Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081020


Well are we having fun yet? We are back with yet another of our “on again off again” missive.

To those readers (yes there are more than one) who scurrilously suggested that it was Single Malt rather Midsomer Murders that was responsible for last weeks absence in the inbox. I must fervently deny this unfounded accusation. And further am quite happy to come around and drink yours anytime (Oban is the current tipple of choice)

Moving on, Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens wrote a wonderful article about –
“Every successful society needs its Bohemia, a haven for the artists, exiles, and misfits who regenerate the culture. With the heart of New York’s West Village threatened by developers, London, Paris, and San Francisco have a message for Manhattan: Don’t do it!”

This was another of those synchronous events, I had a coffee with MFI (My Friend Ian) in town earlier in the week and as we chatted about music, bands we are listening to and some businessy things, I though about just how long we had known each other and how all the suburbs(Carlton, Fitzroy etc) had gentrified and wouldn’t let us in these days. We would lower the tone.

Then again we can both afford single malts and guitar strings these days, so change isn’t all bad.

Have a read of the article it’s an interesting if unfunny read.

Otherwise it’s time to get on with the sillies…
TED Talk of the week: Stefan Sagmeister (a very cool designer) delivers a short, witty talk entitled “Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far,”. It’s about life lessons, expressed through surprising modes of design (including his infamous inflatable monkey).

There is a nice article about him in the International Herald Tribune.

And in a wonderful piece of synchronicity Jools sent this along.

Just priceless.

I was sitting there this afternoon and suddenly the thought “They’re voting for the wrong Palin, they should get Michael Palin instead of Sarah” popped into my brain, rapidly followed by the thought “Someone else will have thought of this”. I was right.

A quick look at Google turned up this, John Cleese on Sarah Palin
and this from the “Michael Palin For President” website. Put down your coffee before watching this one.

Eye Candy? The Boston Globe has a photo blog that highlights a mix of current events and lesser-known news stories through some awesome high-resolution pictures that are sourced from AP, Reuters Pictures, Getty Images, NASA (check out ), and other private photographers.

Time Magazine also has a similar idea, each photo essay includes a collection of 10-12 pictures that narrate (in text and sometimes you get audio) a story related to current news events. I really liked The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta,29307,1848313,00.html

Last up is the ever astounding National Geographic. Lets face it, they really do set the bar awfully high. This is the place to go if you need a daily dose of photos from the world of science, nature or the animal kingdom.


From The Wall Street Journal Tech Diary (via Make), there is a video profile of Andrew Schneider, a tech artist from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. It’s called “Making of a Performer -A performer takes electronic tinkering and DIY-angst to a new professional level as WSJ’s Andy Jordan discovers in Tech Diary”.

I really was intrigued by Andrew’s stuff when I spotted his technologically augmented performance stuff earlier this year. His blog is at

The “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Jools wrote up “The Lovely Sparrows”, an indie pop outfit from Texas, sparse arrangements and a slightly eerie feel. My pick would have to be “The Secret Machines” really yummy and surprisingly interesting. Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Flash Game Dept: BoomBot is one of those impedimentia that when you write about it, it just sound stupid (really, really stupid), fortunately when you play it, the whole thing is a hoot. This is a game where all those episodes of Mythbusters blowing things up will finally come in handy, yep you try to blast your robot character to the goal door on each level.

Simple huh? Just flail around and blow things up. Well no. It starts out simple enough, but soon goes to hell in a hand basket as you have to dodge stuff, such as rubber blocks, boxes, and even explosive things like oil barrels and boxes of TNT (yaay Level 3), each of which obviously behave just how they like. So you bung down your bomb (you can control the bang by holding down your mouse button and the bomb gets bigger or smaller) The fun(?) is trying to get the timing right. You are so going to hate me for this one.

Well that’s enough for this week.

Have a good one.


{Currently listening to Show Of Hands and Ametheysium }
{Currently reading: Stephen Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think”}
{Quick Status Check: Hell, is once again an aspirational option}
{Crop Circle Status: None: Only 193 Sleeps until we do it all again. }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081006


Every so often I have one of those ‘eureka moments’, my favourite this week was when I discovered that Rolling Stone still had some bite left.
My favourites are the hockey rink and the meth labs.

