Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Credit where credit is due

It is harvest time here in Esperance. And harvest time means lots of grain trucks on the road.
When I work at the pharmacy, I ride my bike to work, and my route takes me down Brazier Street, past the grain depot there. There is an t-intersection about half way down, where there is a road coming from the industrial area. The corner is often taken with a minimum of care by the drivers of the three-trailer wheat trucks who assume (quite rightly) that most other road users will stop for them, right of way or not.
This happened to us while driving the other day, and a few choice words were spoken regarding truck drivers and their tendency to assume that might makes right.
So, in the interests of fairness, and as the subject line says "credit where credit is due" I would like to thank the driver of the OD Transport truck who actually stopped for me while I was riding up to that intersection yesterday morning.
This driver would have seen me coming from some distance. Instead of pulling out anyway, which he could have done without creating an emergency, he stopped and waited for me. In return, having seen that he had made an effort to do the right thing, I put on a bit of a burst of speed (such that I can manage) to get past him as quickly as I could.
Thanks again, Mr Truck Driver.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

In a music mood

Apologies to Jeff Rients for the title. More apologies for all the links in the following text...
In a recent post Jeff commented on the relationship between (heavy metal) music and gaming.
In many ways heavy metal and D&D go together like peas and mashed potatoes. Some people keep them separate on their plate but the awesomest folks mix 'em together with wild abandon.
Not trying to cash in on the Gameblog's topic, but it made me think about what music I have always liked to game to. I made a comment after Jeff's post, carelessly posted AC, with my suggestion of Deep Purple along with the existing entries of Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep. But as much as I agree with Jeff's post above, I have plenty of other musics I would put into the same category.
So here, for posterity's sake is a short list of significant (for me only) gaming music:
  • The Revenge album by Eurythmics. There is nothing gamist about this album at all. I just loved it, and was listening to it a lot at the time we were holidaying in Broome and I was make up a pair of 50th level Paladin-Rangers (AD&D1). I never played them (strangely enough), but I made up wonderful backstories and even wrote them up in cool little notebooks. Also see this post regarding the fun of just making up characters for no good reason.
  • 5150 by Van Halen. Another not-very-gamy album, but my brother Jason and I listened to it a lot around the same time as the above and forever after. Played many rounds of B1-9 In Search of the Unknown to this music.
  • Faith No More. Any and all albums. Just favourites of my late-high school gaming group (in our post-HS years).
  • Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell II also made a great soundtrack.
  • Having already mentioned Black Sabbath, I would draw particular mention to the album Tyr, which is full of references to Nordic mythology, much like Tolkien. One of my favourite albums of all time, and games especially well with GAZ7 The Northern Reaches
There are plenty of gaming soundtracks available out there. A few game bloggers posted recently about the death of the composer of the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack. Not having listened to it, I can't comment, but I have put some tracks on my itunes wishlist. Also stratos, a co-member of the Christian Gamers Guild, creates official gaming music here.

Anyone else out there got some great game-memory triggering music (of any variety)?

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Day 1

Number 1 son Liam, my brother Jason and I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year.

Follow the link if you don't know about this program and want to find out what I am talking about. The summary is this: write a 50,000 word (approx 175 page) novel in the month of November.

Note: Liam, as part of the Young Writer's Program, can set his own target. He has chosen to aim for a 20,000 word effort. Good luck Liam!

You can follow my progress here, Liam's here and Jason's here. Or have a look the "Word War" image at the top right of this page if you want to see how Jason and I are going head-to-head.

And if you are interested, the NaNo organisation is of a charitable bent, putting much of their money where their mouths are: bulding libraries in southeast asia.
In 2006, NaNoWriMo will be using that same can-do spirit to help a group of would-be readers: Namely, a group of elementary-school kids halfway around the world in Vietnam. In partnership with the children's literacy nonprofit Room to Read, NaNoWriMo will donate 50% of its total net proceeds from individual donations and store sales to establish children's libraries in rural villages there.
Go donate something if this is your sort of work...

Oh, and I want one of these:
"This pleasingly large dishwasher-safe mug can hold enough novelist fuel to ensure that you won't have to get up for refills during intense writing sessions. You will, however, have to get up and go to the bathroom. This is a big mug."

