Ye old blogs of xhva.net

With the site renovation of 2006, I copied my blog entries out, shed a tear, and took Blogger out the back to put a bullet in its head. Long tired of the site slowdowns and the publishing page that gave me pretty much no feedback past a percentage sign, I moved to WordPress hosted on my own machine.

I didn’t want to clog up the main new blog with my old crap, so here it is, all in one page.

Looking back at these entries, I’m mildly horrified and a little bemused at some of the things I’ve written. However, they still represent a ‘me’ from the past, and they’re a good reminder of the weird shit that went on a few years ago.

I think the major horror was actually the markup I’d used to create the blog page. Nested tables, divs for everything (no semantic value at all) and un-quoted classnames. The BR’s throughout are Blogger’s fault, and I won’t take blame for that.

One thing I haven’t done yet is change the image references. There weren’t many posts with attached images, but I’ll fix it eventually.

Enjoy! I think there’s something in that for all of us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

2:33 AM

Thank God for PHP. I’ve converted the users page of xhva.net to use a PHP script, scraping text from the filesystem and building the page dynamically. It’s my first attempt at a PHP script, and I like it. Lots of little things to add in the future.

I’m very happy with how it’s turned out. The registered users of my FTP can simply update a few text files in their home dir to change their site name, description, URL or thumbnail displayed on the users page. And I’ve made enough lockdowns to stop the more playful ones from destroying the page. :)

Well, my eyes are hurting. I’m thinking of getting some sleep now. I’m on the early morning train out to see my family, and although I’m looking forward to being there, I’m not looking forward to the trip. Urgh. Loud, arse-crippling bus for an hour and a half, after a four-hour train trip wedged in a seat.

Yeah, it’s bed time now. Users of my FTP, unite, and attempt to ruin my new PHP page. I need to learn the ins and outs of protecting my stuff from you guys. :)

Friday, August 22, 2003

1:23 AM

I’m going to do it. The form’s in my pocket.
I have the details.

Pinpoints of green and hazy blue reflecting into amber skin. Black stone. Water. Gold on crests of white. Open air, coloured with the stain of salt. A mind of words and thoughts beside me, eager fingers clasping my own, unmoving but for us.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

2:17 AM

Just a quick entry before I go to bed. Nothing terribly important to write about, but I feel like expressing myself again. Did a little designing tonight, tho I don’t know if I’ll use any of it for the xhva.net pages. I like the design, and finally I’m stepping away from blue, but it means losing the content of the main intro page — the little text-adventure nonsense — and I don’t really want to lose that little bit of text. I feel it fits right in with my sense of humour, as tacky as it is. Those of you bored out of your skulls can find a very basic prototype here.

Should go to bed… I’ve got a friend coming over in the morning to grab some DC games before work. My brain is pretty frazzled tonight, so I’m seeking things to do, which is an indication I should just sleep.

Blaster has proven quite funny so far. I had the RPC hole patched almost a month ago. Does anyone else use Windows Update or pay attention to security alerts? If you’re going to run a system that has an extensive history of mindless security problems then you, the user, must suppliment the OS’s lack of vigilance with your own. Run Zonealarm. Don’t open attachments randomly. Keep a virus scanner running. None of these basic precautions cost money, but they might just educate you.

Can’t wait to move the webserver and ftp to a linux machine behind a strict firewall and use SSH for everything. While I’m there, it’s about time I learnt PHP and at least dynamically build the /user page. Updating it manually really sucks. And I’ll kill the nested table shit in that page too.

Those of you viewing my site in IE5 probably aren’t seeing it correctly either. Well, tough luck. Either upgrade to the demonic IE6 or start using a browser that pays proper attention to CSS padding elements, like Mozilla. I fought with this a while back, and I’ve decided I just can’t be fucking bothered to fix it for IE5. Nothing good ever comes from accepting bad behaviour, especially in rendering engines. I have never loaded these pages in Netscape 4. The pain would be too great.

Oh well, tis time for sleep now. I’m feeling mighty toasty thanks to the cheap and nasty doesn’t-turn-off-if-you-knock-it-over heater, and I’m outta projects to keep my mind spinning. No more bitching about IE tonight. :)

Take care, all… ‘specially you, spunky.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

10:10 PM

So I’m sitting in Windsor at 9:50, thinking of what I should put into a new blog entry. There’s a few things on my mind at the moment, all about practicality. I’ve found myself with a tighter timeline than I’d planned, but I think we’re all in the same boat at the mo. Visions of sugarplums dance through my head.

Life is a little warped in the way it delivers presents and opportunities. They always seem to come at both the wrong and the right time. Wrong, because the soul is reluctant to admit it’s in a rut, and right because it’s exactly what we need. “Change is good,” I was recently told.

My thoughts are too messy to write properly at the moment, so I’ll leave this blog entry to be continued later…

Monday, August 11, 2003

1:43 AM

Having a terribly blonde night. ‘Trying to take my tie off for ten seconds before I realise it’s the heaphones I’m wearing getting in the way. Meanwhile, Pushit strolls through my ears. Gotta stop eating whole tins of canned fruit. I have a feeling that it’s not good for the body.

I just spent two days folded up in the back of a car like a piece of exercise equipment, and I can honestly say that it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Oh, that sounds rather suspicious phrased like that.

Ballina is beautiful. Clean, so clean and fresh. Salt in the air, deep blue emptiness above, sand and grass and rockpools with pretty coloured snails. But the location isn’t the only thing that made me happy during this trip. :)

How wonderful it is to have the person you love asleep in your lap.

In another world entirely, those of you following the bizarre SCO vs. IBM case may get a laugh from this.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

3:48 AM

I love you more than language allows me to say, Michael.

�rë yétalyen, ar hendulyat nar inyatsë,
ambarenya vanwa ar calalya ná ilya.
When you look at me, and your eyes are in mine,
my world disappears and your light is all.

breathe out
so I can breathe you in
hold you in

Thursday, July 31, 2003

3:40 AM

Just finished watching Insomnia. An above-average movie, but lacking the pure psychology that could have made it so much more. Hilary Swank kicks butt. She’s an all-round excellent actress, but I think the plot called for her transformation a little too eagerly. Robin Williams toggles between dark and gummy as he tends to do. I can’t help but notice his overdone reluctance, that strange… twitch… he has in separating concepts, like a nervous Dr Lector without the forceful intelligence and bittersweet smiles.

Pacino is Pacino: rough, a little haughty and still a powerful feature on screen. As with Swank, I think his character bunny-hopped noticeably during the last twenty minutes.

Worth seeing if you have the time, especially at three in the morning. I note the irony; no need to worry.

Life is great. Somewhere nearby, a little rainbow landed, and I’ve just found it.

Monday, July 28, 2003

3:14 AM

Tomorrow marks the day when I welcome back to the country a long time friend. We have no plans, as that would basically be out of the ordinary for a meeting like this, and so I expect tomorrow to be filled with surprises. Better yet is the news I have and the ideas I will share. Shalt be an interesting day for all. :)Anyway, back to reality. I’m sitting around at half past two thinking about life and how to express myself. My week has been one of the best in recent memory, and it sure is good to find that I can smile for hours at a time. My cheekbones hurt.

A good friend said to me the other day, “I haven’t seen you like this for a long time.” Forgive my forgetful paraphrasing, but that comment made a big dent on me. Wow, it’s good to be like this.

So in the short term, aiya málonya, in the long term, merin mape hroalya rancunyatse, moina seldo, ar nyaruvanyel sá melinyel ilya aure i ambareva. Hirin alasse mí alasselya.

And now I command myself to sleep :P

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

12:00 AM

Sitting around by the heater wiping my nose and feeling annoyed at the flu. LOL @ myself as I discover this old line from a diary entry:”I want the inner child, the strong man, the thoughtful purist, corrupt enough to match myself in glee.”

Monday, July 21, 2003

11:42 PM

To the few wondering of my state: of course I have, without restraint or reason. That is a vice I will not fix. I would rather feel both extremes than feel nothing. This is as my heart would have me do.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

5:31 AM

Yay! MozBlog + Blogger working again! It was all about my account not being completely migrated. What a pain in the arse. Moz 1.4 is great, tho I’m really looking forward to 1.5 when Firebird and Thunderbird become the trunk. Lighter, more configurable, awesome extentions… and finally a theme that uses my system colours and doesn’t look crap. W00t.

My flatmate cooks an incredible Shepherd’s Pie.

So I’m sitting here in the dark, staring into the luminesence of a very bright monitor, listening to a bizarre mix of Staind, Evanescence, Trapt and Aaliyah. There’s a strange feeling in listening to a voice you know will never speak again. I’m thinking about a few people who may become part of my life, in capacities they don’t understand yet.

I sit here locked inside my head
remembering everything you said
the silence gets us nowhere
gets us nowhere
way too fast

I’m in a light mood at the moment, coasting through the early hours of morning without much concern. Serious Sam 2 has proven too frustrating for entertainment, and don’t even get me started on Street Fighter. My fingers aren’t entirely working tonight, so I’m losing horrendously to Shin Akuma. This shouldn’t be happening.

I recently finished reading Mathew Reily’s Area 7. It didn’t have much effect on me. Action-oriented novels read the way action-oriented movies watch: one time is usually enough. I enjoyed his earlier novel Contest more, but only because I considered the plot more interesting. Anything about the general greatness of the US President and his army automatically gets a cynical side-glance, so Area 7 had a tough fight from the beginning. That’s not to say the ideas expressed in it weren’t interesting — there was some really fantastic threads in the fabric of plot — but nothing that would forseeably make me want to read it again, as I’ve done with Hannibal, The Third Pandemic, or Contact.

but these words
they can’t replace
the life you
the life you waste

So back to the afformentioned people. “Want is a growing giant whom the coat of have was never large enough to cover.” Unfortunately, too true.

Good night. :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

6:03 AM

Aaron Lewis is an absolutely stunning singer. I’ve found a few of Staind’s live performances in MPG format, and his ability to carry a song is utterly incredible. And he has really beautiful lips. Hmm. Nothing much else to report of late. I’ll be returning home for a week, seeing my family and celebrating Dad’s 50th, but that’s a fortnight away.

I’ve been talking to a friend about religion and physics via email for the last fews days, and my final conclusion is this: my flatmate can get stuffed. :P Don’t mind the in-joke.

Bed time, since it’s now 6am again.

