Dear readers (aka, maybe my Mom),

I have recently acquired my own domain and personal hosting and as such won’t be requiring the free welfare account here at WordPress.com any longer.  Since I’m in the process of moving house (like 3 blocks away), I figured I might as well man up and get a real hosting provider and domain name.  And the new domain name is…

www.nfirvine.com

Yes, that is the extent of my inventiveness!  I figure: random vaguely racist (I swear I had no idea at the time) nicknames that I gave myself such as anglozaxxon are not things of permanence, whereas my actual name more or less is.

Of course, not being a freely-hosted blog and rather a paid-for, actual website, I’m hosting other useless junk there too, such as the wiki.

Anyway, feel free to check it out.  There’s something for everyone*!

* “Everyone” does not include Curt.

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Saucy rooOn Dana’s birthday, the 27th of the 12th, we went to the Billabong Sanctuary, just outside of Townsville.  We’ve been meaning to go for a while, but never got around to it.  Our pictures can be found at Dana’s picasaweb.  Pictured on the left is one of the saucy roos scattered throughout.  Many of the animals, such as this one, roam freely about the sanctuary, and you can freely pet, cuddle, feed, wrestle, and otherwise harass these noble beasts.  I would reckon my favourite part was cuddling the wombat (which see), but the koalas have silky smooth butt-hair (much like me), so it’s as tough a decision as between a Snickers and a Mars bar: both have their merits and both are almost sexually delicious.

In other news, I’ve just about finished my run with Telstra, that ending the 27th of the 1st of the 2008th or thereabouts.  They’ve recently trained me in doing level 2 mobile faults, which involves changing various codes on mobile accounts basically.  I start actually doing work on Monday.  After that, I’m looking into getting some farm work, probably in the mango business.  I’m quite literally drenched in sweat walking 20 minutes to the bus stop at 7am, so I can’t imagine what picking fruit for ten hours including the afternoon will feel like, probably fairly close to Hell.

In yet other news, Mom and Dad sent me a fairly rad game for Christmas called Zack and Wiki: Subtitle that Indicates Sequels Are in the Works, for the Wii (finally!).  It’s basically an adventure game like Monkey Island, but done really well.  Strangely enough, it brings the point system back to the adventure genre, which I would doubt has been present in an one since 1994.  On certain key tasks in a level (yes, it’s divided into levels, which is kinda cool), you get a number of points based on how “correctly” you did it, and deducting points if it takes you several tries or you make a mistake.  And, more like Sierra adventures than Lucas Arts’, you can die (and often do) in Zack and Wiki, after which you can revive yourself for some money or just start the level again.  There’s also these hint dolls which you can buy: they’re used to show a little video clip of what you need to next, which I remember being a feature in Gobliins 2, as jokers.  As with most excellent games that aren’t completely new concepts, it’s hard to define what makes Zack and Wiki such a swell game, although it’s probably about 50% nostalgia for me.  Anyway, good pick Mom and Dad; although Zack and Wiki is highly rated, I didn’t give it much credence and probably wouldn’t have got it otherwise.  Thanks.

Found a rather rad blog about video games which I appreciate quite a bit. The guy is funny and doesn’t concentrate on graphics, sound, or any other things at which games are invariably worse than film. Even if you don’t like games at all, I’d suggest you take a look at the zeropunctation reviews, because they are fairly hilarious.

Also, I realise I haven’t written a post in a very long time. That’s because my life is pretty much business as usual. I got the new Zelda for DS, and let me tell you, if you decide to get it, make sure you’re wearing some industrial-strength sock garters because the ability of this game to knock your socks off is unmatched. I think it may be a top contender for best Zelda game, my favourite being the one for Gameboy, Link’s Awakening. It’s somewhat based on the GC Zelda, which I was not particularly enamoured of, but I’m really quite liking the controls and the rad tools. Although none are new, the tools are all used in slightly different ways than before since you can draw on the screen. For example, with the boomerang, you draw the path it will follow on the screen.

I’ve also started watching Avatar again, wherein Aang et al. go incognito in the Fire Nation.  Fun-make me all you want for watching a children’s cartoon, but know ye also that Toni doth watch said cartoon?  That’s right: world-renowned mixologist Toni Brycington watches Avatar as well.  Katara is looking quite the 15-year-old (or less?) tramp, if I do say so myself.  Kids these days.

