Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inspirational Postings

Normally, stuff I find on Tumblr just gets reblogged on there, so if you only check out this site, you never actually see stuff. However, Lindsay posted something that was too good to be kept hidden away on that site, so it's making it's move to the main site. I'm copying the whole thing coz it was that good (so I'd recommend you read it - it's worth it).

Giving a graduation talk on Saturday, in need of inspiration. This'll do.

The following is Samantha Power’s address to the graduating class of Pitzer-Claremont College in California earlier this month.

It is an indescribable honor to be here with you today, class of 2008. It is an even greater honor that you extended the invitation before what I now — with exaggerated self-importance — call “Monster-gate.” I am grateful to you for not rescinding the invitation after I opened my big mouth and became global villain for a day. If you ever needed evidence that even college graduates never grow up — they just get more sophisticated at disguising their inner child — I offered it. Thanks for standing by your humbled commencement speaker.

Since I graduated from college in 1992, I have been blessed to have been a part of some pretty momentous causes. Yet I count as the greatest privileges of my life the sunny days like this one, where I have the chance to deliver a commencement address. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I consider it a great act of trust toward a stranger. So thank you again, Pitzer.

Ok now that I’ve raised expectations, let me add a qualifier: be wary today and every other day of anybody who claims to have specialized knowledge on the way things should turn out. In your lives or in the world.

I was in Fenway Park and Yankee stadium in October 2004, at the start of your freshman year here, when the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs to vanquish the New York Yankees and the curse and win their first World Series in 86 years. The experts said it couldn’t be done, but the experts knew history, they knew that no baseball team had ever come back from three games down in a series. The experts knew things, but they didn’t know those Boston Red Sox.

I was in Darfur, Sudan that same year, and I met refugees who begged me to bring their stories back to the United States so the U.S. government would act. The Darfurians pleaded for humanitarian aid to be delivered, for Sudan’s killers to be prosecuted, and for peacekeepers to be sent to protect civilians. The experts said it couldn’t be done, that governments traditionally pursue their “national interests,” that the U.S. government was too busy with al Qaeda, North Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan to worry about “mere” humanitarian issues. Again, the experts knew things, but they didn’t know that STAND chapters would spring up on 500 college campuses across the country, that ordinary people concerned about Darfur would create a 1-800-genocide number, that members of Congress would be given “genocide grades” for their actions and would scramble to move from a C- to a B. The experts didn’t know that students on the Pitzer college campus would organize a concert for Darfur that would raise $7,000. And they certainly didn’t know that this movement would generate such political pressure that the United States would spend more than $3 billion keeping those refugees alive. They didn’t know that the International Criminal Court would indict the leading war criminals. And they didn’t know that a peacekeeping force would be authorized. Now let me be clear: the killings have not stopped, and there is far more left to do. But if citizens had deferred to conventional wisdom about what was doable, many more people in Darfur would no longer be with us today.

And back in 2005 I was minding my own business when I received an email from the office of a certain junior Senator from Illinois inviting me to drop by to discuss his vision for fixing U.S. foreign policy. A one hour meeting with this man, Barack Obama, turned into such a staggering four hour tutorial (I was the student, he the teacher) that I decided then and there to leave my job as a professor at Harvard and move to Washington to work in his office. I have been open-mouthed — or what the Irish call, “gob-smacked” — ever since, as I’ve watched the race between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton electrify the nation. The experts said it couldn’t be done — they said men would never vote for a woman, but they did; they said that white Americans weren’t ready for an African-American, but they were; they said that young people would talk a good game, but they wouldn’t get their acts together to register and then to vote, but you did. The experts knew things, but they didn’t know today’s Americans, and they certainly didn’t know your generation of young people.

Again and again, the experts have proven wrong. Yet if the Red Sox, the Darfur activists, or Obama had deferred to these experts, history would have turned out very differently. The experts deal in probabilities, but you all have the chance to decide on possibilities and make what is possible real.

So how do you begin to think about doing that? I’d like to offer five suggestions.

