Tuesday, September 27, 2005

*whine* *rant* *bitch*

Colleen's party on Friday night was largely a success, in spite of clashes with various other events (Land of the Dead and Philip's band doing a gig). There was an insane amount of food (some of which is still knocking around), and I think everyone had a good time. Someone managed to erase all of the pictures on Colleen's camera. We're not pointing any fingers, but all of the pics that Dave Sharpe took are there but nothing before that, he was falling-down drunk, and Julie said he was pushing loads of buttons and didn't seem to know what he was doing. Okay, so maybe we are pointing fingers a little. We can't be sure, but the evidence seems to suggest... Colleen was unbelievably upset, since a large part of the motivation for the party was to get a whole bunch of pictures of all of her friends before she leaves for PE. I really think Dave would do well to steer clear of Colleen until she leaves.

At about 11 (I think?) a bunch of us went through to The One Ring for the zombie afterparty. Well done to all the zombie winners, the shirts really are very cool. Also, I really really love Foosball. We should go play more often. Dave was a severe handicap to anyone whose team he was on, since he could actually not even focus, and I'm not exaggerating. He was being irritating and grabbing the wrong ends of the opponents' rods at one point, but wisely stopped when Al threatened him with physical violence.

Very rudely, I thought, the bouncer dude threw us all out when he wanted to go to sleep. I mean, honestly. Al, Waynne, Lucas, Claire and myself went through to Cornerhouse at that point since we were all too tired or drunk to know any better. It was terrible, as usual ;) Fun!

11am the next morning saw me at Al's place ready to LAN. Dave arrived a little later, still drunk apparently (here's me not being surprised), followed shortly by Conrad, Yancke and Adrian. Waynne also made a shortish appearance, timing it quite nicely with the party that Adrian was going to, so he got to play with us for a while. The entire time, Dave was just dropping bombs, either in the room we were goddamn playing in, or in the bathroom. You'd think this would be better, except that it wafts. And the toilet is effectively off limits for an hour. Thank fuck I had just put deodorant on, so I could pull my shirt over my mouth and nose and breathe mostly unimpeded.

Jesus fuck, Dave and Yancke can whine like whores. One starts, and then each has to have the last word. Has to. I'm also sick of people whining about being unable to use the game interface. Watch the minimap! Bind your hero to group 1! Push 1 before every command you issue! Communicate! Use the in-game messages! In the last game of the evening, Adrian and I really showed people how it all works. Yes, I had a pretty good hero, but not a broken one unless you let me run away with it. Adrian's hero was mediocre at best. Yes, the stun was pretty cool. The dragon mage and the quillboar are perfectly decent heroes. The myrmidon wasn't, I'll admit that right now ;) Communication was key, and we were typing messages to each other all the time. It was handy that Adrian could feed me item information, but really I didn't play it any differently to any other Agility hero I usually play, apart from late-game items. Boots, 2x Wraith Band (change these to Null Talismans for casting heroes, my skills were all passive), followed by Butterfly. And by the time I got Butterfly, I was already ahead of the opposing heroes. The Stygian Desolator was just extra overkill.

Oh, and Oopman better steer clear. When trying to get UT2004 working as a break from DotA, we discovered all these weird versioning anomalies. The only thing that's changed since last we all played together is Adam installing ChaosUT on our boxes, without our fucking permission. That's an ejection-from-LAN grade offense, and is part of the reason why we just don't invite him anymore.

I was really looking forward to the Ravnica prerelease on Sunday, and even managed to drag myself out of bed in time for it after the LAN. Sadly, and with zero warning, it was cancelled. Some shit about customs problems. Jesus, people, sort your shit out. You're a fucking business that sells Magic cards. Surely you can organise getting Magic cards? Apparently not. Anyway, sleep was an acceptable substitute.

Sunday evening was an awesome TV movie evening, with MIB on e being followed by Chicken Run on SABC something. All good =)

My american co-workers have apparently not lost any of their retardedness. They proved this amply yesterday afternoon, and followed up with some emails for me this morning to cement their mental acumen firmly in the lower echelons. Them: 'Uh, your new file is not being included in the project, Jason.' Me: 'Did you update the project file which, SURPRISE! updates the list of files being included in the project? No? DIDN'T FUCKING THINK SO!' Cockpunches all around, seriously.

