Friday, 31 December 2004

An excuse note

To Whom It May Concern,

Please excuse Mokalus from blogging the past few days as he took a spontaneous 250km trip to Rainbow Beach to help out with the Scripture Union Rainbow Beach Holiday Program. Rest assured that he got a little sun and met a nice girl.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Actually a few nice girls.
PPS - But one in particular.

Wednesday, 29 December 2004


I have trouble sometimes believing that my ideas are original, unique. That is something I want more than most other things in life - to create something new, whether an idea, an invention or a son or daughter. When I construct an idea I am only rarely convinced that it is original, and am usually persuaded that I have lifted it in whole or in part from another source.

Is it possible that constructing ideas from pieces of other ideas is true originality? Can we, indeed, fashion new thoughts out of pure chaos in the sense that all parts of it are new? Our thoughts all come from somewhere. We are all part of the great chain of unbroken cause and effect of this universe, however many distinct quantum bubbles we divide it into. Our thoughts, then, are all caused by something, and another person in our position would have had the same thoughts. That person, I submit as an aside, would also be us, me, you, in the simplest and perhaps most profound sense of the word. Words.

It seems harder to create thought when subjected to a constant influx of other people's thoughts or the world around you. This is why meditation and solitude has often produced the purest thought known to us.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I only philosophise rarely.
PPS - And it's usually about this long.

Tuesday, 28 December 2004


When I hear about "sustainable building design" (the latest term for buildings that don't mess stuff up and use little electricity) I'm all for it. Clever uses of excess heat, high-efficiency ventilation and building materials that don't create tonnes of waste during production: that's super. I love it. Behind you all the way. The second someone mentions "no-water toilets" or any similar euphemism for "crap goes into a stinky hole in the ground" you lose me. I have yet to encounter any toilet of that variety that actually performs to a comparable level as its traditional sewer-connected counterpart. A building that includes even one of them drops to about half of its potential liveability, in my mind.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've been told there are composting toilets that don't stink.
PPS - As I say, I've yet to see one.

Monday, 27 December 2004


I've often wondered what it would be like to live on a nocturnal cycle for a while, and I've never been able to try it out. During university was probably my best opportunity, and I passed it up because my inner nerd was unable to handle missing lectures.

The main obstacle to the experiment is the rest of the world and my commitments in it. These simply keep going, and demand my attention and presence at specific times of the day. I imagine I could argue my way into odd working hours at the office if I so chose. Other things like karate, youth group and church are not so flexible. Also, if I tried to get to work at 8pm and leave at 5:30am, I might have trouble getting public transport.

All these considerations aside, it's still something I'd really like to try sometime for, say, five or six weeks. I imagine I'd feel pretty isolated, since I'd never see my workmates, and communicating with them would be a little difficult. I'd probably get bored quickly, too. There'd be nothing on television at the right times, so I'd have to record it while I'm out. That's if I still cared.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Changing phase would also be a problem.
PPS - It would probably take week or so by itself.

Sunday, 26 December 2004

The Sunday Mok - Back away, not today, Disco Lady!

On this day three years ago I fell in unrequited love. I'm really trying to let it go now. Happy anniversary, eh?

