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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Jonathan O'Donnell's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, July 31st, 2016
4:04 pm
MIFF 2016: Mahana
Mahana
Another amazing New Zealand film. This one is about sheep shearing - how genius is that!

Actually, it is about families, and unbending dominant will and patriarchy in the strict definition of the word.

NZ scenery porn; great performances, especially by kids; post-colonialism; a kick-arse story - all the hallmarks of a great NZ film.

This one had lots of Maori language sprinkled through the film, unapologetically and without distracting from the story. MIFF ran it with captions, but the English wasn't translated into Maori and the Maori wasn't translated into English.

After four films, this is my absolute favourite so far. Brilliant film!
11:03 am
MIFF 2016: A New Leaf
A New Leaf
Walter Matthau and the amazing Elaine May, with George Rose having a wonderful time as Mattheu's butler.
May plays a wonderfully naive, shy and amazing clumsy heiress who falls into the clutches of Matthau.

My favourite scenes were:
+ May rationalising her need to give Matthau half her fortune before the wedding so that people don't think he is marrying her for her fortune.
+ Matthau helping May get her head out of the armhole of her Grecian dress. Brilliant physical comedy.

Watching May move Matthau from a shiftless, homicidal creep to a loving, industrious husband is wonderful fun.
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
8:23 am
Thegn of Gnomes
...would be a great campaign title.
Friday, July 5th, 2013
10:21 am
I Hate IT!
Tomorrow we start traveling around China. Sophie has finished her classes, my sister is here and we are off.  We will use Nanjing as a base, on and off, for the next month. After that we will be homeless, footloose, feckless and fancy free until the end of August, when we come back to Australia.

Today it is raining in Nanjing.  Pouring.  Thunderbolts and lightning. (Not) very, very frightening. Not a great day to wander around the top of the biggest gate of one of the largest fortifications in the world. Not a great day to walk across the best bridge in China (except for the suicides - go, suicide catcher). Not even a day to walk around the corner to our local, Roooms Cafe (a cafe that has been delivered to Nanjing directly from Brunswick Street, we reckon).

Read on to see why I hate IT...Collapse )

A day to sit inside and do stuff. Maybe stuff on the Internet, perhaps. Unfortunately, we don't have wireless, so only one person can be on the Internet at a time, connected to the router by a dull grey Ethernet cable.

When we came to China in February, I was full of hopes and dreams. Once our landlord had set up the Internet, I would wander done to the local electronics precinct (a wretched hive of scum and villainy, full of stolen mobile phones and other dodgyness), pick up a wireless router and set it up. No problem.

Lets skip over the part where I pay way too much for the Belkin Surf N300 Wireless N Router, shall we?

When I got the router home I tried to set it up. Making sure I was alone, so that I couldn't take my frustrations out on my nearest and dearest, I plugged it in. I then spent about half a day fruitlessly trying to get the little fskr to work. I tried it on Sophie's PC. I tried it on my Mac. I tried cursing and threatened it with physical violence. If I'd had a rubber chicken handy, I would have waved it over the damned thing.

I kept coming up against this screen:
I did that already!
Whatever I did, I came back to this screen. Because I hadn't set up the Internet, I didn't have any passwords or other details for the modem, so I couldn't do anything advanced.  Finally, I gave it up as a bad job. We resigned ourselves to a wireless-free house.

A few weeks ago Sophie's language partner came by. She suggested that I could get the details I needed - IP, subnet mask, DNS addresses - from the network setup on my Mac. Doh!  Of course I could.

So today, because it was raining and we were stuck inside, I thought that I would try again. I flicked through the automatic setup a couple of times to make sure that I had the right SSID and password combination (they are written in teeny, tiny letters on the bottom of the router). Then I started to try to decipher the advanced options, which are in Mandarin.

From behind me, Sophie said, "Somethings happening, sweetheart."  I explained that she would be picking up the wireless router, but wouldn't have a connection to the Internet. She seemed dubious, so I suggested that she go to a page that she hadn't been to before. A few minutes later, she was streaming live M-Pop into the air around me.

