by simon baird

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christians on Narnia & Harry Potter

I've realised from Scott Adams that the secret to successful blogging is to post on controversial topics... So, what's the deal with the Christian backing of Chronicles of Narnia? I read those books as a child and didn't notice any Christian message. Maybe it's there, fair enough, whatever. But how can the same people that want Harry Potter burned think Narnia should be shown at Sunday school? Observe:

Harry Potter Chronicles of Narnia
Hero whisked away to magical world via train Heros whisked away to magical world via portal in wardrobe
Magical spells and creatures such as dragons, centaurs, mermaids Ditto, but add some talking animals and fauns
Triumph over Voldemort with the help of Dumbledore Triumph over the White Witch with the help of Aslan
Reference various elements from non-Christian western folklore Ditto, maybe a little less on the witchcraft

So are any Christians out there anti-Potter and anti-Narnia? At least that would be consistent.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Music to try

This is Pitchfork's top 50 best albums of 2005. Number 1? Sufjan Stevens, Come on feel the Illinoise. Never heard of it either. (Or Pitchfork for that matter). M.I.A. and Kanye West make the top 5. Now I have something to use up my remaining download quota. Have you already heard all that stuff? Then see if you need to catch up on 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Building my super home media thingy

I just ordered one of these to put in my new ex student lab pc. Also ordered a video card with TV out. Will let you know how it goes.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Hottest day in 21 years

Yeah it was pretty hot yesterday. It took me quite a while to find a suitable image for this post. Hope you enjoy it. :)
Hottest day of the year, By VIKKI CAMPION 19 Dec 05
Townsville's mercury soared to a blistering 41C, making it the hottest day this year. It was only 1.1C off the all-time record of 42.1C, our hottest day ever occurring in 1984. Meteorologist Greg Connor said southerly winds were to blame. "Usually we are very lucky and get a sea breeze, but today there are southerly winds," Mr Connor said. "This is what people inland have been experiencing. It feels like western Queensland."

Google crosses to the dark side?

I hope this isn't the start of something bad... From the link above:
  • Got content? So does AOL, whose links will be featured in a special section alongside the SERPs. (Labeled as ads, but basically free.)
  • Know how to optimize a page? So do the folks at Google, who are going to (ahem) "provide technical assistance so AOL can create Web pages that will appear more prominently in the search results list." (Fairness: They state that the algo will not be preferential.)
  • Got video? Again, so does AOL. G "will make special efforts to incorporate AOL video programming" and "feature links" not marked as advertising "to AOL videos."
  • Got Adwords? Want to get clicks from AOL users? Get ready to compete with "AOL only" advertisers. Almost sounds like advertisers will be bidding against themselves.
  • Got Adsense? This looks like it might actually creat more inventory. AOL will "sell some display advertising that will be placed on the vast network of Web sites for which Google sells ads."

Friday, December 16, 2005


Last Saturday was my first real poker game. It went pretty well. Five players, three games with $5 entry fee, winner takes all. I few things I learned:
  • We had plenty of chips and decided eventually on black chips = 10, colours = 1. I think black = 5 would be better next time so the colours are more useful.
  • We started out doubling the blinds every time the dealer button got around the table. This doesn't work as when you're down to two players doubling the blinds repeatedly means the short stack can't survive more than a couple of hands. So better is to increase the blind when someone is eliminated. And not neccessarily double it either.
  • I thought that only highest card was significant in comparing flushes, ie A,2,3,4,5 and A,7,8,9,10 is a split pot because both have Aces as highest card. But, as Daniel informed me this is not the case. I learned this very well as I lost many chips with low flushes. :)
  • We left out side-pot betting when someone was all in to prevent confusion but I think we can handle it next time. :)
  • We didn't do check-raises. I don't quite understand when you can check-raise. Can anyone check-raise whenever they've checked?
  • Michelle, Daniel and Alex won a game each. So everyone except me and Adam went home ten dollars up.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Full Screen Mini-Putt

The only way to play! See the update here for more info.

Nice Space Pictures

This one is good if you need a sense of perspective. :) Found it via

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Stationwagon to support The Radiators!

After the success of our Spazzys support slot The Stationwagon will be supporting The Radiators for their Townsville and Charters Towers shows! Details are:
  • Saturday 14th January, Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville
  • Sunday 15th January, Commercial Hotel, Charters Towers
The Radiators (if ya don't know) are Oz pub rock legends. If AC/DC was the king of rock, then The Angels would be queen and The Radiators would be like the prince or something. And they are still rocking.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Movies I have watched this week

I've seen a lot of good movies this week. Here's a list.

