This is my personal thoughts, opinions and musings place. I will also rant about things, especially politically-correct things that irritate me. And sci-fi. Did I mention sci-fi? There'll be lots of sci-fi stuff here. And movies, too. Mmmmm... Movies

Monday, February 28, 2005

Great Andromeda quotes

A zombie Andromeda episode? What will they think of next? I love it.

Dylan: “Rommie, why are the dead trying to kill us? Or kiss us?”

Tyr: “You're surprised? That's what you get for trying to help.”

Beka: “For the record, I hate zombies.”
Dylan: “Speaking of that, Trance, your body reacted differently to the parasites than the others.”
Trance: “Yes.”
Dylan: “Trance, are you dead or alive?”
Trance: “Yes.”

A couple new things happened to me today

I went to the mall today, after work, to satisfy my longing of being in a crowd of others of my own species. Human, that is. And so, a couple new things happened.

First of, some guy asked me to squeeze a boob. He had one arm around his girlfriend's(at least, I'm assuming she's his girlfriend) shoulder, and the other held what looked like a gag boob, which he was squeezing for all he was worth. I declined, of course, for a few reasons. First, I wasn't entirely sure where that boob had been. Second, a single, never married, 39 yo man doesn't do that in public, no matter who asks, or why; people misunderstand, and all sorts of complications result. Third, I wasn't entirely confident what he was squeezing wasn't his putative girlfriend's implant. So, I just smiled and kept walking.

Secondly, I had a Bison burger. Never had one of those before. I've had Buffalo burgers(they're supposed to improve your sex life, but that's not why I had it), but Bison meat is a first for me. It had a strange taste, stronger than beef, but not altogether unpleasant. All in all, it was a satisfying, if short-lived, experience. I'll be having it again, I think.

Drivers of Moncton, attention!

Which part of “Blinking yellow light on a pedestrian crossing means stop for pedestrians crossing” do you not understand? And it's not as though the light started blinking when you were 3 meters away from the crossing; that understandable. No, I watched you idiots when you were still a good 15 seconds away, and you still didn't stop. Grow up, and learn to leave the house a little earlier.

Rant over. Thank you, and good night.

That's pretty sad

Just reading a PCMAG article online, and I have discovered that there are about a dozen lines of article text on a page, but the page itself is so large, it takes five twirls of the mouse wheel to get to the bottom of it. So, you can honestly say that most of a PCMAG article page is ads.

Great new Flash game

Try to knock that pedestrian as far as possible. Ordinarily, I don't have much use for Anime, but when you can knock the Anime characters about in computer games, that's a whole 'nother matter altogether.


http://www.geocities.jp/lledoece/nanaca-crash.html

Great moments in TV history

Frylock: “Turn him over; that's how Jum Morrison died.” He's speaking of an unhappy doll, lying face down, after throwing up.
Meatwad: “Nah, just leave him there.”
Frylock: “What kind of attitude is that?” in a stunned voice
Meatwad: “Well, look at him. He's so unhappy.”
Frylock: “I'm going to get you a new, happier doll.”
-------- Aqua Teen Hunger Force - the program description on Rogers Cable is, “Food items solve crimes.”

Great new commercial

Just saw a great new commercial on TV. Well, maybe it's not new, but I just saw it for the first time.

Anyway, it's about a guy who accidentally dislodges a hotdog stand and rolls down the street. He gives chase, in an apparent attempt at saving the poor guy's livelihood, but he catches it, all he does is fill his hotdog with ketchup, and the lets it roll on down into the water.

I'm not really sure what the commercial is all about; it might be shoes, but I don't know. What I do know, however, is that often at work during lunch, we discuss more commercials than the programs they fund, they often being better than those same programs.

Another great commercial I saw was a teenage girl standing in front of a glass sheet, talking to her mother, who is on the other side of the sheet. It looks as though the woman is in jail, and the daughter has come to visit. As it turned out, however, they were in their home, and the mother was standing in the bathtub, cleaning it. “When are you getting out?”, the girl asks. “Soon, honey. Soon.” “I love you, Momma,” the girl says as the woman bends down to clean the bathtub.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

How a stand-up comedian can make it big in Canada

There are two steps. First, blame Bush. For everything. Especially if you're a Canadian comic moving permanently to the US. But even if you're an American comic, still blame Bush. For everything. Canadians love that sort of thing. It keeps them from remembering they, too, were once respected by the world, if not hated. Canada isn't hated or respected, and its envious of those who are.

“Your name is hated now. And respected.”
------ Andromeda

Second, make sure you get a new gig by 2008. Bush will be out of office by then, and you'll look like a silly ass if you keep harping on Bush.

UNIX prayer

Also good for Linux


Our OS, who art in CPU, UNIX be thy name.
Thy programs run, thy syscalls done,
In kernel, as it is in /usr. 2&>1 > /dev/null ; exit(0);
//(Amen)

Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain Sucking

“His world didn't include Betsy and her love. Oh, he wasn't cruel, just ignorant.”
--- Narrator, Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain Sucking

Betsy: “She just hasn't been the same since her brain went missing. They say there's nothing left up there. All she can do now is pat her cat and drive. A little.”
Doctor: “That's so sad. It's not even usual.”
---- Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain Sucking

“Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain Sucking” is a Canadian production, apparently shot in Toronto, Ontario. Shot in black-and-white, with old film noise added for atmosphere, it is campy, filled with really silly special effects(UFOs are popcorn-filled tinfoils suspended on string, and you can't really sit through it all in one sitting. But when you catch glipses of it every once in a while, it's actually quite funny, in a Canadian sort of way.

Is it my imagination, or are people truly insane?

