Shadow Footprints

Wanderings in Virtu and Verity.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Halloween tonight

One take on the celebration of Halloween in New Zealand. Fortunately most people seem to do the "safety" thing of escorting their kids only to places where they know the people.

Some people are uncomfortable about mixing christianity and halloween. One conservative groups offers Halloween: Orgy Of The Occult No More!. Unfortunately this is not a satirical site like the Landover Baptist site.

Ode to Jenny

Some doggerel I came up with on the spur of the moment. Jenny's an old friend with whom I used to work.

Ode to Jenny

The lady's name is Jenny.
Her worth can't be counted by the penny.
She's busy analysing business needs.
She'd rather be planting organic seeds.
She spends too much time dealing with Brad.
Occasional visits would make her glad.

It's her birthday coming soon.
What will she be doing at noon?
Will she receive be breakfast in bed?
Alas no, she'll stay waiting to be fed.
Will she be opening presents?
Oo-ing and Ah-ing over contents.

November the first is the date.
It's a day we all celebrate.
The church says it's All Saints Day.
"No, it's Jenny's." We all say.
It's time for a-hipping 'n' a-hopping.
Nope, she'd rather go uptown shopping.

To the waterfront for a nice lunch,
Surrounded by flowers, by the bunch.
And later a dinner with champagne.
Now that's a reason not to abstain.
More to come? We hope there'll be many.
For the lady whose name is Jenny!

Serious expressions

Obviously some people have trouble telling the difference between a serious statement and a tongue in cheek one.

Years ago, when I was doing a second job, which, by its nature, was a stress free job, at review time my supervisor said "I can never tell when you are being serious and when you are not." I thought about it and went back to him and said "I don't know either." It appears I use irony bordering on cynicism a lot as a way of, hopefully, making people think.

Sexed Texts

The New York Times has an analysis of the processes behind the Gender Genie.

Quote of the day - Aim

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person.
-- Dr David M. Burns

Fortress America

Speech by John A. Marks, National Chair of The Travel Industry Association of America, to the U.S. House of Representatives: Smooth Sailing or an Impending Wreck? The Impact of New Visa and Passport Requirements on Foreign Travel to the United States.

Intentional or otherwise, a collection of rules and policies that discourages international visitors from coming to the U.S. also create a perception of "Fortress America." The U.S. "welcome mat" for international visitors is beginning to fray and the perception of some around the world is that we are no longer a welcoming nation.
Link from The Practical Nomad

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Feedroll...freshly rolled news feeds for your site

Feedroll creates the javascript necessary to add a RSS feed to your site. Useful if you want to add the headlines of another site to your own.

Baseball lessons for software teams

Jon Udell has an article on Novel ways to judge the real value of dev team members. He compares the methods pioneered by Major League Baseball Oakland General Manager Billy Beane with ways needed to measure developers performances.


FeedDemon is my RSS newsfeed reader of choice. It makes it so easy to browse many blogs for the content without dealing with the layout. I can read the initial comment and see if I want to read further.

Quote of the day - Stands

If you don't stand for something, you will stand for anything.
-- Ginger Rogers

Blogging can get you fired

Michael Hanscom was fired for posting about G5 Macs arriving at Microsoft. It should be pointed out that he is temping through an agency who had placed him at MSCopy, a print shop. Short term temporary employees are liable to dismissal for minor offenses, but showing the arrival of Macs on the MS campus seems extreme, especially labeling it as a security issue.

By firing him, MS has generaged a lot more ill will.

I decided not to blog about anything from work. Any opinions I have about my work environment are either expressed at work or at home. My attitude is that it is not suitable for me to publish issues about current or former employers. Any future employer can see that they will get the same treatment.

Some people at work know about this blog. (Hi!) They don't comment on it, which I appreciate ;-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Truth Laid Bear

Condoms that grow on trees

This is a headline from the NZ Herald that made me take notice. Not really accurate, but that's what we expect from the dead tree media.

Google vs. Evil

Wired 11.01: Google vs. Evil. The world's biggest, best-loved search engine owes its success to supreme technology and a simple rule: Don't be evil. Now the geek icon is finding that moral compromise is just the cost of doing big business.

New Zealand Politics 101

Glenn sums up New Zealand Political parties.

Principles of Economics

Brad DeLong's children explain the history of economics.

Quote of the day - Silence

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.

Looking for a flatmate

I'm now in the market for a flatmate. My current is off to Norway for a year. Please forward the link to anyone you know is looking for a place.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Quote of the day - Quotation

Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.
-- Ambrose Bierce

Monday, October 27, 2003

Coming soon

Coming Soon is a website with details about forthcoming movies, television, and reviews.

