I swear…

13 July, 2011

I recently had the dubious pleasure of writing an affidavit, which is a tedious back-and-forth process involving many drafts and revision. When it was all finalised, my solicitor asked whether I’d like to swear an oath on a Bible or make an affirmation. Being a pragmatic kind of guy, I asked what the legal difference is, to which she asked, “Well, are you religious?” Not wavering from my tack, I refused to answer if it wasn’t going to make a difference legally.

The implication is, of course, that a “religious” person might prefer to swear an oath on a Bible. But let’s see what Jesus had to say about oaths. Take Matthew 5:34-37, for example (NIV):

But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your “Yes” be “Yes”, and your “No”, “No”; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

The Epistle of James contains a similar exhortation (5:12 NIV):

Above all, my brothers, do not swear — not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No”, no, or you will be condemned.

Both of those verses strongly support making an affirmation as far as I can see. This would seem to make the option of swearing an oath on a Bible redundant.

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29 June, 2011

There’s a girl who works in the same building as me who looks like the archetypal meganekko. I saw her in the lift again yesterday, but I couldn’t summon the courage to ask her which anime she escaped from.

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Fun in a Bottle

12 June, 2011

(Important disclaimer: anything described in this posting is likely to be a bad idea, and may be harmful to your or others’ health or wellbeing; this posting must not be interpreted as encouraging or advocating any activities described herein; the author will not be held liable for any results or side effects of attempts to replicate any activities described.)

It seems the trend these days is to restrict access to anything potentially harmful in the interest of protecting people from themselves. It’s irritating at best — I mean, can’t we just let the most foolish individuals conveniently remove themselves from the gene pool? At worst it’s infuriating, when you want a particular chemical for something, but there’s just no way you’ll legally obtain it. Fortunately, you can still get some fun chemicals at your local supermarket. One such chemical is chlorine-based mould remover. This stuff is great — it can be quite harmful, but it gives you a lot of warning signs before it does any damage. Contact with skin can cause burns, but you’ll get uncomfortably itchy before you reach that point. The fumes can attack the lining of your throat, but you’ll have trouble breathing long before that happens. The fumes can also damage your eyes, but they’ll feel dry and itchy first. In general, if you start to feel uncomfortable, move away and ventilate the area before coming back. It’s really just common sense.

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12 June, 2011

I was walking home from work the other night, down New South Head Road, through Edgecliff and Rushcutters Bay. I saw this car in the right-hand lane going slow with the right indicators on. They weren’t near anywhere that they could actually turn right so I’m thinking, “Where the hell do you thing you’re going?” Then they come to the set of lights at Mona Road, where they could only turn left, and they do a U-turn. I’m like, “What the fuck? You can’t do a U-turn there.” Then I notice their blue-on-white number plate proclaiming that the state of Victoria is the place to be. It was my first real “bloody Victorian driver” moment since returning to New South Wales.

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Encouraging Violence

22 March, 2011

There have been a number of self-styled “experts” in the media claiming that distributing the video of Casey Heynes delivering a smackdown on Richard Gale encourages violence. I’ll tell you who’s encouraging violence: everyone who’s said in public that Casey’s suplex slam was unjustified. You’re telling bullies, “Go on, pick on the fat kids; they have no right to defend themselves. You’ll get your kicks, and the worst you’ll suffer is a few days’ detention.” I saw a child psychologist quoted as saying that counselling is the best solution. What good would counselling be to Casey with his front teeth knocked out? Casey did the right thing: he showed Richard that he won’t put up with being humiliated, and he showed considerable restraint. I mean he didn’t even respond to the first punch, and when he snapped it was just a suplex slam — imagine where Richard would have been if Casey had gone for a pile driver. Instead of a screwed up leg, he’d have a fractured skull or broken neck.

Oh, and I saw Mrs Gale on TV complaining about how Casey’s getting all the love, and no-one feels sorry for her boy. I’ll tell you why: because you brought him up to be a violent jerk. You should thank Casey for trying to knock some sense into your brat — it’s obviously more than you’ve ever done for him. Hopefully from this day forward he’ll be a changed person, but given his refusal to apologise, I don’t hold out much hope. His excuse that he’s been bullied too is no justification. If that’s the case, he of all people should have known better than to throw those fateful punches.

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13 February, 2011

I was in Wangaratta over the weekend for a friend’s wedding. It’s not a place I’d usually go. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, there’s a lot of traffic, and parking is metered almost everywhere. It’s white trash central, too — Shepparton has a Turkish community and Kyabram has the Iraqis, but everyone in Wangaratta seems to be some kind of Anglo, and a fair proportion of them are overweight, too. I felt we stuck out like a sore thumb — Asian family, shirt bearing the logo of a heavyweight institutional broker (that none of the locals would recognise), trying to buy stuff with a black AmEx. Speaking of which, a girl at a café tried to tell me it’s a scorecard and wouldn’t work. We’re near the fat, lazy, unstylish end of the scale in Elizabeth bay, but in Wangaratta, we feel relatively slim, fit and classy. It’s just a world apart.

