Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Problems in Egypt

This will definitely be the last post prior to Christmas. Mainly because I am appalled at the Egyptian government's decision to not allow Baha'is to possess the required citizen ID cards simply because they are Baha'is. They have to say that they are either Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. A few court cases have ensured this at this point. Baha'is are not even allowed to have a space on the card labelled "Other".

This is a very significant matter of concern as every Egyptian is required by law to have one of these ID cards, and the ID card must be correct in all aspects, so by this simple definition, a Baha'i must not be able to an Egyptian citizen...

Meaning, "Without such documentation, they cannot register births or receive essential government services such as health and education. Additionally, they cannot apply for jobs, buy property, open bank accounts, or register their children in school."

this means Baha'is have no access to health care, education

One blogs report on this issue is here.

Another news article states that, "The court's decision upholds government policy that denies Baha'is the right to receive identification cards, birth certificates, education and even medical care, unless they lie about their religious beliefs".

This article appears to be well researched as they seem to understand the conflict between Islam and Baha'i,
"The main conflict between Muslims and Bahais is in the idea that Mohammed is not the final prophet of god, which has led to Muslims distrusting Bahais." Baha'is believe that Baha'u'llah is the manifestation of God for this age, but He will not be the last as God would never leave his children without guidance.

And one final news article which I must disclaim before as it states that the Baha'i Faith is an "offshoot" of Islam, which is incorrect. The Baha'i Faith is an offshoot of Islam in the same way that Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism. All four of the religions are complete and not offshoots, nor sects, nor 'isms.

If you have questions or anything, please do not hesitate to ask, or please click on this link. to learn what the Baha'i Faith is if you don't know anything, or you would like to know more.

Anyway, I thought that I would let people know that despite living in a so-called civilized age, ignorance and fear still drives policy.

One last post (maybe) before Christmas

Hello there everyone,

I thought that I might try to do one last post before Christmas falls upon us! I'd like to do another one, but can't be too sure on that as there's only a few days until.

Formalities: Baby, Bec and Alex are all doing well, Madison vomits more than I like, and I have gotten peed and pooed on more than I would like.... Much more than I would like. One night, I had to change all of my clothes (except undies, but including socks) because a fountain of poo rained on me. Bec laughed her eye off, I joined in as well because it was pretty funny... Late at night, changing a diaper, and then getting rained on.... Alex is being a bit naughty, but he'll get better...

Anyway though, this is another song that I wrote a while ago... The subject matter will become apparent upon listening to it, so I'm not really going to go into detail about it. Alright, you twisted my arm.... I wrote it shortly after my brother Christopher Ryan Amon died due to drug related issues which the whole family knew about. This foreknowledge leads invariably to guilt, like what could I have done, why didn't I do this or that, why didn't I..... the list goes on. Although I was (and am) in Australia, and he was in Canada, I still had guilt... Guilt knows no borders. The song is obviously from my perspective, being his older brother by 1 year and a few days, so we grew up together, and fought like cats and dogs, but we were still brothers and loved eachother as such. The song is a release from guilt, and comes from a Baha'i perspective of life and death (untimely).

It's a simple song, simple chords, no real hidden meanings as I'm not that clever to work in things like that, and I wouldn't really bother.

And as much as I hate to add disclaimers to things like this... This is still a work in progress. I plan on adding drums and some lead guitar work, with a drum track being the hardest part for me, mainly because I'm not a drummer so I rely on my drum machine which I have to program correctly... It takes me a little while to get that down though.... I actually played this song with another guitarist and my younger brother Phil a few years ago, and it sounded heaps better with drums (thanks Phil).... And once I get my SG for my b-day, I'll use her to do the lead guitar work... It'll be subtle though because again, I'm not that good. A word of warning before you listen though, I haven't tested the song out much, so you may have to adjust your eq's if you can.... Hopefully it'll sound good though...

Ok, I'll stop minimizing my efforts... I think you'll find that this is probably the best song you'll ever hear in your entire life. The arrangement is nothing short of a work of art, and I am already up for a Grammy despite it being a work in progress..

I lie, obviously.

I must run now, but I hope you like it.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!






Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Short but sweet

I just thought that I would post a really super short post to express my happiness etc that yesterday, I gave my supervisor a copy of my thesis. From cover to cover. Took a little while to print as its just under 300 pages, including title pages, appendix, and references... but it looks nice.

It will be submitted mid January, as that's when I expect to start work again. I will be doing a little bit at home, but not much. I want a break to enjoy my family!!!!

I'll try to post at least once before Christmas....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

#1 ... but better said

I was at a Feast (Baha'i equivalent of Church, but no priests or clergy) the other night when this was read out, it's official scriture outlineing the previous post, but said shorter and better, so I thought I would throw it in:

"The fourth teaching of Baha'u'llah is the agreement of religion and science. God has endowed man with intelligence and reason whereby he is required to determine the verity of questions and propositions. If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition. Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science. If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are impossible and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation." -- 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith p 240.

I think that pretty much sums up that topic...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Reason #1

I mentioned that I would be posting about this a little while ago, and while side tracked, I recently read of another's spiritual journey which inspired me to continue to write about this… Why I am a Báhá'í.

This is why I quit drinking alcohol despite it not being disruptive to my life, (Phil and Tamara, no comment please, my family reads this!), and I thank the friends around me at that time for their support, again thanks P and T, love ya muchly!

I guess simply put, it all made sense. I am a scientist, (geek may be another word for this… ) so I like to be able to understand what I say I believe in. And while, as with any of God's religions, I don't believe that any man can fully understand all that there is to know about any religion, I understand to the best of my abilities, and it makes good sense. Pretty much all of the central themes within the Báhá'í Faith are centered on Unity.. As all religions are as well. What I see as different in the Báhá'í Faith, are the means and principles explicitly detailed to attain global unity. And not just through the "simple" and well established believing that everyone is equal (race and gender), but through other principles designed to take this belief, and apply it, or bring it about.

I know that this topic may not interest some (all) of you, but hey, my blog, my posts!! Also, there is no possible way for me to get out all that I would like to say in one post, so it'll be scattered between a few, non-consecutive posts. But it may give you an opportunity to know what goes in my head, and my reference points. Please leave comments if or whatever if you have arguments for or against what I say. But besides the principles themselves, the expounding texts are my own thoughts on the basic principles.

I guess, in keeping with my scientist bit, as a Báhá'í, I believe that true religion and true science will always agree. This sounds simple. But it's not. This little principle has important ramifications. Firstly, truth is truth. The Earth can't be the center of the universe in religion and rotate around the sun in science. Which one's true? The problem, as well all know, was a misinterpretation, or holding on to certain dogmas. This incident highlighted the fact that either the science was wrong, or that specific religious belief was wrong. Although we like to think of ourselves as modern, this could (and likely still does, Google "Flying Spaghetti Monster") happen, where science and religion disagree, while both insist upon their being right. What should happen, is that both religious and scientific scholars (?) should sit with open minds, and re-examine BOTH their experimental results, AND the scriptural interpretations to see if another explanation can be found to place everything in agreement. No blind acceptance… the results would obviously be tested as is any theory and subsequently proven right or wrong, until the correct theory is eventually put forth. Imagine the possible advancement of a society where religion and science worked together, hand-in-hand, free of ego. I'm a geek; that got me excited… This would not only further science, but religion as well. While religion could aid science, science could also help rid religion of ritual beliefs resulting from scriptural misinterpretations which no one will deny occur. A book I read by someone I can't remember (sorry) pointed out that no one can understand all the levels of meaning written in any religious scripture, so any form of interpretation is open to error. I really wish I could reference that… But I don't think that any religious leader would argue the infinite meaning found in the Bible (Old or New Testament), the Koran, of Báhá'í literature to name a few.

Even the simple precept of science and religious truths being the same has significant implications on society as a whole. This is one of the reasons I am a Báhá'í. There is a well-defined logic, consistency of purpose (unity) and it says science is good J.

Also, the Báhá'í Faith has many prophetic technological breakthroughs (from over 150 yrs ago) which are predicted for the future, and knowing what some of them are, and that the theory has recently been laid down for their eventual reality, has just been further confirmation for me that I should be a Báhá'í.



Introductions... pt 2


Sorry about the lag in posts... a bit busy, but here you go. Some of the first pics of Madison. Firstly, a picture of my beloved family, with me, Bec, and Alex holding Madison, a few hours after her birth. The second is a picture of Madison happy to be spending her first night at home.

Rebecca was discharged from the hospital about 24 h after Madison was born, which everyone was happy about. No more being woken up by beeping of stuff in the middle of the night at the hospital etc.... Was a rough night though.

Mads had a tummy ache, which we soon found out was due to a lot of number 2 built up requiring some form of release. ABout 2 h of intermittent crying to get it all out. 2am found me with a ... rather unpleasant job of cleaning it! Thanks, I owe you one... Last night was great though, and tonight appears to be about the same. Bec is trying to force a 4 h feeding cycle which seems to be working pretty good. We don't really want her drinking alll day long. Bec's breastfeeding (too much info?.. Na) so you might be able to see why the 4h cycle is appealing!

