Mighty Ogbo Ponders

As I sit on my ever increasing arse pondering the 'Verse, one can only wonder how much of this life truly makes sense?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Leaf on the Wind (Lyrics)

Here are the lyrics for Leaf on the Wind

This song is based on Joss Whedon's (Buffy, Angel etc.) new movie Serenity. This is a tribute to one of the characters - Wash.

IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE - then I suggest you wait until afterwards. Then have a listen to this song. It will mean so much more. As it will if you have seen the TV series Firefly.
You have been warned!!

A link to the song will be added to this site once the movie is released on the 29th-30th of September 2005.

Leaf on the Wind

Hoban my child sit on your Mother’s knee,
this is The Wisdom of how to find Serenity.
The hurricane blows, the Firefly sings
You must be like a leaf on the wind!

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Amongst the stars I feel at rest.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
Yes, no ,yes, no, yes, no, yes!

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Dinosaurs still flying high.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
They can never take my sky.

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Meet my wife you’ll be impressed.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
Is that Zoe in a slinky dress?

I click three little switches
And away into the ‘Verse I sail.
I curse your sudden
But inevitable betrayal!

I feel a chilled wind rising,
My leaf is blowing far from the tree.
I click three little switches
And find again Serenity!

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Meet my wife you’ll be impressed.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
Yes, no ,yes, no, yes, no, yes!

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Dinosaurs still flying high.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
They can never take my sky.

You cannot in-fact take the sky from me,
Or if they do I just take it back!
Take it back "Lambie-toes."
You cannot in-fact take the sky from me,
Or if they do I just take it back!

Don’t want to be a fry-cook
But I’m not a bad funny man.
I like your plan!

Wanna see the stars a-gleaming
Dreaming I’m a big damn space-man!
I like your plan!

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Our plans have all just gone awry.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
Oh God Oh God, we’re all gonna die?

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Dinosaurs still flying high.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
They can never take my sky.

I hit three little switches and
Rip her bodice in my day-dream.
Its all work-work-work my lambie-toes,
As I clear the edge of the air-stream.

I hit three little switches
And the ‘Verse opens up in front of me.
Oh lambie-toes, you must know,
That in the sky you and I found Serenity!

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Meet my wife you’ll be impressed.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
Is that Zoe in a slinky dress?

Leaf on the wind Mum,
Dinosaurs still flying high.
Leaf on the wind Mum,
They can never take my sky.

Hoban, my boy, my Wash, my beautiful joy,
You’re a hero worthy of the Fall of Troy.

I hope your life ends as a leaf on the wind,
I hope your life ends as a leaf on the wind,

A leaf on the wind.

Lyrics and music © 2005 Stephen Nicholson

About the Song

The basic theme of the song (Country guitar and Australian Didj at the start and end) was written in Sept 2005 as part of a short "thank-you" movie to Joss and cast, made by fans of Firefly/Serenity (esp. my flatmate Zuckerbaby and her friend Nixygirl on Serenity Oz). It was shot at a preview of Serenity at Fox Studios, and the next day in Martin Place, in Sydney. I was asked to help edit the video and sound - and conned into writing some incidental music for the movie as well.

I took the basic loops and expanded and expanded them (hey, let's add some crazy fiddles, and some banjos) - and then the lyrics about Wash started to come.

The addition of some Joss samples from the guest-of-honour speech (and theme-tune singalong) at the preview in Sydney add some flavour into the mix.

I hope you enjoy ... a song from Wash's Mum's perspective ...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

An Industry off its Pills

I once thought that software projects in the Telecommunications Industry in Australia had reached a low point when projects that should be taking 6 months had been compressed to a few months.

Now its gotten even worse.

We're down to weeks!

I remember the heady days many years ago when projects would run for up to a year or more - and the Telecommunications company gained a fantastic product. Of course - I'm not naive enough to suggest that all of these projects were major success stories. Yes - there were too many failures - over time, over budget and under delivering. Or not delivering at all - especially those projects which came from the large vendors.

