Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20070730


Just a quick note this week, I am way behind in my work. One of the reasons is that Jools and I spent all day Saturday at a Craft and Quilt fair, and while we were out the servers I were cloning were corrupted by a power out.

Now the quilts were amazing, we spent hours checking out the details and stuff, Jools has a few pictures up at her site , now some of you (probably most of you) will find it a bit strange that I am taken by the whole quilting thing but when you think about it , this is me we are talking about. Merely strange is just an opening bid.

Whip over to joolsweb and have a look and you will see what attract me, these things are works of art that people spend years creating, one of the quilts on display took an estimated 17,000 to complete, that’s FOUR years folks. They contain memories and stories and if you ever get the chance to see early American quilts, especially the Amish ones you will see an expression of the human condition that impresses even a cynic like me.

What the pictures won’t convey is the scale, some of these things are big. Any way the show was great, the people there were really helpful and knowledgeable and didn’t talk down to “newbies” who asked dumb questions. And almost universally tried to convince to “have a go”.

I am in awe of people who can do this, if I found out how it was done it would be like finding out how a magician does the trick.

I don’t want the magic to escape.

So while Jools and I were out, the just under a million files that were being cloned from one machine to another got stopped in the middle by a power out. And then to add insult to injury the audio recording I was doing this afternoon failed.

Maybe I should take up sewing.

Over at we had an interesting week. Jools found TUN3R a great internet radio station finder and I was really taken with 1990. Check it out

So that it for this week, games, silliness and the regular disaster all will be back next week


{Currently listening to Stone Temple Pilots & Keith Jarrett}
{Currently reading: The Last Harry Potter Book. Oooh scary stuff boys and girls}
{Quick Status Check: Remote servers and no security guard to reboot. Hell! }
{Crop Circle Status: July: we are up to 17 this week, going well isn’t it? And West Kennett got another beauty. }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20070723


So are we having fun yet? I don’t know that I actually did that much this week but it really seem to fly past. I am trying to think of something to do with the thatchspace website look and feel. I have a ton of silly ideas, oh well you will find out eventually (and so will I).

Now these aren’t crop circles but they are ephemeral art. Well the art bit is something we can debate over a good single malt or two, but the ephemeral is absolutely spot on.

Flash Game Bit: Today’s total waste of time is a throwback online Flash game that has a good deal of charm, and great game play. Hand’s up those who remember the laserdisc arcade games like Dragon’s Lair or Space Ace, if you do you will figure this out in nothing flat and if you don’t well this will be a lot of fun.

Where Dragon’s Lair had high quality animation going for it, Dungeon Escape is way way way simpler but it turns out that killer graphics aren’t needed to make a cool game. Dungeon Escape has exactly the same feel as the classic laserdisc games, yet it’s all rendered as a black-on-white stick figure world.

Blame Bit: This is Jools fault…
“This gives the expression, “a bouncy tune” a whole new meaning.
It’s a hoot, make sure you have the sound on.
And while on the subject of blaming Jools…
“You know how I enjoy watching fireworks – well here is an impedimentia for those of us who fancy fireworks. You can create your own display choosing from a selection of of fireworks – select colours, set their ignition times and more. A wonderful way to while away some time.
Love, Jools ”

Back when we got our first computer, the really neat thing was that you could actually program them and make them do things that you wanted to-do (eventually), it was great fun and I actually learned a lot. These days it is really hard to strip of the “appliance” layers and actually tinker with the insides. HacketyHack is a Ruby-based development environment and tutorial lessons designed to make it easy to write useful software. The guiding principle is to “make the most common code very easy and short. Downloading an MP3 should be one line of code. A blog should be very few” (6 lines, in their example). I am having a ball with this.

Want a way to find playable mp3 files and listen to them on your computer, I found this great new program called SeeqPod, it’s a specialised search engine that looks only for media files on the Web. This is a really interesting service. You can search for a specific artist and listen to them play as you surf, the bit I love is the “Discovery” button: it lets you take a chance and listen to a recently discovered piece that SeeqPod has found on the Web. I love chance.

Over at we had an interesting week. We had a look at the Indigo Girls, a really interesting guy called Tom Langford ( I liked him) and Jools found Yellow Ghost Records. Check it out
So that it for this week.


