LRL 2008

25 June 2008

Following a confusing struggle with a hotel website and timing out a train time website at least twice, I've now got a reservation and some prepared train times for the geekiest event of the summer. No, not our Rock Band jam sessions - Lugradio Live 2008.
Linky -

I can't remember if I've nattered about how I'm in the banner pic or not, but I am. With a camera. Which is obscured by someone's head. That's why I look so intent, not because I'm annoyed.

I've not decided who is going to get a good booting this time for being shit. Last year it was Cedega and Wikipedia. Kdenlive is definitely going to be getting at least a bit of a shoeing for being less stable than a one legged tightrope walker.

Hmm. I know. Cinelerra. It's apparently quite advanced but this doesn't change the fact that it's ugly as sin, incredibly un-user-friendly and struggles on any machine that doesn't have a screen resolution measured in billions of pixels. Sorry, Cinelerra, I've got a fucking laptop, not a three screened 1080P megafest.

On the plus side, I hope the MythTV bods will be there again so I can say "cheers for the demo last year, guess what my flatmate and I built since then?". They seemed fairly disappointed with the event last year, hope they've cheered up since then.

Not looking forward to getting up at six in the morning to catch a train though. Sounds a bit shit, but it'll be worth it.

Minor side note with regards to the video box:
"Having AutoPlay on gives you the best media experience on Bebo. When you visit another user's profile, their Video Box will automatically start playing their current favorite video."
How do you figure, Bebo?
I love it when I load someone's profile and it starts playing some random crap automatically. It's tip top!
It's also wonderful for those times when using a connection that isn't too nippy, doesn't slow things down or aggravate the viewer one bit!

Get a clue, Bebo staff.

Home. Or?

21 June 2008

Once again I'm back down in Wales.

I'd hoped I wouldn't be alone this time, but sadly it wasn't to be. Perhaps next time scheduling will be more fortunate. Exams, flat movings and work commitments conspired against me, as they always do. I'm very fortunate in most respects, but no one can win every time.

I arrived to an empty station, as per usual. I was tired and hungry, so this made me feel pretty low - I like to be met on the station by someone, especially after a long journey. Not for any deep philosophical reason; simply because it lifts my spirits to see a friendly face waiting for me. There were no taxis in the taxi rank outside, so I went for a wander through town, walking past an old school mate at one point. I'm fairly sure he didn't recognise me. It was nice to be invisible for once.

The greeting was much warmer once I got onto the estate, both in human and dog form (no, the ducks will have to wait for daylight). I discovered that during some tidying someone had found my favourite beanie. My flame beanie! I thought I'd lost it forever. I wub my flame beanie. *gets all defensive*

It's weird wandering around the house now that my parents are asleep - I know where everything is on one level, but on a more present level it feels different. It's an odd feeling, as this is technically my home, but it almost feels like I'm a guest in someone else's home. My flat in Edinburgh is my home now, my close friends - my family. I already miss it a bit.
I'd miss it a lot if I hadn't been conditioned to not get homesick, but it's still there as a minor thing at the back of my mind. The loneliness doesn't help.

In Edinburgh I'm rarely alone, there's always people around and I know a lot of them. Here I know barely anyone. I know my parents and our core staff. Other than that, I know no one. Most of my friends in Carmarthen aren't here any more, our lower level staff change on a quarterly basis. It's kinda odd, being a stranger in your own home.

I love my parents, but I don't feel much need to be with them. We've been apart for so long. I mainly come home for their sake, I know my mother misses me a lot and my father does when he has time, although I doubt he'd ever admit it seriously.

Oh yeah, I'll be back on the 30th - don't you dare all rush out and see all the films I want to see - I don't want to watch them on my own, you bastards..
See you in ten days.

This may end up a very geeky post, you've been warned.

If you don't know, my laptop actually arrived on Monday. Awesomeness +5. Perhaps being without your own personal machine wouldn't bother you that much, but my laptop is a rather important part of my life. I've talked about why before, so I don't feel like rehashing that.

Anyways, what it means right now is that I've had to spend a lot of time going through our enormous stack of tapes. Between two cameras we've got a hell of a lot of footage, including a whole drama society performance, from two angles. Each tape is an hour long and is ripped in real time, meaning it takes a long time. Thankfully, that task has been nailed. Next I've got to go through, edit that footage and catalogue the bits and pieces that don't fall into a specific category, you know, so when we make a montage we've got footage to use (*must resist urge to burst into song..*).

It also means I can finally sync my phone again, something rather important.. Without being able to sync it to my machine, I can't put new music on my iPhone, I can't get new podcasts or update my photo collection, amongst other things. Irritating.

Well, aside from that it also means that I can now play with the web-interface aspects of my media centre. Our media centre can do stuff I wasn't even aware of and I built her!

The web-based interface means I pull up a web page when I'm connected in my flat and it'll show me the videos stored on the server, things recorded from TV, music and more. Well, I don't have any music on this laptop, for the most part, but I do have music on the server. The web component of her can generate randomised playlists and then allow me to download a playlist file which allows me to easily stream the music on my lappy. Score.

Another awesome thing - any TV programmes recorded can be streamed in the same way. I spent half an hour earlier catching up on The Daily Show (Global Edition), recorded on one of our freeview cards from when it was broadcast on Monday.

