Monday, June 29, 2009

Conscience vs ease...ease has a more compelling argument!

recently i decided to go the honest way and install a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows XP Home on my lappie. that wasn't too hard seeing that i already had a copy around — the one that came with the lappie. there was just one problem: the lappie is a German product by a company called Medion. well, i decided to just try it out anyway and see what i could do with it. before plunging in, i'd researched and found out that while Microsoft allows you to localize an English copy of Microsoft Windows to a non-English language, you can't do the reverse. so my German Windows XP remains German.

that notwithstanding, i decided to dive in. the format was last night, and it's not so bad with the OS itself so far (i expect major annoyances down the road). my major annoyances are with keyboard shortcuts (for example, i'd usually do winkey, U, U to shut down. i'm so used to it. no more. it's winkey, C, A now). so i have to use the mouse until i either revert to piracy and install an English version of Windows XP or learn the shortcut. in case you were wondering why i didn't mention buying a copy of Windows XP, it's simply because even that aged operating system plays out of my league. a legal copy of Windows XP would cost approximately a sixth of my monthly paycheck. normally, that might not be a big problem, but i'm currently on a budget causing me to stretch a bit for a while. so unless something extraordinary happens, i won't be in a position to donate some bucks to Microsoft's coffers just yet (if i hear any Linux fanboy say anything …). i've had some other issues like on dialogs i rarely use (for instance, i was relocating the swap file, and had to compare with the office box for what some controls were for; just now i wanted to stop Automatic Updates, and entered net stop "automatic updates" at the console. obviously, i got an error message, as the service is called "automatische updates")

i envisage more problems with software and the web. my touchpad driver and Safari both installed in German. a quick look on Google helped with Safari. internationalized sites (and software) such as Google will default to the OS language, though strangely enough, Internet Explorer still went to the English version of MSN. i haven't installed much yet, but i'm hoping it won't be too much of a hassle for me.

so why am i even talking about this? i want to draw a parallel here. far too many people my age rush into relationships due to one thing or the other, and don't really count the cost, just as i didn't fully comprehend the magnitude of the decision to use a German version of Windows XP. i concur that you can never completely predict the future — i was completely not expecting Safari to be internationalized, but you can get some far-reaching insight to what the future might be. for me, one format can solve the problems i mentioned and hinted at above, with little cost to anyone except me. for a relationship, there's no telling where the fallout will hit. so, in the spirit of my last few posts, please take time to carefully consider prospective future partners. we could all do with less heartache. later

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Straight talk

wow. third spagh meal in < 24 hours. if some spiky stuff starts growing outta my head, y'all heard it here first. right, down to today's business. i'm ticked off because: i got home late from church; i'm unsatisfied with my lunch; i was told in no uncertain terms several times today to get into a relationship, and i have a boatload of stuff to do. if i missed anything, i'll mention it later.

today i'd like to share some thoughts with guys. so this stuff may not be appropriate for ladies (and liberal arts majors). in fact, i reserve all rights to this post. so if you're reading this, it's either because you're a guy or you're a curious wench who has ignored my warnings against reading this long. let's assume you're a guy — just for argument. just note that YOU WERE WARNED. i was going to include the whole ERLA, but laziness prevailed, so i'll just assume you read it and agreed to waive any rights to prosecute me if this post does not appeal to your sense of decency. 'nuff said. moving on:

