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Year View| Summary| Highlights| December 2004 (Month View)

01.12.2004Wednesday 1 December – Relaxation & Computer Woe

I slept in quite late, enjoying the fact that I had nothing else to do and no reason at all to get up. Some would call it boredom, but I call it absolute relaxation – I believe the only difference between the two is in the mind.
  After waking (obviously), I moved the PC from inside out into my van, and installed the hard drive I’ve brought up. When starting it up, it tried to check the third partition on the disk, which I cancelled, but after Windows has started, I realised that only the first two partitions of the new drive had worked – the third was being seen as an empty (although formatted) partition, so I rebooted and let the disk-scanning thing do its work. It took half an hour, during which it did many file allocation adjustments and recovered a considerable amount of “orphans”, and after which the drive appeared to have all its files again. Unfortunately, though, the files themselves don’t actually work. There is, or was, sixty gigabyte of music on that drive – there now appears to be about fifty gigabyte of corrupted files that won’t play, and ten gigabyte of random chunks of music that do play, but which are all chopped up and not even remotely related to their file names. I am not sure what happened, but I am not very happy about it. I’m also worried that this could mean the entire drive is on the way out, and I could lose the data on the other two partitions. Halfway through the disk checking process I noticed that the CPU fan wasn’t actually spinning – it was just jerking a little bit. The heatsink was too hot to touch, but I assume that it’s been this way for a while – it seems unlikely that it would just die the moment I get here, so hopefully the processor can handle not having a fan.
I went for a walk down to the Home Rule Bridge and had a look at the creek, and then back up to the local hall, where I met Shan on his way home from work, so got a lift down to his place. We had a chat for a while, found that one of his fish had died, found an old Pentium processor fan that might fit on my heatsink with a bit of modification, and then I walked home, had a lovely Mother-made dinner, pulled the top off the heatsink and managed to sort of jam the new fan in. It isn’t going to work remarkably well, but might stop a meltdown.

02.12.2004Thursday 2 December – Very Hot & Relaxing

I’m writing this on what could best be described as a dysfunctional computer. Winamp is frozen, unable to display its window, but is still playing songs just fine and accepting DDE calls, Maxthon is frozen, having had a heart attack when JavaScript requested to parse a document to hide a menu, and nothing much else is working – all because I’m trying to parse the various file systems found on my broken hard drive. I don’t understand enough about NTFS, but there appears to be three different concurrent file systems on the one partition, and several master file tables, some of which link to files in entirely random places, that I can’t see could conceivably even be on that drive. Basically, it’s looking like I won’t get my data back, leaving me with two choices. I could get Maz to buy me a new hard drive and copy the data back onto it and post it up, and then I’ll copy what I can off this drive onto it, send this drive back under warranty, and end up with two new drives. Or, I could accept the loss of the data until I get back to Brisbane and can recover it, and hope that the drive itself isn’t about to fail entirely as I do need some of the data on one of the other partitions.
  But onto less geeky things – today was another relaxing day in what looks to be a relaxing break. I slept in until it got too hot to sleep. I modified the login system for my journal, so it’s more secure – and removed the caching support I’d added, which is a shame as it took a lot of adding and made the site considerably faster on slow dialup connections, but browsers and caches aren’t supporting enough, causing problems. Hang on, that’s still rather geeky. I went for a walk down to the creek with Mum. I wandered out the Home Rule Road to the halfway spot and had a look at the swimming hole there, but didn’t feel like swimming in icy cold water in the gathering dusk. I got remarkably hot and sweaty – I guess I am not used to this humidity again. I ate chocolate, custard and cream, Pringles, and a very nice dinner. All in all, relaxation at its most relaxing – although I’d be happier if I could recover this data.

03.12.2004Friday 3 December – Geeky Pop-Ups

More relaxation amongst the humid rainforest was had. I also added a clever JavaScript tool-tip to my “thei” site, which takes the alt and title attributes from any images, and displays them in a styled tool-tip like pop-up div. I couldn’t decide whether to leave the on-click pop-ups, or make them all traditional captions, so this solved that dilemma without me having to make a decision – something that would have required thinking. I also discovered that it’s essentially impossible to use delays in JavaScript for anything non-trivial.
  After it had cooled down a little, I went for a walk around the school loop and down to the creek past the old airstrip. The gravel road is quite harsh in spots, so my unaccustomed feet are now a bit sore. It’s also quite dusty – some rain would be nice. In fact, a rip-roaring flood would be great.

04.12.2004Saturday 4 December – Taps & Walking

I was woken up in time to go to the markets, which I duly did. They’re very small now, so I didn’t stay long – just buying a piece of cake and leaving. My achievement for the day has been changing a tap – without letting all the water out. It had a broken handle, but it’s not possible to buy just a handle, so I had to put in an entire new tap. Very exciting stuff, I know.
I went for a brisk walk out to the Home Rule grid, at which point it began to get dark. Not particularly feeling like being stuck with the wild pigs in the jungle in the dark, I then went for an even brisker walk back again. Despite being late in the evening, it’s still humid enough to get up a good sweat, and I can feel the walk in my legs. Thus is begun my return to fitness.

05.12.2004Sunday 5 December – The Den

A quiet morning was disturbed only by Vince and Sarah arriving, and the temperature rising above human limits. As evening drew nigh and it got cooler, we all headed off to the Lion’s Den Hotel where Roadtrippers were playing and the pizza is particularly nice. A pleasant and relaxing night ensued, watching the band, the locals, and their dogs.
I phoned Bronwen and chatted for ten minutes or so. She’s out at Stradbroke Island on her mobile, so couldn’t talk for long.

