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Must Follow – Issue #1

31/10/2005

On the right hand side I have added an extra heading called “Must Follow.” It will house a random link of sites that are most important to me. Although only three links currently exist there, it will be a growing list of sites that simply must be visited.

Lik-Wid – The Independant Artist
Lik-Wid
Surely everyone knows how important these guys are to me. They are an inspiration and some of my best friends, you must go to their site and you definitely need to buy their CD when it launches, it’s not too far now!

The Writing of Ryan K. Lindsay
Stink Brown dot ORG
One of my best friends and a talented writer. More to come about Ryan later, but for now it’s enough if you check it out and buy his book!

Movember – Grow a mo’ for a charity!
Movember
Definately a worthy cause, if I had of know earlier I’d definately be entering a team for work!

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Doing Time

18/10/2005

MxPx – Doing Time

I remember times I had
Some were happy, some were sad
Memories of me and my partners in crime
Throwing up a thousand times

I got through it, I feel fine
I went to school and did my time
In a sense I’m out, in a sense I’m free
To be what I wanna be

Fun was cartoons Saturdays
Fun was staying up past eight
Lame was tring to fit in
Lame was the wrong crowd let me in

You gotta stick together
with who you are and who you know
You gotta remember
Where you’ve been and where you wanna go

I never did homework after school
Did all the things I thought were cool
Went out every Friday night
I still do and I’m alright.

My favorite lyrics of all time. No doubt.

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(Even) More Human Than Human

13/08/2005

I have a cool story on it’s way, but every time I sit and write it, it comes out really forced. I feel like my creative juices have been at an all time low lately due to a lot of things. A lot is happening that I don’t really want to talk about here and a lot is happening that I shouldn’t talk about here, and that makes it really hard to write when I am constantly checking and rechecking what I am writing and sharing.

Some of my best friends, Lik-Wid, are down in Brisbane right now working their asses off and recording an album that will make people go crazy! These fellas have worked their asses off to get where they are, so be sure to check out their website and show some support – they deserve it! Boys, if you read this, have a beer for me and I’ll see you in Sydney!

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The RIAA Nutpunch!

26/04/2005

We can all download music and most of us do, but when a CD is really good some of us buy it. We have to do it. There is something so beautiful about having the awesome artwork, lyrics, perfectly finished CD and the tangible album in your hands. This, in my humble opinion is the one thing that the RIAA has had on their side.

In a link I found from my good friend jark‘s website, I have just read that the RIAA have now started screwing with album artwork. That’s right, the one thing (apart from the law, obviously) that they had to stand on, is now well and truly gone. It’s only a matter of time before this spreads to other lands and you will no long be able to purchase the CD’s you once desired and RIAA will have even more to worry about.

Well done RIAA, give yourself a kick in the nuts, because this truly qualifies as the dumbest move ever. A round of applause anyone? I thought not.

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How geeks go back to school

7/01/2005

Well it’s nearly time for Aussie kids to head back to school and begin their study for 2005. With that, a lot of students rush out and update to Norton 2005, buy the latest version of windows, upgrade their computer, buy the latest Microsoft office suite, and that is just for their computer. So what do you do if you don’t have a bazillion dollars to spend? It’s called Open Source baby and it works just as well! Josh is beginning his first year of University so for Christmas I gave him my second laptop and I am helping him get it all set up for the new year. Here is how we did it.

The first thing you need is an operating system. Ideally I would recommend a nice simple Linux distribution such as Fedora Core 3 if you were trying to save bucks, but luckily Josh and I had a spare copy of windows laying around and we shall use that. Josh really doesn’t have enough time to learn Linux, as much as I know he wants to, but maybe that will come later in the year. Luckily, almost all of the applications I have chosen are cross-platform compliant, so whether you are using Windows or Linux, it really won’t matter.

Next you need some virus protection. A good browser and email client as well as a decent firewall will go a long way, but frankly you just need something more. Sure you could fork out a few hundred bucks for a copy of Norton Antivirus, but why do that when Grisoft are prepared to give you AVG for free? While the AVG Free Edition does not get the priority updates as quick as paying users do, this is definitely adequate for an average user, so download it and give it a run. I’ve been using it since Mik suggested it at our last LAN party and I’ve been more than satisfied.

As Microsoft grows in many areas, one place it hasn’t grown substantially in a very long time is it’s office suite. OpenOffice however has had several updates (all free) this year alone and now currently supports almost 100% of Microsoft files, which is an added bonus. This was the second thing to go on Josh’s laptop after AVG, it includes word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows and even a drawing program. The only thing that Microsoft has in this area that OpenOffice lacks is an e-mail application, but personally no email application compares to Thunderbird, which I shall get to later.

