Sunday, 31 July 2005

The Sunday Mok - If it wasn't me, I'd be sick

Last Sunday afternoon I had coffee (well, I had hot chocolate) with Debbie who, because she'd been asleep, showed up about forty minutes late. I sang in the evening church service, then we went bowling where I had one shocking game and one that was just below-average. I blame the ill-fitting shoes.
Monday at work was all bug-hunting and documentation. Looking back over the work I've done in the past couple of years, I definitely see an upward trend in quality, which makes me happy.
On Tuesday at work, I fixed more bugs in our performance appraisal database software. That one's a bit tricky at times. Karate in the evening was okay rather than great.
On Wednesday night at FISH Michelle asked me to describe job satisfaction in programming. The way it sounded coming out of my mouth was as if I was describing art. It sounded strange, even to me.
On Thursday, the HR department discovered another bug in the performance appraisals database. Unfortunately, even after I fixed it, it means they have to check all four hundred records to make sure they're correct. I hate when stuff like that happens. I watched The Life Aquatic and Garden State with Debbie.
Friday our OHS manager took a look at the user guide for Homer, the safety management software I wrote for him. He quickly recommended some changes that kept me busy until the afternoon. In the evening, we had just seven kids at youth group.
Saturday I had a rehearsal in the morning, prayer meeting at noon, a not-very-exciting shopping trip, then a late lunch followed by television in the evening. As soon as I got sick of TV and tired enough to sleep, I went to bed.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've just seen on the Video Ezy website that Firefly has doubled in price since I ordered it.
PPS - I wonder if they'll charge me the price when I ordered or when it arrives in stock.

Friday, 29 July 2005

I am made of poison

If you want to get a hoodie like mine that says "I am made of poison", you'd better order now. They're being discontinued next week (5th August).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Hopefully it will be replaced by something even better.
PPS - Zombie Peanut Butter is still available from

Push me, pull me

Push and Pull labels, as they currently exist in the new doors downstairs in our office, should never have to exist. We spend our whole lives using doors, pushing and pulling, turning doorknobs and using keys. We should not need to read instructions - any instructions - to open a door, even if those instructions are one word long.

A door that should be pushed should have a plate at the point where I should push. A door that needs to be pulled should have a vertical handle. That's it. If you find you need to put a sign on a door that tells people how to use it, you have failed in your chosen profession of Door Designer, and you need to go back immediately to Door Designer school to take your tests again.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Brisbane Institute of Door Design second semester enrolments close on Tuesday.
PPS - As I understand, their courses are quite comprehensive.

Thursday, 28 July 2005

Harry Potter vs the zombies

I have, as yet, not entertained myself with Harry Potter anything. No books, no movies, no conversations of note. It's some kind of subconscious desire to stand out from the crowd. That's half of the reason my MP3 player is not an iPod. Now Erin tells me there are zombies in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. My ability to resist this franchise may be failing.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Of course, if I'm reading for zombies and not Harry, that hardly counts, does it?
PPS - And Harry wouldn't get eaten by them, I'm sure.

"You sicken me"

Today, just for a change, walk up to a complete stranger, look them square in the eye, wait for just a second, then say in a disgusted tone: "you sicken me". Walk off. Don't look back.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is probably a Girls Are Pretty-inspired post.
PPS - It's hard to tell sometimes.

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Podcast TV = Future

Podcast audio is clearly RadioNow as far as those crazy Inter Nets are concerned, and I doubt it will be long before we get (a) pay subscription feeds and (b) public-access "television" via podcast-esque technology. The main hurdle is that most people don't have the equipment to make high enough quality video that we'd care about. Until some non-advertisement television network latches on to the idea, we'll be stuck with rubbish like FungusChat or WatchMeVacuum.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It hurts to keep my eyes open this morning.
PPS - I was up later than usual, that's all.

Tuesday, 26 July 2005

Zombie Infection Simulation

Given enough time, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. This zombie infection simulation is just little dots moving on the screen, but it's still interesting. The only way anyone survives forever is if they happen to be walled off completely. Zombies, simply by being attracted to movement, tend to clump together. The simulation is supposed to include panic, too.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - To me, it just looks like everyone's panicked all the time.
PPS - Except the zombies.

