How to Stage the Apocalypse in your Own Home

How to create a convincing impression of the Apocalypse in your own home…

Set up your clock radio to halfway between the local alternative and local religious fundamentalist radio stations. Get the alternative one to play Tom Waites and the religious one to play a fire and brimstone rant about hell and damnation just when you set the alarm to go off. Wake up in confusion and horror at 5:30 in the morning at the bizzarely ominious cacophany coming out of said clock radio…

Tom Waites: Grrrrrr rumble-rumble Alice! Grrrrrr growl!
Preacher: ConDEMED To the FIRES of HELL and DAMNation!!
Tom Waites: Arrrgh!!! Grrrrrr! Grumble mad-hatter HOWL!!
Preacher: Where the FIRE burns on the LAKE of SULFUR!!
Tom Waites: Grrrr! Rumble-grunt growl!!

Now that wakes you up quickly!

Email Follies

Hmmmm, they got the coal miners out. Good.

Well, not a lot has been going on here in Wyrmworld. I’ve been recovering from the labyrinthitis and going to work, that’s about it. And this weekend I’ve been doing all the cleaning I should have been doing while I was sick. Fun.

So I’ve decided to fall back onto something I’ve been holding in reserve for just such an occasion, and will now ramble on about amusing email addresses.

A few months ago one of our clients (who for no particular reason I shall refer to as “Bisby”) asked us to go through and “de-duplicate” their email database. This is a fancy way of saying “remove the hundreds of duplicate entries we put in by downloading the database, then re-uploading it without deleting all the original entries”. As we (foolishly) assumed that no one would ever be this stupid, we hadn’t actually programmed in a way to do this automatically, so Bevan and I had to sit there for a good three hours clicking a list of duplicate email addresses to remove them. To make matters worse Dale hadn’t bothered to actually check how many duplicate entries there were before phoning up and telling us to do it, and blithely told Bisby it would only take about twenty minutes. So we ended up charging 20 minutes for six man hours of work, which left no one very happy.

However as I waded through my section of the list I started noting down some of the more amusing email addresses to keep myself from going mad from boredom. And it is upon these that I now plan to ramble.

(To preserve privacy all the addresses here have been altered to point to the fictional “”. If you really want to contact any of these freaks though, you could try pointing them at some of the more popular free web-based email systems and probably have a good shot at getting through. But you didn’t hear that from me πŸ™‚

Some people use their email addresses to announce a strongly held personal belief, a creed or mantra they live their life by. I can sort of see the point of this, although you have to wonder if and do. It could be worse though. Not content with a simple descriptive email address, some people seem determined to inflate their egos. You can’t for instance tell me that, and are particularly modest folk. may be excused for his excess, only however if he can prove that the mojo is in fact in his possession. A much more realistic self assessment I’m sure is that of

Rhyme and alliteration are perennial favourites. may or may not mean something in German, but it sure sounds amusing. As does, which may belong to an obsessive Disney/Robin Williams fan. shows us that race horses have now joined the information revolution, as have some of their by-products, as evinced by

Talking of the animal kingdom, it always offers some creative opportunities. for example. Or who may or may not be a friend of Similarly may be associated in some fashion with however is probably on their own.

Still on the subject of animals we come to While it is possible that there is a Mr or Ms M. Horsepower out there, I think it’s more likely that the owner of this address is having us on. As is, the largest examples of rats known to modern science coming in at two or three kilograms maximum. I like this one. I have a vision of Wehrmacht soldiers pinned down in a foxhole in France. One of them peers tentatively over the edge and recoils in horror yelling “Achtung Sergeant!! Es ist die Froschbrigade!!!“. Sure enough, the British Special Forces Frog Brigade jumps into view, mounted on their giant armoured frogs! The Nazis flee in terror, their lines in disarray! C’mon Spielberg! Saving Private Ryan II!

Ahem, continuing down the list we come to a possible member of the Frog Brigade in Although it is possible that this address belongs to a woman called Pearl and unfortunate to be born with the family name Frog.

Continuing study of the Bisby database reveals that the gothic contingent is well and truly alive on the web. This is evinced by such addresses as,, and (it’s slightly frightening that at least 33 people out there want to be known by the epithet “buried alive”). On the slightly more sophisticated side of Gothicdom we encounter (to be fair the good lord may not actually be a goth, but with a name like that what are the odds? He might as well have called himself Hecubus).