OpenOffice installs like a dream and the only thing you might need extra to it is an install of Java from Sun. Again, this is just as easy to install, so throw it on there first just so that your install of OpenOffice is more complete. All in all the totally download and install time should take around 30 minutes to an hour on broadband, dialup users may wish to buy a copy of APC or another reputable computer magazine that has OpenOffice on the cover CD to make it a little easier.

We all know that Browse Happy has been around for a while and tells us not to use Internet Explorer. The last thing you want is an inferior browser downloading and running some viruses without your permission, so for your browsing you definitely want Firefox from Mozilla. Firefox is just as easy (if not easier once you get used to it) to use as Internet explorer, but comes with loads of features that Internet explorer lacks such as tabbed browsing and extensible features. I recently converted Liam from Lik-Wid and his exact words after he downloaded Firefox were, “I can’t believe I haven’t been using this all along!” and he then vowed to convert Mik too. Liam had a lot of hassles with spyware before using Firefox and as I understand it now, he is flying high now.

How do you download your email, if you download it? Outlook Express right? Sure, it’s easy and it becomes pre-installed on most Windows installations, but it’s about as safe as it’s counterpart Internet Explorer. It has a habit of trying to read your mind and running scripts it is sent. Obviously some security updates have been made, but this should just never have been a problem in the first place. Solution? Mozilla Thunderbird. It’s just like Firefox in that it is very secure and comes with a lot of extensions such as a Calendar, RSS readers and loads more. Download it, get used to it and make your email just a little safer. It also ties in nicely with AVG and your email will be automatically scanned when incoming, which is just beautiful.

How do you keep organized? I have a nice little calendar on my website which some of you may have noticed. This is a combination of having my own website, a free program called Mozilla Calendar and a free script called PHP iCalendar. All of these are readily available to the average user and easy enough to use. Of course not everyone wants to publish their calendar like me, but my point is that it is all free. If you need to keep track of assignments, download Calendar for Firefox or Calendar for Thunderbird. It’s a simple add-on and takes around 1 minute on broadband to download and it will keep you in check. You can even download it for both Firefox and Thunderbird at the same time, then tell both applications to use the same data source and share the files it creates!

Gmail is beautiful. Most people have a Gmail address, those who don’t most likely know someone who does and that someone just might have some invites to get you an address. I know that I have several invites in my account so if you are reading this, know me and want an account let me know. The biggest advantage of a Gmail account is that you don’t have to delete any important emails, as well as you can access your account as an extra hard drive on your computer to store your assignments and files you might want to use elsewhere, such as at a friends house.

Last, but certainly not least, everyone who travels or uses multiple computers needs a thumbdrive. These guys come in various sizes ranging from 32, 64, 128, 256, and 512 Megabytes to 1GB and soon bigger, and are made by a lot of different companies giving you a lot of choices. Most of the sizes from 128MB or less are pretty cheap to most people and should hold everything you need it to. Buy one, put all your program installs (so you can install them anywhere you might be) and put your assignments on them and you are set to study anywhere. Another useful idea might be to download an Offline Browsing add-on for Firefox, store your study material on the disk and take them anywhere you like with you.

Well this started as a small “how to” and ended up being somewhat of an essay, so I hope this isn’t too hard for anyone to follow. I am more than happy to help out with anything I have describe here, so feel free to comment if anything gives you trouble, but most of it should be easy to solve via a quick search on Google. Have fun with it and good luck with your study!

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Storm Clouds

7/12/2004

I woke up this morning around 9am after a bit of a sleep in because I went to bed so late, but I have been laying in bed reading and listening to an impressive storm since then. Okay, so I laid in bed for two and a half hours listening to rain and thunder, but wow, it’s been so long since I have heard it. You see, where I live, we are currently in a two year drought, which is quite an impressive time for farm lands to go without rain, so rain is quite exciting here.

I am working on a weekend wrap-up, but all my other top-secret and not-so-secret projects keep getting in the way of me having any time to write. I even wrote a to-do list last night and had to add “Make time for writing” to it so that I would make it happen.

Yesterday I helped mom order my iPod for Christmas, which I am very very *very* excited about. I have wanted an iPod for a long time and with free laser engraving and free shipping, what better time to buy one? I got mine engraved on the back with my name and website, which should be very funky for something different. I may also be doing a website for a friend who is quite crafty with an airbrush, so I may trade him for the privelage of tattooing my iPod for me.

Last night I went to The Studio and spoke with Mik about our top-secret project as well as the not-so-secret project of the new Lik-Wid website. The redesign is well underway and I am working on some ideas on how I shall be writing for them and hopefully finishing a majority of the project today. Things are in motion and I don’t want to stop now, I will try and finish the weekend wrap-up tonight if I have time and if not, it shall be abandoned.

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“Set course for ramming speed!”

