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Franco's Frocks

Entry 363 posted in: 6. Self-Made Monsters

Douglas Adams once wrote a column, not one of his best - I might add, about New Year's resolutions but I won't go further in that. You might otherwise think that I am one of those I am your biggest fan guys that stick knives in author's overfed bellies just because they destroyed all parallel instances of planet earth. See also: Stephen King.

But there is one thing we both agree on and that is that New Year's resolutions can and may easily be forgotten starting from January the second. So why does one want to make these lists anyway? My LA-girl, may her soul rest in peace but as she is, last time I checked anyway, still among the living she will carry on harassing me, had this splendid idea a few silvesters ago. Before this would end in a tremendous row I sullenly agreed. I felt like the pimple-faced boy again who was obliged by a Spanish priest with Opus Dei roots to confess my sins in front of him. Before I could invent some minor catholic felonies he asked, no demanded, with tremor in his voice.

Do you masturbate!!!

This priest, who obviously found Franco a rather nice chap, was still wearing a frock so I couldn’t see if this question turned him on, yes or no, not that I was really interested in that matter to start with.

But we had a kind of linguistic matter here. As I had no clue what the priest was talking about I said no and could leave with a few prayers just to be on the safe side. The first thing I did after I was released from the priest's claws was asking my group leader what that particular word meant. "Jerking off.", he replied. Now here was a word I did understand. This was the same bloke who would later introduce me to Pink Floyd's underrated Obscured By Clouds. That album really was the trigger that started a life long obsession for that particular band. Good man.

This was also the first and very last time in my life that a priest actually thought me something I didn't already know.

Anyway, to get back to the subject, instead of making up some minor New Year's resolutions my LA-girl found it more appropriate to do a list for me. It took her ages and pages and it was all relatively overzealous as well. I only had one New Year's resolution for her and that was to stop making those lists to begin with.

But this year I'll make an exception and here it is. Somewhere next year, well it's already THIS year, isn't it?, this blog will move to its own domain and it will be called: atagong.com.

That's all folks, have a nice day, 2008 promises to be as shitty as all other years.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Tourette's Planet (18+)


ArianeB 4.8

Entry 364 posted in: a. ArianeB

NEW: THE ARIANEB WALKTHROUGHS have now got their own domain:

Rock'n Roll The dating game ArianeB aka Virtually Date Ariane has been updated a while ago and should now also work in Firefox (previous versions only worked in Internet Explorer and Opera).
My walkthroughs still seem to work (I have been updating bits and pieces of these as well):

Behavioral Studies (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 1) 
Sport'n Spicy (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 2) 
Photoshoot By The Lake (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 3) 
Skinny Dipping With A Twist (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 4) 
The Couch Trip (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 5) 
It's A Gas! (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 6) 
Take The Long way Home (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 7) 
Odds And Sods (ArianeB Walkthrough Part 8) 

There is also a new ArianeB cartoon available at: http://arianeb.com/comic10.htm.

One last hint. If you play ArianeB on the web there are two differences in the game:

  • the game asks if you are over 18 years old and...
  • a secret page can be found on her laptop

To find the secret page, just start some rock'n roll music and click on her laptop.

Update : the latest walkthroughs for the ArianeB 6.21 game can be found at: The ArianeB 6.21 walkthroughs: All in one 



Entry 365 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash, 6. Self-Made Monsters

I once found this interesting theory about how cosmogony took place. This may not be how it exactly happened but I like it so it's fine for me.

In the beginning, although you need some notion of time to coin that phrase and there wasn't any time to begin with you had nothing.

Now this nothingness was a kind of crystal-clear soup. A glass of pure water has neutral (read: zero) acidity or alkalinity. It is safe to drink. Next to it is another glass. Its content has also a neutral pH. It is also colourless. But after one sip you drop dead because it has been carefully made out of acid and base fluids that neutralise each other but that are highly poisonous. Big N was nothing when you observed it from a distance, like our ph neutral glasses, and if there would have been any dimension that would give the term distance any meaning, but peeking a bit closer would reveal the presence of particles appearing and disappearing quite spontaneously. These particles automatically sorted each other out: some of them positive (n+), others negative (n-). Sometimes some nx, ny or nz particles would even appear, who knows?