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Osteoporosis article at Castletown Chemist

OK, admittedly, this is just an excuse to test pingbacks in wordpress...
Earlier today, I posted the latest Pharmacy Self Care article at my pharmacy's news page, this time on Osteoporosis, which is a significant topic in this house.
Good news on that front too, Linda had her Bone Mineral Density test recently, and while her bones are still osteoporotic, they have improved heaps, and the risk of further fracture in the future has dropped markedly.

Friday, 29 September 2006

Murphy's Law in action

I have been toying with the idea of moving from my nice thunderbird email+feeds setup back to an all-online solution.
I have been using a gmail account with POP3 access, so that part was no-brainer.
The feed reader was a bit more of a problem. I have used Bloglines in the past and enjoyed it except for a few small problems. I wanted to try Google reader (in the hope that they will eventually integrate it properly with gmail), and yesterday had quite a long play with it, but was finding quite a few shortcomings.
So what happens today, when I log in?
I see this! - they have changed it, literally overnight!!
The good news of this is, despite my wasted time yesterday, is that most of what I considered shortcomings in the old version have been addressed.
So far so good, I might think about doing a proper review later...

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Nostalgia trip has been triggered

I was just reading Uncle Bear's blog and was overcome (as he had been) with a wave of nostalgia for a time when sitting down (by myself usually) and rolling up an entire campaign's worth of characters was a worthwhile use of an afternoon.

I want to set aside some time to sit at my kitchen table with some dice, generating characters for games at are gathering dust on my shelf. I want to do it for the sheer joy of it, the relaxation of it, without fretting about how unlikely it is that these characters will get used. I need to just allow this aspect of roleplaying to be fun again, and enjoy the zen of analog gaming.

Yeah, me too.

Monday, 28 August 2006

Save our language!!

Every week, without fail, I take perverse pleasure in reading the column of Phillip Adams in the Weekend Australian magazine.
I say perverse, because as a rabid athiest, Adams has very little in common with me, a conservative Bible-believing Christian (read, in Adams-speak: fundie, Taliban-wannabe God botherer).
I often find myself banging my head against the wall (or at least the paper) asking why such a brilliant mind could be so ignorant of the nature of certain things.
But I digress... Today's post is not about what I don't like about Adams or how we disagree. No matter what else I may say about him, Phillips Adams is a true Australian.
He places great importance on the value of Australian culture and of preserving it in the face of the powerful Hollywood/MTV version of (United States of) American culture.
In his column on Saturday which (online at least), entitled Attack of the seppos, Adams laments the loss of Australian Slang.
Anyone who has seen The Adventures of Barry McKenzie might not consider that a bad thing...
I do. And so does Phillip Adams... He refers to an earlier attempt to save the language...
The idea was that each of us would adopt a favourite and forgotten colloquial expression and promise to use it at least once a day. You might choose drongo and apply it to a politician.
Our family has a few favourite slang expressions: "carry on like a pork chop" (applying particularly well to any one of my five sons) is perhaps too often used. I may very well seek to use the word "drongo" in conversation more often. Rhyming slang is also popular, though hard to know what is Strine-based and what is Cockney (I am fond of accusing my boys of telling pork-pies, but I am sure that is a Cockney one!).
I do have an admission to make though... When I greet people, even in the pharmacy, I am prone to use the awfully colloquial expression "G'day" (complete with apostrophe) in preference to Hello, Hi, Good Day, Good morning or (heaven forbid!) Howdy. It doesn't quite make me Barry McKenzie's long-lost brother, but I reckon I can wear the green-and-gold with pride!
And Phillip, thanks for a good laugh and for fighting the good fight!

Monday, 7 August 2006

Running Azureus as a windows service

This post has been superceded. Please check out Running Azureus (Vuze) as a windows service revisited.

I am in the process of writing another howto.

Actually, all I am doing is documenting a process that I went through to get Azureus running as a windows service. I really wanted to be able to have (down+up)loads working even when the computer is in a logged out state, or logged in under another user.

There were plenty of tips around, but really nothing that spelled it out step-by-step.

This document is far from complete, but if you would like to see what has been done so far, download the first draft here (.odt document at the moment, so will need Openoffice or similar to read).

Please don't hesitate to leave comments if you happen to find this and have something useful to add!