Monthly Archives: February 2007

Death by meetings

Have you seen that old movie “Zulu” that has Michael Caine in it?  He’s one of the British soldiers defending a fort at Rorke’s Drift from a force of Zulu warriors that outnumber the British about 50 to 1.  No matter how many Zulus they shoot another wave comes right behind them.

I don’t want to over-dramatise my work situation but that’s how it feels when I look at my weekly schedule.  No matter how many meetings I get through, there’s another wave of them coming right after.  I’m among the first to refuse to go to pointless meetings which makes these ones even more daunting.  Because of the stage our project has reached, I NEED the information that comes out of these meetings so I have to go to them.

This phase won’t last forever but the second bit that freaks me out a little is that I can feel my brain collapsing under information overload.  The nature of my role as Business Analyst means I’m expected to lead a lot of the discussion around deploying a company-wide piece of software and formulate all the design requirements.  Not much pressure there. 

So if my posts sound even more incoherent than usual (or they get shorter) this is the reason.  It looks like I’m going to actually have to work for a living for a while.

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I have a sore throat

The drive to work gave me a sore throat today.  This was the natural result of the horn on my car not working (I think the fuse is gone).  Add to that the fact that this morning was the worst drive to work in a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very long fucking time.  This resulted in a sore throat because the only way to express my frustration at the large number of fuckwits on the road was to scream at them.

And there were a shitload of fuckwits this morning.  They came in every stripe and colour.  It started simply with traffic being more congested than normal.  An annoying state of affairs but one I can normally cope with.  But then I had to cope with dickheads just springing out of side streets and swerving across multiple lanes of traffic every five minutes.

The nadir of this particular nightmare came at an intersection where I have actually witnessed a mildly serious accident (I even wrote a blog post about it).  I was waiting at the lights to turn right (convert this to a left turn if you drive on the right hand side of the road).  I got a green arrow to go so I started forward but then had to slam on the brakes because of the idiot who went through the red light on my left.

This fuckwit must have been sitting waiting for oncoming traffic so they could make their own right turn but then they sorta fell asleep.  So they’ve noticed their light has gone red AND THEN DECIDED TO GO THROUGH THE FUCKING INTERSECTION ANYWAY.  Everyone runs a red light occasionally but this idiot made their sin far worse by going from a standing start a full five seconds after their light went red, which made it several seconds after mine went green.

I’m actually pretty careful at light changes in case some dickhead runs a light but she didn’t decide to run the light until after I had actually started into the intersection.  I saw her.  She was stationary.  Then I started around the corner.  THEN she went right across the front of me.  She’s fucking lucky I didn’t decide to run into her purely in the name of Darwinism.  I would have t-boned her – straight into her door.  Her stupidity created a situation where the risk of injury to me was pretty low and the risk of serious injury to her was pretty fucking high.

I fucking hate having to protect people from their own fucking stupidity.  At least she seemed to realise (far too late) how fucking stupid she had been.  The look on her face as she sailed past (BECAUSE I FUCKING BRAKED!) was a mix of horror and deep embarrassment.  She clearly knew she was only in one piece because I wasn’t as fucking stupid as she was.  For this reason I resisted the urge to haul her out of her car and punch some sense into her.

Plus, that would be a really mental thing to do.

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Filed under Driving

Behind the scenes of “Ghost Rider”

For those of you who don’t know, the recent Nicolas Cage film “Ghost Rider” was mostly shot in and around Melbourne.  It’s a bit of fun watching the film and spotting places I know as well as spotting Australian actors in supporting roles pretending to be Americans.

I decided to shoot a video at one of the locations used in the film and expose a serious flaw in the film.  Also, I shoot some video from 47 floors up in the Eureka Tower.  People who are scared of heights might not like the bit where I fake jumping off the building.

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Filed under Video Blogging

Digg this

I’ve decided to experiment with a “Digg this” button now that WordPress have made it easy to add a little widget. I’ve been toying with the idea of adding buttons for the various news/social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us etc. but essentially I could never be bothered to add the code to the template. Plus, I’m not absolutely convinced this is an unequivocally good idea.

