Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Genius invention

For those of us who like mayonnaise and diced onions on their sandwiches: someone needs to market mayo 'n' onions as a pre-mixed spread.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I discovered this by accident, when jotting down some notes for recording a song of mine called ''Mona Lisa Smile'':

Write down, in lower-case, the words ''SMILES'' and ''SMITES''. (Either printed, or in cursive; doesn't matter.)

The only difference between the two is the un-crossed ''T''. Which means that if you're in a hurry (as I was), and write "SMILES", you're like to reflexively cross the ''L'', turning it into a ''T'' -- completely changing the meaning, of course.

Is there some deeper meaning here?


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I had an interesting dream last night. It had lots of parts -- most of which I don't remember. But I do remember being involved with either a high school or university orchestra, and using my employee discount to buy a vibraphone.

A vibraphone, BTW, is basically a xylophone with resonator tubes hanging below, and motorized fans at the top of the tube that give the vibraphone its signature warbly sound.

So, that was my dream. But I'm sure it's a fairly common one -- dreaming that you bought a vibraphone.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Age into priority shift

When I was twenty- two, I wanted to make my living off being in a touring rock band. But now I want to stay home and nest.

It's hard to tell whether it's age -- I'm now thirty-eight, not twenty-two -- or having a family (3yo daughter; two baby boys). Part of it's having a house, instead of living in an apartment.

The interesting thing is that my ''hobby'' priorities have shifted as well. Yeah, I'm still looking forward to having some square footage where I can set up my music gear and start recording my backlog of songs. But I think I'm even more interested in cleaning up the yard (we have an invasive species of shrub along the side and back of our yard that I want to get rid of) and building useful things out of wood for the house.

And every time I look out the back window, or walk through the yard to my car, I think about building a potting shed for The Lady, or a playhouse for the kids. (The Girl has it in her head that she wants a treehouse. Not sure where she got that idea.) Also a gazebo thing for The Lady. And some sort of wooden climbing structure for the kids (mostly for The Girl; she's quite the climber).

At the moment, I'm not ''allowed'' to do yardwork: Mowing the lawn takes about half a day, and that's time I need to be spending on the Dissertation. I still have a few months to go on the Dissertation, but once I finish it up, I have a lovely ''To Do'' list I can tuck in to.

Looking forward to it.


(image from

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Classic computers

Just like guys of my father's generation lust after cars that they always wanted to own as young men, but couldn't afford -- I find myself looking through the ''computers'' section of the classified ads, looking for an Apple IIe. (Although, heck -- I'd take a II+.)

We had Apple II-plusses and Apple IIe's at school -- so I dabbled on them a bit -- wrote cute little scripts in LOGO -- that sort of thing. But, never owned one.

So, I keep browsing the classifieds. Of course, until we get the mega-shed built, no where to put one. But, one of these days...

(I should admit: I **do** own an Apple II-GS -- inherited from my parents, after they upgraded to an iMac. But, not quite the same. It's like owning -- and I'm totally exposing my ignorance of cars, here -- a 1985 Ford Mustang instead of a '68 Mustang. Similar name -- but totally different look and vibe.)

Oh: While I was Google-image-ing for a good pic of an Apple IIe, I came across the website of a guy who painted his IIe green. Gotta love it; pictured below.

Didn't fit the bill for the main image for this post. But, couldn't pass it up, either.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Like a rope

A few days ago, I was supervising The Girl taking her bath. After she got out of the bathtub, she twisted her long hair into a giant strand.

Me: "Hey, your hair is like a big rope."

Girl: "My hair not a rope, Daddy -- it HAIR!"

Me: "No, no... I'm not saying your hair IS rope: it's a simile."

Girl: "It not a sim-lee -- it HAIR!!!"

Umm -- o.k., yeah. We'll try this conversation again in a few years.

--Gye Greene

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Respect the evil Spam

Although I think e-mail spam is a scourge upon the e-scape, some of the subject lines earn my respect -- or amusement.

