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Monday, May 25, 2009

Postie bike adventures

Now that I have my postie bike and my motorbike license, I've been riding around a lot. I'm lucky enough to live in a pretty quiet suburb, so there's plenty of streets around my house without much traffic where I can hoon around. There's one particular street which is pretty wide, with a dead-end, and a big hill I can do speed runs down. I've got the bike to about 85 km/h, which is about as fast as I particularly want to go.

I already posted some phone-camera photos, but they really don't do this beautiful machine justice. Here are some better photos of the bike in all its glory (click for bigger):

Postie bike in all its glory

Nice rack

Front view

Bad-ass heat guard
Here you can see the bad-ass heat cover that goes over the exhaust pipe and stops you from burning your leg. The heat cover is one of the reasons postie bikes look so awesome.

Attractive rear

Before I got the bike I spent a few weeks trying to think of a way I could get the bike into the backyard so I wouldn't have to always park outside and leave the bike prone to weather damage and vandalism. There are two gates, but only one of them has a clear path into the yard. Unfortunately it has a tendency to get jammed when it rains, but I'm only really going to ride the bike when it's dry anyway. Also to get into the main part of the yard there's a large step to navigate, which isn't very bike-friendly. What I ended up doing was building a ramp from pavers, which works well enough.


It's a little tricky to get the bike up it though. The postie bike is pretty light for a motorbike, but it's still 90-odd kilos which is a little too heavy to push up the ramp, so I have to keep the engine running as I manoeuvre the bike through the gate, then ride it up. At first I tried to ride it up slowly and carefully, but what I found was that if I have to accelerate when the back wheel is on the ramp it tears the ramp apart, leaving a mess of bricks like this:

Ramp destroyed

And then I have to put it back together. The trick is to aim the bike at the ramp, and then ride up in one swift movement. I've only done it a couple of times and it can be a little hairy but I guess I'll get used to it.

I rode the bike to uni today, the first time I've actually gone somewhere on it rather than ridden around aimlessly. It went pretty well, and being able to park on campus for free is a huge bonus. One thing I noticed while riding to uni and back is that the postie bike is a real head-turner. Maybe it's just because the engine sounds different to a car, but I think it's because people just like to see postie bikes. They're a pretty common sight all over Australia since they're a pretty major part of the postal system, but people just can't help looking. Everyone loves a postie bike.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Junior for bullshit job

I just came across this job ad on I can only describe it as epic fail.

Bullshit job ad

How is this ad dumb? Let me count the ways:
  1. They say they require someone with a "Good Command of Both Writer & Spoken English". To be fair, they obviously do need someone like that; the person they got to write this ad not only thinks that "Writer & Spoken English" is a valid phrase, they for some reason think that it is acceptable to capitalise the first letter of every word.
  2. They claim to have opening hours of 12AM to 4AM. Unless this "Contemporary Workspace" is a brothel, these are pretty weird business hours. I'm sure as hell not going to the CBD at midnight to hand in a résumé.
  3. No email? What decade to these clowns think this is? I don't know what they think "contemporary" means, but I'm pretty sure a contemporary workspace would have basic email capability.
  4. I didn't bother including this in the screencap, but the location is listed as "Sydney - North". York St. is in the CBD, not North Sydney.
  5. Not only do they not say what the job is in the headline (a pretty stupid thing in itself), they don't say what the job is in the entire ad. They don't even mention what the company does. In my experience any job ad that is evasive about the nature of the job is at best dodgy, and at worst a blatant scam.
I've never really understood terms like "dream job". I just dream about weird crap - unless I find a way to get paid to fight killer rats on the roof of my primary school, or steal Fabergé eggs, I don't think I'll ever have a dream job. And that suits me fine. I can only hope that I never have to have anything to do with these idiots.

UPDATE (16/5/11): The company who posted the ad have threatened to sue me for the "unfounded" and "defamatory" comments posted here. As much as I hate to yield to bully tactics, I would hate getting sued even more. I've removed their name and disabled comments on this post.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spag dogs

A week or two ago I came a cross this blog post about poking spaghetti through frankfurters (hot dogs) and cooking them (more pics here). I had to try it.

