Whoops, forgot one

Whoops – I forgot to include one movie in the previous list:

Oh wow – what a great movie. Having read the book, I was nervous to see what they’d do with it as a movie. I need not have worried – from Robert Di Nero as a closet queen pirate captain to Michelle Pfeifer as a dark witch made young again, the whole thing rocked. The humour ranged from amusingly dead princes to Pfeifer checking out her hot young body, all with the dark under currents that are so obviously from Neil Gaiman. I really enjoyed this movie and we’re looking forward to picking up a copy on DVD.

Breaking the Cinematic Drought

Kitt and I have been to the movies a few times lately – mostly to The Astor which is just through the park from our place. We really like the Astor and prefer to support them rather than some mega-corp multiplex, although some days you just have to buckle under to see something while it’s still new.

The Golden Compass
We went to see this at a multiplex on Jan 31st to avoid the scorching 40+ heat outside (great idea Kitt, thanks :). Not a bad yarn, the effects blend seamlessly, the plot & acting are pretty good and it had some great moments. I did feel a bit let down at the end as after the big fight scene it drops back to a “I know we’re going to make it” segway into the next movie. Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt so dumped if I’d known it was the first movie in a series? I didn’t feel dumped with Fellowship of the Ring or Two Towers, just anticipation. I did feel dumped with this one and Eragorn – perhaps it’s the not knowing that leaves you deflated at the end?

Where Final Fantasy was like watching a cut scene on a PS2, Beowulf was like watching a cut scene on a PS3. Way better graphics, but still computerised. This movie used computers to provide a digital version of rotorscoping (animating a movie by tracing over filmed actors) – makes bodies buffer (or fatter :) and lets them put in creatures, amazing backgrounds & scenes, etc. Interesting to see their interpretations of the buff bods of Beowulf and Grendel’s mom (mmmmm, Angelina :) let alone the monstrosities of Grendel and the dragon. Shame about the accents though – once again like 300, Alexander and other Holywood versions of ancient history, they were somewhat grating. It was also wierd to have very Austin Powers influenced “Beowulf’s naked but we’re not going to show you the naughty bit” scenes. Still, it’s a massive adventure with amazing fight scenes and gore – like 300, well worth seeing.

A Scanner Darkly
Here’s another variation of rotorscoping – this time done in an animated/cartoon style (rather than as computer-reality) giving a grainy, disjoint, drug-induced feel to the movie. I really like Phillip K Dick’s stories and this one crossed dark sci-fi near-future with Naked Lunch and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Once again Keanu Reaves worked well as the lead, playing the role of a cop who’s losing his personality due to drugs. Funny how he works best as characters with no personality :)

My god, it’s full of nothing…

I spent most of today cleaning out Nykolai’s bedroom. It’s amazing how much crap one 10 year old kid can accumulate. I dragged 5 jumbo garbarge bags out to the trash today.

I’d been warning him about it and told him that if he didn’t clean up, I would (which implies a massive purge). He seemed to indicate he wanted me to do it – oh well, it’s done now.

All we have to do is try to keep it clean going forwards :)

Busy day

What a day – I’m trying to work from home on my current project with Sensis while also looking after Nykolai and two of his mates. Add to that I’ve got Robert over who’s downloading a couple of Gb of data required to repair his computer (hard drive fried in the middle of touring Australia and he’s got a gig next week – oops). He’s having some problems getting it all sorted out and testing it but it looks like it’s getting there.

One amusing side to Robert’s hassles is that I discovered I used to date his girl friend in Berlin when she lived here in Australia. We were talking on the phone sorting a few things out and I recognised her voice. Amazing to find that sort of linkage and coincidence in the world. I think someone’s been stirring up a really hot cup of tea :)

So in the end, I’ve managed to get stuff done but have not been as productive as I thought. Mind you, it’s been a fun (although, at times, “interesting” :) day so I’m certainly not complaining.

And then there were none :(

Well, today the last of our pet mice died – we’ve had quite a few in the years since our first pair arrived (just over 3 years, actually). Now the last of them has died and we’ll be cleaning out Stately Mouse Manor, packing it away and giving it to the school next year (if they want it).

We decided a while back that we’d wind it up when the last of this batch died. The plan is to wait until some time next year and then get a pair of rats – females, once again. This time we’ll keep them in a bird-cage type of thing so they’re vertical, rather than horizontal like the mega-mouse-house was. It’s about time we got our kitchen table back :)

Packet Withdrawl…

We’ve been off line here at home since Monday night – came home to discover no connection and no dial tone on the ADSL line. DOH! Looked like someone might have been mucking about down at the MDF and pulled out some wires (it’s possible to walk around the back of the block and get to it – no real security :(

Telstra came over during the day on Wednesday but it didn’t seem to have worked so I logged a service fault. They’d be out on Friday but tonight (Thursday) it was all working again – not sure if it just took a while after the visit or if someone had been mucking about down there again.

At least we’re back on line again – I was getting major withdrawls!

So, it’s change over time…

So, it’s pretty clear that we’re going to have a new government here in Australia following today’s federal election. Some people are running around saying how good it’ll be with the new guys in, others are saying they’ll miss-manage it to hell and we’re all doomed.

Hah! Yeah right. Personally I don’t think it matters at all who is in power – the next 2 to 3 years are going to be a scary ride with interest rates going up, the US economy having problems and environmental issues. All this plus the whole situation with Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, etc.

If the previous bunch stayed in, they’d keep pushing their ideas and plow through it all, saying “Shit Happens.” The new bunch will no doubt blame problems on the previous lot. Either way, those at the bottom will be feeling the pain and noticing a larger number of people joining them there.


I spent Wednesday to Friday at Rob Thomsett’s “Project Management Masterclass” training session. I’d previously done his “Essentials” and “Advanced” courses back in the late 90’s so it was great to get some repeat training and see what was new. I had a really awesome time and totally enjoyed it – it was also great to catch up with Rob again as he is an amazing man.

The Line Up

100_1466.jpg Thanks to starting the new project at work, I now have another laptop to use. The photo here shows my desk at home where 4 computers manage to squeeze in. From left we have Nykolai’s laptop (with an external 19″ LCD screen), then my EDS laptop, then the laptop supplied by the client and, finally, my personal laptop.

Fortunately I don’t have to lug around both EDS & client laptops when I go to the office, although if I do need to, I have just the Crumpler bag for it. I still have one of their “Crisp Suit” items which I’ve used before to lug two laptops around. For most days I use one of their “Dreadful Embarassment” bags which is good for one laptop and other briefcase type stuff :)

I’m BACK! :)

First light launch As of today I’m back crewing the balloons again – yay – it’s good to be back although my “day job” doesn’t let me do the crewing more than once or twice a month. At least it gets me out of an office and onto the field once again, working with aviation, meeting people and getting some exercise (sorely needed, I can assure you! :) Of course, the extra $$$ help too…

This morning’s session certainly proved for me that 6 months off crewing has left me a little rusty, even after the training session the other week. A few things have changed in the way we rig the balloons and between that plus generally getting back into the swing of it, I wound up forgetting to get the fan off the trailer. Nick (my pilot today) got everything ready to start the cold inflation, including the guys holding the mouth of the balloon open, and went to start the fan – ooops. Of course, I’m up the other end getting the velcros in when I hear the ramp drop on the trailer and realise “oh shit!” :)

Not the worst thing but still embarassing.

Oh well – a fun session and it’s great to be back doing it again.

About to land