maxcelcat: (Badtz Maru 2)
I'm currently staying at Sandy Point. It is indeed a point, and it is quite sandy. It's next to body of water called Shallow Inlet which is, as you've probably guessed, a shallow inlet.


View Larger Map

The nearest town to here is called Fish Creek, which is on a creek which, presumably, has a whole lot of fish in it. About an hours drive east of here is a place called Ninety Mile Beach which is, who knew, a beach 90 miles long.

Ah Australia, the place that brought you the Great Sandy Desert, the Great Australian Bite, Big Lake, Small Lake and indeed Cockatoo.
maxcelcat: (Hypnotoad)
I'm something of a huge nerd. My desk at home, such as it is - purchased flat-pack from Officeworks some years ago - is an awful mess. The cabling looks like the worst nightmare of a sys admin.

OK, so, it doesn't help that on it there are two PCs, a Mac Mini, a small server, two laptops, two monitors and a naked caseless PC. Oh, and two printers, an ADSL modem, a wireless router and ethernet switch. And two scanners. And a 4-port and 2-port KVM switch. There's even a record player hidden on a lower shelf.

Yes, I do need all this stuff I tell you! The server has five hard drives in it for a total of 7.25 terabytes of storage for all my stuff. Then there's my main PC, an older PC running Windows XP so I can play games and run old hardware. Then there's my fun little laptop which I take everywhere, an old Mac laptop my mother gave me which I use to back up my iPhone. And the Mac Mini, which has been re-purposed as a windows 7 machine which runs 24/7 downloading stuff. And the PC in bits used to be my old work PC. Currently it thinks it's a Linux box, while I try to get some data off an old RAID from a NAS.... One printer is a duplex (double sided) laser, the other a rarely used colour printer... Look, I feel like I can justify all this shit, I swear.

There's a joke going around that the number of bikes you need to own is N + 1, where N = the current number of bikes you own. This can also be expressed as R - 1 where R = the number of bikes at which your partner leaves you. I may be approaching that point for computers rather than bikes... (Note: there are also seven bikes in the back garden).

This is the before shot:
Desk before

(Forgot to mention the two keyboard and two mice, and shitty PC speakers!).

I picked up a couple of nice desktop speakers on eBay for cheap, which inspired me to rearrange the thing. (Also forgot to mention: web cam, USB mic and small amplifier! Oh and about 20 CDs. And at least one external hard drive. And a USB number pad...)

Here we see the first layer has been removed:
Desk During

And some evidence of the cabling nightmare:
Some of the cabling mess

That shot includes ethernet cables, power supplies, a web cam, various Mac cables, and... well, prizes for identifying the rest of them.

You can see the whole process here on Flickr. I went to the trouble of tagging things and bought a set of shorter ethernet cables and some cable ties.

Done:
The final setup

Left to right: ADSL stuff, PC, speaker, server with Mac Mini on top, 22 inch monitor, Macbook, 19 inch monitor, speaker and desk lamp, naked PC. Also visible in the desk is another PC, and above it two scanners. Note also inbox with all the paper in it. You can also see the remains of my cousin's PC on the wall, and framed street art.

This is something of an improvement - I have more desks space - although in practise the new setup has as complex cabling, it's just better hidden.
maxcelcat: (Dalek)
Actually, I didn't find it, Annette did (hey, if you're reading this, what's your handle on LJ these days??? Still using [livejournal.com profile] ladystardust_xs?)

He's here at [livejournal.com profile] grrm, and occasionally posts great pictures like this image of the Iron Throne:



Oh, for those not following along at home, George RR Martin is the author of A Song of Fire and Ice, aka Game of Thrones. Not to be confused with George Martin, who produced most of the Beatles records!
maxcelcat: (Space Man)
I direct you to my blog post on Pippy Quark on the subject.

I should work out how to cross post from Wordpress to LJ.
maxcelcat: (Cat Go Blah Blah Blah)
It was around this time in 1998 I first joined a gym. This was significant, prior to that, I'd never ever done regular exercise. Partly because I didn't own a bike, partly because I hated team sports, and probably partly because when I was a kid I couldn't because of a bung hip. Perthes Disease if you're interested.