And of course where you have goths, you have sci-fi fans. Although Bisby seems to have attracted some rather peculiar examples. for example is probably not the kind of person you’d want to meet down a dark alley, be you a droid or not. Given that Pluto is a frozen iceball, can be safely assumed to have possess non-human biology. As does (we presume) To the best of my knowledge nitronium is not yet an accepted entry on the periodic table, although research continues.

I leave the final comment on all of these addresses to one remarkably sensible Bisby subscriber.

Today’s Biology Lesson

I’m back. After the better part of a week writhing in a personal hell (where I roast in my shell*) I’m finally well enough to write again. And email people. And generally resume my life.

So, what was the cause of this break in transmission? A little disorder called labyrinthitis. My in-depth study of this medical phenomenon has lead me to a highly scientific conclusion. It sucks. Like really sucks. Given the choice of having labyrinthitis again, or being locked in a prison cell with Britany Spears for a week* I’d be heading down to the old jail house without a moment’s hesitation. It’s that absolutely horrible.

So, what exactly is it? Glad you asked…

OK, the ear works like this. Sound waves go moving through the air, then get gathered by the excitingly moulded contours of your outer ear, and channeled into the ear canal (that place you’re not meant to stick cotton-buds/q-tips despite the fact everyone does). Here they impact on a thin piece of skin stretched across the canal, called the tympanic membrane, or (for the scientifically uninitiated) ear drum. The vibrations of the ear drum cause a tiny bone, known (for obvious reasons) as the hammer, to bang against another tiny bone called (again obviously) the anvil, which is connected to a third tiny bone known as the stirrup (not quite so obvious, but it actually looks like one you see). The stirrup is connected to a thin membrane at the end of the cochlea, which is a fluid filled organ that looks like a snail shell, and is coloured bright blue in all the cheerful anatomical charts you get to look at while sitting in the Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist’s waiting room (it’s actual colour remains a matter for conjecture).

This rather complicated arrangement acts to transfer the vibrations from the air to the fluid inside the cochlea. These vibrations travel through the fluid, and (here’s the clever bit) depending on their frequency and amplitude (pitch and loudness to all you unscientific folk) penetrate to different depths within the spiral. Lining the inside of the cochlea are millions (OK, it could be merely thousands, it’s been a while since I’ve checked Grays Anatomy) of little hairs, each one connected to a nerve. As the vibration passes these hairs, they vibrate, stimulating the nerves and sending signals to the brain, which interprets the different patterns of signals as different kinds of sounds.

Now, all of this doesn’t have a heck of a lot to do with labyrinthitis, I just can’t pass over the opportunity to blather on about science. Anyway the bit we’re interested in are a few extra loops (called the vestibular system, ooh fancy) that poke out of the top of the cochlea. Nature in her infinite economy elected not to let a good fluid filled snail shaped thing go to waste (after all, how many of those are there available the body?) and added these extraneous loops to act as a sort of spirit level for the body. The movement of the fluid within them tells your brain which way is up and which way is down. In addition they also take care of telling you which way you’re moving, how fast you’re moving, and exactly what forces are working on your body mass (or at least head) at any given moment.

Now this is a very elegant and efficient system, except when some kind of infection causes these loops to become inflamed. In this case your entire sense of balance, movement and momentum go totally doolally, and you start stumbling around uncontrollably and throwing up, the conflict between what your vestibular system and your eyes are telling you causing severe seasickness.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last week. Stumbling around and throwing up. Fun.

It’s one of those strange medical coincidences, up there on a par with the humerus* giving you a “funny*” feeling when you bump it, that labyrinthitis (hence called as the cochlea plus the vestibular system are called the labyrinth) leaves you completely disoriented and confused, as if actually lost in the famous maze of Daedalus. It’s only a small compensation that don’t have to worry about stumbling over a minotaur*, although your mood does become similarly monstrous over a few days of putting up with the disorder. About the only Ariadne’s thread available is antibiotics.

Not that the first doctor I saw actually gave me any. He just proscribed some sea sickness tablets and told me it’d get better eventually, which wasn’t much of a comfort. Happily* though the infection then spread to my middle ear, and the second doctor (after pronouncing that my left ear looked “crap”) gave me a whole bunch of big white tablets, which seem to be clearing everything up quite nicely. I’m still dizzy, but nowhere near as much, and I was actually able to not only cook a proper meal last night, but eat it as well, which given that I’ve been living on irregular gulps of packet soups, chocolate cookies and vanilla ice-cream* in between bouts of nausea for the last week, was a major relief.

