People I supposedly look like

I have, over the years, been accused of looking like various people. I'm not sure if I do, but hey. Here are some of the more accurate ones: Jamie Oliver. Resemblance: 0%.

Jamie Oliver I was once told I look "a bit" like Jamie Oliver. By "a bit", I assume the person meant "not in any conceivable way", as I do not, in fact, resemble Jamie Oliver in the slightest. I also cannot cook.

Nick Cave. Resemblance: 10%.

Nick Cave I'm not entirely sure that I can agree with my alleged resemblance to The Bad Seeds frontman Nick Cave. I can't entirely disagree, though. When I was younger, I had a similar hairline. (Now, I cling to the belief I have a hairline at all.)

Brian Thompson. Resemblance: 25%.

Brian Thompson Mr. Thompson is probably best known for the role of the alien bounty hunter in The X-Files, but he's had a few other recognisable parts, including roles in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, and the Mortal Kombat movies. I look a bit like him, but only when he was younger. He's…changed.

Nicholas Hope. Resemblance: 50%.

Nicholas Hope British character actor well known for his appearance as Bubby in Bad Boy Bubby. Yeah, I look a bit like him. But I look like Nicholas Hope, not Bubby. It's splitting hairs. I know. You would, too.

Hugo Weaving. Resemblance: 90%.

Hugo Weaving You probably know Hugo from The Matrix, the Lord of the Rings series and Captain America. I know him as "that guy I kinda look like". This is not news to me. I've been told this for decades, now. (Boy, how I love being able to measure time in decades. Screw you, getting old.)


Trevor Phillips I also bear a passing resemblance, apparently, to a fictional nutjob in a violent video game. At least it's a popular violent video game.

And it's not Pokemon.

Could be worse.

The Jelly Bean Generator returns

Once upon a time, was home to a craptacular generator of random jelly beans. It was crudely based on the idea from the Harry Potter books and films, wherein the heroes experience a brand of magical jelly bean that features every flavour known to man. If you click the link below, you'll generate a random bean. Hit the button at the bottom to pick another one. Go on, you know you want to.

The Jelly Bean Generator


If you have a suggestion for another flavour to add to the bean repertoire, post it in the comments!

Strange places to find colonpipes

The colonpipe emoticon is quite rare among smiley faces, largely because very few people know how to properly use it. Most instant messaging, forum and blog software include graphical representations of the little face. Hit the jump for a small collection of them, and then some colonpipes in their native habitat!

Software isn't the only place we find colonpipes, though. Hit the jump for more exciting things --

Here are some "natural" colonpipes -- "natural" being defined as "not inspired, influenced or invoked by or any of its users":

colontrampolineA trampoline. I don't think it's actually meant to be a colonpipe, but it's been stretched out of proportion so as to unfortunately resemble one.



This is one of my favourites. It's a little colonpipe-shaped man on the blackboard in the background of the Police music video for Don't Stand So Close To Me.

The next couple are less natural, more influenced by


A colonpipe in the sand, on the beach in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. There's absolutely no reason why a beach should not have an emoticon on it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaving the best for last, here's the awesome collage from Erica of various Utah denizens (some of which look suspiciously like Erica and Jim, but I'm no detective) holding colonpipe placards over their faces. There'll be another update relating to these in the near future, as I've recently laid my hands on higher-resolution copies of the images that make up this little group.

utah_colonpipesStay tuned.



Inaugural Colonpipe gratuitous image dump

Here's a random sampling from the "images related to" folder I've accumulated over the years. Some of these are funny, some are just plain sad, some are interesting. Well, maybe one of them is interesting. Which one? I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader. Hit the jump for the gallery. Is it worth it? Your mileage may vary.

Educational arcs

I have a new annoyance. It's another one of those pieces of English that no one seems to know how to use. It's deeply misunderstood. It's the term "learning curve". I'm continually, it seems, encountering people who believe that because something involves learning, that the entire project can be described as a "learning curve". "It's a learning curve." "This is difficult. It's a learning curve."

This is not correct.

It may have a learning curve. In fact, I guarantee it has one.

A learning curve is not the mere existance of learning. A learning curve is a way of describing the increasing (or decreasing) difficulty in the learning process for a given activity. A steep learning curve exists when a task is difficult to master, a more gentle curve when the job is easier.

