Sunday, 2 December 2012

08:12 – Happy Birthday to Barbara. She turns twenty-thirty-eight today. She’s off this morning to have brunch with her parents. We’ll go out to dinner tonight. It’s hard to believe, but we’ve now been together for more than half of our lives.

We finished the first series of Reven8e on Netflix streaming last night. Barbara commented that it was one of the best series she’d ever seen. Oddly, although Emily VanCamp is both the narrator and lead character of the series, she receives only second billing.

41 thoughts on “Sunday, 2 December 2012”

  1. Yesterday the MMORPG that has held my attention for six and a half years was closed down, seemingly forever. City of Heroes/City of Villains was my first real computer game, my favourite before that was MS Minesweeper. It’s been going down hill a bit and NCSoft and NC’s owner Nexon decided to pull the plug.

    Word was that it was still profitable, just not profitable enough. There was talk of selling it to someone else, but that didn’t happen. I think NCSoft just pulled the plug for a tax write-off. There’s also talk of some of the developers and others re-writing the game from scratch and having it available again in a couple of years. I don’t expect that to happen, but made a backup of my characters, all 140+ of them, just in case.

    There were a lot of sad and angry people yesterday, and I share the sentiment of many that I’ll buy another game from NCSoft, or Nexon, about the same time hell freezes over. In the meantime I’ve got World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and Skyrim to entertain myself with

  2. I think the last computer game I played was Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat.

  3. I started out in 1979 with the old text-based “Adventure” game but the only one I still play here is Chocolate Doom. Looking into some railroad sims, though.

    Temp was in the teens here last few days and is now in the fifties and extremely windy, with surf and breakers on the Lake.

  4. I know it sounds ridiculous, but one of the flyable aircraft in CYAC was a FW-190 and the mission was to shoot down B-17’s, which is what my dad flew. I always felt guilty shooting up a B-17. Not that it was easy. The B-17 group was at altitude, and the FW-190 was straining just to fly straight and level. I soon found that the head-on pass, which is what the Luftwaffe actually did, was in fact the only way to attack the B-17’s without getting the shit shot out of me.

    I also found out why Luftwaffe fighter pilots simply ignored orders, which were to make a head-on pass and then pull up to fly over the B-17 rather than under to maintain altitude and be positioned for another pass. I suspect that every single real Luftwaffe FW-190 pilot attacking at altitude dived immediately before colliding with its target, simply because that big mother a tail on the B-17 was pretty damned intimidating when your fighter was having a hard enough time flying level, let alone climbing.

  5. Check these guys out; maybe they’ll show up in your area sometime; they’ve been up here and me and stepson got to crawl around inside the aircraft ten years ago; they offer half-hour rides, too, but we didn’t/don’t have the scratch for that. Quite a sight seeing these babies fly at low altitude over the state capital here.

  6. Yep. They come to our airport periodically. I remember taking a tour with my dad at the Pittsburgh airport when I was in junior high. We got to walk through a B-17, which must’ve brought back a lot of memories for him, and I got to sit inside a P-51 cockpit. I remember even then thinking how cramped it was, even not wearing a parachute. Nowadays, they’d need a shoehorn to fit me in. When he joined up after Pearl Harbor, my dad actually applied to be a fighter pilot, but he was too tall. They gave him and the others a bunch of tests and decided he’d make a good navigator.

  7. Interesting. He keeps mentioning it was West Germany that supposedly provided the impetus to Anglo-Saxon English, but which West Germany? the modern one or the ancient one of Prussian days? My daughter in-law’s grandfather was a linguist and taught both English, French, and linquistics to German students in Hamburg for most of his life. He says English went to England via the area from Rostock to Schwerin, both of which were East German from WWII until the fall of the wall. That area could have been influenced by the Scandinavians, but he was trained in linguistic studies, so I have no reason to doubt what he said.

  8. My own admittedly limited experience with medieval linguistics, per se, is that Anglo-Saxon arrived in what is now the UK with its main practitioners from what is now Schleswig-Holstein and southern Denmark. Finnish, is of course, not even in this group, whatever Tolkien may have been doing with it. Related dialects would be in the Frisian Islands and it has been long a daily thing for English and Dutch fishermen to easily understand each others’ speech. Despite subject-verb word order and related matters, I believe like most that English is mos def a West German language with a whole big mess of stuff from Norse, Norman French, Latin, etc., etc., even Indian.

    SteveF’s post on that site explains a lot, too; English has absorbed other words and meanings from a host of other languages over many centuries and continues to do so, pretty much like the Borg. It reserves the right to make borrowing permanent. And it discards words, too; I know a bunch of words that are considered archaic and not used anymore, but were prevalent with my family in Nova Anglia back in the 50s and 60s.

    “…they’d need a shoehorn to fit me in.”

