Friday, October 21, 2011

Rugby World Cup Final Preview - France vs New Zealand

One of the most beautiful people I ever worked with got married to a French guy. She's moving to France now. Life sucks.
France are one of the most consistent teams in World Cup history. This makes it 3 final appearances and they have perennially been in the semi finals throughout the history of the competition.
New Zealand are one of the more inconsistent teams in the competition, capable of outstanding performances but also capable of the off day.
The strength for the French will be in their forwards. Harinordoquy has been amazing as usual for the French. Despite their reputation for flair, the French demonstrated in their win against Wales that they can win ugly.
For New Zealand, it's all about Owen Franks.

A few statistics to bear in mind for the final:

- This World Cup has the lowest kicking conversion rate of any
- This World Cup has seen the least amount of kicks in open play since 1991
- Canada won their first World Cup game. They also steal our women

Monday, October 17, 2011


Sometimes necessity, sometimes it's just not necessity. Let's look at the top 5 inventions that ended up being used for something other than their intention.

5. The Ice Gun

Originally invented as a prop for the movie Top Gun 2 (never released), the ice gun is used in rugby union and other professional plowing parties. It's a fantastic invention, in winter people play rugby, in summer people drink beer. In winter, you ice the injuries of players, in summer, instant coldie.

4. Aspirin

Originally designed to treat headaches, it's now used in open heart surgery. Truly life-saving.

3. Internet

The government developed the network for internet relay chat. They never thought anyone would use it so never worried about security. Now it's used for MySpace, Bebo, ICQ etc. Some people still think it's a government project and call it the 'Internet'.

2. Shoe-goo

Your favourite shoes are your favourite for a reason. At first, they were uncomfortable. Garish even. You went through store after store to try and find some good shoes. Then you brought them back and most of them just didn't cut it. But these ones, these are your favourite. With them, you can go anywhere. And, it feels even more comfortable than going barefoot (bindies don't hurt).

When your shoes break, when the soles come off, there is shoe-goo. Except, it doesn't work. It's now used for repairing cricket bats.

1. Baseball bat

Baseball was invented in the 1800's. Back when people wore baggy pants, handlebar moustaches and the cities were made up of grassy fields, the game started to teach people the new geometry that was being developed (the rhombus).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Interview with Dave Careers

Today on the blog we're pleased to present an interview with Dave Careers, author of Career Advice and Things to Expect When You're Managing Expectations.

So Dave, tell us what inspired you to write these books?

Thanks guys for inviting me. I guess the best way to describe it is my friends always just said I should write this book. I think there was a big gap out there. We've all read the books that give the general advice 'Follow your passions' but people out there need to hear more specifics.

So let's get into specifics. What are some simple ways people can get ahead in their careers?

Always take on more work than you have time to do. Then delegate that work to someone else. Take the credit for that work.

Practice looking busy in the mirror.

If you stay back late or work on the weekend, make sure someone knows about it. Send an email, or bring it into conversation when people ask you how your weekend was.

What are some tips for when it all goes wrong?

Always have a back up plan. Not a degree or another career, just remember if you are going into a meeting, have someone call you in an hour to say you have to go. Like a bad date, only worse.

You talk a lot about the power of words in your book. What do you mean?

Well, really it's just about phrasing. If someone below you asks for your help, don't say yes. In fact, if someone wants to talk to you, you need to have a bit of a pained expression. Mention how busy you are (as if you'd love to continue this chat but you know, you're working) and then say you'll get back to them later.

Learn these phrases. 'I've got to get something out' 'Push back' 'Over-deliver'. These will help you when people are asking you to do something.

Any last words?

Being professional.

Thanks Dave, I think that's all we've got time for.

Touch base if you have any queries.

Thanks a lot Dave, for your time.

Hope you're well.

Good luck with the book.

Thanks for sending this through to me, just a couple of things.

Alright Dave.

As discussed, here are a few action points from our meeting.

Look forward to reading the next one

Warmest regards.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Truth in advertising

Sometimes advertising would just work better if they spelled it out better. Instead of focusing on what would sell the most products, really advertising information should try and sell the right amount of products.

It would be great to see marketing that tells you how it is.... not just solely focusing on the positives but telling you about the whole product. For instance, hey this product doesn't actually turn your door into a gym or turn your body into a sculpted musclebound masterpiece... at best, it's something you could use a few times and have some fun with.

