October 31, 2003


Winter is on its way, about to take over this country in what seems like perpetual darkness. Days that last from 8:30am until around 4:30pm, and temperatures that rarely exceed 7°C - it will be a long and tedious winter.

My plants don't grow in these conditions, and I cant stand to be 6 months without them. So I will try to grow them throughout the winter in a simulated summer environment. Today I took delivery of an aquarium tank, and will try to adapt it as a terrarium. In it, I'm going to try and grow herbs and small varieties of chillis. The environment inside the tank should be ideal, with plenty of light from a fluoro tube, and being somewhat sealed, it should keep warmth and some humidity inside.

There is a lot I can do, and a few things I should. I'll need to get some material for the bottom and soil, some decoration, and setup something to automatically water when needed. I've already set the lamp to be on for about 17 hours per day. Of course the geek in me will also set up a webcam on this - assuming I have enough cable to reach it! Tomorrow I'll head to Intratuin and get the stones, grit and any other bits I'll need. The weekend should be fun I think. I'll post further once I've done a bit more with it.

For now, plants in pots will hopefully be happy. I should germinate some pepper seeds too!

Posted by Ben at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2003

Beans, beans, the musical fruit..

...the more you eat, the more you toot!

Posted by Ben at 03:29 PM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2003

The Flat Shuffle

Up until now, the furniture in my apartment has been in exactly the same layout as when I first moved in. The effort required to move it has been otherwise just to much. But I have never really like how it is.

So finally this weekend, with a little assistance, I finally mustered up the effort to do something about it. I have moved stuff around to make much more efficient use of space, and also put things in a layout that is just so much more inviting and aesthetic.

This should prepare things for my terrarium that I'll soon be making (more news to come!).

Posted by Ben at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2003


Today we got the first snow of the season!! And very early too, as it's not even the end of October. Apparently lots and lots has fallen throughout various bits of the country. Rightly too - my temperature station has recorded a minimum of -1.1°C overnight.

Shame I missed most of it though - but fingers crossed for some snow this weekend. Always enjoyable :)

Posted by Ben at 02:04 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2003


I've been doing a lot of PHP coding lately, and one thing I've been wanting to do for some time now is to have some slight better stats on the weather in this bitterly cold country. My previous stats consisted of a simple RRD graph of the temperature, read from a nice little temperature sensor device attached to a serial port.

My little script reads the raw RRD data (from rrdtool dump) and processes the info, creating a statistics page in real time. The entire page (except for 1x1 pixel GIFs) is pure HTML and CSS. Even the bar graphs consist of HTML table. This makes it very lean, and is much simpler than using an image library.

Not the most useful of scripts, but certainly gives me useful information and lots of PHP practise.

Posted by Ben at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2003

Drosera Carpensis

In my battle to eliminate tiny flies that find my pepper plants tasty, I have gotten another weapon. The flytrap I bought last week is not too good against the small aphid-sized flies. On Saturday I went to Amsterdam and bought a Sundew plant. This remarkable carnivorous plant has hundreds of hairs covering the leaves, each one with a little droplet of sticky nectar. Insects are attracted to them and on touching the hairs, get stuck to it. They eventually die, and the plant digests the hapless creature. So far after a day, the plant has dozens of litle flies already, so I think my peppers can now survive bug-free for another season!

Posted by Ben at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

October 12, 2003

Dionaea Muscipula

Otherwise known as a Venus Fly Trap, I'm now the proud owner of one of these carnivorous munchers, which will give a bit of natural pest control in my place, as well as add a little visciousness to my plant collection. Though the cactii are pretty viscious anyway!

Apparently the flytraps are quite hard to keep alive and healthy. Good thing there is a Venus Fly Trap FAQ.

Posted by Ben at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Trippy illusion

Check out this illusion (see it fullsize). Looks like it's moving, but in fact it is a static image.

This is one image from a collection of mind benders available here and here.

Not suitable for hangovers!

Posted by Ben at 12:09 PM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2003

Weekend and weekday

After such a wonderful weekend, the working week seems every so dreary. Either the waiting game of work projects makes it not very inspiring, or the company of the right person on a weekend gives the weekdays a hard time to compete.

Yes, I had a great weekend. And I hope you did too.

Posted by Ben at 10:10 PM | Comments (1)

October 02, 2003

A parable

A young bull and an old bull are at the top of a hill, looking down on the herd of cows.

The young bull says to the old bull, "lets run down there a meet a cow!"

The old bull responds, "lets walk down there and meet them all."

Posted by Ben at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2003

I feel gooood

Spending a week in Sydney has been such a huge relief for me. Being on the other side of the world leaves me longing to hang out with friends and family, and it's a great mind refresher. Some of the things I got up to:

  • Went to Michael and Sorayas wedding
  • Got a wisdon tooth taken out - and it hasnt hurt!
  • Had lots of steak and good aussie meat.
  • Went fishing and caught a 3kg salmon
  • Overloaded with caffeine and coffee at Hernandez
  • Tediously moved my web/mail/etc server to another location
  • Took this excellent night photo of the city.
  • Chatted a lot with Snow when not out.

I'll be off again to Sydney before the year is out too, so I hope to add a few more things to the list! Photos are all sorted out - I ended up taking so many! But I got a few rippers, including a video of Tom hauling in a salmon.

Posted by Ben at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)