Mood Swing

Some days you’re up, and then some days you’re down. Thursday and Friday were good days, but I woke up on Saturday morning with my throat hurting and a distinct sense of crap running through my head; Sunday morning bore it out and it appeared that a full-fledged cold had struck.

Now I’m not blaming anyone – it was my own damn fault for forgetting so readily how cold Melbourne actually is at this time of year, and not packing appropriately. But come work this morning, all that postiveness and relaxation I’d aimed for, and even partially achieved, were totally wiped out, negating completely the value of taking a few days off. All I want to do now is take some more days off.

I did however carry away some valuable conversations, and some insights, however brief, into life, the universe, etc. It’s those things that you reflect on later as showing your signs of maturity approaching, of growth on an emotional level instead of merely phsyical. Occasionally, because of all the wonderful people that surround me, I feel wise beyond my years, and I don’t think I thank people enough for sharing their world with me.

It is perhaps appropriate that Monash University’s emblem has the words “Ancora Imparo” on it, because it really does apply, even beyond university – “I am still learning.”


Officially a Bachelor of Computer Science Degree holder now, and thus can finally claim the term bachelor in all ernest. Or something to that end. Very exciting day, either way. If anyone ever says “oh there’s no point going to graduate”, tell them… well, tell them they can skip their own if they really want. Don’t skip yours, no matter how bad that gown/hat looks on you! (looked terrible on me, I know that)

Congrats to all my fellow graduating peeps – the quick run down the list gives shoutouts to Brendan, Chris, Li-‘Chingy’-ching, Kevin, Gareth, Fay, Eugene, Happy, and all the rest of them random semi-strangers who look so familiar but through my lack of effort over the years, alas, unnamed.

Update: Photos up on flickr

The Letter Writing Experiment

I’m in the middle of an experiment right now: writing real letters. It all came about because of a movie which featured letters prominently as a plot device, and the discussion that followed in my family about how letters used to be the only way to communicate across distances. Telephones reduced that, and email has virtually eliminated the need to send a letter which is not business related.

I left that in my ideas drawer for a bit, noting it as something to perhaps come back to in the future. (I don’t actually have an “ideas drawer”, it’s more the abstract concept.) A few weeks ago, I picked up the book White Mughals, which is about the East India Company and its rise in the late Mughal era of India – nicely historical, engagingly written book. I noticed that the primary sources for so much of the writer’s information was letters (other sources like journals also cropped up). That got me thinking… what would the historians 200 years from now scour over? Google’s old decaying datacentre hard-drives? An that was bigger than the ‘operating net’ itself? History rarely records the emepheral things such as conversations, and one could say quite easily that emails etc are just digitized conversations, not letters in the same sense they were 200 years ago.

So I hit upon an idea: why don’t I do some letter writing? =) I’d send it to some friends, see if I got a reply, and if things got interesting we’d have a bit of a correspondence going.

It would be conceited of me to say that I want these letters to preserve somehow a snapshot of life as it is now, and that perhaps a book would be written in the future on the basis of my letters. It is far more likely that the net will endure, in some form, and that this blog or my emails are more likely to survive in the great archive, to be indexed and searched and cross referenced by increasingly smarter programs. But, well, there was a bit of a novelty to the idea of writing letters – something which perhaps 10 years ago would have been considered far more normal.

I don’t even know how to write a letter in the conventions of those who’ve gone before – I know how to write a super-serious business-related letter, and I can recall some conventions when writing a letter to relatives, but that always felt a little too formal, a little too serious. I tend to write my letters as I would emails, albeit longer and more stream-of-concious because I can’t go back and edit them like I could a long email. I’m using the techniques of writing double-spaced I learnt so well in year 12 because my handwriting was atrocious, and hasn’t really gotten better the more I’ve used computers nearly exclusively to write things. Occasionally even I can’t decipher my own writing, which is kinda tragic.

