Archive for November, 2005

Tiger theme for del.icio.us

November 30, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

I’ve been working on a skin/theme for my favourite online bookmarker, del.icio.us. It’s based off of something the brilliant Jon Hicks did a while back (though I can’t find his original post now), and essentially preserves the layout of the site while giving it a less plain look reminiscent of Safari’s RSS view header.

Delscreenshot

The CSS file is downloadable here.

To use in Safari, use some kind of site alteration plugin like SafariStand or PithHelmet, and select “custom CSS file” for del.icio.us, then point it to the downloaded file.

To use in Firefox (untested!), try loading it in greasemonkey. I’ve hacked together a quick user.js script with the above CSS (adpated from here), but I’ve been unable to get greasemonkey working with Firefox 1.5 on my Mac, so I’m not sure if it works.

Note: The CSS links to the background image tiger stripe (again, based off of Hicks’ work) that’s hosted on my own server, which you might want to download and put on your own server in case mine goes down (or to adjust for height).

Your mileage may vary, and all that. Let me know if there’s anything worth fixing.

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Still on the face on the earth

November 26, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

A brief update.

NIE holidays started two weeks ago, so I’ve suffered two weeks of fully-paid work-free existence. It’s a difficult life, and it’ll remain this way until next year. I’m not sure what the hell I’ve done with all that time — my personal holiday projects haven’t gotten off the ground, I haven’t really drawn anything new, and I don’t really have that many equally-free friends to hang out with — but, yah lah, it’s been really rather enjoyable.

Let’s see. I watched a bunch of movies:

  • Wallace and Gromit: Excellent, will probably watch it again when it opens Dec 29.
  • Serenity: Excellent, pity it’s not opening here.
  • Hong Kong animated movie McDull: Absolutely freakin hilarious. I laughed so hard I actually had trouble breathing at some point… but what the hell was going on with the plot?!
  • Will be watching Potter movie tonight. It seems awfully trendy to dislike it, so yeah, it sucks giant lumpy wizardy ass.

Also, I interviewed at the old JC and was offered a place to teach there. Previously, the secondary school (I’m not naming them just in case it offends anyone in HR, but it’s really not hard to guess) had also offered to take me in, so now I’m a little torn between the two. What I’ve thought about:

  • Curriculum: The JC Physics curriculum is naturally more challenging, and hence more interesting, than the secondary school one (which I’m already quite bored by, after all these months of training). Also, the lecture-tutorial system seems a little less repetitive than teaching the same thing over and over again in class (I could be horribly wrong on this one). However, the revised JC system also means I’d be way out of my league when it comes to some of the pure Physics content in the H3 modules, such as nuclear and modern Physics.
  • Subject: I’d definitely be teaching Physics in JC. In secondary school, however, I’ve been recommended by my former Computer Science ECA teacher (who moved there from JC after Computing at that level was abolished) to help her develop the Computing syllabus there. It looks interesting enough — they learn a bunch of web design stuff early on, then move on to robotics and .NET programming. Classes for graphics and computer game programming are being developed, too. I’d spent nearly two years assisting in the introductory programming course in university, so all this sounds fun.
  • Exams: No standard nation-wide terminal exam in the secondary school. Less pressure? A school where one can aim to provide a proper education not bound to the shackles of how many A1s one can produce? (Only being mildly sarcastic here.)
  • Colleagues: I don’t really know the people in the JC department I’d be working in, but there are peers already teaching there and I’m sure I’m not the only ex-student from my year who’ll be going back to teach. I’m on pretty good terms with whatever secondary school teachers are left after so many years (wah lau, old already), and I’d feel a little bad for my old ECA teacher who seems very enthusiastic for me to take over from one teacher who’s leaving in June (in time for me to come in).
  • Students: JC kids, being older, could be less bratty and a little more interesting to teach. Also, with only two years of students, I shouldn’t have to teach across different levels, which would allow me more focus in developing my lessons.

So… yeah. Any input on the matter will be appreciated.

Also, more Chicken coming soon. Really.

Chicken vs Redesign

November 20, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Finally settled on a new look for the little dude.

Chickenvsredesign

Chicken wins (who else would?).

Previous: Chicken Commences

Info: What’s with all the chickens?

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Things that make you go whuu?!

November 17, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

I haven’t done the whole linking-around thing for a while, so…

  • MPAA equates pirated DVDs to drugs on the street: Not forgetting terrorism, too. And making babies cry by poking their eyes. Damn you, heartless pirates!! [Ars Technica]
  • Wipeout: On a related note, some local blogger takes the moral high ground on piracy… unfortunately, he has my name. Damn you, name-stealing moraliser!! (Thanks to Tucque for pointing this out) [Tomorrow.sg]
  • Taking down Army-related posts and pictures: Local blogger faces MINDEATH sanctions on blogging about NS. Really rather ridiculous, I feel. I liked our men in green (umm, uncomfortable-looking khaki office wear?) better when they were running Windows 95 and generally harmless and ineffectual online. [Miyagi.sg]
  • What are we going to do now?, redux: A teacher’s resignation, and a good read. Not offering my thoughts on this one (you can probably guess). And no, this didn’t make me go whuu?!. [Tym Blogs Too]

That is all. Chicken returns sometime this week, I promise.

