Thursday, 30 June 2005

Zombie dogs will devour us all

Regardless of what you think of these actual, factual zombie dogs, you've got to admit that's a kind of scary picture to go along with the story. Link via Apropos of Something.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I can never resist a zombie story.
PPS - Though I almost forgot to post this one.

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Must be something in the Russian air

I was greeted by two unusual sights in the house last night. The first was fifty-five Russian matryoshka dolls, comprising eight sets and a keyring, arranged on the lounge room floor. The other was my father with a three-week beard. In my entire lifetime I've seen him unshaven maybe two days and also one time when he grew a thin moustache for a costume party, so this sighting ranks up there with Tasmanian tigers for rarity. He tells me he has decided to keep it until early next month.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is probably so people can see it before it's gone.
PPS - All the dolls are pre-claimed.

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

You are not very big at all

I have something to tell you about War of the Worlds: it's pretty freakin' awesome. To give you an idea, Batman Begins and War of the Worlds are currently tied for the most awesome movie I have seen this year, then a notch below that comes Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. This one will not play the same on DVD unless you have a sound system that can shake the room and a projector of your own, so go out and see it at the cinema.

The sense of barely-controlled panic (and often not controlled at all) and the characters not knowing what's going on comes across very well. Because this is Hollywood, we humans still have to do some damage ourselves, and so we do, but for the most part the humans are running and screaming. As long as you're prepared for an ending from the 1890s and to witness the near destruction of the world from ground-level, see this movie now.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I want an airhorn that sounds like that.
PPS - There are no bloopers at the end of the credits.

Monday, 27 June 2005


Because I'm an introvert, I need time to myself often, and I used to rely on my bus trips for that and any extra sleep I needed. Now I know a few people on the bus, so it's harder to doze or read or just stare. My chances of bumping into someone are close to 95%, I'd say, so even if Jessica, my usual travelling companion, is absent, I'm likely to run into Jayde, Danny or Katrina. I have nothing against any of them, and even enjoy the time. It's just when it stacks up that I can get antsy.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have yet to deliberately read to avoid conversation with Jessica.
PPS - I probably won't do that, either.

Sunday, 26 June 2005

The Sunday Mok - Low-key

Last Sunday I started getting sick. Head cold stuff - coughing, sneezing, blocked nose. Not much fun. I had breakfast at the local Coffee Club with my step-brother-to-be. Other than that, the two church services and sleep.
On Monday I dragged myself to work through the flu and generally felt awful all day. I watched some TV when I got home and then went to bed very early.
By Tuesday I had started taking cold & flu tablets, which made work and sleep easier, but still not exactly pleasant. I had to teach the karate class on Tuesday night, which I managed to do with a student assistant.
On Wednesday I had a review of Homer, the hazard management software I've been writing, and the several improvements suggested are still being worked into it. It would have been good to gather that feedback earlier rather than later.
Thursday, besides a standard day at work, I had to drop off class fees from the Tuesday karate class, then I had a youth group planning meeting. I would have liked to sleep and attempt a recovery from my flu instead.
On Friday at work, I used the lunchtime to try and finally sort out some issues we'd been having with one of the servers. Despite several attempts, I ended up just where I'd started. Low-key party at Erin's in the evening, followed by a discussion about God and life. It was cool, even though it meant missing more sleep.
I caught up on sleep on Saturday, played a bit of City of Heroes, did the house chores, slept some more, watched TV and went to Lachlan's birthday dinner. I expected a few more people to be there.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm still sniffling, coughing and sneezing.
PPS - Most of all I wish I could stop the coughing.

Friday, 24 June 2005


It seems fairly well accepted that Geek is somewhere on the autistic spectrum - about at the point where "neurotypical" shades into "autistic". Asperger theorised that the autistic spectrum stretched from the deeply affected at one end, through "eccentric normality" right up to everyone currently declared to be normal.

It can't be a new idea, but I think it could stretch further than that - out the other end and into a whole new range of diagnoses. At this end of the spectrum I'd expect to find unusually empathic people and those who read body language very easily. It would stretch all the way up to people who intuitively read your subtext and non-verbal cues so well that they appear to be practically psychic.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I am most definitely towards the Geek end.
PPS - I think so-called medium John Edwards is up the other end.

Thursday, 23 June 2005


Part of my personality is that I love patchwork. Things that have been repaired have personality in a way that new things don't. One of the most satisfying forms of repair is to take the broken parts of two objects and make a new whole one out of them. My computer chair at home is a folding metal frame that has been repaired with the padded seat from a similar chair that lost its back. This is Good and Right in my book, since it is now, unmistakeably, My Chair.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Even my water bottle at work is the combined pieces of two other bottles.
PPS - A Sprite bottle and the pop-top from an OJ.

