Posts by Ruben Hillier

Ground zero, version 8.0. Welcome back.

The Granny in Oz

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My Ma recently arrived home in chilly Totnes. I loved having her staying with us for the tail end of our summer.

We had lots of fun cycling and walking around the beaches, town and village. I had been worried she’d be too hot but I think it was mostly pretty good. There was the obligatory few rainy days but it was mostly blazing sunshine.

I posted some photos on FB, for those that choose not to partake of the electronic crack, here are some of those pics.

Win’s Thai Kitchen Menu

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As many of you know my fabtastically hard working partner in crime works at Win’s Thai Kitchen.

A wildly popular place which gets very, very busy, especially on the weekends. When a queue of customers is waiting to pay or order and the two woks are crashing and sizzling away the staff are working flat out to keep up with the rush. The phones are ringing off the hook, it can be really difficult to hear the caller.

So, here is my advice to the discerning phone order customer, choose exactly what you want before ringing. Just to help I have posted a picture of the current menu below. If you find it hard to read grab the original pdf here or click any of the menu pictures below.

Alien Terror and Weather

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Em and Ev had been talking about the Alien movies for quite some time. Em decided it was time for him to brave the terrors. Last night we stayed up and watched the first Alien movie. Em had never seen it before and was slightly terrified throughout. His older brother Ev was unsympathetic.

When the alien baby was being birthed out of John Hurts’ belly Ev was admonishing Em to keep his eyes open and unblock his ears. He went on to tell of his stalwart bravery when he first watched Alien. I let Em bury his face in my chest and put my arm around him. I remembered Ev’s sheer terror at seeing ET hiding amongst the cuddly toys.

It’s now Tuesday morning, ten to nine. The sunny spell has been broken with a night of thunderstorms. The rain is blatting on the roof like machine gun fire. Like most mornings of late, I had intended to go for a run. It is not very appealing in the sweltering heat nor in a cold hard deluge of rain.

My Ma is probably enroute to Australia by now. No doubt her departure triggered the thunderstorms last night. We have had almost two months of beautiful weather, admittedly far too hot. It has been the kind of weather that is good for barbeques on the back deck, swimming and kayaking in the creeks and surfing off the headlands. My favourite being evening strolls into the village with the smell of jasmine. I have been mostly laying in hammocks and sofas on our back deck reading books or going running. I’ve had occaisonal visits from friends, we generally talk about books or complain at the heat. When the weather turns inclement the back deck becomes a cold place of misery. The grass grows even more rapidly, it cannot be cut. Even the dog refuses to wade through the wet tufts. The tin roof amplifies the impact of every rain drop making conversation difficult. Even listening to the radio becomes an ordeal. The forecasters are saying this rain has been a long time coming and we can expect it to stay. Sorry Ma.

I’m going for a run anyway.


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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The Brisbane summer has been hot and humid. Clothes sticking to sweaty skin and fresh cut watermelon turning sour within ten minutes of leaving the fridge.

It started with the dog. She could not look at anyone and hung her head in shame, “Poor dog, you must have eaten something bad”.

We cleaned the mess and went out visiting everyone for Christmas. By the time we got home Ev was complaining of sulphurous burps and ominous gut rumblings. The next day he declared it must be Ebola but was still able to drive the six hours home.

We caught up with Ev a day later and so did the gut rumblings. I ignored the symptoms, perhaps I was imagining it. I went running on the beach and fasted for the rest of the day. The heat and humidity of Brisbane had followed us home. The next day after a light breakfast I ran again. I had a minor fall, grazing my knee. My ankle throbbed, then my knee. I was drenched with sweat and the wind felt cold under the midday sun. My guts clenched. It had me.

C rescued me, she took me home where I paced between the loo, the sofa and the shower. Eating nothing I spent the day and then the night reading and feeling sorry for myself.

Lying awake during the night I was remembering a family holiday in Scotland when I was a young boy.

The roof of my mouth was burnt ragged eating thick hot porridge mixed with melted butter and Tate & Lyles Golden Syrup. My enjoyment was cut short by gastro. I dropped my spoon in my haste to get to the toilet. When I came back Z had cleared away my half eaten bowl. Unfinished meals have never again tasted as good as that porridge. I must have dozed off because I was woken by C returning from an early moring coffee with her mate. She was buzzing with caffeine and shortly after began to feel nauseous.

Gastro is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Happy New Year.

Crappy Christmas

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A beautiful, fantastic girl once gave us a fantastic, beautiful card for Christmas. It was many years ago and is still my all time favourite card. Much love to all our pals and families everywhere.

