STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Friday, December 30, 2005


If you've been hanging out for me to write a new blog post, I'm sorry but this isn't going to be it. This is just a post of nothing so that people will know that not only am I not dead, but I'm having a hard time putting any coherent thought together for this blog. So nothing yet. Sorry.

Hopefully I'll get it together sometime soon...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

This is a call

This is something that needs to be said publicly I believe, for the sake of all the people who are frustratedly trying to buy houses while sellers are wondering why they can't get their properties to sell:

If you own a house right now, and are thinking of selling it off, be aware that your house is probably worth AT LEAST $50k less then what you (and most likely your real estate agent) think it is. Now, I can already hear some of you going "not me - I already made a conservative estimate". If that's you, then you're exactly the people I'm talking to. A 2 bedroom townhouse in North Richmond IS NOT worth over $250k at the moment. Actually, I'd be more inclined to go with $200k. And yet I got an email this morning advertising a 2-bed townhouse with zero backyard in that suburb for $299k. It seems to me people who are selling at the moment are about 18 months behind the actual market.

Note that when I say "worth", what I'm saying is "what you'll be able to get someone to pay". The word "worth" unfortunatley seems to collect things like sentimental value, and the percieved value increase of certain renovations the owner might be especially proud of. Let me tell you something as a buyer: I DON'T CARE that you recently retiled your bathroom - your 2 bedroom unit in Kingswood is not a great buy at $220k. It's a crap buy. A retiled bathroom would just make it a little more bareable if someone forced me to buy your unit at that price. I can retile a bathroom myself - I just have trouble making land and houses materialise out of thin air.

We're in a property slump at the moment, and personally I'm just hoping that people selling will start to realise that if they absolutely have to sell, that they're going to have to accept less. Prime example? This property. We went to the auction on this property, and the vendor put in a bid of $235k. The property didn't sell. So what does he do? Relists it at $279k. One word for this: baka. Do you think he's had a shread of interest since? According to the agent we spoke to, no. Surprising? Ah, no. It didn't sell at $235k, it's sure as heck not going to sell at $280k. That's just common sense, right?
The blurb on the property says:
We will give you this affordable, centrally located three bedroom cottage. It has to offer YOU, three generous sized double bedrooms, with high ceilings, with informal and formal living and polished floor boards with air-conditioning, all being conveniently located within walking distance to schools and public transport, and with a low maintenance yard and a carport.
What more could we offer?

How about a REASONABLE LISTING PRICE, perhaps? Bah.

Meanwhile, our search for a house continues. We've made offers on several properties, all of which have been rejected. However, all those properties are still on the market. The only thing standing in our way is not other people making better offers - it's sellers not willing to accept reality. So this is my call to all those selling property: Face reality, or take your house off the market. I don't want to waste a fortnight haggling with you when the truth is you still think you can get more.

Here endeth the rant. However, for something completely unrelated, I found this article on Hammerspace which is well worth a read. Yay for hammerspace.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Moving on

I'm leaving my job - it's official. This is one of those both "hooray" and "boohoo" moments. The "hooray" bit comes from the fact that most of you know I've struggled somewhat with various bits and pieces around my workplace. I'm really excited that I'm moving to a new job based on being offered one. Having someone say "You're awesome, come work for us" is great.
However, the "boohoo" bit is due to the fact that I've done in my workplace what I've done in most other departments of my life, and that's procured myself a small circle of friends. There's people I will miss incredibly. Most of them have a slightly cracked sense of humor, which is why I think we get along. The thing is that it takes a long time to discover people of this persuasion, because most of them won't whip out their crazy side anytime before you've known them a year or so. Makes the whole friend-making process a little harder.

Because she'll probably read this, I have to say Meg is one of the St Paul's "people I'll miss". You're tops Meg. :) Whenever you'd drop by our staffroom, the day would always lose any mundaneness it was attempting to harbour. I mean - you named your laptop "Watson". That's just cool. Even though Watson was crap, and we hate him now, it's still a funkyhouse name. :) I hope Isabella treats you far more kindly, and that the IT guys give her plenty of TLC when she needs it.

Liz, even though she won't be reading this, is someone I've really appreciated. I usually drop into Liz's office at least once a day and chat to her about... well, often nothing in particular. We have "similar, yet different" music tastes, and both like things that are slightly warped. Like the Telefunken song(don't ask). I even taught her some l33t. There's nothing quite like having the Assistant Principal's 30-something year old P.A. yelling "w00t!" about getting U2 concert tickets, and knowing it was ENTIRELY your doing (on both counts, actually - but that's another story). Heheheh... the world shall be conformed, I tell you.

Then there's Geoff. He's the Business Manager, and he's the most genuine guy with a genuine heart to do good stuff for God. If I were him, I would have packed up and moved on AGES ago with some of the crap he's been dished out. I really enjoy talking to him - he sort of reminds me of my Dad, and anyone who knows what I think of my Dad will know that's an ENORMOUS compliment.

I have to mention Patsy also. Patsy is the Principal's P.A., and I mention her mainly because she would make me coffee. You can't beat having the big boss's P.A. make you coffee, really. Oh, and she offered to lend me her Mazda MX5 if I ever felt like a spin in a sports car. I wish I had that offer on paper now... :)

There are plenty of others, but this blog post is so limited in audience that I really shouldn't continue. Needless to say there are a handful of people who made my life at my current job so much easier, and some that I'm only now starting to get to know, and yet I'll have to leave things where they are. So even though most of them will never know, I'll be praying for them that God will bless them in 2006 and on into the future. They've made an incredibly difference in my life, and I just hope I might have done a little of the same in theirs. Actually, I might just send around one of my "trademark funny emails" before I leave, just to say goodbye.

OK that's it. I'll post something more interesting shortly, I promise.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bogged Blogging, and the Ranter's Top 5

I can't come up with anything worth posting. I've actually written two little ramblings that I've deleted because they're increadibly dull and boring. I'm going to post this as a placeholder, and come back to it when I get home and try again.

While this is happening, could I perhaps request the following of my semi-regular readers? I'm interested to know which of my posts you've most enjoyed. I've been blogging for a little under a year now I think, and I've written nearly 100 posts in that time. I'd be keen to see what has grabbed your attention or what you've most enjoyed reading. The comments are open, and if you'd like to include links to the post(s) you're referencing, that would be nifty. I'll publish my "Top 5 posts of 2005" when I get at least 5 responses. Either that or I'll just choose myself.
So ner. :P

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Culmonation of Random Thoughts

This is another of those "a few thoughts that don't deserve a whole post" posts. So here's some random thoughts.

My friend Noel has a blog! It is common amongst my friends for us to presure the non-initiated into getting blogs, and we have finally suceeded in another conversion. MWAHAHAHA!!! Anyway, here for your hyperlinked pleasure is Noel's blog. Make comment, enjoy and encourage him to continue.

Today I heard my boss organising a plot and a tombstone for his father. This is a concept with which I struggle, as it's pretty much an inevitability that I too will be doing this one day for my own parents. There's a little bit more to this as far as I feel about the whole situation, but I wrote it and then decided it would be more respectful to keep my thoughts to myself.

This week I read a discussion between Mac and Windows advocates about the possibilities for OSX and the new Intel Macs. This quote came about during a discussion about whether people who liked OSX, if it were possible, would buy cheaper PC hardware from say Dell, and then run OSX on that. The comment that one Mac advocate made just affirms my belief as to why Apple Mac continues to turn a profit:
"I still wouldn’t buy OS X for my PC. I would buy a Mac. The design of Mac alone makes it worthwhile."

Mmm - so you'd pay more for the same machine because of the design (and brand, obviously). It's like paying $50 for a $10 t-shirt because it's ripped in a trendy way and says "Rusty" or some other brandname across the front. Beige boxes are ugly, but nobody pays extra for a beige box.

We've decided to go to Hawkesbury Valley Baptist Church for now! We've given ourselves six months to find out if it's where we'd like to stay, but we believe there is a lot of scope for us to serve, and we really like the attitudes and motivations of the leaders. We believe from what we've seen that they hold simular beliefs to us about the role of organised church in the lives of the Church proper - that is, the Body of Christ; every believer. I'll post more on this as we go along.

Well, that's about it for now. More to come, I assure you.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Clouds of Darkness

I think pretty much everyone has had one of those days where things go really wrong. It might not be something specific to you, but the day is full of disaster - and it descends on you like a thick cloud of blackness. Today is one of those days for me. This morning, I found out the following:
  • My boss's dad (who I know personally, due to him working with us on occasion) is dying of cancer. We've known for a week or two, but they've been praying he could have one final Christmas with his family. This morning they announced that he's taken a turn for the worse. They don't think he's going to make it that far.
  • An old friend's brother was killed in a motorcycle accident on the weekend. This in itself would be somewhat disturbing, but to add to it I'd only recently stumbled across his personal webpage and was happy to learn he was married. (EDIT: This paragraph previously claimed he also had children, but I found out I had confused him with another friend.)
  • We'd been trying to buy a particular house, and this morning we learned that someone had made a higher offer on it over the weekend. We were already at our limit, so we're stuffed. This would be OK, except that the market is really quite thin, and we really want a house, and this one would have been great.
  • People are being generally difficult at work. It's the last week of term, and people seem to be under a lot of stress. They are then asking stupid questions and making ridiculous assumptions. When those assumptions turn out to be false, they call me and irately ask me why it won't work the way they want it to. Personally, I'm tempted to forward our office phones to each other so that no one can get through.