Monday, June 30, 2003

10:45 PM

Just another crack up.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

3:13 AM

Wow!This is quite damn smart. Not quite sure about the wireless connectivity tho — I’m more convinced that the data is stored and then uploaded upon physical connection. Of course, there’s still holes in the theory — Trinity’s death prediction? Or maybe that was assumed from the more thorough prediction of Neo’s eventual and unavoidable meeting with the Architect and Trinity’s known willingness to die for him. But to remove the wireless theory would be to destroy the solution to Neo’s Sentinal stopping. Hmm…


Friday, June 27, 2003

3:27 AM


Tuesday, June 17, 2003

10:59 PM


3:16 AM

I’ve been fixing Mozblog this morning, since it’s currently in a state of total, absolute uselessness. Messing around with files for hours resulted in me re-reading almost the entire of my blog history. Whoa. Here’s something I wrote at the beginning of this year:

I’d be equally comfortable walking off this cliff if it didn’t affect anyone else. The parachute would be my problem alone. In situations like this, what I fear most is that expectations and feelings can never be the same for two people, no matter how much talky talky comes beforehand.

See, my definition of ‘relationship’ isn’t the one assumed by the ‘scene’; relationships aren’t the fruit of a one-night-stand that doesn’t know when to stop, nor should they have a predetermined expiry date. In some ways, I’m horribly old-fashioned, even conservative. I think there should be a proper courting period; anticipation and swooning are part of the package and half of the impact.

Something precious should be handled gently. I would have difficulty knowing after the fact that I rushed it and lost something in the process.”

Holy shit. Who is this person? It’s me, I realise, and as the memory of writing this comes back, so do the feelings. Warmth, gentleness, a sense of floating and giddyness. Gawd, I really do need to find the person who I can make feel this way too.

So, bared soul and all, I present myself to the world.

In other, less strange and certainly less intimidating news, my flatmate and I took our other flatmate out for Birthday Dinner tonight. He’s climbing the ladder of age with a renewed sense of style. Green is your colour, Bradley. Nai hiruvalyë nér i tultuv’ alassë len.

Back to Sea Song by The Doves. Beautiful. Loud, overbearing, rattling my brain with gorgeous acoustic bass. I should be in bed! I’m on the train to Windsor at lunchtime to meet with friends for the night. Much computer-related stuff to get through. I’m such a wild character. :P Talking of such, I might go out on Wednesday/Thursday night and tempt fate…

Enough of me. With these dark piano chords bathing my brain with endorphins, I shalt disappear. Namárië!

Friday, June 06, 2003

2:13 AM

Wow — Enter The Matrix is really quite bad. I won’t rant for long, but it’s pretty clear that Shiny either didn’t get enough development time for the game, or just outright neglected the impact of using immature technology (ala Messiah) and as a result the game’s content suffered. A lot.

The main reason for the game’s sales is undoubtably the extra movie footage. People will be disappointed to know that the majority of this footage is badly acted and poorly produced; special effects aren’t added in a number of cases, and to replace missing live-action sequences, high-res renders are made and then converted into FMV. Very unprofessional.

Gameplay is rough. There are moments of brilliance, but there are equal moments of “grotesquery”. Unfortunately, even on a mathmatical scale this only makes the game average. The concept must have proven wildly different from execution; I wonder if this meeting of minds really achieved any of either party’s ideals. Is David Perry losing it, or do the Wachowski’s just not get gaming?

The engine has it’s virtues, but they’re overshadowed by bugs. I have fond memories of Messiah’s many character positioning problems. I was surprised that so many have made the leap over. I got Niobe on top of a machine by regular jumping, and she got stuck trying to stand — shuffle jitter slide shuffle shuffle — and I was unable to do anything about it. I gave up after a few minutes and reloaded the last save point.

Hmm… sewers. The nuclear plant is probably the most interesting area, though its goal, like most of the other areas, is simply a matter of getting somewhere and not dying, then running out again. Attention: THE HOVERCRAFT IS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. I can’t say much for the car chase scenes either; it’s simply a matter of holding down accelerate and dodging a few cars occasionally. Combat is one area where the game finds it’s niche; the control system is simple but offers quite a few moves, expandable by use of Focus. Camera, as always in these third person games, rarely finds a comfortable spot and feels the need to constantly shift — leading to me running into Smith a number of times, usually to my death. And here’s something: when a gun runs out of bullets and you’re in possession of another firearm, don’t shift back into combat mode randomly. This really pissed me off.

Whilst it doesn’t deserve to die a horrible, painful death, Enter The Matrix could have been a lot better. Given some truly interesting missions and a lot less re-hashes of the film’s scenes (thanks, Persephone) I could have enjoyed this experience much more.

Dave Perry — pick up your act!

Friday, May 30, 2003

4:11 AM

The Quantum theory of Science and God:The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge gave us both the intellect to prove God doesn’t exist and the self-doubt to still believe that He does.

4:02 AM

Don’t worry St George — you can be sure that I’m rethinking you. Heavily rethinking you, mainly because your website is down half the time and when I can access it, your daft internet banking page gives me login errors. Oh, and your $72 worth of “administration fees”, plus the Eftpos Usage fees, Non-StGeorge ATM fees and Internet Banking fees. But please know that I appreciate last month’s credited interest — $0.01 on the last unnecessary snailmail statement — but not when your next action is to take out $0.01 in debit interest! Is anyone at the wheel?

Saturday, May 24, 2003

1:52 AM

LOL! In a discussion on Slashdot about SCO’s recent attack to IBM’s Linux arm, DailyGrind wrote this entertaining comment.

Friday, May 23, 2003

5:14 AM

Home sweet home. I return after a week in the bush with my family.—

Why is it so difficult to find someone young who wants something real?

Saturday, May 17, 2003

2:15 AM

Reloaded = Incredible. Except for the sex.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

8:55 PM

The video card benchmarking scene annoys me a lot. Minor niggles could keep me typing all night, so I’ll just say that its major problem is the unfair comparison of cards from different generations. The card designers must spend months attempting to distinguish their product from others on the market — necessary to progress the field — but are then torn down by Random Reviewer #17 whose total analysis of a products is “But it’s not as fast as XXX’s last card!!”It becomes a cycle: the heavily blinkered public immediately come to the conclusion that’s it’s not worth buying, even though only 5% of them could even afford the card anyway. This public opinion get to the company and through to the marketting department, who pressure the development teams to release something else a little faster to beat the competitor in the next round of benchmarks.

In the middle of this are the designers, whose primary interest doesn’t lie in the market share or getting Serious Sam to run another 4 FPS faster to satisfy some overclocking-junkie. They have a personal interest in building better components, with programmability, enhanced range of colour, easier development, more stability — not just a speed increase. It’s the thrill of making something more extensible and future proof, something sustainable, reusable, cheaper.

…and this is where the ultimately pointless release of “Ultra” products come from. The pushing of a few speed barriers and upping memory doesn’t advance the market; it simply appeases the reviewers and gets a few page hits. Development time is better spent creating new methods for necessary features. Can you really tell the different between 125 and 130 FPS? Is it really necessary to have 8X antialiasing on at 1600x1200?

A few years ago when the first generation of Hardware T&L was revealed, 3DFX put the marketting droids at Defcon 1 to douse the flames of resentment toward it’s own cruddy and ill-timed releases. It was relatively successful: reviewers ran around yelping about the total uselessness of H T&L. Well, let’s have a look at the market now and what features are on every single good graphics card.

Here’s a good example of reviewer rhetoric:

Still, the FX 5900 is tuned to take advantage of features in games that haven’t arrived yet.

One new function, UltraShadow, will render shadows and scenes more quickly and efficiently, making games such as yet-to-be-released Doom III, Half-Life 2, and Aquamark 3 run faster and smoother, according to NVidia.

That’s tough to verify at this point, however, because DirectX 9 titles are yet to be found.”

Funny that! I’m not impressed that I can’t play Serious Sam two percent faster. I’m glad that the new future-proof hardware features were enough to convince this reviewer not to use two-year-old-engine benchmarks to damn a new video card purposely built to support a version of DirectX that the game doesn’t even use! Whew, I wouldn’t be able to get by without this kind of quality assessment.

Monday, May 12, 2003

5:09 AM

Fuck! Serious blonde moment!Will explain later…

3:46 AM

Didn’t realise at the time that the carebear jpg was so horrendous. Apologies to those of you who experienced seizures attempting to read the text. Please don’t sue. Life moves swiftly on. I shall be visiting another great Australian city soon, our own corruption capital, Canberra. I’m thinking of visiting Yarralumla with a picket whilst I’m there… great dickhead. What kind of moron doesn’t report sexual abuse in the church, especially when he’s in such a position? Legal obligations stopped him? Bah.

On a friendlier note, Quenya steadily improves. I’ve finished the course I started a while back, and now it’s really the vocab I have to work on. /me is loving learning language. Melin i Eldalambe!

Jason and I are doing a road trip to Artarmon for something off Ebay this week. Lucky bugger’s also got a job interview, so he may escape the orbit of our current employer and leave the rest of us in the dust.

X Men 2 was/is fantastic… and so is Bobby (smacks lips). Storm continues to suck. I don’t have anything particular against Halle Berry, but she’d better get some stronger parts and some lines that aren’t filler in the next movie. Go Gene! She’s awesome and does a great job all the way through the film. I still can’t stand Scott. Wolverine is brilliant, but his hair’s getting a little out of control, and we didn’t see enough skin. :P

Rogue… sigh. Dippy.

The storyline is excellent, far beyond what I expected for a sequel. I’m impressed that they kept the exact visual style of the first movie — no stupid experimental fucking-around. Shows what comes from a clearly-defined vision. And My God, what an incredible introduction! Incredible! Ragh!

Before I’d seen the movie, a friend of mine pointed out the parallel between mutants and homosexuals (never used those two words in a sentence before - heh). I’m sure it’s been raised before, especially with Magneto’s casting, but I had to laugh at the dry humour in Bobby’s coming-out scene. It was probably intended, probably even based on the real thing. Some parents react exactly like that — as if particular attributes such as sexuality are something that can be just turned off. It’s saddening and annoying that grown ups can be so oblivious to their children’s psychological need for acceptance. Of course, your younger brother doesn’t usually call the local SWAT team when he finds out you like guys… but Bobby, there’s always a place for you here. :P

Anyway, enough rambling. I want to be up relatively early today. ‘Night :)

Thursday, May 08, 2003

2:37 AM

Nihilist Bear
Nihilist Bear Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, May 02, 2003

1:18 AM

I’ve fallen in love with a new band: Evanescence. It was the obvious — the Daredevil Soundtrack title “Bring Me To Life” — which brought me to their altar. I was listening to Random Rock Hits Station #10 this arvo as I hung the washing out… the piano intro caught my ear, and I rushed in to listen. Before the song had finished, I had the name and lyrics via the net.

Damn good music!