Monday, 25 July 2005

Paging Dr Doom

Lights in the office are going a bit nuts right now - flicking off for a second with a worrying hum. It's times like this I run down a mental list making sure I haven't royally ticked off any supervillains recently. I think I'm in the clear, but just to be sure, I'd better make a few phone calls.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There sure are a lot of supervillain-doctors.
PPS - Maybe comic book writers have issues with the healing classes.

They're my favourites

My current favourite three Green Day songs, in no particular order:

Misery from Warning
I like the odd beat. Somehow it just grabbed me from the get-go.
Minority also from Warning
Probably the first thing that drew me to this song was the video, with the gothic cheerleaders. Also some brilliant lyrics. There's so much being said in "blinded by the silence of a thousand broken hearts". I just love it.
St. Jimmy from American Idiot
All energy and talking rubbish. Spectacular.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not sure I've heard all of Warning on rotation in my MP3 player yet.
PPS - Probably not.

Sunday, 24 July 2005

The Sunday Mok - Flame On

Last Sunday we stayed for lunch after church and I spoke to a few people on such a superficial level that I have to conclude that I have only acquaintances there, not friends. Sleep in the afternoon, then the second Contagious-led service in the evening.
On Monday, I was supposed to run some tests on Homer, our safety management software, but I ran into some problems that took a while to fix. I had to send the test participants away for a while. It didn't look good or instill confidence.
Tuesday was my family birthday dinner, and we had planned to go to a Chinese restaurant I noticed at Arana Hills, but they're closed on Tuesdays. We went across the street to a deserted Chinese place instead, which was quite nice.
By Wednesday I had finished off Homer to my satisfaction and just amused myself for the afternoon on projects semi-related to work. FISH in the evening was, I believe, the first actual study meeting of that group that I've been to.
Thursday at work was mostly taken up with a long presentation from industrial network and computer equipment manufacturer Honeywell. I'm not linking to their website because it tried to open a pop-up. I had dinner with Sam, Mia and Debbie, then a youth group meeting, all before I got home from work, so it felt like a really long day.
Friday we saw Fantastic Four. It didn't strike me as a brilliant movie at the time, just good. I think my issue is that only The Thing had any character development to speak of.
On Saturday I went to the office to fix a server. I'm glad to have it done now, especially since it was my fault it went funny in the first place. Sleep in the afternoon, then Kym's 24th in the evening. I spent most of the party playing pool or listening to conversations. I had fun.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - After I said goodbye, I had to return for my cooler.
PPS - I really have had a good week.

Friday, 22 July 2005

A trap for young players

No matter what you do, no matter how late it is and how careful you know you'll be, it is always a bad idea to try to read by the glow of your lightsabre.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Just don't say I didn't warn you.
PPS - This has been a Mokalus public service announcement.

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Wide aperture, short exposure

Welcome to Jowlers, that place on the net that shows you the kind of funny faces you can only pull for a microsecond. Shake your head really fast and have someone take a picture. Send it in, maybe make people laugh. Your day is exactly as exciting as this.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Link via Apropos of Something.
PPS - I don't know how I feel about this yet. Gimme a few minutes.

Wednesday, 20 July 2005


It's probably because clock radio manufacturers don't want to insult us that the big button is labelled "snooze" rather than "lazy" or "slacker". Of course people wouldn't buy such a product given the choice between that and "snooze", but what if they all said "lazy"? I'm betting it still wouldn't be long before someone decided that they could sell more by telling people that they're not lazy, just snoozing.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In case you can't tell, I could have used another hour of sleep last night.
PPS - And the previous night. And probably tonight.

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

The Horrors of Necromancy

Guild Wars, a game which has recently joined Ug the Caveman's rotation, appears to be strange at times. While watching him play last night, I had a conversation that went approximately as follows:
Me: "Those things are kind of ugly."
Ug: "And he makes them into even uglier things."
Me: "At least they die face-down. And now they appear to be walking ribcages."
Ug: "With two tails. I don't know what it is they're firing."
Me: "I think they're vortices of pure pain."
Ug: "I think they're just arrows."

He continues to quest around, raising the skeletons of the dead to do his bidding. Which mostly consists of killing other things to make into skeleton minions. Exactly what this all achieves is perhaps a question best left unanswered.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There is more about spreading disease, too.
PPS - For those tuning in late, Ug is my brother.