OK - enough for now. Lets just say I'm not real happy today. Thought I'd share.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The true evils of the Fitball Squat

Some of you may recall the name "Gerti" from this post not so long ago, and also the associated "fit ball squat" debarcle described within. Well, this morning I felt much better about the whole incident, and here's why:

As I was leaving the gym this morning, our young Gerti was against the wall with a fitball, looking just about as awkward as anyone doing a fitball squat does. She'd mistakenly chosen to wear something that was just a little unflattering, and I think was feeling incredibly self-conscious about the fact that I (not to mention everyone else in the gym) was there, which is awesome because that's exactly how I was feeling when I was the one with the squatting and the fitball and stuff. It was kind of like karma, but in a more selfish, vindictive sense.

However, what happened next actually transformed my glee into a small amount of remorse. My good friend who I go to the gym with was walking with me as I was leaving, and just as we left the gym, but still well within earshot of young Gerti, he delivered a blow that would be incredibly devastating to any girl at the gym, especially to one in the middle of doing fitball squats:

See! I told you she was podgy.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

UnReal Estate

So I went to an auction today. I've never been to an auction before, and to be honest I didn't think there'd be any chance we could win it. However, the agent for the property we were looking at said, and I quote:
"The property will be sold on auction day."

Now, the interesting thing about this phrase, is that we believed it meant exactly what it sounds like - that there'd be an auction, and at the end of it someone who wasn't the vendor would walk away owning a brand new property, regardless of how attractive the bids were to the vendor. So we made some financial decisions based on this advice, which included purchasing a deposit bond so that we could pay for a property if we won. See, the property was a bit beyond our purchasing power, but if it was definatley going to sell then there was a chance that we might win. People mightn't turn up, and the market is pretty flat...
So, we went to the auction. There were three properties from the same vendor, and we'd decided we were going to bid on two of them - if we missed the first, we'd bid on the second. The property we wanted most was the first, which was convenient for us.
So they opened the bidding, and Rachel (who was handling the bidding, while I handled keeping our little boy happy) put in a bid of $180,000. People seemed rather shocked, but once the real estate types settled down their overemphasised disbelief, the auctioneer began asking for increases. There were none. Not-a-one. Going once, going twice... and... The auctioneer placed a bid on behalf of the vendor of $270,000.
Well, we were a bit stunned, but not overly worried. Rachel offered to raise our bid to $220,000 which wasn't quite the correct thing to do, but I think it was probably the best option at that point. Anyway, we got to the "going once, going twice" bit again, and then the property was passed-in for negotiation at $270,000. We went out and spoke to the real estate agent who spoke to the vendor on our behalf (I think I should mention at this point, it just so happened the vendor was the manager of the real estate agency running the auctions...). As it turns out, he wouldn't sell it to us at $220,000. He said that $220,000 wouldn't buy a property in that suburb. Apparently, he didn't intend to sell on auction day. He intended to sell if he got enough money - which to me seems no different from any other auction, and as such shouldn't be misrepresented, as it was, as a guarenteed sale on the day.

Now, I have to say, I feel rather misled. We knew we couldn't afford to buy these properties outright with the current expectations of the average seller in the current market. At the moment, there's a reasonable gap between what buyers are prepared/able to pay and what sellers are expecting to get. They still want the inflated prices they could get 12-24 months ago. We know this. However, I figured that based on the "properties will sell on auction day" line we kept on getting fed, that we might actually have a real chance. Well - I was lied to. We were told categorically that these properties would be sold - and yet they only actually sold one of the three properties. Actually, of all 5 properties that went to auction today, they only sold one of them AND they sold it below the vendor's bid. This tells me something - that sellers are expecting too much for their properties. But I already knew that really. The problem I have is not that we didn't walk away with a house. It's that we made the highest non-vendor bid on a property that we were told was a guarenteed sale on auction day - and yet the property wasn't sold to us.
So what do we do? Start looking again. I feel somewhat bitter, but there's nothing to be done. We just have to start over I guess... I think the most important thing I've learned is that the next time a real estate agent tells me a piece of information that I'm going to base my decisions on, my line will be:
"Really? Can I have that in writing?"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

No Use For A Title

Have I mentioned I hate being sick? I believe I may have once or twice. Don't expect this course of events to change, by the way. I will get sick, and I will tell you about it.

{later that day...}

So I'm driving home this afternoon, and I'm in a bit of a rush. My wife had told me that she'd had a hard day with our son, and she was keen for me to get home. I stopped by the Games Wizards (my game/anime shop of choice) to pick up some DVDs, and was now on my way home. Between the shop and my home, there is a reasonably long stretch of road that is fairly straight, and has an 80Km/hr speed limit. My intent, was to travel along this stretch at perhaps a velocity slightly above that limit, as wanted to get home as soon as possible. That intention was foiled when I got caught behind a car travelling at 20Km/hr under the perscribed speed limit. The irony of this, is that the car was....


Now, hopefully you can see why this would be frustrating. I'm driving a 96 model Toyota Corolla (which is a great car, mind you) and I'm caught behind a car worth many times as much as mine is. A car which is expensive BECAUSE IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FAST, DAMMIT!! The driver looks to be in his mid-thirties to early forties, and yet is driving slower then the average geriatric.
Now, let me not advocate speeding - because this isn't what this is about. It's about people driving at, or at least close to, the speed limit. I would have been fine if he'd been doing 80km/h, but it seems to me that the logical conclusion one should draw from this whole incident is that this guy and me should swap cars. I mean - he wants to go slow: my car will do that just fine. I want to go fast: his car is built to go fast. We should swap. It should be compulsorary for him. His car's image implies speed - speed which he doesn't want to use. So he should replace it with a car that doesn't imply speed; that being mine. After all, he was holding me up: it's only fair.
Needless to say, that I failed to mention this to him when I pulled up beside him at the lights. I hear* those things have GPS-enabled panic buttons in them these days that instantly send SWAT-like teams to your location to beat up anyone in your vacinity. (*Note: I didn't actually hear that - it's just a convenient falsehood to support my cowardice.)
The moral of this story is, that if you're going to spend a mint on a car that sells itself as being fast, at least drive at a speed that doesn't make you look like you're out to buy some Depends undergarments. I'm happy to sit behind someone driving at a cautious 5-10km/hr under the limit, but any more then that is just arrogent - you're holding other people up because you feel that they should conform to your desired slowness.
Shame on you, Mr. Porsche driver. No soup for you!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A short addition on the nature of time

SBS had another program on tonight dealing with Einstein's theories - in particular, his unfinished "theory of everything". It reminded me of a thought I had when writing this post, but didn't include.

If time is relative to the speed you are moving, then is it perhaps possible that we only experience time as we do due to the sum of our movement within the universe? For example, the world is turning at a prescribed speed + the earth is moving around the sun + the solar system is moving around the central point of our galaxy. Assume also that our galaxy is part of a cluster of galaxies that are also moving at a prescribed speed. Could it also be possible that at least one element of this sum of momentum is decelerating, which is what gives us the perception that time speeds up as we get older (ie: it's not an alteration of perception due to age, but rather an actual time-space phenomenon)? With the original thought, would that then mean if you could stand truly still (at "absolute zero momentum" so to speak) that time would cease completely? Or perhaps momentum is ultimately circular - so that standing "absolutely" still and traveling at the speed of light are ultimately the same. That would be a weird one - not that I have any basis for that last suggestion. Just completely random thought.

OK, I'm done. Bed time. Just some musings I wanted to jot down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Almost nothing, and then...

Blal. That's really all I have to say at this point. I'm so completely flat and empty at the moment, I really don't have anything to blog about.

Oh, not entirely true - there is something.
Quite a while ago, I wrote this post about the pitfalls of doing computer work for friends of friends or relatives or whatever. Usually immediate circle is OK (eg: parents, cousins, friends) but if you expand to their circle (ie: friends/relatives of friends/relatives) then you run into hassles. Although that post was titled "Never Again", I now have another story to tell of the same nature.
A guy at my work has a brother who works for a particular frame/truss company. I would link them, but they have no web presence whatsoever, so the best I could do is link the Yellow Pages. Anyway, this guy at my work asked if I could perhaps go have a look at their computers. He said that they were using Win98, but the computers were all networked, and all they needed was for me to hook them up so that they could all use their new ADSL link, and I'd make some sweet moolah.

Nifty. I can do that.

