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I don't post here much any more. I have combined my livejournal and nerdblog into The Fishbowl, using the ever-nifty Movable Type. You may add the syndicated feed to your friends list, either add fishbowl_all for (rather badly munged by LJ) full posts, or carlfish for excerpts and links.

Friday, July 10th, 2009

(6:29 pm)

Donna: If I had to be trapped on a desert island with only one person, it would be you.

Charles: If I had to be trapped on a desert island with only one person, I'd want someone who looked remarkably like a boat.

Donna: If we ever get engaged, you don't have to buy me a ring. Just get me one of those new iPhones.

Charles: Er… something you’ll want to replace after a year when a better version comes out?

Agnes: So Donna’s into World of Warcraft?

Charles: Yeah. It's like one of those movies.

“Hey, Charles is lost. We’d better send in a search party to find him.”

“Great. Now we’ve lost the search party too.”


Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

(5:37 pm)

What is swine flu?

According to the Center for Disease Control, swine influenza A (H1N1) is a flu virus that normally infects pigs. Occasionally the virus mutates so that it can infect humans, and since the human immune system is not properly equipped to deal with the virus it can be quite a serious infection.

Is swine flu dangerous?

The exact danger is not known. On one hand, existing flu vaccinations are unlikely to protect against swine flu. On the other, so far it seems that swine flu can be treated with common retroviral medication. In the USA, the CDC has released a quarter of its stockpile of these drugs to treat the current outbreak.

What are the symptoms of swine flu?

At first the virus presents with normal flu symptoms: a cough, fever, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue. As the disease advances sufferers may experience diarrhea or vomiting. Once the disease reaches its final stages, sufferers will experience hair loss, gradual pinkening of the skin, facial swelling that causes the patient's nose to widen and flatten, and an intense urge to roll in mud.

Are there other variants of swine flu?

Most, if not all of the fatal cases related to swine flu have been in Mexico, but it is not yet known if these deaths were caused by a more dangerous strain of the flu, or just because of differences in available medical treatment. In addition, some cases of swine flu outside of the USA have been reported to be thicker and less crispy than the American counterparts. (This variant has been named “Canadian Swine Flu”).

How did H1N1 pass from pigs to humans?

The CDC are performing an in-depth study to attempt to trace the flu back to its original source. So far they have been unsuccessful, but they have come up with the following composite drawing of “Patient 0”. Anyone who knows someone who fits this description who may have recently visited Mexico should immediately contact the authorities.


Monday, February 2nd, 2009

(8:17 am)

I was tagged with yet another of those ‘tell me a list of things I don't know about you’ memes, this time on Facebook. So for those of you who care, here is another random 25 facts about Yours Truly.

  1. I cannot fall asleep without the sound of Donna Summer's "Back in Love Again" playing in the background.
  2. Halfway through my first ever driving lesson, the instructor informed me that you do not, in fact, have to make the "brmmm brmmm!" noises yourself.
  3. At seven years of age, I met Chuck Norris. I still have a small scar just next to my left eye.
  4. I find it difficult to keep friends for very long. As an attempt to remedy this, I've taken to fitting their ankles with radio receivers so I can track them as they migrate.
  5. My favourite dance is the Lambada, the forbidden dance.
More? Oh yes there's more!Collapse ) (discuss)

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

(9:10 am)

More...Collapse ) (discuss/posts:1)

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

(7:35 am)

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
It's still a couple of years before
I can start making that joke again.

Bonus content: the USA franchise of Pret A Manger wins this decade's award for the most worrying overuse of scare-quotes:

this UK-based chain serves up 'wholesome' sandwiches and salads that are a welcome 'change from the norm', 'gracious' counter folk and 'crisp, clean' setups add to the experience, and while a few lament the 'London prices', most say the rates are 'reasonable' given the 'quality'


Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

(8:35 pm)

Today was Donna’s birthday. The original plan was to go out to a restaurant somewhere, but seeing as I woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a bus (or at least by the latest virus to be going around) we shelved that idea.

“Aha,” I thought. “I’ll cook dinner. Sure-fire brownie-points.”

Well, maybe not entirely sure-fire. I’ve not had the best of records cooking for girlfriends. Provided I don’t screw this up entirely, though, I should be home free.

