Interim update: cripes, I thought I'd uploaded the updated OpenMW page in March, but I forgot. But OpenMW has updated itself recently, giving me a chance to make up for this forgetfulness. Also updated: the Morrowind Modding page, although I'm not done with that yet: there simply HAS to be a way to make a NPC drink a potion.
Last update was a full year ago. I wanted to add the write-up of the year's anime con last July, only the dear old neighbours, having sniffed out that there is life in the jungle next to their prim little patch (and organized a three-day peek-through-the-fence session when I hired help to do something about said jungle, resulting in the dismissal of the help and the decision to let the jungle grow on), sent me a letter helpfully offering me to arrange my garden to their satisfaction, with veiled threats of legal action if I didn't comply. If it wasn't obvious from the Old Photos 2 page, I have not enjoyed my life in the Netherlands, least of all in the creepy village where, for lack of health and funds to escape, I'm presently rotting away; and the pile of pages I sent them back detailing the shit they've given me and how much I want them to rot in hell, involved more typing than any website update lately, and swallowed up all energy I had to spend last summer. As health has decreased still more (I didn't know that was possible!), all I've managed to bang out is the animecon write-up and a page on the Linux game engine for Morrowind, OpenMW, which is playable, but my plugins don't work in it, maybe because the latest version starts with 0.37, but the OpenSUSE repositories will only install the latest 0.36 version. Annoyed at all the superfluous italicization of game and software titles, based on how I wrote titles in the animecon write-ups, I started to remove them from the Oberon game pages, although the biggest section, hidden object games, remains to be done. I've also cancelled my membership at Oberon/CasualGames/Iplay, due to the repeated company name changes and dropping of games from the site; now maybe I'll find the time to play and review all those games that have been piling up. A few pictures have been added to roguelikes and pipe games. Finally, I've made a new Space Colony campaign called Pustule Planet, about the joys of pyrocyns.
This update is again about games: tiny updates to the Nethack/Vulture and Space Colony pages, a large update to the Morrowind modding page and a cleaning up of the Links page (though not Sims, KiSS or seed link pages). I thought I'd tackle the placeholders, and finally did a write-up for the Wild Divine game and some Oberon games, then added loads more placeholders for the pile of games still waiting to be installed, pending a howto still waiting to be finished.
A month later: having scraped up the courage to watch a really bad film fished out of the bargain bin, the biennial quote has been produced. The Vista and skin rash how-i's have been updated a little, as have the Space Colony quirks. I added a new Space colony campaign (scroll to the bottom) and a piddling little Morrowind mod (also at the bottom). The Acer laptop has an extra picture, and two USB sticks have been added.
Due to bad health, the only update is the 2014 animecon writeup and a small update concerning the Acer laptop. The other planned updates are on hold, including finding a new "quote" soundbyte.
Although health is in no way improving, I managed to squeeze more of an update than usual from my addled brain. The updates mostly concern games: the adventure game pages have been reordered and slightly rewritten; a second Space Colony campaign was made to celebrate the release of Space Colony HD, which led to a separate page about playing and editing quirks, as well as a detailed walkthrough of the first campaign that taught me much about gameplay; the text adventure links have been updated; and new placeholders have appeared for games that need a DOS emulator to run. The tomato mix page has new pictures, and cosmetic changes were made to the hardware review pages. And that's it.
Interim update: some Oberon game reviews and the 2013 anime con write-up.
As opposed to last update, when the only thing finished was an added warning against Oberon Media (now CasualGames), this update involves the total restructuring of the Oberon Media page. Which is still not done, as there are pages missing of games that haven't been installed yet as I look for a workaround to deal with the new installation procedure.
Sadly, the world failed to end on December 2012; and here I was hoping I'd never have to update again. The grand sum of this update is: a new quote, and an announcement to the effect that my relationship with Oberon Media, or CasualGames as it is now called, has become very strained since that company follows ever more closely the trend of seizing computer control away from the consumer. Just a soundbyte and a sentence? Yes. Bad health, and all that.
Health not having improved (despite a letter from the organization that pays my disability, asking if health had improved yet) not much has been done. I've managed to drag my carcass to another animecon and added some tips to the Nethack page, with a link to the new how-i explaining how I make Vulture tiles, although the speed at which I've made these contributions to Vulture has gone from slow to veeerrry slllooow due to another dip in the downwards-sloping line labelled "Health". The seed seller links have been updated again, and Albert Heyn has provided a happy surprise with a tricolour cherry tom pack added to the tomato mix page. I'd planned more, but, well, bad health and all that.