    No kidding; we were not gonna be fighter jocks. I got shoveled immediately into the military police, natch. And towered over all them pilots. We got along well, though; they knew better than to mess with us. Also got along real well with cooks and medics, who, during alerts, attacks, etc., were military police “augmentees,” ha, ha. One minute you’re frying up some spuds or taking some junk outta the autoclave and next minute you’re humping a fucking M16 under fire. We took care of them and put them in safe areas, and they sure took care of us back on the bases. We could walk into any chow hall at any hour of the day or night and help ourselves. And did not have to worry about piss tests.

  9. Oh yeah, I remember now. I used to love playing Star Trek on the Cyber at uni in the Seventies and various mainframes at work through the Eighties. I never got sick of it. Also played Adventure (Colossal Cave) for many happy hours. But they were fairly simple, not a MMORPGs.

  10. The ability of English to gobble up words from other languages is a distinct feature. When I left, the official language police (there actually is such a thing for both German and French—not sure about Italian or Spanish) were still arguing about new words like “email” and other tech terms; should they use the foreign word? or substitute a German or French term for them?

    In English, we just use the word, and the heck with the origin. The only problem we have is how will the plural be made? Oxford actually changed its mind while I was teaching English over there. “Email” started out as both singular and plural. When I left, they were teaching “emails” as the plural. I look for “informations” and “softwares” to ultimately be the accepted English plural for those words. It is already completely pervasive in Europe.

  11. The Firefox update to v17 that I installed today (17.0.1), fixed the break with TabMixPlus. TabMixPlus just started working again with no upgrade. So it must have been Mozilla’s fault. Only problem is that I had a complete crash of Firefox after installing the update. It has been years since that happened.


  12. I only have Firefox as a backup browser; gave up on using it as the default years ago, too damn slow, and have used Chrome or its Linux clone since it started with less than a handful of problems. Haven’t used IE in years now.

    As for English, it is the Master Language of the Universe. God Himself speaks English.

  13. Yep. And if English was good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me.

  14. Got into a conversation with a couple teenage guys on the streetcar in Strausberg once. They found out I was an English teacher from America, and one asked very soberly (but in German), “What’s the matter with German? It’s a fine language. Why do so many people speak English?”

    My response was, “You didn’t conquer enough countries.”

    He had no comeback for that, but was totally taken aback and somewhat dazed. At that moment, their stop came, and the kid was still thinking how to respond. His buddy grabbed him and started pulling him off the tram, “Come on, let’s go conquer some countries.”

  15. Well, ain’t that the truth. The Brits conquered India and now English is all but official there, despite the existence of many local languages. They don’t have a chance, IMHO. In 100 years they’ll be gone the way of Latin. 🙁

  16. Well, as we’ve discussed before, the inherent superiority of English relative to other languages plays a large part in its dominance, but by no means all. The qualities of the societies that speak English also have a great deal to do with it. For a short time during the 19th century, German was the language that important things got done in, but the UK and the US quickly took over that role, and both spoke English. Nowadays, if you’re involved in doing important things, you do them in English. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Germany managed to lose two world wars to English-speaking countries.

  17. There it is. The great Bob hath spoken. Tremble, ye lowly fools and learn: English rules, period. And will for many centuries to come.

    @SteveF: maybe Jesus didn’t speak English back then (we don’t really know, do we?) but He COULD have. If He wanted to. And certainly can speak it NOW. And also whatever language is dominant ten-thousand years from NOW.

  18. Me, too. Alas, Barbara won’t watch Firefly/Serenity again, so I have to watch it by myself.

    OFD, there’s a couple you’d like. Firefly is a series; Serenity is the movie they made after the series.

  19. Is there anyone who has yet to watch Firefly and Serenity? No way! I am on my fourth viewing of Firefly and considering a fifth for the holidays when I get past the 30+ “Sliders” episodes on my DVR. That is if the wife does not delete the group for more space.

  20. I haven’t watched them. I tried watching Firefly several times but got hung up within the first half of the first (double-length) episode. I keep thinking I should try it again as its reputation is so good, but I don’t seem to get around to it. Conceded, my viewing of movies and TV episodes typically comes to less than several hours per month, so it’s not like there are 15 shows ahead of Firefly in my queue.

  21. What, pray tell, are “Firefly” and “Serenity” about? (thus answering Lynn’s question)

    Got four more episodes of the first season of “Hell on Wheels” to watch and then we dunno; we open to ideas; a number of the documentaries on Netflix look good and I even found some good stuff in the supposed kids’ section. Neither of us had ever seen “Good Will Hunting” and wife thought it was very good; I thought it was OK, but was amazed that in the late 90s, there were no black people in Boston or on the MBTA.

  22. Think of them as a Western set in the future, in a different planetary system. Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is the creator. This is about as good as TV gets.