Things are starting to come together re: my move to Julie and Al's place. I moved my chair and a few more boxes in last night and helped J&A move shit out of the room, and vaguely decided how I would arrange things. After that, Al and I threw down in a couple of matches of Soul Calibur. Sore thumbs! I really need some more practise, I just don't know critical things like recovery times, strike ranges and speeds of attacks. Also, I need to get out of the habit of instinctually kicking. A good button to press in Tekken is not always a good button to press in SC. I learnt that the hard way. We played most of our matches as Charade, which is their version of Combot/Mokujin. Good practise for learning all the characters.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Patient Zero

Connor and Baldur were involved in their first real combat last night, not counting the one against the flying demons. I'm not including that one since, if the demons had actually been interesting in fighting us, we would all be dead. No questions asked. So now we have these potential allies in the devils, which I think is a pretty swell idea, so long as we treat them with circumspection. You never really trust a powerful ally, you trust that they will follow their own motivations, so just make sure that you both want the same thing for as long as possible. Plus dealing with Lawful creatures is much more reliable than dealing with Chaotics. Not safer, just more reliable.

I really love the way MMOs generate complex behaviour from a simple system. Have a look at this article about a virtual plague in WoW. It seems that a bug in a spell effect from a high level area causes it to be transmitted by proximity. Unfortunately for the rest of the populace, the spell effect is fairly long-lasting, and deals damage over a period of time, kind of like a poison effect in a game like Diablo. Unlike Diablo's poison, it can kill you. So, some level 75 character bumps into you, coughs an apology and moves on. You stare in horror at your status bar, and drop down dead. Not a pleasant experience, I would imagine. According to the article, pretty much anyone below level 50 is going to be instagibbed like this. Harsh! Extremely cool though. This reminds me of one of the other MMOs who implemented some boosting drug of sorts, complete with addiction and side effects and withdrawals. MMOs are such a cool place to model real-world scenarios, and it adds a badass element of realism to the games.

Microsoft are working on an all-new interface design for the next version of Office. It sounds quite cool, although the article is lacking a bit on details. I am busy downloading the video of the interface, but it's 600Mb large, so it's taking a while. It's probably not even going to be worth it.

I've been reading some more of The 10k Commotion, and it really is a great web comic. Great art style, cool characters, and it's set at a DDR competition. What other web comic can boast that!

Simon introduced me to a puzzler called Professor Fizzwizzle on Wednesday night when we were playing board games at his place. It's very polished and loads of fun, although the demo levels are excessively easy, except for the advanced levels which are excessively impossible. Give it a bash =)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A minor victory

Some of you may remember the email I posted a while back from (that dude) at (that gym). I'll link to it anyway, so that you can have a look at it again if you want. Today, I get the following from him. Now, despite being spammed twice by him with exactly the same content, I really feel that this is a marked improvement over his last attempt. I give him a gold star for Most Improved.


Please find the "attachment" below that has space for 5 names and numbers
anyone you can think of that'll benefit from using our facilities. Please
complete the form and either forward it back to me or fax it to the fax
given below. Any of your staff members wishing to join (that gym) through Discovery Vitality, should please contact me on my contact
details listed below.

Thanks for your effort and interest in this regard.

Kind Regards...

(personal info removed)

Sadly, he still had a pdf attached, but at least this time he did say that we could fax it back. Although I feel that there is little need to say 'fax it to the fax number' or 'contact me on my contact details'. It's a little redundant.


I've just read a very insightful and coherent discussion of the new Revolution controller and the probably motivations behind it, over here. It includes an interesting insight into Nintendo's business model. Give it a read =) I can totally imagine playing a Harry Potter (or any wizard game, really) and waving the controller around like a wand. Or a lightsaber. Awesome!

In other news, the sale of the place in Rosebank to Lucas' dad has gone through, so everything looks to be on track =)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tech for the Tech God

Colleen experienced a mad influx of tech yesterday, since she got her iPod from France as well as the PC. It's very shiny and very white, and it integrates nicely with iTunes, which is pretty cool. iTunes is actually pretty spanky, it does all sorts of cool things automatically like sorting your music collection (but only if you want it to), normalizing the tracks, and coverting all your crappy WMA files to AAC files. Battle of the proprietary formats! Winamp does play AAC, so that's fine, and I really hate WMA. Putting the PC together with Colleen was a little stressful, since it's the first time I've done a 939 pin installation, or a SATA installation, so I didn't exactly know what was going on, but we got it done eventually. Still need to do all the software and the OS, which will take ages =/

Also, I now have a confirmed place to stay =) Julie's renting me her spare room (previously Alastair's study) for a much cheaper price than Roo was going for, so I'm moving in there this weekend or early next week. How convenient that there's a LAN at Al's, my PC will already be there! Now, just to work out how to get the bed there...

