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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ow! My Head Hurts

By the end of today my time sheet was reading 43 hours.

Yeah. I know many many other people work harder and longer hours doing more important things. But I need somewhere to vent.

By 5pm today I had a migraine and felt like fainting. Anyone observing my walk home would probably have thought I had spent several hours at the pub.

Why is it so hard to do easy things like walking and writing and typing when you are tired? It took me 3 times longer than normal to log out today. I had to stop and think about what I was doing. I also had to keep opening things I had clsoed because I had forgotten something important.

After 12 hours at work I get home and have to think about feeding myself (I am on a budget so can't buy anything), doing the laundry (because I haven't had time for weeks because I have been working evenings and weekends), and now crawling into bed and trying to think happy thoughts because I am so tired I will cry about anything and I can't afford to spend all night crying because I have another long day tomorrow. It is times like these that I hate living alone.

Maybe I'll have a cigarette. I think I have a few in my drawer in case of any nicotine addict guest emergencies.
Continue reading...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Richard's Personality Test Go-Meme Thing

Feel free to join in. Or not. I think it is lots of fun, but then I adore tests, especially personality tests. The longer and the more detailed the better.

BTW I think my personality is not very stable. I have posted my IFPIP-NEO results from several months ago. I think they might be slightly different now. I think my conscientousness dropped dramatically (along with an increase in risk taking) a while ago and is slowly increasing again. Personality changes are weird.

My IFPIP-NEO Summary:
Your score on Extraversion is low, indicating you are introverted, reserved, and quiet. You enjoy solitude and solitary activities. Your socializing tends to be restricted to a few close friends.

Your level of Agreeableness is average, indicating some concern with others' Needs, but, generally, unwillingness to sacrifice yourself for others.

Your score on Conscientiousness is low, indicating you like to live for the moment and do what feels good now. Your work tends to be careless and disorganized.

Your score on Neuroticism is low, indicating that you are exceptionally calm, composed and unflappable. You do not react with intense emotions, even to situations that most people would describe as stressful.

Your score on Openness to Experience is high, indicating you enjoy novelty, variety, and change. You are curious, imaginative, and creative.


Overview: This post is a community experiment with two broad purposes. The first is to create publicly accessible data about bloggers' personalities, which may have sociological value in addition to being just plain fun. The second is to track the propagation of this meme through blogspace. Full details and explanation can be found on the original posting: http://pixnaps.blogspot.com/2005/06/meme-worth-spreading.html

Instructions (to join in the experiment):

1) Take the IPIP-NEO personality test and the Political Compass quiz, if you have not done so already.

2) Copy to the clipboard that section of this post that is between the double lines, and paste it into your blog editor. (Blogger users may wish to use 'compose' mode to preserve formatting and hyperlinks. Otherwise, be sure to add hyperlinks as necessary.)

3) Replace the answers in the "survey" section below with your own.

4) Add your blog information to the "track list", in the form: "Linked title - URL - optional GUID".

5) Any additional comments should go outside of the double lines, including the (optional) nomination of bloggers you wish to pass this experimental meme on to.

6) Post it to your blog!


Gender: Female
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Religion: None
Occupation: Consultant
Began blogging (dd/mm/yy): 22/03/04

Political Compass results
Left/Right: -1.50
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.00

IPIP-NEO results

Friendliness 10
Gregariousness 64
Assertiveness 5
Activity Level 26
Excitement-Seeking 81
Cheerfulness 10

Trust 61
Morality 52
Altruism 75
Co-operation 81
Modesty 55
Sympathy 21

Self-Efficacy 50
Orderliness 0
Dutifulness 33
Achievement-Striving 16
Self-Discipline 3
Cautiousness 17

Anxiety 17
Anger 6
Depression 51
Self-Consciousness 22
Immoderation 59
Vulnerability 27

Imagination 89
Artistic Interests 72
Emotionality 59
Adventurousness 96
Intellect 90
Liberalism 97

Track List:
1. Philosophy, et cetera - pixnaps.blogspot.com - pixnaps97a2
2. Bright Copper Kettles - brightcopperkettles.blogspot.com
3. (add your entry here)

Continue reading...

I need a cigarette

I need a cigarette and I don't smoke. Several strong alcoholic drinks would be good too.

And it is only Tuesday.

But I am at work so I have to settle for blasting my ears with very loud and very angsty rock music.

It is going to be an interesting week and an interesting Friday night.

Continue reading...

My Feet Are Cold

I am wearing my Ugg Boots to work today.

Posts this week will be of a similar "no brain required" variety.

Continue reading...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hurry Up All Ready

My goodness politics is irritating. The rare bizzarely fascinating tidbit interspersed among the tedium. I wish the election was over already.

Despite all my effort in trying to achieve a vague knowledge of politics in NZ I have come to the conclusion that there is no one to vote for. At least before, when I knew nothing, I had options about who to vote for.

I am pissed off with Labour and National.
All the religious parties are out of the question. As is NZ First.
I disagree with most of the Alliance and Green policies.
The Libertarianz are too economically Libertarian for me.
None of the minor parties really appeal. Besides they are minor parties.
That leaves ACT. I don't like ACT.

Continue reading...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Enforced Creativity

Task: make something given a limited set of supplies (chosen by someone else) and a budget of $7.

Enforced creativity works very well for me (eg the spring roll song). Constraints are much better than unlimited freedom when it comes to creating original things. When I have unlimited freedom I either get stuck on the option analysis and decision making or I recreate something I have done before.