06.12.2004Monday 6 December – Cooktown

Mum woke me ridiculously early – even before eight o’clock, and we went to town with Jean. I did exciting things like buy a new CPU fan, print out documents for fares allowance and a healthcare card claim from Centrelink, and took them into the local Centrelink office. I also went and saw Peter, and had a chat for a while.
I spent lunch at Sarah’s, then most of the afternoon at Ricci’s, heading to the hospital after to see how Sarah went. Apparently, she will live without surgery. I then attempted to purchase custard and cream – but disaster struck and nowhere in town had any cream, so now I have a container of entirely useless custard and no cream to eat with it.
I bought chips from the wharf, which I sat and ate watching the sunset over the river, and went and saw Matthew until I had to go up to the shire hall to meet Mum and Jean.
We arrived home.
I went to bed, missing Bronwen, having spent the past four hours on the phone with her.

07.12.2004Tuesday 7 December – Sleepy & Oscar no more

I slept until it got hot – it seems distance is no barrier when it comes to keeping me awake all night. Once awake, I procrastinated by messing around with my website, before going for a walk, followed by more messing around with my website. All in all, another unproductive but relaxing day.
Oscar the dog was shot today. They say that he was very sick and unwell.

08.12.2004Wednesday 8 December – Scattered Showers

Some rain was had, but not enough to make much difference – just enough that I had to slide down cliffs, risking life, limb – and possibly worst of all, missing something online, to cover the pump.
In Between Day & Night
On the way back from a walk along the Home Rule road, I met Craig, on his way back from Cairns with a new Ute he’d just bought. By the time I’d made my way to the bridge, I met Shan and Kylie also on their way back from Cairns, followed soon after by Spirit, their dog, probably not on his way back from Cairns.
I finally stopped procrastinating and began doing some work on Graeme’s website, which I ended up doing all night, broken only around midnight when I got such a lovely email from Bronwen that I had to phone her, during which the phone helpfully died a few times.

09.12.2004Thursday 9 December – Cooktown

I woke up five minutes before we went to town, because I could hear the car waiting for me, already running – something I was doing a few minutes later. Apparently going to sleep just a few hours before getting up makes one tired. It was really, really hot in town, and quite exhausting – but I got done what I needed to do. Probably more importantly, I also had a milkshake, something I’ve been missing out on while up here, causing concern over the possible imbalance it might be causing to my diet.
As embarrassing as it is, I actually slept for most of the evening – catching up on my sleep from last night I guess. I then continued working on Graeme’s site, before going to bed shortly before two o’clock.
I appear to have run out of toothpaste.

10.12.2004Friday 10 December – Wherein I relax sufficiently but it is hot

I didn’t wake up until after lunch, as one should whilst on holidays, and then I didn’t do anything much, as one should whilst on holidays.
I tried taking the three-kilogram weights with me on my walk, which wasn’t too bad apart from being really hot and humid, causing me to sweat ridiculous amounts. I carried them to the halfway spot, walked the rest of the way without them, and picked them up again on the way home, dumping them behind an old truck near the bridges.

11.12.2004Saturday 11 December – The Storm that Wasn’t

I woke having a rather strange dream – about having holes drilled in my teeth and wire put through them, which was a bit annoying as it got in the way of my tongue.
It has become quite dark and stormy looking, is beginning to thunder, and some satellite users just east of here have just dropped offline, meaning it’s probably pouring down rain there. I quite like big storms, although I don’t like lightning so much since being knocked out by it. Rain, however, is lovely – I particularly love the tropical downpours we get up here, where the entire world goes a strange white and for a short time, we become water-beings again. The ensuing flooding is great fun too.
Well, the storm blew over, missing us entirely – which is a bit disappointing, but I made up for it by changing the menu system of my Amused site. We got all of thirty drops of rain, despite it pouring down, just down the road. I’ve now dined, walked and showered, and am ready for another exciting night of relaxation and not much at all.
I guess I’d better head to bed, having spent the past few hours messing around with Graeme’s site, messing around with my site, missing Bronwen, phoning Bronwen and getting a dead arm after forgetting to move it for an hour and a half, eating chips, drinking terrible orange fizzy stuff, finding new toothpaste, and now cleaning my teeth. What a hard life it is.

12.12.2004Sunday 12 December – Lion’s Den

First, I’d like to say that drunks suck – anyone who gets drunk is an idiot. Moths also suck, and any moth that flies around a monitor should be shot. Then I’d like to say that today was so hot, I couldn’t move. I woke up not feeling one hundred percent, and the heat didn’t help. I’d then like to follow up by saying that my sister came out and we had lunch without moving, before heading to the Lion’s Den Hotel, which had a band playing. Once at the Den, it was surprisingly cool and my sister and I went for a swim, cooling down even further. Santa Claus then arrived on a fire truck, which is almost embarrassing. All the small children were scared of him and I was too mature to get a bag of lollies. Having now heated up again, I went for another swim with the girl that Sarah works with, the name of which I forget, and stayed in for too long and got a bit sunburnt. Then, after watching the band for a while, Sarah had to go into town to take photos of the Carol’s by Candlelight, and Mum wanted to go home, so home we went. Mum and I then spent the night talking, except for when Bronwen phoned, during which time Bronwen and I talked, and now it is four past half past four, past my bedtime, badly.
Comment by seed – Tuesday 14 December 2004, 1:53 AM
  I like the moth shooting idea, but because I have been drinking lately, I disagree with the whole not liking drunks because I have been on of these drunks lately and you should not hate me because I have been drinking because the drinking is only a celebration that Uni is over so drunks are ok when it is appropriate.

