The Fall of Shirly Strachan

Shirly Strachan is Dead

I hate it when singers die.

On the surface this may appear to be a particularly compassionate and sensitive statement, but when you go plunging into the dark depths of my conciousness it becomes clear that it has less to do with any empathy for the singer, their friends and their loved ones, and more to do with shallow self interest.

I hate it when singers die because it means their songs are in my head all day.

The unfortunate and tragic demise of Graeme “Shirley” Strachan, former lead singer of 70’s super group The Skyhooks, who last night shuffled (or more accurately flew screaming into a mountain in his helicopter) off this mortal coil has resulted in me being completely unable to get the Skyhooks’ catalogue out of my brain. Even when the whole office went out to lunch at Sicillian’s to farewell our receptionist Megan (her “only-speak-when-spoken-to” attitude and my severe social phobias have resulted in us exchanging maybe three non-job related sentances in the year she’s been working for us, but I’ll miss her answering the phones πŸ™‚ who’s managed to find a real job where she won’t have to do telemarketing. Not even the piped in strains of Fleetwood Mac, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jackson Browne proved able to combat the nasal strains of Shirl’s “Shockin’ me right out of my braaii-aaaiiin!!”.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that I only know three Skyhooks songs. Living in the 70’s, Horror Movie, and Jukebox in Siberia. And to make matters worse I only know a few bars of the first two (I know the entire lyric of “Jukebox” strangely enough). So it’s been a constant round of “We’re livin’ in the seventee-ees! Horror movie right there on my TV! We’re livin’ in the seventee-ees! Horror movie right there on my TV! Deep beneath the arctic ice, yankee sailors all dressed up nice, Shockin’ me right out of my braaii-aaaiiin!!”, which is not exactly conducive to a relaxed state of mind.

Don’t get me wrong, what I know of the Skyhooks I like, and I bear Shirl no malice whatsoever. I’ll miss seeing him building stuff on Our House on the rare occasions I watched it (lifestyle programs are good light entertainment when there’s nothing more stimulating on). I’m just genuinely sick and tired after a good 10 hours of wailing 70s guitar >:-|

Development Status Report

Development Status Report Number 1

Well the archiving functions are finally done. No more loading up every single entry I’ve ever made in one go, now you get my inane ramblings in convienient bite sized chunks of five at a time. Now I’ve just got to look at filling up that space over to the left, under the copyright notice. Suggestions gladly accepted.

I got the work done by going in to the office early on Friday and Monday and tinkering away. It didn’t take too long much to my surprise, only about 45 minutes, apparently I’m a better JSP programmer than I thought. I could have done it all from home, but we’ve had some problems with re-programing in the past and if the server decided to choke fataly on my additions I’d rather everyone was around to bail me out. Especially after that database incident a few weeks back.

Went and saw Blow over the weekend with Becca who was in town (she did work here, now she’s going to work here, it’s her kind of place ;-). Pretty good all up. Peewee Herman’s in it. At least I think it was Peewee Herman, it sure looked like him (anyone who demands toilets in his dinosaurs is A-OK with me). There is a bit of a surprise shock ending though. Not quite on the same scale as the end of Boogie Nights, but certainly a “Gah!” moment. Be warned! πŸ™‚

Denys sleep now.

Wyrmworld Sells Out


So what’s with the CD promo you ask? Well, after a good two or so years of fearsome independence, Wyrmworld has finally


It was inevitable really.

Mind you I haven’t gone totally over to the dark side, all I’ve sold out for is the promise of two free Stargate CDs. Which all in all is a pretty Geeky thing to sell out for. You can’t say I’m not being true to my roots.

The deal is thus. I promote the CD with a link back to GNP Crescendo and they send me two copies. In exchange for these laser etched miracles of modern music reproduction technology winging their way across the globe to my doorstep I am obligated to keep the add up there for the next six months, an arrangement no doubt secured at their end with all manner of sigils, arcane diagrams and mighty oaths.

I don’t know what would happen if I took the adds down prematurely, but I wouldn’t be surprised if heavily armed Crescendo commandos storm my residence to seize the CDs back πŸ™‚

That’s if they arrive at all. I must admit to being slightly suspicious. GNP may well have stumbled onto a great promotional technique (advertising across 50 Stargate oriented websites for a total cost of 100 CDs, Dale would be proud of that) but on the other hand the whole thing could have been dreamt up by an evil spammer abusing GNP’s good name to gather the emails, urls and mailing addresses of poor trusting saps from around the globe. Saps such as myself. Or even worse it could have been devised by a global organisation of anti-Stargate terrorists who are, even as I type, sealing up their highly destructive mailbombs marked “STARGATE CDS” and preparing to decimate the ranks of web-savy SG-1 fans worldwide…

Although that does seem unlikely

But when you think about it all I can probably spare a few square inches of screen space for a few months and put up with a few more spams daily about miracle weight loss products, herbal viagra and Russian army surplus supplies for the chance of two free CDs.

Guess now I’ve just gotta watch the mailbox and wait for my music.

Or my mailbomb πŸ™‚

I am so fired. Well OK, not.

I screwed up the database. Bugger!