Monday, 18 July 2005

Multiple Choice

The bus drops you off in the middle of an active construction site. There are signs on the footpath warning you to "use other footpath". You:
a) Cross the busy road in peak-hour traffic.
b) Walk outside the traffic cones into oncoming vehicles.
c) Walk through the construction site, potentially getting injured by heavy machinery and being abused by construction workers for ignoring the signs.

I chose (c).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I suppose I could have stayed on the bus for one more stop.
PPS - That would just have meant a longer walk to the office.

Sunday, 17 July 2005

The Sunday Mok - Birthday Week

Last Sunday was the conclusion of my 26th year on your planet. The day itself was an ordinary Sunday: two church services and some sleep. I got to be in a skit in the evening service, playing the "body" half of a "body/brain duo" - action and emotion contrasted with thinking and logic. It was fun.
I spent all of Monday at work on A+, the performance appraisals database in use by our HR manager. It has fairly recently had an import of a few thousand employee records, which made it much harder to use, so I had to set up some sensible defaults for all the selection lists.
By Tuesday I was finished on A+ and started back on Homer, the safety management software. Just bug-hunting, really. I also taught my final karate class in this month-long stint as a substitute instructor.
On Wednesday I automated the tests we ran on Homer last week. Now I can complete in ten seconds by myself what took three people an hour and a half last Thursday. Dinner with the FISH group, and a round of Articulate, where the geeks had to split up onto different teams. We have access to a shared language incomprehensible to the rest, see?
Thursday I started writing documentation and online help for Homer. This is definitely not my favourite thing. It's under-stimulating work, but I know it's got to be done. Had lunch with Brant, Adrian and Brad at Jackpot Noodles, which was cool.
More online help writing on Friday, then youth group in the evening where we planned upcoming fundraising events and played dodgeball. Afterwards I dropped in to Julie & Rory's for Julie's birthday and stayed until about 01:00.
On Saturday, I went shopping, mostly for Erin's present, but I also got a new shirt, a couple of DVDs and a board game called ZOMBIES!!!. The exclamation marks are part of the name, not part of my excitement, though that is considerable. Now all I need are some friends to play it with. Erin's party in the evening where, unfortunately, many people could only stay a little while.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - As far as I know right now, everyone's birthday is in July.
PPS - As near as I can figure, I think that makes us all Hallowe'en conceptions.

Friday, 15 July 2005

Why I can't cut my hair

It's not even as if I like having long hair. It's a pain to take care of, and usually I wake up in the morning and recoil in horror from the beast in the mirror. I wonder if I should cut my hair off. Then I remember the main reason I keep my hair long: people sometimes call me by the name of a friend, "Murrae".

It's an accident. I'll grant that Murrae and I are similar personalities. At times, we even look very slightly alike - except for the glasses, height, eye colour, hair colour, hair length and beard. These last two are what I have control over, so I keep them different to Murrae as much as I can. As long as people keep accidentally calling me Murrae, I keep my hair long and my face relatively clean-shaven. It's not a choice. It's a necessity.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Only a few people claim to like my hair long.
PPS - I am often not one of them.

Thursday, 14 July 2005

Force Theology

Most of my Force-derived dichotomies come from the following understanding: there are often two ways to approach a situation, and one will mean big points now at the expense of future potential, while the other will take longer and accumulate far more worth over its lifetime than a quick score can ever provide. A big flame burst versus a long, constant, warming glow. This understanding, plus the patience to carry you through and a safe place to grow and learn are all you need to start down the Light Path, my young Padawan.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - From certain angles, The Force is real.
PPS - But I can't move anything with my mind.

Wednesday, 13 July 2005


Making conversation this morning, I asked Jessica:
"Why do you think people hang dreamcatchers from their rear-view mirrors? Do they plan on doing much sleeping at the wheel?"
To which she replied:
"People hang fuzzy dice from their mirrors, too."
"But a dreamcatcher is a charm with a specific purpose."
"Dice have a purpose."
"Not the fuzzy ones."
There we kind of dropped the subject, but I kept wondering what my point was in the first place. If the comparison between fuzzy dice and dreamcatchers is valid, why do I find the first just tacky and the second actually idiotic? The best reason I can come up with is that I don't think these people know what a dreamcatcher is at all. (Actually, I'm probably about as far from the true understanding as they are from mine).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So the point is that I think I started on a proto-rant without having a clearly articulated argument to make.
PPS - I should have planned ahead.