Alex, he is enjoying being a brother. He has helped us bath her for two-thirds of all the baths she's ever taken (tonight and last night). But he does get bored of her... I mean she doesn't really do anything! Besides drink, poo, pee on me when I change her, and cry a bit. I think it was Bec's brother Ryan who threatened to take her home with him, but Alex told him he couldn't because she doesn't have any teeth. Interesting logic I thought!

Alex was utterly DISGUSTED at her belly button. It was a great look on his face, that will remain burned in my mind forever, and unfortunatley, there's no picture. But it was classic. Kind of like when he learned where the milk came from... He's 4, old enough to undrstand what we're telling him, inquisitive enough to ask good questions, but not quite asking the "How does it come out" ones, or at least accepting the half answers he's been getting.

But anyway, things are nice and going well. We are all happy, smiling, and healthy. I may try to get another pic or two up tomorrow, but really, don't count on it. I still have a bunch of things I need to get done.... Rebecca may fix things though up on her site, I'll pester her about it.

Bye bye my adoring fans, and thanks for all the nice comments on the last post!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Introductions...pt 1

Well first of all, I would like to officially welcome Madison Leigh Amon into the world. Yes, she was born this afternoon, 1:30pm on Monday, December 4, 2006. She weighed 6lb14" (3.1 kg), and was 50-51 cm long. Her head was/is smaller than Alex's, so Bec was happy about that.. But not happy that she could not take ANY pain relief.

The story, because it should be documented.... Contractions began at about 2am. This woke her up, but she went back to sleep and then dreamed about an upset tummy! 5am she woke though to contractions about 3min apart.. but weak ones. We called her sister to come and get Alex.. ANd at 8:30am we were at Campbelltown hospital. The contractions slowed down very much... and the mid-wife was saying that she will just check to see if Bec was dilated and then we could go home and wait until she really entered labour.... Then she found that Bec was 3cm dilated.... to which she says "that changes things." Long story shortened, they broke Bec's water, we walked around a bit, then she started having some stronger contractions. And stronger... And stronger at about 5 min apart (or more). The mid-wife checked on Bec, gave her some NO2 (gas) and then left the room to come back later. a minute or two later she had to come back because they could hear Bec in the halls...

30-40 min later (or so), with many scratches on my arm, sorry Bec, had to say it! we have a beautiful little girl. Bec and the baby are both well. Bec's sore, and I don't think that you could pay her enough to have another one! But she's fine, in good spirits, and looking forward to coming home.

Alex is happy and excited that the baby isn't in mommy's tummy anymore, and that he is a big brother, and has a sister. So ya, I have a little girl, which brought tears to my eyes.

Bec did great, the baby did great, and the camera is still at the hospital. I will post pictures tomorrow in Introductions... pt2. Sorry about that, I am not happy either (about the lack of pics here).

Doesn't get much better does it?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Nintendo Wii


Well, I have been looking at this machine for a little bit now. Due out for release here in Oz on Dec 7th I think.... I have to say that I have not been impressed with any of the recent game systems. All they tend to be are improvements on graphics/resolution and speed. Not so much on games. I still like Asteroids from Atari. Ya, old school!!! What can I say, it's addictive. Simple, turn, shoot the asteroids. Don't get hit by them. But I do like the look of the Nintendo Wii. Intuitive motion sensing. I don't really care about improved graphics, I think that of the Playstation 2 and Xbox were fine. While I am impressed with the great graphics of Xbox 360, the games themselves did nothing for me. But with Wii, they have sooo much of a back catalogue. I used to love playing Zelda. ANd the new one looks pretty cool.

If I had 400 bucks to blow on something, the Wii might be it. Also because I know that Rebecca would probably play it too. She doesnt' really like the multi-button game-pads out now (with the 3 directional joysticks/buttons, 4 other right thumb button, 2 triggers, L1, L2, R1 and R3) they just seem a bit too much to learn when all you want to do is have mindless fun. The Wii is supposed to be (and reviewed to be) very intuitive. So, maybe when they drop to an affordable price, I'll write a review on them!!! But for now, I will marvel from afar!!!

If anyone of my readers gets one, let me know if they match up to the hype though, you might speed my purchase up!!!

A Baby is born!!!!!

Somewhere, this statement rings true, and to that new family, my best wishes. For us though, the stork has yet to arive. I just wanted to get a few people's blood rushing with excitement. Mom and Dad though, you should not have been fooled by this... You would (will) be called well before I am anywhere near a computer... I am starting to enjoy blogging again, but it will never replace genuine contact.

we have had a few little pre-contractions or whatever you might want to call them, but nothing of consequence. Bec can't wait. this last month has not been pleasant for her. Her back hurts, extremities are swelling, the car keeps breaking down. The last time in the middle of a "round-a-bout". No joke, that's the genuine name for a "rotary," except they actually work properly here. But Bec was driving Alex to speech therapy, and then in the middle of the round-a-bout, the car wouldn't accelerate. And slowed to a stop fortunatley just after the round-a-bout on the side of the road out of harm's way. Then Alex says he has to poo. I laughed too.... The fuel pump broke, so in we got towed to a garage who is very experienced at ripping me off, so they could do it to me one last time. When I say we, I mean Bec and Alex, I ran there, at 36degrees or maybe a little hotter, but too hot. Not fun. Not cheap. Last time oh garage who ripped me off for the last time.

So, using your deductive reasoning, not much has happened down here. Life is continuing, but I have been thinking a lot about posting a bit on why I am a Baha'i. There are several well-defined reasons, as I strongly believe there should be when someone follows a certain religion. But Fireguy's post a little while ago got me thinking again about religion in general. Long time readers may know that I used to get Mormon's over, we talked and met regularly, then they stopped coming...Shortly after they read "Some Answered Questions." I really like that book, it answers many questions about a great variety. If you know a Baha'i, borrow it from them, read it. It's written simply, but don't let that fool you. If you think about the implications and what is actually being said. A lot of things will open up and become clear...

I have to go now though to have a nice ice-cream with my wife and son!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Australian Idol is finally over!!!

Finally, Australian Idol ended on Sunday night, and to celebrate the long time coming event, I rented American Dreamz and watched that instead. It took me about 24 h before I finally heard who won. Look it up if you don't know, or if you care. If you don't know what this movie is about though, it's kind of a behind the scenes bit on a reality TV show singing contest, not coincidentally similar to the crap I was refusing to watch. The host, played by Hugh Grant is an arrogant guy who hates his life (and himself). The people vying for the title really want to win, for various reasons, and will do a fair bit to win. It was funny, and much more entertaining than having to sit through a "real-life" reality TV talent quest finale where people have wasted their hard earned cash to produce a "winner" who will only end up producing a somewhere between mediocore (sp?) to crap cd, the first single already confirming its crap-ness.

Cheers guys, I just wanted to throw that in today...

Kichens

Alright everyone, here are the pics of the kitchen that we recently re-did. After looking at them here, it's a little disapointing though. Me and Bec spent all Thursday (2 weeks ago) painting the ceiling, 2 coats of new paint on the walls (that you can't really see much in these pictures), and one coat of acryllic paint on the skirting boards and doors. The kitchen is much lighter now, more... "welcoming" and just nicer. The only thing we didn't do was to actually install the kitchen itself. We did all the floor tiling (with help from father-in-law), painting, and wall tiling ourselves.

I have to say that I actually enjoyed the wall tiling though. I took my sweet time and made sure that all the lines were level and that the line in the top third of the wall tiles was straight all the way around the kitchen. This meant that I had to move a power outlet on the wall a little bit down, you can't see it here because it's a bit behind the microwave on the far right. But I got over my fear of electricity! I had to re-wire it and everything, which really isn't hard, you just match up the colours and you're good to go! We're both pretty happy about the kitchen now...

We'll be slowly doing the rest of the house over the next little while as well... Starting with the living room, then the bedrooms, or at least Alex's room... which is my current computer/music room... which means I will be moving outside into the garage that will be built in January! Yay for me!!!

On to other important issues. I just read that the Yellow Wiggle (Greg, and another regular reader of this blog) has quit the Wiggles due to health problems. Greg, I am very sad and sorry to see you go as you have provided heaps of pleasure to my son Alex, and myself as well. But more importantly, I wish you a future filled with happiness, and I hope that your decision (forced decision) gives you better health. There will always be a bowl of cold spaghetti and fruit salad for desert for you here at our place (pictured above coincidentally!).

What else... Alright, you forced it out of me...

My plans for next year. I will be staying where I am, working in the same department, but learning a new trick, mainly retroviral gene transfer. I can't go into details of the project because I don't want some bugger to steal it, but this trick enables you to make cell "a" express a protein that I want it to make, ie, that it doesn't normally make. Anyway though, it's a one year position as that's all I told my supervisor that I will be there for. After that, I need to move on. So I am looking for work for next year. Yes, I am looking in Halifax, so all the renovations that we do now, are in preparation for selling this house at the end of the year. At the very least, we will move to a bigger house if NS falls through.

