Monday, November 14, 2011

Busy busy busy

Well, this blog has gotten very few updates.

No surprises there. The new job I mentioned in Spetember had been flat out. I haven't had time or energy to do other things.

So there were no posts at all for October - very remiss of me. The reason the new job had such a sudden workload increase is that I was originally hired to be an assistant to the existing IT guy. About two weeks into it, he said "I'm outta here" and quit.

That left me as the guy in charge and with practically zero documentation! Had to spend a long time working out passwords, what systems we had and every time I turned around there was something else new which I had to deal with.

So long story short, I'm almost on top of things now. Got plenty written down and whoever replaces me will be able to do in about six hours what took me six weeks to work out.

So now I should have enough time to do other stuff, like work out and take photos.

*fingers crossed*

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


My unofficial goal this month was to make more blog posts than I had in any previous month this year.

Fortunately it is a fairly low goal (9), unfortunately I am in danger of failing - but for good reason. Been working some pretty long hours and staying off the computer when I get home since I spend all day at a computer.

So it's good and bad that I haven't been making as many posts as I wanted.

Tomorrow not working, so hopefully make a longer post then.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

And ... gainfully employed

Had a successful interview today. I start the new job on Monday (yay!) at 8am (boo!). There's the usual 3 month probation period, which will hopefully go well.

The main thing to consider is to focus on doing the job right to the best of my ability. Later on down the track I will be able to worry about other things like what to spend money on (fuel, food, bills...) but only after I actually start getting it.

No more day dreaming.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time to grow up

Today, I am an adult.

There are no real ways in todays society to declare when an individual stops being a child and is considered an adult by the rest of the community.

It used to be that there would be a ceremony or an achievement or even just getting married. But in todays society even getting married does not mean that a person is an adult. But these days, we as a society spend less effort on teaching and raising kids and providing milestones for them to achieve.

Today, I finally got around to selling my LEGO® collection.

It might not sound like much, but it broke my heart to do it. It had been sitting in five or six boxes, packed away since we moved from the old place to this place ... over two years ago. There is a bunch of stuff I wanted to build but never got around to. There was a lot, stuff going back to the 80's and some new sets. Even some catalogues from the 90's. There was even a bunch of bits that were new and still in bags! I don't know how long it had been that I hadn't played with them at the old place either. And it does not seem that I was going to use them anytime soon either.

So I decided it was time to man up and get rid of it. Better that some new young person play with them rather than them sitting in boxes unloved. I sold the lot to a friend for a couple of bucks. I could have gotten more on the open market but I didn't want to go through the hassle of selling over the internet. Like removing a bandaid - pull it off quick rather than drag it out.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11 They knew it then, it still applies now.

I know I'll regret this at some stage, but it is time to move on. I hope the new youths who receive them play with them and love them as much as I did...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

At a crossroads

I have an offer in hand. Not sure about all the variables, but need to make a careful consideration. Conditions and pay seem okay, but not in a market I'm comfortable. Not sure which way to go, but options aren't coming in too hot or fast. On the plus side - no dealing with the public! On the downside... need to be discrete.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Not time poor ... just need discipline

It is a common complaint that almost everybody makes at some time or another - I haven't got enough time.

Be it for family, creative endeavours, the cat or whatever - at some stage there will come a time when 24 hours just does not cut it.

In my case it is for writing. However, my biggest problem (as I have identified it) isn't that I don't have enough time. It's that I have poor time management and don't have the discipline to focus on what I want to do when I have the time.

I'm hoping that by getting myself making more updates to this blog (even though I don't have much of interest to say) I'll be able to get more into the habit of writing. I'm aiming for every day, though I've already missed one day - and I'm only three days into it. Though having said that, there's no reason why I couldn't update twice in one day. Assuming I actually had something to say!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ideas are the start...

...not the end!

At the moment I am trying to do a bit more writing. Annoyingly - every time I sit down to get something written down, I just end up dawdling and doing other things. The problem I have is that I want the results without putting in the effort. And the is not how it works!

Today I wanted to get a bit of writing done. I got as far as setting up a few folders (nothing in them) and then I had to duck out and do the shopping. Then set up the new set top box. Then move a bunch of stuff around. Then do a spot of cleaning. Gah!

I just keep putting things off, for no good reason.

