Hopes for the Leviathan

Ian Edginton and D’Israeli have released their 2000 AD comic strip Leviathan as a graphic novel. It’s about a gigantic ocean liner, a mile long, that set out on its maiden voyage in 1928 and has somehow been lost in the middle of the ocean for 20 years. A structured society – based on ticket class – has evolved on board, but is being disrupted by a series of murders, which may or may not be being carried out by a semi-mythical being (a ‘stoker’) that stalks the lower decks.

Sounds like a great read – except that I feel like I’ve already read it.

James Lovegrove published a novel named  The Hope back in 1990. It’s about a gigantic ocean liner, 3 miles long, that set out on its maiden voyage and has somehow been lost in the middle of the ocean for decades. A structured society – based on ticket class – has evolved on board, but is threatened by a series of strange and terrifying events, some involving a semi-mythical being (the ‘Compass Man’) that stalks the lower decks.

Leviathan was first published in 2000 AD in the early 2000’s, just over ten years after The Hope. I don’t want to accuse anyone of plagiarism – but I do have to wonder at the similarity.


I’ve been feeling so run down this last week that I’ve pretty much been neglecting everything – both online and offline. I didn’t even make it to the local dawn service yesterday – something I normally never miss – because I couldn’t drag myself out of bed.

On the subject of ANZAC Day, this photo of mine has had over 9,000 hits today, all of them coming from various utility pages on Flickr. I guess they must have put some kind of gallery up, but damned if I can find it.

Hmmm, over 9,000?

Sorry 🙂


You could turn up and ambush me I suppose. Please don’t 😀

Catching up with the guys this weekend at that Brazilian barbeque place. Naturally I could not send out the details in any normal fashion, no…



Requesting the Impossible

Client: Our website went down for two hours yesterday! What are you doing to ensure that this never happens again!?!

Hmmm, well, how about nothing?

If you own a website, sooner or later it’s going to go down. It’s the nature of the beast. I mean Amazon went down for a full 11 hours last year, and some of their cloud services were down for three days. If Amazon can’t run their website with 100% reliability, how the hell do you expect us to?

It’s not like we play with server cables for entertainment’s sake. We didn’t sit down yesterday morning and say “Hey, you know what would be funny? Taking down a bunch of websites for two hours!”. Our severs aren’t sitting in a cupboard, prey to custodial staff who disconnect them to plug in their vacuum cleaner, or in a leaky attic where rats and possums can nest in the cases. Our systems are secured with all  the industry standard protection and backup systems to prevent outages. Despite this, outages will sometimes occur. If you can’t understand that, you shouldn’t be operating a website. And if you think that there’s some other company out there who’ll keep your website online 100% of the time guaranteed, please feel free to go looking for them.

(And if you find them, please take a look at how much they charge you compared to us)

But hey, I’ll tell you what. If you pay us 48 billion dollars a year we’ll guarantee to be as reliable as Amazon. This means we promise that your site won’t be offline for more than an additional nine hours this year.

How’s that for a deal?

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

I fell over yesterday.

The reason that I see this as being at all blogworthy is that I almost never fall over. I trip over things with depressing regularity, but my sense of balance is so good and my reflexes so sharp that recovering equilibrium before hitting the floor is pretty much a given. It’s been almost ten years since I last thumped into the ground, so tripping over my own feet on the walk home from the train station last night is quite notable.

The reason for this remarkable record is – somewhat paradoxically – the fact that my ankles are rather sub-par in the whole “keep the rest of the body upright” department. As the result of an old injury they have a tendency to occasionally go on strike without warning, sending me plummeting groundwards while walking, running, or just standing around discussing Wittgenstein. This constant threat has honed my reflexes to the point where I can instantly recover my balance in all but the most dire of circumstances (the last time I fell was because I was in a room packed with junk and there was no room to maneuver).