Monday, September 19, 2005


Friday night saw me double-booked for dinner. One was my gran and so super early, and the other was Waynne and Jean at the Fat Cactus. I went to my gran, and she stuffed us as usual. My prediction of Spag Bol did not come to pass, as she instead just fed us Woolworths chicken pies. Very yummy, with chicken gravy and some veg and whatnot, followed by pecan nut pie, canned fruit and custard-in-a-box. Then I headed off to the Fat Cactus, not even late. Shame, grannies have bedtimes yoo, y'know ;) The food there was awesome. It was a set menu, and Jean said she would be extremely disappointed if I didn't eat, so I took one for the team. Well, for Jean. Not that I regretted it =) Stuffed to the max, and a little beyond, but it was so damn delicious. Jo Legutko was there, and it was very cool to see her again despite not getting much time to chat or catch up (we were on opposite ends of the table, and the place was a bit loud anyway). She invited me to dinner on Tuesday along with Julie and Candice, which is very convenient since Alex has just cancelled the game in lieu of tests and whatnot. Bah, tests!

Saturday night was mexican again, seems like there's a bit of a theme going on. Chelle invited Schpat, Yancke and myself around for dinner and zombie movies in preparation of Patrick's zombie party, costume ideas and all that. I hadn't seen either of the movies we watched, so that was all good. The production quality on the remake was obviously much higher, but the sheer cool of the mall-camping one was overriding. They should remake that one next (if they haven't already, what do I know). Afterwards Patrick and Alex and I hung around outside and chatted for ages, as is our wont, and we got to the topic of where I was gonna stay. They both expressed horror at the amount Roo would charge me, and said that they wouldn't charge that much to help a friend out. But that's the point, really. Roo's renting his room out primarily, and helping a friend out second. I have no problem with this, since it is a fair price for the room. Alex said I should ask Chelle if I could camp out in their spare room for 2 months, but I'd really rather not put people out. Roo's is excellently positioned (I'd walk to town and get both exercise and save money), and he has DSL. Oh, the sweet sweet siren call of always-on internet. DSTV is of no interest to me, of course, since I hardly watch any TV, and it really does pale in comparison to the entertainment to be found online. Of all kinds.

On Sunday Colleen and I went through to Cavendish to go bag shopping. This was for Colleen primarily, since she hated her then-bag's strap, but I ended up picking up a cool new bag for myself, since my old conference bag is looking way the worse for wear. It's a cool canvas bag with a couple of pockets on the front with magnetic clasps. Much better than velcro, which goes all manky after a while. Later on we discovered that one of the zips on Colleen's bag is broken, and she doesn't really have all that much time available to take it back or whatever. Look's like I'll be doing that next weekend sometime, while she's at Genadendal for the SCA meet. In between the Ravnica prerelease and the LAN Al was looking at organising. Sure... Oo, Ravnica! So tasty, with its dualland replacements. And it's all eastern european flavoured. It's the new Magic expansion, for those that don't know me or didn't work that out ;)

After that I stopped by at Yancke's place to see what he was up to. Predictably he was still asleep (he had lanned the night before, apparently it was all assey, I mean, Counterstrikey). We went through to Die Kasteel to watch Dave lay down some Chaos smackdown. He came somewhere in the top 10. Very funny thing I noticed at the sign-in form at the military checkpoint was someone (not Dave) who filled in the 'Company' column (it was a military checkpoint, after all) with 'Chaos'. I had a good chuckle at that =)

Afterwards we came back to my place to do some Winston drafting with my old Onslaught / Legions / Scourge cards, and I got pwnt horribly both times. Good times. While this was going on, Waynne and Jim were online and signing up for MTGO accounts, so hopefully I can get some online games in against them =) Since Waynne never ever comes to any paper magic evenings, and I've pretty much stopped inviting him now. Hell, stopped having them, largely, other than spur of the moment drafts.

Today has been a very uneventful day at work. I went to the bank and Woolworths to change my addresses to my parents address, but the bank has other ideas. FICA policy and all. Y'see, I can't get my address changed without proof of residence, and I can't get proof of residence without staying there. So, sucks to be anyone moving out of some place before the end of the month, you will miss one correspondence. Good thing I couldn't care less about it, but irritating nonetheless. Woolworths of course is unburdened by such asinine considerations, and was a breeze.

All the bits for Colleen's new PC have arrived at work today, so we shall be assembling them this evening. Coolness =) Plus, Colleen will be coming to fetch me, so yay lift home! I don't think an entire PC worth of components would survive a taxi ride home, nope nope. Hmmm, LCD...

Friday, September 16, 2005

No job, but maybe a place to stay

Got a phonecall from Richard Hartley last night just before roleplaying saying that I didn't get the OpenBox job. Some story about how my profile doesn't match up with what they need right now. Not that that really means anything. He said that they might be interested in a few months time, but hey, we'll see I guess. Not gonna hold my breath. He also said that if I decided at some point that I wanted to leave my current job, I should give him a call so that he could have a second look to see if they wanted me. Ah well. Whatever.

