Monday, April 24, 2006

Oblivion silliness

But what is all this fear of and opposition to Oblivion?"1

My name is Turthalion, and I don't remember my past. I came to a few months ago in a prison cell in the Imperial City. Through circumstances I probably shouldn't mention in detail, I escaped, with a little help from our soon-to-be-deceased emperor (I wasn't involved, honestly).

So there I was, free in the world, with not a gold piece to my name, and no idea of my history. I'm not sure how that happened, as I have no prior history of amnesia that I know of. Though I suppose I wouldn't remember it if I did. Hmmm.

I've been struggling though. No money to speak of, and everything is so expensive! I did manage to find a few knick-knacks exploring some dungeons, but none of the merchants I went to see could afford to buy the items from me--at least, not at anything close to their real value.

I joined the Mages Guild in Chorrol, and that gave me access to their excellent library, and after reading a lot of the books, I noticed no one seemed to mind if I took them to my room at night to read. So the next day, I guess I forgot that that copy of "On Morrowind" didn't belong to me, and I took it over to Renoit's Books, and she was happy to give me 7 gold for it.

I went back to the Guild, and asked around, and no one seemed to have missed the book, or if they did, nobody minded. So I picked up a few more. And then a few more. No one seemed to care at all! Maybe the Guild books are all out of date.

The strange thing is, Renoit adamantly refuses to buy a book I borrowed from a friend in Bruma. See, I borrowed it without permission, but I'd done a bunch of things for this friend, and figured he wouldn't mind. But somehow, Renoit knows exactly where it came from, and I can't sell it to her. But she hasn't uttered a word of complaint about me selling 17 copies of "On Morrowind" to her. I'm surprised she even wants to carry all that stock. I mean, how often does she sell a copy of that in Chorrol? Not very often, as it turns out, as I've been back months later, and she's still got them all.

I've slowly been learning about magic as well, and I've seen that do some pretty wild things, but it's nothing compared to what I saw the other day.

So there I was. I had built up a pretty good supply of steel arrows--I like them better than the iron. They fly a little better, and do more damage. I guess I had about a hundred of them. I was visiting A Fighting Chance in the Imperial City, just browsing, but I was holding my bow... easy to forget, as I spend most of my time with a Chameleon spell active. Well, somehow, I accidentally started drawing back on the bow, ready to fire one of those steel arrows, while facing Rohssan. I panicked. I should have just wheeled to point the arrow at the floor, but my brain was flustered. Quickly, I turned to take inventory of my items, thinking that would avert the catastrophe.

It seemed to work, but I thought, in order to ensure that the arrow doesn't fire once I stop checking my inventory, perhaps I should drop these steel arrows. I tried, but as every archer in the world knows, you can't drop a quiver of arrows that you're in the middle of firing. So I couldn't drop my steel arrows, but I thought I'd drop the only other arrow I was carrying, a single magical arrow that inflicts the target with cold frostiness (not to be used on your spouse). I dropped that arrow instead.

Then, I stopped taking inventory and turned back to face Rohssan, and with a sudden burst of magical energy, the single arrow I dropped multiplied as it fell, into one hundred single arrows. Rohssan just stared blankly at me as I hurriedly picked them up, listening apprehensively for him to claim that they belonged to him, simply because they were on his shop floor.

Mumbling something about having dropped a bunch of my arrows, I left the shop. Outside, I leaned up against the wall, and took a deep breath. What had just happened?

I wasn't sure, but I knew my arrows had been involved. Hastily, I ran all over the city, buying up all the iron arrows I could, until I had 350 of them in a quiver and on my back.

Then, I found a nice secluded spot, and with trembling fingers, pulled back the string of my trusty Bow of Lightning. Once again, just before releasing the arrow, I took stock of my inventory. I tried to drop my 350 iron arrows, and failed. I then dropped my single glass arrow, and stopped checking my inventory.

With a quiet but steady tinkling sound, the glass arrow multiplied into 350 arrows as they dropped, lining the ground in front of me. I picked them all up quickly.

I don't understand exactly what is going on, but I know it's going to cut down on my arrow costs. And, in a somewhat tentative experiment, I've discovered that local merchants can't tell the difference between a purchased arrow, and one generated through this process. Assuming I can continue to create them at will, my money worries are over...

1James Thurber

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Is it fin rot? It's fin rot, isn't it? Tell me it's not fin rot!

I was struggling with Platform Builder1, trying to get a WinCE build to work earlier this week, and complaining bitterly about some aspect or other, and Zar' pointed me to a great talk by Charles Petzold, asking whether Visual Studio Rots the Mind. It's a great read, and for the record, yes, I think it does.

The problem with the Platform Builder build turned out to be related to the latest Platform Builder QFE (no link provided as it created such evil problems for me). Once that was rolled out of the way, the whole thing compiled like a dream. Not that dreams compile... everyone knows dreams must be interpreted.

1Don't expect that link to work long-term. With any slightly older link (i.e. > 1 year) I find on the Internet to a page at Microsoft, when I follow the link, the original page is gone or moved. It's like there's a whole division at Microsoft constantly shuffling webpages around.

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New bloggy goodness

I've added links at the side to Benjamin Thornton's Nine-Inch Column, and Zar''s Recursion Man blog.

Ben is a friend from my Mississauga days (which came to an end in 1986), miraculously reunited with me via the magic of the Internets.

And that's not a typo in reference to Zar''s blog. That's Zar', as in Zar "prime". The first ' indicates prime, the second, the possessive. Zar' is a cow-orker here at ... well, let's just say work, whom I've known for many years, having previously worked together at Symbol in the Mobile Computing Division.

They've both started blogs on Blogger now, independently, but within days of each other. It's like they're subconsciously guilting me into putting more content on my blog.

Well, it won't work, and I'll blog here every day about it not working if necessary!

Rogues, hence, avaunt! vanish like hailstones, go;
Trudge, plod away o' the hoof; seek shelter, pack!

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So close, yet so far

Well, after coming in second place last year, I was disappointed to only get three honourable mentions (and here and here) in this year's BBspot geek limerick contest.

That's not to take anything away from the winners of course. Well done. I felt, when submitting them, that I'd failed to come up with the limerick that would seal victory, so I should be pleased I placed--and I am. So, kudos to me then.

Next year in Jerusalem!*

* I am quoting Bender, not uttering the traditional phrase spoken after the Seder meal.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The importance of Mr Solid

Proving that even years apart can't dull the cosmic connection I had with my childhood friend, Ben Thornton, he's just penned a new piece on his blog about the importance of selecting the right chocolate bunny at Easter...

And his bunny of choice? Allan's Mr Solid. Absolutely, no question. He's the bunny to go with.

And yes, that's what the Easter bunny left for me this year. The kids, being so young, got hollow bunnies, but mum and dad got Mr Munchy and Mr Solid respectively. Once their teeth are capable, that's what the kids will be getting too. No skimping.

It's kind of funny that Ben still insists on the same bunny that I do. It's good to know I'm not the only one hanging on, kicking and screaming, to his youth.