Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Late night computer issues

Why is it this sort of thing usually happens latish in the evening?

Last night, for the first time since October, I decided to boot GuildWars 2. I rapidly noticed a serious lack of sound. Any sound.

Reboot computer. Restart game. No sound. No sound via speakers or headphones.

Boot Sims 3 - no sound.

In fact, the only sound I can get is via web browser - youtube videos and the like work.

Eventually I remember that I updated Windows a couple of weeks ago. I went checking and the laptop I'm using has its own sound system on top of Windows. And the support assistant for the system says there's an update for that software. Being midnight, I shut the computer and go to bed.

The next morning, get the update and install. Lo and behold, the computer has sound again - speakers or headphones. GuildWars and Sims both have sound too.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Random Nano 2012 snippet 2

For the record, I won NaNoWriMo again this year. 50,000 words though the novel has yet to reach the end.

Now for the new snippet.

“Well, what kind of story do you want to hear?” I asked her.
“I want to hear a story about a proper princess.” “Who has a pony.” “And a knight.” “And something really scary.” Well, I only asked one of them but ideas were bouncing everywhere.
I put one hand up. “That’s enough. So somewhere far away, there lived a lovely princess called …”
“Yes, exactly, her name was Daisy. And she was growing up in a castle because that’s where all princesses live, right?”
Every head nodded at that.
“Princess Daisy was very very bored. She had lessons; music, dance, geography, languages, history, and more. And she knew how to sew and do a variety of fancy stitches and everything else that a princess needs to know. But it wasn’t what she wanted to do.”
“What Princess Daisy wanted to do was to go explore the world beyond the castle. What good was learning geography if you never left the place you were born? Why learn a language that you never used? Why not visit some of the places mentioned in history?”
“But wouldn’t she travel with her clan?”
“No, her parents, her family always stayed in the same place. She never got to go outside at all. So one day, she decided that she was old enough and she wanted to go into the world away from her castle. So first she borrowed clothes from…”
The children looked at each other. “A maid?” “A servant?” “Someone who tended the ponies?”
“She borrowed clothes from the boy who tended the ponies. ‘You have to promise not to tell anyone.’ She said. ‘I cannot lie to the king,’ he replied. ‘If the king asks, I must tell him everything.’”
“Princess Daisy had to think about this but she realised that the boy could be in real trouble if he didn’t talk to the king. ‘Well, ok. You have my leave to tell the king if he asks.’ ‘Thank you, Princess,’ he replied. Now once Princess Daisy was wearing the clothes of the boy, the ponies seemed to like her a lot better. They all gathered around her, looking for treats. She looked at the ponies and picked a pretty white one with many deep brown spots.”
“Now the princess knew a little about riding but not a lot. Sometimes her family rode the ponies for special occasions but they never actually rode them very far. So she had to have the help of the boy who tended the ponies to put the proper riding gear on it.” While I have seen a few beast being ridden, I had no clue what the equipment meant be called.
“She watched what he did very carefully and tried to remember everything. She did know that once she left, no one would know she was a princess and they might not do things for her. When he had finished, she gave him a coin and rode the pony toward the big castle gates.”
“Now Princess Daisy was very brave or she would never have decided to see the world. But once she was on the other side of the gates, she was very frightened indeed. The road went through a forest and the princess had never seen so many big trees before. She rode cautiously along the road, wondering if she were doing the right thing. But it was a nice day and the princess liked how the light looked as it came through the trees. She slowly relaxed.”
“As evening came, she realised that she hadn’t considered what to do at night. Her bed was far away and she couldn’t see any lights or anything at all. ‘Well, Spots,’ she said to her pony. The pony snorted at her, it was trying to say it was tired and very hungry after a long day of work, but the princess didn’t speak pony. Finally, she was just too tired and she still couldn’t find any place to sleep. She slid off the pony and stumbled to a nearby bit of grass.”
“While the princess was still asleep, the pony decided it had enough nonsense already and started the journey home. So the princess woke, she hurt all over because she hadn’t slept on her beautiful bed and the pony was nowhere to be seen. ‘Oh dear,’ thought Princess Daisy. ‘This isn’t the best start to seeing the world. Still, I’m not ready to go home yet.’ So she decided to continue on down the road.”
I took a long pause and had a big drink. Not one of the children made a single sound while I had my drink. I put down the cup and just looked at them for a moment.
“Now a princess learns many things but there’s still a lot she doesn’t know. If she had known what to do with the pony at night, it wouldn’t have wandered away. And after she’d been walking down the road for a few hours, she discovered a new thing. That was that walking can make your feet hurt when you aren’t used to it. She sat down and rubbed her feet but soon after she started walking again, they started hurting again.”
“So the princess was very happy when she heard the sound of hooves on the road. Soon someone would come along and then she wouldn’t have to walk any further. When the rider was near, the princess stood in the middle of the road. ‘I demand a ride to the nearest town,’ she said. ‘Boy!’ replied the rider. ‘If I had time, I’d teach you better manners. Since I don’t have time for that, I’ll leave you to walk there.’ And he rode away.”
“Princess Daisy was very upset. No one had ever refused her anything before. She realised that she was dressed as a boy and finding a princess walking on the road might not happen too often. So she and her poor tired feet had to continue down the road. Another thing the princess was beginning to notice was that she was getting very hungry. She left before dinner the night before, no one brought her breakfast this morning and it was nearly time for a mid day meal.”
“So she was tired and hungry when she heard more hooves in the distance. This time, it didn’t sound like a rider but a wagon being pulled down the road. ‘So,’ the princess thought to herself. ‘I have to remember, they won’t know I’m a princess. They won’t do something because I tell them to.’”
“Again, she waited in the middle of the road. It was an old horse pulling a very ancient wagon. ‘Greetings,’ she said to the driver. ‘May I have a ride to the next town?’ The old woman stared at her and then nodded to the seat next to her. ‘You can have a ride if you like but Bess and I go slow these days. Might not get there any faster than you could have.’ Princess Daisy climbed up on the wagon. ‘I don’t mind, and thank you.’”
