Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sir Rhapsodie Likes Her Sleep

After Cthu1hu kept raving about it, I created account on the dinky little web-based game called Cities. I called my character Rhapsodie.

She’s now Sir Rhapsodie (I got knighted), an initiate of the four elemental temples. Her other achievements are that she can swim and do first aid. :P

I think I’ve come unstuck though. I started doing a quest called Time and Space, which gives you the ability to know where you are so you can later do other quests without getting hopelessly lost. Cthu1hu assures me it’s a good thing to do.

The problem is that it requires you to find these four little shrine thingies and worship at a thematically appropriate time of day. And because the game times are British, the “night shrine” (the only one I’ve found so far) requires me to click on a button between 5 and 6 am Canberra time! :O

I only know such a time even exists from vague childhood recollections (I almost wrote “relocations”, haha – but also true) of long car trips at Christmas to see the grandparents. And I subscribe to the theory that morning only exists to keep night and afternoon from bumping into one another.

So it doesn’t look good for poor Sir Rhapsodie at this stage.

Unless… M. and I have next week off work. Maybe I can push through to 5am playing WoW one day! :D

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sarah vs Hermione - battle of the wax

I finally managed to get a copy of Labyrinth last weekend (third time lucky, eh?) and watched it on Sunday. I’d also watched the fourth Harry Potter movie earlier in the weekend, and something really struck me about Labyrinth in comparison to Harry Potter and most other movies these days.

No, I am not talking about the tights on David Bowie … who had to have gone the stocking stuffer; talk about an eye-catching bulge, almost literally in the case of poor Hoggle!

I am also not talking about the hairstyle on David Bowie; it was big and presumably required gallons of hairspray (even if it was a wig), but hey, he’s a goblin king and I can accept the weird hair.

And I am not talking about the special effects. The obvious uses of blue screen are forgivable given the age of the movie.

What I am talking about is eyebrows.

Sarah, played by Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth, is gorgeous. When I was a teenager I wanted to be her – I thought she was a million times cooler than me, and absolutely adorable. (Plus I went through a brief phase of thinking the goblin king was a bit of alright, which shows I was a victim of 80s fashion, same as everyone else.)

I never noticed at the time that she had anything unusual about her eyebrows. But now it seems really obvious.

Here are two pictures; you'll see what I mean (intentional obscure quote of the worm in Labyrinth):

The first is Sarah. The second is Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), looking just as lovely, and about the same age. I wanted to pick a girl the same age and from the same genre of movie, to make the comparison as legitimate as possible...

Sarah's are clearly more natural eyebrows. Hermione's are much more ... cultivated? Waxed or plucked - it doesn't really matter.

Given how eyebrow fashions have changed, it shouldn't come as a great surprise. But (like all fashions I suppose) I didn’t really notice it changing.

I did briefly experiment with eyebrow waxing a few years ago - I had it done about twice. But it hurt, I am a wuss, and the raw lobster look after you get it done that takes a while to fade wasn't for me.

Makes me feel a bit sorry for young actors like Emma Watson. Of course, given how much money she must be making, I suppose I shouldn't feel too sorry!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

World of Warcraft wallpaper

Haha, I am such a geek! I made myself a wallpaper of all of my World of Warcraft toons. :)

World of Warcraft toons

(If you click on the image it'll bring up the submission in my dA scraps gallery, which you can full view to see a larger image.)

All of the clothes they are wearing with the exception of the lass on the far right are accurate to what the characters have right now. From left to right...

Back Row:
Druslia, succubus pet of Rhapsodie - she's the skankiest looking one
Rhapsodie, warlock - wearing the black dress
Swiftspring, druid (and main toon) - the lass on the frostsabre wearing a plant on her shoulders
Evelyne, hunter (main alt) - the lass with the gun
Brindabella, mage - wearing red (she is very low level so her real clothes are hideous)

Front Row:
Cynamonn, warrior - the gnome with the axes and Princess Leia haircut
Bagginses, bank alt - he's my only male toon, the one I use to hold stuff for the others
Ra, lion - pet of Evelyne

Yes, they are all Alliance (no Horde there), and with the exception of poor Bagginses (who is wearing a dress) and Ra (who barely counts), they are all women. I've never had an inclination to play a male character.

The characters were all rendered using the Wow Model Viewer and all of the post work was done in Photoshop (of course)!

Talk Like a Pirate, Ye Scurvy Dogs


Once again, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, which I blogged about last year.