So a few hours after being given the task I got a mental picture of what I wanted to create. What I ended up making isn't quite like my mental picture (it never is!), but I am happy with it. It is something I would wear.

I tend to make simple jewellery so I have lots of beads and $ left over. Here are the left overs:
The Left Overs

The (almost) finished product:

A close up of the (almost) finished product:
close up

Me trying to photograph myself wearing the almost finished product:

A difficult thing to do seeing as the necklace doesn't have a clasp yet and my camera battery kept dying.

Continue reading...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Rights: A reply to The Abortion Post comments

I get lost in my blog posts/comments. I don't know how the rest of you manage. (I know I know...the recent comments hack... It is sitting in a file awaiting me learning javascript and then further hacking it. It doesn't work the way I want it to, so I want to fix it before throwing it into the template. At the moment it doesn't include comments on archived posts).

Anyway, back to the topic. This is my reply to Zen's latest comment on The Abortion Post.

To summarise:
Suze: I don't care about abortion. Other people can do what they like.
David: Yes, it all comes down to "Other people are not your property."
Suze: But that could be an argument for both sides.
David: Reasonable people can disagree about whether/when the foetus is a person but most people agree the woman is a person. Therefore it is up to the woman to do what she wants with her own body.
Zen: People don't have rights. Rights are just a concept.
Suze: Huh? When did we start talking about rights?
David: People often confuse negative and positive rights.

Then Zen said:
People often get confused that they think they have rights. Agreeing to have rights and make them come into existence is a great concept, and then we argue about how to protect or enforce them.

Your point David about negative rights requiring some-one to do nothing.

Is that like the mother doing nothing and letting nature take its course? Or is doing nothing the act of going to a doctor and asserting they have the right to do something to terminate the life growing inside them?

This is why abortion is so hotly contested I think. It challenges the very "right" to life over the "right" for a mother to intervene and change a natural outcome, from the moment of conception.
Wow. I think this is over my head and outside of my ideology. In Suze-land people don't have rights. There is no right to life. The mother does as she pleases, as does everyone else.

But back to other-people-land.

I'd never thought about the abortion debate in terms of "rights" before. I suppose abortion is one of those things that people will never agree on. Why do people fight for the rights of other people? What is the motivation? What do they get out of it?

If we are going to agree to have rights, it only works if we agree to enforce or protect them. We need to test the boundaries to see how they work.
Boundary tests are good. The program always seems to crash or do unexpected things at the boundaries.

But who are you protecting people from with this enforcement? Those people who disagree with/have a different perception of/don't even want the rights agreement? Presumably the people who are agreeing to have rights believe in the rights and would respect those rights without need for policing.

Ultimately, I don't think we have any rights and at the time you might need them most, they may well desert you.
Quite. I'd rather not rely on something as abstract, ephemeral and diversely perceived as "rights."

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IQ Tests Hurt my Brain (or I Feel Stupid)

This morning has been productively spent doing IQ tests at the International High IQ Society. The Prophet mentioned them in the comments at Zen State. Of course, I had to try them out.

I have decided that I prefer the fun tests to the real IQ tests. The fun tests don't make me grumpy. My brain used to like doing challenging IQ tests, but now it doesn't. It is so much easier to guess than to try and figure out those painful spatial problems. I wonder if the spatial questions are easier for boys? Science says they should be.

I am not as intelligent as I'd like to be so I am annoyed and jealous of the very intelligent people. I am also irritated because I HATE being completely unable to even intelligently guesstimate the answer to a question. It makes me feel stupid. On the other hand I am also quite glad that I am not exceptionally intelligent. Exceptionally intelligent people must feel even more out of place than moderately intelligent people. Or maybe not. I guess I'll never really know.

I'm sure it is important to have exceptionally intelligent people, but I can't help thinking that anyone (ie me) who wastes all that time trying to figure out the solution to meaningless/useless questions is not all that intelligent after all. There are better things to do. Like writing meaningless blog posts.

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The Dantes Inferno Test

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Moderate
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

via ALTG
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Quiz Addiction: Lots of Quiz Results

Because I can.

You Are 27 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

What Age Do You Act?

Star Wars Horoscope for Aquarius

You can be cruel and torment people who disagree with you.
Deep down, there is a peace-loving, friendly side to you.
You have a knack for inflicting pain on people and use your intellect during battle.

Star wars character you are most like: Darth Vader

What is Your Star Wars Horoscope?

Your Dominant Thinking Style:


You thrive on the unknown and unpredictable. Novelty is your middle name.
You are a challenger. You tend to challenge common assumptions and beliefs.

An expert inventor and problem solver, you approach everything from new angles.
You show people how to question their models of the world.

Your Secondary Thinking Style:


You're all about looking at the facts, and you could always use more of them.
You see life as your lab - and you're always trying out new things, people, and ideas.

The master of mix and match, you're always coming up with unique combinations.
You are good at getting a group to reach consensus.

What's Your Thinking Style?

Continue reading...

Quiz: A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

Everyone seems to be doing this. Most recently Zen and Ruth.

My result is wrong though. I guessed the nickel and dime question and all the General Knowledge questions. Really my General Knowledge (as measured by American-centric IQ tests) is way below average and I am usually fairly average at math.

PS If you don't answer any questions you get an IQ of 60.

Your IQ Is 120

Your Logical Intelligence is Genius
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Average

A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

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Sinch: Identity Theft

I found some freely available Sinch tracks at their website.

