Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - February, 2005
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February, 2005
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because ... well ... why not ...?

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

Thursday, February 24th


Knifely Done:

Voodoo knife set

I have more kitchen gadgets than any three people I know, but here's one I don't have: the Voodoo Knife Holder from ViceVersa.Com. While it might not be as practical as my Henckels set (doesn't look like you can fit in all the different kinds of knives you'd want to have handy), it's certainly more effective as a conversation piece.

Wednesday, February 23rd


...and Back into the Shadows:

The big news for today is the discovery of what is believed to be a "galaxy" composed of dark matter by a group of astronomers at Cardiff University. It's one of those obvious-in-retrospect ideas that I have to admit I'd never thought about before.

dark matter

I'd imagine that this provides some exciting new datapoints to anyone pondering the question of how galaxies form and another step on the way towards understanding the gross structure of the universe. Figuring out how many more of these are lurking out there and what their distribution is certainly a challenge, because--being dark--they're not so easy to see.

Like most websites these days (except mine), it's got ads-by-Google on it and, as usual, no matter what the page content is, there's an ad for Ebay. In this case, the Ebay ad is suggesting: "Dark Matter - Dark Matter for sale. aff Check out the deals now!" (Yes, the "aff" is part of the ad. I don't know what it means either.)

But that's one terrific idea--I wonder what a jar of dark matter would sell for on Ebay? I'm actually tempted to find out....

Monday, February 21st


From out of the Shadows:

I finally met Diana Lee Inosanto while she was out in Colorado scouting locations for the upcoming movie Sensei. She'd been slated to be in Shadows, the Path of Deception, which is the film I'd been cast as "Raven" in (yes, I'm the leader of a secret organization bent of world domination again), but we'd never met before. Shadows had been optioned a while back, but then didn't end up getting produced at the time. That happens. It'll probably get made eventually, but it might be a while before things come together on that project. On the other hand, production should be starting on Sensei in a few months and the plan calls for shooting that out here in Colorado. Always nice to have another film being shot out here, so I'm glad to hear about that.

shadows on face

In the meantime, speaking of things shadowy, I went to the first big pre-production meeting for The Covenant of Shadows, scheduled to be shot starting in June of this year and got to meet the rest of the cast and crew. It always helps to put the faces and voices on the rest of the characters, and I got to spend some time chatting with the actors who are going to be playing my niece and nephew in the film. They both seemed very talented and enthusiastic and I'm sure it will be great to work with them.

Now, in The Covenant of Shadows, I'm actually *not* playing the leader of a secret organization bent on world domination, but rather a mysterious, somewhat creepy mortician--not exactly a "good guy," but about as good as anybody is in this supernatural horror film.

And speaking of things creepy (in the coolest possible way) Parastone has produced a series of 3-D models of Hieronymus Bosch characters. Unfortunately--as far as I can tell--they don't seem to have them available for purchase. I think they'd be great and would fit in perfectly with my decor. Even if you can't rush out and buy them, the pictures are cool.

Friday, February 18th


RAS Decisions:

I feel like my life has been dominated by Nyx's dialup issues for a month now. For some years now, Nyx has been using a T1 line--initially a channelized T1, more recently a PRI circuit--for its local dialup access. Over the years, the cost has steadily climbed while analog dialup modem use has been dropping. Even having a contract that theoretically guarantees a particular monthly fee for the line doesn't stop the price from continuing to climb as the provider (in this case, ICG) keeps adding new fees and surcharges onto the "fixed" fee in the contract.

With the contract with ICG finishing up at the end of January, I'd been getting things set up to try outsourcing our dialup lines to a reseller, in this case, Skycomm.Com aka Riva.Net. Supporting remote dialin over the internet was more complex, but it made it possible for Nyx to pay for fewer lines and still retain 56K support. Nyx users donated some extra funds to cover the switch, since the ICG bill was due after the period covered, while Skycomm had to be paid in advance, so for the first month, Nyx would have to pay for dialup service twice. To make it a little easier, the agreement with Skycomm included no setup fees and a week of free service.

After some late nights and a lot more work than I expected, everything was ready to go in time for the switchover...except that within two hours of the switch, Skycomm shut off Nyx's service and then demanded immediate payment of a setup fee in excess of $700. Mysteriously, they wouldn't return phone calls made to both their Houston and Maryland offices and they didn't respond to email to their billing department trying to straighten this out. They did, however, continue to advertise prominently on their website that they were waiving all setup fees.