Monday, April 28, 2003

4:13 AM

Well, that’s that. No more all-Quenya blog entries. For those of you in the audience who could understand it (thus also being able to point out the many mistakes and misuses of grammar) the situation is resolved, quite happily.


Saturday, April 26, 2003

3:22 AM

Në arwa maurë quetë sin, nan umen quetës lambenyassë. Estelinya yara vernonyassë oantië, ar umë peluva. Antanyes melmë ar imbë lúmi hando, nan sin ná i pustië.

I nér hires ar carë vernos ratouva i noa mailevas, nan umes u-voronda.

Ainu umë polë ëa ambaressë ve sin, neri u-vorondë na i núra melentë…

Saturday, April 19, 2003

12:42 AM

well fuck them
and fuck her
and fuck him
and fuck you
for not having
the strength in your heart
to pull through
i’ve had doubts
i have failed
i’ve fucked up
i’ve had plans
doesn’t mean
i should take
my life with
my own handsbut these words
they can’t repace
the life you…
…the life you waste

Staind’s “Waste” is a song with a beauty that can only come with deep sadness and anger.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

3:46 AM

I’ve gone to make a post, and realised that I’ve got nothing to say. Today my flatmate attempted to delicately tell me that my writing style is too anal for a weblog. :P He’ll cringe reading that, but I appreciate knowing what people think, and I really do appreciate his input. Maybe I should loosen up.

Erm.. how do I do that?

Oh… xhva.net is live. Come and visit.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

3:26 AM

Great dinosaur comics from a great writer who’s also a great guy: http://www.qwantz.com. Highly recommended. I’ve laughed my arse off several times.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

5:26 AM

My greatest opponent has always been myself. I haven’t analysed this enough to say whether its cause is a consistent state of loathing or denial, or just a general lack of momentum in my life. Motivation comes in bursts of necessary function; in some ways I can blame my genetic makeup, my strange childhood, and even the way I’ve been treated by some members of society. A part of this also comes from the methods I’ve used to analyse those around me: step back, watch, understand, interact. After a while that approach alienates you from other members of your own species, enough that having a “normal” conversation is like the endless repetition of nails down a blackboard. It’s easy enough to blame the environmental influences, even the genetic ones. I’ve seen it exhibited to an extreme in others, and just above I’ve used it to somehow justify my lack of influence on my own situations. However, this is self-defeating: if I believe in evolution I also have to believe that it’s somehow affected not just be genetic changes, but by societal and individual understanding — not changing the molecular structure, but just knowing what information to let run through it. In short, if I don’t change the way I think or the way I absorb information, I — and we — don’t grow.

I’m getting too metaphysical here for half past four in the morning.

I don’t see the world like a lot of people do, as an experience to collect totems of comfort on their way to the grave. In some ways, I even see the work some people do as representing the same: it’s a comfort zone. I see hundreds of people each day who are apathetic simply because they’ve reached that point in their lives where there’s nothing more to accomplish, nothing more to see, nothing more to place bets on. I am half-half as to whether I’m one of these people. In some ways, the rut I’ve become entrenched in scares me, but at the same time I feel the comfort of routine, of knowing what comes next week. The one overriding feeling now is: do I care enough to worry about being apathetic?

I don’t believe in letting my mind rest for any substantial amount of time. This is where my defensive powers kick in and I inform the masses that I spend a great deal of time building and creating things that are important to me, even to the point where others don’t understand the significance at all. In most cases, I just don’t care. I’m learning Elvish for this reason. I’ve been asked why I’d want to learn a language that’s so obviously useless, and I respond by saying that I find it interesting, and that it’s teaching me things about language that I didn’t know, and I’m finding fulfilment in just learning something new. Noble causes, etc etc. Weeks are spent tinkering with ideas for designs that are never seen by another living being; there are drawing that sit unpublished in my drawer, programs waiting to be shared, weblogs about me and for me.

So maybe this is some kind of lame attempt to influence myself to stay in the rut until it rains and I drown. There’s part of me that doesn’t care about losing three days of my week just so I can be myself for the rest. There’s a resentment towards the typical “9 to 5” job that I can’t shake, and I don’t know if I ever will. I hate the idea of spending most of my life building some one else’s temple just to find that it’s being used as a market.

I’m greedy, I’m self-centred, and I’m very hard to motivate beyond simple callings. These are my faults. Greedy with the time I’ve been alotted to live, self-centred because I’m loathe to give this time up, hard to motivate because I hate being convinced; this makes me very self-righteous, and I’m sounding like a snot. But fuck it, this is me: the only thing that truly influences the way I see the world is the love of another person. In the absense of love, my time is my time. In the presence of it, I willingly make my time theirs.

I’ve just read over this, and as expected, it makes no sense and has no cohesive manner. Even the writing style changes gradually. The whole entry is a thinly-veiled excuse to hide my fear of change, a wholly unworthy justification for being angry at a world that already takes too much time from what I consider my improvement. Push me as hard as you can.

It may seem that I’m always dragging you through the dirt, but don’t be fooled by the writings of an irrational mind: the combined self is lighter than the weight of it’s individual parts. I write to provoke, but I live much happier than I read. Viewing the world through jaded eyes is more exhilarating than you think — it provides so many opportunities to be wrong about human nature, and I find that uplifting.


Thursday, March 20, 2003

3:31 AM

MozBlog is playing up. Version 0.6b14 is incredibly buggy, and I dare say even more so now that I’ve installed Mozilla 1.3. If this blog seems a little bare for a week or two, that’s why. I hate using the Blogger web interface — for some reason the text entry box is incredibly thin on Mozilla — and I’ve already tried playing with earlier versions of MozBlog to fix it. I have no doubt it’s mostly the fault of Moz 1.3’s XMLRPC module, or something. Life continues on as it always done. I’m getting further with the Quenya stuff, although getting frustrated as some obscenely obscure phrasing used in the end-of-chapter tests. I also wish they were longer and used more vocabulary; there’s a few words slipping away from instant recollection simply because I don’t use them much.

I’m about to start chasing something that could give me an outlet for the love I’ve been bottling away. Pray for me, etc etc. Less luck and more courage is what I need.

Audioscrobbler is really kewl.


Saturday, March 08, 2003

1:06 AM

Donnie Darko is an interesting piece of prophesy. I imagine his path through time as being akin to a loop on a roller-coaster: after the loop, you’re returned to the point before it, with only the memory of the experience to prove it ever happened. So is the whole movie about closing the loop and realising why the engine fell? Reaching closure on a possible future path? Realising how his actions, directly caused by a possible future, could affect the people around him? Taking responsibility?The script is open-ended so we can ponder this endlessly, like his Believer/Agnostic/Athiest argument in the movie. We never know exactly why or how he knew, or even if he did. Does he solve his sleep walking and/or mental problem when he finally lies in bed to sleep? Was he manifesting it himself? Was it that he never had an illness at all?

I have a feeling that there are two conclusions to reach about the ending:

A) The engine is actually identified by the FAA authorities. The plane is found. There is a present-time logical reason for the engine’s existence. The entire movie is an imagining by Donnie, starting at the time when he gets back to the house that morning. Do we, or Donnie, see the swirl on the engine nose that starts this whole episode? Furthermore, is the ending therefor imagined too? Is this Donnie’s way to say goodbye without accepting responsibility for his death and the possible future? Does he actually die?

B) The engine exists only because of the events that take place if Donnie lives. His direct actions in this future affect the past as to create this future — the perfect circular reference. What then happens if Donnie doesn’t live? The engine isn’t spawned from the wormhole. How then does Donnie die? When he stays in his bed, does he do so in the knowledge that he won’t die because he won’t live? At the moment when Schrodinger’s Cat is observed, is Donnie both dead and alive? Our visible present-path is created exactly when we experience it. Maybe Donnie woke up that morning, having conquered his mental problems, and realised his ability to create the future he wants.

The problem would be much less if we could see those future-paths (the visible water-like wormholes) all through the movie. I feel as though the movie is a piece-together of many millions of different choices that Donnie made. I was intrigued by the “knots” in the visible future-paths; is this where Donnie made decisions on which future we’re seeing? If he turned around half-way up the stairs and didn’t find his father’s gun, which branch of the decision-tree would we be on? How would this affect the outcome? The gun that “kills” Frank solved his mental problems: a symbolic way of “overcoming” these strange visions. When Frank dies, the world ends.

Waxing far too philosophical tonight. I’ll stop now and debate it tomorrow at work.

Anyway, good movie. Donnie is played by a very talented actor, and a very good looking one at that. He can adopt that same offbeat, almost evil look that I love so much in Edward Norton. Patrick Swayze is really annoying. I like Lena tho. And the woman who played the mother is really fantastic.

Tired. I’m walking to work because I’m broke. Having lost the final stitches a week ago, I went back and had more dental work done. No stitches this time, but some fillings. Boy, that big drill can cause some serious nerve-twitching. It could do some real damage in the hand of a lunatic. Lucky I trust my dentist enough to close my eyes and let him go.

That’s an interesting psychological nuance… closing my eyes and letting him work either signifies that I trust him implicitly, or that I’m subconsciously afraid of his ‘means to and end’ method and don’t want to know how these things are being achieved. Hmm. Have to think about this one for a while. I’m usually interested in knowing, in theory, how these things work; practise is a different thing altogether. My teeth are my pet hate, the part of my body I’m most self-conscious about, and like most hates, the easiest way to deal with it is to ignore it… that I did, and did well. Now, I’m spending a lot of time, pain and money in order to learn to love my teeth again.

I feel like Edina from Ab Fab, squatting over a hand-mirror in order to learn to love her…

A big pothole in my mental road which I will fix.

Life seems, so far, and at least in this casual Western world, to be about learning to love the parts of yourself you hate.


Tuesday, March 04, 2003

1:19 AM

Something really empty. Don’t expect to make any sense of this blog, because it’s just going to be me rambling on, a voice without definition, akin to that “stream of conscious” idea.

Sea song” by The Doves is really bad until you hear it through headphones in a foul mood. Then it takes on a whole new level, strong and comforting, incredibly rich and emotive. I need better headphones or better ears.

Really bad mood.

I don’t quite understand why so, either, but it’s just come on, maybe as a sequel to the tidings of hate I was so willing to show on the weekend. I had an incredibly testing friday + weekend. Work was fucked, useful supporting staff came to a total of one, and I left for lunch late both Sat and Sun because no one was there to cover for me. The staff member who usually covered my lunch was brought in earlier that morning to cover the bosses’ arse instead. For the second week in a row.

Now listening to: The Requiem (Clint Mansell) | Sea Song (The Doves)

Now burning karma for: pretty much everyone

How do we visualise music?

