Matthew Ford’s Infernal Blog

Politics, games, computers, philosophy, human nature, Australia, and general rabbiting on

Trip to Maroochydore

We went to Maroochydore, which is a beach town up the Sunshine Coast, about 1.5 hours’ drive north from our Brisbane home. We stayed at the Sebel, a wonderful, new hotel which was both lush and affordable! I surfed, Dylan boogie-boarded, Kat sunbaked. (Kira was in the loving care of Dee back home.) We had a great weekend away. Some pictures of the trip, and Dylan’s 14th birthday, are now in the Flickr photostream.

Australian cliche: Kookaburra tries to nick my roo from the barbie

In an episode that would be cut from a Baz Luhrmann epic as “too cliched”, last night a kookaburra tried to steal some roasting kangaroo fillets as I cooked them on our barbecue.  Let me say that in a more cliched manner: a kookaburra tried to nick some roo from my barbie. I expect this to be followed by a dingo taking our baby and my being attacked at Bondi Beach by a shark and crocodile, which I fend off with a boomerang.

The  footage below (also at http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=ll8aPonbA7E) sets the scene: this is a few days before. On Christmas morning, as you do, we put out food for the resident kookaburras. Kat, Dee, and Kira all star; I am the cameraman.

My many data streams

Take an occasional look at my home page at http://www.fordfam.com/matthew to catch up with any new data streams I am swimming in. I used to be a curmudgeon about doing updates on all these different services but as I have promoted my projects I have come to accept that it’s best to go where the eyeballs are, not try to direct everyone to one central location. So here is an update, and note the first source: I am now on Twitter and having fun, posting news which is too trivial even for this silly blog.

Anywhere I refer to “matthew@”, I leave off the main domain to foil spambots. Just put fordfam.com after the @ to create the email address.

Whew. That’s a lot of datastreams! Someday all this will be unified…

A Very Special Shutdown Notice

I have finished and released a fiction project which is minor and experimental (aren’t they all?) but hey, it’s a release. See it at A Very Special Shutdown Notice. As I explain in the About page, my main goals are to popularize and explore the Simulation Argument and transhuman issues; to build an audience for my eventual game Pod Tycoon; and to drive some traffic so I can exercise my site in preparation for release of my first game. Please check it out and let me know what you think by leaving comments on the post at my company blog or the Google group mentioned on the project’s About page.

Once the site starts to show up reliably in search engines, I will make a push for a viral spread-the-word campaign. For now, don’t make any special efforts to spread the link around. Stay tuned for my request for you to do that soon!

Article about games and parenting, featuring me and Dylan

The local paper the Courier-Mail came out today in print and online with an article I was interviewed for earlier in the week. I am going to be in a forum in a couple days about the same subject. The article quotes me on my views about games and parenting. Check out the article online.

I love Kiwi accents

This is a fun example of a strong New Zealand accent. Our friend Dee reports that the whale sounds like a far Northie, similar to what you’d hear in an area strongly influenced by the Maori accent.

Save Our Kenmore site about Kenmore Bypass

It’s only of mild interest to those of you who don’t live in my immediate area, but it’s a little window into my life and I get to put another link to the site which helps its Google rank. I have started helping out a group called Save Our Kenmore which is devoted to stopping the building of the so-called Kenmore Bypass, which would go right behind our house and destroy a lot of green space in which me and Kira walk pretty much every day. Here is the site for Save Our Kenmore to stop the Kenmore Bypass. If any of you with sites could pop that link onto your site for a while, I’d surely appreciate the link love!

Holiday in Tasmania

(Please sing the above title to the tune of “Holiday in Cambodia” by the Dead Kennedys… we did…) We just got back from a holiday in Tasmania, we three running about in a campervan for a week. It was great! Not sure if we are campervan types but we enjoyed Tassie and enjoyed the freedom of carrying our home around the island. (continued »)

We have become Australian citizens!

Kat and I (and by extension, Dylan) became Australian citizens on Australia Day 2008, which is… come on, you know it! I know it! (In fact I took a citizenship qualification test which made me memorize it forever, along with the wattle and Phar Lap) …January 26th. (continued »)

Trip with buddy Cameron

Me and the family are about to take a little holiday in Tasmania, so what better time to finally post something about my trip in November with my buddy Cameron? (continued »)

Another paean to Radiohead; indulge me

I am finally back to my rich blog-scribing tradition after a long break of intense work, holidaying, and procrastination. To make more bite-sized the mountainous prospect of updating this blog after my long period of taking short vacations (the subject of a later post, which is the whole point), allow me to write about something short and sweet. Ah, I feel less oppressed already… I’m not writing a five-page travelogue, I’m just writing yet another paean to Radiohead’s latest album In Rainbows. I could just copy-and-paste one of the thousands of other love-fests frolicking on the web, but none of them are my style so I’ll give it my own shot. Besides, now there is a dandy Amazon pay-me widget I can imbed in my post, so go buy it now! I’ll wait while you download the MP3s.

You’re back? Good shit, huh?? Now you’re listening to it as you read the rest of this post, hopefully drinking a glass of Syrah (note to my legion of Aussie fans, it’s called “Shiraz” here in Australia and good on you). You’re sipping Syrah|Shiraz even if you don’t like it, because I do like it, and I should not be drinking alone at 6:07AM. (Kidding!) (continued »)

April Fools joke on Dylan

Muhuahaha… I set up Dylan’s PC so that the icons were hidden as well as the taskbar and set the following as his desktop background. An oldie but a goodie. I made the pic with a few minutes of Photoshop and a quick visit to Hello Kitty Online. Priceless! After a minute of shock, he thought it was funny.

hello_kitty_background.jpg

(Text says: Microsoft Windows Required Update in Progress… 14% complete. To comply with USA Family-Friendly regulations, all users under 14 are having their operating system upgraded to safe and friendly Hello Kitty Online.)