“‘Now my girl,’ said the old woman. ‘Why are you out on the road by yourself?’ ‘I’m a boy!’ protested the princess. The old woman stared at her for a moment and said flatly, ‘No, you aren’t. Clothes along won’t fool anyone for long. The road is a dangerous place for someone of your age.’ ‘Surely not. Our kingdom is known for how good the people are,’ declared the princess. ‘Believe me or not,’ said the old woman. ‘But don’t wander around too much at night by yourself. That’s just asking for trouble, that is.’”
“Well, the wagon reached town as dusk was falling. Princess Daisy remembered to thank the old woman then went off looking for food and a place to stay. It didn’t take her long to find an inn which served food and had beds for guests. ‘I’d like a room and food please,’ she told the host. He looked at the clothes and replied, ‘You’ve naught the money to pay, have you?’ Princess Daisy carefully pulled a half piece of silver from a pouch. ‘I do have money.’”
“The innkeeper took the coin and carefully looked at it. Then he hit her. ‘That’s for having stolen money, you young imp. There’s no one someone like you could have this much.’ The princess had been trying to be brave all day but this was the final straw. Tears flowed down her cheeks. ‘Tell you what lad. You can have a bowl of our stew and sleep in the hay outside the kitchen.’ While stew and hay certainly were not up to princess standards, she nodded. It would be better than no food and sleeping on the ground again.”
“The next morning, Princess Daisy quietly left. She wasn’t waiting to find out if the innkeeper was going to demand more coins or hit her again for stealing. The big world beyond her castle was so much stranger and more scary than she’d ever thought. Now when she reached the road, she had a choice. She could go back or go on. Now which do you think a princess would do?”
“Go home?”
“No, she’d go on. It has to get better.”
“Princess Daisy went on. She was determined to see something of the world and a few little things should never stop a princess. Now what the princess didn’t know was that the king and queen were frightened for their only child. They knew that the princess wasn’t ready to explore, she was much too young yet. They asked everybody in the castle if they knew anything. Eventually, they even asked the boy who tended the ponies. ‘Oh yes, she borrowed my clothes yesterday,’ he told the king. ‘She also took a pony but the pony came home yesterday.’ Now the king and queen were frantic when they found out about the pony. ‘Anyone who returns my daughter safely will be rewarded with gold,’ the king proclaimed. Well, many people thought they could find the princess and so rushed off to start looking.”
“Princess Daisy had gotten very very thirsty following the road. She thought she heard water nearby and went searching for the stream. It didn’t take long for the princess to realise that she hadn’t heard a stream and she couldn’t find the road again. She was tired, thirsty and hungry again. Being lost was the final blow. She sank down to her knees and started crying. This time, she let herself cry for a long time, she hadn’t done that when the innkeeper hit her. When her tears finally stopped, she was even more tired but she did feel a bit better. ‘I just wish I knew how to get out of this dreadful forest,’ she said. ‘But why would anyone want to leave the forest?’ a voice behind her asked. Princess Daisy gasped, she hadn’t heard anything creeping up behind her. Now when she looked around, she nearly screamed. There was a monster behind her. It was huge, over twice as tall as she was. It was dark red with big purple spots and when it smiled…well, it had the biggest sharpest teeth the princess had ever seen. She was certain the monster was the one who had spoken, there was no one else she could see. ‘No offence, kind sir,’ she started. She decided to be extra polite to someone with such large teeth. ‘It’s just the forest is dark, and there’s no food and there’s no water and I don’t like it.’ ‘There’s plenty of food and water. You just have to know where.’ Poor Princess Daisy trembled. She was terribly afraid that the food the monster could see was one princess. It started to walk away. Princess Daisy thought that maybe this would be a way to be rid of the monster but it turned around and said, ‘Well? Come on then.’ She knew the monster could easily carry her away if it tried, so she followed it.”
“Now the monster first lead her to a stream. She drank her fill of the cold water. ‘At least I won’t be thirsty if the monster eats me now,’ she thought to herself. Then the monster took her to a little meadow and showed her some berries and small plants that she could eat. ‘At least I won’t be hungry if the monster eats me now.’ ‘Are you feeling better, little princess?’ the monster asked. ‘How did you know I’m a princess? I’m not wearing my proper clothes or anything.’ ‘Don’t you think a monster can smell a princess when they meet one?’ ‘On my,’ thought the princess. ‘Would a princess smell?’ She decided to ask the monster a different question. ‘What’s your name?’ then she hoped that wasn’t a rude thing to ask. ‘My name is Balthus,’ the monster replied. ‘And you are?’ ‘Princess Daisy.’ ‘Well met, Princess Daisy. Is there anything more that your heart desires?’”
I paused for a little break and heard a few whispers among the audience. “The princess only thought for a few moments. ‘I wish to go home, Balthus. I thought the world outside was full of adventure and fun things. It isn’t what I wanted, and now I want to go home.’ ‘If I help you today, will you promise that someday, you will help me?’ Balthus asked. Princess Daisy nodded. ‘All right then,’ said Balthus. ‘Just follow me.’ He went off at a very fast walk and soon the little princess was far behind. She wasn’t sure if she should keep going or stop. Soon though, Balthus came back. ‘Why aren’t you following?’ ‘I was trying,’ replied the princess. ‘But you are so much faster than I am.’ Balthus lifted the princess into his arms.[arms?] and started off again. Because he was so much quicker than the princess, it didn’t take him long at all to go past the village where she’d spent the night. A few hours later and he was getting quite close to the castle. He approached the road and told the princess, ‘It’s best if you find your way from here. Everyone must be looking for you.’”
“‘Unhand our princess,’ said a gruff voice. Princess Daisy and Balthus turned around to find a knight ready to attack. ‘The princess is safe and well,’ replied Balthus. ‘I was just bringing her home.’ But once Balthus put the princess down, the knight attacked him. Balthus collapsed on the road, a huge gash in his chest. ‘How could you?’ the princess demanded of the knight. ‘He was going to eat you, I know his type,’ said the knight. ‘Now I can take you to the castle for the reward.’ The princess knelt by Balthus sobbing softly. ‘Is there anything I can do? You’ve been so kind to me.’ She took Balthus’s hand and squeezed it. It was then that Balthus started to change. He grew smaller in size, he went from [] to a human colour, his teeth changed and his wound healed. He sat up, ‘You have done all you need to do. I was under a spell and someone had to truly care for me to break it. You broke the spell.’ The princess and Balthus went to the castle together, since he wasn’t a monster now. Her parents were very happy to see their daughter and rewarded Balthus with gold and some titles. When the princess was old enough, she and Balthus got married and lived a long and happy life.”

