You know you’ve been neglecting your blog when …

August 15, 2014

The last post you had was from last year’s conference.

Which is on in two week’s time.

[blushes]

Yes, it is time for Australian Blogging conference put on by Darren & his amazing team over at Problogger Events – I bought the ticket way back in March!

Accommodation was booked a few days ago and flights just yesterday.

Let’s hope I got them all correct – I certainly was distracted when I booked the flight up to the Gold Coast, since I was stung by the $8.50 fee the airlines love to charge when you don’t use the very specific payment method they like. This leg is on Tiger and I plain forgot to use the Mastercard. Duh.

Just quietly – the process of booking flights is exhausting. Navigating through all the options, upgrades and upsells was just nasty. Which, I suppose, is the point. They’d love you to cave in at some point and just book whatever they stick onto your fare.

Such a shame they can’t be a bit more friendly to the customer.


Vale Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

October 6, 2011

A very sad day. Strangely personal.

Thanks for it all Steve.

Starting my musical mourning with ‘Leader of the Pack’ from the Top 5 Songs About Death.

Tonight there will be a wake :

I’ll be there.


Dalek Cupcakes – You WILL BAKE!

April 30, 2011

To celebrate the return of Doctor Who to Australian TV tonight the geeky among us are considering hiding out:

or making Dalek Cupcakes:

Somehow I’d never seen a Dalek cupcake before – I love it! Naturally I go searching for recipes as find a couple of good leads :

Taste.com.au has a recipe based on chocolate muffins and topped with a chocolate biscuit, while cut out + keep double up on cupcakes to build a dalek army.

There’s plenty of styles, here is a Dalek built with swiss rolls!
Mini Dalek cake


It’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to (or why the end of the Harry Potter movies isn’t all that)

November 16, 2010

The Guardian newspaper has an article from the charmingly named Jemima Owen about how the last Harry Potter film coming out is like an end to childhood.

Break out the violins.

“When the film of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released on 4 November 2001, I was 11 and in my final year of primary school … Nine years later, I find myself again nervously glancing at my watch on Friday night as I make my way towards the Leicester Square Odeon in London”

It isn’t even ten years. Not a whole decade.

Try this :

1977 : I am in the middle of primary school, in the fourth class. We take a class (school?) excursion into the city of Sydney, to the Hoyts Entertainment Centre (majority owned at the time by 20th Century Fox) which had opened only one year earlier. This is truly one of the formative experiences of my childhood – we saw the movie “Star Wars” on the big screen. Really big. Really loud. I was nine years old.

The scale of the place amazed me. The glamour of the cinema itself, and the city it resided in fired my imagination for years to come. For some pictures of the cinema at that time, here’s what the National Library of Australia has : (I’d love to copy them in here but who has time to fill out the request forms?)

For many years afterwards my dreams were haunted by, as I discovered in my twenties, this image of the exterior of Hoyts from across the road. Really. I dreamt that picture, in colour, at night, lights blazing and the names of movies up on the boards out front for all to see. Is it any wonder I held a soft spot for another movie that I saw there over four hundred times through the nineties? But I digress …

All this was the setting for the mind blowing experience that was Star Wars.

Fast forward now to 2005. The release of the final installment in the Star Wars saga. The mouth of the snake chewing on its own tail that is Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. That, people, is a wait of [sound of gears grinding in brain...] TWENTY EIGHT YEARS.

So take your Generation Y (or whoever-the-marketing-department-thinks-you-are) whining about waiting nine whole years for a cycle to end and suck on it. I waited three times longer and was so completely devasted by the experience of it all coming to an end that, frankly, I’m not sure I have recovered from. Perhaps I shouldn’t have seen it. I certainly came home, lay on the couch and was, in all seriousness, depressed for some time that it had really ended.

For so much of my life there had been the promise of three more episodes. An ending and a beginning all tied up neatly. When it was done, so was I.

Take this as a warning. Prepare yourselves, come the ides of 2011 don’t come crawling back here saying that I didn’t warn you.


To sail the (wide*) accountant-sea

March 11, 2010

A real post to accumulate some links on the bicycle I want to ride. Having moved to Melbourne from Sydney it is constantly amazing how many more cyclists there are. Another great reason to live here!

So I’m picturing a pirate bike. Ultimately in more ways than the obvious (towing Britain outside the 5-mile limit anyone?)

To get started, here’s what I’ve discovered:

Taking inspiration from these chopper style bikes at BicycleDesigner and this Micargi Prado Chopper I’d love to ride something along these lines. The concept of laying back, almost recumbent style is most appealing.

So the dream continues when I peruse the awesomeness that is Instructables. Take for instance the amazing work by ‘Atomic-Zombie’ in the Orange Chopper or Carnage Chopper bikes. Really amazing stuff. Reading these, I realise I’m only a few skills away from building my dream bike. Skills like tool use, welding, angle grinding, painting and so on.