Then came that still small voice: "Don't do it... you know where this will lead... It's hassle that you don't need right now..." However, I ignored that still small voice. I have a PSP without any games, and money would fix that. How could I possibly lose here?
I lose. I lose bad. I went to have a look at their computers. They are all running Win98 - they've never been updated, and most of them have spent time connected to the internet without antivirus or a firewall. Most of them have spyware-like toolbars installed all over them. The IP addressing is inconsistent and muddled. And then to top it all off, I try to change the IP on the ADSL modem, and it dies. Why? Well, see Bigpond (whom Blogger keeps insisting I should replace with "Fishpond" - might well be faster...) load custom firmware into their modems, and it just had a glitch. So I have to spend 20+ minutes hunting around for a manual over a dialup connection that just won't stay connected.
When I finally got it hooked up and working, the connection to the internet was solid enough (it would resolve domain names, and ping IPs with low response times), but using a web browser was like wading through marzipan. The guys who work there are keen to go home by this stage, so I leave it and tell them to get some anti-virus/spyware happening.
I get a call today at work via the guy who set me up with this job. They haven't changed a thing, but the internet isn't working. I get one of them to verify he can access the ADSL modem - all is good. I get him to ping The DNS name resolves (it would be in cache), but the pings all time out. Great. So now their ADSL link is unreliable. Bigpond probably cut them off because their computers spent the night distributing some virus or spyware or something.
This hasn't been a really accurate/interesting description, but I wanted to just make one point. Whenever this happens - someone asks you to do them a favor and look at their mishmash computer network - it really isn't worth doing. All that's happened is that I've been given 2 hours in a room full of dusty bones and been asked to construct a live animal. However, the people I've done the work for won't be able to come to terms with that - they'll think that I'm just a substandard operator and that I've ripped them off because I haven't walked away leaving them with sparkly new things to play with. They'll ask me to come fix the problems, when the truth is that the problems aren't mine to begin with. They need new PCs. The ones they have are at least 6 years old, and are running an operating system that was developed before internet-connected networks were a commonplace occurrence. Sure, conceptually it should work, but the fact is that practically it falls down. For example, you can't disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP on a network adapter (ie: not a modem) that has TCP/IP as it's default protocol. Why? Well because Microsoft assumed that if you were running TCP/IP on an Ethernet adapter using Win98, that you were networking with other PCs (and probably Windows PCs) on a local subnet. Hence, seeing as Win98 doesn't have it's own built in DNS server, NetBIOS is an essential for name resolution. This doesn't apply directly to the problems I was having, but it's just interesting to observe the assumptions that are made within the OS.

(saved as draft - now following day)

So I've arranged to go look at this beast of a network this afternoon. I bought SSX on Tour for my PSP which I'm pretty happy with, but I could use another game. So if I can get $50 out of this arvo, I'm pretty happy. Also, I've done something clever. I have people coming over tonight for dinner, meaning that even if the whole thing is falling to crap, I still have to leave in time to get home for dinner. Nice. I'm also downloading everything I can think of that I might need. Anti-spyware, antivirus, manual for the modem - and I'm going to burn it all to CD. Should be great I hope. Basically, this whole thing is a puddle of stinking dog's vomit, and I hope to at least draw a smiley face in it. Hopefully that will help...

Sunday, November 06, 2005


My wife and I are looking for a new church. I don't remember if I've blogged about this before, but basically we decided that we weren't entirely happy with the direction and focus of our current church, and with our son coming up to the age where he'd be learning from sources other then us we wanted to make sure that the church we were attending him was giving him the foundations we believe are important.

So we've gone to a handful of different churches, but as yet we haven't really been grabbed by any of them. Perhaps we're looking for an impossible mix (AOG-style enthusiasm AND solid teaching like we both remember from our Anglican days) but I'm still holding out hope. We've been to a small handful of local churches but as yet we haven't really found one that's made us go "Ah, yes. That's what we're after." I think the closest so far is Hawkesbury Valley Baptist Church, where some of our friends and extended family go. They seem to be quite laid back with their approach to leadership and authority, which is a big relief for us coming from a church who were already quite focused on it, and then launched into a series to draw more focus.
Church isn't about control - and never was supposed to be. "Religion" is about control - Jesus is about freedom. I had a great conversation with my Dad about this issue on the weekend. {sub-tangent}My Dad is probably the one person who's Godly wisdom I value the most. He tends to worry unnecissarily about a lot of things, but when it all comes down he always has solid advice that's yet to steer me wrong when I follow it. {/sub-tangent}
However, the thing about this is that I'm really quite surprised at how few churches we've been able to find. We've looked on the net for websites, and in the phone book and stuff, and there's just not the plethora of choice and style I thought there would be. Finding a non-"Hawkesbury Church Affiliated" Penticostal church in the area is impossible. And the fact is that churches that are affiliated with Hawkesbury Church all subscribe to the same set of teachings that made us want to leave in the first place...
Finding a good church I think is a saga in itself. There's people out there who I've spoken to who think the only way to find a really good church is to start your own. Now I'm not really a start my own church kind of guy, but I do like the mentality. It's not a "bitter at organised church" thing, as some might suggest - but rather an understanding that church was never about buildings and ordained Pastors and youth programmes. It's about people who love God spending time together and worshiping as a community. If you've got a handful of friends who can't find somewhere that feels like home, why not start your own church? Not that there's anything wrong with an "organisational" church either. I think both have their merits. And to be honest, that's what we'd be looking for at the moment, as we'd like somewhere that has an awesome kids programme. We're just trying to find a church where I can send my little boy off to Sunday School, and not have to debrief him on it when we get home. Somewhere where he'll learn about the faith of Daniel in the lion's den, rather then how vitally important it is to give 10% of his pocket money to church. Giving is all important, but tithing is Old Testement law used to spiritually guilt congregations into giving a minimum amount so that Pastors can feel financially secure. Don't like this statement? I don't care - it's my opinion and I believe I can prove the modern misuse of tithing as a law using direct Biblical text (as opposed to inference, which is what those little boxes in the Spirit-filled Life Bible use to bring tithing through to the New Covenant). There's a whole other rant right there.

Anyway, if you go to church somewhere in or near the Hawkesbury valley, and you think your church is pretty good, I'd be keen to hear about it. Post me a comment, and let me know where you go, and what you think of it. You just might see us at your place next Sunday. :)

Saturday, November 05, 2005


For quite a while now, my musical tastes have had a side-tangent into punk rock. Punk rock music doesn't really correlate with my usual music tastes, as I tend to like more "intelligent" music; music that is slightly unusual, or uses different time signatures, tone colours, blah blah blah. But the thing I think makes me love punk rock is being a drummer. Punk rock and drums just seem to go together like a fat mistake and a grovelling apology.

Anyway, the one band I've always really enjoyed listening to is Blink 182. Unlike many, many of the punk rock bands out there, they are actually really good musicians. They and Good Charlotte are really the only secular punk rock bands I listen to with any great loyalty. However, one thing about Blink is that some of their lyrics are about pretty explicit subject matter. As a Christian, I've cringed many a time as particular songs have blared out from my stereo in a public forum. I personally feel that I can deal with it - but it's the whole "offends your brother" thing that bothers me.
So that being said, imagine my surprise when I read the following lyrics off one of the two new tracks on their greatest hits album (this is just some of them, btw):

Come here, please hold my hand, Lord, now
Help me, I'm scared please show me how
To fight this, God has a master plan
And I guess, I am in his demand

Please save me, this time I cannot run
And I'll see, you when this is done
And now I, have come to realize
That you are, the one who's left behind

Please stay until I'm gone
I'm here hold on to me
I'm right here waiting

I was shocked. "Wow... this from Blink. Normally they sing about drunken parties and lots of sex". While some of the song I'm not 100% sure about, it would have to be the song that has the deepest subject matter I've ever heard come out of this band. For punk rockers, this is pretty amazing stuff. Good on them, I reckon.

Anyway, I won't write any more. Just expressing my impressedness at this song. It seems perhaps that many of the people I listen to are dealing with the same issues that I am, although I guess with different starting points. Hopefully they'll find the right conclusions...

Thursday, November 03, 2005


EDIT(5/11): I absent-mindedly used a friend's wife's name to represent the main subject in this post, and consequently implied some pretty negative things about the name. BIG apologies to him and his wife. My enormous bad. All instances of the name have been changed to "Gerti".

Most of my normal readers probably won't get much from this. I've written it for my own benefit really. It's quite long, and a bit navel-gazey. Enjoy - or not.

I was going to write this yesterday, but after Nathan suggested that might link me thanks to him submitting my last post, I thought it best not to put my worst foot forward with new readership by indulging my crazy side. However, having thought it over, I really don't care. I'm bored off my tree, and this is a story that's needed telling for a while.

Some of you may recall this post I made after visiting the gym for the first (or close to first) time. I mentioned some people I'd seen there, including my ex(-ex-ex-ex-ex)-girlfriend's younger sister. Now this girl (let's call her Karen), has been coming to the gym ever since and I think she may have actually worked out who I was pretty early on in the piece. However, I'm yet to speak to her at all. This is OK - I'm good with the not-speaking. The problem is that there's been a couple of events recently which now require some discourse on why my ex(-ex-ex-ex-ex)-girlfriend is not someone I was keen to run into.

This begins with the fact that I'm not very normal. I mean, some people might suggest I'm approaching normal but unless people in general are covertly hiding the thought patterns that I would find familiar, I'm pretty sure I'm different in a rather obtuse way to almost everyone else on the planet - or at least all the people I've met. Now I've pondered if maybe the whole world is a colossal TV show or experiment with me in it's center, but I'm inclined to believe that my wife isn't in on the deception, so therefore it's not just about me, is it? So that debunks that theory. Anyway, one of the many things that made me feel different growing up, is that in my relationships with people of the opposite sex I was very aware of the end-game: one day, I'd be 45 and at that point I'd like to be married with at least a few children. Everything relationship-wise prior to marriage was mainly assessing the potential for something more, with a little bit of fun thrown in for good measure. This meant that at age 9, relationships for me were far more serious then what they were for the average 9 year old. Come on people - I'm 9, and I'm wondering whether my girlfriend (ie: the girl who sits next to me on the bus) will wind up being my wife someday. I'm not normal, and haven't ever been. Not that this is so bad, but it has some rather serious drawbacks.

