Archive for March, 2008

A lazy dishonest scoundel

I’m being ripped off by a lazy dishonest bastard called flightsimshop on EBay (and some other places).

My web site,, has been a useful resource for folks flying or building weight shift microlights for a decade. All the articles I’ve written include a copyright notice, and the copyright section of the site is quite clear that while I’m happy with non-commercial reproduction of the material with attribution, commercial reproduction is not allowed without permission.

Now, on E-Bay, a seller called flightsimshop is selling a CD entitled “LEARN HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN ULTRALIGHT NANOLIGHT TRIKE”. The contents of the CD are basically stuff the guy has copied from the net – including the contents of my web site (yes, including the copyright notices!)

I tried contacting him. He denies copying anything – despite clear evidence to the contrary. His advertisement on EBay, for example contains an image from my web site that I personally drew! (the image below is a reduced screen shot from his EBay ad… here’s the original)
EBay don’t care. They have a procedure for complaining about copyright violation, but it’s pretty toothless.

So the best I can do for the time being is to out him in my Hall Of Shame. And here of course.


Feter Fiffer ficked a feck of fickled feffers.

The Son has had all his wisdom teeth removed. As I write, his whole mouth is still pretty numb but I expect he’ll be feeling fairly sorry for himself tomorrow.

Updates as they come to hand.

Update: He’s fine.  Just a bit sore for a couple of days.

Birdman 2008!

Pictures from the 2008 Birdman Rally on the Yarra on the 9th March.

Snoopy’s “cardboard Sopwith Camel” effort hardly qualified as a flight but looked good.

For every Snoopy, there has to be a Red Baron. Unfortunately, as he leapt, the tail clipped the edge of the platform and he plunged headfirst into the murky Yarra.

The flying wing below was a serious entry, but was too flexible (look at the warped leading edge) and the pilot had no idea how to launch or fly it. The same problem crops up on most of these machines – they have difficulty getting the angle of attack for the run correct. Half the problem is that the wing gives no cues as to what angle is right. A hint, guys. Get some trial runs in first, and make a small widget that hangs from the nose that must be kept on the horizon and horizontal for the takeoff run.

Fancy dress is worth a few points, and this “sea monster” guy jumped well.

And the Englishman in a “phantom of the opera” mask, coolie hat and diaphanous wings fell elegantly.

Which is more than you can say about the “flying saucer man” whose costume turned out to have some hidden dangers, and it’s a good thing he was not trapped in it. In the water it became a big “water bag” that was almost impossible to haul out of the river by the the retrieval crew once it filled.

Another serious entry with launch problems. He came of the ramp far too slowly.

Picture below: The guys on the platform lifted the whole wing and threw it and a girl lying on top of it off the edge. It looked and was dangerous, as she landed on top of the wing – it was a very sudden stop.

This primitive bamboo and plastic rogallo actually glided a little – like a high performance brick.

Take one stuffed pink unicorn and a loony and what do you get? A splash.

But there has to be a winner, and this guy has won it 3 years in a row. Not a great takeoff, as he had the nose too high on the takeoff run, but it flew 18 metres from the 4m launch.


Jumping to Conclusions. Not.

The calm and placid exterior Ms Canada displays to the world belies a somewhat more nervous nature. I speak, in this case(*1), of her inability to look at a movie screen if something bad might happen – and the indentations in the seat armrests (or someone’s arm) that result if she fails to look away in time.

This is why I did not take her to see “Jumper”, supposedly a movie with many arm-indenting moments, but instead went alone on Tight-Arse-Tuesday. (cheap tickets, as Tuesday’s a slow day.)

Up front, I give Jumper 2-1/2 stars. It’s got a good premise. It has panoramas that look great on the big screen, plenty of action and lots of Ms-Canada-flinching moments. It is, however, ultimately unsatisfying.

Why? Wooden characters and a plot that doesn’t do justice to the premise are the main problems, but the growing feeling as the movie progresses that the whole thing is either a pilot for a TV series or that the writers were leading up to a sequel really starts to get annoying.

In the end, we are left with the “bad guys(*2)” still out there and ready to kick Jumper arse.

*1 – We shall not speak, of course of her irrational fear of harmless spiders.

*2 – exactly who are the “bad guys” anyway? The Paladins seem to believe that Jumpers are abominations in the eyes of their deity and must be killed. The Jumpers on the other hand – or those that we see in this movie – use their powers for criminal purposes without any real remorse. The protagonist is mostly a thief and conman. The other jumper is happy to steal cars, drop innocent folks in Beirut to get run over by tanks… well, you get the idea. So maybe the Jumpers are indeed an abomination, and we should all be rooting for the appalling white hair helmet sported by Samuel. L. Jackson.

Expose yourself

Flash Fiction! Flash Fiction. It’s fun and it’s free.

Here for your enjoyment are a couple of flash fiction blogs.

Postcards from Uranus (previously “Postcards from Hell”). There’s some good stuff here.

The Flasher

This new blog’s been set up to give writing students a chance – and some incentive – to ply their prospective trade. But that’s just a guideline – so if you want to contribute, go for it!