Song of the Times
This song has been churning in my mind recently, possibly because of the current political situation in the Philippines.

Silent Running
Mike + The Mechanics

Take the children and yourself
And hide out in the cellar
By now the fighting will be close at hand
Don't believe the church and state
And everything they tell you
Believe in me, I'm with the high command

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

There's a gun and ammunition
Just inside the doorway
Use it only in emergency
Better you should pray to God
The Father and the Spirit
Will guide you and protect from up here

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

Swear allegiance to the flag
Whatever flag they offer
Never hint at what you really feel
Teach the children quietly
For some day sons and daughters
Will rise up and fight while we stood still

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

Can you hear me running (can you hear me calling you?)
(Can you hear me) hear me calling you?
(Can you hear me running) hear me running babe?
(Can you hear me running) hear me running?
Calling you, calling you
Once a Gamer...
My gaming buddy Dan Lyttle e-mailed me today about the new Champions campaign that my buddies are playing in in the U.S. Dan went to Serra High School, but he'd graduated by the time I was a freshman there. However, he still gamed with the Champions crowd that regularly met at the Beresford Recreational Center... and that's where I met them Champions guys.

Here's the e-mail about the campaign:

Kev is running a new game with the parameters being we could play one of our old characters (optional) or create a character that we have never played (recommended).

I am playing a character named Rapport. He is a low grade mentalist who can detect people (Scans, Telepathy, Mind Link, Control) as well as heal them. I have codes v. Killing etc. Very out of the norm for me.

As a result, our team has two hitters (I can't even use the word heavy) who are twins The Immovable Object (Mark) and the Irresistible Force (Steve).

Paul is some defensive guy who is a super law abider named Justice.

Perrie is playing a stranded Clan Sentinel who is unfamiliar with Earth culture.

Comment: Clan Sentinels are the equivalent of slightly more militant Jedi Knights. Think the Brother Battle of Fading Suns. Or the equivalent of the Templars and the Jesuits in a Science Fiction setting. They come from Kevin's brilliant Star Hero game STARFLEET CHRONICLES: Adventures in the Shattered Empire.

Rodger has already lost a character. He was an alien guy one inch tall made from crystal who did power move throughs on people. Unfortunately he did one on Bolar and died along with the 1,500 people on the cruise ship we were on. He is now building a guy who is water based and desolid and stuff. A much better character.

Comment: Bolar is an old time villain that was built to discourage "heroes" who were too liberal with throwing around their killing attacks. And their Armor Piercing killing attacks. And their Autofire Armor Piercing Double Penetrating Attack Versus Limited Defense killing attacks. He's a tough villain who tends to explode with the force of a tactical nuclear device when his armor shell is penetrated.

By virtue of us totally sucking, Rob is playing Silent Strike to add some all around abilities and powers.

There are a few new guys playing with us too. Tim is playing some monk.

Tim's brother Mike is playing a 19 inch foul mouthed drunk leprechaun who is super lucky.

Steve 2 is playing a speedster who siphons off life energy.

My son Dillon is playing a SWAT specialist who can separate (multiform) into a squad of people with specific skills and talents.

Our team leader, coach and mentor is Alex Raven (played by Kevin). I gave him up to Kevin as an NPC. It is hilarious!

Alex Raven was one of the old, infamous members of our superteam, "The Associates". He believed he had a Secret Identity, but everyone knew who he was... primarily because his costume consisted of him changing the sunglasses he wore. He was also known for betraying his teammates at the drop of the hat, and managing to infiltrate a top secret military installation by duct-taping his picture to a stolen ID and casually strolling across a lit air field.

They are all coming over this weekend for another night of gaming. Although I believe we will be playing Star Hero.

Hope all is well with you and your family. Let me know what your game is like so I can pass the info on to the rest of the group.

Daniel P. Lyttle
Vice Principal
Ralston Middle School

Yep, Dan's the Vice Principal now. Way ta go, Dan! Man - I wish I could drop by and game one of these days.

