Sunday, 30 April 2006

The Sunday Mok - No map jokes, please

Sunday - After the morning church service, Deb and I hired the first three of the Scary Movie franchise. We watched them all, and I was quite glad that the total cost of those three movies for two people was just $7. We won't be watching the fourth in the cinema. Poet Cameron Semmens came to the evening church service and also to supper at the Coffee Club afterwards.
Monday - After work I went grocery shopping with Ug for picnic supplies for Tuesday. After dinner, at Deb's request, I went to her place to watch Stargate SG-1.
Tuesday - ANZAC Day. We went to New Farm Park to meet up with some of the extended family. Dad was sick, so he didn't make it, but we caught up with several cousins we hadn't seen in years. I went to karate in the evening, using my pre-paid card for the first time.
Wednesday - At work, for a bit of a change, I produced two documents. One was a coding style guide and the other was a brief user's introduction to our in-house framework library, Cornerstone. I had dinner at Deb's, then we watched more Stargate.
Thursday - Appraisals database at work all day. For dinner at Dad & Beth's in the evening, we had Thai take-away. It was pretty good.
Friday - Brad and I spent some time at work looking for bug-tracking and service-request software. We didn't find anything that particularly suited our needs. Deb brought me dinner before youth group, where we went bowling, which was fun.
Saturday - Deb and I went to a couple of travel agents to talk about going to Tasmania in June, then did a little shopping in the afternoon - I needed a new shaver. In the evening, we went to Bronwyn's place for her 25th birthday party, and left around 8pm.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Home hair-cutting kits can be bought for as little as $20.
PPS - The cheapest shaver I could find was $70.

Thursday, 27 April 2006


I hate when programs install themselves with a folder in the Start menu named after the company. Do I want to remember who are the publishers of my games? Do I care who made my email application? No. That's their idea on brand-name brainwashing. I want my programs to install in a way that makes sense, not a way that makes customer loyalty or brand-name recognition. Of course, since it's the companies that make those choices, I usually end up with their company name on my machine anyway.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - What's perceived as good for business is often bad for customers.
PPS - That's because business is too often aligned with evil.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Surprise me

I'm intrigued by the idea of building a game that could surprise me (in a good way). So, despite the fact that I built it in the first place, it produces in-game events or effects that I did not expect. That would be the mark of a truly impressive game, to me.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Please note that I have never done this.
PPS - I once started designing a space exploration game with this goal, and never got any further.

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Happy ANZAC Day

Happy ANZAC Day, all you Aussies at home and abroad! Today we remember soldiers who died for our country (and sometimes for other countries) by taking a day off work. Personally I'll be remembering soldiers by having a picnic with part of my extended family.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's funny how a change in routine can almost make me forget to blog.
PPS - Almost.

Monday, 24 April 2006

Vitamin C found in Berocca

On Friday night I suggested that I got my extra vitamin C from Berocca tablets. This was a notion met with some derision, since "Berocca is vitamin B". I've checked the packet, since vitamin C was one of the reasons I bought them in the first place. Right there, admittedly below a reasonable list of B-group vitamins, is 1000mg of ascorbic acid in each tablet. So there.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Now and then it's nice to remind myself that my memory still works.
PPS - This post brought to you by the "Nyah-Nyah Advisory Board of Health".

Sunday, 23 April 2006

The Sunday Mok - Coughing Continuously

Sunday - I had to take an unpleasant cold shower in the morning because the hot water was off at the AGMF campsite. We drove to HumeRidge Church of Christ for the morning service where Compliments of Gus were playing. By the time evening rolled around, I was too tired to stay up, so I went to bed early.
Monday - Drove back to Brisbane with Deb sleeping most of the way. When I got home, I slept too, and woke later with a fever. I had dinner with Ug the Caveman and Dad, then we all watched Mythbusters together.
Tuesday - Immediately after waking up, I decided I was too sick to go to work. I went back to sleep, then spent the remainder of the morning reading net news and watching The Fifth Element. I did not go to karate that night.
Wednesday - I went back to work because my fever was gone, though not my coughing. I worked on appraisal database documentation, making me feel unproductive. I had dinner at Deb's, then we watched Stargate SG-1.
Thursday - I worked on Asset Knowledgebase to downgrade the back-end back to MSDE because SQL Server Express was not working well enough. I left work at 17:00 just to have some breathing space. Deb had to miss dinner at Dad & Beth's.
Friday - Back onto appraisals at work. New features, but nothing too exciting. Deb came over to play City of Heroes while I was at youth group for theatresports. I had fun there.
Saturday - I spent most of the day alone, read news, played City of Heroes, did grocery shopping and washed my car. In the evening I picked Deb up to see Ice Age 2 which was pretty good. We had a little dinner beforehand and icecream after the movie.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Rest on Saturday did me good.
PPS - Doesn't mean I wouldn't like more, though.