First, as you figure out your path in life, try to follow your nose.
I had classmates in college who had decided by the time we graduated what they wanted to be on this earth - “Tony award winning actor,” “congressman by the age of thirty,” “broker of an India-Pakistan peace deal.” These folks were unbelievably determined and polished. They had amassed thick rolodexes and devised detailed flow charts, indicating how they would get to their self-designated promised lands. They knew their end states and would have given Machiavelli a good run for his money in reaching their goals. I have students like this too. One young man came into my office recently and said, “I want your life. I want to write books and magazine articles and get to know a Presidential candidate.” My response was: “you so don’t want my life!” Now don’t get me wrong: I love my life. But this student knew that life only in silhouette. He knew nothing of my many missteps, of the internal struggles, of the constant tradeoffs, and he knew nothing of how I set out on a path hoping to do one thing and ended up doing something radically different. He only knew the box score. But just as one can not decide in advance to win a baseball game by a score of 6-3, one can not script a precise professional destination. The contingencies - and one’s ability to pivot from them - have a greater impact upon one’s destiny than one’s plan.

I promise you that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if I had set out to reach a specific end state. Every choice up to this point, I have made by following my nose. I went to Bosnia as a journalist in the early 1990s not so I could somehow, one day, end up having the honor of speaking at your commencement, but because I was one of many Americans sickened by the television images of emaciated men and women imprisoned behind barbed wire in modern-day concentration camps.

And believe me, while in college, I didn’t say, “I want to become the author of long books on dark topics.” I wrote a paper for a law school class on U.S. responses to the major genocides of the twentieth century. And then at the end of the semester decided I still didn’t have an adequate answer to the question of why U.S. leaders had done so little to stop genocide, from the Armenians to the Holocaust to Rwanda. So I kept going. I took a year off law school to try to figure out the answer to that question, and, only when I got the impression that others were interested in the answer too did I decide to pull my findings together in a book, which became “A Problem from Hell” — a title my mother thinks I chose to describe my personal relationship to the book writing process. When I was later told by publishers that there was no market for such a book, I was crushed of course, but it didn’t stop me because I still hadn’t quite figured out the answer to my question.

When I went to work for Senator Obama in 2005, I went not because I thought he would run for president, but because I thought he had a lot to teach. I also realized I’d been writing about American foreign policy for a long time but was woefully ignorant about how the Congress functioned day to day. If, going forward, you view yourselves as full-time students in a real world university, it is difficult to go that far astray.

Parents, please don’t worry! I’m not using this privileged pulpit to encourage dilettantism. Instead, I’m encouraging you, class of 2008, to focus on the next thing, and take some of the pressure off finding the eventual thing. Emphasize the substance of what you will learn, not the status of what you will be called. Ask yourself, “What will I take away from this? Will I learn a new skill? A new town? A new mindset?” Put one foot in front of the other for as long as you can afford to, rather than trying to map your way to the winner’s platform.

Second, be sure to create quiet time so you maximize the chances you will be able to hear your gut when it speaks to you.
The French film director Jean Renoir once said, “The foundation of all great civilizations is loitering.” But class of 2008, we have all stopped loitering. I don’t mean we aren’t lazy at times. I mean that no moment goes unoccupied. A year or so I was driving my car to work, and I caught myself — ladies and gentlemen don’t try this at home - listening to a book on tape, talking on my cellphone, keeping an eye on the GPS, and texting a friend on my blackberry at the same time. I’m not proud of this. And it gets even worse. Now a recovering member of Pathological Multi-Taskers Anonymous, I am here to admit that I do not drive an automatic! Yes, I performed all of these tasks while driving a stick shift. Not good.

Not only “not good” because of the physical hazards associated with such reckless multi-tasking. But also not good because this moment approximates the modern American condition. Stillness is becoming as extinct as the polar bear. More people spend more time with their computers today than with their spouse or significant other. And indeed a quarter of Americans say the internet can serve as a substitute for a spouse or a significant other!

We go for a run, and we listen to music. We sit down to write, and we secretly pine for the ping of the email interruption. We wait in line at the grocery store, and we use the check out line to return phone calls. Soon when we fly on airplanes, we will be able to fill every airborne moment with calls and emails and connectedness. If I am not mistaken, the shower is now the only place we are guaranteed to have time to ourselves, and soon undoubtedly, our iPods will be waterproof and our cell phones will be devised to drown out the shower current and to amplify the human voice. All that we will have left will be that quiet, peaceful time when we wait expectantly at the other side of the airport x-ray belt for our gadgets to be returned to us after screening … and think now, how we already break the airport rules and reach our hands back into the dark vortex of the conveyor belt just so we can be reunited with our technology seconds more quickly!