I heard on the radio the other day that the U2 tickets in New York were sold out, but while they were still available, they were going for abour $3,000USD. That's three thousand, real money. You can buy a car for that. Being a fan and all that is fine, but correct me if I'm wrong, but... what the hell are you people thinking? Buy the album, for pity's sake. People don't want to spend $15 on a CD, but they'll plonk down three grand on a show? Where's the logic in that?

Drawn Together

Does it make me a pervert that I seem to have enjoyed the one episode of Drawn Together that I saw yesterday evening? It's hilarious, but very, very odd. In other words, just the sort of thing that I enjoy the most.

The times have changed



The times have changed, and the US Air Force has seen a need for a completely different type of tactical fighter/bomber. Highly intelligent, heavily armored, extremely maneuverable, and capable of inflicting punishing damage on enemy targets, it's only known weaknesses are a passion for chained up female virgins in flimsy body wraps and a love for Mexican rice with beans. Given more time, these issues can be resolved. In this image it is being readied for it's maiden flight. Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Anime, the bane of all existence

It is odd. I've found quite a few people surprised that I don't like anime. I don't like the art, I don't like the animation, I don't like the big, huge, round eyes, and the oddly Caucasion appearance of apparently Oriental, if not Japanese, characters. Just because I do my own type of artwork(of course, many people don't consider this art, but what do I know) doesn't mean I have to like every other type.



"We can't let them escape, all they have to do is eat three children, and there'd be the most appalling publicity."Posted by Hello



Donovan cringed as his wingman's battletank's fusion reactor governors let go and the entire machine, essentially a walking nuclear bomb, vanished in a fireball. Then he gritted his teeth and turned back towards the rain-splattered viewport. The enemy was closing, and this time the bastards were coming through, and nothing could stop them. Posted by Hello

Great quotes from TV land

“If the Americans insist on blowing alien ships out of orbit, the least they should do is clean up after themselves.”
----- Russian cosmonaught, Stargate: SG1, Season VIII.

Cute Flash games

Found these Flash games online. Check 'em out. Or not. No pressure.

Simpsons quote

Marge: “I'd really like to give it a try.” - Talking about trying a real estate career.
Homer: “I don't know, Marge. 'Trying' is the first step before 'failing'.”

Wireless rules the world!

So I have finally moved into the late twentieth century, and added wireless Internet connectivity, which means, dear friends, that I can now blog naked... from the bedroom... while in bed... and not get tangled up in thems fandangled cord thingies(none of which are color-coded, so I'm never sure if I'm hooking up the correct cable to the proper plug). This is especially true since I need two cables to hook up, one for the Internet and one for my local network. File server, don'tcha know. Due to my brilliant connectivity ability, I no longer need two cables, just the one, and I can live without the LAN connection. Eventually I hope to eliminate all that, and just use the one subnet, but for now, no.

This also means that I can also blog while watching TV, with the laptop on my lap(which, unfortunately, is the only thing likely to be on my lap, but it's a situation I've learnt to live with) and not have to drag huge unbendable cable bunches with me.

Andromeda Quote

“I'm tired of getting shot at. Just once I'd like to make missiles in peace.” Andromeda avatar

Added blogs to the sidebar

Added two more blogs to the sidebar on the right. Check out Awful Plastic Surgery and "The Earth hath skin, and the skin hath diseases. One of these..is called man.".

Sometimes I hate mornings

Woke up this morning when the alarm went off. Since I set my alarm to Radio not to Alarm, I panicked when I looked at it and it said 10:31. “My God!” I thought, “did I oversleep that badly?” It was only then that I remembered that 10:31 was actually the station C103.1, and my heart settled back into a more or less normal rhythm. “Good” I thought. “I have another 15 minutes to lie about in bed.” Then my brain slid fully into its gear system and I finally remembered that today was, in fact, Saturday, and I could stay in bed for as long as I liked. It was too late by then, of course. I was fully awake.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Best interests

I went to do some shopping after work today, but I was hungry, so I had a bite to eat in the store's own little food court area, and something tickled the side of my brain and gave me a thought.

One of the things financial adviser on TV tell people is to never shop for food while hungry, because that just makes you buy a lot more food than you actually need. So, if that's true, in whose interests does a supermarket build a food court?

Andromeda quizes

Shamelessly stole the link to Andromeda quizes from Andromeda Inspired for no purpose than to add content to my own blog. It's a sad life. Go check them out.

No statistician I am

There's a story on the web, ABC news specifically, that 1 in 6 Web users can distinguish paid ads in search results from regular links, the implication being that 5 in 6 can't. That's fine, and I have no issue with that. They're often difficult to tell apart, though not really impossible.

No, what caught my attention was the following paragraph:

The telephone-based Pew study was conducted May 14-June 17 and involved 2,200 adults, including 1,399 Internet users. Results based on Internet users have a Margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're not an Internet user, how does it even remotely matter if you can tell paid ads from regular search results? Why even include them in the study? Or is this one of those double-blind thingies?

Great book quotes

"Paranoia doesn't just run in my family, it gallops." Owen Deathstalker - Deathstalker
"I always admired your family's capacity for creative paranoia." Ozimandius, the House A.I. - Deathstalker
"Of all the A.I.s the Captain could've chosen, why did it have to be a perverted peeping tom?" Hazel D'Ark - Deathstalker
"I am large, I contain multitudes." Legion - Deathstalker

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 08

Reality - Continued 7

“May the Force be with you!” and “Use the Force, Luke!”

Possibly two of the most famous movie lines ever. Even people who hated those movies(and no, I'm not going to name them) are familiar with the quotes themselves. But in the immortal words of Cat from Red Dwarf, “What is it?”. Starting with this section, we will attempt to define what force is. And I'm not talking about that Force!

