Another Blogsome user was wanting to use {todayayearago} to get posts from a week ago, which reminded me I do it with a month ago. Looking through the source to see if a weekly one exists (it doesn’t, as yet), I came across this little nugget:

1    function todayayearago( $when, $wpblog, $spacer ='<br /' )

Now, ignoring the apparent typo (I think there should in fact be a closing tag to that there BR tag…), what do you see that is notable? That’s right, you can choose a different blog. So I tried this with my test blog:

 1    {todayayearago when='month' wpblog='schinckel'}
 2    {if $todayayearago != ''}
 3        <h2>A Month Ago</h2>
 4            <ul>
 5                {foreach from=$todayayearago key=id item=details}
 6                    <li>
 7                        <a href="{get_permalink id=$id}" title="{$details.content|truncate:25:"..."}">
 8                            {$details.title|truncate:20:"..."}
 9                        </a>
10                    </li>
11                {/foreach}
12            </ul>
13    {/if}

Now, this gives some very interesting results. Firstly, it works, except for the part that tries to get the permalink:

href="{get_permalink id=$id}"

This fails, because it (naturally) tries to grab the permalink from the current blog, not the other one. My next step was to see if {get_permalink} can handle an argument like wp_blog. The sad news is it can’t. So, the next question is: does the URL get returned in the data structure along with the content and title. I suspect so, but need to see how. Looking through the source of wp-db.php doesn’t throw much light on the topic, so it’s time for trial and error. That’s what a test blog is for, after all! Aha! You can see most of what happens from the todayayearago file itself:

1    foreach( $reqhistory as $row )
2    {
3     $todayayearago[ $row->ID ] = array( "title" => strip_tags( stripslashes($row->post_title) ),
4      "content" => strip_tags( stripslashes( $row->post_content ) ) );
5    }

Which clearly shows that only the title and content are ‘grabbed’. So, until I rewrite this function (so it includes the URL, and perhaps even so it allows for other intervals), it’s use is still limited to posts within your own blog, from either a year or a month ago. Unless I can find a way to get post data from another blog’s database…


One of my students today told me she had seen a poster for a band named after me. I did a little research (they played at Flinders Uni last Friday), and came up with this poster:

As you can see, it’s pretty close. You can read about this band over on Music SA’s Schickel page, or the Official Schickel Website, and even listen to a track. It’s not too bad, actually.

BeeDogs - If..Else Log

BeeDogs - If..Else Log

Beedogs.com is the premier online repository for pictures of dogs in bee costumes.

Sort of implies there are several repositories, doesn’t it?

Review: Robe Village Fair

I spent the last three days (or a fair chunk of them, at any rate), down in the lovely seaside town of Robe, located about 3½ hours drive south of Adelaide. Around this time every year, and instigated originally by my good friend Hugh Koch, Robe hosts the annual Village Fair: a showcase of local food and wine, with internationally reknowned musical entertainment.

This year saw the inclusion of Jimmy Barnes, the former front man of 80s Rock Band Cold Chisel, as the lead act, with (Johnny) Diesel (formerly of Johnny Diesel and the Injectors), supporting him on Saturday night. (Which reminds me, he didn’t do the song Saturday Night!) Vanessa Amorosi played on Friday evening, and Kate Ceberano was the Sunday afternoon act.

I arrived in Robe early in the evening, and had some dinner with my family before we headed off into town for the first concert. I’ll start by stating publicly that I hated Vanessa Amorosi’s songs, especially Absoloutely Everybody, and, Oh, that’s right, she didn’t have any other songs! So I went into Friday’s gig with not too high expectations. And saw them stripped by her talent. Amorosi was really quite a reasonable singer, performing a whole lot of cover versions: I actually commented (very much tongue-in-cheek) that I didn’t realise I knew so many of her songs.

