Imported From Epistula

31 Days Remaining

As of this date (28th of Febuary 2002) I, Nicholas Avenell, and my housemate Charles Cooke do hereby hand in my one – month’s notice of vacation of this property.

That’s it, we’ve handed in our notice. Within two weeks we want to have found a new place to live so we can start moving. Any ideas on where I should move to? ATM I’m looking at Norfolk or Reading, but what’ll happen – probably – is we shall find somewhere really cheap to live while one of us can find a job…

Imported From Epistula weblog

Long Time Passing

I’ve been doing this Online Journal thing for a while now. Three years, in fact, plus a month. In One month, One week, and One day’s time I will be celebrating three years since I started using Blogger, but my first posts, written in plain HTML with an orange colour-scheme, were over three years ago. Before the Blogging Revolution. I remember when all this was text-fields…

There is a point to this. Over the years, Aquarionics has gone though at least ten major and hundreds of minor redesigns, Five weblog management systems (Notepad, Blogger, test.php, Klind & Epistula), a number of total rethinks and three servers (Soon to be moving to a forth). Two things have remained constant over that time. The first is the Aquarionics Wibble/Circle logo, and the second is me reading Melissa’s Weblog. The fact that I’ve read Melissa’s weblog for longer than I’ve known my girlfriend is very slightly scary 🙂

The reason for this slightly pointless retrospective is that Melissa appears to have a new toy at, and a new article on why we should fall down and worship Bjork, for she may be the USA’s only hope.

Icelandic Swan Impersonator Keeps World Safe for Democracy. Go read.

Imported From Epistula tv


Buffy the Vampire Slayer, One of the only two shows that I follow semi-religously, has been staked. Season 7 will be the last. Rumours persist of a Faith spin-off series and the Giles spin-off, “Ripper”, is written and just waiting for Joss (Currently still playing with Fireflys) and Anthony Head (Giles) to have time to make it. Rumours of another movie surfaced last year, but if (As the report suggests) Buffy 7 will end with a 5 episode story-arc finishing everything that may have fallen apart.

epistula Imported From Epistula weblog


Not really dead, just resting. I’ve temporarily solved my Linux Text Editor problem at the same time as my “Argh, my computer isn’t networked anymore, I can’t play with AqCom” problem in one fell swoop by installing Apache 2, PHP 4 and mySQL 4 onto maelstrom, my desktop. Then backtracking to mySQL 3 when 4 segfaulted whenever there was more than one line in a query. Gah.

This was done precisely in time for me to get a returned phone call from the letting agency back in Cambs which means I’m returning home tomorrow morning. Gah again.

So, in between plotting dastardly revenge in a story, finally writing another short story (which will appear here once I either get the patience to rebuff those who will tell me that the main charector is secretly me, or completely rewrite the plot. Expect nothing soon) and catching up on the new additions to my parents’ DVD collection, I’ve done a spot of code.

My home (as in “Start”) page is this one here. You’ll notice a similarity of design between it and the last iteration of Aqcom. Or you may not. Anyway, it consists of my daily cartoon intake down the left, all the blogs on my blogroll that have updated in the last week sorted by date updated, and the centre bar of useful links. Under that on your first visit will be nothing, but set a cookie. On your second visit, it’ll show you all the weblogs updated between your last visit and now.

This is fine for times like now, when I’m only checking weblogs a couple of times a day due to it being my dad’s computer, but when I get home I’ll have to rewrite it, because if you check more than once in one hour, you’ll miss all the weblogs updated in that time-period (because the file is slightly behind). This will probably change to setting a cookie for the last list you saw, instead of the last time you reloaded, but that’s another day’s job.

But the thing, the really truly great example of my life is that when I finally get around to implimenting a textile-like system which will format quotes in comments better than the ones in the entries than DaveDean Allen releases the source. My only problem now is the fact that as a homage, the include file for my textile-like system is called “” – as is DaveDean ‘s – and the function to format the text is *also* textile(), again as is DaveDean ‘s, so in order to put it into Epistula like I want to, I’m going to have to go though the comment preview, check and display code and rewrite stuff. Thrice Gah.

And he released Textpattern Beta 1Textpattern Beta 1 which I’m going to have to play with now.

