish must you be to believe your own matyrdom somehow justifies the murder and maiming of innocent bystanders, and to damn your family to subsequent villification? How stupid do you have to be to believe that the people who encouraged you to explode yourself genuinely give a damn about you?

If you're going to serve a cause, try living for one instead of dying for one. Suicide is, and always has been, the coward's escape. If you truly care about something, you will fight for it. If you're determined to end it all anyway, then die with consideration - do it quietly in a bathtub somewhere and don't leave a mess - your loved ones will have a bad enough time as is dealing with your demise.

Most of all, leave the rest of us the fuck alone. It's one thing to say Good Day, and What about the weather, eh? and Oh, I don't think much of what the PM said today. It's entirely another thing to blame your whole screwed-up life on me or Pat who tends the garden or Nicki at the local shops or the guy with the Foxxy license plate or any random person you don't know and consequently feel no empathy towards. We are not to blame for your screw-ups. Deal with it.

How we choose to deal with it is ultimately what life is about.

But who am I kidding? Howie states there could be home-grown bombers amongst us even now. I foresee another anti-terrorism fridge magnet campaign looming. Even worse, Ruddock is denying there will be an Australia Card v.2. The US reckons "Buy Australia" is anti-free-trade. In Pakistan, there's been an awful three-train collision, and in Kenya, there's been another senseless massacre. But absolutely the worstest of all, ugg boots may not be made from real wool.

Life, such as it is, goes on. Nothing really changes.

Coming Soon In 1995!

I was looking for some art sites/blogs in Perth, or at least in Oz, when I came across this.

I wonder how Jeremy's exhibition went? We may be a long way from anywhere, but this is just ludicrous.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Very cool idea

We Are Not Afraid

With sympathy, with defiance, even *gasp* with humour - these are a number of ways people have proclaimed "We Are Not Afraid".

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Proliferation of Idiots

The process of redelegating our domain names has proven more difficult thanks to the ineptitude of Melbourne IT - our soon-to-be-ex-registrar. Our change of ISP meant a change in IP number for our nameservers. So I used Melbourne ITs web interface to change the details - except it wouldn't accept the new ip number. It would however accept just the name. So that's what I did.

It takes a change in nameserver details anywhere from 24-48 hours to proliferate, so I waited for the change to take effect. And waited. And waited. And nothing happened. When I checked my whois listing I discovered that it was still listing the old IP number for the nameserver. So I tried changing the number again with equal joy. Then I called MelIbourne IT and waited fifteen minutes on hold while their one technical person waded her way through the plethora of calls.

Of course when I say I was waiting on hold I actually meant being barraged by a constant stream of hard-sell advertising. IT businesses don't just play music anymore. No, they play about 30 seconds of music and then suddenly cut it off so they can have a recorded voice try to sell you something. Another 30 seconds of music and then another 1 minute advertisment - done with a different voice so you think it's the operator. Repeat ad nauseum.

After fifteen minutes of that and I almost missed the tech girl when she finally came online. I explained my problem and she produced the standard response that it took time to proliferate. After explaining it three times that I had done all this 72 hours ago and that I couldn't change the IP of the nameserver I got this sudden piece of irrationality:

"Yyou have to call us if you want to change the IP number. We had to disable it because people kept messing up their details.
So why is it still there? She didn't know. She also didn't seem to know why this little gem of information isn't listed on their website.

So I've wasted three days. That's three days without a workable business email address.

Not happy, Jan.


We're in the process of changing ISPs - moving from permanent dialup, which we've had for over 10 years, to DSL. One of the reasons it has taken so long to make the change is that I knew it was going to be long, traumatic process.

Firstly our old server was never going to cope with the strain of DSL both in throughput and security - it was running a version of redhat linux from the 90s. To rebuild the server, I knew, would require at least a week. Time I haven't had until recently.

Secondly, I'd have to redelegate our domain names and port across all the pages we've managed to create in the ten years we've been running our own site.

Thirdly, it would require the creation of an entirely new web site for our business. A change in server specifications would allow us to use the CMS I (and lots of others) have been working on for the last few years on our site. Don't worry, all my code has subsequently been removed - although my documentation and howtos have survived.