I think that that's all I have to say as I should get back to work

Monday, November 27, 2006

Congrat'sare in order!

Well,I know that it has been a little while since I have last posted, but that's alright... You'll all get over it!

Alot has happened over the past little while, of most significance, was the birth of Delaney Lynn Tree., who was born on Wednesday November 15th, to one of my bestest friends, Amanda Tree(Sitland) and her husband Jason. So congradulations Amanda, much love and happiness are being sent to you!!!

Ummm, everything else will kind of pale in comparison though, but I will continue to bore you because I can.

Me and Bec went to see Pearl Jam last weekend... Kicked ass.... That's all I can really say to describe it. Honestly, I have not really thought too much about the last few albums they have put out, but after hearing them played live, I realize that that's how their new stuff was meant to be heard. It rocked. The concert began with Eddie (singer) coming onto the stage with his guitar, by himself, and he began playing Betterman. After the intro, when he should have begun singing the first verse, he didn't. Instead, his singing was replaced by that of the entire crowd. It was pretty cool to say the least. So we were all singing Betterman together with Eddie on guitar. They played alot of their betterknown songs, like Alive, Even Flow etc... And they also played their cover of Keep on Rockin' in the Free World... That was pretty awesome!! Eddie brought this kid up on stage with him from the audience for Keep on Rockin' and they each played a tamborine, and man the kid was into it!!! Eddie then lifted him up onto his shoulders and carried him around on stage for a bit too!! That kid's got a great story that no-one will ever believe!!! Personally, I might have been a little concerned considering Eddie was regularly drinking and smoking on stage, but it didn't look like enough to cause him to loose his balance or anything. They ended the show with one of my favorite covers of theirs, Yellow Ledbetter. It's a slower song, and it's not on any of their albums, but my love for the song is documented in an ealier post, and it is only found on the cd single for Daughter, but alot of people knew it. I guess I would have to say that if you like Pearl Jam, do yourself a favour, and go see them if the opportunity arisses....

Even the baby in Bec's tummy partied all night (to Bec's discomfort).

What else has happened, I finished the kitchen, painted and all!! It looks great, and since I am a champion, it should. (Why not toot my own horn, I'm allowed, don't judge my self-love!). I will post a pic later when I take one, and since I have had broadband for a while now, (10-15 minutes actually) it won't take long to load up either!!!!!!! Yay for me!.

We also celebrated Alex's 4th birthday on Saturday (25th Nov). It was great! A bunch of Alex's day care friends came, as did family etc. We rented a jumping castle. Having some issues with the photos, so I can't actually post any pics, but I will try later....

I should run back to work, but I'll try posting sooner than later...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Easing back in....

So..... Hello again there everyone!! Thanks (mostly!) everyone for their undertanding during the last little while. I stopped because I basically had nothing to say. I had had enough of my thesis writing, and it was becoming to absorbing for me. Thank those of you who sent me e-mails etc, of which I tried my fastest to respond to as I value them far and above any blog pseudo contact. So thanks guys you're champions.

This "return" to posting does not mean that you will be getting heaps of posts though, I am still busy. My thesis is about 98% done, I just have some almost final drafts of chapters doing some rounds with non-related people checking for contextual errors etc that no one in my dept would be able to pick due to our intimate knowledge of the subject matter. So, what have I been doing? Besides working on another paper, mainly Home renovations.

I tiled my kitchen walls, and they look really nice. As soon as we paint the kitchen, I'll take a picture and post it for you all to marvel at. I even learned how to re-wire power outlets!! I had to move one down about 3 inches so it would be in line with the rest of the tiles. I was pretty anal about perfect lines, I used a level throughout as well.... I had to cut more than two-thirds of the tiles I layed, which was a pain in the ass, but it looks great. Something to be proud of! WE just got a new air conditioner put in as ours died a while ago... We noticied really when our dear little rabbit, Milo, passed away in her cage because of the heat. A sad day. Very sad actually.

But Alex knows a little about death now, and Heaven, and that it's nothing to be afraid of. I think that we are trying to give him a religious upbringing probably helps in that respect. Yes, I am a religious man, if you didn't already know, and I am a Baha'i, of which you should look up by following the link at right if you don't know anything about it... Moment of silence for Milo......

..
.
.
..

Thank you.


Also, yesterday, did some yard work since we will be having Alex' birthday a little early this year on account of Bec being due 5 days before his actual birthday. It will be the last Saturday in November, and we are having it here in our back yard... Thus the rush to actually finish the kitchen. But, when I was moving some of the old fence bits, mainly so the guys could instal the new air conditioner, I noticed some dirty little white ants. Ya. Many bad things went through my head too. Mostly cuss words though. I looked under the house and there doesn't appear to be anything eating my house out from under me, so we're "happy" so far. But we've got a professional termite guy coming in in a few days.

FOr those that don't know, in Australia, well Sydney at least, the houses are built pretty poorly. No basements or anything as they're not needed due to no freezing. but our house is proped up above the ground a bit giving us a bit of a crawl space underneath the house with a dirt floor, and heaps of daddy long legged spiders. (speak in a girly voice for this next sentence) I hate spiders.
So I went under and looked for termite damage and saw nothing. I'll keep you posted becase you care.

Well, I'm off again.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Sound of Silence...

Well, for a while I've been theatening this, but today it happens. This will be my last post for a little while... I am sick of my laptop, and I don't want to spend any more time on it than I need to ot finish my thesis. Which is going well, I have been told that I now just have to fine tune it. Which is good in some respects.. In that my 3am nights are coming to a close, and that I won't have to work as hard and long on bits. But now I will be spening more time waiting for other people to do things.

That generally makes me sad.

So to get your regular Amon fix, go to Bec's Web site, whose password I will give if you ask. All comments are sent directly to my e-mail, so you can just ask that way if you would like.

Sorry for the future silence, but someday, I will return, when I fall in love with my computer again. I know, how sad and pitiful am I....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bobby Flynn and Artificial Intelligence

As most of my readership(?) is not from Australia, a little background may be needed here... Firstly, Bobby Flynn was an Australian Idol finalist, and Australian Idol, can be abbreviated to AI, which is also, appropriately, the abbreviation for Artificial Interlligence, which is what Australian Idol represents. It is a machine churning out crap that it thinks the Australian public will enjoy. Funny that.... The last 2 winners, ummmmmm did they even release an album? The first series went well, the top 2 have released at least 2 albums, with the runner up releasing stuff of early Brian Adams stuff, quite good for that genre. Anyway I digress...


I had been watching this year because of one person, and one person alone. Bobby Flynn, pictured below. He doesn't have the greatest looks in the world, but he is far and away the best artist I have seen on this show ever. No joke here. I am plenty angry at the Australian public who consistently pick losers, (last 2 winners of Australian Idol are case in points, bonus points for anyone who can actually NAME their first singles or albums... didn't think you could, and they got the most votes). The first time I saw/heard him sing, he did a Cold Chisel song (big Australian rock band), he slowed it down, changed it heaps, and made me well up. It was so unexpected I think it caught me off guard that someone on AI could actually do what he did.

Limewire him, he's there.... they're live recordings from the show, so the crowd is there, but it's so different from the other crap that gets played every week. Honestly, I'm glad that he lost because he doesnt' have to record an album in a week that was written by morons who have failed in every attempt to write a good album... and I would buy an album written by him even before hearing any of the songs off of it.

What I am most sad about though, is that I won't get to watch him anymore... I also won't be watching AI anymore, no point, while some of the remaining people are good, others did the same things every other year.

It feels like watching repeats.

One last thing though, it's become too much of a popularity contest. Lisa whatever-her-last-name-is, she has not sung a good song yet, has consistently been chastised by the judges, and deservedly harsh, and she is now in the top 6. How does that happen without heaps of friends, well, she is a 16 year old girl (or therabouts) and that is the voting demographic isn't it?

Tonight is my last watching of AI, because even though Bobby was voted off, the judges rallied to get him to perform tonight because they are doing performing original songs tonight, and he is simply magic.

Limewire him and get every song you find. You'll thank me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The hippies of EagleVale

Well, since I have gotten a few comments on these pics through Bec's photoalbum, I thought I would post with an explanation. Me and Bec, along with Alex, have decided to move to a hippy commune. It's peaceful, no need to finish a thesis, and you can just lie back, relax, watch the clouds go by, all the while enjoying some good old fashioned home-cooked special brownies.....

Obviously I jest. The other weekend we had another 21st birthday to go to. This one was for one of Bec's co-workers who decided to have a dress-up theme of the 50s and 60s. Bec went as a pregnant naval wife. And Alex and I went as hippies.