  • You are responsible. yep, you are. for the Flood, for the sacking of Troy, for Watergate, and probably for the Apocalypse as well. ok, maybe not that. but you are responsible for any state you (or your relationship) are in right now. whether you're single or you mingle, whether your relationship sucks or rocks, you are responsible for the state of your life. so kick off any diapers you might be wearing and assume the position (sorry, responsibility). there is no man so weak as the one that assumes no responsibility. it's mysterious, but taking up responsibility makes a person stronger. and it's all the more truer for men.
  • pretty don't take the cake (aka you can't eat pretty). growing up, i ate some of the ickiest (at least in my opinion at the time) stuff anyone might consider food. i particularly didn't like beans (and it shows now :D), and i always wondered why my mum even bothered. there was so much more interesting stuff like ice cream and chocolate. i still wonder why it is that stuff that's bad for you can easily taste so good, while stuff that's good for you needs quite some work to taste good. what's that got to do with women? you can't eat pretty. pretty doesn't keep a home clean and tidy. pretty doesn't help raise wonderful kids. a good woman (please notice the emphasis) does. i love pretty and beautiful things. i also would never marry a beautiful rug. let her looks be the icing on the (already excellent) cake. you can eat cake without icing, but icing without cake will just make you sick (let's not carry the analogy too far, as too much cake can also make you sick). someone once said a beautiful woman devoid of sense is a gold ring in a pig's snout. i realize you're wired to look for hot chicks with great bodies, but hold on a cotton-pickin' minute. Lewz D. Scruz's Guide to Women tells me that you will always find a more beautiful woman. so, looks can be sacrificed for more important things. what are those more important things? how should i know?
  • sex blinds you unless it's in the right context, so don't feed sexual desires. a wise man from the east told me that a relationship is like a model of a house. the model exists to tell you what the house is like, but you would have to reduce your stature to live in the model. that's an excellent description of what extramarital sex is like. you demean yourself if you're 'getting some' outside legal marriage. i'm not talking based on my Judeo-Christian roots. i'm talking from experience. i once tried to live in a kid's sketch of a house — i'm stretching the above analogy here, not being literal. it wasn't even up to the standard of an architect's first draft. it wasn't worth it. for one thing, you sow seeds of distrust that lay low until later if you eventually decide to 'go steady' with the person. or you might end up comparing one person's performance with another person's. the last thing you want to do is call someone else's name when you've made a commitment to someone (it's happened before). i remember once i was talking to an acquaintance, he spotted a young lady her knew and said i suppose fuck that girl, to which i replied that if she slept with him, there's a really big probability the she was — or would be — sleeping with someone else. there's absolutely nothing anyone can do to convince me that extramarital sex does any good, even without the 'benefit' of 'religious beliefs'. the fact that everyone on the planet seems to be mad is no reason for you to lose your head. a really effective way to keep out of extramarital sex is don't feed lust. don't kiss her. avoid pornography. don't jerk off (or wank, or whatever you decide to call it). in short, be disciplined, even in the area of food. you're wired to go in only one direction from doing most of the things above (i mention food as an example because if you let yourself slide in one way, you're likely to slide in other ways). so don't bother trying to fight nature. being the smart guy you are, you already know you'll lose.
  • on your commitment, set, go! we live in a world that encourages us to be irresponsible. as i write, i've a great deal of laundry to do, and i fell asleep at my computer right after lunch. it's easy to leave things undone, just let them 'slide'. the problem is, because life is like a knitted jersey, tugging on one string can let the whole thing unravel. and a great deal of discipline is sticking to your commitments. i don't care if it's just that you planned to do the dishes or you have someone you're 'dating' (how i dislike that word. it gives me the creeps). as Arkad (The Richest Man in Babylon) said, you should complete each task you set yourself to, or how else will you gain confidence in your ability to do other tasks? i 'fapped' this from a friend who won't mind me using it here: If you don't make a TOTAL COMMITMENT to whatever you are doing, then you start looking to bailout the first time the boat starts leaking. It's tough enough getting the boat to the shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on. so take off the life jacket, and start rowing. if you burn your bridges/boats, you have only once choice — win. as long as you present yourself with two options, you cannot focus. once you cannot focus, your chances of winning are reduced. focus is an amazing thing that does two completely opposite things at the same time: expands your vision and narrows it. be like Arkad, who loved leisure, and would not commit himself to things that would become burdensome for him to complete. be picky about what you allow yourself do, but don't do nothing. that's simply failure in party clothes trying to disguise itself. you're a man: to pick up a responsiblity is to commit to it. i remember one of my teachers stamping it into my being that leaders always find a way (for the team) to win. he lived it himself. sometimes i've fely like cursing him for teaching me that, because a lot of times, it was the only thing that spurred me to accomplishing some tasks (no, i've never cursed him, only that when the 'ice cream moments' come — when you feel you did 'enough' and should let things slide — i remember him and it, and i no longer feel comfortable slacking off). i'm told that if we did everything we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. this point was beautifully illustrated in the movie Facing the Giants, when Buck did the death crawl blindfolded.
  • this one's so important, i'm tempted to advise you to put your relationship on 'hold' if you're lacking here until you sort this out. have somewhere going (aka have your own business, but not entirely in that sense). a reason a lot of guys don't want to ask ladies 'out' (where? the coffee shop? the mall? Paris?) is that they feel women want ready-made guys. i've been convinced (today, actually) that what women really need is security, and they're willing to hope that a share in your 'business' (or vision, dream or whatever) will provide them that. so, have somewhere going, something doing. be aspiring to something great, and be walking in that direction, running when you can, stumbling or crawling when you're forced to, flying when you have the means to — but be getting somewhere great, a place you can share with her and the kids and other people. a place where you're a real man who looks behind him and sees people following simply because he's impacted them for good.
  • if you're not married to her, and you don't have the same (or very similar) value systems, break it up. let's face it, she's great. she's hot. but there's this problem: she's a party person, and you really don't dig parties. you don't mind a little libation now and then, and she's a teetotaler. stuff like that. please break up. there's the feeling of love, and there's the attitude of love. don't let the feeling blind you, because in a committed relationship, you live off the attitude of love, not the feeling (now you might understand why you never killed your annoying little brother). the feeling will wax and wane. the attitude is a choice. there's no point making the choice all the harder — it's hard enough without doing anything else. wherever you are, relationship-wise, keep driving the blinders back!. feelings are fickle things. it's a foolish man indeed who would risk the joy of 40 years or more for feelings that may have lasted 1 year or less (actually, you really shouldn't care how long the feelings have lasted). you're not emo by nature, so it's easier for you to sidestep your feelings and emotional attachments and deal with issues.

