Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080225

Well Miss Marple took forever to dazzle us with her brilliance and village similes. Consequently, it will be a quick one tonight .

Jools and I went to see “Mad Violet” on Friday night. What a great show and best of all the other act was Kristina Olsen, who was also pretty good. They are all on the festival circuit at the moment so if you get the chance catch them. I will edit up the audio and give you a listen next week.

So without further ado and an unrepentant soundtrack of ice clinking in a glass of single malt it’s time to “Allez Sillies”

National Geographic has published a quick and helpful interactive introduction to the human brain, explaining in simple terms the brain’s anatomy, some common diseases, and also which parts of the brain are lit up by smells, light, sound, romance, and other stimuli. From the site:
“The brain’s nerve cells are known as neurons, which make up the organ’s so-called “gray matter.” The neurons transmit and gather electrochemical signals that are communicated via a network of millions of nerve fibers called dendrites and axons. These are the brain’s “white matter.” ”
You may as well find out what you are rotting by reading this stuff.

I have mentioned John Scalzi’s book “Old Mans War” before. If you go to you can read about how to score a free copy of it and why he is giving it away. Very cool and worth a read.

duggup’s change of home and new URL appears to be successful (and surprisingly painless). So what’s there this week? We had the usual eclectic crop, Jools found this amazing American Irish band called “Flogging Molly”, damn they are good. My favourite this week is “Desert Mothers”, it’s worth a read. Stroll over and check them out. Also today’s entry is a band called “osh10”, it’s a long interview with them. Have a read.

Flash Game Time: Today’s impedimentia is one of those deceptively simple looking games that has those features required to kiss the morning goodbye before you know it (but as you know that is our mission here and we take it seriously). Zwingo is a game that revolves around some basic physics of balls or spheres and how they bounce off of each other. Think billiards, except the cue is a rubber band tied to a white ball that you use to protect a larger white ball from small black balls trying to attack it. I am not even going to try and describe the gameplay, it makes much more sense once you try it.
As usual we wont be discussing my performance on this one either.

Have a good one (sorry it’s short this week)


{Currently listening to Mad Violet and Robin Trower}
{Currently reading: Dreary MS-SQL manuals}
{Quick Status Check: and the winner of the “Most Likely To Go To Hell” category is? Oh bugger this I win… why couldn’t it have been Tatts}
{Crop Circle Status: It’s not long to May now (about 65 sleeps) and the games will begin again. }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080218

This week I had a reminder of how small the internet has made the world. A long time ago, Jools and I used to live in East Brunswick in a shared house. One of the sharers was a Dane named Finn. Finn was a great house mate apart from his unfortunate party piece, he would stick a bottle of Schnapps in the freezer for a week and it didn’t freeze, this is where I learnt that physics does have a place in the wider world. Rule #67 if it’s been in the freezer for a week and didn’t freeze then you can bet you are going to have a deathwish hangover. they didn’t teach us that one in high school. But I digress. We lost touch with Finn and apart from wondering about him on those rare occasions I had a hangover, life moved on, about 25 years worth of on.

The other day there was an email in the duggup mail queue wondering if we were the old and missing friends. Well of course we were. Emails have flown backwards and forwards between Finn and Jools and the years are falling away. It turns out that Finn is a Runrig fan as well, somedays it is the simplest things that bring a smile.

So with an unrepentant soundtrack of ice clinking in a glass of single malt it’s time to “Allez Sillies”

We can all agree that art stimulates our senses, Hannes Broecker’s “Drink Away The Art” is a work to arouse our sense of taste (not to mention eliminating the need of elbowing our way to the bar). By hanging flat, glass containers with a variety of cocktails in the exhibition space viewers drank the art and as the night progressed, the levels of the drink containers diminished. By the end of the event, the art, itself, ran dry, and empty drinking glasses were returned to where they were originally placed.—Drink-Away-The-Art/
Yes, I am rather taken with this piece of ephemeral art and yes make mine a double. with ice.