The large vendors only know the space in which they can make money - they never truly understand the depth of the problems faced by a software project. But the dickheads who purport to run the Telecommunications companies in Australia seem to be addicted to throwing huge sums of money at these companies for rarely a good result. Those behemoth three-letter-acronym software companies must be pissing themselves laughing - leaving a chaotic yellow trail all the way to the bank.

But it seems that the Telecommunications companies themselves are losing the plot faster and faster. If these corporations were actual people - a very odd legal fiction - then they need a good lockup Psych Ward, a straight-jacket and a fuckload of Mellaril. Or at least a good counsellor who will beat them about the head with their own inadequacies and ask a lot of seriously pointed questions about the their masturbatory fantasies.

Those of us who actually design and write software for these companies are starting to ask ourselves - is this truly all worth it? Between 2003 and 2005 the demands being placed on software developers - whether the poor beggars be in-house developers or outsource developers - has gone from vaguely insane to "I'm gonna git you with an axe in the name of baby Jeeeeezuz hahahahaha" status. Its all gone from an episode of The Office and turned into something out of Wire in the Blood or Silence of the Lambs.

So ... what's next? Software projects which implement thousands of function points compressed to the timeline of a handful of days? Hours?

Just wait for it software development fans!!

It seems that the planning abilities of major corporations have turned to star-dust. And who is paying for this?

Yes - its YOU ... whoever you may be! The next time you buy a product or service from these uncoordinated, imbecelic, infantile corporations - you are not only paying for them to pump vast loads of excrible marketting at you - you are also paying for their complete and utter inability to plan reasonable projects.

Yes - in the short term it looks great for ye olde shareholders - but in the long term they're just shooting themselves in both left feet.

And you pay for that! Don't we all feel so good about it?

Fuck darls - hand me the Prozac!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Richard Leape Come Home

All too often you see in the news the sad sad story of someone who has been missing for many years. A terrible tragedy you think - and you reflect that you're so lucky that this happens to "other people" and never to someone you actually know.

But you know how life is - just as you've become complacent and comfy - life slaps you with great gusto in the back of the head. It makes you sit up and shiver - literally.

One of my High School teachers is missing ... has been missing for the last 12 fucking years!

I found out via the recent Cornelia Rau story - the poor schizophrenic woman who was stuck in Baxter detention centre. She had been involved in some dodgy cult in Sydney called the Kenja group - the type that is alleged to convince people that all they need to do is follow "The Master" (whoever the flying fuck that is) and they will no longer need their medication!

Cornelia started her disappearing act not long after.

And so was the case with my old High School teacher Richard Leape. Over 12 years ago he also attended the same cult group, went off his medication, and ended up wandering the streets of Surry Hills in his own psychotic world. His sister from the Gold Coast found him.

Despite her best efforts, Richard lept from the taxi in which she was taking him to the airport. They were going to head back to the family on the Gold Coast. He was never seen again.

Now you might think - "he was just some old teacher of yours - why give a toss?" However - there are some teachers in this world worth giving a toss about. Mr Leape was one of them.

He was my science and chemistry teacher in middle to late high school - round 1980/81. He was young, not cynical or jaded (the fate of too many once brilliant teachers), enthuiastic - and very inspiring. I remember him as one of the few teachers in High School that I truly respected.

And then to read this news article about this cult and Miss Rau - and to find my old teacher had suffered a similar, yet worse, fate. He was never found. After I read this - I was chilled to the bone for the next half an hour.

This happens to other people - not someone that you know!

But it does happen ...

So Richard is now a "Missing Person".

Here is a picture of him:

Details about him can be found here and at the bottom of the page here.

So the next time you're wandering through Surry Hills or the City or Newtown - keep an eye out for the street folks and homeless people ... you could solve a 12 year old mystery ... and put many minds at ease.