I can't tell you exactly what inspired me to join the gym. I was 28, and I put on a lot of weight in my early twenties. Drinking my way through University had assisted that, and living on hamburgers. And also, one's body changes over time, and by your mid-twenties, it starts storing way more fat than it had before. Remind me to mention this to my son as he reaches that age!

So I joined a gym, and I liked it. Although it took me a few years to really start going really regularly.

Those of you who've met me in real life, will know I'm sort of a big chap. So load bearing exercise suited me well, and still does. I'm not a body builder, which is a whole other level of commitment, I'm just some guy who likes to work his muscles. I put in my headphones and get on with it - the headphones also help to drown out the god-awful music they play at gyms. Mine seem to have Channel-V on all the time, so I get to catch really bad music videos too.

I'd always thought of gym's as the province of the meathead, until I realised that a lot of ordinary people work out as well. And a lot of meatheads, but happily there aren't too many of them at the places I frequent. I'd also read that a certain percentage of regular gym goers have the male equivalent of anorexia. For some reason, knowing that there were neurotics working out made it more like my kind of place!

In that fifteen years I've only belonged to four gyms. Let me think... There was RMIT, then Brunswick Baths gym, then Northcote Aquatic Centre, a ritzy gym in Port Melbourne which was called Southport when I was there, it's called something else now. And then Northcote again. In the mean time, I've also lifted weights at the YMCA and Gold's gyms in New York, a shitty gym in Newcastle called City Gym, two gyms in Adelaide, including one on Rundle Mall, plus a couple in the UK and... that's about it. Weird that I can remember them all. The gym in Newcastle had equipment which barely worked, and which looked dangerous. The gym in Lewisham in London was cramped and I found a magazine for Australian expats there.

I shall now celebrate by flexing my biceps!
maxcelcat: (Drawing of a trike)


I have somewhat mixed feelings about ANZAC day. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with a day commemorating the lives, and indeed the deaths, of thousands of my fellow countrymen. I just wonder about that day in particular.

The landings at what is now ANZAC cove were a complete and utter unmitigated disaster from start to finish. The poorly thought out campaign, which was at least in part the idea of then Lord of the Admiralty - a certain Winston Churchill - left literally thousands of Australians, and an even larger number of Brits dead. And it ended in defeat.

In the first world war Australia lost some 61,700 dead out of a population of only 4.5 million. This must have been a huge hole in society at the time. The French, between the wars, had a saying: "Where is France's Picasso? Still in trenches...." You could have said a similar thing about Australia: "...still in Gallipoli".

So here we are, remembering what was virtually a massacre, a very very low point in our history, and choosing this as the day we honour our dead... I wonder that there couldn't be a different date, a different event we could have chosen...

I've read a lot of military history, which I'll admit is odd thing for a confirmed pacifist, who marched against both Gulf Wars. One thing I've learned from all this history - the lessons of Gallipoli and the other extraordinary slaughter of the first world war were not learned. When it came to WWII, once again incompetent leaders made stupid decisions which wasted literally thousands of lives. Witness, for example, the Dieppe Raid, the battle for Monte Cassino, and the constant refusal of the leaders of UK Bomber Command to bomb such crucial targets as oil refineries, which would have significantly shortened the war, instead insisting on area bombing of cities, leading to the complete destruction of Dresden at a time when the war was almost won.

My point is, war is a complete and utter waste of human life, and even those who survive come back permanently damaged. No one is unaffected.

There are no veterans in my family. The closest would be a great aunt who served as a nurse in Europe in the first world war. And my mother's father who was in the Netherlands army for a short period during WWII - which ended soon after the Germans took over the country, which they did only as a short cut so they could attack France. My other grandfather was a conscientious objector for religious reasons. My father and uncles were all lucky enough to miss the draft for the Vietnam war.

Deb's grandfather, on the other hand, fought in Papua New Guinea in WWII. With distinction, he was mentioned in dispatches which is about one step below getting a medal for bravery. He got back from the war, and never talked about it... instead spending the next few decades slowly drinking himself to death. Not an unusual story.

And yet we keep starting and fighting wars. So many of them completely unjustifiable, think of the conflicts in Vietnam and more recently in Iraq. How many damaged veterans are we going to have come back from that war and from Afghanistan? There hasn't been a war since WWII that has had any justification in my opinion. At least in WWII it was clear from the outset that it was a war for the survival of a certain kind of civilisation, even before it was obvious what vile things the Nazis were up to.