While sleeping at such a rate that at one time I went to sleep on a Tuesday and woke up on a Friday (with blurry memories of having sleepwalked to the kitchen for nourishment a few times in between), I also went through a SLASH'EM binge, playing and getting killed dozens of times as a vampiric necromancer, which resulted in some insights that have been spliced into the now lengthy list of tips on the Nethack page. Both Oberon Media and Acer Gamezone have changed their names, so that has been updated on the links page, puzzles section. I've redeemed some demos from Oberon games and bought more, adding info to what I'll continue to call the Oberon Media games page, and the title lists are now in table of contents, for easier finding and less scrolling.
Similarly, the tomato pic pages are now linked to both an index and each other. Pictures have been added of the seed packets for the easy-to-get-confused Russian orange and yellow beefsteaks, and of the "Tiny" Tim. Albert Heyn tried, and failed, to put another tasty tomato on the shelves; it has been added to the bottom of the tomato mix page. Tomato site and seed seller links have been updated. A USB stick has been added to the USB page. At the bottom of a box of computer games, I found the damaged old notebook of which pictures were missing on the laptop page; they have been added.
As I draw closer to the goal of getting a virtual machine to run MS-DOS and
older Windowses on my laptop, the list of game addictions has already been
extended with placeholders for adventure and simulation games, and the only
biofeedback game I know. Looking around for existing installations of some of
these games, I made a screencap each of older game versions for the SameGame and
This update, then, is mostly text, mostly on the AniMisc page and in some
cases a wrapping up of loose ends (another tomato on the tomato page, a
taste-only tomato page dedicated to a tomato mix bought at the market, and other
small additions) and last but not least some cleaning up of links. A part of the
site that still needs a lot of cleaning is the KiSS section, which is by now an
edifice as crumbling as the old house I live in, and most of whose links to old
viewers are dead - I'll get round to that sometime. However, I have not forsaken
Morrowind modding completely; the "takeoff/puton" mod has been improved,
"Errands for Orvas" has been updated to work together with the new "Odds And
Ends" mod, and the Morrowind modding page has had some information added.
Warning! Not only did CompanionSubjects.esm have GMSTs in it despite all efforts to prevent this, the method to change the companion mods has an unforeseen effect. A cleaned CompanionSubjects.esm has been added to "Drinks at Desele's", and the instructions for adapting companion mods will be changed shortly.
Since I'm planning two more plugins, the Morrowind mods might soon get their
Planned but still in progress are more "pitchers" for tomatoes and
other edibles, and, since they're comfortably small, USB keys. (Update:
finished as of 06-11-2009.)
The above paragraph will sound totally incomprehensible to anyone who has never played a certain game in the Elder Scrolls series. Yes, in addition to whatever gut parasite is eating the life out of me, I've also been bitten by the Morrowind bug. What better to do when bed-ridden and/or kept up nights with gastro-intestinal discomfort, too groggy to think very clearly, but awake enough to keep that "W" button jammed down and explore a wonderful go-where-you-like 3D world where any illness can be swiftly gotten rid of with a potion of cure disease?
I'd chiefly been installing and playing a few old games bought from the bargain bin years ago as an alternative to playing Freecell all night and waking up to after-images of clubs and spades. The upside of being a late adopter of popular computer games is that bugs will have been discovered and bugfixes put up for download, and anything about the game that doesn't please the fans will have been lengthily discussed and modified. Morrowind, like other games that are not meant to be played once to the end and then tossed, is moddable. And it has been extensively modded. For starters, the butt-ugly game character models were replaced by highly superior fan-made ones. And that's just as well, or I would have had to resort to the Leisure Suit Larry collection as a pain-duller instead.
Which brings me to the point subtly communicated by the update notice at the top of the page. I'm ill. I'm really, really ill. I can manage tiny amounts of everything: tiny amounts of work, tiny amounts of travel, tiny amounts of personal hobby stuff. Even biennial updates are too much for me now. There's tons of stuff I'd like to do, piled so high that I expect it to topple over and bury me. For the time being, that is, for as long as I can't even eat an egg sandwich without being reproached by various parts of my digestive system, the most I can do every six months is write a new little front page and replace the quote. I'd meant to do another SimGatch chapter, but haven't even finished the skins. I'm only leaving the button up out of laziness.
That doesn't mean I've been totally inactive. Since Morrowind is moddable, I've made a small mod. And to help me with making the small mod, I've made a tiny mod. So I now have two mods for download, in Morrowind-only and GOTY version. The bigger mod is to provide a more satisfying conclusion to the heart-breaking ending of the Fargoth quests. Yes, I said "Fargoth". Seasoned MW players tend to grab their guns and axes when they hear the name "Fargoth". I like Fargoth. Even if he says some really corny things. He's an underdog. I have a soft spot for underdogs.
