Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20070625

Well the the Spectrum & Ross Ryan gig has been and went, it was a good gig. There is a review at and a review of my new favourite toy, a Zoom H4 recorder at

On to this weeks silliness.

Around the end of April I pointed out Raku Ray Guns the one-of-a-kind ceramic sculptures well two of a kind is better (ask Nigel. it goes to eleven it’s gotta be better) so today I point you towards Dr. Grordborts Infallible Aether Oscillators.
I quote from the website.
“Meticulously built to the exacting standards and plans of Dr. Grordbort, these weapons, bespangled in fine detail and with various (most likely quite dangerous) moving parts are the perfect addition to a gentleman’s study or a deterring centerpiece for a lady’s powder room or chiffonier.”
Whether or not the idea of paying seven grand US to own a limited edition anything made by WETA (crafted by the same people who designed props and miniatures for King Kong and the Lord of the Rings films), you have to check out the website. It’s a hoot.

And here as promised is a Special Illustrated Tour of Hell by roving reporter Dante, I mean really. Who knew that the whole “Going To Hell thing was so complicated. I always thought you that you annoyed the “powers that be” and they shipped you off. It turns out that the getting there IS Hell.

Even though Jools is not the official “Games Procurement Officer” she keeps sending them through, here is this weeks.
” This is a mere 10 levels of one of my all time favourite time wasters.
Jools ”
For reasons I haven’t worked out fully, this seems to work better on the IE browser.

Ken Kesey and the Pranksters would be proud of this one.
“Like many European TV channels the state-owned CT2 broadcasts live panorama / weather streams from popular recreation areas in its morning programme, fully automated 30 second pans per site with music in the background. Initiative Ztohoven, an art collective, somehow managed to inject a pre-recorded pan with a sudden atomic explosion in the midst of a beautiful countryside.”
They also hacked the traffic light icons in Prague with illustrations of drunk, urinating or ranting figures a few months ago.
The video is at
The art groups statement is at

Also from Europe, serial cereal art, a German programmer named Ben Hopfeng-Aertner, wrote in Semacode, a type of visual code that contains “machine readable information” that can be used to graphically encode web-links. Since the code is visual, Ben was able to take a picture of his 160 square meter programming artwork from an airplane and have a machine read the code to output the words “Hello, World!” God help me I am not making this up. (Oh yes that would be redundant, see the Dante item above).
And lastly some of the highlights from over at this week. Jools found a madrigal group and I had a rather “acoustic” week, well except for the death metal band. Have a listen.


{Currently listening to Camera Obscura & Windham Hill and Imogen Heap}
{Currently reading: CSS,DHTML & AJAX manual}
{Quick Status Check: Still going to Hell. But taking my Zoom H4 }
{Crop Circle Status: June: Only 10 so far for the month of June. }


Ross Ryan, Spectrum, MFI and a Zoom H4

Zoom H4 ToyNow as some of you are aware I am a toy junkie, and for some months I had been reading about the Zoom H4 and it’s brethren (actually I was lusting after the Sony PCM1 back in 2005). You can read the O’Reilly Review of the Zoom H4 Handy Recorder by Mark Nelson or just Google Zoom H4 if you are interested. I actually tried to buy one for the Evermore/F1 concert but there wasn’t one to be had in Melbourne (or Canberra) and it was too late to fly one in from the states.

Bear with me, I’ll just do a little more scene setting here.

It was a dark and stormy night… actually it wasn’t it was just a cold Friday night but Ross and Spectrum were playing at the Trades Hall Bar in Carlton. They had jointly announced the dual CD launch via their respective email lists (some a few more announcements than others… yes that would be you Ross). I actually wonder how many people are on both lists… but I digress. 10 hours earlier I had picked up my new toy (batteries included) from Manny’s in Fitzroy and having had a busy day “server wrangling” (it was a draw), I had only read the manual.

OK,I lied I took the recorder out on the tram, I’m a toy junkie remember and the batteries were included, and in less than 30secs was making a test recording. It worked. Put it back in bag and then read the manual.

{time passes}

I walk in to the bar, spot some friends (including My Friend Ian who is now back from the UK), order a drink, chat and then realised I had to setup. The actual setup took less than 90 seconds. I took it out of my bag, pressed record to arm it, set the level, (turned on the built in limiter ’cause I’m a wimp), put in the middle of the table and aimed it above the heads of the punters in front and went back to drinks and chat.

When Ross started I had a quick look at the levels figured they were a bit low but experience has taught me that it would be a self correcting problem as the evening moved on. I was right.