{Currently listening to Art Of Noise & Runrig }
{Currently reading: Harry Potter Book 6 while waiting for Jools to finish
the last Harry Potter book}
{Quick Status Check: Still going to Hell. Like there’s a suprise}
{Crop Circle Status: July: we have 14 so far, going well isn’t it? }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20070716


Only a quick one this week, the ABC has put Midsomer Murders on a Sunday Night (talk about Impediment to Productivity), so you know how it is with English murder mysteries. you have to pay attention or they will sneak a suspect past you. None of that flashy CSI-verse “whack it in the nuclear thingummy spin dryer and check it for prints”. No this is old school village of eccentrics sleuthing, all the villagershave a motive and it’s never who you expect. The upside is they only do about six episodes a year now and the downside is that they only do six episodes a year now (ripoff I call it)

So anyway on with the silliness

“She Loves the Moon” is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure story that takes place on the sidewalks of the Mission district in San Francisco. It is like a 3D version of the old “choose your ending” adventure game books by Scott Adams (?) except that this story uses spray painted stencils connected to each other by arrows, . The streetscape is used as sort of an illustration to accompany each piece of text. There are two possible endings, happy and tragic, and two other points where the story can end unexpectedly if the viewer makes some less than correct choices. All up there are 4 possible endings. It won’t be long and some one will do it in Melbourne.
Act 2 - 11

Way back in the early Nineties Jools and I spent a wonderful lunch (and afternoon) listening to Douglas Adams at the Age Literary Lunch. He was talking allegedly about “Last Chance To See” but mainly about anything he wanted. Here is your chance to listen to him, there is recording of a speech he gave at Cambridge on ‘Is there an Artificial God?’ in 1998. Don’t miss it.

Continuing my fascination (OK, current obsession) with steampunk here is another gloriously pointless device. The Live Steam Hamster Wheel. I really love this stuff. I wish there was a video

This was from Bill C, an email titled.
“For those interested in celtic stone structures…
And the body said.
Well, you’re the only person I know of who fits that description…
Thanks Bill. I think you need a wider circle of friends.

No game this week. Yes, yes, I know. Complain to the management. It won’t do any good, the management blew all it’s free time on the TED talks videos (not to mention the murder mystery). I pointed some of these talks out last year and Jools pointed out that the new ones were up. The new crop is just as amazing as last years. Try Chris Anderson on the Long Tail if you are looking for somewhere to start or just click any of them really, you can’t miss.

Over at we had an interesting week. Jools found some hip hop that was worth a listen, in the shape of Keith Murray and I was taken with CAKE.


{Currently watching: Midsomer Murders }
{Currently reading: Richard Branson’s Bio. It’s a hoot}
{Quick Status Check: Still going to Hell. }
{Crop Circle Status: July: we have seven and the Stantonbury Hill one is a true gem }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20070709


Last Monday night bought the return of Top Gear to our screens. Yes I can see your eyes glazing over as I speak but trust me the show is a hoot. Silliness (always a good start), a cynical curmudgeon, pretty bits of machinery and of course more silliness. I thought the show was a serious car show and then watched one by accident (I thought Mythbusters was on) but to show you what the show is like (note the similarities to MythBusters. we blow up stuff) or here we have Jeremy (the afore mentioned curmudgeon) in a Land Rover versus a tank feel free to barrack for the tank, I did. Ahh will the fun ever stop.

Now we have all seen the grubby car with the (un)witty message like “Wash Me”, “Foo was here” or something a little stronger that would get this email stopped by any half decent security filter. Well Scott Wade takes the “scribbling on the dirty car” to dizzying new heights. Head over to his site and be amazed.

If you thought radio controlled cars were small and came from a toy store, you’d be wrong. Watch what Top Gear do with real cars.

Now back in the Seventies every one had a van, but none I saw were ever like this, is it any wonder Japan invented Transformers

Extreme Japanese custom vans

or then there’s these cars decorated with decals and paint jobs depicting anime, game and manga characters

Itasha: Pimped rides, otaku style

or these??? I have no idea. But I do like the push bike with the LED message board in the frame.

And here is Jeremy (remember him, he’s the curmudgeon) on computers.

And then there is ‘String Quartet No. 556(b)for Strings In A Minor (Motoring Accident)’. Some of the instructions are wonderful. Don’t forget to “leap over cellist”, and make “glissando using tip of nose”. It comes with helpful advice: “if arm falls off, re-attach and play much slower”,”shock therapy may be necessary to finish”… Also, notice in the fine print: “Really big notes do not exist”, and the 23/4 measure (officially unplayable) found here, I also like the first one on this page with instructions like “RELEASE THE PENGUINS” (what a great name for a band) and was “based on a Cro-Magnon skinning chant”.

Jools saw this on Top Gear and wanted one,

she also sent in this and it’s so perfect for this specially themed edition (I love serendipity).