Since such a small offering is hardly worth making its own page for, I've put them on the main page in a table with the file descriptions. I've also added an RPG section to explain the Morrowind addiction and some indispensable links to the games section of the otherwise heavily neglected and outdated links list. Garden-wise, I've put up more pictures of tomatoes. Since my camera kacked somewhere in sunny June, I've also added observations on digital cameras. And, while I was at it, printers.
Additionally, for those with an eye for detail: the grubby bits have
been cleaned out of the KiSS and Archive buttons with the GIMP, which
took several hours, because even though the GIMP is a wonderful piece of
software, I just don't know how to use it and spend ages hunting for
some function I need. And since I was GIMPing anyway, I re-did the
mother of all my buttons (and root cause of their grubbiness), the Home
button, with its constipated-looking drop-shadow narrow green lettering.
Make of the new and more comfortably proportioned font what you will.
Speaking of write-ups, I thought I'd uploaded the ridiculous story of the Triple Lemon Deal and others. Turns out I hadn't, and it was only a rough draft anyway. Just as well, as the story had an unexpected ending. A proper piece will be produced if/when I have time.
More important to me, right now, is uploading some tomato pics that
have been sitting in the camera for a year now. The first few are already up.
It also means that all those little adjustments and additions that were supposed to be an interim update, had to wait until January. A good thing to come out of this is that, no longer knowing which changed files had already been uploaded, I simply sitesucked what was on the servers and compared it to my already updated archive. Which revealed the odd missing or corrupted file, as well as typos in HTML files that had been fixed, but not uploaded. Corrupted were the Katze AVI and the Easter KiSS set, the latter of which needs looking at anyway if I can ever be arsed to do anything about the KiSS section again; missing were a picture from the Nature Page and three animated GIFs. Another picture has become corrupted, as will happen when storing one's data on USB sticks that don't dismount correctly under anything other than Windows XP, which is one of the little updates added to the USB stick and other hardware pages. The tomato and garden edibles pages have also been updated now that the last tomatoes to ripen in 2008 have been taste-tested, and include an evaluation of the highly prized shiitake, available as a windowsill growing kit.
And, of course, there's all the stuff I planned to do that I didn't, like Mala's outfits that were needed for a new SimGatchaman chapter. So it's just as well that I only managed to finish an old chapter, and the new one will have to wait for next update. The SimGatchaman stories are only meant to showcase skins, anyway. That, and to parody the series.
What I did manage to finally, finally finish was the AS heads. They have ears now. This took me five years. There were similar projects that are almost finished and which I hope to upload soon, space permitting, because the 200MB on Simania are filling up.
My other ISP, who provided me with the same 200MB, more than doubled
this space to a whopping 500MB. I'm gladder than ever that I didn't ditch
XS4ALL during the "free ISP" craze, when these "free" providers not only
made offers too good to be true but outright added instructions how to end
one's paid ISP account. The "free" webspace became increasingly smaller
and less free, while XS4ALL actually lowered its prices. The additional
present of 300MB extra means I can start thinking about uploading photographs
for the tomato and garden edibles pages, once hosted on the only truly free
account I've ever had, a Tiscali account which offered 5 whole MBs of webspace.
But this time, I have an excuse that can't be beaten. I have been, for the past two months, unseriously but debilitatingly ill. I've also managed to trash the primary partitions on my trusty laptop. After reinstalling the OSes and sorting out most of the software, which, given my condition, took more than a week, I found that Windows Millennium has suddenly decided to finally manifest that memory bug I keep hearing about. I can't play the Sims for more than a few minutes before seeing everything freeze and having to apply the reset button. Never before has scandisk been so frequently run. I've tried a few tips to make this stupid OS, which, the first time it was installed, was so reliable, manage its memory better, resulting in a swapfile of, frequently, 0 bytes, but extensive zipping sessions cause pictures on buttons to disappear and messages to pop up in an ugly bold font about DAX errors and resources being low. So there is probably something wrong with the graphics card's drivers too...
So, most writing at the moment is done on an Asus EEE PC, bought just as the newer model hit the market in the knowledge that the older model is too popular for the price to ever sink. It was bought on an impulse just before the laptop troubles started, so that was one well-timed impulse. Another impulse buy, a second-hand Toshiba laptop, proudly displays that hallmark of handy-dandy laptops, especially of Toshiba make: a faulty keyboard! I can use it with an external keyboard until the internal keyboard spontaneously starts to jam and send keypresses that put unasked-for characters in open documents. With ongoing computer trouble and a mysterious ailment that promises to be chronic, I'm considering ditching even half-yearly updates and switching to five-year plans.
