Monday, 28 February 2005


I thought I'd try a new review format for Constantine: a few quick questions.

Would you see this movie again at the cinema? Yes, if I was invited.
Will you buy the DVD? I don't plan to at this stage.
Will you watch it again on television? Yes.
Good points? Very well filmed (in my uninformed opinion) and interesting writing. Good effects too.
Bad points? Assistant reminiscent of Van Helsing's Carl.

I've always liked pseudo-religious mumbo-jumbo, possibly because I can usually point out where the theology differs from canon. The common mistake is dualism - the belief that God and Satan are equals at war, neither one being sovereign. I quite liked the portrayal of the Devil in this film (for his few minutes of screen time) as a white-suited man with dirty bare feet. The problem was that he should be one of the most dangerous beings in existence, and he wasn't even slightly scary.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think the questions preclude a rating system.
PPS - That's the theory for now.

Sunday, 27 February 2005

The Sunday Mok - A Week of Fridays

For some reason, every weekday this week felt like a Friday.

Last Sunday at rehearsal, I found out we're finishing with a bow, which is just not something I do at a church performance. The singers, musicians and pastor do not bow after a regular service, and I'm not doing anything much different to that. It's not about me.
Monday was slow at work, like all the other days. Bible study in the evening.
Tuesday I was rushed everywhere except work. While I was cooking dinner I had some phone calls to make, and I just barely finished them and dinner in time to get to rehearsal.
Wednesday we farewelled Darth Gerard and Brant in the traditional way: cake. We also went to lunch and to the local pub for drinks after work. When I left, the tequila shots had started, and many more were planned.
Thursday's event of note was a "trailer trash" party at Erin's, where everyone dressed up like rednecks and hicks and spoke with terrible accents all night. Apparently it was a last-minute idea.
Friday night with the youth group we went to a golf driving range at Oxley. Since we ran out of golf balls fairly quickly, we spent some time hunting cane toads. The range was right by a creek, so there were plenty around. Cane toads are about the one thing I feel absolutely no remorse about killing, even in particularly violent ways.
Saturday I went running in the morning, shopping for odds and ends and also saw Constantine (review tomorrow).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's been a relatively slow and uncreative week.
PPS - We'll see how interesting I am next week.

Friday, 25 February 2005

House of Flying Daggers

I caught House of Flying Daggers the other night after rave review recommendations from co-workers. Overall, I was a bit less impressed with it than I was with Hero. Where Hero was mostly about visuals, Daggers seemed to be mostly about sound, which was different and interesting. What let it down was the relatively weak plot. If you're still wowed by slow motion graphical effects, see it. Otherwise, you might as well wait and see if it comes to television.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Your home sound system might not do it justice, though.
PPS - I know mine wouldn't.

Thursday, 24 February 2005

How to be annoying

Since I started work in an office, many interesting and unusual ideas have come to mind. Most of these I would not recommend actually attempting.

1. Ask "Get it?" after every joke you tell.
2. Point out often that Caramello Koala and Calvin Klein have the same initials.
3. Choose the noisiest snack foods available.
4. Leave your mobile phone on its loudest setting all the time. Never answer it. Claim you're screening calls for "potential candidates". Refuse to elaborate.
5. Any time you are asked to do something, reply with a brush-off handwave and say "I don't have time for that". Continue playing solitaire.
6. Decline meeting requests with cryptic replies like "I'm watching my figure".
7. Wear odd shoes.
8. Have a box of tissues on your desk. Every few weeks, empty it out, one tissue at a time, onto a co-worker's desk.
9. Construct thousands of paper cranes from important documents. Refer to them as your "army of the night".
10. Email a picture of a horse's head to your enemies.
11. Shred everything a day after it is handed to you, to "protect the secrets".
12. Insist on using a gaudy, headache-inducing colour-coded filing scheme.
13. Cover your desk in toys and gadgets of indeterminate purpose.
14. Install a satellite dish on your PC.
15. Re-organise your co-workers' desks, to improve efficiency.
16. Dial random extensions and hang up immediately.
17. Ask the receptionist if she'll still be there at midnight to take an "important delivery". Leave a briefcase and detailed instructions for making the trade.
18. Construct a model Eiffel Tower out of chopsticks from the local Chinese restaurant.
19. Offer to fix software problems with adhesive bandages.
20. Leave a cup of coffee on your desk for three months.
21. Turn your computer off, then call the I.T. support people and tell them you're having trouble with it.
22. Label the water cooler "urine samples".
23. Glue plugs into the hand basins in the toilets.
24. Offer to race co-workers down the corridors on wheeled chairs.
25. Construct a fort around your cubicle out of archive boxes.
26. Speak in Pig Latin.
27. Wear your sunglasses inside. Trip over everything.
28. Sell charity chocolates to raise money for your own overseas trip.
29. Booby-trap a big box on your desk. Label it "Do Not Open".
30. Exit through the alarmed fire door every day.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Pass it on.
PPS - I could write more, but I think 30 at a time is plenty.

Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Soylent Diesel

This Slashdot article, detailing a process to turn carbon-bearing waste into fuel seems interesting to me. It brings to mind some questions about whether this process will be micro-sized and put in the back of every toilet. That would certainly be an excellent way to avoid the slow, disgusting compost toilets of today, as long as it doesn't stink more.

I also picture a "Mr Fusion"-esque device on the back of every car, though that is likely to be way less efficient than it's worth. Probably the best idea is to supplement our car fuelling by transforming our household biowaste (food scraps, sewage, grass clippings, dead pets etc) into fuel via a micro-plant.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Not just techie, but greenie, too!
PPS - And we create a whole new installation/repair/maintenance industry while we're at it.

Whose Chair?

It's rare to find my mind working more sharply after watching a sitcom, so I was genuinely surprised by a rerun of Mad About You the other night. This particular episode starred Carl Reiner as Alan Brady, and besides providing a few genuine belly-laughs, I thought the whole episode was very well done - like a series of comedy sketches all tied together by a coherent plot. Seriously, it was some of the best writing I've seen in television in some time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have no idea who Alan Brady really is.
PPS - Keep the pineapple.

Tuesday, 22 February 2005


Discussing what activity would best suit our section breakup, we mentioned go-karting and paintball. Together. I picture mounted guns and a track. Apparently, I didn't take it far enough. Now the plan involves micro-size tanks with supercharged paintball turrets. We need speed, too. Darth Gerard suggests balsa-wood farmhouses and families to crush because, well, he's evil. This is a definite winner. I'd pay for it for sure.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In the time I'm writing this, we've moved on to placing zombies on the field.
PPS - I'm skipping the koala-hunting part of the discussion.

Monday, 21 February 2005

Timeshare Plot Holes

A while ago I was inspired. I had a muse. I was kickin' it freestyle, yo. Then it all went away quicker than an intelligent sitcom gets axed. I don't know where it went, but I'm guessing it's still around here somewhere. Always in the last place you look, eh?

So I was watching Buffy season 3 episode 1 last night, where some demon has some kind of steel mill or something set up in another world where "time moves more quickly". He was grabbing homeless kids off the streets and working them almost to death, then dumping them back into the "real" world. In our world, only a day passes while they age away to frailty.

The problem with this system, as I see it, is that you'd need a completely new workforce every single day on our time. If I'm generous towards Mr Industrialist Demon, he only needs fifty people for a complete workforce. Surely fifty missing people per day would start to be noticed when they all come from one small area of Los Angeles? Even if they're not, it'd be a full-time job just to round up that many people and push them into a hole in the ground - no time for the health screening and trickery he was employing.

I guess my point is that time dilation might sound cool, but it does manufacture a lot of new problems.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Just Say No to Time Dilation!
PPS - Before it's too late!