First, let's look a dictionary definition of “force”. For our purposes, we're only interested in definitions 4a and 4b. To paraphrase, force is something acts upon other objects. As such, forces are gravity, wind, sound. These are forces we do not see. There are visible forces, however.

Once such is a moving wave. When a wave hits a boat, it rocks from side to side, depending on the size and strength of the wave. This is also known as kinetic energy. Let's look at the way these various forces act on objects.

Take, for instance, gravity. Ordinarily, we don't think about it. Of course, we're aware of it on a subconscious level, and we take it for granted. We rarely even think about it, we just know it's there, being, well, gravity. Knock a glass of a table and gravity will break it across a floor for us. Jump out of an airplane and you have an appointment with the ground eventually. Bad gravity! Bad! But wait! There's more! You want to go for a car ride? Gravity's there to help you accomplish that goal.

“But I thought it was friction that lets cars move?” you say. Well, true. But without gravity to hold the car on the ground, friction would do you no good whatsoever. So, gravity can do good things and bad things. Of course, as far as gravity itself is concerned, they're neither good nor bad, only how we perceive them. Hang yourself upside down from acrobatic rings and your hair will move straight up, only it will actually be hanging straight down.

What about wind? Well, stand atop a hill in loose clothing on a windy day and you get two demonstrations of wind for the price of one. First, wind tries hard to move you in the direction it is travelling, and second, it succeeds partially with your loose clothing. If it weren't for the fact that solid objects can't move through other solid objects, your loose clothing would blow straight off. Instead, it just flops around in the wind. So, here we've just introduced resistance to force.

Now, what about wind blowing against a flexible object, such as a tree? Well, as the wind blows, the tree bends with it. If the wind is strong enough, and the tree is weak enough, the tree will break. Wind blowing against water will produce waves.

Let's take a quick look at sound. By itself, sound is simply a vibration that is passed through other objects like a rock, air, water or glass. Most objects have some facility to transmit sound, but they change it as it passes through them. Sometimes the force of sound is so strong and of just the right frequency that it breaks other objects. Case in point, some kinds of singing by certain people and wine glasses. I don't really know if it's possible in real life, but movies sure make a lot of use of it.

Phew! This was a long one. In the next section, we'll talk about how all this hangs together. Please stay tuned...

Woo Hoo!!!!!!

I'm past 100 on the counter! Let the fireworks begin!

Great TV quotes

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Which is a problem.
If you are powerless.
------ Andromeda

"All we need is good discipline, stay in shape,
and not have so many mysterious deaths, and we'll
have the best season ever."
A jock on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Obnoxious commercials

There's a particularly obnoxious commercial currently running on Space, The Imagination Station. It shows this old woman being shown some weird symbols appearing all over the place. And wouldn't you know it, within moments she starts choking and coughing, only to barf up a disgusting piece of CG with that exact symbol on it. I mean, the whole thing is gross. Ewwww.

By the way, if you want to see what the symbol looks like, it's in the top left corner of that web site. That's right, you got it. It's a commercial of itself, running on itself. Ewwww. Gross.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Of anthropology, hoaxes, ancient history and religion

There've been a few weird articles circulating on the web news services(possibly even on TV, but I don't watch TV news) about a German anthropology professor falsifying carbot-dating records for various artifacts, thus disproving his own claims about finding a missing link between humans and neanderthals and about them having coexisted together, thousands of years ago. The concensus the scientific community is apparently reaching is that they're going to have to rewrite human history between 10,000 and 40,000 years BC.

Now this, of course, is a major blow to science. Something that was being being taught in (at least some) schools is now been proven to be a fake. Not an error or an honest mistake, but a purposeful fraud.

Some Christians on the web are, of course, crowing with delight. Look, see, we told you, they say. The science is wrong, we told you so, and look how long it took for you to figure that out. The last time this happened, it took 40 years to figure it out. This time around, it took 30. If this keeps going for a hundred years or so, they say, the scientists will be able to detect these frauds after 10 years.

True enough. However, in their rush to condemn science and promote their own agenda, they're forgetting that it was science that found itself to be in error, and publicly admitted it and confirmed it, when it didn't really need to. Religion, any religion, is incapable of such a thing. It took huge lawsuits and massive media coverage to get a religion to admit that it might, just might, have a problem with priests and little boys.

And in fact, religion seems inordinately concerned with what science thinks of it, and wants to be proven right by it. This is due to the fact that religion, on its own, cannot prove or disprove itself, or science for that matter. Even when it tries to, it can only do so through its own investigators using the scientific method, since the religious method of 'faith' that all members are told they must have cannot uncover new facts or disprove old ones, only articles of faith.

The point of all this is that what happened with the anthropology hoaxes doesn't damage beyond repair the science of anthropology, no more than burning people at the stake for thinking the world was spherical and revolved around the sun damaged beyond repair the religion responsible. In fact, I think it strengthened it, instead. It forced changes, which led to improvements.

Why is it always me?

Why am I always the one changing the water bottles at work?

Goodbye, we hardly knew ye!

Well, now that Enterprise's been cancelled, I guess the fans will be blamed for not wanting any more Trek when in reality, the fans simply didn't want bad Trek. And Enterprise surely qualifies. As a separate sci-fi show, it probably wouldn't have been quite so bad. But as part of the Star Trek Universe, it was pretty bad.

One hundred Percent

From a strictly mathematical viewpoint it goes like this:

What makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

If:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:

H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%



and


K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But,

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

And,

B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T
2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G
1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Bullshit and Ass kissing that will put you over the top.

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 07

Reality - Continued 6

Let's continue our discussion of water and fluids.

When water(or any liquid, for that matter) flows, it does so in a particular manner. The flow isn't even, it breaks up on the sides and splashes, it coallesces when it hits a deep pool of liquid. It also makes a noise that is unmistakable.