There's a reason why my so-called writing site hasn't been updated in over a year. And it's all me baby. I can't blame anyone else other than me. So I either need to knuckle down or throw it overboard and stop attempting to write...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Waning days of August

Well, another month is on the way out.

Have several projects on the backburner, but nothing front and center ready to go. I need to get a leg on and make things happen!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Temple at Gobekli Tepe

In Turkey, there is an empty, uninhabited region overlooked by a ridge of mountains. On a hill at the base of those mountains is a temple unique in human history.

Gobekli Tepe is a series of temples, built on top of each other over time. The oldest layer of temples is more than 11,000 years old. Do you understand how old that is?

That's not just seven thousand years older than the Pyramids. Five thousand years older than the first cities in the fertile crescent. It's a thousand years before agriculture. The builders were nomads, living off of herds and foraging.

It's before writing. So the whole thing was built by people whose knowledge had to be learned entirely in their lifetime and committed to memory. Can you imagine building a house with a group of people, when there aren't any diagrams or written instructions on length or weight? And the project took more than just your lifetimes? (Okay, maybe there were measured lengths of rope or something, but still.)

So it existed almost alone on Earth, with no large permanent human settlements. Not in the middle of a city, or even near one, or at a time when our concept of "cities" even existed. There are barely signs that people even lived at the site. It indicates humans who used it lived in nomadic villages nearby and it stood mostly empty. It was unimaginably unique at the time.

We only think it was a temple because it was full of larger-than-life statues of humans and dozens of different animals. The concept of a bigger-than-life statue indicates respect and reverence, when it was believed that humans weren't sophisticated enough at the time to see themselves as gods, or worthy of worship.

We know that Gobekli Tepe was in continuous use for more than three thousand years, and then buried. Not in an avalanche, not in a fire or storm. By hand. The entire f**king complex was buried by hand. We know from the striations of earth that it was carried in from the land around and dumped. And it wasn't destroyed first, the building was intact.

Only 5% has been excavated. It's been picked at for decades because of competing claims on archeological rights. Who knows what else is in there.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


It's a blend between Cloverfield and ET... not surprising considering it was made by JJ Abrahams and Steven Speilberg.

Not liking it...

And... the flashes arrive

So I'm back in the game!

I ordered two Yongnuo YN-460 II flashes at the start of the month and they've arrived. Tested and working, I now need to get on with it and take more photos. I know the 460's are a "cheap and nasty" type flash but they are so cheap and easy to work with.

Well, I find them easy to work with. They will pretty much only work properly in Manual mode which is fine by me, but someone who wants to use Auto or one of the Creative modes then they would struggle with manual flashes.

On the Agenda: I want to get back into writing. Not sure why nor do I have too many ideas (I keep thinking I'm creative and then proving myself wrong) but every time I listen to Writing Excuses I get the urge to write more.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Census - done and dusted

For those not in the know, Australia just had it's 5 yearly census.

This is the first year that it could be done electronically on-line, which I opted to do. Made things a little easier and the census worker (an elderly lady whom I assume was volunteering) didn't need to come back to pick up the paperwork. So we've done our bit for the cause.

For those who did the paper version or saved the electronic version before submitting it, remember that it is a $100 a day fine if you don't send it back in!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cactus V5 triggers

I received my new flash triggers! *squee!*

I bought two sets of the Cactus V5 flash triggers from Gadget Infinity. I only have one flash at the moment but I've ordered two more which are on their way giving me three flashes to play with. This'll make for a basic three-light setup.

I was testing them just now and they appear to be working properly. I was initially a little frustrated as I could get all the triggers to talk to each other (orange light on top) but couldn't get the flash to fire. Turns out (after reading the instructions) that I needed to press just a tad harder which makes the trigger lights flash green and sets off the flash. So there you go, read the instructions!

I'll probably pick up another two flashes and another set of triggers for a set of 5 flash/trigger units.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Next video clip

Hmm, this is getting harder and harder...

At the moment I am trying to get a sample video clip together, both as a shakedown of the camera in video mode and to break out the editing software. I'm being hampered on the "getting footage" side by not being able to line up dates when everything is available at once (cast, crew and location) and the editing computer is off-line.


Why is nothing ever easy? Well, I suppose if it was easy then everybody would be doing it. Well, this is where we put up or shut up. If it isn't happening then the fault must be mine because I don't want it badly enough. Time to get crakin'.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fireshot Firefox add-on DON'T USE

What a shame too, Fireshot used to be such a nice program.