Imported From Epistula Metablog

Proper Person

From Troubled Diva via London Mark:

You know you’re a “proper” weblogger when…

You ditch the standard template you grabbed off the shelf when you first started blogging, in favour of a design of your own making
Within seconds of starting my Blogger account way back in 2000, yes.
You start caring about what happens in The Bloggies
yes, Though that one and out the other side. I no longer care again.
You get listed on Daypop or Blogdex
yes, see Meme Creation thing below
You discover that you’re in the Google Top Ten for something completely unlikely and unintended, which generates loads of hits
Yes. Number two hit for “Fuckwit” before most of these new bloggers had even started.
People start leaving you sneery, snarky, anonymous comments
No. Not as yet, anyway.
You purchase your own domain name
Er, yeah, but that was before I was a blogger
You migrate from Blogger to Movable Type
Sort of. Migrated away from Blogger before MT was even released.
You start a “meme” (ahem).
Yeah, the ESF thing probably counts
You stop participating in “memes” (ahem) and online personality quizzes (as well as re-posting chain e-mail “funnies”), because you’re above all that now
I no longer take quite as many tests, and they have their own seperate page now anyway.
You string loads of other weblog names together in the middle of a post, in one great long list of linky-love
Not my style, doll. Apart from the UK Blogs Meet
You start dropping cute little in-jokes into the main body of your posts, which only a tiny handful of other webloggers will understand
I don’t think I do this. Do I do this?
You attend a Blogmeet
You make a submission to the Mirror Project
Not yet
You register your site with Blogdex, Daypop, Popdex, Technorati, Blogtree, Blogstreet, Blogwise, the Ageless Project, the Eatonweb Portal, GeoURL, Is My Blog Hot Or Not?, the UK Weblogs list
Some of the above.
You set up an RSS feed
Yeah, and define a better syndication format while I’m at it.
You start saying things like: actually, I’ve started to find the whole terminology surrounding so-called “blogging” so limiting these days, because you know, I don’t really feel that I fit the definition of a “blogger” any more, and couldn’t we all start to move away from these wholly arbitrary restrictions, because I suppose that if anything, I would consider myself more of a “personal publisher”, but even then I feel
It’s a journal, some of it is diary, some of it is more classic weblog. Stop it with the bloody monochromatics, people! We are allowed to fit into more than one pigeon-hole.

If that’s what makes a “proper” weblog, then I think I’ll stay improper, thanks.

HTML was broken, so some answers were for the wrong question which was hidden by missing quotes. Ickky

Imported From Epistula Personal


Time to move house.

Decision made. The thing I came down here to ponder and decide upon has now been made, you heard it here first. I might be able to survive March in Cambridge, if I can borrow money to pay the rent, but it’s just too fucking expensive to stay there without selling body parts longer than that. I have to get out of Cambridge, there is no longer any way I can stay there.

One day, I’ll move back.

There. Said it. You heard it here first (Before either parents, girlfriend nor other-housemate. Might regret that later, but still…)

Moving to Cambridge was the first time I’d managed to suceed in a goal I set myself. I failed to get the qualifications I wanted, I failed everything else I set. Moving to Cambridge redeemed quite a bit of the self-esteem I lost. To allow myself to admit that that’s fucked as well took a lot of effort.

I’ll be back home on Friday/Saturday, with any luck.

Now what?

Gaming Imported From Epistula social

Today's Quote

Ahh well, seems like I’m back now.

From Dave Taylor’s (ex-ID, ex-Transmeta, ported Quake to Linux, founded (with American McGee (also ex-ID, and also creator of AM’s Alice, one of my favourite FPS‘s ever)) & worked for C6, then left it in December) Blog[1]:

[T]here will be no laws in Davetopia unless they can be programmed in a standardlized legal programming language and implemented literally into code.

This way, lawyers will be replaced by a sophisticated web interface available to everyone, for nothing. So it’s basically gauranteed that every member has free access to the actual code governing his life. Instead of having to pay $300/hr to interpret a tiny piece of it.

Anything that doesn’t suit the programming language basically becomes a kind of useless case law, completely unenforcable, nothing more than a code of ethics that some people choose to follow. Most likely, several different codes of ethics will emerge. The system will be corrupted by coders that start incorporating the citizen’s membership within a particular code of ethics into the coded law, which will break the legal system by letting the inputs become subjective, leading to complete failure: lawyers. But that’s OK, because by then, as soon as we spot the first lawyer and realize we’ve hit a losing condition, we’ll know how to start over and make society even better.

On the down side, programmers will now be the most powerful, corruptable politicians in society. But on the bright side, programmers will now be the most powerful, corruptable politicians in society.

XMLaw, anyone?

[1] One day, I will follow though on my idea to create the worlds greatest Games site, so I have somewhere to store all this useless information I have without burdening future generations with it. However, before that I should really finish Epistula. And Nomical. And Project Alice and Toffia and Ceavern and Albertross and Forever and Afphrid[2b|!2b] and… and… and… gamabase will have to wait.

Gaming Imported From Epistula

On worlds and writing

I’ve finished another computer game, which makes the second this week, and indeed the second this year, and third in the past two. Generally, I either don’t buy games that get “Completed” (SimCity, for example, where you just play until you stop) or play games until a) I get bored and buy a new game (common when I have an income) or b) I get to a point/mission I can’t pass without cheating. Since I won’t cheat on any game I paid for unless it’s just fate (For example, saving when I have 5% health and no ammo, then encountering a room full of enemies just before the save) or bad design (If I get stuck on a puzzle with absolutly no progress for over 45 minutes, I find out what I do next. This is Game Enjoyment rather than cheating). So tend not to cheat at games.