Still there was the problem of that run-over feeling. I needed something that tasted nice but that I could make easily, using ingredients from no further than the deli round the corner. Thankfully, my mother had provided the solution a year ago in the form of a present, namely the Bloke’s tasty no-fuss recipes cook-book.

I found the one meat-free recipe in the book (anchovies don’t count as meat), staggered to the deli to source the ingredients, and then decided to brag to Vidya on IM about what a good boyfriend I was being.

Vidya: So what are you cooking?
Charles: Oh, spaghetti with this tomato-and-stuff sauce.
Vidya: No, what is it called?
Charles: I don’t know, I never really looked. I could go get the book if you really want.
Vidya: Go on, I want to know.
Charles: OK, it's… er… spaghetti puttanesca.
Vidya: You realise what that means, right?

Yes. I had carefully prepared to cook, to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday… Whore’s Spaghetti.

For the record, it was delicious.


Thursday, May 15th, 2008

(10:15 am) Hello, world. (discuss/posts:3)

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

(3:49 pm)

Charles and Donna, lazy Sunday morning, trying to avoid getting up and facing the day:

Donna: Still love me?
Charles: Of course. I’m never going to give you up.
Charles: I’m never going to let you down.
Charles: Never…
Donna: You did not just Rickroll me.

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

(8:05 am)

The top 20 most listened to theme songs in the last week, as tracked by last.fm:

The top five are: Knight Rider, MacGyver, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Baywatch and Inspector Gadget

On a similar note: my new favouritest Wikipedia page ever, List of problems solved by MacGyver:

MacGyver uses his pocket knife to disarm the self-destruct device of a downed military satellite. He then uses parts of the satellite’s retrieval system - namely metal tubing and large sheets of flexible plastic - to fashion a makeshift hang glider.

…which narrowly beats the List of Scientology Security Checks:

This long Sec Check, consisting of hundreds of questions, takes stock of the subject’s entire time track, including all their past lives. It includes questions such as:


Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

(10:55 am) Over the last five years or so, my consumption of new music has dropped pretty dramatically. I blame the iPod, which has led me to spend most of my time with my own music collection when I used to listen to the radio and hear new stuff.

So I want to know what CDs were released in the last year that you think would make my aural world a better place. Tell me why if you can.

Thanks in advance. (discuss/posts:24)

Friday, February 15th, 2008

(11:45 am)

From: Charles Miller
To: atlassian-sydney

On 14/02/2008, at 6:26 PM, Mandy Farquhar wrote:

Can people please check the bathrooms and showers before turning off the downstairs light? I really don’t appreciate people turning off the light and leaving me in a pitch black bathroom.

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

> shout “Hey, could somebody turn the lights back on?”

Your shout echoes through the dark lavatory. You hear some shuffling and sniggering outside, but the lights remain off.

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

> shout “You have no idea how dead you guys are…”

You hear the sound of somebody walking up a flight of stairs in the distance. The lights remain off.

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

> shout “Seriously, guys, this isn’t funny any more.”

You have been eaten by a grue. Be thankful we don’t tell you where it was hiding.

Your score is 10 points out of a possible 600, in 3 moves
This gives you the rank of Bathroom Amateur


Saturday, January 12th, 2008

(8:41 pm)

How to create your album cover:

  1. Your band name is the title of your first hit on Wikipedia's random page
  2. Your album name is taken from the end of the last quote on this random quotes page
  3. Your album cover must be made from the fourth picture on Flickr's interesting photos page

I swear, I didn't fudge this at all:

...mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese, by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

(larger image, title, quote, cover art)

Addendum. Using shrijani's formula to create the back cover:

  1. Reload Flickr's interesting photos page twice. Take the seventh picture, desaturate it.
  2. Reload the random quotes page. Take the last few words of each quote to make song titles. Use them all.

The track names are: 1. a mere adult. 2. your enemies will not believe you anyway. 3. rainy sunday afternoon. 4. a good citizen. 5. how others saw me. 6. all virtue. 7. self-evident. 8. the most perfect refreshment. 9. waiting for the other person to die. 10. the more compelling the path, the more lonely it is.

(larger image, cover art)


Thursday, December 13th, 2007

(4:06 pm) It's one thing to drive your truck under a bridge and forget to lower the crane...