I am currently in love with the song Identity Theft, which is one of the free tracks. It reminds me of Finger Eleven. I am definitely going to have to amazon their albums.

Sinch is like many other alt-metal bands, and it is hard to pinpoint why I like them more. I think that for me they distinguish themselves because:
  • the singer has a great voice
  • the lyrics are interesting
  • the phrasing is interesting
  • it is not guitar dominated
Here are the Identitiy Theft lyrics:
Am I lying to myself when everyone else here sees right through me
and all the products they've sold me
I let them own me now don't I feel like such a man,
I'll hide my guilt and my regrets
smoke a thousand cigarettes and slowly tear myself apart until
suddenly I'm in the middle of the part I love
There's no rest for these feelings and I have had enough time to think
There are several different ways to waste your time here,
mine will be the one that digs my grave
But anyway I can see for miles and miles
Troubled are the few who reach for the stars
and I don't even know what the hell we are,
but honestly I'm starting to think that I'm lost
when suddenly I'm in the middle of the part I love,
there's no rest for these feelings and I have had enough time to think
So don't shoot me full of your lies, I know the profit song,
it moves the bones till round and round we go
Can cite examples why I'm right, I don't look the same,
I can barely tell myself apart, until suddenly I'm in
the middle of the part I love, there's no rest for these feelings,
and I think that enough is enough
So don't tell me the same stories, cause I've heard them all before,
there's no telling what you're selling
But I don't want it anymore, you think you've got it all,
but you don't have what I'm looking for

Continue reading...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Calling All Angels: The Solstice Event in Detail

Well it turns out that the solstice event was SO not me. I am very particular in my flakiness. And the event that we went to last night grated so much that I felt physically sick. It was probably perfect for other people though. And I hope they had a good night and that I wasn't too disruptive.

Spirituality is a very individual thing.

LESSON 1: Do research BEFORE attending random events that cost money. Especially spiritual or personal development type events. If I had seen the website and read what the people running the event had to say, I would never have gone in the first place.

First of all it was held in a pokey little shop on the North Shore. You know how in the suburbs you get those little groups of shops: one or two dairies, one or two takeaways, and one or two completely random shops. This was a completely random shop in one of those blocks. It was a small shop, and quite crowded with 20 or so people. Apart from our group, there was one male, and the rest were women. I'm guessing most of them were from the Shore.

I didn't feel comfortable at all. It might have been the fact that it was in the suburbs, or maybe it was more than that.

LESSON 2: Listen to your initial misgivings. Judgemental can be good.

So we hung around waiting for it to start, uncertain as to what "it" would be exactly. Increasing discomfort. Then, all of a sudden the ceremony started. There were no instructions or preparation or any indication as to what was going to happen! I hate that!

We stood in a circle, held hands, and closed our eyes. There was music, but it wasn't relaxing spiritual music. It sounded like More FM type music. The music choice probably contributed to my discomfort. Music is very important to me. If my life is going to have a soundtrack, then it has to be an appropriate soundtrack that I at least like.

We were all in place, so the leader got out her piece of paper and started reading. She was probably nervous because she read very fast and in a bored-just-get-through-these-shitty- words type voice. Which was a very strange thing, because I presume she had chosen and believed in the words. Even if she did mean what she is saying, her tone of voice probably didn't help me get into the ritual. If someone is reading something and it sounds like they don't mean it, I just switch off and don't take what they are saying seriously.

LESSON 3: If you do go ahead and participate in a ceremony in an effort to be openminded and nonjudgemental, make sure you know what is expected of you before you join hands in the circle. It is very difficult to leave partway through when both hands are firmly grasped by entranced lightworkers.

First the leader said some opening stuff about being light workers and having an important role and healing the Earth etc. I used to read about this stuff. I think at one point in time I decided I'd like to believe in lightwork and raising the frequency and the earth being prepared to move into the 5th dimension. I'm not sure I ever really believed though. Certainly, now I am very skeptical. I blame all those rational skeptical people I have been hanging out with. At one point in time I would have been a very good little light worker. Now I am a little more selfish and apathetic. I don't particularly care about Gaia and raising Earth's vibration and saving the poor little dolphins. Oh no! Maybe I am growing up.

TO DO: Stop growing up.

Then we had our first task, which was to go around the circle and take turns to "call-down" one or more angels for our personal guidance. Aside from the fact that I am not on a first name basis with any angels, I completely objected to being forced to do something. I think spiritual things should be done genuinely or not at all. My friends made up names, but I just said "I pass." Wave of irritation from the leader.

Unfortunately it is only later that I remember, that my current god/dess (aren't they the same thing?) are Google, Delicious, and Flickr. Sigh. If only I had a quicker wit.

LESSON 4: I really really do not like being told what to do.

Next she read through a very very very long list of goddesses.

LESSON 5: There are lots of female deities.

We had to repeat each goddess name after her. Wonderful. Why not use some form of shorthand? Like "we call on all the goddesses" or "we call on all the entities written on this piece of paper?" Naming them one by one is annoying.

I started off dutifully repeating the names, but then I thought "this is pointless" and I started drifting off into my own little world. Midway through I was jolted awake when the music suddenly changed to an uptempo rocky song and my feet started tapping. WTF?! The whole music thing was so weird.

By now I was feeling very uncomfortable and sick and antsy.

