Trygve.Com > Diary > Blog - September, 2000
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World Conquest
September 2000
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Blogging away the moments

because ... well ... why the hell not...?

it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Saturday, September 30th


Where did that month go? I know I had a whole month of September here recently; if only I could remember where I last had it. Maybe I left it down in the server room; it does seem like I've spent a lot of time down there lately....

Guess I'll look around for it again in the morning. How could one misplace a whole month? Seems like just a moment ago that I was warning you that this month was going to be ending with the words, "supercalifragilistic onion."


This just in, the website for Picture of Priority ] came back up early this morning. Apart from the filmmaker's website going down, this episode of the independent film series went off without a hitch--even got the "instant digital theater" set up in record time, just about thirty minutes to turn a stage theatre into a movie theater.

... their home was about to become the next victim of a drive-by film festival ...

Not that this would have been much of a problem for anyone in the audience, since, well, they were in the audience and wouldn't have been trying to pull up the film's website anyway.

One interesting detail: this time, a much larger proportion of the audience were people I know in the local filmmaking community. Not just the low-budget and student filmmakers, but some of the better-known pros around here including Gary Hansbrough [ ], Dave Schaaf [ ], several cool people who still don't have websites, and a few notables from the local SAG (Screen Actors Guild) office (they didn't stick around as long afterwards).

As the evening progressed, we left any grounding in reality and/or common sense further behind, eventually hatching plans for creating a mobile version of the instant digital theater that could be used in "guerilla filmfestivals" suitable for the presentation of "guerilla films." The mobile tactical theater could drive up and down neighborhood streets until it located a suitable unprotected bay window looking into a suburban living room where an ordinary, unsuspecting family was sitting down for a quiet evening at home with a large blank wall, little imagining that their home was about to become the next victim of a drive-by film festival....

Friday, September 29th


The Ping of the Unknown Hoster:

Looks like the "Curse of Bloggingstein" has struck again. All I have to do is mention a site (or be about to mention it) and it promptly vanishes off the face of the web. First Cathryn Farnsworth's site goes down (so much for my evil plan to send some publicity her way--and, besides, she's in at least three of the films featured in the Bug Theatre Independent Film series [ ] that I'm sponsoring)--and now the official website for yesterday's featured film, Picture of Priority goes down during the night.

Looks like their hosting service simply went *thud*. It's not exactly my problem--but I know I'd hate it if I were in the midst of negotiating with distributors and the official site for one of my movies went down. (Speaking of such things, yesterday I got a propane-fueled backup generator for my servers here, just in case there should be a power failure that lasts more than a couple of hours.)

I'm continuing to get the soudtrack album tweaked up and, just for fun, started playing with video CD (VCD) formats while I'm at it, in case I want to release any of the multimedia stuff in that format. So far the best reference I've found on that subject (in case you want to do some VCD editing and creation of your own) is "VCD Help" [ ]

Tuesday, September 26th


Woo-Hoo! Got the first "rough edit" of the Dragon and the Hawk Motion Picture Soundtrack CD pieced together and burned to a "proof of concept" CD. Haven't gotten to cleaning up the cuts, adding in better fades and transitions, and doing the last bit of editing to trim down the parts that were exciting enough as background music to the movie, but which come across as a lot more dragged-out and repetitive when presented by themselves.

But, at least as far as that last goes, I'd already worked through about 80% of that part before piecing everything together into album format. It's always a challenge moving from one medium to another--as a part of the movie, the soundtrack has to blend into the on-screen mood and action and "know" when to back off and when to step more to the foreground, depending on what creates the desired effect; at the same time, the soundtrack has the dialog, effects, and (of course) the visual content to engage the audience and contribute to the overall experience.

But a soundtrack album should be able to stand on its own and be a worthwhile creation as a thing in-and-of-itself--while at the same time being faithful to the film in terms of overall content, mood, and, more-or-less, chronological sequence. Sometimes you take some liberties in one or another of these attributes, knowing that whatever you do, somebody is sure to tell you that you did wrong.

But if I were afraid of being told that I've done something wrong, I'd have become a critic instead. (No, really; I shouldn't say that. I *love* critics. Okay, ... some of 'em. Well, let's just get away from that subject....)

So, where was I? Oh, yeah. Editing and tweaking audio tracks. Guess I'd better get back to that.


The Compleat E-diot's Guide to E-Commerce

Part 124, even more ways not to sell a product:

I continue to be amazed at how hard it is to buy products over the net. Pricewatch [ ] at least seems to have cut down on people advertising prices that they won't honor now, but think they might honor at some point in the future--but companies advertising on Pricewatch still frequently require you to go through a maze of twistly little menus, all alike, to make sure that you *really* want to order something at the advertised price.

... a guy in a back room somewhere fondling the chips for at least a couple of hours ...

The latest purchasing adventure involved going through the usual assortment of menus and fill-in forms, giving the site in question my name, address, miscellaneous personal details and purchase information before hitting me with a little surprise:

Shipping and handling (UPS Ground): $43.55

Did I mention that the order was for a memory chip?

Okay, a 128Meg DIMM, which has several chips on it, but still....

I mulled this over for about 6-8 nanoseconds. I'm not sure what kind of "handling" one subjects a memory module to that runs upwards of forty bucks, but whatever it is, I imagine it must involve a guy in a back room somewhere fondling the chips for at least a couple of hours. I think I'll just take my computer components in "unhandled" form, thankyouverymuch.

I don't know where their memory chips have been, but, then again, I think this is something I'm really better off not knowing.

So, it's back to the web, to make another attempt to buy stuff. (oooh, ahhh!)

Monday, September 25th


Advantages and Disadvantages of the Digital Age:

Part 763, The Kodak DC-290 digital camera for wedding and event photography:


Thanks to Kodak's "Digita" script language and the new, lower prices on 128 Meg compact flash cards, all I have to do is set up the camera on a tripod in a convenient location and it'll snap off more than four hundred pictures, automatically, so that I can sift through them at my leisure and select the best.


