Play It Again… Australian 1980s Gaming

Nostalgia’s really not what it used to be, but this collection of Australian made computer games from the 1980s took me right back. There some classics here as well as some obscure gems from well-known giants like Melbourne House to the Queensland Dept. of Education (Production & Services Branch).

Get your Hobbit on here.

Source: Play It Again | Popular Memory Archive

Deep Dreaming

Google’s new neural network algorithm is a thing of both beauty and terror. And for the time being, a little beyond my meager abilities to run on the cardboard-and-string contraption I laughingly refer to as “a computer”.

Thanks to for putting it out there, although I fear it may be some time before the pic I uploaded is processed.  I’ll check on this link later and see…

Edit: And here’s the result:



Girl Scouts return $100,000 gift to anti-transgender donor

Via the all-kinds-of-awesome Clementine Ford comes this report about the Girl Scouts of the USA. Considering the homophobic stance of the Boy Scouts of America, it’s good to see an American youth organisation taking a principled stand for inclusiveness. Excellent stuff.

And, since taking the stand, they have received an incredible amount in new donations.

Source: Girl Scouts return $100,000 gift to anti-transgender donor

Yarn Attack!

Coming soon – Yarn Attack for all things fibrous.

Signs you live in a middle-class white neighbourhood – #37

Recharge your inner body shakra spirit energy.

…when you receive hand-written tips for recharging your shakras along with the junk-mail.



Andrew Marquet Taylor guilty of ripping off musos.

From the NZ Commerce Commission comes the news that GlobalSoundTrade fraudster Andrew Marquet Taylor has been found guilty of defrauding customers.  The full saga can be seen in this Whirlpool thread. As an occasional poster there as well as a muso, I’m absolutely delighted to see this result.

Online musical instrument store owner Andrew Marquet Taylor has been sentenced to 9 months home detention, ordered to pay more than $91,000 in compensation and fines in the Auckland District Court yesterday. Mr Taylor was also banned from using the internet for 3 months.

Mr Taylor pleaded guilty to four charges relating to misleading customers, accepting payment for goods he never intended to supply and failing to respond to a statutory notice. His sentencing was for charges brought by the Commerce Commission under both the Fair Trading Act and Crimes Act.


WWE revises Becky Lynch shirt, now with less domestic violence.

As spotted on the excellent Cageside Seats,  the WWE has now given it the more-than-dodgy Becky Lynch shirt a slight redesign that takes some of the ambiguity from it. Well done to the ‘E for listening to concerns and revising a product to ease them.  Good on yers. Now, give that woman a decent run with the strap.The match between her and Sasha Banks at NXT:Unstoppable was easily the best I’ve seen this year from any gender.

How To Make A Marudai – Two Ways (Part 2)

Part 2 – Freestanding Loom

In Part 1, I showed you how to make a small, handheld marudai. For longer amounts of braid and more complex patterns a freestanding loom makes life much easier. Although they are avaible from specialist shops as well as eBay, they are usually of traditional Japanese design and ideal for using while sat on the floor or at a low table.  If you’re lazy like me and want something to do while sat in front of the telly, this design is a little taller so sits well next to the sofa or armchair and can easily be built in about 30 minutes.

You Will Need:

  • 1 Nino Bar Stool or similar design.
  • 1 suitable drill bit (appx. 35mm diameter)
  • 1 Drill
  • Sandpaper

It is actually that simple. The Nino bar stool is available from Fantastic Furniture for somewhere around the $25 mark. If you don’t have a branch near you, any round-topped wooden bar stool will work. This was the cheapest I could easily find and at 60cm tall is the perfect height for me to work at. The drill bit I used was a 35mm Forstner bit, available from good hardware stores.

Nino Bar Stool

Nino Bar Stool

Mark the centre of the stool as accurately as you can. If you’re a little off, it won’t make any difference to the braiding, but as I’ll be using this as furniture when it’s not in use, an off-center hole would annoy me.

Marking The Centre

Mark accurately

Clamping the top of the stool securely to the workbench, drill a hole through the seat. I used a Forstner bit as it cuts cleanly and tidily, but does take a little more effort than a hole saw.

