[d3v0 lifeblog]

A blog of the newly hedonistic d3vo.

2009 Redux

--
You've been patient with my lack of blogging. I said about a hear ago I was going to do less blogging and more living; here is what I've been up to.

Work
Had a good but very stressful year at work, for the most part. Delivered a particularly tricky release with five system integration points to three systems, with a fourth middle-ware system in front of two of them. Getting that in on time was difficult.

There are always things to be healthily afraid of in software development, but I'm at a point where I've done most of those things that relate to the web software.

Dating
I started off the year heartbroken over somebody I'll never see again. I did get over that thankfully.

I was 0 from 5 for dating that I wanted to go somewhere but didn't. A great deal of other less meaningful flirting activity too. I was a difficult match this year.

Massage
Completed a relaxation and deep tissue massage course. Pretty fun, chewed up almost all of my winter, or felt like it did. It was 67 hours of class time and about 20 hours of homework, all in weekends and evenings.

I'll get a certificate for it in the new year.

Running
Didn't do much running this year, no events! All the running stuff this year clashed.

Dancing
I did a ton of dancing this year, apparently in lue of running. A bunch of dancing weekends. Each of these contained more than 20 hours of super fun dancing.
- Art Deco weekend in Feb in Napier
- ANZAC weekend in Christchurch
- Camp NZX09 in Auckland
- Big Band Festival in Christchurch
- Windy Lindy in Welly

Also I had three TV appearances, all with other couples
- ANZAC day Good Morning Show, dancing to the Beat Girls singing Boogy Woogy Bugle Boy
- TV3 Telethon 2009, dancing to the Rodger Fox Jazz Band
- Good Morning Show end of year special show, we opened the show dancing to Sing Sing Sing.

Also won the Showcase competition at Windy Lindy.

Travel
Made it to Thailand for a couple of weeks.

Sports
No netball but a little Ultimate, a sport in which I don't know how to throw!

House Renovation
Got box corners put on the house. Much tricky scribing for the builder to do, a once every 30 years kind of activity.

Menus

--
For mr_storysmith and the alligator, here is linky to an article about the use of language in menu design. I think we have seen all of this stuff in NZ for some time though.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/dining/23menus.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Thailand

Thailand was fun. We got suits made for Andrew and Jazz's March wedding, and I got some work cloths and dance clothes too. Jazz got some work things, and Tim got some work things and some play things.

Mostly we hung out in Phuket at Kata beach, and a little at Karon beach.



Fancy Jazz resteraunt called Jazzteraunt. No swing or upbeat Jazz is every played here, and dancing is not encouraged except by private function, which cost something like NZD$5000 for the place.



A view from Kata beach in Phuket. I was on a sun lounger under an umbrella.



Andrews feet getting cleaned by some sort of cleaner fish. This is a ticklish process!



At the big Buddha this artist is making a sculpture of what the final site is meant to look like. At the time we saw it non of the outter wall was complete, but most of the big Buddha in the middle was and the golden thing to the left. Should be very very nice when it is all finished.

In Bangkok I got sick, called in a Doctor for a room visit, to which he prescribed this drugs that I hadn't had before. No side effects or reactions noticable, apart from minor bumps on my forearms
- Cifloxin
- Imodium
- Dramamine

Only saw my hotel room in Bangkok.

Koop Island Blues Routine

--
Windy Lindy routine notes, as performed.

intro
0 hold (lead faces away from audience, follow facing audience and right from lead some distance in a line)
1 hold
2 hold

phrase 1
3 toe swivels travel towards each other
4 sames and collect lead left to follow left
5 toe swivels 180
6 charleston to tandem
7 sidewalk charleston
8 unsidewalk
9 swingout from cross hand
10 texas tommy into
11 modern chase with stationary kicks, end open
12 she goes he goes travels
13 sailor step entry
14 sailor jigs
15 sailor exit for 8 with the follow right arm turn variation
16 swing out
17 swing out to hang with lead left holding follow right

phrase 2
18 hold 4 counts then sweep to open
19 swingout jump
20 swingout with lead under arm variation
21 high block double turn
22 french 8 count under leads left arm change of place
23 noodle (similar to sailor step entry)
24 noodle and 4 count quick turn
25 swingout outside turn
26 pull through turn
27 8 count turn and sit move
28 'the shane' lead follow behind leads back then to close with hand changea
29 double turn out
30 swing out with cross hand change
31 into blues circle
32 Skye and Frida hops
33 outside turn to close
34 charleston dip

phrase 3
35 hold 4 counts then unwind spin follow into solo
36 follow solo steps
37 follow solo steps
38 follow solo steps
39 half breaks
40 charletston 540
41 charleston with horse step
42 spin and hold and hold hat

phrase 4
43 sideways charleston lead to left follow to right
44 sideways charleston, cross each other to open
45 texas tommy into
46 crossovers
47 crossovers with triples instead of singles
48 uncross to open
49 swingout with outside turn
50 reverse swingout with inside turn
51 she goes he goes traveling to open
52 sugar push turn to close (backs to audience)
53 reverse promenade with outside turn
54 half swingout with push to open
55 reverse jerk
56 swingout with change to areals hold
57 lamp post
58 left hand 'side lean' dip