Sunday, 20 February 2005

The Sunday Mok - Disbanded

Last Sunday I learned that the Ashgrove Baptist Easter play and AGMF are on different weekends, so I can actually do both, which makes me happy.
Monday at work I was figuring out a bug related to the .NET DataGrid control and cell highlighting. I don't think anyone's particularly interested in the details. Bible study in the evening.
On Tuesday I fixed that bug. Easter play rehearsal in the evening and I watched a new episode of The Simpsons instead of a hired DVD. I couldn't find anything interesting in the tiny video store across the road from the office.
Wednesday was when we got the news about our project moving and our section being cut down to four. Now Gerard, Ben and Brant are leaving this coming Wednesday, which will actually leave only three of us there. In our worst-case scenario, we become a temporary addition to the computer help desk. I don't much want to do that.
Thursday I spent thoroughly documenting part of the work I've done, and I think it came up really well. Later in the day, Fletcher asked me to tell him about that bit from a purely "black-box" point of view. How to build and deploy it without needing to understand it.
More documentation on Friday, but it looks like our work will probably just be thrown away if the project continues at all. There's a new Basic Requirements Edict from up on high that greatly simplifies the entire thing and pretty much negates everything we thought we needed to do.
Saturday I noticed I was craving chocolate, which usually means I'm losing weight and my body disagrees with the idea. I spent time in a meeting about the church fair, working out what I need to do beforehand, then went shopping for some painting supplies. I'm painting an old PC case to donate to the church fair, just to see if it generates some interest. I also gave a preview performance of one of the Easter play scenes.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's been a rich, full week.
PPS - That's if you can count the emptying of the office as rich and full.

Friday, 18 February 2005

Grammar Nazi

Every time I hear or see someone say "would of" instead of "would have" or the "would've" contraction, it really irks me, probably much more than it should. For example, I'm still stomping around the house this morning correcting imaginary people for imaginary grammatical crimes because of a girl on the bus yesterday afternoon who made this exact mistake.

So, for everyone who's unsure, the following sentences are incorrect in the most potent sense of that word:
"I should of gone, but I didn't."
"I would of watched it, and then I fell asleep."
"I could of come over, I guess."

For the correct forms, replace "..ould of" with "..ould've" or "..ould have".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Even just writing them down like that is distasteful to me.
PPS - It's entirely possible that my issue is more deeply rooted than grammar.

Thursday, 17 February 2005

At The Races

Angry Brad: Anything is race-able.
Darth Gerard: I'm trying to think of exceptions.
Angry Brad: Not working, is it?
Bachelor Brant: What about dogs?
Me: You mean like greyhounds?
Bachelor Brant: Yeah! Oh.
Me: How about cats? They wouldn't co-operate.
Angry Brad: You'd just have to put the greyhounds behind them.
Bachelor Brant: Wouldn't a greyhound outrun a cat?
Darth Gerard: Not if it's a lion.
Me: How do you get a greyhound to chase a lion? Or would you reverse it in that case?
Darth Gerard: Yeah, so it'd go: rabbit, greyhound, lion. Man with gun. Then lion again. Then another man with a gun.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - That guy in the middle had better be the fastest man alive.
PPS - I'm guessing he wouldn't do much shooting.

The Culling

As of today our section of 8 is a team of 4 and our one project is moving to Melbourne. Apparently the decision was made a week ago, then nobody said anything for a week, while the edict trickled down from above like warm tar over stones. Adrian, Brian and Ben are already gone and (perhaps the most devastating news for this blog) Darth Gerard will be gone in another week, once the project transfer is done.

This decision was made to speed the project up and keep its budget tight, in apparent ignorance of the massive time and cash overhead that will be incurred to make the transfer happen.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We received this news in a five-minute meeting and a four-sentence email.
PPS - The full reasoning behind the decision was, apparently, classified.

Wednesday, 16 February 2005


Me: Everyone's sneezing this morning.
Darth Gerard: There's never been a comic book archvillain that makes people sneeze, has there?
Me: Well, they exist, but they never rise very high. Like Dr Pepper.
Darth Gerard: Hah! Trademark. You're going to jail.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If Dr Pepper was a villain, what would he look like?
PPS - All I can think of is a utility belt holding several pepper shakers.

