Tuesday, 30 November 2004


An office conversation that occurred after discussing the New Zealand accent:
"You're a racist."
"I hate racists."
"Does that make you a racist-ist?"
"I hate you."
"Now are you trying to be a racist-ist-ist?"
"Racists are people too."
"You're a xeonophobophile."
"I hate xenophobophiles. What does that make me?"
"A xenophobophilophobe, I guess. It just goes on and on."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is what we do when we should be working.
PPS - Which is pretty much all the time.


I finally finished Uru: Ages Beyond Myst last night, with much help from a hint file. I'm actually sure there's more to explore, but it's bugged me for so long that I might not bother for a very long time.

Overall, I have to say that Uru turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. I did like some of the exploring, and the environments were interesting, but the puzzles were just plain bad. They weren't designed with the same principles in mind as the other games in the series. I remember in-game hints strewn about the original Myst with such frequency that you could hardly fail, in truth. Uru's hints were a bit more sparse. The depth that one needs to immerse oneself and the amount of in-game text was too much to demand from me. I can do it. That I chose not to is, to me, an indictment on the amount of fun that can actually be had with the game.

I also had some gripes with the control system that felt syrupy when running and maddeningly slow when walking. Stepping sideways was infuriating to say the least. This is all very old news to anyone who has played the game. I suspect, since this was originally supposed to be an online game, the single-player content is a little under-developed. Now that it is never going online, the shortcomings of these offline ages makes up a far greater portion of the game.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I won't be buying any of the upcoming expansion packs.
PPS - I've got other things to do.

Salad Fingers

Some of the youth group kids were going on and on about some cartoons called Salad Fingers, so I went to check them out. For the love of all that is sane, don't click! Essentially these cartoons seem to be about a slightly sado-masochistic hermit with schizophrenia. The kids just love it and tell me that it's "Soooo random!" as if it leaves a delicious taste in their mouths. They love stuff they don't understand and stuff that can't be understood. The difference seems unimportant.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - My problem, if I understand the situation, is that I got it.
PPS - I mean, to the extent that such things can be "got".

Monday, 29 November 2004

The battle-lines are drawn

Brother Ug the Caveman picked up a new virus or bacterium and brought it home to share. This particular invisible nasty is, I believe, a chest cold. While that's clearly more fun than a head cold, I'd rather have neither, thankyou. I know I've picked up the infection, so I've also stocked up on vitamin C and throat lozenges.

I can never tell how long these things will last. About the only constant seems to be that Ug stays sick longer than I do, and any nasties hit him a bit harder than me. So now I'm fighting against an enemy that's already established a beach-head inside my nose and throat.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Hopefully I can win before Friday.
PPS - I don't want to be sick while I'm at Dreamworld.

Sunday, 28 November 2004

The Sunday Mok - Decaffeinated

This week, in one sentence, was a long upbeat mood coupled with caffeine withdrawal.

Sunday was pretty cool. Casey won Australian Idol and I was complimented on my singing by Michelle, who actually knows what she's talking about. I got into such a good mood on Sunday that I was talking and relating to people like a normal person. I was filled with energy and also relaxed enough to come out of my shell. I like times like these.
Monday I quit caffeine cold turkey, along with flavoured milk drinks and snacks. I switched to salad sandwiches for lunch, because I'm trying to drop just a little bit of weight before I get to the beach in a couple of weeks. Although I stuck to the plan at work, Dad kept buying assorted pastries, buns and fatty foods for home. I have now asked him to stop doing that.
Tuesday evening I was at a church meeting. While the debate raged on about whether we'd be the nine hundredth institution to get a sign out the front with interchangeable letters, I started to sketch randomly. What came out of me were all images of sharpness, darkness and screaming. Apparently, I have issues.
Wednesday my energy lasted until about 15:30 at work, which was pretty good. I went to another church meeting, this time regarding a Christmas event for kids. I'm not much of a planner, so exactly what I was doing there I don't know. I stressed heaps about planning the Friday night youth program which was still up in the air at this point.
Thursday I'd sorted out just about everything to do with Friday, which was a great relief. I spent most of the day at work trying to chase down some undesired functionality in one of my programs. It's not exactly a bug, which makes it a little difficult to find and fix.
Friday we successfully ran a progressive dinner for the youth group kids. In the end, I had to do only very little. I hope this didn't mean too many others picked up my slack, because I do that a bit too often. It felt a bit underplanned and slightly rushed to me.
Saturday was one of those lazy days - I played City of Heroes, slept, shopped briefly, watched a bit of Buffy and went to a youth group leaders' break-up party. In all, a rather good day.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - How bad is it to almost forget someone's birthday to their face?
PPS - I did that on Friday night - I recalled a date that was two days too early.