And so much of the Gallipoli story has turned out to be a myth. None more so than the story of Simpson and his donkey. Here was an Englishman who had deserted from the merchant marine, enlisted under a false name in the Australian army as a way to get back to England, and who did no more and no less than many other stretcher bearers in rescuing soldiers from the battle. And who was killed after only a few weeks at the front. And yet, I have heard it seriously suggested by Amanda Vanstone that one can learn everything one needs to know about being Australian from the story of Simpson and his Donkey.

It's that kind of weird hyper-patriotism that worries me most of all. And the way the day is celebrated has changed a great deal in my lifetime. It was a fairly modest event back when I was a child. There were never crowds of Australian backpackers at Gallipoli on the morning of ANZAC day. I don't know what has changed in the last two decades, it speaks of a certain kind of patriotism that is far less relaxed and modest than it used to be.

Another thing I have learned from all my reading of history books: Australian and New Zealand soldiers, and indeed airmen and sailors, were very highly regarded. No less a person than the German Field Marshall Rommel described New Zealand soldiers as the best in the world, better even than his Germans. Similarly Field Marshall Montgomery was heard to remark before the D-Day landings in Normandy that he wished he had the Australian first army there with him. And the man most directly responsible for winning the Battle of Britain was New Zealander Keith Park.

Now surely out of all the battles fought by these brave men - the war in the pacific, the amazing battles in the deserts of North Africa, the Australians who flew and fought over Europe, surely somewhere in there we could find a day worth commemorating? A day we could chose that wouldn't be when the "blood stained the sand and the water"?
Graveyard in France
maxcelcat: (Einstürzende Neubauten)
Actually, it could have been any Saturday, it just happened to be in the middle of a long weekend.

Got up. Got gouged at the petrol station, tried to wrestle some of it back by using their air to pump my tires and their water to wash my windows. Dragged myself to the Preston Market at a time I thought of as early, to avoid the maximum feral that happens there mid-afternoon. The Feral had set in early - the market was closed Friday so there were way more people there at 9.30AM on a Saturday than usual.

Finally made it home, where Henry proceeded to have an epic Poo and Wee event that leaked all over my clothes. You ever heard of a three alarm fire? This was a three alarm poo. Changed my clothes, whilst Deb put even more breast milk into Pip. That's how an epic poo gets started!

We finally bundled ourselves into the car and drove to Yea! (sorry, can't say that place name without an exclamation mark) to visit niece Holly and her parents. Went there via such interesting places as Yaarwool and Tallarook. Er, don't trust me on the spelling there. Ate too much food and felt ill. Here's a tip folks, don't wash down a solid rice, spinach and eggs dish with hot chocolate and then chase it down with a Cabury Creme Egg. This is not the way to a happy belly.

Drove home, stopping briefly at a petrol station near Wallan for a stretch, which then turned into another breast feeding session. Burped Pip whilst looking at a car which was apparently a Buick Skylark, a vehicle I'd never previously heard of, but then I'm not that into cars. Also admired a mud-covered four wheel driver from Queensland and a huge B-Double Semi filled with something called "liquid animal feed". Isn't that what we've been feeding to Pip?

Arrived home. Belly still sore from stupid overeating lunch. Dragged myself to the supermarket, grabbed a trolley and only put five things in it. Had an inane conversation with the checkout guy.

Then has plain toast for dinner. Now I'm sitting here with Pip in a sling, asleep on my belly, whilst Deb naps between feeds.
maxcelcat: (Badtz Maru)
I had this ridiculous exchange on Twitter this week:
Australia Post on Twitter

"Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps" is a line from the Public Enemy song "Fight the Power" from 1989. Which is around the time I started getting into PE. It's also referenced in the title track from their most recent album "Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamps". Which I recommend - after 25 or more years they can still bring the noise.

The poor chap who runs the Australia Post twitter Account sent me to read their Stamp Issue Policy, saying "they may not meet our stamp policy guidelines"! And also suggested their Personalised Stamp service... Maybe I could make a stamp with a picture of Chuck D and Flavor Flav on it.

I suggested they watch this:

And that was the end of the exchange!