It was a good birthday, but honestly, it was a bit weird walking in and noticing that EVERYONE decided that they would wear nice going out clothes of the 50s and 60s, like evening or dance wear. So there were a lot people from "Grease". Bec fit in well, but me and Alex rock up with ripped jeans, sandals, big hair, etc. I was pretty awesome!!!! Besides the birthday girl's boyfriend (who dressed in a military outfit), we wore by far the most original outfits.

Needless to say, Alex got a lot of attention from the ladies. He wore the wig for a little while, but it didn't stay on too well... But he loved it, and was a good night.

As for me.... Yes, I'm brinin' sexy back.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Photo Album Launch!!

I know 2 posts in one day!!! But this one is to announce Bec's forray into Blogging!! And completely inspired by the Photoalbum of Jennah's (my sister) baby Alexis, Bec has begun the same thing... The link is at right, and the web-site is www.amonsdownunder.piczo.com

One catch though. It's password protected!! Mwaahahahaha!!!! So you can see nothing!!!!!

On the upside though, if you ask, you will be rewarded as long as I know who you are, and you are willing to abide by the terms and conditions. The reason there is a password is because the last thing we want is to have some freak do things with the pictures that we post there that are not called for. If you are family, friends etc, you will be given the password without a second thought. Just ask and we'll e-mail it to you.

my e-mail address is: michael_amon@hotmail.com

I get enough crap on it to not matter, but make sure you chose a good subject, might I suggest "photoalbum password" as a good one, as your mail may go to my junk-mail, and I delete things that I do not immediately recognize. Also, if you want an MP3 of the songs I have posted, just e-mail and ask me, and provide me with an e-mail address capable of receiving 5mB or smaller files.

Bec's site is under construction, and since we only have dial-up (this will change), uploading takes a while....

Cheers though guys!

Happy Birthday!

Well, last weekend we went to the 21st of one of Rebecca's friends who she met while working at probably one of the worst run day cares in Sydney. She's a nice girl, Alex loves her to pieces, and she loves him too... So it's all good. She had a dress up theme and you could either go dressed up all pretty, or dressed up like a bogun. I'm not sure of the spelling of bogun, but the pronounciation is like that, and it simply means ... trailer trash I guess... Proper definition though from the urban dictionary: (Google it)

1.Australian person, usually caucasian,of uncouth and lower class background,residing on the edge of civilisation. Characteristics of a bogun include,proudly sporting a mullet hair cut,extremely small shorts,a grease stained t-shirt underneath a flanelette shirt of some description.A bogun's natural habitat is any suburb of australia with low property values,in a house that generally has 2 or 3 cars up on bricks in the front yard with no wheels or missing vital mechanical parts.One of the cars must be a ute(utility vehicle).Boguns are genrally spotted with a stubbie(screw top beer bottle) or bong (pot smoking paraphernalia) in hand.

So we went all pretty like. Here's a pic of my beautiful and pregnant wife standingbehind my little guy. Unfortunately though, shared photos generally only capture the happy moments shared between families, or portray the forced smiles covering the pain and anguish lying beneath skin-deep beauty ... Behind the scene is a very Sad story in deed... So Sad in fact, that Sad had to be capitalized. I know, it's come to that....

We took a heap of good photos before we went out, so we all looked super happy (and were) and good and all that... ANd then we took some good photos when we were out... Then I took the camera. Enter Sadness time. Somehow, I deleted all the pictures that were on the camera. So everything was gone, and we were about ready to go home... With a heavily burdoned heart, complicated by a fear for my life (wife's pretty pregnant remember), I went to tell her what happened.. She took it surprisingly well, which for some reason made my Sadness at the loss of such great photos grow. Maybe it was fear that she was too controlled to kill me in public, and that my time would end as soon as we were out of public view... So I quickly tried to get some more of Alex playing in his suit and blah blah blah... I know you're not reading, you've already scrolled down to see the last picture... In agreement with popular conception, I am as dumb as I look and rattled off a stupid tale of garbage. But true nonetheless...

So these pictures that you are actually seeing, were taken after we got back home, and we are tired, struggling to get Alex to smile, and wanting sleep... They came out alright..,. And as for me, I did not die. I just never want to touch her camera again....But he's happy though!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Riddle me this Batman...

Why is it that when you want to go to bed early, like say 1-1:30, because you have to get up early the next morning, you suddenly find yourself on a role and not able to stop. and this despite that fact that it is now past 2:30?

Not happy with this dissapointing turn of events. Good night.
And may sleep find you easy.

Just a short break

I am taking a luch break right now, so I thought that I would drop a line to my few adoring fans. I gave my supervisors a copy of my literature review, the hardest part of a thesis write-up. It's done though. Well except for a few revisions which are likely to be required.. But the hard part of it is done!! Yay for me. But this has ramifications for you my friends of the Blog. Soon, you will no longer hear me complain about this, and what a relief that will be for you. Now I "just" have to put my results and discussion chapters together, but since they are already published, shouldn't be that tricky.. But still, many late nights to come.

Another topic though (phew you sigh). I saw one of the most beautiful acts by a human being come from probably one of the darkest acts a ... I hesitate to use the word "man" can do. I'm sorry but it regards the horrible, inhuman acts including those planned and those carried out against the Amish girls in the States. While, obviously, my sincerest sorrows and whole-hearted best wishes go to the Amish community as well as their parents, (and also the family of him whom I shall not name). But there was an elder from thier community who said something that floored me. Literally floored me. And gave me a respect I did not previously have for the Amish.

They forgive him.

Despite the acts of depravity planned if not acted out, and the resulting murders, they forgave him within 72 hours. Citing that forgiveness provides a great healing for those affected. Personally, that would be a hard ask. One that I know is right, but I'm just not sure I could do it so soon... So to the Amish community, you have a friend in me. I cannot think of a higher complement I could give them. The ideals they are holding to in this crisis are nothing short of saintly under these circumstances.

So thank you for your clarity in perception in this matter.

Other issues of concern for me at the moment though, besides where shall I work next year? Is that Tool is healining the Big Day Out this year. Regular readers and knowers of me would know that I love Tool. I have all their studio releases and love them. The Big Day Out is a traveling music show which goes around Australia and usually has some pretty kick-ass international bands. A few years ago I think Metallica played, but I don't really like anything they've done since the Black album (what kind of crap was St Anger? I mean really guys, pull your head out, quit fighting music piracy, and write at least one more good song!)... But ya, TOOL is headlining... And since this concert happens sometime January (maybe Feb but I'm hoping not), I guess one of my birthday presents (in ADDITION to my Gibson SG) will be to take my lovely wife to the Big Day Out.

Well, I gotta run now, cheers loyal fans!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Another Song

This song was actually written when I was back in Halifax... Acutally a few weeks before I left for BC, which eventually led me here to Australia. Well, I was living in the living room, out of a suitcase, with a futon for my bed in the apartment of 3 NSCAD (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) girls. Honestly, I had a great time for the month or so I lived there!

Anyway though, I wrote this song while waiting for a ride to pick me up to go somewhere. ANd it just came out. I like the guitar bit, but honestly, it's not one of my favorite songs. My father-in-law seems to like it, so I thought I might post it.

It's another Baha'i influenced song, but I actually wrote the words. I just titled it a few minutes ago, I am thinking... "Desire" but I may change it later.... Nope. It's called "Desire".

Hope you like it.


Get music codes at Bolt.

Ummmm

Not much to say tonight. It's been a loonng week. Things happen. Not good, not great. Just there. Slowly building. Ya. Sounds depressing, maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I have yet to decide. Fatigue brings that on though. On the up-side though... I still move forward. I've had to deal with some fairly heavy issues this past week. One of my views which I found actually seemed to help a situation, which I am not going to elaborate on, don't even ask, I cannot elaborate. Was that the measure of a man is how he (or she) acts when it hits the fan. When everything's going well, everyone loves everyone. There's no reason not to. But when problems arise, that's when the foundation of what makes a person are tested. If that person does what is right, regardless of the consequences (or perceived consequences, case pending), you pass. If you run, hide, get defensive, shut down and enter denial, blame everyone else, others learn volumes about you and what makes you you. Do you accept what's right, or fight it because you think you are right, gets blurry here I agree. But such is life.


It gets messy when the area is gray though, I acknowledge that. While I know it's not right to measure others by your own personal standards, as your own standards may be too low (or high), when you are forced to... it gets tricky. Again, don't ask. I guess the best you can do, is try to find an external reference point (trianulation analogy, or Einstein's Theory of Relativity.... you need an external reference point to locate a specific point, it's more complex obviously, but the idea's there!). And thus brings us back to the beginning of this post... Damn, a circular argument. I am now fallicious. Ah well, my blog, my fallicy. So, to see the true measure of a man, examine him under pressure (external stimuli?). Enough.

A music review now:

Antony and the Johnsons. You may ask who are they, and if you don't know, you have been missing out on some beautiful piano based music with one of the most original voices you're likely ever to hear. The instant you hear a song sung by Antony, you will never forget his voice. It's similar to Billy Talent or The Cure, in that the voice is his alone. And it's beautiful.. Regular readers may be wondering why I only review groups that I think are great... Well, I don't get paid for this, so I'm not going to waste my time writing about songs that I don't like.