Not much time to write

Perhaps this will help me.

Quote of the day - Guilt

Guilt is anger directed at ourselves--at what we did or did not do.
-- Peter McWilliams

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Quote of the day - Star Trek: First Contact

It's my first raygun.
-- Lily Sloane

Borg? Sounds Swedish.
-- Lily Sloane

Definitely not Swedish.
-- Lily Sloane

I am the beginning and the end. I bring order into chaos.
-- Borg Queen

You think in such three dimensional terms.
-- Borg Queen

You are becoming more human Data. Now you are learning to lie.
-- Borg Queen

Assimilate this!
-- Worf

Why Being a Gay Man is Better than Being a Lesbian

GayWired has an article on this. There is also a matching article.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Quote of the day

Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad.
-- Diogenes the Cynic

Friday, October 24, 2003

Food critics

Clay Shirky has an interesting take on restaurants and food critics.

I'd like to see reviewers rate places by the qualities of the food, service, ambience and use an aggregate of these to save if the prices are worthwhile.

Quote of the day

You are the person who has to decide. Whether you'll do it or toss it aside; You are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you'll lead or will linger behind. Whether you'll try for the goal that's afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are.
-- Edgar A. Guest

What does the Bible actually say about being gay?

The BBC has an article about what the Bible actually says about being gay. One of the comments put it so succinctly. What would Jesus do?

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Thirty Tools for Writers

Thirty Tools for Writers contains tools, not rules. Using them is outside the realm of right and wrong, and within the land of cause and effect.

To Auckland drivers who wonder...

...What those mechanical things are that they see on the road. Each with a person balanced on, with only two wheels.

Bad news, they are bicycles and they have a right to be there. They are not something for you to ignore.

Sometimes we will take the left side of the lane, when it is safe to do so. You shouldn't edge out of a side road bit by bit until you stop traffic. We'll run into you to avoid pulling in front of a car coming behind us.

Sometimes we will take the middle of the lane. We do this only when we need to stay safe. This is to discourage you trying to squeeze past us, clipping us, and making us fall. Sometimes we do this because the lane will turn left and we need to go straight ahead, or the road divides. Be patient for two seconds, you will get to make your turn easily. You don't need to accelerate to pull in front of us and brake suddenly. When you try passing us don’t think of us as a stationary object. Realise that if you pass us doing 50km/h when we’re doing 35 and you need to slow down to 25 to do a turn we’ll still be doing 35.

You'll see us looking over our shoulders at a line of traffic behind us. This is so we can safely gauge the flow to merge with. When we are going reasonably fast and looking you can trust that we are trying to be safe. We'll slow down when necessary to merge. Don't abruptly slow or stop, we're probably looking at the gap behind you. We do this when we need to make a right turn at the next intersection. If we can't do it before we get there we'll stop, safely, and walk.

When we are in a 50km/h zone and going downhill doing 50, we'll be in the middle of the road. There is no need to toot at us to tell us to get out of your way, even when you naturally speed going down the same hill. Yes, sometimes we can even pass cars.

Note that the green painted roads are not shortcuts. They are not there for you to get ahead of a slow lane of cars.

When approaching your intersection we appreciate that you indicate. Please don’t indicate too soon, such as before the side road between you and your intersection.

Remember that braking distances are increased in wet weather. This applies to bikes as well as cars.

Give us courtesy on the road, and pass us as you would a motorbike or a slow car, and we'll try to avoid scratching your car or getting blood on it. Better to delay your journey a couple of seconds than risk the delays by hitting us.

Which Dr Seuss character are you?

Another meaningless but fun quiz.
Which Dr. Seuss character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Updated vacation photos

I've updated some of the vacation photos I took in Hawai'i. I still have some work to do on the others. Initially I just uploaded the lot and now I'm sorting through them, cropping some, removing duplicates, focusing in on details.

Quote of the day

Live your life as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.
-- Harold V. Melchert

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The Amazing Race

Series 5 has closed applications, so hopefully it'll air early next year. TV2 managed to show most of series 4 half a week after it was shown on CBS. This meant that I could look up details about the previous episode without risking any spoilers. Unfortunately, they did something with their programming schedule and postponed an episode for a week so they could show a single episode of Australian Idol.

The Practical Nomad

Another new blog of someone whose site I read. The Practical Nomad.

Selling indulgences next?

Christopher Hitchens writes for Slate: Mommie Dearest - The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.

