[d3v0 lifeblog]

A blog of the newly hedonistic d3vo.


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

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

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! )


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.

* 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 :-)


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

Happy new year y'all!


The Heaphy

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.