June 2003


An early night last night + a sleep-in this morning = headache for the first half of today. Fortunately it faded this afternoon. This is a long weekend. Monday is a public holiday to celebrate the queen's birthday (even if it is nowhere near her actual birthday).
The wind has died down and left a damp, cool winter's day (down to 8C overnight and up to 15C by mid afternoon). Left to my own devices I would describe it as a cold day, but I am reliably informed by a diametrically opposed friend that I cannot regard such mild weather as "cold". I accept the word "cool" as a reasonable compromise. Thus am I cured of my meteorological relativism.

I dropped into the library today to borrow Douglas R. Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach : an eternal golden braid after hearing that it was a strong influence on the Wachowski Brothers' Matrix Reloaded. It must have been 10 years since I last read this book. I don't hold much hope that GEB will shed any light on the more confusing aspects of Reloaded. I just remember it being a good read with a lot of food for thought.
I've been reading short stories from Greg Egan's Axiomatic collection at a rate of just one per day. I've only read six so far. I really enjoyed The Hundred-Light-Year Diary despite the scientific flaws in its premise. His descriptions of human behaviour and the process of rationalisation flowed with a sense of bitter inevitability. The Caress was worth reading, just for the surprise factor. Axiomatic, the title story, deals in neural implants for augmenting or modifying the human brain (seemingly one of Greg's favorite subjects). He paints a sordid picture of a society where neural implants are packaged up like videos or computer games and sold in stores like body piercing shops. Implants range from instant willpower to synaesthesia; from sexual preference to religious faith.

Need a laugh? 5.5Mb of download gets you Gollum's acceptance speech for the MTV best digital performance award.


What wonderful weather -
Wind wailing wickedly, whistling woefully,
Whipping wires,
Whomping my cable connection!
Conversation cloven, clipped, curtailed.
Cable... connect. C'mon... connect!
Inclement conditions are common.
Can't communications companies cope?
Cutting costs castrates customers.

In my suburb there is a high-tech possum superhighway. It provides above-ground dog-proof access to the trees on the other side of the road. The barriers are now down for the global possum community. We are only just beginning to see free sharing of possum thoughts between possums from different sides of the road. If the possum traffic keeps building up I may have to consider getting a higher bandwidth roof.
This network of elevated possum-paths also serves to carry TV channels and broadband internet to the most patient and tolerant of humans - sometimes.

Do you ever find yourself "overinterpreting" signs? Do you look for literal meanings of signs or take their words out of context?
Bonehead Of The Day Award

"You won't die," promises one vendor... "You should try it at least once ... a lifetime experience."
The Latest Drug
Boy, am I missing out!

Did you know there is a band named "Totally Gourdgeous" who play instruments made out of gourds.
Well, you know now, and try as you might, you'll have a hard time forgetting that fact for at least the next 30 seconds.

Why Blog?
It's the need to express without having a particular target for that expression. It's a passive medium of self expression.
Nobody is forced to read. People will only read if they want to. If I buttonhole someone and tell them my daft thoughts they may not want to listen, but they have little choice (at least for a short while until they think of a polite way to get away). If I leave my thoughts regularly in a single place, then those who are genuinely interested can read whatever parts they find interesting. If nobody reads at all, then they are at least something I can look back on in years to come.

Only 10:30 and I feel drained. Ultra-early night required. Goodbye 6th June.


Today I sent a message backwards in time. That's history now. I've put it behind me.

What do you get when you cross two creatures with very similar characteristics e.g. when both creatures express the Procrast-L8R gene? What will their offspring be like? Why am I even asking questions like this? You'd think it was important to me for some reason.
I'll tell you later.

This is Mr Lucky here. Mr Lucky has been invited (with partner) to attend a gold-class theatre viewing of Matrix Reloaded on Friday 13th. Nibblies and drinks will be provided. I was wanting to see it again. This does sound like an excellent opportunity.


Nobody expects the retrospective blog. This is a message from the future. Yesterday (4th June) was busy. I just couldn't think of anything worth blogging about.

Making Things Happen

The new project is firing up again at work. I can't talk about it on a public page. I whipped up prototype code to drive it a couple of months back. Now we get to test it. The tests are ok so far. It needs a few more changes before we let a research chemist loose on it.
I'll have to make the most of this time. Exploring new technologies and designing new products are the fun parts of my job. Managing resources and paperwork have been the norm for too long.


This is the first pass of a poem from November 2001 that I ended up changing completely. In its final form it ended up a series of 4 haiku mapping the change of seasons to the phases of life.

