Monday, October 30, 23:27 CST
You know, initially, dropping the empty peanut shells back into the sack seemed like a good idea. As the peanuts become increasingly difficult to find, however, I realize that this may not have been the best long term solution to the shell disposal issue...

It's also a bad idea to type while shelling and eating peanuts.

Ok, so I just finished reading The Amber Spyglass, the final volume of the His Dark Materials trilogy.

And wow.

I need to write a full length review of this, I think, but I don't really feel up to saying anything worthwhile or even vaguely original about it tonight. And I do think it's deserving of an effort to do so. The same applies to Drunken Master and Mononoke...

For anyone out there who might have their e-mail address listed/linked on a web page, I came across a nifty idea that might help prevent spam bots from collecting it. Just use character entities to represent it. Never would've occurred to me, but it at least seems to work in all the browsers I use, and there's at least a chance that it'll help. They even have a little CGI up to convert plain text to character entities.

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 30

Sunday, October 29, 22:15 CST
Ok, so it's a mostly functional Opera beta. Nice, but there are a couple of bugs and ommissions that need obvious work. Then there's its tendency to occasionally freeze up not just its own window, but pretty much the entire X session for a while, especially when dealing with large images (and maybe large pages in general?). I'm not sure if it's just hammering the processor so much that everything slows to a crawl or what... Though come to think of it, Opera for Windows does sometimes do something similar when switching between a number of large files (unlike most browsers, Opera opens pages as sub-windows instead of using the one-page-one-window approach).

Still, it *is* a beta, and they're getting very, very close.

Meanwhile, I understand Mozilla continues to approach usability, though I suspect it will forever be beyond the capabilities of my present computer.

(A few minutes pass as I grab milestone 18 and fire it up...)

Wow. To all appearances, this is something like a very usable browser. The layout engine is certainly up to snuff, and though it's sluggish on my machine, I note a marked improvement over its performance the last time I gave it a try. I begin to think that perhaps things are looking up. (Of course, it did just sort of freeze up, and my loadmeter is skyrocketing...

Meanwhile, I saw both Legend of Drunken Master and Princess Mononoke, along with buying Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. But I think I'll wait to talk about that 'til tomorrow. Right now, it occurs to me there are notes I should be poring over for a history test tomorrow...

tags: topics/fantasy, topics/reading

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 29

Friday, October 27, 16:42 CDT
Ok, so I didn't go home quite yet.

Yes! A functional, installable, working version of Opera for Linux! And they even have a Debian package! And the interface actually looks better than the Windows version! Now if only it weren't obnoxiously time limited shareware that I'm going to have to pay for again if I want to keep using it!

Yes, I've become spoiled by software that's free in an intellectual sense and dirt cheap in a monetary one. Yes, I'll probably wind up paying for Opera again, both because it's Good Software, and because I harbor some faint hope that eventually the code may be opened.

Friday, October 27, 15:08 CDT
To quote Londo Molari, Oh, my aching head...

Well, so much for a reasonably good time between updates.

Would've written something yesterday, but I had to crank out most of a paper for a lit class. (Sure, I've known about it for weeks. I figure I do my best work 15 minutes before something's due.)

Before I leave for the weekend, have a list of stuff I think is worth linking to but can't really come up with any clever context for:

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 27

Tuesday, October 24, 18:16 CDT
Ooh, "Babylon Squared". A good time travel ep is such a rarity...

Zathras rules.

Tuesday, October 24, 16:26 CDT
KDE 2.0 is out, so I grabbed a copy. And yes, it is indeed Very Cool in a lot of ways. If you're running Linux and even vaguely interested in something like an integrated desktop, you really need to check this out.

Konqueror, the combined file manager / viewer / web browser, is especially impressive. Whether or not you like the concept, this is close to being what Microsoft would like Internet Explorer to be. On top of the file managing / viewing stuff, it would appear to be easily a good enough browser for every day use, and it sort of reminds me of Opera in terms of features and size. I'd love to quit using Navigator in favor of this entirely...