Last Sunday I had one of the worst performances of my amateur acting career. This is because I got the six-page script on Friday night. I still managed to remember all but one of my lines and do some convincing characterisation of "His Majesty's Secret-Service Angel Double-Halo-Seven", but I was still unhappy with the whole thing.
On Monday at work I felt like I should have taken this week off, too, even though it was only three and a half days long. It's tough to get back into the swing of things after a week off, and I was really in no mood to be there.
Tuesday I was just killing time at work, which is bad. I felt out of sync with everyone, like we're all dancing to one song and I'm the only one who's got the beat wrong.
Wednesday night was when I decided to back way off. LRHG was almost certainly feeling uneasy in my presence, and she doesn't need that.
Thursday I stayed home instead of going to a party for two reasons. First, I'm an introvert and had five parties in the past six days. I was mentally exhausted with people. Second, my main reason to attend would have been LRHG, so this party qualified as one of the things I need to stop doing.
Friday I helped out with two nighttime Christmas services - the "service of solace" for those people to whom Christmas is not such a happy time, and the near-midnight service for everyone who can't wait. Reading Psalm 22 in the solace service, I nearly lost it. I've still got pain, both mother- and LRHG-related. At the late service I saw three friends I hadn't seen in ages. Since it was after midnight, however, everyone was eager to get home, so the socialising was relatively brief.
Saturday, Christmas Day, I saw my uncle & aunt, my cousins and their kids, though the younger ones had to leave early. I got bored later in the day, mostly due to the net connection being tied up by one of Ug the Caveman's epic Final Fantasy XI sessions. He was on from about 2pm until midnight, if I figure correctly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Merry Christmas, everyone!
PPS - The gifts I gave seemed to be well-received.

Friday, 24 December 2004

It's "desserts" backwards

It's a bad feeling to wake up stressed, especially on Christmas Eve. It's probably comparable to waking up covered in blood, only slightly less traumatic than that. I could tell I was stressed because my foot was jittering, which is what happens to me under stress.

I realised that I'm now involved in three church Christmas services and have not started preparing for any of them, so my morning, despite being at home, is going to be full of work.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'll probably take a few breaks to play City of Heroes.
PPS - And, silly me, I thought I was going to be able to sleep in.

Thursday, 23 December 2004

Balanced online economies

Some regular readers may have picked up on the idea that economics holds a passing interest for me, as do video games. Where these two worlds converge is the auction house in MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft. Keeping these economies balanced is as delicate and involved, and I wonder if the game suppliers employ people to keep it so.

It's a job prospect that attracts interest, because it implies a tremendous amount of power, and also because it's exactly the kind of management task we all like to think we could do. It means constantly monitoring prices, wages, cost of living and all the other factors that contribute to the economic health of the virtual world, and can mean macro-management one day and micro-management the next.

I wouldn't mind giving it a go.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This all sounds like a good idea for a game in itself.
PPS - Perhaps I'll get to work on a design over the Christmas break.

Wednesday, 22 December 2004


Occasionally at emailcash they host a survey for a marketing company. Usually this involves sifting through pages of marketese where they assume (a) that I care about brands enough to base my life around them, (b) that I know (and care) what they're talking about and (c) that they've provided adequate options for me to express my opinion.

Often I'll find that the survey asks me to express a specific opinion on a brand that I don't know about and don't care about, but provides only options like "this is my favourite brand" through "just one of the brands I like" down to "I detest this brand and everything it stands for". Usually there's no point to select "I just don't care about brands at all".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Of course I can choose not to participate.
PPS - Then they offer me the equivalent of $2.50 for it.

Tuesday, 21 December 2004

More Star Wars conversation

This little snippet of conversation has just made my day:
Angry Brad: You say anything to bring it back to Star Wars, don't you?
Me: Everything does relate to Star Wars, doesn't it?
Actor Adrian: The Force is all around us.
Me: I feel it in my fingers.
Darth Gerard: I feel it in my toes.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Okay, yeah, we're nerds.
PPS - But we're having fun.

Who wears loose shorts?

Recently I noticed that my collection of shorts and trousers was dwindling simply due to wearing out. My options, of course, were to go around pantsless or seek out new leg coverings. Option two seemed to be more socially acceptable. This is when the trouble started.

I have a habit of buying clothes without trying them on first. Couple this with an apparent inability to remember my own waist size and I've now got quite a few pairs of shorts that are entirely the wrong size for me. I have to wear belts around the house, and this is a situation that is almost as distasteful to me as having to wear a tie.

Taking all of this into consideration, last night I measured my waist properly and committed the numbers to memory so that I can confidently buy clothes without trying them on.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's 79 centimetres.
PPS - Or 31 inches.