Respect: ''Pope Killed by Assassin in Vatican City". A very good attention-getter. For those with e-mail programs that don't preview the first few words of the message for you, you wouldn't know that it was about ''enlargement''. (Which, now that everyone uses digital cameras, there's not a lot of need for photographic enlargers.) So, you'd probably go, "Whoe! REALLY???" and click on the message.

Amusement: "Let them not mock your sad weiner". I don't know anyone except Slag that actually uses the word ''mock'' -- and it's an under-used word. But I got this image of some guy in a hotdog costume, weeping. Plus, it has a nice cadence -- like ''Do not forsake me, oh my darling...'' It would make a good Western song.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

She are the Borg

So, our daughter has a minor-to-moderate hearing loss in one ear -- with the loss increasing in the higher frequencies.

The research findings are ambiguous as to whether or not to give her a hearing aid on that side. You only need one ''intact'' ear for learning speech and correct pronunciation. And she's still hearing ''stuff'' -- just, not as loudly as on the other side.

If she started wearing a hearing aid, there would be a slight advantage in terms of being able to tell what direction sounds are coming from, and therefore being able to focus in on specific voices in a noisy environment (like a restaurant, or at a party).

But, there are disadvantages: It would be an added thing for her to look after. Because they generally don't issue in-ear hearing aids (they look like cones) until you're a teenager, she'd have an over-the-ear aid -- which might have a bit of stigma to it. And, just like tape-recording someone talking in a room, using a hearing aid actually picks up a lot of audio ''gunk'' (background noise -- chairs scraping, dishes clinking, papers rustling) that you don't get with un-amplified hearing.

More importantly: because hearing aids are hearing-centric (meaning, they're designed to amplify the ''speech'' ranges, rather than the full audio spectrum), she'd gain more higher-frequency response -- but loose the bassy frequencies. So, her hearing on that side wouldn't be perfect: it'd be trebly, instead of bassy. This means that rather than hearing my speaking voice as bassy-but-muffled on that side, she'd hear it as clear-but-insubstantial (i.e. no bass). So, even with a hearing aid, her hearing wouldn't be symmetrical; just differently-imbalanced.

The audiologists told us that at this low level of hearing loss, it's totally up to the parents. Given that the findings are ambiguous (and non-critical), we're erring on the side of non-intervention.

The only up-side to her having an over-the-ear hearing aid on just one side: she'd look kinda like The Borg.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guitar future comic

From Old Roommate: "I can't claim to understand this comic series, but it appears to be a Guitar saga."

It's a bit of a mix between The Matrix and Road Warrior, it looks like.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Music for the mastiffs

I sometimes refer to the band ''Depeche Mode'' as ''Depressed Moles''. Because I am just that funny.

(As I re-read this, I realize that the phrasing sounds like xkcd.)


(source of photo =

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fuel costs, airline industry troubles, and a solution

My dad e-mailed around an article about how high fuel costs are killing off the airline industry -- and with the loss of inexpensive airfares, international travel will once again become only for the well-off. He then asked for our responses to the article.

My response was that I predict there will be a downturn in the air travel industry, and that airlines will indeed scale back the frequency of their routes.

But then, over the years: people will save up their vacation weeks and go via cruise liners rather than jets.

After a brief Google search I found this relevant article -- -- which made some interesting points.

First, cruise ships are waaaay more fuel-efficient (per passenger) than jet airplanes. According to that article, the Queen Mary 2, at service speed, uses 34kilowatts per passenger, for its 2,620 passengers.

In contrast, a Boeing 747 can transport about 500 passengers, and uses 130 kilowatts per passenger.

(Comparison: cars can have a maximum engine output from 50 to 300
kilowatts, or more.)

So, the cruise ship is 3.8 times more fuel-efficient -- and as the article elaborates, it's easier to stuff even more people into the QE2 than into a 747.

As far as the fallout for the airplane manufacturing folks: Boeing just starts building cruise ships. Piece of cake.

The article also says that back before jet airplanes killed off the passenger shipping industry, there was a race for speed -- which topped out at about 4 days to cross the Atlantic (the Pacific is wider, right?). Including layovers, it takes us about 24 hours to get from Brisbane to Seattle. So, a bit longer -- but very little jetlag -- so the moment you landed, you be able to immediately take advantage of your new environment -- rather than feeling like carp for the first two days...