What else can we think that water does? It drips. Watch it some time. Take a beaker of water and slowly, very very slowly let it pour out. Watch the water drops form on the tip of it, then break off and fall to the ground. For now, that's enough discussion about water movement.

Let's now talk about how water affects objects around it, and objects that are in it.

Splash some water on a stone and what happens? It gets somewhat brighter, and becomes more reflective, in the areas covered by water. This changes when the object dries and the water evaporates. Once that happens, spots may be left on the object where the water touched it.

Waves on water have a distinct pattern and work in certain ways. There may be mist in the air(mist is another way of saying that an amount of water has broken up into really tiny particles). When waves hit an solid object, they break and foam is formed in some cases, especially when the waves land on the beach.

Depending on the type water you're looking at, the surface may be relatively reflective and refractive. The reflection and refraction will not be smooth, but will follow the contours of the waves.

Under the surface, water may contain a large quantity of particulates like dust, air bubbles and small marine animals. Light from the surface may be refracted, and in many cases, especially oceans and lakes, you can actually see light itself in the water.
For now, we're finished with objects. In the next section, we will look at forces that act on the objects around us. Please stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Is this real? Is this happening?

Oh! My! God!

There are two, count 'em, two, Paris Hilton movies coming. One's already done, and the other is in post-production.

What is the world coming to? Maybe I'm being too hard on the poor girl, but... but... somebody's gotta do it.

Good and evil

I have always wondered about something in the discrete pieces of entertainment we receive from Hollywood in terms of movies and from publishers in terms of books. In virtually every case, some hero, sometimes a flawed hero, must battle unbelieve odds, all driven by the darkest of evils. He may have some-time allies but few real friends, he almost never has any super-powers or super-weapons. Yet the evil he is fighting has the best that money and influence can buy. They may have numbers of their side, or some superior weaponry, and in many cases, evil itself takes a direct hand, though often it's through powerfully endowed minions.

Why is it that in movies and books, forces of good never take a direct hand in anything. They rely instead on some person, who may not want the job:
Trance: “You are the leader of the forces of light.”
Dylan: “Well, that's a job I didn't ask for.”
---- Andromeda -----

Or, for example, on Stargate: SG1, the Ancients are a race of humans who had ascended to a non-corporial state thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years ago. Powerful beyond reason or sanity, they will not lift a finger to help those who are descended from them, even as a half-ascended monster enslaves millions and threatens the galaxy. They even go so far as to punish those of their own ranks who try to help the powerless humans.

Just once I'd like to see the Gods(or an ascended variation thereof) come and smite the evil ones down themselves. I suppose it wouldn't make for a good story, though, probably make it feel too much like deus ex machina.

Constantine

Well, I just saw Constantine, and I can't really decide whether I hated the movie or liked it. It's one of those. The religion aspect of the movie didn't bother me, but it certainly has other people, especially some Christians. I'm not going to do a review at this time, since the movie just came out and there're plenty of people out there might not have seen it yet, and some of those people might be stopping by here. I'll do one later, in a couple of weeks, especially if I go watch it again.

I don't know how this came to pass, but...

For some reason, I was thinking about a really good, in a painfully bad sort of way, show called Black Scorpion. It was cheesy, had bad F/X, was relatively badly acted and had really illogical scripts. On the other hand, most female characters looked like centerfold models, wore armour, carried funky weapons, and weren't afraid to be evil in a cheesy sort of way.

So why are there no fans of the show on the blogosphere?

Are you a nerd?

Find out.


I am nerdier than 75% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Weather prediction: why do they bother?

In Iran, it is apparently against the law to predict the weather; something about trying to discover the will of God(in my mind, that also means that any weather-related disasters are not for us to fix or put right, at least not in Iran). I don't know if it's true or not, and I'm certainly loath to agree on anything with Iran, but why do we attempt to forecast the weather? Or, put more precisely, why do we claim knowledge and understanding of future weather patterns when we can't even forecast 1cm of snowfall for the following morning.

Before going to bed last night, I checked the weather forecast, and it said no snow was expected from then till Friday or so. I wake up in the morning, and what do I find? Snow on the ground, and more on the way, though admittedly only about 1cm or so.

So, given all that, there are people out there, running around flapping their lips about Global Warming(tm) and how it'll raise global temperature by a degree or so, in 50 to 100 years.. How can you, when we don't know what tomorrow will bring, let alone next week?

My challenge to the Global Warming Community(C) is as follows: when you explain to me how humans(and more specifically, humans on the North American continent) were responsible for the ending of the last ice age, I may come to accept that global warming is more than a natural cycle of ups and downs.

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 06

Reality - Continued 5

Before we discuss water, let's recap what we've learnt about objects.

To summarize, every object has certain properties such as color, reflectivity, highlights(sometimes known as specularity), transparency and refraction. Even objects that have, for example, no reflectivity, such as cement, are said to be non-reflective, in other words their reflectivity is zero. They are not said to have no such property as reflectivity. So, what we're really saying is that we measure property strengths using a range of values. Take a deep breath now, and read it again. And again. It will make sense eventually, I promise.

Some objects can perform certain types of actions, such as holding things or moving them. This becomes important later on in our discussion about how reality relates to 3D computer graphics.
Now let's talk about water. What is water? Well, the web has a number of sites dedicated to the discussion of water, and all its many varied meanings. What they all have in common, however, is that they say that water is a liquid, and a liquid's most important property is that it is able to assume a virtually unlimited number of shapes, all defined by the forces that act on it and the objects around it. This shapeshifting property of water is also controlled by a property of liquids called viscosity. It controls the fluid's resistance to flow.