Monday, 20 December 2004

It'll rot your undead teeth

While on camp, I found these chewy bars called "Zombie Chews". Since it was such an unusual name, and since I have a bit of a zombie interest, I thought I'd pick up a few - some to eat and some to collect.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The grape ones just taste like bubblegum.
PPS - None of them taste like brains.

Sunday, 19 December 2004

The Sunday Mok - Bumper Edition

I was too rushed last Sunday to do my regular post, so here's a summary of the past two weeks:

Sunday the 5th was just church, sleep and Buffy DVDs. I tried to make a phone call I'd forgotten about, and got no answer all afternoon.
Monday was just a regular day at work. Nothing worth mentioning.
Tuesday, while considering some further Amazon purchases, I wished there was a place from which they could ship in Australia which would be quicker and cheaper for me.
Wednesday there was a last-minute decision to send one of us to a Microsoft event and I drew the short straw. It was a pleasant enough way to spend the day, just extremely pointless in the end.
Thursday I bumped into an old school friend at the supermarket who I hadn't seen for about 8 years. She gave me her contact details and I still haven't had a chance to call her or drop by.
Friday I thought about seeing a movie after work, then decided against it.
Saturday was supposed to be really busy, with a meeting, shopping, packing, rehearsal, dinner and bag drop-off. The meeting was low-stress, shopping was easy, as was packing, rehearsal was cancelled, dinner was quick and the bag drop-off took way less time than I anticipated.

Sunday the 12th I arrived at Youthworx camp, and my mind was still buzzing, so I found it hard to relax just yet.
Monday I had to buy a writing pad so I could clear my head, and started to relax.
By Tuesday I'd already forgotten what day of the week it was. It's only a holiday once you forget the day of the week. Around other people, I sometimes tend to think I'm a bit boring.
Wednesday night I was up just a little later than usual. I realised that trying to spend time around LRHG was just making me feel bad, which is a crazy way to live. I decided I should seek out people that make me feel better than that and also to change my expectations. I started feeling better right then.
Thursday was just a lazy, relaxing time, especially in the afternoon. You know those times when you absolutely cannot believe your luck? Like buying a fantastic jacket at a quarter of the usual price, then finding a winning lottery ticket in the pocket? I had one of those moments on Thursday.
Friday I got up for the early-morning swim because it was the last day. The waves were real dumpers, though small. I returned home tired and emotional.
Saturday I woke up feeling quite terrible and walked around moping, feeling sorry for myself. It might just have been a post-camp letdown. In the evening when I got to a small party and was able to relax again, my mood picked up. I left in a good mood.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not sure what to feel about LRHG right now.
PPS - I'll sort it out soon enough, I'm sure.

Friday, 17 December 2004

It returns

I just got back from camp at Ballina, New South Wales, and it was a pretty good week. I'll give a more complete run-down in a bumper-edition Sunday Mok in two days' time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I just wanted to let everyone know I'm still alive.
PPS - Although someone appears to have cunningly replaced my arms with slightly browner ones.

Friday, 10 December 2004

Just a big rectangular magnet with a photo-sized hole

I'm never quite sure how bad I'm supposed to feel about some things. This morning I neglected to hold the lift for someone, so they had to catch the next one. I know I'm supposed to feel bad about that, but am I allowed to let it go after an hour? The same thing goes for how long I'm allowed to feel good about doing a good deed, like buying some food for a homeless person. I need a pocket-sized guilt chart to carry around.

My Zombie Peanut Butter shirt made its debut last night, and sparked a little conversation. I would have liked to be able to use the words "rave reviews" here. Alas, I expect t-shirts as a species have ceased to be the spectacular fashion items they once were.