What I find really annoying is that it was working fine, then the developer changed it remotely so it no longer works on my system...

Here's the skinny: Fireshot (used to be) a great program for doing screen captures. Very useful, very flexible. What it does now is demand an update, which does not work via the proper channels. It demands that you go  get an update directly from their site ( On their site there is a "friendly" click here to check your computer message which is a huge red flag right there!

If you are unfortunate enough to use the site's update, it buries malware so deep in your system that it is very difficult to dislodge and the program won't work - it demands payment!

Fireshot is deceptive. Fireshot is a fraud. Don't use Fireshot!

And I use this program a lot too. None of the other "screenshot" programs available as add-on's for Firefox were as good because Fireshot was the only one that I've found which was able to reliably capture flash elements on a site.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Computer Swappin'

Gah! Busy day.

Upgrading my video editing computer and in the process upgraded other computers as well. My old video editing computer became my new internet computer, so Ubuntu is running slick and fast now. "New" video editing computer however isn't doing so well. There are no new components, it's all second hand gear but it is much better than my old system (if I can get it to work).

Now I have a mess of components spare. Hmm, what else can I do with a computer...

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Now running Ubuntu 11.04! Runs a bit better and also get latest version of Firefox.

Had some teething issues, but nothing major. Still getting all settings and programs back up and runningbut no major downtime. Plus I have all my data backed up, so no worries there.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Extra! Extra!

Really starting to get back into film making. I missed not being involved over the last couple of years.

Now comes the hard part - finances. Working on the mines would take me away from film work, but would provide financial stability, assuming I'm not killed or injured. Film and theatre would make me happy (happier?)
but there are very, very few paying jobs in Perth.

If I can pick up a fairly flexible part-time or casual job that I can work around then that would keep me from sliding further down but wouldn't provide enough money to be financially stable (or viable).

There's a difference between living and surviving...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Starting to edit

Well, I shot some random test footage around the house with the 550d and the footage itself is pretty decent. Loaded it up onto my über computer (which is several years old, so it isn't that über) and had a bit of a play at editing.

Very frustrating to begin with since I've forgotten most of what I learnt about video editing (not to mention that I learnt on Final Cut Pro and I'm using Premiere Elements 8). As long as I yell loud enough at the computer then we manage to get things done.

Tomorrow I might make a short test film to upload and see if the export quality is good enough for putting up onto YouTube.

Work (or lack thereof)

Haven't gotten very far in my quest for work. Actually, if I'm honest. I've gone backwards. I'm about $3,000 down in the training and tickets and such that I got (which as far as I can tell, haven't given me any advantage at all), plus about $1,800 down in expenses (rent and petrol and such) plus (using my previous pay as a base rate) about $3,500 down in missed pay.

That's nearly ten grand in the hole (depending on how you count), so from that point of view, my attempts to "get in the mines" has been a dismal failure. I managed to get two automated "not you" replies out of all the applications I sent out. Could I have sent out more? Sure, but I mainly aimed at the ones that I genuinely thought I had a chance at getting. I didn't apply for any that said "need two years experience".

So what's next?

The next step for now will be to find a new job, something local. My preferences are to not be dealing with the public, but I'll take what I can get at the moment. I'm not in dire straights yet, but I think that I've spent long enough out of work now. Time to get back on the horse.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Since I've been gearing up a bit make more video content with my camera, I figure I may as well create another video clip for my so-called "music career".

I'm not actually creating any new music, but that'd be a simple way of practising using the camera with a specific goal to work towards. I want to make video clips for other people, but I need to make sure that I can produce reliably good video first. And that means practice.

I'll probably grab one of the songs from one of my albums that I've already published (despite pulling down my previous website) and use that.

As for ideas, the one I've got rattling around in my head at the moment is to get a dancer, dress them up like a ninja and have them dance around in the streets. In order to do this, I'll need to get someone who will agree to be the ninja, then get a suitable ninja-esque outfit. Simple black clothes with some black bmx armour ought to do it.

Legalities ... not too sure about the laws regarding going around in public dressed as a ninja. Might need to notify the local police station. Need to wear a high-vis vest. Having a camera out will help, so long as whoever is dressed as a ninja is mature enough to not act like an idiot - especially if the local constabulary show up.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Decisions Decisions...

