August 30, 2004

Haplopelma sp.

Here's my Haplopelma sp. Haven't taken a picture of her for awhile, since she molted. Just thought I'd see how she looks. Not bad, much better than when I first bought her when she looked all rough and beat up.

Haplopelma sp

Posted by Fungii at 10:26 PM

August 29, 2004

Finished 24

I finished watching 24 this weekend. It was very good, although I did have a couple problems with it. I wasn't even sure I would like this show when I bought it, but it turned out to be one of the best purchases I've made as far as TV series on DVD. Was never a big fan of Kiefer Sutherland either, but he was excellent in this show, couldn't see any other actor playing Jack Bauer. Looked into purchasing the second season but it cost $65 right now, think I'll wait until it goes on sale. The one problem I had with the DVD set was the lack of features, no commentary tracks, just an alternate ending and an intro with Kiefer. The picture quality was very good though, in widescreen no less, which is unusual for a TV show.

*** spoilers in the extended entry ***

The sequence where Terry evades the safe house killer, then stops the car to go see if the killer is coming back. The car falls off a cliff about ten feet and explodes into a massive fireball, presumably killing Kim, causing Terry to collapse and then have instant amnesia.

This was very ridiculous to say the least and it was pretty hard to maintain my "suspension of disbelief" at this point. I can see why the writers did it, to seperate the mother and daughter, so Kim could go see Rick and Terry would meet up with her ex. But still, it was so unbelievable, they should have tried some other way to do it. They did reveal that Kim had survived the crash very quickly afterwards [like anybody believed she was dead in the first place!] and Terry recovered her full memory within the following episode as well.

The Serbian agents seemed way too organized in comparison to the CTU agents, who were much less together and riddled with enemy operatives. Kim gets kidnapped again! And the revelation of the second mole, Serena, was kind of hard to swallow. Seemed like she spent all this time helping Jack, you would think an enemy agent would just have let him get killed much earlier on.

Apparently, only 13 episodes were ordered when the series was first green-lighted, so they kind of wrapped up the initial storyline in those first episodes. When they got the order for the full 24, then they had this second storyline develop for the last 11 eps, which kind of fractured the season into two halves. And the second half seemed a bit weaker. Although it was nice to see Lou Diamond Phillips and Dennis Hopper guest star.

And what happened to all the secondary characters? Milo seemed to be at Jack's side every two minutes when Palmer was at CTU, but pretty well disappeared completely after that. And Jack's replacement, Alberta, she makes like she's going to kick ass and take over, change everything, then boom, she's gone. Maybe they make return appearances in season two?

I'm glad they went with the "unhappy ending", it worked much better than the alternate "happy" ending. Can't wait to get the second season dvd. And season three and eventually four as I've heard they've been renewed for a fourth season.

Posted by Fungii at 10:37 PM

August 26, 2004

Word

Glad to see I'm not the only one who hates Microsoft Word.

Posted by Fungii at 12:25 AM

August 23, 2004

Weekend Movies

It rained for most of the weekend, so I stayed inside and watched a bunch of movies.


Underworld :: pretty good flick, very stylish, Kate Beckinsale looked hot. The ending was rather ho-hum tho, and the final creature effect amounted to turning the guy's skin green. After some pretty impressive werewolf transformations, the man with the green skin was a bit of a let down.

Ginger Snaps: Unleashed :: the first sequel to Ginger Snaps, the second "sequel" being a prequel, Ginger Snaps Back. This was a fairly decent movie, not quite as good as the original, but still not bad. The little girl who plays Ghost really stole the show and the movie takes an interesting turn near the end. It's playing on Movie Central this month and I might watch it again just to see if I missed anything. The first movie had a lot of metaphors about female sexuality during puberty, not sure what they were getting at with this one.

Charlotte the Harlot


Lost in Translation :: an apt title. You could very easily get lost watching this movie as there ain't much of a plot. Nothing happens. The interactions between Charlotte and Bob are fairly interesting, but they don't exactly have deep conversations, it's mostly them looking longingly into each other's eyes, thinking "if only we weren't married to other people" and "I'm a young, hot chick and you're an ugly, old loser, this might not work". It wasn't that bad of a movie, but you could watch the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes and not miss terribly much in between.

I also finished watching my season one box set of the X-Files. When the series was playing on TV, I never got to watch it on a regular basis, just a show here and there. So it was nice to get to sit down and watch them in order, from the begining, with no commercial interruptions. The first few episodes weren't that good and I was a little unsure if this box set was such a good buy, even at less than half it's regular price. You could tell they were operating on a pretty meagre budget, the acting wasn't great and the stories weren't terribly gripping. But then you hit "Fallen Angel" and everything begins to fall in place. "Eve" was a great episode, very creepy. "Beyond the Sea" was probably my favourite of the set, great acting by Brad Dourif and a cool story. Sculley actually got some character development. "Squeeze" and "Tooms" were two good, interconnected episodes. "Conduit" had its moments. And the finale, "The Erlenmeyer Flask", was pretty damn cool, felt a lot more like a movie than just a TV show ep. I'm pretty happy with the set, and I would like to collect the rest eventually. But they sure as hell better drop the price, most sets go for around $50 nowadays, not the $120 they're asking for these sets.