You can read about learning curves in far more detail than I care to go into over at Wikipedia, the bastion of opinion-disguised-as-fact and the bane of high school paper graders world-wide.

If you have a new skill to learn, remember that it has a learning curve, and if you want to complain about it, it's probably a steep one.

Paddling about

I've recently obtained an iPad, which leaves me with the quandary of exactly what the hell to use it for. This is illustrated in my first evening of having the new toy, wherein I spent a great deal of time sitting on the couch with it, using it to search the internet for "uses for an iPad". There's something so alarmingly meta in that, it hurts my head just thinking about it.

Once upon a plop

Having learned that Wordpress allows you to back-date posts, I've once again installed the great hulking behemoth of a front-end. As a result, you can now read up on a bunch of my old posts, dating back to 2002. Be warned, most of the early ones are filled with incredibly angsty rantings. I was an angry young man. I'll be adding some new old items as I come across them.

I'm not going to promise this will be updated regularly (or, indeed, at all), but at least it's organised and all in one place. Thanks for your time.

Brisbane: The Musical

Here's a somewhat vague travelogue of my trip to Brisbane, and the three days during which I met Positronbob and Yahtzee. Click on the pictures for bigger ones. (Update, 2013: I've edited this a bit, largely because I feel I can write significantly better these days, and because some elements of the story are now either awkward or more embarrassing than I previously thought.) DAY ONE (Sunday)

Having determined where Positronbob was to be found, went and collected him. Drove to Kingston railway station, deposited car in car park. Took the train into the city, after bumming train fare from Positronbob. Can't remember if I ever paid him back. Probably should do something about that. Karma's a bitch, and all. Spent most of the duration of the train trip discussing online activities on the Home of the Underdogs Forum, a discussion arena attached to the old Home of the Underdogs abandonware website, which kind of disappeared from existance, but kind of reappeared in 2012, but it's so far removed from what it used to be that it doesn't bear thinking about.

Arrived in the city to discover that at some point between Kingston and Brisbane it had become very hot. Wandered out of South Bank station, where we were stopped in our tracks by the stultifying stupidity of this sign:

Although on later reflection we realised the sign is probably there for the benefit of commuters passing on the road to the right.

On further reflection on the above realisation, we again noticed that even if the sign is for motorists, there's still the issue of how the blind people know where to cross.

It hurts my brain to think about it.

We ate at a small cafe near the Energex Arbour. The Energex Arbour is a massive winding footpath covered in with a hideous metal framework with weeds growing all over it. Eventually, I postulate, it will form an impenetrable forest of thorned and vicious plantlife, to be traversed only by warriors dressed in khaki and weilding machetes. As it stands, it's a poor attempt at even blocking out the sun.

We waited under the Suncorp Piazza for Yahtzee to show. We kind of realised that we knew nothing about his appearance apart from some really old online photos, which lead us to wonder whether the photos were even of him at all. Perhaps he just typed a random name into Google Image Search and used whatever photos popped up.

To cut a long story, uh, less long, we found him. And then we stood about. Awkwardly. For quite a while.

Then we ate. Again. Yahtzee ordered chips. We fed several of them to a hideously unattractive bird that was hovering about the table. Then her husband told us to stop. (Do you see what I did there?)

Brisbane is a complete arse of a city when it comes to things to do. Basically, once you cross the border from New South Wales into Queensland, the passtime of "do things" mutates into the passtime of "do not a jot". People in Queensland spend 99% of their available time doing nothing, and the remaining percent considering the option of doing nothing.  Having come to no conclusions whatsoever about what to do to pass the afternoon, we headed vaguely towards the city. I proposed this idea, as I recalled visiting the museum a few years earlier on the suggestion of a friend who informed me that there's a button on the wall that replicates the sound of a whale farting. The move was unanimous.

Brisbane Museum does not suffer from over organisation. There's no system to it whatsoever. One second you're staring at a dinosaur's femur, the next you're examining a tandem-bicycle-powered-fire-engine and wondering why these two exhibits share a room.

I believe the siren plays the theme to "Steptoe & Son".

Alongside the fire truck stood an array of cardboard cutouts.