But Antony and the Johnsons produce beautiful music. It's on the slow side (not bad slow, good slow), there's no guitar (maybe a little), alot of string arrangements (subtley diffused throughout, not overpowering), and the focus is on Antony's voice with the piano as back up. Some of the songs you really need to just sit back, close your eyes and just listen. I have the "I am a bird now" cd, and I am doing just that with the first track, "Hope there's someone." I can type with my eyes closed exceptionally well now. It's beautiful.

It's getting late and I want to go to bed, so my last bit of advice: Do yourself a favor and listen to them.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Windows\system\vgaoem.fon

So, what's this you ask? This is the problem my lap-top had yesterday. It was missing or corrupt.
Let's add context for my non-existent new readership...

I am a PhD student who is writing up the past 3 or so years of work, which I have submitted my own blood, sweat, years off my life through stress, and very close one day, but not quite because I am a man, tears. Right now, my working existance is on my laptop. Only a really good lottery win could ease my stress if it got stolen.

So, I turn on my computer yesterday morning, go have a shower, come back, and it is cycling through booting and crashing. Sorry if you've heard this before (Phil) but my life is kind of dull and boring right now... So, I try several things, starting in Safe Mode, Safe with command mode only, and a few other little tricks (1.5 hrs worth or so). All of which resulted in a crash before the Windows logo even comes up. So, now I'm shitting myself. Apologize for the swear, but really, can you blame me.

So, I call the company where I bought it from (still under warrantee!!!! Yay for me). The guy tells me to try this, I do, but then it shuts itself off before anything can happen. Let it cool down a bit because it might be overheating.... Try again, same result. Nothing

Not happy Jan. Not happy at all.

I guess the good news about the whole thing is that I did learn how to fix it, and now I have a nice "new" laptop. If you ever have this problem:

Drop your XP setup CD into the drive, press F2 to enter setup when you turn your computer on. Go over the "Boot" heading and move CD-ROM drive to the top of the list (use "+" and"-" buttons). Then re-start your system. Your computer will now boot from the CD drive.

When the XP setup CD starts, and asks you what you want to do, press "R" for repair. Then it'll analyze your system and fix the problem.

Now, if you've been good, like Sir Richard Branson, and have just give about 10.2 billion dollars to combat global warming, you may get lucky and this'll work. Now what did that guy standing next to me say when the guy at the tech shop finishing doing justthis..... ummmm

"That doesn't look good."

And no, it wasn't. The solution for all those who may eventually get a corrupt of missing vgaoem.fon, format your hard. Reinstall Windows from scratch. This'll work. And it did.

So, yesterday, my laptop was re-formatted, erasing every little last trace of everything that I had done. But because I am ultra paranoid of this type of problem. I always have back-ups. So fortunately, nothing was lost. Except ALOT of music I had saved on my computer. I bought a 40Gb Toshiba Gigabeat MP3 player a little while ago, and this acts as a portable hard drive. This has all my music on it, unfortunately it's stuck there as you can't pass it back to a computer (a bit crap, but I'm over it), but it has all of my files, twice, as I make it a habit of keeping 2 separate back-ups from different dates... Just in case....

I also hide this MP3 player at night when I'm sleeping so that it doesn't get stolen if we are robbed. And it's always close to me so that if there's a fire, I can grab it on my manly way to get wife and child out of the house. Paranoid??? Ya, but would't you be? And now I'm glad I'm so paranoid. Yesterday could have really hurt me. Really bad.

But as it is, my lap top runs like new, and is set up properly to actually take advantage of the hyperthreading ability on my 3.0GHz Pentium 4 processor. It's heaps faster now. THanks guy at Pioneer Computers Australia, Thanks....

God had a test for Jesus and the devil. They had 2 write a 10,000 word essay on ... ummm... I don't know, how about: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows, or to seek vengeance on those inflicting said slings and arrows until they stop slinging and repent. So, Jesus and the devil sit down to each's computer and write frantically for whichever side they chose. Fire streaming from the fingers of the devil with each key-stroke sounding like a thousand hounds from hell praising his cunning, and surprisingly well reasoned, arguments, and in the crowd, hell's populace cheering(?) him on. On the other side, sat Jesus, and as He typed, a blindingly, captivatingly beautiful light enshrouded him such that all but said hounds of hell could not help but gravitate towards. With the sound of each of His each key strokes echoing the beauty and melodious music that only God's chosen angels could have performed, and even then, only under the strict tutilage and guidance of God, Jesus continued to type. With 5 minutes left though, the fire from the devil's fingers causes a power short and Windows crashed in less than the blink of an eye, leaving both Jesus and the devil staring at a blank screen, reeling at how could this happen with 5 minutes left. Being pretty powerful beings though, they get things up and running with about 1 minute left. Jesus presses a few buttons, including "Print" and then hands his essay in to God, leaving the devil gobsmacked at how Jesus could have produced a 10,000 word essay, and print it in under a minute after loosing everything in the crash!!! The devil mounts a vicious protest citing foul play and cheating with his arms flailing, tail smacking his hounds, and his eyes and skin redder than the most reddist thing you've ever seen times 3 (he's the devil, he hates losing, what do you expect?), but he is instantly silenced by 2 words uttered from an unknown angel in the crowd, "Jesus saves."

Monday, September 18, 2006

The problem with plungers

Alright then, 2 posts kind of in 1 day.. I have been meaning to get this up for a little while, but I have been busy....

This is my boy Alex, as Optimus Prime. The cool thing is that he is now starting to like Transformers!!! Yay for me!! I loved Transformers as a kid, and I have been grooming him to like them as well. He has a few little ones since he is only 3, and the bigger ones are a bit harder to do... And too expensive! But he loves them. Coincidentally, I bought him a little Optimus Prime that I saw at the grocery store the day before his aunt Kim gave him this costume... So he knew who he was supposed to be!!! And he loves it!!! Yes, he likes Star Wars as well, and me and him have regular light saber battles, he likes to be the baddy though with the red light saber.. Good choice my boy, good choice!!

A little while ago was Father's Day as well. And this is me, waking up and opening my new pair of pants that I got along with a shirt and one of the best (and cheapest) presents I have ever received... It just goes to show that you can get a great gift for under 10 bucks easily!!! I don't have a picture, so I'll have to describe it...

Well, where to begin?

It's brown.

A handle on the side...

You guessed it!! It's an awesome coffee cup with no pictures or anything on it, just brown.

But it's what's inside that counts... I only drink plunger coffee at home now, since my office at work only serves freshly ground Irish Creme coffee (seriously, we love our coffee), an instant coffee has to be really good now... Anyway though, To make a plunger coffee, you usually have to dump some of the coffee into a purpose built plunger thing, wait a couple of minutes, plunge, pour the coffee and season to taste (ie milk and sugar, one level teaspoon though, I weaned myself off 2, to be healthier of course).

So, you ask: "Why are you so lazy so as to be complaining about this 5 minute job. I mean really, what's wrong with you."

Well I'll tell you what's wrong with me (I find it therapeutic to talk to, and about, myself in the third person while carrying on both sides of my own initiated conversations...don't argue, just accept and acquisce).

So, my problem is the couple of minute wait.. because I end up going into the computer room, typing, and loosing track of time, so my steeping coffee gets cold, and I get mad. Yes, I'm sensitive about things...Ask Rebecca about my finger-nail scissor incident tonight...Grrrrrrrrrrr Gr.

This cup though, has a PLUNGER BUILT IN!!!!!!! Awesome eh!! So you dump your coffee grinds in, sugar in, milk in, and then fill with boiling water. Bring the whole cup into the computer room and let it sit next to the laptop!! I no longer forget about it, and when I want it, I simply insert the plunger thingy-ma-bob and plunge away... Then drink of course!!!!

How cool is that!!!!

And how's this for a crap post!!!

Nothing really..

Ever have one of those days where things feel right? Today is mine. Woke up alright, albeit a little cranky after a 3 am finish last night. Don't worry though, that is a regular thing now though. SO I woke up, hung the clothes out on the line in the midst of a beautiful day. Made a coffee, had a bit of all natural yoghurt stuff that I find quite tasty... ANd then began to write. It is here where i learned a secret to getting over writer's block, or how do I start this?

Simple is the answer I found. One word. Write.

That's is. The teacher's in school were right!! Just write. It'll fall in to place, and you can just cut-and-paste to rearrange later.

Still feeling a bit high from the Melbourne Prof's comments on my paper. Last major hurdle mostly done.

Things just feel good today.

Oddly though, I have a fairly (understatement) big night tonight, and one that I should probably feel a little nervous about, but I don't. It'll either work or it won't. Yes Mom, you know what it is, but like Marsha, no details yet. Don't want to jinx things. Anyway though, I should go, luch is awaiting in the microwave, and more writing needs to be done.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Success!!!!!!!!

Well, it seems that yesterdays venting session worked!!! I got a response this morning!!! Less than 24h after sending the paper off!!!!!

