I've decided to retire this blog — I don't really see myself updating it any time soon, and haven't for over two years anyway. I intend to leave the content on-line for the forseeable future, but have converted it to a static site. As a result, dynamic things like search and comments aren't really going to work.

You can find me on Twitter or on Google+ if you like. Alternatively, I'm usually on IRC as LawnGnome on Freenode.

Thanks for reading!

Archive for the 'Self-Indulgent Navel Gazing' Category

Summing Up Three Months in One Post

Friday, April 24th, 2009

The story so far…

Our hero quit his job and was deassimilated from the Borg, travelled to India via Sri Lanka, and was last heard from on a bus from Delhi to Noida.

And now, the unexciting conclusion…

That was, as the dates indicate, about two and a half months ago. Indeed, I returned from India, as expected, in late February and have since taken up my new job (which, oddly enough, has put me back at my old desk) and have been feverishly working on the two productions that I’m expected to edit the India footage into (with, it has to be said, remarkably little success, as the rather depressing supervisor meeting I had on Wednesday reinforced).

Why the break in transmission? I’m not sure, really. I did write a few more journal entries while I was in India, but found that I ran out of energy at a certain point and really just wished I could learn how to sleep on buses, and then with the editing workload back here, combined with picking up the new job baton (a whole 48 hours after I landed back in Perth!), I just don’t seem to have had the creative energy for it.

India, for the record, was good fun. There’s been a little bit of unpleasantness since returning (nothing related to me, but it still casts a slight pall over the experience), but it was an incredibly worthwhile trip, all told. In the end, I think Bangalore was probably my favourite of the four cities we stayed in, but they were all interesting and (often surprisingly) different in their own rights. The filming went OK, but as I’ve said to a few people since returning, it really was no more than OK, and probably reminded me of why I was hesitant to get heavily involved in production units in the first place — I just don’t quite seem to have a natural feel for what needs to be shot and how the way a lot of other people do, and when you’re shooting ephemeral events in a documentary style, you have to have that feel.

I also have a huge queue of photos to upload, too, starting with some from last November (sorry Dean!) and then the photos from India. All… find . -name *.jpg | wc -l… 413 of them. (Yikes, particularly since I know I discarded at least twice as many while I was there, too.) I’ve been meaning to get started on that particular job since I got back, but the thought of sitting down and writing titles and descriptions for each of them has just sapped my energy each time I’ve opened my laptop to get going.

Tonight I’m off to the 4×4 Film Festival at uni, which is the twice-yearly competition between second and third year production students to see who can make the best four minute film. (Third years get handicapped by needing to edit in-camera, which having done it last year, is actually a pretty significant handicap for a lot of genres.) This semester’s theme is horror, which should be entertaining, and for once, I might be scared by more than the usual shoddy student acting.

In that spirit, I’ll sign off with this dodgy YouTube version of a horror film I worked on last year for uni. (We were apparently just a year ahead of the curve. That’s what I’m telling people who ask about the grade I received for it.) It’s seven and a bit minutes of… something. I’m not really sure what.

I’ve Got A Fever, And The Only Prescription Is More Cowb^WAST

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

I’m having one of those rarest of things today — a day off from work. Even more unexpectedly, I have about a half-hour of downtime, due to Dan running late with the raw footage I have to edit for our major film assignment this semester (now featuring zombies!). I have, of course, chosen to spend it in the most productive manner possible: drinking coffee (yes, I was shocked too) and following the early results in the US Presidential election, courtesy of CNN and, more credibly, AST’s* electoral vote tracker doohickey.

I find myself strangely fascinated by this election. I mean, Barackstar is pretty obviously going to win, unless the pollsters are having an even worse year than politicians without any common sense, but after the dull 2004 campaign (not to mention the WA state election that excitement forgot a couple of months back — at least until the votes started getting counted), it’s just nice to have an interesting contest.

For the rest of my day, editing, stop-motion filming, and cooking a chicken tikka masala await.

Man, I just hope this election’s called early so that I actually get most of that done.

* This AST, not this AST. Don’t get them confused. It’s embarrassing trying to parse some source code and realising you’ve just got Tanenbaum on a plane instead of loading the syntax tree library.†
† Yep, I think end of semester madness has set in again.

Listening to Distant Thunder

Friday, March 7th, 2008

It’s a little difficult to believe that I haven’t blogged since the end of January. I haven’t just lost the habit, I’ve buried it in a secret location in the Gobi that only male-line descendants of Chinggis Khaan can find. So, rather than bore people who are still reading and haven’t just hit j or k already in Google Reader (depending on their reading habits — I’m a ker myself), I shall instead rapidly summarise the last six weeks.

I got a real, paying job, which I start on Monday. It’s a Perl <insert inarticulate grumble here> programming role (people in Perth probably already know who it’s with just based on that). I’ll likely post more details on that when I figure out what it’s really all about. For now, it just feels strange to be going back to full-time work after 54 weeks out of the saddle.

