Older blog entries for Pizza (starting at number 91)

The soundtrack of my life

As I type this, I'm listening to Lacuna Coil's latest album, Karmacode. Their trademark dark, haunting vocals and off-key melodies are as evocative as ever.

Ah, Goth Rock. Raw, angstful, and powerful.

Yet, as always, it's the power ballads that pack the most punch for me; They have all of the bands's power on-tap, but rather than throw it in our face, it's barely restrained, each note hinting at the beast caged within.

While the raw power draws out the angst, focused restraint builds the necessary realization and understanding needed to channel that raw power into a way to lift yourself up and out.

This isn't the first time Lacuna Coil has done that for me. Their music has seen me through several turning points in my life. Sort of the right thing at the right time.

It's odd, the way you don't notice something slipping away until it's completely gone and suddenly comes back and smacks you in the face with its full force.

The soundtrack of my life's been..well, silent. There are, of course, many small reasons, all fairly insignificant, but their cumulative reprocussions have been fairly extensive. It's nice that I'm coming out of this extensive rut..

I _really_ need to re-skin my djembe. It has that raw power that my little doumbeks, while tons of fun, just can't touch. Only a month left until the next Paralounge drum gathering!

...Meanwhile, Lacuna Coil's drummer still rides the cymbals far more than is healty. But I guess that means I still have my hearing, eh?

Syndicated 2006-10-19 15:58:28 from Solomon Peachy

Dreamfall

I don't know how to describe just how engrossing this game was; they did everything right. It's the feeling you get after reading a particularly good book; you turn the last page.. and there's no more. The world you'd been living in is suddenly gone, and you feel empty.

The characters were real people, well written and voiced. Epic scale and consequence, life-and-death emotional impact. Excellent music and atmosphere. In short, it has a living, breathing world. It's all there.

Everything, that is... but the ending.

This wasn't the "set things up for a sequel" ending, but more like a "where's the rest? The last quarter of the book is missing!" kind of ending.

They'd better not take another seven years to make the sequel (probably to be called "The Longest Journey: Undreaming"); there are just too many unrequited plot arcs left hanging.

Jarring ending aside, Dreamfall leaves you wondering what is actually real, dreams within dreams, and all that. Very few stories have done this to me.

What is our continued fascination with other peoples' dreams? How are they somehow more real than our own, our own lives? Those who can make their dreams happen are powerful (and dangerous!) indeed.

It could be argued that this "everything left hanging" ending was completely in line with the game's story; it is up to us to dream the ending ourselves, even as the "Undreaming" threatens the world.

Perhaps the blurb about "getting the word out so all of this wasn't in vain" was also about needing to dream up enough sales for them to realize the conclusion of this amazing story.

So, go and pick up a copy of both The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, and discover just how good adventure games can get.

Syndicated 2006-10-13 13:55:35 from Solomon Peachy

I'm officially domesticated

Last night I bought a KitchenAid stand mixer. I've been wanting one for several years, but could never really justify spending $300 on a glorified mixer.

...enter Crystal's Deadly Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. The first batch we made produced some interesting sounds out of my Wal-Mart special hand mixer. But it survived, and lived to beat another batter. Unfortunately.. a week later we made a triple batch.

Despite frequent cooling-down periods, the poor mixer started to sound worse and worse, with that nice "um.. that's bad.." smell of warm plastic and ozone that signifies a pending release of magic blue smoke. But the mixer survived, barely. It's probably okay for light mixing, but I'd prefer Crystal to not get a handful of burning plastic when she bakes her next creation...

Crystal's taken up the challenge to try and (legitimately) kill the new mixer. Meanwhile, I'm content to sit back and eat the spoils of war.

It's sad; the first thing everyone's said when informed of this purchase was.. What color?

It's Blue Willow, if you must know.

Syndicated 2006-10-12 19:59:11 from Solomon Peachy

Dreaming

What is a dream?

It is said that we create our own reality, but using this loose defintion, what we call reality is just another dream.

I know I'm not dreaming when I am unable to control what happens around me. If I get what I want, it somehow seems fake, less real, untrustworthy. If I create what I want, is everything just a dream?

...Is reality what happens when you want to wake up, but can't?