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Random NaNo2012 snippet time

“Please can you tell us a story?” the little girl asked me. She patted one wing gently.
The chorus of “Please,” was almost deafening this time.
I nodded. “I’ll tell you a story, but I am going to need help. Once upon a time, there was a little boy called…” I turned to one of the little boys, “what do you think his name was?”
“Dario,” he said.
“Well done, exactly right. There was a boy called Dario who wanted to prove how big and brave he was. So he went deep into the forest all by himself. Now the forest was a big and scary place and Dario was sorry he had decided to go on his own. But he’d gone very far, and wasn’t sure how to get home. So he sat down on a rock to think. And when he sat down, the bushes nearby started to move. From behind the bushes came a huge and scary…” I looked at one of the girls, “What do you think it was?”
“A hufernut?” she replied. There were a few giggles at the answer, I wonder what this hufernut looks like.
“Huge and scary hufernut. Well, that scared Dario so much that he jumped up and ran faster than he’d ever run before. He ran as long as he could. When he finally looked back, the hufernut was no where to be seen. So he took a deep breath. When he looked around, he realised that he was twice as lost as before.”
“Wait,” said one of the older boys. “You can get lost but you can’t get twice as lost. Lost is lost.”
“True enough,” I replied. “He was lost and had no idea how he might ever get home. He tried yelling for help but no one answered. So he started walking the direction he thought might be home. Now after a bit, he knew he’d gone the wrong way when he found a very pretty house, deep in the woods. He walked up to the house and knocked on the door.” I paused. “What do you think was behind the door?”
“Another hufernut?”
“A beautiful princess?”
“An angel?”
“The door opened and he saw the most beautiful princess in the world. She smiled and led him inside. The first few rooms were the biggest and prettiest that he’d ever seen. But she didn’t stop there. The next rooms were still nice but she didn’t stop there. They went further and further, Dario was starting to wonder how big the house was. Finally she turned and smiled sweetly at him, ‘could you go in here and fetch me the brush that’s on the highest shelf?’ Dario dashed in only to find that she slammed the door behind him. ‘Foolish boy, so trusting. Soon I can eat you for my supper.’”
I paused for breath and looked around. All the children were staring intently, ready for the next part of the story. “Maybe I should stop there,” I said teasingly.
“No, we have to know,” several of them protested.
I felt the wagons draw to a stop. Since it was the middle of the day, I had to assume it wasn’t the camp for the day. “We stop in town. Marko and others trade. They trade things we make for things we can’t make. Be here a couple of hours,” Lina said.
I nodded. “So Dario heard the beautiful princess say she wanted to eat him for her supper. Then he watched in horror as the princess changed into…”
“A ranticor?”
“A huge yijer?”
“A wicked troll?”
“The princess turned into a wicked troll. Dario was very afraid, the troll was four times his size. ‘Oh no,’ thought Dario to himself. ‘If only I hadn’t gone for such a long walk. I’ll never go home again, the troll is going to eat me.’ Dario sat on the floor crying his eyes out.”
“‘Stop that,’ rumbled the troll. ‘You’ll make yourself all bitter and not good to eat if you do that.’ Dario cried all the harder. ‘If you don’t stop, I’ll come in there and shake you until you do.’”
“Now Dario didn’t like the idea of being shaken by the troll but he couldn’t just stop crying. And worse, he started hiccuping at the same time. The troll slowly opened the door, Dario backed as far into the corner as he could. The troll took one step into the room, and then another. Dario could smell the evil breath of the beast. Then they both heard a knock on the door.”
“‘You wait here, dinner,’ said the troll as he left the room and closed the door. Dario heard the troll walk away and could tell that it had changed to looking like a beautiful princess again.”
“How could he tell that?” asked one of my listeners.
“The princess had shoes that made a different noise than the troll’s bare feet did. When the troll changed, he was wearing clothes appropriate to a princess,” I explained. They all nodded.
“Dario very very carefully walked to the door. He touched it and found that it hadn’t closed completely. Dario opened it as quietly as he could. He left the room and looked around for another way out. There was absolutely no where for him to go but out the way the troll was. He crept along the hallway watching for the return of the troll.”
I paused and waited. “Please?” said Peter.
I smiled at him. “Well Dario was creeping along the hall, heart pounding as he wondered when he’d see the troll. He moved as quietly as he could and there was just no sign of the evil troll. As he got closer to the door, he heard a lot of noise. Metal banging against metal. ‘What could that be?’ he wondered.” He got to the door and saw a brave hunter fighting the troll. The troll looked pretty silly really because it was half in the beautiful princess disguise and half not. Beautiful hair and a troll face. A slender body and huge thick arms.”
“Dario wanted to help the hunter but he had nothing at all in his pockets. He was too young to carry a weapon yet. The hunter and the troll were fighting in the doorway, Dario was still trapped. Then he noticed that there were logs by the fireplace. He found one that was as big as he could pick up. He walked up behind the troll and hit it on the head as hard as he could. That distracted the troll enough that the hunter could finally plunge his spear well into the troll. The troll fell over, dead.”
“‘That troll wanted to eat me,’ said Dario. ‘Well, you should not go playing with trolls, that is what they like to do,’ the hunter replied. ‘I didn’t know it was a troll. It was a beautiful princess,’ replied Dario. ‘Use your brain, boy. Why would a real princess be way out here, by herself. Come to think of it, what were you doing out here?’”
“‘Well, everyone said I was too young to wander off by myself. Then I got lost and then I got scared and then I was here.’ ‘It seems to me, they were right. If you walked into a house in the middle of the woods knowing nothing about the owner, you are too young to wander by yourself. Where do you live?’ At those words, Dario told a lot of things about where he lived, the shops, the farms, and lots of things. But none of them helped the hunter work out where Dario actually lived. It took the hunter many patient questions before he finally could identify where Dario lived. He cut off the troll’s ears…”
“Ewww,” said several of the older girls.
“He cut off the troll’s ears to prove that he had really killed it. That troll had been eating people for a long time and there was a reward for those ears. Then he took Dario back to his home. ‘Boy, I hope that you learned a few things today.’ ‘Yes sir, I did.’ ‘Just remember, there are always things like trolls waiting to catch you if you aren’t careful.’ ‘And maybe they were right that I should be older before I wander in the forest alone.’ The hunter nodded and went on his way.”
“Now can you guess how Dario’s parents felt?”
“All that and more. They were scared half to death when they realised that the boy was missing. They couldn’t stop worrying about what might have happened to him. And when he finally walked in the door, they were very angry that he’d gone off into the forest that way. So they scolded him, then hugged him and then scolded him again. Dario told them about the troll and the hunter and everything else that had happened. They made him promise to never do anything like that again, which Dario did. After that, he was very careful to listen to what his parents told him.”
“What happened to the hunter?”
“He was very successful because he made sure he knew what he was doing. He killed many more monsters.”
“Did everyone like the story?” Lina asked. All the children nodded. I noticed that they all were more relaxed, the story had broken the barriers between us.
“Another story?”
I shook my head. One story was plenty for one day. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I'm sure I dream a lot more than I remember.