Some people may like that, and really it's much better than random people buying a door/gym and being disappointed. The true goal of capitalism has to be the efficiency of production, in creating the right amount of products to fulfil needs rather than just trying to create as many products as it can sell.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The book was better than the movie

Sometimes it's really hard to know what movie to see. You can see a trailer. They all look similar. Sometimes you watch a movie and you think... this is nothing like the trailer. Also, most of the time you watch a trailer, the movie it's trailing is only coming out in a few months' time.

It's much better when someone recommends a movie to you. It shows friendship and trust, understanding of who you are. Except when that movie is something terrible. Then you start to think, who the hell does this person think I am? Do they actually think I would like this rubbish? Perhaps you could lose a friendship or two over this.

Movies only take an hour or two to watch. Recommending a book to someone is much much bigger. Books take hours and days to read. And you have to get through that awkward bit at the beginning of the book before it comes good. It's a really big deal to recommend a book to someone and it definitely risks the friendship.

Possibly the biggest part of why recommending a book is such a big deal is because reading is hard. Literacy is hard. Actually converting printed letters to meaning is hard. How do people even read? It's always so hard to get in the right position to read. Sometimes you read on your side, and then it takes physical effort to turn the pages, and to tilt your head to read the other page. Basically you are moving your position with each page you read. I guess you could also read holding the book up in your hands with your head resting on a pillow, but then you actually have to physically hold the book with your hands. Weary.

Reading is hard. Thank you for making the effort

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's good in theory

Some times you walk down Bi-Lo and you see that there's a Coles product in there. That's weird, why is a competitor's product in there? Or sometimes you want to change your insurance company, or check out a different bar in the city or use a different phone provider.

Capitalism is great in theory, but it really just doesn't work in practice. There's all this fake competition going on, just enough to make it all seem legitimate. Really it all just seems like a waste of resources. Why is there a Bi-Lo next to the Coles? Why is there a Target one level up from K-Mart? Just make a bigger Coles.

The Coles brand stuff comes from the same place that the fancy packaging stuff comes from, just packaged a little bit better.

Planned economies must be really, really bad if a system of fake competition, disguised monopolies and oligopolies 'works'.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The longer you stare...

Recently started noticing that the longer I look at something, the more it looks wrong. When you spend a lot of time obsessively checking little details, eventually you seem to not help but pick up errors elsewhere (although maybe not in your own blog). For instance, sometimes people spend hours debating whether it is spelled focuses or focusses. Interesting that for some physicists, in their theories about the Big Bang and the creation of the world, it's the inconsistencies in the starting configuration that help to drive things forward. If everything was the same, then how would gravity work? How would galaxies form? Even at the most basic level, the theory goes that the very slight skew for more matter than antimatter means there even is a universe in the first place. It's always comforting to get some perspective from the realm of science. Errors, inconsistencies... they actually lead a lot of the time to creativity. Sometimes, words don't even seem like words any more when you stare at them enough. You aren't even sure if it's a right spelling or not... even at the higher level you aren't even sure if it's a real word. Sometimes, it even happens with people. The longer you stare, the more you notice what is wrong. Maybe it's something with their face, maybe it's as tiny as the way they pronounce a single word. I hope that the perspective eventually changes, with words, people and ideas that we don't dwell on the errors but look to the possibilities for creation.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's just a good feeling

Dreams seem so vivid sometimes. In a way that's not related to how much sense they make. Often, I've had dreams that I've known are absurd, strange dreams where I move from place to place, people come in and out, rules change and things that don't logically make sense happen regularly. Yet in these dreams, I'm so absorbed and I have an overwhelming sense that it is real.

When I wake up, I lose that sense of reality, even though this is supposed to be the 'real' world. It's hard not to feel that this sense of reality is completely unrelated to our actual experiences and senses, and I guess it makes you question whether any of it is actually real. In other words, we have a 'feeling of reality' which is almost completely independent of whether it logically makes sense.

To a lesser extent, I think other feelings like satisfaction or happiness are feelings that don't relate. Take two people with exactly the same material possessions. Some may find great satisfaction, others will be completely miserable.

Many great philosophies or Disney movies, or even some of your more serious Hollywood movies and your self help coaches will point you towards working on your inner self to achieve true happiness.