At the end of the day, we return to dreams within our waking dream in vain attempts to tickle ourselves awake. Occasionally we succeed...

Then wake into the dream anew.

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Edgar Allen Poe

Syndicated 2006-10-10 04:47:00 from Solomon Peachy

29 Dec 2006 (updated 30 Dec 2006 at 00:16 UTC) »

Back in May, I inherited Photo Organizer, and since then, there have been four releases. Nothing earth-shattering, but a steady series of incremental improvements, usually in the form of feature backports from the "unstable" tree.

The single biggest feature of the "unstable" tree is the use of CSS for layout and other formatting, plus other changes necessary to support better theming and internationalization. The work is well advanced, but I'm running into a few walls.

First, I can't seem to figure out how to have truly marginless <button>s. I'm using graphical buttons for things like next/prev links, but try as I may, I end up with a small (~few pixels) margin around the embedded image. This doesn't matter for most of the buttons, but there is a subset used for navigation and this results in the navbar being unacceptaby wide.

The navigation buttons are being used as implicit <a href> tags, which raises the question "why not just use the tag then?" -- basically, I want everything using the same mechanism, if at all possible. As most of these buttons/links appear within multiple forms (and occasionally standalone) I can't use <input type="image"> tags because of their implicit submit on click. On the plus side their borders/margins can be disabled!

Second, I can't seem to figure out how to have a proper 'onmouseover' event when hovering over a button. The button normally pops up a little tooltip (via the title attritubte), but I want to pop up a thumbnail of the next/prev image when the mouse hovers over the button as well as the tooltip. I could probably hack something together via a hidden <div>, but I'm almost over my head as it is.

The goal of these buttons is to enable a pure-text interface, making it trivial to translate it into different languages -- and the crucial bit is that the rest of the code can't care what the UI looks like.

Hacking HTML/Javascript/CSS/DOM is a far cry from the kernel-land hackery I spend most of my time in. To say nothing of my continuing distaste of PHP!

Sunsets and Rockets

While on a bit of a scouting trip, Crystal and I got sidetracked for many hours while we tromped around various parts of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore.

Much of the MINWR, and the southern end of CNS, butts up against NASA's facilities, so while you get this view in one direction...

Rocket motor test facility

...you get this in another. (Granted, it was an hour later).

Sunset

As you can imagine, this stretch of road would be a great place to watch a rocket launch, but In The Interest Of National Security(tm) the powers that be close off this whole area to the public. Sigh.

Along one of the trails I spotted this Great Blue Heron. It's a slightly blurry thanks to my handholding a long zoom, but it's still purty nonetheless.

Great Blue Heron

It's nice to get out and away from a computer and software hax0ring. But more on that later.

Syndicated 2006-12-29 03:35:14 from Solomon Peachy

Monkey business

Sometimes it's all too easy.

Syndicated 2006-12-26 23:33:36 from Solomon Peachy

Hula Girls

In mid-November I drove to the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park, outside the bustling metropolis of Live Oak, FL, for the Paralounge Drum gathering.

It's a fact of life that on any trip, you inevitably forget something. Last time I, I forgot shampoo. This time, I forgot my Djembe, so I resigned myself to walking around the park with my camera, taking nearly 1200 photos during the three-day event. Unusually, I ended up with more good photos than bad. I must be getting better!

This one is the best photo of the lot. It just exudes cuteness, and aside from the trash can visible in the background, is perfect:

Hula Girl

This one is another favorite. This young lady had a particular grace about her. It's hard to capture the essence of graceful motion in a still photograph, but I think it works here:

Hula Girl II

In other news, I'm going to try and do a picture-of-the-day from now on. Consider it an early new year's resolution or something.

Note to Advogato: Most posts won't have anything to do with Free Software -- and nanoblogger doesn't currently generate a separate feed for each category. Is there a way to filter? (Does anyone care)?

Syndicated 2006-12-25 13:52:02 from Solomon Peachy

Angel

Angel

Crystal and I rescued Angel from the Humane Society. You can't see it in this picture but his fur was so badly matted that he basically had dreads.

Syndicated 2006-12-25 00:02:31 from Solomon Peachy

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