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.


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.

Another short entry

It’s my Dad’s birthday today, so Happy Birthday! (although back home it isn’t his birthday anymore - curse those pesky time-zones)

The problem with locking yourself in a room over the weekend to do work is that you have nothing to write about. My CPU fan arrived today, so you could take a look at that, but it’s not very interesting unless you get excited about air flow rates.

Where in The World in Jason Mewes?

currently playing: Slumber Party - Certain Versions

Of course, opinions may vary...

The general Internet opinion seems to be that Firefly wasn’t very good at all. I disagree, but you have to consider that I’m about to spend the next three hours watching My Fair Lady again, so my thoughts are highly suspect.

I finally gave in to the lure of the shiny today. No, I haven’t bought the iBook yet, as I want to be sure that I’m being paid regularly before I go into that. What have I bought? Not telling. At least until it arrives.

They’ve cut the starting overture. A longer entry tomorrow, perhaps…

currently playing: Sleater-Kinney - Start Together

Butch Cassidy In Space!

Bear with me - the next few weeks are going to be rife with reviews of the new TV season. There’ll be the usual whining of a privileged white male, in case the reviews bore you…

I said I would give Transformers: Armada some chance to establish itself before I gave up on it completely. I’m regretting that. ‘Comrade’ was rife with bad animation, horrendous plotting and pacing, and riddled with continuity errors. From the previous episode. I’m not claiming the original series was high art, but at least it didn’t solely feature a desert/canyon scene for the first four episodes. Plus it had some actual robot battles, rather than having characters stand around letting themselves get shot. Okay, I’m not in the target audience anymore. But it looks cheap and nasty when compared to Justice League, which immediately follows Armada on the Cartoon Network. Where’s the explosions? The mass destruction? A plot different from Hunt The Mini-Con? I probably won’t be seeking out any more episodes.

Today also saw the premiere of the new season’s most hyped shows: Firefly. Other shows claim to be a Western in space. Joss Whedon actually delivers. The first episode was a fairly understated affair, introducing us to the main cast via a train robbery. Yes, a Train Robbery. We’re not being secretly ironic. Disappointingly, this then develops into the standard Star Trek Moral Dilemma scenario, but there’s enough going on with the crew and the toned-down, but still sharp dialogue to keep you interested.

Refreshingly (and I imagine Warren Ellis will be pleased), the crew don’t all want to hug and love each other like in most versions of Star Trek; there’s a good deal of mistrust among the various crew members, mainly centred around one character who hates everybody. As you’ve come to expect from Whedon, there’s a Big Mystery which will mostly likely form the spine of the series, but it’s wisely confined to a few scenes in this opening episode.

The show reminds me of Cowboy Bebop, although without the jazz influences. My sister will probably hit me for saying this, but I think there’s a little bit of Blake’s 7 in there as well. It’s not the second coming of sci-fi drama (at least not yet), but it was a good debut, light years (do you see?) ahead of the turgid Enterprise.

currently playing: Kenickie - Killing Fantasy

Run Away. Fast.

I like Enimem, because he hates homosexuals. But his music sucks.

Not the sort of thing I was expecting to hear in ultra-liberal Chapel Hill. Thankfully, the person above left fairly soon after that. I went out again with Rishi last night, to meet up with some of his friends (who were very friendly and seemed a lot nicer than the above person, who we met along the way). My body isn’t quite back into the going to bed at 2am routine yet, so today has been fairly tiring.

The curse returns. Over a month in, and I’ve already killed a newspaper. Fear my POWER!

currently playing: New Order - Special

The Insider

Dr. Wigand is a brave man. North Carolina is one of the biggest tobacco farming states in the USA, so I suppose a frosty reception was expected. Still, I was surprised at the question and answer session, which ranged from accusing him of placing the bullet in his letterbox, to asking whether there were any benefits to nicotine (after he’d spent over an hour going into the details of nicotine abuse). Apparently, Michael Mann was still being threatened up to the day of the Oscar ceremony over the film. Wigand paints a rather depressing picture of today’s corporate America; the lies and deceit present in the cigarette industry seem to have spread to other companies with disastrous effects for the entire nation. What’s worse is that people know this is true. Last week’s Question Time had the entire American audience laughing at Ed Koch’s depiction of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as honest men of integrity. But no-one seems to be doing anything constructive to change things.

Glad to hear that you don’t have writer’s block, Joanne. However, the book was supposed to be out last year, was it not? Mind you, she’s in an envious position; she can tell her publisher to jump and they’ll outpace Jonathan Edwards….

currently playing: Altered Images - Happy Birthday