Of course, I'm not naive enough to have ignored the possibility that Richard is dead. We can but hope for better news.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Touching the Void (inside the skull)

This weekend I got to finally see one of the most extraordinary docu-dramas produced for many a year. I think most of us have a sick fascination with mountain-climbing - but this doco really brings it up close and personal. You may have though that some of the scenes in Return of the King where Frodo, Sam and Gollum are climbing the stairs of Cirith Ungol were vertigo-inducing, well hold onto your sick buckets for this one!

The doco is called Touching the Void, and if you've not seen it .. go out and rent it now. Or buy it. Or get it for your Gran's birthday!


Basically this is the story of two guys - Joe and Simon - decide one boring afternoon to go to Peru and climb the 7,000 metre iceface of Siula Grande. Note that even the best professional climbers had not succeeded with this! But these 2 fellahs - after a few bevvies down the pub are all up for it. Let's listen in on the conversation:

Joe: Whatcha reckon?
Simon: Fucking easy! I mean after the hike up Mt Snowdon we can cilmb anything! Giss another pint ta love.
Joe: I have this idea ... we do it Alpine Style!
Simon: So just the two of us and a rope.
Joe: Yep!
Simon: No emergency radio or flares?
Joe: Just takes up room ... where would we stash the Gin?
Simon: Fuckin' good point ol' mate. How about the base camp?
Joe: hmm, spose we need one. That guy sitting by himself down the back of the pub there. We'll ask him.
Simon: He know anything about mountain climbing?
Joe: not a fucking thing!
Simon: Cool! We're set then!
Joe: how much gas do you think we should take? Only way to melt ice into drinkable water.
Simon: just a couple canisters. We can survive on Gin for ages.

They both laugh and tuck into another pint.

Now, to give Joe and Simon some credit - they actually did it! They managed to climb all the way up. The thing they forgot is that they have to get down again - and their downhill planning was not the most thorough.

On the way down, Joe slipped and fell badly - breaking his leg in a seriously nasty manner. If I'd been Simon I probably would have shot him there and then on the spot - they shoot idiot horses, don't they?

But Simon was nice and decided to slowly lower Joe bit by bit to the base of the mountain. This worked fine til Joe slipped over a cornice and ended dangling hopelessly in mid-air with a serious drop into a crevasse beneath.

After waiting for hours and almost freezing to death, Simon cut the rope - and Joe fell.

So - you might think that was the end of it all - but in truth this is where Touching the Void gets even freakier.

Not only did Joe survive the fall, he crawled his way out of the crevasse and slowly made his way down the side of the mountain to the base camp - broken leg and all. Nothing like brute force and ignorance to supplant careful planning.

I can just imagine Joe' chagrin when he finally gets to the base camp after this horrendous 4 day ordeal ... to find that the others had burnt his clothes in some Viking style funerary offering ... blood on the floor ... or ... hopping mad?

(sorry - can't resist and bad pun)

Anyway ... this is an awesome movie in the original sense of the word. Couldn't get up to pee, couldn't feed my face, didn't even want to hit the Pause button. Eyes glued, brain disengaged from the rest of the Universe.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Tiddly Winks for the Kiddley Winks

There are some days when you just feel OLD.

Recently there was some e-mail flying about work for some touch-footbal competition. Many of us Geeks declined - and I quipped that I would rather play a vicious game of tiddly winks.

To my utter astonishment - many of the younger folks here at work had no idea what I was talking about! So I had to explain that playing a game popping little plastic discs into a pot was a fun pastime when I was a kid. That got a fair few incredulous looks from the kiddies ... they grew up playing computer games! Then to make matters worse - I mentioned that when I was a kid there were NO computer or TV games.

"Wow ... you must be really old!" was the reply of one cheeky little snot. Fuck you deary ... I'm not even 40 yet! You're probably still waiting for your testicles to drop ;-) Or perhaps testicles these days are "sooo 1960's" and these kids all have cubic cybernetic implants with USB connectors for a joystick.

So - I had to consult the Great Oracle (otherwise known as Google) and see if there was any info out there. Seems its still a popular past-time with us oldy-von-moldies.

There are plenty of stores still selling the game, and it even has its own website!.