Lucas is making an offer on a 3 bedroomed flat in Rosebank soon, which is pretty damn convenient. Occupation is only in December, which is not terrific, but Roo offered me his spare room for 2k per month, which is a pretty fair deal. ADSL, DSTV, maid included. A bit above my price range, but I'm sure I can stick it for 2 months, assuming Lucas does get the Rosebank place. Lucas, please let me know as soon as you know anything, so I can get the ball rolling in terms of interim places and so on. Oh, and the 3 bedrooms are important since Al is keen on moving in with us, now that him and Julie have broken up. Man, end of an era. Colleen and I break up. Waynne and Jean get engaged. Julie and Al break up. Weirdness and crazy signs.

Damage reduction is crazy if you don't have the appropriate foil to it. Hint: we didn't. I don't even know how many of the party are good-aligned, and I know I'm not hellishly keen on getting my weapon consecrated, or whatever it is you need to do. However, with neither myself nor Baldur able to do any damage whatsoever except on a crit, it may be the only option we have. Alternatively, I might just stock up on Bull's Strength spells and healing and play buffbot for subsequent encounters with these things. We have also just levelled, although I haven't gone through the rigmarole yet (damn PHB hoggers *shakes fist*), so I should see what further options that gives me.

Kingdom of Loathing is going extremely slowly. A whole bunch of new trophies have been discovered that I am working towards, but it is fucking my overall ascension strategy up onetime. Ah well, at least I will have the trophies =)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Crafting an email

So I get this today in my inbox:
Referral drive!!!


(Spacing below is preserved as in the initial letter)
I'm on a referral drive for new members to join (that gym) through
Vitality. Attached below I've included a referral form with space for 5
and numbers of working collueges, friends or family members you can think
that would benefit from using our facilities.
Please complete it and forward it back to me via e-mail(e-mail address
Your effort and assistance in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards...

(Personal details removed at the 4-years-later request of the crafter)

(followed by a WHOLE BUNCH of blank lines)

(followed by a pdf attachment. That we should fill in and email back)

I replied:
Good god, where to start

Don't use multiple exclamation marks, especially in the title. It just makes you look like an idiot. In fact, don't use any exclamation marks in the title at all.

In a corporate mailing, try to get the spelling right. 'Gooday' and 'collueges' just don't make a good impression. Either run it through Word's spellchecker or get a colleague to read it first.

The spacing and linebreaks in your message are very weird. I don't want to scroll down for two pages before I get to the attachment. This I am suspecting might be something software related rather than you pressing Enter thousands of times (I hope).

Attaching a form for us to fill in and email back is all well and good, and is likely to get the most responses. However, the attechment then needs to be in some sort of writable format, such as .doc, or just inline in the email text. A .pdf is not writable.

Hope this helps you on your next foray into the world of email marketing

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Blank Title (not really)

Pets really make it difficult to find a place to rent =/ More places should be pet friendly, dammit. Also, more estate agents should have websites with decent content, screw this 'No image available', 'No contact number available' bullshit.

Yancke really needs to learn when to shut the fuck up. I've been spending a lot of time with him lately as regular readers of my blog will have noticed, and I've been having fun, but damn the boy steamrollers when he's talking. It doesn't matter if you started talking a while back, or if you stopped to let someone else finish, once he starts he doesn't stop until he's had his say. And he wonders why Conrad and I double team to override him when we have the chance. Lovely boy though. I'll have to punch him in the cock sometime.

Despite distraction and side tracks, which I am perfectly okay with so long as they are contained and don't spill out all over the DM while he is explaining important stuff, the session last night was great fun. Especially the bit where Vitto went all crazy-loco on Jimmy's ass. I was just about to step in to break it up, I swear. If I had instead of Cat, there might have been one less broken wrist, since I actually know the technique for disarming. Well, the more finesse technique rather than Cat's 'hit wrist until break, then weapon drop' cudgel of a technique. Not that I really care how broken Vitto is, mind you, and he's definitely safer to be around now that he's a crip. I should probably stop calling him that. I like my face as is, thanks. And now we get to lie to the general populace of our group about the reason for stopping, since I'm sure that even under the strange circumstances we find ourselves in, people will be mistrustful of ex-cultists and magic. Especially when said magic has the possibility (probability?) of getting out of control and eating us all. Meh, lies. Whatever =)

When Colleen ships on out to PE I'll be inheriting the current PC. To this end, I've just placed an order with work for the PC that Colleen is getting as a replacement. It's really nice, far nicer than the one here. An Athlon64 3000+ 939 pin on an NForce3 chipset mobo with an 80Gb SATA drive, 512Mb memory and, the kicker, a Samsung 17" TFT display. Very nice stuff, if you ask me. The 939 pin part is important, since it will let her upgrade to one of the new dual-core Athlon64s that are coming out at some point if she wants to.