So the PRI line from ICG was off, Skycomm wasn't providing service either, and that left Nyx without any dialup service at all. To tide things over, I ended up running my fax line downstairs to the server room where I've set up a terminal server and a modem so there'd at least be something while I scare up another way to handle dialup and the equipment to support it.

But while I'm working on setting up and testing all manner of hardware and dealing with the weirdness that lurks in the telecommunications industry, I ran into some other forms of weirdness lurking out there on the net:

In the "Books I Never Would Have Thought Of" category, Llumina Press presents Swollen Colons Out and About by Arlow Moreland. Quoting the publisher:

swollen colons out and about
Swollen Colons Out and About takes a humorous look at incorporating a swollen colon in everyday life. From everyday uses, to "impressing" your peers, to unique expressions, the swollen colon is sure to find a place in your heart.

The dining commons at California State University inspired Arlow to create this book about swollen colons.

I must confess that never before had I spent so much as a moment thinking about swollen colons (except, perhaps, as punctuation to be used in turgid prose), let alone taking a colon that has somehow left the rest of the body behind out for a walk. If nothing else, the description of this book is enough to convince me never to eat at the California State University dining commons.

They've done horror movies about disembodied brains and hands before; why not intestines? that I think about it, I can come up with quite a few reasons.

But speaking of eating, Sony has come up with what may be the most brilliant marketing idea so far this year: now, if you happen to feel hungry while playing a game of Everquest II, you can type in "/pizza" and get one delivered right to your door.

everquest pizza

I think this is just the beginning of a new trend: give it a year or two, and you'll be able to order all kinds of food, beverages, and computer upgrades right inside video games. It may be longer, however, before the technology reaches the point where you'll be able to use the restroom in the video game and have it work in real if you keep ordering video game pizza without ever leaving your chair to attend to other bodily functions, I suppose you could run the risk of getting a swelled colon.

But at least you can order Arlow's book, too, so you'll be able to "impress" your peers with your swollen colon.

(, I don't want to know)

Saturday, February 12th


Trade Names:

Someone came up to me earlier today and said, "I've decided I'm going to kill you."

I think that would make a lot of people nervous, but I replied, "okay, how?" In my case, getting killed horribly is all part of a day's work. It also makes a difference that the person in question was a scriptwriter and not, say, a dental hygienist.

They say that the pen is mightier than the sword and I suppose that's true when the pen is being held by the person writing the screenplay. The rest of the time, however, I'd be putting my money on the side with the sword.

One of the headlines from last week was that 2004's US trade deficit hit an all-time record of $617.7 billion, beating the previous record by 24 percent(!). And that's despite my best efforts to market movies internationally. Film and television production is one slice of the economic pie where the US consistently maintains a wide trade surplus. It's also a product where other countries are quite open about erecting trade barriers, quotas, etc. Some countries--such as France--limit how much can be broadcast; others--such as China--have a rigorous and time-consuming government censorship program to determine which movies can even be allowed in.

Nonetheless, here in the United States, we make movies and the rest of the world buys them. Still, $617.7 billion is a lot to make up for. Just getting killed horribly once may not be enough, but at least it's a start.

One of the interesting pages out there that's making the blog circuit right now is the NameVoyager from the Baby Name Wizard. Besides being interesting in itself--it shows the popularity of nearly 5000 names from 1900 onwards--it's got one of the most visually striking user interfaces of any webpage I've ever seen.

One glaring fault, however, is that somehow they've left "Trygve" out of their list of names they track. I don't know how that could have happened. Fortunately, you can retrieve the data on the popularity of the name "Trygve" since 1880 from Statistics Norway. the Baby Name Wizard left "Trygve" out of its database...and the United States just set the record for the largest trade deficit in history.


Yeah, probably.

But the fact remains that a lot of people in this country get confused by my name. So confused, it seems, that I keep getting mail over here for yet more people I don't know. For example, I have no idea who Jessica Moffat is, I only know that she has four different magazine subscriptions being delivered to this address. Most of the names on letters for people other than me don't look familiar, but I just got one addressed to "Mrs. Trygve Lode" from the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development Alumni Association. Hmmm, again. As far as I know, I've never even met anyone who is an alumnus of their College of Education and Human Development, so I think this kind of thing is a little presumptuous.

Guess I'd better go check the closets, just to be sure.

Wednesday, February 9th


You've got a Pal in Georgia:

Selling movie rights to the countries formerly known as the Soviet Union does present a bit of a spelling challenge. Yesterday's contract was for the territories of Russia as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

...yeah...I know I'm shown pointing in the general area of China. We signed a distribution deal for China earlier, so think of it as a flashback.

