Thursday, March 31, 2005

Stuff in Dali's art

Clocks (usually drooping, but not always)
Organic-looking crutches
Single bean
Venus de Milo
Drawers coming out of people
People without faces or with flowers for faces
People with animal heads

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Dali Universe

Peter and I went to the Dali Universe museum in London last weekend. Some of the stuff was quite familiar as we'd seen similar pieces years ago at a Dali museum in Paris. I'd also seen a great surrealism exhibiton at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

I just love Dali's work. It's so awesomely weird yet somehow all seems to fit together in a bizarre and unexpected way.

Dali's art is not all totally weird though. Some of it is only a bit weird. This includes one of my favourites - Alice in Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland is a 4ft tall bronze sculture of a woman with a long flowy dress. Her hands and hair are blooms of roses and her face is covered with leaves.

My first thought when I saw this sculpture was how pretty the roses were and how elegant the lines of the flowy dress was. When I stood back for a moment and looked at the sculpture as a whole, my next thought was that the line of her centre of gravity appeared to be just outside the base of her gown. For some reason, this seemed to be more incongruous to me than the fact that her hair and hands were made of roses.

When looking at surrealist art, or any art for that matter, I can suspend disbelief for just about everything - except gravity. Woman with flowers for hands. Fine. Guy with drawers coming out of his stomach. Sure. Venus with the neck of a giraffe. Whatever. As long as they appear to be complying with the laws of gravity then they can be as weird as they like!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Average of 10

I did an average of 10 the other day and got 37.98 seconds! I was quite happy with this as it's faster than my average (usually ~40 seconds). For non-cubers reading this, I should explain than an 'average of 10' means doing 12 consecutive solves, discarding the fastest and slowest and then averaging the remaining 10.

I used Chris Hunt's JNetCube application to randomly generate the scrambles, and also to time the solves. Here is the summary of the average of 10:

Average: 37.98 seconds
Individual Times: 39.58, 38.28, 41.03, (46.41), 36.94, 39.16, 37.19, 35.96, 37.80, 32.66, (31.72), 41.24
Fastest Time: 31.72
Slowest Time: 46.41
Standard Deviation: 02.54
Here are the scrambles.

Scramble 1: D2 B2 D2 R2 B D' B2 U2 D2 R2 F' U' D' L2 U2 F L' F' U F2 L D' R' L F2
Time: 39.58s

Scramble 2: D F2 R2 B2 L' F2 R U2 R B2 R L U2 D L D L' U F2 L D' U' R' D U'
Time: 38.28s

Scramble 3: L2 D R2 B2 F' L' R2 D' B' L2 F2 D' U2 R F B2 U' B' R L2 F' D R' U' L
Time: 41.03s

Scramble 4: B2 F R L D B2 L2 F L2 B U' L U' L' B' R' L B L2 U R' D R F2 L'
Time: 46.41s

Scramble 5: B' L2 B R' L D R' B' U2 L' D U2 R' U' F' L' F' B D2 F R2 D2 U2 F2 D2
Time: 36.94s

Scramble 6: L2 U2 R L2 F' B2 U' L F' D2 B2 R B' F R2 B' L R2 D2 U' R L' F R2 F
Time: 39.16s

Scramble 7: U2 B2 L R' F' D B' L U' F B2 R F2 B' L2 F2 L2 D2 R' F' D2 R2 U' R B
Time: 37.19s

Scramble 8: L F2 R D2 R' B2 L2 D' L R F' B' U' D' F' R U2 D2 L U2 D2 R' D2 R' U
Time: 35.96s

Scramble 9: F2 D2 L' U' B' R B L D' U2 R' B D' B L D' L' R' B' D U2 R' F' D' F2
Time: 37.80s

Scramble 10: U B' L' B2 D' B2 F2 L2 U D' F' B D2 U' B' L2 R B' L' B R2 L2 B2 U2 D'
Time: 32.66s

Scramble 11: F2 L' R D2 U L' F2 U2 B' L B' L2 R F' D' L' D' U2 B' D2 F' U R' U' D
Time: 31.72s

Scramble 12: L' D U B R U B' L2 U' F2 U2 L' B R D B' F2 D2 L' R B L2 B U D'
Time: 41.24s

Monday, March 28, 2005

Papageno restaurant

Peter and I had dinner at Papageno tonight. I've been interested to try this restaurant since the first time we walked past it months ago.

There are two reasons why I was keen to visit Papageno. One reason is because of its name. Papageno is a character from my favourite opera, Die Zauberflöte. The other reason is because of the awesome interior. Their website describes the interior as "a busy concoction of colourful stage props, flamboyant artwork, gilt furniture and heavy drapes" and the decor as "an exuberant cross between an opera set and Aladdin's Cave". Lots of draped purple and burgundy fabric and gold trimmings. I just love it! Very much my sort of thing. :)

As for the food, our entrees were good, but the main meals were fairly pedestrian. As we were finishing our main meals we saw someone setting up a keyboard and music stand. Turns out that there was going to be some live opera later in the evening! Even though we were both quite full after two courses, we decided to order coffee and dessert so we could stick around for the opera.

For dessert we had a very nice crème brulee. It was definitely the yummiest part of the dinner. After dessert, the second very nice surprise happened (the first being the live opera). The waitress brought out a complimentary fruit platter! We were both so incredibly full by this point that all we could manage was a few strawberries and a kiwi fruit. Mmmm.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Crazy puzzles and pictures

Do you remember my crazy scrambled extended "cube" puzzle I posted in Sept last year?

custom made 3x3x5 puzzle in a scrambled state

Another cuber has created a binary version of this picture. He used a program called to do this. Looks cool. I might have to give it a go sometime!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Jade and Ajax

These two adorable black kitties are Jade and Ajax. They live with my friends, Ellie and Mark. I met Jade and Ajax when they were tiny little kittens. They had endless energy and would bounce and play for hours and hours. Ellie tells me that they've settled down a bit now. They're still just as adorable though!