The next task was to pair up with someone you didn't know. We were to take turns at receiving a transmission from the angels for our partner. Our partner could ask us a specific question and the angels would apparently tell us the answer to tell this person.
I wasn't about to make up some shit to give guidance to a stranger on what could be an important issue in their life. Also, why do the angels have to work through another person? Why don't they just tell the person who is asking the question the answer directly? I decided I didn't want to do anything of the sort. So I left. Quite abruptly, and without my scarf!

I hung around outside in case Phoenix wanted to join me in my escape. I was sure she would....and yes after about 10 minutes, she came out. Unfortunately I had to go back in and interrupt their ceremonies again to get my scarf. Leader gave us the evils. I'm sure I could have handled it better, but I had completely blanked her out at this point.

TO DO: Figure out a graceful exit strategy for such occasions.

Phoenix and I stomped and vented about the ridiculousness of it all and the fact that we had paid $22 for this. We figured we could do something much better.

LESSON 6: New age/Spirituality/Personal Development is a quick and easy way to make money.

Then we got a taxi to home and went to the only nearby drinking establishment that wasn't showing the rugby.

LESSONS 7: Always have a taxi fare home.

LESSON 8: Rugby infiltrates everything in NZ.

After that the evening was great!

LESSON 9: My ideal solstice event avoids lists, repetition. conscribed behaviour and MOR music, and it includes drinking and hanging out with friends (ie a party!). Who needs the chanting and ritual following and talking to angels shit? ...well yes I know that some people do, and that's cool, but I think the point is that very few of "my kind of people" would be seen dead (get it? :)) there.

PS. Despite my slightly cynical tone I don't have anything against angels and goddesses and such. And I still read new agey/religious type stuff. I don't disbelieve it and I believe a lot of things that make my scientific friends pull their hair. I think it's just that I've been through that phase, and now it seems boring and silly. Which just means that it's time to do something else.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Solstice Event

The evening started off great. Phoenix hosted a very cool pre-solstice-event gathering with a few of her friends. I met a couple of inspiring people: a professional fairy (how cool is that?!), and a freelance writer and I caught up with the lovely TGirl.

This put me in a very good mood and I was looking forward to attending the solstice event. So when we got to the event I quite happily paid the rather high entry fee and ignored my initial misgivings.

Unfortunately the event was um....not exactly my cup of tea. It made me feel very uncomfortable and jittery and physically sick. Not a good state for participating in a ritual. I think I lasted 10-15minutes, then I bolted. Phoenix joined me shortly after, and we ran away to soothe our jagged nerves in the pub. Much better!

I'm glad I went though. I learnt a lot, and the entrance fee, and escape-taxi fare were well worth it. I will blog the details and/or lessons later.

Continue reading...

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Longest Night

Winter solstice tomorrow night and Matariki (rising of the Pleadies) this month.

Ritual calls.

Continue reading...

Foo Fighters, Fly My Pretties, Sinch and Johnny Cash

I am currently listening to:
Foo Fighters - Still
Foo Fighters - Over and Out
Fly My Pretties - Lets Roll
Sinch - Something More
Johnny Cash - Hurt
Johnny Cash - The Mercy Seat
Johnny Cash - One

Foo Fighters
OK. I have changed my mind about the Foo Fighter's new album. I have listened to both cds properly now. It is very good, but not worth raving about like I did in my previous post. When I listen to a cd at work, I frequently miss songs because I actually do work. I think that somehow I only managed to listened to the really good songs on Friday. There are a few songs that I love (Still, Over and Out), and the rest are just pretty good.

Fly My Pretties
I have raved about Fly My Pretties before. They are playing at the Leigh Sawmill cafe this weekend. Unfortunately I am not going, but Darren and Amanda are and that's the next best thing. I expect lots of pictures!

Sinch is a band (they have been put in the 90s seattle alt box) that someone mentioned to me a few years ago. I couldn't find any of their cds in NZ, so I gave up for a couple of years. I was recently inspired to try again. I still can't find any cds in NZ, but I managed to download a song from a soundtrack (song = Something More; soundtrack = XXX 2: Roadrage).

I absolutely love the Something More! Now I am on a mission to obtain more Sinch music. I think I may have to import a cd. None of the NZ music stores stock it and I can't find a downloadable version. I will be very disappointed if they turn out to be a one hit wonder.

Johnny Cash
Last, but definitely not least, I have discovered Johnny Cash.

His covers of Hurt, The Mercy Seat, and One are sublime. I think I may even like them better than the originals, which is saying a lot as the original versions of all three songs are some of my all-time favourites.

I always used to think I didn't like country, but maybe I was completely wrong about that. Maybe I like dark country.

Anyway, I have downloaded two of Mr Cash's most recent albums. They will keep me amused for days and I am sure I will blog about them.
Continue reading...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Foo Fighters: In Your Honor

Today I listened to the Foo Fighter's new album In Your Honor.

It is a double album. The first cd is heavier and rockier. The second cd is mellower. Not a new concept, but very nicely done. Sometimes the double album thing doesn't work. But I think that it works very well in this case. The different cds are different. Yet, despite their different feels there is something that holds them together.

Anyway, I think both cds are very very good. This is definitely my favourite of the Foo Fighters so far. Actually, this is the first time I have been inspired to actually buy a Foo Fighters album. I haven't been a fan until maybe now. It might be a strange thing to say seeing as it is still basically just catchy rock, but this album feels like it has more substance. A greater depth maybe. It is too soon to tell, but after one listen (while working) this has the potential to make it onto my all-time favourite album list.

What I like about this release is that there is greater variety. The heavier stuff seems heavier. The mellow stuff seems mellower and quite beautiful. They seem to have stretched themselves musically. But what makes this greater diversity so good is that all the songs are very good, the songs are catchy with great hooks, and the lyrics are interesting.