Howl's Moving Castle
Beautiful, wonderful movie. Miyasaki, please don't retire yet! Almost as good as Spirited Away. Story a little confusing and a bit different to the book. ****1/2

Wow. Like Se7en but better. Maybe the best ending ever. Avoid if you're squeamish. ****1/2

Saw 2
Another stunning ending you never saw coming. Lost a half star for the slightly contrived setup for another sequel. ****

Sin City
Believe the hype. It is good. Visually stunning and extremely violent. Worth owning. I think I would watch it again. ****1/2

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Moody is great though I think his eye should have been bigger - about the size of an orange. The Voldemort scene - brilliant. Ron's hair - awesome. It seems like there's more of a sense of fun than previous HP movies. Gets the final half star for Jarvis Cocker. Stay for the credits to hear Jarvis and the unmistakable guitar sounds of Johnny Greenwood. *****

Half Life 2 (Xbox)
Okay it's not a movie but... I'm up the the part where you get a gun for your boat, so not that far into it. The game is incredible. The first time I beat a barnacle with my crow bar while it slurped me upwards... gaming heaven. The physics engine raises the bar forever - any game without a comparable physics engine is going to seem lame. I sometimes watch a broken cardboard box falling down stairs, awestruck by the way it moves. (But then I am a bit of a geek). Why can't I see my hands? *****

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Brilliant! Best Harry Potter movie yet. Voldemort is outstanding. Ps, The Weird Sisters rock. Too bad about this. I wonder if a copy of the unreleased album might somehow leak out onto the interweb... Please Jarvis! I will buy some old Pulp cds. :)

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Check my MiniPutt score. 35!! 13 under par. Yeah baby! Beat that and blog your screenshot. :)

Update: 32.
Update: Daniel got 30.

Update (7-Dec): 26. I got this playing with this url instead of the old one. The new url gives you a full screen version of the game which lets you get more control with your shots and play some shots harder than was previously possible. (Also the old one stopped working when I upgraded to Firefox 1.5 which lead me to discover the full screen play...) I've changed the links above to the new url. I think a score of 21 should be possible. Maybe 20 if you can beat the windmill...

Update 13-Dec: 23! And I figured out it was the AdBlocker plugin that was giving me problems in FF 1.5.
Update 16-Dec: This guy has a 19!! Ahhh!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Howl's Moving Castle

After being let down by my local movie venues and thanks to ADSL, the wonderful uTorrent and some nameless movie ripper I have seen Howl's Moving Castle. It was good. The subtitles were high quality. Big cheers to all you guys! Seriously, thanks.

Monday, November 28, 2005

NPR has some great streaming rock concerts for free

Death Cab for Cutie, White Stripes, The Shins, Secret Machines, Bloc Party, the Decemberists, Bright Eyes, Sigur Ros, Wilco. Listen now... Some real good stuff in there

read more | digg story

See digg comments for how to play if you don't want to install RealPlayer.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Google Video of the Day

Google Video of the Day is a guy who looks through loads of videos on google video and blogs his favourites, one per day. I like the robots.

The Brand New Qantas A380 in Brisbane

This excellent shot was taken in Brisbane on the 13th November by Scott and uploaded by Tim.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Jean Baudin

Check this out. It's a quicktime movie of Jean playing his 11 string bass. I didn't know you could get an 11 string bass, let alone play it like that!

The Stationwagon Gig Photos

Here's a few blurry photos from our gig with the Spazzys. Thanks Dave for taking the photos. Thanks Gav for doing a great job with our sound. I took some Spazzys pics also.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Flying bee photo

I thought you might like to see a photo I took of a bee in mid-flight! Click on the photo to see a bigger version. There's a couple more of my bee photos in the flickr set. My camera is an EX-S500.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Blogging about my blog...

I discovered that Glosoli (or to spell it correctly, Glósóli) actually means "glow sun". I believe the term is mostly used metaphorically to describe a person. More lovely icelandic here. I think they mean "soul" rather than "sole" but I can't be certain. Ps, this is NOT funny. ;)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Stationwagon to support Spazzys

My band is supporting Spazzys (above) at the Dalrymple Hotel on Friday week! That's the 18th of November. Mark it in your diary, buy a ticket, then go watch all the Spazzys videos here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More on the best value lunch in Townsville

I've previously mentioned the best value lunch in Townsville. Here's what happened when I took a couple of work buddies there recently.