So its good to see that some folks out there still appreciate a good old fashioned board game which does not require Gigahertz of processing power or masses of RAM, and a high speed internet connection. Just some little plastic discs.

For myself ... I generally prefer drinking games, and bedroom sports ;-) Pass the handcuffs!

Monday, January 31, 2005

The 1421 Theory

I've just finished reading Gavin Menzies' controversial book 1421 - The Year China Discovered the World.

Its a curious book combining some risky scholarly work, dodgy anecdotes, and half-baked theses.

The basic premise of the book is as follows:

In 1421, a massive fleet left from China. Its purpose was to drop off a number of dignitaries and leaders from the known world after the inauguration of the 3rd Ming Emperor Zhu Di. However, his orders to his fleet admiral Zheng He was to explore further and bring all the world to the knowledge of China.

According to this "1421 Theory" this fleet mapped all the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, parts of Antartica and the Arctic, and numerous Islands. They also colonised some of these lands for a time - either through deliberate mining facilities, or via accidental shipping accidents from which the Chinese could not return.

As the fleet returned from its voyages, the political climate of China had changed, the long period of isolation was beginning, and the records of the returning fleets with their knowledge of all the lands of the world were expunged.

But some of the knowledge trickled its way into Europe.

In the 15th Century AD, Europe suddenly had access to maps containing information that they could not have known themselves: maps showing the Americas and Asia, islands in the Atlantic, the Spice Islands, and so on. Later maps also showed Australia and New Zealand.

Part of this "1421" theory was that European exploration was not about "discovery", but all about following the maps and conquering the already mapped lands. De Gama knew that he could get to India after sailing past the already mapped tip of Africa - The Cape of Good Hope. Magellan already knew of the passage that would bear his name from maps held by the King of Portugal. Cook knew where he could find Australia, and had maps of The Great Barrier Reef.

So... where does that leave the opinion of the Mighty Ogbo?

Lets examine some of this ...

Europeans had advanced maps

Well, it seems that they did. As early as the 1420's (and remember Columbus was 1492, Cook 1776) various European powers (esp. Portugal) had maps which showed continents and lands that the Europeans should not have known about. Obviously these maps were of great advantage in the future voyages of discovery.

Here I find the 1421 Theory to be pretty intact.

So where did they get the maps from?

Buggered if I know - but the basic hypothesis that the technologically advanced China was the only power capable of fleets with such mapping accuracy is not unreasonable. In truth our Western knowledge of Asia is only exceeded by our ignorance of the area.

As to the Venetian connection Di Conti ... hard to tell. But its probably worth some scholars looking more closely into the matter.

Did the Chinese really gad about so much?

I've always felt that if any other non-Aboriginal peoples reached Australia before Cook, then they were probably Chinese. Its not like this is an unknown idea.

In fact, its always seemed to me that the Western idea that no-one was sailing about the Atlantic or Pacific til the Europeans started to poke about is complete crap.

The University of Vancouver hosts a marvellous museum of Native Canadian culture, and part of the display is dedicated to the "Pacific Rim" culture. One culture which covered hundreds of populations around the Pacific. As I stood in the Canadian Native culture part of the museum, I could as easily have been in the Maori Culture Experience in Rotorua, New Zealand.

As to the Chinese, I see no reason why they would not have had regular contact, and mapped, the Pacific Basin while Europeans where still picking the nits off each other.

The idea that there was significant and regular pan-Pacific and pan-Atlantic contact and trade is hardly a new one - and evidence is growing in strength. If there has been a significant positive side-effect of the 1421 book, it has been the renewed interest in "anomolous" finds of previous archeology and historical reports, and the coughing up of new (and old) artefacts which link the New World with Asian contact.

I see no reason why China, as well as other civilisations, would not have attempted some form of contact with the west coast of the Americas.

Did the Chinese colonise the Americas?

Again, buggered if I know.

I think this is an area where Mr Menzies loves to jump to quick convenient conclusions. He takes pains to point out that he is no mystical Von Daniken conjuring up ancient Aliens; but his tone when slotting together a few ethereal "facts" and suddenly claiming that there had been a Chinese colony in some obscure island group, smacks of Danikenesque fantasy.

