Today I usually have a planned or improvised April Fools joke on Sigg3.net, but not this year.
Friday I handed in the first 20% of my MA thesis and also accidentally discovered that we were scheduled for having our windows replaced today. They decided this was the time to do it because of some change in insulation regs next year, which could make it even more expensive.
All weekend was pretty much in preparation for the job. Yesterday I spent six-seven hours rolling out paper on the floor and putting everything in plastic.
Today, I got up at 5:30 a.m. which is around 4-5 hours earlier than usual, and the construction team entered at 7. Half an hour after that we put the dog in the car and drove him to C’s mother. Had a cup of coffee, and agreed that C would stay behind with Elvis trying to get some sleep. While I, on the other hand, was going to drive back home and keep an eye out for problems, documenting the steps and make coffee. Spending 1,5 year on a flat makes it your baby. I sometimes feel like I know more about the flat than I do about myself. So when someone from the outside world come to change it, it better be good.
I was quickly realizing that the company we’d hired weren’t amateurs looking for a quick buck and hiding behind foreclosure strategies. They were organized and well trained to do their particular parts, which rendered me being there a lot less necessary.
I went to a café in my neighborhood and bought a double latte, and brought it back to the garden. The flat looked like a bombed out ruin by now, huge holes where the windows would be. So the wind was blowing right through it, making it colder than just sitting outside. Also, my AP is so powerful I easily get Wifi in the garden.
After the coffee, I had some more photos to shoot, but then nothing to do. So I went for a walk, without the dog, looking like an unemployed construction worker aimlessly wandering around, at the park, along the roads, at the Botanical Garden of Oslo.. Lady C and Elvis joined me in the garden around noon, well rested, bringing lunch and good company, and the sun was finally starting to work as advertised. Since the nut across the hall refused to let anyone in, ours was the flat in focus today, thus they finished earlier, around 2pm. C left for work and Elvis was happy for all the attention.
Around 7 pm I finished taking out the dusty paper and plastic covers to the bins, vacuuming and cleaning all the rooms and finally putting my computer room back in order. Then I had to take the dog outside again, play with him some, play Left 4 Dead 2 some and a little no More Room in Hell, until it was now.
Now I am hungry and exhausted, stretching on the mini couch in the computer room with a snoring Boston Terrier squeezing me further to the edge. And I have no energy left for April Fools day shenanigans, hence the present message. I am not convinced that the windows needed changing, but I’m glad it’s partially completed. Now remains the finishing touches which, happily, Lady C is much better at than me. I hope you had a great day, however, and many fine jokes to chuckle at. Have a cheese burger! That is at least what I intend to do once C returns from work and order is restored in the galaxy.
Edit: Pics or it didn’t happen!
This is the kitchen window, having been almost taken out completely..
You can download a tarball or clone my git repository. Please enjoy!
It feels great to finally give something back to the Free and Open Source software community! The ~2200 lines of code reflects a need for optimization, but I am not planning to do any major overhauls on the current game. (It runs fine and is stable.)
If you ever wanted a random, Warhammer-like BASH terminal adventure game, you’re in for a treat! The world of Back in a minute has 4 playable races, 6 enemies, 8 items and 6 scenarios in 270 sections of the world map. And if you tire of the default map, you can create your own using the map template generator that is built in!
Have fun and a great weekend! It is time to make dinner and mix myself a drink:)
Last year, having finished my CD-to-FLAC automation script called FLACRIPPER, I jumped head first into my next project: Create a fun game that is completely written in BASH. I started out with these ideas:
It must be quick
…but also vast, if you want it to be
It must be a full world (have a navigational map)
It must have monsters you can fight
It must be random
This was the start of forest.sh which later became Back in a minute.
I started coding while reading a lot of political philosophy, simply because I needed a break from books. Creating something that’s in your head on paper is pretty much my everyday life, but there is usually little feedback except when you receive a grade on a paper. Which is pretty arbitrary and not very constructive.
Coding, on the other hand, provides instant feedback! In addition, it does train the same ontological skills that I need in philosophy, so it isn’t a complete waste of time. One big difference is that an article can have spelling mistakes without affecting the content, whereas code simply breaks down in a pile of error messages..
