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Archived Posts for November 2002

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
30
Nov 02
Sat

Dog Pics

As previously mentioned: Brodie’s pics.

Jello

Lime Jelly has redesigned. Have a close look at the fine print :)

The Guru

Going into this movie, I was expecting a pretty trashy comedy, but to my surprise it was actually quite decent. Those Indians sure know how to take the piss out of themselves! Yep, Bollywood is all singing and dancing ;)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Not bad. I was watching this movie with Dorian, and having recently attended his 21st, can fully understand the Big Greek Family gathering phenomenon… but not as much as he related to a jingoistic Greek father :). A sound comedy, but nothing that threatened me with suffocation from laughter.

Ad Music, Breaks and Beats

Ever wondered what songs or breaks a commercial was using? Here are two UK-based databases: AdvertSongs and Commercial Breaks and Beats. For example, that classic Peugeot ad with the Indian sculptor (full clip is here).

29
Nov 02
Fri

LOTR: The Ringbearer

The council meets at Rivendell to find the ring in a very, shall we say, unusual position. You really gotta download this. (2.5mb .wmv file) It’s a hidden feature on the LOTR DVD.

  10:53pm (GMT +11.00)  •  Humour  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
27
Nov 02
Wed

Star Trek XI

Berman talks Trek 11. I loved this quote: “Jeri Ryan, I can’t imagine people would not love to see her on the big screen.” Gee, I wonder why? :)

The Road Ahead

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” -Lincoln

Monday was a scorcher: 40 degrees in the city and not yet Summer. Opening windows to cool the apartment merely invites dry gusts of hot wind to invade the tepid un-conditioned air inside. This summer is going to be sweltering. It only takes a few days of similar temperament, and the air will start to acquire the sooty smell of bushfires. The drought conditions don’t help either. Perhaps water restrictions will be enforced, just like in the mid-nineties.

I caught up with Kit at lunch, and we decided to head down to the local supermarket and pick up something cold to lessen the amount of sweat making our clothes stick to our clammy selves. Up at the back of the store, I stood there in front of the ice cream fridge, holding the door open, letting the misty tendrils of chilled water vapour swathe me. A sole box of lemonade icy poles caught our eyes and we made off with that. I don’t think I’ve had icy poles since school. 35 cents each they were at the school canteen, perfect for those sweaty summer lunch times. Not as economical as those 20 cent frozen-lolly-water Zooper Doopers, but still affordable. I remember one day, when I was feeling particularly sweaty and wealthy, I splurged extravagantly on three Zooper Doopers. The last tube was a sickly sweet liquid by the time I got around to consuming it, but that was all the better. The immense sugar boost from it was used to fuel another 20 minutes of running around the playground. Prices seem to have doubled since then.

So there I was on Monday afternoon, with a box of 8 icy poles all to myself (well 7, because Kit had one). I chomped through five of them straight and fulfilled an age old childhood fantasy. Instead of being re-energised, however, I went straight for the couch and had a nap. How times change.

Last Friday’s exam marked not only the end of the academic year (for others too), but also the concluding exam of my four year degree at uni. And with that, another stage of life is over. After the pre-cognitive, taking-each-day-as-it-comes lifestyle of infants, the carefree abandon of primary school, the fond memories and growing worldliness of high school, and the freedom and independence of uni life comes the working life. Where suddenly, the better 40 or more hours in the week are no longer accessible for one’s own devices. The transition seems jarring. Over 21 years of relative freedom, cut short by the responsibilities of adulthood, which will last for decades more.

I’m not quite at the end of my uni life, though, having elected to do grad law. Uni life has everything going for it, except the money inflows. Over the years, I’ve come to realise just how different people from different faculties are. Without mentioning any specific generalisations, education really affects people’s worldviews and perspectives on things. After mixing with a Commerce/Science bunch for four years, it’ll be interesting to mix with some of the more humanities oriented law people, where ideas are expressed in words, instead of diagrams, tables and code. Which is funny, because in high school I hated the humanities. I suppose the difference is that high school was very competitive and mark orientated. Humanities were so subjective, and while I enjoyed the subject matter, I found it hard to guarantee a decent mark for assignments and exams. The amount of time invested in those subjects were never really correlated to the marks received, which was discouraging. However in uni, that rampant competitiveness seems to be absent (in my degree, anyhow). That allows people to do what courses they want to do, not because they can score the highest marks in them, but because they enjoy them. The UAI entrance score for degrees are not always correlated with the salaries of the jobs associated with them, which seems to be a large misconception. Which is why picking the right uni degree is so important. Anyone can stumble through a degree, but it really does help if you enjoy it.