I must reiterate though, that I was never upset with her. Only the present circumstances surrounding my needs and her availability, which I acknowledge and accept may not be compatable up until now. This was no-one's fault, I was just flustered at the circumstances.

Once I sent the paper off, I had a nervous ball of ... I don't know in my gut which pretty much centered around me hoping that I did not send this world-widedly declared expert-in-the-field the work of a moron (meaning me) who was stabbing at whatever he could to analyze the data, and end up embarrasing myself.. But as my Dad recently mentioned to me, (in other words that I am re-arrangine and making fit to what I want to say) it must be hard for me to be right all the time!!! And while that may not be what he said, or even meant, or even thought that I might twist into meaning, I know that's what he felt!!! ya welll....

So, because I am so ecstatic (spelling?), I am posting her middle paragraph of her response outlining what she thought of my paper:

"The data that you sent and that you have included in the paper is excellent. And you have done a very good job in the analysis. I've attached the file with some comments/suggestions in Track Changes - there is one section which needs a bit more clarification - but overall I think it all makes sense. And I like the Conclusion section which brings it all together in terms of a mechanism of action."

Awesome eh!!!

The only real problem, was that she forgot to attach the file with her comments/suggestions. I honestly expected her to crucify it. But she also appreciated having her name on the paper, and she wouldn't agree to that if she thought the paper was crap. Awesome day for me....

In terms of my thesis, though, it is even more awesome!!! It means that my first methods chapter which deals with the subject of the post from yesterday, contains 2 publications, one in the Journal of Biological Chemistry ( J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 24;279(52):54002-7. Epub 2004 Oct 13) that link will take you to the abstract, and one will be very likely accepted by Biopolymers (as the lady mentioned above is an editor, no I wasn't playing politics with this, coincidences do happen). My second results chapter already has 2 publications, one is Bioconjugate Chemistry (Bioconjug Chem. 2005 Nov-Dec;16(6):1556-63) and one in BBA (Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Aug;1763(8):879-88. Epub 2006 May 10). My 3rd results chapter is a method development chapter, so no possible publication out of that.

That's 4 publications in good journals my friends. A good haul for a PhD student!! That also means that the people reviewing my thesis can not say anything bad, as my work is already peer-reviewed and published in international journal, ready to be cited by others!!!

Yay for me!!!

I should get back to writing said thesis though, you still don't pass if you don't submit though.

Relief?

To open this post, you will understand very little. But I am venting, and vent I will...

Well, I did it. I sent this paper away to a lady in Melbourne who has been very difficult to keep in contact with. I have been working on this paper for over a year now, and I am tired of it. It have slaved countless days, nights, weeks etc trying to analyze the data from two different techniques (surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and circular dichroism (CD), the later of which the picture represents idealized data). We started with a collaboration with a local university around where I live (no train ride, ya for me), but they offered me an honour's student to do the work, and he knew less than I did (of which I didn't know anything about CD.

So he did the work, the pictures looked like shit. For a complete lack of better word, it fits. And the analysis was similar. Sooo, I wrote a program myself entitled PEPFIT Analysis which runs in Excel (Visual Basic) and does the work for you, and is based on another free to use program called PEPFIT which is a pain in the ass to use, and runs in DOS!! What runs in DOS!!! Good program, but runs in DOS!!! I describe this program in a little more detail in my science ref site, greatly named: Another (Not So) Wasted Effort, which bascially puts a few of my bookmarks on the web and acts as a centre for when I analyze gene array data etc.

The picture above is a sample CD spec. This procedure tells you what your protein or peptide's secondary structure may be, with each line representing a different structure. It just shoots polarized light through a sample at different wavelengths (~190nm to ~260nm) and the solution rotates the light left or right, and that's what you see. The more "right" the light is rotated, the more positive the line on the graph goes, and the more "left" the light is rotated, the more negative the line goes. Each strucutre (alpha helix, beta sheet, etc) rotates the light in a particular way at each wavelength, thus the different lines for different structures or conformations. Also, primary structure is simply the amino acid sequence of a protein, and the secondary structure describes what said protein or peptide ... umm.. "looks like", is round like a girl's rignlet (alpha helix) or does it look like corrugated cardboard (beta sheet). That's a great analogy, if I get the opportunity to teach this topic, that's the analogy I will use.. It's perfect!!!

Anyways....

I ended up going and doing all the CD work myself, modified the procedures, and got some beautiful results of which were easily analyzed by my program. Cool, CD bit was done.

Then came the SPR part. I have some beautiful pictures (YES I KNOW I'M A GEEK, I can think of a series of graphs as genuinely beautiful). But I could not analyze them for anything!!!! SOOO many nights till 3 am, trying out other programs like "Clamp"from the University of Utah. And then asking for help from a lady from Melbourne who is probably the best in the world at this, and who has worked with us before, and is a friend of our dept. So I e-mailed her on May 11 (2006). I heard back from her... on July 30 (she has a reputation for e-mailing right back, within 24hrs, except for this time). 2 Months. she asked for a few things, so I sent them to her, the next day or so.

and I am still waiting.

I ended up figuring a way to analyze the graphs myself, by diving into the guts of the analysis. I hate kinetics. It's one of those things where you either "see" it or you don't. I think that I am the later. ALthough, my ego leads me think that if I actually quit resisting it, I would be good at it as I love numbers, and considered it a good exam if I learned something while writing it, Even University Calculus. I don't know, I can always get numbers to make sense. So maybe I will stop resisting and learn some. And maybe not. ANyway though, I did a kinetic analysis, spent the past 2 and a half days finishing the paper and associated figures, and then sent it off to the lovely lady in Melbourne. Hers and one of her student's names are on the paper as they did send me something useful, so maybe I will get a response before I submit...

Disclaimer: I really do like this woman though, she is genuinely nice, and always helpful, and pleasant. I can't honestly say anything bad about her. SHe has had a busy year, office moves, overseas conferences etc.... I'm just frustrated by the time lag. Probably because I am running out...

I swear that I can go on forever, again,
Please let me know that my one bad day will end.
(Blink 182, I'm Lost Without You)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Inspired by...

Well I was reading one of G's posts, and notived that she uploaded some music that I think she played and sang... I can not say for sure as when I tried to listen, I realized why I hate dial-up internet.... Too bloody long.. and yes, if Alex was here, he would have told me that that's a naughty word. And he's right, but he can't read yet, so let me re-iterate: dial-up is bloody bloody bloody bloody bloody (breathe in) bloody bloody slow.

Anyway though, I thought that I would try my hand at Bolt to upload something of my own! Soooo it's below. I wrote this awhile ago, it's a Baha'i prayer which I really like, put to music of my own creation. A while ago, I bought a multi-track recorder over e-bay, and this is one of my first attempts with it. I coupled it to N-track on my laptop to mix it and do all that stuff. But for those who are interested (Tammy maybe) It's got 2 acoustic guitar tracks, a bass track, 2 lead vocal tracks to provide a chorus effect and maybe 2 vocal harmony tracks because the best voice to harmonize with is always your own. Anyway, I played and wrote the whole thing and mixed it on the train to and from work over many days. I hope you enjoy it, and if you don't, keep it to yourself. I'm sensitive. And I was taught that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Bloody is allowed though because I am still Canadian and it's not a bad word there. A happy day for loopholes.

As for music, I've had this cd for a while, it's Blink 182's last release which contains "I miss you". This cd is rapidly climbing my most listened to cd. It's soo much better than their early stuff, they have shown (or showed as they are no longer a band) heaps of growth to put this album together and there's even a song with Robert Smith! the lead singer from the Cure (another band which you should all know). The whole cd is great though. It's a great mix of great music. Well worth a listen, or many listens as the case may be. But as a disclaimer, I do not promote free downloading music, as it is illegal.

Anyway, I should run, a paper to send to people....

The name though, the song is called "O God, My God" aptly named after the 1st 4 words of the prayer itself. The words have been put to music by other Baha'i's with different music, and I think it was "Innvocation", great title I thought....

Anyway though, enjoy...


Upload music at Bolt.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Bec!!!

Well, the other day (Friday, the 8th of September to be exact), my lovely and beautiful and pregnant wife Bec had a birthday. She just turned ......... 21 :) (see I can be sensitive). So we invited her sister's family who have recently returned from an extended stay in Cyprus over for supper, and coincidentally, it was also Bec's sister's birthday too!! Ya, I know, crazy eh, but it gets worse... Bec was born on Sept 8, her sister was also born on Sept 8, but 3 years ealier, and their grandmother was also born on Sept 8, albeit a few years earlier than both of them, and then a few years before their mother was born. So, Sept 8 is a big day for the family!

Anyway though, so they all came over for a supper, and a chocolate cake that Bec had made. It was a nice evening, Alex loves his cousins heaps and was really happy to see them... A story I may tell tomorrow if you're all lucky, or more importantly, if I feel up to writing...