Hmm, not had a whole lot of luck yet on the work front. There I was all bushy tailed and bright eyed and thought I'd be able to just waltz into a high paying job without a lot of effort.

Then I walked into the unyielding wall of reality.

It's a shame about the money I spent with RMS, I really thought that would be helpful. I'm now at the stage where I need to decide if I really want to go out there and really have a good push at getting a job on the mines or switch tack and get a different job here in the city. This kinda puts me back where I was in 2002 - no idea what job to get.

I think I need to sit down and have a good hard think about what I want to be doing.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trip out to a mining town?

Well, not had much luck yet.

Looks like the best way to get a job out on a mine is to know someone who is working out on a mine.

Which I don't. :(

Since sending out a mess of applications hasn't been working out so well, I might need to drive out to a mining town and ask in person. The only down side would be that any job I'd get out there is likely to be a job in and around the town which would mean living out there. Which could be a bit of a pain as rents are quite high out there.

It's the usual - lots of jobs being advertised but everyone wants people with experience. Where do they expect people to get experience I wonder?

Even the supposed "entry level" openings are looking for people with experience, which does not really make them entry level. The only ways that are "easy" that I have seen are exploratory drilling assistants. Not too sure how I feel about roughing it out in the middle of nowhere.

Well, keep hitting that brick wall until it breaks...

Or I do.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Need a good ass-kicking!

Have really got to get into gear.

In the last 22 days haven't sent out anywhere near enough applications to get a hit. If you want a job in the mines you either need to know someone in the business (I don't), send out thousands of applications or get very lucky.

I ain't that lucky.

So got to get down and get those applications sent out. They've gotta hire someone and they aren't going to hire me if they don't know about me!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Now for the hard part

Well, I have pretty much all my tickets in hand, I have my resume re-written and ready to send out and as far as I can tell, I've ticked all the right boxes.

Now comes the difficult part of actually getting a job.

This is going to involve lots of perseverance and spamming all the mining companies with applications each week until someone notices me. This is not going to be easy as there are hundreds of other people applying for the same job and each week that passes, another ten people finish the same course that I just did.

It's going to be a little demoralising, but I've got to keep bashing my head against this wall and eventually it'll fall.

Or my head will cave in, either way...

Monday, May 2, 2011

First week of "unemployment"

So should I be scared, excited or relieved?

Where I am right now: Three weeks ago I quit my old job. Technically, I quit five weeks ago when I formally handed in my written resignation, but my last shift as a full time employee of the company was three weeks ago.

Why did I quit? I could give lots of answers, but the core is that I want more money.

I was working retail and I've now got gold fever - I want to go work in the mines. The problem is that this is a rather vague sort of goal! Everyone says that they want to go "work in the mines" but there are so many different jobs one could be doing! I picked the most obvious - driving haul trucks.

Of course, there are hundreds of people applying for these jobs so I decided to make sure I was properly trained and went and signed up for the RMS course. I had to really take a leap on that one because it costs $3,000. Handing over that kind of money makes you want to be really sure of what you are doing.

I did the main course two weeks ago. That was both scary and a lot of fun. I got to drive these big 100-ton trucks around the course they have (which is really tight) and spent time on their simulator (which is really cool) where they kept throwing emergency situations at us to see how we'd react.

Two weeks ago I did the follow up training and got my Senior First Aid and General Safety Induction to work on mine sites. I also applied for my National Police Clearance certificate which I received. That means I've ticked all the boxes and I'm now ready for the hard part - applying!

This week is my first week of true unemployment. I was still listed at my old job as a casual and did some work on the Saturdays during training but I have no shifts scheduled. Fortunately I have a very thrifty lifestyle so having no income for a few weeks ought not be a huge handicap - though I don't want to let it go too long!

I spent today getting my CV up to date, which I've nearly finished and I'll be set to start sending off applications tomorrow.

Total spent thus far: $3,500 - and climbing...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Update

Still plodding along. Still need to do more exercise and manage my time better.

At this rate, if I have a near death experience and my life flashes before my eyes, it'll be a really short slide show...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Feb 14

Well, this makes 32 years in a row without a Valentine.

Perfect record.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Long day re-installing

Pulled the old hard drive out of the laptop and spent the last five odd hours re-installing everything.