As a footnote, it seems more of their heroes are finally appearing on stamps:
maxcelcat: (Dalek)
I've been diligently reading the five books in the series A Song of Ice and Fire (aka "Game of Thrones"). It's something of a hard slog, each book is about 500 pages long, the last one is over 1000 pages!

I confess I came upon it via the TV series, which is just about in it's third season. This will give you some idea how long the books are - season three is going to be an adaption of only the first half of book three in the series. And I'm not sure I'll watch it, I know all the plot spoilers now. And there's are some remarkable differences between the plot of the book and that of the TV series. Notably, the books are far less violent, and what sex there is is far less explicit. There are also a number of characters who don't appear in the books, or have much smaller roles. For example, Robb Stark's deeds and battles are only related second and third hand.

The author of all these words, George R. R. Martin (not to be confused, as I first did, with Beatles producer George Martin) writes in a really unadorned style, very easy to read, avoiding big words. One suspects he subscribes to Stephen King's style guide. To quote King "Any word you're looking for in the thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule."

Actually, I suspect his writing style derives from his work as a television script writer. Not much call for Tolkien or Joycian writing there!

Every book seems to include at least one epic journey. By foot, by boat, by horse, and always beset by difficulties of one sort or another, drawing journeys out so they take an entire book for one character to get from one distant place to another. Worse, in fact, there are four folks who set out on foot in book three and didn't arrive until book five. The world were all this takes place could really use some proper transport infrastructure...

He's also not averse to killing off major characters. Especially in book three, some 40% of the major characters, who one might have assumed would be the center of the whole story, come to sticky ends of one sort or another. I genuinely wondered what the rest of the books would be about without these people! Or, more annoyingly, characters who seemed like they might be important simply disappear for extended periods or seem to slip entirely from importance. It's like he's storing them for later plots, only to decide they're not required.

I'm some 61% of my way through the fifth book, according to my Kobo. Hooray for digital book readers, otherwise I'd be lugging around about 1.5 kilos of books.

I will say this of the TV series: it is extremely well cast. The characters, mannerisms and general appearance of the actors have been really well matched to those in the book. Of course I saw one them on screen before I read about them, so I never formed my own mental image of what they looked like. Weirdly, the only actor I really recognised in the show was Peter Dinklage, a dwarf who I first saw in the cult film "Living In Oblivion". Go watch that, by the way.

And after 20 or so years, five books and so many words, it sounds like Martin plans at least one, possibly two more books. Given that books four and five began as filler, in order to draw the action five years into the future, and they came out in 2006 and 2011, I suspect it'll be long long time before the story is finally concluded.
maxcelcat: (Stooges Bass)

(The sound in this is appalling.)

Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedy's fame has got himself a new band - well, newish, they're a good four years old at this point. They delight the name of Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine!

And they're touring, will be here in Melbourne on May 11th and 12th. And I've decided I have to go.

Jello apparently hasn't played music in Australia since the Dead Kennedy's toured in 1983. The word "infamous" was used to describe said tour. Wow, just blundered across this rather awesome article by Jello himself about their tour of Australia. He really got into the local music scene!

Jello hasn't had a band since the Dead Kennedy's broke up, but turns up on loads of other people's records. Well, he and the guys from Ministry did have a side project called Lard, but they played maybe six live shows in their entire existence.

More recently he's done two albums with The Melvins - another of my favourite bands. This outfit is sometimes referred to as "The Jelvins". If they toured, I'd be first in line for tickets and then leaning against the door of the venue. Yes, I might be into them.


"Monkey Wrenching world orders is how we party."

So I will make sure Deb and Pip are both sane, well fed and ready to go to sleep, and I will race over to the Corner Hotel, and pretend like I'm 24 and dancing at a gig.

And maybe one day I'll make it to 70000 Tons of Metal, a Metal festival on a cruise ship. I imagine you'd be able to smell the stench of all them metalheads from several kilometres down wind....!
maxcelcat: (What Would Henry Rollins Do?)
They Might Be Giants are playing in Melbourne in early May. Pip will be about three and a bit months old then... Hmmmm... I wonder if we could get a night off to go see a band.

On the down side, it is a Thursday night. That would mean getting someone to watch Pip, then having to drag my arse to work the next day on probably not much sleep. Can't see it happening.