I’m listening intently to lower, softer chords, and with my eyes closed, I’m pawing through the music to hear them, as if the notes are disappearing underwater and I can only see so far down; a visual image tied into the phonic sensory. I think this is an interesting part of psychology. How much do the senses ‘bleed’ into each other? I was intoxicated by the idea of smell being the sense most directly connected to the brain — thanks, Thomas Harris — and I have noticed that it brings faster visual imagery than any other sensory input (at least in my body). I’ll learn about this at some point.

I wish this last stitch in my upper back gum would fall out.

I’m going now. The internal fire will burn out before I burn anyone else with it, so don’t worry about me… ‘night. Namárië, Ambar; lelya ar lanta mir cilya.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

1:29 AM

I feel totally emotionally spent after watching Requiem for a Dream. I’m left with a sense of absolute desolation, something beyond tears and beyond comforting, that I haven’t felt since Dancer in the Dark. It is an incredible film, painfully real and disturbing. I’m not easily affected by movies. I tend to absorb them more than watch, and the full effect of something like Dancer slowly creeps through me instead of hitting dead on. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not, since it speaks more of my psychology than I’d like to admit.

I spent a great deal of my childhood thinking about chances lost, and even now that’s probably what takes most of my idle CPU time. I’ve never quite stepped up to the plate to beat this. In the slow resignation that dawned around the age of thirteen, I came to a point where I couldn’t find tears anymore. I’d sit outside on our cement driveway and feel the air kick around me, eyes shut, listening to the helicopter tree above, forcing myself to feel. Back then it was the lost of a good friend, and the understanding that I might never get to say how much I loved him. That, I suppose, was the experience that brought on my fear of emotional apathy and an interest in psychology. One day I will understand why, back then, I felt it necessary to make myself cry over loss.

And it makes me wonder how many other children had lives like mine. The scars beneath their conscious minds are no more visible to my eyes than mine to theirs. In a socially conditioned world it makes no difference what you have been, just what you are at the point of impact. Digging into the regularly land-filled trenches of my mind and those around me is, I suppose, what life is all about.

Emotions take time to develop in me. I can’t be overwhelmed easily. I’ve been known to get psychotically happy in the presence of a select group, but overall I see the world from a few steps back, close enough to feel the heat but far enough to not get burnt. I think this will change slowly, and it will be a conscious decision; in reality it’s a defensive manoeuvre, based in fear, and I’ll eventually learn when it’s become unnecessary.

It’s time for me to go to bed. Maybe after a few games of that under-produced Capcom game, Capcom vs SNK 2 Alpha Turbo: Bunch Of Random Challengers Thrown Together For Fanboys Like You 2003.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

3:39 PM

Surprisingly acceptable. The pain is, so far, less than I was experiencing with the teeth still in. I expect this to change, at least for a while later tonight. I always find it funny that people assume I’m straight. “Any future girlfriends…” da da da. I have to laugh. I feel like I’m infiltrating some secret boys’ club.

12:12 PM

Just had two teeth pulled. I’m still numb, so if I’m still alive in two hours, I’ll let the world know how my mouth feels.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

5:35 AM

Oh Capcom, oh Nintendo, let me count the ways in which Capcom vs SNK 2 on the Gamecube sucks donkey arse. The bane of humankind begins with the joypad. Revolutionary, yes, if all games used at most two buttons. However, Nintendo, in the real world, there’s more than two functions in a game; not everything is a Mario clone or Pokemon fucking Battle menus. Your choice of pad layout is beyond human suffering. I fought with the Dreamcast for a while until I finally accepted the four-button layout ala SNES, but what you’ve delivered isn’t just different, it’s like controlling a game with a heat-affected Rubiks cube.

Capcom should pay here too. Your choice to provide an utterly fucking incomprehensibly stupid GC-ISM mode promotes newbies to be pulling Dragon Punches and level threes with the least of skill and effort, thereby reducing a complex, tight game requiring practise down to an ongoing Special-Moves-A-Go-Go episode where smashing the yellow analog around qualifies as “playing the game”.

You have both lost big, big marks for this treachery to the human spirit.

I fucking hate memory cards, by the way. I can’t even save basic information to the console - I’m surprised I can even set the Goddamned date without requiring an extra $30 purchase.

Nintendo, you can go. Capcom, please stay, as I’m not finished yet. The more I play your… game, the more horrified and the less surprised I get at the design decisions you’ve made. What initially scared me, the announcer, has become a secondary concern; the fucking music is worse. My God. For a start, it’s montrously loud and overbearing; I can hardly hear the sound effects. Of course, as is usual with console games, you don’t offer a volume setting for the music - I have option to kill it altogether or keep it tearing at my soul above everything else. However, I could accept the volume if the background tunes — and I use the word ‘tunes’ in the badly-made-midi-file-on-a-pc-speaker sense — qualified as more than elevator music. Things started going downhill in Alpha 3, let alone the early Versus Series games, but there is no justification for your endless “this is true love we’re making” tune blaring repeatedly. Awful, like sandpaper to the senses.

We’re getting deeper into the problems of this pile of unpolished junk: gameplay and balance. I was so pleased to discover that Shin Akuma has been somewhat… toned down… in this game. I wasn’t so pleased to discover that he’s now the weakest character. Get this: Geese beat me by hitting me three times. Three times. And this is in that single fighter mode, where we’re both supposed to be of equal strength. Balance, boys! I think you misplaced it after the Alpha series finished. I could continue with this, too: God Rugal, when under the computer’s control, can kill with three moves, yet when I use him I tend to die faster than if I use standard Ryu. I do not understand this.

Part of the problem lies in how your AI has gotten progressively worse over the years. I played Super Street Fighter II Turbo again the other day; I was pleasently surprised to be beaten senseless by Ken in the second match. Those characters had much better AI than your recent efforts, which I also can’t understand. How can a Mega Drive play better than a Gamecube? There’s an exponential difference in processing power - spend some R&D time on porting some intelligence over.

To compensate for the computer’s stupidity, you’ve taken to increasing the attack and defence points of the CPU as the difficulty ‘increases’: Hardest mode is only hard because I lose a quarter of my energy per hit, forcing me to play either incredibly defensively or equally aggressively. Neither is fun. What happened to strategy?

I’ll keep burning while I have the strength. Let’s move on to the style. Earlier games featured move priority - this has disappeared from the radar too. Now, every second attack results in both characters recieving damage; I’ve suffered more double KOs in the last week than I’ve ever had with other fighting games. Even Supers have no priority. I’m primarily a C-Groove player, so I can’t speak for the other grooves, but I keep getting knocked out of things with simple moves that should be overriden. Maybe it’s because the collision bounding boxes are way out, or maybe it’s because of the SNK connection. I don’t know. Either way, it’s fucking me off, and should be fixed. There’s a reason I pull a Special move, and by definition it has more priority than standard moves.

There’s so many other things: Zangief’s cheap tactics and ridiculous damage imbalance, Cammy’s strange MVC combo-able low forward kick, everything related to that cheap Nakoslutslut, Genjuro’s absense, Guile’s absolute uselessness, the fucking menu system that takes ten minutes to get to the point, the forty five screens one has to suffer through even in versus mode, the fucking character textures being half the resolution of the backgrounds, the character’s palettes consisting of six colours on a console doing 32-bit, the whole seven backgrounds we get, the… [so on, and so forth]

Bad. Terribly unpolished, trying too hard at things that just don’t work. Streamline the menu system. Kill the bloat. Fix the palettes. More backgrounds. Burn down the studios where the music was recorded and sacrifice the composer’s first born. Get rid of Zangief and the fuckwit with the ball and chain and the cheap helper character. Wankers. And hire some Goddamned QA staff and some testers. I cannot believe this passed through a dedicated QA department. If it did, you know what I would recommend.

Oh, while I’m at it, I want someone to cut Athena in half with a chainsaw so the little skank can’t sparkle teleport anymore. She really fucks me off.

Monday, February 17, 2003

2:56 PM

Finally got a copy of the remixed version of “Blast off” by Danielle Spencer. It’s only available on a single that I couldn’t get hold of.

  • Preparing to have half my head ripped out.
  • Flatmate is thoroughly over the Sam + Frodo picture.
  • American Psycho isn’t as funny the second time around.
  • Trillian won’t do Secure IM anymore, even after patching, and it’s really annoying.
  • Weston’s Butterscotch Shortbread has become my primary food source.
  • Quenya learning is becoming muddled because of a thousand pronomial suffixes.

Strange weather lately. Last week we had hail for half an hour, followed by light rain and then heat. I went down to visit Gavin & Sara again and decided that their weather sux even more. ‘Talked to the boy I like who’s working with me. I’ve known of him for a long time now, but haven’t said anything in regards to spending two years wanting to ask him out. Sigh. Here’s hoping…

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

11:42 PM

Rather than offically announcing that I’m a sad, pitiable creature, I’ll let the picture and accompanying quiz say it for me:What's your FOTR slash pairing?

I haven’t posted much lately - unsure as to why. Life has come back to a gentle whisper again, and I’m just taking time working on personal projects: editing LOTR texts, reading a few books and learning more Quenya. Fighting with WinMX also features heavily.

I’m staring at a fantastically disshevelled bedroom at the moment.

Slightly concerned that there’s been no updates to any software worth having lately; Mozilla is behind, MozBlog hasn’t moved since early January, Tenebrae featured a Christmas update and nada since, and Mugen for Windows is still unreleased.

Partially annoyed at myself for leaving a few things till they’re realistically too late to fix or bother with.

Tomorrow night will be interesting.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

1:53 PM


Tuesday, January 07, 2003

7:42 PM

Woke at 13:40 today; feel somewhat better. Dragged myself outside to get the washing off the line, and spent ten minutes getting a spider out of the right pocket of some trousers. Urg. Gave the bottle back; went acceptably.

Unvoicable concerns knawing at me.

My playlist settles back on Tool’s Pushit. I’m in a strange mood. I hope to have lots of money tomorrow so I can get quite a few things dealth with.

My flatmate has taken to reading my blog, so let’s all wave hello to him.

1:02 AM

I’ve made a few decisions today, and that, in this case at least, can only be a good thing. Having fretted over the issue of moving down the mountains, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m staying where I am for the moment. Having worried over the older-guy problem, I’m going to make a visit and deal with it directly. I can now let my mind drift back onto the other two concerns I have right now, both of which are yet unvoicable.

And I’m going to get some sleep tonight. It proved utterly impossible last night, not just because of mental gears whirring incessently, but because of the headache that woke me at five AM.

