Entomological Description

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Sydney, NSW, Australia
I'm a Christian husband currently finishing a Software Eng degree and wondering what God's plan for my life is. I sleep soundly in the knowledge that time will assuredly answer that question with little effort on my part.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

When reporting reaches the bottom of the list...

As you may imagine, this week has been one of those amazingly-just-can't-believe-how-busy-I-am-don't-have-time-to-scratch-myself-let-alone-blog weeks. So I can't stay long to tell you what's actually been happening. But we are planning a wedding and setting up a house after moving last week. I'm led to believe that somewhere out there in the world other things have been happening like elections and earthquakes and Christmas shopping, but I'm fairly sure those reports were falsified.

Until the next time I have a moment to breathe, adios.

(Seriously, don't expect to hear from me until at least Christmas time, if then. But I will eventually blog, I promise. Unlike Fake Steve Jobs, I can't blog from my iPhone yet.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Breathe quickly and deeply

Having wrapped up my assignments for the year, now all that stands between me and (semi-)freedom are few little exams. The study has begun in earnest (not really) and I'm really enjoying lots of fascinating things about psychology (not really) that were clearly developed by rigorous and realistic theoretical psychologists (not really).

It struck me that all of psychology is made up. All of it. If you can think of something that describes the way the human brain works and then massage some statistics to "prove" it, then you have a theory of psychology and you will be cited in journals in proper APA-formatted references from now until the Day.

No I am not bitter.

Somebody very wisely pointed out to me that all of human knowledge is built up this way. Our understanding of the world comes from fumbling around in the dark until our hands strike something pointy. Some people will cling to the walls and edges that they know and slowly work their way around to some new territory. Like Computer Scientists. We start with what we already know and only ever stretch an arms' length ahead. Psychologists seem to display a propensity to rush forward into the darkness clanging spoons together screaming "Pavlov will save me and if he doesn't then Freud will trip me over".

No I am really not bitter.

XML is much easier. You see, we invented XML. (eXtensible Markup Languages for the uncultured) Because we invented it, we know all about it right from the get go. Well that's not entirely true, but it does mean at least when we get to a bit we don't understand we can just change it because we invented it. Well that's not entirely true either. But it does mean that when we get to a really tricky bit we can give it a name that disguises the fact that we don't really know anything about it.

Yes, that strategy seems to work. In fact, I think we're back at psychology again...

If you think I'm bitter, I will label you an oversensitive super-taster and thus render you impotent against my tirade of vocabularious vitriol.

If you read my Borrodalian essays, you might sense a theme here. If you don't, you can go and read them here. You'll have to pick out which issues are mine though.

I'm not sure which is more ridiculous at this point: pretending that a decorative array of silicon shavings and copper tracks somehow emulates the operation of the human conscious, or pretending that a coloured in picture of a cauliflower somehow does the same thing.


Your thoughts, o gentle reader?

EDIT: It seems Libby agrees with me, at least.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A clean icebreaker

Continuing the establishment report, yesterday saw the purchase of a Fisher Paykel 402L refrigerator and a 7kg LG front loading washing machine. Did you know that Sydney Water give $150 rebate on front-loaders? Helps reduce costs a bit.

With the addition of those two items, and the completion of the entertainment cabinet, the house is almost reaching a stage where it is suitable to live in! Except for the bed, of course. That will get moved by means unknown sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A word from Allan

Not much to blog this week due to the insane amount of work I'm completing. Which hasn't finished yet - I have one more assignment to do before I am released.

So to keep you interested, here are some photos of some furniture that Libby and I constructed last week. We bought the furniture from Fantastic Furniture at the Moore Park SupaCenta and had three carloads of stuff to collect from the warehouse at Alexandria. The warehouse guy wasn't impressed when we showed up with just Benji to transport a truckload of boxes! Luckily we had backup, with Darvi, Bek, Irish and Katie all coming to help in another two cars. Besides, Benji is actually an undercover station wagon and fit in plenty (more than the sedans)

So here is the "Polo Cube Unit"
Here is the "Cadiz 7-piece Dining Setting"
And here is the "Polo Buffet"
Still to come are the entertainment unit, the coffee table and lamp table, the bookcase, and two couches! Some are built, some are awaiting construction, and the couches are awaiting delivery...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

QSL Revisited

I've started blogging again, but I'm guessing to an empty room. If you are reading this post, leave a comment so I can discover whether or not this is a public or private journal of my thoughts...

