Friday, 30 December 2005

Joss Whedon as a wrap-up writer

I have come to a little conclusion regarding Joss Whedon, creator/writer/director of Buffy, Angel and Firefly: he can't write a really good final ending. The wrong characters die in stupid and unpredictable ways, the last part of the last scene is always foreshadowing instead of an ending, and permanent damage is done to the characters in some way. On the plus side, the endings are still dramatic, suspenseful and spectacular.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Joss' endings are probably his way of saying that life goes on.
PPS - And they're different from typical Hollywood tripe. I've got to give him that.

Thursday, 29 December 2005

The Dire Sun Story

In City of Heroes, any individual character can have up to four different costumes. You have to earn them, and they gradually become available at higher levels. Yesterday I made it to level 30 with my main character, Dire Sun, which meant I could get a third costume, as pictured below.

The reason they all look very similar is that I use the costumes as part of telling the character story. The aspect of Dire Sun's story that is told by his costumes is his growing egotism and believing his own hype.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The fourth costume will be mostly bright gold with a glowing aura.
PPS - Nobody said it was a happy story.

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

New, just like yesterday

I'd really like to know what "new information" triggers the little star beside a person's name in MSN Messenger, because I look at the info and am usually struck by the amount of total sameness shining from the contact card. I do notice that there are occasionally different songs listed as currently playing, and very occasionally a new Spaces blog post (but usually not). In either case, something is strangely wrong with that feature.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I feel justified in blaming Microsoft for this one.
PPS - After all, who else was involved in its creation?

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Laser knife

Remember that scene in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where Trillian makes toast with a lightsabre-esque knife? How hot would toast cut by laser-knife stay? It can't be that hot, or it would have been burnt during the cutting. If it was too cold, then the whole exercise would be rather pointless, since the toast would need heating afterwards anyway. This, for some reason, has bothered me for far too long.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I get fixated on details like that sometimes.
PPS - And by "sometimes" I mean "practically always".

Monday, 26 December 2005

Little onions that can swim

Yesterday for Christmas my brother and I received a gift box of various cooking ingredients like simmer sauces, vinegar and a little jar of cocktail onions. I've got nothing against the onions themselves, but I'm afraid I don't know any recipes that involve tiny, tiny onions (except perhaps for an onion cocktail). They may go unused for a little while.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Feel free to point me to creative uses for these floating orbs.
PPS - Preferably cooking-related, but I'm flexible.

Sunday, 25 December 2005

The Sunday Mok - A Very Something Christmas

I had to be at the Uniting Church last Sunday morning so I could be at the Christmas Eve service rehearsal. I believe I have attended Ashgrove Baptist just once in the past month due to obligations at the Uniting Church. After the evening service, several of us played pool and watched Be Cool at Kirsty's.
On Monday I went shopping with Deb. That could easily be a generic description for most of the days of this week. We also watched some Buffy, finishing up season 5.
In the afternoon on Tuesday, I watched more Buffy with Deb. In the evening, Erin, Michelle, René, Stu, Bridgit, Deb and I went to the Mount Coot-tha Lookout for icecream.
Wednesday was shopping again, this time for family gifts. Apparently I bought too many and now it's a "problem" that needs to be solved. It's hard for me to think of generosity as a problem.
I spent Thursday playing City of Heroes and watching old recorded Stargate: Atlantis episodes that I hadn't gotten around to yet. Dinner was at Dad & Beth's with Ug, Deb and David.
My knee started feeling a bit worse on Friday, possibly due to over-use during the week. Deb and I had dinner at a Korean restaurant in the Queen Street Mall, then saw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Saturday, Christmas Eve, I passed the morning on City of Heroes before going to Deb's for lunch. We played a few rounds of Trivial Pursuit DVD, then I went home around dinnertime to eat and take a nap before the late church service. I couldn't sleep, though - it's just too hot.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Last night I slept on the floor of the patio to stay cool.
PPS - Merry Christmas.

Friday, 23 December 2005

Grrr, Argh

I'd love to get a T-shirt featuring the Mutant Enemy Inc. monster logo as featured at the end of the Buffy, Angel and Firefly credits. This is the closest I could find. Much disappointment.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's probably just as well.
PPS - If I had found one, I'd be wearing it often, and constantly saying "Grr, Argh".

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Forbes Email Time Capsule

A while ago, ran an experiment they dubbed the Email Time Capsule. Basically, it was designed to allow you to send yourself (or someone else) a massively time-delayed email. By the time it was delivered (twenty years from now), it would be a message from the past. With that in mind, here are my top five potential (ab)uses for the Forbes Email Time Capsule System:
5. Freaking out relatives with an email from beyond the grave.
4. Driving yourself to insanity by sending a love letter you *think* you won't mind someone reading in five years.
3. Confessing to crimes after the statute of limitations for prosecution has passed.
2. Making one last blog post via a Blogger email address.

