Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for October 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 Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
Oct 02


Dear Deidre,

I have been engaged for almost a year. I am to be married next month. My fiancee’s mother is not only very attractive but really great and understanding. She is putting the entire wedding together and invited me to her place to go over the invitation list because it had grown a bit beyond what we had expected it to be. When I got to her place we reviewed the list and trimmed it down to just under a hundred… then she floored me. She said that in a month I would be a married man and that before that happened, she wanted to have sex with me.Then she just stood up and walked to her bedroom and on her way said that I knew where the front door was if I wanted to leave. I stood there for about five minutes and finally decided that I knew exactly how to deal with this situation.

I headed straight out the front door… There, leaning against my car was her husband, my father-in-law to be. He was smiling. He explained that they just wanted to be sure I was a good kid and would be true to their little girl. I shook his hand and he congratulated me on passing their little test. Deidre, should I tell my fiancee what her parents did, and that I thought their “little test” was asinine and insulting to my character?

Or should I keep the whole thing to myself including the fact that the reason I was walking out to my car was to get a condom?

Thanks Kev!

Restaurants and Ice Cream

The Nepalese Kitchen is an old joint on Crown St, which was surprisingly busy for a Tuesday night. Nepal, although nestled in between two great culinary cultures of China and India, has a – perhaps surprisingly – bland offering of cuisine. I suspect the nation’s poverty may play a role in this. Nonetheless, the fare at the restaurant was nothing spectacular, quite similar to that in Nepal, although in Australian prices. You can’t really compare prices between nations, but for the purposes of curiousity, the Dal-Bhat-Takari (basically the national dish, consisting of lentils, rice and some curry) costs A$15. The exact same dish in Nepal costs as low as 50 rupees in local prices (tourists may pay double though), or, roughly A$1.20. I can’t really recommend this restaurant, because at these prices, Nepalese cuisine is just not special enough.

Next to the Theatre Royal, near the corner of King and Pitt Sts is Gelatissimo. It is the only Sydney ice creamery which I can say is comparable to the experience I had with ice-cream in Italy. “Gelato” is the Italian word for ice cream, and the suffix “-issimo” basically means “more”, like in prestissimo. And more ice-cream they give indeed. The psychadelic display of ice-cream is presented sumptuously, each flavour bulging out of its tub, sprinkled with bits of fruit and whatnot on top. Naturally, it all tastes delicious. It’s better than the trendy Double Bay French Riviera and easily rivals the Bondi ice-creameries (so Kev says, I haven’t tried the ones at Bondi myself). The thing that puts this joint above all those other popular (primarily Asian) hang-outs of Passionflower and Y2K is the value. Plain and simple. $5 will get you three flavours. $5 will get you one scoop in Passionflower. But the real key is, they serve ice-cream by paving it with a sort of spade, not a scoop. My gf’s sister works at New Zealand Ice Cream and she was taught to scoop ice-cream for customers so that the ball that is formed is hollow inside. You can’t pull that trick with a paver, so you really do get your money’s worth. Mmmm… lemon sorbet…

The Mother of All Research Publication Rejections

In the theme of research:

The Financial Times has quoted the “mother of all rejection slips,” translated from a Chinese economic journal. It goes like this:

We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity.

Oct 02

I’m So Bored

I have a few spare minutes, so let me recount a fairly mundane memory for a fairly mundane day, which came back to me after I discovered an old namecard, a remnant from highschool.

In Year 9, we had this crazy teacher (who I’ll refer to as Dougie) for commerce who employed somewhat peculiar means to maintain discipline within the class. He created this system of responsibilities. If we failed to comply with any of these responsibilities, he’d apply some sort of remedial action. This “remedial action” escalated in severity each time a responsibility was broken by a person. The list of responsibilities numbered five, and we had them all written down on this name card we had to display on our desk.

1. Do not speak while the teacher or someone else is speaking.
2. Do not get out of your seat without teacher’s permission.
3. Do not distract others.
4. Raise your hand. Do not call out.
5. Do your work.

So you’d be enjoying a nice little chat with the friend next to you and suddenly a voice would sound out from across the room.

“Yes sir?”
“Please tell me responsibility number 1.”
“(Groan) Do not speak while the teacher or someone else is speaking.”
“And what is my responsibility to you?”