For the last three weeks that's what I've been doing and I'm only about halfway through. Having measles has meant that I've been able to spend more time than I expected to over ther last week, but the other side of the coin meant that I missed several days as well because of the early symptoms - headaches and sensitivity to light mainly.

So that's where we're at. More details when the sites are finished - probably at least another week of work yet, but at least we have email again now.


Justin Howard was one of the first survivors of the London bombing to blog about his experiences and he's just collated those entries into one section to seperate them from the rest of his blog, which usually deals with such mundane matters as efficient calculations for playing sudoku.

His articulate, reasoned accounts make for a great if sometimes chilling read, and his honesty and refusal to sensationalise the facts or be treated as a victim is a welcome splash of cold water after hours of hyped-up mass media accounts.

Thanks to Jessp for pointing to it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Apocalypse. . .

We all have our favourite religious jokes. Now's your chance to share them: Ship of Fools wants them.

You remember these guys: they once held a Ned Flanders lookalike competition, and their Mystery Worshippers critique church services around the world on the basis of how interesting the sermnon is and how comfortable the pews are.

Even as an atheist, or perhaps because I am an atheist, I love these guys. They realise that inquiry, debate, and the ability to laugh at themselves is fundamental to a healthy understanding of themselves and what they believe.

Strange to think, too, that a contest which promotes poking fun at the idiosyncracies of religious beliefs and practices is in a way a frontline battle against hyper-sensitivity to intolerance and prejudice. And with religious idealogies increasingly driving the news headlines and federal policies, there's a desperate need for irreverent humour.

So. Dare to mock - make a joke.

A catholic priest and a rabbi find themselves sitting next to each other on a long journey, and strike up a conversation. After discussing the weather and the cricket, the priest turns to the rabbi and says that he thought it was rather strange that he was not allowed to eat pork, and asked him whether he ever had.
The rabbi replied, "Well, when I was a small boy, I did in fact taste a small piece of bacon."
"What was it like?" asked the priest.
The rabbi replied: "Not nearly as good as sex."

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Probably everyone of my generation remembers a certain Disney film about lemmings where we see them throwing themselves off a cliff, plunging to their deaths. As a result we grew up thinking that Lemmings did that sort of thing. Except the film-makers 'faked' it. They threw the lemmings off the cliff and then edited to look as if the lemmings did it themselves.

I wonder if Disney was involved in this.

Changing signs

Another video. Enjoy.

ICBM Coordinates

Where I work
Where my servants work
Where my other servants work

Friday, July 08, 2005

Be Alert Not Alarmed

4 patrol cars, 2 bikes, 2 news cameras, 1 Alison Fan, at least 9 cops that I could see. . .

World's Ugliest Dog 2005

And now for something completely different.

Meet Sam. He's apparently a 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese Crested who has won the Sonoma-Marin Fair World's Ugliest Dog competition three years running. His deliriously proud owner is Susie Lockheed of Santa Barbara, California.

Awww... who's a cute little zombie mutant alien burns victim then?

Perth Response

It seems that overnight police headquarters was moved to Perth Train Station. There were so many cops and security guards around I discovered at one point that I was the only one on the platform not wearing a uniform. When my train arrived it was immediately searched - after the passengers had disembarked thankfully. I reckon they'll keep this up a month tops before some bureaucrat realises just how much it's costing.

Press On

Some thoughts about very recent media coverage:

Last night, Channel 9's Current Affairs was dropped in favour of CNN. Woo-hoo! On the downside, Beaming Sun-Ray Martin is probably flying first class on his way to shoot live-on-location stories where he hands out boxes of headache pills and water to passers-by. If audiences weren't traumatised before, they soon will be.

Later that evening, Auntie was using the live feed from CNN while SBS went with the BBC. Huh? 7, on the other hand, stayed with the cricket.

This morning, the ABC was back to normal kiddie fare, 7 had become Skynet (with frequent apologies to parents about rescheduling Disney), it didn't matter which foreign news show was on SBS - all the stories were about London.