There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven’t wrapped our minds around the costs. Comedy Central would happily hire a limo to take Steven Colbert to and from work every day. But he says he wouldn’t be funny if he didn’t drive himself home. On his drive from New York to New Jersey, he puts the devices away and lets his mind drift … with side-splittingly funny results. Many of the best decisions you make in life will come from listening not to your parents, not to your horoscope, and not to your MySpace visitors. Your best decisions will come after you have placed a metaphorical stethoscope up to your gut and managed to listen to yourself. These days it can be hard to hear oneself amid the din, but try!!

Third, by far the most important quality one needs in life is not in fact talent; it is resiliency.
I just spent the last four years writing a book about Sergio Vieira de Mello, a person I have begun to describe as “the most important man you’ve never heard of,” a cross between James Bond and Bobby Kennedy, who was a global trouble-shooter, nation builder, and peacemaker. He spoke seven languages, worked in fourteen war zones, and knew more than anyone on earth about how to deal with violent and broken places. Tragically Sergio and 21 others were blown up by a suicide bomber in the attack on UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003. Sergio was like Sysyphus. He pushed that boulder up the hill, and it rolled back down that hill, but he retrieved it and pushed it up again, over time making incremental but essential progress. He managed to save the lives he did less because of his judgment than because of his resiliency.

When I think about resiliency today, I also think about a man named Gil Loescher. When the suicide bomber struck the UN’s Iraq base in 2003, Sergio happened to be meeting with Gil, an American human rights and refugee advocate. Miraculously, although the bomb went off right outside Sergio’s office, Gil managed to survive the explosion and was pinned beneath concrete. Now sadly American soldiers had been deployed without the equipment they needed to do a proper, full-scale search and rescue mission. Nonetheless, they improvised, tracking down a rusty saw in one of the bombed-out UN offices. With this saw they amputated Gil’s legs and pulled him out of the collapsed building. Gil was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Germany and given a 25% chance of survival. For more than a year after the attack, tiny shards of glass would work themselves free from his skin. His face was badly scarred, and he initially had no use of his right hand. But Gil made extraordinary progress, reacquiring the use of that hand and mastering computer-assisted prosthetic legs. He resumed writing a book on protracted refugee crises and, in 2006, just three years after the attack, he managed to travel 1,200 miles along the northern Thai border to interview Burmese refugees. In one of the camps, he made a special point of visiting an out-of-the-way care center for disabled refugees run by Handicap International. But after wheeling himself across the camp, he found the facility had been built atop a steep mud bank that his wheelchair could not ascend. Resigned to turning back, Gil suddenly saw five Burmese faces peering down at him from the top of the bank. The Burmese, each of whom had a wooden prosthetic leg, scrambled down the bank, raised Gil’s wheelchair onto their shoulders and carried him up the hill.

Loescher divides his existence into his “first life” and his “second life.” He says that on occasions when he is tempted to feel sorry for himself, he thinks about refugees. “My whole career,” he says, “I have been visiting refugee camps, and, without realizing it, I was getting tutorials about resilience. If they can bounce back, I certainly can.” Life is a crucible, but whenever I’m tempted to give up on something, I think of Gil and those selfless and determined Burmese. And after today, whenever I waver, I’m going to think about Lauren. [Lauren Steinberg is a Pitzer senior who spoke during the commencement ceremony. Last year she was hit by a car and narrowly survived. Despite extensive head and body injuries, multiple surgeries, and prolonged absences, she returned to Pitzer this year and came just one credit shy of graduating with her class.]

Success is not about who never fails. It is about who can spring - or even stagger - back up. That immortal American philosopher John Wayne said “life is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.”

Fourth, find friends who have your back. Last weekend I attended a conference in honor of a Nobel Prize winning Princeton psychologist named Danny Kahneman. Kahneman is a remarkable scholar who has done groundbreaking experiments which showed the ways in which humans are not as rational as had long been assumed. At the conference, which celebrated his retirement, lawyers, economists, and psychologists got up to present work that had been galvanized or influenced by his theories. The day was a tour de force, a monument to the kind of impact one man and his ideas can have on the world. At the end of the day Kahneman was asked what he was most likely to be remembered for. The audience hushed in anticipation. Here Kahneman would elevate one of his many theories above the rest. Posterity would record which experimental research the great Kahneman himself thought most landmark. “The one thing that I’m sure of,” he said, “is that I’ll be forgotten.” But he was next asked the source of his nearly unrivalled professional success. Again the scholars in the room waited expectantly. This time, he gave them a response they could take home, answering, “my choice of friends.”

