Thursday, December 31, 2009

con amore

Three engines from 1938. All designed to quietly just do a job - and to rarely be seen by a human being. The first two, Chrysler and Dodge, are American and were grubbily built to a cost to meet a then burgeoning market. The final (French/Italian) is a Bugatti, and was built to have dazzling sculptural beauty - but still, remember, to remain unviewed. This says something.

It probably says woftam. None the less - it is an immensely appealing object.

Mmmmmmm not.

The menu said - "Delicious Homemade Soup served with Fresh Warm Roll".

The reality was half a tin of bland cannellini beans tipped into a tin of pureed tomato - tart, acidic and inedible. The Fresh Warm Roll was half a dozen triangles of plastic sliced white.


The waitress was suitably apologetic and removed it from the bill, but still - I'm not overly inclined to return. This was "Care in the Community" standard cookery.

In fairness they can manage breakfasty things like eggs on toast and a bearable coffee.

The Breakfast Club - St Albans.

Apple Computers

Yes, you pay a premium - but the design is more carefully thought out. They just work better.

A better Brass Monkeys Video

Matt has a trick HD camera. Best if you pause the playing and let the download get ahead a bit.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is it just me? Or ...

... is this the most naive logo design ever:

I humbly suggest something like this instead:


Michael Jackson's music will last forever. So will his face.


Look, it's only the Bible. It's not gospel you know.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Alternatively, if it will stream properly for you, you might get a better view here on Vimeo.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Come, they told me, pa ra pa pa pum
A new born King to see, pa ra pa pa pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa ra pa pa pum

Backwards run sentences until reels the mind.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

James's Commuting Route

James has the *best* ride to work - here is some of it on bikely.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009


Paintballing - one gets dragged along to it for stag dos and such.

A colleague once complained that in a match he was hiding behind a tree - stepped out for just a second - and bap-bap-bap three balls across the chest, inches apart.

He had fallen foul of that most dubious of creatures, a guy who loves paintball so much that they buy their own gun and bring it along.

Hire paintball guns are invariably tired and ping balls off quite slowly with curving trajectories. A good one will shoot straight, fast and hard - still, in essence, it's a waterpistol. Look at this (believe it or not, it's a paintball gun):

Sweet Jesus, some people are deluded.

Hey, RAP4 Phantom guy - this is you:

Shock and awe.


I found this word for word translation of a Queen song both interesting and beautiful.
Had I found it earlier I would have called a recent post about night time mountain biking "Hikario tomoshi."

Teo Torriatte konomama iko
Let us cling together as the years go by

Teo: hand/hands [doesn't distinguish between number]
Torriatte: hold
konomama: as it is
iko: go

Aisuruhito yo
Oh my love, my love

Aisuruhito: to a loved one
yo: dear

Shizukana yoi ni
In the quiet of the night

Shizukana: silent
yoi: night/dusk
ni: in/at

Hikario tomoshi
Let our candle always burn

Hikario: light/lamp
tomoshi: turn on; conected with fire [very poetic expresion]

Itoshiki oshieo idaki
Let us never lose the lessons we have learned

Itoshiki: lovely
oshieo: a word from God/instructions/something given by a respected or
highly educated person or persons [a very religious word]
idaki: keep/have

Sunday, December 20, 2009


She's the new face of L'Oreal
but unfortunately the old thighs of McDonalds.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009


"Dad, Dad! I need a lift to school."

"Tsk - you should ride your bike - I'm busy blogging"

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Another precious saying I'm giving to you for nowt. I spoil you people.

Back story: You may know that the best way to cook crayfish (perhaps you call them lobsters) is to drop them into boiling water - unfortunately it is best if they are live. Don't blame me - this is just the way things are. Allegedly they flap about for less time if numbed in a freezer first.

Anyhoo, chilled or not, when you drop them in water they give off the most awful shriek - they have no vocal chords, this is the super heated air whistling out vents in the front of the carapace. Given an upset witness, an experienced crayfish cook will invariably say "It's just the air escaping"


Should a small child be upset by something (perhaps a fall, a small injury or some other petty injustice) they will give off the most awful shriek. You see where this is going surely.

Feeding the birds

Gif Created on Make A Gif

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finally got the tree up.