This final question refered to the list of remedial actions which were, in order of severity:

1. One warning.
2. You will be moved.
3. You will see me after class.
4. You will see me at lunch.
5. You will be excluded from the class.

I quote the above verbatim, as I wrote on my namecard seven years ago. Anyway this system operated throughout the entire year and as a result, sparked some retaliatory antics from us in response to the bizarrity of the “responsibility system”. Ways would be found to bend the responsibilities – such as number 2, which had everyone sliding their chairs around the room in order to move about. It was even better because we had commerce classes in a biology lab, so there were a lot of props we made use of, like sitting the model skeleton in the teacher’s chair before Dougie arrived, whipping the gas taps on and loudly exclaiming, “Aww who farted?!” and so on. Anyway one day, near the end of the year, we were lining up at the teacher’s desk to collect exams back or something like that. Someone had nicked one of the whiteboard markers and wrote a large word onto the metal front of the teacher’s desk saying, “IDIOT”, or something similar, and an arrow pointing to Dougie. Anyway, as we all took our tests back and sat down, we started cracking up one by one. By the time everyone had sat down, we were all sniggering. It took him the rest of class to figure out what was going on. When he eventually managed to suss out the source of his public humiliation, he was not a happy chappy. The Routine began again, but it was a little different this time:

“Yes sir?”
“What is responsibility number six?”
“Uh… six? There is no six?”
“Yes there is.”
“Uh… umm…”
“It is: Do not be a moron. Now get out.”
“But your responsibility to me is a warning…”

Meanwhile, the rest of the class is in an uproar of laughter and Dougie is vainly handing out warnings and moving people left, right and centre in an effort to get us to shut up… And that was the end of that unproductive class for the day. Ok that was just a memory from a while ago. I didn’t say it was interesting.

The Nugget

I saw The Nugget a couple weeks ago. It’s a typical Aussie flick, with the same wry, grainy humour unique to the Aussie Way familiar from The Castle and The Dish (and with a similarly creative movie title). Unfortunately, while it is amusing, it’s let down by a lacklustre plot and no genuine piss-your-pants-laughing moments. It’s the flavour of humour that us Aussies run into each day, constantly taking the piss out of each other. So, a valid substitute for this movie is to spend a couple hours drinking with mates, cos the laughs you’ll get from both experiences will be from the same type of humour. One of the weaker Aussie flicks, or perhaps the formula is starting to wear thin?

A Photo A Day…

This site http://www.c71123.com/daily_photo/ has been doing the rounds a bit lately. A guy has taken a photo of himself every day for 4 years. But hmm, at the end of it, its sort of interesting but sort of uninteresting.

Yes, you can see row upon multitudinous row of photos of this guy in his narcissistic glory. I think it’d be interesting to turn it into a timelapse video (similar to the videos they shot of the changes in a pregnant woman over nine months) and watch him age through the years… but that’d take… years. Instead, we now get to see his entire wardrobe instead, plus the varying degrees of his hair’s unkemptness through the weeks. Thanks Pete!

Vanilla Coke

Emily dropped around last week with a delivery of Vanilla Coke after having spied a vending machine stocking it at the hospital she’s interning at. The initial hit, as I took my first swig, of the new taste was impressive. The smooth aromatic vapour of vanilla essence wafts through the mouth, followed by the familiar tang of the carbonated black stuff. There is no aftertaste of vanilla. Quite delicious, but the problem lies in that it’s diminishing returns from there. The hint of vanilla fades with each subsequent sip, and it begins to taste like plain Coke after that. To regain the taste of vanilla, you have to take a break from drinking to let your taste buds reset. Perhaps a little too subtle for the common palate (bonus points if you can tell me which childhood book that line is from), it’s a nice change from regular Coke, but nothing to get excited about. However, I currently do prefer it to classic Coke, because it offers that little bit extra at the start.

Oct 02

Degrees of Separation

Based on some empirical evidence gathered over the years…

Hypothesis: Without myself having gone to any weblog meetups, I’d say that the great majority of Sydney webloggers would be consciously three degrees of separation away from me, or within three degrees. (I’m defining a single degree of separation as having spoken to someone in real life, and with both people having stored each other’s name and face somewhere in their memory. By “consciously”, I mean that we can work paths of separation out. There are a lot of people who are unknowingly closer in separation than they are aware.)