I let my mind go wandering
to find new places to explore
distracted hours go flying past
never to return

I let my thoughts get out of touch
with how the world is meant to be
then abstract visions fill my head
wanting to be real

I dwell on things that I should see
to make them real in some small way
then strive to hold them for all time
never to decay

I see the sights that all have seen
and mesh them in their ordered plan
to make sense of a mixed up world
slowly growing old

Reverend Spooner

It struck me this morning that the ultimate spoonerised limerick would contain a 3-word spoonerism between lines 1, 2 and 5, and a normal spoonerism between lines 3 and 4. This would be an incredibly hard verse to contrive. Even finding sensible 2-word spoonerisms is difficult without struggling for a 3-word cycle that works in all three rotations. I wonder if there are any, and how I would go about finding them.
To find normal spoonerisms I start with a target word e.g. "bear", then get a list of rhyming words having the same number of syllables e.g. "care chair dare fair fare flair glare hair lair mare pair prayer rare scare share snare spare square stair stare swear tear their there they're we're wear where". I choose a word from the list that will be humorous by its contrast with the target word e.g. "prayer" and "bear" are rarely ever seen together in public. That was the easy part. I then have to search for two other rhyming words starting with "b" and "pr" that can be meaningfully combined with the first two. Rhyming dictionaries don't help here. It's mainly luck. I try to think of a word starting with "b" that could be associated with "prayer", then check if it is still a word when "pr" is substituted for "b".
I think I shall post a challenge on the poetry forum to see who can find a 3-word spoonerism.

Devil's Advocate

I was dredging through the dusty files again. Back in June last year I compered a camp concert dressed up as lucifer and used rhyming verse throughout to introduce acts. The concert theme was "Wish on a Star".

Good evening friends, I trust you're here for fun;
So welcome to this comedy divine;
Pray settle down, it's time we had begun.

My choice of guise will shock some, I'd opine.
Perhaps my ways of thinking are bizarre.
I trust you'll find my humour quite benign.

Though I already know well who you are,
"I'm pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name."
I am your host, I'm Luci Morningstar!

Now "I Love Luci" may not be my fame,
And in the credits my name won't appear.
I'm sure you know about me all the same.

These tours of hell are Virgil's strange idea
Because, he said, "it worked in Dante's plot"
And if this sucks, it's Virgil's fault - 's'that clear?

The acts we have for you tonight are hot:
Infernal acts of fantasy and light,
So laugh aloud, for refunds, there are not.

After that I moved to individualised quatrains for each act. e.g.

One day our Stu and Steve will take the floor.
They'll pause until the thund'rous cheer abates,
And when they're done the crowd will beg for more.
Yeah, on that day I'll head to work on skates!

Then to conclude the evening:

I thank you all for wishing on this star
From hell, heaped with my old iambic verse.
Enduring pointless poetry on a par
With searing seas of sulphur, maybe worse.
Now praise all these performers, brave they are.
Applaud their acts before you all disperse.

Self Reference

Virge: "This is where I put thoughts, snippets of verse, memories of what has happened during the day etc. It is not a public outpouring of my deepest secrets. It is the stuff that I would discuss with anyone interested enough to ask. Since you are reading this journal, you fit this description."
Reader: "What? No sordid secrets? No juicy exposés?"
Virge: "Afraid not. Well, not unless you ask nicely."


Today was the first day of winter. It rained.

What did I do today?
I finished reading The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett). I'm not laughing as much at his books as I used to. I am enjoying the book immensely and it's lots of fun to try to pick the allusions and obscure references. Maybe I'm just not in the mood to chuckle.
We were completely under-run by nieces and nephew tonight. 15 for dinner is a crowd, but still manageable. Happy birthday father-in-law.
I failed to get enthused enough to take any photos.

On days like today hibernation does sound like a viable option.

Reading The Wee Free Men prompted me to look at the poetry of William McGonagall - reputedly the writer of the world's worst poetry. As I read some of his poetry I am forced to agree that his reputation is well earned. e.g.

My parents were sober living, and often did pray
For their family to abstain from intoxicating drink alway;
Because they knew it would lead them astray
Which no God fearing man will dare to gainsay.

- an extract from A New Temperance Poem, in Memory of my Departed Parents, who were Sober Living & God Fearing People by William McGonagall.

Silly spoonerised limerick

It's time for another silly spoonerised animal limerick (this time with the spoonerism between lines 1 and 2).

There once was a proud priestly bear
with a horribly loud beastly prayer
which he kept on repeating
to cover the bleating
of lambs sacrificed in his lair.

View More Limericks

Limericks with Spoonerisms

A truly incredible ape
took flour, some gin and a grape,
and whipped them to mousse,
then fried to produce
a truly inedible crepe.

There once was a huge shambling ape
whose knuckles were likely to scrape
on the ground as he moved
and he said this just proved
he was born with a slow ambling shape.

There once was a young teary bird,
abandoned the nest, so I've heard.
She had to think twice
'cause her mother was nice,
but her father's an old beery turd.