Tuesday, 15 February 2005

Distract me

This article describes the many distractions we face in our daily lives at the mercy of our computers. I think it might be time to centralise alerts into some kind of user alert queue. We'd have one place for all programs to send alerts easily, via the operating system, and as users we could manipulate its behaviour, assigning higher priorities to alerts from some programs, setting it to only notify us at regular intervals, etc.

Not only would this free programmers from the burden of creating a notification system for every program, it would unify the alert interface for users and allow them greater control from one central location.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I do think this is a good idea.
PPS - Comments are welcome through to next month. ;)

Monday, 14 February 2005

"Critical" Notepad Bug

I seem to have discovered a new bug in Microsoft Notepad 5.1 (it may also appear in other versions). I'd report it on, but there does not appear to be a "Support Centre" for Notepad - a glaring omission. On to the bug.

To reproduce this bug, open Notepad and turn on WordWraptm. Now type away until you wrap around at least one line. Save the file with the cursor at the end of the line, and you should notice that the cursor moves back three characters for each wrapped line you typed. If that motion backwards takes the cursor over a line break in the process, the cursor will move back another character in addition to the others.

This bug does not appear to have been reported elsewhere, so I'm claiming credit for its discovery.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Clearly nothing good can come of this.
PPS - I expect Microsoft will release an emergency hotfix patch within a week.

Happy Love Day

I've decided to stop just short of actual bitterness and anger at This Day We Do Not Speak Of. Maybe next year my tune will change. This year I've decided to project an air of barely-contained disgust and partake in occasional acts of sabotage. My path will be littered with torn and destroyed heart decorations, as it is written.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - To everyone in love: don't you dare rub it in my face.
PPS - Even accidentally. I'm watching you.

Sunday, 13 February 2005

The Sunday Mok - 13 February 2005

Last Sunday we were at the morning church service late, so rushing home, wolfing down lunch and rushing back got me there just in time for rehearsal. I sang out front in the evening service, then went bowling. I scored a disappointing 95 then a more-acceptable 153.
On Monday it was hot enough at lunchtime that I worked up a bit of a sweat walking the one block to the bank then a hundred metres or so to the Thai restaurant. Bible study in the evening, then City of Heroes. I also read some humourous stories on about The Sims 2. The first one's better.
Tuesday's movie rental was The Village. I think I preferred The Sixth Sense. It did make me want to check out the other M. Night Shyamalan movie I haven't seen: Signs.
On Wednesday night I played Evil Genius for a while and watched the first part of the ARIA Awards that I recorded way back in October. I know that's pretty slack. I also know that, so far, it hasn't affected my life negatively, so I'm comfortable with my choice.
Thursday night's karate class ended with a few games that were more of an intense workout. Besides the fact that there were three teams racing to be the first one finished, I'd question their classification as "games" at all. I played City of Heroes, too.
On Friday I got an unexpected lift home from work, and I thought I'd take advantage of the extra time by going for a run. As it turns out, there wasn't so much extra time, so I got to the church about ten minutes late for youth group. We had another zero-attendance night. I do wonder how long we'll keep going without anyone coming.
Saturday I got up early to have breakfast in the Roma Street Parklands for Bec's birthday. When other people rocked up with gifts, I felt like a cheapskate. I stayed in the city afterwards and bought a Stargate magazine purely for the DVD, and some game cases from JB HiFi.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The Stargate magazine is quite lame.
PPS - The introduction is written in-character as Jack O'Neill. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, 12 February 2005


I have just received an email from the City of Heroes support staff that includes a code for 14 days of free CoH play to be given away to a friend. Rather than I decide who to send it to, I thought I'd open it up to anyone who reads here and wants to know what all the fuss is about. I'll email the code to the first person to leave a comment asking for it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If I don't already have your email address, you'd better include that.
PPS - I'm guessing that the 14 days have to be two calendar weeks, not just whenever you feel like it.

Friday, 11 February 2005

A saucy good time

Over lunch at the "local" Chinese restaurant, I thought I'd try pouring the remnants of my sauce all over my shirt, because I'd never given that a go before. The verdict? It's not as much fun wearing food as eating it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have to clean up now.
PPS - Stupid non-stick bowls.