Last year I linked the pirate translator, so this year for something different I will instead post the words to "A Children’s Pirate Shanty" by Mark "Cap’n Slappy" Summers, to be sung to the tune of "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm ok".

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

Yo Ho, my friends I have a tale
of treasure, plunder, sea and sail
my story's bigger than a whale
it gets so deep, ye'll have to bail.

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

I like to fish, I like to fight
I like to stay up half the night
When I say "starboard" ye go right!
Me ma, she says, "Ye look a fright!"

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

I've got no hand but that's me hook!
I pillage stuff but I'm no crook.
Me booty's in this chest I took.
They'll write about me in a book!

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

And that's all there is to this song.
I hope it hasn't been too long.
A pirate's life might just be wrong
So grow up nice and big and strong!

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

Also, there’s a Pirate vs Ninja battle going on here - it’s where the adorable pirate piccie comes from.

Go and cast your vote!

Weekend Shopping

I went shopping on the weekend after discovering that my 5½ year old lawnmower had bitten the dust and gone to the big toolshed in the sky. After Mikey waxed lyrical about it, M. and I considered and finally bought an electric lawnmower called the Enviromower. We went to Bunnings planning to ask advice from the staff there on what to get (I was concerned about how long the battery would hold a charge), and when we arrived the salesman was talking to an elderly couple about that exact topic. By the time he was done with them we’d pretty much made up our minds!

So I used it on Sunday to mow the lawn for the first time in ages, and I liked how lightweight and easy to start it was. How it goes in the long run remains to be seen.

I also got the first DVD of season two of Creature Comforts, an adorable British claymation (is that the term?) series where they have interviewed people on the street and then animated the interviews as animals. Clever, funny and cute – watched it yesterday while I was home sick (and half-stoned on painkillers) and it made me giggle.

I also tried to buy the Labyrinth DVD but there was some sort of conspiracy going on. Both Ezy DVD and JB Hifi swore they had copies in stock, but couldn’t find them. At least JB had only misplaced one copy – Ezy DVD had lost 20. Sheesh!

Friday, September 15, 2006

New Template

I just changed my template for my blog. I never really liked the old one because the text didn’t resize to the size of the window if it was bigger – too much empty space.

I will give this new one a whirl and see how it goes. I actually like the one that Mikey is using on his, but I didn’t want to look like I was copying him! :O

My Favourite Joke

When I was a kid my parents bought me a book of jokes that had such pearlers in it as:

Q. Why is it a bad idea to share secrets on a farm?
A. Because the corn has ears, the potatos have eyes, and the beanstalk.

(It took me a while to get that one.)

I remember terrorising my parents by reading the jokes over and over and expecting them to laugh.

Anyway, my favourite joke of all time, which I've liked since I was about that age, didn't come from that book (not even sure why I mentioned it!), is the following:

Q. What is green and sits in the corner?
A. A naughty frog.


Cmon! How can you not love that joke?!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmm...

I don’t know if it’s something about being a geek and hanging out with geeks (roleplaying clubs, etc), but it occurred to me today again, as it has in the past, that I associate with some fairly unusual types of people – at least as far as societal norms go.

The reason I thought of it is that in the past month or so a work colleague has decided that he wants to be a she. After a bit of time off, she’s started coming into work in women’s clothes. My other colleagues here got very excitable today (imagine giggling schoolgirl reaction laced with embarrassment) when I told them after a phone call that the new-she (pardon the expression) was going to come over to our area to ask a question of one of them.

I am a bit blasé about the whole thing. This is the fourth ex-guy that I now know or at least know of, either via work or via said geek connections. I also know quite a large number of gay people (almost all via the geek connection – I am sure there are some around work but they haven’t announced it to the world if they are. Nor should they have to because it shouldn’t be relevant). I do remember, when I was a teenager, having a crush on a guy who turned out later to be gay. Fortunately by the time I found out he was gay, I didn’t have a crush on him anymore, or I might’ve been a bit upset about the whole thing.

Anyway, I admire the tremendous courage of men who decide that they should’ve been born a woman, as well as people who admit publicly that they are gay. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it would be to actually come out of the closet (or purchase new contents for their closet!) and front up to people they used to know as a man, now wearing women’s clothes and using a different name. Especially given that when they do that they generally (I believe) haven’t even started the process of medically changing sex, so they will still look and sound like a man to one extent or another – meaning that they are going to stand out even if you just met them as a woman.

