Now that's a nasty transition...

Having a summer break inbetween episode 1 and episode 2 of the second season? That's classy.

Chuck Palahniuk doesn't look like the type of person who would write Fight Club. He's older than you think, as well. The Q&A session was quite enjoyable, with lots of useful information being given and funny stories being told. Of course, I managed to forget my camera, so I didn't get any pictures.

Something Big is happening in Buffy. I've get a few theories, but I'll stay quiet for the moment. Especially since most of you won't be able to see it until January...

Bonnie - you will cry when you see this Smallville episode. And there's still half of it left to go. I'm sensing that we might even get some kryptonite before the final credits roll. It's that good.

currently playing: Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Under Your Spell

The Arrival of the Shiny...

It's probably a bit of a disappointment after buying the iBook on Thursday, but this what I ordered last weekend:

The Cybershot U10

It doesn't look like the Sipix Blink camera I got a few months ago will ever be supported under Linux. As it doesn't work with MacOS either, it's just a paperweight at the moment, and I want to be able to send everybody lots of amateurish pictures of Chapel Hill. The new camera works with both Linux and MacOS, so expect lots of pictures in the near future. I'll probably be putting them up on my Linux box; at the moment there's two test pictures for you to view (I'm still playing with all the features, so forgive me if they look less than wonderful). It's also 5cm x 2cm x 1cm, so it's not much bigger than the Blink, and it has a 1.3 Megapixel CCD, so the pictures should be quite reasonable.

I should have kept quiet yesterday; once again I have a huge workload, And the marking...the horror, the horror...

The fates twist again: one of my midterm exam dates is October 23rd. I'm going to the Sleater-Kinney concert the night before. Normally, this is where I would consider not attending the concert in order to revise. That Is Not Going To Happen. I've been looking forward to this for three years, and a poxy exam isn't enough to prevent me from being there. Incidentally, this may the greatest weblog post in history. Han and Charlie make a great stalker double act.

currently playing: Low - Point Of Disgust

Almost forgot!

The UPS website says that the shiny should be here tomorrow....
currently playing: The Strokes - Last Nite

Another day, another fire alarm.

Bonus points for setting the alarm off in daylight hours. However, actually causing a real fire is looked upon as cheating by the Gentlemen of the Fire Alarm Sport Commitee. The Committee also resents having to spend two hours wandering around Chapel Hill, not being able to do anything because their wallets are still in the building. Bad form.

This weekend hasn't been as hectic as most weeks, but I imagine that it's just an aberration. I have some more marking to do tomorrow, for a start. The mid-term exams are not far off as well, which is fairly scary.

Where am I at this moment? For a partial answer to this question, point a vCalendar-compatible application at my first iCal calendar, At the moment, it only shows when I have lectures or TA office hours, but it'll grow as I get busier.

Finally managed to catch up on some of the outstanding DVDs I have to watch last night. I started with Double Indemnity, which was a rather depressing affair, but a well-made film nonetheless. After that, I decided I wanted something a little more upbeat, so I unwrapped my just-arrived copy of Singin' In The Rain. They did a fantastic job on the restoration - it looks like it was made yesterday. Technicolor Goodness. I still have His Friday, The Apartment, and the new special edition of Pulp Fiction to watch, plus I will have two new Netflix films heading my way tomorrow - oh, and I taped Wait Until Dark during the Audrey Hepburn special on AMC last week, so there's that as well. It's a good thing that the current cinema releases are fairly uninspiring at the moment (The Truth About Charlie has been pushed back again, this time to October, so I can't even go and watch that for train wreck amusement), otherwise I'd be even further behind.

I can't believe that the bank charged me $2 for a statement. Am I supposed to just know the contents of my bank account? Okay, I should really sign up for the Internet banking system that they have, but I still don't have my Social Security Number, so I'm not allowed to yet. Strangely, I seem to have much more money in my account than I think is correct, so I might have been paid this month after all...

currently playing: Echobelly - The World Is Flat

"Superman!"

One of the many long-running jokes over at The V Forum is that Nick Locking, purveyor of fine robotics, gets teary-eyed when watching the final scenes of The Iron Giant. Having finally managed to sit down and watch it last night, I can see what he's talking about. *sniff*

Apple released iSync today, so I've been playing about with that this evening, filling the address book with entries from my Visor. I'm still getting used to MacOS X, but it seems rather wonderful so far...

My Weakness

Thanks for the advice, everybody. It seems that the majority opinion is that my power supply is simply too feeble for the new chip. When Fall Break comes around, I'll get a 400W power supply, and see whether that fixes things.

If nothing else, yesterday showed me the dangers on just relying on one computer. So I bought a new one today.

I have now reached the apogee of computer elitism; I now own an Apple Mac. A 700MHz iBook, to be precise. My sister refuses to talk to me. Especially after she found out that I had an AirPort card as well. First thoughts are very positive - iTunes is as easy to use as they say it is, and I have access to almost all of my Linux software through the Fink distribution. I haven't been able to connect to a wireless network yet, but I might be able to try and find one tomorrow...

This is blog entry 100. Which is fairly scary, but not as scary as the calendar, which shows I've made an entry every day so far this month. I've made a few changes to the site this morning, fixing a few links, and moving some old pages into the MovableType system. You shouldn't notice too many differences. I suppose I should get around to updating the Amazon entry, as I finished Newjack two weeks ago.