On a happier note, someone mailed me an explanation on what happens
in the two endings to the BL game Zettai Fukuju Meirei, so I
tacked it onto the very bottom - under all the spoilers - of the game's
At least the SMA explanation is up (last entry under "Standard heights"),
as well as some illustrations of the new JunJun fix (at the bottom of the
page), and a whole page for the female BBS bodytype.
The custom body styles are now all in FAR files, which, due to the texture
files included, make huge downloads, but at least they're Mac-friendly -
pity I've just discovered there's something wrong with the improved male
skinny nude body, which, if it can be fixed, means another and hopefully
final update of the custom body sets. Other updates were additions to the
Utility quirks and the Truly random tips on the Sims Support Page, small
updates to the laptop and USB stick reviews, some more edibles and a review
of another BL game.
The move from Tiscali to a better host has gone more smoothly than expected in terms of file transference and stuff that didn't go missing, and less than smoothly in terms of cancelling the Tiscali accounts. More rant material!
Should I ever get beyond the red-eyed ranting stage, I may just skin
some of Mala's outfits between now and July.
So, those meshes have been replaced, and mention of this made in the Simtips page "What can cause crashes". The simple character editing pages have also been updated with whatever else I've discovered about simple character editing, and I hope to put up pages explaining the BBS and SMA body types within the next two months.
On old projects: the links remain unupdated, which is sad as one Sims site after another succumbs and slides off the web. But Katze has his/her new buttons and bits, and a tentative start has been made with the personal hardware reviews ("Nobody Knows the Lemons I've Bought") in the Rants & Reviews section. May they serve as a warning to others.
Finally, all files formerly hosted on Tiscali due to lack of space have
moved to either XS4ALL or Simania. Which means that some may have vanished
in transit. I'll fix missing stuff and broken links as I discover them.
Maybe I'll get round to it after I kill the neighbours. That means, no more having to hide from people who sidle up "for a chat" while assessing my property and gullibility, no more cheery idiots deciding my ears are receptacles for their mouth noise and going "I don't bite ya knaw" when I won't hang around to be slavered on, and no even greater idiots waking me at 02:30 a.m. by loudly singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOOOU in their adjacent, not very sound-proof rooms. Along with the deadening effect of a full-time job, this does not stimulate updates. What few updates get done reflect my state of mind. In the new "Rants & Reviews" part of the Animisc page, there are, so far, four rants and one review.
One of the last things I did before this update was put up new versions of the Gatchacivvies, this time without bracelets. (And with some slight shading around the collar in an attempt to reduce the jaggies.) Because I wanted to make the bracelets separate suits, just like the dog and cat collars. Obviously, it hasn't been done yet. Just as I still don't have foolproof FAM files. Yes, after remaking all the FAMS in LL to get rid of the missing object messages (Sims fans will know what this means) I now find the multilanguage descriptions are gone. I'll have to remake all those FAMs. And to not risk losing the descriptions again, I've decided to include them with the inhabitant pics of the Simhoods page. Some inhabitant pics will have to be redone anyway, as the Gatchacivvies update fixed two more niggles. Ryu's number is orange, not yellow. And, what was I thinking, Jun does not have white shoes.
With all this work in store - and all repairs, nothing new - it's not surprising that the theme page itself should be nothing special. This update's theme page, and possibly next update's theme page as well, will be images captured from the Sims (with that somewhat irritating Sims logo in the bottom right corner) and specifically of the Gatcha-Sims, with pictures added as work on the bracelets progresses.
And oh yes, I've been wanting to change the KatzeMania button for
ages. It was fun to play around with Neopaint's fonts, but that
button is starting to bother me. Somewhere between now and midsummer,
that button is going to change.
As regards the date of 1-7-2006, there is the valid excuse of having been at an anime con all day, and while this con did have an internet corner, I didn't feel like using that for an update. A second excuse was that, as usual, I hadn't captured all material yet, being too busy finding and packing stuff for the con's Bring&Buy. A third excuse was that this time, I wanted to include the con write-up in the upcoming update. Considering this write-up usually takes six months to complete, I'm proud to have accomplished it in one.
This time's theme page: Gatchaperson's civilian outfits. Numbered & not.
One niggle I can add here: Dave's code name isn't "spy D" but "spy V".
(Like the big blue "V" on his T-shirt. Gatch characters are so subtle.) The Japanese
language has no v and so the letter usually comes out like a "buh" pronounced with
a very full mouth. This has been corrected on all pages where the name was mentioned.
