Saturday, December 20, 2008


The state in which one renounces the self and the material world whilst simultaneously partaking of all the pleasures that both have to offer.

For all of you who have ever wondered (and all of you who haven't) what my Google Talk status message means. I see a lot of exorgorating going on as I look around the world, it's an egocentric state and it seems to be endemic in certain groups (I'm looking at you New Age). And since "if you can spot it, you've got it" (1), I've got it as well.

1. I think I first heard "if you can spot it, you've got it" at a Landmark Education Communications Access To Power Course but Google says it's probably older than that. BTW I no longer want an "I see stupid people" T-shirt.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Few Notes on Chrome

There's been a lot of buzz about Chrome so I installed it in my VMWare player windows instance at work and on Lisa's laptop at home and took it for a bit of a spin.

The good:
  • It's fast.
  • The "new tab" page is brilliant. It shows your most visited pages, recently closed tabs, recent bookmarks and gives you a search box.
  • Each tab is a separate thread with it's own memory.
  • Tabs are sandboxed from each other.
  • It has a slick uncluttered interface, I like the tabs at the very top.

The bad:
  • No Linux version yet :)
  • No auto-complete for forms.

The Ugly:
  • Chrome will remember passwords for you but there is no "master password" so (as far as I can tell) stored passwords are not encrypted on the disk.

While there is no Linux version I won't be going over to Chrome but I think the Firefox developers need to act fast (bring on Tracemonkey !). Oh and Firefox developers, Bug 339804 hurts.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hymns To An Unknown God

"My Life has been one long song, a hymn to an unknown God." - Sam Keen, Hymns to An Unknown God

I haven't read the book yet and I'm not sure when I'll have time to but if this quote is anything to go by it's going to be a cracker. I'll report back in due course.

Monday, October 20, 2008


A couple of interesting ZFS posts:

Success with OpenSolaris + ZFS + MySQL in production!

ZFS snapshot visualization in GNOME

And some filesystem news from the Linux world showing definite signs of ZFS envy-

Tux3 Filesystem Announcement
"The main purpose of Tux3 is to embody my new ideas on storage data versioning. The secondary goal is to provide a more efficient snapshotting and replication method for the Zumastor NAS project, and a tertiary goal is to be better than ZFS."

Linux Summit will preview new advanced file system
The new btrfs file system will be more convenient and robust than ext4, with some key features that couldn't be incorporated without starting from scratch, and it is expected to leapfrog Sun Microsystems Inc.'s ZFS file system on several fronts.

Personally I'm hoping that the only reason that Sun hasn't GPL'd ZFS already is the lawsuit brought against them by Netapp and that as soon as litigation is over Sun will move quickly to GPL ZFS so we can have some ZFS goodness sooner rather than later on Linux (yes I know about ZFS on FUSE).

Monday, October 6, 2008

By Christ The Magician

I'm wondering if this discovery will have the Church reconsider their position on Harry Potter. I think it would be a good thing if they did... it makes me feel a bit odd when the Church and I agree.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Your Majesty

I just wanted to take this small opportunity to wish Her Majesty the Queen a very Happy Birthday. The weather was bonza here in Perth and I thoroughly appreciated the day off in her honour. God save the Queen!

PS. Your Majesty if you are reading this having a keen organic gardener as King would be pretty cool, so please do consider handing the reins over to Charlie sometime soon. Don't worry about the day off, I'm sure the powers that be in Canberra won't mind us having a day off for his birthday if it's all OK with you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Aquarian Gospel Of Jesus The Christ

"The most efficient prayer that men can offer to a god of any kind is helpfulness to those in need of help; for what you do for other men the Holy One will do for you". -The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus The Christ by Levi.

I've been carting this book around for over 15 years (it's not quite a 20 year book though and in more ways than one) with never the slightest inclination to read it but also unwilling to part with it because of who gave it to me. As I've been wandering through A Course In Miracles it came to mind and finally picked it up and read it.

