Mad Science

A lot of people are probably already familiar with the (now sadly defunct), a spoof online-shop for Evil Geniuses and Megalomaniacal would-be dictators. Today I think I found the real thing, sort of… a former workmate who I will refer to as PK just gave me a link to the coolest online shop I have ever seen.

United Nuclear is a shop which sells things like radioactive isotopes, insanely powerful magnets, meteorites, miscellaneous odd chemicals and aerogels. Their range of real and genuinely cool / insanely dangerous things boggles the mind, and they’re very forthright about what it is and isn’t for.

I particularly like this passage (pointed out to me by PK) for example:

Beware – you must think ahead when moving these magnets.
If carrying one into another room, carefully plan the route you will be taking. Computers & monitors will be affected in an entire room. Loose metallic objects and other magnets may become airborne and fly considerable distances – and at great speed – to attach themselves to this magnet. If you get caught in between the two, you can get injured.

And I had no idea that anything like their MagnaView fluid existed. OMG I want some…

 Magnaview Fluid

Hello Possum!

It would appear that my somewhat dodgy house, with its flanking posse of immense eucalypts, now has a new tennant: There’s a possum in my fireplace.

The long of this is that the house has three fireplaces, one fully plastered off, one with an elegant little victorian wrought-iron fireplace (but the chimney is sealed off) and a third which my landlord saw fit to seal off with a piece of plywood and a broken, disconnected gas-heater. It is this third fireplace that now seems to be inhabited.

On Tuesday night, as I was catching up on my email and bracing myself for another roleplaying session, I heard a muffled thud, followed after a little while by a faint sneezing sound, then a little later by a scratching noise. My initial supposition that perhaps a bird had somehow fallen down the chimney drove me to tilt back the board and have a look. This is what I saw:

Concerned that this new resident might have fallen and hurt itself, or be stuck, around midnight that same night I checked again, to find my fireplace empty. The following morning the furry bundle had returned, and was soundly asleep: no beady eyes greeted me this time.

From this, E and I have assumed that Possum (pronoun withheld pending evidence of gender) has taken up deliberate and intentional residence in the old fireplace. We have no other use for said fixture, so Possum is entirely welcome. Besides, Possum is a very large brush-tailed individual, and it has been my experience that such critters are both fierce and heavily armed… not to be meddled with:

A lady I once knew, by the name of Irmhild, had an old two-storey house in Warburton where the an upper-storey bedroom had its own balcony, with a couple of large trees hanging over it. In the Summer, when the upper storey of her house would get untenably hot, she and her husband would perforce open the french doors onto the balcony and let the breeze in.

With the breeze, occasionally, came troupes of possums.

It was Irmhild’s avowed belief, after some years of this, that the only way to deal with a brush-tailed possum was as follows: Run at the possum at top speed, shouting to ensure that the possum keeps facing you. When you reach it, sieze the possum’s tail, and lift. Now as quickly as possible, begin to spin the possum around over your head. Proceed thus, still spinning, to the nearest window and eject the said marsupial.

Brush-tailed possums, she said, have three key weapons: Their claws, their bite, and projectile urination. Their claws, as I have myself witnessed, are on the order of an inch long, and wickedly sharp despite their three-climbing habits. Their bite, while unhealthy, is probably the least of their weapons, less fearsome than that of a cat. The last item, however, is as unexpected as it is hideous: they have uncanny precision of aim, and a range on the order of eight feet.

Hence, besides any other reasons, I will not interfere with my new guest. Maybe I will try feeding it an apple. 🙂

Ideological self-loathing

As a general rule, I don’t stress about the disconnect between my vaguely communist ideals and my highly corporate-drone job, in an IT outsourcing firm of all places. I do my best to contribute according to my ability, whether compelled by work or not, and when what I receive is more than genuinely accords to my needs, I try to turn it to the cause of being more self-sufficient, or to tuck a bit of it away in some kind of regular charity donation.

On this particular occasion (two weeks prior to date of posting), however, I found myself feeling a bit uncomfortable again, feeling: this is grossly inappropriate, surely no-one really Needs this?

Where was I?

I was sitting in the ‘Promenade’ cafe under Veritas with the (all male) training group, with whom I was in the process of studying up on Veritas Storage Foundation at the behest of my employer, eating a needlessly large hot paid-for lunch, looking out through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls at the passing StKilda road traffic of expensive cars and expensive suits… and listening to the piped music: Money, Money, Money (a very angry and unhappy song by ABBA standards).

The training, in hindsight, was useful. The lunches were a nice freebie. I need to emphasize how grateful I am to my employer for these things, but still I am uneasy.

I’m a university-educated white caucasian male, living in the first world, with a job and a car and a nice IT job that pays far more than it would in any other industry. What justifies my existence, in a world where half the population lives on less than $2USD per day?

Right now, this is not a question to which I have an acceptable answer.

Preachy? Ranty? Scattered? Too much hyperbole? Moi?

It has been too long since my last post, and here’s why: I have been writing an epic. Writing enormous epic posts is much easier with this new software, but it doesn’t make any more sense.

Frankly, looking back over my last few posts, I’m unhappy with the quality of my own crap:

  • I come across as preachy to the point of camp. Owie! “devastating aura of overmastering charisma“? Eek! I’m just a guy with a fallible memory and a mild psychological disorder. I might be able to claim pundit status about mid-range server software and hardware, but nothing else, and that’s not what this blog is about.
  • I rant too much. Fuelling heated political debate is fun, but risky: people can wind up thinking you’re a loon. Openly flaming people on ones blog, while occasionally necessary to clear the air, is undecorous, and probably not fun to read.
  • I am doing too many portmanteau posts, packed with unrelated trivia. This makes my posts longer and less frequent, and makes a mockery of any categorisation system. Really, if I have three things to say today, I should be posting three posts in the one day, not one big (often late) post with all three topics jammed in.
  • My normal penchant for exaggeration and hype is getting the better of me overmuch. It makes the whole blog less credible, even if it is more fun to write.

So, some aims to aspire to… (not new-year’s resolutions: A- There’s more than a month of this old year left still, and B- I’m not all that resolute. Rules like this exist to be periodically broken)

  • Short, frequent posts, on a single concise topic.
  • Be more circumspect, express less absolutes, use less flowery adjectives.
  • Rant less. Don’t worry, Be happy.
  • Try not to hype unnecessarily. I have nothing to sell, and blogging is not a competition.


Hell is just like the waking, living world, except that you can’t sleep, and you can’t die because you’re already dead.

We hold these truths to be self evident. 🙂


No, I was wrong. Hell is a place where you are subjected to continuous hold-music, for eternity and it’s all cheap tacky Christmas Carols!!!

Jim Asimakopoulos

Once upon a time, I knew a very great man. His body was twisted, but he had about him the kind of devastating aura of overmastering charisma that I am sure few are privileged ever to behold.

For this man even to speak comprehensibly was a herculean struggle, yet: He sat down in the much-despised library before a thousand spiteful, ignorant, bored, high-school students and spoke for half an hour. When he finished, a thousand people walked out of that building, each instilled with their very own enduring new-found respect and understanding for the disabled.

Today I found out (thank you H!) that this man has been officially commended and recognized. I just wanted to share this fact with everyone.