In this post I give you a valuable phrase. Mutter it to yourself when a group of other people are needlessly stressed.

Some background to the phrase: sometime ago, somewhere, in some media I learnt a tiny piece of trivia about zoo-keeping.

Boredom is one of the greater difficulties with keeping wild animals in captivity. There are many ways to alleviate this - one neat one is that you never just give an animal its food - you hide the food in different places, making them hunt or forage for it. Another trick I've actually seen done, with bears, is to freeze food in a garbage can full of water - they seemed happy rolling this block of ice about, worrying away at it - winkling out treats with their claws. Again, life made a little harder was actually better for it.

A surprising technique for primates was also revealed. Based on the doctrine that a little boredom-alleviating stress is actually good for you - the keepers take some excrement from big cats (handily they had some tigers nearby) and plonk it in the primate enclosure. Although it is unlikely that the apes know what animal the poo is from they do know that it means something foreign is about. Lots of hooting and jabbering - retreating to safety - perhaps slowly coming out to investigate the offending matter, running back to safety again - eventually deciding that all was somehow OK and settling back to normal.


I've been involved in software development projects for many years now. In the past I recall discussing an impending client meeting with colleagues. The clients were going to be told that they were going to get what they initially signed up for, rather than the quite different features that they now wanted. Being a common problem in software development, we knew that it would lead to hooting and jabbering.

Thus, the impending meeting was referred to as "Tiger shit in the monkey cage".

So - there it is. "Tiger shit in the monkey cage". Probably also useful if there are children in your life.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This says something ...

... although I'm not sure what.

Perhaps: "Have you come far?"

Steyr Puch Pinzgauer


- you sit up high and get a better view of the road

- I feel my family are safer in it

- I live in St Albans and thus need it for the school run

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mola mola

They are gigantic and a bit bizarre - I find Ocean Sunfish interesting.

The German name is Schwimmender Kopf, or swimming head - which is neat.

Faffing about reading on them I struck a claim that they are indeed all head and possess only a vestigial spine.

This was puzzling as, if true, I couldn't see how they would move to swim at all. The macabre museum piece below proves the claim wrong:

Do NOT Karate Chop Fire

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Surprise! (you oik)

Very few things have surprised me about the UK - but one of those that has is the lingering class system. I was aware of it of course but the fact that it staggers on with increasing complexity was unexpected - it's really a mucky parallel of the Indian caste system.

Part of this is a self indulgent sense of ascendancy over oiks from the provinces - a deluded, poisonous and false ascendancy of course - but palpable in the most learned and otherwise admirable people.

This is why the "Hobart, Tasmania" jingle I mentioned earlier was lingered over with such delight. (In fact, the jingle was a syndicated one - in trying to find a copy I found the same tune for "Des Moines, Iowa". The merits of Des Moines turn out to be very similar to Hobart's - in metre if not exact wordage.)

People will always ask "where are you from?" - "from" seems to mean where you spent the majority of your childhood. Like the caste system you are born to this and can *never* escape it - ever. God help you if you are from Wales.

I never troubled people with the fact that I am from Tasmania - my first claim was to be Australian. An interesting thing used to happen when my true origins were discovered: "But... but... you said you were from *Australia*"

Tasmania is seen as a funny little country completely separate from Australia - Aus is held in high regard and promoting yourself from Tasmanian to Australian is equivalent to a Dalit claiming to be Brahman. This will just not do.

I quickly gave up on trying to explain that Tas is a state of Aus as it was seen as being whiny. Eventually I hit upon the analogy of being from the Isle of Wight and being on hols in the US. Surely you would just say you were from the UK. This seems to be an acceptable explanation - forgiveness is usually granted. Unsurprisingly, expressing delight at an Australian sporting victory remains wholly unacceptable though.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Never try to teach a pig to sing

See what happens if I get bored? Not good.

I stumbled across a fairly infantile chat group (in Facebook as it happens) the topic was pretty much "let's talk about why Australians are remarkable at sport"

Herewith my heretical post:


We're not.

Finland, of all places, would appear to be the best - and even New Zealand is better:

We are top 10 obesity though:


The reply was a polite but baseless reassertion of the topic - so, this was looking a bit like Richard Dawkins debating a believer - with the exception that Dawkins is clever, whereas I'm just being wilfully annoying.