I know Darryl well enough to be sure that it was no accident that he gave me the book in front of our circle of friends, he would have easily predicted the stirring I would receive as a result. This was around the same time as I grew my first beard and the same people ribbed me mercilessly about the "Jesus Christ look" until I shaved it off. But I never for once thought that he gave me the book just to stir me up. I figured that if Darryl was giving it to me it had some value and on that basis I've happily carted it about.

It says on the dust cover that it's about the missing 18 years of Jesus life which he spent "travelling and learning from the masters, seers and wisemen in the temples and schools of Tibet, Egypt, India, Persia and Greece". But most of the time the format is more of "Jesus goes to x and shows up the locals and teaches them and isn't he great". Interspersed amongst the Jesus flag waving there are some beautiful poetic sections and many snippets of esoteric wisdom.

I can understand why it was radical for it's time because a lot of what it espouses is at odds with the conventional teachings of the church. But most of its juice can be obtained from other texts with much less squeezing required. I'm not sure I can even suggest a target audience for it now- people like me who are interested in odd things I suppose. Maybe I would have gotten a lot more from it if I'd read it when it was given to me. Thanks for the read Darryl, sorry it took so long.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Secret To Long Life?

Run more = Live Longer

Eat less = Live Longer

Run more + eat less = live longer. What's not to like?

For bonus years you could become a vegetarian too.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Philosopher-gardeners, or farmer-poets, are distinguished by their sense of wonder and real feeling for the environment. When religions cease to obliterate trees in order to build temples or human artefacts, and instead generalise love and respect to all living systems as a witness to the potential of creation, they too will join the many of us now deeply appreciating the complexity and self-sustaining properties of natural systems, from whole universes to simple molecules. Gardener, scientist, philosopher, poet and adherent of religions all can conspire in admiration of, and reverence for, this earth. We create our own life conditions, now and for the future. -Bill Mollison, Permaculture A Designers' Manual

If, as physical scientists assure us, we all contain a few molecules of Einstein, and if the atomic particles of our physical body reach to the outermost bounds of the universe, then we are all de facto components of all things. There is nowhere left for us to go if we are already every-where, and this is, in truth, all we will ever have or need. If we love ourselves at all, we should respect all things equally, and not claim any superiority over what are, in effect, our other parts. -Bill Mollison, Permaculture A Designers' Manual

When you turn your back to the moon, it no longer exists. -Robert Lanza, Discover Interview

Saturday, July 26, 2008


One of the exercises in ACIM requires you to pause each half hour to contemplate the topic. I failed miserably at this for a couple of weeks remembering only a few times each day so last Thursday I added a cronjob (yes I am blessed with a Linux desktop) to email me every half an hour. This served as a suitable reminder, and to make up for the cheating I did it two days running :)

Discipline is a requirement of spirituality that is usually overlooked or outright avoided, always to the detriment of the student. So why is discipline important? As I said previously one of the most important functions of spirituality is to give us a path to freedom from the false self/identity/ego. Our identities begin forming around the age of 2 or 3 years and are never really complete though our dominant characteristics are entrenched well before we reach adulthood. And by and large our lives are run by an identity whose usual operating age is barely in it's teens if we are lucky (Many of the ills of the individual and of society can be sourced right here). The identity pulls us every which way literally at the whim of a child. Under such conditions progress in any direction will be sporadic at best. If we are to wrest any control then we must learn to be disciplined.

I don't have any answers to offer, discipline is clearly something I still have to master myself. But I can see that it will be more than worth the effort, I can't think of a single area of my life that wouldn't benefit from the application of a little discipline.

Why Do I Write

I was recently asked why I write and I thought the question was interesting enough that answering it warranted a blog post. There's a few wildly different reasons why I write and any one or combination of them could be the driver for a given piece of writing.

Firstly there's a spaghetti of stuff floating about in my head and sometimes the only way to get any peace is to get it out of my head and scribble it down. It's also a great way for me to straighten out my thoughts and even discover what I really think. 99.9% of what gets written from this space isn't fit for anything but sometimes it's a place to start, and if I'm vigilant idea's and themes have a chance to draw attention to themselves.

