Updates and Dragons


Spent a good deal of time today coding in data for a company who somehow think they’re going to corner the UK real estate market from here in Perth. I have no idea how this is supposed to work, but I now know more about the English County system than any sane human should (did you know there was a short lived Avon County? No? Did you need to know there was a short lived Avon County? No?).

I also discovered the Dragons page has been missing from the site for a while. Happily I have a backup, so it’s been restored. I have no idea what happened to it – maybe Games Workshop hacked into the server and deleted it? πŸ™‚

Finally the FreakAngels Google Earth file has (again) been updated.


Eels up inside ya! Finding an entrance where they can!

I finally manged to do something I’ve been intending to for ages last night, and caught an episode of The Mighty Boosh. I’ve been hearing good things about it for quite a while, but it’s never been on (as far as I know) at a decent time. Last night though SBS had it on at 9:00, so I checked it out.

What was it like? Well, the phrase “a screaming bag of madness” springs to mind. It was like my TV had suddenly started picking up signals from the alternative universe and was showing things beyond the comprehension of those us limited to a mere four dimensions. It was a cavalcade of unrelenting insanity, leaving the viewer (ie: me) with a shocked and confused impression of flying carpets, gorillas, flamingo legged pop-stars, pink squid-head things, terrifying green cockneys, and eels.

Needless to say I shall definitely be tuning in next week πŸ™‚

And to share the love – Eels!

Black Metal Disney

I has a themepark

I woke up this morning thinking (for some reason) about the symphonic black metal band Limbonic Art, and their wonderfully deranged song Behind the Mask Obscure.

Black metal is generally not something I’m into – neither the sound, which varies between someone being strangled on top of a pipe organ and an Airbus A380 digesting a flock of geese, or the attitude, which seems to involve burning down historic churches and stabbing people to death in “self defence”, or at least singing about such things – but symphonic metal does have some redeeming features, mostly because of the symphonic bits.

Behind the Mask Obscure is a fine example of this. It starts with xylophones, drums, bells and strings playing music that wouldn’t sound out of place at a circus parade (albeit one with particularly scary clowns). The music gets progressively heavier and heavier until the guitars, drums and synths kick in, and it sounds like the apocalypse is nigh. The music then devolves into the more typical metal sound of chainsaws dismembering live cattle while someone screeches lyrics about forests, darkness, prophecies, graveyards, being undead, wandering the land and inventing inhumanity (the kind of stuff Tom Riddle would have written in his diary if they’d had Emos in 1943). Finally it pulls itself out of the pit and goes back to the more symphonic sound, wrapping up with a flourish of strings, drums and guitars.

The middle section with its assorted moans and growls really holds no interest for me – it’s the symphonic bits I like. There is one bit of lyrics during the symphony however and it was this I spent much of my morning puzzling over. At about the 1:12 mark a male voice choir (or at least some guy with a heavy echo effect) sings…

In distance from the light, I redeem my Gloria,
In darkness I have sights, a high esteemed fantasia,

…I wonder what that could mean. Let’s take a look at it phrase by phrase shall we?

“In distance from the light” is no problem, it’s just a somewhat pretentious way of saying “In darkness”. The next phrase however is more puzzling. “I redeem my Gloria”. As far as I’m aware the verb “redeem” has two main meanings in modern English.

The first to make up for past transgressions, or make something that’s gone bad, good again. You can for instance redeem yourself by doing good things after a disgrace. You can redeem something or somebody’s reputation by making people think well of it again.

The second meaning is to exchange something for a promised reward. You can redeem a gift voucher that someone has given you. You can redeem tokens cut out of the newspaper for a chance to win a car. You can even (theoretically) redeem money for gold or silver at your nation’s central bank (although they’ll probably shoot you if you dare to try).

Neither of these meanings seems to make much sense when applied to “Gloria”, which usually means a prayer or hymn in praise of God. It seems unlikely for instance that you could hand in a prayer or hymn for the chance to win a Toyota Camry. You could perhaps redeem a poorly written Gloria with a bit of judicious editing, which is probably the meaning we’re going to have to go with.

The second line begins “In darkness I have sights”. Presumably the lyricist (who I imagine like the band is Swedish) got their inflections wrong and actually meant “sighted” – but we’ll work with what we have. There is only one possible grammatically correct interpretation of “In darkness I have sights”, which is “In darkness I possess sights”. “Sights” of course when used as a noun refers to things people see, and more specifically to things people will go out of their way to see, such people taking part in the practice of sightseeing.

So, we may ask, what sights does the singer possess? Well helpfully he explains this in the rest of the line. He has “a high esteemed fantasia”. This could be any number of things, but to me it sounds like some kind of themepark.