So, perhaps expect a letter from me, or at least a message asking for your address =)

Update: Writing letters takes much longer than I thought it would.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible 3

Watched M:I:3 last night. First impression within 30 seconds of the start: Wow, get a bloody steadycam or tripod, will you? Yeesh. I don’t know what makes film makerst think a camera shaking like crazy, at an unecessary time (i.e. when the action is mostly static), is somehow “modern” and “cool”. All it does is make me want to close my eyes before I get a headache. Also, most overused plot technique in movies these days: the flash-forward, or perhaps half-movie-is-flashback-from-first scene. I don’t know which movie did it first – Fight Club is the first example I can remember – but now it’s just getting predictable – “Oh look! First Scene and we’re in the thick of things and we the audience have no clue what’s going on! I know, we’ll wait for the plot exposition.”

On to the movie itself, or the what meat there is to it. There’s little to no reference to the past movies, especially MI2. Ving Rhames is back, which is always good, but somehow you feel there should be a little more history in there. MI3 also lacks the tension that was there in the first, which made it a hit in the first place. It was all a little more cloak and dagger then. MI2 moved towards the action end of town, and now it’s virtually an American Bond With A Team. Also, some of the setup is ludicrously weak. It was 2 hours long, but at times you believed they made up the plot in less time than it took for me to get the popcorn at the candybar.

Utterly unbelievable, but Seymour-Hoffman puts in a great performance, and Maggie Q, Keri Russel & John Rhys-Meyers totally underutilised. Morpheous looks old and fat, unfortunately. Good laugh from “We Are Family”.


Cow Tiger Sheep Horse Pig

Some of you may have seen this email before; supposedly, it’s got the wisdom of the Dalai Lama in it & what-not, and part of it is organising a list of animals “by your preference”. If you’ve ever been asked a question which is more random or left-field than that, let me know.

The idea is that these animals reflect your priorities in life. Somehow. Let’s go through this list. If you don’t want to be spoilt for when this email pops in your inbox, look away now.

Ok now the freaks are gone, we can get on with things.

  • Cow: represents Career. I dunno, cows never represented much to me. Some might consider cows “food”, or perhaps “milk”, or even “environment”, but Career? I’m noticing something with these animals – they’re all from the chinese zodiac (aren’t they? Tiger throws out “common domestic animals”). Maybe this email was written in 3000 BC when cows were pretty integral to careers in ye olde China. Wild guess here.
  • Tiger: represents Pride. Hmm, maybe. If you’re a hunter, having a tiger’s head over your hearth is one of those matters of pride, but quite clearly over the years has had an effect on the tigers themselves. And if you’re going to say pride, why not say Lion? King of the jungle et al? Feeds back into that idea of the Chinese zodiac, y’see? Either way, I don’t buy how a tiger is somehow linked to your perception of pride, especially in the era of emails
  • Sheep: represents Love. If there was one animal I had to say did not represent love in any way shape or form, sheep would pretty much have to be it. I don’t know about you, but an animal which is reknowned for its uncanny ability to look like all the other animals of its species doesn’t exactly put me the romancing frame of mind. Maybe something in the Chinese zodiac suggests sheep are particularly associated with love & all that, but it’d have to be a bit of a curveball. To say the least.
  • Horse: represents Family. See, sheep I might have bought here. Cow, even, what with the whole herds. But Horse? Family? That’s illegal practically everywhere you go, my friend. That Chinese Zodiac has got something to answer for.
  • Pig: represents Money. Greed, gluttony, piggy banks… ok, this one I can kinda buy. But since I can’t make a joke about the chinese zodiac here, I’m just going to say: what happend to the other 7 animals?

Next week: my next random email in my inbox! =)

MacBook released

So Apple’s dropped the MacBook as expected, albeit well before their announced expected time last year. And as you may well know, I’ve been keeping an eye out for the MacBook for a while now… so it’s decision time =)

It’s really a no-brainer. I can afford the higher-spec 2Ghz machine, and even do up the options a bit. What I really don’t get is why Apple is charging over $200 more for a black box. Once you’ve up-spec’d your white 2Ghz one to 80GB, you’ve got the functional equivalent. I don’t get it. It’s like they’re saying “We know you want black. But you gotta pay for it.” – or is it? Is it something like the black one gets hotter so there’s an extra $200 of cooling in there?

Anyway, I’d also like a recommendation – go with 1GB memory? it is shared with the graphics. I’m already going with the 80 GB drive. Finally, should I wait until I can claim duty-free? Can I claim duty free? (coz that’s a $200 saving, and I am looking at a camera too). If you’ve got answers, let me know.