But at least one of the transgender women I know has the most gorgeous taste in clothes - so she was clearly meant to be a woman all along! ;)

Friday, September 08, 2006

"Alone Together"

And now, for something psuedo-intellectual:

"Alone Together": Exploring the Social Dynamics of Massively Multiplayer Online Games

Someone actually did a proper scientific study on people's playing patterns across all servers in World of Warcraft, looking at socialisation patterns. The conclusion (summarised by me): people generally like the casual social nature of the game - having other players around you, giving the feeling of a big world - but generally don't seem to be as into "the community" as the game advertising might have you believe. Instead, they are more interested in the awfully well designed series of incremental rewards.

Well, duh!

Seriously, this is a very interesting article, and it's generally not too hard to read, especially if you're already familiar with the WoW environment. I am linking it here mostly so I can find it later.

The funniest part of the whole thing is that some students (I assume they were students) have managed to scam a way where they could play WoW for hours and call it "research"! ;)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Which Polyhedral Are You?

Because it's been so long since I did one of these things. And because this is irresistably geeky! ;)

I am a d10

Take the quiz at

"Ah, the d10! While you aren't actually a true regular polyhedron, you are the only die that makes logical sense--metrically speaking. Chances are, others see you as over-analytical or a goody-goody. While that may be true, you also have a gift for patience and tolerance. Growing up you probably had a calculator wristwatch that you never really needed to use (since you were faster on your own), and you probably aced all your classes (except for gym). You use the metric system almost exclusively, but are able to quickly convert in mid-conversation for the sake of your backwards Imperalist friends. You've coded in at least two different programming languages, and have created more original gaming systems than you'll ever admit. You're generally not a show-off, but you do take pride in being called either a geek or a nerd."

This survey is completely scientific. Despite the mind-boggling complexity of mankind, the billions of distinctly different personalities found on Earth can easily be divided into seven simple categories that correspond to the five Platonic solids, a pseudo polyhedron, and whatever the hell a d100 is. The results of this quiz should be considered not only meaningful but also infallible, and pertinent to your success as a fully realized individual. If you feel the results of this examination do not match your perceived personality, you should take whatever drastic measures are needed to cram your superego back into proper alignment, as described by the quiz results.

And if you believe that, we have some really great critical-hit insurance to sell you.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Ramble on Steve Irwin

It sounds like a bad joke: "Crocodile Hunter Killed by Stingray". Though he’s fabulously popular in the States, in Australia Steve Irwin has been a source of massive cultural cringe and a butt of jokes. I’ve already heard a few in particularly poor taste about his death – I even laughed at them. I am a bad person. :(

Now that he’s died after being stabbed through the heart by a stingray while filming a documentary, politicians and assorted others are lavishing praise on him, especially on his efforts on behalf of Queensland tourism. I did find it especially ironic to hear a Liberal party politician praise him for being such an outstanding conservationist. I wasn’t aware that was high on their list of priorities…

Anyway, Andrew Denton, one of the ABC’s most insightful interviewers, interviewed Steve Irwin on his show “Enough Rope” in 2003. You can find the transcript of the interview here. Denton introduced him as follows: “If you spliced the genes of Sir David Attenborough with those of the cartoon Tasmanian devil, you'd come up with something like my first guest.” That mental image made me smile.

There were a couple of things he said that I thought were the most interesting. One was on the fact that Australians generally do find him embarrassing. This was what he had to say about it:

Absolutely. I'm very embarrassing to look at. You know why? Here's why I'm embarrassing. Because there's a little bit of me in everybody. There really is, you know? I'm like the boy that never grew up. Um, I'm very, very passionate about what I do. I mean, I love what I do. I'm so... I wake up in the morning on fire. And people are like, "God, give this guy a Valium or something," you know? "Can't he have a bad day?" And...and I'm not. And I'm not. And I guess people...especially Australians, you know, they're so "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Stevo. Yeah, yeah, whatever," you know? You know, Australians are like that. They're very "Yeah, take it or leave it, whatever" type thing. "No, he's too hypo. Bloke's on fire," you know? Yeah, so I guess, um, that little bit of me in everybody kind of must be embarrassing, yeah.

I think he’s half hit the nail on the head – Australians are very laid back and found his full on way of speaking and acting a bit much. But I think it’s because he came across as a bad cultural stereotype. We all had a suspicion he was faking it, that it was a Crocodile Dundee style show to make money in the States.

But everyone that knew him has said he really was like that. He must have been an exhausting person to know!

