So there's this site you see, and it's written entirely in Flash (which is a Bad Thing™) and the person with the files is ... well, not to put too fine a point on it, rubbish. Therefore I want to know if there's any means of cannibalising a Flash site (I have an old-ish version of the editor) such that the bulk of it can be rendered in the regular html it should be in. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about the software, I could probably write a slideshow thingy but that's about it, and have not the faintest idea whether this is feasible or not. Anyone have any clues? Typically the person that owns the site (the client not the designer) doesn't have any of the original images even though they "belong" to him, hence the need to get to the source of the Flash so I can find various addresses and t'ing.

Help me Lazyweb, you're my only hope!
So then, science brains; why is it that for pretty much the entirety of this week dawn has been beautifully clear and sunny but by lunchtime it's clouded over and threatening a downpour?

Quite liked last night's Doctor Who, certainly much much better than last week's iffy offering; but it left me feeling somehow unsatisfied ... dunno why.

Had a very odd dream about looking out of my bedroom window to see a military marching band chasing a group of women in navy cadet uniforms (there is a fairly large Nautical Training Corps buidling just behind my flat) not in a Benny Hill style but just as though they were playing tag or somesuch. At the time I remember thinking "oh, it must be Remembrance Sunday" then, a little while later "Wait, it's May ... I wonder if they're having another one?" It's taken me a couple of days to realise that this was, in fact, a dream.

For the past day or so I have been attempting to wrestle with a cushion for my meditation stool. I thought to myself, it'd be nice to have a cushion, it will be comfy and will afford more friction. How wrong I was! It's fine if I sit in the wrong sort of position, but if I sit the way I'm supposed to, the damn thing starts slipping round the stool. This is particularly annoying because I've had my little stool for nearly twenty years but, for some reason, I'm finding that it's just not possible to sit on it properly now ... maybe my posture has improved recently. Anyway, for the next few days I suspect that I'll be using the stool facing the "wrong" way (less comfortable but no slipping means that it's paradoxically more comfortable), but I've ordered a zafu (cushion) so when that arrives the stool will be relegated to a camping seat. Of course any teacher would tell me that all this is just ego trying to distract me. If this is the case it's doing a bloody good job!

In other news, I've had a "Bad Romance" earworm for the past week. All of my usual strategies have failed ... help me intarwebs!
This weekend I visited an old friend in lovely Dorset, a visit that I've been promising myself for a while now. Tobyn and I used to share a house together, attended the same drama college and, later, shared another house and meditation teacher in the same town that i found myself in this weekend. Gillingham is a typical new town, an old core surrounded by rather soulless housing estates; and it was in the midst of this rather unpreposessing settlement that I arrived at Zendo where Tobyn now lives and teaches.
Our meeting was, as is sometimes the case with truly close friends, as though we'd been apart for only a week, as opposed to the fifteen years it has actually been. Being in each others' company was easy and playful, just as it had always been. Friday evening then, passed over a rather pleasant Indian meal with catching up on what we'd been up to during our time apart, and reminiscence about "the old days".

I had timed my visit to coincide with a beginner's meditation course, essentially to see if it was something that I wanted to make a part of my life again. For those of you unaware of this which is, I suspect, the majority of my friends; I used to practice meditation as a daily routine for several years. When I moved away from my teacher, having been offered a far better job than I had at the time, I gradually stopped my daily practice. This weekend's course at Zendo reconnected me with meditation practice and made me wonder why on earth I had stopped doing it! I should probably stress at this point that this isn't a religion, nor is it a substitute for such; also I have not turned into a hippy. It is a combination of yoga and Zen meditation practice, which sounds terribly fluffy but, in reality, is anything but.

Returned home today, feeling battered and bruised as though I'd done a really serious workout; this is a feeling that, thanks to ME, I haven't been able to experience for many years. So everything hurts, and yet I didn't burn myself out with physical effort. I'm certainly tired but not in an ME kind of way (this is quite difficult to describe) but in a quite normal way, which is a most refreshing change; those of you who are also living with ME will, I'm sure understand what I'm trying to get at here. In short, I am experiencing a happy sort of soreness and tiredness ... and my posture is better than it has been in years!