The beauty of this is that, while much in this life is beyond our control, all of us hold the power to choose our friends. We can each be a Nobel prize winner at friendship. None of us are perfect friends always, but one way to think about friendship is in terms of carefulness. Be careful with those you love. And surround yourself with people who are careful with you. A good friend of mine devised a rather taxing standard for love and friendship - and a grim one too - “who would you want to become a refugee with?” If your neighborhood were hit by Hurricane Katrina, or Cyclone Nargis, who would have your back? Look around you today. Your parents have your back, your siblings have your back, your closest friends have your back. Keep it that way. And be sure they know you have theirs.

Fifth and final suggestion — actually more of a plaintive appeal — please be a good ancestor. Two or three or even four decades from now, you will get to sit where your parents are sitting today. Your kids will know that in 2008 your generation stood at a crossroads. They will know that you had a chance to stem the tide of global warming — to undo the damage that my generation and our predecessors have done to our shared planet. Your kids will know that you had a chance to restore the Constitution of the United States, a constitution that of late has come to be seen by some as optional. On issue after issue, your kids will know that you were the first generation to be educated about global challenges — global warming, nuclear proliferation, global disease pandemics, terrorism, etc. — and your kids will ask you, “what did you do to meet those challenges?” I hope you can claim prouder ancestry than we can. Already seventy-two percent of you can say you studied abroad, many of you can say that you led the drive to make your resident halls green and energy efficient, and several of you high-tailed it down to New Orleans after the hurricane to help those in need. Your student body amassed 110,000 hours of community service. That is 110,000 hours you could have spent doing something else!

And now going forward you can build on these efforts. You can be the generation that makes this country energy independent; you can be the generation that wipes out malaria in the developing world; you can be the generation that summons global resources to halt genocide in Darfur and beyond; you can be the generation that deals with the scourge of terrorism and its causes; and you can be the generation that ends extreme poverty. My generation and our predecessors haven’t been responsible caretakers. But you can be. In John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address he observed that Americans were daunted by the mortal challenges of the Cold War and the nuclear age. But he declared, “I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation.”

That is the attitude to bring out into the messy world you inherit. The responsibilities of global citizenship are a burden. But my, those responsibilities are also a real privilege. Some poet once said, “Two men looked out from prison bars. One saw the mud, the other saw the stars.” You can choose to see the stars, Pitzer class of 2008.

Take the time this weekend to celebrate with the parents who made today possible, the teachers who made today valuable, and the friends who made your last four years unforgettable. And then go forth to be this 21st century’s “greatest generation.” Follow your nose. Find quiet time to listen to your gut. Be resilient. Find friends who have your back. And above all, please be a good ancestor. You can. And you must.

Thank you, Pitzer class of 2008, and good luck.

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Your Blockbuster movie download is just a drive away

Do you ever get the feeling that Blockbuster just doesn't really get it?

Your Blockbuster movie download is just a drive away | Tech news blog - CNET

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Delicious Library 2.0 Arrives

Finally, after months and months of waiting, it's finally here (along with the latest version of OS X which makes everything speed up, despite the big DVD collection).

Lots of fun stuff, so just download and use it (and if you don't own a Mac, nows the perfect opportunity to dive in).

One of the new things is the ability to create html from your collection, so I've uploaded my DVD collection here. It takes a little while to load (another I really should dive back into coding so I can just modify it for a multiple page view), but that's my own fault coz I've got too many DVD's. No laughing - I realize some of them may have shown a little lack of judgement at the time.

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President Bush Twitter Dummy

Funniest use of twitter yet - have at it kids....

(and found courtesy of topherchris)

President Bush Twitter Dummy

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Backyard View

Backyard View, originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.

Still messing around with the new camera - things are coming along, although all the controls are still harder than learning the buttons for Ghost Recon on the XBox.

Luckily, Rob's been giving me a few pointers, so I bought a filter for the lens to help in the strong sunlight. This was the first pic I took with it just out on the back deck.

Now I need to read up on how to properly take pics of fast moving objects, as I'm going to take the camera down to the driving school this week.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

One week to go

And just when I thought I had the excitement level under control, Leslie goes and posts about her Lotus driving school.

Still, I need the week to try and get my heel and toe'ing to a decent enough level not to kill me next week. That means if you're in front of me this week on my drive to work, be warned.