So -- as the article points out -- no more weekend NY to Paris trips. But if you're going to Europe (from the U.S.) for a month -- okay, you burn up a week of your vacation time just in traveling. But at least -- unlike in an airplane -- you'll enjoy the trip (rather than just tolerate it).


Definitely older

There was a maxi-pad commercial on t.v. tonight (how's that for an opener?) that talked about going sixteen hours on a set of undies. In it, the female protagonist was out clubbing with friends -- and ended with everyone sitting on the beach with the sun coming up.

My visceral reaction: that would be horrible!!! I would sooo want to be in bed by that point. Plus, it would probably be all cold.

Back in the day, Guitar Cousin and I would go see live bands at various local clubs, and I'd drag myself home around three in the morning. But I didn't see that as fun: I tolerated it, because I paid my five bucks cover charge, and gosh darn it, I was going to check out all the bands on the playbill. (Although, if the final one was pretty ''blah'', we'd take off early.)

Brisbane has a similar public relations ad: we're so happening and hip -- rather than the boring town we have an inferiority complex about -- that you can party until dawn.


Bed. Me old.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Various kid cognitive

I had a slew of cognitive things over the last week, that I felt like sharing.

Poetic descriptions, when she doesn't know the word: When talking about being watched over at Gran's place: She said her cousin (one year older) “will sleep on the floor on the rectangle little bed”. The Lady asked “the mattress?” -- which The Girl agreed to, and used “mattress” in her next statement.

It was The Lady's mom's birthday a little while ago. Gave her some porcelain figurines. The Girl said “We need to put them on the counter, so ev-ry-one can LOOK at them.” (The ''counter'' is actually a low shelf.)

A few things: (1) A reasonably complex (and grammatical!) sentence; and (2) a somewhat advanced concept, to understand that other people have a point of view; and (3) shows a certain level of generosity or consideration for others, that she wants others to be able to see these things.

Interesting balance between imagination and literalness. I was typing on the computer, and The Girl came in and said “I need to write my shopping list.” So, I opened a new document, and let her sit on my lap and use the keyboard. I asked, “Oh, are you going to write down carrots? And apples?” Her reply: “Noooo. We already HAVE those.”

So: she can pretend to write a shopping list (it was just gibberish; she doesn't even know all her alphabet letters); but she can't pretend to add things to the list that we aren't truly lacking.

Interesting turn of phrase: The girl asked "Are you sure you want to play the animal?” for "Would you like to play the 'animal songs' CD?" And asked "Are you sure you want to dance with me, ever?'' for whether I'd like to dance with her (I'm not sure how to interpret the ''ever'').

Vocabulary: She saw me bobbing my teabag in my mug, so she asked “Why you dipping in it?” I didn’t know she knew the word “dipping”. When you think about it, that's a fairly obscure vocabulary word (when you took high school French -- or whatever -- did you cover the verb ''to dip''?).

Early personality differentiation: It's interesting having non-identical twins, because you can make early observations about personality and developmental progress -- a bit of a ''natural experiment'' -- given that they're being raised in essentially the same social environment. B2 is much more willing to stand up if you hold on to his hands -- whereas B1 goes all ''jelly legs'' (as The Lady calls it).

Also, when you cradle B1 in your arms, with his head under your chin and against your shoulder, he tends to melt into you, happy to be held; whereas B2 tends to be stiff, as he looks around at his environment. We'll see if their personality differences continue.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Circumferance versus the diameter

My knees were stiffening up this afternoon, so I took a walk around the main campus today.

And my ''around the main campus'', I mean that literally: there's a road that rings the main part of the campus, and I walked it.

Took me about ten minutes; in hindsight, I should've timed it more closely.

Pi * diameter = circumferance

So, circumferance time divided by Pi = the diameter time.

Therefore, it would take about three minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other. That's none too large.