Water, and many other fluids, also has the ability to easily break up into many, many irregularly-shaped blobs due to external influence. Take a spoon and slam it into a bowl full of water. What happens? Pour water from a glass onto a cement floor. What did you observe? Depending on many factors, water may break up into countless small pieces that coalesce back into the whole at the smallest provocation. Pour water from a glass into a lake, you'll see it break up for a moment, then merge with the lake so much that you'll never be able to tell it apart, unless it's a radically different color. If that's the case, then the colored blob will dilute with the main lake water and eventually disappear entirely.

When you poured water from a glass unto a cement floor, did you notice how fast the water flowed? That's because it has low viscosity. Higher viscosity fluid such as motor oil will flow much slower and will break up a lot less than water will. That's one of its properties.

Stay tuned for more discussion of water and fluids...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Doll Maker



A little something I found on the web. I just thought it was cute. The Doll Maker Posted by Hello

No time today to blog

Working from home just doesn't leave the kind of time it takes to blog. More's the pity. Oh well.

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 05

Reality - Continued 4


In the previous section, we spoke of reflectivity and highlights of objects. Both are aspects of light, but properties of objects. Take a look a bright, polished bronze door knob. Can you see your own reflection, even if it's indistinct? That's reflectivity. Does one part of the knob look shinier than the rest? That's highlights. Every object in the world has both, in varying degrees. Some objects, the polished metalic ones, will be highly reflective with large highlights. Others, the dull cements and bricks, will have none of either.

There are two additional properties of objects that are directly related to light: transparency and refraction. Refraction is related to transparency in so far as you can refract light only through a medium it can pass through. In other words, if light strikes a solid object such as a piece of wood, it cannot refract because it cannot pass through it. It can, however, refract through certain types of glass, and most especially through water. This becomes important later on.

Please stay tuned... In the next section, we will talk about water.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Where can I get such a job?

There's a McDonald's commercial playing right now about how difficult it is to make money and how we should spend it all at McD's on their cheapo burgers. To demostrate the difficulty in making money, they have a guy in body armour, covered from head to toe, collecting golf balls on a covered golf driving range, while people are actively lobbing balls at him. It strikes me as I watch this that, under certain circumstances, that might actually be a fun job.

Zombie movies and other undead thoughts

So why am I in love with zombie movies? I don't really know. What is it about zombie movies, especially modern zombie movies, that makes me want to watch them over and over again? I was never really a big fan of the old '70s and earlier efforts, just the newer ones.

Maybe it's all the hot chicks that play important, powerful roles in most of these movies, Shaun of the Dead being the notable exception. I just don't remember important, powerful roles in that movie, other than for whining and complaining about not being loved, and a target for major plot development.

This doesn't mean that I liked all the recent zombie movies. For example, I wasn't particularly impressed with Dawn of the Dead, or even worse, 28 Days Later. Dawn of the Dead I didn't really like, but I can tolerate it, even watch it occasionally. Hell, I even own the DVD(bought for less money packaged together with Shaun of the Dead than a single Dawn of the Dead DVD). But 28 Days Later irritated me to no end. Absolutely hated that movie. Maybe it was the tired formula of making the military the bad guys again that did me in, but for whatever reason, I refuse to spend money on that movie.

In any case, the two Resident Evil movies I loved. Chicks with guns, you can't go wrong. Or even, for that matter, House of the Dead. A pretty bad movie, all things considered, but I have a weakness for chicks with guns and kung fu moves.

So, here's to me and my love affair with zombie movies. May there be many, many more opportunities to indulge myself.

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 04

Reality - Continued 3

Let's continue our discussion of what objects do by switching focus to something more complex, like light. Light can be thought of as an object that has a source. It may be totally invisible in its own right, but it also has the ability to change the color, brightness and other properties of many other objects in its path. Thus we have defined that light has a source and a direction. The source of the light may be a chemical reaction or heating element emiting light or any of a myrriad other sources.

“But wait!” you exclaim. “What's this about direction? When I turn on my upright floor lamp in the living room, it lights up the whole room, even though the only opening on the lamp faces straight up.”

You're right, this is exactly what happens, but keep in mind that we see light on how it hits our eyes, so if your lamp faces up and the room lights up, what we're seeing is light reflecting off of the various objects in the room, including the metalic lamp shade that's open at the top. And depending on the design of your lamp, we may even see the actual light source, but if there were no objects in the room, the light wouldn't actually do anything other than be a big glowing blob hanging in mid-air. In other words, we see light as a reflection of photons from surfaces of other objects.

What other properties does light have? Well, it has color, it cannot pass through solid objects, thus casting shadows(which themselves have properties), and it has intensity. All these properties of light define not how light itself looks but rather, how objects off which it reflects look. Which brings up another point about two additional properties of objects: reflectivity and highlights.

Please stay tuned...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Halifax Gardens


How about a little something brighten up a dreary winter morning? Posted by Hello

So I think I finally made a decision regarding gaming platforms

I think I'll stick with PCs for playing games. Hell, even years ago in an obsolete MechWarrior game on the PC, when you turned your mech around, it actually stomped its feet to do that. On the XBox, it just magically turns around. Details, people. Details. It's the details that make for an exciting, immersive gaming environment.

Well, it was a good idea while it lasted. Oh well.

Extreme low tide in Nova Scotia


Extreme low tide in Nova Scotia, spring 2004

The Bay of Fundy, which this side of Nova Scotia, faces, has one of, if not the largest, tides in the world. That's why that lighthouse looks like it's sitting in the middle of a dirt field. When the tide turns, it will flood that entire area, and it'll look so natural, you won't even question it.

Posted by Hello

Fog in Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia, late spring, 2004

The fog bank was so thick you could almost walk on it. You could actually feel it rolling in from the ocean. This was one of those moments when it cleared long enough for me to pull over, grab the camera and take the shot. Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Yet more quotes from Andromeda

"Every celestial body has an avatar."

