Art of cool

Looks like I might be doing a little freelance gig designing and building a low-key website for a singer/songwriter. They want it to be a little bit arty/mysterious/quirky, and I have a few ideas, but would love to know any sites that you folks think would fit that bill – preferably music sites, but that’s not a strict rule. Basically they’re looking for a music player, photo gallery and info page. TIA for any tips…

Bloc Party

Upon the recommendation of a friend I picked up Silent Alarm by Bloc Party – loving it! It’s an awesome album – and I don’t think it’s going to wear off quickly… I also picked up Thievery Corporation The Cosmic Game – some cool stuff on there, but didn’t grab me as much. Maybe it’s a grower…

Nintendo DS

On the bus this morning an excited passenger was sharing his new Nintendo DS with his friend. I tried one of these in a store a few weeks back and was largely unimpressed, but this morning – wow! The screen was much clearer – maybe they were running it in low power mode at the store – but the graphics were as good as my N64 (which still resides under the TV for the odd game session when the Xbox is having a rest).

And there is also a little stylus replacement that allows you to use your thumb for game control – much nicer. I still think the PSP is gonna kick its ass, but it’s a pretty wicked unit all the same…

iTunes fun

Partly as an experiment in remote procedure calls, I’ve added a new section in my sidebar called “Current Listening” which lists the current track in my itunes at work. More useless trivia 😉

For those technically inclined – it’s a combination of iTunes, kung-tunes, and iframes RPC.

Update: so much for that little diversion – IE on PC crapped out. Seems version 6 here was working fine, but other versions weren’t. Bugger…


I remember the night I first heard Death Cab for Cutie – Barry and I were heading home from rehearsal and he put on “Styrofoam Plates” and I was blown away with lyrics like “it’s no stretch to say you were not quite a father but a donor of seeds to a poor single mother that would raise us alone” and the rattling “I won’t join in the procession that’s speaking their piece using five dollar words while praising his integrity and just cause he’s gone it doesn’t change the fact: he was a bastard in life thus a bastard in death”.

Then Barry played me the bridge of “We Laugh Indoors” which blew me away even more. Every time I revisit The Photo Album and it gets to that section I can’t help but stop what I’m doing and get completely, bodily, into it – just to take a moment to take in the awesome drum work and the immense power of that section. I’m sure it’s a very strange sight to see me sitting quietly in my corner at work and then start playing air guitar and drums and shaking my head like a (slightly) mad mofo. It just came on then – after hundreds of listens it still grabs me by the throat and forces me to take notice. Awesome!

Agricultural mining

Paul Sheehan (SMH): The collapse of the wide, brown land:

What amazes Diamond, one of the world’s leading scientist-historians, is Australia’s determination to cling to the myth that much of the hinterland is critical to the nation’s economic health. He sees this as one of the world’s great lost causes:

“While 60 per cent of Australia’s land area and 80 per cent of its human water use are dedicated to agriculture, the value of agriculture relative to other sectors of the Australian economy has been shrinking to the point where it now contributes less than 3 per cent of the gross national product. That’s a huge allocation of land and scarce water to an enterprise of such low value. Furthermore, it is astonishing to realise that over 99 per cent of the agricultural land makes little or no positive contribution to Australia’s economy. It turns out that about 80 per cent of Australia’s agricultural profits are derived from less than 0.8 per cent of its agricultural land …

“Most of Australia’s remaining agriculture is in effect a mining operation that does not add to Australia’s wealth but merely converts environmental capital of soil and native vegetation irreversibly into cash, with the help of indirect government subsidies …”

I’d long suspected as much – it’s interesting to see the exact figures…

Online history…

Just been messing around with bloglines (not new, but new to me). Doesn’t really do what I need it too (lack of grouping, lack of support for Atom), but that’s not the point of this post.

Bloglines archives RSS feeds, so when you first subscribe to the feed for this weblog you get the last 500 entries (which is under half of the total entries of my MovableType blog – I have archives from my Radio Userland days back to Feb 2002). Some useless trivia: 500 entries ago I was writing about Googlemania and I was still working at NETaccounts working on promotional banners.

There’s probably a lot of incriminating evidence in them thar archives…

Gig next week

Been meaning to mention – I’m playing two sets at Mars Hill Cafe (Church St, Parramatta) next Saturday night (the 26th Feb). I’m first on upstairs at 8pm, with a repeat set in a different part of the cafe at 9pm.

If all goes well with Live I’ll hopefully be doing one or two tracks with more than just an acoustic guitar – but we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully my minor cold clears up and doesn’t get any worse (timing is always perfect for these things…)

Speaking of gigs – The Devoted Few are playing at the Hopetoun tonight – can’t wait to check them out again as it’s been a while.