Tuesday, 12 July 2005

That's not cool, Microsoft!

MSN Messenger will, by design, open Hotmail and links to MS Spaces in Internet Explorer, but respects the "Default Browser" setting for other links (Default Browser, Mail, Messaging and Java settings were introduced in Windows XP Service Pack 2, and are user-settable).

When it's only called the Default browser, I guess that would be okay, but I specifically un-ticked the box that says "Allow access to this program" beside Internet Explorer. That should mean that my whole system acts just as if Internet Explorer does not exist at all. A link that specifically attempts to open in IE should be redirected to the correct browser, but Messenger stomps all over this setting.

I'd even be willing to put up with that except for one final insult: Messenger changes the Default Browser setting when I open Hotmail or a Spaces link, deliberately voiding my valid choice of what to do with my system and how it should work.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'll probably use an alternate messaging client.
PPS - Then I'll probably lose access to the contact cards that tell me when a friend has opened up their own Spaces site.

Monday, 11 July 2005

Let Them Eat Cake

In every extended family or friend group there's a month or two that are unusually heavy on the birthdays. For me, that's July. Besides me, it includes Erin, Kym, Julie and my Dad. I've already had one cake - a lightsabre baked by Bridgit - and now I've brought a (non-lightsabre) cake to work, too. I signed on to do supper for Bible study tonight, too, just so I could bring another cake there. In a few weeks, just the mention of the word "cake" should be enough to make me gag.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is not counting anyone else's birthday that might crop up at work.
PPS - And I'm not even hungry.

Sunday, 10 July 2005

The Sunday Mok - Build-up to a Birthday

Last Sunday was standard as Sundays go: two church services plus City of Heroes. I realised I had one week to pull together any kind of birthday celebration and wondered what to do. That's actually about as far as I got.
Monday at work was all documentation, which went really slowly and did not interest me enough. Conversation with Jessica on the bus in the morning and afternoon has dried up, simply because there's not much more small talk to dwell on.
On Tuesday I was basically convinced that I'd finished with documenting Homer, the safety management application. I did some coding for a while to keep my interest up, too.
By Wednesday I was finished with my little side-project and started on a timeline visualiser for Homer that makes the current state and past events much clearer to users. It won't make it into the first release, though. I watched the disappointing State of Origin decider at Erin's, punctuated by bits of Coyote Ugly.
Thursday was a bit different at work, so I had fun. I was running tests on Homer in the morning, then bug-hunting in the afternoon, based on what I found out in the tests. I think it felt good mostly because I had something definite to do.
Friday I finished off the small bugs in Homer and started on the new features. In the evening, we took the youth group kids to play beach volleyball, and I was pleased to see that Debbie had arrived back from the US unexpectedly.
I spent Saturday morning watching The Simpsons, then played City of Heroes for a while. Dad and I went to look for a bookshelf for me, and found nothing suitable, then I went to see Bewitched with the gang. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, just because Nicole Kidman's character was so naively cute.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I want to find someone that cute.
PPS - Today I turn 26 years old.

Friday, 8 July 2005

Goth Zombies crash LARP event

The photos.
Things I did not know about the undead:
1. They smoke cigarettes.
2. They wear cowboy hats.
3. They eat at McDonald's (the McBRAINS is to die for).

Had I known about it in time and lived on the right part of the globe, I would definitely have been in on this. For those of you that don't bother or can't look at the photos, someone sent out a call for a crowd of people to dress up like zombies and attack a regular LARP meeting. The zombie horde was, apparently, pleased with the ensuing hilarity.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - LARP = "Live Action Role Playing".
PPS - That is, nerds getting fresh air and hitting each other with styrofoam.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

The Origin Of Painful Defeat

Last night was an atrocious game of football. I only watch the State of Origin matches plus the AFL grand final (sometimes) so it's a bit disappointing for one of the four games I watch in the year to be such a solid routing as Queensland got last night. The one plus is that we scored a few points at the end, avoiding the total humiliation of a nil-score game and the subsequent traditional lap of the field with shorts around the ankles. I am aware, however, that certain girls present last night at Erin's would not have considered that last part a bad thing.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Laura's announcement of changing sides halfway through the game did not go down well.
PPS - We win together, we lose together. That's the rule.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

