I am fascinated with the law. And, for someone without formal qualifications in it, I have a reasonable grasp of it. Like most people, I have issues understanding some of the nuance that goes along with it, and on a fundamental level, but I don’t approve of some aspects [eg. that the Police’s evidence in a criminal trial is called “Facts”, whereas I think the word ‘fact’ suggests something a little more than “our version of the story”].

Since I do a bit of reading of legal matters, and frequent some forums inhabited by lawyers, I’ve started to discover a weird little sub-culture called the Freeman on the Land movement.

freemanThe Freemen on the Land are essentially a group who reject the idea that governments have the power to make and enforce laws. They seem to have the idea that for a law to bind a citizen, the citizen has to approve of the law, and essentially a contract has to exist between the citizen and the state.

While this is an interesting idea, it is – of course – complete fantasy.

Some of their other weird idiosyncrasies are that they argue the difference between whether they are a “person” or a “human being”; they frequently have crackpot naming standards like “I am Dermott of the clan Banana” (which somehow makes me a separate entity to “Dermott Banana”); they seem obsessed with the idea that courts only have jurisdiction in maritime matters; and – somewhat unsurprisingly – they often spout pseudo-Biblical defences for their rejections of modern legislation.

The best example of a court dismantling their delusions comes from Alberta, Canada: the Meads v Meads case which I read from end to end over a few days. And I wonder what it says about me that I find such things more amusing and entertaining than many other ways to spend my time :)

Best Man

being-the-best-man-for-dummies-2-638When he got engaged recently, I half-suspected I’d have to find a few grand for a trip to the other side of the world for his wedding. But yesterday morning, he said he wanted me to make the trip to be best man.

I’ve never owned a passport. I’m not averse to travel; I’ve just always had a thousand more important priorities, money-wise. Now is the crunch time though. I figure it’s going to be about three grand minimum, and probably twice that in reality. I hope I can pull it off.

Lana Day

Well the time apart has finally caught up
To the time that we spent together

Today is Lana Day.


I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it in 2012, when I calculated when this day would be, and marked it in my Google Calendar, back then when the untruths outnumbered the truths.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it in 2013 when I just wondered what had happened to the friendship, which was what I missed the most.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it in 2014 when I discovered I could once again listen to The Whitlams without her shadow spoiling them. That shadow especially pissed me off, since I was tight with Tim & the lads before I’d even imagined someone like her could exist.

Even earlier this year, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it as it approached and I knew she had become what she once said she didn’t want to be.

It’s Lana Day. And how do I feel? As it turned out, it was a Monday. But unlike most Mondays, I’m rather contented, especially as today followed a productive though mostly quiet weekend. As I am sure is the case with everyone else’s world, shit is happening in mine, some good, some not-so-good. On the whole though, the Banana is happy with where he is.

In the end, maybe Eccles and I were right? Maybe she really was a Cylon?



When I was 19, and living in Sydney for the first time, I was conscious of the “big city”-ness of the place. And I tried to counter that feeling a bit by trying to get involved in the feeding-the-homeless activities of Sydney City Mission.

After a couple of attempts to become involved though, I found it frustrating and as though they were blocking my desire to help. When I left Sydney soon after, it was without having managed to get started with that particular project. It kind of left a sour taste in my mouth, but I obviously didn’t learn my lesson, because I’ve tried to do that sort of thing a few times in various cities I’ve lived in since.

About a month ago, maybe two, I tried again. In Newcastle. I contacted a couple of places. By email, by leaving voicemails on mobile phones. Deafening silence.

Hmmm…. Maybe I was doing this wrong?

More recently, I decided to follow up on another path.

Stella Maris Mariners' Centre, Wickham

Stella Maris Mariners’ Centre, Wickham

I’ve been noticing the Stella Maris Seafarer’s Centre since my return to Newcastle. From what I understand, they provide a bit of a home away from home for the crew of ships who visit the port.

Unlike so many previous attempts to say “I’d like to help”, I rang them today, spoke straight away to Father Peter, and arranged to drop in after work and discuss how I can help.

From the basics I saw today, it seems it might be useful in future if I learnt some basics of Mandarin, Hindi, Burmese, Tagalog, Spanish and Ukrainian. Maybe numbers, how to say “What ship are you from?” and “Seatbelts on chaps”.

Because Gone with the Wind

CSS_ShenandoahThis morning, I was listening to the radio. I often wake up and listen to the radio for about an hour before I get out of bed.

On the radio was an interview with a historian who has written a book about the CSS Shenandoah. It was built in Britain, but because Britain was neutral in the American Civil War, it set to sea and installed its weaponry in international waters. It then sailed to the Pacific, and preyed on the United States whaling fleet.

During the interview, a number of callers rang in and gave their little snippets of knowledge about the ship, and its connections with Australia since, it visited Melbourne at one point in its travels.

One caller rang in to say he had information the ship was used as a blockade runner to smuggle weapons past the Royal Navy into Atlanta during the war. Caller knew because he’d read this in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and Rhett Butler had some involvement in the Shenandoah’s smuggling. Historian rejected this claim. Oh no, said caller, it certainly was. Because a *fiction* book had told him so.

Historian also pointed out that Atlanta is not on the coast, and so no ships would have been running arms to Atlanta. Caller though was not deterred, and insisted on his version of events, until Presenter faded him out.

Even hours later, I cannot fathom the stupidity.

Squadron Leader John Leslie Munro DSO DFC (1919-2015)


I have a close affinity with 617 Squadron, the famed ‘Dambusters’ of WW2.

Last week, the last surviving pilot of Operation Chastise died in a hospital in New Zealand.

The story of the Dambusters is kept alive by Charles Foster in the UK, who maintains the Dambuster blog. I’ve dealt with Charles on a couple of occasions, in relation to a research project I’m working on.

Here’s Charles’ piece from last week regarding Sqn Ldr Munro.

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Incorrect Diagnosis

In setting up my PC with the new drive, I have found I made an error.

Previously, I had a C:\ (500GB) and a D:\ (1TB)

When the drive died, back in June, I (correctly) labelled the terabyte drive as faulty but for some strange reason, I thought the faulty drive was the master, the C:\

I’ve been trying to organise a new hard drive and copy of Windows to replace the primary. But I just discovered (when trying to put the old working drive in as a slave) my mistake.

This discovery is a good thing – there was less data on the larger drive that was irreplaceable. But kind of annoying, because if I’d diagnosed it properly in the first place, the fix could have happened same day, instead of waiting several weeks.

I’m now wondering what was on the lost drive. Old photos (from the Lana years I think), music, films, TV shows.

Build Options

Chatting to Ec this weekend, he gave me a few options for the build. I’m putting them here so I’ve got them somewhere I can access later, although they may be amended along the way. He’s convinced me that the main PC shouldn’t use the Mini-ATX case I intended, and instead be at least a mid-tower.

There’s this option from PCPartPicker (although it lacks a HDD & OS – which I have to get) or these from Whirlpool.

Am leaning toward this case though.