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, July 29, 2005


I'm a little concerned. I just answered a call at work from someone at AIS who wanted to talk to my boss. The front desk had told him that my boss was off on leave (his wife has just had a baby girl) and so he'd decided it was worth seeing if any discussion had taken place in the IT office about a product he'd been advertising. My boss apparently has the information about this - it's called ISOnet, and is basically the AIS providing network services like web filtering, proxying, spam filtering, etc. to schools at a price which hopefully is competitive with what they're currently spending.

My problem is this: I thought my boss wasn't interested, but my co-worker has told me that he is considering going with it. This causes me a major problem, as most of the systems that I currently manage would then be outsourced to this company. Now, I wouldn't lose my job or anything, but it means it would become increadibly mundane. They would manage all of the following:
  • web servers
  • email servers
  • content filtering (web/email) and useage monitoring
  • virus protection
  • firewalls and routing
  • DNS
  • proxy and cache

It would also mean that the public Class-C IP range that we own would become completely unused, as they say they will "attempt" to accomodate sites that have their own IP ranges, but also state the the assumption is that your external IP address will be assigned by ISOnet.

The biggest problem for me is that basically they're going to take work off me, save money, and then some guy on $150k+ a year will be doing my job. It's good for the school, good for the ISOnet admin, but suckfest for me and other l33t sysadmins (the not l33t ones were probably paying for these services externally already). I mean, if they've got 100 schools on-board, and they pay $20k/yr each, that's $2,000,000. You could provide some pretty sweet service on that kind of money, and pay your admins increadibly well. Meanwhile, 100 sysadmins lose their jobs, or at least have to recreate them.


I give up. I think I'm going to end up pointing out the "Any" key for the rest of my working life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wives and Dinner

Over the course of the last four and a half years of marriage, I've taken my wife out to dinner many, many times. At times I've surprised her with lavish expensive outings, and other times I've taken her to a local cafe just to spend some time together. We've seen movies, and gone on picnics, and a whole bunch of other things.
I just have one problem with all of this. I've organized all of it. See, my wife believes firmly that it's the man's role to organize "dates". Recently (over the last 12 months) I've actually asked her 3 or 4 times if she could organize for us to go out somewhere special - so that I can experience what it's like to be on the receiving end. When we were engaged, she actually did this one evening, and it was so much fun, and such a special memory for me that I'd really love to do it again.
However, every time I ask she gets upset about it. Not cry upset, just generally negative toward the idea. Like I said, she firmly believes that this is my job, and me asking her seems to cause her some offence.

Anyways, the purpose of all of this is to find out if any married males (it may also apply to other long-term relationships I guess) who read my blog have encountered similar observations. Does your wife not want to do the organizing when it comes to the two of you going out together? Have you ever suggested she could organize something for you? How did she respond? Do you think that it is the man's job, and that I should just get over it? My wife actually suggested I check what other guys thought on this, so that's why this blog post exists. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't blog about my marriage, but this really is the best forum to get some responses to this question.

The comments are open, you may fire at will.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Further again...

If you read my response to Nathan's comment on one of my previous posts, you'll notice a comment regarding my feelings that people perceive me as the young and inexperienced IT guy, and thus treat me like I know very little, if not nothing at all, of any real importance. It's that whole "work experience student"/apprentice mentality. This isn't always the case but it happens far more then I'd like.

Anyway, I just fixed a printer for a staff member here, and you know what they offered in thanks?

"Thankyou Justin. You're a good boy."

I officially feel demeaned. I'm a good boy? Well, that's nice to know. Not "thanks justin for not commenting how ridiculously stupid I am for not noticing the blinking orange light indicating my printer was out of toner", which probably would be more factual, but rather an observation that is completely malformed.
Number 1 - whether or not I'm "good" in the sense she's implied has no baring whatsoever on what I've just done for her.
Number 2 - The implication of the word "boy" here is not merely "a person of male gender", but rather " a child of male gender". Anyone else notice that I'm not in a stroller?

OK, if you voted "Yes" for me over reacting to this, then you're right. I have over reacted. I've just really had enough and am starting to consider leaving on a long holiday without indicating my intention to do so to anyone. It's not going to happen, but it's nice to dream. It lets me pretend that I can actually cope with all of this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hardy fricken sarcstic har har

You know, I kinda knew this would happen, which is why I made my last post. People at my work have got snotty, because I attached a list to that email of all the staff who were over their quota, including their total data useage. I did this purely to aid people in getting their data down to the quota limit. But for some bizaare asanine reason, at least one person (I don't even know who) has got a bee in their bonnet about it, and told my boss, who then gave me crap about it.
I'm so over this. One more thing like this happens, I'm going to quit. People are so full of crap, and it's constant beaurocratic nonsence day after day. I setup stuff to make life better, and it gets pulled down over crap all personal agendas. I'M SO SO MAD!!!