Anyway, I was quite enjoying her performance, until the encore. She persisted with the flawed concept that has riddled the Australian version of Pop Idol, that dancing around the final note a composer had planned as the finish of their song shows everyone just how talented you are. Like Guy Sebastian did when he butchered just about every song he performed. It just annoys the hell out of me that singers continue to think that this rubbish sounds good. Sure, interpret the song in your own way, but don’t kill the end of the song by over-singing the f•ck out of it. Still, to her credit, Amorosi really only did this with her second last song. Unfortunately, her final song was the annoying song that Mark Holden wrote (is that the right word. Was this really written?) for her all of those years ago. And the f•cking thing stayed in my head all night long!

Saturday looked like it might be a downpour - it actually did rain rather heavily at around 6 am: I don’t normally wake up when the weather’s bad that early, but I did for some reason. Still, it had fined up by the time we made it back into the main street, and we got some lunch (dry old baked potato), and some drinks. Plenty of the new Coopers Lager - it’s really quite nice - and several bottles of varying wines, both red and white.

Diesel came on at about 5, and didn’t really do much for me. Don’t get me wrong, he was great as background music, but I didn’t really know that many of his songs. It did give me some time to really load up on the lagers, at least until they ran out. Then it was onto Doctor Tim’s… which someone tells me is just like Pale Ale, but in a can. I didn’t notice the taste.

Barnesy came on sometime around 7:30 - I’d pretty much lost track of time by then. Actually, I recall that it was still light, just. I’d promised Jason I’d get a photo of me and him together, and there were several (rude) text messages about money changing hands. The proof will be in the (faked) pudding, I’ll just leave it at that.

I always say I’m not a big Barnesy fan, but having someone like him, who plays a heap of songs that you knew the words to right throughout your youth means you can really get into it. It always helps when there’s a thing you can relate to in a song (happy hour at one of the two Hotels: the same number that are in Robe…), and when you are surrounded by a throng of people all screaming along at the top of their voices. I loved it. In a different way than I love listening to Beethoven or Mozart, but it was great nonetheless.

The ringing in my ears had subsided by Sunday morning: we had 17 people (including one baby, my gorgeous nephew Jack!) staying in the house, and I made French Toast for all; and by midday we headed back into Robe proper to hear Kate Ceberano. I really dig her as a performer, and was really looking forward to hearing her live.

And I felt she was the most disappointing of the lot. Nothing wrong with her singing (although, I don’t think she did Young Boys Are My Weakness), but she certainly crapped on a lot between songs. And whilst sometimes that it part of the act, with her it really felt like she was just talking to try and push the length of the set out a bit. Yeah, I suppose it was cute having those six kids get up on stage for Pash Me, but it took about three times the length of the song to set it up. And they couldn’t sing to save themselves!

When Ben Folds talks between songs, or sets up the audience to join in, it’s worth the wait. And that reminds me, the big difference is that, a couple of times, Ceberano basically berated the audience for not giving her ‘enough respect’, but I think crowd interaction and ‘love’ is something a performer needs to build up each time they perform. Not just expect it because they can command $25,000 for a performance.

I didn’t dislike Ceberano because she is a Scientologist, but I don’t respec’ her nearly as much as I did before I’d seen her live. And with Barnesy (and to a certain extend, Amorosi), it’s a bit the other way.

The wines on show seemed pretty good - I really only had about 6 or 7 glasses worth over the three days, and only about three different types, but it was the first time for a while I’d really drunk any red, so that was nice. And the coolest thing was that they were a) local wines and b) cheaper there than back up here in Adelaide from bulk liquor stores. Speaking of price, I didn’t eat any lobster - but I wish I had. It was $15/half, which doesn’t sound like much, when you compare it to $4 for a (very) small serve of chips, or $8 for even less chips with one piece of fish.

Just about everyone there was eating lobster, they must have sold shitloads of them. Oh well, live and learn. Overall, I hope it didn’t sound like I didn’t have a good time. I had a great time. Mostly this was (for me) being able to catch up with lots of people from my past: including an ex-girlfriend who has two (very cute) daughters. Hi Libby. Your kids are gorgeous.

