Skip to main content

Studying is Bullshit

Awoke after a restless night with an aching back. Lay in bed from two in the morning. My mind tangentially racing around pointless circuits. Exasperated I made the decision to get up at dawn and run to Villeville and back. As the sun rose I fell asleep. At eight Suzy came in and woke Agrippa and I up with news of Pyrrho's new Harley Davidson and that the oven was full of breakfast scones. I got up feeling tired from all the lost sleep and undecided about going for the run I'd decided upon. Decision and indecision folding in my insomnolent mind. Decisions made for me I get up and eat scones. Did I want to play Risk the board game with Agrippa? No, I want to write this. Headphones on to blank out further requests, allow me to make my own decisions.

Pyrrho decided to buy a Harley Davidson a year or so ago. He paid it off throughout the year and just told his ex-wife this morning. He had been worried about this decision he made. Hung up on how she might react. Guilt at spending money that she might not think was his to spend. So much money on what is essentially a toy. He just wants approval from the people that matter to him. Sasha said, "I don't care what he does with his money". I know Pyrrho will be sad to find she matters to him more than he does to her. Just another ending to their former life together.

A stack of books in front of me, "Functional Histology", "Ischemic Heart Disease", "Medical-Surgical Nursing" and so on. I got them from the Villeville Hospital Library. They were giving them away, really. I've not even opened one of them. Studying is bullshit. I am not an academic and I never will be. I don't think being and academic is even a real role anymore. They have been replaced by Researchers and Vocational Teachers. Both can choose to call themselves academics and attend the various pompous ceremonies thrown by their Universities but they are kidding themselves.

I am working again this year in the same roles I had last year. For the Library I will be helping students to find and operate books. For the Equity department which specialises in sales to punters who come from backgrounds that attract government funding to pay their fees. It's a sort of complicated method of claiming government benefits, like most jobs in Australia. Giving your mind.

I began my studies beholden to noone but my family and to a very limited extent my clients. I now find myself in relationships with the Fire and Rescue Service, The University and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. I had not really realised the extent of control they could exert in my life until I firstly, had an essay plagiarised by a first year student; and secondly, lost my licence for speeding. In both instnces I was forced into a correspondence with these faceless organisations. Amongst them all, the University has one the stakes of evil facelessness. I recieved threats enforcing their will at the cost of my planned future and previous two years of privations. My hatred for staff that blindly follow their specified roles without a human thought is deep. I have considered getting on a plane to a randomly chosen country. On arrival heading for the slums or the hills, anywhere I can disappear. I would begin my life again beholden to noone.

It is 9.26am and I am almost done writing this crap. The scones are settling into my gut, converting into fat and shit. I've drunk enough coffee to go full circle and make no damn difference. I am going to stuff my phone, a towel and some water into a backpack and go run up the coast. I'm not going to stop until I've burnt away everyone elses decisions that lie heavily across me.


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 Choppy 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 Choppy 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.

Suzy 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.

Go straight to Type 7

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 Suzy returning from an early morning coffee with Sasha. She was buzzing with caffeine and shortly after began to feel nauseous.

Free novelty biblical lion beehive with every jar

Gastro is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Happy New Year.

13 Years Ago

Left to right: Joe, Charlie, Zaida, Dan, Georgie and John

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.

Crappy Christmas

Have a Crappy Christmas

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.

Baby Quail

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.

Our new baby quail

Today Rodney found that she'd hatched one of the quail eggs. Cute hey?

Simon Wilson

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.

Simon Wilson 2001]

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).

Simon Wilson 2001]

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.

Simon Wilson 2001]

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

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.

Settings>About phone - 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.

His Ancient Beach

Alfred was a friend of mine who died of old age. I say old age but the hospital would tell you it was stroke. Alfred 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 Alfred. 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 Agrippa ple 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. ​ Alfred

Still Emptying Dozemary pool

Time passes and I've removed another iteration of, there is a hole in the shell and my thoughts keep running through.

Some Nerdy History

I don't really remember when I first registered Sometime around 1999/2000, I think. I first hosted the website on Pair. I wrote my first pages in some version of Windows 3.1 notepad, and something called arachniweb or webspinner or something. It was all a bit rubbish and I had no idea what I was doing I still don't really. In 2002 I got a job with Webcentral which came with free hosting somewhat reluctantly I closed my Pair account and used the servers that came with my job. My websites began to get built with abodminations like Frontpage and Coldfusion. Dreamweaver and Homesite were slightly better but I am a shite coder.

Eventually I saw the error of my ways and quit my job and moved to the beach and spent a few years messing around with Dreamhost and Drupal. Nowadays I am running it all out of a VPS with the excellent Linode and am becoming keen on a simpler approach using Octopress.

I look/ed like this on a good day:

![Ben in 1993, when I worked for Courier Systems - On my old BMW when I worked for Courier Systems back in the 90s]({{ }}/images/avatars/Ben-courier-1993.jpg) ![Wishing I had my own helicopter]({{ }}/images/avatars/Ben-helo.png) ![My helpful screenshot]({{ site.url }}/assets/screenshot.jpg) ![Ben in 2014, Wishing I had my own helicopter]({{ }}/images/avatars/Ben-helo.png)

I am currently at the end of my second year of a nursing degree. I have a break over the summer which is why I have time to piddle about with this stuff. I work as a retained firefighter. My spare time is spent hanging out with my family, chatting with my pal MJD and other stuff.

Like Jan Tregeagle I never seem to get to the end of my travails, the least I can do is pass the time.

So, welcome to another version of my web log.

Propogate Pain

Early this morning as I put my son on the train for a school excursion, I witnessed the propogation of pain. Nothing was meant by it, nobody intended any harm and the cruelty was imperceptible.

Children, parents and teachers all crowded on the platform waiting for the infrequent train. The boys were crowded together, laughing and talking excitedly. Every comment was considered with a glance, a laugh, a counter comment or a friendly punch. Twelve year olds who had known each other for the majority of their lives. Larrikins, every one of them.

Another stepped to the edge of the bundle of boys, unnoticed. He wore an eccentric trilby hat. His eyes flitted keenly between the boys as they jostled, joked and laughed. His mouth smiled at their jokes, opening too late to join the parry. His eyes watched in dismay. He went to his bag, to retrieve red spectacles with the lenses knocked out. Put them on and smiled to himself. Boldly, he stepped up to one of the boys saying, "Hello!". A look was all he got, the buzzing energy of the group was overwhelming. To be on the outside of that cohesive power once on the inside was ridiculous. The look told everything. Returning to his bag with a stilted smile he put away the glasses and returned to watching.

During the 20 minute wait for the train I watched half a dozen attempts at connection to the closed group. The train arrived for the beginning of their nine hour journey. I kissed and waved my son goodbye. Parenting makes shits of us all.