Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

Hmm, time for my daily update… O_O

OK. What happened in the last three months?

I’ve left ActewAGL now. The projects have been handed over more or less, and therefore hopefully no longer my problem. I hope that doesn’t mean they become no one’s problem, but I guess I’ll not know. Now my only remaining work is for BU.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing some work at cbit, getting the web interface for the SOAP stuff I talked about below (months ago ^_^) going. They’d started one, but the guy doing the work has now been deployed somewhere else And when I say some work, I mean that took me about a week, and so far this week (it’s been short, public holiday on Monday) I’ve just slacked off in the office, waiting for the web interface to break. Lots of time on IRC and email and it’s been a good chance to do some reading. I’ve been reading up on integrating Linux into a Win2K AD Domain, preparing for my return to TransACT, subcontracting via BU.

I did a couple of months at TransACT, and am currently waiting on approval to do more time there. Working on an interesting project, and a less-than-interesting project. Happily, TransACT’s standardised on Debian GNU/Linux as their Linux platform. I like to think I helped that by spreading as many Redhat scare stories as possible in my time there. ^_^ I was originally doing two-and-a-half days a week due to university commitments, but am now available full time…

I enrolled, started, and pulled out again from the ANU. I’ve finally bitten the bullet, and decided I’m not going to get through my final Japanese studies without spending some time there. I’ve applied for an eighteen-month deferment so I can do JET from August 2006, and be back roughly in time for semester two, 2007. I’m disappointed, I made a good run of it for the first four or five weeks, and that segues neatly into my next topic:

I had a four-week bout of depression. I basically only left the house every couple of days to buy more food, and when ActewAGL called me up to come in and do the handover. This was two weeks of uni, and then the two weeks of the lecture break, so a lot of lost work-time. Turns out that I’d neatly finished the TransACT pre-approved work, although I didn’t discover this until three weeks in. I’m seeing the ANU Counselling Centre, which has been helping, as well as making what changes I can myself, including divesting responsibilities. I knew I had too many responsibilities, and it was highlighted by how good I felt when I went to Melbourne and put everything else on hold for the weekend I was there, during these four weeks.

I went to Melbourne for a weekend, to visit friends — Anna and Naoko. Phil and Emma were unfortunately out of town at Phil’s mother’s wedding (Congrats to her) — as well as visit my sister and see her in the MedRevue. It was really really really funny. I laughed so hard. ^_^
I had a good time in Melbourne, it was nice to be out and about without any particular responsibilities. I saw Sin City — Yes, I went to Melbourne and went to the cinema, by myself — ate all kinds of bad for me but very tasty foods, and took mobile phone photos of the places I ate. I need to post them somewhere. I really think that weekend without commitments was a really helpful guide as to how I could break out of the depression cycle I’d gotten into. The only downsides of the weekend were the bus ride from the train station at Cootamunda to Canberra (I enjoyed the train ride from Melbourne to Cootamundra, mind you, prolly more than I enjoy even flying) and the fact that I was out of town for the chibi.au.august05 convention.

Despite my best efforts to avoid responsibility in the anime.au conventions, after my poor performance as Events Co-ordinator for anime.au.05, I became Sponsorship and Vendors Co-ordinator for chibi.au.august05, although I was going to be out of town on the day. I did a pretty pitiful job of that, and probably will go down as the only Sponsorship Co-ordinator who ever managed to get nothing out of Madman for an anime convention. The convention itself went quite well, by all reports, and I’m currently Events Co-ordinator (“in charge”) of chibi.au.summer05, in November (No one noticed this discrepancy for about a month. I originally coined the moniker because we were not sure if we were going to be November or December, kept it because it has a nice seasonal sound to it, and overlooked the fact that November is actually in Spring.) This convention’s been a lot better organised, in large part because we’ve given ourselves a month longer to prepare, and because we’ve picked up a couple of enthusiastic people to look after promotions, volunteers and the website, which were noticably absent from chibi.au.august05 until the week before it was actually happening. Hmm. Now I think about it, the first day I skipped any classes at the start of my depression was the day I met with the just-mentioned enthusiastic people to bring them up to speed on what they’d let themselves in for… Prolly a co-incidence. The meeting was after my skipped class after all. These same people look like stepping up to doing stuff on the ANUAS exec at this year’s AGM, too.

