Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

May 31, 2007

Crappy start, got better

Filed under: news of the day — lexifab @ 6:42 pm

I managed to start the day with what felt like a cascade of mishaps and acts of stupidity, not so much getting off on the wrong foot as getting off on a busload of centipedes*.

First I planned to ride to work so that I could make my blood donor appointment, but because winter has formally arrived and the overnight temperature was subzero, the bike refused to start. So I walked to work.

Annoying, because I had planned an early start, but I walk every other day so not a real inconvenience. Halfway to work, the battery on my mp3 player gave out. I’d expected that, and had a spare battery ready. Fished it out, swapped out the old battery, carried on walking and listening to my awesome collection of updated gaming podcasts. Got to work and…discovered that somewhere along the way, presumably when I swapped the battery out, I had dropped the battery cover on the ground. Crap. And the likelihood of finding it again is pretty small, even though I walk the same path each day, because it’s bright red and the ground most of the way is scattered with autumn leaves of a suspiciously familiar hue. Crap!

And finally, I got to my desk, whereupon I learned that I was no longer carrying the thumb drive with the only copy of the job application I’ve been working on all week! Grrfuck! Turns out they were still in the pocket of the kevlar jeans I wear when I ride, which I changed out of when the bike wouldn’t start. So I caught the bus home, backed the damn application files up on the PC (which I didn’t do last night because it was late and I was tired), caught the bus back and finally actually started doing some work.

After that everything was fine. I got thejob application in (even though I know I’m not qualified and stand almost no chance of getting it, it was sort of a point of pride) and I even managed to get the stuff done that I planned to get done for the day. On top of that, I’ve been called in for an interview for another new job which I probably can get, so tomorrow is looking shiny.

But right now it’s nearly 6:00 pm, pitch dark and about 4 degrees C outside and I can either waste more money on catching the bus or I can walk home.

I’ll walk, I think. I need to suffer, otherwise the day will feel unbalanced.

* Which sounds like the strangest and most unfortunate kink ever.

May 30, 2007

Sullen and sleepy

Filed under: fitter/happier,workin for the man — lexifab @ 2:13 pm

I’m taking work too seriously again, and it’s making me too tired to do anything else. Unfortunately the alternative is to not take it seriously, which means I get none of the horrid onerous end of financial year tasks accomplished that constitute my work at the moment.

My sleep patterns are shot, too, for no immediately obvious reason – I’m asleep on my feet way too early, and waking up at some ridiculously dark hour the next morning.

And I need a haircut, but at least I have that one covered this afternoon.

But yeah, if you’re waiting for any kind of communication from me (e.g. Steve, I know I owe you an email) expect me to go on hold until the weekend at least. I just don’t have anything left after work and the job application that’s due by close of business tomorrow.

May 29, 2007

That dreaded no time again

I have much to blog about – the visit to Canberra last week of Nathaniel (aka Nato nee Noel) Small, upon whom I have not laid eyes in probably at least 15 years, and with whom I had lunch; the completion of curtain-based renovations in the lounge, albeit with certain remedial work to be undertaken; the Primetime Adventures game on Friday night which rocked nicely, though not without suffering from the seemingly inevitable insidious creep of sleepiness; various positive medical matters; the long-awaited and disappointingly antidramatic office move over the weekend – but unfortunately I have a job application to write before Thursday, so blogging is on temporary suspension until I get it in or – as now – I require a procrastination break.

Of course the fact that I am writing this at 5:00 am after having already put in a solid couple of hours on the application should tell me something. Not sure what, though. Mad, probably.

May 24, 2007

Pleasing taste. Some monsterism.

Filed under: geekery — lexifab @ 1:02 am

Broke the habit of what feels like several lifetimes to go to the cinemas last night and actually watch a horror movie. O rather, a monster movie – the Korean-made The Host, the difference being that the actual horror elements were infrequent and quite light, but the monster in question put in its first full-screen, broad daylight appearance around about minute #10, and was thereafter clearly visible until the end of the film. Unusual that.

It’s going to sound like a strange recommendation, but The Host is actually a lovely little film, with an odd warmth that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the genre, unless you are some kind of freak. To be sure, it is not a film for everyone: while the gore dial is undoubtedly twisted back to simmer, there are several scenes charged with real emotional horror, and the final third is extremely tense. Plus of course if you don’t like watching monsters rampage around scooping up victims, trashing vehicles and barreling into things, you may not find yourself sufficiently engaged to stay around for the human drama elements.