So it's only the wild and weird that happen when not not in deep sleep that you do.

So the dream where I'm talking to David Attenborough while he eats and he tells me that he needs a femistist to say a certain term to annoy his director was very odd indeed.

Though not quite so much as a vaguely remembered dream about pashing a girl.

No idea where either of those came from.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trip Itinerary

So we'll be off and about for quite some time. There's a nice guy who will be house/dog sitting for us while we are gone.

07 Aug 12 Tue Arrive Vancouver Ca

There's a conference there and a few spare days touring around (I have no details about this at this time.) We'll obviously get to Portland at some point.

23 Aug 12 Thu Depart Portland (Oregon)

23 Aug 12 Thu Arrive Miami (Florida) - my sister and sister-in-law live in south Fl.

29 Aug 12 Wed Arrive Chicago O'Hare Intl Arpt - Chicago to see nieces and go to Chicon

04 Sep 12 Tue Arrive Traverse City - visiting a place partly owned by Ross on an island near here

11 Sep 12 Tue Arrive Baltimore MD - potentially visit my aunt but there are many things in general to do here - and from here will go to the celebration of Ross's PhD supervisor's career

17 Sep 12 Mon Depart Washington  Dulles Intl - Start of the long long long way home.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Working on a skill

For the last 30 days, I had decided to try a sketch a day. Nothing too complex, just something every day.

Now I happened to have come across this LifeHacker article on how to get past the "I suck" barrier.

Several pieces of advice there make sense

  • take breaks - well, that was one advantage of sketching - I didn't work long enough on any one to need that but I can see it would be useful.
  • know when to quit and learn from your mistakes. Now I did this one several times. Sometimes I'd just rapidly realise that the thing I wanted to draw was way too complex for me or that if I kept trying to correct the problems, I'd make things worse.
  • try a smaller project - like above, find a simpler subject for sketching but one that still forced me to work at the skill
  • and KEEP practicing. 
So, while still needing a lot more practice to actually be good, 30 days of sketching certainly did prove to me that I could learn and get better at the skill.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Fallen (Part 3)

(disclaimer - reposting this - originally on tumblr.)

“Dark red. The whole underwing should be dark red.” I smiled at Raph. “I know, it’s usually done for contrast but I’m going for subtle dramatic.”

“Right, well, full body is going to cost you.” He pointed at the price list. I didn’t even glance in that direction, I’d been here enough times with Maria to memorise the entire list.

“Here’s the cash,” I handed him a small pile of gold and silver coins. Raph took the money and motioned me to the back of the shop.

“Right, full body. So, take off anything you don’t want dyed black. You can tie any of these,” he motioned to a large range of pieces of cloth, “around any bits of you that shouldn’t be dyed. When you’ve done that, I’ll put some protection over your eyes and we can start.” The pieces of cloth had obviously been used to keep dye off his customers in the past. Some were too stiff to be useful any more.

I removed my garments and tied one cloth around my hips. “Done.”

“You weren’t kidding about full body, were you? Now close your eyes.” I closed my eyes and he placed a couple of small sticky things on my eyelids.

He led me over the a small platform and then moved my arms and wings for best exposure. “Now just stay like that.” I could hear a small click then the platform started to slowly turn. I could feel the mist of the dye hitting me. Raph was spraying up and down very steadily as the platform moved.

It was only a few minutes later when he stopped spraying. “That’s a nice even coat, from top to toe. It’s pretty fast drying, so we should be ready to do the second colour soon.” I just stood still, waiting for instructions.

“Seems like forever since you or Maria came in. What’s been happening in your lives?” Raph asked.

“Well, Maria kind of pulled out of the party and dance circuit because she had a baby. A lovely little clouding.” I was trying to keep all of my feelings under control. “And she is more the party goer than I am. So we both stopped.”

“Well, maybe Maria should come by with the little one.” I could hear some rustling noises. “Should be ready for the secondary colour. Keep your wings well up and out. Let your arms drop to the sides.”

I did as instructed and felt the spray of dye against the undersides of my wings. This coat was finished even more quickly.

“Well, there you go, Luc.” Raph pointed at the mirror in the corner. “What do you think?”

I looked at myself in the mirror. The black coated all of me except for my eyelids and what the cloth protected. I spread my wings to see the red, such a deep colour it was barely distinguishable from the black. It should be impossible to see me flying after dark, even if the moon were full. “That’s perfect, Raph. Exactly what I was hoping for.”

“I don’t get much call for black, you’re lucky I had enough dye. And you probably remember, it will last 4 or 5 days or you can wash it off with the special formula. I’m sure Maria has some from all the dye jobs she’s had done."

“Thanks Raph, see you later.” I flew out the door.

There was still a couple of hours until dusk, and I was pretty sure that things wouldn’t happen until well past dusk. So I grabbed a bite to eat. Then I went back to my place, sat next to Celia’s crib and cried all the tears that I’d been holding back. Our Celia, our darling, was by now a groundling. What I was hoping to do tonight wouldn’t and couldn’t save her from that fate.

Finally, it was nearing dusk. I flew to my chosen spot and settled in for the night. From my vantage point, I could see both the exits quite clearly. I had no idea if my suspicions would prove to be right. Or if I’d have to come back a few times. Or if it was too late already, but I was pretty sure that wasn’t true.

Finally, sometime well after midnight, I saw a couple of staff members leave the building by the roof exit. One carried a small bundle, one that could easily be Celia. I waited until they were truly airborne before I launched myself into the sky. I wanted to stay within sight but far enough back that they wouldn’t hear my wing beats.

The flight lasted for about half an hour. Soon the pair were circling a small groundling village. I felt sure they were checking the village to ensure no one was about. So I looked for a place I could stay that wouldn’t be noticed by the groundlings or the pair I was following.

Soon they landed and placed their tiny bundle down on the ground near the centre of the village. I watched as they looked at the baby and then flew away.

I waited a few minutes, until I was sure they had gone. I kept an eye on that tiny bundle while I waited.

Once I was sure that the village was quiet and the others had gone, I flew down and picked up the baby. It was our little Celia. She was fast asleep, I suspect that they had given her something to keep her from waking during the flight. I gently felt her back. All traces of her wing nubs were gone.

“Celia, my sweet. I wish so much that your wings had grown in. But you can’t live in the city with us now. You will be a groundling for the rest of your life.” A few tears dripped from my face and splashed her. She stirred slightly from the tear drops. “I will watch to see who takes you in. And I’ll help them in any way I can.”