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

The Mighty Servant

There is power to be had in being a servant. Obviously the "come hither and lick my boots clean, thou vile knave" kind of power is reserved for the master side of things, so the servant's power is something else.

The servant has power to eliminate any joy their master may take in the servant's suffering. If a servant gladly goes to shovel horse manure out of a stable, then it's no fun to make them go, especially if your main motivation was to make them go against their will.

The servant has power, over many years, to dissolve the master's ability to take care of himself or herself. If the ability is gone, the desire may soon follow, and then the servant owns the master's life completely.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - You know, this made much more sense late last night.
PPS - I'm not sure where on the Force this kind of power resides - Light or Dark.

Tuesday, 21 June 2005


The way I feel this morning is the reason I usually take only a half dose of cold & flu meds when I'm sick. I've traded the familiar cold symptoms for the following:
- rapid heartbeat
- lightheadedness
- tingling fingers
- slight fever

I'll grant that the last one is probably just a greater awareness of the fever that existed before. For the afternoon dose, I'll go back to my usual single tablet instead of the recommended two. Despite these problems, I feel better now than I did yesterday.

Mokalus of Borg

PS -I'm keeping up with mega-doses of vitamin C.
PPS - I like to refer to vitamin C as ascorbic acid, just for the funny looks people give me.

Monday, 20 June 2005

Ineffectual gawking

There must be a set number of people in a crowd present to "help" that signifies another person can continue on their merry way without stopping. If I see someone who has, say, fallen off their bike, and there are already sixteen or so people standing around, and the situation is very clearly well under control, I don't think I'd be helping too much by stopping to stare.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - How many do you think? Twelve?
PPS - Of course there has to be someone clearly handling the situation.

Sunday, 19 June 2005

The Sunday Mok - A week of Saturdays

Much like a month of Sundays, but shorter and with fewer church services. Last Sunday I sat next to Emma in the morning service, slept in the afternoon and ran the PC in the evening service. I was feeling a bit down.
On Monday I slept in, played City of Heroes, watched a little TV, slept some more in the afternoon and did a little reading. This was the routine for the week off. I started watching my Stargate season 1 DVDs, too.
The one deviation from the holiday routine on Tuesday was karate - the last class I get to attend for four weeks as a student. I have to teach the next four lessons.
On Wednesday I watched the State of Origin game 2 at Erin's with the gang, and nearly had a small black and white cat "follow" me home when it attempted to jump in the car with me.
Thursday's City of Heroes expedition ended up, via a series of unusual events, with me following a level 33 blaster and his sidekick while they killed thugs in Brickstown. This gave me about a third of the experience required to gain my next level. Sweet.
On Friday we took the youth group kids to Laserforce for a bit of blast-your-friends-with-guns fun. There were more of them than I expected.
Saturday, the real one, I filled with movies and games - Jedi Knight II, Batman Begins and Stuck On You. Batman was the better movie.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This Sunday Mok is late due to breakfast and church.
PPS - More the former than the latter.

Friday, 17 June 2005


Because I'm not great at socialising, I rarely hear about any informal social gatherings. The formal ones, with invites and RSVPs are usually no problem. My usual way to deal with an informal gathering that I catch on the wind is to stand around while it's being discussed, generally looking very invitable.

When this fails, I stay home, maliciously not being there just so people will notice and be horrified that they forgot to include me. It doesn't work. This time I want to just turn up anyway - make my own way there and my own way back, maliciously being present in an undeniable way that says "I will include myself even if you try to exclude me". This time, my plan is foiled by external forces. Next time, Gadget. Next time!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Tripod are playing at the Powerhouse.
PPS - The show is closing tomorrow night, and is sold out.

Cosmic ray interference

I went to exchange my Stargate: SG-1 season 2 DVDs today, because episode 7 refused to play both in my set-top player and my PC. To my satisfaction, I had verified that I had a faulty disc. Because I had no receipt (which is very strange - I even still have a receipt for a packet of Tic-Tacs I bought late one night to get change for bus fare) they had to check the disc to make sure I wasn't telling big porky-pies. Guess whether it worked.

The opinion of the store manager was that the players I tried it in are incompatible, because they're too cheap. I really don't want to hear that. I should never have to worry that the DVDs I buy won't work in the DVD player that I buy. That's a given. It's so basic to the concept of home entertainment that it should never even have to be stated in the positive as a guarantee. It's what's supposed to happen, end of story.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So I guess I'll have to invest in a higher-class DVD player.
PPS - If it doesn't work then, expect to read of a Hulk-like rampage through this town.