Enjoy the shopping folks.

13 Years Ago

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Thirteen years ago I missed out on being in this family pic. Next year I hope to complete my Nursing degree and a year after that I hope to complete a Post Grad year. Maybe then I can afford a proper trip home.

Two more years seems to be so far away right now.

Baby Quail

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Our quails have been rooting a fair bit. The girls are popping out eggs without a care. Unfortunately, they are rather unreliable at getting clucky. Luckily Speedy, like many bantams, loves to keep eggs warm.

Today Jay found that she’d hatched one of the quail eggs. Cute hey?

Simon Wilson

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I found a series of photo’s on an old back-up a few months ago. Which reminded me of my pal Simon. I’m going to post them here so that he can ask me to unpost it.

I am quite an annoying old friend.

I’m not quite sure how old I was, perhaps about 14 or 15, when I made friends with Simon Wilson. Without extended family in the immediate vicinity we were outsiders in our village. Tribal sports such as football or rugby did not interest us. We both liked gaming on ZX Spectrums. We were both a tad geeky, which was not cool back in 1984. It still isn’t really, despite what the telly tells you (Big Bang? Fibs).

We went for cycle rides mostly just to the gravel pits but at least once to Rinsey and on occaison to Ha’penny Park. We explored Lowertown woods with BJ, the Wilson family dog. Simon’s little brother sometimes tagged along. We enjoyed discussing and playing computer and board games. Jet Set Willy was my favourite, only because I could ‘hack’ it with ‘pokes’ (too boring to explain). The fledgling franchises of The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars all figured strongly.

Like the many friendships throughout my life this one dissolved in time. Now I live on the otherside of the world and never glimpse my old friend, which is a shame.

Wishing you all the best Simon.

Root Agora

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After several weeks of intermittent failed attempts I finally managed to get root on my crapass phone.

“Getting root” has a different meanings here in Australia but in this case it refers to gaining full control of my telephone operating system. A bizarre idea when I stop and think about it. Just in case there is another sad geek in need of emotional support or instructions, here is how I did it:

I pulled up the phone specifications (Settings>About phone) and searched the net.

Kogan Agora HD+

The Phone: Kogan Agora HD+

Build: KoganAgora_build. V2.0

Kernel version: 3.4.5 KoganAgora_Kernel.V2.0 3/12/2013

Custom build version: KAQC05

Some of the things I tried were:

  • Configuring my Debian Wheezy laptop to use backported ADB tools and ensuring it connects properly via udev rules. Thanks Nicolas Bernaerts.
  • Marc Lane’s has a great little guide on his blog, but it did not work for me.
  • The ‘quick and easy steps’ over at Gleescape led me nowhere.
  • I even booted the Mini-Mac into Windows just to try SRSRoot and a few other shonky executables.

That last one, SRSRoot, is an executable which runs through a database of popular exploits to crack the phone security. This led me to search for a specific exploit that may work on my phone. I found a few posts in which eventually led me to Dan Rosenbergs motochopper exploit, (via Sourceforge Japan).

Motochopper appears to have given me root access. Without seeing what the exploit code did it is possible Dan Rosenberg has supplanted Google as my phones keeper. I can live with that, security is just an illusion anyway. Thanks Dan.


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CJ was a friend of mine who died of old age. I say old age but the hospital would tell you it was stroke. CJ would have told you it was because his body betrayed him.

After going for a run this morning I climbed down the 74 steps for a morning swim. The water was cold and the waves messy. I ducked, floated and dived before finally letting the waves wash me back in. As I walked back up the steps struggling with my damp t-shirt I thought about CJ. He loved Murrays beach, he pulled out the bitou bushes, to give the native plants a chance, and he picked up the rubbish people left behind. He planted grass and pandanaus palms to stabilise the sand dunes, he wrote many lovely poems about his ‘ancient beach’.

I hope his family won’t mind if I share one here:

My Ancient Beach

The over-arching vault of peerless blue sky.
The metamorphic tongue of blackened rock
lancing the beach of spangling brightness
to islands beyond the surf,
now rookeries for tern and gull.
The pineappled pandanus standing stark
its roots tracking nutrients and water
as it leaches back to the sea.

Crackling waves kiss the beach today
swirling round the polished pebbles
which I sample for my Shinto garden.
The search for tranquility in my life
comes closer to fruition here
and like some druid admiring Nature
I leave offerings by taking rubbish away
pulling out weeds and starting out
a host of young pandanus
to reach out and touch the sky.