Monday 21 November 2011

Ethnic groceries on the Gold Coast

Haven't checked all of these yet, but intend to and report back...

The Spice Trail - Corner of Coolibah & Myall St., Southport
Ferry Road Market - Brickworks Centre, 107 Ferry Road, Southport
Russian Delight - Shop 18B, Centro Nerang, 57 Station St., Nerang
Continental Smallgoods & Butchery - 2380 Gold Coast Highway, Cnr Markeri St., Mermaid Beach
Mt Lebanon Deli - 2241 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
Global Food & Wine - 1/81 Lawrence Drive, Nerang
Sara & Sevda Persian Supermarket - 4/55 Nerang St, Southport
Paradise Point Delicatessan - Shop 2, 34 Esplanade, Paradise Point
Ming Mei Asian Supermarket - Shop G073, Australia Fair Shopping Centre, 42 Marine Parade, Southport

If you live on the Gold Coast and know of any more, comment!

Will report back...

Finished Richard Dawkins "The Magic of Reality"

What a great book.
I recommend anyone with kids to get a copy and read it together with them.
Fantastic introduction to how science works.
Each chapter begins with a bunch of myths around the core question and then shows how science addresses it.

Early Slava!

One of our colleagues is of Serbian descent and invited us around for early "Slava" on Saturday.
For those that don't know, that's the Serbian Orthodox tradition of the ritual celebration and veneration of a family's own patron saint.
(for more detail visit:
Since I am an atheist, I didn't cross myself during the initial ceremony, but nobody seemed to mind.
In any case it was great food and great people.
Here's the menu:

Chicken noodle soup (gf)
Vegetable noodle soup (gf)(vgn)

2nd course:
Meat sarma & punjaje paprika (gf)
Vegetable sarma & punjaje paprika (gf)(vgn)

3rd course:
Pork hock pasulj (gf)
Vegitable pasulj (gf)(vgn)

Fried cevapcice (gf)
Fried Egg plant and Temphe (gf)(vegan)
Roast vegetables (gf)(vegan)

Cheese, spring onion and kale gibanica (vgt)
Cashew, spring onion and kale gibanica (gf?)(vgn)
cakes (gf)(vgn)

(gf) = gluten free
(vgt) = vegetarian
(vgn) = vegan

And he brought in some left-overs for me to take home!

Thursday 17 November 2011

Grails: Why I think "hello world" should be considered evil

I started in IT in April 1977.
I sat in front of a terminal that year and typed "vi helloworld.c".
It as a simple program being just a few lines of old K&R C.
I was entranced.
It worked.
It printed out "Hello World".
(In those days that was real magic)

But I had deep seated anti-patterns flowing through me and I got the hint that something wasn't right.
Yes, the program worked.
Yes, it did what I told it to.

It wasn't "real" in the sense that it didn't model the "real" world.

By 1985/86 I was responsible for a single program with 1 million lines of K&R C.
Excluding comments.
It still didn't model the "real" world but it did a darn good job of making sense of accounting data and was a serious contender for replacing SQL at the time.
It was HUGE and had a unique database model that we had patents on.
It only had one database.
And I saw that as a problem.

Funny thing is...
Years later...
I see fat books touting this framework or that and see people getting all hot and bothered about them.

For all their verbiage and explanations, they are just the same as that first C program I wrote in 1977.
They are the new "hello world" systems.
Acres of code.
Dependency Injection. Woooo!
Dependency management. Woooo!
AOP. Woooo!
Enterprise...  Woooo!
I know I'm a dinosaur, but seriously?
And all of them treat the landscape or scope of their explanation as GREEN FIELD.
So they all describe in glowing terms about ORMs and finders and what not.
And guess what?
They only have one database.
Just like the 80's.

What colour is the sky in their world?
Not blue obviously.
Because you're not even in brown field territory.
Blackened, burnt, filled with the ruined spectres of testers, moaning project managers, nazi network engineers, multiple architectures, servers, clusters, app servers and and and...
If you want to use Grails or Rails or any other damn framework you have to fit into that view of reality.
And that includes that dreaded word...


Why is that word that word?
I hate that word.
The reality is that when you try to use these wunderkind frameworks with existing systems, everything crashes in a heap.
You have to twist and turn and hack and chop and do a whole pile of things which may include bedding down with the Ops manager to get them to work...
And the basis of it all is that so many of these frameworks assume that it's in a void.
One database.
Dependency injection at boot time.
WooHoo... Not.

Apart from taking all the fun out of programming, this isn't how the world works.