One thing I do miss about home is the music shops, specifically HMV. You can go inside any HMV in Britain, at any time of the year, and there'll be a huge sale on. They range from 'Two for one' deals on chart albums, to a general clearing of their stock. Obviously, there's a lot of rubbish, but you'll always find something worth buying. By contrast, the music shops over here don't seem to have anything on sale except for "Pan Pipes play Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music". Which is a shame, as it means that all my music purchases now happen on the Internet. Amazon tends to be cheaper than most of the shops around here, plus they have a bigger catalogue of titles available...

Meltdown II

Did I mention that I hate computers? Why does nothing ever go right?

The new Athlon XP chip arrived today. After spending two hours trying to get the original fan off the motherboard, I managed to install the new chip. Satisfied, I reconnected everything, and switched the machine back on.

Nothing.

When I say nothing, I mean Nothing. Everything was happily whirring away, but I wasn't even getting the BIOS POST on the screen.

I then tried to get the new fan off, so I could replace the new chip with the old one. But this fan was twice as big. And impossible to get off.

This is where I went a little crazy. The computer has all my work. Everything. It's also my way of communicating with people, my TV/Video/DVD/Music system, it houses all my scripts and ideas - in short, this was a Bad Thing. I apologise for the babbling phone call home, but you should have seen me twenty minutes beforehand, when I had given up hope of the machine ever working again.

In the end, I was able to prise off the fan by stripping the case down, taking everything out of the motherboard, removing the motherboard, and using a big screwdriver to lift it off, only being slightly terrified about cracking the processor housing.

Everything is now back to normal. Except the power LEDs aren't working. But I can live with that. Of course, I now have a Athlon XP chip gathering dust in a box, but hey....

Rip It Up and Start Again

It turns out that all the work I did last night was worthless, as I didn't run the experiments for the required time period. Which wasn't made clear to us until this morning. Curses.

Did I mention that my new comic shop is fantastic? Yes? Well, I'm even happier with them this week; I arrived to pick up my standing order, and they had found an original printing of St. Swithin's Day for me. Of course, the acid test will be Flex Mentallo, but I'm impressed with them so far.

Back over to the bad news - my stomach has done the university contraction again. I had a rather bigger lunch than normal, and spent most of the afternoon in my room trying not to be sick. Thankfully, I succeeded. Personally, I blame all this on the fact that Kula Shaker was playing in the restaurant while I was eating....

currently playing: Portishead - Mourning Air

Back to basics

The Buffy season opener was what you'd expect; a mysterious bumper which will obviously become of utmost importance five episodes in; checking back in with characters (English location shots ahoy!) , and setting up a new status quo (the new school). A solid beginning, and the scenes with Spike were...intriguing, to say the least.

Smallville was business as usual; poor special effects in the starting tornado sequences, more Lana simpering, and Lex is still the most sympathetic character in the show (with the possible exception of Chloe). Nice to see that Token Black Pete Ross got about three scenes this week, which must be something of a record. There were a few good bits, mainly whenever Lex or Chloe were on screen, but it looks like we're in for more "Love me, Lana!" whining from Clark.

Tomorrow: President Bartlett returns.

Well, it's good to know that somebody is thinking about the bigger picture. Admittedly, Al Gore doesn't have that much sway over anybody these days, but you wouldn't have known it from watching the CSPAN feed of his speech. He looked more animated than he ever did during the entire 2000 campaign. He pointed out some very scary features of what Bush intends to put to Congress, the main one being that it would essentially allowing the President to wage war whenever they have a whim. Meanwhile, back at home, Mr. Tony Blair published his long-awaited dossier spelling out the threat Saddam Hussein poses to the 'free' world (As an aside, why do we call him 'Saddam'? We don't call Tony Blair 'Tony'). It didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know already, but at least he was fairly guarded about the possiblity of regime change, preferring to insist upon Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions. I think the rest of the world would prefer it if America talked that way, instead of hinting that the Allies are going to come in and raze Baghdad to the ground...

Now Presenting...

Ladies and Gentlemen, this man writes New X-Men.

Tonight, I went to the first meeting of the Writer's Block screenwriting group that I talked about a couple of weeks ago. Looks like fun. Once again, the prevailing opinion from the ex-professional screenwriter we had was that Film School is probably a Bad Idea. And he's a friends with a Mr. Spielburg. Bonnie, put the knife awaaaayyy....

Our TA duties for the next few weeks got sorted out today. I'm handling the programming exercises, while Huijang is going to do the written assignments. I felt a bit guilty, as this means she's going to be doing the marking again this week, but she says that she would prefer not to do the programming section, as she's fairly new to Java, and that the written papers will help with her English. So we're fairly happy with the arrangement.

Shiny update: Not here yet.

One thing that has been missing in the course so far is any notion of how I'm doing. That was rectified somewhat today, as I had to demonstrate my two different web servers for COMP 243. As normal, my heart rate increased almost exponentially as it got closer to the time of the demonstration. I needed have worried too much; my programs passed the tests and the interoperability sections. The Professor said it was excellent. I was just happy it worked.