Sunday, July 29, 11:11 (make a wish) CDT

Well, the county fair starts today, signalling the coming end of Summer.

I'm trying to come up with travel plans for the short remainder of the Summer. I should, of course, have started looking earlier, but I think I have a plan. I'm going to take a train, or three.

Perhaps I haven't mentioned this, but I'm planning to head to Colorado for a friend's wedding, then to Missouri for a bit, then to PA for the filming of leet (Saalon's short film)... Then classes start at Wayne, on the 20th. This oughta be interesting.

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 29

Friday, July 27, 23:59 CDT

Ok, so I was mangling that title. FWIW, it's Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team. I think. At any rate, both it and Outlaw Star are growing on me.

I also managed to see an episode of Mobile Suit Gundam, the original Gundam series. Which means it goes back a while. It's what I'd call sort of embryonic Giant Robot Anime. Primitive in terms of animation, but I suspect impressive in terms of story.

I watched a lot of TV tonight, for some reason. You'd think I'd have something better to do with a Friday night, but at least it wasn't *bad* TV. Well, aside from Lexx, which I'm pretty sure is bad TV, but entertaining anyway. And I have to note that The Invisible Man has developed into a surprisingly good show. Not too ambitious, but it does what it does well. I'm not sure quite when it happened, but Sci-Fi actually has a good lineup these days. I'd more or less given up hope after MST3K bit the big one.

And yet people lament that there's no good SF TV any more. (I also spent a good chunk of today skimming newsgroups. No, I haven't actually *done* much of anything today.) As compared to when, I have to wonder...

Or does Anime and low-key stuff on SFC just not count?

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 27
tags: topics/sfnal, topics/tv

Wednesday, July 25, 12:27 PM

Feel like hanging out with Stephen and I? He's running an IRC server at, port 6667, where we'll probably be lurking intermittently. Assuming we can figure out why it keeps disconnecting us every couple of minutes.

Wed Jul 25 01:30:24 CDT 2001

Hmm. An AMD Overclocking FAQ.

I'm not thinking about overclocking my Athlon. Well, not really thinking about it, anyway. But it does look like a pretty useful FAQ, if you're building or tinkering with an AMD system.

alt.comp.hardware.amd.thunderbird (Google Groups link) looks worth skimming too, though it appears to be half people asking how hot their processors should be running, and what to do about it - which is how I found it in the first place.

I caught an episode of 8th MS Gundam (and I'm likely mangling that title), followed by an ep of Outlaw Star, which is what it looks like Toonami: The Midnight Run will be running for a while.

I'm iffy on 8th MS Gundam - the character designs aren't very impressive, and it's hard to say how cool the Giant Robots With Guns 'n Stuff will be. On the other hand, it is another Gundam series, which I've been looking forward to, and Gundam Wing left me pretty cold when I first watched it. I'll definitely give it time. On the gripping hand, I missed the first episode of the series, so I'll probably spend the remainder of it in total confusion as to just what the hell's actually going on. ;)

Outlaw Star did even less to impress me, but I'm willing to give it a few more eps. Since, unlike certain parties who shall remain nameless, I can't really afford to stockpile DVD's, Cartoon Network remains my primary source of animated goodness. I'd hate to miss something worthwhile while they're running it.

Yeesh, it's late. What am I doing awake, anyway?

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 25

Tue Jul 24 00:24:46 CDT 2001

Starting working on this site earlier this evening, then got distracted messing around with Wendigo's cooling. I bought another case fan a while back, to mount on the spot above the power supply that's been sitting empty, but as near as I can tell it's only making a couple degrees difference. Which makes sense, since I don't think it's pulling much air away from the lower half of the case, which seems to be where heat is building up. I decided to try reversing the fan on my heatsink, and also wound up taking a Dremel tool (kinda useful gadgets, but woefully underpowered) to the plastic fan-mount thingy that goes in the front of the case.