I have a situation with multiple database technologies and servers.
I love Grails and Rails and Groovy and Ruby and... well Java not so much.
But the frameworks are sh*t at handling those "legacy" systems.

I don't want DTOs, but the Tech team likes them.
So I have to be able to have these 35 DTOs pointing at that MySQL cluster with multiple databases/tables/read-write/read-only role based access, another 20 DTOs pointing at that MySQL cluster over there in the same manner, and, oh by the way, I have two MongoDB replica sets which need to be included.
And some of the DTOs are the same across the databases, clusters and collections so annotations won't cut it.
Oh, and I need to have DB_dev, DB_test, DB_stage and DB (for production) for each of them.
Oh and the Test Lead wants all the systems to work in the Test and Stage environments before being deployed.
Oh and the Ops Lead demands that all deployed systems use RESTful interfaces to reset and/or reload all database settings at certain times.
Oh and he wants to be able to "push" database changes using a RESTful interface into your app.

Grails in Action and Definitive Guide and... and... Nope.
Dependency Injection my ass.

Grails is a lovely technology.
I like it.
I have to admit I used Rails earlier and loved that, so I'm slightly biased.

But the ORMs out there are rubbish.
Total rubbish.
You have no choice but to define everything up front in a config file, externalise it in excruciating detail, or whatever.
Or, in Grails, bounce repeatedly through Spring hoops to get the scenario to work HOW THEY WANT IT TO WORK.
Total krap.

So you resort to low level API.
Then the real issues come out.
And you then resort to hacking someone else's code.
And you ask yourself: "WTF?"
Hasn't anyone else had these issues?
So you "google" and lo and behold, yup, others have.
And the answers you get are so complex or complicated or distressed or tired or RTFM or JIRA bug it or SUFFER DUDE that you are just left bewildered.

After 2 1/2 days phaffing about trying to get Grails to do what I needed (not wanted) to do, I had a hissy fit.
Hence this post.
So? I'm impatient - (shrugs).

Hello world?
Get off my lawn!

BTW... I'm going to write my own ORM that handles these scenarios.
Dunno when.
It won't happen overnight.
But it will happen.

Nothing in particular. (K)

Gardening done.
Bills paid online. 
Tax basically sorted.
UK GMC registered physician identified.
Bathroom cleaned and scrubbed. 
Sweat from this morning showered off. 
AirCon on and n*ked with a glass of wine. 
Only way to be. 

Max (our robot vacuum cleaner) started off upstairs doing his thing. 
"Thud. Bang. Thud. Bang. DooDoo-DOO-Doo!"
Banging about in the bedroom. 
He'll be in here soon banging about my feet.
But at least the vacuuming is done.

Tried to build a ramp for him so he can get into the bathroom...
Total trailer park epic fail. 
Sigh. I'm krap on the physical side of things.

Once built a rabbit hutch.
Used a manual.
After I finished I looked at it.
And burst into laughter.
I expected a Leporidae Hutch Inspector to turn up at any moment and slapping a "Condemned - Unfit for Rabbitation" sticker on it.
FYI: go here: to find out more about where the word rabbit comes from.
Go figure. Never knew that you'd get your head punched in if you called a cricketer a rabbit. Funny things names eh?

Rant about enterprise framework lunacy formulating in my mind.

Finished the Sam Harris book "The Moral Landscape"

It's kinda difficult to characterise my feelings.
I was 2/3rds the way through the book (page 191 of 295) and had the odd feeling that the author was "wrapping up".
I turned the page and there it was: "Afterword".
What? It's over? That's it? Hey! What about the other hundred pages?
100 pages of notes and references.
Don't get me wrong... The notes were interesting. Very interesting.

Now. I need to get down to it.
I was flummoxed by the 'end' of the book.
It didn't seem like anything had been established and felt like I'd been running and suddenly found myself like a cartoon character flailing madly as I ran off the end of a cliff.
No definitive conclusion.
I read the afterword.
THAT should have been the book.
I looked at the cover again: "How Science Can Determine Human Values"
Er... No...
I agree completely with the author as he seems to be saying "Whoops. Maybe that line was a bad idea."
Mainly because the book didn't seem to say "How Science Can Determine Human Values" but rather:
"Whether it may be possible at some time in the future that science may have some insight into what human values are and whether it may be possible to have something to say about how human brains work."
I sat back after the Afterword and thought for a while.
Or, as the author seems to be saying, "Thoughts had me" about the what I had read.
I concede that the author is very familiar with the subject of neuroscience and provided a lot of study results to back up his argument at any particular point.
There seemed to be a, how shall I put it, somewhat "stream of consciousness" to the progress of the book.
I never got the feeling that any point had been established with any certainty.
I could characterise the entire book as a dinner party where a proclaimed intellectual giant arrives, dominates the group by monologuing for an hour or so, then for no seemingly good reason says:
"Right. That's established. I'm off. Here are my notes."
And leaves with everybody furrowing their brow and wondering whether they learned anything or had any insights.