And the number one use for the Forbes Email Time Capsule:
1. Clogging up the system with undeliverable mail because who keeps the same email address for twenty years?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Comments on other uses for the system are welcome.
PPS - Unfortunately, the email time capsule is now closed.

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

It's Christmas and I didn't study

Christmas is rushing up this year like a massive train, honking some kind of foghorn, and my only response is to stand terrified in the beam of its one headlight. I have not put up a Christmas tree or sent any cards. I've bought a few gifts, but they're not even wrapped yet. It's just a good thing I'm not working this week, or I'd really be in panic mode.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - As is, I've still got four days left to spread out the panic.
PPS - I thought holidays were supposed to be relaxing.

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

First Corinthians For Dummies

The Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, abridged version:

"Dear Corinthians,
Oh, come on. Grow up.
Love, Paul".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The real thing is here.
PPS - It's called "Corinthians" because it's addressed to residents of Corinth.

Monday, 19 December 2005

Sleeping in rules

...or at least it does when my body allows me to do it. From years of training and habit, I tend to wake up between 06:00 and 07:00 whether I set an alarm or not. "Sleeping in" then becomes "rolling over and dozing for a while longer", but it's still great. From now until early January I've got nothing but sleep-ins and free time. It's gonna be awesome.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Some of my free time is already accounted for.
PPS - I expect to be finished my Buffy DVDs by the time I go back to work.

Sunday, 18 December 2005

The Sunday Mok - Eight Point Four Seconds

Last Sunday was day one of Youthworx 2005, and I did feel a little bit old. Many of the campers had just finished grade 10, and many more were just a few years younger than me. This year, however, I was not the second-oldest there.
Monday, day 2, was when I got just a tiny bit sunburnt - not too serious, though. Not enough to cause pain, at least. I was glad to have David, son of Gwen, in my study group - he was excellent for keeping discussion rolling, even if it did get off course a few times.
Tuesday we headed into Byron for shopping in the morning, then watched Madagascar in the evening back at the campsite. There's not too much to tell about these Youthworx days - they're very relaxing.
On Wednesday evening we had the traditional Youthworx worship service, including a moving testimony from Michelle. I didn't stay long at the after-service bonfire, because I needed a little sleep.
We saw the new King Kong on Thursday. If I can sway your opinion in any way, please do not see this movie. You will never get those three hours back. See the original instead, even if you just laugh at the stop-motion animation.
On Friday morning I hurt my knee on a skimboard. It's tragic indeed, but I think I'll get over it. We came home to rain, then disc 2 of Buffy season 5, which includes one of my favourite episodes, Fool For Love, all about Spike.
Saturday was once again a normal Saturday apart from the doctor's appointment in the morning. Buffy in the afternoon, and a freak hailstorm that lasted only about five minutes, but knocked out the power for four hours.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm writing this from church before we start rehearsal.
PPS - That would be much harder if I were singing rather than on the PC.

Saturday, 17 December 2005

I have returned

I got back from camp last night, so we'll be back to a regular schedule starting tomorrow. Just thought I'd let you know.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The only souvenir I brought back with me was a twisted knee.
PPS - I probably won't go skimboarding again anytime soon.

Sunday, 11 December 2005

Blogging suspended for a week

This is where you would usually see my Sunday Mok post for the week, but right now I'm off to Ballina on the Youthworx church camp. Should be good, but it does mean I'll be away from the internet for a full week, so I won't be able to post here until Saturday.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Wish me luck.
PPS - Sometimes my net withdrawal symptoms are quite pronounced.

Friday, 9 December 2005

Comment in Moderation

Blogger, I see, has enabled a comment moderation feature whereby bloggers can approve or reject comments before they appear on their posts. This is, in my opinion, a better comment spam reduction method than CAPTCHA images, because CAPTCHA completely rules out blind users and gives trouble to low-vision and low-literacy users - it's a more accessible solution for them.

Of course, the flipside is that the comment moderator needs to deal with a larger volume of information, and we all have plenty of data right now. I'm sure Bayesian filters could be applied to suggest spam-vs-not-spam test results, or some other method. Personally I moderate comments by the following procedure:
- Receive the comment via email.
- Decide if it's spam. If so, proceed. Otherwise just archive the email.
- Go to the offending comment and delete it from Blogger permanently.
- Disallow further comments on the affected post.

The last step is because the spambots keep keyword-searching (apparently) and keep finding the same blog posts over and over. Disallowing further comments prevents them from spamming that particular post.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Another downside of moderation is interference with the "liveness" of blog comments.
PPS - Since moderated comments could take ages to show up at all.

Thursday, 8 December 2005

Electron, shmelectron

If we had discovered matter and antimatter at the same time, our world could have been filled with positrons and negatrons. Sigh.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We could always rename them now, I guess.
PPS - But that would take more effort than I'm prepared to put in.