Wednesday roleplaying has been cancelled indefinitely by Dave and replaced with a gaming evening tonight, despite him getting all testy with me for cancelling last week. Except now he can't makes the gaming either. Now I must decide if I feel like gaming, and try organise some more people, or if I feel like wasting away at home. Packing another box, maybe, although there's no rush since I'll only be visiting my parents again next week sometime.

I installed FireFox 1.5beta1 the other day. It seems pretty the same, albeit a little less stable and with (now) broken extensions, since they still need to be updated by the authors. But hey, I'm willing to undertake a little more strain if it helps the FFox guys out (since I send crash reports when it does crash). Oh, and flash and java and similar plugins are all broken too. So, don't 'upgrade' unless you're prepared for that =)

Wow, this day has gone really quickly. It's 3pm already. Rocking =) Let me go email some people about some games...

Edit: Also, nice to know that you can make a blog post without setting a title, it just leaves it blank.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Movin' on up

I've really cut this finding a place to stay malarkey quite fine. And by fine I mean I'll probably have to crash at my parents for a little bit, unless I am insanely lucky. Or suddenly grow another R2k salary from my ass, since there is an expensive (but nice) place desperate for someone to move in. I'm going to start moving my random unused (or rarely used) crap to my parents' place, use that as a midway point for moving. Even if I do manage to avoid moving there, it will still be much more convenient having a central depot. Well, pretty-fucking-out-of-the-way depot, but a depot nonetheless.

Friday night's Pancho's outing was very enjoyable. It was a little loud, the next door tables were a little close and the food took an age to arrive, but damn was it good when it got there =) Dave Sharpe arrived a little bit late, and so ordered separately just after our order had been taken. His single plate of nachos arrived before any of the rest of the food showed up =`( We had to sit there and drool, it was very sad. Damn enchilada eaters! Take so long to prepare. Afterwards, Yancke and Conrad and I swung past d@vid's place to pick him up, since he had bailed at the last minute on Pancho's. By last minute, I mean we arrived at his house and he said that he had already eaten. He was reading in bed when we got there for the second time, and Yancke found his boxers hilarious for some reason. Don't ask me. We went back to Y&C's and watched Chris Rock - Bigger and Blacker (I think) - some parts were just wrong, but largely it was funny. It broke d@vid on many an occasion.

On Saturday, we lanned again. I won't bore you with the details. One of the guys, Adrian, did grab Chuzzle from me and was hooked. Damn, I love being a PopCap pusher ^_^ I should get a t-shirt, or at least a badge.

On Sunday Yancke and I went to Stadium on Main to go watch Dave's wargaming, but by the time we got there him and Jon had left already. Mark Pitterman was still there, and we chatted to him for a little bit. There was also this freaky old dude called David as well (freakily enough) who was hanging around being annoying. He asked Yancke for some McDee's chips, with which he foolishly obliged, and then proceeded to ask for a bite of his burger. I vacated to the far end of the table and left Yancke to his self-made doom. Don't make eye contact! And certainly don't feed the freaks! Damn boy, what were you thinking. Anyway, Yancke eventually escaped with me inside Wizards where we found Verolin talking to some American roleplayer called Rick. Apparently he's just arrived in Cape Town and is looking for a group to join. He heard about CLAW and went to Ian for help, but apparently all they did was bring him along to one of Garrick's sessions, where he was stuck in a corner and ignored for 4 hours. Fun! Also, way to include new roleplayers. Rick made the unfortunate mistake of telling us that he was looking for a group to join just as this David freak was following us inside, when he promptly informed Rick that he was looking to start a D&D game on Sundays there in the shopping center. Rick would be his first victim, I mean player. Yancke also gave Rick his phone number (it was like a gay pickup bar in there with the number of guys swapping numbers) and said he'd try hook him up. With a roleplaying group, that is, and an old Werewolf sourcebook that he was looking for. After that, the conversation just went downhill and I took to wandering aimlessly around the shop rather than participating, until Yancke noticed and we left.

Simon, Ada and Yancke came over that evening to play some Gang of Four, which is very cool if almost an exact replica of Presidents and Arseholes (the card game). And yes, I realize Go4 is based on some ancient chinese or hong kong game or something, but it's the one I played second. Good fun.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Corruption, or just retarded people? Hard to say