But on the whole the soup was very happy and very tasteless until one day so many positive particles were created on the left side and so many negative particles on the right that it seemed to be a general repetition for Moses' splitting of the red sea. For one reason or another the particles didn't dissolve but decided to come out of the closet with a big bang.

How long did it take before cosmogony took place? Well as time was born with our universe one could say that it was an instantaneous effect. Or one could say that it took an infinite amount of time.

How big was the soup? The soup was infinitely small and at the same time infinitely big, as our spatial dimensions weren't there either.

Why have I written this? I don't know, I only know I had a very tasty Minestrone yesterday. That's perhaps it.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: True Story


Sense And Sensibility

Entry 366 posted in: e. Adult Oriented Games

So happy together! I quite like the Shark's Lagoon website that I once stumbled on, completely by mistake. It now contains 18 what is commonly called 18+ games. I shall not repeat what I already said in a previous post called Cyberhugging namely that they are witty but not too smutty (see now, now you've made me say that again anyway!).

A side effect of this all is that his bandwidth (or better said: website data transfer) is rocketing sky-high and that in the past couple of years he had to move his place a few times.

Another side effect is that his loyal fans tend to ask for more: A Late Night At The Office Part 2, Really Hot Sand Part 3, Fruits de la Passion - the lemon's revenge (before you click, I've made these up).  

I had a few infantile encounters with Flash programming as well and the following feeble experiments can be found on this place.  

  • Syd A Choo Choo was an attempt to create a click'n point game based on the album artwork of Pink Floyd. I gave up after their first album, and then decided to glue two entirely different animations together. You can read a bit about it on the A man called Syd post.
  • Douglas Adams' How To Leave The Planet aka The Abandon Earth Kit uses a build-in typewriter effect from SwishMax, so there wasn’t a lot of programming to do. Douglas originally wrote the text for an advertisement campaign although no one on the web seems to have been able to locate the original and the two main biographies about Douglas don't mention this text at all. It makes one wonder...
  • My last Flash based thingy is the Pink Floyd Pie Chart. This was basically a vehicle to test some programming tricks; more exactly to draw a 'dynamic' pie chart based on the results of the previous questions. Typing 1567 at the first question will open a debug screen showing how the points have been given.

Making these little silly things taught me one thing. In programming the big work is not in the creation of the main code, the big work lies in the fine-tuning, testing and debugging. This is the last bit of the process, only a few yards from the finishing line, but it takes forever to cross it. Those remaining 5% take as long as all the programming before.

Shark's latest creation is called Sensual Experiment or Expérience Sensuelle in his mother language. How does it come that things sound so much sexier in French? Expérience Sensuelle is much smoother than its English counterpart. Of course it could have been worse and the game could have been called:  'Das Sensuelle Experiment'. I've never understood how on earth Germans create offspring.

Anyway, Shark's latest mini game is a hit. Funny. Witty. Not smutty. Blah blah blah. But I observe some crackling side effects of this success. Time wasn't on Shark's side. Perhaps a few extra days of fine-tuning could have been used. I won't say anything about the music, if one can describe the annoying jingly loop like that, a button to switch that of would come in handy. But here and there are some minor flaws: a leg-part that could have been moved a few pixels, a boob job that could have been done better, the incredible voyaging nipple bit...  Perhaps it is about time that Shark would go commercial and create a full interactive movie-stroke-game.

But of course my main interest in Shark's games lies not in the boob fondling business. I am, naturally!, mostly interested in the technical side of his projects. The fact that these happen to include pictures of girls in different stadia of nakedness is only a bonus.

Shark uses Anim8or to create his models. Anim8or, to quote Wikipedia, is a freeware OpenGL based 3D modelling and animation program created by R. Steven Glanville, a software engineer at Nvidia. The main advantage is that it has a very smooth learning curve. Shark has been so friendly to put some of his 3DS files for download on his website. That makes it easier to experiment a bit.