Beautiful black kitties Jade and Ajax
Adorable black kitties

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

On our way to Hogwarts, oops, I mean Cambridge

Peter and I went to Cambridge last weekend to visit our friend Doug. It was a great weekend and Doug was an excellent host! He showed us around Cambridge and the University (including the beautiful King's College Chapel) and took us punting on the River Cam!

The train to Cambridge departs from King's Cross station in London. This is also where Hogwart's Express departs from. Here's a picture of Mr Cookie and I at Platform 9 and 3/4. Cookie was quite keen to visit Hogwarts, but we'd already bought tickets to Cambridge. :)

Jasmine and Cookie at Platform 9 and 3/4

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Blogging and RSS feeds

I'm glad that many of my friends have blogs. Makes it much easier to keep track of who's doing what and where and when.

My preferred medium for catching up with everyone's blogs is to sync the latest entries to my iPAQ hx4705 using an aggregator. For this I am currently using Egress. Then I can read them on-the-go without having to be online. My most common blog reading time is on the train, or while waiting for the train.

Some of the blogs I regularly read had RSS feeds already. For those which didn't, I had to hassle the authors to set this up. ;) (BTW, thanks guys for doing this.) Fortunately, they were all using Blogger and it's very easy to publish an XML feed if you have a Blogger blog.

Something else I noticed is that I think Blogger might now have the RSS feed turned on by default. I suspect this because of the following exchange via comments with one of my friends who blogs:

Me: Have you thought about turning on the RSS feed for your blog so I can
sync it through my RSS feeder (Egress) on my hx4705?

Friend with blog: Do I want to what with my what now?

I gather from this exchange that she hadn't actively turned on RSS, however, it turns out that her blog was actually publishing the XML feed. There had just been something wrong with my net connection at the time which prevented me from grabbing it.

Yay for blogging. Yay for RSS feeds.

Friday, March 18, 2005

World Rubik's Games Championships 2005

The World Rubik's Games Championships 2005 have been announced!

Scrambled Cube

The championships will be in held in Florida on 5-6 November 2005 at Disney's Pop Century Resort. Current planned events are: 3x3x3 speedsolve, 4x4x4 speedsolve, 5x5x5 speedsolve, 3x3x3 blindfold, 4x4x4 blindfold, 5x5x5 blindfold, 3x3x3 fewest moves, 3x3x3 one-handed, 3x3x3 with feet, 2x2x2, Rubik's Magic, Rubik's Clock, Megaminx and Square-1.

Solved Cube

I competed at the Rubiks World Championships 2003 in Toronto on 23-24 August 2003. At that competition I competed in three events - 3x3x3 speedsolve, 4x4x4 speedsolve and the Rubik's Clock. It was so much fun!!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Mobile Rubiks

News article: Starwave Mobile Licenses Rubik's Cube and Rubik's Brand; World's Best-Selling Game Crosses Over to Mobile Space

"NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. & NEW ORLEANS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 14, 2005--Starwave Mobile, a mobile publishing and licensing label from the Walt Disney Internet Group, today announced it has obtained exclusive worldwide mobile rights for the classic Rubik's(R) brand of puzzle games including the world-famous Rubik's(R) Cube.

Under the terms of the deal with Seven Towns Ltd., license holder of the 25-year-old Rubik's franchise, Starwave plans to launch a line of mobile games based on the popular Rubik's brand of casual and puzzle games later this year."

Scrambled Rubik's Cube

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Friday, March 04, 2005

Bluetooth Jabra BT250 headset

I got a cool bluetooth Jabra BT250 headset to go with my new phone and I love it!!

Jabra 250 bluetooth headset

I've had corded hardfree devices before and never really got into them, but now I use the bluetooth one all the time. Another cool thing is that because I have long hair (and usually wear it out in the winter time to keep my neck and ears from freezing) you can barely even see the headset when I'm wearing it.

This has the benefit of not making me look like a cybergeek if I'm wearing it on the train, and I do often wear it on the train otherwise I'd never hear the phone ring in my bag. However, it has the downside of people possibly thinking that I'm talking to myself. Hopefully most people realise that I'm actually talking into a handfree headset rather than to myself -- if so, I guess they might then think I'm a geek, but that's better than them thinking I'm crazy!

Peter was initally very jealous of my whizzy bluetooth cordless handsfree, but then he decided he didn't really like it. He said he prefered the corded ones! Crazy talk! Now Peter has scored his own bluetooth headset and is quite getting into it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Review of top end Pocket PCs

Pocket PC Thoughts had a link to this great comparative review of top end Pocket PCs, including the hx4705. The review is quite comprehensive and I'd definitely recommend taking a look at it if you are considering purchasing a VGA Pocket PC.

iPAQ hx4705

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Honour or pity?

Peter gave me a cat-a-day 2005 desk calendar. Each day has a new kitty and a kitty-related comment or quote. Here's the quote from yesterday:

Honour or Pity?
When cats bring their prey back home, it's quite possible that they're providing for someone they view as lacking hunting skills. Keep this in mind, and treat the gesture as an act of kindness.
Cat and mouse
Cat and mouse

If you were a cat hanging out with me you'd be more likely to see this type of mouse.

Cat and another sort of mouse
Cat and another sort of mouse