Thanks to Kodak's "Digita" script language and the new, lower prices on 128 Meg compact flash cards, all I have to do is set up the camera on a tripod in a convenient location and it'll snap off more than four hundred pictures, automatically, so that I can sift through them at my leisure until my eyeballs fall out and then wonder when on earth I'll have enough time to do anything with them.

Sunday, September 24th



After it took me longer than expected to get the hardware all behaving, followed by Michal "Sabren" Wallace getting all his software set up and running faster than I'd expected, Michal has not only gotten Linkwatcher [ ] running on one of the new servers out here at the treehouse, but now the BlogSearch [ ] function is back up and running--check it out!

This particular server is a dual Celeron/400 with 256 Meg of memory and a little over 35 Gigs of drive space distributed in a couple of RAID-5 arrays across the channels of an AMI MegaRAID controller. So, there's a bit of CPU-"oomph" to drive it. (BTW, LinkWatcher and BlogSearch are all Michal's doing; I'm just a hardware geek providing a spot where he can run them.)

I've gotten all but one of the new "honking big" UPSs dragged down to the server room and manhandled into place; after I get another secondary DNS machine set up and doing its thing (and, um, tidy up a bit), I'll get some pics of the server room with its latest additions and modifications up. Twenty-seven machines here on the net at this point...? Something like that.

On a completely unrelated note, while I was coming back up here to the "control room," it crossed my mind that the floorplan of the treehouse bears a surprising resemblance to the one featured in the board game, "Clue."

Except, of course, that there are two stories plus a basement here, the secret passageways don't quite match those in the board game, and I look much less like a molded plastic Hershey's Kiss in any one of several basic primary colors than would be expected of a "Clue" playing piece.

But, apart from that, it's pretty close. ]


First Snow

first snow at the treehouse
( more "first snow" pics at [ ] )

Ever since September 4th's sprout incident of horror, I haven't found any decent-looking sprouts in the grocery stores.

Coincidence? Well ... uh ... yeah.

I did buy tortillas though; they looked fine, were on sale, and even featured a bright red-and-yellow announcement proudly proclaiming that these particular tortillas had a "GREAT NEW TASTE!"

So I bought those. Don't you just hate "used-tasting" tortillas?

Saturday, September 23nd


"Nice Day for a Wet Wedding"

It's off to an unexpected "emergency wedding." I suppose I really should get a ceremony written up before heading out the door. I'm not quite sure how these things happen, but apparently a friend's SO's sister had scheduled her wedding for today, but neglected to attend to such details as lining up a minister ahead of time.


So, it's time to shake out the appropriate minister outfit (basic conventional/formal this time), print up a ceremony to hide in the official "book of weddings" (actually an old psychology book, but it fits the ornately tooled cover I use and I just insert whichever ceremony I'm going to perform into it), and get moving.

On the down side, it's cold, wet, and rainy out there and they'd planned for an outdoor ceremony.

... Britney Spears' "Ooops, I did it again" which was suggested as a possibility for wedding music ...

I'm going to bring a few CDs of my own to have for background music, the precessional, and recessional. I talked to the couple about music and they weren't familiar with Handel, didn't know what baroque music was like, and we never quite did find any common musical ground I could use to describe the kinds of music I usually use for weddings. If I bring a few samples, they can listen to them ahead of time and decide what they want to do.

If Handel's not their style, they did have a CD of Britney Spears' "Ooops, I Did It Again" which was suggested as a possibility for wedding music. Hmmmm...I didn't really make too much comment on this suggestion; obviously, the wedding should really reflect them rather than my personal prejudices for how weddings ought to be planned.

Friday, September 22nd


"Not a bad way to start off the weekend" department:

Trygve.Com picked as one of About.Com's featured "sites of the week" [ ]

Thursday, September 21st

... the lip-prints that appear on the page are not mine ...


Not precisely "Sonnets from the Portuguese," but ... department:

Apart from short jokes, quotes, definitions, and entries into the annual Bulwer-Lytton contest for Bad Writing, I'm pretty sure my article on the "Philosophy of Kissing" [ ] is the most widely-reprinted article I've ever written. I found that one of the textbooks that includes it is now on the web ... in Portuguese. (Which, I think, brings the number of languages it's been printed in up to at least four.)

So, if you'd been sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for this particular article to come out in Portuguese, here it is: [ ]

P.S. the lip-prints that appear on the page are not mine. Just so you know.


Household Hints Department:

Some years back, after the tenth annual "hit and run" accident involving my mailbox and an unknown vehicular assailant, I replaced my mailbox post with a concrete sculpture of a winged lion. It weighs something over a hundred pounds and is flat on top, much like regular lions aren't. I've never seen an actual winged lion, however, so for all I know, the real ones may have heads that are flat on top too. Most of the time, if they were flying, you'd be seeing them from underneath, so how could you tell?

I epoxied the bottom of the mailbox to a flat, 2" thick cinderblock, so instead of attaching everything together permanently and pounding it into the ground--the way one would with a regular mailbox-and-post combination or an old milk bucket and a door-to-door salesman--it's simply sitting there at the end of the driveway with the mailbox-and-cinderblock part placed atop the concrete lion part.

It still gets run into from time to time, but then it just falls over and can be set back in place without further ado.

Today I discovered another advantage of this arrangement: the highway department is in the process of building new shoulders along the road in front of the treehouse. So, I ambled out to the end of the driveway, picked up my mailbox, carried it to a more convenient spot, and put it down there.

I don't think the construction workers were expecting that. Not that this should seem all that strange after you'd thought about it, but I got the impression that they just aren't accustomed to homeowners wandering down the driveway and walking off with their mailboxes as they approach.

Either that or my hair looks scarier than I thought right now. Guess I'd better check.