Friday, 26 November 2004

Lunchtime conversation

"Is human flesh red meat or white?"
"We'd be red, wouldn't we?"
"Zombies would be white meat, though, right? They're all pasty and stuff."
"Man, I wouldn't want to eat a zombie."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The awkward silence means we're done talking.
PPS - Thankyou and goodnight.

You are a unique and beautiful snowflake or something

I am just now discovering the power of positive reinforcement. Spreading around the genuine compliments, congratulations and thanks has a tremendous impact. They say words can wound forever, and the opposite is also true. I never say anything I don't mean, but I often leave unsaid certain things I probably should say. Since I started saying these positive things (and since others started saying them more to me) everything is getting better.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm still off caffeine, and feeling better every day.
PPS - It's kind of scary, really.

Thursday, 25 November 2004

Should have used a squeegee

How often do you do things that make you feel especially stupid? I just noticed a strange discolouration in the lower left corner of my monitor and spent a moment trying to rub it off the plastic. As it turns out, it was actually light refracting through my water bottle.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I can't blame caffeine deprivation for this one.
PPS - I also can't blame Microsoft.

Moose Gestures

For a long time (since I started using Opera, then migrated to Mozilla Firefox) I lamented the lack of mouse gestures in Internet Explorer. Not too long ago I set out to locate and install an IE plugin to enable them, because I cannot avoid using IE sometimes. My life is, once again, relatively complete.

For those of you who've never experienced mouse gestures, I'll explain. The civilised people among you can skip ahead. If I want to close a browser window, I don't have to hit any keys or hunt for the X button in the title bar. All I have to do is right-click on the mouse and drag it down then right. Down then left will minimise the window instead. Go left for "back" and right for "forward". Circle a group of links in an anti-clockwise direction and they all open in new browser tabs. It's really amazing how useful they can be.

Mouse gestures are not included in Firefox by default, which is one of the reasons I was initially a little disappointed with the browser. However, an extension is readily available to add gesture support. I also use an ad blocker extension to avoid seeing any annoying ads online.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Seriously, if you've only ever used Explorer, give Firefox a go.
PPS - It's better in so many ways.

Wednesday, 24 November 2004


I've hit the wall again. Usually by this stage of the afternoon I'd already have my daily 80mg of caffeine inside me, and I'd be happily hacking away. Right now I'm literally nodding off at my desk. I tried Berocca and loud music to keep me awake, and they've failed so far. I honestly had no idea I was using this much energy in an average working day. Or perhaps my body's ability to store energy has been depleted, or just my natural reserves.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Whatever it is, I'm losing it.
PPS - It'd be nice to go home and sleep or even just to rest my eyes for ten minutes.

Sensory Substitution

This article describes a "new" technology for restoring lost senses. I've always wondered what it would be like to touch magnetic fields or see ultra-violet and infra-red.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - While we're at it, I might like to smell fear, too.
PPS - And maybe I can get super-sensitive hearing without blowing out my eardrums.