But, I like it. :)


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Write down memories

The punchline first: When you have a really special time with someone you care about -- a parent, sibling, partner, child -- write it down that evening and stockpile it. Address it to that person, and many years later, share it with him or her.

The inspiration: Today, I spent more time than usual with The Girl (daughter, 3.9 y.o.) -- and I had a really nice time. Tonight, I spent a while typing up the main things we did together, with as much detail as I could remember -- including quirks and turns of phrase that are uniquely hers, and the reasons why today meant so much to me. I put the date at the top, and put my name at the bottom.

Then I printed it out, put it in an envelope, and wrote "Do not open until...[18th birthday, or whenever]" on the envelope. I put it on a shelf in her closet, next to prints of various snapshots of her that I've been stockpiling (for her future).


Monday, July 14, 2008

More green on the screen

A few days ago I posted an entry about how I've messed with the font colors in my web browser, so that everything is now green text on a black background -- with purple hyperlinks.

Today, during my lunch break, I also changed the MS windowing to the ''Windows Classic'' flavor of ''Spruce''.

Puuurty!!! (Click to somewhat enlarge.) At least, pretty for those of us who like green.

(For those that use MS Windows and like other colors, there's also pink, purple, etc. themes: right-click on your desktop, choose ''Properties'', the click the ''Appearance'' tab, and then choose the ''Windows Classic style'', and try out the different color schemes.)

For those of you who keep up with my blog via RSS -- and BTW, thx! I'm flattered! -- you need to come take a look at the screen shot. For those not as enamoured with green as myself, it'll probably make you a little ill.


Old roommate's comic strip

Well, maybe technically it's not a comic strip, because it actually uses photos. But, I hereby endorse it: I've saved quite a few of them to HD.

The featured animals are his household pets (dogs, cats, birds, a ferret...).

This one (also pictured; you may have to click on it to make it readable) reminds me of something Snoopy, from the "Peanuts" series (Charles M. Schultz) would think.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rock and roll minister

One of the things that I love about Aussie-land is that Peter Garrett -- former lead singer for Midnight Oil -- is now the Minister of the Environment (analogous to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior). (Pictured here, in red.)

Kinda like having that dude from the Counting Crows as Secretary of the Treasury.

It just amuses me -- probably more than it should. :)


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Incremental progress

I have a habit of, every time I come in thorough our driveway gate and I'm on foot, picking up a handful of rocks. Then I drop them into a barrel that's near our house.

I do this because these rocks are left over from the house-building process: tthey dumped a scattered layer of rocks near the entrance, I guess so the big trucks wouldn't bog down in the dirt. But, I don't like them there -- it makes it hard to mow the lawn, with all these rocks about -- so one of these days (!!!) I'm going to dig them up and put them somewhere more useful.

But, in the meantime, I grab a handful at a time. And so far I've collected half a barrel full.

A few weeks ago, once our baby boys stopped waking me up during the night, I've been staying up from 10pm to midnight to work on my Dissertation. (Note: It's a real dis-incentive to stay up late to work on something, when you know that the 5-6hr period you should be allowed to sleep will be interrupted -- twice.) I don't do this every night -- instead, I alternate: some nights I write until midnight, and get up at 6am; other nights, I get to sleep from 10pm to 6am (or 6:30).

Plus, if I manage to break away earlier, like 8pm or 9pm, I'll do it. But that doesn't happen much. Three children, all under four years old.

These two hours a night, of course, is on top of the time I devote to it at work. It's just two hours a night, but it's pleasantly surprising at how it aggregates up. I seem to crank out an average of five pages per hour -- which again, doesn't sound like much -- but it adds up.

Around the same time, as I started this "evening shift", I also started doing one-armed shoulder presses (some people call them "military presses"; see photo). I do them every other night (you're supposed to give your body 24 hours to recover -- which is when the muscle-building actually occurs), three sets of what used to be five reps, but I'm now up to nine. I'm about to put some more weight on, though, once I get to ten or twelve reps -- at which point the number of reps I do will fall back to a lower number.

I've been really pleased with my progress: my capacity seems to go up about 8% a session.