My degree wasn’t actually completed until yesterday, when I submitted my thesis. After a complaint to the faculty dean, the thesis’ original due date of December 3 was reinstated. However, they only gave us two weeks notice before the earlier November 15 due date, so I had already prepared for a submission then. I gave the completed draft to my supervisor for feedback and revisions on the Monday before the 15th, and that’s when things got drawn out. The 15th came and went, but still no feedback. I arranged a meeting with him on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurday and Friday of the following week, but always in the hour before the meeting, I’d get a phone call from him telling me to change a few things and come in the next day because he still hadn’t finished reading through my document. It was quite frustrating because I just wanted to get the damn thing out of the way. The TEC exam was on Friday, and I still couldn’t fully enjoy myself after that because the thesis still lingered. Finally, on Tuesday he gave me the remaining pages with revisions, and the approval to print the final document. Thus, because of the series of “false summits”, this page has been neglected, despite last Thursday’s post.

Uni results are released on the December 13, but there’s not much to do now except chill out. (The biggest news item I’ve heard from the last two weeks has been of the guy who incredulously burnt his dick with his laptop. I swear everyone’s been mailing or ICQing me that link. Sounds more like a radiation burn than a heat burn, which is rather disturbing given the area it occurred in.) To other things now.

Things
Last Sunday I went to the Moonlight Over Manhattan concerts in the Botanical Gardens. The concert was mainly of pieces from Gershwin’s repertoire of musicals, sung by Julie Anthony, Simon Gallaher, Juan Jackson and with Simon Tedeschi on piano. A very pleasant way to spend a balmy Sunday evening, lazing out on a picnic mat as the evening darkness slowly crept over the park. I looked forward to hearing Tedeschi’s rendition of Rhapsody In Blue, but they had decided to create a “special arrangement” for it, introducing a second piano into the composition. Which would have been alright, if the other guy had managed to keep in time with Tedeschi (or the other way around). However, having notes quarter or half beat out of sync is fairly distracting. Oh well.

Soph got a new dog, a delightfully cute Golden Retriever puppy (hm, I tried, but there really isn’t a more masculine way to describe puppies :). She named him Brodie, which neither I or her brother really approve of, but it’s her dog I guess. I’d have preferred Bailey as a name, it being the same colour as the drink, but one of her friend’s dogs was already called that. Obligatory pictures soon.

Dave finished his exams on Tuesday, and he had his engineering friends over at the apartment. Joyce brought her PS2 along (we really need to get ourselves a games console, but we’re misers), along with a new copy of LOTR which we completed over the course of the night. We walked down to the 24 hour Maccas afterwards, only to find out that the dining room was closed between 3-5am, but drive-thru was open. So there were 7 of us tramping through the drive through, with cars either side of us giving us funny looks. Dave felt a little too stupid walking through drive-thru, so we made Tony and Mark go pick up the car back at the apartment while we just hung around the parking lot. 10 minutes later, they arrived and we went through drive-thru in the car, which felt just as stupid. We took our stuff down to Coogee. (7 people in a station wagon = 1 person visible in the boot and 4 people without seatbelts. Earlier in the night for dinner in Randwick, when we were looking for parking, we somehow ended up behind a large van marked “Police Rescue”, freaking out Tony who hurriedly reversed into a side street and made everyone get out.) In an attempt to avert our eyes from the possibility of fat drunk couples screwing on the beach, some genius decided to pick a park table to eat at, which also happened to be directly downwind of the toilets which were emitting an unearthly stench.

There is a distinct lack of places to eat that are open for 24 hours in Sydney (McDonald’s doesn’t really count as food, does it?) Dave and I are looking forward to heading back to Asia and the round-the-clock availability of cheap, real food, as we have been subsisting on a diet of mouldy tofu for the last few weeks.

Nocturnal Diversions
Speaking of couples screwing, there’s been some interesting activity happening across the road. About a month ago at about 11pm, Mark and Dave are working on an engineering assignment in the lounge when Dave yells out, “Hey come quick!” I go out of my room and they are both staring out the balcony window at the apartment across the street, opposite us. On the top level of the building, there’s one brightly lit room where we can see everything going down in. Including the girl who has just slunk into the room… onto this shirtless guy. So they start making out and slowly descend from the vertical hug position down to the horizontal dance position, where, unfortunately they disappear momentarily out of view, although we can see the guy’s back occasionally rising above the window line. A few moments later the guy reemerges upwards and that was that.

A few minutes later, the scene virtually repeats itself. Mark, Dave and I are pretty distracted from our studies at this stage. Dave says to me, “Do you have a telescope or something?”
“No, but I have a video camera… it’s got zoom.”
“Fucker! Go get it…”
“Uh… that’s not right…”
“Ehh… 450x digital zoom!”