(QSL is a ham radio shorthand code asking the receiver to acknowledge receipt of transmission. Click the title of the post for more info)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Putting the "Pro" in "Procrastination"

In the absence of any forward momentum for my XML assignment, some thoughts occurred to me:

  1. Are assignments as effective a learning tool as everyone seems to think? Is it the pressure of a deadline and the threat of lasting consequences that really drives us to actually learn and recall? There are evolutionary parallels - learn to harvest before the rain comes or else you don't eat. Learn to hunt your zebra before the lions wake up or else be hunted.
  2. Is everybody's experience of university roughly the same, or is there variation with degree or person? I sure hope not everyone has assignments that are as frustrating as mine. Or is it just my own personality that makes them seem frustrating? I hate to whinge, but my program of study seems very poorly thought out. For my own safety, I hope the medical students get better than this.
  3. How long will we have to wait before interaction with computational devices will reach a genuinely consumer-safe level? We are kidding ourselves when we think that everyone can really use a computer. At best, some people are able to fluke their way to success with some programs some of the time (i.e. when they work. Less so with Windows) I'm told there will be a day when my computer won't ever crash, or even need restarting for that matter. Programming will be a discipline more akin to teaching than to engineering calculations, and there will be no distinction due to hardware, chipset architecture or operating system. Everybody's devices will talk to everybody else's without us having to jump through cyber-hoops to make it happen.
  4. Does the third point above sound like a Tower of Babel to anyone else, or just me? It's a very powerful image, that...

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Duke is in the building...

This is a lounge room with nothing in it (except Libby):
But not for long! This is the apartment that we paid a holding deposit for today and will sign a lease for on Friday. Libby and I were quite thrilled to get this apartment as the applications were very competitive and we didn't think we would have much of a shot. But shoot we did, and scored too.
This is a tree. This is part of what's so good about the apartment - it is in a street with trees! And we have two balconies on which to entertain and breath fresh, non-main-street air.

Stay posted for the inevitable moving shots and frustrations as we try to buy furnishings and fit everything in...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shoking the masses

Last night I had the opportunity to perform as a guest artist in the UNSW Orchestra for their final concert. It having been a few years now since my last orchestra work, it was a bit of a reminder about how quickly you forget all the little things, like that "piatti" means suspended cymbal or how to select the right bass drum mallet.

We performed Shostakovitch's 12th Symphony(1917 Revolution) and a Piano Concerto by Beethoven. I was conscripted as the bass drum player, which meant I got to make a giant racket for about 5 minutes out of a 1 hour symphony. But gee was it fun! When given a 30" bass drum, a mallet easily larger than my fist, a long wait through the slow movement and then a triple fortissimo dynamic in unison with the entire rest of the percussion section, it makes for some stress-relieving activity!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Almost but not quite entirely unlike...

Ah, I love OpenGL. So long as all you want to draw is a teapot, you can draw it really easily.

So in other news I'm currently trying to complete a Computer Graphics assignment which involves a teapot car driving simulator. Watch out Halo.

I'm also working on a streaming XML Query evaluator, but I can guarantee that there is no pretty picture involving a teapot to show you for that one. Just lots and lots of boring terminal output.

If other students are reading, I hope your end-of-session is being kind to you. Mine is fairly packed but has been pleasant thus far. I forecast a cold front to pass through next week though. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Buck, Buck, Goose

So it had to happen eventually... My bachelors' party was held on Saturday last. It involved an early (or at least earlier) morning wakeup, some mild hazing in the courtyard before I was "encouraged" to push a car three blocks (with assistance) and then scoff a cheeseburger for breakfast (with company).

It was all good fun and wound up with lunch at the 'dale with the dozen or so guys who came, and was followed by an expedition into the city for some suit fitting that never actually happened. That's another story.

My recommendation for future fiances out there wondering who should organise their bucks' parties - pick someone who is also engaged but getting married just after you. I suspect that may have been my "saving grace" in ensuring that my treatment wasn't too severe. Now he awaits his own ordeal with much trepidation...