However, if all of these are just internal things, self contained... are they real? Or just feelings?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dream interpretation

I believe that when we see people in our dreams, we aren't dreaming of the people, but what they represent as a personality trait or aspect. I think it is just like how there are so many colours out there, some have been named but a lot are really unique. In the end, you just name them after something that you have encountered that has that colour, or if you want you could use the RGB format (some companies will specify that you only use certain colours for consistency).
In that way, we come to regard people in our lives as representing a certain trait that exists out there. Our relationship with that person in the dream often shows how we feel about that particular trait.

For instance, I had a dream where I was with my grandfather talking. Then we were in a boxing ring, fighting, wearing boxing gloves. We sparred for a little while and I think I got the better of him. The dream ended with us sitting side by side on two chairs talking. We made peace with each other and then hugged.

I think the dream is not about my grandfather as an individual but what he represents in my mind. He has strong traits, some that can be admired, like stubbornness, resoluteness, and authority. He has a particular combination of traits that are strongly represented in my mind and also it combines with my feelings about getting old.

I've tried to keep accounts of dreams I have had over the past little while and the way I dream, people just appear in dreams very often, from all parts of my past. It's amazing how the brain draws on certain people to represent certain personality traits, some that are just too particular to be described.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That Salt n Pepa Look

The other day, I don't know why but this ad made me laugh.

It just goes to show the stupidity of advertising, the theme that with just one product, your life will be so much better. Not only that, it can be so fickle. We can advertise anything as the miracle to make you happy, even if in the past we advertise black hair as great, now we can advertise black and grey hair.

There's so much of advertising that is hilarious. Like the sheer amount of fun that women seem to have in tampon ads. It makes me wish I could get one. Then I realised that you have to put them in a brown paper bag when you sell them in a pharmacy. But why, I used to think. Why are they so ashamed of this most fun purchase?

The thing that advertising really sells better than most, thanks to the sheer repetition and the overarching theme of it all, is the message of dissatisfaction. Constantly, we are told of a 'problem' that we have, and a way to make it all better. Even when we know that this is going on, it's hard to ignore, because advertising is everywhere.

Recently, I saw a demonstration of eye-tracking, where researchers measure how the eye moves in an environment. The setting was an airport lounge. A lot of the eye movement was looking at people, usually in a stereotypical pattern of quick around the face, focus on the eyes, and then very quickly up and down (more attention paid to women by both sexes). Interestingly, people then seemed to be attracted to signs in the environment, and of course most of these signs are either advertising, or stupid (please don't bring bombs, firearms etc on the plane).

I was struck by the idea that we could eventually develop this technology for something useful, like using the eye tracking the other way around - move the eye to avoid advertising altogether.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I just came to say hello

Among the English world, we all have different ways of greetings.

When you are in Sydney, it is 'Hi, how are you?'
When you are in the country, it's more of one word 'Howzitgoin?'
When you are in England, it is 'Alright?' I think this is probably because something's usually wrong with the English
When you are young, it is 'What are you going to be when you grow up?'
When you are old, it is 'How are you?' Then the reply is 'Busy.' Then either of you will look at each other and nod solemnly, 'But it's good to be busy.'

Conversation starters, eh?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I want a blonde dreamboat

What you are about to read takes place on a cricket field. A big, brawny man of mixed ethnicity, with dreadlocks tucked under his cricket hat smears zinc cream on his lips. He plumps his lips and checks how it looks in his pocket mirror.

Why does one put zinc cream on your face? Do your lips get sunburnt as much as the other parts of your face? It's definitely not part of Slip, Slop, Slap.

It's not for the taste honey. Perhaps it's because zinc is associated with boosting your sperm count.

Last year in Britain, an agency allowed prospective parents to specify exactly what they wanted their sperm to look like. One couple even requested 'A blonde dreamboat, just like David Beckham'. And that's what they got, someone who looks like David Beckham. In fact, it might even be better than Becks because I don't know if the speech transferred as well.

I do like how it's more explicit how we select sperm these days. In the ancient times, before the internet, before modern technology, it was common for a woman to sleep with a 'dreamboat' and then get her partner to look after the baby. That's supported by the observation that when looking at a newborn, most people say it looks just like the father. It's also why women find different male faces more attractive, depending on their menstrual cycle. It's also why kamikaze sprem developed, with the sole intent of destroying other sperm in the tract.

The question is, does the world really need more sperm?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I feel sorry for you

I'm not sure why but sometimes people express some disappointment when they are waiting to get a new iPhone. I feel sorry for them. For all of us.

