The Devil’s wheel

By That's lifeNo Comments

In creating this cartoon I explored all those little things in day to day life that drive you crazy or simply make you feel that things could be better.

Obviously, my life is rather tough (not) when the first thing that comes to mind is to list decaf instant coffee as a day breaker. However, I do think that the ‘no data and no wifi’ is a breaker when I reflect on my children’s response to the internet being down.

What’s you’re breaker?

Fear not – no breaker is too small!


A watched pot

By That's life3 Comments

Boiling pot…especially a cartoon gif

You’re probably familiar with this proverb, but did you know its origin stems back to Benjamin Franklin?

Yes, rather surprising, as Franklin was known for his contributions to science and pot staring neither hastens nor slows the boiling process. But as you are probably aware, Franklin had many bows to his cap, including the publishing of an almanac under the pseudonym of Poor Richard. Filled with improving proverbs, below are a snippet of some sayings from the Almanacks that were published from 1732 and 1758.

  • Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
  • Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
  • Lost Time is never found again.
  • Death takes no bribes.
  • Act uprightly, and despise Calumny; Dirt may stick to a Mud Wall, but not to polish’d Marble.
  • Fish and Visitors stink in 3 days.
  • Tis easy to see, hard to foresee.

And if you want to read more, click here to visit wiki for the full listing.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Fatal error

By IT and Computer Stuff, That's life2 Comments

Blue screen of death

The ‘blue screen of death’…

We probably have all experienced that gut wrenching moment when the computer unexpectedly freezes right smack bang in the middle of something you really can’t afford to lose. And no matter what quirky computer freeze image the coders come up with to dull that pain – the latest Microsoft blue screen with sideway old school unhappy face emoji in font size 160 pt (no Microsoft, size of emoji does not express greater empathy for the predicament) or the Apple ‘happy’ rainbow spinning wheel (no Apple, there is no happy pot of gold at the end of this rainbow) – there are those few seconds of dread as you fully absorb the impact of the crash and no imagery will soften the blow.

So, can there ever be a funny ending to a computer crash? Well, possibly when you can see it from an even worse outcome beyond the loss of time and data.

I recall the time at work (over 15 years ago now – Eek – has it been that long?!) when I was confronted with the blue screen of death. In despair I called the IT Helpdesk, which had recently been moved to an offshore service provider who spoke english as their second language. The story went a bit like this…

  • Me “Hello, I want to report a blue screen of death.”
  • Voice on telephone “Um ma’am, can you please repeat?”
  • Me “I wish to report a blue screen of death. It’s completely dead and nothing I have tried has fixed the situation.”
  • Voice on telephone “Ma’am, this is most alarming. Who is it? Are you sure they are not breathing? I think you need to call an ambulance immediately.”

Do you have a blue screen story? Let me know.

What does Tetris have in common with grocery packing?

By That's life

I’m not sure if Aldi operates the same way across the globe, but here in Australia, it’s always this frantic packing process as the sales assist speedily scans items and flings them to the modestly sized ‘non-packing’ bench for you to pack on the go.  I use the word ‘non-packing’ bench deliberately, as it’s not a packing bench – The Aldi preference is that you place all your groceries back into the trolley and then wheel over the ‘proper’ packing benches and take your time to properly pack. However, I can’t stand the notion of double handling; so I subject myself to this hurtling of groceries and hope for the best – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose 🙂

Tell me of your shopping experience. Is it just me?


Let’s end with a bit of mandatory and possibly useless Tetris trivia…

Did you know that:

  • All Tetris pieces are polyominoes (a plane geometric figure formed by joining one or more equal squares edge to edge). In Tetris, they specifically are tetrominos as each shape is made from four squares
  • The game was named by the Russian game designer – tetra from the Greek numerical prefix to represent the four squares and tennis, his favourite sport. He could have been super dorky and called it Tetrominis, but thankfully simplicity ruled
  • All seven Teris shapes were given a name (Heck, why not? After you’ve named the game, you might as well not stop and name the pieces as well, right?). Ready for it?
  • Teewee – the ‘T’ shaped piece, or the bag on green beans in the cartoon above – I guess, a bit of an obvious name to warm us up to the other names ahead.
  • Smashboy – the square piece, or the bag of chips and T-paper above – OK, a kind of cool sounding name for a game.
  • Hero – the long piece, or the final orange juice bottle that lost the game for us – I sort of get this name – if you manage to land it beautifully without wasting space, then you could consider yourself a bit of a hero.
  • Orange Ricky – the L shaped piece, or carrots – Well, OK – the Nintendo game version is orange, but what’s with Ricky? How about Orange Lucky to highlight the ‘L’?
  • Blue Ricky – this is the mirror image of Orange Ricky. It is dark blue, I guess.
  • Cleveland Z – the funny Z shape, or the tri-colour pack of peppers. Nup – don’t get this one at all – Z yes, Cleveland Nup
  • Rhode Island Z – Yep, another mirror image, so it looks like a S. Mmmmmmmmm??? No idea.


