#PAXAUS – Day 1

I bought our tickets many many months ago. I think almost as soon as they became available. They are just too much of a bargain to take risks with how long they will be available.

If you want to ask me “What’s a Pax?” – go over to Penny Arcade, read some comics, and maybe watch a video or two. A PAX is essentially a glorious celebration of amalgamated nerd culture. Over a three day weekend, there are panels on many varied topics, a show floor for PC, console, handheld hardware and games, board games, and many places to play and try a little bit of everything.

All set on the south bank of Melbourne, with all the food, and entertainment, and gas torches.

We’re now at the end of day one, and it just doesn’t feel like there is enough time to get to everything. Too many sessions. I am on average triple-booked throughout the day. I need more time to see all the great cosplaying. I need more time to play all the games.

Or perhaps a better filter. As great as the event is overall, it is not all equally great. I’ve been in two panels that felt a bit under-prepared. Like the host had had a great idea for a session, suggested it, got accepted, and then didn’t do any work to put together a cohesive set of questions and a narrative digging into the material. Which is a shame, because I was looking forward to the sessions on diversity in games.

And although Mike didn’t manage to make it to Australia this year, Jerry (Holkins) is firing on all cylinders like always. I like his words. He puts them in order in the most fantastic way. I need to figure out if there is something I could ask him to sign on my pass. I am leaning towards “A Second Naked Kris Straub” at the moment for reasons I cannot adequately explain outside of the context of the game of Quiplash I witnessed. I could easily listen to him all day.

I had a specific request lined up for Mike as well. Something from First 15 that I thought would go well on a T-shirt, but I will have to forego that privilege for now.

Maybe that was more to assuage my guilt over not knowing what either Mike or Jerry looked like last year, and possibly accidentally snubbing Mike at the pin-trade. Which I have since learned would have been an even more severe snub for the fact that pin-trading came forth from his imagination.

It is a shame that all these cool people gathered here together disperse again in less than 48 hours.

3 days just feels too short.

It’s like… less than 1% of the year. Does that sound like enough to you? It doesn’t to me.

Day 326 – Renaissance

40 – 100 Best Australian Albums

I haven’t listened to the radio in over a decade. I haven’t really watched television for almost as long. My life has been devoid of advertisements for so long that I cannot even remember what it’s like to have my entertainment interrupted by them.
Continue reading Day 326 – Renaissance

Day 274 – Gym Songs

92 – 100 Best Workout Songs of All Time

This list cannot possibly be right. It’s absolutely clear that the no.1 best anything-song of all time is “Everything is Awesome”. Ever. (Also: do yourself a favour and go see the LEGO movie!)

Having said that, there are some good work-out songs on that list.
Ones that I’ve specifically enjoyed hearing around the gym, below.

98. Seven Nation Army – White Stripes
Perhaps a little up-tempo, but it kinda works with a weights routine. As long as the weights are modest, because otherwise it might kill.

66. Joker and the Thief – Wolfmother
Better tempo for weights on the off beats, or alternatively punches on all the beats. Maybe a bicep routine? Or just running on a treadmill.

47. Live and Let Die – Guns N’ Roses
Maybe lunges for the slow parts and some heavy cardio for the fast parts? Or just pretend you’re James Bond and you’re running for your life. That’d do the trick.

24. Unbelievable – EMF
Rowing. Definitely rowing for this one.

16. One More Time – Daft Punk
That moment… just when you think you perhaps should leave the gym. One more time through?

9. Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
Push-ups till you actually bite the dust.

I may actually have to see about turning these into a playlist for the gym, or for walking at night. Haven’t done that for too long either. And now, sleep.

One more day and then 10 days not.

Day 245 – Play Music

A tale of slowly lessening misery.

I thought my stiff neck and back would benefit from a good nights’ sleep. Instead I spent a night mostly flat on my back, because rolling over was just too painful to be worthwhile. I woke up worse than when I fell asleep.

Luckily I had decided despite my best hopes to book a session for my back this morning. But it quickly became clear that my hope to make it to the office by 10am was a slightly over-optimistic fantasy. And although I knew it was inevitable, it took me till about noon before I wistfully cancelled my gym class for the evening. Telling myself it’s for the best is cold comfort when between a Melbourne trip and this back I have done maybe 2-3 classes in the last two weeks.

So instead, I spent my day with heat packs, sitting as upright as I could in front of my laptop, letting the heat seep in and carefully stretching the range of the mobility in my neck. I can now do from almost over my left shoulder (with some pulling) to almost over my right (with some more pulling), and down almost touching my chin to my sternum. I should at least be able to sleep normally.

And I made myself “useful” by moving the last vestiges of important data around so that this laptop can feel like home.
And I moved all my tracks from Spotify into Google Music, and then changed over my subscriptions.