Next is a love of words and language. I still remember the first book I ever read at age 5 or 6, it was called "Timmy in the Country" and it was about two boys visiting a farm and the adventures they had. There were pages torn out towards the end of the book and I still wonder what happened in them. Any-way that book literally opened up whole worlds for me and I've been in love with stories and myths and words and language ever since. (I don't know what happened to my copy of that book and I've searched for a replacement but haven't had any luck so far).

I publish some technical stuff here and I write that to be of service to others. I'm very grateful to all the people who've helped me (and probably don't even know it) because they took the time to write about some obscure little technical problem and I try to give back by doing the same. And to be truthful there is a hope that every-thing I write might be useful to someone.

The final reason why I write is because I believe that as human beings a part of our essential nature is to be creative. In some way or another we all long to be and strive to be creative. So I cook and write computer programs and I potter about with music and I write.

Why do you write, or do the thing you do?

Sunday, July 6, 2008


"Let me know this brother as myself." -the healers prayer, A Course In Miracles.

My ongoing fascination with the human condition has led me to explore a variety of healing modalities both as practitioner and patient. At its heart a good healing modality is a study of the human condition, they are a bit like religions in that regard and it's not surprising the two are often connected in some way. All of the modalities I've encountered are some combination of energy work and suggestion or programming plus a liberal dose of "grace" to account for whatever hasn't been accounted for yet. I like both Reiki and Hypnotherapy because they get closest to the fundamentals. Also in both cases there have been clinical studies undertaken which show their benneficial effects as a complementary therapy, though not some of the wilder claims you might see made.

I first trained in Reiki in the late 80's when I did Reiki 1 in the "Western" style. I wasn't really impressed by the material presented and left the course regarding the modality in a poor light. Then, more than 10 years later, I had a range of people from completely different circles all suggest I should learn Reiki and after the however many-th person I decided I better listen and set about looking for a teacher. I chose Tracy Wilkinson of Free Spirit who teaches Usui Reiki.

Tracy is a fabulous teacher and a gifted practitioner. I did Reiki 1 and Reiki 2 with Tracy and appreciated her down to earth and practical approach. "We don't heal" she said, "we are not special, any-one can learn to do this, our job is to presence the vibration of wellness, what happens from there is up to them". And by "them" she meant the persons whole self. I worked with enough clients to take my Reiki 1 certification to practitioner level and I started doing the same for Reiki 2 before stepping sideways to study hypnotherapy and then participate in the Team Management Leadership program at Landmark Education. Add a little of life to the mix and I've done very little Reiki in the last couple of years.

A Course In Miracles (hereafter ACIM) comes in three parts. A text, a workbook for students and a manual for teachers. I'm working through the exercises of the workbook at the same time as reading the text. The text is at times laborious but it contains a lot that is gold. Chapter 5 is "Healing and Wholeness" and the approach presented by ACIM is congruent with what I learnt in Reiki. ACIM defines healing beautifully as "Healing is a thought by which two minds perceive their one-nes and become glad". The language is different but the message is essentially the same; presence wholeness/wellness here and it can become present there.

All of which got me thinking it was time to do some Reiki again. So our friend Bee came up to baby sit Jasmine and Lisa spent a very pleasant (she says) hour on my table, though I suspect any new mum would acclaim anything that granted her an hours lay down without having to be concerned about the baby :) Reiki could well be all placebo effect and people feeling better for attention and I'm OK with that, the only way it could be a bad thing would be if I were to pretend it was otherwise. And if you are sick go and see a Doctor, there is a reason why these are also known as "complementary" therapies. Sure miracles happen and they also don't happen, get the best care you can from every-where you can.