Turns out, in China the screen above, the one with [cancel] and [next] options - that's the one that indicates that you have a successful wireless connection to the Internet.

I hate it!  I Hate IT!  I HATE IT!

Why would that possibly make sense? How could I possibly have known that, way back in February, when I was working alone, one machine at a time? How did the no-brainer setup, which probably works perfectly well in other places, get so screwed up here?

We could have had wireless since freakin FEBRUARY, people!
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
12:18 pm
What I'm listening to

"do you wanna dance?
do you wanna fight?
do you wanna get drunk and stay the night?"

[Crowd - Yes, I wanna dance! Yes, I wanna fight! Yes, I wanna get drunk and stay the night!]

It is amazing how much music can lift my spirits here.  I was wandering down Guangzhou Lu the other day with an enormous smile on my face, listening to "Do it with a Rock Star" [warning - sound starts automatically, not safe for work]. I couldn't get over the fact that I was in CHINA!
Silence is golden...Collapse )
The last time I listened to that song, I was driving back from Swan Hill with my nephew, Nik, in the car. I'd just given him a lecture on the importance of crowd-funding and emphasised the point by blasting Amanda Palmer at high volume as we pulled into our street. He's very patient with me.

To tell the truth, it probably isn't the last time that I heard it, as it has been on high rotation the whole time since I got it. Last FM tells me that I've played it four times in the last month.  In fact, the whole Theatre is Evil album has been on high rotation since the success of her Kickstarter.

But it isn't the only musical success that I've had with Kickstarter. Marian Call (thank you, Foes of Reality) successfully funded her Adventure Quest (complete with eight-bit graphics and chain-mail bikini) through Kickstarter, and I took the opportunity to grab her whole back catalogue. It is great! I'm particularly fond of her Firefly-inspired songs - It's good to have Jayne on your side & especially Vera flew the coop [warning - sound starts automatically on both].

"Vera rode alone the whole of her ferocious life
She never met a boy she didn’t think deserved the knife..."

The other voice that's been in my head has been Emilie Autumn. I discovered her last week (thanks to Eva Lantsoght's review on Grave Concerns) and downloaded her latest album, Fight like a girl. I love it because it goes places other people don't necessarily go. I love it because I'm a sucker for a rock opera (thank you, Rick Wakeman). I just love it.

And, as luck would have it, she is playing the Espy next week. Next week - when I am in Nanjing.

Current Mood: happy
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
5:57 pm
A cold coming we had of it
It was probably 40 degrees on Monday in Melbourne. It certainly felt like that as we packed.

Tuesday was spent on planes and in the weird non-space that is the airports of the world.

On Wednesday at 1 am (local time) we touched down in Nanjing. And then it got cold...Collapse )There was snow on the ground. Snow! It is freezing here - lovely, but freezing. After we got up, we wandered down to Xuanwu Lake. Lovely, but freezing.

Today I am practicing working. That is, I've got my laptop to connect to LiveJournal, Flickr and Wordpress via VPN in a beautiful little cafe. So far, everything has been rock solid, which is comforting. This is going to be my working environment for the next six months - laptop, VPN, beautiful little cafe. If I couldn't get it working, I would be in trouble, since I have two days work that I've carried with me from Melbourne on the basis that I'd be able to connect to the real Internet from here. Earlier today the VPN kept dropping out, which meant I kept butting my head against the great firewall. Now, though, everything is OK.

Besides the cold (which I expected, but weirdly Sophie didn't even though she knew...) we have nothing to complain about. Nanjing has turned on the weather for us. Blue sky beginning - that's unusual.

So far, so good

Current Mood: Relaxed
Sunday, November 18th, 2012
11:33 am
In Canberra again
In Canberra again

I'm here to listen to the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council, which will probably be a bit dull.

I'm here today because there was about a $300 difference between flying up today and flying up tomorrow.

So I get to hang out at the National Library of Australia, which is one of my favourite places to work. Home of Trove - say no more!