Here is a snippet from Best of You by Foo Fighters:
Are you gone and into someone new
I needed somewhere to hang my head without your noose
You gave me something that I didn’t have but had no use

Continue reading...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Abortion Post

David quoted Maddox's abortion post:
I'm neither pro choice, nor pro life; I'm pro you-shutting-the-hell-up.

I thought it was a very funny quote. It made me smile broadly amidst the labeling tedium of today. I amused myself for quite a while getting distracted at Maddox's site.

Perhaps I shouldn't be amused. Apparently abortion is a serious topic and a serious problem. Apparently people have strong opinions about it. I am trying to find my opinion on the subject. I don't seem to be able to find anything useful in my head. Maybe I don't care. Hmmm...that sounds so callous. Maybe I am callous.

Why do people care about whether complete strangers are having abortions or not? I don't understand it. I don't care. The only life I feel qualified enough to have a strong opinion on is mine. Selfish? Maybe.

Speaking of selfish, Dr Black recently reminded me of this Oscar Wilde quote that I like to think about sometimes:
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
I guess I am pro-do-whatever-you-like.

Continue reading...

Yay the Command Line

I have always preferred a command line interface. I think it is one of the reasons I fell in love with Matlab and one of the reasons why I didn't like Arcview or ArcGIS 8.x.

I'm not sure why I like the command line interface better. If I know something well, it seems a lot faster than using the nice user interface. Of course, something seeming faster doesn't mean that it is faster. But I guess perception is more important in this case.

Even if I don't know something well I find a command line interface a better way to learn the software. I wonder if it has something to do with actually having to think about what you are typing and why?

I also prefer command line interfaces because of the greater control. Sometimes default parameters are set to very strange values.

Anyway, today I came across YubNub: Commandline to the web. Not a complete thing, but a very cool my kind of thing. You can even submit your own commands. Via del.icio.us as per usual.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Links for today

Del.icio.us was overwhelming today. I almost drowned. Nevertheless, here are a few semi-random links that I might want to recall later.

With all the talk about Capill and blogs and the law this caught my eye:
Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers

And because I seem to be drowning in information, better search technique cannot be a bad thing: Google Guide's Google Advanced Operators Cheatsheet

Then there was this very cool and vaguely GIS related thing: Geoskating
GeoSkating aims to automate the generation of interactive, multimedial skate-maps by using the Global Positioning System (GPS), Mobile Phones and the Internet. The key idea is that while skating, GPS position data is being assembled and published to a server through a mobile phone. At the same time the skater can enrich the GPS data with road surface ratings and by submitting media items (pictures, videos). The server will draw geographic maps showing road quality through colouring plus the submitted media on the GPS locations where they were captured. In addition, skaters can also be seen moving in real-time on the map while skating!
And finally, free Beethoven downloads from the BBC.

Continue reading...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Kiwi Carnival

Philosophy, et cetera is organising a Kiwi Carnival for the New Zealand blogosphere. In other words, a weekly or fortnightly roundup of the best posts from around the country.

If you are interested in participating, the details are here.

The first carnival is going to be hosted by Richard and the submissions close on Friday.

Continue reading...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Saturday Shopping: Traitor's Knot

I am quite impressed with myself. I went to two bookshops today. Both had sales. I bought one intended item and only one unintended item. Usually I buy at least three unintended items in book sales.

The intended item was Traitor's Knot. Thanks to Lucyna for telling me about it.

Traitor's Knot is the seventh in the eight part Wars of Light and Shadow series by Janny Wurts. It is so exciting having a whole fantastic book awaiting me. A book that I know I am going to love before I even open it. I am going to savour the anticipation, then devour the book in one or two sittings. If this book is as good as the others in the series, I imagine I will be reading all night, and will have finished it by the end of the weekend.

Thesis or Arithon? I know which one I'll be choosing.

On the other hand the anticipation is almost as good as the reading. Maybe I'll leave it until next weekend.

I think this series of books should be included in my all-time favourites. I think they are some of the best fantasy books I have ever read. And I have read quite a lot of fantasy.

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Miscellaneous Stuff

The city was crazy last night. More cars honking horns, copters, more loud drunks than usual. Why? Was something happening?

A girl at work asked about the "issues" she should be aware of when writing something in VBA that will ultimately end up in VB. I don't remember! I had conveniently suppressed all memories of that project where I got to learn VBA, VB, and ArcObjects (ie the most complex programming thing I have ever come across) all on the relatively difficult job. Now I suppose I should try and unsuppress it this weekend. I know she is going to ask for help next week.

Relearning Matlab, VBA, VB and ArcObjects. What a fun weekend it's going to be.

I think I will pre-reward myself with coffee, pastry and book shopping.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yummy Links

A Day in the life, March 21, 2004,
Mosaic #3 - Narcissus

Originally uploaded by jbum

The Interesting Thoughts of Edward Monkton rock! I have a head full of dragons. I will add Edward Monkton books, or anything else for that matter, to my imaginary wishlist.

Jim Bumgardner has made some amazing flickr mosaics (like the image to the left) and has created some fantastic toys like this flickr colorpicker.

Tricks of the Trade: Musician. Crowd Management. Useful.

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Four Posts...

...and another four draft posts.

Guess what I have been doing today? Yes, thesis work.