"You're the black hole's avatar?" You know, that sounds dirty, but it really isn't. This season, they're really thinking big. Meeting living celestial bodies, fixing entire suns, that sort of thing.

Gaming platforms and other oddities

So I borrowed a friend's XBox in an effort to determine whether or not I should put out the cash for one, and I rented some games. MechAssault and Mercenaries. Thing is, I'm not sure I like it, not playing with those damn controllers, at any rate. Whatever happened to the stunningly easy joystick, escpecially the 3D joystick, interface?

Friday, February 18, 2005

OK, so I can't decide...

Should get an XBox? On the negative side, I would be supporting M$ more than I have to. On the positive side, I'd be able to play the newest MechWarrior game! Woo hoo!

Or, should I get a PS2? On the negative side, I wouldn't be able to play the newest MechWarrior game. On the positive side, I wouldn't be supporting M$ more than I have to.

Should self-interest(playing MechWarrior) win out over the desire to stick it to The Man(not supporting M$)?

Decisions, decisions...

I've said it before, but it bears repeating, so...

Is it my imagination, or is Amanda Tapping getting really hot in her old age?

My hate knew no bounds yesterday

As I watched an episode of Voyager and realized that the great massacre memorial they came across was basically the monument thingy from Star Trek TOS that wiped Kirk's memory and made him marry that really hot alien babe while an asteroid hurtled toward her planet that the monument thingy was supposed to deflect with a tractor beam.

Odd quote from Andromeda and other oddities

Tyr Anastasi(sp?): "Let God sort them out. Oh, wait." Laughs. "Someone told me God was dead!"
In the middle of a battle with the Nietzcheans

Has any else noticed that they give really picturesque last names to their starships on Andromeda? There's Andromeda Ascendant, to which you refer simply as Andromeda in informal situations like ordering it to destroy somebody else's fleet, but you introduce it as the Andromeda Ascendant in formal situations like *threatening* to destroy somebody else's fleet. Then there was the slightly insane Pax Magellanic that killed its own captain because it loved him, and the somewhat more insane insertnamehere starship killer that looked like Daniel Jackson from SG1 that went nuts and started blowing away other people's starships for no real reason.

I guess they aren't as smart as they thought

So, these Replicants in Stargate: SG1, they think they're so smart. But are they? Hell, they don't even have hyperthreading CPUs. This humanoid replicant, Five, had to stop everything he was doing and concentrate on another replicant, getting him to do his work. Sure these Replicants can strip down whole civilizations and planets to reproduce, but can they multitask worth a damn? I think not!

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 03

Reality - Continued 2

In the previous section, we talked about what the objects around us are. We talked about their color, their shape, and other properties. In this section we are going to talk about what our objects do.

Now that we understand what the properties of the objects around us are, let's now turn our attention at what actions these objects can perform. As an example, let's take a look at the desk.

At first glance, it may not seem like our desk can do very much. After all, it just sits there, looking solid, taking up space and holding up the computer we talked about earlier. But if you look closely, you realize the desk has drawers and possibly even a keyboard tray.

Drawers. Those wonderful dark places that hold our molding sandwiches and expended batteries, for which generations of bugs will forever call you Deity. Why do drawers hold our molding sandwiches? It is because they have four walls and most importantly, a bottom. The four walls prevent objects from falling out, and the bottom prevents objects from falling through. Why? Because they are solid objects through which other objects cannot pass. Unless you're a member of Mutant X and your power is the ability to move through solid objects, but let's not talk about that now.

Now, you may think that this is what the drawers do, they hold things. Unfortunately, that is not so. Holding of other objects is a property of drawers, not an action. What the drawers do do, is move, in and out. As they move, they also move the objects contained therein, because one property of many solid objects, including drawers, is friction. Friction is present in lesser or greater amounts in different objects. This is why your tires spin almost instantly on ice(which is a property of water and doesn't have much in the way of friction), but it takes gunning the engine on dry pavement(which has quite a bit of friction) to spin tires.

In the next section, we'll continue discussing what objects do. Please stay tuned...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In defense of incongruity

We hardly ever see female Goa'uld on the Stargate: SG1 TV show, but when we do, they're usually top-heavy, have that cool Goa'uld voice and most importantly, they have the über-cool fashion-accessory eyes. Of course, that cool Goa'uld voice is totally incongruous with the body, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Best quote from a TV show while in the middle of a battle:
“Who's your daddy!” Jack O'Neill, Stargate: SG1, shouting at the replicants and shooting them.

Hockey: a fine time-wasting tradition

First comes this Story about the NHL season being cancelled. It features people who have come to believe their own propaganda about themselves.

Next comes this Story about fans of the NHL, who appear to have shown intelligence.

Sometimes watching too much TV can trap you in your own expectations

It is a known fact among my friends that I have watched and read far too much sci-fi and fantasy. Ordinarily, this means that I'm pretty jaded when it comes to new TV shows and movies. It also means that I usually know what to expect in various episodes of various TV shows.

Take, for example, a standard scene in many sci-fi and regular action movies. Somebody goes into an out-of-the-way small room while their location is under attack. Once in that room, the person is knocked unconscious and the camera zooms in on the that person's head and fades out. Moments later, the person awakens to discover that he/she is the only one left at the location formerly under attack. Within moments, he starts seeing halucinations, old friends and relatives, coming to visit out of nowhere and dispense wisdom.

Ordinarily, in a scene such as this, everything that happens to this person while he is alone is actually a dream he's having while unconscious and all the friends telling him to stay awake and get himself help is his own mind fighting to survive. Also, there's usually a spectacle of the location itself being slowly destroyed as the mind begins to lose its grip on reality. Finally, the person wakes up on a medical gurney in a hospital somewhere and all is well with the world.