Friday, 21 April 2006

The Black Lung and the Red Throat

So I've been coughing for about five days now, and I'm kind of tired of it. So tired, in fact, that I have begun trying to reason with my respiratory system. Neither of us wants it to self-destruct. I hold off coughs as long as I can, and repeat to my throat that "There's no point, there's nothing to cough up." So far, no response. I remain hopeful that a meaningful dialogue can proceed once we overcome our language barrier.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Coming to Nickelodeon next month: Black Lung and Red Throat!
PPS - It's semi-educational, but the kids won't notice.

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Don't ask, don't tell

From now on, anybody who asks me "How are you?" better wait to hear the answer or at least be walking in the same direction as me. I never managed to get the hang of responding to "How are you?" as if it just meant "Hello", so I usually try to give a reasonable answer, then inquire about the greeter's state of wellbeing. By the time I get through my initial part of the response, though, we've continued moving and it's clear that the conversation starter was just a sophisticated grunt of acknowledgement.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Is the phrase "sophisticated grunt" an oxymoron?
PPS - I suspect so.

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Spore and creativity

As much as I am looking forward to Will Wright's new game Spore (due out late this year, last I heard), I dread hearing people tout it as a great illustration of evolutionary processes. These people will be failing to recognise the intelligent contribution they make to the creative process. They will assume that random mutations and selection could produce effects as coherent and intelligent as they do.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Mutations typically involve duplication or elimination of existing genes.
PPS - Selection can only destroy, not create.

Tuesday, 18 April 2006


I want to be amazing to people, and I think it's a relatively common desire. I want to have people look at me (or something I do) and just say "Wow". Right now the closest I imagine anyone getting is "That's pretty cool".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's a desire to be the best by an enormous margin.
PPS - So large a margin that nobody could ever catch up.

Monday, 17 April 2006

Another AGMF, another fake band

There is a kind of tradition among our people of dressing up in cheap second-hand formal gear on Good Friday at AGMF. We call it "Formal Friday", and the sign hanging near our campsite prompted some passers-by to ask whether we were a band. The obvious response was "yes", so in addition to Milhouse, I am now a member of the fake band Formal Friday.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Merchandise out soon.
PPS - It'd be cool if we could keep just one of these jokes going.

Sunday, 16 April 2006

The Sunday Mok - Quickshot

Late but in place, a week-old Sunday Mok, actually posted on the 23rd of April:
Sunday - Expensive groceries, youth group finances and a Passover meal in evening church.
Monday - Communications training, day 1. Required public speaking, to which everyone objected.
Tuesday - Communications training, day 2. Karate and dinner at Dad & Beth's.
Wednesday - Appraisals database issues at work, tested, fixed and patched.
Thursday - Drove to Toowoomba for the Australian Gospel Music Festival.
Friday - AGMF day 1. I bought poet Cameron Semmens' book of 26 alliterative bible stories.
Saturday - AGMF day 2. Sent Deb to Brisbane for the day by coach. Overcrowded ska showcase in the afternoon.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sorry if that's too terse for you all.
PPS - I should have done a proper entry when I got home on Monday.

Thursday, 13 April 2006

They got me

I may have mentioned to you one of these crazy products from ThinkGeek. As it turns out, they're all jokes, which seems obvious in the graphical version of the newsletter. I receive the text-only version in email, so the big hint that I should have picked up on - the USB Tanning Centre picture - was absent.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Another hint: a slot-loading vinyl drive in the "iZilla".
PPS - It would have been pretty cool to grow my own Mario 1UP mushroom, though.

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Another look at television

Web-based, fan-funded serialised television: put the pilot online for free. Place a "pre-purchase next episode" link on a web page. If enough viewers pay, the episode gets made and the viewers are charged and can download the show to watch. If not, the series stagnates and eventually dies. This would have ensured the continuation of Firefly. Of course, once a show's directors, actors and so on lose interest and move on, the show won't be quite the same. The viewers will likely become disheartened by new episodes featuring an all-new cast and would stop paying to see it, guaranteeing the show's demise. This model may also help pay for Star Trek seasons and much other sci-fi that earns constant sneers from network executives.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is, of course, assuming that the pilot episode gets made in the first place.
PPS - There would be both very good and very bad television produced this way.

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Lost & Found

I realised yesterday afternoon that I wasn't entirely sure where I'd put my AGMF tickets. I had a few ideas of where I would have put them, so I wasn't too worried. They had to be in the house somewhere, even if they weren't in the places I expected. They were buried a bit further down one pile than I remembered, but I did find them. That made me realise that I should be far more organised at home. I don't think it would be too difficult, but it would probably involve a herculean cleaning effort, plus an initial organisation phase, and frankly I'm too busy to get organised.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I know that I'd be less busy if I were more organised.
PPS - It's a bit of a catch-22 situation.

Monday, 10 April 2006

Zombie Season

I have a feeling that Autumn and Winter are the season for zombies. It's getting colder and many trees are dropping their leaves for that dead look. The nights look more eerie and it's easier to imagine that the undead are around the next corner. Thus I pronounce zombie season officially open!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "Wabbit season".
PPS - "Duck season. FIRE!".

