peteg's blog

Little Children

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New Theatre: Life After George.

/noise/theatre | Link

Once again I headed over to New Theatre for their free-for-the-unwaged-and-students showing of their latest production, this time being Life After George. Apparently this play dates from the late 90s, and partakes in a lot of the "we're rooned" yelping that surrounded the universities at that time. (Now I think most are (or have) resigned to just waiting for a change of government.) The playwright, Hannie Rayson, is more recently famous for biting the hand that starves in Two Brothers.

The play itself is stridently Eurocentric, with a backdrop of the modern and post-modern intellectual political fashions from Oxford, to 1968 Paris, to ... Melbourne, pre Dame Edna. The ambit is to flashback through Professor George's life, using the four women central to it to represent each of the eras in which he operated. Melbourne (Uni) is a hothouse of sex and dissent, with Sydney mentioned only as somewhere to dispose of one's children (by adoption, in this case).

As far as production goes, the set is of the minimalist unvarying type symptomatic of independent theatre. As a lot of the play is speechifying, the audience is often looking back over their shoulders wondering who's being talked to.

The Maladies, Hopetoun Hotel.

/noise/music | Link

Just like old times, now that mrak's back in town, with Jen, Jon, Mad, Deb. They've still got a mailing list but there's no CD in sight. Spencer P. Jones headlined, but we mostly absented ourselves during his set. Half-watched the Swans dismantle Melbourne at the SCG on the tube.

The Italian

/noise/movies | Link

At the Orpheum in the early afternoon, another grey-power meeting. I've been watching a lot of Russian culture recently, though this reminded me more of Lilja 4-ever.

Belvoir Downstairs: Anna in the Tropics.

/noise/theatre | Link

Cheapie Tuesday with Jen. Apparently there was no upstairs gig, and so the place felt a bit empty. Zoe Carides was as gorgeous as ever.

The Namesake

/noise/movies | Link

At the Verona. As Jacob once observed, I wish I'd read Gogol's The Overcoat before watching this movie, and it, of course, requires me to read it now. The lead actress is fantastic and I would have liked to know more about the father, who comes across as abstracted yet human, but is incompletely drawn.

/noise/beach/2006-2007 | Link
Swim at Gordons Bay. Very pleasant weather for late April.

Wall Street

/noise/movies | Link

Rife with cliché, the editing of this movie was a mite strange, and the dialogue transiently clunky. Gordon Gekko is pure stereotype, the plot too weirdly redemptive. I was a bit perplexed by his assertion:

That's the thing about WASPs, they love animals, can't stand people.

/noise/beach/2006-2007 | Link
Mid-afternoon swim at Coogee.

FireFox Mac-optimised builds.

/hacking/mac | Link

I'm not a huge fan of the new FireFox (v2.x) for reasons that slip my mind now. Fortunately a kind soul is still cranking out optimised builds for the Mac, sans fancy widgets.

Awareness creeps into drug politics.

/noise/politics | Link


Police Commissioner Ken Moroney says more responsibility needs to be taken for the problems caused by binge drinking.

"I've made no secret of my feelings of the role of alcohol in anti-social behaviour, hooliganism and crime in all of its manifestations," he said.

"I believe it is a greater scourge than the illicit drug problem."

Seven years ago:

"It was quite amazing," a senior Bondi police officer told the Herald after Sydney's millennium celebrations in 2000, one of the most trouble-free New Year's Eves in years. "The big topic of conversation among the officers on the night was how the widespread use of ecstasy has really calmed things down. It has changed the whole scene."

(There was an incredible backlash to this observation at the time.)

xkobo rides again.

/hacking | Link
A vanilla xkobo source tree failed to compile on the MacBook, apparently due to some changes in GCC's C++ support over the last fifteen years. Who'd have thunk it. Fortunately the industrious whitehats at OpenBSD have produced some g++-placating patches that one can dredge from their port system. Joy.

Info for the Great North Walk.

/travels | Link

I went to the Department of Lands today to get some maps and info on the Great North Walk. It looks like it has been tamed over the past few years, so the old tales of heroism are probably (hopefully) overstating the difficulty. One of my fellow map-hunters reckoned the part west of Newcastle was used by people to train for the Kokoda Trail, being full of leeches and all. I, more modestly, hope to walk from somewhere around Mt. Kuring-gai to Berowra or Cowan over a couple of days in the near future. I can't believe the western side of Cowan is anywhere near as bad as the eastern... but in any case the weather will be milder than last time.

The 40 Year Old Virgin

/noise/movies | Link

/noise/beach/2006-2007 | Link
Early-afternoon swim at Gordons Bay.

Martin Amis: The Information

/noise/books | Link

Another airport novel from Martin Amis. This review in the New York Times, when not summarising the plot, made me wonder if we had read the same book. I didn't think it was particularly successful apart from the as-usual excellent characterisation and turn-of-phrase that has gotten the bums on the seats in the past. The narrative moved incredibly slowly, and it appears that this dawned on the author as he flurries his way through the final section, beginning to (somewhat) tidy up the loose ends somewhere past the 400 page mark.