Will I continue to practice? Well, I certainly hope to. Daily practice isn't trivial though and it is very easy to find excuses for skipping a morning or evening sit; which, of course, is the start of a very slippery slope. Only time will tell I suppose but, for the moment, I am hopeful.
So this week's offering from Dr Who "The Time of Angels" had me pondering something in the small wee hours:

Cut for spoilers )

In other news, hurrah to the adorable CatpookaCatpooka anf JimferJimfer, at least one of whom is going to have a baby in the next few months. Yippee!
Courtesy of Nyarbaggytepnyarbaggytep.

  1. Comment to this and I will give you three people.

  2. Post this meme with your answers.

  3. Provide pictures and the names of the three people I gave you.

  4. Label which you would marry, shag, and throw off a cliff.

So who are our lucky contestants? )
Saw Clash of the Titans yesterday and was ... well ... underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, the CGI was pretty enough but as seems to be the fashion these days, they apparently paid very little attention to telling the story.

It is, I believe, a well known maxim among writers that one should "show not tell" this film, contrarywise, decided to tell rather than show; perhaps they thought we'd be so distracted by the pretties (and, my goodness, Liam Cunningham in a short tunic very nearly succeeded ... woof!) that we wouldn't notice. Sadly I did notice that, for all the speechifying about how mortals matter, we never once saw a mortal death that actually meant anything. Characters that I cared about or of whom I thought "oh they look interesting, I wonder what their story is?" were swept from the screen without anyone seeming to care or mark their passing. Indeed, my favourite character died and I had no idea it was him until quite a bit later on! Crucially, the audience wasn't given time to mourn the death of these interesting humans. "No" said the director-god, "don't bother with rubbish humanity, look at this shiny new bit of CGI" the characters were, it seems, not important to the plot. As if this weren't bad enough, Medusa was killed, not by deliberate human cunning but by ... yes, you guessed it ... more CGI.

That said, I prefer this version to the original ... yes, I hated that fucking owl that much. However, I feel that it must be pointed out that the ancient stories have stuck with us for three thousand years now, give or take, I rather doubt that Hollywood's attempts to improve on these will last for even a decade. Perhaps one day they'll have a stab at actually retelling the original tales, with actors as the main focus supported, not supplanted, by special effects.
Wishing all the compliments of the day to that most excellent fellow s0bs0b.

May health and contentment be your constant companions all the days of your life.

Serenity

Mar. 2nd, 2010 02:11 pm
Having had a week to reflect on the event, I'm still pretty sure I had a good time, and I'm pretty certain that I'll be going again (I'm even obsessing over costume and phys-reps). However in the traditions of these things (when did it become a tradition anyway?) I present my hits and misses of the weekend:

Shiny
  • The other crews.

  • Failing to win a single game of poker all weekend.

  • Having my honour defended by Skippy after being slapped round the face by a rich zhugou.

  • Skippy's hat game.

  • Doughnut's beer game (as a spectator).

  • Chatting with the Moment of Clarity crew.

  • Some very fine NPC performances

  • A bunch of FOIP stuff ... but it was fun


Whiny
  • Somehow I seemed to have contrived to be wherever the plot wasn't ... as a consequence I really only heard about the dodgy going's on second hand. This is probably just dumb bad luck on my part.

  • If there's "something in the forest" then there should actually be something in the forest other than a ref telling you about it. Players tend to be a fairly forgiving bunch when it comes to phys-reps, so some guy in a fun-fur coat and a werewolf mask would be a prefectly legitimate stand-in for a giant blue coyote. On the other hand, if you can actually produce a giant blue coyote then you get massive kudos points.

  • Key forensic plot discoveries should really be made by the players rather than NPCs. Bringing in "CSI" every time there was an incident took away from the roleplaying experience rather than adding to it. Sometimes players need to be bullied into not passing the buck, but they have a better time for it.

  • The band was, for me at least, an inconvenience. Granted this may just be me getting old and grumpy but it didn't really gel with the flavour of the background, which seems musically rooted in the 19th century for the most part. Also there was little for those of us not interested in watching/listening to do aside from play Skippy's hat game (see Shiny above).

