Monday, October 31, 2005

It's true, the project is over! And all it took was failing everything else. In seriousness though, it is a bit disorienting not having to sit down in front of Ubuntu anymore, switching furiously between Eclipse, a Wiki, message board, Jabber, and SVN log. I'm actually contemplating continuing work on it, just for the sake of it. Then again, it's easy to say something like that, but given some of the torture I've gone through just because it was assessible, I dare say that I may find myself giving up trying to tame some of the complexity.

But it should go without saying that the experience has given me the drive to finally go ahead and make a proper game (maybe). I can say that if this does happen, you can be darn well sure that I'm not going to be using DirectX or OpenGL; those days of being a "real programmer" are behind me. It's PyGame all the way now! It's remarkable, actually, that it took me so long to actually figure out that there were better ways to do things than trying to wrestle with DX/GL, at least for the things I was aiming to do. I've been continually amazed what growth I've seen in my whole approach to thinking about programming these last three years, and it makes me feel as though there's a chance I will rise above being merely mediocre as a programmer. I guess the life of a JN is not for me, but being an FD is equally good.

Before work on any future games, I have to make sure that the project is carried on, to make it the DX-Ball killer we all know it should be.

"Beautiful maiden," answered Candide, "when a man is in love, is jealous, and has been flogged by the Inquisition, he becomes lost to all reflection"

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I think 42 has been bandied about just about enough; so much so that I believe I shall take to refraining from using it for the next few years. It seems, unfortunately, to have become some sort of secret handshake, the kind I don't care for (of course I have participated in such handshakes over the years, but what of it?).

The last time I heard it referenced, it was by someone to one of my lecturers. It was actually very similar to how I used it some three years ago to one of my teachers. Perhaps I'm just feeling a delayed embarassment? Anyhow, if you ask me what six times nine is, you can be pretty sure I'm going to say 54.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I was standing about nervously, shifting from side to side, taking deep breaths every minute. It felt as though my mind was physically blocked, and I really can't remember if I was worrying about anything in particular; it was more a fear of this invisible, looming notion, really. But hey, enough of that, that's all nonsense anyway.

By comparison, he was standing mostly calmly by my side, and was actually whistling out loud. Nervous for me? Hardly! Maybe it was just him trying to put me at ease, but I think he genuinely did not feel any anxiety. "How many of these has he seen!?!", I wondered. He said he been doing it twelve years, but it never really struck me at the time at how long it really was. I couldn't imagine it, going through the mechanics of something that must seem so obvious, so fundamental to him, day-in and day-out.

I noticed he then looked into his notebook, seeing where he had to go next. I saw names filling the entire page, for the whole week. I immediately felt very sad; as though I could see that once I had finished this, and the celebrations were done, he would have to leave, and go to another student. And so it goes!

But no, I said, no, there is more to it than that. This peak shall live on. It's nice to have the ability now to say that the success I achieved was just for him. I probably wasn't thinking of him when I got told I made it, but I'd like to posthumously dedicate it to him. After all, I really couldn't have done it without him.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'd forgotten those warm, subtle touches of genius that only Bobby is capable of. A couple of times today, I found myself actively amazed at how good some of the the stuff sounded. "Jokerman", for instance, I haven't heard in a good three years, and on hearing it again today, it was like meeting an old friend again, and finding that nothing had changed. I think I was starting to feel as though maybe my initial idol-worship was due to a lack of exposure to other artists more than actual talent, but heck, I was so wrong, oh, I was so wrong.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Yes, code is art

Taking the Cavemeister's argument of rock being something of worth if only for the reason that it can make him angry (which I mentioned a long while ago), I think one can very easily see that code is of high artistic merit, because simply reading bad (inelegant) code can really make one's blood boil. Oh my God, it is frustrating to the point of parody; really, the only way to deal with it is to close one's eyes and then delete it all, and start over from scratch. Unfortunately, with deadlines breathing down my neck, that doesn't seem to be an option at the moment; woe is me!

I'm exaggerating, of course, but it is true that the frustration that comes with managing/maintaining a piece of bad/inelegant code can quite easily give way to full blown rage. Oh, that I could have recorded the moment a few seconds ago when the straw broke the camel's back, and I actually took to getting up and screaming (very softly, mind you).

Make no mistake, it may be just a pattern of bits, but it is pure evil.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Hey now! John Cale picks Highway 61 Revisited as one of his favourite albums in the regular Rolling Stone page on artists' picks. He even goes on to say how Lou Reed and him would sit down and listen to Dylan on the radio, wondering how his increasing aggression would pan out (culminated, he says, by "Positively 4th Street"). God knows what all that stuff I read on the net about the intense dislike the Velvets had for Dylan was going on about (things which I wailed about here and here, for instance). Actually, Reed probably did say all that stuff in '76, he's one wacky fella.

Why the continued fascination on other people's opinions on Dylan? I have no idea, to be honest. I don't know why it should bother me even if Lou Reed dislikes him to the day (wouldn't explain his appearance at Bob's 30th anniversary special, though!). I guess at heart it's a curiosity of whether two people I respect don't appreciate each other (actually, I've never heard Dylan say anything about Lou), and if so, why that is the case. I guess at some point one has to give up, and put it down to personality mismatches. I mean, hey, this is Lou Reed we're talking about, after all!