Why am I doing this? Well, I've always wanted to be able to do a proper hand-stand, and walk on my hands. But, I don't have the arm strength to support my body and shift my hand placement to maintain my balance. So, my aim is to be able to support my body weight (around 80kg) -- which would be 40kg per arm.

So far, I'm at 22.5kg. But, I have time.

It all aggregates up.


(The photo is NOT me; it's from

Friday, July 11, 2008

My first exposure to computers was with the Apple II+. And I read somewhere that it's easier on your eyes, if you use the computer a lot, to have a dark background with light text (suggestion: blue or dark purple background, with yellow text), rather than black letters on a white background: with a white background, it's like a flashlight shining into your eyes.

So, a few days ago I tweaked the color settings of my web browser at work (Firefox). (Pictured; click to bigicize.) It's probably disorienting for most folks -- but since I don't share my computer with anyone -- it works for me.

FWIW: If you use MS Word -- "Tools" menu; "Options"; the "General" tab... second option down is "blue background with white text". I think it's intended for folks used to WordPerfect -- but I tend to use that setting whenever I'm doing a lot of writing. Again, it takes a few minutes to get used to it -- but long-term, it's easier on the eyes.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Armed and Segwayed

The new age: Olympics security = Chinese troops driving Segways.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

This could be fun

This could actually be fun -- but I think I'd keep forgetting to do it. (Much like talking like a pirate.)


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Great numbers

When I logged in to Blogspot to write the preceding post, the following statistic was displayed:

777 Posts, last published on Jul 7, 2008

So, 777 posts, as of 7/7/08. If only I'd managed that a year earlier, that would have totally maxed out the numberage!!!

BTW -- this entry's image has nothing whatsoever to do with the blog entry. It was just a byproduct of my preceding search for "green USB key" -- and I liked it. :)


More GeekPoints

My near-nightly ritual is to copy my files from work, via my USB key, to The Lady's laptop. Then, after I've done my night's work, I copy them back to my USB key, to then copy them to my machine at work the next morning.

As I was looking through my knapsack for my "main" USB key, I came across my older, smaller one -- which I prefer the design of, compared to my current "user", but unfortunately it's only half the capacity. Then I realized that -- Hey! -- I have a favorite USB key.

Having a favorite USB flashdrive: 5 GeekPoints(TM).

(Note: The USB key pictured isn't mine; it's just the result of a Google image search for a green USB key.)

Looking around the room, I also realized that I have a favorite computer. 10 GeekPoints(TM) for that.

I say ten, and not five, because having multiple computers is less common than having multiple USB keys. Rare-er, and thus worth more.

IMO. :)


Monday, July 07, 2008

Two types of people (continued)

It rained today.

There are two types of people: those who stop to rescue worms from the road and sidewalk, to put them back on the grass; and those who don't.

Note: You're allowed to use a stick or piece of grass; you don't have to actually touch them.


No one likes to mess up -- especially at work.

Well, maybe some people like to -- but not me.

Friday night, I discovered a moderate-to-major screw-up that I was responsible for. Something which I thought I had double-checked -- but clearly not. Or, I should've triple-checked it.

Not of the same magnitude as being a surgeon -- or a pilot -- and making a mistake: my mistake can be fixed just by lodging the correct paperwork. But still, I felt a bit sick at heart Friday night, and parts of Saturday, just thinking about it.

My error was bad for three reasons: (1) As a general principle, I don't like making mistakes; (2) it's related to something we had a "clarifying meeting" to discuss on Wednesday (but I didn't twig to the the relevance of one of the things said at the meeting until Friday); and (3) I'm on a ten-month contract (basically, semester 1 + semester 2), but would like to be asked back (and screwing up isn't a good way to impress the Head of School).

But, I went and talked to the Head of School this morning, and took responsibility. She was very nice about it.

So, feeling better. But, humbled.