Sunday, 9 April 2006

The Sunday Mok - Lessons in Punk

Sunday - My Dad and Beth came over to Deb's place for lunch to meet her Mum and Mal. They talked a lot about travel. I sang in the evening church service, then helped Gwen with her errant computer.
Monday - A quiet day at work. I focused on the appraisals database. After dinner with Dad, I picked up Deb and Mia to go to Keperra for dessert with most of the Bible study crew.
Tuesday - After an ordinary day at work, when I got off the bus it was bucketing down rain. My feet and the legs of my trousers were soaked by the time I got home, so I stayed there. I didn't feel much like going to karate.
Wednesday - I stopped at the Ann Street office in the morning to help Yan fix his database back-end upgrade. We'll have to downgrade it again, because it's not working out. Lunchtime presentation from David about our section, dinner at Deb's, then Stargate SG-1 at my place.
Thursday - Mostly appraisals database at work, then dinner at Dad & Beth's. We looked up coach prices for Deb to get from Toowoomba to Brisbane and back during AGMF, for her step-brother's wedding. We watched one Stargate episode back at my place.
Friday - I worked on security for the appraisals database since Damien wants managers to start using it. That's a relatively big job. For the youth group end-of-term program we went down to the local park and played games with glow sticks. When I got home I watched The Chaser's War on Everything. Very funny stuff.
Saturday - I went to the doctor in the morning, then to Stu's for this month's Beyond social event: an Easter egg hunt. It was fun. Deb and I went clothes shopping in the afternoon and bought her a whole new outfit as a very early birthday present. In the evening we watched Flightplan at Erin's.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think the Flightplan plot was needlessly complex.
PPS - Or perhaps implausibly complex.

Friday, 7 April 2006

Calling in "sick"

I don't call in sick unless I'm actually sick, but I've sometimes wondered how far the definition stretches. Today might have been a good day to stay home on account of mental illness. I feel everything just pressing in and I haven't had much time to myself in the past several weeks. I need some kind of break, preferably near a beach and away from even the everyday at-home activities. I'd need about a week, though, not just a day.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've only got two regular working days between now and Easter.
PPS - That might help.

Thursday, 6 April 2006

A Thought on Peace

There are no public holidays celebrating the beginnings of wars.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Even if there are, they don't count.
PPS - Very short today, I know.

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Deb's Angels (and one Devil)

I've been meaning to post this for a while, so now here are the three heroes and one villain Deb has created in City of Heroes. I took screenshots of each one and pasted them onto an Atlas Park plate background because I thought it looked a bit better than the four separate zones where I found them.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I can only approximately remember their names in order.
PPS - I think, left to right, it's Sparkling Diamond, Sahra, Tria and Kallia.

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Bumping up the resolution

Yesterday I installed the Urban Dead Toolbar for Firefox (my browser of choice) just to upgrade the look of Urban Dead. The game was a little too low-tech sometimes, so I liked the idea of graphical maps and an organised inventory. Though I haven't used it properly yet, I like what I see so far. The proper test drive is at 12:30, local time. I expect to be very pleased - as much as if I had a new office with soundproof walls.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - 'Cause, you know, sometimes you just want to scream something.
PPS - Or not be bothered by chatterers who stop nearby.

Monday, 3 April 2006

Motorised laziness

If you need one of these motorised spinning ice cream cones, you deserve to die of starvation.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Link via Boing Boing.
PPS - It was some time ago, though. It's a slow day.

Sunday, 2 April 2006

The Sunday Mok - Carny for a Day

Sunday - I took a one-hour nap in the afternoon because of my relatively late night on Saturday while Deb played City of Heroes. When I woke up, we switched. I ran the computer in the evening church service where we had a guest speaker. Only four of us went to the Coffee Club afterwards.
Monday - Two problems with the timesheet system at work, neither of which was my fault or under my control. Bible study at Erin's in the evening, sitting outside where it was a comfortable temperature but noisy.
Tuesday - The staff appraisals database finally started being used, but not for long, since it turned out to be slightly broken. Also Yan's Asset Knowledgebase had some issues. Karate in the evening mostly involved games and punching bags.
Wednesday - I had a problem with the appraisals database that wasn't easily solved and the information gathering was also broken. I had dinner at Deb's where we watched a few Stargate SG-1 episodes.
Thursday - I got the appraisal database working again and attended a training session on managing work. For an hour after work I helped Deb sort clothes for the April Fair on Saturday, then went to Dad & Beth's for dinner.
Friday - In the evening I helped with site works for April Fair, carrying tables and erecting stalls. I think I was meant to be a bit more in charge.
Saturday - April Fair itself, what the church has been leading up to for weeks (if not months) now. I arrived at 08:30 and ran the bowling lane from 10:00 until 15:00 with a short break for lunch. I left at around 16:30 and then had to get ready for a formal dinner at Mt Coot-tha. When I got home at 23:00, I was wiped out.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Dinner conversation with Tim touched on the topic of "shrimp cutlery".
PPS - Cheese knives are the gay dwarfs of the knife world, apparently.