Now listening to: Orbital - The Box (radio edit)
Just finished watching: FOTR Extended DVD Disc 4
Wanting to hurt: Whoever decided to include nothing about Quenya on the FOTR Extended DVD
Now thinking about: ((Men + spirituality) * 2) - (religion + bullshit + distance)
Thoroughly sick of: Expectancy
Completely prepared for: Bed + PalmPilot + FOTR text
Seldomly contacted at: shiva___@hotmail.com

Sunday, January 05, 2003

9:46 PM

And then you have a day that comes to a crashing halt when three issues, all needing sudden attention, arise within a few moments of each other. And that which is freshest on your mind must take a backseat. Speaking in riddles again. I’m like that.

I had a bottle of champagne delivered to work today — by courier — that was sent by an older guy who may have feelings for me. I’m flattered, but as you were probably expecting, said gift is accepted only as a token of friendship. Now, for the first time, I must gently reject this person. Being someone who doesn’t like to burn others, and considering this may also affect how I deal with said guy at work, it’s a difficult situation for me to deal with. Sigh.

I have promised to call someone else for drinks and whatnot, also, as I see it, in a professional manner. I don’t know what has been assumed.

Alarm bells are ringing, and they’re making me want to run from the building. After a close-call with one older man in the past, I have my old-man scanner permanently turned on, and the results are seldom good. I don’t mean to chastise the group, or work up some horrible stereotype, but it’s something that I’m wary about; something very wary about. I think the romanticisation on a young guy with a heart of gold carries too much wieght in an older guy’s heart, and the idea of not missing an opportunity subconsciously affects their actions. I admire the trait of grasping the moment, but it comes with a price on the other person too, in some cases a burden. Learning where to start and when to stop is also important.

A lot of stuff has happened since last night to get my brain into gear. A lot of it is without a logical solution, and that, I find, is the most frustrating part.

Now I feel like I’m being spoilt for choice in making new, lasting friendships, and I’m sounding like an unappreciative brat.

I need to sleep, sleep like a log. I’m up at nine tomorrow morning to consider houses, already knowing that some part of me hates making a decision one way or the other. So, in addition to my several hundred vices, now I’m indecisive too.

This blog has gone long enough, covered too much territory with a sweeping lack of detail. To continue here would be to voice a thousand fears long quiet. Maybe I need to do that, but first I might give the right ones priority, and enjoy the experience of deciding which ones matter.


12:02 AM

And then someone unexpected calls and you end up having a conversation that lasts over two hours. You talk about everything, all meaningful, no gossip. You learn a lot about someone just by the questions they ask. You realise the compliment implied, and it makes you feel good. You go to bed all happy that someone has opened up to you.


Saturday, January 04, 2003

7:54 PM

Ever so often you realise that after sifting through all the crap, all the inane babble that the world goes on with, that in all seriousness, there’s almost nothing worth talking about. This may seen utterly counter-intuitive, considering I’m writing this in a blog, but it’s something that defines a lot of the way I see the world, and even more so how I interact with it’s inhabitants.

I see people who are strongly opinionated as really fucking boring, which is also fucking ironic, and maybe a little hypocritical. Having a fierce belief on an issue is an announcement that a person isn’t talking with me, but at me. I would rather spend time with others who say little, but mean much.

Friday, January 03, 2003

3:42 AM

I have something on my mind, something that I can’t put into words because I haven’t isolated the feeling yet. ‘Spent a while talking to someone on New Years Eve. Until three-thirty in the morning. Followed by fifteen minutes of hugging. For a while, I let go of the reigns and let myself be led. Eventually, as always, sensibility or morality made me take them back.

Extended hugging with people I’ve just met isn’t something I do regularly. This situation seemed to create itself, but then again, I was pseudo-drunk on apple juice and probably didn’t realise until I was comfortable in his arms. Yes, that’s the excuse I’ll use… Nice, warm, comfortable.

I’d be equally comfortable walking off this cliff if it didn’t affect anyone else. The parachute would be my problem alone. In situations like this, what I fear most is that expectations and feelings can never be the same for two people, no matter how much talky talky comes beforehand.

See, my definition of ‘relationship’ isn’t the one assumed by the ‘scene’; relationships aren’t the fruit of a one-night-stand that doesn’t know when to stop, nor should they have a predetermined expiry date. In some ways, I’m horribly old-fashioned, even conservative. I think there should be a proper courting period; anticipation and swooning are part of the package and half of the impact.

Something precious should be handled gently. I would have difficulty knowing after the fact that I rushed it and lost something in the process.

When I get like this, I tend to prattle on, which, looking at everything I’ve just written, is exactly what I’ve done. Every fear seems to come out, even those that have no connection whatsoever. I should stop now.

Sending SMS is not the right thing to do at half past four in the morning…

Thursday, January 02, 2003

2:17 PM

I’m getting a bit frustrated with MozBlog because it doesn’t automatically convert extended characters to their correct HTML entity codes. To use them, I have to plough through the source view, which is annoying. The b13 version I’m running also seems to make new posts when I edit an existing one, then publish. I have had three versions of my previous post appearing. Grr. Bug report time.

2:05 PM

Ok, that’s that done. I saw The Two Towers again. I vowed outside this blog that I should see it at least three times before committing to any particular ideas or judgements, but I’ll throw caution to the wind this time.

The beginning of the movie is absolutely the best possible way they could have brought me back into the film. Utterly fantastic. Beautiful meshing between films. The balrog/Gandalf scenes are also brilliant.

Minor niggle: We never see the beginnings of Frodo’s problems with the ring. He rowed away in FOTR, hating the ring and knowing it was a burden, but we never see the slight changes in Frodo’s demeanor; he’s just suddenly taken over by it. Extended version will hopefully expand on his falling.

Éowen is very well cast. Beautiful expressions of slow torment. Éomer I’m not so sure about. He’s a little… soulless. We never really get to know him because he’s always somewhere else.

Aragorn goes a little over the top near the beginning, but I think that’s just the words from the script, not his acting. He manages a great performance with what he’s given.

Gimli is used as a gag a little too much. He played almost no part in the book, so I can understand that the filmmakers needed some way to tie him in. You’re forgiven, mostly. I’m impressed by the new parts Legolas was given - very elf-like reasoning and frustrations.

Faramir, I was so looking forward to your performance as a voice of reason and stability among men, but instead you’ve been turned into a tool to demonstrate exactly the same point as your brother: men are shortsighted and horribly fallible. I do not like this change in character at all.

What the fuck is with Osgiliath? No, you’re right Sam, you’re not meant to be here. I liked the in-joke, but it doesn’t make up for a whole plot redirection that doesn’t go anywhere. If this whole thing was a stage for the Nazgûl/Frodo meeting, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s unnecessary. Frodo’s internal fight with the ring is better demonstrated amongst friends, ala Sam.

Not quite sure if I like the Nazgûl flying beasts yet.

Main problem with the movie: Not enough Frodo and Sam. There’s hardly any interaction between them, whereas in the book we had some beautiful situations where Sam became protector and Frodo’s failings demostrate the ring’s deceit. I was really looking forward to the visual treatment of the scene I described a few posts ago; maybe it’ll be in The Return of The King. Here’s hoping.

I believe that Helm’s Deep should not have been the focus of the movie. However, I’m willing to give it a chance, since in analysing only a part of this trilogy I may miss a larger purpose.

I love the constant use of Elven language in the movie. Love love love. According to the official website, it’s all Sindarin, which would explain why I’m not picking words out yet. Once I finish Quenya, I’ll start on Sindarin. :P

Ents were thinner than I expected, but mental image is sometimes created without the limitations of physics. The ent’s knees bent more than I expected as well. Annoyance caused by the Ents’ “decision” to stay out of the fight is offset by the fact that they go to Isengard and destroy it anyway.

I won’t prattle on about Gollum, because after the second viewing I’ve realised that his translation is actually quite good. I was expecting something a little darker originally, but I’m content with how he is. Absolutely fantastic CG work on his expressions and interactions with the environment, especially Frodo. Believable, yes.

I would have enjoyed seeing Treebeard harass Gríma.

I could keep going on and on for pages here, but I’ll resist.

The Two Towers didn’t translate as well as Fellowship of the Ring simply because we had three almost seperate plots to follow instead of a single linear story. Adaptation problems are immediate; how does one keep tension and interest? In the book, this was solved by dealing with one thing at a time. It’s not possible in visual form, where time-shifting only works in very short periods.

Nevertheless, I applaud Peter Jackson and crew for their work. From a text that I originally battled through, he has fashioned a movie that I can watch and enjoy. It’s a pity a few things were unnecessarily changed - Faramir, the Ents, Éomer’s entire role - but overall, it’s a good film.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

10:13 PM

I’ve decided to cease judgement of The Two Towers until I’ve seen it at least once more. But… Faramir… why? And Haldir… poor Haldir.


2:31 AM

I saw The Two Towers tonight. I need some time to consider it. In lighter news, the Extended version of FOTR is absolutely fantastic.


Monday, December 23, 2002

10:58 PM

I’m inventing a new phrase: “What would Sam do?”My infatuation with Sam continues to rise. I’ve fallen into the same pit as so many others - I’m now reading fan fiction. I should stop this immediately.

Q. What draws me to Sam?
A. He never gets it on with Frodo.

Let me put it this way: his love for Frodo is much purer than anything possible in an average, real-world mortal. He takes care with his every effort and offers protection whilst allowing Frodo to do anything he likes, even walk into danger. In this sense, he is completely selfless. His friendships are based completely on respect and admiration.

Sam is everything that a person could want in a partner, even without the sex. Given Sam, would you need sex? It seems to me that the lovemaking would be endless and in every moment, without the need for physical consumation. Would sex destroy the simple purity of Sam Gamgee? How would you look at him in the morning?

Slash is bad for the soul.

Sam will forever remain in my memory told in TTT as such:

And so Gollum found them hours later, when he returned, crawling and creeping down the path out of the gloom ahead. Sam sat propped against the stone, his head dropping sideways and his breathing heavy. In his lap lay Frodo’s head, drowned deep in sleep; upon his white forehead lay one of Sam’s brown hands, and the other lay softly upon his master’s breast. Peace was in both their faces.
Gollum looked at them. A strange expression passed over his lean hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head, as if engaged in some interior debate. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo’s knee — but almost the touch was a caress. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.”

This, and The Choices of Master Samwise, are the most beautiful parts of the books.

Friday, December 20, 2002

12:17 AM

Sorry kiddies, this post is for those over 18. I may get awfully angry.I am going to elaborate on what is wrong with the Fellowship of the Ring game demo. This may take some time.