13.12.2004Monday 13 December – Morose & Thoughtful

Christmas fast approaches, and the mindless spending spree increases, but out here in the jungle, all is peaceful. Birds sing, leaves fall, innumerable insects crawl and fly. The pigs snuffle along like blind tax collectors, looking for that hidden delicacy, and I walk, sweating like a pig. All seems well up here in the tropics, but I find myself strangely morose. There’s so many greens, so much beauty, everything is balanced – except me. I think I think too much. Instead of just enjoying life, I think. As Bronwen said, “Che Sara Sara” – what will be, shall be. Speaking of which, it’s now past three o’clock, so bed shall be.
  Morosity aside, today has been pleasant, albeit uneventful. The most exciting thing that happened was on my way home from my walk, just on dusk, a car came so I jumped into the bush, via a wait-awhile tendril, which fortunately only grabbed my sock and shoe, and missed the skin. I then careered headfirst into a fallen tree, my foot held up by the wait-awhile, just managing to dive underneath, grabbing another tree and narrowly missing plunging headfirst into a hard ant nest on the ground. Then, because I had a small tribe of aboriginals and their dogs not far behind me and didn’t want them to catch up, I had to rush, already tired – so it ended up being quite an exhausting, but good, walk.

14.12.2004Tuesday 14 December – I visit Shan

I spent the day doing normal day things. We even got a small, rather insignificant, storm, which brought a bit of rain with it and cooled everything down nicely. It also gave me a good excuse not to go for a walk.
I spent the evening up at Shan’s, chatting and having a look at the animation Kylie is making for Graeme’s site. It ended up being a pleasant night, and when I got home, Bronwen had emailed asking me to help her sleep, so a pleasant phone call was had.
Comment by Maz – Thursday 16 December 2004, 4:15 PM
  Of course you slack out of a walk. Weren't you going to be getting fit this holidays? Not that I can talk.
Comment by Ned – Thursday 16 December 2004, 11:17 PM
  Well, it had rained – the ground was moist in places and could have been slippery and trees would have dripped on me!
Comment by Maz – Friday 17 December 2004, 11:53 AM
  Ewwww! Tree water. You're right to have not gone. You could have died, or even worse.. GOT DIRTY!!! OH NO!!!

15.12.2004Wednesday 15 December – Wherein I feel awful and people graduate from UQ

Today hasn’t been a particularly good day for me. First, it was very hot – but I’m getting used to that. Then, I slept in, and had to rush to get ready to go to town when Mum turned up early from work. Rushing is not a good thing to do when it’s hot. Then I had hay fever, felt terrible, and everything went wrong. Actually, in retrospect, the nachos were quite nice and not much went wrong at all – but it seemed like everything at the time. Once back home, I had a short lie-down, before going for a quick swim down near the pump, where I managed to get two wait-awhile prickles in my foot, neither of which will come out. I then went for my evening walk, and nothing went wrong, strangely.
I posted off Bronwen’s Christmas presents today, which ended up being a bit of a fiasco. The crocodile would not fit in a tube, and being so long, wouldn’t fit in anything less than a huge box, which left me out of ideas of how to send it. I ended up buying the largest unpadded envelope and wrapping it in a bit more bubble wrap and sending it, along with the little wooden figurine, in that. Unfortunately, I’d wrecked the wrapping a little when trying to get it into the tube, and it’s not really that well padded, but it’s the best I could do at the time.
According to Ella, she is now home with Jade – who will be feeling the heat after Melbourne, I expect.
I decided to phone Bronwen, but she phoned me just as I was about to phone her. I am suitably in awe at the coincidental nature of this. I am also missing her – she is too nice on the phone.
My throat is quite sore, and my “fizz buttons” (Black & Gold’s answer to fizzy lifesaver lollies) are not helping it, so I am considering drastic action – going to bed.
Comment by Maz – Thursday 16 December 2004, 4:12 PM
  Don't look now. my head is going to explode. I got lost and found myself here. Now that I know where I am I might head off again in search of fabled centerlink payments.
Comment by Reubot – Thursday 16 December 2004, 7:34 PM
  Maz: You should get started on your "Kewn plan".
Comment by Ned – Thursday 16 December 2004, 11:08 PM
  I’m curious why you’re leaving messages for Maz here – he does have his own site, complete with the ability to leave comments, and how it’s now become his plan... However, there’s really nothing any of us can do while not at uni – I myself am currently thousands of kilometres away, there’s no audience, and, unlike Kewn, anything we do shouldn’t be directly associated with us, nor would I want it restricted to the geek domain, as they were. Whether anything actually happens or not, I don’t know – but I’m sick of boring people who aren’t game to do anything, and don’t want to become one of those myself. That, and I believe wit is the surest indication of intelligence – and surely a university has a higher overall level of intelligent people than most other places, making it the ideal location for daring, witty escapades?
  Ideas are welcome – they must be clearly motivated by nothing worse than “high spirits”, and somehow daring and amusing.
Comment by Reubot – Friday 17 December 2004, 1:21 PM
  Sorry, I was kinda taking a side-swipe at Maz getting lost....also when I said get started, I meant start thinking about planning or something like that.
Comment by Ned – Friday 17 December 2004, 3:32 PM
  That’s OK. I forgive you!