Testing Post Password

This is a test.

Top 20 geek novels

Top 20 geek novels – the results! from Guardian Unlimited: Technology Ones in green are those I’ve read:

  1. The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  2. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  3. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip Dick
  5. Neuromancer – William Gibson
  6. Dune – Frank Herbert
  7. I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  8. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  9. The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett
  10. Microserfs – Douglas Coupland
  11. Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
  12. Watchmen – Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
  13. Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
  14. Consider Phlebas – Iain M Banks
  15. Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
  16. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K Dick
  17. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  18. The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson
  19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy – Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
  20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham

More than halfway!

Weekly PostSecret Kickers

I’ve been uploading my weekly favourite PostSecrets - the cream of the crop, if you like. This weeks were great, again: Losing Virginity I hope she succeeded! (Man, her legs are skinny!) See my poo! And doesn’t everyone do this? (Just kidding, I don’t make her look at it, just describe it to her!) I’m guessing Max won’t be in this situation, Jason?


I have a Google Alert for the string “NSLU2”. Just now, I had a new alert, and my NSLU2 category has just made it into the top 20… Yay!

Bullshit Paperwork

I usually try to refrain from commenting on what is happening at my work, but I really need to get this off my chest. The school I work for is currently going through an accreditation process, known as CIASa.

Now, I have nothing against the noble ideals of meeting some international standards, but I think that either this system, or how we have interpreted it, has totally missed the point. I have, for example, just spent the last hour printing out edits to documents. Now, these edits are things as simple as adding a full stop to one sentence. And I have had to print out the whole page again. I have a personal objection to this purely on environmental grounds.

And it gets worse. Within my faculty, there are four staff, who by and large all teach the same material at Year 8 and 9. Our course outlines are the same, and apart from rare cases of ‘interesting’ classes, the cohort is pretty much standard. We have built into the course the ability for students with aptitude and ability to extend themselves, and for students with various difficulties to do simpler or less work.

Yet, we are required to print out copies of each of these, where the only differences are the names at the top. That’s right, I have to print out one copy for each of my Year 8 classes, even though I’m teaching exactly the same stuff to each of them. All that is different is the name of the class at the top. And my colleagues have to make similarly simple changes (like replacing my name with theirs, and the class names again), and print out a copy for each class they have.

This is useless busy work. I still haven’t finished all of the School References for my Year 12s who have finished, because I’m wasting time making minor, pointless edits to paperwork that I don’t even reference once I’ve done it. When we were visited by the initial person who gave us a whole lot of information about the process, he specifically said “this process will not create any extra work for you.” This is clearly false, as we have spent at least 37.5 hours (that we are able to count towards the requirement for our T&D; time) on this paperwork.

I’m not saying that all of the paperwork we have done has been a waste of time. Being a part of the group that helped to rationalise and justify our School’s Vision Statement (Philosophy and Objectives, in CIASa-speak) was actually quite an interesting process. It certainly was better than some other options that were available. But having to care that much about the date of a footer (or, rather, having to insert things like dates at all) annoys the hell out of me. As someone who likes to develop patterns and systems to make my life easier, following the suggestion of the great Pecky:

Don’t ever add the name of the school on the top of any of your handouts. Then you’ll just need to redo them when you move schools.

I followed this through to not adding dates to footers either. Unless in the development phase, where you need to know you are using the most recent version, if you have a simple document that is final, why bother dating it, and in the future, it shows up as being dated (in the perjorative sense, here). Just because something doesn’t change doesn’t make it not right. I’m sick to death of spending time doing this crap, rather than actually being able to teach, or learn new things to teach.

Underwear Ads

Why is it that girls in underwear ads always hug each other? Is that what girls do? Get together in their underwear, and hug?