For some strange, but apparently common, reason when I am "working on my thesis" my productiviy in all other aspects of my life increases dramatically. Especially the aspects that could be considered procrastination. Like blogging and surfing the interweb.

I don't know why I think that checking the popular del.icio.us links or writing odes to the city will help me figure out why the button-down callback is not working, but it does work. Maybe it's a subconscious thing. Maybe distracting my brain is a good way to figure out programming problems. Or maybe I am fooling myself.

The difference between thesis programming and work programming is that with thesis programming no one has done the exact same thing before. That is kind of the whole point. It makes problem solving slightly more difficult though. I am frequently "stuck." And when I am "stuck" this is an example of what often happens:
  1. check the documentation no solution
  2. check the user groups no solution
  3. coffee
  4. try to solve the problem myself but give up fairly quickly cause it's too difficult
  5. double check the documentation nope still no solution
  6. more coffee
  7. search the web torn between hoping that someone else has done the exact same thing and hoping that no one else has done the exact same thing.
  8. get distracted by various web things totally unrelated to thesis
  9. blog about the interesting distractions
  10. browse my bloglines subscriptions while drinking more coffee
  11. feel inspired to blog about more interesting distractions
  12. realise that I have spent more time being distracted than solving the problem
  13. feel guilty so make a token effort to solve the problem with no expectations of making progress
  14. have a eureka moment almost straight away
  15. problem solved!
Now surely that is more efficient than spending all that time focused on the problem?

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Vortex asked what city means to me and what I think it should mean. Here is an answer.

lights, concrete, faster, more, collection, node
where paths meet and diverge


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Maps in China

A work colleague pointed out this interesting article from The Economist.

Funny/interesting because:
In 2002 demand for cars in China soared by 56%, far more than even the rosiest projections. The next year growth quickened to 75%, before slowing in 2004 (when the government tightened rules on credit for car purchases) to around 15%. But in a sluggish global market, China's demand remains mesmerising.
At the same time, China has been pouring billions into expanding its highway network.
Map-reading is a skill few have mastered (detailed topographical maps are classified as state secrets).

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Auckland City Photo Day: 11 June

Auckland City Photo Day: 11 June 2005
Details here.

It is a competition. There are prizes. Not great prizes, but prizes nonetheless.

take a photo that reflects 'their' Auckland and to celebrate what Auckland city means to them

The photos must have been taken in Auckland city on June 11 2005 (between midnight and midnight)and there are other rules too.

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Music Meme version 2 (aka Why)

Dan wrote such an interesting Music Meme post. My original post now seems inadequate.


Does it really matter what the names of my five influential songs are? Isn't the "why" more important than the "what?"

So here it is again in glorious detail.

Total volume of Music on my Computer

Work: 70 Kb (Moonlight Sonata Movements 1 & 3 in midi)
Home: ~40Mb

I have space issues at work. It is a struggle to keep a few gig free on my work hardrive. A few gig is not really enough though, things work a lot better if I have at least 10Gb free. The continual space struggle at work is mostly because the nature of my work requires very large volumes of data.

I have space issues at home. My computer is old. I can't really afford to upgrade it just yet.

Song playing right now

We Came Along This Road - Nick Cave


Because I recently went to a Nick Cave concert and this is one of the two Nick Cave songs I have. I thought I had The Mercy Seat, but I don't. It's a bit annoying cause I really wanted to listen to The Mercy Seat. Hearing it live, with two drummers blew me away.

Last CD I Bought

pluto - pipelineundertheocean


Because I enjoyed Plutos' album launch and new songs (especially Dance Stamina, Long White Cross and Perfectly Evil) so much that I decided to buy their new album (Pipeline Under the Ocean).

Five songs I listen to a lot/mean a lot to me

I think I will split this section into a post for each song.
* Nine Inch Nails/Johnny Cash - Hurt
* Asteroid Andy - So Cold
* Tool - H
* Smashing Pumpkins - Mayonaise

* System of A Down - Spiders
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tag Clouds: Political Murk

My new favourite thing is TagCloud.

I have put my "NZ Political Blogs That I Sometimes Read" cloud in the sidebar. Think of it as partial disclosure or the wise words that are influencing me or the virtual company that I keep. Ha!

UPDATE: Ummm...the cloud is ugly. How do I weight the tags? At the moment you can't see just how popular these words are: helen clark, tristan, gulag, apparently...
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Monday, June 06, 2005

This Weekend

Last weekend was a social whirlwind, which was fun but draining. So this weekend I wanted a nice quiet weekend with minimal social contact to balance things (ie me) out.

So it has been a very quiet weekend. Not draining, but a little depressing. There are so many things jostling around inside that I can't blog about. All my posts this weekend have been attempts at distraction. They won't be distracted any longer. I guess I will have to write it all elsewhere.

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Quiz: What Kind of Blogger Are You?

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

What kind of blogger are you?

Ummm..not quite...I don't blog everything. Some things I leave for my anonymous blogs or private conversations.

via Anne's Anti-Quackery & Science Blog
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Star Wars Scripts, Web Applications and Feedtagger

Revenge of the Sith: Abridged Script.
I'm sure it would be funny if I had seen the movie.

The Unofficial Web Applications List
Could be very useful.

both via Dans Horrendous Waste of Bandwidth

Now I am going to try feedtagger. Bloglines is good, but I like tags.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Blog Speech

Ancient history and recent posts on a couple of my favourite blogs (Sir Humphreys and Chaos Theory) have prompted this spiel. And it is on my blog, so I don't have to mind my manners or make any sort of sense, and I can completely ignore all points in the relevant posts that I don't feel like addressing. Having the freedom to write complete tangential crap is wonderful ;)

My Commenting Philosophy
Most of the time I am wary of commenting on other peoples blogs. The exceptions are when I know the bloggers in real life. If I know someone in real life then the chances of me getting the completely wrong end of the stick, or saying something offensive are a lot smaller. Besides, we can always clear the air whenever we meet next.