Oh, and I got the following from my boss:

In future could you please run emails like this where people are
named in a list past me.

Nice to see some support for me and my supposed sphere of authority. Oh, and he copied this email to his boss, just so I knew that I am a lowly piece of unnecissary scum. I'm now not allowed to write emails, and my boss's boss has been notified.

I am so going to quit. Anyone got a job for me?

Another fun email...

I don't know why, but I felt like posting this. It's a letter I sent around to all our staff. I had a lot of fun writing it... This has been needed for such a long time, it's like acheiving something great.

From: Justin Warner
Sent: Tuesday, 19 July 2005 1:56 PM
To: All Staff
Subject: [Important IT Information] File storage quotas
Importance: High

Hello all,
On Friday evening this week, we will be imposing a 600Mb quota on users' data. What this means, is that all the data stored on your desktop and in your My Documents, must be less then 600Mb. If it's above this figure, the computer will tell you that "The disk is full" when you try to save.
Now, for the vast majority of you this won't be a problem, but for about 32 of you it will necessitate some serious culling of your current stored data.
This is being done to enable us to supply disk space to you all in a fair and equitable way. And you can't argue with equity, can you? :P

Now, before you all start phoning me or stopping by the office to ask what to do with the mountains of data you've accumulated, let me get you started in step-by-step form:

  1. Open your My Documents folder
  2. Find a document that you haven't opened in the last month (or better yet, a whole folder of documents!)
  3. Click on that document, once.
  4. Cry a quiet tear, and say goodbye.
  5. Hit the delete key, and when asked if you're sure, assertively click "Yes".
  6. Feel empowered.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 as many times as possible
  8. When finished, right-click on the Recycle Bin and choose "Empty Recycle Bin".
  9. Finally, assert yourself with a triumphant click on the "Yes" button.

See, it's not hard! And it gives you an incredible sense of freedom and empowerment! Almost as good as a Tony Robbins seminar, and less expensive!!

Please remember, seeing as IT people tend to shun social contact, my preferred method of contact in regards to this is mental telepathy, but failing that you could send me an email I guess.

Justin Warner

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cleetus, the slack-jawed yocal!

I've started going to the gym. This you may have gathered from my previous posts of doom and gloom, but let me now deal with something less doomy and gloomy.

I live in a pretty tight-knit community. My wife doesn't come from around here originally, and she constantly comments about how everyone seems to know each other. While this isn't literally true, I can see what she means, and I have to concede that this little valley I live in does suffer somewhat from that whole small town cliche, even though it's a lot bigger then a small town.
So what does this have to do with the gym? Well, see the thing is that if someone says to me "I go to the gym", then with almost 100% acuracy, you can guess it's the gym I go to.
There is, effectively, only one gym in the Hawkesbury valley. EVERYONE goes there. Why is this? Well mostly because it's several hundred dollars a year cheaper then everywhere else I know of. Also, it's linked to the university, so most of the uni-types go there.
The end result of this, is that my fat out-of-shape self is now running into people I know while at the gym. When they're people I haven't seen in a long time, this isn't a good thing. I used to look a heck of a lot better then this, and the first time I see people I used to know from school, I'm bouncing my stomach up and down on a treadmill. Now, I'm not the self-concious type normally, but there's something about a gym that makes you feel like you need to already have attained what you're trying to get in order to be worthy to try and attain it. Mind you, I'm ignoring this on a daily basis now. Health first, selfconciousness later.

Anyway, here's who I've run into so far:

  1. Two guys from my high school.
    These guys have obviously been doing the gym thing since the day they were born. I'm sure they were like doing jump-rope with their umbilical cords. Anyway, they were nice enough guys, and still are but they have that gym-bo arrogance about them now. It's a shame...
  2. My ex(-ex-ex-ex-ex)-girlfriend's younger sister.
    This one's a killer. Her older sister was the "love of my life" for a good 6 years of my latter teenage life. There's a whole blog entry I could devote to that girl, and one day I might, but let's just say for now that my relationship with her was (in retrospect) pretty nasty, and I have a bunch of emotional baggage I've safely stowed in a closet, and sealed with a Seal of Emotional Baggage Warding (+5 against ex-girlfriends). For this reason, I do NOT want to run into this girl and her husband, or actually anything that threatens the nice little haze of dismissal I've placed around that whole period of my life.
    The younger sister is a threat. I used to know her pretty well. I know she recognised me, becuase she did that whole sideways-glance/eyebrow thing people do when they accidently make eye contact with someone they think they might know. I just hope she doesn't decide to say Hi, or I may implode.
  3. The girl who isn't who I thought she was.
    OK, this one is a non-event. I *thought* I saw this girl who used to be a good friend of mine. She looks a little bit like this:
    I think it's a pretty decent likeness. Anyway, turns out it wasn't her. I called out the name of the girl I thought it was to the girl who wasn't who I thought she was, and she didn't respond. My friend I was with I think was a bit embaressed. But I don't care... life's too short to be worried about yelling wrong names at strange girls with semi-transparent necks.
  4. A friend from my old youthgroup
    This girl was working at the front desk the day I signed up. We used to be reasonably good friends in days of yold. She used to be a little bit chubby and stuff, and at the time, I was much skinnier. Now I'm fat, and she's skinny (and looking pretty fine for herself, I might add). Life is just full of irony, isn't it? Hmmm irony. Yorin is an anagram of irony. So is noiry.

That's all the people I've met of note. But I've only gone to the gym about 4 times so far. So if you discount the one that I was wrong about, that's an average of three quarters of a person a visit. I wonder who my next three quarters of a person will be?

I'll keep you informed...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

And the verdict is...

Just a follow up from my last post:
Praise God, it was thyroid rather then kidneys. However, I'm type-3 thyrotoxic (sp?) and will need treatment. Still, overactive thyroid is pretty straight forward to treat apparently...

My T3 reading was 8.22, which is outside normal (which was around 6). My T4 was reasonably high as well at 22, but that's the very top end of normal.

So what does this all mean? Well, apparently overactive thyroid is caused by something, and it's either going to be a virus or an auto-immune disease, and at the moment it looks more like the latter then the former. My doctor tells me that viral thyroiditis is fairly short-lived, and the symptoms seem to go back further then it's normal length. However, this could be coincidental. I am really quite fat and out of shape, so some of the symptoms we're seeing (like high blood presure) could be caused by that.
If it's auto-immune, it'll probably be something like Grave's disease(here's a PDF). This is still manageable, but would require probably a lifetime of tablet-taking. Not fun, but also not the end of the world. There are far worse things that can happen.

So yeah - anxiety crisis over. Yes, I have a health condition, but it's something relativley minor, and easily treated. Even in the (increadibly unlikely) absolute worst case if it was thyroid cancer, apparently treatment is pretty much always successful - even if there are secondary cancers. If I had to have cancer, that's the type I'd want. So yeah, all possible outcomes explored, and all seem to be manageable at an acceptable non-lifechanging level.

On with the tests... :(

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm too young for this...

I'm a chronic worrier. I really am. Although this time I feel there's a small element of justification in my worry. Let me explain.

A week ago yesterday, I signed up for the gym. I am rather overweight and knew I needed to do something about it. The gym had been on the cards for a while, but it took a friend of mine signing up to motivate me to do the same. I was feeling relatively healthy and happy at this stage.

The first morning at the gym, we booked in for a fitness assessment the following day. We spent some time on the treadmills and bikes, and then went home. By that evening, I was quite unwell and had one heck of an ulcer. Not fun, but I figured it was just bad luck, and so pressed on with my gym visit the next day.

During my fitness assessment, the trainer took my blood pressure. I haven't had this taken in quite a while, but my Dad has quite high blood pressure so I figured one day this would affect me too. Well, it's affecting me now. Badly. 150 over 100. I had to get my GP's approval in order to continue with my fitness program.

So off to the doctor... My GP tells me that at my age he'd just prescribe me exercise anyway at this stage, and seeing as there were some obvious factors that would increase my blood pressure (such as my enourmous belly), I should go ahead but just make sure I start gently. Oh yeah, and just as a precaution, he took some blood to test my kidney and thyroid function. Not that we'd expect anything from that really...

Today I'm at work, and the phone rings. It's the doctor's surgery. Apparently, there's something in my blood tests that the doctor needs to talk to me about. The receptionist can't tell me any more then that. The doctor won't be in until tomorrow, so I've made an appointment for then.

So there's the story... but here's the thing: I'm scared. Maybe I shouldn't be, and my wife and others I've spoken to have all gone "Ah, don't worry. I'm sure it's fine", but I'm not sure it's fine. It might be, but it might not be. It appears that I'm not just "a bit out of shape" - I'm sick. Aside from the fact that the general sickness I've been feeling since the day I started at the gym is still just as annoying, I'm also sick on a more serious and potentially dangerous level. I'm worried that the problem is going to be something really quite serious, like kidney disfunction or cancer. I feel so completely helpless. I know that recent events are really contributing to all of this anxiety, but that doesn't make it unfounded...

