Tuesday, January 31, 2006

2006 hottest 100 - the aftermath

So, Australia Day came and went. Unfortunately, I couldn't do squat in the way of drunken celebration as I have been busy as hell with the flu, house moving, and work taking up all of my time. I was hoping for a drunken middle-of-the-night hottest 100 party wearing boardies and a wife-beater. There's always next year I guess...

Fortunately TripleJ has the entire Hottest 100 available online as a Media Player or a Real Player stream, so I got to listen to it over the weekend. There was a lot of great music, a lot of which I hadn't heard before due to being OS. It was also depressing great to here lots of people chatting to the presenters while having BBQ's, playing cricket, and doing all the usual summery type stuff that is so much fun on Hottest 100/Australia/Invasion Day.

While Bernard Fanning took out the top spot in the poll, the big winners of the hottest 100 seem to have been Wolfmother. Apparently they broke Powderfinger's record for having the most number of songs in the hottest 100 for a given year. This is a bit weird for me, I haven't really heard much of them at all because they are an Oz band that really took off in the second half of 2005. One of my friends gave me their album, which I still haven't really listened to but now I guess I should. Normally I'm pretty on the ball with Oz music, but i was off this year... I guess though my predictions weren't so far off the Gorillaz, the White Stripes, and Sarah Blasko did pretty well.

Anyway, here's the full list of songs which you can also download here:

1 Wish You Well - Bernard Fanning 2 Catch My Disease - Ben Lee 3 Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz 4 Best Of You - Foo Fighters 5 Dare - Gorillaz 6 Mind's Eye - Wolfmother 7 My Doorbell - The White Stripes 8 O Yeah - End Of Fashion 9 Joker & The Thief - Wolfmother 10 Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand 11 Fig Jam - Butterfingers 12 Computer Camp Love - Datarock 13 Gold Digger - Kanye West 14 Songbird - Bernard Fanning 15 Flame Trees - Sarah Blasko 16 Apple Tree - Wolfmother 17 Blue Orchid - The White Stripes 18 I Was Only 19 - The Herd 19 Middle Of The Hill - Josh Pyke 20 DOA - Foo Fighters 21 Hurricane - Faker 22 Do-Do's And Whoa-Oh's - Kisschasy 23 Two More Years - Bloc Party 24 Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo - The Bloodhound Gang 25 The Car Song - The Cat Empire 26 Fix You - Coldplay 27 B.Y.O.B. - System Of A Down 28 Everyday I Love You Less & Less - The Kaiser Chiefs 29 Fast Girl - Gyroscope 30 Concrete Boots - After The Fall 31 The Special Two - Missy Higgins 32 MyEnemy - Cog 33 Phoenix - The Butterfly Effect34 I Predict A Riot - The Kaiser Chiefs 35 Girl - Beck 36 Speed Of Sound - Coldplay 37 Dimension - Wolfmother 38 Sly - The Cat Empire 39 Colossal - Wolfmother 40 Helicopter - Bloc Party 41 Dirty Harry - Gorillaz 42 Sweet As Sugar - Grinspoon 43 Autumn Flow - Lior 44 Sunny Road - Emiliana Torrini 45 Positive Tension - Bloc Party 46 Juicebox - The Strokes 47 Stuff & Nonsense - Missy Higgins 48 An Honest Mistake - The Bravery 49 What's On Your Radio - The Living End 50 I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor - The Arctic Monkeys 51 Be Yourself - Audioslave 52 America, F**K Yeah! - Team America 53 We're All In This Together - Ben Lee 54 Two Shoes - The Cat Empire 55 Landed - Ben Folds 56 It's 5! - Architecture In Helsinki57 Radio/Video - System Of A Down 58 Little Sister - Queens Of The Stone Age 59 Bloody Mother F***ing Asshole - Martha Wainwright 60 All The Money Or The Simple Life Honey - The Dandy Warhols 61 Jesus Of Suburbia - Green Day 62 Beware Wolf - Gyroscope 63 Divorcee At 23 - Clare Bowditch & The Feeding Set 64 Sitting, Waiting, Wishing - Jack Johnson 65 Always Worth It - Sarah Blasko 66 Gabrielle - Ween 67 The Denial Twist - The White Stripes 68 Ashes - The Beautiful Girls 69 Jesus I Was Evil - Butterfingers 70 This Year - The Mountain Goats 71 Run - Cog 72 I'm So Post Modern - The Bedroom Philosopher 73 Better Together - Jack Johnson 74 The Sound Of White - Missy Higgins 75 Que Onda Guero - Beck 76 Hypnotize - System Of A Down 77 First Day Of My Life - Bright Eyes 78 The Fighter - After The Fall 79 F*** Forever - Babyshambles 80 Believe - The Chemical Brothers 81 Let's Take The Long Way Home - The Beautiful Girls 82 Smoke It - The Dandy Warhols 83 Filthy Gorgeous - Scissor Sisters 84 White Unicorn - Wolfmother 85 Tightrope Walker - Epicure 86 Into The Dark - Ben Lee 87 We Can't Hear You - The Herd 88 Like Eating Glass - Bloc Party 89 Bastard - Ben Folds 90 Walk Away - Franz Ferdinand 91 Heartstopper - Emiliana Torrini 92 Messages - Xavier Rudd93 The Fallen - Franz Ferdinand 94 On This Side -Clare Bowditch & The Feeding Set 95 Face Without A Name - Kisschasy 96 Six Months In A Leaky Boat - Little Birdy 97 Themata - Karnivool 98 Why Do You Love Me - Garbage 99 Evie (Pt.1) - The Wrights 100 Party Started - The Cat Empire