Sorry, Sandra

We're all naturally dubious about sequels. We've been given plenty of reason. Sequels starring Sandra Bullock seem to be doubly doomed. Don't get me wrong: I'm not a Bullock detractor. I think she's done some mighty fine work, including Speed, 28 Days and Miss Congeniality.

That being said, I can't bring myself to be enthusiastic about Miss Congeniality 2 - Armed and Fabulous. Not only does the story seem contrived, but some studio "genius" has decided to also turn this into Ethnic Mismatch Comedy Number 644 as well.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - All I'm saying is that she could be doing better comedy than this.
PPS - Nothing much decent is coming out in the next few months.

Thursday, 10 February 2005


One of these years I'm gonna fly my butt halfway around this big ol' rock we call home and get into Penny Arcade Expo, just for the hell of it. I'm not even that hardcore, as a gamer. I'm pretty much only into puzzles and adventures, which have recently metamorphosed into RTS and RPGs respectively, like a frog turning into a toad. Yeah, I know that doesn't actually happen. Just go with it.

If SupaNova in April is good enough, I'll just save myself a week's worth of leave and a ton of cash and be satisfied.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Something may be wrong with my posts from work at the moment.
PPS - It looks to me like my last couple of days have not shown up.

A scary thought

Combine the hypothesis that there is no life in the universe besides what has originated on Earth with the fact that George W. Bush is the most powerful man in the world and what do you get? George W. Bush is, in fact, ruler of all life in the universe. This could be a problem.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Perhaps I'm overstating the case.
PPS - I really hope so.

Wednesday, 9 February 2005


Could the archaic term "ice-box" come back into regular use as a synonym for "portable cooler"? I ask because I saw it written once on the label of my Ice Break iced coffee as a prize in some competition. No doubt they chose to use it because of its similarity to their brand name, but I think it's a valid choice. Perhaps I shall start using it in that sense.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In Queensland we tend to call it an "esky".
PPS - It's a brand name, possibly derived from "eskimo".

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

He'll grow into it

Just now on the way to work I saw a boy walking to school. This in itself is not unusual - there's a school nearby and I'd be surprised on a day that I didn't pass a few hundred such students. What struck me was that this particular lad was just barely over a metre tall and was carrying a backpack that could have easily contained his entire person, should that have become necessary. He was powering along under the clearly considerable weight of the pack like a trooper on a mission.

It's anyone's guess what he needs to carry that regularly fills such a capacious vessel. I'm guessing that even if he lugs six large textbooks every day, plus notepads and a pencil case, then throw in a large lunch (he's a growing boy) and he'd still have room for an emergency jumper and ice-climbing equipment.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - You know, in case the next ice age comes.
PPS - In which case he's already got a serviceable tent.

Monday, 7 February 2005


I went bowling last night to take advantage of Milton Tenpin's $3.50 games on Sunday nights. When I told the guy behind the counter that I wanted size six shoes, he gave me a funny look.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Size six, please."

He wouldn't believe me until I actually showed him my tiny, tiny feet. This could easily become my next big hangup. I mean, guys are meant to have big feet. It's demoralising to rock up to the counter with five other guys and be the only one who asks for shoes smaller than size eleven.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's almost enough to make me buy my own bowling shoes.
PPS - If I start going more regularly, I probably will do so.

Sunday, 6 February 2005

The Sunday Mok - A New Routine

This week was the first incarnation of a changed weekly routine that's going to be the norm until Easter. Now from Sunday to Saturday I have rehearsal, Bible study, rehearsal, YLD, karate, youth group, sleep.