that's it for now. i've dishes to do. no point teaching and not doing. i'll update this later, so later!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Close marking (2)

wow. my lil' ol' blog post garnered some attention on Facebook. thanks for all the feedback. i guess it is true that people are really interested in relationships. so i wonder: are relationships so difficult to work that most people tend to have vicarious relationships, or what? relationship changes are what catches the eyes of quite a number of my friends on Facebook. were i to change my status to 'in a relationship', i'd get quite the feedback. and that's probably because i have developed the persona of the nasty grook.

i like the idea behind Ne-Yo's song She Got Her Own because it basically describes a sentiment i really feel: it's more of an honour if a lady chooses to be with me than if she needs me. that eliminates the "i married you because of your money/looks/body/<insert wanted item here>" problem. we're together because each of us clear-headedly considered options, thought things out, looked at our lives' goals, and chose to be together. guys (i don't think i could ever get to understanding how ladies work, so i'm talking to the people i do understand), it's long overdue that we stop thinking with our testicles (male hormones come from here, so pardon me). yeah, we are attracted by what we see, but for crying out loud — how long will we continue to be implicated as irresponsible playboys?

work beckons. i'll continue this some other day.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Close marking

ki lo'n ro? o kan' fe'yin lat'aro…ki lo'n shele pel'omo yen? (Translation: what are you thinking about? you've been smiling for a while now…what's going on between you and that young lady?). So began a conversation with B today about a mutual friend. normally, i don't really like references to my single status. B's a good friend, so i let it slide. just told him that we're just friends. B didn't want to hear that. told B that i'd asked her out a while back and she said she wasn't game. B countered that even if it was last month, i could still ask her out again. i said i didn't want to, since i'd been put in the friend zone.

the friend zone. there probably isn't a female invention scarier to a young man. about the only thing scarier is the nice friend zone. one chick finds out you're a nice guy, somehow other chicks find out, and soon enough you end up as deputy assistant vice boyfriend to one or more chicks. meaning, you spend time with the chick, but you're disposable. she may cry on your shoulder, but you're expendable. enjoy what time you have with her, because she's got someone else in mind most likely. or so i think anyway. what do i really care?

i got thinking about what B said. she's a lovely young lady in more ways than one, but … i don't really think i'm up for a relationship now. more so since i decided that i don't have that much to offer anyone. and quite a bit in my life isn't going to change soon. it wasn't that long ago i thought any chick who liked me was either batty, extremely optimistic, or didn't know me well. i've since discovered that while the latter is usually the case, i have some redeeming qualities like…em, i'll get back to you on that one, hopefully before the world ends.

naw. i think i'll just sleep this off. and wake up feeling better. cause earlier last week i was feeling a little jealous of a friend. you see, he's in love. and i kept wondering why it seemed it never happened like that for me (okay, that ill-fated relationship doesn't count). till i saw one of my friends lamenting about the same thing on Facebook. ah well.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Fooling around with Context Free

have to get to church now, but i was playing with Context Free, and after looking at examples and several tries, i created a checkerboard using it.

the CFDG source is below:

startshape checkerMain

rule checkerMain {
 // modify the numbers at the start to
 // change how many are repeated
 10* { y 2 } checker2 {}

rule checker2 {
 10* { x 2 } checker {}

rule checker {
 SQUARE { b .5 x 1 }
 SQUARE { b .5 y 1 }
 SQUARE { b 1 x 1 y 1 }
 SQUARE { s .25 b .5 x 1 y 1 }

Friday, June 05, 2009

3D object conversion

"Install" is probably my middle name, with curiosity being the middle letter you don't see in there. So my computer is loaded with all kinds of software "just in case". sometimes i play with 3d apps. the ones i really use are Blender, Wings3D, Yafaray. other 3d stuff i have installed now includes Google Sketchup, an old version of Amapi, trueSpace 7.61 beta, Softimage Mod Tool, Mapzone, Terragen 2 and the open beta of Genetica 3 (no longer available, since the full version was released. i just hope they don't come after me for using it past the beta period).