Having coded on and off for half a year, I understood that while being a favourite pastime I couldn’t force my readers (what readers?) to read about it, so I played with the idea of creating a separate blog for the project. When I came to the point of having a working game, I was pretty much planning a sequel. This prompted me to create a separate blog:
Please note, there is currently no code in the repositories, because there are 2 bugs I want to iron out first so the game is 100% playable from day one. Last night I watched a Kickstarter update from Tim Schafer‘s development of Broken Age, of which Act 1 was released to backers just yesterday. Anyway, he said that as a game developer at the end of creating a game, there are a hundred things you’d like to do; but there are only 10 things you _can do_, and those are the things you _have to do_.
Without any comparison to the inspiring genius of Tim Schafer, who gave us Monkey Island and Grim Fandango among others, it gave me a push in the right direction. ‘Cause I’ve been struggling with a «social media» feature of my game, which posts a row from the highscore list on Twitter etc. But it has created more problems than it solves, and yesterday I realized that it has nothing to do with the game. So I’m re-doing it in a more basic manner, by simply creating a copy-pastable message in the terminal using echo the player can post him or herself.
That leaves 2 (known) bugs for me to fix, commenting the code a bit more verbosely, and making it more readable (casing). I began writing it in gedit, which is okay for smaller projects, but as soon as I got more than 1500 lines of code it became too slow. I am now using geany, and considering learning emacs instead. That’s what Jesus would do. Anyway, you can follow the development on Back in a minute blog, which was created so those who don’t care don’t have to be bothered! :D
It’s been a while since I did this, so here are the last five flicks I saw.
World War Z (2013)
This. This is what we’ve been waiting for. Not a zombie movie. But THIS zombie movie. The albeit cheesy title made me think that this was just another fundraiser for some Jewish wedding in Hollywood, but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s not a good zombie movie, it’s a great movie. It has story and depth, and comes across as the exception to the rule of zombie movies necessarily having to be superficial.
Without going into much detail, I found that WWZ had intriguing plot twists that I couldn’t predict, which is getting harder and harder to come by in the average film industry. It had a solid variation of pace, which really made the experience enjoyable. You got your cheap thrills, awe, teh funny and edge-of-the-seat shit scary. The pacing of this film really drew me into it. I laughed out loud (along with a couple of other nerds) when there was a recognizable Left 4 Dead moment towards the end, and it was also nice to see Gollum back in the game:
What’s up with all the skinny chicks in Hollywood at the moment? Have a burger, already!
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
We caught this movie in 3D, because every time you see a movie poster these days you’re confronted with serious doubt; “if I see the 2D version, how much am I missing out on?”
In this film, not that much. There’s one scene the first five minutes that is worthwhile in 3D, where an arrow literally hits you in the face. Apart from that, you’re just struggling to find out where the camera man wants you to focus at any given moment. I sincerely feel this is taking something away from the art of cinema, when you cannot even “look around” to get a feel of the atmosphere from the surroundings. Instead you’re continuously looking for the focus spot in all shots, making it more of a chore and less entertainment. There’s the hospital scene where the camera is composing a classic foreground, focus, background shot that does not work at all in the 3D version, because the blurry blob in the foreground is visually pushed into your face. Of course you are entitled to a different opinion. Just don’t be a fucking moron, is all I’m saying. 3D is a fad.
Apart from that I never really got the same sense of Star Trek-ness that I did with the first chapter of this reboot, which is a whole lot better. This film can be a Star Trek movie, and it does have an intriguing story, but I felt it was more like a sci-fi/action movie in general than a Star Trek movie in particular. Walking out of the theatre I was sort of dazed, and felt I was missing the story. Perhaps the 3D just made me exhausted. It’s worth watching if you’re into Star Trek or J.J. Abrams! Other than that, you can do better.