Tuesday, September 19th


Random Adult Arg Moment Department:

This just in, Webshots has declared the behind-the-scenes stunt pics I'd put up yesterday [ Asgard Entertainment stunt team pics ] to be "suitable for mature audiences only"

Grump. What if immature audiences are a significant part of my target market? Once again, I'm not quite sure which pic set them off, but I think it's the fire gel one. It's unfair--I even put a warning label on it reading, "Kids, don't try this at home."


Award-Winning Websites(?) Department:

Got some interesting mail the other day; one of the few things ever to show up in email that contained the word "award" in the subject and wasn't even spam. Woo-hoo; turns out that a friend of mine had kindly submitted my site to a couple of "web awards" sites and one of them, the "Golden Web Awards," had even responded. [ ]

So, off I go, trundling down the Yellow Byte Road to visit their site to collect my prestigious Golden Web Award, "In recognition of creativity, integrity and excellence on the Web."

... a listing for those of us who manage to storm citadels (or even get to the grocery store) without the extensive use of wire effects ...

One of these days, I really should do something about my bad habit of looking at ads and reading them in a way that is, somehow, just not what the ad creator had in mind. Maybe my brain is just hopelessly warped, or at least convoluted. But that's an issue to deal with another day; today, I pulled up the award site and, greeted with a glorious image of a prestigious cobweb-covered cup ... er ... goblet, my immediate thought was of a site that was well-designed but hadn't been maintained or updated in ages.

Well, yeah, I guess that describes most of them. I try to avoid falling into that category myself, though I know I have a few dusty corners in my own site.

So, here I am at the official awards page of the I.A.W.M.D. (the International Association of Web Masters and Designers, for those of you who didn't know what I.A.W.M.D. stood for ... well, besides "truth, justice, and the information superhighway") and the first thing I look for is where they've got my site listed and what they might have said about it.

No luck on that front; I can determine that they do like the official site for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" [ ] which is mentioned all over the place, but if there's a way to find a listing for those of us who manage to storm citadels (or even get to the grocery store) without the extensive use of wire effects, I can't find it. At least I have the opportunity to purchase a "Webmaster Trophy" for my "home or office trophy hall" (we all have at least one of those, right?).

Or, maybe not. Apparently,

"Due to an overwhelming responce, the Webmaster Trophies are temporiraly sold out. Orders are being accepted to be shipped 09.01.2000."

Darn. Even worse, I didn't get on in time for the last September first, 2000, so I guess I'll have to wait for the next one.

But, at least I can join the International Association of Web Masters and Designers network and be listed in "The 2000-2001 Edition of Who's Who on the Web."

I'm me; I know that much, so I think I could get into this.

Except, um, it seems

The 2000-2001 "Who's Who on the Web" directory is currently being constructed, and is scheduled to be available on the web September 15th 2000.
... so I guess it was available all day Friday of last week and now it's gone again. Darn.

But at least I know that my website is one of the elite, even if there's no indication of it on their website. Checking their FAQ, I find

8. Who has won the Golden Web Award?

To date there have been numinous websites around the world that have received the Golden Web Award. Due to spammers and unethical opportunists, we have temporarily removed this posting from our web site.

Oh, well; now that I think about it, I don't mind if they think the Trygve.Com website is numinous. That's cool.

So, now I'm inspired. Obviously, it's time to create my own line of web awards. I haven't figured out the details yet, but check out the AutoTroll website for more details, as they develop: [ ]

Monday, September 18th


Okay, I know it doesn't seem like I've been getting much done out here the last few days, but some of the hassles of getting the new servers on line have taken longer than expected. they always do., why don't I learn to expect it? Dunno.

But check out some of my behind-the-scenes pics from a few days ago on [ Asgard Entertainment stunt team pics ] and [ Trygve's Digital Diary: behind the scenes with the Asgard Entertainment stunt team ]

Saturday, September 16th


Saturday already? How did that happen?

You don't pay attention for a moment and the next time you turn around, most of a week's passed.

On the plus side, I did get a few more servers on line, which I'd been meaning to do for some time, both for some new services and for the distribution of existing services among redundant servers. Right now all that's handled pretty much manually--if something goes "boom" I still have to wander downstairs and kick the hardware. The only things that are currently fault-tolerant without a moment of manual intervention are the drive arrays, which are pretty much all RAID-5 SCSI arrays, some with a designated hot-swap pool so that two or more drives can fail without a loss in performance. I've only implemented cluster servers on an experimental basis for internal testing--that may be the way to go eventually, but that's a ways off.

For the moment, my approach is to maintain multiple servers each performing their assigned tasks but capable of taking over for any of the others should they fail. It's not automatic, but I know that if anything does go down, somebody will let me know about it real quick.

BTW, the latest 7.1 Slackware Linux install set doesn't suffer from 7.0's bug of not recognizing any drive arrays beyond the first on the AMI MegaRAID controller. Just so you know.

Tuesday, September 12th


Note to self: bring laptop computer and compact flash/PCMCIA adapter to future photo sessions.

I don't know why I didn't before, but then, yesterday was the first time I'd filled up the cards on both digital cameras (including the 128Meg card)--without even using the "automatic capture" script. ...and five rolls of 35mm film besides.

But several other people from the stunt team and I gathered in the fields outside the Valkyrie Illumination HQ, mostly to get some pictures of the smaller stunt-and-effects equipment in use. We'd already gotten some pics with the highfall bag (some of the earlier ones are at [ ]) but what tends to happen is that when you're actually doing production, you end up being too rushed to document a lot of what goes on behind the scenes to make the on-camera effects happen.

That or in the chaos-filled aftermath, you can't find some of the best rolls of behind-the-scenes pics and between-take photos. Nobody's ever admitted to knowing what happened to the bagfull of disposable cameras that were used at the warehouse shoot last year which was an amazing, elaborate, and incredible setup ... and nobody knows what happened to the stills.