This is where watching too much TV can trip you up.

Every once in a while, the writers who write all this stuff get a new idea from somewhere and totally mess you up. This is what happened on yesterday's Stargate: SG1. The whole thing was not a dream and it was actually happening. I groaned when I came to believe that it was nothing more than another dream episode, but it wasn't so. That made it one of the better SG1 episodes.

P.S. The fact that I'm even able to write this proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I've watched far too much TV. Not that I have any intentions of stopping.

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 02

Reality - Continued 1

In the previous section, I talked about what makes up our physical world, the objects, life forms and most importantly, the forces that act on them. In this section, I would like to talk about the objects that are all around us.

Look around you, wherever you currently are. Are you at home? At work? At the library? Maybe you're at Chapters, having a coffee and using their public access terminals that you have to pay for. What do you see? Chances are there is a desk, a computer, a monitor, a keyboard and mouse and maybe even a printer. What about your desk? Is there a mess on it, or is it sparkling clean? Notice the properties of the objects around you.

Look around your room. What shape is it? What color are the walls and ceiling? Where are the light sources? What are the light sources? Is there any art on the walls? What about windows? What kind are they? What kind of light is coming through them and can you see it? What about shades or blinds? What color and type are they?

What about your keyboard? What shape is it? What color is? Are there logos? How about lights? Is it cordless? What about your mouse? Is it optical? How many buttons? Do the same thing for your computer and monitor.

What about a telephone? Is there a cup of water? Is it half-full? What kind of cup is it?

Are there pens or pencils on your desk? What kind are they? Are they in a pencil holder? What kind is it?

Are there any writings or pictures on papers on your desk?

When you click your mouse or the keys on your keyboard, what kind of noise do they make?

What does this excesive exercise in observational skills prove? It proves that each object you see around you has certain properties. These are shape, size, color, texture, reflectivity, transparency, highlights, light. So, now we have defined what the objects around us are. Let's move on to the next section, and talk about these objects do.

Please stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Proper Care of Floppies

'Proper' Care of Floppies?


1. Never leave diskettes in the disk drive, as data can leak out of the disk and corrode the inner mechanics of the drive. Diskettes should be rolled up and stored in pencil holders.

2. Diskettes should be cleaned and waxed once a week. Microscopic metal particles can be removed by waving a powerful magnet over the surface of the disk. Any stubborn metallic shavings can be removed with scouring powder and soap. When waxing diskettes, make sure application is even. This will allow the diskettes to spin faster, resulting in better access time.

3. Do not fold diskettes unless they do not fit in the drive. "Big" diskettes may be folded and used in "little" disk drives.

4. Never insert a disk into the drive upside down. The data can fall off the surface of the disk and jam the intricate mechanics of the drive.

5. Diskettes cannot be backed up by running them through the xerox machine. If your data is going to need to be backed up, simply insert two diskettes together into the drive. Whenever you update a document, the data will be recorded on both diskettes.

6. Diskettes should not be inserted into or removed from the drive while the red light is flashing. Doing so could result in smeared or possibly unreadable text. Occasionally the red light continues to flash in what is known as a "hung" or "hooked" state. If your system is "hooking" you, you will probably need to insert a few coins before being allowed to access the disk drive.

7. If your diskette is full and you need more storage space, remove the disk from the drive and shake vigorously for two minutes. This will pack the data enough (Data Compression) to allow for more storage. Be sure to cover all the openings with scotch tape to prevent loss of data.

8. Data access time can be greatly improved by cutting more holes in the diskette jacket. This will provide more simultaneous access points to the disk.

9. Diskettes can be used as coasters for beverage glasses, provided they have been properly waxed beforehand. Be sure to wipe the diskettes dry before inserting into drive. (see item #2 above.)

10. Never use scissors and glue to manually edit documents. The data stored is much too small to be seen with the naked eye, and you may end up with data from some other document stuck in the middle of your document. Razor blades and scotch tape may be used, provided the user is equipped with an electron microscope.

11. Periodically spray diskettes with insecticide to prevent system bugs from spreading.

You know that this is a joke, right?

Bezier curves

For those interested in Bezier curves, here's some information about them. They're extensively used in texture mapping, which will be discussed in an upcoming “Reality and the world of 3D” section.

Here's some more information.

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 01

Reality

Before we start thinking about 3D computer graphics, let's think about the real world. What does it mean, “reality carries its own conviction”? It's true that I heard this term in a fantasy book, but does it mean it's invalid merely because of that? I don't think so. In fact, I think it's a very succinct description of the problem with computer generated imagery. What does “real” really mean?

Well, in my mind as it relates to this discussion, “real” means to exist in the physical world, be a part of that world, interract with it, have other objects interract with us and have certain properties. Why the physical world? Well, for one, it is the only world we have, the one we live in and the one we interract with. So, in a very real sense, “real” means how it relates to our physical being. I don't really want to get sidetracked in this discussion with religion and/or spirituality, so I will leave these out.

Now comes the hard part. What is the “real world”? The “real world” world starts with the universe at large, then narrows down to our galaxy, the Milky Way, then our local star cluster, then our own star, our solar system, the asteroid belt, our planet Earth, the Moon, all life on Earth and the atomic and sub-atomic matter that all these things are made out of. Not surprisingly, the “real world” also includes all the visible and invisible energies and forces that are always present that we may or may not be aware of on a conscious level. It is these, these forces, that are very interesting and relevant in 3D computer art applications, not to mention difficult. All of these forces, energies and objects interact with each other, act on each other, and make up the totality of our physical existence. The physical objects that make up our world are nothing compared to the forces that surround us.

Reality will continue in the next section...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Quote from Andromeda

Andromeda: “I prefer not to think about moral issues. It slows down my processors.”