  • There seemed to be an awful lot of plot to deal with on Sunday morning/early afternoon. This isn't ideal when people are packing up to leave at various times. I have no idea what happened about the dodgy going's on because I was busy humping my kit down to the car.

  • Given the state of the weather, I think that the organisers should really have paid a bit more attention to accommodation. I was very well catered for thankyouverymuch but others weren't so fortunate. The "advertising" for the event had made a fairly big thing about the site having indoor accommodation but there was very little in the way of concrete information to follow this up (see pre-game communication below) and a lot of people ended up sleeping on the floor in the rather rowdy main meeting/dining area while the "plot" area was, it seems, silent and empty next door to it.

  • Pre-game communication from the ref team was diabolical the pre-event email contained very little in the way of useful information including details of the world it was set on and where it stood both physically and politically, nor did it contain any out of character information at all. Really if I had to identify the absolute weakest part of the event, this would be it.

Hero

Feb. 23rd, 2010 02:31 pm
Well I've had the phone a few days now and I'm gradually discovering more and more cool things. In fact, I've discovered that any moaning about it to date has been resolved by downloading an app (the default ones are ok, but not great) or by learning how to use the damn thing properly! On the whole, I'm liking it more and more every day, though the Android Market can be a little trying; at some point I hope to compare notes with an iPhone owner so we can compare and contrast the App Store with the Market. At the moment I'm having trouble getting it to connect to my badplace email but Googlemail is working just fine on it. Using the Google contacts facility also means that all your contacts are kept external to your phone, so should be easy to "transfer" to another Android handset when the time comes to change.

On the whole, just under a week in to the experience, I'd be very happy to recommend the HTC Hero as a viable alternative to the iPhone.

Shiny

Feb. 21st, 2010 10:01 pm
Just returned from my first Serenity LRP weekender. Fortunately I went with jojo_jojoJojo_Jojo or I would have (a) gone to entirely the wrong scout camp and (b) gone next weekend. We shall not speak of this again.

Event was cold, really very cold (there was much snow), and the refs weren't able to get their wi-fi or radios to work, this had quite an impact on the game ... and not in a good way. I don't want to get overly negative, then, about the plot or the execution of it; instead I'll wait and see what the next event brings.

So far, so grumpy. But wait! This was a superb weekend of roleplaying for me. Unusually I stayed in character a good 90% of the time and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the other people at the event. Really, regardless of the quality/quantity of plot, this is one of the better roleplay events I've been to. Partially this is because it's a relatively small event (around about 50 players we think) but also because the series and film give a very clear idea of the way the "world" works. The great thing was the gusto with which almost all the players bought into the 'verse and roleplayed their little socks off at ach other.

Anyway, Serenity LRP, it's great fun and I look forward to going again. Right now though, I'm going to stand under a nice warm shower for an hour or so ... mmmmm.

Phones

Feb. 15th, 2010 08:09 pm
Well there we go, I've read reviews, I've looked at apps and I've shuddered reflexively every time I read the word "Apple", and the winner is ...

The HTC Hero on the Android system.

Many thanks for all your helpful comments, you've been a great help to me ... only time will tell if I've made the right choice or not!
Huge huge huge congratulations to this year's Venice Rats, who have won the Venice Carnival Grand Prize!
... in my defence, life has been, well, somewhat disjointed of late. Nothing hugely dramatic, just minor health stuff, minor domestic stuff and the occasional threat of nervous breakdown. We hope to resume normal service as soon as possible etc. etc.

Anyway, this is absolutely not intended to be an(other) emo post ... therefore please keep sympathy replies to yourselves, they are not what I need right now, nor do I need hugs, fluffy animals or anything to "make me feel better". And yes, this applies to you.

So what I actually want is some advice. My poor old Palm E2 has seen better days and I'm starting to get an inferiority complex every time I get my mobile phone out, so I'm looking for, yes you guessed it, a smartphone. Now this is where you come in, listed below are what I see as my current choices with attendant dilemmas attached to them. I'd appreciate any advice you can offer regarding these dilemmas. With a bit of luck, between us, I will soon be sporting a smartphone that will be the envy of all of Christendom.
  • Android
    Currently my favourite, Google's open source OS ticks a number of boxes and promises both longevity and an expanding range of apps. Also these phones seem to be the only ones with slots for memory cards. Downsides are that I'm struggling to find any unlimited data contracts for these phones, also many of the phone manufacturers are unknown to me and I fear the unknown.