Quote of the day

You can't ever be really free if you admire somebody too much.
-- Tove Jansson

Adam and Andy

James Asal has now added a blog to his Adam and Andy comic site.

I really enjoy this comic. It appeals to my sense of humour.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Quote of the day

It must be borne in the mind that the tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.

It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture.

It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for.

Not failure, but low aim is a sin.
-- Benjamin E. Mayes

Monday, October 20, 2003

TV2 Movies of the Week

Television New Zealand now has a page listing the notable movies of the Week, updated Fridays. This new page is a start but I'd also like to get a regular email of these and any regular programming changes, such as new series starting or finishing.

There is a monthly newsletter with the "latest programme news, competitions and gossip". Why the gossip?

I'm happy to have to subscribe to weekly newsletters from each of the broadcasters. Obviously a consolidated newsletter would have advantages, but as they are in direct competition with each other it would entail a commercial organisation doing it.

Vatican's shift from passive silence to active hostility

Andrew Sullivan writes in the New York Times: Losing a Church, Keeping the Faith

The current pope is obviously a deep and holy man; but that makes his hostility even more painful. He will send emissaries to terrorists, he will meet with a man who tried to assassinate him. But he has not and will not meet with openly gay Catholics. They are, to him, beneath dialogue. His message is unmistakable. Gay people are the last of the untouchables. We can exist in the church only by silence, by bearing false witness to who we are.
Makes me glad I'm not Catholic. I can oppose the words and actions of this man and his cardinals without guilt.

This is the church that threatened to shut down the choir than allow two men to continue to sing in it. Their crime? They got married in Canada. One of them had sung with the choir for 32 years.

This is the church that claims condoms are ineffective in the prevention of AIDS.

The WHO has condemned the Vatican's views, saying: "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

I'm glad I'm not religious. I glad I live in a country where religion holds little sway. My faith is that of reason.

Quote of the day

You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.
-- Charles Buxton

New flavours of coffee

Bill says I swear that Microsoft issues a new "patch" every time a new flavor of coffee comes out. I didn't know coffee flavours come out that fast, but then I haven't tried a vanilla latte...yet.

Security Patches once/month means that flaws have a month to be exploited before the patch, unless MS decideds to release an emergency patch. This also has the current problem of MS taking months to patch flaws after they have been informed of them.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Calendar Girls

I saw Calendar Girls tonight. I really enjoyed it, but they I always have enjoyed anything Julie Walters has been in.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Quote of the day

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
-- George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Quote of the day

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
-- Lao Tzu

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

How common am I?

Brian is the #20 most common male name.
0.736% of men in the US are named Brian. Around 901600 US men are named Brian.

Logan is the #454 most common last name.
0.025% of last names in the US are Logan. Around 62500 US last names are Logan.
Logan is the #523 most common male name.
0.017% of men in the US are named Logan. Around 20825 US men are named Logan.

Source: Name Statistics - How popular are your first and last names?

Goodbye Privy Council, Hello Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Bill passed the final vote last night. The bill abolishes the right of appeal to the London-based Privy Council and from July 1 next year, a New Zealand Supreme Court will be the country's final court of appeal.
See, National Business Review. The centre-right opposition says it will abolish the court, reinstating the Privy Council, but I think this is empty rhetoric.

Stupid human tricks, or advice to drivers

Textual Deviant gives advice to drivers

Types of Personal Weblog

Someone has a problem with weblogs. There's also a quiz to see what type of weblogger you are.

Quote of the day

Logic will not change an emotion, but action will.
-- Source unknown

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Takes your breath away

The underlying theme of TrekEarth is learning more about the world through photography.

What I did on vacation, or, A week in paradise

I departed Auckland Saturday 4 October, flying Air New Zealand, arriving in Honolulu Friday 3 October at 10:30pm.


View from hotel roomAfter getting settled in to my hotel room I hit the clubs. Angles first, followed by Fusion. What is it with Americans wanting to take my shirt off in nightclubs?


After waking up at 7:30am I walked from my hotel to Diamond Head Crater, stopping to grab a coffee from Starbucks on the way. There were a lot of tourists hiking the crater, so I can see why it is recommended to go early. It was quite a hike but the views are worth it.

On the way back I browsed a farmers market, and a roadside art display featuring the work of several artists. There was one I liked, by a couple of artists I can't fully recall the names. The uri was something like jac and someone. I couldn't justify buying art on this trip, and travelling with it was out of the question.

I called in at Hulas for a beer after getting back to the hotel and found they have a weekly catamaran ride for which I signed up for. It was great.

