Wednesday, 30 June 2004

Greatest Show Ever

The other day I saw my first episode of "Faking It". The basic premise of the show is to take a person out of their regular job and give them a crash course in something completely different. Then they place the impostor alongside a few genuine articles and get a panel of judges to see if they can spot the phoney. The episode I saw had a New York lawyer transformed into a pro wrestler by the name of "Psycho T". Usually I'm opposed to all things pro wrestling, but I do respect the amount of physical ability these performers have.

I love the idea of showing just how adaptable human beings are. You can rip a person out of their day-to-day routine and put them in a completely new situation for just a few weeks, and they're already adapting. Give it a year of the same treatment and I think you'd find the transformation to be just about complete.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "Psycho T" fooled 2 of the 3 judges.
PPS - I think he got to keep his mullet hair extensions.

Tuesday, 29 June 2004

The Fifth-and-a-half Day

This is getting a bit nuts right here: MSNBC - Cloning pets: In search of Fluffy 2.0. I know you can love a pet very much, and I know you can want to have them back, but you always get over it eventually when they die. What happens when "Fluffy 2.0" dies? We'll probably clone it again. And again. Hell, we could have the same pet for our entire lifetime, and never have to deal with loss or death - ever!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'd say your processing fee would be much better spent on a new pet, especially one from the pound.
PPS - Give a real animal a home instead of holding down the fort until your photocopy comes back.

Monday, 28 June 2004

Can you say "staig fwite"?

Yesterday I got to see firsthand just how terrified of public speaking my Dad is. He had to stand up in church and talk about his trip to Russia. About halfway through, it started to sound like he had no tongue. Apparently, his mouth had dried up completely. I think it's because he was standing there thinking "I really don't want to be up here talking right now", and his body just kind of granted his wish. I thought it was hilarious. Then he had to do it again in the evening.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The air conditioning in the office is currently turning on and off loudly every ten seconds or so.
PPS - Feels like some bizarre experiment.

Friday, 25 June 2004

Leon the Laureate

This is an high school buddy of mine who's been working on Big Brother season 4 here in Oz. I hadn't been watching the "Up Late" show, mostly because, well, it's late, it's two hours long, and I start work at 8 every weekday morning. This, of course, has prodded me to watch the Thursday night show at least.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I probably wouldn't have found out unless he told me via email.
PPS - The intruder he mentions in this poem is Miriam.

Thursday, 24 June 2004

All I'm Saying Is...

It's a strange mentality I've observed now and then: the idea that, when a misunderstanding is occurring, each party needs to keep talking over the other to make sure their point of view is being communicated. Of course, all it creates is the impression that the other party is not listening, thus is not getting the message, and thus needs to be talked at more or louder.

I think it stems from a desire not just to express yourself, but to be heard. Nobody wants to feel like their opinion is worthless, and unless you have a large audience hanging on your every word, it could feel a bit empty.

Two ears. One mouth. Shut up and listen once in a while. ;)

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't think I usually sound this disagreeable.
PPS - I am prepared to listen to your feedback calmly and quietly.

Wednesday, 23 June 2004

"Computer! On screen!"

I think we are gradually moving towards the production of a tricorder-like device as our standard all-in-one mobile information and communications manager. Mobile phones and PDAs are gradually merging into one spectrum of computing power on communications and organisation devices. As for the Real Trek Experience, I doubt many of us would need atmospheric scanners, geiger counters or geological survey equipment on our handhelds. Perhaps they'd be add-on accessories for the die-hard weirdo. What most of us would like or employ on a regular basis would probably be about the same as what we have now, just to a greater degree, with a more powerful computer back-end and more available.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So I guess I'm hanging out for the Nokia Tricorder 4215.
PPS - Or perhaps the Palm Tricorder III.

Tuesday, 22 June 2004


Compare these photos of commedian Jonathon Atherton and documentary film-maker Morgan Spurlock:
(via Wikimedia)
Similar? That's only a little bit odd, but take into account that I've known at least three other people who look just like this, and I'm sure there are more. I'm starting to gain more sympathy for Terry Pratchett's theory that there are only a certain number of people in the world, and you keep meeting the same ones over and over, no matter where you go.

So what's the explanation for all these lookalikes? Were they all cut from the same celestial mould, or is there some kind of natural shaping force at work that makes our faces and bodies gravitate towards a certain pre-defined set of looks, with fewer types of bodies than there are people?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Is God not as creative as we thought?
PPS - I think it's possible He's just funnier than we thought.

Monday, 21 June 2004

I Gotta Get In There

I've been watching Big Brother (Australian season 4) and I've once again been struck by a desire to be in there myself. I'd say most of it is fuelled by a desire for attention, popularity and love (though I'd trade "a legion of adoring fans" for "love" if required).

Let me try to explain the problem: It takes a long time to get to know me properly (which is probably the case with everyone). By the time girls know me well enough to think I'm a decent relationship prospect, they're my good friends who are unwilling or unable to hook up. In BB, I think I'd be separated from the part where we become friends, and thus avoid that glitch in the process.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's so simple it's foolproof.
PPS - And we all know what they say about foolproof plans.

