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August 31, 2004

Evil Genius

Here's a little something (well, I suppose 194 megabytes isn't exactly small) I downloaded and tried this evening. It's the demo for a PC game called Evil Genius. Basically, it takes the course-building gameplay of SimGolf and throws in some Austin Powers kitsch, turning it into SimWelcomeToMyUndergroundLair. You're an Evil Genius bent on global domination, and you just can't bring the free world to its knees without a base to do your plotting and scheming from.

The first stage shown off in the demo quite a bit of fun. Base building is pretty easy, as is minion and henchman management. I had a little trouble with training at first, but fixed that once I made a sizeable training facility. There's a whimsical sense of humour saturating this game - after all, how many other minions include the Moonwalk in their interrogatory repertoire?

Evil Genius hits shelves soonish, and I wouldn't mind gettng my mitts on it. Still, there's also Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, which is doing the rounds with Boots, Dan, Gav and myself at the moment, and Halo 2 on their way. Oh, the agony of a limited budget...

August 28, 2004

RIP Anne Farquhar

Most of the IMAGinewS group and my close friends already know about this, but I figured it was about time I posted something on the website.

Early yesterday morning, my Mum Anne died in her sleep.

We have no idea what took her. She was strong and healthy up until about a week ago, when she came down with something that seemed a combination of the flu and a migraine. I spoke with Mum on the phone on Tuesday, trying to figure out a Dad's Day present for Dad. She mentioned that she was in bed with the flu, but otherwise seemed quite fine; I figured Mum was well on her way to recovery.

It seems Mum took a turn fo the worse on Thursday night. She was up all night and finaly got to bed when Dad got up to take the dogs out for their Friday morning walk. When he got back in, she'd already gone.

I think those of you who had the chance to meet her know what a strong lady my Mum was; she was fun to know, a fellow science fiction nerd and totally in love with my Dad, who returned that love without reservation. Needless to say, Dad's in pieces right now.

I'm doing okay at the moment. Vickie and I went to Mum & Dad's as soon as we could after getting the news, and I got to see Mum and say a good-bye before the coroner removed the body. I think the rest will come out at the funeral.

Thank you to everyone who's been in touch with condolences and best wishes.

I love her. I miss her.

[UPDATE 8 December:] After three months of waiting, Dad finally got a report back form the coroner, who's given cause of death as a form of pneumonia.

To say Dad's angry is an understatement; Mum saw visited a doctor once a week before she died and once again within twenty-four hours of her death. Neither visit picked up any indication of fluid in the lungs. It seems that either the doctor made a mistake or the coroner has given an incorrect cause of death.

Dad's going to pursue it.

August 23, 2004


I think I mentioned on one of my more recent posts (which isn't available at the moment) that Mitch Evans, the owner and operator of Doc's Blog, was planning a Play-By-Forum RPG (the forum in question being the one on his site). He finally decided to set the game in the universe of Joss Whedon's short-lived science fiction TV show, Firefly.

Having never seen Firefly (it never aired in Australia), I figured I might be at a disadvantage, until Gav mentioned that not only was the DVD boxed set of the series available in Australia, but that he'd bought a copy. Gav brought it with him Sunday week ago when he dropped over to house-sit for Vickie and I while we nipped off to the Hunter Valley for a holiday, and we managed to squeeze the two-hour pilot, "Serenity", in while we were doing the last of our preparations. We liked what we saw so much that I bought the whole boxed set after we got back from the Hunter.

Vickie and I have watched the whole series through. I have to wholeheartedly recommend this to any sci-fi nut out there. It's well-done and has a fantastic sense of humour. It's what you would probably have got if you crossed a Star Wars: Millenium Falcon - The TV Series with a western.

As mentioned, Joss Whedon and his team only managed to produce fourteen episodes before Fox pulled the series prematurely (only ten of them actually saw air). However, there's still enough interest in it to warrant Universal committing to a full-length feature film starring all the original cast and directed by Joss. Serenity is due to hit the big screen early next year.

I'm definitely looking forward to Mitch's PBF.

Slowly Rebuilding

After encountering some issues with Movable Type 3.01, I decided to shift back to Movable Type 2.661; I'm a little more comfy with it and I know it works. The good bit is, I've discovered that Marcus' new server is lightning-quick when it comes to rebuilding the website (and doing any standard functions, for that matter).

The bad news is that the file-copy I made doesn't work; you can't copy an old installation of MT over a fresh one, even if the two are of the same version. So, I've asked (read: begged) Marcus to make the old server available on the web, so I can get my old MT installation to export all my old entries up to before the migration (the most recent export I have is from January). With any luck, both Vickie's and my web logs should be back in full operating order by next weekend.