And Time had a photo essay on the Francis Bacon Exhibition from London’s Tate Gallery. Damn he was a scary dude.,29307,1846249,00.html
There is also an article that goes with it.,29307,1846249,00.html

Which brings us to the high point of the week, Jools and I managed to meet for lunch and then went to the Art Deco exhibition at the National Gallery. It was brilliant. Not take your breath away brilliant funnily enough. I think it is because the Deco look is still all around us and seems to do a comeback about ten minutes after it goes out of fashion. But there were some really nice things to look at.

Sadly there was only time to do one video of MFI’s Lomond gig. But I picked a new song at least.
If you get a chance check out Ian’s “Bland on Bland stuff. It’s really interesting where his head goes

So on with the sillies…

Lets begin with some IP madness, my favourite laugh of the week is that The Pirate Bay (another group of people who are having just way too much fun) in response to a report from Swedish book publishers about how they scraped TPB’s results for a period of time and noticed that 85% of Sweden’s best sellers could be found on the site, the folks from TPB are threatening to sue the publishers for copyright infringement. Hypocritical? Of course it is. But the publishers don’t have a really strong grip on the moral highgound either. It’s merely making the point of just how silly copyright laws are. The lawsuit isn’t so much hypocritical as it is pointing out the absurdities of such a system to those who seem to think that copyright systems make perfect sense.

The Pirate Bay Clashes with Book Publishers

and the other gem is IBM has applied for a patent on a process for identifying markets where there isn’t much patent coverage. Yes, think about the recursive silliness here. The application describes a process for looking for so-called “white spaces,” where there doesn’t appear to be many patents covering a topic in a patent database. Just priceless

TED Talk of the week: I was so blown away by architect Liz Diller and her firm DS+R’s more unusual work, including the Blur Building, whose walls are made of fog, and the revamped Alice Tully Hall, which is wrapped in glowing wooden skin (Having seen the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall on the news last week , they seem to be playing with the same ideas). I love the way she vandalises a gallery with a self destructive robotic drill.

Some odd bits of “Blame”.
Jools pointed out that the Ignobles were last week.

and sent along this priceless number

Next up is AndieL (who we haven’t heard from in a while)

” MMI for you….
Yes it does.
Click here:

AndieL “

It’s seriously good fun.
And lastly from CraigH

A bit of mind candy.
Will there be a Qld version featuring the good old Bjelkemander?
Craig “

This based on America, but as Craig points out, we have our share of it as well.

John Lydon more popularly known as Johnny Rotten, yep that’s right the lead singer of the Sex Pistols and later on Public Image Ltd. (PIL) {note to self: Load “Rise back on the MP3 player}, has made his first ever television commercial, an ad for Country Life butter. I’m barracking for the cows. watch the ad – you will too.

I will confess to be ambivalent about Neil Gaiman’s work. It doesn’t excite me in the way a new Neal Stephenson book does (anyday now) but the ideas that he writes about have a great way of hanging around in my head (Neverwhere as a case in point) and surfacing ages later and then I will go “Cool”. Weird huh? So this is all a preamble to point out that Neil is reading his new work “Graveyard Book” book aloud, a different chapter at every stop of the book tour, then the readings are whacked online every day, chapter after chapter. I suspect that this may be a way for me to get into the guy. I am going to download the video onto the iPod and check it on the tram.

The “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Jools fave this week was “Poit¡n”, a celtic band from the Czech Republic (not to shabby either). My pick would have to be “Ladyhawk”, a nice simple straight ahead Canadian rock band, trust me. Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Flash Game Dept: Spatially challenged? Have I got a game for you. Coign of Vantage is weird little timewaster, the game presents you with a bunch of seemingly randomly scattered blocks, but if you move the cursor on the screen, shifting your vantage point, you can find a point at which an image takes shape.

OK, you aren’t going to get it in a minute but it is suprisgly good fun, luckily the game gives you hints on the first few images. Try starting with your cursor in the center of of the game screen, then move slowly. The game is to try to reveal as many of the images as you can in 5 minutes, and you earn back time for quick identifications. Perfect for your Monday Morning/
If you are prone to motion sickness, proceed with care.

Well that’s enough for this week.

Have a good one.


{Currently listening to Warren Zevon and Missy Higgins}
{Currently reading: Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge }
{Quick Status Check: Hell, its daylight saving again. what already? (insert rude word here)}
{Crop Circle Status: The total for September is now 8 and in a last minute stand on the Avebury Down, the aliens have seen the 2008 season off with a very pretty one. That would seem to be it for this year but we shall just have to wait and see. }