So, best left alone I guess.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Folding Plug

A lovely design.

Merciless hack of promotional Youtube vid:

A bitchin dentist

Continuing my habit of pointing to time-wasting websites

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Too much mulled wine,

If you're going to take part in something god-awful then you might as well be ironic about it:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A piece of music that I found down the back of an old sofa

Ole Staveteig seems to be able to do the "this sounds like two guitarists but really it's only me" trick.

Friday, December 4, 2009

One song to the Style of Another

The Puppini Sisters are a trio of singers who do 1940s close harmonies a la Andrews Sisters or the wartime British equivalent whose name I've forgotten. They do the usual suspects, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, In the Mood, Mr Sandman - blah de blah. Quite well I think. Their party pieces seem to be style-shifted contemporary songs - Blondie's Heart of Glass and Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights among them. Here is the latter (no video, unsurprisingly the studio recording is much tighter than any live I've found):

I hope they eventually do a version of Hey Joe:
"I gave her the gun, I SHOT her - ba da-da dweee-aaa"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brass Monkeys

I'm too mean to buy a pic this time. So if you want to see me trying to look under control and not exhausted in freezing rain search Gallery 1 for number 650

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


To anyone who has ever written the comment Great "Capture" on a Flickr photo:


Their uppance will come.


I posed nude for a magazine this morning. The newsagent said he would have preferred cash.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Farmville be gone

Your friends play games - Facebook tells you about the results. This is fine and quite-the-opposite-of-fine respectively.

I discovered how to kill off the game updates - but leave the friend updates in Newsfeeds. There has been a small burst of requests as to how to do this - so ...

Having previously set off on a Sherman's March through my Newsfeed, mercilessly slaughtering every game update in sight - I have had to try to find out how to bring one back to life for the purposes of this post. I don't know how to do this. So looking back deep into Newsfeed history I found this:

I'm interested in what David has been up to in the real world - but anything to do with Fishworld leaves me cold. Am I alone in this? Apparently not.

When you hover the cursor over a Newsfeed item a "Hide" button appears to the right of the item. If you Hide a game update then Facebook seems to get the hint and you get a message like this:

Bahahaha! No more Fishworld.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thick and Fast

Australian Rules football is a curious game. To an extent it's an aerial game - so you need to be tall - however it is very rough - so you can't be tall and sleight like a basketballer. You have to be tall and heavily built. Buuuuut you can't be heavily built and lumbering like a weightlifter - it is also a running game - you have to be tall, heavily built and fast as lightning. It also helps if you are aggressive and not afraid of conflict.

Patterns repeat throughout all of nature - if you start selecting for too many disparate and extreme qualities something invariably has to give. See if the quotes from AFL players below give you a hint as to what might fall by the wayside in the AFL:

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." Mick Malthouse - Collingwood

"I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes." Peter Bell - Fremantle - on his University Law studies

"You guys line up alphabetically by height." and "You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle." Barry Hall Sydney Captain at training

Brock Maclean (Melbourne) on whether he had visited the Pyramids during his visit to Egypt: "I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."

"He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning regardless of what time it is." Kevin Sheedy on James Hird

Jonathan Brown, on night Grand Finals vs Day Games "It's basically the same, just darker."

Ron Barassi talking about Gary Cowton "I told him, 'Son, what is it with you. Is it ignorance or apathy?' He said, Barass, I don't know and I don't care.'

Barry Hall (Sydney) when asked about the upcoming season: "I want to kick 70 or 80 goals this season, whichever comes first."

"Luke Hodge - the 21 year old, who turned 22 a few weeks ago"(Dermott Brereton)

"Chad had done a bit of mental arithmetic with a calculator." (Mark Williams)

"He scored that goal after only 22 seconds - totally against the run of play." (Dermott Brereton)

"We actually got the winning goal three minutes from the end but then they scored." (Ben Cousins, West Coast Eagles)

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body." (Luke Darcy)

"That kick was absolutely unique, except for the one before it which was identical." (Dermott Brereton)

"I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father." (Shane Wakelin)

"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in football - but none of them serious." (Adrian Anderson)

"If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."(Andrew Demetriou)

"I would not say he (Chris Judd) is the best centreman in the AFL but there are none better." (Dermott Brereton)

"I never comment on umpires and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat." (Terry Wallace)

Garry Lyon: "Have you ever thought of writing your autobiography?" David Swartz: "On what?"

