Eurovision 2004

Yeah y’know I watched the preliminary final on Friday night and the estonian entry was good because the drummer guy hit the cymbal with his head, a la Animal from the Muppets.

But in the final last night I was going for Serbia n’ Montenegro. SBS really cashed in on the whole thing with a half hour each weeknight in the lead up, then the prelim plus the actual eurovision — so some songs I’d actually seen three times and in some cases that was three times too many.
But it didn’t take long to figure out that the serb n mont song was catchy. Nice chord sequence. Different things appeal to different people, choreography, costume, vocal performance – or the actual sound of the song is what makes me sit up. Plus they had those little guitars.
So I was pretty excited when it blasted into the lead early on, but then faded in the second half. Cora in germany also has a bit to say about it all, and I agree that the voting is the most exciting and interesting bit about it all. I said it last year and I’ll say it again now — it’s actually more complicated than the system we use to elect our political leaders here.

The Ukrainian song that won was kind of okay, but the costumes they had were totally hardcore and understandably would’ve earned them a few points. You could knock up a telemovie sceenplay in half an hour and still get it accepted if it included all that leather, fur and whips.

I liked Ludwig’s head from Malta:

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or more specifically his hair do – a straight haired mullet parted at the side. Very No-Wave or something, couldda slapped on a black singlet and slotted into the new york punk scene.
Moving toward the tongue in cheek ‘I liked’, also I liked Deen from Bosnia n’ Hertzagovina’s ‘In the disco’. It was kind of funny that Deen had this intensely camp singing style but also had these rather racey looking women swirling around him.

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my uni lecturer would call this scene ‘Patriarchal’
But at least it was distinctive. Interesting to hear that many of the national finalists were picked from ‘australian idol’ type shows, which seemed to backfire for a lot of countries — there was a glut of solo male vocalists. This also says something about those kind of shows (same with Big Brother) that the winners are mostly 20-something white males.
The cruisin’ down the road MOR-fiend in me also liked “Max” from Germany and his tune. Maybe I should grow my hair like Max .. hhehehehheheheehahaHAHAHAAHAAA!
I’m glad I wasn’t on acid when those ABBA puppets came on — that was horrific.

I think if the UK ever want to do well again they’ll have atomise into Wales, England, N.Ireland, and Scotland splitting in two; ‘scotland’ proper and in the north Pictland (or Pixieland — ie. where the Picts live). This way they can vote for eachother.
Then again, the Swedish song seemed pretty lame to me, but did well. And same with Spain – that song was pretty forgetable. I can’t help but wonder how much politics and the state of a country’s foriegn policy PR plays a part in it. Was Spain getting sympathy votes? Did people ditch Israel in the Preliminaries because they are being arseholes to Palestine? Did the UK get no votes because they are US running-dogs in Iraq?
What this theory doesn’t explain is why was Italy not there again? (did they do something terrible and got banned for good?) Same with Hungary and Czech republic. And why did Tango King from Finland bomb out?

dunno

Sheepdog standing in the rain bullforg doing it again wsome kind of happiness is measured out in miles what makes you think your’re somehting special when you smile childlike no one understands jack kniefe in your swweaty hands some kinf od innocence is measured out in years you don;t know what it’s like to listen to your fears you can tralk to me you can talk to me you can tqalk to me if you;re lonely you can talk to mebig manwalkin gi nthe park wigwam firghtened of the dark somekinf od solitude ismeaures out in you you’re thin uyou kno me but you aven’t got a clue you can toalk to me you can tlak toiu me you can talk to meif you;re lonely you can talk to mehey bulldog heyy rarrhr ruff ruff hey ulldog ruff he bullog hey billeffog hey bulldog hey man what’s happening ruff, what do you say you say ruff you don’t need more roorrrhh ahh ahhhhaaaahhahaa you got it you got it tha’;ts right thata’s it taht’;s man that ‘s it you got it ruff you really got potentital hahha hhhaaah ruff it you gotit ahhahhha ahhaa quiet!quiet! quiet!hey bulldog

[I wish I could claim this but it’s from here along with a copy of Black Velvet Flag’s cover of Suicidal Tendencies’ Institutionalised.]

three towers

This is the sign for my fave coffee shop in the whole Geelong area.

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It’s a reused petrol station set-up. They’ve got all this trashy furniture to sit on or you can sit outside near where the pumps used to be. That’s what I like to do. It’s on one of the main out-roads to the west (Ballarat et al.) and there’s quarries around, so there’s generally a fair amount of trucks on the go. But I kind of like that — trucks are at least honest about being noisy smog-belching things, and they’re actually doing something compared to 4WDs. And no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, the sign really does look that wonky – it looks like I did it. I didn’t, although I was there on one of the days when it was being painted.

