Do you find your best goth clothing looking grey? Do you decide not to let the zombie housekeeper (parent) wash your gorgeous garments, for fear that the whiter-than-white-fabric-softening-miracle-laundry-detergent will etch away their devastating blackness and destroy their intrinsic nihilistic spirit?
Then science is your unlikely brood-mate. Those strange creatures in their clean, white coats and sterile, fluorescent-lit laboratories have been working as your unwitting allies. They have created...


It is a surface so black that light just dives into it and disappears without a trace. Those robotic boffins call it a "chemical etching on a nickel-phosphorous alloy", but that's just a techno-babble name for what we know as a "window of pure transcendental void". You may be worried about the fact that you can still see your reflection in a mirror. That's because you need a SuperBlack mirror. With a SuperBlack mirror, you won't even cast a shadow on it. Your existence as an ethereal being will be confirmed.
How black is 'super black'?
Note the effectiveness of this material. The human studying it, Dr Richard Brown (or Rich Brown as his cohorts call him), used to be a committed white-coat going under the name of Dr Will B White. He is gradually making The Change.

Spoonerised Limericks

My new self-imposed linguistic challenge: Write limericks with a spoonerism between the first and last lines. First target: animals.

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.

There once was a sensible fox
who dressed for convenience, not shocks.
Her jackets - they rule,
and her boots - they were cool,
but she wore indefensible socks.

View More Limericks

Last Night...

...lots more ticks...

That is what it said in the java window.

What was I to think? I didn't open any applets, but there it was in a java window on my machine. It was getting on for 2am and I was tired, but I smelled "Virus". I started the full scan on the virus checker. I started a scan in ad-aware. It was now after 2am and nothing was showing up. I forced both the virus checker and ad-aware to update their databases. I started them scanning again. Still nothing. Windows media player was refusing to play - was this virus-related, or just a hang-up like I've seen it do on random past occasions?
(Oh no! Virge has been exposed to a Minor Drama.)
The computer was still running smoothly. There were no unexpected disc accesses. There were no unexplained network up/downloads. Maybe the virus is benign. There seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary after a reboot - no new java windows. Time to get some sleep.
crunch grind grind grind ...pause
crunch grind grind grind ...pause
Oh, it must be 2:30am. The bread maker has started up. Why is it making that awful noise?
(Virge has been exposed to another Minor Drama.)
This one was too easy: open lid; press baking tin down till it clicks in; close lid.
click purrr purrr purrr ...pause
That sounds better. I'll be able to sleep through that sound. Actually, I'd be able to sleep through the grinding sound too. I could probably sleep through a major earthquake. The virus worries will have to wait till morning.

Virge: "Good morning"
SonOfVirge: "Good morning"
Virge: "I don't suppose you know of anything that might create a window full of tick tick tick...?"
SonOfVirge: "Oh yeah. There was a little asthma game program that I ran last night when I was doing my health assignment..."

There was no virus. There was only the remnant of an educational applet.
Here endeth the Minor Drama.
Bring it on, Bruces. You have to be able to do better than that.

Word Sketches

What else is lying around in my old bits and pieces? Two little word-sketches from September/October last year.

Gloriously glistening,
Seductively sable,
Her claws subtly clenching
With each steady breath.
Deliriously drowsing,
Secure in her sunshine,
Irresponsible, forgivable,
Vulnerable trust.

potent patient
constant consuming
controlling concealing
deepening darkening
disturbing frightening
formidable fanciful
wistful wonderful
artful magical


Cutting and pasting code in an editor is one of the worst offenders when it comes to adding bugs to software. In writing software, if there are large sections of code that are exact copies or almost exact copies of another section, there should be alarm bells going off in a programmers head. Those bells should be ringing out two songs: the "have I been designed properly" song and the "be extra careful when you change me" song.
I enjoy a good bug chase. It's like playing detective. You gather the evidence, analyze, synthesize, hypothesize, test, and repeat the process until you home in on the miscreant. That's the satisfying part. You finally nab the bugger and try to work out how the bug happened. It's then you find that some less-than-careful engineer has copied and pasted code, then forgotten to change one of the parameters in the copied section. This code had been "working" and passed its tests by good luck for the past couple of years. It only took a small change in the hardware to change its luck.


Now, from the one who was silly enough to try writing a humorous tragedy comes another of the self-imposed pointless tasks - another exercise that didn't get shown because it didn't make the grade. This time, an attempt to merge the genres of nightmare and love poem. Yes, yes, I know goth's have been trying to write this sort of poem for years. There is a difference. They want to embrace the nightmare and make it their alternate reality. In those poems extreme sensual pleasure, agonising death, and eternal love are blurred together in a Transylvanian-Hollywood extravaganza. The task I set myself was harder (IMNSHO). I wanted the words to be real and believable. It had to be clear it was a dream. (And as a token of its gothlessness, I made sure it didn't mention blood or death.)

A dream was waiting for my weakest moment:
Waiting near the dawn -
A place where sleep had stilled those thoughts
That strained for one more breath.
My fear had fangs and putrid claws
To flay, to tear, to shred my back
To stalk behind my stumbling,
Clumsy steps - my treacle flight.