Libby had a similarly enigmatic time at her simultaenous hens' party, though to read about that, you should probably go to her blog. Though to the best of my knowledge she hasn't written about it yet.

With all that silliness over, it's onto my graphics assignment which is begging to be finished before the due date on Friday.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Complex Estate

So house/apartment/flat-hunting is humming along, and I am learning some new things about the real estate industry. Like how quickly and expensively it moves in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Short of living in an original-kitchen-and-bathroom-and-floorboards-and-never-really-been-cleaned-let-alone-renovated "el cheapo" residence, it looks like we're in for quite a spend to get basic accommodation. Although there are a few bargains to be had in the right places at the right times.

Perhaps the most frustrating part is that we have plenty of time in which to hunt down our dream villa, but that time is pretty much useless to us. Assuming we find our perfect dwelling tomorrow, we don't want to start renting immediately because we don't have the money to be paying double-rent for two months. And you can be sure that if we don't rent it, it will be gone by the day after next. So in the end, it will all come down to what's available in the week that we are actually ready to pay a deposit.

<sigh tone='exasperated'/>

Never mind. Wherever we live we know we'll be provided for. God has been very kind to us thus far and we have no reason to expect Him not to be in the future - and every reason to know He's given us all that we need already!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Nailing Things Down

Today we're talking to our photographer, a charming fellow by the name of Tim Goldsmith, to try and decide some venues for our wedding day photographs and to discuss what sort of photos we want otherwise. It should be fun to talk about that kind of stuff, but I don't know how helpful we'll be. My own photography would be accurately described as "opportunistic" rather than masterful, so I have no real conception of how to manufacture good photographs.

Tonight we meet up with our pastor Grimmo to nail down the details of the service itself, including the sermon and the vows and things. That's slightly more frightening than talking photographs. The vows are really the core of the wedding service - the one thing that would be remaining if you took out all the fluff. Let's hope we come up with some good ones!

Blessed Silence, and How to Find it

Distance provides perspective that is not attainable by any other means. Being too close to a situation means that our measly brains are unable to disassociate our own emotional investments and prejudices from that of everyone around us, and so we end up, unavoidably, acting selfishly (though often, I may say, with the best of intentions)

Too much distance in all circumstances will make you callous and unfeeling, but I don't think that is the common problem amongst the personalities that fill my life.

I could have this whole thing on its head. Perhaps the problem I observe is not an excess of closeness to each other, but a lack of closeness to God. An "exclusive" best-friendship with the Creator of the universe would probably render all human relationships somewhat inconsequential.

But still, my theory is that every now and again it is better to take a "chill" and distance yourself from the problem at hand in order to understand it better. Just make sure you go back again, or it would all be in vain.

Friday, October 05, 2007

From the land of the Living

Hi all, it's been a while. Here the term "all" probably refers to my soon-to-be wife, my own self, and perhaps the stalker that I picked up in 2002, though I think even he's lost interest out of frustration with my non-blogging habits now.

So less time spent talking about blogging and more time blogging.

The next five weeks are looking pretty insane. The "calm before the storm" starts now and lasts until about two Tuesdays hence, after which the assignment deadlines come thick and fast until the end of session. And then once I've made it over all those hurdles, I only have exams and a wedding to prepare for. Easy.

I'm quite excited about the whole prospect though. God's been really kind in reminding me of a few truths over the past few months; these have been truths hard learned but well worth learning. My bible study group has encouraged me greatly by their fervent attitude to discovering God's truth - and they've kept me honest by making sure I'm teaching God's truth and not my own.

I now return to filling sandbags and boarding up shutters for when the storm hits. Is it actually possible that I will do a uni assignment two whole weeks early to avoid having four assignments on the boiler at once? Will that kind of forethought become regular in my life now that I'll be leading a family? Will the government sponsor our bold endeavour with generous student benefits? Will our fridge be big enough?

Stay tuned for another exciting episode...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Apparently...

Apparently there's a new version of Blogger available. Apparently I don't blog enough to rate the upgrade. Apparently this is a post to try and convince Google that this is not a dead blog. Apparently...