Stranger than Fiction

/noise/movies | Link

/noise/beach/2006-2007 | Link
Quick morning dip with mrak at Coogee, featuring some classic shorebreaking dumpers.

The Ice Storm

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/noise/beach/2006-2007 | Link
Swim at a quite flat Bondi with mrak in the mid-afternoon.

Félix Lajkó: Félix Lajkó, Hetedik, Vox Naturalis.

/noise/music | Link

Passion Discs, the only purveyor of Félix Lajkó CDs on the web accessible to a monolingual English speaker, was selling these three and so it was these three I bought. I can highly recommend their service, with only six days elapsing between placing the order and the arrival of it in Randwick, half a world away. Perhaps this has something to do with the much-maligned Royal Mail providing a self-stamping service.

The music itself is very interesting, leading me away from the grottiness of the Dirty Three towards the classical folk of the Balkan region. I envy those in London who'll get to see him play at All Tomorrow's Parties, along with Grinderman, Nick Cave, the Dirty Three, etc. etc. etc.

I note, for the benefit of those lucky enough to be here for it, that the Dirty Three are touring Australia in August.

Gibbard-Satterthwaite in Isabelle.

/choice/social-choice | Link

Finally completed a long-winded proof of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem in Isabelle. This is a bit more complex than the proof of Arrow's Theorem because of the requisite ballot manipulations, though most of the ideas are the same. I followed Taylor quite closely. Of perhaps more general interest, in Section 3.3: The Equivalence of Arrow's Theorem and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem he says:

In geometry, we can say that two versions of the parallel postulate are equivalent if each becomes a theorem when the other is added as an axiom to Euclid's original four. Similarly, we say that two versions of the axiom of choice are equivalent if each becomes a theorem when the other is added as an axiom to the Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms for set theory.

The reasons these assertions have formal content is that the results whose equivalence is being claimed are independent of the remaining axioms (assuming the consistency of the remaining axioms). Absent this condition of independence, the theorem asserting that 2 + 2 = 4 would qualify as being equivalent to Andrew Wiles' elliptic curve result that settled Fermat's last theorem (each being provable from the standard axioms of set theory with the other added — or not added, as it turns out).

Equivalence, however, is also used in an informal sense inspired by the formal notion above. We say that two theorems are equivalent if each is "easily derivable" from the other, where the ease of the derivation is measured (intuitively) relative to the difficulty of the stand-alone proofs of the theorems whose equivalence is being asserted. It is in this informal sense that we want to ask about the equivalence of Arrow's theorem and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem.

You'll have to read his book for his conclusions on this very important topic.

As it stands I have a grotty proof for the linear-ballots case and hope to extend it to the non-linear case in the near future.

The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith

/noise/movies | Link

Reign Over Me

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At the brand-spanking Dendy in Civic with Dave.


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With Dave and Luke in an intermission to moving house.

The Spook

/noise/theatre | Link

The first NUTS production I've seen in ages, at Studio 1. Some excellent acting by Tom Petty and Lara Kerestes as Greek migrants, and good work from the leads as well. The set was the usual NUTS-minimalist effort.

The play itself was written by Melissa Reeves and appears to have been performed in Melbourne and at Belvoir a few years ago. It's a shame NUTS has such short runs on its productions.

A shiny new MacBook.

/hacking | Link

The storm this morning brought two things: mrak's much-talked-about postcards, one from Qatar, the other from Vietnam, both posted in the last week of his travels; and a man from TNT Express Worldwide bearing a MacBook.

Apple has a strange way of managing expectations; the Apple Store website told me it was late in shipping, but then the shipping itself took one day instead of two or more. Anyway, they managed to suck me into buying an iPod with a two hundred dollar discount so I guess they've earnt the right to laugh at me.

I spent most of the day trying to reinstall everything, after I asked Migration Assistant to ship all the crap in my home directory over. Surprisingly Isabelle installed with little hassle, and Apple's new(er) X11 works pretty well. I was shocked to find how easy it was to install Debian these days, even under (a trial version of) Parallels.

In short: it's bigger, heavier and much, much faster than the old iBook, and the fan comes on pretty much as soon as you do anything serious. The glossy screen seems to be OK; it's all about getting the angle right, like MySpace. The keyboard is actually quite fine too, despite appearances. No regrets so far.

Love's Triumph at the Darlinghurst Theatre.

/noise/theatre | Link

With Jen. In the style of a Shakespearean farce, a plethora of storylines tidily resolved in the overlong climax-denouement. The dialogue was good, the acting mostly excellent, and the sets quite effective.

The Smage review is on the money.

/noise/beach/2006-2007 | Link
Quick dip at an incredibly flat Coogee. The tsunami warning was a bit of a furphy.

The Lives of Others

/noise/movies | Link

Mid-afternoon at the Academy Twin, at what appeared to be a grey-power meeting. I was riveted for almost all of it, modulo the Lolita plot device near the two-thirds mark. The acting is top-notch, the direction classical.