End of Year Good Morning Routine

--
The first part of the Lindy routine I am learning goes like this, it is a California variation.
01 Swing out forward from close
02 Hollywood style swingout forward
03 Hollywood style swingout forward
04 007 move, a lindy turn with the lead landing on count 7 and holding, over rotating the follow into a protective position while making a gun with the left hand
05 kick the dog travelling forward
06 6 count turnout to the 10:30 position, kicks instead of tripples
07 6 count change of place to the 4:30 position, kicks instead of tripples
08 6 count lindy circle to close, kicks instead of tripples
09 6 count swing shot with outward right hand and inward knee wiggles on the 5 and 6
10 6 count (3 * 2 count slides) big slides into close, guys start with left foot
11 6 count frog variation, early lift on 3 instead of 5
12 6 count turnout to the 9:00 position, kicks instead of tripples
13 6 count behind the back shoulder roll, guys rock step straight back then step to the right, presenting their back to the path that the follows will travel. Leads keep your arm tucked in a bit to aid the turning.
14 swing out with crouch on 4 and jump on 5.
15 slip slops, do three start by going to the leads right, hold 7 and 8
16 lead Charlestons with a left 90 degree turn, follow does unled rock step kick kick kick in front, both now facing the audience again
17 Tandem Charleston
18 Russian kick
19 Tandem Charleston
20 Easy half circle tandem Charleston exit
Repeat once more.

Bumper Weekend

--
I've got a monster weekend coming up.

Bracketed around my elder sisters wedding in the Wairarapa is Windy Lindy, the big Wellington lindy hop showdown for the year.

Friday day I work and buy wedding gifts. Friday night I'm doing sound and dancing. Saturday is big sisters wedding which will I'll enjoy until I get back around 6pm.

That is when the Saturday night dancing starts, for which I am also providing sound.

At the ball I'll be competing in the open choreographed section to a song by Koop called Koop Island Blues. The song is very lush, but we have made a trimmed version that is a bit tighter. We have good choreography, but aren't very good at dancing it in new environments yet. Much practice still to do. (click here to listen/ watch the video)

Late late late on Saturday night there will be late late late blues dancing at my place with whomever i can drag from the ball.

All blog readers here welcome to join me on the Saturday night/ Sunday morning, from midnight at my place. It will be very dark and there will be people dancing very close in the lounge.

Sunday there is a morning lesson, which I expect I'll skip, a lunch I hope to also sleep through followed by dancing under the sails, weather permitting, at 2pm at Queens Warf.

Monday I need to sort out my tax bits and bobs for last FYE and pack for 2 weeks of vaguely wedding related shenanigans in Thailand.

See you on the flipside.

Routine Prep Clips

--
Bluesy Lindy Clip


French Couple 1 Clip


French Couple 2 Clip


Aerials Clip



Skye and Feida Move

1-4 rock step triple to stop

5-8 crouch hold, jump and step

Frenchy Move

1 – 8 Standard swing out

1 – 4 Half turn follow CCW and both bend forward, lead half turn CW

5 – 8 both step backwards to open under leads’ left arm

Blues Move

1-8 stationary sugar pushes syncopated one hand


Simple Version

1-4 half swingout to crouch

5-8 side steps rising travels

See bluesy couple pink skirt ends 2:40

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r44XcUG4J7c


Random Moves

1 -4 half closed lindy circle, but turning follow early

5-8 shuffle shuffle shuffle shuffle backwards


1-4 half Charleston

5-8 crouch, hold, up, and step


1 -2 forward press

3-4 follow turn ccw, lead block and catch in half position with lead no triples

5-6 lead rise up and draw follow in

7-8 lead sink down and draw follow to close, then hold

Candidate Songs

--
I have a partner to do a lindy hop routine with for Windy Lindy in November. She has been away and will be rusty but is naturally strong enough to endure the rigors of learning a routine and dead keen.

Frank Sinatra, I Wish I Was In Love Again. 122 bpm.

The sleepless nights - the daily fights
The quick toboggan - when you reach the heights
I miss the kisses - and I miss the bites
I wish I were in love again

The broken dates - the endless waits
The lovely loving - and the hateful hates
The conversation - with the flying plates
I wish I were in love again

No more pain - no more strain
Now I'm sane - but I would rather be Ga-Ga

The pulled out fur - of cat and cur
The fine mismating - of a him and her
I've learned my lesson - but I wish I were
In love again

The furtive sigh - the blackened eye
The words: "I love you - 'til the day I die"
The self-deception - that believes the lie
I wish I were in love again

When love congeals - it soon reveals
The faint aroma - of performing seals
The double-crossing - of a pair of heels
I wish I were in love again

No more care - no despair
I'm all there now - but I'd rather be punch-drunk

Believe me sir - I much prefer
The classic battle - between a him and her
I don't like quiet - and I wish I were
In love again



Estelle, American Boy, 117 bpm.