The ANUAS has of course been running along like the large locomotive of anime viewing that it is. I’ve managed to not derail it with a stance of “do as little as possible” which really should have been my presidential election platform. One new thing I’ve introduced is “Saturday Afternoon Drama”, where we hold a marathon screening of a live-action series, one series a month. So far we (and by we I mean I) did Great Teach Onizuka in September (with the movie and OV on October 1st due to a scheduling error on my part) and will be running Gokusen over October 8th and 22nd. I do wish I’d thought of this six months ago, but I was actually inspired during and by the chibi.au.august05 preperation process. The ANUAS AGM was supposed to be tomorrow, but I have been browbeaten into moving it back to the 21st, largely because I completely forgot to check with anyone before calling it. In fact, that’s pretty much the entire root cause of the move. Once the ANUAS AGM is out of the way, I suspect my only official ANUAS executive position will be Video Ad Creator.

I’ve spent a little bit of time knock up video ads, two for chibi.au.august05 and one for the GTO live action screenings. All done on Linux, with command line tools and The Gimp, except the picture-editing for the first “Recruit” video which was done using irfanview. The hardest part was getting them Internet-distributable, which meant finding either Creative-Commons non-NC or Gnu GFDL licensed-content (and you can’t mix these two!), although I fudged the music on the first version of the second ad, because it just seemed to fit the pictures so scarily well. Kinda like the whole “Dark Side Of The Moon is a co-incidental soundtrack to The Wizard Of Oz” thing. The GTO one on the other hand was done just out of Google images one night, so I haven’t put it up on the web for download. My current project involves teaching myself Blender3D, so I can produce a cooler ad. I’ve always wanted to get into 3D programming, and I finally completed the first step (putting Debian onto a 3d-enabled machine of decent speed).

I’m now running Debian when I can on my desktop box. The only things I use windows for now are Quickbooks (I’ve gotta get Quickbooks going in wine, I just haven’t bothered yet) and video games. I’ve got the machine using libpam-mount (with a couple of patches which I submitted to the Debian BTS) to mount directories from Keitarou. I migrated my email from Outlook onto my fileserver with IMAP, and now use mutt-ng for all my email, which is a big improvement. This also means I revoked my old @Pobox.Com PGP key and added the email address to my newer GPG key. I can sync my phone against Evolution, although I never fire up Evolution, and I can print using CUPs happily to my HP LaserJet 1200. The only other thing I can’t do on my desktop machine from Linux is wireless multiboot my Nintendo DS, and I’m working on that.

I decided it was time to spend some money, and I was intrigued by a talk at linux.conf.05 about GameBoy Advance programming, and had heard about recent developments letting people launch homebrew software wirelessly on the new Nintendo DS. So I gave in, and bought one. I played Mario64DS for a bit, and bought Another Code while in Melbourne, all the while getting involved in the DS Homebrew community. I played with my Prism54 wireless cards to get wireless multiboot going, and could get the DS to see my machine, but not boot from it. Eventually I got a hold of the rt2500-based card neccessary to use the only existing publically available wireless multiboot software (includes a custom driver for Windows) and found I could get further in the process, but not by much. I had some spare credit at Lik-Sang, so I got a GBA Movie Player v2, and with a bit of futzing about (which I’ll document here later) I can now load a homebrew rom onto the CF card I borrowed from Shane and the DS will run it. ^_^ So time to start actually programming again. I’ve still gotta get some more work done on the WMB process, but I’m waiting on driver developments in the Linux rt2x00 driver project, since right now they can’t transmit packets, at least in monitor mode, but progress is ongoing. I’ve been documenting the WMB stuff in my wiki.

One of the things that made this blog go quiet was the addition of a wiki to my site. Semi-static stuff (like the SOAP stuff below) is now going in the wiki, and I plan to migrate all the stuff from http://www.tbble.net into the wiki. It’s just such a good platform for publishing stuff categorised, without having to code the HTML. I’m now over HTML coding the same way I’m over compiling my OS from scratch — I did this in 1998, before I’d discovered Gentoo or Debian and got as far as upgrading to the latest libc, gcc and whatever else was in the base Slackware ’96 install, when I discovered Debian, found a use for having a linux machine, and wiped it out in an afternoon in 2000.

