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Thoughts on language and more

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So we're heading into December now, and to the last of the years with double zeros. The entire first decade of the 21st Century will be over, and I'm sure we'll see some various "Best Of The Decade" things popping up and around. I find myself still unemployed, unfortunately, but things continue on and I keep trying, and I don't let it bring me down. The world continues, each day moves forward, and so as well must I. There is no time to dwell, to revel, and stop seeing the way forward, because it continues forward just the same.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 12:00:00 -0600

Holder of Time

It's so easy for me to draw parallels to The Holders series, simply because that's the first place I was introduced to this concept. But I'm not talking about the Holders series today, in particular. Instead, I thought I'd mention a couple other works of a similar premise that have recently come to my attention and have enjoyed rather well. Both of these are SyFy properties, one being a mini-series from a few years back, and the other a regular series that started this year.

The first one, the mini-series, I just finished watching, after having originally seen the advertisement for it, missed it, forgotten the title, been unable to find it again, and then finally reminded of the title on a forum. That is The Lost Room. This show came out before I was first introduced to the Holders series, actually, and was the first thing I had thought about after first reading The King Of Wolves' site. But I had missed it when it had aired, and couldn't remember it to find it again. This particular series follows a very specific path, as the preview shows, with the man who lost his daughter into the Room and is now after the Objects needed to get her back. 

The second one is a series titled Warehouse 13, which the last of it can be seen on Hulu right now. Instead of having any specific sequence following it, like The Lost Room does, this throws more into the Indiana Jones/Peter Jackson Games concept of a government entity retrieving and guarding Objects as they turn up. It was originally slated for just one season, but near the end got greenlit for a second season, and I'm looking forward to. 

I don't really want to spoil either one beyond that, because I really enjoyed them and highly recommend watching both series.

Wed, 25 Nov 2009 18:00:00 -0600

Continuous Rewrites

Red Ice has been updated. I tried to do a Pocketwatch update too, but I couldn't decide where I wanted to go with it. The Red Ice part wasn't so easy either, I had tried a couple weeks ago and then ended up striking out everything I wrote because I wasn't happy with the way it flowed, and couldn't think of a way to rewrite it until now.

Mon, 16 Nov 2009 04:00:00 -0600

Never Again Open This

I keep a folder with all (well, almost all) of my writings over the years. It's a simple migration of the default WordPerfect document folder, named MyFiles, even though I lost my WordPefect license some time back and had to switch to OpenOffice, and am now using Word 2007. There are 146 documents in this folder dating back into the year 2000 (after I had lost the work from AZZ CardFile), though a few of them are duplicates or temporary locks that didn't clean themselves up properly. 

Most of these files really aren't much, just simple notes I had jotted down and saved in a file so I had them. Some of them are also story starters, which I had noted down based on dreams with just enough details from the dream so I could remember it later, but never got around to continuing as stories. And lastly, I have one file, by the name of "never again open this.wpd", which was an utterly horrible poem I had to write in my Junior year in High School about an aspect of school life (I chose the subject of Sophomores). I found it so atrocious that after the assignment was turned in I renamed the file by that name afterwards, and have mostly stuck to that reminder. 

Despite the fact I utterly suck at the games, I am a fan of the Japanese indie game series "Touhou", a series I have recently gotten into of top down shooters with an all female cast that primarily are characterized by having way too many bullets on the screen. It's commonly known as "danmaku" variant in Japanese, in English as "bullet hell", although the only game I can think of of the variant that I have played that would be well known in the English speaking community is the Dreamcast/XBLA game Ikaruga.  But mostly what has made me enjoy the series so much is the amount of depth it's drunkard creator has gone into the series, which is based heavily on Japanese mythology. Despite having taken three years of Japanese language in high school, mythology wasn't really touched upon much in the class, and so I've ended up learning a lot reading the back notes about the various mythological creatures the characters are based on. 

As far as mythology is concerned, I've myself studied primarily Greek mythology in the past, and used fair amounts of mythology as part of my game storylines. This is how these random thoughts tie together, mind you, and in fact it all ties together from one single name: Aya. This particular character is a Tengu, a creature from Japanese mythology commonly considered harbringers of war, and generally identified by red faces and extremely long noses, and raptor wings. During the D&D campaign I've been in, at one point the DM used a creature from Greek mythology that I had forgotten about, the Erinyes (or also known as Furies, mind you most of that Wikipedia article's content is missing from a vandalism and hasn't gotten restored yet). While I was re-familiarizing myself with the Erinyes, I noticed that, in an interesting case of syncretism, they are very similar to the Japanese Tengu: avian wings, and harbringers of vengeance. 