So I'm about 14 or 15 years old, and I'm attending a Christian youth group at my parent's church. I'd been going for quite a while, and we even went through a period where I was one of 4 people who attended on a weekly basis. Anyway, needless to say it was pretty exciting when some more people started coming. There were about 20 - 30 people coming a week when I met up with a handful of girls who attended a local highschool and had heard about our youth group through a lunchtime Bible study group. They probably don't know it, but some of them became some of the best friends I've ever had. Anyway, I'm about 2 years older then them, and they're all local girls and start coming pretty regularly. One day, they bring along a friend of theirs that I'm going to call Michelle... No I'm not, because i've just decided I like the name Michelle for a girl, and being that I plan on having more kids, I don't want to add unnecessary meaning to the name in case I decide to use it. I'll call her Gerti. Gerti is a good fake name.
So Gerti comes along, and we hit it off in a rather awkward young person kind of way. Within a couple of weeks, we do the typical "going out" thing and that begins a month of being together. Here's where my not-normalness is in it's element. I remember so much about this time of my life that it's scary. I remember that on the day we got together that me and two others walked around to her house (which was a huge walk) and found she wasn't there, but she was just down the road at her Grandmother's. When we arrived, she was wearing a daggy purple and pink coloured tracksuit. We all ate chocolate that had gone that funny colour it does when you let it get warm, and she told us some stories about her auntie who worked for an advertising company - they'd just done some animated ads for "feminine hygiene" products, and her auntie had said she'd put Gerti as an animated character into the next ad. It was a good time. There's more to this story, but knowing my normal readership - if you're still reading, you're probably really bored. So I'll get on with it.
Gerti broke up with me after about four weeks, during which time there's a couple of other moments which I have as vivid memories of as the one described above. Her cousin had come to visit and obviously didn't approve of me, but in the long term this is less then important. Why? Because the relationship far from ended here.
I pursued this girl until a couple of weeks before she got engaged. We were at the same youthgroup for a couple of years, but after that we stayed in touch at varying frequencies. There were points where I'd not talk to her for a while, and periods where I dated other girls, but every now and then one of us would call the other out of the blue, and suddenly we'd be spending time together again. And here's where I start to get bitter. The last few times she made contact with me, she'd rung up to ask me out - to a movie, to dinner... something like that. I now know that she was doing this for a particular reason. The second-last time it happened, she was trying to get the attention of the guy who's now her husband. Date an old flame - suddenly you're more desirable, right? It worked. We went out twice, and then she was dating him and I stopped hearing from her. Later, she broke up with him, and called me again. She basically said "I've broken up with {insert guy's name here}. Did you want to go out?" We went out 3 times this time around... dinner, a movie, and then the zoo (just for something different). After the zoo, we were on the ferry back and she says to me "I think I should tell you that me and {other guy's name} are getting back together." Needless to say I was pretty shattered. This wasn't the first time this girl had emotionally slaughtered me in this fashion, but I have to say, it was the worst. Probably, because I knew that it would now end with her marrying the guy - and sure enough, it did.

Thankfully, although Gerti and I stayed in contact for a little while after the zoo debarcle (and had some competitive shenanigans surrounding which of us would get married first, I might add), I met my wife not long after this happened. Actually, I think we were already hanging out by the time this all went south. My wife has a few memories of me discussing the ups and downs of my relationship with Gerti, so I guess I wasn't a lot of fun to be around for the first little while!

The hard thing is, that I honestly was in love with this girl for the longest time, and through some of the most formative years of my life. I was talking about this with my wife the other night just before bed, and I think I summed it up like this:

"The thing is, when I see her next, I feel like I want to both throw my arms around her, and slap her as hard as I can across the face."
And this is the honest truth of it. I caught myself missing this girl the other day, but at the same time I despise her. What's to miss here? She used and abused my feelings for her ruthlessly many times, and I'm sure she'd argue that I should have known better, but I honestly believe it was pure manipulation - and yet I still wish that things could have ended on a more amicable level.
How confusing, yeah? Well, as you'd imagine, since I've been married I've really really wanted to not see this girl. Something inside me yearns for a resolution and for us to meet and be on good terms, but at the same time I want to yell in her face and tell her that I'm still feeling the effects of how she treated me over the years we were "friends".

It happened yesterday. Not the yelling or anything - just the seeing. Firstly, I should mention that I saw her a few days ago for the first time in years. I was playing squash with a mate, and then I turned around for a second, and there she was; standing there watching me play squash. I pretended like I didn't notice, and kept on playing.
Anyway, yesterday I'm at the gym. My good friend Tomas decided to pike out on me, so I'm there on my own and doing my full (extremely hardcore) program in like 80% humidity at unnatural heat for that time of morning. I decided seeing as I was on my own, that I'd push myself a bit and so I got really stuck into it. Sweating profusely, I was up to an exercise on my program called "Fitball Squats". Now a fitball squat is an exercise invented by skinny people to make fat people look stupid. You put an enormous ball between your back and the wall, and then squat down and stand up - and then repeat that multiple times. In my gym, the only decent wall space to do this in is right in the middle of where people generally walk when they first arrive, and this is where my gym instructor showed me to do this exercise. So I'm there yesterday - fitball squatting as best I can. Anyway, I'm on my second set of 20, and about 11 in. I'm mid-squat, when suddenly I hear the sound I've been dreading for the longest of times:

"Hello Justin"

In that moment, I had an epiphany. It goes like this: "If you grunt like an old man when you stand up, you'll never live it down." So I stood up with as little old-man-grunt as is humanly possible for a fat guy at a gym, and just did what any normal mentally anguished now-married-ex-boyfriend would say to his tormenter now-married-ex-girlfriend:

{exhausted smile}"Hi"

I'm sure this will be continued...

PS: I'd written and published this, and was about to go to bed when I realised there was something I needed to disclaim, just in case anyone thought it. This post is in no way suggesting that I'm contemplating trying to revive old relationships or anything like that. I'm 110% committed to the woman who is my wife, and just in case you've misread it, that's not what this post is about. This post is about me dealing with the hangups that get left over from past relationships. My wife and I have talked about all this stuff together, and she knows all of this, but also knows that I am hers and hers alone. Just wanted to make sure that's clear.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More American Smartness

The image above is a promotion on Microsoft's website for their Launch Tour this year. The little white dots are supposed to represent the cities in which these events are taking place. Please have a look at where the white dots are located on Australia. :)

I've looked these points up on a map, and they seem to match best with Kalgoorlie-Boulder (the southern most dot), and the middle of the Great Sandy Desert. This is fantastic really, becuase I hear the software development market is booming amongst the nomadic desert Aboriginals at the moment, as well as in the smaller outback towns/cities. Those outback types can write a mean Active-X control, and with all that spare time in between farming and mustering, I'm sure that Intel could make some awesome inroads with Centrino.

OK - hopefully you're all seeing the irony-styled humor here. If not, I've failed miserably...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Time... and stuff.

I was watching TV last night, and there was this programme on SBS about the nature of time. It looked at three major scientists' findings about time, and was basically focused on looking at the possibility of time travel and how feasible it was that one day we'll travel through time. They also examined the three scientists (Newton, Einstein and Tippler (I think)) and talked about their discoveries, and those discovery's somewhat disturbing implications.

Just to explain: Newton theorised that time was static. It was experienced the same by everyone everywhere, even if perceived differently. However, this meant that our actions were all predestined - that every choice we make has already been made. Obviously Newton had read a lot of Calvin.

Einstein gave us the wonderful theory of relativity, which included that time was relative to the observer - and could be different for different observers in different states of motion. The closer you get to the speed of light, the slower time becomes. This would allow you to move forward in time, but not backward. Going backward would require you to travel beyond the speed of light, but there was another law stating that the speed of light was effectively a "hard ceiling" - it is impossible to travel beyond this speed.

There was another scientist - a colleague of Einstein's, who challenged this theory. I think his name was "Tippler" but that could have been one of the modern-day scientists who appeared on this program. Anyway, we'll call him Tippler for now. Tippler's theory was to do with the universe rotating, and thus allowing time travel back in time without traveling beyond the speed of light. I don't remember the details, but he was able to prove this mathematically as an absolute - if relativity is accurate, then so is Tippler's theory, and therefore time travel is 100% possible. However, Tipplers theory requires the universe to rotate - the problem is that it doesn't. So some modern day scientists have constructed various ways that the observer could travel at speeds close to the speed of light around an object such as a cylinder, and it would achieve the same effect. However, these devices are so colossal in size, and would require a galactic level of energy to operate - and therefore are impossible for us at this point in history. Not only that, but the theory states that you couldn't travel back in time beyond the point at which a working device was created. So no dinosaurs for us, unless an alien race have already made a time machine, and would be prepared to loan it to us. Pretty please?

So anyway, moving on. This whole doco raised a couple of issues for me, which I thought I'd put up for you all to read here. Check it.