Comics This Week

November 15, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

I’ve been catching up on my readings a little lately, but now I have a lot of reviews to catch up with. Here we go, thematically: this week, Robots.


“Halo And Sprocket: Welcome To Humanity” (Kerry Callen)
Thoroughly charming and utterly hilarious. I don’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so often reading something (wait, I do — probably when I read the Get Fuzzy collection over a year ago). Writer/artist Callen takes the simple (and wonderfully inexplicable) premise of “an extremely powerful angel, a socially inexperienced robot and a young, simple woman sharing a house”, and spins genuinely funny tales of human insight. Highly, highly recommended, and for all ages too.

Too bad it’s the only collection out now, but the Halo and Sprocket home page has a bit more material and some sample strips.


“Clockwork Thugs, Yo (Livewires, Vol. 1)” (Adam Warren, Rick Mays)
Adam Warren brings his frenetic style to Marvel’s newest digest-format sci-fi action drama title, Livewires. Warren handles writing and does layouts for penciller Rick Mays — a fact that escaped my notice until now, because the art just looked tremendously Warren-esque, with a generous helping of speed-lines and anime-style puffy-eyed characters. Nonetheless, the art’s great to look at, and the colouring (even on the lower-quality digest format paper) gives the book a vibrant and exciting feel.

The Livewires are a group of “nanobuilt humanform combat mecha” (basically, kick-ass cyborgs) designed by a secret government agency to seek out and destroy other secret government agencies. The plot’s pretty generic (basic tale from the eyes of the newbie joining the supergroup), save for the ending, but the action’s fast-paced and little plot elements are smart and original, making for quite a page-turner with what I felt was quite a refreshing ending. Good stuff.


“NYC Mech Volume 1: Let’s Electrify” (Ivan Brandon, Miles Gunter, Andy MacDonaldn)
Unfortunately, this little piece of pointlessness ruins an otherwise perfect record of robot comics this week. I picked this up during one of Kinokuniya’s 20% sale weekends based on all the strong recommendations on the back cover from the likes of J.G. Jones, John Cassaday, Brian Azzarello, David Mack and Robert Kirkman, all thoroughly respectable and talented comicbook creators. “Intense and stylish”, they said. “Hip, inventive, and utterly charming”, piling on with the praise they go, “Pure robot genius.” “NYC MECH is at the top of my pull list”, apparently.

What. The fuck. Were you guys. Smoking?

The book follows the lives of robots in some alternate reality of New York City, where everyone is a robot. Wait, no — where everybody looks like a robot. That is all. They eat regular human food, have regular human jobs, and get physically injured the same way humans do, just that they look like robots, and that’s the entire premise to this comicbook. I’m not sure I see the point of even making this a robot comic at all, save for how NYC Humanflesh would have been a poor title.

Alright, fine, useless premise. Not that big a deal. However, writers Brandon and Gunter saw fit to torture us with their version of cyberpunk poetry overlaid on the (admittedly capable) art. Here, judge for yourself:

Am I inside or out?
Shapes move about and I remember where I used to be / I remember being anywhere but here
Ice cubes melt on my tongue and it feels like a thousand tiny drops of sound fill my head / This moment here… every second is on hold… / …it’s like forever all over again. / Everyone this [sic] tiny little vortex… / …swirling away until I can’t really see them in any way that counts. / Now there’s only the light and the sound of the bass
Every… / …single… / …note / Explodes inside my head. / Faster… / Maybe more than I can handle.

Those lines, from the first four pages of the book, are juxtaposed with images of robots having sex in an alley, someone at a concert, two robots smoking up (or something), and two robots beating another up in a toilet. None of the images make sense, nothing is resolved, the words could easily have been “oogly-boogly-oogly-boogly-oogly” and would have been equally (if not more) poetic. What the fuck?! Thankfully, the “poetry” stops after a few more pages, and the first of two story arcs begins. Unfortunately, it looks like the reader gets stuck with the same rambling narrator from the “poem”, who poses many questions of blinding insight, such as “Am I outside or in?” (ooh!), “Am I lost inside my head?” (ahh!) and “When’s enough, if nothing ever stops?” (PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP), while hanging out with his deadbeat armed robber friends.

Gritting my teeth and ignoring the narration, I struggled to the end of the first chapter, hoping to see some plot. Uh… no luck there. The first chapter ends on a cliffhanger where the group of friends are faced with… get this… a pack of snarling dogs (and ends with another brilliantly insightful metaphysically nonsensical question from our dear narrator!). Aargh! Thankfully, everyone dies in the first story arc, including the narrator. The second story arc was slightly better (not saying much), but also pointless.

Overall, a complete waste of time and a gut-wrenching exercise in frustrated reading. Damn you, Image Comics, for publishing this shit and getting your friends to say good things about it. I want my $18 back. Aaaargh.

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The Tragic Tale of BLOCKMONSTER, Part 4

November 14, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Blockmonster4-1

The End.

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The Tragic Tale of BLOCKMONSTER, Part 3

November 14, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Blockmonster3

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The Tragic Tale of BLOCKMONSTER, Part 2

November 8, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Blockmonster2

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The Tragic Tale of BLOCKMONSTER, Part 1

November 3, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Blockmonster1

Camera phones + Math blocks = Fun fun!

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Chicken Commences

November 1, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Oboyoboy, Batman Begins is out on DVD!

Chickenbegins

Chicken wins.

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