I had to fight every instinct, I wanted to carry her home and hide her away. But truly, the city is no place for the wingless, there are simple too many places where flying is the only way in or out. And I’d never seen anyone in the city who couldn’t fly. Of course, I held part of the answer to how that happens in my arms.

I had to put Celia back down. It was getting too close to dawn, surely someone in the village would be moving soon. I gave her the last hug I’d ever be able to and place her in the exact same spot. It nearly broke my heart to put her down.

I flew to a spot where I could watch over Celia without being seen. As the sun began its long slow climb into the sky, the village stirred into life.

At first, people only left their homes to care for their livestock. No one went near the tiny bundle that I cared so much about. By the time the sun was completely over the horizon, people were starting to walk around the village a bit more. Still, no one so much as glanced at Celia.

Then the baby finally woke and started screaming her lungs out. A few people went over to look at the baby but no one picked her up. It took all my will not to fly back and snatch Celia up again.

Finally, one female stepped forward and picked up the baby. She chatted briefly with a male and then they both returned to one of the small homes carrying Celia inside. I memorised the house so I could return later. For now, I had to fly home and talk to Maria.

The flight back to the city took very little time. I flew into our place and looked for Maria. It didn’t take long for me to reach the conclusion she wasn’t home yet.
So first I removed the dye using some of Maria’s left over removal goop. It took a little while to thoroughly remove the black. I listened but Maria still hadn’t returned.

Next I flew back to the healers. It scared the hell out of me when the healer at the greeting desk took one look at me, turned pale and scurried to the back. A few minutes later, the elder healer appeared.

“Lucifer?” she started.

“I’m just here to find out if Maria is awake yet. She’s not home.” I explained. I didn’t want them to think I was here to ask about Celia.

“She’s gone,” the healer said. I tried to work out in my head where else she must have gone if not our place. “She died last night,” the healer finally said when she noticed my confusion. “We think she woke up at some point, opened one of our potion cabinets, drank some random potions and then returned to bed. By the time we noticed that someone had been drinking some very dangerous potions, it was too late. She had died.”

“Dead? How can she be dead?” I could barely whisper the words, it was so hard to say. “You were supposed to be watching her.”

“We didn’t know she had woken. The night attendant wasn’t responsible. It was no one’s fault.” The healer sounded defensive about the affair.

I let loose an almighty scream and then just collapsed into a sobbing heap on the floor. Celia was gone. Maria was dead. It was too much. Far too much.

“Do you want me to,” the healer started to say.

“Just get out! Leave me be,” I shouted blindly lashing out with my wings to push away anything within range. I heard footsteps retreating and a door quietly closing. I just let myself get lost in my grief, keeping my wings moving back and forth so nothing would get close.

My brain wasn’t coping with this. How could my life get shattered so thoroughly, so quickly? What was I going to do?

Finally, my mind snapped into focus. There was the life celebration ceremony to arrange. I’d have to start contacting Maria’s family and friends.

The next few days were just a blur. I remember flying to visit Maria’s mother Helen. I remember collapsing on the floor again as I told her first about Celia and then about Maria. She didn’t let me fly home that night. I think Helen said something about not thinking I should go there for a day or two.

She was the one that made the arrangements for Maria’s life celebration. Sometime during the morning after, she realised that I was still in a state of shock, probably because I didn’t answer any question with more than a one word reply. Yes, no, maybe was about all I could cope with.

It was a mere two days later that we had the celebration. Maria’s family and friends gathered to remember all the good that she had done in life. School, work and her love of dance. Part of the celebration was a dance, everyone joined in. I was by far the most reluctant in the room. Dancing was so much what I associated with Maria that it was just painful to even try.

After approximately forever, the celebration was finally over. After I was allowed to fly home since Helen was positive that I was able to care for myself again. That bare, empty place that I was sharing with my family such a short time ago.

It was nearing the new moon, the nights were barely lit. I decided to take the opportunity to visit Celia’s new home.

First I went around my place; putting a few of her toys, a few clothes, a little food and some coins into a small bag. I didn’t want to take a lot on the first time. Just a few things that should help Celia and her new family.

I flew out of the city before the sun was too low on the horizon. I wanted to arrive before the sunlight had faded completely. I would have to be more careful that I wasn’t spotted by a groundling. But the hope that I might see Celia, even from a distance, was too strong to ignore.

For the last bit of the journey, I was soaring barely above the canopy. I stopped when I had a reasonably clear view of the little building that Celia had been taken into. My journey was rewarded, the woman I had seen before was sitting outside with a baby on her lap. Little Celia looked to be doing well, though at this distance, it was hard to be sure.

As the sunlight faded, the villagers all went into various buildings. When all was quiet outside, I flew down and left my little bag by the door to Celia’s new home.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Users - gahhhhhh

---------- form data begins -------------
Category : Other Feedback 
Text of other feedback : How can I have a login name and Password to access a research paper 
---------- form data ends -------------

ummm, no. Because you've left absolutely no details that would make it possible to fill this request.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tex Murphy - may return

Once upon a time, there was a quirky set of games about Tex Murphy

  • Under a Killing Moon
  • The Pandora Directive
  • Overseer
Tex was a detective in the film noir ages - but the games were based in the future. Lots of humor, action, etc.

Chris Brown wants to bring Tex back - and he's trying to raise the funds via kickstarter.
I'm hoping he gets the money to produce the game. I'll back it.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Fallen Part 2

(disclaimer - reposting this - originally on tumblr.)

Things actually went well that night and for some time thereafter. We did end up being partners for dance competitions. As you’d expect, the first few times we were eliminated pretty quickly, but within a couple of months, we were regularly making it to the final cut and sometimes won second or third place. Never quite first though, it takes quite a lot of effort to get the first prize.

At some point, Maria moved in with me. We agreed that her having a separate place made no sense after we starting spending more nights together then apart.

“Lucifer? I have something to tell you.”

“Yes, Maria?”

“I’m pregnant. I’m going to have your baby.” She watched me closely for reactions.

“But, but, you’re a cloudling, I’m a sunling. You know we aren’t supposed to breed.” The people of the city come in three types; the skylings - a light blue hue, the cloudlings - a silvery grey and the most common type in the city, and finally the sunlings - golden in tone like the sun. While all can live and work together, breeding is restricted by old laws to within your own type.

Maria was determined to have that baby, even if the law was against it. She refused to say who the father was to anyone who asked.

Our friends and family did speculate about it, since we’d been living together for months. But since Maria wasn’t talking, they didn’t push. The only one who knew the entire truth was Maria’s dame. The two of them secluded themselves in a small apartment at the edge of the city during the final two months, our story was that Maria wasn’t well and had to stay in bed for most of the time.