(and if you don't know what I'm taking about in this post, you obviously haven't spoken to me in the last 6 months ;-)

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spy Sunglasses

If using sunglasses to check out the girls on the beach isn't quite enough, and you need to replay your view afterwards, this is the solution for you (but maybe you really need some psych counselling, or just your own girlfriend?).

$400 and a 15 metre range back to the receiver, which has 2GB of storage, along with playback, and it looks like you can hook up multiple cameras to it. Hours of fun for someone, I'm sure.

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2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

With an upgraded 4.7 litre V8 engine, modified suspension and steering geometry, the V8 Vantage somehow gets to be even more attractive than it was when it was first released. This has to be one of the prettiest cars on the road, and now that it's pushing out 420bhp it should drive through my dreams that little bit faster. And you can still get it with a manual gearbox (yay!)

Too many cars, to little time and money. I better work harder on making my millions.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best Way to View Flickr?

This one is the best I've found so far. In a galaxy far, far away.......

Since I got the new camera, I've spent loads more time looking at different photos and trying to work out how they were taken (along with reading a few books on the subject as well). I have a feeling that this new hobby thing is going to take a while to get the hang of, but I'm having lots of fun finding stuff out in the meantime.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

BMW Car Club - Car Control Clinic

IMG_0501.JPG, originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.

So this year I wasn't driving, but Wee Dod was, so I went up for an hour to take some pics and offer a bit of moral support.

Judging from the smile, I think George liked it (a lot), so the real driving school down in Pueblo in a couple of weeks should be a blast.

Managed to take way too many pics of course (and thanks to Cliff who provided a few photography pointers - "hold the camera like this", "don't keep pressing" etc etc), but I loaded a selection up on Flickr here if you wanna check them out.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Confession Time

I think I'm addicted to Dooce. I think it may have had an influence in my recent camera purchase. I know I check out the new pages pretty much every day. Maybe it's coz of the complete honesty that comes through with each post (like this one). I don't know. But you should try it if you haven't already.

One day when I decide to make this site look prettier again, and I'm prepared for the drop off in links I've been getting from the Google Gods, I'm going to add this to a Blogs I Read section somewhere. But that could be a long time off.


Fancy Guns

If you happen to live in a third world country (if they even exist now - I'll tell you when I finish reading this book), or maybe you come from the rich end of Detroit, these might interest you. Me, I think I'll stick to buying the wife the occasional handbag (sorry, purse for you Americans) - it's much safer that way, especially when I forget to fill the dishwasher.

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Horsepower Takes on Original Meaning

So someone in Dubai took the horsepower thing a little too literally (or maybe they just dreamed of the good old days) and came up with this little invention. It actually does have a host of electronics in there, but they're all powered by the horse on the treadmill inside. It even has a battery that gets charged by the horse when he's feeling energetic, to make up for the times when he turns into a total lazy slob.

Although that's all well and good (although I'm a little worried that the whole going to the bathroom while on a treadmill may create a few issues...), what the world really needs is more of these hamster powered cars.....

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Car Crash Weekend - Ferrari Edition

(This post makes me cry a little inside)

So last week was a couple of race cars involved in a little touchy feely with things they shouldn't have (pit crew and a stray dog). Today is a bit of a Ferrari special - I'm not sure if last week was just a really bad week for Ferrari crashes, or if it's the in vogue thing for the car blogs to post, with no car shows going on at the minute.

Anyway, first up is the sensible Dutch guy who decided he needed a quick bath. With his car.

Second up is the kid we all used to hate at school - the one who's Dad gives him the keys to his latest speed mobile, so he can show off to his mates. It looks like this one might not be allowed to borrow the car anymore.....

The last one is probably the most amazing. Despite pretty much losing the top half of the car to the crash barrier, the driver and passenger of this F355 made it out alive. At least they had the decency to use one of the older Ferrari's when they were crashing......

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Jawbone II - The Return

My favorite Bluetooth headset (actually, I've only ever owned 2) just got updated this week. The Jawbone II is smaller and lighter than the original, and still packs all that top secret electronic wizardry to prevent noise that shouldn't be in your speech (like the 40 mile an hour wind as you walk from the airport to the rental car office) from being there.