We won't go into some of the other things that were lost right now. At least the prop department didn't misplace the car used in the end sequence.

... "$1,719!" "$890!" "$5,125!!!" ...

So, thanks to the brilliant plan of not having a schedule of things we really did need to do, we were able to set up lighting systems, springboards, smoke and spark effects, wire and jerk harnesses, pulley systems, etc., and capture the behind-the-scenes "action" on camera without the pressure of having to get the action itself onto film.

It's a lot like running away and joining the circus, except ... um ... I guess you don't actually have to run away to do it.

Except when the obligatory "car rolls over and explodes" moment happens; you have to run away from that, or it would just plain look silly on film.

... not that it doesn't anyway, at least when you think about it: how often have you seen a car explode in real life after a bumper-thumper? But I guess it's required, because a mere repair estimate doesn't look exciting enough in film, no matter how terrifying it might be in real life.

Maybe what would combine the kind of adrenaline-flood excitement that audiences demand with realistic portrayal of car crashes would be some big Batman-style "BANG" and "KAPOW" spikey cartoon balloons superimposed over the action at the moment of impact, only with the approximate repair bills in the balloons: "$1,719!" "$890!" "$5,125!!!" That kind of thing.

Monday, September 11th


Yes, I did survive my high school reunion. Not too bad, but they still felt it was necessary to have a DJ playing music throughout the event at a level sufficient to prevent any excess conversation between attendees, presumably because the possibility of getting too caught up on what the people you'd known back then had been doing since graduation could spoil the illusion or something.

When planning this kind of event, the organizer must flip through the phone book and call the DJs listed until eventually locating one whose equipment will go up to eleven.

Even if it's by scratching the "10" off the indicators around the volume knob and writing "11" in with a sharpie. It's all about attitude--and DJs have to have attitude. This one seemed downright annoyed that everybody was trying to ignore him or at least look like they were doing so, in the hopes that he would give up on any further "may I please have your attention" announcements to remind us that we really could break up our conversations and start dancing to his collection of Bob Seger tunes that in some cases might not have been played on the "all top-40 oldies" station for hours.

... Do you think your home is adequately protected with full replacement coverage? ...

The turnout was pretty big--over two hundred people--though some people who still lived in the area whom I would have expected to see weren't there. After I thought about it a little, I noticed that there were a lot fewer men showing signs of male pattern baldness than I would have expected; I wonder if men who still have all their hair go to their reunions to show off this fact, while the ones who are starting to show some more skin in that area just stay home and play their own Bob Seger albums until their ears bleed, simulating the reunion experience without the $70 ticket price.

If it weren't for the entry ticket price tag, you could probably do a great business going to other people's reunions:

[pretend not to be squinting at nametag of random victim] Hey, ... Steve ..., you look great! Haven't changed a bit! Married? Kids? Come on, you remember me, we both had the hots for that one freshman cheerleader way back when...? Yeah, remember English class? I sat behind you and made faces that one time...? You remember!

So where are you working these days? Did you buy a house yet? How about your insurance? Do you think your home is adequately protected with full replacement coverage? How about life insurance? You know, I sell insurance now. And Amway products; how about I just sign you up as a distributor right now...!

Sunday, September 10th


Suddenly, it's all so clear to me now:

Just had one of those "suddenly the world makes sense; how could I not have seen this before" moments, like the first time I realized that Spam was the flesh of the common North American Nauga, that roughly couch-cushion-shaped creature from whose hide comes the naugahyde that covers our furniture and sticks to us in the summer months.

This was, perhaps, a smaller revelation, but one that perhaps should be brought to light in any upcoming Justice Department actions against a really big software company: Netscape, contrary to what their official corporate info might try to lead you into believing, must, through a complex series of proxies, be owned by Bill Gates himself, entirely as part of a sinister plot to make Explorer look like a good and relatively bug-free product.

It's the only possible explanation.

Tomorrow's Netscape Lesson: how using ALT tags in technically correct and stylistically recommended ways can completely screw up Netscape's version of formatting your page.

Saturday, September 9th


Just when you thought it was safe to blog:

"Olympic officials ban athletes from online storytelling"
[full text at: ]

... Rule 59 states that an Olympic athlete is not permitted to record his thoughts of his Olympic experience and have it posted on the Internet ...

The ban is stated in Rule 59 of the Olympic Code of Conduct, an International Olympic Committee document that all athletes must sign before competing in the Games. Rule 59 states that an Olympic athlete is not permitted to record his thoughts of his Olympic experience and have it posted on the Internet. [...]

According to Olympics organizers, the purpose of the rule is to keep the athletes from using a Web site to break news about their themselves or their fellow athletes. The organizers are taking every precaution they can to ensure that their broadcast partners, which have paid $1.32 billion for exclusive TV rights, don't get scooped by the Net.

Well, yeah; you can't worry about freedom of expression or the precept that one is the owner of one's own life and thoughts when a basic fundamental right, like the right to collect the most advertising dollars could be at stake.

Just as well that I'm not an olympic athlete, so I can say anything I want. Just about, anyway; I don't have to worry about being kicked off the team, I just have to worry about being clicked off the screen after putting my readers half to sleep.

And, yes, I really will get some of the new olympic pics up (but not until I get a moment on Sunday at the earliest). In the meantime, I do have a few of the shots I'd gotten in earlier on my "On stage with the 2000 US Olympic Tae Kwon Do team" diary page: [ ]


World Conquest, the Eponymous Blog Entry:
         - or -
"how to put on an event without really trying"

Okay, so I've been ragging on the Cripple Creek Film Festival folks for a while over their website and promotions department (both online and otherwise) - broken HTML, outdated/incorrect/incomplete information, lack of internet-based promotion savvy or effort, etc. I've even offered to fix their website (about five minutes work total, and all their pages would actually display in Netscape, for starters). Despite repeated assurances from them that, yes, I really am scheduled as a special guest and have the Saturday afternoon timeslot, they still haven't quite gotten around to updating the online version of their schedule which still lists merely "WE ARE ALSO HONORING A TOP MALE STAR OF TV AND FILM.........HIS IDENTITY WILL BE RELEASED SOON KEEP POSTED FOR MORE INFORMATION"


Um, or rather, that's what Internet Explorer users can see; Netscape users get a blank page. "Mamas, ... don't let your babies grow up to use FrontPage...."