I'll post how it goes tomorrow. Those who pray, please pray for me. Pray that everything is fine, but more importantly, that I can get some faith so I don't collapse in a heap every time something goes wrong.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Justin on Science: It's about time for a real rant

Alright, it's on. I've been thinking about writing something on this topic for a while, and the time is now.

The following is a quote from this article in Time magazine:

It has been said that the spread of the scientific spirit in the 17th and 18th centuries was one of the things that stopped the burning of witches. Learning how the universe is governed by the impersonal principles of a final theory may not end mankind's persistent superstitions, but at least it will leave them a little less room.

I don't think I've ever read a more wholey arrogant and offensive comment. Just so we're all on the same page, I am assuming that by "mankind's persistent superstitions" the author is referring to belief in a creator God. If you think that is too generous an assumption, feel free to let me know, but personally I think the statement is particularly pointed.

I have, over the last little while, taken a particular interest in the evolution vs. Intelligent Design(ID) argument. It was inspired by reading a debate on another blog site about this issue. I was trying to refind the site to read some more but I'd lost the address, and so I did a Google search using some keywords that were relevant to this particular topic. As you'd imagine, the list of results was quite enormous, but what particularly caught my eye was the two or three lines of text that Google displayed for each page in the search results.
Result after result began by flaming the crap out of Creationists, who apparently invented ID as a means to bring their hokey ludicrous theory back into battle against evolution, which almost every page held up as being the most solidly proven fact science has ever discovered. All this, in 3 lines of text. I read through a few pages, and discovered that most of the results were all people stating the following, without providing any reliable evidence:

  1. Evolution is fact, as it has been proven by science
  2. Creation and Intelligent Design are superstition/hokey religion/crap
  3. All scientists who advocate Creation/ID are non-credible
  4. None of the above mentioned scientists' research can be referenced as evidence in debate, due to the previous point.
  5. Science will eventually know/explain everything

The last point is more inference from discussion the actual statement made in my reading. However, it is the most interesting. All debate I read is based on people's faith that not only is present scientific practice infallible, but that science will eventually have explanations for everything we could possibly want to know.

Horse crap, my friend, with a capital C.

I wrote a post on the blog I mentioned previously pertaining to this discussion, and I've quoted it for your reading pleasure below:

You know, I think life is like a game of Quake 3. When I boot up my computer, and I start the game, there are characters running around a world which has a set of clearly defined rules. If you suddenly gave them intelligence, and then could ask them what their origins were, they would probably begin to investigate their environment and draw conclusions about how it came about - none of which would be even remotely like the truth. Why? Because from within the reality they exist in, they cannot comprehend or discover anything outside. They can test, and investigate, and probe the rules of their environment, but there is no possibility that they could "scientifically" discover ANYTHING beyond the bounds of the world they exist in, simply because the rules do not allow them to do so. However, it is possible that they could observe changes instigated by an outside force (me), and conclude that there must be something beyond themselves and their environment.

Science is all well and good, but it only acknowleges discoveries that hold true to it's beliefs. of the rules says "if you can't observe it, it doesn't exist." This is why you won't see articles on creation or intelligent design in science journals - what reputable atheistic scientist would concede that science won't ever supply the answers? None of them would. To do so would be to dissolve their own worth. If God is the creator, then science will forever be at odds with this idea, as God exists outside the realms of provability and scientific observation. It's like trying to prove a third dimension to a 2-dimensional world. It just can't be done.

Now, the observations I received back from this comment were twofold: 1.) not all scientists are atheists, and 2.) we are aware of more then 3 dimensions. I'll leave number 1 alone, as I'm well aware of this fact and the guy was just fumbling for something to disprove. I was talking specifically about the subset of scientists who are atheists, not labeling scientists as atheistic. Number 2 however, interests me. Someone, anyone at all, prove a 4th physical dimension to me. Not using the logic of "we can't explain something, and a 4th dimension would explain it", but actually show me how it works. YOU CAN'T DO IT. Why not? For the same reason that there is no physical object that is truly 2 dimensional, and that if you pretend that pencil lines have no height on paper, you couldn't construct a truly 3 dimensional shape by drawing it. We can assume or guess or theorize that there are more dimensions, and they may well exist, but I think it's highly unlikely we could ever actually prove it, as it would be beyond our ability to observe.