It's been initially released in black (like the pic here) and apparently silver and gold (!?) are coming soon. The only downside to the smaller size is that the talk time has gone down from a supposed 6 hours, to just 4, although standby time has been increased. I have a feeling that the first gen never actually got to 6 hours, so maybe they're just re-rating to a more realistic number, but what would I know.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Remembering every day of your life

I'm kinda torn about whether or not this is a good thing - one the one hand, it would be pretty handy, but if I really thought hard I could probably remember some pretty shocking days in my life. Living in ignorant bliss definitely helps you move on and deal with the here and now/future stuff.

Man's rare ability may unlock secret of memory -

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Caterham R500 vs a Ducatti

I don't want to start a bike vs car war here (or anywhere else for that matter), so that means you Matthew and Graham. All I want to do is point out that I think I may have finally decided on my next car. I doubt it will handle in the snow though, so I'm going to have to get something for the winter out here, or save enough money to keep the M3 as my daily driver.

Anyway, if you watch this and don't find the urge to go out and buy one straight away, you're probably on the wrong blog - you really should be here.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Car Crashing Weekend

And not just any type of crashing - the kind of crashing by experienced motor racing stars that typically don't happen. The video below is Danica Patrick taking out a member of her own team in pretty spectacular fashion, and this link is the son of Ayrton Senna, Bruno, being taken out of the race (and not being very happy about it) when a stray dog wandered onto the track. The dog obviously didn't survive, so if you're squeamish about that sort of thing (hi wife!) I wouldn't recommend clicking through.

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World News

Not really, but two stories today that kinda jumped out at me (and both involving a little too much drinking)

First is from home, where a guy was still so drunk at 5.30 the day after he had "a skinful" that he forgot his baby, and left her in the sweet shop.

And the second, from Oz, about a guy who was fined for strapping in his beer, at the expense of his kid.

I guess life in Newcastle isn't that different to life in Oz...


Ferrari California

I obviously want one (unless the statement about the dual clutch transmission means there is no manual operation, in which case I'll politely spend my money somewhere else - my first Ferrari will have a metal gate around a manual stick).

More details via Jalopnik here

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Man says JetBlue made him sit on toilet

Because JetBlue needs all the good press it can get these days, welcome to their first attempt at bringing the company into good light with the fare paying public.

So who's going to start the JetBlue death watch? I can't imagine them surviving that much longer - I give them 34 days....

Man says JetBlue made him sit on toilet - The Denver Post

New Camera

IMG_0017.JPG, originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.

So after weeks/months of reviewing, deciding, changing my mind, being a good boy etc etc, I finally succumbed to the temptation of buying a new camera.

This one is a big step up from the last one - a Canon DSLR. Having survived on point and shoot cameras for all of my life so far, the array of buttons is kinda overwhelming, but luckily for me (and my sanity over the weekend) it has a fully automatic mode.

Hopefully my pictures will gradually improve over time - I spent all of last night reading the manual, so at least I got an idea of what each of the buttons do, although how that translates into what happens with a photo is still a bit of a mystery. So, I ordered a couple of books on Amazon to try and help me out - if anyone's got any recommendations then let me know.

So, two photos with this post - the top one is Fynn, who displays an unwavering excitement to all my new techie toys (I think she gets it from her mother), and below is Avery, who stopped by on Saturday to share some hotdogs.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

CRI blogs | Amy Klassen's blog

Apart from the usual wasters I know who hang out in bars, or in front of the TV, some of my friends actually get out in the world and try and do stuff.

Step forward Amy, who is currently working out in Mozambique helping out in whatever way she can (I think she's helping set up some grass roots credit union type stuff, but I could be wrong).

And she's actually blogging about it (which if you know her is infinitely more shocking than the fact she headed over the other side of the world to help people).

CRI blogs | Amy Klassen's blog

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Galerie Montmartre

Many years ago, when I was fresh off the plane, there was a ridiculously cheerful, helpful and knowledgeable person who helped me survive in a foreign country (and get paid pretty close to the date that I was meant to). Her name was Shelley Trbuhovich (otherwise known as Princess) and we've been friends ever since.

She, along with her husband Stephan (who happens to also be one of the coolest people in the world - funny how that happens), left the US a good few years ago, and set up their own business doing something completely different - selling vintage art posters at Galerie Montmartre.

Well, it seems that the company is doing pretty well now, moving from the original online stores to their own "space" last year, and both of them enjoying every minute of it. Shelley was interviewed by the local press recently, and they posted the interview on the web here.

So, if you ever fancy some original vintage posters, you now know where to go (and they ship worldwide).