On the plus side, I have seen They Might Be Giants before. Back in 1990, at a now long-closed theatre in Richmond. It was probably the second-ever real concert I'd ever been to, of my own choosing anyway.

It was so funny seeing how there were levels of fame in the music world - they were excited because they'd seen Flavor Flav on the plane!

Pip likes to go to sleep to the sound of James Brown. Good baby.
maxcelcat: (Dancing Kitty)
So apparently lay people (who are not people who get laid a lot, but people who are not members of the church hierarchy) can be elected pope.

I believe I deserve this high office, despite being a militant atheist and a sometimes rabid lefty. I certainly couldn't be a worse pope than Pope John XII or stranger than Pope Joan.

Here is my platform. As Pope I would:

  • Excommunicate all pedophiles, rapist and other charmers who are members of the clergy and hand them over to the relevant authorities, with all available evidence.

  • Melt down all the gold, sell all the great art (or give it to some galleries), put all the silks and robes on eBay, unpick all the stained glass windows, remove the golden angels from the spires and sell them as exotic garden ornaments.. And use all the funds to, I don't know, help some freakin' poor people!

  • Use all the land, all of it, owned by the church, up to and including the actual churches, to build low income housing (with the funds from the above!)

  • Get laid. Get laid repeatedly. Get laid on that stupid throne thing with the whole world watching. Because, you know, if you're going to be lecturing people about their love lives you should at least know what you're talking about

  • Admit that Jesus, or Yeshua ben Yosef to use his real name, was just an interesting historical figure, a Jewish mystic experiencing episodes where he thought he was talking to Yahweh, who probably looked a lot like an aged Woody Alan, and who's story wasn't written down until at least a generation after he died.

  • Open the Vatican library and archive to anyone who wants to see it

  • Forgive Copernicus, Galileo and which ever other scientists where suppressed in an effort to enforce ignorance.

  • Stop giving a stuff about people who are same sex attracted. Damn man, have you seen some of these robes? What goes on in your bedroom is nobodies fucking business

  • Condoms. Because well der.

  • Stop pretending the Pope has any moral authority whatsoever.

  • Apologize. To everyone. For centuries of Latin bullshit. For not doing more to protect the Jews during the second world war. For the many forms of misogyny - the banning of divorce, the Magdalene laundries, the exclusion from all forms of power. Apologize to for the centuries of wars like the crusades and for creating the inquisition. And for taking the ideas of an egalitarian selfless hippy anti-authoritarian Jewish mystic and turning them into a self perpetuating hierarchical aggrandizing reactionary organization which claims absolute authority over everyone's soul for this life and forever.


Vote for me.
maxcelcat: (Dancing Kitty)
Which delights in the name of Pippy Quark. This was our child Henry's placeholder name while he was in the womb. Enjoy.
maxcelcat: (Dancing Kitty)
Yes, I confess, there is one sport in the world that I follow. And it's not, as you might have expected, Curling or the always exciting Cheese Rolling. No the one sport I follow is the completely mis-named National Football League. In an entire game, the ball might come into contact with a boot as little as six or so times, unlike say every other sport with the name football in its name!

I've been following it long enough to have followed almost the entire career of certain players, from drafting to retirement - Randy Moss for example. But I watch it so haphazardly that I can go entire seasons and see maybe two whole games. They're on at stupid times of day for my time zone, early on a Sunday or mid Monday morning. I usually seem more of the playoffs, which is greatly aided by some dedicated fan(s) who keep that Wikipedia page up to date in almost real time! It gets confusing when you see a team play for the first time in two years, and find yourself wondered "where is whathisname?" and "Didn't they used to have blue uniforms?" and "Oh, that guy is playing for them now"... Which happened when Randy Moss turned up on the 49ers team.

I sort-of follow a couple of teams, notably the Green Bay Packers. They appeal to me because they have a long long history, they're named that way because of early sponsorship by a meat packing firm, and they're the only team who are actually owned by their fans. There's something like a thirty-year wait for season tickets to their stadium, in a tiny town in Wisconsin. So close to Canada that it gets mighty cold there. They've also been a very successful team over the years, they won a superbowl as recently as 2011.

But mostly I follow some players. Some of my current favourites are Kyle Vanden Bosch, a defensive player who, well, look at this picture:

He wears red contact lenses. Imagine seeing this 126 kilo, 193 cm tall guy staring at you with those eyes... I'd shit my pants!