Detail: Lovely textures. Nice pumkins. Interesting layout, albeit totally fucking wrong for the shire. I really appreciate the Llamas, since they’re totally out of place, having never been mentioned in the book. Now, as a side note, where the fuck is everyone who actually lives in the shire? Note to developers: there are more than five people in this part of Middle Earth. No, Frodo does not help Sandyman find a fucking metal pin. What are you smoking? Concentrate on the book, if you’re going to use such a well-loved and disected licence. You have a VERY small margin of creative licence, and so you should: you’ve got a three hundred and ninety pages of descriptions and accounts. Tolkien was not one to skip detail, so don’t skip his.
The conversations Frodo has in the shire suck, period.
Sam is appalling. I don’t know where you got the idea for his character, but I found him immediately grating — the exact opposite of his image in the texts. He also looks evil, and comes across as a halfwit. As someone who loves Sam very much, I find this beyond redemption.
I will descend from my soapbox to say that the landscapes are very nice, and well detailed. In the exciting Aragorn adventure where I got to hack some wolves up using one sword combo repeatedly, I was drawn into just how overdone Weathertop is. If I could have stomached the arbitrary and senseless slashing any longer, I would have kept playing, but at this point I was actually feeling physically ill.

Interaction: Maybe I should rename this section, because at most I could talk to people with nothing to say, and I could pick up some mushrooms. Oh, hold on — Aragorn picked up some Lembas! I’m amazed they verified the spelling. My trawl up to Weathertop was a running frenzy interspliced with a few hack and slash battles with Wolves. It wasn’t a protection battle, because the two fucking Hobbits that I actually took along were both running randomly around behind me at a distance of a hundred metres. What’s the fucking point?
I must mention the side adventures, such as Frodo being asked to throw a stone at a weatherpane. This is how he finds a Metal Pin, and comes to the rescue of the miller. This may be classed as interaction, but it’s both boring, nonsensical, and achieves nothing in context.

Speech Adaptation: One of the most important parts to me concerned the adaptation of Tolkien’s written speech. I will acknowledge that the pronounciation of most Elvish words were somewhat correct - even Galadriel said “Mordor” somewhat right in the horribly rendered introduction.
That is where it ends. The actor playing Gandalf should be taken and relentlessly beaten until he learns what emotion means in an acting context; he managed to pronounce the Black Speech of Mordor as if he’s selling shoes. Pay close attention, developers - Tolkien hated those words. I remember reading that he’d recieved a steel cup from a fan who had enscribed the whole “Ash nazg durbatulûk…” line upon it; he wouldn’t drink from it, intead using it as an ashtray. Gandalf loathes these lines. They bring fear, hatred. And I hate your voice actors.
Sam is horrid. I’ve covered him enough now.

Presentation: Title screens look nice. Fading effects are cute.
Controls page is horribly buggy. Don’t attempt to use the down arrows in the controls box, since the scrollbar doesn’t capture input properly.
Pre-rendered introduction movies absolutely fucking suck. They remind me of work done years ago — hand-animated characters with no solidity, no weight. The kind of work that made the end of the Spawn movie so damn cringesome.

Graphics: If there is a way to both have “polished” textures that still appear “raw”, then this is it. There’s some nice detail on the models, but it’s not of the world I’ve grown accustomed to. I can understand distancing the actors from the characters would be important, especially if the storyline is different to the movie, but doing so has created a gap so formidable that I have difficulty reconsiling characters with their new faces. I have watched Sam in pain, in anger, in sorrow. I have experienced his emotions through a very skilled actor, and although I understand he’s also Sean Astin, he’s Sam to me. What does one gain in the long term by distancing an actor who is known as Sam worldwide? I’m frustrated by this decision, and it put me off immediately.
I just hate the style that’s been used. It’s not the world I imagined even before I saw the movie. These are two wholly different interpretations, and while I thought the movie should have been a little lighter in some parts, I don’t like how the game has turned out. I wanted it real, convincing enough to get me in, but it’s almost a cartoon. My flatmate described it as “rushed”, and I unfortunately have to agree with him.
If I was to put those stylistic problems aside, I would give it an 8/10, but I still feel horribly disheartened.

Gameplay: Now we get to the biggie. I don’t think FOTR should have been an action/adventure game. This genre is wrong for it. This should have been a genre breaker, the kind of attempt that Omikron made but didn’t live up to. It should have had some elements of real time — leaving the shire before the Nazgûl arrive, running from the Balrog, being confronted by Boromir — but it should still be an adventure game at heart. When, in the texts, do the Hobbits behind Aragorn as he slashes wolves apart? Deus-Ex should have been the original model for FOTR. There are just things here that fall back into the horribly predictable and highly lamentable video-game template: run, kill, repeat.
I want Middle Earth to be huge, to be explorable. I want more talkie than slash (heh, there’s something to say to the folks at Nindaiwê.) I want to go to Weathertop under the unshown threat of the Nazgûl, not a bunch of poxie wolves. Create an atmosphere that covers more than what’s on the screen at the time. Oh, and I love the hills leading to Weathertop, but it’s a pity that Aragorn can’t climb up a two foot cliff, when Frodo can.
Frustrating limitations like the above only hinder the evolution of gaming; instead of giving Aragorn his proper abilities, we take them away so the game’s harder. There’s no better way to frustrate the player. Instead we should concentrate on giving Aragorn every ability he would have in real life, and combat those strengths with real challenges — fighting away Nazgûl while the Hobbits stand near under threat, for example.
Tolkien provides so much more of a world than any game could ever hope to cover, but at least you should capture as much as you can.

I can understand why Christopher Tolkien described it this way: “My own position is that The Lord of the Rings is peculiarly unsuitable to transformation into visual dramatic form.” Hmm. I think the game has made this statement accurate.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

7:14 AM

Sam is the faithful servant of Frodo Baggins. He cares an awful lot about his master and would probably give his life for him. Though Sam meets many marvelous people as he journeys with Frodo, he still wishes he was back home in the Shire.Take the “Which Hobbit are you?” quiz created by Cora Black.

I thought this was cute. Sigh. Wish I had Sam beside me… sigh.


Sunday, December 15, 2002

2:13 AM

We live in a sad world, us westerners. I have no religious dogma, and therefore don’t believe that I should celebrate any religious events. I intentionally avoid getting caught up in Easter or Christmas, yet I understand what these events mean to Christianity, and don’t get in the way of those who do celebrate for the right reasons.

I hate the commercialised, sickeningly hyped Christmas that the West has brought to us, the kind of event where even the Islamic community starts putting up Christmas decorations. You may be thinking that this kind of activity is fine — the cultural understanding, rah rah rah — but it signifies that what was once a holy time for a segment of humanity has become a playground for unbelievers.

Christmas should be sacred for the people who know and believe in the true reason for it. I was listening to the Christmas Carols at work today, and heard Boney M sing something along the lines of: “Jesus was born at Christmastime.” It might seem a small thing to highlight and yell about, but it sums up the western idea: Christmastime existed before Jesus, and just happened to share the same birthdate. This is bad, people. You are raising your children to consider reasons for actions after the event, and mostly as a secondary consideration.

Nine out of ten Christmas carols I hear mention Santa Claus, not Jesus and/or God. This is Bastardisation. Presents because it’s that time of year, not because you’re celebrating the birth of the saviour. Fuck, I am not a Christian, and even I respect that this day is sacred. Don’t celebrate something you don’t believe in! Leave Christmas alone, and shove Santa squarely up your arse!


Sunday, December 01, 2002

10:15 PM

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Scorched Earth Tank.I am a Scorched Earth Tank. When I have a mission, it consumes me; I will not be satisfied until the job is done. I have a strong sense of duty, and a strong sense of direction. Changes in the tide don’t phase me - I always know which way the wind blows, and I know how to compensate for it. I get on poorly with people like myself. What Video Game Character Are You?

I thought this was funny.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

2:52 AM

Just finished watching Hannibal for around the fourth time. The movie does not satisfy me, as the book did, in the most important respects: Hannibal’s childhood, the torment of Mischa and the teacup, and the transformation. At the conclusion of the book I immediately turned back and read the last fifty pages several more times, and because of that I’ve re-read the entire book again to appreciate the subtlety and psychology throughout.

The filmmakers spend almost two hours creating a plausible explanation for the physical meeting of Clarice and Hannibal, then suddenly find they’ve got nothing to talk about. Apart from recieving a true compliment from the Doctor, Clarice really doesn’t discover anything about herself, nothing that could forever change how she factors her father into her life, nothing that would make a dent in the morality she has created out of him. I find that a serious let-down.

The book pleased me because it made Clarice complete. She became Lector’s equal in all respects, and she chose to do so. He found an equal, a person to be explored by. I liked the book because right at the end, Lector discovers he is fallible, and Clarice finds her strength. In the movie, he uses the word love, and that is not the right term — I belive “parity” or even “purity” would be what he sees in her, and that opens the door to his affections.

People who hated the book: please re-read it. The second time around, Italy seems shorter and Lector is more a person and less a monster. The psychological impression is much deeper. The teacup scenario has more of an impact. The last fifty pages are pure brilliance if you avoid romanticising. As Verger says, it’s not “beauty and the beast”, but I don’t believe it’s the fox and the rabbit either.

Monday, November 11, 2002

12:33 AM

Children who don’t experience physical contact with other people grow into adults who interpret physical contact as almost purely sexually driven. I’ve spent a while thinking this over, attempting to validate with memories of my childhood and observations of adults interacting with each other and children.

I certainly see contact in a more sexually oriented way than I believe most of my friends do, and that particular trait is something that’s very hard to calm. Since it’s been a part of me for a long time and has almost become hardwired, my strategy is to be proactive in the contact - I feel more comfortable initiating something than being the direct recipient.

I’m somewhat amazed that schools are trying to reduce physical interaction at young ages. Surely this contact can only be affirming for kids - it brings a level of psychological comfort and a positive body image. This idea has been mirrored in all the children I have met and spent a significant period of time with - for example, my sister’s friends, who are all aged around six. These children always say hello by grabbing my arm, joining hands, or patting me on the back, and many say goodbye by giving me a quick hug.

It is the reduction of physical contact that leaves children unable to interact physically with others as adults. Especially at the early ages, I believe comfort with another person comes at three levels: psychological empathy, interest and touch. As we grow up it becomes unnecessarily necessary to forfeit more of the latter because of a society where touch is played down and sexuality hyped up.

Children need more comfort. It’s a pool that’s filled in childhood, and something only dramatic events in adulthood can change.

I remember the first event that started the cogs in my head. I knew a kid named Kane in primary school. From what I could gather he came from a somewhat broken home. He acted tough in school, fought relentlessly with other students and teachers, and was put down during class discussion by a teacher whom I had respected.