Off the Wagon, Day 3

I feel alright this morning, except for a dry mouth. I thought I'd pick up a fruit juice between the bus and the office this morning, and I looked for one with no sugar as well as no caffeine. I'm well aware that I'd have to be pretty unlucky to find a juice with caffeine, but I had no idea how much sugar is actually in bottled juices. Most of it is probably fructose from the fruit itself, and I doubt any juice company spends the time and money to get rid of that, because nobody would really notice.

The juice with the least sugar I found was Grove Orange, with 15 grams. I haven't done my fact checking, but I think that equates to about three teaspoons which would classifies as "slightly indulgent" when put in a cup of coffee or tea.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I expect to have more energy problems today.
PPS - It's a rough ride. It had better be worth it.

Tuesday, 23 November 2004


I just got my second decaffeination headache. It's less intense than the one from last night. Of course, it's still a headache, which is unpleasant no matter how mild it gets.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think I've been making more typos than I used to.
PPS - For instance, I just wrote "Mokalus of Brog" up there.

IE no longer

I just opened up my Windows XP Start Menu to attempt to open Internet Explorer from the frequently-used programs list. It has disappeared due to disuse. This makes me happy.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I just remembered that I had yet to set Firefox as my default browser.
PPS - Now that's done. Cool.

Decaffeination, Day 2

As the title says, this is my second day off caffeine in my little experiment. I feel terrible. Last night I got a headache and had a weird lump in my throat. This morning I can taste bile and it feels like I've burst a tiny blood vessel or two in my nose. The computer monitor hurts my eyes and I feel a little sick. I'm not sure exactly how much of this is related to caffeine deprivation; I'm just saying it because it's true.

Up until yesterday I was living on about 80mg of caffeine per day. That's only two cans of Pepsi MAX, and it's still been enough to hurt when I'm off cold turkey. I've been wired for about 18 months, I think.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I expect to remain tired today.
PPS - Also I'm not used to my mind being this sluggish.

Monday, 22 November 2004


What a day to quit caffeine - after a late night (~01:30) I'm ready to nod off at 08:50. I need a hit. I've got the shakes man, come on! Don't hold out on me like this!
Of course, it's caffeine's fault I was up late in the first place.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "To caffeine! The cause of, and solution to, all of a programmer's problems!"
PPS - To misquote Homer Simpson.

You go, girl

I have renewed faith in the intelligence of Australians at large after watching Casey Donovan win Australian Idol over pretty-boy Anthony Callea. Honestly, I didn't expect it, but I'm so glad. I do believe she's the better performer and has deservedly won, and I'll certainly be buying her album when it comes out in a few weeks. The voice on this girl and the emotion she puts into her performances is truly inspiring to a lover of music. More than once during performance shows on Sunday nights I've been drawn completely in - I'd just close my eyes and feel the music flowing through me. She's spectacular. Well done, Casey.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I can't actually remember if I voted or not.
PPS - I hope I did.

Sunday, 21 November 2004

The Sunday Mok - There and back again

I've been down and back up again this week, emotionally. It happens. I've got a bit of a Charlie Brown Syndrome, minus the "world is picking on me" idea. I guess that leaves being in love with the little red-haired girl.
It all started going downhill on Sunday. LRHG ignored me a bit. Actually, she ignored me completely. It probably wasn't even on purpose, but it got to me.
Monday I saw Taxi. If you must see it, walk in three-quarters of the way through. Some little problems at work, like not enough to do. Still, I'd rather have too little to do than too much.
Tuesday I settled into a good, solid anger about LRHG and the Sunday Snubbing. I had to write it all down to get it out of me, because I don't want that stuff eating me up inside. I debated briefly whether I should write her a letter about it. Pretty much decided against that.
Wednesday I started to feel better. I wondered about taking a day off work to rest, which sounded very silly because (a) I currently feel underworked and (b) I've got a week off in mid-December.
On Thursday I had just about finished off an upgrade to one of my programs that means it can run in a more restricted environment without crashing. That's all Microsoft .NET mumbo-jumbo that means users can still run the program before they've set their machines up correctly. It can't run completely perfectly in those circumstances, but it can still perform its basic functions. I skipped bible study to rest, which I did by playing City of Heroes and practicing drumming.
Friday we took the youth group kids to a local swimming pool for a swim and barbeque. There was so much chlorine in the water that my eyes were on fire until Saturday morning. By the time I got home, I was feeling pretty good, except for the burning eyes. LRHG is once again a positive rather than a negative.
Saturday was a lazy, relaxing day, full of television (Stargate SG-1) games (COH again) and sleep. Low-key party at night, involving more barbequeing and more swimming. At least this time it was a salt pool rather than chlorine. I had to leave the party a bit early due to a lack of rides going back my way. I should really get a car.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Part of the plan was to buy a car before next year.
PPS - But you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.