Other players I like, who are still playing: Clay Matthews, who is from a family of famed NFL players. BJ Raji, another huge defensive player.

Anyway, the superbowl is on on Monday 4th of February our time, and I'm at home on paternity leave. There's a chance I might actually get to watch it!
maxcelcat: (Agent Smith)
Not sure if it's the new baby, but I've been having weird freaky dreams lately.

I dreamed that I was at a friend's mother's house, which was painted a deep grey blue. And turned out to be a doctors office as well - so her living room was always full of waiting patients. The place backed onto a very cement primary school yard, and then the ocean. A typhoon welled up and washed us all out of her living room and out to sea. My partner Deb and I were separated, but then reunited by our friend Elvira with the use of her time machine! Which was shaped like a medium sized glowing box....

Then I dreamed that Game of Thrones was set in a weird medieval version of Australia, which was spelled in some funky way with lots of E's, something like Austreleum. Can't remember much about this dream, except that somehow there was a huge modern city behind one of the castles, as if the medieval world was happening in parallel with the modern world - a bit like the Amish. Someone was trying to burn the city and the castle down with some intense magic fire. But someone on our side managed to put it out with something called "Combat rain"!!!

Later I had a dream involving Jeffrey Dahmer which I don't care to remember :-/
maxcelcat: (Dalek)
Wow, it's only Thursday. Gah.

I had two weeks off over Christmas. I say break, because it wasn't a holiday - we stayed at home and turned the house upside down getting it ready for The Baby.

It's been an epic purge. I even went through an old box of floppy disks that I've been lugging from house to house for the better part of 20 years. About 40% didn't work at all, but I spent a good 11 hours on a 41 degree day going through them. I have two USB floppy drives, in case you were wondering how I managed to read them. Said drives were also acquired years ago, for just this task, but had probably been used a total of five times over five years before I started the epic disk reading.

I got a total of 120Mg of data off them... Ah well.

The house is almost completely ready to go, I even went through my wardrobe and purged it of excess clothes.

And tomorrow is Friday, I'll have survived my first whole week back at work. I suppose I shouldn't complain, in the next couple of months I'm going to be changing stinky nappies at all hours of the day and night!
maxcelcat: (Stooges Bass)
There seems to be a whole whack of big, dare I say, dinosaur bands touring here to Australia next year. So far I've seen posters for Kiss supported by Mötley Crüe (note Heavy Metal Umlats) and I believe Thin Lizzy. How the hell is Thin Lizzy still performing given that lead singer, bass player and founder Phil Lynott has been dead since 1986?

Also seen on various posters - Neil Young and Crazy Horse, George Clinton and P-Funk. Also Black Sabbath, with what appears to be their original line-up, well, at least Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Tommy Iommi are in the band.

And Bruce Springsteen and indeed Iggy and the Stooges. Oh, and Blondie supported by, of all bands, the Stranglers and Australian legends The Saints. I'd go see that gig for the support acts!

The 1970's called, they want their music back.

The thing is, I'd like to see some of these gigs - Iggy at least - but what else is happening early next year? We're having a baby in early February, which will make late night rock gigs a bit of a problem for at least the first half of next year!

Almost forgot to mention, Deb and my favourite artist of the moment, Amanda Palmer is scheduled to play on our baby's due date. Actually, I should say "was scheduled", looks like she's moved the dates back because one of her good friends is very sick. Deb was seriously talking about going to the gig, and hoping that the music might bring on labour!

EN Logo
And last but not least, a band I have been buying CD's by since 1990, a band who's logo I am seriously considering for my next tattoo, Einstürzende Neubauten are going to be here in mid February. I have never seen them live, damn it!

My theory for the reason that there's such an influx of huge bands? The strong Australian dollar, and Australia having one of the few economies in the world that's not cactus. These gigs will all sell out for sure, and Ozzy can buy himself a few more tons of whatever drug he's doing these days, and Iggy can play all the rounds of golf he wants...!
maxcelcat: (Badtz Maru 2)
I was MC at a wedding a few weeks back. That was fun! I equipped myself with a whistle so I could get everyone's attention - highly recommended if you're every called upon to MC.

I have an exam Friday week, on the 9th. The topic: Advanced Project Management. I'd quote you some of the delightful phrases from it, but I can't remember any. I will point you in the direction of my previous entry on the subject.