Perhaps someone will eventually make up a diagram of the Sydney blog community’s “interconnectedness”. Any bloggers care to test out this hypothesis with me? :)

Hypothesis 2: Degrees of separation become largely irrelevant beyond three degrees. Chances are you don’t know the person at all.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I think I’ve discovered where the “Mod Oz” or “Fusion” styles of cooking came about, after this little scene in the kitchen:

Dave laid out mince to defrost this morning with the intention of cooking up a three day supply of spaghetti tonight.

Dave (opening fridge): Oh no! The tofu is going to expire soon… on the 30th. What day is it today?
Me: The 28th.
Dave: Shit, I must cook it tomorrow… (pauses) How the hell do you cook tofu with spaghetti bolognaise? That’s just wrong.

Oct 02


I am currently going through a bit of honours thesis hell. After discovering that the original plan of testing my software in a real world business wasn’t going to happen due to the low adoption in Sydney of the e-commerce system that my software runs on, my supervisor suggested a scope change to running a case study instead. So, I spent the last fortnight preparing for a case study that was meant to be done on fraud in the RTA. Unfortunately, the approval hadn’t actually been passed for me to run interviews, and last Thursday, I got a call from my supervisor to say that RTA management had turned down the request. Rumour has it that they are having a bit of trouble with internal system security, which means that they aren’t exactly in the mood to have some inquisitive uni student come in and tell them all the things they are doing wrong. Strike 2. Upon further discussion, it was decided that I would be running a survey instead. So, throw out the last two weeks worth of work, or about 4000 words of well researched material (if I do say so myself), and restart. The thesis is due on November 15. The process of Packing Shit has not started just yet, but I guarantee that within a week or two, I will definitely be packing it.

In other news, daylight saving starts. Therefore, we all lose an hour of sleep tonight, meaning I will be extra tired at dragonboat tomorrow morning. Tuesday night I’ll be going out to dinner with the world trip crew. Out of the other three, I haven’t seen Von in a very long time, so it will be good to catch up with her. We’re going to a Nepalese restaurant in Surry Hills, and then Gelatissimo in the CBD, which everyone tells me is the latest popular ice cream joint. (I’m inclined to believe this because they pave their ice cream into cones. Real ice cream is paved, not scooped!) Those choices were naturally made in line with the two most favourite countries we visited a couple years ago. Ok then, back to the stressful grind of the thesis.

One more thing. Soon mailed me with an amusing conspiracy theory about the Millennium trains. They sure are rare.

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Oct 02

Amalgamated Post

– Interesting, amusing read about a hooker scam.
Deep Fritz draws final chess match with Kramnik.
Google Labs, innovations under development.
Windows Longhorn screenshots. Most people think they’re fake, as you can see by the comments underneath.
– Another man kicks the bucket after playing too many computer games.
Gallery of cars from The Fast and The Furious 2, in production. {src: LJ}
Analysis of Sarah Kerrigan as a role model for women. Hmm. Yeah, you can find anything on the net.

Oct 02

Muscle Info

Some interesting information on muscle growth. Typically muscle bulk is built on by the muscle fibres expanding (hypertrophy), but in some occassions, new ones can be grown (hyperplasia). Also, eccentric contractions seem to build muscle the best.

Do The Dew

I don’t think they ever ran those Mountain Dew ad campaigns here, but anyway, these Dew can shotguns are pretty cool. And very illegal too in Oz, I’d imagine.

Oct 02


How many copies does a record have to sell to go gold? Platinum? What about diamond? Find out.

Ahhhh, but how many sales do you need for gold/platinum in Australia?
(A: 35,000/70,000 respectively).

Thesis News

It’s just rolled over into the one month left stage, until my thesis is due. The workload is mounting and I have yet to commence a case study I need to do for it (not that I’ve been lazy, my supervisor discovered that a sudden change in thesis objectives was necessary last week). I’ve been staring at Word for so long over the past fortnight that I’ve taken to pacing about the apartment just to get away from it. Thus, I present to you a flash game worthy of my current state of mind: Poke the Penguin. Thanks Dan.

