Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Quick link to something I thought was cool: GoogleX. Now I'm heading off on holiday to Tasmania! Be back in after Easter - hope you and yours has a wonderful Easter break.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam

After booking the tickets some eight months (!) ago, yesterday I finally saw Quidam. Most of the rest of the post can be summed up with the following word: awesome.

I've been sitting here trying to summarize what a Cirque du Soleil show is all about and it isn't easy. The show is a unique blend of artsy theatre, astounding athletical stunts, breathtaking live music, stunning costumes and pure comedic routines all rolled into one entertaining extravaganza. They've been touring for many years, beginning in their home country of Canada in 1984, and have gone from strength to strength to the point where they're now playing many shows simultaneously worldwide.

Thankfully, beginning this month, they started touring Melbourne.

I've been juggling (purely as a hobby!) for a few years now and was kicking myself that I missed Saltimbanco, Cirque du Soleil's first show here, in 1999. I was amazed when I saw the show on video (thanks Luke!) and vowed that I wouldn't miss another when they next toured. Unfortunately, a series of events prevented me from seeing Alegria in 2001 so you can imagine how keen I was when I heard that Quidam was touring.

Very keen! It didn't disappoint, it was fantastic!! I'm not going to review the whole show but here are some of my personal highlights:

The diablo girls. Holy crap. How they can spin those little tops with such precision and poise is beyond me. I've used a diablo a few times and it's taken me hours to figure out the simplest tricks. Watching the four girls deftly spin, toss and catch the diablos was amazing.

Skipping ropes. Simple concept right? Everyone's used a skipping rope! If you're around my age you probably did the "Jump rope for heart" program in primary school. In Quidam however, their motto must be "Jump rope gone crazy". People skip while they're skipping inside a 'double dutch'. Be blown away when the soloist (Norihisa Taguchi) skips on his bum.

Contortion in silk. The Cirque folk like dangling props from their specially-made roof. One of my favourites was where they dropped two gorgeous strips of red silk and had their acrobat (Isabelle Vaudelle) dance her way up and down them. Different in tone to the rest of the acts, this was quite emotional, serious and breathtakingly beautiful.

Banquine. Not sure how that exactly translates but here's a guess: "people throwing". See men and women fly through the air at dizzying heights as their colleague's throw them with ease! Check out the woman that is absolutely hurtled around. Hold your breath at the end where they attempt to make a vertical four-man tower.

Two of the funniest acts employed more tradition methods - improvised clowning around. Get some people out of the audience, have a vague plot; just add mischief. Haven't laughed so hard in ages!

Probably my favourite act was Vis Versa, or Statues. A man and a woman link their bodies in a slow-moving dance of incredible strength and balance. Unbelievable.

Although these are but a selection, the entire show was fantastic. Every second was enjoyable. The live music perfectly complemented each act, the lighting was sublime as were the dazzling costumes. Everything just reeked of professionalism and was just a delight to see. Highly, highly recommended.

For those out there that haven't yet purchased tickets, go do yourself a favour! The tickets are reasonably expensive (around the $100 mark) but what the show lacks in affordability it makes up for in kick-ass-ability.

Can't wait for the next show! (Or maybe I'll see it again...)

Saturday, March 05, 2005

SQL Server 2005 CTP

Yukon was a highlight for many at the recent Security Summit - I'm sure Greg and Thomas will be wrapped to see that the new CTP has just been announced.

Me? I'm not really a mad-keen database guy. I will, however, be interested in playing with the new Whidbey CTP when it's released on March 38!