Monday, 31 October 2005

For the Good of Your Country

Something in the way our government is travelling at the moment gives me an uneasy gut; a metallic taste in my mouth. I don't know why I'm worried about the Indutrial Relations reforms - I can hardly articulate this feeling I have that its not a good idea. Its suspect, I tells ya.

I think somewhere along the line I got the notion that weakening the Unions will weaken the Labour Party (who are the only real alternative we have to the Libs) and they're useless enough as it is. As in, thoroughly dysfunctional. And then The NightWatchman goes and puts up pictures that make it just that little bit more tangible....

Baby's First DNA Toy

A recommendation for any child....

All About Work...

I'm recommending this speech (read the full version here), and I've extracted bits to encourage you to read the whole thing - like a blurb on the back of a book, say, or in a review.

What We can Learn From open Source, by Paul Graham (Author of Hacker and Painters)
August 2005 (This essay is derived from a talk at Oscon 2005.)

...We may be able to get a fix on these underlying forces by triangulating from open source and blogging. As you've probably noticed, they have a lot in common.Like open source, blogging is something people do themselves, for free, because they enjoy it. Like open source hackers, bloggers compete with people working for money, and often win...
...they can't pay people enough to build something better than a group of inspired hackers will build for free...

...The New York Times front page is a list of articles written by people who work for the New York Times. Delicious is a list of articles that are interesting. And it's only now that you can see the two side by side that you notice how little overlap there is.

... [one] thing blogs and open source software have in common is that they're often made by people working at home. That may not seem surprising. But it should be. It's the architectural equivalent of a home-made aircraft shooting down an F-18. Companies spend millions to build office buildings for a single purpose: to be a place to work. And yet people working in their own homes, which aren't even designed to be workplaces, end up being more productive.

...the reason most employees work fixed hours is that the company can't measure their productivity. The basic idea behind office hours is that if you can't make people work, you can at least prevent them from having fun. If employees have to be in the building a certain number of hours a day, and are forbidden to do non-work things while there, then they must be working...

...for big companies I propose the following experiment. Set aside one day where meetings are forbidden-- where everyone has to sit at their desk all day and work without interruption on things they can do without talking to anyone else. Some amount of communication is necessary in most jobs, but I'm sure many employees could find eight hours worth of stuff they could do by themselves. You could call it "Work Day."

...The other thing I like about publishing online is that you can write what you want and publish when you want. Earlier this year I wrote something that seemed suitable for a magazine, so I sent it to an editor I know. As I was waiting to hear back, I found to my surprise that I was hoping they'd reject it. Then I could put it online right away. If they accepted it, it wouldn't be read by anyone for months...

...Google is a rare example of a big company in tune with the forces I've described. They've tried hard to make their offices less sterile than the usual cube farm. They give employees who do great work large grants of stock to simulate the rewards of a startup. They even let hackers spend 20% of their time on their own projects...

...At the moment, even the smartest students leave school thinking they have to get a job. Actually what they need to do is make something valuable...

Friday, 28 October 2005

For smiles

I want to be a Gloworm
cos they are never glum,
How can you be unhappy
when the sun shines out your bum?!

from someone's signature.

Friday, 21 October 2005

Booties!! Beanies!!

Much to my boyfriend's digust, I'm knitting booties. I have a new niece/nephew (presuming it will be one or the other, not both) coming and using it as an excuse to do quick projects.
The beanie came from a hat book of a workmate and the booties are a variation I made up based on the pirate booties in '50 baby booties to knit' (Zoe Mellor). (I made the cuffs short and crocheted, single, double, triple crochets and then hooked down the side to make triangles along the top).

Sunday, 9 October 2005

Brian's Carlton Guernsey - Part 2

Previously I posted a photo of a vest I made for my nephew, and below is the pattern for it. I will post a scan of the logo grid but this could be used for a regular vest with other logos or colour variations...


6 yo Brian
Measurements: Chest – 60cm,
neck to hip – 37cm, neck to shoulder – 8cm


Wool: 5ply navy / white in 4 / 1 balls (100g)
Needles: 3mm and 3.25mm


Stst.. Stocking stitch
CO... Cast on
BO.... Bind off
R...... row
St..... Stitch
W..... work stitches as required to make stst style
Red.. Reduce: -
........ On Perl row: K2tog as required
........ On knit row: slip 1, W1, Slip slipped st over.


15sts x 17rows = 2” sq (or 29sts x 33rows = 10 cm2)



CO 97 stitches.
Single rib for 15mm (approx 6 rows)
Stst for 23cm total.


R1-4: CO3 W to end
R5&6: W
R7&8: W2#, Red1, W to last 4, Red1, W2
R9: W
R10, 12&14: W2, Red2, W to last 5, Red2, W2
R11, 13&15: W
R16: W
R17: W1, Red2, W to last 4, Red1, W2
R18&19: W
R20: W2, Red1, W to last 4, Red1, W2.