We stayed at the Wangaratta Gateway Hotel, as it seemed to be the nicest place in town. It has undercover parking, free Internet, a swimming pool, a cocktail bar and a restaurant. The Internet service was down for the weekend, but they delivered on all the other promises. The cocktail bar was pretty good. I mean, it’s not exactly the Pacifica at Bondi, but they do a good cosmopolitan, and it’s a nice atmosphere. They were happy for Yoshi to be there as long as he was only drinking fruit juice, which was a plus. In the end we didn’t get to try the restaurant — we weren’t up in time for breakfast, and we were otherwise occupied at dinner times. We didn’t swim in the pool, either — just saw the frolicking bikini whales as we walked past.

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3 February, 2011

More than four months later, Nic Watt has posted an fitting follow-up to the massively underwhelming Spirit Hunters Development Diary 1: the equally underwhelming Spirit Hunters Development Diary 2. Let me give you a tip Nic: being a cheap bastard and not paying artists and level designers doesn’t mean you’ve developed an “augmented reality” application. In true real augmented reality, the application works with your surroundings. For example, games like AR Tower Defence and Invizimals allow you to have battles on your tabletop; in a more sinister application, a Ka-50 pilot’s headgear places IFF markers over vehicles, and makes the gun follow his eyes.

Spirit Hunters just places models over whatever the camera happens to capture. Most jarringly, there is no interaction with the world whatsoever. This is blatantly obvious towards the end of the first diary instalment: you get and idea of the distance between you and the spirit, but then this is blown away when the image just slides over the top of the couch. Suddenly, you realise that the spirit must be a lot smaller and closer than you would have believed given how much it seemed to have receded when it was running away, and how much it moved across the field of view when the user turned around. The spirits look like plastic cutouts hanging in the air. The perspective and lighting don’t look realistic in the slightest. Why is the spirit always facing right at you? It doesn’t turn tail when it tries to get away. It just doesn’t look right to see it slide around the screen like that.

Nnooo is the archetypal shovelware company. Everything they produce is optimised to minimise creative effort. Pop is nothing but a virtual roll of bubble wrap, and not a very satisfying one at that. The graphics are bland, and the gameplay is repetitive. myNotebook and myPostcards may as well be built developer examples, and the only design work involved is drawing sheets of lined paper (on a side note, I don’t buy the excuses about not supporting exchanging postcards within the app — if that were the case, DragonBall Origins wouldn’t let players exchange virtual items).

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6 January, 2011

The back wall of Coles supermarket at Edgecliff is lined with open-front refrigerators. Above each of them is an illuminated sign that says “Chilled Foods” in large, high-contrast text that can be read from metres away. Well thanks, Captain Obvious! I never would have guessed that food in a refrigerator would end up cold! How about some helpful category signage? You could have signs that tell me where I can find “Cheese”, “Milk”, “Yoghurt” and “Pro-biotic Drinks”. Did it never occur to you that people would appreciate knowing at a glance which fridge they need to look in? I guess that’s just a bit too complicated. Or did you think I need the mental stimulation provided by searching for my food? I’m not a zoo elephant in danger of going mad with boredom, and I think I’ve lost touch with my hunter/gatherer instinct. If you make grocery shopping easier, I’m less likely to get frustrated, leave without buying anything, and go down the road to Woolworths.

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h4xx0rz paradise

14 September, 2010

I take a scan of the subnet where I pwned my first n00b
I take a look at my life and realise it’s pretty good
’Cause I been crackin’ the world from my seat
And even my girlfriend says that my skillz are l33t

I ain’t never op’d a ’tard who didn’t deserve it
Plus O on a luser — you know that’s unheard of
You better not flood, or exceed the max ping time
Or you and ya’ node’ll be hit with a G-line

I really hate to flame, but I gotta’ troll
The lamers bite, that’s where I get my l0lz, fool
I’m the kinda geek all the k1dd1ez wanna’ be like
Writin’ ’sploits through the night
By the pale L.E.D. light

Been spendin’ most our lives
Livin’ in a h4xx0rz paradise
Been spendin’ most our lives
Livin’ in a h4xx0rz paradise
Keep spendin’ most our lives
Livin’ in a h4xx0rz paradise
Keep spendin’ most our lives
Livin’ in a h4xx0rz paradise

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29 August, 2010

When I first moved in here, I received notice of a development application for a Japanese restaurant just across the road. There are plenty of cafés in Elizabeth Bay but we could use more restaurants, and I was excited — I might actually get to go to a restaurant’s opening night! The application was approved, and not much seemed to happen for a while, but the work progressed slowly. When the signs finally went up the suspense set in, and they were ready to open on the 17th of August — about nine months later. We booked ourselves in for dinner, so as not to miss out. Rather than a short summary, I’ve decided, for the first time, to write a real restaurant review.

Restaurant: kūjin, 41B Elizabeth Bay Rd, Elizabeth Bay, 02-9331-6077
Cuisine: Japanese specialising in udon and teppanyaki grill
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday lunch 12:00–3:00 and dinner 6:00–9:30
Verdict: some great food, but beset with logistical issues

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