First of all, I'm going to ignore Newton entirely, and move onto Einstein. The thing that makes me interested most of all is the idea that there is a limit to how fast it is possible to travel. The scientific model of the universe and it's creation doesn't really allow for hard rules. If there is a single hard rule, then it is impossible to make any assumptions based on infinites. The possible speed that anyone can travel is 299,792,458 meters per second, and as yet I haven't heard anyone suggest it is possible to exceed this figure. If this is true, then how can we suggest an infinite universe? If nature allows for a single hard rule, then the universe must also have a hard limit (If the universe is infinite, there are infinite possibilities for a hard limit, which implies there must be one). There are not infinite galaxies, not infinite possibilities for the existance of life, and we cannot be the product of an infinite coincidence assumption such as the big bang theory and the coincidental creation of life - as all of these are based on effective infinites, which cannot exist. Evolution also becomes far more improbable. A single natural specific limitation such as "nothing can travel faster then 299,792,458 meters per second" implies the non-existence of effective infinates at all. Actually, this programme on SBS documented how the study of time has come full circle from and back to the conclusion that a higher being controls time. Which leads me to my next thought...

Going back to the time machine ideas I mentioned before - modern scientists have come up with ways of traveling backward through time, but they are impractical due to the size and energy restraints we currently have. So the programme I was watching took an interesting tangent. It suggested that given the current developments in computing technology, it is likely in the future that simulations of our universe's past will be developed that are realistic down to the particle level. Actually, they suggested, it is likely that computers at some point in the future will be powerful enough to run multiple simulations of our universe and it's contents at the one time. So if we assume possible billions of simulated universes at some undefined point in the future, then that means that there are far more simulated people in existence then there have ever been real people. Therefore, it is most probable that right now - we're living in a simulated universe. Now I LOVE this idea, because I've wondered about it for a long, long time. I believe that ultimately, God is in control of everything. But given our human tendency to not give that fact any real thought when making ethical decisions, I think it is entirely possible that at some point in our (real) future, if the means were available, we'd quite happily build simulated universes with simulated people in them. Heck, "The Sims" is already an incredibly popular game and although no one would suggest that Sims characters are sentient, they do have a basic level of intelligence.
Now there's two directions you can go with this: If ultimately sentience is entirely a function of the physical (ie: your brain) then it is most probable that you an I are not real people. We're computer programs, and of no ongoing value. I don't think this is right - mostly because I believe that sentience is not something that can be simulated.
However, here's what I wonder about. If sentience can't be simulated, but the facility was available to simulate every other aspect of our existence, how long would it be before they attached humans to the computers so that they could run a simulated world in order to discover the nature of the past? If we had the facility to do the same now, would we? How interesting would it be to place real people into what we understood the stone age to be like, and see how they functioned over several generations? If it was in a computer, it may even be possible to deliver the environment into the human consciousness at faster then normal time, so that multiple generations could elapse within an observable time frame. If this was done with infants, they would have no prior memory of the outside world, or perhaps we could find some way of repressing memory in adults in the same way that we do during anethesia. The ethics of using infants would be appalling, but looking at where we are now, I don't think that would stand in the way of science. So logically, it's entirely possible - even probable. Conclusion? It is most probable that this world we're living in isn't real. Interesting, hey? It could be real, sure. But probability is stacked firmly against us.

So that's it. It's a long'n I know, but I thought it was worth writing. I've often considered the possibility that in between us and God there's another layer of us who think it's OK to play God themselves. It would fit in with how I see the current attitudes of the scientific community, which is: If it benefits our understanding, then ethics are secondary.
Alright - I've spent the last 2 hours at work writing this in between discussing the origins of the modern christian church with my boss. Truly it's been an enlightening morning... :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

How much is your blog worth?

As you'll see if you take a gander at the sidebar of my blog, I've added a nifty little window that tells you that my blog is worth $2,258.16 (this is US$, btw).

It all started, apparently, with this page which details some quick calculations on link-to-profit ratios as a result of a particular buyout deal. Although it's all rather obscure, it does instigate a new metric by which to gauge popularity. And guess what? Amongst my friends, I don't win. :)

As it turns out, of all the blogs you see linked on the right-hand side of mine, Nathan's blog is worth the most at approx. $5,500. I come in second, with Tam's blog coming third at about $1,200. The thing is, that by writing this paragraph with it's included hyperlinks I've increased each of their values without increasing mine... :)

I will win, you realise. It's all just a matter of time...

Monday, October 24, 2005

2 things

This post will contain technical stuff. Consider yourself warned.

2 Things I Think are Tops
1.) Live Communications Server 2005
LCS2005 is t3h l33t. As far as emerging technologies are concerned, I'm loving this little SIP-based masterwork. Every time I mention to someone that I'm going to impliment this next year, they get all excited and ask a million questions. I mentioned it in my recent job interview, and after some small explanation of it's function, my interviewers faces looked like they'd been dipped in happy-glow juice. Our Microsoft Education rep I think is quite blown away by how advanced my workplace is becoming. He sounded increadibly excited to hear we'll be putting in LCS2005 next year, and insisted I come to an event this week so he could meet me in person.
So why is this product so nifty? Well, it's all about the communication really. My job interviewers were impressed because I talked about how the product facilitates instantaneous and easy communication. You get an email from someone, can see if they're on or offline and can respond with a single click - whether that's to call them, send an IM, or send an email. It's just plain nifty.

2.) SharePoint
I'm not really going to say too much about this, but I'm really starting to dig deep into the whole SharePoint archetecture and i'm LOVING it. I've downloaded code for a bare-bones webpart and have installed a copy of Visual Studio .NET and plan to be writing my own webparts in the not too distant future. I'm feeling the l33t, I really am.

2 Things I Hate
1.) Aquasitions and Mergers
Somewhere before 2003, the IT department of my work bought a Quantum Snap! Server 4100. At the time, it was probably one of the leading models. I'm not sure what software revision was installed on it at that time, but somewhere between 2003/2004 we re-tasked that server, and I decided that it really needed a software upgrade. However, none of the links in the UI seemed to work anymore. It turns out that Quantum was no more, and Snap! products could now be found under their own brand, Snap Appliance. So I found the relevant software upgrade, which was available for free, and off we went.
Fast forward to today: Same server, needing a software upgrade. It doesn't seem to like playing in our non-NetBIOS environment so I go hunting for the relevant software updates to fix the problem. Turns out that Snap Appliance had been bought out by Maxtor, who then onsold them to Adaptec. Adaptec, it seems, didn't like the idea that Snap's customers were getting their updates for free, so they only put the most recent OS update on their page - the one that will only update servers already running version 4 - but not mine, which is still on version 3. Some Googling has unearthed that this is a common problem, and unless you're willing to cough up money for the upgrade, a lack of it renders your Snap server virtually useless in a Win2003 network environment. At least in any kind of managed state.
A mate of mine thinks he might have the upgrade lying around, which would be awesome, but doesn't take away my angst at the fact that these updates used to be free. GRRRR!!! Flippin' aquasitions and mergers.

2.) Money
Why would I say I hate money? Does it not facilitate the very things I enjoy the most, such as technology and gaming? Well yes - if you HAVE it. When you don't have it, it becomes the brick wall to most great ideas, many an enjoyable pursuits, and to any potential asset purchase. When I have money, I can make my wife extremely happy by taking her to dinner, and buying her flowers.
"Wait a second," I hear you say, "there's plenty you can do without money!"
Really? Really really? Think about it for a second. My wife loves picnics, and that is often sited as a non-cost outing. But this is not true. There is an assumption that you already have:

a.) food in your cupboards,
b.) petrol in your car [you can only have so many picnics in your backyard], and
c.) pants. You can't have a picnic without pants. At least not legally.

So although a picnic may be a cheaper alternative, it's definatley not FREE. Money, unfortunatley, is essential to almost EVERYTHING.
So therefore, I hate it. I wish everything was free. Socialism! Yaha! Or something like that...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, it's my 26th birthday today. 26 years doesn't seem like a lot, and yet at the same time, I feel like it's a centuary. Birthdays are truly bizzare things. Until you're about 20something, you love them because it's a sign of you becoming an adult. As soon as you are an adult, you dislike them because it's a sign of one less year you have to live. I'm really going to try hard to teach my little boy to love every age that he is, and not to wish that he was older - as kids tend to do. That way, he can a warm affection towards his birthdays the whole of his life. :)

Well, I was going to post photos from throughout, but our (rather ancient and power-hungry) digital camera has no batteries, and my iPaq camera doesn't want to work with the current lack of light, so I don't have any of this morning. *sigh* One day, I'll get a REAL digital camera. One of those nifty SLR ones. Yeah, that would rock. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Well, we're there. It's taken a while, and I honestly dreamed that perhaps we'd escape the terror that is childhood tantrums, but this morning proved otherwise. This morning, our little boy woke up, and I went to get him out of bed so that my wife could have a lie in. The first place he ran was straight into our bedroom, and proceeded to try and wake his mummy up. As sweet as that sentiment is, she really needed some extra sleep, so I quickly came in and picked him up and proceeded to leave the room.

He screamed. SCREAMED. It was like someone was trying to cut his throat or something. And being his Daddy, I could tell this was something new. It was high-pitched and demanding and not fun for my ears at all. And I knew that nothing was wrong - he wasn't in pain. He just wanted his own way, and he wanted it now.