16.12.2004Thursday 16 December – One Month

A quiet day was had, me sleeping in as usual, and going for an evening walk as usual. Last night I couldn’t sleep properly, partly because I had a sore throat, and partly because when I woke up, I was too sleepy and stupid to think straight, so lay around feeling delirious instead of figuring out how to get back to sleep. I also finally got the intro for Graeme’s site from Kylie, and put that up. I’ll just have to wait and see what he thinks now.
Last night, while talking to Bronwen, I asked her what time she felt we first had got together, and she answered that it was the evening we’d met in the labs, after our COMS3200 exam – the evening I asked if she’d like to see a movie with me, and she gave me her address and invited me to her graduation party instead. Then, around 2 o’clock, I realised that today is actually one month after that day, Bronwen and my first month anniversary, so, after checking online, I phoned Interflora and had them deliver a single long-stemmed rose in a cylinder, with the message “I’ve loved you for a month. Here’s to many more. Love Ned”, by 6 PM, costing $36.70.
Tonight, Bronwen phoned, whispering, “guys like you just don’t exist” – and later I received a loving email from her, which is very nice.
Comment by Maz – Sunday 19 December 2004, 2:54 AM
  I have some great randomness ideas but i'll fortgeth them so i;m leaving message here.
Comment by Maz – Sunday 19 December 2004, 5:25 PM
  I suggest you delete that last comment. And this one too.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 19 December 2004, 9:02 PM
  I’d delete it, but I’d forget too.

17.12.2004Friday 17 December – Waiting, Computer Woes & Cairns

I went to turn the computer on, but it didn’t auto-start. This isn’t particularly surprising, so I tried again – and it still didn’t auto-start, but I noticed sparking noises coming from the wall plug, and that it would start if I pushed the plug right in, so I switched to the other wall plug, and it started normally. Once started, just as it would normally have connected to the internet, it blue screened with an “IRQ not less than or equal to” error, so I restarted again, with similar results. This happened a few times, until I restarted and let it run for a while without connecting to the internet, without any problems. Strangely, even after connecting to the internet, it still worked. This is all a little worrying up here, as I rely on having a computer and internet access and there’s no redundancy or cheap way to get computer parts in a hurry.
  After my exciting start to the day, I then packed for Cairns and spent the rest of the evening waiting for Shan to get home from work.
Shan finally arrived home, late. Kylie wasn’t particularly pleased at this, but it seems they came across some women who had rolled their four-wheel-drive on a bend and were delayed. Half an hour later or so and they’d dropped their dogs out at Home Rule, it had begun a light drizzle, and we were on our way.
After a few hours of driving, we arrived in Cairns, bought a very large pizza from a place on the Esplanade, and made our way to our room at the Costa Blanca, where we excitingly went to bed, and I had a bad sleep because I’m not used to going to bed before three o’clock, and I got hot. The drive down went well. We passed a group of Murris drinking just outside the alcohol exclusion zone on the Cooktown side of Wujal Wujal, making a bit of a mockery of the whole thing. We were pulled over by the police near Wujal Wujal, but after a quick check in the boot, they decided we weren’t running drugs or alcohol, and let us go with a warning not to display blue lights without permission from the police commissioner.

18.12.2004Saturday 18 December – Cairns, Team America & The Grudge

We all drove to the Esplanade for breakfast, then Cairns Central for shopping, then Earlville for shopping, then saw “Team America: World Police” at Cairns Central, then did more shopping, then went and visited Kylie’s parents who were staying in Cairns as well, then saw “The Grudge” at Earlville, then went to bed. We also went for a swim back at the Costa Blanca somewhere in there.
  The shopping thing isn’t too bad, because I’m poor and I don’t believe in the commercial present giving thing of Christmas and consequently am not buying any presents, I don’t have to worry about looking for presents or spending money on presents, meaning I can just window shop while Shan and Kylie do all the worrying.
  “Team America: World Police” was interesting because of its puppetry, and cleverly sarcastic in spots, but unnecessarily crude, and too stupid, in typical American style, gaining it three quarters of a true lie, or two national treasures. “The Grudge” was a bad idea from the start. I don’t see what people find attractive about horror movies, so I don’t normally see them – I only went because Shan and Kylie were going, and I hadn’t seen any for a while so I thought perhaps I’d now realise why people see them. But no, being scared or shocked isn’t pleasurable, and I conclude that people who like horror movies are mentally disturbed, and subsequently rate the movie one quarter of a national treasure, which works out to an eight of the world police – even though it may have been a reasonable movie from a technical perspective.

19.12.2004Sunday 19 December – Cairns, Ocean’s 12 & Home Again

I had a good sleep, showered, and we went to get breakfast at Cairns Central but decided to go to Earlville instead as Kylie wanted doughnuts, so I bough a milkshake there, then went and saw “Ocean’s 12”, which Shan and Kylie had already seen. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but was a fun watch nonetheless – Earlville cinemas are good too, being quite new. I give the movie three quarters of the world police, making it worth nine sixteenths of a true lie.
We all did some more shopping, had lunch at Central – where I bought a very nice looking, but unfortunately terribly salty and inedible, Indian lunch which I ended up throwing out and having a milkshake instead. Shan and Kylie had gone off on their separate ways for half an hour to buy each other Christmas presents, so I took the opportunity to walk through the muggy heat and buy a proper milkshake at what used to be a proper milkshake place halfway to the esplanade, only to find it’s now changed to another of the stupid Ice-Age places with their unpleasant tasting ice cream. Once there I saw an internet place, so checked my email before heading back to Central where I met Shan at the cinemas. We had planned to all meet there in time to see “Lemony Snicketts: A series of Unfortunate Events”, but Kylie didn’t turn up until too late, so we ended up driving home instead.
I got two lovely emails from Bronwen, one of which is an amazing poem she’s written, which manages to sum up why she loves me in a way I can only wish I could for her.
The drive home was uneventful. A party of Murris were drinking on the Cairns side of the Wujal Wujal restricted alcohol area this time – it’s a bit of a farce, they might as well build a bar there. Wujal Wujal itself is a mess of discarded plastic bags, broken cars, angry aboriginal racists, and assorted rubbish, in what would otherwise be an idyllic rainforest setting – and is as good an argument as any that either the aboriginal people aren’t capable of, or interested in, reaching what we’d consider normal liveable standards, or there’s something very wrong with the way they’re being handled.
  I arrived home just on dark, showered, cooked myself a two minute noodles, found that the computer does still run, spent a few hours on the phone to Bronwen, and got to bed around half past two.