Please note, BTW, that this event is scheduled for, um, three weeks away now.

At least they have put up information on their screenwriting workshop. ("Lesson five: introduction to the CAPS LOCK key.")

The latest update is that they plan to start working on their write-up and official schedule for the event next week. Yeah.

So, for a few months, I've been pointing out that I could get my promotions department rolling on this one if they'd just fix their blankety-blank website--or let me do it, for that matter. It would take less time to fix the problem than I've already spent trying to explain it ... each of the times that I've tried to explain it.

... Mamas, ... don't let your babies grow up to use FrontPage ...

I updated and/or fixed their listings in a couple of industry and consumer-oriented databases, but that's about all I could do until they're willing to get their ASCII in gear. I can't even manage to get across to anybody the idea that directories, search engines, etc., take a couple of weeks to update--so if you want attendees to be able to plan for your event and decide whether or not they actually are going to be attendees, you'd like to get at least a roughed-out schedule up a minimum of two months beforehand--especially one where a lot of potential attendees would be flying in and hoping to have hotel space available when they arrive.

Figure on three weeks for a lot of the directories and databases to add or update listings ( the Internet Movie DataBase [ ] and CineMedia [ ] both take about that long to process an update, and these days, besides being among the most prominent consumer and industry-oriented databases, they're some of the few, the proud, the sites that actually do update their databases ... unlike several others I can think of ), add at least two weeks lead time just so people can get reasonable airfares and accommodations, and then blend in a few weeks for people to make up their minds and decide what does and doesn't fit into their schedules.

At least I'm local so it's easier for me to deal with this kind of thing, but I know some of their other potential "celebrity guests" who dropped out because the organizers haven't gotten their act together.

So to speak.

Which brings us back to the subject of "world conquest," at least tangentially, because last night, off I went to my high school reunion. Three events, three evenings, carefully planned to make the Cripple Creek Film Festival people look organized.

I checked the official website of the reunion planner, [ ] which used to say simply, "to be announced" for the locations and details. Now that the event is in progress, their site still says "to be announced" as far as event locations and details go, but with the added convenience that it no longer shows up at all on their default list of reunions: as of Friday, the first day of the event, their listing claimed the event didn't even exist unless you went into the list of search options and asked it to search for past reunions.

Though if you had really been hoping for more explicit details, like where you're supposed to be and when, the site still doesn't include that information, but at least now you could use the powers of the net to verify that you really and truly were missing your once-in-a-decade chance to meet the people you'd gone to school with.

And thence we segue to my evil-plan-of-the-hour; just build my *own* webpage with a schedule and directions and send pointers to it out to at least some of the alumni who might be interested in attending if only they knew details like "where" and "when." Once again, just taking over some job that's not being done or done effectively is considerably faster and easier than spending more time complaining to the people who are supposed to be doing the job in question.

BTW, for the Cherry Creek High School Class-of-1980 alumni that are reading, my thrown-together-in-less-time-you've spent-reading-my-ranting-about-it reunion page is here: [ ]

Friday, September 8th


High School reunion countdown: two hours, three minutes.

Is one supposed to prepare for a high school reunion? Get a new wardrobe, lose twenty pounds, add an extra three or four inches of height, find a spouse ... at least for the duration of the event?

I guess it's a little late to start fretting about it now. It's been a busy week, so the tactic I've taken to get ready to meet a bunch of people I haven't seen in ten years is to run through a week on an hour or two of sleep per night, and skip sleeping one night entirely.

Yeah, basically the same as any other week.

but, wait, I know what I could do: nap. Well, that and I probably should grab some copies of my music video to have on hand, just in case. But "nap" comes first. Definitely.


High School reunion countdown: eight hours, six minutes.

05:04AM dream ... the possible dream....

I woke up this morning from a dream in which the military had been switched over to an entirely advertiser-supported budget. Salaries were paid through the rental of space on miltary uniforms, tanks, and other vehicles for placement of corporate logos and ads.

... this is a test of the emergency out-of-context quote system
it is only a test
had this been a real out-of-context quote, it would have matched some of the text found elsewhere in this document ...

While a big, bright red, oval "STP" logo might interfere with the effectiveness of the camoflage-theme in the underlying uniform or paint job, just think about all the free TV-time your company logo could get, especially in the event of war or other exciting international dispute. As an Official Sponsor of the US Army, your potential customers would see your company logo or ad placed prominently in all major conflicts in which the world's most prestigious military force plays a role ... whether acting as "peacekeepers," or as troops who go ahead and fire weapons even when the media are present.

Your customer base would know that by purchasing your product, they would be doing their part to protect the freedoms they hold dear--without the risk of being shot at or having to deal with the discomfort and inconvenience of active military duty.

I could see it.

Another detail of my dreamtime military was that the bidding and procurement system had been changed so that the guns and other defense hardware being used were largely provided by manufacturers as promotional items. While this did solve the military cost overrun problem in one fell swoop, it did result in miltary hardware being manufacturered with less and lighter-weight materials as a cost-cutting measure, and the models supplied were often "factory-second" units, or overstocked products that had done poorly in civilian markets.

... designer deliverers of death-and-destruction ...

During the particular slice of time I was seeing in the dream, the Army was getting in mostly a supply of slightly smaller-than-normal, pastel-colored handguns and automatic rifles from the "Do It Herself" company and a lot of the male troops were finding it awkward or uncomfortable to be using the daintier grips and triggers of these designer deliverers of death-and-destruction.

