there was this fairly randomly-chosen date of religious significancematerialistic insanity, you see...

Whew, survived another Christmas. In pretty random order:

  • Once again clocked up several hundred kilometres to see both sides of the family.
  • My new car was admired greatly by many. Including L's parents' neighbours, who apparently ducked over into the garage for a closer look on Christmas morning :) [Which is cool, the neighbours are very nice people.]
  • Car finished the initial break-in period somewhere between here and the farm. w00t! I can now rev it past 4000rpm.
  • Only one present received, but it's a biggie. Well, actually we haven't received it yet; we received money towards it and L and I are adding to the cash as our present to each other. We will shortly own an espresso machine. We were going to buy one today... but at Myer Indro they ran out of stock and at Toowong David Jones we'd just put our hands on the box when all the lights went out. We left by the light of L's phone's torch (one of the most useful features ever). That said, had we called out to the staff they would have escorted us out with torches - it was all handled pretty quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
  • I did buy a new knife at Indro though - damn you, sales! 30% off Furi knives made the improved 17cm East/West knife affordable-ish. So now I have the scalloped version as well as the flat original version! Here's hoping stuff like potato doesn't stick to it - the scallops should break the surface tension. Theoretically :) No matter what, having two will be useful since we use the one we have for just about everything. If you find full-size cook's knives a bit unwieldy then try the East/West knife (seriously). So... hmm, well, the purchase wasn't planned in the budget but I guess I'll manage. I've wanted one for ages so I don't really regret it.
  • Last year we 'went around the world' in whiskey (well scotland, ireland and america anyway). This year I picked up a 'beer lover's box' from BWS with 12 different beers. I hooked up an iPod to the stereo and my brother and I sat up late sampling all the beer and music... :)
  • I think several people in my family are now planning to buy iPods :)
  • My brother-in-law's brother-in-law (what the fuck relation is that, anyway?) has the most insane home theatre I've ever seen. It is awesome. Hell yes. Here's hoping he hosts next year's State of Origin games...
  • Oh and yes, the brutal heat sucked greatly.

around the traps

around the traps

  • Macintosh Stories: Swedish Campground. A story claiming to explain the origin of the Mac option key symbol. Sounds about right actually. Something completely random and not especially planned, but Mac Heads will forever claim there is a deep meaning and superiority. Ultimately, it's just a great example of the Apple Way: "It makes sense because Swedish hippies know exactly what we mean!" ;)
  • Telecoms want their products to travel on a faster Internet - The Boston Globe. Apparently it's a global condition for telcos: "We can't possible be expected to compete based on our ability to find our own arse with both hands!"
  • BBC NEWS | Technology | Wikipedia survives research test: 'Only eight serious errors, such as misinterpretations of important concepts, were detected in the pairs of articles reviewed, four from each encyclopedia,' reported Nature. 'But reviewers also found many factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively.'
  • NWYH Stock Image Library. Hilarious.

popup evil

I've been informed that something (probably Blogger/Blog*Spot ) is inserting some evil popup shit into this blog. I hadn't noticed since Opera defeats it; but Firefox and IE users are getting bombarded with crap. Sorry about this, will confirm the source then work out where to go from there.

Update: looks like it was the hit counter PLUS blogspot/blogger. So the hit counter is gone now. Will investigate more later.

Update - what the fuck happened?

OK. Thanks to some help from relapse, plus some experimentation, I have a reasonable idea about what happened.

Background: for many many years I have been using a free stat service, Nedstat/Nedstat Basic. When I say many years... I'm pretty sure I started using them back when I was at college (1997-98). A long time in net years. A couple of months ago, I got an email telling me that Nedstat Basic was now Webstats4U. The name should have given me a clue about the impending doom; but it didn't.

The email included this: Webstats4U is a 100% FREE version for all webmasters. In order to finance the new developments and to continue providing you with the world?s best FREE web analytics tool in the market, Webstats4U will accept advertising sponsorships on its reporting site and will from time to time accept other types of advertising sponsorships. These advertising sponsorships will not be implemented directly into your website. If you do not wish to continue using our FREE Webstats4U service in exchange for advertising you can of course change anytime to Nedstat?s paid web analytics solutions NedstatPro or Sitestat. (my emphasis).