Last Sunday was the first rehearsal for a church Easter play. I think it's all going to come together nicely. I'm playing the chief priest Caiaphas, and also the disciple Thomas. I left without saying goodbye to anyone, because I was still in a bad mood about the previous night. I went to the Coffee Club after the evening service, with Bridgit, Erin, Michelle and Scott.
Monday night was the first "Disciple" Bible study meeting. I got a bit bored in the middle, primarily because I'm a visual guy and this was all aural. After I took a break to look at some interesting things around the room, I could focus again.
Tuesday nights are now also Easter play rehearsal, which means karate has had to move to Thursdays. We were blocking out the first few scenes, just figuring out where everything should go, where people should enter and leave, etc. I also rented Resident Evil on DVD.
Wednesday night I paid very little attention to a youth leadership development meeting. That was probably bad of me.
By Thursday I was feeling a little bit frustrated with work again, because I've been working on the one bit of the project since the beginning of time. Karate in the evening was good - sensei Chris is more ready to correct me than Mark and Deb, because I've never taught him. I was "sensei John" to Mark and Deb for a year, and I think that they held on to that for a while after they took over the class and I went back to being a regular student.
On Friday night at the youth group we had one young person in attendance. I guess it's better than last week. I'm a little worried about the future of the group. On the upside, the older SLAM youth group has a healthy attendance so far.
Saturday I bought a wireless optical mouse for the secondary internet PC here at home, because we've officially run out of desk space. I needed something that could reliably track on my leg. I went to a barbeque dinner at Casa de Miv, which was also going to include semi-organised sport in the park. Because I figured I'd be getting some exercise that way, I didn't run in the morning. When the time came, we just sat around his vast backyard. My left wrist is sore for some unspecified reason, so I've strapped it up for the next few days. That usually helps.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It was good to see everyone again yesterday.
PPS - "We should do this more often", as the old saying goes.

Friday, 4 February 2005

Compatible Beats

No music seems to match my mood today. At least, nothing on my PC. Thirsty Merc hasn't been getting much play since Green Day made it into rotation with American Idiot, but since that album really needs to be heard in one session, I'm not up for it today. Missy Higgins is a bit too ... mellow for me right now. Gerald are, frankly, better live. I guess that leaves me with Jet, who inspire my sporadic attempts at air-drumming.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think I need to browse down in HMV.
PPS - Or the punk section of Rocking Horse.

Thursday, 3 February 2005

Office Oddities

Darth Gerard: "Having a four-day weekend regularly would be good if you had outside hobbies. You can get a lot more done in four days than in two."
Veronica: "Or if you had a double-life."
Darth Gerard: "Peirce Brosnan-style."
Me: "What?"
Darth Gerard: "Jimmy Bond."
Me: "I don't think James Bond had a cover career."
Darth Gerard: "Nah, I'm pretty sure he was MoneyPenny. Have you ever seen James Bond and MoneyPenny in the same place at the same time?"
Me & Veronica: "Yes."
Darth Gerard: "Did you notice mirrors?"
Me: "That is probably the weirdest thing I've ever heard you say."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We are an endless fount of meaningless drivel.
PPS - And constant strangeness.


I'm definitely not at my most coordinated lately. Last night cooking dinner I dropped a total of four items - thankfully all non-pointy and empty at the time. I'm fumbling with remote controls, tripping over steps that aren't there, and bumping off walls like a pinball.

Tonight I have my weekly karate session. It's not looking too good.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm sure I'll manage not to hurt anyone.
PPS - At least, anyone else.

Wednesday, 2 February 2005

Mourning Gestures

When something comes to an end, if I felt anything about it, I'll go through a mourning process, often involving anger, bargaining and sadness. When that comes to an end, I'll often feel the need to do just one more thing, and it's always different. I close off the episode by doing something outside my ordinary sphere. It usually takes a little while to figure out what that should be. This time around, I'm going to build a pressurised water pistol from various gardening equipment I'll buy at the hardware store.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Often the gesture itself has nothing to do with the subject of mourning.
PPS - And sometimes it is deeply connected.

Tuesday, 1 February 2005

The Office Knight

I think I have problems. I just received an email advertising free surplus foolscap ring-binders at work. The first thing I thought was that maybe I could get a whole lot of them and make some cool cardboard plate mail armour.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - With my Stapler of Justice.
PPS - Now that's an interesting City of Heroes character idea...