20.12.2004Monday 20 December – Hot & Normal

I finally got around to phoning Telstra and finding out what the answer to “Where’s the best coffee?” is so that I could reset my Telstra password, view the phone bill, and find out if I need to skip the country or not. Unfortunately, the bill only shows up to the sixteenth, so I can’t really decide much yet.
A very sad thing occurred tonight – I ran out of custard, and we aren’t planning to go to town until Thursday, but fortunately, Bronwen phoned, easing my sorrow for an hour and a half. We’ll end up paying more in phone calls than the airfares would cost, at this rate.
After much consultation, I have concluded that it is nighttime. This comes as no surprise to some, who have for years held the view that nighttime precedes every day, although these views have proved controversial to others who believe that nighttime succeeds every day.
Comment by Maz – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 12:08 AM
  Where is the best cup of coffee? Don't say McDonalds... their coffee is crap
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 2:02 AM
  It’s not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can’t tell you, and I can’t tell you why I can’t tell you.
Comment by Clint – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 10:08 PM
  Caltex St Lucia. If you hit the jackpot and ants come out when you hit French Vanilla Latte, you get it for free. This is the sole reason Tom and I go there.
Comment by io – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 11:34 PM
  Apparently McCafe coffee ain't that bad. But yes, normal maccas coffee is awful.

21.12.2004Tuesday 21 December – Webpage Woes

I noticed yesterday evening that my last Centrelink payment was considerably lower than usual, and discovered today that it was actually my fares claim reimbursement and that I’d not been paid, so a phone call to Centrelink was had. Apparently, I’m supposed to fill out fortnightly forms now that I’m not actually studying, but they sent them to Brisbane, despite me going and visiting them and getting my postal address changed to here. I hope that it’s all sorted out now. I also ordered an identical new 200-gigabyte hard drive to replace this one, although the mounting bracket I ordered along with it is currently on backorder and delayed, so I am waiting for that. The idea is that Maz will pick it up for me, copy over the data I lost in the great data loss of 2004, and post it up – then birds will sing, flowers bloom, and children everywhere will rejoice and be happy.
I fought webpages. I fought them in the streets, I fought them in the jungle, I fought them until I ran out of RAM and my browsers froze up. It had occurred to me that pop-up “nice titles” on my links, similar to those already on my images, would be nice, so I set about making them. That part was actually fairly easy, but then my perfectionist streak struck, and I had to spend hours trying to get silly cross-browser things to work so that the pop-ups work nicely when they’re near the edge of the page, or would have appeared off the page. Then, to make things worse, Maz had crazy problems with stuff he was doing on his site, and decided to get the whole thing to validate as XHTML, and Matt had CSS problems. I learnt that a body element containing only absolutely positioned content is essentially empty, and various JavaScript functions will treat it as empty – which sort of makes sense now that I know it, but was very confusing at the time. I suppose I should point out that the whole evening wasn’t spent being geeky; I also went for a nice swim down the creek, where I lazed around for a while despite it being surprisingly colder than last time, a walk out the Home Rule Road, and even had a shower, complete with soap.
I am apparently “building character”, although I prefer the more simplistic “missing Bronwen”.
Comment by io – Friday 24 December 2004, 1:01 AM
  Aww... You miss her.
Comment by Ned – Friday 24 December 2004, 2:46 PM
Comment by io – Saturday 25 December 2004, 2:04 AM
  Aww... thei hearts Bronwen.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 26 December 2004, 1:37 AM

22.12.2004Wednesday 22 December – Who is Robert Henley?