On Wednesday night I went to dinner with my parents, and they regaled me with the most remarkable story about my dad's British passport (with extra details added after the fact included in the story below). You see, my parents are due to go to Mauritius on Monday morning at 5am so that my dad can be at some actuarial conference to talk or somesuch, I'm not sure on the details. His passport was supposed to be ready in July when him and my little brother went on the Orange River, but it wasn't and so he temporarily got his old one back for that. Now, he's been phoning intermittently between then and now, but there has always been some delay or other. For the last month, his secretary has been phoning every single day, and been getting responses ranging from 'It's being done as we speak' to 'Oh, it's about to be done, I'll make sure it's in the overnight courier today' to 'It's in the courier bag right now, you'll have it tomorrow.' Needless to say, none of these prophetic words came to pass. My dad decides that only a face to face confrontation will be able to solve anything, so he flies up to Pretoria on Friday night. I can think of quite a lot of things I would rather be doing with the cost of a flight and a day in Pretoria. Or not a day in Pretoria, as my preference would be. So he apparently talks to some person quite high-up in the British consulate (how high up was not made apparent), and this man has never heard of any of the names that my dad gives him, and the numbers are now miraculously fax numbers or the number of the Archives section. Who needless to say should not be dealing directly with customers, especially in the area of passport submissions. Dodgy. This man tells my dad that he will do everything he can to get the passport done, and that he should come back at lunchtime. He does so, and is told that they can't print the passport, because of a Telkom problem. Out of their hands. My immediate thought it what the fuck Telkom have to do with printers? But it might require authorization from the UK or whatever, so maybe. There is a slight possibility, that's as much as I am willing to concede. My dad, ever the optimist, has decided to stay the night in Pretoria in a Holiday Inn across the road from the consulate in the hopes that Telkom (or whatever) sort their shit out. I'm not holding my breath.

I've just phoned my mom, and apparently Telkom arrived at the consulate at 10am this morning to try sort it out, so it looks like the man might in fact have been speaking the truth. However, once he gets the passport, he still needs to go to the Department of Home Affairs (closing time 3:30pm) to get his permanent residence stamped into it or South Africa has no obligation to let him back into the country. Personally I would go with or without, since I'm sure Old Mutual can arrange to get him back if he gets deported to London. My mom says she will let me know what happens, so I in turn will let you know =) *holds thumbs*

Yesterday I had my second interview with OpenBox, a technical one this time. I think it went pretty well, despite having a few questions where I didn't know the answer. There were also a couple of times where I knew the concept but not the terminology, and also once or twice where he was fishing for a specific answer and had to lead me to it, but hey whatever. I think I gave a fair representation of myself, and I think the interviewer (whose name I now forget) got a fair view of me and my skill level. Apparently they might only make a decision as late as the middle of next month, so I'll have to wait I guess. Our current development cycle is running to a close at the moment, so a decision anytime between now and next month should see me in a quiet period, which is good. I hate leaving people in the lurch like some of our other developers have, with stunts like 'I know you're in the middle of development on this version, and I know I'm the only person who has worked on this feature, and I know I've been on maternity leave for the last 2 months, but I'm not coming back. Thanks for the work experience, though.' Actual story, not the actual words. I am making those up.

After the interview, by which time I was actually a bit shaky, Chelle and I headed off to roleplaying and the first real set of interactions between Connor and the rest of the party. Last week's 'Hi, how's it going' followed by was less than satisfactory. There still seems to be a fair amount about druids that I need to look up, and a lot of Wild Shape templates I need to copy down for easy reference. I think I'll just bring a whole bunch of blank character sheets along and fill them out for each Shape I'm likely to use. Leopard was awesome, as was Eagle, and I'm really looking forward to getting access to Large creature for some giant crocodile action. Tasty! Baldur, my bear, spent the session frolicking in the woods, since he is a little less than sneaky. Hell, I'm a little less than sneaky in Human form. The mage isn't much better, I did notice. Also, PSA: Try not to attract the attention of flying demons and devils while you are in eagle form. It sould prove to be a little too much excitement for one day.

And at last, it is Friday. This week has felt like an eternity, and I have no idea why. There is a LAN on this Saturday, but I've been lanning so much recently I don't know if I am keen on it. It is at least limited to 2am, so no 17 hour marathon this time. Apparently a couple of OpenBox employees are going, so it might be a good opportunity to get to know some of my future-potential work mates.

EDIT: My mom just SMSed me to let me know that my dad finally got the passport, looks like it was a Telkom problem (well blow me down), so Mauritius is once again on =) Awesome.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Well it sounds plausible...

Haha, I got my wish last night and there was no roleplaying to be seen within 100 yards of our 'roleplaying' venue. What did happen was a lot of debating, discussing and arguing, most of which was a lot of fun. A lot of time was spend explaining Energy/Force to Schapt in light of his Poopsicle SchpatDope post, and then he whipped out a printout of a webpage of some dude trying to disprove the EK = 1/2mv^2 formula for kinetic energy. Chelle and I were both skeptical, but had a look anyway. We found a hell of a lot of stuff wrong with his work, and that was only in the preliminary, where he was talking about open systems as if they were closed systems and nonlinear systems as though they were linear. The real Coop de Gracey for me was when he started talking about conservation of momentum and energy across two different systems. My mind boggles. The problem was that Patrick, who didn't know any better, assumed that this was the correct usage of the term. Even after I told him it was incorrect, he still kept using it like that. 'Patrick, that's not right.' 'Yes yes, I know, but you know what I mean.' 'That's not the point, Patrick. The more you say it to yourself, the more convinced you will become that it is correct.' Gah, I could feel the misinformation spreading as I sat there and watched.