“From your impedimentia correspondent please find the enclosed. url
Love, Jools “

So there you are thinking to yourself “I have some time on my hands. I’m rather taken with this whole car thing. I think I will build a 1/3 scale model of a Ferrari” Here’s a hint… It took Pierre 15 years and more than 20,000 hours to build this car. He learned to make glass so he could make the exact pattern lens for the operating headlights. He learned to make rubber so he could mould his own tires. His computer mainframe design background with the French telecommunications system allowed him to duplicate the Ferrari electronics system in exact miniature. It also provided him with the understanding needed to make a 1/3 scale operating fuel injection system identical to that in the full-size Ferrari. OK so he’s a nuutter but he is a true craftsman (and oh so obsessed).
and an interview with Jeremy here

Over at we had an interesting week. Jools found the wonderful Abra Moore and equally impressive Brett Dennen. I was taken with Loreena McKennitt’s new albums and Tinariwen, you really should check last week out, It was one of our best for a while (and no cars in sight).


{Currently listening to Loreena McKennitt & Ornette Coleman}
{Currently reading: Ricahrd Branson’s Bio and giving up on The Troy Game for a while.}
{Quick Status Check: What’s your guess? Still going to Hell. }
{Crop Circle Status: July: we have three and one of them is quite pretty. They obviously weren’t flooded out }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20070702

I had an interesting week this week, wrangling recalcitrant servers and other bits of electronic stupidity into place. It was good fun. There are some fabulous exhibitions on in Melbourne at the moment. The National Gallery (StKilda Road) has a bunch of stuff from the Guggenheim Collection, I get to see stuff by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Jeff Koons (I still remember seeing the puppy up in Sydney years ago now). So Pollock and Rothko aren’t every one’s cup of tea but c’mon this is a oncer (unless some one is going to send me to New York?) and if that wasn’t enough fun for thatch there is the Pixar exhibition at the ACMI . Will the fun ever stop.

On with the sillies..

The Tiny Drum Machine (now in its fifth version? How come I missed the first four?) is a music maker where you control the notes that are played as well as the tempo of your piece. Use the simple grid to pick notes to be played and drag the bar below to set the speed. The song endlessly loops, but if you are clever you can mingle the start and end of your song so that it sounds like one long repetitive chorus. For the technology gifted but musically deficient this is going to be quite addictive.

Calm down that wasn’t the Flash Game.. This is the Flash Game, once again Jools (the reluctant game procurement officer) has found another gem, this makes you almost wish the winter Olympics were back. I did say almost
“This is gross. Need I say more?
Love, Jools”
It’s not gross, it’s um? It’s Edgy (that’s a luge joke). OK I’ll stop now.

Video Mashups. We haven’t had a good mashup for ages, and until one comes along this will have to do
Just kidding, I am amazed at how well both movies fit together

While we are in video mode have a look at these “Rolling Ball Sculptures” by unigamer, I seriously love these things

And to round it all off, remember the “matrix ping pong” if you don’t refresh your memory here.

Now proceed to the more current one here

I want ninja roadies too.

OK I promise this is the last video but it is amazing.
Here is the guff from the Wooster Collective.
“Myself and a couple have friends have entered the above into the Modest Mouse video competition. Using green screen footage provided by the band we cut a simple music video. We then degraded the images and printed out each frame sequentially. (all 4133 of them) We then nailed each “shot” of 50-100 posters to various structures and posts. Then using a digital SLR camera with a long exposure we frame by frame shot each poster. Oh, and theres a little video projection (again, frame by frame on the SLR) just to mix it up. There is no compositing, no shortcuts, just lots of blood, sweat and tears, and a huge Kinkos bill!”…. Max

Any Mythbusters fans out there? Silly question. Adam Savage has written a fab article on Blade Runner at 25,
“I’m still such a big Blade Runner fan that I watch it at least once every 18 months. I also own pretty convincing replicas of the “blade runner blaster” wielded by Harrison Ford’s world-weary former cop Rick Deckard. The source material was a Steyr Mannlicher .222 target rifle magazine cover, with a Bulldog .44 carriage underneath. I can’t get enough of this prop. Now, I want a working one.”
Oh God. He’s a fan

Picture this, you have 3000 quid, about 1500 hours to fill up a chainsaw, a hammer and a 1 inch chisel and little else really. Oh and by the way you aren’t a builder or a carpenter. So what do you do ?
Now everyone, all together now. “I want it”

Over at we had an interesting week. Jools found LotSix. You have to check this out and I was taken with The National and Andrew Bird among others, It was a good crop of stuff last week.


{Currently listening to Jackson Browne & Will Ackerman }
{Currently reading: CSS,DHTML & AJAX manual and The Troy Game (it’s a 4part trilogy}
{Quick Status Check: Still going to Hell. }
{Crop Circle Status: July: 0 But there were 14 for the month of June.
Check out West Kennett Long Barrow, Nr Avebury, Wiltshire.
(We were there in 2000) It’s a ripper. The year is picking up. }