Anyway, I took him out into the kitchen and tried to put him in his highchair to give him some breakfast. This action encouraged him to start afresh with the screaming. So I got him out again, but by this time, my wife was up. Knowing that if I folded he would be learning that scream = get my own way, I took him into another room and gently told him to stop over and over. It took a few minutes, but he settled down and I then told him how good he was for settling down, and took him to see my wife, for which he was most appreciative.

So what's the point of all this? Oh, just that we've reached the tantrum age. He had a few more throughout the course of this morning as well, but the first was the loudest and nastiest. Now I've just got to work out how best to deal with them on an ongoing basis... *sigh*

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Decision time

It's taken me a while to post this, but I turned down the job I went for. I rang the principal first thing on Monday morning so as they didn't need to spend time discussing which of the other guy and me should get the job. I made their decision simple. The principal was very nice about it all, and sounded somewhat relieved that they didn't need to decide - which gives me a great deal of confidence in how much I impressed them. He said a couple of times that I was "looking good" for the position, making me thing that I may have even been the prefered candidate. I did feel like I'd particularly impressed both the current IT manager, and the Assistant Principal who were both in the interview. I asked a couple of particularly pointed questions in relation to policy, as well as curriculum needs and how they are communicated to the IT staff. All in all, I think I'm in a good place about it. All I need now is the same kind of deal, but much closer to home. :)

Because it's bugging me, I'm also going to mention that my current boss tried to sign me up for a "training day" (that's what he called it) for our student management system. It's built on Filemaker, and we're moving to a new version shortly, and the day included a session on migration which he felt it was vital that I attend.
I'd also got the email invite, so I checked it out, and could tell it was going to be a purely high-level manager-focused event that would bore me to tears. So I said I didn't want to go. That didn't make him very happy, and he insisted that it would be technically relevant to me, and the sessions on migration were really important for me to be at.
So I emailed the organiser and asked him straight out, and sure enough, he said that it would be a manager focused event, dealing with "big picture/strategy" and that our IT Mangement should attend. Not me. Bah. It makes me so mad when people just won't believe me when I tell them stuff that is so bleeding obvious... :@

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My IQ is t3h l33t

Check out this IQ Test I did online. I don't know how legitimate it is, but I think this is close to the scores I got when I was assessed in primary and high school, so I'm happy. Snaps for me!

Your IQ score is: 135

Your Intellectual Type Is: Facts Curator.
Like a meticulous collector, you've fed your brain a unique set of facts and figures over the years. Words, numbers, you've got it all. That's what makes you a Facts Curator.

Whether or not you intend to absorb every piece of information that comes your way, your mind has certain steel-trap qualities to it. You are a knowledge sponge. You have almost enough words in your head to fill a dictionary, and you're equally adept when it comes to manipulating numbers. You can also detect important patterns in number sequences, and probably remember the mnemonic devices you were taught in grade school.
You may feel comfortable in classroom settings where absorbing details is critical. You're also able to learn from example and piece together all the little facts in life to get to the big picture. That's why you never stop accumulating information as you walk through life.

Your strengths lie in both the verbal and math realms - placing you in the same arena as someone like Bill Gates. Gates has the ability to not only store and retrieve an especially large amount of specialized data, but to translate and present that information to the population at large. His entire empire is based on this unique talent. And to think - your brain works in this same way! When it comes right down to it, you and other Facts Curators can ride a wave of information to live a truly enriched life.

It's nice to have someone else tell you "YOU ARE T3H L33T!" every now and then.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Why is life never easy?

Anyone who read my last post will know about my job interview. It went awesomely. At the end of the interview the Principal of the school said that given my interview, the decision was between me and one other guy. The other guy had more management experience, but I had more technical experience. But see here's the thing - I don't know if I want the job. However - I think they're going to offer it to me!

Why would I, who have complained bitterly about my current job, want to forfeit the opportunity to be the IT manager at another school? Here's why:
  • Salary - I stand to gain a maximum of $6000 a year on what I'm on now. It's more likely to be around $3000. It would most definatley be less then $200 in pocket per fortnight.
  • Distance - it took over an hour to get there in non-peak time. Windsor Rd --> M2 --> Mona Vale Rd. Some of the most used roads in the west of the city.
  • 12 months of nada - I've FINALLY for the coming year been able to make budget requests that got approved. I've waited 2+ years for this, and if I change jobs, the budget for the coming year will have already been done by the previous IT manager.
  • No gym - I've been going to the gym at 6am in the mornings. If I change jobs, I'll be getting ready for work instead of being at the gym. I'm fat. I need to not be fat.

So, there's a few negatives. But there's a lot of positives too... The problem is that they're balanced to precariously, that I'm not sure which way to go. I'm erring slightly on the side of staying put at the moment, and holding out for something closer to home. But... maybe I need to take it. I just don't know!!!

If you're of the praying persuasion, pray that God will give me guidance. I'm probably going to have to make this call within 24 hours, and it's not a lot of thinking time. Pray I make the right decision. Right for me, and most importantly, right for my family.

Driving is fun

This afternoon, I'll be going on a rather long drive. To a place known as "Belrose". It's near Frenches Forest, apparently. What's interesting is the reason I'm going there. I have a job interview! I can't write too much right now, as I'm in my office at my current job, but lets just say I'm pretty stoked they asked me for an interview. I actually think that I'll get the job - it's just whether or not I decide that it's worth the humungeous travel arrangements. We'll see...

Oh, and for those who didn't know, I'll be 26 years old this coming Sunday. Yay for birthdays. They're fun.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

You have a bad day, you're taking one down, you sing a sad song just to... ah, stuff it.

Well, unlike the clip to that song, my bad day is not going to end up with me having a heart-warming romantic rendezvous.

Things that are bad today:
  • Job
    Always bad. Some days are better then others. I've recently made a decision to try and work a bit harder though, and be a bit more honorable in my employment. Sometimes I get down about it and so don't put in the level of effort I know that any employment I have deserves. God calls us to work, and even if by some ironically bad luck I have a bad day every day until I die, pleasing God has to be paramount regardless.
  • Marriage
    My rule is no blogging about the inner workings of my marriage, and I plan to honor that regardless of how I feel. However, I will say things aren't going so well. I will also say that probably my greatest goal/desire in life was to be the best husband/father that I could be. I'm trying really hard, and yet I feel like it's a complete waste of effort. However, there's very little I can do that I'm not already (at least trying) to do. This issue is currently consuming pretty much all of my emotional/mental energy on a daily basis.
  • Potential Job
    Recent blog posts have mentioned job opportunities. As of today, nothing has come of either of the potential positions. Nothing. Nada. Fun...
  • Health
    Ever since I started going to the gym, I've felt worse then I have in a long time. I've been sick 4 or 5 times, and aside from losing a little weight (emphasis on "little") it hasn't really improved my overall feeling of well being. Add to that the fact that I have to get up at 5:30am to go, and you get one tired, not-well feeling me. Constantly. I'm almost ready to stop going, and just play some squash, which I enjoy. It's also a good excuse for both me and one of my good friends to get out of the house and recharge the batteries and all that.
  • Money
    I hate money. If I honestly thought I could live without any money, I'd do it. I just don't think it's possible anymore. I also love my toys and gadgets, which makes it difficult to not have money. Toys cost money. It's my birthday next week, and a colleague at work offered to sell me a PSP value-pack for $250. His girlfriend got one, but she doesn't want it, so she gave it to him. Now he's got two, and is willing to off-load one very cheaply. A $250 PSP that I've been wanting to get doesn't seem like much for my b'day, right? Well, no PSP for me. Can't afford it. Can't afford anything. Going out for dinner on my birthday? You can forget that. Ah well - I'm 26. Can't expect much from a birthday at this age.
  • My age
    Speaking of which... I'm 26, and I've done nothing worth speaking of. I have all of the above going on, some of which you would expect to have sorted by this age, and yet I have nada. When me and my wife moved into our flat, we planned to be there for 2 years tops, during which time we'd prepare ourselves to buy a house. At that point, the housing boom took off, and houses went completely out of reach for us, and are yet to really come back down. However, we're now not really in a position to buy one anyway. Just one of 50-bazzilion things that make me feel uneasy about how fast time flies by these days.

Thought, interrupted.

Having done a few other non-work things while writing this, I feel I need to stop and do some real work. And go to the loo, also. So I'm going to do that now. Suffice to say I'm not real happy right now. And it doesn't actually look to be getting any better any time soon. I'm doing all the right things, dammit, and yet none of it is helping. There's a rant in itself - why does doing "the right thing" always end up making you unhappy? Anyone else noticed that? *sigh* Anyway... another day, my friends.

Just as an aside, in case anyone is thinking of it, I'm not really interested in "just snap out of it" style comments if you don't mind. That said, if you want to be encouraging, I'm all ears. :) A good bit of encouragement never goes astray.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Random stuff

Here's a few random things I've been thinking about posting, but none of them deserved a whole post:

I didn't get my PSP. My parents were in HK and were going to get one for me, but I'd told them if they were over AU$300, then don't bother. They were around the AU$350 mark, so they didn't bother. I'm pretty bummed about not getting it tho...

I finished Halo 2. Unlike the end of the first game, this one reeked of "there's another game coming, so we're not going to give you a real proper ending." Like Quake 2. Except that Quake 2's ending was the most abominable piece of crap ever to come out of any game studio ever, and Halo 2's was just... lazy.

