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!

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.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I've really had enough. I've come back to work this morning after a measly 4 days of leave to find that stuff that I'm responsible for has been "played with" (read: stuffed up) and changed by my colleagues while I've been away. Then I go to do one of my normal daily tasks, and find that I can't, because one of my colleagues is currently doing it. My boss assigns me to spend the day today in a computer lab helping staff who are doing their class reports, but also sends me a meeting request for tomorrow at 8am for which I need to setup a computer with software I have nothing to do with, that we don't have enough licenses for, and requires a rather complicated phone activation process. Where on earth am I going to get the time?

So anyway - there's this job opening I've been told about by a friend of mine. It's a long way from where I live, but not out of reach. It would mean sacrificing time with my family, which I really don't want to do. However, I'm wondering if I could perhaps leverage this to my advantage. If I could get an offer on another job that I would be happy to take, then I could give the management here a bit of an ultimatum about me and my position here. See without me, they're completely stuffed, and they're starting to know it. I've become aware that although no one is saying anything, more and more staff have become aware that I'm really the brains/brawn behind the entire IT department. This includes a number of the executive, who have asked the question "Why can't our IT manager fix this problem?" when I've been away on leave. At least one staff member I know of has answered this question with "because only Justin actually knows what he's doing" on more then one occasion, so I think there's sufficient knowledge of this fact for me to make use of it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I probably won't do any of this. But while I'm dreaming, what I'd really love is for them to make me IT Manager, and relegate my boss to something like "Head of Hardware Infrastructure", because that's realistically as far as his skills go. He can setup cable networks, and configure a managed switch, but as far as being an IT professional goes anything much above that is just beyond him. He assigned our work experience person to manage an application we have running, and when I complained he said he'd done it because this guy has "web design experience". Now, our work experience guy is probably more cluey then my boss, but he doesn't have ANY programming experience, and has never seen before. Actually, I was talking to him, and he doesn't even have a handle on the concept of what you'd use for.
You know - I wouldn't mind if they didn't demote my boss. Just as long as they elevated me to equal or above. That way, I could actually make decisions that have to be respected, rather then having them meddled with whenever I go on leave.

OK, I'm done. I've got to help a teacher turn an hour and a half long MovieMaker project into a DVD. This should be fun... :P

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Online Quizes

I just did this online quiz called "How is your soul?" It was nifty, but I suspect it might be calling me a sissy girl. Whatever. Having a caring soul r0xx0rs. I recommend you all try the quiz.

Caring soul
Your soul is caring.
Other people are your concern, even if you don't know them. If you see a person trip you worry is he is okay. You put your loved ones first and you're very mature. When someones sick you're nurturing and always try to help family and friends when failure strikes them. You can be called the motherly one, if you are
in a group of people, which doesn't have to be bad. Love is something that's already in you and you have a lot to give whether you believe it or not. Your friends probably love you very much and come to when they need help since you're reliable. People can feel secure with you and generally like you.

How is your soul? [pics]
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Another step backwards

I officially hate capitalism. See, in a non-capatilist society musicians would see access to their art as a good thing. But in our wonderful society, musicians would rather have their music not heard then not get paid for it. Oh, actually, that's not entirely true. People who make money off other's artistic talent would rather have that music not heard if it isn't paid for in full. The buisness men of the ARIA and RIAA who do nothing other then whoring art for profit have once again paid out the courts for an entirely backwards decision. In a court decision that appeared in the news today, our wonderful Australian justice system ruled that Kazaa is illegal. They said that because the technology of Kazaa can be used for illegal activites, then the makers are responsible for the infringing actions. If this ruling was used a precedent, it would be possible to outlaw the following technologies in their current state:
  • VCRs
  • Cassete recorders
  • DVD recorders
  • CD/DVD burners
  • TV and HD-TV tuner cards for PCs
  • devices simular to TIVO
  • Computers with soundcards/video capture cards
  • FTP
  • WebDAV
  • IRC (everyone knows how evil IRC is...)
  • Non-Goverment regulated web servers
  • CIFS, NFS, DFS, SMB, AFP, etc.
  • etc., etc., etc...

Meanwhile, all the Kazaa users migrate to eMule or Shareaza or some other client that will meet their needs while Kazaa, which was on the cutting edge of this stuff when it started, becomes impotent in the P2P technology development game due to a lacking userbase.
The courts have ordered Kazaa to modify it's software to include keyword filtering. However, who is going to make it's users upgrade to the new version? Whatever version they're at presently will probably remain as long as it can sustain itself, while it's new "Record Industry Friendly©®™" version will probably get downloaded by a handful of people who never realised that they could get copyright protected content off Kazaa.
I think most interesting in the music insdustries comments about the case is the constant excommunication of Kazaa from the "music industry". Quotes like "Kazaa is not and has
never been a legitimate player in the music industry"(Michael Speck) abound. Personally, I don't see the benefit of music as industry. I think Kazaa promoted music. Music was always meant to be shared. Creativity is nothing without inspiration, and inspiration comes from shared ideas. And yet, now it's illegal to share. I must remember to teach my kids that - sharing is illegal. Seseme Street has a lot to answer for.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Lost in Translation - Addendum

Those of you who remember this post not so long ago will know my angst about American tranlitteration of anime. Well I just had to mention this...

Last night, my lovely wife and I were watching episode 11 of Please Twins (originally Onegai Twins). My wife can't keep up with the subtitles, so I'm forced to watch with the english dub, which I dislike. Anyway, I switched the subtitles on for a bit, and my wife suggested we keep them on so that we can compare. At a particular point in the show, two characters named Maiku (male) and Miina (female) are talking about how another female character named Kaarin is acting a bit strange. Then this line happens (not word-for-word acurate, but close enough):
English dub: (Miina) I don't think it's her time of the month.
Subtitles: (Miina) It's about that time of the month for her.

WHAAA??? It's either one or the other, you crazy crazy people. Can none of you actually speak Japanese? If not, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THIS INDUSTRY!?!?!
See, the thing that makes me most frustrated about this, is that I really think they did it because of their translitteration ethos. In the context, they probably thought it would sound better and fit better with how their American audience would understand it. Pleh...

アメリカ人たちはとても馬鹿です! 馬鹿!!!
(American tranlitteration: Americans rock! Yeah!)


Hello happy blog readers,
My comments will now require word verification. You know those twisty word images where you have to work out what it says? I just got sick of bots leaving comments. If you're a bot, then I'm sorry, but we don't serve your kind here. :P

Kind regards,
Angst Man