That still leaves a lot of the world as yet unexplored--or at least un-sold-to--but China, CIS, and the Baltic states certainly adds a lot of real estate.

Like most of the world, they want their video masters in PAL format (the video format used by almost everyone except the US and Japan) and, for some reason, except for a lone SVHS edit deck, I don't have any PAL gear, so once again I'll be shipping out all the materials in NTSC format (the video format used in the US and Japan) to Crawford Communications in Atlanta where they'll convert and assemble all the video materials into the format specified by the distributor.

international sales

I keep thinking I should get some more PAL equipment, but the odds are that I'll be working with high-def products within the next six months, so now is probably a bad time to be throwing more money into any standard-definition video gear.

At least there's some small amusement to be found in sending everything off to Georgia so they can get it ready to be shipped to Georgia--or at least it's mildly amusing at 3:00 AM. If I get some sleep tonight, we'll see if it's still amusing after the sun comes up.

Thursday, February 3rd


Getting Naked with the Sisters:

I spent most of the day and into the evening catching up on miscellaneous system administration tasks that had piled up during the previous week while I'd been battling with the whole remote dialup debacle (I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that saga later, since it's still not resolved), but I figured that it's traditional to spend at least part of your birthday dressed in your birthday suit.

clorox with teflon

One task that's hard to combine with clothing--at least any clothing that I happen to own--is cleaning the showers, so that seemed like a reasonable way to spend the night. Aided and abetted by the spray bottle of Clorox Bathroom Cleaner (with Teflon) shown at left and cheered on by the sounds of "Sisters of Mercy" playing on the stereo, I embarked on my quest to discover whether the ancient legends that spoke of ceramic tiles hidden beneath the soap scum in the shower were really true.

At this point, I feel compelled to point out the prominent sticker on the Clorox Bathroom Cleaner that proudly proclaims "Great Scent!" If you should ever find yourself in the immediate vicinity of this cleansing product, do not be fooled by this sticker into thinking that it actually smells good. I would not even recommend taking a big, strong whiff of its heady bouquet to find out for yourself whether its promised olfactory delights live up to its label. Having been exposed to more of the fumes produced by this product than I would like, I can only guess that "Great Scent!" is actually some kind of marketing codeword for "killed fewer people than our previous formulation."

I got a card today from my brother Anders which, somehow, just seemed a particularly appropriate flavor of bizarre. Appropriate for *what*, I haven't figured out yet, though the answer to that mystery may also be waiting to be found beneath the scum on my shower tiles. It reads:

If I had a talking hamster, on his birthday I'd take the little guy to the carnival to see the Big Wheel. Upon seeing it, he'd be speechless, simply letting out little gasps of joy.

May your day be filled with little gasps of joy.


The "joy" part may not have quite worked out for today, but--thanks to the power of Clorox with Teflon--my evening was, in fact, filled with little gasps.

Sometimes birthday wishes do come true, or at least parts of them do. :-)

Tuesday, February 1st


Devils and Angels:

After spending most of the last several days doing battle with ill-behaved Radius daemons, it's certainly appropriate that one of the roles I ended up auditioning for this last weekend also happens to be a demon.


I'm all for portraying supernatural creatures; it's fun and you always get to do cool stuff. Sometimes you even get to live in a castle made out of giant legos. :-)

I mean, really; no matter what adjectives you might apply to devils, "boring" is not one of them.

Plus you can get away with being a little over-the-top...maybe even a lot over-the-top. After all, what could be more extreme than a demon or devil? Offhand, the only characters I can think of that are even more out-there are Usenet kooks and trolls.

What would be even more fun would be to play both a devil and an angel in the same movie. I think that would make a lot of sense. In this particular project, the devil role would involve a significant amount of prosthetic makeup, but it would still be recognizably me. Contrast the not-quite-human look of a latex-enhanced devil makeup job with a just-a-little-too-perfect angel makeup job, and I think it would present a very interesting visual counterpoint.

From an editing standpoint, it might present more of a challenge in the scenes where the two of me are supposed to interact, but that's not my job. :-)


I should find out more about the shooting schedule for this project in the next week. With luck, we'll have to to get in at least one makeup test. I've worked in some pretty heavy makeup before, so I'm used to that, but I've never worked with prosthetic makeup. I think it would be nice to get used to any limits I have to put on movement and expression and maybe get some promotional shots in while we're at it.

We'll see. I don't know if this made the difference when it came to casting, but I bet that I have more real-world experience in conjuring and subduing daemons than any of the other actors. Granted, the casting director didn't actually come out and *ask* any questions related to systems administration, but I'm sure they could tell these things from reviewing the audition tapes. :-)

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