Thursday, 16 June 2005

Rover brings you your email

Imagine a personal organiser that sat on your shoulder like a parrot and wirelessly communicated with your PC at home via its perch there, with your car and work PC and with other parrots via audio or wireless comms. It can interact with you via voice, so all you need to do is say "Polly, remember this address" and it can, for instance, record GPS coordinates and look up the nearest street address for future reference. We obviously need much more sophisticated AI for this to work, but it could be very interesting. I just like the idea of a world where people carry digital familiars with them everywhere, rather than impersonal PDAs.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Plus this is finally a decent use for those robot dogs.
PPS - As long as they can walk quickly and don't get into fights.

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

Censor me? Censor you!

China has, for a while now, had a policy of censoring internet content at the major data inroads to the country, in order to "protect" the populace from outside propaganda and influences (the internal stuff is okay). What if we started refusing to serve to China? Would the government collapse under the burden of faking external traffic, too? Would the populace rebel, demanding the net services they desire? Would the whole country just collapse into an information dark age, rendering both sides of the face-off irrelevant? I guess there's only one way to find out.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Recently they have demanded that website owners register with them.
PPS - It's unclear whether this edict is meant to extend to the whole world or just China.

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Messing with the routine

That's just the way, isn't it? Sleep in, feed the cat, have breakfast and a shower, check email and web comics, start playing City of Heroes, completely forget to blog. See, I've made it part of my workday routine - arrive at the office, blog, then clock on. Since I'm a routine-oriented person, my memory gets jolted out of position when the routine changes.

Maybe that's why my memory seems to be so good: I don't have to constantly remember those little bits and pieces like whether I've got to go shopping today or whatever. It's all in the routine that my muscles know and my conscious mind can forget, thereby freeing it for important things like The Simpsons.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Also, if you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
PPS - At least, you don't have to remember which lies you told which people.

Monday, 13 June 2005

The greatest thing before sliced bread

Sleeping in is significantly awesome. Since my body is long trained to wake at 06:00, however, this morning's sleep-in had to occur in three stages. I'm fine with that, but the cat expects breakfast rather early. She's quiet about it until you get downstairs with the food, when there's a "gentle" reminder that tomorrow you'd better be an hour earlier.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This week will be one of my favourites in recent memory.
PPS - I'll probably even go back to bed in the afternoon.

Sunday, 12 June 2005

The Sunday Mok - The preacher said "zombie"

Seriously, last Sunday, zombies were a brief topic of discussion in the sermon in the morning church service. It just about made my day. I went to an extra karate class in the afternoon to polish up my kata.
On Monday I had more work to do on a timesheet transfer procedure for one of our clients. I thought I'd finished it on Friday. Bible study in the evening mostly discussed the books of Esther and Jonah. I think the end of Jonah could work well on stage.
There was still more timesheet work to do on Tuesday, or so we thought, but it turned out that the problem was after our part, so then all I had to do was round the corners off and schedule the task automatically.
Wednesday I finally had time to get back to the hazard management and reporting database - "Homer". I put pie and bar charts on the reports because it made it easier to visualise the information. I played City of Heroes for a bit and felt really rotten after dinner.
On Thursday, more work on Homer: sending email notifications. I also applied for a week off work, for the sake of my sanity. I did the grocery shopping and watched television I'd recorded.
By Friday I was really looking forward to the week off. I worked a couple of features into Homer, then spent most of my time trying to copy a current staff database for general use. Since it's coming out of Lotus Notes, that's not as easy as it sounds.
I had a lazy Saturday, sleeping in, playing games, watching just a little TV, then to Bridgit's for a Star Wars "marathon" that ended after Attack of the Clones, so it was more of a sprint.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Today I wore my Zombie Peanut Butter shirt to church.
PPS - And it raised a few comments.

Friday, 10 June 2005

I hate meeces to pieces

There is something inherently wrong with our computers. Specifically, there is something wrong with our interface devices, and my particular gripe is with the mouse. Look at your mouse cursor. Think about it for a minute and tell me if you notice something that limits your interactions.

If you had just a stick with which you could manipulate real-world objects, that would be the equivalent of the mouse outside the screen. You can swish it from place to place or poke things with it. I've got ten fingers, and a lifetime experience using them in subtle ways. Why don't we have an interface that makes use of this? Our reliance on obsolete input peripherals is one of the major hurdles to overcome for a true next-generation computer.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've started philosophising, theorising and dreaming again.
PPS - I usually waver between optimism and despair on the future of PCs.

Thursday, 9 June 2005

Reverse Psychology

Go back in time and ask me a few weeks ago if you could gain cash by putting out an empty container that says "Free money! Please take some". I dare you. A little while ago I dropped five cents in the tray to see how long it would last. It's still there. So is the other five cents I put in a few days later. So, too, is another ten cents that I had nothing to do with. Yes, in just a few short weeks, I have doubled the value of my investment!