Neck & Shoulder:

At 36cm, work to 4 from centre, Red2, W2, place just-worked stiches on holder, place centre stitch of pin or similar, W2, Red2, work to end
R2: W to 5 from end, Red2, W2
R3: W2, Red1, W to end
R4: W to 4 from end, Red 1, W2
R5: W
R6: W to 4 from end, Red1, W2
R7: W2, Red1, W to end
R8: W to 4 from end, Red1, W2
R9: W2, Red1, W to end.
From here, when working away from neck, [W2, Red1], when working away from arm [BO6].

Pick up other side and duplicate.


CO 97 stitches.
Single rib for 15mm (approx 6 rows)
Stst for 5cm (6.5cm total).
Begin image.

At 23cm work armhole.


R1-6: CO2, w to end
Odd rows R7: W2, Red1 work to last 4, Red1 W2, rep 5 times (ie, to R15)
R8, 10, 12, 14, 16 & 17: W

AT R14 (after approx 27cm total)

Place centre stitch on holder

R20: W2, Red1


BO6 when knitting towards neck.


(R1 on neck is R15 on armhole)
R1, 3 & 5: W2, Red1
Then *W2, Red1*Even Rows till R28 (inc) (i.e. 11 times)
R31: W2, Red1
R35: W2 Red 1

HERE (after approx 27cm)


R37: w2, Red1

Sew together at sides and shoulder seams


With circular or dble ended needles, pick up no. of stitches as indicated below.
Knit single rib for 15mm (same no. of rows as bottom hem)
Neck: ___ stitches, including those held at the centre of the front and back edges.
Arm: ___ evenly

#Note: at points of reduction, the margin of W2 can be W1 if preferred.

Swing Patrol Performance Ball - Last Night I Swung!!

Last night was my first swing dancing performance. And I loved it.

I attend the swing Patrol School ( and I can't say enough good things about them. The teachers love their stuff, are encouraging, patient and enthusiastic, and you never know how bad you are; you only get encouragement. The community is very friendly, no cattiness or exclusivity, and a good range of ages, although predominantly 20-30yos.

I decided to go to the Camberwell classes once Swing Patrol announced they'd be starting routines for the Performance Ball. So for two months I've been attending the Palace Hotel, reading name-tags and meeting lots of excellent poeple, learning from Sarah, Anthony and Tim, wishing I was half as pretty as any of them.

Swing Patrol's classes don't require you to bring a partner - during each class you change partners every few minutes, so its an excellent place to meet likewise folk and I've often met backpackers looking to get into things. Generally, there are more girls than guys, so there's always a few moments at the start of each class where we organise where the gaps are. Luckily there are a few girls who like to lead so the lead/follow balance is better than it could be. It does mean, however, that when it comes to the performances, you have to nab the partner you want very early.
Somehow, because there are more follows than leads, its become the follow's role to ask the lead to perform with them, I suppose because its a given that the lead will perform twice (some classes are so large than they have two performance rounds) and it would be inconsiderate for them to be selective of who they get each time. The other element of it is that its a very community oriented school, and there is an attitude that no-one should be left out, so teachers will dance in the performances if necessary (which has the added bonus of maybe scoring a teacher on the night - an excellent partner, guaranteed).

The level 1 dance was to Mr Zoot Suit, and I think the routine was one of the best of the night - fun, interesting, a good range of steps, and we performed it well. I was lucky enough to dance with Keith, who's a great lead and excellent to dance with in a performance - very smiley and enthusiastic. The level 2 dance was to How Sweet It Is by Michael Buble, and I got to dance with Gary, who's lovely - he's enthusiastic, and friendly and easy to dance with - I was very pleased to nab him for such a cruisy song.

The Ball was held at the Malvern Town Hall and we hit capacity before 10pm, which is a first for a SP ball, and excellent for the people performing.

I also performed with Belly Patrol - a sister school of Swing Patrol. We love dancing for the swing crowd because they're so appreciative and encouraging. We made lots of little mistakes but the lights were dimmed and nothing disastrous happened. We had a great time.

The end result for me is that I had an excellently wonderful night:
  • I don't think I made any swing mistakes.
  • I was up the front with Keith for the first class (the third song of the night)
  • Gary and I were too good to be up the back
  • My cousin and boyfriend were in the crowd, and my cousin thinks she has no choice now but to go to a swing class - how can she resist?
  • One of my best friends was in the crowd and was suitably excited for me, becuase she's a good friend.
  • I should be able to go without food for about five days, coz I can live on the few compliments I got :D
  • Everyone has so much fun. Fun, fun, fun.

I think everyone should try swing dancing for at least a hour (straight). Everyone should dance at some stage. No two ways about it.