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

English Blood

My usual explanation for why I fare so poorly in Summer is that I have what I call "English blood". It's also why I can cause snow blindness with the glare off my skin. My English blood means my internal furnace burns hotter than usual, to face the cold Winter weather with no problems. In Brisbane, this means I am quite comfortable for two weeks of the year. Around our Summer Christmas, however, I sweat so profusely that I could grow rice. It's not pleasant. So, whenever I say I have English blood, that's usually what I mean.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - No offense meant to any English people reading this.
PPS - Or residents of England who, apparently, are never coming home.

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Magical Mystery Tour

This morning, it seems part of one road was blocked off to our bus, so we were detoured. This wouldn't have been such a big deal if there hadn't been a bus stop missed by the detour. Our dutiful driver decided that he would not miss his stops, naturally enough, so we spent about ten minutes searching the back streets for a way around the blockade to the scheduled stop. At one point we were headed back home, and nobody cheered when we made it back onto the scheduled route.

Fortunately, running non-air-conditioned busses at this time of year is forbidden by the Geneva Convention, so we weren't too uncomfortable during the ordeal.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I say "ordeal", but it was really more like taking a scenic route.
PPS - Except there was no scenery.

Monday, 5 December 2005

"Home" again

I'm back at my desk in the usual office this week, and I've been greeted by a few things:
- A new graduate sitting at my desk in my absence. Apparently there was a little communication breakdown about when I would be returning.
- A broken monitor. It worked for about a minute, then died.
- A complete lack of ready-to-go blog posts. I planned to just pick one from the archive, but none have inspired me this morning.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - On the plus side, my monitor was replaced with a bigger one.
PPS - I was going to make a Viagra joke there, but decided against it.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

The Sunday Mok - Building a salad

I finished up the Disciple retreat weekend last Sunday, then went to Deb's and watched three episodes of Buffy. In the evening service, I ran the computer and helped with a skit.
Starting Monday, work was fairly quiet. I've been handling the bugs that pop up at the rate of about one per day recently, and they're small. Dinner was pasta at Deb's, with Ug and Dan, while watching Mythbusters.
Karate on Tuesday felt tough at the time, but was apparently not too bad, since I felt okay the next day.
On Wednesday I met Ug in the city around lunchtime to help handle some banking business. In the evening, I watched more Buffy at Deb's.
Thursday night I did what I should have done on Wednesday - call a few of the youth group boys to ask them (again) if they were coming on the Youthworx end-of-year camp. I think it was about Thursday that I started to feel stressed.
Friday at work involved cleaning up my PC and making sure everything was backed up and handed over. When I got home, however, I remembered that I still had my building security card, so I'll have to send it back now.
On Saturday I went Christmas shopping with Deb, and I also experienced my first of Harry Potter anything - the Goblet of Fire movie.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not quite impressed enough to go and read the books.
PPS - Maybe if I run out of other things to read.

Friday, 2 December 2005

Lumps of coal in the Sony stocking

Much as I hate the abbreviation "Xmas", I'm getting on board with this:
No Christmas for Sony

Sony have been very naughty this year, and the plan is to boycott all Sony products (hardware, music, games and, yes, Playstations too) for gifts this Christmas. You don't need Sony, and you certainly don't need to be treated like a criminal by them after paying for their products. Show them who's got the money around here and keep it in your wallet.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Meme via Boing Boing.
PPS - Blogger troubles may have delayed this post.


I started a fire last night, with my mind. Actually, I set a saucepan plus oil on the stove and walked away for a few minutes, so technically I started it with the absence of my mind. I have learned some things from this experience:

1. Once burned, a saucepan is never the same again.
2. I'm a difficult person to console. Hugs, kind words and an understanding attitude all make it worse.
3. The best evidence that you have been near lots of smoke is inside your nose.
4. Our smoke detector works.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Casualties of the fire: the good looks of one saucepan.
PPS - Plus a bit of pride.

Thursday, 1 December 2005

Spacing Out

Yesterday I finished reading a book Amazon recommended to me: Spaceland. Strange stuff, of course, being about spatial dimensions higher than our own, and full of four-dimensional creatures whose look can hardly be described, because you and I have three-dimensional brains and experiences. They are described, however, and this is done primarily through the introduction of words for directions along a fourth spatial axis.

Today I started reading Flatterland, and, fortunately for me, it looks like I have read them in the correct order. Flatterland is, I am led to believe from the opening chapters, going to deal with much more esoteric concepts than continuous spaces of whole dimensions.

I suppose I could have learned this from textbooks about higher mathematics, but, generally speaking, that's not something I can read on the bus. Besides which, they have a tendency to be somewhat unreal, non-grounded and abstract in their explanations. I'm after more of a philosophical text - I'm a mathematical consumer these days, rather than a mathematical scholar.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So, I guess I'm off to the four-and-a-halfth dimension.
PPS - Don't even ask me what that means yet.