But anyway, I thought I would post another video of us singing happy birthday to Bec for her ... 21st.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"He died doing what he loved best."


Honestly, I have several things I would like to say that's been going on in my life, but they are petty. And genuine tragedy has occured today, not just for Australia, but for people, as well as animals across this great planet. You all know, so I won't be giving details, read one of many articles if you haven't watched it on tv yet.

He was a champion for all animals, big, small, pretty, ugly, friendly, and unfriendly. I remember the first time I saw his show "Crocodile Hunter." It was super late at night when I was in my first year of University at Carlton (In Ottawa Canada) and me and Emily were watching tv, and this came on and she was like "You HAVE to watch this guy, he cracks me up. He's crazy!" So we did, and ya, she was right. But he was soo captivating, and energetic. I think what drew people to him was his devotion to his cause. Everything he did had a single minded focus, protect wildlife, of any form. And he would use whatever media he could to further it. Not himself, but the cause he stood for.

A sad day indeed.

And by a ray, a bloody big ray, but a ray.... Such a passive creature to be responsible for such global sorrow.

When I heard, I was on my way to my citizenship ceremony and I thought that I would look at the news on my cell phone, and there it said, "Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin dies." Then both me and my phone froze. Me out of shock and saddness.... Stopped mid-stride as I tried to grasp this.... I don't know what to call it.... this moment in time. my phone felt it too because it stopped working as well, I couldn't get it to open the actual story for about 10 minutes... So I was wondering what happened, hoping it wasn't a crocodile that caused his untimely end. But, he died doing what he loved best.

My heart, hopes, and prayers go to his family (wife Terry and 2 children, "Bob" and Bindi). And may the legacy of the legend that is Steve Irwin live on until the term "endangered species" has itself been wiped out.

I became an official Australian citizen tonight.

Of this, I am proud. If for no other reason than that I can consider myself a fellow country-man of the late Steve Irwin.

Steve, you will never be forgotten, nor your message lost.

Steve Irwin
1962-2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another day, another....

Ya, I'm a student, couldn't quite finish that with "another dollar" now could I? Or maybe it would be better as "Another day, Another dollar owed". Not as nice a ring, but I think it works.


Well, I don't really have a lot to say today, some big things going on though, but I can't really tell about them... You'll find out in my next post though. It'll be good fun when it happens though!!! And hopefully my story telling won't kill the moment.

I read that Andre Agassi is retiring from tennis after the US Open. A sad day for tennis if you ask me. He has been my favorite tennis player since I began watching, when he had hair, and was known for being a rebel. As a man, I think he's a champion as well though, as he has his own charity and consistently fronts up with an aura of humbleness and honour. He just seems to have a good way about him. So Andre (who is another regular reader of this blog, really. I have proof) I wish you good luck and look forward to watching the highlights of your awesome career. Tennis will not be the same without you. A'Dieu.

What else has happened... Ah yes, something Fireguy might appreciate. in Jan, I have a birthday. And on this birthday, I would like to get something that I have wanted for many, many years, but have yet purchased. And that is an electric guitar. For quite some time, I wanted a Les Paul (Gibson). I like the shape and feel of them. It is a beautiful piece of wood. But lately, my fancy has changed. I don't know why, maybe it's a strong sense of symmetry, or maybe I saw a music video and the guitarist looked cool, and I thought (sub-conciously) I want to be that guy.

But I am now smitten with Gibson SG.

Here's why:
It's beautiful, in looks, touch, and sound. So me and Bec went to a music store where they had heaps of Gibsons.... We looked at some, and my keen ability to pick the most bloody expensive object in a room without seeing a price tag, was again proven. They can be expensive guitars on their own right, but they range in price... So the first one I look at that I really like, has a tag of like $2999.00. Holy crap!!!! I love music and all things related, but how do you get $2999 as a reasonable price for a shapely piece of wood with a bit of electronics thrown in. I don't care if it's hand carved, which it wasn't. I would never consider paying that for a guitar!!!! Crazy I tell you, just crazy.

So, I looked around, found some much cheaper versions... Epiphone (which is a subsidiary of Gibson making a bit more budget friendly guitars) makes some that are under $1000, so we are much happier and the prospects of me actually getting one are looking brighter!!! Ya for me!! True to form though, I liked one that cost between 7-800, and I will probably end up with one that is around $400... I can live with that.

I'm not that good anyway though, but if I get one, I may need Fireguy's fire-fighting skills to put out the flames searing from my fingers as I rock my house down in late January!!!!!


Bye bye

______________________________________________________________
PS: Andre Agassi is not affiliated with this website, nor has he ever seen it, or heard of it, and I openly lied to all of you in suggesting that he reads this site, and that I have proof. I don't have any proof. I never did, and I never planned on trying to find any. In fact, I just made it up there on the spot. He may read this, and is welcome to, but I don't think he does, although he should. Sorry about all the lying. I may try and stop in the near future, but not now though. I'm enjoying it too much. So, to my readers, I say a lame and insincere sorry. Again. But I'm sure you'll learn to live with yet another liar in the mist.
______________________________________________________________
PPS: Talk to you later Andre...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Empty yet hopefull

Well, I just read that the solar system is a little emptier today. We only have 8 planets. Yup, Pluto is no longer a planet. Demonted in the prime of its life. It's kind of like Disney's Pluto, you don't really know what it is. Pluto (the ... ex-planet) has an orbit around the sun. An "eccentric" orbit, but an orbit. In my thouroughly shabby review of these reasons, it's too small. And maybe it is, but at what point is something too small to be a planet. As pointed out in the 2nd of 2 articles I read on this (the first being in my cell phone, nothing but high quality research here my friends, this one is here), that astronomers are having this debate. The most brilliant in the field, ones who come up with quantum theory etc, locate "planets?" by their wobble effect etc, and they don't know what a planet is!!! Cripes!!! It just goes to prove a point, the more educated we are, the less we actually "know". You ask a grad 7 kid what a planet is, and they'll probably tell you a good answer, something that revolves around the sun, more technically, a body which has a circular (or elliptical as the case may be) orbit around a star. Now you ask an astronomer what a planet is, you get years of debate and upheaval in the scientific community. Ya sure, there are likely many other details about the term "body" so let's make it, a celestial body whose orbit has at its centre a star, and has a mass permitting it's own gravitational field, and is not a comet.

There. I've done it!!! Pluto has it's own gravitational field, and it orbits the sun. So it's a planet. Why didn't they invite me to thier meeting in Prague? I would have come.

So to re-iterate the new definition of a planet, as decided by me, and to be adopted by all, is:

PLANET: any and all celestial bodies possessing their own gravitational field and whose orbit has at its centre a star, and is not a comet.

As an adjunct to this, it should be noted that should there be any confusion or discrepency, I should outright be asked to make the call.


Now for the "Hopefull" portion of todays blog title.

Today, Schapelle (previous post regarding my feelings on this issue is here: Another Wasted Effort: Indonesia... A little more...) gets to go to court for her final appeals process to be acquited of the offense (News article). If she is denied, her only recourse to result in a her being set free, is to ask the Indonesian President for clemency, but this carries the burdon that she has to say that she is guilty. A difficult thing to do, especially for someone who has gone this many years and has been so steadfastly insisting her innocence.


I would like to give Schapelle Corby my best wishes, and that I hope to have her back home in Australia before Christmas.

Good Luck today.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Red Bull you say?

Well, for a little while I thought that maybe this little can didn't exist in Canada!!! Thanks G for clearing this up though. So ya, it's an "energy" drink with, It think they call it "taurine" (thus the "Bull" part of the name, taurine -> taurus -> bull). It does what it's supposed to, I haven't experienced hot flashes or anything of that nature though. I think that the people that get hot flashes are just weak do to not aclimatizing their body to large doses of garbage. Me on the other hand, cannot say no to a coffee, or in fact, to several coffees... But I have found that a really good combination to keep you awake, should you ever need one, is to have a can of that "Dare Coffee Shot" followed by a can of "V" (it's a green can). I was curious, what can I say! I actually prefer the "V" drink as opposed to the Red Bull as it tastes better, and I fell more awake afterwards... But that's just me...

So what's been happening in the land of 'Oz? Not much really. I have been sitting at a computer for too long now, sent my supervisors drafts of 2 chapters last week which was a good effort considering I had to write one of them from scratch. It's very close to done though I feel. (The chapter from scratch that is). I still have 3 other chapters to go. One of them being a review of the literature which is about 2 thirds done, but a bloody hard one-third left. One chapter which is the last results chapter which I should be able to rip out in under a week, and then the final chapter, which again, I should be able to rip out in about a week. But it's the chapter where you sum up the whole thesis and put forth hypothesis etc, and discuss future work, and just try to conclude while leaving the poor reader thinking that you know what you are doing, and that you did it well, and that you are now ready to join the elite of the academics and be known as Dr.