Continuing the ephemeral art theme. “Jim Denevan makes freehand drawings in sand. At low tide on wide beaches Jim searches the shore for a wave tossed stick. After finding a good stick and composing himself in the near and far environment Jim draws– labouring up to 7 hours and walking as many as 30 miles. The resulting sand drawing is made entirely freehand w/ no measuring aids whatsoever. From the ground, these drawn environments are experienced as places. Places to explore and be, and to see relation and distance. For a time these tangible specific places exist in the indeterminate environment of ocean shore. From high above the marks are seen as isolated phenomena, much like clouds, rivers or buildings. Soon after Jim’s motions and marks are completed water moves over and through, leaving nothing.”
This will hold me for a while, at least until the crop circles are back.

On the subject of crop circles, well peripherally at least. A British farmer is fighting to keep the powers that be from bulldozing his castle that he built by hiding it’s construction with hay bales. Officials were unaware of the elaborate castle because hundreds of bails of straw concealed it for four years, the UK Daily Telegraph reported. After he unveiled his home to neighbours in 2006 he was served a planning contravention notice which ordered demolition of the structure. What hope have the aliens got, with bureacracy like this, I ask you.

I finished editing a few more tracks from Rob and Doreen’s party last week
As well as “Kilcunda Wind” there is also a live version of “Crashing Into Walls” and a few of the band’s tracks. Zoom H4 recorders are just so damn cool.

Hands up everyone who has been watching “Who Do You Think You Are” on SBS. Bloody brilliant show, I’ll bet we all now want to create family trees right? But the show’s sponsor are shall we say, hmmm, a tad pricey. Well to help get your toe in the water, Kindo is a site that allows you to create your family tree online. Adding members is fairly simple, and you can invite the family to fill in people in your tree you might have missed/overlooked/never knew existed. You can create detailed profiles for members of your tree (throw in a piccy, email address, regular address, phone number, birthday, website, and you get the idea). Trees are only accessible to members of your family to view and have the potential to get quite large if everyone in your family participates.

Over at Harper Collins books they have released a free MP3 of Neil Gaiman reading “A Study in Emerald”. It’s basically a Sherlock Holmes / Cthulhu Mythos, mashup that Gaiman wrote. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft would almost certainly approve. It’s a really well done bit of work, and a great listen. Neil Gaiman tells a mean story. If I might point out, possibly not a good one to be listening to on tram going to work. your Monday may be impedimented long before you get there, as you blissfully sail past your stop and end up in Coburg. or

duggup’s change of home and new URL appears to be successful (and surprisingly painless). So what’s there this week? We had the usual eclectic crop, Jools was taken with an Australian band called “Crayon Fields” and an Argentinean indie pop outfit called “P jaros de Plomo”. My favourite this week is “Vampire Weekend”, really really good. Stroll over and check them out.

Flash Game Time: Over at the BBC’s website, is a harmless (getting worried?) piece of “impedimentia” called Microlife. The short version is you play God, and control the lives of tiny microlife, these are single-cell organisms that move around slowly. You feed them, and can train them to become warriors to defend their nest, but you have to be careful to keep an eye on your funds. They get old and die and are subject to illnesses, so you have to keep them healthy (being God isn’t looking that crash hot now. Is it?). In the early levels there are no predators, so you can raise your microlife without having to worry about the evil Catchers, but later on these predators come looking for lunch, so you have to make sure to have Warriors trained up to fend them off. Microlife is addictive. You will kiss goodbye the morning before you know it (but that is our mission here and we take it seriously).
Needless to say we wont be discussing my performance on this one either.