Unfortunately, for whatever reason (my computer being ancient and overstressed seems likely), KDE and all of its associated programs are way too slow to be usable.

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 24

Monday, October 23, 22:29 CDT
I'm back.

The weekend was good, mostly. K-State won, though not by much.

I did some reading over the weekend - Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, On Basilisk Station by David Weber, and Cross the Stars by David Drake.

Mere Christianity was well worth the read, which didn't come as too much of a surprise - Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia being among my favorite books, though I haven't re-read them for a few years.

On Basilisk Station is the first Honor Harrington book; an enjoyable piece of Naval Space Opera (for lack of a better classification) that apparently draws on both naval history and the Horatio Hornblower novels I've never actually read and probably should. I'll be seeking out the next book in the series, I think. Cross the Stars is kind of a Space Opera Odyssey set in Drake's Hammer's Slammers universe (military SF I've never read and probably should). Enjoyable, and maybe enough incentive to check out some of Drake's other stuff. I downloaded both books from Baen's free library, some e-books they're offering free (and in a nice variety of open formats) as part of their WebScriptions program. Read 'em on my Palm 3x. (This has turned into one of the best reasons to own a PDA, IMO.) Amazingly enough, what we appear to have here is a publisher actually being clueful about electronic publishing.

tags: topics/reading

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 23

Wednesday, October 18, 13:35 CDT
Done with classes for the week. Gotta love fall break.

I'm heading to Kansas this weekend with the family; visiting grandparents and going to a K-State (where my parents both went) game. So probably no updates 'til Monday.

Hmm... Interesting. Very.

It's beautiful outside. One of those inexplicably warm Fall days with a perfect clear sky... I think I'm going to go find an excuse not to be inside a building. Maybe I'll just go lay in the sun and take a nap.

tags: topics/kansas

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 18

Tuesday, October 17, 21:46 CDT
Argh. Telemarketers.

One more call tonight and I think I'm leaving the phone off the hook.

It's worse than spam. At least you can delete spam without feeling even slightly rude. Fortunately, I think that little twinge of guilt I feel when summarily hanging up on someone is rapidly disappearing.

And somehow, I have remarkably little sympathy for someone whose job boils down to continual intrusive harassment of others on behalf of whatever company is unscrupulous enough to hire them.

And speaking of employment, I really ought to find some. Waaaay too much time on my hands. And yet, somehow, I never really get anything done. Might as well be making some money.

Spent some time this afternoon downloading some WM and GTK themes, and generally prettifying my desktop. For the time being, I think I'm going to defy convention and not post the obligatory screenshot(s).

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 17

Monday, October 16, 1:08 CDT
Just got severely beaten down in Tekken 3 on the Playstation. I would make some pathetic excuse about a lack of experience, but let's face facts: I have the reflexes of an arthritic tree sloth.

I do have to say the Tekken series are pretty much the best console fighters I've played since the days of Street Fighter 2 on the SNES, in terms of character balance and control. This one even comes close to making 3D elements a meaningful part of gameplay (though I think someone's going to have to come up with a radically different interface before these games really break out of the 2D mold).

Fall break is this week. Which means no lab tomorrow, and no classes Thursday and Friday... This is Good.

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 16

Friday, October 13, 19:30 CDT
Once, long ago, in the days of the original Quake and the endless list of weird and cool total conversion projects that it spawned, a couple of geniuses gave us a mod called Quake Rally. A full fledged arcade racing game done in a first person shooter engine... And if you have to ask why this is cool, well, you have my pity.

I've been playing a little classic Quake lately, and looking around for some of the nifty mods I messed with a few years back. So while looking for a place to grab the original Quake Rally, I stumbled across Quake 3 Rally. Yep, someone's making a sequel for Q3. Coooool.

Friday, October 13, 15:53 CDT
Hmm. Friday the 13th. I think I was born on a Friday the 13th.

:r !cal 2 1981

   February 1981
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 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 27 28


Er, anyway...