Last night my left ankle collapsed so catastrophically that all my efforts to recover proved inadequate. I went down (somehow) on my right side, thudding into the concrete pavement, skinning both my palms and lightly bruising my arm and leg. I did however manage to roll into the fall, with the result that when the dust cleared I was sitting neatly upright and able to exclaim a loud “CRAP!” before getting up, dusting myself down and continuing on my way.

Of all the days to fall, yesterday was a good choice. Autumn has finally rolled in and the day was nice and cool. As a consequence I had got my heavy, wool coat out of storage for the first time this year and it absorbed a lot of the impact. Had I not been wearing this most excellent accessory I’m confident I would have scrapped quite a lot of skin off my right arm and been in substantial pain. As it happens I’m just aching a bit, which is easily dealt with.

So, let’s see if I can go another ten years without going arse over feet again 🙂

Some final commentary courtesy of The Drowning Pool and America’s favourite Televangelist Benny Hinn


The old anxiety/depression is hitting me hard this week. Mostly because I’ve got a number of really important jobs to get done at work and all of them are taking far longer than they should. It’s a struggle to get out of bed each morning because I’d much rather hide under the covers and call in sick. But hey, what can you do?

On another subject, I’m no great fan of this…

But can’t get enough of this…

I’m clearly insane!

Tupac Pepper

He didn’t have an ‘H’ on his forehead. Dead giveaway.

I’d just like to point out that while the technology used to resurrect Tupac Shakur at Coachella over the weekend is impressive, it’s not a bloody hologram!

The company that makes it can call it a hologram all they like, but that doesn’t make it one. The technology to create 3d images out of light simply doesn’t exist outside of sci-fi movies. Hell, it may not even be possible. The thing that was stalking around the stage with Snoop Dog and Dr Dre was simply an advanced version of Pepper’s Ghost.

Don’t believe the hype people.

With Apologies to Heywood Banks

All across the country from west to east,
People always ask me what I like to eat,
I don’t wanna brag, or be indiscrete,
I always tell them, I like meat…
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!

I get up in the morning ’bout six am,
Get myself some bacon, get myself a pan,
Pick me out a rasher, put it on the griddle,
Turn up the dial till the fat starts to sizzle,
I cook meat…
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!

When the first caveman got up on his feet,
Didn’t know what kind of things he could eat,
Must have been a genius, cause he got an idea,
Get a stick and a rock, fashion up a spear,
To hunt meat…
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!

There’s no secret to carnivore perfection,
Go talk to your butcher and make a selection,
Roast it in the oven or fry it on the grill,
Or serve it on a spike like they do in Brazil ,
With their meat…
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!
YEAH MEAT!!!!!!!!

(The inevitable result of email discussions with the guys about planning a return visit to that Brazilian barbecue place. Puzzled? Click here…)

Sunday Miscellany

There’s a theory that says a new century doesn’t really start until something shocking happens that shakes people up and completely changes their view of the world. The 21st century for instance didn’t actually begin for the western world until September 11th 2001. Similarly, the western world’s 20th century began 100 years ago today – April 15th 1912 – when the Titanic sank below the waves, taking the Victorian belief in man’s triumph over nature with it.

I don’t know if the theory could be considered “right”, but it’s interesting to think about.

Everyone’s going to be talking Titanic today, so that’s all I’ll say on the subject.

Idiot clients aside, I had quite an interesting Friday. For a while we’ve been employing a programmer from Brazil and as of a few months back we’ve been sponsoring him for a permanent residency visa (or whatever it’s called). Last week it finally came through, and by way of thanks he took us all out for lunch to a Brazilian barbecue restaurant in Subiaco.

Brazilian barbecue is pretty awesome. You sit around the table and they continuously bring you giant skewers of meat. If you want what’s on the skewer you signal so by turning a coaster-like piece of cardboard to the green side, and they chop some off onto your plate. If you’re not interested in this particular skewer you turn the coaster to the red side. They also load down the table with salads, sauces and sides, and the sides and skewers just keep coming until you’re too bloated to move.