Kanye West:

This a number one champion sound
yeah Estelle we ’bout to get down
who the hottest in the world right now.
Just touched down in London town.
Bet they give me a pound.
Tell them put the money in my hand right now.
Tell the promoter we need more seats,
we just sold out all the floor seats

Estelle:
Chorus
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day.
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA.
I really want to come kick it with you.
You’ll be my American Boy.

He said Hey Sister.
It’s really really nice to meet ya.
I just met this 5 foot 7 guy who’s just my type.
I like the way he’s speaking his confidence is peaking.
Don’t like his baggy jeans but Ima like what’s underneath them.
And no I ain’t been to MIA
I heard that Cali never rains and New York’s heart awaits. First let’s see the west end.
I’ll show you to my Bredrin.
I’m liking this American Boy. American Boy

Chorus
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA.
I really want to come kick it with you.
You’ll be my American Boy, American Boy.

Can we get away this weekend.
Take me to Broadway.
Let’s go shopping baby then we’ll go to a CafĂ©.
Let’s go on the subway.
Take me to your hood.
I neva been to Brooklyn and I’d like to see what’s good.
Dressed in all your fancy clothes.
Sneaker’s looking Fresh to Death I’m lovin those Shell Toes.
Walkin that walk.
Talk that slick talk.
I’m likin this American Boy. American Boy.

Chorus
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day.
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA.
I really want to come kick it with you.
You’ll be my American Boy

Tell ‘em wagwaan blood
Kanye West:
Who killin em in the UK.
Everybody gonna say you K,
reluctantly, because most of this press don’t f**k wit me.
Estelle once said to me, cool down down
don’t act a fool now now.
I always act a fool oww oww.
Aint nothing new now now.
He crazy, I know what ya thinkin.
Ribena I know what you’re drinkin.
Rap singer. Chain Blinger. Holla at the next chick soon as you’re blinkin.
What’s you’re persona.
About this Americana rhymer
Am I shallow cuz all my clothes designer.
Dressed smart like a London Bloke.
Before he speak his suit bespoke.
And you thought he was cute before.
Look at this Pea Coat, Tell me he’s broke.
And I know you ain’t into all that. I heard your lyrics I feel your spirit.
And there’s something about Gladys Knight and the Pips in there, can’t quite hear it…
But I still talk that CAAASH.
Cuz a lot WAGs want to hear it.
And I’m feelin like Mike at his Baddest.
The Pimps at their Gladist.
And I know they love it.
so to hell with all that rubbish

Estelle:
Would you be my love, my love.
could be mine would you be my love my love, could be mine
Could you be my love, my love.
Would you be my American Boy. American Boy

Chorus
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day
Take me to Chicago, San Francisco Bay.
I really want to come kick it with you.
You’ll be my American Boy, American Boy.




Koop, Island Blues, 158 bpm.

Hello my love, it's getting cold on this island.
I sat alone, I'm so sad on my own.
The truth is...we were much too young.
Now I'm looking for you, or anyone like you.
We said goodbye with a smile on our faces.
Now you're alone
You're so sad on your own.
The truth is we ran out of time.
Now you're looking for me, or anyone like me.
Nah nah nah...
Nah nah nah nah...
La la la laa la la.
Hello my love, it's getting cold on this island.
I sat alone, I'm so sad on my own.
The truth is...we were much too young.
Now I'm looking for you, or anyone like you



--

Also, completely unrelated Permablitz.

Music Snippets

House:
Cascade
Little boot

Dub: casper & rosco

Experiences Under Planning

Call me greedy, but I'll chase these experiences over the next couple of couple of years.

Massage

Got my bookwork to do, a video to watch, some practice and a supplementary practical.

Eating and Drinking
Try almond butter.
Try cashew butter.
Try unpasturised NZ milk.
Take a Barista course with friends, hopefully.
Take the 5 people or more cocktail making course at the Southern Cross..
Thai cooking classes, in Thailand.

Lindy Hop
Swing dancing in Hobart, a small cute and approachable camp.
A second routine at this years Windy Lindy.  Got to start this soon!

Forms of Locomotion
Balooning with Michelle & friends.
Paragliding.
Cross country skiing.

DJing
Play 'out' in 2010.

OK Cupid Online Dating Advice

--
Probably good advice from the OK Cupid people. These guys are smart and their lexical analysis seems hard to refute.

