| SPXL.TVblog | contactgallery | videoflash | processingmyspace | facebook

Category / Personal Education

Got milk? 12 August, 2015 at 5:53 pm

This morning a friend posted:

Help a brother out with a job application!

“Describe a time when you had to be self-motivated to achieve an important goal. What was the goal? What were the challenges? What strengths and/or learning opportunities did you identify as part of this process?”

What kind of examples do people use for these?

My initial response was brief: “Something about making breakfast when there was no milk left in the fridge.”

Then I wrote the following (with a few minor edits made since).

Eating breakfast is of course important. The challenge is cereal without milk. Having run out of milk is clearly an operational oversight. However, despite the early hour, lack of energy and disappointment, I knew that I could draw on my internal resilience and resourcefulness to come up with a solution.

There were several options. One was to go to work without breakfast. Yes, I would survive, but I knew that it would take the edge off my productivity and creative output.

An unpleasant option was to use water in place of milk. I don’t know if you have ever eaten your standard breakfast with water in place of milk, but I can assure you it is worse than not eating it in normal circumstances.

A third option was to go to the supermarket, however this trip would be fairly time costly, and involve driving, which is a little financially and environmentally irresponsible for just an item or two.

The best option was to use my excellent interpersonal skills and rouse my neighbour to ask if they could spare some. In return I offered to invite them over for dinner that evening. They had recently moved in and I had not had a chance to get to know them well. The milk was offered, breakfast was saved, and the satisfied feeling propelled an excellent day at work, completing tasks early, including assisting a colleague with a backlog of customer callbacks. I left the office slightly early and used the extra time to restock my groceries – as well as a replacement for the neighbour, of course – and collect ingredients for a nice meal to cook. The meal was lovely and it turns out the neighbour and I get along very well, and we hatched a plan to do combined grocery shopping with home delivery. Split between two households, the delivery fee is quite reasonable, and the time saved on shopping allows us more time to have BBQ’s together, enjoying some music we both enjoy and discuss our hobbies. And I now also never run out of milk.

What I learned is that obstacles and problems can be turned into opportunities. Even a small problem can be just the catalyst required to reexamine outdated processes and result in a better life.

This experience of course translates directly to the business environment, where challenges must be met on a daily basis, and to obtain a competitive edge, improvements to existing systems must be looked for occasionally, explored and implemented.

Perhaps not a true story, but I think I might try this, or something like it, some time.

-spxl – how many groups are started by authoritarian control freaks? 22 April, 2010 at 6:11 am

Case Study

Confucius & Western Historical Philosophers-A Stutdy Meetup (sic)


pete” (possibly not his real name)

Location: Sydney
san francisco (sic)

Organizer of this Meetup Group since January 21, 2010


I am interested in philosophy and different cultures, I feel only reason and logics [sic] can save the humanity [sic] in the end. ‘We may take fancy for a companion, but must follow Reason as our guide’. Samuel Johson [sic]

Reading is to find out whether what you are trying to address, has been addressed.

Reading is to find out whether what you are trying to address was already addressed by someone 100 ago [sic] or not.
Please read the philosopher we specify before the meeting otherwise listen and learn . Please do not join this group if you do not agree to observe this simple rule.


STUDY ONE PHILOSOPHER A MEETUP- 50 philosphers after 50 meetups.



Sweet, sweet eye candy 11 August, 2008 at 2:37 am

From the What’s Cooking? department…

I’ve been to a couple of VJ events this week: the meetup on Wednesday at T-Bar, and Immersion (a live experimental electronic music + visuals gig) on Thursday in The Flea Pit. I’ll mention that it’s great now living in Shoreditch, as both these venues are only a short walk away from my flat! :o)

Back to the story… it has occurred to me on more than one occasion that I will probably want (need?) to get into 3D at some point, and at these two events I saw some nice interactive 3D animation by pixelpusher (Evan Raskob), an earlier version of which can be seen in the video from the previous post (London VJ Meeting, Wed 9 July at T-Bar). I’m talking about the kinetic squiggles (which are input as gestures via his digital tablet) which zoom around. Evan had been working on this simple idea since last meetup, upgrading it from 2D only to 2D and 3D (combined), allowing multiple gestures to be loaded up as a set before “launching” (these are my own terms, I don’t know what Evan calls them!). I’ll have to clear some space on my Laptop (or get hold of another external drive – the one I brought with me from Sydney is out of reach at a friend’s house while they are at the Boom! festival in Portugal!) to upload the video I took at the event, and until then all I can say is that it looked quite amazing. That particular visual is produced in Processing from I haven’t had much of a play with it just yet, but it looks promising! From the home page:

Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.

I’ve also had a word in my ear from Dr Mo about XNA the last couple of times we’ve met. I’d had the idea that I might use DirectX to build my own visuals engine at some point, and Mo’s feedback is that XNA is nice to work with, especially as the coding is done in C#.

I found myself installing the XNA Game Studio last night and discovered there is a free 3D modeling package: Truespace 7(.6) from Caligari. Upon further investigation I see that Caligari (or at least this product) is now owned by Microsoft, hence the plug from XNA. I remember the name “Caligari 4D”, and think it may have even been one of the packages available back in the day of the Amiga.

In any case, this eventually ends up in looking at videos of 3D animations, and this excellent example appears in Vimeo Staff’s Choice Picks:

Interstellar Sugar – Suryummy from Suryummy on Vimeo.

It reminds me of stuff done by the demoscene crew Farbrausch. If you like Suryummy’s video, you should check out the stuff that Farbrausch pump out in real-time!

Of course this video was created with software other than TrueSpace. Suryummy lists in a comment: maya, adobe*3, particular, live, reactor, absynth.

There is talk on the London Electronic Music Meetup (EMM) group about an Ableton Live DJ Workshop on a Saturday some time soon. I saw Live being used at Funckarma’s Dubstoned ep launch in London, but it wasn’t a “live” set, it was a DJ set, using Live. I want to know more… about using Live generally, but also because I know it has some sort of capability for triggering visuals. I have a project to work on with a DJ here in London, Unity Selekta, to produce visuals for his gigs, and I think I’m going to need some sort of sequencer. Live may be that sequencer.


Free Rice 6 January, 2008 at 8:21 am

FreeRice is a sister site of the world poverty site,

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

How does FreeRice do this? The interactive part of the site is a vocabulary tester / game. Every time you get the word right, 20 grains of rice (not much, but over many words by many people, quite a bit!) is donated to the UN World Food Program. The difficulty of the words depends on what ‘level’ you are at – which goes down when you get a word wrong, and goes up when you get three right in a row. I tell you, it can be bloody frustrating! The idea is that you will be kept somewhere at the edge of your vocabulary – once you’ve seen the same words come up a bunch of times, you of course learn them (well, one would hope eventually!) and move on. You stumble back pretty quickly sometimes, and forward progress is slow, but it is also addictive!

I think the highest level I reached was 45. I’m not sure, exactly, as it was a while ago now (before New Year’s, certainly, maybe before Christmas) , but it didn’t often get past 43. See how you go, and help to feed the hungry.