Side note. Did you know that medical doctors are not called doctors in Germany... And that to be called a doctor, you have to hold a PhD? I think I like it there. The reason is is that a medical Dr has not been trained to further knowledge or think independantly like that. It's hard to become a medical doctor, don't get me wrong, but they basically just play the odds. Person A presents with symptoms x, y, and z. The most likely cause is the flu. So "A" has the flu, regardless of the numerous other conditions that exist for the flu. Watch "House" and see how much independant thought actually occurs. Everything they do has already been seen before, and they are guessing.. Treat them with this because they will be dead if you don't, and if it's wrong, then blah blah blah you get the idea. A PhD on the other hand, is required to show some form of independant thought, and to further the world's knowledge base. To form hypothesis' that may or may not be true, and require severe critical thought to analyze and prove (or disprove as the case may be).

Another way to look at it would be that medical doctors don't come up with treatments, they prescribe them. And they presecribe them based on the work of hard-core scientists (PhD's) who have rationally designed a drug to do a specific thing, tested it in test tubes, then rats, then primates, and finally extesively in human trials under very specific conditions to determine if what they are seeing is a placebo effect (which isn't really bad), it there are human toxicity issues, etc etc. So that the doctors prescribing your medication are doing so based on the work of many PhD doctors, and the literature that Dr. House is reading, comes from PhD doctors.

To defend doctors though, they have a bloody hard job too though. They are stuck playing the odds, because the odds are mostly in their favour. But they have the added stress of being wrong means someone may die, and a whole circle of other people are then affected. Huge stress!! If I screw up, a rat dies. How many rats have you TRIED to kill!!! You buy rat traps at the grocery store!! And medical doctors do need to retain alot of information about a braod variety of things if they are any good. But I guess my biggest endorsement for a medical doctor, is that I would take thier advise concerning the health of my 3 and a half year old son, for my wife, and the chikld that she is carrying. So don't take this as a slamming of the medical profession, as I do believe that they are professionals of the highest stature, I just wanted to give a short, not well thought out commentary on the term Dr.

I think there should be some different term to designate each of them (PhD vs MD), especially since I will be a Dr. in Medicine (my faculty) but in the research area. I will not be a Medical Dr (MD)... A bit confusing ya....

Anyway enough of that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Not happy Jan...

Because I'm mad at myself.

I wanted to go to bed a little after midnight...

one and a half hours later is not good.

Not good at all.

Tomorrow, I may aim for half a litre of coffee chased with a litre of Red Bull because hey,

It gives you wings....

Good night my friends of the Blog.

Good night dear.

Barenaked ....

Ya, I just wanted to get your attention... Just a short (2nd) post for today!! I know, I'm feeling... saucy today...

It's late again (11:30pm) and I'm continuing my love-hate affair with my laptop. I must admit, when others referred to PhD as standing for permanent head damage, I now see where they get that from. It's taking me slightly longer than I hoped to get this chapter done. It's ok though, I've got 2 other ones mostly done, (and published, or almost) so cool for me. But it's a bit hard to write a thesis chapter when you don't really have any solid results. So it's a method development chapter which honestly, will be my legacy to this department. Any biological science person could come in, and as long as they follow my instructions to the letter, they'll get results. I wanted to be the person to get these results, but I think that possibility is fading pretty fast.

On to why I am posting....

I have headphones on, listening to a cd that I have really fallen in love with again. You might be surprised by this, but it's the Barenaked Ladies, Gordon album. THe one with, Hello City (about Halifax NS!!), If I had A Million Dollars, and probably one of my favorite songs, What A Good Boy. Ya I know, but it's one of my favorite songs to play and sing. And then, years after I learned and played it heaps, it actually hit me what the words were about. Gender roles. It's a great song. I remember when Mom and Dad bought the Kenwood, before Nan and Pa moved in and it was set up in the den, I was studying for some exams, and just listening to that album. loved it then, love it now. A timeless piece of beauty. There are some silly songs on it, like "New Kid on the Block" about being a New Kid On The Block (the birth maybe of modern boy bands, at least for my generation).

Anyway, I just wanted to write something not science related (and I couldn't even do that as my second paragraph will attest, imagine poor Rebecca...)

Gotta run to to write, I have an early morning tomorrow. It's my one day in to work and I am expecting to get chastised by my supervisor because a lady in Melbourne hasnt' gotten back to me. The worst thing is, is that if she doesn't tell me what I want to here... I don't really know what to do!!! Cross that bridge later though.

One door at a time.

Gotta go, but if you're a long time reader never commenter, change your ways and let me know your out there!!!

Final thought, don't ask a question for which you cannot handle the worst possible answer. (as an opposing view, God never throes you more than you can handle).

Monday, August 14, 2006

No one hears you at 2:30 am...

It's funny, the more I am forced to sit at a computer, the less likely I am to Blog. It's an inverse relationship... Trust me I did the math.

I know that I have been "silent" for a little while, and that my last post was just put up to put something up... I am now in the final stretch of this dreaded beast known as a PhD thesis... I can almost see the faint glimmer of something that might be a finish line... I have started working (writing) from home and going in to work only one day a week. SO I am now spending WAYYY to many hours working in the computer room. Thus poor blogging!!! But I did spit out a good chunk of a chapter on the development of a microarray protocol to test the differential gene expression of immuno suppressant T cells vs untreated, activated T cells.... I know, the excitement is unbearable!! (I also know that alot of you may not know what I'm talking about... but I'm over it).

Another thing though, I have apparenlty been "tagged". To my surprise, this appears to be something like a FWD for blogs... And for those friends of mine who send me fwds regularly, like my dear, probably best friend I will ever have, Amanda T can attest, I don't (well VERY rarely) respond. She knows I get them, and she knows I read them, but I am thankful that she doesn't expect me to reply to them. In fact, the only reason that I'm even mentioning the fact that I got a blogged FWD (I think at least), is that it was from my own Mom!!! So, sorry Mom, if you want to know the answers to those questions, ask me in a private e-mail, or phone conversation. And if anyone else wants to know my answers, sit me down with a coffee and we'll chat (or e-mail me a private e-mail) and we'll have a genuine conversation. So Mom, I love you muchly, but I am a Black-Hole with anything that remotely resembles a fwd.

I should also mention, that it's 2:25am. Typing since 11 pm, after a break from 6pm to 11pm to be with my family. This is how much I love my adoring fans!!!

Guess what I did on the weekend though? I, well me, Bec, and Alex went down the coast to visit the in-laws. We went down on the Friday, came back up Sunday. It was a nice trip, short but nice. I honestly miss having them up here. It was nice to be able to go and visit them for a coffee without a 3 and a half hour drive each way... But it was a very eventful weekend... One thing I will write about now, the other in another entry, when I get a document scanned in (for effect of course!)

For my long time readers, you'll know I have issues with Indonesia (these issues are my own, and not representative of .... really anything worth anything). First there's the Schapelle Corby issue, then there's the Bali Bomber Mastermind (does he really have a mastermind though? seems he hasn't quite mastered the mind if he knowingly plotted to bomb a building and kill innocent people...) issue where he was released after 2 years... TWO YEARS!!! (Ya, I'm still realing from that), then the personal attack from Indonesia on me in the form of biological warfare agents in my Indonesian made tiles that got me sick... But when I was down the coast, I was attacked by Indonesia again. And I wouldn't have even recognized it as an attack from Indonesia if D (mother-in-law) hadn't said anything... I even took pictures to document my case, and if OJ's lawyer was still alive...

Anyway though, I had to help Ross (father-in-law) to move a shelf cabinet thing across a newly laid wood floor (ie no scratches or dents or anything like that yet). So they first emptied out all the books or pottery that was in it to make it easier to carry. Then I watched Ross lock the doors shut with a key. The cabinet itself is taller than me, and has two glass doors running the whole height of the unit. So we start to carry it. Dum da dee dum dummmm then low and behold I start to notice that the door is opening. Hmmm, not to good if your pinky finger is there, and you can't let go because you'll wreck the floor permanently by dropping the unit... And then the door opened pretty wide, bending my pinky finger back quite a ways. Honestly, I almost welled up it hurt so much. As soon as we put the shelf down. I was immediately relieved for 2 reasons: 1) I hadn't heard my finger snap, and 2) it wasn't bent in an ... unnatural way. But holy man it hurt.

See..

Here is a picture of my Indonesian attacked finger… I know it was an attack because D said just after it happened that it was because the cabinet was made in Indonesia. They are some clever tacticians over there my friends… Some very clever tacticians who are will to risk the fingers of others (it could have been someone else who fell victim to this), but they got lucky, and it was me. I feel I’m fighting a losing battle!! Oh Johny Cochran where are you!!!!!

Finger is better now though. I can bend it again.

What else did we do… we went for a walk on the beach, and here’s a picture of Alex because I think if I post them, it keeps my readership up, and takes the pressure off of me to provide actual content to the (now weekly) bothersome rantings of an overtired student whose married with a mortgage a 3 year old and one on the way… Who also doesn’t have a job lined up yet… It’s coming though…. It’s coming…

And how he wanted to be carried when he got tired of walking... Comfy for me too though...