That night, at Queen's Surf Beach was a City and County of Honolulu promotion, Waikiki Sunset on the Beach, with a stage and movie screen showing Holes. Some restaurants had stalls set up offering selections from their, apparently, regular menus.


I wandered along Waikiki, stopping for breakfast of pancakes at Cheeseburger in Paradise. After checking out of the hotel the taxi to take me to the airport was a limo. Security at the airport was a nightmare, but finally I got through. Eventually met Jon at gate 59 where we were to board our Hawaiian Airlines flight to Maui.

On Maui Jon sorted out the final details of the condo in Kihei, including getting the keys. Phil arrived not long after we were at the condo.


Kona Longboard LagerIn the bar at Cheeseburger in ParadiseWalked along the beach by the condo, then to Lahaina for lunch and a bit of shopping. Lunch was at the original Cheeseburger in Paradise. I tried a Lahaina Sunburn then had a Kona Longboard Lager.

Ricky and Paul arrived, having had a few days on one of the other islands of Hawai'i.


I woke up at 2am in preparation of the sunrise bike ride down Mt Haleakala. Friends who did this recommended "Pops" as the best guide. I second their recomendation. Pops remembered Mark and Karla when I mentioned Hogan.

After being returned to the condo it was off to the Little Beach with Phil. We were interupted by a small herd of ten or so spotted deer galloping across the road. The driver of the garbage truck in front of us slammed on his braked so hard the tires were smoking. The deer were so close to him I was certain that one or two would have been hit but no, they were all fine.

At Little Beach we met up with the other guys and I learnt the basics of bodysurfing.

Dinner at Antonio's where we all ordered spagetti and meatballs. An excellent meal.


Dinner at Roy'sA relaxing day, lunch and shopping in Lahaina.

After returning to Kihei it was off to the beach, Little Beach again, for some more bodysurfing (no, not that kind).

Dinner was at Roy's. The food was delicious and the wait staff were very attentive, though I'd like to have more than one or two sips of my water before it was refilled. It was as if they were watching us the whole time.


Phil and I too the Road to Hana. I took lots of photos, as usual. There were lots of tourists doing the same, but as the stops near waterfalls were frequent we didn't feel we had much traffic. After we got to Hana we continued around the back of Mt Haleakala.

Dinner at Bada Bing was great. I highly recommend it, especially Mercedes who served us.


My final visit to Little Beach. Met a couple of LA guys who love it there, and promised to show me the good side of LA when I visit next.

After a quick shower and a final pack I was off to Kahului airport for the quick jump to Honolulu then back to New Zealand. I was able to check my bag all the way through to Auckland, but still needed to get a boarding pass from the Air New Zealand check-in desk in Honolulu. The desk was outside the secure area so I had the fun of going through security once again. The plane was delayed one hour forty minutes and we ended up being the only passengers left at the airport, finally departing about 1:45am Saturday morning.

Leaving Maui was difficult, but I know that one day I will return.

Quote of the day

Don't fall before you're pushed.
-- English Proverb

The 100 greatest novels of all time

The Observer has a list of The 100 greatest novels of all time. I've even managed to read a few of them.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Quote of the Day

The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you'll grow out of it.
-- Doris Day

Sunday, October 05, 2003


I like this place

Friday, October 03, 2003

Word Spy

Word Spy is a site devoted to recently coined words and phrases, old words that are being used in new ways, and existing words that have enjoyed a recent renaissance.

Cardinal Directions

Jvstin's meme: Cardinal Directions
What is the furthest North you have ever been?
Shetland Isles

The furthest South?
South Otago, New Zealand

The furthest West?

The furthest East?
Las Vegas

The highest elevation?
Himmelbjerget (Sky Mountain), Jutland won't count. It's only 482 feet high.

Quote of the Day

If you don't run your own life, somebody else will.
-- John Atkinson

Which Of The Greek Gods Are You?

I am Eros, god of love.


Which Of The Greek Gods Are You? brought to you by Quizilla

What can I say? Thanks for the link Nemesis.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Drought Vortex

The Antarctic Vortex is a natural tornado of 30km high, super-cold, super-fast winds spiralling around Antarctica. It is affecting the weather in the southern hemisphere as it speeds up. Wow!

Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die

Bruce Sterling writes about Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die. Some seem a bit extreme to me, others I agree with.

Quote of the Day

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.
-- Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Quote of the Day

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made silently.
-- Agnes de Mille


Had dinner with friends at Zap2 in Dominion Road last night. I do enjoy seeing people's expressions when they realise their part of the bill is so cheap. We paid $17.50 each which included wine.