Don't think I accomplished much, aside from becoming increasingly tempted to do really drastic things to my case. I think probably I'll just buy a better heat sink / fan combo and a tube of thermal grease, before I decide to bust out the cutting torch...

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 24

Sunday, July 22, 22:41 CDT

Eric pointed me to a Salon piece by David Brin, doing some heavily unflattering criticism of Star Wars. Think I linked to this a while back, but it was worth reading over. I can't exactly say I agree with him wholeheartedly, but Brin says plenty that's worth thinking about. (Not to mention entertainingly written - which only makes sense, if you've read much of his fiction.)

Then there's this review of sorts, also by Brin, which I can't remember reading at the time... Well written Phantom Menace bashing, anyway.

I think Brin's opinion that SW is morally misguided is a far more interesting one than repetitive assertions that the films are simplistic, cartoonish, overblown, badly plotted, poorly acted, or whatever. Such complaints are at best irrelevant, and mostly false - As is self-evident from my own deeply felt enjoyment of every one of the films, the intensely flawed Episode One included. And yes, dammit, I'm serious about that last bit. At the end of the day, a great story is one that I love; not one that I'm told I ought to.

On the other hand, what Brin has to say is interesting because it demands some deeper thought about the subject, and about SF in general. I do wonder if George Lucas hasn't lost track of something in SW's original direction, or let it be supplanted by something less worthy of its status. I'm afraid this much is probably true, though I'd love for the next two installments to prove me emphatically wrong. It's not really too late, midichlorians and virgin births aside.

I don't expect to win this argument any time soon. As Joseph Campbell rightly pointed out, the ways of our ancestors tug at the soul with a resonance many find romantically appealing, even irresistible. Some cannot put the fairy tale down and move on to more mature fare. Not yet at least. Ah well.

There, I think, is where I part company with Brin. I'm a true fan of the SF he depicts in stark opposition to a tradition that includes Homer, Star Wars, and William Blake. I'm arrogant enough to believe I understand it as well as nearly anyone. But I can't believe that we need to leave the fairy tale (in all its myriad shapes and guises) behind in our journey towards maturity. It can't be the sum total of our spiritual sustenance or our entertainment, but it's a thing worthy of more respect and understanding (not to mention more fun) than casting it as a relic of a dark and nightmarish past allows for.

(Ok, I also take issue with Brin's casting Star Trek in direct opposition to SW. Sure, Trek may be more egalitarian and democratic in spirit - then again, taking more than a superficial look at the Trek-verse seems likely to dredge up much the same sort of ugliness that he's pointing out in SW. Not to make blanket statements or anything... But I'm not sure I buy it.)

No doubt I'm overstating and simplifying some things here. Ah well, it's late, and I should most probably go get some sleep.

This would be a good place to mention an American Gods review, since Gaiman is a modern master of the fairy tale, and said book certainly touches on the subject at hand, but I haven't yet *written* that review. How about a gallery of stuff by the guy who did the cover art for AG, which seemed rather stylish?

Sunday, July 22, 16:43 CDT

I'm messing around a bit with GnuPG.

GnuPG stands for GNU Privacy Guard and is GNU's tool for secure communication and data storage. It can be used to encrypt data and to create digital signatures. It includes an advanced key management facility and is compliant with the proposed OpenPGP Internet standard as described in RFC 2440. As such, it is aimed to be compatible with PGP from NAI Inc.

Er, yeah. Anyway. Why not? Encryption is cool, right? I've been wanting to play with it ever since I read Cryptonomicon, and Stephen just mentioned it in an e-mail, which was enough to distract me from whatever it was I was doing before this...

Anyway, if I ever figure out what I'm doing, I'll stick a public key on this page. Seems like a good idea, even if in practice the reason that most people (even those who know it exists) don't use encryption on a regular basis is that it's just too much effort.

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 22
tags: topics/sfnal

Saturday, July 21, 19:22 CDT

I'm just waiting for <LWQuestie> It's a ph15|-|!