Iraq Solution: Impeach and Pass to Rice

I propose here the best of all bad options regarding Iraq. It’s obvious that nothing will really change until the new President takes office, meaning a truly new course can only start in 2009. This is obviously much too long to wait, in light of lives lost, money spent, damage wrought to reputation, and fuel supplied to terrorist enemies. The USA is a house on fire. So: I do not support remaining in denial, which is the Republican plan. I do not support waiting it out for political gain, which is the unspoken center Democrat plan. I do not support the left Democrat plan, which is a cutoff of funds to force Bush to start a pullout immediately. Here is the solution I support: In Congress, make a bipartisan deal. In exchange for immediate impeachment of Bush and Cheney, all the Democrats in the line of Presidential succession let it pass over them. President Condoleezza Rice leads the best possible pullout effort until the next elected President takes over in January 2009. (continued »)

Dylan and Kira in the clover

Dylan and Kira and I took a walkabout yesterday in the reserve behind the house. In the big loop formed by Moggill Creek there is a hill which every springtime erupts in thick clover, so Dylan suggested we check it out. It was a li’l slice of heaven, and I was lucky enough to get a really nice picture out of it as well.

Townsville photos

I’ve uploaded a bunch of photos from my and Kat’s weekend trip to Townsville; head to my Flickr site to see many more! This one is from when the tour operator (pictured) on Magnetic Island (near Townsville, Queensland) brought us to a pub that specialized in attracting hordes of rampaging rainbow lorikeets. On his instruction I took a handful of sopping wet bread from a bucket and held it out. “What n–” I started to ask, and was answered by one of most startling and intense experiences of my life. I was instantly set upon, and you really have to be there to understand how overwhelming it is. The color, the claws, the whipping of wind from the wings, the deafening caws in my ear… it was a feast for the senses in the sense that having a cannon full of Chicken Cordon Bleu fired at you is a feast for the senses.

Rusted flagpole at USA school kills girl

Sometimes it takes a random, horrible event to symbolize a larger, more complex problem. If illustration of such an event were called a cheap shot, it mistakes my intention. The flagpole could have been anywhere, so the event in itself does not prove anything. And replacing all the flagpoles in America won’t address the underlying problem. All the same, I find this story about a rusted-out flagpole falling and killing a child at her primary school a potent symbol of the inside-out, slow, but entirely visible destruction of a great country, threatening not to end its supremacy with the bang now being so strenuously, and justly, if not efficiently, prevented, but with the whimper at the end of a downward spiral. Citizens of America, please join me in my call– to politicians, neighbors, and friends– to take a new look at all that threatens the country; and to give solutions– even the non-sexy, non-spectacular solutions– their proper due. Ending with a whimper is just as much an end as ending with a bang. Let’s prevent both.

Listening to Icky Thump

I am listening constantly to Icky Thump by the White Stripes while driving, usually with a huge grin on my face. I sort of fell out of love with the Stripes (albeit my crush on Meg remained) with their last album, whatever it was called. The one with Wild Orchid. Not my thing. Then I saw the video for the title track on this new album, and even though it still was not the sound I loved from their first albums (White Blood Cells and Elephant), it intrigued me a tiny bit, and then later when Kat and I saw the video from You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told) it interested me a bit more. (Also of interest was the reminder that Kat has a crush on Jack, so that means we can cross-double-date, Jack and Meg, I know you read my blog.)

All the same, I was being curmudgeonly and still did not really intend to get the album. Then Kat surprised me with it after a shopping trip. I popped it into the car a few days later and I instantly loved it. It utterly crackles with an energy that a lot of bands are too cool to put into their work nowadays (the subtext often being, “I could hardly be bothered to get out of bed to record this but here I am”). This album thrills me the same way punk and 70′s power rock does. It’s unashamed, unafraid to be silly, unafraid of distortion and noise and bluesy mess. It’s playful and real. Not for everybody but I’m loving it and it reminds me that I am way overdue to get some Led Zeppelin into my collection.

Working on my new blogs

I’ve spent quite a bit of time getting my new blogs going. It has been fun to learn new things, and the blogs are also a means to an end which I like– in the first case of this blog, keeping in touch with friends and family, and in the case of the Digital Cream blog, building a tool to communicate with customers. However, it’s not as satisfying as writing ActionScript code. There are no really big challenging problems to solve when making a WordPress blog and fiddling with PHP and HTML; instead it is a million little easy things to do, and the bugs are finicky ones, not smack-yourself-on-your-head-and-shout-eureka ones. So I am looking forward to making my cutoff and moving back to programming.

Update to my fordfam website

Mostly as an excuse to play with Dreamweaver, I’ve updated my website at www.fordfam.com. If you already know me well, it’s only mildly interesting: I have put there many of the life-philosophy rantings that you have heard me emit when I’ve gotten a few in me. If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing me rave in person, this is your big chance! You can go to the above link to see all about the Fords in general, or to learn just about me, me, me, visit www.fordfam.com/matthew.

Australia moves closer to allowing stem cell research

It’s quite telling, and a bit sad, that I am categorizing a story about a medical issue as a “news and politics” issue. But that’s the world we live in.

Australia is thankfully tilting in a way different from the USA when it comes to stem cell research. Vigilance is still required, but it’s not bad at the moment. Here is a political excerpt I wish I saw more often: “Both these positions are moral positions and both deserve respect.”

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© 2014 Matthew Ford’s Infernal Blog

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