Thursday Holiday Things

--
It is Thursday and I'm on holiday, my first holiday not during end of year shut down time or public holidays since about this time last year, keeping to my plan :-)

My list of tasks for tomorrow is short but fun:
- sleep in mildly
- text someone about their lindy hop inquiries
- go to mall for next three items
- trade in yen wad instead of using it as a coaster
- buy an ice breaker tshirt to practice dancing in, less smell than cotton
- attempt to buy little monkeys to stick on me
- attempt to buy toy bananas
- print itinerary
- pretty print short flapper dictionary
- pack
- meet someone for lunch
- drop off car to get it fixed
- pick up finincial times
- drop past work to do my timesheet
- buy pack of fuel coffee beans at the airport
- buy black sambucca
- flirt by text

Monday Goodbyes

--
Dishwashers, racing in plural. Every dish and bowl in the house used, and a good portion of the glassware.

Pre-guest vacuuming, assemblage of foodage.

Big sister, new nephew, brother in law farewelled for Europe, journeys planned.

A modest bevy of cousins, aunties, uncles, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, their presence fading like the coals in the fireplace.

The cat returning to a room of quiet jazz.

Marshmellows

--
Really good however short speech on marshmallows, self discipline and success. Note this may take ages to stream. I suggest pausing it and surfing elsewhere a bit.

Feeling Very Good, Late Thursday

--
I'm feeling really good this evening, after a weekend of massage class, and a Tuesday and Thursday too.

After getting a thoughtful, contemplative, probing, slow but difficult and deep leg massage, I'm feeling really good and relaxed. I am thinking that leg massage might be a sort of short term elixure of youth, but we'll have to see about that. Years of dancing and running I've never really managed to stretch out, pent up, holding back some part of my mind.

I started rearranging my lounge, I think only the fourth arrangement in the near decade in the domicile. I am manoeuvring my new, unfinished, unchristened dance floor into place.

My dj kit is moved, and through some twist of physics that I can't explain, is sounding seriously fabulous. It is really crisp, clean, even and unusually bright. I appear to breaking general rules of where to put speakers, but I think I just the right height to make it work.

So this late evening is a pleasant evening of blogging, sharp-smart-jazz that makes me feel good and late eating. Dinner comprised of chilli beans, an organic fried egg and half a cauliflower smothered with a mild cheese sauce.

I've also cued up massage practice for Friday, Saturday, Sunday x 2, and Monday night. This is good, I'm 59 hours in and enjoying it a lot.

Post By Email

On this slow news day where I read all my interweb in about 4 minutes, I am trying blogger blogging by email.  I hope that it makes photo uploading less tedious and that I get to control formatting more easily.

At work I've got my end of several complex features going, and am helping with the configuration, debugging and politicing to get the other ends to work.

I'm about half way through my extensive massage course. After yesterdays abdominal massage work I understand the meaning of visceral.  I should really share this feeling with my writer friends so that they know how to use the word appropriately.

Soon I'll be teaching some Lindy in Upper Hutt.  I'll be taught more about teaching later in the year when I get to teach.  Should be the funzor, definitely getting me out of my comfort zone.

My dance floor has arrived, but needs more work.  It is still drying, but I think I need to sand it a little and give it another coat of polyurethane.  Come summer I should paint the underside to match my wall too.

A new dancefloor means rearranging my lounge in undetermined ways.

Other stuff is afoot, but still waiting for some traction.

I hope at last I can do strikethrough easily on my blog.

Woozy but Good

--
This 500th post is about things I've being doing instead of blogging, ironic no?

There were two specific goals on my list this year and some activities that did not fit in if I did lots of blogging. Running of almost any kind has been trading for others this year too.

The first goal was to take a good massage course. I'm taking one from the Wellington School of Massage. It is teaching me some anatomy, relaxation and deep tissue massage techniques.

Giving massage is work, but less work than running so no shakes there. Receiving, oddly causes your muscles aged garbage to be released and collected by your blood, and this makes you woozy and headachey.

This is a demanding and well rounded course. It is 67 hours of class time and I am required to do 15 hours of homework, which is about 15 to 20 massages.

I am ten days into the course, which is a nice place to be. It started last weeked, on the Friday, with Friday night 6:30 to 9:30 followed by 9am to 6pm both days last weekend and both days this weekend. I've also crammed 2 hours of practice into the week past. Busy.

Many thanks to judge-jury for lending me his massage table.

Another unrelated goal was to try to start to try to teach lindy. I'm now on the teachers roster as the newest teacher. I'm due to start some teaching to a relatively captive audience at the Cosmplitan Club in Upper Hutt which has a long, long history of teaching a variety of dances. They get various ballroom, salsa and rock and roll teachers in a regular Wednesday slot, then they have generous practice time aftewards.

I'll be teaching with one of my former teachers who I have danced with socially a lot in the past year. She is an experienced teacher and we should have a blast.