I slept, of course, having stayed up far too late last night, of course. I am on holidays, after all.
I took some photos of the track down to the creek, and the creek itself. I haven’t looked at them yet, but if they’re any good, I’ll try to put them up on my site tonight. Maz went and picked up my new hard drive, and will probably copy the data across tonight, hopefully posting it tomorrow. I wonder why Word says, “Use of ‘hopefully’” whenever I use “hopefully” – obviously I’m using it. I also like the way Word recommends replacing “night time” with “nighttime” and then says “nighttime” isn’t a word, recommending it be replaced with “night-time”, which it then recommends be replaced with “nighttime”, which it will then say isn’t a word – it’s lucky I’m just a lazy perfectionist and not suffering from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder or that could be fatal.
Someone has camped at the halfway spot, where I usually stop on my evening walk. I didn’t want to disturb them, so kept going further, ending up late and hot, but exercised.
Bronwen phoned. It has also begun to sprinkle lightly.
Bronwen had to go to bed and I made the mistake of going back online. I had planned to look at some photos I took today, with a view to putting some of them up on my site, but somehow I was sidetracked and that didn’t happen. The sprinkle has turned into what I’d nearly call rain.
It’s now raining, it’s nearly six o’clock tomorrow morning, and I’m still up – why? Well, it all began several hours ago when Clint came online and said, “What is this neurocam stuff?” Having never heard of Neurocam, I made my first mistake – asking what it was, a sort of stupid question given what he’d just said, but he gave me their URL (, hardly surprisingly, although it appears it used to be, a company specialising in brain signal analysis) and a link to an article about them in The Age. I then made my second mistake – reading the article, and becoming interested, despite it seeming to be just another hyped non-news article designed to interest silly people who stay up too late. Nevertheless, I figured I’d do a little digging around to see if I could figure out what kind of joke this place was, and, several hours later, I’m more confused. I’ve discovered an interconnected web of sites and comments with connections intricate and tenuous enough to seem implausible to fake. What originally seemed like an elaborate façade now seems just too elaborate, but the alternative is unreasonable – I found cross-references across numerous sites, and many more cross-referencing seemingly unrelated information from those sites with yet others, lending a scary credibility to an otherwise incredible story. Parts of the twisted tale seem incredulous and ridiculous, with mention of strange neurological drugs and memory experiments, and other parts seem almost believable – I’m definitely interested now. On the other hand, it’s just getting light outside, so I may not be at my logical and cynical (and, I modestly mention, intelligent) best. Either someone has gone to incredible lengths to create this whole façade as some type of strange art experiment, or there’s truth lurking somewhere in there – obscured by a lot of crud and internet hysteria. Lies are easy to detect, but lies with a basis in truth are much harder to weed out, and everything is harder when your browser can’t open more than thirty pages at a time because your computer only has 256 MB of RAM and it takes more than that to load stupid QuickTime plug-ins. In other less geeky news, the rain has intensified and, if it continues at this pace for the next week, might actually do something useful like flood.
Comment by Maz – Friday 24 December 2004, 12:27 AM
  Oh no! Now I'm sucked in. It's so weird.
Comment by Ned – Friday 24 December 2004, 2:45 PM
  It is weird. They’ve done a good job keeping up the mystery, and have managed to create a shroud of confusion – apparently by accident, as much as anything else. I had a chat to one of their long-time operatives, which cleared up a lot of the confusion but not the main question – is it a strange art experiment or way to create some peculiar film (which seems most likely) or is it something entirely different? Unfortunately, I’m not currently in Melbourne, so I can’t easily find out.
Comment by DM – Friday 24 December 2004, 9:51 PM
  I figure that if we wait long enough, Dan Brown will write a book about it.

23.12.2004Thursday 23 December – Cooktown & Flying Ants

According to my journal, I didn’t get to bed until just after six o’clock this morning, which could explain why I didn’t feel remarkably joyful when Mum woke me up and said she was going to town as soon as possible. The trip itself was uneventful, apart from when the mudflap fell partially off, became stuck in the tyre, made terrible noises, and I had to pry it free with a long pointy screwdriver. I met Rachel and Andrew at the Mad Cow, both of who are now in the army, and had a chat for a while. I was asked to help reinstall one of the supermarket’s point-of-sale terminals, after its hard drive crashed. This seemed a bad idea to me at the time, particularly after the man who was supposed to be installing it mentioned that DOS seemed to have a problem connecting to the graphics device, and lacking the profit drive required to enthuse me in such a challenge, I left it to him. I also did not think that risking bringing their entire system down on what’s possibly their busiest day of the year was an extraordinarily good idea.
I nearly didn’t go for a walk because it’s a bit wet, and I’d had a rather large milkshake in town, but I did. I should have stayed home. The walk out was without incident, as was most of the walk back. It seems there’s something about the last stretch before the Home Rule Bridge. I used to think it was just psychological – something to do with being the last canopy covered section (and hence dark) before the open road and on the “wrong” side of the bridge, but I am beginning to wonder. Tonight, as I was walking back through the gathering gloom, I walked straight into a swarm of flying ants. Flying ants aren’t the world’s most intelligent creatures. In fact, they’re probably on a par with Tasmanians, although perhaps not blonde ones. Anyway, me being all hot and sweaty, their wings all stuck to me. Flying ants are actually normal ants, plus detachable wings – wings that detach when they’re stuck to a sweaty chest, back, arm, cheek, nose, etc. This leaves normal ants, which crawl and bite. Fortunately for me, I was only minutes from the Home Rule Bridge where I could jump into the water, which might have been romantic under different circumstances – the moon reflecting off the quietly flowing water, while all around was silent. Under the circumstances though, it was icy cold, dark, I was covered in dying flying ants, and anything could have been lurking under the water. Then, as I was huddling my cold, wet and dripping self home from the creek, another flying ant flew into my eye, which promptly closed. This annoyed the poor little ant, who thoughtfully bit my eye to let me know it was there, before burrowing under my eyelid, leaving its wings lodged everywhere else. Something about having large portions of wildlife lodged in ones eye socket triggers a primordial sort of instinct – logic departs, and wildlife must be removed from eye socket with utmost haste, preferably without removing eyeball itself.
Who is Robin Hely?
I had a chat to one of Neurocam’s operatives, and unmasked much of the mystery that had intrigued me last night.
Bronwen and I solved a few of the world’s more pressing problems, including such questions as “why?”, and “but why?”, along with more traditional dilemmas such as creationism vs. evolution vs. Erich von Däniken and how to hold a phone for nearly five hours without losing contact with your limbs. Then I decided to temporarily block my Peace and Protection site until my bandwidth accounting problem can be sorted out, found a 101 MB core dump filling up my web-space, searched for other core dumps but couldn’t find any, had apache shut down somehow resetting half my hit counters just as I was attempting to upload my modification, leading me to assume that Windows had broken everything while searching for core dumps, panicked, discovered the truth on my host’s forum (and to think some people travel all the way to the Himalayas), noticed flying ants beginning to invade, and went to bed, but not before using many commas in a rather long sentence.
Comment by sef – Friday 24 December 2004, 3:52 PM
  Are all your pets named Erich?
  Considering Däniken's infamous feline theory how can you even consider that evolution rubbish?
Comment by Ned – Friday 24 December 2004, 4:00 PM
  I don’t consider that evolution rubbish, except to convince other people of its absurdity. As for cats, haven’t you seen the movie “Cats and Dogs”? The future casts a shadow my friend.