Friday, 18 June 2004

A lesson for Mr Bush

(If you'll excuse me, I'm going to get a bit sarcastic now)

The difference between "proof" and "insistence" is known as "evidence". For instance, I have heard you on the radio this morning saying:
"The reason I keep saying there was a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda is that there was a connection."
This is despite the recent report finding that there was no collaboration between the two. This is an "insistence", and is empty. A "proof" would sound more like this:
"The reason I keep saying there was a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda is that we found the following evidence to support that theory..."
See the difference? In the second case, you have some kind of basis for arguing, whereas the first provides only evidence of your own stubbornness.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't want to get political here too often.
PPS - This post is not about politics, but rather about frustrating people.

Thursday, 17 June 2004

Static Discharge

I've never been fond of static electric shocks, like when you've been walking on shaggy carpet on a dry day then you touch a doorknob and feel that zap. I hate it. Apparently, to some people, static shocks are tiny sparks that practically tickle. The ones I get are their big brothers, complete with bad haircut and missing teeth, ready to beat you up for your lunch money. They singe the hairs on the backs of my hands. I've felt like I'm standing in front of some tiny dark Jedi who hurls bolts of lightning at me.

To counteract this, I've developed a habit of touching every metal object I can find. And I mean everything - doorframes, filing cabinets, cubicle divider joins and that metal plate in that one guy's head. By doing this, I seem to have stemmed the constant onslaught of electricity that flows my way.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Instructional video on sale now.
PPS - Just $19.99!

Wednesday, 16 June 2004


Most of the current jokes around the office are revolving around zombies thanks to movies like Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. We have, for the moment, fixated on the zombies' limited vocabulary, resulting in an over-use of the word "brains" around here. Some topics of discussion so far have included:
  • Zombie Wheel of Fortune
  • What's for lunch?
  • Zombie cooking shows
  • Zombie grammar classes
  • Zombie usernames and passwords
  • The "Thunderbirds" character called Brains
Much hilarity ensues.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The "what's for lunch" question is one that pops up every single day.
PPS - Perhaps we should be working instead.

Tuesday, 15 June 2004


I have a TV tuner in my PC that lets it act like a television, radio and VCR. Last night I set it to record a TV program, as I do, and I'd been using it to listen to radio. When I came back home I'd found that it had recorded an hour and a half of radio instead of television. I guess telling the program to record television wasn't a clear enough signal that I wanted it to actually record a television signal. If it was an intelligent program, I could blame it for waking up and thinking "Right, I'm supposed to record television, but I'm in radio mode. I can't find the TV channel on the radio, so I'll just record radio instead". I can't blame it, because it didn't know what it was doing.

The person I can blame is the programmer who forgot to write the software in such a way that it would switch from radio to TV if it's supposed to record a TV signal. So I do.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Now I've got an email to write.
PPS - It might not be nasty. Maybe.

Monday, 14 June 2004

Sweet Nothing

"Today we're doing nothing at all" - Cat Empire: Nothing

I've got the day off work today because it's the Queen's birthday. Well, not really, but we say it's now just so we don't have to change the date every time we throw out a monarch for a fresh one. Now I'm going back to bed, just because.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The Queen's Birthday holiday is one of the reasons we (Australia) voted to stay in the Commonwealth.
PPS - A nation of lazy sods, that's us!

Friday, 11 June 2004

1 Is To 1-Point-Something-Or-Other

It's one thing to believe that I may be unattractive. It's quite another to obtain mathematical proof. According to the "golden ratio" and people who have studied it, my left eye is half a centimetre too low and my legs are 8 centimetres too short. The eye thing makes my face asymmetrical, which is unattractive.

Still, as much as I'd like to blame my romantic failures on such mathematical principles that are outside my control, I know I must accept some responsibility for the fact. I meet nobody. I interact poorly. Frankly, I scare people, and not like a rollercoaster or a slasher movie. I mean like discovering a severed head in your freezer.

Sometimes I'm okay with it. Sometimes, like now, I'm overtired and everything is just that little bit more intense. This time, for real, I need a couple of days off work.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I blame Discovery Channel for the knowledge of my physical inadequacies.
PPS - This weekend we celebrate the Queen's birthday by taking the day off work. I love this country.

Thursday, 10 June 2004

I Can't Believe It's Not Milk!

My father, for reasons best known to himself, has purchased a milk-like substance known as "PhysiCAL" and would like us to use it on our cereal from now on. Ug's comment on the subject was that it tastes "like water", and is clearly an inferior substitute. Besides taste deficiencies, the offending liquid also costs more than regular milk and offers only ethereal promises in return.

It seems to me that the dairy-phobic industry has yet to produce a milk-substitute that even tastes slightly like actual milk. Perhaps the difference is less pronounced for those of us raised on non-milk substances, but for our family it's always been your standard homogenised, pasteurised full cream. Anything else is the taste equivalent of Cinderella's ugly sisters.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The Cinderella thing was the best metaphor I could concoct rapidly.
PPS - If I think of a better one, I'll get back to you.