Paper, Scissor, Rock – Do have what it takes to win?

By That's life

So did you beat me?

Chances are, if you’re male, you lost the first round as experiments have shown males have a tendency to throw a rock on the first move, hence, I played paper in round one – sneaky, huh?

Yes, I did my Google homework in constructing this gif. Searching ‘how to win at paper, scissor, rock’ lead to a bumper search result of 968,000 hits, with a plethora of strategies and tips to win. Here’s a summary of winning moves:

  • If competing against a male, throw paper in round one
  • Inexperienced players tend to throw paper on their first throw, so play scissor in round one
  • Copy cat counter move – inexperienced players tend to throw the winning move from their last play. So, if they threw rock, their next move is more likely to be paper, so you throw scissor – Boom!
  • Be unpredictable – when in doubt, throw paper as a surprise.  Average stats are 35.4% rock, 35.0% scissor and 29.6% paper
  • Three in a row – most people don’t want to feel predictable, so typically if they throw a rock two times in a row, their next move will either be paper or scissor. Improve your chances by throwing a rock on round three as statistically they are more likely to throw scissor.

So now you know as much as me, let me know how your next paper, scissor, rock challenge goes.

PS. I find I revisit topics every now and then, and paper, scissor, rock is one of them. Check out my last take on the game.

The blind carbon copy

By That's life, Work

I had a bit of fun this week, trying to personify the three email types: to, cc (carbon copy / courtesy copy) and bcc (blind cc). Couldn’t help but feel that the bcc was bit ghost like in nature.

A bar graph

By Word play

A bar graph of alcohol

I’ve been doing a bit of work involving spreadsheets lately – I guess this the result of the mind wandering after reaching overload.

Where do your day dreams lead you?


Emoji Maths

By That's life

the mathematics of emoticonsIf you can do emoji maths, then you probably can do emoji art, right?

And yes, once again Google has shown me all things ’emoji art’ at the click of a button.

Check out LA artist Yung Jake who has taken emoji art to a fine art status with his celebrity portraits which typically include 15,000 to 30,000 emojis.

If you’re feeling a bit creative, then access the online app that Yung uses to create his masterpieces. You’ll be welcomed by the following screen of what appears to be an endless selection of emojis. Select one, and click to start drawing. then hit any key to return to the emoji selection page to change emojis. Enjoy!


Who came first?

By Uncategorized

It’s the age old conundrum – who came first – the chicken or the egg?

who came first -  the chicken or egg

Rather unsurprisingly there is a variety of information available on this topic, but the overall general consensus is….drum roll…

….the egg and in the words of Neil DeGrasse Tyson,

“The egg came first, laid by a bird that was not a chicken.”

But is would be too easy to stop at just the words of celebrity scientist DeGrasse. Others have applied their brain matter to determine the answer, including:

The ancient Greeks – Aristotle (384–322 bc) and Plutarch (about 46–120 ad). Aristotle concluded that both the chicken and the egg must have always existed. Both believed that everything on Earth first had its being in spirit.

British scientists used a super computer called HECTor and 5 million core hours of computer simulations to prove that the chicken came first. So how did they do this? As part of their research into the protein ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) which is found only in the hard part of the chicken’s shell, the British researchers claimed that the chicken must have come first as the formation of eggs with OC-17 is only possible thanks to a protein found in the chicken’s ovaries. ‘It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,’ said Dr Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University.

Alice Kaswell’s experiment involved posting separately a live chicken (which under US postal laws is allowed provided certain criteria is met) and egg via the US Postal Service. She then departed for the delivery address – the James A Farley post office – a 24 hour post office in NewYork and waited patiently for the arrival. Alice reported the chicken to arrive first.

Physicists from the Queensland University and NÉEL Institute conducted an experiment in the realms of quantum mechanics and concluded that both came first (looks like we’re back to Aristotle). In this branch of science cause-and-effect is not so straightforward as being one event leading to another. Basically this means that events can happen without a set order.

So, what team are you one? Team egg or Team chicken?


Dogs don’t see in black and white

By Animals, Dogs

Dogs see in black and white

The irony in the making of this cartoon, is that dogs can indeed see in colour, but not within the red and green spectrums. In fact, dogs can see yellow, grey and blue – this is equivalent to the human red-green colour blindness. Dogs only possess two colour receptors (commonly called cones), whereas humans have three, allowing them to see a broader spectrum of colours.

What can we learn for this? Well for one thing, you might be better off buying yellow or blue coloured toys rather than red or green, making it easier for the dog to distinguish it from the green grass.

Why not test the theory and throw two toys simultaneously – one blue/yellow, the other red/green – See if there is a preference.