What actually prompted me to look up the transcript of the interview, however, was all the conservationist talk. I vaguely remembered that he’d said something about that in the interview, and wanted to have another read of it.

Here’s what he said.

You know, easily the greatest threat to the wildlife globally is the destruction and annihilation of habitat. So I've gone, "Right, well, how do I fix that? Well, making a quid here. People are keen to give me money over there. I'll buy it. I'll buy habitat." And I reckon the only thing wrong... Now, how's this? The only thing wrong with, you know, wildlife in Australia is that I don't own it. Imagine how many kangaroos and crocodiles I could have if I owned Australia? It's, um... My wife is an American so she's got this, er... She's, know, she's a good capitalist. And, er, she's very clever with money. Me, I'm not that clever and I don't really give a rip, but, er, she is. And, um, so whenever we get a...a, um...enough cash and enough...and a...and a chunk of land that we're passionate about, bang, we buy it.

What we're trying to do is we're trying to set an example to the world that, um, every single person can make a difference. Particularly those in the, um, in the political arena, um, those that have zoological facilities, any, you know, multinationals, any millionaires. They can all make a difference by buying chunks of land. And, in addition to that, every single person - man, woman and child, no matter what walk of life you're in, whether you're a, um, a fisherman, a janitor, um, Steve Irwin, the Croc Hunter - you can make a difference in wildlife by simply not purchasing wildlife products. Because today, Andrew, the wildlife perpetrators, they're hard to spot, mate. But what it is, these wildlife perpetrators now kill animals and call it 'sustainable use'. That, "Oh, let's kill crocs, turn them into belts and that's sustainable," you know? That isn't sustainable. Since when has killing wildlife saved anything? So, I'm a wildlife warrior through and through. And buying land means: A. that we're going to be able to get animals back if, and or when they become highly endangered; and B. getting out into the world, taking you, the audience, with me, having an adventure, and making it exciting. Otherwise, you're stuck with the demographics that, say, David Attenborough's got which is a bit smaller than what I got. And changing people's opinions on wildlife.

How's this? For the first time in history, mate, I've just been involved with an issue where people were worried about the welfare of a shark. How's that? For the first time in history. Yay! Astounding. Absolutely astounding. A tiger shark. And, um, admittedly the tiger shark was doing great. But her name was Bonnie...Bonnie. She was 14 foot. You know, I helped capture her and release her back into the wild. The first time in history! People are seeing crocodiles and snakes animals that have welfare issues, which is fantastic.

So I believe if I can secure enough habitat, then there will always be places for the animals to go when they've been annihilated throughout their habitat. Because, basically, mate, the human population is going off. It's just a bit too rapid for the old Mother Earth to keep up with, mate. And, um, so this is my way of helping her out.

So even though I cringe when I see a picture of him in that “Crikey!” astonished-looking pose, I think this guy was alright after all.

At least he died out in the wilderness that he loved, I suppose. His family can take comfort in that.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Silent Hill: The Movie

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On Saturday, after Capital_Mum and Cthulu organised as babysitter for their little girl, they, myself and M. went to see the horror movie Silent Hill.

Based on the scariest series of computer games I have ever played, it’s the story of the mother of an adopted girl called Sharon who sleepwalks and has seizures where she screams out the name of the ghost town "Silent Hill"; her father wants her to be hospitalised, so her mother, Rose, flees with her to take her to Silent Hill, thinking that whatever Sharon’s trauma is, it can be resolved there.

Worst. Mistake. Ever.

Silent Hill is an abandoned town where everything is covered in a still-falling ash from underground coal fires that started 30 years ago, and where radios don’t work … except when things draw close. Best not to ask what sort of things.

I liked the movie adaptations of the game Resident Evil, and liked (with qualifications) the Tomb Raider movies too, but I LOVED this movie! It captured the creepy atmospherics of the game perfectly, and didn’t need to resort to things jumping out at you to scare you. Instead, it uses extremely vivid (and gory) details and juxtapositions of the most disturbing kind – the sort of thing you could expect to find in your most twisted be-tentacled Japanese anime. Psychological horror, I guess you could call it.

This is not a movie for anyone under 16. I’d almost go 18.

The only time I wasn’t able to suspend my disbelief during the whole thing was when the child actor who plays Sharon is in a scene where she has to do a bit of exposition – I sometimes find it hard to give child actors the credit that they probably deserve. But, mostly, she was very good too. Creepy little thing.

If you’re the sort who has nightmares after seeing a scary movie, don’t see this. Otherwise, it’s a must-see.

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