What NOT to do during the Return of the King (SPOILERS)

1. Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, "Wait... where the hell is Harry Potter?"
2. Block the entrance to the theater while screaming: "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"
3. Play a drinking game where you have to take a sip every time someone says: "The Ring."
4. Point and laugh whenever someone dies.
5. Ask everyone around you if they think Gandalf went to Hogwarts.
6. Finish off every one of Elrond's lines with "Mr. Anderson."
7. When Aragorn is crowned king, stand up and at the top of your lungs sing, "And I did it.... MY way...!"
8. Talk like Gollum all through the movie. At the end, bite off someone's finger and fall down the stairs.
9. Dress up as old ladies and reenact "The Battle of Helms Deep" Monty Python style.
10. When Denethor lights the fire, shout "Barbecue!"
11. Every time Elrond appears, shout out (in your best 'Dobby' voice) "Clothes! Master gave Elrond Clothes!"
12. In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout "RUN FOREST, RUN!"
13. Every time someone kills an Orc, yell: "That's what I'm Tolkien about!" See how long it takes before you get kicked out of the theatre.
14. During a wide shot of a battle, inquire, "Where's Waldo?"
15. Talk loudly about how you heard that there is a single frame of a nude Elf hidden somewhere in the movie.
16. Start an Orc sing-a-long.
17. Come to the premiere dressed as Frankenfurter and wander around looking terribly confused.
18. When they go in the paths of the dead, wait for tense moment and shout, "I see dead people!"
19. Imitate what you think a conversation between Gollum, Dobby and Yoda would be like.
20. Release a jar of daddy-long-legs into the theater during the Shelob scene.
21. Wonder out loud if Aragorn is going to run for governor of California.
22. When Shelob comes on, exclaim, "Man! Charlotte's really let herself go!"
24. After the movie, say "Lucas could have done it better."
New Browser
I've tried out the new Mozilla Firebird browser, and it's pretty cool. Just a download, no installation necessary after unzipping the file. I like the "tab" functionality and the Alt-D shortcut works fine...

Software Development and Craftsmanship article
Here's an excerpt from and article found on the Joel On Software website:

Making software is not a manufacturing process. In the 1980s everyone was running around terrified that Japanese software companies were setting up "software factories" that could churn out high quality code on an assembly line. It didn't make any sense then and it doesn't make sense now. Shoving a lot of programmers into a room and lining them up in neat rows did not really help get the bug counts down.

If writing code is not assembly-line style production, what is it? Some have proposed the label craftsmanship. That's not quite right, either, because I don't care what you say: that dialog box in Windows that asks you how you want your help file indexed does not in any way, shape, or form resemble what any normal English speaker would refer to as "craftsmanship."

Writing code is not production, it's not always craftsmanship (though it can be), it's design. Design is that nebulous area where you can add value faster than you add cost...
Dean & Company: ATTENTION

Seems like there's more potential for stuff like Ab Ovo, eh?


Back in March, a team of comic book professionals, Greg Scott, JF Mettler, Tony Harris, Jason Henderson and Churl Yo, decided to leave their Big Four assignments for a while and pitched a comic book series to BMW, based on their series of short films "The Hire." Each film shows a nameless, history-less driver take a short job in a story that always ends with a twist.

BMW's agency seemed interested in co-operating with such a venture. And so the team set about creating proposals, with many pages of drawn, coloured and lettered art. There were many meetings where the process of putting together comics were discussed, as well as budgeting and distribution. Meetings with Diamond were arranged between all three parties continued for quite a while.

In fact BMW's agency decided that it was such a good idea, that they dropped the team of creators and went to Dark Horse. Look forward to Dark Horse's "The Hire" later this year. Just without a certain team of people who put in the time, money and effort to get it off the ground.

For more see this link.
Year of the Monkey ain't so good for Monkeys apparently
I think this is the link Dean-lo meant to put on his site...

And it bodes not well for the monkeys! Alas...
New Year Old Year reflections
2003 was a year of change and challenges. Nowhere moreso in my professional life than in the changes of structure and personnel in the company I work for. We started last year with a strong push, but it wasn't sustained for a number of internal and external reasons and so we experienced major personnel churn and departures.

It's not the same anymore... but I keep in touch a with some and run into the others from time to time. And it's good to see them. I wish them all the best and hope to see even great things from them this year.

As for me, I've got a lot on my plate and hafta get to it.

ARNIS friends
Our little group has grown from Kate and Vlad to a larger crew. We regularly see the GOO, KnightJinx and Pointyman2000. Last week there were three more!

Perhaps then they should check out the following sites:
Modern Arnis website 1
Modern Arnis website 2

We study Modern Arnis, which was pioneered and taught by Grandmaster Remy Presas... Modern Arnis apparently was strongly influenced by the Balintawak style of Arnis (a very deadly one-on-one style of Arnis), since it was the parent style of Grandmaster Remy. It's cool to see everyone practicing it...
Are You a Science Fiction or Fantasy Fan?

Then check this out!