Considering the faces missing from today's morning television, I'm wondering how many TV news personalities are even now winging their way to merrie ol' England to file the mandatory newsclips featuring bloodied survivors and flashing lights. Already, I'm detecting a hint of desperation in recent stories from the street. Reporters are discovering to their disgust that Londoners aren't like the New Yorkers. They aren't running around in circles shrieking "Omigod! Omigod! Omigod! How could this happen to us?" and therefore aren't making good television. Londoners have been bombed before, and worse. Google "London bombing" and the top hits still point to the Blitz.

The Londoners have been hurt, but life goes on, and they're getting on with it. Business as usual. What else is there to do? Call it the legendary British bulldoggedness, stiff upper lip, plain bloody pragmatism, or what you will. It's the sort of common-sense approach that's keeping this real, and annoying the hell out of the sensationalist media. Some idiot MTV-gen journo described it as the worst terrorist attack ever in London. Get off my TV, you loser.

I have faith in the British public, their police and emergency services, and their security agencies to take care of whatever needs to be done. Maybe it's the 2nd generation child-of-the-Empire in me, but seeing the Brits in action - calm, collected, prepared - made me feel vaguely proud that they are a part of my heritage.

The press can run around reporting on each other and making themselves feel important and neccessary as much as they like, but the truth is they've already completed their job. What they should be doing is giving us updates on the situation AS AND WHEN REQUIRED. Instead, all they're doing now is taking up airtime with their hearsay, pointless interviews with experts who have no involvement with what's happening, and endless looped footage of yesterday's news.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Trained response

While the events of 11th September, 2001 were more tragic by at least an order of magnitude, it was interesting seeing the comparison between how the NYC emergency services and US leaders handled that situation as compared to today's incidents in London.

Not surprisingly NY was ill-prepared and as a result the initial response - at least to someone who was on the other side of the planet watching it unfold on TV - was chaotic in the extreme. Information was sporadic and speculative and to make matters worse the President was nowehere to be found.

Four years on and London showed what four years of preparation and training has achieved. The emergency services reacted efficiently, the politicans swiftly reassured the public and the Police Chief almost sounded bored, as though this was an every day occurance and had become a mantra: stay where you are, don't call the emergency services unless it is life-threatening, let us enact the plan that we've been preparing for the last four years.

The other difference is that unlike 2001 nobody in our block is cheering.

London: 7/7

Damnit. Someone always has to spoil the party.

First did a quick mental checklist of friends and family. Thanks to the net and the Extended Family Complicated By The Great Singaporean Diaspora, we know someone just about everywhere.

Then made a few obligatory bad taste jokes, ie. It wasn't the French, was it?
(Although it must be observed that nothing will heal damaged Anglo-Gallic relations quicker than a terrorist attack.)

It almost seems as if these days we aren't allowed to celebrate and hope. It's as if London deserved to be bombed because of her euphoria following Live8 and the Olympics. Well, London's seen worst and she can take it. Mother England's one tough fucker.

I do wonder if the media will be playing London Calling now as they did when they were doing stories on London's Olympics bid...

"London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared, and battle come down."
-- The Clash

London bombing

Australians concerned about loved ones can call 1300 555 135.

In case you're wondering 'London? Bombs?' -> Go here

London 2005

On the streets.
Paris wishes,
it happened yesterday.

Gazelle Boy and other feral children

I'm a big fan of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (the 2000 edition not the 1894 edition). One of the entries mentions a story about a child in the Sahara that was raised by gazelles. Brewer's doesn't usually contain a lot of detail - just enough to whet your appetite - so I did a Google search and found this entry. Stlll not a lot of detail about Gazelle Boy but the site itself is fascinating. Stories about feral children including those raised by animals and the odd hoax or two - there is another story about a boy raised by gazelles in Syria but that turned out to be a hoax. Check out the site.

Today's Graffiti

The local urban artists have been at it again. About time, too. I was beginning to suspect they were just headline-of-the-week reactivists.

So, let's see. The message is... Um. Big Brother Earth likes to bike? Planets shouldn't carry their satellites on the handlebars?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

London 2012

Well, I'm glad I didn't put money on Paris. The way my day went today - alarm didn't go off, delivery guy was late, bus didn't arrive at all, not able to use any workstation at the office, my pendant breaking... etc - any bets I laid would probably have resulted in the TAB exploding or something equally unproductive.