Monday, January 30, 2006

DB, you are on my list!

The Deutsche Bahn (the German railway) is now on my shit list!

Meet the CNL 319. CNL 319 is an overnight train that is (or used to be) handy for traveling from Duesseldorf (and a few other cities in the area) to Munich. It's a handy train because it is all kitted out for sleeping the night, it even stops for an hour or so after picking up all of it's night passengers so that people can get to sleep and so and it arrives in Munich at the extremely civil time of 7:20 in the morn. The CNL 319 also connects with the EC 81 that departs Munich at 7:30, which gives about enough time to grab some food and an OJ from one of the stalls at Munich HBF as you walk between the platforms. The EC 81 travels through Innsbruck, arriving at 9:20 in the morn.

The CNL 319/EC 81 combo is a pretty useful for me. My girlfriend is living in Duesseldorf at the moment. So, if I want to spend a weekend with her I often catch these trains to get back home. With these trains I can get a half-decent night's sleep, and make it into the office by 10 AM, just in time to check my email before our weekly group meeting.

Cutting to the chase: THE F^%#ING CNL 319 WAS 3 HOURS LATE LAST NIGHT!

I was at the train platform with 10 minutes to spare (pretty good for me. It had a lot to do with the fact that Sarah was there with me, but that's another story) and a notice went over the PA (in German) saying that the train had been delayed by 30 minutes. I was a little pissed, but not too much, I knew that 30 minutes wouldn't really delay the train by that much (cause I knew that the train actually stops for a good chunk of the trip to let everyone sleep). Over the next 3 hours they updated that sign every 15 minutes or so, adding another 15 minutes to the expected arrival time!

If they had told us outright that the train would be 3 hours late, I would have demanded my money back, gone back to Sarah's, and caught a train early in the morning. I would have been pissed being late to work in the morning but at least I could get a decent night's sleep. Instead, the bastard's dragged it out over 3 hours. Everyone that was waiting would walk up to the platform every 15 minutes, hopeful that this time they might actually get into a nice warm train and finally to sleep, only to hear another announcement that the train still wasn't coming...

Anyway, needless to say, I got about 4 hours sleep and missed my connection in the morning by a good 2 hours. Pricks.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What's going on SMH?

Has anyone else noticed that the SMH is becoming more and more of a trashy rag? Today's lead is on Shapelle Corby losing her last appeal and subsequently having her sentance extended to 20 years. Sure, that sucks, but c'mon, there are so many big stories around that are so much more important. Australian Wheat Board? Cabinet re-shuffle? Osama's "truce" offer?

JJJ hottest 100, 2006

I've just voted in the Triple J hottest 100. Voting closes in about 15 hours or so, I guess I just snuck in there. Here is what I voted for:

Always Worth It - Sarah Blasko
Counting Sheep - Sarah Blasko
My Boyfriend's Back - Spazzys
Blue Orchid - White Stripes
Forever For Her (Is Over For Me) - White Stripes
Passive Manipulation - White Stripes
Dare - Gorillaz
Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
O Green World - Gorillaz
Gangsters & Thugs - Transplants

It was pretty hard to work out what to vote for this year. I spent a lot of time looking at the list of songs to vote for on the JJJ website and thinking, "Shit, I haven't heard most of these songs". I guess it's just another sign that I've been away from home for quite a long time. I remember that I listened to last year's Hottest 100 while sitting in my office in Brisbane and bashing away at my thesis (see also here and here). I wonder where, or even if, I'll listen to it this year? It will kinda be played in the middle of the night here in Austria, on a school-night no less, so I'm not sure I'll get to listen to it live. Then again, maybe me and some of the other Innsbruck-based Aussies will burn the midnight oil to listen in.