Drill through the centre

Drilling the hole

It’s your choice, though.  Keep the drill speed fairly slow (round about 600rpm) and pull the bit from the hole every now and then to clear the wood-shavings from the hole.  It’ll take a minute or so to bore through it.

Nicely finished


When you’re through, tidy the edges with a little sandpaper and assemble the stool according to the instructions. And you’re done.

Finished product

Ready to braid

As a brief note, I have seen different designs of bar stool with the hole already drilled. Just make sure it’s a round hole and not one of the more common slot-shaped ones, which isn’t suitable for round braiding. (Although it does give me half an idea… Maybe more on that later. ) If you buy a swivel-type stool, be careful. Some have metal plates or screws inside them as part of the swivel mechanism. Simple and plain is best here.

That’s it for now. Two marudais, one for a couple of dollars and one for under $50, including the drill bit.  Cheap, easy, effective and no pants required.



How To Make A Marudai – Two Ways (Part 1)

Part 1  – Handheld Loom

In this post, I’ll be showing you how to make two types of Marudai, a kumihimo (Japanese braiding) loom.

Kumihimo is a Japanese method of braiding thread into cords and ribbons. It produces a strong and nicely defined cord and is fairly quick and simple, making this an ideal craft activity for kids or while sat in front of the telly.  I’ll be putting up a basic “How To Braid” in later posts, but for now I’ll be showing how to make the loom that’s needed.

Kumihimo equipment can be difficult to find and often expensive but it’s cheap and simple to make a basic loom.

Kumihimo Wheel

This is a small, handheld disc, suitable for making short lengths of braid, such as friendship bracelets and is ideal for kids. The craft foam I’ve used holds the threads in place nicely as you weave and could easily fit in a pocket or handbag.

You will need:

  • 1 sheet of 2mm EVA craft foam.
  • PVA glue
  • Craft knife and scissors
  • Pencil
  • Some way of drawing a couple of circles

I bought an A2 sheet of 2mm EVA foam at the local $2 shop. You won’t need that much, an A4 sheet would do just fine. It’s nice and flexible, easy to cut and work with. You could use card or even wood, but cheap and easy is what I’m aiming for here.

Draw 3 circles on your foam, each one about 10cm in diameter. I used a tin lid for this.

Marudai Step 1

About 10cm diameter.

Marudai Step 2

Ready to cut

Cut them out using craft knife. Or scissors. Your choice. It doesn’t need to be exactly perfect as you can always tidy things up later, but getting it good enough at this point will save you time.

Spread a thin layer of PVA glue over the faces of two of the circles, join them together, place a weight on top and leave for 24 hours for the glue to set.

Marudai Step 3

PVA Glue

Marudai Step 4

Nicely stacked

Marudai Step 5

Leave for 24 hours

In the center of your newly-glued disc, draw a circle about 3cm diameter (I used a 20c coin) and cut it out. If you need to tidy up any of the edges on the outside, this is a good point to do so.

Marudai Step 6

About 3cm

Next up, you need to mark it out. Draw a 1cm line at each quarter, like the points of a compass. Put a dot just under the North point as it’ll stop confusion later on. Turn the disc through 45 degrees and mark another 4 points, giving you 8 in total.

Now mark another line halfway between each. This should give you 16 lines. Give them a quick count just to make sure.

Marudai Step 7

16 marks

Mark another line halfway between each of the 16 lines. This will give us 32 lines, each about a centimetre apart.

Using a sharp pair of scissors, make a 1cm along each of your 32 lines. And that’s it, you’re done! If you want to give it a paint job or number the cuts,  feel free to do so but it’ll work just as well without.



Equality Predates Agriculture

From the Grauniad comes news of a University College London study suggesting that equality may be far older than we usually think and could well have given us an evolutionary advantage as hunter-gatherers.


Study shows that modern hunter-gatherer tribes operate on egalitarian basis, suggesting inequality was an aberration that came with the advent of agriculture

Source: Early men and women were equal, say scientists | Science | The Guardian

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