This is also a bit like his positing that all of the mapping and colonisation had been done within a 4 year period by Zheng He. Perhaps Zheng He did - but perhaps it was also the climax of centuries of Chinese exploration in the Pacific and perhaps further.

Nonetheless, the list of anomolies that Menzies points out is quite compelling. Chinese plants and animals already in the Americas before the Europeans arrived. And vice versa - American plants already growing in Asia and across the Pacific.

And the number of physical artefacts of Chinese origin found around the Pacific rim in the US, Central & South America, NZ and Australia, seems to grow day by day.

So they probably got about a fair bit ... but colonise?

From what Menzies presents - I would say one of his most compelling pieces of evidence comes from his more recent attempt to get some of the writings of the early European pioneers in the Americas translated into English. So many mention meeting people or finding colonies of Chinese folk.

A lot is mentioned about DNA evidence - Chinese DNA markers in certain populations of native American, Maori & Indigenous Australians. Can't see much in the book or website about the techniques used, whether such markers might be ancient or more modern etc. Need more info on this.


In some ways we are presented with a flimsy attempt to fit together a pile of facts, hypotheses and speculations into a coherent history of the discovery of the world.

Nonetheless - I find that some of the presented history, and the sheer number of anomolous artefacts & other clues being turned up is too compelling to ignore.

Whether is was Zheng He's fleet, other Chinese explorers over time, or someone else - someone gave the European explorers a leg-up when it came to sailing to mysterious places for which they already had maps.

And it hardly seems likely that the Chinese would have ignored the exploration of their own Pacific back-yard, at least before their closure from the rest of the world around the time of the posited fleets.

The Western view of history is all too often blinded by its own need to play "catch-up" against prior more advanced civilisations. The way I was taught history in school was very much of the "no-one went anywhere and mapped anything til us Europeans came along in our leaky boats" variety. The book "1421" at least reminds us that there is probably much more to the history of the world than we will ever know - at least until we throw off some of the old "colonial-down-the-nose" blinkers.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Oh Catus Catus!

No this has nothing to do with some genetically modified version of a cactus!

These are serious observations! The very core of evolution could be at stake here.

About puddy-tats
Not that I own any mind you - but after many years I have become an artful observer of the creature "feline". Most of that has been of my flatmate ZuckerBaby's cats. They are named Lucie and Squeak (not their real names since (as T S Eliot reminds us) cats rarely reveal their real names to their humans, and have many more names to confound us with. However, I'm not sure that T S Eliot ever conceived of the possibility that cats might need internet aliases to hide their nefarious night-time activities. And their need to outrageously bid for rotting prawn heads on eBay, and Google for dog porn (sickos).

The least they could do when returning from such prowls is not to jump on my head as they noisily jaunt through my blinds, onto my bedhead, and look for a cosy landing pad. This is my head! It is not a puddy-tat landing fucking pad!!

But you have to give the two little pods a little leeway since their Mum Zuckerbaby is pondering the heights and boiling muddy depths of Middle Earth (formally known as New Zealand).

Just to prove that I've not managed to kill them, starve them, genetically modify them, clone them, or otherwise insult them ... here are some photos of the little beasties doing what they do best - lounge about and complain about how hot it is.

So here is Lucie - posing for the camera as usual, ready for her beauty shot.

And here is Squeak ... not quite so obliging with the camera. Each time you get her attention is an excuse for her to get up and wrap around your legs - completely missing the point of photo-time. But then she only has one brain cell so you can't expect too much more.

OKOKOK - enough with the cute feline poses. But how can you resist taking their photos. I must have more photos of these cats than of humans. Is this saying something about Mighty Ogbo's personality? Probably - but you can fuck off and figure out the psychology of it yourself - and don't bother telling me the results!

But I love the little beasties. Cats have such changeable "I love you, thanks for the food, now fuck right off" sort of personalities. They're the perfect pet for the Me Generation.