Anyway, congratulations London. It would have been nice to have had the Olympics shared between two great cities the way the football was shared between Seoul and Tokyo but that's clearly too radical a concept for the IOC. Now we don't get to see which city fights to host the glamourous sporting events. It'll have to happen eventually, though. Them damned Games are getting mighty big for any one city to manage. Athens still hasn't recovered from 2004. Sydney was probably the last manageable Games, costwise.

In the meantime, we're just going to have to learn to live with the insufferably smug poms amongst us.

Monday, July 04, 2005


It seems only appropriate that on this day I make some sort of comment about the United States. Two-hundred-and-twenty-nine years ago today a small band of idealists and dreamers started something that, after it was all said and done, made the world a better place. It cost a lot of lives, blood and hardship. A lot of lessons were learnt the hard way. Two-hundred-and-twenty-nine years later most of those lessons seem to have been forgotten.


One year

One year on and not much has changed since we started here. Oh, we've perhaps written a bit more, made some new friends, and pissed more people off, but all-in-all things remain mostly as they were. We're still making short films and television shows, we still haven't won the lottery jackpot and the fellow inhabitants of this small, blue planet continue to scare us with their inability to embrace reality.

Looking back at the past year of blog posts the one that sticks out the most for me is this one (WARNING: it's long). I really found an interesting narrative voice there. I also revealed the true depth of my mania not only to the world, but, more importantly, to TP - who up until then thought I was just pretending. I will note that she now understands why I did what I did, because she now loves hers too.

Six months on and perusing through the list of NY resolutions I'm very happy to report that I've only managed to achieve one of the things on the list. I'll let you work out why I'm so happy.

I suppose I should finish by once again exposing my pathetic first post:

About bloody time
Yes, it has taken me this long to finally pull my finger out and do something about this. Now I too can join the hordes (or should that be whores?) of nascent, wannabe writers and journalists and add my mindless thoughts and uninformed opinions to the constant babble that haunts cyberspace.

Just don't expect a prolific amount of attention or wordage.
As I said, not much has changed.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Mark Latham is displaying all the attributes of a dog except loyalty,
-- Bill Shorten, Australian Workers Union national secretary

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Greatest American

Discovery Channel has assembled a list of Greatest Americans. Top of the list - ahead of Abraham Lincoln (#2), George Washington (#4), George W Bush (#6) and Oprah Winfrey (#9) - is Ronnie Raygun. Where is Tommy Douglas, Terry Fox and Pierre Trudeau I wonder?


It's all in the spin

I know that China is really big on table tennis (they won the women's singles and doubles gold, the men's doubles gold and the men's singles silver and bronze at last year's Olympics), but this is getting ridiculous. It's a Chinese lifestyle magazine (in English) describing how to hit a ping pong ball.

Live 8

I remember Band Aid. I remember Live Aid. They were both revolutionary. A magnificent testament to all the great things about being human. At the time I remember Bob Geldof saying that it would never happen again.

Then came Band Aid 2 and more recently, Band Aid 20, which proved just how crap the current crop of music stars are. In a way they became a testament to all the bad things about being human: looking back instead of looking forward. Don't get me wrong, * Aid is a worthy, and heartfelt project, it just should only have been done once - like Woodstock. Doing it again only cheapens the original. Of course, it would be nice to live in a world where * Aids weren't necessary.

In a little over an hour Live 8 will begin. Will it be as good as Live Aid? I sincerely hope so. Live Aid was such a fundamentally great idea I'd hate to think that Live 8 - which, unlike Live Aid, isn't about raising money, but about sending the G8 a message - is just an excuse for having a global pop music concert.

Look ever forward.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Interesting that it costs more to travel to New York as a student than anyone else.

Animation Expo

Celebrated our first actual real weekend off by attending tonight's opening at Central TAFE. This is a live demo of a performer and her motion-captured screen double. Great show, go see it, they should run this every year, am going to bed now.



Overheard this morning:

Girl1: I'd marry Eminem.
Girl2: I'd marry Usher.
Girl1: What if he's gay?
Girl2: Doesn't bother me.

Overheard this afternoon outside Club X on Barrack Street:

Two teenage guys exiting Club X. Both wiping their hands.

Guy1: That was awesome!!