Then another thought had me.
There seemed to be an unstated assumption that seemed to permeate the text.
It was like the elephant in the room.
Every statement and question seemed to be framed to avoid saying: "WTF! There's a bloody great elephant here!"
And that is that the author seemed to be skirting around saying:
"You are a machine. A complex machine, but a machine nonetheless. A body hanging off a bunch of chemical and electrical effects held in that head thing. You don't have thoughts. They have you. What you call your mind and your choices are simply post facto results of those chemical and electrical effects over which you have no more control than you have over your pancreas."
And for me that's a worry despite the fact that I agree with it with one proviso:
"My mind and personality may be determined by those effects, but I VALUE them independently of those effects."
Because it seems to me that if that is used as a basis for "Determining Human Values" then your "well-being" can simply be controlled by a bunch of medications or medical intervention.
And there are nutters out there who change:
"You are a machine"
"You are JUST a machine"
And who, just who, will decide what levels of serotonin and dopamine or how many hours of exercise or which vegetables and fruit I eat will promote my personal well-being?
And what nanny state nutter will stop there?
Why not determine that having a choice about milk is not good for your well-being after age 5?
Why not determine that "fill in your horror scenario here."
After all, it's "science".

Hello THX-1138.

Then another thought had me.
There is no "soul".
But I consider myself to be a dualist.
No not a body-soul dualist, but more of a brain-mind dualist.
That is, my mind is the emergent behaviour of the fantastically complex chemical and electrical effects in my head.
This can be shown by the "mind" changing as a result of pre-frontal cortex damage as shown by the author.
But I VALUE that emergent behaviour and I won't submit to chemical or societal force just because someone else's emergent behaviours determine that I'm damaging my "well-being".

Just a thought that had me.

On to a Richard Dawkins book.

Wow. We got a page view from Ecuador.

We started this blog as a means of getting link information out to internal staff.
I was quickly going through about 2 dozen sites each morning and composing a list of things that would be of interest to people within the company.
This was mainly news that would not hit the mainstream media, or would have been buried in the deluge of junk.
This got tedious using email as the 'to' line was getting very long, so we created the blog as a means of externalising and formalising the process.
We've only had it on line for about 6 weeks and have not advertised it in any way.
To our surprise it seems many people out on the inter-webs find the mix of techie, nerd, geek, business and politics links to be interesting.

For example: We've had 35 page views from Israel (presumably ShinBet because I post links from Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera), 19 from Russia 4 from China and today our first page view from Ecuador.

Hola desde Australia y gracias!



Tuesday 15 November 2011

Friday 11 November 2011

Grails: Adding logging to service classes

I had a need for this and was going nuts trying to get it working.
Then I stumbled on this:
And did my own slightly modified version.
This entire approach is intriguing and I will no doubt be using this approach for other needs.

Works just peachy.

Thanks Hubert!

Monday 7 November 2011

Sinatra up and running - WHY WAS MY ORDER DELAYED?

I'm getting used to that capitalized phrase...
I ordered the book in April.
But I keep getting this sort of thing:


We're writing about the order you placed on April 01 2011 (Order# xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx). Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below has changed, and we need to provide you with a new delivery estimate based on the new release date:

 Alan Harris "Sinatra: Up and Running"
   Estimated arrival date: December 16 2011 - December 29 2011

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay.

At this rate I won't receive it until April next year.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Yet another example of UK eccentricity

We tended to leave our rear windows open, but we overlook a railway station on that side, so we had to drop off to sleep with the dulcet tones of a railway announcer explaining where the train on platform 2 is off to and how any unattended parcels will be taken away and destroyed.

Since the railway authorities decided to build a bridge between platforms, we also tended to be woken up by the sound of tramping feet and announcements that to leave the station would all passengers use the bridge to platform 3.

We know the routes of the trains off by heart of course, something which we would dearly love to forget.