Now that I’m back updating the blog, I’m going to have to see if I can make time to update all the old old old The Other Day’s Mew entries. (Mew’s got a new calendar coming, which I need someone to batch into an AmazonJP order for me at some point…) I was actually loading the Japanese text into my blog, but not publishing it because I was having trouble with the translations. This obviously is not a winning strategy. ^_^ Now I think about it, the other challenge to The Other Day’s Mew was I was updating from ActewAGL, where I didn’t have a dictionary handy, nor Japanese input support to use an online dictionary, and then they changed their firewall to block sites with ‘blog’ in the domain.

Which brings me full circle in this long rambling story. ^_^

安座間美優 2006年度 カレンダー

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Gah, got busy again

Quick updates: Shane got a dog, and I’m seeing Machine Gun Fellatio tomorrow night. (Now tonight)

PGSM Act.ZERO arrived. Pretty box, haven’t watched it yet.

Dropped my uni units, and gave ActewAGL notice I had to be out by July.

And in unrelated news, the government of Robert Mugabe has demonstrated that they are holding fair and transparent elections by using clear perspex ballot boxes. ^_^

Beware semantics lecturers, they know what you mean

It seems my misgivings were somewhat misplaced as far as Prof. Anna’s artice on “Happy”. Once the Semantics class got to that point of the lecture, our lecturer immediately observed that there is a clear difference between “Happy” and “Happy with X”, which was a point I thought was completely ignored in the article. (See yesterday’s Linguistics post.)

The ensuing discussion, and the 45-minute conversation with my lecturer (it would have gone much harder if a dear friend of mine hadn’t already made me consider the nature of happiness and my relationship to it) highlighted that semantics is _hard_, and emotions is a hard facet of semantics. A psychologist is sadly not much help with this, as their approach to emotion generally involves trying to remove the language component and get at the thoughts, which semantics as we’re studying it teaches that language and emotion are terribly intertwined. And this was highlighted in the ensuing discussion of facial expressions, and the difference between Anglo and Chinese expressions thereof. (Interestingly, the issue isn’t a difference of meaning, but a difference in description. A Chinese person will describe someone’s facial expression by the parts that make it up, while an Anglo person will describe it by the emotion it represents. I also got to show the lecturer horizontal smilies eg. ^_^)

Anyway, the definition of “happiness” my classmates came up with (or rather, “happy” as it relates to “happiness” rather than as it relates to “satisfaction”) was something like: (Look, NSM in a blog! -_-)

Something good happened
Because of this, I feel something good
I don’t want anything more/else

OK, it’s not NSM, but the idea’s clear.

On the other hand, my own interpretation of “happiness” is something like

I want some things
I have (achieved) some of these things
I am trying to (have/achieve) others of these things
I am able to (have/achieve) all of these things
Becaue of this, I feel something good.

It was an interesting discussion with my lecturer. A point I made was that I manage my own happiness by maintaining the list of things I want seperately from the things I’d like. When I realised that Computer Science (B.SEng) wasn’t making me happy, I evaluated my wants, discovered that a second language, and academia, had crept up my list, and was unhappy until I changed into my current degree, and discovered linguistics. ^_^

Happiness isn’t something you aim for, it’s the journey you take to get there.

(Emotional enough? You know who you are. ^_^)

Oh, and I’ve started a wiki for information storage. (As opposed to this. If I do any _good_ explications in NSM for example, that’ll go there.) The only thing there is the start of the documentation of my wireless setup, but I’m sure it’ll grow. The WinNY stuff will appear there, as will… I dunno, whatever else shows up. Translations maybe.

My how things change

Today in Learning Languages, we watched a video demonstrating the “Communicative” method of teaching English. It was focussed on making the students talk in English, under a particular situation, in order to acquire a particular function and structure in the relevant social context. It is characterised by having the students freely produce English, and with an almost complete lack of correction (barring recasting of mistakes). The theory behind it is that language can be acquired by practice at a level slightly above the learner’s current level, based on the ideas of “Communicative Competence”

This was a marked difference from last week’s, where we saw the “Audio Lingual Method” which is focussed on demonstrating and memorising a pattern. This method involved the class memorising and performing a set of lines, with a little bit of work with substitutions into the pattern. Any mistakes are immediately and directly corrected. This method is based on the Behavioralist idea that language is simply a set of habits which must be learnt.