The results have been less than stunning though, since I gave Lisa Reiki all three of us, Lisa, Jasmine and I have been down with a sniffly coughy lurgy thing. I guess there is a way for me to go yet :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bike Jackets

I've been riding bikes for about two years now and I already own four different jackets. Number one was a deliberate purchase of a "cheapy" it's a DriRider Aspen and you really do get what you pay for. My biggest complaint with this jacket is it's not even slightly waterproof (it claims to be 100% but hasn't been even from new), as soon as it rains with any sort of determination the arms soak through and the seams around the shoulders leak. I probably wouldn't buy another DriRider based on this experience. Jacket number two is a Teknic mesh jacket for summer, I love it, it was a great purchase and worth every penny. Jacket number three I got for $50 with a full service at the Honda Shop, it's another DriRider this time the Racer-X, and it's a pretty good fair weather jacket. Jacket number four was brought on by winter commuting and the desire to stay warm and dry. I asked a number of blokes about how good their jackets were in the wet and only one person was really willing to vouch for his jacket. It's a BMW Tourance 2 and whilst you pay for the BMW tag so far I think it was worth it. It keeps the rain out exactly as advertised, 100% dry even in heavy rain. I did take the lining out though, it was just a little bit too cozy, I guess it's designed more for European cold weather than what passes for winter here in Perth.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

First Emergency Ward Visit

Lisa and I had our first (and hopefully last) occasion to visit the emergency ward as parents on Sunday night. Jasmine has a bit of a cold and she was coughing, sniffling and wheezing a little when she breathed. Nothing to cause concern in a bigger human but in a baby not worth taking any risks with. The diagnosis was bronchiolitis and the Doctor was concerned that she was working a bit hard at breathing but at her age the only thing they can do is put her on oxygen and thankfully she didn't need that. We were discharged with a very helpful flyer on bronchiolitis and instructions to get back to the hospital pronto if her breathing got worse.

It's often in the news that the public hospital system is under pressure and whilst we were out of the waiting room and into the ward after about an hour it then took over two hours to see a Doctor and all up the visit was well over 4 hours. There was no-one (apart from us that is) standing around doing nothing though it was just very, very busy. Nonetheless every-one was very polite and helpful (holding a cute little baby might have helped there).

Jasmine is definitely on the mend and she's been a plucky little soul all through it smiling and taking an interest in everything going on around her at the hospital and very patient with her L-Plate Dad.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Firefox Extensions June 2008

To help celebrate the release of Firefox 3 and since I haven't done this for a while here are the Firefox extensions I'm currently using.

(in no particular order)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jasmine Rose

Age: 11 weeks. Weight: 6kgs Height: 59cm. She's healthy, happy and an absolute joy to behold (no parental bias here!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Craziness, Religion and the Human Condition

One of the reasons I struggle to write about my spirituality is I write for a tough audience, and I don't mean you, I mean the audience I write to in my head. Stan (name changed) is a very old friend who I have not seen or heard from in years. My recollection of him is of someone who is very very intelligent, very rational and judgemental and not afraid to let you know what he thinks. As I write I wonder to myself what would Stan think about this or what would he say about that. And some topics just get to hard to write about because I desperately don't want to let Stan find out that I am crazy.

I know it's nuts. But then again I'm nuts. You are probably nuts. We are pretty much all nuts. Crazy. That is the human condition. We have socially acceptable norms which wax and wane with the times and provided your outward behaviour doesn't deviate too far those norms then you are considered sane. But inside our heads we are nuts. If you don't believe me try spending a few days (hours will do) recording all of the thoughts that cross your mind. Only a crazy person would think some of the things that you and I think every-day.

One of the functions of religious traditions is to give us a way out of, or relief from, the trap of our own minds and to be less trite about it I am talking here about the ego or false self. God (or Gods if you prefer) being outside of the self and greater than the self offer a way out. Different traditions have different approaches and give a different emphasis to this aspect but it is there in at least some vestigial form in all religions.

In a moment of synchronicity while I was drafting this piece I read Philip Carr-Gomm's recent post where he quotes Catholic priest Sean O’Laoire who says that "we have to become serial killers in order to reach enlightenment". And the first death he prescribes is the ego's. Most of the pathologies of religion which I referred to in my last post exist because the false self will use anything and especially the most sacred to further it's own survival and only rarely does any-one take the first step let alone any of the others.