We ordered three megameals and paid $30. First we get a drink and five one dollar coins each. Then for some unexplained reason we got two more dollar coins. To this day I have no idea why. The chicken schitzel was outstanding as per usual. Lynn tried the lamb stew and found it agreeable. Daniel entered six tickets in a draw to win a boat. Nett cost per person: $4.33

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I have the fastest 50cc scooter in Townsville

Maybe in the entire world. The other day I reached a record top speed of 75 kph. I reckon I could do 80 with a strong tail wind. Can anyone beat that? I didn't think so. (Photo for illustrative purposes only).

Best Audiophile Products

Here is a great list of the best value-for-money audio products on the market. Check it out before updating any of your stereo gear. I'm saving for a couple of the Silver Rock Signature Knobs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Shadow of the Colossus

Ico was one of my all-time best gaming experiences. This is the new game from the creators of Ico. I don't buy many games at full price (Resident Evil 4 was the last one) but this I will buy on sight. This guy liked it. Ps, still waiting for any PAL Katamari. :(

My new .com

Yahoo Small Business has pretty cheap ($2.99 per year) domain names at the moment. I couldn't resist and shelled out for the ultra sexy I think I will slowly move my stuff over there. I would like to also plug ZoneEdit and Networking.

Japan Photos In flickr

I was in Japan for three and a bit weeks in August. We went to a wedding and travelled around a bit with friends. It was an awesome holiday and of course I have a boat-load of photos. So I've got me one of those new fangled flickr accounts and I'm going to put a few up for you all to dig on. If you liked the pimp my ride posts from last month then check out Japan Transport.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Map a drive via FTP or WebDav

This is pretty cool. There's a utility called "Net Drive" from Novell that lets you map a windows drive via FTP or WebDav. This is better than using "My Network Places" for ftp because you can edit files in place on the remote site. Has to make your faviourite ftp client obsolete. Weirdly you can't find this at (Discovered by Clint). Update
This made the front page at and got about 6,000 hits over the weekend! I've looked into the license a little closer. I believe Novell at some stage licensed a version of WebDrive to bundle with Netware. Even though they seem to be encouraging it's free distribution they're probably not supposed to. Read the EULA here. So you shouldn't use this unless you or your company has a Netware 6 license. [Listens for the sound of 6000 people uninstalling... ;]. Also note that WebDrive supports secure ftp while Net Drive does not.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I've "launched" the new version of TagglyTagging, my alternative tagging implementation for TiddlyWiki. There's a new tutorial and an FAQ. If you're interested in personal productivity tools, tagging data or TiddlyWiki then check it out. Also remember Scotland is lovely this time of year. If you are thinking about going on a trip, why not Scotland. ;)

New iPod

You probably don't need me to tell you about this but I'm excited. Buy It. Watch It. Bring It. Oh yeah! I'm definitately getting (an imaginary) one of these to compliment my (imaginary) nano. Ps, iTunes 6.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Brick" as a verb

I like to keep my readers up-to-date with emerging new usage of the English language. Today's new word is:
brick (verb) - to make as useful as a brick, eg "Rogue patcher will brick your PSP", esp in relation to expensive, rectangular, electronic devices.
I like it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Google Reader

May we be grateful for this latest morsel from the font of sweet google goodness. All hail our Google overlords. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another one

Just in case Zooey was feeling left out...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A wet cat (as promised)

This is Daisy one of our two cats after her bath. Look at her tail. It's funny because it normally looks like this: Zooey had a bath too but she doesn't look that much different wet or dry.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Best value lunch in Townsville

I hesitate to do this in case word gets out and they have to cancel the whole deal, but I figure there's about three people reading this and two of them don't live in Townsville so what's the harm... I'm talking about the Upper Ross Hotel Mega Meal. Here's the deal. You pay $10. For you $10 you get:
  • A meal (I think there's about four to choose from. I always get the Chicken Schnitzel with coleslaw, chips and gravy. It's damn good. Similar to the picture except imagine some coleslaw and some chips on the plate. I will get an actual photo next time).
  • A ticket which entitles you to a free drink, either a pot of beer, a glass of wine or a softdrink
  • Five one dollar coins. Seriously. You give them $10. They give you back five one dollar coins. It's not change. It's part of the mega meal deal. Actually I think they give you a ticket which entitles you to five one dollar coins. Then they give you the coins and take the ticket. This all happens in a split second. It can be quite confusing if you are unprepared.
Now obviously their target demographic puts the coins in the pokie machines or the keno but if you pocket those coins you have gotten yourself what I call the best value lunch in Townsville. Lets suppose your pot of beer is worth $2.00 then your food cost you just $3.00. Still want more? You can help yourself to free coffee and tea from the coffee machine. (Okay the coffee is basically undrinkable but you can have a complimentary cup of tea and get out of there like a bandit). And remember this is only about 10 minutes drive from uni across the new bridge.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stuff I would blog about if I spent more time here