So I Googled for cheap second-hand DVDs and found the boxed set available at low prices at various anime online shops. What I got for my $99 plus shipping was three cardboard foldouts, box I, II and III, that were supposed to hold CDs but that I couldn't fit any in, and CDs in paper sleeves, those for box III with prints of the Gatchaspartan vehicles. At that moment I strongly suspected piracy, and so wasn't surprised when the episodes 100 to 104 had black bars at the side of the picture, and a scene had been cut out of ep 105. "You get what you pay for", I thought, and the Gatch II and F box sets were bought from more reliable retailers. (Incidentally, many box sets on eBay are illegal copies - if they're cardboard foldouts, that's a strong indication - but at least the disks fit in the boxes.)
So I tried to buy the last Gatchaman DVD (eps 100-105?) separately and get better captures from that, but couldn't because it was Sold Out And Out Of Print, and settled for the Gatchaman Perfect Collection Volume 6 which at least had ep 102 and 105 on it. Complete with black bar at the side.
I don't remember how much I paid for this volume from the so-called Perfect Collection, containing three episodes, one badly mastered and the other probably having the statues scene cut out just like the pirated copies, but it was a legitimate release. Which means that the legal last Gatchaman DVD must have had exactly the same flaw as the illegal one. I'm pretty sure the laserdisks didn't have this flaw and that some studio person just scr*wed up, and the result was dumped on the market because the stupid consumers won't notice anyway. By the time I discovered this, it had been lying around for months waiting for next update, so I can't very well ask my money back now.
So what has this legal DVD done for me, except help change the region counter on the DVD player past its maximum number of switches so I have to buy extra software to play the DVDs I bought but which have the "wrong" region code? Software that the entertainment industry wants to declare illegal and that wouldn't be needed if DVDs didn't have this idiotic region code, as indeed pirated DVDs do not - a strong argument for buying bootlegs. I still plan to buy legal stuff, until the day I find an anime DVD has installed a rootkit on one of my PCs, as some of Sony's music CDs do! That's not even hacker practice, that's cracker practice! It goes to show that music & video companies have nothing against unethical behaviour; they're just out to squeeze money from consumers, and would actively promote piracy if they thought it would increase their profits.
Another big joke from the games industry: they want to follow the "Trusted Computing" example by allowing a game to be installed on only one computer. I guess the anime industry will do the same and make DVDs that can only be watched on the first computer they were played on. And what if this computer or one of its component parts dies? Too bad, buy a new comp and a new DVD. What if it's Sold Out And Out Of Print? Too bad, you should only buy what the companies want to sell anyway. Consumers as helpless, defenceless sheep: how very Gatchaman. And the funniest thing is: that computer will die! Components made for the consumer market (as opposed to professional and/or military use) are deliberately badly made, so they will break and need replacement every few years.
Case in point: I have three scanners. The first, with parallel port, is years old and has moved house a few times, so can be excused for scanning badly. The second, a novel design from HP, worked crummily from the start: the one I bought broke because of the fragile construction and was replaced by another with the same scanning defect. The third, a printer/scanner combination that came with a second-hand computer, scanned quite well (though not as well as the parallel-port scanner when it was new) until the continuous pressure of books pressed flat against the glass caused the scanning device underneath to jam. It slides now, but every scan is marred with a line through the middle: sign of permanent damage due to insufficiently robust design. Bottom line: three scanners in the house and I can't scan!!! I'll have to go and buy a fourth one.
The relevance of this for the Gallery: (a) those ugly black-bar caps will probably never be updated. (b) I was thinking of adding a list of my gadgets, including scanners, to the AniMisc page, with whatever tweaks I discovered to make them work, if they could be gotten to work at all; typically, most of them were lemons. It hasn't happened yet, but is high on my priority list. (c) All this has made me so furious that my comments on ethnic misrepresentations in that sad excuse for an anime series, "Gatchaman Fighter", will be more vitriolic than ever.
(With updates for picture caps a no-go, I'm finally making good on my promise
to replace the Gatchaman soundbytes. About one-third of the soundbytes from the
first series have been replaced. The few soundbytes from Gatch F were captured
as MP3 straight away; their volume hasn't been adjusted, so they're a bit quiet
compared to the first-season soundbytes.)
And while I was testing: it turned out that the essential hacks page's
download URLs all had a typo since, er, January this year. This has been
A: I finished the Katze mirror. Can I die now?
Q: Yes. You can.
That's a fib, actually. The rough version is finished, but it has to be tested on several Sims versions and I can see the meshes need torquing. But the graphics have finally, finally been done in a cooperative action between IFFSnooper, T-Mog and Art Studio, and once the whole thing passes muster, I'll have some new templates to put up, too. Worth waiting for (for those few diehards that haven't abandoned The Sims in favour of The Sims 2), eh? But I really wanted to get the theme page done first. Looking at the dates, I've not quite stuck to my intention of half-yearly updates; last theme page dates from about three months ago. Then again, that last update was three months late. In all, updates will probably still be quarterly; theme pages will remain biennial. This way, I might be able to get all the Sims stuff straight, followed by the KiSS stuff, followed by some even older stuff going back to before the turn of the century.