I competed in a humorous speaking on the weekend. My speech was well structured, but didn't get enough laughs. I didn't place. Then I went to a Goth wedding in a basement!

You could tell it was a Goth wedding because the cake was bleeding:
Cake

Speaking of weddings, I'm getting married in 16 days. I know it's 16 days, because I have a clock on my computer which is counting down. I can tell you to the second!

I ordered a great suit online, but I think I must have given them the wrong measurements! It's like a tent on me! I'm going to try and get it altered, but I suspect that might be like creating a suite from scratch.

Or I could just pretend I'm trying to look like David Byrne in his big suit!
Big Suit

Everything should settle down after the wedding... when we can really get into the task of preparing for the arrival of the baby!
maxcelcat: (Cat Go Blah Blah Blah)
I suppose it serves me right, I did sign up to do an MBA. I'm doing subject six of twelve in total before I get the damn thing.

This semester's subject: 501 - Advanced Project Management. Gah. On the upside, if I do this subject I can get an Diploma of Project Management, and get off the Software Development treadmill.

This subject suffers heavily from jargon and TLAs (three letter acronyms). I really struggle some days to stay awake reading the subject notes.

Here's the worst example so far. This is the title of a reading from topic 7:

MINIMISING THE EFFECTS OF DYSFUNCTIONAL CORPORATE CULTURE IN ESTIMATION AND EVALUATION PROCESSES: A CONSTRUCTIVELY SIMPLE APPROACH

What the fuck, I ask you is a "Constructively Simple Approach"? I can tell you now, after reading this paper, I'm still not sure. Here's a gem of a paragraph from it:

Failure to recognise the significance of ambiguity is also reinforced by a reluctance to take subjective probabilities to their logical conclusion and adopt a pragmatic framework which emphasises the importance of being approximately right in terms of a broad view of the right question. Being precisely wrong in the sense of having a precisely correct answer to the wrong question is a standing joke, but there are clear cultural pressures within organisations driving many people in this direction. These cultural pressures, including a hard science view of objective data and models, need to be recognised and managed if the effectiveness and efficiency of estimation and evaluation processes are to be improved. The constructively simple approach is designed to neutralise these pressures in the context of a direct focus on process effectiveness and efficiency.

133 words, four full stops... I pretty much gave up reading this after wading through this paragraph. I think the whole paper was trying to say that people give estimates which are biased based on preconceived notions and cultural norms, and to watch out for this. Which, you know, I already did...

Exam in a few short weeks, I keep telling myself!
maxcelcat: (Badtz Maru)
Three things I'm unreasonably excited about: a Font, a new pair of shoes and a washing machine!

Firstly, I stumbled across a new font a week or so back: Source Code Pro, a free font made by Adobe, specifically for software engineers and other computing professionals. It's a mono-spaced, sans-serif font where easily confused characters all have a distinct appearance.
Font example
I'm using it everywhere, in Visual Studio, SQL Management Studio, in all my command lines, and even in Winamp. I love it!

Get it from the Source Code Pro page of Source Forge.

Secondly, I've been hunting for months for a new pair of shoes, specifically for bike riding, but also to wear regularly. I needed them to be somewhere between a sneaker and a boot, with quite a stiff sole. And a I finally found them in a Kathmandu in the city, but they didn't have them in my size. But of course, anything can be had online:
A freakin' shoe
That is, of course, a Five-Ten Stealth Phantom (how they chose these stupid names for shoes I'll never know). The company that makes them - or more likely designs them and out-sources the manufacturing to China - specialises in outdoor gear. This shoe is apparently designed for Parkour of all things.

Finally, for the first time ever in my entire life, me and my fiancée bought a new washing machine. For my entire adult life I've been using shitty top-loaders, acquired for free or nearly so. Here it is:
Our newest appliance
It's a super-efficient Bosch of some description. Deb loves to do the research on things like this, so I let her go for it. Once she picked a model, she found a place nearby that stocked it. We went there, looked at it for all of two minutes and bought it. They delivered that afternoon - on a Sunday! Talk about service!

And then of course we didn't actually need to do a load of washing for four days...!

My sister wanted to get us something for our impending baby, so she funded the purchase, thanks sis!

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