Monday, January 24, 2011

Fighting Trousers!

Found by The Other Andrew, but via Facebook.

Parte the Firste, without which Parte the Second doesn't make much sense:

And now, Parte the Second:

Get onto it, you bally nincompoops!

Hi everybody.
As most of you know we are coming out for Festy this year. Woot!. It's been 3 years. Crazy huh!
I thought I put this in a central place to help us get organized.

The vague plan is to fly in a few days before hand, go to festy then spend the rest of the time running around catching up with family and friends. We are planning on 3-4 weeks.

Questions and stuff-

We are happy to farm ourselves out to who ever will take us. Will bring our thermorests so floor space is all good.

Kate, Snowpea and Hal are planning to come as well. Yay! I'm assuming there will be enough campsite room for all of us.

I want to travel light so there are a few things I'm hoping we can borrow.

I'm planning on bring my Lemming landsknecht and one other costume. Can I borrow a tunic or two? Rob is thinking about bring his armor. He wants to know whether any other of you old buggers are planning on fighting? If not then he probably won't bother.
I would like to shoot arrows at people but not really stressed about it enough to get my gear together.

Feasting gear, tent, bedding. We gave our bows to someone...
Are we getting a communal tent, burners etc? If so, let us know what our share is.
Will work out food stuffs when we get there.... 5347 meat pies and 68221 lammos pleeze.

Last time we bought phones. I think we still have them...somewhere. If so, we will try and hook them back up. If not then we will either have buy them again or rent them and send them to one of you lot.
Can you email us your phone numbers, please.

Is there anything you want from here? Nice exchange rate at the mo.

I'm sure there are more issues. I don't want to leave everything to the last minute so we have more time chilling.

Very excited to be coming home.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Two amusements for your Sunday evening

I bring you news of two things that will stay with you for life:

1. FireHero -fire + guitar hero, what's not to like? Via my friend AnnaVCulture's tumblog

2. 'Steampunk Palin' -OK this one is more disturbing, but the review of the comic book is very amusing and well-written.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


As an American, living in Australia, I used to regularly get asked questions like: "How could you stand to live in a country where everyone is shooting each other with fully-automatic anti-tank guns all the time?" As an Australian, living in America, I nearly as regularly get asked questions like "How could you stand to live in a country where the government gets all the guns, and citizens are killed on sight for owning a sharpened paperclip?"

(It is just possible that I am exaggerating both perspectives slightly for dramatic purposes. May you never guess how little I am exaggerating in either case.)

Generally, I try to stomp on some of the more ridiculous hyperbole without pissing off the fanatical extremists of any given jihad, and avoid making eye-contact whenever possible. However, when pressed for an opinion by people who actually seem likely to entertain the brief sojourn of facts into such an emotion-riddled battlefield, I will admit to liking living in a society where gun ownership is limited. I'm not saying no one should be allowed to own guns, but lets face it; military technology has progressed to the point where the idea of a successful armed citizens revolt against the government is laughably implausible, and nobody needs an assault rifle for home defense against burglars or for hunting rabbits. To my mind there are guns with legitimate civilian uses, and growing up in a household where they are present, stored properly, and treated with respect can help kids learn to be a lot safer about them than kids who grow up with Hollywood as their sole source of information on the subject. There are also guns whose sole purpose is the efficient obliteration of large quantities of human beings in as short a time as possible, and I don't like those sorts of things running around near me, thankyouverymuch. And then there are fuzzy things in the middle, and I'd hate to be the one whose job it was to draw the line, but gosh I'm glad when someone does. When I get dragged into these sorts of discussions, I generally bring up two points: 1) the majority of people who are shot in America are shot by accident, usually by friends, family, or loved ones. Or to put it another way; your friends, family, and loved ones are the most likely people to be shot by your gun. And 2) places with high gun ownership are less safe.

I've had people dispute that second one with me. They tell me things like "I lived in Texas, and in the bars there I can tell you that everyone is REAL polite." Which is a lovely anecdote, but doesn't actually, you know, mean anything. And so, years ago while living in Sydney, I dug up 3 years worth of per capita violent crime data for Sydney, and for some portion of the San Francisco Bay Area with similar population density (I forget where exactly, but including the bit that I lived in as a kid) and found that for the same time period you were about 6 times more likely to be involved in a violent crime involving guns in the states, and about twice as likely to be involved in a violent crime of any sort. Is this scientific? Oh hell no. It doesn't take into account cultural differences and all sorts of other factors, and it doesn't in any case establish a causal relationship - it could be that people own more guns because its such a dangerous place. But its a fairly obviously glaring statistic all the same.

Unfortunately, I didn't write any of this down at the time, and I get fuzzier and fuzzier on the details with every passing year, so that essentially its stopped being a statistic and started being an anecdote _about_ a statistic. So I was pleased to recently find this site which nicely graphs some of the results of the Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 - 2000. It shows the per-capita murder rate of the US to be 2.85 times that of Australia, but the per-capita firearm murder rate to be 9.51 times that of Australia. And for those who would say "yeah ok, more actual murders, but it deters other violent crime", the per-capita rates of robbery and assault are also slightly lower in Australia (though only slightly. Which could imply that the presence of guns is neither a deterrent _nor a contributing factor_ in these other violent crimes, which to tell the truth I would not have guessed. Or on the other hand, it could mean that Americans are not essentially more - nor less! - violent than Australians, but they _are_ far more likely to kill you when they get violent.)

Anyways, I've had another of my long-winded rants without a triumphant pronouncement to go at the end - there isn't really enough data here to properly draw conclusions from. Mostly I just wanted to store the statistics themselves somewhere that I could find them again the next time I get buttonholed at the bus stop. Its not a simple issue. Saying America would be better off without guns is like saying it would be pleasant to live on a moon made of marshmellow with lakes full of beer; it might be true, but without a realistic plan for getting from here to there its all just pointless daydreaming.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Those who enjoy the scientific approach

to mixing or experimenting with cocktails, or equally applying science to coffee, try some trawling through Liquidity Preference (nothing to do with Keynesian macroeconomics - I promise).

Here's some sample links of what got me in. In "The Pegu, clarified", he gives instructions on how to clarify lime juice for making a cocktail. There are "A duo of beer cocktails" that look really good, and some detailed instructions on making "A clarified coffee cocktail" using a few different methods.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Completely and utterly not safe for work.

More expletives than you can poke a stick at, but it's in the name of science, so that's okay.
Read on!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Do yourself a favour...

Tired of no one one noticing you??

Are you sick of being ignored? Do you sit unnoticed
on the sidelines while others are picked?

Are you tired of being overlooked?

Get a new scarf ! !

Try the latest scarf fashion and you too will be the center of attention..

(Yeah, yeah, I know most of you are far from cold at the moment, but it's pretty darn nipple-snappin' over here!)