by simon baird

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

movie review: tomorrow when the war began

this movie is surprisingly good. it has a thought provoking premise and some real depth while still managing to be a solid action film. the script, casting and acting is first class, which sadly you can't always count on in australian films. the premise is that australia is invaded by indonesia (though they don't actually state the country). some high school kids escape to the hills and deal, each in their own way, with the fact that they are now fugitives in their own country. they resolve to become a resistance force in a plot involving improvised explosive devices which has to make you think about situations in the world right now where an invading force enters a country and how things might appear from the other side. the conclusion is satisfying and again let me mention the excellent performances of the cast, especially robyn, the churchy one. four stars.

update: i should mention that it's a bit teen-oriented, as were the original books. but there is enough violence that you probably don't want to take younger kids.

Trailer (a shorter one -- better to not watch the long one, too many spoilers...)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

read this about a blind user's iphone experience

"Can he get text messages on this?" she asked. "Well, yes, but it doesn't read the message." the salesman said. Mom's hopes sunk, but mine didn't, since I understood the software enough. "Well, let's see, try it." I suggested. She pulled out her phone, and sent me a text message. Within seconds, my phone alerted me, and said her name. I simply swiped my finger and it read her message: Hi Austin. She almost cried.

Someone should get this kid an iPad:
Adding the ability to touch anywhere on the screen and hear it adds a whole other dimension, literally. For the first time, the blind can actually get spacial information about something. In the store, Mom could say "Try that button" and I could. Blind people know what I mean. How many times has a sighted person said "I see an icon at the top of the screen?" Now, that actually Means something. I want to find a way to browse the web with a touchpad on my computer. 

His vision is very poor but he can see light and shadow. He finds an app that names colours using the camera and it causes him to start becoming more aware of colours:
The next day, I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as "Horizon," "Outer Space," and many shades of blue and gray. I used color cues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house. My mind felt blown.

Read the article here:

Update: He did get an iPad. And then a Macbook:

(via gruber, via phil)

first aid kit review

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Silversun Pickups will be performing in support of Birds Of Tokyo"


dear silversun pickups. on behalf of australia, i apologise for this embarrassing mix up. (and perhaps you should have a serious chat with your management).

(apart from the obvious fact that birds of tokyo are rubbish, see attached supporting evidence)

restore truthiness etc

(skip past the stephen hawking part)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

city cycles

i saw a couple of city cycles at a cycle station on tuesday. for a moment i was excited, thinking they were finally here. then a few seconds later i noticed a camera crew filming them. (so i guess it was just for the cameras and they aren't here after all).

so for $60 a year you can take unlimited trips less than 30 minutes. (something like that). too bad they aren't go card compatible. the coverage is impressive:

still not sure on the helmet issue. is it byo helmet?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alex Stewart burns and smokes Bible and Koran on YouTube, causes controversy

See article

(Forgive me for paraphrasing Dawkins...)

Somehow it's become ingrained in all of us that "respect for religion" must be some fundamental tenet of right-thinking societies. Religion does not deserve respect. Religion is a scourge. Religion is destructive. Religion is poison and lies. So why is it protected by the invisible "respect religion" shield by our societies and governments?

(In case I'm not clear), respecting the right of people to believe what they wish to believe is correct and proper. But what does that have to do Alex Stewart? They are saying he may lose his job. This is shameful.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Aid Kit

Spiegeltent, Brisbane, 11/9/10

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

actually i support the burning of the quran

i also support equally the burning of the bible, along with any other religious texts and related propaganda you can lay your hands on. (though obviously not if they are especially old or rare copies).

inside a cruise liner in very rough seas

i zoomed it in so you could see the grey parts

they've drawn crook as a blue bar by the looks of it

Monday, September 06, 2010 which i get some more value from my GOMA membership

(...which frankly paid for itself that time we saw Tim Finn).

It's 7-ish and we've walked all the way to GOMA for drinks, djs and the Valentino retrospective. There's a sign near the door. 'Sold Out'. Everyone's like 'I told you buy tickets online!'. I'm like, 'just a minute' and walk up.

"Oh, we are too late to get a ticket?"

"Afraid so. It's very popular"

"Aw, we've walked all the way here"

"There are some reserved tickets, but they are only for gallery members"

"Oh, excellent! I have two plus-ones. Is that okay?" [Turning around and beckoning]

"Ahem, these tickets are for gallery members only"

"Yeah, cool. We have two members, and two plus ones. Thanks!" [Moving towards ticket desk]. 
"I don't think you understand. You need to be a gallery member."

Etc. I played it out a tiny bit longer for my own amusement. Anyway, there were a lot of very impressive frocks there, some on mannequins, some walking around.  The patronage broke down roughly like this (imagine as a pie chart): female: 90%, gay male: 9.9%, me: 0.1%. Someone said one dress was worn by Julie Roberts in Pretty Woman. The mannequins have abnormally long necks and are slivery-grey. There are many security guards and 'no camera' signs. The walls are painted black. If you like fashion and beautiful dresses then you should definitely go there. Here is a link and some pictures on flickr.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Freelance Whales - Generator 2nd Floor

(via rage this morning)

And since you are my friend
I would ask that you lower me down slow
And tell the man in the black cloak
He doesn't need to trouble his good soul
With those latin conjugations
And if it's all the same to them
You should tell your gathering friends
Please not to purse their faces grim
On such a lovely sunday

Friday, September 03, 2010


At GOMA. It's worth a look.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010