I don't know what possibly could have inspired my sleeping brain to dream up a scenario like this, but on an entirely unrelated note, shortly before I headed to bed, the proofs of the pictures of me with the US Olympic TKD team before they'd headed off to more southerly venues were delivered. I'll check 'em over and see if I can get some pics from that set up in the next day or two.

- P.S. - Webshots removed my stuffed animal pics from the public listings until they can finish checking them over to make sure that they do not contain explicit sexual content inappropriate for minors. You can still get to the pics by going to my "personal webshots community page," but they won't show up in the listings-by-category until they're sure they're acceptable by reasonable community standards.

Thursday, September 7th


from the Silly Ego Tricks file:

Okay, this is probably the sort of thing that nobody else would care about, but a few weeks ago, I put a small collection of my personal pics up on Webshots. [ ]

... candid photos of their off-road vehicles proudly getting stuck in the mud ... and over one million close-ups of pet noses ...

In case you're not familiar with Webshots, it's the most extensive and conveniently organized collection of high-resolution pictures I've found on the net, all categorized, searchable, and immediately available for your viewing and downloading pleasure, blissfully unencumbered by any apparent respect for or awareness of copyright law.

To be fair, there's a lot of stuff on this particular refrigerator-door-on-the-web that is placed there by the copyright holders: people's vacation pictures, candid photos of their off-road vehicles proudly getting stuck in the mud, my pictures, and, of course, over one million close-ups of pet noses or whichever other body parts were still in the frame by the time the point-and-shoot actually did shoot.

But most of what's actually on there are pictures people have scanned in of their favorite swimsuit models, movie posters, and whatever else they thought was cool. No matter what the management says, I still find it hard to believe that over one thousand AOL users each own the copyrights to Britney Spears album cover--or, if they do, why they don't just put up the original artwork rather than rely on the output of a cheap flatbed scanner?

Movie Villains and Cuddly Plush Animals ]

So, there I am, virtually surrounded by "asian bikini babes," Jennifer Lopez, Miss Universe 2000, and others of similar fame and measurements--and my ego-boost came when I found myself in the top 40 in the "Swimsuits and Models" category; bear in mind that there are 80,908 other photos in this category as of this writing, so as far as I'm concerned, just being in the top 40 at all is pretty good.

So, a few days or a week pass, and I'm still chuffed about it. Webshots is a pretty popular site: according to one list of sites-ranked-by-traffic-volume, it was the fifty-seventh highest on the web. That's more traffic than even my "what's new" page gets.

At that point, a friend pointed out that I was the only male to make the top 40; so, now I'm even more pleased about it. On the "celebrities" ranking, I didn't quite make the top 40, so how about we skip over that and just go back to talking about "swimsuits and models."

Today, tragedy struck.

Fortunately, it was one of the smallest tragedies ever recorded in historical times, but tragedy it was ... or something else starting with "t" and I'm too lazy to wrestle a better word out of Roget's at the moment.

Yes, there's another male contender who has appeared in 40th place--this could potentially divert the attentions of Webshots users who actually are interested in "swimsuits and models" of the non-"bikini-and-high-heels" flavor.

One--or, horrors, even both--of these viewers could decide to go to this upstart's page instead.

I decided, as a cautionary measure, that it was necessary to broaden my audience appeal.

High heels, however, were right out, and I definitely had reservations about adding bikinis to my repertoire.

What to do...?

Now, people do have pretty varied tastes. For starters, I'm a pretty low-hairiness-quotient guy myself, but I know some people are really into "bears"--I figured that one way to attract the Webshots viewer who is into the fuzzy/bear look was to rework my photo gallery a bit and add some representatives of that visual form. So, aficionadas of the "bear" look can now check out my new Webshots album, [ Movie Villains and Cuddly Plush Animals ]

... Fortunately, it was one of the smallest tragedies ever recorded in historical times ...

If, on the other hand, you still have your heart set on bikinis and high heels, I can't help you, but there is still hope--rumor has it that bikini-and-heels photos are out there to be found, just not of me (for which the world, I'm sure, is eternally grateful)


Evil Log Tricks Department:

I don't exactly watch my log files like a hawk--that could be a full-time job all by itself--but I do make a point of at least checking the error logs reasonably frequently and sometimes error logs can yield more interesting results than you might think.

... I try to do my part to add to the surrealism level of people's daily lives, even Norwegian boat-buyers ...

My first "evil log trick" was noticing a steady stream of 404 errors for a particular file (several subdirectories deep and a really long name) because of a mangled link on a Norwegian speedboat manufacturer's webpage which sent people looking for the pricing on one of their models here.

I hate unnecessary error and warning messages, even when there's a known reason for them; one of those weird quirks one can get from working on mathematical modelling software involving tens or hundreds of thousands of lines of code. ... So, naturally, I had to create the appropriate subdirectories and build at least an interesting page for prospective boat-buyers to look at.

What I really should do is to track down the page that really should be getting loaded and build a version that's almost identical to it on one of my servers. Almost. I try to do my part to add to the surrealism level of people's daily lives, even Norwegian boat-buyers.

The second "evil log trick" was a little trickier--just recently, another site has started trying to pull banner ads off of mine; again, it's a few directory levels deep and, unfortunately, I don't have the time or enthusiasm to build the script they're trying to run on that machine, but at least I can whip up a quick banner for them to display on their site.

I figure it's better than yet another "graphic not found" tag for a banner. Well, depending on your tastes in these things, anyway.

... they've all listed "Frontpage" as the HTML-Generator.
Coincidence? Or Conspiracy...?

Net Peeve of the Day Department:

Webpages with most of the pictures and links broken because the URLs in the anchor tags point to the location of the documents and images on the writer's home PC-- which means that they work great when the writer is viewing his site using his machine at home, but practically nothing works for anyone else.

Strangely, when I look at the source code for a page like that, so far they've all listed "Frontpage" as the HTML-Generator. Coincidence? Or Conspiracy...?