"Well, either side could win it, or it could be a draw."(Dermott Brereton)

"Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer."(Dermott Brereton)

Another thousand words.



I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word I am saying.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Look what I found ...

NASA has been faffing about looking for this for ages.

Only words

Doing something on the web, probably applying for jobs, listening to Spotify: "A Chill Out Tribute to Pink Floyd". Awful, really awful.

But up comes "Time" - a favourite song. Pink Floyd were in their twenties when they wrote this, astonishing. I sit out this horrible version to listen to the lyrics - in particular to hear the lines:

"so you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
racing around to come up behind you again "


So - here - in no particular order - are some snippets of pop words which I particularly like one way or another:

I want a girl with shoes that cut
and eyes that burn like cigarettes


and the muscular cyborg German dudes dance with sexy French-Canadians
while the overweight Americans wear their patriotic jumpsuits


and with its crutch, its old age, its wisdom
it whispers "No, this will be the last."


take your silver spoon and dig your grave


and wangity-wang wangity-wang, I'm a little airplane nyyeoooow


look - I must have a star on my door- or - better still - a door


stop it, stop it, it's fucking awful, i hate songs like that


the garden's full of furniture, the house is full of plants


but I swear in the days still left
we will walk in the fields of gold


it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell, when all your love's in vain


there's only one girl in the world for you, and she probably lives in Tahiti


a plague I call a heartbeat


cutting up words and into sticking them lines


from Milan, to Yucatan


your loveliness goes on and on, yes it does

Friday, November 20, 2009


A business quote:

"He likes to dot the i's and cross the t's - but doesn't realise that someone has written 'shit' and 'tits', in 10ft letters, across the wall"

Sunday, November 15, 2009


"Fuck" is all very well as an exclamation mark, but it's quite poor as a comma.


Having dissed Twitter I now discover that it contains a rich seam of wisdom from an acerbic irascible old man.

# "Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn't invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that."

# "You sure do like to tailgate people... Right, because it's real important you show up to the nothing you have to do on time."

# "Tennessee is nice. The first time I vomited was in Tennessee, I think."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

That's my Wonderful Town

When I first came to the UK, aeons ago, people would often spot my accent and ask where I came from. (The accent was clearly colonial, but to English ears hard to determine if it was Australian, South African or New Zealander).

On explaining that I was from Australia I would always be asked - "Oh, which city?" - which was a pointless question as most people here might be able to point to Sydney, Melbourne or perhaps Perth, but they would hardly have heard of Hobart - which is in effect a far flung medium sized country town.

Or so I thought.

Again and again I would get a snippet of terribly sung "Hobart, Tasmania - that's my wonderful town" followed by laughter.

Eventually I worked out that a London DJ had stumbled upon a cringingly provincial jingle from a pissant Hobart radio station. This had been played and guffawed over for many weeks, perfectly understandable as it is hilariously bad.

This clip, stolen from YouTube, has the jingle in all its glory - along with suitable footage.

Friday, November 13, 2009



A tiny, free, point and click game - made by a graphics design student ages ago.

Both the drawings and the puzzles are stylish and witty.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


A series of snippets of language that I ejnoyed:

"I'm not a cynic. I'm a disillusioned romantic"


Starting a series of snippets of language I enjoyed:

"You were employed as a Strapper, which is one up from a dung beetle"

Air on the G String

I've already mentioned the wondrous Spotify.

Problem is that you need to be in the right country, you need to have an invitation to use it for free, and most troublesome - you need to install client software - which is not always possible. At work for example.

But Grooveshark has a similarly enormous collection of music to amble through - and runs using a browser with Flash only. Easy.

I have a penchant for popular classical music and was searching for versions of Air on the G String (stop giggling, it's just a pretty piece of music).

Anyhow - Grooveshark offers you the usual suspects - UK Symph, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Nigel Kennedy, Yo-Yo Ma etc - but also a version by "The Fucking Champs". Sadly it was a dull piece - but a glorious example of gratuitously offensive and wilfully stupid band naming.

Anyhow - Grooveshark.