Fyansford is on the outskirts of the city and the next suburb over from where I am. After heading down there a couple of times I was surprised at how little time it takes to get there. It was late last year when I dug the area properly. I’d just finished watching the Twin Peaks series and could see that at least through the tricks and framing of a camera lens there were several parallels. There’s not actually much at Fyansford at all: a pub, a few shops and some old workers cottages. There’s a cement bridge there built in roughly 1904(?) which at the time was the first of its kind in the world.

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On the cafe sign are three chimneys. They belong to the now almost completely defunct cement works. I know there’s only two showing in the second foto but the other is just out of shot.

But they’re going to demolish them and the first one comes down on the 30th. I’m not happy about it. Yes, they’re only cement, but they’ve got character.

I recently heard that Delphin are going to subdivide the area into 10 to 15 thousand allotments over the next 15 years. Ug. More about that another time.

More ug – it’s got to one of those periods where I have to turn off the news it’s all such a freakin’ freak show.

Three cheers for CORE for rolling with the punches and outliving the script kiddies. Core was recently messed up a couple of times by intruders, and so has switched content management systems from Nuke to WordPress. There’s a version you can have a play with here.

mandrake 10.0 review

The community edition of mandrake’s latest offering was on the May LinuxFormat mag. DVD. I got it and plunged headlong into another irreversible clean install.
It’s like stumbling into the house, blurry eyed and seeing that someone’s rearranged all the furniture, smashed up your favourite chair, ate all the porridge except for one bowl which was smashed against the far wall. With all bits of oats and dried milk draining down the wallpaper.
And then jerked off on you bed and they’re still in the bed, snoring…

The community edition of mandrake’s latest offering was on the May LinuxFormat mag. DVD. I got it and plunged headlong into another irreversible clean install.
It’s like stumbling into the house, blurry eyed and seeing that someone’s rearranged all the furniture, smashed up your favourite chair, ate all the porridge except for one bowl which was smashed against the far wall. With all bits of oats and dried milk draining down the wallpaper.
And then jerked off on you bed and they’re still in the bed, snoring…

I think it’s the last time i do things that way. It’s like the longer there is between a new install, the more I get things just the way I want them, and the more I forget of how to fiddle things into order.
But i did want to enlarge the partition it was all on because of the ever-growing music collection.

Back in the old days there were people who wouldn’t touch the .0 release of a distro because there wes bound to be a lot of bugs in it — better to wait for .1 they’d say. The way mandrake do things (grabbing the newest of everything and shoving it into the next distro) you’d think there wouldn’t be a difference between a ‘new’ and a ‘revision’. But there was because once I’d installed, there was over 700Mb of updates (bugfixes, security updates and general updates) waiting to be d/loaded — which is a lot through a dial up.

– the evolution mail client is broken. Lucky it’s not my choice for mail.
– whatever new version of XMMS doesn’t have the hotkey ‘S’ to turn on/off the shuffle feature. Damn.
– Konqueror as a web browser is getting better (Kde 3.2, and this is the one that has the Apple Safari offerings incorporated) but for me at least still wasn’t rendering pages in a consistent way. Also, there needs to be some way of seperating some of the settings out from the file manager / web browser components.

– For the first tew days XMMS was broken, so I used Kde’s Noatun, which still sucks. It’s ugly and when the CPU got busy it’d mess with the continuity of a song.

– As a seperate issue, I gave Opera 7.50b a spin but it’s still really half-baked and had this stupid way of spreading the google text-ad window right across the browser frame.

— Neat things are: in Konqueror there’s this thing that’ll render images in a folder as an HTML page complete with thumbnails, which can be easily saved and shoved on the web.
– a screen saver I hadn’t seen before that will randomly show images from a file of jor choosing.

– connectiong to the Penguin Liberacion Frente via urpmi is a must for any ‘drake enthusiast.

a strange sort

[The formation of a united front between Sunnis and Sheites reminded of what fantastically stubborn buggers us humans can be when someone’s trying to take our stuff. This was one of the first stories I wrote for a short story class ages ago, so it’s kind of fresh but maybe that’s a good thing.]