Anyway, why did I vote for what I voted for. Well, even though I was struggling to recognize most of the music that has been played on the J's this year, there were definitely a few standouts.

Both here in Austria, and when I was back home in Oz, I've heard a lot of people rave about the White Stripes album "Get behind Me Satan" and the Gorillaz "Demon Days". I predict that these albums will get a hellishly large number of votes in this year's hottest 100. Both of these albums have been huge internationally. I might be biased, because I'm a fan of both bands (especially the White Stripes) but I think that these two albums were really ahead of the game this year and we'll keep hearing songs from these albums in the years to come. I voted for three songs from each album. It was hard limiting it to just three from each, I think if I did the same tomorrow I'd probably make a different selection. I was really splitting hairs in my choice.

As for my other votes... I gave Sarah Blasko two votes, I absolutely loved her debut release "The Overture and the Underscore". I gave the Spazzys one vote for "My boyfriend's back", one day I'm going to post a review of their debut album, I've got a draft of it sitting on my computer but I never quite get around to finishing it. Finally, I gave a vote to the Transplants, not so much because I think that song is so great, but because I think that they are a band that is totally under-rated in Oz. I guess that's because of all the gangsta crap that they sing about, but musically, goddamn, they are really good.


Dammit, I've been memed by the qpope. Well, 7 is the number on the back of my Lovers jersey, and there are a few funny stories about that...

1. Seven things to do before I die
Hmm like Dave I'm gonna keep this one for public eyes only: 1) Live by the beach. 2) Get into politics. 3) Publish something in Science or Nature, preferably in both journals, many times. 4) Learn to play the guitar 5) Learn to speak another language. 6) Have my own family. 7) Think before speaking.

2. Seven things I cannot do
1) Speak German dammit! 2) Be organized. 3) Drive a manual car. 4) Be completely happy with my fitness level. 5) Not get drawn into a long, possibly boring, political discussions that cite examples and conjectures based on huge tracts of human history. 6) Willingly get out of bed in the morning on cold days. 7) Deal with a lack of good coffee...

3. Seven things that attract me to [Innsbruck]
1) A girl I met in Brisbane. 2) The mountains. 3) The blue skies. 4) Amazing science. 5) The snow. 6) Not the food. 7) My future.

4. Seven things I say most often
1) Anyway. 2) Hey. 3) Sorry. 4) Whoops. 5) Entschuldigung. 6) Links. 7) Rechts.

5. Seven books (or series) that I love
This question is really hard. 1) Lord of the Rings 2) The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett 3) Johnno by David Malouf 4) The Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Paul Dirac 5) Harry Potter 6) 1984 by George Orwell 7) Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

6. Seven movies that I watch over and over again (or would if I had the time)
Again, really hard. 1) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. 2) The Big Lebowski. 3) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 4) Lord of the Rings 5) Requiem for a Dream 6) The West Wing (I know it isn't a movie, but I watch it all the time...) 7) Battlestar Galactica (The new version, it's damn good.)

7. Seven people I want to join in, too.
I would add Mike, Scott, and Aram but the qpope beat me to it. 1) Mohan 2) Hinesy 3) Jen 4) Cat 5) TJ 6) Lisa 7) Jill.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Should I switch from the Haloscan commenting system that I have on this blog now to the typical Blogger commenting system. I think I like the Blogger format a bit more, the problem is that if I switch all of the previous comments on this blog will disappear into the ether...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Congrats Dr Rob!

Yesterday a very good friend of mine, Rob Thew, became Dr Rob Thew.

Congratulations Rob, we really need to go and get a beer some time to celebrate!

Friday again...

It's Friday again. Tonight we have our first frisbee training for the year. My predictions:

  1. A big turnout.
  2. That I play like a fat lazy guy that ate too much over Christmas.
  3. Almost no-one notices that I play like a fat lazy guy that ate too much over Christmas.
  4. Because I am fat an lazy I'll spend a lot of time working on my inside-out hammer.
  5. That I have lost any speed or tactical improvements that I gained when I went back home in December.
  6. Beer will taste very good after the session.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I'm going nuts

For Christsakes! Does anyone out there know where I can get a decent coffee in Innsbruck?