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Attack on epilepsy Web site

Confession - this was one of those things that made me laugh, but feel guilty all day for laughing about.

Attack on epilepsy Web site prompts migraines, near seizures | Tech news blog - CNET

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

From Little Things, Big Things Grow

Tumblr is quickly overtaking Google Reader as my first stop in my web day - you never know what gems you might discover, even if you're following essentially the same people for a decent amount of time. Take today for example, when Soxiam posted a quote from the great article below about the growth and strategies behind Flickr and their communities.

A List Apart: Articles: Community: From Little Things, Big Things Grow

Monday, May 05, 2008

Fynn doesn't like me travelling

She kinda nows when the suitcase comes out that I'm going to be gone for a little while. This is her latest tactic of not letting me out of the door.

Prettiest Brakes with the Prettiest Body?

Now just add Lotus suspension and a BMW or Ferrari engine, and you might have the perfect car?

Brembo considers Pininfarina stake - Autoblog

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Kindle Back in Stock

The Kindle is back in stock on Amazon. I finally (about 6 months after I first thought about it) got to see one in real life (courtesy of Mr Batty, who brought his into the office) and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. Reading on it looked like it was at least as good as a book, and the fact that you can download books directly from the device was great. It might be on the things on my list for if I get some spending together (along with a proper dslr camera), but we'll see.

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Crazy Scooter Mod

I think I want one.

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Using Xobni

I finally got my beta invite to Xobni last week (it's inbox backwards if you're trying to work out how they came up with the name), which coincided with news.rumor that they had walked away from a deal with Microsoft to be bought.

I have to say, I've been very impressed with the product. You need to make sure that you have a decent box to run it on, as it does take up a little more memory than you're usual outlook footprint, but I've somehow managed to become totally reliant on it within a week. Instant search is actually instant, and seeing where people are ranked in your emails (Tonks is number 1, which is probably no surprise to anyone at the office) was kinda fun. If you get a chance, I'd definitely try it out.

Update: - Seems like this is getting a decent amount of press, and CNET has some of the (possible) reasons behind the company walking away from a MSFT deal - it's the platform, stupid...

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Maserati's not beautiful enough?

Then maybe you need to check out this page.

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Some humor to try and induce people to actually obey the stop signs. If it's anything like the one behind our back yard, the only thing that will work is a cop parked off to the side (and that only counts for cars - apparently if you're on a bike you don't have to stop even then).

The other signs are here.

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Matte Black F430

If you got a 200k supercar, would you paint it matte black?

Apparently this isn't even paint - it's an all over vinyl coat - does the paint survive under that thwn you realize you really just wanted your red baby back?

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Chips in a Cup (holder)

If you really can't wait until you get home to eat you McD's fries, this could be perfect for you. For the majority of people however, it's the most useless gadget in the world.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Ten Most Surprising Facts About Obama


Ayrton Senna's Last Lap

14 years ago to the day. Kinda weird how long ago this was now - I still remember being devastated when it happened as I grew up watching F1 every Sunday with my dad, and this guy was the best.

Ayrton Senna: Ayrton Senna's Last Lap

Geek Central - iPhone as Tricorder

I realize I'm a bit of a geek (the wifi locator and pong t-shirts the wife got me for Christmas made me smile for weeks), but for the record, this is one step beyond what I'm comfortable with.

iPhone as Tricorder - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)


The smallest things are the most frustrating. Our humidifier (of the super silent kind) decided not to work at the start of the week, so Heidi went out to get a new one. Last night was the first night of use, and of course, the new one isn't quite as super-silent as the last. Cue 4am, wide awake, gurgling noises and one pissed off person. Still, getting into the office at 6 should help me actually get some work done today, given I feel like I've sat in meetings for the last 72 hours straight.

This weekend might be a little interesting - Heidi's brother invited us to some event where they tell you how to be millionaires or something. I'm actually pretty interested to see what these things are like, and if there's anything that's relatable to the world I live in, and what their target market is etc. The schedule says 9am until 11pm, and to come well rested, but unless I go out shopping for a new humidifier, that isn't happening. I wonder if they'll kick me out if I have a quick 40 winks at the back. Anyway, I'll stick it out for as long as I can - Brent says they're "fun" events, rather than just listening to people speak all day, so I have no idea what that could entail. At least it's downtown in the Convention Center, so technically I'm only a brief stroll away from Fado's if things turn ugly. Wish me luck.