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Oct 02

Bali Bombing

What’s there to say, really? Except that news of it has already dropped off the front page of CNN.com. Horrible. For Aussies, not quite as bad as an act of terrorism occurring on our own soil, but about the closest you can get to it.

Oct 02

Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition is a slow moving movie, but it is a good one. Set in the 1930s in the underworld of the Irish Mafia, Tom Hanks puts in another very competent performance as father of a boy who witnesses a mafia killing. Good movie if you’re in the right mood.

Oct 02


This summer the famous Enrique Iglesias had a concert in romania. It was all playback. But some of the sound guys recorded his real voice from microphone output: http://www.247365.com.au/extras/enrique.html.

I don’t know if this is legit, but it sounds horrendous nonetheless. Thanks Pete!

Oct 02


Well it finally happened, our little freshwater crab was eaten by the smaller of our yabbies. :(

State of our aquarium

Oct 02


This unfortunate Suzuki driver thought it was just a puddle.
Three ways to hypnotise a chicken. {src: Grouse!}

You are getting sleepy...
Emily trying to hypnotise a chicken in Nepal.

– Victoria has outlawed eating cats and dogs.

Corporate Cringe

Perhaps Cap Gemini Ernst & Young will rebrand soon. Perhaps they will take inspiration from a corporate theme song (mp3, 2.5mb) from their accounting compatriots and be known as Viva Viva Consulting. Of course, ZDNet has a Top 20 chart of corporate anthems, guaranteed to have you either cringing in your seat, or in an uncontrollable fit of laughter. This week, McKinsey just got taken over by KPMG on the charts for number one position. Save us.

Oct 02

Last Night…

[00:59:12] Chris: eheheh… a person just called … wrong phone number…
Him: “hi… is this Asian Darlings?”
Me: “umm… i’m pretty sure you got the wrong number”
Him: *click*

Millennium Trains

Finally got to ride on one of the new millennium trains the other day. They are snazzy. They pull up to the platform with a high pitched, high tech, whirring sound. Stepping inside, the trains still have a, I guess you could call it, “new train smell” which is not unlike hospital disinfectant. The colour scheme is done up in a orange, which is tastefully used so it isn’t garish. The vestibule areas seem to be quite roomy. The seats are firm, but comfortable, swivel backwards and forwards smoothly and without clunking hideously, and I think they support most of your back. The window ledges have been adjusted so you can comfortably rest your arm on them. Likewise, the window rims on the sides are situated just behind the headrest so passengers with window seating can rest their head backwards. When the train takes off, its virtually silent – all you can hear is the soft drone of the air conditioning, together with a smooth acceleration. Multiple electronic LED displays in each carriage indicate stops, and, with joy, the train guard’s voice (more often than not they are speaking their non-native language) has been replaced with a clear recorded one. Gone from these trains are the days of, “Next step Benkstawn. Sten clear, door close.”

New HP Printers, crazy CD Burner Speeds

HP is going to release soon a colour laser printer for under US$1000 (A$1900), the Color LaserJet 2500. LiteOn is releasing a ridiculous 52/24/52 speed cd burner.


The company formerly known as KPMG Consulting: BearingPoint (no spaces).

Vanilla Coke

Vanilla Coke has finally made it to Australia. Anybody tried any yet? What’s it like?

read your web page, and in reply to the question, Vanilla Coke tastes like a
“coke spider” drink (where they put some icecream into a cup of coke). It’s
a subtle flavour, but quite nice. I tried some while I was over in Canada.
The verdict? Go try some, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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Oct 02


Proof that pi is irrational on one compact page. I didn’t bother working through it, brain hurts enough just looking at it.

In other news, it’s not yet Summer and the temperature hit 35 today. Bring it on!

The new Cayenne

The new Porsche Cayenne 4WD sure is ugly. Bleck. The front is unappealing enough, but the back looks like something from the 70s.


I got my post about the Town Hall debate quoted by the guys at absoluteGod.

