Serenity.

Well, I finally broke down and saw the movie Serenity. As well I should have, as it turns out, because it’s an amazing film. And unbelieveable film. Maybe the best scifi film I’ve ever seen, bar none. Certainly the best scifi-western. I would urge you all to go out sometime and see a matinee showing of it in a nice uncrowded theatre, just so good films that deserve to be winners actually are.

You know what’s interesting? Hollywood funding distribution is funny, that’s what. How so many banal films are made with money ranging into the hundreds of millions of dollars is beyond me – and why people go to see them is even further. In fact, so much of the movie-going populace is turned off by what HWood is producing these days that they don’t even bother to watch those top-ten grossing films anymore, if they even watch movies at all. I, for one, haven’t watched a single “blockbuster” movie this year unless I was with friends and had to seek the lowest common denominator in what movie would appeal to everyone.

Which is part of the industry’s problem. They cater to big audiences and leave the small ones behind. But is it so strange to imagine that you’d make the same sort of money with four small films that cost $25m in lieu of one film that costs $100m+? Not only that, instead of having hugely expensive films that go bust, you’d have minorly expensive films that go bust, and sleeper hits that basically cost only a tenth of what they’ll gross in theatres alone. Even out the money distribution. It doesn’t work anymore. We don’t like your stupid movies that focus on making us covet lifestyles while ignoring plot. We’re not drooling idiots with money flowing out of our pockets, waiting to spend it on whatever film has “adrenaline” or “octane” in the description.

Well, most of us aren’t.

dan (hates movies. loves movies)

I’ve got a thousand miles to go,
and so I thought I’d let you know
that I’m not really there,
finally getting somewhere.

But you have carried me this far,
with every breath a fresh-laid scar.
As if to say it’s fine,
dearest son of mine.

Untenable

I wrote this quickly tonight… and I need to write more but here it is for now.

This untenable position isn’t fit for either
being something elemental or for breathing ether
but in the darkness of our being is a form to gather
like a shadow, like a wraith, something I would rather
not forget. We’re not there yet.

And darling, when will you leave your beautiful disaster.
I promise, I promise nothing, no happy ever after.

dan (writes songs)

Rabble-rousing.

Just a short note: I dislike people who cause un-necessary trouble in the church. By un-necessary trouble I mean the sort that can be avoided by not being a blathering idiot and having your own agenda.

I mean, what’s with people walking into church acting like the place exists so they can change it into their likeness and get angry and leave then the elders don’t do what they want? You come to church to be changed, not to change people. You’re not in charge. It’s not a democracy. You need to shut up more and be teachable.

Let me make a suggestion: when entering the church, find something that bugs you. Go ahead and do it. Then ask yourself, “Why does this thing bother me?” Then figure out if the scriptures are with you; if they are, it’s an issue. If it’s not, you can shut up, or you can leave. Some may disagree with me, but the economy of churches in Canada is such that you have a lot of choice and nothing is making you stay in your current church. If leaving will simmer you down, both of you will be better for it.

And for God’s sake, don’t go dragging entire commities of churches into your little petty squables. If you must, set fire to your own backyard; leave mine alone.

dan (angry)

A new feature…

If you want to check this out, go ahead: I’ve created a Frapper Map which you can add yourself to as a blog visitor of mine. It’ll be interesting to see where you’re all from… even those of you who never ever leave comments…

dan (always on the lookout for cool stuff)

People have motivations, wouldn’t you say?

There’s something about people, as they say, and that something always seems to kick me in the back of the head when I’m not looking.

It’s motivation. Everyone has them. Generally, I think, people’s motivations are good. In Christian circles more than anywhere else. Mine certainly aren’t always good, but I like to judge other people – or try to – with a degree of love.

But you know what? Motivation is not the litmus test for the fitness of an idea. That’s like trying to tell something is a sheep because it has four legs.

When a person says “I meant well!” I usually like to ask why that should matter: once you’ve determined you have good motives you can just go ahead and never look back? No. Once you’ve determined you have pure motives or a reasonable faximile thereof, you come up with a good idea, a sound plan. In fact, in an entirely effective way, your motivations don’t really matter.

dan (the road to hell is paved with… well meaning people’s bones)

My Linux flavour of choice.

As many or few of you may know, I’ve tried many Linux distributions in the past, and haven’t been satisfied with many of them at all. For instance, SuSE, which uses KDE as its windowing environment, was trouble and more trouble for me in the hardware/software department. It wasn’t easy to install things, and due the fact that it uses (or used, this was a year back) RPMs, I constantly ran into dependancy issues. And let me tell you, I have no time for dependancy issues when I’m trying to install something as simple as Xine.