Friday, 19 November 2004

Big sigh

You know those moments when a passing comment or event reminds you of a time in the past that was good, but never went anywhere? I just had one of those.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's a sweet regret.
PPS - Like the very last mouthful of a fantastic cake.

Business Plan

In response to the Sacred Grilled Cheese Sandwich, I have formulated a plan: I will produce sandwich grills that stamp the image of the Blessed Virgin in every sandwich! It should be pretty easy, plus I'll be able to sell the sandwiches and the grills. I'll make millions.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Patent Pending.
PPS - Also from Icons Incorporated: The Shroud of Turin steam press!

Switching to a garlic aftershave

Don't tell anyone that I told you, but our new receptionist apprentice, Kelly, is a vampire.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Just kidding.
PPS - No, seriously. Vampire.

Thursday, 18 November 2004


I wonder if auto-pilots will ever be advanced enough that real human pilots' job titles become "Advanced Free-Thinking Error-Correction Device".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
PPS - Except perhaps the "device" bit.

Cable out

Our internet connection went down last night for no readily-discernible reason. It was not until this event occurred that I realised just how much I had become accustomed to an always-on, high-bandwidth net connection. I sat for a good ten minutes just watching the computer trying to log on.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sad, I know.
PPS - It's back on now, so I've had my fix.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

They won't let me have my toys

There are any number of fascinating programs I'd like to download and play with and I just can't get them. I remember one from my university days: my Artificial Intelligence lecturer (that's the lecturer that taught AI, not an AI doing teaching work) mentioned a program that had a set of rules governing mathematical reasoning and exploration. It (apparently) discovered several well-known constructs like integers, prime numbers etc. and a new mathematical concept, then they pulled the plug. I'd like to see that, but this is all the information I have.
There's also HANDS, a programming language/environment built for kids around natural problem-solving thinking. It's available by "special arrangement" which probably means I'd have to be doing research to get my grubby little paws on a copy. I suppose I'll just have to read some of that research and try to produce a similar system at home.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There have been many others through the years, too.
PPS - Most of them I have forgotten and given up on.

The News Mokalus Rejects

I've built up a bit of a backlog of draft posts for this blog that will probably never see the light of day. Here are some of them, in summary:
Mouse gestures
An explanation of how great it is to get mouse gestures into Internet Explorer.
A long (caffeine-driven) tirade on the benefits and potential pitfalls of Microsoft's next-generation file system.
Management confusion
If my supervisor has asked for the correct tools to do his job properly and has been refused, is he really to blame if the job isn't done properly?
Digital music
Online music shops here in Oz don't seem to be quite as extensive as their overseas counterparts. The Apple iTunes store - the online music shop - doesn't even operate here.
You Might Eat Too Much Pizza If...
A list of humourous ways to tell if you're ordering too much pizza. I came up with only seven.
You Might Be A Hardcore Programmer If...
As above, but with the geek level kicked up a notch. Same result.
CEO Deathmatch
A suggestion for a way to make the corporate arena a bit more interesting.
Second Chance Draw
A suggestion for a variation on the Big Brother format, where nobody ever actually leaves the house until the end. We just vote people out of the running for the money, and then they have a chance to be voted back in, too.
Mokalus of Borg

PS - I could potentially be persuaded to elaborate on some of these.
PPS - Whether that's a worthwhile exercise is another matter.