  • Photos of my cats getting their triennial (is that a word?) flea bath
  • The release of TiddlyWiki 1.2.33 closely followed by 1.2.34
  • The fact that I am selling my car. Want to buy my car? 1993 Tarago, 180,000kms, 8 seater, dual air con. $14,900 ono.
  • The Julien Temple Sex Pistols movie I watched on Tues night on World Movies (love my austar movie channels), which would be a great continuation of a theme...
  • My frustration with IE's lack of support for my lovingly crafted set of methods like this one:
    Element.prototype.addNodeWithId = function(...) {
  • The AJAXie ldap controller thingy I'm trying to build anyway...
  • My awesome new TiddlyWiki plugins at MPTW
  • The fact that I rode my (not really mine) scooter to work for the first time today. It's 50cc but I was doing 70km/h with some grunt to spare. Oh yeah that thing is great! I can fill it up for about $7 I think.
  • How good circuit training was on Tuesday, though Sam definitely needs to upgrade her CD player for an iPod shuffle. :)
  • And the Cowboys of course. Go Cowboys!
  • Some kind of rant about the uselessness of spam filters that give (any) false positives.
  • Some kind of rant about the new breed of ringtone ads (it's not just the frog though I guess he started it all) that have made Channel V and MTV unwatchable for me. I miss those channels. :(
Maybe I'll retrospectively blog some of the above. Or maybe the list will grow and grow and I'll never catch up. Or maybe I just did blog all of the above. Hmm.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Christmas gift suggestion...

At the moment I can't think of anything I'd rather unwrap on Christmas morning. Santa, if you're listening, I think the teal. :) (PS, apologies for mentioning Christmas this early in the year).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

End of the Century

I watched this last night on Movie Extra. I never really got the Ramones. I mean I can respect them for their massive contribution to the birth of punk etc, but I always thought they were kind of boring. But after watching this movie I understand better what the Ramones were about. The fact that they are aren't that good is part of why they are so important. The three (now dead) stars are Joey, the painfully insecure, obsessive compulsive; Dee Dee, the depressed ex-rentboy junky; and Johnny - well he was the "Spinal Tap" guy who didn't really like the others. (Johnny comes across as a heartless bastard towards the end of this movie). They showed that anyone could be a rock star no matter how 'uncool' you were. Highlights include great footage of the early days of CBGBs, the story of their first UK show, their encounter with a crazed gun wielding Phil Spector, Joey never forgiving Johnny for stealing his girlfriend and marrying her, the band being mobbed by fans in Brazil. The movie keeps you interested to the very end and somehow manages to avoid cliches and any resemblance to one of those VH1 rockumentaries. Anyway I give the movie a solid two thumbs up and recommend it if you have even the slightest interest music.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Miyazaki Interview

Thanks Chris for the link. He's quite a pessimistic sort of bloke isn't he. I wonder when/if Howl's Moving Castle will come to Townsville. I think the official release date is tomorrow. Doesn't look promising ...

Update: Reading Cinema is showing the movie but not in Townsville :(

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Happy Birthday TiddlyWiki

TiddlyWiki version 1.0 was posted on the web by Jeremy Ruston on this day one year ago. What the heck is TiddlyWiki, you might be asking? You can think of it as an electronic notepad from the future. For more info try the TiddlyWiki entry in Wikipedia (which, I just discovered, mentions my own TW hacker site, MonkeyPirateTiddlyWiki).

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pimp My Ride Japan Style - Part 2

Check out this this guy I saw in Machida. Notice the how his helmet has the matching flame job and his shoe laces actually match his brake discs! Awesome. The bike has one of those super loud mufflers so that it can get your attention even from several blocks away. I won't mention the ever-so-subtle symbolism of the bike's shape. (Or is it just me? :)

Update: See here for more...

Pimp My Ride Japan Style - Part 1

Here's a pimped out minivan I photographed in Osaka. Obviously for use on flat roads only. Imagine what a speed bump would do to that.

Update: See here for more...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

iPod nano

The iPod nano is clearly the greatest piece of technology ever created. If I wasn't so broke I would definately buy one for Sharyn to replace her iPod shuffle.

The fish tongue parasite

At first you might think this is the fish's worst nightmare. Mummy fishes scare their children by telling them stories about the nasty tongue grub, perhaps to get them to brush their teeth. But actually I reckon the fish is into it. He can scare away other fish by opening his mouth really wide and have his tongue yell at them.