The argument for downloading television programs

The mental argument in favour of downloading television programs draws the following parallel: if I watch on my television, I pay for electricity. I pay in watching time and am blind to the ads thanks to years of internet use. The program "downloads" to my television via an antenna which picks up signals that are beamed through the air at no cost to me.
If I watch on my computer, I pay for electricity. I pay in watching time and see no ads. The program downloads to my computer via a wire which connects me to signals that are bounced around the world at no cost to me.

The one difference between the two is this: in Australia I can see new episodes of my shows from the US a full six months ahead of the Australian broadcast schedule.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is why television distributors are fighting a losing battle.
PPS - They need to re-think the whole situation.

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Never-ending fall

Ever wonder what a rag doll might look like if it could fall forever through an infinite field of spheres? Wonder no more. Link via BoingBoing.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The internet was made for things like this.
PPS - Regardless of the original intent.

Monday, 4 July 2005

Takin' It Easy

As I walked past the neighbours' house this morning, I distinctly heard the resident teenage boy angrily yell the following at his mother:
Mum, I can't help it if I'm lazy!
Yeah, good luck with that one, Junior. As soon as you prove laziness is an unalterable psychological trait rather than a choice, there's a Nobel Prize waiting for you.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Probably two: literature and psychology.
PPS - Teenage boys say the darnedest things.

Sunday, 3 July 2005

The Sunday Mok - Papa Smurf Returns Home

Last Sunday it suddenly dawned on me that, after the wedding I'll have four mour birthdays and an anniversary to remember each year. Now I may actually need to use a calendar.
On Monday I felt like Homer, our Workplace Health & Safety software, was about ready for initial testing by people other than me. Also, as the result of a last-minute decision, I saw War of the Worlds, which I thoroughly recommend. It is a bit scary, if you get scared by movies.
By Tuesday I seemed to be mostly over the cold I'd been struggling with for just over a week. Also, Dad returned home from Russia with The Beard and a large collection of authentic Russian matryoshka dolls.
I spent my Wednesday at work on documentation for Homer, and it felt slow and unproductive, probably just because I wasn't coding. I also went to FISH where we watched Mountain of Fire about the search for the true Mt Sinai. Interesting.
I spent most of Thursday hacking together a command-line tool to compare a database to the script that is meant to create it. It's useful for pointing out any changes that were made after the initial script creation. It felt better than documentation.
On Friday I had the rare experience of riding to and from work on the bus alone. It actually felt rather good, mostly because making conversation is sometimes painful, and sitting in silence trying to think of something to say is worse. So I was reading and listening to music on my Zen Micro. I also received - much quicker than I had anticipated - the Thermaltake speakers I ordered. It took about an hour to get them installed and working, and only fifteen minutes of that was the actual inserting and connecting part. The rest was re-enabling sound in my suddenly and mysteriously silent PC.
On Saturday, I felt really good. Unusually good, even. I think this was due to finally being well again, coupled with some good recharging alone time, plus the feeling of accomplishment from getting the speakers working. I went bowling after lunch and spent the rest of the day just playing games. A good day.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is possibly a record number of outbound links from one post.
PPS - And the first time I've included a picture in a Sunday Mok.

Friday, 1 July 2005

Today's Force Lesson

You can build an empire based on fear, and this is from the Dark Side. Your empire will likely grow quickly to a maximum size that is based on the actual amount of destructive power you wield. Your empire's growth will slow when you have intimidated all the people within your reach, because more growth means intimidating more people, which becomes harder as time goes on.

You can also build an empire based on love or trust, which is from the Light Side. These empires grow more slowly, but expand to a much larger size, because your subjects will voluntarily spread the love on your behalf, reaching areas you would otherwise miss. This kind of empire will also last longer than a fear-based empire, since it is less likely to tear itself apart due to internal dissent.

The problems occur when a young Dark Side empire meets a young Light Side empire and crushes it out of spite.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The Force is not real.
PPS - It is, however, a very useful dichotomy framework for explaining certain things.