Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...



Santa has a brand manual.

Merry Christmas!



Your ill informed half-baked opinion matters...

...to you and really the rest of the world doesn't give a monkeys. I wish TV news would learn this, and blissfully I am not alone.


Sculpture by the Sea

in: Tamarama Beach, Australia
Sydney does some things very well, this is one of them. Sculpture by the Sea is an annual event along the coast between Bondi and Tamarama that showcases modern sculpture - these are the good ones...




At some point these were good pieces of technology. There's got to be a something that can be done with them. Maybe there's some 80's/90's version of steampunk that will happen soon...


Stone me!

Found on the wall of the downstairs toilet in Walton Castle, Clevedon


The Owl & The Pussycat

in: Clevedon, North Somerset, UK
Ali & Sarah read The Owl & The Pussycat at our wedding...



Wave is now live

Sick of email? Me too. Wave looks like a better option by far.

Dear @google please now sort out the bloggy bot



in: Docklands VIC, Australia
A sculpture in a Melbourne playground, called Blowhole



iPad, it will blend

Since you're going to be sick of hearing about the thing fairly shortly here's a bit of iPad destruction to come back to when you're feeling vindictive.


Merry Easter...

...and may the Jesus bunny roll away your golden chocolate egg, or


Another great painting...

...that I don't own.


Temple snows

in: Zenkō-ji, 381-0000, Japan
Another photo from Japan

Zenkō-ji in the snow


Smoke and mirrors

Soon they won't bother filming anything more than stock footage.


With rights come obligations

iiNet Ruling | Piracy Fight Takes a Body Blow

HOLLYWOOD studios and record labels are being forced to go back to the drawing board to come up with a new way of combating online piracy after the Federal Court ruled that internet service providers are not required to police copyright infringement on their networks.

The music industry says it may have no choice but to sue individuals for illegal file sharing unless the federal government intervenes with a solution to its piracy woes.
Let's just look at the last sentence there. Read it again. What it says is that a large, rich industry that holds almost more copyrights than any other is asking for Government protection because it feels unable to defend its' property and is taking the passive-aggressive line that if it doesn't get it then it will have to sue individuals. If you sue an ISP for "authorising" illegal downloading you may as well sue the power companies as well. After all they provided the electricity, they knew people might be doing it with the electricity they supplied and they too failed to monitor if people were or were not doing so. Suing individuals is what they should have been doing in the first place, they don't want to because individuals are the customers. 

If you have rights, responsibilities come with them. In law when you hold a copyright and you wish to continue to hold on to it you are obliged to defend it. It is not the job of federal government or anyone else - with the possible exception of a an industry body with careful oversight - to police your rights for you. You can report rights violations as a crime and then the actual police will step in.

Warning: it's going to get a bit dull and polemic after this so I've put the rest behind the read more link


Brewing swiftly on

in: La Perouse NSW, Australia
Happy Christmas, Merry New Year and all that. Flippin' life gets in the way of blogging it really does.

I recently came to the realisation that I have been making beer at home on and off for about half my  life, or about the last 16 years, with general success (I've only ever thrown away 2 batches in all that time). I had been making my  beer either from kits or from malt extract and some fiddling around with hops.  Despite what preconceptions might be of homebrew the kits can make damn fine beer if treated well and I was quite happy with this until The Realisation. With The Realisation came the thought "maybe I can do this a bit better and improve things".

I am a tinkerer and have been ever since my first Lego set and, as anyone who knows a tinkerer will tell you, this thought is normally the kiss of death for anything and can have consequences ranging in severity from a an afternoon of deafening  profanities to a trip to Accident and Emergency. With this in mind, I did a fair bit of research and some exploratory work, I talked to other people about it, I did some experiments, bought some equipment and ingredients. There was a whole day of deafening profanities. A few weeks went by as the beer fermented. There was an afternoon of moderate cursing followed by cautious optimism when I bottled the beer. A few weeks went by until I deemed it time to open one.

Halleluliah gawdallbloodymighty, it was good. It was so good that it made me wonder what I'd been doing all these years mucking around with kits and extract. Em and I finished off this summer wheat-beer in record time and I made a proper English Bitter - the kind it can be a little difficult to find in Oz - that was even better than the first batch.On the surface of it this may seem to be good news but it comes with some big drawbacks.

The first is that just before starting my experiment I had, in anticipation of only moderate success, brewed up about 60 liters of beer I knew would be good so that I would have something to drink no matter what. 60 liters, that's more than 100 pints of beer I now know is not as good as good as it could be. I need those bottles empty to put good beer in, but I'm now  not so keen on drinking it all. DAMMIT!!

The second drawback is that I'm now utterly hooked. As anyone who knows a tinkerer will tell you a tinkerer finding a hobby can have consequences ranging in severity from afternoons at country fairs filled with very boring conversations about obscure technical nonsense, through garages full of car parts, all the way to a fully functioning steam engine in the back yard. I am a geek by nature, I will have to know all about brewing, all about its' history and I'll have to get all the kit and get it working to absolute perfection. This is inevitable, it will happen and there is little anyone can do about it.

In the short term this means I need another fridge, not to put finished beer in but to put fermenters in to control the temperature, so I'll need a thermostat too. Then bottling won't be enough on it's own some of those styles are really meant to be kegged, so I'm going to need a kegging setup with a tap font, drip tray and its own cooling system. Having invested in this much kit I'll need to make sure the beer does it justice so I'll have to build a full Heat Exchanging Recirculating Mash system and get a plate chiller. Clearly all this in't going to fit in a 2 bedroom apartment so I either need a lockup somewhere or a new house....

You see my problem.

Thankfully my hobby mostly keeps me out of trouble, produces something tasty, desirable and that quickly disposes of itself. I may have to work on a way of [legally] - making money out of it so that it pays its' own way...

There will be pictures to go with this post as soon as I get them off the camera