I'm a couple of weeks into A Course In Miracles and whilst this line of thinking isn't new to me the course has certainly made it clearer. The religious language aside the course says (so far at least) that we are crazy and it offers a way out. I've explored other ways in the past, it's been a more than a twenty year pre-occupation. I don't know if A Course In Miracles can deliver on the goods, or maybe if it can I'm too crazy for it to work any-way. But as I said before I think it is the only path worth walking. So Stan, thanks for everything but I am crazy and I'm going to do my best to stop trying to convince you otherwise, this work is too important to me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On Spirituality

I've been writing this post in my mind for quite some time but while I've had many thoughts about what I want to say I've had few answers to the questions that then arise. The thing that has triggered my decision to actually write it now is not a sudden insight or rush of answers; if you want a neat conclusion I would warn you to read elsewhere. No, what triggered this post is that I picked up a copy of A Course In Miracles with the intention and commitment to spend a year (or how long it takes) working through the exercises. I also thought it would be a good topic to write about over the year. And if I was going to do that I would have to address, somehow, the topic of spirituality.

I started A Course in Miracles once before (I don't want to think about how long ago) and gave up because it was "too Christian in language". In the time since then I haven't embraced Christianity or any other religion and while I'm not going to try and say what A Course in Miracles is about at this end of the journey I am approaching it within the context of what I call my spirituality.

To give you a bit of a flavour of my inner world, over the last year I read both The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox. I loved both books and didn't find they contradicted each other. Both in their own ways address the pathology of religion with Richard Dawkins distinctly diagnosing the patient and Matthew Fox looking to the cure. I have an engineering background and I do not question science’s eminence in figuring out the ‘what's so’ of what’s out there. Being grounded in the scientific method I also don't have any interest in belief or faith.

But I am aware that I have a spiritual self, a spirituality, and I feel that I have a duty and obligation to myself and the world to nurture this aspect of myself. One only has to follow the news for a while to conclude that there is something missing in our culture, that something is going wrong in how we humans are relating to ourselves, each other and the world. I think what’s missing is what religion in the past has provided (or attempted to provide) and that's why the cure, which Matthew Fox is talking of, is required.

So what do I really mean by having a spiritual self or by spirituality? As I have alluded to it's not something that can ever contradict science (not that I regard science as infallible but that’s another topic) and it's also not something that requires belief or faith. Put simply it is my relationship to myself, to others and ultimately to everything. There is a ‘me’ who I have witnessed occasionally who deeply moves and inspires me. It's the bringing forth of that me which I regard as spirituality. And it is only through the true self that authentic relationship is possible. I accept that it's a path fraught with all the dangers that Richard Dawkins alerts us to and more; the egoic or false self is out to trip us up. But ultimately I think it is the only path worth following.

Which brings me back to A Course In Miracles. It starts very reassuringly with the words "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists." Which says to me, in the words of another of my champions, "Don't Panic!". Douglas Adams also posited in his essay "Is There an Artificial God" that maybe if there wasn't a God we would have had to have made one up. I'm not searching for God or even Gods but I do accept that it's a pitfall of the path that I may encounter one, or even more than one. If that happens I intend to take Mr Adams advice and firstly not panic. We'll see what happens after that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Latest Paranoia

Riding a bike you pretty soon work out that in the absence of recklessness and really bad luck you can expect to be able to out-brake the car in front of you. Initially this was of great comfort to me but sometime in the last week or two it occurred to me that out-braking the tintop in front is only half the problem if the tintop behind is incapable of out-braking me (if they were paying attention to begin with that is). So my latest paranoia is the sound of squealing tyres, behind me! You have to have your wits about you if you want to live long and prosper on a bike.