Wednesday, 9 June 2004


I am currently, as I have been for the past four years, training in karate. To advance to a new belt, besides demonstrating a particular level of all-round proficiency, I must learn two "kata" - complex sequences of stances, blocks and strikes, performed against imaginary opponents. There are three other people in the class who know the kata I need to learn. Two of them teach the class, and their daughter is the third. She's about twelve, I guess. I never found out for sure. Anyway, yesterday I was being taught my kata by a child, and only then did I understand respect.

At the beginning and end of every class, we bow as a sign of respect to all the other students in the dojo. In what other context would a man have to respect a child enough to be actively taught by them? To listen when they say "you're doing that wrong"? To believe them when they say "it's better to do it this way"?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There is always more to learn.
PPS - There are always more ways to improve.

Tuesday, 8 June 2004

Welcome to KOTOR

My morning routine has been thrown off for the past couple of days by my Dad sleeping in. He swears he's not suffering jetlag. My brother, Ug, who never changes timezone, is suffering from jetlag. Specifically, "Gamer's Jetlag", also known as "Final Fantasy XI".

I'm getting well into Knights of the Old Republic, and I'm already wishing I'd spent my level-up points differently. I could really use some stealth ability right now. So far, although I'm enjoying it, I'm remembering the old adventure gamer's frustration. I know I have to get through that door. I know I need either identity papers or a Sith uniform. I thought I could find someone to help me at the cantina, just because it seems that's where you find shady characters to help you out. So far, I've found a really good way to get hurt and a card player who won't talk about anything else. There's a nut out in the street ranting about aliens and a few shops selling equipment I don't need or can't use.

To top things off, every now and then the game tells me that something is bothering my secondary party member, which prompts me to talk to him. Then we have an argument.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's Fun Because LucasArts Said So!
PPS - (tm)

Monday, 7 June 2004

The Past and Future of Adventure Games

I started playing "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" on the weekend. I think it's the first RPG I've played, ever. It got me thinking that this is where adventure games have gone. If you just take away stats and combat, it's a new-school adventure. If adventure gamers want new games, we'd better get used to other genres that provide adventure elements. We'd better be prepared to put up with some action and probably stat-building, too.

It can be a good thing. If I was a purist, I'd be screaming at me right now that adventures were the best genre ever, nothing can replace them, etc. Then the other half of me would tell me to shut up and deal. Then maybe a third part would step in, put and end to the fighting and buy us both some cake. And if I was a game developer, I just might sneak in an option to handle stats automatically. We can all get along.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - My brother, known online as "Ug the Caveman", thought I'd bought a Sims expansion.
PPS - And he's been trying to pique my interest in RPGs for years.

Friday, 4 June 2004

Carrot Cake Soup

I've started to realise that my regular posts here are not always entertaining. That's because I post here every weekday morning and usually have a total of fifteen minutes to think of a topic, compose and post. But neither of us is interested in excuses. I enjoy my writing, and I'd like to think that at least someone else enjoys reading it, so I'm gonna try to kick it up a notch (BAM!) and make my posts more entertaining. One day, I hope to reach a comparable level of greatness to Tycho at Penny Arcade.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Oh, yeah, the entertainment. I'll do it tomorrow.
PPS - Or Monday.

Thursday, 3 June 2004

Is it too much to ask?

Anti-perspirant has never seemed all that effective to me. I apply it every morning and my armpits are dripping by noon. Now I'll grant that it's difficult to create an effective anti-perspirant, because I certainly couldn't do it. What I'd like, though, is one that can at least handle my "strenuous" work of sitting at a desk in air-conditioned comfort.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It seems like that, at least, should be fairly simple.
PPS - Perhaps I apply it incorrectly?

Wednesday, 2 June 2004

It Awakens...

I'm reading through the entire Penny Arcade archive at the moment (I'm up to about October 2002) and, besides being very entertaining, it's bringing out the dormant gamer in me. I feel like I should be spending more time and money in Electronics Boutique and such places, sniffing out the best new games and whiling away my precious few leisure moments each day playing them out.

Or maybe I should finish Uru first.

The point is that I was once a gamer - action, adventure, puzzle and even, God forbid, FPS. Now that I have so little time, I tend to spend it on television instead of games, which is, quite frankly, no good for me at all.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - At the very least, I should cut back on television.
PPS - Starting ... NOW!

Tuesday, 1 June 2004

Angrier than usual

What is it about rap and R&B that makes performers descend into egotism and narcissism? Just about every song that makes it into the charts is essentially the "artist" spewing a stream of self-worshipping drivel. Granted, they do it articulately and in rhyme, but so what? Why the hell do I care if you're so great? Go sing to yourself and leave the rest of us alone.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Or, better yet, just stand and stare at yourself in a mirror.
PPS - Drooling and puppy-love eyes are optional.