Looks like I'm going to be working on Brent's anime project, once things get rolling. This should be an experience.

Just read an interview with Ian Murdock, the guy who founded Debian way back in the day, on slashdot.

Funny how my reading of /. has dropped off of late. Or more accurately, since it became way too much effort to wade through the comments in search of anything worth reading. Still, I do try to skim through the new posts once a day or so. Almost always see something worth taking a look at.

In all honesty, I'm frighteningly ignorant of what's going on in the rest of the world... Frex, I'm pretty sure all hell is breaking loose in Palestine right about now, and has been for a while... But that's about all I know, and that's only because I happened to glance at a newspaper yesterday for the first time in a couple of weeks.

I'm more plugged in than I've ever been before, and less in touch with nearly everything...

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 13

Wednesday, October 11, 21:03 CDT
"Believers" and "Survivors"... Both decent B5 eps I somehow missed the first time I watched the series.

Carp. The network (or at least our connection to the rest of the 'net) just went down. Hate that. Especially when I'm making a doomed attempt to catch up on 3 days worth of rec.arts.sf.written...

Ah, there we go. I'm connected again.

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 11

Tuesday, October 10, 16:20 CDT
Well, I'm running Window Maker with GNOME. A weird combination, but one that sort of works. WM just appeals to me, for some reason, it's nice and responsive on my machine, and the GNOME taskbar sort of fits nicely as a replacement for doubleclicking all those big icons.

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 10

Monday, October 9, 21:23 CDT
A honkin' list of Babylon 5 quotes.

What happens when people with too much time on their hands really like a song. Ditto.

What happens when disturbed people with too much time on their hands *really* like an episode of ST:TNG.

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 9

Saturday, October 7, 14:11 CDT
Well, I said it might be a while.

I just posted my review of A Storm of Swords. Said book being the principle reason I haven't spent much time online lately.

I just stumbled across what must be a fairly recent development - Bright Weavings is Guy G. Kay's authorized site, and definitely one of the better author's sites I've come across. All sorts of interesting content, and a very nice design (including one of maybe 3 worthwhile uses of JavaScript I've ever come across). If you've never heard of Kay or felt motivated to read his stuff, it's still well worth a visit - you might just be convinced.

(Robert J. Sawyer's, though of a somewhat different character and not quite as well designed (frames... *shudder*), also comes to mind as an author's site with a ton of interesting content.)

tags: topics/fantasy, topics/guy-gavriel-kay, topics/reading

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 7

Monday, October 2, 22:26 CDT
Got up this morning, went to physics and history, struggled mightily to stay conscious, almost succeeded.

Ate a mediocre lunch.

Went to topics in lit, joined the rest of the class in desperately avoiding the attention of the teacher for an hour. Went to physics lab, botched experiment in pretty much every way possible. Stumbled out, half brain dead, after 3 hours of stultifying BS.

Ate dinner, watched "Infection" (as bad as I remembered, but actually not without some merit - a couple of good quotes, Sinclair's bit about why we need to stay in space).

Did 40 minutes worth of busywork for intro to CIT ("Files, Directories, Folders", "DOS File Management", "Using Files"...).

Played basketball for a while.

(Orange ball flies.
Running out of breath,
I suck.)

Discovered my tolerance for self-humiliation has, if anything, decreased since the days of junior high physical education.

Came back to the room, and a copy of A Storm of Swords (Eric, you rule!). Today is a Good Day.

And now, I have some reading to do. My next update may be a tad... Delayed.

Monday, October 2, 18:06 CDT
Ooh... "Infection", possibly the worst episode Babylon 5 ever produced, is on. Can't resist this.

p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 2

Sunday, October 1, 19:12 CDT
Another month gone... Moved September's updates to the archives.

I saw Almost Famous last night.

It was good. More than that, it was great. One of maybe a half dozen things I've ever seen in a theater that prove to me that truly wonderful films are being done in my lifetime, and remind me why I sit through so much crap.

Need to write a full length review.


p1k3 / 2000 / 10 / 1