After dithering on the subject, I did end up signing up for a Graduate Certificate in film stuff. I only have time to do one unit a semester, but that’s enough to keep the creative juices going. I hope. First project: a music video, due in about three weeks, give or take. Now I just have to resist the urge to do everything in stop motion.

Frustratingly, not only am I still not allowed to drive after my overly dramatic collapse in Melbourne in January — barrels of fun when you live in the sticks with wildly inadequate public transport — but I haven’t even had the required follow-up with a neurologist yet. (I have, however, had all the requisite tests, and everything has apparently come back normal. Yes, that means I now have scientific proof that I actually have a brain.) Most of the neurologists in Perth have, as a minimum, three month waiting lists even for private patients, and having found one who didn’t have such a long waiting list and who had a good reputation, he’s since cancelled my appointment six times. We’re going for number seven tomorrow, and if it doesn’t go ahead, it’s going to be mighty awkward mighty fast with my forthcoming work commitments to schedule another appointment — with him or anyone else.

Truthfully, given the difficulty I’ve had getting places since I got back from Melbourne (friends and family have been good, but there’s only so much you can ask), I’ve spent entirely too much time at home feeling sorry for myself in the last few weeks, and not enough time doing stuff. Including blogging. Really, it’s time to kick myself out of this funk. So, to summarise this self-indulgent post:

I’m in ur planets writing ur blogs

…because, hey, it beats the hell out of just watching TV all day.

Base image Mastermind Azrael taken by Kjirstin, and used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence.

Curse You, Douglas Adams

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

I’ve just had my first whooshing sound of the semester as a deadline whipped by at a rate of knots without the associated assignment actually being ready. Not a happy feeling, considering we’re still the best part of two weeks from the mid-semester break. Unfortunately, I just haven’t figured out yet how to juggle the seemingly insane requirements of the units I’m doing this semester, and consequently, two of the units (Feature Film Scriptwriting and the dreaded Internet and Java Programming) aren’t getting much love at present, let alone anything outside of uni.

Speaking of which, sorry, people waiting for a PEAR DB release. I haven’t forgotten about you.

Anyway, some things are happening, at least. The Computer Science project I’m working on is cool, and terrifyingly large in scope at present. (I’ll write a proper blog post about that later in the week, hopefully.) My latest film project has started shooting, and as we work our way through that process, I’m gradually realising just how much I’ve dropped myself in it as editor. The next time I write a script with that much chromakey work in it, I’m making sure that I don’t actually have to do anything related to said chromakeying. As things stand, I have to composite four — actually, it might be five, now that I think about it — scenes in post, including one against a virtual set which I’ve only had time to partially build so far. I mean, There are walls. There’s a screen. There isn’t anything resembling a door, though, and I still have to match the lighting to the actual set-up we’re using against the bluescreen, so partially built might be optimistic. Slightly built might have been a better phrase. Next time, we’re using flats, even if I have to spend all weekend painting them.

It’s interesting watching shooting take place for a script I wrote, though. I’m sure it’s even more fulfilling for Reuben, our director, since it was his story idea in the first place, but I keep feeling both proud of the fact that the scenes being shot are the ones I scribbled out, and worried that if we suck, it’s going to be largely my fault — you can talk about how the director is the true author of the film all you want, but JMS has referred to certain things on Babylon 5 being writer problems, and I suspect that most of the potential issues with this film are going to be in that basket.

At least I get the chance to fix them in post. (We’ll fix it in post is the film student mantra, it seems.) Of course, said fixing might require sock puppets…

That's all, folks!

Yep. Just like that.

I Feel Like an Old Railroad Man

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

I wrote this on Sunday morning, mostly from the comfort of a table in Dylans, Albany‘s best diner-café-restaurant thing. No affiliation besides lots and lots of childhood meals there.

For the first time in fourteen weeks, I’ve managed to go two days without needing to work on (or think about) university. The clichés of clean country air and peace and quiet have worked their wonders — I’ve even managed to have two good nights’ sleep in the face of a sleep-talking roomie, so things must be looking up.

Yesterday we went on a hired minivan for a wine tasting trip. (We also took a trailer for the wine, which turned out to not be overkill as I thought, but just enough kill.) Our hosts, David and Anne, clearly know their wine, and we went to a succession of outstanding wineries, most notably Xabregas just outside Narrikup. While the cellar is encased in barbed wire and looks like a viticultural Guantánamo, the wine is fantastic. It’s even more fantastic when you realise that the riesling on sale for $50 a case is actually an outstanding wine in its own right — thank $DEITY for clearance sales! (Like I said, we needed that trailer.)

The last place we went was Zarephath Wines. It’s an interesting winery, as depending on who you ask, the six people who live there and run it belong to either a commune or a cult. Either way, they seem to have an unhealthy obsession with building and launching boats.

