Monday, October 31, 2005


More GeoCaching

Despite the forecast of rain on the weekend, the missus kindly agreed to come along with me and some mates to do some more GeoCaching on Sunday. The weather stayed fine for a BBQ lunch at Molonglo Gorge, but then turned sour as we were preparing to head off. Change of plan, the missus and the tacker headed off to do some shopping and visit grandma and grandpop, whilst us less cerebral types ventured into the gorge...
The going involved a lot of up and down, as you can see, but the views were quite nice:

Even the rain didn't dampen the spirits too much. Not finding one of the caches was a little less than thrilling, though... this is where we thought it should be:

But still, a fun time was had by all. I'll be planning another expedition soon. Note to self - remember sunscreen and insect repellent next time!

Friday, October 28, 2005


Worst. Film. Ever.


I went to see "Doom" last night. I was not expecting anything deep or meaningful, just an action romp through the cosmos. Unfortunately, even in this respect it didn't really live up to expectations. Let me tell you why:

Plot was virtually non-existent and more importantly ignored some of the central themes of the game. Acting was wooden, not helped by a pathetic script. SFX were okay but not up to a 2005 standard, IMHO. Did I mention it was a bad script? A lot of the action hinged around the fact that these marines were in it alone, no backup, quarantined etc, but they never actually explained *why* they felt quarantine was so important in this case, nor did they ever say why they couldn't bring in backup in the form of legions of troops or an airstrike or a nuke.

Even seeing The Rock's bulging shoulders with "SEMPER FI" tattoed across them didn't make it a good film.

Oh, and the section of the film that they shot as a First Person Shooter was just annoying. More like being on a sad carnival "spook show" ride, complete with the fake-looking zombie that laughs at you before it gets shot. Pathetic.

Also, the editing sucked. There were characters appearing out of nowhere because they deleted the bridging scene where they first appeared and started doing stuff like, oh, helping to carry a badly wounded marine to the medlab. Or when you get the end of a conversation about why the marines should leave an area without the initial "We are leaving now" sort of comment.

And don't even get me started on the science, or lack thereof. 24th chromosome pair indeed! In a bottle. That can be injected. And makes you either a superhuman or a monster. And can somehow "smell" or "detect" a genetic predisposition in its victims for "psychotic or murderous behaviour" - which is what decides if you're a monster, BTW.

For pete's sake - the original Doom game was about Hell breaking into our reality. Hell. This was just some lame bio experiment gone wrong. And not even in a big way. The closest they got was one of the characters saying to another "It's hell up here Sam. It's always been hell" - you see, their parents were killed in an archealogical accident on Mars ten years ago, and the brother went off to become a marine while the sister stayed to continue the parent's research. So we go from actual Hell breaking loose, Event Horizon style, to hell simply being a philosophical description of the personal despair these two went through from losing their parents.

All in all a vomitous waste of celluloid and two hours of my life that I'm never getting back.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Degree Confluence Project

Another geeky GPS thing. This particular project aims to get photographs from every intersection of whole number degrees of latitude and longitude on the planet, at least where such points occur on land. Perhaps I should let the site itself explain...

The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures, along with a narrative describing the adventures it took to get there are then posted on this web site. This creates an organized sampling of the world.

Another goal is to document the changes at these locations over time. Although we initially want to visit as many different locations as possible, don't hesitate to revisit a confluence if you're in the area.

We've excluded confluences in the oceans and dropped some near the poles, but there are still 12,008 to be found. You're invited to help. There is a confluence within 49 miles (79 km) of you if you are on the surface of Earth.

--From the Degree Confluence Project

Not sure I have a desperate need to rush out and see all of the confluences around Canberra, but you never know...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005



Okay, okay - I know Mikey Capital tagged me over a week ago (here). I've been slack. Hold onto your hats while I make up for it...

1) I'm a perfectionist, and have been for ages. A lot of people might think this is a good thing (provided it doesn't go to anal extents). However, what this generally means is that I don't actually do a lot of things, because I am concerned I won't do them well enough. For instance, writing and running roleplaying games. Which brings us to...

2) I'm a gamer, but only "tabletop". There is this distinction between those folk who sit around a table and game as opposed to those people who dress up all wierd-like and act out their character's every move. My wife does the latter as well as the former. I think that one of the reasons I don't do the latter is because of point 1, above.

3) The first thing I remember is from when my family was living in Wagga Wagga. Dad was in the army, I would have been all of 3 or 4. All I can remember is being in bed sick, there being a corridor leading from the room, red brick walls and my mum talking in another room. Another memory from Wagga Wagga include falling into a settling pond near the Officers' Mess. Incidentally, my folks met in the army, when my mum (a corporal at the time) refused to make a coffee or salute this upstart lieutenant (my dad).