Wednesday, September 6th


Slightly Smoldering Power Rangers Department:

Power supply for Iris (secondary news machine) went out around 3:00AM; got it fixed and everything checked out. It's been quite the week for power supply failures.

Just for fun, I took a snapshot of what was left of the power cords after this weekend's power surge took out the UPS that had been running the Nyx login machines.

For the morbidly curious, I stuck the pic on the "Nyx News and Notes" page, [ ]

Tuesday, September 5th


A brief moment of foreshadowing, and then I really do have to get back to work:

Suffering and deprivation is certainly one of the more powerful sources of inspiration for artistic endeavors. There's nothing like a peaceful, crisis-free life to totally screw up one's literary and artistic output.

At least that's my theory at this particular moment; I can't say that I've actually had the chance to test it out, but at some point, I might be willing to risk cramping my literary style to find out if it works that way. the name of science, of course.

But today I've been continuing to test the converse: that a few crises popping up here and there, a dash of strife and conflict, and a pinch of frustration and deadlines can do wonders for inspiring one's writing.

With the above kept firmly in mind, I'll just mention that the principal muse for today has been the one bearing the name, "Microsoft."

If I can fight my way through a few more tasks tonight, maybe I actually will get some of this inspiration down on paper, or at least etched in phosphor.

But that's later; if you'll excuse me, right now I have to go kill my muse.

... nothing like a peaceful, crisis-free life to totally screw up one's literary and artistic output ...


six more entries into the "you know you're in show biz when..." list

  1. forty minutes into a movie, you realize that you've forgotten to notice the characters or plot because you've spent the whole time analyzing the camera angles, lighting, and transitions
  2. you're talking to someone you'd been in a movie with and everybody else looks at you funny because half of your conversation consists of dialog from the film.
  3. you're cruising around on the web, sign someone's guestbook, and the next time you drop by the site, your comment was followed by claims that your note was a forgery or entries signed with names like, "the Queen of England (yeah, really. honest)"
  4. you remind yourself sometimes that it's okay to touch your hair and/or face and you won't mess up the makeup or continuity by doing so
  5. store clerks have to quote at least one of your better-known lines while ringing up your purchase
  6. a random person asks for your autograph and then looks at it funny and acts disappointed because they recognized you as "a celebrity" but thought you were someone else

... you can't save a car on disk; at least not unless it's a really, really big disk ...

What do filmmaking, computer programming, and being brainwashed and inducted into a religious cult have in common? All involve extended periods of time during which contact with normal life is severed, sleep deprivation, and complete immersion into a synthetic reality quite unlike "normal" social existence.

Okay, I'm just guessing about the "religious cult" part, but I've had times when programming projects have been even more brain-warping than filming: the time that sticks most in my mind was driving up to the lab where I was working at the time, very much in the "eat, drink, and sleep code" mental state that goes with getting a complex project completed ... and after I got there, I turned off the car, and sat there for a long moment, thinking, "wait, what was the command to save my car on disk and close the file?"

Maybe you have to have been in that mental state to understand the feeling, but it took a moment for me to shake that feeling and remember that this was the physical world and you can't save a car on disk; at least not unless it's a really, really big disk.

Now if only I could restore the gas tank from a backup tape when it gets low....

Monday, September 4th


"DANGER: Your Sprouts May Have Been Tampered With!"

Usually I buy sprouts in bulk at the grocery, but today the store had only the commercially-bagged kind, despite the far greater cost-to-sprout ratio. Reading the packaging, it immediately became apparent that Valley Farms, the manufacturer, works hard to convince you that buying sprouts straight from their state-of-the-art sprout manufacturing facility gets you sprouts that are healthier and safer than the regular, garden-variety, bulk sprouts.

... exclusive "tamper-evident" sprout seal ...

Not only are Valley Farms sprouts "High In Nutritional Value," the continued health and safety of you, the valued sprout-consumer, is assured through their vigilance and the use of their exclusive "tamper-evident" sprout seal on the top of the bag.

But my sigh of relief was soon replaced with a gasp of horror!

...well, okay, it was really a sneeze, but you get the idea. While the top of the bag might be protected by a "tamper-evident" seal, the sides of the bag are thoroughly perforated with holes about the size of the holes used in notebook filler paper for three-ring binders.

Despite Valley Farms' blatant attempt to mislead me into believing my sprouts were secure, any agent from an international sprout-tampering ring could--at any time--have extracted one or all of the sprouts in the bag without ever touching the "tamper-evident" seal and then tampered with them to his heart's content.

These evil sprouts could have been genetically altered or even hypnotized into psycho-killer-zombie sprouts programmed to engage in all manner of acts of intestinal terrorism once they pass the unsuspecting sprout-consumer's duodenum.

No one, except possibly a particularly observant produce clerk, would have been the wiser.

So, if I turn out to be the victim of a terrible sprout-tampering-induced tragedy, you'll who's to blame....


"NCAA Bans Protein"
( thanks to Tom Morley [] for bringing this development to MFW's collective attention )

In a statement released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on August 14th [ full text at ] effective August 1st, "institutions may provide only non-muscle-building nutritional supplements [...] provided they do not contain any NCAA-banned substances."

Protein supplements, meal-replacement powders, "energy bars," and other substances in which more than 30% of the calories are from protein are now explicitly banned by the NCAA (skim milk, whole eggs, and broccoli, for example, all get over 30% of their calories from protein, whereas McDonalds milkshakes, french fries, and Doritos would all be acceptable under NCAA guidelines)

... substances as yet unknown to modern science (or modern spelling, at least) ...

The list of NCAA-banned substances is extensive; it includes anything containing amino acids (all proteins contain amino acids), creatine, melatonin, ginseng, glucosamine, or even some substances as yet unknown to modern science (or modern spelling, at least) such as the mysterious "i-carnitin."