30/11/2004

I mentioned last night in my blog that I bought a CD yesterday titled “Collision Course” by Linkin Park and Jay-Z. I didn’t say a great deal about it, because I wanted to take the time and give this album a fully-fledged review. As I did say, I don’t often spend much money on music lately, but this is one album I was always going to make an exception for.

The other day at Ryan’s house, after he owned me at Halo 2 three games in a row, we flipped over to the [V] channel to watch a few clips and poke fun at James Matheson. The first clip that came on was called “Numb/Encore” by Jay-Z and Linkin Park and both of us were saying that it was one of the finest collaboration efforts we have ever seen. This song fully encapsulates why I think more bands need to get together and collaborate on tracks by bringing and even stronger Hip-Hop influence to an already influenced band. Jay-Z’s smooth raps over the top of Chester Bennington’s harmonies just sound so wonderful.

That afternoon I was singing the tag line of the song “so for one last time I need y’all to roar” for the biggest part of the afternoon. Josh asked me what the hell I was singing and I explained the collaboration to him. “Yeah, they are releasing an album together,” he replied excitedly. I didn’t give it much of a thought, expecting it not to be out in months and forgot about it until Monday morning. When I checked the Linkin Park Website on Monday morning I noticed a link to LPJZ dot COM. I clicked and saw that the international release date was…. “TODAY?”

The rest of the story writes itself. Within about an hour of seeing the album was being released I had it in my hands, the CD was quickly converting to MP3 and the DVD was playing loudly over my surround system. I can honestly say that for only 6 tracks, it was the best $30 I have spent in a long time and each of the tracks pleased me so much. The full track listing is as follows:

  1. Dirt Off Your Shoulders / Lying From You
  2. Big Pimpin’ / Papercut
  3. Jigga What / Faint
  4. Numb / Encore
  5. Izzo / In The End
  6. Points of Authority / 99 Problems / One Step Closer

As you can see, each track consists of one or more Linkin Park songs, one Jay-Z song, each fused into one beautiful track. I would have to rate my favorite track as “Points of Authority / 99 Problems / One Step Closer” but every one of the tracks rule and I recommend to any fan of either artist to go and get this CD. The DVD follows the week of it’s creation, 4 days of studio time where they recorded the record (I believe this is also a record-breaking time) and the 3 days of rehearsals and performance.

Linkin Park, after the creation of the album, took a poll amongst their fans to see what other music they listened to. Any of their fans who replied saying they liked “Jay-Z” earned themselves an invite to the concert, a very small show played at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood, CA. A mean concert to say the least, I wish to god I lived in the US so I could have attended, it was an awesome show.

Jay-Z vs Linkin Park: Collision Course
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Take two placebos and call me in the morning

29/11/2004

It’s been a while since I have posted, so this is going to be one long post. Be warned. The reason for the extended delay without a weblog entry is because I have been concentrating on various other projects. My writing has been going okay, it could be better, but I’ve really been working a lot on some design work and trying to get a few things in my life in order. I have some top secret projects going on at the moment which shall be revealed in a week or two, so keep your eye on this spot for more info.

Well my weekend was huge. Friday night I met Ryan and Andy at an art show, where Andy was showing some works. He had 3 awesome drawings of a Rhino, a Cheetah and a Cow, all of which were sold to the local art museum; quite an achievement. After this we went to Dave’s house for a few beers and then it was a night out. Mik, Liam, Luke and Rob all had lady friends to take care of and Dessy was being a girl and playing Half Life 2 all night, so Ryan and I kept it real for everyone and ended up pulling up at my house at around 6 or 7am. We played pool, talked cod shit to strangers and all-round had a huge night. The highlight of the night would have to be…

Mitch: Phil!
[Invisible record scratch-and-stop and the he whole beer garden looks at me in shock]
Mitch: I knew that was you! I said to him, “that is phil!” He said, “No it isn’t” and then I said, “Yes! It! IS!!!”
[Ryan hits me a high five, the DJ hits the record-start and everything goes back to normal]

For those who don’t know, that is a quote from Beverly Hills Cop. Ryan and I quote it a hundred times a night to each other, just usually a little quieter. Some parts of the night is a bit of a blur, but we went hard for almost 12 hours, so that is a bit of an effort.

I woke up around 2pm on Saturday (hey, after getting home at 6 and not getting to bed until daylight, that is quite early) and made Ryan and I some breakfast. We sat around laughing about the night just gone and recollected a few things. We had ran into a couple of girls, one of whom had just turned 18, who invited us to a party. Ryan and I made it our mission to spend the day psyching ourselves into party-mode and as such, we went to his place and played some Xbox, then had a good late lunch at my house and then went to Mik’s house.

We got to Mik’s house and had some drinks and started our day slowly at around 4pm in the afternoon. Was a great start to the afternoon, just our little group having a chat and a few beers and relaxing, always a beautiful foundation for a big night. We headed to the party we’d been invited to, but because everyone (around 10 extra people) wanted to come, it became a hassle, so we detoured to a bar and just played a few games of pool. After about an hour of sitting around, everyone got either too drunk or had other things to do and went home. Ryan, Rob and I headed to the party and from here on is a little shady.