After all, I already have top shelf readers. While adding a “Digg” button might generate large amounts of traffic it isn’t necessarily high quality traffic. It’s always possible that the pool of fabulousness that exists here now would be intolerably diluted by an influx from Digg. By the way, this is a social experiment to see how susceptible you all are to flattery. Flattery always works on me so I thought it might get my readers too.

I’m not going to put the code for the button on every post, I’ll probably limit it to the technology related posts (ostensibly the main focus of Digg). When I do it, you’ll see an icon at the bottom of post that looks like this:

digg icon 
If you click on it, this boosts my ranking on Digg thus gaining more of the fame that my shallow soul craves so desperately. This only works if you are already registered and logged in to Digg.com so run off and do that now if you want to help make me fabulously famous.

Like I said, I’ll probably only be putting the code on technology related posts but if I happen to post something that you think should get more widespread attention then let me know. Considering the primary Digg audience, it would help if you think the post would be interesting to young geeky males.

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Art in an alley

This video is a bit of a visual treat and it was a bit of a laugh while I was shooting it as well.  I’ve shown a bit of street around Melbourne before but the stuff shown in this video is all shot in one alley that is often used as a gallery/exhibition space.

While I was shooting this a wedding party showed up and started shooting their photos and videos here.  I like the art but you can judge for yourself whether or not it would make a good backdrop for wedding photos.

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Filed under Video Blogging

2007 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Extravaganza

I’m planning something pretty exciting over the coming weeks.  Well, it’s exciting for me anyway.  The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is coming up in about a month and my old college friend, Adrian Calear (who I’ve mentioned in blog posts before) is directing quite a few shows in this year’s festival.

The Melbourne Comedy Festival is probably one of the top three comedy festivals in the world (along with Edinburgh and Montreal) so this is a pretty big deal.  To broaden what I’m doing video-wise I’m going to be shooting some videos with Adrian and his performers.  They will be talking about their shows about comedy and being funny general and doing some performing.

I think some really good stuff is going to come out this, so stay tuned for plenty o’ laffs!

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Filed under Melbourne Comedy Festival

Some exciting news

Well, exciting for me anyway. As I was driving home from work yesterday I actually heard myself on the radio! My favourite radio station used a grab from one of my videos to illustrate a story on their current affairs show. I called them to say (a) how awesome I thought this was and (b) were they going to explain the source of the clip.

In short, the person who answered the phone said she’d get one of their journalists to call me on Monday so they might actually do a story on me. Or maybe not. You can be sure I’ll keep you updated. Here’s a video I did on the subject while I was all excited:

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You need The Angry News – everyone else really is lying to you

When I came up with my tag lines for “The Angry News” (“everyone else is lying to you” in the opening credits and saying “that’s the news and that’s the truth” at the end of each bulletin) I was being mildly ironic.  Like any sensible person would seek the truth from a raving lunatic who wears a mask and makes satiric jibes about stories he thinks are funny.

But then there’s the underlying reality of so-called news reporting.  In my opinion, well over half of what we get from the media is either deliberate lies or so lazily reported that it may as well be a deliberate lie.  And every now and then it’s done so obviously that I want to scream at people “Can’t you fucking tell this is all lies being fed to you?  Don’t you have a brain?  What’s so fucking hard about thinking for yourself?”

And then there are the instances that are so fucking funny I want to laugh hysterically.  Another one of these happened in Australia this week on one of the appalling nightly tabloid shows.  This particular show has had a series of “embarrassments” in the last year where they’ve been repeatedly outed as liars and/or idiots.  It got so bad that the long-running host had to resign in disgrace.  But not before she provided some good laughs like reporting on the Steve Irwin memorial wearing a khaki safari suit with a fucking lizard on her shoulder!

