Commentary: February 2004 Archives

We all love you Chris

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Chris receiving his birthday present

Last night was Chris' birthday party at @Newtown. Had a thoroughly fantastic night. There was a great turnout of people, and I even knew a few of them :) Actually I even managed to drag along a few people that barely even know Chris. :)

He was utterly blown away by the present a bunch of us got him. His first reaction was "I can't accept this - I know how much it's worth". He couldn't quite grasp that so many people care so much for him. I didn't know how to say that, so all I said was "we all love you chris", which I probably wouldn't have even said if I'd thought about it.. it kind of just popped out :)

Had to crash out on the couch for a couple of hours before coming home. I only have five drinks the whole night, but you don't want to risk these things when driving.

So another weekend gone, with absolutely nothing achieved. Oh well :)

Had an owners meeting for the block tonight. It went remarkably better than expected, with no fighting or name calling, and everyone was generally in agreement with everything. Highest priority for everyone is removing the Moreton Bay Fig tree out the back, which is damaging the building. It's a bit sad that it has to go, and really the building should never have been built here, but now that it has, either the tree or my home will have to go.

Actually I did achieve something tonight - I modified the URL button to add a target="_blank" tag to my url insertions. Which I've been doing manually for the past year and knew there had to be a better way. For future reference, the files to modify are:
mtcgi/tmpl/cms/bm_entry.tmpl and
mtcgi/tmpl/cms/edit_entry.tmpl and look for "insertLink"

To test this.. need a url .. how about my uncle's page.. there we go :)

I have carpet!

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I was beginning to forget what it looked like, I haven't seen it in so long. Got most of the study floor cleared yesterday. It's such a luxury to be able to walk from one side of the room to the other without having to step over or around anything. The downside is, that the rest of the place is even worse than usual.

It's a positively blissful 21C tonight. Not only that but a brisk cross-breeze has cleared out most of the hot air in the flat. Loverly :):)

bed time

ok, so maybe not quite that intense, but certainly the same feeling of loss like you'll never be with that person again. I so wish I'd discovered Bowie by 1987 so I could have gone and seen the Glass Spider concert. He was certainly at the peak of his good looks in the mid-eighties (see my drawings of his beautiful face on another post), and the show was nothing short of spectacular. My video is still holding up ok, but if they ever release a PAL DVD version I'll buy it.

I found this on davidbowie.com regarding his concert on Friday:

David Bowie has just come off stage after the first of two shows at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in NSW. He played a similar set to the Brisbane show, except that he dropped Be My Wife and Always Crashing In The Same Car in favour of the very welcome return of 5:15 The Angels Have Gone, Fantastic Voyage and I've Been Waiting For You.

Our BowieNetter reporter in Oz, the very professional Charly, tells me that DB was again "very chatty", and she's currently on her way to an internet cafe to get her account of the evening down for your reading pleasure. Pop back a little later on to see what she has to say.

Meanwhile, here follows that 26-song set list courtesy of Charly:

Sydney February 20th 2004

01 Rebel Rebel
02 New Killer Star
03 Reality
04 Fame
05 Cactus
06 5:15 The Angels Have Gone
07 All The Young Dudes
08 China Girl
09 A New Career In A New Town
10 The Loneliest Guy
11 The Man Who Sold The World
12 Hallo Spaceboy
13 Sunday
14 Under Pressure
15 Life On Mars?
16 Looking For Water
17 Fantastic Voyage
18 Days
19 White Light, White Heat
20 Ashes To Ashes
21 I'm Afraid Of Americans
22 "Heroes"

(Encore)
23 I've Been Waiting For You
24 Five Years
25 Suffragette City
26 Ziggy Stardust

UPDATE: Here's more from Charly via the magic of electronic mail...

Crutches and Hairdryers. By Charly.

So, it was cool being at Sydney Entertainment Centre to start with. Just one of those places I'd always wanted to be. David started again tonight with Rebel Rebel and New Killer Star as is fairly normal these days. A fairly enthusiastic response was echoed around Sydney Entertainment Centre. I was quite over-awed by it all, seeing Bowie live in Sydney - WOW! It's an amazing city. After he'd finished with Reality, Fame and Cactus he brought in 5.15 The Angels Have Gone which was a welcome return to the set. Been a while since I'd heard that one live.

He then did All The Young Dudes which concluded with many arms waving in the air. David started talking about sticks, saying "let's see the stick". A little way behind me, someone was waving a crutch in the air and Bowie thought this was amusing enough to banter a little - "It's a wonderful summer's evening and the crutches are waving in the air. What an extraordinary country. I've got a bunch of crutches outside my window, and they're all brown." Nutter.