Meanwhile, Mark is trying to have nothing to do with us, but he’s still gawking out the window. Unfortunately, the camera battery was flat, foiling Dave’s plan. So we started charging the battery and went back to studying.

An hour later, back at the window…

Mark goes, “Hey, someone’s walking around the apartment topless, not sure if its the guy or the girl… hmm… oooh, ok it’s the girl.”

And it was indeed, based on the side profile. She turned away from us and started bending up
and down. Repeatedly. The guy was no where to be seen, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t in the room, if you know what I mean. She walked away when suddenly, poof! Out went the lights, down went the blinds, ending our little stint of voyeurism for the night.

Amongst our friends, it’s become a very well known apartment, although I think our gawking has been a little too obvious. Well, it would be if there were six faces pressed up against windows, peering at you from across the street. On more than one occassion, they have waved at us, before shutting the blinds and getting down and dirty. Oh well, perhaps one day they’ll get caught up in the passion of the moment and forget there’s a bunch of perves across the street from them hehe. (But hey, if you’re going to be that visible, expect to be watched!)

Have a 22nd on Saturday, a 21st next Saturday (Happy Birthday Denise!). They are both themed parties. What is it with those themes? Argh… hate em… too much thought required. Happy 22nd Birtdhay to Pro as well!

Eclipse
Heading down to South Australia next Tuesday for three days to experience the solar eclipse. Ceduna, which is in the middle of the eclipse path, is expected to be packed full of observers, and there have been overnight “tent cities” set up along the eclipse path. We have opted to go to the Wirraminna rail sidings instead, in the outback, to view it. Being further inland, the eclipse will last an insignificant two seconds shorter, and the place is in the middle of nowhere, but the chance of rain is much decreased compared to coastal Ceduna (despite the drought conditions present in Australia). We’ll probably be camping overnight there too. Without the light pollution of cities, I expect the night sky will be brilliant. Looking forward to it.

Overseas
Heading overseas in December too. Itinerary is:

– 18/12: Sydney to Singapore
– 19/12: Singapore to Hat Yai
– 21/12: Hat Yai to Singapore
– 22/12: Singapore to Hong Kong
– Between 22/12 and 02/01: 2 days in Guangzhou, visiting my grandmother’s home town
– 02/01: Hong Kong to Singapore
– 04/01: Singapore

Unfortunately there’s a lot of travelling involved which will suck up much time. I’m looking for a new digital camera while in Singapore. Something in the ultra-portable class that fits into pockets with room to spare so it won’t impale me in the groin when I sit down. The new Canon Digital Ixus v3 looks appealing (250g, 3.1 megapixels).

If you’re Dubya and you know it…

Sing this song to the tune of: “If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands”

If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi
And the bank takes back your Audi
And the TV shows are bawdy,
Bomb Iraq.

If the corporate scandals growin’, bomb Iraq.
And your ties to them are showin’, bomb Iraq.
If the smoking gun ain’t smokin’
We don’t care, and we’re not jokin’.
That Saddam will soon be croakin’,
Bomb Iraq.

Even if we have no allies, bomb Iraq.
From the sand dunes to the valleys, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections;
Let’s look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

While the globe is slowly warming, bomb Iraq.
Yay! the clouds of war are storming, bomb Iraq.
If the ozone hole is growing,
Some things we prefer not knowing.
(Though our ignorance is showing),
Bomb Iraq.

So here’s one for dear old daddy, bomb Iraq,
From his favorite little laddy, bomb Iraq.
Saying no would look like treason.
It’s the Hussein hunting season.
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.

Thanks Shaf! Haha!

21
Nov 02
Thu

Wait

Final exam later today. Regular updates resume soon. Promise!

13
Nov 02
Wed

K-19: The Widowmaker

Although somewhat slow moving at times, this movie is based on real life events, and this fact helps to maintain interest. It’s quite a fascinating look, showing the heroics of a Russian crew in a justifiably positive light, in a time when the west said Communism was Bad. As a sidenote, K-19 continued in service after being towed back to port and repaired. However, it was subsequently nicknamed “Hiroshima” after it collided with a US vessel in 1969, had a fire and nuclear torpedo accident in 1972, and a reactor accident following that.

The Transporter

Switch your mind off, sit back, and enjoy this movie as it drops you straight into a well done car chase. This movie is your classic suspend-your-disbelief-for-two-hours flick. Guns, girls, cars, fighting… it’s all there. If you’re looking for something deep and meaningful, this isn’t your movie.

ABC Night Club

I listened to the ABC radio broadcast on blogs tonight. It featured Rebecca Blood (author of the Weblog Handbook speaking from San Francisco), AJH, Neale Talbot, Margo Kingston (an SMH political “blogger”), and Ruth Brown (of John Howard, PM fame).