While picking on spelling errors might sound petty, we are talking about official guidelines issued by a regulatory body overseeing academic athletic programs. It seems that if one can research a substance in sufficient depth to determine that it is inappropriate in the context of collegiate athletics, one really ought to have encountered its correct spelling somewhere along the way.

To be fair, this ruling only prohibits an academic institution, its agents, and its employees from providing these to students or "facilitating" an athlete's access to substances like powdered milk and "energy bars" and would not prevent an individual athlete from purchasing a packet of Met-Rx and consuming it at home. Nevertheless, athletic teams, even collegiate ones, have been known to go on the road for competitions and events, and there have been recorded instances of athletes eating foods while on the road, and it would not surprise me if skim milk and broccoli had managed to creep insidiously into the collegiate athletes' menu at some times in the past.


If you haven't checked out the website for "Cheerleader Ninjas" [ ] yet, you should. I went to a special showing with the director and got to see it on the big screen in its full, completely edited glory.

... quite possibly the most extensive use of an inflatable doll in a martial arts film ...

Previously, I'd only seen the rough cut--and, well, the director was a little rough-cut himself that night--but I was impressed with how the finished product turned out. Mind you, it's still low-brow humor in the "Police Academy" genre, so expect fart jokes, slapstick humor, quite possibly the most extensive use of an inflatable doll in a martial arts film, and, um, did I mention fart jokes?

But even if fart jokes aren't your thing, it does have Cathryn Farnsworth in it, and though it's not a big part, she's always great. Besides having been lucky enough to work with her myself, I've seen her in a few other films as well and I like how she expresses a role through attitude, body language, vocal inflection, and "presence"--not that these subtleties can't get lost sometimes amid noisy references to bodily functions, but sometimes you pick and choose a little in what to appreciate when it comes to the cinematic arts.

Sunday, September 3th


One of the most amusing (and utterly pointless) subjects of late has been the passtime of calculating links between actors, a la Guare'e "Six Degrees of Separation," leading to the movie trivia game and book, "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" [ ]

... apparently I'm equidistant from Elvis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Marilyn Monroe ...

The fun part is that the University of Virginia has an online actor database, "the Oracle of Bacon at Virgina" [ ] which will calculate the number of links between any actor and Kevin Bacon, yielding that person's "Bacon Number" (c.f. Erdos Number) Thus, if you've been in a movie with Kevin Bacon, your "Bacon Number" is 1. If you haven't made a film with Kevin, but you were in a movie with someone who did, then you have a "Bacon Number" of two.

Of course, I had to feed my name into the Oracle of Bacon, and it gives my "Bacon Number" as 3.

But, wait, there's more--the database engine can calculate the distance between any two actors; except for people I actually know, every name I've put into their system with mine came up with the same distance, 3. So apparently I'm equidistant from Elvis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Marilyn Monroe. Hmmmm.


ninja notes:

I've been scouting around the net a bit, trying to scare up some martial arts related references, resources, and the like. Somehow, it's not surprising just how many are expired, haven't been updated in years, etc., etc. Why should martial arts be any different from the rest of the net? Most of the rest is whichever internet-based pyramid scam is currently trendy: this month, it's "pay for placement" search engines and directories, where 90% of the hits are other directories/search engines all trying to do the same thing, and the rest are yet more sites that consist of a few buttons that let you buy books and movies on Amazon, with just enough content to make it look like a real website and not merely an on-line ad.

... Learn the secrets of the ancient Ninja. Learn how to become a perfect physical specimen. Learn about genetic engineering ...

But along the way, I did run across the site of "The Anabolic Ninja" [ ] who promises that you'll "Learn the secrets of the ancient Ninja. Learn how to become a perfect physical specimen. Learn about genetic engineering."

Hey, after portraying "Therion" (whose evil plots involve "physically enhanced ninja-esque warriors" with a cool, gothic fashion sense), "Scrap" (for those difficult times when you just can't quite afford the "Arnold" Terminator model...), and, of course, "Ted" (Thor's lesser-known younger brother, the Norse God of Bicycle Repair and Maintenance), I gotta keep tabs on what the competition is up to, ya know. :)

Erm. Can you say, "ninja-esque" on TV...?

It's not entirely clear how much is serious and how much is satire, but on there I ran across an article by Garrett Kenyon, How To Hide Your Ninja Lifestyle From Your Co-workers ]

Trygve-Bob sez, "check it out."

... Can you say, "ninja-esque" on TV...?

Saturday, September 2nd


Mission statement: self-indulgent, off-the-cuff rambling. Your task: to decide whether to click away screaming, or to slog deeper into the depths of Trygve's Blog.

To further enhance your reading experience, I have chosen to highlight random, out-of-context words and phrases in colored boxes that will be scattered randomly through the text, thus:

... random, out-of-context words and phrases in colored boxes ...

While this new feature may not add actual information content, it is, nonetheless, a "new feature," thus entitling me to put a "new and improved" sticker ... somewhere.

I'll tell you where later. Maybe.

Today's advice for scriptwriters suffering an attack of writer's block: when in doubt, add ninjas.

... when in doubt
      add ninjas ...

Friday, September 1st

0:00 Midnight

They say that the best way to get your novel written is to get a blank page and start typing, beginning with something simple.

Like, say, "the"--a versatile and common word, and one comfortably familiar to most writers in the English-speaking world.

"Most," I say, because I've had occasion to deal with a few professional writers--or those who at least profess to be writers--who probably would stumble over getting that word written, or at least getting it on paper without messing up the spelling along the way.

So, in keeping with that tradition, that's how we begin September, the month that comes in like a "the" and goes out like a "supercalifragilistic onion," and with a "the" is how I've kicked off this document.

I just tacked on a "y" after the "the" part to throw you, gentle reader, for a loop.

I still haven't figured out how we'll manage to end this month's ramblings on a "supercalifragilistic onion" note, but I figure we'll get there, one way or another, you and I.

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