China Girl followed with rapturous applause echoing around the room. Bowie sang "Oh baby, just you shut your mouth - she says just shut the fuck up" Then, after the song he said, "it's that time of the evening you've all been waiting for - yes, it's the instrumental. This lead into my favourite track from Low, A New Career In A New Town.

He followed this by suggesting that "it was always a good idea to follow an instrumental with a song so slow you forget to breathe" - The Loneliest Guy! Afterwards the crowd cheered loudly and he said "go and get a copy, it's really good. If you can't get a copy I'll come round your house and sing it again!" Hmmm...... like that's gonna happen!

MWSTW, Hallo Spaceboy and Sunday brought the show on a little further where David decided to introduce the band by saying "People ask, you know, who are these guys that work with you on stage, and I say, you know why don't you mind your own business." Ha ha. The band intro ensued with David telling us all the different things Kat played, including the 'hairdryer'!!!!

Under Pressure and Life On Mars caused great pleasure amongst the throng and Looking For Water was great to hear again, as was Fantastic Voyage. I love that one live. Excellent. He continued with Days and White Light White Heat, saying "I had to get that off my chest" after the latter. Ashes through to Heroes ended the show on a great high. So far so good....

The first encore was Waiting For You, not heard that one in a while. The final three songs were the usual show enders, but I still never tire of any of them. All Ziggy material and all bloody excellent. Bring it on for tomorrow.

Aside from my cousin's wedding (actually their second wedding, this time in a Greek Orthodox church as opposed to a celebrant wedding) and a games night at James and George's which was a lot of fun, all I've done this weekend is read other peoples' blogs (eg Rick Macherat and Dave) and links off them (eg Despair). Although I did pull apart most of my Harry Potter lego.. I don't want it getting sun-damaged. I'll put it all together again when (if) I get the remaining sets I'm missing. I left out the Hogwarts Castle, Dumbledore's Office and the Hogwarts Express, as these are the best sets in the series.

I'm feeling incredibly unmotivated at the moment. Possibly because it's taken so long to tidy up the study that I'm getting demoralised with it. Possibly because of the heat, although today has been somewhat more comfortable that previous weeks.

I really should go shopping. I've run out of toilet paper and have been using tissues. It's just such a pain to have to go out.. would much rather leave it til I'm out anyway, like on the way home from work. Maybe I can borrow a roll from the neighbours. Or just keep using tissues. hrmm

David Bowie

Needless to say, I didn't want it end. I actually cried. It was a very emotional experience for me. It was a night I've been waiting 14 years for. What must truly be a once-in-a-lifetime event for me.

The night began with me heading over to Sami and Cathy's place, where we then drove to Rozelle Bay to catch the light rail into Haymarket. A quick bite of food to eat and then we headed into the Entertainment Center. At 7:30, "Something for Kate" came on. They weren't bad, but it was very noisy and I only knew a couple of their songs. They finished around 8:15.

Forty-five minutes of stage rearranging later and finally the moment I've been waiting half my life for - David Bowie entered the room. Of course the crowd went wild and my ear drums got another pumelling :) He launched straight into Rebel Rebel, one of my favourite songs of his. Then a couple of tracks off Reality, Fame, a whole lot more songs I know only vaguely, if at all. Still, there was a sprinkling of the old classics throughout the show - The Man Who Sold the World, China Girl, Life on Mars (I started to cry at this point), Under Pressure, White Light White Heat (I haven't heard that song in *ages*!!), Ashes to Ashes, Heroes, All the Young Dudes.

David Bowie

The show finished with a bang - Suffragette City (another of my all time favourites), and Ziggy Stardust.. "... Ziggy played .. guitaararrr" and then he was gone.

At 10:00 I realised that half the show had gone and that I didn't want it to end in a mere hour. This was a man who occupied my thoughts for much of my waking life for almost two years. And here I was in the same room as him. Looking at him in the flesh, albeit at a distance. I will probably never see him again. He's just turned 57 for heavens sake, he's hardly going to be galavanting around the world for much longer, certainly not on a grand concert scale.

The production was certainly a lot simpler than previous productions (cf Glass Spider). No set changes, no costume changes, quite a simple light show, and very little theatrics. Just the band and the music really. Obviously a very "lean" production to make it quite a bit easier to get around.

And how oh how is one able to get a front row seat, where you can stand up, put your hand up, and be touched by rock royalty? If only I knew..