I think I might be able to watch films as well, from our collection. Not going to explore that tonight, I'm too tired.

It might be worth mentioning that this is all wireless. I'm using my laptop, which connects to our main wireless network*, into which Rapture, our media monolith is cabled into. Almost as cool as having a video conversation with my parents when they're in New Zealand (oh, come on. I'm connected to our connection wirelessly, it then goes via the main networks to a satelite, is beamed down to their personal satelite connection in NZ, into a router, then wirelessly to my mother or father's laptop. And back. Fast enough to have a totally fluid conversation in realtime. COME ON! IT'S LIKE LIVING IN THE FUTURE!).

I'm considering setting up a Stickam account for the media centre too so there's a webcam running in the flat at all times, accessible from the intarwebz. Depends how badly it'd impact our upload bandwidth though. Hmm.. shall have to have a think about that one.

Right, I'm going to consider sleep.

(*yes, we have two, don't ask unless you really want us to explain..)

It's quite tricky trying to create new characters to keep my main one company. No, I'm not talking about MPD or any other form of severe psychosis.

Some of you may be aware that I draw, just like my father before me. You didn't know that? Try to keep up..

Anyway, of late I've been drawing more and doing my best to improve my art and the time it takes to draw. I get bored quickly and so need to be able to finish drawings quickly before I get bored and give up to do something that delivers more immediate satisfaction (no, not that..).

Apparently some webcomic artists spend six to eight hours per "edition" (Questionable Content updates five days a week, each update takes about that long). Even if I was as good an artist, I still wouldn't want to spend that long on something so short, not when I could be doing something else.

Anyway, I managed to draw my flatmate, Chris in the style and was actually fairly pleased, he is recognisably Chris whilst retaining my own personal style. Nice one. I also drew myself and was fairly pleased with the result, as I've never actually drawn myself in the same style I draw Marlem.

Marlem himself I don't find very difficult to draw - shortish dark hair, blocky chin, bit of a beard, hat with logo on, random baggy clothes (usually).

Marlem's personality is based on aspects of mine, but he isn't actually me, but he's enough of me that I can figure out how he'd react to a given situation. When it comes to adding other characters I don't want them to be based on me, one character is enough, methinks. However, lacking empathy I really struggle to think like anyone else, meaning I can't really create new characters. I'm tempted to add Chris to Marlem's world as he's suitably weird to provide a fair bit of humour, that said, I'm not sure what the character should look like, although he probably will have to have an alter ego as Captain Applepants..

Eventually I'll get good enough to competently draw woman in the style, but I'm not there yet, so it'll probably be guys only for now. I could do with a scanner in the flat though, might have to try and bring mine up from Wales, if I can get the damn thing to work with Linux.

Worse than that though.. I've only got a single stick of HB pencil lead remaining, no 2B at all and it's Sunday evening, so all the art shops are shut! Crisis!

Now this is getting annoying. At the start of the evening I knew I was a bit out of sorts and uneasy. Now I'm not even sure what time of day my body thinks it is, let alone whether I like it or not.

I mean, I roughly know the root of the problem, but I can't freely discuss that on here without either a), revealing too many private details, or b), making a fool of myself. I hope that anyone interested enough to read this knows what I'm talking about. I'm not even sure if I've committed some sort of social faux pas through inaction, I've no idea what is expected of me in such a situation. I'm especially unsure on the degree of formality that is seen as correct for this age group, wealth bracket, etc..

I'm doing my best to avoid the figure of speech we quote from Bernard Black - "You could make a chicken cravat if you really wanted but it's just HASSLE! We'll just get a takeaway!". This could be a very emotionally lucrative endeavour, hopefully for all involved, so giving up due to the subjective complexity of the situation would be a coward's choice.

Unfortunately, being human, I can't help but struggle against my own personal demons of paranoia, insecurity and all that crap. Especially irritating is the fact that if I was to not talk about these things, I would seem less intelligent but when I do I sound like a whiny teenager. I need to talk about them with someone though to get them out of my godsdamned head, evil geniuses need to sleep too, you know!

Much like many of my other actions, I'll probably look back on this blog entry and think "was that wise..?". Then I'll spend time thinking about it, perhaps even worrying a little, before finding that things aren't that complicated and I should just do what I did last time, albeit being brave enough to not require that much alcohol. It wasn't a case of doing something I regret, quite the opposite, it was far more a matter of courage, timing and setting finally converging at a point that I could deal with. To be honest, though, just like when I used a zipline as a child, it was wonderful but I needed someone to push me off as I hadn't the courage to just step off the ledge of my own accord.

I almost wish it hadn't gone well, at least then I'd know what to do and how to emotionally react. Of course, logic steps in and provides that given the circumstances, perhaps it only subjectively occurred, retrospectively speaking, Paranoia passes up another case file that suggests that whilst it may have gone well at the time, in hindsight it might not have been a positive experience for both parties.
I'm thankful that these are just pieces of information suggested by different parts of my mind, rather than an effective argument in my head. The singular conciousness that is me, really, just shrugs its metaphorical shoulders and says, "buggered if I know.."

The most appealing next step would be to ask someone and request some clarifying information, I'm tired of trying to get a precise response directly, given my incredibly sparse knowledge of these sorts of situations.