Due to the hetrogenous nature of the class, the native language of the speakers is not given much of a chance to interact with the learning process, which is a shame as both methods provide different approachs to the inclusion of native language in second language learning and acquisition.

Coincidentally, on Monday afternoon driving home from the same class, I overheard a discussion in federal parliament (House of Representatives) on language, and from the hansard transcript, I got the following quote: (Pages 46-51 of the PDF, 30-35 nominally, this quote was page 51/35)

The argument is clearly that the best acquisition of English occurs when you teach as long as you possibly can in the first language. The literature is complete — it is irrefutable — in that the longer you teach in their first language, the better the acquisition of English is going to be.

(The debate was ajourned until today, but today’s hansard isn’t up yet.)

This is interesting, as it goes against all the theories of language learning we’ve considered so far. Admittedly, we’re only up to the 1970’s, so maybe we’re building up to that point? I’ll have to remember to ask Louise about it next week.

On the other hand, there’s Semantics. I finallly did one of the readings, which was a piece by Professor Anna about “happiness” and “happy” in cross-cultural context. As I usually seem to find in Prof. Anna’s articles, it was mainly a criticism of preceeding work (I’ve no problem with that per se.) along with what I feel was a fairly flimsy justification for an argument that “happy” in English is untranslatable to other languages, and is somehow disconnected from “happiness”. The evidence comes from the fact that English, unlike other European languages, allows constructs such as “Are you happy with the decorations” which has little or no effect on one’s situation of “happiness”. This however highlights one of the issues I seem to come across a lot in semantics, which is the conflation of a word with a concept. In this case, “happy” w/out object and “happy” with a (possibly assumed) object (happy with/about OBJ) are different, and have different cultural scripts. The intransitive “happy” does to my mind tie directly to happiness. “Are you happy?” can hardly be said to have nothing to do with happiness, although the answering of it is often broken down into a categorised consideration of the various aspects of one’s life, which then brings in the transitive “happy”. The transitive “happy” can be seen as closer to “satisfied”, and as Prof. Anna observes, does not have the “I cannot want anything more” effect that “happiness” does. Even so, I’m not convinced that happiness in English has this facet, either.

So in short, the article’s main thrust (Proving English-speakers are happier by asking people if they are happy is flawed beyond doubt) is reasonably argued, but the NSM-ised details for me fall very short of convincing.

I’ll put this to my Semantics lecturer tomorrow. It should be an interesting lecture.

I’m finally starting to read the Semantics textbook, hopefully that will hang together better than some of the bits I’ve read so far. (Well, everything else was done in Cross-Cultural Communications a few years ago, so my memory is somewhat coloured by the negative feelings I associate with that class. >_<)

(I also got the IPSec stuff working with OpenSwan and RSA keys, but not x.509. I moved to isakmpd, but haven’t gotten that working with x.509 either. I haven’t tried it with RSA yet though. I might go back to OpenSwan, I found that easier to work with.)

I was gonna talk about tonight’s MGC screening, but it’s 2am and I need sleep. ^_^

Fansubbing done good, timewasting done bad, and Japanese homework done

After last week’s triumphant return to IRC, I wandered back onto IM (ICQ, MSN, YIM) tonight. The only people online were Matt Duggan (who immediately proceeded to make my head hurt with math) and a friend of mine from Singapore, whom I met on IRC last year.