After I finished the X-files, I moved on to 24. Never watched any of this when it was on TV, it just seemed like the kind of show you had to follow from the begining to 'get it'. And at $28, the price of a lot of 2 hour movies on DVD, you get 24 hours of stuff. [or less, I think the ep's are 40 minutes or so each] But all that 'stuff' wouldn't be much of a deal if the show wasn't any good. The first thing that struck me when I fired this one up is how good looking it is, they actually spent money on this and it shows. And it's letterboxed, woohoo. The story is well done, they keep the tension up almost all the time, switching between a bunch of interconnected stories [6?] to keep you interested. I've watched 5 ep's so far and I'm hooked. They end each episode with a bit of a cliffhanger though, and I wonder how they can keep that up over 24 episodes without that gimmick wearing thin. I ain't complaining, so far they've been able to pull it off. There are some slight plot holes, but considering how good this show is I'm willing to overlook them. For $28, this was a steal and I'm quite happy with my purchase. :)

Posted by Fungii at 06:14 PM

Spam be Damned

In an effort to cut down on spam, I've closed comments on posts over 31 days old. This should help I think, as a lot of spam gets dumped on old entries that most people aren't going to comment on anyway, right? Me thinks so.

Posted by Fungii at 05:32 PM

August 18, 2004

Chinese infiltrators on port 1025, news at 11

Why does my Windows Task Manager need to use port 1025 to connect to the internet? What's it doing on there, surfing for porn? Playing Doom 3 with other wayward task managers while their users are off to work? And why do all these people in Bejing China, of all places, feel the need to connect to my task manager in the middle of the night? [yes, there were people in China doing this last night, very weird]

I've grounded my task manager from her internet privileges until she can justify what she's been doing on there. The little hussy.

Posted by Fungii at 08:53 PM

August 17, 2004

Win98 -> Win2000

Windows 2000
And not to give you the impression that this OS upgrade has been totally negative, I have noticed that this OS is much more stable than my old Win98, which had begun to BSOD on a regular basis. Very regular, like a few times a day. Win2000 seems to hum along rock-solid for days at a time. Very impressive. On the other hand, it seemed like my old Win98 setup never got attacked with trojans and viruses [virii?], but when I installed Win2000 it immediately got pummeled with crapola. Guess I should have disconnected my cable modem during the install process. I have since installed my firewall, patched the OS to SP4 and ran an anti-virus program. It found six viruses, although I had removed a bunch of shit earlier by hand. Now it's running great and I am quite pleased. :)

Some stuff seems to run faster, too. Like Adaware and Symantic AntiVirus, although that might be because I have next to nothing on my hard drive at this point.

Posted by Fungii at 10:03 PM

Printer <> Scanner Ugliness

Another problem I've had with this upgrade is printer/scanner screw-ups. I have a CanoScan FP 620P scanner hooked up through my parallel port and a Canon BJ-5100 hooked up through the pass-through port on the scanner. It worked without a hitch with my Win98 setup, so I foresaw no problems with my newer supposedly-better OS. Hooked up my scanner first, installed the drivers, worked no probs. But when I hooked up my printer and installed the drivers, it didn't work at all. Argh! After fucking around with various driver installations [and discovering WinXP doesn't support either device at all!], I uninstalled both my scanner and printer drivers, then reinstalled my printer drivers first this time. Yes, it seemed to work.

But not really. When you first boot up, you can use your scanner, no problem. But after you use your printer even once, the scanner stops working, giving you an error message on startup. Apparently, the printer drivers won't relinquish control of the parallel port after printing, cutting off access to the scanner. Eeek! Canon's response seems to be that you should buy a new USB printer or a parallel port-to-USB adapter. Shit, I bought this hardware from them, it works fine, it's a good design, tying up only one port for two devices. [And all my USB ports are currently in use, so I would have to buy a USB hub] You can't use the scanner and printer at the same time, but for a single user computer, this has never really been a problem. Besides, they had it working fine for Win98, what's preventing them from doing the same for Win2000? I am not impressed.

After much Googling, I did not find many answers. Some people recommend that you reboot Win2000 every time you want to use your scanner. Ha! Not likely. I found a couple workarounds. First, if you want to use your scanner to print a bunch of documents, pause your printer, scan and print your documents, and when you're done, un-pause the printer and let it print all the documents at once. And keep your fingers crossed that you don't get a paper jam that wrecks the whole process. The problem with this approach is that you still lose the use of your scanner as soon as you start printing. Which brings me to my second workaround, stopping and restarting the print spooler. After restarting the print spooler you get the use of your scanner again. I wrote a batch file and created a shortcut to it on my desktop. Very short:

net stop spooler
net start spooler

Obviously, this is an ugly hack and it takes a couple seconds for the spooler to shut down and start up again. But hey, I get to keep using my old, obsolete scanner that works perfectly fine and does everything I've ever asked of it. I wonder if there is some way [perhaps through a registry hack?] to get the printer driver to surrender control of the parallel port once it's done printing. Like it did in Win98 you know?