So, the final analysis of the lyric works out to “In darkness I edit my poorly written prayer while operating a themepark”.

I’m glad we’ve got that sorted out! πŸ™‚

Not much else to report really. I’ve been wearing in a new pair of Docs (and as a consequence hobbling around like Torgo) and doing some work on a fairly insane post-nuclear mutant skirmish game. I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time wandering around Albany on Google Streetview (now that they’ve launched it in Australia) and avoiding as much of the Olympics as possible. Oh, and reading FreakAngels which has just started it’s second book (I’ll have to get on and update the Google Earth File).

Also, Dragons Landing is back on the air after a length hiatus. I may just send them a voicemail. Or I may not, since I’ve got a rather sore throat and any recording I make will probably sound like black metal.

Anyway, got to walk down to the village and buy some laundry detergent, otherwise I won’t have any clean clothes to wear this week. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

(I’m quoting The Sound of Music. Someone, please shoot me).

Never send a Designer to do a Developer’s Job


We’re building an absolutely beastly site for a client (who shall remain nameless) at the moment. They’ve made the mistake of hiring a graphic design company (who shall also remain nameless) to do the layout for them – a graphic design company who seemingly know absolutely nothing about web design. Their crimes against the net so far include…

  • Insisting the entire site appear in a popup window.
  • Having additional pages pop up in additional windows, and getting annoyed when we point out why this is stupid.
  • Getting annoyed when we point out that even if we do set up additional pop up windows, there’s nothing in the design allowing people to get back to the original popup window.
  • Demanding that all the pages are laid out exactly the same, then sending through individual page layouts whose elements are wildly out of alignment with each other.
  • Insisting all the text be rendered as graphics, regardless of the effect this will have on the search engines.
  • Sending through all the graphics as crappy GIF files, then getting annoyed when we ask for PSDs.
  • Getting annoyed and snarky that we dare to phone them up and ask any questions at all.

They seem to think that they’re the high and mighty priests of design, and we should humbly bow and grovel at their feet, never daring to doubt their judgements on the rightness of things. Well, too bad people – we’re engineers, it’s our job to know what can and can’t be done, and we don’t stand for this kind of crap.

In addition to this, what text there is on the site is the most florid, ridiculous, over the top… look I’ll just include an example,

As simple as the beauty of the impassioned glow of a sunset, casting rosy light onto vines that stand in anticipation of promised fruit, such are our beliefs at [Company].

It’s like they’ve bought copywriting services from Edward Bulwer-Lytton!


Making Lives More Surreal Since 1976

Attack of the mysteriously materialising lemons

Went around to Rebecca and Dom’s on Saturday night to try out the pizza maker I bought them for their joint 30th birthdays. The night (and the pizzas) were a great success, but they wouldn’t let me leave until I agreed to take with me a bag of lemons from their manically overflowing lemon tree.

On arrival back at my place around 10:30, I – having no use for large quantities of lemons – got rid of some of them by sneaking around and putting one in each of the alcoves outside the doors of everyone on my floor.

(I would have done the entire building but there were still people about and I didn’t want to get reported to the terrorism hotline or anything).

Mysteriously materialising lemons! πŸ™‚

Torgo Spotters’ Guide

Not in the least bit true

Torgo features as the main villain in the following episodes of the classic series.

Torgo, Torgo’s Invasion of Earth, The Chase (Featuring Torgo), Torgo’s Master Plan, The Power of Torgo, The Evil of Torgo, The Day of Torgo, The Planet of Torgo, Death to Torgo, The Genesis of Torgo, The Destiny of Torgo, The Resurrection of Torgo, The Revelation of Torgo, and The Rememberance of Torgo.

He also briefly appears in a number of other episodes including The Hand Museum.

The appearance of his knees varied over time. In the earliest episodes the knees were primitive metal attachments that required manual operation by the actor. By the 1980s they were remote controlled by a stagehand, allowing the actor to concentrate on looking shifty and spouting ridiculous lines of dialogue in a halting voice.

(An actual sensible entry will probably be made later in the week)

Lookitt me maw! I done got rich!

I’m big in Harare

I would like to announce to the world that thanks to some major international money trading operations, I am now a multi-millionaire, and hence from this date forwards shall only be associating with the kind of people who sit in leather armchairs at the West Australian Club, smoking cigars, sipping port, reading The Times and making strange grunting noises (such as ‘hrumph!’ and ‘pshaw!’) at the antics of the common folk.

Or rather that’s what I would be doing if said international money trading operations didn’t consist of winning an eBay auction, and the 50 million dollars I am now in possession of didn’t happen to be 50 million Zimbabwean dollars – and hence barely enough to buy half a loaf of bread.

Oh well. At least I can dream of casting all my friends aside and joining the ranks of the elite πŸ˜‰

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