I’ve also tried Fedora Core 4 more recently, but also disliked it. It installed nicely, but the bare install was… well… bare. And again, it was hard to install anything on it. Maybe I didn’t give it enough of a shot, but just to get it up and running was hard enough. It used Gnome instead of KDE, which I liked a whole lot more. Fewer native applications, but much prettier and easier to use. Yet, FC4 seemed like it was missing that special something.

I’ve also installed a Thin Linux version on one of our workstations at the shop, one that had crashed and I had fixed. Basically, I didn’t have a Win98 disc around, and I needed something to access a spreadsheet on. Considering that our office has already deployed OpenOffice.org, such a thing was simple: get Samba running so I could connect to our (unfortunately) Win2k server, mount the share at /mnt/share/ at startup, and be done with it. I can’t remember the name of the distro, but it fit on one CD-ROM, and worked pretty well right out of the box (thanks to, I think, the archaic hardware of that particular box). OpenOffice.org boots up lickety-split, and all is well, although I had to actually compile OO.o, which took – as you can imagine – a zillion years to do.

However, most recently I was presented with the problem of making an automated backup server at work. Okay, so I made the problem up myself, but the backups had to get done somehow, and in the absence of a rack of tape drives, I decided to backup weekly, monthly, and daily to two different hard drives. And, having heard some good things about it on the interweb, I decided to install Ubuntu on it. I know, I should have gone with a server install, but you know what? I like having to use the command prompt as little as possible.

Having said that, I downloaded the ISO, burned the single disc it required – as opposed to the 3 or 4 for FC4 – and bought a cheap $600 box without XP installed. Popped the cd in the drive, went with the default partitioning and such, and was away in literally 15 minutes. Everything worked perfectly off the one install disc, and you know what? It looks nice. It works nice. Using apt-get (and its graphical frontend) is an absolute pleasure, and the amount of stuff available in the offical/universe/multiverse repositories is simply stunning. I’ve since downloaded several different packages (yes, including some spiffy puzzle games) all of which have worked like a charm.

And while I have a few tiny gripes about it still – there are some settings that don’t stick unless you edit .conf files – I have never had such a good time with any Linux distro ever. End of story. Even installing themes in Gnome is a breeze: you download a gzipped file off the web and drag it to the Themes window and it installs automagically. Really, a pleasure to work with.

dan (enough phanboy ranting now… I’m going to bed)

Gosh. IDIOT!

You know what bugs the crap out of me? Here’s what, and pardon me for sounding off about such things on my blog of all places. People that suggest you do something, and when you actually decide to do it, they go “Oh ho ho! Betcha can’t do it!”

I mean, what the fudge? Is that supposed to be a motivational technique of some sort? Is that supposed to give me the impetus to actually do it? Goodness gracious, affirmation is not the hardest thing in the world. If you make a suggestion and someone follows it, you pat them on the back and maybe offer to help in any way you can. The end. This is not a very hard thing to do, at all.

Imagine being at a praise evening planning thing, and suggesting that instead of some vapid worship chorus you play a hymn. Then, when the leader says, “Hey, that’s a good idea. Let’s do that!” you’re like, “betcha can’t play that hymn because you’re too used to that other crap!” How far do you think you’re going to get? Yeah, maybe it’ll produce some result because the guy’s going to want to prove you wrong, but in the process, you’ve made yourself into a gigantic ass, and any further suggestions you give are going be like a fart in a tornado.

There. I’m done.

dan (a little frustrated here)

Some more photography of mine.

As I’ve spent a little more time with The GIMP, I’ve figured out how to get it to do all those things that PhotoPaint could do, and a few more that I’d never really wanted to know before but find enormously useful now. Like paths. I’d never used paths before, believe it or not.

So, in the spirit of using our good Open Source friends, I’ve decided to monkey around with a few of my – for some odd reason – leftover photos from the other evening. The results are… delightful.

Again, these images are not for the broadband-challenged. Unless you like looking at the thumbnails. Nothing wrong with that. Think small!

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Other: What might grass be like… if it were purple?

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Speckled: Rust isn’t really this colour, for your information.

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Rust: This is probably one of my favorite pictures that I’ve ever taken.

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Fall: For the record, this picture was very, very dark before I got my photo-editing fingers on it.

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Blue: Not much blue in nature. Until now.

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Cobain: What better way to celebrate Kurt than with oddly-coloured rust?