“So”, I hear you say ” What does it sound like?”

Stroll over to duggup and check out the MP3 samples I recorded on the concert review there (yes I am too slack to upload them here as well).

I love it, as a recorder the Zoom performed brilliantly. If the table we were at had have been about 6 feet closer to the stage and the mix a fraction better, I suspect the results would have been even more impressive than they already are. MFI (you remember him) is in a band and it has a gig next week so I will go along and see how that works as a theory.

So after getting home after midnight I plugged the unit into my workstation (it was the Windows one) and once again it just worked. It appeared as a USB drive. I just copied the .WAV files across and they were there ready to be played back in Soundforge. No fuss no hassle, it just worked.

Now those of you who read the MFI or What Bland Did Next post may have worked out that this would be a killer toy to get round the recording problems I detailed there. Well yes it would be, but next time he can take me and I’LL push record, you can’t be too careful with technology.

UPDATE: Further adventures can be found at Ross Ryan And A Zoom H4 At Capers/


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20070618


Looking forward to the Spectrum & Ross Ryan gig on Friday, should be a hoot. Bland phoned through the last of his radio bits today, he will be back late this week and doing the JVG radio show live to air the week after. it was fun getting the sound editing skills back up to speed.

The one bummer of the whole week was finding out that Mark Hunter of the tartan podcast was chucking it in and no longer doing his show on Scottish independent bands
I will miss the show a lot, and tit was probably the first podcast I ever subscribed to. So long Mark and thanks for the songs.

On to the silliness.

Jools found this great animation.

No, not a game. This is a short animation by a guy called Dustin McLean (Dustball). I really like this guys work. Worth a rummage – although some of the “Supernews” stuff he does is very Southpark if you know what I mean.

Love, Jools”

How Does It Work? Dept: Jools also found this one, I cracked up laughing
“This one one for the Luddite in us all. Ever wondered how they make the mouse arrow move around your screen? With the aid of a screen magnifying lens, the mechanism becomes apparent
Love, Jools ”
So now we know how it’s done.

Whats On Your Desktop? Or Capitalism Won Dept: Now trust me this is way way way to expensive for what it is, but the “I want one” factor is awesomely high.
Hype from the site
“Unbelievable bright images 5 megs of memory holds up to 128 individual frames. You can animate, spin, slide, flash and dissolve to your heart’s delight. All the while, enjoying the cool breeze from a chromed-up art-deco desktop fan.”
I want one.
Sick of all the hitech gadgets that never deliver what they promise? Yes? Well have we found the most beautiful desk toys for you. They don’t require batteries and they are truly beautiful
Take It as read I want these too. Especially the flying saucer
This one that Jools found
I don’t know what to say.
Love, Jools ”
What to say? I want one of course.

And lastly some of the highlights from over at this week. Jools found Clann An Drumma and I was taken with “Seems So Bright” a New York rock band and Blind Willie Mctell. Have a listen.


{Currently listening to Ryan Adams (not sure about this dude) & Al DiMeola (am sure about him)}
{Currently reading: Still doing The Troy Game Series by Sara Douglass (it’s a very thick novel)}
{Quick Status Check: Still going to Hell. Special update by roving reporter Dante next week}
{Crop Circle Status: June: Eight so far for the month of June. I like the sundial }
This wasn’t one of them


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 200070611

It’s a public holiday in Melbourne (one of the few we have left) and just in case some of you are reading this at home. stop now. You have a short week coming up after a long weekend. You will need this at work so that you can relax on Tuesday. It is a short week after all and you know how stressful they can be. I am dealing with the high stress by being slack and only doing a short one this week.

“Flash Game Dept:” Yes, I know Jools refused her promotion (?) to Head of Flash Game Procurement but she has come up with goods again. Read on.
“This is a really good impedimentia, but before you submit your high score though make sure you change the name or else Aurora will be credited with my umm I mean your score.
One to play when there is nobody else around, it could get ugly.
Jools with love. ”
Talk about stressful , this is a heart attack waiting to happen, It’s just so busy. I love it .

“It’s Winter. Lets Go To The Beach Dept:” Over in the warm and sunny Caribbean, the island of Granada to be precise, you will find The Underwater Sculpture Gallery by sculptor Jason Taylor. Maybe this is what the Australian Government will do after all the coral on the Great barrier Reef has been killed off by the climate change (that they have spent the last umpteen years ignoring).
and here we have ceramic jelly fish to go with it. These are cute in s weird sort of way.