August 22, 2004

Testing 1-2-3

Hi, everyone. If you've browsed along to the site within the past hour, you'll notice that the web log is back up and running. You've probably also noticed that it's still missing all the old posts. Marcus and I are working on fixing that at the moment, but as it involves trying to run the old MT application on his old server, it's going to take some time.

In the meantime, I'm going to be working on properly restoring the layouts for the Midustouch websites and the Corsairs web log. I've also asked Doc of Doc's Blog to show me how he got the combined TrackBack and commenting layout working, so you may see some changes on that front as well.

August 15, 2004

A Lesson in Love

I’d like to relate to you, my reading public, a life lesson that I learned a week or so ago. The subject of historical murderess Elizabeth Bathory had come up in one of the forums Vickie frequents, and I’d remembered that that lovely, well-adjusted gent, Todd McFarlane, had released an Elizabeth Bathory “action figure” as part of his latest McFarlane’s Monsters line.

Anyway, whilst trying to track down an image for Vickie, I saw a notice – McFarlane Toys are producing the official action figures for the upcoming Alien Vs. Predator. Now, I know that Vickie loves the Predators, and she loves her Graham. So I showed her the images of the action figures and said, “Well, there’s your birthday present!” And after a little discussion on which ones she’d prefer, she says, “How come you never get me anything ‘girlie’?”

You know what? She has a point.

If you know Vickie and I fairly well, you probably know that in the past, I’ve bought her as Christmas/Birthday presents Patricia Cornwell books, computer games (including Neverwinter Nights and Law & Order) and even the odd action figure (Graham would have been a birthday present, had he turned up on store shelves closer to October). But I can’t remember a single instance when I’ve presented her with perfume, or clothes, or shoes, or any other accoutrements of femininity (aside form the odd Tatty Teddy).

I suppose I've taken advantage of the fact that Vickie is a fellow geek in order to make buying pressies easy, whilst forgetting that (a) Vickie is still, and enjoys being, of the fairer sex, and (b) it's nice to actually put a little effort into finding a gift rather than going for the easy pressie.

So I admit my flaw to my love, and start thinking along the lines of a nice bottle of parfum.

Skip ahead a couple of days, and we meet Dan on the way out of I, Robot. While we’re all headed in the general direction of our cars, we talk about movies we’re looking forward to, and naturally, Alien Vs. Predator comes up.

And what does Vickie say? “Rob’s getting me a Predator action figure for my birthday!”

The life lesson is this, guys: no matter what you do, you can’t win.

August 05, 2004

Pressies and Pissed Pile-Ups

Hi, everyone. Yes, I know; no new postings in quite a while. No wonder the site looks a little all-over-the-place! My own fault; I’ve been a little depressed since Saturday evening. As a result, over the past few days I’ve been spending a little time in front of my PC as possible. Thankfully, I have a rather nice distraction: The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Thank you very much to those responsible; you know who you are!

Well, in case you don’t know, we have a new car; a silver 2002 Ford Laser GLXi hatchback (we’re going to call her Argenta). She’s a very nice little car, and a very welcome gift from Dad, who sourced her from his work’s fleet. We’re planning to give her a good run on the weekend; probably up to the Central Coast. We’re long overdue for a visit to my Aunt Ned and Uncle Joe (hell, we still owe them a bloody Christmas present) and are thinking of surprising Ben Lucas. (Wait a minute – he’s on the IMAGinewS list, isn’t he? Damn.)

There was also some consideration between Boots and myself of seeing The Chronicles of Riddick (the movie, not the game) this weekend, but we’re still feeling the crunch from my most recent abuses of my credit card, so I think we’ll wait a couple of weeks.

Dan and Gav dropped over on Sunday for a little while, and we played some Burnout 2. It turns out race mode is two-player only, so we stuck with Crash mode and had some fun. Now, I’m not entirely sure about this – like I said, I wasn’t feeling great after Saturday night – but after comparing Sunday evening to when Dan popped over earlier in the week, I think Crash mode is more enjoyable after consumption of alcohol. Not lots, mind you; just enough to get you a little tipsy and silly. You find yourself falling into Commentator mode much more easily, and wiping out a whole intersection full of cars, trucks and buses is just – more fun somehow.

Anyway, I shall leave you with these musings. I have more to come, but it’s on a separate topic entirely, so I think it’s better to have it in a separate post.