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Taxi? Mo' like SUXI!!!!1!! lol roflmao ymmv

Caught Taxi last night. It started well, with a speech by Obi-Wan and some lightsabre duels, then it just lost direction.

Seriously, though, this movie was incredibly bad. Halfway through I couldn't even look at the screen and I was ready to walk out. Only in the last quarter did I even start to get into it, and that was way too little way too late. It had its moments (two of them, if I counted correctly) and that's nowhere near enough to hang a movie on. Weak characters, weaker jokes and cars that, honestly, hardly feature at all.

1/5 - see The Fast and the Furious instead

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I can't quite imagine anyone enjoying this whole movie.
PPS - Not even drunk.

Monday, 15 November 2004

Zombies vs ???

What are the natural rivals of zombies? Anyone on the net is probably familiar with such topics as pirates vs ninjas, Alien vs Predator, Kirk vs Picard and Baywatch vs Baywatch Hawaii, but I've never seen anything relating to zombies in that realm. I'm guessing it's something like robots.

I spent a little time last night beating up some zombies in City of Heroes and had to cut the mission short. This particular story arc involved me getting infected with a disease that the game engine implemented as a "temporary power". The excited message (You got a temporary power!) didn't quite fit the mood of being infected with a fatal wasting disease carried by zombies.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - CoH has robots, too.
PPS - I don't think I've ever seen them fighting with the zombies, though.

Sunday, 14 November 2004

The Sunday Mok - The Musical (starring Mokalus as himself)

I think the primary feature of my life recently has been music rather than movies or games. I may be wrong.
Sunday we had New Zealand band The Lads play at our evening church service. This was their second trip to our suburb and they were a little apprehensive. Last time they were here (playing at the high school) they opened with a cover of a Blink 182 song and received a round of "boo"s in return. It went much better this time around. I bought a CD and had the band sign it.
Monday at work was ho-hum: some work on a news system for our section website that's woefully out of date and uncool. After watching Australian Idol I went to Bridgit's to see "Duplex".
On Tuesday I finished off the site news system and set it loose, though it's still unpolished. Good thing we'll be the only ones who can see the ugly bits. Our Bible study group went to visit the Toowong Early Adults to see how they do things differently over there. The answer is "not very much differently".
Wednesday at work I (figuratively) smacked my head against the wall repeatedly just trying to figure out what was making my program fail. I have an answer now. I just wish it could have been easier to come by. I had expected Tim around for Java tutoring, but he never showed, so I made the most of my night off by watching The Simpsons and Joan of Arcadia. I wondered where my time goes. I blame television.
On Thursday I started on a personal project that had been nagging at me for a while. It's a program that can download regularly-posted files from the 'net, remembering when the last successful download was and looking from there. I plan to use it as a way of creating a personalised webcomics page every day. I swapped Bible study and karate nights this week, so I trained under a different sensei. He took a bit of a different approach, teaching mostly through games. I think that's come from the fact that he also teaches the children's class.
Friday I solved a major problem in part of our project that had been bugging me for ages and I thought it was going to be way hard. As it turned out, it worked rather easily once I let go of the idea that a database query would have to be generated automatically. Now the query is stored in the database and everything works wonderfully. That's going to win me some points, as long as nobody finds out how easy it turned out to be.
Saturday was a bit of a rest day - City of Heroes and sleep, followed by a CD launch concert at night. Soulframe launched their new album "Escaping Entropy" and were backed up on the night by Jazz band Scat and a semi-acoustic set from Rookie. There wasn't much room to move down near the front of the stage, where I was. That was fun, though I'm a bigger fan of punk than Soulframe's straight rock.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Well, it felt like more music.
PPS - I guess you had to be there.

Friday, 12 November 2004


Just informed by Messenger:
"Stu { sleeping } has just signed in."