Logs vs Fire

--
I ran out of firewood about an hour ago. In an flash of inspiration I found myself well rugged up and combing the beach for the least wet looking wood, hefting small logs to judge their relative density.

So far the wet logs washed up from the sea, gathered in the rain, are loosing against my fireplace. They are hissing, defiantly, but they are burning.

It is a marval of 1940s fireplace engineering that I have been running on wet wood for about 40 minutes.

It is kind of like a game of defense towers. That last link is addictive for obsessive people, warning.

Small Electrical Beginings

--
If you look here you can see the most modest beginnings of a machine that can print one of its own circuit boards.

It does this in a dirty fashion using plain solder, and it is kind of lumpy. However this is a huge technical milestone.

Why should you notice? This is kind of like the point in 1991 when Linus Torvalds got the GCC compiler ported to Linux which caused the thing to start to take shape.

Much as Linux has helped Google to be Google, in about 10 years this will start to transform society and start to become a kind of non self aware digital life form that alters societies thoughts about real world objects.

Context Free Art

--
I've been playing with an algorithmic art generator called Context Fee Art. You make a little program like this:


startshape circle

background { b -0.35 }

rule circle {
60 * { r 6 } circlet { y 10 s 1.1b 0.7 }
}

// solid circle bit
rule circlet 10 { ss { } }

// skip bit
rule circlet { }

// oversized
rule circlet { CIRCLE { s 1.5 } }

// undersized
rule circlet { ss { s 0.75 } }

// stemming
rule circlet 0.5 {
ss { s 1.5 }
ss { s 0.3 10 y 5 }
circle { s 0.5 y 15 }
}


rule ss { SQUARE { } }




and it makes a variety of pictures like this (click to biggify):



For more information see the Context Free Art site.

Twitter Added, Layout Change Comming

--
I've added a twitter feed snippet to my template.

I will rearrange the blog template to be nearest time on the left to oldest time on the right.

That means it needs to have three columns of stuff, tweets on the left, blog posts in the middle and the archive links on the right. Not sure what that means I should do for my links though.

New Hobies

--
So my new hobies are panning out like this:
- house decluttering
- a certificate in massage starting in june
- rebuilding and simplifying my computer setup at home
- more lindy hop dancing

The decluttering is probably the slowest here, it might take me all year to trim back the excess things in my home!

Thanks for Reading

--
I didn't make 500 posts but I had fun trying to get there, thanks for reading me these last three years.

I've decided that the time I spent blogging will now be spent on a new hobby. If a jar is full you have to take out something old in order to put in something new.

It has been really enjoyable and cathartic to write this thing and I hope that I might take it up again in 2011.

Adieu,

d3vo

Tough Week

--
I've had a tough week so far. I've been stressed at work, so I enthusiastically took part in the alligators fabulous birthday bar orienteering games.

It is late, about half four, and I am home from a night of heavy drinking.

However I am feeling much better for it, much better now that I can put my week behind me for a couple of days.

Tomorrow may prove promising or depressing, but at least I know it will be sobering!

Happy Valentines to you all.

D.

Bits of the Financial Crisis

--
I've been following the financial crisis closely over the last year, partly through the net but also party through the utterly excellent Financial Times, a UK paper that makes you smarter when you read it because its use of English is so good. FT is printed in Sydney, and available for $15 on order for the weekend edition.

There is this behaviour in the US that I didn't understand until today. If you think your house isn't worth the mortgage that you have on it then the thing to do in many states in the US is to mail your house keys to the bank and to tell them you are giving up.

In the lead up to the crash at the end of the house bubble people where refinancing their houses each time they went up in value and taking money OUT of the deal to spend on cars, boats and holiday homes.

If you tried this trick in NZ, which is possible but difficult, and then your house went down in value, and then you mailed the keys to the bank, then the bank would seize all your assets and flog them all at auction and then make you declare yourself bankrupt.

In many states in the US however this is NOT what happens. Something else is at play, a different set of laws which frankly create a different kind of capitalism.

In these states you can use a provision called "without recourse" to just get away with it without consequences. This frankly turn adults back into children, and takes the mort part out of mortgages.

"
The willingness of homeowners to walk away from their "underwater" mortgages was increased by the designation of mortgages as "without recourse" in most states. In essence, non-recourse mortgages mean that defaulting homeowners are not personally responsible for paying any difference between the value of the home and the principal amount of the mortgage obligation, or that the process for enforcing this obligation is so burdensome and time-consuming that lenders simply do not bother. The homeowner's opportunity to walk away from a home that is no longer more valuable than the mortgage it carries exacerbates the effect of the cash-out refinancing. "

The whole article is here, and it talks about the many forces in play that caused Americans Banks and home owners to act like morons.

--

In this youtube snippet an American senator talks intelligently and factually about what the American Government did, and had to do on a particular day of the crash.

