Friday, May 27, 2005


May Concerts Part II

Last time I saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was when they played Canberra in 2002. I remember thinking at the time that Cave looked amazingly good for someone who done that much drugs and was pushing 50. Like David Bowie, he seemed to have come through it all pretty much untouched. When the Cave and the rest of the Seeds took the stage, I thought "wow, he's looking older". Thinking back, it was probably a combination of the lighting, and the fact that he is three years older.

All that was quickly forgotten as the band exploded into song. They opened with Abattior Blues, with Cave dancing around the stage and leaning in close to random people in the crowd. The majority of the songs were off the Lyre of Orpheus/Abattior Blues, with a couple of the more classic songs. There was nothing from Nocturma, but I kind of expected that - I heard somewhere that the Seeds weren't going to tour that album, so I guess that means not playing it live. Not that it was a bad thing - the two new albums are fantastic live. Hearing a couple of the songs I didn't really like played live has really changed my opinion of them, that's how good the performance was. There She Goes My Beautiful World was brilliant, and I was really please to hear Supernaturally live. I was a bit sad I didn't get to hear Nature Boy live, but two out of three was pretty good.

I was a bit disappointed with a couple of the older songs they played. The Mercy Seat was still awesome, but I remember the Canberra performance building up better and just sounding huger. The Weeping Song seemed a little lackluster. But I guess it's all relative - a performance like that from someone else would have still be pretty awesome.

I think the concert in Canberra was better, but this was still a fantastic show.


May Concerts Part I

Hmmm. Not happy Jan. That's the third or fourth time that the Internet has decided to eat my concert review post. This time Firefox decided to die on me.

So I'll try a slightly different approach. I'll try breaking it up into smaller posts. So first off we'll do Tori Amos.

I'd never been to the Opera House before, let alone actually seen a performance there, so I was really looking forward to the night. We picked up our tickets with no dramas, and found where we were meant to be. Turned out they were selling "programs", so I grabbed one. It was expensive - $25 - but I figured if I didn't I'd probably regret it. It made me feel better when I found there weren't any good t-shirts.

As it turned out, Row U was a lot closer to the stage than I thought. Apparently rows A to D were actually under the stage, and the slop upwards of the seats started about 5 rows ahead of us. So in other words we had a really fantastic view of the stage. The support act was the guy from George, Tyrone Noonan. Richard's comment was "the untalented singer from George". He was bad, but nothing special. He only played for about half an hour, which was good.

Tori Amos took the stage and everyone when nuts. About every second song was off her new album The Beekeeper (which I hadn't heard), but she played a good selection from Little Earthquakes and Scarlet's Walk. She had three pianos on stage with her - well, piano, organ and keyboard - and sometimes she'd jump between two of them in one song. A couple of times she even played two at once.

Amos did what she called "Tori's Piano Bar", which consisted of two covers - Suzanne by Leonard Cohen and Starry Starry Night by Don McLean. Both were fantastic. Among my favorites she play were A Sorta Fairytale, China and Amber Waves. I was hoping she would play Winter, but it turns out that she was saving that for Perth the next night.

SO yeah, excellent concert, fantastic venue.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Where Does Silk Come From?

So I feel bad for everyone who googled with this question and found my site. So I'll give the answer.

Silk is the material produced by the silk worm to make its cocoon. While there are several types of silk worm, it's the mulberry silk worm that is used to make commerical silk. They're called mullberry silk worms because they feed off mullberry leaves. Shortly before the silk worm is going to eat its way out of its silk cocoon, the worm is killed so the cocoon can be unravelled into a single thread.

If you want to know more about silk worms, take a look at the Wikipedia, Google for Bombyx mori or look at Okay, so the last one probably isn't much use, but I'm not going to do all your work for you.


I Have Google-Fu!

So it turns out that Stilly isn't the total master of Google-Fu after all. My blog - specifically this post - is currently the number one hit in Google. The number one hit for what you ask? mac version settlers of catan. I'm also (a bit less surprisingly) number one for Exceptionally Uncaught.

I'm currently number 3 or 4 (depending on how you count) for Where does silk come from. It's by far the most common way people have found my site - there were three or four people just today.

For some reason someone when to the very bottom of the "Hitherby Dragons" Google page to see what I wrote about the site.

If you Googled for sarah blasko lyrics "all coming back", you might be surprised to discover that my site is actually rated higher than

I'm the last hit on the first page for stupid RSS feeds. I kind of wish I was higher, but I'm probably compeating with some pretty big guns.