Right. This is one reason I'd like Messenger to allow name changes before sign-in. I'm also still waiting for the ability to make notes next to contacts.

I'm starting to demand a little more from my machines, because I know we're capable of taking computers to a whole new level of usefulness. It's time they stopped pretending to be advanced typewriter-calculators.

I find the interaction with my computer to be extremely limited. With the mouse and screen I am essentially poking icons with a stick. By remote control. I think we're ready to outgrow this mode of operation, but I'm certainly not the person to design a new one. For the moment, though, picture this: a screen approximately 1.5 metres wide and 70 cm high, laid almost flat on your desk. You can move icons around and interact with them by touching them directly, and maybe this giant touch screen even provides some tactile feedback. Now there's no translation to make between the motion of the mouse and the cursor, and you can move multiple items at once, because you have two hands with five fingers each. It needs some work, of course, but I'd like to give it a go.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "Remember the Gorilla Arm."
PPS - As the old saying goes.

Thursday, 11 November 2004

It continues

Now with no water to run the evaporative air conditioning system, the office temperature is rising. At least they've stopped loudly turning it on and off every four seconds.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Not an exaggeration.
PPS - We timed it.

Lab Rats

Our building is currently experiencing a water outage and now the air conditioning is being experimented with. It feels, just for a moment, like it might all be some big experiment where they see how long we can last without water and air.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If they shut off the lights or internet, that would confirm my guess.
PPS - If the power goes entirely, I'm going home.

Rent Control

After seeing Duplex a few days ago, I've been thinking on and off about what exactly "rent control" is. What's mentioned in the movie is that the tenant can't be evicted, and she pays a rental price that must have been set decades ago and now cannot change. I always get a bit suspicious when I hear about privileges without responsibility or vice versa, and this sounds like irresponsible privileges to me.

Responsibilities without privilege makes you a fall guy: someone to take the brunt of the damage when something goes wrong. You had no power to avoid the problem, but it was your responsibility. Privileges without responsibility makes you a baby who can only sit and cry "gimme" and never has to give anything back. Any time these situations come up, there's trouble.

As for the movie, I laughed. Frankly, though, some parts were frustrating. At about three points in the movie the old lady's life was literally in her landlords' hands. If they had done nothing, they'd have everything they wanted (plus a massive tidal wave of guilt, I guess).

2/5 - wait for it on TV

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There seems to be an opinion that rent control is economically unsound, too.
PPS - I'm sure it feels good for the tenants, though.

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Semantic Web, Take Two

Recent discussions on the Semantic Web seem to emphasise the downside, which is quite valid. Some people seem to think that "Semantic Web" means "more links". Some others are of the opinion that this is either too much work or not human-friendly. Some have emphasised the fact that the web is easy enough to use right now: we have plenty of external resources to consult for further information if we want. This last one is true enough, but I'd like to rebut it anyway.

The point of the semantic web is machine-friendliness. With the current web data space, if you want more information, you follow roughly this procedure:
  1. Locate an external resource to consult
  2. Determine its reliability
  3. Learn to use it
  4. Search for your extra information
  5. Consume information, repeating this procedure as required
These are all labour-intensive, time-consuming and tedious. With a fully-functional semantic web, your procedure for finding extra information is as follows:
  1. Ask

Mokalus of Borg

PS - That's the difference, friends.
PPS - It's still a very long way off, though.

File Not Found Exception

It's days like these that make me really love working in IT. And by "love" I mean "despise with every deepest fibre of my being". I am trying to run a program from an internal website. It runs fine on my machine. Copy it over, try it there, "File not found". The file it's looking for exists. It's there. I can download it. I can see it in the directory listing. Try again. "File not found". Cue shouting and throwing of heavy objects.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've been doing this particular dance for over an hour now.
PPS - Not even the slightest bit of progress.