While I found this interesting, the most interesting part to me didn't come until after that, when I accidentally opened one of these old writings based on dreams. This particular piece from early 2005, it was one of my worst actual pieces of writing, horribly described and missing much of the important details for the rest of the story, but had a character I had forgotten I had created, identified roughly as "Flying" by one of the other characters who was identifying these characters by equating them to Greek mythological creatures, but whom I had given her real name meaning "bird" in Greek (though I might have corrupted the spelling when I looked this up years ago) as "Aiya".

Aya the Tengu, Aiya the Erinye. There is certainly not a shortage of coincidences around here.

Fri, 13 Nov 2009 16:00:00 -0600

XML Conversion

Despite how handy I found XmlSerializer to be, it is a lot harder to stage it to automatically create an XML file in the format that the XNA Content Processor wants things to be in. In the newest editor I put together, for scripting boss battles, I ended up with a pretty convoluted structure of nested classes so that I could get the structure the way it needs to be for XNA to read it, despite the relative simplicity of the actual class itself. 

For a while there, I almost forgot how much I dislike XML. I remember again, now.

Tue, 10 Nov 2009 17:00:00 -0600

Missing Gear

By the way, I handled one of the Zune HD's while I was at Best Buy a couple days ago. They are thought defyingly thin. 

I've been in kind of a rut lately. I'm nearing completion of entering the main script events into Spiral Island, but some of them have left me kind of scratching my head as to how I want them to play out. I haven't been able to write for any of my active stories, either, because I sit down, write something, and then end up not happy with it and delete it again. 

I dunno. I think maybe my mind needs to come to a singularity again and then disperse before I'll be able to really start flowing again. Until then I just have to trudge through as best as I can.

Fri, 06 Nov 2009 06:00:00 -0600


So I did decide to go ahead and upgrade my XPS to Windows 7 after all. I made this decision mainly because I had switched to 64-bit Vista not that long ago, and the UPEK fingerprint reader software for 64-bit has a major memory leak. I had caught it multiple times taking up more than 2 Gigabytes of RAM, slowing my system down majorly. Windows 7 added a uniform API for Biometrics, integrating fingerprint readers into the main login system and eliminating the need for having third party software installed to manage it. I use my fingerprint reader for logging in all the time, so it was a necessity to have a properly working software controlling it. 

I also own an ASUS Eee PC 900A, which I currently have running Xubuntu 9.10. It has a small 4GB drive, and every time I install a new OS on there I find myself having to uninstall a lot of unneeded packages to free up space. I have it currently at 1.08 GB free, but that can swing wildly down to less than 400 MB free depending on what I'm working with on there at the time. To try and make space easier, I got to thinking about using a compressing filesystem on there, only to find out the only Linux filesystems that really support integrated compression are Reisen4, which isn't integrated into the main kernel and is currently stalled, and Btrfs, which is expected to eventually replace the extX file systems currently in use, but is well behind development schedule. I'll probably switch to Btrfs in the future, but it doesn't warrant another reinstall right now when Ubuntu 9.10 release was just a week or so ago.

While I was doing the research, I remembered about the NTFS built-in compression as well, which had been out of mind since I hadn't ever seen it used since the private NT Server my high school's Multimedia lab was run on. I have only a 160 GB drive on my XPS, which I keep in two separate main partitions (in addition to the MediaDirect and Dell Tools partitions) of 100GB for the main OS, and 47 for various experimental OS's from time to time, with my music collection stored there when I'm not experimenting with anything else. When I reinstalled with Vista x64, 30 of that original 100 was taken up by the OS alone, and after installing all my tools I had less than 50 GB left. If I try and install any games I lose a lot more space, having less than 30 GB free when I decided to install 7 and getting down as far as less than 10 GB free at times in the past.

So I decided to turn on compression when I installed 7, to see how much it changed things. The actual 7 install itself took up only 15 GB instead of 30, which was nice. I compressed my Users folder, and the 32-bit Program Files folder (the 64-bit one doesn't get a lot installed in it, so I haven't bothered). After installing most all of my tools (I still need to install Photoshop and VirtualBox), and downloading STALKER in Steam, I currently have 67 GB still free! My Program Files folder is compressed down to 79% the size of normal. All in all, very nice results, and will make things much better to work with in the long run under this setup.

Thu, 05 Nov 2009 05:00:00 -0600