Galapagos and Breakfast of Champions

I picked up Galapagos in Dymocks after Fuzzy mentioned it. I’ve never read any of Kurt Vonnegut’s books before, but after reading the first few sample chapters of it on Amazon, decided it was interesting enough to buy. Vonnegut is a highly satirical and highly cynical author, especially about contemporary American culture and society. Galapagos is a satirical, wryly humourous book about all of humanity. It’s about the evolution of humans who get stranded on Galapagos (where Darwin originally developed his ideas of evolutionary theory). The humans seem to “de-evolve” into seal-like creatures. Basically, the book takes a look at whether our brain really is the pinnacle of evolution or not, given that it is the sole attribute which has allowed us to rape our planet in the way we have:

To the credit of humanity as it used to be: more and more people were saying that their brains were irresponsible, unreliable, hideously dangerous, wholly unrealistic – were simply no damn good. In the microcosm of Hotel El Dorado, for example, widow Mary Hepburn, who had been taking all her meals in her room, was cursing her own brain sotto voce for the advice it was giving her, which was to commit suicide.

It also raises the question, why is the brain considered an evolutionary step forward? It’s thought provoking, enjoyable fun, although Vonnegut has this quirky habit of repeatedly telling us what is going to happen later in the book. But I guess it’s the ideas he’s raising and not so much the plot, which is just a ridiculous, fabulously interconneted vehicle used to get his message across. If you read it, you’ll see what I mean.

Breakfast of Champions is a weird book. It seems to be a mishmash of characters and ideas from other books he’s written, plus things from Vonnegut’s own life. In fact, he himself narates the story as a character within the story, but as also the author of the story. The epilogue actually has him screaming out to one of his characters, “I’m your creator!” Although the book has such a weird feel to it, you can still draw out his satirical observations on society and the people within it. Hard to explain, you have to read it. Breakfast is not as enjoyable as say, Galapagos, given its unconventionality (it gave me a headache at times), but that seems to be the way Vonnegut is.


I own the collected works of Vonnegut for much the same reason as I own the collected works of Robert J. Sawyer, Orson Scott Card, Phillip K. Dick, J.D. Salinger and Stephen Chbosky (to mention a few). It is just the right blend of style and substance. too flashy, and its a pop phenomenon, too substantial and its a technical text. sometimes you can have all of both, but not often.

enjoy vonnegut, BoC is my personal favourite, although SF5 was a better novel… Player Piano is quite a read too…

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The Weekend

The place we ended up at over the weekend was Bermagui. Bermagui is a small town, about five hours south of Sydney, near Bega. It’s on the coast, and reputed to be one of the best fishing spots in Australia. Our hosts were a couple of family friends, Ron and Betty. Ron is a fishing enthusiast.

It was after dinner, about 9pm when we arrived at their house. It was in a quiet, unlit street, lined sporadically on one side with houses, and a cemetary shrouded in bushland on the other (“So Betty won’t have to go far to cart me!” Ron quipped later on, producing a furrowed brow from Betty.) Ron greeted us, “We thought you got lost! Come in, come in, I just got a fresh batch of nippers for bait when we go out tomorrow!” It wasn’t until we entered his garage that we realised how much of an enthusiast he was. In addition to his large red game fishing boat, Ron owned a second smaller vessel for river runs. It was that boat we were going to go out on the next day, as the ocean was a bit too choppy for open sea fishing. On the roof was a vast array of fishing rods, twenty or so. They all looked pretty similar to me.

“Why’ve you got so many rods?” mum exclaimed incredulously.
“Let me answer that with this: Why’ve you got so many dresses?”
“Oh, because each dress is for a different occassion…”
And that pretty much ended that.

He gesticulated wildly. “…And this is for barramundi. This is for bass. That one is for beach fishing. And these ones,” he paused, finger hovering up at series of around six rods covered with cloth, “are for marlin.” He climbed up a step ladder, dislodged one of the marlin rods, and came down. Marlin rods are big. Well, they need to be, especially when you’re trying to reel in an animal that can be more than four times heavier than you. The reel is a large, bulky clunk of metal, around which is wrapped some 600-pound fishing wire. My arms were getting tired just supporting it. Luckily when fishing, in most cases, the rod is held into place by a socket between your legs, in the chair on the game boat. The weight of the rod is supported by a harness strapped around your body.