I really like the Google Music UI. It feels more useful for discovering stuff than Spotify ever was. And as a bonus I spent most of the day with music in my ears, which is a great way to forget about how useless I am right now.

Though for some reason, it has decided that my “I’m feeling lucky” radio station consists of classical music. I may have to re-train it a bit after I cleared out my previously uploaded tracks. Clearly the sheer volume has given it slightly the wrong impression of what best to surprise me with. Oh, wow… look at that… “Refresh Station” fixed it in one go. On to New Adventures!

Day 228 – Disappointment

Why is there no online store that has *all* the music, both for streaming for a monthly fee, and available for purchase/download by the track? I want to stream to discover, and download to own. Why does this not exist? Why is this so hard?

Why do I have to store my task lists in the cloud? Why can’t I keep the data somewhere inside my own network. Inside my home. Where it cannot accidentally leak in bulk. Why the same for the best calendars? The best email?

Don’t get me wrong, I love that my laptop doesn’t contain any crucial data; I can reformat, reinstall and then all my data comes back from the cloud. Maybe what I want is an option that just uses the web for storing blobs of data without understanding, and apps on my machine that interpret and manipulate.

Cloud is great.
Cloud is terrible.

I don’t know what I want.

I’m having a bit of a sulky day I think.

Day 227 – Broken Ice and Bells

Please be gentle with me weekend!

As it stands I have to re-do the Elderflower/Lime ice cream a *third* time. I had neither realised nor credited the critical importance of sugar to sorbet. Apparently it spells the difference between nice scoopable sorbet and big chunks of chisel-only ice in the freezer.

There is so much yet to learn.

I just had a semi-nap through part of Nerdist, which means that A: I feel slightly more human, B: I missed part of the discussion with Broken Bells. I enjoyed the track closing the episode. I’ll have to take some time to listen to a whole album this weekend.


Even so, I think I’ll sleep early. I want to wake well-rested tomorrow, then return home well-wasted from the gym and take it from there.

Day 182 – Lost in Math

I had intended to find a math-y song. I was going to post about logic and reason, which I am re-studying for reasons of helping.

I got a little distracted.
It was wonderful.

I want to share with you my findings.

1. I Have Been Doing Toothpaste Wrong

2. Poincaré Apparently Raps Well

3. Maths Can be Quite Romantic

4. 12 Days is Too Much for Christmath

5. Mandelbrot is Easier to Follow with Images

You are Welcome!

Day 115 – All The Songs (part 2!)

More songs.
But only the good ones this time (my blog, my taste, tough luck!).
I’ll skip the rest.

Also, no video.
I’m just using Spotify because I like the way it embeds into WordPress.

48. How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding

I was almost instantly sold on the voice alone; an interesting delicate accent and it sounds so fragile.

Maybe that’s just because it’s a love song she’s singing though?
I will have to explore her work further.

Also, although love songs have a terrible habit of turning to cliché within seconds, it’s always nice to find one that tries to stray a bit.

How long will I want you?
As long as you want me too
And longer by far

47. Best Song Ever – One Direction

…just kidding…
Pleasant enough in the background without really listening, but… no.

37. Don’t Let Me Go – Jai Waetford

Spotify doesn’t have this.
And I’m not sure I like the idea of X Factor.
But this is a very talented kid (14!).

Worth having a look at if you don’t follow the show either: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8wATAnUszs

36. You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You – James Arthur

Skirting into the crude; but I’m adding it as a little guilty pleasure.
There is not much to the lyrics, but the Blues/Rock totally works for me.

Even if the title is a little sad, and patently untrue.
You’re Nobody ‘Til You Love Yourself.
(Although that doesn’t quite sound right either)

33. The Wire – Haim

And a refreshing palate cleanser in the form of a break-up song… or maybe it’s just about commitment issues? I can’t quite say for sure.

I was hooked by it speaking truth about communication at the start of the song.

I’m sure Dan Savage would have some pointed advice for the lyrics though… the words are doing that relationship all wrong!

32. Rap God – Eminem

Very obviously self-aggrandizing, but the speed at which the words start pouring out of his mouth, and then more, and some more still.

It’s hard not to be in awe by the middle of the third verse.

I can barely listen as fast as he is spilling them out.

28. Move – Little Mix

It’s the playful beat it starts and then sticks with throughout that got me.
Honestly; the album cover didn’t even show in the chart playlist.

I wish the lyrics were better; the first verse is a promising start, but then it lets me down from there.

25. Royals – Lorde

All Lorde songs sound the same. All broody and emo.
And even thematically, I am having a very strong sense of Deja Vu here.