4) Ferris Beuller's Day Off is probably my favourite film of all time. I'm watching it (again) whilst I write this, and I think that every subtlety of the movie is permanently engraved across my cerebellum. Every. Single. Line.

5) I love movies, especially science fiction, horror and Ferris Beuller's Day Off. Despite this, I think I am the least capable quoter of movie lines amongst all my friends. I'm really good at getting the general gist of it without ever getting the line actually right.

6) I have travelled overseas to two different countries with stopovers in two more, for a total of six overseas trips. None of these have been a vacation. I have never travelled to a non-English speaking country.

7) My current job is my third (or fourth?) attempt at a career. In college (year 12 for all you non-Canberrans) I was offered a cadetship to study chemical engineering with BHP. I turned it down to go to ADFA and be an Air Force officer cadet, where I studied science for a year and was in the pilot program. A year of this was more than enough for me so I bugged out and ended up studying architecture. This didn't last beyond the first three years (Bachelor of Applied Science) and ultimately led to me becoming a public servant. That was 10 years ago and I haven't moved since. Same department for ten long years.

8) I married the first girl I went out with for more than a month. We've been an item for more than 14 years, married for more than half of that (nearly 8 years now) and have a gorgeous baby girl after 6 quite painful years of trying. The not getting pregnant was the painful bit, not the trying per-se. As they say, if sex is a pain in the arse, you're doing it wrong... Did I mention that I love my girls to bits?

9) I am an atheist. When I was growing up, I was superficially Church of England, but my folks never got me or my brother christened. They figured that was a decision that my bro and I could make when we were older. Growing up and going to cubs and scouts we used to have prayer and swear allegiance to "God and to the Queen" but I don't think I really believed any of it. Eventually I felt quite uncomfortable about saying prayers and saying "Amen" because I didn't believe. These days if I find myself in a church, I will stand with my eyes open when everyone is praying. Seems appropriate to me. Despite my heathen godlessness, I have been raised with "Christian values", which means I am a secular humanist and have a strong belief in the basic goodness of other people. Some might suggest this makes me a sucker.

10) My favourite car of all time is the Nissan 300ZX (Z32). I have never driven one or sat in one, but I just love the look of them. Love love love. Close second is the Lamborghini Diablo.

11) I sew. This does not include clothes for daily wear, but does include garb for the SCA. Oh, and I also sew canvas coverings for Yurts. I have contributed to the manufacture of no less than five yurts to date, with plans for more. They are all used for SCA camping events. I can highly recommend the yurt as an excellent camping option if you have a trailer available (they're not quite as transportable as a tent).

12) I have a pretty good natural talent to write and draw. I tend not to exercise these skills too much any more (see point 1). I will generally complain about not having any time to do any of this stuff, but I'm not sure that is the answer.

13) I've only ever had one parking ticket and I've never been done for a moving violation. No speeding, drunk driving, failing to stop etc. Whilst I do try very hard these days to drive zen and behave, I haven't always and I think that my clean slate is as much to do with good luck as good management.

14) I'm a bit of a space and technology nut. I love my gadgets (GPS, laptop, night vision scope, telescope, torches...) and I love my sci-fi, everything from hardcore 2001 and Aliens to fluffy stuff like Pitch Black. The news that NASA was going back to the moon was some of the best news I've heard in ages. A really cool part of that is that they're planning to have six manned missions every year to the moon once they get started. Just a shame it's going to be such a long time coming...

15) Despite all this, I don't have a mobile phone or a PDA. This is mainly because I work in a place where you can't take that sort of stuff into the building, and the thought of having such a cool toy for only a third of the time (8 hours work, 8 hours sleeping, only 8 hours left for gadget) seems a little silly. I did try having a mobile phone for a while, I got my wife's hand-me-down handset and an "only pay for calls" plan with her provider. I kept leaving the phone behind and I eventually managed to break it, don't ask me how. Besides which, the provider wanted to start charging $10 per month for just having the thing. Yeah, I know I could go with a prepaid, but I just don't use the thing and the credits would expire before I used them. Really the only reason I can think of for having one would be so I could be contacted in regards my daughter.

16) I mentioned torches in 14. I have a fascination with things that produce light. It doesn't matter how many torches I might already have, I always want more. My latest fad is the ultrabright LED torches - I have a single LED torch on my keyring, a 3-LED torch for general use and a (wait for it) 19-LED headlamp for serious light application. I love the little flashing light trinkets you can get, and things like chemoluminescence fascinate me. Really should try doing some of that out of household chemicals some day...