Kane was what non-abstract thinkers would call a bad kid. One the surface, he didn’t seem to try, didn’t seem to want to interact. But at that age, with a broken family and no skills to keep friendships, I believe Kane found it a little hard to fit in.

I remember Kane particularly because I, in a teacher’s effort to control his behavior, was seated next to him for two terms. This was in year three, when I was about 8. I try to avoid spicing up the past with pseudo-memories, sugar added to a cake of salt. Kane was, most of the time, a little bastard. But he just wasn’t aware of how bad it was because he had no real family or friend to guide his actions. There were moments when he and I actually talked and smiled, and I helped him with his work and I felt gentle ripples of appreciation.

Kane hung himself in jail in 1998.

Even back in year four I thought to myself, “I could change this person, give him a friend to count on, a place not so bad.” And I didn’t. I thought about it until it was too late, when he left school, and the only news I heard was from the newspapers.

And I realise just how little a change I would have had to make then to his world. To be a friend, to try to understand him, and to help a bit. Instead, Kane grew up thinking the world had moved on and he was forever unable to catch up.

That is why I give my sister’s friends hugs when they want them. That’s why I hold hands with these children, ask them how they are and attempt to understand their feelings. The depreciation of these old values and the attempts to fit uptight “personal space” adult concepts to children’s culture is lessening the chance for kids to come out of school confident and comforted in the world surrounding them.

I often wonder what Kane would be doing now had he been given the chance of a gentler upbringing.

i am somewhere i don’t wanna be
you push me somewhere i don’t wanna be
and put me somewhere i don’t wanna be
seeing someplace i don’t wanna see
never wanna see that place again

Monday, October 28, 2002

4:33 AM

WinXP is a pain in the arse, as is ZoneAlarm 3. I would like XP, except that it’s an advertisment for Passport, it includes that monstrosity Media Player 7, and the default theme really sucks arse. All things that can be disabled, I hear those zealots cry.

Passport is a very bad idea. A single signon for hundreds of web sites and services. Doesn’t anyone else see that as a frightening idea? The basic complaint is this - break my one password, and everything is available to whoever guesses right. What about lockdown? Should I forget my login and enter the wrong pass three times, do I get locked out until I call someone to verify my identity? How do I do that in a secure way? What a crock of shit.

I received enough of a minor scare when Blogger was hacked and slashdot happily informed me that my passwords may have been accessed. I’ll change my passwords, I immediately said. This line of thought should be first when any hacking attempt has been registered. Passport will happily hand over more than my blogger id if the database gets hacked, and I certainly do not trust Microsoft, with it’s appalling security record, to guard that information for me.

Media Player 7 is a bloated attempt to do what Internet Explorer did to Netscape. It’s too bad that I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole. What makes me happy is seeing that 6.4 is still installed. Whilst on this topic, let me say I will never touch Winamp 3 either.

The XP theme is terrible. Two columns of start menu just confuses me. I used to be able to scan down the list and find a starting point; now, I have to scan two lists, and click a special option just to see a program list. Urgh. Huge buttons, big red X’s, a dog in the search panel. My God, what are your MS Research people smoking?

MS has spent years trying to find a way to make commonly accessed programs more easy to locate and run. Well, I hope you guys don’t think putting more entries in the start menu is a good idea. No automaton with a whopping six spaces can possibly keep on top of what I do on my computer. More helpful would be a list of the most recently crashed programs.

Hiding user names in the welcome list should not require installation of the Powertoys TweakUI pack.

ZoneAlarm 3 is a pain in the arse for mostly different reasons. Settings aren’t saving properly, even after three installs and a database cleanout. Hello ZoneAlarm 2! Welcome back. ZA2 doesn’t decide to take up 42MB of RAM and aquire 100% CPU usage randomly, either. And although the user interface for ZA2 is bad, ZA3 is worse. So I won’t be upgrading, or buying a support licence, Zone Labs. I’ll just ignore your updates.

Our ADSL is not working and we’re still on dialup.

Well, now that all that’s out of the way, I can get on to the good news.

My flu is tapering off, leaving me with sniffles and a wonky head.
Daylight saving has come, hallelujah.
I’ve got Mugen almost perfected.
My best friend is here this weekend and until Tuesday. If I can get myself back to health, we might actually get to do something before he goes home.

Friday, October 25, 2002

5:54 AM

One thing that I really hate about the NT kernels is the luckluster DOS support. I’m not a person who runs games intended for a 286, and I’m not a big supporter of backwards-compatibility, but I like the idea of having at least an emulation of the old behaviour. My problem comes to this: I can’t run Mugen properly under 2k because of VESA support. I ran over VDMSound a long time ago which solved the sound problems in a few things, but VESA support is only basic and I still have to hack around to get it to run, and then only in 640*480, in a small box in the center of the screen. What keeps me alive is the thought that the windows version can’t be too far away. Heh.

Many thanks to the Mugen team for putting a fantastic engine together which has provided me with hours of fun. You’ll be recieving a donation from me as soon as I get my new bankcard fixed up.

In other news, I’ve got the sniffles and sneezes. I’m accutely aware of the irony in getting the flu now after surviving a freezing winter. With any luck, it’s just horrible hayfever-related symptoms that will fuck off before the weekend.

Booking my trip to Broken Hill very soon. Got the time off work thanks to the ever-useful method of Badgering The Boss Until He Gets Tired Of Hearing Your Voice.

Set up and installed everything on my flatmate’s new PC, an Ath 2100+. Nice system with a Leadtek Ti4200 VIVO and a 5.1 speaker system. As is tradition, the only problems I had were related to Creative products, this time being the Webcam 5. The drivers are beyond anything you’ve ever seen before, and even now, after I’ve got it working, the VFW driver is broken, and control panel believes the camera is plugged into \??\USB#4hg-something-or-other. Is this normal? Only the WDM driver works, and the fucking Webcam Monitor application shipped with the product hangs on startup because it seems to only support the VFW driver. Sigh.

Bed time. I’m supposed to be working at 4pm, but if I wake up feeling the same, it’s not gunna happen.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

1:41 AM

Ragh… worked from 12:00 to 23:30 today. After eleven hours, I’ve found that I stop caring. Fortunately, my insane friends waiting outside for me didn’t stop caring, and drove me home when I finally left the building. Came home angry and got angrier, but whilst listening to the infamous Closer by Nine Inch Nails, said anger fled in fear and now I’m listening Heaven Knows by The Corrs, which is a tad different. I’ve also decided that I like Chemical Heart by Grinspoon. Many thanks to my flatmate and good friend Bradley for sharing this song with me.

Tired, but somehow alive enough to be sitting at a keyboard and entering text into an unread blog.

Sigh. Bed time. I’m up again at 10 to start work at 11.

Adobe Illustrator is absolutely impossible to use!

She’ll only come out at night
The lean and hungry type

Saturday, October 19, 2002

1:18 AM

Absolutely beautiful night. I finished work late at 22:00 and was tempted to walk home in the soft, warm breeze. Cor, I wish summer was always like this… Went to Penrith with my best friend Gavin today pick up my flatmate’s new computer. Very fast, big screen, webcam, GF4 Ti4200, etc etc. Ran an hour late for work as the result of several incidents including turning around twice on the way down, getting lost, finding a carpark, and getting through traffic on the way back. That’s why I worked till 22:00, and not 21:00.

Really tired, and a little dizzy at the moment. Need sleep…

Friday, October 18, 2002

2:59 AM

Jesus Christ. After a full day in Sydney walking around non-stop, I got home at midnight and started cleaning the garage out at 00:30. Hour and a half later = excellent. It seems that it hasn’t been sweeped out for around 5 years, since there was a layer of ash (!) on the floor that rose in a great mushroom cloud in a valiant attempt to keep it’s habitat by suffocating me. So Bradley and I went shopping today and spent too much money on almost nothing. We saw the excellent Star Wars exhibition in the Powerhouse Museum, spent an hour or so in Market City (Paddy’s Markets etc), went to George Street and played Capcom vs SNK 2 and X-Men vs Street Fighter, strode to the Opera House and ate whilst watching the city skyline from the steps, had a drink at the The Midnight Shift, and then caught the bus back to Central where we boarded the 22:00 train back to the mountains. Good time had by all.

Time for bed. I’m stuffed, and start work at 16:00 today. I need to be up relatively early so a plumber can fix the shower. God…

Thursday, October 17, 2002

4:22 AM

Bush + ClippyThis is exactly how I feel about Bush’s current handling of a very serious situation.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, here’s a speech by a man who does possess reason, forsight, and diplomatic ability: Clinton.

3:47 AM

Andy Trying out MozBlog image support. The guy on the left is me. It’s a rather small, rather… 8bit image, but that’s all I’m sparing at the right now. :)Seems that to upload I have to include the ftp:// at the beginning of the ftp server url. I left it off, and MozBlog complained that only FTP works with image upload. Weird, but acceptable.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

11:16 PM

Yay! My MozBlog works perfectly in non-source view now! Fortunately, the template + MozBlog fix doesn’t come at a price of my previous posts being stuffed up: all seem to display perfectly. Going to Sydney in the morning to get ripped off at Market City, near Chinatown. Got my phone fixed there last week, and got a new case, for a total of $25. Good stuff.

The upstairs shower floor’s tiles have cracked open, which will lead to one of us falling through the floor and into the washing machine some time in the near future. We’ve got a plumber coming tomorrow, though as always he refuses to give a time.

6:31 PM

Ah. Sitting around listening to Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl and Beethoven. Wish Simcity 3000 ran in a window.

A few interesting developments on the Mozilla front lately. The team has just released Phoenix 0.3, a lightweight browser using the Gecko renderer and XUL for the interface. It only comes with the browser component but is a lot more customisable and will hopefully be an example for the core team in how to properly componentize their applications.

New Simpsons episode at 19:30!

5:55 PM

Mike Lee’s just released MozBlog 6.6, containing some really important bug fixes and excellent interface improvements for those who are still using version 5. My most painful bug, 2275, seems to have been fixed. Upgrade!

Monday, October 14, 2002

3:56 PM

Nothing special this time; just a link that I found appropriate to quite a few people.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

3:49 PM

Well, I’m sitting around with David, who’s in the mountains for the day, and I’m showing him MozBlog. We went down to see Lilo and Stitch last night - it’s still good the second time. Pizza Hut is better than I remember, too.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

11:35 PM

Got back from Penrith around 8:20pm. Saw Lilo and Stitch in the Hoyts Cinema in Penrith Plaza. Enjoyed the movie immensely. In plot and character development it’s a much better film than Disney has made for years. It’s a pity that a once-grand company is making so many trashy sequels to it’s own classics. Lady and the Tramp II. Ariel the Little Mermaid II. The Lion King II. Fucking 101 Dalmations II. It’s appalling, unambitious, uncreative, and it tarnishes the original movie. I must have seen at least six previews tonight that were all “II” movies. Sigh.