Actually I have another paranoia which is new as well- that I might accidentally drop, scratch, bruise or otherwise traumatise our baby girl. But they tell me that's pretty normal for a first time Dad.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rain, Dark, Traffic- choose any two

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most motorcycle deaths on Western Australian roads happen in the Spring months, late September through to early December. And again from anecdotal evidence most of those are riders whose bike sat all, or most of, the winter out. We have a term for them- fair weather cowboys, because they only ride when the sun is out. I love being on the bike and I've tried to get experience in all road conditions. Experience makes the rider and you never know when you might get caught out. I commute to work most days and I've become pretty comfortable riding in traffic. Cornering in the dark can be hair raising as can judging road surface condition but again I'm comfortable, especially for the route of my commute. Rain still makes me nervous but it doesn't freak me out. I even cope well with combinations of two of the three. But tonights trip home it was dark, raining and the traffic was thick. Which leads me to the title of this post. Choose any two.

Artistic Immunity

There's a whole lot of hooha going around over Bill Henson's latest exhibition. As far as I can tell the opinions on both sides completely miss the point. Every-one is focussed on either his right to "artistic expression" or "protecting the children". This has nothing to do with art. It's to do with the law. But none of the people speaking about this are asking if the law was broken. If the Police have reasonable grounds to suspect that the law was broken then they must investigate. Every-one else should butt out until the investigation is complete and charges are laid or not laid. No criminal act should be forgiven in the name of "artistic expression". If you break the law then artist or not you should face the consequences. Crime is crime. You can't have "artistic immunity" for committing crime.

Update: Seems like I spoke too soon:
Senator Brandis says artists must act within the boundaries of the law. "No artist has a carte blanche to say, 'Because I'm an artist, I'm entitled to breach the criminal law in relation to matters like child pornography'," he said.

Arts Minister Peter Garrett says artists have a right to confront audiences but must operate within the law.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Support This

For Bee:
Inspire Journal -a new bi-monthly journal dedicated to bringing a positive focus to life.

For Jaime:
Recreate Incorporated -dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable young people.

For the Hills:
Save Perth Hills -advocating sensible and sustainable development in the Perth Hills (video).

For the green world (my old and ongoing favourites):
The Wilderness Society
The Australian Conservation Foundation

Friday, May 2, 2008


Squanderville versus Thriftville (by Warren Buffet) The Dow Is Crashing, Germans Fear Meltdown of Financial System (and apparently so do the Brits-) Bank bail-outs to be kept secret, The Story of the Mexican Fisherman

Why I hope the search for extraterrestrial life finds nothing -it may be all speculation but I found it interesting and thought provoking.

Pirate Box look for "Stories For Parents, Children and Grandchildren" found via the very cool Pirate Coelho Paulo Coelho is way cool, buy his books.

Whose line is it anyway? -Best Stand, Sit, Bend

Sledge Of The Week
J.K. Rowling, Lexicon and Oz -Orson Scott Card gives J.K. Rowling a damn fine sledging "Rowling has now shown herself to lack a brain, a heart and courage. Clearly, she needs to visit Oz."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

First Nappy Change

So I changed my first nappy yesterday, yes Lisa has been very patient with me this first two weeks. I thought I'd seen some bad user interface decisions in computer software but that's nothing compared to the design ("intelligent design"? huh!) of babies.

I got the dirty nappy off without too much of a bother and whilst there was a bit of crying and complaining (all from Jasmine up to this point) I managed to get her cleaned up nicely as well. It all went down hill from there though. She wee'd on the first new nappy before I could get it done up. Then she pooed on the next one (what sort of process turns breast milk into that foul green muck?). Then she wee'd on another one. All of this was accompanied by furious kicking of the legs making it almost impossible to do anything and a high pitched screaming and wailing which made it impossible to think. Clean nappy number four was successfully applied (these things are worse than a Microsoft service pack) and it was discovered that wee number one or two had soaked the singlet. So I had to remove three or four layers of clothes to change the wet singlet none of which was appreciated by our little angel. By the end of it all I'm not sure who was more distressed, Jasmine or me.

Lisa thought the whole thing was hilarious. But she's been doing this for a couple of weeks now so she's probably just a bit hysterical and not laughing at me at all.