Nice wording, eh. There was a link to the full terms and conditions; which I skimmed but didn't have time to read. Well, now I have read them properly. In the "Products and Services" section, they don't just define their products and services.

With the installation of Webstats4U on the site it is accepted that WMS has the right to place advertisements on the site in any format or through any channel, including but not limited to e-mail, layer ads, pops, banners and other usual formats without any forewarning and it is furthermore accepted that WMS takes no responsibility for the advertising content and that WMS shall not be liable for any losses incurred regarding this advertising.

With the installation of Webstats4U on the site it is accepted that WMS has the right to use the collected data for commercial purposes in line with WMS's privacy policy.

Personally I don't think that's "Products and Services" information. That's "Advertising" and "Privacy". But still, I didn't read it - my bad. I went by the original email, which only said they'd have ads on their reporting site (the one you click through to get the data). Nothing was being implemented directly on my website, right? So no dramas.

The evil just keeps going in their FAQ:

These advertising sponsorships can appear as a pop-up or pop-under advertisement or slide-in flash format, and will at no point be implemented directly into your website as banners, buttons, links or similar.


Then today's debacle. Holy crap. Popups, alerts, cookies... the whole nine yards. I don't know why, but only this site hosted on Blogspot was hit. I have several other pages hosted on my own server which don't appear to have been generating popups. I can only speculate on why Blogspot was targetted - maybe the Blogger bar creates a vulnerability? Maybe they have an agreement? Maybe they're specifically targetted by Webstats4U?

Nothing impelemented directly on my site of course. Sure, they'll just appear on my site and piss off my site's readers... but I can rest easy knowing that they were launched from.... well, anywhere they feel like it really. Today it was

So now I'm going through and removing Nedstats/WebstatsUpYours code from my pages. It was good while it lasted - the stats are actually good) - and hell, Nedstat made it through the heyday of popups without ever using popups. But now all of a sudden they've decided to cut loose with some of the most aggressive popups I've seen in a long time.

Fuck you too, Webstats4U.

movie meme

Pinched from webheadau. No star = haven't seen it, * = seen it, ** = seen it and own it/want to own it.

  1. *The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  2. Amelie
  3. **Blade Runner (wish they'd release an All Versions DVD)
  4. *The Shawshank Redemption
  5. Donnie Darko
  6. **Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
  7. *Pulp Fiction
  8. **The Princess Bride
  9. Gone With The Wind
  10. Fight Club (never managed to see this all the way through)
  11. *The Sound of Music (gah, boring)
  12. *To Kill A Mockingbird (high school)
  13. *2001: A Space Odyssey (a bit too long - plus what is with the half an hour of flashing colours at the end? was it financed by stoners?)
  14. *Casablanca (probably a good movie if you were to edit it down to about an hour shorter... :))
  15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  16. *American Beauty
  17. *Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  18. *Monty Python's Life of Brian
  19. Lawrence Of Arabia
  20. *Apocalypse Now
  21. *Cinema Paradiso
  22. Doctor Zhivago
  23. *The Matrix
  24. *The Castle
  25. Singin' in the Rain
  26. A Clockwork Orange
  27. **The Blues Brothers
  28. Withnail and I
  29. Life is Beautiful
  30. *The Godfather
  31. *Moulin Rouge
  32. Some Like it Hot
  33. Lost in Translation
  34. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  35. Local Hero
  36. The Third Man
  37. Brazil (really need to see this!)
  38. Serenity (no I haven't, yes I do watch Buffy, sure you can lend me the DVD - is this movie a cult or something?)
  39. Breakfast at Tiffany's
  40. A Room with a View
  41. *The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  42. *Dead Poets Society
  43. Harold and Maude
  44. *The Big Lebowski
  45. *The Wizard of Oz
  46. *Out Of Africa (at home with parents as a kid)
  47. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  48. *The Usual Suspects
  49. Cabaret
  50. *Forrest Gump
  51. *Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  52. *The Piano
  53. **Pirates of the Carribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl
  54. **Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
  55. *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (not the remake - yet)
  56. **The City of Lost Children
  57. The African Queen
  58. Love Actually
  59. *Strictly Ballroom
  60. Wings of Desire
  61. *Raiders of the Lost Ark
  62. *Babette's Feast
  63. **The Fifth Element
  64. Spirited Away
  65. *Aliens
  66. It's a Wonderful Life (odd, since I'm a huge Red Dwarf fan...)
  67. Napoleon Dynamite
  68. Rear Window
  69. *Romeo And Juliet
  70. *Dirty Dancing
  71. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
  72. *The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (all but the last ten minutes or so, bloody video tapes!!!)
  73. **Trainspotting
  74. *Muriel's Wedding
  75. *When Harry Met Sally
  76. *The Great Escape
  77. *Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  78. *Gallipoli
  79. Lantana
  80. Garden State
  81. Sin City
  82. *Chariots of Fire
  83. The English Patient
  84. **This is Spinal Tap
  85. Chocolat
  86. Fargo
  87. Look Both Ways
  88. *Goodfellas
  89. *Alien
  90. *Grease
  91. All About Eve
  92. *Citizen Kane
  93. Stand By Me
  94. *Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  95. Mulholland Drive
  96. *Back to the Future
  97. High Fidelity
  98. The Thin Red Line
  99. Being John Malkovich
  100. Dead Man