Here's what I think about all this:
Science is great for explaining things that are within the realm of the observable. You can observe the effects of penicillin on bacteria, or of reactions between various elements and compounds. You can even reproduce these things. However, you can't observe macro evolution. You can't observe the creation of the universe. You can observe the current state of animals and plants, or of planets and stars, but all you can do with that is theorize about what might have happened. And yet for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, scientific types think they can prove these things, and that they should be held up by all as fact. It's like the Quake 3 example - the actual truth could literally be anything, and yet by observing the inside of the box, they're trying to explain what the world outside looks like. Well, in this case they're trying to prove it doesn't exist.
I'm not out to discredit all the work science has done to better the human race. I'm just out to express my dissatisfaction at people insulting those who won't just blindly accept evolution as fact.

Shmer. OK, I'm done. Go nuts, people who feel it's important to defend the scientific faith.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

You wanna see something gross?

What you're looking at (if you're game) is the evilest mouth ulcer to ever form in someone's mouth. Currently it's making me speak as if I have a rather bad speech impediment AND have just been fitted with braces AND have just got my tounge pierced. It sucks. I'd like to thank my mother, for passing on to me whatever it is that makes the tiniest of oral injuries turn into a painful monster of a mouth sore. I swear, the pain is driving me mental.

More when I'm sane again.

Friday, July 08, 2005

That button I mentioned...

As it turns out, I can't modify the code for the navbar at the top of my blog, so here's the image I created to replace the "Next Blog" button:

And here's a large size version, for the hearing impared:

I was planning to also include a mouse-over image so the button said "3 in 5 wins!" or something when you pointed at it, but I didn't get to that seeing as how it's now useless anyways.

Ah well, let this be the last of the "Blogger is full of pr0n" statements from me. In the mean time, I'm actually joining a friend of mine in trying to drum up readership by commenting on other's blogs. It's a fun side-track while I'm at work and bored off my tree. If you're inclined to the occasional deep thought on the origins of life, the universe and everything can I recommend this blog for your reading and commenting pleasure.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Click here for Pr0n!!

Some of you may have noticed that on most Blogspot blogs, there's a nifty little button in the top right-hand corner of the screen labeled "Next Blog". Having experimented with this button for the first time today, I've decided it should be re-labeled "Click here to play porn roulette" with perhaps a subtitle of "3 in 5 clicks get porn!"
You see, within the space of about 7 clicks of said button, I'd been to 3 blogs that simply consisted of links to porn, one that was the blog of a French hardcore porn producer (including photos), one that consisted of links to buisness loan information, and 2 legitimate blogs of people who may possibly like porn, but chose not to talk about it, so I guess we won't ever know.

I'll set about the task of re-labeling the button later. In the mean time, have a good evening.

Game music is w00t

Game music is so cool.

Nobuo Uematsu has been a hero of mine for a while. I had a real passion for music, and studied it for a semester at uni, but withdrew because I couldn't deal with the crazy and almost incomprehensible mix of traditionalism and post-modernism that pervades music at an academic level. Things aren't allowed to change, unless it's within the current definition of modern music.
For example, Beethoven's music is great, but music written in 2005 that sounds like music from Beethoven's period and is about the beauty of creation is not great. Great music in 2005 needs to sound like someone driving a truck through a scrap heap, and have some relation to the plight of feminists or homosexuals in oppressive modern society.
You see? There are clearly defined boundaries for what is "acceptable deviation". Anyway, enough about my opinions...

Nobuo Uematsu is a hero of mine, because the music he writes is outside of any box that people would like to put it in. It's like movie soundtracks, and yet not attached to the "acceptable" medium of film. Not only that, but unlike movie soundtracks, it has an enormous cult following. I was a bit surprised to learn following the "Night in Fantasia" concert in 2004 which featured music from the Final Fantasy games, that the members of the orchestra for that event were not bored geeky conservitorium students, but rather world renown professional musicians. Many of them have played in orchestras all over the world. See, I never put myself in the "bored and geeky" category, but figured that the vast majority of people who would be interested in listening to video game music must be part of that demographic. However, I've learnt over time that I'm very wrong. Video gaming is becoming a staple of EVERY teenager's years, and depending on their personal preferences, many of them have played Final Fantasy games and other RPGs with similarly epic soundtracks. And as a result, many of them enjoy listening to the music, as it not only is fantastic music, but it relates to a particular moment that they experienced while playing the games. Whether it was an emotionally climactic point in the story, or an exciting and rewarding accomplishment, the relationship between the experience and the music is forged, and that makes for a fantastic listening experience when enjoying the soundtrack.

Anyway, I could write pages on this, but I have to stop now. Lunch calls. Hope you all enjoy.