On the Friday leading up to my birthday weekend, I decided to take the day
off and catch up on hobbies. I got loads done on my 1:12 scale Trojan
cruiser, to the point that the end is in sight.
After twelve hours at the shop, cutting and epoxying the individual teak
planks, then sanding old paint off the superstructure, I came home, only to
put myself through another arduous task: creating railing joints. After a
fair bit of work, I got one of them done. Not to be outdone by the urge to
sleep, I decided to do the other thirteen as well. The railing is 1/16" rod,
so the joints are really quite small.
And that's how the eve of my birthday went.
] | posted @ 01:58 | link
RIP Battlestar Galactica
A bittersweet ending to the best TV series ever created. This past weekend
marked the series finale of Battlestar Galactica.
BSG is known for taking a TV series to new limits; to push the threshold
beyond what the audience has come to expect from episodic storytelling. It's
the kind of writing Ron Moore was great at on Deep Space Nine, and it
was expected of him and shared by a broader audience on this show.
The finale was not what I anticipated. It was probably not what anyone
expected. But it did tie most of the loose ends. I don't think it could have
been done better, as a matter of fact. Nonetheless, I would have liked to
have seen Apollo back in a Viper cockpit. I would like to know just what
happened to Starbuck at the end, who she actually was. I was surprised that
they decided to destroy the fleet rather than use it to build new homes on
Earth. The effect of the Galactica's last jump was very nice. The tie-in
with modern-day New York was clever, but the ending for our favourite
characters felt a little out of place. Maybe this is, again, because the
show works differently than others; the finale certainly felt more final
than on any other series.
All in all, the show had a great run. It took guts to end it sooner
rather than later. I'm saddened to have the show done, to know that the sets
have been destroyed, all of the props auctioned off, etcetera. This is
another end of a little era for me. Hats off to all of the people who made
] | posted @ 20:01 | link
The search is over! I finally found a Roland MT-32 in decent condition for a
The MT-32 is a MIDI module from the late eighties, predating General
MIDI. Why would anyone want one? That's a good question. In basically every
way, modern General MIDI is superior. My new Roland piano plays MIDI with
almost surreal realism. However, being a nostalgic guy, I play a lot of old
games I grew up with, like the Sierra and Lucasarts classics. They predate
GM. They also use a feature of MIDI calles SysEx, with MT-32-specific
commands to program instrument information. In other words, those games
only sound right on an MT-32.
By "sound right" I mean that they sound fantastic. I hooked up the MT-32
to my laptop via a Midisport USB MIDI dongle and pointed DosBox at MIDI port
20:0. Just like that Space Quest III came to life. It never sounded
at all decent on a GM card, so it was fantastic to hear. Next, after fooling
around with more of the Space Quest series, I tried a couple of
titles from the Kings Quest series, and they sounded fantastic as
well. From the Lucasarts side, the Monkey Island games sounded better
than ever. I will try some of the Indiana Jones titles later. Of
course, games such as Tyrian which are designed for General MIDI
sound much better through the piano.
It's also really cool to be exposed to classic Sierra shenanigans I've
never seen before. The attached photo shows the MT-32 while Space Quest
III is starting. Someone at Sierra decided that the MT-32 display should
read "INSERT BUCKAZOID" while the game is starting. Cute.
The closest I've ever heard to these old games sounding right is on my
trusty old AudioTrix Pro card. It has a Yamaha chip that fits in
quite well with the older Roland sound. However, it's locked into an ancient
ISA bus (in my 486), and is therefore not quite "future-proof". I think it's
great that I can painlessly use this MT-32 from twenty years ago with modern
hardware. This one's a keeper.
] | posted @ 13:11 | link
Yesterday was a perfect day of outside activity. It was spent at Mont
Tremblant. I couldn't have asked for a nicer day for my one and only ski
outing of the season.
The result was pain today. As such, I opted to avoid going to the gym and
set about bottling my first batch of beer ever. It took a good long time,
and involved about the same effort as my normal workout with entail. The
results are good: 61 bottles of a tasty-looking red ale.
At the moment it doesn't actually taste great. The beer is very
flat. Having added the dextrose tonight, it will be some time before the
yeast does its magic and turns it into carbon dioxide. It will not be long.
For such a slow process, this really is quite exciting.
] | posted @ 01:32 | link