Had another nothing day today. Just too hot. I actually spent a good deal of time trying to sort out the filing on my computer. It seems I have more than 4gb of *stuff* on one drive, and the backup job is failing because you can't put more than 4gb into one file on a fat32 partition. So I thought I'd try and clear out some junk, and burn other stuff to cd as necessary etc. In the end I ended up putting *more* stuff onto the disk as I'd brought home a pile of files from my work computer to sort out.

So anyway, I decided that I'd go for a swim. I haven't been for a swim all summer, and decided that if I waited any longer for someone to swim with, well I wouldn't get a swim at all. I'd of course have to go after dark, as I hate swimming alone. So 8:30 comes around (after watching the 60 minutes 25 year anniversary - weird because they filmed the end of it on the big sound stage they have next to the car park, and had setup a marquee in the car park and I'm, like, "been there!" hehe.. but I digress) and mother calls. The funniest part of the whole conversation is that she tells me that Dad has shaved off his beard!! He hasn't shaved in 27 years!! This I've *got* to see :) So I'm in a kinda good mood, when I go downstairs. Only to find that they still haven't fixed the frigging filter and the pool is closed until further notice. They decided it was broken on *Wednesday* and were going to get someone to come out the next day. I realise now that the pool was actually quiet all weekend. *sigh* So now I'm *still* hot and sweaty. Think I'll just wash my hair and go to bed.

Calling Linenoise

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The thought popped into my head tonight that I haven't talked to Todd Sinclair for a couple of years. So I thought I'd do a quick search for him on the net to see if he's still around. I totally freaked out over this page though .. although it hasn't been updated since 1997, all the people I used to know from #relax were there, including Guy and myself! Scary stuff :)

361 Days

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That's how long my w2k server was up for before the blackout the other night. Four days short of a year! Pretty impressive for a little w2k box - it's only a PMMX 233 with 256mb ram. And it was nowhere near using up its resources - the memory line was still almost at the bottom. Oh well. At least it gave me a chance to move it into the other room, I'd been holding off moving it so I wouldn't have to break its uptime record :)

The heat/humidity is suffocating. Trying to move computers and hubs and network cables and switch box cables and getting stressed cause I was feeling sweaty, which makes me sweat even more and then stress out more. arghghh! Bit of a vicious cycle really.

anyways, here's a friday five:

1. Are you superstitious?
Not really.

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?
dunno

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?
Well the one I'm most likely to believe in, even though I don't, is that if you go out without an umbrella it's more likely to rain. I suppose that's not really even superstition but there you go

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?
Rationally no, everything's God's will.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
Nup. Load of rubbish.

hrm not a terribly interesting Friday Five. oh well. Time to go find alcohol, or food, or both.

But ever so slowly. Each time I think I'm nearly done with a pile, I think of somewhere else that similar crap is located, and of course must be assimilated so it's all in the same place. This includes boxes full of stuff in the storage cage. And I'm sure that some of the stuff that's up here should really be in boxes in the storage cage. hrmm. methinks this is going to take some time yet to sort out.

The power died again last night after I went to bed, for perhaps another hour or so. It's been back ever since. It wasn't actually the thunderstorm that did it (at least I suspect not directly) .. the power went out a good half an hour before it even started raining. Just one of those things I guess.

The stickiness is still not letting up. Don't know how much more of this I can take. Had another storm today, but all it did was just make things muggier :(

I started the mammoth exercise of rescanning and catalogue all my analogue photos tonight.

I scanned six photos.

Admittedly much time was spent choosing a sharpen setting (can anyone suggest what levels they use in photoshop?), and the best way to transfer them to my main computer etc. The other problem is my favourite jpg compression utility - LView 1.8 - is playing up at the moment.. or more likely w2k is, probably getting to be about time I did a complete format and reinstall. I still have yet to find a utility as good as LView .. but then I haven't really been looking, since lview does the job so well. LView seems to do a better job of jpg compression than anything else I've seen - small file sizes with very little distortion. But its biggest disadvantage is that it can't do batch opens and resaves and resizes. At least not the 1996 no-nag version I have :)

The heat here is ridiculous at the moment.. I'm seriously unmotivated to do *anything* it's simply too hot. At least at work it's nice and cool :)

Just spent three hours finishing off The Order of the Phoenix for the second time. I'm sure I'll regret this tomorrow when lack of sleep catches up with me. I think I enjoyed it a bit more the second time round.. it didn't feel quite as depressing or political as it did the first time for some reason.