Anyway, I think it's all sorted out now. I hope ;) And now, it is time to go home, and then to dinner with my parents.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Optimus Prime

I was foiled in my stuffed butternut plan last night. Woolworths Rondebosch were sold out, and Claremont was closed by the time I got home. So instead I got a butternut and feta quiche, which was very nice. The caramelised onions were a little weird, being so sweet, and I agree with Colleen that just because butternut is a type of pumpkin doesn't mean it automatically goes with cinnamon, but despite all that it was really good.

After that I was pretty wasted, so I played a little bit of Chuzzle and then went to bed. Of course, I played a bit of Tony Hawk on Alex's GBA before actually going to sleep, but it was still a decently early night.

Check this keyboard out. Each key is a full-colour LCD mini panel that you can completely customize. Obviously great for people who want to run other languages, or just other layouts like Dvorak, but it really shines in the games market. Check those Quake3 key bindings! Man, so awesome. I wants me one. Unfortunately, I am sure they will be 20zillion monies. I would love to see this as a direct competitor to the Z-Board, although I think the Optimus is far far cooler =) Perhaps less practical. Imagine taking your keyboard back because of dead pixels...

I've just signed up (again) for Adventure Quest, the flash RPG Alex linked to. It's one that I played a lot a while back, but it was really repetitive. I'll give it another bash now, see how it goes. From the tiny little bit I've played already, it seems much upgraded, but still the same basic repetitiveness. Unless there are a lot of cool quests later on. We'll see =)

I have another interview at OpenBox on Thursday, a technical one this time. Yikes! I wonder if I need to read up on something, or what. I'm not too sure what to expect, will it be language specific or more generally algorithmic? Guess I better do some prep anyway, just in case.

I don't know if I feel like roleplaying tonight. I'm in more of a fucking around mood, but I suppose it depends a lot on what other people are keen on. I'll bring Abduction anyway, just in case =)

Monday, September 05, 2005

omg teh DotA

Okay, I am a massive geek, I have decided. Less geekery in the immediate future, that is my goal. Listen to this...

Friday night I was planning to go out, but instead we ended up hanging around at my place and playing Magic until 3am or something retarded. It wasn't even all that fun, it just kept us busy. Saturday I woke up late and did my KoL turns for the day. Then I went through to Yancke's place, where we lanned for 17 hours. As the title implies, there was a lot of DotA. Okay, why are all the good DotA players whiny bitches? Unless they're winning, of course. I couldn't give a fuck, so long as I have a modicum of fun while I'm losing. I get irritated with team mates, I admit, but that is at specific points, rather than whining the whole game long about what crap heroes our team got dealt in the random shuffle. That's the beauty of random, you don't have to win every time! You can relax and just try do your best with a crap hand. Anyway, the session was pretty damn fun anyway, and I left it wasted and feeling filthy. Shower time made it all a lot better, thank the pope. I then went to lie down for a bit, since I had a braai at Al's place to go to that evening. When Colleen woke me for the braai, sadly only about 45 minutes later, I was soo confused. I think I stared at her for like a minute blankly. Red Bull is king, btw. On the way to the braai I was honestly having trouble following the conversation (but apparently managed to hide it quite well, since Colleen had no idea how close to the edge I was), but after a red bull and some Coke, I was fine. Yay caffeine! Yay sugar! Amazingly enough there was actually some boerewors and sausage at the braai, something that hasn't happened in a very long time. They're usually dominated by chicken to the almost-exclusion of everything else, and while there was a strong chicken presence, it was by no means overwhelming. There was a definite guy-girl split in the conversation that night, with the guys talking almost exclusively amongst themselves and the girls doing the same thing.

Today at work I've actually managed to get a hell of a lot done. Admittedly that is on the strength of three coffees where I usually have none, but still good stuff. This evening will be a sleep evening tho. Although I kinda feel like cooking... maybe a Woolworths butternut or somesuch. Totally had enough of meat after last night, and not nearly enough of vegetables and salad after the last... oh, month =/

Yay tax returns! The company accounting firm just asked for my MedAid and Retirement Annuity proof of payments so they can sort SARS out, so looks like I will be getting stuff back from that. *holds thumbs* On a related financial note, I'll be getting $175 for last month's running of the Kingdom of Loathing fansite on ColdFront (linked on the right). A pretty damn decent whack of cash for not a lot of effort =) Sounds like a winner to me. Just a pity that PayPal doesn't work properly in SA, since that would be the most convenient way to transfer it. I definitely want to organise getting that through to ZAR at some point, rather than having it languishing idly in a frivolous PayPal account. That every month is a car, ffs! Or rent.

