Farewell Naveen

It has been a rather long time between entries, but I have a valid, although anything but good, excuse for this. In the early hours of Sunday the tenth of March Naveen Yawanarajah, one of my bosses, the guy who programmed the iNews system this weblog runs upon and an all round really great guy, died of a sudden heart attack. He was only 32. So things have been pretty tough going for the last two weeks both professionally and personally, and I haven’t been up to writing much.

I’m not going to write a vast long entry about this, because frankly I don’t feel like writing about it, and I don’t think anyone would really want to read it. However I feel I owe it to the guy to mention a few facts, so bear with me.

Naveen was born with four holes in his heart due to his mother contracting rubella during her pregnancy. At school he developed a passion for and talent with computers, and as a teenager wrote the first commercial software ever produced in Malaysia. In time he came to Perth and studied for a degree in computer science, despite his health problems, which included a trip to Melbourne for highly complex and experimental heart surgery. This actually went horribly wrong, and his heart stopped for a full 32 minutes on the table. Normally the surgeon would have declared death after such a period and given up, but he and the whole operating team had been so impressed by Naveen’s remarkable personality that they put the extra work in to bring him back. Even so it was painful months of recovery, although he never let this hold him back and with the support and encouragement of his family and friends he was even back to DJing comparatively soon afterwards, despite the fact that at times it was even a struggle to walk.

In 1996 he founded Gateway to Perth with Dale, and wrote an entire e-commerce system, GTP iCommerce, from scratch, when no-one else in Western Australia was even considering a locally based e-commerce enterprise. Over the years this system expanded to incorporate contact management, website maintenance and affiliate systems, and the company expanded from a partnership to a Propriety Limited, under the business name GTP iCommerce.

In the last month Naveen had applied for and been accepted into the Curtin PhD program, planning to develop and write a thesis on an online robotics control protocol. He was very excited about this, and once it was developed he planned to release it into the public domain, in his own words to “give something back” to the computing world. He’d given plenty back to the computing world already, but unfortunately his robotics work will now never happen.

Overall Naveen was an amazing person with an incredibly friendly and outgoing personality, and great sense of humour. In the two years that I worked with him I can honestly never remember seeing him in a bad mood even once. The sheer quality and quantity of work that he did for GTP means that we’ll able to carry on and thrive without him, but he was the true heart of the company, and we all miss him like hell.

See ya man.

(31st May 2002 – I must thank Naveen’s good friend Natalie, who contacted me to correct some mistakes in my account of his life. She also commented…

Just one more thing – you wrote that Naveen had a heart problem but he didn’t. He had a heart condition. I am sure you will agree that Naveen’s condition never stopped him from doing anything. I think he achieved more in his 32 years than many do in their whole life.

I couldn’t agree more)

But onto happier matters.

On Friday night my brother Andrew finally *g* got around to holding a birthday dinner for me. This turned out to be a great night, and I would like to sincerely thank him,Travis, Katie, Lyndah, Elisabet, Kevin, Clare and Emma for organising/attending and putting up with me 🙂 I also got some totally kick arse presents which were totally unnecessary but very appreciated, scratch lottery tickets, magnetic frogs, and an original Ra figurine from Stargate the movie, which has apparently been sitting on the shelf down at Valhalla since 1994.

The whole night went very well, the food was supplied in such copious amounts that numerous references to Babette’s Feast were made, and even the mushroom sauce for thevol-au-vaunts turned out all right after the third attempt. Extra points must go to Lyndah for managing the entire meal despite having eaten before coming. Also for the magnetic frogs, building towers of which proved a source of much entertainment when the evening started to wind down (and also for repeated amusing use of the phrase “cat’s arse”).

Thanks must go to especially to Clare for her many flattering comments about the Tales. Her comments were so flattering in fact that the upcoming Easter long weekend will probably see at least another chapter going up. And also much thanks for (when appointed buyer for the Clare/Kevin/Elisabet/Eric gift committee) going for the Ra model rather than the poster of the big breasted fantasy chick in armour. Even if that’s what you really wanted to get 🙂

So all and all a good night. Even if I did sit out the climatic tea-towel fight:)

In other news I got a rather puzzling email the other day, asking what “my site” is about, and if you get money for joining. I am not sure if this is a genuine request for information, or a rather devious spam, and hence have not yet replied and probably won’t. In any case, let me clearly state here that there is no way to join Wyrmworld, or the Tales of the Geek Underclass (although I am considering an email subscription service to send out update announcements and occasional extra goodies), and if there is any way to make money out of them I have yet to discover it.T-Shirts anyone? 🙂

That’s all I’ve got to say today. Updates should be more regular from now on.