My posts have generated my a few hits - including ones about Mark Shuttleworth's keynote, De Bortoli Wines and Linux Games. Someone, running Linux and coming from a domain ending in, discovered that my site was the number one hit for chad tindel linux australia. Hi Chad. I feel a bit bad that I'm the fourth hit for brothers karamazov if you're using the Google Linux page. Maybe I should finish the book and actually post something useful about it.

The strangest search results include that I'm currently number two for how explosions work. What's really strange is the fact that it links to the post about Stilly getting blown up by Microsoft. I'm also number two for umpa lumpa song download listen. You'll have to google yourself to find out what that's linked to.

I did discover that Ian thinks I'm a shit. Maybe I should read my comments a bit more often. Or maybe I should just get around to posting a review of the concert.


Space Sounds

Who says you can't hear anything in space? Here's a recording made by Voyager One, which is currently on the far side of Pluto and still going strong. I thought it was pretty cool actually "hearing" space, although when iTunes decided to play Lotion straight afterwards, I was a little surprised.

Read more about Voyager here and here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Random Link Time

More random links. This time it's text books with more accurate covers.

My favourites include Basic Histology and Understanding Quantuam Physics.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Evil Google-Fu

So we all know about Stilly's Google-Fu. He's managed to make sure I'm the only results for "Little Headed Simon". He currently owns the phrase "IIS Porn". He did the whole "Pia Muppet" thing. And, he's the number one hit for a Google Image search for "rose".

But even he can't compete with this. Do a Google Image search for "Walmart". Even with safesearch on, the third result is quite a surprise (probably not something you want to do with your boss looking over your shoulder).

Monday, May 23, 2005


Urban Caving

To help Stilly in his underground exploration quest, here's a guy in Moscow I read about last year. In the article I read, it talked about some of the random stuff he's discovered - including a room full of wierd, deep sea creatures.


Test Pattern

Stupid internet, eating all my posts!

So I've been a bit behind with my posting lately - I owe at least two posts on my concerts trip, and probably a couple of others. Partly it's because the internet has decided a couple of times that what I've written isn't good enough and I should start again. But mostly it's because if my home computer is on, then it's running World of Warcraft. If nothing else, I've got an 11th level Dwarven Hunter to show for my troubles.

Hmmm, maybe I should start blogging my WoW exploits. I'm sure everyone whould love to hear about that!

So anyway. It's random link time: What's Your World View? I'm quite pleased with my result.

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (corrected...again)
created with

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Star Wars Surprises

There's been something tugging at the back of my mind this week with all the talk of Star Wars, and I only just realised what it was.

Several years ago I went to see a movie with some friends. I don't remember what it was (which is fine, since it's got nothing to do with the post), but it was the first place I (and probably everyone else in the theatre) had seen a preview for the second Lord of the Rings movie, the Two Towers. As pretty much everyone (except perhaps Stilly) knows, about half way through the first movie Gandalf the Gray is forced to fight the Balrog. He wins the fight, but gets pulled down into an abyss along with the creature. It's probably my favourite scene from the book, and certainly didn't disappoint in the movie.

So anyway, the preview is playing, we're all excited because it's the first glimpse of the new movie, and we suddenly get a shot of Gandalf the White smiling. Someone calls out in total surprise "he comes back!" I burst out laughing before I could stop myself. I found it amazing that anyone didn't know Gandalf would be alive and well for the rest of the story.

But then I started thinking. Lots of people have read the books, but there are still lots who haven't. Of those who haven't (and who actually care), a lot would at least know the story. Failing that, there were interviews, posters, people talking and the fact that it was kind of predictable. But apparently this person had missed all that, and genuainely didn't know Gandalf survived. And now this preview had "ruined" what would have been a truly amazing moment for that person when the movie was finally released.

So what's been tugging at the back of my mind this week is the thought that maybe somewhere in the world there is someone who still doesn't know (but cares) that Anikin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. When they see Revenge of the Sith in the next few weeks, they are in for a big surprise.

And I'm kind of jealous.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Settlers of Catan, Part II

Following on from my Settlers of Catan post, a friend just sent me this email:

I just had a game wit some Americans and a Spaniard, went well, I was ahead for most of the game but lost it in the end. So sad

So apparently it does work.


Oh Yeah...

Have I mentioned that I'm seeing Tori Amos at the Opera House tomorrow?

And have I mentioned that I'm seeing Nick Cave on Sunday?

Can you tell I'm a bit excited?