Creating 3D models is not as easy as it sounds. If one googles for an open source 3D creation suite he or she will immediately stumble upon Blender. Blender, so everyone seems to agree, is the best and most performing 3D package for free. But, and also here everyone seems to agree, it looks quite intimidating. I downloaded Blender ages ago. From time to time I upgrade it, open it, look at the labyrinth of links and buttons on the screen, sigh a bit, and close the program again for the next couple of months. Blender was original an in-house application for an animation studio, designed by professionals for professionals and in those circles user-friendliness is about the last point on their wish list. I see that at work all the time. The more professional a package has become the more buttons you have to press before you can roll out a simple page on a nearby printer. 

Open the Blender workspace and you feel as if you're trying to fly a Boeing on your annual trip to Benidorm. This doesn't look like MSPaint at all. Open the beginner's manual. It takes you 128 pages before the text triumphantly exclaims: you have now drawn a ball on the screen. In another 300 you will have learned how to change its colour.  

If you want to experiment with 3D it might be a good idea to start with Anim8or first and only switch over to Blender if you start feeling what Anim8or lacks (Anim8or is about 10 times smaller than Blender). And if you are confident enough to release the inner Frankenstein you can always download MakeHuman and start creating your cyber world.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: ArianeB 5.0


Random Blueß aka sucking for statistics

Entry 367 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash, 9. I, Pod

In my youthful days I was a member of a, then illegal, university radio station where the lefty management proudly believed that revolution would come if we played enough Lynton Kwesi Johnson records. The Jam and The Clash (Sandinista!, what else?) were politically correct choices as well. As a voluntary contributor I always tried to sneak in some Pink Floyd. One night, I still remember this as if it were yesterday; I programmed a tune from Rick Wright's Wet Dream album called Mediterranean C note. When the track got on the air, one of the self-proclaimed radical managers peeped in the studio. "Is that Pink Floyd?", he snarled. I confessed that his guess was close enough. "I have had a Pink Floyd period in my life as well...", he sighed as if it had been an ugly disease he recently got rid off. Then he strayed away probably contemplating the fact that the Cultural Revolution was still a long way to go with revisionist buggers like Felix Atagong.

A while later I was put on the graveyard shift where I met this bloke who mixed (hard) rock, (vintage) blues, jazz and folk in one radio show and who also happened to be a very big Floyd fan. He taught me that you could actually appreciate different styles of music and introduced me to sounds I had never heard before. Nearly 25 years later the first bands I stored on my iPod Nano were The Beach Boys and Iron Maiden. They fit nice together.

For those that have never been on my MySpace spot - can't blame you for that, actually - I will hereafter give my iPod 2007 Greatest Hits list:

  1. Manik Shamanik (System 7)
  2. Hello (I Love You) (Roger Waters)
  3. God Only Knows (The Beach Boys)
  4. Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi (Air)
  5. Message From The Country (The Move)
  6. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Rotary Connection)
  7. Perpetual Dawn (Ultrabass II) (The Orb)
  8. Country Girl: Whiskey Boot Hill/Down, Down, Down/Country Girl (I Think You're Pretty) (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
  9. Wouldn't It Be Nice (The Beach Boys)
  10. I Think I'm Paranoid (Garbage)

2007. Last year's iPod statistics were biased, to say the least, because for the first few months my player practically lived on a Pet Sounds Iron Maiden diet. When I finally had enough tracks on my iPod to put the thing on random play the distance between the first dozen of high-ranking records and the rest was so big that only minor changes would take place from month to month. And of course I cheated as well by listening four times in a row to Roger Waters' Hello (I Love You), without doubt the best track he recorded in the last two decades or by making System 7's Manik Shamanik my morning train wake up tune.

2008. With 700 tunes transferred to my pc (still several thousands to go) I have decided to give only pure chance a chance. Starting from the first of January, well actually a few days later, I let the Nano shuffle menu decide what songs to pick as a kind of experiment in iPod randomness. At the end of the year I will know what the apple scruffs had in store for me.