... but hitting the bridge right on the clearance sign takes skill. (discuss)

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

(5:38 pm) An Interview with the CEO of SixApart, on the occasion of the sale of Livejournal

Let’s start with the tough question. A lot people are saying that your sale of Livejournal is a final admission that SixApart simply couldn’t manage the site properly. What do you say to that?

Oh, I completely agree. When we bought Livejournal we had a lot of great plans for the site, and we’ve pretty much failed to deliver on any of them.

Really? It’s not often we hear this kind of candor from a CEO. What happened?

I think we failed to grasp the complex, social aspects of the site.

Oh, who am I kidding? There are currently about one and a half million “active” users of Livejournal. Ninety-nine percent of them really don’t care what’s going on so long as the site stays up most of the time. Which it did, we're pretty proud of that.

The remaining one percent care. I mean they really care, even when they have only the slightest clue what they're caring about. And because Livejournal is supposedly a community site, every one of them feels that they hold some kind of magical part-ownership. Now one percent doesn’t sound like a big deal, but you try getting anything done while fifteen thousand people shout at you all at once.

It can’t have been that bad….

Don’t get me started. You know that embarrassing friend you have, the one who whenever anything happens they find some way to interpret it as a personal slight, as if the universe woke up this morning and thought “How am I going to completely screw Sharon over today?”

That’s Livejournal.


Seriously. 98% of them were freeloaders who never gave us a cent. Every time we tried to get some kind of money back from our investment they were up in arms about how we were the worst kind of money-grabbing capitalist scum, defecating all over the supposed legacy of the Brad in Shining Armour. The other two percent, whenever we did anything that might benefit the free accounts, would scream even louder that they were sick of subsidising the freeloaders!

There was a lot of talk that SixApart was always more interested in its own social blogging platform, Vox, than Livejournal.

Guilty as charged. Do you blame us? Vox is just more fun. We can move stuff around, add features to it without running into a whining wall of stop energy. We can experiment! When we announce something new, people are actually excited about it. Can you believe that?

You must admit, though, you made some pretty big PR mistakes. The breast-feeding thing, for one, could have been handled much better

Oh Jesus. I thought that was a joke at first. I mean, they call themselves “lactivists” for fuck’s sake. Lactivists! How comfortable, complacent and privileged does your life have to be before the only thing you can think of to protest about is some guy looking at you weird when you get your tits out on a bus?

The whole lot of them go from site to site, posting pictures and waiting for some well-meaning prude to complain so they can unleash the hounds of hell. And they don’t even realise that the only reason they get any attention is because norks sell newspapers, and it gives some editor an excuse to put a big honking boob somewhere other than page three.

No, the only thing I regret about that mess was that we didn’t go with my first suggestion…

…your first suggestion?

Yeah. It was perfect. The next software update for Livejournal had a “bug” that would randomly crosspost items between the breast-feeding and child-free communities. It would have been marvellous. Unfortunately, we calculated that the total gravitational suck of all that concentrated self-righteousness might just cause the planet to collapse into a black hole.

Joking aside…

I was joking?

…joking aside, censorship on the Internet is an important issue.

Yes it is. And the best way to waste any goodwill your side of the argument may have is to spend a month turning your website black to protest against the unfair treatment of underage-sex fan-fiction. Don’t start with that Pastor Martin Niemöller “first they came for the lolita-fetishists” crap. You’ve got to choose your battles, and boy was that not the one to stick your neck out on.

I guess that'll teach the free speech folks...

What do you mean?

You don’t think it’s a coincidence we sold Livejournal to the Russians, do you? The same country that just put Kasparov in jail for daring to suggest the election might have been rigged? Read the press-release. Livejournal is the blogosphere in Russia, and now every bit of data, every single private post is stuck halfway between Putin and the Russian Mob.

Any final comments?

Я люблю сыр.

(Disclaimer: the author is in no way associated with Livejournal or SixApart. I don't even know anyone who works there in more than an "I might have met them on IRC once or twice" way.)

Friday, November 9th, 2007

(10:40 am)

Things I learned in the last 24 hours:


Sunday, November 4th, 2007

(8:56 pm)

I ran out of shampoo last week. No big deal, I thought, I’ll just run down to the supermarket and grab another bottle. Unfortunately, the trickster gods of consumerism had something else in mind.