That dream had disappeared
And left my dead-weight legs to keep me from
A meeting at which I must speak
To make my future sure.
Now time is short, I shall be late,
No shoes, no clothes, no chance to dress.
Reluctant muscles won't respond,
Regardless of my plight.

A third dream starts with care-free skies,
With sunshine warm and breezes cool.
One leaden memory breaks this bliss -
Of being lost to you.
I live in nature's comfort knowing
Nothing of your life and dreams
But memories. Wishes without hope
Wield crueler blades than fear.


Driving to work has become a habit now. I realise that I haven't even thought about riding my bike to work in the last month. It's just more convenient: drop the kids off at school; drive to work; drive home again after work.
Listening to music is easier in the car. The Women At The Well CD has been in the car player for about a week now. It's a compilation of various female singers performing Paul Kelly songs. Paul says: "I write songs for women because they ask me to and because it's fun. I don't know what it's like to be a woman but I know some of the things they say." I think my favorite songs from the CD are Beat of Your Heart (sung by Christine Anu) and She's Rare (sung by Rebecca Barnard). Beat of Your Heart surprised me because it is a classic 80's disco-ish pop song. It's the type of song that normally blends into the background and doesn't gain my attention. It just grew on me. Maybe it's the line about reading out Poe tales by firelight that resonates with memories from the distant past.
It was very foggy last night. I went outside to try my hand at a photographic cliché - "street lamp in the fog". I haven't downloaded the pictures from the camera yet.
It was still pretty misty this morning. As I drove down the hill I could see layer after layer of trees fading to the horizon. The mist was just thick enough to create ghostly silhouettes of each tree rank - desaturating into a grey sky. I had my camera. I looked at the time. I kept driving.


Blogging seems to be easy for some. There is a never-ending stream of strange, wonderful, outrageous, depressing, enlightening events that march in regular formation through some lives. Am I so unperceptive that I miss opportunities to recount drama? Is my safe suburban life so padded with buffering and insulation that these events just cannot happen? Do the most interesting bloggers exaggerate the small things, or perhaps even deliberately make choices that result in dramatic incidents? Maybe I just over-react to my dramatophilic acquaintances and deliberately play down the things I should get excited about. Or maybe...
...maybe I am fated by the Gods of Oz to live an uneventful life.
Bruces (god of culture-free entertainment): "We've devised some new fun."
Steves (god of mindless outdoor activities): "Crikey Bruces! Isn't Oz-Rulez football good enough for ya?"
Bruces: "They're changing the rules to make it safer for the players. How un-Oz is that? We needed a special project to keep us from going mad as a dingo's social worker."
Steves: "Whatcha planning?"
Bruces: "We've selected one poor sod and removed all the stressful happenings from his life for the first forty-odd years. In fact, we've given him an extra lick of luck to make troubles disappear like promises after an election."
Steves: "But where's the entertainment in that, mate?"
Bruces: "It leaves him completely unprepared, Steves. We haven't actually removed the nasty bits; we've just saved them up ready to dump on him all at once."
Steves: "Gawd Bruces, we'd like to see that!"
Bruces: "Any time now, Steves. Any time."


I dive into dust-covered files every now and then. There are lots of sketchy ideas that never came to anything. Some made it to completion, but once done failed to click. These rarely found the light of day. After all, who should I show them to? If they're not good enough to publish on a web page or post in a public forum, does that mean they should be shredded? The answer I choose (today at least) is that I'll show them to whoever is prepared to show enough interest to read.
You're still here and still paying some attention?
Well, here's your "reward" for being foolish enough to appear interested. It was a daft idea that I worked on in early April this year. I wondered if I could write a humorous tragedy. Tragedy led my mind inexorably to Greek Tragedy and from there, Geek Tragedy was just a tiny slip away. Geek is always funny. Even the word sounds funny. And geeks can be so tragic. The idea just had to be written.
Maybe I'll take a completely clean sheet of paper to it later.

A Geek Tragedy

Comp Sci, year one, I bent my brilliant mind
to beat the mighty Gates. Fortune and fame
would fall my way once I could make a start.
I waited for my market niche to bloom.
The money, I would wear like angel wings
and wield my famous trademarks like a lord
while leggy starlets queue to cry my name
and cover me with unbridled desire.

Comp Sci, year two, my greedy goal had died
and given way to mastering the machine.
This mind would fill the world with free-ware code
to fight the shrink-wrap enemy's evil hold.
As enigmatic guru of the GNU
I'd grow in peer respect and cult renown
till rich young women, drawn by my mystique,
would melt beneath my sensual, smoldering gaze.

Comp Sci, year three, the IT market's tight
and time is short. My marks are not that great.
See me, a geek, with little left but dreams
and lonely hours of jpegs, books and beer.
That brunette in my graphics class is cute
and clever, so she'll never notice me.
Next year, post-grad robotics rules, but now
I'll read about Pygmalion one more time.


The mathematician in me looks back to statistics and queuing theory to try to explain why there are times when there seems to be nothing to do and other times when there are too many things to fit. The pessimist in me looks at the same circumstances and mutters imprecations at Murphy. Sometimes understanding doesn't make me feel better.

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