Some data connections, like the one our office has to the company's Sydney office, work slower than the post office. By that I literally mean that it's quicker to ship two dual-layer data DVDs overnight than to try to electronically transfer the same data. The one reason we don't like to do that is the reliance on people who might forget or grow tired of performing the same actions repeatedly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of CDs.
PPS - As the old saying goes.

Monday, 8 November 2004


I wondered if anyone had already thought of my Dawn of the Dead game, and a quick Google search turned up this. Not quite what I imagined, but interesting nonetheless.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Killing zombies is always fun.
PPS - I've got to stop thinking about this, though.


The trailers portray Hero almost as The Matrix in China. That's not the case, though it is a visually impressive film. Colour is a very big part of the effect and helpfully distinguishes between different versions of the same events. I am told that the Chinese war legends are usually tales of "one warrior worth one thousand" and from this point of view it is easy to accept scenes of heroes on both sides of the conflict, say, fending off a storm of arrows with their bare hands or fighting through a massive army three or four soldiers at a time with relatively little effort. Nobody ever looks worn out from the fight, either, but I can't say I noticed at the time.

In summary, Hero is more like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon than The Matrix (and unsurprisingly so).

5/5 - well worth it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I probably missed some of the symbolism
PPS - That's simply due to culture differences.

Sunday, 7 November 2004

The Sunday Mok - 7 November 2004

Late once again - this is a Final Fantasy XI-related delay. I've really got to buy a wireless broadband router one of these days.
Last Sunday I did a bit of trick-or-treating inside City of Heroes and made a new character I called "Zombie Slayer" in honour of and inspired by Buffy. I grabbed my copy of Uru and a hint file and started pummelling the thing into submission because, frankly, I was sick of it sitting there taunting me. Now I'm going to finish it, hint file or not. I realised that one of my main complaints with this game is that the puzzles are decidedly unlike puzzles (eg "it's dark") and the solutions are so bizarre as to render their discovery almost pure chance. I think I failed in part because I had no idea there was even a puzzle to be solved.
On Monday at work I was helping with a data transformation and import that I didn't quite understand. I didn't need to, either, so when it went a bit wrong later in the week, I was almost completely unable to offer any further help. I also concluded that I am, at times, a one-man love triangle.
During Tuesday night's karate class, I got a bit angry and focused it into training. I suppose that is from the Dark Side. Most of the day at work I was just tinkering with things, making minor improvements here and there, and getting my hands into the CW Manager code left behind by Matt.
Wednesday, apparently, all I could think of was girls. Or one girl. Maybe I should just leave it at that.
On Thursday I started using a wiki to keep some of my project documentation. I doubt we will start using it for everything, though, because we already have a large legacy of documentation in regular Word documents that would take lots of time and effort to successfully copy in. I did it mostly for my own amusement. I started preliminary testing of my transaction approval system, to work out any prototyping bugs.
Friday I gave co-worker Adrian a brief introduction to the transaction approvals system to let him start to work it into his dashboard user interface. He'll still be coming to grips with it on Monday, and I think I'll be making some improvements. For the youth group program that night, we went to Live at the Princess, a regular Christian music event at a spot in Woolloongabba. It was pretty cool, especially since I got to see Gerald play for the first time in a while. They rock, by the way. I also won tickets to go see Soulframe and Rookie next Saturday, and I have two friends, Michelle and Bridgit, who are into one of those bands each. They'd probably both go anyway, so I guess I'm just deciding who gets to save some money.
Saturday was just a relaxation day. I went for a run before breakfast, played Heroes in the morning, slept a bit in the afternoon then saw Hero in the evening. After that I went to Mia's place to hang out with Muz, Bridgit, Ashleigh, Stu, Mia and Sam, which mostly involved playing competitive Tetris and some Jenga. It was fun.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Review of Hero on Monday morning.
PPS - The short version is that it's quite cool.

Friday, 5 November 2004

goats: the store

I have just ordered myself a Zombie Peanut Butter t-shirt from goats and expect the item to arrive within four weeks. At that time, there will be no stopping me.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm pretty sure the appeal was just the word "zombie".
PPS - Most of the time, however, I don't get the goats comics.