It happened again this week when they reported on the shocking story of an 84 year old grandmother who was being kept chained up in a nursing home.  Shocking to be sure, but it wasn’t true – they staged the whole thing.  They didn’t exaggerate the circumstances, it was a complete fucking lie!  They’ve been trying a few verbal contortions to get around the embarrassment of being found out but there’s no getting around the fact it was a premeditated lie.

I decided to do an Angry News bulletin on the story because it was too funny to pass up.  A little insight into how I do these videos: I basically make it up as I go along.  I get the initial idea and start the camera.  If you saw the unedited video you’d see how many times I got back to look at the original story to come up with the next line.  That’s also why there are usually a lot of edits in these relatively short videos.

When I started the video I was going to say the host was probably innocent because she wouldn’t put her credibility on the line for such an obvious lie.  But even as I was recording the piece I realised this didn’t hold up logically.  To run with a story like this you have to either be brain damaged or in on the lie.  Really, the host’s only defence is that she’s hot.  That’s a pretty valid defence in today’s media.

What it comes down to is these contemptible scum in the media think they can feed us laughably obvious lies and get away with it.  Then tell more lies when they get caught.  And this is over something utterly inconsequential.  I don’t even want to get into how they foster hatred and aid and abet governments to sell their lies that get us into wars.  I have this horrible feeling I’m going to end up on the receiving end of their lies one day.  God-DAMN I hate these fucking liars!

Anyway, I got really angry there when my original intention was to be funny.  So here’s a video of me being funny.

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Why aren’t you listening?

I’ve had some interesting experiences over the last week sitting through some training.  The training is for a new software package that’s going to be rolled out across a reasonably sizeable company and I was in a group with some senior people from the company.  Some of the things I saw made me think of how we tend to blame our problems on the “stupidity” of others (as covered in my recent posts on stupid customers, stupid bosses and stupid employees.)

In IT, the frequently heard refrain is that most of our problems are caused by other people’s stupidity.  If only users would read the fucking manual (RTFM) they’d give us less grief.  This seems to make sense on the surface but the real issue is rarely that simple.  I, for one, hardly ever RTFM – systems that are too difficult to work out without a manual seldom come with a manual that improves the situation.

A couple of times during the training sessions, some of the users got lost trying to follow some of the most basic processes.  I’m talking about not being able to successfully click three times from the home menu.  I’m surprised the trainer didn’t scream at them to just listen (JFL).  The things is, although it would be easy to say they were having trouble with basic things because they were stupid, in this case it was really the opposite.

A short side note: when I complain about workplaces or cow-orkers, I’m almost always talking about previous jobs.  My current job is one of the best I’ve had and my co-trainees are all quite intelligent.  In this case it was their intelligence that was derailing them – as they were being shown new features they were coming up with ideas on how the software could be used to improve processes.  They were so busy leaping ahead to new frontiers little things like paying attention to how to navigate the software were slipping by them.

As has been pointed out so often by commenters, people accused of being stupid often simply have expertise in a different domain.  IT workers call people stupid when they aren’t technically oriented, bosses call employees stupid when they don’t appreciate strategic issues.  So take a breath next time you wish someone would RTFM or JFL – they might not be quite a stupid as you think.

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Me next please YouTube – LonelyGirl15 takes Hollywood

I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly surprised when I read the news that Jessica Rose AKA Bree AKA LonelyGirl15 has scored some film roles.  Some people seemed to think that blowing the cover of the LonelyGirl15 makers would ruin their popularity on YouTube.  After all, “Bree” became popular because people thought it was the honest video blogs of a young girl – when they found out she was an actress and the videos were made by a professional production team, they’d rise up in revolt, right?

Not so much.  They scored loads of publicity, major newspaper coverage worldwide and appearances on a number of high profile TV shows.  I don’t really go along with the way they lied to everyone but it’s hard to argue with success.  They showed that short internet videos could be used to tell a story in a new way and connect with audiences in a way that wasn’t possible before.  And now they’ve shown that online video can be a launching pad for a mainstream career.

Me next please.

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Filed under Video Blogging, YouTube