Particularly good was the chicken wrapped in bacon, the cheese bread, the deep fried banana and (of all things) the barbecued pineapple. The Guaraná Antarctica was also great – like Red Bull mixed with Passiona – I may have to to track down a supplier.

It was a great way to spend a couple of hours, although by the end of it we all just wanted to go home and sleep. If I did have one criticism it was that the beef was rather rare – call me a philistine but I’m of the man cook meat with fire school of cookery and prefer my food not to bleed all over the plate while I’m cutting it.

I shall attempt to arrange a return visit with my carnivorous friends as a matter of urgency.

Now (as a complete non-sequiter) back in 1999 when Dave Faulkner and Kim Salmon were choosing a name for their musical collaboration and the album produced thereof Google was barely in spark in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s eyes. This may explain why they selected “Antenna” and “Installation”. Fast forward the the hectic teens of the 21st century and you try Googling information on “Antenna” and “Installation”. I can guarantee you won’t find anything concerning Australian music until about page fifty.

The reason I mention this is for years I’ve been trying to identify a song off that album. I knew the name “Ten Four”, and knew that it was by an Australian collaboration that called themselves something like “Aerial”, but had absolutely no luck tracking it down. It wasn’t until a few months back that I began an intensive series of Google searches to try and crack the mystery once and for all.

I eventually (obviously) did it, but it took several hours of typing in various combinations of keywords and reading through reams and reams of pages about Australian musical collaborations. Making things even more complicated was the fact that the song isn’t “Ten Four”, it’s “10-4”, which again makes things more complicated than they have to be.

But now I have it! The information that is. I don’t have the song because it doesn’t appear to online anywhere. It’s not on YouTube or any other video sharing site I’ve tried, and the iTunes store doesn’t even acknowledge that Antenna ever existed. I rather suspect I’ll have to track down a copy of Installation on eBay if I ever want to hear the song again.

Ah well, such is life.

Gotta go clean the bathroom now. That qualifies as “such is life” as well…

Work-a-day Blues

Client: This order didn’t go through the checkout properly! Help!

Me: Yes, you’re right. OK, we’re troubleshooting it and will keep you posted.

Some time later…

Client: I tried putting the order through again and it didn’t work!

Me: Yes, we’re still trying to sort out the problem with the checkout. We’ll let you know when we’ve solved it.

Some more time later…

Client: I tried putting the order through again and it didn’t work! We need to get this order processed to balance the books! It’s hurting our business!

Me: Have you had problems with any other orders since?

Client: No, every other order is coming through fine, but this one keeps failing every time I put it through!

Me: OK, we’re still working on the checkout issue, but you can use this tool to edit the details of the order – that way you can correct the erroneous details, process the order and get your books balanced. Try it out and let me know how you go.

Time passes…

Client: I put the order through again and it still failed! Are you taking this issue seriously? We need to balance our books.

Me: Did you edit the order like I suggested, or put through an entirely new one?

Client: I put through a new one! You need to fix this!

Me: I know we need to fix it, we’re working on it. In the meantime here are the instructions again on how to edit one of the failed orders so you can get the order processed and squared away.

Later on…

Client: I’ve tried putting the order through again, and it still failed. We are seriously reconsidering our business relationship with your company!

Me: Do you mean you edited one of the orders like I showed you and it failed?

Client: No, I put through a new one! The checkout needs to be fixed NOW!

Me: We’re working on that, it’s a very complicated issue and it’s taking time to resolve. You haven’t received any other problematic orders and if you follow the instructions I sent you can get the order corrected and processed. Let me know if you need a hand with it.

This morning…

Client: I put the order through again and it didn’t work. You need to fix this NOW!

* * *

Is it wrong that I’m having fantasies about heading over to this client’s place with a rocket propelled grenade launcher?

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