The party was fantastic and I spoke to no less than 10 or 20 people I didn’t even know and just had a really good time. It’s nice not having anything to worry about and just being able to enjoy myself in that sort of social setting. There was about 80 people at the party and 4 kegs (only 1 of which was drunk by the time we got there at 11, which is rather soft considering our group can finish a keg with 4 people) so the guys who were still going hit it rather hard. I don’t think we moved from the beer tap for the first hour and even then we were all keeping up with each other and doing a shout every 10 or 15 minutes. It was a wild night, people were skinny dipping and some were being jerks, but I think everyone had fun.

Once again, Ryan and I didn’t get up until daybreak and we slept late again and spent Sunday at the studio without incident. For the work I have done so far on the Lik-Wid website, Liam gave me some money which I promised to put towards Half Life 2, which I bought this morning. Not only did I buy this, but I also bought one of the best CD/DVD’s I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Jay-Z and Linkin Park have teamed up on a collaborated album called “Collision Course” and I can say that anyone who likes Hip-Hop and Alternative music, they should definitely buy it. I rarely buy music unless I can really afford it, but today I made an exception and sent myself broker than I have been in a while. I don’t regret it.

Well that is a catch up of my weekend and today and I realize it’s a little over the place, so I apologize. Right now it’s rather late and I need some sleep, I will try and make my future posts a little more constructive. This week will be rather busy with me working on several different (all very exciting) projects, most of which won’t be spoken about until they are completed or very close to completion. But I will say this; if you like my site and/or my writing, you should be excited.

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Stupid Heat

15/11/2004

Summer and I have a love hate relationship. While I love eating salad every night and standing outside barbecuing, the heat just really gets to me. I get so sick I can hardly bare it and the temperatures here get up to around 46 Degrees C (about 115 Degrees F). Not to mention there is a very low level of humidity and it just gets so dry here you feel like it’s sucking the water straight from your body.

This morning I woke up around 8 and spent up until about 3:30 in the afternoon working on some writing (my story is coming along quite nicely now) and a bit of the Lik-Wid website, but spent all of that time just feeling awful because it was just so hot. This is a really hard part of the year because it can be cold downstairs and boiling hot upstairs, so I can’t even turn on the air condition without the rest of my family freezing to death.

I am in a real zone with my writing at the moment, both online and offline, and it feels really good. Over the last week I have gotten so much done that if it gets any better I might just have to do some sort of dance or something.

This evening I cooked a really nice barbecue outside. It was a nice moderate day, so the weather was so perfect that it almost saddened me when the meat was finally cooked and I had to come back inside. My brother and I have a small, unspoken cooking rivalry between us where we both try and cook really good meals and compete over who cooks the best X. Whatever X may be I can usually beat him because I cook more often and take more care, but no one cooks scrambled eggs like he does, even if he uses my recipe and methods, he just does it better.

Right now I am looking out my window and it is just on dusk. A beautiful breeze flows through the window and I think I will take a photography just to show how beautiful of a scene it is. Be right back.

Window Wide View    Window Tight View

There you go. Marvelous isn’t it? Now I am off to read some Ctrl Alt Del, check if the new Megatokyo comic has been released, listen to some tunes and waste some money at the Megagear store. Peace out.

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Friends….

20/10/2004

As Mik’s car drives into the distance I freeze on the driveway for a moment and recollect the night. It was a fun night, I watched the 4 active members of Lik-Wid really have some fun and create some ideas, along with Ryan laying down some awesome tracks with his decks. At one stage, Ryan hit something so nice that myself, Mik and Dessy all jumped up in excitement and almost hollered out – it was just that good. Even now as I swallow the last mouthful of the beer I left with, I feel like I am kissing goodbye to a great night and forever storing an awesome memory.

The song the guys were working on was a song about losing friends who you thought you would never lose and about growing up from where you were in high school. I think back to the friends I (somewhat) had in high school and I miss those times, year 10 was the greatest year of my life and I doubt anything will ever tarnish those memories – swimming at the river with Sheeny, Jeremy and Steve will always be something I will remember.

I guess now I have moved onto my 4th major set of friends, but maybe these guys are the closest. I very much feel like the new guy who is always trying to find some way of fitting in, but I also feel like I know these guys so well. I feel like all of us have gravitated towards each other because of the similarities we have, and the lives we have shared, but I also think our similar passions drive us in the same direction. Every one of my friends now have some sort of creative streak and I just think that creative people often find each other more interesting.

Well the point of this post was to wrap up an awesome night with some writing. I really feel awesome right now, I feel like I am ready to take on tomorrow (with a hangover).

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