17) I have a bent for acting and performing which, like my other artistic pursuits, I tend not to pursue. In college I ended up with two acting roles and two backstage roles, thus participating in theatre for each of my four semesters of years 11 and 12. One of the roles was the lead "Billy Bigelow" in Carousel. Years later I learned that several of the girls in that production thought I was pretty hot. I had no idea. Stupid me. Since then I have had a couple of minor roles in some short films my friends have made, playing parts as diverse as a hapless father who falls foul of a sock puppet and a street smart punky geek hacker.

18) I didn't get dux of year 7. At that stage, I didn't know there was even such a thing. But in year 7, Penny Reyenga got it, and all of a sudden I knew I had a purpose in life. I had to get the Willis Award (which is what they called dux at my highschool) from then on. What a nerd! But I did it - more or less straight A's and the Willis Award for years 8, 9 and 10. I went on to get dux of my graduating class in year 12, with one of the highest Tertiary Entrance scores in the state for that year (top 0.73 percent). After all that effort I discovered that it didn't mean dick. All those duxes and awards didn't help me at uni and certainly didn't help me get a job. I'm still proud of them though coz it means I'm a smart f***er. Maybe I should join Mensa...

19) I love cats. We've got two of 'em, and for as long as I can remember as a child we've had cats around too. First there was Fluffy, then Tiger, Pebbles, Pixie... our two boys at home are Nietche and Rorschach. I have discovered over the years that a cat's personality appears to be linked to its colouration to a greater or lesser extent. I have also learned that you can train a cat to be extremely, psychotically violent. Having Tiger around as my brother and I went through our teenage years meant that he was, well, a whirling, swirling toiletbowl of death. He got some strange ideas into his head about the pecking order in the family, especially after my brother moved out of home. Some of my fondest memories of that cat involved him leaping out from behind the lounge to attach himself with very sharp claws to my brother's thigh, bite madly for ten seconds then streak off in a flash of fur. My wife was scared stiff of that cat.

20) I have never bungee-jumped, parachuted, water skiied, jet skiied, skiied or hang-glided. I have gone caving, hiking, camping and abseiling. I have never fired a pistol but I have fired an SLR rifle (7.62mm). I would never allow a firearm in my home, despite my police friends recommending a shotgun for dealing with future suitors of my daughter.


There you go. For anyone who gets this far, I'm going to call out my bro, Bimberi, for a tag. And just for good measure, I think I'll call Capital Mum, my lovely wife, as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


My First GeoCaching Adventure


Had a great day today, out with friends and doing our very first GeoCaching. This was a fabulous opportunity to get out and enjoy the sunshine, solve some puzzles and see some parts of our lovely city that I otherwise may never have even known existed.

Location of the first cache Where the first cache started What was in the cache

Our first cache was a multi-cache. The first location provided clues to the next, and so on, for a total of three steps to the final destination. I have to say that this is a math geek's heavenly sport, as each clue involved transposing letters into numbers and then doing some quite large addition, multiplication and subtraction to arrive at the final result, then articulating this into coordinates for the GPS unit.
The second cache was somewhere up there

Second cache was more straightforward, just coords leading to a specific location. Still a heap of fun though, and a great view from the top of Pine Island as a reward.

Plans are already afoot to develop my own caches, including a wicked multi-cache or two. I'll post all the goss when it's done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005



This one is for Mikey.



This is for Cass.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Hobbies for the modern man

Yeah, yeah I know - it's been freakin' ages since I've posted anything. Well, that's all going to change. Now.

I have recently been investigating the 21st century, very geeky hobby of GeoCaching. This is a hobby where you use a GPS to find caches of stuff that other people have left in various places and then posted those locations on the interweb. Sad thing is, I haven't had the opportunity to go out with my GPS yet to find any caches, but I will. [Edit 27/10/05 - Here's the Wiki]

And yes, it's kinda geeky just to have a GPS.

Related to this is the concept of the Urban Adventure. One of the caches I was looking at involved going into a storm drain and following a tunnel or two, eventually seeing some bats that have made the tunnel their home. Kinda funky. I have been reading a little more about the Urban Adventure thing too (mainly from the site link, above) and these folks have done some way cool stuff. Reminds me of some of the stupid things I've done in the past, such as:

All good fun and about the only chance us urban dwellers have these days to truly experience adventure.

Oh, and it looked so cool I have to include the link here - one of the folks that gets talked about on the Urban Adventure website went crawling in an abandoned nuclear missile bunker. Wow.

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