I don't know what I want the truth to be - that these guys should have had more of a Beatles-Stones relationship (rivalry on the surface combined with goodwill underneath)? Ah heck, this is all so trivial! But alas, it's hard to let go! Surely time is better spent on more important matters; like, say, finding out what really went on between Morrissey and Robert Smith.


He is on his way home on the last day of a long week, and looks forward to a couple of days of breathing room, where he can do things at his own pace. He looks forward to having only the aroma of his morning coffee forcing him out of bed, and sighs.

She is waiting at home, eyes lit up as she seems him reach the front door. Times have been hard for her as well, because for the past few weeks he has hardly noticed her. Sometimes, she feels like he doesn't care, but she knows that isn't true. Still, she wishes he would smile more often, and that she could be told how he felt, rather than just having to know it. That will all change soon, she thinks, as she gleefully imagines his face as he walks into his room.

He feels drained, and wonders how he has mustered the energy to get through this day, where everything has seemed to go against him. He sees her as he comes in, and notices she seems more upbeat than normal. "I'm not in the mood for good-humoured people", he thinks, but immediately feels bad about it. He greets her with a weak smile, and provides monosyallbic responses to enquiries about his day.

She understands, of course, what he is going through, and so doesn't feel all that bad that he is uncommunicative. She pretends to walk away innocently to the kitchen, but in fact lies in waiting, looking for just the right time to catch him in his room.

He goes into his room. The lights are off, and it is dark outside, but he can still make out something on his bed. He squints, and sees that it is a shirt. A flick of the light switch reveals it to be a most beautiful shirt, the kind he only saw on other people, but never on himself. He realizes it is a gift from her, and beams to himself. Perhaps this day will turn out ok after all, he thinks.

She catches him in the room with a great big grin on her face, searching for some sort of reaction from him. He gives a modest smile, and she feels validated - she would have preferred a word of thanks, but no matter. Such things are of little value to her in the grand scale of things, and so she gladly takes the smile as being thanks enough. She implores him to try it on, so that she may comment on how nice it looks on him.

For some reason, he does not take to the idea too well. He feels the strain of the day again, and it makes him want far more to just drop down on his bed first. His mind slowly wanders to other things, and he temporarily forgets the value of the gesture she has made. He says he will do it in a little while, little aware of how brusque it sounds.

She is taken aback, but does not show it. "How busy he must be", she says to herself, but she doesn't quite convince herself. In fact, she is more than a little hurt, for she had so dearly hoped that he would indulge her. "It's the least he could do, right?", she begins to ask herself, but she cuts herself short, and reminds herself of how busy he must be. She nods as though sympathetically, and leaves him to his thoughts.

Tired though he may be, as the minutes go by he starts to wonder if she might have taken offence at him. He slowly comes around to trying it on, but while doing so begins cursing the rest of the world for his troubles. "Fie upon them all", he says, "for without them, my mind would be free to see and act upon such things". He picks it up, and thinks that it might in fact be a bit small. He slips it over his ill-defined body, and his fears are confirmed. He can tell that it is far too tight for his liking.

She wanders in later and sees him in it. "The colour really suits him", she thinks, and tells him as such. But she notices that he does not seem to enjoy it as much as she had hoped. She studies it closely, and notices that it is perhaps not as loose as it could be. She mentions as much, but adds that this is the new trend of the youth of today. She feels happy that she has for once made him fit in with the trends of the day; she has been growing weary of seeing him walk around in some of the stuff he wears. She begins to feel even happier now that she has done him this huge favour.

He, however, has not eaten for a while, and begins to feel it. He does not think straight, and as such does not think about her feelings when he says it is too tight for him to wear, with a tone of finality. He looks at himself in the mirror, each glance confirming his conviction.

She tries to tell him that she doesn't think it looks awkward at all, and that all the people she knows wear things like this all the time, but he hears none of it. She begins to get irritated at his lack of trust in her judgement, but she still tries to keep it in check. She ends up pleading with him, imploring him to give it a try.

He can no longer remember why he did not listen to her then. He instead gives a sigh of defeat, and says that he will take her advice, but does so in the most unconvincing tone possible. His manner suggests that he feels like he is making a huge accomodation for her. She cannot believe it.

She walks away with a mixture of untapped anger and intense sorrow. She begins to wonder why she even bothered to go through the hassle of doing something nice for him. "When did he become so ghastly?", she sobs to herself later that night.

After his hunger is satisfied, his mind comes back to him. He begins to realize what he has said and done, and wonders how he could have been so blind and ungrateful. His mind goes back to the times she has gone out of her way to stick up for him and get him through all manner hardships. He begins to blame it on his work, but wonders if it was his true nature that was on display for her to see.

He knows that he should probably apologize, but he doesn't have it in him to be so direct. Instead, he goes over to her later in the night and tries to be affectionate. She politely lets him explore her hair, but is passively unreceptive. Dejected, he leaves her to her peace, and he laments the coming weekend.

The next day, as they see each other, there is no hint of what passed yesterday. He hardly remembers it, until he sees the shirt again when he opens his cupboard. She notices it as well, and says she will return it. There is no hint of bitterness or irony in her voice, nor is there any to be found in her heart. He sheepishly thanks her, and they share a smile.