Man of Steel (2013)
When we first saw the trailer for this film in, I believe, the screening of the above Star Trek flick, we immediately decided to get tickets for it. Lady C is a fan of the Smallville and the two penultimate films, while I’m more nostalgic and think the modern renditions are pretty lame. I somehow feel that Superman belongs in the nuclear age, circa 1950-60, when Americans were proud Americans and rightly so in the eyes of the (western) world. Putting that Superman into our world is just cheesy and sort of childish. While the Smallville franchise is more like watching Friends. Might as well just watch Friends, then.
But the trailer to Man of Steel promised more. It promised to take away the gloss of the 1950 super hero and get real dark about it, similar to the promise (and execution) of HBO’s Mad Men. Great, I love that shit. Put it on!
And this film delivered. I walked out of the theatre feeling that I could believe in Superman again. That there is hope (they won’t fuck this up). I have two nitpicky points to make though. The death scene of his father is totally wrong. Nobody bought it. In fact, taking that shit out of the movie and not mentioning anything more about his death would make it a lot better. “But Americans are fat and dumb” you say, “and need everything explained IN CAPITAL LETTERS.” I don’t know.
The second and more pressing point is this: When you are rebooting this series, with a Superman/Batman movie on the horizon, why on God’s green earth would you still include the love story? WHICH DOES NOT WORK with the above realism at all. We have just watched how Superman isn’t just from another planet, he is an alien, and the Lane/Superman coupling is taking the term interracial to a whole new level. She might as well just marry an orangutan, which is much much closer to her own species than her extraterrestrial Superbuns. Also, wouldn’t the movie be cooler if they just had a professional relationship?
But Lois Lane is from the 1950s, and comes across as an easy lay.
What’s up with the CGI cape, people? I mean, come on! And finally, Lady C adds; What is the meaning of making a huge point that 1 little soldier is saved from the bad guys, when some 150 million people died in the making of this movie? While they are all fair points, I find that it doesn’t detract from the entertainment value and interesting reboot of this great genre of films. And I can’t wait to see more! (Note: We saw the 2D version and was pleased that it offered a sane viewing experience. Get off my lawn!)
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)
As you can imagine, this is another one of Lady C‘s recommendations. Coming from the sick mind of Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow (2009), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Good thing I didn’t expect too much, then.
Because it is exactly like Red Riding Hood, Van Helsing and every other placid, shitty rape of genuinely good stories. This movie tries to be a supernatural Firefly, and fails completely, because it its production screams “make us money” and lacks any charm whatsoever. If you’re into this shit, you will learn the error of your ways once you grow a little older. Say, after you’ve finished Junior High.
Enemy of the State (1998)
I don’t think I have written about this movie ever, even though it is a long time favourite of mine. I have it on VHS, DVD and Bluray, and last night we happened to watch it on television. This movie is better than most people think. It doesn’t try to make technology godlike, as in the intellectual abortion of J.J. Abrams in Person of Interest, while not dumbing it down to Schwarzenegger-level either (the keyboard has a backdoor so you can wipe the hard drive and implode the city). It simply shows some existing technology and focuses on its implications, not its fancy tricks. Story-telling, people. What happened to it?
It doesn’t require that much great acting (though Will Smith and Gene Hackman are cool) since it is a thriller, but it is a great thriller from beginning to end, and I’ll watch it again when I have the time. I’ve probably seen it more than 30 times already.
What’s more, you won’t find a big American title like this after 9/11. Since USA and most European govts went all 1984 with public opinion’s reluctant approval, an intelligent film about the matter won’t reappear until the political winds have changed and people start thinking again. Give it a decade. I find this circumstance makes this movie even more entertaining, it is a really good production on an intelligent subject, with a captivating story. Well done!
(It’s quite obvious now that I wrote this post BEFORE Snowden and the NSA revelations. It just got even more current, which is exactly what this film deserves. It’s a nice Saturday night film if you’re staying in.)
Since I was away at the time he died, I just wanted to add R.I.P. James Gandolfini. The Tony Soprano character really re-created the mobster genre in the long wake after the Godfather trilogy, and was and still is a great inspiration to me. The thought of Antony Sopranos not being a part of my life is not something I can really imagine. Thank you, Jimmy!