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!!