Posted by Fungii at 09:49 PM

WP to Word

I've been using Wordperfect 7 for the last few years and it has served me well. It does all I want it to do so I was in no hurry to switch or upgrade. But when I tried to install it with my new Win2000 OS, it refused to do it. I even tried to do the compatability mode but it didn't help. So I finally broke down and decided to try Word 2000. Yuck! I hate this thing. The first problem was converting my old files. Apparantly, Word has no problem converting WP6.1 files and WP9/2000 files, but WP7 files weren't supported. They recommend that you save your files in the WP6.1 format first. Well, since I can't even install my old WP7, that's not an option. Argh! Word does import the file, it's just all screwed up. The worst is the loss of my well constructed table formulas. [formulae?] Wp had a very eficient and feature rich system for implementing table formulas, usually via the formula bar. Word has no formula bar and the way it implements table formulas is absolutely dreadful. I struggled with it, cell by cell, trying to replicate my old formulas. And you have to do it cell by cell, they don't have the "copy formula from row above" option that WP had. And Word forces you to do calculations cell by cell, unlike WP which did calculations for the whole document via a single right click menu option.

I might be missing some hidden features in Word that might make it more palatable, table formula wise. Although I did go through the help files with a fine toothed comb, trying to get this fucker working, and found nothing but really bad design choices. At this point I'm ready to give up on it and try something else. Maybe Open Office or a newer Win2000 friendly version of WP. What a drag, I wish I could have just stayed with me old reliable WP7. I knew it well and it worked. :(

Posted by Fungii at 09:15 PM

August 14, 2004

IE New Window Size

My Internet Explorer browser was bugging me because every time it opened a new window, the window would open very small and I would have to manually "expand" it to see the web page. I found you could fix this by opening a new window, dragging the corners to the size you want, then hold down the CONTROL key as you choose File Close. The next time IE opens a new window, the window will be opened at that size. :)

Posted by Fungii at 01:46 PM

August 12, 2004

Testing Image Magick...

PaperMario

Posted by Fungii at 09:42 PM

MT is back up!

I finally managed to get my Movable Type databases converted and working! Woohoo! I had to compile Sleepycat's source code for their Berkeley database so I could get at one file - db_upgrade.exe. That was the key to get this damn thing working again. I had to convert a bunch of files, took awhile. I guess I should have tried scripting the process at some point. Anyway, after converting the database, I ran the db2mysql script from MT. And despite a couple of false starts when it went looking in directories that had changed names, it worked like a charm and me blog is back in business.

Posted by Fungii at 08:02 PM

August 05, 2004

Finished SMB3

I finally defeated Bowser today and returned peace to our fair Mushroom Kingdom. Yea for me. After you finish the game, you can go back and play any level in any world that you completed earlier. I wonder if there's anything different the second time around? I want to go back and find all the secrets and stuff that I missed out on the first time through. This time I was basically just trying to get through each level as quickly as possible to get to the end, although I did get the "perfect clear" message after completing each world. Great game, my favourite of the Mario games.

Posted by Fungii at 07:53 PM

August 03, 2004

Rube was in a movie!

I tried watching a DVD I picked up today [Hellboy] after work, but I was too tired and had to crash out for awhile. When I woke up, the TV was on [Movie Central] and I instantly recognized Mandy Patinkin's voice, who plays Rube on Dead Like Me. At first I thought it was a repeat of DLM, but then I realized it wasn't cause he was much younger [more hair] and he was talking to Kelly McGillis. It was a 1988 movie, The House on Caroll Street. But the funny thing is, he says the line "Be sure your reach doesn't exceed your grasp", which is exactly what he said to George on an episode of DLM I watched the other night! I wonder how many other lines from the cast's previous movies they've inserted into the show? Watching his scene in this movie, he's so intense, so direct and scarily intelligent, great actor, got to track down some more of his movies. :)

And I guess his character's name on DLM comes from Rube Goldberg, the guy who drew all these weird, convoluted inventions. The deaths on DLM happen in the same way where one thing leads to another, eventually ending in someone's grisly death. The character Delores Herbig probably comes from Ellen Muth's first movie role, Delores Claiborne. I'm sure there's more, it'll be fun digging this stuff up.

Posted by Fungii at 11:37 PM

SMB3

Slow day at work today, which wasn't so bad as I finally got to play some Super Mario 3 on my Gameboy. Got up to world 8, the last one. Woohoo, I'm almost done! :)

Posted by Fungii at 06:09 PM