Afterwoods I seriously considered installing Windows on my desktop just for a bit of light relief... nah just kidding still 100% Linux here nothing could be that bad :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Olympus C-350 Deleting all photos

I've owned this camera for a while and when I first got it someone told me to be cautious of using the PC to delete photo's because they experienced borking their memory card doing that. Ever since I've been deleting the photo's one at a time after I have transfered them. This morning I finally got jack of doing that (lots of baby photo's on the card!) and dug out the user manual out only to discover it's all in Chinese! I found an online User Manual and the solution is on page 91, it's a little hard to read in the user manual so here it is in my words-

In the playback mode (ie shutter closed and press "quick view"),
press OK (the centre button!),
select "MODE MENU" (right),
select "CARD" (down twice),
select "CARD SETUP' (right twice),
select "ALL ERASE" (up/down will toggle between "ALL ERASE" and "FORMAT"), press OK,
select "YES" (up),
press OK.

That's it you are done.

Two Weeks Old Tomorrow

Jasmine is two weeks old tomorrow and I thought it high time I post a few more photo's :) She's about four days old in this first shot-

And here we are from yesterday the 22nd.

As I said last time Lisa and I have been very blessed, for the most part you would hardly know Jasmine is here she is a very content baby. Thanks again to all the friends and family who have been here for us (you guys are fabulous!).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Jasmine Rose

Born 10th April 2008 at 10:10am to very proud parents Lisa and Murray. At birth she was a healthy 3.555 kgs and 49cm's long.

I can now completely understand all the gushy effusive stuff that comes out of the mouths of new parents, if you don't get it you haven't been there. I've never felt so much in such a short time- proud, excited, relieved, concerned, terrified, over-joyed. So far it's all been smooth sailing. She is beautiful and Lisa and I are very blessed.

Our special thanks to Linda (Lisa's Mum) and to Jannie and all the staff at the King Edward Family Birthing Centre, we could not have wished for better care.
Thanks also to every-one who has wished us well and supported us (ya all know who you are).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Vantage Point

Lisa and I got to the movies on Friday night in what was probably our last trip to the cinema as non-parents. So we whooped it up and went gold lounge with drinks, nibbles and Connoisseur ice-creams. I thought from the previews that Vantage Point would be worth the cinema admission price but hadn't expected it to be as good as it was. The basic plot is an assassination attempt on the US President but the movie follows the action through from a number of different perspective each time letting you see a little more of the behind the scenes detail and taking the story a little further. It worked very well. I kept thinking that I was going to have to go back and see it again but the story was told well and if you looked away from the screen to open your chocolate obsession or find your bourbon you didn't lose the plot, the story isn't reliant on piecing together all the little details- although because I didn't know that it kept me paying attention so maybe just forget I mentioned it :) If you don't like on the edge of your seat suspense then pick something else but I give it a double thumbs up, go see it.

Role Playing

I saw this headline "Marine threw himself onto grenade" and it reminded me of the old days role playing:

DM: You're searching through the enemy compound for bomb making apparatus when someone trips a hand grenade booby trap, what do you do?
Zig: it was the cleric wasn't it? OK jump on the grenade and absorb the explosion with my backpack
DM: wtf? your shitting me.
Zig: it's a small target, with my dex I should land on it with a 12 or higher on a d20
DM: it's a frickin handgranade... you're going to jump on it?
Random Party Member: dude don't do it, we can make our saves
Zig: listen you mamby pamby elf loving vapid wastrel if I don't do this you'll all take damage, some of you will probably even die. I have the hit points and the con and I'm not interested in hanging out in this shit hole doing sentry duty and fighting off fuck knows what while you wine and complain and heal your wimpy arses. Roll initiative if you want to try and stop me.
Random Party Member: he's right you know it should be much easier to make the save for dodging pieces of Zig.
Zig: Elf lover.
DM: (shrugs) OK... roll me a d20
Zig: 20!
DM: yep you land fair and square on the grenade. Now roll a- shit is this a save or a critical? Forget it, it doesn't matter. Just roll a d100 for me, and make it good!
Zig: 42!
DM: (shaking head) OK lets see... your backpack is toast, don't even ask me if it gets a save. And you have a, yep you have a bloody nose. And you should give me chocolate before I change my mind. The rest of you make saving throws to avoid being hit by Zig's backpack on the way back down.

