MonthMay 2004

Bind to “Q”

I have been playing a computer game called “Hitman: Contracts”. I’m not very far into it yet.

In this game you, a hitman, get chucked into an environment and are given various tasks like “Kill Count Vladmir Wossname.” and “Also kill his son, Norbert.” and “Prevent Person X from obtaining photographs of person Y with person Z” and suchlike. And the less stealthy you are, the less rewards you get. It’s very geared towards sneakin’ about and being stealthy. Although the game is very open-ended about how you do these things, and the level designers have deliberately left in multiple ways to do it, the game rates your performance from “Silent Assassin” downwards. depending on your sneaky stealthyness.

I am not stealthy. My rating is currently “Mass Murderer”.

It strikes me, however, that this hankering for stealth is is purely subjective. Who decided that stealth was always good? Although I can see a market for Ghost-Who-Walks, Shadowy Stealthy Sudden-Death-From-The-Darkness hitmen, I can ALSO see a market for my kind of hitman, the hitman who ALWAYS picks the biggest, most violent weapon available, and who’s pissed off that while the game has a button for “Crouch/Move Stealthily”, it DOESN’T have a button for “..And Set Fire To The Place On The Way Out.”

Sure, sometimes you might want your enemies to just die, and no-one knows why they died or what caused it, as this will encourage an environment of fear. But I am 100% sure that there are also times that you want EVERYONE to know that they died, they died messily and noisily, and that this was cause because someone who knew them was very very irked. And this will ALSO cause an environment of fear.

And that’s when they’ll call me.

The Best Kingdom

I heard a song lyric today that made me think immediately of Annette:

“..up in my head, there’s an animal kingdom, I am the king of the animals there.” – The Meat Puppets.

At least, it reminds me of Annette if you ignore of the darker subtexts, anyway.

If all the animals were cute mammals, and they sang little songs and did little dances and everything was happy, that’d be Annette’s Animal Kingdom.

Radio GooGoo

Just got back from Waiheke Island for the small-scale launch of ICONZ’s new (and rather excellent) wireless product. It’s a Joint Venture with Emagen Tech, and Emagen includes the mad skillz of my mate Moz, so that’s all good. I think it’ll sell like hotcakes, and I don’t even know what hotcakes _are_.

Anyway, the 45min ferry trip over there (and back) is actually rather nice, at night, with Bill Hicks on my ipod and no-one else on the boat. Very cool.

Speaking of ipods, I am going to DARE to upgrade to itunes 4.5 and a corresponding firmware update on my pod, even though there are reports of dodgy upgrades, crashed pods, etc on the model I have. Say it’s not so, Apple! Say it’s not so!

I think I might actually try to purchase an apple desktop computer one of these days, one that can run MacOS-X. Ideally, one of them cute imac thingies with the flat screen and the round base. Apple’s design philosophies are quite compelling.

What else is new – I bought 900G of disk for one of my servers, 3x300G. That’ll keep it going for _months_ and let me cycle some dodgy spindles out of production. I’ll pull it down tomorrow and get ’em installed. I’ve been warning the userbase for days now, so they should be cool about it.

Neil Gaiman posted in his blog that he’s doing a “secret project” with Penn Jillette. [Insert squeaky fanboy squeal here]. I’ve been avidly watching the new episodes of “Bullshit” as they come out. What a fantastic show.

Dispatch Funds, Lest I Wax Wroth

So, I sold my (unregistered) motorcycle before moving flat, which is all well and good. Except I got a letter in the mail recently, which was a payment demand (Note: “Demand” it literally states. Not “request” or anything so civil) for the balance of registration owing between expiration and sale date.

Which is fair enough, that’s the law. So I call the LTSA to arrange payment, and enter a conversation with a very nice young lady about how best to pay.

I explain about the letter and state that I wish to pay in full. I ask if they take American Express. Hell no. I start to quote my visa card numbers. Ah, no. It appears they don’t take ANY credit cards. I ask if they’re in the Westpac electronic payment database. Nope. I ask if I can just pay into their account with the appropriate reference details and … nope. They don’t take ANY kind of electronic payment. At all.

O-kay. Weird.

So, I ask who their payment agents are – I mean, if you get a speeding ticket or whatever, you can pay at the post office, this is similar-ish in that it’s related to vehicles, so surely… nope. Well, can I drop into the local city council, or .. nope.

Turns out that the ONLY payment option is … to MAIL them a CHEQUE.

To my shame, at this point in the conversation I switched to pidgin englishe in my manner of speech.

“Art thou Amish?” I asked of the LTSA employee, who doesn’t set policy and is just doing her job after all.. “Prithee my lady, a draft of monies shall be dispatched at once, I swear it shall be so.”

And she’s all like “Huh? What?”

So anyway, now I have to GO TO THE BANK and get .. hell, I don’t even know. I don’t _have_ a chequebook. Who does? So, to the bank to get a Bank Cheque or a Money Order or a credit note written on parchment. With a quill. Then bound in silken ribbon and sealed in wax by my bank manager or whatever the hell the LTSA require.

Nice one, NZ.