Early Saturday and Sunday mornings were the worst since hoons from the many nightclubs in the area try to catch trains at 3am.
Now the trains stop running around that time.
So they are told in no uncertain terms by a station dude that there are no more trains.
Evidence from this conversation at 3:30am morning:

Announcer: There are no more trains from this station. Please exit the station via the bridge.
Hoons: [loud shouting, sounds of breaking bottles]
Announcer: There aren’t any more trains. Please leave.
Hoons: F**k you mate! WooHoo! England forever!
Announcer: You’re on CCTV. Please leave.
Hoons: [more shouting sounds of breaking wood]
Announcer: We’ll call the police if you don’t leave.
Hoons: [crashing sounds, laughter and more breaking bottles]
Announcer: You can’t hide behind that billboard. You’re on CCTV. We can see you.
Hoons: England Forever! England Forever!
Announcer: That may be so, but there are no more trains. Please leave.
Hoons: [more breaking wood]
Announcer: That fence is above a 12 foot drop. I wouldn’t use that as an exit.
Hoons: [loud crashing sound in our car park]
Announcer: You’re on CCTV. Don’t try to use that as an exit. Use the station exit.
Hoons: [crash. bang. thud.]
Announcer: That’s it. I’m calling the police.
Hoons: [swearing and moans]

At which point I looked out of our rear window. The lunatics had climbed over a 6 foot fence and crashed down into our car park. Now I need to mention that this 6 foot fence is on top of a 8 foot concrete wall. They had fallen between cars some 14 foot. To my amazement they all got up, linked arms and staggered drunkenly towards the entrance to our flats shouting loudly: "That’ll show ‘em! England Forever!" They did stop at one point to all urinate on a rose bush but disappeared from view shortly thereafter.

Now I need to point out that the entrance to the flats is only a short distance from the entrance to the train station. And they have to pass that entrance to get to a taxi stand which is partially visible from the rear window over the top of the station. So they didn’t achieve much. A few minutes later I did notice some flashing blue back lighting on our roof from that taxi stand.

Another example of UK eccentricity

I went up to the post office to post a book I’ve sold. I was in the line and there was one of those guys with their pants down around their bums in front of me. A window came free and this dude slouched up. Then he looked like he’d been punched, let out a yelp, doubled up and his pants fell around his ankles. He’d been using what looked like his grand fathers braces to hold his 16 sizes too short jeans up and one had snapped. Sprung round and tapped him just a little in the ghoulies. He looked like a pile of dirty laundry on the floor groaning and clutching his “manhood.” Hmm. Seems there is justice in the world I thought...

But then I noticed the lady at the other till. I use the word “lady” in a somewhat loose sense. Tasha Slappas mother is a looker by comparison. Anyway, she was engaged in a dialogue with the post-person behind the counter:

Lady: It’ll fit in the mailbox.
Counter-Lady: Er. I’m sorry? What will.
Lady: The parcel I’m here to post.
Counter-Lady: Your parcel. Can I see it please?
Lady: Yeah. I want £10.
Counter-Lady: I’m sorry? Er. You have to pay us to post the parcel.
Lady: Nah. Nah. I want £10. From the Giro.
Counter-Lady: Oh. Can you put your card in the machine please.
Lady: Oh right. Hate these machines. [cackles]

She then extracted her card and started stabbing at the machine with it. I was cringing as she flailed about with the card scraping on the edges and bending precariously.

Lady: These are tricky buggers aren’t they?

She then took out a rather ratty tissue and rubbed crazily along the card. She then started stabbing at the machine, completely missing the area where the slot was.

Counter-Lady: [looking stunned] No. No. Stop. You have to put the card in the slot!
Lady: Yeah I now that luv.

After a bit more stabbing the card went into the slot. And then... With the flat of her palm she whacked the end so hard that the machine bent backwards, the card actually snapped and a shard went pinging off into a corner of the office. Now normally those cards are pretty tough. They don’t normally snap. So I wondered how often she had bashed the life out of that poor card for it to get plastic fatigue.

Lady: Oh f**k. It’s broken my card again.

Again? It? I stifled a snort of laughter. Again???

Lady: Bugger. I’ll have to go to the bank again to get a new one. [cackles]
Counter-Lady: Yes.
Lady: Bloody cards and machines. They’re bloody useless. Always breaking.
Counter-Lady: Well, you don’t need to use force with the cards.
Lady: Yeah luv, but these machines keep breaking me cards.

Oh the sheer wonderful logic of that statement. I stifled another snort.

Counter-Lady: Ok. Ok. Just leave it. Do you have your savings book?
Lady: Eh what?
Counter-Lady: Your savings book. You can use that.
Lady: Oh right luv.