It starts with an irate woman rant for about a minute. About 2 minutes in it gets worth the watch.

Plan: the crazy drinking

--
My crazy drinking plan for a night in March, one shot each of
- Chartruese
- Absynth
- Tequila
- Cacacia
- Rum

Evening to unfold of its own accord.

Colin & Jessie's Wedding

--
In the weekend I enjoyed Colin and Jessie's very small, beautiful and picturesque wedding ceremony, at Jessies family batch in Queen Charlotte sounds. The fjords hold many fond childhood memories for me too.






















Lindy: The mini dip

--
This move has very tricky counting that isn't like any other move.

1 rock the follow away
2 step the follow towards you strongly
3 step forward toward the follow and lower the lead hand below the hip
4 clap
5 step and turn 90 degrees counter clock wise, (270 degrees counter clock wise for the follow)
6 raise the left leg to a hitch (right left for the follow), click with the non lead hand, find the follows hand if you are the lead
7 be motionless
8 stomp off

21st

--
ms_little_sister had her 21st yesterday. I did a bunch of djing for it, playing mostly what I would call club tunes.

I am tired today though, will by lying low until going to the gym this evening.

Nails

--
Nails tonight was very good. I'm am posting drunk. I feel a lot more sober than I must actually be.

Even sharing my vodka I must have drunk at least 150 mills, which is a lot at the end of a long week.

The week was a bit tricksy, I am very involved in trying to stop a four team design process from derailing. I'm about half way through my bag of tricks which isn't very good.

The process really wants to derail, I've got one guy calling another guy an idiot in email and that guy getting all defensive about his ideas which are only in draft.

My own involvement means that this issue has ground its way to the critical path for my project and that I'm expected to resolve it as quickly as can be, to keep in favour with the three other teams and to find a solution that actually does something that my end customers care about.

The approach is to design my ass off all around the solution space, to talk with lots of people independently about what their parts of the solution space can look like and to smooth egos in design meetings. At some point some connect the points paths should become apparent to me and then I can guide all parties towards the closest one.

Lets just say this isn't programming like they taught me at university.

Hippy Festival

--
I went to the Organic River Festival in Levin a couple of weekends ago.

I went with mr_flash and ms_flash. Basically it looked to me like a hippy festival. I quite like hippies and their festivals usual have good vegetarian food. In particular Hare Krishna food is very tasty.

Typical of such a festival the three of us only had an attention span for it of about 3 hours. I spent about an hour and a half listening to the some Hare Krishna people.

They talked about consciousness, being satisfied and behaviour change. Lots of smart stuff about behaviour change in their speaking.

There are weekend yoga camps that you can go to. This sounds like it would be great for me given the amount of running and dancing I have done in the past years. Here is a link to one from last year.

Also I came across a guy who makes very cool looking hammocks. Very tempting but it wants to make me think all over again about what to put in my backyard.

Pre Rename Manoeuvres

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The wedding is complete, let the pre renaming manoeuvres begin. The alligator has already coined Gravies, which is pretty good :-)

Moruge + Cal =>

  • Morgaline
  • the Calm
  • morgucal
  • Corgan
Any reader suggestions? I will put all suggestions into a forthcoming poll!

Morgue and Cal and Gearboxes

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mr_storysmith and strong_light have been wed. I wish the happy couple much love in their lives. I have some meandering and orthogonal thoughts to share, this will be a long post. (No photo right now, I didn't remember to take all my camera! )

Gearboxes

mr_storysmith and strong_light have a relationship that reminds me of a trick used by gearboxes in manual cars. When you change gear you do this:
- press in the clutch
- move the gear lever out of gear into neutral
- move the gear lever into gear

There is a trick here that my father explained to me as I endlessly questioned him about engineering when I was growing up. I was asking him if people had used principles of magnetism to create clutches instead of using clutch plates and he told me about 'synchros', synchronisation and the problem of getting two gears to mesh.*

You can think of a gearbox as having two halves, one half connected to the engine via the clutch, and another half connected to the wheels via a drive shaft. The gear box sits in the middle and changes the gearing between the engine and the wheels.

This looks like a nice simple arrangement but it isn't; there is a fundamental problem hidden in this description and it is a fundamental problem that exists all over the place, especially in relationships between people, in my experience. It reminds me the story of Morgue and Cal a lot.

The hidden bit is that when you change from neutral into a gear the gearbox has to do a bit of magical, invisible, but absolutely critical, catching up.

If you get two gears turning at different speeds and you try and mesh them together they will fight each other. Depending on how 'soft' the shape of the gear teeth are, the gears might just stubbornly refuse to mesh with a low wine. That is an awesome outcome as gearboxes go.

If the shape of the gear teeth is a bit harder, the gears will destroy each other, ripping each others teeth out, throwing them around with great force and in the process destroy all the other gears in the gear box. This process is noisy, dangerous and unrepairable.