There must have been fifty different varieties on display, arrayed across both sides of the aisle. And like most cosmetics, they were all marketed to those people convinced there is something desperately wrong with them that can only be solved through the application of some tincture of stone-fruit pulp, rare herbs and technobabble.

I'm happy to say that my hair doesn't feature amongst my physical insecurities. The only problem that springs to mind is that I really think it’s time I got it cut, and my girlfriend doesn’t.

My hair is not dry, damaged, chemically treated or coloured. Thanks to my mother’s DNA it doesn’t seem in any danger of falling out. I do not habitually flick my head around like those poor semi-tourettes-sufferers in the commercials. I am not looking to add vitality, body, shine or bounce. In an ideal world, after I washed my hair, it would simply be cleaner.

Now where’s my shampoo?

I can only imagine that of all the dozens of brands and varieties of shampoo my local supermarket orders, there’s one that is packaged in a plain, non-pastel-coloured bottle and labeled only “Shampoo. For normal hair.”

And whenever they get a shipment in, it sells out in five minutes.


Thursday, September 6th, 2007

(12:38 am) In recent times there has been a subtle change to the quality of debate about Livejournal.


The abuse team are incompetent, nobody answers my questions, and you introduced some new feature that doesn't work exactly the way I think it should work/isn't available to free users/isn't exclusive to paid users! Brad sucks!


The abuse team are incompetent, nobody answers my questions and you introduced some new feature that doesn't work exactly the way I think it should work/isn't available to free users/isn't exclusive to paid users! SixApart Sucks!

Hope this helps. (discuss/posts:5)

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

(11:14 am)

This sign is just down the road from my apartment. Dear Asia-Pacific. You can have your world leaders back now, we don’t want them.

Police State (1)


Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

(12:07 am)

I watched precisely four episodes of Australian Big Brother this year, including tonight’s finale.

The general plan for the finale of Big Brother is as follows: with two people left in the house, they run a long recap of the entire season, while host Gretel Killeen stands in front of a live audience and exhorts viewers to keep dialing those numbers, sending in those votes and donating some proportion of their phone bill to Southen Star Endemol.

After the recap they close the voting lines, throw to an advertisement break, play one more video package, throw to another ad break, then announce the final evictee (runner-up), leaving only the winner in the house.

The runner-up does half an hour or so of post-eviction interview, after which they pull out the winner into some big procession between the house and the stage, interview the winner, give out the cash prize, and usually finish the show about half an hour over-time.

This year it didn’t go to plan.

The official line was that the final vote was so close (a few hundred votes out of hundreds of thousands of entries) that they had to take extra-long to make the final tally. Given that last year the show embarrassingly evicted the wrong person and had to send them back in, I can’t see any reason to doubt they needed to take time to be sure. I certainly don’t think it was deliberate.

It was too funny to be deliberate.

You know how the English version of The Office was funny, the way it made you cringe so much that it was stomach-churningly painful even while you were laughing your ass off? That’s how it felt watching Gretel more and more desperately trying to find ways to vamp out that last hour, her already artificial smile getting thinner and thinner as she played for time interviewing whoever stood closest to her, as they successively showed all the video packages they had prepared for the night, while the show fell apart around her.

It was frustrating. It was comical. It was an exercise in just how wrong live TV can go if you’re performing without a net. The least-watched series in the show’s history was capped by an unwatchable finale. Bravo.

Next year, I say, take another hour. Take two. Have the DJ do a whole set. Interview all the housemates again, plus every past-season housemate you can get on a last-minute hospital pass satellite hook-up. Replay every single highlight you can find in the archives. Announce who won UK Big Brother, and see if anyone notices the difference. Make the audience form conga-lines to spell out their favourite house-mates. Hold an impromptu game of charades. Interview everyone again but make the entire cast and crew do a tequila shot every time someone says it was “just a great experience”, or that it “changed their life”. Show a montage of Gretel’s less fortunate wardrobe choices over Green Day’s Time of your life. Bus strippers up from the Gold Coast. Dancing bears. Contortionists. Elephants.

Bring on the farce!


Thursday, July 19th, 2007

(11:12 pm) Recently took a couple of photos of the office for the company blog, may as well post them here.

My desk is under the window by the arrow. The arrow is pointing to the screen that tells us just how broken Confluence is right now.

Read more...Collapse ) (discuss/posts:16)

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