« May 2004 | Main | July 2004 »

Sunday, 20 June 2004

The Lawnmower Man

Oh, it's fun how much of a difference twelve years makes. BBC Three showed Lawnmower Man on Saturday night as part of their Stephen King season (which is funny, depending on how much background you know about the film). Anyway:

  • The film opens with the following text: "By the turn of the millennium a technology known as VIRTUAL REALITY will be in widespread use. It will allow you to enter computer generated artificial worlds as unlimited as the imagination itself. Its creators foresee millions of positive uses - while others fear it as a new form of mind control..." - well, I guess if you substitute PLAYSTATION 2 for VIRTUAL REALITY, you might be, oooh, a quarter of the way there.
  • Pierce Brosnan's computer's text-to-speech sucks because it says "May Twoth entry" when he's updating his journal, instead of something sensible.
  • "In these gyrospheres we wear full cybersuits."
  • "In this room there are some of the most powerful computers in the world.
  • Well, at least this is (somewhat) accurate:
Geek: "Someone's hacking into the mainframe from outside. They're putting triple key access codes on all of the network lines."
Suit: "What the fuck does that mean?!
Geek: "We're being cut off!"
  • There's one scene at the end (like I care whether this film is spoiled or not) where Jobe uploads himself into "virtual reality" and plans on sending himself out over the network. Angelo (Brosnan) has foreseen this, and was busy "putting triple key access codes on all of the network lines" (see above) - once Jobe is uploaded, he find his (human shaped) avatar inside a sphere that he can't escape out of, with the sphere's boundary composed of hundreds of thousands of hexagonally shaped titles. These tiles are "I/O Ports" (which brings to mind the bulk of the film's mainframe computer casing exposing hundreds of thousands of serial ports all plugged into heavy duty Hayes modems), which Jobe tries to access with no luck. The genius here is that since Jobe's avatar is in human form, even though he's uploaded, he can only try and break the encryption on two ports at a time, because he's only got two hands. Besides, wouldn't uploading himself over a modem line take quite a while?

46 comments and trackbacks

Wednesday, 16 June 2004

HOWTO: Proposing to your girlfriend

This document intends to provide the reader with a short selection of bullet-points underscoring the importance of good planning and the incorporation of several alternative scenarios and contingencies when proposing to a partner.

Copyright Notice
© 2004- Dan Hon

General Observations

  • Your flight will not arrive on time, for a various number of reasons. None of these reasons may bear any resemblance to the actual reason as to why the flight is late.
  • Immigration controls to the US are now much stricter, and while you yourself may not be subject to posing for your photograph to be taken (and as we know, passport photos are bad enough without having them taken at the tail end of a long haul fight) and being fingerprinted, everyone else in your line is. All of those people will without a doubt have filled in their visa forms incorrectly.
  • Don't arrive at Dulles International Airport anytime between 2pm and 3pm on a weekday. Everyone else seems to think this is a tremendous time to arrive and immigration will look as if there's a party happening there. A very bad party, with everyone standing in a snaking line, no drink, no music and only the members of a Village People tribute band wearing the police costume.
  • Don't lose your cellphone.
  • Don't assume that clause 6.14 of the Orange Care Terms and Conditions relating to the reporting of the loss or stealing of a mobile phone mean you should report the loss "as soon as reasonably practicable", as I have been reliably informed that it actually means "within 24 hours", regardless of the fact that when Orange do mean "within 24 hours", they feel perfectly happy saying so in their terms and conditions.
  • Don't try to argue the above point when you're jetlagged.
  • Don't assume that any payphones at an international airport will be of the kind that allow you to swipe a debit or credit card to make payment. They will not be.
  • Don't assume either that any number of stall owners or staff manning stalls will be able to provide you with change to operate a payphone with; it will not matter that you offer to purchase goods in exchange for being provided with change.
  • Read the instructions on payphones. They tell you how to make reverse calls. When you make a reverse call, it may feel as if you are holding up a suction cup to a handset and making hissing noises down it.
  • The staff who man ground transportation at Dulles are very cheery and take their job incredibly seriously; they are also very busy people. They will approach each task they undertake with an enthusiasm approaching the bloody-minded and no amount of handwaving and urgent requests for a ticket for the next bus will deter them from completing their job. Once they are satisfied their job has been completed, they will attend to you. This will most likely be five seconds after the bus has just left.
  • I mentioned that the ground transportation staff are cheery: their sense of humour is second to none and they will take great delight in telling you that the bus takes "twenty hours" to get from the airport to its destination.
  • A much-loved Republican President will invariably die a couple days before you plan to propose. His coffin will be flown to the capital of the United States and proceed, at a respectable pace, to the Capitol. While it is proceeding at its respectable pace, a surprising number of roads shall be closed to the general public, including ones no one had ever assumed would be closed.
  • Just because a store carries copies of the Economist doesn't mean that it will do in the future. Evidently past trends are of no use in predicting the probability of a future event in this case. If you are intending on setting a puzzle that involves the retrieval of a copy of the Economist from said store, the simple solution would be to not do so.

However, given all of the above:

  • Proposing on bended knee to your girlfriend, who is happily sat on a bench in her apartment complex's courtyard garden will do just as well as any other plan you could have come up with.
  • It's great to see your friends rally around and come up with a backup plan when they have absolutely no idea what's going on and why you haven't called them yet. Thank you!

To everyone who has commented on the previous entry (apart from you spamming bastards) - thank you!

51 comments and trackbacks

Thursday, 10 June 2004

I proposed...

... and the girl said yes.

60 comments and trackbacks

Wednesday, 02 June 2004


I'll be at NotCon04 this Sunday to make up for not being able to make Xcom02. Drop me a line at danhon@gmail.com if you'd like to meet up.

I didn't manage to make it. You can find me in #notcon on irc.freenode.net, though.

33 comments and trackbacks