I have finally, after a good twenty months of profitable employment, done a very stupid thing to the database…

One of the first things you soon realise working in the IT industry, is that when used properly, computers and the net are remarkably effective efficiency tools, allowing the user to fit much more work into their already packed day at the office. Can you imagine what it was like before the information revolution? You’d have to write a letter to a client on a typewriter! Then stick in in an envelope and post it! And then wait at least 24 hours for them to get it! Insane no?

The downside of these wonderfully efficient tools is that if you’re not paying attention they make it incrediably easy to not only shoot yourself in the foot, but blow off your entire leg. As I did on Friday afternoon when I got confused between single and double quotes in a database statement and erased one of the fields in about, oh, I don’t know 15,000 of our products!

Happily that particular field is only used on about 30 of our sites, and a tape backup was done last Tuesday, but it’s still pretty damn embarrasing. And it will probably have a rather disruptive effect on my plans to take some leave in about two months time. Hmmmm.

Telstra Abusing the Beatles

Well, it turns out I’ve been surfing the net for the last two years via a corroded 1950’s copper cable, stripped of it’s insulation by years of under-house weather conditions and rat nibbling, the wires slowly snapping one by one, until late Friday night the final one went, leaving me with no net access for the entire weekend.

However several sweaty hours of work by Telstra engineers has resulted in the installation of a brand new, shiny modern cable, which will carry my signals at blinding speed, until they arrive at the 1950’s junction box out front, where they will slow to the velocity of an arthritic dog.

I did notice however while waiting on the Telstra faults queue on Saturday morning for ten minutes (amazingly swift service, on weekdays it takes at least forty, if you must have line faults try and arrange them for the weekend) just how much the Telstra theme song (“Making it easier to share” c’mon you know the words!) sounds like a Sergeant Pepper era Beatles song. Penny Lane in particular. I don’t know if this is an impressive testement to the taste of the souless muzak engineer who put the tune together, or a depressing symptom of the continuing abuse of some of the best music of the 20th Century musical cannon. I suppose it depends how long you’re on hold for.

Frightening Dental Noises

Things you do not want to hear while waiting for a dental examination number 1….


Dentist: What did you do!?!?!?
Dental Nurse: I was just….
Dentist: You have to turn off the valve first!!
Dental Nurse: I did!!!
Dentist: You CAN’T have!!
Dental Nurse: I DID!!! That valve! There!
Dentist: *assorted muttered obscenities*



Dentist: (poking head around door) We’re ready to see you now!

Burning Creative Obsession

Well I haven’t made any entries over the last few days because I’ve been pretty busy coding a computer game that infringes on any number of of well established MTV copyrights. Under the thrall of white hot burning creative obsession I’ve been sitting up late, typing away with little regard for time, the TV (“Armageddon” was on, so it’s not like I missed much apart from some fairly dodgy astrophysics), or my biological need for 10 hours sleep a night.

I’m only writing now because my severely sleep deprived state this morning caused me to consume a whole 600ml of a certain caffinated beverage. Then I consumed another 600ml on top of some paracetemol. This may not sound like much, but when you don’t actually drink tea or coffee, and only consume said caffinated beverage about once a month, it can have a surprisingly stimulating effect on your metabolism. By which I mean twitching, grunting and gibbering. But at least I contributed 400 points to Bevan’s scheme to buy a mouse.

Tomorrow I’ll probably start on the Red Bull.

If I ever actually get the aforementioned game finished it will be something of an achievement, as every other game I’ve attempted to program has collapsed in a fit of apathy and spaghetti code. However even if I do manage to get it into some kind of playable state I will derive very little in return for my valiant efforts as…

  1. It’s chock-a-load full of copyrighted images and concepts, meaning that even if I release it as freeware MTV lawyers shall descend upon my head like the pigeons of hell, waving cease and desist orders and crying for vengeance.
  2. It’s a really sucky and pointless game.

But hey, when white hot burning creative obsession calls, you gotta accept the charges.

Heeeeeeere’s Dale!

Well basically this is just another test of the log system. I’m going to be doing a fair bit of this over the next week, getting the archiving sorted out, making sure the entries appear in the right order, that kind of thing.

While I’m here though I might as well vent my spleen about the disgusting display on channel nine last night. Who cares if Rafter is playing the Wimbledon final, on a Monday I want my “Friends” and “Malcolm in the Middle”! Bastards!

Oh yeah, I need to test the image capabilities of this thing, and some of you are probably wandering exactly who Dale is, so there you go. Behold.

The Beginning…

Well, I finally have a weblog. Obviously.

This is all down to my earstwhile employers, GTP iCommerce (go on, click the icon over there to the right, keep Dale happy), who have kindly let me subvert our news and website maintenance program for my own nefrarious ends. This of course has the disadvantage that I won’t be able to say anything bad about the company or my workmates, but hey, I wasn’t planning on doing that anyway. Well apart from the fact that


with a bucket!

So anyhoo from now on make sure to click the WEBLOG link on the homepage to catch up on the latest news, updates and enraged rants about things I’ve seen on TV. When I get the time to write that is, since I seem to spend most of my time at the office these days working like a


penalty pay!

That is all.