24.12.2004Friday 24 December – Raining

For reasons inexplicable, wake bright and early I didn’t. Bronwen is duly blamed. Rain precluded action. Ground wet from drizzle and some heavy rain but not enough for a flood. Some pictures were added to my site. Sleep was late. Journaling is sparse.

25.12.2004Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day

Comment by Maz – Monday 27 December 2004, 12:30 AM
Comment by Damian – Wednesday 29 December 2004, 2:41 PM
  Very interested in getting in touch with you
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 29 December 2004, 5:15 PM
  I have your email via Mum. I’ll see what she has to say, and get back to you.

26.12.2004Sunday 26 December – Silas & St Stephen’s Day of Boxes

It rained most of the day, although not usually heavily. I was woken by Mum, giving me a message from Bronwen, so I phoned her back and pretended to be awake and sensibly coherent. I then did the only logical thing, and went back to bed to enjoy the rain.
Silas rang, and we had a chat about his holiday, and life in general. He said it rained enough to flood down at Cape Tribulation, but not at Bloomfield. Shan’s car broke down out at Lakeland on Friday, and is still there. Apparently, the fuel pump stopped and they tried using a water pump, and gravity, but while the car would start, it wouldn’t keep running. Dad and Mum spent all evening at the Den, but I decided not to go as it was raining and wet, and I wasn’t in the mood to trap myself inside with a group of drunken people I don’t know, without even being able to head outside or down to the creek. In fact, I’m not in a particularly happy mood – I think it’s a subconscious reaction to Shan having a week off, Bronwen being away, Silas being back, and it being too wet to do anything. It feels as though I should be doing something other than what I already did all month – but I’m not. I’m hoping it floods.

27.12.2004Monday 27 December – Wet & Very Monday

I noticed on my walk that the Home Rule Bridge is covered in debris, so the water must have been over it. I didn’t think it had rained enough for that, but obviously, it did somewhere upstream. Unfortunately, the creek has now gone down again, it’s only a foot higher than it was last I looked. Still, it does seem as though the wet season is slowly arriving – it’s been raining slowly all evening, and everything is getting pretty wet. The downside to the wet season is that it rains all the time, and most outside things don’t work quite the same when it’s raining, meaning that there’s often not a lot to do. Everything also goes mouldy, but that doesn’t affect me so much. The upside to the wet season is that, in a horribly dry country like Australia, it rains almost all day, almost every day – and I love rain, at least for the first month. Most of Australia is dry and either desert, or bordering on it, so it’s very nice to be in a tropical rainforest. Many people don’t like the humidity, mould, multitude of things that buzz and bite, nasty prickly and stinging plants, and general harshness – but I can’t think of anywhere better. Everything up here is alive, everywhere you look, there’s something living – even if it is a nasty crawling thing with large nippers, in stark contrast to the rest of Australia. It also floods, which is great fun although dangerous. Still, it hasn’t flooded enough to go drowning yet, and because of the rain, about the only thing I’ve done outside all day was my evening walk, as it was only sprinkling at the time – I think I actually stayed drier than when it’s hotter, from not sweating as much.
Comment by kathryn – Thursday 30 December 2004, 12:35 PM
  it's interesting to see how much it is raining up in the far north. This Christmas and holiday season i'm futher from my comfort zone of the central coast( the people who named it had a superioity complex) to the relative filled Brisbane. Having never been in a real tropical rainforest, but being already amazed by the diversity living under rocks at uni i can't imagine the creepys and crawlies up north.
  Hint don't wash your car in flying ant season, they leave wings everywhere.
  this has been another random message from someone you don't know
  over and out
Comment by Ned – Thursday 30 December 2004, 5:04 PM
  They say there’s probably more diversity in a single small pocket of rainforest up here, than the rest of Australia. It’s a strange dichotomy that the rainforest is actually some of Australia’s least nutritious, most uncultivable land – yet supports more species per area than anywhere else on earth, expect perhaps some of the Amazonian rainforests.
Comment by kathryn – Friday 31 December 2004, 11:54 AM
  It’s a dam good thing not to try and cultivate it because the second you do try is the second we stuff it up. The only reasons the rainforests are so diverse and so wet is the vegetation.
  A hundred years ago silly white man (yes, I’m a silly white woman) said “hey look there is lots of trees and water in rainforests that would make ace grazing land for our cows sheep and lamas” (except I guess they would of said all of the above in a British accent). #see note post for conclusion
Comment by kathryn – Friday 31 December 2004, 11:56 AM
  So they cut down trees and they cleared the land and then poof the one inch of fertile soil and the water and the animal’s disappeared and then they wondered why the grass wouldn't grow and the cows all went hungry. Because the cycle is not there, the rotting wood and the decomposers and the canopy are all needed to create the fertile environment and with out them it just dead soil.
  Ok that’s enough of my environmental rant, sorry if you already knew all that, hooray if you learnt something today.