Have a good one


{Currently listening to osh10 and Robin Trower}
{Currently reading: Motorworld by Jeremy Clarkson}
{Quick Status Check: Hell, I’ve run out of Aberlour. bugger }
{Crop Circle Status: It’s not long to May now (about 72 sleeps) and the games will begin again. }


My Friend Ian, A Party and a Zoom H4

Ian Bland Live At BackwaysLast weekend Jools and I went to the 30th “Festival Of The Sun”, a party held annually by Rob and Doreen. My Friend Ian (yes that’s My Friend Ian of MFI fame) played as usual with his band as he has since the first party. But unusually he also did a couple of acoustic tracks. just voice and guitar so here is a great live version of“Kilcunda Wind” [audio:kilkundawind.mp3]

and also for your listening pleasure, here is “Crashing Into Walls“, [audio:Crashing.mp3] again just Ian on guitar and vocals. I really did well that night I got two of my favourite tracks live (you can checkout the CD at

Jack Rabbit and The Pubic Hares

Next up was the band “Jack Rabbit and The Pubic Hares“, this where MFI rushes into the nearest telephone booth and changes into his Jack persona complete with costumes (hopefully Jools will put some photo’s up at Joolsweb sometime).

There are three tracks here I recorded at the party, first up is a medley of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band tunes that the band did when it first started up.

Bonzos Medley [audio:01_BonzosMedley.mp3]

It’s a bit rough and loose in places but considering these songs haven’t seen the light of day for going on 30 years(back when I was a member), it is understandable.

Here are a couple of more recent tracks,

Middle Class White Boy[audio:04_WhiteBoy.mp3] more funk guitar riffs than you would believe it was possible to be put in one song. Alan Lawson is the guitarist here. Damn he’s good.

Toy Boy [audio:05_ToyBoy.mp3] I will leave you to wonder about this one. I always do.

To Rob and Doreen: Thank you as always for a wonderful evening and I look forward to another 30 years of party.

Boring Tech Stuff:

The Zoom H4 recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. There was a bracket in the ceiling so I used a Gorilla Pod to fly it above the punters heads. It was 3 metres back from the stage and slightly stage right. I angled the Zoom at about a 30 degrees down to more or less point at Ian and as usual crossed my fingers. The gain settings for the mics were on M and this proved to be totally inadequate, the first bracket was a washout. I changed to the L setting and turned on the limiter for the Second bracket. Never trust a sound check… or the guitarist. I should know better. I used to be one.

The recording was edited in Sound Forge and all I did was cut out below 30Hz (bass lift from the proximity of the ceiling) and add 3db at 1.5kHz to help the MP3 along.


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080211

One of the really amazing things about doing this is the email that I get back from some of you. OK it’s not quite “ABC? I want to complain…” but it does amuse me. Hence last weeks short missive letting you know that it wasn’t your corporate net nannies that had stopped the mail (Shades of “Stand and Deliver”) and it included the weekly Flash Game. The reason being if I forget to include a game, I get mail… not one or two pieces but 20 or 30 all with the same message “Where’s the game?” and before you know it my Monday Morning is being impeded (“Justice” I hear you cry).

But today we are going to chat about the current number one topic of email… Scotch. Well to be more accurate ice and Scotch. It would seem that the Scotch police are on my case. My crime? The ice. Yep, world poverty, the RIAA’s excesses, my weekly silliness all pale into insignificance compared to me dropping a few iceblocks in a glass of Single Malt.

Here is a small diversion (Jools found this and it cracked her up.

Lets have a look at one of the brighter pieces of correspondence that has been entered into on the topic.

Chris O wrote:
Look Thatch, I’m really concerned about this ice in your single malt and it’s deleterious effect upon your quality of life….Have you thought of freezing some scotch so you have whisky iceblock in the whisky…..?
Av a good week

So I wrote back

Thatch wrote:
And you too shall have Blame…. pity it doesn’t freeze.
Single Malt ice blocks… mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. On a stick mmmmmmmmm Single Malt granita… now we are talking
er sorry drifted off there.
Did you score a day off? or are you flogging icecream (and iceblocks?)