After getting completely fed up with the coffee spurted out of our institute's "expresso-maker" (that's in inverted comma's 'cause whatever it spews out it ain't expresso), I decided to try a cappuccino at the restaurant downstairs. Wow, it was bad. I swear it was at least 80 C when it was served, it had an excessive amount of froth and yet was watery underneath it. It tasted like dishwater!

I haven't found a cafe in this city that DOESN'T USE LONG LIFE MILK IN THEIR COFFEE! I can't understand it, if dairy is meant to be one of this region's biggest industries why can't the use fresh milk in the coffee!!!

I'm not sure if I fit on the bandwagon

I could jump on the bandwagon and attack the "Asia-Pacific partnership on clean development and climate change" - it seems to be the flavour of the day. However, I think I'm going to hold back a bit. I know, I know, kinda weird of me, but I actually don't entirely disagree with the approach that this partnership is taking.

For instance, Howard said today,

"The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that we address issues of climate change in a way that is consistent with economic growth and poverty reduction",
and dammit, I hate to admit this, but he's right. If we don't address climate change in a way that allows economic growth and gives us a way of fighting poverty, in Oz and everywhere else, then we are going to find ourselves in a hell of a mess. I guess I agree with his message, we need technological solutions. We need a cure that isn't worse than the cold.

While I agree with the rhetoric, I'm a bit worried that's all there is to this partnership. The whole gist of the summit seams to be that we need to stick with fossil fuels for the time being and that uranium is a good stop-gap. If I were more cynical I would say that this summit might have doubled as a trade show for the Australian mining industry. But, whatever, I'm not feeling that cynical today. I don't think we have any good alternatives to fossil fuels and uranium at the moment and I think that fact is still dominating all of the discussion on these issues.

I guess the big news today has been that Howard pledged $100 million over the next five years to be spent on the development of technology to combat climate change. I have a big problem with that, it's a drop in the ocean. I'm completely with Jenny Macklin who pointed out that the government spent $55 million this year on advertising for their industrial relations policies. Money talks, and the money is telling us that Howard isn't genuine about finding technological solutions to global warming - it's gonna cost a helluva lot more that $20 million a year to fix this problem.

We need to work harder on our approach to climate change. Howard's pledge of $20 million a year is not enough. We need to spend more money so we can get some real outcomes. The task ahead is huge. The stakes a high. If the consequences of climate change are half as dramatic as they could be, we will need revolutions in science, engineering, and economics to overcome them. Revolutions don't come cheap. Unfortunately, they also don't tend to happen till you run out of bread.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sorry for the un-announced hiatus

Sorry everyone, I've kinda been absent from the blogosphere for a while. The main reason is that the real world has actually been consuming all of my time.

It's funny that I seem to differentiate between blogging and the real world isn't it? It's not as if blogging is something that happens outside of reality. Hmmm, that's definitely something to think about for a later post.

Anyway, for all of you who read this blog to find out about me and my adventures, I should probably write a bit about what I've been up to for the last month or so...

Well, about a month ago I touched down in Bris-Vegas. I was going home to do some work, graduate, and spend Christmas with my mum. Well, my graduation ceremony was on a ridiculously hot day, so of course I had to wear the full-on academic gowns and all that.

Here's a photo of me with my mum and some of my friends who could make it to the ceremony. From the left: Georges, Karen, me, my mum, and Mohan (they are all going to hate that I put this photo up, but I think they'll deal with it because I look a lot more stupid than any of them in those robes...):

It was great to catch up with some of my old friends over December. I've really missed some of them since I moved to Europe. It was really hard to move away from them the first time and was hard to fly away on Boxing Day not knowing when I'll see any of them again. Being a jet-setting sciencish-type definitely has its drawbacks when it comes to personal relationships. Again, a topic for another post.

Oh, and it was great to finally make it back to the beach:

Anyway, as I just mentioned, I flew back to Europe on Boxing Day. I spent New Years Eve in Leipzig. I had a lot of fun, the fireworks were totally insane. By "insane", I mean completely nuts, not necessarily cool. They had no organized fireworks in Leipzig, just a lot of drunk-off-their-ass people with a lot of their own fireworks letting the rip whenever they felt the need. I gather that a lot of people get injured on New Years eve. Well, it might have been dumb, but we ventured into the center of town to gather in an area where a lot of these drunken-pyros were doing their thing to check it out. Come midnight, it was pretty damned impressive:

So finally, I'm now back here working in Innsbruck. I'm freezing my ass off, the forecast minimum temperatures for the next week all look to be around -10 C. At least the sun is out and I did get to go snowboarding last weekend...