By the way, do some research on The King in Yellow by Chambers.  That’s pretty much how my life is. 😉

My friend Shane told me to look for this clip from SNL which is apparently pretty funny.  Couldn’t find it on YouTube, but a Google search pointed me to the NBC site, namely the uncensored version of the infamous Dick-in-a-Box.  NBC feels that they need to check if I’m eighteen, which is fine, because I am.  But they do so through a modal Javascript pop-up that says something to the effect of:

The following video contains coarse language.  Please certify that you are 18 by clicking OK. [OK button]

If it’s not obvious, there is no other choice but to click OK!  The box is modal, meaning you can’t get around it, even to close the window to flee if you were indeed terribly offended by the word “dick”.

Similarly, with all (I think) Bigpond software that one would install on one’s computer, there is a licence agreement, like all software.  And this particular EULA is just a link to a some webpage.  This isn’t particularly terrible, but you’re installing a piece of software which enables you to get on the Internet.  Basically, the definition of a catch-22.

By the way, this post may contain the word “dick”, so you should be over 18 if you want to read it.

We take most of our pictures on Dana’s camera because mine’s mostly busted. Also, Dana always complains, “I can’t see what I’m taking a picture of.” Pfeh. Amatures, eh?

Anyway, Dana’s pictures are posted on picasaweb here: http://picasaweb.google.com/turner.dana

I just finished the Lovecraft compendium that Dana gave me for our anniversary last September, entitled Lovecraft: Tales, if you’d care to find it. I have this lurking fear that I’m going to become an cultist now.

Occultism doesn’t seem like such a bad gig. You can literally get away with murder. Let’s say you’ve got this neighbour with a yappy little sub-dog/rat that won’t quiet up despite your warnings. You traipse on over to the guy’s house, pwn the dog and pwn the guy, just because he’s clearly an irresponsible jerk. When the cops come, you just start drooling, frothing, and spouting gibberish about that blind idiot-god Azathoth, Cthulhu, and the like, and they shut you away in Arkham asylum. Of course, you’ve mostly got your wits about you, so escape is trivial.

Getting an ordinary job might be a little troublesome, though. I’ve heard various opinions on the subject of putting religious stuff on your resume (such as using your minister for a reference, which I once did), but I’m pretty sure putting “Sacrificing children to Shub Niggurath. Iä Shub Niggurath!” in the Hobbies section isn’t going to do you much good, unless of course the interviewer is among the Enlightened.

I guess when it comes down to it, the Judeo-Christian God Jahweh seems kind of a sissy to me: “Love this! Love that! Infinite compassion! Ask and ye shalt receive!” etc. If I’m going to worship something that lives in the sky and dictates various facets of our lives, it might as well be something that can kick a little ass now and again. I want to live in constant fear that the god I worship is going to wake up and smite the crap out of everyone, just the believers a little less.

But that’s just me.

Okay, the title may be a tad misleading. I am not having prophetic visions (yet).

I just read Richard Stallman’s short story on the right to read, which is meant to be an allegory on the treacherous path we now tread with regards to digital rights. (And he keeps it fresh by mixing it up with nerdy sci-fi stuff about colonising the moon, which I appreciate.) If you’re too lazy to read it in its entirety (which I suggest you do), the gist is that soon greedy media companies will have gained a stranglehold on our computers, such that, along with the content they licence us (and it is merely licencing, not selling), our computers are no longer our property, but theirs; we are merely licencing them.

If your ears aren’t pricking up and you’re not just about ready to yell “That’s horseshit!” at your monitor, go pick up a newspaper and check the obituaries, because you may be dead. This sort of malarky is about to turn our glorious Western democracies back into feudal serfdoms. I’m not the type to get enraged about politics in general, because somehow I’ve tricked myself into thinking that it doesn’t matter to me, but this stuff really gets my goat, and gets it hard.

But I’m still trying to find a solution that I think I can contribute to. Stallman’s Free Software Foundation sounds like a good place to start. Many people have accused Stallman of being a psycho nutcase communist, and while (in principle) I don’t have much of a problem with communism, I do have a problem with believing psycho nutcases. That being said, I’ve always felt some compulsion to side with wild-eyed bushmen like Stallman and Alan Moore and other such weirdo beardos. Also, Toni Bryce and Jowan Jafaar.

(At this point while writing this post, I headed to Wikipedia to read up on our friend Richard Stallman. Of course, I ended up reading about other nerdy things like Wang tiles and the vi versus emacs wars and sci-fi by Greg Egan, a Western Australian. Curse you Internet!)

If you don’t think this sort of content control futurism will touch you, I’d seriously consider going to gnu.org, fsf.org, defectivebydesign.org, and badvista.org and reading up. While things like free software may only indirectly affect you (i.e., having to hear my boring ramblings about it), Windows Vista is clearly something that you’ll be involved in, like it or not.