Why am I so careful? Written forms of communication are so easy to misinterpret. Even if you know someone well, it can be all too easy to misinterpret their words. And apparently I have a tendency to be blunt and tactless. Where is body language when you need it? :) ...ahh there it is.

Coffee House
The analogy of a blog being your house is pretty good. Commenters are sort of like visitors. Except how many people leave their doors open for anyone to wander in?

I like the coffee shop analogy even better. Still. There is no coffee at Sir Humphreys and no visual of the group of Shumphs regulars and whether they are grouped around a table with their backs to everyone else being exclusive, or whether there are spare chairs and a welcoming demeanour. Without body language it is very hard to tell what sort of discussion you are interrupting.

Sir Humphreys seems to periodically attract commenters who accuse Shumphs of not being open to debate. Shumphs then say they are open to debate, but only with certain types of people. Or that it is their blog and they don't have to debate anything.

My impression is that Shumphs is not completely open to debate and that's OK (they shouldn't have to be open to debate at all). I think Shumphs are willing to debate with certain types of people, ie people like themselves. People who are intelligent, who have read similar types of material and who debate in a similar manner. Not people like me. Which is fair enough. I know better than to poke my nose in where it is not welcome.

But, the reason why I have bothered saying all this. I think Shumphs write in a way that provokes people like me. I don't know if it is deliberate or not. So what does writing provocatively +
advertising the existence of your blog in places where there are provokable opinionated people + having open comments equal? Hmmm. Well lets just say I am surprised that they always seem surprised and put out by some of the comments and commenters they get. I am not easily provoked, and I am quite frequently provoked by Shumphs.

Anyway, I think the commenters would do better to lurk a while and I think the hosts would find it less frustrating if they were able to make it clear (I have no idea how) exactly what types of comments and commenters they prefer. It is a somewhat exclusive club after all.

The End.

ps I think Zen is writing something about rights and expectations, which should be interesting...

pps Any suggestions for a better and shorter acronym for Sir Humphreys?

ppps Why does provocative have a "c" and provoked a "k"? It makes it very hard to make up words.
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To Try: Custom Data in Google Maps

Oooh...the possibilities! And it is slightly work related. Or possibly very work related if I think about it in the right way.

Some links:
Brian Flood

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Things to Do When You Have Insomnia

I found this list of Top Things To To When You Have Insomnia. Which I rarely have. But some of the things on the list could just as easily be Things to Do When You Have a Thesis to Finish. Especially as thesis writing often occurs in the middle of the night.

Personally, I like number 6: Invent a Religion. I like this one so much I might just do it anyway. Or maybe I could invent a political party. Or both. Hmmm....

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Thesis Blog

I have started a thesis blog. It's so I can see how little I am working on my thesis. Instead of asking how my thesis is going, you can visit the blog instead. It will make things safer. At the moment I feel inclined to hit people who ask how my thesis is going.

It is actually pretty boring. At the moment I am just posting Matlab/GIS problems/solutions.

To make it more interesting, I am also using the thesis blog for template experimentation.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Quiz: The Personality Defect Test

I have seen this everywhere. Might as well be swayed by popularity The last place I saw it was at Philosophy, et cetera.

Emo Kid

You are 42% Rational, 42% Extroverted, 0% Brutal, and 14% Arrogant.

You are the Emo Kid, best described as a quiet pussy! You tend to be an intuitive rather than a logical thinker, meaning you rely more on your feelings than your thoughts. Not only that, but you are introverted, gentle, and rather humble. You embody all the traits of the perfect emo kid. You are a push-over, an emotional thinker, gentle to the extent of absurdity, and so humble that it even makes Jesus puke. If you write poetry, you no doubt write angsty, syrupy lines about depression, sadness, and other such redundant states of emo-being. Your personality is defective because you are too gentle, rather underconfident in yourself, decidely lacking in any rational thought, and also a bit too inhibited.

I probably made you cry, didn't I? Fucking Emo Kid.

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more INTUITIVE than rational.

2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Your exact opposite is the Smartass.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Hippie, the Televangelist, and the Starving Artist.

If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well.
Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 24% on Rationality
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You scored higher than 53% on Extroversion
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You scored higher than 0% on Brutality
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You scored higher than 4% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating
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I like this clock

Industorius Clock

via My ESRI

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Flickr Massages

Flickr is having ANOTHER massage. It has been a very long massage.

I want one too.
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The Billboards

I liked the National billboard "preview" and the ensuing kerfuffle. I like the National billboards. And now I like the Unofficial National billboards and the National billboard parodies.

I saw a real one today. It was a nice distraction. Maybe I can go find others. Like a treasure hunt. Does anyone have them mapped? or flickrd? or geotagged? Are they placed at locations relevant to the particular mysterious and very shy policy they are supposedly representing? Did someone do some demographic/spatial analysis?

By the way, liking the billboards does not mean I agree with the billboards or that I like National. It just means I like the billboards. They are entertaining advertising. I always just laugh at the election ads.

I especially disagree with the billboard I saw today. It was:

"What's best for your kids? Excuses. Exams."