Zig where-ever you are I hope you're still rolling them high.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dodging traffic

I commute to work on my motorbike at least a few times a week. Lisa can tell the days when I'm going to ride in because I'm always smiling and eager to head off. Just like when you are driving riding in traffic isn't much fun but on the bike it's made more bearable by lane splitting; the gentle art of slipping down the dashed high-way between the cars ("tintops").

I tend to err on the side of caution- I won't lane split if the traffic is moving beyond around 40-50kms/hr. By and large the traffic is very courteous and a lot of drivers will even move towards the curb when they see you coming- not that it's usually necessary. Sometimes the traffic is so close together that you can't go any further so you just have to stop and wait.

One thing that has fascinated me is that I'll often be able to slip in between huge trucks and 4 wheel drives only to get stuck by some little two door buzz box. I puzzled about this for the longest time but I think I finally worked it out this morning. It's not that people who drive these things are mean and vindictive and out to stop lane splitting, and it's not that they are incompetent. It's just that they are nearly small enough to lane split themselves. So they sit on the dotted line looking down between the traffic saying things to themselves like "I'm small enough to fit down there" or "I wish I could make it down there". Hey guys, wake up, if you want to lane split get a bike!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What Are They Trying To Tell Me

Yesterday I had occasion to spend time waiting for service in two different banks, Bankwest and ANZ. Both banks provide chairs and TV's to make the wait more comfortable although at ANZ the set was muted. At Bankwest they were showing the Criminal Investigation channel and at ANZ they always show Mr Bean. It made me stop and think if they were trying to tell us (the customers) something; the Criminal Investigation channel is like badly done real life CSI with lots of violence and hype. Mr Bean is well Mr Bean and still manages to be amusing even without sound, but maybe I'm just the perfect ANZ customer and easily amused. How do they choose their programs? Is there a match up between the audience demographics for those programs and who the banks see themselves marketing to?

Monday, February 4, 2008

2 second guide to the Landmark Forum

I did Landmark Education's Landmark Forum in 2002 and I've been participating in their programs on and off ever since. I've gotten so much out of their programs that I keep on going back- both as a housekeeping process for my own development and for the opportunity to make a difference for others. Here's my 2 second summary of what I got from the Landmark Forum:

  • Don't believe everything you think (the "it's 90% junk" rule).
  • Be of service.
  • Take action now.
I think if every-one embodied all of those things all the time the world would be a much healthier place; I know that my life is richer where I am good at those things and poorer where I am weak.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wild horses and economists

In the US they are having economic troubles (presumably unrelated to the billion dollar wars they are currently waging because stopping the killing hasn't been considered as a measure to fix their economy). People in the US can't afford to pay their mortgages and are defaulting on them which is resulting in various lending institutions suffering considerable losses. The response in the US is to slash interest rates in order to stimulate the economy.

Here in Australia our share market has dumped a heap of value because companies here are exposed to losses in the US but otherwise we are told our economy is strong. In fact it is too strong because inflation is rising "driven by petrol prices, banking costs rising rents and domestic holidays" ie the cost of living is going up, making it harder for the average Aussie to pay the bills. In response to that the Reserve Bank will most likely raise interest rates again, making it still harder for the average Aussie- even in our supposedly booming economy eviction rates in NSW were up 67% last year as an example.

I remember a John Clarke and Bryan Dawe skit about Paul Keating where they said "he appears not to manage the economy so much as ride it like a bucking horse". It's still a pretty good analogy but the economy has real world impacts so what is this "bucking horse' that our economics managers are riding? What gets the spurs as they do their best to hang on? We do. Fiscal management seems to be a matter of reacting by squeezing as hard as you possibly can and hoping it's not so hard that people "burst" en masse. And if they do burst then you release the squeezing until they start breathing again then get back to squeezing. The Australian government is looking for the bursting point and the US found it. Yeeha!