On the top level of the museum stood the beginnings of the "How To Make A Monster" display, which was to deal with animatronics and special effects. Sadly, it wasn't open yet. We asked a kind tourist to take a photograph or two for us. We didn't realise at the time that said tourist didn't speak a word of English. I was somewhat concerned when she started gibbering in some Asian language, and I hoped dearly that she did not think we were handing out complimentary cameras.

(I got my camera back, for the record.)

Moving away from the animatronics exhibit, we found....more animatronics. Around the corner was a stuffed leopard mounted atop a papier-mache rock. Unassuming, you may think, until you realise (under close scrutiny) that the cat has a half-eaten sausage roll jammed up its jacksy.

You're doing it wrong: Sausage rolls are generally to be consumed orally

But wait, there's more! (Animatronics. Not anal pastry.)

The next room featured a warning sign in a large font, reading something to the effect of "PARENTS: THE NEXT EXHIBIT FEATURES A VERY REALISTIC LIZARD WHICH MAY FRIGHTEN CHILDREN". And behold:

Murrr. Shudder. Thud. Crunch.

The sign did not lie. The creature was terrifying. It shuddered to life with none of the realism you'd expect from a battery-powered toy, hissing with pneumatics and hydraulics. It looks so natural tucked up against the ductwork, too. Yet more disturbing, though, is the rest of the exhibit. Surrounding the giant lizard is a large papier-mache dinosaur corpse with several Tasmanian devils feeding on it. One of them tugs back and forth on a chunk of rubber intestine, while another appears to perform oral sex on the dead reptile.

The rest of the museum paled in comparison. Several rooms containing spiders in jars. Several rooms containing randomly scattered fibreglass animal replicas. If nothing else, thanks to the marine-themed room, a new anthem emerged:

Dugong man, Dugong man Does whatever a dugong can Which is basically nothing As dugongs are large and stupid


Additional kudos should be served to Brisbane Museum for featuring an entire wing dedicated to nothing but roadkill. I'm particularly enamoured by the realistic potato chips in the following photograph.


And that, in short, sums up the Brisbane Museum. Here's one last photo, just to give you the entire Brisbane experience in a nutshell.

Sign reads "Please be patient while we get our new exhibits up and running". AND THEY PROVIDE A COUCH FOR YOU TO WAIT ON.

Having wandered aimlessly through the entirety of the poorly organised Brisbane Museum, we headed next door, to the Brisbane Art Gallery. Their official website is here, and it's actually fairly informative.

After surrendering our bags to the cloakroom nazis, and receiving a lecture on proper camera usage within the gallery (i.e., don't), we moved on. The entranceway consists of a staircase leading down to a white boardwalk surrounding a pool of somewhat greenish water with several billion silver balls bobbing in it.


Now, this is an art gallery, so the purpose of everything within it is a matter of interpretation. HOWEVER. I think the idea here is that the balls are "powered" by the fact that people cannot resist manipulating and tossing them about, so they kind of swill in a vague spiralling motion about their pond. Closer examination revealed several points in said pond where the balls would form eddies, suggesting pumps beneath the surface were egging the spheres on. To be honest, I don't really care. It's art. And it looks expensive.

"I dare you to toss a ball!", whispered I. "Eh, okay." grunted Rhubarb. Ball ahoy.

The next room comprised a white passageway with a large square pillar amid, projected onto which was a large anatomical animation of a woman being dissected by a CT scan. We stared at it, giggled at her breasts and moved on.

Around the corner we were ambushed by a museum staff person armed with an array of battery operated cats.

Yahtzee gets friendly with a digital feline.

I had hopes that the cats were going to be of similar quality to the AIBO dogs from Sony that I'd seen a few years prior at Fox Studios in Sydney, but they appeared to be standard children's toys purchased at K-Mart. We attempted to get two cats to mate.


Unfortunately, the cats "switch off" whenever their noses touch something, so their courtship was short-lived. I discovered that repeatedly stabbing at the button on the tip of the cats' noses causes them to meow in an increasingly angry fashion.

Behind the "Battery Cattery" (Jesus Christ) we found a series of fairly inane exhibits featuring telephones, which provided audio cues to the artwork. One of these exhibits, which appeared to be a piece of pipe plucked out of an air conditioner, featured a soundbyte of someone burping loudly. Genius.