Anyway, enough bitching. I saw a good movie tonight. Stitch is everything I wish Pikachu would be.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

6:47 AM

God, I’ve become buried in XML documents. I’m staring at this XLink document, and I’ve read almost three pages and still don’t understand the concept. Linking into a non-indexed data source seems to be the idea, but the author of this document then uses a database as an example, the relationship between a customer and his purchases. But databases have relationships; the only reason customer 4978 can be associated with item 6134 is because the tables of data are indexed with those numbers, which then point to the proper data - his name and the item’s name. I don’t think I’m getting it. A few, from what I gather, very intelligent people are rambling on about XLink, but seem to be making an absolute mess of it’s case and cause. I’ve found that quite a few of these proposals are so abstracted that they make no sense without two years of backreading. I’m amused by authors who state “we mustn’t reduce the ease of use and simplicity” who then go on to propose an twenty-five page XML system with three schemas. Boy, if that’s keeping simplicity, then God help me.

I can understand the need for business to exchange data in a standard format. I understand the need for this data to be human-comprehensible. I just get really scared when a proposals’ advocates can’t explain it in human-comprehensible terms. I feel as though in ten years I’ll need to reference an external schema and provide a machine-friendly XSLT translation every time I open my mouth to speak. That’s if I still understand how to speak, because I’m sure the W3C will have created a proposal two hundred pages long on XML’ifiying vocal cord ranges.

I thought the whole point of this XML thing was to reduce the amount of confusion and increase the amount of productivity? I love standards, but the overuse of standards will lead to less creative output: Joe User doesn’t want to create nine documents that reference two unseen external schemas just so he can put his holiday pics online. The idea of a clean division between data, presentation and presentation medium is alien to most people.

The W3C always thinks big. We’re marking up the world here, turning what was once code into generalised data. Creating meta information for every single thing written is a daunting task. I really hope the tools keep up, because we’ll be relying on a lot of machine help in the next few years. The XML space will reach a level of complexity that only machines will be able to deal with, and the whole point of being able to read the markup will be irrelevant.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

9:11 AM

Predictably, it was the MS documentation that put me on the wrong track. I got hold of the XMLSpy trial. Hmmmm.. excellent. Within two hours I’ve got my existing HTML site sliced cleanly up into XML and XSLT. IE transforms the XML almost perfectly. Mozilla is rather wacky, but I have a feeling it’s because it’s using Quirks mode to render. I’ll stick with uploading the pre-transformed HTML for the moment.

No more HTML after this. Next project is going to be all XML and XSL/T.

I’ve been up since 6am Monday morning, and I should really go to bed. Strange trippy lights are passing the corners of my vision.

Monday, September 23, 2002

1:09 PM

Woo! New version of MozBlog is much better. Thank you very much, Mike Lee.

1:07 PM

Thought it’s about time I made another post. Gotten a little lazy over the weekend - came home from work both days and didn’t feel like doing anything. Trying to learn XSLT. Playing around with it in Visual Studio, but I’m really getting lost. Whenever I include a reference to the schema (xmlns=”xhva.xsd”), retrieving data with “xsl:value-of” returns nothing. I’m guessing that the schema can’t be found and the XML is invalidated. Taking the reference out gets it working.

Hmm, and Mozilla doesn’t show anything at all. Hmmmmmm. I’ll take a guess and say that I’m being misled by MS documentation. I’m off to the W3C then, I suppose. Sigh.

Friday, September 20, 2002

1:37 AM

Lol. ‘Just read a few articles about the Star Wars movies. I wasn’t a Star Wars kid. I didn’t sit down and watch the movies until forced by my flatmate early last year. So I’m in no position to make decisions for those people who love the movies more than the legal system should allow.

But what’s a blog for? So I’ll be a hypocrite and put in my $0.0110098 USD.

David Brin gives me some hope for the third movie. I liked Attack of the Clones, but mostly for two things - Ewan McGregor (siighhhhhhh), and one perculiar moment near the end of the movie: Yoda is being escorted around the battle on a dropship, and he murmurs to himself about the warfare below. There’s something not right about it, and it got me wondering which side Yoda was really playing for.

Could Yoda be of the dark side? Brin makes a compelling argument that would almost tie everything together. It’s always seemed a little daft to me how Yoda can’t detect the presence of a great darkness in the Senate. Fixed. Yoda’s unwillingness to let Luke go after Vader? Fixed. The only problem is why Yoda decides to take residence on a swamp planet.

I hope the third movie turns the whole story on it’s head, bringing Anakin reluctantly into the service of the revealed Emperor, and Amidala being torn from his arms and tossed into the fiery chasm from whence she came. Yoda shows his real nature to Anakin. The two children aren’t hidden from Anakin - they’re hidden from the Emperor and Yoda, until it’s too late to destroy them easily.

Whoa, this would be such a mindfuck. I can see the multiple coranary victims being rushed straight from the theatre now. But at the same time, it would be a great send off to the series, and the last three episodes would change forever. It would prove that Lucas had a lot more focus than we believed.

Steven Spielberg, I demand that you take down Lucas and make this.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

3:43 PM

Hmm. Blogger: working out the archive index filename is a little difficult. The help text didn’t help. I found my answer on the user forum, and then discovered that I knew the filename convention anyway. Sigh. So now the archive link’s at the bottom of the page. I’ll fix the font later.

1:05 PM

Mozilla bitch comin’ on. Watch your step. As I mentioned earlier, I’m using MozBlog to post this blog straight from Mozilla. I’m running Moz 1.1, and feeling a little apprehensive about it. Opening and closing windows has been a little buggy lately - I don’t know whether it’s the build, my prefs, or a side project that’s conflicting, but I’m getting invalid memory access. Netscape must be loving my duplicate crash reports.

I don’t think Mozilla was ready to be released at 1.0. Now, knowing how long this project has been going for, I can understand the need for a “stable public release” to calm the bitching frenzy and maybe the developer’s nerves, but I still have some serious doubts about the programs that make up the Mozilla suite.

The browser is good. It functions as expected, most of the time. Niggly bugs like not being able to type in the address field, and some text alignment problems persisted before and throughout the 1.0 tree. There was a really daft memory consumption problem, which was solved in a really daft way in the 1.1 tree. I hate the fix more than the problem, and I’m not the only one. The download manager continues to suck. I can’t affect bookmarks from the list. These things turn me off.

Mail was an absolute horror to work with in 1.0. SMTP servers - arghhhhhh. Multiple duplicate entries. The whole outgoing server option is just flawed architecturely and needs to be sliced off and cauterized. I spent hours fixing the prefs file manually and trying to find what I was doing wrong. The server problem still exists…

Mozilla is approaching something useful now. What it needs is a massive bug fix month, something like Microsoft’s February, but actually producing something tangible. Stop now, before it gets out of control.

12:12 PM

Manwë pays Katoomba a visit, bringing with him >60km/h winds as we stupidly attempt to walk into town. And the wind changes direction only to oppose our every movement. It’s hard to believe how cold it can be here. Still going to Lithgow sometime today - got to get prices for my other flatmate’s new PC. Lithgow is a strange place, described by many people I know in more specific, nastier terms which I won’t repeat here. It’s a coal mine, and is generally a big hole. It, unfortunately and rather inexplicably, is the only place in the mountains that has a computer shop I trust.

Listening to the still damn-good Garbage Version 2.0 CD. I was rather disappointed by their last album, Beautiful Garbage. I can listen to almost all of the tracks from the first and second albums but only three songs from the third - the awesome Androgyny, the circumspect Cup of Coffee, the rather mindless Cherry Lips. Hopefully the next album will bring a bit more froth and savage.

Sigh. Been up for close to twenty hours now. Running out of things to do…

7:21 AM

Cancel that. Went to bed, couldn’t get comfortable, and got back up again. Asked my flatmate, Bradley, whether he’d like to go shopping. I hate my sleeping pattern. I get more done during the night, but waste the sunshine. It’s similar for Bradley, who got up at 2am and is watching morning cartoons.

I think I’ll set up some forums as well. Last forums I set up was back in 1996. Hope they haven’t changed much. ;)

7:09 AM

Bedtime! Ragh! Need to be up and around at 1pm to go to Lithgow.

7:05 AM

Sorry, one more thing. Just found something that made me laugh on slashdot:’prostoalex writes “The DRU500A by Sony burns DVD-R/-RW, DVD+RW/+R, and even CD-R/CD-RW discs…”’

Waffle Iron responds: “At $349, you’d be wasting your money. I paid only $249 for a Sunbeam Gas Grill. At 40,000 BTU/hour, it will easily burn DVD-R/-RW/+RW/+R/ROMs, CD-R/CD-RW/CD-ROMs, floppies, Zip disks, Jaz disks, books, magazines, motherboards, DVD/CD drives, keyboards, hotdogs, steaks, dead rodents, old shoes … just about anything.

And if you get tired of all the burning, you can choose to turn it down a bit and go with golden brown.”

6:41 AM

Finally got MozBlog working properly. Use the source view. Always. And don’t use line-break tags or whatnot. Bizarre. Goodnight.

6:36 AM

Oh, one more thing before I go to bed. The page looks a little bare at the moment because I’m still working on the accompanying website, a remake of my old homepage, Shiva’s Domain. There’ll be a menu to access the rest of the content within a few days. Take care all… zzz

5:46 AM

So this is the bit where I introduce myself, using lots of !’s and other easily excitable punctuation. I’ll cut to the chase:5’11”. Brown eyes, auburn hair, British skin. Terrible family tree. Likes computers, web page design, our cat Zeke. Wants walks along the beach, intelligent conversation, large offspring count of 0.

…looking for a guy to fall into…

If you’re still interested in reading the garble that I’ll routinely enter here, feel free to email me. Keep in mind that if contacting me, you should be smart, funny, and speak at least three (3) words of English; a thorough non-understanding of at least fifty percent of REM’s music is also recommended.

Tis all. I hope you find something in my writings to keep you entertained. Life here in the Blue Mountains, Australia, is somewhat quiet, but I do a lot of development work (Visual Basic, websites, graphic design, MS Access, etc) and keep up to date with PC, console and emulation gaming. I also do a fair bit of writing - short stories mostly, sometimes fleshing out dreams I’ve had. Working on a novel has been a dream for a while. I’ve just got to find the right muse…

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