It's come to my attention that the women with the most relationship hangups are the ones who come from strained or broken marriages. If your wife's dad had an affair or left his wife, then you can pretty much guarantee you're going to have to put in some hard yards. Just something I noticed...

My little boy fell down some stairs at a party we were at on the weekend, and really messed his face up quite badly. We left straight away, and made a quick stop at the hospital to get him checked out (it was a public holiday, so no GPs were open). As we expected, they just said to clean him up with some water and he'll get better on his own. I have an ultra-cute photo of him I took this morning of him with his bumps and grazes, but his mum said she'd prefer I didn't post it. You'll just have to trust me that he's extremely cute regardless of injury.

We're still looking for a new church. I'm getting to desperation point a bit, as I'm starting to let myself slide (for those feeling judgmental today, "slide" does not equal "backslide"). Being involved in church stuff really helps me keep focused. We're going to our cell group tonight, which we haven't done in a while, so hopefully that will kick my spiritual intensity up a few notches, as currently it's at the quite descriptive level of "Meh." It's like the terrorist threat level - and it goes something like this:
  1. (highest) AWESOME!! (in this place!)
    [5 nights a week at church + 2 services]
  2. Going to the NEXT LEVEL! (tm)
    [3-4 nights a week + 2 services]
  3. Potential Leader/BV
    [2-3 nights a week + 2 services]
  4. "Sitting on the bench for a bit"
    [1-2 nights a week + 1 service]
  5. "Has issues/attitude problem"
    [1 night a week + 1 service]
  6. Meh.
    [1 service as much as possible]
  7. Bitter
    [1 service. Maybe. If I feel like it.]
  8. Lazy.
    [Christmas and Easter]
  9. Backslider (or alternatively "Burnt out from being at level 1 too long")
    [Never. Or at least mostly never.]
  10. (lowest) Dirty Pagan.
    [Never goes, and despises those who do. And smells. Bad.]

That list is unfortunately an amalgamation of different ideas which in themselves would have been funny, but as amalgous mass are kind of hard to follow. Anyway, the colours are nifty... wooooooo.... colours.....
Anyhoo - a trip to cell will bump me up to level 5, and probably be good and encouraging at the same time. I like cell group. Ours is a really great bunch of people.

The reason I have time to write this, is that I'm at work and was doing some server reconfig stuff today. We changed around our VLAN dohickies and so had some IP configmalajig to do, and my DCs had a fit, but I fixed them in record time and so now have nothing to do. w00t!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Some thoughts on the whole abortion issue

This post is a response to this post on "The Language Guy" blog and it's comments. I've only read the one post so far, but I like the way the guy thinks... Perhaps read the entire post/comments before you get stuck into this, or it mightn't make sense!

Language Guy - Interesting post! I've always been intrigued by the difference that use of language makes to the way people think. Not that this at all indicates agreement with you on this topic - I agree with some others who've pointed out that your use of language (eg: "small cellular mass") is just as pointed as those who oppose that p.o.v. by insisting that 8 cells is a baby. I really don't think that you will find an "objective" viewpoint on this issue - it just doesn't lend itself to objectivity.

Sorry, but I'm going to spiel on the whole abortion issue for a minute. I rant - it's what I do.

I notice constant links drawn between Christianity and ignorance/nievity/etc. on this issue and I don't really like it being applied to all Christians. See, I'm a Christian, and I don't believe that abortion is a good thing. But nor can I label it as an abominable sin. For me, it's all about potential you see. A small cellular mass attached to the inside of a woman's uterus that has the potential to become a human being is vastly different to a small cellular mass that doesn't - like a cancer. However on the flip-side, for much of a pregnancy the baby is effectivley an organ of the mother - without the mother, the embrio/fetus/baby will die. How many would argue that removing a cancerous kidney is morally ambiguous? What about a pregnancy that has the potential for harm to the mother? Does "harm" have to be defined as physical? If a child is concieved through a rape, should the mother and child be forced to endure a life of mental torment? (this isn't necessrily a given, but is a likely possibility)
Many pregnancies terminate naturally - miscarriage and the like. When my wife was first pregnant with our son, we were advised in the early stages that due to some medical not-goodness it'd probably end within the first few weeks without us even knowing. (it didn't, but not relevant to the point really...) So is the difference the mother contributing to the pregnancy ending? If so, most mothers are guilty. Bad diet, poor exercise, too much exercise, too much stress - all things that end pregnancies prematurely. Where's the line? Who gives anyone the right to draw it for someone else?

It makes me angry when I hear people doing things like saying "I believe that God says abortion is wrong, so I'm going to go torch a clinic!" Like that's any better. The assignment of weight to sin is an interesting thing Christians do. For example, coverting your next-door-neighbour's new SUV is a small-time sin, but aborting pregnancies deserves near damnation! They should probably note that if they believe the Bible, it says God doesn't do this. A sin is a sin is a sin in His view. Torching a clinic holds as much weight as any other sin - including murder.

OK I'm done. I just don't like seeing all Christians labeled as being nutjobs because a few think that difficult disagreement on this issue warrants violent response with little thought. Thinking is good - God gave us brains for a reason. I'm not saying abortion is "right" - far from it. However, I believe being a Christian is about an individual choosing to follow in Jesus's footsteps, and not about trying to enforce moral standpoints onto others. I think Jesus's ministry and teaching highlights this.
Trying to legislate morality will most likely fail, as people rebel against what they see as limiting their freedoms. Perhaps people who feel strongly about this issue should instead focus on taking action to ensure potential mothers don't find themselves in a situation where they feel termination is a better option. Support, encouragement, etc. All important stuff.

Monday, September 26, 2005


So hey, I'm at work and it's the first week of school holidays. Which means there's not much support work going on, and all the project work I'm involved in doesn't start until next week. So anyway, being that I have very little to do at the moment, I thought I'd just share with you all some of the gaming goodness going on in my life.

1.) PSP it commeth.
I'm getting a PSP. This is very exciting for me, to say the least. And do you know what the number one selling point for me is? This piece of w00t will interface with my Playstation 3 when I get one. Funny, hey. I don't know why, but that's what I'm most excited about. Moving on from that however, I think whoever came up with the PSP concept has done a brilliant job. I think the only thing the design may be lacking is a built-in camera, as the "pictures" component that is so heavily ingrained in the marketing (music, movies, pictures, games) really relies on you to take pictures on your camera, and then transfer them onto your PSP. That is, of course, unless you have a Sony camera. Then you just move data around on your Memory Stick.
Still, one can't complain about the l33tn3ss that is the PSP. I'll say more about it once I've got it and had a play. I imagine it'll replace my PDA as my tech-toy de jour.

2.) Final Fantasy XII
I did some hunting around today, and found that most Australian gaming sites are still listing the release date for this game as some time late in 2005. Being that it's mid-September, that makes it a pretty exciting prospect. However, knowing that Square-Enix have never released a Final Fantasy game without bumping the release date at least a couple of times, I guess I shouldn't get my hopes up too much.
I really have some strange affinity with Final Fantasy games. I first discovered the franchise when Final Fantasy VII was the newest installment. It took me a while to get my head around the whole turn-based fighting bizzo, but once I understood it I got totally engrossed in the story. When FF8 came out, I played it solidly until I finished it. Same deal with 9. And with 10. When FFX-2 came out, I began my same playing regime, only to then discover that this particular game had multiple endings dependent on events in the story. I of course had to get the perfect ending, so I ditched my 40 hours of gameplay thus far, and started again - completing the game with every possible quest/sidequest done. This took me about 18 months, during which time my first child was born. I swear, when he's 15 he's going to be asking me why he has vague recollections of fighting an enormous sphinx-like beast in the desert about 150 times.
I should mention that I've never played FFXI. It requires a monthly subscription and is about $30 a month. I just never had that kind of money, and so gave it a miss. It's rather a hole in my collection, but then again - so is FF3. Apparently you just can't buy it. Bummer.
Summary: I love Final Fantasy. It rates below coffee, but above (maybe surprisingly) anime on the Justin scale of things that I love.

3.) Kingdom Hearts 2
It's odd that I'm so drawn to this game, seeing as how it's aimed at an audience somewhat younger then me, and who have far less penis. Kingdom Hearts is a combined Disney/Square-Enix effort containing Disney characters and cuted-up versions of the various Final Fantasy characters. It's really aimed at 15y.o. Japanese girls I'm sure, but I love it to bits. The story is well thought out, and the battle system is really quite good. It brings that whole "hack and slash" element to the RPG genre. Hack and slash. You really can't ask for much more.

4.) Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
While not technically a game, this CG movie is the most hard-corely cool thing to happen in games in quite a while. The DVD with English dub is due out in December, but I've already seen a fan-subbed DVD rip from Japan, and it ROCKS. This movie has some of the coolest fight scenes I've ever seen. And while the story probably could have used a touch more depth, it's more then adequate enough to keep my interest throughout the hour and a half jaunt into the FF7 universe. I mean as anyone who has played this game will know, Sephiroth would have to be the "best" villain ever seen in a game (yes, he does return in the movie), and the trickery they do with Cloud's Buster Sword in this movie is amazing. The transition from game to movie is done in fantastic style.
I think one of the real winning factors for me in this movie was the way they made everything familiar. The movie is set entirely in locations from the game, and the vast majority of the music is rearrangements of all the well-known themes. In particular, I laughed when they incorporated the battle Victory theme (which wouldn't suit the dark tone of the movie at all) by making it the ringtone on a character's phone. Very well done. Yay for Uematsu-san.