Speaking of things that go back to previous centuries: for the fourth and initially last installment of Ethnicity in Gatch (but when I saw the picture count rising above 100 again, I cut the thing in two) I sat through all of Gatchaman Fighter (most of it in fast-forward, I am that fond of this season) practically counting the medieval references. Just as the Dutch and Westerners in general see Japan as the apex of technological advancement, so the Japanese think transportation in the Western hemisphere is still primarily on horseback? All that tarmac here is very hard on the hooves, you know! Maybe the horses plodding down the streets of Sicily are cyborgs with hooves made of hard supermetal that the Fiery Phoenix itself couldn't make a dent in? Then again, as every Gatch fan knows, the series as a whole has never won prizes for realism.
My own technological advancement as of this update: captured soundbytes will
from now on be MP3s. Having finally discovered how to capture sound of passable
quality from DVD (check out both the quote and the single soundbyte on the new
theme page) I will soon be redoing the Berg Katze soundbytes from a digital source
and convert to MP3 as cleanly as possible all those huge wavs in the quotes section.
Annoyingly, browsers don't handle MP3s so well yet, but Netscape 2 still opened a
Sound Recorder every time I clicked on a .wav, so I'm confident MP3 support will
soon be as much part of a browser as wav support is today.
Q: An update that's two weeks before the deadline of next update. Rather a record, don't you think?
A: Look, that's how long it took for the second Gatch II DVD box set to get here, OKAY?? Unless you were expecting me to settle for another region-free version with Chinese subtitles.
Q: I thought the DVDs arrived two weeks ago?
A: Making a page like this takes time.
Q: As does having to wait two weeks because you forgot to take them to the right address...
A: How helpful of you not to remind me at the time.
Q: And fell ill the week after... Crippling, isn't it, a bit of flu.
A: On the third day, I was considering crawling to the nearest hospital to get my nasal passages lasered. I'm still coughing.
Q: Yes, spread those germs around. Very well, in the time when you were neither working on the theme page or in the office, did you perchance finish one of your other lingering projects? Like the Simkatze mirror which will finally cover up that silly crew cut?
A: Quite apart from the fact that I haven't had time to play the Sims lately: no.
Q: And MAY I ASK why not?
A: I've been fooling around with Art Studio to see if I can use it to make good z-buffers for 3D objects. Or at least make a mirror object with the right z-buffer.
A: So far, no and no.
Q: ... You spent several months on this.
A: Oh, I've also been eBaying... That's a new verb, meaning to spend a small fortune on items that seemed very cheap when the bidding started. And in those moments when my brain really felt like melted butter, I've been playing a game called "Fragrance Tale".
Q: Which is about ...?
A: A chirpy little boy in a very faux-Irish setting who has to mix herbs in just the right proportions to end the war between heaven and hell.
Q: Sounds highly ridiculous to me.
A: Yes it is, isn't it. Hee hee. Tee hee hee. It's better than Prozac.
Q: And what else have you been doing in those months before this famous second Gatch II DVD box set arrived on your doorstep?
A: Eat, sleep, get up, eat, work, come home, eat, sleep, get up, eat...
Q: That's it, is it? Eating, sleeping and working?
A: Sometimes I sleep at work. I've had complaints that my snoring is waking up colleagues.
Q: Something tells me you're not quite up to quarterly updates. Silly excuses about late box set arrivals apart.
A: Not to worry about that, I ordered the second Gatch F box set at the same time. So, as soon as I find the first Gatch F box set...
A: Look, I didn't lose it, OK? I just don't remember where I put it.
Q: "I'm not lost, I just don't know where I am..."
A: Anyway, as soon as I find that first box set I'm all ready to prepare the final Gatch-ethnicity theme page. Which, taking your advice on quarterly updates to heart, will be six months from the supposed next deadline, which should give me ample time to find this box set which, I repeat, is not lost, so stop freaking out.
Q: Biennial updates as of now. Does that also mean biennial quarterly quotes?
A: 'Fraid so. It's harder to find quotes now that I've totally stopped watching TV as part of cutting the crap from my life, and have turned to the cultivation of rare tomatoes. Don't ask. Simply believe me when I say it's way more rewarding than watching TV.
Q: But you at least managed to capture a moment of wit for this update?
A: No, I just took one from the Buffy Page before ditching it.
Q: The Buffy Page is ditched?