While I waited, I threw myself into the club scene with Mic at my side. I waged my body in The Cage. I’d dance with anyone willing to fly with me. I tried desperately not to think about Maria and the baby to be. I was lucky that none of the idiot things I did during these months caused me any permanent damage.

Finally one day, a brief note arrived. “Maria named her daughter Celia. They are both well and should be with you soon.” The note contained a picture of a tiny baby cloudling - a miniature of her lovely mother.

It was just as well that Celia was a cloudling. If a baby is born that isn’t of the same type as their mother, that baby is taken away to be left somewhere outside the city. There are no punishments for the parents, removal of the child is considered to be quite enough.

Celia, our own little piece of heaven, was such a delight. She was as lovely a baby as anyone could wish for.

Not a change of life I ever expected but she won my heart over very quickly.

We fussed over her, played with her, kept her as happy as anyone could wish. And she’d reward us with the biggest sweetest smile. She was perfect in every way; fingers, toes, her little wing nubs.


By the time Celia turned one, we were starting to be concerned. At 18 months, we had a very serious concern. Finally when Celia turned two, it was time to take her to the healers. Maria tried every delaying tactic in the books but not one of them helped.

“Sweetheart, we must. You know that we have to take her.” I told Maria.

“Luc, we both know that her wings aren’t developing. They haven’t grown at all since her birth.” Maria’s voice was intense with her worry.

It was true. Our lovely daughter was growing well in every way except one. Her wings weren’t growing with the rest of her. “I know, Maria. She doesn’t even try to use her wings. I’ve never seen her move them when she needs extra balance.”

“I’ve asked my parents, my friends and Celia should definitely be trying to fly by now. She never does, she’s perfectly happy walking. Our baby is deformed.”

It was true. If Celia basically had no wings, then by all rights, she was deformed. It was a serious and life threatening deformity. “Maybe it’s something that the healers can fix. Or maybe she’s just a bit slow with the wing development but it will happen a little later.” I sighed. “But the healers will have to see her sometime. We can’t put it off forever.”

Maria ignored my warning. All too soon, we were summoned to appear before the healers with an armed escort to ensure we attended. At the age of two, all babies had to be assessed by the healers.

Two staff members took one look at Celia and gently took her from Maria. “What? Where are you taking my baby!”

“Don’t worry, it’s part of the routine. She needs to be weighed, measured. All normal,” a male healer tried to reassure Maria.

“I want to watch. Let me go back there.” Maria tried to push her way past the healer, he gently deflected her back.

I happened to catch one of the staff coming out and shaking their head. My heart fell in my chest. The healer we were talking to said, “There are some questions first. This is your first baby, right?”


“And how is she progressing? How often does she crawl, try to walk, try to fly?” the healer asked quietly.

Maria sobbed and I closed my eyes. “She’s always moving. She crawls from one end of a room to the other in no time flat. She can walk too, but it’s not as often.”

“And flying? Is she trying yet?”

Maria and I looked at each other. This was the critical question. Maria started off by nodding her head. “Well…”

The healer interrupted her. “The truth is that she’s never so much as twitched them, isn’t it?” Maria buried her face in her hands.

“We haven’t seen her try her wings yet,” I replied.

“I thought as much. It’s a rare deformity that your daughter has. It’s a bit more common when different types have a child together. That’s why we discourage pairings like yours.” He stared at me. “You are the father, yes?”

I nodded reluctantly. At this point, there really didn’t seem to be much point in trying to hide it. “Yes, I am.”

He closed the folder containing the papers he had been consulting. “Well, that’s it. You may go home now.”

“MY BABY!” shrieked Maria. “I won’t go without Celia. Where’s my baby?”

“We’re taking care of her. She won’t ever fly so we are going to prepare her for a new life.”

“New life?” I growled.

“She’ll never be suited to life in the city. We’ll be removing the wing stubs than placing her with the groundlings. It’s where she belongs.”

“No! She belongs with me. She belongs with us. Let us take her home. We can care for her.”

“Now, now, calm down. Have some water,” the healer handed Maria a small glass. She drank it in a single gulp.

I didn’t actually quite see what happened next. One moment, Maria was ranting at the healer at very close range and the next, she was falling to the floor, already asleep.

“Will you go quietly or do I dose you up as well?” he said.

“What happened to Maria? What’s happening to Celia?”

“I’ve given Maria a sleeping potion, mixed with the water. She’ll sleep tonight, tomorrow you can come back and take her home.” He shook his head. “As for Celia, you’ll never see her again. By now, she should be as wingless as any of the groundlings. She’s young. She’ll forget this city soon enough and be just like them.” He looked me in the eyes, “So, are you going to leave quietly? Or join Maria in an overnight stay.”

I laid a hand on Maria’s right wing. It was probably the first time she would have serious rest in the last month, she’d been so worried about Celia. Maria’s wings were so perfect, why couldn’t Celia have been like her mother in that respect?

I had a plan and the plan required that I be awake tonight. Possibly more nights as well. “I’ll go. You take care of my girls.”

The first part of the plan required some scouting around. I flew around the building, noting the two exits. One at ground level, one on the rooftop. I looked carefully around for somewhere I could stay that wouldn’t be too obvious and yet within sight of both exits if possible. I found a spot on a nearby temple that was ideal. It even roof decorations which would meant one object more or less after dark was likely to be unnoticed.

That took some time. The second part of the plan was much more straight forward. I flew to a small shop that I’d visited a few times with Maria.

“Hey, long time,” the chief stylist greeted me. He looked behind me. “Where’s Maria? Don’t tell me you’re getting a job?”

“Yeah, she finally talked me into it. Look, can I get black? A full body job?”

“Full body job? We don’t have much call for those. But sure. What secondary colour were you after?”

I knew he was going to ask and so I’d been thinking about it. My golden feathers would be too easy to spot at night and I was hoping to be doing some stealth flying. Previous visits meant I knew the style was to use two colours. I wanted the second that wouldn’t ruin the effect.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some lifehacker suggestions

I do have an *extreme* tendency to get caught in mental negative loops. Once caught in the loop, I make myself depressed and annoy others.

This needs to stop

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Finally, it's gone public

I was working on one site for the University and it has several new features. Then was the long long wait because it wasn't public yet.

It's finally public and official. The Transit of Venus site.

Key features - updates to our base home page layout to include new areas.
New background image.
And most important, a page that can optionally include a google map and a Disqus comment box. The google map can happen any time content is added to our content management system with geopositions. All up, very cool.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Fallen - Part 1

(Disclaimer - I've been posting this to tumblr so some of you may have seen this already.)