Once there's an iPhone around, things get a little strange. Looking around sometimes and it's hard to think that this is what people do when they are by themselves on a bus or train, obsessively looking at a tiny screen and flicking it along with their fingers.

You can be having a conversation with someone and they are not quite there. And then you realise that they are just flicking around on their iPhone, pinching stuff together. Or maybe you ask them something. Instead of having an answer, you might be redirected to an app. Maybe you could even get into a conversation about what apps are cool these days.

The thing to remember is that during the conversation, the iPhone is always there... on their shoulder, in their pocket, somewhere... whispering. Maybe something more interesting is going on?


I just heard there is a word for being addicted to exercise - gymorexia. Apparently, it means that you have to go to the gym and exercise for hours each day otherwise you feel 'fat'. Maybe this addiction has always existed somewhere within the human race but it is only now that we have so many opportunities to exercise that it is coming out. There are gyms everywhere, heck if you've got a door you've got a gym.

Is there such a thing as a good addiction? Probably gymorexic is better than being a drug addict or an alcoholic. I wonder what the rehab is for gymorexia? I don't think it would be a twelve step program.

Just to compare gymorexia to a few other addictions that I have seen. Gymorexia has the benefits of being able to eat what you want and being in good shape. The downsides are actually going to the gym and having to hang out there, working out in front of a mirror while other people beside you are also looking at themselves in the mirror and grunting. The mirror actually shows the whole room but I don't really see anyone looking at anyone else apart from themselves. The other downside is probably the money for a gym membership, and maybe injuries.

Some people are addicted to cleaning, which I guess has the benefits of being in a hygienic environment. The downsides are going to be a fear of public places, inability to relax because cleaning is never ending and maybe even some kind of chemical poisoning.

Other people are addicted to soccer/football, which has no known benefits to society apart from some incidental fitness and learning about far flung places that have football teams. The downsides are watching football at odd hours of the day, the anguish of watching your team lose, neurotic parents screaming from the sidelines when you are coaching and the general malaise and vapidness when there is no football on.

And some people are addicted to work. Why?

Friday, January 7, 2011


If you are immortal, do you think about the future more or less?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Movie Titles That Describe Your Last Dump

Credit goes to my friend and artist Duca and her friends...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Scent of a Woman
Three Men and A Baby
Waiting to Exhale
I know what you had for breakfast
The green mile
Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan
Sleepless in Seattle
Big anyone else noticing the relationship forming between Tom Hanks and best movie title to describe your last shit?
The Polar Express.... eh? eh?
What about "The Road to Perdition" and "Joe vs The Volcano"?
Castaway, although I think I may have stolen that one.
The Italian Job
Gone in 60 seconds
Willy wonka and the chocolate factory
The bodyguard
Born free
Spirited away and watership down
There will be blood
Long kiss goodnight
The Great Escape
Down Periscope
Cool Runnings
Black Beauty
The Hurricane
O brother where art thou?
The passion of the christ
From Hell
Pitch Black

... and my contribution, "Gone with the Wind"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Burgers Taste Better on the Road

And by this, I don't mean you are sitting on the kerbside of King St munching on an Istanbul chicken burger.

When you are on a road trip, a burger or any fast food tastes better.

I've been trying to think of the reasons why. A friend of mine thinks it is because you aren't really worrying about eating healthy. I guess you aren't really worrying about people judging you on what you eat.

You are probably hungrier. When you don't have work or something else distracting you from enjoying life, you just realise how much you need to eat and sleep. Hungriness makes the food taste good. Not sure if you are hungry when you are eating that chicken burger by the side of the road... but it does taste good then too.

I think it's also just down to choice. When you are where you live, you have already explored so many areas. You have so much choice on what to eat, that you are measuring your meal against all the other possible ones you could have at that moment. When you are on the road, your choices are sometimes just between KFC and Macca's.

Sometimes I wanna take a road trip just for the Macca's

Best Music of 2010

A friend of mine has passed on these lists to me for the past few years. It's something that I know really look forward to at the end of the year. As you can see, it's got some great variety, and you can always spend a month or few trying to check out all of this stuff. If you want to see the full 100, or the past few years lists, go to his site.

1. The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme
Expanding the sounds explored on the preceding EPs, they combine Thurston Moore samples and infectious synth hooks to evoke the emotions of the Swedish winter. It was a long time coming, but sooo worth it.

