Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Great Lego Robbery

I used to love Lego as a kid. Despite the fact that the variety of pieces available was nothing like the variety available now, I could spend hours building things and breaking them up only to create more brilliant designs the next day. I even had thoughts of studying architecture in those days, but I later developed interests in other areas.

I was fascinated to hear via Boing Boing about another fan of Lego called William Swanberg. Mr Swanberg was even more creative than I was, however: he had the brilliant wheeze of swapping the bar codes on boxes of Lego, allowing him to steal thousands of dollars worth of the colourful bricks. Apparently a 2o foot truck was needed to carry away his booty, and it's estimated that he has sold $600,000 worth of Lego over the Internet since 2002!

You would have thought his local toy shop would have noticed sooner that a 40-year-old buying their entire stock of Lego on a regular basis was a little strange.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Spike Who?

Until today I had never heard of Spike Jonze. Then I watched these three videos on Bifurcated Rivets and my curiosity was aroused.

He was born Adam Spiegel, but changed his name to that of "the great bandleader" (apparently) Spike Jonze. He produced "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" (good things). He also produced "Jackass" for MTV, and "Jackass: The Movie" (not so good things IMHO). Between 1999 and 2003 he was married to Sophia Coppola ( director of "Lost in Translation").

So there you are: Spike Jonze is a mildly interesting bloke. Have a look at the videos---I like the first and last ones best.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

An Interesting Analysis

I submitted the colour version of my photo to the FaceAnalyser website. I thought I would share the results with you.

The first startling finding is that I'm 46% Korean/ Japanese and 54% Chinese: I had no idea that my origins were so exotic!

My personality profile has its highs and lows:

I'm low risk, ambition and sociability.
I'm average intelligence, honour, and politeness.
Apparently I have a very low gay factor, and I am very promiscuous!

Despite the fact that my income is $30-50,000 pa my "celebmatch" is Prince Charles!

I thought I would reproduce my Personality Profile in full:

"You particularly enjoy the traditional way of life. Having drinks with your friends, attending parties and relaxing while watching TV are some of the simple pleasures you indulge in. You may also enjoy physical exercise. Your driving force is to retire as early as possible, so that you can do the things you enjoy more often. Your main source of ambition comes from this desire.

You don't particularly like your job but you do it without complaining. You realize that the income that it provides is essential to your lifestyle. You are friendly yet competitive with your co-workers. This competitiveness may lead you to squander your earnings to match other peoples' possessions.

You operate most effectively when there is a set power structure, and the lines of authority are clear. You know your place in the ranks, you play by the rules, and will deliver what is expected of you. You do not care for responsibility; you would rather be care free."

All in all, uncannily accurate!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Running Out Of Ideas?

I never thought I would see a jelly fish made the hero of a music video, but memepool pointed me in the direction of this.

Quite sad really---in more ways than one!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Still Not Getting Things Done

It's hard to believe that it was April that I wrote this post about "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. If you could see the desk in front of my computer monitor you would know immediately that reading this book has not made the difference to my procrastinating behaviour that I hoped it would!

I still think Allen's ideas are good though, and I see from this interview that he continues to make big bucks with his GTD system. For the moment, my Tickler File (don't ask, read the book) waits in a cupboard for the day when I finally see the light.

I'm afraid it really is hard to change the habits of a lifetime, no matter how bad you know they are!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

When is a door not a door?

There's nothing more satisfying than watching pompous politicians of any party being shown for the asses they really are. This BBC page has a link to a hilarious video clip of George Bush trying to effect a dignified escape from an irritating press conference in China....and failing miserably!

I could just watch it again and again! The still from the video is a joy too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Perils of Videoconferencing

Everyone is so busy these days, but there always seems to be a increasing need to have meetings. I've made the point before that I'm not a great fan of these. Maybe technology can come to our aid? With the increasing availability of broadband links and the falling price of webcams, some folk think that videoconferencing is the answer: allowing us all to sit on our backsides even more, but still take part in these invaluable hot-air-generating sessions.

This video makes the point that videoconferencing should be used with care. One point to remember is that just because you can't see your colleagues it doesn't necessarily follow that they can't see you!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Today's Words Of Wisdom

Thanks to Jim Bumgardner aka jbum of Flickr aka Krazydad for this deep and meaningful quote from The Great Man:

"Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana."
Groucho Marx.

Makes you think, huh?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Lost For Words....

Have you ever wondered what the most commonly used English word is? It's "the".

But did you know that "bollocks" is used slightly more often than "calorie"?