pirate/goth christmas

At work, people are pretty serious about Christmas. Offensively so, in fact. So this year we decided to get into the spirit of things, in our own way of course. Note that the office was already full of jolly rogers, we just added a seasonal layer over the top. All the decorations came from The Christmas Cave, so they all count as Christmas-y.

black christmas wreath, with baubles, with jolly roger peeking through the hole
Merry Christm-ARRRR-s! Big black wreath with a few baubles added. The jolly roger just happened to fit nicely, not that I had this effect in mind when I found the wreath or anything.

black, white and silver christmas balls, with strings of black beads
No black tinsel! The slack bastards! I couldn't ascertain whether they originally had black tinsel or not; the poor girl we were talking to appeared to be in some stage of heat stroke. The place was basically a tin shed, with no real aircon (a couple of portable units were making a valiant effort, but Brisbane summer wins). It was 33° outside at the time. So anyway, we got a big long string of black beads instead.

black christmas tree
They'd sold out of medium size black trees; so here is a small desktop sized black christmas tree! :)

After the initial reaction, most people observe that.... well, actually, it's colour coordinated and actually aesthetically pleasing. As opposed to random coloured tinsel and lights bunged up with no particular theme or order in mind. We've just been pointing out that ours is an entirely accessible Christmas - no problems with red/green colourblindness, for example.

Next mission is to get to the lolly warehouse for a really big jar of red/white boiled lollies. Which, you guessed it, will be my Bah Humbugs.

around the traps

everyone's wrong

So violence and mob behaviour has well and truly kicked off in Cronulla. Cronulla mob attacks beachgoers. 11/12/2005. ABC News Online, Gangs rampage in Sydney streets. 13/12/2005. ABC News Online, etc. You know what's happening.

I just don't know where to start; but I'll go out on a limb here and say this has not happened overnight. Tensions will have been building for months, probably years; and what we are seeing is the situation reaching flash point.

There's a strong temptation to blame one side or the other. Well here's a fucking news flash: nobody is "right". The people who beat up the lifeguards were wrong. The people who attacked the ambulance and the ambos within were wrong (but I'll bet you anything those same people would still have the hide to call 000 if they were hurt). The people who formed mobs were all wrong. The people who attacked people and property were wrong.

The government is wrong for ignoring the problem. White Australians™ are wrong for making very little attempt to genuinely mix with Other Cultural Groups™. Said Other Cultural Groups™ are wrong for making very little attempt to geniunely mix with White Australians™. Politically correct or not, we have to face the fact that ghettoism is a reality - there is no multicultural society, there is no fucking "melting pot". That was all feel good bullshit.

The Political Correctness movement has only made it harder to talk openly about cultural problems. Racism can be easily masked with PC terms, genuine concerns are trivialised and left to fester. People know there is tension, but it's left in the Too Hard basket. It was so much easier to quibble about what the problem was called than it would have been to work on the problem itself.