To my surprise, The Host has a real beauty about it, and includes a scene – no, just one moment in the middle of a scene – of such surpassing wonder and  tenderness that I honestly thought the film might suddenly turn into something completely different. It ultimately didn’t change the direction of the film, and the whole is very much the stronger for allowing the moment to happen and pass without comment. I honestly think though that when I see this movie again, I’ll burst into tears when it comes to that bit.

(Obviously I don’t want to describe the bit I’m talking about at all.  In some ways it feels wrong to even mention it, as if this nebulous reference might somehow undercut the emotional beauty of it. But I couldn’t really review this film without noting that for me it contained a moment of absolutely perfect cinema. You are free to watch it yourself and conclude that I am an overly sentimental ninny).

Anyway, if that doesn’t get you to watch it, I will note that it contains some unusually excellent child acting, a monster with motor skills never before contemplated, and a strong cast of likable chuckleheads who never manage to wear out their welcome despite a near-constant flirtation with farce. It’s just good from start to finish, with beautiful cinematography if you like that sort of thing (the climax is particularly stunning to look at). I think the score was good too, although I really only noticed the music during the final credits – I don’t tend to notice film scores on the first viewing, at least not unless they’re some overly bombastic orchestral number backed by a thousand-strong choir.

If I have one complaint (apart from the fact that the Dendy cinemas speakers are way too capable for my grumpy old-man eardrums) it’s that it takes way too long for the brother character to become relevant and interesting, and that the introduction of his wacky-and-suspiciously-useful ally only 10 minutes before the climax is slightly clumsy. But really, that’s picking nits in a film packed with symbolic beer cans, even more symbolic squid legs, crosseyed conspirators, a short philosophical discourse on juvenile theft and, unusually in my experience, a film that actually makes sensible plot use of modern mobile phone technology (or at least seems to).

As the film poster says, see The Host before the inevitable American remake. Which I have a horrible premonition will, as I said to Simon at the end of the film,  in some way involve Nicolas Cage. And that really is too horrible to contemplate.

May 22, 2007

Updating is hard

Filed under: Games,news of the day,the renovated life — lexifab @ 6:48 pm

When you consider the relatively content-free standards of Lexifab, you would think I would have less difficulty in making the effort to keep this damn blog up to date. Instead, every week or so I find myself hammering out some lame condensation of the events of the past few days, which mostly comes out as a list of mildly passive-aggressive complaints about the universe. Hmm. I usually just think of myself as lazy, but perhaps I’m pessimistic as well.

Bah, be that as it may, here’s the latest summary:

Family – Nan, my maternal grandmother, is turning 90 at the end of the week. I’d love to be up there at Calliope celebrating with her hordes of adoring descendents, but the holiday thing would not have worked. Still, I hope to be able to get up and visit on the way north about this time next year. In the meantime I’ll wait for Mum’s letter and hopefully a big stack (or email attachment) of photos. Mum or Lib, if you’re reading this, give her a big hug from all of us and let her know we love her to bits.

Renos – We managed to get some long-awaited renovation milestones knocked off on the weekend (although Fi and I had to take a Monday sickie in order to finish them). We’ve mounted and painted the timber braces that will hold up the three sets of curtains in the living room. It was a tricky job, because the wall cavities above the doors and windows appear to have very few studs, and those that were there were difficult to detect with an electronic studfinder due to the double gyprock sheeting in that room. We had to bodge a little bit here and there, but the end effect, with the braces and window insets painted a striking dark slate grey contrasting the pale yellows and oranges beautifully, has been well worth the small amount of pain. Once the paint dries, which should happen by the weekend, we’ll have an extra splash of colour in the form of the green curtains in there.

That will be nice, because at the moment our living room is completely visible to everyone using the high-traffic footpath at the front of the house. OMG! They know we watch Heroes!

Gaming – Had a couple of evenings of gaming in which no actual gaming was done, but a lot of planning took place… On Friday night, Chris, Emma and the Nerd Farmers got together from some PrimeTime Adventures. It took us the usual forever to come up with a concept that we all liked  – the post-apocalyptic pony detective agency show and the sitcom set in a brothel were both sadly discarded by our network executives as being too cutting edge and confrontational for modern audiences. In the end we went for a show set on a train heading out across America to the newly open Pacific coast (we thought probably in the early- to middle- of the 19th century, following the great rail wars, but Wikipedia will be consulted to supply some actual dates and historical context and figures of note…). The characters are a collection of loose sketches at this stage, but there’s a little mystery, some dark secrets and tragic themes hidden away in there. First actual play session will be this Friday night. No title so far, with “The Train Game” being a vague placeholder at best.