Going down the list of all the different things that I need to re-install and it ain't fun. Oh well, the result should be worth it. This is being posted from Scribefire, an add-on for Firefox and everything seems to be going great.

For now...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Improving the car

Spent the day yesterday making a few improvements to the car. I'll do a little write-up on it for the website.

Basically, replaced the headlights as the old ones were really yellow and faded and installed a UHF CB. Had a good chuckle today driving to and from work listening to people chatting away.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thinking of becoming an escort...

An Escort Pilot that is.

For those that don't know, an escort pilot is someone who drives those cars with the flashing lights that follow / lead the trucks which take up all the road.

I see a number of these around and I'm looking to see if it's worth it to join them. It'd cost a few thousand in setup costs (there is a course to do [$800], modify the car [signs and lights - $1,000] add barwork to mount the signs and lights onto [$1,600] add a uhf cb radio [cheap at "just" $300]) and then there is no guarantee of work on the other side.

From what I've seen, most of the operators are independent business's who operate out of home. I have yet to find a central business that has several sub-contractor drivers working for them.

The other thing against me is that many of the loads seem to travel long distances out into the countryside. Which would mean overnight stays and eating crap at dodgy dive diners. I'm unsure if I should proceed or not. I have a HR drivers licencse, that was fun when I was driving trucks. But I like the reliability of full time work.

What I'm mostly full of with my current job is the long distance I have to drive to get to work (driving as a pilot would be different - running costs would be tax deductible) and dealing with the public. Except that driving as a pilot I'd still be dealing with the public but they'd have 1-ton steel missiles under them...

Decisions, decisions...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What the hell is wrong with Google

Well, looks like Google are finalizing their sell-out.

Oh wait, no - they were always in it for the money.

My complaint is that Google's search engine facility used to be pretty good for locating information. Let's say you wanted to buy something and wanted to read up some reviews on that product. You'd go to Google, type in the product name and "review" and you'd get a bunch of pages which people had review said product.

Today, it has become painfully obvious that this no longer works. I was trying to get some reviews on a UHF CB radio and all Google gave me was page after page of links to shopbot, getprice, myshopping and all these other crap "find the best price" sites. The worst thing? None of those damn sites actually had the product I was looking for! Just a page with "your search did not find any results - try these" and would then suggest a bunch of random stuff that had nothing to do with what I was looking for.

What. The. Hell?

Do these sites really think that if I come to their site looking for something and they don't have it, I'll say "well, I'm here - might as well buy something"? Or is the rest of the world finally retarded enough that this actually work for them?

Gah, why bother looking for intelligent life out there - there's none down here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Year, New Lens

Picked up a 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens at the start of the year.

Haven't done much yet other than take a few test shots, but hopefully I'll get out there and be taking some shots in the next few days. And this year my goal is to be taking more photos of people. I already have plenty of photos of landscapes and the cats.

Also have another website to build, more details on that once it is nearer completion.

Last thing of note is that I'm more actively hunting for a job closer to home. I'm spending too much time and petrol on just getting to work, and work does not pay that much to begin with. So far, my plan to win millions in the lottery have not come to fruition. It may help if I actually bought tickets... I'll need to check and see if I have any rich elderly relatives in poor health....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dead Tree books are dead

Well, I took the plunge and bought a Kobo Wireless.

And I am loving it so far!

It's quite a cute little device, smaller than I originally thought it was going to be. It refreshes the screen very quickly. If I hit "next page" before I finish reading the last line, I'll have time to finish reading the line before the screen goes black and the new text comes up around the same time that my eyes reach the top of the screen.

The e-ink screen is awesome, I'm loving the ability to read for hours on end without eye strain. I downloaded a few free ebooks a while back and tried reading them on my computer, but my eyes became sore and fatigued very quickly. I had to stop after about two hours. Using the internet, browsing and watching videos isn't as big a deal but reading large blocks of text for sustained periods of time is a real hassle.

There are a lot of cheap Chinese pretend readers floating around and I find it amusing that they advertise "yes, in colour - watch video and see photo" as a big selling point - which totally misses the point of an e-reader! TFT or LCD screens won't give you the "read for hours" ability that e-ink will.

Next on the list, get a case for it. The screen is (I assume) fragile and I want to protect it. It may have cost "only" $180, but it's still $180 I'd rather not lose due to something pressing against the screen...