Easy :-)

Of course these bikes are nice enough, but there’s no serious geek cred in them – despite the awesome street cred inherent in building your own chopper, natch. Electric bikes are all the rage, wouldn’t that be nice? In fact, how about, seeing as we’re going to the trouble of designing a dream bike, leaving scope for an electric upgrade down the track?

A thought so amazing, it has been had before. At MIT. Bastards.

Thanks for doing the brain work guys! The so called ‘Copenhagen Wheel’ is a wheel with a regenerative-braking electric motor connected to your iPhone by bluetooth. Just pop the wheel on any bike and Bob truly is your Aunty’s live-in lover.

If that is too hardcore for you, and you are a peak cyclist, perhaps Active Spokes are more your style. Given the subtraction of 5 seconds per mile from your times, it really won’t matter a hoot to me. If you compete though, maybe it is for you.

That’s enough to get me started. How about you?

Witchiepoo on her broomWhat I’m looking for next is fibreglass (or any suitable material) to fashion a weather shield that could grow into a (decorative, or not…) ‘hull’ to create the pirate ship look. A little like this would be noice. (Minus the crooked nose, thanks!)

Any clues gratefully appreciated.

(* title updated with the missing ‘wide’ as pointed out by Paul – many thanks good sir!)

Addendum [17 Mar 2010]: Plans galore are available to buy from Atomic Zombie, while this Flickr gallery of inspirational bikes will provide plenty of ideas.

P.S. If you were looking for merchandise, try – a Witchiepoo 2009 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Doll? or H.R. Pufnstuf – The Complete Series on DVD

P.P.S. Yes those are affiliate Amazon links, so technically I could get paid something if you buy. Please do :-)


Birthday Wish List

February 10, 2010

Got a big one coming up! I’ve been pimping this as my big birthday for some years now. Yet having moved to Melbourne recently, having the big party with all my dearest friends is just not going to happen on, or near the day. Perhaps next time we’re back in Sydney for a visit?

In the meantime, what I’d really love to do is go to the AC/DC concert. I did that on my 21st birthday, which would close that circle very neatly. In fact, there may even be general access to the arena floor still available. Is it selfish of me to ditch family & go rock out for a night?

In other more material ways, I’m looking for a kick ass chair for my home office. I notice that these mesh chairs are all the rage at the moment – is that a fad or is there a tangible benefit over the more traditional chair coverings?

There is the iconic Aeron, a thousand dollar chair. This is the chair I aspire to, although it is a little out of the budget right now. Worthy of a goal, for sure! Coming right down to the more affordable end of the spectrum I’ve shortlisted a few chairs from DealsDirect:

How to choose? Well anyone who’s met me in meatspace knows that I’m larger than the average bear. The last one in the list is certainly the most configurable, but the 100kg capacity is a deal breaker for me. Not only is that already under my current weight, I know that at some point my kids are going to sit on me – certain death for a measly 100kg rating.

An alternative deal is to get one of the Kingpin range from mojo : since they are a MacTalk sponsor, there’s some good mojo in supporting them.

See this long running thread on Whirlpool for the Aeron, alternatives & imitations and where to buy in Australia. Sit Back & Relax have them for $1399 today. Living Edge also distribute the Aeron, but don’t hint at prices.

There you have it. The Aeron gives itself a good sell, along with many comments from owners saying they wouldn’t sit in anything else. For now I suppose haunting eBay is the way to go.


Is there (digital) life after death?

June 18, 2009

After the untimely passing of a high-geek friend of mine, before he had achieved the age of 40, I was struck by the lack of preparedness of most people I know with respect to their online lives.

Is this how I’m grieving, by throwing myself into this slightly morbid topic? Probably.

Since we have an upcoming BarCamp in Sydney I decided to lead a session on death and passwords, digital ghosts & things we’d rather not think about (but really should!) Ever since the decision a few weeks ago, I have been blabbing to any who will listen in the hopes of picking up some useful information. Only now am I able to publish this post as a reference point for the topic for my records, the BarCampSydney session and hopefully we can trigger thoughts and ideas on how best to handle things.

There have been some great blog posts (“Ghosts of the cyber dead” and “Will you leave your online life to your loved ones?“) covering differing aspects of this quite large issue. Just today, our local rag prints an article called “Cyber graveyards a growing problem for legal professionals” which is symptomatic of this issue not having been covered deeply. Thanks to @Jodiem for pointing this one out to me. I am happy that articles like this are being written – but we need to spend some time in deep thought working out better solutions than “keeping a log book containing all internet passwords and codes to make an executor’s job easier.”

More of my thoughts will follow – this is my stake in the sand to say that I’m working on this topic now.


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