At any rate, despite a couple of slightly iffy moments (the guest book which asked for basically every personal detail except blood type and tax file number was an interesting take on the idea), the expected big push to consider their movement didn’t come, thankfully. Better yet, the wine there was pretty good too, if not quite as good as Xabregas.

Princess Royal Harbour, a rainbow, and an example of Albany’s fickle weather

Today most of the group have gone up to the Porongorups again to check out a bamboo farm before lunch, but I’ve decided to be difficult and have instead come into Albany by myself. The Albany Car Classic is on, which has caused a few annoying road closures (why can’t we walk down the eastern footpath on Aberdeen St, if no cars are crossing it?), but my mission was to come to Dylans and test out their pancakes once again.

Happily, Dylans is just as good as I remember. In fact, apart from a few minor things (such as newer posters on the walls), it’s really exactly as I remember. It’s actually a little weird walking in and seeing everything as it was fifteen or more years ago. For a brief moment, I felt eight or nine again. Still does just as good a trade as it did then, too.

I need to walk back up shortly towards Dog Rock to get picked up, so I’d better go while it’s not raining. (The sun’s shining now, but I lived in Albany long enough to know that’s just a sign that it’ll probably rain again in five minutes.) I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend being just as relaxing as this; the only problem is that I’m not sure I’ll want to go back to Perth tomorrow and worry about my last scriptwriting assignment.

Damn. So much for three days without university-related thoughts.

In Orbit

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

This humble little blog has ended up on a couple of Planets lately: specifically Planet SoC, the Google Summer of Code planet which is getting a limited feed of GSoC related posts, and Planet Linux Australia, who are unfortunate lucky enough to be getting a full feed at the moment.

So, uh, hi. I’m Adam. For the benefit of the Planet SoCers, I’m going to be working on a GUI frontend for debugging PHP applications. When I’m not doing that, I spend entirely too much time in film edit suites, writing scripts of both the film and computing variety, taking part in the usual third year computer science group projects, and trying to work my way up the PEAR bugs-fixed ladder. When I’m not doing any of that and I have money, I go to excellent conferences and take part in ill-advised experiments with wireless networking.

Sometime this year I hope to get a full night’s sleep. I’m planning it sometime in December after OSDC. Until then, expect occasional rambling blog posts. Like this one.

Digging Into the Past

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Like a lot of people, I have an interest in my family history, compounded by the fact that it’s actually pretty blurry before my grandparents’ generation. The National Archives of Australia launched a service yesterday which provides service records for everyone who served with the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War. It’s been slow, flaky and there’s been the small problem that the search link on the aforelinked page doesn’t actually work, but I’ve finally been able to get a service record for my great-grandfather, Private Martin Allen, who served from 1917 to 1919 in the 11th Battalion.


See, Not Everything I Post is a Whinge About Uni

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

I’ve been awaiting the arrival of the Summer of Code mentoring organisations, which were due today. Sadly, there seem to have been some technical glitches at Google, as they first posted five or six mentoring organisations, then dropped them again and put up a message that they’ll be posted here soon.

Obviously I now have the time to actually take part in the Summer of Code (plus, the money would be really handy), but the catch is that I have to figure out what I actually want to attempt. The obvious thing to do is something PHP related, given my work background, but I don’t know if I’d actually be happier picking something a bit different as a change of pace. (I was, for a moment, interested by the idea from Richard Lynch on PHP-DEV to write a JIT compiler as a SoC project — then I attended my PLP lecture on compilers and thought better of it.)

Unfortunately, this is the point where I start second-guessing myself because I’m not visible enough within the open source community and hence feel as though it’s not worth applying for anything. I guess the challenge is to get over myself before the application deadline on March 24 and get at least a couple of applications in.

Anyway, I look forward to the list of organisations and project ideas going up. I’ll doubtless post which ones I apply for on here — provided I actually do apply!


Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I feel slightly lost without my work e-mail account. This is strange.

OK, I’m more missing the comics feed in Klutz, but the point stands.

Burning Bridges

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

I have nineteen and a bit hours remaining at my current job before I finish up and spend the year as a full-time university student. (And, hopefully, a more regular blogger.) I’m now in the funny twilight zone where I don’t really have a hell of a lot more left to do besides a couple of small pieces of training and packing up my desk, yet I still have to be here for a couple more days.

It’s going to be a bit odd being back at university without actually having a job to worry about at the same time. It’s a calculated gamble to make sure that I do reasonably well and graduate this year, but I don’t yet know if it will actually be a positive or a negative when it comes to focusing — perhaps I need something else to switch to when I don’t want to concentrate on uni. Alternately, I may just be freaking out about tossing in paid employment for the first time in a long time.

Better get back to work, I guess. Ah, xkcd archives.