While I was on IRC, gumbaloom sent me his and Aniko’s latest Seramyu output, being the Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu Promo and Fan Event, wanting feedback. Apparently it’s been downloaded a lot, but in the usual places no feedback, good or bad, has appeared. I’d like to take this opportunity to say that it was excellent, and I look forward to the finished product. (I already enjoyed Aniko’s translation of Kakyuu Ouhi Kourin in February at the MGC, but via a different fansubbing group). I watched another Seramyu, Last Drakul Jyokyoku, unsubtitled a year or so ago and it was OK, but it’s _much_ better with subtitles. I highly recommend this when it comes out, and in the meantime, see if you can dig up the CVME sub of KOK. Be warned, KOK is a retelling of Sailor Stars, so if you’ve not seen it (or read it ^_^) then you might want to finish it first. Which reminds me, I must finish it sometime. -_-;;;

I managed to get a little BU work done today, but skipped out on ActewAGL since I was disorganised this morning, and by the time I left home I would have had to leave work after 90 minutes. So I stayed home, did more BU work, and went in to class. (And was still late. >_<)

Ah! I’ve finally removed shift-space as a shortcut to activate UIM. Now I don’t flick into Japanese input mode every time I type a capital letter and then a space. (Yes, I have poor keyboard habits…)

Only class today was Teaching Languages, and today we looked at the idea that you can’t learn a language just by listening to it, you need to apply it to learn it. We also looked at the various stages of word order that language learners master. These are apparently absolutely ordered, which lends credence to the theory that languages are acquired in a certain order, and teaching cannot influence that. Tomorrow we get to watch a class being run based on that theory. (I’ll prolly talk about _that_ more tomorrow.)

Anyway, I’ve got a Japanese Lexicon assignment due tomorrow, and I just spent two hours doing it. I should have done it on the weekend, but I was seriously unassable for most of the weekend, apart from some time spent doing BU stuff. If there are any IPSec experts reading this, I’d love to know. I think I’ve gotten it conceptually wrong…

Still, at least my bag’s packed, my laptop’s loaded with MGC screening videos, and I’ve told the guy I’m meeting at ActewAGL in Fyshwick that I’ll be there by 9am or I’ll call. I think I’m gonna call, and get to uni by midday.

So, here’s some links for things you can buy. Today, it’s Seramyu. I’ll link in the MGC shows once I actually talk about them. ^_^ (And of course, it’s all Japanese. Like PGSM, there’s no official English version.)

2004 ウインタースペシャルミュージカル 美少女戦士セーラームーン 火球王妃降臨2004 サマースペシャルミュージカル 美少女戦士セーラームーン 新かぐや島伝説ミュージカル 美少女戦士セーラームーン メモリアルアルバム(13)~新かぐや島伝説~美少女戦士セーラームーン 新/変身・スーパー戦士への道

Last Drakul Jyokyoku may be that last one, but it looks like it’s out of print in VHS, and not yet in print on DVD. Oh well. I‘ve seen it.

Yay Mew!

Back, from outer space

Time to get back into updating this blog, I guess. It’s just that I’ve been so boring recently.

I’m back in ANU, taking Japanese Lexicon, Teaching Languages and Semantics. These classes all look interesting, and I’ve got the first Japanese Lexicon assignment to do over this weekend.

I handed in my Written Japanese D assignment at long last, and now once Ikeda-sensei has the time, I’ll finally get some closure on that unit. ^_^

Still working for ActewAGL, despite my best attempts to get away. I guess the disadvantage of job security through irreplacebility is irreplacebility. >_<

The anime.au.05 anime convention is coming up, and I’m the Events Co-ordinator so that’s taking up a bit of time, but not too much at the moment.

I’ve been playing with some wiki software (PMWiki, the only one I could find that didn’t require anything not available on Debian/stable) but I haven’t actually got a good use for a wiki on TBBle.net. Maybe when I get back to the Winny reverse-engineering project or something.

I picked up PGSM Volume 12 from DHL today, so now I’ve only got the one DVD to go. It’s gonna be weird to not have $140 disappear from my credit card every month… And I’m still praying for a second series, some more OAV things, or a personal visit from Azama Mew. Of course, I still haven’t watched Special Act yet. Nor the live action version of Great Teach Onizuka… Or the rest of Excel Saga. Or Poemy. Or… wow. My DVD collection is largely still in shrink-wrap. ^_^

OK, so I haven’t actually been that boring. A friend of mine pointed out to me recently that having too much on one’s plate is better than being bored, but I fear that may actually have been my own words being repeated back to me. (Hello, if you’re reading this! I promise I’ll update more often. ^_^)

美少女戦士セーラームーン VOL.12