  • Palm Pré
    I recently heard that Palm were in quite a bit of trouble and likely to go bankrupt in the very near future. Although the Pré looks like it's a fantastic phone, I don't want to get saddled with something that will receive no support in the future. Also I'm a little concerned that the range of apps might be a little limited. I want a balance of fun and practical apps and I can't see me wanting very many but I shall be quite miffed if the ones I want aren't there.

  • Apple iPhone 3GS
    I've seen iPhones and they are, indeed, pretty; also they have more apps available than I've had hot dinners. However I am very worried about the proprietary nature of the machine; most particularly, if I want to play music, I don't want to go via iTunes ... this seems symptomatic of the Apple mindset, "if you want it, you can have it, but on our terms" ... frankly I want no part of this.

To be honest, despite it being my least favoured option, I can see me ending up with the iPhone ... this makes me a sad panda.

In other news, come to Odyssey it will be amazing. Of course it will be even more amazing if certain members of the story team get off their well-upholstered arses and start writing ... but as I said above, that's a work in progress.
Maelstrom at last! I may only have been able to make half an event this year but I have at least done some LRP in 2009. It was so lovely to see folks I hadn't seen for ages and to get back into my (now rather baggy) kit and lovely tent. I didn't really feel connected to the event though, probably because I wasn't there at all on Saturday and thus had only two half-days to do stuff. All the same, I'm very glad I went. The Odyssey trading cards were an inspired idea and there was, allegedly, quite a thriving market in them. I think we should release an album for them at the first event.

The reason for missing half of the event was attending marktoyMarktoy's wedding to Mary (who is, I think, sans LJ). The day was perfect, many lovely guests, scrummy food, a rather splendid cigar, moving speeches, probably the best rendition of "Us Two" I've ever heard (not empty praise, I assure you ... and I've heard it a few times), a huge amount of silliness, laughter and many good things. The bride and groom were, of course, radiant and I wish them both every happiness in the years to come.

Of course, nothing comes without cost and, given the "tenderness" I've been experiencing, I suspect that it may have been a little early to be setting up and taking down a tent, with all the lugging (even the non-obvious activities) that entails. Still, it was worth it for such a great weekend.

I'm Back!

Aug. 26th, 2009 02:09 pm
Surgery appears to have been successful (at least insofar as I seem to be breathing and conscious) and I am at home. Recovery is proceeding quite a bit faster than I was anticipating, though I'm still in quite a bit of pain and walking is even slower than normal right now. About the only thing that isn't going better than I expected is the lack of support forthcoming from my mother who, despite solemn pronouncements before the op, has given not a word of sympathy or support and, yes you guessed it, has already begun complaining that I'm avoiding doing stuff for her.

Truly, the woman is a blight on my life.
binidj: (Doom song)
So I had quite a vivid dream this morning. I shall relate this dream here, not so much because I think it will be of any interest to anyone but rather because if something dreadful really does happen, I shall be in the perfect position of being able to say "I just knew this was going to happen."

I stepped out of the car, leaving my mother in the passenger seat, and looked out over what looked like the South Downs. We were by no means alone in this elevated field, cars, caravans and families on foot covered the green hillside, enjoying the afternoon sun. Looking to my left, I became aware of a ribbon of dark cloud some distance off; the cloud wasn't just dark, mind you, it was black. Gradually the wall of cloud came closer and it was certain that we would be in for a thunderstorm of spectacular (if brief) proportions. As it grew nearer, the crowd downslope from me began to make noises of distress, tiny figures pointing at the looming thunderheads about to pass over us. And pass over us it did and, for the minute or so that it was above us, the world was plunged into absolute blackness. When the cloud had passed, the distress and turmoil below was of a greater magnitude than it had been previously. I recall someone (possibly myself) shouting "look, there's a caravan on fire" though, for the most part, there seemed to be very little in the way of damage. It was at this very moment that I saw a vast plume of what I took to be smoke on the horizon ahead of me. For all the world this looked like a volcano erupting in the distance but, realising that I was in England and that we haven't had any volcanoes for a while, I peered harder to discern what it was that could create such a display. I didn't have to wait long before it became apparent; for in the distance, resolving out of the mist, appeared a gigantic wave the dimensions of which would be measured in fractions of a mile easier than in metres or feet. Just before I woke up I remember noting that if one were to face such a wave anywhere, probably the top of the Downs was the best place and that if I didn't survive it, then at least my final thoughts wouldn't have been "if only I'd been somewhere else."