And now, it is hometime. That butternut, I think, will need to be augmented some of those vegges in cheese sauce that Schpat brought along to the last roleplaying session. Yup yup.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Connor the druid and his bear Baldur were introduced to the group last night. Sarcastic motherfuckers is what they are ;) It was a fairly disruptive session, reminding me a lot of Alex's Tuesday game, and Al was getting rather upset. Also, it's the first time I've heard a group complaining about getting too much loot. There are a lot of +2 weapons and armour lying around, and a fair amount of magic items, some +3 amongst them. Ah! And I must submit my Faerie Fire / Fog Cloud question to Ask Zenstar.

After roleplaying, Alex, Schpat and I stood outside in the rain for ages discussing MMOs. I feel that a lot of Schpat's views about the communities in various of them stem from not having spent much (and certainly not enough) time in one. Admittedly I only know KoL personally, but I have been there for over a year now and have read a lot of things about various online communties and the way they work. For example, Penny Arcade and PvP are having a massive war on the DarkIron server in WoW. When they started it was basically a brand new server, then PA and PvP put out calls for fans to join the server on either the Alliance side for PA or the Horde side for PvP. Needless to say, thousands and thousands of fans did just that, to the point where there are several clans for each faction and the server is now one of the busiest. Regularly the two factions have massive run-ins as reported here, here, here and here, as well as loads of other posts if you're willing to sift through the archives some more. They seem to be having massive amounts of fun, with Gabe receiving loads of emails along the lines of "playing in a PA guild and battling the [PvP guild] Pandas has reignited [my] love of the game". I'm a PA reader, which is why all these links are to PA posts btw. Basically what I'm saying is that the community of a game is what you make of it, and your group of friends can be as large or small as you want to make it. Patrick was talking about how it would be nice if an MMO only had about 1000 or so people on it, so that you could know everyone.

What the fuck is up with New Orleans? I know people are desperate, but jesus people. Apparently the looting and rioting is so bad that the National Guard who already have the place under Martial Law are shooting to kill now. To kill. I heard this morning from a friend of mine in Ohio, which is a couple of states over, that there has been a fair amount of rape and attempted rape reported. Sorry, I don't give a fuck how desperate you are, rape is not on the list of things you need. There is no excuse for that. And that's supposedly a civilised nation.

I overheard some taxi drivers today talking about pirate taxis, obviously referring to unlicensed taxis (unlicensed for the route rather than necessarily an unlicensed vehicle). It conjured images of a taxi with all sorts of weird spikes drawing alongside another little taxi trying to desperately outrun it, followed by a boarding attempt and theft of the passengers. Funny =) On a related note, a few of the new larger taxis are starting to show up at the Cape Town rank. Good, I hope it catches on.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bleed, motherfucker

Last night's roleplaying game was cancelled due to lack of attendance by Mike, not that DAve let us know or anything. He claimed he sent SMSes, but he sounded very tired when I phoned him that afternoon, so he prolly forgot, or sent to the wrong person, or whatever. Anyway, so we went to Sidrianna's to play Vampire instead. Yancke got wind of this, and so came along and brought his L5R cards too. I had to stay at work to make up for the time off for Tuesday's interview, so I only got there at 8pm (ugh, taxiing home that late is a mission). Yancke was busy playing a demo L5R game with Dave while Si and Ada built vampire decks, and my god, the game went on forever. It's also really complex in terms of things you need to know before you start playing, whereas other card games try to limit the amount of prior knowledge you need, and add the complexity in the cards. Beer Money is not a good example of this ;) Anyway, it was a pretty successful vampire game for me when we did eventually got going. The play order was as follows: Dave (Toreador Anti), Simon (Gangrel), myself (Malk Anti), Ada (Tremere), Yancke (Malk Anti). Dave fucked Simon's vamps quite early, leaving me pretty unmolested and able to snack on Ada with little problem. She went to make us all hot chocolate ^_^ Then Yancke snacked on Dave, and I gobbled up Yancke shortly thereafter, despite him gaining 9 pool in one turn. Of course, on the turn after that, I bled him for 8, and after that it was curtains. Yay 2x Eyes of Chaos + Laptop + Enchanted Marionette =) Si made a voting error by diablerising one of my vamps and forgetting I had the edge, and so conceded after having one of his 2 remaining small vampires burnt. 4 of 5 possible victory points, not too shabby =) That left us at 2am, yikes!

Taxis this morning were a minor nightmare. Firstly arguments about which taxi people needed to get into, then major waits while they waited for it to fill up again after unloading people, followed by handoffs along the road ('Tableview, get into that one'). I did get to listen to some Xhosa dance music in the last taxi though, which was quite weird.

Tonight I get to start character creation for my druid-to-be =) Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!