They knocked on Bob’s screen wire door last Thursday. He was rearranging his furniture.
‘Come in, come in, whoever you are,’ he chimed toward the hallway absent mindedly.
‘Good day, citizen.’ The voice came from behind, and significantly above, Bob’s shoulder. Reluctantly he withdrew from staring at the positioning of a furry, faded, floral-patterned armchair.
‘Pleased to meet… erm, have we met before?’ Without his glasses, he squinted at the blurred faces.
‘It is unlikely,’ the first said. They wore the uniform of a dark blue, vinyl jumpsuit with padded shoulders. Their eyes were hidden. Large, wrap-around sun-glasses shaped neatly into rounded red helmets that were adorned with gold racing stripes.
They weren’t smiling. Bob thought offering a cuppa might cheer the poor fellows up.
‘No. Thank you, all we require is your attention. We have come from the star you know as Sirius. We require information as to who you are.’
Bob located his specs and as he sat down, he beamed intensely at them.
‘Yes, yes marvellous! The news people have been jabbering ceaselessly about you and that rocket ship of yours. Long trip I suppose! Funny that you look just like us.’
‘Yes,’ said the second, blankly.
‘Well, any way I can help you out is fine with me. In fact I’m flattered that you thought of me.’
‘Every adult is required to make a statement, Mr. Faustus,’ the first said, checking the name off the envelope they were delivering. He placed it on the coffee table in front of Bob.
‘Instructions are included,’ said the second.
‘Good-oh,’ Bob replied and wondered vaguely if they were staring at him.
‘Good day citizen.’ They left as they came. Bob thought again of the furniture. It now appeared to be positioned perfectly. He sat in another chair, but again, it looked all wrong. Engrossed in this trivial confusion, he remained there for sometime.
Saturday morning, Bob was humming the anthem of a football team that he didn’t barrack for. He opened the envelope and read.

       Dear Terran,
We are giving you the chance to explain a little about a subject you know plenty about. Yourself! It is entirely up to you as to what you think is important. However you will be assessed on what you include and what you omit.
In the interests of a succinct completion of liaison between your species and ours we request that you return the attached notice and questionnaire to your community collection point as soon as possible.

Bob hummed on and touched the tip of a pencil to his tongue and wrote:
Well, as I say to Mrs. Percival from next door, the best place to start is at the beginning. Grew up here in Rosemont. Beautiful place, this. I used to run around the neighbourhood ringing door bells and hiding in the bushes.
Our Prime Minister said it was imperative that young men of our country should fight to defend it. That’s what I thought too, so when I was 18 I joined the army and spent 4 years overseas as an Engineer. Mainly I dug trenches. Back breaking work but I enjoyed it at the time.
When it was time for him, my younger brother, Jim, didn’t want to join up and somehow got out of it. War just wasn’t for him. He stayed here in Rosey and worked in a factory making guns. Worked his little heart out too, fell down dead right there on the production line.
Everyone thought it’d be over in a year, ended up as eight. We stuck it out though, for the good of our country. It was the right thing to do.
I came back to Rosemont with a foot shot off. ‘Little Bobby Wood-foot,’ that was my nick-name when I got back. Times were fairly hard then, most of the businesses had closed down.
I spent the days wheeling around the place delivering what groceries there were to old folks who couldn’t get out. Walking was a bit painful but I rigged up a little trailer to the back of this funny tricycle that I could peddle with my hands.
Life was a bit more difficult compared to when I was a nipper but we all still got by. The sun came up in the morning and birds chirped.
The Gipple family had a piano and I’d pick up a couple of the oldies and wheel them over. We’d have a merry old singalong. Bert would bring milk fresh from his cow and we’d have cocoa.

These days I mainly spend in the backyard or at the park. I photograph insects – magnified, of course. Folks say I must be awfully patient, suppose I am. I sit in the warmth and breeze and wait for a bug to land on the right leaf. They are suprisingly pretty little things.
I’m a bit creaky now and my race is almost run but I sit out there and it’s like I’m having the most beautiful dream. Regards,
Bob Faustus

Weeks later a message zapped through space towards Sirius at the speed of light.
Scout Captain to Command Central:
Re: Annexation of Terra:

Upon further investigation I recommend the abandonment of our mission indefinitely. The nature of this species is riddled with paradox. Individually their method of reasoning is skewed and unpredictable, yet when threatened, innate qualities of cohesion and resolution come to bear against their aggressor.
They are suspicious of each other while, seemingly, devoted to one another’s well being.
The younger generations even appear to have been expecting our arrival, yet treated our questionnaire with scepticism.
We are currently preparing the vessel for relaunch to continue our search.
YÁѵùV!