The technical geeky stuff

Although the iPod is set to random the synchronisation between player and pc isn't.

As my hard disk contains more tracks than my player, and new tracks will be added on a regular basis, only a selection of tunes will be uploaded / deleted whenever I charge the battery. Some songs will have a bigger chance to stay on the pod than others or to put it into Orwellian terms: all tracks are equal but some tracks are more equal than others.

iTunes has this nice ability called Smart Playlists. I have created 7 playlists that are automatically updated whenever I synchronise. You can stop reading here if you want, the next is really boring:

Popular. This playlist contains the 50 most popular tracks. As I did a reset on the first of January this list started filling itself with each song that was randomly chosen by my iPod player from the other playlists. These debuting 50 songs may have a statistical advantage, as they will be picked up at the next synchronisation. And the next. And the next...

Confused, Wait till you read the rest of this chapter. I'm only starting...

Antiques. This playlist contains the 50 'oldest' tracks of my collection, sorted by the date I last listened to them. Basically this list was made to create a rotation schedule and to make sure that every song in my collection will be played from time to time. As my iPod statistics were reset on the first of January this list was empty to begin with. I found it amusing when I observed that this list started to fill itself after all places in Popular (see above) had been taken. The 50 songs on this list may have a statistical advantage as well, although that effect may wear off later in the year.

New. The title says it all, doesn't it? This list contains 50 songs that have never been played before. As everything was reset in January this means that all songs in my collection carry the 'new' flag. Recently added songs have an advantage, which makes sense, if you ask me.

Zero rating. In the beginning I didn't bother to rank my songs with the 5 star system iTunes offers. Only in October I meticulously started giving points. This list contains 100 tunes that haven't got points next to their name. As more and more songs will get a ranking - I check every tune that passes the pod - this list will get less and less important. When I write this 145 songs out of 701 haven't got a rating yet.

Three Stars. This list contains maximum 60 tunes that have a 3 stars ranking. This list is unique, meaning that songs appearing here do not appear in any other list. Counting at 58 it is almost full.

Four Stars. This list contains maximum 80 tunes that have a 4 stars ranking. This list is unique, meaning that songs appearing here do not appear in any other list. It is complete.

Five Stars. This list contains maximum 100 tunes that have a 5 stars ranking. This list is unique, meaning that songs appearing here do not appear in any other list. For the moment it only contains 59 songs.

So what about one and two stars?

I use the 1 star to rank songs that may safely be deleted from iTunes. In other words, these are garbage. Not Garbage of course, whose I think I'm paranoid rates 5 stars, has made the 2007 top 10 list but has utterly failed to be chosen.

Two star songs are bad, but not bad enough to be deleted. They will only appear on the Antiques list, unless of course they happen to creep into the Popular list. To my disgust three 2 star songs are in the top-pop list. The random generator picked Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper (actually that songs merits a two and a half ranking), the syrupy Gary Moore ballad Separate Ways (yuck!) and the truly horrific Nip it In The Bud by the B52's. These will haunt me for the rest of the year.

That reminds me. I still have to upload Lynton Kwesi Johnson. Just for old times sake.

 Note: I just remarked that the above mentioned Rick Wright Fan Site (that I found when writing this post) uses one of my entries on Wikipedia. Neat, not! It takes a thief to catch another one, I guess. Back to text.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: iPod December Stats


iPod Random Generator January 2008

Entry 368 posted in: 9. I, Pod

Also in 2008 my MySpace page will contain some useless iPod statistics. This year however my iPod will always stay in shuffle mode, in other words: the machine will decide what songs will be played. For more information: Random Blueß aka sucking for statistics.

At the end of each month I will publish the ten most popular songs of the year and the ten most popular songs of the past month.

For the top 10 list of the songs I've been listening to in 2008 go to http://www.myspace.com/atagong.

For the top 10 list of the songs I've been listening to in January, go to the MySpace blog section.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Random Blueß aka sucking for statistics