I'm sure you have all changed gears in a manual car all the time without trouble, the piece of magic that does this is a 'synchro', a very soft gear that quietly changes the speed of the front half of the gearbox so that it matches the back half of a gearbox when you are in neutral with the clutch pressed down.

Before 'synchros' there was a specific technique for changing gears that applies very well to human relationships.

The process for changing gears in the 1920s looks like this:
- press in the clutch
- move the gear level out of gear into neutral
- guess what the ratio of engine speed you will need in the gear you are about to change to
- use the accelerator to alter the speed of the engine to your best guess
- attempt to change gear gently, if you have guessed correctly and altered the revs correctly you will change gear
- otherwise you will hear horrible grinding noises and remain in neutral.

This process applies for old cars, very old cars, cars from the 1920s.

In relationships often we strive to change gear like a modern car. We strive to go effortlessly and pleasantly from the friends-gear to the girlfriend-gear, from the girlfriend-gear to the serious-girlfriend-gear.

Sometimes changing relationship status works effortlessly like changing gears in a modern car, but much of the time making these transitions is like driving a car from the 1920s; unseen, guessed at momentum and forces hinder things.

And just like a 1920s car we often get stuck between gears as we attempt to change them, we try to go from friend to girlfriend, get it wrong somehow, make a lot of grinding noises and remain in neutral, not in girlfriend gear as desired but also not in the friend gear either!


Changing Gears

This is the part were I digress from talking up the new couple in rosy tones and instead address the difficult road that Morgue and Cal took to get were they are now, to talk about what I think was going on then, what is going on now and how that applies later.

From what I recollect, Morgue and Cal changed gears easily and pleasantly, from flatmate-gear to girlfriend-gear to serious-girlfriend-gear.

From my observations this seem to happen easy as if they had said to each other 'lets change to seriously girlfriend gear now' and then attempt the change, were successful and life was good. Like changing gears in modern cars, or in romance movies.

A some point, well, starting this sentence with a singular cardinality is misleading, let me try again.

At several points, so many points that I cannot recount them all, the Morgue and Cal gearbox tried to change from serious-girlfriend-gear into partner-gear.

I recall from my conversations with Morgue that this was the gear that the Morgue and Cal gearbox had decided that it wanted to be in. What happened when they tried to change were a lot of loud noises, grinding and complaining of metal that was not in fact quite in synch.

After each attempt they were left in neutral and had to start whole sequence of gears from the beginning again.

Morgue, and I presume Cal, found this process hurtful, frustrating and each attempt made them wonder if such a transition was possible, if the current attempted transition had just destroyed the Morgue and Cal gearbox or that the next attempted transition might.

The Morgue and Cal gearbox could run in friends-gear, girlfriend-gear, serious-girlfriend gear but could not on pain of damage get into partner-gear.

This process was long, bits of Morgue and Cal, teeth from their respecitve gearbox cogs would fly around. This gear change was attempted many times, from my recollection, over a period of years, perhaps 3 years, some of it in NZ, some of it overseas.

I honestly lost track of the number of times they tried to change gear. It occurred to me that possibly there were not compatible and that they might damage themselves quite a bit before they found this out.

A little while after both their returns to NZ however, they tried again and made the monumental leap from serious-girlfriend-gear to partner-gear.

For these two stubborn, smart and passionate people to finally get in synch enough to get into parnter-gear is a big deal.

I don't know what their magic 'synchro' was. Perhaps it was time, perhaps one of them had sped up or slowed down enough to match the other? Perhaps it was empathy, that they final understood each other enough to figure out how to engage each other at such a level?

On Saturday we witnessed another gear change. We saw them go with apparent ease from partner-gear to life-partner-gear.

I trust that they did this with the knowledge that they gained through much hardship in going from the serious-girlfriend-gear to the partner-gear.

Such knowledge will allow them to account for all sorts of life's speed bumps in their relationship and I trust that their lives will be full of joy for it.

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* My father said that is was very inventive that I thought of using the forces exerted by magnets as they fight each others polarity as a frictionless alternative to clutch plates. He said that unfortunately the idea had been invented already.

He encouraged me to keep thinking of new ideas, and that I shouldn't feel bad about. True to his advice I never do.

Flower Strategy for Valentines Day

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This year I will vary my flower strategy for Valentines day, possibly from every other male to have ever existed.



On some other years I have given flowers on Valentines day itself. This is kind of limiting in that there is no obvious symmetrical response. If somebody gave you flowers the week after valentines day that you gave them flowers on, it would be a kind of me-too gesture and perhaps a bit creepy. Valentines is about one-shot declaration, as far as I can tell.

But what if I give flowers the weekend before Valentines day, thus creating a negative space for socially acceptable symmetrical flower giving. Brilliant I say!