So everyone is wrong. Everyone needs to be honest with themselves - a bit more tolerance would be good, both for and from minorities. If people truly can't stand another group, they should just learn to leave each other alone - pure and simple. People have to be able say "enough" and let the situation calm down. Everyone needs to go home, have a quiet night in. Otherwise things will just follow the pattern of endless escalation so prevalent in the world's hotspots.

merry friggin christmas

The Christmas Resistance Movement!: Together, we boycott Christmas Shopping, Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, and every variety of Christmas Crap. We refuse to support the Holiday Industry. We show our love for friends and family by giving our time and care, not by purchasing consumer goods. We maintain the integrity of giving by giving spontaneously and from our hearts, rather than during a specified season. You are not alone. Together, we can RESIST CHRISTMAS!

when does the tide turn? Dean Gray Tuesday.

For anyone who hasn't caught this issue; some people got together and did some really very impressive mashups of Green Day's album American Idiot. They put up a site with free downloads and the statement that if you like the mashups, donate money to charities supported by Green Day themselves. No profit, just music.

Not surprisingly, the site was promptly shut down. On Tuesday 13th December 2005, a coordinated protest event will be held. American Edit will be made available everywhere possible and played on as many radio stations as possible. With a bit of luck, the record companies might get the message that people are sick of music being taken away from them.

The thing about these mashups is that whenever I hear them I get about ten songs in my head. I start thinking about these great songs and - genuinely - this makes me more likely to buy them next time I'm in a record shop.

American Edit was never making money, nobody was losing money. In fact, it was more likely that the record companies would make money. It's not like people are downloading American Idiot, they were downloading a sincere creative effort based on the album. What's next? Stopping DJs mixing two tracks together?

Music fans understand: music is a core of our lives, it lives within us and feeds our souls. Record companies do not understand. They are soulless, morally bereft shells, with no appreciation for music. To the record companies the artists, fans and music itself are nothing but opportunities to screw some more dollars into their profit margins. If they ever knew, they've forgotten the roar of the crowd when the first note sounds and the sincerity of the encore shouts.

So on Dean Gray Tuesday, people are protesting. The people who buy albums and go to gigs are going to fight for a mashup album; but really it's just another symptom of the divide between music fans and the money-grubbing bastards who control the industry.

fucking summer

Southeast Coast Forecast Header : Brisbane Maximum ... 32 .... my arse! It was 33 by the time I got to work, according to the car's readout. It definitely feels hotter now and like clockwork our air-con is steadily giving up at work. Archerfield observations (which is near work) only shows the temperature at 32.9, they must have some form of breeze over there.

This will probably last until March. Fuck.

On this of all days, the Christmas decorations invaded my workplace. Merry Friggin' Christmas.

i got a seven

I got a seven for my first postgrad subject! Woo! :)

I never got a seven during undergrad and I always sort of wished I'd worked a bit harder at least one time. So now I can tick that box :)

that 1 guy... ahwoooo!

Attention everyone, including those in Sydney and Melbourne. That 1 Guy is playing in your town and you should go. His show is absolutely incredible, can't recommend it highly enough! Don't think there's anyone on my list living in Tassie/Byron/Katoomba/other places on the tour schedule, but hey if so, pay attention too. For those of you who do the Woodford Folk Festival, he's booked there too.

What can I say... we're talking about a guy who has created his own musical instrument - a stonking big pipe with strings. He also plays a saw, a shoe and rocks out with a credit card. It's an unusual act to say the least, but last night he held the entire crowd at The Troubadour utterly spellbound from the first song to the encore.

colinmo has posted about the show too.

T1G returns to Brisbane early next year, I expect to drag as many of you beotches as I can get hold of along to the show :)

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the onion strikes again

RIAA Bans Telling Friends About Songs | The Onion - America's Finest News Source:

LOS ANGELES?The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that it will be taking legal action against anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances, or associates about new songs, artists, or albums. 'We are merely exercising our right to defend our intellectual properties from unauthorized peer-to-peer notification of the existence of copyrighted material,' a press release signed by RIAA anti-piracy director Brad Buckles read. 'We will aggressively prosecute those individuals who attempt to pirate our property by generating 'buzz' about any proprietary music, movies, or software, or enjoy same in the company of anyone other than themselves.' RIAA attorneys said they were also looking into the legality of word-of-mouth 'favorites-sharing' sites, such as coffee shops, universities, and living rooms.

heheheheh funny.