anyhow, i had a few Sketchup models i wanted to import to Blender, since Blender is what i use for primary scene setup. i found out that Sketchup can export compressed Google Earth files, which internally use the Collada format. i exported the models, uncompressed them, and attempted to load the Collada file into Blender. all i ended up getting was a set of axes, most likely because the Blender Collada importer is about two years old. the free version of Sketchup can only export to Google Earth. the paid version is available for 480 minutes of trial, and can export to other formats, including 3DS, Wavefront OBJ and DXF (Blender does an excellent job of importing and exporting Wavefront). so i was in a quandary. Google, clear thinking and patience turned up three no-cost, honest solutions:

  • Use Softimage Mod Tool and Crosswalk to convert the Collada model
  • Use Meshlab to convert the Collada model
  • Use the Autodesk free FBX Tool to convert the model
so there you have it. i can stay honest and withing my (currently) really limited budget and use my Sketchup models in Blender!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

And God sent a blessing in form of a cockroach...

i realize that most people, being completely normal (and not scientists — how did they ever find out a cockroach will live without its head for over a week before dying of thirst? who was keeping count?), will be grossed out by cockroaches. so am i. but i'm really grateful for yesterday's cockroach. may it be happy in cockroach heaven, wherever that may be.

what has God got to do with cockroaches? plenty. apart from the fact that He created them, He's the only one who can explain to the disgusting vermin that we don't want to share home or hearth with them.

anyhow, due to a couple of reasons, i was really ticked off with my dad last night. i went to clean the car, and was really finding it hard to release the pent-up aggression. then out of practically nowhere, a cockroach came wandering on the car. i flicked it off with the cloth i was using to clean the car, and resumed cleaning. a few minutes later, i saw it wandering again somewhere on the wall, got really ticked off, and then dispatched it to cockroach afterlife — if there is any such thing. and then really weird thought came to me: what if God sent the cockroach for me to take out my aggression on? the thought was so ridiculous i had to laugh, but i'm not so sure God didn't. so i'm grateful that God cared enough to send me a cockroach (not that i'm asking for any more) :D

Monday, June 01, 2009

Baby steps with new renderers

ok, so the 3-day weekend was fab. wasted a large portion of it playing Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, which is the most difficult Castlevania game i've played to date (the demon-inspired 16-bit ones don't count). as a review put it: You will die. A lot.. anyhow, yesterday i decided to fire up Wings3D and see what i could come up with.

the original idea was to create a broadsword, but i kind of got bored with making a long blade and created a dagger. very simple dagger. then i remembered an old image in this article (skip to the last page, and click on the thumbnail), and decided to tamper with a good thing. modeling was done, fired up Blender for scene setup and materials. since i was being lazy, i didn't want to create a complex scene. i just wanted to play around with materials and Yafaray and Luxrender, for a couple of reasons.

when i first started using Blender, i didn't really like the internal raytracer. i could never seem to get the same great-looking scenes i saw in the galleries with it. then i heard of Yafray (the project that is now Yafaray), and i thought it sucked even more. i persevered, though, and i learnt how to use it to some extent (check out my DeviantArt gallery — and the scraps, too — to confirm). however, i've had to dispose of most of my knowledge about Yafray, because Yafaray is very different from it. sometime down the line, i started playing with Indigo and Luxrender. i liked both bcause of the great renders i saw, and disliked both because of the same reason — they are both unbiased renderers (which to me, means that they can take forever rendering if you let them. you stop the render when it's as good — think: noise or black spot free — as you want it). for the Basscom pen scene (look in my gallery for details), Indigo didn't render a texture (it only accepts UV-mapped textures), but Luxrender mauled it, so i preferred Indigo. that was until it went commercial (and i wish Nicholas Chapman and Ben Nolan success with Glare Technologies), and i started looking at Luxrender again.

so i worked hard last night to get my scene working well with both Yafaray and Luxrender, and left my lappie on all night rendering with Luxrender.

here's the Yafaray render (approx 2 minutes):
and here's the Luxrender render (6+ hours):
the materials suck, but it's a start. i'll see if i can dress it up some more and make it better. if you want the .blend file, please download it and the textures (you'll need to 'remap' them) from this link. please use, don't abuse. Edit: i almost forgot. yesterday was also my first time creating my own texture in Mapzone. it's the table texture. Mapzone is the only Windows-only software i used. everything else at runs on Linux and Mac OS X, but you might be able to use an emulation environment for it.

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