How are two single people meant to treat each other as equals with such one sided cultural practices such as Valentines day? The single receiver will be either surprised or expecting; in a passive role.

Such lack of symmetry must surely force imbalance into fledgling relationships, an imbalance imposed on a substance that is the very definition of fleeting.

2009 Lindy Routine 1

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The first part of the Lindy routine I am learning goes like this, it is a California variation.
01 Swing out forward from close
02 Hollywood style swingout forward
03 Hollywood style swingout forward
04 007 move, a lindy turn with the lead landing on count 7 and holding, over rotating the follow into a protective position while making a gun with the left hand
05 kick the dog travelling forward
06 6 count turnout to the 10:30 position, kicks instead of tripples
07 6 count change of place to the 4:30 position, kicks instead of tripples
08 6 count lindy circle to close, kicks instead of tripples
09 6 count swing shot with outward right hand and inward knee wiggles on the 5 and 6
10 6 count (3 * 2 count slides) big slides into close, guys start with right foot
11 6 count frog variation, early lift on 3 instead of 5
12 6 count turnout to the 9:00 position, kicks instead of tripples
13 6 count behind the back shoulder roll, guys rock step straight back then step to the right, presenting their back to the path that the follows will travel. Leads keep your arm tucked in a bit to aid the turning.
14 swing out with crouch on 4 and jump on 5.
15 Charleston fudge into tandem Charleston
16 Tandem Charleston
17 Tandem Charleston
18 Russian kick
19 Tandem Charleston
20 Easy half circle tandem Charleston exit
Repeat once more.

Christmas Baacode

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I've been a fan of Icebreaker for a long time. I can be susceptible to cold but I struggled to find polypropylene tops that would both fit and stretch well enough to run in. After advice from other runners I got a skin 200 longsleeve top, perfect for running in very wintry conditions, breathable, warm flexable, easy to wash without stretching, completely non-piling and comfortable.

I've got a top that I've done most of my half marathon training in, occasionally running in the rain with my top on underneath a lightweight waterproof shell, comfortable, dry, and safe from hypothermia.

One of my cool Christmas gifts was a thin merino top, from ms_little_sister, perfect for running on mild winter days and for tramping. I took it tramping right away wearing it for most of the Heaphy track.

It comes with a baacode, a code that lets you trace the origin of the fibre that made my particular garment. Icebreaker made a world first with this one.

Turns out my top comes from Merino from two stations, one west of Wellington at the top of the South Island called Glen Orkney.

The other is grown by Andrew Hore's dad, the Andrew Hore of Wellington rugby and All Black fame. The station is called Stonehenge station, near Patearoa in Otago, also in the South Island.

The Icebreaker site has videos of both the farmers:

baacode site for my Merino top


It turns out that Glen Orkney has a private track that you can walk on with huts in it. Might be worth investigate for some unique tramping. Perhaps a snowy winter tramp?

Pump Class

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You know you have been back at pump class when you try to take your t-shirt off. The first abortive attempt makes you wince. The second attempt, after some mental steeling, is more successful.

I might not be wearing any t-shirts this weekend.

My Brain is a Rock Tumbler

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My brain is a rock tumbler filled with rough ideas that don't really want to be next to each other.

My brain tumbles these rough ideas together, and with lots of smashing, scraping, grit, lubricant and time occasionally produces a glassy surfaced idea in a natural looking shape. Things tumble in my head at sleep, at wake, a patient and unexpecting grinding.

You've got to understand that I'm the son of an engineer and that engineering involves thinking in time scales that go beyond the lifespan of a humans; I have ideas that have been tumbling around my head since I was three.

One of those ideas is repeating patterns. This has ground together with my love of triangles and my ideas about my occasional but intense bouts of lazing. It is formed in my head but not yet elsewhere:

po* pumpkin equilateral-triangle laminated-frame laser-guided tri-hammock garden-seat

It will be in the lea of my plum tree.

* Po is a though tool by Edward de Bono who know more about how to teach and learn creativity techniques than I have had hot dinners. It is worth mentioning that I skip less than one dinner a year.

Link Swappage

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I've swapped Stuff White People Like for Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk. Her whit is enormous and she writes with the apparent ease of a seasoned columnist.

Even better she is a person with real struggles, emotions, failing and demons, just like the rest of us. Of course I'm partial to saying that about any serial dot-com starter :-)

Back

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I'm back from tramping and boating. Very relaxing, both, in their own terms.

Happy new year y'all!

d.

The Heaphy

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Finished tramping the Heaphy yesterday, great walk number three of eight. We were a party of six. The Heaphy is long, beautiful, varied, mostly scenere, unpopulated, natural, unspoilt, consisting of many zones of flaura and fauna.

We played lots of 500 too.

Tomorrow I meet up with Dad to do some boating for a little while, undetermined time.

See you back in Welly soonish.