Naturally, given the time constraints, it was a quick and superficial look at the world of weblogs. At the start, they brought in Rebecca for the definitional information about blogs. Margo came in next, turning the conversation very much to political views and the expression of them on the Net. Anthony followed, and was asked the age old question concerning media diffusion – how do you gain a readership amongst the masses of other blogs? This wasn’t really answered that satisfactorily, because Rebecca was asked to jump in and the discussion somehow switched to how one sets up their blog online. Neale did manage to answer the question later on, albeit briefly (content).

I thought the interesting thing to note was how the focus of the conversation kept turning back to blogs in the subcategory of politics/economics, and the interplay between those type of sites and the people running them. I suppose this was an attempt to portray some credibility and substance to the otherwise mundane masses of blogs who are run by people writing primarily about the daily grind (“I fed my cat today”, “I went to buy milk today”, “I almost got run over by a car today”, “I finished my thesis draft today”). Blogs were strongly portrayed as a means to express an opinion and be capable of being heard globally, which is what they are certainly capable of, but for the majority of people, it’s only a place to rant and keep an informal diary of sorts. Many people, like me, only have a cursory interest in politics, yet still maintain a readership, because there’s many other things to talk about (I used to be much more opinionated in years past. If you read through the archives, there are some fiery posts, some posing personal views that I don’t necessarily agree with today.) However, politics, economics and other similar topics generate the most debate and discussion online, and debate and discussion is what ABC Radio and things like talkback media are about, so it is no doubt that the conversation on blogs revolved around that.

Voice Vibrato

I’ve always been curious how vibrato in singing is achieved – whether it was something you were born with, or something that could be learnt. Seems like the latter is true, although some people will “pick it up” easier than others.

57,000 words later…

And the draft of my thesis has been completed. It’s currently with my supervisor awaiting feedback. Final submission date looks to be Friday or next Monday. Meanwhile, I’ll be putting in the study for my one subject this session, which is telecommunications for e-commerce (mysteriously named, for it has nothing really to do with e-commerce – it’s a networking subject). Exam is next Friday.

6
Nov 02
Wed

Charity

Maccas HK is raising money for charity. Your click on the flash animation will contribute 0.10c to the A$20000 total. It’s legit, look at the URL.

Voyager Humour

Voyager clearly had enough room for all those shuttles

4
Nov 02
Mon

Survey Participants Required

I have a friend who is a fellow IS honours student. He’s running a survey and needs your input. As I know how difficult it is to generate data for this type of research, I’m plugging his survey. It’s a survey on shopping on the Net, so everyone is eligible to fill it out. It will take no more than 10 minutes of your time and doesn’t require you to rack your brains, so please help him out!

Got some spare time? Have your say about Internet Shopping (whether
you’ve used it or not) and volunteer to participate in a quick Internet
Shopping survey:

http://unswresearch.servehttp.com/ShoppingSurvey/Hearye/

Your participation in this survey will assist in developing new
strategies for increasing the growth in the online retail industry and
allow online companies to understand your concerns, needs and wants as a
consumer!

Thanks.

2
Nov 02
Sat

Thesis Update

37000 words in, without appendices, and just under two weeks to go. I ran six system demonstrations/surveys this week, with eight to run by next Wednesday. I should have the results analysed by the weekend, and hopefully a completed draft ready to undergo a brief one week proofread and revision. The one week process is too brief for my liking, but they brought the submission deadline forward by two weeks a few months ago. A complaint was recently lodged with the faculty dean, and there will be a meeting to inquire into the state of affairs, but it’s unlikely the deadline will change. It seems that the majority of the 20 or so BIT honours students will be graduating late because the deadline is just too near. Nonetheless, I don’t intend on dragging out this thesis for another couple months, so I’m aiming for an on time submission on the 15th. The final exam is on the 22nd, which also marks the end of my four year degree. A bunch of us plan to head out into the city after that exam… and just not come back for a while ;).

In other news, I got a paper accepted for publication at the Collecter e-commerce conference. Man… no time, no time… unlike some socialites who have time for loungeroom art!

  11:15pm (GMT +11.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Game Studies

Game Studies is a peer-reviewed international academic journal “dealing with the aesthetic, cultural and communicative aspects of computer games.” Intriguing.

1
Nov 02
Fri

National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo (maybe that should be InterNaNoWriMo) has started for this month. Graham has his work in progress here. 50k words is just under 1700 words a day, pretty hard to achieve – and produce something reasonably readable – unless you’ve spent a little while planning the book’s general plotline out before launching into the words.

California Costal Records Project

A project with the objective of photographing the entire Californian coastline, and keeping this library of imagery current (at this time, 44 gigs of it).



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