Now I'm conflicted

Taxi, undoubtedly a below-average movie, has been saddled with the honour of displaying the Revenge of the Sith trailer in Australia. Do I want to see Taxi just to see this trailer, or should I wait until it's (legitimately or otherwise) available online? Honestly, I just don't know.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I actually can't find it online yet.
PPS - I could subscribe to Hyperspace, I guess...

Thursday, 4 November 2004

What Badgers Eat

Someone at the Simpsons offices was thinking. Lisa mentions a website address: whatbadgerseat.com, and somebody is going to check it out, probably immediately. It's basic, but it's funny that it's real.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I would have liked some sounds in the game, though.
PPS - That is all.

The Mathewhatsit Computer Something

The Australian Institute of Mathematics has recently been advertising a program to teach maths to primary and high school students. The radio ad mentions its full name: "the Mathemagic Computer Tutor" at least a dozen times. I've only heard it twice and I can't get that phrase out of my head.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It would be successful advertising but for the fact that I have no school-aged children.
PPS - I have no children at all, just in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, 3 November 2004

It's called a horror show for a reason

Most of my friends are fascinated by the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and will jump up gleefully to dance the Time Warp any time it's played. I always cite "childhood trauma" and sit it out, much to their disappointment. I think I should elaborate on my sparse story a bit more.

Our primary school used to have a costume ball every year which, among other activities, included modern "freeform" dance to popular music of the day. This was where I first encountered Rocky Horror in the form of the Time Warp. I was probably 7 or 8 years old.

Strange music started to play - I did not recognise it, but everyone else immediately sparkled with glee and ran to the dance floor. Their faces locked into a manic mask as they gyrated to this bizarre song that everyone seemed to know but me. Friends, teachers and complete strangers urged me to join in and perform the steps I was unfamiliar with. The dance continued for what seemed like ages, and the dancers all the while looked like grinning, mindless zombies to me.

When the music faded and the spell was broken, there was no aftermath as I had thought. Nobody fell down as if magically sapped of strength. Nobody shook their heads clear and wandered from the floor confused as to what just happened. I seemed to be the only one aware of the powerful and continuing effect of this music, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

So that's it. I can't join in with the Rocky Horror singalong, thankyou, because I like my mind in it's current shape.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Earlier in my life I had a similarly traumatising experience with the Hokey Pokey.
PPS - Don't ask.

Tuesday, 2 November 2004

They swear to me it's important

The Melbourne Cup is, supposedly, the horse race that stops this nation for a minute or two. I've never fully understood why that is. It just happened now. The horses ran around and someone won. Some people won some money and most people lost, because that's the way of these things.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We'll do it again next year.
PPS - It'll still be pointless.


Honestly, I'm not all that bothered by Hayley's departure from Australian Idol last night. She was, no doubt, a good singer. I just think she needed to be much more comfortable on stage to stand a chance of winning. During the group performance she seemed stiff and unnatural, and I think that's what beat her in the end.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The only one I'd be happy to farewell now is Anthony.
PPS - And, barring some freak accident, that's not going to happen.

Monday, 1 November 2004


I've found Will Ferrell's comedy to be a bit hit-and-miss, frankly, with moments of near-brilliance among some pieces of amusing idiocy. I liked Anchorman quite a lot. Much of the time it was that kind of movie where you're just embarrassed for a character (Ron Burgandy). The abstract aspect provided by "Brick Tamland" (played by Steve Carell) was also great:
"Brick, where did you get a hand grenade?"
"I don't know."

...Well, it makes more sense in context. Anyway, I do recommend it if you're a fan of Ferrell, SNL, or other similar humour. Of course, if you're a Saturday Night Live fan, it's probably already on your list or in the past.

5/5 - I laughed.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The news team gang fight was quite cool too.
PPS - "I love desk. I love lamp."