The Fallen

I was surrounded by four, well let’s just call them angels, as we descended from the airborne city to a mountain top. Two angels to hold me still while two carried out the sentence.

Six times over, there was a loud snap followed by my screams of agony. The three main bones in each of my wings were snapped in half. The two who broke the wing bones were careful to realign them so eventually the wings would heal. But they would never be strong enough to lift my weight again. 

The angels flew away, up and out of sight. I watched, tears in my eyes as they soared away. Grounded forever more from my own stupidity.

Perhaps, I should start at the beginning?

Ah, the beginning, I’ll skip over the first memories, early lessons and etc. You’ve probably read so many of those that you already have a hundred such stories already rolling around in your head.

I was actually a reasonably good youth. I did work at lessons, I didn’t play around when I wasn’t supposed to. I listened to the elders and all the official storytellers.

My passion was flight.  Oh how I loved to fly. Of course, when you’re still small, they limit where you can fly.  I would spend some of every day soaring from one edge to the other of what the elders would allow. It was always in the floating city, never beyond.

My friends, my family, they all flew when they had to get somewhere. Me? I never wanted to stop. I was happiest in the air, feeling the wind shift under my wings.

As I grew older, I was allowed to fly further. Then when I finally reached my 100th birthday, I was allowed to fly away from the city and explore the lands below.

The first flight away from the city, it was so exhilarating. I plunged through a couple of cumulus clouds rejoicing in the cold damp air that made up the cloud.  And the warm bright sun when I reached the other side. Diving through a flock of pigeons just to watch them scatter. I know, that was juvenile, but it was fun and funny the first couple of times.

All too soon, I felt the need to return to the city. I decided to drop by my best friend’s house.

“What is your fascination with flying outside the city, Luc? Come on to the club, I can introduce you to some new hot chicks I met last week.”

My pal, Mic, was way more into clubs and girls then I was. “You know I hate the club. I like to talk to people, not shout at them.”

He laughed at me. “You’re not into talking to people even when you don’t have to shout at them. Come on, let’s go party.”

The club scene was pretty typical really. The music wasn’t as loud or as banal as I was expecting. They had a small live band instead of normal recorded music. The band wasn’t bad. Not great, mind you but not bad. 

There was a few people at the bar. Some of them casually trying out scents to see which they liked best and a few getting wasted on the cheapest scent available. I hadn’t really tried scents yet. Just another one of those ways I wasn’t like most of the people I know.

Like many of the more popular clubs, there was the Cage toward the back, for the thrill seekers. Outside the door to the Cage was an attendant who only opened the door after you signed a disclaimer. The lucky got out of the cage with a few new bruises. Broken bones were pretty common. Today’s game seemed to be for a pair to fly in circles around each other fast. The first to lose control lost the game. Given the size of the Cage, that also usually involved a big collision with a wall and I saw one wing broken within a few minutes of our arrival.

Most of the patrons were dancing, in pairs and alone. A few of the couples were utterly in sync; arms, legs and wings all in harmony. The average couple, more of a tangle of wings and arms then anything else.

I was leaning back against the wall, wondering how long I should wait until I could leave the club. Mic was pretty much in his element, I wasn’t worried he’d notice. He had a few girls who were watching him and his current partner with envy in their eyes.

“Hey, handsome. Holding up the wall?”

“Yeah, it was looking a bit unstable so I thought I’d prop it up.” 

“Can I take you away from that vital job? There’s a slow dance coming up and I *so* want to be up there.” I looked at the girl. She wasn’t the most attractive girl at the scene, but her eyes seemed to carry more of a spark of interest. She was wearing a black dress and had dyed her wings to match. The tips of the flight feathers were silver to add contrast.

“I don’t dance. This is what I’m good at,” nodding toward the wall.

“You don’t dance. You obviously don’t do the Cage, you haven’t the scars. You don’t do scents. Why the hell did you come?”

“Friend thought I needed to get out.”

“Well, in that case, I think you need to dance. Come on, it’s starting.” She grabbed my hand and started dragging me from the wall. After a minute of trying to stay put, I gave in and flew up to the dance.

By the time we had found a space, the music was playing. 

I can’t believe I let some chick I didn’t know talk me into this. She pulled me close and we started to dance.

Of course, slow dance is all about wing control. Some of the couples in the air had perfect control and rhythm with their partner. We tried for awhile to find a matching wing beat but her wings were just enough shorter than mine that it just wasn’t working.

I gently tapped her right wing with my hand. “Would you allow me?” She folded her wings and allowed me to take control of the dance.

Once I had control, I could maintain a slow easy spin like most of the couples in flight.

“So, My Lady, if you wanted to dance so much, why are you here alone?” 

“I didn’t come alone. I came with a date. The idiot decided he could rule The Cage tonight.” She nodded toward the pile of people nursing their wounds outside of The Cage. “He spun out in moments and cracked a wing. He won’t be flying for months.” She smiled at me. “I’m glad I talked you into this. You are very good.”

“So, does he look jealous?”

“Let me just make sure.” Her warm soft lips suddenly gently touched mine. “From his expression, I’d say yes.”

“Whoa, slow down there. I’d like to know who I’m kissing.” We were still slowing spinning in the air, arms tightly wrapped around each other. 

“I’m Maria. I’m 104, I have an office job, and I love to dance. Your turn.”

“Ok, I’m Lucifer though my friends all call me Luc. I’m 102, and I haven’t found a job that suits me. I do love to fly.”

The music slowed to a halt. I looked down to see a rather angry looking fellow glaring up at Maria. “Maria, do you like being the cause of club scenes?”

“Not particularly. I’m just here for the music.” She started extending her wings. I waited until she had enough lift before I released her.

“I don’t know about you but I’m ready to fly out of here. I think there will be a scene if we get close enough to your grounded friend.” I smiled at Maria. “You certainly did manage to make him very jealous.”

“He’s an idiot if he thinks I’ll sit around all evening because he has to prove something by going in The Cage. I could use some food.” 

We flew up and out of the club. Maria’s grounded friend had no hope of following.

“Come on, Luc. I know a little place not far from here. The food isn’t the greatest but it’s cheap and it’s filling.”

I shrugged. “Lead on, Maria. But I hope your friend doesn’t think to look for us there.”

She giggled. “My apartment isn’t far from here either. If the idiot doesn’t go to a medic to get his wing fixed, that’s the more likely place for him to be looking.” We were spiralling down to street level, just in front of a small cafe. “And, I’ve never been here with him.”

We entered the cafe. It was fairly quiet, it was between the times that people stopped to grab a bite before going home and when the club crowd would all want to eat.  We found a booth in a quiet corner and sat down. A bored looking waitress brought us menus. She perked up when she realised it was Maria.