“That metal clunk you’re holding is $3000,” Ron said.
“Uh, you better have it back then,” handing it quickly back to him. He chuckled.

The garage wall was adorned with various photos of Ron alongside marlin. One that took him seven minutes to catch. One that took thirty minutes. One that took over three hours. Apparently, on one trip out, he managed to land nine of the critters.

The next morning, I walked out the front door as Ron was finishing connecting the trailer to his 4-wheel drive. A couple of neighbours had come over for a chat. Their tiny three-legged dog, called Bandit, was hopping around with her nose in the bucket where all the nippers were, absolutely fascinated. Occasionally her head would jerk back with a yelp as one of the nippers grabbed at her nose. We fished out a nipper and gave it to her. She retreated off to the front lawn and proceeded to toy with the squirming crustacean, before gobbling it up. Bandit had lost her hind right leg when a tractor accidentally backed over it.

We arrived at the river at the top of high tide. It was an inlet to the sea, so it was a diluted saltwater that made the river. The fishing season was only starting up, so our catch wasn’t as bountiful as other times of the year. Three hours later, we’d caught some bream, blackfish, trevally, some poisonous pufferfish, and a few stingrays. Only five of the fish were above the minimum legal limit, and that was what we added to our dinner menu in addition to some fresh oysters, balmain bugs and calamari. At around 3pm, the tide was retreating rapidly, and threatened to maroon our boat in the river – some parts of which, were only a foot or so deep at that time. We actually did get stuck on a sandbank on the way back and had to jump out and pull the boat over it.

Dinner was a banquet of fresh seafood. We caught the second half of the footy grand final. Ron, being the doggies supporter that he is indignantly pointed out that, “The roosters only won because of the bulldogs,” and then watched The Cider House Rules. We got back to Sydney this evening. There are actually quite a lot of decent places around NSW for a long weekend getaway.

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Oct 02

Long Weekend

I’m off, down south along the coast until Monday. Family friend has a boat or something and we’re doing… stuff. Yeah you can tell I’ve been clued in to what’s going on… I don’t even remember the name of the place we’re going, it’s got some weird name.

Oct 02

M3 Easter Egg

Another reason to own a BMW M3 (not that you needed another reason to). Check out the comments, some are pretty funny!

Sheet Music

Here’s a whole repository of sheet music for Nobuo Uematsu’s Final Fantasy compositions, for all types of instruments.


I got the RSS feed finally working, I hope. It needed a one line change of code, but, the powers of procrastination were strong.


BTA is a somewhat bizarre publication-in-production. You’ll have to have a bit of a browse to figure out what it is. Bizarre but intriguing.

Spammers in the Guestbook

Hrm, I just checked my guestbook for the first time in over a year, and amongst the usual mix of positive and abusive comments, I find something much more offensive… the guestbook equivalent of spammers. Appalling.

Jaxter Music Awards

A friend is running a national music composition competition. It’s called the Jaxter Artist Awards. Entry fee is $25 for any original composition/song. You have to be under 35, but I don’t think that’s a problem given the demographics of this site’s readership :). Spread the word to any of your musically talented friends.

Summer Nears

It was around 30 degrees today. You know what that means… the return of flies, mozzies and other assorted annoying insects. In other news, check out this cool optical illusion. {src: AJH}

This story has been dramatised for the web

Dave came back from Melbourne today, told me a pretty amusing story which I will now relay here. Dave and eleven of his friends hired three cars and set off west from Melbourne on the Great Ocean Drive. They had decided not to prebook accommodation, feeling “it would be more exciting that way”. They eventually arrived at Apollo Bay around 9pm and found a motel to stay in. However, they being a bunch of miserly, broke uni students, attempted to get themselves a discount. They told the innkeeper that there were only eight of them. To their dismay, their scam was undone when the third car in their convoy, which they had ordered to stay well out of sight until later, came trundling up the driveway. The innkeeper promptly kicked all of them out.

Now they had to find a new place to stay. Unfortunately, that day coincided with the end of the AFL Grand Final, and after doing the rounds in Apollo Bay, found there was absolutely zero accommodation left. So they sent off on the road again. They came to the next town along the road. Same result. No space. And the next. And the next. Well, there were spare rooms, but no establishment that could fit 12 extra bodies in. They could’ve split up and picked separate motels, but no, they were obstinate. They also started to declare they were a party of twelve, instead of eight, having learnt their lesson.