She then rummaged around in her bag and produced a matted mess of paper with sticky tape holding it together. Oh lordy I thought. She pushed it through to the counter lady who processed it and passed the revolting mess plus a £10 note back to the lady.

Lady: Now. Me parcel. Can’t forget me parcel can I. [cackles]

The counter lady processed the postage, took the £10 note back and returned change. She then pushed those little sticky postage stamp things back through. Tashas mum took it and stuck it to one finger and started moving the parcel, her bag, her paper mess and the sticky thing from hand to hand until in a fit of intelligence realised that she couldn’t juggle that many objects with only two hands. So she pushed the lot to one side, stood aside and:

Lady: Oh what a muddle eh? That’s why I got buckles see.
Counter-Lady: I’m sorry?
Lady: On me shoes. Get muddled with laces and that. [loud laughter]
Counter-Lady: Oh yes.

And then the worst thing in the world happened. She turned to me as I was now in the front of the line and said:

Lady: Oh ‘ere luv. You better come on and do yours!
Me: Oh. Ta.

As I was dealing with counter lady and my parcel...

Lady: ‘Ere. Don’t use that machine right? It f**ks your cards. I gotta go to the bank again. I told ‘em. I told ‘em I did. I said you gotta make better machines and cards ‘cos they keep breaking. I’m not putting money into your bank so you can make these stupid things I said. I told ‘em I did. [shakes head and cackles] Not like the old days eh? I said not like the old days eh? ‘Course you wouldn’t know would you luv? You’re a young-un eh? Got a bike have you?

I didn’t know whether to be gratified that she thought I looked young, but then I realised that she would only be in her 40’s. I was at least a decade older than her. Hunched off, muttering, cackling to herself. So sad. Anyway, I had just finished my transaction and was desperately seeking an escape route when:

Me: Sorry? What?
Lady: You got a bike? I got a bike. Tied up outside. At least it was when I came in. [more cackling] Dunno these days do you luv? Could be nicked.

I beat a hasty retreat thinking that if she couldn’t tie shoe laces how she could have tied up a bike? After popping across the road to Sainsburys I came back past the post office and she was cackling and muttering and swearing as she struggled with about the at least 20 feet of rope she’d used to tie her bike to a lamp post with. The rope was gordian in size and complexity. She’ll be there for hours undoing it. And don’t get all huffy with me for not helping. The way she was waving that rope violently around and swearing and carrying on, I’d have been risking life and limb coming within 10 feet.

Funny thing people eh?

What I mean by eccentric...

When we were living in the UK some years back, eccentricity was everywhere.
I don't see it much here.
But then... We live on the Gold Coast. Hardly weirdo city.

In just a few months of living in the UK:

1) There was a religious bookshop which we passed each time we did shopping. They sold "The Manga Bible." Wish I'd bought a copy. Unfortunately they didn't have the illustrated Koran, or any version of “Buddha Monopoly,” or even “Risk: The Valhalla Edition.”

2) We saw an ad for a butcher in Truro who sold fried squirrel. Apparently he can’t shoot enough of the little furry fuzz-balls. He spends all weekend taking potshots at squirrels when they stop moving - you know the “moment” when they look like as Eddie Izzard says “Have I left the gas on?” And on Monday morning he takes the lot in and dresses them  (the butchering term, not as in waistcoats - although the thought of purchasing a cute little squirrel in a top hat and tails and roasting it in the oven does have a certain appeal) and sells the lot on the first day.

3) One night I was stuck behind this rather beaten up old transit van emblazoned with the logo for a major company named HazMat... Ah... Now to avoid legal issues, I’ll forgo completing that name because I like my freedom. And speaking of freedom, underneath the logo where the words “Door to Door Service - Hazardous Materials and Explosives.” So I can order dynamite door to door? Yoikes. Freedom is such a wonderful thing.

4) Prince William landed a helicopter in his girlfriends back yard! Kewl! But he’s being criticized for it! What? No! We need more of this, not less. Personally I think I’d like to see more of this kind of stuff. Wouldn’t it make life more interesting if we saw the Queen shooting pheasants in Hyde Park? Or the Duke of Edinburgh driving a tank through the East End? Or even, and don’t think me silly, what about the Prince of Wales doing an organic cooking chat show? Now what’s wrong with that? I’d love it!