Sunday, April 29th, 2012
10:58 am
My Mum liked this salad
I mean she really liked it. So I thought that I would write it down here, so I wouldn't forget. You'll find it behind this 
Cut up cauliflower.Collapse )
Ingredients
  • About a quarter of a cauliflower (or maybe less), broken up into bite-sized florets.
  • About 100 grams of green beans, cut up into individual beanettes.
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced.
  • As many kalamata olives as you think you can get away with, pitted and halved or sliced.
  • Parsley leaves or baby spinach leaves, shredded. How many? Enough to add colour to an otherwise white dish - up to half a cup, maybe.
  • 50 - 100 grams Danish feta, crumbled.
Method
  • Cut up everything except the cauliflower and beans and place in serving bowl.
  • Steam cauliflower for 4 minutes.
  • Add beans and continue to steam for another 3 minutes.
  • Rinse cauliflower and beans under cold water and drain well. Really well.
  • Add cauliflower and beans to salad and toss. The remaining heat in the steamed veges will cream the feta a bit. Mmm.
  • Serve with a honey and mustard dressing.
Serves two, three if nobody wants seconds.
Thursday, April 5th, 2012
5:46 pm
Want to do game design in Germany?
RMIT is offering two PhD scholarships in game design, for Aussies or Kiwis to go to Germany. Aus$30,000 pa for three years plus relocation and optional German language course.

Deadline is still tight, but doable if you apply straight away: Tuesday, 10 April 2012.

Full details at:
http://www.geelab.rmit.edu.au/display/GeeWebEN/Positions

As always with PhD's - this comes with my general health warning that PhDs can destroy your soul.

If you are still interested, but don't want to click on the link, here is the blurb:
RMIT University's Games & Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEElab) is offering two 3-year full-time PhD stipends, to highly motivated Australians or New Zealanders. At the GEElab, an international research team is investigating how game design thinking can affect and alter architecture & urbanism, mobility, popular media & storytelling, engagement as well as other sciences, cf. www.geelab.rmit.edu.au. The GEElab operates sites at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, as well as in Stuttgart, Germany, there as GEElab Europe, and is based in RMIT's School of Media and Communication.

Both PhD stipends contain an uplift for EU loading and run at AUS$30,000 tax-exempt p.a. each, over the course of three years. With these stipends come one-off relocation allowances as well as funding for an optional German language course if the successful applicants are not proficient in German. In addition, the GEElab will sponsor project cost as well as conference travel given circumstances. It is intended that the successful candidates will commence as soon as possible in Melbourne, and relocate to Germany in May or June of 2012.

3-Year PhD Stipend: Game Design for Future Cities
This stipend supports a doctoral student and is linked to the question how game design methods as well as playfulness can, methodologically and practically, serve as design principles and design results for the city and for citizens of the future, tackling fields such as urban well-being and liveability, citizen engagement as well as sustainability. The successful applicant will be required to spend most of her/his stipend's time on extended field research in the Stuttgart–Karlsruhe high tech industry region in the southwest of Germany, as well as in other RMIT GEElab sites, if necessary.

3-Year PhD Stipend: Game Design for Popular Entertainment
This stipend supports a doctoral student who will explore, in an applied fashion, under which conditions established forms of popular culture (e.g. sports, music, fashion), or media (e.g. TV, movies, textbooks, museums) can become interactive, enhanced, and potentially co-created entertainment experiences that have been inspired by games, and what social and cultural implications, novel uses and contexts these scenarios render. The successful applicant will be required to spend most of her/his stipend's time on extended field research in the Stuttgart–Karlsruhe high tech industry region in the southwest of Germany, as well as in other RMIT GEElab sites, if necessary.

Please find detailed information about these stipends - including selection criteria and application procedure - at www.geelab.rmit.edu.au/display/GeeWebEN/Positions.

Applications for both stipends have been extended to Tuesday, 10 April 2012. Interviews for both stipends will take place in April of 2012 (after Easter) in Melbourne. Please direct all enquiries regarding these opportunities by Email to GEElab director Dr Steffen P Walz: steffen.walz@rmit.edu.au.
Monday, January 9th, 2012
10:32 am
So far, this year has been excellent!