28.12.2004Tuesday 28 December – Cooktown

Today is apparently a holiday. This would have been a handy thing to know before I got a lift to town with Mandi and Ella. I arrived in town and everything was shut – and then had to spend the rest of the evening there, as Mandi and Ella weren’t going home until after nine. I managed to have a reasonable time – went and saw Matthew and Sarah, but it was a waste as far as business went. It also rained a fair bit, and there was a bit of lightning dragging thunder around behind it.
I found out when I got home that Shan and Kylie have gone down to see Kylie’s parents. I’m a bit miffed Shan didn’t bother to tell me, but I guess there’s no reason why he should. It’s a bit sad how things change – I’ve not really got any friends left up here now, they’ve all either left, changed, or haven’t the time to spend with me anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if they think the same about me. Introspective reflection is all well and good, but too often leads to gloom.
Comment by kathryn – Thursday 30 December 2004, 12:43 PM
  for me gloom with time and space leads to creativity
Comment by Ned – Thursday 30 December 2004, 4:58 PM
  You’re very right. I’m too lazy to be productive up here, but I’m very creative – at least mentally. I find that when I’m in Brisbane, I just go about life without really thinking a great deal, but when I’m up here, I spend lots of time just pondering, wondering why, thinking how things could be done better, inventing things... it’s a very good break from the city. I feel sorry for people who have never been out of a city for any long period, although being in some of the small farming towns doesn’t sound too good from what some of my friends say, but up here is fantastic.

29.12.2004Wednesday 29 December – Raining

I’ve had a quiet day. It’s rained most of the day, so everything is wet, although it hasn’t been heavy enough to cause any flooding. I nearly skived out of walking because of the rain, but figured I’d go anyway and it was nice – not too hot, and quite peaceful.
Comment by Damian – Thursday 30 December 2004, 11:37 AM
  Your journal is much appreciated, a veritable glimpse into your life. Did you reply to my previous comment? "I have your email via mum..." ???
Comment by Ned – Thursday 30 December 2004, 4:55 PM
  Yes, and I’ve now emailed you as well.

30.12.2004Thursday 30 December – Cooktown & Thick Shakes

I drove to town to check my mail and do some shopping. I also made the mistake of buying a Mad Cow Thick Shake, so now I feel sick; it being the only thing I’ve eaten all day probably doesn’t help either. The stuff I was expecting from Centrelink wasn’t there, although the hard drive from Maz was. Because of this, I phoned Centrelink when I got home. They said they’ll repost it, and then phoned back to say that I only need to phone them, so it should now all be sorted out until next fortnight when I’ll phone them and find out what the next problem is. I then went for a walk, got stuck in a spider web, complete with a myriad of dying bugs and baby spiders, had to jump into the icy cold creek to debug, and retired to my van to discover that the new hard drive has precisely the same problem as the old one. Windows cannot recognize the third partition on the new hard drive – it thinks it’s raw or corrupt, but I’m definitely not letting it fix it by deleting all my data again. It seems rather unlikely that I’d get two drives with similar symptoms, so I’m suspecting something else now, and will try finding another computer I can put the drive in to test it.
Bronwen had said she’d phone me from Woodford, as it would be difficult for me to phone her, as she’d not be able to answer the phone while working or dancing. However, when she still hadn’t called by today, I thought I’d give her a call, thinking perhaps there was no reception. I first called before going to town, and did get a standard sort of “phone switched off or not in a reception area” message, but called again after phoning Centrelink, and got through right away. She had just left work, and it sounds as though she is having a good time. She mentioned she’d written me a letter because she hadn’t phoned, because she didn’t want to “disturb” me, which seems very much like a bad excuse – she had no problems disturbing me any other time. Because of this, I’m a little worried – is she just too interested in what’s going on, or not interested enough to bother calling, or something worse? I don’t know, but I worry.
I am surrounded by extraordinary amounts of flying insects. There are millions of different types, and they’re everywhere. They crawl down my neck, reset my computer (or so I suspect – it randomly BSOD with a “Memory Management” error), and generally make great nuisances of themselves. They even made me sit on my headphones. Outside it’s still raining, and just getting heavier. It looks like being a delightfully wet, but sadly Bronwen-less, start to the New Year.
I’m listening to Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, not normally one of my favourite songs, but it fits my mood at the moment – and on that note, I’m off to bed.
Comment by kathryn – Friday 31 December 2004, 12:40 PM
  well tonight is new years eve and i am boyfriend-less too, he's back in NSW working. The only exciting news is that there will be poi and fire dancing at the suncorp piazza in the city somewhere. See to get what i'm talking about.
  Have a good one.
  i'm missing my tin roof and the sound of rain.
Comment by Ned – Friday 31 December 2004, 2:08 PM
  Nothing too exciting planned up here – it is still very wet.

31.12.2004Friday 31 December – New Year’s Eve

I’ve had an uneventful and rather gloomy day to finish off an uneventful and rather gloomy week, although I’ve decided I won’t be gloomy next year.
As the day progressed, so did my worries about Bronwen, which pretty much ruined my day – although I wasn’t in a terrific mood anyway. Just before leaving for the den the second time, I sent an SMS via ICQ to Bronwen, Silas, and Maz, wishing them a happy New Year. I’m not sure if it actually works.
I drove Mum down to the Lion’s Den, where she was working. There weren’t many people there, so I came home and messed about online for a while, before heading back down shortly after ten o’clock. By this time, there was quite a crowd, all enjoying themselves. A good night was had, no fighting or unpleasantness was witnessed, and the police only arrested one person.

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