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 21

Friday, July 20, 18:22 CDT

I've been playing with a Logitech optical mouse that I borrowed the other day... The design is nothing spectacular - just the standard 2 buttons + wheel doohickey, although the red light glowing through the translucent sides looks Really Cool, as peripherals go.

Anyway, after plugging it into Wendigo (my surly, hulking Linux box), I fired up the GIMP and discovered that I could actually draw. Well, sort of anyway. It certainly feels much smoother and more precise, and there's less resistance from the mouse pad. I'm going to have to acquire one of these for myself.

Gus, the new puppy, has begun to demonstrate impressive physical prowess. Or at least I thought it was impressive for a dog that small to climb over a 4+ foot steel mesh fence. For some reason, you just don't expect dogs to climb like that.

Hmm. It sounds like Gus is outside the window, being vocally displeased with something or another. Perhaps I should go find out what.

(Addendum: A cat, apparently.)

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 20

Thursday, July 19, 12:13 CDT

Fiddling with CSS again. Nifty stuff, it is.

We got a new puppy yesterday. A seven week old Black Lab/Something cross. Should be interesting trying to figure out what the Something was. Looks like he'll be a good dog, at any rate... And it occurs to me that I need to take him into town for some shots now, so I guess I'll cut this short.

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 19

Wednesday (heh), July 18, 0:49 CDT

Ahhh, finally. Welcome to, a domain name you can think of as script kiddy for Pike, which happens to be both part of my name and a nick I've used from time to time. Or you could think of it as a short and memorable (here's hoping, anyway) acronym for something. I'll let you know when I think of what, exactly.

My experience with Webmages has so far been good, aside from a brief outage earlier today. It'll be a few days 'til I have all my old stuff moved over here, since I've decided to take the time and build a somewhat more elegant, orderly site if at all possible. Strict XHTML seems like a good idea, and it took about 5 minutes to get this page to validate.

I finished reading American Gods yesterday at 6:30 or so in the morning, and slept 'til 9:00, dreaming very strange dreams indeed. Then the phone rang, and I wound up spending the rest of the morning assembling these big rickety steel frameworks in a cornfield. Interesting day.

(Never drive on three hours of sleep and a gallon of iced tea, I keep telling myself - you're easy enough to distract as it is. Still, at least I didn't actually collide with anything. Though I think I caused some genuine panic in the driver of a small, much abused Buick.)

American Gods was, well, worth reading 'til 6:30 in the morning. Something few enough books rate. I shall make an honest attempt to write a review as soon as the heat, humidity, and roaring wind give me space to think. (And then there're the reviews of Education of a Wandering Man, the O Brother soundtrack, and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within to finish.)

I just had a long, enjoyable conversation with Brent - using, of all things, Unix talk. Old school, but effective. Talked about, among other things, a novel I'd really like to write.

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 18

Friday, July 13, 11:42 CDT

Ok, so this is taking a bit. Hopefully I'll be able to start moving stuff over to the new domain this weekend.

Meanwhile, I saw Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Wednesday, thus fulfilling my obligations as an animation geek and a gamer. Granted I'm not much of a console gamer, and have thus missed most of the FF series, that's not really the point, is it? On the whole, I think I was impressed. What I saw was beautifully animated CGI anime, right down to the dialog and voice acting (given that you don't find James Woods or Steve Buscemi in much dubbed anime). It was also pretty ambitious Science Fantasy, which is something you don't see much of in film.

Nifty Linux stuff I didn't know: The openvt command will open a new virtual terminal with whatever command you give it running, no need to login again or anything. You can even have it switch to the new terminal and wait for your command to complete. Makes text mode multitasking easier, anyway.

Finished reading The Iron Lance, by Stephen Lawhead (sp?) last night. Enjoyable book, think I'll check out the sequels.

I almost bought Neil Gaiman's American Gods the other night before the movie, then realized I didn't have the cash. Soon, though. Gaiman's on the very short list of authors whose stuff I buy on sight.

p1k3 / 2001 / 7 / 13