Last night's Dresden Dolls concert was awesome. Sophie and I had a great time. Wonderful, powerful singing and stupendous drumming. Great vibe. Lots of fun. 

I was also particularly impressed by the Bedroom Philosopher, who I hadn't heard before. I liked his larrikin lyrics, so I bought his CD. And Sophie really liked the Jane Austen Argument, so I think we'll be hearing some more of them, too.

Was good to see [info]nuwishas_tail with bub in pouch, too.

Friday, November 18th, 2011
8:32 am
Quiet, please
Next time I have a magnetic resonance image (MRI) made, remind me to ask for "no music, please".

People had warned me that the process was claustrophobic and noisy. So when the lovely MRI person asked if I wanted some music, I said "yes, please - some classical music would be lovely." Actually, I wasn't quite that coherent. As with most medical procedures, I was confused and intent on trying to please the authority figure, but that was the sense of the exchange.

Unfortunately, it turns out that you don't get to listen to classical music in an MRI machine. You get to hear the occasional loud bit - just enough to remind you that somewhere back there, beyond the thrum, thrum, thrum of the machine, there is some lovely 3MBS music playing. That you can't hear. Because the machine is very loud.

I'm a pretty low-energy kind of guy. When I try to meditate, I usually go to sleep. It turns out that in a tight space, even with loud rhythmic noise, I can still drift off into a somewhat trance-like state. This morning I got that drifting, stretchy-body feeling, where it feels like your head is about three metres from your feet and that you are made of plasticine. Generally, this is an indication that I'm mostly asleep.

Then I would hear a bit of classical music. And try to follow it. And fail.

Also, MRIs are hot.  Didn't know that.
Monday, September 26th, 2011
10:06 am
Getting old
My Mum turned 90 on the weekend!  There were twenty kid, grand-kids, partners and god-kids.  It was a lot of fun.

She was in top form, moving around well (she broke her leg a month ago).

I hope that I'm that fit and switched on when I'm 50, much less 90.
Sunday, June 26th, 2011
9:02 pm
Sunburnt without the sun
One of my mates has had trouble with eczema all his life.  I'm starting to get a bit of an inkling of what he goes through.

Turns out I'm allergic to something that I was taking for a cold. I'm probably allergic to the type of penicillin I was taking. This has made me very red and itchy, like I am sunburnt all over.

It is a bit of a bugger. 

Still, it isn't as bad as eczema.

Current Mood: sick
Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
7:15 pm
Talking about games
Last night morsla , aeliel and a few others got together to talk about games. It was fun and seemed to work well.

The plan is to choose a new game every month, play it, and then get together to talk about it. Like a book club, but for games.

We talked about Osmos, which everyone except Chiara seemed to enjoy. The challenge was to get past "I liked it", "I didn't like it" discussions, and I was interested to see how that came about.  Frankly, I was so nervous that I didn't really take much notice of anything, but it seemed to me that we really used Osmos as a jumping off point for talking about the wider topic of games.

We talked generally about games that were more or less like Osmos, and why. We discussed features of the game that we found interesting, and how they were reflected in other games. We talked about what we found frustrating, and what we loved.

All in all, it was a good beginning. I enjoyed it, anyway.

Next month, Oasis (or Defense of the Oasis on the iPad).
Saturday, May 14th, 2011
3:21 pm
Lord Coconut
On Thursday night Sophie and I wandered into the Savage Club, where they were having their annual artist's dinner. I'm not a big fan of men-only institutions - I mean, really, what is the point? Besides, I got enough of that in my six years at all-male boarding schools.

One of the people at our table was a lovely jeweller, Ali Alexander. She mentioned that she had some of her stuff at a men's jewellery store called Lord Coconut, and that she didn't really think that she should tell me about it.

And then Sophie fell and sprained her ankle, so we limped off home.

Yesterday in my lunch hour, I toddled off to try to find Lord Coconut (warning: automatic sound). It is up on the 4th floor of Carlow House, 289 Flinders Lane, near Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. Carlow House was new to me, but it looks like a place worth exploring.

