Monthly Archives: May 2002

ATTACK OF THE CLONES!!

Sorry about the caps. I just doubted the movie from the first time I heard what the title would be. I know it fits in with the history, but come on, “Attack of the clones”? I kept an open mind. That is, until I saw the preview. Looked like a sci-fi mush soap-opera. I decided that it was probably just how they chose to portray it, maybe not how it actually is. Last night we went to see it. Special effects were quite good, although it did not make it believable that this one happened before episodes 4-6. From the start Anikin was far too childish, and showed no ‘wisdom’ that you would think he would gain from 10 years of Jedi training. His character was rather 2 dimensional, and you could predict his reactions to everything. I think it would have built a stronger character if he had internalized his anger and bitterness. Senator Amadala could have been a strong character, if they had not made her act like a thirteen year old, tot aly distracted by A’s affections. She shows some strength as a important political figure only a few times. She could have been strong and bitey like Leah, after all, it is her mother, no? The characters carried the first 3. They were fun, they did not get along well, they were sarcastic, and they made the movies. Would they have been fun if Luke (or Han) and Leah were all sappy, and had conversations pulled straight out of Dawson’s Creek? I think not. No matter what people think, a really good movie needs either strong characters (make them believable) or a strong plot that does not allow for the development of characters. This one did not have either.

Tips:
1. Don’t even hint at bringing Amidala and Annakin together until near the end. Everyone knows that they have to end up together, use it as a tool to build suspense.
2. Let the main characters have secrets. Studies have shown that dramatic irony significantly increases the enjoyment of the movie by the viewer. (Why did he tell her that he killed them all? Let him ruminate, and stew.)
3. Make the characters likeable/enjoyable. I don’t mean more senator cleavage/nipples. I mean personality.
4. Focus on the Jedi. Here is our chance to find out what they are all about. We know that they vanish by episode 4, so let’s find out about them now. What the heck are they? Do I have to read a book to find out?
5. Give the lovebirds some real reason to get married. What did Amadala see in him? She knew that he was out of control, and had murdered. Isn’t she supposed to be wise, being in a position of planetary leadership and all?

It was not an entire waste of time. The action was fun, and the Yoda fighting scene was very good. The plot was Ok overall, but the silly infatuation got in the way far too often.

The rain has returned

Hot season is very hot, and we look forward to the rain. The average temperature over the last few months has been around 95F. That does not take into account the humidity, usually close to 100%, or the UV index, right around 10.0. So it is a relief to have rain again. The electrical storms are beautiful here, but the risk to the computer/network equipment does not allow me to enjoy them as I would like. Knowing that one hit could cause thousands of dollars of damage and weeks of work puts a damper on the fun of huge electric distarges.

Micro turbines!
@ slashdot.org
@ economist.com

Penguin migration

There is an interesting thread on SlashDot about moving from Microsoft to Linux Migrating Your Office from Windows to Linux? I would love to see our school go all Linux, but the transition must be so painful. It could be that a school with few funds, and little technology could easily make the change. We are at a place where we can start really adopting technology, but it almost seems like a point of no return into M$ territory. Can we make a shift now, before people get too used to Windows and MS Office? What about all our Access databases for student management? We are using GIMP for windows as the site wide image editing tool, and are planning to move to non-M$ browsers (Opera) and email clients (Eudora?) for security reasons. Can we start moving to Open Office too? Part of my plan is to integrate all of our different databases into one MySQL or some other open source SQL database. When that happens, maybe we can shed the MS Access shackles that hold us to Windows. Problem: just shelled out $$$ for 70 licenses for Windows 2000 Pro and 5 Servers.

Every once in a while I am tempted to feel less than educated because of my choice to postpone indefinitely my college education. In my mind I have many good reasons why I should not feel this way, yet it comes back. The field I work in values experience, and certain skills that I happen to have, but it is hard for me to know how a college education would positively impact my abilities. Would a degree in Botany help me to troubleshoot strange network traffic? Would a doctorate in anything assist in setting up Active Directory, or designing an interactive alumni web site? I know of many benefits that would compliment my current skills, but am still not convinced that a college education is the only way to obtain those experiences or knowledge. Sometimes the void is more social. Most of my peers and some of my siblings have spent more years studying than I, and it creates a gap between us of topics and subject matter. I just do not have the knowledge to converse at the same level. Sure, I know technical jargon, and the workings of several technologies that puts me into a geek-elite, but that is not education. Technical knowledge is knowledge of the use of tools. There are few social messages to learn from HTML, and writing batch files does not help me to have a deeper understanding of the human nature. I try to educate myself, but how does ignorance seek out knowledge? I can read books, and think. What more? Is there some key activity that I am missing? How do you learn philosophy via experience? What activities teach theology? Is there enough value in knowing the classics, that I should read them all? When I listen to music, am I missing something that would allow me to multiply my appreciation of it? Can I ever fully enjoy art without a knowledge of the history, progression, and movements?

Have I mistakenly placed education on a pedestle? What am I missing? Am I missing anything?

We have bought many new Compaq computers this year, and with them we have received multiple support CDs. We really only need a few (if more than one) of each CD. So we have a collection of useless CD. Well, not quite useless. I am looking for some fun projects they could be used for, like a huge solar oven. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Today I clean up my desk. I tend to keep things and then end up throwing them away without using them. I have an in and out box system, but there is not an ‘out’ really, and I am the only one who puts stuff into the ‘in’. Maybe I will run across an artifact from a forgotten age, before windows 2000.

I have been a bit fuzzy lately. Not sure why. I am looking at diet, and sleep causes. Heard about USS (Uberman’s Sleep Schedule) from brother Dave’s site and have thought about trying it out. Might be hard with the very hot and humid weather here, as it tends to make you more tired.

I have lost weight since moving over here. I knew that I would. I don’t eat out as much and when I do the servings are more well proportioned to a healthy appetite. I eat much more rice and veggies, and far less beef and dairy. Something about >100 ?F temperatures suppress hunger. So far I have lost about 15 lbs. since our arrival in August. Maybe I will get back to my pre-marriage physique.

3 more weeks till school is out. I am planning a total migration to Windows 2000 this summer. Well maybe not total. All the servers and most of the student computers will be upgraded. I am looking forward to the control it will give us over the desktop and use of student computers.

One of my employees has been asking about the ‘fairness’ of God. He asks why 2 Christians can do all the same good things, and have all the same good attitudes, yet one is blessed finacially and the other suffers. I don’t feel that I can say much, because I am massively blessed campared to him. If I say that he needs to learn to be content with whatever God gives him, it sounds callous and superiour. He asks how much a computer technitian makes in the US, and talks about hearing other missionaries complain about their million ($20,000) peso support levels as if they could not possibly live on less than 1.5 ($30,000) or 2 ($40,000) million.