“Back 2 The Future Dept:” When I started playing with computers you would turn the machine on, wait forever and then type in a bunch of esoteric commands and the computer would do stuff. I know it doesn’t sound like fun, but it was. Run BASIC is a site that lets you relive the era of PEEK’s and POKE’s and GOTO’s by giving you a place to run BASIC programs. All the old favorite command line and lo-res favorites are there, including hangman and HiLo. You can also write your own programs.

While on the subject of learning a language The BBC’s excellent stable of free online language courses has a fast “Quick Fix” guide for those that just need the basics. Included in each Quick Fix are vital phrases in seven different categories: Accommodations, Basics, Shopping, etc. You can download these phrases to listen to in your own time, print them out, or put them on your mobile. The BBC Quick Fix language cheat sheets come in French, Spanish, German, and a bunch of other languages. A great way to get a bare-bones introductory language course

“Bloging ’bout My Generation”. there isn’t really a lot more to say.

And lastly some of the highlights from over at this week.
Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned are “internet street musicians”, Genevieve is a “Jersey Girl”, Mink de Ville would be proud, Nouvelle Vague are my favourite find recently. And the cowboy punk of 500 Miles To Memphis. Just a another week at duggup. Have a listen.


{Currently listening to Linkin Park (the new one. it’s a killer) & Susma Hirasawa }
{Currently reading: Still doing The Troy Game Series by Sara Douglas (it’s a thick novel)}
{Quick Status Check: Still going to Hell.}
{Crop Circle Status: June: Three so far for the month of June (We were on the top of the White Horse Milk Hill, near Alton Barnes in 2000. there were remnants of a circle in that same field then). }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20050604


Last week Jools and I went to a lecture/seminar/talk put on by AGDA. It was basically a bunch of designers and the like given 12 minutes to talk about their work. It was great.
I had two favourites for the night was a dude from Sydney (they gave him 24 minutes) called Luca Ionescu. He was so up about his job (everyone in the room wanted it) and the breadth of clients and ideas. The one that got me was how they used a CNC laser cutter to “engrave” skateboard planks. Now here is where it gets weird. Last Friday there was a piece in Wired Magazine about the skateboard plank exhibition.
The other was Alex Tyers, he is an Information Designer. He had 12 minutes and it seemed like I got about 10 hours of ideas out of his talk.
I hope AGDA does another one of these. It was great.
And then to round the week off, the tickets for Ross & Spectrum have arrived, so Jools and I will be at the Trades Hall on the 22nd.

“Flash Game Dept”. Even though Jools is NOT in charge of “Flash Game Procurement”, she keeps finding some real gems. Remember BLAME her
Oi Vey. Love, Jools ”
Oi vey indeed, my score was 289. Pathetic really.

And while we are throwing BLAME around, Jools found this youtube video of “500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art “, it was doing the rounds pretty heavily this week but it’s really cute.

“I’m Going To Regret This Dept” I know I said I was going to leave the whole MAC-PC, leave the fanboys alone, yadayadayada. But then this appeared in my Inbox (thanks Jools)
Imagine if the creators of South Park did the Mac vs. PC ads.

NO EMAIL WILL BE ENTERED INTO. It’s a joke. Laugh. Oh crap.

“Silly Steampunk Dept”. Issue 2 of Steampunk Magazine is out, yes I can see your eyes glazing over already. trust me {famous last words}. Here is the hype from their front page.
“Before the age of homogenization and micro-machinery, before the tyrannous efficiency of internal combustion and the domestication of electricity, lived beautiful, monstrous machines that lived and breathed and exploded unexpectedly at inconvenient moments. It was a time where art and craft were united, where unique wonders were invented and forgotten, and punks roamed the streets, living in squats and fighting against despotic governance through wit, will and wile.

Even if we had to make it all up.”
I love this stuff.

“The Cult of Lego Dept”. From CNN “Man builds a living out of LEGO” Open the story, click on the Gallery link about three paragraphs in and checkout this guy’s work. It’s truly amazing.

And lastly some of the highlights from over at this week. I got off on a small Americana thing last week, Last Ditch Remedy, Holly O’Rielly and then got caught up in some house music by Andy Caldwell. Weird week. Have a listen.


{Currently listening to Runrig & Pearls Before Swine}
{Currently reading: The Troy Game Series by Sara Douglas (it’s a thick novel and it’s Part One of Three)}
{Quick Status Check: Where the Hell is the year going?}
{Crop Circle Status: May: A total of Five for the month of May. None for June }