A: Yup. Firstly, the series was becoming too bad to be funny. Secondly, the person I was originally doing this for has long since disappeared from my life, and his carer has let me know that I'm a stalker and she'll set the police on me if she ever sees me again - all very indirectly, of course.
Q: Is this the same carer who feebly tried to sabotage your providing him with his own computer a few years ago, and wanted to grab this computer for herself?
A: The same. It is at such moments that I realize how lucky I am not to be a helpless invalid. At any rate, the page was taking up meaningless space and unlikely to ever be updated again, so I deleted it.
Q: Is anything on this whole site likely to ever get updated again? Apart from the theme page.
A: The KiSS page has been. There's a new screenshot up for AmiKiSS, sent to me by the viewer author.
Q: That didn't require any creative effort on YOUR part, did it? Did YOU accomplish anything in the way of updates?
A: Yes oh yes! I found another way to make the Sims crash. Check out the updated Sim tip.
Q: Quite an achievement. I'd better end the interview before you proudly announce that you've found a way to get the laptop battery to spontaneously ignite.
A: Not until after I've found a way to make you spontaneously ignite, so don't worry.
Q: How unworrying. Well, thank you for that oh so informative interview, and why don't you go back to your favourite activity: sleeping.
Speaking of Sims: the World Wide Web is a virtual universe, a repository of knowledge, a forum open to people of all backgrounds and nationalities, and a great place to get p***** off. Iffy fans and commercial institutions have found long ago that catching attention on the Web is as easy as catching deer at a watering hole, and put up pages o' crap that don't fall under "freedom of speech" any more than going door to door with copies of the Watchtower falls under "freedom of religion". The commercial institutions I can avoid, fandom gets a bit harder. I don't know why a particular Simsite page I saw last week should have raised my blood temperature above steam level, when I've both seen and heard of worse samples of fan behaviour; it must be the cumulative effect. Since my aim is expressing myself rather than snaring surfers, I've kept my opinion of such pages off the main page and put it here for anyone who enjoys vicious rants or is becoming as chronically enraged as I am. (Page removed at next update for lack of relevance, but boy, it felt good while it lasted.)
Anyway, not much to show this time: part II of "Ethnicity in Gatch" (and
what a vague concept that is turning out to be) and tiny updates to the Sims and
AniMisc page, the other pages remaining as neglected as they have been for
the past year or so.
However, I have a joyous announcement: the Berg Katze Sim skin, raison d'etre of the whole Sims section, is back up after having been taken down for renaming/retooling many months ago. What took so flippin' long, you may ask? Two words: Texture Map. It all started with a mouth corner on a Sim head that seemed to bleed no matter how I edited the texture. Standard Sim meshes are horribly asymmetrical both in shape and texture map, and though having given up on the bodies, I was determined that the heads, at least, should be symmetrical, even if I had to hand-edit every vertex in the mesh. Which is what I ended up doing, only to find that the old texture map just didn't suit the new head shapes and needed to be completely redone anyway. That zipfile of head meshes put up in 2003 of which I said I'd fix the texture maps "next week": they're still not done yet. However, the improved Berg Katze is back up, shiny and new. This news will doubtlessly be greeted with total indifference in both Gatch-fan and Sim-fan circles, so maybe I should add that Ken and Joe skins are are also available - whoa, not everyone at once.
(Incidentally, the Katze mesh's supporting object, a mirror furnishing the mask and all hairstyles, is not yet done either. The reason: the Sim object's equivalent of the texture map, the Z-buffer.)
Oh yes, the theme page. Not quite ready for 1st of July as planned, but there's a "1" in the date, right? As long as I suffer from Sims addiction, no update will ever be on time - it's gotten to the point where I don't even have time to play the game except to test some mesh. This quarter's theme is "Ethnicity in Gatch". Part I, because so far I have only the first Gatchaman II DVD box set, and I don't feel like making another set of horrible vidcaps from nth-generation tape which I then have to redo from DVD later. And as the first Gatchaman series is twice as long as the second series, to balance the load, I've decided to chop it into two parts, with the planned Gatch II caps as part III. Followed by some hilariously ridiculous material from Gatch F - in all, enough to keep me busy for a year.
Also up on the AniMisc page: some silliness from Wolf's Rain, a series which may just displace Gatchaman in my priority queue, and which at any rate begs and screams to be parodied.
Meanwhile, y'all excuse me - I'm due at a Simaholics Anonymous meeting.