Well now you do. However, be careful how you use WordCount: QueryCount is watching you! And you'll never guess what the number one query is.... (Bollocks is number 340, if you're interested).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Recipe for Happiness

I have never been to Slough, but I've always thought the name was somewhat unattractive. Perhaps this is the reason why the place was chosen for a 3 month experiment to increase the levels of happiness there. The results are to be portrayed in a 4 part series on BBC2 entitled "Making Slough Happy".

The expert team recommends 10 steps to happiness:
  1. Plant something and nurture it
  2. Count your blessings - at least five - at the end of each day
  3. Take time to talk - have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week
  4. Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up
  5. Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it
  6. Have a good laugh at least once a day
  7. Get physical - exercise for half an hour three times a week
  8. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger at least once each day
  9. Cut your TV viewing by half
  10. Spread some kindness - do a good turn for someone every day.
Maybe I'll give these a go. What do you think?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I'm hooked

I deal with addictions every day. In my job I am regularly exposed to heroin addicts and alcoholics. At home I'm forced to live with Wosog and Gsog, both of whom are addicted to nicotine (though they are giving up the fags* at New Year: now it's on the Net---it must be true!). I have even joked on this very blog about "viagraholics". I never thought I would fall prey to any form of addiction....until now.

Here goes...My name is Son of Groucho, and I am a Flickraholic. It started off innocently enough: one or two photos uploaded here and there, grateful for the occasional comment. A few holidays abroad, and I was uploading six or more pictures at a time, sending them to Flickr Groups (more of which later) at random to try and get more attention and suffering terrible feelings of rejection if nobody commented on or favourited my pics. Now, as you can see, I'm snapping away at anything, desperate to have something to upload!

With most addictions, groups are part of the cure for the disease, in Flickr they are part of the disease! Two sick individuals (one in the USA, and one in Canada) "invited" me to join "Flickr Weirdies of the World", and now I'm hooked on that too! I rack my brain for wacky pictures to post to the group, and wait with baited breath for my "fix" of comments. I start new threads and hover anxiously over the keyboard waiting for replies.

The worst thing of all, though, is that I've encouraged Wosog to join Flickr, and even Flickr Weirdies. Please help us if you can, by sending money or comforting messages to here or here.

Thank you for listening. May God help us both.

*that's cigarettes for my American readers.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Neglecting My Duties....

I must admit to neglecting The Voice of Reason recently. Last weekend Wosog finally gave in and agreed to buy the digital single lens reflex camera that I wanted for my birthday in March next year now. She was fed up with the embarrassing spectacle of my drooling over it in various shop windows. We saw the beast in Jessops at what seemed like a good price, and before I knew it I was lovingly fondling my Canon EOS 350D. I later spotted it on Amazon £40-50 cheaper, but whatever!

Despite the dismal weather, and the irritating inconvenience of having to work for a living, I have managed to take a few shots with the camera, and I have been very impressed with it. This new boost to my interest in photography has distracted me from blogging, and of course there's the small matter of my addiction----but that's another story....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Zombie In Every Home?

I've become a bit disillusioned with Michael Jackson in recent years, but I always thought the Thriller video was a classic. I could never take the zombies in it seriously though, and films like Shaun of the Dead haven't made them seem any scarier.

However, it appears that I (and you) should be treating zombies with more respect, if only because you may be looking straight at one! A recent article recounted an experiment in which Microsoft deliberately set up a zombie pc, put it online and waited to see what would happen. In the 3 weeks of the test, reseachers noted 5 million requests for connections to the machine, and attempts to send 18 million spam messages carrying advertising for 13,000 websites! The article makes the point that spam is not the only problem. Networks of zombie computers, or botnets, can be used to launch phishing attacks, seed new viruses, launch denial of service attacks and be put to other sinister uses.

Help is, however, at hand in the form of the FBI, those well known zombie killers. The boys in blue have recently put the creator of one zombie network in the slammer. Apparently he could be facing 50 years behind bars, which I think is much longer than he would get for murder in the UK!

Call me cynical if you like, but didn't I hear that Microsoft were moving more into the computer security business? And don't you think botnet is too cute and cuddly a name for a network of zombies?

Friday, November 04, 2005

What's Your Excuse?

I'm a pretty law abiding individual. I've only been fined for illegal parking once. There are some situations, including medical emergencies etc., where most people consider overstaying your welcome in the car park is justified. This is apparently not the case in Melbourne, Australia, where the authorities have been trying to fine a 71-year-old corpse for illegal parking!

It seems that the parking attendant, who is presumably challenged in the nasal department as well as visually impaired, failed to notice anything unusual when he attached the ticket to the windscreen!

You really have to wonder what would be considered a legitimate reason for parking too long in Maroondah?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Halloween Update 2

While chewing one of the leftover toffees today, a piece of one of my teeth broke off. I've had to make a dental appointment.

Halloween sucks!