PS: Yey! Ghostbusters DVD! Thanks Helen:-D


The fireworks factory blew up on Wednesday.

I’m not kidding.

I was surprised though. I didn’t even know there was a fireworks factory in the city. I don’t think anyone else knew either, until it suddenly went up in a catastrophic explosion at about 9:00 in the morning. Sadly I was in a bus on the way to work a good 25km away at the time, so didn’t get to hear it, but the folks (about 15km away) did, which just goes to show what a large quantity of explosive all going up at the same time can accomplish sound-wise.

I did get to see the smoke though, it billowed in and surrounded the office at about 10:00, apparently having formed a long plume across the city that decided to touch down in Nedlands. This isn’t too surprising, on a cross section from Nedlands to the factory (in Carmel) the city is somewhat bowl shaped, with the factory up on the Darling Escarpment, and the office on the plateau to the west of the CBD. So given the prevalent easterlies at this time of year the smoke from anything burning in the hills will probably end up floating around the carpark. But it was still unexpected at the time.

Rather remarkably no-one was killed, or even injured by the explosion. There were only two employees at the factory at the time, and once it became clear that that little fire they accidently started was getting out of hand they did the sensible thing and ran like hell. The Carmel area is fairly sparsely populated and the authorities took control and evacuated everyone pretty quickly, so although there were fireworks shooting off in all directions, and numerous bushfires, no one was hurt. There’s been a lot of property damage though, not least smashed windows from the force of the initial blast. So we can resonably expect the fireworks company to have their arses sued off.

I’m watching Rage while writing this, and cannot help but notice how unbelievably awful both the song and video clip My Sacrifice by Creed are. The song is a drawn out, wailing bit of wuss rock with the lead singer moaning on and on in vaugue metaphors about how hard it is to be him (mind you with a haircut like that maybe he has a right to). The music is reminiscent of Live’s better work, but with all the stuff that makes Live’s better work actually better removed, leaving just a banal and pedestrian plodding soft-rock dirge. And it goes on forever.

The video clip is just the worst mishmash of pretentious and ponderous imagery I’ve ever seen. Blind old men, innocent young children, flooded cities with rowboats, wild animals, mermen, schoolbuses full of candles, and topping it all off a hurricane that throws cars and garbage around the street in some kind of symbol of the anguish and heartache of being a rich and succesful wuss rock band. And all of it in slow motion! The lead singer even reaches down and pulls himself out of the water, could you come up with a bigger cliche? It’s enough to make you puke.

On the other hand I quite like Alanis’s new song. I considered myself seriously over her music, but this new one, Hands Clean isn’t bad. And the video is OK too. Mind you, Under Rug Swept is one of the stupidest album, titles I’ve heard in quite some time.

Finally I cannot let it pass that the last Goon, the great Spike Milligan passed away earlier this week. Rather than try to write some kind of lengthy and boring obituary harping on about his undoubted genius, I figured I’d just quote one of my favourite of his poems…

Things that go ‘bump!’ in the night,
Should not really give one a fright,
It’s the hole in each ear,
That lets in the fear,
That and the absence of light,

(And I say we’re lost!)

I’m 26. Oh wow.

I am 26. I turned 26 last Thursday. This sucks.

Why does it suck you ask? Because it means I’m no longer young. Well of course I’m still young, I’m only 26 for crying out loud, but I’m not young young anymore. I am now well into my mid 20’s and racing towards my late 20’s. Before I have time to blink I’ll be 30, damnit.

I don’t want to be thirty!

The whole world seems intent on reminding me that I’m getting older. JJJ for instance has a whole bunch of competitions running at the moment for “young people”. Which they define as people between the ages of 16 and 25. OK, I’d never have actually entered any of these competitions, but the fact that I could have (until last week) was somehow reassuring. And now I can’t. Prohibited by the inexorable march of time, and ABC regulations. It’s enough to make you go out and buy a walking stick. And one of those squashy cloth caps.

So if anyone has a novel way to slow down time (short of accelerating the entire solar system to the speed of light while I stand around and wait) I’d very much like to hear from you (purveyors of wonder herbs, drugs, human growth hormone, immortality rings and hunza bread need not apply).

In more cheerful news Helen now has a weblog. It looks like an evil robot. And talks about F1 a lot. So go and check it out 🙂

I’ve also added some useful (ha!) phrases to the Beginner’s Guide to Surfarian, including pick up lines and how to complain about a horse. So check that out too.

That is all.

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