The subject of this and next update is photographs of the Netherlands, and other things to come out of the scanner. This is another one of those projects which stretches into months, and then years. Some five years ago, acquaintances were considering coming to the Netherlands for medical reasons, and to escape from the hellish neighbourhood where they lived. I've known no neighbourhood that isn't hellish one way or another, but went on a snapshot-taking spree anyway, with the idea of putting up a collection of photographs to give them an idea what the country was like. Since the localities photographed were all places where I'd lived or worked, the photographs also served as a personal record. That's the only function they still have, as these people have found a much less hellish place to live, simply by moving a few streets away from the old neighbourhood.
This is not the first theme page to use real-reality material rather than
scans and captures of animated series. It is in fact the second, the first
having been the account of going to see, and hopefully take a picture of, the
eclipse of 1999. Clouds literally came between me and my objective, and the only
other attempt I've made since was at the semi-eclipse of May 2003, when I rose
very early and stood shivering in the wet grass, camera in hand, waiting for the
horned sun to rise. The results of these attempts, the village/suburb snapshots
and some photographic oddities will be in the theme page of (hopefully 1st of)
April; this theme page will have the Dutch town (there is no urban region in this
country that deserves the name "city") snapshots and some artistic snippings of
long ago to counterbalance all the ugly buildings. And on (hopefully 1st of) July,
we return you to our regular schedule of fan-related slightly-copyright-infringing
material, if all goes according to plan.
A new, so far very empty section has been added: the AniMisc page,
the place for anything (most probably anime-related, as the name implies)
that doesn't fit in the existing sections. Also added, since the sections
are so rarely updated, and the History page doesn't give a clear overview
of what had new stuff added when, the Table of Updates (bottom of
page). So far, the big update is that I've organized the sections' files
a bit. This doesn't make any difference to how the site looks, but there
may be the odd dead link or missing graphic where I forgot to adjust the URL.
Sadly, the despicable nationalism of a certain country which pretends to be a whole continent has also cast a shadow over the skinning hobby. It seems that the downloading of a freeware application, or even the free skins for such an application falls under the US embargo, as US citizens are legally forced to state in the small print of their skin sites and applications - never mind that the sites, at least, may be putting up contributions of people not living in the USA, and not bound by its laws. My ISP is fortunately not in the USA and so of course anyone can download these skins, no matter what their nationality.
The same small print may also contain rules for skinning - not using copyrighted material, especially - which makes said skinnable application useless for fanart purposes; this is why I chose FreeAmp over the A2 player, although they have roughly the same functionality. Of course any Gatchaman skin uses copyrighted material, so the skins I've made had better not go up on other sites than mine.
An update to a long-neglected section: on the Nature Page, I've been
giving the BBC series The Life of Mammals the attention it
deserves; and that is not all positive. But this series contains
unique footage, of which, as a tribute to the filmers, I put up some
vidcaps of the more curious-looking species.
The sound captures for this quarter's theme page are from tape (hence, iffy
quality) except for one - I thought I'd finally capture clear, clean, compact
soundbytes from DVD. Er, no. DVD players generally capture images but not
sounds. The soundcard in my one DVD-drive-possessing computer "doesn't support
playback capturing" and in my other, is a brilliant soundcard but doesn't
get on too well with Windoze (or any other OS). Connecting the analog outs to
the analog ins was not the solution. The digital out can't be connected to
the digital in for some long-forgotten reason, the rediscovery of which involves
screwing open the computer case (and in the meantime, where would I leave all
the junk that's been piling up on said case?) The solution involved a minidisc
player; by recording the sound from analog out on MD and then playing from
MD back into analog in, I got a passable soundbyte of Jinpei praying. The
point of this long passage being, the Gatch soundbytes aren't going to be
updated for a while. On the other hand, I did rediscover what a brilliant
tool VidEdit is, and gave it a place in the KiSS
Other than that, the usual theme page, about the sufferings of Galactor
goons, and two eps added to the Onnataicho Gallery which is now almost
done. Vidcap quality atrocious as usual, will be improved when I scrape
together the money for the rest of the Gatch DVDs.
Despite what I said last time, I'm going to leave the Buffy and other vidcaps as they
are: a jumble of pictures of all different sizes. On a monitor or 800x600 or less
they'll be one long column anyway. Some pictures have been added to an ex-theme page:
"His Master's Voice part 2", and a second batch of pix has gone to the Nature Page.
I'd really really really hoped to get the Imitation-Emby Quinn Katze doll
finished in time, but it's nearly done. Expect it up soon.
The Onnataicho Gallery has also had an ep added.
Sentimentally attached to my old, slow 486 which can't handle anything bigger
than Netscape 2, I've kept all these pages compatible with Netscape Mosaic,
which means no frames and tables; but with the growing number of buttons and
images, tables can't be avoided. They shouldn't be a problem, however; non-table
browsers will simply put the buttons at the bottom of the page, as before.