P.S. I'm always careful about posting entries about work things. If you're really curious about the specifics, plz e-mail me off-list, and I'll give you a 1-3 sentence answer.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Good use of technology

I don't know how pervasive this is -- but it seems like a pretty clever idea: some restaurant with a wireless device on the tables, for placing your order and asking for the bill.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Marketing spin

K-Mart (yeah, there's K-Marts here in Aussie-land) had a massive toy sale this weekend, so we stopped by and picked up a few things (early) for the kids' birthdays.

I was amused by a Dora the Explorer tea party set (pictured): it was called a "Tea Party Adventure Set": tea parties are nice and all that -- but "tea party" and "adventure" don't really belong in the same phrase.

Unless you're serving fugu, or some-such.


Friday, July 04, 2008

No room at the inn

I always look through the "Musical Equipment" section of the classified ads -- just in case one of my stolen guitars happen to show up.

This one made me wish I had the mega-shed already built:

ELECTRIC WURLITZER 950 Theatre Organ, 3 manual, full pedalboard. Serv. Nov 07, GC, suit church, home or MIDI conversion. $495 ono.

Five hundred bucks for an organ with three keyboards (manuals), plus a full pedalboard (the keyboard down below, that you play with your feet; I presume two octaves, or more?), is pretty dang good.

Ah well -- something equally spiffy will surely turn up in the next few years...


P.S. The photo above is from here - as well as lots of good info on this model of organ.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Birthdays for Christmas twins

Big W (a store similar to Target or Fred Meyers) had a mondo toy sale today, so we stopped by before work and bought some things in preparation for upcoming birthdays, and Christmas.

I realized that not only will our twin sons have the problem of people trying to give them "joint" "Christmas + birthday" gifts -- they were born a few days after Christmas -- but they'll **also** be in danger of folks trying to give them "shared" presents (i.e. one gift across the two of them).

And especially -- shared, joint gifts: "Here's your Christmas, birthday, B1, B2 gift. Enjoy!"

As parents, we'll have to be careful that we don't fall in to that trap.

On the other hand: there's a small possibility that they'll manage to score some larger gifts, rather than many bite-sized gifts. Something that they'd be unlikely to be using at exactly the same time. Like, um... a multi-gym?

Not that it's all about the presents.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Why the Dissertation is taking so long


Due to family commitments, it's hard for me to get time at home to work on my Dissertation. (People without kids will treat that statement with skepticism; people with young children will know exactly what I'm talking about.)

But, the semester is over; the semester grades are submitted; and I have a few weeks to spend my workday devoting time to my Dissertation.

And, I think I discovered part of why it's taking so darn long.

My Dissertation is five chapters long. My semi-edited first chapter is 108 pages long. Single-spaced. Although, this includes a goodly chunk consisting of paragraphs of notes that will be distilled down to a sentence each.

My Chapter Three is 29 pages long -- with another 92 pages of notes (single-spaced) that need to be inserted at the relevant points.

My Chapter Four is 22 pages long -- with another 64 pages of notes.

That's over single-spaced 310 pages that I've typed into the computer. Not including Chapter Two and Chapter Five. And the norm is to double-space the manuscript. That's, umm -- pretty thick.

So: I **have** been doing "stuff" over the years.

In some ways, the easy thing would be to ditch those notes. Unfortunately, I need many of them -- and I'm under the delusion(?) that it would be faster to just plow ahead, rather than to spend time sorting through.

Why is it like this? Well, unlike most Dissertations, where the question is fairly focused, my Dissertation is basically about "everything 'Family' -- that influences delinquency". So, instead of just looking at (for example) "the influence of parental discipline on offending", I had to read -- and summarize -- just about everything. Like, the whole world.



Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sheds are nifty

Thanks to a nifty link from Old Roommate, I stumbled across a website of nifty sheds. By sheds, I mean it in more the British or Aussie manner -- anything from small garden-tool sheds, all the way up to small cabins.

One day, I hope to have one. And actually, since my daughter may end up being into art, we may build her one like the one here (and also, pictured above) -- nice big windows for natural light, and a big drawing table inside. Somewhere in the backyard -- probably off to the left.


My dad's side of the family

My dad's side of the family engages in this sort of wordplay. :)

(You may want to click on the image, to mega-size it.)

It's from