All this illness has of course exempted me from Jury Duty. I did go in on Monday, and got to the stage where they sit you down in a court room and draw names out of a ballot box to see who’s going to be on the jury, however my name wasn’t drawn out. Just as well really, all things considered. The case didn’t seem all that interesting really anyway, just someone accused of insurance fraud. I was meant to go back in on Thursday, but was too busy throwing up. I’ve got to get my medical certificate off to the Justice Department today, otherwise they’ll probably fine me.

Anyway I’m getting dizzy again, so I’m going to go and sit quietly. Yes, that seems like a good idea.

* Aw, man, I can’t think straight till I get those peanuts.

* Being locked up with Britany Spears for a week may not seem like too dire a punishment at first glance (nudge nudge wink wink say no more), but keep in mind that whole virginity thing, and the fact that with nothing much to do in a prison cell she’d probably be tempted to pass the time by singing. Now you see the true horror of the situation.

* Funny bone. Get it?

* ie: Extremely painful. Medical students are all sadists.

* Or for that matter David Bowie.

* Relatively speaking πŸ™‚

* All I could actually stomach would you believe? Things are much better now, but I still can’t eat cheese.

Poorly Directed Ramblings

Oy, what a day. I spent most of my time at the office today coding the parcel postage rates for the entire country into the system. I’d actually done this before, but only ex-Perth, now every single rate from any part of the country to any other part can be accurately calculated. So, if someone wanted to send say, an 11kg parcel from Wagga Wagga to Casey Polar Research Station in the Australian Antarctic Territory, the system can figure out exactly how much it’ll cost them*.

Well, when I say any part of the country, I’m not actually being completely truthful. The system can’t calculate postage on parcels sent from Norfolk Island. For some reason Australia Post leaves that up to the local government, as I eventually figured out after an hour long virtual paper chase through the Australia Post website. A further hour of fruitless surfing established the fact that the Norfolk Island Government has not seen fit to publish their rates online, which is exactly the kind of slack behaviour one would expect from a bunch of inbred, pidgin mouthing descendants of the Bounty mutineers*.

I’ll have to email them I suppose. Unless the postage rates are some kind of closely guarded territorial secret or something.

So, why haven’t I been updating the weblog? Well, sad to say it’s because of my recently purchased budget copy of Caesar III the game of Roman city building. I think I’m dangerously obsessed with it. Hours zip past as I figure out exactly the right place to stick that olive oil workshop or how to raise housing standards in the coliseum district. In the last scenario I managed to bring my city from famine and virtual bankruptcy after an earthquake to flowing with wealth through intensive development of a pottery industry. My warehouses couldn’t hold it all! Ships were queuing up at the dock to take it all away! The really sad thing is I’m actually proud of this πŸ™‚

Nonetheless I’ve decided to take a week’s break from it. Not only because I’ve been horribly neglecting the weblog and people I’m supposed to be emailing, but I’m getting tired of forums, reservoirs and temples dancing around behind my eyelids when I’m trying to sleep πŸ™‚

On Friday I dropped in to Angus & Robertson’s (to buy a $120 Javascript manual with a rhinoceros on the front) and was surprised to note that The Silmarillion is sitting at number 11 on the best seller list. This pleases me immensely. Of course, it’s only because of all the hype surrounding the movies, and (given that The Silmarillion has been compared to both a telephone directory in Elvish and the Old Testament) at least half of the people buying it will read about three pages in and give up in confusion at the lack of hobbits. But at least it’s getting out there. Maybe in five or six years time someone will pick up one of those neglected copies and actually read it. And enjoy it. And find the bit about hobbits in the back.

Or maybe they’ll just all gather dust, like the millions of never opened copies of A Brief History of Time. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, regular visitors may have noticed that I’ve finally added a counter/tracker thing to the log. I have to say I’m overjoyed by the results. People are just flooding in, most as the result of completely inaccurate search results on Google, which I find highly entertaining πŸ™‚ The majority of these are music related, and point rather misleadingly at my “Current Listening” chart over there. A particular favourite of late has been The Bold and the Beautiful by the Drugs, a lot of people seem to be after the lyrics. So, not to disappoint my public (arriving here by accident notwithstanding) I oblige.