A clean desk...

is a sign of doing nothing, and having nothing to do.

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 00

Introduction


In a fantasy book I read long ago, a mage was required to produce a visual spectacle of warriors attacking a fortified keep in order to lure the occupants out. The mage argued for a small squad of warriors he could simply visually duplicate, rather than build the entire illusion from scratch. His point was that reality carries its own conviction, and it is much simpler to duplicate a real image than build the whole thing from the ground up. Having done some artwork in 3D, I now agree with that assessment.

In this little series, I'm going to talk about reality and 3D illusions we create, both real and imaginary. That sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it? An “imaginary illusion” may sound like a contradiction in terms, but all will become clear in time. Keep in mind, though, that 3D computer graphics are merely attempts at reproducing reality. First up, I think, an initial definition of terms is in order.

Terms:

  1. 3D - 3 dimensional, having width, height and depth
  2. 3D software - software capable of configuring and outputing 3D scenes, consisting of a number of objects and/or characters. In my artwork, I use Poser, Vue and Bryce. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and is used for different things.
  3. 2D - 2 dimensional, having width and height, but no depth - in 2D, depth has to be simulated manually by the artist using converging lines and other techniques.
  4. 2D software - software capable of creating images using only height and width; these can be bitmap painting applications like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, or they can be sophisticated 2D animation tools like Flash.
  5. Animation - the act of making multiple still images appear to show motion; animation can be accomplished by manually painting all the frames by hand, or with computer assistance.
  6. Live Animation - dynamic animation that changes in real time in response to computer users, ie games.
  7. Static Animation - animation that is pre-programmed by the artist, ie movies like Final Fantasy.

These should be enough to get us going. In the following sections, these terms, and others, will be expanded as I discuss reality and how it relates to the world of 3D computer art. Please stay tuned.

Well, I guess I still have a job

Still employed, survived another round. It'll come to an end eventually.

Hmm... Maybe today is the day

Maybe today is the day I find out if I have a job or not

Monday, February 14, 2005

Well, I guess today wasn't the big day, after all

No announcement at work. Don't know if that's good or bad.

My plans are in place

My plan for dominating the world has commenced. All hail The Mad Perseid, King of the World and Uber-Sorcerer Extraordinaire!

So, umm, I guess the future's here already!

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/001137.html

Now, I don't deny anyone the right to play with sci-fi terms, but actually working on this for real? Ewwww. Scary.

Today's the big day

Or so we've been led to believe. Today's the day many of us here at work find out if we're getting let go early, or if we still have work till April or so.

And speaking of weird Star Trek devices

If they could build a "neural interface" in the 22nd century, why didn't the computer aboard the Enterprise-D in the 24th century know about any such device? Ah, the pleasures of having read and watched waaaay too much sci-fi.

Changed my mind

I had thought to copy much of the contents of the Gags section from my website http://www.fantasyphotoart.com/photography/index.html, but decided against it. It would seem... odd... if I just plunked down a year's worth of musings and such. So, this blog will start where all things start... the start.

Ah, Valentine's Day

Another day to spend money on useless trinkets.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Modernity and old cartoons

So, having watched an entire hour of Pepe Le Pew, it occured to me how the times have changed. In this day and age, she wouldn't need to keep running away from him. All she'd have to do is slap him with a restraining order and charge him with stalking and sexual harrassment and/or interference. Ah, for the innocence of old cartoons.

Weird Star Trek devices

So the first thing they did on this week's Enterprise was build a Vulcan Orgasmatron. Or, at least, that's what I thought it was when they hooked T'Pol up to it and she gave this orgasmic-sounding moan. Too bad they cancelled the show. What was next? A vibrating captain's chair?

Disturbing imagery

I don't know; there's something quite disturbing about watching a commander kissing one of his pilots. That's the new(though not as new as the producers claim) Battlestar Galactica I'm talking about.

What's with unskippable commercials?

Just watched "Shawn of the Dead" on DVD, brand new, bought a couple of days ago. It has trailers for movies coming on DVD, and the weird thing is you can't skip them to go directly to the DVD menu. I had to chapter-search them, and that's just way too iritating. When did unskippable commericials on DVD become the norm?

Time for bed

I think I'll be starting to write something, anything, tomorrow. For now, it is time planned consciousness interruption.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Speaking of SG1...

Is it my imagination or is Amanda Tapping getting really hot in her old age?

Things I learnt from Stargate SG1

    Things I learnt from Stargate SG1:
  • Everyone in the galaxy speaks English
  • When in trouble, crack jokes to irritate the enemy into getting careless
  • You can download the mind of the Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet into your mothership's mainframe, but what sane man would want the mind of your sworn enemy in control of your warship?
  • When you get a snake inserted into your brain, you either become a warrior for good or a warrior for evil; the snakes don't seem to want to become telephone repairmen or cesspool drainers
  • Glowing eyes: a cool fashion accessory that match any outfit
  • I've watched far too much SG1

Things I learned from Andromeda

    Things I learnt from Andromeda:
  • No good deed ever goes unpunished.
  • Starships and their captains can fall in love with each other but must never let it show.
  • All beautiful women are evil, or possessed thereof(unless they're androids, but if they are, they're probably just insane); the ugly ones aren't much better, either.
  • If you don't like the cards life dealt you, destroy the Universe.

Sci-fi and me

It will soon be obvious that I love sci-fi. The quotes and things I learned from will be posted on a semi-regular basis.

I'm still trying to figure all this out so...

bear with me. More musing, intruductions and writings coming soon.

Well, it's the weekend

It's the weekend! Hurray!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Still new at this

I'm still trying to figure out how all this works, so bear with me.

Welcome, me, to my blog!

Well, I guess this is my first entry. Not very profound, I know, but hey! At least it devirginizes this blog.

 

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