2. Foals - Total Life Forever
Many people wrote them off saying that much like Bloc Party the follow-up would be weaker and more poppy. With this they didn't quite top Antidotes but managed to successfully move in a new direction; incorporating new sounds whilst maintaining the raw energy that garnered their initial fanbase.

3. I Am Kloot - Sky At Night
One of the most underrated bands ever. John Bramwell is a genius and writes such honest, emotional songs. Produced by the guys from Elbow; it contains more horns and orchestral sounds than previously. Apart from the re-recorded 'Proof' everything works amazingly well.

4. The National - High Violet
Can they ever make a wrong move. Such amazing songcraft. Wish I was this talented.

5. Gayngs - Relayted
Was a favourite all through the year, the songwriting is ace, the production is amazing and the smooth it makes for a perfect Sunday arvo chillax. supergroup feat some past end year list favs Dosh, Bon Iver,

6. Four Tet - There Is Love in You
This is my favourite Four Tet album so far, its works far better as an entire work than any thing he has done previously.

7. Goldheart Assembly - Wolves And Thieves
Sadly been overlooked or written off as 'british fleet foxes' wannabees. This observation is so misguided; yes they like folk and have beards but they are actually crafting something quite distinct. This is something credible for all the mumford & sons haters. Rejoice!

8. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Any album that features both Gruff Rhys and Snoop Dogg was always going to be awesome.

9. Caribou - Swim
As someone who was a big Manitoba fan I've been following his stuff under Caribou with great interest by never really convinced ..until now. This is the best stuff Dan Snape has ever done.

10. Cherry Ghost - Beneath This Burning Shoreline
If they were american they'd be one of the biggest indie rock bands in the world. But thankfully their not, and just go about making amazing sombre records that reward people that actually bother to search them out

11. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
Even though some of the songs have been around for years, the fact that they were on obscure cassettes that only obsessed people like me listen too probably makes the re-recorded 4AD ones sufficiently new. Lo-fi goes Hi-fi-ish. Its fucking ace so grab it!

12. The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt
Yet another Swedish album. This is so heartfelt. I know people hate his voice. But screw them the power and honesty of these songs is enough for me. He is fucking amazing live as well, though he did start crying...*hugs*

13. The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
After two incredible records there is a lot to live up to. So they go and create a masterpiece, that uses restraint to deliver its power. It rococos!

14. Parades - Foreign Tapes
A diverse band that have the ability to write post punk gems like 'Dead Nationatle' only to soften slightly into the floating piano led perfection of Hunters. This album is worth getting just for the experimentation and exploration of sounds. Our favourite australian album this year.

15. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
The last LCD album is considered a critical masterpiece, which I'd largely agree with. But imo this is better. The 80s influences are not contrived or overtly derivative, merely used to guide the record stylistically. Pop perfection.

16. Sally Seltmann - Heart That's Pounding
The contrast between this and her albums as New Buffalo is stark. An entire album of classic pop anthems. It's amazzzing get it already

17. The Ancients - The Ancients 2
I really like Jon Mitchell's stuff with Mum Smokes so was hanging out for this. It doesn't disappoint with loads of lazy Sunday arvo style indie-pop tunes. suuuch a Melbourne band

18. Errors - Come Down With Me
The debut was so strong I had doubts about this but its even stronger! If you love the new Holy Fuck album get this its similar in style and just as good. Oh and after 5 years of waiting finally caught then live and it was one of the best gigs this year.

19. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Crap yes. Bradford Cox is such a weird dude, but spose most genius' peeps are. As you'd expect their tender pop is hidden amongst some hazy ambience.

20. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
FlyLo FTW!

21. The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
A bunch of soaring psychedelia that draws you into a maelstrom of blurred sound. More rounded and warm than previous records.

22. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
She is ridiculously talented. Another album of clever, witty folk.

23. Sianna Lee - Phoenix Propeller
Dark, beautiful, considered contemporary pop. Probably the most cruelly neglected australian release this year. (Ex Love Outside Andromeda frontwoman)

24. Cloud Control - Bliss Release
I liked Gold Canary but didn't think the album would live up to it, but not only does it do that it tops it. Their own brand of folk rock sounds like a lost gem from years gone by.

25. Houses - All Night
This has been criminally overlooked. Much like Memory Tapes last year, it is understated blissful synth pop or dare I say it chillwave urghh