Quiz time!

Get a pen and a piece of paper. You’ll be making as many words as you can out of these five letters: A, C, D, E, R. To keep it interesting, there’s a three-letter minimum, and you should be able to get at least 20 words. There’s no time limit, so let it keep you up at night, like it did me. This didn’t come from any website or puzzle book, it just bubbled up out of my head after a few too many rounds of Boggle. Enjoy!

And if your inner geek hasn’t had enough of an exercise, check out this logically reformatted version of They Might Be Giants’ classic Istanbul Not Constantinople.

More on Easter, just quickly. If you check out this search page, you’ll see a lot more. Google Search: eostre christian . Even better, there’s the hilarious sponsored link (LetGodBeTrue.com) in the top right, Easter: A Few Problems. That page has this great quote: “Jesus does not look like this effeminate hippie.”

In the course of its literalist biblical preachery, it points out a few problems with Easter. The most obvious is that Jesus was supposed to take three days and three nights to die and be resurrected, but there’s only two between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Is that what Easter Monday’s for?

Also, in the US, Easter Sunday is actually Resurrection Sunday. Freaky. Call it what you want, I’m just happy to have a four-day weekend. And don’t get me started on Christmas.

Wait… shit… it’s too late.

Lots of other stuff around the same time. Yule (Pagan) on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, December 22nd. Gifts exchanged. Wreaths hung. Holly and ivy etc. Also, Victory of the Sun-God (Babylonian); Birthday of the Gods (various ancient pagan civilisations, apparently); Saturnalia (Romans), to celebrate Saturn (harvest god) and Mithras (light god) involving more gift-giving, especially toys to children. Caesar action figures and so on.

Interesting stuff just googled: “When it was first proposed in the fifth century to celebrate “the birth of the Son” on the date of “the birth of the Sun” the eastern churches rebelled. They were upset that a pagan holiday was being expropriated by the church, and resisted the change. The Russian Orthodox Church today still shuns December 25th and celebrates the birth of Christ on January 7th instead.” – from the Institute for Liberal Values. Also, that Christmas was illegal in England from 1647 to 1660 under Oliver Cromwell, and for the Calvinist Puritans in Massachusetts from 1659 to 1681. Also see American Christmas Origins.

And of course, let’s not forget Father Christmas, good old Santa Claus, Sinterklaas, Sinter Claes, St Nicholas, etc. Check out the Chronology of Santa Claus. From 1931, Santa’s been wearing Coca Cola’s red and white, and has become the “traditional” view of Santa Claus.

So please, don’t tell me that modern times have taken Christ out of Easter or Christmas. He doesn’t belong there, never did. He was inserted. It’s all about the chocolate, people, and don’t lie to your kids.

What’s a blog for if not for ranting? I’ll just warn the Christian section (vanishingly small) of my readers (again, vanishingly small) to beware.

Every year around this time, you see church leaders and that silly guy in the white hat talking about Christ, how he died for our sins, and how he was resurrected a few days later. Bollocks. It’s all about timing, and how the Christian festival of Easter was plonked headfirst on the pagan festival of Eostre, a spring festival held at the equinox.

Channel 4 – Time Team: “[Eostre] gave her name to the Christian spring festival of Easter, which was originally held on the same day as the festival of Eostre – 21 March, the spring equinox. The modern Easter symbolism of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny arise from pagan custom. The eggs symbolise fertility and rebirth. The rabbit (more properly the hare, which ancient folklore associates with laying eggs) was Eostre’s sacred animal.”

More detail about how this hare lays eggs, from the excitingly named News Letter: “One strangely heartwarming tale about Eostre might even explain why rabbits and eggs have become associated with the Easter festival. The story goes that one winter day, while out walking, Eostre found an injured bird and, in order to save it, turned it into a hare. Unfortunately, the transformation did not go exactly according to plan — the bird achieved the appearance of a hare, but retained the ability to lay eggs. And so it was that this bizarre creature began leaving his eggs — decorated by his own fair paw — as gifts for Eostre!”

So I hope everyone’s celebrating Easter in the contemporary spirit, i.e. enjoying shaped chocolate for breakfast. And then buying more on Tuesday when it’s half price. Chocolate for everyone!

Mt Nebo now has 40/40 required users for ADSL. More would be good, but if everyone says “yes” when someone rings to confirm with them, we’ll have broadband soon. Ish.

And it’s a long, long weekend here; we’re painting. Have more fun than that, everyone.

A long, long time ago (1996) in a town far, far away (Ballarat) I created a tool, CGrUB, to help students learn computer graphics programming in C. It starts at the basics (lines, shapes) and moves through some funky stuff (antialiasing, lighting, splines) to 3D stuff (bouncing balls and random fractals). It’s also free, though it never got the publicity it deserved and remains little known. It was created in Apple Media Tool (unusual in itself) but Director would have been a pain for this project.

Full code is provided for the code examples, along with starter code if you’d like to fill in the blanks as a learning exercise. No idea if you’ll be able to compile the code with any current IDE, but you’ll be able to study the pseudocode in the general learning environment, and see the existing programs in action. Let me know what you think through email to cgrub [at] funwithstuff.com.

If you want to get started you’ll need a Mac and QuickDraw 3D in the classic environment. The PC version is available on request, but I’ll see if anyone’s listening for now. Download CGrUB here.

Nearly there on broadband. After last weekend’s doorknocking, we’ve got 38 interested households, up from the previous 33. (The target of 35, by the way, was raised to 40.) Knocking doors again today and we should have broadband in a few months. For sure, right?

Everything’s pretty busy right now, but it’s looking promising for future work. Some interesting stuff coming soon; I’ll spill more beans after the event. Oh, and I’ve converted airport (link to the left!) to video format and will be submitting it to some festivals. Let’s see if they like it. Oh, one tiny revision to the sound for that version and the web version to the left. Plus it’s now published under a Creative Commons license. Play, enjoy!

In case you’ve ever wondered how you got here, maybe you’re one of the few who used a search engine. There are a few sites hosted on funwithstuff, but I don’t know how “low carb imitation mac” made it here. Anyway, some of the ways you got here last month:

Top 20 of 70 Total Search Strings

1: identikit
2: www.byscooter.com
3: aqua detox footbath
4: aqua detox treatments
5: drum-off video
6: freedom 250cc scooter
7: iain anderson blog
8: iain anderson funwithstuff
9: imovie anamorphic
10: low-carb imitation mac
11: psychedelic.gif
12: reverse garbage mad
13: sarah blasko christian
14: accident scooter australia
15: actionscript bouncing ball to beat
16: adam and joe go tokyo
17: adam davies
18: anamorphic dvd from fcp – solution
19: anamorphic widescreen dvd idvd
20: aromatherapy southampton

Hey everyone. Yes, I’m still here.

Lots of things changing right now, as I’m done for the moment at UQ where I’ve been doing tech support and systems administration stuff. More training coming up, and supporting myself a little more directly. To avoid the daily commute (at least to make it less than daily) I’ll be doorknocking to try to get broadband signups this weekend. Sad, sad, me.

Tutoring at QUT is shaping up to be fun, and I’m looking forward to it starting next week. Hopefully this cough will have gone by then. Everything changes, in time. I’m happy drifting along with the waves for now, paddling to keep moving in the right direction. Cheers and best wishes to all at UQ.