How Many "Guidelines" Can I Break Today?

[Edit: Removed quotes from the Employee Guidelines that were used in a very humourous way]

Last year I discovered that cold and flu tablets are actually really good. I've always had a mindset of not taking medication unless I really need it (as in going to die otherwise), so I never bothered with anything for "just a cold". But I found that it actually does make your life a lot more pleasant.

I take the tablets because they relieve the symptoms, but the interesting thing I've discovered is that pseudoephedrine seems to have a fairly random effect on me. Sometimes is gives me fairly massive headaches for about 20mins. Sometimes it makes me really grumpy, other times it makes me really bubbly. Sometimes it makes me really sleepy, other times it makes me really awake. And sometimes it does nothing.

Yesterday, other than reducing the snot-related symptoms, the tablets didn't do much. Not even combined with the beer I drank about 15mins after my afternoon dosage. And the "Night" tablets where only a little better. Today has been a totally different story. Despite actually being worse off then yesterday, even Stilly noticed through his drunken haze that I seemed much livelier.

Anyway. Just random observations.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Free Time? What's That?

I've been thinking about buying World of Warcraft for a few months now, but basically figured that since I have no where near enough free time as it is, it was a really stupid idea.

So yesterday I went and picked up a copy.

As I think I've mentioned before, I think Blizzard are a really awesome game company. They produce quality games, but they also treat MacOS with a lot of respect. They usually ship a Mac version at the same time they release the PC version, and even when there's a delay between the versions (like Diablo II), once the Mac version is ready, all their CDs are hybrids (meaning you don't need to buy the game twice if you're switching platforms).

The first cool thing I discovered when I got the box open was a 10-day free pass. So I can lend my CDs to a friend to install (since you have to authicate each time you play, you don't need to actually have a CD in your machine), and he can see if he likes the game for free. Very cool - especially for my mate Will who isn't sure if his 56k connection will be fast enough.

Long story short - at 11:30 last night I finally had a working copy of World of Warcraft up and running on my machine. Now I just need to find some time to play the thing...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Modern peasants

It seems that pretty much everyone has their own remedy for fending off a cold. Some people gargle, some take antibiotics, some get flu shots, and some get really drunk. I guess it's because nothing really stops a cold - it's just one of those things you have to suffer through - so hundreds of superstitions have developed around it. Sometimes we're still just smelly peasants huddled in our little shacks stringing up garlic and throwing salt over our shoulder.

Over the last couple of days I've become more and more convinced that I'm coming down with a cold. Not surprising - it's about that time of year. Hopefully it will mean I'm immune for the rest of the season. It just means I'm looking forward to a week or so of snotty tissues and breathing through my mouth. I know it's not going to do any good, but I've still been popping vitamin tablets every morning this week - my own personal theory. It's a pity it's not going to work, but it's not going to do me any harm.

I just wish it didn't make my wee highlighter yellow...



So it's kind of exciting. I finally got around to merging my half-complete generator code with the actual, SourceSafe controlled TRIM code base. And this morning the build didn't fail. So that's got to be a good start...


Settlers of Catan

A little while ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a great board game called Settlers of Catan. It's a German game (that's been translated - mostly) that's kind of like Civilization, except without the combat. The game board is an island made up of a series of hexagons. Each hex represents a resource - Wood, Brick, Sheep, wheat or Ore. Players build towns and cities at the corners of the hexes, and roads linking their towns along the hex edges. A dice roll determines what resources are produced each turn, which affects which things can be built that turn.

There are about a billion variants - stuff like adding other islands, having barbarians and knights or even a volcano - of which we've only tried a handful.

So anyway, the reason I decided to blog about this great game is that last night I discovered an online version (well, actually I discovered a couple, but this is the only one that I could be bothered with). What I like about this one is that it (supposedly) lets you play online, over a local network or even on the one machine. Unfortunately, there's no AI, so you can't play by yourself.

So yeah, take a look. It's lots of fun.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Holiday Boating

So I'm back from four days away. It was fantastic, thanks for asking.

On Saturday we decided to hire a boat for a few hours to go putting along the river. While I don't consider myself an expert boat-driver by any stretch of the imagination, I have driven an outboard motor before, and it's far from the trickiest thing in the world.

So we cruised down the river for about an hour, and then pulled into an inlet for lunch. When we'd finished, we pulled up the anchor and started heading back. Just then I noticed a bee had landed on Karina's hat.