The reason I haven’t posted in a while is because I’ve with two things:

  • Job!
  • Adventure!

The job: I have one! At Telstra! I didn’t want to say anything earlier in case I jinxed it. But I had a phone interview, a couple of tests, and shabang! Nothing particularly glamourous, broadband telephone support, but the pay’s a little more than what I was getting in Canada. I start training next Monday. Swell.

Next, the adventure. Dana and I originally intended to go on a week-long tour up the coast from Sydney, but it was booked up for the times we wanted. We instead decided on a sailing trip in the Whitsundays, this incredibly blue archipelago about a 5 hour Greyhound south.

Day 1. We leave the house around 9, take the Greyhound from the city to Airlie Beach, the main launching point and beach town of the Whitsundays. We decided to stay the night in Airlie to make sure we were in time for the ship the next day. We stayed overnight at the Organic B&B. It was quite lovely, with a 3-course organic breakfast the next morning.

Day 2. We board the Schooner Friendship (extremely lame name for a boat, if you ask me; I believe there’s a Simpsons’ quote in there somewhere) at around 2pm. Surprisingly, they charged us a little beyond what I had planned for, and unsurprisingly, Dana was prepared with cash on a sailing trip for some reason. Basically we spent the first day sailing to our destination for the night. There were 10 passengers all together: an Irish couple about our age, a pair of Scottish girls about our age, a couple of British schoolteachers from Nepal with their two young kids, and the Australian captain and cook/skipper/deckhand/misc.  So all the wonderbread parts of the commonwealth were represented.  All in all, they were good company, with the Irish couple drinking constantly, the Aussies barbequing constantly, the Britons flashing their horrible teeth constantly, and the Scots bragging about how Nessie could kick a yeti’s ass.  We talked about hockey constantly.  Not really, of course, except for the Irish: they really were big drinkers.

Sleeping in a ship is very tough, by the way.

Day 3.  Sailed to Whitehaven, one of the world’s most beautiful tropical beaches.  It really was quite fantastic.  Quite. We got here fairly early and had to leave quickly, so we didn’t get a chance to swim.  Later that day, we sailed to Yongala where snorkelling was done.  In the Great Barrier Reef!  HAR HAR.  It was pretty cool, but as per usual, my mask didn’t fit my horrible ogre face, so I didn’t have too much fun.  Plus salt water makes me sick, which I apparently forgot before thinking about coming to Australia.  Oh well.  Still cool.  We took a few underwater pictures with a disposable.  At night, we went to the South Molle Island resort to grab a drink.  It’s the off-season now, so it was pretty much dead, but it was neat anyway.  We had to get to bed early anyway because…

Day 4.  Early rise at 6:30am to take a mountainous path to the Spion Kop (WTF with the names, eh?) lookout point.  Took a couple of pictures and threatened to throw Dana down the side of the hill numerous times.  She wasn’t entertained.  And that was pretty much the end of the trip.  So we sailed back to port and grabbed the Greyhound back to Townsville, eventually getting home around 8pm.

I should mention that the food onboard was exceptional, especially considering it was on a boat without a fridge (cooler only).  The last night, for example, we had barbequed chicken, pesto bowties, and steak salad, and it was all great.

Overall, a solid trip.  Good fun was had by all.  Also, Tall Ships and Salty Dogs is something I can definitely get on board with now.  YAR HAR.

I know I haven’t posted in a long time, so everyone’s probably worried about me (or not). Unfortunately, I’m not going to give an update now, but will soon.

I found this nerdy site while perusing Slashdot just now. Project Euler has a pile of problems that one is supposed to solve using some programming language. They’re nearly all math-based, or other common computer science problems. I’m going to start posting my solutions here. Of course, I’ll be using Python because it’s sexy. I intend to minimize the size of the code too. So, without further ado, here’s solution #1.

Problem:
If we list all the natural numbers below 10 that are multiples of 3 or 5, we get 3, 5, 6 and 9. The sum of these multiples is 23.

Find the sum of all the multiples of 3 or 5 below 1000.

Answer: 233168


import operator
print reduce(operator.add, set(range(3,1000,3)+range(5,1000,5)))

Radical.

I noticed that someone, possibly Mark Shaw, put an article up on Wikipedia about Kintore.  This prompted me to write my own article about myself — a little narcissistic, but I was going to keep it short.  A few hours after posting it, I receive a message saying that some goof tagged my article “for speedy deletion” because its subject matter is not “notable”.  For something to be notable, it needs have been written about in some secondary source.   Would somebody mind doing this for me?  I don’t have any secondary sources to write in.  Thanks.  Bye.

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