“Hey, doll, good to see you back. And you brought another one? I like your style.” She winked at me as she handed me the menu. “That one is a wild one. Watch out.”

“I thought you said you’d never been here with the idiot?” I asked.

“I haven’t been with that guy but I have been here with a few others. As you might have guessed.” She closed her menu. “What will you have? It will be my treat tonight.”

We ordered. I ordered a basic sandwich. Takes talent to really get a sandwich wrong. She ordered the house special salad.

“So, Maria, is this night going somewhere? I don’t have expectations, one way or the other but I’d like to have this clear before too much longer.” It was a funny thing about having been slow dancing together. I felt like we’d already been an intimate couple. I wasn’t about to assume that Maria felt the same though.

She smiled across the booth at me. “Well, I was hoping that I might be able to spend the night at your place. Just in case Johnny boy does turn up at my place sometime tonight. He is going to be seriously peeved tonight. But I did have another motive,” she paused for a deep breath.

Naturally, our order arrived before she could continue that thought. Once the food was on the table, I realised that I was a lot hungrier than I expected to be. Fortunately for me, Maria was more interested in her plate for the moment. So for some time, the only sounds were our utensils hitting plates.

“Maria, you were about to tell me your motive for bringing me here?” I finally asked.

“Yes, right. I do have a motive. I told you I really love to dance.” I nodded. I wasn’t about to forget something in that short a space of time. “Well, there’s a dance competition coming up in a couple of months. But to enter you need a partner. And I’ve had no luck finding someone to enter with me. Most amateurs have long term partners, and I don’t.”

“So, you think you can convince me to be your partner?” I shook my head.

“Look, it may not be what you normally do for fun. But you have talent, especially so for one who says he doesn’t dance.” 

“I’m not sure I see what’s in it for me. I mean, for a start, how much time would it take?”

Maria reached for my hand. “Well, if we wanted to do it properly, we definitely want to spend 6 hours or more a week practicing. Preferably more.” She gently stroked the back of my hand. “The competition I have in mind requires 3 routines and one freestyle. I know someone who can help create the routines but without a partner why ask?” She interlaced her fingers with mine and gave them a small squeeze.

“This brings me back to the other question. What’s in it for me?”

“Well, I could try saying fame and fortune but that’s not going to fly for long. The only prize worthwhile in this class would be first and it usually takes years to get to that level.” She sat there chewing her lower lip. “Can’t ask as a friend since we’ve just met. It’s good exercise but I can tell you don’t need more exercise in particular.”

A few moments later and she let go of my hand. “Well, really, I can’t see that there’s anything in it for you. Except spending time with me and we don’t even know if we’d like each other.” She gave a deep sigh.

I looked at her closely. I liked her honesty and well, it had been some time since I last had a date. “Didn’t you say you wanted to go back to my apartment?”

She nodded slowly. “Yeah, I really don’t have the energy to deal with Johnny if he does turn up at my place tonight.”

“Let’s finish up here. Then see if you can stand to stay at my place, it’s been a while since I last had visitors. We can work out if we do like each other.” 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Once upon a time

Back in the year 2008, I signed up for a to-do service. Played with it. Forgot about it.

About a week or two ago, it started sending me emails about overdue to-do items. Due in 2008.

No idea why after all this time it started to do that either. Just freaking weird.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oh my

Good thing I have a personal policy against ever exposing where the hits for this blog come from.
Cause the latest set of referrers look like browser hijack urls.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New IPad arrived

Hubby got it engraved.

I need to check that everything important the iPad 1 knows about, the new iPad 3 knows about! But I think we are good to go, and he can take the old one and wipe it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Hubby has pre-ordered an iPad 3 for me.

He'll be adopting my iPad 1.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

I hate temptation

Temptations can take many forms. Today it was, oh, look so-and-so has their chat on. I haven't seen them in ages, I'd love to chat.

Lead me not into temptation, I can find it on my own.

a) the chat might not deliberately be on,
b) it's been red since I noticed it
c) really, no chatting with random friends while at work.

Hurray, I didn't do it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Local Frilled Neck Lizard

Look carefully at that skinny tree. A young frilled necked lizard is clinging to the lower part of that tree.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If you are a blogger user and in a different country

If you live outside the US, when you go to look at your blog, it gets redirected to

Currently, this is annoying because you can't edit anything directly on your blog main page, you have to go back to the blogger interface to edit it.

There is a trick!

Go to - this will stop the country code redirect (ncr == no country redirect)

Now you are back to the normal blogger space and can edit the posts and widgets directly from the blog page again. Yippee.

We can hope that eventually, if they force a redirect, they fix it so you can edit as normal.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I didn't hear about this until they made the complete movie but it's an interesting idea. They chopped Star Wars IV into 15 second clips. Fans then claimed a clip and remade it in any fashion that they wanted. There's animations, live reenactments, computer graphics etc.

So now they've remade the movie patching the best of those 15 seconds of fan made clips back together.
Check out the project here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

How to tick someone off in one easy move

Misspell their name. It's annoying, rude and careless.

Especially if it's a simple name. I don't care if Lyn is the common spelling in Australia. Mine is Lynn
It's not that hard and I don't know why you can't bother to get it right.

You want who to do something urgently for you? Well, if I find that Lyn you're after, I'll let her know. THAT ISN'T ME.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Referrer Spam

From time to time, I have some very odd url/domains hitting my blogs. I used to wonder how one got from there to one of my blogs.

The answer is, they don't. It's an automatic process that hits web sites hoping that the referrer log will be posted, therefore giving them a much wanted hit in search engine stats. I found it doing a search on one of the more persistent referrers and found it mentioned in the Blogger help forums.

Don't ever click a link from an unknown url in your stats. It will only encourage them and they could have some nasties waiting for silly souls if you do.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Why do so few pedestrians know?

I've studied road rules in a couple of different places and can find this advice online. And yet either few pedestrians hear of it or pay attention.

If you are a pedestrian walking along a street - walk FACING the traffic.
 "Always walk on footpaths or nature strips where possible. If there is no footpath or nature strip, walk so that you are facing oncoming traffic."

We walk dogs daily and very very few other people walking/jogging on the streets ever do this.

FACE the cars and live!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good deed for the day

"There is a lizard in the tea room."
There was too. It's a type I usually refer to as the nearly legless lizard.
Quite likely a Glaphyromorphus, though exactly which one is hard to be certain.
I caught the little guy, took it outside and released at the edge of a garden. It will be much happier there, tile is not a very good place to be for a lizard that moves like a snake.