    Speaking of which, if you’ve never seen Buffy, you have something to look forward to. It’s available on Netflix streaming. All of Whedon’s stuff has top-notch writing. Buffy/Firefly/Serenity are some of the very, very programs I’ve rated 5 stars on Netflix. Well, them and Heartland.

  23. Sacrilege! Burn the unbelievers!

    Firefly and Serenity are Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Captain America, The Avengers) creations to tell the story of the human race moving to a new solar system when the old solar system got used up. Firefly is the 13 episode TV series and Serenity is the movie that tried for a follow-on.

    The primary language is English but everyone cusses in Chinese. The principal characters are Nathan Fillian, cowboy captain of the spaceship Serenity, and Summer Glau is the beautiful and very troubled sister of the ship’s doctor. Summer Glau was trained in her schooling to be an assassin and reverts to form easily.

    Five stars. Five stars. Five stars.

  24. Really. Never seen Buffy, either.

    On youse guys recommendations we will check them out at some point. Noted. Thank you.

    Tried the Search function on Netflix last night and it works OK but how the hell do you then select the title you want out of the one or five or more that it located and lists on the right half of the screen? And this is after laboriously typing in the letters on the screen keypad. Which is annoying.

    Still looking to find out how to get the videos to the TV from the 3TB hard drive plugged into the WD TV Live Plus box OR stream them from this Ubuntu 12.10 machine; also looking at various open-source streaming programs, like XMBC, which comes as an .iso loaded also with Ubuntu; speaking further of which, apparently Canonical is about to put a full desktop Ubuntu on select Droids.

  25. I’ve never seen Buffy, either. I did see the movie, way way back when. It was ok, I guess. I do see that Amazon Prime has seven seasons of Buffy and five of Angel, so I guess I could watch them. If I don’t watch any other shows or movies, I might possibly get through the first season by the middle of summer. Actually, having just checked the episode list on wikipedia, I see Season 1 has only 12 episodes. If I sit myself down and make myself watch an episode a week, I could be done before Spring!

    Or, you know, not. If I get leisure time in chunks larger than a few minutes I’d rather read.

  26. “If I get leisure time in chunks larger than a few minutes I’d rather read.”

    Ditto here, normally, but since we’re evidently paying for Netflix and I have videos I used to be able to stream with Windoze, we watch something two or three times a week; rest of time we have our noses in books or magazines. Mrs. OFD is a speed-reader and can whip through one or two a day; I can read pretty fast but not that fast; my thing is reading ten or twelve books at once and flitting from one to another as the mood hits.

  27. The first four seasons of Buffy are awesome. And then she went to college and … and got a … The other four seasons are only above average. There is only 12 episodes for season 1 because it was a filler series that exploded in ratings.

    The Buffy movie and the Buffy TV series are not connected at all. Kinda. Different girls, different vamps, different high schools, different towns. OK, they are a little connected but not much. The TV series is much better because of the Scooby gang and Angel. And Sarah Michelle Gellar is a pro.

    The Angel spinoff is OK. Occasional episodes are freaking awesome though. Darla… And Cordelia is always easy on the eyes.

    Five stars. Five stars. Five stars. What I tell you three times is true.

  28. There is nothing like swearing in German. Or yelling. Even little kids sound awesome when doing it.

  29. BTW, the wife likes the first four seasons of Buffy and most of Firefly. In fact, she cried at the end of the Serenity movie. You’ll know when. And she re-watches Firefly with me.

  30. I have the Buffy and Angel boxed sets. Great series. Also have the boxed Stargate SG1 series. I’d give that 5 stars, also.

  31. There is nothing like swearing in German. Or yelling. Even little kids sound awesome when doing it.

    How does swearing in German sound any different than normal conversational German? Normal conversational German sounds like swearing to me.

  32. Cantonese (not Mandarin) always sounds like arguing to me — it’s a combination of the tones and a couple of commonly used statement finishers. The latter are equivalent of “you know?” at the end of a declarative statement, but to English-speaking American ears it sounds like fightin’ words. I don’t speak Cantonese; presumably the subconscious impact would be different if I did.

  33. Never mind all them dam furrin languages; y’all don’t need ’em; we got English. Case closed.

  34. Latin is the backup language.

    Now go back to yer internet games and they better be in English. Even if it is the 18th-C dialect you lot speak in Oz.

  35. Since the reprobates at NCSoft and Nexon have killed my favourite game I’ve been playing World of Warcraft. The syrupy American accents of the NPCs are already driving me nuts.

    I seem to recall someone else here also plays WoW. I have toons on Saurfang (Oceania) and Skywall (US, can’t remember which time zone.) Most of them are pretty low level, I’m still getting the hang of WoW.

  36. The boss I had before I got laid off by them at GE Healthcare also plays that all the time. Good riddance to that place, though; a Windoze shop through and through.

  37. I seem to recall someone else here also plays WoW.

    That would be me. Although most of my toons are on Tanaris which is US Eastern time.

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