There were three Lorde songs on the chart.
One would have been plenty.
And it should be this one.

22. Riptide – Vance Joy

There’s something intimate about the hesitance and unsteadiness of the lead.
Only emphasised further when the band comes in.

It’s joy and hope without gloating.

It’s a song that wraps around like a blanket.

19. Wake Me Up – Avicii

More Avicii!
Just go listen to his album instead.

That’s all I have to say.

17. The Fox – Ylvis

No link.

This is one that you are going to have to consciously choose by typing it into Google. I don’t want to take responsibility for it.

It’s like the choice between the red pill and the blue pill.

Except there’s only one pill…
And it is a fish…
And it goes blub…
Or maybe rikikikikiki…
Who knows?

A General Note

There were many other songs I’d happily listen to in the background, and I’ve added them to the appropriate playlists for that. But nothing that was quite worth sharing here.

Day 104 – Five Songs (part 1?)

This is a mistake.
Nothing good will come of this.

I decided I’d go to the Australian Singles Charts for the week and watch the 5 highest ranked singles that I am unfamiliar with (which this week is all 5 of them), and write about the experience.

If it doesn’t send me into a spiral of despair I might even do it again sometime.

As per: Australian-Charts.com (I tried Aria, but their site loads like a dog (I have no idea what that means exactly, but it sounded right)).

  1. Roar – Katy Perry
  2. Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Taylor Henderson (who!?)
  3. Hey Brother – Avicii (band? person? who knows!)
  4. Timber – Pitbull feat. Ke$ha (which I guess makes Pitbull a person)
  5. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus (*groan*… okay… lucky last)

*deep breath*

Here goes then…

Okay; jungle theme then, that makes sense. Duckface explorer, funny… and he’s gone. Good for the tiger.

This song is very forgettable already. The beat completely drowns the song and the lyrics are just plain lazy. I’m sure she can do better than this.

I have no idea why this song is number 1, other than the mild humour, the sex appeal and a very sing-alongable song.

Oh wait… I guess that explains it then.
This definitely never needs to end up in my playlist.

Moving on.

Oh no… I don’t want to watch this show! 🙁

Well, the singing sounds promising at least. Even if he looks a bit too slick if you ask me.

And then, it suddenly gets musically interesting. I like a cover done creatively like this; and he can in fact sing. I might even go so far as to say that as long as I don’t look at the screen, this is actually a very good cover/song.

*Pause* yeah, the judges bit I really don’t need to see, thanks.

That was unexpectedly enjoyable. Shame it’s over in 2 minutes.
I wouldn’t call it “great” or “art”, but I’d say it’s worth throwing in the mix.

Manga, this could go either way…

30 seconds in. I think I’m sold al… yes, that’s the beat this needs. I wonder if the lyrics/video are borrowed/remixed for this.

Okay, this will definitely have to go into my playlist. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad plan after all.

I like the folky/electronicy mix of this sound. And the visuals go with it very well too… “There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do” goes very well with epic visuals.

And it closes where it begins. That was very nice… do it again, do it again!

Yes… this is actually a very good song. The music stands strongly on its own, but the visuals still fit perfectly with it to enhance the experience.

I just did a search while listening to it a second time; the lyrics are originals for the song. I’m going to have to listen to some more of his work to see if it stacks up.

Evoking a country sound; opening chords actually make me think of Sting – Heavy Cloud but No Rain… no visuals with this one it seems.

I’m torn. I kinda like the soundscape of this song. The thumping-bass/harmonica mix with interspersed rap fragments actually has something to it.

But the lyrics… this is so… banal and flat.
I wonder if there is a Spanish version or something, because if I couldn’t understand what they were singing I think this would actually be a much more enjoyable song.

Okay… I’m stopping this now, because it’s just not getting any better.

Again, I’m sure she can do better than this. A passable pop-song, but certainly nothing special.

And there we have the sex-appeal to sell the song… that’s disappointing.

Well, I’m sure the controversy over the twerk-cident has certainly not done her any harm with regards to selling music. But it doesn’t make the music itself better.

I’d still say this is a better song than Katy’s Roar above… simply because it doesn’t sound like it was written to fit around a metronome. But also not something to go on the playlist.

Two out of five ain’t bad.

I must confess, I don’t think Taylor Henderson will actually end up on my playlist, but I wouldn’t avoid it either if it happened to be playing.

Avicii though is worthy of further study.
Most definitely.

Phinally, the Photos…

Somewhere along the way of being the designated photographer, I managed to rack up 10,000 steps as well. Who knew that I’d cover 5kms during a 60th birthday party?!

Anyway, as promised, some pictures.

Note that I have judiciously removed most of the participants in the party from view. I promise you, there was a party there; it’s just not for the internet at large to see 😉