5) Apparently there are some 10,000 foxes living in London. That’s 16 foxes per square mile apparently. Well maybe in the centre of London but there’s still a pretty dense population down here. And I’m including the foxes of course. And various methods of controlling them have occurred over the years. The problem is that lethal control is completely ineffective. Most councils have abandoned trapping and shooting them because it just increases the surviving vixens birth rate. I found one interesting piece of news however. Apparently MAFF abandoned the practice of killing foxes in the 1970s because it was concluded that the most effective form of lethal control was the car.

6) I stumbled across an English website dedicated to “Christians against Mental Slavery.” Oooookaaay. Sounds self defeating to me. Apparently they want it to be a crime for anyone to monitor or influence human thought with the use of technology without consent. So, their website itself and of course CCTV in the Holy See is right out, I suppose.

7) A news story I found interesting is one where about the number of “gardening injuries.” 87,000 in the UK in one year apparently. 6,500 people hurt themselves with lawnmowers and 5,300 by flowerpots. Ok. Let’s see... That’s roughly 18 people a day cutting toes off with lawnmowers and 15 a day getting hit with flowerpots. Curious. Roughly one Alan Titchmarsh effect per hour.

8) Some dude at a hotel suddenly decided he was peckish and jumped into an ornamental pond in the lobby and bit the head off a duck. Apparently he said “I was hungry.” Lord knows I get a tad hungry in some hotels, but what must the cuisine be like in their restaurant if the clientele prefer raw duck?

9) Saw a story about a hedgehog that wandered into someone's laundry, took a nap in a basket of clothes and ended up being washed for an hour. It has been named “Persil” and according to a wildlife hospital manager came out squeaky clean and without fleas. B suggested that since he been in a 40C washer for an hour he should really have been named “Asbestos.”

10) We went into Tesco to get the staples of life and I saw some perfect examples of the highest exposition of English culture: “French Red Wine in Cans” and cans with just the words “Strong Lager” on them - with only the tiniest of Tesco branding on it. Perfect. Says it all really.

11) There was a competition for a national motto for England. Mainly because the motto for the British Virgin Islands is “Be Watchful?” For what? And the Isle of Mans’ is “Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand.” Presumably it has a lead weight at its base. And Scotland’s is “No one provokes me with impunity.” Now that one makes sense. Just go and provoke a Scotsman to see what I mean. You’ll get Impugned all right. I can see it now, and you have to do this with a Scottish accent: “Eh. This Sassenach spilt my pint, so I impugned him right enough Jimmy.”

12) I tried to take down some garbage one day. Bad move. Wow what a mess. B came down with me and we noticed that the rats have built tunnels under the main path. So he started whistling the tune from “The Great Escape” and made comments like “Hey ratty, there’s been a cave-in on tunnel 4. We’ll have to open tunnel 3 again” in a squeaky voice. He also started looking for little piles of earth and miniature gymnastics equipment.

Odd thoughts.

On an impulse B and I went to see Stephen Fry and Alan Davies in QI Live at the QPAC in Brisbane last night.
Cost $200 each but they were box seats (last left) and quite close to the stage.
It was very good, but I have some odd thoughts about the experience.
The performance was in two parts 1) Stephen Fry giving a personal talk followed by 2) an episode of QI with some Australian and Kiwi comedians.
It was a very, very enjoyable experience which I will remember for a long time.
I really liked the first part as I got a chance to see Stephen Fry up close and see him talking in the flesh.

The second part was where my odd thoughts came to the fore.

First of all where the guests.
They were all Aussie/Kiwi comedians.
Nothing wrong with that per se and it was a lot of fun.
But it lacked something that is present in the BBC show.
I would propose that there are very few eccentric Aussie/Kiwis comedians while the UK seems to be awash with them.
The BBC show often has (in)famous politicians, scientists etc such as Mark Steel, Sean Lock,  John Sessions, Andy Hamilton, Gyles Brandreth and so on.
They seem to blend comedic incisiveness with genuine eccentricity.
I'm not sure we down under do that very well.
Maybe it's difference in population or just our accent?
So it kinda came across as not so much Quite Interesting but Quite Funny.

Next was the sheer fact that it was an episode of QI but on stage.
The physicality of it made it very memorable but there was nothing in it that was different in any way from watching it on TV.
Albeit that the TV was 60 foot wide and had real people on it.
However, I tend to think that if I was going to enjoy an episode of QI, I would prefer to be cuddled up on the sofa in my fluffies drinking bourbon and soda.
Which makes me think that with the increase in TV sizes and HD/3D and whatever comes next, the scope for this type of performance may be decreasing.
But then, I haven't been to a play for years.
So maybe I'm just old and going to turn into a shut-in.