If I had kids, I would say neither. I don't like the school system now, and I didn't like it under National. Exams were always best for me, but that's only because I loved exams and always did well with minimal effort. Exams were never about learning. I always thought they were about figuring out that it was actually a game, what the rules were, and how to "cheat" (or maybe "hack" is a better term). Although, I suppose the game playing is a useful skill in itself, especially if you want to get into politics.

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Suze and Politics Part 8: It IS all about me

I must come across as very selfish and self-centered with my posts about hating buses, and how public transport doesn't work, and how I care about myself more than the environment and how I don't like the welfare system, and how I don't like paying lots of tax. Have I said that before? If I haven't, then I am saying it now.

Well, I am very selfish and self-centered. It IS all about me. I mean, I have a blog. Isn't that the ultimate in narcissism? I'm not even using my blog to right wrongs or to change the world.

I suspect that most of my friends are left-leaning. I suspect that most of my friends (especially the musos) like what the Labour Government is doing. Or, if they don't like it, then they think at least it is better than what a National Government would do.

I guess I used to agree with them. I used to think that welfare was necessary and the more the better, that the environment was important and needed to be saved, that it was OK to pay lots of tax because that meant that the government could help everyone have a better life, and that if the government increased taxes it was because they needed the money for something important.

A few personal events, have completely changed my mind. I am almost completely disenchanted. Welfare does not work for me. I am paying far too much tax. The environment is important, but people are more important, and people are important, but I am the most important. I might write explanatory posts, or I might not. I am willing to explain in person. But those of you that know me personally, can probably guess most of my reasoning.

Zen Tiger has written a very interesting post (How much is enough?) about taxes and government and budgets. All I have to say about it at the moment is: if someone is going to waste my money then I want that someone to be me. I have a long list of "things to waste money on", and I don't like the Governments list of "things to waste money on" at all.
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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Spirit Tax

Well, I was almost asleep, but it turns out that I may have to stay up for an unknown amount of time. I might as well write lots and lots of sleepy blog posts. Aren't you lucky?

Anyway. the first item on my list is the increase in excise tax (wth is excise tax?) on spirits (the alcoholic kind, I don't think the government is cheeky enough to tax the other kind) reported by the NBR:
Currently $15 excise tax is collected on each standard 1litre bottle of spirits, meaning spirit drinkers pay almost twice as much tax as drinkers of other alcohol beverages --

Mr Chin said more than 70 per cent of the cost of an average bottle of spirits already goes into the government's coffers -- and that's twice as much tax as is collected on other forms of alcohol product.
I didn't know any of this. I assume that spirits are taxed more because they have more alcohol? I wonder what happens to my $15/bottle? I wonder how many bottles I have? Probably best not to think about it. And how much tax am I paying when I buy duty free? Do they use the money to pay for those stupid "drinking alcohol is evil" ads? And what if everyone listened to those stupid ads and stopped drinking alcohol altogether?

So many questions.

I think an alcoholic photo featuring my highly taxed spirits is in order. This is one of my favourites:

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Information Overload

Recently work has been very busy. But also very slow (as in click the mouse and wait 20secs-20mins) and mind numbingly tedious (as in it is best if I turn my brain off).

This means that I have spare bits of time to fill in. Some of that time gets spent on coffee, but I can't drink that much coffee.

Yesterday I had the bright idea of adding feeds to Bloglines. Being my usual enthusiastic and eclectic self, I added 100 or so (to my exisitng 260ish), which I thought nothing of. Until today. Today I decided to actually scan through all the stuff I had subscribed to.


Information overload!

Now my brain is mush and I have a list of 30 or so fascinating topics to blog about. Of course, a mushy brain means that I don't really feel like researching or blogging, so these fascinating topics will probably be left to die.

I'll be very surprised if I read this post tomorrow and think "wow that made sense." Actually, I'll be very surprised if any of my posts in the near future make any sense. I can feel the words seething out of their grammar cage.

I should probably stop now, before they get away from me completely. But before I go, I'll mention my cursory prayer to Google God. I asked for advice about managing information overload. I thought it was amusing, not to mention annoying, that Google God's advice for my problem was to use a tool (like Bloglines). Apparently using Bloglines is supposed to reduce information overload!?! I obviously asked Google God the wrong question. But like I said brain = mush.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Google Earth

Previews of Google Earth remind me of ArcGlobe. Except it is free, not thousands of dollars. ArcGlobe was disappointing. I wonder if Google Earth will have more substance and/or speed?

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Why Alternatives to Cars Suck

I notice that frogblog has another post about transport. This time about the evil emissions from the bad cars and how we need to fix this to do "our bit to combat climate change." Or something like that.

I'm sure I will do a proper post on this later (combating climate change?!). But first a personal comment on the alternatives to driving.

I think the alternatives to driving are crap. I live about 30 minutes walk/bus away from work, yet if I had a car I would drive to work everyday for the following reasons:
  1. I would save time.
  2. I could wear totally impractical shoes and clothes instead of having to take a half hour walk into consideration when getting dressed every morning.
  3. I wouldn't turn up at work sweaty from walking.
  4. I wouldn't turn up at work sweaty from walking and drenched from the unexpected rain.
  5. I wouldn't turn up at work with parts of me extra sweaty from walking in a raincoat and the other parts of me drenched from the expected rain.
  6. I wouldn't have to take a bus, which I don't like.
  7. I wouldn't have to get up extra early to take a bus , which I don't like, in order to avoid taking a bus full of sick wet people, which I detest.

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