I reckon JK Rowling should write "Hogwarts: A History". Hermione refers to it so often I reckon it'd be a great read. Although for some reason I have this feeling she may get sick of writing about Harry Potter and that'll be the end of that.

sleep.

Guy very kindly lent me his Olympus C750 UZ camera on the weekend for me to have a play with, as this was the camera I was interested in buying as my next digital camera. I've had an Olympus C-900 Zoom (D-400 Zoom in USA) for five years and it's been the most amazing camera. But by todays standards the pictures aren't as sharp as they could be, and the resolution could be bigger also. After reading review sites, I thought I might look at the Olympus C750 Ultra Zoom.

The biggest selling point on this camera is its fantastic 10X optical zoom lens. It also takes AA batteries, which George highly recommended to me after going through some very expensive batteries in her camera. And, being Olympus, it has a beautiful file naming convention that I really would not like to give up - it keeps the month and date in the actual photo name, so you can always tell when you took the photo from the name of the file. When you take as many photos as I do, this is a big plus, because you never have to rename files, and only need to separate them on year.

Initial results proved very disappointing. Not helped by the fact I probably had it on the wrong picture mode setting. That fixed up I was able to get some more successful photos. However, being at night, with only a single 100W incandescent light bulb for illumination, the camera still had problems getting a focus lock, resulting in blurry photos. There was also a lot of noise in the photos, especially at the higher resolutions. I had read a lot of reviews on this camera at www.dpreview.com and this weakness was commented on by many users. However, I would have thought that this camera, being five years newer than my current one, would still be better at focussing, and that perhaps these other users had a higher basis for comparison. Apparently not, and it seems that my five year old camera can still do a better job of getting the focussing right.

The macro setting also had issues. Again it had trouble getting a focus lock, often focussing at all sorts of odd depths, if at all. But the biggest gripe for me is that when using a flash, the end of the lens casts a shadow, resulting in photos with a semi-circle of shadow at the bottom. This would piss me off no end.

A smaller gripe is the electronic viewfinder. It's very difficult to see whether photos are in focus or not through it. Mind you, I had no idea at all with my old camera because there was no link between the lens and the viewfinder.

Having said all of that though, when it gets it right, it does so spectacularly. Outdoors with good light, this camera is superb. The 10x optical zoom is like a telescope, bringing up detail not even visible to the naked eye. The picture sharpness is great, as are the colours.

The other big success I had with it was with photos of my fish. My old camera has always had trouble focussing through the glass and water, but the C750 seemed to be able to get it right more often. I now have some of the best photos of my fish I've ever taken.

So. I've just looked at all the photos again, and I have to say I'm very disappointed with this camera. More so because I was expecting so much from it. If primarily taking outdoor shots with good light, then go for it. But if you take a lot of indoor shots, or macros with flash, then forget it. The focussing and noise problems really put me off this camera. Now I'm back to square one, trying to decide what camera to get.

My brain is starting to melt down at the moment, because all the things I need to get done are all dependant on each other, such that I don't know where to start. For example, I don't really have the time in one afternoon to find homes for all the crap I need to put away. So I pick somewhere to start, like putting away to boxes of Christmas decorations. But to do that I need to take down the fairy lights. To do that I need to clear space on the floor. But that will take more than an afternoon to do.

I also need to do a water change and move my black angels. But to do that I need to clear space in front of the fish tank. But to do that I need to spend a day or two putting away all the crap that's lying around the floor getting in the way. argghhh!

I think I'm just going to have to start piling everything up so that at least it doesn't cover my entire floor, then I will have the space for my brain to be able to cope with sorting everything out.

I went to a "Creative Memories" party last night.. kinda like a tupperware party for photos. Basically it's so they can sell their albums and other bits and pieces. It was $10 though which kinda sucked, since I really didn't get anything out of it except for a bit of useful information. Like, for photo albums, not only should the paper you mount your photos on be acid free, but it should also be lignin free and buffered. And if you're using plastic pockets, they should be PVC-free. Was that worth $10? No, since I'm sure I could have found that out on the web. We did make up some pages with photos on them that could ultimately be used in one of their albums, but since I don't even take ordinary photos anymore (I haven't developed a roll of film in 5 years), and the old photos I do have I just want to scan so that I can look at them on the computer, then there's not really a lot of point. I'm not going to spend hours creating individual pages with a few photos on them, it'd take me *decades* to go through all my old photos doing that. It's going to take me long enough to rescan everything as it is (I scanned many of my photos several years ago, but only at 100dpi, which makes for tiny photos on screen).

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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