(I transcribed these lyrics myself by the way, so I cannot vouch for their absolute accuracy. Also, given that I’d rather perform cataract surgery on myself with a potato peeler than watch a single episode of the show, I have no way of checking the details. Those lyrics that I’m not 100% certain on I’ve underlined, just to make things somewhat clearer.)

Each afternoon and there’s nothing as suitable,
As tea and bikkies with the Bold and the Beautiful,
And while outside is sending me crazy,
I’ll be your Thorn if you’ll be my Macy,

Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go! Daytime TV!

Amber is a scammer from the wrong side of the tracks,
She’s been sneaking round with Deacon, he wants her and his baby back,
But she’d married now to Rick who is an unsuspecting victim,
Rick’s mum Brooke tried to warn him but he didn’t want to listen,
Hey, Brooke and Deacon are now lovers, but in direct retaliation,
To Rick and Amber’s marriage Deacon married Rick’s relation,
And in this sick and twisted world where blood appears as thin as water,
Deacon’s wife is Rick’s sister Brigitte, and therefore Brooke’s daughter,

Each afternoon and there’s nothing as suitable,
As tea and bikkies with the Bold and the Beautiful,
We’ll get up late and have a three PM brekkie,
I’ll be your CJ if you’ll be my Becky,

Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go! Daytime TV!

Eric, Ridge and Thorne have all been married to Brooke,
But of the Forester men, it’s on Ridge that she’s hooked,
Ridge’s marriage to Brooke met it’s inevitable failure,
He’s been happily married twice now to a woman named Taylor,
But Brooke wasn’t happy with the simple separation,
She says I’ll get that guy, I’ve got drive and determination,
It comes to Stephanie’s attention,
That her intervention,
Will see to the prevention,
Of Brooke’s bad intentions,
This plot is lacking,
Some counter-attacking,
When they write Macy back in,
She’ll send that bitch packing,

Go Ricky! Go Ricky!
Go Ricky! Go Ricky!
Go Ricky! Go Ricky!
Go Ricky! Go Ricky!
Go Ricky!/Jerry! Go Ricky!/Jerry!
Go Ricky!/Jerry! Go Ricky!/Jerry!
Go Ricky!/Jerry! Go Ricky!/Jerry!
Go Ricky!/Jerry! Go Ricky!/Jerry!

I gotta, I gotta love strong and mutual,
Every afternoon, with the Bold and the Beautiful,
So many plots and so many issues,
Some days we have to use a whole box of tissues,
I’ve never known love deeper or greater,
Than taping each episode to watch again later,
I don’t think it’s bad or unusual,
This sacred love of the Bold and the Beautiful,

Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go! Daytime TV!

Having got that over and done with I’d like to state that I am completely unconnected to both The Bold and the Beautiful, and the Drugs, so if anyone associated with the abovementioned entities objects to my posting of the lyrics (and can back up their association with some kind of actual evidence) I shall of course take them down. I would also like to point out that as an underpaid keyboard monkey I am completely un-sueworthy, so before Ron Moss comes kicking down my door demanding money, he’d be better off practicing his guitar.

So, that’s it for now. I’m all written out. Although I will mention in closing that you know you’ve been reading too much Tolkien when you start pronouncing “celebrate” as “kelebrate” πŸ˜‰

* $24.76 in case you were wondering.

* I would like to state for the record that Pitcairn is a fascinating and valuable language, any minor problems with inbreeding were solved when the population moved from Pitcairn Island in 1856 and Bligh was an appalling Captain and an even worse Governor.

Another Stopgap

I am not dead.

I say this to reassure anyone who may be wondering why I haven’t made an entry in just over a week. I am not dead, or ill, or in jail. I’m just very busy.

A lot of this busy-ness comes down to the fact that Rebecca was staying for a while. This necessitated slightly more cooking and cleaning than usual (although stir fries do tend to cut down on the washing up I’m happy to report), but more than that required me to engage in conversation and other social activities to the exclusion of computer time. Not that, I hasten to add, I minded πŸ™‚ But, it does mean I have been neglecting the old weblog a bit.

I’m getting things back on track now. Although I still need to do a massive wash up tonight and clean out the fridge (I intended to do that last night, but got sidetracked by Rove Live). The bottle of sesame oil has been leaking a bit and you do not want rancid sesame oil pooling at the bottom of your fridge, I can tell you. No, not at all.

I’ll see about making a longer entry tonight. If my dishpan hands are up to typing πŸ˜‰

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