Last night in a Secret Santa feeding-frenzy I netted myself a magnetic photo frame. The reason I am less than enthusiastic about this gift is because I have no photos and our fridge is not the place to share any that I might take now. This current fridge has been a magnet-free zone since purchase a few years ago, and the blockades are still up. All hell could break loose if I attempt to demilitarise, say, the freezer door. I do still have some non-digital photos to be developed, and I should probably find a way to organise or display them - I've just never had the space for photo frames.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Next week I'll be off the net, so probably no posts.
PPS - The Sunday Mok should still go ahead as planned, though.

Thursday, 9 December 2004

Just faking

Playing Heroes last night I came across a "Freakshow" boss called (seriously) "teh PwnZxxOrz!". Anyway, I spent the time to knock him down, including the extra time it took to deal with the extra hit points he got by using the "Dull Pain" power that all Freakshow enemies seem to have access to. He goes down. I walk away.

Then the dude just got back up, like it didn't even tickle. Ding ding! Round Two! Exactly the same guy, back again with full hit points and another shot at Dull Pain. I had to run away and rest.

Finally I managed to put him down again, and I was a little worried that he'd come back a third time. This time, though, he stayed down.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - And that's how I earned a badge, completed a mission and rose to level 22.
PPS - I didn't get the girl yet, though.

There's no "I" in Team America

I saw Team America: World Police last night, which was about five days later than I originally planned. I thought it was really funny, and well worth the time and money. It's hard to be offended by these puppets, even on their worst behaviour. I imagine that Kim Jong Il and Alec Baldwin can't say the same thing, though. I wasn't laughing the whole way through, and I've certainly laughed harder at other movies. Still, it's very funny, and you should see it if you haven't yet.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "Matt Damon!"
PPS - I promise I will never die.

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Hair, memory, books, dimensions

I'm currently experimenting with a hairstyle that is best described as "Luke Skywalker on a bad day". Depending on how I treat it and what time of day it is, I'm either sexy or I look like I just fell out of bed. It's tough to hit the good spots.

I keep having good ideas while I'm away from a keyboard, then hoping I'll remember them later. The truth is that I'm likely to forget it unless I'm able to write it down immediately. I have a smaller-than-average short-term memory, but I make up for it with massive and reliable long-term storage. I've got a big hard drive, but no RAM. Actually, that sounds dirty. Think of your own metaphor for that one and pretend I said it.

I've been shopping for my own Christmas present on Amazon, which will probably end up being more books. Years ago I borrowed one of the Spider World series from Michael, a friend who now lives in England, and I thought it was terrific. I've tracked down a motley assortment of the four books in the series, and that's probably what I'll end up with. Then I've got a few more presents to get, for Dad and Ug.

I've been thinking multi-dimensionally recently, thanks to Flatland (another Amazon purchase) and trying to come to grips with four-dimensional space. That doesn't need to include time as a dimension, you understand. Space of four dimensions can be just as real as three. One of the concepts I've really struggled with, though, is pieces of dimensions. There are occasional references to things like 1.25 dimensions which sounds as odd to me as 1.58 computer bits. I've got a digital mind, and analogue abstractions like that take a while to squeeze in there.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have more, but this is plenty for one day.
PPS - Maybe some of my other ideas will come back to me.

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

Microsoft Date 2005

Is it just me, or does this invoke ideas of a Microsoft personals service?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't think I trust MS to match me up with anyone.
PPS - And they'd blame a no-show on a crash.

Monday, 6 December 2004

Rain Traffic

The greatest t-shirt I'll ever own arrived yesterday: Zombie Peanut Butter. This surprised me a bit, because the last I heard from Domination Distribution was that the product was on back-order. It's like an early Christmas. With zombies and peanut butter. And now I think I have to write a movie script called "A Very Zombie Christmas". Actually, that could be kind of cool. I'll let you know how that works out.

Traffic this morning has been affected by rain and tiny thoughts. I imagine that the average commuter thinks like this: "It's raining today, so traffic will be bad. I'd better drive." Then again, it seems like everyone knows this, so who are all these people in their cars making traffic worse? Anyway, this bad traffic has brought me in to work about half an hour slower than usual, which means I'll probably be working through part of lunch. I don't like doing that.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I expected not to be the first in today.
PPS - Apparently I was wrong.