Lord Coconut is a beautiful little shop and the owner, Mark Boldiston, seemed like a very nice bloke. He said that it had only been open a week or so, which made me feel a bit special. I wish I'd taken some pictures now, so that I could show you what it looked like. The decor is fabulous and the place has great light.

I picked up a lovely pair of tube cuff links by David Parker, which I will wear to a vintage party tonight. I was also tempted by his tie fighter cuff links, but resisted could not afford.

He also had a great Cthulhu print, which I also manfully "resisted" and some great little steampunk fob pendants with cog inserts by Deeana Michela. Imagine a little pendant with the insides of a tiny watch on display. Very cute!
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
9:29 am
We haz noo cat!
A little ginger short-hair with beautiful markings, about seven months old.

She is exploring the house at the moment, and is quite adventurous.

Seems to be settling in well, but it is only day two.  Time will tell.

Any recommendations for scratching posts gratefully accepted.
Monday, February 7th, 2011
6:40 pm
Blood makes noise
If the lyric-fragment "blood makes noise" is running around in your head, it is probably because you are worried about going deaf. 

In an immediate sense, this is an on-going concern because I constantly get blocked ears - ikky wax builds up which reduces my hearing.  Over Christmas, I used ear candles for the first time.  Jury is still out on how useful they are, but they seemed to work.

Taking the long term view, it signals a concern about growing old.  Old and deaf.  Old and crotchety. Old and fretful, forgetful, forgettable.

Not mortality, although that lurks back there somewhere, too, I guess.

Of course, for the 99.99% of you that don't have 'blood makes noise' running around in your head, this isn't a worry.

In other news, Misfits is great!

And the background text in the Cowboy Bebop opening can be found at the Jazz Messengers, if you ever need it (under miscellaneous).
Monday, December 20th, 2010
11:30 am
The loneliest number
This morning, I woke up with the lyrics for "One is the loneliest number" running though my head.

What is that about?
Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
7:20 pm
Life is getting simpler
My work life is simplifying itself.

Last month I finished working with the National Gallery of Victoria.  They offered me a new project, but I couldn't fit it in.  I've learnt my lesson about taking on commitments that I can't fulfill (at least for now).

Today I had my last meeting for the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre. I took chocolates!  I still have a paper to write for them next year, but apart from that, my work here is done.

My work is done for Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, too. We had our end of days party yesterday, and a lovely time was had by all. Today we had a farewell teleconference, which was lovely, in its own weird way.  Somethings just are different when they aren't face to face.  The fact that the Australian office is being painted, so we weren't in the same place didn't help.

Now I just have some work for Margaret Jackson to finish and hand off to morsla for formatting. That should get done tomorrow or Friday at the latest.

And then I just have to finish the work for the Emerging Social Media Research Group at RMIT. With just five working days (and a few early mornings) 'til Christmas, I think that I'll be carrying a fair proportion of that project with me into my new working regime.  Which is a bugger, to say the least.
Friday, December 10th, 2010
9:58 am
I don't work for the NGV any more
As of next year, I'll be working four days a week helping people get research funding.  So if you are looking for funding, give me a call.

The other day a week will be spent researching privacy.

This will put an end to the craziness of trying to get stuff finished for multiple projects with competing deadlines. It has been particularly bad over the last three months because I took on one too many projects.  Now I'm facing the real possibility of carrying old work with me into my new job, which I really don't want to do.

On the other hand, it means that I have to turn down projects that I want to do, like helping the National Gallery of Victoria on their education, multimedia and social media projects. That really hurts because I love working for them.  Overall, they have a very clear focus.  Display art.  Can't get simpler than that. If you love art, that is a really great mission statement to be working to.

Also, I'll miss their Christmas parties.  They host great Christmas parties - huge bacchanalian feasts in the Great Hall.  Tonight's will be a garden party, I think. I won't be going.  I could have but...

I know it bothers me because I woke up with these lines running through my head.

"But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself"

Ricky Nelson, Garden Party, 1972
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