In further extension of the household pets theme, we found a small cinema behind a wall at the back of the building. Six screens at odd angles had onto them projected footage that appeared to alternate between a camera strapped to a dog's head, and a car hurtling down a road in the snow. Once again, it's art. It's not supposed to make sense. Unless you're on drugs, or something. (Hey, it's Queensland!)

The rest of the gallery was fairly lacklustre. I'd like to know how one goes about getting the job of being one of the people who wanders about the museum shouting "DON'T TOUCH THAT" whenever someone gets closer than fifteen metres to a sculpture. The item in question was a massive chunk of welded metal that appeared to consist of former typewriter parts. It's welded. The best one could hope to do is to push it off its pedestal and perhaps break the floor.

Along one of the walls, in an innocuous looking darkened doorway, we found a small cinema, onto the wall of which was projected a film. At first, we had no clue what it was, apart from a small placard outside which read "One Minute Sculptures". I really have neither the want nor the need to further describe this phenomenon, as anything I add will only pale in comparison to Yahtzee's essay on the subject. Needless to say, our lives were enriched a millionfold, and will never be the same again.

Yahtzee attempts to fondle Erwin's bottom.

DAY TWO (Tuesday. Where did Monday go? No-one knows!)

I spent most of the morning in Surfers Paradise. There are a lot of reasons I dislike Surfers Paradise. One of them is grammatical. Y'see, it's missing a possessive apostrophe. It's something to do with naming conventions, in that suburb titles should not contain punctuation marks. Stupid naming conventions.

So. Surfer(')s Paradise. 9AM. Nothing is open. I guess the surfy culture doesn't wake up prior to midday.

Got back from the Gold Coast around lunch time. Went to collect Positronbob, with the plan being to go Christmas shopping at the Logan Hyperdome.

This evening we went bowling. Dan won the first round, I won the second. I can't remember who wound up with the scorecards, so you'll have to take my word for it. Truth be told, no one cares anyway. It's bowling. It's such an impractical sport to get good at. The only times I've ever bowled, the entire purpose of the game has been to see who can make the largest fool of themselves, and/or break a limb. DAY THREE (Wednesday.)

We basically started today with no clue whatsoever what we were doing. This is not at all unusual. I drove around most of the morning trying to figure out where Positronbob was, due to missing one pissy little side street and thusly becoming lost. This happens. Often.

I found him, eventually. Arranged to meet with Yahtzee in the city. Decided, in a rare moment of braveness, to actually drive into the city. The guy I was staying with suggested a spot for parking, and having glanced at a map I figured it was a fairly simple place to get to. So off we went. Found ample parking. Everything going well. This usually doesn't happen.

Met Yahtzee in the same location again, figuring that it worked quite well the previous time. Minced about looking confused and sounding unconversational. This is becoming a routine.

Everything's better with Wang.

While snacking at one of the small cafes along the Energex Arbour, we also happened upon a freak occurance -- Santa Claus on his lunch break -- snacking merrily on a parcel of hot chips. It's nice to know it's Queensland fried foods that keep Jolly ol' St. Nick's arteries so joyously blocked.

Ho, ho, ho. Also, Lt. Uhura spots someone she knows.

And here's a brief summary of the rest of the evening, due to the fact that this all occured a month ago and I don't recall specifics:

Fireworks. Sat on grass. Watched someone in Brisbane desperately try to signal for Batman, but fail due to forgetting to put the bat-shaped mask over the spotlight. Nonetheless giving it a valiant effort with not one, but four spotlights waving about the sky. Presumably under the assumption that Batman, not seeing his signature bat-shaped-silhouette, may respond to a very adamant display of non-bat silhouettes. BATMAN. God damn you.

Wandered back to the car park under the impression that it closed about two hours prior, not overjoyed by the prospect of leaving my car buried beneath Brisbane until 6AM the following morning. Arrived at the vehicle to see this was indeed not so. Relieved.

Bid farewell to Yahtzee in a now predictably awkward fashion.

Returned to car again. Somehow managed to get out of extremely crowded car park without causing any personal harm or property damage. Took everyone home. Ran a red light. Scared the shit out of someone called Spock. All's well that ends well.