Extrapolating from these results (and provided I can find a large enough dish) I should be able to retire early next year and buy three Hawaiian islands if I just leave all my worldly possessions out in the open, free for anyone.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Even though it's my tray, I'd feel bad about taking the ten cents out.
PPS - This will all end in tears. Mark my words.

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

A regular and predictable surprise

I hate alarm clocks. This is normal - I doubt you would find many people in the world who can honestly say "You know what I really like? Alarm clocks." The reason I don't like my alarm clock is that it manages to surprise me every single morning when it goes off. I set it the night before and expect it to go off and wake me up. That's our agreement. Yet, in my half-asleep state when the noise starts up, I always manage to think "What the hell is that?"

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I take longer to emerge from half-asleep as the week goes on.
PPS - I sleep nearly twice as much on weekends, with no alarms.

Tuesday, 7 June 2005


It is simply not possible that I am this late to work and still the first one here. I expect everyone to jump out from secret hiding places at any moment yelling "gotcha!".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Or perhaps "surprise!".
PPS - Stupid busses.

Monday, 6 June 2005

Horde of the Flies

At our house we are currently in the middle of a fly invasion. It seems every time I turn around there's another fly smacking brainlessly into windows and walls, and I know they're different ones because I kill them. I know they're breeding somewhere in the house, but the location of this fly factory is a closely guarded secret that I have not yet been able to determine by interrogating prisoners.

My preferred method of disposal is to capture the fly in a jar, freeze it, then throw it out, which avoids the use of sprays and also the residual mess related to swatting. This method has been rather successful so far, but I've come close to running out of jars once or twice.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I guess it's extra servings of jam on toast for every meal, then.
PPS - I should get a preventative pest sprayer in.

Sunday, 5 June 2005

The Sunday Mok - The present-tense verb form of "bachelor"

Last Sunday evening's service was led by Contagious - five members of the congregation who've been practicing as a band for some time now. It was the first time I'd heard them and I thought they did rather well. We went bowling afterwards and I had an average game followed by a below-average one.
I spent Monday working on workplace health + safety database "Homer" and I'm a bit unhappy with the user interface. I spent the afternoon trying different things and none of them seemed suitable. Bible study in the evening.
On Tuesday evening I just watched TV and transferred some music to my Zen Micro, as well as doing my reading for bible study.
More TV on Wednesday. It's disgusting to spend this much time passively watching something, I know. I also kept working on re-stitching my Jedi robe, just because I feel like I need to finish it.
Thursday at work I pushed ahead on statistical summaries for Homer. In the evening I installed and played a Lego Star Wars demo. I kept missing obvious solutions to problems, but I expect I'd get a handle on the level design eventually.
On Friday I finished off a short-term task to export timesheet details for a specific project. We tend to get these things at the last moment. For better or worse, we often manage to pull it off. Roller skating with the youth group kids in the evening, and I was, naturally, a little unsteady on my feet at times. Dad set off to Russia some time in the afternoon.
Saturday I tried to sleep in and woke at 07:00 out of habit. I wandered down to the shops to pay my credit card bill and pick up some things, then talked to Katie at the book shop for a while. Back home I dozed through Star Wars: A New Hope then watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Okay, so a really boring week for the most part.
PPS - They can't all be winners.

Friday, 3 June 2005

Quote of the week

I'm torn between these two quotes as candidates for Quote of the Week:
"It's a retarded show and you're retarded for watching it."
My brother Ug the Caveman intelligently critiquing my choice of entertainment.
"Does this look like a wall?"
The trainee shelf-stacker at the supermarket asking customers for an opinion of his toilet paper stacking.

So this is human contact, eh?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'll let you vote on which one you think is better.
PPS - Or you can provide your own or just read and leave.

Thursday, 2 June 2005

Pac Manhattan

I can't decide whether this is cool or nuts. These people play Pac-Man. Since that's far too easy in general, they run around the streets of Manhattan in communication via phone with "controllers". Five people on the streets (Pac-Man, Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde) run the maze while five others keep the software side of things updated.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The images on the site aren't working for me here.
PPS - I'll check again at home, I suppose.

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Outbound Links Day

I've been reading Girls Are Pretty for some time now, and I think it's about time I recommended it to other people. I was directed there by Overcompensating and followed the link because "girls are pretty" is a sentiment I feel comfortable in echoing. There's a random story written in the second person every day, and they're often quite odd and entertaining, from those that are delightfully short on detail (Find George And Take Him Out Now) to those that go into quite significant detail (She Likes To Play Tricks On People). Check it out.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It almost makes you feel like you have your own exciting life!
PPS - Happy Girls Are Pretty Day!