On Saturday, Steve, Emma, Chris and I got together to create a Burning Wheel scenario. We came up with a rather cool situation loaded with mafioso-style shipyard guilds, manipulative pirates, a grasping noble class, all about to clash in a (probably doomed) marxist revolution. I’m very excited about this game. BW is something I’ve been wanting to experiment with for a while now, and I’m champing at the bit to get my character – a vicious little thug whose time on a pirate galley has made him bitter and envious of the nobility – out onto paper, where he can start shanking people with his dirk. I don’t know when we’re going to get a chance to play it – our schedules all clash – but sooner or later this little weasel is going to get his chance to kindle that chip on his shoulder into a raging inferno.

I can’t wait.

May 14, 2007

I are back

Filed under: fitter/happier,news of the day — lexifab @ 6:39 pm

Back at work. Largely unhappy about it. Too unhappy for whole sentences. Will dot point:

  • Holiday – The Holiday was astonishly wonderful. Had a fabulously lazy, indulgent time at the beach, where the waves were plentiful and perfect for body surfing, in a spacious rental place with a kitchen that was delightfully conducive to the production of pancakes. despite all the body surfing, there is the small outside possibility that I may have put on a little weight. But it was worth it. Jimbo became the God of War, Andrew got a haircut, SJ became a celebrity chef and nobody else achieved much of anything, really. Just exactly the kind of holiday I was after.
  • Inevitable lurgy – I managed to spend the last day there, and most of the trip back, crippled by some sort of proto-flu that locked up all my joints and back muscles, but thankfully didn’t progress into anything more significant. I was completely flattened yesterday though, so none of the planned lounge room painting got done. Given that we are now down to basically zero hours of daylight on work days, the prospects for decent progress on renovations are a bit dismal at the moment. I fear I must bid a rueful farewell to doing anything else much on weekends for the forseeable future.
  • More on work – Learned to my disappointment that one of the two positions I had heard were coming up will be advertised widely (i.e. in the papers and government gazette). I think that if it had been created as an internals-only job, I’d have been as qualified as anyone in the place to take it on. It’s not so realistic to expect that I will compete strongly against anyone with actual relevant qualifications. Still, I should know one way or the other what they are looking for in the next day or so, so I may still put in for the job. The pity of it is that I will need to do my application over the weekend, which will be just one more thing to compete with the renos. It will be worth it if I can get the hell out of this job though – I’ve been back one day and already I’m over it.
  • Games – One thing I must get around to is arranging the resumption of game playing. I need my fix! (Even the corridor game is starting to look attractive, although that way lies madness and despair)
  • The many crimes of My Stupid Brain – This month, My Stupid Brain wants to start writing and drawing a webcomic. I have no idea where this daft idea came from, or why MSB is seriously considering it. I have only the most scant concept for characters and a story, the technical hurdles are presumably many and in any case completely alien to me, and my capacity to reliably render facial expressions, consistent character depictions and everyday objects is notoriously limited. Moreover, my historical inability to maintain interest in virtually any mid- to long-term project should be ringing warning bells. Still MSB won’t be dissuaded. I may have to distract it with shiny things or hard drugs if this keeps up.

May 2, 2007

So nearly there

Filed under: news of the day,now playing: anything — lexifab @ 1:57 pm

The Holiday looms. I don’t think I have mentioned The Holiday. The entirety of the Nerdfarmers will be heading up to Coffs Harbour to a rented house for a week of frivolity and fun and bad Playstation karaoke with Evan, his partner SJ and the inimitable Mr Shellshear.

This will be awesome. But sadly, it is still a day and a bit away. I may go nuts in the meantime.

Still, some goodness has transpired in the last few hours, about which more/later. And in the absence of MizEmma (who is off learning to be a good and virtuous teacher of English as a second language for the next few months of Tuesdays), the Tuesday night roleplayers have banged together a new plan for getting ourselves out of the roleplaying doldrums. We all agreed that Tuesday nights were no longer working for us – everyone is too tired and befuddled to really get their game faces on so early in the week, and we can’t go late because it’s a school night – so we will try shifting to fortnightly Fridays, whence we can power on into the wee small hours if we so choose.

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