I've been wondering a bit exactly what makes these head cold things go away. Possibly some kind of voodoo charm, because nothing else is having any effect. I wonder if voodoo witch doctors are listed in the Yellow Pages?

I go to two churches on Sundays: one (Ashgrove) in the morning and one (TGUC) in the evening. Last night I had to go to Ashgrove for the evening service, too, and the young folk there just happened to want to hang out at the same coffee club as the young folk from TGUC. Do you follow? Trust me, there's a point. Anyway, I'm sitting over with my less-acquainted friends from Ashgrove and getting leers and good-natured funny looks from my TGUC friends like I'm cheating on them or something.

I started thinking about jealousy and what makes it tick. I came up with this: the prerequisite conditions to make me jealous are that I love you and want you to love me, which usually come together anyway, like pizza and garlic bread. The trigger is an act, event or just a perception that makes me feel like you love someone else more than me. I get afraid that you don't love me at all, and out of this fear is born jealousy, like some dark, fire-breathing phoenix. It's unpredictable and wild. I'd really recommend against trying to incite it to get what you want out of someone, unless unpredictability is what you want.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In me, jealousy tends to manifest as quiet anger.
PPS - I don't expect that to be a desirable outcome.

Sunday, 5 December 2004

The Sunday Mok - 5 December 2004

It's hard to sum up this week in a sentence without saying that I've been sick. As a result, I've probably been a bit less aware of my surroundings and friends.
Sunday morning, after the church service, Tavia apologised for an incident about a month ago when she inadvertently ignored me. It made me wonder whether the Little Red-Haired Girl does that accidentally or on purpose, and whether she's aware of it, because she's never apologised for ignoring me. I played a bit of City of Heroes, too.
On Monday morning at work I was working on a data transfer application and Brian, my supervisor, kept coming back to me for status updates or to tell me about problems. The fact that this kept happening every five minutes brought me to the edge of losing my temper, and I don't like it when that happens. It's vaguely Hulk-like, only without the green skin. You don't want to see it.
Tuesday I was vaguely concerned that I'd spent way too much time talking at work rather than working. It's just hard to stay focused when I've been chasing the one bug for over a week with little progress. I skipped karate in the evening in order to rest and quicken my recovery from this annoying head cold.
Wednesday I stayed home sick from work and was glad for the time off for several reasons. I'm looking forward to the week after next when I'll be away. I played Heroes and watched Buffy DVDs and generally took it easy.
Thursday I went back to work and, though I had to blow my nose every five minutes in the morning, I felt alright in the afternoon. I stayed up later than I intended to that night playing City of Heroes. It's incredible how much time it can take up. Bachelor Brant at work is right: it really seems only possible to sustain a relationship either with a girlfriend or an MMORPG.
Friday night we took the youth group kids to Dreamworld for the 96.5fm Mega-Rush. I missed out on the new ride, "The Claw", but did get to go on the Tower of Terror, the Giant Drop and the Cyclone for the first time each. I couldn't believe the tiny restraint used on the Tower of Terror - a little padded bar across the lap. I had a great time, and so did the kids.
Saturday morning I helped washed cars to raise money for the church project we've called "Opportunity Knox". We're going to do some renovations on the Lower John Knox hall, to make it a more usable space for youth activities. I got home just in time for lunch, then slept until dinner. After that I headed out to Bridgit's 21st birthday party and met all of her workmates. Bridgit warned me that they were "on the prowl", but they all seemed to be engaged, so I'm not sure who to believe. It wasn't an especially wild party, and I was home by 00:30.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Bridgit's brother is a bit strange.
PPS - I guess I was just as strange at his age, though.

Friday, 3 December 2004

Heroics Etc

If you will indulge me for a short while, I have some items to report about City of Heroes.