And he wrote …

Chris O wrote:
Floggin’ tho its hard work today…very quiet up here.
Now we have a granita machine…..if you’d like to mosey on up here with your scotch of choice we can indeed do whiskey slurpee’s.
As for frozen scotch… I’ve had it. Back in the Jacaranda Press days, I signed up the two mad scientists who did the kids science show of the time (called “The Curiosity Show”, go figure)… we did the book series launch at Channel 9 in Adelaide and these guys , first off, hit scotch with liquid nitrogen to get the adults interested….guess what, It worked?
Very Nice.
But I believe you can get close with dry Ice….an old rocker like you must know where to find some of that.
And then Thatch wrote:
This is so going in blame next week

And then Chris O wrote:
I hope u r not trying to use “Blame” as a threat….if you are, let me threat back…..I am prepared to notify the following interested parties of your dilution of single malt with frozen water {an assortment of folk musicians names of the Scottish persuasion. Removed to protect their drinking habits, oh and they were all bigger than me}
So…Owz that?
And whilst I think of it, doesn’t the addition of Ice to Scotch increase the exhaust of Green house gases into the atmosphere….Thus a multiple pollution both of the scotch, the planet and the Temple which is your body?…Oh OK, the religious ruin of interest which is your body!
One can only hope that your time resident in Geelong gave you a passion for Corio 5 star and then none of us will care about the ice.
And in case you are feeling got at……. do you know that in our house we put “Coke” in the Balantyne’s 18 yr old we bought cheaply from {removed}…feel vindicated?
Have a productive week…(someone ought to)…
Love to Jools

Now this exchange as you can see was polite, well mannered and the tip of the proverbial iceberg (sorry). It should be pointed out about now that in Scotland, Scotch Whisky tends to be enjoyed straight or with a little water, and if my vague grasp of physics hasn’t completely deserted me water and ice are essentially the same thing with just a slight difference in temperature… so what’s everyone’s problem?
For more Scotch whisky information: (as found by Jools)

So with an unrepentant soundtrack of ice clinking in a glass of single malt it’s time to “Allez Sillies”

Continuing the theme of Scotch and my intake thereof, this weekend Jools and I went to the 30th “Festival Of The Sun”, a party held annually by Rob and Doreen. Thank you as always for a wonderful evening and I look forward to another 30 years. Ian (yes that’s My Friend Ian  of MFI fame) had his band playing, and there will be another in the series of “things you can do with a Zoom H4” over at thatchspace during the week. But the really cool bit was Ian performed a couple of his solo tracks, just voice and guitar so here is a great version of “Kilcunda Wind” and you can check out some more of his work at or his myspace site.

This is an old favourite, there have been variations of this for a couple of years now but this one is a ripper. Have you ever wished a particular website would be attacked by aliens? Cut in half by a chainsaw? NetDisaster is a site designed to allow you to trash your favourite (or least favourite. Micro$cum?) website in a variety of different ways. You have a selection of natural disasters, old faves like floods, meteors dinosaurs but the one that cracked me up was Led Zeppelin. Plus there are about another 40 or so disasters to choose from, something for everyone. And in the spirit of Web 2.0 and all that sharing stuff, finished disasters can be shared via email or a link on your website. Wonderfully silly, totally pointless and a wonderful “Impediment To Productivity”

This week duggup has a new home and a new URL, people were getting confused between Not Dead Yet and duggup, mainly because we used them interchangeably. So to tidy up everyone’s life it is now just (all the old links still work, I had some fun writing that bit of code). So what’s over there this week? Well we had the usual eclectic crop, Jools was taken with Namast‚ they create a tasty piece of New Age music. My favourite this week is “Okkervil River” who are in Melbourne later this month and have a look at “Blue King Brown”. Just brilliant. Stroll over and check them out.

Game Time: Jools is currently denying having a good time searching out impedimentia, they all just leap onto her screen by magic. Sounds suss to me, this week’s contribution is quite a bit different…
“This is a time waster providing considerable entertainment. I recommend this one because it is inventive and really challenges your powers of observation.
Love, Jools ”
Needless to say we wont be discussing my performance on this one either.

Have a good one


{Currently listening to Ian Bland and Mad Violet (I have my ticket for next week).}
{Currently reading: The SBS 2003 Manual. Oh Goody }
{Quick Status Check: Hmmm, Going To Hell especially if the Scotch police catch up with me}
{Crop Circle Status: It’s not long to May now (about 79 sleeps) and the games will begin again. }