Uncooked spag dogs.

Cooked spag dogs.

Close up spag dogs.

I call them spag dogs. Amazingly it was actually pretty bad, but I think that was only because I didn't cook them long enough, so the spaghetti inside the frankfurters was barely cooked. I'll probably try it again, but I'll cook them longer and maybe put some tomato sauce on them.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hey, a free camera! Where do I sign?

I used to subscribe to Scientific American, which is a pretty good read. Now that I'm a student I can read the articles online for free through uni, so I let the subscription lapse. But I still get stuff in the mail enticing me to join the AAAS or subscribe to National Geographic or whatever. The other week I got a National Geographic one, and it came with this leaflet:

Free digital camera with these great detriments!

In case you can't read the blurb:
Receive the famous National Geographic full-size world map and Digital Camera FREE with your paid order. The big, beautiful world map is printed in full color on archival paper. Lightweight and easy to use, the Digital Camera features a traditional viewfinder and built-in memory card and runs on three AAA batteries (not included). Best of all, both of these fantastic items are FREE when we receive your payment. Send in your order today!
I'm not going to heap shit on National Geographic; I'm sure it's a great magazine, the subscription price is very reasonable and you can't complain about getting a free world map AND a free digital camera. But what I love about this leaflet is the way they act as if the camera's shortcoming are actually features. They say it "features a traditional viewfinder" - in other words, it lacks an LCD screen. It has a built-in memory card - meaning that it can't handle the super-convenient SD cards. And it runs on three AAA batteries - which is to say, it lacks a more cost-effective rechargeable battery.

But hey, at least it's free.

When I was scanning that image, I decided to scan it at 1200 dpi to test out my scanner. Saved in PNG format, the file weighed in at 30.1 MB. Here's a full resolution sample:

Home sweet home

I noticed something weird - along the horizontal axis, the pixels are in groups of two of the same colour, like so:

That sucks

What this means is that the scanner's only scanning at 600 dpi along the horizontal axis. If I didn't get the scanner for free, I'm pretty sure I'd feel totally ripped off right now. It also means that I can scale down the image along the horizontal axis by a factor of two, cutting the file size down to 22.5 MB, and it can be perfectly restored without losing any information. Alternatively I can scale it down and then scale it back up with cubic interpolation, and it suddenly looks much smoother, although the file size increases to 39.2 MB. Example:

Looks much smoother amirite

I guess this is what people mean when they say "but I digress".


Monday, May 11, 2009

You just know it can be traced back to a specific lawsuit

Here's another instalment of what is becoming an ongoing series of funny crap I see at uni. I was using the restroom in the physics building when this highly informative sticker on the wall behind the toilet caught my eye:

I think they have these in the toilets at IKEA.

Seems a little redundant. If you don't know how to shit properly, you probably shouldn't be going to university.

Out of curiosity I checked a different stall and found one that wasn't ripped, with its helpful advice intact:

Sit down when you take a dump.

One can only assume the stickers have been put in place to combat the recent wave of students squatting on the toilets while they drop some friends off at the pool, only to shatter the delicate porcelain bowl and break their legs/arses. I guess I should report the torn sticker, before some innocent person forgets what to do when they pinch a loaf and ends up paraplegic. It's easy to see why it was ripped, of course: someone tried to steal the sticker so they could put it up at home to remind themselves of proper pooping protocol.

For a limited time*, a percentage** of all PayPal donations to me will go the the Royal Society for Prevention of Crapping Accidents***. Remember: Only YOU can prevent senseless toilet-based calamities!

* So limited, in fact, that the deadline has already passed.
** 0%.
*** Organisation may not exist.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

I got a postie bike!

A couple of weeks ago I finally did something I've been wanting to do for years: I got a motorbike. Not just any motorbike, but the mighty Honda CT110, a.k.a. postie bike.

I've only ridden it once, briefly, but it was pretty fun. I'm getting my bike learner license in a couple of weeks. It will be pretty awesome.

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