That wasn’t the point of the post. This could be, it depends on how the digressions go:

I have this affinity for worlds outside stories. This may be a common thing – I don’t know, most of my social circle I met though literary preference which means they tend to share this trait, so isn’t a random sample – but I tend to enjoy any book with a complete world outside the story more than I do worlds that live around the story in progress. A case in point would be my own stuff – unhelpful, since nobody besides LoneCat has ever read any of my worlds-based stories, but nevertheless – where I have two interconnected worlds, distantly related, one of which has a couple of thousands of years history, with absolutly no stories that touch upon any of it.

Er, better example. David Eddings’ Belgariad and Elenium worlds both had histories, worlds, stories within stories and fine detail down to the grain. He published an entire book of his writings about the world that he had used for writing the histories. The history bore the ten books of the tales well, and a volume of prehistory excellently. (Polgara The Sorceress, fact fans, doesn’t exist in this timeline. I’m charitably ignoring it) (It’s not that I hate PtS with a passion unholy, or anything, it’s just that… ahh..).

Robert Jordan’s universe is holding up nicely, too. Or was, the last time I looked at it, which may have been book six. If Jordan’s going to die before finishing the bloody saga, I’m not going to start it. If he doesn’t, I’ll read it if I can get back to book six without wanting to strangle the female characters (Don’t care which one, they’re all the same).

But the plot has to hold up too. The Eddings’ last-book-but-one was a five book epic in a single volume, and managed to get through an entire epic plot without touching the sides. Somewhere behind it was a detailed, well-thought-out magic system, a rather interesting prophacy system, some nice politics and some great battles. None of which you saw in the book, because they had a macguffin to save Eddings writing the “wandering along travelling” bits that he did so well the previous 19 books.

That wasn’t the point of the post either, hang on a second, it’ll get here. Wrong sort of digressions on the lines, apparently.

So, I just completed The Longest Journey, which was hailed (as every Adventure Game for the five years previously and the three years – so far – since have been) as the Final Swan-Song Of The Dying Point And Click Adventure Genre. This time, however, they could have been right. TLJ was the last (As far as I’ve seen, and I’ve been looking damn hard) true point-and-click adventure game professionally published, which it was in 2000. Adventure games since then have been 3D turn-and-point (Escape From Monkey Island) or 3D turn-and-click (Syberia, Cryo’s entire hateful catalogue), and this doesn’t seem to be likely to change (Full Throttle 2 and Sam & Max 2 will both use the Grime (Grim Fandango-style, sucessor to Scumm (Script creation utility for Maniac Mansion) which powered every Lucasarts adventure game from 1987 to 1998) engine (Fear the brackets in that sentance)), and (We’re back to TLJ now) enjoyed every minute of it.

Partly (Warning, fast point approaching, please step away from the pointer) because it mixed an engrossing and very much classic fantasy-style storyline (Overuse of words “Destiny” and “Prophacy”) with a less classic future-based storyline and a overarcing world architecture that made everything fit logically at the end. Which it didn’t.

Oh, the story ended. Role resolved, apocalypse averted, Plot pointed, heroine hooray, but the world was left open for more stories within it, and hints of the story that wasn’t told, and possibly never will be. That’s kinda an interesting point, there. It has everything beyond a notice at the end saying “We’ll make a sequel if this sells”, whilst leaving you satisfied that the story is over, almost. And they will make a sequel. They (FunCom, who later created Anarchy Online) have said they want to. And they can, because the world didn’t close with the story like it does in most games.

Imported From Epistula Metablog


(From a comment I just submitted to the BBC Bloogle Story that everyone is talking about)

I run an online journal (I hesitate to call it a weblog, I hesitate even more to call it a “blog” because the word isn’t one I like) which discusses such things as weblogs (ahh, navel gazing), the news, the state of the Nation, as well as Wot I did On My Holidays.

Most of this isn’t journalism.

You can say weblogging isn’t journalism if you like. You can also say “writing isn’t journalism”, or “Talking isn’t making speeches” or even “Hurting someone isn’t war”, and you would be equally correct, and win awards. Go You.

But some of hurting people will be over war, some of talking is spent making speeches, and some of weblogging is journalism. Writers for the newspapers, magazines and other journalistic outputs also have weblogs, where they are able to write something that doesn’t conform to what the leaders decide is the Official Position.

Equally, some weblogs are unsubstaniated piles of something nasty, but then again so are some “proper” news articles, pick your swings and take your places on the roundabout.

Gaming Imported From Epistula


And the prophacies were made of those threads of time that will certianly be woven, and the time when the veil will be lifted and threads past the veil seen again, and the prophacies speak of a savior, as prophacies usually do….

(Spoken in the middle of one of the most clichd explainationary monologues I’ve ever had read at me, in The Longest Journey)