Now I'm sure that this has absolutely nothing to do with going into hospital tomorrow ... ah who am I kidding, of course it's the expression of subconscious pre-operative anxiety ... but it was very vivid (and quite biblical) so it seemed only proper to record it somewhere, regardless of whether it's utter tosh or not.

They should be releasing the rabid wolves at some point between 8am and noon tomorrow so any positive thoughts to help me through the blackness would be greatly appreciated.
Haven't been able to bestir myself to do any writing for what seems forever. This is driving me nuts as it's not as if there isn't writing that I both want and am committed to do. Writer's block then but of quite an unusual breed for me, ah well perhaps my mind will settle once the operation finally gets done. Speaking of which, I received a telephone call this morning informing me that my operation date has been changed again (this is the fourth or fifth time I think), this time to 23 August. I am feeling quite fretful about the whole thing, even though I'm aware that it's quite a straightforward procedure with excellent recovery prospects ... still, someone will be sticking a knife (however small) into me and taking out an organ! Ok so it's a largely redundant organ but still, it's my.largely redundant organ. My surgery-related worries are also causing more sullenness and snappiness than is normal, which mum is bearing the brunt of. I'm also feeling rather under-the-weather in general health wise, though it's difficult to tell if it's ME or diet-related or a combination of the two (the latter is most likely I think) and this isn't improving my mood any ... all the more so when I think of people who's health is in a far worse state than mine, and feel guilty about moping over something that isn't (very) painful or (at all) life-threatening.

In World of Warcraft news I am probably going to give Alliance raiding a break, at least for a bit. Monday nights have become a duty rather than a pleasure of late and last night's raid was the most miserable few hours I remember spending on-line (for any purpose). Although it's ridiculous that one person can make me feel so unhappy and unwelcome when they're not even physically present is somewhat ludicrous, still I can live without being made to feel like shit every Monday night thanks all the same. So looks like the Bad Eggs have 100% of my WoW time now ... poor souls.

So anyone that knows me might want to avoid the question "how are you?" for the next few weeks at least.
Is anyone planning on going to both Maelstrom and marktoyMarktoy's wedding? If so may I (potentially) cadge a lift?

Mind you, with this year's record of Maelstroms attended, perhaps I should just bow to the inevitable and just go to the wedding.

V-Movie

Aug. 5th, 2009 12:37 pm
I made it! Huzzah!

The event was, of course, excellent. the venue looked fabulous, the guests looked fabulous, the music was fabulous, the hosts were (of course) fabulous. There were inevitable low-notes but they were mercifully few and far between. My major complaint was not spending enough time on the main music floor. I level this complaint at myself, of course, but cocktails and chatting and other loveliness drew me away.

The usual apologies follow with regard to any potential misbehaviour on my part as a result of excessive booze consumption. I don't think I did or said anything wildly out of order, but if for some inexplicable reason I did, you have my heartfelt apologies. Apparently, for those in the know, I was at about 0.8 Macy Gray's ... so really qute pissed! Apologies also to whoever got my hangover the following day, it should have been a doozy given the astonishing amount of mixing I was guilty of throughout the evening.

Grazing

Jul. 29th, 2009 02:25 pm
For some weeks now I have been enjoying a Graze box every Wednesday as my main meal. Surprisingly (to me anyway) it's actually a good meal substitute ... and certainly very tasty. If, for some inexplicable reason you haven't tried grazing yet, please allow me (well, them actually) to treat you to a free (yes, completely free, no obligation, etc. etc.) lunch. Just visit www.graze.com and quote the following code: RLQK9MP. Give it a go, I think you'll be glad you did.

July 2010

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