My main character, Dire Sun, is built to take damage, since that is his Archetype: a Tanker. I neglected, however, to take a power that provides resistance to heat and cold. I was wooed away by other powers, promising big damage-dealing ability and cool effects. I often think that I'll take that power at a higher level, but last night I had a little thought. Every superhero has some kind of weakness, right? Spiderman has Mary-Jane, Superman has Kryptonite and Batman is an idiot. So perhaps I'll leave it out as a kind of loophole in my powers, and I can imagine thugs everywhere cleaning and testing their flamethrowers just for me.

On a similar note to that, the few hardcore roleplayers I've run across in the game are some of the most annoying people I'll probably ever meet. Creating an avatar that looks like a robot is fine, and I'd even accept writing an elaborate backstory for that character. However, trying to interact with someone like that who answers some questions with phrases like "Unknown Data" and "Affirmative" rather than "I don't know" and "yeah" is just irritating. That's usually as far as I get when interacting with these people.

I had assumed that my brother Ug had been playing Heroes alongside Final Fantasy XI, as has been the case for some time. Apparently, his top-level character is now at level 20 while mine is 21. I'm ahead like that tortoise in that story. He's asked me how long it will take me to get to level 50 to unlock the so-called Epic Archetypes so he can create a "Kheldian" character for himself. Apparently this is what it would take to re-invigorate his interest in the game. I imagine that will take some time yet, though I am surprised at how much experience I can rack up in just a few hours of play. I gained probably three quarters of the necessary experience for me to get to level 22 last night alone.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I estimated last night's session at three hours.
PPS - This post could have been more entertaining.

Thursday, 2 December 2004

The Error Message Awards!

And the award for the Least-Useful Error Message of the Year goes to:
"Unspecified error or incorrect password."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So you're either not telling or I try my password again.
PPS - Yeah. Super.


I was wrong: it's a head cold, and it kept me home from work yesterday. Despite feeling just a bit worse today, I've decided to come in and tap away at the keyboard. Hopefully I'll be able to do more than pretend to work.

As I stepped over a squashed lizard on the footpath this morning (just a little one) I wondered whether any city has been designed with animal considerations in mind. There's a kind of ecosystem that goes along with every city, but most of the time it's sort of tacked onto the side. We build some parks, plant some trees, tolerate the pigeons and poison the bugs.

Naturally our built environments aren't designed specifically to serve the needs of animals above our own needs, but I'm sure we could accommodate them too. Perhaps even do better than we currently do. Think waste management for a second. There are numerous creatures in the wild that live to eat, bury or process the waste of bigger creatures. If we found a place for them, we might not need so much space for dumping our rubbish and processing our sewage.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It was just a thought.
PPS - Admittedly a slightly strange one.

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Gimme an 'I'! Gimme an 'N' ... 'SPIRATION'!

Knights of the Old Republic is, by most accounts, more fun to play with the dark side than the light. This is either a searing indictment of the game or of humanity itself, and I can't decide which. Perhaps it is best just to say that it is a searing indictment of something and leave it at that.

KOTOR is still among my regular rotation of secondary games, and these have been getting more of a look-in recently. This is not because City of Heroes has lost some power over me (it hasn't) but because we have one internet-connected machine capable of playing that game, and it seems to be currently given over 100% to Final Fantasy XI.

My gaming off-season currently involves The Sims 2, KOTOR and Myst IV. I've also been watching Joan of Arcadia thanks to a friend and BitTorrent, wallowing in a legal grey area that's about to turn black tonight when Joan premieres on Australian television.

These longer daily entries are the result of an unusual wave of inspiration that can hit me at unfortunate times. Last night it hit me at almost 10pm when I was getting ready to sleep due to my slight illness. It's getting worse. I blame Tycho for this bout of inspiration, as I mentioned earlier that I aspire to reach some level of comparable greatness as him. Obviously, I will be far lower in the popularity ratings. I'd still like to think I can reach some low-down ledge of the towering pedestal on which he lives.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's about rich metaphors.
PPS - Original rich metaphors.