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Last update: 14 Jun 2003 -- 10:40pm
 Tuesday
30 Apr 2002

Battleground God: "Our battleground is that of rational consistency. This means to get across without taking any hits, you’ll need to answer in a way which is rationally consistent."

 Monday
29 Apr 2002

At long last, a postcard update! Visit Hell, Mobile, and a weekend of non-stop fun a Mike Lewis' place!

Is you family prepared for the inevitable ZOMBIE ATTACK?!

 Tuesday
23 Apr 2002

Set up of Tiamat, the computer serving up Foam Totem, is nearly complete. In celebration, I have gone back to the warm color scheme. (Other computer names at home are Enki and OnOn.)

FTP and telnet are available again (and I figured how to get rid of that irritating 30 second wait when FTP-ing). Passwords have been reset. I will be sending temporary passwords to users soon.

 Monday
22 Apr 2002

Arrrgggghhh! The Foam Totem OS boot disk died this weekend and I spent much of what remained trying to get a functioning server again. Since the OS disk died, all the config files (like user info, firewall, dhcpd, samba, etc.) were missing. There are still some things not quite right, but it mostly works.

If you don't think there are people out there trying to hack your server, you are 284% wrong. I had re-installed the operating system and was re-creating the firewall chains when I was attacked (successfully). I think I had my machine vaguely open (creating configs, testing them, tweaking them, defaults on ftp, ssh, etc.) for about an hour. That's all it took. They had trojaned one of my config files, so when I did a reboot... bleah.

Anyway, the hack was insidious enough that I had to reinstall all over again. Feh. Luckily, the web site's content (including all third party content) is on a newer disk and was unscathed.

Currently not working: Automatic picture albums (my and rv pictures). I've closed telnet and ftp access until I'm sure what hole they got in. I think it was an ftp hole. (Anonymous/guest access was when things went bad.)

The one good piece of news out of this is that I have no officially retired my ancient (1995) Gateway. I'm now using an old (1998?) Dell Pentium II. The march of progress!

 Friday
19 Apr 2002

PQ: 29!

 Thursday
18 Apr 2002

Movie Update! In my never-ending crusade to help the unhelpful, I've seen a bunch of movies over the last couple months. Now you don't have to!

Frailty (IMDB 7.5|CAP NR|Rot 74%)

Frailty is part detective mystery, part horror film, part thriller, and part Lifetime special. An abusive but loving father who is visited by an angel one night who tells him that he and his family are chosen to destroy demons. His two sons are understandably confused when he tells them of their new "job". The older one thinks that his father is mad; the viewpoint of the film is essentially his.

It may come as no surprise that the demons appear like regular people, and they are not treated in entirely Christian fashion by the axe-wielding of God's Hand. Choppa-choppa. Should the son abandon his crazed father, or help in the new family business?

It's a tense movie which I thought was pretty good even though Bill Paxton AND Michael McConaughey are in it. Even with God's Hands hacking away, this isn't a full-on horror film. It's more about the struggle to determine the truth when things aren't as black and white as they seem.

Blade II (IMDB 7.1|CAP 20|Rot 48%)

I had seen the zombies in Resident Evil and wanted more. What could be better than canine zombies?! MONKEY ZOMBIES!!!! Unfortunately, the monkey zombie film genre is pretty thin, so we went for vampires instead. We put on our sunglasses, painted our fingernails black, got some piercings, acted all depressed and went to see Blade II.

Blade II was a surprise: it did not suck. The Vampire Nation is being devastated by some kind of of meta-vampires ("Reapers?") who are out-vamping the vamps. These Reaper guys are nasty and are significantly more... enhanced (and hungry) than regular vampires. There's tinges of The Thing since you never know who might have been turned meta. Lots of killing and decapitations and giant sucking gut wound deaths ensue. And an autopsy on the recently disemboweled, only more so.

But basically, it's a action flick with cool fights and lots of blood (red and green!). The plot is good enough to move the movie along and not too much to hinder the ride. I'd recommend it if vampires or overacting are your thing.

Panic Room (IMDB 7.5|CAP 42|Rot 77%)

Panic Room is a deadly game of cat and mouse. The set is perfect. The acting and pacing is perfect. The characters and the script are perfect. The movie as a whole has this glossy sheen of perfection like food in a 1950's cookbook.

Which is why I liked it, but also felt somehow cheated when it was over. The movie is solid; like I said, everything is done well. Fincher is a great director; his now-trademark impossible CGI-enhanced camera movements didn't even seem gimmicky at the time. The movie just failed to provide anything which really grabbed me.

A good movie solidly done, but no more. Matinee fare.

Resident Evil (IMDB 6.8|CAP 47|Rot 34%)

This movie is obviously not God's gift to cinema, but it's a ZOMBIE movie! Zombie dogs! Evil zombie... whatevers! Milla Jovovich! Milla Jovovich kicking zombie ASS! Milla Jovovich wearing a napkin in a very brightly lit room! AND ZOMBIIIEEEEES!

It takes a lot from John Carpenter. Timing, shocks, and even the synthesized and rather simplistic musical score. The plot is thin, but there is one: evil corporation, viruses, ultimate killing machines, you know the drill. The movie is apparently a prequel to the next game, but the movie isn't too... gamey. Heh. Well. A fun Saturday matinee if you like B horror flicks or Milla Jovovich naked.

 Wednesday
17 Apr 2002

I only have one gallon of gas. I need to go 293 miles. I need a car licensed to go on public roads. I need to go at highway speeds. Maybe I'll get one of these.

 Tuesday
16 Apr 2002

Progress Quest update: Now at 34! (updated 18 Apr) (65th Level) It appears that I rotate from low rankings (I've seen it as low as the mid-30s) to the mid-200s. I think that it re-ranks you only when you level and when you do so it puts you at the top of the heap. So you slowly move down the list until you level (which now takes weeks).

 Monday
8 Apr 2002

Forget Battle Bots! Why not build a monorail in your back yard? Five years and $4000 can get you one too.

 Sunday
7 Apr 2002

There appears to be some kind of subtle cheating going on at Progress Quest. I was in the Hall of Fame in the 30's a few days ago. Now I'm at 157. The unfairness of it all!

 Thursday
4 Apr 2002

Chinese propaganda posters.

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