Karina doesn't like bees. He father is allergic to them, and never having been stung, she doesn't know if she is as well. And I decided that this wasn't a good time to find out.

The cool thing about boats is that you can step away from the wheel for a while - you've got heaps of open space, so there's no drama pointing the boat in a direction and then going to grab a drink or something. Or grab a hat and start trying to shake a bee off it.

The bee was a bit stubborn, but eventually decided to leave. So then I start explaining to Karina why I just grabbed her hat. Then I happened to glance towards the front of the boat - and realised that the boat was heading full pelt towards the almost cliff-like shore. So very calmly I grabbed the wheel and turned the boat away with maybe a handful of seconds to spare.

Fortunately that was the closest to disaster we got on the whole trip.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Product Blue Skies

So while doing the vacuuming tonight, I came up with an idea based on some of the random conversations that were polluting Ian's airspace today.

Basically, we take R&D and split it into three (or four) sections. The first area would be called something like "Product Maintenance". Their sole job would be to work on the bug fixes for each of the three service packs issued each year.

The second group would be called something equally boring like "Product Development". They would be responsible for developing the enhancements and new features the board etc, thought should go into the yearly version release of TRIM.

The third group would the "Product Blue Skies" team. Their job would be to come up with whatever they thought TRIM was going to need in the next 3 to 5 years, and implement it now. If, once finished (or at least partly done) the board/important people felt it was a good idea, it could be integrated into the next version release of TRIM. Otherwise, the idea would be shelved (ready to pull out again if it actually turns out to be useful).

(The fourth group would be API Support)

R&D staff would be rotated through the sections, probably with every service pack release, so everyone had a chance to do each job. This would address a couple of issues I talked about today. For the past six months, Stilly has been complaining that the company isn't thinking ahead enough. So it would give him (and those like him) a chance to show everyone they were right. It would also give the helpdesk people a chance to blame someone specific when we (R&D) released a bug that causes them pain. Marc Post spent a while telling me about how he doesn't care about new features, he just wants a stable release of TRIM.

Anyway. This is all a bit rambly and is pretty much a direct brain dump. That's what you get for reading a post from someone who's just been vacuuming for half an hour...

And I'll actually post this now, instead of just saving it as a draft for me to look at...


Showing My Age, Attempt 2

Okay, so lets try this again.

Apparently I've always looked older than I am. It's not so much a case of I'm trapped in an old man's wrinkelly, grey body, but more just the way I talk and carry myself. It's never been something that worried me much - if nothing else, it's meant I've hardly ever been carded (something that was really handy before I was 18, and has made things less annoying since then). I've never been particularrly concerned about getting older (it's just something that happens). Even turning 24, which had been the biggest freak-out age in my head ("I know people who are 24! They're mature and grown up and married and have houses and stuff! I'm not any of that yet! Um, well, I'm not that grown up yet at least..."), has turned out to be a lot less of a worry than I was expecting. Although I am still a bit concerned that I won't be able to tick the "18-24" age box anymore.

Interestingly, Karina has the opposite problem. She often has telemarketers asking her if they can speak to her mummy or daddy. When we started dating, people used to ask her how much older then her I was, and wouldn't believe her when she answered "4 months".

But last night I discovered that maybe this phenomom is worse than I knew. I was at scouts (I'm a scout leader, and have been since I was 17), talking to a new guy who's planning on becoming a leader. He's 19, at uni and generally pretty cool. He made some comment about how he was getting older, and couldn't quite believe he was turning 20 this year. I said something like "yeah, how do you think I feel, I'm turning 25 this year".

He looked at me strangely for a second and then said "um, er, ah, um. Don't take this the wrong way, but I thought you were about 30." He managed to say it in the least offensive way possible (not that I would have been anyway), but kind of ruined it when a bit later he asked if I was a leader because I had a kid in the troop (these are people aged 11-15).


Stupid Internet!

So I just wrote a really amusing post about how I apparently look 30. And then either Firefox, Blogspot, the Tower Network or just the Internet in general decided to destroy it.


Well Internet, it's your loss! Even if I rewrite the post, it won't be as funny or as good. I hope you're happy now!

Monday, May 02, 2005


Feeling the Dark

Stilly decided that after, he'd "Go Dark" for a week or so and not post to his blog. I have to say that after a week, I'm really noticing it. Normally on a Monday morning I'll open up SharpReader, and there will be a dozen or so posts from StillHQ.

But not this week. I've only been at work for 10mins, and I've already caught up on my blog reading. This isn't how it's meant to be...

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