They hit the road again. By this time they were beginning to get freaked out. Midnight was approaching, the roads were deserted, and periodically a kangaroo would bound across the road out of the murky darkness, jolting the drivers back to alertness (their cars were bullbarless). They passed a lonely B&B joint along the highway but were too scared to enquire within. And so on and on they drove. Eventually, the convoy arrived at Port Campbell, I think it was, and still there was nothing. Options were starting to be thrown around, including sleeping in the car. I can only imagine the mood in each of the cars. A bunch of tired, grumpy, desparate uni students in the middle of nowhere, looking for shelter (I told you this story was dramatised).

Finally, at 1.30am, they arrived in Warrnambool, exhausted, and managed to book themselves into a motor inn, over 4 hours later. And get this, they had tried checking in to at least 25 different places after Apollo Bay.

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Oct 02

A Pox on Thee!

Today’s well-rounded gentleman should know how to swear.

ZipZap RC Cars

Tiny remote control cars you can “do up”. Sounds like an affordable hobby, unlike their big brothers which cost 1000 times more.

Talon of the Silver Hawk

TOTSH is the first part of Feist’s new Conclave of the Shadows saga. It’s a novel about a single person, Talon, with a single non-branching plotline. Up until now, the Eastern realms of The Kingdom have been largely neglected in Feist’s books. In this one, however, we see Talon as the sole survivor from a community of mountain people in the East, grow up. The beginnings of this intriguing scenario, however, is not the best piece of Feist’s writings. When Talon starts his life debt, the book seems to meander along, without conviction or insight. A growing up tale without major significance. It’s only when Talon is brought into the Western realms, that things begin to get more interesting, and Feist slips back into his familiar writing style. Alas, we are again back in the Western realms, surrounded by the familiar figures of Pug and company. At the end, the story does move back into the East, setting up Talon for the rest of this saga. Talon’s a different sort of character in that he’s essentially a country boy, chockful of swordfighting and strategic talent. Hopefully, his roots play a large part in his future development, and he doesn’t turn into another Dash- or Locky-type character. It was a fairly enjoyable book, but it’s not Feist’s best writing.

The Bourne Identity

Fairly decent. Kept my interest up throughout the film. I loved the shots through all the European cities (the cast must’ve had a ball!), most of which I’d visited a couple years ago. When Bourne is surveying the bridge for Conklin in Paris from atop a building, I think that building’s the Samaritaine department store?

Star Destroyer Lego

Cooooool. A worthy household display piece. Just a bit expensive though (over A$500).

Great Estates

How’d you like to move into a house with a 1950s missile silo underneath, for quick, easy access in the event of global thermonuclear war? Yes? You might try checking out eBay for one.

Fanatical Service

I was browsing Rackspace last night, when I diverted my attention to another browser window for a few minutes. Suddenly, a soft voice intoned through the speakers, “Welcome”, and a pop-up box appeared. Another pop-up ad box. My neurologically ingrained impulses automatically set my cursor moving towards the box’s close button before my consciousness realised that it actually wasn’t an advertisement. It was a chat dialog, originating from Rackspace customer support officer “scottw”, complete with his smiling visage framed in a tiny mugshot. He inquired if I needed help with anything. Taken a little aback, I replied with “just browsing thanks” and satisfied myself, after he replied, that it was actually a human being I was talking to, and not some gimmicky bot. It’s a scenario you’d run into everyday in department stores, but the first time I’ve come across it on the net. To realise, there are actually a bunch of support peons who have to chat to web site visitors who linger too long on one of their pages. It’s weird. I wonder if one day there will be anti-loitering security personnel monitoring a page: “Hey! You’ve been idle on our site for 60 seconds. Did you know it’s rude to browse someone else’s site when you still have ours open?”

Or a salesperson who virtually eyeballs you as you browse their wares: “Sir, did you know we also have that Modena 360 in yellow? And say, while you’re at it, why don’t you fill in this job and income survey so we can determine whether to waste anymore of our bandwidth on you?” Well, maybe not. You can only stretch the analogy so far, I guess.

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