Well, this post is actually about a week and a bit old now, so I'm going to stop there and post it as-is. Yay for gaming. I really can't get enough of it. Mmmmm.... gaming. Just below coffee...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury...

... I put it to you that based on the fact that I've had enough time in my day to write in my blog, or surf the internet for the past month of work days, that we do not need another person in our department to help us handle the load of work. Even though my boss has asked that money be put aside for another person to join us part-time next year, I think they should reinvest that money into more nifty technology, or perhaps my wages. There is so little to do that I'm considering firewalling all our domain contollers off from each other just to see what happens. Or perhaps re-routing all our internal email through a mail relay in Cuba. Or perhaps setting a next hop on our default route in our edge router with a metric of -1, and then publishing the routing tables to any router that will listen. I heard some guys in middle america tried that once. Their router literally melted as the entire internet tried to route traffic through them. Fun!

Crazy facts:
  1. My current location in the StarOcean:TTEoT universe: The town of Whipple, Elcoor 3.
  2. Most ridiculous name for a town ever due to sounding like a body part: Whipple
  3. Cost to register my car today: $550
  4. Estimated percentage of available money consumed by rego cost: 163.2%
  5. Estimated percentage of rego money that I wanted to spend on anime: 16.36363636
  6. Daily coffee count: 2
  7. Number of babies at staff morning tea this morning: 3
  8. Number of babies who puked at staff morning tea this morning: 1 (thankfully)
  9. Number of denied attempts by students to surf pr0n today: 4
  10. Number of denied attempts by students to surf misc. bad stuff: 118
  11. Urban Dictionary Word of the Day: assvice (means unwanted advice)
  12. Name I'd most like none of my friends to pick for their kids: Gertrude
  13. And I'm outta ideas...

Apparently it's trendy amongst bloggers on occasion to do a "100 things about me" post. One day it will come... I don't know if I can think of 100 things about me really, but I can definatley give it a shot.


Being someone who's interested in a variety of music styles, it always is pleasant for me when I listen to something and go "Yeah, you know what - I really enjoy that."
Today, that happened when an Incubus song came on my headphones. I like Incubus. They have an interesting style. I guess you'd call it "fusion" in the true sense of the word - they fuse multiple music styles to make something interesting and different. Their later albums have gone somewhat mainstream, but up until the album "Morning View", things were still different enough to make me really enjoy their style.
You should check them out. Depending on your beliefs about filesharing, you could always grab a copy off eMule or something. Not that I'm at all promoting that kind of thing... {cough}RIAA suck{/cough}

As an aside, I'd like to point out that Blogger's spellcheck thought I should replace the word "filesharing" with "pleasuring". Could have made this whole post just that little bit more risque...

Monday, September 19, 2005

It seems I picked the wrong profession

I just found this article on the Hewlett Packard website. It talks about how IT is going to move to a utility-type service before long, and that rather then businesses having IT resources (and thus, people to maintain them) they will purchase their IT needs from suppliers - much like electricity.

Before I launch into a tyrade of "Oh great, there goes the galaxy!", let me just... Actually, on second thoughts, let's just launch.

So here's me: When I started doing my computer science degree, people who do the job I'm doing right now were getting over 100k a year. Some of them well over it. Technical (ie: non-management) positions were available to anyone with skills, and were increadibly lucritive for the average IT boffin. They made IT look like the Holy Grail of vocations. However, during the 3 (...ahem... or 4...) years that I was at uni, everything went to pot. People realised that the internet was not the answer to all their business woes, and that the 23 yr old "specialist" they'd employed on a bazzilion dollars a year to get their business on the internet wasn't actually worth a bazzilion dollars. Oh and hey - while we're at it, let's pay our network manager less too. So salaries began to fall...

Enter an educated me. I'm hunting around for jobs approaching $100k, but can't seem to find anything that doesn't require 100 years experience with Windows 2000, or specialisations in obscure software packages. I take a job at a school, and now am forever locked into working in schools. I don't know why, but that just seems to be the way it's going. Schools don't have profit margins, and therefore don't care if I do my job to a way above expected standard - they're still not going to pay me any more money. So I do some motivational speaking to the school's executive until they bump my salary up a little. I rest happy in the knowlege that my pay is now what I'd describe as "averagely good", even if my peers in industry are making me look like I'm 14 and 9 months, and working for Micky D's.

So what now? I hear that by the time I'm 40, IT jobs are going to be all but defunct. I'll probably be made redundant as my place of employ signs up with "Integral Computing Services" and has the highspeed data cable run to their door. Sure, I could go and work for one of these suppliers, but basically the premise is that you need less workers. So less jobs. I guess I just need to work out what the next big thing is, and then get stuck into that. It's times like this that I wish I had a time machine... or magic spectcles... Maybe I should have a word to that Joseph Smith fella... :P

Anyway... this is a bit disjointed, but it just made me feel pretty put-out that people are seeing this change on the horizon. Maybe it's time to think about a change in career...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Help us get a house!!

Anyone who's read my blog for a while will know that one of things my wife and I are really keen to do is get our own house. However, due to recent tragic events we now have basically no savings again. So, to try and rectify that situation, we've started the following site, to ask people if they might help us get ourselves back together:

Please visit, donate if you can, and refer other people. If you have a blog, and would like to link this page, I'd appreciate that too. Hopefully through people's generosity we'll be able to accomplish what otherwise would be impossible for us for a very long time.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A couple of things...

Firstly, about my boss. People have commented "I hope your boss never reads your blog" and stuff like that, and so I thought I'd take a second to clarify something. Apart from the events in my last post, my boss is a generally decent guy. He is plesent to be around, takes good care of his family, and is usually fairly genuine. We've had many conversations about various things like theology and family and stuff, and it's been great. He's really an all-around nice guy. He's even a decent boss, in that he gives us a lot of freedom with taking leave, etc. The only problem I have with him is that he just doesn't have the skills to do the job he's doing, and yet he's still trying to do it as if he does. I guess it's fair enough that he try to maintain his positional superiority, but it just irks me because I know we're wasting a lot of time, money and effort. Also, he'll often resort to dodgy tactics to maintain his authority (and sometimes attempt to expand it), the worst of which from my perspective was the contents of my last post. However, this isn't uncommon in this place. People do the dodgy on a daily basis.

Right, now that I've done that, on to the other thing: WIDGETS!
I've become rather a widget addict. Thanks to this dandy program, the world of wigets is no longer confined soley to those running Mac OS 10.4. I think it's great that I can have a stack of useful (and not so useful) little doohickies all over my desktop, and the Konspose option means I can choose when they're there, and when they're not with the push of a button. (btw, I know this was a Mac idea. However, as much as I love my widgets, I'm not going to change operating systems over them. Just thought I should clear that up.)
I have a rather large collection, including a Google searcher, quick finder, Word of The Day, Coffee Time Alarm, easy command-line access, and a stack more. My favorite widget of the moment is Cornholio. There's nothing like having a nifty little character you can double-click who will respond vocally with gems like:

"I am the great Cornholio! I need TP for my bunghole!"

Or my personal favorite

"You can take me, but you will never take my bunghole...heheh...for I am the great Cornholio..heh... I have no bunghole..."

It's a wonderous age of technology we live in... hehheh... crappuccino?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Could it get any worse?

My boss stabbed me in the back yesterday. We'd just had a meeting with a bunch of staff about timetabling. They needed a way to check-in and check-out timetable data so that two people didn't modify it independently of each other, and so end up with two lots of data. I suggested that they use our SharePoint Portal, a technology which has been a bone of contention for my boss for ages. After the meeting, I went to our office, grabbed my stuff, and as I was walking out heard my boss talking to a couple of people from the meeting:
Just be careful. What Justin says sounds really good, but...

I didn't hear the rest, as I was walking away. The question I have is why would he call into question what I said outside the meeting, away from me? My feeling is that it's because he's trying to create an image of our department that has him as the most knowlegeable, most experienced and very importantly, the most indispensable. There's good reason for him doing this, as I've heard some vague rumors that some staff are starting to question why things grind to a standstill whenever I take leave. And personally, I think that question is very relevant. Add to that the fact that the school is restructuring it's executive, and although my boss isn't technically an executive, and has been promised immunity this time around, I think we'll probably see that this "restructure" is probably one of a few iterations, and there's hints of this already.

As I'm thinking through all of this, I suddenly realised that perhaps some of the responsibilities my boss had recently taken from me weren't just being taken to justify the need for an extra staff member (which is what I thought they were). Maybe, he's taking them so I don't look so good. So that I have more free time on my hands, and he looks incredibly busy. I'm not sure I'd go so far as him justifying getting rid of me, but I'm starting to wonder if this is all about control and power. And you know what? I think it is.

I have a half-finished application for a new job on my computer at home. I plan to finish it off tonight. While I'm at it, I'm going to forward my resume to a couple of other places with a letter saying if they're looking, I'm available. I really despise the thought of having to commute to work in the city, but it getting to the point where I despise my workplace much, much more.

More to come on all of this...

EDIT(5:04pm): I've just submitted an application for a new job. Although this mightn't come to anything, at least it's me taking forward steps. Forward steps are good.