– me, 1998

airline pilot

Pros:
– unlimited supply of hotel mini-soaps and sewing kits
– cool hat
– get to boss around co-pilot
Flying High II
– chance to sate radio DJ aspirations via in-flight announcement system
– can blame all abnormal behaviour on occupational stress
– those things practically fly themselves these days

Cons:
– get bossed around by air traffic controller
– that ‘screechy’ sound tyres make when landing
– that ‘scrapy’ sound fuselage makes when tyres fail to deploy
– running out of petrol
– not a strong swimmer
– being a vegetarian makes resorting to cannabalism extra hard
– skyjacking: generalised perception of perps is that they’re not known for their personal hygene — compounded by confined space. (Nb. could be false assumption)
– get called ‘glorified bus driver’ by people

panic among the mushrooms

Passing on one such dramatic message to the world via Howard was evidently not enough, for the aliens repeatedly abducted him, which became rather tiresome. Later, however, he stumbled upon one of the few effective defenses against alien abduction: he discovered alcohol. When the aliens grabbed him from his college room one night he was in no mood to co-operate. Although he was happy enough to lie on the examination table, when they started fiddling about with him he got up and protested. The aliens tried to calm him down, but he would have none of it and stood unsteadily in the middle of the room making wild karate movements. The smaller aliens cowered against the wall while the tall alien tried to reason with him, but with no success because Howard was fighting drunk. The tall alien then stared deep into his eyes and the next thing that he remembered was that he was standing on the college lawn, about a mile away from his room, in his underpants.

the google ipo

I hadn’t bought any computer magazines for ages but saw this copy of Wired with google plastered all over it the other week. I got a 4000 word assignment coming up next month

I hadn’t bought any computer magazines for ages but saw this copy of Wired with google plastered all over it the other week. I got a 4000 word assignment coming up next month

and it’s got to be on some communications company and maybe google would be interesting.
I’m no business economics guru but the vibe i was getting from the article about how Initial Public Offerings go was that it sounded like a huge pain in the arse to be part of.

It’s funny — a while back I was thinking there’s almost no chance that I’ll ever be absurdly wealthy because I’m reluctant to get into a) fucking people over or b) fucking the environment over — and essentially all major enterprises do that in some form. This of course only leaves c) winning tattslotto … and I never buy a ticket.

But I was trying to pin down how it is that Google, as an enterprise is exploiting people or planet, and essentially they’re not. They treat their staff well — or at least this is the impression that pervades. Apparently their hardware philosphy is many and cheap boxes, so maybe they’d have to look into a friendly way to recycle or dismantle the machines when their time is up. But this is way-small fry.

So why is it that this one company can be so successful outside of the mainstream way of doing things? What do they have?
Answer = Good ideas. Some in the form of code – their PageRank system. The only weakness with ideas being your capital is that someone might possibly come up with a better idea.

I was wondering why they’d have to have an IPO at all. If it was me I’d be inclined to take the money and split — who’d want to go to all those stock holder meetings? Anyway, I read this today. Very interesting. Of course people will still throw money at them like crazy. I thought the little bit – a clause they wrote in, “don’t be evil” apt to what I’d been thinking.

Google adsense is a really amazing kind of development too when you think about it. Probably worth a whole post itself, but essentially, if communists were going to have advertisements then they’d probably look like those little text ads.
I mean – all things that are screwed up about advertising are removed – the way it denigrates people, and presents unrealistic representations of people, makes you want things you don’t need and screams in your face. You could say it takes all the art of it out too, but I can live with that.

There’s not even the option to be briefly wordy-clever. The text ads are just stating the ‘facts’. Maybe then the lying is done by the actual website that the ad. links to though.

We’ll name her Minnie Pearl

Boy it sure sounds like a lot more fun being a girl in a punk rockin band touring the US than being me. Here is a well written weblog that’s interesting too. The trouble is that the interesting material of being a full time student maxes out at getting squashed in the compactus, getting jazzed up on long, black coffee and sticking stuff in the electric stapler at the admin office window and hearing the example of ‘airline pilot’ used several times in a lecture and thinking, “maybe I could be an airline pilot”. Also, getting an inchworm on a textbook:

there’s one just like this on sesame street except it’s got orange stripes<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/3634660139/” title=”20040503_INCHWORM by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3315/3634660139_637dc4d99f.jpg” width=”190″ height=”440″ alt=”20040503_INCHWORM” /></a>

So what does a punk band listen to in the van while transiting between cities? Steely Dan.

There’s some good stories and photos of women in aviation at the 99s site. I’d never heard of this organisation before — although it is yankee, it’s also the kind of thing there’s probably a million discovery channel style docos on too. News to me though.

Those cwazy catholics are up to no good again, and this time it’s got to do with racing turtles and spinning rats. I heard about this on the radio so I don’t know if it hit the big internet sites. An article here.
Sidetracking from there, check out the fantastic merchandise here, including a book titled, Hitler: goose stepper and goose eater.